• Charles Krauthammer: Obama's uncertain trumpet, again

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In his Islamic State speech, President Obama said many of the right things. Most importantly, he finally got the mission right: degrade and destroy the enemy. This alone will probably get him a bump in the polls, which have dropped to historic lows. But his strategic problem remains: the disconnect between (proclaimed) ends and means. He’s sending an additional 475 American advisers to Iraq. He says he’s broadening the air campaign, but that is merely an admission that the current campaign was always about more than just protecting U.S. personnel in Irbil and saving Yazidis on mountain tops. It was crucially about providing air support for the local infantry, Kurdish and Iraqi.

  • E.J. Dionne: The new politics of U.S. foreign policy

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Over the last decade, Americans’ views on foreign policy have swung sharply from support for intervention to a profound mistrust of any military engagement overseas. Over the same period, political debates on foreign affairs have been bitter and polarized, defined by the question of whether the invasion of Iraq was a proper use of the nation’s power or a catastrophic mistake. This contest for public opinion has taken place in the shadow of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For understandable reasons, the United States was thrown off balance by the horrific events of 13 years ago, and we have never fully recovered. The emergence of the Islamic State and its barbaric beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Ray Rice video revealed nothing we didn't know already

    BY LEONARD PITTS JR. | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    Can we stop pretending we know something now that we didn’t before about what Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice did to his then-fiancee in the elevator of that Atlantic City casino? Can we stop pretending new information has come to light? Granted, the surveillance video released Monday by TMZ is graphic and disturbing: Rice is seen slapping Janay Palmer, who rushes at him, whereupon he uncorks a left that hits her like a hammer. She bangs her head on a railing and crumples, senseless, to the floor. But we already knew this had happened. We knew it from the initial video, released shortly after the February 15 incident, which shows Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator like a sack of flour, like a piece of lumber, like

  • Attorney: Feds' denial of Oklahoma's NCLB waiver request is politically motivated

    BY MICHAEL FARRIS | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    The U.S. Department of Education’s denial of Oklahoma’s request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind is a politically motivated punishment for rejecting the “voluntary” Common Core program. Oklahomans should plan a strategic response. A lawsuit against the feds would be an uphill battle. At most, it could win on a narrow, procedural basis. Alternatively, Oklahoma could use this moment to take a historic step toward dismantling the basis for illicit federal power grabs. The Constitution’s framers believed that having the right structure for decision-making was essential for the preservation of liberty. They had learned this lesson in the crucible of a very real conflict.

  • George F. Will: Extremism in defense of re-election

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Thu, Sep 11, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Since Barry Goldwater, accepting the Republicans’ 1964 presidential nomination, said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Democrats have been decrying Republican “extremism.” Actually, although there is abundant foolishness and unseemliness in American politics, real extremism — measures or movements that menace the Constitution’s architecture of ordered liberty — is rare. This week, however, extremism stained the Senate. Forty-eight members of the Democratic caucus attempted to do something never previously done — amend the Bill of Rights. They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class’s

  • Ruth Marcus: Janay Rice is the real victim

    BY RUTH MARCUS | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    In Ray Rice case, wife is most puzzling figure

  • Michael Gerson: Carrying the fight to the enemy

    BY MICHAEL GERSON | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As America pivots back to the Middle East — in belated recognition that America’s enemies never pivoted from their intention to establish a territorial expression of radical Islamism — President Obama is more likely to change his policy than to his change his rhetoric. We are more likely, in other words, to see “boots on the ground” in Iraq (there are already more than 1,000 in supportive roles) than we are to hear an admission that the administration’s foreign policy approach has shifted. Obama now wants to “degrade” the Islamic State’s capabilities, “shrink” its territory, and ultimately “defeat ‘em.” (Even the locution has a nostalgic hint of Texas.

  • State Rep. Randy McDaniel: Rising above retirement challenges

    BY STATE REP. RANDY MCDANIEL | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    The unfunded liability of Oklahoma’s state retirement system ballooned to more than $16 billion after the recession. The status quo wasn’t sustainable. A failing system threatens the retirement security of public employees, jeopardizes the state’s bond rating and consumes a substantial share of state taxes. Many insiders thought the problem was insurmountable. In the past, most reform proposals were easily defeated by powerful coalitions. Even plans to stand still were rejected. Benefit increases were customary. Worrying about the money was not. Transforming the culture would be easier said than done. Leaders made pensions a top priority. No group has been excluded from reforms.

  • Washington Examiner: Reality rains on Obama's foreign policy parade

    Published: Tue, Sep 9, 2014

    THERE is a debate in Washington over whether America should exert a lighter or heavier influence in world affairs. President Obama has tried a middle path: He wants to exert heavy influence over world events with the light touch of America’s benevolent hand. It isn’t working. This becomes ever clearer as he learns repeatedly, the hard way, that his superstar status and intellect give him no more pull over the actions of foreign leaders or the attitudes of foreign peoples than his predecessor. And, oddly, this reality seems to surprise him every time. Obama entered office aspiring to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a hand of friendship to Islamic peoples.

