Sen. Baucus won’t run
Democratic Sen. Max Baucus, the powerful Senate Finance chairman who steered President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul into law but broke with his party on gun control, said Tuesday he will not run for re-election.
“I don’t want to die here with my boots on. There is life beyond Congress,” the 71-year-old Baucus said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.
Baucus, who arrived in Washington as a member of the 1974 Watergate class in the House and has been a fixture in the Senate since 1979, said the decision was hard.
He faced a tough re-election bid next year, with opposition to the health care law in his state taking a toll on his approval ratings.
Syria fight divides Lebanese
As fighting rages just across the border, Lebanese are giving signs of joining the battle on rival sides of Syria’s civil war — Sunnis on the side of the rebels, Shiites on the side of the regime — raising fears that Lebanon with its volatile sectarian divisions will be dragged into the conflict.
Two influential Lebanese Sunni clerics this week called on members of their community to wage “holy war” in Syria to defend their brethren. They accused Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah group of sending fighters to attack Syrian Sunnis, who make up the backbone of that country’s rebellion.
On Tuesday, around two dozen men lined up in the office of one of the clerics in the southern coastal city of Sidon, signing up to join the jihad.
Charges dropped in ricin case
Charges were dropped Tuesday against the Mississippi man accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Barack Obama and others, while authorities searched at another man’s home in connection with the case.
The surprising move was announced in a brief document filed in federal court in Oxford hours after Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody. The document says the ongoing investigation has revealed new but unspecified information.
Attorneys for Curtis have suggested he was framed, and an FBI agent testified in court this week that no evidence of ricin was found in searches of his home.
In Tupelo, numerous law enforcement officers converged on the home of another Mississippi man
PEORIA HEIGHTS, Ill.
More rain adds to threat
More rain on Tuesday was the last thing flood fighters across the Midwest wanted to see, adding more water to swollen rivers that are now expected to remain high into next month.
Floodwaters were rising to record levels along the Illinois River in central Illinois. In Missouri, six small levees north of St. Louis were overtopped by the surging Mississippi River, though mostly farmland was affected.
The Mississippi and Illinois rivers have crested in some places, but that doesn’t mean the danger is over. The National Weather Service predicts a very slow descent, thanks in part to the additional rain expected to amount to an inch or so across several Midwestern states.