Opinion News Headlines Get the latest opinion news headlines from Yahoo! News. Find breaking opinion news, including analysis and opinion on top opinion stories, photos and more. 05/21/2013 - 4:27 am | View Link
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Was the severe weather system culminating in yesterday's Oklahoma City tornado intensified - or even created - by climate change? That question will almost certainly be batted back and forth in the media over the next few days. After all, there is plenty of scientific evidence that climate change intensifies weather in general, but there remain legitimate questions about how - and even if - it intensifies tornadoes in specific.One thing, however, that shouldn't be up for debate is whether or not we should be as prepared as possible for inevitable weather events like tornadoes. We obviously should be - but there's an increasing chance that we will not be thanks to the manufactured crisis known as sequestration.Continue Reading
We begin with an editorial from The Oklahoman on yesterday's deadly tornado, a tornado that has claimed the lives of at least 91 people, including some 20 schoolchildren. It's a powerful, poignant take on the tragedy:
How awesome and furious was this fresh show of celestial fury, in a different century yet seemingly in the same place. That more lives weren't lost on that Monday and this one is a tribute to the preparedness that Oklahomans have built into their thinking.
Now come the sad stories, the heartrending deaths of young and old, the miracles and the survivals, as the black funnel wraps itself in grief. Now come the recovery, the selfless deeds, the sacrificial giving and the comforting words. This is a time when patience is the supreme virtue and thoughtfulness second to none. Homes will be rebuilt and families brought back together, but it will take years to restore normalcy. Talk of closure and healing is premature.
The hurts are impaled on our consciousness. The wrath of weather on full display reminds us that there are forces that do not answer to man. We are at their mercy and all we can do is ask for mercy.
AP Photographer Sue Ogrocki describes the scene at the school destroyed by the tornado:
Crews lifted one boy from under the wall and were about to pass him along the human chain, but his dad was there. As the boy called out for him, they were reunited.
In the 30 minutes I was outside the destroyed school, I photographed about a dozen children pulled from under the rubble.
I focused my lens each one of them. Some looked dazed. Some cried. Others seemed terrified.
But they were alive.
I know students are among those who died in the tornado, but for a moment, there was hope in the devastation.
Meanwhile, Senator Tom Coburn is getting absolutely slammed on his Facebook page for claiming that disaster relief should be offset with budget cuts. John Aravosis over at AMERICABlog adds his take:
Yes, Coburn is taking his own constituents hostage as budget-cutting human shields. I suppose one could try to argue that Coburn’s cold-hearted ideological consistency in the face of 24 dead children is refreshing. But I’d call it heartless. And it’s systematic of the larger problem the Republican party is having at the national level. They just don’t like people. And it’s starting to show.
More on the day's top stories below the fold.
The parents and guardians stood in the muddy grass outside a suburban Oklahoma City church, listening as someone with a bullhorn called out the names of children who were being dropped off -- survivors of a deadly tornado that barreled through their community. For many families, the ordeal ended in bear hugs and tears of joy as loved ones reunited. Others were left to wait in the darkness, hoping for good news while fearing the worst. At least 20 children are among the more than 50 reported dead so far in Moore, the Oklahoma City suburb ravaged by Monday's tornado that packed winds of up to 200 mph. The twister reduced one elementary school to a heaping mound of rubble and heavily damaged another while also flattening block after block of homes. Officials said early Tuesday the death toll could rise by as many as 40. At St. Andrews United Methodist Church, parents stared into the distance as they waited, some holding the hands of young children who were missing siblings. Tonya Sharp and Deanna Wallace sat at a table in the church's gymnasium waiting for their teenage daughters. As Sharp and Wallace spoke, a line of students walked in. Wallace spotted her 16-year-old daughter, who came quickly her way and jumped into her mother's arms, pushing her several steps backward in the process. But Sharp didn't see her daughter, a 17-year-old who has epilepsy. She worried her daughter hadn't taken her medicine. "I don't know where she's at," Sharp said. Later, she went to speak to officials who helped her register so she could be notified as soon as her daughter was found. Shelli Smith had to walk miles to find her children. She was reunited with her 14-year-old daughter, Tiauna, around 5 p.m. Monday, but hadn't yet seen her 16-year-old son, TJ, since he left for school that morning. TJ's phone had died, but he borrowed a classmate's phone to tell his mother where he was. However, Smith couldn't get to him due to the roadblocks. So she parked her car and started walking. It took her three hours, but a little after sunset, she found him. She grabbed her son and squeezed him in a tight hug that lasted for several seconds before letting go. TJ hugged his sister, and then hugged his mom again. The family had a long walk back to their car and then home, but she said she didn't mind. "I was trying to get him and they wouldn't let me," she said, adding later: "I was like, 'You know what? I'm going to get my son.'" Renee Lee summed up the struggle for many parents with multiple children -- find the ones who they hadn't yet seen, while calming the younger ones they had with them. Lee is the mother of two daughters Sydney Walker, 16, and Hannah Lee, 8. When the storm came, she tried to pick Sydney up from school. Sydney told her on the phone that they wouldn't let her come in. While Lee and her younger daughter waited in their home, which wasn't hit, Sydney was safe in the room at a local high school. Lee said she believed Sydney wasn't hurt and seemed resigned to the severe weather outbreaks. "There's been so many of them, it doesn't even faze me," she said. "You just do what you gotta do. It's part of living here." ____ Associated Press reporters Jeannie Nuss and Chuck Bartels in Little Rock, Ark., contributed to this report. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.
The state Senates $20.6 billion budget proposal has no raises for state employees, puts new limits on health services for some Medicaid patients, anticipates a tax cut and eliminates 5,600…Click to Continue »