News April 4

Senator Sanders

Oil Speculation Sen. Sanders said legislation he introduced would require the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use all of its authority, including its emergency powers, to eliminate excessive oil speculation, according to Op-Ed News LINK

Gas Prices Sen. Bill Nelson urged President Obama not to re-nominate the top U.S. commodities regulator unless he quickly implements trading curbs to dampen speculation and reduce fuel costs. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Sanders both objected to Gary Gensler's nomination in 2009, Reuters noted. LINK

Gay Rights A U.S. appeals court in Boston is set to hear arguments over a law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples. Meanwhile, Sen. Sanders and 19 Democrats back a bill to open federal employees' benefits to their same-sex partners, according to Federal News Radio LINK, LINK

Specter on Sanders "Bernie Sanders ... constantly argued in caucus that Democratic senators shouldn't seek Republican votes, which would water down efforts to reform campaign finance and Wall Street," former Sen. Arlen Specter wrote in a book reviewed, unfavorably, by The Huffington Post. LINK

World

U.S. Offers Reward for Pakistani The United States announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the capture of Hafiz Saeed, a Pakistani militant leader accused of orchestrating the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed at least 163 people, The New York Times reported. LINK

National

Obama Slams House Radicals Warning against what he said would be severe cuts to college scholarships, medical research, national parks, and even technology to make accurate weather forecasts, President Obama said the Republican budget was "so far to the right, it makes Newt Gingrich's  Contract With America "look like the New Deal," The New York Times reported. LINK

Reid Loses Budget Ruling The new Senate parliamentarian issued a key ruling against Majority Leader Harry Reid that last summer's deal on the debt ceiling and spending caps does not preclude the Senate from taking up other budget resolutions this year, Politico reported. LINK

American Manufacturing Rising costs in China - where the government is letting the currency gain against the dollar and wages are rising at a double-digit pace are making it more attractive for American companies to produce at home. "Yet a revolution in manufacturing employment seems far-fetched. Most of the factory jobs lost over the last three decades in this country are gone for good," according to The New York Times. LINK

CFTC to Penalize JPMorgan Regulators are set to penalize JPMorgan for actions tied to Lehman Brothers demise and the bank is expected to pay a fine of about  $20 million, a sum that is little more than a rounding error for a bank as large as JPMorgan, The New York Times said. LINK 

Clowns and Clairvoyants If they had a clairvoyant, how come nobody saw the backlash coming? The New York Times snickered over revelations that a government agency hired a clown and a mind reader as entertainment for 300 bureaucrats flown to a luxurious spa and casino outside Las Vegas for a conference that cost taxpayers $822,000. LINK

Vermont 

On Strike Negotiations between the teachers and boards of the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union broke off early Wednesday with the union saying it would strike after the boards walked out on the teachers' request to keep current contract provisions on work rules, AP reported. LINK