Posted: Aug 26, 2012 4:00 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2012 10:00 PM
Keys residents nonchalant about Isaac's soaking, but Gulf Coast in store for a hurricane
KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) Tropical Storm Isaac barely stirred Florida Keys residents from their fabled nonchalance Sunday, while the Gulf Coast braced for the possibility that the sprawling storm will strengthen into a dangerous hurricane by the time it makes landfall there.
It was on course to strike land on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a powerful storm that crippled New Orleans and the Gulf Coast and became a symbol of government ineptitude. Forecasters expected Isaac to pass the Keys late Sunday before turning northwest and striking as a Category 2 hurricane somewhere between New Orleans and the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane warning for a large swath of the northern Gulf Coast from east of Morgan City, La. which includes the New Orleans area to Destin, Fla. A Category 2 hurricane has sustained winds of between 96 and 110 mph (154 to 177 kph).
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal called a state of emergency and officials in St. Charles Parish near New Orleans told its 53,000 residents to leave ahead of the storm. Jindal also said he may skip a speaking engagement later this week at the Republican National Convention in Tampa unless the threat to his state subsides. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley has canceled his trip to the convention because of Isaac, and Florida Gov. Rick Scott also gave up his speaking engagement.
Elected leaders' vigilance toward tropical storms has heightened in the seven years since Katrina struck. Criticism was leveled at officials reaching all the way to the White House over what was seen as the federal government's slow and bungled response to the storm that killed 1,800.
As convention script undergoes a rewrite, Romney accuses Obama of exploiting abortion issue
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) His Republican National Convention curtailed by a threatened hurricane, Mitt Romney conceded Sunday that fresh controversy over rape and abortion is harming his party and he accused Democrats of trying to exploit it for political gain.
"It really is sad, isn't it, with all the issues that America faces, for the Obama campaign to continue to stoop to such a low level," said Romney, struggling to sharpen the presidential election focus instead on a weak economy and 8.3 percent national unemployment.
His comments came as aides and party officials hurriedly rewrote the script for the convention, cut from four days to three because of the threat posed by approaching Tropical Storm Isaac. The storm is forecast to gain hurricane strength as it churns through the Gulf of Mexico but to pass well west of the convention city.
The revised schedule included a symbolic 10-minute session on Monday in a nearly empty hall, during which officials intend to launch a debt clock set to zero. The political objective is to show how much the government borrows throughout the convention week.
Officials did not rule out further changes because of the weather, and sidestepped when asked what might happen if, as seemed possible, the storm made landfall in the New Orleans area on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. That storm killed 1,800 people and devastated the city.
10 Things to Know for Monday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about on Monday. (times EDT):
1. ISAAC COULD STRIKE LAND ON KATRINA ANNIVERSARY
Louisiana governor is calling a state of emergency ahead of the storm, while Republicans revise convention schedule.
Analysis: Abortion dispute strains GOP's uneasy fiscal-social alliance as convention begins
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Every now and then, an event awakens the ever-slumbering tensions between the Republican Party's two core wings: social conservatives and corporate interests.
A Missouri congressman's comment about rape and pregnancy was one such moment, and it came just as Republicans were hoping for a united front at their convention to nominate Mitt Romney for president.
A full-blown rupture such as the one at the 1992 convention, when a defeated candidate declared a national "culture war" seems unlikely. But even a modest squabble between key party factions might raise concerns in a tight presidential race.
Romney joined other mainstream Republicans in denouncing the Aug. 19 remarks by Rep. Todd Akin, the party's Senate nominee in Missouri. Akin said rape victims can generally avoid pregnancy because "if it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Romney called Akin's comments "offensive and wrong." He unsuccessfully urged Akin to quit the Senate race.
Evidence is mounting of a new massacre in Syria, with at least 320 killed in past several days
BEIRUT (AP) Row upon row of bloodied bodies wrapped in colorful blankets laid out on a mosque floor in a Damascus suburb. Long narrow graves tightly packed with dozens of victims. Nestled among them, two babies were wrapped in a single blood-soaked blanket, a yellow pacifier dangling beside them from a palm frond.
Evidence mounted on Sunday of a new massacre in Syria's deepening civil war, with activists reporting a killing spree by government forces after they seized the suburb of Daraya from rebel control three days ago. Reports of the death toll ranged from more than 300 to as many as 600.
Video footage posted by activists showed lineups of corpses, many of them men with gunshot wounds to their heads. During mass burials on Sunday, bodies were sprayed with water from hoses a substitute for the ritual washing prescribed by Islam in the face of so many dead.
The gruesome images appeared to expose the lengths to which the regime of authoritarian President Bashar Assad was willing to go to put down the rebellion that first broke out in March last year.
In an ominous commentary, Assad was quoted by his official media as saying his regime would carry on fighting "whatever the price."
