• Okla. House panel passes 'Merry Christmas Bill'

    ASSOCIATED PRESS | Updated: Mon, Feb 10, 2014

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It was Christmas in February for an Oklahoma House committee. The House Common Education Committee Monday approved legislation authorizing public school students and school employees to greet each other with phrases used during traditional winter celebrations such as merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays. The so-called Merry Christmas Bill authorizes Oklahoma school districts to teach students about the history of the traditional celebrations. It also allows a school district erect to displays on school property associated with the winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image like a nativity scene or Christmas tree, under certain circumstances. The measure's author,

  • Christie to field questions for 1st time in weeks

    Published: Mon, Feb 3, 2014

    TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Gov. Chris Christie on Monday prepared to take questions for the first time in more than three weeks as his campaign sought to exceed New Jersey’s election spending cap to pay for lawyers dealing with subpoenas stemming from a political playback scandal. Christie gave a nearly two-hour news conference Jan. 9, the day after emails were made public showing that at least one of his top aides had a role in a traffic-blocking scheme near the George Washington Bridge. Since then, he has made public appearances but not opened himself to questions, except to schoolchildren in Camden.

  • Oklahoma Supreme Court flexes its muscles in 2013

    BY TIM TALLEY | Published: Thu, Dec 26, 2013

    An overview of the influential decisions made in 2013 by Oklahoma courts.

  • Bipartisan negotiators reach modest budget pact

    Updated: Tue, Dec 10, 2013

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional negotiators reached a modest budget agreement Tuesday to restore about $65 billion in automatic spending cuts from programs ranging from parks to the Pentagon, with votes expected in both houses by week's end. Officials said the increases would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling about $85 billion over a decade, enough for a largely symbolic cut of roughly $20 billion in the nation's $17 trillion debt. Among them is a requirement for federal workers to make larger contributions to their own pensions, as well as an increase in a federal security fee that would add $5 to the cost of a typical roundtrip flight.

  • World leaders, South Africans honor Mandela

    By JON GAMBRELL, JULIE PACE and ALAN CLENDENNING, AP | Published: Tue, Dec 10, 2013

    JOHANNESBURG — U.S. President Barack Obama implored thousands gathered in a cold, rainy stadium and millions watching around the world on Tuesday to carry forward Nelson Mandela's mission of erasing injustice and inequality.

  • Police search for a gunman at locked-down Yale

    By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN | Published: Mon, Nov 25, 2013

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — An anonymous caller warned authorities Monday that his roommate was on his way to Yale University to shoot people, leading officials to lock the Ivy League campus down as police searched for a gunman. At least two witnesses reported seeing someone on or near campus with a long gun. A 911 call was received around 9:30 a.m. from a man at a pay phone about a mile from the campus, said Officer David Hartman, a New Haven Police spokesman. “All he really said was that his roommate was on his way to the university, to Yale University, to shoot people,” he said. Police later received reports from witnesses who reported seeing someone with a gun, Hartman said.

  • Democrats vote to curb filibusters on appointees

    By ALAN FRAM | Published: Thu, Nov 21, 2013

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Democrats eased the way for swift approval of President Barack Obama's current and future nominees on Thursday, voting unilaterally to overturn decades of Senate precedent and undermine Republicans' ability to block final votes. The 52-48 vote to undercut venerable filibuster rules on presidential appointees capped more than a decade of struggle in which presidents of both parties complained about delays in confirming appointees, particularly to the federal courts. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who launched the move, accused Republicans of “unbelievable, unprecedented obstruction” of Obama's selections to fill court vacancies and other offices.

  • Son: North Korea detains U.S. war veteran, 85

    By ROBERT JABLON, AP | Published: Thu, Nov 21, 2013

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — An 85-year-old American veteran of the Korean War was detained last month in North Korea as he sat in a plane set to leave the country, his son said Wednesday. Merrill Newman of Palo Alto, Calif. was about to leave the country on Oct. 26 when a uniformed North Korean officer came on the plane, asked to see his passport, and asked the stewardess to have him leave the plane,” Jeffrey Newman said. “My dad got off, walked out with the stewardess, and that's the last he was seen,” Jeffrey Newman told The Associated Press at his home in Pasadena, Calif. Merrill Newman was traveling with friend Bob Hamrdla, who was allowed to return. Hamrdla said in a statement that “there has to be

