• New OKC schools superintendent needs to recognize and solve problems

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Regarding “Schools chief challenges ‘atmosphere of fear’” (News, Dec. 9): I very carefully read every word of the speech given by new Oklahoma Public Schools Superintendent Rob Neu. I found references to the problems, but we already knew the problems. We’re not paying Neu to recognize problems and to have good intentions. The nine previous superintendents in the last 14 years had good intentions. We’re paying him to do two things: recognize the causes of the problems and solve the problems. Nowhere in his address did I find a specific solution to a problem. We don’t need studies and we don’t need new solutions. We already know what produces well-educated graduates who move seamlessly into the workplace or into

  • Oklahoma has a devastatingly poor record involving women and families

    Published: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Regarding “Abortion doctor’s case shows need for oversight” (Our Views, Dec. 14): Abortion care is incredibly safe, common, and highly regulated — often provided by compassionate medical professionals under relentless legislative attack. But if a physician, whether providing abortions or another medical service, is found to have violated medical ethics, committed a crime and violated patients’ trust, he should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Imposing harsh and targeted restrictions on women’s access to abortion does absolutely nothing to solve the real problems of people in this state. The reality is, Oklahoma has a devastatingly poor record where women and families are concerned.

  • Additional regulation of abortion clinics is not needed

    Updated: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Regarding “Abortion doctor’s case shows need for oversight” (Our Views, Dec. 14): The most recent legislative onslaught on abortion included a transparent attempt to close the few clinics still open with a law requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinics. How would that legislation have stopped the alleged fraud mentioned in the editorial? Criminal laws already cover fraud. Abortion clinics are the most heavily scrutinized medical facilities in the state. They have thick manuals with dozens of religiously motivated, state-imposed regulations deliberately designed to interfere with good medical practice. The most egregious law would have required a sonogram even against

  • Oklahoma needs fewer carve-outs and special preferences

    Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Regarding “Gross production issue should stay settled” (Our Views, Dec. 9): As chairman of the state Senate Finance Committee, I’ll continue to work on examining tax credit programs that are obsolete, ineffective and too expensive. But I have no plans to revisit the oil and gas incentive package approved in 2014. Almost every legislator, including me, believes that incentive programs for Oklahoma drillers provide exceptional net economic benefits to the state in terms of jobs, wages and tax revenue. But something is amiss when over five years the cost of the incentives triples from $50 million to $420 million while the actual tax collections plummet from over $1 billion to $800 million. The editorial rightly stated that tax

  • Three suggestions for our federal government

    Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    Many Americans have lost confidence in the federal government. Dramatic changes need to be made. Here are three suggestions: The current tax system is too complicated and onerous. Repeal the federal income tax and tax withholding system and eliminate the Internal Revenue Service. Replace the income tax and withholding with a single rate personal consumption tax. To gain transparency and understanding, require that any bill submitted to Congress not be longer than five pages or 1,500 words. This would make bills more understandable; any provisions that couldn’t be included in the five or fewer pages would require being submitted as a separate bill. Limit the dollar amount that candidates can spend for mass media

  • We have fundamental right to record public actions by police

    Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    One difference between the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown is that with Garner there was video. This is kind of amazing — and not because people don’t film police interactions but because the NYPD didn’t seize the footage and erase the video, “accidentally” or not. This is quite common, especially with the NYPD. But it’s not just a problem with that police force, but throughout the country. There is a war on the First Amendment by certain police officials. Citizens have a fundamental right to record public actions by police, but I’ve watched numerous videos where an officer wrongly states there is no right to record and that if a citizen doesn't stop recording, he will go to jail.

  • Defending those who defend us

    Updated: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Thanks, officers! I want to express my gratitude to the police officers who protect and serve us every day. In light of recent publicity, I must do my part in defending those who defend us. My mother taught me to never take my hands off the steering wheel until an officer tells me to do so. She also made me have respect for all authority, no matter whether I agreed with them or not, or liked them or not. To our law enforcement officers across America, I apologize on behalf of a society that doesn’t realize what all you do for us. Without you, this nation would be more chaotic than it already is. I’m ashamed of how law enforcement officers are portrayed in the media and viewed by many as the bad guys and yet they are the

  • Kudos to school board for taking action to protect American Indian students

    Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Regarding “School board votes to remove Capitol Hill’s Redskins nickname” (News, Dec. 9): A poster in my office area features sports pennants with names such as “Washington Redskins.” The other teams featured are the “New York Fighting Jews,” the “San Antonio Latinos,” the “Chicago Blacks” and the “San Francisco Orientals.” The Redskins may be the only one of these teams that really exists, but is it any less offensive than the others? The term “redskin” has despicable origins in the days of Indian bounty hunting in the 1600s and 1700s. Bounties under a dollar were paid for Indian children, women and men, dead or alive. For ease of commerce, few live Indians were delivered to the marketplace; the trade

  • Eliminate tax on labor

    Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    Those of us who worked on State Question 640 looked forward to a time when we’d not be taxed on labor. Republicans promised us smaller state government and the elimination of the personal income tax. They have had years to accomplish this, but things seem to stay the same. Taxpayers migrate to states where labor isn’t taxed. We don’t need job incentives; we need to eliminate the income tax. Other states have proven that no income tax is the greatest incentive available. Campaign donations come from people who rely on tax credits and other incentives that legislators favor. The taxing of personal income takes money from families so legislators can grow the size of government.

