Oil tycoon Harold Hamm told a University of Oklahoma dean last year that he wanted certain scientists there dismissed who were studying links between oil and gas activity and the state’s nearly 400-fold increase in earthquakes, according to the dean’s e-mail recounting the conversation.
Hamm, the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources, is a major donor to the university, which is the home of the Oklahoma Geological Survey. He has vigorously disputed the notion that he tried to pressure the survey’s scientists. “I’m very approachable, and don’t think I’m intimidating,” Hamm was quoted as saying in an interview with EnergyWire, an industry publication, that was published on May 11. “I don’t try to push anybody around.”
Yet an e-mail obtained from the university by Bloomberg News via a public records request says Hamm used a blunt approach during a 90-minute meeting last year with the dean whose department includes the geological survey.
“Mr. Hamm is very upset at some of the earthquake reporting to the point that he would like to see select OGS staff dismissed,” wrote Larry Grillot, the dean of the university’s Mewbourne College of Earth and Energy, in a July 16, 2014, e-mail to colleagues at the university. Hamm also expressed an interest in joining a search committee charged with finding a new director for the geological survey, according to Grillot’s e-mail. And, the dean wrote, Hamm indicated that he would be “visiting with Governor [Mary] Fallin on the topic of moving the OGS out of the University of Oklahoma.”
Good news, even some top conservative Republicans realize that laws attempting to ban sharia or foreign law are ridiculous and pointless (Unless of course you want to demonize Muslims). Its good to see a member of the Alabama Christian coalition openly opposing this stupidity. Tara Culp-Ressler reports.
Next week, Alabama voters will be asked to cast their ballots on Amendment 1, a carefully worded measure that would prohibit “the application of foreign law” in the state’s courts. The ballot initiative is ultimately seeking to ban sharia law, an increasingly popular right-wing legislative tactic that serves to demonize the Islamic faith as something that Americans need to be protected from.
The push to ban sharia law is often spearheaded by prominent Religious Right figures like Pat Robertson and Bryan Fischer. But somewhat of a different scene is playing out in Alabama in the lead up to the election, as Christian leaders in the state are speaking out against Amendment 1.
Randy Brinson, the president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama — one of the state’s largest network of conservative evangelicals — is one of the religious figures lending his voice to the opposition campaign. In an interview with the Birmingham News this week, Brinson said that the effort to pass Amendment 1 is “just silliness,” adding that “it’s all something that lawmakers can trumpet back to constituents that they’re protecting Christian values, but they need to be working on other stuff.”
Who couldn’t see this coming? This was apparently a fairly small stash. Sooner or later, some ammosexual’s million round stash is going to up like a suburban volcano, destroying a whole neighborhood.
MIDWEST CITY, Okla. —Officials with the Midwest City Fire Department said ammunition went off during a house fire at 1609 McGregor Drive.
Officials said everyone was evacuated from the home, but two dogs died in the blaze.
Investigators said they believe the fire started in the garage and spread.
Stay with KOCO-TV and koco.com for further details.
If this is true, its utterly shameful and I fear for the future of America! Scott Kaufman reports,
A study published in the latest edition of Evolution: Education and Outreach demonstrated “the average student…completed the Biology I course with increased confidence in their biological evolution knowledge yet with a greater number of biological evolution misconceptions and, therefore, less competency in the subject.”
The study, conducted by Tony Yates and Edmund Marek, tested biology teachers and students in 32 Oklahoma public high schools via a survey the pair called “the Biological Evolution Literacy Survey.” The survey was administered to the teachers first, to get a benchmark of their grasp of evolutionary theory. The survey was then administered twice to the students — once before they took the required Biology I course, and once after they had completed it.
Yates and Marek found that prior to instruction, students possessed 4,812 misconceptions about evolutionary theory; after they completed the Biology I course, they possessed 5,072. Of the 475 students surveyed, only 216 decreased the number of misconceptions they believed, as opposed to 259 who had more of them when they finished the course than before they took it.
Despite all of the progress made so far on LGBT rights, on Tuesday, Louisiana voted to uphold the state’s anti-sodomy law, 67-27, despite it being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, in their landmark 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision.
In its decision, the court ruled that laws prohibiting sodomy seek “to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.”
Unless you live in Louisiana?
In fact, in addition to Louisiana and Texas, Idaho, Utah, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas and Oklahoma have all maintained their own anti-sodomy laws, despite their direct conflict with the Supreme Court’s decision. In three of these states — Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas — such anti-sodomy laws pertain exclusively to “homosexual conduct.”
The Louisiana bill in question, HB12, proposed to amend “crime against nature…” and was introduced in January by State House Representative Patricia Smith (D-Baton Rouge). Although it seems painfully obvious that there is no reason on Earth to maintain such a law, Smith’s proposed bill was a direct response to the targeted arrests of gay men in her district who were profiled and lured by undercover police to agree to consensual sex. At least 12 men have been arrested in this “sodomy sting” since 2011, despite the fact that prosecutors refused to bring charges in every single case.
Supporters of the “counter jihad” are as delusional and bigoted as ever. They’re still trying to pass these unconstitutional laws to combat a threat that pretty much doesn’t exist.
The 2014 legislative year has already seen legislation proposed that would ban the application of Sharia law in state courts. There are currently nine states that have introduced some variation of a bill aiming to block Islamic law. Most of the bills have carried over from 2013 with the exception of Vermont, which has introduced its first bill of this stature.
