• Washington Examiner: Emerging consensus on need to reform federal justice system

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 11, 2015

    IN fractious Washington, there are very few policy reforms that command bipartisan support. One of them is the result of an emerging consensus that America’s criminal justice system is badly broken. Statistics tell part of the story. The United States has 5 percent of world’s population but houses 25 percent of its prisoners. Its federal prison population has more than quadrupled since 1980, to 2.3 million souls. Prisons and criminal justice agencies combined cost taxpayers $260 billion a year. But there is a much deeper story to tell involving broken lives and shattered dreams.

  • Economists: Empowering parents, kids is best education strategy

    BY J. SCOTT MOODY AND WENDY P. WARCHOLIK  | Published: Sun, Aug 9, 2015

    In America, public education was traditionally funded by local governments through the property tax. Given our federalist system of government, a locally based educational system confers a number of advantages, including local accountability and tax transparency. Unfortunately, over time, the educational system has become increasingly centralized. In Oklahoma, for example, the largest portion (48 percent) of school district revenue comes from the state, according to an April 2015 report from the Oklahoma Office of Educational Quality and Accountability. Only 40.2 percent of revenue comes from local and county sources, while 11.7 percent is provided by the federal government.

  • Ruth Marcus: Trump doubles down on boorishness

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Aug 9, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Everything that is wrong with Donald Trump — that makes him such a danger to the Republican Party and to the country — emerged in the opening minutes of Thursday's debate in his response to Megyn Kelly's question about misogyny. "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs,' 'dogs,' 'slobs' and 'disgusting animals,'" Kelly noted. Trump, being Trump, interrupted, with what he thought was a joke. "Only Rosie O'Donnell," he said. Kelly wasn't deterred. "You once told a contestant on 'Celebrity Apprentice' it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees," she persisted.

  • George Will: When history books make history

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Aug 9, 2015

    WASHINGTON — History books can be historic events, making history by ending important arguments. They can make it impossible for any intellectually honest person to assert certain propositions that once enjoyed considerable currency among people purporting to care about evidence. The author of one such book, Robert Conquest, an Englishman who spent many years at Stanford's Hoover Institution, has died at 98, having outlived the Soviet Union that he helped to kill with information. Historian, poet, journalist and indefatigable controversialist, Conquest was born when Soviet Russia was, in 1917, and in early adulthood he was a communist.

  • Jules Witcover: Joe Biden still in the wings

    Jules Witcover Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sat, Aug 8, 2015

    WASHINGTON — A report in The New York Times has stirred new speculation that Vice President Joe Biden, who up to now has remained aloof from the 2016 Democratic presidential race, may be edging closer to entering it. If so, it would be a course correction from his declared position ever since he assumed the vice presidency — and arguably an unwise one. The report relies in part on a supposed conversation the vice president had with his elder son, Beau Biden, shortly before his recent death, in which Beau reportedly urged his father to seek the presidency again in spite of the odds against his success. That seems a rather thin reed on which to hang all the chatter that Joe Biden might run on

  • Small-business rep: New EPA rule will be costly to state

    BY JERROD SHOUSE | Published: Sat, Aug 8, 2015

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Someone always has to pay. Always. That’s certainly the case with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. While the plan certainly has support, such as Oklahoma City University professor Mark Davies (Point of View, Aug. 5), the truth is that implementing it won’t be cheap. In fact, according to a Heritage Foundation analysis of Energy Information Agency data, it’s going to cost the U.S. economy something in the range of $150 billion a year. That works out to $1,700 a year for a family of four. Put simply, the rule amounts to a massive tax on the price of electricity, one that we simply can’t afford to pay. Of course, it isn’t just families that

  • E.J. Dionne: What Bernie Sanders' moment means

    E.J. DIONNE JR. The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Aug 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The exhaustive and exhausting analysis of the Fox News debate promises to produce days more of Trump-mania. It's thus an excellent time to ponder the other big surprise of the 2016 campaign: the Democrats' extended Weekend at Bernie's. No one is more amazed about the buoyancy of his presidential candidacy than Bernie Sanders himself, which only adds to its charm. The Vermont independent and proud democratic socialist got into the race mainly to remind the country what a progressive agenda actually looks like. You can't keep calling President Obama a socialist once you're confronted with the real thing.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Just who is helping Iran's hard-liners?

