Top Stories

  • Michael Gerson: The end of illusions in Mideast

    Published: Sat, Jun 14, 2014

    WASHINGTON — On June 10, 2014, President Obama said that the greatest frustration of his presidency was the failure to pass gun control legislation. It was the same day that Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, fell to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a radical splinter of al-Qaeda. The next day, Tikrit was taken by the militants, who are now preparing for the battle of Baghdad. These gains followed months of ISIS conquests in western Syria, lending reality to the previously absurd pretentions of the group’s name. For an American president, the world is a banquet of frustrations. But the collapse of much of the Middle East into civil war, sectarian conflict, war crimes and terrorist-exploited chaos should rank

  • Former education chancellor: The way forward in Oklahoma after Common Core

    BY PAUL G. RISSER | Published: Sat, Jun 14, 2014

    Recent debate about the Common Core State Standards has been less than a model of clarity. The result is considerable misinformation, confusion, frustration, unfortunate politics and a possible waste of money and potential loss of state control. Fortunately, with a little patience and flexibility, there is a reasonable pathway forward. Common Core was created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It involved more than 40 states, attracted thousands of comments from around the country and was supported by numerous teachers, parents, school administrators and other citizens concerned with education policy.

  • Oklahoma state senator: Transparency was a winnerduring 2014 session

    BY STATE SEN. DAVID HOLT | Published: Fri, Jun 13, 2014

    Regardless of how you feel about the 2014 legislative session, it should be remembered as a landmark year for transparency legislation. Bringing the Legislature under some version of the Open Meeting and Open Records acts remains elusive, but the session saw the most progress toward government transparency in recent memory. Senate Bill 1497, which I authored along with Rep. Elise Hall, R-Oklahoma City, puts into statute the ability of citizens to sue government entities to force compliance with the Open Meeting Act. It also provides a mechanism for recovery of attorney fees. The existing Open Meeting Act endorses important protections for the taxpayers, but it only provided for enforcement by district attorneys, who are

  • Charles Krauthammer: Revenge, American-style

    Published: Fri, Jun 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord. And although retribution shall surely come in the fullness of time, a ballplayer can only wait so long. Accordingly, when Boston slugger David Ortiz came to bat against Tampa Bay’s David Price at the end of May — for the first time this season — Price fired the very first pitch, a 94-mile-an-hour fastball, square into Ortiz’s back. Ortiz was not amused. Hesitation, angry smile, umpire’s warning. Managers screaming, tempers flaring. Everyone knew this was no accident. On Oct. 5, 2013, Ortiz had hit two home runs off Price. Unusual, but not unknown.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Wow! And thanks to you

    Published: Fri, Jun 13, 2014

    How about some good news for a change? Last month, I wrote about the kidnapping of nearly 300 Nigerian schoolgirls by a band of putative men who style themselves “Boko Haram” — “Western Education is Forbidden.” Taken in concert with the 2012 shooting of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan and the 2008 acid attack on Shamsia Husseini in Afghanistan, this latest outrage cements an impression that Islamic extremists are petrified of girls and what they might become with a little education. It is a frustrating, anger-making thing. “Make me wanna holler,” as Marvin Gaye once sang. But this time for some reason, I needed to do more than holler. I needed to take action.

  • Paul Greenberg: Call it Obamacare for vets

    Updated: Thu, Jun 12, 2014

    Fast on the uptake as ever, the speaker of the U.S. House, the permanently tanned if not taxidermied John Boehner, has delivered his judgment on the ever-unfolding scandal at the Veterans Administration: “The fact that more than 57,000 veterans are still waiting for their first doctor appointment from the VA is a national disgrace.” Ya think? The speaker has a way of making the obvious sound like his personal discovery. This latest statistic in the news is hardly news any more, but just another sliver of tissue from the VA’s tumorous undersurface to be examined and diagnosed. The VA now has another transient chief. (This one is only an acting secretary because these days its chiefs seem to come and go with every

  • George F. Will: For GOP, re-evaluation time

    Published: Thu, Jun 12, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The morning after, at breakfast at the Republicans’ Capitol Hill Club, Virginia Rep. Robert Goodlatte was, as befits one of Washington’s grown-ups, measured in his reaction to what 36,120 Virginia voters did the day before. It would, he says, be wise “to take a step back and a deep breath until we find out how everyone” — meaning, especially, House Republicans — “reacts to this.” By “this” he indicates, with a wave of a hand, the one-word headline on Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Congress: “Stunner.” Roll Call’s online article added these four words: “Cantor Upset Changes Everything.

