Tuesday, May 4, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/4

  • Shifting and easing winds on Monday bought time for weather-beaten crews to bottle up and burn off a massive slick of rust-colored crude oil before it fouls fragile marshes and sugary beaches across four Gulf Coast states. Containment efforts aren't certain to work, however, and preparations continued throughout the Gulf coast for environmental disaster.
  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday demanded strong U.N. sanctions against Iran for defying demands to halt its enrichment of uranium after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad insisted there was no "credible proof" that his regime is seeking nuclear weapons.
  • For much of his life, Richard Lee needed neither liberation nor a cause. The Oakland medical pot entrepreneur, who spent $1.3 million to qualify this November's initiative to make recreational pot use legal in California, once lived for thundering his Harley-Davidson motorcycle down Texas highways. Lee, 47, was paralyzed in a fall 20 years ago. Today, he's emerged as the unlikely protagonist in a marijuana legalization push that is changing California's cultural and political landscape.
  • Joe Miller, a Fairbanks attorney running against Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski this year, is trying to drum up support for his campaign, meeting with conservatives in Washington, D.C., and advertising a "big announcement" that Todd Palin will be at his fundraiser in Wasilla this week.
  • U.S. Senate Democrats, arguing that Radio and TV Martí have failed to make any visible inroads in Cuba, recommended Monday the stations be moved from Miami to Washington and folded into Voice of America.
  • The massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico won't cause higher retail gasoline prices, two people familiar with petroleum markets said Monday. But a third said he thinks that it will be a contributing factor in boosting pump prices.
  • All four Republicans who want to be South Carolina's next governor say they would veto a bill to raise the state's lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax and would welcome an Arizona-style immigration reform bill that aims to deport illegal immigrants.
  • The Obama administration on Monday set up a new task force to wrangle California water decisions, with long-term hopes of consolidating protections for smelt and salmon.
  • The Kansas House on Monday voted to revive legislation vetoed by Gov. Mark Parkinson that would require more information from doctors who perform late-term abortions. The bill would require physicians who authorize late-term abortions to report the medical diagnosis used to justify the otherwise illegal procedure.
  • Oops.
    That's the official position of British Petroleum. It turns out that oil is gushing from that blown-out rig off the Louisiana coast at a flow of at least 5,000 barrels a day, five times more than BP first estimated.
  • It can't be easy being part of Big Beverage these days.
    Barely a week goes by without some do-gooder group — the American Heart Association, for example — linking soda pop and other sweetened drinks to diabetes and every condition short of baldness.

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