Weekly News Round-Up: Burgers and Lies

As is often the case, this week was a mixed bag for Oklahoma. On one hand, Attorney General Scott Pruitt appealed the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision that the new law basically banning medication abortions was outright unconstitutional, but he was dismissed by the US Supreme Court. Heck yeah! Once again, the Oklahoma Supreme Court made the right call, and was reaffirmed at the federal level. Unfortunately, discussion is under way to, ahem, reform the way our judges are selected. So much for checks and balances, I guess.

Bad news if you’re broke: a recent investigation by the Tulsa World showed that Oklahomans are being jailed at an increasing rate for not paying fines. Despite the struggling economy, fines have continued to go up, as have district and municipal court fees. And so, already overflowing jails are being stuffed with people who simply didn’t have the means to pay off stuff like traffic tickets. Arrangements can be made to work out fines early on, but for those struggling with other obligations, it’s not an easy obstacle, and many just wait too long, hoping they’ll eventually have the money to pay everything off. It’s not debtor’s prison per se, but $160 traffic ticket is a much bigger burden on someone who earns minimum wage, and low-income people are disproportionately being taken into custody. How about we focus on reforming this system instead of the way our judges are selected, eh?

bitchpleaseAnd now to a very personal and disappointing bit of news from The Lost Ogle – it seems my once beloved Meers (of ridiculously big burger fame) has decided to display some unforgivable political hogwash on all of their tables. Here’s the thing- I used to looooooove Meers despite having never ordered one of the BIG burgers, and I was well aware that the owners’ political ideologies were a bit different from my own. A glance around at some of the stickers and license plates displayed would tell anyone that they’re a bit, oh, conservative. But this is just nonsense.

According to the new table decor, Bimbo’s, the former supplier of giant ass buns for Meers’ huge freaking burgers, had to reduce its labor force because of Obamacare, you know, despite being the largest bakery in the US (according to Meers), and therefore decided to stop churning out the huge buns. No citations or verifiable numbers (or proper grammar, for that matter), just lots of rambling about unions and Obama. They have opted to source their buns locally (ahem, jobs for Oklahomans and lower carbon footprint!) and admit the new buns taste better, but the process has  meant  new expenses. Scandal!

this bun ain't got time for your shit meers

this bun ain’t got time for your shit meers

Sorry Meers, but I’ll take my foodie love elsewhere, to people who believe in providing healthcare to factory and food service workers. I’ve been on the factory and food service side, and damnit, there’s no reason to not take care of your employees. Also, please hire someone to proofread next time.

And last but certainly not least, it was announced this week that the Capobiancos (the adoptive parents of Baby Veronica) are seeking over a million dollars from biological father Dusten Brown and the Cherokee Nation to pay their legal expenses, despite the fact that their lawyers worked pro bono. It will be rather interesting to see how the case proceeds from here. (I’d also like to know what the donations for the Save Veronica campaign went to, but maybe that’s just me. Are we blaming that on Obamacare too?

Bye for now, y’all. I’m hungry!

Erin is always on the lookout for new foods to try, preferably with a side of health insurance.

A Few of Our Favorite Things (about Oklahoma)

“You’re from Oklahoma? I’m so sorry.”

“Why would you want to live in Oklahoma anyway?”

“You should just leave.”

Any Oklahoman who has spent time outside the state has heard these comments and more. To these folks we say not everyone has the resources or opportunity to leave. Ignoring us is impossible because what happens here has national impact, and everyone deserves access to rights no matter where they live. Beyond what we’ve been saying, there are plenty of reasons to stay in Oklahoma. For the blog’s second anniversary, Ricky shared what they love about Oklahoma, and the rest of us are doing the same.

Ready, set, discover Oklahoma!

Did you think we'd use a different Rogers & Hammerstein musical to set up this post? Nope.

Did you think we’d use a different Rogers & Hammerstein musical to set up this post? Nope.

Mallory: Oklahoma Skies

Oklahoma likes to build out not up. While that leads to problems associated with urban sprawl, there are breathtaking views of the sky even in cities like Tulsa and Oklahoma City. In more rural areas, there are views like this:

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, photo by Bill Bryant

Oauchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, photo by Bill Bryant

Tallgrass Praire Preserve, photo by Lisha Newman

Tallgrass Praire Preserve, photo by Lisha Newman

The sounds and the wind and vastness of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve near Pawhuska make you feel like you’re about to be swallowed up. For me, the experience is similar to the feeling I get at the ocean.

