• OKC police, public stand to gain from use of body cameras

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jan 21, 2015

    Tool is gaining popularity nationwide

  • Low-income adults not served by punishing for-profit colleges

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jan 20, 2015

    Obama administration has targeted these schools

  • The Tax Foundation report puts a dent in 'fair share' argument

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jan 19, 2015

    THE rich get richer because they don’t pay enough federal income taxes. Ergo, the poor stay poor even if they don’t pay any income taxes. This seems to be the belief of Barack Obama and his fellow progressives. Obama used the tale quite successively to fend off a challenge from Mitt Romney in 2012. Romney, of course, was a poster child for the rich-don’t-pay-enough taxes narrative. “Those who have done well, including me,” Obama said, “should pay our fair share in taxes to contribute to the nation that made our success possible.” The rich, he said, “shouldn’t get a better deal” than everyone else. If the wealthy are getting a better deal, the word hasn’t gone out. Perhaps it’s only those

  • Are two years really needed to examine justice issues in Oklahoma?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jan 19, 2015

    Our excitement about Gov. Mary Fallin forming a high-level committee to guide criminal justice reform efforts is tempered by the fact the group will have two years to issue its recommen-dations. A news release from the governor’s office says the committee “is to present its findings to the governor and the legislative leaders by Dec. 31, 2016.” So that’s the drop-dead date, and it’s certainly possible the committee will get to the finish line before then. But does anyone want to take that bet? Fallin is seeking better ways to treat nonviolent offenders with substance abuse problems and mental health issues. Amen! Oklahoma has a large population who struggle with those issues, and they contribute greatly to people

  • File as 'unacceptable' the IRS service forecast for coming months

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Fri, Jan 16, 2015

    Good service isn’t an attribute that citizens generally attribute to government agencies. In all fairness, most government employees do a good job in dealing with customers. But the image of indifference is rampant. It appears the Internal Revenue Service will bolster that image with a plan that basically telegraphs this message: We expect you to be on time in paying taxes and filing returns, but don’t expect us to reciprocate. In the case of audits, that may be welcome news. Otherwise it’s not. The federal Office of the Taxpayer Advocate, in its latest annual report, says the service level for the IRS is bad and getting worse. Good luck trying to call the IRS. Your call has a 50 percent chance of even being answered.

  • More Republican control at the state level nationwide. Now what?

    The Oklahoman editorial | Published: Sun, Jan 18, 2015

    POLITICAL wonks are obsessed by it. Pundits are well aware of its importance, and politicians are tuned in to the trend. But average Americans may not be keenly aware that 2014 brought a “wave election” that has no direct connection to Republicans boosting their numbers in the U.S. House and regaining control of the Senate. Not since the 1920s has the Grand Old Party had such a hold on state governments. Republicans control the governor’s office in 31 states and the legislature in 30. That’s up from 29 governorships and 27 legislatures in 2014. In nearly half the states, Republicans control both the governor’s office and the legislature. Of course that’s old hat in Oklahoma, which has had zero Democrats in

  • Tax burden is heavy for many Oklahomans

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jan 18, 2015

    Good reason why so many families feel they’re overtaxed

  • George F. Will: Romney's third run would be no charm

    By George Will | Published: Sun, Jan 18, 2015

    WASHINGTON — After his third loss, in 1908, as the Democratic presidential nominee, William Jennings Bryan enjoyed telling the story of the drunk who three times tried to enter a private club. After being tossed out into the street a third time, the drunk said: “They can’t fool me. Those fellows don’t want me in there!” Mitt Romney might understandably think that a third try would have a happy ending in a successful presidency. First, however, he must be a candidate. In 1948, when Democrats considered offering their presidential nomination to Dwight Eisenhower, the former and future Democratic speaker of the house, taciturn Sam Rayburn, said of Eisenhower: “Good man, but wrong business.

  • Oklahoma ScissorTales: After 2020, Texas figures to win in congressional reshuffling

    The Oklahoman Editorials | Published: Sat, Jan 17, 2015

    AFTER the 2000 census, Oklahoma suffered the ignominy of being a growing state and yet losing one of its six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. A decade later, the state kept its five seats. What will happen in another five years, following the 2020 census? Election Data Services says nothing will happen. Oklahoma won’t lose a seat but it won’t get its sixth seat back. The consulting firm has projected that the 435 House seats will be reshuffled, as always, and the big winner will again be Texas. Following the 2010 census, the Lone Star State picked up four seats. Election Data Services predicts Texas could gain three more after the next census. Texas has led the nation in population growth while states

  • Oklahoma lawmakers should pay attention to judge's recent ruling in workers' compensation case

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jan 16, 2015

    OKLAHOMA lawmakers who obsess on such silly issues as whether public school teachers can wish someone “Merry Christmas” ought to turn their attention to truly pressing concerns, such as a decision out of Pottawatomie County District Court last week. In that case, a judge ruled that an injured worker can sue his employer for negligence because the injury was “foreseeable.” If it stands, the ruling would turn the state’s workers’ compensation system on its head and harm companies and their employees. A worker at Hibdon Tires Plus sued his employer after injuring his neck and back while trying to remove a bolt from a wheel.

