(White House/Pete Souza)
–CIA contractor Raymond Davis has reportedly been freed by Pakistani authorities after families of his victims accepted compensation.
The widespread feeling of dread surrounding the nuclear crisis intensified further Wednesday when, for the second consecutive day, a fire broke out at reactor unit number 4, where 15 highly radioactive spent fuel rods are being stored in a pool of water 45 feet deep. The 50 remaining TEPCO workers at the Daiichi plant, who are tasked with trying to cool the reactors down with seawater, were hustled into a protective room as radiation levels spiked higher. They remained there for 90 minutes, but were able to resume work when radiation levels fell.
–Obama stands pat on nuclear energy.
–Miami’s mayor gets ousted in a recall: “The spectacular fall from power comes after two years of missteps, ranging from granting top staffers big pay hikes to construction of a publicly funded stadium for the Florida Marlins to implementation of a property-tax rate increase that outraged an electorate struggling through an ugly recession.”
–How these two numbers get reconciled will go a long way to determining if Mitt Romney’s rivals will be able to knock him off in the presidential primary: 60% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, including 68% of self-identified conservatives, approve of him. At the same time, 61% of GOP primary voters say they wouldn’t vote for someone who supported a state-level individual mandate.
–What Haley Barbour might be thinking: Yesterday’s Washington Post/ABC News poll found a majority of Republicans, 56%, want an Afghan drawdown to begin this summer. That’s far less than Dems or independents, but substantial nonetheless; plus, it’s a segment of primary voters no other prospective Republican presidential candidate has appealed to yet.
–A resolution authority with teeth? The FDIC, now responsible under Dodd-Frank for seizing and dismantling failing megabanks, has proposed a rule that could claw back as much as two years of executive pay at sinking firms.
–Tim Geithner sticks up for Elizabeth Warren over her role in helping to negotiate a settlement between state attorneys general and mortgage servicers.
–The Obama administration is reportedly considering a new “shock and awe” mortgage modification program that could hit up major banks to the tune of $30 billion. Yves Smith chews it over.
–Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind probably won’t happen by Obama’s fall deadline. The drawn out budget debates hurt its chances by sucking up a lot of Congress’s time and making any deal on a significant spending package increasingly elusive.
–Continuing resolutions are an awful way to run a government:
The budget impasses cost the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) $1 million in lost productivity and more than $140,000 in extra work for the agency’s contracting office, GAO said. The FBI estimated it spent more than 600 extra hours holding planning meetings and monitoring agency resources during CRs.
–And the Obama transparency paradox in one sentence: “The Obama administration censored 194 pages of internal e-mails about its Open Government Directive that the AP requested more than one year ago.”