• Ignite Oklahoma founder: Youth unemployment rate remains too high

    BY DAVID LEWIS | Published: Wed, Sep 2, 2015

    According to the latest statistics from our state government, youth unemployment (ages 16 to 19) stands at a shameful 19.9 percent. The current nationwide average unemployment rate for this age bracket is 11.7 percent according to the Department of Labor. Oklahoma is lagging in igniting the careers of young people. We should applaud Gov. Mary Fallin's attention to this important issue. She has established an aggressive goal to reduce the youth unemployment rate in Oklahoma to 15 percent by 2017. Policymakers can help; business leaders can help even more. Young people have fewer skills as a result of less experience. This makes them less attractive to hire for most employers.

  • Michael Gerson: Trump declares war on demography

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Sep 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — "I don't want it to be about me," Donald Trump explained at a recent event in Nashville. In other news: War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. The Trump campaign is emphatically about Trump, in a manner typical of populism from Huey Long to Hugo Chavez. The people are infallible, but they require someone who embodies their collective wisdom. The country — betrayed by elites, beset by foreigners, exploited and humiliated at every turn — needs more than policy papers. It needs a savior. Populism is not identical to demagoguery, but it attracts demagogues. Trump, on the evidence of past behavior, would take whatever political shape the moment required. But the direction upon which his

  • Paul Greenberg: In praise of losers

    Paul Greenberg Tribune Content Agency | Published: Wed, Sep 2, 2015

    There is a romance to losing, at least on a grand scale, that no string of victories can match. Who really loves the New York Yankees? Who does not sigh a sigh for the ever-doomed Chicago Cubs, who haven't won a World Series since ... when, 1908? There would be something seriously wrong with American life, or maybe the universe, if the Cubs brought a world championship home to Wrigley Field after more than a century of defeat; the ivy on the brick walls would probably shrivel. Chicago wouldn't be Chicago any more, not in its soul and spirit. Something ineffable would have gone out of it. Think of how much was lost when the Boston Red Sox suddenly turned into one of the winningest teams in the major leagues, ending their

  • Tulsa World Editorial: State should reconsider tobacco trust fund priorities

    Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    State Sen. Bryce Marlatt has proposed redirecting the state tobacco settlement trust fund to higher priority projects, most notably teacher salaries. The Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust has nearly $1 billion in principal. The money comes from Oklahoma’s share of a 1998 settlement of a 46-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry. Under a plan approved by voters in 2000, earnings from the trust must be used to improve the health of Oklahomans. Creating an endowment with the tobacco settlement windfall was a wise choice. Other states spent the money quickly. In Oklahoma, the money will continue working for the people in perpetuity. We do not support spending the trust fund’s principal, but are open to a reconsideration of how to spend its earnings.

  • Washington Examiner: Post-shooting, focus should be on changes that might work

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 31, 2015

    A tourist, lost in the Irish countryside, once asked a local farmer how to get to Dublin. The grizzled old man's reply: “I wouldn't start from here, if I were you.” Irish pessimism aside, we recount this tale to make a point. One cannot set abstract goals without considering the real-world starting point from which they must be reached. This is the problem for the many dreamers who, seeing Wednesday's on-air slaying of two journalists by a disgruntled colleague, look cross the Atlantic today. They ask aloud why America cannot enjoy the astoundingly low rates of gun violence that exist in Western European countries, where guns are less widely available.

  • Oklahoma legislator: Civil asset forfeiture system must protect innocent

    BY STATE SEN. KYLE LOVELESS | Published: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    In the history of the United States, we have had plenty of unjust, unconstitutional laws — Jim Crow, poll taxes, women being denied the right to vote. In years to come we will look back on this as an opportunity to end another unjust and un-American program: civil asset forfeiture. Simple concepts have profound effect; a person on the side of the road who is assumed to have drugs or to be affiliated with the drug cartels should never have to petition their government to get their lawfully gained property back, especially if they haven't been charged with or found guilty of a crime. In 2013, one Oklahoma county saw 42 forfeitures with only 29 of the property owners ever being charged with a crime. This is not justice.

