• Administrator: Medicare, Medicaid have helped keep us healthy for 50 years

    BY DAVID WRIGHT | Published: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    It’s easy to forget that before 1966, roughly half of all seniors were uninsured, living in fear that the high cost of health care could propel not only them, but their families, into poverty.  Not that long ago, far too many disabled people, families with children, pregnant women and low-income working Americans couldn’t afford the medical care they needed to stay healthy and productive. Fifty years ago, on July 30, 1965, the landscape of health care in America changed forever when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark amendment to the Social Security Act, giving life to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

  • Oklahoma state representative: Judicial selection system has served state well

    BY STATE REP. EMILY VIRGIN | Published: Sat, Jul 25, 2015

    The Spanish philosopher George Santayana wrote that, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” Apparently, state Rep. Kevin Calvey hasn’t read his Oklahoma history, or, if he has, he forgot an important part of it. In “Small group has big sway over high court” (Point of View, July 22), Calvey, R-Oklahoma City, contended that Oklahoma should return to electing its appellate-level judges, and claimed that the Oklahoma Bar Association and its members dictate who sits on the state Supreme Court. This could not be further from the truth. The Judicial Nominating Commission is composed of 15 members: nine non-attorneys and six attorneys.

  • Washington Examiner: Five years later, Dodd-Frank helping big banks get bigger

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    “A lot of people who complain about this couldn’t organize a two-car funeral,” former Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., remarked recently to The Wall Street Journal. Dodd was disparaging the critics, right and left, of the law for which he is now most famous — the sweeping financial reform bill that celebrates its fifth anniversary this week. But those hurt most by Dodd-Frank, which passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, are the community banks whose demise it has dramatically hastened. The Dodd-Frank bill contained 360,000 words, about twice as many as the New Testament, but the regulations written to implement it are far more voluminous.

  • Mansfield Oil president: Candidates should note that energy security's already here

    BY DOUG HAUGH | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    The claim that politics are a lagging indicator of the times seems especially true in light of Republican presidential primary candidates’ campaign promises of energy independence. Many of the top-tier contenders have vowed it as part of their recent campaign announcements. Old habits die hard. An uninterrupted string of presidents dating to Richard Nixon have made this energy independence pledge. But for this crop of contenders, the promise is moot. The country has already achieved it. Granted, the U.S. still imports 5 million barrels of oil a day on net — 27 percent of domestic consumption. But this is down 60 percent from the 12.5 million barrels per day net imports in 2005. If you exclude the 2.6 million barrels

  • Leonard Pitts: U.S. needs justice system worthy of its name

    Leonard Pitts Jr. Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    The United States does not have a justice system. If we define a justice system as a system designed for the production of justice, then it seems obvious that term cannot reasonably be applied to a system that countenances the mass incarceration by race and class of hundreds of thousands of nonviolent offenders. Any system that vacuums in one out of every three African-American males while letting a banker who launders money for terrorist-connected organizations, Mexican drug cartels and Russian mobsters off with a fine is not a justice system. No, you call that an injustice system. This is something I've been saying for years. Imagine my surprise when,

  • Charles Krauthammer: The price of fetal parts

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jul 24, 2015

    "Thank you Planned Parenthood. God bless you." — Barack Obama, address to Planned Parenthood, April 26, 2013 WASHINGTON — Planned Parenthood's reaction to the release of a clandestinely recorded conversation about the sale of fetal body parts was highly revealing. After protesting that it did nothing illegal, it apologized for the "tone" of one of its senior directors. Her remarks lacked compassion, admitted Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. As if Dr. Deborah Nucatola's cold and casual discussion over salad and wine of how the fetal body can be crushed with forceps in a way that leaves valuable organs intact for sale is some kind of

  • Michael Gerson: Rick Perry emerges as a responsible voice

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Jul 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON — In the early days of the 2016 Republican campaign — an unusually important period, in which the viability of the GOP is being defended against a toxic form of populism — some of the clearest leadership has emerged from an unexpected source: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Those Republican candidates and commentators who sought to accommodate and domesticate Donald Trump — praising his views on immigration or petting his followers — failed an important political and moral test.

