• Property rights official: It's time for wind industry to stand on its own in Oklahoma

    BY FRANK ROBSON | Published: Fri, Feb 13, 2015

    Oklahoma faces a budget shortfall of at least $300 million that could easily exceed $500 million. Yet we’re blowing up to $193 million annually on subsidies for industrial wind companies. That money would be better spent funding core government services such as education. The Legislature is considering several bills to address the way this state subsidizes and regulates industrial wind companies. Key proposals would: Gradually reduce the amount of zero-emissions tax subsidies for new industrial wind facilities and require approval by the Legislature to reauthorize in 2020. Establish a $6 million statewide cap for the zero-emissions tax subsidy. Prevent industrial wind facilities from double-dipping on

  • George Will: The Mike Pence paradox

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Feb 12, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Although he is always preternaturally placid, Mike Pence today exemplifies a Republican conundrum. Sitting recently 24 blocks from Capitol Hill, where he served six terms as a congressman, and eight blocks from the White House, which some Republicans hope he craves, Pence, now in his third year as Indiana’s governor, discussed two issues, Common Core and Medicaid expansion, that illustrate the following: Today’s president, whose prior governmental experience was meager and entirely legislative, probably has strengthened voters’ normal preference for actual executives — governors rather than legislators — as chief executives. Governors actually govern, which means continually making choices and compromises.

  • Ruth Marcus: Close call, but Brian Williams must go

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Indecision may not be the best quality in a columnist, but in the case of NBC anchor Brian Williams, that’s where I find myself: I think he needs to step down. My hesitation has two components. The first is simple human compassion. Williams seems like a nice guy, with an endearing capacity for self-deprecation in unexpected venues. Those who are enjoying his predicament must be more certain than I am about their own infallibility. Kicking people when they’re up is a lot more sporting than when they’re in a fetal crouch. The second, which gives me far more pause and necessitates the antiquated practice of trial before sentencing, is the essential mystery of memory. We may sincerely believe what did not

  • Education officials: Collaboration paying off for students, OKC community

    BY DON BETZ, PAUL SECHRIST, AND ROB NEU | Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    In “2- and 4-year schools have important bond” (Point of View, Jan. 30), Gene Budig and Alan Heaps point out the importance of two- and four-year colleges working together to improve educational attainment for students. One example of this kind of collaboration is the work being done at Oklahoma City Community College and the University of Central Oklahoma. They have partnered with Oklahoma City Public Schools to find ways to assist students in moving from high school to college and beyond.

  • Retired psychologist: Funding mental health, substance abuse services is worthwhile

    BY ELLEN R. OAKES | Published: Wed, Feb 11, 2015

    I’m deeply concerned by “Justice reform may get costly” (News, Jan. 19). Funding to support mental health facilities and the drug courts may be cut until yet another committee evaluates the benefits to Oklahoma. The new committee has a two-year period to study the issue. Drug courts have been proven to be worthwhile by saving substantial amounts of taxpayer money when compared with the cost of incarceration in our overcrowded prisons. State Rep. Bobby Cleveland commented in The Oklahoman last August that after a careful study of Cleveland County courts, Oklahoma would be wise to continue and even expand its investment in the mental health program. Cleveland said the program has the potential to save the state $17,600 per

  • Jules Witcover: Brian Williams' fib and credibility in the anchor chair

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Tue, Feb 10, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Back during the Vietnam War, CBS news anchorman Walter Cronkite was judged in the polls to be “the most trusted man in America” for his straightforward nightly reports. When he went to Vietnam and returned saying the war was “mired in stalemate,” it was widely reported that President Lyndon Johnson had observed, “If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost Middle America” — or some variation thereof. The problem was there was never any evidence that LBJ, in Texas at the time attending a dinner, ever heard the Cronkite broadcast or made the comment. But the story has lived, more as a verification of Cronkite’s unshakable credibility than of Johnson’s alleged defeatist observation.

