Top Stories

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Selfies in Auschwitz — and why it's wrong

    Published: Sun, Jul 27, 2014

    In a place haunted by ghosts, on a thoroughfare of the damned, standing upon ground once watered by blood, Breanna Mitchell lifted a camera to take her own picture. She smiled a sunshine smile. And the Internet exploded. The image the Alabama teenager captured of herself at Auschwitz, an earbud in one ear, has gone viral in the month since she posted it on Twitter. She’s been harshly criticized. She’s been called vile names. And yes, she’s endured that act of lazy person’s terrorism, the Internet death threat. Mitchell insists she is unbowed. She explained in a video interview for something called “TakePart Live” that she wouldn’t do anything differently because she didn’t mean any harm.

  • Jules Witcover: Obama's relevance hangs on Democratic showing in midterms

    Published: Sat, Jul 26, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Congressional midterm elections, the poor cousin to presidential voting in the American political system, will take on a critical role for President Obama in November. The results may well determine whether he will become a premature lame duck two years before his second and last term expires. If the Democrats lose the U.S. Senate, where they hold a practical 55-45 voting control with the help of Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine, the Republicans will be able to intensify the obstructionism with which they have paralyzed the Obama legislative agenda in the House of Representatives over the last nearly six years.

  • Ewing Fellow: Millenials need to engage in effort to boost U.S. infrastructure

    BY BRYAN LYNCH | Published: Sat, Jul 26, 2014

    Congress is debating temporary funding for the National Highway Trust Fund, which is responsible for more than $50 billion in grants for infrastructure projects annually. The fund, predicted to run out of money in August, has used $52 billion more than its account has received in revenue over the past 10 years. Though Congress always patches the holes in the fund’s budget, these temporary solutions appear to be losing viability as the gap between revenue and expenditures is predicted to grow to $167 billion between fiscal years 2015 and 2024. These budget shortfalls stem from the perpetually decreasing revenue of the federal gas tax, which has remained unchanged at 18.

  • Charles Krauthammer: The vacant presidency

    Published: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The president’s demeanor is worrying a lot of people. From the immigration crisis on the Mexican border to the Islamic State rising in Mesopotamia, Barack Obama seems totally detached. When he does interrupt his endless rounds of golf, fundraising and photo ops, it’s for some affectless, mechanical, almost forced public statement. Regarding Ukraine, his detachment — the rote, impassive voice — borders on dissociation. His U.N. ambassador, Samantha Power, delivers an impassioned denunciation of Russia. Obama cautions that we not “get out ahead of the facts,” as if the facts of this case — Vladimir Putin’s proxies shooting down a civilian airliner — are in doubt. The preferred explanation for

  • Institute director: On terrorist front, amateur hour is over

    BY DAVID CID | Published: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    In its recent fight against terrorists, America has faced a lot of amateurs. This month that changed. The professionals are coming. Actually, they’ve been here before. On Feb. 26, 1993, Ramzi Yousef (the nephew of al-Qaida’s chief strategist Khalid Shaikh Mohammed) drove a rented Ryder van into the basement of the World Trade Center and calmly walked away. Minutes later, a 1,500-pound improvised explosive device detonated within that van, killing six people and wounding more than 1,000. Yousef was captured in 1995 in Pakistan, but not before he attempted to assassinate Benazir Bhutto, plotted to blow up flights from the Far East to the United States and attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul.

  • Researchers: Recognition of same-sex marriages strengthens families, communities

    BY KENNETH MAYER, AND STEVEN SAFREN | Published: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    Last week the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that same-sex couples in Oklahoma have a right to marry. Ten years ago, when Massachusetts was at the epicenter of a national debate over whether the marriages of same-sex couples should be legally recognized, we heard a lot of dire warnings about what would happen if marriage equality was enacted. We heard that the institution of marriage would be irreparably damaged. We heard that children would be harmed. We heard that the sky would fall. None of this came to pass. In fact, just the opposite happened. Families and communities have been strengthened by marriage equality in ways we never imagined a mere 10 years ago.

  • Clarence Page: Rick Perry's border campaign — for president?

    Published: Fri, Jul 25, 2014

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry has a response to the crisis of unaccompanied children crossing our southern border. He’s calling up the National Guard. To do what? Provide daycare? After all, this latest wave of undocumented immigrants is making headlines because they are under 18, seeking asylum from violence-ravaged Central America and running toward border guards, not away from them. The border has been overwhelmed in recent months with the influx of 57,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many have been fleeing gang violence and following the rumors spread by human traffickers along the drug routes.

