• OK Policy director: Don't feed misconceptions about food stamp program

    BY DAVID BLATT | Published: Fri, Jul 17, 2015

    The Oklahoma Republican Party recently ignited a firestorm with a Facebook post pointing out a so-called irony of signs in national parks warning that feeding animals can create dependence on handouts at a time when a growing number of Americans are receiving federal food stamp benefits. The post, which was later deleted, displayed a callous and mistaken understanding of the food stamp program and the people it serves. The program, now known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, is among the most effective ways that the United States helps hard-pressed families to stay afloat and ensues they can afford enough to eat.

  • Cal Thomas: There should be no sanctuary from the law

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Thu, Jul 16, 2015

    According to The Wall Street Journal, the last serious attempt to count the number of federal criminal laws appears to have been made in 1982 by a retired Justice Department official named Ronald Gainer. He failed, but the estimate then was "...50 titles and 23,000 pages of federal law." Many more laws have been added since then. One thing is certain: If you violate federal law you are likely to be punished with a fine, imprisonment or both. These laws are supposed to apply to everyone, unless, it seems, you are an illegal alien living in San Francisco, or any of the other sanctuary cities around the country.

  • Michael Gerson: Obama plays the lottery in the Middle East

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Jul 15, 2015

    WASHINGTON — As the world and the U.S. Congress examine the Iran deal's fine print, the strategic large print is clear enough. "Obama wants this (deal) as a centerpiece of his legacy," an anonymous American diplomat is quoted, "and he believes a peaceful Iran could be a bulwark against ISIS in the Middle East and the key to peace there." The determination to engage enemies is a hallmark of Obama's foreign policy. With Iran, as with Cuba, he hopes to upend old strategies of isolation and sanctions, drawing rivals into a web of cooperation that ends up improving their behavior. It is Obama's version of regime change — the nonviolent advance of rational, modern norms because they are, well,

  • Road-building industry official: Additional funding will help Oklahoma

    BY BOBBY STEM | Published: Wed, Jul 15, 2015

    Recent rains and flooding across Oklahoma amplified the need for long-term road and bridge funding. As we are seeing, in an instant, Mother Nature can quickly change our course. However, the question at the center of this issue should always be, Shouldn’t long-term funding for roads and bridges always be a top priority? Short-term road repairs add costs and more waste on the taxpayer dime. We need to quit putting a Band-Aid on a wound that needs stitches. This method will not fix long-term infrastructure problems and is not an efficient use of our resources. A greater focus on our highways will help strengthen the U.S. economy and reduce traffic congestion, paving the road for progress — literally.

  • Ex-convict: President Obama won't get real sense of prison life during visit

    BY CHANDRA BOZELKO | Published: Wed, Jul 15, 2015

    Scheduled visits like Thursday’s trip to the El Reno federal prison by President Barack Obama are no way to see what’s really happening in a prison. The element of surprise is essential in investigating — and arresting — systematic corruption or incompetence. It’s why the Drug Enforcement Agency popped in on NFL doctors as teams rode away from stadiums last fall as part of an investigation into illegal prescription drug use. And why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other health inspectors, jump on cruise ships and into restaurants to make sure they are clean. Advance notice enables destruction of evidence. Prisons are palaces of pretext most of the time, but more so when someone important dips

  • Kathleen Parker: A new day in South Carolina

    KATHLEEN PARKER The Washington Post Writers Group | Updated: Tue, Jul 14, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The past may not be past, as William Faulkner once put it. But it sure seems to be leaving. As I watched the broadcast of the Confederate battle flag being brought down from its post on the South Carolina Statehouse grounds Friday morning, my thoughts went to Gen. Robert E. Lee, who surely would have raised a toast to this new day. Yes, you read correctly. The renowned general who surrendered the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in 1865 was no fan of the flag after the war. Not only did he encourage his fellow Confederates to furl their flags, he didn't want any displayed at his funeral. None was.

