Top Stories

  • George F. Will: The benefits of prudence

    Published: Thu, Mar 13, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In September 1958, a future columnist, then 17, was unpacking as a college freshman when upperclassmen hired by tobacco companies knocked on his dormitory door, distributing free mini-packs of cigarettes. He and many other aspiring sophisticates became smokers. Six years later — 50 years ago: Jan. 11, 1964 — when the Surgeon General published the report declaring tobacco carcinogenic, more than 40 percent of American adults smoked. Today, when smoking is considered declassee rather than sophisticated, fewer than one-fifth do. In June 1971, a New York couple decided their Bon Vivant brand vichyssoise tasted strange so they put aside their bowls, too late. Within hours he was dead and she was paralyzed from

  • State Rep. Anastasia Pittman: Expand telemedicine in Oklahoma

    BY state REP. ANASTASIA PITTMAN | Updated: Wed, Mar 12, 2014

    Although I supported the Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma, I can read the writing on the wall: Most Oklahomans don’t support the expansion. This doesn’t mean we can drop the discussion of health policy in Oklahoma when the March 31 deadline is quickly approaching for those who are eligible to enroll. Oklahoma has a severe shortage of health care professionals. State law allows for the reimbursement of Medicaid recipients in rural areas for telemedicine services. This is a good practice, but it leaves a large portion of the population unserved. Portions of the urban population, particularly minorities, also have limited access to health care and should be allowed to take advantage of the benefits of telemedicine.

  • Washington Examiner: Mostly hot air coming from U.S. Senate global warming “talkathon”

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Mar 12, 2014

    CYNICS might well suggest that Monday night’s global warming “talkathon” by Senate Democrats from deep-blue states provided enough hot air to heat up the atmosphere. But such cynicism would miss the deeper significance of a political maneuver that was difficult to rationalize, even by Washington standards. Led by Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii, the talkathon featured an all-night procession of Democratic senators pouring forth global warming alarmism, derision for global warming “deniers” and strident demands for “action.” Notably absent from the proceedings were Democrats seeking re-election in November from red states – Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina.

  • Oklahoma peach grower: Agriculture industry would benefit from immigration reform

    BY SUSAN BERGEN | Published: Wed, Mar 12, 2014

    U.S. Rep. Tom Cole understands the importance of agriculture for the state and the nation. On the House floor, Cole, R-Moore, praised the passage of the 2014 farm bill. He touted America’s ability to outdo every country in the world when it comes to food and fiber production. Cole also praised our ability to do it at a lower cost, leading to more affordable food prices. Unfortunately, continuing these achievements will be nearly impossible without immigration reform. Current immigration laws result in workforce shortages, which are undermining the agriculture community’s ability to operate at capacity.

  • Michael Gerson: A trumpet that always sounds retreat

    Published: Tue, Mar 11, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The Republican Party is undergoing its most significant foreign policy debate since President Richard Nixon dismissed then-Gov. Ronald Reagan as “shallow” and of “limited mental capability” and Reagan criticized the policy of detente, initiated by Nixon, as “a one-way street that the Soviet Union has used to pursue its own aims.” Once in office, President Reagan proved willing to engage in negotiations with the Soviet Union. He also, in a series of national security directives, set out the objective of winning the Cold War by undermining Soviet power in Eastern Europe, disrupting the Soviet economy and rolling back Soviet influence at every opportunity.

  • Jules Witcover: Christie back in form, but Trafficgate cloud lingers

    Published: Mon, Mar 10, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Gov. Chris Christie, beleaguered back in New Jersey and in the national media over the scandal of contrived traffic jams on the George Washington Bridge, unveiled his strategy for putting his 2016 presidential aspirations back on track the other day before the annual Conservative Political Action Conference. As they say in some unsavory Jersey quarters, he clammed up in the hope of making the problem go away. His earlier claim of having been kept in the dark about the plot to make a Democratic mayor pay for failing to endorse his successful re-election only heightened the political heat on him. So Christie pivoted to preaching to the choir on his conservative bona fides.

  • George F. Will: The face of IRS behavior

    Published: Sun, Mar 9, 2014

    WASHINGTON — What’s been said of confession — that it is good for one’s soul but bad for one’s reputation — can also be true of testifying to Congress, so Lois Lerner has chosen to stay silent. Hers, however, is an eloquent silence. The most intrusive and potentially most punitive federal agency has been politicized; the IRS has become an appendage of Barack Obama’s party. Furthermore, congruent with exhortations from some congressional Democrats, it is intensifying its efforts to suffocate groups critical of progressives, by delaying what once was the swift, routine granting of tax-exempt status. So, the IRS, far from repenting of its abusive behavior, is trying to codify the abuses.

  • Oklahoma's budget choices rest on incomplete information

    BY GENE PERRY AND, ELIZABETH C. MCNICHOL | Published: Sun, Mar 9, 2014

    Oklahoma’s revenue forecasting recently caused dismay when the state had to lower its projections for how much tax revenue it would bring in this year and next. That miss highlighted the importance of the state’s annual revenue estimate, which serves as the foundation for the budget and Oklahoma’s ability to plan for the future. Oklahoma doesn’t have a good track record for long-term planning. In fact, the state finished last (tied with South Dakota) in long-term planning among all 50 states, according to a recent report from the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Planning is critical. Tax and budget decisions that Oklahoma makes today affecting services like education and infrastructure

  • Indian gaming official: Hoping for progress on OKC convention center

    BY SHEILA MORAGO | Published: Sat, Mar 8, 2014

    This summer, Oklahoma City will again host one of the largest trade shows of its kind in the country. Vendors, regulators, operators and managers, and tribal leaders from across the United States will converge for the premier event on all aspects of the Indian gaming industry, the 20th Annual Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association’s Conference and Trade Show. I affectionately call this event the “biggest little show in Indian gaming,” not only because we take a full two weeks to set up, host and break down the event at the Cox Convention Center. We also secure blocks of rooms in five downtown hotels. This is the largest regional show in gaming and the second largest in Indian gaming in the country.

  • AAA Oklahoma official: Driver texting ban needed now in Oklahoma

    BY CHUCK MAI | Published: Sat, Mar 8, 2014

    I blame my mother. When I was a kid, she’d nag me to “do something constructive” when she would catch me sprawled out on the couch watching “Tombstone Territory” or “Rawhide.” Mom believed in being productive. So now, as I am driving the Turner Turnpike for umpteenth time, bored out of my skull, it’s mighty tempting to “do something constructive” and check my email. Or send a few texts. But then I remember: •In Oklahoma, there were more than 11,000 crashes in 2012 in which distraction played a role (Oklahoma Highway Safety Office). •You’re 23 times more likely to get into a crash if you’re texting (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).

  • Charles Krauthammer: The wages of weakness

    Published: Fri, Mar 7, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Vladimir Putin is a lucky man. And he’s got three more years of luck to come. He takes Crimea, and President Obama says it’s not in Russia’s interest, not even strategically clever. Indeed, it’s a sign of weakness. Really? Crimea belonged to Moscow for 200 years. Russia conquered it 20 years before the U.S. acquired Louisiana. Lost it in the humiliation of the 1990s. Putin got it back in about three days without firing a shot. Now Russia looms over the rest of eastern and southern Ukraine. Putin can take that anytime he wants — if he wants. He has already destabilized the nationalist government in Kiev. Ukraine is now truncated and on the life support of U.S.

  • Consultant: Oklahoma has a chance to sensibly regulate e-cigarettes

    BY CHARLES D. CONNOR | Published: Fri, Mar 7, 2014

    Oklahoma is at the precipice of determining how to tax and regulate electronic cigarettes. Several bills filed at the Legislature would tax e-cigarettes and prohibit their sale to minors. The e-cigarette industry emphatically agrees that these products shouldn’t be sold to minors, so the issue at hand becomes how to tax electronic cigarettes. As a former president of the American Lung Association, I’ve seen how e-cigarettes have become the subject of much confusion and misinformation nationally. A fundamental distinction must be made between traditional cigarettes and battery-powered e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes don’t involve combustion, which has been recognized by the public health community for years as the real danger of a

  • Colorado Springs Gazette: Weakining our defense won't achieve less war

    Head overline: Best offense is a good defense | Published: Fri, Mar 7, 2014

    AS much of the country gets worked up over the selfie portrait of a young Fort Carson enlistee skipping a routine flag salute, a real threat to national security gets lost in the noise. The Obama administration wants to gut America’s military might during a dangerous time in the world, proposing a cut in personnel so extreme the Army would revert to pre-World War II staffing levels. We applaud President Barack Obama for a goal of stopping this country's “long and large stability operations.” Rational Americans don’t like war. They want it as nothing but a last resort for defending our country’s vital interests. Wars kill and, contrary to conventional wisdom, harm our economy.

  • Kathleen Parker: Once upon a moonbeam

    Published: Thu, Mar 6, 2014

    WASHINGTON — In matters cultural, California has always been America’s petri dish. Whatever happened in California usually infiltrated the rest of the country. Today there is reason to hope that other trends collecting on our far-left coast (geographically speaking) might infect the nation, especially in matters of governance and fiscal responsibility. Jerry Brown, about to begin a run for his fourth term as governor, has shed the “Governor Moonbeam” moniker that he has worn like an itchy suit for nearly 40 years, compliments of famed Chicago columnist Mike Royko (RIP, 1997).

  • Consumers need to educate themselves about Integrated Marketplace

    BY DANA MURPHY, Oklahoma Corporation Commissioner | Updated: Wed, Mar 5, 2014

    If someone said to you, “Pay me $100 and you'll save $50,” would you rush to write a check? Obviously not – at least, not without much more information. But for electric customers in Oklahoma and some other states, that might soon be the case as part of an “Integrated Marketplace” that's extremely complex in structure and operation. Its goal is fairly basic and positive: Simply put, the aim is saving money by giving utilities access to more generation choices. It would do this by establishing a daily electricity market under the control of the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), a regional transmission organization with 75 electric utilities from eight states, including Oklahoma, as members. Its job is to help ensure

  • OSU professor: Oklahoma's secrecy over execution drugs is wrong

    | Published: Wed, Mar 5, 2014

    A recent lawsuit filed by two Oklahoma death row inmates should remind opponents and proponents of the death penalty why open government is crucial to an informed public’s oversight of its policymakers. The inmates, scheduled for March executions, sued the Department of Corrections because Oklahoma law keeps secret — even from the prisoners and the courts — the supplier of the lethal injection drugs used in its executions. The statute even exempts the purchase of the drugs from the state’s Central Purchasing Act. Such secrecy in government typically breeds corruption, incompetency and inefficiency. In this case, the prisoners argue that the secrecy prevents them from asserting their constitutional rights against

  • Ruth Marcus: A problem in need of a correction

    | Published: Wed, Mar 5, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Kerry Kennedy was just acquitted, and rightly so, of “drugged driving” — she mistook a sleeping pill for her thyroid medication and conked out at the wheel. It’s an outrage that she was prosecuted in the first place, but even more of an outrage that steps aren’t being taken to prevent this disturbingly common problem. Before the Mothers Against Drunk Driving rise up to protest, let me be clear: I’m a mother against drunk driving too. Driving under the influence, of anything, is terrible and dangerous and should be punished to the full extent of the law. But the criminal law exists to punish — and, more important, deter — intentionally bad behavior.

  • George F. Will: Misreading Putin, and history

    | Published: Tue, Mar 4, 2014

    WASHINGTON — One hundred years after a spark in Central Europe ignited a conflagration from which the world has not yet recovered and from which Europe will never recover, armed forces have crossed an international border in Central Europe, eliciting this analysis from Secretary of State John Kerry: “It’s a 19th century act in the 21st century. It really puts at question Russia’s capacity to be within the G8.” Although this “19th century act” resembles many 20th century (and 16th, 17th and 18th century) acts, it is, the flabbergasted Kerry thinks, astonishing in the 21st century, which he evidently supposes to be entirely unlike any other.

  • Washington Examiner: Proposed IRS rule drawing concern from all sides

    | Published: Mon, Mar 3, 2014

    MORE than 120,000 Americans have submitted comments to the IRS concerning its latest proposal to restrict 501(C)(4) nonprofit social welfare organizations. That total may be the most generated by a proposed IRS rule since President Jimmy Carter was in the White House and the tax agency considered a proposal to impose unreasonable restrictions on Christian schools. That proposed IRS rule shook millions of evangelical Protestants out of their decades-long hibernation from participating in the political process. The surge of new recruits to the conservative cause that followed was a major factor in President Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election.

  • Oklahoma lawmaker: State should target the Kevin Durants of medicine

    | Published: Sun, Mar 2, 2014

    Health care has become a complicated topic, but one aspect of access to care that state lawmakers should address is the shortage of medical specialists in Oklahoma. With more specialty doctors, the state could better serve the unique medical needs of all Oklahomans. The perfect tool already exists to attract these specialists to the state. The Oklahoma Quick Action Closing Fund has successfully been used to attract a Macy’s distribution center to Tulsa. This same fund could be used to attract what I’d call the Kevin Durants of medicine. Durant, despite playing in a smaller media market, is a national star because of his considerable abilities. Oklahoma is drawing interest from around the country because of its