• Author: America's morally adrift prison policies

    BY RONALD FRASER | Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Reacting to a sharp rise in violent crimes, state and federal officials in the 1970s climbed aboard the politically popular “tough on crime” bandwagon. By 2012, with only 5 percent of the world’s population but nearly 25 percent of the world’s prisoners, the United States became the world’s incarceration capital. Federal, state and local inmates topped 2.2 million — nearly seven times the number in 1972. A recent report from the National Research Council, the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, is perhaps the most exhaustive attempt yet — 444 pages — to explain America’s prison boom.

  • Colorado Springs Gazette: DOJ could help neighbors burdened by Colorado's marijuana laws

    Colorado Springs Gazette editorial | Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    A weird lawsuit filed in the Supreme Court of the United States against Colorado only formalizes what we know. Colorado’s marijuana free-for-all is a burden to our neighbors. We grow and sell some of the most potent pot in the world and it crosses into other states as dealers and drug tourists come and go. Colorado voters chose to subject themselves and their children to this ill-fated experiment, but neighboring states get to live with an abundance of our spillover. It makes us the neighborhood drug house, lowering the quality of life for the rest of the block. That’s why Oklahoma and Nebraska want judicial relief. The effect of one state’s laws on another state’s population is one reason the Constitution contains an

  • Paul Greenberg: It's a wonderful life

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Wed, Dec 24, 2014

    Movie still resonates all these years later

  • Jules Witcover: New U.S.-Cuba era about to begin

    By Jules Witcover | Published: Tue, Dec 23, 2014

    WASHINGTON — President Obama’s surprise Christmas present to Cuba — restoration of American diplomatic ties with the communist-run regime created by Fidel Castro and now run by his brother Raul — follows a century of tumultuous dealings between the two not-always good neighbors. From the Spanish-American War of 1898 that won independence for Cuba through the world-shaking Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962, through Castro’s revolution against the militaristic regime of Fulgencio Batista in 1959, the subsequent Soviet alliance with him and then the 1962 disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion, the two countries bordering the Caribbean Sea were thrown together by fate and politics.

  • Washington Examiner: Decision by Sony Pictures establishes a bad precedent

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Importance of cybersecurity is evident

  • George Will: Lighting fuses in Oklahoma

    By George F. Will | Published: Sun, Dec 21, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Scott Pruitt enjoyed owning a AAA baseball team here, but he is having as much fun as Oklahoma’s attorney general, and one of the Obama administration’s most tenacious tormentors. The second existential challenge to the Affordable Care Act began here. In the first, decided in June 2012, the Supreme Court saved the ACA by reading it imaginatively. The court held that although Congress could not, in the name of regulating commerce, penalize people for not engaging in commerce (buying insurance), the penalty linked to the individual mandate actually could be considered — although Congress did not so consider it — an exercise of Congress’ enumerated power to tax.

  • Oklahoma City FOP president: Officers strive to act professionally at all times

    BY JOHN GEORGE | Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Goal is to serve and protect

  • Oklahoma Academy: Looking for solutions to state's health woes

    BY CRAIG KNUTSON, AND JOHN FEAVER | Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    We recently learned that Oklahoma’s overall health ranking, relative to the rest of the country, dropped from 44th to 46th. Sadly, the state has languished in the lowest quintile for the better part of its recent history. The latter prompted The Oklahoma Academy’s board of directors to consider health, along with other topics, as a possible topic for the 2014 Oklahoma Academy Town Hall, the organization’s primary program. An impassioned plea was made for the academy to address the why of our overall poor health status, not just the how and the what. Why, by so many measures, is Oklahoma ranked among the least healthy states socially, physically and mentally? Stumped for a consensus answer and intrigued with the

  • E.J. Dionne: Chuck Schumer, take two

    By E.J. Dionne Jr. | Updated: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Sen. Charles Schumer gave Democrats a talking-to about their obligation to stand up for government’s role in helping struggling middle-income Americans — and his message got swallowed up by a few paragraphs on health care. If you heard anything about his speech late last month at the National Press Club, you know he said Democrats “blew the opportunity the American people gave them” in the 2008 election by putting “all of our focus on the wrong problem — health care reform.” The New York Democrat noted that the Affordable Care Act “was aimed at the 36 million Americans who are not covered” and asserted that “to aim a huge change in mandate at such a small percentage of the electorate made no

  • Charles Krauthammer: How to fight the lone wolf

    By Charles Krauthammer | Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The lone wolf is the new national nightmare, dramatized and amplified this week by the hostage-taking attack in Sydney, Australia. But there are two kinds of lone wolves — the crazy and the evil — and the distinction is important. The real terrorists are rational. Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, had been functioning as an Army doctor for years. Psychotics cannot carry that off. Hasan even had a business card listing his occupation as S of A (Soldier of Allah). He then went out and, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” shot dead 13 fellow soldiers. To this day, Hasan speaks coherently and proudly of the massacre. That’s terrorism.

  • Oklahoma DHS director: Agency has worked hard to address TANF concerns

    BY ED LAKE | Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Public assistance programs are intended to provide temporary help to families with children in need while they work to become self-supporting. The Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program offers modest cash benefits that can be directly deposited into a recipient’s bank account or on a state-issued debit card. Switching from paper checks to debit cards years ago saved the state of Oklahoma millions of dollars. However, over the past few years, there have been reports of some recipients around the country using their benefit cards in places such as casinos, liquor stores or adult entertainment clubs.