  • George Will: Roberts v. Willett

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Today's most interesting debate about governance concerns a 110-year-old Supreme Court decision. Two participants in this debate are the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court and a justice on the Supreme Court of Texas. The latter is trouncing the former. In his same-sex marriage dissent, John Roberts repeatedly denounced, with more animus than understanding, the U.S. Supreme Court's 1905 Lochner decision. In a recent opinion concerning occupational licensing in Texas, Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court demonstrates why America urgently needs many judicial decisions as wise as Lochner. An 1895 New York law limited the hours bakers could

  • Leonard Pitts: The silencing of Bill Cosby, public moralist

    Leonard Pitts Jr. Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sun, Jul 12, 2015

    You might have missed the irony. If so, it would be easy to understand. Last week's bulletin about accused serial rapist Bill Cosby was sensational enough that one might be forgiven for failing to notice one of its more subtle facets. As you no doubt already know, a federal judge sided with The Associated Press, which had sought release of a deposition in a 2005 civil case brought against Cosby by a woman named Andrea Constand who accused him of drugging and sexually assaulting her. In his sworn testimony, he admitted to obtaining seven prescriptions for Quaaludes in the 1970s, with the intention of giving them to women he wanted to have sex with.

  • Clarence Page: Race and Rick Perry

    Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sat, Jul 11, 2015

    I applaud Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry's call for the Grand Old Party to patch up its differences with African-Americans, among other voters of color. Although I eagerly wait to hear how he would follow up his words with deeds, lip service is better than no service at all. The former Texas governor's olive branch offers a welcome counterpoint to billionaire Donald Trump's dangerous depictions of marauding immigrants flowing across the border to rape, pillage and steal jobs from hard-working Americans. Perry's no softy on border security issues. A year ago, for example, he sent a 1,000-troop National Guard surge to the border when thousands of unaccompanied

  • OKC attorney: Fairness is lacking with cap on damages

    BY LUKE ABEL | Published: Sat, Jul 11, 2015

    As one of the attorneys who represented Todd Beason, I felt compelled to respond to “Case offers example of sound lawsuit reform” (Our Views, July 9). After hearing all the facts, a jury of Oklahomans returned a verdict for Beason in the amount of $14 million. The verdict was then reduced by the court to $9,350,000 ($9 million for economic losses and $350,000 for noneconomic losses) because of a $350,000 cap placed on noneconomic damages by our Legislature as part of a 2011 “tort reform” measure. Noneconomic damages are damages that do not come with a dollar figure, including a person’s pain, disability, mental anguish, disfigurement (e.g. loss of a limb), loss of enjoyment of life, etc. Economic damages relate to lost income

  • Try this suggestion: Allow Oklahoma teachers to teach

    BY BILL HUSSONG | Published: Sat, Jul 11, 2015

    I once taught at a junior high school in Washington, D.C., where everybody passed everything — no one was left behind. I taught eighth grade — quite a challenge because less than 30 percent of students could read or write above the third-grade level. And no, I didn’t “teach to the test,” Why bother? Everybody advanced. My wife also taught in a public school, in a different state and for all practical purposes a different planet. In her school, teachers focused on educating students. She was the health educator, teaching basic health, first aid, sex education, abuse and related subjects. If a student needed help, she was there. Over the years she became Dr.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Pluto and us

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jul 10, 2015

    WASHINGTON — We need a pick me up. Amid the vandalizing of Palmyra, the imminent extinction of the northern white rhino, the disarray threatening Europe's most ambitious attempt ever at peaceful unification — amid plague and pestilence and, by God, in the middle of Shark Week — where can humanity turn for uplift? Meet New Horizons, arriving at Pluto on July 14. Small and light, the fastest spacecraft ever launched, it left Earth with such velocity that it shot past our moon in nine hours. A speeding bullet the size of a Steinway, it has flown 9 1/2 years to the outer edges of the solar system.

  • Kathleen Parker: When bragging is winning

    KATHLEEN PARKER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jul 10, 2015

    WASHINGTON — "So, Mom," he says. "Did you tweet that you were going on 'Meet the Press'?" No. "Did you tweet that you were going on 'Hardball'?" No. So goes a recent conversation with my adult son, who insists I must be more aggressive about raising my profile, building my brand and promoting myself. "In my tribe," I say, "self-promotion wasn't done." "I know," he says. "Now we brag." Exhibit A: Donald Trump, who can't stop talking about how rich he is. My father used to say, "People who have it (money) don't talk about it.

