Dear Oklahoma: We Feel for you, we love you, but do us some favors

The immense, mindless violence of a tornado hitting a small Oklahoma town, turning houses into splinters and crushing people under rubble, including children, has rightfully dominated the American airwaves for the past few days. Oklahoma is a great state, a state with profound history, a place of big plans where Native Americans play an outsized role in politics and the economy and hardworking descendants of cowboys and homesteaders build admirable lives in its cities and small towns.

Oklahoma voters need to get past the pathos, however, to reconsider the politicians they keep electing to office, who adopt policies that harm Oklahomans and directly contribute to such tragedies. Oklahoma has among the more corrupt and more despicable politics in the country, obsessed with hating gays and local Muslims (all three of them), with stingy and mean-spirited government, with controlling women, and with dirty oil and gas that is destroying our environment.

The sequestration, which your GOP politicians support, will cut funding for the National Weather Service, which performs little duties like… warning about tornadoes. Is that really what you want? If not, tell them so, and at the next polls, throw the bums out.

The hatred of government regulation (i.e. of good government) by Oklahoma’s political class impedes regulations like ensuring that there are shelters in all public schools. All they’d have to do is not give Big Oil $200 million in tax breaks a year, and they’d have the money to implement it.

Oklahoma’s senators, James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, voted against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York. You put them in office. They don’t care about people like you, living through the aftermath of a natural disaster. You should remember their position when they run for reelection.

Inhofe’s special pleading that Oklahoma’s disaster is ‘not like Sandy’ strikes the rest of the country as disgusting. This man is your public face, Oklahoma. Do you really want him there? You do understand that the rest of us have to support Federal relief aid for you in order for you to get it. We won’t hold you hostage to Inhofe’s small-mindedness, but we don’t appreciate your voting for him when you want our help.

And here’s the biggy. The tornado that so harmed you may not have been related to global warming. But it is indisputable that climate change will produce massive storms that will hit the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. By pumping out gas and oil you are dooming other small towns and big cities along the coasts to future destruction and loss of life, including childrens’ lives, of the sort you just suffered, except on a much bigger scale. You are not in any doubt that the climate can be dangerous. Please, please rethink your energy policies and turn in a big way to wind and solar (you have a lot of both) as quickly as possible. You’ve recently made a start with wind energy, but it is frankly a drop in the bucket compared with what you could do — indeed, you’re the state with perhaps the biggest wind power potential in the whole country. You need to build out your grid to supply the rest of us, and you need to put in turbines everywhere they make sense.

Your Senator Inhofe, in the back pocket of Big Oil, denies all this, and makes your state look buffoonish to the rest of the world.

Disasters require policy responses, to forestall them and to deal with the aftermath of the ones that can’t be prevented. Wise policy responses are crafted by caring, educated, wise politicians. You don’t seem to have many of those, and you need to pay more attention when you go to the ballot box. Otherwise, you are harming yourselves and the rest of us.

51 Responses

  1. I am a Canadian, living on the West coast, not four miles from the American border, yet I fail to understand, why in Oklahoma (tornado alley to be correct) that schools do not have even a basic storm cellar or refuge.

    I am not talking bomb shelters, rather a 40-foot can (container) or two dug into the ground, cemented in, to give emergency shelter during a storm.

    Most Canadian schools today have a 20-foot or 40-foot can, in situ on school property that has rudimentary emergency supplies; in the prairies they are dug in!. In Oklahoma, a 40-foot can could be dug into the ground, cemented on top for added protection, to give that 15 to 20 minute protection from a tornado.

    Please, no one say it costs too much, especially with the billions (trillions?) of dollars spent on Homeland defense in your country.

    Certainly the protection of school children in wild storm areas is the best investment Homeland defense could make.

    My heart go out to the families devastated by the death of their children, but I have nothing but vile contempt for the politicians who create fear about imaginary terrorists, and do nothing about the the real terrors of life from mother nature.

