September 21, 2017

Gross Educational Negligence?

Tulsa World columnist Guerin Emig is concerned about "Oklahoma’s gross educational negligence, which threatens to bleed teachers and students to death."

Negligence? One hopes Mr. Emig will dig deeper. He will likely be surprised to discover that:
  • Oklahoma's public school revenues are higher than ever.
  • Even when adjusted for inflation, Tulsa Public Schools per-student spending in 2016 ($12,180) is only down slightly from a decade ago ($12,261).
  • Using data that the Oklahoma State Department of Education reports to the U.S. Department of Education, economist Benjamin Scafidi points out that between 1993 and 2014, TPS enrollment decreased by 3 percent and the number of teachers decreased by 4 percent—but non-teaching staff increased by 147 percent.
  • TPS employs more non-teachers (3,258) than teachers (2,377).
  • TPS employs 22 individuals with salaries in excess of $100,000—several of whom have the job title “executive assistant.”

September 17, 2017

Streak Ends at 111


Lincoln was six years old when the photo on the left was taken, the same month in which Bob Stoops coached his first game at Oklahoma. The little towhead went to that first home game—and to every one of them thereafter. Coach Stoops won 101 and lost 9.

Now Lincoln’s all grown up (above at right) and cheering for a coach with a familiar name. We had a great time at Lincoln Riley's first game earlier this month (photo below), extending the streak to 111.

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Third-year med students have to do rotations, and they're not optional. Happily, I have another six-year-old, as well as a 15-year-old, that my dad and I took to the game yesterday. We had lots of fun. Still, it just wasn't the same.

September 16, 2017

OKC School Board Member Doesn't Respect Freedom of Speech

"Some members of the Oklahoma City school board don't believe public input is needed before deciding whether to change the names of three schools named for Confederate officers," the state's largest newspaper editorialized today. "Fair enough."
One member took that stance further, saying at a recent board meeting that some people's viewpoints simply should not be heard. Carrie Coppernoll Jacobs said inviting the public to speak would be “a platform for hate” and that some comments she has received about this issue have been “flat-out racist.” Those people “don't get a platform in a real conversation about the future names of those schools,” Coppernoll Jacobs said. She added that since this is a divisive issue, “I think it's going to attract people who don't have the right to be part of the conversation.” Don't have the right? Really? She might want to bone up on a subject we hope the district's students still learn about in school: the First Amendment.

Opposition Party Favors Higher Taxes

"The Associated Press is one of many 'news' outlets that has gone into overt opposition, now that we have a Republican rather than a Democrat in the White House," John Hinderaker observes today ("Associated Press Says: Don't Cut Taxes!").

Hinderaker's post calls to mind an experience I had several years back at a state-capitol press conference during which some conservative lawmakers were discussing their plan to get rid of the Oklahoma estate tax. Curiously, one AP reporter covering the event felt the need to express his opinion on the subject (you won’t be surprised to learn that he thought the tax was worth keeping). I remember being startled that a reporter would do that (oh, to be young and na├»ve again) and remarking to some of the lawmakers afterwards, "How does it feel to look over at the other team’s huddle and see the referee in there with them?"

It’s worse than that, one legislator told me: It’s like we’re Nehemiah rebuilding the wall—trying to do our work with one hand while having to hold our sword with the other hand to fight off the enemy.

Well said.

September 13, 2017

Endorsing Same-Sex 'Marriage' Evinces a Lack of Concern for People's Eternal Good

"Endorsing so-called same-sex marriage involves three tragic things," John Piper says in his podcast today.
1. It involves a false and destructive view of marriage. 
2. It involves a false and destructive view of sexuality. 
3. It involves, probably most importantly, a false and destructive view of the gospel warning that those who live in unrepentant homosexual activity will not inherit the kingdom of God. The gospel of Jesus is given precisely to rescue us from that peril, so why would we send people into it if we are gospel people? 
To me, these three faults—these three deeply destructive errors—are so serious that it’s almost inconceivable to me that a serious Christian would not be prevented from endorsing so-called same-sex marriage because of biblical faithfulness and love for people’s eternal good.

September 07, 2017

Scenes from Sooner Hoops Weekend

Cade Davis poured in 43 points in the annual OU Legends Alumni Basketball Game a couple of weeks ago. Tyler Neal scored 27. Eduardo Najera had 15.

For another former Sooner, the stat line (2 points, 2 assists, 1 steal) wasn't overly impressive. Until you consider that he's 74 years old.

In all, it was a pretty good showing for my uncle Bill, who's pictured here with Buddy Hield in The Oklahoman's coverage of the game. (Heck, Bill and Buddy are practically old buddies: Bill, pictured below in the blue Thunder hat, invited Buddy to sit with him last year so Buddy could see his idol Kobe Bryant's final road game.)


I've long been a Buddy Hield fan myself, even more so after his kindness to my son Jack Henry last year.

The night before the OU alumni game was the alumni banquet. Ollie thought it was cool to talk to Coach Kruger and to sit in one of the actual chairs that had been courtside for the teams in the Final Four. Also, I let him splurge and have two red-velvet cupcakes for dessert.


In other banquet news, Buddy Hield bought an autographed Toby Keith guitar:


Earlier in the day was OU Basketball's 28th Annual Golf Classic. Bill didn't play, but his Dutcher and Company team won first place thanks to my son Lincoln and three of his pals:

The Southern Poverty Law Center Is a Dangerous Joke. Why Do Reporters Use It as a Source?


"The Southern Poverty Law Center almost got me killed," writes attorney Casey Mattox. "Why does the media still propagate its 'hate' map?"

Maajid Nawaz wonders the same thing. The Muslim author known for his courageous warnings against jihadism now finds himself on the SPLC's anti-Muslim "extremist" list and is a thus a target for violence, as he explains in this fascinating conversation with the atheist Sam Harris (whose podcast, perhaps surprisingly, is one of my favorites).

The SPLC "has become a dangerous joke," says attorney David French. "Reporters should stop using it as a source." Yesterday 47 conservative leaders and organizations urged reporters to cut ties with the SPLC.

The SPLC "is far from a reliable, nonpartisan, and authoritative source," adds Mark Pulliam. Its principal function today "is to provide an aura of respectability to liberal journalists wishing to disparage conservative groups and to provide cover for political battles."

Reporters (and their editors)including at the Tulsa WorldThe Oklahoman, The Journal Record, the Associated Press, KFOR, News9, and otherscontinue to treat SPLC as an authoritative source. Alas, this is one more reason that only one in seven Republicans trust the media.

UPDATE: Tony Perkins has "all the evidence you need for why SPLC is not credible." And to stay up-to-date, be sure to visit SPLCexposed.com.

September 05, 2017

Tulsa Blogger Explains Why People Don't Trust the Mainstream Media

"If you're wondering why people believe the mainstream news media is more interested in pushing a narrative rather than reporting the facts, I've got a story for you," writes Tulsa blogger Michael Bates. "If you want to know why you shouldn't trust a mainstream news outlet to give you multiple reasoned perspectives on a complex public-policy issue, read on."

Read the whole thing here.