MONDAY, JULY 28UNHAPPY MOTORING: We're driving less! The federal government reports that Americans put 9.6 billion fewer miles on the odometer in May 2008 compared to one year earlier, according to The Associated Press. It's the seventh month in a row that we've cut back on cruising behind the wheel. The decrease in driving means that federal and state governments are collecting less in gas taxes and are facing a financial crunch in road-construction funds.
TUESDAY, JULY 29TESTS SO EASY, A CAVEMAN COULD PASS THEM: The Tucson Unified School District Governing Board, looking for new ways to balance the books, agreed to a plan to allow advertising on the side of school buses. The ads, which will include health-care and car-insurance companies, will raise an estimated $36,000 a year.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 30SURRENDER! If you're an illegal immigrant who's ready to leave the country, here's your chance: Immigration and Customs Enforcement is offering you a chance to voluntarily surrender through Aug. 22, according to an Associated Press report. Illegal immigrants who turn themselves in to authorities in Phoenix and three other cities will get up to 90 days to get their affairs in order before they must return to their home country without penalty.
THURSDAY, JULY 31BACK IN BUSINESS: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords pushes reluctant colleagues into narrowly extending the nation's E-Verify program that helps employers determine whether workers are in the country legally. Giffords, who has criticized the program in the past, now says it's important to keep it alive until a better option is available. The program would have otherwise expired in October.
SMOKED OUT:The Arizona Court of Appeals rejected the idea that residents of the state have a religious right to smoke dope. Daniel Hardesty had argued in court that he was a practicing member of the Church of Cognizance, which holds that marijuana provides a link to bliss and enlightenment.
FRIDAY, AUG. 1WILL WORK FOR FOOD: More glum economic news: The U.S. economy has lost 463,000 jobs this year, according to The Associated Press. The homebuilding and auto industries remain troubled, and unemployment numbers continue to climb. The report notes: "Analysts predict a half-million more jobs could disappear over the rest of this year and say unemployment could climb to 6.5 percent by the middle of next year."
SATURDAY, AUG 2A SLIGHT MISCOUNT: The United States hasn't been entirely accurate in its reporting of new HIV cases, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government had earlier reported that just 40,000 people had become infected with the virus that causes AIDS, but the accurate figure was closer to 56,300--an error of 40 percent, according to The New York Times.
SUNDAY, AUG. 3Presidential hopeful John McCain takes a beating from Paris Hilton's mom, who doesn't much appreciate him using her daughter and Britney Spears in an ad that portrayed Barack Obama as a vapid celebrity.
Kathy Hilton takes to the online Huffington Post to register her disgust with the McCain campaign, saying the ad is "a complete waste of the money John McCain's contributors have donated to his campaign. It is a complete waste of the country's time and attention at the very moment when millions of people are losing their homes and their jobs. And it is a completely frivolous way to choose the next president of the United States." McCain tells the press the ad is all in good fun. It's one in a series of negative ads aimed at Obama--one including a completely false claim about Obama refusing to visit wounded troops if he couldn't take along the media--that have come as McCain has pulled even with the presumptive Democratic nominee in some national polls. "In no way do I think John McCain's campaign was racist," Obama tells the press. "I think they are cynical. Their team is good at creating distractions and engaging in negative attacks."