Until today, there's been a rush of news related to the kidnapping of three young women in Cleveland, their rescue after a decade in captivity and the chilling details that have emerged about what they went through. Now, the news has slowed. We suspect there will be less to report in coming days, but we'll watch for important developments.
Sixty-six years after the Wright Brothers made history at Kitty Hawk, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the surface of the moon. From that pivotal moment on, Aldrin has advocated for continued and expanded space exploration. Now, he argues that 66 years after the Eagle landed at Tranquility Base, Americans should establish a presence on Mars.
Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed a bill that would have given state workers the option of enrolling in a defined contribution retirement plan similar to a 401(k).
The bill by Oklahoma City Republican Rep. Randy McDaniel that Fallin vetoed Friday would have allowed state employees hired after July 2014 to choose between a defined contribution option and the current defined benefit system. The bill was approved earlier this week by the House on a 72-20 vote.
Democrats in the House argued the bill would increase the risk involved in state workers' retirement years.
The Pentagon says the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration could leave the U.S. with a military that is simply unprepared for the most challenging combat missions. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told Congress in April that the military is eating its seed corn.
The Oklahoma House is expected to consider a measure that would increase the amount of money Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers receive each month for an equipment allowance.
A bill expected to be considered next week would boost the troopers' monthly allowance from $150 to $300, effectively giving them an $1,800 annual raise. The bill would still need to pass both the House and Senate.
The money to pay for the increase was freed up from the Department of Public Safety's operating budget after a bill passed earlier this session to increase driver's license fees.
State Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City) said Friday she will seek the post during the party's annual convention on Saturday, May 18. Democratic campaign strategist Jed Green will seek the vice-chair position.
Current Democratic Party Chairman Wallace Collins also is seeking re-election to the post, along with current vice-chair Dana Orwig. Collins is a former Democratic state legislator from Norman.
Earlier this week Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to China. Even though the two leaders did not meet, the timing of the visits signals China could start to become a diplomatic player in the troubled region.
Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and a longtime observer of Syria, says China tried to arrange a meeting in 2007 between Netanyahu and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but it didn’t work.
“[China has] been asserting themselves more and more in the Middle East,” Landis says. “And that’s a product of the United States withdrawing, and China is becoming much more self-confident.”