Top Stories

  • Michael Gerson: The divided states of Obama

    Published: Thu, Jul 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The headline — “Poll: Obama Worst President Since World War II” — was both provocative and misleading. The Quinnipiac survey did, indeed, place President Obama at the top of the worst since FDR. But this was largely a measure of partisan concentration. Republicans were united in their unfavorable historical judgment of Obama. Democrats divided their votes (and would insist, I’d imagine, that they have more options to choose from). We already know that Obama is a highly polarizing figure. But beneath the headline, the poll identified serious problems for the president. Fifty-four percent of respondents said the Obama administration is “not competent running the government.” (Shout-out to

  • Positive Tomorrows president: Third-grade retention won't solve the reading problem in Oklahoma

    BY SUSAN AGEL | Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    According to “OKC district to promote 514 third-graders who failed test” (News, July 2), Oklahoma City Public Schools will retain 636 third-graders next year because they failed the state reading test and don’t qualify for exemptions. Statistics reported in April show that 31 percent of third-graders in Oklahoma failed the test. When you look at how individual school districts did, it’s clear that districts with the highest numbers of poor children are those with the highest failure rates. To be fair, some poor households raise children who are well-prepared for academic success. However, strong families in poverty are rare due to problems such as little family support, addiction and mental health issues.

  • Ruth Marcus: Hillary Clinton's lawyerly past

    Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON — It should not be necessary to write this column. Lawyers represent clients. Criminal defense lawyers represent clients accused of crimes — sometimes horrible, evil clients accused of heinous crimes. It is the ethical and professional responsibility of these lawyers to defend those clients as vigorously as possible. Sometimes such representation results in less than perfectly just results. As Justice Benjamin Cardozo famously put it, the criminal goes free because the constable has blundered. That is the way — the only way — an adversary system of criminal justice can function. End of story, or it would be, except that the decades-old criminal case at issue here involves Hillary Clinton.

  • AARP Oklahoma president: New law will help older Oklahomans, family caregivers

    BY MARJORIE LYONS | Published: Wed, Jul 9, 2014

    By signing Senate Bill 1536, informally known as the CARE (Caregiver Advise, Record & Enable) Act, Gov. Mary Fallin has helped thousands of older Oklahomans and family caregivers. And for that, I want to say “thank you.” SB 1536, which will become law in November, is one of the most important accomplishments of this legislative session. It’s a simple idea that patients should be allowed to designate a caregiver when they’re admitted to the hospital and those caregivers should be notified and consulted on how to care for patients after they go home. As a retired nurse and a former caregiver, I know firsthand how this new law will help many older Oklahomans continue to live independently in their own homes.

  • Washington Examiner: Part-time job growth one constant in U.S. economy

    Published: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    LAST month, the Commerce Department reported that the U.S. economy sharply contracted during the first quarter of 2014. Then on July 3, Commerce reported a gain of 288,000 jobs for June, the fifth-largest monthly increase of President Obama’s tenure. Perhaps things are finally improving. Or perhaps there’s something ugly beneath the surface. The Labor Department’s household survey reveals that the economy lost 523,000 full-time jobs in June. At the same time, it gained an astounding 799,000 part-time jobs — the largest such monthly jump in two decades. Part-time jobs now top 28 million for the first time since last July. This shift to part-time labor is an echo from June 2013, when the economy added 360,000 part-time

  • Jules Witcover: On Iraq, Obama damned if he does, damned if he doesn't

    Published: Tue, Jul 8, 2014

    WASHINGTON — President Obama’s decision to send another 200 U.S. troops to Baghdad to secure the American Embassy and the airport there could be called a victory of reality over wishful thinking — the notion that the Iraq crisis could be resolved without more U.S. boots on the ground. The term usually refers to soldiers in combat, but any American military in uniform is at risk, so the distinction isn’t likely to mean much to critics of the war at home. The action raises the total to a reported 775, plus another 300 sent as trainers for Iraqi military striving to turn back the Islamist insurgents controlling cities north of Baghdad. This subsidiary role is carefully stipulated; their mission is not to join the

