• Kathleen Parker: Yo 'heart' el papa

    KATHLEEN PARKER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON — "Oh, so you drank the Kool-Aid," my neighbor superciliously sneered from the stoop he occupies each afternoon to sip wine and critique people's parking skills on our beloved Olive Street. I did, I confessed. I grabbed the pope's chalice, gulped it down and asked for more. It was magical. Palliative. Heavenly. For a few hours, I felt un-cynical. I wanted to be a better person and say nice things about Donald Trump. I wanted to invite strangers into my home, wash their feet and feed them fishes and loaves. I wanted to convert.

  • Ruth Marcus: The pope's implicit rebuke of the GOP

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Pope Francis did not come to Washington to side with one political party — and, predictably, there was something in what the pope had to say for both Republicans and Democrats to dislike. Yet taken as a whole, Francis' remarks amounted to an unmistakable rebuke — implicit and perhaps unintended, but nonetheless stinging — of the Republican Party and its leading presidential candidates. For retired neurosurgeon and continuing anti-Muslim bigot Ben Carson, who attended the first-ever papal address to Congress, Pope Francis had a message about the imperative for religious tolerance. "We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism.

  • OKC attorneys: State should seek innovation waiver to ACA

    By Cori H. Loomis and J. Clay Christensen | Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), there have been references by state officials to the development of an “Oklahoma Plan.” So far, an alternative plan has not been proposed. The delay may be due to uncertainty over whether the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold the law.  However, now that Obamacare has been upheld, Oklahoma has an opportunity to develop an alternative to the ACA mandates that are so politically unpopular. Section 1332 of Obamacare permits states to apply for a waiver of most Obamacare requirements.  These waivers are referred to as the State Innovation Waiver program. The key for Oklahoma is it requires a state to innovate — as the name of the program implies.

  • George Will: The bobblehead campaign

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON — America's loopy left is enamored of someone who becomes cranky about bobblehead figurines. Sober Democrats are queasy about nominating Hillary Clinton, who has much to apologize for but no aptitude for apologies. Those Republicans who hope she is denied the nomination are perhaps imprudent. And even Republicans who recoil from Donald Trump's repulsiveness might want to defer the delicious pleasure of witnessing his apoplexy when he joins, as surely he will, the ranks of those he most despises — "losers." In 2011, Bernie Sanders said "we've got some very, very serious problems" because the Founding Fathers bobbleheads sold at the Smithsonian Museum of American History were made in China.

  • Berman: Democrats pushed into policy box canyon by Employee Rights Act

    By Richard Berman | Published: Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    In old Western movies, the climax often took place in a “box canyon.” Some gang was lured into a trap where the high stone walls left no good exit or place to hide. Rifles (with unlimited ammunition) and the ability to gain the high ground dictated how the movie ended. In the public policy arena, I've watched liberals succeed by similarly boxing in their conservative adversaries. Currently we see liberals wanting higher guaranteed salaries (a $30,000 dollar minimum wage) and taxpayer subsidized housing for families with six-figure incomes. These are sold as moral “high ground” ideas and designed to box in conservatives by having them looking cheap or insensitive. Conservatives rarely start these policy fights.

  • Oklahoma advocate: For epilepsy patients, drug makers aren't the problem

    By Jenniafer Walters | Published: Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    FDA regulators recently approved Aptiom, the first once-a-day epilepsy pill. The medicine could help 3 million Americans — roughly 35,000 of whom live in Oklahoma — better manage their neurological disorder. But for too many patients in Oklahoma and around the country, Aptiom and similar drugs remain out of reach due to insurers' cost-sharing requirements. Now, our elected officials may further reduce access to these medicines and prevent the development of new treatments. Epilepsy treatment can be expensive. Common anti-epileptic drugs cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000 per month even with health insurance.

  • Oklahoma aeronautics: Pilots needed to keep nation flying high

    BY VIC BIRD | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    When you think of Oklahoma, “oil and gas” often comes to mind. We have a long and proud history with the energy industry; so, with the decline of oil prices making local and national headlines, you might assume the Oklahoma economy will mirror these hard times. Forecasts do in fact show state revenues dropping sharply due to oil's collapse from last year's high. However, Oklahoma's economy isn't as dependent on oil and gas prices as it was in the 1980s, and is much more diversified today. One of the main engines for this diversification is aerospace. Aerospace and aviation have played important roles in Oklahoma's past and will continue to have a profound impact on our future.

  • OSU doctor: Partnership aims to aid rural health care in Oklahoma

    BY Kayse SHRUM, D.O. | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    The presence of a physician makes a profound impact on a community's health, the economy and the future well-being of the population. Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) are taking the lead in discovering innovative funding avenues to provide new doctors for rural Oklahoma. This year a $3.8 million grant from TSET to the OSU Center for Health Sciences and OSU Medical Authority is a promise to bring more physicians to select regions of rural Oklahoma. The TSET funding prompted matching funds from the OHCA to further sustain these residency programs well into the future.

  • Leonard Pitts: Quick lesson in political language

    Leonard Pitts Jr. Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    A quick lesson in political language. In 1958, Democrat George Wallace, running as a candidate for governor of Alabama and racially moderate enough to be endorsed by the NAACP, was swamped by a strident white supremacist whose campaign played shamelessly to the basest hatreds of the electorate. Afterward, Wallace complained bitterly to a room full of fellow politicians that the other guy had "out-n----red me." And he vowed he would never let it happen again. As history knows, of course, he never did. But the point here is that, 10 years later, the social and political landscape had changed so dramatically that no serious politician would have ever thought of using such intemperate language so openly.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Double suicide -- the presidential campaign of 2015

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Meanwhile, on the Democrats' side: • They are running a presidential campaign decrying wage stagnation, income inequality and widespread economic malaise — as if they've not been in office for the past seven years. • Their leading presidential candidate is 27 points underwater on the question of honesty and is under FBI investigation for possible mishandling of classified information. • Her chief challenger is a 74-year-old socialist with a near-spotless record of invisibility in 25 years in Congress. The other three candidates can hardly be found at all.

