Monday, June 26, 2017
Weekly Opinion Editorial
HIGHER ED NEEDS TO LEAD CHANGE!
by Steve Fair
The Higher Education lobby in Oklahoma says Sooner tax payers are not funding higher education like the rest of the country. University of Oklahoma President David Boren and University of Central Oklahoma President Don Betz both were quoted as saying that Oklahoma ranked ‘dead last’ in the U.S. in funding higher education. Turns out that ain’t so.
Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs President Jonathan Small said, “These claims are not supported by the facts.” Small cited a study by Illinois State University on Higher Ed funding which shows Oklahoma ranks #31 among the 50 states. The funding report, which has been published since 1960, is non-partisan. Small asked Boren and Betz to retract their statements.
Oklahoma Higher Education has taken $112.2 million in cuts this year and next years budget has over $35 million more in cuts. "These severe budget cuts have resulted in forced furloughs and the reduction of academic programs, personnel, student services and college degree completion initiatives," Oklahoma state Higher Education Chancellor Glen Johnson said. Still Oklahoma Higher Ed will get $866 million in taxpayer money next year or about 12.5% of the total budget. To compensate for the loss in appropriated monies, the State Board of Regents will consider increasing tuition and fees by an average of 5%. The regents estimated the increase will cost full-time college students in Oklahoma about $400 more per year.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, Oklahoma has the ninth worst college six year graduation rates in the country. Nationally 44% of students who start college end up with a sheepskin. In Oklahoma, that number is less than 30%. Among the 4 year regional universities, Cameron University has the lowest graduation rate- around 20%.
First, Oklahoma Higher Education should be audited. If it’s true they are underfunded, then the audit will show that. If there is waste, it will show that. Let the chips fall where they may.
Second, Higher Education should proactively initiate consolidation. Oklahoma has eleven regional universities, twelve community colleges, plus OU and OSU. Many of those institutions have satellite campuses. That is a lot of brick and mortar. Each one has a ton of faculty and staff making good salaries with benefits. With the growth of ‘distance’ learning, is it prudent for Oklahoma taxpayers to fund all this infrastructure?
Third, when will education (common ed or higher ed) come to the table with a plan that doesn’t include more money? It’s past time for education leaders in Oklahoma to come up with a 10 year plan for improving education in the Sooner state that doesn’t include building more buildings and giving themselves raises.
President Ronald Reagan said, “If you serve a child a rotten hamburger in America, federal, state, and local agencies will investigate you, summon you, close you down, whatever. But if you provide a child with a rotten education, nothing happens, except that you’re liable to be given more money to do it with. Well, we’ve discovered that money alone isn’t the answer.”
Monday, June 19, 2017
Weekly Opinion Editorial
RESTORE CIVIL DEBATE!
by Steve Fair
Last Wednesday, James Hodgkinson opened fire at a baseball field in surburan DC where Congressional Republicans were practicing for a charity game. He wounded House Majority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), and three others. Hodgkinson was shot and killed by Capitol police who were providing security for Scalise. A list of Republican lawmakers was found on Hodgkinson. Whether it was a ‘hit list’ or not, is unclear. Hodgkinson was an avid supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders and a vocal critic on social media of President Trump and Republicans.
Initially, both Democrats and Republicans condemned Hodgkinson’s actions. Speaking on the Senate floor, Sanders said, "I am sickened by this despicable act. Let me be as clear as I can be: Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms. President Trump called for unity and said, "We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation's capital is here because above all they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans and that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace. We are strongest when we are unified and when we work together for the common good."
But Trump’s call for unity wasn’t heeded. Within hours, liberals flooded Twitter with messages blaming Republican’s support of the second amendment as being the reason for the attack. Sean Hannity blamed the ‘dehumanizing’ of Republicans by Democrats for the shooting.
The fact is Hodgkinson was motivated by a heart of hate. While most people are content to debate issues, a small minority want to bring about change in a more substantive manner. Years ago in a small Texas town, a bar was being built in a neighborhood. Two tea totaling widow women who lived next door were very concerned and vowed to pray and ask God to halt the bar’s construction. One was very diligent in her prayers, the other not as faithful. Two weeks before the beer joint’s scheduled opening, it caught fire and burned to the ground. “I guess my prayers were answered,” the faithful widow said. “It’s wasn’t your prayers,” said the other. “How can you be so sure?” asked the first. “Because I put feet and gasoline to my prayers,” said the other.
Some people simply go too far in a civilized society. They move from debate to destruction, from meditation to mayhem seamlessly, believing the progression is the next logical step in political activism. That should concern every American. Civil debate is on life support in our country. Both the political left and right can take equal credit for creating this toxic political environment. We should all remember that no matter their political leanings, every person is made in the image of God.
