Top Stories

  • George F. Will: How to keep them down on the farm

    Published: Sun, Mar 16, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Someone who is determined to disbelieve something can manage to disregard an Everest of evidence for it. So Barack Obama will not temper his enthusiasm for increased equality with lucidity about the government’s role in exacerbating inequality. In the movie “Animal House,” Otter, incensed by the expulsion of his fraternity, says: “I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture.” Such thinking gives us minimum wage increases that do very little for very few. Meanwhile, there are farm bills, like the one Obama signed last month at Michigan State University. MSU was one of the models for the land-grant colleges created under the 1862 Morrill Act, whose primary purpose was

  • Center for Union Facts director: On political spending, unions get a pass

    BY RICHARD BERMAN | Published: Sun, Mar 16, 2014

    With the 2014 elections just around the corner, opponents of political spending are kicking into high gear. The left blames industrialists like Charles and David Koch for degrading democracy. The right blames shadowy foundations and financiers like George Soros for the same. Still others rip the Supreme Court for allowing runaway political spending in the first place via its decision in Citizens United. But all of this fuss obscures one of the largest funders of American politics, one that — unlike the Kochs or Soros — can force people to contribute to candidates and causes with which they disagree. I’m talking about labor unions.

  • Jules Witcover: Are Democrats looking beyond Obama?

    Published: Sat, Mar 15, 2014

    WASHINGTON — Democratic strategists were particularly dismayed at the loss of their congressional candidate, Alex Sink, in Tuesday’s special election in Florida’s 13th congressional district, fearing it might be seen as foretelling doom for the Obama presidency, with nearly three years still to run. This is despite the fact that special election results can be a poor harbinger of the next general election to come. Among other reasons, voter turnout is usually very low. And in a congressional race, local issues may play an inordinate role in the outcome.

  • Paul Greenberg: Back by popular demand: tyranny

    Published: Sat, Mar 15, 2014

    Ham and eggs, dictators and plebiscites, tyranny and sham elections, they all go together. So it was wholly to be expected, which means it was wholly a surprise to our ever-alert administration, when the latest tsar decided Crimea was ripe for the picking and sent in the Cossacks (sans identifying insignia for now). As usual in these matters, the local bullyboys, formally known in press reports as militias, backed up the not very well disguised Russian troops. With that little formality out of the way, Vlad the Annexer ordered a plebiscite (and its usual result) for immediate delivery, specifically this Sunday.

  • OG&E official: Oklahoma can no longer ignore the problem of texting at the wheel

    BY PAUL RENFROW | Published: Sat, Mar 15, 2014

    Many OG&E employees put themselves in harm’s way each day, working in conditions and around equipment that can be dangerous as they labor to provide a plentiful and reliable supply of electricity. The company takes the safety of its employees seriously. OG&E works hard to supply the training, equipment, policies and programs that help them stay safe in those potentially unsafe conditions. Ironically, the most dangerous place for them isn’t around power lines or in a power plant but on the roadways of Oklahoma and Arkansas, where they collectively log more than 16.3 million miles each year and log numerous hours in work zones on the side of the roadways.

  • OKC businessman: Why the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum matters

    BY PHIL G. BUSEY | Published: Sat, Mar 15, 2014

    We can fulfill an obligation to our Native American brethren, cultures, histories and ourselves by completing the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City. The AICCM is a needed statement recognizing Oklahoma's American Indian heritage. I commend state Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, for his passionate fight in the Senate for the passage of a bill earmarking $40 million for the center, to be matched by private-sector funds. With passage by the House, the project can be opened by 2017. It’s past time for such a center. Building the AICCM is important. It would benefit Oklahoma economically and stand as a living monument for our Indian tribes and peoples. Telling their stories is a powerful testament to their

  • Charles Krauthammer: How to stop Putin

    Updated: Fri, Mar 14, 2014

    WASHINGTON — The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing. The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the last five years, Obama’s fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea and Russia in Ukraine. But what’s done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now? We have three objectives. In ascending order of difficulty: Reassure NATO. Deter further Russian incursion into Ukraine.

  • Leonard Pitts Jr.: A pointed comment on guns

    By Leonard Pitts Jr. | Published: Fri, Mar 14, 2014

    A few words about Nathan Entingh’s hand gun. Meaning, you should understand, not a gun you hold in your hand, but rather, the hand itself, thumb cocked and index finger extended to resemble a pistol. One afternoon late last month, Entingh, who goes to school in Columbus, Ohio, was goofing off in science class when he raised such a “hand gun,” pointed it at another kid’s head, and said, “Boom.” Not a good thing to do and Entingh, who is 10, should certainly have been reprimanded. Instead, he was suspended for three days. His father, Paul, says he’s been told that if it happens again, the next suspension may be permanent.

  • OKC teacher: Why I like Common Core

    BY JONETTA S. JONTE’ | Published: Fri, Mar 14, 2014

    As a high school English teacher who integrated Common Core State Standards into the classroom several years ago, I’ve seen firsthand how students have benefited from this type of learning. With Common Core, we’re asking students to be creators and thinkers. Students are looking at all kinds of texts at a deeper, more insightful level, with more creativity. Although students still have to memorize and learn the basics, we’re letting them take the material and build their own knowledge through assignments that are a long way from the “skill and drill” of the past. It’s made a world of difference in what they’re doing. Along the way, teachers have had to learn about the Common Core standards and how working toward

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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