Obama eases into Hawaii vacation

HONOLULU - President Obama and his family eased into vacation mode, spending a low-key Christmas Eve out of the spotlight.

The president spent his first morning in Hawaii - the state where he was born - at a multimillion-dollar vacation home his family rents in the Kailua Beach area, near Honolulu. He headed to the golf course later Saturday. The Obamas were spending Christmas Eve at home with a close circle of family and friends.

The president had planned to arrive in Hawaii on Dec. 17, but delayed his departure until Friday, after Congress worked its way through a deadlock over extending payroll-tax cuts. His wife, Michelle, and their two daughters traveled ahead of him.

The president has no public events planned in Hawaii. A small group of advisers accompanied him to brief him on domestic and international developments. The Obamas are expected to return to Washington shortly after New Year's Day. - AP

WWII hero, 95, to get overdue medal

SAN FRANCISCO - A black Navy veteran credited with saving the lives of shipmates during a World War II battle will get a long-awaited medal for his heroism, a congresswoman said.

Carl Clark, 95, of Menlo Park, Calif., will be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device on Jan. 17, Rep. Anna Eshoo (D., Calif.) said Thursday.

Clark was serving as an E-6 Steward First Class aboard the USS Aaron Ward when Japanese kamikazes attacked the destroyer near Okinawa in May 1945. Six kamikazes hit it, with the blast from one plane so powerful that Clark said it blew him "all the way across the ship."

Although he suffered a broken collarbone in the attack, Clark was credited with saving the lives of several men by dragging them to safety. He also put out a fire in an ammunition locker that, according to Eshoo's office, would have cracked the destroyer in half. Clark said Saturday that it took 66 years to be recognized for his actions because of "bigotry." - AP

Museums gather Occupy artifacts

NEW YORK - Occupy Wall Street may still be working to shake the notion it represents a passing outburst of rage, but some establishment institutions have already decided the movement's artifacts are worthy of historic preservation.

More than a half-dozen major museums and organizations from the Smithsonian Institution to the New-York Historical Society have been avidly collecting materials produced by the Occupy movement.

Staffers have been sent to occupied parks to rummage for buttons, signs, posters, and documents. Websites and tweets have been archived for digital eternity. And museums have approached individual protesters directly to obtain posters and other ephemera. The Museum of the City of New York is planning an exhibition on Occupy for next month.

To keep established institutions from shaping the movement's short history, protesters have formed their own archive group, stashing away hundreds of cardboard signs, posters, buttons, documents, and banners while they seek a permanent home for them. - AP