• George F. Will: The senator to watch in 2015

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Standing at the intersection of three foreign policy crises and a perennial constitutional tension, Bob Corker, R-Tenn., incoming chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, may be the senator who matters most in 2015. Without an authorization for use of military force (AUMF) tailored to novel circumstances, America is waging war against an entity without precedent (the Islamic State). Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons during negotiations that should involve congressional duties. And Russia is revising European borders by force and, like Iran, is the object of a U.S. experiment testing the power of economic sanctions to modify a dictator’s behavior.

  • Western Governors University: High-quality, low-cost college for Oklahomans

    BY BRANDON DUTCHER, AND FRANK KEATING | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    As Oklahoma lawmakers begin their annual wrestling match with the state budget, they have an opportunity to consider innovative and more efficient ways to deliver basic services. One such innovation, Western Governors University, was created 17 years ago by a bipartisan group of governors in the western United States. All agreed that the focus must be on uncompromised excellence with a special focus on science, technology, English and math. And that’s what was done. Today, WGU students are pursuing online degrees in education, business, information technology and health fields. “WGU does not receive any state government subsidy and is totally dependent on student tuition for funding,” says Vance Fried, a research

  • Clarence Page: 'Selma' is a film worth arguing about

    By Clarence Page | Published: Sun, Jan 4, 2015

    It is no crushing insult to Ava DuVernay’s ”Selma” that experts dispute its accuracy. In today’s movie culture, accuracy only matters when the movie is worth arguing about Guardians of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s memory are upset that he is portrayed as an obstructionist who had to be persuaded by the brutality of Southern police at the Selma-to-Montgomery protest march into pushing what became the 1965 Voting Rights Act. “In fact, Selma was LBJ’s idea,” Joseph Califano, LBJ’s top domestic affairs assistant, argues in a Washington Post op-ed. LBJ “considered the Voting Rights Act his greatest legislative achievement,” Califano writes, “he viewed King as an essential partner in getting it enacted —

  • Michael Gerson: Clear choice, or clear trauma?

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Sat, Jan 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON — One outcome of and proof for ideological polarization is the way it has made stalwarts appear like centrists. In what world is Hillary Clinton — feminist heroine, author of Hillarycare, sworn enemy of the vast right-wing conspiracy — not progressive enough? In what parallel universe is Jeb Bush — a tax-slashing, school voucher-supporting, pro-gun former Southern governor — some kind of moderate? George Wallace, who managed to be foolish on an amazing variety of topics, claimed there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties. It wasn’t really true in 1968. It is dramatically less true today. The political parties have sorted themselves both regionally and

  • Express VP: Skills, experience help lead to higher wages

    BY DAVID LEWIS | Published: Sat, Jan 3, 2015

    On Jan. 1, 21 states raised their minimum wage. These increases will affect an estimated 2.4 million workers, resulting in pay averaging $8 per hour and as high as $9.15 per hour — far above the national minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. President Barack Obama supports a bill to raise the national minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, while some labor activists are calling for the fast-food industry to raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour. Minimum wage advocates have a simple argument, a call for people to make more money. This argument enjoys universal support. But mandating private companies to pay artificially higher prices comes at a cost. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the labor force

  • Charles Krauthammer: Nylons for nothing

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — There’s an old Cold War joke — pre-pantyhose — that to defeat communism we should empty our B-52 bombers of nuclear weapons and instead drop nylons over the Soviet Union. Flood the Russians with the soft consumer culture of capitalism, seduce them with Western contact and commerce, love bomb them into freedom. We did win the Cold War, but differently. We contained, constrained, squeezed and eventually exhausted the Soviets into giving up. The dissidents inside subsequently told us how much they were sustained by our support for them and our implacable pressure on their oppressors. The logic behind President Obama’s Cuba normalization, assuming there is one, is the nylon strategy. We tried 50 years of

  • Kathleen Parker: The joke's on us

    By Kathleen Parker | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON — A writer seeking profound pronouncements for a year-end column is likely instead to find herself awash in punchlines. Life isn’t a comedy. It’s a joke. Hey, did you hear the one about North Korea hacking Sony and threatening to blow up movie theaters that showed the film? Joke, right? No, wait. It wasn’t North Korea, it was the Russians! No, wait, it wasn’t the Russians, it was a disaffected former staffer. No, wait, it was … Lizard Squad. And that’s no joke. So goes the latest chapter in a whodunit saga of comic proportions. Life isn’t a comedy after all. It’s a comic book. And the whole Sony episode is a perfect metaphor for 2014.

