McCain warns GOP to act
WASHINGTON (AP) — In a warning to fellow Republicans, Sen. John McCain said Wednesday that failure to pass comprehensive immigration legislation could mean continued election losses for the GOP and cause Republican-friendly states like Arizona to fall to the Democrats.
The Arizona Republican, his party’s former presidential nominee and one of eight senators to sign onto a bipartisan immigration reform framework this week, said failure to act means the trend of Hispanic defections from the GOP would continue.
Latino voters supported President Barack Obama over Republican Mitt Romney 71 percent to 27 percent in November, helping to ensure Obama’s victory. McCain said that Republicans have failed to understand the importance of immigration to Hispanic voters and that’s cost the party at the ballot box.
Supercomputer goes to college
TROY, N.Y. (AP) — Watson, the supercomputer famous for beating the world’s best human “Jeopardy!” champions, is going to college.
IBM is announcing Wednesday that it will provide a Watson system to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the first time the computer is being sent to a university. Just like the flesh-and-blood students who will work on it, Watson is leaving home to sharpen its skills. Course work will include English and math.
“It’s a big step for us,” said Michael Henesey, IBM’s vice president of business development. “We consider it absolutely strategic technology for IBM in the future. And we want to evolve it, of course, thoughtfully, but also in collaboration with the best and brightest in academia.”
Former governor leaves prison
CHICAGO (AP) — Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was released from a federal prison before dawn Wednesday after serving more than five years for corruption. Looking relaxed and thinner than before prison, he walked past throngs of reporters into a Chicago halfway house.
Ryan, 78, left the federal prison in Terre Haute, Ind. five months before his prison term officially ended, having qualified for early release to the Salvation Army-run Freedom Center.
He will now spend time in a halfway house.
Wearing a gray business suit and tie, Ryan smiled faintly but didn’t speak to reporters as he walked into the red-bricked facility on the city’s West Side just before 7 a.m.
“Today is another step in a long journey for George Ryan,” his attorney and former Gov. Jim Thompson told reporters after Ryan went inside.