And I couldn’t write about Oklahoma skies without mentioning thunderstorms and the calm, sticky atmosphere that precedes them.

Marvin Bredel

thunderstorm in Kingfisher County, photo by Marvin Bredel

Sometimes these storms turn deadly as the storms on May 20th and May 31st reminded us. Yet Oklahomans are resilient, neighbors help each other, and we rebuild.

Valeria: Our Music Scene
Guiz, we have a killer music scene in Stillwater, Norman, OKC, Tulsa, etc. I have been to some of the best shows in my life in little ‘ol Norman and have discovered some of my favorite bands (DEERPEOPLE) at small, local venues. Stillwater has been the home to many tiny bands that go on to make it to music festivals outside of Oklahoma. Speaking of festivals, how lucky are we to have the FREE, three day Norman Music Festival? Super lucky. Two years ago, I got to see Portugal. The Man for freaking free. Yeah, Oklahoma is pretty kickass when it comes to music, and may it never change.

ok

Cain’s Ballroom, a mainstay of the Tulsa music scene since the 1920s

 Pearl: BATS

Millions of Mexican Free-Tailed Bats emerging from the Selman Bat Cave in 2009. BATS, Y’ALL

Rios: Oklahoma backroads

I love them because you get to see the beautiful and overwhelmingly open skies and sometimes you can drive by goat farms and see the tiny baby goats hopping around.

From my Instagram.

From my Instagram.

Elly: Y’ALL (ok4rj, our readers and the plural you)

il_570xN.208664663

Katie: The wind

It blows practically all the time, and I love it.  It makes me feel so alive to have the wind blowing through my hair….or it knocks me down.

Jack: Our 11 distinct ecoregions

Oklahoma is only one of four states that has more than 10! This includes: Western High Plains, Southwestern Tablelands, Central Great Plains, Tallgrass Prairie, Cross Timbers, Caves and Prairie, Ozark Highlands, Ozark Forest, Hardwood Forest, Ouachita Mountains, and Cypress Swamps and Forest!

photo by Tad Grewleski

Ozark Mountains in Eastern Oklahoma, photo by Tad Gralewski

In conclusion, is this a great state or what? Now, dear readers, we want to know YOUR favorite things about Oklahoma. Let us know in the comments!

Weekly News Roundup: OctOVER, NOvember edition

Well, Oklahomans and assorted Others, Ok4RJ’s birthday month is over (WAH). However, that also means that the month of preparing for proud racists is over, and people can stop blaming their bad behavior on the calendar! Don’t forget to take Native Appropriation’s guide to dealing with white people in redface seriously, though–especially white folks with new and (surprise!) racist friends!

not necessarily a best practice but it happens

This week at OK4RJ, Pearl laid down some quick reminders about (or introductions to!) the definitions of different reproductive-centered movements. Erin put together a helpful lil guide to horror movies and misogyny.

In case you missed this awesome news for Native folks in Oklahoma, a same sex couple recently got married via the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribe’s court system. This is an awesome FU to our legislators and a great example of the importance of tribal sovereignty today.

In non-exciting news about the colonial government, that horrible national food stamp cut is taking place TODAY! Starting the month STRONG, nation. According to this article, these cuts are coming speficically when Oklahomans need and use the system the most, ever.

f’real though, feds, y’all are the Pipers of this situation

A law banning forms of medical abortions could be reviewed by the US Supreme Court. The Oklahoma Supreme Court, who also shut down personhood legislation here<3 <3, struck the proposed law down last year. Ye literally olde legislators cannot let it go, per usual. They're REALLY MAD about our systems of checks and balances this week, too. Foundations of our gov’t system suuuuck.

i mean, yeah, but not the way you’re thinking they do, OK lege

Outside of our universe, an MSNBC piece was written that kinda recapped this piece by Pearl, but for coasties.

Our hearts and kraken screams go out to our incredible friends in Texas, as the bad HB2 news is seemingly endless. This is a good time to remind you to donate $$ to abortion funds in the red states that are testing grounds for these kind of bills. Today.

in this situation the kaiju are the legislators and the abortion fund workers are the jaeger pilots, duh

Our last points of order to wrap up the gloomy section are a study that shows HPV vaccines are less likely to cover strains of the virus common among black folks. Doctors note that it’s still crucial to get vaccinated, but that researchers need to hurry the f up. Lastly, Mikki Kendall wrote an always-relevant piece about abuse in activism communities.

abusers are not this obvious but this is the scariest gif I saw this week so

To end this lil get together with happy news, please join us in being PSYCHED OUT OF OUR COLLECTIVE MIND for blog editor and hair styling genius Mallory, who is now a certified lawyer in the state of Texas! WE WORSHIP @ YR FEET, MALLS.

