Truthout | News in Brief (16)

The Washington Post reports that members of Congress face the most anti-incumbent electorate since 1994, with less than a third of all voters saying they are inclined to support their representatives in November, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Dissatisfaction is widespread, crossing party lines, ideologies and virtually all groups of voters. Less than a quarter of independents and just three in 10 Republicans say they’re leaning toward backing an incumbent this fall. Even among Democrats, who control the House, the Senate and the White House, opinion is evenly divided on the question.

The New York Times reports that crews struggling to contain the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico were planning to light some of the petroleum on fire at 11 a.m. Central Daylight Time in an attempt to burn it off before it reaches shore.

A Coast Guard spokesman said today that crews would begin with an initial burn in a confined area of the spill to determine the density of the oil.

According to a statement released by the group of industry and government officials supervising the burn, the oil will be consolidated “into a fire resistant boom approximately 500 feet long; this oil will then be towed to a more remote area, where it will be ignited and burned in a controlled manner.”

From there, officials will conduct “small, controlled burns of several thousand gallons of oil lasting about one hour each.”

In an interview with The New York Times, Tony Hayward, chief executive of British Petroleum, “described the spilled oil as very light, like ‘iced tea,’ and ‘only one-tenth of a millimeter thick, as thin as a human hair.'”


The Chicago Sun-Times reports that the father of a former Air Force intelligence specialist was left to wonder why his son went from leading a “squeaky clean” life to being accused of claiming he had explosives aboard a trans-Atlantic flight, forcing the jetliner and its passengers to spend the night in Bangor, Maine.

Delta Air Lines Flight 273 from Paris to Atlanta was diverted to Maine because the passenger said he had a fake passport and explosives aboard the plane, US officials said. The passport was real, law enforcement officials said, and there were no explosives on the Airbus A330.
The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation was ongoing.


The Los Angeles Times reports that pressure continued to mount Tuesday against Arizona’s tough new immigration law, with the Obama administration considering a legal challenge and political leaders calling for economic boycotts.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that she had “deep concerns” with the law and said it could siphon resources needed to target criminals. US Attorney General Eric Holder said he was considering “the possibility of a court challenge.”

The Arizona law makes it a state crime to be in Arizona illegally and requires police to check suspects for immigration paperwork. The legislation also bars people from soliciting work or hiring day laborers off the street.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a Texas lawmaker says she plans to push for a law similar to Arizona’s get-tough immigration measure. According to the Star-Telegram, the San Antonio Express-News and Houston Chronicle reported Wednesday that Republican Rep. Debbie Riddle of Tomball, Texas, says she will introduce the measure in the January legislative session.

The new Arizona law requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status – and makes it a crime for immigrants to lack registration documents.
Riddle says if the federal government did its job, “Arizona wouldn’t have to take this action, and neither would Texas.”


The Hill reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has employed unusually tough tactics to pressure Republicans to back Wall Street reform – a move that could shore up his liberal base, but one that GOP centrists say is counterproductive.

Reid will need at least one Republican vote to move the legislation forward, but centrists in that party caution that the Democratic leader’s actions have been divisive and unnecessary. However, liberals who criticized Reid during the healthcare debate are applauding his strong stance on Wall Street reform.

Political experts in Nevada say this is crucial for Reid, who faces a difficult reelection campaign, because his political future depends on energizing and mobilizing the Democratic base in his home state.