• George Will: Fix the criminal justice system

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Oct 25, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The Republican Party, like Sisyphus, is again putting its shoulder to a boulder, hoping to make modest but significant changes in the Electoral College arithmetic by winning perhaps 12 percent of the African-American vote. To this end, they need to hone a rhetoric of skepticism about, and an agenda for reform of, the criminal justice system. They can draw on the thinking of a federal appellate judge nominated by Ronald Reagan. In an article that has stirred considerable discussion since it appeared this past summer in The Georgetown Law Journal, Alex Kozinski of the U.S.

  • HeartLine: Offering assistance to Oklahoma kids in crisis

    By Kayley Saunders | Published: Sat, Oct 24, 2015

    “Help for suicidal teens is a text message away” (Associated Press, Oct. 13) detailed the problem of youth suicide in Massachusetts and showcased an incredible program known as “The Samaritans” that has started a Massachusetts-based texting service. Readers of The Oklahoman might appreciate an update on what is happening in our own state. Oklahoma ranks 14th in the nation for its rate of youth suicide. In 2013, 665 people of all ages died by suicide in Oklahoma.

  • Superintendents: Oklahoma A-F system doesn't reflect school performance

    By Rick Cobb and Joe Siano | Published: Sat, Oct 24, 2015

    When considering if a school is a good fit for their children, parents need comprehensive and accurate information to make a good choice — things not found in the current accountability system for Oklahoma's public school system. Known as A-F, the system does not accurately measure the performance of schools or teachers, nor does it reflect the success of our students. This year's release of the report cards is particularly unfortunate. The Legislature and the Oklahoma State Department of Education already have recognized significant flaws in the system, yet the department is still required to release the reports. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education identifies several problems with A-F.

  • E.J. Dionne: Joe Biden's dignity

    E.J. DIONNE JR. The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sat, Oct 24, 2015

    WASHINGTON — It was a withdrawal speech that sounded like an announcement speech, and it perfectly captured the aching ambivalence of Joe Biden. He wanted to run for president. He had his issues. He had President Obama's record and was proud to defend it. And the man who noted he's often called "Middle-Class Joe" felt he had never been a better match for the historical moment. Democrats are more comfortable than ever with Obama's legacy. And many, inside the party and out, longed for someone who can campaign with credibility on the theme Biden sounded: "It all starts with giving the middle class a fighting chance.

  • World Neighbors officials: Humanitarian disaster possible in Nepal

    By Kate Schecter and Srijana Thapa | Published: Fri, Oct 23, 2015

    The movie "Everest" beautifully evokes the beauty of Nepal. It also subtly portrays the limited way in which Americans often experience it: As a place of intense if fleeting challenge. That could describe the reaction to the massive earthquake that hit Nepal earlier this year. The quake and its aftershocks killed 8,702 people and injured thousands more. The quakes also destroyed and damaged more than 750,000 houses. In many parts of Dolakha district, which bore the brunt of the first and second massive earthquakes, more than 95 percent of homes and buildings have been destroyed or severely damaged. In some villages, nearly all homes were destroyed. Many families have been living in crowded conditions and makeshift shelters under

  • Advocates: Arts play an important role in communities

    By Ken Fergeson andRobert L. Lynch | Published: Fri, Oct 23, 2015

    October is National Arts and Humanities Month, a time to reflect on the many ways the arts and humanities have contributed to the fabric of our society. While Oklahoma is a known artistic hub, rich in cultural heritage, something else is apparent: Oklahoma should be celebrated as a leader in arts education. Last week, Oklahoma City was the setting of a national dialogue about the ways the K–12 education system will change over the next 10 to 15 years, and what role the arts could play in positively impacting those changes.

  • Charles Krauthammer: Iran marches, Russia rules, Obama watches

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Oct 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Guess who just popped up in the Kremlin? Bashar al-Assad, Syrian dictator and destroyer, now Vladimir Putin's newest pet. After four years holed up in Damascus, Assad was summoned to Russia to bend a knee to Putin, show the world that today Middle East questions get settled not in Washington but in Moscow, and officially bless the Russian-led four-nation takeover of Syria now underway. Does the bewildered Obama administration finally understand what Russia is up to? President Obama says Russia is doomed to fail in the Syrian quagmire. But Russia is not trying to reconquer the country for Assad.