  • George F. Will: A Texas-sized plate dispute

    By George F. Will | Published: Thu, Dec 18, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Battle of Palmito Ranch near Brownsville, Texas, on May 13, 1865, is called the last battle of the Civil War, but the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) might consider that judgment premature, given its conflict with the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Motor Vehicles. This skirmish is of national interest because it implicates a burgeoning new entitlement — the right to pass through life without encountering any disagreeable thought. Under Texas’ specialty license plate system, plates can be created by the legislature by specific enactments, or can, for a fee, be designed by individuals, nonprofits or businesses. In the private instances, Texas is selling space

  • Michael Gerson: For a politics of repair

    By Michael Gerson | Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The just-ending 113th Congress was not, by most measures, productive. But its endgame was at least instructive. As a trillion-dollar omnibus spending bill trundled into law, the populist wings of both political parties declared themselves both revolted and in revolt. The bill, complained Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “does nothing, absolutely nothing to stop President Obama’s illegal and unconstitutional amnesty.” “Who does Congress work for?” asked Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. “Does it work for the millionaires, the billionaires, the giant companies with their armies of lobbyists and lawyers?” While this unexpected alliance of outrage did not prevail, it managed to preview some of the most important

  • Washington Examiner: Report from CBO makes the case for fracking in the U.S.

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    IN the past decade, the United States has suffered a housing implosion, a catastrophic financial crisis and the agonizingly slow growth of a jobless, low-wage recovery. But not all news has been bad, as the Congressional Budget Office made plain last week with a new report on the fracking revolution. The report should remind members of the new Congress that they should ignore the dishonest environmental radicals and their false propaganda and help make the nation a net petroleum exporter again. The unconventional oil and gas industry, as fracking and shale production is known, is breathing life back into rural America. It is creating the economically sustainable high-wage jobs that President Obama’s stimulus package never

  • Ruth Marcus: Dick Cheney's tortured logic

    By Ruth Marcus | Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Does Dick Cheney matter? Are the former vice president’s comments on the torture report worth dissecting? Some friends, as I mused the other day about what topic to tackle, argued no: Cheney is history. Too easy a target. Enough about torture. What about a nice holiday column? But Cheney’s torture remarks are both too outrageous and, judging from my inbox, too common to ignore. When I wrote last week both praising release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture and reaffirming my belief that prosecuting the torturers would have been a mistake, I was braced for flak from the left.

  • Energy industry president: Oil-gas tax provisions are beneficial

    BY MIKE TERRY | Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    In recent remarks, U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, called for the end of a number of federal tax provisions, including those used by Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry. While independent oil and gas producers have long supported Coburn, on this issue we disagree. Eliminating longstanding tax provisions used by oil and natural gas producers will benefit no one other than the foreign oil producers we’ve worked so hard to eliminate our dependence on. The expensing of intangible drilling costs, the percentage depletion deduction and the manufacturing tax credit used by the oil and natural gas industry have all served vital roles in driving this country toward energy independence.

  • Cal Thomas: Mike Pence: National government is not the nation

    By Cal Thomas | Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    INDIANAPOLIS — If success at the state level were enough to recommend someone for president of the United States, Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana would be among the front-runners for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. According to the governor’s office, Pence has “signed into law $643 million in annual tax relief: That includes: $313 million for hardworking Hoosiers, thanks to last year’s 5 percent income tax reduction, the largest state tax cut in Indiana history.” In addition, the state corporate tax rate was reduced from 6.5 percent to 4.9 percent, making it the third lowest in the country and contributing to Indiana’s increase in the labor force, which, Pence’s office says, has grown by more than 51,000 over the

  • Paul Greenberg: The moral of this sad story: Never tell the truth

    By Paul Greenberg | Published: Tue, Dec 16, 2014

    Some bureaucrats get in trouble for telling less than the truth when asked questions about their more dubious statements and worse actions. Think of any number of once influential figures in the current administration — like the notorious Lois Lerner at the IRS. She had her own, Nixonian enemies’ list of right-wing and pro-Israel outfits targeted for special treatment, and not the favorable kind. They were to be denied the kind of standard tax exemptions routinely granted other groups, the sort that never have a bad word to say about this administration and/or its policies. (Selective law enforcement can be the weapon of choice for an administration that isn’t too picky about the means it uses to further its questionable ends.

  • Washington Examiner: Transparency not as important to Obama when issue is domestic governance

    Washington Examiner editorial | Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    SENATE Democrats’ new report on the CIA’s secret detention and enhanced interrogation program outlines several highly disturbing allegations — both about the nature of the harsh techniques used by U.S. officials and the agency misleading both Congress and the White House. To the extent that national security permits, voters have a right to know what’s being done in their name, especially if it’s improper. That’s part of government transparency. But there seems to be incongruity and even political opportunism in President Obama’s selective commitment to disclosing the inner workings of the federal government to its employer, the public.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: Decisions prompt a rainbow coalition of protests

    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | Published: Sun, Dec 14, 2014

    “There’s something happening here.” — Buffalo Springfield “Can you feel it?” — The Jacksons They have not stopped. That’s one of the most heartening things about the demonstrations against police brutality that began with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., in August and renewed with a grand jury’s decision last week not to indict a New York police officer who choked Eric Garner to death. In a nation with the attention span of a toddler in the toy department, the focus on this issue has not wavered, as evidenced by several demonstrations last weekend in Miami. And most people, remember, are marching in places far less hospitable to outdoor protest than South Florida.