Bob Must Get a City Permit. Get Ready for Verbal Pyrotechnics.

I should sell tickets for this event.

In mid May I am having a tornado cellar installed.  I finally found someone who would put extra dirt on top to enhance its utility as a root cellar/wine and beer aging cellar. Tornado King USA, out of Muskogee, if you’re interested.

Installation of a storm shelter requires a City Permit.  There was a recent article in the paper about how to do this, but it promised a bit more than the City Website delivered.  They have special forms for permits for fences, pools, and signs, and no form specifically for storm shelters. No list of the requirements to get the permit either. How easy would it be for them to have a page for “Storm Shelters”? Well, as someone who has literally hundreds of pages of info on the internet, I can tell you right now that a web page is damn easy to do and cheap too.  Certainly cheaper than having extra staff on hand to answer the calls from the THOUSANDS of people installing shelters this year.

So I had to make a phone call.  That started last week.  I was on hold for a long time and then got a message “leave a message and we’ll call you back.” I left a message and of course, no one called me back.  I tried again today and had better luck, and actually got a list of requirements, which I am posting here. We’ll see if this is actually the real list of requirements once I pile all this up and fax it in.  That is one improvement over my last attempt at a city permit during my extreme green renovation of 2005.  That required three trips downtown because I was told I needed different items. It would have required a fourth except that I made a scene and demanded to see a supervisor. Post permit event, I sent several scathing emails, scathing I say, about the 20th century business practices of the permit dept.  Now they have the ability to take applications by fax, and it only takes SEVEN TO TEN BUSINESS DAYS for them to get around to looking at the permit.

So I am presently scheduled for a mid May installation.  We’ll see if it happens.  Here are the requirements:

The shelter application requires —

  • Application (I downloaded that from their site)
  • Copy of the official plans
  • Letter signed by the engineer stating it will not float out fo the ground, it could also be a statement on the plans
  • Full site plan showing property lines and structures showing how far the shelter is away from the house and the property lines. They said I could do the drawing myself.

We live in Tornado Alley.  As far as OKC is concerned, everyone is On Their Own for tornado protection.  Schools and churches that used to provide public shelter space are closing their doors.  You would think that they would have an expedited, easy process that would encourage people to build storm shelters. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  We can’t do that can we?  How will they know they’re important down at City hall if they don’t force us to genuflect before them and pay for a “permit of privilege” that allows us to spend our own money to protect our lives and the lives of those we love by building a storm cellar on land that we have bought and paid for with our own hard earned money?

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Collapse, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Pothole filled!

potholepatchI am Shocked! Shocked I Say! Shocked AND Amazed! to report that the perennial pothole at NW 21 and North McKinley was filled with some asphalt yesterday morning. The City did not repair the underlying problem that causes it to periodically reappear. This is maybe the third or fourth time it has been filled with asphalt in the last decade. So it will be interesting to see how long it takes for it to be refilled.

Even so, it’s nice to have the symptom repaired, thank you Okie City. I understand the City is too poor and thus can’t treat the underlying problem, but symptoms are important too and so it is better to not ignore them. After all, Oklahoma City has expensive habits that constrain its priorities.  Keeping the movers and shakers downtown happy is not cheap! Their projects suck up all our cash. Thus the rest of the city continues to deteriorate while downtown it is Party On Dudes!

So it goes on the road to the ash heap of history.  In the meantime, us peasants should be grateful for whatever crumbs fall from the Downtowner table onto our neighborhoods.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Economic Prosperity, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living | 1 Comment

An adventure along Northwest Expressway

eddie 2 wheelchair on nw expresswaySo I met a man on my way home after choir practice tonight along Northwest Expressway. I was in the right lane, going east, when I had to come to a stop, east of McArthur, by the Taco Bell and Golden Corral.

All of the cars ahead of me save one swerved around the obstruction, which turned out to be an elderly African American man, without legs, in a motorized wheelchair, just rolling along in the right lane of Northwest Expressway.  One car was stopped behind him and another car had stopped in front of him to stop him.  I pulled into the parking lot of Golden Corral and got out and took the pictures you see here.

Northwest Expressway is six lanes of traffic, officially a state highway, and in the 16 miles of so of its length, from where it starts at Classen to where it exits Oklahoma City, there is not one single pedestrian amenity. No cross walks. No crossing lights. No beware of pedestrians signs.  No sidewalks.

