Wednesday, May 5, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 5/5

  • As Mother Nature kept the man-made oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico from making landfall, emergency workers along the Gulf Coast stepped up their efforts to defend sensitive shorelines and oil giant BP began what could a months-long process to stanch the flow of crude from its runaway well.
  • Pakistani authorities Tuesday detained at least seven people whom they alleged are linked with New York bomb plot suspect Faisal Shahzad, as Shazad's father, a retired high Pakistani military official, fled his home after local news media discovered him.
  • Insiders struggled to win primaries Tuesday against outsider challenges, an early test of just how angry voters are at the political establishment. The voting came in Indiana, North Carolina and Ohio, three states President Barack Obama won in 2008 and potentially pivotal November battlegrounds for control of the Senate.
  • The Florida Republican Party spent more than $9,500 on special Disney World tours for Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp and others in the summer of 2008, according to credit card bills obtained by The Miami Herald and The St. Petersburg Times. Kottkamp said he went to Disney with donors and their families. But party spokeswoman Katie Betta said Tuesday that the Disney charges were not associated with a fundraiser nor other official party business.
  • Forget running against President Barack Obama. South Carolina's Republican Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer wants to make the GOP's June 8 primary for governor a referendum on the state's poor. His rivals for the GOP's nomination for governor are more intent on turning their primary into a referendum on who is most anti-Obama.
  • Fresno County farmers lead the nation in harvesting farm subsidies, collecting nearly $1 billion since 1995, newly available Agriculture Department records show. Other California counties are close behind. Kern, Colusa and Tulare counties rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, nationwide for total farm subsidies received, with rice and cotton growers benefiting the most.
  • Rusty Carter, a major Democratic fundraiser, illegally funneled about $150,000 into the campaigns of Gov. Bev Perdue and Senate leader Marc Basnight, a judge ruled Tuesday.
  • Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Tuesday brushed off the threat of new United Nations sanctions against Iran, saying they'd have little impact and would end up undermining President Barack Obama's standing at home and abroad.
  • For many in Florida's $60 billion tourism industry, the Gulf oil spill is a more frightening version of a hurricane threat, when fears of impending havoc leave hotel rooms empty and beaches barren on picture-perfect days. The grim novelty of the country's worst oil spill since 1989 has the Sunshine State's tourism leaders arguing over the best way to face the crisis and remind vacationers that all of Florida's coastline remains open for business.
  • Kaiser Permanente, which has been on the leading edge of the "green hospital" movement, said Tuesday it will begin pressuring its suppliers to be better stewards of the environment and public health. The health care giant will require vendors to disclose environmental data on a host of products to help promote a healthier environment for patients and workers.
  • The first person to interrogate 15-year-old Omar Khadr — while he was gravely wounded and lying sedated on a stretcher — was an Army interrogator who was later convicted of detainee abuse, according to testimony Tuesday in a Guantanamo Bay courtroom.
  • If we really wanted immigration reform, we'd have had it years ago.
    In 2006, President George W. Bush supported a proposal that would've required undocumented immigrants to take English classes and pay fines and back taxes in exchange for guest worker status and, eventually, citizenship. "I know this is an emotional debate," said Bush. "But one thing we cannot lose sight of is that we're talking about human beings, decent human beings that need to be treated with respect."

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