Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who has covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

May 8, 2009



Washington Times
- President Obama called for overturning a decade-old ban on publicly funded abortions in the District as part of his budget proposal Thursday, but did not overturn the national ban on federal funding, thus angering advocacy groups on both sides of the volatile issue. Under his proposal, the District for the first time in more than a decade would be allowed to pay for abortions with the money it raises from its own taxpayers.

Firedog Lake - Penny Pritzker, the finance chair of the Obama campaign who is now a member of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board, has a somewhat different opinion on the Employee Free Choice Act than the President does. She is joining together with other billionaires to fight bill, which would "make it easier for unions to organize hotels they own." She has "told the president she is opposed to the measure, known as card check, said a person familiar with the situation." Pritzker ran committees that generated a record of more than $745 million for the Obama campaign plus $53 million for the inauguration.


Guardian, UK
- [The British] government's drug advisers are to consider next week whether to ban Spice Gold, a herbal smoking mixture that is as strong as some strains of skunk cannabis, and other legal highs. Spice is sold on the internet and in "head shops" as a herbal high and a nicotine-free smoke, and even advertised as an "aromatic potpourri". It comes packaged in small sealed pouches holding 3g (less than an ounce). . .
The move follows a request from the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, to look at the availability and harmfulness of a series of "legal highs" including the herb Salvia divinorum, commonly referred to as magic mint or Mexican sage, which has a naturally occurring psychoactive ingredient.


The Oklahoma House has voted 83-2 to place a monument to the Ten Commandments on the capitol grounds.


Washington Post -
Intelligence officials released documents saying that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was briefed in September 2002 about the use of harsh interrogation tactics against al-Qaeda prisoners, seemingly contradicting her repeated statements over the past 18 months that she was never told that these techniques were actually being used.
In a 10-page memo outlining an almost seven-year history of classified briefings, intelligence officials said that Pelosi and then-Rep. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) were the first two members of Congress ever briefed on the interrogation tactics




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