He ended up pulling into the parking lot of the Golden Corral so I pulled my car up alongside him and rolled my window down and asked him where he was going. I couldn’t hear his answer (NW Expressway might as well have been a freeway with all the noise). I got out, we chatted, I asked him, “Why don’t you get in my car and I’ll put your wheel chair in my trunk and I will drive you where you need to know.”

He and I both thought this was a great plan, and he was able to pull himself from the chair into my car without my assistance. Lots of practice doing that since 1968 I suppose.  As it turns out, he was in Vietnam in 1968, when he stepped on a landmine, and that was how he came to be without legs, in that wheelchair, on NW Expressway.

Our plan faltered however when I could barely even budge the front two wheels of his motorized chair.  I can lift 50 pounds, but that chair weighed lots more.  Time to back up and regroup.  I told him, “I have to call the police, I have no idea what else to do.” 911 on the cell phone, ended up talking to the Warr Acres dispatcher since this little patch was actually in that suburb for a few blocks.

Warr Acres sent two police, one of them told a horrendous story about the last time he’d seen someone in a wheel chair on NW Expressway, she had been hit by a car and was not in good shape. The car knocked her all the way from the driveway along the west side of Golden Corral to right in front of the Church’s Chicken place on the far side of Golden Corral, maybe 50 yards?  She survived, “just barely’, the officer said.  How did she end up there?  She had taken the city’s special bus service to visit a friend, but it was late coming back, so the bus went no further than NW 23rd and Portland.  She had managed to maneuver herself all the way from there to Northwest Expressway in that wheelchair! How many miles would that be? At least six, and all of it is major traffic streets and not much if anything in the way of sidewalks.

They called a special taxi that has a lift for wheelchairs, the Catholic Worker house agreed to pay the $50 bill, and so all was well that ended well.

Except. . . what happens the next time he is home alone, bored, feeling restless, and he wants to get out and go do something.  There isn’t an inch of sidewalk anywhere around where he lives.

I’ve been whining about NW Expressway for years.  And I’ve heard some terrible things. One former ODOT employee told me that there were federal funds that could be used for pedestrian amenities along NW Expressway, because it is a state highway, but OKC and Warr Acres and Oklahoma County, all of whom have a piece of this pie, have never gotten together and demanded action.

Someone else told me they had written their senator, who contacted ODOT, and they told him, “We don’t want to encourage pedestrian traffic on NW Expressway so we’re not going to put in any pedestrian amenities!”  Memo to ODOT:  It doesn’t matter what you want to encourage or discourage, the pedestrian traffic is already there.  Northwest Expresway, State Highway 3, is a pedestrian safety hazard, from one end to the other.

A lot of the people I see walking along the Expressway are kids.  And who cares about those kids anyway? None of the kids of the economic aristocracy are walking along Northwest Expressway. Those are working and middle class and low income family kids. Nobody at ODOT or the State Legislature cares anything about them. As far as they are concerned, the more pedestrians killed along Northwest Expressway, the better off we are. That’s no doubt a cruel thing to say, but it’s the kind of social darwinism that is so popular these days among the Oklahoma elites.  They would loudly deny this, but with politicians, you have to look at what they do, not what they say.  It’s hard to deny that there are no pedestrian amenities along NW Expressway, and that people are dying because of that detail, and that ODOT has no plan to change the situation.

Our newly re-elected mayor is found of bragging about OKC and our welfare basketball team and our welfare rowing amenities along the North Canadian River and he also wants a welfare hotel and a welfare convention center downtown at a price of several hundred million bucks.

But Oklahoma City is also a place where we care so little about disabled American veterans, who have paid a very high price at the call of their nation, that we put them at risk with our deplorable lack of pedestrian amenities throughout the city — especially sidewalks — and our bus system.  He wants to spend a hundred million bucks for a downtown transit toy for the tourist crowd, but he won’t support adequate funding for a bus system so that our disabled veterans can get around without running their motorized wheelchairs in the street.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Environmental Sustainability, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Shouldn’t GM get the death penalty for its murders?

Shouldn’t GM get the death penalty for its murders?

Maybe in the beginning it was simple negligence and could qualify as manslaughter. But they knew about the problem for ten years, didn’t fix it, and so the body count continued to increase.

