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News roundup: Third of La. Republicans blame Obama for Katrina response

Some La. Republicans blame Obama for Katrina response. Report: NSA, FBI spied on Salt Lake residents email, texts in '02. Utah GOP tries to calm Bennion controversy.

Happy Thursday. A new poll shows that some 29 percent of Louisiana Republicans blame President Barack Obama for the federal governments slow response to Hurricane Katrina -- even though the storm came four years before he took office. About 28 percent pinned the blame on President George W. Bush, who actually oversaw the emergency efforts in the wake of the flooding but about 44 percent didn't know who to blame. [HuffPost]

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Topping the news: According to a new report, the NSA and the FBI monitored the content of all emails and text messages in the Salt Lake City area during the 2002 Winter Olympics. Key Utah officials say they were unaware of such a program. [Trib] [DNews] [KUTV] (Former Gov. Mike Leavitt says in an email to us overnight that he, too, wasn't privy to "information on sources or methods of intelligence gathering" during the Games.)

-> In an attempt to stem the controversy surrounding SL Co. GOP leader Chad Bennion's controversial remarks about DA Sim Gill, Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans says he wouldn't have made the same comments and that it was a mistake to bring up ethnicity. [Trib] [DNews] [Fox13] [UtahPolicy]

-> Sen. Mike Lee's efforts to cut funding for Obamacare dominated a town hall in Spanish Fork last night with residents at one point booing Sen. Orrin Hatch for opposing the idea. [Trib]

-> Immigration tops the issues at Rep. Jason Chaffetz's town hall. [ABC4]

Tweet of the day: From @KimJongNumberUn: "YO EVERYONE LEAVE THE NSA ALONE THEY'RE JUST DOING WHAT I WOULD DO IF I HAD THE MONEY #HatersGonnaHate"

Facebook update du jour: From Dave Hansen: "After the investigations into the NSA surveillance are finished and the public outrage has demanded Congress cut back on their powers and operation and they have decided not to open their new facility in Bluffdale, that new building is going to make one really great Costco."

In other news: According to a new survey by the Downtown Alliance, most SLC drivers are fans of the city's curbside digital parking system. A system melt-down back in July meant parking in the city was free for more than a week. [Trib] [DNews] [ABC4]

-> Pat Bagley gives his take on the legalization of marijuana. [Trib]

-> The complex replacement of a section of rotting pipeline under I-80 in Parley's Canyon is halfway there and should meet its October completion deadline. The whole projected is budgeted to cost $9.7 million. [Trib]

-> Have an opinion on the proposed doubling of fines for mishandling radioactive waste? The Utah Division of Radiation Control is taking comments until Aug. 30. [Trib]

-> The $172 million expansion of the Timpanogos Highway in northern Utah County is nearly finished, two years behind schedule. [Trib]

-> The West Valley City Council has voted to name part of 2320 Cesar Chavez Drive to honor the late labor organizer. [Trib]

-> Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop praised the F-35 Lightening II fighter jet, one of the world's most cutting-edge military aircraft, at a press conference yesterday, eagerly anticipating the arrival of the new model at Hill Air Force Base. [DNews]

Nationally: Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, has been sentenced to 35 years in prison. [WaPost] [NYTimes]

-> A top secret court ruling made public Wednesday shows that the NSA collected emails from people in the USA who had no connection to terrorism over a period of several years in violation of the Constitution. [NYTimes] [WaPost] [TheHill]

-> The U.S. median income is still on the rise. Since Aug. 2011 the figure has been steadily climbing, but at $52,100 is still 6.1 percent lower than when the recession began in 2007. [NYTimes]

-> The Kentucky Senate race between Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and challenger from the right Matt Bevin is becoming increasingly heated over the question of whether Bevin claimed he graduated from MIT. [TheHill]

-> Catholic bishops and priests across the country have coordinated on a message backing comprehensive immigration reform in the hope that their support might contribute to congressional passage. [NYTimes]

Where are they?

  • Rep. Chris Stewart tours

    Varian Medical Systems in SLC, speaks at the Davis County Republican women membership tea event, tours Dreyers Ice Cream in SLC, meets with the Utah School Boards Association and holds an open house at his SLC district office.

  • Gov. Gary Herbert heads to his monthly news conference at KUED studios, attends a Business and Regulatory meeting, is updated on the health summit, joins a trade mission discussion and talks to constituents on the Utah Broadcaster's "Let Me Speak to the Governor."
  • SLC Mayor Ralph Becker holds a civic engagement task force meeting, joins a policy consensus initiative conference call, attends a Salt Lake Valley Conference of Mayors meeting and attends a Wasatch Front Regional Council meeting.
  • WVC Mayor Mike Winder hits the Salt Lake Valley Conference of Mayors and joins the Wasatch Front Regional Council meeting.
  • President Barack Obama travels to Buffalo, N.Y., to speak at the University of Buffalo and then moves on to Syracuse to speak at Henninger High School. At both schools the president will discuss his plan to make college more affordable.

Got a tip? A birthday, wedding or anniversary to announce? Email us at cornflakes@sltrib.com. If you haven't already, sign up for our weekday email and get this sent directly to your inbox. [Trib]

-- Thomas Burr and Isobel Markham

Twitter.com/thomaswburr and Twitter.com/i_markham



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