• Clarence Page: The Islamic State wants us to reject refugees

    By Clarence Page Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Nov 20, 2015

    Remember how news photos of a drowned 3-year-old Syrian boy in September put new pressure on the West to welcome more refugees? That was then. Last week's attacks in Paris have sparked the opposite response after a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the Paris suicide bombers. A shamefully robust chorus of American politicians is falling over themselves to show how hostile they can be to refugees of a war that America played a major role in creating. This is especially true of Republican presidential candidates, as the issue quickly took on a sharply partisan divide.

  • George Will: Chris Christie's serious political talent

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Nov 19, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Paris was for all Americans, but especially for Republicans, a summons to seriousness that should have two immediate impacts on the Republican presidential contest. It should awaken the party's nominating electorate from its reveries about treating the presidency as an entry-level job. And it should cause Republicans to take another look at Chris Christie, beginning with his speech in Florida the day after the Paris attacks. Until now, many Republicans have been treating the nominating process as a mechanism for sending a message to Washington. The eruption of war in the capital of a NATO ally is a reminder that the nominating process will potentially send a commander in chief to Washington.

  • Ruth Marcus: The great Democratic divide

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Nov 18, 2015

    AMES, Iowa — Watching the Democratic primary contest can feel like reading a bad murder mystery. You may encounter some plot twists and surprises, but the end seems obvious. The butler did it. Hillary Clinton will win the nomination. On a deeper level, though, the contest is more subtle and more interesting — more Jane Austen than John Grisham. Indeed, dear reader, the day after the Democratic debate, Austen herself was invoked by Princeton philosopher Cornel West, standing in for Bernie Sanders and jabbing at the woman he called "sister Hillary," with her "lip service" to progressive causes. "My question for Hillary Clinton is what I would call the Jane Austen challenge," West said.

  • OCAST director: Industry diversity helps create brighter future for Oklahoma

    By Michael Carolina | Published: Wed, Nov 18, 2015

    Without a doubt, the current energy downturn is having a substantial impact on Oklahoma's economy and somewhat mirrors the downturn we experienced in 1985. However, I think there is a rainbow of promise. Today, we are witnessing a growing diversity in industries and jobs across our state that put us in a stronger position to weather economic swings in any one business sector. Oklahoma will always be a leader in energy and energy still represents 12 percent of the state's GSP. Fortunately — and by design — we have broadened our economic base in areas such as bioscience and biotechnology, aerospace and defense, agricultural science, health care, manufacturing, information technology, and supply chain and logistics.

  • Michael Gerson: Don't feed the Islamic State narrative

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Tue, Nov 17, 2015

    WASHINGTON — As careful as we should be in drawing lessons from tragedy — and there is something particularly disgraceful in mounting a political soapbox at a funeral — the horrors experienced in Paris demand a renewed dedication to the prevention of future horrors. Islamic State terrorists have goals beyond a blood-drunk love of carnage: to discredit the Syrian refugees (whom they hate) and to encourage the perception of a civilizational struggle between Islam and the West. They are currently succeeding in both. Among other things, the terrorists hope to reverse the narrative of Muslim defeat in Europe that began in 732 or 1571 or 1683.

  • Washington Examiner: 'Amnesty' fits for each of the GOP candidates

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 16, 2015

    On Thursday, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio traded barbs over immigration policy. But it wasn't the usual sort of immigration debate for a Republican primary. Cruz attacked Rubio's position, based on his Senate voting record. He argued that Rubio had not only proposed the so-called “gang of eight” immigration bill, but he had also voted against amendments that would have strengthened border security and limited immigration. Rubio, instead of disingenuously trying to change his position to please anyone, instead argued Cruz's position is closer to his own than he lets on. “Ted is a supporter of legalizing people that are in this country illegally,” Rubio said on the campaign trail. “In fact, when the Senate bill was

  • Former OK education secretary: Moral, economic reasons to boost teacher pay

    By Phyllis Hudecki | Published: Sun, Nov 15, 2015

    Over the last 15 years, I have worked with three Oklahoma governors and numerous legislators to enact education policies to improve student achievement. While we have made modest gains in pockets of Oklahoma, we still lag other states in almost every indicator. Our children are just as capable as students elsewhere, but we are putting them at a disadvantage for the rest of their lives if we don't improve their educational opportunities. To do that, we must shore up the most critical component in educating our children — teachers. Our teachers are leaving the state in droves. In fact, schools began this year with about 1,000 teacher vacancies and a record number of adults in classrooms without teacher

