• George Will: When everything is a crime

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Apr 9, 2015

    WASHINGTON — What began as a trickle has become a stream that could become a cleansing torrent. Criticisms of the overcriminalization of American life might catalyze an appreciation of the toll the administrative state is taking on the criminal justice system, and liberty generally. In 2007, professor Tim Wu of Columbia Law School recounted a game played by some prosecutors. One would name a famous person — “say, Mother Teresa or John Lennon” — and other prosecutors would try to imagine “a plausible crime for which to indict him or her,” usually a felony plucked from “the incredibly broad yet obscure crimes that populate the U.S. Code like a kind of jurisprudential minefield.

  • Tulsa World: Rep. Glen Mulready: A clear solution for Oklahoma's Medicaid program

    By REP. GLEN MULREADY | Updated: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    If you will, for a moment, indulge me by recalling to memory a popular video game in the 1980s. The music starts and your heart rate increases as you masterfully begin to travel through a maze on the screen. Now imagine the Pac-Man on screen is our Medicaid program. The maze is filled with our state budget and each dollar is represented by a dot in the maze. Though it may not be the goal, the Medicaid program is gobbling up the state budget.

  • Michael Gerson: If our heroism is hopeless

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The apocalypse has been much on my mind. This is not only because Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is now more or less officially in charge of a nuclear threshold state, or because a dictator with the mentality of a spiteful teenager controls North Korea’s dozen or so atom bombs, or because a nuclear Pakistan was recently named the world’s 10th most fragile state (right above Zimbabwe). Contrary to expectation, the proliferation of nuclear weapons since World War II has been relatively slow. And the current global balance of power makes a world-ending, ozone-layer-destroying, nuclear-winter-inducing exchange unlikely. But it doesn’t take much historical imagination to spin a scenario in which, at some point

  • Advocate for aging: Oklahoma lawmakers should reject Medicare measures

    BY TRISH EMIG | Published: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    Many Oklahomans have multiple chronic health conditions. Legislation being considered this session would transition many of those people to a “Capitated Medicaid Managed Care” program. One bill would transition only those Medicaid populations who receive their services in their homes to a managed care model. Capitated Medicaid Managed Care involves medical plans that pay health care providers a fixed total amount (capitated) for each Medicaid recipient. When a total amount has been reached, the medical plan may not be obligated to continue paying additional medical expenses for the individual.

  • Right to Farm bill: It has the potential to harm Oklahoma

    BY ADAM PRICE | Published: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    House Joint Resolution 1012, commonly known as the “Right to Farm” bill, is being considered in the Oklahoma Senate. If passed, this amendment has the potential to be quite damaging to the overall health and well-being of the state. The broad, nonspecific nature of the language in the bill will open the door for large, industrial agricultural conglomerates and foreign corporations to degrade and pollute the environment of Oklahoma with impunity — effectively free from regulation or restriction. Based on recent cases, these corporations now have the same rights as U.S. citizens, even if they’re based in foreign countries. Poor agricultural management practices were among the leading causes of the Dust Bowl of the

  • Right to Farm bill: Legislation protects Oklahoma's farming, ranching heritage

    BY TOM BUCHANAN | Published: Wed, Apr 8, 2015

    Oklahoma is a rural, agricultural state with a multibillion-dollar agriculture industry. It would seem logical for agriculture producers to have the right to produce food and fiber using the latest, research-proven techniques. That’s why Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the state’s largest farm group, supports House Joint Resolution 1012, co-authored by state Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, and state Sen. Jason Smalley, R-Stroud. The resolution, which has passed in the House 90-6, would place on the 2016 general election ballot a proposal to amend the Oklahoma Constitution guaranteeing the right to engage in certain farming and ranching practices. Makes good, common sense, right? As Will Rogers once said, “If sense was so common,

  • Washington Examiner: President has oversold Iran nuke framework deal

    Washington Examiner editorial | Updated: Tue, Apr 7, 2015

    HAVING missed the latest deadline for a nuclear deal with Iran, President Obama chose Thursday, April 2, to make his most persuasive case yet that the deal he has not yet made is a good one. He argued that no better option exists, given how close the Iranians are already to developing a nuclear bomb. He said that even though U.S. and Iranian negotiators failed to reach a final deal, they have agreed to a “framework” with terms that will at least appear agreeable to the layman, and which will supposedly become a final deal by June 30.