  • George Will: Education is the business of the states

    By George F. Will | Published: Sun, Feb 8, 2015

    WASHINGTON — In 1981, Tennessee’s 41-year-old governor proposed to President Ronald Reagan a swap: Washington would fully fund Medicaid and the states would have complete responsibility for primary and secondary education. Reagan, a former governor, was receptive. But Democrats, who controlled the House and were beginning to be controlled by teachers unions (the largest, the National Education Association, had bartered its first presidential endorsement, of Jimmy Carter, for creation of the Department of Education) balked. In 1992, the former Tennessee governor was President George H.W. Bush’s secretary of education. He urged Bush to veto proposed legislation to expand federal involvement in K-through-12 education.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: The Secret Knowledge, just ignorance by another name

    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | Published: Sun, Feb 8, 2015

    Vaccine myths provide an example

  • Philanthropist: Oklahoma deserves better than what some legislators are providing

    BY LYNN SCHUSTERMAN | Published: Sun, Feb 8, 2015

    Imagine living in a state where businesses can legally refuse to serve people based on their sexual orientation. Where parents can force their children to undergo conversion therapy to “cure” them of their “homosexual tendencies.” Where state officials can be prosecuted for carrying out their oath of office by issuing same-sex marriage licenses. If you think this couldn’t happen in the 21st century, think again. These are proposed bills that await legislative action as Oklahoma lawmakers go back into session this month. At present, Oklahoma has the highest number of anti-civil rights bills targeting one particular group since the height of the civil rights movement.

  • Consumer group director: Oklahoma AG's investigation is a necessary step

    BY WILL COGGIN | Published: Sat, Feb 7, 2015

    In 2009, the American Institute of Philanthropy named an Oklahoma-based organization the “Most Outrageous Charity in America.” Now, another charity behaving badly, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), is making headlines in Oklahoma for all the wrong reasons: suing Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Last year, Pruitt opened an inquiry into HSUS fundraising practices based on concerns that HSUS was using deceptive advertisements. Even after being granted several time extensions to produce requested documents, HSUS is suing and stonewalling instead of cooperating with law enforcement. HSUS only gives 1 percent of its budget to pet shelters; the organization doesn’t run a single shelter of its own.

  • Clarence Page: Can college kids take a joke?

    By Clarence Page | Published: Sat, Feb 7, 2015

    Chris Rock has stopped performing on college campuses, he said in a recent interview, because college audiences are getting “way too conservative.” “Not like they’re voting Republican,” he said in an interview with Frank Rich published in Vulture. “But in their social views and their willingness not to offend anybody.” Could Rock be right? I find the possibility disturbing, since I enjoy topical humor. I marvel at comedians as varied as Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Dick Gregory, Freddie Prinze and Joan Rivers who managed to make us laugh about race, gender, religion, ethnicity and politics while dancing on the edges of our touchiness. But Rock detects a new uptightness in today’s

  • Kathleen Parker: Seeking a vaccine for ignorance

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Flashback: Galileo is under house arrest pondering the unyielding ignorance of The Church for refusing to consider his heliocentric proposition that the Earth circled the sun. We find this historical anecdote preposterous today, but people were persecuted for lesser heresies in Galileo’s time. Though we are now centuries removed from such dim-wittery, we find ourselves in a not-dissimilar pickle. After decades free of many crippling and deadly diseases thanks to the miracle of vaccines, some people are skeptical. Parents fearful of side effects, often on account of anecdotal evidence or discredited studies, are reluctant to vaccinate their children. Marin County, Calif.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Does the barbarism have a logic?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Why did they do it? What did the Islamic State think it could possibly gain by burning alive a captured Jordanian pilot? I wouldn’t underestimate the absence of logic, the sheer depraved thrill of a triumphant cult reveling in its barbarism. But I wouldn’t overestimate it either. You don’t overrun much of Syria and Iraq without having deployed keen tactical and strategic reasoning. So what’s the objective? To destabilize Jordan by drawing it deeply into the conflict. At first glance, this seems to make no sense. The savage execution has mobilized Jordan against the Islamic State and given it solidarity and unity of purpose. Yes, for now. But what about six months hence? Solidarity and

