Department of Veterans Affairs News Clips by trendy3

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The Secretary In The News
Looking Ahead (USAT) .................................................................. 4 Coalition Of Veterans' Groups Files Federal Class Action Seeking Judicial Oversight & Protection Of VA's Files Of 26.5 Million Veterans (USNEWS)......................................... 4 Customer Info May Be At Risk (AP) ........................... 5 Credit Card Information Of Thousands On Laptop Taken From Car (WOWK)......................................................................... 5 Laptop Theft Compromises Customer Data (CIO)..... 5 Lost IRS Laptop Stored Employee Fingerprints (MSNBC)............ 6 Editor's Desk: VA's Data Spill (GCN)............................................. 6 How Do You Defend Yourself Against 'good' Employees? (GCN) 7 After VA's Loss, Agencies Revisit The Job Of Controlling Data, People (GCN) ....................................................................... 8 VA Data Loss Could Prompt Federal Privacy Law (NETWORLD)10 VA Loss Renews Calls To Update Privacy Act (GCN)................ 10 Security -- Who Does It? (COMPWORLD).................................. 10 Laptop Thefts Highlight SMB Need For Data Security (SMALLBIZCOMP) ............................................................. 11 Enterprise Security 05|06 (ITMANAGE) ...................................... 12 Why Even Have It There? (COMPWORLD)................................ 13 VA/DOD Data Sharing Imperiled By Theft? (GOVHIT) ............... 13 Expedia Falls Prey To New Threat (CHANINS) .......................... 14 Records On Active-duty Military Included In Stolen VA Data (GOVEXEC)........................................................................ 15 VA Releases More Info On Data Loss, Hires Independent TEam (FEDNEWS) ....................................................................... 15 Local Office Takes Care To Protect Veterans From Identity Theft (DIN).................................................................................... 16 Troops’ Names Among Those On Stolen VA Database (NAVYT)17 Veterans At Risk After Identity Theft (BS) ................................... 18 Local Vets Worry About Identity Theft (KGBT)............................ 18 Active Duty Servicemen Also Affected By Massive VA Data Breach (SCMAG)................................................................ 19 CSIA Announces Town Hall: What Should Be Done To Protect Personal Information On The Internet (PRNEWS)............. 19 Software Raises Red Flags Over Security Leaks (MSNBC)....... 21 FTC Warns Vets About Phishing Scams (DMNEWS)................. 22 Vets Need Full Picture (BSE)....................................................... 22 Closing The Barn Door (SANEWS) ............................................. 23 Soldier Injured In Iraq Recounts Tour Of Duty (FDNM)............... 23 Soldier Injured In Iraq Recounts Tour Of Duty (AP) .................... 25 Options Open For Nursing Home (CCT) ..................................... 26 Shrine To Bravery (MDJ) ............................................................. 27

Veterans Affairs
Battling Stresses Of War (CHIT).................................................. 28 `It's A Pressure Cooker' For U.S. Marines In Iraq (BVND).......... 29 Sleep Deprivation, Stress Compromise Moral Judgments In Combat (NNS) .................................................................... 31 VA Hospital Patient, 41, Dies After Fight At Facility (ROANOKE)32 Patient Dies After Fight At V-A Hospital (WDBJ)......................... 33 Stand Up, Stand Up For Wicca (CHRISTTODAY)...................... 33 Officials Discuss How To Divide Up Fort Gillem (CND) .............. 34 FEMA Interest In Ft. Gillem Could Affect Future Of Closed Base (AP)..................................................................................... 35 Coconut Creek Man Charged With Snatching VFW Donations In West Boca (FLSUNSEN).................................................... 36 Eastern Boca Man Charged With Stealing From Veterans (WFOR)............................................................................... 36 Man Arrested After Stealing From WWII Veteran Fund-Raiser (AP)..................................................................................... 37 Alabama, Arizona Veterans Warned Of Prostate Exam Danger. 37 Veteran Investigates After VA Letter Tells Him He’s Dead ......... 37 VA Employee Honored For Service............................................. 37 Cemetery Expansion Will Provide Burial Space For The Next 10 To 12 Years (VDS) ............................................................. 37 Veterans Cemetery Could Be Derailed (PB) ............................... 38 World War II Veteran Shares Experiences Fighting In Europe (WTH) ................................................................................. 39 Award Winning Art Exhibit Comes To Tallulah Falls (WNEG) .... 41 LSU-VA Hospital Report Expected June 17 (BRADV) ................ 41 Teenager Charged In VFW Robbery (FLSUNSEN).................... 41 Local News Motorcycle Ride Is All About The Veterans (WRH) . 42 Can Open Source Save Your Life? (ZD) ..................................... 43 WWII Veterans, Kin Seek Medals For Pacific Duty (DR) ............ 43 Ozark Profile : ‘Making Fayetteville A Better Place To Live’ Comes Easy To Long-time Resident Gladys Ball (NAT).... 45 Agency Offers Resources For Veterans (PSB) ........................... 46 VA Failing In Helping Disabled (HA)............................................ 47

Audit Finds Agency Errs In Benefits For Disabled Veterans (TTNJ)................................................................................. 47 Aid Expected For Veterans Home Improvements (HARTC) ....... 49 Vets Now Fight For Health Care (TD).......................................... 49 Patriot Guard Gives Athens Man A Chance To Still Serve (AR). 50 Pennsylvania Governor Rendell To Participate In Disabled American Veterans Van Drive-Away Event (FO) ............... 51 VAPHS Hoptel Unit Dedicated (WPHN) ...................................... 52 Small Changes, Big Results (NURSESPECT)............................ 53 Dial VOIP In Case Of Emergency (FCW).................................... 54 20/20 Take: Do HSAs Make Sense For Young Adults? (WSJ)... 56 Bombs, Bullets And Bravery At Omaha Beach (PO)................... 57 Good Vision Enhances Seniors' Lives (HC) ................................ 58

State VA News
Primary Packed Full Of Proposals (MT) ...................................... 59 Holmdel Center's Doors To Open For Disabled Vets (NSL) ....... 60

One Fourth Of Older Patients Receive Catheters For No Reason (BRN) .................................................................................. 61 Rural And Urban Disparities In Health-Related Quality Of Life Among Veterans With Psychiatric Disorders (PS) ............. 62

Congressional VA News
DOD, VA Told To Use Common Software (FCW)....................... 62 Veterans Need The Help This Bill Would Offer (WP).................. 63 Capitol Hill (MBSN) ...................................................................... 63

Briefly Noted
Kids All-American Fishing Derby Held At Lake Fannin (NT) ....... 64 Ex-POW Group To Meet This Weekend In Bridgeport (HNN) .... 64 How To Be Happy (when You Feel Like Staying In Bed) (ACT) . 65 Fitch Affirms 6 Classes From MASTR RLT 2005-1 (BW) ........... 66 VA Hospital Seeks Student Volunteers (TNR) ............................ 66 Summer Means Time To Review Lawn Mower Safety With Kids (BCDR) ............................................................................... 66 Local VA Office Not Open On Fridays (GU) ................................ 67 Veteran's Appreciation Event Comes To Area (SLPT)................ 68

National News
Debate On Gay-marriage Ban Splits Senate, Public (USAT)...... 68 Senate Debates Measure To Ban Gay Marriage (LAT) .............. 69 Bush Rallies Gay Marriage Opponents (AP) ............................... 70 Bush Reiterates Support For Amendment Banning Gay Marriage (KRT) ................................................................... 71 Bush Promotes Amendment To Define Marriage, Ban SameSex Unions (BLOOM)......................................................... 72 Debate Begins On Gay Marriage (WP) ....................................... 73 With Gay Marriage Ban, Conservatives Keep Score (NYT)........ 74 GOP Targets Gay Marriage (CSM) ............................................. 75 Republicans Reignite Hot-Button Issues (WSJ) .......................... 76 Bush Pushes Hill On Marriage Measure (WT) ............................ 78 Base Assumptions (WP).............................................................. 79 Distracter In Chief (WP) ............................................................... 80 U.S. Commander To Review Haditha Report (AP) ..................... 80

