Wednesday, April 7, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 4/7

  • Goldman Sachs' top officers denied in a letter to shareholders made public Wednesday that the company bet against investors who bought its subprime mortgage securities in 2006 and 2007 as the firm readied itself for a sharp drop in the U.S. housing market.
  • Gov. Rick Perry is revving up to reach out to voters at the Texas Motor Speedway next weekend. His re-election campaign is sponsoring native Texan Bobby Labonte's racecar — a Chevrolet Impala SS — for the Samsung Mobile 500 on April 18. Perry's name and campaign logo will be emblazoned across the No. 71 car at a cost of $225,000.
  • Still operating under Bush-era policies that President Barack Obama last year called "a mess," the Pentagon will resume military commission hearings for accused terrorists Wednesday in a top secret compound originally designed for the trial of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed.
  • Whether it was the federal deficit or the need for both parties to work together, Stephene Moore on Tuesday sounded like the U.S. House member she wants to succeed — her husband. Stephene Moore acknowledged that some would think that she began the race believing she has a right to the seat because of her marriage. Dennis Moore announced last year that he would not seek a seventh term.
  • Defense Department officials have told Congress that the already ballooning costs of the F-35 joint strike fighter are likely to soar much higher when new estimates are completed in the summer. The Pentagon said it expects that cost studies now under way will produce estimates dramatically higher than those used in recent months to prepare the 2011 defense budget request.
  • Illegal immigration has remained a hot topic for many California Republicans, even as — or perhaps because — unemployment and other economic worries have grown. Republican candidates have responded by staking out tough positions on the subject. Meg Whitman's rival Steve Poizner, in particular, has built much of his campaign on pledging to cut state services for all illegal immigrants.
  • Florida Democrats have sent letters to President Barack Obama, protesting his plans to expand oil and gas drilling as close as 125 miles off Florida's coast.
  • Gov. Sean Parnell's proposal to lower oil taxes on companies that drill in Alaska got its first hearing in the state Senate Tuesday afternoon, with less than two weeks remaining in the session. Parnell introduced the bill on Feb. 10, proposing to raise tax credits to 30 percent for all drilling and well-work expenses.
  • A Cuban dissident who came to Miami in 2005, and was blocked when he tried to return to the island legally to resume his activism, apparently drowned during an attempt to sneak back aboard a boat, friends said Tuesday. Cases of Cubans who try to return to the island illegally are believed to be rare, though not unheard of, because the country's security forces are relatively efficient at spotting unauthorized people on the island.
  • He was happy to see shoppers, the Ciudad Juarez tourist official made it clear, and yet the fact that he had time to sit down for a beer with us in the middle of the day made him morose. It was the week between Christmas and New Year's, and in happier times, his city would have been swarming with tourists from El Paso. These days, the sight of two lone gringos walking across the bridge had brought him scurrying, waving his ID card like a flag of peace.

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