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Mr. Lankford Goes To His Solution

Image of James Lankford

(Invite people over for a meal and enjoy the company. Just know it’s going to take more protests, getting out the progressive vote, government policy changes and even wide sweeping legislation to address the festering sore of racism in this country.—Kurt Hochenauer)

It appears U.S. Sen. James Lankford thinks he has this racism thing figured out and knows how to end it.

NewsOK.com published a story Sunday that highlights Lankford’s proposal to establish something he calls “Solution Sundays,” which essentially means inviting a member of a different ethnicity to your home for a meal on a voluntary basis.

Here’s how Lankford, a conservative Republican, put it in his own words in a recent speech:

If you're going to be part of the solution in America, maybe on a Sunday for lunch or for dinner to invite another family over of another race just to sit and have conversation. Everybody put their feet under the same table and to develop a friendship and a relationship. Every person can do that. Every person can be a part of the solution. Every person in our country can start to move that conversation a little farther. It's part of who we are. We don't solve things based on a vote in America. We solve things around our dinner table.

First, let me say this as an aside to my main point about the above paragraph: We absolutely DO “solve things based on a vote in America.” It’s called democracy, but that’s a minor quibble about Lankford’s simplistic rhetoric. Yet it’s probably important to note that Lankford IS up for reelection this year so I guess you shouldn’t feel compelled to vote for him since it won’t solve anything, anyway.

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Editorial Omits Higher Education Funding Cut Remarks

The Oklahoman published an editorial Thursday about the state’s credit rating, but it omitted a major element of the current issue when it comes to the state’s finances.

To its credit, The Oklahoman did urge state leaders to “heed” the advice of credit rating agencies, which help determine the interest rates on bonds, but it failed to note that at least one of those agencies, Moody’s, gave a the state a “negative outlook” mark because the legislature and governor recently slashed funding to higher education by nearly 16 percent.

The Oklahoman noted the credit agencies were concerned about the state’s unstable revenue stream and its use of one-time money to balance the budget, and it even mentioned the recent tax cuts that have contributed to the financial shortfall, but not a word on the financial demise of the state colleges and universities. NewsOK.com has published at least one story on the issue, but, again, the recent editorial omits this main part of the story.

It’s telling that it takes people outside the state to remind state leaders that it’s important to have a viable public university system. Sure, colleges and universities are raising tuition this fall, but those increases don’t cover all the costs of the cuts. This means teaching positions could remain unfilled and class sizes could grow. It could mean students can’t get the courses they need to graduate. There’s also a chance that some students here could get priced out of a college education altogether. This is in a state that already has a low college graduation rate compared to other states.

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Infrared Videos Show Emissions From State Oil And Gas Sites

An environmental group has released a series of new infrared videos that show air pollution emissions from some fossil fuel extraction operations in the state.

It’s more evidence of the overall dirty nature of drilling and onsite storage of oil and gas, especially since the arrival of the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boom here, but the larger concern has to be the health of those people who live near drilling and storage sites.

Earthworks, the environmental group, partnered with Bold Oklahoma and Stop Fracking Payne County in the videos release and accompanying statement. The videos, however, speak for themselves. I urge you to watch them. People who live near these oil and gas operations are undoubtedly breathing these chemical emissions directly into their bodies. It can’t be healthy.

In the statement, Kel Pickens, who co-founded Stop Fracking Payne County, noted:

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