Friday, June 4, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/4

  • If the current containment effort works — and BP and the government say they're optimistic that it will — the oil giant will salvage much of the oil that's now spewing from the crumpled pipes on the ocean floor. That captured oil would then be sold, generating, McClatchy estimates, more than $1.4 million in revenue for BP each day and a smaller slice for the U.S. taxpayer.
  • Recent changes that sweetened the benefits and expanded the eligibility for a little-known Labor Department program also have created a bottleneck in processing claims, leaving untold thousands of jobless workers waiting as long as a year for help.
  • Lexington state Sen. Jake Knotts called political rival and Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley a "raghead" on an Internet political talk show Thursday evening. The term is a slur typically used against Arabs or other ethnic groups who wear turbans or headdresses. Haley, a state representative from Lexington, is the child of Indian immigrants.
  • On a day when BP took a successful step in its most recent effort to cap a runaway Gulf of Mexico oil well, an apparently false rumor about new restrictions on offshore drilling in shallow water drove the price of oil up $1.75 to more than $74 a barrel. The false report that the Obama administration would extend its six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling to water less than 500 feet deep was carried by a variety of news outlets, including the Washington Post, the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal.
  • Joran van der Sloot was a gambler. Even as the young man was hounded by suspicions and cameras for his role in the disappearance of Alabama teenager Natalee Holloway five years ago, he could be found at poker tables on two continents.
  • California would keep a permanent record of anyone buying a shotgun or rifle under legislation passed Thursday by the Assembly. The measure would expand state law by adding long-gun buyers to a state Justice Department database that currently can identify only handgun purchasers.
  • A year ago Friday, President Barack Obama stood in Cairo and vowed "a new beginning" in a speech about how he'd change U.S. relations with the Muslim world. Egyptian vendors sold T-shirts portraying Obama in King Tut regalia, and Muslims throughout the region thrilled at his middle name: Hussein.
  • In January, Vardan Sargsyan's visa expired, along with his hopes to continue working legally as a gymnastics coach at Great American Gymnastic Express in Blue Springs, Missouri. Sargsyan, a former national champion gymnast for Armenia and a member of the Soviet national team, moved to the U.S. seven years ago to work with some of the best gymnasts in the world. The Blue Springs gym has produced Olympic-caliber athletes. His story sheds light on the difficulties that immigrants encounter in trying to deal with a faceless system.
  • Federal regulators suspect a cleaning fluid may have sickened seven workers last week who were employed to stem the spread of oil in the Gulf, according to health and labor officials. If true, the cause contradicts claims by BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, that the illness could be the symptoms of food poisoning.
  • After a month and a half of "top kill" and "junk shot," of chemical dispersants and high-tech domes, of skimmers and controlled burns, this is what we have to show for it. We are now told it may take another two months to stop oil from spewing into Gulf Coast waters. And that's assuming no hurricane sweeps into the Gulf and forces temporary suspension of the effort to dig two relief wells.
  • Throughout Barack Obama's candidacy and during the infancy of his presidency, I warned my mother, a staunch Obama supporter, that the demonization of George W. Bush would haunt President Obama.
  • A state District Court judge in Anchorage who faces an ethics complaint against him denies a mental illness and says any anxiety he exhibited to fellow court personnel was because of discrimination in the workplace, according to his response to the Commission on Judicial Conduct filed this week. Judge Richard Postma denies all the allegations in the April complaint and is asking for it to be dismissed.

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