Politics
8:27 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Up Next For Joe Biden, A Busy Year — And A Choice

Joe Biden has a light-hearted moment in the Old Senate Chambers in January. The vice president has not ruled out running for president in 2016.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:24 pm

This was a busy year for Vice President Joe Biden: He was President Obama's point man on gun control; he traveled widely, pushing for infrastructure spending; and he recently returned form a trip to Asia, where he met with the leaders of China, Japan and South Korea.

In 2014, Biden may face an even busier schedule, as he stumps for Democratic congressional candidates in advance of November's midterm elections and tries to decide whether to make another run for president himself.

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State Capitol
5:39 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Brogdon Faces New Challenges In Oklahoma Governor's Race

Credit Randy Brogdon / Facebook

A conservative Republican state senator who rode a tea party wave four years ago that nearly landed him in a primary runoff with Gov. Mary Fallin will face some added challenges in 2014, including dampened tea party enthusiasm and a popular incumbent governor.

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Business
4:20 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

On-The-Job Deaths Spiking As Oil Drilling Quickly Expands

Energy companies are adding workers, but fatal accidents are on the rise, too.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 6:15 pm

Blue-collar workers, hit hard by automation and factory offshoring, have been struggling to find high-paying jobs.

One industry does offer opportunity: As baby boomers retire and drilling increases, oil and gas companies are hiring. They added 23 percent more workers between 2009 and 2012.

But the hiring spree has come with a terrible price: Last year, 138 workers were killed on the job — an increase of more than 100 percent since 2009.

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Sports
3:14 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Thunder's Westbrook Out Until After All-Star Break

Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook.
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has undergone arthroscopic knee surgery and won't return until after the All-Star break.

General manager Sam Presti says in a statement Friday that Westbrook has been playing pain free, but "recently had experienced increased swelling" in his right knee.

Presti says the team consulted with a surgeon in Los Angeles and an MRI determined there was "an area of concern that had not previously existed."

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Here & Now
1:45 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

2013: A Look Back At The Year In Tech

A developer, Loic Le Meu selected for Google Glass explorer edition shows off his device. (Wikimedia Commons)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:15 pm

This year started with high expectations for Google Glass and other wearable technology, but even by the end of the year those devices haven’t really reached the mainstream.

Companies like Samsung and Snapchat saw great success, while others had a few flops.

NPR technology correspondent Steve Henn joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson to look at the year in technology.

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Prisons
7:45 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Fallin Attorney Says Prison Staffing Is Not A Problem For Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, Okla.
Credit duggar11

Despite a recent report that Oklahoma's ratio of prison guards to offenders is among the worst in the nation, Governor Mary Fallin's top attorney says he doesn't believe safety is being compromised at the state's prisons.

Fallin's general counsel Steve Mullins said Thursday he meets regularly with the interim director of the Department of Correction and is not concerned there is a problem with staffing at the state's prisons.

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StoryCorps
7:26 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Recalling His Inspiration, A Neurosurgeon Thanks A Teacher

After a patient told neurosurgeon Lee Buono to thank the teacher who inspired him, he called up Al Siedlecki.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 7:06 am

This story originally aired on Weekend Edition on Sept. 25, 2011.

As a middle-school student in the 1980s, Lee Buono stayed after school one day to remove the brain and spinal cord from a frog. He did such a good job that his science teacher told him he might become a neurosurgeon someday.

That's exactly what Buono did.

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Fills Vacancies On Council
6:15 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Fallin Makes Appointments To Science And Tech Council

Credit Fort Sill Cannoneer / Flickr.com

Gov. Mary Fallin has named four new members to a council that works to grow the science and technology industries in the state.

Each of the new members to the Governor's Science and Technology Council are filling a vacancy on the 18-person council.

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Certification To Native Language Instructors
4:16 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Rule Change Benefits Native Languages In Oklahoma

Credit katiew / Flickr.com

A new rule change implemented this year by the Oklahoma State Department of Education allows the state to grant an annual certification to American Indian language instructors to teach tribal languages in public schools.

The Oklahoman reports that the rule change aims to address the shrinking number of people who are fluent speakers in their native languages. The change also allows students to receive graduation credit for taking the courses.

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Governing
12:51 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

In 2013, Federal Workers Found New Reason To Be Unhappy

Cindy VanDerwerker, a maintenance worker at Saratoga National Historical Park, clears leaves from a walkway on Oct. 17 in Stillwater, N.Y.
Mike Groll AP

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 2:08 pm

Elizabeth Lytle is an administrative program assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago — "a glorified name for a secretary," she says.

If Lytle isn't thrilled with her title, she's even less enamored of her job.

"The morale is just unbelievably low because we're never recognized," Lytle says. "Management doesn't seem to go to bat for us."

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