Oklahoma: December 2010 Archives

Here are some links, briefly introduced, to blog entries of interest around Oklahoma. A few may be a month or two old, which is a reflection on how far behind I am.

First, some blogs that are not necessarily new, but they're new to me and are worth a visit:

Joy Franklin is a Stephens County-based photographer, and her blog Expedition Oklahoma is filled with beautiful photographs of our great state. A few recent entries: the Glancy Motel on Route 66 in Clinton, an old abandoned family farm, Monument Hill, on the Chisholm Trail near Addington.

If you're on Facebook, you should go and "like" Expedition Oklahoma. As of yesterday, I was the fifth "like-er" and Joy's work deserves far more recognition than that. You can also follow @ExpeditionOK on Twitter. Although I'm only a rank amateur photographer, I can identify with a couple of her tweets from earlier today:

I think I enjoy photography because it takes away the need to have a friend to go places with you. #sadbuttrue

I can be a loner without looking like a loser. #photography #cameraismyfriend

Random Dafydd grew up in Tulsa is based in Bartlesville. In addition to his main blog he has blogs devoted to Tulsa Architectural History, medieval art and medievalism, his work as a surgical technologist, and Celtic and British folk music. I liked his latest entry on "The Weekend Scrub":

The surgeon gave me the specimen, said it was ileum. A bit later the circulator asked me what we calling the specimen. I told her ileum, or Troy, her choice. She said "Oh".

Nobody gets my jokes.

An entry from May explains why our legislature should encourage the widespread deployment of defibrillators by providing unqualified immunity to owners of the devices, notwithstanding the self-serving objections of the trial lawyers:

If you have a heart attack in public, what is your chance of survival? It depends. If there is not a defibrillator near by, 6%. If there is one, 50%. Modern defribillators are marvels. It takes five minutes of training to learn how to use one. Actually, since they are designed to talk the uninitiated though the process it doesn't even take that....

Many states offer some form of immunity to owners of defibrillators. If a local convenience store owner buys one, and has to use it, and the patient dies, then the store owner can't be sued, even if the store owner used the device incorrectly. California offers qualified immunity. The store owner only has immunity if they jump through several hoops, including training employees in the use of the devices and monthly checks of the equipment for good working order, and developing a written plan for their use. Failure to jump through every hoop loses the store owner immunity and exposes them to liability. Of course, standing there and watching the customer die exposes the store owner to no liability at all. Given his legal environment, many business owners rationally choose to not buy defibrillators.

Now for some quick links:

Natasha Ball reviews a kid- and parent-friendly cafe recently opened in Owasso.

Tulsa Food Blog suggests you pick up a cup of coffee from a locally owned coffeehouse on your way to see the spectacular Christmas light display at the Rhema campus in Broken Arrow. In the comments, I pointed out that Stonewood Coffee and Tea Company is just a mile or so from Rhema, on the east side of 161st East Ave (Elm Pl), just north of the Broken Arrow Expressway.

Steven Roemerman says that the T in Bartlett stands for Totally Inept (twice), particularly when it comes to river development in Tulsa, referring to the December 3 open letter from Jerry Gordon, who developed the Jenks Riverwalk and apparently was working on a similar plan for city-owned land in Tulsa. You can see a sketch of Gordon's concept (named "Belt Street River District) at the bottom of his website's Projects page. (The sketch is via Nick Roberts, who was unimpressed.)

Man of the West has an extended quote from Bones of Contention about Rudolf Virchow, a renowned late 19th c. German anthropologist and the father of the science of pathology, and his diagnosis that the first Neanderthal skeleton was that of a victim of rickets.

Preserve Midtown believes that timely code enforcement with meaningful penalties would prevent wasteful demolition of neglected older homes. When an irresponsible owner allows a house to fall to pieces, the city winds up condemning and demolishing it at taxpayer expense and the basis for ad valorem tax drops to the value of the bare ground. If demolition is unavoidable, Preserve Midtown suggests giving an opportunity to salvage architectural elements and materials (e.g. hardwood flooring, bathroom fixtures) that would otherwise go to the landfill. I'm reminded of a suggestion Recycle Michael Patton made some years ago -- charge those seeking a demolition permit for the full cost of disposing of the debris.