For U.S. Troops, It's Hard To Know Who Is Friend And Who Is Foe (KRT) ........................................................................... 81 Unblinking Observer (WP) ........................................................... 83 Marines In Iraq: The Warriors' Way (LAT) ................................... 84 Uniformed Gunmen Kidnap 50 In Baghdad (USAT/AP).............. 85 In Brazen Roundup, 56 Vanish From Baghdad (WP) ................. 85 As Iraq Violence Worsens, Security Remains Elusive (LAT) ...... 87 Minor Figure In Iraqi Kidnapping Gets A Life Sentence (NYT).... 88 Iraqis Believe Violence Will Abate, New Report Says (WP)........ 89 Afghanistan Under Siege (WT).................................................... 90 Many Afghans Lost To Hazards Of Childbirth (WP).................... 91 Senators Seek Better Defense Imagery (WP)............................. 92 U.S. Links To Canadian Plot Probed (WT).................................. 93 More Vigilance Seen On U.S.-Canada Border (AP).................... 94 Arrests Raise Questions About U.S.-Canada Border Security (KRT) .................................................................................. 95 Charges In Canadian Bomb Plot Isolate 6 Ringleaders (WP)..... 96 Plot Puts Focus On Security, Immigration Agencies (WT).......... 97 Terrorist Plot Shatters Peaceable Canadian Self-Image (LAT)... 98 Padilla Lawyer Wants Key Evidence Tossed (AP)...................... 99 Maryland Teacher's Terror Trial Goes To Jury (WT/AP)............. 99 Counterterror Exemption Proposed For Privacy Act (WT/UPI) . 100 Intel Chief Gives Vt. Commencement Talk (AP-Y2).................. 101 Groundbreaking For 9/11 Memorial At Pentagon Set (WP)...... 101 Ground Zero (WSJ).................................................................... 102 No Defense For Degrading Prisoners (LAT).............................. 104 Degrading America's Image (NYT)............................................ 104 Congress Pushing Back Against Bush's Expansion Of Presidential Authority (USAT)........................................... 105 How Bush Has Asserted Powers Of The Executive (USAT)..... 107 When Reality No Longer Matches Rhetoric (FT)....................... 108 Grassley Sees Quick Paulson Confirmation (AP-Y2)................ 109 Treasury Nominee Has Ties To China (WP) ............................. 109 Pentagon IG Nominee Goes To Senate (AP)............................ 110 Restructuring At State Department `botched,' Retiree Says (KRT) ................................................................................ 111 Now Playing In Senate: A GOP Double Bill (WP) ..................... 111 Mandate Aside, Private Tutors Aren't Always An Option (WP) . 112 Spending Bill Still Includes Extra Katrina Aid (WSJ).................. 114 Negotiators To Meet On Iraq, Relief Funds (AP)....................... 115 House, Senate Tension Fuels Impasse (RC) ............................ 116 Hurricane Mary Still Storms Over Katrina (HILL)....................... 117 Clamoring To Come Home To New Orleans Projects (NYT).... 118 Hurricane Season Brings Urgency To Fixing FEMA (HILL) ...... 120 A Foxx In The Luxury World (HILL) ........................................... 121 Hard Lesson Learned At Red Cross (USAT)............................. 122 More Migrants Apprehended Along Border (USAT).................. 123 An Increasingly Deadly Trail (WP)............................................. 124 800 Guard Members To Be Added To Border Soon (USAT).... 126 55 Utah Guardsmen Join Border Agents In Arizona (WT) ........ 127 Utah Guard Unit Patrols U.S.-Mexico Border (AP-Y2) .............. 127 Securing The Border (Again) (NYT) .......................................... 128 Mexico Hopes Reserve Will Slow Crossings (AP)..................... 129 AP: Millions Of Visa Overstays Overlooked (AP-Y2)................. 130 Immigration Debate Stirs Racial Tensions (AP-Y2)................... 131


Witness To The American Dream (USAT) ................................ 132 Fed Chief Startles Markets (USAT) ........................................... 133 Bernanke Talks Tough On Inflation (NYT)................................. 134 Dow Falls 1.77% As Fed Chief Adds To Investor Jitters (WSJ) 135 Inflation Above Fed's 'Comfort Zone' (WT)................................ 137 Fed Chief’s Fears Fuel Talk Of Rate Hike (FT) ......................... 138 Fed Chief Raises Inflation Concern (WP).................................. 138 Fears Of Stagflation Leave Dow Battered (USAT).................... 140 Iran Rumblings Push Oil Prices Up (USAT) .............................. 140 High Cost Of Oil Could Put Many Jobs At Risk (USAT)............ 141 Avian Flu News Tracker (WSJ).................................................. 143 Washington In Brief (WP) .......................................................... 143 GAO Urges Better Tsunami Warnings (WP) ............................. 144 GAO Deems U.S. Unprepared For Tsunami Disaster (WT) ..... 144 Study Finds Thousands Of Trips Taken By Lawmakers, Staff (KRT) ................................................................................ 145 Trip Study Finds More Was Spent On Aides Than Lawmakers (NYT) ................................................................................ 146 Privately Funded Trips Add Up On Capitol Hill (WP) ................ 147 Study Finds $50M In Privately Funded Travel By Lawmakers (HILL) ................................................................................ 148 Dems Hold Steering Meeting As Jefferson Dilemma Looms (HILL) ................................................................................ 150 Democrats To Discuss Jefferson (RC) ...................................... 150 Ex-Official Testifies He Provided 'Insight And Advice' To Abramoff (NYT)................................................................. 151 Vice President Visits For Fundraiser (CHIT).............................. 152 Runoff For Disgraced Congressman's Seat May Be Bellwether (USAT).............................................................................. 152 All Eyes On California-50 (HILL)................................................ 153 Parties On Edge In California (RC)............................................ 154 GOP Seeks To Capitalize On Busby Remarks (AP-Y2) ........... 156 8 States Hold Primaries For Some Offices (AP-Y2).................. 157 Up For Grabs Midterm Tea Leaves Signal Hot Water For Republicans (WSJ) ........................................................... 158 House At Stake, Midterm Election Gets Early Start (NYT)........ 160 Democrats Advised On Military Relations (WT) ........................ 162 Former Democratic Rep. Lucas Deals With Bush-backing Past (HILL) ................................................................................ 162 Primary Could Determine Burns’ Political Health (RC).............. 164 Webb's Support Of Affirmative Action At Issue (WP) ................ 165 Right Just Doesn't Get Sen. Frist (HILL).................................... 166 N.H. Democrats Warm To Feingold, Warner (WT) ................... 167 Clinton Is The Life Of The Democratic Party (NYT) .................. 168 A Little More Clinton At Clinton Library (WP/AP)....................... 169 You Trust This Guy? (RC) ......................................................... 170 No Relief For Reporters Seeking To Shield Sources (CSM)..... 171 Supreme Court Turns Down Reporter Appeals In Lee Case (WSJ/AP) .......................................................................... 171 In Wen Ho Lee Case, A Blow To Journalists After The Fact (WP).................................................................................. 172 Media Sources Need A Shield (LAT)......................................... 172

Justices To Look At Race-based School Policy (USAT) ........... 173 Court To Weigh Race As Factor In School Rolls (NYT)............ 173 High Court To Examine Race-balancing Schools (CSM).......... 175 Justices To Hear Cases Of Race-Conscious School Placements (WP).................................................................................. 176 Court To Revisit Race In Schools (LAT).................................... 177 Court To Review School-Race Issues (WSJ)............................ 179 Court Takes 2 Race-based School-assignment Cases (WT).... 180 Kennedy Back On Job After Month In Rehab (USAT) .............. 180 Patrick Kennedy Is 'Better' After Treating Dependency (NYT).. 181 Kennedy Finds Recovery Sponsor In Ramstad (RC)................ 181 Kill The 'Death Tax' (USAT) ....................................................... 182 Wealthy Can't Avoid Death — But Will They Evade Taxes? (USAT).............................................................................. 183 Death And Taxes (WP).............................................................. 184 The Estate Tax, Back On The Agenda (NYT) ........................... 184 Debate Over Wind Power Creates Environmental Rift (NYT)... 185 SNOW SHOW (WP) .................................................................. 186 Controllers Have A New Contract, But Fight Isn't Over (WP).... 187 Kansas Political Shifts Sign Of Things To Come? (USAT) ....... 188 In Echo Of A Murder, Two $1 Million Gifts Stir School Protests (WSJ) ................................................................................ 188 Fitzgerald, Scooter And Us (WSJ)............................................. 190 Justice In The Dock (WSJ) ........................................................ 191 Wi-Fi And The Cities (NYT) ....................................................... 192 Unbridled Costs (WP) ................................................................ 192 Apparent Victory By Islamists In Somalia Poses Questions For U.S. (KRT) ........................................................................ 192 Somali Islamists Declare Victory; Warlords On Run (NYT)....... 194 U.S. Has Somalia Terrorism Concerns As Islamists Take Mogadishu (BLOOM)........................................................ 195 Islamic Militia Seizes Somalia's Capital (AP)............................. 196 Islamic Militias Claim Seizure Of Mogadishu (FT)..................... 197 Islamist Militias Declare Victory In Somali Capital (USAT)........ 197 Militia Seizes Somali Capital (WP)............................................. 198 Islamic Militia Storms Capital (WT/AP) ...................................... 199 Congo President Assails US Backing For Somali Warlords (AFP)................................................................................. 199 U.S. Is Offering Deals On Trade To Entice Iran (NYT).............. 200 Hopeful US Urges Patience On Iran (AFP) ............................... 201 A Legal Case Against Iran (WP)................................................ 201 Rumsfeld, Visiting Vietnam, Seals Accord To Deepen Military Cooperation (NYT)............................................................ 202 Rumsfeld Presses Vietnam On Finding MIAs (AP) ................... 203 "A Pacific Nation" (WSJ) ............................................................ 204 Bush, President Of Congo Discuss Darfur (AP) ........................ 205


