Members of the Oklahoma City Council used part of Tuesday's meeting debating whether to change an ordinance aimed at ticket scalpers. The current ordinance prohibits sellers from bumping the price of a ticket by more than 50 cents over face value. On the table is a proposal that would increase that to $20 above face value, keep scalpers at least 500 feet from event venues, and recognize ticket exchange programs run by teams or venues. But why wade into this issue at all? If a person wants to pay more for a ticket than the ticket is worth, so what? The council ought to spend its time on more pressing matters.
Oklahoma has a major problem with prescription drug abuse. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that our state has the highest rate of nonmedical use for painkillers. Such findings give credence to efforts like those by state Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore, who wants to require physicians to check the prescription history of new patients. Ownbey's House Bill 2574, approved this week by the House, would make doctors check the state narcotics bureau's online prescription monitoring program before prescribing a controlled dangerous substance to a new patient. Doctors also would have to do a similar check each year on all their patients. Two legislators who are physicians took opposite stances on the bill. One said it would be a burden, the other supported the plan. If it puts a dent in the doctor shopping that is so common in Oklahoma now, it will be worthwhile.
Oklahoma City's renaissance is gaining national attention. Along with Indianapolis and Tampa, we're featured as a U.S. city “joining the big leagues” in the latest issue of World magazine. Economic and quality-of-life factors contribute to this designation. Our state capital boasts a high level of entrepreneurial activity combined with low unemployment and a low cost of living. And let's not forget our exciting young NBA team, the Thunder. The article, contributed by Brandon Dutcher of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, contrasts the city's previous perception with its growing energy. “Not long ago Oklahoma City was just another small city in flyover country, perhaps best known as the site of the deadliest pre-9/11 terrorist attack in U.S. history, the 1995 bombing of a federal building,” Dutcher wrote. Out-of-state scouts are taking notice of our potential. Oklahoma City, says Atlantic senior editor Derek Thompson, “could represent the future of America.”
Philip K. Howard is taking his call for smarter, more responsible government to The Atlantic magazine. On the magazine's website, theatlantic.com, can be found “America the Fixable,” a link that features essays by Howard — author of “The Death of Common Sense” — and others that reveal just how nonsensical our government can be. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, R-Tenn., wrote about the government's mohair subsidy, which began shortly after World War II over concerns about the future availability of wool for military uniforms. “Today, more than half a century later — when military uniforms are largely composed of synthetic material — the program still benefits goat herders in Texas, now under the friendly jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee,” Cooper said. It helps explain, he says, why “there are dozens, sometimes hundreds of overlapping and duplicative programs for favored constituencies, as opposed to one or two programs that really deliver.” This essay and others on the site are well worth the time.