Here are the week’s most interesting Oklahoma-centric stories. Have you read anything good? Leave us a link in the comments.
- Apparently no one in Oklahoma has ever heard the “F” word—or at least heard it uttered from the lips of a state senator. The Tulsa World and The Oklahoman both published stories after Tuesday’s anti-personhood rally at the capitol about the sign Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, D-Tulsa, held that read “If I wanted the government in my womb, I’d fuck a senator.” McIntyre saw the sign, brought to the rally by students from the University of Oklahoma, and said, “I’ve got to have a picture of it,” The Oklahoman reported. The paper published the image, with more than one “viewer discretion advised” warning, but the World blacked out the “uck” in the photo it published, writing in the caption: “Because of a potentially offensive word on the sign, three of its letters were obscured by the Tulsa World.” The sign, and the rally, were part of a protest against the Personhood Act, which would declare life begins at conception and would impede, critics say, access to contraception, abortion, and in vitro fertilization.
- Here’s a video from The Oklahoman, which features Constance Johnson, D-Oklahoma City, speaking out against the Personhood Act:
- Jezebel liked the photo so much they put it on their website, unobscured, headlining their story, “Oklahoma Senator Pickets Personhood Bill With Hilarious, Obscene Sign” and writing: “I’m not sure if it’s the all-caps, the festive, hand-drawn lettering, or the giant grin on the Eason McIntyre’s face, but I do believe that this is the perfect sign for the would-be-hilarious-if-it-wasn’t-terrifying occasion.” Not everyone thought it was funny, though. Sen. Brian Crain, R-Tulsa, who introduced the bill, told The Oklahoman: “A sign like that diminishes the importance and the seriousness of the issue and it’s regrettable. You look at Senate Bill 1433 and it says life begins at conception and that the unborn have rights.” The Christian Newswire issued a press release quoting the president of Personhood Oklahoma, Dan Skerbitz, who said: “… (T)his display of vulgarity from a sitting senator is truly shocking. It is more evidence of the hardness of heart behind a movement that would deny the right of a helpless pre-born baby to be recognized and protected by the law as a human person.” But McIntyre echoed the sentiments of the hundreds of protestors rallying against the bill when she said: “I would hope they would have that same passion about how offensive it is for the Republican Party of Oklahoma to ramrod, because they have votes to do so, bills that are offensive to women and take away the rights of women.” One Jezebel commenter agreed so strongly with the senator’s sign that she created a T-shirt echoing its verbiage and is selling it online.
- Today, the Norman Transcript published an editorial encouraging men to get behind the issue—on the side of the women (and men) protesting on Tuesday. Nadine Jewell wrote: “What is the matter with Oklahoma men? Why aren’t you angry? Women are. … Men, when legislators intrude into a woman’s right to choose to use birth control or to carry a child, they are intruding on your rights, also. You need to step forward and demand that these zealots stay out of your family planning, your private affairs and your wife’s doctor’s office.”
- After legislation filed by Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, that would reinstate “don’t ask, don’t tell” for the Oklahoma National Guard was shelved, the lawmaker introduced new anti-gay legislation. His House Bill 2245 would have eliminated nondiscrimination policies for municipal employees whose classes aren’t protected by the state—namely, gays and lesbians. According to the Dallas Voice: “Such categories as marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity and political affiliation are not protected by the state but are covered in Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Del City, Miami, McAlester, Altus and Vinita. If passed, it would be legal to fire people for getting married, being straight or voting Republican. Of course, Reynolds’ intent is to discriminate against gays and lesbians … and if some Democrats lose their jobs in the process, that would just be a bonus for him.” The bill died in committee because of “House rules.”
- Some good news: Men’s Fitness magazine featured Oklahoma City’s “success story” in its pages after the city dropped 1 million pounds. The magazine had featured OKC on its list of “fattest cities,” which prompted Mayor Mick Cornett to whip the city into shape. In 2012, OKC will be featured on the “fittest cities” list. From Men’s Health:
The movement was a groundbreaking success. Over 40,000 people signed up, reaching the goal of one million pounds lost this past January. Even better, the people of Oklahoma City have decided to make fitness a priority. “We have over 400 miles of new sidewalks, over 100 miles of new jogging and biking trails, we’re building a downtown park. We’re also building all new gyms in all the inner city grade schools, and we took the fried foods out,” Cornett explains. “That had to go to the polls and get voted on. The campaign sort of set the stage and raised the awareness. Before, we’d just build arenas and bridges.”
- Tulsa was featured in the No. 2 spot of The Fiscal Times’ list of “The 10 Best Cities for Young People to Find Jobs,” which also included the likes of Boston; Washington D.C.; San Francisco; New Orleans; and Portland, Oregon. The Times had this to say about Tulsa:
It looks like this famed oil capital is continuing to see prosperity. Tulsa beat the national average by nearly 6 points, clocking in at just 4.5 percent unemployment for 25-34-year-olds — and just 6.2 percent in the greater area. Privately-funded local initiatives have helped put this city at the top. The city added over 10,000 jobs in 2011, landing itself on our recent list of 10 Best Cities to Find a Job, and more than 4,000 of those jobs pay an annual income of $50,000 or more, according to the Tulsa Metro Chamber. Add to that extremely low overhead. Due to low rent, energy costs, and taxes, the city is attractive to businesses in aerospace, energy and health care.
(Fred Krupp, the president of the Environmental Defense Fund) frowned. “Given the dysfunction in D.C., a state-by-state approach will be more effective,” he said. “We need to focus on getting the rules right, and complied with, in the 14 states which have 85 percent of the onshore gas reserves.”
Here’s hoping that the anti-frackers someday join him.
—Holly Wall, News Editor