• Keating, Meacham: Quality of Oklahoma's education needs dramatic improvement

    BY FRANK KEATING, AND SCOTT MEACHAM | Published: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    This Republican and Democrat agree wholeheartedly on at least one thing: The quality of education in Oklahoma must improve dramatically. As the old saying goes, “the numbers don’t lie.” Currently, 45.1 percent of Oklahoma’s students require some form of remediation before they’re ready to take regular college classes. According to ACT, only 35 percent of Oklahoma students who take the ACT are ready for college math and science coursework. This means two-thirds of students are unprepared. Embarrassingly, their high schools failed them. This lack of preparedness isn’t just among college-bound students. According to NAEP statistics, only a fourth of Oklahoma’s eighth-graders are considered proficient in math versus

  • Consultant: Glad to see U.S. leading to combat climate change

    BY DENNIS SHORTS | Published: Sun, Nov 30, 2014

    Those opposed to counteracting climate change have long feared that any American action would be useless in the face of continued mass pollution abroad. However, this month’s announcement that China and the United States are collaborating on the most significant deal in history to limit carbon emissions proves that this cynical outlook is wrong. As a veteran and an American, I’m proud to see my country leading the way to combat one of the most significant challenges of our time. Recognizing the need to act ahead of the upcoming international negotiations on climate change, the U.S. announced its plan to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

  • Norman superintendent: Schools look to be models in handling sexual assault cases

    BY JOE SIANO | Updated: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    Monday’s demonstrations at Norman High School sent a clear message that the student body won’t tolerate sexual assault and revictimization. The school district’s administration supports this message. Every administrator and teacher Norman High wants students to feel safe, secure and supported. Norman High, as well as Norman North, rank in the top 1 percent in the nation for academics. We now look to these schools to be the state and national models for the safeguards and additional supports needed to ensure that students feel as safe, secure and supported as possible, especially if they’re victims of sexual assault and trauma.

  • Work comp attorney: Unintended consequences with new Oklahoma system

    BY BOB BURKE | Published: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    The bumpy start to the new workers’ compensation system isn’t necessarily the fault of the three members of the Workers’ Compensation Commission. They are good public servants who were saddled with a poorly written law that’s resulted in several successful constitutional challenges, numerous open meetings law violations and a general slowdown in claims handling. Unintended consequences of the swiftly passed legislation create practical and long-range problems. Commission members can’t meet privately to make policy decisions, adopt proposed rules or consider appeals of administrative law judges. The new law has created two systems to handle old law and new law claims. Taxpayers will spend $5 million more each year to fund

  • Clarence Page: Obama vs. Ferguson's empathy

    By Clarence Page | Published: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    After a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown, President Barack Obama stepped up to perform his unofficial yet widely presumed role: racial explainer-in-chief. It is not a new role, but as he shared a split-screen on TV news channels with live scenes of burning cars, riot police and angry protesters, seldom have the stakes seemed so high. Minutes earlier, a St. Louis prosecutor had announced there would be no indictment of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who shot and killed unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson in August. As protesters gathered in streets across the nation, Obama urged them to hear the Brown family’s stance that hurting other people and

  • Kathleen Parker: The Cosby Show

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — By now, most Americans probably have formed an opinion about what comedian Bill Cosby did or didn’t do sexually to or with at least 16 women beginning in the 1960s. According to several women who have accused him of sexual predations, Cosby’s usual modus operandi was to drug women who were with him voluntarily and then force sexual acts upon them. We know these things based mostly on the women’s media interviews. Five revealed their identities and talked openly in The Washington Post’s exhaustive story of the history and allegations. Even so, these are accusations rather than confirmable facts as required in a true court of law. Otherwise, there’s no real evidence — no tapes or letters. No

  • Jack Rafuse: Midterms may be good news for U.S. businesses

    BY JACK RAFUSE | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    America hasn’t made it easy for businesses and corporations to compete effectively on the world stage. The midterm election may have opened the door for some positive changes. The hand of regulation is heavy on American business. Thousands of new regulations fill the pipeline; small businesses in particular struggle to keep up with the burden. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the cost of the federal regulatory burden was a staggering $2.028 trillion in 2012. U.S. businesses also operate under one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Further, there is a high disparity of tax rates between industries in this country. Pass a tax break here, target an industry for higher taxes there, and you

  • Former Oklahoma state senator: Obamcare 'trainwreck' has not occurred

    BY TOM ADELSON | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    The Republican prediction on the “Obamacare trainwreck” has not borne out. The law’s opponents warned that insurance premiums would skyrocket as a result of the newly enrolled who, we were told, would be older and sicker, and thus drive rates up for everyone as overall health expenditures soared. That did not happen. For 2015, the McKinsey Center for U.S. Health System Reform estimates a median increase of 4 percent for all insured in the 19 states (including the District of Columbia) that have released their rate filings. The Health Research Institute estimates an average premium increase of 3.4 percent to 5.2 percent.

  • E.J. Dionne: Thank a politician today

    By E.J. Dionne | Published: Fri, Nov 28, 2014

    There are many to mention

  • George F. Will: Thanks, or something

    By George Will | Published: Thu, Nov 27, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Before the tryptophan in the turkey induces somnolence, give thanks for living in such an entertaining country. This year, for example, we learned that California’s legislature includes 93 persons who seem never to have had sex. They enacted the “affirmative consent” law directing college administrators to tell students that sexual consent cannot be silence but must be “affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement” and “ongoing throughout a sexual activity.” Claremont McKenna College requires “all” — not “both,” which would discriminate against groups -- participants in a sexual engagement to understand that withdrawal of consent can be any behavior conveying “that an individual is hesitant,

  • Center of Industrial Progress president: The moral case for fossil fuels

    BY ALEX EPSTEIN | Published: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    Here’s a question for Oklahomans: Is it good that your state generates 85 percent of its electricity from fossil fuels? I’d wager that many of you would say no. So would the politicians directing America’s energy policy. This was on full display earlier this month, when President Obama announced that the United States and China had reached an agreement to limit both countries’ carbon dioxide emissions, which primarily come from fossil fuels. Such efforts have broad support from the general public — one recent poll showed that 51 percent of voters want to reduce fossil fuel usage, while only 22 percent want to increase their use. But the 22 percent are on to something.

