Thursday, March 25, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 3/25

  • Law enforcement officials are investigating a series of threats against Democrats in the House of Representatives who backed the recent health care legislation, threats that have lawmakers on edge about potential violence against them both in Washington and back home.
  • Corey Poitier, a Florida Republican congressional candidate who uttered the word 'Buckwheat' during a speech blasting President Barack Obama's health care bill, says his intent was misunderstood. "The press has run amok with this and turned me into a racist," said Poitier, who is himself black.
  • The Obama administration is expected to take the first concrete steps toward dismantling the ban on gays in the military service Thursday, when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announces rules that will make it harder for other service members to force out suspected gays.
  • California's raucous argument over legalizing marijuana is headed to the ballot. Secretary of State Debra Bowen confirmed Wednesday that voters will decide in November whether to legalize and tax marijuana use for Californians 21 and over. California's annual pot crop is worth about $14 billion, according to the State Board of Equalization.
  • New federal health care legislation will cost the state of South Carolina and its taxpayers $914 million. That cost — the total of spending from July 1 to 2019 — will come as the state adds 480,000 low-income children and adults to a state health insurance program, as required by the new law, according to estimates by the state Department of Health and Human Services.
  • President Barack Obama, in his harshest censure of Cuba's repression of dissent, Wednesday said Havana had used "a clenched fist" against "those who dare to give voice to the desires of their fellow Cubans." Obama also appeared to hint that his efforts to improve U.S. relations with the Raul Castro government have lost steam in the face of the recent string of tough actions by Havana.
  • Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White on Tuesday said he wants Gov. Rick Perry to ask State Board of Education Chairwoman Gail Lowe to send the controversial social studies curriculum revisions back to the committees where the proposals started. The board's work on the standards has brought national attention. Critics worry the changes will affect textbooks offered nationwide because of the volume of Texas' purchases.
  • Republican U.S. Senate candidate Tom Campbell said Wednesday he would refrain from pursuing congressional earmark spending for California if elected and does not foresee voting for tax hikes to reduce the federal deficit.
  • A bill passed by the Kansas House on Wednesday would land people convicted of hiring a prostitute on the state's sex offender list for 10 years. Many states, including Kansas, already require sex offender registration for those soliciting minors. Some states, such as California, give judges the discretion to require registration in solicitation cases.
  • Tens of thousands of California state workers have endured their last furlough day — assuming an Alameda Superior Court judge's Wednesday ruling survives yet another challenge by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Judge Frank Roesch decided Wednesday that the governor can't delay ending furloughs for about one-third of the government work force, but spared the state from immediately issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in back pay while Schwarzenegger takes the fight to San Francisco's 1st District Court of Appeal.
  • So it turns out that, contrary to what I argued in this space a few weeks back, racism is not "a major component" of the so-called tea party movement. I am informed of this by dozens of tea party activists indignant and insulted that I would even suggest such a thing.
    In other news tea party protesters called John Lewis a "nigger" the other day in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol.

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