Thursday, July 15, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 7/15

  • The names, locations and geographical coordinates are different. Otherwise the drilling plans for three oil companies in the Gulf of Mexico contain identical fonts, footnotes, overly optimistic projections and even typographical errors.
  • California Attorney General Jerry Brown sued federal mortgage lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for blocking green financing programs around the state, saying the agencies' actions put more than $100 million in federal stimulus funding at risk. Brown said the federal housing agencies have effectively shut down the programs, which provide homeowners with financing for solar panel installations and other energy retrofits.
  • Democratic and Republican senators voiced deep concern Wednesday over the direction of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, questioning whether the Obama administration can begin withdrawing U.S. troops next summer and worrying that it lacks a plan for forging a political settlement.
  • Nearly six months have gone by since Judges Albert Diaz of Charlotte and James Wynn of Raleigh landed on the to-do list of the full U.S. Senate, and still they have not received confirmation votes. Both men are nominated for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, a step below the Supreme Court, in what was a coup for North Carolina's expanded presence on the bench.
  • Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon today will sign into law $150 million in tax breaks for automakers that are aimed at Ford Motor Co.'s assembly plant in Claycomo and intended to save thousands of jobs.
  • Looking to boost his standing in a tough congressional election year, President Barack Obama heads to Michigan Thursday armed with a fresh report that he hopes will help convince people that his economic policies are making life better.
  • Supporters of California's global warming law have raised more than $2 million so far to defend the landmark legislation in what's shaping up as an expensive November ballot battle. Filings with the California secretary of state show that environmental groups and clean energy advocates were big givers to the campaign against Proposition 23, which would suspend AB 32 until the unemployment rate drops to 5.5 percent.
  • The lead investigator at the North Carolina State Board of Elections said Thursday that board chairman Larry Leake ordered her not to interview some witnesses during a probe into 42 undisclosed campaign flights by Gov. Bev Perdue.
  • Two newly freed Cuban political prisoners arrived in Madrid on Wednesday, joining seven others just beginning to feel the shock of leaving their country and to consider whether they want to stay in Spain or move on to the United States.
  • As many as nine young people from Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta villages have killed themselves over the past two months, Alaska State Troopers say. Western Alaska is home to some of the highest suicide rates in the state, but the pace of more than one death per week has some village leaders on alert.
  • The concept of temporary, amid Haiti's teeming refugee camps, has morphed into a dismal variation of forever.
    A deluge of earthquake victims, shocked and terrified, spilled out of the city's ruins after the disaster and found refuge in parks, school yards, soccer pitches, garden patches, almost any private or public space they could find in their tumbled down city.

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