    • I’m about to hit you with a ‘it costs too much,’ comment, but you need to hear me out on the rest of it.

      1) Oklahoma is sitting on a shelf of red clay. Red clay expands when wet and causes problems with basements and so forth. So, if I recall correctly, you have to dig out well /outside/ of the planned foundation, and before you can set a foundation for the basement fill the area with something that is a little less unpredictable. For a home, this can cost upwards to half, two thirds, or even the cost of the home itself.

      For this reason, entire neighborhoods generally share storm shelters together.

      2) Oklahoma has a high water table. Very high. High enough that anything with a basement will have lots of issues with flooding. So there’s a chance that you can make a basement, take shelter in it, and find that you’re flooded as well as hiding from the storm raging above you.

      • I heard that they can make waterproof basements in Oklahoma that aren’t too costly.
        But a leak-proof basement could lower the value of an Oklahoma home. Why? Because Oklahomans think all basements will leak.

      • skip the basements and make safe rooms… in schools these rooms can be used as classrooms until they are needed. The cost is only minimally higher than just making a regular classroom. They are already being built and used this way in other OK towns. Small grants from FEMA are being used and common sense tells you the benefits outweighs the cost a thousand times over.

        • We incorporated storm shelter rooms in every building ee designed and built at NSU-BA in Broken Arrow, OK. You’re basically right. Cost hardly noticeable. But in a small school with maybe 8 classrooms it might be a higher percent. I guess ques tion is what are taxpayers willing to pay… ($2.00 each?) To save children’s lives.

      • Ever hear of SAFE ROOMS? No need for subterranean shelters at all.

      • I live in OK and we have lots of foundations and basements. I have 12 yrs in constr, 12 yrs working for large commercial contractor, and 14 working for an architect. Storm shelters have a lot to do with the weight of the thing as a whole so 200 mph winds or 150 mph… won’t lift them. Above grade or below grade. (Ground). Anyway, soils engineers advise on how to build on the specific soil tupes of a particular building site.

        You kinda remind me of the pe rdon yestrrday who said “domes” would withstand these winds. It’s just not dimple. BUT THANKS FOR THINKING ABOUT IT. KEEP BRAINSTORMING! !!!

    • You’re right. I live in OK because my kids are here. I’m a populist… what’s best for the ordinary people is more important than what’s best fof the rich and powerful. I’m registered independent but a bible believing christian an liberal. These R politicians are neither Christian nor patriotic. The bow to the rich, despise the poor and middle class and hate liberty and justice for all. They are exsmples of everything OPPOSITE to biblical Galations 5:22-23… peace, love, kindness, generosity, goodness etc., etc.

  2. “…caring, educated, wise politicians…”

    Like you’ve seen any of those from either side of the aisle for ever. Wow.

    • I would like to echo this comment. Your daily multiple well-researched articles never ceases to impress me.

      I am interested to know what you think about the Guardian Council’s decision to deny the candidacy of Rafsanjani and Mashiae for president in Iran. I was initially very disappointed, but in hindsight it appears to be another defensive action of a regime that fears for its survival.

  3. Thank you prof. Cole for this.

    I am sure that your thoughts are shared by many people. I know I do. Yesterday, while listening to the interview of some NPR interviews of some officials of OK city and almost all of them said that you cannot prepare for something like this… you know, just like what they said for Katrina. In fact, it was found out that the aftermath of Katrina could have been avoided if some money had been spent to reinforce the levees on Lake Pontchartrain and that studies had shown that. Conversely, losses like OK city could be greatly mitigated or avoided altogether if some money is spent intelligently.

    The reporters, clearly, were either clueless or oblivious to the fact that underground shelter can be built to protect people from hurricanes. Alas, no one asked the question as to why they had not been.

    • Funny, that’s just what everyone said here in Texas when that chemical plant blew up.