Where are our “get tough on crime” politicians when we need them?  Oops, I forgot, our “get tough on crime” politicians are really just “get tough on some crimes.”  They aren’t about to get tough on crimes committed by corporations.  As far as they are apparently concerned, corporations can commit any number of murders, and never face the death penalty.

Kind of bloodthirsty aren’t we tonight, Mr. Catholic Worker?  Well, I should hasten to add that I am not proposing that the stockholders and management should actually be executed.  But the stockholders should lose all of their investment.  The government should take over the corporation, sort like a bankruptcy receivership, and sell its stock on the stock market to the highest bidders.  The stockholders would hopefully learn a valuable lesson about neglecting their corporate governance duties and a message would be sent to all other corporations.

But we don’t have laws providing for a corporate death penalty, because the economic aristocracy running this nation is just fine with the situation the way it is.  GM didn’t kill any of their kids.  The victims were just middle and working class folks who bought these cars.  They don’t count to the economic aristocrats who rule our economics and politics. Like the aristocrat in the carriage in A Tale of Two Cities, who runs down and kills a child, GM will toss a few coins out the back window at the grieving relatives and rush away to another meeting with the politicians they have bought and paid for with their stockholders’ money.

So it goes, on our way to the ash heap of history.  More scandalous tragedy, more innocent blood, more thugs and criminals uncaught and unpunished, free to kill again.

Why don’t we kill corporations who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?

Here’s the FB page I started when BP trashed the gulf:  We need a death penalty for corporations.

And then there’s my infamous “11 necessary measures to curb the corporate crime rate” which I wrote in the late 1990s.  It was picked up by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman, and even made it to the Mother Jones website.  Reprinted here because it needs to be read again.

  1.  The stockholders and management of corporations convicted of felonies should lose their right to vote and run for public office.
  2. A registry should be maintained in each area of criminal corporations, and any corporation convicted of a felony should be required to register with the local police. A notice should be sent to all of their neighbors that a criminal corporation is taking up residence in their locality.
  3. Criminal corporations should lose all corporate welfare benefits and government contracts.
  4. Criminal corporations should be required to make weekly visits to parole officers, and their stockholders and management should be subject to random drug tests (either urine or hair).
  5. Criminal corporations should not be allowed to operate within 500 yards of a school, church or library.
  6. Criminal corporations should be required to place the phrase “A criminal corporation” on all advertising, signs and vehicles as a public warning.
  7. If criminal corporations violate the terms of their parole, their stockholders and officers should go to jail.
  8. In addition to the fine on the corporation, the personal assets of stockholders should be subject to seizure to satisfy the debts/penalties of the corporation. IOW, the “corporate shield of liability” for criminal corporations should be lifted.
  9. The increasing number of lawless corporations calls for stricter penalties. Bring back the death penalty for corporations. In this context, the “˜death penalty’ is the closure of the corporation, the forfeiture of its assets to its victims and/or the government and the winding up of its affairs by a court appointed receiver.
  10. Stockholders and management should be required to wear monitoring bracelets for the duration of their parole, and may not travel outside of their jurisdiction without a written pass from their parole officer.
  11. The stockholders and management of criminal corporations may not associate with the stockholders and management of other corporate felons, and are forbidden to keep and bear arms.
Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Economic Prosperity, Safe Community | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Nauseating Hypocrisy of US Politicians about the Ukraine and Russia

You would think that Hitler has somehow been resurrected from the dead and come to power, the way our politicians are beating their breasts and berating the public about the recent Russian maneuver that resulted in the return of Crimea, a place that was historically part of Russia, back to Russian governance.

While making much of the neglect of constitutional due process,  President Obama conveeeeeeeniently ignores his own role in kicking the ball that ended up in the present court.

It was Obama who committed five billion dollars to NGOs who used those resources  to provoke the rebellion that overthrew an ELECTED GOVERNMENT!  That shows a lot of respect for constitutional due process, don’t ya think? Sure, it wasn’t a very nice government, but most governments aren’t very nice, and that includes our own.  Our government murders American citizens without trial, incarcerates American citizens without trial, maintains an internal gulag prison system that treats its residents with great cruelty including the extensive use of solitary confinement, and routinely interferes in the sovereign affairs of other countries.  The list of governments we have unconstitutionally overthrown is a Very Long List.  We are directly responsible for the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians since the 1990s.  Our leaders shed no tears for all the children they’ve murdered, nor for the children they plan to murder tomorrow.

