McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK


February 5, 2013

Roundup, Oklahoma editorials


Here are excerpts from recent editorials in Oklahoma newspapers:

Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Feb. 3, 2013

State lottery money as 'extra' school funding

State Superintendent Janet Barresi boldly called upon the Oklahoma Legislature last week to stop using the state's lottery proceeds to fund state aid to schools, but rather to replace that state aid with another funding mechanism and devote the lottery money exclusively for technology needs.

Barresi quite rightly points out that when the lottery was being promoted to Oklahoma voters, the intent was not to supplant or replace existing state aid, which the Legislature was already appropriating, but rather to provide additional or "extra" funding to local districts.

Where some educators may differ with Ms. Barresi's specific proposal, however, is that not every district has the same needs for technology. While her proposal is well intentioned — yes, many Oklahoma school districts could benefit mightily from technology upgrades — local districts know their own needs best and should be allowed to use any proposed "extra" or additional funding however they deem necessary.

Currently, approximately $30 million to $34 million from the Oklahoma Lottery is used as a source of state aid payments to public school districts. As long as optimal levels of state aid remained in place, districts everywhere would welcome an infusion of additional money to spend, be it on technology or other needs.

That decision should be left to local administrators and boards of education. Local authorities are in the best position to determine what their most pressing needs are, whether it be more technology, new curriculum, more training, more teachers, more aides, or even more campus security.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Before any of these proposals could take place, the legislature will need to budget and appropriate enough school aid funding to fully replace the lottery money before it could be considered "extra." Most recently, a majority of Oklahoma legislators have shown that they are not in any kind of mood to appropriate "extra" money for anything.

But if there were to be "extra" funding available, surely increasing state aid to public education ought to be at the top of the list.


The Oklahoman, Feb. 1, 2013

Obamacare diverts Oklahoma government funds

Obamacare is already harming state finances. Thanks to its individual mandate, Gov. Mary Fallin expects an additional $40 million will be needed to cover "woodwork" Medicaid enrollees who are currently eligible for the program but don't use it.

Under Obamacare, those individuals face a tax of as much as $2,085 per family if they don't have the government-sanctioned level of coverage. At the same time, Obamacare is causing the price of individual policies to skyrocket in the private market. Research conducted by Merrill Matthews, resident scholar with the Institute for Policy Innovation, and Mark E. Litow, past chairman of the Social Insurance Public Finance Section of the Society of Actuaries, shows Oklahoma premiums in the individual market could increase between 65 percent and 100 percent due to Obamacare's mandates.

Ironically, many citizens who will be forced onto Medicaid don't feel they need it and/or don't believe other taxpayers should be forced to foot the bill. Ian Gliori and his wife, Phyllis, offer an example. The couple, who run a small restaurant, would have qualified for Medicaid coverage under Obamacare's expansion of that program (rejected by Oklahoma), but say they don't want it.

"I just don't want government in my life," Ian Gliori told Oklahoma Watch. "I don't want their help."

The extra $40 million for Medicaid will divert at least $400 million over the next decade from schools, roads, and public safety — not including health care inflation. Based on Oklahoma's average teacher salary, the amount would cover the cost of more than 900 teachers' jobs every year.

That's a high price to pay just to force people like the Glioris to either spend money they don't have on increasingly expensive coverage they can't afford or shift the burden to other taxpayers by signing up for a Medicaid program whose services they don't need.


Muskogee Phoenix, Jan 29, 2013

Women in combat a reality

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, recently signed an order wiping away generations of limits on women fighting for their country.

Women in the military will soon have the same opportunities as men to take on grueling and dangerous combat jobs.

Women on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan have been fighting and dying in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade. Of the more than 6,600 U.S. service members who have been killed in those conflicts, 152 have been women.

Modern warfare doesn't consist of a classic military front moving forward across miles of ground. Lines constantly shift and the front is wherever the next roadside bomb or terror attack hits.

Leaders say no physical standards will be lowered to send more women closer to the battlefront.

Good. But women, already dying in war, deserve the chance to fight in front-line units if they are moved to do so.

More than 230,000 jobs, many in Army and Marine infantry units, could be opened to women.

