Politics and Government

Parallels
2:30 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Plan Calls For Syria's Chemical Arsenal To Be Destroyed At Sea

If a plan taking shape is finalized, the MV Cape Ray, managed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, will be turned into a floating chemical weapons disposal plant.
U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 9:49 am

The world wants Syria's chemical arsenal destroyed. But so far, no country has offered to do the dirty work on its soil. Over the past week, an alternative has gained ground: Carry out the destruction at sea. The plan taking shape is complicated and untested, but it just might work.

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Around the Nation
6:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Fast Food Workers Rally Across Country For Better Pay

Workers rallied in 100 cities on Thursday to raise awareness for increasing pressure to raise wages. The push comes as 19 cities and states already raised minimum wages. A report from Berkeley economists finds the low-wage fast food jobs are costing taxpayer billions of dollars in public assistance — everything from food stamps to Medicaid.

Politics
6:47 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Add This To The Fiscal Cliff: Congress Faces A 'Milk Cliff' Too

Congress still has a long to-do list and not much time left. The House hopes to wrap it up next week — just as the Senate returns from a Thanksgiving break. On many lawmakers' lists are efforts to complete a farm bill before milk prices go off the "dairy cliff." That on top of tough budget negotiations.

Politics
4:48 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

To Fix Social Security, Some Democrats Want To Lift Wage Cap

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D- Mass., listens to testimony during a Banking Committee hearing on Nov. 12. In a Senate floor speech on Social Security last month, Warren said, "With some modest adjustments, we can keep the system solvent for many more years, and we could even increase benefits."
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:39 pm

For the past three years, there's been a shortfall in the payroll taxes collected for Social Security. And as more baby boomers join the ranks of the 57 million people already receiving benefits, that deficit is bound to keep growing.

At the same time, the overall share of wages being taxed for Social Security is shrinking as the higher wages that are exempt have soared. The Social Security Board of Trustees predicts a nearly $3 trillion trust fund built up over decades will vanish within 20 years.

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It's All Politics
4:22 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

For Biden, All The World's A Stage For Possible 2016 Run

Vice President Biden chats with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao before heading to their luncheon at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Thursday.
Andy Wong AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 5:27 pm

Vice President Biden hasn't announced his 2016 presidential plans. It's far too early for that; we haven't even hit the first anniversary of President Obama's second inaugural, after all.

But as Biden traveled this week to Japan, China and South Korea where he met top leaders, he certainly gave the impression of a man doing a full dress rehearsal for the presidency.

Of course, if Hillary Clinton decides to run for president, rehearsing for the presidency may be as close as Biden gets to the Democratic nomination.

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State Capitol
3:35 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Former Sen. Leftwich Guilty In Bribery Case

Former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich
Credit Oklahoma Senate

A former Democratic state senator has been found guilty for her role in a bribery scheme and received a one-year suspended sentence.

Former state Sen. Debbe Leftwich on Thursday waived her right to a jury trial and was found guilty by District Judge Cindy Truong of accepting a thing of value to withdraw as a candidate for office.

As part of a deal with prosecutors, Leftwich will be allowed to appeal her felony conviction based on the defense theory that she was technically not a candidate for office.

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

White House: President Briefly Lived With Kenyan-Born Uncle

Onyango Obama, President Obama's Kenyan-born uncle, arrives at U.S. Immigration Court in Boston on Tuesday for a deportation hearing.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 6:08 pm

The White House has acknowledged that as a student at Harvard Law School in the 1980s, the president briefly lived with his Kenyan-born uncle, after it first denied the two had ever met.

Earlier this week, Onyango Obama, 69, faced a deportation that resulted from a 2011 drunken-driving arrest. At the hearing, which he won, the judge asked about his family, and Onyango replied that he had a nephew named Barack Obama, adding, "He's the president of the United States."

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State Capitol
11:31 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Yukon State Senator Not Seeking Re-Election

State Sen. Rob Johnson (R-Yukon)
Credit Oklahoma State Senate

A Republican state senator from Yukon says he won't seek re-election to his Senate seat in 2014.

Sen. Rob Johnson said Thursday he plans to leave the Legislature to spend more time with his family and focus on building his law practice in downtown Oklahoma City.

Johnson's Senate Dist. 22 seat includes most of the cities of Yukon, Piedmont and Deer Creek, along with parts of far west Edmond and Oklahoma City. It was previously held by his father, Republican Sen. Mike Johnson of Kingfisher.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Obama Tells Government To Ramp Up Its Renewable Energy Use

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 12:44 pm

This post was updated at 1:30 p.m. ET

President Obama says the U.S. government "must lead by example" when it comes to safeguarding the environment, so he's ordering federal agencies to use more clean energy.

Under a presidential memorandum out Thursday, each agency would have until 2020 to get 20 percent of its electricity from renewable supplies.

"Government agencies currently get less than 10 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such as solar and wind," NPR's Richard Harris reports. He adds that:

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State Capitol
10:57 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Oklahoma's State Technology Leader Leaving For Oregon

Alex Pettit
Credit State of Oklahoma

Oklahoma's first chief information officer who helped lead a consolidation of the state's computer and information technology systems is leaving to take a similar post in Oregon.

Gov. Mary Fallin announced Thursday that Oklahoma's CIO Alex Pettit will leave his post on Jan. 4. Pettit was appointed by former Democratic Gov. Brad Henry in 2010 after the Legislature passed a law authorizing the position to oversee Oklahoma'sinformation and technology operations.

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