Looking Ahead (USAT)
By Michael Winter USA Today, June 5, 2006 Tuesday's news event horizon: • V is for vote: It's Primary Day in several states — Alabama, California, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and South Dakota. (Here's the complete calendar.) • It's also National Hunger Awareness Day. • President Bush goes to New Mexico and Texas to discuss border security and immigration. • Data-theft fallout: Veterans group will file a class-action lawsuit seeking judicial oversight and protection for VA files on 26.5 million vets. • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' commander, Lt. Gen. Carl Strock, updates hurricane repair work along the Gulf Coast. Catch him on C—SPAN at 9:30 a.m. ET. • The Alzheimer's Association issues a report that finds up to a half-million Americans have early onset of the disease. • Joseph Wilson, a former U.S. ambassador who achieved notoriety as a critic of the Iraq war and as the husband of outted CIA agent Valerie Plame, will speak at Philadelphia's First Person Festival. • Chow: Providence foodies ring the dinner bell for the city's first "restaurant week," July 16 to 22. Posted by Michael Winter at 08:24 PM/ET

Coalition Of Veterans' Groups Files Federal Class Action Seeking Judicial Oversight & Protection Of VA's Files Of 26.5 Million Veterans (USNEWS)
U.S. Newswire (press release), June 6, 2006 Five national organizations, Vietnam Veterans of America, Citizen Soldier, National Gulf War Resource Center, Radiated Veterans of America, Veterans for Peace, and several individual veterans, including VVA National President John Rowan, have joined together to file a class action lawsuit today in Federal District Court by their attorney Douglas Rosinski, of the law firm Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak, & Stewart, P.C. The veterans' complaint seeks: A declaratory judgment that the VA's loss of 26.5 million veterans' records violated and continues to violate both the Privacy and Administrative Procedure Acts. A court order that the VA disclose the exact nature of its compromised records system and to individually inform each veteran of every record it maintains on him or her. An injunction preventing the VA from altering any data storage system and prohibiting any further use of these data until a court-appointed panel of experts determines how best to implement safeguards to prevent any further breaches. A judgment awarding $1,000 to each veteran who has been harmed by the VA's violation of the Privacy Act. Military veterans will be present to describe the harmful effects of this loss of personal data, including Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and information about health conditions and disabilities. --Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the nation's only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated to the needs of Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA's founding principle is "Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another." Investigators Think Schoolchildren Are Behind Theft. News Channel 8 Washington, DC (6/5, 5:03 p.m., 6:00 p.m.) reports, ”there are still no suspects in the security breach that put 26 million veterans at risk for identity theft, but this week the FBI is stepping up its search and agents think students may hold some answers. New Channel 8 continues, “Investigators are widening their search for thieves who stole the information from the home of a computer analyst from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The police and FBI has stepped up their search for the stolen computer and external hard drive. Where they’re looking may surprise you. Earle B. Wood Middle School is not far from the Astor Hill neighborhood where the data was taken.” News Channel 8 notes that students were told of the reward and the school was asked for absentee records. News Channel 8 adds, “It is believed schoolchildren may be responsible for the data burglary and others in the neighborhood and may not even know what they have.” Customer Info May Be At Risk (AP)
By Donna Gordon Blankinship AP, June 5, 2006 SEATTLE -- Thousands of customers may be at risk for credit card fraud after a laptop computer containing their personal information was stolen from an auditor, a company spokesman said Saturday. The password-protected laptop belonging to an Ernst & Young auditor was taken in late February from a locked car, said Paul Kranhold, spokesman for, a subsidiary of based in Bellevue, Wash. "As a result of our ongoing communication with law enforcement, we don't have any indication that any credit card numbers have been used for fraudulent activity," Kranhold said. "It appears the laptop was not the target of the break-in." Both and Ernst & Young mailed letters to customers this past week encouraging them to take appropriate action to protect their personal information. The transactions recorded on the laptop were mostly from 2004, although some were from 2003 or 2002, the companies said. The computer contained personal information including names, addresses and credit card information of about 243,000 customers. It did not include their Social Security numbers. Ernst & Young, which has been the outside auditor for for several years, notified the company of the security breach on May 3. "We deeply regret this incident has occurred and want to apologize to you and for any inconvenience or concern this may cause," said the unsigned memo from Ernst & Young dated May 2006. Ernst & Young invites those affected by the incident to enroll in a free credit monitoring service arranged by the auditor. "We sincerely regret that this incident occurred and we are taking it very seriously," said the letter signed by general manager Sean Kell. The letter from said "Ernst & Young was taking additional steps to protect the confidentiality of its data, including encrypting the sensitive information we provide to them as part of the audit process."

Credit Card Information Of Thousands On Laptop Taken From Car (WOWK)
By Sarah Lieu WOWK-TV, June 6, 2006 If you booked a reservation sometime between 2002 and 2004 on, you are at risk for identity theft. A laptop computer containing credit card information of customers was stolen from the car of an Ernst & Young auditor. And that's raising questions among some computer experts. "My first reaction is why is it on that laptop as well. I think that should have been stored at the corporation headquarters on the server." says Sean Rose, web designer for Dream Catcher Communications in Charleston. The theft comes less than a month after news of another computer theft that involved the personal information of thousands of Veterans Affairs clients. It's now believed up to 50,000 active-duty Navy and National Guard personnel are among those affected. In both cases, sensitive information left the building and wasn't reported for several months. But says it's taking the incident very seriously. The letter from says Ernst & Young is taking additional steps to protect the confidentiality of its data, including encrypting the sensitive information as part of the audito process. Meanwhile, Rose thinks the thefts shouldn't stop consumers from using the Internet. "I don't think travelers in this case are any more susceptable than any other business. That laptop could have been stolen from anywhere, even from a corporate headquarter." Rose says online commerce is still relatively new, but good old-fashioned common sense is never out of style. So far, the company has not received any indication that any credit card numbers have been used for fraudulent activity. The company has mailed letters to customers affected and is offering to enroll them in a free credit monitoring service.

Laptop Theft Compromises Customer Data (CIO)
By Robert McMillan CIO, June 5, 2006 is warning nearly a quarter-million customers that they may have had their credit card numbers stolen, following the theft of an unencrypted laptop belonging to the travel website’s auditor, Ernst & Young Global. The laptop was stolen in late February after an Ernst & Young employee left it inside a locked vehicle, according to Senior Compliance Officer Cathy Bump. Ernst & Young notified of the theft on May 3, and after 5

determining which customers were affected by the data breach, the two companies began sending out letters last week notifying approximately 243,000 customers of the theft. The laptop contained names, addresses, and credit or debit card information, mostly related to transactions that occurred in 2004, although some customers who made purchases in 2003 and 2002 were also affected. The computer was stolen somewhere in Texas, though Bump would not name the city where the theft occurred., which is owned by Expedia, is based in Dallas. The combination of tough data breach-notification laws and stolen laptops is keeping compliance officers such as Bump very busy these days. Last month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported that a stolen laptop and external hard drive were to blame in the loss of sensitive information on 26.5 million U.S. veterans. And Fidelity Investments lost confidential information on nearly 200,000 Hewlett-Packard employees earlier this year under similar circumstances. There is no indication that the thief was trying to steal sensitive information, and there have been no indications to date that the stolen information has been misused, said Ernst & Young spokesman Ken Kerrigan. Since the theft, however, Ernst & Young has encrypted data on all laptops within its U.S. and Canadian operations, Kerrigan said. Ernst & Young is offering one year’s free credit monitoring to all customers affected by the breach. Local TV outlets across the country reported on both thefts, sometimes comparing the two. For example, WXYZ-TV Detroit (6/5, 6:15 p.m.) reports, “A laptop computer carrying personal information of 243,000 customers was stolen.” After summarizing the story, WXYZ-TV adds, “The Department of Veterans Affairs recently jeopardized the identity of 26.5 million veterans and thousands of active members as well.” KSWB-TV San Diego (6/5, 7:22 a.m.) reports, “A quarter million customers of will get credit monitoring, a consolation prize often given when your personal information is compromised.” KSWB-TV adds, “26 million veterans last month got a similar letter from the VA” KNXV-TV Phoenix (6/5, 6:20 p.m.) reports that “Some critics are calling for tighter controls on customer's personal information.” KNXV-TV says that the theft is “the latest case of an organization keeping poor track of clients’ personal financial information. Last month, the VA admitted a laptop was stolen containing 26 million vets’ social security numbers. Over the weekend, the VA admitted” the theft of active-duty personnel’s information. KNXV-TV continues, “Expert’s say enough’s enough when the simple theft of a laptop can lead to so many identities in jeopardy.”