      No, no, disasters cannot be foreseeable if that would impose a moral burden on investors. Because investors are rich because they are doing God’s work of enslaving the rest of the world to America, and thus eventually to our God-attuned traditional values, so their morality cannot be questioned.

      When the rich push closer and closer to the economic edge to extract maximum short-term profits because they don’t really know how to create long-term value, they must force the same behavior onto all of us: they cut our wages to increase profits, so we must cut all corners and max out all forms of credit and hope our future will be luckier. Perversely, this makes us more willing dupes to their political agenda, because we resent the long-term costs of government, infrastructure, environmentalism, education, union dues, and just getting along with each other sans gunpoint. We have no surplus of good will left for those things, so we embrace a magical thinking that if we cut Gordias’ knot with a sword of reactionary simplification, somehow all those impediments to our “natural” superiority over those different than us will reassert itself and restore our affluence, under the leadership of those most superior of all, the business class.

      In other words, we will kick each other out of the lifeboat one by one, but not the guy wearing the yacht cap, who obviously knows what he’s doing.

  4. Thank you for this; as a non-native looking to retire out of this state I work with people who believe FOX news, the tea party and then do not pay attention when these yahoos vote in a manner detrimental to their own constituents. Our young educated leave the state and leave behind a mass of people who fail to put their brain into gear. Just two hours ago, a coworker was angry about the response from the Northeast. When I informed her of the voting record regarding Hurricane Sandy relief and FEMA funding, of Bridenstein, Mullins, Inhofe, and Coburn, she was astonished. Another co-worker then said ‘well two wrongs don’t make a right’ so they just plain do not get it. They honestly think that because they are ‘more Christian’ (whatever that entails) that they are special and should be treated as such. Our Gov. Failing is a completely different disaster which unfortunately does not fall under FEMA guidelines!

  5. I hope I’m not the only one who noted the irony in seeing huge SUVs hanging from pieces of rubble in OK. Chickens come home to roost.

  6. Why is “big oil” the first “villain” you jump to?

    Raise their taxes and we’ll pay more for oil; which means we’ll pay more for gas and everything that is transported by things that use gas (that’s nearly everything).

    • Why do you leap to the defense of “big oil?” Which of course is corporations, made up of selected human critters who will hew to the party line, corporate entities that have nothing at all whatsover in any way shape or form to do with goobering up politics and the planet, now do they?

      Maybe if the COSTS of all the externalities that these creatures excrete that have to be remedied by public tax expenditures were forced into the price of all those products and stuff you speak up for, leading to applications of ingenuity to the problem of keeping the freaking species alive by other technologies and strategies, maybe we collectively would not be looking up out of a cesspit at a sky turning yellow and brown and slowly sinking into the stinking ooze… But no, that would not be FAIR to somebody or other, would it?

    • @ Tim… mmmhhh how about don’t give them tax breaks (i.e., have them paying the taxes that each corp should pay -33%) and maybe instead of racking in profits in excess of 10% of revenues (for most oil companies) they have a more acceptable 5%. And please, do not say that this would reduce R&D expenditures and such because net profit is AFTER all of those expenditures.

      So, the tax breaks that we give oil corp come out of OUR pockets and go straight to the shareholders and management of such corporations, who “pump” back in the economy only a fraction of what they receive (how many villas or cars or yachts does one need?)

      Period. There is no economic justification as to why oil corps have to have profit margins so high.

      • It ain’t just the tax breaks, apparently. Does Tim have any concerns that maybe other things “influence” the price we pay for petroproducts? Like maybe there’s some fire, under the billowing clouds of CO2-laden smoke, about crude oil price manipulations that might be worse for us Muppets and Dumb Money types than the LIBOR gaming?

        link to bloomberg.com

      • I have said the same thing for years. There has to be some way to put a cap on their profits. The price of oil goes down, but the price of gas goes up… explain that one. GREED!!!

    • If they could get you to pay more for gas they would.

