from Photographers' Blog:

Tornado survivors of Moore

June 7, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma

By Lucas Jackson

Minutes, sometimes seconds, is all the time people get to shelter from a tornado. Rarely with that much time is it possible to feel safe, especially as one of the rare category EF5 storms that bore down on Moore, Oklahoma rages overhead. It is overwhelming to see what wind can do when it unleashes an unfathomable amount of energy on structures that we humans believe are solid and safe. Full sized trucks wrapped around trees, suburbans turned into an unrecognizable mass of metal void of any identifying features, and blocks of neighborhoods laid flat, down to the foundations. Seeing this almost complete destruction - for blocks and blocks - makes it hard to comprehend how anyone could live through something like this. My own difficulty in matching what I was seeing with the reality that hundreds of people had managed to survive this event led me to start recording the stories of survivors and taking portraits of where they took shelter.

from Full Focus:

Images of May

June 3, 2013

Our top photos from the past month, including images of the devastating Oklahoma tornado and a remarkable story of survival amid the rubble of a Bangladesh garment factory.

from Photographers' Blog:

Back for more in Moore

May 27, 2013

Moore, Oklahoma

By Rick Wilking

My wife and I were just about to open some little gifts celebrating our 36th wedding anniversary on May 20th when my cellphone rang.

from MuniLand:

Oklahoma’s DHS agitator is exonerated

June 19, 2012

Two weeks ago I wrote about what seemed to be a smear campaign against Steven Dow, a forceful commissioner in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services who agitated for investigations into a series of deaths of children who were wards of the state and under DHS supervision. Dow was issued a public reprimand by the state's Ethics Commission for alleged conflicts of interests related to his position as the unpaid director of a social service agency while he was simultaneously serving as a commissioner at DHS. His agency's contracts with the DHS were tiny, and when they were brought up at the department, he recused himself from those discussions. Last Friday, in the state's first-ever reversal, the Ethics Commission withdrew its public reprimand of Dow, citing newly discovered evidence that the alleged ethics violation was “inadvertent.”

from MuniLand:

A conservative revolt on cutting taxes

June 13, 2012

Voters and legislators in two very red states, Oklahoma and North Dakota, have recently defeated conservative initiatives to eliminate important taxes. Among some Republicans, there seems to be a realization of the need to pay taxes to fund essential services like schools and police and firemen, and of the need to find other sources of revenue once a given tax is repealed.

from MuniLand:

Oklahoma loses a forceful public servant

June 1, 2012

Last September I wrote about Steven Dow, an outspoken commissioner in the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. Dow, the only social service professional on the commission, was agitating for investigations into a series of deaths of children who were wards of the state and under DHS supervision. He was basically being stonewalled by both his fellow commissioners and the head of the agency. I hadn't revisited the issue until I saw this tweet and wondered if it was about Dow:

from MuniLand:

Oklahoma cuts taxes while other states fund its social programs

May 1, 2012

Conservatives are working in legislatures across the country to eliminate or reduce state and local tax rates with the stated purpose of promoting job creation. These legislative efforts have received support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an ultra-conservative lobbying group. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is the latest beau ideal for ALEC's fiscal austerity drive as she leads the charge to eliminate her state's income tax. She writes in the introduction to ALEC's latest edition of "Rich States, Poor States":

from MuniLand:

The promise and peril of energy tax revenues

April 13, 2012

Of the $763 billion in tax revenues that states collected in 2011, only $14.6 billion – less than 2 percent – came from severance taxes on coal, gas and oil. Energy production is very concentrated in the United States: Just nine states receive over 5 percent of their tax revenues from energy producers. Currently, the bulk of severance revenues comes from oil production. Alaska, a state floating on an ocean of oil, gets 76 percent of its revenues from a handful of big oil companies that have drilling rights on the North Slope of the state.

from Tax Break:

Essential reading: payroll tax talks, state income tax cuts and a Swiss bank fine

February 7, 2012

Swiss bank Julius Baer, Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann Welcome to the top tax and accounting headlines from Reuters and other sources.  

from Tax Break:

Tax clips from the Web: Oklahoma mulls cutting income tax, how to spend your refund and more

February 6, 2012

Miss Oklahoma, Betty Thompson (R), first runner up in the Miss America contest

Oklahoma wants to abolish its state income tax. The plan, according to Governor Mary Fallin, is to achieve one of the lowest income tax rates in the country by eliminating some tax credits and closing loopholes in the tax code. Other taxes would not be increased, according to The Oklahoman.