• For teachers who prey on kids, punishment should fit the crime

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 19, 2015

    THE attorney for a former Hollis teacher sentenced to 10 years in prison for having sex with a 15-year-old student says his client is shocked and considers her sentence “harsh.” What many Oklahomans may find stunning isn’t this sentence, but the short terms given other teachers who sexually exploited children. Jennifer Caswell pleaded guilty to six crimes involving sex with a Hollis student who was in the eighth grade when their relationship began. After the boy moved to Mississippi, Caswell was caught with him at a hotel there, which finally led to her prosecution last year. Caswell, now 29, later explained her actions by saying she was “in a very unhappy marriage and I received little to no attention from my

  • Questions result from rulings on Oklahoma 'special laws'

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 18, 2015

    A judge’s decision declaring an abortion-drug law a “special law” in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution certainly disappointed those opposed to abortion on demand. But the ruling’s implications may extend further, even to the point of hindering efforts to combat drug addiction. Last week, Oklahoma County District Judge Patricia Parrish overturned a state law regulating use of some abortion drugs. The law required that abortion drugs be administered in accordance with U.S. Food and Drug Administration label instructions. Many of those drugs are now provided in ways that don’t comply with those guidelines.

  • For many, Obamacare’s costs are exceeding its ‘benefits’

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 17, 2015

    PRESIDENT Barack Obama famously promised that if people liked their current insurance policies, they could keep them under the Affordable Care Act. That was quickly proven false as associated regulations forced cancellation of countless existing insurance plans. Obama then derided canceled policies as “substandard plans” that were now being replaced by “quality, comprehensive coverage.” It turns out this claim is just as false as his “you can keep it” promise. Under Obamacare, a growing share of lower-middle class families are being forced to purchase policies that provide little meaningful financial protection.

  • There's no going back on Oklahoma Capitol repair work

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 17, 2015

    WHEN the Legislature, after years of dithering, finally got around in 2014 to approving a $120 million bond issue to repair the state Capitol, experts advised that the amount almost certainly wouldn’t be enough. Those warnings were on target. Like most any remodeling job, finishing on or under budget is rare. The fact that workers involved in the Capitol project would be dealing with a massive, nearly 100-year-old building made it an extreme long shot that $120 million would suffice. Initial work confirms that lawmakers will one day need to approve additional funding to finish the job. Reporters were given a tour last week of work being done on the third floor.

  • Challenging times for Oklahoma's energy producers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 16, 2015

    IF it cost you $10 to drive to a job that paid $11, would you do it? What if it paid $9? How about $10 — the break-even point? Independent energy companies are dealing with such a conundrum in the face of the lowest crude oil prices since 2009. From the standpoint of their quarterly financial statements, many of them aren’t breaking even. Nowhere near. Forget obscene profits, that talking-point term of liberals that hasn’t been heard much lately. It’s hard to find any profits at energy firms these days. So the break-even point is a major focus. It’s a matter of balancing costs with returns, which can mean an emphasis on the least risky drilling ventures, layoffs and other cost- cutting measures.

  • Some licensing regulations can get in the way of people working

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 16, 2015

    BASED on Barack Obama’s record since becoming president in 2009, one might reasonably conclude there’s no level of regulation deemed excessive by his administration. But a new White House report questions the need for many occupational licensing restrictions. If even the Obama administration thinks these regulations are heavy handed, there’s no reason Republicans should hesitate to repeal and reform many occupational licensing laws. A blog post by Jeff Zients, director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Betsey Stevenson, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers, notes the problems created by excessive occupational-licensing requirements.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Nothing ordinary about handling of Keystone XL

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Aug 15, 2015

    THE Obama administration insists that it has followed standard procedure with its treatment of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that has languished nearly seven years. A story this week from The Associated Press puts a sizable dent in that claim. Under an executive order issued by former President George W. Bush, which revamped a previous policy, any pipeline that crosses U.S. borders must get presidential approval. TransCanada Corp. wishes to run a pipeline from Canada to Cushing (the southern leg of the Keystone pipeline, from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, is completed). The AP studied every cross-border pipeline application since 2004 and found that, on average, the government took 478 days to approve or reject them.

