Wednesday, June 30, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/30

  • Reversing its oft-repeated position that it was acting only on behalf of its clients in its exotic dealings with the American International Group, Goldman Sachs now says that it also used its own money to make secret wagers against the U.S. housing market.
  • Federal immigration officials now have the ability to identify potentially deportable foreign nationals booked into all 67 of Florida's county jails on suspicion of crimes. Critics insist the feds continue to deport noncriminal immigrants in large numbers and target people arrested for any reason, such as traffic violations and loitering.
  • Rough seas and high winds from Tropical Storm Alex, churning in the Gulf of Mexico far west of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, forced the suspension Tuesday of skimming and booming operations off the coasts of Louisiana, Alabama and Florida, a BP spokesman said.
  • The Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been a wake-up call for the countries of the Americas -- some who fret tar balls could reach their beaches and damage fisheries and others who question the safety of their own offshore drilling programs.
  • A poised Elena Kagan on Tuesday spent the second day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing fending off Republican efforts to paint her as a liberal activist, saying she'd be a fair, open-minded justice and refusing to call herself a "legal progressive."
  • South Carolina's Republican senators appeared to be headed toward once again casting divergent votes on a Supreme Court nominee of President Barack Obama, this time for Elena Kagan. Last year, Lindsey Graham voted to confirm Sonia Sotomayor while Jim DeMint voted the opposite.
  • Army Gen. David Petraeus' reputation as a political operator was on display during his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, deflecting worries that the administration's Afghanistan strategy was off course and marked by divisiveness.
  • The UCLA Anderson School of Management Tuesday evening presented Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism to reporters from the McClatchy Washington Bureau and The Miami Herald.
  • Once upon a time, rednecks in politics tended to be either marginal firebrands like George Wallace or, more recently, the ne'er-do-well, embarrassing siblings of well-educated Southern pols — think Billy Carter or even Roger Clinton. But nowadays they seem to be the mainstream politicians themselves.
  • Through frequent media attention and new government initiatives like First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign, there has been a mounting focus on obesity in the U.S. this year. But according to a nationwide report released Tuesday, American waistlines continue to expand.
  • The founder of a Fresno-based humanitarian project that provides medical care for Afghan civilians says his project shouldn't be endangered by a recent shakeup in the U.S. military leadership in that country.

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