Washington
8:41 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Coburn Questions VA Over Employee Union Work

U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.)

Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma are seeking information about Department of Veterans Affairs employees who they say perform full-time union duties instead of their government work.

They sent a letter Wednesday to the head of the VA suggesting employees doing other duties could hinder the VA in its goal of eliminating the backlog of veterans' disability claims.

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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Spy Agency's Collection Of Phone Records Reopens Controversy

Your call may be monitored: The NSA has been given the OK to collect data about millions of Americans' phone calls (though not about the conversations).
Glen Argov Landov

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 1:16 pm

(Most recent update: 2 p.m. ET)

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The Bradley Manning Trial: A Short(ish) Guide To Understanding The Case

Army Pfc. Bradley Manning (right) is escorted out of a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., on June 25, 2012. His lawyer announced that Manning, who is accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks, had agreed to plead guilty to lesser charges.
Patrick Semansky AP

For the next 12 weeks, a military judge in Fort Meade, Md. will consider the case of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. It's bound to be a complicated, long-running and often secretive process that kicked off on Monday.

Before we get too far into the court-martial, we wanted to put together a shortish guide to bring you up to speed on the trial.

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World Views
9:14 am
Wed June 5, 2013

What You Need To Know About The Protests Sweeping Across Turkey

Turkish citizen Tarkan Babayigit holds a tear gas canister picked up from the streets of Ankara on June 3.
Credit Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Tens of thousands of Turks have joined anti-government protests expressing discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 10-year rule.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the protests started over green space in the middle of Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Developers, with the backing of Erdoğan, want to build a large shopping mall.

“Very quickly political parties and the opposition parties joined in,” Landis says. “But much more than that, lots of middle-class people and particularly young students began to crowd into the squares.”

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OU Softball
7:09 am
Wed June 5, 2013

OU Softball Sweeps Tennessee For Second National Championship

The Sooners gather around the National Championship trophy Tuesday night on the field of ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City
Credit University of Oklahoma Athletic Department

National player of the year Keilani Ricketts homered and drove in four runs, Michelle Gascoigne pitched a three-hit shutout and top-seeded Oklahoma won the NCAA softball championship by beating Tennessee 4-0 Tuesday night in Game 2 of the Women's College World Series finals.

"I told them, if I had a million dollars, I would buy this for you, but I don't have a million dollars so I'm glad that we won it instead," Head Coach Patty Gasso says. "Seeing these seniors go out this way is something that I'll cherish forever."

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:47 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Gov. Fallin Signs Law Giving Oklahoma Water Regulator Regional Representation

Water advocacy groups praised the new law, saying it it would give a bigger planning voice to rural areas, especially water-rich southeastern Oklahoma.
Credit Joe Wertz / The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a big advocate for regional water planning, the idea that local control over who uses what water and where it’s sent will lead to better conservation. But the move toward regional planning signed into law Friday by G

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board is a big advocate for regional water planning, the idea that local control over who uses what water and where it’s sent will lead to better conservation.

But the move toward regional planning signed into law Friday by Gov. Mary Fallin isn’t exactly what the board had in mind.

“We had nothing to do with this bill,” OWRB Executive Director J.D. Strong says.

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State Supreme Court
1:41 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Logrolling: Court Throws Out Law Limiting Lawsuits

Justices of the Oklahoma Supreme Court
Credit Oklahoma Supreme Court

The Oklahoma Supreme Court says a law adopted in 2009 to reform Oklahoma's civil justice system is unconstitutional.

The state's highest court handed down the decision Tuesday in a divided 7-2 ruling. In a separate decision, the court said a requirement that injured people submit a certificate of merit before they can file professional malpractice lawsuits is unconstitutional.

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Severe Storms
1:12 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

El Reno Tornado, Now EF5, Sets Record

The May 31 El Reno tornado sets a record with its 2.6 mile width. Meteorlogits upgrade strength to EF5.
Norman Forecast Office National Weather Service

Meteorologists have upgraded the tornado that hit Canadian County, west of Oklahoma City, as an EF5, the top of the ratings. The width of the tornado, 2.6 miles, is being called the widest ever recorded.

The upgrade came after researchers from the University of Oklahoma and meteorologists with the National Weather Service evaluated the tornado using information from a mobile research radar.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:55 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Lawmakers Fail to Stop Fee Increases: What You'll Be Paying More For This Fall

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:51 pm

Republican House Speaker T.W. Shannon says user fees have gone up by about $100 million since 2007, and he wanted to ban most fee increases this past legislative session.

But in the end, it was more of a technicality than worry over how to fund the government that killed House Bill 1914.

Shannon’s bill passed the House and Senate, but was never sent to Gov. Mary Fallin to be signed into law. So, the fees agencies charge for their services can continue to go up … and they are.

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StateImpact Oklahoma
2:46 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

What Would Happen if an F5 Tornado Hit Oklahoma’s Cushing Oil Hub?

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 2:38 pm

It’s hard to imagine a worse setting: A seemingly endless horizon of giant steel storage tanks holding 50 million barrels of crude oil, a spiderweb of pipelines, pumps, compressors and terminals, and a critical confluence of big corporations and international energy market money.

And a city of about 8,000 nearby.

Law enforcement has long feared the Cushing oil terminal would make an ideal target of terrorists, but what about a tornado? Just two weeks before the May 20 tornados devastated Moore, authorities held a worst-case-scenario F5 twister drill in Cushing.

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