The right to serve in combat will open up advancement opportunities currently limited for women.

In addition to questions of strength and performance, there also have been suggestions that the American public would not tolerate large numbers of women being killed in war.

We don't like it when our soldiers die in war. But serving in combat sometimes requires service members lay down their lives.

But are our son's lives worth any less, or more, than our daughters?


Tulsa World, Feb. 2, 2013

Bill would require notification of mass violence planning

State Sen. Brian Crain wants to pass a law making it a crime to fail to report to authorities any potential "crime of mass violence" that comes to a person's attention.

Senate Bill 995 could provide severe penalties against those who know or suspect such a crime is being planned but don't report it.

"We want people to know, don't even begin to plan something like that," the Tulsa Republican said. "And if you know someone is planning something, you have a duty to report it."

Existing laws already make it a felony to plan acts of violence or harm, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Crain's bill would increase the sentence to 10 years to life and expand it to include people who don't report planned mass violence. People with advance knowledge of an unsuccessful act could be charged with a misdemeanor.

Crain's legislative response to such tragic incidents is understandable. We do need more effective means of getting such information to the proper authorities as soon as possible, and research shows these mass killers typically do communicate their intentions, sometimes in more than one way. School reports and projects, the social media, verbal communications and other methods all have been shown to be ways that these individuals telegraph their intentions.

But are we ready to criminalize someone's reluctance to speak up?

Crain reasons that since it is a crime to fail to report suspected child abuse, the same rationale can apply to the failure to report a suspected massacre.

Surely there are other measures to consider that could be just as effective as making failure to notify a crime, maybe even moreso. Some experts suggest instituting notification systems that protect the confidentiality of the person making the report. Also recommended is training for faculty and staff in spotting danger and assessing potential risks. Even students could be given some training in what to take seriously.

It may someday come to the kind of measure Crain is proposing. But a thorough review of the other options that could encourage early notification of such activities wouldn't be a bad idea.


Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Saundra Kaye Offill

    Saundra Kaye Offill, 67, lost her 7 year battle with Alzhiemer’s on Thursday, July 10, 2014. She was born in McAlester, Oklahoma on March 11, 1947, to Louis and the late Melba Vanlandingham.

    July 16, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg ‘Is anything sacred anymore?’

    What do we know about the “The Star Spangled Banner” ?

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Square logo.jpg Any hope in new MPD facility?

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ent_taylorswift.jpg There's less good music now — here's why

    Taylor Swift, the seven-time Grammy winner, is known for her articulate lyrics, so there was nothing surprising about her writing a long column for The Wall Street Journal about the future of the music industry. Yet there's reason to doubt the optimism of what she had to say.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Donald Sterling needs to go away

    Whether it happens due to a quick settlement or a likely longer trial, Clippers owner Donald Sterling just needs to go away.

    June 19, 2014

  • CHRIS-MORRIS-2.jpg Prescription drug abuse

    Tip of the Week
    You can be arrested for driving under the influence of prescription medication, so follow your recommended dosage or don’t get behind the wheel.

    June 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kevin Durant Kevin Durant’s grace period will end soon

    After his 7th season ended Saturday with the Thunder’s Game 6 loss to the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals, the grace period for Oklahoma City superstar Kevin Durant may soon be drawing to a close.

    June 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Billy Guy Ferrell

    Billy Guy Ferrell, died Saturday, May 24, 2014, at a nursing home in McAlester.

    May 30, 2014

  • Square logo.jpg Congress faces risky decision on National Security, local aerospace jobs

    When you’re in the middle of errands and your fuel gauge hits the red zone, what do you do? Skip the gas station and try to make it back home on ‘E’? Even if you make it home, what will you do the next time you need to drive your car? It’s not worth the ten minutes saved. Who wants to be stranded on the side of the road, forced to walk to the nearest filling station or wait for a tow?

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Todd Lamb From the Capitol: Staycation in Oklahoma

    With the summer travel season quickly approaching, many Oklahomans are making plans for their summer vacations. I would encourage Oklahomans to look in our own backyard and explore all that Oklahoma has to offer this summer. All ages and all travel enthusiasts can find something of interest here at home.

    May 21, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.