      Isn’t that Capitalism 101? The market determines the price of a commodity?

      Or did you feel that cheap gasoline is somehow our birthright in the United States?

      • Keith, that is such a comforting explanation for it all: “It’s The Market, Stupid!”

        Or maybe your comment was just really subtle snark?

    • These are tax breaks, no one raised there taxes Oklahoma republican government lowered there taxes by 200 million

  7. If Senators Inhofe and Coburn believed what they say so often in Congress, we might have seen them standing on the state line waiting to tell FEMA to turn around, as pulling yourself up by your bootstraps builds character.

  8. I wonder how many people from OK read Juan Cole? I have similar thoughts when I read The Progressive and listen to NPR and MSNBC. How do we redirect our “preaching to the choir” and start aiming this type of message at the the large demographic that is mindlessly following the RW-extremist? I am not sure what is the politically correct way to label this demographic but unless we can find a way for them to hear – understand – own – act on this type of message, we might as well all dig a cement barrack in the ground and crawl into it…the end of days is coming sooner than we expect. I can certainly say they are “reactionaries” unable to really think for themselves…and somehow the message from the other side is resonating with them. Our mission is to find a way to turn that around in our favor. How do we reach their ears with the right message that will resonate and then get them to act or at least start repeating it over and over like they do with the message from the other side. How do we make that paradigm, that works so well for the RWE, work for us (the good guys ;-)?

  9. There are two things I do understand regarding shelters in that particular area — one is that the ground is especially hard there, so digging out shelters here isn’t as common as in other tornado areas.

    The other issue is that apparently these shelters are also prone to flooding .

    I don’t know if someone else can confirm or deny these. I do know there’s at least one video of someone coming out of his shelter to find everything above literally scoured away, so there are *some* shelters there.

    • Concern #1 – ground too hard.

      That’s why we have mechanical diggers.

      Concern #2 – prone to flooding.

      That’s why we have sumps and sump pumps.

      The “Eye” has a below grade toilet, which has a sewerage ejector (glorified sump pump) and if the power fails, I have a battery back up. Total cost CAD $1000.00

      What is a child’s life worth? In Oklahoma, sadly not very much.

    • I lived in OK. We used to go to the fire station during severe weather where they had a large basement; it probably held a few hundred people. Then my parents had a storm shelter built below ground in the back yard. The neighbors would then come over. It could hold ten comfortably, twenty crowded. They are extremely doable, and if you google the issue, there are contractors who will install them for about $6-10K, depending on your needs.

  10. Oklahomans could also brush up on their history and note that the state would be a vast wasteland were it not for the intervention of FDR during the Dust Bowl and Federal imposition of better land management practices. Given that you owe your existence to the Federal government, why do you keep sending troglodytes to DC who oppose everything the government does?

  11. Speaking as an unabashed progressive and an Oklahoman a few things irk me about this post and these comments. The tone of Prof. Cole’s post is condescending, gets perilously close to blaming the victims, and make sweeping generalizations about the residents of Oklahoma. Yes, I am ashamed of the buffoonery of our politicians, but I have seen friends and co-workers lives destroyed in an instant. And right now it does not really matter who voted for whom in the last election. People need help with the recovery, not a political lecture. One commentator asked how progressives can stop preaching to the choir and start persuading conservatives to support more progressive policies. Tut-tutting people in their hour of greatest need is not an effective way of winning converts. I would suggest lending a helping hand and getting to know these people, so that you can break through the mutually reinforcing stereotypes about liberals and conservatives the I think is at the root of so much of the political gridlock in this country.

