• No need for Oklahoma 2nd District election do-over

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

    THE 2014 election season ended Nov. 4, but Oklahoma Democrats want a do-over in the 2nd Congressional District. This would be a pointless waste of taxpayer funds. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, a Republican, won 70 percent of the vote against his Democratic opponent, retired school teacher Earl E. Everett. Everett’s ballot appearance was posthumous: The 81-year-old candidate was injured in a car wreck on Oct. 31 and died about 48 hours before the polls closed. If a political party’s nominee dies five days or more following a primary runoff election but prior to the general election, state law says a substitute candidate “will be permitted” to have his or her name placed on the general election ballot.

  • Nationwide, education policy measures received voter support on Nov. 4

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

    THE midterm elections reinforced, once again, that voters may be pro-education but they’re also not spendthrifts. Oklahoma lawmakers should take note. In Nevada, voters soundly rejected Question 3, an initiative to create a 2 percent margins tax on businesses with annual revenues of at least $1 million. The proposal would have generated an estimated $800 million annually, purportedly for school funding. Supporters decried Nevada’s per-pupil funding, which ranks 49th in the country (below Oklahoma). But the new tax would have applied to business revenue, not profit, wiping out many low-margin businesses. Research by Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis found the margins tax would be equivalent to a state corporate tax rate of

  • Whether feds are involved or not, Oklahoma County jail needs attention

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 11, 2014

    THE U.S. Justice Department gave Oklahoma County five years to fix major problems plaguing the jail. Otherwise, the county faced the prospect of the federal government coming in to run the facility. That five-year window closed last week without every problem being remedied and … well, nothing happened. Yet. On Nov. 5, the day the deadline arrived, Sheriff John Whetsel said there had been no word from Justice and he didn’t expect the agency to act. “November 6, you’re not going to see a change in the way we’re doing business,” Whetsel said.

  • When the issue is abortion, plain English discouraged

    The Oklahoman editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 11, 2014

    OKLAHOMA County District Judge Bill Graves recently upheld a state law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. Before becoming a judge, Graves was a legislator who was outspoken in his opposition to abortion. Some question whether Graves was unbiased in reaching his initial decision, especially since the Oklahoma Supreme Court has since enjoined enforcement of the law. As is often the case with abortion, the value of plain speaking is tacitly discouraged. While in the Legislature, Graves supported more than a dozen bills that restricted abortion in some fashion. In 2001 he authored a legal article that noted 40 million abortions had been performed since the U.S. Supreme

  • Keystone project should be near top of GOP to-do list

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 10, 2014

    DURING his post-election news conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama said there were sure to be agreements and disagreements with Republicans who now control both houses of Congress, but that “we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there’s broad agreement among the American people.” Will that include approving the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline? Probably not, even though Americans want it — an ABC/Washington Post survey earlier this year put support at 65 percent. Obama has blocked Keystone at every turn, in a nod to environmentalists, and his feelings clearly haven’t changed.

  • Voters responded to message from Republican female candidates

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 9, 2014

    Issues, not gender, decided outcomes

  • President Obama should shelve his income inequality pitch

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 9, 2014

    WERE he not such a pariah and had he not been such an albatross for Democratic candidates during this campaign season, Barack Obama would have traversed the country in recent weeks and hammered on one of his favorite nails: income inequality. That theme, along with climate change, the “war on women” and a minimum wage increase, dominates the Obama narrative, drawn as a weapon against his political opponents. We’ve long been puzzled by how limiting the incomes of the rich would help the poor or middle class.

  • ScissorTales: An unusual distinction for Oklahoma governor

    The Oklahoman editorial | Published: Sat, Nov 8, 2014

    OKLAHOMA this week continued its trend of re-electing governors to second terms. The past three governors who sought re-election have won: Frank Keating, Brad Henry and now Mary Fallin. Fallin is the only one who received fewer votes for re-election than in her first race. In 1994, Keating, a Republican, was elected with 466,740 votes. In 1998, he received 505,498 votes. When Brad Henry, a Democrat, won in 2002 he received 448,143 votes. In 2006, Henry increased that total to 616,135. When Fallin was first elected in 2010, she received 625,506 votes. This year she was re-elected with 459,788.