  • Michael Gerson: The White House's Bergdahl mess

    Published: Wed, Jun 11, 2014

    WASHINGTON — It would be difficult, even if intended and planned, to cram more hubris, incompetence and mendacity into a humane and sympathetic act. The lopsided trade for Bowe Bergdahl was Israeli in inspiration — a high tolerance for future military risk in order to honor a national commitment. Because that tolerance is not infinite — no soldier is worth a nuclear weapon — it is always a judgment call. My tendency is to err on the side of freeing our people in uniform, even the lost, confused and negligent ones. But the swap of five senior Taliban figures (two of them wanted for war crimes) for a private who wandered from his post was initially controversial, even within the Obama administration.

  • State Sen. Brian Bingman: Legislature sent right message to EPA

    BY STATE SEN. BRIAN BINGMAN | Published: Wed, Jun 11, 2014

    As someone who has spent most of my career working for the energy industry, and as a state senator since 2006, it’s always been my mission to help Oklahoma drive economic growth, implement business-friendly policies and defend this state’s energy resources and independence. One of my most important policy objectives has been to protect access to dependable, low-cost electricity for all Oklahomans. We’re blessed with an abundance of natural resources that power not only our quality of life, but also economic progress across the state. Oklahoma’s unemployment rate is less than 5 percent, largely thanks to energy production and low-cost energy generation.

  • Ruth Marcus: Teachable moment for Hillary Clinton

    Published: Wed, Jun 11, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Hillary Clinton’s tone-deaf comments about being “dead broke” after she and her husband left the White House were unfortunate, revealing and — if Clinton chooses to learn from them — instructive for the likely presidential campaign ahead. ABC’s Diane Sawyer asked Clinton about her reported $5 million in speaking fees since leaving the Obama administration, and Bill Clinton’s supposed $100 million pile. “We came out of the White House not only dead broke but in debt,” Clinton responded. “We had no money when we got there and we struggled to, you know, piece together the resources for mortgages for houses, for Chelsea’s education, you know, it was not easy.

  • Washington Examiner: Long-term costs of Obamacare? Don't ask the CBO

    Published: Tue, Jun 10, 2014

    ONE of the great subjects of debate during the fight over President Obama’s health care law concerned the effect that the legislation would have on long-term deficits. When it became law, the Congressional Budget Office projected Obamacare would reduce deficits, but critics, pointing to multiple accounting gimmicks Democrats used to game the CBO score, questioned whether the projection would prove accurate. Now, Americans may never get an answer — at least from the CBO. More than four years after Obamacare passed, the CBO is now saying it is “not possible” to do another complete analysis on the effect of the law on the nation’s deficits. It’s worth clarifying the distinction between costs and deficits.

  • Jules Witcover: Playing the executive card

    Published: Tue, Jun 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As President Obama contemplates November’s congressional elections, the odds are they may produce Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. That would likely mean more of the same legislative frustration that has met his presidency to date for the rest of his presidency. Forewarned by his first term, the president during his second has been relying more on his executive powers to advance his own key objectives. He has told ranking White House aides to explore ways to move parts of his own agenda without recourse to Congress. His latest initiative is an executive order under current law setting new curbs on carbon emissions at U.S. power plants in what supporters have called his most significant step

  • David Ignatius: Downgrading the Snowden fallout

    BY DAVID IGNATIUS | Updated: Sun, Jun 8, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As the intelligence community continues its assessment of the damage caused by Edward Snowden’s leaks of secret programs, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says it appears the impact may be less than once feared because “it doesn’t look like he (Snowden) took as much” as first thought. “We’re still investigating, but we think that a lot of what he looked at, he couldn’t pull down,” Clapper said in a rare interview at his headquarters Tuesday. “Some things we thought he got, he apparently didn’t.” Although somewhat less than expected, the damage is still “profound,” he said.

