- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Full-body scanners coming to airports

Government officials say the first of 150 full-body scanners will be installed at airports in Boston and Chicago over the next two weeks.

A Homeland Security Department official said Tuesday that all of the new machines will be installed by the end of June. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because a public announcement had not been made.

The body scanners were purchased with money from President Obama’s stimulus plan announced in February last year.

The use of the machines in airports is a key part of the Obama administration’s plans to improve airport security. Mr. Obama called for buying hundreds more of the scanners after the attempted Christmas Day terrorist bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.


Census director defends advertising

The head of the Census Bureau is defending the agency’s decision to spend $300 million to promote the national head count, saying paid advertising will save money by encouraging more people to mail in their forms.

Robert Groves testified Tuesday before a Senate panel. He said he wished the government did not have to pay for advertising given the tight economic times but that American interest in the census has been waning.

He said the agency also is working harder to limit spending waste.

Federal investigators reported last week that the Census Bureau lacked cost controls and made millions of dollars in wasted payments to employees.


Borrowing program balloons by billions

The Treasury Department says now that the government’s debt ceiling has been increased, it will expand an emergency program created at the height of the financial crisis to help the Federal Reserve manage its books.

The Treasury said it will expand borrowing in the Supplementary Financing Program from $5 billion to $200 billion. The borrowing program hit a peak of $560 billion during the financial crisis in 2008 but was trimmed last fall to keep the government from breaching the debt limit.

The increase, planned over the next two months, will be accomplished by selling $25 billion in 56-day bills at auctions every Wednesday.


Proposal would end pledge against duels

FRANKFORT | When you take the oath of office in Kentucky, you have to swear that you haven’t taken part in a duel with deadly weapons.

The promise usually elicits laughter, and state Rep. Darryl Owens has proposed amending the Kentucky Constitution to eliminate the archaic language. The Democrat’s proposal cleared a House committee Tuesday.

Carl Chelf, a retired political science professor at Western Kentucky University, said the language comes from Kentucky’s frontier days, when the state was a hotbed for dueling. Mr. Chelf said the framers of the state constitution wanted to clean up Kentucky’s reputation as a haven where people came to fight duels.

If the proposal passes the House and Senate, voters will be asked in November whether they want to remove the language.


Execs, not products, define headquarters

The Supreme Court says a corporation’s headquarters is where the company’s executives work, not where the company’s products are sold.

Hertz Corp. was sued in California state court. The company has headquarters in New Jersey and wanted the trial in federal court because it involved two states.

Lower courts said Hertz had headquarters in California, because most of its business activity was there, and that the trial should be in California.

But the high court, agreeing with Hertz, said unanimously that Hertz has headquarters in New Jersey, because that is where high-level officers work.

The case goes to federal court for trial.


Budget crisis prompts legislative session

CARSON CITY | Nevada lawmakers are convening a special legislative session to deal with the state’s budget crisis.

Gov. Jim Gibbons, a Republican, has proposed cutting most agency budgets by roughly 10 percent. He recommends closing the Nevada State Prison and a juvenile correctional center, extending furloughs for state workers, and capping deductions for the mining industry. More than 200 workers are slated for layoffs.

Legislators worry that deep cuts to education would require thousands of teacher layoffs.

Lawmakers and administration officials say they’ve been working together for solutions, but no clear plan has emerged and their relationship has been strained.

Nevada has one of the worst economies in the nation, with double-digit unemployment and alarmingly high foreclosure rates.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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