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Visit the BatesLine Op-Ed Page for today's batch of columns from TownHall, National Review, American Spectator, and the Wall Street Journal.
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In the spotlight
Before you vote on Tuesday, November 4, 2014, check out...
BatesLine ballot card endorsements for
the Oklahoma 2014 General Election,
including state questions, district judge races,
and judicial retention questions.
Full archive of BatesLine coverage of the
Oklahoma 2014 election.
Full archive of BatesLine coverage of
2014 Tulsa city & county elections.
Complete coverage of SB 906 and the ongoing effort to fool the Oklahoma legislature into giving away our electoral votes by means of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact:
- Betrayal: Oklahoma Senate passes National Popular Vote bill
- Stanislawski recants National Popular Vote support
- Allen, Brecheen recant National Popular Vote support
- Oklahoma legislators invited to electoral vote "seminars" in exotic locales
- National Popular Vote's Ray Haynes lobbies Oklahoma grassroots activists
Breaking down Jethro's leadership advice to Moses in Exodus 18:21: "Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, ruler of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens."
"These points are all well-taken and, obviously, Bible-based. And they all point in the direction of only one candidate: Ted Cruz. He's highly intelligent and healthy. He's also a man who fears God: he accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was eight years old and he has taken his faith seriously ever since. He is a staunch defender of the freedom of religion, has dedicated his life to the principles put forth in the Constitution, and always defends the free-enterprise system, even when doing so may result in him losing votes. See his criticism of ethanol subsidies for instance, which may very well cost him dearly in Iowa.
"Of course, that brings us to the third Biblical qualification for a leader: he (or she!) has to be a man (or woman) of truth. His critics can say that Cruz is stubborn, uncompromising and extremely conservative, but they can't accuse him of being dishonest. He promised Texas voters that he'd take a stand against the establishment and the Obama administration if they'd send him to Washington, and he's done so.
"With regards to coveting power, Cruz could quickly have become one of the most powerful politicians in D.C. by simply playing along with the establishment, like Marco Rubio did on amnesty. Instead, Cruz has always defended his principles, even when doing so meant he stood alone -- or only with one or two allies like Senators Mike Lee and Jeff Sessions."
Makes me proud to be an Oklahoman:
"Consumers who are eligible for insurance subsidies, in the form of tax credits, worry that they are getting something others cannot. Many Oklahomans have a strong streak of independence and are reluctant to rely on federal assistance. When told of their subsidies, Mr. [Steven] Goldman [insurance counselor at the Oklahoma Primary Care Association] said, consumers ask: 'Am I getting more than I deserve? Have I earned this? Is it fair?'...
"But for conservatives like Jonathan Small, the president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, it is a matter of prudence. The state cannot afford the Medicaid program it has, much less a larger program, he said. The federal government pays 100 percent of the cost of newly eligible Medicaid beneficiaries from 2014 to 2016, with the federal share declining gradually to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. Critics of the health care law worry that in the future, the federal government might reduce its promised contribution.
"Then there are the rising costs, which have bedeviled many states. Premiums had been lower here than in many states. But, according to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, the cost of a benchmark insurance plan increased by an average of 35.7 percent this year in Oklahoma, more than in any other state using the federal exchange."
Smoked sausage, green beans, wax beans, red potatoes, carrots.
Chicken, okra, kernel corn, yellow squash, green peppers, onion.
"Trump's not out there campaigning as a conservative. He's campaigning out there as a populist. He's campaigning out there as a guy who's fed up with whoever it is that's doing bad and making mistakes and ruining the country, whoever they happen to be and wherever they are. And his support base is made up of people who think, 'Damn right! That's exactly what's happening.'"
"Their anger may be justified, but anger is not a sufficient reason for choosing a candidate in a desperate time for the future of this nation. And there is such a thing as a point of no return.
"Voters need to consider what elections are for. Elections are not held to allow voters to vent their emotions. They are held to choose who shall hold in their hands the fate of hundreds of millions of Americans today and of generations yet unborn.
"Too many nations, in desperate times, especially after the established authorities have discredited themselves and forfeited the trust of the people, have turned to some new and charismatic leader, who ended up turning a dire situation into an utter catastrophe....
"Eric Hoffer's shrewd insight into the success of charismatic leaders was that the 'quality of ideas seems to play a minor role,' What matters, he pointed out, 'is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world.'
"Is that the emotional release that Republican voters will be seeking when they begin voting in the primaries? If so, Donald Trump will be their man. But if the sobering realities of life and the need for mature and wise leadership in dangerous times is uppermost in their minds, they will have to look elsewhere."
