Monday, April 26, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/26

  • Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein wrote in November 2007 that the firm "didn't dodge the mortgage mess," but "made more than we lost" by betting against the U.S. housing market.
  • Karl Rove, a Republican strategist and former White House adviser to President George W. Bush, told S.C. Republicans Saturday they must re-elect U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson and retire Democratic U.S. Rep. John Spratt. Rove was the keynote speaker at the S.C. Republican Party's 43rd annual Silver Elephant Dinner.
  • The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a Washington state case in which religious conservatives fear retaliation from gay rights groups if the names of the 138,000 people who signed ballot petitions to overturn a same-sex domestic partnership law are released.
  • Almost 2,000 Cuban refugees have been forced to return to communist Cuba under a little-known immigration accord between the U.S. and Cuban governments dating back to the 1980s Reagan administration that singles out Cubans who arrived during the 1980 Mariel boatlift.
  • As the national debate over illegal immigration reignites, the Texas town of Farmers Branch remains in the middle of the battle as city leaders refuse to accept the unconstitutionality of rules they put in place to prevent illegal immigrants from renting homes.
  • Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has long relied on the ballot as a political weapon, wielding direct democracy over the heads of opponents throughout his time in office. In his final year, wealthy donors have turned the tables. They hope to use the ballot to erase two of his biggest legacy pieces, a landmark climate-change law and an independent redistricting process.
  • South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham lashed out at President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Saturday for putting what he called "phony" immigration law changes ahead of a major climate change bill that Graham and other senators were about to introduce on Monday.
  • Lawyers rarely work for free, let alone for a discount, so Alaska's getting a bargain in the lawsuit it joined this week seeking to overturn the new federal health care law. The state has committed to spending $5,000 on its share of the multi-state suit challenging the constitutionality of the mandate that people buy health care insurance or pay a fine.
  • The prospects for solar energy in the Midwest are brightening. The Midwest gets plenty of sunshine — more than Germany, which uses more solar power than any other country. And the big cost considerations that for years have held back solar power in the region have changed. The price of solar panels has dropped substantially, and the Midwest's traditionally low electricity prices are on the rise.
  • We have to get a grip.
    The Securities and Exchange Commission allegations against Goldman Sachs, whether (1) true or (2) actionable in the end, show what a casino Wall Street has become. Essentially, what Goldman was charged with doing at the behest of hedge fund manager John Paulson was creating a rigged game using complex financial instruments called derivatives.

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