Lost IRS Laptop Stored Employee Fingerprints (MSNBC)
By Bob Sullivan, June 5, 2006 A laptop computer containing fingerprints of Internal Revenue Service employees is missing, has learned. The computer was lost during transit on an airline flight in the western United States, IRS spokesman Terry Lemon said. No taxpayer information was on the lost laptop, Lemon said. In all, the IRS believes the computer contained information on 291 employees and job applicants, including fingerprints, names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth. The fingerprints had been collected as part of a normal background screening process. Some job applicants’ information also was also on the computer. Story continues below ? advertisement “Right now the laptop is classified as missing. We don't know if it was stolen,” Lemon said. Nothing on the computer would put taxpayer information at risk, Lemon said. The fingerprints and other data could be not used to falsify an IRS ID badge, he said. The matter has been turned over the to IRS inspector general’s office. “Our taxpayer data is on completely different systems,” he said. “No taxpayer data is involved.” Lemon said he could not narrow the list of people who might be on the computer, other than to say they were from “western and Midwest” regions. The IRS has attempted to contact all 291 people by telephone, and will soon send a notification letter to each affected employee and applicant. Data on the laptop was not encrypted, Lemon said, but it was “double password protected,” meaning someone would have to enter two different passwords to access the data. He said there is no indication the data had been used to commit ID theft. The story echoes news last month that a Veterans Administration employee had lost a laptop computer containing 26 million veterans’ Social Security numbers. That laptop was apparently stolen during a house burglary.

Editor's Desk: VA's Data Spill (GCN)

By Wyatt Kash Government Computer News, June 5, 2006 There is every reason to be disturbed by the Veterans Affairs Department’s loss of personal data affecting as many as 26.5 million veterans. But most disturbing is how vulnerable other agencies are to the same kind of loss. VA secretary Jim Nicholson certainly has a new appreciation for the importance of information security. He may also have new regard for the warnings VA got from its inspector general and from Rep. Tom Davis’ Government Reform Committee, citing poor progress in dealing with weaknesses in the agency’s information security systems. But if Nicholson is on the hot seat, many others should also heed the heat. It’s not very comforting to hear Nicholson declare that VA will upgrade data security guidelines and have all VA employees take a cybersecurity course by June 30; or of plans to increase background checks of employees with access to sensitive data. Such efforts might have prevented this incident, but the odds aren’t encouraging they would prevent other workers—whatever their intentions—from removing valuable data. What’s needed more than another round of policies is the leadership, resources and commitment to close what, in most cases, are already well-defined security gaps and to apply existing encryption technologies to valuable government data. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has already approved more than 600 cryptographic products for federal use. The tragedy of the VA incident is that the risks of a data spill of potentially Exxon Valdez proportions were readily apparent—and so were the measures to mitigate them. VA estimated it may have to spend up to $250 million to pay for credit reports, monitoring and potential damage that results from the theft, according to Nicholson, assuming it gets funding. It also is in discussions on ways to begin using automatic encryption of all sensitive information. One can only hope the heads of other agencies are having the same discussions—and weighing the wisdom of investing now versus paying later.

How Do You Defend Yourself Against 'good' Employees? (GCN)
By William Jackson Government Computer News, June 5, 2006 Much has been made of the theft last month of computer equipment containing personal data from the home of a Veterans Affairs Department employee, but less attention has been given to the fact that the real breach occurred when the employee carried that data out of his office. The burglary was just a footnote. VA has proved more aggressive in controlling information about the data theft than it had been in controlling the data itself; officials will not say exactly how the data left the office. Apparently there was a policy against it. But policy by itself is not enough. “A good policy is one that is enforceable in a practical way,” said Andrew Klungness, an attorney specializing in intellectual property with the Los Angeles law firm Bryan Cave LLP. Klungness said he was dumbfounded by the ease with which the employee violated VA policy on such a grand scale—he had been taking data home for several years. “There are many technical solutions you can use,” he said. “I think the government can do better than that.” Unfortunately, the experience of organizations that have tried to implement access control systems has shown it is a complex task. Off-the-shelf products usually need to be heavily customized, and the identity management component, on which access privileges are based, is especially difficult to develop and maintain. But technology, although complex and not adequate by itself, is essential to support policies and ensure that insiders who have a legitimate need to access sensitive data do not misuse that access. This requires an entirely different skill set than protecting IT systems from outsiders. It probably is more practical for large organizations such as VA to implement a system because it can spread costs and benefits widely across the enterprise. Dennis Hoffman, a vice president for information security for EMC Corp. of Hopkinton, Mass., hit the nail on the head when testifying before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee about the missing data. “How do we solve the problem of protecting data as opposed to protecting the IT infrastructure?” he said. “The solution to this problem lies in people, processes and technology, where technology is actually the minor piece.” Hoffman outlined three broad steps necessary for protecting data: First, define and understand what data is sensitive and how it is being used. Second, use rights management tools to control how this data can be used, copied and exported. Third— and this is key—produce an audit trail of authorized access and unauthorized access attempts. To tie all of this together, there must be consequences for misbehaving with other people’s data. In case there is any confusion, “consequences” should be read as a euphemism for “fired.” 7

An audit trail by itself will not prevent misbehavior, but providing a permanent record that can be acted upon when misbehavior is spotted can be a powerful disincentive. “The employees are less motivated to violate a policy if they know that what they are doing will be preserved,” Klungness said. GCN senior writer William Jackson writes the Cybereye column. E-mail him at

After VA's Loss, Agencies Revisit The Job Of Controlling Data, People (GCN)
By Mary Mosquera Government Computer News, June 6, 2006 The recent theft of data on 26.5 million veterans sends agencies a chilling message: Lock down your own data security and privacy policies immediately or you might wind up with confidential data walking out your own door. The Veterans Affairs Department probably is not the only agency whose security and privacy policies have gaping holes, government and industry experts agree. The Office of Management and Budget said as much in a memo to agencies shortly after VA announced the theft of electronic data late last month. OMB urged agencies to scrutinize all administrative, technical and physical means to safeguard personally identifiable information, correct any gaps, and remind all employees of their responsibility to protect that information and the penalties for violating the rules. Federal privacy and security policies are based in large part on the Privacy Act of 1974, the E-Government Act of 2002 and the Federal Information Security Management Act. Agency officials are to detail any corrective actions in their annual FISMA reports. “Securing private and sensitive information requires constant vigilance. All agencies must continually work to ensure that they are FISMA compliant, and that means training employees to comply with tough security measures,” an OMB spokeswoman said. Despite its quick reaction to the announcement of the data theft, OMB privacy guidance generally remains vague, said Ari Schwartz, associate director for the Center for Democracy and Technology. The Government Accountability Office has written time and again that OMB should demonstrate stronger leadership in telling agencies what they need to do, he said. Clear policies needed “OMB needs to go back and review general privacy policy, make it more clear, and provide best practices,” Schwartz said. The credibility of an agency’s privacy and security depends in large part on employees adhering to policies and procedures. If agencies are decentralized, as VA is, compliance is a matter of supervisors and assistant secretaries vouching for their adherence, but no central office enforces them. Even though OMB required agencies to name a chief privacy officer in February 2005, most experts agree it hasn’t made a big difference. And VA’s experience demonstrates that policies without teeth can’t keep sensitive data safe. VA secretary Jim Nicholson told lawmakers that employees have not followed some of his predecessors’ directives, “directives that some employees did not interpret as being mandatory or operative to them.” VA reps vowed to tighten data security policies immediately. “I can promise you that we will do everything in our power to make clear what is appropriate and inappropriate use of data by our employees,” he told lawmakers at a recent House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing. Fallout from the breach claimed its first personnel casualty last week, when deputy assistant secretary for policy Mike McLendon resigned effective June 2. VA also placed acting assistant secretary for policy and planning Dennis Duffy on administrative leave. He was replaced by Paul Hutter, assistant general counsel for management and operations. VA also has begun procedures to dismiss the data analyst who caused the data breach by taking the files home; the data was stolen along with a notebook PC and disks when his home was burglarized in early May. The data contained the names, Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and, in many cases, the addresses and telephone numbers of veterans discharged since 1975, and of some spouses a VA spokesman said. Some deceased veterans’ data also was included. But in a May 5 memo, VA privacy officer Mark Whitney said that the data was stored in a specialized format used for manipulation and analysis, and likely would have been difficult for the thieves to access. Members of Congress were unanimous during recent hearings in their concern that agencies across government fail to adequately safeguard personal data.