  • Oklahoma state senator: It's time to restore balance of power in government

    BY STATE SEN. ROB STANDRIDGE | Published: Fri, Jul 10, 2015

    Regardless of which side of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions you land on, there’s no denying these decisions were made in total disregard to the will of the American people. We have an out-of-control judiciary; the traditional values and beliefs of the American people are being assaulted. The court’s decisions have put more nails in the coffin of the 10th Amendment and states’ rights. When we look at the failures of previous great republics, it’s like looking in a mirror. With more than $100 trillion in debt and unfunded liabilities, we’re on the brink of financial disaster. How irresponsible to leave such debt to our posterity.

  • Tulsa World Editorial: New rules violations docket will save public money

    Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    The new docket makes sense. There's no reason the state should be paying to lock of people who just need more intense attention. And for those hard-headed offenders who just won't t follow rules, there's still the prison option.

  • George Will: A tantrum masquerading as governance

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Jul 9, 2015

    WASHINGTON — When Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras decided to call a referendum on a bailout offer from Greece's creditors — an offer that expired before Sunday's referendum — he informed the Greek nation in a televised speech. At 1 a.m. Mediterranean lifestyles are different. Greece's chosen style of living is dependent on others' choices. Tsipras is a peculiar phenomenon, a defiant mendicant. He urged voters to do what they did. In voting "no," they asserted that Greece's dignity is incompatible with loans that come with conditions attached. Tsipras' Syriza Party insists, however, that dignity is compatible with perpetual dependency on the forbearance and productivity

  • State Rep. Mike Ritze: Ten Commandments ruling is inadequate

    BY STATE REP. MIKE RITZE | Published: Wed, Jul 8, 2015

    The Oklahoma Supreme Court opinion striking down the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds can only be described as shooting from the hip. While the outcome is disappointing, the “opinion” itself is woefully inadequate and embarrassing for the state’s legal profession. The court devoted merely seven paragraphs to explain its decision. The opinion fails to even reference many, many decades of the court’s own legal precedent. Never has the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled against a passive display with religious content. In Meyer v. Oklahoma City, for example, the court found a 50-foot lighted cross sitting on public property to be lawful under the same part of the Oklahoma Constitution it used to strike down the Ten

  • Jules Witcover: Breathing life into the presidential debates

    Jules Witcover Tribune Content Agency | Published: Wed, Jul 8, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The only noteworthy aspect of the otherwise meaningless Donald Trump spurt in the public opinion polls is that if it holds up, it will buy him a ticket into the first of the Republican debates in Cleveland early next month. Currently Trump is running second to Jeb Bush or Scott Walker in the most prominent if equally meaningless early surveys of support for the many aspirants for the GOP presidential nomination. Under national party rules, only the top 10 are to be invited to the sanctioned debates in the early caucus and primary states. Given his tactlessness and glaring lack of presidential qualifications, Trump's participation would guarantee fireworks and

  • Michael Gerson: Donald Trump and the GOP's dividing lines

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Tue, Jul 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Attempting to analyze political statements by Donald Trump is often a high dive into a shallow pool. But a number of conservative commentators are making the jump, discerning hidden virtues in his depiction of marauding immigrants intent on crime and rape. While finding Trump's words "crude and reprehensible," The Weekly Standard's William Kristol thinks they summarize a "genuine concern about illegal immigrants." "For all its crassness," says National Review's Rich Lowry, "Trump's rant on immigration is closer to reality than the gauzy cliches of immigration romantics.

  • Washington Examiner: California lawmaker looking for a do-over on rail project

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Tue, Jul 7, 2015

    LESS than five years ago, President Obama and his supporters were positively taunting three Republican governors who chose to forfeit federal stimulus money that had been earmarked for high-speed rail lines in their states. Rick Scott of Florida, John Kasich of Ohio and Scott Walker of Wisconsin were supposedly costing their states needed jobs and, shockingly, giving away free money. The Los Angeles Times went so far as to mock the voters of Wisconsin and Ohio in 2010 for electing Walker and Kasich, who had both promised to scrap the high-speed lines that their Democratic predecessors had approved. The Times’ editorialists smugly celebrated the fact that California would be getting the biggest share of that cash instead for its