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Aug. 6, 2009

By United Press International   |   Aug. 6, 2009 at 8:39 AM   |   Comments

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Key U.S. Senate votes:

The U.S. Senate is set to vote on a supreme court nomination and whether to provide additional funds to the "Cash for Clunkers" program.

Both measures -- allowing Sonia Sotomayor to join the U.S. Supreme Court and adding $2 billion to a program that's spurred new car sales -- are expected to pass.

Sotomayor, a judge on the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, would be the 111th person, third woman and first person of Hispanic heritage to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Opposition to her nomination centers on her statement in several speeches that a "wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life."

But that opposition doesn't appear to have the depth to stop her joining the court. At least seven Republicans and, in all likelihood, all 60 Senators who caucus with the Democrats are expected to approve the nomination. Her first case would be Sept. 9 when the court rehears a campaign finance case.

"Cash for Clunkers" is also expected to get that $2 billion boost. It went through its first $1 billion in days as consumers, promised up to $4,500 for their older less fuel-efficient vehicles, caused a spike in July's new car sales.


Healthcare reform protests:

Town hall meetings called by members of Congress on recess are turning into raucous anti-healthcare reform protests.

Democrats are claiming the audiences are peppered with representatives of insurance companies, which stand to lose out in some way if the party's healthcare reform plans become law. Protesters say they are individual citizens who fear a government takeover of healthcare.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer said it's a conspiracy to "hurt our president and change the Congress." The Obama administration is asking that citizens report information that "seems fishy" to a White House e-mail address.

It seems to be the kind of backlash reform supporters feared when they were pushing for a vote on the proposals before the congressional recess. Polls indicate support for healthcare reform but also register a concern about how much the government should be involved.


Hiroshima anniversary:

The United States, after Japan had sustained a series of firebombing attacks on dozens of cities and still refused to surrendered, dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

That act, along with the bombing of Nagasaki three days later, is believed to have led the Japanese government to capitulate and end the war that started for the United States when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

As many as 80,000 people died in Hiroshima in the immediate aftermath of the atomic bomb detonation and about 60,000 deaths in the next several months were attributed to the bombing.

Japan surrendered Aug. 15 and atomic weapons haven't been used in war since and debate on the use of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs continues. Justification for the dropping of those devices centers on the devastation a full invasion of Japan would cause in human lives on both sides of the fighting and on the country itself.

At ceremonies in Hiroshima marking the anniversary, Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso said, "I pledge anew today that Japan will be the front-runner in the international community in abolishing nuclear weapons and realizing eternal peace."


Fee for Internet information:

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch said that by the middle of next year all of his media Internet sites will be charging for access.

Charging for information that has traditionally been free on the Internet has been a dream of media companies trying to stay afloat. Murdoch's company owns entities such as The Wall Street Journal, 20th Century Fox, the Fox U.S. television network and cable TV's Fox News.

"If we're successful, we'll be followed by all media," Murdoch predicted of his plan to charge for news on the Internet.

"Quality journalism is not cheap and an industry that gives away its content is simply cannibalizing its ability to produce good reporting."

News Corp. reported a loss of $203 million in the most recent quarter but Murdoch said Wednesday he expected the company to show a profit of between 5 percent and 10 percent in the next fiscal year.

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