  • Clarence Page: Jim Webb's 'culture' war

    Clarence Page Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Oct 23, 2015

    Former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb, feeling disrespected at CNN's Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, says he's dropping out to consider running as an independent. That's his right, but I wonder whether anyone will notice. It is well known that Webb, a decorated Vietnam combat veteran, former secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan and author of numerous books, has two flaws for an aspiring politician: He doesn't care much for campaigning and he really hates asking people for money. As a result his polling numbers hover around an unimpressive 1 percent. And, as we saw on the Las Vegas debate stage, he really hates to be ignored when he has more to say.

  • Tulsa World Editorial: Kids need vaccinations: Stricter immunization law needed

    Published: Thu, Oct 22, 2015

    The bill, which has the backing of the House's only other physician, Dr. Doug Cox, R-Grove, might be the most important piece of legislation before the Legislature this year concerning children's safety.

  • George Will: Candidates should choose their judicial muse

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Oct 22, 2015

    WASHINGTON — A supremely important presidential issue is being generally neglected because Democrats have nothing interesting to say about it and Republicans differ among themselves about it. Four Supreme Court justices are into the fourth quarters of their potential centuries — Stephen Breyer (77), Antonin Scalia (79), Anthony Kennedy (79), and Ruth Bader Ginsburg (82). So, presidential candidates should explain the criteria by which they would select judicial nominees.

  • Community colleges official: Education, industry make for a successful partnership

    By Gary Davidson | Published: Wed, Oct 21, 2015

    The Oklahoman posed an interesting question last week: Can Oklahoma produce enough skilled workers? I was pleased to attend the workforce skills forum hosted by The Oklahoman on Oct. 14. One of the panelists commented that we should take inventory of successful programs and ideas and share those stories. In the last six years, I have had the opportunity to witness some of the finest workforce development programs in the United States. They're occurring every day on the campuses of Oklahoma's two-year colleges in their associate in applied sciences programs. Our college leaders, in partnership with business and industry, have crafted workforce training programs that meet the unique needs of industry sectors.

  • Michael Gerson: Christians can't ignore the suffering of Muslims

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Oct 21, 2015

    BEIRUT — The airport here is in territory controlled by Hezbollah. Driving across Beirut, you see affiliations declared by large posters hung on lampposts: Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Shiite areas, assassinated leader Rafiq al-Hariri in Sunni neighborhoods. Some Palestinian camps display images from Hamas; others from Fatah, including the long-dead Yasser Arafat. "His eyes," wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in a rather different context, "dimmed a little by many paintless days, under sun and rain, brood on over the solemn dumping ground." There is the Beirut of Gucci purses, designer sunglasses and Ferrari dealerships. But all this exists like a bubble on the surface of an armed truce among religiously defined groups:

  • Healthy Living OK member: More options needed to aid personal choices

    By Petra Colindres | Published: Wed, Oct 21, 2015

    “Programs helpful, but choices are key in fighting obesity” (Our Views, Oct. 5) caught my interest, but specifically the ending paragraph. It stated: “These programs are beneficial. However, we have long believed that individuals making better choices about their diet and exercise will do the most good. That's easier said than done, perhaps, but ultimately most necessary to produce a fitter Oklahoma.” While personal choice will always remain a factor in the health of an individual, we cannot expect those choices to change if the choices don't exist. Oklahoma City is ranked second in the nation among worst cities for food access. This means that for many families in Oklahoma City, finding healthy foods is incredibly

  • Ruth Marcus: Costly quest to fix failing schools

    RUTH MARCUS The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Oct 21, 2015

    WASHINGTON — When Dale Russakoff began writing about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's $100 million gift to help fix the failing schools in Newark, N.J., she assumed she would end up telling an uplifting story of transformational change. "It sounded to me at the time like, well, that's enough money to do anything," Russakoff recalled of watching Zuckerberg announce the gift before a whooping "Oprah" audience in 2010, joined by a political odd couple in the form of Newark's charismatic, reform-minded Democratic mayor, Cory Booker, and New Jersey's Republican governor, Chris Christie.

