Transportation
8:33 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Syrup Spill Snarls Oklahoma City Traffic

Traffic moves along I-44 just west of a syrup spill that shut down one lane of the highway Wednesday morning.
Credit Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says drivers should avoid parts of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma City after a tanker leaked syrup for miles along the roadway.

Crews shut down the right lane of westbound Interstate 44 between Northwest 36th Street and Southwest 89th Street after discovering the spill Wednesday morning. The highway patrol says crews are bringing in sand to help clean up the slippery mess.

Authorities say the tanker was hauling 48,000 gallons of syrup to a Braum's restaurant. Police say the driver apparently drove for miles without noticing the leaking syrup.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:58 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Putin Flexes Moscow's Muscles; Kerry Says This Isn't 'Rocky IV'

Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ria Novosti Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 11:25 am

We retopped this post at 12:25 p.m. ET.

Responding to the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin has put his army on alert in what seems to be a bid to influence events in Ukraine, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. is "not looking for [a] confrontation" with Moscow.

And, in a reference to the Cold War days of the past when the rivalry between two superpowers would find its way into popular culture, Kerry tried to cool things down.

"This is not Rocky IV," he said, during an MSNBC interview.

Read more
It's All Politics
6:23 am
Wed February 26, 2014

Obama And Boehner Relationship Anything But Solid

President Obama and Speaker John Boehner were all smiles at a rare White House meeting Tuesday. But their relationship has more often been marked by angry finger-pointing.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 6:49 pm

If more were actually getting done in Washington, there probably would be much less attention focused on how few times President Obama and Speaker John Boehner have met face-to-face, and on their "relationship."

But Congress is testing new lows in terms of legislative productivity, which leaves plenty of time for journalists to muse about the president-speaker relationship, such as it is, on the day of one of their rare meetings.

Read more
Birth Control
4:15 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Morning-After Pill Bill Delayed

Credit epSos.de / Flickr.com

The Oklahoma Senate has delayed action on a bill to prevent girls younger than 17 from buying the so-called morning-after pill without a prescription after the measure's author realized it applied only to females.

Norman Republican Sen. Rob Standridge brought the bill up for consideration Tuesday in the Senate. The measure prohibits girls younger than 17 from purchasing the morning-after emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

Read more
Politics and Government
2:49 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Religious Freedom Bills Rooted In Fears Of Obama Policies

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, has been urged by the state's two U.S. senators, both Republicans, to veto a bill that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 3:43 pm

Many religious leaders are feeling under siege. They believe the Obama administration is at worst hostile but at least "tone deaf" to the demands of faith. In their view, the government is attempting to make them act in ways that violate their convictions.

That is the context in which so-called religious freedom bills are being considered in Arizona and numerous other states.

The bills, which would allow business owners to refuse service to gays or other groups that offend their religious beliefs, appear discriminatory on their face.

Read more
Oklahoma Watch
2:25 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

State Moves To Share Early-Childhood Data With Districts

Credit Brad Flickinger / Flickr Creative Commons

Oklahoma is often held up as the national poster child for offering early childhood education to many students.

But according to state officials and educators, the system has a serious weakness: Data about each student’s academic profile is not shared between early-childhood education program providers and school districts, or between providers. That can prevent kindergarten teachers from being able to immediately target students' learning needs when they arrive, officials say. It also prevents providers from doing the same when a child transfers from one program to another or is enrolled in more than one program.

Read more
State Capitol
1:17 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Oklahoma House Approves Embryonic Stem Cell Ban

Credit Annie Cavanagh, Wellcome Images / Flickr Creative Commons

A bill that makes it a felony crime to conduct certain types of embryonic stem cell research in Oklahoma has been overwhelmingly approved in the House, despite concerns it sends the wrong message to the nation's research community.

Read more
School Shelters
12:30 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Oklahoma High Court Hears School Shelter Arguments

Petitions are completed for the Take Shelter Oklahoma organization in December. The group says it does not have enough signatures to put its petition on the ballot.
Credit Kurt Gwartney / KGOU

An attorney for supporters of an initiative petition to place storm shelters in public schools told the Oklahoma Supreme Court that Attorney General Scott Pruitt's office abused its discretion by re-writing a ballot title that he says was not legally incorrect.

Read more
Same-Sex Marriage
9:24 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Court Filing: Oklahoma Children Better Off With Straight Parents

A sign supporting gay marriage in California on the first day same-gender couples could legally marry there.
Credit Marc Love / flickr.com Creative Commons

Lawyers for an Oklahoma clerk who refused to grant a marriage license to a same-sex couple say a federal judge was wrong to overturn the state's voter-approved ban on gay marriages.

In a court filing Monday night, the Alliance Defending Freedom cites courts and anthropologists in saying children are better off in a home with a mother and a father. The group also says that the two women in Tulsa had no fundamental right to marry.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue February 25, 2014

After 'Best Year Since 2005,' Housing Sector Likely To Slow

A home for sale earlier this month in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 9:07 am

Home prices across 20 of the nation's major metropolitan areas rose 13.4 percent in 2013 from the year before, according to the latest S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index report.

Overall, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices economist David Blitzer, the index "ended its best year since 2005" — well before the burst of the housing bubble in 2007-08.

Read more

Pages