Tuesday, June 8, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 6/8

  • BP's runaway Deepwater Horizon well may be spewing what the company once-called its worst case scenario — 100,000 barrels a day, a member of the government panel told McClatchy Monday. "In the data I've seen, there's nothing inconsistent with BP's worst case scenario," said Ira Leifer, an associate researcher at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Outrage is growing in Iraq's northern Kurdish territories over renewed Iranian air and artillery strikes against Kurdish rebels in the remote Qandil Mountains, officials and residents said.
  • Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson blamed the federal bureaucracy and a "hysterical media" for what he denounced as false reports that birds drenched in sludge from the Gulf oil spill have been spotted in Texas. State and federal officials on Monday dismissed the reports as erroneous after they surfaced in the news media over the weekend.
  • After months of intense scrutiny over delays and rising costs, Lockheed Martin seems to be making consistent progress on the F-35 joint strike fighter program as it reached two milestones in as many days. The first test version of the F-35C, designed for use aboard Navy aircraft carriers, made its initial, 57-minute flight Sunday. On Monday, the fourth short-takeoff-vertical-landing F-35B, designed for the Marine Corps, was flown to the Navy's Patuxent River, Md., test center.
  • At the annual meeting of the Organization of American States, the one item not on the agenda seemed to be the one item on everyone's mind: Honduras. As representatives of 32 nations gathered in Lima for the 40th general assembly of the OAS, the subject kept coming back to the Central American nation that was kicked out of the organization last year in the wake of a coup.
  • Helen Thomas, the longest serving White House correspondent, retired Monday after White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called her anti-Israel comments reprehensible, and the White House Correspondents Association called them indefensible.
  • Florida state Senator Andy Gardiner is the sponsor of a controversial bill to require doctors to show and describe a sonogram to women before a first-trimester abortion, unless they opt out. For Gardiner, opposition to abortion isn't an exercise in ideology, where the Republicans usually vote one way and the Democrats usually vote the other. Beneath Gardiner's ideological skin lies a more-powerful motivation for the bill: his son and his experience in the delivery room.
  • Concerns are mounting over the chemical dispersants BP's using to fight the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico now that over 1 million gallons of the chemical have been pumped in Gulf waters. Nonetheless, a federal study says using the dispersants are less harmful to the environment than allowing the oil to reach shorelines.
  • Duke Energy is asking Appalachian coal suppliers to submit price estimates for coal mined by removing mountaintops — and prices for coal that isn't. The request comes amid growing pressure from lawmakers and environmentalists to stop the practice of removing the earth above coal seams.
  • It's Day 47 of what we regard as an utterly unacceptable environmental disaster. We watch in horror as the first tar balls wash onto the Florida Panhandle's sugar-sand beaches. It's Day 32 in Akwa Ibom. Not that anyone in the Niger River Delta has bothered to count the days since an offshore spill added another million gallons of crude to an already devastated estuary. But the word "unacceptable" has no meaning in Nigeria's bleak oil fields.
  • There goes the neighborhood.
    We do not know if that was Sarah Palin's initial response to the news that a journalist writing a book about her had rented the house next to hers in Wasilla, Alaska. But who could blame her if it was?

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