Putin may not be a world paragon of freedom and liberty, but neither are the United States Congress and Barak Hussein Obama, President and Tyrant of these United States, All Bow Down in Fear.  Putin is what he is and doesn’t pretend to be anything else, while our congresscritters and the President are nauseating, murderous, bloodthirsty hypocrites who claim to act for freedom but instead are in actuality doing the will of the demonic spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

So it goes on the road to the ash heap of history.  This little brouhaha is further evidence that our leaders are as out of touch with reality as the Romanovs in 1917 and the French aristocracy in 1789.

The frequency of these stupid, manufactured, nonsensical crises is an indicator of our social, economic, and political disintegration.  As the process continues, we will come to a time when punctuated equilibrium will set in and things will change for the worse very rapidly. When that happens, our collapse will be sudden, just as it was with the old Soviet Union.  In retrospect, the handwriting was on the wall of the Soviet system for years, but everyone was blind to what was going on.  Thus, its collapse was such a great surprise to so many — there and abroad.

That’s the way it will be with us.   Since the time to get ready for collapse is before the collapse happens, most of us need to git busy.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Collapse, Financial Crisis, international issues, War and Peace | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ten Reasons Why I’m Voting for Dr. Ed Shadid for Mayor of Oklahoma City!

1. Dr. Ed Shadid is a real person of compassion, conviction, and responsibility. He is concerned about the future of Oklahoma City. He has kids, he wants a city for them to grow up in, a place where they will want to live and raise their own children, his grandkids-to-be. He has gone down into the valley of the shadow of death and come back having learned hard lessons that serve him well in his work as a doctor and a leader in Oklahoma City.

2. Dr. Ed Shadid will be a mayor who serves the common good. He will not be the tool of special interests out to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense. He is the only true fiscal conservative in this race, warning us of major spending boondoggles already in the Mick Cornett’s pipeline, that will squander hundreds of millions of scarce taxpayer dollars for very risky and speculative returns.

3. Dr. Ed Shadid is confident in the soundness of his beliefs, proposals, and record. He is not afraid to meet the Mayor for an open debate on the issues of this election and the merits of their respective candidacies.

4. Mick Cornett is a political coward who lacks conviction in his own beliefs, proposals, and record. His refusal to debate Ed Shadid is proof of this statement. Why is he afraid to debate Dr. Ed Shadid? What does he have to hide? What is he worried will come out in a debate?

5. Mick Cornett is not interested in being mayor for all the City, in all of its diversity. Almost all of his appointments to city boards and commissions have been white men. He has been ignoring the needs and issues of neighborhoods for his entire tenure as mayor. He is building roads and sidewalks in developments where no people live while other densely populated neighborhoods lack sidewalks and decent streets. There’s a pothole at the intersection of NW 21 and McKinley that’s been there for ten years! Every so often someone comes out and throws some asphalt into it, but that doesn’t last long, because there’s an underlying problem that never gets fixed. Yet, somehow, Oklahoma City has plenty of money for sidewalks on streets with no houses.

6. Mick Cornett is not a friend to the local food movement. The Mayor of Oklahoma City appoints the majority of the members of the Oklahoma City County Health Department, and the local food movement has no friends or champions there. It has exceeded its authority in the regulations it promulgated for the implementation of the Cottage Food Act passed last year by the Legislature.

7. Mick Cornett is not a friend to entrepreneurs attempting to start small businesses. The OKC permit and licensing bureaucracy can be a nightmare for everyone except big businesses. If you talk to three different people about the legal hoops you need to jump through, you may very well get three different answers, all contradictory, as to what is required. If you’re a big business, of course, Mick will not only roll out the red carpet, he will write you checks using other people’s money. But if you are an ordinary person, maxing out your credit cards to start a business, you will find no help from Mick Cornett’s City Hall.

8. Mick Cornett is not a friend to homeowners attempting to maintain their homes. The City’s permit office is not customer friendly. It is characterized by long lines, employees who are not well trained in the code requirements, and a “who cares” attitude among the staff, who don’t appear to understand that there is a thing called the “internet” that could be used by its customers to apply for many routine permits, saving time and money for the City, contractors, and homeowners. When I renovated my house, I had to make three trips downtown because three different employees told me contradictory information about what I needed to do. That’s stupidity, but it’s business as usual in the OKC bureaucracy under Mick Cornett’s leadership.

