- - Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TEXAS

Ortiz concedes defeat in race

SAN ANTONIO | Democratic Texas Rep. P. Solomon Ortiz has conceded defeat to Republican newcomer Blake Farenthold.

Mr. Ortiz’s concession came late Monday, after a South Texas recount confirmed he had lost a House seat he held for nearly three decades.


The 73-year-old congressman said that, although he hadn’t seen official results, he believed he picked up about 150 votes in the recount but still lost to Mr. Farenthold by about 650.

Mr. Farenthold is the former owner of a computer consulting business and a self-described “sidekick” on local talk radio. He received strong support from “tea party” activists in a district that stretches from Corpus Christi on the Gulf Coast to Brownsville on the border with Mexico.

TSA

Some officials to skip security

Cabinet secretaries, top congressional leaders and an exclusive group of senior U.S. officials are exempt from toughened new airport screening procedures when they fly commercially with government-sanctioned security details.

New heightened security procedures by the Transportation Security Administration, which require either a scan by a full-body detector or an intimate personal pat-down, have spurred passenger outrage in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday airport crush.

The senior government officials can opt out of such measures if they fly accompanied by government security guards approved by TSA. The agency would not explain why it makes these exceptions, but many of the exempted government officials have gone through several levels of security clearances, including FBI background checks.

INTERIOR

Salazar vows to speed projects

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he wants to spur offshore wind projects in the Atlantic Ocean by expediting permits and identifying promising areas for wind power.

At a speech in Baltimore, Mr. Salazar said he will institute a “smart permitting process” that could result in leases issued within two years, instead of approvals that take as long as seven years.

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