  • George Will: On campus, a freedom from speech

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Nov 15, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Yale's president, Peter Salovey, dealt with the Crisis of the Distressing Email about Hypothetical Halloween Costumes about as you would expect from someone who has risen to eminence in today's academia. He seems to be the kind of adult who has helped produce the kind of students who are such delicate snowflakes that they melt at the mere mention of even a potential abrasion of their sensibilities. Salovey gave indignant students a virtuoso demonstration of adult groveling. With a fusillade of academia's cliches du jour, he said the students' "great distress" would be ameliorated by "greater inclusion, healing, mutual respect, and understanding" in the service of — wait for it — "diversity.

  • Leonard Pitts: This one's for the Charlie Brown kids

    Leonard Pitts Jr. Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sun, Nov 15, 2015

    "You were my little red-headed girl." I lean over and whisper this as, on the screen above us, "The Peanuts Movie" is playing. Poor Charlie Brown, too crippled by shyness and insecurity to croak out a greeting to the flame-haired object of his affection, is stumbling through various schemes to win her attention. My wife laughs. "I knew you were going to say that," she tells me. Of course she did. I have known her since 1967, fifth grade, 111th Street School in Watts. I guess I've loved her about as long. She had — still has — this great smile bright enough to read by. Me, I was this shy and bookish kid who lived mostly in his own head. But from the first day of school, I was captivated by that smile. She, on

  • Retired general: Outcome of Oklahoma rate case will impact military bases

    By Richard Burpee | Published: Sat, Nov 14, 2015

    The current effort to redress bribery at the Oklahoma Corporation Commission could have an impact far beyond the phone bills of Oklahoma ratepayers. Deprived of justice, Tinker Air Force Base and other military installations in Oklahoma could be at risk when the next Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission meets. Tinker successfully avoided closure during the 1993, 1995 and 2005 BRAC processes. However, since 1993, the Air Force has reduced active-duty personnel by 137,025, and its aircraft inventory has been reduced by more than 1,000 in the past few years. The Department of Defense has requested congressional authority for another round of base closures to eliminate 28 percent excess capacity, and this year Congress

  • Attorney: OSSAA objectivity in doubt

    By Denis P. Rischard | Published: Sat, Nov 14, 2015

    Ed Sheakley (Point of View, Nov. 4) distorts the truth on several salient points concerning the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association investigation into the Cache girls basketball coach's order to throw a ball into the face of an Elgin player. In particular, he states the OSSAA didn't just “turn this matter over to Cache to decide” and asserts Gary Holt, the father of the targeted Elgin player, never identified specific witnesses to support his claim.

  • State Chamber CEO: Long legal disputes hurt Oklahoma business

    By Fred Morgan | Published: Sat, Nov 14, 2015

    The mission of the State Chamber of Oklahoma is straightforward: We fight to help businesses succeed in Oklahoma by creating a business climate that attracts new investment and provides expansion opportunities for existing companies. With this mission in mind, we were dismayed to see a decades-old legal dispute rear its head yet again, in a remarkable display of wasted time, energy and taxpayer dollars. What's more, the continuous legal wrangling over a clearly settled issue hurts Oklahoma's reputation as a good place to invest and grow jobs. The dispute in question stems from a 1980s telephone utility rate case before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

  • Charles Krauthammer: The most revealing debate yet

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Nov 13, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The Republican debate on CNBC was riveting, the way a train wreck is riveting — you can't take your eyes off it. The Fox Business Network debate was merely satisfying. A serious political discussion requires a bit more work, but it repays the effort. The CNBC affair was a contrived food fight during which substance occasionally broke out (such as the brief exchange between Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee on entitlement reform). FBN, on the other hand, conducted a meaty debate during which a tomato or two was occasionally tossed. John Kasich came itching for a fight. Donald Trump pitched back with his usual high-mindedness, responding at one point to Kasich with "I've built an unbelievable company worth billions

  • Ruth Marcus: College is not for coddling

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Nov 13, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Trigger warning: I'm about to commit a micro-aggression. Maybe a macro one. Here goes: Yale students worked up over an email about Halloween costumes, grow up. Learn some manners. Develop some sense of judgment and proportion. The Yalies are all spun up over Halloween costumes — specifically, an administrator's suggestion that an official email cautioning against offensive outfits was unwise and, indeed, infantilizing. The email, from Silliman College Associate Master Erika Christakis, was caveated and respectful. Still, she wondered, "Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious? ...

