BUDGET DEADLINE LOOMING:
COLUMBUS (AP) - Ohio lawmakers are trying to resolve major policy differences to get a state budget deal completed before a Tuesday deadline.
House and Senate negotiators are working over the weekend to close a $3.2 billion gap in the two-year spending plan so they can vote on the plan early next week.
It was still unclear whether the GOP-controlled Senate would give legislative approval to Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland's plan to put lottery-run slot machines at Ohio's racetracks to shave $933 million from the deficit. Lawmakers are also trying to resolve differences over how Strickland's education overhaul treats charter schools and how much state money should go to nursing homes.
If lawmakers miss the deadline, they can pass an interim budget to fund state government temporarily until they work out a deal.
Area residents and service providers are waiting to see where the state's ax will fall.
"I think we're in bad shape, and it makes me worry about what we're passing on to our children," said Marietta resident Teresa Offenberger. "Cutting all these things now is going to impact the state every day into the future. The kids are going to feel the effect of everything."
Terry Zdrale, executive director of the O'Neill Senior Center, 333 Fourth St., expressed deep concern for senior services overall.
"The money is going down but the need is going up," she said.
For the latest on the potential impact of various proposed budget cuts, pick up the weekend edition of The Marietta Times.
CLIMATE BILL SHOWDOWN:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House churned toward a showdown vote Friday on historic legislation to reduce pollution linked to global warming and power the nation with cleaner but more expensive energy.
Democrats struggled to solidify a fragile coalition needed to pass the bill - firmly opposed by Republicans who called the measure a "job killer" that would push families' energy bills higher and drive businesses overseas.
The White House and congressional Democrats argued the bill would create millions of "green jobs" as the nation shifts to greater reliance on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar and development of more fuel efficient vehicles - and away from use of fossil fuels.
It will "make our nation the world leader on clean energy jobs and technology," declared Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who had negotiated deals with dozens of lawmakers in recent weeks to broaden the bill's support.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has pledged to get the legislation passed before lawmakers leave on their July 4 vacation.
The Senate has yet to act on the measure, and a major struggle is expected there. The bill's supporters would need 60 votes to overcome a certain Republican filibuster.
Democrats narrowly won a key test vote, 217-205 to advance the bill to the House floor Friday. Thirty Democrats defected their party leaders on that vote, reflecting the divisiveness of the issue and prompting a frantic effort to sway remaining fence-sitting Democratic lawmakers.
JACKSON PRODUCT SALES SKYROCKET AFTER DEATH:
NEW YORK (AP) - Michael Jackson's death has led to skyrocketing sales of his music and videos, with major retailers like Amazon.com Inc. and Barnes and Noble Inc. selling out of products that have regained immense popularity overnight.
Bill Carr, Amazon's vice president of music and video, said Friday that once the world learned that the pop icon had died Thursday, the Web site sold out within minutes all CDs by Michael Jackson and by the Jackson 5 - the group Jackson and his four older brothers formed out of Gary, Ind., in the late '60s.
Sixty percent of Amazon's CD orders Thursday were for Michael Jackson music, something Carr called ''stunning.'' He said he'd ''never seen anything like this'' before at Amazon after the death of a pop culture icon.
As of Friday afternoon, Jackson's albums accounted for all 10 of Amazon's ''Bestsellers in Music'' list, with the 25th anniversary edition of the celebrated ''Thriller'' album taking the top spot.
Meanwhile, Barnes and Noble's Web site and retail stores are currently sold out of most Jackson CDs, DVDs and books, Chief Merchandising Officer Jaime Carey said. Like Amazon, its 10 bestselling CDs were Jackson titles.
Both companies said they were working to get the products back in stock.