Wednesday, April 14, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/14

  • President Barack Obama's nuclear summit of 47 world leaders met two goals as it ended Tuesday: reaching international consensus on the need to keep weapons-grade nuclear materials out of the hands of terrorists, and re-establishing U.S. leadership on nonproliferation.
  • It's Supreme Court justice-picking time, and you can't tell the players or the play without a program. President Barack Obama will spend the next few weeks shuffling his lineup before he selects the nominee to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. For those watching at home, here are some people and narratives to keep an eye on.
  • The controversy surrounding Sarah Palin's upcoming speech at CSU Stanislaus took a bizarre turn Tuesday when two students said they had found part of her confidential contract in a campus Dumpster.
  • At least 71 villagers were killed by a misdirected air strike against suspected extremists in Pakistan's tribal zone, locals claimed Tuesday. The strike underscored the difficulties that the U.S. and its allies face in fighting militants who intermingle with innocent civilians, while grappling with poor intelligence and trying to win popular and political support.
  • Organizers of a tea party event planned for Thursday at the state Capitol in Raleigh, North Carolina are unhappy they can't carry flags on poles because of state officials' fears that they could be used as weapons.
  • Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Tuesday that his department will spend the next several months determining what it needs to know to make good decisions about future oil and gas leasing in the offshore Arctic.
  • For Sacramento and other California cities wanting fewer medical pot clubs, Steve DeAngelo offers a potential model: the world's largest marijuana dispensary. DeAngelo is executive director of the Harborside Medical Center, a 48,000-member patient collective he says serves more marijuana users than anywhere else.
  • Warning signs of a heart attack should be hard to ignore. But that's just what many people try to do if they have little or no health insurance, a new study finds. Uninsured people — and even people who have insurance but have trouble paying medical bills — wait significantly longer to go to a hospital for heart attacks than insured people who don't have major financial concerns about their health care.
  • The Cuban government is getting out of the beauty business. The communist country that acknowledges it has an extra million people on the government payroll has come up with a solution to battle fraud and cut costs: Turn salons over to employees to operate. Experts say the move is a "capitalism light" step toward the kind of economic measures that Cuba hopes will help alleviate its heavy economic burden amid a financial crisis.
  • The corruption trial of Ruffin Poole, a longtime aide to former Gov. Mike Easley, will start much sooner than Poole wanted. U.S. District Judge Terrence W. Boyle ordered Tuesday that the trial start on May 3, rejecting arguments from Poole's lawyer that he needed the summer to prepare.
  • On Easter Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI stood before a sea of Catholic worshippers in St. Peter's Square and — in grand papal tradition — said nothing about the latest sex-abuse scandal that is shaking the church.
  • Coal baron Don Blankenship is the ultimate free marketeer, a trendy niche in this day of seething resentment against government big and small.

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