“It could just as easily have involved other departments and agencies. I believe the data breach is indicative of broader information security and privacy problems throughout the government,” said Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Other agencies also could be at risk, said Sen. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. What was impossible 20 years ago to do with the data of 26.5 million people is now very possible, he said. “Part of what we are seeing here is that policy and oversight of information has not kept pace with technological capacity,” he said. Sen. John Isakson (R-Ga.), a member of the Senate veterans’ committee, urged a governmentwide rule that any breach of secure information should be immediately reported to the department secretary. VA, ironically, may already have a plan, said Robert McFarland, former VA CIO who left April 28. The theft occurred just as VA was taking the first steps to change the decentralized structure of its IT organization. VA has begun to centralize IT operations and budget authority under the department CIO, as Congress mandated last fall. IT development will remain with VA’s health, benefits and burial administrations. CIO controls hardware, OSes All computing assets and operating system software are moving under the department CIO’s office. One of the benefits is that VA will apply access controls, encryption techniques and digital safeguards across the department, McFarland said. “They’re on the right track with the reorganization and consolidation of the infrastructure, because that will give them a better opportunity to put good controls in place,” he said, expressing confidence that VA would make the needed changes. Robert Howard, who had been responsible for the office since McFarland resigned, has been named acting CIO. It’s been difficult to implement controls consistently in an environment where individual administrations owned their own data and infrastructure, he said. And it’s very difficult to know when someone is not following policies—such as encrypting data when it leaves the premises—when there is no control of the assets and access. “You can train and train and train. But you don’t know how often those kinds of situations are violated by not having the ability to monitor, because the infrastructure is so widely spread,” McFarland said. House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman Steve Buyer (R-Ind.), author of the legislation to centralize VA’s IT authority, said VA’s decentralized structure directly contributed to the lax data security and length of time it took to notify the chain of command. VA has been unable to enforce privacy and security because no one person or office has final authority, he said. Nicholson last week hired Richard Romley, former county attorney in Maricopa County, Ariz., to serve as his special adviser for information security. He will focus only on information security and report directly to Nicholson. Buyer believes other agencies should also centralize their IT environment. “There should be a presidential directive to empower CIOs to have authority over plans and budgets,” he said after a recent hearing. Buyer, however, foresees problems with VA’s federated plan of centralization because its stovepiped administrations will still own IT development. “That’s where the problems have been occurring. You have too many keys out there,” he said, adding IT development should also be under the department CIO. Buyer plans to hold his next hearing related to the data theft before the VA inspector general reports on his administrative investigation, and he will call former VA CIOs John Gauss and McFarland to testify. The theft occurred in early May after the VA data analyst took sensitive electronic data to his home in Montgomery County, Md. The analyst had taken data home over the last three years to work on data-intensive projects. He had authority to access the confidential data but not to take it from the department, Nicholson said. “You have a [department] cybersecurity organization that theoretically can enforce, but they don’t control the assets or [individual administration] security folks, so they don’t have control,” McFarland said. Other agencies are decentralized in their systems and controls, and there are many legacy systems in stovepiped environments similar to VA, McFarland said. “Everyone’s going to be forced to look at this,” he said. Additionally, privacy policy in VA does not reside with security but within the policies and plans organization. Despite a policy that data should be encrypted if taken outside the network, there was no ability to enforce or provide checks and balances, said a government source who did not wish to be named. “It was just another policy that people may have been aware of,” the source said. Under IT centralization, privacy will come under the CIO’s operational governance and be subject to enforcement by VA’s Office of Cyber and Information Security, but it will take time, McFarland said. “The problem is, no one knows where privacy fits. It’s probably different in different agencies,” the government source said. 9

Across government, agencies need to get better control over their policies to safeguard personally identifiable information, CDT’s Schwartz said. To start with, they have to know where all their information resides.

VA Data Loss Could Prompt Federal Privacy Law (NETWORLD)
By Grant Gross, IDG News Service Network World, June 5, 2006 The VA data theft, involving the unencrypted personal records of 26.5 million military veterans and their spouses, lead to a management shakeup at the VA last week. Several members of Congress are calling on colleagues to move ahead with bills that would require breached companies to report losses to affected customers. More than 10 data breach bills have been introduced in Congress since 2005, but none has made it through in the last year. Congress is scheduled to adjourn for the year in early October, and any bills not passed by then would have to be reintroduced in 2007. The VA data theft happened May 3 after a break-in at a VA analyst’s home. The analyst had taken home the database of veterans’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, and some health records to work on a project, according to the VA. Data breaches like the VA’s highlight the need for data breach legislation, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) and sponsor of another data breach notification bill, said in a statement. Stearns said his bill, which also requires the Federal Trade Commission to create data-handling rules, “goes to the heart of this problem of the critical need to protect consumers’ personal information.” Some observers see the VA data theft as a wake-up call for Congress, but that still doesn't mean that any legislation will pass this year, especially with multiple bills to reconcile, said Ari Schwartz , deputy director at the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT). “The politics are very complex and there is not that much time left,” he said.

VA Loss Renews Calls To Update Privacy Act (GCN)
By Jason Miller Government Computer News, June 6, 2006 The Veterans Affairs Department’s recent loss of veterans’ personal data highlights a broader question that has rattled around Washington for 10 years: the need to update the Privacy Act of 1974. While Congress improved pieces of the legislation with the E-Government Act of 2002, and the Office of Management and Budget has tried to make enhancements through policy, some experts and lawmakers are calling for the VA incident to spur changes to the 22-year-old mandate. “The federal government has failed to update its policies and procedures for protecting the personal information of Americans,” said Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Congress has mandated that agencies have chief privacy officers and has created the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. But it hasn’t given them real enforcement powers, nor has it reviewed privacy laws to ensure that they are still effective, Akaka said. He has asked the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to hold hearings on the Privacy Act to develop legislation to improve the protection of personal information collected and used by the federal government. He recently introduced legislation to strengthen the powers of the Homeland Security Department’s chief privacy officer, and he may expand his bill to all agencies. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the committee, would not say if the committee would look at the Privacy Act. But she did say the committee would review the Federal Information Security Management Act reports and Privacy Act reports to see if other agencies lack controls, as VA did. But Robert Gellman, a privacy expert and GCN columnist, said that while the Privacy Act needs to be updated, that would not have solved VA’s problem. “What is needed is appropriate security measures,” he said. “At some level you can’t protect against people, because people don’t always follow the rules. If the information was encrypted in the first place, then none of this is a big deal.” Gellman added that it may take Congress two or three years to update the act, and then there only is a 50-50 chance they would make it better. “This is a policy issue,” Gellman said. “People only should have access to information when they need to, and take data out of the office when absolutely necessary. A lot of activity needs to be regulated at the practice level and not at the policy or statutory level.”

Security -- Who Does It? (COMPWORLD)

By John Webster Computer World, June 5, 2006 (Computerworld) -- There’s a job to be done in IT. It’s called security. Everyone in IT knows security has to be done, but who does it remains an open question. I delivered a presentation to a group of senior storage administrators some weeks ago during which I asked if storage was or should be at least one of the places security gets done. I didn’t ask for an immediate response. However, since I was to spend most of the rest of the day with this group, I asked that if someone wanted to express an opinion on the subject, they could do so at any point during the day. I got one response. It was'no, storage is not the place to do security. I got no yeses. I was bothered by that and still am. It’s now becoming fairly commonplace to turn on the daily news broadcast and hear about hundreds of thousands if not millions of electronic personal records newly at large among the ranks of the identity thieves. Isn’t it clear that IT security can no longer be defined as protection against intrusion and that hackers no longer have to rely solely on breaking and entering the system via the server or the network to get the common currency of personal identity? They can simply luck out buying used disk drives on ebay or grabbing a few wayward CDs that managed to walk past the security perimeter. I’m afraid that, as long as there is a “storage is not the place for security” mentality, we’ll keep reading and hearing about personal information leaks. And let’s face it. When the VA reports that 26 million veterans records are missing after a house break, that’s more like a dam bursting than a leak. I’m cognizant of publicly picking on the one person that honestly answered my question and I offer my thanks for that honest answer. I understand that storage administrators are the most overworked and least understood members of the IT community, and that the last thing they need after Sarbanes-Oxley is another big job to do. However, I’m also worried that they’ll get dragged into the coming war on identity theft kicking and screaming. That would not be good either. Storage is the last line of defense. John Webster is senior analyst and founder of research firm Data Mobility Group LLC. He is also the author of numerous articles and white papers on a wide range of topics and is the co-author of the book Inescapable Data: Harnessing the Power of Convergence (IBM Press, 2005). Webster can be reached at

Laptop Thefts Highlight SMB Need For Data Security (SMALLBIZCOMP)
By Clint Boulton Small Business Computing, June 5, 2006 Over the past few weeks, the news has been full of high-profile incidents involving stolen corporate or government laptops. These thefts have placed millions of people at risk for identity theft. It's not just a big enterprise issue, and small businesses are just as likely to lose valuable customer data. What lesson should small business owners learn from these data losses? Do everything within your power and budget to secure the data on your company notebooks. A clearly communicated security policy, password protection, encryption, biometrics — these are just some of the methods that can help you better secure business data. Consulting with a local VAR can help a small business determine a plan of action that makes sense for its specific needs and budget. As you'll note in the story below, the data on the stolen notebook was both password protected and encrypted — a fact that makes it much harder for criminals to use any of that data. Hotel booking site has begun sending out letters to some 243,000 customers whose names and credit card numbers were on a laptop stolen from an employee of Ernst & Young, the accounting firm. The computer was stolen from the locked trunk of the Ernst & Young employee's car in a Texas parking lot in late February, said. After reconstructing what data was on the machine, Ernst & Young, auditor for the online hotel specialist, told on May 3 that the computer contained a file of data. "Once we were notified, we began working as quickly as possible to determine which customers were impacted and to notify them," a spokesperson said. The company began sending letters to affected customers, which included those who booked hotels from 2002 to 2004, on May 26. said it and Ernst & Young are providing a year's worth of free credit monitoring services for customers who had their credit card information on the laptop. Ernst & Young spokesman Kenneth Kerrigan confirmed the theft but refused to provide any additional details. "We don't want to impede on the investigation and hopefully can track this down as remote as that may be," he said. Kerrigan also issued a company statement about the theft. "The security and confidentiality of our client information is of critical importance to Ernst & Young and we regret any inconvenience or concern this incident may have caused and 11

its customers," the statement said. "The crime appears to be a random theft, and we have no indication that the thief was specifically targeting the laptop or any information contained on it." The computer was also password-protected and the theft was immediately reported to law enforcement officials. The company also said it has no proof the information has been accessed or misused in any way. Kerrigan added that Ernst & Young has encrypted the laptops of its 30,000 employees around the world as a precaution against any additional thefts. Ernst & Young laptops are apparently a popular item to steal. An Ernst & Young employee's laptop containing data about Goldman Sachs employees was stolen from a car in New Jersey earlier this year. Also, an Ernst & Young laptop containing information of employees from a number of companies was stolen from a conference room in an office building in Florida. The incidents are the latest in a growing list of businesses and government agencies to be exposed to data theft threats from stolen computers or network breaches. Personal information on 26.5 million veterans was compromised when someone pilfered a laptop containing the data from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) employee. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse said that since February 2005, almost 82 million people have had their personal information potentially exposed by unauthorized access to the computer systems of companies and institutions. Adapted from Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the Forums. Join the discussion today!