  • Assistant DA: Oklahoma shouldn't cripple this key public safety tool

    BY SCOTT ROWLAND | Published: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    Current efforts to overhaul Oklahoma's civil forfeiture laws are the classic example of a solution in desperate search of a problem. Out-of-state special interest groups and think tanks are driving these efforts based on what they claim are instances where the property of innocent citizens is seized.  Whatever abuses may or may not be happening elsewhere, those have no relevance in Oklahoma where our laws have been crafted to protect civil liberties. Contrary to some claims, police may only seize currency when they have probable cause, the same legal standard required for the seizure of all evidence, the arrest of an individual, and in some cases the taking of a life by a police officer.

  • George Will: Affirming a right to die

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Aug 30, 2015

    SAN DIEGO — Brittany Maynard was soon to die. The question was whether she could do so on her own terms, as a last act of autonomy. Dr. Lynette Cederquist, who regrets that Maynard had to move to Oregon in order to do so, is working with others to change California law to allow physician assistance in dying. Maynard, a 29-year-old newlywed, knew that her brain cancer would fill her final months with excruciating headaches, seizures, paralysis, loss of eyesight and the ability to speak. Radiation and chemotherapy would have purchased mere months. "I'm not killing myself," she said. "Cancer is killing me." She would not put her loved ones through her cancer's depredations.

  • Clarence Page: The summer of Trump ... and Deez Nuts

    Clarence Page Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sat, Aug 29, 2015

    What does Donald Trump have in common with Deez Nuts, except for the way that their names make some people laugh? Both Trump, the billionaire Republican presidential front-runner, and Deez Nuts, the registered independent presidential candidate made up by a 15-year-old Iowa schoolboy, offer a measure of voter discontent with both major political parties. They also remind us that we should make neither too much nor too little of candidates who are causing a sensation in August before an election year. We shouldn't make too much of them because August is the slowest month for those of us who cover or comment on politics and government. It is also a time when the angriest and most upset voters show their appreciation for a

  • Oklahoma U.S. attorney: Appreciative of those who wear a badge

    BY SANFORD COATS | Published: Sat, Aug 29, 2015

    Since the August 2014 events in Ferguson, Mo., law enforcement across the United States has been under intensified scrutiny. Subsequent incidents, often caught on cellphone video, have amplified the public examination of how law enforcement officers conduct themselves. However, a few critical points are often overlooked in this discussion. First, public discourse regarding the actions of law enforcement is both good and welcomed, and is consistent with what makes the United States the greatest country in the world. Questions and concerns about the actions of officers should be asked of and discussed with law enforcement leaders.

  • Oklahoma transportation secretary: Long-term funding key to road, bridge projects

    BY GARY RIDLEY | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    We have had the opportunity to work with Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, for the better part of three decades on infrastructure investment and policy. He understands that if we are going to thrive economically as a nation, you must invest in yourself. We strongly believe that this investment is not, as some would say, an expenditure of money but a true investment that provides a return to the public in the form of economic growth along with the jobs that are created by that growth. The investment also provides for an improved quality of life in the form of the freedom to travel safely from your house to your job, your school, your church or to any city or town in the continental United States.

  • Education advocate: One possible solution to Oklahoma teacher pay debate

    BY JENNIFER MONIES | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    I think we can all agree that good teachers are not paid enough for the tremendous work they do. Research shows that a good teacher is the single most important school-related factor associated with student success, but a teacher shortage in Oklahoma prevents our schools from having a good teacher in front of every student. Some say the best solution for recruiting and retaining teachers in the face of the shortage is an across-the-board pay raise. But this is prohibitively expensive considering the Legislature was forced to cut $31 million from the budget this year. Even a meager $1,000 across-the-board pay increase will cost taxpayers an additional $45 million.

  • E.J. Dionne: Trump's video game mastery

    E.J. DIONNE JR. The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON — This summer's political madness was nicely captured by a confluence of events over the last few days: While global financial markets teetered, the campaign news was dominated by Donald Trump's personal feuds with journalists. Trump's insults directed toward Fox News' Megyn Kelly and his confrontation with Jorge Ramos, Univision's anchor, were bound to get some attention, especially from journalists inclined to stand up for our colleagues. But the tale wasn't primarily about journalism. It was just another episode in a TV series, a sign of how brilliantly Trump has succeeded in transforming a battle for the presidency into a reality show starring himself.

