In brief: USS Thresher sub disaster remembered
Portsmouth, N.H. – Family and friends who lost loved ones when the USS Thresher sank 50 years ago joined in tossing wreaths into the water Saturday in an emotional service in remembrance of the 129 Navy crew members and civilian technicians who lost their lives in the deadliest submarine disaster in U.S. history.
Hundreds gathered for the memorial service at Portsmouth High School that concluded with a small group tossing three wreaths into the Piscataqua River. During the service, a bell tolled 129 times.
The event, along with the dedication of a flagpole today in Kittery, Maine, aims to call attention to the tragedy 220 miles off Cape Cod, which became the impetus for submarine safety improvements.
The USS Thresher, built at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and based in Connecticut, was out for a routine deep-diving test when it ran into trouble on April 10, 1963.
The Navy believes the failure of a brazed weld allowed seawater to spray onto an electrical panel, causing an emergency shutdown of the sub’s nuclear reactor. The ballast system also failed, preventing the sub from surfacing.
Filling with water, Thresher descended deeper and disintegrated under the crushing force of the ocean. Its remnants rest on the ocean floor at a depth of 8,500 feet.
Obama says budget brings ‘tough reforms’
Washington – President Barack Obama says his soon-to-be released budget, already criticized by friends and foes, is not his “ideal plan” but offers “tough reforms” for benefit programs and scuttles some tax breaks for the wealthy.
That’s a mix, he contends, that will provide long-term deficit reduction without harming the economy.
In his first comments about the 2014 spending blueprint he’s set to release Wednesday, Obama said he intends to reduce deficits and provide new money for public works projects, early education and job training.
“We don’t have to choose between these goals; we can do both,” Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address, broadcast Saturday.
Obama’s plan for the budget year that begins Oct. 1 calls for slower growth in government benefits programs for the poor, veterans and the elderly, as well as higher taxes, primarily from the wealthy.
Some details, made public Friday, drew a fierce response from liberals, labor unions and advocates for older Americans. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was also unimpressed.
“It’s a compromise I’m willing to accept in order to move beyond a cycle of short-term, crisis-driven decision-making and focus on growing our economy and our middle class for the long run,” Obama said.