Top Stories

  • Oklahoma labor commissioner: Workers' comp reform worth celebrating this Labor Day

    BY MARK COSTELLO | Published: Sat, Aug 30, 2014

    The workers’ compensation environment in Oklahoma is worthy of recognition this Labor Day. Workers’ compensation has been around for 100 years in the United States and is designed to rehabilitate, pay for health care and cover a worker’s lost wages. In 2010, when I started advocating for reform, I looked nationwide to find the best practice used in administering this type of insurance program. I didn’t have to look far — it was our neighbor to the east, Arkansas. Oklahoma employers had to pay $2.52 for what Arkansas was paying $1! Oklahoma businesses were paying 250 percent more for identical coverage. This created an unlevel playing field for Oklahoma businesses. Oklahoma workers sometimes suffered lower wages as a

  • Charles Krauthammer: Lower corporate tax rates — now

    BY CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Published: Fri, Aug 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is highly exercised about “inversion,” the practice by which an American corporation acquires a foreign company and moves its headquarters out of the U.S. to benefit from lower tax rates abroad. Not fair, says Barack Obama. It’s taking advantage of an “unpatriotic tax loophole” that hardworking American families have to make up for by the sweat of their brow. His treasury secretary calls such behavior a violation of “economic patriotism.” Nice touch. Democrats used to wax indignant about having one’s patriotism questioned. Now they throw around the charge with abandon, tossing it at corporations that refuse to do the economically patriotic thing of paying the highest

  • Oklahoma state Rep. Bobby Cleveland: Mental health courts pay dividends for state

    BY STATE REP. BOBBY CLEVELAND | Published: Fri, Aug 29, 2014

    In a few weeks, legislators will return to the Capitol for an interim study I requested reviewing Oklahoma’s efforts to be smart on crime. While we have a long way to go before we solve our prison overpopulation crisis, the state is already investing in one program that’s paying big dividends — mental health courts. This specialty court system was created by the 2002 Anna McBride Mental Health Courts Act. McBride was a nationally recognized advocate for the mentally ill prior to her death in 2003. Since its inception, the program has targeted nonviolent offenders who suffer mental illness, diverting them from jail and into treatment. I recently visited Cleveland County’s Anna McBride court to observe the staffing and court

  • E.J. Dionne: 2014 and the limits of rage

    Published: Fri, Aug 29, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The short-term future of politics in the nation’s capital will be determined in large part by which party ends up in control of the Senate. But for a sense of the long-term future of politics in the country as a whole, watch the governors races. The question to ask: Do voters begin to push back against the tea party tide that swept governorships and legislatures into Republican hands four years ago and produced the most radical changes in policy at the state level in at least a generation? On the Senate races, two things are true. Simply because so many Democratic seats are at stake, the GOP has an edge. Republicans have probably already secured three of the six pickups they need to take control next year.

  • Cal Thomas: Scotland's future hangs in the balance

    BY CAL THOMAS | Published: Fri, Aug 29, 2014

    “The best laid schemes of mice and men often go awry.” — Scottish poet Robert Burns, “To a Mouse” (1786) CAIRNRYAN, Scotland — For Americans whose knowledge of this beautiful land is limited to kilts, whiskey, bagpipes and the film “Braveheart,” the forthcoming referendum on whether Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom or become an independent nation will come as a curiosity at best. The primary objection of those favoring separation is the lack of self-determination granted to Scots by the British government. Though Westminster in recent months has devolved more powers to Edinburgh, those favoring separation say it is not enough. In the final debate Monday night before the Sept.

  • George F. Will: Navy with a mission in mind

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Thu, Aug 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Russia’s ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State’s erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the “near seas,” meaning China’s seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s multiplying preoccupations — CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea. This is designed to prevent incendiary accidents, a topic of special interest during this month’s centennial commemorations of the beginning of a war that, ignited by miscalculations, ruined the 20th century.

  • Ruth Marcus: A legacy in question

    Published: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    WASHINGTON — I’ve thought for some time that the Obama administration could look better in the rearview mirror of history than it does in the bumpy ride of the day to day. That may still turn out to be correct. Yet events of the last few months — specifically, the rise of the Islamic State and the accompanying specter of a renewed terrorist threat to the United States — have raised the alarming prospect of a legacy even more dismal than suggested by the current grim poll numbers. The rosier view of the historical prospects of the 44th president involves the early achievements of the first term, combined with the muscular executive actions — actions taken and actions perhaps to come — of the second.