9. If we follow Mick Cornett’s policies to their logical conclusion, the result will be the degentrification of our suburban neighborhoods, a process that has already started and is accelerating. Those who doubt this should visit the 73127 and 73114 zip codes. Degentrification has a firm beachhead in the 73132 zip code also. If we follow Mick Cornett, twenty years from now the 73132 zip code will be a slum.

10. Mick Cornett is taking credit where the true credit should perhaps go elsewhere. His campaign literature makes it appear as though our current prosperity is due to his “wise leadership,” when in fact, Oklahoma City always booms the good times when energy prices are high, as they have been throughout his entire tenure as mayor.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Campaign News, Climate Instability, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, Financial Crisis, food, Local Food Systems, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Dissent is Not Terrorism! Except in Oklahoma City.

The Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance is doing great work opposing the industrialization of rural Oklahoma and the construction of dangerous pipelines through farm country. As many of you know, I was arrested earlier last year for chaining myself to an excavator. I know it seems like a useless activity, but when I went through my decision process, I decided that the future was worth the personal risk. And however useless it seems to people on the outside, the energy industry seems to be taking it very seriously, judging by their way out of proportion reaction to the most recent escapade of the Great Plains Tar Sands resistors.

During their protest at the new skyscraper headquarters of Devon Energy — our very own Dark Tower that looms over our city lol — a banner was unfurled featuring a “Hunger Games Mockingjay” holding a monkey wrench. The banner was decorated with glitter.

I know, how subversive is glitter, right?

During the demonstration, some of the glitter fell on the floor.

In response, Oklahoma authorities have charged two of the demonstrators with the crime of “terrorism hoax”. Below is the statement of Stefan Warner, who I have known for many years and he is a stand-up guy with love and concern for the planet, its critters, and all people. He is not a terrorist, he is an honest man attempting to speak truth to power. It’s like Oklahoma authorities setting the dogs on the Civil Rights protestors in the 1960s. It seems as though we haven’t changed much.

Devon Energy, on its part, seems well prepared and even excited to play its dominating role in this our very own Hunger Games saga.

We here in Oklahoma have a great need for solidarity actions. If we don’t hang together, we most assuredly will be hung out to dry by the increasingly cruel and merciless social darwinist attitudes of our governor, mayor, many city council people, the state legislature, and etc. who are making a mockery of the rule of law as they subvert the democratic process to take from the people and give to their campaign contributors and special interest supporters.

Oklahoma has a long history of vicious racism, as bad as anything that has gone on further south of us. Events that happen here are not widely publicized elsewhere.

So the great need of the moment is SOLIDARITY!  Solidarity is not just a feel good emotion.  It is action on behalf of others during a time of grave need.  Here are four things everyone can do.  It’s especially important for our leaders to hear from people outside the state.

+ If you’re into prayer. . . Pray for us and those who have been arrested, and for Oklahoma authorities involved with this.

+ Make this injustice visible. Write letters to your local papers. Publish this statement in your blogs, newsletters, on your websites. Tell your friends in other states about this outrageous situation. Tweet! Facebook! Instagram! Pinterest!

+ Write letters to Oklahoma authorities (suggested addresses and names below). Tell them that you are watching what happens with this. Tell them that charging people with the crime of “terrorism hoax” is a terrible over-reaction that speaks very poorly of the commitment of the government of this state to protecting the rights of citizens to dissent and protest. Tell them that branding dissent as terrorism is evil and violates the First Amendment of the Constitution. It is already making Oklahoma the laughing stock of the nation.

Send copies to Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance so we will be encouraged by your solidarity!  .

In solidarity,

Bob Waldrop Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House

Mayor Mick Cornett
City of Oklahoma City
200 N. Walker
OKC, OK 73102

Governor Mary Fallin
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, Ok 73105

David Prater
Oklahoma County District Attorney
320 Robert S. Kerr, Room 505
Oklahoma City, OK 73102 —-


Please consider sharing this and donating to our legal defense fund!

