Politics and Government
6:32 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Fallin Suggests Overhauling Budget Process And Use Of Dedicated Tax Revenue

Governor Mary Fallin
Credit Governor Mary Fallin / www.ok.gov

Gov. Mary Fallin said Thursday she hopes to work with lawmakers on what she called an “overhaul” of the state’s budgeting process.

“We need to look at making fundamental changes in our budgeting process, even how the Legislature runs its legislative session,” Fallin said following Thursday’s meeting of the Board of Equalization. “In other words, I think we need to focus more on the budget and revenue streams and even possibly look at doing budgeting every year but maybe doing substantive legislation session every other year.”

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Oklahoma Execution
6:08 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Department Of Corrections Director Says State Has Drugs Needed For Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma's prison system chief says the state has the drugs it needs to execute four inmates early next year and plans to administer the same three drugs used in a botched execution this spring.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told a federal judge Friday the agency plans to use the exact formula used successfully in 11 executions in Florida, one that he believes is "humane."

The judge plans to rule Monday in a case in which lawyers for 21 death row inmates say the sedative midazolam presents a risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

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Oklahoma Execution
4:29 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Federal Judge Dismisses Media Lawsuit On Access To Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by media organizations that sought greater access to the execution of Oklahoma death row inmates.

U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton dismissed the lawsuit on Friday. He rejected allegations that Oklahoma's execution protocols violate the First Amendment.

The lawsuit was filed in August by Oklahoma Observer and the Guardian US news organizations following the April 29 of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before he was pronounced dead about 43 minutes after his execution began.

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Oklahoma News
3:50 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoma Unemployment Rate Dips In November

Credit Kate Hiscock / Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Oklahoma's unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent last month.

The Oklahoma Employment Security Commission reported Friday that November's unemployment rate showed a slight decrease from October's rate of 4.5 percent. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 percent.

Over the year, the state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 1.1 percentage points.

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Indian Times
3:24 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoman And Native Activist Receives Presidential Medal Of Freedom

President Obama Bestows Presidential Medal Of Freedom On Suzan Shown Harjo
Credit The White House

One of Oklahoma’s native daughters, Suzan Shown Harjo, received the highest honor this country bestows upon a civilian, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Harjo is founder and president of The Morning Star Institute in Washington, DC, and a poet, writer, curator, lecturer and policy advocate, who has helped Native peoples protect sacred places and recover more than one million acres of land.

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World Views
3:05 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Charles Kimball On Violence And The Need For Religious Pluralism

The Jewish Star of David, Arab- Christian Cross and Crescent on the front of Beit Hagefen Arab-Jewish Center in Haifa.
zeevveez Flickr

What makes religion turn violent?

That’s the question Charles Kimball is trying to answer.

An ordained Baptist minister with a Th.D. in comparative religion from Harvard, Kimball has studied the intersection of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam for four decades. He’s made more than three dozen trips to the Middle East, worked closely with Congress, the White House, and the U.S. State Department as an analyst of Jewish-Christian-Muslim relations and of the intersection of religion and politics in the United States.

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The Two-Way
12:31 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Obama's Wide-Ranging, Year-End News Conference

President Obama speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House during a media briefing last month.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 5:02 pm

Updated at 6 p.m. ET

President Obama spoke to reporters in a year-end news conference at the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House.

One of the topics that came up was Sony Pictures Entertainment's decision to cancel distribution of the film The Interview following North Korea's cyber attack against the company's servers.

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The Two-Way
12:15 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

To Finish Up Year, Obama Will Hold A Press Conference

President Barack Obama speaks in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington on Dec. 17.
Doug Mills AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:33 am

President Obama will close out 2014 with his traditional end-of-year press conference.

The press conference is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. ET., and it's bound to be eventful because Obama has a lot to talk about.

Among the news events that will likely come up:

-- The normalization of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

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The Two-Way
9:54 am
Fri December 19, 2014

2014 Saw Fewest Executions In 20 Years, Report Finds

The gurney in the execution chamber at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary is pictured in McAlester, Okla., in 2008.
AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 12:20 pm

There was a significant drop in the number of executions and death penalty sentences in 2014, a new report by the Death Penalty Information Center finds.

The group's year-end accounting finds that:

-- States conducted 35 executions in 2014 — the lowest since 1994.

-- And the justice system sentenced 72 people to death — the lowest number in 40 years.

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9:20 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Oklahoma Oilman Harold Hamm Bets Prices Will Rise, And Loses Big

The oil price bust has left lots of people licking their financial wounds. Perhaps the biggest one-way bet in the wrong direction came from the oilpatch itself, by a company and its founder at the center of the U.S. oil revolution. Harold Hamm is the $8 billion oilman; the man behind the biggest drilling company in North Dakota, Continental Resources.
In an earnings call five weeks ago, he said, "We're at the bottom rung here on prices and we'll see them recover pretty drastically pretty quick. Given our belief the recent pullback in oil prices will be short-lived, we made changes to our existing hedge book by monetizing practically all of our oil contracts."

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