Enterprise Security 05|06 (ITMANAGE)
By Pedro Hernandez IT Management, June 5, 2006 This time, though, it affects veterans of the United States armed forces and Sacred Heart University students. The Veterans Affairs breach is particularly troubling, potentially opening the door to millions cases of identity theft. The agency revealed last week that a laptop containing data on 26.5 million members of the military was stolen from a worker's home. The personal details of every veteran discharged after 1975, including social security numbers and birth dates, are, to put it simply, unaccounted for. It turns out that the worker had violated policy by taking the laptop with the data home. Though that does little to explain how that worker was able to tote all that data out of the office to begin with. According to testimony from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson, there's not only a bit of a disconnect between security policies and technical safeguards, but there also seems to be gaping holes in the accountability department. Nicholson wasn't made aware of the breach -- the second largest to date -- for two weeks. InternetNews journalist Roy Mark jotted down this observation in his Reporter's Notebook: In another curious bit of testimony, Nicholson said the VA has a policy of encrypting sensitive data to reduce the chances of identity theft in the case of a data breach. Nevertheless, the stolen data was unencrypted. The agency's advice to vets? Basically, keep an eye on those credit alerts. And though it pales to the VA case, 135,000 students and alumni of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT may also want to subscribe to a credit alerting service. However, they don't have a laptop-carrying member of the faculty to blame. The school revealed that a rootkit was found on one of its computers during a virus sweep. And though it cannot say for certain that sensitive files were accessed, the nature of the intrusion leads them to believe that the hacker had the ability to do so. Sizing up Vista Anti-malware Though it may be optimistic of Microsoft to think that businesses will be snapping up Vista the minute it hits, it's not going to stop the company and its partners from lining up the apps and utilities required to get it up and running from day one. Given the Windows operating system's spotty security track record, companies are already touting Vista compatibility and offering free trials to beta users. Among them are Trend Micro and CA, while McAfee preps VirusScan Enterprise 8.5i Beta. Microsoft, meanwhile, is also planning to add Vista to the list of supported operating systems of its just-released Windows Live OneCare subscription service. Currently, OneCare only supports XP SP2 and its variants (Home, Pro, Media Center, Tablet...). Disaster recovery in the wake of Katrina After the battering some southern US states endured last year, this year's hurricane season is being watched with apprehension, and justifiably so. Businesses, those that didn't fold outright, learned harsh lessons in disaster recovery and business continuity. 12

Last month we opened up a new Disaster Recovery Planning Forum where members can discuss their own experiences, best practices, and bits of news on the topic. Notable posts include "DR Lessons from Hurricane Katrina" and " Large Systems Backup & Recovery." This article was first published on

Why Even Have It There? (COMPWORLD)
By Martin McKeay Computer World, June 5, 2006 On Friday afternoon I had the opportunity to talk to Dr. David Taylor from Protegrity about the Veterans Administration's 26.5 million lost records for an upcoming podcast. One of the points we discussed is why these records are on laptops or other easily misappropriated medium in the first place. Businesses and their employees need to realized the value of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and treat it appropriately. The recent, more accurately Ernst & Young, laptop loss is an excellent example. An employee of E&Y had approximately a quarter of a million PII records on his laptop, which was stolen from the trunk of his car. My first question is, what legitimate reason did the E&Y analyst have for accessing this information in the first place? I can't really think of a good reason for anyone outside of the company having access to this information, but there must have been. Otherwise it would never have been there to begin with, right? The best defense businesses can have against PII being stolen along with laptops has nothing to do with encryption, tracking mechanisms or any other technical solution. The best defense they can employ is to never allow this information on the laptops to begin with. Security is a balancing act between enabling employees and protecting the data. But when it comes to accessing credit card data, it has to be the security of the data has to be the number one priority. Employees need to learn that they can't have the data on their laptops. Access needs to be limited to the office, over secure remote access (ie VPN) or not at all! Customer information is too valuable to be allowed on laptops. Or at least the consequences of losing the data is too costly. One of the basic tenets of defense: if it's not there, it can't be stolen. Ernst and Young needs to learn this lesson, and soon. They've been responsible for at least three major PII losses this year alone. How many more will it take before they figure out that the ease of having the data immediately available just isn't worth it? And when will businesses stop trying to tell us 'it was against company policy'?

VA/DOD Data Sharing Imperiled By Theft? (GOVHIT)
By Bob Brewin Government Health IT, June 5, 2006 The fallout continues from the loss of personal information on 26.5 million veterans from the home of a Department of Veterans Affairs data analyst after someone broke in and stole a PC and digital storage device. The incident could slow the VA/Defense Department health data-sharing project, which started to gain traction in the past year. At the tail end of a Senate hearing on the data theft, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson told Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) that he could not guarantee that the VA had controls in place to protect sensitive personal information in any data-sharing project with DOD. The VA and DOD will probably approach any data exchange program, including the Clinical Data Repository/Health Data Repository, much more cautiously until the VA gets is data-protection act together. The repository enables real-time bidirectional exchange of health data between the two departments. DOD to buy into VA PACS system? One salient point missed in the whole VA data imbroglio is that the agency has produced world-class software and systems, including the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) electronic health record system hailed by pundits and publications ranging from Fortune to Federal Computer Week’s own Government Health Information Technology magazine. The VA also developed a picture archiving and communications system (PACS) for filmless radiology that includes VistA Imaging and VistARad. Robert McFarland, who recently retired as the VA’s chief information officer, told the Interceptor last week that he believed DOD’s Military Health System was close to tapping the VA’s PACS for DOD’s imaging products. McFarland added that he backs the language in the House’s fiscal 2007 Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill, which calls for the VA and DOD to use common software, data standards and repositories for health IT systems. 13

Such a move, McFarland said, would reduce application development and maintenance costs for the two largest health systems in the country. Bye bye, AKO; hello, DISA uberportal Look for the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) Web portal to disappear around the start of the next fiscal year, to be replaced by a Defense Knowledge Online (DKO) portal with a distinct Defense Information Systems Agency flavor. DKO will have a “DISA portal as its top layer or ‘uberportal,’” according to a recent joint brief by James Perry, DISA portal product line manager, and Col. Edwin Payne, chief of Army AKO/KM integration, that made its way to Intercepts Central. Although it looks as though DISA has successfully subsumed AKO in the name of partnership, Army CIO Lt. Gen. Steven Boutelle will be chairman of the DKO Board of Directors, according to the Perry/Payne brief. DISA’s director, Air Force Lt. Gen Charles Croom, will serve as executive secretary of the DKO board, whose members include Dave Wennergren, the Navy’s CIO; Lt. Gen. Michael Peterson, the Air Force’s CIO; Brig. Gen. George Allen, the Marine Corps’ CIO; and Army Lt. Gen. John Wood, deputy commander of the Joint Forces Command. Despite the window dressing and the fact that DKO will be built on AKO architecture, it sure looks like DISA beat Army in the portal game. No guard units guarding the border Despite the fact that President Bush promised to start deploying as many as 6,000 National Guard troops on or about June 1 to support the Customs and Border Protection folks, no indication appeared last week at the Interceptor’s New Mexico border observation post that such an operation had begun. Sometimes even the president has to wait for stuff to happen. Army Lt. Col. Kimberly Lalley, public affairs officer for the New Mexico National Guard, said she expects the border mission to begin in mid-June, with the guard providing command, control and logistics support for all the guard units that will rotate through the state on their border missions. Lalley promised she would invite me to cover the mission when it begins, and I can hardly wait for my next visit to the border town of Columbus, N.M. When Pancho Villa attacked Columbus in 1916, the Army dispatched 10,000 troops under the command of Gen. John “Black Jack” Pershing on a mission to hunt down Villa. The Army built a large camp in Columbus, and a state park on the site of that camp includes the first vehicle grease rack ever used by the Army. I took my wife, Deborah, on a vacation side trip last year to see the grease rack, and guys, learn from my experience. Don’t ever take your wife to see a grease rack, no matter how historic. Dozens of roses don’t even begin to ease the pain.

