Fireworks wake neighbors
Residents across D.C. and as far away as Alexandria, Va. woke to the explosions of fireworks last Wednesday night as the White House concluded its first state dinner with a bang.
The 15-minute show angered some residents who were drawn out of bed around 11 p.m. The unannounced show caused some people to think the city was under attack.
The White House fielded phone calls from worried and often angry residents.
White House spokeswoman Ashleigh Adams offered an apology Thursday morning on behalf of the first lady. She said the White House considered the fireworks a “nice touch” to end the dinner.
“The White House tries to be respectful of the residents of Washington, D.C.,” Adams told reporters. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused to others.”
Surplus in jeopardy
The White House budget chief told Republican lawmakers Friday that a piece of the Social Security surplus could be gone by the end of the year.
Mitchell Daniels estimated $9 billion would be used for other government programs, seriously cutting the fund in the wake of a slowing economy.
Democrats blamed President George W. Bush’s $1.35 million tax cut for the need to tap into the surplus.
Both Republicans and Democrats are strongly opposed to depleting the funds totaling $157 billion.
The White House said last week it would consider spending cuts for the upcoming fiscal year to avoid using any part of the surplus. The overall federal surplus this year is expected to reach $158 billion.
Postal Service to cut jobs
In the latest reminder of a lagging economy, the U.S. Postal Service said Friday it would cut 800 jobs to climb out of a massive deficit.
The cuts may be the first of thousands of job losses at the Postal Service if it continues to suffer from a cash shortage of more than $1.5 billion.
Workers in several U.S. cities will lose their jobs in the overhaul that is expected to trim its regional management staff by 30 percent.
Maryland student dies
A University of Maryland student who last week was found unconscious on the steps of a fraternity house and later died was not the victim of foul play, police said.
Toxicology reports indicated it is also “highly unlikely” that Alexander Eugene Klochkoff died from alcohol poisoning.
The 20-year-old junior from North Bellmore, N.Y., was found on the
porch of his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity house around 8 a.m. Sept. 5.
Police did not say whether illegal drugs were found at the house and University of Maryland campus police were unaware of drugs ever being found there.
The night before his death, Klochkoff attended a fraternity meeting at the house. He may have gone to a local bar after the meeting, police said.