Washington

Military court sidesteps ruling on whether suicide is a crime

The top military appeals court has set aside the court-martial conviction of a young Okinawa-based Marine who tried to kill himself, but it left intact the possibility that others may face similar charges of “self-injury” in the future. | 04/30/13 15:14:30 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama, Putin discuss Syria and claims that it used chemical weapons

Even as the White House said it still lacked proof that Syria unleashed chemical weapons against its people, President Barack Obama on Monday raised the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in an effort to reach out one of Syria’s key allies. | 04/29/13 19:08:34 By - By Lesley Clark and Matthew Schofield

Fresno middle-schoolers take home top car prize in science competition

Teams of middle-schoolers huddled around a makeshift runway outside the National Science Bowl’s competition site Friday afternoon, completely absorbed in the task at hand: putting the finishing touches on their model cars. | 04/29/13 18:39:43 By - By Beena Raghavendran

California, N.C. students take top two places in national science competition

After 24 questions in the final round on Monday, two schools were neck-and-neck for the top high school prize in the National Science Bowl. | 04/29/13 18:14:15 By - By Beena Raghavendran

Push in Congress to protect privacy amid growth in drone use

The rapidly expanding domestic drone industry is effectively unregulated when it comes to privacy protections – but not for lack of trying. Congress has passed few laws regulating drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, but two clear sides emerged: a handful of lawmakers and civil liberties groups pushing for privacy restrictions are stacked against a drone caucus with dozens of House members and support from the UAV industry. | 04/29/13 15:21:14 By - By Marshall Cohen

Uncertainties remain as FAA integrates drones into American skies

Thousands of unmanned aircraft systems – commonly known as drones – could be buzzing around in U.S. airspace by 2015 because of a law passed last year, aiding in police investigations, scientific research and border control, but also raising safety and privacy concerns among some lawmakers and advocacy groups. | 04/29/13 15:21:50 By - By Josh Solomon

Industry looks to use drones for commercial purposes

The next time you feel the urge for fresh Mexican food, just look up. A taco-toting drone may be circling in the sky. | 04/29/13 15:18:34 By - By Rachel Janik and Mitchell Armentrout

Immigration plan would add drones, already under scrutiny, to border security

The bipartisan immigration proposal filed this month in the Senate would create a 24/7 surveillance system at U.S. borders that would rely significantly on increased use of drones. | 04/29/13 15:17:55 By - By Cathaleen Chen and Kimberly Railey

‘Latino/US Cotidiano’ exhibit breaks boundaries of stereotypes

The Incredible Hulk drilling a stone with a jackhammer. Catwoman caring for young children. Spider-Man perched on a skyscraper washing windows. The photographs are of Hispanic Americans at work, dressed by photographer Dulce Pinzon to show everyday Latinos the way their families see them: superheroes working to send money back to their relatives in Latin America. They’re just a few of the photographs in a new exhibition and book. | 04/29/13 14:38:04 By - By Maria Recio

Obama names Charlotte mayor Anthony Foxx as transportation chief

President Barack Obama will tap Charlotte, N.C., mayor Anthony Foxx as the new secretary of transportation on Monday, a White House official said Sunday, refusing to be named because the announcement is not yet official. | 04/28/13 15:33:32 By - By Franco Ordonez

Obama’s options to curb Syria range from bad to worse

Despite a lack of conclusive evidence, the U.S. intelligence assessments that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale intensified pressure Thursday on President Barack Obama to give more help to rebels fighting President Bashar Assad. | 04/25/13 20:15:48 By - By Jonathan S. Landay McClatchy Newspapers

U.S. believes Syria may have used chemical weapons; experts offer caution

Even as lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama on Thursday to take more aggressive action in Syria, questions surfaced among experts and from within the U.S. government about the strength of the evidence showing that chemical weapons have been used in that nation’s 2-year-old civil war. | 04/25/13 20:15:10 By - By Jonathan S. Landay, Matthew Schofield and Anita Kumar

Oil from proposed Keystone pipeline could end up exported

Whether the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would boost American energy independence is a key part of the debate over the pipeline, the biggest environmental battle in recent history. Keystone promoters say the $7 billion project is vital for the nation – but there are signs much of the oil coming through it would be exported. | 04/25/13 16:07:17 By - By Sean Cockerham

Drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talks tough on marijuana as pressure grows

As Washington state and Colorado wait to see whether the federal government will allow them to sell marijuana legally, the Obama administration is busy talking about the dangerous health effects of smoking pot. | 04/24/13 18:22:59 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Boston bombing could threaten Democratic gains on national security

After being tarred for a generation as the party of weakness, Democrats finally clawed their way back to political parity with a 2012 campaign slogan summing up President Barack Obama’s first term: He killed terrorist Osama bin Laden. | 04/24/13 17:03:35 By - By David Lightman

California air among nation’s dirtiest

California cities, including Modesto, Fresno and Merced, continue to have some of the worst air in the United States, according to the American Lung Association’s "State of the Air 2013" report. | 04/24/13 00:00:00 By - By Erika Bolstad

Prosecutors drop charges against ricin suspect; agents search another home

Federal prosecutors abruptly dropped charges Tuesday against a Mississippi man accused last week of sending letters laced with poisonous ricin to President Barack Obama and Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, even as authorities promptly searched the home of another apparent suspect. | 04/23/13 21:13:33 By - By Greg Gordon

Boston bombing suspect says U.S. wars fed the brothers’ radicalism

The surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect told FBI agents from his hospital bed that he and his brother were driven to the attack by jihadist radicalism sparked by the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in which thousands of Muslims have died, a federal law enforcement official familiar with the inquiry said Tuesday. | 04/23/13 20:13:56 By - By Greg Gordon

NEA awards $26.3 million in arts grants despite sequester

The National Endowment for the Arts announced that it was awarding $26.3 million in grants, continuing federal support for the arts despite the automatic 5 percent federal budget cuts that are in force. The agency was able to redirect some unused money from the last grant cycle so that the decrease in federal grants given directly to arts agencies was just 3.2 percent instead of 5. | 04/23/13 18:49:01 By - By Maria Recio

Lawmakers want FBI to explain early Russian tip on Boston bombing suspect

Amid disclosures that Russia tipped the FBI in 2011 that one of the Boston Marathon bombers had become a Muslim radical, Republican leaders of the House Homeland Security Committee plan to hold hearings to examine what the bureau and U.S. intelligence agencies might have done to thwart last week’s attack. | 04/22/13 20:17:50 By - By Greg Gordon

Eleven minutes before the Boston bombs went off

Eleven minutes before the two explosions on April 15 at the Boston Marathon, surveillance video from a security camera at a nearby restaurant first picked up Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who became suspects in the attack. Tamerlan died as a result of injuries sustained in a subsequent confrontation with police. Dzhokhar, his younger brother, was charged Monday with use of a weapon of mass destruction and destruction of property resulting in death. | 04/22/13 18:08:39 By -

Boston suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charged with using WMD

The Justice Department on Monday publicly charged Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev with using a weapon of mass destruction, a charge that could bring the death penalty. | 04/22/13 19:05:05 By - By Michael Doyle and Lesley Clark

Bombing suspect still hospitalized as battle brews over his right to remain silent

A pointed legal and political fight has begun over whether the wounded ethnic Chechen suspected of being one of two Boston Marathon bombers should be treated as an enemy combatant, instead of as a conventional criminal. | 04/21/13 17:08:53 By - By Michael Doyle

Crowds gather at scene of Watertown shootout as Boston marks Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture

College rowing teams raced down the Charles River and news crews began pulling out of the Watertown Mall parking lot Saturday, ceding it to weekend shoppers, as a sense of normalcy began returning to a town terrorized by the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. | 04/20/13 20:08:58 By - By Lesley Clark

Bombing manhunt ends, suspect in custody, as Boston breathes sigh of relief

The search for the Boston Marathon bombers ended Friday night to the sound of flash-bang grenades and neighborhood cheers as the second of two Chechen brothers was cornered, captured and taken away in an ambulance. | 04/19/13 22:27:57 By - By Michael Doyle, Lesley Clark, James Rosen and Erika Bolstad

Battling a backlog, VA says it will speed decisions on some veterans’ disability claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs, under fire for the sluggish pace of awarding disability benefits for wounded veterans, announced a new plan Friday to provisionally approve its oldest claims based on the evidence already in its files. | 04/19/13 14:41:41 By - By Chris Adams

Gun control fight was a lobbyists’ magnet; backers insist they’ll fight on

The activists who launched an unprecedented campaign to impose stricter firearms regulations vowed Thursday to keep pressing Congress, despite a major congressional defeat this week. | 04/18/13 18:56:53 By - By Anita Kumar

Web is awash in advice on making bombs, killing people

Terrorists don’t have to travel to a remote training camp – or even to the neighborhood library – to learn how to make a bomb. Step-by-step instructions are easily available online. | 04/17/13 20:15:35 By - By Lindsay Wise McClatchy Newspapers

Obama won't send witness to Senate to explain legality of drone war

The Obama administration does not intend to send a witness to testify at a Senate hearing next week on the legality of the U.S. targeted killing program, the White House said Wednesday. | 04/17/13 19:29:36 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Before Boston, concerns about readiness in Massachusetts, other states

