The Duncan Banner


September 15, 2013

No column ideas this week

DUNCAN — The sound is a haunting one.  Tick, tick, tick… It is the pressurized noise from a nearby clock, signaling time is running out and the deadline for this week’s column is near. But there is a problem. No ideas. Few topics.

I could tell you I’m disturbed by the Sports Illustrated series on corruption within the Oklahoma State football program, but I’d rather tell you I’m more concerned greed is ultimately going to kill the game so many of us love.

Schools, my little minority voice says, should give the game back to the students, alumni and fans instead of letting television and big business rule the sport. Paying ridiculous salaries, building multi-million dollar training facilities for prestige, expanding stadium sizes, charging excessive amounts of money for the opportunity to purchase tickets and even more to buy tickets, altering schedules and causing travel chaos in exchange for prime TV exposure, encouraging multiple-night motel reservations at exorbitant costs and gouging fans for concession items shows our educational priorities are out of order.

That few schools break even financially is more than a hint.

That many schools seem to have issues with recruiting, rules, ethics and integrity is a sign that suggests lack of control.  And essentially, you can make the argument college athletics is a microcosm of our country in that everyone recognizes problems, but no one seems willing or capable to make the truly difficult decisions.

I could tell you conservative Tony Abbott won a bitterly contested race for prime minister in Australia, defeating incumbent Kevin Rudd, but I’d rather tell you the country is one of 10 that enforce compulsory voting.

Mauro Kolobaric, the consul general who visited Duncan last week, mentioned that casually in a conversation, explaining a number of Australians were visiting the embassy in Washington to cast their ballots.

Compulsory voting in federal elections was first introduced there in 1924 and is a civic responsibility comparable to taxation, education and jury duty. It also enables candidates to focus their efforts on issues rather than encouraging voters to participate in the process.

Voters who don’t participate must provide a reason for their failure to vote or pay a $20 penalty. If the apparent non-voter fails to reply within 21 days, prosecution proceedings begin with a fine of up to $170 and court costs.

Maybe that’s something we should consider.

I could tell you I’m looking forward to Thursday night’s Rotary Shrimp Boil at The Lindley House, but I would probably also need to tell you a tour of the bed-and-breakfast destination stop, conducted by former Judge George Lindley, who grew up there, may be as interesting as the shrimp are tasty.

I could tell you lots of people are in debt because they spend what their friends think they make, but you might properly say that’s none of my business.

I could tell you how disappointing it was to learn ACT scores for Duncan students dropped below the state average, but I’ve never understood why our goal is “average” anyway.

We’ve never strived to be average in anything else and the logic that getting more kids to take the test will improve our scores seems odd since you’d assume our best students are the ones already taking it.

I could tell you how nice it is to have people in Duncan putting together well-intentioned events for the good of our citizens, but I’d rather share developing details that the Freedom Biker Church is planning a Jericho Ride through the streets of our city Sept. 29 to be followed by a 6 p.m. community worship service in Halliburton Stadium or that Sonya Hill, the energetic lady who organized the Christopher Lane Memorial Run, is working now to coordinate an anti-bullying program at Duncan High and observance of the bully prevention Blue Shirt Day Oct. 7.

I could tell you the Beatles used to be Johnny and the Moondogs or that The Beach Boys used to be Carl and the Passions, but then you’d think I was a concert-going fan of Mumford & Sons, Richard Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or Alabama Shakes.

I could remind you the big rummage sale that supports The Toy Shop is Oct. 3-4, but my guess is you already know that and have made plans to attend the Stephens County Fairgrounds event.

I could share all of that, I suppose, but there is so little space remaining and so little time left that, if it’s all the same with you, I won’t even try to write a column this week.

