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Senate may kill both Democratic, GOP budgets

In a demonstration of official Washington’s often curious logic, the Senate is expected to vote down both a slashing GOP budget bill and a less painful Democratic plan to demonstrate progress instead of gridlock. The idea is to show both sides that they need to move toward each other to break a bitter stalemate over how much to cut spending as Congress wraps up last year’s unfinished budget work. The combatants are facing a March 18 deadline that already has Republicans in the House drafting another stopgap spending measure to make sure the government doesn’t shut down if a broader
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Petraeus: It’s going to be a bad summer

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan says fighting this summer may be worse than last year but some reduction in American forces is still possible in July. Gen. David Petraeus tells The Associated Press that he plans to present President Barack Obama with varying levels of troop reductions that accommodate the president’s July target for beginning troop withdrawals. He says the extra forces poured in by Obama have secured “modest momentum” in Afghanistan but continues to describe those gains as fragile. Petraeus spoke Wednesday ahead of a trip to Washington, where he is scheduled to testify on Capitol
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Failed marriages a fact of life for female GIs

Two failed marriages were the cost of war for Sgt. Jennifer Schobey. The breaking point in her first marriage came when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, the last in a long line of separations they had endured as they juggled two military careers. Schobey married another combat veteran, but eventually that union failed under the weight of two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder — his and hers. They are now getting divorced. Separations. Injuries. Mental health issues. All are added weights to the normal strains of marriage. For women in the military, there’s a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are
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Budget cuts hurting state mental health services

State budget writers looking for cash to balance the books have stripped a cumulative $1.8 billion from mental health services over the last 2 1/2 years, putting the public at risk as the mentally ill crowd emergency rooms and prisons, according to the nation’s largest mental health advocacy group. The Washington-based National Alliance on Mental Illness tallied state budget cuts to mental health services between 2008 and today and found that 32 states and Washington, D.C., cut funding just as economic stressors such as layoffs and home foreclosures boosted demand for services. California slashed funding by more than $587 million,
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