AP-GfK poll: Narrow majority supports raising taxes, retirement age to save Social Security
WASHINGTON (AP) Most Americans say go ahead and raise taxes if it will save Social Security benefits for future generations. And raise the retirement age, if you have to.
Both options are preferable to cutting monthly benefits, even for people who are years away from applying for them.
Those are the findings of a new Associated Press-GfK poll on public attitudes toward the nation's largest federal program.
Social Security is facing serious long-term financial problems. When given a choice on how to fix them, 53 percent of adults said they would rather raise taxes than cut benefits for future generations, according to the poll. Just 36 percent said they would cut benefits instead.
The results were similar when people were asked whether they would rather raise the retirement age or cut monthly payments for future generations 53 percent said they would raise the retirement age, while 35 percent said they would cut monthly payments.
Blame it on the rain? Tampa streets not filled with protesters ahead of GOP convention
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) You can't see them. You can barely hear them over the din of the wind and rain swirling in the skies above from Tropical Storm Isaac. Protesters are here but it's highly unlikely they'll come close to crossing paths with Republicans for the presidential nominating convention.
Protesters are being kept blocks away and, so far, they've gathered in groups several dozen to a few hundred. But the worries of massive protests that might bring violence and a cacophony of chanting have been elusive.
With Isaac making its way northward toward the Gulf Coast, brushing Tampa Bay, the Republican National Convention has been pushed off to a later start. Protesters might also be staying away because of the storm, whose path and intensity has been difficult to predict. Isaac's outer bands were already bringing intermittent rain and gusts of wind but no downpours, and the usual August heat and humidity was being kept relatively at bay.
Sunday's protests ran the gamut from unionized labor and Occupy Wall Street to a hearty band of 30 who criticized presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for putting his dog Seamus in a crate atop his station wagon on a long-ago family vacation.
"If somebody is going to treat their animal inhumanely, how are they going to treat our country?" said Kim Swygert, 37, a law student from Tampa, who came with her Great Dane.
Apple jurors grappled with complex patent issues that some say should rest with judges
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) The youngest juror, a 24-year-old whose favorite court attire was T-shirts bearing names of rock bands, chose a Beatles sweatshirt for Friday's dramatic unveiling of the $1.05 billion verdict in favor of computer titan Apple Inc. One of the oldest was a retired electrical engineer who, as foreman, signed the unanimous verdict that Samsung Electronics Co. copied Apple's patented technology for the iPhone and iPad. Among the other seven jurors were a homemaker, a bicycle shop manager and a U.S. Navy veteran.
The decision Friday by this panel of people from many walks of Silicon Valley life was one that experts say could dramatically alter the future of computer tablet and phone design if the verdict stands. But the case also is part of a trend that has accompanied an explosion in the number of patent infringement cases, especially in the technology sector.
Increasingly, these highly complex disputes are being decided by juries, rather than judges, and the juries tend to issue more generous awards for patent violations.
That has companies on the receiving end of successful patent infringement lawsuits crying foul and calling for reform in the patent system, but it also has some legal experts questioning whether ordinary citizens should be rendering verdicts and fixing damages in such high-stakes, highly technical cases.
"That's a great question ... and it's the subject of a fair amount of current debate," said Notre Dame University law professor Mark McKenna.
Tebow throws last interception, Jets held out of end zone again in 17-12 loss to Panthers
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Mark Sanchez looked pretty good for nearly three quarters. He just couldn't get the New York Jets into the end zone again.
Tim Tebow had the play of the game, but also couldn't get that elusive preseason touchdown for the Jets.
Tebow got the fans fired up with a dazzling 20-yard run in the fourth quarter, but threw an interception three plays later and the Carolina Panthers held on for a 17-12 victory Sunday night.
The Jets (0-3) still have not scored a touchdown through three preseason games, an alarming display of ineptitude even though the games don't count. But Sanchez and the starters will not play Thursday night in the preseason finale at Philadelphia, so they certainly have a lot to work on before the regular-season opener against Buffalo on Sept. 9.
Sanchez played well into the third quarter, but got no help from his receivers who dropped a few passes. He finished 11 of 18 for 123 yards and an interception.
'Expendables 2' wins weekend, but anti-Obama doc highlights weak Hollywood newcomers
LOS ANGELES (AP) Hollywood may have run out of summer hits, but an anti-Obama documentary is helping to fill the gap.
Holdover movies easily topped the weekend box office again, led by Sylvester Stallone's "The Expendables 2" at No. 1 for the second-straight weekend with $13.5 million.
The weekend's new wide releases were overshadowed by "2016: Obama's America," which expanded from limited to nationwide release and took in $6.2 million to finish at No. 8.
The documentary is a conservative critique of what the country would look like four years from now if President Barack Obama is re-elected.
Released by Rocky Mountain Pictures, "Obama's America" nearly matched the $6.3 million debut of the No. 7 movie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's action tale "Premium Rush," a Sony release that played in more than twice as many theaters as the Obama documentary.