  • Michael Gerson: Too detached to lead?

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Having once served a president, I don’t begrudge any president a vacation. There is, in fact, no escape from this relentless job. A change of scenery does not involve a change in responsibilities, or even a release from the essence of the president’s routine. The intelligence briefings stalk him. Presidential respites are measured in hours, not days or weeks — say, a few hours on a golf course. And the public would be selfish and shortsighted to demand those downtime hours, which are necessary for humans to function. The problem for President Obama has come in managing the symbolic aspect of his office. Playing a round at the Farm Neck Golf Club was appropriate. Giving a speech after the murder of James Foley

  • Policy analyst: Governments shouldn't be in the Internet business

    BY KUPER JONES | Published: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    The rosy picture painted by proponents of government-owned broadband, people such as Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, couldn’t be more misleading. Wheeler and other backers of big government are now considering whether to block state laws that seek largely to keep government out of the Internet business. Wheeler and others seem to hold a misguided belief that there’s a shortage of competition in broadband services, and that government is the only solution. The truth is fierce private-sector competition has made the Internet an epicenter of innovation and technological development. Proponents of this kind of government overreach typically rely on the tired example of the Chattanooga, Tenn.

  • Delta Dental CEO: A dental care crisis in Oklahoma

    BY JOHN GLADDEN | Published: Wed, Aug 27, 2014

    In 90-degree heat this month, Oklahomans from across the state began lining up for medical, dental or vision care, some of them arriving the day before a free clinic was scheduled to start at Oklahoma State Fair Park. I had the opportunity to stand in line with some of the more than 1,100 people who came over the weekend of Aug. 16-17. I heard their stories and learned more about a dental care access crisis in this state. The stories shared that weekend reflected the reality that only about half of Oklahomans have dental insurance benefits. The other half must pay out-of-pocket or forgo regular care. In many cases, uninsured individuals suffer through dental pain for weeks, even months, before a free dental clinic might come

  • Washington Examiner: As Obamacare premiums rise, Democrats' fortunes fall

    Published: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    OBAMACARE has hit a lull. The president’s signature domestic policy program isn’t causing quite as much chaos right now in people’s lives as it did last October and November during the incompetent launch of The absence of an immediate crisis has prompted smug suggestions from the usual suspects in government, on campus and in the news media to declare that the law is working and people like it. Obamacare is working only in the unlikely event that its goal is to deliver the Senate to Republicans this fall. Disapproval of Obamacare hit an all-time high last month, in part because premiums keep rising. PriceWaterhouseCoopers finds that the average insurance premium in the Obamacare exchanges will rise by 8

  • Paul Greenberg: The anatomy of terror

    Published: Tue, Aug 26, 2014

    The on-again, off-again war in Gaza and Israel is on again, with a massive barrage of rockets fired at whatever targets Hamas can hope to reach in the Jewish state — Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, anything and everything in between. The Israelis then strike back with an air assault that, by all signs, will be followed by their next land invasion of the Gaza Strip, their third of the decade. Or maybe fourth or fifth. It’s not easy to keep count. Once again the casualties, military and civilian, mount — with many more in the offing. Till the only military objective remaining will be to make the rubble bounce. This much is clear: Until this cancer is completely excised, it will metastasize again.

  • George F. Will: In defense of the defenders

    Published: Sun, Aug 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON — What is called “the” 1964 Civil Rights Act is justly celebrated for outlawing racial and other discrimination in employment, “public accommodations” and elsewhere. But that year’s second civil rights act, the Criminal Justice Act, which is 50 years old this month, is, some say, largely a failure because of unanticipated changes in the legal and social context. Is it? In 1961, Clarence Gideon allegedly broke into a Florida pool hall and its vending machines. Gideon, who was indigent, requested a defense attorney, was refused and was convicted.