  • Alliance Defending Freedom attorney: ACA mandate places costly burden on freedom

    By Gregory S. Baylor | Published: Fri, Nov 13, 2015

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court elevated the Affordable Care Act to the national stage once again when it agreed to hear seven cases related to the Obama administration's abortion-pill mandate. This is the fourth time in the past five years that the nation's final judicial arbiters have considered the legality of Obamacare and related regulations. This particular trip to the court is one of great significance for religious freedom, and four Oklahoma universities are among those making that point strongly. The mandate forces many employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide health plans that create access to abortion- inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception under threat of heavy penalties.

  • George Will: Bill O'Reilly makes a mess of history

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Nov 12, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Were the lungs the seat of wisdom, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly would be wise, but they are not and he is not. So it is not astonishing that he is doubling down on his wager that the truth cannot catch up with him. It has, however, already done so. The prolific O'Reilly has, with his collaborator Martin Dugard, produced five "history" books in five years: "Killing Lincoln," "Killing Kennedy, "Killing Jesus," "Killing Patton" and now the best-selling "Killing Reagan." Because no one actually killed Reagan, O'Reilly keeps his lucrative series going by postulating that the bullet that struck Reagan in March 1981 kind of, sort of killed him, although he lived 23 more years.

  • Union president: High-level work needed to face OKC discipline problem

    By Ed Allen | Published: Wed, Nov 11, 2015

    An Oklahoma City teacher commented, “The behaviors I see from them (students) daily are yelling across the room, cussing at other students, interrupting my instruction, bullying other students.  I need help. Not just some broad program geared toward general teaching efficacy... I need help with the specific students and issues I have right now.” This statement, really a plea, is typical of comments given by Oklahoma City teachers in response to an Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers survey of all 2,800 district teachers. Eight hundred thirty-six teachers responded and 355 gave powerful testimony on what is happening in many of our schools.

  • School board member: Discipline strategies are designed to help all OKC students

    By Bob Hammack | Published: Wed, Nov 11, 2015

    Oklahoma City Public School discipline policies have historically failed many of our students. For too long, we have relied on an unproductive yet convenient culture of routinely kicking students out of school. This is acutely true with students of color. Minorities are being expelled, suspended or referred to police at rates up to four times that of their white counterparts. The troubling practice led to recent Office of Civil Rights investigations of the district's disciplinary practices. Compounding our challenge is the Oklahoma City American Federation of Teachers. Recently, its leadership paraded out a survey purporting to show “anonymous” negative comments from teachers regarding new district

  • Kurdistan thanks Oklahoma, U.S. veterans for their service

    By Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman | Published: Wed, Nov 11, 2015

    On this Veterans Day, I would like to take the opportunity to express the gratitude of the people of the Kurdistan Region to American veterans of combat and humanitarian operations in Kurdistan and throughout Iraq. It pained me on Oct. 22 to learn that an American had paid the ultimate price standing up to tyranny and terrorism in Iraq. During a Kurdish-led mission that rescued 69 people who faced daily torture and certain execution at the hands of ISIS, when our Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers came under fire, Army Master Sgt. Joshua Wheeler of Roland, Okla., valiantly engaged the enemy, tipping the balance back into their favor. Wheeler was wounded and later died. In Kurdistan we grieve his loss as one of our own. The

  • McInerney: Crisis continues over health care for veterans

    By Gen. Thomas McInerney | Published: Wed, Nov 11, 2015

    Veterans Day is a chance to honor the 338,000 Oklahoma men and women who put their lives on the line for your freedom. It's also a chance to reflect on the challenges they face here at home. Chief among them is the ongoing crisis at the Department of Veterans Affairs, which in many respects has only worsened since it made national headlines last year. Unfortunately, the leading Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, refuses to admit such a crisis exists. Two weeks ago, she claimed the VA's problems haven't been “as widespread as they've been made out to be.” She even tried to speak for the veteran community, claiming most of us are satisfied with the VA.