Tuesday, April 13, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/12

  • Most mainstream economists think the nation's deep recession is over, but a special body that makes such a determination took a pass Monday, saying what many Americans intuitively feel, that the data remain inconclusive.
  • China on Monday indicated for the first time that it might back new U.N. sanctions against Iran, giving a significant boost to President Barack Obama as he opened a 47-nation summit called to energize global efforts to prevent terrorists from obtaining materials for use in a crude nuclear weapon.
  • Bank of America's top mortgage executive, testifying Tuesday before Congress, will release sobering details of home-loan delinquencies, including that "hundreds of thousands of customers" haven't made a payment in more than a year. The hearing comes as the U.S. housing market and job growth remain weak. Foreclosures continue to bleed the economy, further depressing home values and leading to more foreclosures.
  • As we trudge to our accountants with bags of receipts, click anxiously through store-bought software or bravely attack the 1040 with pencil and eraser, some 2 million Californians have a much easier option. The state did their returns for them. Some say Uncle Sam ought to try the same thing.
  • The Senate on Monday took a major, and likely decisive, step toward restoring jobless benefits for hundreds of thousands of people, as those constituents endured an eighth straight day without benefits. The vote to cut off debate on an extension of federal unemployment assistance was 60 to 34.
  • After Twittering, YouTubing and Facebooking his way to near-celebrity status on the national political scene, Florida's U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio is going old school this week with a statewide bus tour.
  • Though he has spent the past 14 years holding public office, South Carolina's Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer says the public still does not know who he really is. Bauer, 41, has served in the S.C. House and Senate and two terms as lieutenant governor, but he said the headlines about plane crashes, driving violations and comparing the poor to "stray animals" mean many voters have gotten the wrong impression.
  • If you plan to travel by plane for your summer vacation, you might want to buy your tickets today. Tuesday afternoons are typically the best time to shop for and buy summer airfare, according to industry experts. But don't expect to get the same low fares that were around in 2009.
  • California prisoners, unlike law-abiding citizens, have a guaranteed market for the products they make behind bars: State agencies are required by law to buy them even if private workers can make them cheaper or better.
  • The news business likes to swaddle its past in gauzy nostalgia — crusty editors with cigars of gold — but the fact is the industry has never been all that kind to its young. Newspapers were quite happy to insist on exemptions from child-labor laws so they could send paper boys out into the pre-dawn at a starveling wage, and the traditional entry-level newsroom job of copyboy was about as nurturing as a fraternity hazing.
  • On April 15, it will be 22 years since she died.
    I remember getting home from photocopying some paper I needed to complete my taxes, only to find my wife facing me with eyes so stricken and bereft that I didn't need to hear the words. I knew.
  • Florida's state prosecutors would get new tools to crack down on corrupt government officials who hide their financial interests that result in private gain from their public jobs under a bill that unanimously passed out of a Senate committee Monday.

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