Nation Briefs

65% of Democrats support gay marriage

NEW YORK – The partisan gap over same-sex marriage continues to widen, with 65 percent of Democrats now supporting it compared with 24 percent of Republicans, according to poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.

The poll found an increase in support among Democrats since President Barack Obama announced in May that he favors same-sex marriage. In April, a Pew poll gauged support among Democrats at 59 percent.

The latest poll, conducted jointly by the Pew’s Forum on Religion and Public Life and its Center for the People and the Press, was released a day after Democratic Party leaders said they intended to add support for gay marriage to the party platform at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., in early September.

Fast and Furious report distorted, Justice says

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department said Tuesday that Republican lawmakers are engaging in distortions by asserting that Operation Fast and Furious arose from a strategy created by the Obama administration.

In a report released after an 18-month probe of the flawed gun-smuggling investigation, Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said that the administration shifted the emphasis in fighting Mexican drug cartels from merely seizing firearms to identifying the networks that traffic them.

Operation Fast and Furious “was born from this strategy,” the report concluded.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that the Republican report “reiterates many of the distortions and now-debunked conspiracy theories that Rep. Issa has been advancing for a year and a half, including the fiction that the flawed tactics used in Fast and Furious were somehow the brainchild of the current administration as opposed to the reality that the pattern of flawed tactics dates back to 2006 and the prior administration.”

Crop circles appear in Washington field

SEATTLE – Mysterious crop circles have appeared in an eastern Washington wheat field – not far from the nation’s largest hydropower producer.

Friends called Cindy and Greg Geib on July 24 when the pattern of flattened wheat was spotted off Highway 174, about five miles north of the town of Wilbur. The field is about 10 miles south of the Grand Coulee dam, which the Bureau of Reclamation says is the largest hydropower producer in the United States.

Associated Press