KENTUCKY: Coal mine collapse kills 2
Two miners were killed in a roof collapse in an underground coal mine cited six times this year for using too few supporting bolts in the roof, state records show. The rock fall that killed the men happened late Wednesday about four miles inside the Dotiki Mine and instability in the roof hampered rescue efforts yesterday. Rescuers were "within an arm's length" of the body of a miner trapped under rock when the roof became unstable and they had to retreat, said Gov. Steve Beshear, who traveled to the mine and met with families of the victims. The men were Justin Travis, 27, and Michael Carter, 28.
FLORIDA: Governor quits GOP
Former GOP darling Gov. Charlie Crist defected from the Republican Party on Thursday to run as an independent for U.S. Senate, after months of being ripped by conservatives as too supportive of President Barack Obama. "I don't have either party helping me. But I need you. I need you more than ever," the governor said, surrounded by cheering supporters carrying signs that included "Democrats for Crist." The primary campaign quickly became a lost cause as the tea party movement embraced Marco Rubio, and held up the governor's literal embrace of Obama last year as evidence that Crist was too liberal. Other Republicans were making it clear that if Crist abandons the party, they will abandon him. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said Crist's future political aspirations would be "irreparably damaged" by an independent run.
GEORGIA: Submarines getting women
The first U.S. women allowed to serve aboard submarines will be reporting for duty by 2012, the Navy said Thursday as the military ordered an end to one of its few remaining gender barriers. Rear Adm. Barry Bruner, who led the Navy's task force on integrating women onto submarines, is the top sub commander at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base in coastal Georgia.