Oklahoman Business cover brief for July 4, 2019

OK rig count declines
Oklahoma’s rig count fell by five this week to 97 while the number of working rigs nationally also declined, Baker Hughes reported Wednesday.
The national working rig count fell by four to 963, down 89 from the 1,052 that were drilling the same week a year ago.Read more on

Stocks close at record highs

By Damian J. TroiseAP Business WriterNEW YORK — Investors extended a rally through a holiday-shortened day and pushed the S&P 500 index to its third straight record high close on Wednesday.Read more on

US still looking for way to ask about citizenship on census

By Mark Sherman and Jill ColvinThe Associated PressWASHINGTON — The Justice Department said Wednesday that it was still looking for a way to include a controversial citizenship question on the 2020 census, even though the government has started the process of printing the questionnaire without it.
The abrupt shift from the Justice Department came hours after President Donald Trump insisted he was not dropping his efforts to ask about citizenship in next year’s nationwide survey.Read more on

Jarring images of border cells surface ahead of July 4

By Elliot SpagatThe Associated Press“Inhumane.” “Shameful.” “Intolerable.” “Brutal.” Mounting revelations about squalid and dangerously overcrowded conditions at Border Patrol holding centers have fueled public outrage heading into the Fourth of July weekend, with protesters taking to the streets and social media to decry the situation as un-American and unacceptable.
The swelling furor over President Donald Trump’s immigration polices comes as the administration said Wednesday that it is looking for more properties to permanently hold unaccompanied children who cross the border.Read more on

Ackerman McQueen accuses NRA of threatening employees

By Steve LackmeyerBusiness writerslackmeyer@oklahoman.comAckerman McQueen, Oklahoma City’s largest and oldest advertising agency, alleged Wednesday its former client, the National Rifle Assoction, is threatening the company’s employees with a loss of jobs and benefits.
The firm and the NRA are suing each other for more than $100 million following the collapse of 38 years of services for the nonprofit that include operating NRATV and paying million-dollar annual salaries to the online network’s leading personalities, Dana Loesch and Oliver North.
The network’s programming was canceled last week following legal filings by Ackerman McQueen stating the NRA was delinquent in paying bills and without a requested $5 million line of credit from the NRA, the company faced laying off up to 40% of its employees.
The firm has yet to disclose whether employees are being laid off or furloughed.
Bill Powers, executive vice president with Mercury Group, the Alexandria, Virginia, office of Ackerman McQueen, said Wednesday the firm will provide federally required COBRA insurance regardless of whether employees sign an agreement.Read more on

Interview, photos and music: OKC entertainer Lucas Ross gets otherworldly with new album ‘Banjos in Space’

By Brandy McDonnellAn abbreviated version of this story appears in Thursday's Life & Style section of The Oklahoman.'Banjos in Space'OKC entertainer Lucas Ross reaches for the stars with new albumWhen considering the vast history of music, movies and television series based on outer space, several sonic signifiers might come to mind, from the brassy power of John Williams’ “The Imperial March” from the “Star Wars” saga to the eerie theremin included in Bernard Herrmann’s score for 1951’s “The Day the Earth Stood Still.”The bright, tinny sound of a banjo isn’t often associated with the far reaches of the galaxy, which is precisely why Lucas Ross wanted to explore such unlikely, otherworldly territory with his latest collection of comedic, kid-friendly tunes.“Some of it came from all the ‘Star Wars’ things that have been going on, and especially recently, all the space stuff, with Rover and with us going to Mars,” Ross said.Read more on

What to do in Oklahoma on July 4, 2019: Check out Yukon’s Freedom Fest

By Brandy McDonnellHappy Fourth of July! Today's featured event: YUKON – Celebrate Independence Day at Yukon's Freedom Fest, which takes place between two interconnecting parks – Yukon City Park, 2200 S Holly, and Chisholm Trail Park, 500 W Vandament – creating a 100-acre fun zone. The festivities are planned throughout the day and will include a children's parade, car show featuring "Mr.Read more on

Llewellyn King: Happy birthday, America, still Land of Dreams

By Llewellyn KingInsideSources.comLight the candles, tune the instruments, warm up the vocal cords, a very special day is upon us. It is time to celebrate a birth, a unique birth, and a birth that in many ways has lit human hope, kindled human aspiration and fired up a few revolutions.
Happy birthday, America!
I do not know any other country that has a birthday.Read more on