Obama fills long vacant envoy posts
President Barack Obama has bypassed the Senate and directly appointed four new U.S. ambassadors whose nominations had been stalled or blocked by lawmakers for months. The White House announced Wednesday that Obama would use his power to make recess appointments to fill envoy posts to Azerbaijan, the Czech Republic, Syria and Turkey. Recess appointments last only until the end of the next session of Congress.
House will hear the Constitution
When Republicans take over next week, they will do something that apparently has never been done before in the 221-year history of the House of Representatives. They will read the Constitution aloud. And then they will require that every new bill contain a statement by the legislator who wrote it citing the constitutional authority to enact the proposed law.
Convict to give up kidney for freedom
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has suspended the life sentences of two sisters for a 1994 armed robbery on the condition that one of the women donates a kidney to her sister. Barbour said Wednesday that Gladys and Jamie Scott are eligible for parole in 2014, but "Jamie Scott requires regular dialysis, and her sister has offered to donate one of her kidneys to her." Barbour said Gladys Scott's "release is conditioned on her donating one of her kidneys to her sister." The robbery netted the sisters $11.
Ex-astronaut sues over trading card
Buzz Aldrin, the second person to set foot on the moon, is suing Topps Inc. for putting a photograph of the historic moment on its "American Heroes" series of trading cards. The retired astronaut, 80, sued Monday in federal court, contending that the trading card company had unjustly profited from his historic achievement. Topps attorney Michael Kahn said the company had a First Amendment right "to include a factual description of the historic events in which Dr. Aldrin participated."
Man wanted in coffin robbery
State police are trying to find a Pennsylvania man who they say stole a hand-held video game system and accessories from the casket of a teen who had been killed in an SUV crash on Christmas Day. Police say 38-year-old Jody Lynn Bennett of Mentcle grabbed the items from the casket of 17-year-old Bradley McCombs during a viewing Monday night in Montgomery Township.
BOISE, Idaho: Russell E. Miller, 68, is charged with punching a teenage passenger listening to music who refused to turn off his iPhone after being asked as their Southwest Airlines flight from Las Vegas plane approached the Boise airport, official say.
Philadelphia: TV analyst Tucker Carlson said Tuesday on a Fox News show that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick "should have been executed" for his role in a dogfighting ring.
ATLANTA: Murals of slaves harvesting sugar cane on a Georgia plantation and picking cotton are coming off the walls of the state Agriculture Department on the order of a new agriculture commissioner. "I don't like those pictures," said Republican Gary Black.