National security shuffle: Jones out, Donilon in
WASHINGTON (AP) Gen. James Jones, the gruff-talking military man President Barack Obama drafted as his national security adviser, announced Friday he was quitting after a tenure marked by ambitious foreign policy changes and undercurrents of corrosive turf battles.
Jones will be replaced by his chief deputy, Tom Donilon, a former Democratic political operative and lobbyist who in many ways is already the day-to-day leader of the White House national security operation. The move deepens a season of White House turnover near the midpoint of Obamas term, with White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel departing last week, chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers leaving by years end and other changes expected before long.
Obama described the transition from Jones to Donilon as expected and seamless, thanking both men in a sunny Rose Garden ceremony. The president put an emphasis on the patriotism of Jones, a Marine who served in Vietnam and retired as a four-star general after a career of more than 40 years. The two barely knew each other when Jones took the post.
Donilon, 55, has played a leading role in the policymaking process that tees up the national security decisions for the president. He has overseen the coordination among deputy chiefs from across the security field and is known for bringing an understanding of domestic policy and politics to the job.
California budget relies on deficit spending
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Even as California lawmakers passed a budget Friday to end an unprecedented 100-day impasse, their spending plan looked to be so tenuous that the next governor was expected to face a multibillion dollar deficit from the moment he or she steps into office next year.
Two-thirds of the budget solutions expected to be signed soon by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger are based on one-time or temporary money some of which may never materialize.
That will leave California to face sizable annual budget problems in 2011-12 and beyond, the Legislative Analysts Office said in a report issued after the Senate passed the main budget bill Friday morning.
Lawmakers bridged a $19 billion shortfall, more than 20 percent of the $87.5 billion general fund spending plan. It includes no tax or fee increases but uses a combination of cuts, funding shifts, delayed corporate tax breaks and assumptions about money the state hopes to receive.
Alaska moves toward legalized bear trapping
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Alaska wildlife managers say they need help.
A growing number of black bears are roaming the state, chowing down on too many caribou and moose and leaving too few for humans to eat.
So the state is poised for the first time to legalize the trapping of black bears.
Critics call the plan cruel: Bears are lured with buckets of raw meat and their paws are snared when they reach inside. Efforts to get free can go to extremes, with bears sometimes chewing off a foot or crippling themselves.
The Alaska Board of Game, which sets hunting regulations, met Friday to begin debate and will delay a decision until next month to allow for public comment.