Tuesday, March 30, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 3/30

  • Six winning candidates in Iraq's parliamentary elections will be stripped of their votes and lose their seats — which would cost secular politician Ayad Allawi's bloc its narrow victory — if a federal court upholds a broad purge of candidates who are suspected of past involvement with the late dictator Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party, Iraqi officials said Monday.
  • Three recent events — the foiled Christmas Day bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner, the Dec. 30 assassination of seven CIA officers and contractors by a Jordanian double agent in Afghanistan and the difficulties that U.S. Marines in Marjah, Afghanistan, have encountered — all have something in common: inadequate intelligence. To lower the odds of similar troubles in the future, the government has launched a swarm of spooky, out-of-the-box research projects known collectively as the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
  • Kansas Republican lawmakers critical of federal health care reform are considering a rare procedural move that would force Attorney General Steve Six, a Democrat, to join the mounting legal challenges against the new law.
  • The Archdiocese of Miami, along with top Vatican authorities, knew as far back as 1968 that the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, a priest later defrocked amid child sex-abuse allegations, had a troubled past in Cuba before transferring to South Florida, lawyers representing victims claimed Monday.
  • Under fire from both right and left, the Republican National Committee is investigating how and why it spent nearly $2,000 for "meals" at a bondage-themed strip club in West Hollywood featuring topless dancers simulating lesbian sex.
  • Attorneys representing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have asked an appellate court to block the order that ended "Furlough Fridays" for tens of thousands of state workers, but leaves others taking off three unpaid days each month. The governor's move came just four days before the government is scheduled to shut down again. The court will probably act quickly, legal experts said, given that informal deadline.
  • South Carolina failed Monday in its bid to land $300 million in new federal education money aimed at helping states make innovative changes that can be used by other schools nationwide. Delaware and Tennessee won a combined $600 million in the initial Race to the Top grants awarded by U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
  • As more than 100 countries prepare to descend on the United Nations Wednesday for the much-anticipated Haiti donors conference, Haiti observers question whether the country's leaders will seize the opportunity to lift the earthquake-ravaged nation out of the economic abyss that has defined it for decades.
  • It will be years before the most sweeping parts of health care reform take effect. But some provisions will start in just a few months. The provision that covers pre-existing conditions is one of the initial benefits of the new law and many uninsured, like Jim Lewis of Charlotte, find that to be a relief.
  • Someone vandalized the Alaska Democratic Party headquarters over the weekend, breaking the front center window of the Midtown office, according to Anchorage police.
  • Hi, boys and girls! As a public service, I've prepared the following statement for Republican leaders to use when some disgruntled opponent of health care reform injures somebody — or worse. Given recent reports of threats against Democratic lawmakers in the wake of last week's historic vote, that moment has come to feel inevitable.
  • Frank von Hippel's lab at the University of Alaska Anchorage looks more like the section of the pet store where they sell guppies than a place where groundbreaking research on the endocrine system is taking place. Von Hippel, an evolutionary biologist, has been pursuing nationally regarded research on the endocrine system of the three-spined stickleback, a three-inch fish that could hold in its biology keys to how ingested chemical contaminants are affecting people

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