Top Stories


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • George F. Will: What's in a name?

    Published: Sun, Jun 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo who successfully moved a federal agency to withdraw trademark protections from the Washington Redskins because it considers the team’s name derogatory, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins. She opposes this name; the Native Americans who picked and retain it evidently do not. The Patent and Trademark Office acted on a 1946 law banning trademarks that “may disparage” persons. “May” gives the agency latitude to disregard evidence regarding how many people actually feel disparaged, or feel that others should feel disparaged. Blackhorse speaks of “the majority of Native American people who have spoken out on this.

  • OU student leader: Lawmakers to blame for rising cost of tuition

    BY MATT EPTING | Published: Sat, Jun 28, 2014

    This week the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents approved a proposal to increase costs on students by an average of 4.8 percent. Resident undergraduates enrolled in 15 hours will see their tuition and fees increase by $268.50 per semester. Nonresidents will see an uptick of $561. While I commend the regents and especially OU President David Boren for their efforts to mitigate the effects of a state funding shortfall, let’s be perfectly clear about who’s responsible for this cost increase: the state’s elected officials. The governor’s initial budget would have cut funding for higher education by a devastating 5 percent. Thanks to the tireless efforts of advocates like Boren, this cut was reduced to zero in the

  • Paul Greenberg: June 28, 1914: Armageddon, Act I

    Published: Sat, Jun 28, 2014

    It started as a day like any other a hundred years ago, but before it was out, it would have ushered in a century of war, revolution, terror and mass murder like no other. For today, June 28th, is a dark centennial. It’s the 100th anniversary of the day the world ended, or at least the ever more progressive world that was almost taken for granted back then. For every day in every way we were getting better and better! Till it was only a matter of time till before we were the best! The future beckoned like a golden dream. A dream made of fool’s gold. Today, June 28th, is the unbelievable day the dream would start to turn into dust and ashes — and blood.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Government by fiat

    Published: Fri, Jun 27, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court this week admonished the Environmental Protection Agency for overreaching in regulating greenhouse gases. The Clean Air Act covers polluters that emit 250 tons per year (or in some cases, 100 tons). This standard makes no sense if applied to greenhouse gases. Thousands of establishments from elementary schools to grocery stores would be, absurdly, covered. So the EPA arbitrarily chose 100,000 tons as the carbon dioxide threshold. That’s not “tailoring,” ruled the Supreme Court. That’s rewriting. Under our Constitution, “an agency has no power to ‘tailor’ legislation to bureaucratic policy goals by rewriting unambiguous statutory terms.” It was a welcome constitutional lesson in

  • David Ignatius: A terrorist with gang-leader charisma

    Published: Fri, Jun 27, 2014

    WASHINGTON — A glimpse of the passionate loyalty inspired by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the insurgent group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, comes in a recent video made by a 20-year-old Muslim recruit from the British city of Cardiff, Wales. “We understand no borders,” says the young man, identified as Nasser Muthana, a recruit who apparently joined ISIS about eight months ago. “We have participated in battles in (Syria) and in a few days we will go to Iraq and will fight them, and will even go to Lebanon and Jordan, wherever our sheik (Baghdadi) wants to send us.” “Send us, we are your sharp arrows. Throw us at your enemies, wherever they may be,” pledges the young man to Baghdadi on the

  • Ruth Marcus: One woman turned off by legal marijuana

    Published: Fri, Jun 27, 2014

    BETHESDA, Md. — From her perch as head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nora Volkow watches anxiously as the country embarks on what she sees as a risky social experiment in legalizing marijuana. For those who argue that marijuana is no more dangerous than tobacco and alcohol, Volkow has two main answers: We don’t entirely know, and, simultaneously, that is precisely the point. “Look at the evidence,” Volkow said in an interview on the National Institutes of Health campus here, pointing to the harms already inflicted by tobacco and alcohol. “It’s not subtle — it’s huge. Legal drugs are the main problem that we have in our country as it relates to morbidity and mortality. By far. Many more people die of

  • Washington Examiner: What Hillary doesn't get about wealth in America

    Published: Thu, Jun 26, 2014

    FORMER Secretary of State and presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was challenged in an interview published over the weekend by the British Guardian newspaper to establish her credibility — as a multimillionaire — on the issue of income inequality. Clinton responded that those concerned with the topic “don’t see me as part of the problem ... because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.” Clinton’s repeated clumsy comments about the wealth she and the former president have accumulated since leaving the White House in 2000 raises doubts about her political skills should she run for

  • George F. Will: Mississippi votes its appetite

    Published: Thu, Jun 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Chris McDaniel, 41, the flawed paladin of the tea party persuasion who in Mississippi’s Republican Senate primary failed to wrest the nomination from the faltering hands of six-term incumbent Thad Cochran, 76, came into politics after a stint in talk radio. There practitioners do not live by the axiom that you don’t have to explain something you never said, and McDaniel had some explaining to do about some of his more colorful broadcast opinions and phrases, which may have given a number of voters pause about whether he is quite senatorial, whatever that means nowadays. Also, Democrats and independents who had not voted in the Democrat’s primary could vote in the Republican’s.

  • Jules Witcover: A black hole in U.S. history

    Published: Wed, Jun 25, 2014

    WASHINGTON — When historians get around to appraising the start of the new century, what will they say about it? If circumstances continue as they have been, the period may well be deemed a deep black hole in the political life of this country. From the disputatious presidential election of 2000, in which the supposedly nonpolitical Supreme Court stepped in to decide the winner, to the brutal terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, to the unwarranted U.S. invasion of Iraq and its disastrous aftermath, to the Great Recession at home and now the of the disintegration of the American-backed regime in Iraq, the last nearly 14 years have witnessed a woeful stall in the American dream. At the very least, the two

  • Michael Gerson: An arrogant and lawless IRS

    Published: Wed, Jun 25, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Noted management expert and IRS Commissioner John Koskinen was apparently called out of retirement — like the Ted Williams of evasive, unapologetic bureaucrats — to destroy what is left of his agency’s credibility. At immediate issue is two years of subpoenaed emails from former IRS official Lois Lerner to outside agencies, lost in a convenient computer crash. The possible involvement of other agencies is one focus of a congressional investigation into the heightened IRS scrutiny of conservative nonprofit groups before the 2012 election.

  • U.S. Chamber official: Thoughts with Oklahoma students following rejection of Common Core

    BY CHERYL OLDHAM | Published: Wed, Jun 25, 2014

    Oklahoma recently scrapped the Common Core standards after a storm of political pressure from a small but vocal anti-Common Core movement that calls the standards “a federal overreach.” Now, despite strong objection from educators, military families, institutions of higher learning, the civil rights community and the business community, Oklahoma will revert to its old standards, known as Oklahoma Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS). This is troubling because the PASS standards don’t have the best track record when it comes to effectiveness in Oklahoma’s classrooms. According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 30 percent of fourth-graders in Oklahoma are proficient in reading, while just 36 percent are proficient