  • Missouri executes serial killer Franklin

    JIM SALTER, Associated Press | Updated: Wed, Nov 20, 2013

    BONNE TERRE, Mo. — Joseph Paul Franklin, a white supremacist who targeted blacks and Jews in a cross-country killing spree from 1977 to 1980, was put to death Wednesday in Missouri, the state's first execution in nearly three years. Franklin, 63, was executed at the state prison in Bonne Terre for killing Gerald Gordon in a sniper shooting at a suburban St. Louis synagogue in 1977. Franklin was convicted of seven other murders across the country and claimed responsibility for up to 20 overall, but the Missouri case was the only one that brought a death sentence. Mike O'Connell, of the Missouri Department of Corrections, said Franklin was pronounced dead at 6:17 a.m. The execution was the first in Missouri

  • 3 shot near Pittsburgh high school; gunman sought

    Updated: Wed, Nov 13, 2013

    PITTSBURGH (AP) — School officials say three students were shot outside a Pittsburgh high school, and police are searching for a gunman. Pittsburgh school district spokeswoman Ebony Pugh says the students were shot outside Brashear High School on Wednesday afternoon as they walked to a vehicle they'd all taken to school earlier in the day. She says their injuries appear to be non-life-threatening. Two were grazed in the head and one was shot in both the foot and arm. It's not clear who shot them. Pugh says the victims were not on school property but close by. She says one victim was found inside the school but either ran inside or was taken there by emergency crews and wasn't shot inside school. Brashear is

  • NH man fights denial of ‘COPSLIE' vanity plate

    By LYNNE TUOHY | Published: Thu, Nov 7, 2013

    CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire man told the state's highest court Thursday that denying him a vanity license plate that reads “COPSLIE” violates his political free speech rights. David Montenegro, who last year legally changed his name to “human,” said he wanted the plate because he feels it highlights government corruption. Lawyers for the New Hampshire Civil Liberties Union, who joined the case, say the current DMV regulation is unconstitutionally vague and gives too much discretion in a person behind a counter. The policy prohibits vanity plates that “a reasonable person would find offensive to good taste.

  • State's governor, other politicians criticize Redskins' name

    Published: Thu, Nov 7, 2013

    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota's governor and the mayor of Minneapolis both say the Washington Redskins should change the team's name. The Minnesota Vikings play Washington on Thursday evening. Gov. Mark Dayton was asked about the Redskins' nickname at a Thursday morning news conference. He called it “racist” and suggested every member of Congress should boycott the team to put pressure on its owners. Also Thursday, Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak released a statement saying the name disrespects indigenous people. Six members of the Minneapolis City Council had recently sent a letter to the team's owner and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling the nickname and team mascot racist.

  • Official: 92 bodies of migrants found in Niger

    By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, AP | Published: Thu, Oct 31, 2013

    DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Authorities in the nation of Niger have recovered 92 bodies of migrants who died of thirst after the trucks they were travelling in broke down in a desolate no-man's-land at the feet of the Sahara desert, officials said Thursday. The dozens of people were being smuggled last month along a well-established trafficking route used to move contraband, including people, from Niger to neighboring Algeria, said Col. Garba Makido the governor of the Nigerien province of Agadez, south of where the bodies were found. Officials were only alerted to the incident when a lone woman managed to stumble out of the desert earlier this month.

  • Fed judge: Texas abortion limits unconstitutional

    By CHRIS TOMLINSON | Published: Mon, Oct 28, 2013

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — New abortion restrictions passed by the Texas Legislature are unconstitutional and will not take effect as scheduled on Tuesday, a federal judge has ruled. District Judge Lee Yeakel wrote Monday that the regulations violated the rights of abortion doctors to do what they think is best for their patients and would unreasonably restrict a woman's access to abortion clinics. Lawyers for Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers brought the lawsuit, arguing that a requirement that doctors have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic would force the closure of a third of the clinics in Texas.

  • Dem lawmaker on Tea Party: 'If the hood fits, wear it'

    Published: Wed, Oct 23, 2013

    ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Republicans say a fundraising email sent out by Democratic U.S. Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida that shows a burning cross in the words “Tea Party” is “unacceptable and deplorable.” The email has a photo depicting a burning cross with Ku Klux Klan members in white robes in the background. The words “Tea Party” appear on the image, with the burning cross serving as the letter “T.” The email was sent earlier this week. Lenny Curry, the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, demanded in a statement that state Democrats condemn Grayson for making the comparison between the KKK and the Tea Party. Grayson said in a statement released Wednesday that Tea Party members have a