We understand that Kevin Durant is a 24-year-old kid, and that so many young people today don’t think twice about peppering their conversations with foul language. Certainly it’s commonplace in the NBA, where Durant makes his living.
Still, it was disappointing to see his display after breaking away and dunking the ball during Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta.
After the basket, Durant faced the Hawks fans, bowed up and yelled, “This is my (bleeping) house!” Of course it was easily captured by TV cameras.
Durant has been the first-class face of the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise from day one. One emotional outburst, in a sport where emotions can run high, doesn’t change that. But here’s hoping such displays are rare in the future.
ABC News reporter Jake Tapper deserves credit for asking a tough but fair question to President Barack Obama this week. It came during the news conference where Obama announced that, in light of the Connecticut school massacre, he had named vice president Joe Biden to lead administration efforts to craft new gun policy.
Tapper said many observers felt Obama, for political reasons, didn’t talk about gun violence much during his first term or the 2012 election. “This is not the first incident of horrific gun violence of your four years,” Tapper said. “Where have you been?”
Obama shot back: “Here’s where I’ve been Jake. I’ve been president of the United States dealing with the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, an auto industry on the verge of collapse, two wars. I don’t think I’ve been on vacation.”
He forgot to mention campaigning, which he did nonstop during his first term, blaming his predecessor for all the ills he recounted to Tapper. But George W. Bush is no help to him on this issue.
We’ve noted repeatedly that Oklahoma Republicans have more diversity in their leadership than many who promote affirmative action. It looks like that’s true in South Carolina as well.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who is one of only two Indian-American governors in the nation, appointed U.S. Rep. Tim Scott to fill an unexpired term in the U.S. Senate. Scott, a Republican, will be the first black U.S. senator in state history, and the only black member of that chamber from either political party.
Meanwhile in Massachusetts, it’s rumored that former Gov. Michael Dukakis may be appointed to fill John Kerry’s U.S. Senate seat should Kerry be nominated as secretary of state. Yep, Democrats may replace a white male with another white male.
Fortunately for Democrats embarrassed by double standards, Massachusetts’ other U.S. Senator is Elizabeth Warren, who provides gender balance — along with dubious claims of American Indian heritage.
Gov. Mary Fallin’s Tulsa critics are in an uproar because Oklahoma City residents represent a disproportionate share of her appointees. The fact that Fallin has received more applications from people in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area is apparently irrelevant, as is the fact that appointments by Fallin’s Democratic predecessor, Brad Henry, showed the same pattern.
Critics also complain that women are underrepresented, although that also seems tied to fewer women applying for jobs. We hope Fallin make appointments based on merit, not arbitrary quotas, but know that won’t stop the yipping from some quarters.
No doubt future dog-bites-mailman analysis of Fallin appointments will find similarly “shocking” patterns, such as the fact Republicans are disproportionately appointed by a GOP governor, that Christians make up the overwhelming share of Oklahoma appointees, and that transgender black Republicans from Gotebo are continuing their century-plus streak of non-representation.
A free and open press. What a pain in the neck that can be.
Just ask officials at Oklahoma State University, who are hacked off that newspapers are wondering why the school didn’t notify Stillwater police after students reported they had been assaulted by another student. OSU says a federal privacy law prohibits the release of names or information about victims and witnesses in the case, and that university officials encouraged the alleged victims to contact police.
“The press has tried to indicate we tried to hide something,” said Gary Clark, OSU’s general counsel. “It’s not our place to try to force them to do something they don’t want to do in this regard.”
OSU could have given the identity of the suspect to police after wrapping up student conduct hearings involving the alleged perpetrator, but Clark said officials didn’t think that would have been useful. “What would the police be able to do with that information? Nothing, as far as I can tell,” he said.
Stillwater police Capt. Randy Dickerson said he wished his office had been contacted sooner because delays can hurt investigations. The first assault allegedly occurred Nov. 3. Police didn’t learn of it until last week — after being asked about it by a reporter with OSU’s student newspaper.
And now OSU President Burns Hargis has requested an inquiry into the handling of this case.
That danged media, always stirring up trouble.
Twelve years ago this week, Al Gore conceded the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush. His concession came more than five weeks after the bitterly contested election that introduced us to Florida’s “hanging chads” and spurred a call for nationwide election reform.
Twelve years later that call remains, because so many states continue to have problems on Election Day.
This year, some voters in Miami — what’s in the water down there? — had to endure seven-hour waits before casting their ballots.
We’ll leave the calls for reform to other parts of the country. Oklahoma experienced a few snags while breaking in new voting machines, and there were pockets of long lines related mostly to precinct staffing.
But on the whole our system works well, and has for many years.
With Republicans holding a 72-29 edge in the state House of Representatives, Speaker-elect T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, had his hands full just trying to placate all his GOP colleagues when naming committee chairs and vice-chairs. That’s why it is notable Shannon made a point of including Democrats.
Rep. Anastasia Pittman of Oklahoma City was named vice-chairman of the Human Services Committee. Rep. Donnie Condit of McAlester was appointed vice-chairman of the Long-term Care and Senior Services Committee. Rep. R.C. Pruett of Antlers was named vice-chairman of the Tourism and International Relations Committee, and Rep. Cory Williams of Stillwater is vice-chairman of the Tax Credit & Economic Incentive Oversight Committee.
Vice-chairmen have little real power, so the appointments are largely symbolic. But given the Republican margins, they still represent a goodwill gesture Shannon didn’t have to make, and show a willingness to work with those who may disagree with him on issues.
Having seen fit — finally — to confirm attorney John Dowdell to the federal court in Tulsa, perhaps now the U.S. Senate can get around to placing Robert Bacharach on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver.
Both men had the backing of Oklahoma’s U.S. senators, Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn, but the nominations got gummed up by Senate gamesmanship. Republicans held up many nominations made by President Obama, hoping Mitt Romney would win the presidency and submit his own nominations for those posts.
But Obama won. So this week the Senate voted 95-0 to place Dowdell on the federal bench.
Now Inhofe and Coburn need to push for Bacharach’s immediate confirmation. After all, he’s in line for a seat on the Denver court that’s been vacant nearly 2 1/2 years.
Oklahoma’s November tax collections contained both good news and warning signs.
Sales tax collections for the month were 8.4 percent higher than the prior year; motor vehicles tax collections were 2.2 percent higher. Both figures are signs of continuing consumer confidence in Oklahoma. On the downside, low energy prices made gross production taxes nonexistent and individual income tax collections were down 5.4 percent.
Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger noted total collections for the fiscal year to date are $33 million above the estimate. Still, he warned that if the federal government goes over the “fiscal cliff,” it could have dramatic impact on the state economy.
The governor’s office is drafting a state budget responsibly prepared for federal cuts of $137 million to $200 million. Oklahoma’s economy is faring well, but warning signs are on the horizon, and haphazard federal fiscal policy could easily plunge us back into recession. Stay tuned.
Nice showing by the unions this week in Michigan in their effort to thwart right-to-work legislation. Union members swarmed the Capitol grounds in Lancing, at one point ripping down a tent that belonged to a group that favored right to work, and punching one of its occupants.
Nuance has never been Big Labor’s strong suit. It’s always been easier to resort to muscle to get its way. In fact one Democratic state lawmaker vowed “there will be blood” if right to work were approved.
The unions didn’t succeed this time, as Republican Gov. Rick Snyder held firm and signed the bills into law. What paved the way for this change was rejection in November of an effort to guarantee collective bargaining by placing it in the state constitution. Voters gave the idea just 42 percent approval.
Right to work is now the law in 24 states, but none of the others carried as much symbolic value as Michigan.