WASHINGTON (AP) — For Senate Republicans, 2012 is starting a lot like 2010.
They have a shot at taking control away from Democrats as long as insurgent conservatives who are defeating the party’s more establishment candidates in primaries don’t frighten too many independent voters like they did two years ago.
Deb Fischer, a little-known state senator, became the latest unexpected Senate GOP nominee Tuesday, rallying late to upset the favored — and better funded — choices of both the party’s mainstream and tea party establishments: Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and state Treasurer Don Stenberg.
Her victory occurred just a week after tea party and other conservative groups embraced Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, who scored an arguably bigger upset — knocking off six-term Sen. Richard Lugar, the Senate’s longest-serving Republican.
The message for the GOP: Insurgents are back.
First ’ring of fire’ eclipse visible in US in nearly 20 years; also can be seen in E. Asia
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sunrises and sunsets often dazzle, but they’ll have a special ring to them in a few days for people in the western United States and eastern Asia: The moon will slide across the sun, blocking everything but a blazing halo of light.
It’s been almost two decades since a “ring of fire” eclipse was visible in the continental United States. To celebrate the end of that drought, nearly three dozen national parks in the path of the eclipse will host viewing parties.
The solar spectacle is first seen in eastern Asia at dawn Monday, local time. Weather permitting, millions of early risers in southern China, northern Taiwan and southeast Japan will be able to catch the ring eclipse. Then it creeps across the Pacific with the western U.S. viewing the tail end.
The late day sun will transform into a glowing ring in southwest Oregon, Northern California, central Nevada, southern Utah, northern Arizona and New Mexico and finally the Texas Panhandle where it will occur at sunset on Sunday. For 3 1/2 hours, the eclipse follows an 8,500-mile path. Viewing, from beginning to end, lasts about two hours. The ring phenomenon lasts as long as 5 minutes depending on location.
Outside this narrow band, parts of the West, Midwest and South — and portions of Canada and Mexico — will be treated to a partial eclipse. The Eastern Seaboard will be shut out, but people can log online to sites such as the Slooh Space Camera, which plans to broadcast the event live.
A 13 percent drop in oil prices this month is helping drivers and businesses
NEW YORK (AP) — What only weeks ago was seen as a serious threat to the economic recovery could now turn into a stimulus everyone can love.
Oil and gasoline prices are sinking, giving relief to businesses and consumers who a few weeks ago seemed about to face the highest fuel prices ever.
President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects could also benefit, especially if prices keep falling as some analysts expect. A majority of Americans disapproved of Obama’s handling of gas prices in an AP-GfK poll early this month. But that was before the full effect of the recent drop had reached drivers.
The average U.S. retail gasoline price has dropped 21 cents a gallon to $3.73 since hitting a 2012 peak of $3.94 on April 6.
The economy could gain, too. Consumers who spend less on fuel have more to spend on other purchases, from autos and furniture to appliances and vacations, which could help drive economic output and job growth.