  • Oklahoma state rep: Small group has big sway state Supreme Court

    BY STATE REP. KEVIN CALVEY | Published: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling to ban the Ten Commandments was just the latest in a long series of political acts by the court. It also has imposed its political will on Oklahoma by killing pro-business laws, and by killing every anti-abortion bill to come before it. The court has killed even the most modest protections for the public from predatory abortionists like Dr. Naresh Patel, on trial next month for misleading his patients. An ultrasound bill killed by the court in 2012 could have protected many of Patel’s patient-victims from being misled into abortions. The court didn’t have to kill the law: a virtually identical Texas law was upheld by federal courts.

  • E.J. Dionne: The Kasich-Walker debate

    E.J. DIONNE JR. The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Jul 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Republicans won't win the presidency in 2016 without making inroads in the Midwest. Happily for the GOP, two Midwestern governors are running for their party's nomination. Both won re-election in 2014. The one from the state with more electoral votes won with 64 percent of the vote with wide appeal to Democrats and independents. The one from the smaller state got just 52 percent of the vote after a divisive campaign. The former fought to have his state accept the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. He made his case on moral grounds, arguing that at heaven's door, St. Peter is "probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government

  • President Obama's comparison to Ronald Reagan off the mark

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Jul 21, 2015

    At his news conference last Wednesday, our president of self-regard again linked himself with Ronald Reagan, seeking to equate his supposed success in gaining a deal with Iran not to build a nuclear weapon for 10 years to Reagan’s arms control negotiations with the Soviet Union. There is at least one major difference, which causes Obama’s analogy to collapse. Reagan regarded the Soviet Union as an “evil empire” and vowed to defeat it. He said not just the Soviet Union, but communism itself, would wind up “on the ash heap of history.” Obama hears, sees and speaks no evil against the evil empire of Iran, or the vile terrorist groups it supports across the region. Instead he seeks accommodation, not elimination of this

  • Oklahoma state senator: State constitution can use some amending

    BY STATE SEN. KYLE LOVELESS | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    We have all heard the quote from President Teddy Roosevelt when Oklahoma became a state, where he described our constitution as “unfit to print.” Oklahoma deserves a modern constitution for a modern time. Our state constitution is clear: Once every 20 years, we are to put a question to the people asking to hold a constitutional convention for the purpose of amending, rewriting major sections or proposing a new constitution. Any changes to our current constitution must be ratified by the people. The problem is, this constitutional requirement hasn’t been followed. We haven’t put this to the vote of the people in over 40 years. Rep. Gary Banz, R-Midwest City, and I are authors of a bill to rectify that.

  • Ruth Marcus: Another civil rights struggle in the Carolinas

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    WASHINGTON — For all the understandable attention devoted to removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina State House, a civil rights struggle with far more practical consequences is playing out one state away. In a trial that just began in a federal courthouse in North Carolina last week, lawyers for the Justice Department and civil rights organizations are challenging a state law that limited the days for early voting, ended same-day registration and barred voters who turned up at the wrong precinct. The case presents the stark question: 50 years after its passage, does the Voting Rights Act retain any teeth? Two years ago in Shelby County

  • Michael Gerson: An appalling trivialization of life

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jul 19, 2015

    WASHINGTON — At first, it seemed like an Internet hoax. A doctor, over a glass of wine and a salad, coldly describes the extraction and monetization of fetal body parts. Surely this is some kind of sick parody. But it is not a hoax. It is Planned Parenthood's senior director of medical services, Deborah Nucatola, caught in a sting video by an anti-abortion group. Planned Parenthood's reaction essentially confirmed the conversation as genuine, but insisted that it concerned the extraction of tissue for scientific research "under the highest ethical and legal standards." The full video of the lunch is available online for those willing to risk losing their own.

  • Jules Witcover: Scott Walker shouldn't crown himself too soon

    Jules Witcover Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sat, Jul 18, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The latest entry into the mob of 2016 Republican presidential candidates, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, is said to be his own political consultant, having spent much of his life running for one office or another, starting in high school. In his announcement the other day, he anointed himself a winner, having won most of the elections he's entered by listening to his own counsel. He is said to have personally overseen the creation of his campaign in Iowa for the first state precinct caucuses, for which most polls show him running well ahead of the field.

