• Gov. Fallin deserves credit for proposal to increase cigarette tax

    Published: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    As a volunteer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, I applaud Gov. Mary Fallin for taking a step to improve the health of Oklahomans by calling for a $1.50-per-pack increase to the state's cigarette tax. Oklahoma's $1.03 cents-per-pack tax has not been increased in 11 years and ranks far below the national average. This makes it cheaper and easier to smoke in Oklahoma, where 693,300 residents do so. In addition, there are an estimated 38,100 high school-aged smokers in the state. The governor's call to significantly raise the cigarette tax would prevent 32,000 young Oklahomans from ever smoking and help 29,600 current adult smokers quit the deadly habit. Tobacco is the No. 1 cause of preventable death nationwide.

  • Sen. Pittman's bill isn't odd

    Published: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    Regarding “State lawmakers file some odd bills” (Tulsa World, Jan. 31): Sen. Anastasia Pittman's bill to restrict employers from asking about an applicant's criminal history on a job application is far from odd. More than 19 states already have similar laws. Large employers including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Starbucks and Koch Industries have removed the question about criminal history from their initial employment application. Removing questions about conviction history from an application is a simple policy change that eases hiring barriers and creates a fair chance to compete for jobs. This change allows employers to judge applicants on their qualifications first, without the stigma of a record. Pittman's bill and a

  • School vouchers don’t promote equality or higher standards for Oklahoma children

    Published: Mon, Feb 8, 2016

    As Oklahoma is facing one of the biggest budget shortfalls in state history, it's important that public education leaders do the children of Oklahoma justice by standing up for legislation that promotes equality. At the core of public education is a system created to serve every child, no matter race, religion or disability. School vouchers will again be introduced and touted by some lawmakers and their proponents as a way to improve education in Oklahoma. All Oklahoma educators want the best education for our students, but vouchers simply do not promote equality.

  • Donald Trump is not one of us

    Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    “Trump, Clinton lead among Oklahoma voters in new poll” (News, Jan. 31) is surprising and disheartening. For some time, reporting has shown Donald Trump leading nationwide for the Republican nominee. My response is always surprise, but, no way Trump could win in Oklahoma. My belief is that Oklahomans won't be fooled into voting for this charlatan. Trump would be almost the worst possible choice we could make. He is a self- professed crony capitalist — he admits giving many thousands to Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer so they would do things for him. Trump campaigns to make our country great again. What specifically does he mean? Barack Obama campaigned on hope and change; now we know the

  • Proposed cigarette tax increase carries naive assumption

    Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    Naive assumption Regarding a proposed cigarette tax increase for teachers' salaries: Why should only smokers subsidize increases in teachers' salaries? Isn't this a responsibility of all Oklahoma residents? It's naive to assume that smoking will decrease 10 percent with additional $1.50 cigarette taxes. But if this were to happen, is it not silly to increase a big tax that will raise less money than promised because fewer packs of cigarettes will be sold? What is the real reason for House Joint Resolution 1058? Behavior modification? Culture control? To punish lower-income folks? To tell Oklahomans that the government knows better what's good for them? Sometimes jacking up a tax on a select section of the population isn't the

  • Another boondoggle by bunch of white men

    Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    Sandy Ditto (Your Views, Jan. 31) suggested letting Indian tribes foot the bill to finish the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum. The museum is not an Indian tribes project. It was started by the state and belongs to the taxpayers. The state thought it could make money off the Indian museum, but it ended up costing much more money than the state could come up with. The tribes did not start this, and I do not know of any payment they were to receive once the museum is finished. Another boondoggle by a bunch of white men.

  • College education is hardly a waste

    Published: Sun, Feb 7, 2016

    Bill Walker (Your Views, Jan. 29) states that more than half of our tax dollars devoted to higher education are wasted and produce nothing of value, because only 23 percent of students get a degree in four years. It took me 16 years to get my bachelor's degree, and another four for my master's. When I began, I had no idea what I wanted to do, had young children at home, and a firefighter husband who was gone much of the week. In my search for a career, I took the basics, cut up cadavers in pre-nursing classes, studied film and photography at the University of Central Oklahoma, wrote hundreds of poems in creative writing classes, went down into a bat cave in southwestern Oklahoma in Biology 101, learned to paint with oils, and studied

  • Explaining Bernie Sanders' support

    Updated: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    David Deming (Point of View, Jan. 30) claims that the enthusiasm of young people for Bernie Sanders is the result of failing to educate them. There certainly are many failures in our society, and education is indeed one of them. Once truly mainly for entry-level teenagers before many good jobs went overseas, now 88 percent of minimum wage jobs are held by adults, 27 percent of which are parents. To make matters worse, even minimum wage has lost almost one-third of its value at the same time. We now pay more for health care per capita than any nation on earth, while we also have more people in prison per capita than any other country.

  • Sanders' views are on the right track

    Published: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    Views on the right track As an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma College of Arts and Sciences, I was disappointed by professor David Deming's “Youths behind Sanders show education failure” (Point of View, Jan. 30). It misrepresented Sen. Bernie Sanders' views and unfairly attacked American youth who are concerned by income inequality. Sanders is proposing an economic system that retains the free market and property rights while strengthening public social services. This is comparable to countries like Germany and Norway, not Venezuela and North Korea. Furthermore, the Founding Fathers weren't against taxation. They simply wanted representation with taxation.

