Tuesday, April 6, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/6

  • Rand Paul, the son of the Texas congressman is a case in point. He's mounting an insurrection against the Republican favorite to win the GOP nomination for the Senate seat being vacated by Jim Bunning, largely on the strength of the tea party movement. But he also acknowledges that tea party gatherings are a "sort of open mike night" where the actions of a few have led to "a lot of misconception nationally about the tea party movement."

  • South African leaders are stepping up efforts to calm racial tensions after the brutal killing Sunday of white supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche. They're urging people to resist racial incitement and insisting that the killing has no bearing on security ahead of the World Cup.

  • President Barack Obama Tuesday will reject the development of "new" U.S. nuclear weapons and dial back current policy that allows the U.S. to use nuclear weapons in response to attacks by non-nuclear nations, administration officials said Monday.

  • About 30 people were killed and more than 90 wounded in the latest series of bomb attacks that targeted residential buildings in Baghdad on Tuesday morning, police said. The toll might increase after removing all of the wreckage of the destroyed buildings.

  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman has put another $20 million of her own money into her campaign, bringing her total investment to a whopping $59 million two months before the primary. By March 17, Whitman's campaign had spent a total of $46 million, smashing spending records for a self-financed candidate in California.

  • A group of anti-abortion activists has unrolled a new strategy: Stretch the legal definition of "person" in state constitutions to cover a freshly fertilized egg in a woman's womb. The idea that life begins at conception is not new in the abortion wars. But some established anti-abortion groups are not backing this new drive, calling it a flawed strategy.

  • Call it Rudy Revenge. Former New York City Mayor and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Monday endorsed Marco Rubio in his U.S. Senate Republican primary race against Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

  • After weeks of idle time, sleeping in tents or damaged homes, thousands of eager students returned to school Monday as Haitian authorities officially resumed the start of classes in this quake-battered capital. The Haitian government has made relaunching schools one of its top priorities, but has struggled to do so since the Jan. 12, 7.0-magnitude earthquake flattened hundreds of classrooms in Port-au-Prince and other cities.

  • North Texas physicians inked their names to a statewide petition drive Monday urging Congress to permanently fix the gap in Medicare funding that they say could cripple the system. A 21.2 percent cut in Medicare payments to physicians went into effect April 1 after the latest in more than a decade of stopgap measures from Congress expired. A new temporary measure is expected to be approved in the next week or two in Washington, but physicians say that is not enough.

  • The Alaska Legislature is about to abandon a planned public relations effort aimed at fighting the Endangered Species Act. Lawmakers want to put the $1.5 million toward a new office building for themselves in Anchorage, but there's a push to use it instead for an independent study of how the proposed Pebble Mine development could affect Bristol Bay.

  • Few people experience the dirty underbelly of the home foreclosure crisis on a daily basis like Kyle Caluya, one of four field inspectors assigned to the city of Sacramento's vacant building program. Launched in 2007 to combat urban blight, the program has grown from three employees and about 200 cases to a team of eight. There are now more than 500 cases, and about 90 percent of those are foreclosed properties.

  • You will be furious when you finish this column. Fair warning.
    In March 2006 a 20-year-old Marine, Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, was killed in a motor vehicle accident in Iraq. His family probably thought that the most painful blow imaginable. Truth is, their pain was only beginning. Cpl. Snyder's death, you see, came to the attention of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Westboro, for those who do not know, is no more a church than is your average gas station toilet.

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