For Immediate Release:


Moriah Stephenson: 405-203-3675 Stefan Warner: 405-863-2888

Oklahoma City, OK: On December 13th of last year, anti-fracking activists with Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance staged a demonstration at the Devon Tower to protest the State of Oklahoma’s subsidizing of irresponsible and dangerous oil and gas extraction and the health effects that Devon’s practices have on communities in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

Four were arrested””two for locking themselves inside a revolving door, and two for hanging a banner inside the (open to the public) atrium of Devon Tower. Moriah Stephenson and Stefan Warner, the two Oklahomans arrested for dropping the banner, were booked in on charges of “disorderly conduct,” “criminal trespass,” and “terrorism hoax”””the latter referring to a small quantity of glitter that fell off the banner.

The escalated charge of “terrorism hoax” carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, and serves to brand activists with the “terrorist” label to delegitimize real concerns for the health and safety of Oklahomans. The charges against Stephenson and Warner are a part of a larger campaign to criminalize dissent””the Canadian-based corporation TransCanada has been meeting with local law enforcement, including the Oklahoma Fusion Center in April of 2013, and encouraging them to pursue terrorism charges for acts of peaceful protest.

From journalist Will Potter: “TransCanada offers police a playbook on how to go after activists. The company suggests prosecuting using criminal trespass, criminal conspiracy, criminal instrument or device (the PVC pipe used for non-violent civil disobedience), grand juries, and “federal/state anti-terrorism statues [sic].

“My intention on December 13th, in the tradition of Rev. Martin Luther King Junior was to “˜arouse the conscience’ of a state that refuses to provide storm shelters for children at public schools yet has the gall to pay out $645,000,000 in tax subsidies to the oil and gas industry the past three fiscal years,” says Stefan Warner, one of the Oklahoma City residents facing 10 years behind bars on possible “terrorism hoax” charges for a glittery banner.

[See also: ]

“I know what the water looks like after a frack site has wreaked its havoc, and I know what cancer looks like after the water has gone bad and the flares stop burning,” said Moriah Stephenson. “At every stage of the fracking process, there’s contamination. 93% of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing processes have been proven to damage health, and with the scale of fracking close to Oklahoma communities I’m worried for the health of folks who live nearby.”

[See also: ]

Stefan Warner’s statement can be viewed here:

Moriah Stephenson’s statement can be viewed here:

Both Moriah and Stefan are available for comment and are willing to go on camera. Email for photo requests. ###

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Climate Instability, Corporation shenanigans, Environmental Sustainability, Health, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Peak Oil, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A WARNING to the President and Congress of the United States of America, and to the Governor and Legislature of Oklahoma. On the Solemnity of Christ the King, AD 2013.

What do you mean by crushing my people, and grinding down the poor when they look to you? Says the Lord, the God of Hosts. Woe to those who build their houses on wrong, their upper rooms on injustice, who works his neighbors without pay, and gives them no wages.


Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness into light, and light into darkness, who change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own sight, and prudent in their own esteem! To those who acquit the guilty for bribes, and deprive the just man of his rights!

Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights, making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey! What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth, lest it sink beneath the captive or fall beneath the slain

Yes, I know how many are your crimes, how grievous your sins; oppressing the just, accepting bribes, repelling the needy at the gate!

Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves also call and not be heard. Injure not the poor because they are poor, nor crush the needy at the gate; for the Lord will defend their cause, and will plunder the lives of those who plunder them. A rich man who oppresses the poor is like a devastating rain that leaves no food. Like a roaring lion or a ravenous bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.

God hears the cry of the oppressed. He is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours our her complaint. Do not the tears that stream down her cheek cry out against the one that causes them to fall?

Hear, therefore, kings, and understand; learn, you magistrates of the earth’s expanse! Give ear, you who have power over multitudes and lord it over throngs of peoples!
Because authority was given you by the Lord and sovereignty by the Most High,  who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels!

Because, though you were ministers of his kingdom, you did not judge rightly, and did not keep the law, nor walk according to the will of God, Terribly and swiftly he shall come against you, because severe judgment awaits the exalted. For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. For the Ruler of all shows no partiality, nor does he fear greatness, Because he himself made the great as well as the small, and provides for all alike; but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends.

Then he will say to those on his left, “˜Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, “˜Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, “˜Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Print print these words and mail them to your representatives in Congress and your state legislature.

Scripture references:  Isaiah 3:15, Jeremiah 22:13, Isaiah 5:20-21, Isaiah 10:1, Amos 5:12, Proverbs 21:13, Proverbs 22:22, Proverbs 28:3, 15, Sirach 12:13-15, Wisdom 6:1-6. Matthew 25:41-46.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Catholic, Social Justice, War and Peace | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another Regulatory “Obamanation”!