  • Charles Krauthammer: What six years of 'reset' have wrought

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Aug 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON — On September 5, 2014, Russian agents crossed into Estonia and kidnapped an Estonian security official. Last week, after a closed trial, Russia sentenced him to 15 years. The reaction? The State Department issued a statement. The NATO secretary-general issued a tweet. Neither did anything. The European Union (reports The Wall Street Journal) said it was too early to discuss any possible action. The timing of this brazen violation of NATO territory — two days after President Obama visited Estonia to symbolize America's commitment to its security — is testimony to Vladimir Putin's contempt for the American president. He knows Obama will do nothing.

  • George Will: The havoc that Trump wreaks

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Aug 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney. It is perhaps quixotic to try to distract Trump's supporters with facts, which their leader, who is no stickler for dignity, considers beneath him. Still, consider these: The white percentage of the electorate has been shrinking for decades and will be about 2 points smaller in 2016 than in 2012. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first president elected while losing the white vote by double digits.

  • OKC attorney: Ending birthright citizenship an idea that should be rejected

    BY JASON REESE | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    Nothing is more American than birthright citizenship, the concept that a person is automatically an American citizen by virtue of being born on the soil of the United States. Like America, birthright citizenship has its roots in the English Common Law, where it is known as jus solis, literally, the law of the soil. This is in contrast with the jus sanguinis, or the law of the blood.  England itself was the creation of a new nation out of the disparate Saxon, Norman, and native British people, with a dash of Roman for good measure. By the time the American colonies were being established, the English were already merging with the Welsh, Scottish and more problematically, the Irish. This process continued in America with the early

  • Paul Greenberg: Those mysterious flagpoles in Cuba

    Paul Greenberg Tribune Content Agency | Published: Wed, Aug 26, 2015

    David Feith of The Wall Street Journal pointed out one of the more puzzling sights visible when the U.S. Embassy was opened again in Havana after having been shut down for half a century. No, it wasn't the sight of American and Cuban diplomats shaking hands and exchanging pleasantries before challenging each other — like prizefighters touching gloves before the opening round. And, no, it wasn't who was there for the formal reopening but who wasn't: none of the Cuban dissidents who used to turn up regularly to protest the regime's repressive policies — and would then be arrested and carted off. Like the Ladies in White who used to promenade after mass every weekend demanding the release of their imprisoned fathers and

  • Washington Examiner: Obama must show he hasn't provided Iran a blank check

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    THIS summer, as Congress has weighed the nuclear deal struck between President Obama and Iran, much of the debate has focused on secret side agreements between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Both the White House and the IAEA have sought to reassure the public on this issue, explaining that such side deals between IAEA and the nations it oversees are common. The terms of these agreements, which govern the details of inspections and other technical matters, are rarely made public — and in fact, even members of the Obama administration do not seem to have seen the actual documents involved in these side agreements. This explanation was intended to prove that the side agreements are not a big deal.

  • Cal Thomas: Jimmy Carter's peace

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Aug 25, 2015

    When Ronald Reagan announced in November 1994 he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, even some of his most ardent political opponents paused to wish him well. It was the same last Thursday when former President Jimmy Carter, who will soon be 91, held a news conference in Atlanta to announce that a cancer first discovered in his liver has spread to other parts of his body, including his brain. While death is the ultimate end of all on Earth, the knowledge that one's expiration date is getting close has a way of focusing the mind, and not just for the person who has received the news. Reporters at the news conference were unusually deferential to Carter, which has not always been their attitude since he left office in

  • Leonard Pitts: 'All lives matter' -- words of moral cowardice

    Leonard Pitts Jr. Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sun, Aug 23, 2015

    This is a column about three words of moral cowardice: "All lives matter." Those words have risen as a kind of counter to "Black lives matter," the movement that coalesced in response to recent killings and woundings of unarmed African-Americans by assailants — usually police officers — who often go unpunished. Mike Huckabee raised that counter-cry last week, telling CNN, "When I hear people scream 'black lives matter,' I'm thinking, of course they do. But all lives matter. It's not that any life matters more than another." As if that were not bad enough, the former Arkansas governor and would-be president upped the ante by adding that Martin Luther King would be "appalled by the notion that we're elevating some