  • Paul Greenberg: Happy Old Year!

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    What a year 2015 has been. It’s seen the greatest outbreak of freedom since 1989, that annus mirabilis, year of wonders, when freedom was breaking out the world over. First the Iron Curtain collapsed, to be followed shortly thereafter by the implosion of the late and unlamented Soviet Union — and not just the Cold War was over but the dangerous, decades-long nuclear arms race with it. Those of us who had grown up with the occasionally hot Cold War as a permanent fixture of the daily news could scarcely believe this brave new world opening all ‘round us.

  • Former Romney spokesman: Common Core popular in many quarters

    BY SHAWN MCCOY | Published: Fri, Jan 2, 2015

    At the end of 2014, the news media was in full 2016 presidential election mode. It’s as if November’s election never happened. The prognosticators have all moved on to prognosticating about something new. It’s important to change the subject quickly — lest you remember their predictions about how close the midterms would be, how Mitch McConnell might lose, that Texas could elect a Democratic governor … the list goes on. And so as we move on to 2016, much discussion focuses on Common Core educational standards. When Jeb Bush announced that he’s considering running for president, many pundits immediately claimed his support for Common Core would hurt him. The data suggests otherwise. I sat down with two experts on

  • George F. Will: A strike against rent-seeking

    By George Will | Published: Thu, Jan 1, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Mighty oaks from little acorns grow, so last year’s most encouraging development in governance might have occurred in February in a U.S. District Court in Frankfort, Ky. There, a judge did something no federal judge has done since 1932. By striking down a “certificate of necessity” (CON) regulation, he struck a blow for liberty and against crony capitalism. Although Raleigh Bruner’s Wildcat Moving company in Lexington is named in celebration of the local religion — University of Kentucky basketball — this did not immunize him from the opposition of companies with which he wished to compete. In 2012, he formed the company, hoping to operate statewide. Kentucky, however, like some other states, requires

  • E.J. Dionne: Permanent Armageddon

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Wed, Dec 31, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Meg Greenfield, the late Washington Post editorial page editor, counseled against writing in “High C” all the time. By this she meant that an editorialist or columnist who expressed equally noisy levels of indignation about everything would lack credibility when something truly outrageous came along that merited a well-crafted high-pitched scream. We now seem to be living in the Age of High C, a period when every fight is Armageddon, every foe is a monster, and every issue is either the key to national survival or the doorway to ruin. This habit seems especially pronounced in the way President Obama’s adversaries treat him.

  • Clarence Page: A year that took the awe out of 'awesome'

    By Clarence Page | Published: Wed, Dec 31, 2014

    It was an “awesome” year. In my annual search for a word that pretty much describes the past year, I have found that almost everything, everywhere, was “awesome.” I am using the A-word in the sense that I have heard my son’s generation use it since he was in grade school in the 1990s. To the new generation, I detected, the world boils down to two extremes: everything is either “awesome” or it “sucks.” No longer is “awesome” reserved for those people or things that actually inspire awe.

  • Washington Examiner: Republicans wise to move toward 'dynamic scoring'

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Wed, Dec 31, 2014

    AS Republicans assume full control of Congress in the new year, President Obama’s veto pen will make it difficult for them to enact sweeping domestic policy changes immediately. Even so, they’ll have an opportunity to make important changes to the way legislation is evaluated in Washington — which could pave the way for advancing longer-term policy reforms down the road. Currently, any major piece of legislation making its way through Congress is evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office to determine how the federal government’s fiscal picture would change if that legislation became law. These CBO analyses, or scores, are extremely influential.