  • OCPA fellow: Some perspective on Oklahoma teacher pay

    BY STEVE ANDERSON | Published: Sun, Apr 5, 2015

    We’ve all been told that Oklahoma’s teachers are some of the lowest paid in the union. News reports over the last several months indicated that Oklahoma’s average teacher salary — $44,128, according to estimates from the National Education Association — is the lowest in the region and 49th nationally. But it turns out that’s not the whole story. Would you believe this data set excludes more than $300 million of taxpayer-funded payroll? To understand and compare salaries, one has to examine the various components of that salary number. Actual teacher “pay” is only part of what is included in compensation. Take retirement funding, for example. Arkansas and Oklahoma have defined-benefit plans with large

  • George Will: Testing your baseball knowledge

    By George F. Will | Published: Sun, Apr 5, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Visiting a struggling pitcher on the mound, Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver advised, “If you know how to cheat, start now.” Be advised that Googling is cheating as you try to identify: (1) The player who compiled at least 400 total bases in five different seasons (no one else did it in four). (2) Which three players hit 500 home runs but never struck out 85 times in a season. (3) The last player to steal 100 bases in one season. (4) The four players to steal a base in four decades. (5) Before Madison Bumgarner last year, the only pitcher to win three world championships before age 26. (6) The only World Series between teams with fewer than 90 regular season wins. (7) The

  • Paul Greenberg: Easter interview: The woman who was there

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Sun, Apr 5, 2015

    You say you’re some sort of scribe, but what Jew isn’t? Especially in these times, when Judaea is rife with talebearers, eager to accept the Roman coin. Our rulers must pay by the letter, to judge by the volume of parchment being turned out. I do not mean to be inhospitable, young man. Recline. Rest yourself. Have you had something to eat, a glass of wine for your stomach’s sake, perhaps a clean toga? You must wash your feet, change your sandals. For I know it is a long, dusty trip up here, and with us it is a commandment to take in the stranger and treat him as one of our own. Some grapes, perhaps? They’re fresh from the vineyard. Eat, eat. That’s it.

  • Michael Gerson: Iran's remarkable achievement

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Sat, Apr 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Whatever else the Obama administration accomplished in the Iran nuclear framework, it did a good job keeping the bar of expectations low and then clearing it. Many assumed various provisions would last 10 years or less; most are for 15 years or more. Many expected the number of operating centrifuges to exceed 6,000; the target is lower. Many expected the total amount of fissile material Iran is allowed to keep to be higher than the agreed 300 kg. These achievements created an initial halo of success. But, as former National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley emphasized to me, “things that seem too good to be true usually are.” In the days of Cold War arms control agreements, Soviet negotiators would join in

  • Frank Keating: A must-read report for Oklahoma's education leadership

    BY FRANK KEATING | Published: Sat, Apr 4, 2015

    The studies, the comparisons, the gratuitous advice just keep coming. The latest is the end-of-year report from the National Council on Teacher Quality. NCTQ proudly notes that it receives no funds from the federal government. It collects and collates facts. It answers the question of whether teachers are prepared to teach. Teaching our children is, after all, the most important thing that government does. Oklahoma received a middling grade. On a green light to a red light scale, our score was an unimpressive amber. NCTQ looked for high standards for student admission into teacher prep programs. It asked whether new teachers have rigorous subject matter knowledge. It inquired whether they were focused on college and career

  • Oklahoma State University professor: Bills would help increase voter turnout

    BY REBEKAH HERRICK | Published: Sat, Apr 4, 2015

    Did you vote last fall? If so, give yourself a pat on the back. If not, don’t worry — you’re not alone. For the past few elections, turnout in Oklahoma has been among the worst in the nation. In the 2014 midterms, with no presidential race to bring out the vote, just three in 10 eligible voters cast ballots. That was Oklahoma’s lowest rate in at least 50 years, and only six states did worse. Sadly, the 2014 midterm election was not unique. In the 2012 presidential election, turnout was 52 percent and only two states had lower rates. These low voting rates are problematic. We cannot be certain that all Oklahomans’ voices are heard and the public interest will be served when most Oklahomans stay home on Election