  • It's heart-warming to see families adopt homeless cats or dogs

    Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    As a volunteer at the Oklahoma City Animal Shelter, it’s been heart-warming to see the number of families who have come to the shelter to adopt a homeless cat or dog during this holiday season. Donations of pet toys, canned and dry pet food, and blankets and bedding have increased as well. As the shelter strives to become a “no kill” facility in which every adoptable pet goes into the adoption program, the hope is that citizens will continue to come to the shelter when they want to add a new pet to their family.

  • We must avoid the road to anarchy

    Published: Fri, Dec 19, 2014

    On the wrong road Regarding George Wills’ “A practice that is now a plague” (Commentary, Dec. 11): I take exception to the conclusion that the death of Eric Garner was a result of selling illegal cigarettes. His death and the deaths of many recent high-profile individuals at the hands of police officers have not been the result of the crime they committed, or might have been suspected of committing, but for resisting arrest and/or being noncompliant with the police officers instructions. If we get to the point in this country where we minimize resisting arrest and noncompliance with an officer’s instructions, then we are on the road to anarchy. Individuals in this country have an obligation to comply with police

  • Nation is losing services of modern-day Cicero

    Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    This nation will soon lose the gallant and thoughtful services of U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn. He will be remembered as a statesman who was always interested in the next generation and one who vainly tried to uphold the republican principles of good government that help guard against the excesses or tyranny of factions. Coburn continuously ferreted out those proposals and conditions that didn’t promote the general welfare of the entire country. He understood and practiced the once powerful idea that republican principles are not the force of government used to conform all its citizens into one common mold with the same opinions and interests. Coburn is a modern-day Cicero, virtuous and direct, but ultimately overwhelmed by self-serving

  • Oklahoma City police officers deserve our thanks

    Published: Wed, Dec 17, 2014

    With all the attention given recently on the bad things police officers do, perhaps it’s time for a different perspective. Two of my sons are Oklahoma City police officers. Most of what they do at work is focused on helping people and serving the community. Officers maintain the laws and civil order. They change flat tires, do welfare checks, deal with domestic disputes and check on homes and businesses with burglar alarms going off. They deal with drug addicts, child abusers, alcoholics, prostitutes and sexual predators. Officers ticket people going 50 miles per hour through a school zone. They stop and shoot baskets with teenage boys who need a good role model. They take shoplifters to jail and look for lost senior adults,

  • 'Stupid voters' know what's best for us

    Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Jonathan Gruber, an architect of Obamacare, called American voters “stupid.” Gruber was just verbalizing what Barack Obama and his other advisers have thought from the inception of this administration. They’ve always thought that they were intellectually superior to the voters. They, not “we stupid voters,” know what’s best for us.

  • 'Redskin' nickname is offensive, degrading

    Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Regarding “Some Capitol Hill students, alumni express hurt, anger after mascot ban” (News, Dec. 10): My mother and both of her parents were American Indians. They did not have red skin. I’m part Indian (Citizen Potawatomi). I don’t have red skin. In my 81 years, I’ve never seen or heard of a single person of any race who had red skin. The word “redskin” is a racial slur, originally used to insult and degrade native people, even as they were being slaughtered and herded like cattle from their homelands into government reservations, which were nothing more than prison camps. Out of respect to Native Americans, “redskin” needs to stop being used.

  • Capitol Hill Numb Skulls?

    Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Regarding “Some Capitol Hill students, alumni express hurt, anger after mascot ban” (News, Dec. 10): Capitol Hill High School should be renamed Capitol Hill Numb Skulls in honor of a school board that voted to remove the Redskins name. I’m Irish.

  • Borrowing is not always bad

    Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Regarding “For liberals, ‘sustainability’ a hot topic — in some cases” (Our Views, Nov. 30): When the federal deficit or debt is debated, conservatives generally suggest that it’s always a bad thing under all conditions. This is wrong. Businesses borrow all the time, because they’ll make even more than they borrow in the long run. Of course we can’t go the way of Greece or Spain, by borrowing to pay routine operating expenses. This can work in the short run, such as time of war, but it can’t be sustained forever. On the other hand, borrowing to invest in the country, such as for roads or education, provides a definite advantage to the country. The money spent will be returned many times over. The important

  • Why did Sen. Feinstein have torture broadcast?

    Published: Mon, Dec 15, 2014

    Why oh why? Why did we need to air the national dirty laundry by having a U.S. Senate speech on torture broadcast worldwide? I’m sure that Dianne Feinstein must have some compelling reasons that she felt made this event necessary. Will she be able to convey those reasons in a comforting manner to the next of kin of the people who are murdered as a result of her actions? Perhaps the survivors and relatives will fully understand how logical her actions were. Somehow, the logic of restating unpleasant known facts escapes me.

  • Gruber's testimony a waste of time

    Published: Sun, Dec 14, 2014

    Jonathan Gruber must think we’re are still stupid if he thinks we believe his testimony before the a U.S. House committee. He could have saved a lot of time by simply taking the Fifth instead of giving all his nonanswers to most of the questions.

  • Consolidation would create more money for teacher salaries

    Published: Sun, Dec 14, 2014

    Once again I’m hearing the call for teacher pay raises. I support raises for teachers, but there’s already more than enough money to increase pay without additional money being earmarked for education. Public education already gets approximately 50 percent of the state budget. So how do teachers get raises without appropriating more money? The answer is to create efficiencies within the public school system and direct the savings to the classroom, including raises for teachers. This can be done by consolidating the more than 500 school districts into a reasonable number, such as 100. We have superintendents in districts with 16 teachers and 246 students making more than $140,000 per year.