That’s all for this Friday folks. Here’s the new single from babely lady-band Warpaint. It goes well with full-on weekend hermit mode and consumption of post-halloween sale candy.

Elly ate herself sick on candy corn again. She isn’t fond of Octobers.

Sexism is Spooky

[Editor’s Note: Because these are all horror movies, issuing trigger warnings for each one in this post would be nearly impossible. However, we can provide a link to the new website movietriggers.com, an easily-searchable database being built to provide complete warnings for films.]

Happy Halloween, y’all! I hope this year’s All Hallow’s Eve finds you with some spare time to dress up, eat candy, and watch scary movies without having to encounter too much bullshit. (Seriously white people, quit it with the Indian Princess get ups and the black face. Stop it. Forever.)

I know we’ve touched on costumes in the past here at OK4RJ, so this year I decided to sift through horror movies and their deeper implications. While I’d like to focus on all the ways horror portrays and dissects race, gender, and orientation, I’m afraid I don’t have enough viewings under my belt just yet, and you probably didn’t expect to read a book on this! So, for this Halloween, I wanted to focus on horror films and their depictions, or lack thereof, of misogyny.

In recent years, there are have been a ton of films to come out that depict women as strong, resilient, and resourceful, certainly the equals if not superior, in strength and intellect of male counterparts. I wanted to recommend some great films that show women fighting the good fight, as well as warn you, dear readers, away from some utter garbage.

Teethis a cult classic about a high school student with some, yep, vagina dentata. “Teeth” is a good example of how misogyny can blatantly be portrayed in such a way that the viewer comes away feeling that female lead will survive and conquer some hardcore stuff, rather than being left to suffer.

 

Death Proof,” of the Grindhouse Tarantino/Ramirez collaboration, is another film where misogyny is loudly depicted and critiqued. Stuntman Mike, played perfectly by Kurt Russell, is one of the most terrifying movie villains in my opinion, with a very distinct hatred and obsession with women. Interestingly, a lot of viewers were unhappy with the film, complaining that there was too much dialogue. This critique is especially interesting, as the dialogue helps to reinforce that all of Stuntman Mike’s targets are human beings, with thoughts, plans, and inside jokes. Rather than focusing on gore, gore, gore, Tarantino made the character development front and center, so that for viewers like myself, no death was unimportant.

Ginger Snaps has a place in my heart for being the best horror movie about puberty and the silly romanticizing society does about ‘womanhood’. “Jennifer’s Body,” another tongue in cheek film about high school girls, uses possession as a metaphor for the struggles of growing up and apart from friends, body image, and  relationships. Not as scary as Ginger Snaps, but still a bloody, funny good time.

Films such as “Alien (Sigourney Weaver 4eva!) and “Absentia” are powerful not because they depict and focus on sexism, but because they depict strong characters battling otherworldly menaces without the old tropes of women being weaker than men, dying due to sexual impurity, falling for the bad guy, etc.  Other genres could definitely take cues.

The Shining,” “Antichrist, and Rosemary’s Baby ultimately leave the viewer, or me anyway, with the message that marriage can be hell.. It’s interesting that many view “The Shining”‘s lead female as somehow being weak; to me, this reaction reflects the ongoing problem of victim-blaming in this country, albeit with a twist. ‘Gee lady, why didn’t you run out into the blizzard sooner and leave your husband-monster?? You’re such a bad mother.’ The fact that people loved and imitated Jack Nicholson’s character while reviling his innocent wife is rather telling about our society. Ahem. The scariest part of “Rosemary’s Baby” is the asshole husband. Screw that guy. “Antichrist,” on the other hand, makes all women basically weak and evil deep down. Not Lars Von Trier’s best film, for sure.

But definitely the best movie poster by David D’Andrea.

American Mary is an interesting attempt at the tragic hero story but alas, the depictions of sexual assault are beyond graphic and difficult to watch (though by no means romanticized, thank goodness.) The film, written and directed by the Soska Sisters, aims to to show the struggles of an American med student sinking under the weight of debt, abuse, and difficult decisions. Alas, the lead character succumbs to rage and violence, and it’s hard to continue cheering her on when she kills innocents. “American Mary” had a lot of potential, but alas, leaves the viewer disappointed and frustrated. I commended the intentions, though.

