WASHINGTON — Pentagon chief Leon Panetta has decided to end the ban on gays serving openly in the armed services and certify that repealing the 17-year-old prohibition will not hurt the military's ability to fight, officials said Thursday.
His decision, which was expected, comes two weeks after the chiefs of the military services told Panetta that ending the ban would not affect military readiness. Dismantling the ban fulfills a 2008 campaign promise by President Obama, who helped usher the repeal through Congress and signed it into law late last December.
Defense officials said the announcement will be made Friday afternoon.
Texas Board of Ed's evolution fight fails to materialize
AUSTIN, Texas — An expected fight over teaching evolution in Texas classrooms fizzled Thursday when the state's Board of Education gave preliminary approval to supplemental science materials for the coming school year and beyond with only minor changes.
The Republican-dominated board drew national attention in 2009 when it adopted science standards encouraging schools to scrutinize "all sides" of scientific theory, a move some creationists hailed as a victory.
But Thursday's unanimous vote diffused the expected renewal of that debate. A final vote is scheduled today and even though the board still can make changes before then, member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, predicted few fireworks would erupt.
Newly released tapes show Nixon focused on enemies
YORBA LINDA, Calif. —The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California has released a new set of recordings that include memos that reveal President Richard Nixon was obsessed with his enemies long before Watergate.
In one memo released Thursday that Nixon dictated to chief of staff Bob Haldeman in early 1970, the president says, "The more I think of it, setting up a special group for the purpose not of cheering but solely of attacking and defending is of the highest priority."
In another memo Nixon complains about the new White House press room, saying "we have gone overboard in terms of the elaborate individual cubicles and other areas that have been set up."