  • Washington Examiner: On email, Clinton continues to weave a web of untruths

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    POPE Francis' visit has been a real boon for people who really follow the news. To be sure, the pontiff's dominance of headlines and airtime has spread his message of hope and his critique of materialism. But beyond that, it has also given Washingtonians a chance to leak bad news when they think everyone is distracted by something else. On Tuesday, as the pope arrived, the State Department finally came clean about another untruth former Secretary Hillary Clinton has been telling for months about her emails. On at least eight occasions, Clinton has said the State Department approached her last fall with a routine request for her emails.

  • George Will: Yogi Berra, an American story

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The 18-year-old U.S. Navy enlistee, thinking it sounded less boring than the dull training he was doing in 1944, volunteered for service on what he thought an officer had called "rocket ships." Actually, they were small, slow, vulnerable boats used as launching pads for rockets to give close-in support for troops assaulting beaches. The service on those boats certainly was not boring. At dawn on June 6, 1944, that sailor was a few hundred yards off Omaha Beach. Lawrence Peter Berra, who died Tuesday at 90, had a knack for being where the action was.

  • Economist: Largest districts offer chance to find savings

    BY BYRON SCHLOMACH | Published: Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    Knowledge is power and liberation, but knowledge is always in short supply especially in Oklahoma's education funding formula. One common myth is that consolidating small school districts in the state would greatly improve the overall school finances, however this couldn't be further from the truth. The state doesn't make it easy to assemble data from its 545 school districts and charter schools to make comparisons, but after taking the time to do this, here are a few insights. Oklahoma has a lot of small school districts — often by geographic necessity. Including charter schools, which are funded via a formula similar to regular school districts, there are more than 300 districts with fewer than 500 students each.

  • Michael Gerson: Republicans stoke the fire of bigotry

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON — What is the proper response from a prospective president to the question: Is being a Muslim disqualifying for the presidency? Ben Carson answered that he "would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation" because Islam is incompatible with the Constitution. The Constitution offers a different reply: "No religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

  • E.J. Dionne: Pope Francis' actions speak louder than his words

    E.J. DIONNE JR. The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON — A danger for all of us in the column business is that we'll look for political meaning in Pope Francis' big speeches and ignore what he actually does while he's here. Yes, his words will matter, and Francis will have an enormous impact both on American politics and on politics inside a divided American Catholic Church. Progressives will highlight everything the pope says about climate change, immigration, social justice and capitalism. Conservatives will grab on to every statement he makes against abortion. Both sides will look for how he describes "religious liberty.

  • Cal Thomas: Carly Fiorina is a major leaguer

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Sep 22, 2015

    To invoke a baseball metaphor, Carly Fiorina has been called up from the minors to the major leagues. After her widely praised debate performance last week, she can expect "fastballs" to be thrown at her head, not only by some of her Republican opponents, but by Democrats. It has already started. The first pitch at Fiorina is the number of jobs lost during her tenure as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. While some say she is technically correct that the company's income grew while she ran it, thousands of people lost their jobs, as did many others during the 1990s economic downturn in the technology industry.

  • Washington Examiner: Democrats' debate schedule leaves much to be desired

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Mon, Sep 21, 2015

    REPUBLICANS have scheduled 10 presidential primary debates ahead of next year's elections. Democrats, on the other hand, have limited the number of debates between their party's candidates to just six. This has put the Democratic National Committee in a bit of a bind. Its leaders want to have fewer debates, so that the odds are enhanced of reaching the preordained outcome — a victory by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. To that end, they have not only scheduled fewer debates, but they have scheduled them mostly outside of the primary season and on days when people are unlikely to watch. Yes, Clinton will have to face her competition, but it will happen when most Americans will be watching college football (on

  • Okla. State University professor: Concerning report on U.S. economic freedom

    BY PER L. BYLUND | Published: Sun, Sep 20, 2015

    The latest “Economic Freedom of the World: 2015 Annual Report” is out and the results are concerning. The United States has plunged to 16th in this annual ranking of countries by their degree of economic freedom. As recently as 2000, we held the No. 2 slot and now we've fallen below countries like Canada and the United Kingdom. The importance of economic freedom to our overall well-being must not be undervalued. Defined as the degree to which individuals, families and businesses are free to make decisions and sculpt their lives without government interference, economic freedom is increasingly being eroded by numerous regulations, exploding government spending, high taxes, and disregard for rule of law and property rights.

  • Ruth Marcus: No celebration of constitutional principles

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Sep 20, 2015

    WASHINGTON — It was a coincidence, but a jarring one, that the second Republican presidential debate took place the day before Constitution Day. The GOP candidates' remarks betrayed the need for a remedial course — or maybe any course at all — in constitutional law, judicial independence and the rule of law. That the presidential candidates, like other conservatives, are frustrated with the Supreme Court is hardly surprising. Last term, the court recognized a constitutional right to same-sex marriage (thanks to one Republican nominee, Anthony Kennedy, appointed by Ronald Reagan) and turned back a deadly challenge to Obamacare (thanks to Kennedy and, for a second time on the health care law, Chief Justice John Roberts,

  • George Will: The fact-free flamboyance of Pope Francis

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Sep 20, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak — if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill. Supporters of Francis have bought newspaper and broadcast advertisements to disseminate some of his woolly sentiments that have the intellectual tone of fortune cookies. One example: "People occasionally forgive, but nature never does." The Vatican's majesty does not disguise the vacuity of this.