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Nation Digest

Thursday, October 1, 2009

U.S. HOUSE

Another Day, Another Stinging Remark

House Republicans on Wednesday demanded an apology from Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) for saying from the floor of the chamber, "Republicans want you to die quickly," and brandishing a sign with a similar message.

Republicans even drafted a resolution that criticized Grayson for his remarks, stating that his behavior "was a breach of decorum and degraded the integrity and proceedings of the House," and that the House "disapproves of the behavior." The language was a direct echo of what Democrats used in their resolution admonishing Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) for yelling "You lie!" during President Obama's address to a joint session of Congress.

But Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) decided not to introduce the resolution, instead asking "respectfully . . . that he apologize to our leader."

Grayson made it clear that he would not be doing that. Instead, he said from the House floor that the only people who deserved an apology were those who did not have health insurance. "I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner to end this holocaust in America," he said.

-- Ben Pershing

WHITE HOUSE

NIH Grants Target Diseases, Economy

The National Institutes of Health has awarded $5 billion in grants to accelerate research into a broad range of diseases, the largest infusion of money to date into biomedical research, President Obama announced.

The money, which has been parceled out in 12,000 grants that have reached all 50 states in the past month, were part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package enacted in February.

Obama said the flood of research money would boost the development of advanced treatments for diseases such as cancer and heart disease, while also creating tens of thousands of jobs over the next two years.

"These investments will save jobs, they'll create new jobs -- tens of thousands of jobs -- conducting research, and manufacturing and supplying medical equipment, and building and modernizing laboratories and research facilities all across America," Obama said at an NIH event to highlight the grants

"That's what the Recovery Act is all about," Obama said. "It is not just about creating make-work jobs; it's about creating jobs that will make a lasting difference for our future."

-- Michael A. Fletcher

Obama Official Regrets Advice to Student: The Obama administration defended an Education Department official over advice he gave a gay student about sex 21 years ago. The official, Kevin Jennings, says he should have handled the situation differently when he told the boy that he hoped he had used a condom during a sexual encounter with an older man. Jennings, who now heads the department's Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, has been under fire from conservatives and right-wing groups for not reporting the incident to authorities or to the boy's parents.

Obama's 1st State Dinner Is for India's Singh: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be the guest of honor at President Obama's first state dinner, an administration official said. Singh is coming to Washington for a formal state visit on Nov. 24.

-- From News Services

CIA INTERROGATIONS

Judge Won't Release Videotape Documents

A federal judge in New York said he would not order the CIA to release hundreds of documents regarding the destruction of videotapes of detainee interrogations.

Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that he must defer to the CIA director in assessing information related to such an issue of national security.

The judge also said he probably would have ruled on the same grounds that the videotapes would not have to be released if they had not been destroyed.

-- Associated Press

FLORIDA

9-Year-Old Girl's Killer Dies of Natural Causes

John Evander Couey, a convicted sex offender awaiting execution for kidnapping and raping 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford and burying her alive, died of natural causes.

Couey, 51, had been ill for some time and died at a Jacksonville hospital, the Department of Corrections said.

Couey took Jessica from her bedroom in Homosassa, Fla., to his nearby trailer in 2005, triggering an extensive search. The third-grader's body was found about three weeks later in a grave in Couey's yard, about 150 yards from her home.

-- Associated Press

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