  • University president: Potentially high price for 'free' college education

    BY EVERETT PIPER | Published: Fri, Feb 6, 2015

    T.S. Eliot once said that in choosing one definition of education over another “we are attracted to the one because it fits better with our answer to the question: What is man for?” Our educational paradigms flow directly from the biases we hold concerning the very definitions of who we are, why we’re here and what we’re obligated to do about it. If, for example, you believe that we’re mere fleshy bags of biology and nothing but the products of happenstance and chance, then your view of education will likely take on a certain utilitarian hue.

  • Washington Examiner: New budget, but same entitlement deceptions from Obama

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Thu, Feb 5, 2015

    FIGURES don’t lie, the old expression goes, but liars most certainly do figure. Unfortunately, when it comes to federal budget numbers, this adage fails to capture how deep numerical and statistical deceptions can go in Washington. Both budget figures and the public figures who hold high-profile government jobs are capable of misleading the public. This week, with Monday’s release of President Obama’s new fiscal 2016 budget, they are both doing so simultaneously. One deception involves the Social Security program, whose shaky finances Democrats once relied upon to scare senior citizens into voting for them. The trust fund for Social Security’s retirement program, as is well known, has only about 20 years of solvency

  • George Will: Defining economic failure down

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Feb 5, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Two phrases that Daniel Patrick Moynihan put into America’s political lexicon two decades ago are increasingly pertinent. They explain the insufficient dismay about recent economic numbers. Moynihan said that when deviant behaviors — e.g., violent crime, or births to unmarried women — reach a certain level, society soothes itself by “defining deviancy down.” It de-stigmatizes the behaviors by declaring them normal. And sometimes, Moynihan said, social problems are the result of “iatrogenic government.” In medicine, an iatrogenic ailment is inadvertently induced by a physician or medicine; in social policy, iatrogenic problems are caused by government. When the economy grew by just 2.

  • Michael Gerson: The public good versus individual freedom

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The measles outbreak at California’s Disneyland, which has spread like pixie dust, along with several other smaller flare-ups, has health officials warning of worse to come. Preventable infectious disease is making its return to the developed world — this time by invitation. The scientific consensus on measles is effectively unanimous: (1) It is not trivial. Children with measles can get seriously ill, and there is chance of complications such as middle ear infections, pneumonia and encephalitis. (2) Measles is highly transmissible — one of the easiest viruses to get or give. (3) The measles vaccine is highly effective — one of the most successful against any virus or microbe. I’ll turn “(4)” over

  • E.J. Dionne: Why Obama's budget matters

    By E.J. Dionne | Published: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    It should begin a debate

  • OCAST director: An opportunity for Oklahoma

    BY MICHAEL CAROLINA | Published: Wed, Feb 4, 2015

    Oklahomans have watched the dramatic decline of energy prices over the past few months with a sense of uncertainty. How low will oil prices go? When will the free fall end? And how will it affect Oklahoma’s economy? Whatever impact the decline of energy prices has on the fiscal 2016 budget, it just might present an opportunity for Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (OCAST) and its strategic partners, the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance, i2E Inc., and OSU’s New Product Development Center, are working to create high-paying, STEM-based jobs in diverse areas such as aerospace, biotechnology, software, agriculture and support services for Oklahoma’s energy industry.

  • George F. Will: A season of wretched excess

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Feb 1, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Beer, Benjamin Franklin supposedly said but almost certainly didn’t, is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Without cannonballing into deep theological waters, perhaps Deflategate proves the same thing. This scrumptious NFL pratfall — think of someone insufferably self-important stepping on a banana peel; hello, Donald Trump — has come to lighten the mood of America’s annual Wretched Excess Season. It consists of the days — this year, 12 of them — between the State of the Union address and the final merciful tick of the clock of the Super Bowl. The State of the Union has become, under presidents of both parties, a political pep rally degrading to everyone. The judiciary and uniformed