On the other hand, we have two utterly terrible films based on Jack Ketchum novels. The first, “The Girl Next Door,” depicts a fictionalized version of the Sylvia Likens murder. The film invests little time developing the victim as a character, instead choosing to depict her demise in horrific detail. There is absolutely nothing to be gleaned from the film; this is exploitation, pure and simple.

Likewise, “The Lost does little to explore the characters; all of the women are abused and ultimately destroyed by the sociopath main character. The deaths are brutal and gory, but there’s nothing to take away. Like “The Girl Next Door,” “The Lost” seems to give the message that life is dangerous and brutal for girls and women, and there’s just no hope. Only dudes survive.

Dead Girl had the potential to teach us a lesson about the way males dehumanize women for sexual sport, but ultimately, we are once again left with the message that it just always sucks to be a woman. Even a dead woman.

Now, I must admit, I have a soft spot for witch films, but there are some rather unfortunate implications in many. The original Wicker Man is an amusing exception that focused more on tensions between pagans and Christians, but for some reason, the recent version with Nicholas Cage decided to depict the pagans as just a bunch of bitter, man-hating ladies. What the hell? Then again, I didn’t expect much from a horror film with Nicholas Cage.

Except “Vampire’s Kiss,” best horror movie of time.

“The Conjuring,” while damned scary and entertaining in a dark room, is problematic for two major reasons. First, it claims to be based on historical events, and yet it reiterates the legend of a woman who supposedly sacrificed a child to the Devil because, you know, witchcraft and stuff. The real woman in question was never tried and punished, but here’s the thing, thousands of people, mainly women, WERE, and none of them actually practiced the devil worshipping, fabricated witchcraft they were accused of. Furthermore, the evil spirit of the dead woman is pitted against the mother of the family residing in the house, who tells us that child bearing is, like, the greatest power women have. Um, vomit.

The Paranormal Activity movies are shockingly creepy in their simplicity (if, like me, you dig found footage style films). However, they ultimately have been building around a story line of witches obsessed with offering up a male heir. Whatever.

As for films that have little, or nothing to do, with sexism (if you’ve just had your fill in real life) I can recommend “Nosferatu” (both versions), “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” “Dead Snow,” “Troll Hunter,” “Cabin in the Woods,” and the low budget but awesome “Resolution.”

 

Erin still has so, so many films on her To Watch list.

Reproductive Justice 101: Things That Aren’t Reproductive Justice

With all the uplifting news out of Texas this month has come a fresh wave of apprehension and frustration. Terms and phrases are getting thrown around in the media and by activists themselves. I find myself asking how any word has meaning anymore, the way people adopt and wear and discard them like bowling shoes. And trust me, “reproductive justice” is tough to deodorize once a bunch of clueless establishment feminism babies sweat all over it on MSNBC.

Media screw-ups and coasties aside, I find that lots of folks who operate tangentially to reproductive justice activism use the term loosely as a stand-in to describe a huge variety of theories, organizations, and campaigns. We would like to take a minute today to go back to basics and clear up two things at the very least: Y’all, we appreciate Planned Parenthood for exactly who they are, but Planned Parenthood is not a reproductive justice organization. And Wendy Davis is not a reproductive justice activist, and the protests against SB5 and related bills in Texas this summer were not reproductive justice activism.

Here are some quick definitions:

Reproductive Health – Focuses on service provision, scientifically accurate information and education. Advocacy includes promoting widespread access to complete care and reducing stigma. Examples: Planned Parenthood, The CHOICE Project.

Reproductive Rights – Deals largely with legislation. Contemporary activist campaigns focus on defeating bills restricting access to abortion care and contraception using a framework widely known as “choice” or “pro-choice.” Examples: National Organization for Women, Wendy Davis.

Reproductive Justice – Raises concerns of marginalized communities. Economic, social, and cultural issues are often prioritized over medical science and politics. Originally designed to center the human rights of women of color worldwide. Examples: Strong Families, SisterSong.

We’ll leave these here with a quick tip: “Reproductive justice” is more than the sum of its parts! Even if an organization or campaign is associated with both reproduction AND justice, that entity is not necessarily embodying the tenets of reproductive justice. Asking “does this center the needs and elevate the voices of women of color?” is a pretty solid way of figuring it out. Lastly – keep in mind that reproductive justice activists often find themselves in an adversarial position in relation to health and rights-based groups, acting as a check on problems like exclusivity and access.

