Tuesday, August 3, 2010

McClatchy Washington report 8/3

  • Even the recent barrage of headline-dominating news about the two wars hasn't vaulted the issue, which dominated American political debate in the last decade, into the forefront of 2010 voter concerns. This year, the economy remains the dominant political concern.
  • As BP neared a fix that's expected to kill for good the runaway well that's wreaked economic and environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the government Monday said that 10 to 12 times the amount of oil had been flowing from the well than it originally thought.
  • The Army lawyer defending the last Western captive at Guantanamo turned to the U.S. Supreme Court Monday in a last-ditch bid to stop the upcoming war crimes trial of alleged Canadian terrorist Omar Khadr. Army Lt. Col. Jon Jackson, Khadr's Pentagon-appointed defense lawyer, said in a statement Monday that U.S. plans to put him on trial before a military jury at Guantanamo later this month deny the Canadian due process because the court is designed for foreigners not American citizens.
  • Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent a record-shattering $99.7 million in campaign funds through June 30, according to campaign finance records filed Monday. Whitman, who faced a June 8 primary election challenge from Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, has spent far more than Democratic rival Jerry Brown, who was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.
  • The Department of Justice released its first-ever national strategy to combat child exploitation and abuse Monday, which calls for a crackdown on the most dangerous sex offenders in the country.
  • Duke Energy won't build an electrical station near a sacred American Indian site, helping mend a months-long rift with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
  • America's love affair with cars has been going on for more than a century. But if you're one of those people who really hate driving, the future could belong to you. Thanks to advances in sensors, GPS systems, electronic steering and computerized braking, cars have been developed that drive themselves.
  • During their seven years in Cuban prisons, former prisoners say they were confined to tiny windowless cells, fed inedible food and abused psychologically. According to human rights organizations — among them Amnesty International and the United Nations, which have monitored Cuban prisons for decades — conditions have been harsh and inhumane throughout the 51-year-old regime of the Castro brothers.
  • Thousands of Alaskans gathered in a giant C-17 hangar Monday afternoon to grieve for four airmen killed in a plane crash last week on Elmendorf Air Force Base. The C-17 crashed the evening of July 28 on what's now called Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The crew was practicing for the popular Arctic Thunder air show and open house, held last weekend. The crash is being investigated by a military Safety Investigative Board, which is just beginning its work.
  • A year or two ago, I received this email. The writer was upset with me for arguing that school principals should have the power to fire teachers who do not perform. As numerous educators have told me, union protections being what they are, dumping a teacher — even a bad one — is an almost impossible task.
  • The Missouri Hospital Association is nothing if not persistent. It keeps pushing this crazy idea that people should have health insurance.
    Last year the member hospitals went so far as to volunteer to pay the state millions of dollars to gather more low-income citizens under its Medicaid umbrella. Republicans in the legislature called the plan a welfare trap and told their would-be benefactors to keep their money.

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