Friday, June 18, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/18

  • Sitting alone at a table, BP's chief executive Tony Hayward on Thursday bore the bipartisan brunt of a livid congressional panel seeking to affix corporate greed and corner-cutting aboard an oil rig as the cause of 11 deaths and the ruin of an ecosystem and a way of life in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • What's the matter with South Carolina? In the last year alone, the state's bizarre brand of politics has pushed two phrases — "You lie!" (which Rep. Joe Wilson did shout) and "hiking on the Appalachian Trail" (which Gov. Mark Sanford did not do) — into the national lexicon overnight.
  • The saga that has become the personal life of Tiger Woods took an unexpected detour Thursday through Manatee County, Fla. Melinda Jannette, a 30-year-old porn star from Sarasota, filed a petition to determine the paternity of her 9-year-old son, alleging the world's No. 1 golfer is the father.
  • Think twice before you use your employer-provided computer, cell phone or pager for personal messages. The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday gave a strong nod toward an employer's right to review them. Nearly half of employers say they monitor employee e-mail use with either automatic or manual reviews, and about one-fourth have fired workers for abusing e-mail or texting policies.
  • Daunted by images of Haiti's 7.0-magnitude earthquake that killed a government-estimated 300,000 people, the city of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, has invested $100,000 in becoming one of the only cities in the region to conduct its own quake preparations. The Caribbean is riddled with concrete structures that withstand hurricanes well — but are cement coffins when the earth moves.
  • Where has the former vice president been these last two months? After all, his No. 1 goal when entering office in 2001 was to fashion a new energy policy for the nation, remember? So where is the man who, during the first month after being sworn in, was having private White House meetings with oil company executives? Could he be in one of those undisclosed locations?
  • Now that Abby Sunderland's OK, the inevitable storm of criticism is raining down on her parents, Laurence and Marianne, who wished their daughter bon voyage when she cast off on a solo ocean voyage. Allowing a 16-year-old girl to sail alone around the world — were they insane? Not at all. Unusual, yes.
  • Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., took the action at the request of a Guanantamo detainee's attorney who said comments he made to ProPublic showed he would factor his own fears into deciding whether the detainess should be released instead of issuing a verdict based solely on the evidence presented.
  • In the Senate, every man or woman can be king. Each can hold up a billion-dollar spending bill on a whim, or block one of the president's nominees from ever getting a hearing.
  • Fine points are being finalized in the sweeping overhaul of financial regulation now before congressional negotiators, yet one change is abundantly clear: Regulators, not lawmakers, will fill in the blanks to ensure that Wall Street can never again inflict such pain on the nation.
  • Record job losses and foreclosures helped push more than 170,000 families into homeless shelters in 2009, up nearly 30 percent since 2007 when the recession first gripped the nation, a government report released Wednesday shows.
  • President Barack Obama still has great popularity abroad — where he enjoys higher approval ratings than he does at home — but foreign publics are a lot less happy with his administration's foreign policy, according to a new poll by the Pew Trust.

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