    As for the comments about storm shelters: many people do have storm shelters. I have driven through the tornado path twice in the last two days and the TV images do not even come close to capturing the damage. The fact that *only* 24 people died is truly amazing. Oklahomans are extremely weather aware. We know days in advance when tornadoes are possible, and our local alert systems and media are very good at getting the word out when tornadoes are on the ground. The problem is that these storms can develop very quickly. If you are lucky you have 15 minutes warning to seek shelter. Last year I had 90 seconds warning when a tornado dropped two blocks away from me, when I was at a restaurant. There was no storm shelter on the premise, everyone in the restaurant had to hide in the cooler and storage room. Had we taken a direct hit and had it been an EF5, I probably would not be here. Many houses do have shelters. For those that don’t the cost is the problem. It costs between $3000 and $5000 for a basic in the ground storm shelter, and larger and more secure ones can be over $10 000 – to say nothing of the cost for a storm shelter for a school. Who pays? Moore is not a wealthy suburb and many of the residents were renters, not owners. To put a shelter in every building in the OKC metro area would be in the tens millions(at least). Who has a shelter and who doesn’t have one has more to do with socio-economic class than intelligence (as some commentators imply). It is easy to demand storm shelters for schools now and question the wisdom of Oklahomans for leaving their children vulnerable, but many schools on the west coast are not up to code with respect to earthquakes and the students their are just as vulnerable if the big one hits.

    • Your elected representatives voted against lending a helping hand to New York and New Jersey, and you don’t want that brought up.

      Your elected representatives are imposing policies on our country that will produce more weather disasters and you don’t want that brought up.

      Since Inhofe and Coburn spoke openly in derision about wasteful aid for the East Coast during the Sandy disaster, they haven’t treated the rest of the country the way you want to be treated.

      Got it?

      • Sandy Relief Bill included a heck of a lot of Non-Sandy related spending…maybe that is why they opposed it..

        The pork-barrel feast includes more than $8 million to buy cars and equipment for the Homeland Security and Justice departments. It also includes a whopping $150 million for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to dole out to fisheries in Alaska and $2 million for the Smithsonian Institution to repair museum roofs in DC.

        An eye-popping $13 billion would go to “mitigation” projects to prepare for future storms.

        Other big-ticket items in the bill include $207 million for the VA Manhattan Medical Center; $41 million to fix up eight military bases along the storm’s path, including Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; $4 million for repairs at Kennedy Space Center in Florida; $3.3 million for the Plum Island Animal Disease Center and $1.1 million to repair national cemeteries.

        Budget watchdogs have dubbed the 94-page emergency-spending bill “Sandy Scam.”

      • YES! Totally get it! The only red on me is the embarrassment of these two senators! There are liberals (ooo a bad word in this state) who have not chosen to move away, tho many of my friends and family have. Please don’t condemn all of us. INhoff is supported by big oil money and even when we thought we had a good contender, he fluttered in at the last moment with the rural realm and big money to reclaim his senate seat. Mortified with their performance. Totally embarrassed! Get it? I vote in every election and support candidates as well, but there is only so much to do. Don’t judge the entire state. Some of us are still hangin in to hold the light!

    • To pursue Professor Cole’s point, did the majority of Oklahomans support Senators Imhofe and Coburn’s votes against Federal relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New York? If the majority supported the votes against relief for victims of Hurricane Sandy, they can hardly call for federal assistance now that they need it and consider themselves anything but hypocrites. On the other hand, if the majority did not support Imofe’s and Coburn’s votes, that puts an entirely different complexion on their call for assistance.

