UPDATE: This story was updated at 4:20 p.m. Friday, June 8.
Every week we scour the Web for the best Okie-related stories. Here’s the list of what we’ve read this week. Did we miss something? Leave a link in the comments.
- Okie rocker Wayne Coyne, of The Flaming Lips, has spent the week publicly feuding with singer and collaborator Erykah Badu over a music video they made together but that Coyne allegedly released without Badu’s permission. According to Pitchfork, where the video was first posted (and has been since removed), “Last week, we posted a very NSFW video for the Flaming Lips and Erykah Badu’s Heady Fwends cut ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.’ The next day, the video was removed from Vimeo. Wayne Coyne tweeted ‘Sorry!!Sorry!!! Sorry!!!! Video First Time Ever I Saw Your Face is temporarily taken down…should be back up Monday!!’” The video featured Badu’s sister, Nayrok, swimming naked in a tub of gold glitter and simulated (we hope) blood and semen. Badu posted a statement, then Coyne posted a statement (both of which are barely comprehensible), and then there was an all-out war on Twitter, with Badu tweeting things like “When shooting a vid there is always proper protocol. Was not followed by Wayne. He wanted pub bad. Mislead me. Very abusive with his power” and “I would hope If I were violating and exploiting another human being that my fans/ fam would never support me in that,” and Coyne tweeting things like “she didn’t know we, six white dudes with lights and cameras, were there. While she played in a tub of semen we secretly filmed it..” and “here’s @fatbellybella and me.. You can’t see but I’m actually holding a gun to her head making her look at the camera http://t.co/GLV7E98Y.” It’s all been very dramatic. You can still see the video on Perez Hilton’s blog (and below).
- Felicity Barringer, energy and environment blogger for The New York Times, seemed surprised earlier this week when she wrote about the Oklahoma legislature’s efforts to conserve water. “You see, California is the state crusading against human-caused global warming while Oklahoma’s senior senator, James Inhofe, has just written a new book excoriating that kind of focus,” Barringer wrote. “Other Oklahoman political leaders have not strayed far from these sentiments.” She continued:
Now the question is whether the urgency born of last summer’s drought will be transferred to the local water agencies whose job it will be to introduce a new regimen asking their customers to buy less water — and whether the new groundwater-monitoring program will actually lead to mandatory restrictions on withdrawals.
If the latter happens in Oklahoma, it would put that state, despite its antienvironmental credentials, well ahead of California, despite its green credentials. That would be a call for another double take.
- The New York Times also wrote about a Brookings Institute analysis, which said some American cities are suffering from a lack of college graduates. Cities like Dayton, Ohio, where only 24 percent of adult residents have four-year college degrees, “are discovering that one of the most critical ingredients for a successful transformation — college graduates — is in perilously short supply,” NYT reported. Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa also have fewer than average (32 percent) college graduates. OKC ranked No. 64 on a list of 100 metros with the most college grads, with 27.6 percent of residents degree holders in 2010. That’s up 14.8 percent from 1970, when only 12.8 percent of folks had a degree. Tulsa is a little worse off: Coming in at No. 83, only 24.8 percent of residents here had a degree in 2010, but that’s up 14.2 percent from 1970, when only 10.6 percent of people had one.
- The Washington Post cited a new paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research when reporting that cities with better-educated citizens have less corrupt governments because people are more likely to speak up. “Corruption, the study finds, tends to fall in places with higher levels of education, regardless of whether the country has a free media or actively combats corruption,” the Post reported. “And researchers have pinpointed one reason why: Educated people are more likely to complain about official misconduct and report crimes, even in autocratic regimes.”
- According to an online analysis by Governing magazine, Oklahoma is one of four states where public sector jobs increased, even while the number of private jobs declined. “Since the start of the recession, combined state and local employment rose more than 10,000 in Tennessee, Utah, Colorado and Oklahoma,” the magazine reported. Randy Albelda, an economics professor at University of Massachusetts-Boston, attributed the discrepancy mostly to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which provided funds that “likely helped states stave off staff reductions.”
- Mother Jones published an interactive map that illustrates the spread of “stand your ground” laws throughout the country—from Florida in 2005 to 25 states in 2012. Oklahoma adopted its law in 2006.
