NATION: Gulf beaches hit as hurricane pushes oil spill

Gulf beaches hit as hurricane pushes oil spill

GRAND ISLE, La. -- Rough seas generated by Hurricane Alex pushed more oil from the massive spill onto Gulf Coast beaches Wednesday as cleanup vessels were sidelined by the faraway storm's ripple effects.

The hurricane was churning coastal waters across the oil-affected region on the Gulf of Mexico. Six-foot waves and 25 mph winds were forecast through today just offshore from the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

In Louisiana, the storm pushed an oil patch toward Grand Isle and uninhabited Elmer's Island, dumping tar balls as big as apples on the beach. Cleanup workers were kept at bay by pouring rain and lightning that zigzagged across the dark sky. Boom lining the beach had been tossed about, and it couldn't be put back in place until the weather cleared.

''The sad thing is that it's been about three weeks since we had any big oil come in here,'' marine science technician Michael Malone said. ''With this weather, we lost all the progress we made.''

Nation's oldest postal worker retires at 95

REDLANDS, Calif. -- The nation's oldest postal worker is retiring at age 95.

Chester Reed, a mail handler and forklift operator, turned in his badge and keys Wednesday at a U.S. Postal Service center in Redlands, Calif.

Reed has worked for the postal service for 37 years and has never taken a sick day, racking up nearly two years of sick leave he could have taken.

Reed joined the Postal Service after 25 years in the Air Force.

The Riverside resident said he plans to live to 100 so he can travel the world with his 59-year-old son Richard.

Reed went parasailing in Rio de Janeiro when he was 93. Ireland,

Blagojevich on tape: Obama 'all take and no give'

CHICAGO -- An angry Rod Blagojevich is heard grumbling on FBI wiretap tapes played at his corruption trial Wednesday that he is willing to appoint a favorite of Barack Obama to the U.S. Senate, but the newly elected president is ''all take and no give.''

''The arrogance of these people,'' Blagojevich is heard saying on a tape of a conversation with a former deputy governor, Doug Scofield, a few days after Obama's November 2008 election to the White House.

When another adviser tells Blagojevich in a telephone call at about the same time that he would be wise to go ahead and appoint Obama's friend, the governor explodes, saying no one is willing to help him in his political troubles with Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Ford Motor Co. to repay $4 billion more in debt

DETROIT -- Ford Motor Co., the only Detroit automaker to avoid bankruptcy protection, said Wednesday it will reduce its huge debt by another $4 billion as it continues to show signs of financial strength.

The Dearborn, Mich., automaker will pay $3.8 billion in cash to a United Auto Workers trust fund that pays retiree health care bills, and it will pay out $255 million in dividends on preferred securities that had been deferred as the automaker worked its way through financial troubles. The company now will make quarterly payments on the securities.

Alabama founder of Saxon candy stores dies at 102

WELLINGTON, Ala. -- Cora Saxon, who founded the string of Saxon Candy Kitchens that thrived in four Southern states in the 1950s and 1960s, has died at 102.

The Gray Brown Service funeral home confirmed Wednesday that Saxon died Monday afternoon. Family members said she died from internal bleeding after a fall Saturday night.

Former NFL QB's son, 2, dies in hot tub accident

LAS VEGAS -- The 2-year-old son of former NFL star quarterback Randall Cunningham has died in what authorities on Wednesday called an apparent backyard hot tub accident.

The Clark County coroner's office identified the child as Christian Cunningham, and said the cause of death was pending.

Las Vegas police Officer Marcus Martin, a department spokesman, said the death appeared to have been an accidental drowning, but authorities were still investigating.