Tuesday, April 27, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/27

  • Senate investigators said Monday that Goldman Sachs reaped "billions and billions of dollars" by betting that the U.S. housing market would collapse, a finding that contradicts Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein's claims that his firm did not massively "short" the subprime mortgage securities market. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said an 18-month investigation shows that Goldman "repeatedly put its own interests and profits ahead of the interests of its clients."
  • This windswept U.S. garrison on Iraq's border with Iran has no running water and sporadic mail service, and it's so easily overlooked that the military accidentally canceled its contract for portable toilets last month, forcing the 60 soldiers who live here to resort to disposable waste bags for a while.
  • A top Obama administration official who's helping lead a campaign for energy conservation has a major financial interest in two companies that are poised to benefit from the government's spending.
  • Canadian Omar Khadr heads for a military commission at Guantanamo, where a judge will decide whether to allow his confessions to be used during his summertime war-court trial. Starting on Wednesday, an Army judge will begin to decide whether Khadr's confessions should be thrown out because of his alleged abuse. The war court hearing will be the deepest examination yet of how a captive came to confess in Afghanistan and Guantanamo to Bush administration-era interrogators.
  • Congress may shrink its historic role as the main funding source for building highways, and officials from several states worry that the result could be crippling traffic nationwide. On Monday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials released a report, which says that demand for car travel is far outpacing the available space on the nation's roadways and that an infusion of new federal highway dollars is needed to avoid a level of gridlock that will choke the economies of dozens of cities.
  • Becoming a corporate CEO is supposed to involve hard work, long hours and business acumen. It also often requires a solid jaw line and small, piercing eyes, according to a new research study from three finance professors at Duke University.
  • California Latino rights activists and attorneys are leading a charge against a new Arizona law they say violates federal law and will inevitably lead to racial profiling. The law, which requires all Arizona police officers to demand proof of legal status if they have a reasonable suspicion that a person is an illegal immigrant is slated to take effect 90 days after Arizona's current legislative session.
  • At least 100 protesters walked out on former congressman Tom Tancredo as he spoke Monday night on the values of Western culture at UNC-Chapel Hill. Of the fewer than 100 students left behind, most shared Tancredo's pro-Western perspective. But when he suggested that conservative student activists never behave as badly as those who broke a window and disrupted his speech last spring, another protester shouted, "No, you lynched people."
  • As the clock winds down on his tenure, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger isn't ready to leave. "I'm one of those governors that actually, you know, wouldn't mind staying in another term as governor," Schwarzenegger said Monday at a Milken Institute conference in Beverly Hills. Under term limits, Schwarzenegger cannot run for re-election this year, his seventh in office.
  • Just in time for grilling season, prices are rising for beef, pork and poultry. Wholesale prices for pork reached a 14-year high last week in futures markets, while beef is up 22 percent this year. Chicken's gain in March was the most in 20 months, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • Now that Arizona has enacted the most xenophobic anti-immigration law in this country, get ready for the big Hispanic exodus. But it won't be an exodus back to Mexico or to Central America. It will be a stampede toward Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities with huge Hispanic populations, where Latinos will be able to live without fear of being stopped by police because of the color of their skin or for speaking Spanish.
  • When Dorothy Height died last Tuesday at 98, she had more than earned the title many bestowed on her as "Queen mother" of the civil rights movement. Her accomplishments were simply remarkable.

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