Some valid points about the declining ability of newspapers to shape the local political debate:
"But in recent decades, the plutocrat's ability to control a city or region's news agenda through ownership of its top daily and the manipulation of its news product has plummeted. Even in places where a plutocrat owns the only daily, independent radio and television journalists abound to expose him if he insists on resting his thumb too heavily on the news scale. Bloggers and weekly newspapers also stand ready to criticize him. The Adelson family's purchase of the Review-Journal--to make concrete our discussion of plutocracy--has made the paper's coverage of even inconsequential events an object of national fascination." Certainly it's a good thing that critics are scrutinizing media sources to see how their coverage might be shaped by corporate interests.
Still, there's something menacing in the last couple of paragraphs:
"But for the modern plutocrat, purchasing a newspaper conveys no new, instant power. The competition for audience and advertising is too great for any newspaper to run roughshod over the truth and not pay a price.... The Adelsons have purchased a wonderful toy that the culture won't ever let them play with."
Media outlets don't have to "run roughshod over the truth" to have influence. Simply by selecting which stories to pursue, which stories to promote, a newspaper shapes public perception, particularly when it comes to local officials, which fewer alternative outlets are writing about.
If the writer means to suggest that the professional journalists at the LVRJ will continue to skew coverage to the Left, in spite of the new ownership... well, conservative schools are turning out plenty of hungry, aspiring reporters.
"In the summer of 1998, a strange press release made its way out to technology and music publications throughout the world. David Bowie, the legendary musician and cultural provocateur, would be launching his own internet service provider, offering subscription-based dial up access to the emerging online world. At a time when plenty of major corporations were still struggling to even comprehend the significance and impact of the web, Bowie was there staking his claim. 'If I was 19 again, I'd bypass music and go right to the internet,' he said at the time. He understood that a revolution was coming....
"More importantly though, Bowie conceived of this service as a visual, interactive community for music fans. Through his Ultrastar company he negotiated deals to give users access to music services like the Rolling Stone Network, which livestreamed concerts, and Music Boulevard, one of the first companies to offer paid-for downloadable music tracks. The ISP provided every user with 5MB of web space, encouraging them to create and share their own websites; there were also forums and live chat sections where Bowie himself conducted live web chats. This was in effect a music-centric social network, several years before the emergence of sector leaders like Friendster and Myspace. The site was also technologically ambitious. At a time when most homepages were simple constructs of text and still images on a default grey background, BowieNet used emerging plug ins like Flash and RealAudio to provide animating graphics and downloadable music clips. Newcomers were told they'd need at least a 28k, but preferably 56k modem connection - this was demanding at a time when the commercial WWW infrastructure was still in its infancy. Parts of the front page of BowieNet remain available on the Internet Archive."
From 1996, Jo Miller presents a guide almost as accurate as Monty Python's Hungarian-to-English phrasebook.
"Speaking of the British Library, you should know that it has recently moved to a new location at Kew. Kew is a small fishing village in Wales. It can be reached by taking the train to Cardiff; once there, ask any local about the complimentary shuttle bus to Kew. (Don't forget that buses are called "prams" in England, and trains are called "bumbershoots"--it's a little confusing at first. Motorcycles are called "lorries" and the hospital, for reasons unknown, is called the "off-license." It's also very important to know that a "doctor" only means a PhD in England, not a physician. If you want a physician, you must ask for an "MP" (which stands for "master physician").
"For those travelling on a shoestring budget, the London Tube may be the most economical way to get about, especially if you are a woman. Chivalry is alive and well in Britain, and ladies still travel for free on the Tube. Simply take some tokens from the baskets at the base of the escalators or on the platforms; you will find one near any of the state-sponsored Tube musicians. Once on the platform, though, beware! Approaching trains sometimes disurb the large Gappe bats that roost in the tunnels. The Gappes were smuggled into London in the early 19th century by French saboteurs and have proved impossible to exterminate. The announcement "Mind the Gappe!" is a signal that you should grab your hair and look towards the ceiling. Very few people have ever been killed by Gappes, though, and they are considered only a minor drawback to an otherwise excellent means of transportation. (If you have difficulty locating the Tube station, merely follow the signs that say "Subway" and ask one of the full-time attendants where you can catch the bumbershoot.)"
Reader-contributed supplements explain British legal matters and sport and a colloquial North Country term for sheep-shearing. Alas, Jo never fulfilled her promise to tell us about "national treasures like Bodicea's Teat, King John III's hunting lodge, or the Blackpool Ballet Festival."
Andrew C. McCarthy reviews the history and significance of the term: "But even if the more demanding 1790 law had remained in effect, Cruz would still be a natural born citizen. His mother, Eleanor Elizabeth Darragh Wilson, is an American citizen born in Delaware; his native-Cuban father, Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, was a legal resident of the U.S. for many years before Ted was born. (Rafael came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1957, attended the University of Texas, and received political asylum and obtained a green card once the visa expired. He ultimately became a naturalized American citizen in 2005.)"
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