Friday, April 16, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/16

  • When Justice John Paul Stevens, who attended Northwestern University, retires this summer, he'll leave behind a Supreme Court comprised entirely of legal minds trained at two law schools, Harvard and Yale. President Barack Obama is a Harvard Law graduate, but he also promised to change how Washington works and to bring a greater diversity of Americans into the power structure.
  • Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan on Thursday praised last year's controversial stress tests for bolstering the health of the nation's biggest banks during a dark time last spring. Dugan also noted that banks so far are posting lower losses than projected under the most severe two-year economic projections used by regulators.
  • Rep. Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, snagged an unusual endorsement Thursday from the Tea Party Express, the group with the greatest national stature in the loosely organized Tea Party movement. Minnick is the only Democrat to land an endorsement from the organization, which had a rally Wednesday in Boston with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and another rally Thursday in Washington.
  • The shadow war between the U.S. and Iran was briefly visible this week at an extradition hearing in a Paris courtroom, where an Iranian engineer was answering U.S. charges that he'd illegally shipped U.S. technology to Iran.
  • Reconnecting to a state critical to his reelection, President Barack Obama on Thursday rounded up about $2.5 million in Miami for the Democratic Party and tried to mollify critics in both parties about plans to scale back — but not scrap — a space exploration program out of Cape Canaveral.
  • Had she won, Stormy Daniels might have been the only U.S. senator who could perform a lap dance, lip-sync Motley Crue and descend a staircase in stiletto heels. But the Louisiana-born Daniels has announced that she would drop her bid for national office. Star of more than 100 adult films, the performer found herself drafted last year into challenging U.S. Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, the Republican incumbent whose family-values reputation suffered when his phone number turned up in the records of an escort service run by the "D.C. Madam."
  • Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are urging members of Congress to allow a quake-ravaged Haiti to triple the amount of knit and woven fabrics it currently exports to the U.S. under a duty-free access trade legislation.
  • The state House on Thursday passed the bill to allow deceased Alaskans to qualify for their final check. The person would need to have been otherwise eligible for a dividend — having been a resident of Alaska for at least half the year prior to their death.
  • Of the 3,000 or so Democrats who will gather at the California party's convention in Los Angeles this weekend, the one with the most to prove will also claim one of the longest political track records in the state — gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.
  • Sometimes, we need reminding that while fear comes and goes, this country — and its freedoms — remain.
  • There's at least one GOP senator who's thinking about more than himself or his party — South Carolina's Lindsey Graham. While he's not without fault at times (he could have been more constructive on health care), Sen. Graham routinely rises above raw politics and gamesmanship to display a brand of statesmanship missing in so many of our elected leaders. In Washington, he assumes the role a U.S. senator should: Act in the best interest of the nation, not a party or special interest.

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