Monday, May 10, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/10

  • The former Harvard Law School dean has studied confirmation, as a scholar. She has worked it, as a Senate staffer. She has endured its frustrations, as a stalled judicial nominee in the Clinton administration. And she prevailed in it, winning confirmation in January 2009 to be Obama's solicitor general. Now she'll undergo it again, with both conservatives and liberals unhappy at her stands.
  • Nineteen days after oil started spewing into the Gulf of Mexico, experts appeared Sunday to have no certain plan for sealing anytime soon a runaway well 5,000 feet below the gulf's surface. Engineers were still deciding which scenario might temporarily stanch the flow, amid fears it could go on for another three months.
  • The political mood right now favors the Republicans, though all "incumbents are in more trouble than at any time," said Burdett Loomis, who teaches politics at the University of Kansas.
  • The one-story stucco home where Gilberto Jordan lives doesn't stand out in the leafy neighborhood west of Delray Beach, Fla., nor does Jordan, born in Guatemala, among the Argentines, Chileans, Cubans and Hondurans who live there. But Jordan is no ordinary immigrant.
  • In six California prisons, behavior units were created as a middle ground between the general prison population and security housing. Since their inception in 2005, well over 1,500 inmates have passed through behavior units, where reduced privileges are supposed to be combined with "life skills" classes. A Sacramento Bee investigation found that the units are marked by extreme isolation and deprivation. Most of the classes were halted by budget cuts.
  • The Kituwah mound may well be the most sacred spot in North Carolina. It was bestowed to the Cherokees by the Creator as the birthplace of the Cherokee nation, according to oral tradition. Cherokees compare Kituwah to the Garden of Eden, and even its panoramic view is considered sacred to all Cherokees. That land has become a site of contention between Duke Energy and the Cherokees. Duke Energy began clearing land on the other side of the river — but within view of Kituwah — in preparation for a regional equipment upgrade to boost power delivery to the region.
  • Tom Montag may go down in history for having written one of the most quoted financial memos - the one about what a bad deal one Goldman Sachs investment was that had senators using an expletive repeatedly during public hearings last month. Now he's a big player at Bank of America.
  • Social changes over the last decade, especially the increase in racial and ethnic minorities, are scrambling regional stereotypes and dramatically altering the traditional portrait of America. Cities such as Kansas City, Charleston, S.C., and Portland, Ore., now are demographically more like one another than they are to the regions that surround them, a new study shows.
  • Millions of Americans could lose some important benefits of the new health overhaul law depending on how the Obama administration chooses to interpret one term: "grandfathered." Under the law, existing, or "grandfathered" health plans are exempt from several consumer protections.
  • At least six wolves were killed by cars along a roughly half-mile stretch of the Glenn Highway outside of Anchorage last winter and fall, with wolf experts saying they've never seen that kind of carnage in a single season anywhere in Alaska — much less on the outskirts of the state's biggest city.
  • The arrest of Pakistani-born U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad for the failed car-bomb attack in Times Square has led to a flurry of suggestions that the U.S. government is allowing too many people to become U.S. citizens and too quickly.
    But do these allegations make sense? Would we be safer if we drastically reduced the number of immigrants granted U.S. citizenship every year?
  • America's tombstone may read: The free press chose the profit and comfort of preaching to bigoted choirs over challenging the public with hard truths.
    You can see our death in the controversy engulfing Arizona over its new immigration law. A 234-year-old nation of immigrants, the world's melting pot, has little understanding of what racism is and who is capable of acting in a bigoted manner.

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