Franken sworn in as Minn. senator

WASHINGTON - Al Franken became a senator on Tuesday, completing the transformation from comedian to politician.

The Minnesota Democrat's swearing-in marked the end of an eight-month political and legal struggle and drew thunderous applause and a standing ovation in the Senate chamber. His presence gives Democrats 60 votes, enough to thwart possible Republican filibusters.

Vice President Joe Biden administered the oath to Franken, slapped the former 'Saturday Night Live' performer on the back, then embraced him in a full hug. Former Vice President Walter Mondale, a Minnesota native and former senator, accompanied Franken, and he was introduced by fellow Minnesotan and Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

'I think it was Al who told me that the third year of his campaign would be the best,' Klobuchar said. 'He was right.'

No sign of progress on California's budget shortfall

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Negotiations aimed at closing California's $26.3 billion deficit remain frozen after a top Democratic lawmaker walked away from talks on Monday.

No formal discussions had been scheduled for Tuesday. It was not clear when Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, a Democrat from Los Angeles, will return.

She refused to participate in talks Monday, expressing frustration over Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's demands to reform welfare, in-home supportive services and state pensions.

The governor is demanding the Legislature make eligibility and benefit changes to CalWORKS and other social programs as part of closing the state deficit.

Nearly naked man charged with drunken driving

RISING SUN, Md. - A Delaware man who claimed he lost his pants faces drunken driving charges after the deputy who pulled him over noticed the driver was in the buff below the waist.

A spokesman for Maryland's Cecil County Sheriff's Office said 41-year-old Jonathan Schultz 'was driving commando' and only partially covered with a towel on his lap, though he was wearing a shirt.

Lt. Bernard Chiminto said Schultz was stopped Saturday near Rising Sun for going 69 mph in a 50-mph zone.

Former Mongols leader pleads guilty in fed case

LOS ANGELES - The former national president of the notorious Mongols motorcycle gang has pleaded guilty to a racketeering conspiracy charge in a case that accused other members of murder, drug trafficking and violent attacks.

Prosecutors revealed January's guilty plea by Ruben 'Doc' Cavazos in court papers filed June 29. He could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced in February.

Jury selection begins in casino gunfire case

LAS VEGAS - Jury selection has started for a man accused of spraying a Las Vegas Strip casino with gunfire in 2007, injuring five people.

Steven Francis Zegrean watched silently Tuesday as 59 prospective jurors filed into Clark County District Court for his trial.

Zegrean's lawyers and prosecutors plan to spend several hours reducing the jury pool to the 12 men and women who'll decide the case.

The 53-year-old Zegrean has pleaded not guilty to 52 felony charges in the July 2007 shooting at the New York-New York casino. He could face life in prison if convicted.

Authorities say he fired 16 shots before being tackled when he stopped to reload.

Official: Detective from King trial kills herself

LOS ANGELES - A veteran Los Angeles police detective who testified at the Rodney King trial killed herself after walking into the lobby of a suburban sheriff's station, authorities said Tuesday.

Susan Clemmer, 41, was a gang narcotics officer who worked for the department for nearly 20 years, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. She was unmarried.

Crude oil falls below $63 in extended sell-off

NEW YORK - Oil prices fell for the fifth straight day Tuesday, with a barrel costing $10 less than it did just one week ago when crude hit a new high for the year.

Benchmark crude for August delivery settled at $62.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, down $1.12.

Oil prices had already begun to slide after peaking last Tuesday, and dismal jobs numbers last week from both the U.S. and Europe only exacerbated the fall.