Even before Monday’s deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon, concern was growing about soft targets and the level of counter-terrorism preparedness in Massachusetts and numerous other states | 04/17/13 18:21:45 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Senate rejects series of tougher gun control measures

Gun control advocates led by President Barack Obama suffered a huge setback Wednesday as the Senate defeated a delicately crafted compromise aimed at strengthening background checks for gun buyers – and then proceeded to reject a ban on assault weapons and limits on ammunition clips. | 04/17/13 16:30:06 By - By David Lightman and Curtis Tate

Before bombings, feds questioned Massachusetts security plan

A February report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General is sure to raise questions in the weeks ahead about how Massachusetts spent federal grant money to protect the state and better evaluate terror threats. | 04/16/13 18:56:10 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Boston bombing probe involves ‘voluminous tips,’ painstaking detail

The bomb investigators swarming Boston are combining high-tech tools with old-fashioned shoe leather as they piece together what blew up and why. | 04/16/13 18:05:06 By - By Michael Doyle and Greg Gordon

Obama urged to reveal legal linchpins for drone killings

Ten civil and human rights organizations are urging President Barack Obama to make good on a pledge to disclose more details of the administration’s targeted killing program by making public the secret legal foundations for drone strikes, ensuring congressional oversight and creating ways of tracking and responding to civilian casualties. | 04/12/13 20:08:20 By - By Jonathan S. Landay and Michael Bold

In Chandra Levy case, ex-gang enforcer plays pivotal role

Armando Morales can be a dangerous man, whichever side he’s on. Once Morales handled illicit business for the Fresno, Calif., Bulldogs street gang. Then his compelling testimony against a former cellmate secured the conviction of the man accused of killing Chandra Levy. Now the former gang-enforcer-turned-prison-snitch is back in the hot seat. What happens next might turn the Levy murder mystery upside down. | 04/12/13 15:03:04 By - By Michael Doyle

After months of secret hearings, new revelations in the Chandra Levy murder case

The Chandra Levy murder mystery twisted again and again Thursday, as defense attorneys asked pointed questions about a “blood-curdling scream” allegedly heard in Levy’s apartment building on the day she disappeared. | 04/11/13 18:45:37 By - By Michael Doyle

Despite health challenges, Southern states resist Medicaid expansion

Nine Southern states, all led by Republican governors, have decided not to implement the health care law’s expansion of Medicaid, even though the federal government has pledged to pay all medical costs for the newly eligible enrollees in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and no less than 90 percent of their costs thereafter. | 04/11/13 17:38:50 By - By Tony Pugh

Florida and federal court clash over health privacy laws

The federally protected privacy rights of Florida nursing home patients extend beyond the grave, under a new appellate court ruling that makes it harder for surviving spouses to obtain the health records of their late loved ones. | 04/10/13 17:39:11 By - By Michael Doyle

New guidelines for science teachers stress depth over rote

A new set of goals unveiled Tuesday for what all American students should know about science could change the way it is taught, from kindergarten through high school. | 04/09/13 18:53:32 By - By Renee Schoof

USDA hopes to settle discrimination suits by Hispanic and female farmers

Hispanic farmers in Texas and California’s Central Valley planted the seeds for a billion-dollar payout when they charged the Agriculture Department with discrimination. Their lawsuit has struggled in court, but it scored politically. Now Agriculture Department officials are scrambling to distribute some $1.33 billion to Hispanic and female farmers with discrimination claims. | 04/09/13 18:24:38 By - By Michael Doyle

At D.C. gallery: Japanese illustrated books a precursor to manga

The Japanese comics known as manga have a long history, with roots dating back to books produced in the 17th century. Those roots are on display in a new exhibit, “Hand-Held: Gerhard Pulverer’s Japanese Illustrated Books” at the Smithsonian’s Arthur M. Sackler Gallery in Washington, D.C., through Aug. 11. | 04/09/13 08:03:11 By - Tish Wells

Will another Obama judicial nominee face GOP roadblocks? Recent history says ‘yes’

Sri Srinivasan has an Indian birth certificate, three Stanford degrees and a ticket to the judicial big leagues; perhaps even, in time, the biggest league of all. | 04/08/13 00:00:00 By - By Michael Doyle

In shift on immigration, GOP takes cues from California

As Republican leaders nationwide rethink their positions on immigration to bring Latino voters into the party, they might look to California, where years of hard-line immigration rhetoric put the GOP on the losing side of the state’s fastest-growing group of voters. | 04/08/13 00:00:00 By - By Curtis Tate

Scientists angry about budget cuts come out of the lab and onto the streets

To the ranks of civil rights and anti-war activists who’ve marched on Washington, get ready to add white-frocked scientists. | 04/05/13 18:24:01 By - By James Rosen

VA, White House pledge to improve disability system for vets

The White House and the Department of Veterans Affairs say that they’re pushing hard to speed up the slow and cumbersome disability claims process and that a recent overhaul to the system should start to yield benefits soon. | 04/05/13 18:09:32 By - By Chris Adams

N.C. charter school oversight plan does not include ‘best practices,’ expert says

A national organization devoted to oversight of charter schools says North Carolina is missing an opportunity by proposing to set up a new charter school commission without insisting that it follow best practices. | 04/05/13 16:14:21 By - By Renee Schoof

With new momentum to legalize, pot backers aim high

As one of the nation’s top marijuana lobbyists, Allen St. Pierre has come to believe in his product, which is why he tries to smoke high-potency, one-toke weed every night if possible. | 04/05/13 15:54:50 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Yosemite plans face roadblocks from local congressman

A bill to expand Yosemite National Park has won the support of California’s senators, but apparent skepticism from the conservative congressman who now represents the park. | 04/05/13 14:34:41 By - By Michael Doyle

Court will hear dispute over California rural legal aid

A federal investigation into a California legal aid group has now become a test case in how far law enforcement officers can go. | 04/05/13 14:15:33 By - By Michael Doyle

Military porn case shrinks barracks privacy

A newly upheld conviction of a former Fort Bragg soldier on charges of possessing computer-animated child porn offers several key lessons for military men and woman well beyond the sprawling North Carolina Army base. | 04/04/13 17:14:12 By - By Michael Doyle

For first time, majority of Americans back legal pot

Just five months after Washington state and Colorado voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use, a poll released Thursday found that a majority of Americans now agree and say it should not be illegal to smoke the drug. | 04/04/13 21:02:04 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Politics, environmental worries threaten new coal ports in the Northwest

Growing environmental objections to exporting coal from Washington state and Oregon have begun to endanger the coal industry’s hope to restore its flagging fortunes by shipping much more of the embattled fossil fuel to China and India. | 04/03/13 18:58:43 By - By Sean Cockerham

In Florida, Obama pitches new ways to attract private investment for public-works projects

Speaking briefly at PortMiami on Friday afternoon, President Barack Obama proposed new ways for governments to secure private dollars for big-ticket highway, bridge and other public works projects to boost the economy and create new construction jobs. | 03/29/13 17:10:21 By - Patricia Mazzei

Calif. high-speed rail report fuels critics and supporters

Top congressional Republicans are preparing new roadblocks for an ambitious California high-speed rail project that’s received both praise and caution flags from a long-awaited federal audit. | 03/29/13 16:12:57 By - By Michael Doyle

Defense in prison guard murder fears tainted jury

The proliferation of Central Valley prisons has poisoned the region’s potential jury pool, according to defense attorneys for the two inmates accused of killing a U.S. Penitentiary Atwater guard in 2008. | 03/29/13 13:43:37 By - By Michael Doyle

Stephen Colbert needles Sen. Saxby Chambliss on gay marriage

As the Supreme Court weighs two laws on same-sex marriage, Sen. Saxby Chambliss finds himself in an uncomfortable place where few politicians care to tread: In the crosshairs of Stephen Colbert. | 03/27/13 18:31:40 By - By James Rosen

Supreme Court, enigmatic as ever, weighs gay marriage ban

Supreme Court justices revealed sharp and passionately held differences Tuesday as they confronted California’s Proposition 8 ban on gay marriages. | 03/26/13 12:29:16 By - By Michael Doyle

Death row inmates challenge use of death penalty drug

Daniel Wayne Cook sexually assaulted, tortured and killed two men, a jury agreed. He’s dead now, executed last August in an Arizona prison. | 03/22/13 16:05:24 By - By Michael Doyle

California milk producers seek benefits of federal pricing program

California’s huge dairy industry that has played by its own set of rules since the 1930s could partially end its unique way of doing business under new legislation that’s united lawmakers throughout the state. | 03/22/13 14:08:26 By - By Michael Doyle

Supreme Court’s gay marriage cases: What they’re about, what they could mean

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday will confront two distinct gay marriage cases, which together pose some very sensitive questions. Here’s a rundown. | 03/21/13 15:41:48 By - By Michael Doyle

Supreme Court chews over case pitting raisin farmers against USDA

Nearly a dozen burly California raisin growers watched intently Wednesday as Supreme Court justices struggled to figure out how their industry works. | 03/20/13 17:20:14 By - By Michael Doyle