- An Oklahoma rape victim’s inability to get medical care at an Integris hospital has caused national outrage. Reality Check, a website dedicated to news related to reproductive health and “justice,” wrote about a young woman who’d been sexually assaulted and arrived at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital with her mother, only to be turned away by the doctors there who told her they didn’t have any sexual assault nurse examiners to examine her. They also refused to provide her with emergency contraception. Robin Marty wrote:
Oklahoma is one of a handful of states that allow doctors to refuse to provide emergency contraception due to conscience clause laws, and that very well may have been the contributing factor in this case.
However, as Jessica Pieklo writes over at Care2, this isn’t just an issue of a doctor refusing treatment. It’s also a sign of how budget cuts and austerity programs are decimating both medical programs and public safety programs that especially help women.
- Former Tulsa art teacher J.D. McPherson has found national success as a musician, and he’s making his home state proud. This week, he performed his single “North Side Gal,” from the album Signs and Signifiers, on Conan O’Brien. Watch the video here:
- The Oklahoma City Thunder, too, have given Okies something to cheer about—in fact, right before J.D. McPherson rocked out on Conan, the Thunder secured their spot in the NBA Finals. A San Antonio Spurs fan traveled to OKC to watch the fourth game of the Western Conference finals (and, ultimately, the Spurs’ defeat) and wrote his observations of the city in a post for the sports blog Grantland. His assessment was a little snarky, sure, but it was fair, and he didn’t hesitate to point out the positives. “Oklahoma City has all the right building blocks to become one of those ‘Best Places to Live in America’ cities,” he wrote. “People also seem to legitimately like living in Oklahoma City. There isn’t a feeling of ‘I want to get out of here.’ Maybe it’s an awesome place to live, or maybe they just don’t want to miss out on the construction of a dynasty, which is the best reason to live anywhere.”
- The Ketch Design Center has received some big ups this week for mounting a huge, James Harden-esque beard and mohawk on its façade. Dan Devine wrote on the Yahoo! Sports blog Ball Don’t Lie: “Now that’s a handsome structure. One can only hope that all of the home furnishings on sale within come so hirsutely appointed.”
- Chesapeake Energy Corp. had a rough day today, answering to shareholders about alleged mismanagement of funds and bracing itself for a board overhaul (NPR’s StateImpact Oklahoma live-blogged the meeting). And yesterday, a new report by Reuters shed even more attention on the extravagant spending by CEO Aubrey McClendon and how it’s seemingly supported by the company. The one thing Chesapeake has going for it? It’s not quite as comparable to Enron as some have asserted, according to an article in Forbes. John Olson, the industry analyst who uncovered the Enron scandal, told the magazine “the Enron comparison doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.”
Enron was a sham company with few hard assets and pretend profits generated by tortured financial chicanery conducted via hundreds of off-balance sheet entities. Chesapeake, on the other hand, deals in real assets. Leases on property, oil and gas that it drills out of the ground with its own rigs and pipelines.
But there are some echoes between the companies. And especially in the financial finagling that Chesapeake has become known for (and that we’ve written about at length in past articles), it appears that Chesapeake has learned a few lessons from Enron. (Reuters recently explored the Enron/Chesapeake comparison here.)
- UPDATE: A new story at NewsOK.com details how Chesapeake’s shareholders “rebuked” McClendon and the board of directors, two of whom—Burns Hargis and Richard K. Davidson—resigned. They voted to reincorporate the company in Delaware, where board members will be subject to yearly re-elections, and Gerald Armstrong, who proposed the reincorporation, told McClendon: “Accountability is what this effort is all about. It’s time for a change. Five directors are likely to be replaced and it’s likely you will not be with us next year. But I don’t give up.”
- Last week, we interviewed Denver Nicks, author of the new book Private: Bradley Manning, Wikileaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History, who said an important factor in Manning’s court-martial would be whether or not the U.S. government would be required to share with the defense the exact extent of the damage done by Manning’s alleged leaks. As Mashable reported yesterday, the judge has ordered that sharing of information. “The documents, which will remain out of the public’s hands, were given to Manning’s defense earlier this week,” the site reported. “Additionally, Manning’s defense team has been given access to a censored government study into the WikiLeaks organization.” Manning’s court-martial is set to begin Sept. 21. From Mashable:
The U.S. Army didn’t define “the enemy” as the terrorist group al-Qaeda until mid-March of this year. The newly released information may help Manning’s defense argue that he did not, in fact, aid al-Qaeda. And If Manning is found guilty of any of the charges which have been filed against him, the documents may serve to lighten his sentence.
—Holly Wall, News Editor