  • OKC police chief right to seek change in law

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Aug 14, 2015

    A police officer in Lawton is on administrative leave after allegedly showing up to work drunk. According to authorities, Sgt. Gabriel Hoffman’s blood alcohol content registered 0.23 — nearly three times the legal limit — when he blew into a breathalyzer after his arrest last weekend. He may or may not wind up being fired. If he is, there’s no guarantee it will stick. Mike Denton is an example. Denton was fired from the Owasso Police Department in 2011 for violating the department’s use-of-force policy. A video showed Denton stepping on the head of a man arrested for public drunkenness, and elbowing him in the face. The officer was reinstated by an arbitrator.

  • Tinkering with voting rules a sure way to invite trouble

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Aug 14, 2015

    THE 1960s struggle for civil rights has morphed into a struggle to convince Americans that not much has changed since then — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Thus it is that a Little Rock, Ark., rabbi could declaim there’s been “a tragic rollback of civil rights” in this nation. So moved is the man that’s he flying to Atlanta this month so he can walk 2.3 percent of an 860-mile “march” from Selma, Ala., to Washington, D.C. The NAACP is billing the event as “America’s Journey for Justice.” It’s designed to hook the interest of white liberals by adding standard labor union bait (minimum wage increases) and environmentalism to traditional civil rights platform planks. The timing is to

  • A taste of things to come from a Hillary presidency

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Aug 13, 2015

    AS the Republican Party puts 17 presidential candidates through the wringer on the way to choosing a nominee, Hillary Clinton goes about her business relatively unchallenged. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has made things interesting by polling well, but Clinton would seem to have little to worry about in the way of a real challenger. This will allow her to amass a huge campaign treasury and marshal the resources she will need for the general election campaign. While GOP candidates are made to defend or explain their positions on a variety of issues, on the campaign trail and in debates to come, Hillary can skate along secure in the knowledge that the Democratic nomination is hers for the taking.

  • Little good comes from severing pay, performance

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Aug 13, 2015

    THOSE obsessed with “income inequality” often suggest most of life’s woes could be eliminated if workers’ wages were arbitrarily and artificially boosted to high levels. Dan Price, head of a Seattle credit card processing firm, decided to put that theory to the test. It has since cost Price valuable employees and customers, and left his business less secure. That outcome isn’t shocking to those familiar with free-market forces and incentives’ impact on behavior. To establish a new minimum salary of $70,000 at Gravity Payments, Price cut his own million-dollar salary.

  • Water rule 'outreach' by EPA left much to be desired

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 12, 2015

    MANY citizens think the deck is stacked against them when dealing with government regulators. The tactics of Environmental Protection Agency officials during the development of the new “Waters of the United States” rule show those critics have a point. That proposal will treat ditches and normally dry land as navigable waters under federal regulation, dramatically increasing federal power to impede local development and routine economic activity nationwide. When developing regulations, federal agencies are supposed to seek public input, particularly from those most affected. But information noted by Oklahoma’s U.S. senators shows the EPA’s outreach efforts were a farce. In a letter sent to the head of the EPA, Sens.

  • It's difficult to predict what juries will decide

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Aug 12, 2015

    IN November 2012, James Holmes walked into a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb and opened fire, first with a shotgun, then with a semi-automatic rifle and a handgun. The result: 12 people dead, 70 injured. A dozen jurors spent more than four months listening to testimony in Holmes’ trial. In finding him guilty of murder, they rejected his insanity defense and determined he knew right from wrong. As they began deliberating the proper punishment, they agreed that the heinousness of the crimes outweighed his mental illness. These things indicated the jury would likely recommend the death penalty.