Supreme Court trims N.C. share of disabled child’s malpractice settlement

The parents of a disabled North Carolina girl defeated the state on Wednesday, as the Supreme Court struck down a law allowing state officials to seize one-third of a medical malpractice settlement. | 03/20/13 16:04:26 By - By Michael Doyle

Cuban dissident Yoani Sanchez gets rock star reception on Capitol Hill

Arriving in an imposing black SUV on the plaza in front of the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday morning, an hour ahead of President Barack Obama, who was attending a separate event, the unassuming dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez created a sensation among politicians, the news media and tourists alike. | 03/19/13 19:32:14 By - By Maria Recio

American-US Airways merger raises concerns, but no major opposition

Senators questioned the top executives of American Airlines and US Airways on Tuesday about their proposed merger, but aside from concerns about the potential impact on jobs, competition and airfares, no significant obstacle has yet risen to the $11 billion deal. | 03/19/13 17:45:33 By - By Curtis Tate

Feds battle Walgreens in painkiller distribution case

A federal crackdown on the Florida pain pill market will pit Walgreens against the Drug Enforcement Administration in a high-level and multi-front legal battle that comes to a capital courtroom this week. | 03/19/13 17:11:35 By - By Michael Doyle

Supreme Court agrees to hear Sierra Nevada forest case

A long-running Sierra Nevada forest planning dispute will now be settled by the Supreme Court in what could shape up as a crucial public lands case. | 03/18/13 16:30:23 By - By Michael Doyle

Congress takes a pass – so far – on college sports scandals

Several groups have been tapping on the door of Congress lately with a request for oversight into the often opaque, big-money world of college sports. | 03/18/13 16:28:36 By - By Renee Schoof and Dan Kane

Mobile wallet technology raises privacy, security concerns

Your smart phone already serves as a portable office, media player, newspaper, GPS, camera and social network hub. Now it can replace your wallet, too. | 03/18/13 16:12:15 By - By Lindsay Wise

Supreme Court hears Arizona’s voter proof-of-citizenship case

An Arizona law requiring would-be voters to show proof of U.S. citizenship seemed to divide Supreme Court justices Monday in a case important to many states that want to stiffen their own voting standards. | 03/18/13 15:17:33 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama to nominate Justice official cited in negative report for Cabinet

President Barack Obama will nominate Thomas Perez to be labor secretary on Monday, a week after an inspector general's report said the assistant attorney general provided incomplete testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about a lawsuit involving the New Black Panther Party. | 03/18/13 06:22:58 By - Anita Kumar

Supreme Court will divine the legal stakes in California raisin wars

Dissident California raisin growers will soon get their day in the Supreme Court sun, with a case that’s juicier than it seems. | 03/15/13 16:53:40 By - By Michael Doyle

Military wary as Congress again wades into laws on sexual assault

Congress stumbled badly the last time it rewrote military law amid a furor over sexual assaults. Now, driven by fresh outrage over an Air Force case, some lawmakers seek new changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Their effort is shadowed by lessons that might be learned, or lost, from past Capitol Hill mistakes. | 03/15/13 15:32:21 By - By Michael Doyle

Interior Department: ‘Shell screwed up’ drilling in Arctic

Shell failed to oversee contractors that were central to its bungled efforts to explore for oil in the Arctic waters off Alaska last year, the Interior Department has concluded. | 03/14/13 19:52:20 By - By Sean Cockerham

Jesuits excited by one of their own as pope

Newly installed Pope Francis is already breaking the mold. | 03/14/13 19:03:37 By -

Greek ship owner disputes U.S. claim he’s helping Iran skirt oil sanctions

The Obama administration imposed sanctions Thursday on a Greek ship owner and his business partners, alleging they are helping Iran skirt global sanctions on sales of its oil. | 03/14/13 19:59:59 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Gun background-check database missing vital information

Even as lawmakers look for ways to curb gun violence, the federal government and various states haven’t sent millions of mental-health and drug abuse records to the database that’s designed to keep firearms from people who are barred from owning them, according to recent studies. | 03/13/13 18:16:16 By - By Anita Kumar

Evangelicals urge S.C. Christian voters to back changes to immigration law

Leading evangelicals who want to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws launched a new ad campaign Wednesday on 15 Christian radio stations across the deeply conservative state of South Carolina to build support and counter a deluge of attacks ads targeting Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of the most vocal Republican proponents for granting citizenship to the estimated 11 million people living in the country illegally. | 03/13/13 16:23:21 By - By Franco Ordonez

Five companies vie to build wind farms off North Carolina coastline

Five companies are interested in developing wind farms in the ocean off North Carolina, hoping to take advantage of what could be the East Coast’s most promising chance to create energy through giant turbines anchored to the sea floor. | 03/12/13 18:23:19 By - By Sean Cockerham

General emails airmen, lamenting furloughs due to sequester

While the automatic federal budget cuts have spurred a blame game and little action in the nation’s capital, in the Air Force’s Pacific command they’ve triggered an apology from the top man. | 03/11/13 17:38:04 By - By Matthew Schofield

U.S. military must find ways to meet global threats - and budget demands

Pirates prowl the high seas. Terrorists flex their muscles in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. China gets stronger. Russia grows increasingly inscrutable, and Iran and North Korea remain unpredictable. | 03/11/13 15:40:15 By - By Matthew Schofield

For Civil War sailors, some closure 151 years later

Only a few years ago, Diana Rambo learned a distant relative had served on the USS Monitor, the warship that elementary school lessons had taught her played a pivotal role in the Civil War. | 03/08/13 19:22:33 By - By Rebecca Lurye

Military sexual-assault case triggers political furor

An Air Force general who overturned the sexual assault conviction of a fellow fighter pilot now finds himself caught in a political crossfire that could change military justice; perhaps, some fear, for the worse. | 03/08/13 18:24:10 By - By Michael Doyle and Marisa Taylor

Few insurers now cover services required in 2014 under health care law

Just 2 percent of health plans available to consumers in the private insurance market offer all the coverage that will become mandatory next year under the health care overhaul, a new analysis has found. And consumers and the federal government might end up paying the cost of all those new requirements in higher premiums. | 03/07/13 18:56:03 By - By Tony Pugh

North Carolina students visit Congress to push for immigration overhaul

For high school senior Eddie Villanueva, walking the halls of Congress got easier this year. “This year I don’t have any butterflies,” said Villanueva, who’s from Charlotte, N.C. “Years ago I’d be nervous, but not today. Today, I’m ready to go to war.” Villanueva was one of nine students from United 4 the Dream, a Latin American youth advocacy group that travels to Washington every year to talk to lawmakers and lobbyists about immigration, who visited Capitol Hill on Thursday to reach out to Congress. This was his third trip. | 03/07/13 19:08:48 By - By Emma Kantrowitz

Interior nominee Sally Jewell tells Senate she’ll balance development, conservation

Recreational Equipment Inc. chief executive officer Sally Jewell worked Thursday to convince Republican senators rattled by her leadership in conservation groups that she supports fossil fuel development and should be the nation’s next interior secretary. | 03/07/13 16:08:10 By - By Sean Cockerham

Budget cuts? For private sector, it’s yesterday’s news

For the federal government, the prospect of cutting spending is creating a political crisis and warnings of catastrophe. For the private sector, it’s “been there, done that.” | 03/06/13 14:53:51 By - By Kevin G. Hall

CDC warns about drug-resistant ‘superbug;’ care facilities urged to act

Government officials want the nation’s health care providers to step up efforts to halt the spread of a drug-resistant “nightmare bacteria” that attacks the bloodstream and kills up to half of patients who become infected. | 03/05/13 19:02:54 By - By Tony Pugh

Indian casino case challenges tribe’s access to protected land

A Washington state tribe’s controversial bid to build a big casino comes to court this week, in a case that’s being closely watched on and off reservations nationwide. | 03/05/13 15:54:07 By - By Michael Doyle

Fresno County looks for money in DC as budget cuts hit

Fresno County officials are lobbying Congress at an awkward time this week. While the county has a wish list, the Congress has a budget problem. Several budget problems, actually, all of which complicate the county’s efforts to fund priorities ranging from road improvements to high-speed rail training. | 03/04/13 15:43:53 By - By Michael Doyle

Gina McCarthy tapped to head EPA, Ernest Moniz to lead Energy Department

President Barack Obama turned to experienced political hands Monday to fill out his cabinet, choosing a top-ranking official at the Environmental Protection Agency as the nation’s top clean air and water watchdog, and a veteran of the Clinton administration as his energy secretary. | 03/04/13 15:36:19 By - By Erika Bolstad

Sequester will hurt military readiness, Chuck Hagel says

American military readiness starts deteriorating at midnight. Flights will be grounded. Ships will stay dockside. Army unit training will stop. That’s the assessment of the top Pentagon officials in the wake of abrupt and deep budget cuts that will take effect Saturday. | 03/01/13 18:46:18 By - By Matthew Schofield

Gay marriage case offers Supreme Court many options

Opponents of California’s Proposition 8 have served up quite a diverse menu to the Supreme Court. | 03/01/13 17:36:17 By - By Michael Doyle

Court reimburses valley water districts, but they’re thirsty for more

A federal judge has awarded several million dollars to two San Joaquin Valley water districts that didn’t receive the irrigation water they were promised, apparently ending an excruciatingly long legal fight on a disappointing note for farmers who thought they were owed much more. | 03/01/13 13:45:18 By - By Michael Doyle