  • Power of the incumbency shone through in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Thu, Nov 6, 2014

    WHETHER Republican or Democrat, being an incumbent meant success on Election Day in Oklahoma. So much for supposed disgust with the status quo. The only legislative incumbent who didn’t win re-election Tuesday was state Rep. Aaron Stiles, R-Norman. Two years ago, Stiles won a second term by just 16 votes, and he represents a district that regularly fluctuates between the two major parties, so his loss was hardly a stunner. Otherwise, incumbents ruled the day and so once again did the Republican Party. Led by Gov. Mary Fallin, the GOP dominated. Every statewide elected office remained in Republican control, the state House kept its 72-29 advantage, and the Senate grabbed even stronger control – next session, Republicans

  • Suicide 'assistance' blurs moral lines

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Nov 7, 2014

    BRITTANY Maynard, diagnosed with brain cancer, gained national attention by moving to Oregon where assisted suicide is legal. On Saturday, she took her own life. Some have suggested Maynard’s case will lead to increased support for assisted suicide laws around the country. This may prove true in a few locations, but on the whole we suspect this won’t be the case. The “death with dignity” movement is based on assumptions that contradict the core values of too many citizens. Locally, officials often decry the high rate of suicide and accidental drug overdoses in Oklahoma.

  • After winning U.S. Senate, Republicans must put forth solid policy proposals

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 6, 2014

    IN handing control of the U.S. Senate back to Republicans, voters made it clear they’re dissatisfied with the policies offered by President Barack Obama and the obstructionism of Majority Leader Harry Reid. So now the question becomes, what will Republicans try to accomplish with their new clout? Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who is in line to replace Reid as Senate leader, said after his re-election Tuesday night that a new race has begun, “and that’s a race to turn this country around.” Certainly that must be job one. Under Obama, a champion of big government, the economy has grown at only a tepid pace. The labor participation rate — the percentage of the working-age population that has a job — is just 62.7

  • Market forces should guide future of Oklahoma spaceport

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 6, 2014

    THE recent crash of a Virgin Galactic rocket shop, which followed the explosion of an unmanned Orbital Sciences Corp. rocket headed to the International Space Station, immediately brought to mind one Oklahoma lawmaker’s past warnings. In a 2007 debate, state Rep. John Wright, R-Broken Arrow, noted the dangers associated with commercial space ventures, saying there was a pragmatic reason NASA flights launch off the Florida coast. “They launch those rockets out over the ocean,” Wright said, “because every once in a while, one doesn’t make it. It blows up.” Wright made those comments while discussing potential space flights in Oklahoma. The Virgin Galactic tragedy shows Wright wasn’t engaging in hyperbole.

  • Individuals must do their part to help in water conservation efforts

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Nov 5, 2014

    MUCH OF central and western Oklahoma received a nice rainfall Monday and Tuesday. Now if only those areas could get something similar every week for about the next two or three months, they’d be close to where they should be in terms of annual precipitation. That almost certainly won’t happen, of course. We’re edging closer to winter, when soaking precipitation is rare in Oklahoma. So the western half of the state likely will continue with drought conditions that, aside from a few respites here and there, have been in effect the past four years. Roughly one-fifth of the state is listed in extreme or exceptional drought. Things are especially acute in southwestern Oklahoma. The water supply in Lake Altus-Lugert, for

  • Inefficiency fueled by government 'protection'

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Nov 5, 2014

    LAWMAKERS who propose legislation to “protect jobs” often end up simply increasing consumer costs, reducing efficiency and impeding economic growth. Consider the now-expired Wright Amendment. That 1979 federal law, named for its congressional sponsor, restricted nonstop service from Love Field in Dallas to cities outside Texas and its neighboring states. The justification given for enacting those restrictions “was to prevent competition with the then-relatively new Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and the older Love Field,” the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal notes. The Wright Amendment expired Oct. 13, leading to immediate changes.

