The Edmond Sun


December 24, 2013

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Bipartisanship finally prevails

PHILADELPHIA — If it weren’t so painful to watch the calculated posturing of self-interested politicians, Americans might relish what occurred in Washington this month. Congress reached a bipartisan budget deal that could signal the beginning of an epic political shift that ends the tea-party movement’s domination of the Republican Party. Then again, maybe not. It’s too early to tell.

Perhaps eager to head home for the holidays, tea-steeped lawmakers didn’t drag out their fight to prevent the compromise from passing. They and some of the moneybags political groups that finance their campaigns have promised retaliation, however. And after a congressional recess, the fearful may again toe the line.

But the meek sure sounded bold this week. House Speaker John Boehner, who too often has bowed to the tea drinkers, stood up for the deal, brokered by Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray. “I don’t care what they do,” Boehner said of conservative groups opposing the legislation.

With Boehner finally showing some backbone, the House overwhelmingly voted for the budget agreement, 332-94, a week ago. The Senate followed suit Wednesday with a 64-36 vote. That welcome result was signaled on Monday, when 12 Republicans joined 55 Democrats to exceed the 60-vote threshold needed to allow the bill to be approved by a simple majority.

The budget pact avoids scheduled “sequester” cuts in defense and domestic spending over the next two years, making up those funds with other cuts spread out over 10 years. Sen. Marco Rubio, who has shed the centrist mantle he once wore as a champion of immigration reform, said Congress can’t be trusted to make cuts later. But the Florida Republican’s opposition appeared to be more tacking to the right in preparation for a presidential campaign.

Other Republicans and Democrats also seemed to have elections in mind when they criticized the deal for trimming future cost-of-living pension increases for military retirees under 62. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called them out Wednesday, noting that some of the same senators had praised the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, which suggested ending cost-of-living adjustments for all military retirees.

In the end, bipartisanship won. But how long will the victory last? During the hours-long quorum call on the budget deal, Republican senator after Republican senator, including McCain, stood up to assail the Affordable Care Act, as if that law were up for yet another vote. Days earlier, Ryan warned that Republicans might block another debt-ceiling hike in February unless more spending is cut.

That could mean another government shutdown. After all, President Obama has vowed never again to negotiate while the nation’s borrowing power needs to be increased. But Republicans may be less likely to dig in their heels again. They still feel the sting of the public’s disgust at the last shutdown. That’s why they backed off and let this budget pass, and why there’s hope that bipartisanship will win again.

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  • Is English getting dissed?

    Is the English language being massacred by the young, the linguistically untidy and anyone who uses the Internet? Absolutely.
    Is that anything new? Hardly.
    Many words and expressions in common parlance today would have raised the hackles of language scolds in the not-so-distant past. For evidence, let’s look at some examples from recent newspaper articles.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Too big to fail' equals 'too eager to borrow'

    Four years ago this month, President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Act into law, promising that the 848-page financial law would “put a stop to taxpayer bailouts once and for all,” he said. But recently, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a Detroit crowd that “the biggest banks are even bigger than they were when they got too big to fail in 2008.”
    Who’s right?

    July 30, 2014

  • Sheltons travel for better life for family

    Some time around 1865 a mixed-race African American couple, William and Mary Shelton, made their way from Mississippi to east Texas. Nothing is known for certain of their origins in he Magnolia state, or the circumstances under which they began their new lives in Texas.

    July 29, 2014

  • Film critic Turan produces book

    Kenneth Turan, who is the film critic for National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition,” has written a book “Not to be Missed, Fifty-Four Favorites from a Life Time of Film.” His list of movies span the gamut from the beginnings of filmmaking through the present day.
    There are some surprising omissions on his list. While he includes two films, “A Touch of Evil” and Chimes at Midnight” made by Orson Welles, and one, “The Third Man,” that Welles starred in but did not direct. He did not however, include “Citizen Kane,” that was the first movie Welles made, that is  often cited by both film critics and historians as a favorite film.

    July 28, 2014

  • Logan County’s disputed zone

    Watchers of “Star Trek” may recall the episode from the original series entitled, “Day of the Dove.” In this episode, Captain Kirk and his crew are forced by a series of circumstances into a confrontation with the Klingons. The conflict eventually resolves after Kirk realizes that the circumstances have been intentionally designed by an alien force which feeds off negative emotions, especially fear and anger. Kirk and his crew communicate this fact to the Klingons and the conflict subsides. No longer feeding upon confrontation, the alien force is weakened and successfully driven away.

    July 28, 2014

  • Russell leads in Sun poll

    Polling results of an unscientific poll at show that Steve Russell, GOP candidate for the 5th District congressional seat, is in the lead with 57 percent of the vote ahead of the Aug. 26 runoff election. Thirty readers participated in the online poll.

    July 28, 2014

  • Healthier and Wealthier? Not in Oklahoma

    Increased copays, decreased coverage, diminished health care access, reduced provider budgets and increased frustration are all the outcomes of the Legislature’s 2014 health care funding decisions. Unlike some years in the past when a languishing state economy forced legislators into making cuts, the undesirable outcomes this year could easily have been avoided.

    July 26, 2014

  • Medicaid reform a necessity

    Historically, education spending by the state of Oklahoma has been the largest budget item. This is no longer the case. In recent years, the state of Oklahoma spends more on Medicaid (operated by the Oklahoma Health Care Authority) than common education and higher education combined, according to the state’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

    July 25, 2014

  • Remembering lessons from 1974

    This week marks the 40th anniversary of an important milestone in America’s constitutional history. On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court voted 8-0 to order the Nixon White House to turn over audiotapes that would prove the president and his close aides were guilty of criminal violations. This ruling established with crystal clarity that the executive branch could not hide behind the shield of executive privilege to protect itself from the consequences of illegal behavior. It was a triumph for the continued vitality of our constitutional form of government.

    July 25, 2014

  • RedBlueAmerica: Is parenting being criminalized in America?

    Debra Harrell was arrested recently after the McDonald’s employee let her daughter spend the day playing in a nearby park while she worked her shift. The South Carolina woman says her daughter had a cell phone in case of danger, and critics say that children once were given the independence to spend a few unsupervised hours in a park.
    Is it a crime to parent “free-range” kids? Does Harrell deserve her problems? Joel Mathis and Ben Boychuk, the RedBlueAmerica columnists, debate the issue.

    July 24, 2014


The runoff race for the 5th District congressional seat is set for Aug. 26. If the voting were today, which candidate would you support?

Al McAffrey
Tom Guild
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