President Obama warns no budget deal means economic pain

President Obama took to a White House lectern to warn that he and Congress' failure to meet an agreement on avoiding $85 billion in spending cuts means "many middle class families will have their lives disrupted in significant ways." | 03/01/13 12:28:30 By - Lesley Clark

In upcoming Supreme Court fight, Obama lines up behind gay marriage

The Obama administration on Thursday declared that gay marriage can be a right that deserves constitutional protection, supercharging a Supreme Court battle that started with California voters and is now shooting for the history books. | 02/28/13 20:13:27 By - By Michael Doyle

Rep. Jim Clyburn celebrates Lincoln, MLK, but says Voting Rights Act under threat

House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, speaking Thursday at the cottage where Abraham Lincoln drafted the Emancipation Proclamation, celebrated its 150th anniversary but warned that one of the most important products of the slain president’s visionary leadership is under threat at the Supreme Court. | 02/28/13 21:09:54 By - By James Rosen McClatchy Newspapers

U.S. oil is booming, led by Texas and North Dakota

U.S. oil production has soared to heights not seen in 20 years, largely driven by an explosion in crude harvested from Texas shale rock. | 02/28/13 17:53:41 By - By Sean Cockerham

Inez Tenenbaum will not seek another term on consumer safety board

Inez Tenenbaum, the Consumer Product Safety Commission chairwoman, announced in an address Thursday to the International Consumer Product Health and Safety Organization that she will not seek renomination, the agency said. | 02/28/13 19:01:19 By - By Emma Kantrowitz

Looming federal spending cuts will hit hospitals where it hurts

Hospitals across the country will face significant job losses, service reductions and other belt-tightening measures when President Barack Obama signs the order Friday implementing a series of automatic budget cuts. | 02/28/13 16:53:03 By - By Tony Pugh

As sequestration nears, federal workers brace for furloughs, vent anger at politicians

As a single dad with seven kids living at home, Bill Blevins is used to pinching every penny. The building engineer at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing hasn’t had a cost-of-living pay raise in more than two years, even as his rent and insurance premiums went up. Now he and other federal workers across the country are bracing for possible unpaid furloughs as part of an $85 billion reduction in federal spending. | 02/28/13 19:30:13 By - By Lindsay Wise

White House: ‘Career officials at ICE’ released illegal immigrants from custody

The White House worked Wednesday to distance itself from the recent release of illegal immigrants from federal custody, a move officials at the Department of Homeland Security suggested was necessary given looming budget cuts. | 02/27/13 20:42:29 By - By Rebecca Lurye

Supreme Court reviews whether parts of 1965 Voting Rights Act are out of date

The politically charged issue of race was before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday in a case that could determine how the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act applies to the South. | 02/27/13 18:28:00 By - By Maria Recio

Civil rights icon Rosa Parks given a place of honor in the U.S. Capitol

She sits tall on a rock, eyes behind her famous circle-frame glasses, staring defiantly across the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. | 02/27/13 17:35:55 By - By Beena Raghavendran

Skeptics shine sunlight on tanning industry’s safety claims

A new association of tanning salon owners is trying to salvage the reputation of sun beds despite a broad consensus among doctors and researchers that the devices can cause cancer. | 02/27/13 14:36:51 By - By Lindsay Wise

Hagel wins confirmation fight, but tough defense issues lie ahead

After a contentious and possibly damaging nomination process that lasted almost two months, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed former Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as the new secretary of defense. | 02/26/13 19:59:05 By - By Matthew Schofield

State by state, guns laws form an uneven and conflicting mosaic

California forbids the sale of assault weapons. Florida mandates a three-day wait before handgun purchases. And while Texas and Kansas don’t require dealers to apply for licenses, Missouri and Idaho don’t regulate much of anything at all when it comes to firearms. | 02/26/13 13:14:51 By - By Anita Kumar

Pentagon: Crack won't affect future of F-35 fighter

A small crack on an engine blade of the controversial F-35 fighter jet means the planes will again be grounded, but the defect does not yet appear to have any effect on the future of the aircraft, a Pentagon official said Monday. | 02/26/13 07:43:19 By - By Matthew Schofield

In face of coming budget cuts, U.S. frees illegal immigrants from custody

The federal government released groups of illegal immigrants from custody across the country Monday at the same time the White House was making its case that impending budget cuts would harm efforts to protect the border and enforce federal immigration laws. | 02/25/13 21:05:56 By - By Franco Ordonez

Who should pay to defend Larry Craig’s bathroom antics?

A federal judge this week will confront the surprisingly important fallout from former Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig’s 2007 bathroom arrest. | 02/25/13 16:52:36 By - By Michael Doyle

White House Releases New State-by-State Reports on the Impacts of the Sequester

Today, the White House is releasing new state-by-state reports on the devastating impact the sequester will have on jobs and middle class families across the country if Congressional Republicans fail to compromise to avert the sequester by March 1st. | 02/24/13 20:01:20 By -

Will sky fall in S.C. if there’s no budget deal?

In the avalanche of ominous warnings about the impact of forced federal spending cuts on South Carolina, perhaps none is more chilling than this: If Congress and President Barack Obama fail to reach a deal and the cuts start next Friday as scheduled, nearly 20 women in the Palmetto State this year could fail to be diagnosed with breast cancer or cervical cancer because of missed screenings that would have detected them, according to an estimate based on figures from the American Academy of Pediatrics on S.C. screenings and diagnoses over five years. | 02/24/13 00:00:00 By - By James Rosen

Coast Guard finds violations on Shell’s Arctic drilling rig

The Coast Guard has found serious safety and environmental violations on a Shell drilling rig used in the Arctic waters off Alaska, another blow to the company’s controversial bid to harvest oil in the petroleum-rich but sensitive region. | 02/22/13 18:07:39 By - By Sean Cockerham

GOP raising stakes for Obama’s treasury pick

Republicans are voicing new concerns about the Obama administration’s pick for treasury secretary, questioning both Jacob Lew’s lucrative 2001 contract with New York University and whether he had anything to do with his subsequent employer Citigroup’s winning a lucrative preferred-lender deal to provide loans to students. | 02/22/13 20:01:19 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Landmark Supreme Court voting rights debate will have California impact

WASHINGTON A Merced County legal victory has unexpectedly pulled it into one of the biggest Supreme Court cases in years. | 02/22/13 16:03:08 By - By Michael Doyle

Are some civil rights era protections still relevant? Supreme Court will decide

The Justice Department stayed silent when Indiana and Washington state strengthened their voter identification rules. But when Georgia and Texas lawmakers wanted to do the same, they needed federal approval. | 02/22/13 15:20:02 By - By Michael Doyle

No plans to remove Cuba from terror list, according to U.S. officials

A newspaper report that top State Department officials believe Cuba should be removed from the U.S. list of countries that support terrorism drew denials Thursday from the department and the White House. | 02/22/13 06:50:43 By - Juan O. Tamayo

Labor and business reach rare agreement on immigration

Two of the nation’s most powerful interest groups – labor and business, often at loggerheads – have come to a rare agreement on the guiding principles for handling future low-skilled immigrant workers. | 02/21/13 18:14:21 By - By Franco Ordonez

Scientists expect nation’s drought to persist this year

More than half of the United States remains in drought, although things have improved from the record-breaking conditions last year that killed 123 and added up to at least $35 billion in economic losses, including crop failure and livestock deaths. | 02/21/13 16:55:13 By - By Erika Bolstad

Democrats ask: How can we drill, baby, drill if we let sequester happen?

The upcoming automatic federal budget cuts would mean a big hit to energy development, as well as to America’s national parks, according to the Interior Department, which says oil and gas leasing would be slowed and popular parks would see reduced hours and fewer services. | 02/21/13 16:32:44 By - By Sean Cockerham

Doctors delivering babies early much less often, survey finds

Doctors have been warned for decades about the dangers of delivering babies early without medical reasons, but the practice remained stubbornly persistent. Now, with pressure on doctors and hospitals from the federal government, private and public insurers and patient advocacy groups, the rate of elective deliveries before 39 weeks is dropping significantly, according to a hospital survey. | 02/21/13 14:40:11 By - By Phil Galewitz

Without a budget accord, Pentagon prepares for furloughs

Tanks would not roll, fighter jets would be grounded and aircraft carriers might be stuck dockside. | 02/20/13 19:16:36 By - By Matthew Schofield

Emails track immigration officials’ focus on finding more criminal aliens

Concerned about falling short of congressional deportation targets, federal immigration officials last year beefed up efforts to remove thousands more illegal immigrants convicted of crimes. | 02/20/13 19:06:21 By - Franco Ordoñez

Kitsap County, Wash., sheriff’s deputy Krista McDonald honored with medal of valor

Krista McDonald knows all too well that carrying out the duties of a deputy sheriff can place her in the line of fire. | 02/20/13 18:46:55 By - By Rebecca Lurye

Supreme Court rejects one inmate’s plea but leaves others a lifeline

Tara Sheneva Williams’ last chance to leave her rural California prison alive may well have died Wednesday at the U.S. Supreme Court. | 02/20/13 18:05:15 By - By Michael Doyle