The bills are intended to combat the perceived threat that Muslims are undermining the United States Constitution and imposing Sharia law. Although almost none of the bills mention Sharia or other religious law specifically, instead opting for more neutral language, such as “foreign” and “international” law, their intent to vilify Muslims remains very much the same.
Markwayne Mullin yet again. He is becoming Oklahoma’a answer to Louis Gohmert.
Raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour could increase the price of a hamburger by about 438 percent, Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) argued at a town hall meeting with constituents on Thursday, Think Progress reports.
“You guys wanna pay $20 for a hamburger at McDonald’s?” Mullin said. “If you wanna increase it, that’s great,” he added, “but what you’re gonna do is punish everybody along the way.”
The math behind Mullin’s argument is a bit hazy and it’s not clear from his remarks how a 38 percent increase in wages would lead to a more than 400 percent increase in prices. We reached out to Mullin’s office Monday afternoon but didn’t receive a response. Other economists predict a much more modest increase in fast food prices as a result of a minimum wage increase.
We do know, as Think Progress points out, that the price of a Big Mac in Australia — where the minimum wage is $14.50 an hour — is just 6 cents higher than in the U.S. where the average Big Mac costs $4.56.
While acknowledging that fast-food companies are profitable on the backs of low-paid workers, the New Yorker’s James Surowiecki points out in a piece last week that a $10.10 minimum wage is something that “companies can easily tolerate.”
There are also a number of examples of successful fast-food restaurants that pay their employees above the minimum wage, including In-N-Out Burger, which starts its workers at $10 an hour, according to CBS DFW.
Follow-up to this story from last week: Congressman Claims Widespread Fraud Because He Saw ‘Physically Fit’ Couple Use Food Stamps
Congressman Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) who blasted a “physically fit” couple for using food stamps at a suburban Virginia grocery store, collected 370,000 dollars in federal stimulus money for his Oklahoma plumbing company. Mullin who brags about turning the plumbing company into a successful business never mentions the government help he received to make it thrive. Or if he did not need the money to prop up his plumbing firm, he never mentions that his business was “physically fit” and that he did not actually need stimulus money to keep it afloat.
Mullin has become a text book case in Republican hypocrisy. He attacks food stamp recipients for collecting a couple hundred dollars a month in assistance needed to eat, but says no word about collecting 370,000 dollars in federal assistance to install toilets and lay pipes. To be fair, the projects that the stimulus money funded, which included building affordable housing in Northeast Oklahoma, are probably worthy projects. The problem is that Mullin is so quick to judge others for using federal money and that he espouses vehement anti-government rhetoric while he pockets federal money.
The Web site for the City of Moore, Okla., recommends “that every residence have a storm safe room or an underground cellar.” It says below-ground shelters are the best protection against tornadoes.
But no local ordinance or building code requires such shelters, either in houses, schools or businesses, and only about 10 percent of homes in Moore have them.
Nor does the rest of Oklahoma, one of the states in the storm belt called Tornado Alley, require them — despite the annual onslaught of deadly and destructive twisters like the one on Monday, which killed at least 24 people, injured hundreds and eliminated entire neighborhoods.
It is a familiar story, as well, in places like Joplin, Mo., and across the Great Plains and in the Deep South, where tornadoes are a seasonal threat but government regulation rankles.
In 2011, a monster tornado razed large parts of Joplin, killing 160 people in a state that had no storm-shelter requirements. The city considered requiring shelters in rebuilt or new homes but decided that doing so would be “cost prohibitive” because the soil conditions make building basements expensive, said the assistant city manager, Sam Anselm. Even so, he estimated that half the homes that had been rebuilt included underground shelters. Schools were being rebuilt with safe rooms, he said.
In Moore, the Web site explains that the city has no community shelter because a 15-minute warning is not enough time to get to safety and because, “overall, people face less risk by taking shelter in a reasonably well-constructed residence.”
The Court may agree to hear one or more abortion cases in its next term. For the most part, these cases have their roots in the Republican landslides in the 2010 midterm elections. At the time, those electoral victories were largely portrayed as being based on economics; the Tea Party was often described as almost libertarian in orientation. But soon after new state legislators took office it became clear that social issues, and especially abortion, were among their highest priorities. In state after state, those Tea Party lawmakers passed new restrictions on abortion, and as the restrictions have taken effect challenges to them have started to work their way through the courts.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, nineteen states passed forty-three new restrictions on abortion in 2012—on top of ninety-two restrictions passed in 2011. The most recent changes came in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. A Guttmacher report states that the restrictions were in four general areas:
Mandating unnecessary medical procedures. The best known of these practices is requiring an ultrasound before any abortion, so that the woman is compelled to listen to a fetal heartbeat. Eight states now require these ultrasounds.
Increased regulation of abortion providers. These rules, notably strict in Michigan and Virginia, require abortion providers to have hospital-like facilities, while leaving other, similar outpatient institutions untouched.
Hospital privileges. Three states—Arizona, Mississippi, and Tennessee—recently added requirements that abortion providers have admitting privileges at local hospitals.
Limits on later abortions. Louisiana and Arizona have banned abortion after twenty weeks, and other states are weighing similar restrictions. In a law scheduled to go into effect this summer, North Dakota effectively banned abortions after six weeks.