Oklahomans unite through recent storms
The month of May has been extremely difficult as tornadoes devastated Oklahoma, claiming the lives of many, causing hundreds of injuries, and destroying thousands of homes. Through these storms, we saw pain and suffering. However, we also saw Oklahomans unite and work together to make the best of a tragic situation.
As I visited the areas affected by the storms, I was proud to see first responders, state leaders, city and county officials, and many volunteers dedicating all their efforts to search, rescue and recovery.
AS I SEE IT: Some birthdays outdo others
The pressure is on! I can’t — not throughout the rest of my lifetime — live up to the flattering messages Hallmark printed on the birthday cards I’ve been bringing in from the mailbox all week ... not even if the zap of a magic wand allowed me to start this marvelous life over again. Certainly not the parts that friends and loved ones underlined.
I have to admit I’m especially fond of the balloon card that tells me I never seem to get older. Hallmark lied to the million or more of us who received that card, but who’s counting? On the off chance they’re right, last August’s Blepharoplasty might have been worth what it put me through.
Pension reform shores up firefighters’ system
Oklahoma is on the rise. The state’s financial condition is becoming stronger, while the private sector continues to expand opportunities for economic prosperity.
Legislation recently has been enacted to reduce barriers for future growth. Reforms have been passed intended to reduce workers’ compensation costs, burdensome government regulations and personal income tax rates. Moreover, resources for critical infrastructure needs have been approved.
BY THE NUMBERS: Medicaid expansion could be good for state
Jan Brewer wants to do it in Arizona. John Kasich wants to do it in Ohio. And Rick Snyder wants to do it in Michigan. But we don’t want to do it here.
HEY HINK: Trading good name for promotion is pitiful
Before we get started, let me say a word about anger management. For years, I was a frequent participant in unprotected road rage between consenting adults. Until my wife Mary pointed out an important common denominator. I assumed the hungrier I got, the ruder the motoring public became. Now, I realize when I get hungry, my “rudeness tolerance index” plummets and I get surly. Now I eat a snack to guard against some (not all) of these “road rage triggers.”
As a corollary, I try to eat something before I watch or read the news. This doesn’t stop me from going “ballistic” sometimes, but I’m convinced a protein bar exerts some level of moderating influence.
IRS attacks foundational freedom
The first and arguably most foundational amendment to the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” As a result of these wise words penned and adopted by our forefathers more than 220 years ago, regardless of religious or political beliefs, the framework was established to protect one’s right to hold and exercise their personal beliefs.
There are miracles in our midst
The week of May 20 was full of such promise — graduation celebrations planned for thousands of Oklahoma teens, the start of summer vacation for children and the fun that it includes and the end to a busy school year for educators. All of that changed on May 19-20.
Hezbollah making Middle East unstable
“A state within a state” is how observers have often described the Lebanese Shiite Militia Hezbollah.
But a journalist, Thanassis Cambanis, who had written a book published in 2010 about that organization entitled “A Privilege to Die: Inside Hezbollah's Legions and Their Endless War Against Israel” concluded that a more appropriate description would be a state that is surrounded by the remnants of the failed state of Lebanon.
And, Cambanis detailed in that work how Hezbollah maintained the loyalty of Lebanon's Shiite population by providing them with services such as health care and education that were not offered by the Lebanese state. He also documented how Hezbollah had won the respect and support of much of the Arab World for its successful guerilla war against Israel that resulted in the Israeli Army leaving southern Lebanon in 2000.
But recent actions taken by Hezbollah's leaders may turn much of the Arab world against it.
Oklahoma Strong: Unbroken in the wake of tragedy
May was a difficult, heart wrenching month for the state of Oklahoma. The lives of at least 40 men, women and children were cut short by tornadoes that ripped through towns and cities. Hundreds were injured, some severely. Almost 4,000 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
In the wake of these terrible storms, we saw suffering and loss. But we also saw something else: An Oklahoma Spirit that would not be broken and would not be defeated.
The right kind of leadership
Before this year’s legislative session, pundits opined about the divided Republican caucus in the House. The 2012 session had not been an easy one and those pundits enjoyed pointing to the allegedly fractured group of Republican representatives and perhaps predicting ensuing chaos. Those predictions did not come true in part due to extremely effective leadership by new House Speaker T.W. Shannon.
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