Wednesday, April 21, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/21

  • On Friday, Moody's CEO Raymond McDaniel Jr. will face the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which is looking into the role the credit-rating agencies played in the nation's worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. McDaniel has yet to face the kind of congressional grilling already suffered by bank executives.
  • After more than 40 years of failed efforts to reduce salt in processed and restaurant food voluntarily, a new report calls on the Food and Drug Administration to establish mandatory standards that gradually reduce sodium content in the nation's food supply.
  • In his victorious 2003 campaign, Arnold Schwarzenegger promised to exact financial concessions from wealthy casino tribes. He proceeded to negotiate lucrative tribal compacts that gave California a cut of the action from a major expansion of tribal gambling. On Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Schwarzenegger administration wrongfully strong-armed a San Diego County tribe during unsuccessful negotiations over a casino expansion.
  • Federal law enforcement agencies have launched a criminal investigation into the use of American Express cards issued by the Republican Party of Florida to elected officials and staff, according to sources familiar with the probe. The IRS is also looking at the tax records of at least three former party credit card holders — former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio, ex-state party chairman Jim Greer and ex-party executive director Delmar Johnson —to determine whether they misused their party credit cards for personal expenses.
  • A former top Bosnian official who's facing possible extradition from Great Britain to Serbia on war crimes charges on Tuesday criticized the Obama administration for remaining silent on his plight.
  • Hispanic leaders in the House of Representatives called Tuesday for President Barack Obama Tuesday to act against Arizona's anti-illegal immigration legislation and to throw his weight behind a comprehensive immigration overhaul.
  • Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell said Tuesday the state will join 20 others led mostly by Republican governors in suing to overturn the health care overhaul bill signed into law last month by President Barack Obama. Parnell said Alaska would follow the other states in challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that people buy health care insurance or pay a fine.
  • Beset by tales of sectarian conflict and censored teachers in Florida's public schools, Republican legislators are behind several efforts to expand religion's role in the education system this legislative session.
  • With more than one in five veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan unemployed, Sen. Patty Murray introduced legislation Tuesday that would provide expanded training, job placement and small business assistance to them, calling the current situation unacceptable.
  • sued Monday to block North Carolina from gathering personal information about customers and their purchases of more than 50 million products since 2003. N.C. Department of Revenue officials are seeking customer information as part of an audit of Amazon's compliance with state sales- and use-tax law. The state is also trying to collect more tax revenue to bolster its ailing budget.
  • Last week, amid all the chatter about tax day, the AP moved a story pointing out that nearly half of U.S. households don't pay any income tax at all. Glenn Reynolds, the blogger at, fired off an item saying, "Everyone should pay at least some income tax. And everyone's tax bill should go up or down whenever federal spending does."
  • Mexico is silently working on proposals aimed at drawing millions of U.S. retirees to this country, which could eventually lead to the most ambitious U.S.-Mexican project since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

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