After Monday's devastation in Oklahoma City, residents are just starting to take stock of surroundings. Amidst all the wreckage and ruin, one woman stopped to share her story with a local television station with an end result no one could have possibly imagined. Watch as a very special reunion takes place to the absolute amazement of everyone involved.
As you can imagine, the logic behind these assumed advantages, along with the entire premise of posting extensive information about individual abortions online, is flawed for various reasons. Here are a few:
Luckily, those opposed to the questionnaire and database have filed a lawsuit that will hopefully prevent the dubious law from going into force. What do you make of all this?
If you're hitting the mall today to score some Black Friday deals, you might want to look out for suspicious men ready to assault you with their flashes. Camera phone-armed perverts have found it easy to snap pictures of women's private parts, and get away with it.
In Tulsa, OK recently, a man caught sticking his camera phone up a fellow shopper's skirt to take a picture of her underwear, walked away with no conviction, since the state's law held that the woman had no right to such privacy in public.
In response, Salon reports, Oklahoma lawmakers passed legislation making it explicitly illegal to take a photo of someone's private parts in public. Believe it or not, almost half of US states have similar loopholes in need of closing. Hopefully lawmakers react quickly, since these Peeping Toms can instantly post these cell phone pictures online.
Have you ever been assaulted with a camera phone . . . that you know of?
Starting November 1, doctors in Oklahoma will have to perform ultrasounds and describe what they see to women about to get abortions, within an hour before the procedures. Oklahoma's ultrasound law, which also exists in some form in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, does not make an exception for victims of rape or incest. One abortion clinic has now filed a lawsuit asking Oklahoma state court to throw the law out.
Multiple concerns add to the complexity of this law. First, many argue that making a woman meet her would-be baby before she terminates the pregnancy is cruel and a violation of her privacy. Also, the high expense of ultrasound machines means clinics unable to afford them will not be able to provide low-income women access to abortions. Finally, some see the law as the legislature replacing doctors because it prohibits a doctor from deciding what is best for the patient.
Do you think it's necessary to legislate extra considerations for a woman about to have an abortion, or should the performance of an ultrasound be left up to the doctor and the woman? Should the state try to get women to change their minds?
In charming civic-type news, The Flaming Lips' "Do You Realize??" has been nominated for official Oklahoma rock song, apparently the token indie rock entry in a list that includes the likes of Elvis Presley and, well, Oklahoma. As Pitchfork writes:
"Oklahoma already has an official state song ("Oklahoma," from the musical, natch), a state folk song, and a state country-and-western tune. What they don't have just yet is an official state rock'n'roll song. And that is where you come in."
The state legislature has ordered Oklahomans to vote here before Nov. 15 — though as far as I can tell, anyone can vote, 'cause the computer has no way of knowing whether or not you're an Oklahoman — for whichever rock song you like.
This is a pretty fun idea, so I think we should start thinking of the official rock songs for the rest of the 49 states! For example, it seems to me Washington should probably at least nominate "Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana as one of theirs (it seems the Evergreen State only has a state folk song). Maybe something from my 50 Songs for 50 States challenge could get you started.
What do you think? What other songs would you nominate for which states?
Yesterday morning's talk about Haiti's food riots turned my attention to tummies close to home. Specifically, food stamps. Perhaps once considered the currency of that spurious caricature the "welfare queen," government food assistance is a harbinger of tight times — and tightening belts. Take a look at these stats out this week:
To receive government food aid, applicants have to pass a very strict asset test and a very strict income test. Some say the threshold to qualify is too high. Once a person qualifies, benefits average about $100 a month per person in the family. In New Hampshire, a state that's seen a 7 percent increase in food stamp beneficiaries, the maximum daily allotment for someone in a three-person, incomeless household is $4.53 a day. It would take some pretty creative cooking to eat on less than $5 a day.
Are those benefits too small? Should we still be relying on the almost 50-year-old program, or should we be taking care of local food needs with private or faith-based programs?
Did you know that Oklahoma has an official state meal? Yup, an official state meal and it consists of cornbread, sausage and gravy, chicken fried steak and pecan pie.
With an official meal like that it's no surprise that Oklahoma City ranked 15th in a 2007 survey of America's fattest cities. Wanting to lose the title as one of the fattest cities in American, mayor Mick Cornett has decided to put the city on a diet and challenged residents to lose one million pounds. Residents can visit This City is Going On a Diet to sign up and track their weight loss. If you live in Oklahoma City, it's also a great resource so be sure to check it out.
Seems like a great way to get people to band together for their health, though I'll be curious to see how successful it is in the end. This is not the first time we've seen a mayor get involved in his city's health, but would you go on a diet proposed by your city's mayor?