  • Norman North wrestlers rape case shows callousness

    Published: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    The horror I felt as I read “4 Norman North wrestlers are charged with rape” (News, Feb. 2) overwhelmed me. I cannot imagine how anyone would feel it was OK, or even have this cross their minds, to do this to two young boys. I wonder where the coaches were during this? Why did this seem an option to these four older wrestlers? One reason I see in our society: We're callous from all the crude, unkind things we see and laugh at. When we laugh at things that are truly unacceptable, it is our first step to acceptance. We have done such a disservice to our young people by allowing them to be subjected to such vile things.

  • Solar farm is an exciting development

    Published: Sat, Feb 6, 2016

    I recently had an opportunity to drive past the new OG&E solar farm in Mustang. As a lifelong Oklahoman, I'm excited to see solar energy make its debut. We should all support Oklahoma's homegrown energy sources — wind, solar and natural gas. The more diversity we have in our energy mix, the better off our energy future will be. Thanks to OG&E for its leadership in solar. I hope more Oklahoma utilities will follow suit.

  • Good grief! More immediate problems than taking Andrew Jackson off $20 bill

    Published: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    Regarding “Presidential veto: Lankford wants Jackson off the $20 bill for Indian removal” (News, Jan. 30): It's reassuring that Republican U.S. Sen. James Lankford is expending political capital by tackling the big issue of today of removing Andrew Jackson from the $20 bill, instead of focusing on those annoying minor national and global issues of Obamacare, the economy and jobs, ISIS, Iran, Syria, the Middle East, Russia, China, immigration and our border security, our dwindling military capability, the IRS scandal, increased persecution of Christians and Christian values, and the treatment of our veterans and military retirees by Veterans Affairs and many members of Congress.

  • More pressing concerns for Lankford

    Published: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    Regarding “Presidential veto: Lankford wants Jackson off the $20 bill for Indian removal” (News, Jan. 30): As a conservative, I voted for James Lankford and have supported Tom Cole for years, but I must say this article typifies the problems we have with Washington politicians. It reflects exactly why one such as Donald Trump is getting traction in this political cycle. I don't take exception with the premise of the article. One who knows anything about American history and in particular Oklahoma history knows that President Jackson was no friend of the American Indian. It's no secret Native Americans face crippling poverty, health, teenage suicide and addiction problems that need to be addressed not only by the federal government

  • Time to forgive Andrew Jackson's misjudgment

    Published: Fri, Feb 5, 2016

    Oklahoma's freshman senator, a recognized Christian leader, has introduced legislation in Washington to remove President Andrew Jackson's image from the $20 bill. Revival of hatred created by Jackson's signing of the Indian Removal Act in May 1830 will dredge up the past and propagate discord. It's time for all Christians to admit and forgive Jackson's misjudgment in his attempt to find a remedy for harmonizing the Native American with the newcomers to America. Have we forgotten the Andrew Jackson who won the decisive victory over the British invasion of New Orleans in January 1815? Mistakes and bad judgment are part of American history. We send our legislators to Washington for the purpose of making America great and the

  • Fair fees needed for solar

    Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    I hope the Corporation Commission will show some good sense in adopting a sound policy for rooftop solar. As someone on a fixed income, solar energy should be advanced with everyone paying their fair share. Generous tax subsidies or state policies that shift the costs of rooftop solar from those who can afford it to those who don't have panels are a fundamental issue of fairness. While President Obama may be OK with making others pay for his energy policies, in Oklahoma that's not how we do things.

  • Let free market work for renewables

    Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    I'm in favor of OG&E's rooftop solar plan being considered by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Everyone should have to pay their fair share for access to the grid and electricity when the sun isn't shining. The right way to advance solar power and other renewables is to let them stand on their own in a free-market environment. Subsidizing energy forms at the state level makes no sense. The cost of electricity is already going up, due to the numerous EPA mandates. We don't need to add to that by doing the same thing in Oklahoma.

  • Use zero-based budgeting

    Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    “Schools may get leeway in spending some funds” (News, Jan.28) suggests that if schools find they can get by for less, then they should reallocate the funds. Seems to me if they can get by for less, then the excess should be returned for reallocation. The interesting point is that some are getting more than they need for certain things. This keeps other things from receiving fair allocations. Zero-based budgeting is the answer.

  • New turnpike is a bad idea

    Published: Wed, Feb 3, 2016

    I agree with John Carpenter (Point of View, Jan. 27) regarding the state's “Driving Forward” plan, which promotes building a turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County. I live in western Lincoln County. The Turner Turnpike passes close by our town. It's common knowledge to most Oklahomans that instead of ceasing the usage fees when the debt was paid off those many years ago, the turnpike authority periodically increases the cost of traveling it. This should no longer be a toll road. Since history seems to repeat itself in many instances, that could also happen if a new turnpike is established. Many would be negatively affected.

  • Government solutions are often wrong

    Published: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    Government socialism has always been a loser. In the 1960s, President Kennedy's huge tax cut created an economic boom funding Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. Unintended consequences? Destruction of families, disastrous removal of men from homes, loss of discipline for kids, unruly classrooms and massive crime rates. Hardest hit? Poor and minorities. We were wrong. A recent Oklahoma law targeted sex offenders living in the supervised compound of a ministry-based work-release program that was greatly reducing prison recidivism rates and saving our taxpayers millions of dollars. Unintended consequence? Nearly 100 sex offenders thrown out to live in woods, unsupervised, endangering themselves and the public, then refilling our

  • Alternatives to new Oklahoma County turnpike

    Published: Mon, Feb 1, 2016

    Regarding “Some residents have message about plan: Take a hike, turnpike” (News, Jan. 27): Why not widen State Highway 102 from McLoud to Wellston? Or make U.S. 177 a four-lane from Shawnee to I-44? Just a thought.




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