Expedia Falls Prey To New Threat (CHANINS)
By Evan Schuman Channel Insider, June 5, 2006 Opinion: Forget about criminal hackers and disgruntled employee saboteurs. Car thieves and burglars are now stepping up to the e-commerce data theft game. More than a quarter of a million customers are now at high risk for identity theft after a password-protected laptop computer containing their credit card information was stolen from an Ernst & Young auditor's locked car in what appears to be a "random petty theft," a spokesperson was quoted as telling the Associated Press. The Seattle incident at, a subsidiary of, is just the latest in a series of data-identity cases recently centering not around criminal hackers but around the garden-variety thug breaking into locked places. In California on June 2, the acting commissioner of the state's Department of Financial Institutions was demoted and an employee he supervised fired after that employee's laptop—containing data on 232 people and 216 businesses—was stolen from his car. His offense, according to the Associated Press, was having left the computer in the car and for having not encrypted any of the data. This all comes on the heels of last month's Veterans Affairs theft, wherein the unencrypted personal data of some 26.5 million veterans was stolen when a laptop was taken during a home burglary of a VA employee. The VA is now saying that a lot more information was grabbed than initially revealed, according to the Associated Press. Yet again on June 3, the AP tells us of information from active-duty personnel in those stolen VA files. The pattern here is simple and disturbing, but not especially surprising. Laptops and now high-end PDAs are making it easier for employees to work outside of the office, USB drives with more than a gigabyte of data can fit comfortable in a shirt pocket and the proliferation of wireless networks is making it so easy to work in the field and at home. 14

But employees—especially those working with customer e-commerce data—must simply adhere to the standard security protocols they've always known. That means everything is encrypted as soon as physically possible. It absolutely means that data must be treated as the valuable treasure that it is. Would employees have left stacks of $100 bills in their cars, in plain view? To a car thief or just an experienced thug, that's what a nice portable laptop looks like. I'm a bit more paranoid than most, but when traveling, I never leave my laptop in my room. Lugging it to meetings and interviews isn't fun, but it sure beats the alternative. As for burglaries in the home, that's a bit trickier. In that case, the data simply needs to be religiously backed up and stored in multiple locations and encrypted. My biggest fear is wireless. Cell phones operating as wireless modems and wireless connectivity throughout is just begging for the next wave of identity theft to be airborne. E-Commerce workers must understand that. I assure you that data thieves do. Evan Schuman is retail editor for Ziff Davis Internet's Enterprise Edit group. He has tracked high-tech issues since 1987, has been opinionated long before that and doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. He can be reached at

Records On Active-duty Military Included In Stolen VA Data (GOVEXEC)
By Daniel Pulliam Government Executive, June 5, 2006 The names, Social Security numbers and birth dates of up to 50,000 active-duty military personnel were included in the data stolen from a Veterans Affairs Department employee's home last month, the department announced Saturday. Among the 26.5 million people with records affected by the security breach were 10,000 to 20,000 National Guard and Reserve personnel on at least their second active-duty call-up. The compromised information may also include personal details on 25,000 to 30,000 active duty Navy personnel who completed their first enlistment term prior to 1991. VA said in its statement that it learned of this "through its ongoing analysis of the data." The department is working with the Defense Department to match the data and verify those potentially affected. Individual notification letters are being sent to those who could be affected by the stolen data, according to the statement. Active-duty military personnel may be included in the compromised VA database because the individuals were issued notifications from the Pentagon, known as a DD-214s, or separation from active service notices, once they completed their first enlistment. This paperwork triggers an automatic notification to VA that the individual is no longer on active duty, but in these cases the people re-enlisted. VA believes the information could still be in the agency's data files. There is no evidence suggesting that full-time active-duty personnel from other branches of the military are affected, the department stated. VA Secretary James Nicholson has said a data analyst in the department's Office of Policy violated agency policy by taking home a digital copy of unencrypted records containing the names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for veterans discharged since 1975 and some of their spouses. Also at risk are veterans discharged before 1975 who filed for disability compensation. The department has initiated the process for firing the career data analyst, who will be afforded the same rights other career federal employees receive in such situations, VA officials said. The employee has worked at the agency for more than 30 years and had been taking sensitive data home since 2003. To assist in the department's efforts to determine what information was in the database, VA has hired data forensic experts to analyze the original data. A House Veterans Affairs Committee official said the panel will have at least five hearings on the incident between now and July 13. A final report from the VA Inspector General is expected July 10.

VA Releases More Info On Data Loss, Hires Independent TEam (FEDNEWS)
FedNews-Online, June 6, 2006 The stolen VA data file containing information about 26.5 million veterans could include information about current National Guard, reservists and active duty sailors.


Over the weekend, the Department of Veterans Affairs released new details about the May 3 incident in which the data file was stolen from an employee’s home. (See VA ADDS INFO SECURITY ADVISOR at “I have made it clear since learning of this incident that, as soon as VA learns any new information, the Department has a duty to immediately inform those potentially affected, said VA Secretary R. James Nicholson. “VA continues to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into this incident, and those efforts are providing additional details about the nature of the data that may be involved.” The VA has also hired an independent data forensic expert team to analyze the original data. Potentially 10,000 to 20,000 National Guard and reservists could be impacted and between 25,000 and 30,000 active Navy personnel may be affected. The VA is teaming with the Department of Defense to match data and verify those who could possibly be affected. “VA will continue to work with the Department of Defense, other government agencies, members of Congress and other stakeholders to inform and help protect those potentially impacted,” said Nicholson. VA claims nothing indicates that any of the other services are impacted by the data-loss incident. As of Saturday, the VA had received no reports that the stolen data had been used for fraudulent purposes. The VA’s call center continues to provide concerned individuals with up-to-date information on the incident and tips on how to protect themselves from identity theft. The call center can be reached at 1.800.FED.INFO (toll free.) The Federal Trade Commission has also released guidance for veterans on how to avoid e-mail and telephone scams. A tip sheet can be accessed at

Local Office Takes Care To Protect Veterans From Identity Theft (DIN)
By Sarah Ryder Dunn County (WI) News, June 5, 2006 Memorial Day, a day which celebrates and remembers the U.S. veterans who served our country is behind us. Those same veterans who sacrificed their lives to serve our country are now potential victims of identity theft. On May 22, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the personal information — Social Security numbers, names, and birthdates — of 26.5 million U.S. Veterans had been stolen. In violation of agency policy, a Veterans Affairs (VA) employee had reportedly brought home a laptop that housed the electronic information. The computer was among the items missing when the employee’s home was burglarized on May 3. The employee was placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. “It is distressing to learn that Wisconsin veterans, no doubt facing other obstacles, now need to worry about identity theft,” said Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. “The department of Veterans Affairs must be accountable for this and quickly contact every Wisconsin veteran affected by this breach, so they will know to be on guard for identity theft.” According to the VA’s Web site, individual notification letters will be sent out to veterans “to every extent possible.” Both the VA and the FBI are conducting an investigation of the violation. There is a $50,000 reward offered for the return of the electronic data containing the veterans’ personal information. The data stolen affects all veterans who were discharged after 1975, and possibly earlier if the veteran filed a claim with the VA. “It is very possible that there are local veterans at risk,” said Dunn County Veterans Service Officer Duane Bauer. According to Governor Jim Doyle, there is no evidence the information has been used improperly — yet. Government agencies have commented that the thief may not even realize the importance of the information and may not even be able to access it. Although there is a lack of evidence that the stolen information has been used improperly, it does not change the severity of the issue. “Veterans whose information was stolen are definitely at risk of identity theft and need to take action now to protect themselves,” Doyle said in a press release. “Taking action now could help prevent veterans a lot of headache in the future.” “Watch your credit,” Bauer advises fellow veterans. “Am I concerned? Yes. But I watch my credit rating.” The governor added that citizens and veterans should contact the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection ( or 1-800-422-7128) for assistance if they believe they are victims of identity theft. “We work with them everyday,” said Bauer. Doyle created the organization in April of 2006 to serve as a one-stop source for information and assistance for identity theft victims. Reduce the threat 16

