Friday, June 11, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/11

  • The Obama administration on Thursday doubled its minimum estimate of how much crude oil was gushing from the Deepwater Horizon oil well, saying a panel of scientists had concluded that 20,000 to 50,000 barrels, or as much as 2.1 million gallons, were pouring into the Gulf of Mexico every day before BP sheared the well's riser pipe on June 3.
  • The draft legislation that lawmakers used as their starting point Thursday for writing the final version of the most sweeping overhaul of financial regulation since the Great Depression contains key provisions to combat predatory lending and provide relief from foreclosure.
  • The Senate Thursday defeated 53-47 an effort to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, and President Barack Obama said the vote was a reminder of the need to pass more comprehensive climate change legislation.
  • South Carolina's Lexington County Republicans voted to rebuke state Sen. Jake Knotts and ask him to resign his office after he used a racial slur last week against state Rep. Nikki Haley. Knotts referred to Haley, whose parents are Indian immigrants, as a "raghead" on an Internet political talk show.
  • Congress headed home Thursday for a four-day break, after failing again to extend jobless benefits for an estimated 325,000 people, fund summer jobs for at-risk youths or help newly laid-off people pay for health care.
  • Heading into the 2010 general election campaign, Democrats and Republicans are ready to make the corporate experience of GOP candidates a key issue in California's top two races. Experts say the debate will cut one of two ways: Voters will reward Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina for their business acumen, particularly at a time when the economy is their top concern, or they will reject their insider experience, particularly at a time when the image of Wall Street executives has taken such a public beating.
  • Amid a spike in Afghan and American deaths in southern Afghanistan, U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top NATO commander in the country, conceded Thursday that the military push to secure the Taliban's spiritual capital will take longer than anticipated.
  • A tiny Lincoln company that says its product could help mop up oil from the Gulf of Mexico has embarked on a political and media campaign to get BP's attention. Mobius Technologies grinds foam from desk chairs and car seats into a powder. Applied to oil, the powder — called micronized polyurethane powder — quickly absorbs the oil and forms a cake that floats on water indefinitely.
  • A top Wachovia Corp. executive urged the Charlotte bank to more closely examine Golden West Financial Corp.'s loans before buying the California mortgage lender in 2006 but was told to "stay out of it," according to an amended complaint filed in an investor lawsuit. The Charlotte bank's $24 billion acquisition of Oakland, Calif.-based Golden West gave the bank a portfolio of nontraditional mortgages that later produced rising losses as housing prices plunged.
  • Clean Team Alaska (Committee to Stop the Corruption), backers of a controversial initiative that has been billed as an anti-corruption measure, say they are abandoning their campaign, though the measure is expected to remain on the ballot in August.
  • A year ago, we proposed that a simple, powerful, yet largely forgotten principle of American law known as the Public Trust Doctrine should be reinvigorated to protect coastal and marine resources. Now that the largest oil spill in U.S. history is consuming the Gulf of Mexico, our scientific and legal arguments have become more urgent.
  • In late June of 1998, my 17-year-old son and I went to France, where my wife, a sportswriter, was covering the World Cup. I will now attempt, using my extensive vocabulary and professional writing skills, to describe what Paris was like that summer: Whoa.
    Talk about a party. I've been to the Olympics, World Series and Super Bowls. Compared to the World Cup, these events are a meeting of the Des Moines Rotary Club.

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