  • Washington Examiner: Plans for free college tuition are exercises in cost-shifting

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Tue, Oct 20, 2015

    AMID all the assessments of the candidates in last week's Democratic debate, relatively little was said about the substance of their proposals. One item that stood out was college tuition — a subject that should remind voters of the adage, there's no such thing as a free lunch. Democrats like to frame their proposals as one for “free college tuition,” but there is no such thing. Teachers and administrators cannot afford to work free. Someone has to pay them. If you work for a living, that someone just happens to be you. Having already paid for your own college education, you now have the privilege of doing it all over again for someone else. Sen.

  • Cal Thomas: Another meeting of unlike minds

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Oct 20, 2015

    When President Obama meets in Washington on Nov. 9 with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, I would imagine Netanyahu's main concern will be to find out exactly what the U.S. means by "infringement" as it applies to the Iran nuclear agreement. What exactly will the U.S. do when, not if, Iran violates the deal? What if Israel and the United States disagree as to whether there has been a violation? Former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Zalman Shoval, spoke with me last week following his address to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. Given the president's reluctance to do much in response to various foreign challenges, Shoval is not optimistic the U.S.

  • George Will: Is economic equality a moral imperative?

    GEORGE F. WILL The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Oct 18, 2015

    WASHINGTON — America is more distant from the 1933 beginning of the New Deal (82 years) than that beginning was from the 1865 end of the Civil War (68 years). Both episodes involved the nation's understanding of equality: The war affirmed equality of natural rights, the New Deal addressed unequal social conditions. Today's Democratic Party is frozen, like a fly in amber, in the New Deal preoccupation — but with less excuse than Democrats had during the Great Depression. The party believes that economic inequality is an urgent problem, and that its urgency should be understood in terms of huge disparities of wealth. Neither proposition is (to use the term Jefferson used when he wrote equality into America's catechism) a self-evident

  • Michael Gerson: The children among the ruins

    MICHAEL GERSON Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Oct 18, 2015

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — A 5-year-old Syrian refugee explains the picture he has drawn: "This is a boy. This is a bed. This is a bomb. This is an apple." Wondering if the apple has some special significance to him, I ask (through the interpreter) why he included it. He looks at me like an idiot foreigner. "Because I like apples." It is the bomb that is out of place in his memory. Others around the low table, children 4 to 6, have drawn pictures including helicopters, explosions, burning buildings and sniper rifles. "My home is all broken in Syria," one girl explains. Another girl's drawing includes her mother, a house, a fire, a scorpion. "A rocket came," she says quietly, "and hit my father in the head.

  • Oklahoma labor leader: TPP would trade away more U.S. jobs

    By Tim O'Connor | Published: Sun, Oct 18, 2015

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, which is expected to come before Congress soon, is a perfect example of what not to do when it comes to attempting to formulate a trade arrangement that works for American workers and the overall economy. Similar trade deals agreed to by the United States have not benefited our economy and have cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. The U.S. global trade deficit grew last year to $505 billion due to these ill-advised deals and has exacerbated the off-shoring of family-supporting, middle-class jobs from every state. All the rhetoric being used to pitch the TPP has been heard before. NAFTA and CAFTA were supposed to end undocumented immigration.

  • Oklahoma Education Association VP: Teachers need to be part of the conversation

    By Katherine Bishop | Published: Sat, Oct 17, 2015

    This week I had the privilege to attend the Workforce Skills Gap forum hosted by The Oklahoman. I was intrigued by the responses that each panelist gave when asked to tackle tough issues regarding education funding, teacher pay and the skill sets our students will need when they enter the workforce. The panel consisted of officers of the Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative and representatives from the State Chamber of Commerce, higher education, CareerTech and the State Department of Education. There wasn't one classroom teacher on the panel, nor a parent with children in public schools, and no students.