California highway patrol officers honored at the White House

Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday presented two California Highway Patrol officers the nation’s highest civilian valor award for their heroism in a deadly 2010 Fresno County shootout. | 02/20/13 16:33:13 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama calls Republican senators Graham, Rubio, McCain to talk immigration

After days of criticism that he was excluding Republicans from immigration talks, President Barack Obama on Tuesday reached out to several Republican leaders who are calling for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system. | 02/19/13 19:28:06 By - By Franco Ordonez

U.S.: Hacking attacks are constant topic of talks with China

Obama administration officials acknowledged Tuesday that China’s involvement in cyber-attacks on sensitive U.S. companies is a near-constant subject of conversation between the nations’ officials but that there have been few signs that China is willing to stop the attacks. | 02/19/13 18:33:05 By - By Anita Kumar and Tom Lasseter

Levy prosecutors sat on key information, defense claims

The case against the man convicted of killing former intern Chandra Levy is “drastically undercut” by information that prosecutors kept to themselves “for the better part of a year,” according to defense attorneys, who now say they will seek a new trial. | 02/19/13 18:05:24 By - By Michael Doyle

Lumbees say they’ll keep their eagle feathers, even if it’s against the law

Angelica Chavis, a third-year law student in North Carolina, received her prized eagle feather from a tribal elder at age 7, when she was crowned Little Miss Lumbee. | 02/18/13 00:00:00 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Obama honors North Carolina man who helps disabled veterans

Michael Dorman of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., greeted President Barack Obama with a hearty swing of a handshake Friday at the White House as he received a Presidential Citizens Medal for his volunteer group’s work to renovate houses for disabled veterans. | 02/15/13 16:37:36 By - By Renee Schoof

In Newtown shooting’s wake, schools are scrambling to step up security

At Park Hill High School in Kansas City, Mo., some of the most heightened security measures in the area didn’t prevent a student from bringing a .22-caliber handgun to school last month. | 02/15/13 13:45:31 By - By Rebecca Lurye

Top FBI agent in Seattle alleges sexual bias, claims superiors undercut her

The Seattle-based FBI special agent who oversees all bureau operations in Washington state is embroiled in a legal fight with officials who she says have discriminated against her and undermined her work. | 02/14/13 19:42:19 By - By Michael Doyle

As VA struggles, delays and errors greet returning warriors

The processing time for disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs worsened in a majority of its regional offices last year, and the VA has struggled with its much-anticipated plan to correct its problems, according to two recent audits and a review of department data. | 02/14/13 18:10:22 By - By Chris Adams

VA audit finds flaws in North Carolina disability office

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ regional office in Winston-Salem, N.C., processed a key category of disability claims improperly half the time, often because its workers didn’t properly schedule medical exams or otherwise follow up with veterans, according to a recent inspection. | 02/14/13 18:10:00 By - By Chris Adams

VA audit finds flaws in Anchorage disability office

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ regional office in Anchorage, Alaska, processed a key category of disability claims improperly half the time, and the staff allowed some cases to languish nearly two years because of improper follow-up, according to a recent federal audit. | 02/14/13 18:09:10 By - By Chris Adams

Obama pushes preschool for all kids so they don’t start out ‘a step behind’

President Barack Obama visited a preschool in Georgia on Thursday to unveil details about his new plan to ensure that all 4-year-olds – including those whose families struggle to make ends meet – receive the same opportunities for a high quality early education. | 02/14/13 18:09:31 By - By Renee Schoof

Florida port officials, lawmakers blame Corps of Engineers for delayed improvements

The nation’s ports aren’t ready for changes in global trade patterns and the United States risks losing out to competitors if the federal government doesn’t speed up improvements, a group of port officials told lawmakers Thursday. | 02/14/13 16:50:04 By - By Curtis Tate

Audit: Mississippi improperly diverted dollars meant to prevent alcohol-related crashes

Despite recording the nation’s third highest fatality rate from alcohol-related vehicle crashes, Mississippi has improperly diverted millions of federal highway grant dollars designated for addressing the problem, the U.S. Transportation Department’s inspector general has found. | 02/14/13 15:23:37 By - By Greg Gordon

Rep. Clyburn not interested in Transportation post

U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn rejected Wednesday the possibility of serving in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as transportation secretary, saying he wants instead to help Obama show that an African American can lead the nation. | 02/14/13 11:34:24 By - James Rosen

Food issues could complicate Obama’s proposed European trade deal

Europeans can be downright fussy when it comes to their food. | 02/13/13 18:48:42 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Democrats offer long-shot bill to meet Obama’s climate change challenge

Democrats in Congress wasted no time in taking up President Barack Obama’s challenge Tuesday night that lawmakers take a "market-based" approach to addressing climate change, even if their effort has little hope of success. | 02/13/13 18:46:12 By - By Erika Bolstad

Panetta: Congress hurting itself and U.S. image with continuous squabbling

The world is nervously watching a dysfunctional Congress and wondering “whether or not we can rise to the challenges” that face the United States, outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Wednesday. | 02/13/13 18:41:25 By - Matthew Schofield

On trade, California Republican Nunes is an Obama critic turned ally

New plans for a big European trade deal put President Barack Obama and Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on the same page, for now. | 02/13/13 15:34:26 By - By Michael Doyle

Health law’s Medicaid expansion moves forward, but with many questions

In the largest one-year enrollment bump in program history, 8 million Americans are expected to gain health insurance in 2014 through Medicaid under the nation’s massive health care overhaul. | 02/12/13 17:17:56 By - By Tony Pugh

U.S. will reduce the number of troops in Afghanistan by 34,000

President Obama will announce in his State of the Union Address Tuesday night that by this time next year 34,000 troops will have returned to the United States, according to a senior administration official. | 02/12/13 10:18:40 By - Anita Kumar

Many African-Americans concerned about Obama’s focus on immigrant rights

No sooner did President Barack Obama and a group of senators separately outline proposals to revamp the nation’s immigration system than the phone lines on several African-American-oriented talk radio shows heated up with callers blasting the plans. | 02/11/13 17:12:19 By - By William Douglas and Franco Ordonez

Despite sanctions, U.S. aid to Afghanistan might also be helping Iran

The Afghan National Army may have broken the U.S.-led economic embargo against Iran by using American aid to buy Iranian fuel for its military vehicles, generators and cooking processes, according to a military audit and experts on the region. | 02/11/13 16:21:26 By - By Matthew Schofield

Descendant of anti-slavery icons follows in their footsteps

The great-great-great-grandson of escaped slave and abolitionist Frederick Douglass, as well as the great-great-grandson of Booker T. Washington, the pioneering African American educator, he said it has taken him many years to figure out to handle so much historical weight. | 02/11/13 16:04:21 By - Maria Recio

New museum will celebrate both the pain and triumph of African-American history

It is a blight on American history that history cannot ignore: The exploitation and enslavement of black people for hundreds of years. It will be the challenge of a new museum in the nation’s capital to tell that story, however uncomfortable the subject might be to some, because it defines the history of African-Americans. | 02/11/13 16:01:13 By - By Maria Recio

Mystery continues to surround Chandra Levy murder case

The man convicted of killing former intern Chandra Levy returned to court Thursday for the first time in two years, and questions concerning the credibility of a prosecution witness will remain secret for now. | 02/07/13 18:44:56 By - By Michael Doyle

Chandra Levy judge maintains veil of secrecy over hearings

The ongoing Chandra Levy murder mystery rekindled news media attention Wednesday, as a trial judge told a crowded courtroom that unexpected post-trial proceedings will remain secret for now. | 02/06/13 18:24:03 By - By Michael Doyle

Postal Service wants to cut Saturday mail delivery

The U.S. Postal Service plans to end Saturday mail delivery beginning in August, a sign that the long-suffering agency may finally be succumbing to e-commerce. | 02/06/13 17:51:38 By - By Beena Raghavendran

Obama picks REI chief Sally Jewell to lead Interior

Sally Jewell, a conservation advocate who’s the head of the outdoor gear and clothing retailer Recreational Equipment Inc., is President Barack Obama’s choice to be the secretary of the interior. | 02/06/13 19:34:39 By - By Sean Cockerham

Obama to visit Israel and the West Bank

President Barack Obama will travel to Israel, the West Bank and Jordan this spring, the White House said Tuesday, amid signs the administration is interested in revisiting stalled Middle East peace talks. | 02/05/13 19:10:06 By - By Lesley Clark

Advocates work to expand 20-year-old Family and Medical Leave Act

Twenty years after the Family and Medical Leave Act became law, 4 in 10 workers aren’t eligible to take temporary, unpaid leave to recover from serious illnesses or to care for new children or sick relatives. | 02/05/13 17:49:10 By - By Lindsay Wise

Republican, Democratic lawmakers will meet separately on looming budget cuts

Lawmakers for both major political parties will huddle separately behind closed doors starting Tuesday, plotting strategy for the coming fight over how to prevent deep, across-the-board automatic federal spending cuts scheduled to begin on March 1. | 02/04/13 17:36:51 By - By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall

Judge’s actions in Air Force sexual assault case to be questioned

An Air Force enlisted man convicted of rape at a Joint Base Charleston court-martial will get a chance to challenge his trial judge, under a new ruling by a military appeals court. | 02/01/13 16:54:49 By - By Michael Doyle