Pearl can’t wait for her favorite holiday, Cheap Halloween Candy Friday

Weekly News Roundup: Fightin’ Words Edition

Hello out there! I’ve been phone-less for the past month, so I’ve been on a bit of a vacation from my usual submersion in current events. Even so, I’ve managed to hear and see some interesting bits.

First off, as you probably already know, Wendy Davis‘s gubernatorial campaign is under way, and darnit, I’m so excited, I almost wish I still lived in Texas. Almost. (Sorry, my heart belongs to Oklahoma.) If you have family and friends in Texas, too, remind ’em to go all out for this campaign. This may be a hard battle, but it’s worth a fight.

As with all red states, it’s easy for people to get discouraged and assume that they are outnumbered and voiceless in politics. That isn’t the case, and the illusion of powerlessness and apathy is an important tool for loud, wealthy Right Wing extremists. Don’t be fooled – it IS possible to elect badasses like Ms. Davis to govern red states. Now, if we could just get someone like that to run against Gov. Mary “#FAIL” Fallin here…

your humble editor would like to nominate BMO who faces death and the void as a matter of common practice

Speaking of Texas, the sweeping abortion restrictions so many of us fought against are set to take effect next Tuesday. Currently, a federal judge is reviewing a key piece of the legislation that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges to hospitals within 30 miles and follow guidelines for drug-induced abortions as laid out by the Food and Drug Administration. If the law goes into effect, the majority of abortion facilities in Texas will be forced to close. Here’s hoping the judge makes the right decision.

In national news, amidst all the celebration and fighting surrounding the Affordable Care Act, the battle continues over whether corporations can cite religious reasons for refusing to provide birth control for employees. The always-brilliant Imani Gandy published a piece Tuesday about the implications. While several companies have been temporarily relieved of the burden of violating their ‘religious beliefs’, employees are subjected to the ideologies of corporations. As Gandy points out, ‘Religious liberty is a right that [people] should be able to claim against their employers too.’

what, y'all didn't know about scorpiondagger dot tumblr dot com

fight em off! you got this one, Jesus !!

Speaking of religious extremism, the lovely Dianna E. Anderson also wrote a piece on Purity Culture as Rape Culture. The bottom line? Both ultimately tell us that females do not have a right to their own bodies. Anderson points out how this attitude in turn props up the notion that women shouldn’t have the right or access to birth control or abortion:

“This is what many of our elected Republican officials believe. This is why we get statements about “honest rape,” or arguments that women who use birth control are sluts. This is the motivation behind several Protestant Christian colleges and Catholic hospitals suing the government in order not to provide birth control to their employees. This is why, when a rape exception to abortion bans is proposed, Christian politicians are quick to imply that women may “cry rape” to get abortion access.”

Last not but not least, if you haven’t heard of it already, a cis white dude launched a new website this summer, aimed at the ladies. Thus far, Bustle has been received with mixed reactions, but they really pulled a nasty move this week by giving the mic to an infamous TERF. I won’t even link it here. Here’s the thing Bustle – you’re not impressing anyone by profiling  someone who openly ridicules people’s bodies on her various trans* mocking websites. A TERF who published the name of a trans* minor in connection to a story that was patently false and fabricated doesn’t belong on a feminist website. This was no more worthwhile than yet another follow up on Hugo Schwyzer’s Twitter shenanigans. Get a clue, Bustle.

if you ever wonder “should I send yet ANOTHER tweet to this crummy person who is currently being bombarded with tweets about how crummy they are?” just remember this gif

Erin is currently obsessed with the music of Circuit des Yeux.

We Care A Lot! Why We Need Critiques of Self-Care

I’m literally wading through a forest of zines here in ATX y’all, and I recently came across a good, challenging one that couldn’t be more relevant to reproductive justice and the folks who read this blog.

1aYou might glance over CrimethInc.’s For All We Care: Reconsidering Self-Care (FAWC) and wonder, “what sort of asshole criticizes self-care?” The criticism isn’t with bubble baths or creative journaling, per se, but rather with how prescriptive self-care rhetoric has become in the circles we navigate as unpaid, overworked, and emotionally overstretched advocates.

The zine asks a few significant questions like why are we always trying to calm each other and ourselves down, when the adrenaline from panic and stress can be channeled into anger and power? Has self-care rhetoric been used to obscure accountability or shelter dishonesty or abuse?

“Treating ourselves gently might be an essential part of this, but we must not assume a dichotomy between healing and engaging with the challenges around and inside us. If care is only what happens when we step away from those struggles, we will be forever torn between an unsatisfactory withdrawal from conflict and its flipside, a workaholism that is never enough. Ideally, care would encompass and transcend both struggle and recovery, tearing down the boundaries that partition them.”