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Aug 7, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The latest Quinnipiac poll shows that the American public rejects the president's Iran deal by more than 2-to-1. This is astonishing. The public generally gives the president deference on major treaties. Just a few weeks ago, a majority supported the deal. What happened? People learned what's in it. And don't be fooled by polls that present, as fact, the administration's position in the very question. The Washington Post/ABC poll assures the respondent that, for example, "international inspectors would monitor Iran's facilities, and if Iran is caught breaking the agreement economic sanctions would be imposed again.

  • Oklahoma state rep: No need for changes to Medicare Part D

    BY STATE REP. BOBBY CLEVELAND | Published: Fri, Aug 7, 2015

    Most government programs cost more than anticipated, are terribly bureaucratic and don’t work very well. Medicare Part D, designed to provide lower-cost prescriptions to senior citizens and individuals with disabilities, is actually working and has cost less than originally expected. On top of that, a national poll shows 90 percent of participants are happy with the program. Yet now the Obama administration has proposals on the table to change Medicare Part D in significant ways. Why? Because it wants to get more big-government hands on it. The Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D) has been around since 2006.

  • Former Tinker commander: Community support plays important role for airmen

    BY LT. GEN. BRUCE LITCHFIELD | Published: Fri, Aug 7, 2015

    I recently relinquished command of the Air Force Sustainment Center (AFSC) at Tinker Air Force Base and retired from the Air Force after 34 years. As I look back on my time as AFSC commander, one thing jumps to the top of the list of critical elements that enabled the command’s overwhelming success: Community support was, and is, so essential that without it, we would not have been able to fully support the breadth of the Air Force mission or take care of the phenomenal airmen who protect our nation. The AFSC mission is to sustain Air Force weapon systems.

  • George Will: Drug cartels' 'vocabulary of mutilation'

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Aug 6, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Don Winslow, novelist and conscientious objector to America's longest "war," was skeptical when he was in Washington on a recent Sunday morning. This was shortly after news broke about the escape, from one of Mexico's "maximum security" prisons, of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, head of the Sinaloa drug cartel. Guzman reportedly escaped through a five-foot-tall tunnel almost a mile long and built solely for his escape. Asked about this, Winslow, his fork poised over an omelet, dryly said he thinks Guzman might actually have driven away from the prison's front gate in a Lincoln Town Car. What might seem like cynicism could be Winslow's realism.

  • Catholic Charities director: Offering better answers to crisis pregnancies

    BY PATRICK J. RAGLOW | Published: Wed, Aug 5, 2015

    All life is a gift from God. Therefore, the Catholic Church stands unequivocally opposed to abortion. Its evil is exposed, for all with eyes to see, in recently released undercover videos. While its gravest harm is upon the infant sacrificed to fear, hurt, avoidance or convenience, abortion harms all who come in contact with it. Even our too-numb society recoils at the casual dehumanization of life graphically portrayed in the videos. It recoils at the thought that remaining parts of the aborted fetus carry more value than does the child intact. It recoils at the trafficking of such parts. Euphemisms surrounding abortion don’t lessen its barbarity.

  • Michael Gerson: A great deal -- for Iran

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Aug 5, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The realist's argument for the Iran nuclear agreement is that it is the least bad deal that a conflict-weary America could secure. Now, with the nuclear issue parked (at least for a decade), we can get down to the business of strengthening friends in the Middle East and pushing back against Iran's regional ambitions. A variant of this position claims that the nuclear deal would actually weaken Iran's strategic position. In this view, the regime, faced with sanction-caused economic ruin, was forced to give up the nuclear umbrella that would have acted as cover for its export of subversion. An Iran thus defanged is a fundamentally weak country, with little conventional military