  • George F. Will: The court's indespensable role

    Published: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Two 5-4 decisions last week on the final decision day of the Supreme Court’s term dealt with issues that illustrate the legal consequences of political tactics by today’s progressives. One case demonstrated how progressivism’s achievement, the regulatory state, manufactures social strife, and can do so in ways politically useful to progressives. The other case arose from government coercion used to conscript unwilling citizens into funding the progressives’ party. Under the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, any government action that substantially burdens religious practices will be subject to strict judicial scrutiny to determine if it, rather than some less intrusive measure, is necessary to achieve a

  • Oklahoma treasurer: More common sense needed in fiscal policymaking

    BY KEN MILLER | Published: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    Two years ago I penned a column titled “Stop the Madness.” I called on the Legislature to inject common sense into the budget process by replacing short-term tactics with long-term strategies. By that measure, this year’s budget is still a bit mad. Sure, there were sound financial accomplishments, such as creating a defined contribution plan for new state employees, funding needed repairs to the state Capitol and better prioritization.

  • Ruth Marcus: Driven to independence

    Published: Sun, Jul 6, 2014

    WASHINGTON — This was a bittersweet Independence Day for me. Not the Fourth of July. In our family, the weekend ushered in a different sort of independence: our second, and last, child received her driver’s license. After almost 20 years, my husband and I are free at last — from the childhood schlepping to playdates and religious school and violin lessons, the teenagers’ treks to friends’ houses and the mall. Now what do we do? Now how will we know what they are thinking? The relationship between child and car is both a microcosm of and metaphor for the experience of parenthood.

  • Cal Thomas: America's DNA: The Federalist Papers

    Published: Sat, Jul 5, 2014

    There are many ways to lose freedom — conquering armies, surrendering without a fight. Unfortunately, we are currently surrendering our freedom, not to a foreign power, but to our own government. The growth, reach, and cost of big government is happening before our eyes and eroding our liberty, largely because too many Americans are not familiar with the brilliant system of government our Founders established. Progressives prefer a “living Constitution,” which is constantly changing to conform to their ideology. What it is not is the Constitution established by the Founders. In a comprehensive publication, “The Roots of Liberty: Unlocking the Federalist Papers,” edited by Scott D. Cosenza and Claire M.

  • USDA partnership program to benefit conservation

    BY TOM VILSACK, AND DAVE NOMSEN | Published: Sat, Jul 5, 2014

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, an effort that will expand partnerships and boost investments in clean water, soil and wildlife conservation projects. The concept behind the program is simple: to feed a growing global population in the face of climate change, we must ask a lot of our land and water resources. Across America’s heartland, native prairie and grasslands are essential habitat for pheasant, quail and a variety of other wildlife species. At the same time, working lands face frequent flooding and ponding in the north and prolonged drought and aquifer decline in the Ogallala Aquifer.

  • Oklahoma lawmaker: After Common Core repeal, state must choose a course and stick with it

    BY STATE REP. ANN COODY | Published: Sat, Jul 5, 2014

    While I disagree with the repeal of Common Core, I know that Gov. Mary Fallin and my colleagues in the Legislature remain committed to providing the best possible education for our children — and will work hard to ensure Oklahoma’s future standards will equip students with the skills they need to be successful in the 21st century. Now that the repeal bill has been signed into law, where do we go from here? How do we ensure that our students get the high-quality, rigorous standards that we so desperately need? For starters, we must ensure that the academic standards we develop over the next two years will far exceed the PASS standards that Oklahoma will reinstate in the interim.

  • Paul Greenberg: Howard Baker, man in the middle

    Published: Fri, Jul 4, 2014

    The news that Howard Baker had passed at the age of 88 set off a kaleidoscopic swirl of memories, impressions, recollections and reflections — so many it was surprising, for he was not a particularly memorable politician, and certainly not a colorful one. On the contrary, Baker’s great strength was an ability to meld into the background, to mediate between the political stars of his time, to serve rather than lead, always the man in the middle, the one in the background when a president signs a bill into law, the chief of staff and not the chief executive. Winston Churchill once described his rival Clement Attlee as “a modest man with much to be modest about.