The second section, Love Is A Battlefield, asks us to consider who is responsible for providing our care when we go searching for it – what kinds of people are most often expected to care for our children when we want a night out, or give us a fresh haircut or manicure, or provide us with sexual release? FAWC identifies women and people of color as those who often work so that others may rest. Self-care rhetoric paints with a broad brush that realistically many are not offered the chance to use – FAWC suggests that we consider our location within these matrices and remain vigilant about how women and people of color are treated and how often they’re given opportunities for self-care, which is super important for white activists in reproductive justice spaces to remember.

In the final section, Beyond Self-Preservation, FAWC reminds us that we tend to view health in terms of productivity and as a necessarily good or “perfect” state of being, rather than a relative experience that might indicate other things like compliance or deferral.  For many, illness, disability, pain and trauma are not isolated moments but qualities of daily living. What does self-care mean in these contexts, and how does that disrupt productivity narratives in “compassionate work”?

I found this to be particularly relevant to my experiences with activist work and what I’ve heard from other folks. I think one could say similar things about working in education, especially in places where social justice initiatives and the academy meet, and find the critique still relevant. In any place where “personnel management” or “employee enrichment” or “member wellbeing” could be used as synonyms for self-care in the workplace (profit or no), it should raise our suspicions. Tactics which aim to integrate social relations and care with working so that the boundaries are impossible to define take Audre Lorde’s powerful words and turn them into grist for the mill.

Like FAWC, I’m not interested in telling anyone that their methods for dealing with trauma, exhaustion, or frustration are wrong. What I am interested in is challenging others and myself what it means when self-care becomes parroted mantra in our social circles, collectives, and conference spaces. I don’t want self-care rhetoric to become self-serving, and critiques like For All We Care are vital to disrupt the promotion of one kind of narrative of care, or health, or struggle.

Jack, the blog artist formerly known as Jen, thinks it’s always zines o’clock

Weekly News Roundup: Contextless Sports Edition

For whatever reason, I think the uniting power of the Thunder in Oklahoma is wonderful and cute, whereas football is gross and smelly and annoying. Prly ’cause Thunder fans aren’t the ones making my street smell like puke. I actually don’t know much of anything about basketball, but this is kind of the week for not knowing what you’re doing and deciding to do it anyway, I am told. At least my decisions don’t effect whether or not people get the medical treatment or food they need to survive. Or the panda cam. So, in continued celebration of all things Oklahoma, today we shall be thundering up and so forth. Do they say “go” at basketball games? GO! BASKET!

This week at OK4RJ, we have been highlighting old blogs to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of the re-launch here in our little corner of the internet. We have scientifically determined these blogs to be perfect, so you should read them again. Pearl divined legislative trends from spreadsheets. We were also blessed to experience Ricky’s ode to this place of magical rocks, sandwiches and roller coasters.

behind the scenes footage of Ricky’s blogging process

In Oklahoma, Hobby Lobby (based out of OKC) is being super toddlery about emergency contraception, and the US Supreme Court might be ok with that. Hobby Lobby is also being super adulty anti-Semitic and will be forever, in all likelihood, so just a reminder to not shop their sad and small crappy halloween crafts ANYWAY.

a pretty succinct summary of emotions

An Oklahoman with Crohn’s disease wrote an open letter about healthcare and their chronic illness, and the Oklahoma Policy Institute ran a piece describing a real person surviving on food stamps, not a bored politician. Lastly, we have this baby van now, I guess. It does not seem to deliver babies, but rather food for babies, which is more than A Celebrity does for orphans, I guess.

maybe this too? this theme is almost working too well

In Wisconsin, which is not Oklahoma (weird), the first federal suit dealing with a personhood-like law has been filed. The suit deals with the arrest of a pregnant woman due to her own confidential health information and drug history that she provided health care workers with. Oklahoma, Minnesota and South Dakota have similar laws that address pregnancy and drug use in perhaps the least effective way.

The US federal government is shut down everywhere, which is doing annoying stuff like shutting down GIS websites and clogging up our newsfeeds, and reprehensibly unacceptable things, especially to people of color in general and folks on reservations specifically. Problems with food stamps, disability, IHS ad employment are just the tip of the necessary things Republicans are psyched out of their minds to be punishing people with this week.