  • Center for Employment Opportunities director: Jobs are the key to lowering incarceration rate

    BY KELLY DOYLE | Published: Sat, Jul 18, 2015

    President Obama visited Oklahoma this week for the third time. His first two visits were related to something our state is well known for: oil and tornadoes. This week’s visit also related to something Oklahoma is well known for — incarceration.  It’s no secret that Oklahoma incarcerates more women per capita than any state and is consistently among the top four states for incarcerating men. The governor’s recent memo to the Department of Corrections to allow early release credit accumulation for individuals convicted of 85 percent crimes is an indicator that state leaders recognize this statistic is damaging to Oklahoma. However, any meaningful attempt to change the rates of incarceration must aim to reduce the number of

  • Ernest Istook: IRS looking to quell nonprofits' advocacy

    BY ERNEST ISTOOK | Published: Sat, Jul 18, 2015

    Foes of government propaganda could be silenced by the Internal Revenue Service, which is close to levying a 40 percent tax on major donations to nonprofit groups. Meantime, federal agencies spend over a billion dollars annually to advertise and market their agenda and programs. Plus an extra billion was spent promoting Obamacare. Issue advocacy nonprofits are a rare contrary voice, since major media tend to reflect the views of the Obama White House. The media attention on IRS targeting of conservative groups has waned but the IRS effort continues. Proposed regulations would ban nonprofits from “candidate-related activity” such as voter guides and political forums.

  • Washington Examiner: Plenty of irony in Hillary's economic vision

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Fri, Jul 17, 2015

    If you didn't have time to watch Hillary Clinton's big economic address on Monday, she presented an economic vision that was rich with irony. Or perhaps rich with projection. Because in the final analysis, the maladies Clinton identified in the modern economy seem to be more products of her own very unique experience making money than anything bad that is happening in the real world right now. To give one example, Clinton complained that the current economy tends to reward "quick trades" in the stock market above "longer-term investments." But the day-trading days of the 1990s are a distant memory today.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Iran deal worse than we could have imagined

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jul 17, 2015

    WASHINGTON — When you write a column, as did I two weeks ago, headlined "The worst agreement in U.S. diplomatic history," you don't expect to revisit the issue. We had hit bottom. Or so I thought. Then on Tuesday the final terms of the Iranian nuclear deal were published. I was wrong. Who would have imagined we would be giving up the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargoes on Iran? In nuclear negotiations? When asked at his Wednesday news conference why there is nothing in the deal about the four American hostages being held by Iran, President Obama explained that this is a separate issue, not part of nuclear talks.

  • ACLU attorney: In Oklahoma Constitution debate, full understanding key

    BY BRADY HENDERSON | Published: Fri, Jul 17, 2015

    On June 30, three Oklahoma Christians won a victory against a state government that told them their sacred Scripture wasn’t sacred anymore. Unfortunately, some lawmakers aren’t content to let Oklahomans make their own decisions about their religious beliefs. Within minutes of the announcement of the state Supreme Court’s decision, some politicians decided to call for the repeal of a basic part of Oklahoma’s Bill of Rights that has protected Oklahomans from religious discrimination for more than 100 years — Article II, Section 5. Many of these calls come from the same people demanding impeachment of our Supreme Court justices for doing their jobs, and outlandishly labeling a court decision “pure evil” simply because

  • Clarence Page: Summer of Sanders and Trump

    Clarence Page Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Jul 17, 2015

    What are we to make of the two biggest political pseudo-surprises of this mid-summer: the spectacular crowds drawn by Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders? I say pseudo-surprises because, in some ways, we should have expected both men to do well in polls. Trump has higher name recognition than any of the other 15-and-counting major Republican contenders, except perhaps the Grand Old Party's current front-runner in the polls, Jeb Bush. And I say "perhaps" because, despite having two other Bushes precede in him in the White House, Jeb doesn't have a network TV show or skyscrapers blasting his name on urban skylines. Love Trump or hate him — and many find it possible to do both at