  • George F. Will: In a NATO state of mind

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Speaking on Aug. 29 — at a fundraiser, of course — Barack Obama applied to a platitude the varnish of smartphone sociology, producing this intellectual sunburst: “The truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.” So, if 14th- century Europeans had had Facebook and Twitter, they would have noticed how really disagreeable the Hundred Years’ War was. Obama did have a piece of a point: Graphic journalism, now augmented by billions of people with cameras in their pockets, can give an inflammatory immediacy to events.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: More than pictures stolen in celeb phone-hacking case

    BY LEONARD PITTS JR. | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    Actresses didn’t have a choice

  • National Safety Council president: Oklahoma has the tools to reduce opioid-related deaths

    BY DEBORAH HERSMAN | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    The most dangerous drugs today are sitting in medicine cabinets. There is an incredible lack of oversight regarding these controlled substances in the Sooner State. Nearly 600 Oklahomans died in 2013 of opioid prescription painkiller overdose — more than 11 each week. Prescription painkillers account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined; the number of Oklahomans admitted each year for opioid treatment has more than quadrupled, from 357 to 1,486 since 2001. Overprescribing has substantially contributed to Oklahoma’s epidemic. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma is one of five states with the highest number of opioid painkiller prescriptions per capita.

  • OKC attorney: State Innovation Model grant merits approval

    BY DONALD B. NEVARD | Published: Sat, Sep 6, 2014

    Innovation in health care is always a good thing. Innovation in health care delivery particularly matters to Oklahoma because the state faces some of the worst health care outcomes in the nation. Gov. Mary Fallin's administration has recently shown leadership by directing the state Department of Health to apply for a federal grant through the State Innovation Models program. If received, the grant would permit the development of targeted new programs to address Oklahoma’s high rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and tobacco use. These chronic conditions and behaviors lead to poor health outcomes for most people afflicted with them. Everyone involved in primary care is trying to decrease those rates, which

  • Michael Gerson: Nature out to kill us

    BY MICHAEL GERSON | Published: Sat, Sep 6, 2014

    Ebola outbreak is deadly serious

  • Charles Krauthammer: Ukraine abandoned

    BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Published: Fri, Sep 5, 2014

    WASHINGTON — At his first press briefing after the beheading of American James Foley, President Obama stunned the assembled when he admitted that he had no strategy in Syria for confronting the Islamic State. Yet it was not nearly the most egregious, or consequential, thing he said. Idiotic, yes. You’re the leader of the free world. Even if you don’t have a strategy — indeed, especially if you don’t — you never admit it publicly. However, if Obama is indeed building a larger strategy, an air campaign coordinated with allies on the ground, this does take time. George W. Bush wisely took a month to respond to 9/11, preparing an unusual special ops-Northern Alliance battle plan that brought down Taliban rule in a

  • E.J. Dionne: Obama beyond the sound bite

    BY E.J. DIONNE JR. | Published: Fri, Sep 5, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt went to Chicago to give one of the most celebrated speeches of his presidency. Pushing against isolationist sentiment, he condemned the “unjustified interference in the internal affairs of other nations” and “the invasion of alien territory in violation of treaties.” He didn’t mention Nazi Germany, fascist Italy or imperial Japan, but everyone knew what he meant when he called for a “quarantine” to stop “the epidemic of world lawlessness.” Yet the next day, when Roosevelt met with reporters, one journalist suggested he had offered “an attitude without a program.” As the historian Susan Dunn recounts in her fine book, “1940,” Roosevelt “did not disagree.”

  • Former Oklahoma governor: Lack of rigor in classroom a recipe for problems

    BY FRANK KEATING | Published: Fri, Sep 5, 2014

    Last week, the national media highlighted the U.S. Department of Education’s denial of Oklahoma’s request for a one-year waiver from the strictures of the No Child Left Behind Act. Earlier in the year, the Legislature repealed Common Core State Standards. They were developed by state leaders to replace the No Child Left Behind mandates, which were viewed as an unacceptable intrusion on state sovereignty. We would educate ourselves better than the feds could educate us. At least, that was the promise.

  • George F. Will: An eye on the Baltic States?

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Thu, Sep 4, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Islamic State is a nasty problem that can be remedied if its neighbors, assisted by the United States, decide to do so. Vladimir Putin’s fascist revival is a crisis that tests the West’s capacity to decide. Putin’s serial amputations of portions of Ukraine, which began with his fait accompli in Crimea, will proceed, and succeed, until his appetite is satiated. Then the real danger will begin. Suppose Ukraine is merely his overture for the destruction of NATO, the nemesis of his Soviet memory. Then what might be his version of the Gleiwitz radio station episode 75 years ago? On the evening of Aug.

  • Washington Examiner: Special prosecutor needed to get to bottom of IRS scandal

    Published: Wed, Sep 3, 2014

    WE have heard the phrase “phony scandals” applied this summer to several important developments in President Barack Obama’s administration. Obama would now love to place in this category even the IRS scandal, in which Lois Lerner’s division of that agency targeted and harassed conservative nonprofit groups. Last summer, Obama had called that scandal “inexcusable” and forced the head of the IRS to resign. How times change. This scandal, though without the fatal consequences that attended the mismanagement of the Veterans Administration, is nevertheless egregious and telling about the nature of the executive over which Obama presides. It escalated significantly last month as evidence of a bureaucratic cover-up mounted.

  • Oklahoma school boards director: Solutions needed for state teacher shortage

    BY SHAWN HIME | Published: Wed, Sep 3, 2014

    Over much of the past decade, Oklahoma has been all in on education reform. We raised high school graduation requirements. We required students to take more tests. We told teachers and principals to do more and perform better if they want to keep their jobs. We adopted new academic standards, only to revert to the old ones. The state has instituted these changes in the name of helping students while largely overlooking what research says is the most important in-school factor in improving student achievement: teachers. The Oklahoma State School Boards Association repeatedly heard from local school officials that finding teachers is increasingly difficult.