  • Taking a principled stand can bring consequences

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Jan 16, 2015

    U.S. House members’ complaints off-putting

  • Oklahoma execution will be a test of new protocols, competency

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jan 15, 2015

    IS the state of Oklahoma capable of carrying out an execution that goes according to plan — one that’s efficient, effective and humane? We could find out Thursday evening. That’s when Charles Frederick Warner is scheduled to die at the state penitentiary in McAlester. Warner’s would be the first execution carried out since April 29, when Clayton Derrell Lockett died 43 minutes after his execution began. That procedure was a mess: Lockett writhed on the gurney, moaning and clenching his teeth. A state investigation found that an improperly placed IV in Lockett’s groin was the biggest problem. It also determined that the medical personnel on site were ill-prepared and ill-equipped, and that there were no contingencies

  • Oklahoma House member takes misuse of media office to a new low

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Jan 15, 2015

    A state lawmaker and an Islamic advocacy group engaged in a war of words last year following news that ISIS was on the march in Iraq. In their latest dustup, state Rep. John Bennett and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are again battling over words — specifically words in Islam’s holy book. And it all relates to the words and images in a Paris satirical newspaper. Last fall, we criticized both Bennett and CAIR, the former for painting Islam with an overly broad brush and the latter for being slower to criticize ISIS atrocities than it was to blast Bennett for his remarks. This time, there’s no equivalency: Reaction by Bennett to the terrorist outbreak in France last week, and CAIR’S reactions to

  • Politics creates many budget challenges for Oklahoma lawmakers

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jan 14, 2015

    THE amount of money available for lawmakers to spend this year is technically around $300 million less than they spent last year. Simultaneously, some officials suggest that having budget-only legislative sessions every two years would improve the system. That’s an idea worth debating, but no one should get their hopes up. Factors that contributed to this year’s “shortfall” were partly the result of political pressure that would remain intact in any new budget system. First, much state spending has been put on autopilot. The budget crafted by lawmakers represents less than half of state spending. This has previously created “shortfalls” for legislators even when state revenue collections increased.

  • U.S. Rep. Martha McSally's surprising stand on a divisive issue

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Wed, Jan 14, 2015

    Former Air Force colonel wants to keep current military system for sexual assault cases

  • What will doubling the size of an Oklahoma education rally accomplish?

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jan 13, 2015

    THE head of the Oklahoma Parent-Teacher Association is hoping that an education rally at the Capitol this year is twice as large as one held last year. That event drew about 25,000 parents, teachers and others — and accomplished virtually nothing. How will doubling the crowd change the result? It almost certainly won’t. Lawmakers and the governor are well aware of statistics showing that Oklahoma’s per-pupil funding lags most other states. They’re also aware that funding for kindergarten through 12th grade already comprises about 35 percent of the state budget. Last year’s rally produced a suggestion from one lawmaker that some of the money now going toward road and bridge repairs be dedicated instead to education.

  • Pie-in-the-sky theories don't negate energy market realities

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Tue, Jan 13, 2015

    ONE of the ironies of the modern environmental movement is that its efforts could restrain natural gas supplies even as its other initiatives increase demand for the product. Consider the state of New York, where officials recently banned fracking amid much fanfare. Writing for Forbes, Jim Conca noted that “banning fracking for gas, and banning new pipeline construction to transport it, means more dirty energy from coal and oil during the winter months when gas supplies are insufficient to most of New York and New England.” This is important because New York’s fracking ban is being implemented even as the federal Environmental Protection Agency prepares to unveil its “Clean Power Plan.

  • Lawmaker right to continue push for corrections reform in Oklahoma

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Jan 12, 2015

    WHEN his modest corrections reform bill went to the Oklahoma House floor in March 2014, Rep. Bobby Cleveland felt good about its chances. “I had the votes,” Cleveland says. But then a colleague argued that it would mean early release for some hardened criminals, and called it “soft on crime.” The measure was voted down, overwhelmingly. Cleveland, R-Slaughterville, is undeterred. Fortunately, he plans to continue his call for a new way of doing business instead of continuing a decades-long pattern that’s pushed Oklahoma’s prison population past 28,000 while not producing a significant downturn in the state’s violent crime rate. Pushback is inevitable. Although Gov.

  • Oklahoma campaign reporting requirements should be enforced

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jan 11, 2015

    According to Oklahoma Watch, the Oklahoma Ethics Commission doesn’t plan to collect more than $200,000 in unpaid fees from candidates and political organizations that were either late in filing (or did not file) required statements of income and spending. This is understandable in some cases, but concerning nonetheless. Many nonfilers are fringe candidates who lost an election and are difficult to locate. Given the Ethics Commission’s limited resources, it’s understandable that collecting those fees isn’t a high priority. More worrisome is the fact that some independent expenditure groups have apparently been given a free pass as well.

  • Work begins on California bullet train. Lucky us.

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Jan 11, 2015

    California’s bullet train is finally off the drawing board. Lucky us. We say that because the federal government has put $3.3 billion of taxpayer money into the project, which has been dogged by delays, lawsuits and complaints from residents. Californians approved $10 billion in bonds for the project in 2008. Only last week did groundbreaking occur on the first segment. Eventually the train is to run from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The bullet train originally had a price tag of $33 billion. Surprise! That’s ballooned to close to $100 billion. Due to track reconfigurations, the amount of time it’ll take to go from one end to the other has increased to about 4 hours, instead of the original 2 hours, 40 minutes.