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.
Sheesh, he’s actually criticizing the disaster relief funds his state has gotten and is saying the way things are set up disproportionately hurts the more populous states like NY and NJ. I guess since he’s not running for a 3rd Senate term he feels okay lobbying against aid for his own state. O_o
Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn (R) on Sunday said that the federal government had “created kind of a predicate, that you don’t have to be responsible for what goes on in your state” by providing aid after disasters like the tornado that hit the Oklahoma City area last week. […]
Coburn asserted that federal disaster aid should only kick in when local resources were overwhelmed, and he said that the “vast majority” of disasters did not meet that requirement. […]
Investigators with the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office have already uncovered evidence of businesses taking advantage of the recent tornado’s devastation by price-gouging in the weather-ravaged region, including a grocery store accused of charging consumers $40 for a case of water.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told ABC News that 30 investigators from his office started aggressively combing the region for fraud just hours after the tornado tore through it – and immediately found businesses violating the law.
“This is something we were putting in place and starting in motion as soon as we knew the threat existed,” Pruitt said. “We’re going to places where we think potential harm could occur.”
Using a law known as the Emergency Price Stabilization Act, consumer protection investigators are teaming with local law enforcement to catch fraud as it happens. The law was passed after a tornado leveled the same region in 1999 and prohibits price increases of more than 10 percent on goods and services such as water and hotel rooms for 30 days after a disaster. It extends to 180 days for construction-related complaints.
In addition to the $40 cases of bottled water, Pruitt said his team uncovered a hotel in the area that was allegedly overcharging in violation of the law.
“We’re looking at everything from work gloves to water to storage units, hotels and car rentals. And long term, we’ll be dealing with home construction and repair,” he said.
Despite repeated warnings to be on the lookout for scam artists after a disaster, Pruitt said many Oklahomans are still unaware that they can be ripped off.
“They would never anticipate or expect or guess that someone would take advantage of them right now, but this situation is what criminals prey upon,” he said.
New York - In the wake of yesterday’s devastating tornado in Oklahoma, a major kosher meat distributor is donating twelve pallets of meat products to disaster victims.
Agri Star Meat and Poultry has 20,000 pounds of meat and poultry ready to be shipped to Oklahoma City. Agri Star is working in conjunction with Masbia to raise the necessary funds to transport the meat to its intended destination, Chabad of Oklahoma City.
“We are sending a variety of foods as per the request of Rabbi Goldman, the local Chabad rabbi,” Jo-Ann Chadbourne of Agri Star told VIN News. “We are sending rapid prep foods including deli, chicken nuggets, beef patties, hot dogs and other items that can be distributed quickly to tornado victims. Providing some sort of relief is the least we can do and we are privileged to be able to help in any way we can.”
Masbia has undertaken the task of raising the $3,000 needed to transport the donated items from Agri Star’s Postville, Iowa plant to Oklahoma City and is urging the public to contribute funds to defray the cost of transportation. Donations can be made at wepay.com
“Food is most essential to victims of disaster,” explained Alexander Rapaport, Executive Director of Masbia. “We found during our on the ground Sandy relief work that the victims need food, the first responders need food and the volunteers need food. I cannot ever forget those smiles on their faces when we arrived with food.”
While the most urgently needed items at the moment in the tornado ravaged area are water, toiletries, baby items, cash and gift cards to stores such as Walmart, Target and Sam’s Club, the Agri Star donation will be a major boon to area residents, according to Rabbi Ovadia Goldman of Chabad of Oklahoma City, located approximately twenty miles from the devastation, who is working with local officials on the relief effort.
“Right now we are distributing ready to eat meals but down the road there will be a heavy need for protein and as soon as we can assess those needs, we will distribute the meat products,” said Rabbi Goldman. “As of now we are working with local food banks to make sure that we can house the meat properly when it comes in.”
Masbia is the soup kitchen that served meals to thousands of survivors of Hurricane Sandy.
Your Wonkette is a Very Influential Blog on the Internet, an enviable position that nonetheless carries with it certain afflictions. For example, we often attract the attention of the sorts of folks who probably don’t get invited to many parties, because they are no fun at all. So it came as no surprise that yesterday’s epic rant by your editrix re: the destructive Midwestern tornados drew a response from a website called junkscience.com (Also, these guys, who didn’t care that we were profane but called us “warmist vultures come to feed on the dead.” “Warmist,” haw haw, that’s a clever pejorative for dummies who believe in climate change! Your editrix has instructed us to ask how many of those smug Aussies have their whole family in Oklahoma, 10 miles from Moore, and also to tell them to commit a lewd sex act upon themselves.) (Also also, we got some head-shaking from fellow liberals who thought we were “flippant” instead of OUTRAGED!!!1! So that’s a true shame.)