Path social media app settles with FTC over privacy issue

A popular social-networking app has reached a settlement with federal regulators over allegations that it collected address book information from users’ mobile phones without their knowledge or consent, the Federal Trade Commission announced Friday. | 02/01/13 14:45:01 By - By Lindsay Wise

Newtown massacre may impel states to beef up mental health services

The push for expanded mental health services after the mass murders of schoolchildren in Newtown, Conn., has moved from Congress to the nation’s statehouses, where health care advocates hope growing tax revenues and renewed outrage over gun violence will lead lawmakers to boost funding for counseling. | 01/31/13 17:10:42 By - By Tony Pugh

Obama administration misses some health law deadlines

The Obama administration is late in implementing several provisions of the federal health overhaul intended to improve access to care and lower costs. | 01/31/13 16:07:42 By - By Phil Galewitz

New combat policy for women cracks the ‘Kevlar ceiling’

Those familiar with the impact of the ban on women in combat say the reasons to lift it rest in the numbers. About one in five junior officers are women. But because official combat roles were ruled out for women, and those roles are at least the tiebreaker in promotions, the percentages of women decline as ranks increase. By the time service members reach the rank of general, women are down to about one in 12. | 01/31/13 14:24:23 By - By Matthew Schofield

Immigration divides GOP

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., took his case for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration system straight to one of the most influential voices in Republican politics, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh. | 01/29/13 19:12:30 By - By David Lightman

Ray LaHood stepping down as transportation secretary

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman who joined President Obama's Cabinet, said today he won't serve in the second term. | 01/29/13 11:07:32 By - Lesley Clark

Bipartisan group of senators lays out sweeping immigration plan

A bipartisan group of eight prominent senators Monday laid out an ambitious overhaul of the nation’s patchwork immigration system that would balance tougher border enforcement with creating a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and new opportunities for seasonal farmworkers to gain legal status. | 01/28/13 18:07:04 By - By James Rosen and William Douglas

Are the Democratic and Republican parties captives of their extremes?

America’s two major political parties are prisoners of their images, stifling their ability to broaden their appeal. Democrats are routinely portrayed as liberals and Republicans as conservatives, and movement toward the center, where elections are usually won, is difficult to detect. | 01/28/13 17:12:39 By - By David Lightman

Suspect in prison guard murder to get mental health review

Attorneys for one of the inmates accused of killing an unarmed guard at the federal prison in Atwater are now having him tested for mental retardation, a step that could save his life. | 01/28/13 17:05:34 By - By Michael Doyle

Bit by bit, Obama already nicking away at barriers for illegal immigrants

President Barack Obama will unveil his sweeping plan on immigration Tuesday in the midst of a rapidly shifting political environment. It’s his most ambitious move yet on the emotionally divisive issue after making a series of smaller steps over the past year. | 01/28/13 16:57:36 By - By Franco Ordonez and Diane Smith

Financial crisis has left 401(k)s vulnerable, so what now?

As the father of two college-age kids, Rob Harris knew that finding money to pay soaring tuition costs wasn’t going to be easy. Reluctant to saddle himself or his children with loans, the 55-year-old product development manager from Kansas City, Mo., tapped another source: his retirement savings. | 01/27/13 00:00:00 By - By Lindsay Wise

California’s new congressman, Ami Bera: a doctor in the House

On the fourth floor of the Longworth House Office Building, a short distance down the white marble hallway from the elevator, Rep. Ami Bera is still unpacking things in an office that just last month was somebody else’s. | 01/25/13 18:56:39 By -

White House kicks off on gun control campaign

Vice President Joe Biden spoke Friday to Virginia leaders who responded to the worst school shooting in the nation’s history as the White House begins its try to sell America on a contentious gun control proposal. | 01/25/13 18:27:08 By - By Anita Kumar

GOP ponders uncertain future for policies and political tactics

. Stung by an image that it’s too rigidly conservative and too “stupid” about its words and tactics, a somber Republican Party vowed Friday to change its ways. | 01/25/13 17:06:42 By - By David Lightman

Inmates’ request for lower phone rates no longer on hold

A 13-year campaign to cut the cost of prison phone calls has finally reached a political dial tone, as inmates and their families have found allies in high places. | 01/25/13 16:41:48 By - By Michael Doyle

Democrats offer assault weapons ban, but no GOP support dims its chances

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and a group of Capitol Hill lawmakers joined law enforcement officials, mayors, clergy and victims of gun violence Thursday to offer a new ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines like the ones used in recent mass shootings in Connecticut and Colorado. | 01/24/13 19:46:52 By - By Curtis Tate

After criticism, Obama officials quietly craft new polygraph policy

The Obama administration is drawing up a new national polygraph policy in the wake of allegations that federal agencies are pushing legal and ethical limits during screenings of job applicants and employees. | 01/24/13 16:09:41 By - By Marisa Taylor

‘Fiscal cliff,’ 2012 elections boost spending on lobbying

Congress’ ‘fiscal cliff’ fiasco, a flurry of lame-duck legislation and election-season politics drove some of the nation’s most powerful lobbying forces to increase their governmental influence efforts late last year, newly filed reports show. | 01/24/13 14:27:36 By - By Dave Levinthal

McCaskill again tries to ban earmarks

Sen. Claire McCaskill is making another run at ending earmarks after the Missouri Democrat tried but failed during her first term in Congress. McCaskill will reintroduce legislation today designed to halt the practice of earmarking, which enables lawmakers to designate funds for special projects back home without legislative scrutiny. | 01/24/13 12:15:17 By - Lindsay Wise

Kerry gets warm reception at Senate confirmation hearing

Poised to become secretary of state for an administration wrapping up a decade of war, Sen. John Kerry described in his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday a vision for greater trade and engagement with foreign partners to underline that “American foreign policy is not defined by drones and deployments alone.” | 01/24/13 17:38:30 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S. military to lift ban on women in combat: ‘Historic step for equality’

The U.S. military will soon announce the end of a 19-year ban on women in combat, according to a senior defense official, a sweeping change that appears to recognize the reality that female troops have experienced since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. | 01/23/13 19:21:51 By - By Matthew Schofield

News media challenge court secrecy in Chandra Levy murder case

The Chandra Levy murder mystery has transformed, again, into a broader debate over public access to court proceedings. | 01/23/13 18:14:28 By - By Michael Doyle

Another Westlands Water District issue washes up at Court of Federal Claims

Far from California’s San Joaquin Valley, an irrigation drainage problem that once turned deadly continues to confront a crucial but little-known federal court. | 01/23/13 17:56:15 By - By Michael Doyle

Gen. Allen cleared in email investigation linked to the Petraeus scandal

The top general in Afghanistan has been cleared in an email scandal that had threatened his career just as he was putting the finishing touches on plans for the American military drawdown in the 11-year-old war. | 01/22/13 19:39:19 By - By Matthew Schofield

Westlands Water District’s $1 billion claim against U.S. rejected

A federal court has quietly dismissed a $1 billion claim by the well-known Westlands Water District, leaving unresolved the long-standing problem of coping with irrigation drainage in California’s San Joaquin Valley. | 01/22/13 16:30:48 By - By Michael Doyle

South Carolina celebrants join inauguration

Dick Harpootlian, the head of the South Carolina Democratic Party, had something he wanted to share with President Barack Obama at the White House just before the president’s inauguration Monday to a second term. | 01/21/13 17:29:00 By - By James Rosen

Flu outbreak kills more children, hospitalizes more seniors

In the deadliest week yet for the nation’s stubborn influenza outbreak, nine more children died of flu-related illness last week, bringing the season’s pediatric death toll to 29, as local health officials nationwide continue to take protective measures to stop the spread of the virus. | 01/18/13 18:28:30 By - By Tony Pugh

Scientists find Camp Lejeune water contamination went back to 1953

Federal health officials have determined that water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune exceeded safe levels as far back as August 1953, four years earlier than previous findings. | 01/18/13 17:33:24 By - By Franco Ordonez

More twists and turns in the Chandra Levy case

The man convicted of killing one-time Washington intern Chandra Levy will soon be returning to court, even as attorneys wrangle over a spreading veil of secrecy. | 01/18/13 15:49:13 By - By Michael Doyle

NASA, Boeing planning to use lithium batteries in space station

NASA is planning to install batteries in the International Space Station that are similar to the ones that grounded Boeing’s Dreamliner fleet this week and which are also made by the same company. | 01/17/13 19:58:00 By - By Curtis Tate

Gun concerns evoking sound and fury, but will anything change?

