Two dead but famous Oklahomans are headed home, one literally and the other artistically. The body of athlete Jim Thorpe will be moved from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma if a son prevails in a legal challenge to the removal. In Tulsa, a daughter of Woody Guthrie is among those on hand for this weekend's opening of a center that will house Guthrie's archives. Thorpe and Guthrie were born in Oklahoma but achieved their fame after leaving the state. Unlike Thorpe, Guthrie was underappreciated in his home state because of his political leanings. This has changed. Thorpe has always been an exemplar of athletic prowess, but his widow nixed plans for his burial here in 1953. Sixty years later, he's coming “home” unless the legal challenge stops it. Thorpe should rest on Indian lands. Guthrie fans should plan a visit to the center in downtown Tulsa.
All worked up about ALEC
A two-day conference in Oklahoma City by the American Legislative Exchange Council has local Democrats lathered up. To show their disgust, they're planning a protest downtown beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, the first day of the ALEC conference. Scheduled speakers include state Reps. Richard Morrissette and Anastasia Pittman, and state Sen. Connie Johnson, liberal stalwarts from Oklahoma City. Attendees are being encouraged to “stop the corporate takeover of our state capitols.” Organizers have labeled this event a “Working Family Rally and March for the Middle Class.” It'll be interesting to see the turnout, given the way Oklahoma's working families and middle class voters marched to the polls in November and solidly rejected the Democratic Party.
An ugly snapshot
The recent death of a 7-month-old boy in Del City has a storyline that, sadly, is all too familiar in Oklahoma. The boy had been badly beaten, with bruising to his abdominal area. X-rays showed separation to the bowel in the abdominal cavity. Paramedics said when they arrived to transport him to the hospital, the infant's limbs had turned blue and he couldn't lift his head. Now facing a homicide complaint is the boy's mother, who is 14 years old. The girl told police she lost her temper and threw the baby into his crib. The father? He's 15. Oklahoma's high rates of teen pregnancies and unwed mothers contribute to any number of other social ills. This is an example of that to the nth degree.
President Obama promised that under the Affordable Care Act, “If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.” But that promise isn't true even for government workers. Washington state officials are considering a proposal to shift state workers out of their current health plans and into those offered through Obamacare exchanges. Because pay for many of those employees is low enough to qualify for federal subsidies, the shift would “save” Washington state government $120 million over two years, shifting costs to federal taxpayers instead. Other states are expected to do the same. The plans offered through exchanges are expected to have more limited provider networks than traditional insurance, so this is hardly a boon to state workers. It's just one more instance where Obamacare is exacerbating problems in health insurance instead of solving them, and shifting costs instead of lowering them.