Monday, June 12, 2017
Weekly Opinion Editorial
COMEY IS ABOUT COMEY!
by Steve Fair
The main thing we learned in James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence committee is that James Comey is about James Comey. When he admitted, under sworn testimony that he ‘leaked’ his notes on a private meeting with President Trump through a third party, he admitted he violated the Bureau policy and undermined his creditability. The former FBI Director was asked why he didn’t confront the President when he was allegedly asked to back off investigating Michael Flynn, and he answered that ‘he wasn’t strong enough.’
But Comey’s testimony about the previous administration should have raised eyebrows. He testified former Attorney General Loretta Lynch asked him to back off investigating then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. If proven to be true, that is a clear violation of the law and obstruction of justice. Why didn’t Comey leak that to the press? His inconsistency is disturbing.
Comey’s testimony confirmed that President Trump is not under an active FBI investigation, there still no evidence of collusion and that Trump didn’t hinder the investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election in any way.
Comey has been a hero, a goat, and now a hero again among Democrats. In July, when the then FBI Director said Clinton’s use of a private email server didn’t rise to the level of indictment, Democrats applauded him. When Comey reopened the investigation in October, two weeks before the general election, after more of Clinton’s emails were found on former Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, Democrats called him a turncoat and a goat. Hillary partially blames Comey’s re-opening of the investigation for her loss to Trump. Now that Comey is claiming Trump told him to back off on an investigation, Democrats have petitioned the Pope to declare Comey a saint.
President Trump says he has tapes of their private meeting and the Senate committee says they want to hear them. Comey says he hopes the tapes exist because he claims they will vindicate him. It remains to be seen if Trump produces the tapes and what is on them.
Comey has said his motive for leaking the memo was to protect the reputation of the rank and file FBI, but that doesn’t square with reality. The FBI Employment Agreement clearly states that employees are prohibited from releasing any information acquired by virtue of their official employment to unauthorized individuals without prior official written authorization by the FBI. The fact is Comey is about Comey. He loves the limelight and attention and is more concerned with his reputation than the reputation of the Bureau.
The Democrats, and some Republicans, are committed to opposing everything this President stands for. They will not rest until Trump is nothing but a memory, but what they fail to understand is unlike Comey, Trump isn’t just about Trump. It is about the movement he represents.
Monday, June 5, 2017
Weekly Opinion Editorial
TRUMP PUT AMERICA FIRST!
by Steve Fair
President Trump pulled the United States out of the ‘Paris Climate Agreement’ last week. The agreement was signed in December 2015 by representatives from 196 nations. It required countries to adopt green energy policies and cut back on carbon emissions to help limit the rise of global temperatures. The agreement’s primary mission was to hold the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees C above the pre-industrial revolution levels.
The agreement, signed under President Obama, had the US agreeing to reduce carbon emissions by 30% over the next decade. To comply, the US government would have to add more regulations to industry (oil, gas, coal, steel). According to a study by the National Economic Research Associates, the Paris treaty would have cost the US 2.7 million jobs over the next decade. The Paris agreement’s focus was to push the global population to stop using fossil fuels and move to renewable energy (bio-fuel, solar, wind). But the economic reality is none of the alternative fuels have reached a point where they are financially viable.
Current 40% of the nation’s corn crop is going into our gas tanks in the form of ethanol, but the alcohol/gasoline is supplying only 5% of the nation’s transportation. Meanwhile, consumers are paying substantially higher prices for every food product that uses corn sweetener. Wind and solar energy have been subsidized with $100 billion dollars of US taxpayer dollars in the past ten years, yet combined they supply about ½ of 1% of the nation’s energy.
President Trump pointed out the Paris agreement requires America to stop using coal fired plants, but China and India could keep stoking up their coal plants. "The agreement doesn't eliminate coal jobs, it just transfers those jobs out of America and the United States and ships them to foreign countries," President Trump said. The US had to reduce our carbon footprint disproportionate to other signers of the agreement. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “We have nothing to be apologetic about as a country with respect to what we’ve done to reduce our Co2 footprint.”
Will man by his irresponsible use of fossil fuel destroy the earth? The Creator of the earth says no. In Genesis 8:22, God says so long as the earth is around, summer, winter, day, night, seedtime and harvest will not cease (Genesis 8:22). I’ll take His word over Al Gore’s any day.
Ivar Giaever is a Norwegian- American physicist who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973. Giaever. 88, is a self-described atheist. He has been an outspoken critic of global warming. "It is amazing how stable temperature has been over the last 150 years,” Giaever says. “Global warming has become a new religion.” Trump’s pulling America out of a poorly negotiated treaty should be praised and applauded. He really did put America first.
Pastor John MacArthur has a GREAT YouTube video on the Biblical view of Global Warming. You can access it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXnwB97fBj8