Printed on: November 19, 2013

Washington briefly


Education secretary regrets comment

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday said he regretted

his "clumsy phrasing" in singling out white suburban moms for opposing new higher academic standards.

Duncan has consistently shown little patience for critics of the Common Core State Standards, being implemented in 45 states and the District of Columbia. But his remarks, as reported by Politico, went a step further and added elements of race and class.

"It's fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who -- all of a sudden -- their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were, and that's pretty scary," Duncan said Friday in Richmond, Va. "You've bet your house and where you live and everything on, 'My child's going to be prepared.' That can be a punch in the gut."

Bulk mixers of drugs get more scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress took a half step Monday toward increasing federal oversight of so-called compounding pharmacies that custom mix medications in bulk, a year after a meningitis outbreak from contaminated steroid pain injections killed 64 people and sickened hundreds more.

The Senate approved the bill by voice vote, sending it to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law. The legislation also creates a national system for tracking prescription drugs from manufacturers to retail pharmacies, first through serial numbers on bottles and later through electronic codes.

Navy cruiser in port after drone mishap

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Navy guided missile cruiser hit by a malfunctioning drone during a training exercise returned to San Diego, where investigators will assess the damage and determine what went wrong.

Two sailors were treated for minor burns after the USS Chancellorsville was struck by the unmanned aircraft during radar testing Saturday afternoon.

Lt. Lenaya Rotklein of the U.S. Third Fleet said the drone -- which was 13 feet long, 1 foot in diameter and had a wingspan of nearly 6 feet -- hit the ship's left, or port, side.