• State Rep. David Dank: Time to end tax reimbursement programs for projects that don't create jobs

    BY STATE REP. DAVID DANK | Published: Sun, Sep 14, 2014

    In the next four years, Oklahoma taxpayers will be asked to subsidize tens of millions of dollars in reimbursements to local entities like schools and counties, not because these are broke, but because of an ill-conceived tax credit involving wind farms that many residents question. The state’s property tax reimbursement program was designed for a valid purpose: to assist schools and counties in dealing with an upsurge in population resulting from new jobs. If a manufacturer built a factory in a rural area and boosted employment, he would receive a five-year exemption from property taxes. In return, the state treasury would reimburse those local entities for that lost revenue, which they would need to serve those new

  • Ruth Marcus: Congress can't duck this one

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Sun, Sep 14, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Congress has a duty — to itself and the country — to debate and authorize President Obama’s military campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Failing to do so would be bad practice and a worse precedent. One long year ago, the president, having announced his intention, and asserted his unilateral authority, to conduct air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his use of chemical weapons, suddenly decided to seek congressional approval after all. Of course, Obama was promptly rebuffed, saved from humiliation only by the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin to broker a deal with Assad.

  • Lawrence Hellman: How many innocent people are in Oklahoma prisons?

    BY LAWRENCE K. HELLMAN | Published: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    Oklahoma’s prison population is about 26,000. Some of the inmates are innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. How do we know? Throughout America, innocent people are being exonerated at an alarming rate on the basis of new evidence of innocence. A record 91 exonerations occurred in 2013. Since 1989, there have been more than 1,400 exonerations in America, including 27 in Oklahoma. So we know that Oklahoma’s criminal justice system has made some mistakes. Not a lot of mistakes, but some serious ones. It is sobering to learn that eight of Oklahoma’s exonerees were on death row at the time of their release from prison. It’s simply unrealistic to believe that all of the mistakes have been

  • University of Oklahoma professor: Religious liberty woven into our constitutional heritage

    BY WILFRED M. MCCLAY | Published: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    As we observe Constitution Day this year, we need to take note of the fact that religious liberty, one of the most fundamental of all human rights, has become one of the central issues of the 21st century. We see this vividly in the international arena, where many of the world’s bloodiest conflicts involve religious believers of various stripes. Such conflicts are taking a particularly heavy toll upon vulnerable minorities around the globe: harassed Jews in Europe, massacred Christians in Iraq and Syria and Egypt, embattled Muslims in India, to name a few. Meanwhile, in parts of the West, the preaching of traditional Judeo-Christian moral teachings has been labeled a human rights violation and proscribed by courts.

  • Jules Witcover: Reality impinges on Obama's Middle East strategy

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Sat, Sep 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The strategy President Obama has laid out to “degrade and ultimately destroy” the new Middle East terrorist peril reveals him as a man divided between combating the immediate threat and persevering in his determination get this country of “a perpetual war footing.” In clinging to his insistence that where will be no more American “boots on the ground,” he is committing himself and the nation to a military compromise that adheres more to public preference than to the comprehensive approach dictated by the Pentagon.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Obama's uncertain trumpet, again

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In his Islamic State speech, President Obama said many of the right things. Most importantly, he finally got the mission right: degrade and destroy the enemy. This alone will probably get him a bump in the polls, which have dropped to historic lows. But his strategic problem remains: the disconnect between (proclaimed) ends and means. He’s sending an additional 475 American advisers to Iraq. He says he’s broadening the air campaign, but that is merely an admission that the current campaign was always about more than just protecting U.S. personnel in Irbil and saving Yazidis on mountain tops. It was crucially about providing air support for the local infantry, Kurdish and Iraqi.

  • E.J. Dionne: The new politics of U.S. foreign policy

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Over the last decade, Americans’ views on foreign policy have swung sharply from support for intervention to a profound mistrust of any military engagement overseas. Over the same period, political debates on foreign affairs have been bitter and polarized, defined by the question of whether the invasion of Iraq was a proper use of the nation’s power or a catastrophic mistake. This contest for public opinion has taken place in the shadow of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. For understandable reasons, the United States was thrown off balance by the horrific events of 13 years ago, and we have never fully recovered. The emergence of the Islamic State and its barbaric beheadings of James Foley and Steven Sotloff

  • Attorney: Feds' denial of Oklahoma's NCLB waiver request is politically motivated

    BY MICHAEL FARRIS | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    The U.S. Department of Education’s denial of Oklahoma’s request for a waiver from No Child Left Behind is a politically motivated punishment for rejecting the “voluntary” Common Core program. Oklahomans should plan a strategic response. A lawsuit against the feds would be an uphill battle. At most, it could win on a narrow, procedural basis. Alternatively, Oklahoma could use this moment to take a historic step toward dismantling the basis for illicit federal power grabs. The Constitution’s framers believed that having the right structure for decision-making was essential for the preservation of liberty. They had learned this lesson in the crucible of a very real conflict.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Ray Rice video revealed nothing we didn't know already

    BY LEONARD PITTS JR. | Published: Fri, Sep 12, 2014

    Can we stop pretending we know something now that we didn’t before about what Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice did to his then-fiancee in the elevator of that Atlantic City casino? Can we stop pretending new information has come to light? Granted, the surveillance video released Monday by TMZ is graphic and disturbing: Rice is seen slapping Janay Palmer, who rushes at him, whereupon he uncorks a left that hits her like a hammer. She bangs her head on a railing and crumples, senseless, to the floor. But we already knew this had happened. We knew it from the initial video, released shortly after the February 15 incident, which shows Rice dragging Palmer out of the elevator like a sack of flour, like a piece of lumber, like