President Obama’s Food and Drug Administration is set to deploy another regulatory “Obamanation” if their proposed rules for implementing the Food Safety and Modernization Act are allowed to go into effect.  Below is a press release from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative outlining the issues and the negative impact we expect to experience in our local food systems, as well as instructions on how to protest by filing a comment with the FDA and contacting your congress people.\

Do not delay! Act today! The deadline for comments is November 15, 2013!

Oklahoma Food Cooperative
311 South Klein, Oklahoma City, POB 681, 73101, (405) 605-8088
Serving Oklahoma farmers and cooks for ten years with
the best food that is locally grown for a healthy home.

Press Release ““ for immediate use, November 4, 2013

For more information, contact Bob Waldrop at 405-200-8155 or We can arrange media interviews with Oklahoma market gardeners.

Summary: Proposed FDA regulations governing the growing, harvesting, and distribution of fresh produce at farmers markets and food hubs may gravely harm the economic viability of Oklahoma’s small produce farmers.

Responding to food safety problems in the large scale conventional and imported vegetable production systems, the US Congress passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act in 2010. It included the Tester-Hagan Amendment, which protected small farms, farmers markets, and food hubs from compliance with the act, because there is no scientific evidence that small farms are contributing to the nation’s food safety problem. There has never been a USDA food recall in a local food system. Congress also believed that it is unjust to require small farms to comply with rules designed for very big production operations.

Unfortunately, the proposed FDA regulations to implement the act have so many loopholes and complications that it appears the exemption is being deliberately undermined by non-science based regulatory action. This will have grave consequences for Oklahoma’s farmers who produce for direct sale to the local food marketplace. The FDA proposals are inimical to economic freedom and are a classic case of regulatory over-reaction.

Bob Waldrop, President of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, gave this comment:

“This month the Oklahoma Food Cooperative celebrates its tenth year of connecting Oklahoma families with Oklahoma farmers. We were the first food coop in the United States to focus on locally grown and made food and non-food items. These proposed FDA regulations will hurt our ability to continue in business! Big business can better afford these regulatory costs than small businesses, and it is just that they bear those costs because that is where the food safety problems are found, not at your local market gardener growing and selling at the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. No one has ever produced evidence that the Oklahoma local food community has a food safety problem and they haven’t done that because the evidence doesn’t exist.”

Yesterday the Coop’s Board of Directors adopted a resolution opposing the regulations and encouraging everyone to comment to the FDA and contact their congressional delegation before the November 15, 2013 deadline for comments. A copy of the resolution is attached, which details our concerns about the act. Instructions for commenting online can be found at our website at


WHEREAS the Food and Drug Administration is proposing regulations to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act, and has solicited comments about their proposed regulations, and

WHEREAS there is a general consensus in the local food communities across the nation that the proposed regulations may cause grave problems for food hubs and farmers who grow for direct sale to the public, to wit:

1. Implementation of their regulations, as proposed, will be too expensive for direct to market growers.

2. The Small Farm Exemption, required by the law, as proposed for implementation by the FDA, is too complicated and has too many loopholes that could result in a small farmer being forced out of business by being required by an inspector, who decides, without any due process, to remove the small farm exemption of that grower. Too much latitude is given to local inspectors to revoke the small farm exemption and require compliance which could drive small growers out of business. This regulation is in direct opposition to the spirit and letter of the FSMA which clearly requires the exemption of small growers from these new regulations. The exemption revocation process allows for only minimal due process that does not protect the farmer’s rights.

3. The rules would practically prohibit long standing organic production practices that are critical for sustainable agriculture.

4. The rules require excessive water testing and set unreasonable, non science based standards.

5. The proposed rules discriminate against diversified farms. They treat low risk activities as though they are high risk.

6. The rules lay excessive burdens on small food hubs such as our organization, the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, via a non-science based requirement for an expensive hazard analysis plan and annual monitoring.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED by the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, that —

1. The Tester Hagan amendment be strictly interpreted so that any farm with less than $500,000 in product sales that are covered by the FSMA are exempt from the provisions of these regulations. We oppose calculating this exemption by adding in the value of the sales of other products, not covered by FSMA rules, to determine the exemption threshold.