Poll after poll finds more Americans agree that their elected officials need to do something, anything, to prevent more children from dying in a nation with more firearms than any other in the world. But in Washington – where cooperation in a divided Congress is tenuous at best – it still may not be enough. | 01/17/13 18:48:13 By - By Anita Kumar

Georgians inaugural-bound to celebrate the president

The 57thpresidential inauguration may be an inside-the-beltway affair, but Georgia residents are crashing the party next week to put their Peach State stamp on festivities marking the final four years of the Barack Obama presidency. | 01/17/13 15:39:31 By - By Tony Pugh

LIVE from the presidential inauguration

Live inauguration coverage from Washington, D.C. by McClatchy DC Bureau reporters. Check back here starting at 8:15 a.m. as we track Barack Obama's second inauguration from the oath to the inaugural balls. | 01/17/13 15:34:14 By -

FAA grounds Boeing’s Dreamliner over battery fire risk

The Federal Aviation Administration on Wednesday grounded Boeing’s flagship 787 Dreamliner until the company resolves problems with lithium batteries that caught fire in two different aircraft. | 01/16/13 20:20:04 By - By Curtis Tate McClatchy Newspapers

Experts applaud Obama’s sweeping gun-control plan

President Barack Obama’s wide-ranging plan to curb gun violence in America isn’t likely to be enacted in full, but experts say the sheer breadth of his proposal will provide a national blueprint for action that can guide lawmakers, fuel a powerful lobbying effort and sustain a national dialogue on gun control. | 01/16/13 19:29:17 By - By Tony Pugh

Salazar leaves legacy of drilling expansion, moratorium

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s announcement that he’s stepping down at the end of March leaves his successor to grapple with contentious issues including drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska and fracking for natural gas and oil on public lands. | 01/16/13 18:07:14 By - By Sean Cockerham and Rob Hotakainen

Obama's Interior Secretary Ken Salazar heading back to Colorado

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said today he'll step down from his Cabinet post by the end of March and return to his home state of Colorado. | 01/16/13 10:25:45 By - Lesley Clark

Avast! Supreme Court sinks Florida houseboat ruling

A Florida resident actually had his “boat floated” Tuesday by the Supreme Court, as the justices ruled that the city of Riviera Beach could not regulate his home as a maritime vessel. | 01/15/13 16:56:08 By - By Michael Doyle and Ina Paiva Cordle

LA Mayor Villaraigosa pushes immigration changes

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, fresh off an aggressive effort to get President Barack Obama re-elected, strode into Washington this week to champion an immigration overhaul. | 01/14/13 18:50:11 By - By Franco Ordonez

Fires in Boeing Dreamliner electrical compartment raise safety concerns

While Boeing maintains that a fire in an electronics compartment of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner last week and another fire on a test flight in 2010 are not related, the plane’s fire-suppression system does not protect the site where both fires occurred. | 01/14/13 17:24:05 By - By Curtis Tate

Attendance likely to drop by a million for second Obama inauguration

Marvin Lyman figured it would be a breeze to fill two charter buses to go from Missouri to Washington for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, just as it was four years ago when Lyman’s phone rang off the hook with people eager to make the trip. | 01/14/13 00:00:00 By - By William Douglas

Florida land-use case at Supreme Court may have national impact

Coy Koontz Sr. had a plan when he bought 14.9 acres east of Orlando, Fla. It did not include having his son end up at the U.S. Supreme Court, however. | 01/11/13 15:56:37 By - By Michael Doyle

Biden on gun control: Public wants us to act

Moving quickly, Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that he’ll urge President Barack Obama to pursue new gun controls as the first, best way to curb gun violence. | 01/10/13 18:38:37 By - By Anita Kumar

As states weigh licenses for young illegal immigrants, N.C. switches its position

After first indicating it would grant driver’s licenses to young illegal immigrants who have received two-year deferrals from deportation, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles now says it will not allow them to drive until the agency receives a legal opinion that requires it to do otherwise. | 01/10/13 19:56:14 By - By Franco Ordonez

Bin Laden death photos might not see the light of day

Skeptical-sounding federal judges on Thursday considered whether the public can see pictures of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden, taken after he had been shot dead by U.S. Navy SEALs in a raid on his hideout two years ago. | 01/10/13 15:44:51 By - By Michael Doyle

Inauguration will feature Richard Blanco - first Hispanic poet to read at swearing-in

Richard Blanco will serve as the official poet at President Obama's swearing-in ceremony Jan. 21.

Yes, there really is an inaugural poet. | 01/09/13 12:04:46 By - Anita Kumar

Supreme Court weighs case of disabled child and medical malpractice award

Emily Armstrong remained in her specially equipped Taylorsville, N.C., home on Tuesday while Supreme Court justices wrangled over a legal dilemma entangling her and which defies easy solution. | 01/08/13 17:30:13 By - By Michael Doyle

He’s back – Richard Nixon at 100

Richard Nixon would have turned 100 Wednesday, and his old friends will gather at a hotel near the White House to toast the memory of the 37th president. What is not said also will say much about his evolving legacy, because no protesters or seething Nixon-haters are expected outside the doors. | 01/08/13 16:07:24 By - By David Lightman

Obama picks fight as he selects Hagel for Defense, Brennan for CIA

President Barack Obama’s selection of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense has turned the presidential nomination process into something it is traditionally not: a fight. | 01/07/13 19:00:56 By - By Anita Kumar and David Lightman

California water providers clash with feds over breached contracts

Attorneys for two Stockton, Calif.-area water districts urged a judge Friday to order the federal government to pay tens of millions of dollars for failing to deliver promised water from New Melones Lake. | 01/04/13 16:00:24 By - By Michael Doyle

New N.C. Rep. Holding is ready for spending fight

George Holding is now a member of Congress, with an office in the “freshman dorm” and one priority: cutting federal government spending.

“Cuts have to come first,” Holding said in an interview Wednesday. “We’ve just backed ourselves into a corner where we’ve got to cut now.” | 01/04/13 12:56:43 By - Renee Schoof

S.C. Rep. Mulvaney's non-vote on Boehner draws attention

U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney declined Thursday to support giving U.S. Rep. John Boehner a second term as House speaker, joining 11 other Republican lawmakers who protested the Ohioan’s leadership. | 01/04/13 12:45:14 By - James Rosen

Idaho Senator Crapo pleads guilty to drunk driving

Sen. Mike Crapo Friday pleaded guilty to drunken driving and was fined $250, had his drivers’ license suspended and sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was suspended. | 01/04/13 11:33:10 By - David Lightman

Washington state's newcomers go to work in Congress

After learning that he would rank 382nd in seniority in the new U.S. House of Representatives, Democratic Rep. Denny Heck of Olympia, Wash., did a quick calculation to figure out where he stands as a rookie on Capitol Hill. | 01/04/13 07:36:12 By - Ron Hotakainen

Nine new U.S. lawmakers from Texas take oath of office

Ted Cruz took the oath of office as a U.S. senator at midday Thursday, shedding his political newcomer status and becoming a new federal lawmaker who said he is "honored and humbled" to represent Texas. | 01/04/13 07:33:06 By - Maria Recio

Florida’s newest congressional leaders are sworn into office

Lois Frankel, the former mayor of sunny West Palm Beach, had to buy her first pair of winter boots in decades. Joe Garcia, who represents southern Miami-Dade County and the Keys, found a temporary room at University of Miami President Donna Shalala’s home in Georgetown. | 01/04/13 07:13:38 By - Erika Bolstad

Senators: Did CIA tell 'Zero Dark Thirty' filmmakers torture led to bin Laden?

The chairs of the Senate intelligence and armed services committees are looking into whether the CIA misled the makers of a movie about the hunt for Osama bin Laden by telling them that “coercive interrogation” of suspected terrorists produced intelligence that led to the al Qaida founder’s hideout in Pakistan. | 01/03/13 19:48:32 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

New California Congressman David Valadao living ‘the American dream’

The San Joaquin Valley’s congressional delegation has a new face. | 01/03/13 15:24:05 By - By Michael Doyle

With tax deal, U.S. is off the cliff but not out of the woods

A day after the nation edged away from a fiscal cliff that had threatened economic doom, the realization that other ominous fiscal battles loom tempered any sense of celebration Wednesday in the nation’s capital. | 01/02/13 18:06:25 By - By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall

Most of S.C. delegation opposes fiscal cliff deal

Sen. Lindsey Graham was the only Republican member of South Carolina’s congressional delegation who voted for the last-minute package to avert a fiscal cliff, saying Congress had to act to prevent catastrophic consequences. | 01/02/13 17:22:15 By - By James Rosen

House votes country back from fiscal cliff

America’s not going over the fiscal cliff, as the House of Representatives Tuesday approved the last-minute deal to pull the nation away from the brink of economic chaos. | 01/01/13 23:49:22 By - By David Lightman and Lesley Clark

Senate passes fiscal deal, fate uncertain in House

The Senate passed an agreement early Tuesday to solve the nation’s threatening fiscal crisis, a last minute plan to avert sweeping tax increases for most Americans and postponing cuts to government spending that economists say could have triggered a recession. | 01/01/13 06:34:12 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

Fiscal crisis is the new normal in Washington

They don’t manage crises. They manage BY crisis. The tortured bargaining by Washington politicians to avoid the higher taxes and drastic spending cuts due to take effect this week aimed at best at a small and temporary fix – and provided a vivid reminder why the American political system is badly broken. | 12/31/12 22:30:05 By - David Lightman

Congress bends rules to rename Yosemite-area peak

Congress stretched the rules a bit by naming a Yosemite National Park-area mountain after the late Olympic star and longtime Mono County, Calif., Supervisor Andrea Lawrence. And most everyone is cool with that. | 12/31/12 16:49:20 By - By Michael Doyle