  • Okla City University professor: New EPA rules will benefit Oklahomans

    BY MARK Y.A. DAVIES | Published: Wed, Aug 5, 2015

    The data are compelling: 2014 was the warmest year on record for combined land and ocean global temperatures since record keeping began in 1880. This year will most likely be the new warmest year on record. These observations of climate change aren’t a conspiracy against fossil fuel companies; they’re based on analyses from the overwhelming majority of climate scientists and the work of our top global scientific agencies. Experts agree that climate disruption is real, and is primarily caused by human activity. It’s the moral responsibility of our generation to do something to mitigate this climate disruption for present and future generations. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is a crucial step to curb

  • Leonard Pitts: Recalling the act that ushered in the nuclear age

    Leonard Pitts Tribune Content Agency | Published: Wed, Aug 5, 2015

    He wanted to start a race war. That, you will recall, was what authorities say white supremacist Dylann Roof had in mind when he shot up a storied African-American church in June. It might have surprised him to learn that we've already had a race war. No, that's not how one typically thinks of World War Two, but it takes only a cursory consideration of that war's causes and effects to make the case. Germany killed 6 million Jews and rampaged through Poland and the Soviet Union because it considered Jews and Slavs subhuman. The Japanese stormed through China and other Asian outposts in the conviction that they were a superior people and that Americans, as a decadent and

  • Washington Examiner: Two cheers for less home ownership

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 4, 2015

    Mortgage interest rates remain near record lows today. So does the rate of home ownership, which hit 63.4 percent in July, a 35-year low. Some people may find this incongruous, even disappointing. They shouldn’t. It’s a sign that a lot of people learned from the recent financial crisis, even if their government still seems perplexed by what happened. The prime mover in the broader financial crisis was the housing bubble, which was in large part the fruit of a policy, carried by two consecutive presidential administrations and by lawmakers on Capitol Hill, to encourage and subsidize home lending to unsuitable borrowers. The Clinton administration undertook this as part of a well-meaning effort to make credit more

  • Paul Greenberg: What's the alternative?

    Paul Greenberg Tribune Content Agency | Published: Mon, Aug 3, 2015

    Anyone who criticizes our president's nuclear deal with Iran is bound to be asked: What's the alternative? With the clear implication that there isn't one — not an acceptable one, anyway. It's either war or peace. A simple, black-and-white, all-or-none choice: It's the president's way or no way — except war — to prevent Iran from joining the nuclear club. A nuclearized Iran, one with its own Bomb and the missiles to deliver it, could mean The End for our allies in the Arab world. The Saudis are already on edge. Not to mention the always threatened Israelis, who don't noise it about but have their own nuclear arsenal at the ready.

  • Think tank reps: Oklahoma’s forfeiture laws are in need of reform

    BY TRENT ENGLAND AND GENE PERRY | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    The Fourth Amendment protects Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures, while the Fifth Amendment requires due process and just compensation for property taken by the government for public use. So, how did we get to a point in history where government is seizing personal property with no compensation and little to no evidence of a crime? This upside-down process is called “civil asset forfeiture” and it certainly does not line up with our nation’s constitutional ideals. Property is seized by government officials supposedly because it’s connected to criminal activity. Yet many seizures are not accompanied by a conviction, or even the filing of charges.

  • George Will: The barbarity of a nation

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Executives of Planned Parenthood's federally subsidized meat markets — your tax dollars at work — lack the courage of their convictions. They should drop the pretense of conducting a complex moral calculus about the organs they harvest from the babies they kill. First came the video showing a salad-nibbling, wine-sipping Planned Parenthood official explaining how "I'm going to basically crush below, I'm gonna crush above" whatever organ ("heart, lung, liver") is being harvested.

  • Michael Gerson: A GOP led by Trump will fail, and deserve it

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Aug 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — At this point in the 2016 presidential campaign, the noble, elusive stag of political rhetoric is pretty much road kill. This judgment is unfair to a few candidates — Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio come to mind — delivering thoughtful speeches. But in portions of the Republican field, the normal limits of civility have been crossed and recrossed in the relentless search for viral attention. Mike Huckabee compared the sitting president to a Nazi prison camp guard. Ted Cruz accused the Senate majority leader of being a liar. Donald Trump, well, opens his mouth. His opponents are invariably "clowns" and "stupid" and physically ugly. He mocks a war hero and reveals the