• Research fellow: Might new data affect eminent domain and other takings?

    BY JESSE HATHAWAY | Published: Sat, Jan 10, 2015

    The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution requires government to provide “just compensation” to private individuals in return for taking private property for public use. This doesn’t address whether it’s right to take private property for private benefit, however, or whether the economic benefits of eminent domain are all they’re cracked up to be. A recent study of eminent domain takings and their associated state and local government tax revenues suggests that buying grandma’s farmhouse to make room for a strip mall isn’t the automatic economic boon it’s claimed to be, leaving some wondering if the use of eminent domain as an economic booster is ethical. In 2005, the U.S.

  • Former schools superintendent Janet Barresi: Kids deserve a system that is better than mediocre

    BY JANET BARRESI | Published: Fri, Jan 9, 2015

    Oklahoma is blessed to have remarkable educators who are passionate about their work and committed to the welfare of their students. But even the most amazing teachers and principals have limited impact if they’re mired in a deeply flawed system. For decades, this has been the conundrum of Oklahoma schools, where tremendously talented people have found themselves in a system aligned with mediocrity. After the privilege of serving as state superintendent of public instruction, I’m proud of, and encouraged by, the direction now underway in Oklahoma schools. I hope lawmakers and my successor will have the long-term vision and courage to maintain and build upon crucial education reforms beginning to show positive results.

  • E.J. Dionne: The right's idea of 'governance'

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Fri, Jan 9, 2015

    WASHINGTON — This will be no ordinary Congress, so there are no ordinary ways for judging how effective it will be at governing. That is, in any event, a preposterous standard to hold up as a brand spanking new goal. Isn’t governing what Congress was supposed to be doing all along? Imagine an everyday citizen making a New Year’s resolution promising that this year, for a change, he or she would actually show up for work. The problem for the Republicans who now control both the House and the Senate is that they are divided between their right and their far right. The number of bona fide moderates can be counted on one hand — although, if you wanted to be generous, you might get to a second hand.

  • Cal Thomas: Bill Clinton and the company he keeps

    By Cal Thomas | Published: Fri, Jan 9, 2015

    It is from an Aesop fable we get the phrase, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” The British and American media are carrying salacious stories about Prince Andrew keeping company with registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, now accused of keeping underage girls as “sex slaves” for prominent men. The investigation is ongoing. Buckingham Palace issued a vehement denial on Andrew’s behalf. The story might be of interest only to tabloid readers and anti-royalists were it not for reports that, according to the Daily Mail.com, prior to 2005 when Epstein was arrested for receiving an erotic massage from an underage girl, “21 email and telephone contacts for former President Bill Clinton …” were found in

  • Washington Examiner: Keystone veto would be playing to Democratic fringe

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Thu, Jan 8, 2015

    THE new Republican Congress is sworn in and ready to work. Its first task is to pass a bill that would permit a massive shovel-ready infrastructure project that will create thousands of jobs. This might sound familiar, as it’s a bit like what President Obama did when he first took office. The only difference is that this project is privately funded — it won’t cost taxpayers a dime — and it’s an oil pipeline that Obama’s radical environmentalist base opposes. It became clear during the last Congress that the bill to permit construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has bipartisan support. Its new version has 60 Senate co-sponsors, meaning there is no question of a filibuster. So it will easily pass both houses.

  • George Will: Climate change's instructive past

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Jan 8, 2015

    WASHINGTON — We know, because they often say so, that those who think catastrophic global warming is probable and perhaps imminent are exemplary empiricists. They say those who disagree with them are “climate change deniers” disrespectful of science. Actually, however, something about which everyone can agree is that of course the climate is changing — it always is. And if climate Cassandras are as conscientious as they claim to be about weighing evidence, how do they accommodate historical evidence of enormously consequential episodes of climate change not produced by human activity? Before wagering vast wealth and curtailments of liberty on correcting the climate, two recent books should be considered.