“weirdly” hard to find a gif of the Thunder doing anything wrong so just pretend the ball didn’t go the place it’s supposed to for this one

In regards to Great Things the Internet Has Given Us this week, there’s a new post at Hyperbole and a Half (!!!) a helpful post about your needs as a person pregnant with a sea monster, and a helpful post over at Shakesville about disablist language.

this isn’t a thunder gif but would be a cool sea demon to cook up in your body I think

That’s all we got for you folks. Let us end this week pushing you out into the weekend to wear hats and smile, and also with this song written precisely for OK4RJ’s 2nd anniversary I think.

go into the world and do the baskets

Elly aint gotta throw her hands in the air cause over here we aint ever acting like we don’t care. WE CARE A LOT.

Ode-klahoma.

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to blog about for October, this being the second year anniversary of the OK4RJ blog reboot and all, but I’m not gonna lie: it has been tough. This blog means so much to me, and OK4RJers are basically the best damn people that I know, and how do you do that justice? I looked up what the “traditional” anniversary gift for the second anniversary is, and apparently it’s cotton. Not much help on the inspiration front, Internet. Also, whose tradition is that? It’s really straight and really weird.

Regardless, thinking about OK4RJ got me all weepy and homesick and made me think more about Oklahoma and the things that I really love that make our little pan shaped state so damn great.

Things Ricky loves about Oklahoma (in no particular order):

1. We are the only state to have a musical written and named after us.

Y’all, we seriously take this singing and dancing for granted, having had to perform some part of this musical every year for our entire elementary and middle school careers. But tell me, can you imagine what “Idaho!” the musical would be like? Or what about “New Hampshire!”?

No. You can’t.

You can’t because it’s an awful idea, because no other state can claim that their wind sweeps down their plains, or that they just cain’t say no.

OKLAHOMA! Now, and forever more.

2. Steak Sandwich Supreme

Food is one of the things that I think about most when I think about home. Did you know that we’re the only state in the nation that actually has a STATE MEAL (fuck yeah fried okra!)? No wonder so much of my Oklahoma heartspace is occupied by thoughts of fried pies and fried catfish and fried whatever else we can batter.

If I had to choose one thing from Oklahoma to eat again and again and again, though, it wouldn’t be anything from Braum’s or Van’s Pig Stand or Classic 50s or even that fucking amazing frito chili pie that The Diner has been serving for as long as I can remember.

No, no, no.

I would choose the sandwich that has the hangover factor, the sandwich where the meat actually hangs off of the bun, the sandwich that won the sandwich Olympics.

I would choose Del Rancho’s Steak Sandwich Supreme.

Um, YES.

That amazing piece of perfectly crispy and greasy steak on a tiny white bun slathered in mayo is, quite possibly, the most perfect food that I can imagine. I’m not lying when I say I think about it at least once a week.

Seriously.

3. The Silver Bullet at Frontier City

I really love this roller coaster because it was the first one that I ever rode where I went upside down. Granted, I had to take my glasses off because I was so afraid of them flying off of my face that I couldn’t actually SEE anything, but that feeling was indescribable.

I also love that it went through a phase where it was painted turquoise and coral, prompting Judie and I to refer to it as “The O’Keeffe Bullet.”

Actually, I still call it that.

4. Rose Rocks

My parents were just visiting me in Albuquerque a couple of weekends ago, and when my dad walked into my house, he put a really big, really heavy looking shopping bag on the ground.

“This is for you, from Noble, America.”

Inside the bag was an absurdly large, absurdly red, absurdly AWESOME formation of rose rocks.

Did you know that rose rocks are only found in a handful of places in the entire world? They’re found in Algeria, northernmost Canada, Jordan, Morocco, and OKLAFUCKINGHOMA.

That, to me, is something special. And I now have a ten pound reminder of how special they are to look at every single day.

5. Weird Commercial Jingles

Everyone in this state knows the BC Clark jingle. Everyone. I’m pretty sure the folks in states that border Oklahoma know it, too, because it’s impossible to escape for about three months out of the year. I mean, Megan Mullally sang it on The Tonight Show, giving the entire country a taste of what Oklahoma really has to offer. How can it not be in your head on a constant loop?

That’s not the only gem we have, though. We are a state ripe with jingle goodness.

My personal favorites?

Don’t Lay That Trash on Oklahoma and any of the Paul Meade Insurance commercials. A weird claymation cowboy is 100% who I want to be relying on for protection of my most precious possessions.

Oklahoma… is this a great state or what?

