Welcome news on retail front
IN past years, those seeking to liberalize laws regarding the sale of wine and strong beer often argued the state’s restrictive laws deterred several national retailers from opening Oklahoma locations. Costco and Trader Joe’s were the most-commonly cited examples.
That claim may have been oversold when it came to Trader Joe’s, which opened Oklahoma stores before state liquor laws were changed. But those assertions came to mind again when it was announced this week that Costco Wholesale Corp. plans to buy 16.49 acres at 13200 N Western to open its first Oklahoma City store.
One can’t definitively say the Costco announcement is tied to changes in state liquor laws. Oklahomans voted in 2016 to allow wine and strong beer to be sold in grocery stores, and the change went into effect this month. But there’s no reason to think liquor law reform was a negative factor, and good reason to think it may have made Oklahoma more attractive to the national chain.
If a company generates significant revenue or foot traffic from wine sales in its locations in other states, it stands to reason its business model is based in part on offering wine or beer to consumers and the loss of that income might be a black mark when evaluating potential new store locations.
Regardless, that Oklahoma City continues to draw interest from national chains shows the city continues to grow and outside experts see brighter days ahead for the local economy. That’s welcome news and deserves a toast.
Ballot box ‘cheat sheets’
Following Oklahoma’s runoff elections in August, we received a letter from a reader who said he and his wife had brought information with them to their voting precinct but were informed they couldn’t use “cheat sheets.” That prompted a letter from another reader who had had a similar experience. “Because there were so many people running, we knew we could not remember all the candidates we wanted to vote for, so we wrote them down … how is that cheating?” she wrote. The answer is, it’s not cheating. Bryan Dean, spokesman for the state Election Board, says voters may bring notes with them “or even a marked sample ballot.” In fact, the agency encourages it and even tweets about it ahead of elections. What’s not allowed, Dean says, is to share those notes with others while at the polling place. Perhaps this will help clear things up, for voters and precinct workers alike, during the Nov. 6 general election.
Almost as soon as Brett Kavanaugh was sworn in as the nation’s newest U.S. Supreme Court justice, some Democratic members of Congress vowed to pursue his removal via impeachment if they regain control of Congress. The fact that impeachment would be an even bigger circus than the confirmation process and almost certainly fail doesn’t seem to matter to those critics. But some Democrats are showing greater selfawareness. When asked about the topic on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., noted there has “only been one justice that’s been impeached and I think talking about it at this point isn’t necessarily healing us and moving us forward. The Senate’s role in our politics is not to just reflect the country, but to help heal and lead the country.” If Democrats do regain power, it may prove short-lived if they engage in mindless partisanship and ignore issues of real importance.
Activists’ zeal to remove old monuments has been a source of amusement at best and disgust at worst. Recall that the Southern Poverty Law Center once released a map of 1,500 alleged Confederate symbols, declaring, “It’s time to take the monuments down.” The items the SPLC listed included entire counties, public schools, military bases and at least one dam. In that vein, the Madison City Council in Wisconsin has voted to remove a large, stone monument listing the names of about 140 Confederate prisoners-of-war buried in a local cemetery. This isn’t a statue or piece of artwork. Apparently, it’s now objectionable for a cemetery marker simply to list the names of people buried in the cemetery. Moody’s Investors Service recently changed the outlook of Madison’s general obligation credit rating from stable to negative. Dare we suggest the city council may not have its priorities straight?
In today’s hyper-partisan environment, many people on both sides of the aisle aren’t willing to argue that their opponents are wrong, but insist they are evil or stupid. Too often, press coverage plays up such attitudes. Robert VerBruggen, writing at National Review Online, notes one recent case when a headline writer for Pacific Standard magazine fell into this trap. An academic study, which used a vocabulary test as a proxy for IQ, examined how supposedly lowerIQ people voted. Pacific Standard used the headline, “Trump’s appeal to the cognitively challenged.” But VerBruggen notes the study actually showed “a far stronger link between low cognitive ability and support for (Barack) Obama in 2012” than “there was between low cognitive ability and support for Trump in 2016.” Put simply, the study provided ammo to both sides yet still gave neither political party reason to gloat.
Haley will be missed
We have written that any list of President Trump’s accomplishments should include naming Nikki Haley ambassador to the United Nations, so it is with some sadness we note Haley is leaving that job at the end of the year. A two-year stint is typical for many highprofile and high-pressure jobs in any presidential administration, and Haley clearly left on good terms. As U.N. ambassador, Haley set a high bar for speaking with moral clarity. She informed the U.N. that the United States “will not be told by any country where we can put our embassy” in Israel. She said all the Palestine Liberation Organization has done “is have their hand out asking for money, badmouth the United States, not come to the table on the peace deal.” And she criticized the notorious U.N. Security Council as little more than an “Israel-bashing session.” Here’s hoping Haley’s successor charts a similar path.
Voters and IDs
A “motor voter” law in Georgia has worked quite well since it was enacted two years ago. Under the law, which is similar to laws in a dozen other states and the District of Columbia, people who renew their driver’s license or apply for a new one are registered automatically to vote unless they opt out. Since 2016, more than half a million Peach State voters have been registered — a bump of 15 percent. The Wall Street Journal reports that the number of black registered voters has risen by 15 percent, Hispanics by 40 percent and Asian-Pacific Islanders by 36 percent. One irony is that these are generally left-leaning demographic groups, and the law was signed by a Republican governor. But the surge also punctures a favorite argument of those who oppose voter ID laws — that they “disenfranchise” minorities who are less likely to have government-issued identification.