  • Energy executive: Industry benefits from transparency about fracking fluids

    BY CHRIS FAULKNER | Published: Wed, Jan 7, 2015

    Baker Hughes, an energy firm in Houston, is about to make history. It just pledged to disclose the chemical makeup of its hydraulic fracturing fluid. This decision is revolutionary. In most states, energy companies aren’t required to disclose exactly how they extract oil and gas embedded in underground rock formations. So most keep their fracking “recipes” secret. A budding activist movement is urging regulators to mandate full disclosure. As the CEO of an oil and gas company, most people assume I’m against such a mandate. I’m not. In fact, new regulations requiring increased fracking transparency would be a boon for my industry.

  • Michael Gerson: Are Democrats stuck in 1979?

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Jan 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The passing of Mario Cuomo brought bipartisan tributes appropriate to a rare political figure with a developed inner life. He was Catholic educated, and it showed. How many other politicians grappled with Thomas Aquinas? Even the loser is dignified by such a duel. But the intensity of affection for Cuomo, especially among Democrats of a certain age, comes from his ideological clarity. In the history of American rhetoric, there are orators of national unity such as Martin Luther King Jr. There are orators of national purpose such as John F. Kennedy. Cuomo was an orator of ideological definition. His 1984 keynote at the Democratic National Convention provided progressives with the best version of themselves, as

  • Kathleen Parker: Our bias, ourselves

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Wed, Jan 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Recent events from Ferguson, Mo., to Staten Island, N.Y., might prompt an observer to infer that American cops are racist and that a bigoted white populace tolerates unnecessary lethal force against minorities. One might also conclude that America has a hearty appetite for the carnival barker, the jester, the rabble-rouser, the race baiter and, lest we leave anyone out, the performance-activist who pretends to be a newsman while fomenting unrest that only he can quell. I haven’t yet said Al Sharpton, but if his name came to mind, there must be a reason. In nearly every high-profile case in recent years that involved a black alleged victim and a white alleged perpetrator, Sharpton has injected himself as

  • Oklahoma lawmaker: Editorial misconstrued purpose of bill

    BY STATE SEN., ROB STANDRIDGE | Published: Wed, Jan 7, 2015

    Based on “Hiring proposal carries risk of added bureaucracy” (Our Views, Dec. 25), it seems The Oklahoman has misunderstood my Senate Bill 31. Several constituents expressed concern over state schools Superintendent Janet Barresi making a significant hire to her staff in the waning days of her administration. As the editorial admitted, Barresi’s hiring of the husband of her general counsel smacked of nepotism. Although my legislation doesn’t specifically target the superintendent’s office, and I have intentionally not debated the merits of this particular hire, this incident should be a sad lesson on how government can grow for almost any reason.

  • Cal Thomas: Studying ISIS and ourselves

    By Cal Thomas | Published: Tue, Jan 6, 2015

    The commander of American Special Operations in the Middle East, Major Gen. Michael K. Nagata, is reported to be seeking help in learning why the Islamic State is so dangerous. If he doesn’t know, what does that say about the prospect for victory over these radical terrorists who seek to destroy everyone who disagrees with them? “We do not understand the movement,” the Times quotes Gen. Nagata as saying in confidential minutes of a conference call he held with more than three dozen “experts.” Until we understand it, he said, “we are not going to defeat it. We have not defeated the idea. We do not even understand the idea.

  • Washington Examiner: What to look for in the next president

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Mon, Jan 5, 2015

    WITH 2015 upon us, presidential candidates will begin the quadrennial ritual of crisscrossing the early primary states to make their electoral cases to voters. We aren’t going to pick favorites this early, before we even know who might enter the race, but it’s a good moment to adumbrate principles that will guide us as we evaluate contenders. First and foremost, we will look for a candidate with a demonstrated commitment to protecting and expanding freedom by limiting and reducing the burdens that Washington places on the ability of individuals to live their lives as they choose. We hope the successful candidate will have a record of fighting to reduce the size and scope of government when it comes to taxes, spending, and

  • George F. Will: The senator to watch in 2015

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Standing at the intersection of three foreign policy crises and a perennial constitutional tension, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, may be the senator who matters most in 2015. Without an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) tailored to novel circumstances, America is waging war against an entity without precedent (the Islamic State). Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons during negotiations that should involve congressional duties. And Russia is revising European borders by force and, like Iran, is the object of a U.S. experiment testing the power of economic sanctions to modify a dictator’s behavior.