      • We are a Red State, I did not vote for them. I hated the fact that they could do something like refuse help to thousands of people who desperately needed help, with a Severe winter storm heading their way. Yes, they make me puke. In his speech saying Okla was different, Inhoffs speaks about roads in the Virgin Islands. Money being spent in Wash. What the hell is he talking about, Okay maybe he wants to start another scandel!!! Do you suppose? Coburn was one of the Republicans who on the night of the Pres. Inauguration, swore to ruin the Pres. along with his cronies. Our Govenor has Executive Powers given to her on the last election where she can damn well do as she pleases. She has shunned the Pres. on one of his visits. That embarrasses us. She has decided Okla. will not have Obamacare, St. John Hospital in Tulsa will lose $35 million dollars. But that’s the law. How can they do that. My friend had breast cancer, and Cancer Treatment Center of America would not look at her because they on take so many Medicare patients a Month? The Plumber has no right to tell people on the 6:00 news, 1 wk. before the vote on the Sequester that it would hurt Oklahomans. And then let it happen, In our area we say, Markwaynn Mullin, what were you thinking? The next day you see him in his plumbing commercial (Mullin Plumbing)in Tulsa. Please do not judge all of us. There are lots of Humans in Oklahoma. We are a great State. I have lived here almost 40 yrs. I am proud to be an Oklahoman, They won’t live forever! and Oklahoma will still be here. And our children will make fun of their stupidity. Where is our world headed, that scares me. Republicans have put so much fear in people, that my Texas sister will not talk to me. I did say she was bitching because I told her she didn’t know what she was talking about when she said My President was Muslin, I told her he was a Christian, her response was, “Have you seen him in church and I said yes, She went on and I told her she was Bitching! We haven’t talked for Months. That is what Republicans are doing to my Country. I just have to work harder in 2014.

    • Your state used to have plenty of progressives, back when progressivism was perceived mainly as helping the poor and helping the poor was perceived mainly as helping one’s fellow white farmers. Once liberalism was seen as helping gays or blacks or atheists, your fellow citizens quickly embraced an ideology that fundamentally demands the Samson option: better to destroy civilization than share it with the Other. This has consequences, like sabotaging all public institutions, destroying the environment, demanding explicit favored status for Christians over others, even the revival of nullification and secession talk. If I sound condescending when pointing out these consequences, I am sorry, but I would have told Southerners the same thing in 1860 for all the good it would have done. Pointing out people’s backwardness will always sound insulting to them, always, but backwardness has real consequences which impose unfair costs on other citizens.

  12. There are a few of us Oklahomans who regularly read Juan Cole’s pieces. And some of us even vote our personal interests which really are not represented by the likes of Coburn and Inhofe. The problem facing progressives in Oklahoma is that politics still revolves around “god, gays, and guns.” These are the emotional appeals that are to be found in almost every political campaign in the state. There are precious few discussions about economic inequality and investments for the future of all Oklahomans. The lack of sufficient school safety measures — at least reasonable measures beyond weapons arming our school teachers and other personnel? — only reflects the terrible level of educational funding in the state generally. Even those Oklahoma communities with “good schools” have a great deal of trouble raising educational financial support to levels thought adequate in others parts of this country. While there are a few more than three gays or islamists in Oklahoma, intolerance toward most minorities, including Native Americans, is rampant today. Probably the most hopeful description of Oklahoma is limited to Professor Cole’s opening remarks. Oklahoma is a great place to live and a state with a history worth learning about. Unfortunately, it’s also a state with a dark history that so few really know about or appreciate.

  13. There must have been countless people who viewed the devastation in Oklahoma and likened it to a war zone. How about being more specific and saying it was like Baghdad after the Anglo-American shock-and-awe crime went into remission? Or how about Libya after the United States led from behind?

    • Please don’t judge Oklahoman’s for their Politicans. There are so many good humans here. Our Red Cross headed out to Hurrican Sandy 2 days before it hit Public Service. of Okla, and Okla gas and Electric were on stand-by. We are wonderful people with Churches that collected Food and Clothing. We are awesome people. Children that collected Pennies. Groups who did bake sales. Every way Okla. could help, we did. Yes we have horrible, self serving people in Government. But we the people are good people. And our Governor had better be nice, to Our Pres. on Sunday, because there are Dem. and Rep.who didn’t vote for her and we will work hard in 2014 and 2016.