  • Pending Oklahoma execution drawing concern from out of state

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Aug 11, 2015

    AS the next execution in Oklahoma approaches, the governor’s office finds itself compelled to defend the process that resulted in the condemned man’s conviction. For that it can blame anti-death penalty groups, led in this case by actress Susan Sarandon. Last week Gov. Mary Fallin’s chief spokesman, Alex Weintz, used 10 Twitter messages to explain why Richard Glossip wound up on death row and why his execution will go forward Sept. 16. He took to Twitter, he said, because the governor’s office had been getting many questions about the case. Not coincidentally, Sarandon had recently given an interview to Sky News in which she said Glossip was “clearly innocent.

  • Reality should be guide on U.S. environmental policy

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 10, 2015

    NO one doubts the Obama administration has lofty environmental goals. It’s just that so many of those goals are based in fantasy, not reality. Take the administration’s mandate for fleet-wide fuel economy to reach 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. That’s more than some motorcycles achieve today. The Obama administration has pushed ahead anyway, assuming motorists will purchase more expensive hybrids or electric vehicles. Yet those models remain a niche market, while consumer demand for trucks and sport-utility vehicles remains strong. According to Autodata Corp., industry sales may exceed 17 million vehicles this year, the highest level since 2001. But vehicles with lower gas mileage represent a large share of those sales.

  • Action need to help resolve global-scale refugee crisis

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Aug 10, 2015

    PLANET Earth is teeming with displaced peoples. Call it global swarming. The number of refugees on the move or stuck in makeshift camps is staggering. The death toll among this population rises by the hour. Yet much of the developed world is barely attuned to the problem. In fact, Americans are much more aware of illegal immigration from a single country (Mexico) than they are the much larger migration of people from dozens of countries. Compared to this humanitarian crisis, the U.S. immigration matter seems relatively easy to fix. But of course simple solutions aren’t on offer — only politically charged ones.

  • Fiorina may have gained the most from first debates

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 9, 2015

    DONALD Trump provided most of the buzz entering the first Republican debate, and a fair amount during it. Yet it was Carly Fiorina, relegated to the undercard, who may have been the biggest winner. Fiorina wasn’t among the 10 candidates chosen for Thursday’s primetime event on Fox News. Those 10 were selected based on their standing in five national polls, and Fiorina had been tracking in the low single digits. That could change after she outshined the six other candidates in the afternoon. Trump was his usual blunt, unapologetic self. No surprise, he was the only candidate who wouldn’t promise to support the eventual GOP nominee and forgo a third-party candidacy, which produced some boos.

  • Planned Parenthood issue isn't going to go away

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Aug 9, 2015

    IT is telling that, to preserve Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding, abortion absolutists feel obligated to effectively badmouth legitimate health care providers who serve millions of women at thousands of clinics. In the weird world of abortion politics, it seems saving women’s lives doesn’t make one a champion of women. Last week the U.S. Senate rejected legislation to redirect federal tax money from Planned Parenthood to community health centers. (The bill received bipartisan majority support, but failed for procedural reasons.) This issue isn’t going away, nor should it. That Planned Parenthood receives taxpayer funding has always been offensive to many Americans who don’t want to be complicit in abortion

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: Good reason to oppose EPA rule

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Aug 8, 2015

    OKLAHOMA officials are right to fight back against the new Clean Power Plan announced this week by President Barack Obama. Residents here and across the country figure to pay a steep price for something that will endear the president to his green allies but do little to curb carbon emissions worldwide. Under the Environmental Protection Agency’s CPP, the United States would cut power plant carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels. The EPA hopes to have renewables generating 28 percent of the country’s electricity by 2030 — a huge jump from not quite 5 percent today. Yet the United States produces only 5 percent of the world’s carbon emissions.

  • Oklahoma education data flaws need to be addressed

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Aug 7, 2015

    OKLAHOMA’S high school graduation rate has declined, and may be worse than what’s been reported. Also, officials won’t reveal graduation rates for more than half of school districts. This combination of bad data and concealed data is a serious impediment to improving Oklahoma’s schools. If the public doesn’t have valid information, how can anyone develop policies to address genuine education needs? Oklahoma Watch reports that Oklahoma’s high school graduation rate dropped from 84.9 percent in school year 2012-13 to 82.7 percent in 2013-14. The data behind those figures is an improvement over prior estimates, because it’s supposed to involve a four-year cohort.