  • Blogger: Congress needs to help end child hunger in America

    BY WILLIAM LAMBERS | Published: Wed, Dec 31, 2014

    “No nation is any healthier than its children.” So said President Harry Truman in 1946. Yet today, nearly 16 million children live in hunger in the United States. The new Congress must renew child nutrition legislation in 2015. This is a golden opportunity to end America’s child hunger crisis in America, once and for all. We start by improving child feeding programs. For even a school meal can be a life-changer for a child. Nutritious school meals have played a pivotal role in American history. When a severe drought spread across the United States starting back in 1931, families were struggling and low on food. Red Cross director A.L. Schafer wrote that teachers feared their students would starve.

  • George Will: Jeb Bush's hurdles

    By George F. Will | Published: Tue, Dec 30, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In 1968, a singularly traumatic year — assassinations, urban riots, 16,899 Americans killed in Vietnam — Vice President Hubert Humphrey, the ebullient Minnesotan, said his presidential campaign was about “the politics of joy.” This was considered infelicitous. He was, however, right to insist that, whatever America’s vicissitudes, the nation’s premises explain its trajectory and validate cheerfulness. Similarly, after a 40-year-old Arizonan decided to try politics as a candidate for the Phoenix city council in 1949, he said: “It ain’t for life and it might be fun.” Barry Goldwater was right: Politics is supposed to be fun, and done right it is.

  • George F. Will: Cuba Derangement Syndrome

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Dec 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Barack Obama has made a geopolitical irrelevancy suddenly relevant to American presidential politics. For decades, Cuba has been instructive as a museum of two stark failures: socialism and the U.S. embargo. Now, Cuba has become useful as a clarifier of different Republican flavors of foreign policy thinking. The permanent embargo was imposed in 1962 in the hope of achieving, among other things, regime change. Well. Fidel Castro, 88, has not been seen in public since January and may be even more mentally diminished than anyone — including his 83-year old brother — who still adheres to Marxism. Whatever Fidel’s condition, however, Cuba has been governed by the Castros during 11 U.S.

  • Jules Witcover: A Merry Christmas economy

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Sun, Dec 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — President Obama in Hawaii and Americans elsewhere found an unexpected present under their Christmas trees this week in a surprisingly growing economy, lifting some of the gloom otherwise hovering over the national outlook. The gross domestic product (GDP) rose 5 percent in the third quarter, from July through September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, for the fastest increase in any comparable period in 11 years. The Democratic National Committee, in what may turn out to be what former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan once memorably called “irrational exuberance,” chirped that the news “has already transformed the political conversation in Washington.

  • Greg Main: OCIB helping to build Oklahoma's future

    BY GREG MAIN | Published: Sun, Dec 28, 2014

    Oklahoma is enjoying renewed prosperity as biotech startups and a healthy energy sector breathe new life into the state’s economy. The Oklahoma Capital Investment Board is a major engine for this growth. OCIB was a direct response to the mid-1980s economic bust. When oil prices bottomed out, so did Oklahoma’s economic prospects. Resolved to never let this happen again, the Legislature created OCIB to diversify Oklahoma’s industrial profile through an infusion of venture capital for promising businesses. Energy will always be the cornerstone of a thriving Oklahoma, but a diverse economy serves as a defense against economic downturns.

  • During this month, be mindful of distracted driving

    BY SARAH LONGWELL | Published: Sat, Dec 27, 2014

    Distracted driving is a growing epidemic responsible for an increasing number of serious traffic accidents. The campaign to reduce drunken driving has been overwhelmingly successful — deaths have fallen dramatically since the 1970s. But while alcohol-related traffic fatalities have fallen, distracted driving accidents are on the rise. The number of drunken driving fatalities per capita decreased 28 percent between 2005 and 2012. During that same time period, the percentage of people observed “visibly manipulating” their phones while behind the wheel increased by a whopping 650 percent. Increased multitasking while driving poses a major threat to traffic safety.

  • Clarence Page: Support police, fight bad policing

    By Clarence Page | Published: Sat, Dec 27, 2014

    In an ideal world, there would be no contradiction between support for police and opposition to bad policing. But after the coldblooded murder of two police officers in New York, some people find it dangerously easy to confuse one with the other. In social media, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, a mentally disturbed career criminal, declared his intention to commit the senseless killings out of some sense of revenge for the deaths of Michael Brown of Ferguson, Mo., and Eric Garner of New York. He later shot and killed himself on a subway platform as he was pursued by police.