Friday, July 2, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 7/2

  • University scientists have spotted the first indications oil is entering the Gulf seafood chain — in crab larvae — and one expert warns the effect on fisheries could last "years, probably not a matter of months" and affect many species.
  • When three great storytellers come together under one roof, it's worth listening to them. That's what makes the newest exhibit at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum in Washington — "Telling Stories: Norman Rockwell From the Collections of George Lucas and Steven Spielberg" — one for all ages to enjoy.
  • When the American International Group refused to meet demands for billions in collateral, Goldman Sachs began betting hundreds of millions of dollars on the insurer's collapse, ramping up those wagers to $3.2 billion over the next 10 months in a strategy that put AIG under huge financial pressure, a congressional commission found.
  • July pay for most hourly California state employees will be withheld to the minimum allowed by federal law — $7.25 an hour — and then restored once there's a budget. The state's controller said that he won't follow the governor's order unless a court tells him to.
  • A series of economic indicators and polls released Thursday described a wobbly economic recovery that threatens to slip back into recession. Construction spending, home sales, manufacturing activity, vehicle sales and new claims for jobless benefits all posted disappointing numbers.
  • I am intrigued by Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's recent statement: "We all know that the majority of the people that are coming to Arizona and trespassing are now becoming drug mules." She was responding to a reporter who had asked her for proof of an earlier statement that most illegal immigrants carry narcotics for drug cartels. It seems not a lot to ask that she prove it.
  • Local leaders on Mississippi's coast are afraid that some of the waste generated by the oil spill cleanup, including bags of tar balls, gooey oil, oiled boom and workers' oil-stained clothing, will go to nearby landfills — after they asked BP and state environmental regulators not to put it there.
  • The Senate confirmation hearings on Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan continued Thursday, as both parties summoned witnesses who presented competing portraits of the nominee.
  • President Barack Obama on Thursday once again urged Congress to tackle comprehensive legislation to overhaul immigration law, citing the urgency of Arizona passing its own punitive statute in the absence of federal action.
  • As hundreds of business owners shuffle through the claims process to recover losses caused by the oil disaster, BP's promise that it will "deny no legitimate claim" is taking on a bitter meaning. The problem: BP's definition of what it is willing to cover.
  • The Senate late Wednesday night approved a House of Representatives-passed extension to the National Flood Insurance Program, which expired June 1, enabling insurers to issue and renew policies as soon as President Barack Obama signs the legislation, which was expected to be soon.
  • Republican voters are more energized than Democrats about November's congressional elections, a trend that could mean gains for the GOP, according to a new Pew Research Center national survey.

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