Oklahoma: January 2008 Archives

If you were wondering whatever happened to Don McCorkell, the former Democratic state representative from north Tulsa and 2006 candidate for mayor, he's been busy making a movie.

Shall We Gather at the River? is a documentary about factory farming and its impact on the environment, with particular concern for the effect of concentrated chicken farming on Oklahoma's waterways.

Here's the description from the film's website:


Scientists and health officials have raised grave concerns about so-called "factory farms". They have been called "mini Chernobyls" causing vast environmental damage and risk to human health. The film starts in the U.S. with a brief look at our history and how we got from a country of family farms to one dominated by multinational corporations with gigantic factory farms--literally cities of animals. The film examines the impact of urbanizing animal populations without a way to handle the vast amounts of sewage generated. A report card comparing lax environmental and health standards in the U.S. to the strict ones in Europe is presented. The impact of permitting arsenic in feed in the U.S. is dramatically exposed in a segment on Prairie Grove, Arkansas, which may earn the reputation as the "Love Canal" of factory farming because of the deaths of young children in the area from cancer. The overuse of antibiotics in the U.S. (prohibited in Europe) is examined critically with an explanation of how that use is dramatically reducing the effectiveness of antibiotics for human use. The vast difference between the U.S. and other developed nations in the regulation of food borne illness is exposed (for instance salmonella has been virtually eliminated in Scandinavia and is present in a high percentage of poultry sold in the U.S. In Japan 100 percent of beef is inspected for Mad Cow disease. In the U.S. less than 1 per cent is inspected. The vast amount of waste generated by these facilities is destroying rivers, lakes, and even parts of oceans. The film exposes the political influence, intimidation, threats, corruption, false advertising, and delaying tactics that have made the U.S. the dumping ground of this industry. The film presents solutions that could be effective.

You can see a trailer for the film on the Shall We Gather at the River? website.

Monday morning on 1170 KFAQ, Gwen Freeman and I talked about top stories at the state and local level. These were my top 10 local stories, in no particular order:

  1. Defeat of the proposed Tulsa County sales tax for Arkansas River projects
  2. ORU: Professors' wrongful termination lawsuit and resignation of Richard Roberts
  3. December ice storm
  4. Tulsa Police Department: tenure of interim chief David Bostrom and rehiring of former chief Ron Palmer
  5. Illegal immigration: Tulsa County Sheriff's Office qualifies under 287(g) to hold illegal immigrants for deportation; Tulsa City Council passes new policy for checking immigration status of people taken into custody for felonies and serious misdemeanors
  6. City Hall move to One Technology Center
  7. Centennial celebrations, including the Belvedere unearthing in June
  8. City of Tulsa annexation of the Tulsa County Fairgrounds (will go into effect at the end of 2008
  9. Arena: first city budget accounting for arena expenses, at the expense of police academy and golf courses; decision not to demolish convention center arena
  10. Bell's removal and demolition

We didn't cover these, except to go through the AP's list, but on the state level, these were the stories I thought most notable, beyond those above:

  1. Oklahoma's centennial
  2. Passage of HB 1804 on immigration enforcement
  3. Sidetracking of HB 1648 (competitive bidding for PPPs, killed by big construction lobby)
  4. Former State Sen. Mike Mass pleads guilty, turns state's evidence
  5. Indictment of TABOR petition leaders (the "Oklahoma Three")
  6. Power-sharing in the Oklahoma State Senate

My list tends to be political, and I have probably overlooked sports, business, and human interest stories. What would you add to these lists of top local stories?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma category from January 2008.

Oklahoma: November 2007 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma: February 2008 is the next archive.

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