  • We can't let ideological objections block path for any energy sources

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 4, 2014

    FOSSIL fuels, fracking and injection wells are political footballs, even in Oklahoma. The air inflating our economy comes largely from agriculture and oil and gas, but the needle moves toward anti-fossil fuel ideology even here. Part of that owes to a populism that’s easily exploited by politicians — a group that at times has included many Democrats and even some Republicans in the Legislature. Fossil fuels have boosted the fortunes of all Oklahomans and the people of other states in which oil and gas exploration has boomed because of hydraulic fracturing. Census data show that 39 U.S. counties, including some in Oklahoma, saw a shift between 2008 and 2012 in which energy became the chief economic driver.

  • Participate in democracy by casting a vote Tuesday

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Nov 4, 2014

    IF early or absentee voting wasn’t on your list of things to do this year, consider a trip to your polling place Tuesday. You can help decide the direction of the state for the next four years and the makeup of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation for at least the next two years. Regardless of your political leanings, voting matters. At the state level, solid Republican control is no reason to assume that the results are a foregone conclusion. At the national level, voters will determine who will control Congress next year and thus influence the remaining months of the Obama administration. Oklahoma will be sending two people to the U.S. Senate, both to be determined Tuesday. The Oklahoman supports Republican Jim Inhofe

  • Schools should embrace parental involvement

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 3, 2014

    THE need for parental involvement in a child’s education is almost universally acknowledged. Yet too many school officials send mixed messages regarding their support for parental partici-pation. Oklahoma Watch recently reported the parental participation rate for parent-teacher conferences in 2012-2013 was low in many Oklahoma schools. Although nearly 70 percent of parents participated in conferences statewide, that rate fell below 50 percent in close to one-fifth of schools, or 330. Chandler High School had the state’s worst parental participation rate with no parents attending parent-teacher conferences. At John Marshall High School in Oklahoma City, only 22 percent of parents attended. At Central Junior High School

  • Fallin, Inhofe, Lankford among those who merit election

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 2, 2014

    THE 2014 election season concludes on Tuesday. Some expect relatively low voter turnout in Oklahoma. We hope that isn’t the case. Although frustration with politics is often understandable, apathy does nothing to improve the system. Tuesday’s elections are an opportunity to influence the direction of both state and federal government. We encourage all registered voters to take advantage of that opportunity. The Oklahoman makes the following endorsements, listed in order of their appearance on the ballot. Governor Incumbent Mary Fallin, a Republican, faces state Rep. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs. Fallin has stressed economic issues throughout her tenure. Oklahoma’s economy is stronger today than when she took

  • ScissorTales: Obama administration officials remain clueless

    The Oklahoman editorials | Published: Sat, Nov 1, 2014

    EFFORTS to refine Obamacare dross into gold are turning into self-parodies of liberal spin. At a recent hearing conducted by the Virginia legislature, federal Health and Human Services official Joanne Grossie told lawmakers that people shouldn’t view the cancellation of insurance policies due to Obamacare as losing insurance. It’s really an “invitation” to get another policy, Grossie said. “If you got one of the notices that your policy was going to be discontinued because it didn’t adhere to the law, it meant that now you could go into the health insurance marketplace,” she said. “So, I just want to remind you that you weren’t losing insurance; you were just losing that insurance plan and were now being

  • For administration, paramount fear today is ... climate change

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Oct 31, 2014

    EBOLA. North Korea. ISIS. Whatever the threat, the only thing we have to fear is … climate change itself. So goes the narrative from Washington. The Obama administration urges calm, rational responses to threats from contagious diseases, terrorism and rogue nations. When it comes to climate change, calm and rationality are defenestrated. The window for dealing with ISIS opened back when Barack Obama told us the terrorist state was merely the junior varsity — and then Obama pulled the shades on a prompt response. The door for responsibly dealing with Ebola was opened more recently — and then slammed shut by a bumbling response. Fear, either rational or irrational, is a powerful human emotion. Sadly, some