The “junk science” that junkscience.com claims to “debunk” is what you think it is. No, it will not take long to read their entire post concerning your Wonkette, because it is about 20 words long. Here it is:
First Blood: Wonkette blog unleashes profanity-laden screed at Sen. Imhofe, skeptics over Oklahoma tornado.
Read the Wonkette screed.
That last part links to the “offending” article in the original, but you’ve probably already read it. Boy was it ever a stem-winder!
So, OK, let’s be COMPLETELY FAIR. There is no way to be certain that the Oklahoma tornado would not have killed a bunch of people had humans not been increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 for the last several hundred years.
That said, oh gosh, where to begin? Perhaps with junkscience.com’s central huckster, “Steve Milloy.” It will probably not surprise you to learn that Steve Milloy’s curriculum vitae indicates a man who likes money quite a bit! He has been a “securities lawyer” and an “investment fund manager” (no mention of dentistry, or any expertise in any field relevant to climate science, for that matter). As a man who seems to enjoy money, Steve Milloy has certainly chosen a lucrative hobby: he ministers to the many rubes in this great country who, for reasons of tribalism, contrarianism, personal gain, or/and religious fundamentalism refuse to believe that science is real. That’s the real beauty of the truly ignorant: once they’ve been taught a thing by a source they trust (God, Wal-Mart), they’ll spend their own hard-earned money on anything (such as Steve Milloy’s books) that confirms the thing, rather than consider, at no charge, the possibility that the thing they learned is wrong. We get it; learning’s hard — best to do as little of it as possible.
An elderly woman who thought she lost everything including her dog after a tornado wiped out much of an Oklahoma City suburb found a glimmer of hope on Monday during an interview with CBS News reporter Anna Werner.
“I never lost consciousness,” Barbara Garcia recalled, standing atop a pile of rubble that used to be her home. “And I hollered for my little dog and he didn’t answer. He didn’t come. So I know he’s in here somewhere.”
As the interview continued, someone off camera pointed out that the dog was trapped underneath a pile of nearby debris.
“Aw, oh, Cathy!” the woman exclaimed. “Bless your little bitty heart. Help me!”
With a little help from Werner, the dog was freed.
“I thought God just answered one prayer, to let me be okay,” Garcia explained. “He answered both of them. This was my second prayer.”
Oklahoma State Rep Dennis Johnson says “Jew down the price” during floor debate:
An unusual and widely felt 5.6-magnitude quake in Oklahoma in 2011 was probably caused when oil drilling waste was pushed deep underground, a team of university and federal scientists concluded.
That would make it the most powerful quake to be blamed on deep injections of wastewater, according to a study published Tuesday by the journal Geology. The waste was from traditional drilling, not from the hydraulic fracturing technique, or fracking.
Not everyone agrees, though, with the scientists’ conclusion: Oklahoma’s state seismologists say the quake was natural.
The Nov. 6 earthquake near Prague, Okla., injured two people, damaged 14 houses and was felt for hundreds of miles in 14 states, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was the largest quake in the central part of the country in decades and largest in Oklahoma records, experts said.
The study by geophysicists at the University of Oklahoma, Columbia University and the USGS says that a day earlier there was a slightly smaller quake in an old oil well used to get rid of wastewater, right along a fault line. That smaller quake triggered the bigger one, and a third smaller aftershock.
The location of the tremors right at the spot where wastewater was stored, combined with an increased well pressure, makes a strong case that the injections resulted in the larger quake , they said.
Federal prosecutors are attempting to block the pre-trial release of a Pennsylvania man with militia ties who faces a charge in Texas that he threatened to kill President Obama before or during the president’s inauguration.
William Mose Tucker, 20, was arrested in Oklahoma on Jan. 20, a day before inauguration. A Jan. 16 federal indictment says he “did knowingly and willfully make a threat to take the life of and to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States.”
Tucker acknowledged to Secret Service agents that he had attended meetings of a group in El Paso called the “20th Militia,” consisting of current and former members of the military. The El Paso Times reported this week that the group has been investigated in the past by federal authorities.
The Secret Service began investigating Tucker after agents were contacted by someone who heard him threaten to kill the president, according to court documents. Agents interviewed him late last year, and he provided a telephone number where he could be contacted. But he couldn’t be located between Jan. 14 and 20 when law enforcement agents went to “numerous locations” in El Paso and Fort Bliss in Texas and to the defendant’s family home in Pennsylvania, the documents say. Tucker moved from Pennsylvania to El Paso in 2011 with his sister and brother-in-law, who was in the Army, the El Paso Times reported.
Finally, using a ruse, agents located and arrested Tucker in Lawton, Okla., where he was selling magazines the day before Obama was inaugurated. Tucker has been in jail since his arrest. At a detention hearing last month in El Paso, U.S. Magistrate Robert Castañeda ordered Tucker detained without bond because he posed a “threat to the community.”