Ricky would like you to know that they love more about Oklahoma than just these things, but right now nothing is more important than a Steak Sandwich Supreme. 

Oklahoma: Legislative Hipster

Hipster fetus

Hipster fetus, drawing by Alicia Smith

Hey, hipsters! You know when you’re out in public with other people, in real life? And they’re all excited about a thing you Totally Knew About And Did Already, Like, Years Ago, and you get that nice warm feeling of quiet superiority mixed with cold calculation as you deploy your finally-useful specialized knowledge like an assassin, killing everyone’s buzz in one sweet, deft swoop? Why not try a new approach, except instead of only-on-VHS films or math rock celebrities, it’s telemedicine bans and CPC funding, and instead of a human you’re a mostly-rural red state on the Great Plains? Oh, and instead of feeling warm and fuzzy, you feel sad and sick. Having a bad time is the new having a good time!

Starting about a year ago, I began to feel a certain measure of frustration with mainstream coverage of the so-called “War on Women,” a catch-all term for the new perceived surge in such legislative toilet paper as TRAP laws and mandatory ultrasound bills. Looking over the Guttmacher’s 2013 state-by-state breakdown of reproductive health legislation passed since January (what, you guys don’t scroll through spreadsheets for funsies?), I was finally able to put my finger on it. Medically unnecessary ultrasound requirements, private insurance requirements, gender-selective abortion bans – Oklahoma didn’t pass any of that stuff last year, or even the year before! Did our anti-choice legislators finally lose their edge? Never fear, readers – our brave representatives passed all of that stuff so long ago we can’t even get cool points for it anymore. Here’s a little timeline of how some of Oklahoma’s enacted anti-choice legislation relates to current trends in the so-called “War on Women.”

I’m going to focus on four major trends in reproductive health-related state-level legislation: ultrasound requirements for clinics, public funding for alternatives to abortion services (usually referred to as Crisis Pregnancy Centers or CPCs), restrictions on private insurance coverage, and sex-selective abortion bans.

Oklahoma is Ultra-OK

Back in 2006, the OK legislature made its first baby steps into a brave new world full of unnecessary medical procedures and fudged information by requiring abortion counseling to include both false information about fetal pain and an offer to undergo an ultrasound. The next year, Mississippi became the first state to enact legislation actually mandating ultrasounds prior to abortion care. Not to be outdone, OKLEG (with ALEC’s ever-helpful hand guiding them along, we’re sure) passed a bevy of new requirements and regulations the following year, in the form of TRAP and basic access-blocking bills. 2009 saw ultrasound legislation trending in most of the Plains states, and the trend has not let up, especially in state legislatures dominated by conservatives.

Alt-Crock

One of the more dangerous trends, in my opinion, is public subsidization of “alternatives to abortion” services, or CPCs (Crisis Pregnancy Centers, “clinics” that attempt to coerce pregnant persons into carrying unwanted pregnancies to term). This type of legislation seems innocuous on its surface, but at its core seeks to “replace” abortion care completely with “alternatives” – a thoroughly unrealistic and frankly scary goal. OKLEG began protecting these agencies around 2008 and as of the following year, SEVEN additional states had piled on. The trend continues to gain traction as CPCs become more wily, some even abandoning the trappings of religion to appear more objective, clinical, and entrepreneurial.

Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill, Kill the ACA

This next one is a bit wonkier, but stick with me – 4 years back, when the Affordable Care Act passed, we saw many fiscally conservative members of the OKLEG begin to introduce legislation that would undermine the ACA, eventually passing a full-on nullification bill earlier this year. Of special interest, obviously, was the birth control mandate eventually included in the law. Combine that with a whole lot of bad science leading legislators to believe that birth control is actually abortion and you get a bill passing in OK in 2011 restricting private health insurance coverage of abortion care. Weird, but so were those ultrasound laws in 2006 – and like clockwork, Guttmacher has highlighted these private insurance restrictions as a nationwide legislative trend in 2013.

Ban All The Things!

Last but not least, we’ve got the beastly sex-selective abortion ban. Sex-selective abortions don’t actually happen in the United States with enough frequency (or any at all) for even Oklahoma and Arizona’s LEGs to pass stuff about them but that doesn’t mean they didn’t give it a shot back in 2009 and succeed! This nonsense isn’t an officially-projected trend, but it’s certainly on the rise among all our comrades in the Plains and some in the South and Midwest.

Pearl would like to take this opportunity to propose marriage to the Guttmacher Institute, “would” being the operative word because marriage is a TOTAL SHAM, MAN