Printed on: December 24, 2012

NATIONAL NEWS BRIEFLY


Lieberman fears U.S. to go over cliff

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senators bickered Sunday about who's to blame for lurching the country toward a year-end "fiscal cliff," bemoaning the lack of a deal days before the deadline but bridging no differences in the debate.

With the collapse Thursday of House Speaker John Boehner's plan to allow tax rates to rise on million-dollar-plus incomes, Sen. Joe Lieberman said "it's the first time that I feel it's more likely we'll go over the cliff than not," meaning higher taxes for most Americans and painful federal agency budget cuts would be in line to go ahead.

"If we allow that to happen, it will be the most colossal consequential act of congressional irresponsibility in a long time, maybe ever in American history because of the impact it'll have on almost every American," said Lieberman, a Connecticut independent.

Navy SEAL cmdr. apparently kills self

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. military officials are investigating the apparent suicide of a Navy SEAL commander in Afghanistan.

Navy SEAL Cmdr. Job W. Price, 42, of Pottstown, Pa., died Saturday of a non-combat-related injury while supporting stability operations in Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan.

A U.S. military official said the death "appears to be the result of suicide." The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the death is still being investigated.

Early figure in gay marriage push dies

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Richard Adams, who used both the altar and the courtroom to help begin the push for gay marriage four decades before it reached the center of the national consciousness, has died, his attorney said Sunday.

After a brief illness, Adams died Dec. 17 at age 65 in the Hollywood home he shared with Tony Sullivan, his partner of 43 years, attorney Lavi Soloway told The Associated Press.

The couple's public life began when they heard about a county clerk in Boulder, Colo., named Clela Rorex, a pioneer in her own right who took the unprecedented step of giving marriage licenses to gay couples after learning from the district attorney's office that nothing in Colorado law expressly forbade it.

Adams and Sullivan's primary motivation in marrying was to get permanent U.S. residency status for Sullivan, an Australian, and they promptly put in an application with what was then called the Immigration and Naturalization Service.

The INS denied the request, and Adams' attempt to have that decision overturned was the first federal lawsuit seeking gay marriage recognition, according to the Advocate magazine and the Los Angeles Times, the first media outlets to report his death.

Few tests at toxic sites after Sandy

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (AP) -- For more than a month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said the recent superstorm didn't cause significant problems at any of the 247 Superfund toxic waste sites it's monitoring in New York and New Jersey.

But in many cases, no actual tests of soil or water are being conducted, just visual inspections.

The EPA conducted a handful of tests right after the storm but couldn't provide details or locations of any recent testing when asked last week.

Jeff Tittel, executive director of the Sierra Club in New Jersey, says officials haven't done enough to ensure there is no contamination from Superfund sites. He's worried toxins could leach into groundwater and the ocean.