  • George F. Will: Extremism in defense of re-election

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Thu, Sep 11, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Since Barry Goldwater, accepting the Republicans’ 1964 presidential nomination, said “extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice,” Democrats have been decrying Republican “extremism.” Actually, although there is abundant foolishness and unseemliness in American politics, real extremism — measures or movements that menace the Constitution’s architecture of ordered liberty — is rare. This week, however, extremism stained the Senate. Forty-eight members of the Democratic caucus attempted to do something never previously done — amend the Bill of Rights. They tried to radically shrink First Amendment protection of political speech. They evidently think extremism in defense of the political class’s

  • Michael Gerson: Carrying the fight to the enemy

    BY MICHAEL GERSON | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As America pivots back to the Middle East — in belated recognition that America’s enemies never pivoted from their intention to establish a territorial expression of radical Islamism — President Obama is more likely to change his policy than to his change his rhetoric. We are more likely, in other words, to see “boots on the ground” in Iraq (there are already more than 1,000 in supportive roles) than we are to hear an admission that the administration’s foreign policy approach has shifted. Obama now wants to “degrade” the Islamic State’s capabilities, “shrink” its territory, and ultimately “defeat ‘em.” (Even the locution has a nostalgic hint of Texas.

  • State Rep. Randy McDaniel: Rising above retirement challenges

    BY STATE REP. RANDY MCDANIEL | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    The unfunded liability of Oklahoma’s state retirement system ballooned to more than $16 billion after the recession. The status quo wasn’t sustainable. A failing system threatens the retirement security of public employees, jeopardizes the state’s bond rating and consumes a substantial share of state taxes. Many insiders thought the problem was insurmountable. In the past, most reform proposals were easily defeated by powerful coalitions. Even plans to stand still were rejected. Benefit increases were customary. Worrying about the money was not. Transforming the culture would be easier said than done. Leaders made pensions a top priority. No group has been excluded from reforms.

  • Ruth Marcus: Janay Rice is the real victim

    BY RUTH MARCUS | Published: Wed, Sep 10, 2014

    In Ray Rice case, wife is most puzzling figure

  • Washington Examiner: Reality rains on Obama's foreign policy parade

    Published: Tue, Sep 9, 2014

    THERE is a debate in Washington over whether America should exert a lighter or heavier influence in world affairs. President Obama has tried a middle path: He wants to exert heavy influence over world events with the light touch of America’s benevolent hand. It isn’t working. This becomes ever clearer as he learns repeatedly, the hard way, that his superstar status and intellect give him no more pull over the actions of foreign leaders or the attitudes of foreign peoples than his predecessor. And, oddly, this reality seems to surprise him every time. Obama entered office aspiring to “reset” relations with Russia and offer a hand of friendship to Islamic peoples.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: More than pictures stolen in celeb phone-hacking case

    BY LEONARD PITTS JR. | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    Actresses didn’t have a choice

  • George F. Will: In a NATO state of mind

    BY GEORGE F. WILL | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Speaking on Aug. 29 — at a fundraiser, of course — Barack Obama applied to a platitude the varnish of smartphone sociology, producing this intellectual sunburst: “The truth of the matter is, is that the world has always been messy. In part, we’re just noticing now because of social media and our capacity to see in intimate detail the hardships that people are going through.” So, if 14th- century Europeans had had Facebook and Twitter, they would have noticed how really disagreeable the Hundred Years’ War was. Obama did have a piece of a point: Graphic journalism, now augmented by billions of people with cameras in their pockets, can give an inflammatory immediacy to events.

  • National Safety Council president: Oklahoma has the tools to reduce opioid-related deaths

    BY DEBORAH HERSMAN | Published: Sun, Sep 7, 2014

    The most dangerous drugs today are sitting in medicine cabinets. There is an incredible lack of oversight regarding these controlled substances in the Sooner State. Nearly 600 Oklahomans died in 2013 of opioid prescription painkiller overdose — more than 11 each week. Prescription painkillers account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined; the number of Oklahomans admitted each year for opioid treatment has more than quadrupled, from 357 to 1,486 since 2001. Overprescribing has substantially contributed to Oklahoma’s epidemic. In a recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Oklahoma is one of five states with the highest number of opioid painkiller prescriptions per capita.

  • OKC attorney: State Innovation Model grant merits approval

    BY DONALD B. NEVARD | Published: Sat, Sep 6, 2014

    Innovation in health care is always a good thing. Innovation in health care delivery particularly matters to Oklahoma because the state faces some of the worst health care outcomes in the nation. Gov. Mary Fallin's administration has recently shown leadership by directing the state Department of Health to apply for a federal grant through the State Innovation Models program. If received, the grant would permit the development of targeted new programs to address Oklahoma’s high rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and tobacco use. These chronic conditions and behaviors lead to poor health outcomes for most people afflicted with them. Everyone involved in primary care is trying to decrease those rates, which

  • Michael Gerson: Nature out to kill us

    BY MICHAEL GERSON | Published: Sat, Sep 6, 2014

    Ebola outbreak is deadly serious

  • E.J. Dionne: Obama beyond the sound bite

    BY E.J. DIONNE JR. | Published: Fri, Sep 5, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In 1937, Franklin Roosevelt went to Chicago to give one of the most celebrated speeches of his presidency. Pushing against isolationist sentiment, he condemned the “unjustified interference in the internal affairs of other nations” and “the invasion of alien territory in violation of treaties.” He didn’t mention Nazi Germany, fascist Italy or imperial Japan, but everyone knew what he meant when he called for a “quarantine” to stop “the epidemic of world lawlessness.” Yet the next day, when Roosevelt met with reporters, one journalist suggested he had offered “an attitude without a program.” As the historian Susan Dunn recounts in her fine book, “1940,” Roosevelt “did not disagree.”