Thursday, April 22, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/22

  • While Goldman Sachs' lawyers negotiated with the Securities and Exchange Commission over potentially explosive civil fraud charges, Goldman's chief executive visited the White House at least four times.
  • Legislation being introduced Thursday in Congress would try to rein in payday lenders who offer short-term loans that often average to more than 400 percent annual percentage rates and, critics say, trap borrowers in ongoing cycles of debt.
  • Reeling from a criminal probe into the Florida GOP's finances, Republican leaders finally got a peek Wednesday at the spending habits of the man at the center of the long-running scandal: Jim Greer. The former chairman of the Florida GOP billed nearly half a million dollars to the party before he cut up his credit card last year to try to quell an uproar over party spending.
  • As Earth Day reaches middle age — it turns 40 today — will it get all the respect it's grown to expect? The environmental celebration that once seemed more innocently focused on planting trees, on DDT and on weeping Indians is now bound up with politics and climate change — and amid a toxic cloud of polarization and name calling.
  • Iraq Wednesday released new details of a raid that led to killing of the two top Al Qaida in Iraq figures over the weekend, while officials said inroads in dismantling the network over the past several months could prove more damaging to the group than the leaders' deaths.
  • H. Ross Perot looked across a room filled with military uniforms on Wednesday and lamented that business schools don't bother to teach true leadership to students anymore. Perot was at Fort Leavenworth to help open a research center, the Simons Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation. He recently donated $6.1 million to the college's foundation, which operates the Simons Center.
  • The U.S. government approved both the storage of automatic weapons at Blackwater's North Carolina compound and a gift of firearms to the king of Jordan, a lawyer for the former head of the security firm said in federal court Wednesday.
  • With Republican Meg Whitman poised to spend a record $150 million on her gubernatorial bid this election year, Democrats will be counting more than ever on California's unions — a reliable and powerful ally — to pull them through what promises to be a bruising campaign.
  • The massive disruption in air travel from the Icelandic volcano is wreaking havoc on cruise lines sailing in and around Europe. Cruise lines are scrambling to recover from the broad shutdown in air travel and trying to re-route passengers who were unable to reach their departure ports.
  • Ten years from now, historians will look back and lament how the Republicans' "no" strategy on health care reform marked the worsening of a downturn for the party.
  • If you trust in the predictions of Dick Cheney — and hey, who doesn't? — then clearly you believe that a Republican restoration is imminent.

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