But I do hope you have a nice day., (580) 255-5354, Ext. 130

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  • Governor, state Legislature have misplaced priorities

    If the Oklahoma State Legislators and our Governor spent less time interfering in women’s rights to manage their bodies, creating ways to lay more taxes and fees on the middle class in order to generate more tax breaks which benefit only the wealthy while also conceiving methods with which to fill Oklahoma’s for-profit prisons, they would be doing all of us a favor. Instead, why not work to enhance funding for our schools and wage increases for all school employees? While reforming the state’s educational budget, why don’t they approve wage increases for our Oklahoma State Troopers and enlarge their Academy to insure qualified individuals are ready to fill the upcoming vacancies as many of the older force retire?

    April 9, 2014

  • Self government key to keeping politicians in check

    Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that federal campaign laws that limit the total amount of money donors can give to political parties, committees and candidates for federal office (U.S. House, Senate, and President) was unconstitutional. The ruling will not increase the current $2,600 limit on how much a donor can give to a federal candidate in each primary and general election or the $32,400 limit that can go to a national party committee. Those limits are still in place.  The ruling will instead remove the limit on how many candidates/committees to which a donor can contribute.

    April 9, 2014

  • Legislative goals crucial to priorities in education

    I am a member of several professional organizations where I attend regular meetings, network with colleagues, and stay abreast and informed on education best practices.  The Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration, better known as CCOSA, is a nonprofit organization that establishes close and continuous communication and cooperation between educators, taxpayers, and legislators to improve the effectiveness of professional school administrators and to communicate the needs of schools. Attendance this time of year is especially critical because legislators are in session.

    March 28, 2014

  • An impressive ranking that could be better

    That Duncan was named one of the best 15 communities in Oklahoma by Movoto, a national Real Estate company, is news worth celebrating.
    Of 43 places with population of 10,000 or more, as determined by the U.S. Census data, Duncan finished 15th. Norman was first, Edmond second, Yukon and Moore tied for third and Bethany was fifth.

    March 9, 2014

  • Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

    Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.
    As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

    March 9, 2014

  • The blissful serenity of No-TV Land

    Life without TV is possible. Maybe you should try it. I did. It’s a do-able thing, I tell you. I’m still here, no worse the wear, no oozing wounds, no serious loss of brainwave activity except for the slow, inexorable downhill decline that already started when TV viewing was a daily occurrence.

    Granted, two months without the tube is quite likely not a scientifically acceptable sample from which is to hold forth. But it’s the best I can do, so deal with it.

    March 9, 2014

  • Cooper’s message is to remain active

    Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the Dallas physician who coined the phrase “aerobics” more than four decades ago, who has become a world leader in physical fitness and who has saved, literally, thousands of lives by promoting the value of an active lifestyle, shared his philosophy of life here last week.

    March 9, 2014

  • Time to take the “B” out of the “Three R’s”

    Our young folks are hitting the stretch drive toward the end of another school year, during which they’ve been taught “Three R’s”, which are not really “r’s” at all.
    In case you missed it, reading is the only one of the “Three R’s” that actually begins with the letter “r.” Writing starts with a “w” and arithmetic begins with the letter “a.” There are two reasons we drop the “w” from “writing” and the “a” from “arithmetic”: 1. For poetic flow in the age-old saying; and, 2. many people have a secret yen to talk like the Beverly Hillbillies.

    February 23, 2014

  • Thank you for lettin’ me be myself again

    Friends and neighbors, hope I don’t sound like the biggest egomaniac since Donald Trump, but you know, I am the most interesting person I’ve ever known.
    Forgive me if — on first blush — that sounds like the most totally self-aggrandizing statement you’ve ever heard. And if you’ve headed to the restroom to express an editorial opinion about the statement above, I’ll stop for a couple minutes.

    February 15, 2014

  • Buzz misfired in Vanity Fair body slam of Duncan

    As the new kid in town, I’m reluctant to leap atop the ramparts to defend the honor of Duncan, Okla., my new adopted hometown.
    But to heck with that. When an out-of-towner comes into your house and soils your rug, it’s on.
    I speak, of course, about the article in Vanity Fair magazine about Duncan and the  killing last year of Chris Lane, the Australian who was gunned down in August.

    January 24, 2014


Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
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