Fresh from his Western ski vacation, presumed Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry returned to the campaign trail and is expected to deliver a major address in Detroit Friday about job losses. President Bush, meanwhile, traveled to New Hampshire, the state hit hardest by such losses the last two years, to present his strategy for retraining laid-off workers.
Kerry's theme appeared to be reinforced by a new report that Silicon Valley has lost 20 percent of its workforce, or 400,000 employees, since an economic downturn hit the technology-rich San Francisco Bay area three years ago. The report is based on a study by economists at UCLA. The shrinkage was called "the single largest loss of jobs by a major metropolitan area" since at least World War II.
Gross domestic product, which measures the value of all US-produced goods and services, grew at a solid 4.1 percent annual rate during the October-to-December quarter, the Commerce Department reported.
The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday about whether the words "under God" are suitable for school Pledge of Allegiance ceremonies. California atheist Michael Newdow, who brought the case on behalf of his daughter, argued that the phrase breaches the figurative wall separating church and state. Bush administration Solicitor General Theodore Olson said argued that the pledge reflects America's religious heritage. Congress added "under God" in 1954.
Relatives of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks praised former government counterrorist expert Richard Clarke for his apology in testimony before a special 9/11 commission for not doing enough to prevent the tragedy. Clarke's comments critical of the Bush administration's antiterror efforts have made him a center of controversy. One relative called Clarke's remarks the first time an official in office at the time has publicly apologized.
While acknowledging local concerns in siting liquefied natural gas facilities, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that it alone has the authority to make such decisions. It rejected arguments by the California Public Utilities Commission, which had maintained that companies seeking to build an LNG terminal at the Port of Long Beach must submit an application to the state as well.
Calling her "the giant of the civil rights movement," President Bush awarded Dorothy Height the Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest honor, Wednesday. Height has held leadership positions with the National Council of Negro Women and the YWCA, and recently won recognition for promoting AIDS education. Below, they pose for photographers at the ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.