  • Dana Murphy: Corporation Commission committed to furthering work on Oklahoma quakes

    BY DANA MURPHY | Published: Sun, Aug 24, 2014

    There is no lack of opinions regarding the cause of significant increases in earthquake activity in Oklahoma. For many of us, including me and numerous employees of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, this isn’t just a professional issue. It’s also a personal issue since our homes haven’t been spared from the shaking. In the midst of research and rhetoric, no definitive answer exists as to whether the earthquakes are the result of natural forces or triggered by man’s activities, or some combination of the two. So what do we actually know? We know that researchers agree that hydraulic fracturing isn’t the cause of the major earthquakes in Oklahoma.

  • David Ignatius: The hooded face of evil

    Published: Sun, Aug 24, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The propagandists of the Islamic State must have imagined that their brutal video of the beheading of journalist James Foley would intimidate and terrorize the world. But people aren’t built that way, not in Muslim countries or anywhere else. When they see sadistic, uncivilized behavior, they are disgusted — and angry. President Obama spoke with special precision and moral clarity in reacting to the video’s release Wednesday. The Islamic State, he said, “speaks for no religion. Their victims are overwhelmingly Muslim, and no faith teaches people to massacre innocents. No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.” The videotaped beheading was a sign of the

  • Michael Gerson: No time to lead from behind

    Published: Sat, Aug 23, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Responding to the horrifying murder of photojournalist James Foley, Secretary of State John Kerry declared, “ISIL (the Islamic State) and the wickedness it represents must be destroyed.” President Obama said, “people like this ultimately fail.” The first is a pledge; the second an observation. Obama remains a rhetorical spectator to events in Iraq and Syria he does not want to own, and that he believes America has a limited ability to influence. Obama called the Islamic State a “cancer.” But the actual pledge found in his remarks was consistent with earlier pledges: “The United States of America will continue to do what we must to protect our people.

  • Oklahoma oil-gas industry official: This isn't your grandmother's well — it's much better

    BY KIM HATFIELD | Published: Sat, Aug 23, 2014

    At a recent public meeting in Norman, New York attorney David Slottje encouraged Oklahoma communities to ban hydraulic fracturing. Slottje, executive director of the Community Environmental Defense Fund, told the audience that the oil and natural gas industry must prove hydraulic fracturing is safe to the environment. His comment came just months after marking the 65th year in which the well completion process has been used in Oklahoma, with no evidence to show hydraulic fracturing has impacted the state’s ground water resources.

  • Oklahoma mom: Vaccinations a key piece of public health

    BY SHANNON BAIR | Published: Sat, Aug 23, 2014

    In August, parents are rushing around trying to get their children prepared for school. My children were always up-to-date on their school vaccinations, but I’d never really thought about how state immunization laws protect my children and our community until the summer of 2012. That summer our daughters attended a sleep-away camp. Upon their return, the 10-year-old had a terrible cough and was diagnosed with bronchitis. A few days later, while on vacation, we learned that she’d been exposed to pertussis (whooping cough) from a fellow camper. “Whooping cough! Great!” I thought. My husband and I made the quick decision to get a second hotel room, and I stayed in the hotel room with my daughter.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: What's next in Ferguson? Let's try a little education

    Published: Sat, Aug 23, 2014

    What next? That’s what should concern us now. When the nightly dance of angry protesters, opportunistic criminals, and inept police clashing over the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown finally ends, what steps should civic-minded people take to address the ongoing abuse of African Americans by the criminal injustice system? Not just in Ferguson, Mo., but in America? There will be no shortage of good ideas: dashboard cameras, community policing, the hiring of more black cops, the removal of military hardware from police arsenals, sensitivity training. To these, I would add a suggestion that is admittedly less ”sexy” than any of those, but which I think has greater potential to make fundamental change in the

  • Washington Examiner: Regarding ISIS, decision for Obama should be clear

    Published: Fri, Aug 22, 2014

    WHEN the book is closed on the Middle Eastern caliphate established this summer by the ISIS terrorist group, historians may view Aug. 19, 2014, as the turning point in this monster’s existence. That was the day ISIS disseminated its video of the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley. Foley had spent years as a freelancer, bravely documenting wars for Western audiences. He was kidnapped by loyalist forces during the Libyan civil war and lived to tell the tale. Sadly, he fell into the merciless hands of ISIS, the self-styled “knights of Islam,” two years ago in Syria. ISIS hoped that its latest atrocity would intimidate Americans, especially this nation’s president, from taking further military action