Rangel a Test for Democrats: With longtime Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) facing 13 charges of ethical violations, the House ethics committee set the stage for a potential embarrassment for the Democratic leadership during the election season. The New York Times reports that in a 40-page report, the committee accused Rangel of such violations as improperly using his office to solicit donations for a school to be named in his honor; failing to pay taxes on and report rental income from his Dominican villa; filing incomplete financial disclosure forms; and improperly accepting from a Manhattan developer rent-stabilized apartments, one of which he used as a campaign office.
Hayward Remains Defiant: Tony Hayward, the departing chief executive of BP, continues to defend his tenure and how the oil company reacted to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In his first interview after agreeing to step down from the CEO job this week, Hayward told The Wall Street Journal that he did everything possible once the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, by taking responsibility for the spill, and spending billions of dollars to stop the spewing oil and clean up the shoreline.
Another Toyota Recall: Toyota has recalled some 400,000 Avalon sedans built for the 2000-2004 model years, citing a steering problem, the Los Angeles Times reports. The automaker said that because of an improper casting, a component of the steering lock system can crack. When the Avalon is steered hard to the right, there is a chance that the piece will break, locking up the steering wheel and increasing the risk of a crash. The company is also recalling 39,000 of its Lexus brand LX 470 SUVs from the 2003-2007 model years to fix a steering-shaft condition unrelated to the Avalon problem.
Unnumbered Guns OK'ed by 3rd Circuit: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit has refused to strike down a federal law that bans possession of guns with obliterated serial numbers. The Legal Intelligencer reports that perhaps the most important lesson to be gleaned from Judge Anthony Scirica's opinion in United States v. Marzzarella is that courts faced with unanswered questions in the Second Amendment arena should consider looking to the extensive jurisprudence on First Amendment claims for guidance. "The First Amendment is the natural choice," Scirica wrote, noting that the U.S. Supreme Court's watershed decision in District of Columbia v. Heller repeatedly invoked the First Amendment in establishing principles governing the Second Amendment.
Degeneres' Replacement? With Ellen Degeneres announcing that she will be stepping down from her job as an American Idol judge the gossip mill is abuzz with speculation on who will be her replacement. The USA Today's pick is Jennifer Lopez.