  • Oklahoma college president: All Americans owe debt of gratitude to Greens

    BY EVERETT PIPER | Published: Fri, Jul 4, 2014

    All Oklahomans, indeed all Americans, owe David and Barbara Green their gratitude. The First Amendment is unequivocal: “Congress shall make no law… prohibiting the free exercise of religion.” Who can dispute that questions of sexual behavior are religious in nature and that a given religion’s adherents are, and always have been, obligated to a specific moral code of conduct? Who can deny that questions of birth control have, likewise, been guided by “religious conclusions” for several millennia? It should embolden all people of all faiths (and even those of no faith) to have the U.S.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: A 'narrow' decision from the narrow-minded

    Published: Fri, Jul 4, 2014

    Relax. This is not a slippery slope. So Justices Samuel Alito writing for the majority and Anthony Kennedy writing in concurrence, take pains to assure us in the wake of the Supreme Court’s latest disastrous decision. The same august tribunal that gutted the Voting Rights Act and opened the doors for unlimited money from unknown sources to flood the political arena now strikes its latest blow against reason and individual rights. By the 5-4 margin that has become an all-too-familiar hallmark of a sharply divided court in sharply divided times, justices ruled Monday that “closely held” corporations (i.e.

  • George F. Will: Curse of judicial minimalism

    Published: Thu, Jul 3, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Even when Supreme Court decisions are unanimous, the justices can be fiercely divided about fundamental matters, as was demonstrated by two 9-0 rulings last week. One overturned a Massachusetts law restricting speech near abortion clinics. The other invalidated recess appointments that President Obama made when the Senate said it was not in recess. In the first, four justices who concurred in the result rejected the majority’s reasoning because it minimized the law’s constitutional offense.

  • Michael Gerson: On Iraq, difficult choices

    Published: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The summary moment of Barack Obama’s foreign policy came in August 2013 during a consequential stroll. Walking on the South Lawn of the White House with his chief of staff, Obama effectively canceled air strikes against the Syrian regime, which had used chemical weapons on civilians in defiance of an American “red line.” With a deference usually unexpressed on domestic matters, Obama decided to request congressional permission for the use of force — raising a hurdle he seemed reluctant to clear. On the verge of (predictable) congressional defeat, he accepted a face-saving deal, brokered by Russia, which protected the Bashar al-Assad regime in exchange for its surrender of chemical weapons.

  • Ruth Marcus: Life experience and judging

    Published: Wed, Jul 2, 2014

    Today’s topic: Hobby Lobby decision

  • Washington Examiner: U.S. workers deserve simpler, fairer tax structure

    Published: Tue, Jul 1, 2014

    A new Tax Foundation analysis of workers’ tax burdens in the 34 countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows that 31.3 percent of the average American worker’s wages go to federal taxes — $16,658 on average in 2013, with $8,196 of that going toward individual income taxes and $8,462 in payroll taxes from both employers and employees. This puts the United States below the OECD average of 36 percent. But it remains troubling that despite economies of scale, technological efficiency and the fact that America’s corner of the world is relatively safe from major military invasions, the U.S. government lays an effective tax rate on labor about 50 percent higher than Israel’s and South Korea’s,

  • OKC attorney: Supreme Court decision helps restore constitutional balance

    BY JASON REESE | Published: Sun, Jun 29, 2014

    In a groundbreaking decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that three of President Barck Obama’s appointments to the National Labor Relations Board are invalid. By doing so, the court placed limits on presidential power regarding recess appointments in the future. The court, in a unanimous decision, ruled that a president may only make such appointments when the Senate is in recess for 10 or more days. The four conservative members of the court thought the decision should go further, nearly eliminating the recess appointment power, as had a lower court. The Constitution requires Senate approval of many presidential nominations.