Monday, May 24, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/24

  • The U.S. official leading the response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill said Sunday that only BP had the expertise to plug the gaping hole in its deepwater well and that he trusted the oil company was doing its best. The comments signaled that the U.S. government wouldn't take a larger role in stopping the five-week-old spill even as frustration in the Gulf coast grows.

  • Improvised bombs rattled former Army Spc. Adam Pittman a dozen times in his three tours in Iraq, most severely when his Bradley fighting vehicle ran over one hidden in the dirt in 2005. Now, part of Pittman's brain has gone dormant, and on most days he can't think straight.

  • Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week face an unenviable task of trying to convince China to free up its currency's fixed rate against the dollar amid a gathering crisis in Europe that threatens to stall a global economic recovery.

  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, locked in a dispute with the federal government over how to protect Louisiana's labyrinth of wetlands, ferried a herd of reporters to Barataria Bay on Sunday to document firsthand the devastating effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It was a depressing scene.

  • South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has no plans to get involved in the race to follow the term-limited Republican, nor does he plan to use his $1.1 million campaign fund to support candidates or issues. But Sanford's shadow is likely to influence the June 8 Republican primary and November's general election. Sanford is a favorite of the tea party movement, whose voters could play a decisive role in GOP elections.

  • The Cuban government has promised to move sick political prisoners to hospitals, and other jailed dissidents closer to home, in a stunning concession to the recent avalanche of criticisms of its human rights record, an independent journalist said Sunday. The government's gesture toward the prisoners, if true, would mark a rare gesture of good will by Cuba's communist rulers.

  • In Alaska, where prosecutors have sent a string of politicians and bribe-payers to federal prison in recent years, who could oppose what has been billed as an anti- corruption ballot measure? How about the AARP. The Resource Development Council and the Anchorage Economic Development Corp. The Alaska State Chamber of Commerce, the Alaska Democratic Party, and the AFL-CIO. Unions for police, teachers, firefighters and other public employees.

  • Just how serious is Kansas about promoting wind energy? Kansas has the second-best wind potential in the country, but advocates are increasingly concerned that the state is blowing a key reform that would make it easier for individuals, businesses and communities to produce wind power.

  • Is the term "Asian American" fading into history, like "Oriental" before it? As the race question on the U.S. census form has expanded to 15 categories and write-in options — giving Americans the right to check as many boxes as they want — fewer are embracing the term Asian American.

  • Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul's decision to cancel his planned appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday morning didn't stop him from being a dominating topic of discussion on just about every Sunday morning news show.

  • "They are running into the mouth of the wolf."
    A young woman who grasps the desperation and gravity of Yahaira Carrillo's protest offered that assessment. Succumbing to the call of civil disobedience can mean deportation to a country that might be your birthplace but hasn't been considered home for years.

  • Not all Nazis murdered Jews. Not all Nazis believed in the extermination of those deemed undesirable. Nazis took up arms, and others silently or indirectly supported the cause, for a variety of reasons, maybe out of a sense of national pride. No serious person makes that kind of argument in defense of ancestors who fought alongside Hitler.
    But members of the S.C. General Assembly, nostalgic Confederate groups, the governor of Virginia and university officials use a similar rationale to downplay the causes and lingering effects of the Civil War.

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