  • Ruth Marcus: A case that is still an enigma

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Wed, Nov 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The grand jury’s decision not to indict Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of teenager Michael Brown was the worst possible outcome — except for one in which passion overwhelmed facts and Wilson was forced to stand trial despite a lack of adequate evidence. I hear your gasp, readers. A young man is dead. He should still be alive. It would be criminally naive to think that race had nothing to do with the fact of his shooting, and the interaction that preceded it. As a matter of maintaining calm and assuaging public concern about a criminal justice system that seems inevitably tilted in the direction of law enforcement and against young black men, an indictment and trial would, no

  • Washington Examiner: Before Jonathan Gruber, there was Bart Stupak

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    PRESIDENT Obama’s national health care law was passed more than four years ago, but Americans have learned quite a bit about it in recent days. Its chief architect, MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, helpfully outlined on video some of the important budgetary and rhetorical deceptions that were necessary to pass the law, noting that “lack of transparency is a huge political advantage” and that he and his fellow drafters relied in large part on “the stupidity of the American voter.” His comments, made over the past three years but discovered online only now, vindicate much of the conservative criticism that was leveled at the Obamacare bill when Congress considered it and the process by which it passed.

  • Michael Gerson: The big but

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Tue, Nov 25, 2014

    Obama goals have shifted the debate

  • Washington Examiner: Immigration move by Obama was a triumph of cynicism

    Washington Examiner editorial | Updated: Fri, Nov 21, 2014

    THURSDAY night, citing a change in “enforcement priorities,” President Obama announced that his IRS would from now on be too busy auditing liberal nonprofit groups to collect taxes from thousands of U.S. defense contractors. Just kidding — Obama actually announced that he would stop applying immigration laws to about 4 million people present in the U.S. illegally. To be sure, the policy offers temporary status only to those illegal immigrants who have committed no felonies and have been here for more than five years, or have children who are citizens. Even so, it’s an actual change of the immigration law conferring status on those who currently live here unofficially. That should require congressional action.

  • Jules Witcover: It's time to kill the lame duck session

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Mon, Nov 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The current lame duck session of Congress, which ends on Jan. 3 and includes senators and representatives defeated on Nov. 4, began with the same old partisanship that characterized the last few years in Washington, as the Senate rejected the Keystone XL pipeline construction bill by a single vote. It probably didn’t matter, because President Obama had already vowed to veto the bill if it reached his desk. Even so, it probably will come up again in the new Congress when the Republicans take control of the Senate while continuing their hold on the House of Representatives. If so, Obama will probably veto it again.

  • George F. Will: Recalling Rockefeller

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Seen through the prism of subsequent national experience, Nelson Rockefeller resembles a swollen post-war automobile — a land yacht with tail fins, a period piece, bemusing and embarrassing. He remains, however, instructive. Richard Norton Smith, a biographer as talented as he is industrious, could not have known, when he began his labors 14 years ago, that publication of his “On His Own Terms: A Life of Nelson Rockefeller” would coincide with the curtain rising on a presidential campaign to which Rockefeller’s story is pertinent. It illuminates today’s two-party dynamic.

  • Jonathan Small: Oklahoma lawmakers should pursue pro-growth policies

    BY JONATHAN SMALL | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    Policy impacts lives, therefore policymakers must pursue policies that unleash human potential and empower Oklahomans. The clear lesson from the election is that across the country, voters rewarded bold and transformational leaders who promote pro-growth policies. Oklahoma lawmakers have the opportunity in 2015 to pursue pro-growth policies in a number of areas. The key to any Oklahoman releasing his or her full potential is the ability to work and to lead a productive life. Unfortunately, Oklahoma assesses a penalty on the work and productive activity of most Oklahomans in the form of a personal income tax. If Oklahomans don’t act to gradually phase out the penalty on work, no-income tax states will continue to have a

  • David Blatt: Fallin given four more years as Oklahoma governor. Now what?

    BY DAVID BLATT | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    As expected, Oklahoma voters have re-elected Gov. Mary Fallin to a second term. Backed by a strong Republican majority in the Legislature, the governor will have another four years to put her policies in place. Yet even those voters who were paying attention during the campaign can be forgiven for lacking a clear sense of the governor’s second-term agenda. Throughout the recent campaign, Fallin trumpeted her first-term record. But other than acknowledging the need for additional funding for education, she was largely silent on what policies or ideas she might pursue next. Oklahoma faces no shortage of opportunities for strong leadership to tackle urgent and longstanding problems.

  • Sad, embarrassed, powerless over Adrian Peterson case

    BY LAURA BOYD | Published: Sat, Nov 22, 2014

    As I write this, it’s 6 a.m. on Wednesday and I feel embarrassed, sad and powerless. Adrian Peterson, purportedly the best running back in the country (and undisputedly the best running back in the country if you’re from Oklahoma) has been suspended from the National Football League for the remainder of this season. I’m sad because Peterson’s little boy was injured by his dad’s disciplinary actions with a switch. I’m sad trying to imagine the impact of this national attention and the suspension on the lifelong relationship between a father and a son. I’m sad that Peterson really didn't see the severity of his actions against the boy — perhaps because he was raised the same way. I’m also embarrassed