• Group works through faith community to help Oklahoma's foster care children

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Mon, Nov 17, 2014

    THE late Nelson Mandela once said, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.” These words strike a chord with Benjamin Nockels. “It’s safe to say in many ways, our society is quite sick,” says Nockels. His organization, the 111Project, tries to provide a little healing. The 111Project — one church, one family, one purpose — works with the faith community to increase the number of foster families in Oklahoma. The 111Project has made a difference, but the need remains great. Since its launch in April 2011, the 111Project has been credited by the Department of Human Services with recruiting about 850 foster and adoptive families. That’s

  • OU, state, have benefited from David Boren's vision, leadership

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Sun, Nov 16, 2014

    Monday marks 20 years that Boren has served as university president

  • The president's misplaced priorities, outdated solutions

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Updated: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    Trying to solve a nonproblem

  • ScissorTales: Politics still about the art of persuasion

    The Oklahoman editorials | Published: Sat, Nov 15, 2014

    DEMOCRATS who argue that demography is political destiny often cite the estimate that whites will comprise just 47 percent of the U.S. population by 2050. Whites are currently more likely to vote Republican, while minority groups are more likely to vote Democratic. If voting habits stay unchanged, this means Democrats will easily win future U.S. elections. There’s just one problem with that projection: Voting habits change over time. The distance between today and 2050 is the same as the distance between 2014 and 1978. Oklahoma’s demographics have shifted since that time, but not dramatically and the state is certainly not getting whiter. Yet voting behavior in Oklahoma has done a 180-degree turn since 1978.

  • Far more often than not, officer-involved shootings in Oklahoma are justified

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Fri, Nov 14, 2014

    JEREMY Sherbon was looking for trouble. Or perhaps he was drunk, or high, or suffered from mental illness. But when an Oklahoma City police officer responding to a robbery call tried to detain him early Saturday, an altercation began that ended with Sherbon lying in a convenience store parking lot, shot dead by another officer. Sherbon became the 22nd person in Oklahoma killed by police gunfire this year, and the seventh in Oklahoma City. The city had six officer-involved fatality shootings in 2013; it’s been a decade since as many as seven occurred in one year in Oklahoma City. The number of police-involved shooting deaths has been climbing in recent years. The Tulsa World reports that since 2009, 109 people in Oklahoma

  • No good reasons to maintain U.S. ban on crude oil exports

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 13, 2014

    THOSE octane numbers on gasoline pumps relate to chemical composition. The higher the number, the higher the price. Motorists know that not all gasoline is the same, but the assumption is that the stuff from which gas is made is the same. But crude varies considerably in its makeup; price differentials are seen in crude as well as in gasoline. In general, U.S. refineries are set up to process the so-called heavy, sour crudes. Thus, the lighter and sweeter crude being produced as part of the shale revolution is available for other markets. But it can’t reach those markets if Washington continues a longstanding ban on crude oil exports. The United States is poised to surpass Saudia Arabia as the leading producer of oil

  • For some, a glimmer of good news from Oklahoma's low voter turnout

    The Oklahoman Editorial | Published: Thu, Nov 13, 2014

    LOW turnout in the Nov. 4 Oklahoma elections led to laments about voter apathy. For some political operatives, however, the anemic participation rate offered a glimmer of good news. Only about 41 percent of registered voters turned out in Oklahoma, which is less than normal for a nonpresidential election in which an incumbent governor is on the ballot. The 2014 turnout produced the fewest votes cast in a gubernatorial election since 1978. Votes cast for governor are linked to requirements for getting initiative petitions and third-party presidential nominees on the Oklahoma ballot. The lower the turnout, the lower the burden for future ballot access.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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