Grim Funding News For Colleges, Universities

The funding news for our country’s public universities and colleges is grim, and that certainly includes here in Oklahoma.

What happens to a culture that stops investing in critical inquiry, knowledge and learning? We all know the new pragmatics that state funding cuts to higher education mean students pay more in tuition and fees and some get priced out of the equation or take on huge student loan debt. But what about the bizarre act itself of de-funding our great centers of learning throughout the nation? Isn’t it a type of intellectual suicide?

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in an updated report notes that most states have cut support for colleges and universities from 2008-2016 or since the so-called Great Recession. This has driven up tuition, but that hasn’t kept pace with the state funding cuts so many colleges have reduced student services, classes and faculty positions. According to the report:

As states have slashed higher education funding, the price of attending public colleges has risen significantly faster than the growth in median income. For the average student, increases in federal student aid and the availability of tax credits have not kept up, jeopardizing the ability of many to afford the college education that is key to their long-term financial success.

Oklahoma, according to the report, reduced support for higher education by 21.7 percent from 2008-2016, making it one of 28 states that reduced funding by 20 percent or more during that time period. It’s unclear if that includes the nearly 16 percent cut to colleges and universities handed down by the legislature in its budget this past session. The 21.7 percent cut is adjusted for inflation.

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Earthquakes Still Major Problem In Oklahoma

Don’t buy into the hype from government officials and cheerleaders for the oil and gas industry here. Oklahoma's manmade-earthquake problem is far from solved.

If you need the most obvious evidence just consider the two 4.0-magnitude earthquakes that rattled Luther and Cherokee last week or, better yet, consider that on August 12 the state had already experienced1,668 earthquakes in 2016 or 619 earthquakes of 2.8-magnitude or higher from January to June. The decline, respectively, is from 1,914 and 701 in 2015.

The current year’s numbers have undoubtedly already gone up as I write this.

Here’s the main takeaway: The state has gone from experiencing hardly any earthquakes since before the 5.6-magnitude earthquake hit Prague in 2011 to a massive number of earthquakes, which shake it up on an almost daily basis. Nothing has changed, really.

Oklahoma has NOT solved its earthquake problem through more regulation of disposal wells used in fracking operations. What has happened is the worldwide oil glut has reduced overall wastewater volume amounts in the wells. The regulations, adopted by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC), may have had some impact or might have simply shifted earthquake swarms from one area to another, but, allow me to speculate, if oil was still selling at $100 a barrel there probably wouldn’t have been a decline at all. Oil barrel prices remain around the $40 to $45 range right now and are expected to sink even lower after the summer driving season.

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Newspaper Sets Up Big Endorsement For Trump

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The Oklahoman editorial board is setting itself up for a big endorsements of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, the racist xenophobe trying to get his opponent assassinated and playing to every low-denominator in the American psyche.

Trump, as all reasonable people know throughout the world, suffers from mental illness and possesses all the hallmarks of a nationalistic dictator waiting to happen.

The newspaper’s editorial board for a long time during the bizarre Republican primary warned conservatives against supporting Trump because his lack of electability, but that’s all changed now. For weeks, editorials have slowly and surely put in the fix for the newspaper’s support of Trump. It’s really despicable, and, no, it’s not just partisan politics. This is a dangerous moment in our country’s history.

The Tulsa World, for example, has declined to support either Trump or Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton for president. That’s a big deal in a freaky, red state like Oklahoma, where the stupidity grows and festers like summer bag worms in the trees here.

A majority of people in Oklahoma vote against their own financial interests because of, choose one or all of the following, people: (1) They hate themselves. (2) They are single-issue voters based what they hear from the Southern Baptist Church or other right-wing Christian pulpits. (3) They are as racist and xenophobic as Trump. (4) They are prone to paranoia and conspiratorial suggestions because of a lack of education and awareness. (5) They are extremely rich, like Trump, and manipulate the rubes with trinkets of ideology and promises that will never happen to make even more money. I could go on, but the analysis has been done over and over again.

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