The lost man who ate his dog
Canadian outdoorsman Marco Lavoie spent three months stranded in the wilderness of the Nottaway River in Western Quebec. Eventually Lavoie, starving and dehydrated, struck his pet German shepherd on the head with a rock and ate him.
EDITORIALS: NFL players are people too; Get serious on financial crimes
Pro football has never been more popular, but our society is beginning to have serious discussions about the game and its future. Or at least it should be having them. / The U.S. Department of Justice has taken a serious and significant step to finally treat financial crimes in the same aggressive way it would treat drug cartels, environmental abusers and anti-trust cases.
LETTER: School funding vs. corporate incentives
To the Editor:
Lately, our state has been in the news regarding cuts in funding for schools. By some reports, funding per pupil has been reduced more than 20 percent between fiscal years 2008 and 2013. I am sure there is room for debate on the actual reduction, but it certainly seems that school funding is not a priority for our elected officials.
The rest of the story about big pay hikes
Oklahomans are shocked and disappointed as press accounts describe massive pay raises being rapidly handed out to state agency executives. In some cases those raises have amounted to more than $40,000 per year.
What follows are the behind-the-scenes details of this maddening saga that you may not have read about in the papers.
Education: A vital lifeline
It was a long and hard struggle for Kashmiris to come out the quagmire of illiteracy, political marginalization, cultural sterility, and social decrepitude into the enlightening institutions of education, spaces of democratic debate, political enfranchisement, cultural revitalization, and social progressivism.
U.S. foreign service officers face difficult situations
At a recent presentation on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma, John Limbert, who served as a U.S. diplomat in Iran at the time that Iranian militants seized the American Embassy there, spoke of a series of conversations that took place between the Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and President Jimmy Carter in 1979.
Iran at that time was gripped by mass demonstrations where people were demanding that the Shah give up his throne and leave the country.
“What should I do” the Iranian leader asked President Carter on several occasions. The American president always replied that the Shah was the leader of Iran and that he could not tell him what to do. But Limbert said that Pahlavi had been put in power by a U.S. sponsored coup in 1953 and had depended on U.S. support since that time. Carter should have provided him more support and guidance and it is possible that if Carter had been more proactive, the radical regime that is currently ruling Iran that took Limbert and his colleagues at the American Embassy hostage for 444 days, would not have come to power after the Shah left Iran.
Are democracies better at dealing with disasters?
Will improving democratic conditions in the country make any difference in the country's disaster relief efforts? They could.
The myth that Christmas season starts earlier every year
It's the kind of jump-the-gun October ad that brings the same excuse, year after year: "This may SEEM a little premature to you - but it really is NOT . . . " Ah, yes: It's once again the time of year when retail giants begin their insistent reminders that there are "not many days left in which to do your Christmas buying."
AS I SEE IT: Today’s deceitful world makes granddad twitch
My granddad was a stern, judgmental man who paced the house thundering what I supposed were Scriptures directed at me. He was especially keen on the ninth of the Ten Commandments and such rumblings as “Children, obey your parents” as though he’d been lurking in corners to catch me at my worst — maybe reading my mind. I didn’t much like my granddad, but his words did stay with me and made me wonder what he’d have to say from his present vantage point about today’s goings-on. Probably something like this:
Lies, lies, lies. Ah yes, my children, there was a time when “Read my lips, no new taxes” meant no new taxes and “is” meant is, but that changed years after I was gone.
Where does the buck stop?
Harry Truman made the phrase “The buck stops here” iconic during his presidency. He had a desk plate with the saying displayed prominently. Unusual for a politician as president, he believed he was ultimately responsible for actions by his administration.
He made tough decisions regardless of political consequence. At the end of WWII he ordered the dropping of the atomic bombs to end the war and during the Korean War he fired an American hero and popular General, Douglas MacArthur.
He said the decisions were his alone. Where is that accountability today? Where are the Truman’s? Sadly, among our leaders in Washington, finger-pointing is the norm blaming each other without owning any decision. According to that logic nobody is responsible for anything. Their desk plates would read, “The buck doesn’t stop here.” Politics controls actions. This inhibits sorely needed leadership.
President Obama has repeatedly said the buck stops with him on the Affordable Healthcare Act and other issues. But no one seems able to tell him, or he hasn’t asked which buck. Now on most issues in controversy the White House says they didn’t know. There is no buck stopping here. Over the course of the year, with Benghazi, NSA, Syria, shutdown and this latest crisis, the president’s approval rating is down from a high of 54 percent to 42 percent. Congress fairs far worse at 17 percent approval.
The rollout of Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster for the program and politically for the White House. This is the president’s signature legislation. People are in need of affordable healthcare.
But, who is in charge? After three and a half years the launch has been an embarrassment to the White House. The White House, The Secretary of Health and Human Services and three agencies worked on this.
But no coordination seemed to exist. No one in the administration has owned-up to responsibility for this catastrophe until Secretary Sebelius testified before a House committee. But falling on her sword, it appears late in the game. Didn’t the president or his closet advisors or agency heads know of the shortfalls? They should have.
If they did, they should have acted on the information. This indicates a major breakdown in oversight that is inexcusable. The White House has given Republicans more than enough reason to go after the program.
However, as for Congressional action, the House passed 42 bills to repeal the legislation yet none to try to amend or fix it. There have been hearings before Congress for three years on the Act. No hard questions were asked in these hearings and basically the agendas were focused on other matters basically driven by partisanship.
Heads need to roll and the president needs to be more engaged in making this right. Otherwise the program may suffer irreparable damage and fail altogether primarily because American people are losing confidence in it.
But they are also losing confidence in their government. This is the greater risk. In crisis management 101, the president would take the bull by the horns, hold people accountable, modify the program and look at reforms.
Politics cloud the issues.
Compare the response of the government to the situation with rollout to the private sector. Contractors say over $400 million of taxpayer dollars were spent on this failed launched website.
Secretary Sebelius says $176 million spent but still way too much with costs mounting to fix the system. No one will speak to the real cost.
Taxpayers are then like shareholders. Their investment is being wasted due to mismanagement. The board of any company and its shareholders would demand immediate action, accountability, and hold the highest officers responsible.
“The buck stops here” means you are responsible if you knew or should have known. No less. But in Washington, millions can be wasted and no one will pay a price except the American taxpayers.
Shame on Congress and the administration. Alone this year in the Obamacare launch and shutdown they wasted more money than they would ever admit then blame each other in political jockeying.
The travesty in government is that no one steps up. The shutdown and debt ceiling crisis cost the economy tens of billions, threatened the AAA credit rating of the U.S. and hurt Americans.
But no one owns that. It was a political stunt and that is the new name of the game. As citizens we should be outraged. The price is paid by the people for irresponsibility. We should demand much better in the strongest democracy in the world.
There is a real problem with leadership across the board. The president’s young team is astute at campaigning, not governing. Congress rates no better. Speak out with your vote and voice. The buck now stops with us.
PHIL BUSEY is chairman and CEO of The Busey Group of Companies in Oklahoma City.
- More Opinion Headlines
- The lost man who ate his dog