  • George F. Will: When a president goes rogue

    Published: Sun, Jun 8, 2014

    WASHINGTON — What Winston Churchill said of Secretary of State John Foster Dulles — that he was a bull who carried his own china shop around with him — is true of Susan Rice, who is, to be polite, accident prone. When in September 2012 she was deputed to sell to the public the fable that the Benghazi attack was just an unfortunately vigorous movie review — a response to an Internet video — it could have been that she, rather than Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was given this degrading duty because Rice was merely U.N. ambassador, an ornamental position at an inconsequential institution. Today, however, Rice is Barack Obama’s national security adviser, so two conclusions must be drawn. Perhaps she did not know, in

  • Red Dirt Rangers: A song for Oklahoma's uninsured

    BY JOHN COOPER, AND BRAD PICCOLO | Published: Sun, Jun 8, 2014

    A million thoughts raced through our minds as our helicopter went down over the Cimarron River. What we would do if we survived wasn’t one of them. But in the months and years following the hellish 2004 crash that killed our pilot and fellow passenger — and very nearly the both of us — the whole meaning of the word survival would change for us. As full-time musicians, we couldn’t afford health insurance. Of course, paramedics on the scene administered care. Our insurance coverage (or lack thereof) was incidental to their mission of saving our lives. But as we began to heal and prepared to hit the road again, we faced a grim reality that’s all too common for many Oklahomans: We were uninsurable.

  • Michael Gerson: Obama going for his legacy

    Published: Sat, Jun 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As a presidential candidate in 2007, Barack Obama told historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, “I have no desire to be one of those presidents who are just on the list — you see their pictures lined up on the wall. I really want to be a president who makes a difference.” In moments of decision, and in rare flashes of passion, we have seen what that means to him: passing the Affordable Care Act, even against uniform Republican opposition; ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, even on less-than-favorable terms. He is genuinely animated when talking about gun control or closing the income gap. His second inaugural address — the first draft of Obama’s legacy project — was the most ambitiously progressive in

  • Clarence Page: Give killers coverage, not a soap box

    Published: Sat, Jun 7, 2014

    Who deserves more attention in news coverage of mass killings: the victims or the killers? The question has risen with new heat after the rampage in Isla Vista, California, which resulted in six murders and 13 injuries. After Elliot Rodger’s mass shooting in that town near Santa Barbara, many families of victims and law enforcement officials have urged journalists and public officials to avoid using the gunmen’s names and photos in public. The New York Times, among other outlets, was criticized for posting Rodger’s rambling manifesto and YouTube videos. Margaret Sullivan, the Times’ public editor, was willing to go halfway on the idea of playing down a killer’s “manifesto” as, “at the very least,” worth

  • Philip K. Howard: Time to reform our broken legal system

    BY PHILIP K. HOWARD | Published: Sat, Jun 7, 2014

    How likely is it that Congress will deal with unsustainable deficits, climate change, decrepit infrastructure, unaffordable health care, muddled immigration policy, obsolete laws, unmanageable civil service, rigged electoral districts? The list of failures of our democratic government is getting long. Responsible reform seems hopeless. But hopelessness, it turns out, has its own political arc. Most change comes not incrementally, but in large gulps after long periods of inertia, according to political scientists Frank Baumgartner and Bryan Jones. It may look like nothing will ever change, but the pressures keep building until, all at once, like the “stick-slip” phenomenon of earthquakes, the ground gives way and a new order

  • Oklahoma legislator: No-income-tax states keep growing, at Oklahoma's expense

    By STATE REP. TOM NEWELL | Published: Fri, Jun 6, 2014

    Recent headlines tell a story Oklahomans already know: Texas is a prime destination for job creators from across America. During the Great Recession, over half of all new U.S. jobs were created in Texas. Since the recession, Texas has seen more job growth than any state but North Dakota. Now Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Plano, a Dallas suburb. With additional jobs coming from Toyota’s Kentucky and New York facilities, Texas is expected to gain 4,000 jobs. In the 50-state competition for growth and opportunity, states charging no personal income tax are winning. Texas and Florida, two income tax-free states, are among America’s biggest winners.

  • Paul Greenberg: D-Day, the Sixth of June: 'He don't know where, he don't know when'

    Published: Fri, Jun 6, 2014

    A scrap of childhood doggerel has become only a memory of a memory by now. They say that’s the way the little gray cells record and re-record memories, taping over the previous one and changing it here and there each time it’s rehearsed. By now that little ditty has acquired the patina of a folksong you might have learned at your mother’s knee, like “O Susanna.” But the sing-song lyrics keep coming back every D-Day. Was it Cab Calloway or Spike Jones or some other minor but colorful songster who recorded that scrap of song in the wartime Forties? My Internet search for the words has come up empty, but there’s no forgetting them, or at least the words I now remember or imagine.