Nation Briefs 03-28-14 Schlesinger, who was a politcal man for all seasons, dies at 85


WASHINGTON -- Onetime economics professor and longtime nuclear strategist James R. Schlesinger was a political man for all seasons, holding a long string of Cabinet and other high-level posts through three administrations. He was hired -- and dismissed -- by presidents of both parties.

Schlesinger, who died Thursday at the age of 85, built an impressive national-security resume under Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and served as the nation's first energy secretary under Democratic President Jimmy Carter during the energy crisis of the late 1970s.

Earlier, he served as a White House budget official, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission and director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Nixon; and as defense secretary under both Nixon and Ford.

Both Carter and Ford sent the scrappy, Harvard-educated Schlesinger packing after a few years. But he kept bouncing back. In later years, he served on a succession of defense and nuclear-energy related government advisory boards and panels.

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recalled his friendship with Schlesinger over the last 15 years and said their discussions on nuclear security and other issues always "led to new insight and perspective on issues of national significance. His counsel will be missed."

Moniz added: "We are still reaping the many benefits from his leadership of the department."

Judge says he saw no remorse: Jordan Graham was sentenced Thursday in Missoula, Mont., to more than 30 years in prison for killing her husband of eight days by pushing him from a cliff in Glacier National Park after they argued over her regrets about the marriage. U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy said he saw no remorse from Graham, 22, in the killing of Cody Johnson, 25. He sentenced her to 30 years and five months in prison and ordered her to pay $16,910 in restitution. Graham will be subject to five years of court supervision upon her release. There is no possibility of parole in the federal system, meaning she's likely to serve the full term.

Judge to hear request: A Texas federal judge will hold a hearing next week on a lawsuit seeking to force General Motors to tell customers to stop driving some recalled cars. Lawyer Robert Hilliard says Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos in Corpus Christi could rule on April 4. On Monday Hilliard asked the court to make GM tell owners to park the cars until they can be fixed. GM is recalling 1.6 million older Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion and other models to replace ignition switches. The switches can slip out of the run position and shut off the engine. That cuts off power steering and brakes. Hilliard contends the cars aren't safe even if people remove everything from key rings as advised by GM. GM says the cars are safe if there's nothing on the rings.

Economic growth revised higher: The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter as consumer spending rose at the fastest pace in three years. The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the growth rate was slightly better than previously estimated. The revision reflected stronger consumer spending, which rose at its best quarterly pace since 2010. Analysts viewed the upward revision as an encouraging sign -- showing that the economy had more momentum going into the first quarter than previously believed.

FDA advisers back colon cancer test: A panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers has voted to endorse an experimental stool test that uses DNA to detect colon cancer and precancerous growths. The FDA's committee of genetic experts voted 10-0 that the benefits of Exact Sciences' Cologuard test outweigh its risks. The vote amounts to a recommendation for the FDA to approve the test from Exact Sciences of Madison, Wis. The agency is not required to follow the panel's advice, but often does. Doctors have long used stool tests to look for hidden blood, a sign of possible tumors and precancerous polyps. Cologuard and other DNA tests in development detect minute genetic changes associated with cancer cells in the colon.

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