"Please, can we sit down with the president, for the sake of the nation's defense," Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said at a news conference.
But while McCain and six other Republicans ratcheted up the pressure on Obama and congressional Democrats, McCain also acknowledged that both the administration and congressional Republicans were responsible for setting the cuts in motion. - AP
Some in Colo. not warned of wildfire
CONIFER, Colo. - Some residents in the path of a Colorado wildfire weren't warned to flee because of a problem in an automated call system that relayed a mandatory evacuation order, authorities said Thursday.
About 12 percent of the people who should have received the calls Monday did not, Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said. The culprit was probably a software glitch, she added. Kelley said the county changed to a new automated call system in the last year, and officials were reviewing it to see what went wrong.
The fire was apparently sparked by a state-prescribed burn that was stirred up by strong winds Monday. Since then, 27 homes have been damaged or destroyed, an elderly couple were found dead, and a woman whose house was destroyed is missing.
The fire has blackened about 6 square miles in the mostly rural area southwest of Denver's populous suburbs. More than 500 firefighters were at the blaze Thursday, hoping to expand their containment line in case hot and windy weather returns. - AP
Teacher-sex law overturned in Ark.
LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday struck down the state's law banning sexual contact between teachers and students, finding that people 18 or older have a constitutional right to engage in a consensual sexual relationship.
The court sided with David Paschal, 38, an Elkins High School history and psychology teacher who acknowledged having a five-month consensual sexual relationship with an 18-year-old student.
"Regardless of how we feel about Paschal's conduct, which could correctly referred to as reprehensible, we cannot abandon our duty to uphold the rule of law when a case presents distasteful facts," Chief Justice Jim Hannah wrote.
Attorneys for the state argued that the law protects high school students from sexual advances of teachers in positions of authority. But the court found the law unconstitutional because it criminalized sexual conduct between consenting adults. - AP