  • Jules Witcover: Jerry Brown's latest water woes

    Published: Sat, Apr 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON — California Gov. Jerry Brown has reason to appreciate the saying that what goes around, comes around. Some 38 years after coping with a massive drought in the Golden State in his first governorship, he’s beleaguered again by the same natural disaster. Characteristically, the 76-year-old one-time wunderkind has made another hard choice in ordering a 25 percent mandatory cutback in water use in the state famed for green lawns, golf courses and the outdoor leisure life. It comes only a year after his having called for a voluntary 20 percent cut that failed adequately to cope with record lows in rain and snowfall.

  • Kathleen Parker: Freedom is a two-way street

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Apr 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Excited protests against Indiana’s recently passed religious freedom law have highlighted both America’s growing support for same-sex marriage and our apparent incapacity to entertain more than one idea at a time. The law in question is a version of the 1993 federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act signed by President Clinton. Nineteen states have versions of the law and another 11 have interpreted their state constitutions as already providing these protections. Without diving into the weeds, RFRA aims to protect religious freedom against government action that abridges deeply held convictions.

  • Oklahoma state representative: Use Article V powers to address federal debt

    BY STATE REP. GARY BANZ | Published: Fri, Apr 3, 2015

    Federalism is defined as the division of power between a strong central government and equally strong regional governments called states. Nowhere is that principle displayed more prominently than in the language of Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Article V gives Congress and the states the authority to propose amendments. The ideal balance between central and regional governments has been replaced with an overbearing, out-of-control, runaway national government at the expense of the states. It’s the state of affairs that George Mason and other Framers of the Constitution feared might happen.

  • Wind energy advocate: Oklahoma should look to expand wind industry

    BY JEFF CLARK | Published: Fri, Apr 3, 2015

    Pending legislation would harm industry

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Thankfully, faith of exclusion not the only faith their is

    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | Published: Fri, Apr 3, 2015

    “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away.” — The Beatles “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.” — Fleetwood Mac On Sunday, people all over the world will commemorate the morning an itinerant rabbi, falsely convicted and cruelly executed, stood up and walked out of his own tomb. It is the foundation act for the world’s largest faith, a touchstone of hope for over 2 billion people. But that faith has, in turn, been a source of ongoing friction between those adherents who feel it compels them to redeem tomorrow and those who feel it obligates them to restore yesterday. Last week, the latter made headlines — again.

  • George Will: The rough math facing Ted Cruz

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Apr 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Texas Sen. Ted Cruz was born in 1970, six years after events refuted a theory on which he is wagering his candidacy. The 1964 theory was that many millions of conservatives abstained from voting because the GOP did not nominate sufficiently deep-dyed conservatives. So if in 1964 the party would choose someone like Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, hitherto dormant conservatives would join the electorate in numbers sufficient for victory. This theory was slain by a fact — actually, 15,951,378 facts. That was the difference between the 43,129,566 votes President Lyndon Johnson received and the 27,178,188 that Goldwater got in winning six states.

  • QuikTrip official: Time for a change in Oklahoma liquor laws

    BY MIKE THORNBRUGH | Published: Wed, Apr 1, 2015

    Did we really repeal the 18th Amendment? Legally, the answer is yes. The 21st Amendment, which repealed prohibition, was ratified on Dec. 5, 1933. Although it dealt with the repeal of the nationwide mandate, Oklahoma still has laws on the books that were written to get around prohibition and do not reflect today’s society. I assure you that any company in Oklahoma that is licensed by the state to sell off-premise 3.2 beer is most likely satisfied with the status quo. This is because convenience stores, grocery outlets, big box retailers, etc., have an 80 percent to 85 percent market share. Forty-five states have laws that allow for the sale of same-strength beer. Only Colorado, Kansas, Minnesota, Utah and Oklahoma