No earthly way, Blagojevich says

CHICAGO - Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich said yesterday that if what he has done as governor is an impeachable offense, he is living on the "wrong planet" and is in the "wrong place."

He made the remarks to a WLS-TV reporter outside a law office. The governor said that he had been hired to fight for the people of Illinois and that that was what he had been doing.

The comments mark the first time Blagojevich has spoken to the media since giving a defiant three-minute speech last week in which he said he would fight the forces against him until he takes his last breath.

The 52-year-old Democrat is charged with scheming to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder and other alleged corruption.

- AP

Obamas soak up Hawaii's treats

WAIMANALO, Hawaii - A day after spending a quiet Christmas evening at their vacation retreat, President-elect Barack Obama and his children watched a dolphin show at an aquatic park and then picked up some shave ice, a local treat.

Obama and his two daughters, Malia and Sasha, paid a 90-minute visit yesterday to Sea Life Park. Reporters were not allowed to join Obama inside the park. Obama's wife, Michelle, was not in reporters' view during the outing. Park visitors said the Obamas attended a dolphin show.

Malia and Sasha later ate shave ice at Kokonuts Shave Ice & Snacks while their dad downed a tuna melt. Obama joked with reporters traveling with him that he would eat his lunch first, to set an example for the girls. The president-elect then ordered a mound of shave ice, colored orange and green.

Earlier yesterday, Obama made his daily trip to the Semper Fit Center at Marine Corps Base Hawaii and made small talk with onlookers who waited for him to leave the gym. "You guys have a wonderful new year," Obama said, moving down the makeshift ropeline as visitors snapped pictures with their cell phones.

- AP

Tenn. ash spill exceeds estimate

NASHVILLE - A burst dike at a coal-fired power plant in eastern Tennessee spilled millions more cubic yards of ash than originally estimated, officials said yesterday, and residents fear the muck coating their neighborhood is endangering the area's drinking water.

The state, however, said yesterday that tests show that water entering the local treatment plant was safe.

About 5.4 million cubic yards of coal fly ash, a byproduct of burning coal, broke out of a retention pond at the Kingston Fossil Plant, Tennessee Valley Authority spokesman John Moulton said. The TVA first estimated that Monday's breach had spilled less than half that amount.

Moulton could not explain the discrepancy but said the TVA's first tests showed no threat to drinking water. The spill damaged 12 homes and covered 300 acres with sludge in Harriman, about 35 miles west of Knoxville. "We are cleaning it up," he said.

- AP

Elsewhere:

A man who lost control

of his SUV and drove it into a Hanukkah party in Woodmere, N.Y., won't face charges in the Thursday crash, which police said may have happened because of a stuck floor mat. The crash injured 14 people, including driver Theodore Saretsky, 76. Two children remained hospitalized in critical but stable condition.

The U.S. Coast Guard

and Mexican authorities were searching yesterday for a cruise-ship passenger who may have gone overboard near Cancun. Authorities said the husband of Jennifer Feitz, 36, hometown unknown, reported her missing from the Norwegian Pearl.