Senators let filibuster stand

WASHINGTON — The filibuster lives on. The Senate voted overwhelmingly late Thursday to reject efforts to change its rules to restrict the blockades that have sown gridlock and discord in recent years on Capitol Hill.

Instead, senators settled on a more modest measure to prevent single lawmakers from anonymously holding up legislation and nominations.

Senators were emphatic in their votes against limiting the filibuster, a treasured right of minorities trying to prevent majorities from running roughshod over them.

New White House spokesman named

WASHINGTON — President Obama will name Jay Carney as his new White House press secretary, taking the unusual step of picking a former journalist to speak for him and his administration.

Obama will name Carney as soon as today, according to a senior administration official. He will replace Robert Gibbs, who is resigning but who will continue to act as an outside adviser.

Carney was a reporter and Washington bureau chief for Time magazine before becoming Vice President Joe Biden's communications director at the start of the administration.

Mayor wants to add bird songs on streets

LANCASTER, Calif. —It may sound like a bird-brained idea, but the mayor of a Mojave Desert city wants to brighten the streets by broadcasting recorded bird songs.

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris proposed the idea during his State of the City talk on Monday.

The Antelope Valley Press says Parris wants to play the bird chatter from loudspeakers on Lancaster Boulevard. The mayor says there's science to show that listening to birdsong makes people happier.

Parris is known for his flamboyant ideas. He got a law passed giving the Southern California city the right to castrate pit bulls and ordered city officials to learn the Mandarin language in a bid to woo Chinese business.