Wednesday, May 26, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/26

  • Under pressure to stop the oil spill that's gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP is struggling to play conflicting roles: projecting an image of a responsible company while deflecting legal blame for the disaster.
  • South Carolina voters who have elected state Rep. Nikki Haley three times and state lawmakers who serve with her at the State House all posed the same question Tuesday: Where is the evidence to back up the claim by political blogger Will Folks that he and Haley, a front-runner in the Republican gubernatorial race, had an "inappropriate physical relationship" in 2007? Folks said the proof exists in e-mails and texts between him and Haley that he and his attorneys are pulling together now.
  • President Barack Obama will dispatch up to 1,200 National Guard troops to help secure the U.S.-Mexico border and will ask Congress for $500 million to shore up law enforcement in the Southwest and provide other border protection tools.
  • The work is hard, tedious and, in the end, it may not even work. If southern Louisiana is a war zone for the Louisiana National Guard, then the enemy — the huge spreading oil slick — has an enormous tactical advantage.
  • Hundreds of security forces punched into some of Kingston's roughest neighborhoods Tuesday as the manhunt for alleged drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke dragged on amid a spiraling body count and fears that the crisis could have a broader economic impact. Officials said at least 30 people, including 26 civilians, have been killed since masked gunmen, thought to be Coke loyalists, launched coordinated attacks against police stations.
  • North Korea's decision Tuesday to sever all ties with South Korea and threaten military action in disputed waters following the torpedoing of a South Korean warship confronts President Barack Obama with another international crisis that his administration doesn't want or need.
  • It is a craving so powerful that addicts will do almost anything to satisfy it. For thousands of people hooked on heroin and other opiates, a daily swallow of methadone tames the demon and opens the door to a normal life. But soon the synthetic narcotic no longer may be an option for thousands of Californians. As part of the effort to dig the state out of its massive budget hole, the Schwarzenegger administration has proposed cutting off Medi-Cal funding for "methadone maintenance" and other treatment programs to most addicts, saving the state $53 million.
  • Simmering frustration over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's potential damage to Florida tourism erupted Tuesday into blunt criticism of Gov. Charlie Crist, who defended the state's response and later trumpeted the arrival of $25 million from BP for television ads aimed at calming tourists' fears.
  • Twenty-six chickens were mysteriously beheaded at a North Pole chicken coop this week. Then things got weird. Troopers say they were called to a home on Sharon Road on Monday to a report of a mass chicken slaughter, with the carcasses laid out in a north-south pattern — oriented with the coop — in a roughly 12- to 15-foot line on the ground with a circular arrangement of corpses at one end, in something of a lollipop pattern.
  • One of the most frequent arguments of supporters of Arizona's anti-immigration law is that it doesn't do anything different than what Mexico does with undocumented Central American migrants, or what most Latin American countries do with their own illegal immigrants. It's a powerful argument, and partially true.
  • I am, generally speaking, an admirer of all things French. My father was a chef specializing in French cuisine, so I grew up with an appreciation for coq au vin and complicated reduction sauces. I've long fantasized about visiting Paris, the haunts of Josephine Baker and Colette, the haute couture, the rich culture and history.

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