Wednesday, May 12, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/12

  • Investigators on Tuesday honed in on whether an uncommon sequence of events involving a decision to remove heavy drilling lubricants early from a pipeline may have triggered the sudden upwelling of gas that led to the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig. One executive testifying before a Senate panel said the early removal of the lubricants, which contribute about 10 percent of the cost of drilling a well, came at the behest of BP and may have been approved by the government agency that oversees offshore drilling.
  • Public scorn has fallen on the late Mexican priest Marcial Maciel — a serial pedophile accused of secretly fathering several children — and the shame within his powerful worldwide congregation, the Legion of Christ, is particularly intense in his homeland. Mexico's biggest tycoons were avid supporters of Maciel, a former president once asked Maciel to perform the first communion for his daughter, and the wife of another president praised him for interceding with the pope on her behalf.
  • Egypt's parliament Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to extend the country's emergency laws by two years as opposition lawmakers shouted in protest that the real aim was to stifle dissent, not combat terrorism.
  • North Carolina U.S. Senator Kay Hagan and four other Democrats have called on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to declare a Pakistani Taliban group a foreign terrorist organization, saying its atrocities — until now contained within the Pakistani borders — have reached U.S. soil with the attempted Times Square car bombing.
  • Republicans are attacking Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan for her lack of judicial experience, but they haven't always been so particular.
  • Areas of Bay St. Louis, Waveland and Gulfport reported pervasive petroleum smells Tuesday. It was described variously as a burned-plastic odor, odd waxy smell and the smell of diesel exhaust. It's to be expected, officials said, with all that crude oil in the Gulf.
  • The last time the National Rifle Association came to Charlotte, then-NRA president Charlton Heston thrust a musket in the air and shouted what would become a signature slogan: "From my cold, dead hands!" Now the NRA is back in North Carolina, claiming it will be its largest-ever convention. Speakers at the conference include Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and actor Chuck Norris.
  • A military judge on Tuesday set Aug. 10 for the opening of Canadian Omar Khadr's terror trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The Toronto-born captive has spent a third of his life in the prison camps on suspicion he was a teen terrorist and murderer.
  • The White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity issued a blueprint Tuesday that's thick with ideas but doesn't put the hammer down yet on taxpayers or private industry. A national soda tax? Worth further study, but not this year. New regulatory authority over food marketing to children, or changes to agricultural subsidies to make fresh fruit and vegetables cheaper? Possibilities down the road, but why not first encourage more voluntary steps by the private sector?
  • Distress in the commercial real estate market is reaching crisis proportions just as the residential market starts to right itself. Bankers and market trackers say more owners of office buildings, shopping centers, apartments, hotels and industrial space are struggling to make their mortgage payments, and increasingly defaulting.
  • International buyers are quickly converting their currency into real estate in South Florida, snatching up property at floor-sweeping prices. Add low interest rates and a deadline for federal tax credits, and overall sales of single-family homes and condominiums in South Florida soared during the first three months of 2010, according to quarterly figures released Tuesday by Florida Realtors.
  • Reading about the problems along the Arizona border with Mexico, it's easier to sympathize with Arizona residents and understand why they support the draconian new law that requires police to stop people on "reasonable suspicion" of being undocumented immigrants.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What do you think it symbolizes?