Friday, July 30, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 7/30

  • Louisiana fishermen pray their livelihood will return, hoteliers in Alabama wait for the phones to ring, and New Orleans' finest chefs cook up public relations strategies rather than po'-boys — all because oil has touched their shorelines.
  • A low-ranking Army soldier suspected of leaking thousands of classified documents had access to the documents because U.S. officials have pressed to make sure secret information is available to combat units. That idea is now being reconsidered in the wake of the Internet publication of thousands of documents by WikiLeaks, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
  • Calling the wording of a Republican-backed constitutional amendment on health care "manifestly misleading," a Circuit Court judge in Leon County has tossed it off the November ballot. The proposal had been drafted and put forward by the GOP-led state legislature as a counter to the new federal health care plan. It would prohibit the state from participating in any health insurance exchange that compels people to buy insurance.
  • More than a dozen prominent Dallas business and civic leaders, including several who supported Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican primary for governor, have signed a letter backing Democrat Bill White in his effort to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry in the Nov. 2 general election.
  • A special House of Representatives subcommittee on Thursday outlined 13 counts of ethics violations against Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. The charges place his political career in jeopardy and could put Democrats on the defensive as November's elections approach.
  • Florida's state attorney general is investigating two Florida companies over claims they offered free emergency response training for oil spill clean up work but then withheld students' training certificates unless they paid a large fee.
  • A new Army report has found that inattention to rising rates of drug abuse and criminal activity among soldiers and not repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is responsible for the record-high levels of suicide among troops. The report urges commanders to get tougher on repeat drug offenders.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said Thursday that he's talked with other senators about crafting a constitutional amendment that would deny American citizenship to illegal immigrants' children born in the United States.
  • Former Alaska state Sen. Gene Therriault resigned as Gov. Sean Parnell's energy adviser Thursday amid furor over the legality of Therriault signing on to the position when he was still in the Legislature. Neither Therriault nor Parnell admitted wrongdoing, with Therriault blaming Parnell's critics for creating "political turmoil" over the $110,000-a-year job.
  • Yuba County, California's Beale Air Force Base is being put in charge of a fleet of spy planes that will bring at least 550 jobs and help boost the regional economy. Capping a lengthy search, the Air Force on Thursday chose Beale over five other bases as home of the MC-12W, a small twin-engine turboprop that flies surveillance missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Not to startle you, but you have a narrative in your head. Dozens of them, in fact. Some narratives are unsupported by fact, others sit atop a mountain of empirical evidence. The point is, we all have them, and when some incident appears to confirm one, we rush to use it in our blogs, our barroom debates, our newspaper columns.

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