  • George F. Will: In California, Goldwater 2.0

    Published: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

    MENLO PARK, Calif. — Fifty Julys ago, up the road near San Francisco, in the unfortunately named Cow Palace, the Republican National Convention gave its presidential nomination to Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, who knew he would lose: Americans were not going to have a third president in 14 months. Besides, his don’t-fence-me-in libertarian conservatism was ahead of its time. His agenda, however, was to change his party’s national brand. Today, in this state where one in eight Americans live, and where Democratic presidential candidates can reap 55 electoral votes without spending a dime or a day campaigning, the Republicans’ gubernatorial candidate has an agenda and spirit similar to Goldwater’s.

  • Ruth Marcus: Off and on the record

    Published: Wed, Jul 23, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Let us now praise anonymous sources. The new White House press secretary got into a familiar old spat with the White House press corps the other day over the use of anonymous sources. Josh Earnest — has there ever been a more perfectly named White House spokesman? — was a bit off in his timing. He lit into The Washington Post — and noted, more than once, that its reporters were absent from the briefing — for its alleged overuse of unnamed sources. This critique came as the White House was emailing reporters about a background briefing that very afternoon. Featuring, yes, unnamed senior administration officials, to speak on the oh-so-sensitive subject of job training. Goose, meet gander, as several

  • Israeli general counsel: Fighting the new evil of the 21st century

    BY MEIR SHLOMO | Published: Wed, Jul 23, 2014

    Why should we fight for people whose names we can’t pronounce? That was essentially what British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain said on the eve of World War II when he appeased Adolf Hitler’s demand to annex part of Czechoslovakia. Why should Americans care about Hamas attacking Israel? Hamas is a terrorist organization. Hamas, al-Qaida, ISIS, Boko Harram — they all draw inspiration from one another. Hence, al-Qaida’s Osama bin Laden was praised as a “holy warrior” by Hamas. Make no mistake, they are against Western civilization and not because they’re ignorant and clueless about our value. To the contrary, they know our values and wish to eradicate them and those who dare hold them dear.

  • Washington Examiner: Fracking fight splitting Democrats in Colorado

    Published: Tue, Jul 22, 2014

    COLORADO liberals spent a decade and millions of dollars pushing their state’s political agenda to the left. Although the Centennial State’s unique constitution has frustrated the Democrats’ appetite for higher taxes, they have largely succeeded in most other areas. They have elected legislators who backed ill-advised mandates for renewable energy use, constitutionally questionable gun control measures and other laws that please rich liberal elitists in Aspen and Denver but perplex and frustrate everybody else. Next month, the liberals will take another step by submitting the required number of signatures to place two antifracking measures on the fall ballot as state constitutional amendments.

  • Paul Greenberg: The Israelis are back

    Published: Tue, Jul 22, 2014

    Despite their reluctance, the Israelis are back in Gaza — for the third time in a decade, and for who knows how many times to come. It’s become almost a regularly scheduled round trip by now. Their reluctance is understandable; Gaza has been a trap since the old days. Specifically, the Old Testament days. (“The Philistines are upon thee, Samson!” — Judges 16:20.) All of which may explain why the Israelis didn’t invade this time until Hamas rejected their (and the Egyptians’) repeated offers of a truce. Now they’re back to block the tunnels Hamas was using, or rather planning to use, to burrow under Israeli lines and augment its indiscriminate rocket attacks all over Israel with new guerrilla raids.

  • David Ignatius: The risk of tougher sanctions on Russia

    Published: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Energy politics underlie the explosive Ukraine crisis, as Europeans weigh U.S. calls for tougher sanctions against the ability of Russia to disrupt gas supplies this winter. The dilemma for European governments increased this week, as the Obama administration announced strong new penalties against the Russian energy and financial sectors. Europe’s initial response was tepid, in a sign that many of its governments fear Moscow’s energy leverage more than U.S. displeasure. The Russians turned up the pressure valve, too. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called the U.S. sanctions “evil” on Thursday and warned: “We may go back to the 1980s in our relations with the states that are declaring these sanctions.

