Wednesday, July 7, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 7/7

  • The Justice Department Tuesday sued Arizona over its tough new immigration law, charging the state with crossing a "constitutional line" that would undermine the federal government's efforts to monitor illegal aliens.
  • It's a scene sorry enough to make a Creole chef cry: a plate of squid served in New Orleans' Charlie's Seafood instead of the usual heaping mound of Louisiana oysters. With the BP Gulf oil disaster now in its 11th week and fishing bans covering a third of the Gulf of Mexico, centuries of Creole cooking traditions have begun to fall.
  • Scientists, doctors, drug makers and regulators who gathered Tuesday to talk about new cancer drugs spoke of the "valley of death." It's the long-cursed chasm between jaw-dropping breakthroughs in basic science — often unearthed at universities — and the manufacture of drugs that can battle your tumor. New drugs are approved at about the same rate they were in 1950.
  • Joe Miller's campaign is gaining increasing attention in Alaska, in large part because of Sarah Palin. It remains to be seen how much her help will count. Miller's running on a platform of choking federal spending in a state that lives off dollars from Washington, D.C., a state that worshipped Ted Stevens for his talent in delivering it.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's recent ads attacking Jerry Brown appear to have resonated with likely California voters, as the Democratic nominee's popularity is sliding, according to a new Field Poll. The poll shows Brown leading Whitman 44 percent to 43 percent, a statistically insignificant difference. Whitman trailed Brown by 21 percentage points in October before closing on him in January.
  • In the Republican race for governor of Florida. Attorney General Bill McCollum finds himself trailing a candidate who has more baggage than J-Lo on a camel safari. Rick Scott's singular claim to fame was building Columbia/HCA into a healthcare conglomerate that perpetrated the largest Medicare fraud in the history of Medicare. Only in the rancid political swamp of Florida would a guy like Rick Scott have the gall to run for office, bankrolling his run for the governorship with the fortune he accumulated while his empire soaked U.S. taxpayers for hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday during a carefully choreographed White House makeup meeting that was short on details that they'd press for a quick resumption of direct Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed a new federal plan to reduce the pollution from electric power plants that wafts hundreds of miles across state lines.
  • It's fair to say that Rep. Dan Lungren is no fan of President Barack Obama's approach on immigration. Actually, that would be an understatement.
  • An environmental activist who was arrested while protesting in the Hart Senate Office Building last September avoided a three-year jail term Tuesday when a Washington judge handed down fines and probation instead.
  • Almost every morning Alberto Perez stands on South Florida street corners looking for work -- one of thousands of day laborers hired to pick crops, fix roofs, cut grass or clean houses. These laborers depend on quick payments to feed themselves, pay rent or send money to families in their home countries. But often the people who hire them don't pay.
  • Illegal meth labs have become scarcer and their federally funded cleanups cheaper, a new report shows. The report, however, doesn't indicate whether meth use has declined in the U.S.

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