Mike McCarville is keeping up with developments as Oklahoma's newly elected officials and new legislative leaders name their teams. A recent entry lists the members of the Senate Redistricting Committee named by Senate President Pro Tempore-designate Brian Bingman. Sen. Dan Newberry (R-Tulsa) will be the point man for northeast Oklahoma, freshman Sen. Kim David (R-Wagoner) will head up the congressional redistricting committee, and Sen. Judy Eason-McIntyre (D-Tulsa) will be one of the co-vice chairmen representing the Democrat minority.

Stan Geiger came across his mother's 1952 tax return and crunches some numbers that illustrate the huge rise in the Social Security tax rate. He says there his mom has more documents from that period that he may analyze; I hope he will. I can't think of anything better than original documents from the past to put the present in proper perspective.

Nick Roberts has posted his wishlist for central Oklahoma City development in the coming year. The blog entry packs some great urban analysis. It's sad to read how OKC is squandering the Core2Shore opportunity with superblocks (which never work) and poor placement of the convention center. He's also worried about development stalling in Bricktown and the city's failure to follow through on plans to promote downtown housing growth. (I don't appreciate his frequent call for OKCers with bad urban planning ideas to be sent to Tulsa. We don't need them here either!)

It's cold season, and Oklahoma's whipsaw weather has Sooner noggins clogged with snot and in search of a solution.

A few minutes ago at a nearby chain drug store, I heard one of the assistants say that, at the moment, no one in the state of Oklahoma can buy products containing pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed and dozens of cold and sinus medications. The reason, she said, was that the state's electronic pseudoephedrine tracking system was down. This is the system that tracks how much pseudoephedrine you've bought in the last 30 days.

When you go to the pharmacy counter to buy any product containing pseudoephedrine, they submit your name, address, and ID, and what you're buying and how much to a state computer, which reports whether you're eligible for the purchase or not. With the state tracking system offline, they can't sell any pseudoephedrine. (Or so the pharmacy said. The text of the regulation seems to provide an out if the state system is unable to respond in a timely fashion.)

This Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics slideshow on the history of pseudoephedrine tracking has screenshots of the state's PSE tracking system, and it illustrates the dramatic decline in meth lab busts following passage of the first limits on the sale of pseudoephedrine in 2004. The real-time electronic tracking system to replace paper logs was in operation in October 2006; its use became mandatory through an emergency regulatory order in December 2006.

While I appreciate the threat that meth itself and meth labs pose to public health and safety, I wonder about the wisdom of putting a cold sufferer's access to an effective decongestant at the mercy of a state-run computer system.

Phenylephrine, the substitute now used in over-the-counter cold medicines, just isn't as effective as pseudoephedrine; some studies say it works no better than a placebo. The Wikipedia article on phenylephrine has a summary of concerns about its effectiveness with links to reports on studies.

A 2006 review of research in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology concluded:

PE [Phenylephrine] is a poor substitute for PDE [pseudoephedrine] as an orally administered decongestant as it is extensively metabolized in the gut and its efficacy as a decongestant is unproven. Both PDE and PE have a good safety record, but the efficacy of PDE as a nasal decongestant is supported by clinical trials. Studies in the USA indicate that restricting the sale of PDE to the public as a medicine has had little impact on the morbidity and number of arrests associated with methamphetamine abuse. Restricting the sale of PDE in order to control the illicit production of methamphetamine will deprive the public of a safe and effective nasal decongestant and force the pharmaceutical industry to replace PDE with PE, which may be an ineffective decongestant.

That review may have been too early to take into account the results of Oklahoma's 2004 laws and was definitely too early to include the impact of the electronic tracking system on number of arrests and morbidity.

Oklahoma has recently added another restriction: forbidding previous meth offenders from buying any pseudoephedrine at all. The idea is to stop meth manufacturers from buying amounts of pseudoephedrine big enough to make meth but too small to hit the limit. That seems sensible; it avoids adding additional burdens to those who use the cold medicine for its intended purpose.

But if we're going to have an electronic tracking system, is it too much to ask that the state keeps it up and running?

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Oklahoma category from December 2010.

Oklahoma: June 2010 is the previous archive.

Oklahoma: November 2011 is the next archive.

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