From American Progress Report:
President Bush’s trip to Biloxi, MS, yesterday was “carefully scripted by the White House” and “left little possibility of the president encountering much anger over the federal reconstruction efforts.” Several of the people with whom he met were “clutching pictures of themselves being consoled by the president in the aftermath of the storm last September.”
“The oldest detainee at Guantanamo Bay — an Afghan man who is at least 71 and hobbled around the U.S. prison in Cuba using a walker — has been sent home.”
“Israel has appointed a top general to oversee a war against Iran, prompting speculation that it is preparing for possible military action against Tehran’s nuclear program. Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, Israel’s air force chief, will be overall commander for the ‘Iran front.’”
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev — “an autocrat who runs a nation that is anything but free” and is accused in U.S. court of pocketing some $75 million in bribes — will be hosted next month at the White House and the Bush family compound in Maine.
“With parts of South Dakota at its epicenter, a severe drought has slowly sizzled a large swath of the Plains States, leaving farmers and ranchers with conditions that they compare to those of the Dust Bowl of the 1930’s.”
BP is under investigation by U.S. authorities for possible manipulation of crude oil and gasoline markets. BP is already facing civil and criminal investigations, including examination of “an Alaskan oil spill and a 2005 Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 people. The U.S. government in June alleged BP traders attempted to manipulate propane prices.”
According to a new study, outside advisory panels to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration typically serve as “rubber stamps” for companies seeking approval of drugs and medical devices. “The report follows criticism by members of Congress including Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) that the FDA fails to sufficiently scrutinize drug safety.”
On the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, FEMA is still trying to fill vacancies to better prepare for the next disaster. Hiring new employees has “been a slower process than I thought,” said FEMA Director R. David Paulison.
And finally: One long-suffering Beltway commuter got some sweet release this morning. Maryland electrician Dan Ruefly won a contest to detonate a Potomac River bridge that “has long been one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in a region notorious for gridlock.” “Asked if he had thought about blowing up the bridge before, Ruefly said, ‘Hasn’t everybody in Washington, D.C.?’”