MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - A tall man and a slender woman wiggled into their white hazardous materials suits, putting on protective masks and gloves before venturing into the dark, two-story home where police say a methamphetamine lab recently exploded.
NEW YORK (AP) - The heated debate over the National Security Agency's bulk collection of millions of Americans' telephone records fell squarely into the courts Friday, when a federal judge in Manhattan upheld the legality of the program and cited its need in the fight against terrorism just days after another federal judge concluded it was likely not constitutional.
NO BEER LED TO CERAMIC SQUIRREL STABBING: NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina authorities say a 44-year-old woman angry at a man for returning home without beer on Christmas beat and stabbed him with a ceramic squirrel.
NEW YORK (AP) - Electricians working atop a New York City skyscraper on Friday installed the last of the 2,688 crystal triangles that give the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball its shimmer, including a panel dreamt up by a 12-year-old former cancer patient.
DENVER (AP) - The first batch of Denver businesses approved to sell recreational marijuana got their licenses Friday, the owners mugging for pictures and saying they never thought they'd see the day when they'd get a permit to sell pot.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Call it throwing the book at the bookworms.
SC GOV. HALEY GETS A BERETTA PISTOL FOR CHRISTMAS: COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Santa was apparently right on target for Christmas for South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
CHICAGO (AP) - Early blasts of snow, ice and below-zero temperatures haven't stopped a surprising number of Chicago cyclists from spinning through the slush this winter, thanks in part to a city so serious about accommodating them that it deploys mini-snow plows to clear bike lanes.
HOUSTON (AP) - A white Houston-area man was arrested Thursday on federal hate crimes charges for allegedly shooting video of himself sucker-punching a 79-year-old black man in a "knockout game"-style attack.
PHOENIX (AP) - Two men were arrested Christmas Day on opposite sides of the country after they breached perimeters at major airports, raising questions about security measures and whether more needs to be done to protect the nation's transit hubs.
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Pastor Mike Butzberger insists he only had holiday spirit in mind when his Florida church's marquee read: "Christmas - Easier to spell than Hanukkah."
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Members of the Ramapough Native American tribe have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the makers of a recent Hollywood movie they say depicts their people in a negative light.
LITCHFIELD, Maine (AP) - Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada worked Wednesday to restore power to more than half a million homes left in the dark by last weekend's ice storm, and people slowly trickled out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally warm homes.
WEST READING, Pa. (AP) - A terminally ill girl who received support from thousands of Christmas carolers outside her home over the weekend died early on Christmas morning, her family said.
LAS VEGAS (AP) - Las Vegas cab driver Gerardo Gamboa thought someone left a bag of chocolates in the back seat of his vehicle, but the stash turned out to be $300,000 in cold hard cash.
DECATUR, Ala. (AP) - An elderly woman who suffers from Alzheimer's disease lived with her husband's body for a month after he died not realizing what happened, authorities said Monday.
• VICIOUS PET CAT TRAPS OREGON COUPLE, WHO CALL 911: PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Portland police had to be called in to subdue a 22-pound house cat that trapped its owners inside their bedroom after attacking their baby.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Speaking over Skype from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, fugitive WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said his living situation is a bit like prison - with a more lenient visitor policy.
ENGLEWOOD, N.J. (AP) - Sheila MacRae starred on the Broadway stage and in films, yet it was her small-screen role as the tolerant and brassy wife of a Brooklyn bus driver for which she is most remembered.
AMHERST, Mass. (AP) - An early St. Patrick's Day celebration around the University of Massachusetts' flagship campus known as "Blarney Blowout" spun out of control Saturday as police officers in riot gear arrested more than 70 people while dispersing massive crowds, including unruly students throwing beer cans and bottles.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - William "Wild Bill" Guarnere, one of the World War II veterans whose exploits were dramatized in the TV miniseries "Band of Brothers," has died. He was 90
KEY LARGO, Fla. (AP) - President Barack Obama will expand the California Coastal National Monument to include the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands, a White House official said Saturday.
NEW YORK (AP) - Jail guard Nancy Gonzalez gained notoriety by conceiving a baby behind bars with a cop killer. But her story of sexual misconduct at a federal lockup in Brooklyn doesn't end there.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Most of America's young adults are single, don't go to church and while half say they have no loyalty to a political party, when pushed they tend to swing further left politically than those before them.
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - When a Michigan boy told his mother he didn't want an 11th birthday party because he had no friends to invite, she created a Facebook page to ask for well-wishes - and the response was overwhelming.
RENO, Nev. (AP) - A rural Nevada sheriff's deputy is accused of stopping travelers on a lonely stretch of U.S. Interstate 80 and confiscating tens of thousands of dollars for the county without bringing charges, according to two federal lawsuits.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A New Mexico judge has issued a $3.2 million judgment against Wells Fargo & Co. for foreclosing on a man's home after his death, even though he had a purchased an insurance policy through the bank that would have paid the remaining balance on his mortgage.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A judge Friday questioned the viability of a prosecution against a man accused of conspiring to illegally build hundreds of untraceable rifle silencers on a no-bid contract, ostensibly for the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6.
DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit police officer is accused of raping a woman who had called 911 to report being assaulted by her boyfriend.
As I write this, the president and Congress are once again playing games with Social Security. In the ongoing negotiations over the federal budget, Social Security is being used as a political football, with each side blaming the other for lack of progress in getting near the end zone of any kind of meaningful reform of the retirement program.