Columns/Opinions

Wed
22
May

It Is The Most Dangerous Time For Women’s Rights in Decades

We’re living in the most perilous time for abortion rights and reproductive freedom since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

While some erosion of abortion rights has occurred over the decades — parental consent laws, waiting periods, procedure curtailment — the fundamental right has largely been by ruled by the courts, and viewed by the public, as guaranteed under Roe. Around 60 percent of Americans support a legal right to the procedure.

 

 

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Wed
22
May

Only Christian Gospel Can Heal America’s Divide

The 2020 Democrat race for the presidential nomination has drawn 23 candidates. Former Vice President Joe Biden, seven US current Senators, six current and former members of the House of Representatives, four mayors, three governors, one businessman, and one self-help author are in the race. In recent polling, Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders are tied in Iowa- the first state to kick off presidential primaries. Of the 615 likely caucus-goers in Iowa, Sanders and Biden had 24%, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 14%, Senator Elizabeth Warren at 12%, Senator Kamala Harris at 10% and Beto O’Rouke at 5%. Second choices are very important in Iowa because a candidate must get 15% to get delegates to the national convention. Warren is the second choice of 19% of those polled followed by Biden, Harris and Sanders. A third of Warren’s second choice supporters list Sanders as their first choice. In the Real Clear Politics average national poll, Biden leads Sanders 39% to 16%.

Wed
15
May

Working To Overcome The Impacts of Storm Damage

Instead of being at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, I was in our House District trying to help residents with their needs after severe storms left far-reaching damage.

The levee broke and flooded the town of Sayre, leaving the community center and other buildings and properties under water.

Also, a large tornado ripped through Kiowa and Washita counties about midnight Wednesday morning causing a lot of damage between Hobart, Rocky and Cordell. The National Weather Service in Norman estimates the storm ripped through about 20 miles of pasture land and damaged homes, barns and other structures as well as power lines.

Other areas of Beckham, Greer and Roger Mills counties suffered damage from strong straightline winds, large hail and flooding from heavy rainfall.

 

Wed
15
May

It’s Time To Roll Back Outdated Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards

The Trump administration is trying to strike a blow for rational and honest government, so you know it’s getting a lot of pushback.

President Trump wants to roll back unattainable Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards imposed by President Obama, and it wants those revised fuel efficiency ratings to apply nationwide, including California. But the Golden State and environmentalists are rejecting the change. They prefer to live the “impossible dream.”

The original CAFE standards, which regulate car and light truck fuel economy, were passed by Congress in 1975, following the Arab oil embargo. The embargo exposed the vulnerability of a United States too dependent on other countries for oil.

Congress’s goal was to push carmakers toward more fuel-efficient cars so the U.S. would be less dependent on countries that might use crude oil as a political hammer. But like so many worthy policy goals, politics soon began to drive the agenda.

 

Wed
08
May
Edgar's picture

Capital Punishment Isn’t Unconstitutional, But We Should End The Practice Anyway

On April 1, The Supreme Court of the United States ruled against death row inmate Russell Bucklew’s appeal of his execution method. Nixing his claim that a rare medical condition would make the execution unconstitutionally “cruel and unusual” by virtue of being excruciatingly painful the Court (in an opinion written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch) held that the Eighth Amendment “does not guarantee a prisoner a painless death.”

SCOTUS has been the most prominent venue for opposition to the death penalty, but also the least effectual. Intermittent victories on procedural details produce false hopes that the Court will eventually find the death penalty as such an unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment. Then events like the retirement of Associate Justice Anthony “Swing Vote” Kennedy dash, or at least delay, those hopes.

 

Wed
08
May
Edgar's picture

A Border Crisis Of Our Own Making

For more than 30 years, I’ve led faith-focused delegations to Central America — and since 2016, to U.S.-Mexico border communities. We’ve taken nuns, bishops, rabbis, and grassroots congregants to learn about realities rarely covered in the news.

This April our delegation visited El Paso, Brownsville, and McAllen, Texas, as well as Juarez and Matamoras, Mexico. We talked to U.S. border patrol agents, religious and NGO workers on the ground, and migrants who recently crossed over, including those caged under the bridge in El Paso.

The migrants’ stories, gaunt faces, and vulnerability continue to haunt me. Nearly all the children were sick, and some were so malnourished their hair was whitening.

 

Wed
01
May
Edgar's picture

Treatment Courts Save Lives, Families And Money

A courtroom is not a place where you expect to find scenes of celebration and tears of joy. Unless, of course, it’s drug court. This May, drug courts throughout Oklahoma will join more than 3,000 such programs nationwide in celebrating National Drug Court Month. This year alone, more than 150,000 individuals nationwide who entered the justice system due to addiction will receive lifesaving treatment and the chance to repair their lives, reconnect with their families and find long-term recovery. National Drug Court Month is a celebration of the lives restored by drug court, and it sends the powerful message that these programs must be expanded to reach more people in need.

Wed
01
May
Edgar's picture

Freedom of Information Law Is Everyone’s Business

To sit in the courtroom of the Supreme Court of the United States and watch the nine justices in action is one thing. To sit in the courtroom and watch the justices in action when the issue is about freedom of information and the public’s right to know in America is a privilege.

So it was on April 22 that I witnessed the Supreme Court hear oral arguments in the case of Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media. This case is about grocers and the federal government wanting to block the public release of information about government payments to businesses participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, commonly known as the food stamps program).

Wed
24
Apr
Edgar's picture

Aggregate Severance Tax Benefits Rural Oklahoma

Despite heavy lobbying by Johnston County officials and citizens on behalf of rural Oklahoma, State House Bill 1404 was pulled from the schedule to be heard by the Oklahoma State Senate Finance Committee, chaired by Senator Stephannie Bice, (R-Oklahoma City). Earlier in the session, the Senate version of this bill, Senate Bill 440 sponsored by Senator Frank Simpson was also killed by Bice without a hearing.

Former president of the Oklahoma County Commissioners and presently a commissioner in Johnston County stated, “The state Chamber committed significant resources to defeat HB 1404. Yet rural Oklahoma continues to travel to Oklahoma City and Tulsa to support urban businesses. At some point the State Chamber must understand that rural Oklahoma has economic needs too. We don’t have one mile of four lane highway in Johnston County but the urban areas have miles of four and six lane roads. What’s fair about that?”

Wed
17
Apr
Edgar's picture

Good News For Tax Day

Tax Day is a significant day for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Since January, I’ve been able to hear from Oklahomans about how the tax changes affected their families and small businesses, but soon we’ll see the final numbers.

Some national media have done all they can to find problems, and since no one likes paying taxes, it’s not hard to find negative stories. But there are some undeniable facts. Wages are up, unemployment is down and business investment is up. The economy has added over 3 million jobs since the tax cuts passed. Wages and take-home pay also increased by over 3 percent.

 

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