From Capitol Hill to Iran, next defense secretary faces challenges

The trial balloon for the next secretary of defense barely lifted off before the darts started zipping at it, from the left and the right. | 12/31/12 15:29:51 By - By Matthew Schofield

New Year means tax increases to pay for health care law

The tax man is coming in 2013. And he’s wearing surgical scrubs and has a stethoscope around his neck. | 12/31/12 14:56:29 By - By Tony Pugh

10 politicians to watch in 2013

From the halls of the U.S. Capitol to the Oval Office, plenty of political personalities will garner attention in 2013. Some have been in the spotlight for years, while others are embarking on the national stage for the first time. | 12/31/12 14:26:20 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

All-volunteer military may desensitize U.S. to war, some fear

The all-volunteer military force appears to be passing from generation to generation, leading to the worrying notion that the United States is developing a warrior class. One survey indicated that 57 percent of active troops today are the children of current or former active or reserve service members. | 12/31/12 13:37:09 By - By Matthew Schofield

Top 10 political quotes of 2012

The top 10 political quotes of 2012. | 12/31/12 13:37:53 By - By David Lightman

Budget cliffhanger: talks drag into final hours

The White House and congressional leaders worked overtime Sunday to ward off tax increases set to kick in for most Americans, with Republican leaders signaling a grudging acceptance that some taxes will go up and the two parties narrowing their differences over who should pay more. | 12/30/12 21:11:32 By - By William Douglas and Anita Kumar

Taxes key as budget talks start in private

Senate leaders worked feverishly behind closed doors Saturday to avert the most painful parts of a looming fiscal crisis, debating which taxpayers could or should pay more as part of a deal that would ward off looming tax increases for everyone. | 12/29/12 21:56:57 By - By William Douglas and Anita Kumar

At fiscal cliff’s edge, budget talks resume

Just days from a fiscal meltdown, President Barack Obama and congressional leaders resumed stalled talks Friday and head into the weekend with a final attempt to negotiate a last-minute budget compromise that would avert looming tax increases for most Americans that could plunge the country back into recession. | 12/28/12 19:45:14 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

New rule puts cloak of privacy on children’s apps

Unbeknownst to the lucky children who unwrapped tablets or smartphones this holiday season, new rules issued in Washington to protect their privacy on those devices could have profound implications for the future of the Internet and mobile apps. | 12/28/12 16:17:12 By - By Lindsay Wise

Obama and Senate return to D.C., can’t find a deal

President Barack Obama and the Senate returned Thursday to Washington to revive stalled negotiations to avert a potentially devastating series of tax increases and spending cuts – but both parties remained pessimistic they would find a solution before a crucial end-of-the-year deadline. | 12/27/12 19:12:14 By - By Anita Kumar and William Douglas

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson to resign

Lisa Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, announced Thursday that she is resigning. | 12/27/12 11:51:19 By - Anita Kumar

U.S. will reach federal debt limit on New Year’s Eve

The government will reach the $16.4 trillion debt limit Monday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told congressional leaders Wednesday, adding a new and possibly dramatic wrinkle to negotiations aimed at averting the “fiscal cliff.” | 12/26/12 19:13:34 By - By David Lightman and Kevin G. Hall

Gallup: People less optimistic about cliff deal

People are growing pessimistic that the White House and congressional leaders can reach an agreement on avoiding the fiscal cliff, a new Gallup poll said Wednesday. | 12/26/12 09:48:08 By - David Lightman

Here are some routes to avoid looming ‘fiscal cliff’

When President Barack Obama and Congress return to Washington later this week, the countdown to the fiscal cliff will be measured in days _ yet no one really knows how, when or even whether an agreement might reached. | 12/24/12 15:54:01 By - By David Lightman

Obama nominates Sen. John Kerry as secretary of state

President Barack Obama on Friday nominated Sen. John Kerry for secretary of state in his second term, calling the Vietnam veteran and onetime presidential contender the “perfect choice to guide American diplomacy.” | 12/21/12 18:31:01 By -

NRA calls for Congress to require armed guards in every school

The nation’s largest gun lobby, which has stayed mostly quiet since the shootings that killed 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school a week ago, called Friday for Congress to require armed security guards in every school, saying that doing so could prevent acts of mass violence from happening again. | 12/21/12 18:01:06 By - By Erika Bolstad

Kerry’s rise from son of a diplomat to secretary of state

With Friday’s announcement by President Barack Obama that he had nominated Sen. John Kerry to become the next secretary of state, the Massachusetts Democrat would go from a diplomat’s son to the nation’s top diplomat – overcoming a few setbacks along the way. | 12/21/12 17:18:36 By - By William Douglas and David Lightman

Judge tosses suit that tried to rid Senate of filibuster

A long-shot lawsuit challenging the Senate filibuster rules, in part over a contentious immigration issue, was tossed out Friday by a federal judge. | 12/21/12 17:03:58 By - By Michael Doyle

With GOP divided on tax vote, Boehner pulls ‘Plan B’ off House floor

House Speaker John Boehner’s carefully planned effort to paint Republicans as unified behind a tax and spending plan was in turmoil Thursday night, as he was unable to find enough votes from his own members to pass a tax increase on the wealthy. | 12/20/12 20:27:40 By - By David Lightman

Tice family pleads for help in return of journalist missing in Syria

The parents of missing American journalist Austin Tice made a heart-wrenching appeal for his safe return Thursday in an open letter addressed to his captors in Syria. | 12/20/12 18:54:34 By - By Lindsay Wise

Mayan exhibit celebrates changing calendar and royal jade

If you’ve outlived the apocalypse and still are interested in Mayan culture, drop in on a new exhibit about the Mayans in Washington. | 12/20/12 17:03:03 By - By Tish Wells

Supreme Court rulings limit options of gun-control task force

The Obama administration’s high-level gun-control task force, established Wednesday, will be navigating tricky legal terrain reshaped by Supreme Court conservatives. | 12/19/12 17:04:01 By - By Michael Doyle

With state budgets in red, push for online sales tax gains steam

At The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, N.C., co-owner Tom Campbell says he is losing business as customers come in to photograph his books or jot down notes, conducting their research before they buy the books online to avoid a sales tax. | 12/19/12 15:20:28 By - By Rob Hotakainen

Religious challenge to health care law can continue

North Carolina’s Belmont Abbey College can keep on challenging the Obama administration’s signature health care law under an appellate court ruling that leaves the challenge on hold. | 12/19/12 14:55:44 By - By Michael Doyle

VP Biden to head post-Newtown shooting review of U.S. policy

A day after the administration said he "actively supports" some gun control measures, President Obama today will announce his administration's first coordinated steps to respond to the elementary school shooting in Newtown. | 12/19/12 08:11:05 By - Lesley Clark

New details could undermine witness in Chandra Levy case

Newly obtained information potentially undermines a prosecution witness used to convict an illegal Salvadoran immigrant of killing former intern Chandra Levy, an unusual court hearing revealed Tuesday. | 12/18/12 17:45:44 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama, Speaker John Boehner edge toward deal on federal budget

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner inched closer to a solution to avert a looming fiscal crisis Tuesday with a deal that would fail to meet one of the president’s top campaign pledges of raising taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. | 12/18/12 17:41:45 By - By David Lightman and Anita Kumar

Obama offers new fiscal cliff proposal; deal may be nearer

President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner moved closer to a deal on tax increases and spending cuts late Monday, though some details remain to meet an end-of-the-year deadline. | 12/17/12 21:58:26 By - By Anita Kumar

In aftermath of Newtown massacre, what will Congress do about guns?

The horrific Connecticut shootings are likely to change the tone of Congress’ debate over gun control and other efforts to curb violence. | 12/17/12 17:59:31 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

New USDA rule would speed poultry-processing lines, worrying inspectors

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is poised to finalize major changes to the poultry slaughter-inspection process that critics warn could threaten food safety and harm workers. | 12/17/12 17:55:38 By - By Lindsay Wise

New poultry rule could harm workers, advocates say

Workplace safety experts say a U.S. Department of Agriculture proposal to increase line speeds at poultry plants could endanger the low-wage workers who are tasked with sorting and trimming inedible carcasses, a job that used to belong to federal inspectors. | 12/17/12 17:54:58 By - By Lindsay Wise

Bin Laden film leak was referred to Justice; leaker top Obama official

Pentagon investigators concluded that a senior Defense Department official who’s been mentioned as a possible candidate to be the next CIA director leaked restricted information to the makers of an acclaimed film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and referred the case to the Justice Department, according to knowledgeable U.S. officials. | 12/17/12 17:21:46 By - By Marisa Taylor and Jonathan S. Landay McClatchy Newspapers

Fiscal cliff’s impact in Kentucky uncertain but worrisome

Two weeks before the federal government is forced to make cuts that could impact classrooms, extension programs and staff, Kentucky State University’s Teferi Tsegaye notes that all he knows for sure about the so-called “fiscal cliff” is that his agricultural school is among those being shoved over. | 12/17/12 15:33:53 By - By Matthew Schofield

Court to decide whether religious challenge to health care law may proceed

Federal judges on Friday seriously entertained ways to revive a religious liberty lawsuit that North Carolina’s Belmont Abbey College filed against the Obama administration’s signature health care law. | 12/14/12 16:54:40 By - By Michael Doyle

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