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Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Daily Political Wire

George Wenschhof

Obama Declares Major Disaster in Colorado - President Obama has declared a major disaster in Colorado after severe storms touched off flooding, landslides and mudslides, the White House said early Sunday.

More than 200 people are still “unaccounted for,”after what may have been the largest aerial rescue since Hurricane Katrina, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

Approximately 1,200 people have been evacuated from Boulder County in the wake of a 100-year flood that killed three people.

Obama’s declaration makes federal aid available to supplement state and local recovery efforts in Boulder County.

That aid can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs or low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses. has more here.


Agreement Reached on Syrian Chemical Weapons - The United States and Russia reached a sweeping agreement on Saturday that called for Syria’s arsenal of chemical weapons to be removed or destroyed by the middle of 2014 and indefinitely stalled the prospect of American airstrikes.

The joint announcement, on the third day of intensive talks in Geneva, also set the stage for one of the most challenging undertakings in the history of arms control.
“This situation has no precedent,” said Amy E. Smithson, an expert on chemical weapons at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. “They are cramming what would probably be five or six years’ worth of work into a period of several months, and they are undertaking this in an extremely difficult security environment due to the ongoing civil war.” The NY Times has more here.

Western Maryland Far Right Wants To Secede - The push by 50 western Virginia counties to secede in 1863, forming West Virginia at the height of the Civil War, was led by a charismatic store-clerk-turned-lawyer who famously urged his supporters: “Cut the knot now! Cut it now! Apply the knife.”

West Virginia was the last state to break off from another. Now, 150 years later, a 49-year-old information technology consultant wants to apply the knife to Maryland’s five western counties. “The people are the sovereign,” says Scott Strzelczyk, leader of the fledgling Western Maryland Initiative, and the western sovereigns are fed up with Annapolis’s liberal majority, elected by the state’s other sovereigns.

“If you think you have a long list of grievances and it’s been going on for decades, and you can’t get it resolved, ultimately this is what you have to do,” says Strzelczyk, who lives in New Windsor, a historic town of 1,400 people in Carroll County. “Otherwise you are trapped.”  The Washington Post has more here.


Japan Shuts Down Last Nuclear Reactor - Japan's only operating nuclear reactor will be shut down for maintenance before Monday, leaving the country with no nuclear power supply for the second time in 40 years.

Kansai Electric Power Co. will shut down reactor no. 4 at its Oi plant in Fukui prefecture in western Japan.
With the shutdown, all 50 of the country's reactors will be offline.
The government hasn't said when or if any of the reactors will come back on. has more here.
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