  • Michael Gerson: The dystopia next door

    Published: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In 1993, Lois Lowry wrote a slim book for youth about totalitarianism, euthanasia, suicide, sexual awakening and infanticide. “The Giver” created a blooming genre — the dystopian youth novel — and considerable controversy. Some parents wanted the book banned from schools, thus unintentionally re-asking the book’s central question: How comprehensively should children (and other humans) be protected from risk and pain? Now “The Giver” has been given the full Hollywood treatment: the biggest stars (Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep), winsome young actors and a small but important role for singer Taylor Swift. The early cut I saw (the film premieres in August) is an updated but respectful telling of the story —

  • Project manager: Oklahoma will eventually have a Capitol building it can be proud of

    BY TRAIT THOMPSON | Updated: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    One hundred years ago today, on a small hill overlooking Oklahoma City, throngs of spectators crowded the area where Gov. Lee Cruce was to drive a silver-plated pick into the ground. The excitement was palpable. More than 5,000 people came in cars, walked or took the train to witness this auspicious groundbreaking. The day was hot. Dust from the cars clogged the air when the breeze died down. Yet the crowd was enthusiastic. It took four years for Oklahoma’s capital city issue to be decided as the political process wound to its conclusion. Finally, a new day had dawned in Oklahoma. There were rumblings of war from distant reaches of the globe, but July 20, 1914, was a day to be optimistic in Oklahoma. Movie cameras whirred,

  • Muslim youth leader: Americans must fight agianst ISIS ideology of fear

    BY YAMEEN KHALIL | Published: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    Americans need to get in the battlefield against the “Islamic” State in Iraq and Syria, better known as ISIS. By no means is this a call to arms, however. Rather, it’s a call to fight against the ideology of fear and hatred that this so-called “Islamic” group promotes. This is a fight that can’t be won by simple denunciation of this terrorist organization, but by promoting an alternative that has all the solutions. ISIS is bent on establishing a state under a forced caliphate, which ISIS leaders say would unify all Muslims to fight against anyone who may disagree with them.

  • Jules Witcover: The Get Obama show goes on

    Published: Sat, Jul 19, 2014

    WASHINGTON — It’s beginning to seem like the longest running off-Broadway show, the Republican effort to end the Obama presidency prematurely. The latest act was staged the other day before the House Rules Committee. It was considering House Speaker John Boehner’s proposal that the House of Representatives sue Obama for failing to do his job in fully implementing the Affordable Care Act, which the Grand Old Party has been trying to kill off ever since Congress enacted it in 2010. Their party having failed to make good on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s vow to make Barack Obama a one-term president, some Republicans have been beating the drums for impeachment, a step Boehner himself has denied is his intent in

  • Oklahoma labor commissioner: Who takes a HIT from Affordable Care Act?

    BY MARK COSTELLO | Published: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    One of the most complicated challenges facing Oklahoma families and businesses continues to be compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Untrue to its namesake, the ACA isn’t making health care more affordable by bending “the cost curve down” as President Obama once promised. In fact, health care premiums are increasing across the country. Consumer health care spending exploded by nearly 10 percent in the first quarter of 2014, the highest rate of growth in more than 30 years, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Why are costs rising? First, when government taxes more of a particular product, costs increase. Health insurance is no different.

  • Clarence Page: Let's not rush to criminalize 'bad' parents

    Published: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    Despite the growing consensus that mass incarceration is not the way to cure all social ills, there seems to be a new trend toward prosecuting parents who fall short of prevailing ideals. You don’t have to be a parent, as I am, to understand the good intentions behind efforts to hold parents accountable for taking good care of their children. But we also have to ask what kind of care is best and whether the criminal justice system is always the best decider. Take for example the case of Debra Harrell, who was jailed and charged recently with “unlawful conduct toward a child” in North Augusta, South Carolina, according to news reports. Her crime: leaving her 9-year-old daughter alone to play with a few dozen other kids

  • OKC Jewish federation member: Israelis, Hamas use far different methods to achieve desired goals

    BY DANIEL FRANKENSTEIN | Published: Fri, Jul 18, 2014

    On July 8, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri appeared on Al Aqsa TV, where he showcased his organization’s stunning disregard for the lives of Palestinians by calling the use of human shields an “effective” defense against Israel. Nearly a decade ago, Israel turned its security personnel on its own citizens in order to forcefully remove all Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip. Since 2007, Hamas, recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S. State Department, has controlled Gaza through brutal, military rule. Instead of building schools and hospitals, Hamas’ leadership has built a terrorist infrastructure complete with smuggling tunnels, kidnapping capabilities, rocket-launching sites and weapons caches.