Oklahoma Still Endures Major Earthquake Crisis

Oklahoma’s manmade earthquake crisis is still a major emergency despite how the numbers are getting parsed these days.

NewsOK.com noted a recent decline in earthquakes in major coverage. Using Oklahoma Geological Survey data, it pointed out in a recent story, “Oklahoma averaged almost more than five magnitude-2.7 or greater quakes per day in 2015, but the rate fell to 3.6 per day last year and 1.4 per day so far this year.”

Don’t break out the champagne just yet, however, or, more realistically, start believing the state is on a sustainable path to stop all the earthquakes here caused by an element of the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process. For example, here’s how the Los Angeles Times presented the numbers in a recent article:

According to scientists, there were only about two earthquakes a year of magnitude 2.7 or greater in Oklahoma from 1980 to 2000. But that number jumped to 2,500 in 2014 and soared to 4,000 a year later.

The article concedes the earthquake numbers have dropped recently, but the reason for the drop is still debatable. According to the article:

There has recently been a decrease in wastewater being injected deep underground, either because of regulatory actions or because oil and gas extraction has declined due to falling petroleum prices. That might be a reason for the decrease in the number of Oklahoma earthquakes last year, to 2,500,

So the state has gone from virtually no earthquakes to 4,000 in one year and is now back at around 2,500. That’s still 2,500 earthquakes, and, as anyone living in central and north-central Oklahoma will tell you, the temblors keep coming, and we’re still unsure the new rules surrounding wastewater disposal is the reason for the drop or not.

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Russian Connections: The Folded Lies of the Trump Regime

The chaos generated on an almost daily basis by the presidential administration of Donald Trump is a deliberate strategy to diffuse a full and direct organized response to the growing authoritarianism of the regime.

Trump attacks the fake news he helped to create with his outlandish birther claims, shifts focus for a moment to reductionist approaches on health care and budget matters, lies repeatedly about large issues (his historical Russian ties) and the mundane (his electoral college numbers), tweets once again his criticism of The New York Times, ignores obvious opportunities to fully condemn hateful acts of antisemitism and racism and reminds us, of course, for good measure about the flub at the Academy Awards ceremony. I could go on.

Trump is Big Brother. He’s everywhere. He demands and craves attention like no president I have witnessed in modern history, even the fellow actor Ronald Reagan. While it’s exhausting and the temptation is to check out into passivity, especially when the opposition party has been complicit in embracing the neoliberal agenda that helped create a political climate in which a liar like Trump could even get elected president in the first place and in which neofascism could get a firm foothold, this is definitely still a time—however brief it might be—for resistance and protest.

Meanwhile, Trump’s administration leaks its slime like a large sieve, with the compelling and not so compelling, which adds even more evidence to the growing nightmare of dealing with what some of the most intelligent people the world once warned us might well be the death of democracy in this country.

Then, in yet another twist to the chaotic narrative, and, yes, there is even more, we learn of Trump’s family business ties in foreign countries, with all the ensuing conflicts of interest and the constitutional violations because the president, as all evidence suggests, undoubtedly wants to make money out of all the madness he has created.

Still another twist came just last night when Trump’s supposed unity speech to Congress initially made a passing mention of Black History Month while also condemning recent hate acts against the country’s Jewish community and the recent murder of an India citizen in Kansas. So far so good, right? But this, of course, was soon supplanted by Trump’s typical xenophobic and nationalistic references to “the wall” and deporting immigrants, an appeal to the alt-right and those white supremacists among its ranks. His overall generalized proposals last night that feigned populism in terms of health care and jobs and infrastructure are simply not supported by his cabinet appointments or his initial executive orders that privilege Wall Street bankers over ordinary Americans or his specific tax ideas. The best one say about the speech is that it consisted mostly of hollow political rhetoric unsupported by his previous actions rather than the usual fare of easily discernible and outrageous lies. Unfortunately, some in the mainstream media seem to have bought into idea of a “new Trump,” at least for now.

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Bill Adds More Conflict To Divorce Process

Each year now for at least a decade, there has been a smorgasbord of really bad and extremist right-wing bills introduced into the Republican-dominated Oklahoma legislature, from anti-abortion measures to actions that allow discrimination against the LGBTQ community to religious intrusion initiatives that threaten the teaching of real science in our schools.

Some actually make it through the process and are later overturned by lawsuits. Others don’t make it through the process because somewhere along the line a bit of common sense kicks in among the legislative leadership. It’s a circus, and all of this has been happening in the last eight or nine years as the state faces very real fiscal problems. Nothing like a bit of cray cray to take everyone’s minds off major cuts to education funding, right?

House Bill 1277, sponsored by Rep. Travis Dunlap, a Republican from Bartlesville, is one such bill that needs to get stopped by common sense. The bill, which would restrict no-fault divorce in Oklahoma, would make children more vulnerable to the emotional upheaval of divorce and manufactured even more conflict when it’s terribly unnecessary.

Dunlap was quoted in a local story about the bill this way: “I call it human flourishing or family flourishing or those sorts of thing.” Okay, “those sorts of things” really doesn’t sort it all out for anyone. Strong families are diverse and have their own unique qualities. Single-parent families, blended families, singles with a strong friendship network, all can and do flourish.

The bill would restrict the use of incompatibility for divorce for couples married 10 years or more or have minor children or when at least one of them objects to the divorce. The couple then would then have to undergo counseling. I especially think the reference in the current version of the bill stating this could come about “where one party objects in writing” is problematic. What if someone does this simply out of spite or anger? The bill has passed out of a House committee, which is not a good sign that cooler heads might prevail. Maybe the Senate will stop the bill from advancing.

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