  • Clarence Page: 'Selma' is a film worth arguing about

    By Clarence Page | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    It is no crushing insult to Ava DuVernay’s ”Selma” that experts dispute its accuracy. In today’s movie culture, accuracy only matters when the movie is worth arguing about Guardians of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s memory are upset that he is portrayed as an obstructionist who had to be persuaded by the brutality of Southern police at the Selma-to-Montgomery protest march into pushing what became the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “In fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea,” Joseph Califano, LBJ’s top domestic affairs assistant, argues in a Washington Post op-ed. LBJ “considered the Voting Rights Act his greatest legislative achievement,” Califano writes, “he viewed King as an essential partner in getting it enacted —

  • Western Governors University: High-quality, low-cost college for Oklahomans

    BY BRANDON DUTCHER, AND FRANK KEATING | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    As Oklahoma lawmakers begin their annual wrestling match with the state budget, they have an opportunity to consider innovative and more efficient ways to deliver basic services. One such innovation, Western Governors University, was created 17 years ago by a bipartisan group of governors in the western United States. All agreed that the focus must be on uncompromised excellence with a special focus on science, technology, English and math. And that’s what was done. Today, WGU students are pursuing online degrees in education, business, information technology and health fields. “WGU does not receive any state government subsidy and is totally dependent on student tuition for funding,” says Vance Fried, a research

  • Michael Gerson: Clear choice, or clear trauma?

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Sat, Jan 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON — One outcome of and proof for ideological polarization is the way it has made stalwarts appear like centrists. In what world is Hillary Clinton — feminist heroine, author of Hillarycare, sworn enemy of the vast right-wing conspiracy — not progressive enough? In what parallel universe is Jeb Bush — a tax-slashing, school voucher-supporting, pro-gun former Southern governor — some kind of moderate? George Wallace, who managed to be foolish on an amazing variety of topics, claimed there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties. It wasn’t really true in 1968. It is dramatically less true today. The political parties have sorted themselves both regionally and

  • Express VP: Skills, experience help lead to higher wages

    BY DAVID LEWIS | Published: Sat, Jan 3, 2015

    On Jan. 1, 21 states raised their minimum wage. These increases will affect an estimated 2.4 million workers, resulting in pay averaging $8 per hour and as high as $9.15 per hour — far above the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. President Barack Obama supports a bill to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, while some labor activists are calling for the fast-food industry to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour. Minimum wage advocates have a simple argument, a call for people to make more money. This argument enjoys universal support. But mandating private companies to pay artificially higher prices comes at a cost. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the labor force

  • Kathleen Parker: The joke's on us

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — A writer seeking profound pronouncements for a year-end column is likely instead to find herself awash in punchlines. Life isn’t a comedy. It’s a joke. Hey, did you hear the one about North Korea hacking Sony and threatening to blow up movie theaters that showed the film? Joke, right? No, wait. It wasn’t North Korea, it was the Russians! No, wait, it wasn’t the Russians, it was a disaffected former staffer. No, wait, it was … Lizard Squad. And that’s no joke. So goes the latest chapter in a whodunit saga of comic proportions. Life isn’t a comedy after all. It’s a comic book. And the whole Sony episode is a perfect metaphor for 2014.

  • Paul Greenberg: Happy Old Year!

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    What a year 2015 has been. It’s seen the greatest outbreak of freedom since 1989, that annus mirabilis, year of wonders, when freedom was breaking out the world over. First the Iron Curtain collapsed, to be followed shortly thereafter by the implosion of the late and unlamented Soviet Union — and not just the Cold War was over but the dangerous, decades-long nuclear arms race with it. Those of us who had grown up with the occasionally hot Cold War as a permanent fixture of the daily news could scarcely believe this brave new world opening all ‘round us.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Nylons for nothing

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty our B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love bomb them into freedom. We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors. The logic behind President Obama’s Cuba normalization, assuming there is one, is the nylon strategy. We tried 50 years of