  14. The message being put out by this article and the comments to it are resonating just fine.

  15. The “cost engineer” side of me had to look at the cost .. avg cost of building or buying pre-made shelters is $125-200 per sq ft or per student (as being crammed in for 15-30 min does not require a lot of space per kid) and yes it might only save a life every 10 years or so and FEMA only picks up around 75% .. so you could say on the high side $200 per child .. but you also have to figure in the fact that the safe room has a 50-100 yr life .. so that would be $200 per student divided by the lifetime of the structure .. so for a high school where you would have a 4 yr student that would be $200/50(life time)X4 or $16 per student attending. Now that is using the high number for building (runs $125-200 per student) and the low number for life of structure (only used 50 yr) since using a low number of $150 for build and the high number for lifetime of school/structure make the figure so low I couldn’t even buy a cheap cup of coffee with the amount .. or $.37 per student per year. And that is not including the fact that FEMA will reimburse about 75% of the cost.

    Of course $4 a year per student is a lot of money .. more than any kid should be worth don’t ya think.

    • Considering Obama has denied FEMA funds in the past, what makes you think FEMA will give OK anything?

  16. It’s simply they are cheap asses in Oklahoma and other areas of the south. Further north in Tornado Alley we all put in basements in our homes and they typically cost $15,000 to $25,000….much more then the small $5,000 to $7,000 of a shelter for a basement-less house in Oklahoma. All that crap about soil, moisture, etc is bull pucky. It is very simply….a culture that settles for cheap, inexpensive housing at the expense of safety. It’s not just basements/shelters…the entire structural nature is inferior in the south.

    BTW, I own a highly regarded engineering and architecture consulting firm and speak with some knowledge.

  17. The main objection we’ve been constantly hearing about the building of strong and safe tornado shelters is the fact that Oklahoma’s ground is mainly rock, very hard rock, and it would be too expensive to build underground shelters.

    I could think of a better solution: build the bloody shelters above ground, preferably in a reasonably low dome shape for the least possible wind resistance, made of steel reinforced concrete, with strong steel doors whose access is protected by a short tubular shaped extension, like the entrance of the igloos, and literally bolted into the rock, that hard rock that no tornado will ever be able to pull out.

    The domes could be mass produced, equipped with batteries and lighting fixtures, and sold in different sizes or customized to receive various numbers of people in total safety, and comfort if need be, for the hour or two that the tornado will be raging over the area.

    Of course, short of moving to quieter part of the country, the above-ground concrete shelters won’t solve the tornados’ increase problem and the costly destruction they’ll keep causing.

  18. We must not ignore the possibility that high-level right-wing conspirators like Mr. Inhofe in fact intend to ruin all Federal institutions except the military-security complex. The whole Scott Walker mess was a result of Wisconsin Republicans doing their duty to destroy entire classes of people for the sin of giving money to Democrats, such as state employees. If you are literally a religious fanatic who sees a strong democratic government as an impediment to your theocratic dreams, then even a public school providing a shelter to children sounds like a Commie gateway drug to a cradle-to-grave state. Better to make public schools as miserable as possible, so that parents will turn in despair to the Christian madrassas you’re helping to fund. Oh wait, there’s the GOP voting in school choice programs so that everyone’s tax money is transferred to those madrassas instead! Just in time!

    Once you’ve locked all the kids safely in the Christian wayback machines, they can be indoctrinated to accept that their safety and health must not interfere with the destiny of our corporate patriarchs to conquer the world and exterminate all alternative ways of thought.

  19. You are aware, Mr Cole, that neither Inhofe nor Coburn were elected unanimously…?

  20. “I wonder if any of the 100 Senators do any good for the USA.”

    There are a few good senators – Elizabeth Warren, Jeff Merkeley and Bernie Sanders come readily to mind – but they are all limited in what they can do because of the corruption in campaign financing. Some are mixtures of good and evil, such as Barbara Boxer who can be excellent on civil rights but a disaster representing the Israeli lobby, which seems to be the case with the entire senate.

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