2. We oppose application of the preventive controls rules to food hubs with sales of less than one million dollars a year in produce covered by the FSMA rules. We oppose including the value of non FSMA-covered foods and non-food items in determining the exemption threshold.

3. We oppose any regulations that substantially prohibit sustainable agriculture methods or that discriminate against diversified farms.

4. We oppose all of the non-science-based requirements of these regulations and condemn them as attempts to distort the purpose of the law so that it discriminates against and suppresses small farms and protects large agricultural corporations from competition.

5. The President of the Cooperative is authorized to file this comment with the FDA.

Posted in Good and Frugal Government, Corporation shenanigans, Economic Prosperity, Environmental Sustainability, food, Local Food Systems, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Living, Safe Community, Social Justice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m going to Des Moines to Occupy the World Food Prize.

I am headed out in a few hours by bus to Des Moines, Iowa to Occupy the World Food Prize.

I don’t travel casually any more, so it takes something to get me out of Oklahoma and onto a bus for a 12 hour ride to Des Moines. No, I don’t fly anymore either.  Been there, done that, had enough.  One of the critical things I do to keep my household emissions below the Kyoto Protocol annual allowance is to avoid air travel.  I am not one to tell myself that I am so important that, you know, it’s OK for me to fly because I am a North American of the White Persuasion and thus entitled to burn all the hydrocarbons I please. Bus travel is about as frugal as it gets in terms of both fuel and troublesome emissions into the atmosphere so if I am going outside of a 200 mile or so range, and I can’t get there by bus or train, then I am not going.  If I don’t have time to take the bus, I don’t have time for the trip.

I recommend that everybody follow this same example. Stop telling yourself that you are entitled to all the hydrocarbons you can gulp, because you are not that entitled.

But anyway, enough pious exhortations, let’s get back to Occupying the World Food Prize.

One of the lies the proponents of GMOs say is that we will have to farm with genetically modified crops, because (a) there will be so many people in the future we can only feed them if we can grow franken-foods, and (b) the climate will be so terrible that we will need franken-food plants so they can survive.  Leaving aside the Very Interesting Admission from a group of Very Rich and Powerful CORPORATIONS that the climate future looks GRIM, let us examine the real truth about hunger on this planet.

The primary driver of famine is not an absolute shortage of food, but rather toxic political and economic systems.  The work of Nobel Prize winter Amartya Sen is definitive on this issue.

As the Irish peasants, dependent upon potatoes, starved, the English landlords were exporting grain for cash money. Because their tenants had no money to buy grain, they starved. The British ruling class political and economic aristocracy at the time refused to allocate any money for famine relief.  They didn’t care much for the Irish anyway, and were content to let them starve or emigrate.

Stalin starved the kulaks to get rid of them. The Bengal famine of 1943 was caused by rapidly rising prices for food, driven by British military acquisitions, and aggravated by colonial bureaucracies too stoopid to see what was going on around them. In areas close to the border of Japanese-occupied Burma, the British military seized all transport, including boats and elephants, but then provided no rations for the people who were no longer able to fish or trade for food. Much of the male population was sequestered in labor camps, but their families were left outside to starve.  The wages of urban laborers did not keep up with the inflation, and so it came to pass that 3 million starved to death.

In the Ethiopian famine of 1973, food was moved out of the areas of most extreme hunger because better prices could be found elsewhere.

The government of North Korea follows economic, social, and political policies so toxic that more than a million have starved to death there.

So it goes into the modern world.

The United States subsidizes grain and corn production. This encourages gigantic surpluses. We dump them on the world food market at low prizes. This drives many small farmers in poor countries out of business because they can’t compete. So they migrate to the slums on the outskirts of major third world cities and live with malnutrition and hunger every day.

Here at home, the policy of “get big or get out” has reduced the number of farms, made them bigger, and more reliant than ever on government subsidies to make up for basic economic insanity of our political criminality and economic irrationality.  Rural hunger is as big an issue as urban.

The eyes of many will be on the World Food prize narrative — get big or get out, use GMO seeds, blast your plants with herbicides and pesticides, nature is our enemy, we must make war!  This is a narrative of famine and hunger and world scale disaster.

We will offer a counter narrative of food systems as communities and ecosystems, a human scale project that works with nature with an approach of stewardship and an avoidance of domination.

That’s a necessary message and makes it worth the trip.


Posted in Catholic, Climate Instability, food, Local Food Systems | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment