• Ruth Marcus: Bluster of The Donald

    RUTH MARCUS Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Jan 6, 2016

    WASHINGTON — The emperor has no clothes. The Donald has no policy. This is not exactly news, but it is too often forgotten in the substance-free carnival that is the 2016 presidential race. Donald Trump's bright-shiny-object campaign style serves to obscure the substantive void, leaving reporters endlessly chasing after his latest rhetorical bomb rather than pressing him on policy. Not, of course, that such questioning produces answers. Trump evades questions about how he would approach a particular problem with airy assurances about management and deal-making. There's only so much follow-up that can be done in the face of this bombast.

  • OU professor: Effective teachers make an incredible difference

    By Lawrence Baines | Published: Wed, Jan 6, 2016

    Recent articles about teacher pay and teacher quality have been confusing. To help clarify the issues, I offer three facts and a true story: • Oklahoma is in the bottom five nationally in terms of teacher pay. In Houston, the minimum salary for a new teacher is $51,500; in Oklahoma City, starting pay is $34,000. An Oklahoma teacher can improve her salary by 50 percent by moving to Houston. Teacher salaries are accessible online, so there is no disguising differences. • In Texas, where 50 percent of teachers are alternatively certified, test scores have been falling for years. According to the College Board, the performance of Texas students on the SAT fell all the way to 47th (of 50 states) in 2015. Texas' teacher

  • George Will: Before government became reviled

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jan 3, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Soon, voters will have the opportunity and impertinence to insert themselves into the 2016 presidential conversation that thus far has been the preoccupation of journalists and other abnormal people. The voting will begin in Iowa, thanks to Marie Jahn. When, after 38 years as recorder for Plymouth County in northwest Iowa, Jahn decided to retire in February 1975, local Democrats decided to throw her a party. When it came to attracting a speaker, the best they could entice from their party's national ranks was a former one-term governor of Georgia.

  • Point of View: A windshield agriculture survey for the coming year

    By Terry Detrick | Published: Sun, Jan 3, 2016

    With 2015 in the rear-view window, we look expectantly at the next 12 months, and from where I sit, agriculture will have some challenges and opportunities. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates net farm income for 2015 to be $55.9 billion, down 38 percent from 2014. The main culprit is lower commodity prices. As we begin 2016, the forecast for continued lower farm income continues to make headlines. The reason prices are lower is because we had more commodities to sell! Abundant rainfall allowed for bin-busting yields and flourishing grass pastures, proving the law of supply and demand rules. The challenge is to take advantage of the full grain bins. Farmers are producers. We cannot sell something we don't have.

  • E.J. Dionne: An article of conciliation

    E.J. DIONNE JR. Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Jan 3, 2016

    WASHINGTON -- At year's end, I want to offer a word to my conservative and libertarian readers whose patience I try regularly. Perhaps you read me to have someone to yell at, or in search of evidence for how dumb liberals can be. No matter. I'm glad you're there. I am not someone who believes that if only we understood each other better, we would find our way to agreement. Indeed, sometimes people get to understand each other better and the results are disastrous. They learn that the distance between them is even greater than they assumed. But more fundamentally, people disagree because they have honest differences over what matters most. We might all claim to believe in liberty, justice, equality, community, security

  • Jules Witcover: Hillary copies Donald's tactics

    Jules Witcover Tribune Content Agency | Published: Sat, Jan 2, 2016

    WASHINGTON — No controversy in the 2016 presidential campaign has gotten more publicity than Donald Trump's claim that "thousands" of people in New Jersey cheered after watching the Twin Towers collapse across the Hudson River in Manhattan in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A host of news organizations checked and could find no visual evidence anywhere that it was true. Professional fact-checking groups reached the same conclusion, and Trump was roundly castigated for continuing to trumpet the allegation as fact, presumably to drum up anti-Muslim sentiment to support his subsequent call for barring further entry of Muslims into the United States. Among the critics was the Democratic front-runner for her party's

  • Mark Holden: Fewer licensing regulations a worthwhile goal in 2016

    By Mark V. Holden | Published: Sat, Jan 2, 2016

    What should Oklahoma lawmakers' New Year's resolutions be? I have a suggestion: Break down barriers to opportunity for the least fortunate. Elected officials in Oklahoma City city hall and in the state Capitol should start by rolling back burdensome occupational licensing regulations, which stand in the way of low-income job seekers and budding entrepreneurs. Most people have never heard of occupational licenses, yet they are a growing hindrance to economic mobility in Oklahoma and across the country. Before you can work in many professions, you'e forced to seek permission from your state or local government in the form of an occupational license.

  • Clarence Page: 'Shoot first, think later' policing has to stop

    Clarence Page Tribune Content Agency | Published: Fri, Jan 1, 2016

    Before he announced the grand jury's decision regarding the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Timothy McGinty warned that the outcome "will not cheer anyone." He got that right. The grand jury would not be indicting officers Timothy Loehmann and Frank Garmback. Loehmann claimed he had no choice but to fire at Rice after he saw the lad pull a gun from his belt that turned out to be only a realistic-looking pellet gun. "It would be irresponsible and unreasonable if the law required a police officer to wait and see if the gun was real," McGinty said, as he delivered a report that explained what the law demands of police officers who must make split-second decisions

  • Charles Krauthammer: Space: The visionaries take over

    CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Fri, Jan 1, 2016

    WASHINGTON — Fractured and divided as we are, on one thing we can agree: 2015 was a miserable year. The only cheer was provided by Lincoln Chafee and the Pluto flyby (two separate phenomena), as well as one seminal aeronautical breakthrough. On Dec. 21, Elon Musk's SpaceX, after launching 11 satellites into orbit, returned its 15-story booster rocket, upright and intact, to a landing pad at Cape Canaveral. That's a $60 million mountain of machinery — recovered. (The traditional booster rocket either burns up or disappears into some ocean.) The reusable rocket has arrived.

  • Professor: The future of the Affordable Care Act in Oklahoma

    By Stephen T. Parente | Published: Fri, Jan 1, 2016

    Jan. 1 marks the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act's implementation in Oklahoma. So it makes sense for Oklahomans to ask: How is the law playing out in your state? Not well. Roughly 58,600 people purchased 2016 health insurance on the state's Affordable Care Act's online exchange, where they likely found an unpleasant surprise. Monthly premiums for their plans will be 29.36 percent higher, on average, than they were in 2015. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are also on the rise, and health care provider networks are narrowing. The combination of these factors helps explain why the federal government recently halved the number of people it expects to sign up for the law's health insurance.

  • George Will: A list of 2015's ludicrousness

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Thu, Dec 31, 2015

    WASHINGTON — E.B. White reportedly said "the most beautiful sound in America" is "the tinkle of ice at twilight." In 2015's twilight, fortify yourself with something 90 proof as you remember this year in which: We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil-asset forfeiture — usually without accusing, let alone convicting, the property owners of a crime — exceeded the value of property stolen by nongovernment burglars. The attorney general of New York, which reaps billions from gambling — casinos, off-track betting, the state lottery — moved to extinguish (competition from) fantasy football because it is gambling.

  • Washington Examiner: No coincidence the economy has grown slowly under Obama

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Thu, Dec 31, 2015

    THE national economy achieved something last month which, though positive, is nevertheless melancholy. Sentier Research reports that the median household income finally climbed back to what it was when the Great Recession began. To be precise, the median income of $56,746 was $32 higher in November 2015 than what it was in December 2007. (We hope that during the Christmas holiday you didn't spend the difference all in one place.) It is good to see that number reach its old level, but it is disappointing that this milestone has taken so long to pass. A one-time event that rocked global financial markets just before President Obama took office has turned into nearly a decade of lost wage growth.

  • Point of View: Group helping inform Oklahoma parents about school choice

    By Renee Porter | Published: Wed, Dec 30, 2015

    For much of Oklahoma's history, parents have had one choice when deciding where to send their child to school — the neighborhood school selected based on geography, not need. But a growing number of options, including charter, faith-based, enterprise and virtual schools, give Oklahoma parents more choices than ever. As that list of choices grows, it's critical that parents are informed about the variety of educational options available to them. While public schools are still an important part of the school system as a whole, parents having options when it comes to their children's education can help enhance and improve the overall quality of education in a community.

  • Ruth Marcus: Trump is right about Bill Clinton

    RUTH MARCUS Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Dec 30, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Donald Trump is crude and vulgar. He's every -ist in the book: racist, sexist, narcissist, for starters. His dis about Hillary Clinton getting "schlonged" in the 2008 campaign and the accompanying tirade about her "disgusting" bathroom break were weird and juvenile. But he has a point about Clinton playing the "woman's card," and about the male behavior that's more concerning: her husband's. Was there a sexist undertone to Trump's "schlonged" comment? I guess, since we know which Democratic candidate does and doesn't have one. Still, as sexism goes, this feels awfully mild. "I think he has to answer for what he says, and I assume that others will make the larger point about his language," Clinton told The Des

  • Michael Gerson: Bipartisan agreement on education comes at cost to students

    MICHAEL GERSON The Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Wed, Dec 30, 2015

    WASHINGTON — The nation's capital is experiencing something of a thaw in polarization and partisanship. And the largest iceberg that that has broken free is the Every Student Succeeds Act, the most consequential education reform in the last 15 years. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the Republican chairman of the Senate Education Committee, called it a "Christmas present" to American children. President Obama proclaimed it a "Christmas miracle." The president of the American Federation of Teachers said the law marks "a new day in public education." What does this mean for students? Let's start, as educators are wont to say, with a review.

  • Tulsa World editorial: A 'House of Cards' moment in OKC?

    Updated: Tue, Dec 29, 2015

    In a "House of Cards" world, it's easy to see how eligible voters become jaded nonvoters. How cynicism grows. How some come to the conclusion that the game is rigged. Incumbent board member Laura Massenat filed for re-election. Then, in the final hour of the final day of filing, Paula Lewis filed for the same office. The next day, Massenat withdrew. Lewis was elected unopposed and without a single vote being cast.

  • Cal Thomas: The sum of all fears

    Cal Thomas Tribune Content Agency | Published: Tue, Dec 29, 2015

    President Obama and members of his administration assure us we have nothing to fear when it comes to terrorism. Whether you accept this, or not — and opinion polls show a majority do not — there is another fear that in large part is behind the phenomenon known as Donald Trump. It is the fear we are in danger of losing America. Speaking as a member of a group that will in this century become a minority in America — that would be white people — I don't fear minority status. I fear that those who will soon make up the majority will not embrace the values and traditions that have built and sustained America through wars, economic downturns and other challenges to our way of life.

  • Washington Examiner: Interview shows Obama out of touch regarding ISIS

    Washington Examiner Editorial | Published: Mon, Dec 28, 2015

    PRESIDENT Obama's NPR interview last Monday was replete with amateur psychiatric analysis. Donald Trump is doing well, he said, because of white men's anxiety over their economic situation in the post-industrial age. The reason his presidency has been given low marks by the far right is that he is black, and “in some ways, I may represent change that worries them.” (This is an odd suggestion that the same people were just as tough on the last Democratic president, a white Southern man whom they successfully campaigned to impeach.) However lightly most members of the public might dismiss Obama's self-serving analysis of those who think him a poor president, they should not set aside other aspects of the interview with such

  • George Will: Creationists of the secular kind

    GEORGE F. WILL Washington Post Writers Group | Published: Sun, Dec 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON — Presidential campaigns inflate expectations that power wielded from government's pinnacle will invigorate the nation. Thus campaigns demonstrate that creationists threaten the creative ferment that produces social improvement. Not religious creationists, who are mistaken but inconsequential. It is secular creationists whose social costs are steep. "Secular theists" — economist Don Boudreaux's term — produce governments gripped by the fatal conceit that they are wiser than society's spontaneous experimental order. Such governments' imposed order suffocates improvisation and innovation.

  • OK city councilman: Better teacher pay a must, but not this way

    By Pete White | Published: Sun, Dec 27, 2015

    Like University of Oklahoma President David Boren, I have spent a great deal of my time in public office advocating for teachers and quality, inclusive public education. I'm the son of a public school teacher, and my wife taught in public schools for a number of years. We should be ashamed that teachers in Oklahoma make less money than teachers in Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and other surrounding states. That they stay — despite this — and dedicate their time to educating our children should earn not only our admiration, but also our support and commitment to ensuring they have everything they need to be successful. This proposed 1-cent sales tax is not the way.