Keeping an eye on your credit is something all citizens should do regularly in order to avoid identity theft. Another way to protect vulnerable records is to shred old bills and bank statements. It is also wise for Internet consumers to pay attention to security and privacy statements. Do not give out personal information unless it is necessary. A good rule of thumb is to avoid giving out your Social Security number and birthdate unless you are the one who initiated the contact. In Dunn County, the Veterans Service Office takes many precautions to protect local veterans’ information which is kept under lock and key. “We have shredders, fire proof and locked files, and we don’t leave things on our desks,” Bauer said. And when work needs to be done after-hours, the information is not brought home. Bauer stays in his office and completes the job. “What happens here, stays here,” he said. Contact information “Identity theft is an insidious crime with the potential for lasting damage,” noted Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary John A. Scocos. “While the recent loss of VA data has not yet been linked to actual identity theft, veterans may want to place an initial fraud alert activity on their credit report, and know how to monitor for and react to the first sign of suspicious activity.” For those concerned about possible identity theft, there are many organizations that can be consulted for help. The Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection advises veterans and other possible victims of identity theft to notify one of the three credit reporting agencies and ask it to place a fraud alert on their report. This will cause creditors to call before opening any new accounts. The agencies include Equifax (888-766-0008), Experian (888-397-3742), and TransUnion (800-680-7289). The organization also advises veterans to order a free copy of their credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion by calling 1-877-322-8228. In an effort to fix the problem, the VA has joined forces with the Federal Trade Commission to offer the latest information about the breach. Access the Web site at or call 1-800-ED-INFO (1-800-333-4636) for more information. The Dunn County Veterans Service Office can be contacted by calling (715) 232-1646. Dunn County has electronic information protected The Dunn County Management Information Systems (MIS) is responsible for all the informational technology support for the county offices including 300 computers and 400 telephone systems. MIS also upgrades and maintains the county’s information technology infrastructure. Its office operates under the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) security requirements, a nationally regulated program under which many large companies also operate. One aspect of the program addresses how to manage doing work outside of the office. When work needs to be done offsite, important information isn’t included on the laptop’s hard drive. “Data doesn’t reside on their remote laptops,” noted MIS director, Eric Edgeberg. Instead, secure information remains only on the hard drive of the main computer in the office. When using a laptop, the user must sign in and gain access to the data on the hard drive of the main computer. The computer then transmits only the information on the screen to the remote laptop, which only shows what appears on the main computer’s screen and the movement of the mouse. It does not store the data on the laptop’s hard drive. “I’m surprised [the VA] didn’t have the standard practice,” Edgeberg said. Along with the ITIL program, the Dunn County’s MIS uses other safety measures. For example, all important information is under password protection and the servers are backed up nightly. The office doesn’t allow the use of writeable DVDs, so information isn’t just sitting on disks. The electronic data is protected in a fireproof room and there is also off site storage. The county has a security plan that has been implemented for many years to protect the data. The Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) is a guideline installed to maintain the security of the information in case of an emergency or relocation. “Most of our data is public record,” Edgeberg said, noting that he must make this available while keeping the personal information, such as Social Security codes, under virtual lock and key. “It’s a balance of government.” Edgeberg said breeches occur when simple common sense isn’t used, such as when someone walks away from their desk for a few minutes and doesn’t lock their door or exit out of a program. Anyone can walk in and get into files if the password is left in view.

Troops’ Names Among Those On Stolen VA Database (NAVYT)
By Gordon Trowbridge 17

Navy Times, June 5, 2006 As many as 50,000 currently serving active-duty, National Guard and reserve troops may have been among more than 26 million veterans whose personal data was compromised in a theft from a Department of Veterans Affairs analyst. VA officials announced on Saturday that as many as 30,000 active-duty members — all believed to be in the Navy — as well as 10,000 to 20,000 reserve-component members could be affected. Previously, the data loss was believed to affect only retired or separated members. Matt Burns, a VA spokesman, said Monday that the currently serving members’ data was included in the stolen database because they had completed a term of service and been issued a DD-214 form — issued to all separating or retiring personnel. That triggered an automatic transmission of their personal data to the VA, even though the members subsequently re-enlisted. The VA statement said the department does not know of any active-duty personnel outside the Navy who are affected. Information that may have been compromised includes names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth, which identitytheft experts say could be used by thieves to open fraudulent credit card or other accounts. The VA has said it will attempt to notify every veteran or currently serving military member that their data has been stolen. The theft of data, taken from a VA analyst’s home along with a laptop computer, has sparked intense criticism of VA’s information security. VA officials say they do not know of any fraud associated with the theft. The VA said the National Guard and reserve personnel — all on their second federal mobilization — totals between 10,000 and 20,000. The 25,000 to 30,000 active-duty Navy members who were included all completed their first term of service prior to 1991. More information is available on the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site,, or on under “Veterans Information.” Information also is available by phone from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Monday through Saturday by calling 1800-FED-INFO (800-333-4636).

Veterans At Risk After Identity Theft (BS)
Brewton (AL) Standard, June 5, 2006 The Department of Veterans Affairs is urging veterans to learn more about consumer identity protections in the wake of the theft of personal information about 26.5 million veterans. “The VA has recently learned that an employee, a data analyst, took home electronic data from the VA, which he was not authorized to do,” VA officials said in a statement. “The employee's home was burglarized and this data was stolen. The employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.” The data that was stolen includes names, Social Security numbers and dates of birth for up to 26.5 million veterans and some spouses. That information could be used to steal identities, so the government is urging veterans to learn more about identity theft and about the incident. The VA will send out individual notification letters to veterans to every extent possible. Veterans can also go to as well as to get more information about the incident. The firstgov Web site is being set to handle increased web traffic. Additionally, working with other government agencies, the VA has set up a manned call center that veterans may call to get information about this situation and learn more about consumer identity protections. The toll-free number is 1-800-FED INFO (333-4636). The call center will operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday as long as it is needed. The call center will be able to handle up to 20,000 calls per hour (260,000 calls per day).

Local Vets Worry About Identity Theft (KGBT)
D.C. KGBT-TV, June 5, 2006 Nearly two weeks ago, a laptop holding the personal information of thousands of veterans was stolen from Washington,

Valley veterans are still unaware if they are at risk for identity theft. Right now the department of veterans affairs is writing letters to all those who've been affected. The veterans say they don't know when they'll mail them out. They say it's nerve-wrecking just waiting to find out if they're among the possible victim's of identity theft. They want the government to take care of the problem as soon as possible. Peter Martinez says, "What we need to do now is have the government protect us. Because I got a little money saved up and i must lose it all if there's theft." Efrain Solis says, " be on the lookout. Any changes any activity that they haven't been aware of lately, to keep an eye open for that." 18

Jose Maria Vasquez says, "We all are worried because we don't know what's gonna happen, you know, identity theft. And one question i would ask to ask nicholson, who's gonna pay those 27-million dollars that are gonna be used to notify all those veterans?" The veterans plan to hold meetings this week to talk to their fellow servicemen about the situation. Their recommendations include frequently checking bank statements and ordering credit report copies.

Active Duty Servicemen Also Affected By Massive VA Data Breach (SCMAG)
By Frank Washkuch Jr. SC Magazine (UK), June 6, 2006 Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces may also have had their personal information compromised in last month’s breach of the personal data of 26.5 million veterans. The private information of between 10,000 to 20,000 "certain National Guard and Reserve personnel who are on at least their second federalized active duty call-up could potentially be included," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which added that the department has also hired forensic experts. A computer containing the data was stolen from the Aspen Hill, Va., home of a VA employee on May 3. The VA and the FBI have launched an investigation into the incident. The personal data of between 25,000 and 30,000 active-duty Navy personnel may also have been affected by the breach, specifically members who completed their first enlistment term prior to 1991. "I have made it clear since learning of this incident that, as soon as VA learns any new information, the department has a duty to immediately inform those personally affected," said VA Secretary R. James Nicholson in a statement released on Saturday. "VA continues to conduct a complete and thorough investigation into this incident, and those efforts are providing additional details about the nature of the data that may be involved." A personnel shake-up at the department followed the incident, with one deputy assistant secretary resigning and an acting assistant secretary being placed on administrative leave. Days earlier, Nicholson told members of Congress that he was "mad as hell" that he wasn’t notified of the breach earlier. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned veterans to be on the lookout for email-based scams taking advantage of the breach. The agency told affected veterans to keep a tight grip on Social Security and credit card numbers, as well as passwords and other sensitive personal information. Phishers would send emails to veterans pretending to be from a well-known company, asking recipients to verify personal information. Email users would then be sent to a malicious, but realistic looking, website. The FTC gave affected veterans the following advice: Veterans should not give out personal information by phone, mail or email. Veterans should not click on links in unsolicited emails. VA and other government agencies do not contact people by email or telephone about personal information. The FTC also made a list of tips for avoiding phishing available on its website. More information is available on the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site,, or on under "Veterans Information." Information also is available by phone from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT Monday through Saturday by calling 1-800-FED-INFO (800-333-4636).

CSIA Announces Town Hall: What Should Be Done To Protect Personal Information On The Internet (PRNEWS)
PR Newswire, June 5, 2006 ARLINGTON, Va., June 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), the only advocacy group dedicated exclusively to ensuring the privacy, reliability and integrity of information systems through public policy, technology, education and awareness, today announced it will host a June 6 Town Hall event in Atlanta to discuss the growing concerns over the security of personal information on the Internet. Co-sponsored by the Georgia Tech Information Security Center and held in cooperation with Internet Security Systems Inc. (ISS), the Technology Association of Georgia and the GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group, the event will explore the role of government and business in safeguarding personal information. A rash of high-profile data breaches over the past 15 months has compromised nearly 82 million personal records, including a recent breach at the Department of Veterans Affairs that exposed the information of 26.5 million veterans, according to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. These data breaches, along with the increase in phishing e-mails, spyware and other types of online fraud are having a real impact on how consumers and businesses approach the digital world. In fact, a recent survey 19

sponsored by CSIA showed that only 44 percent of Americans feel their information is safe when engaging in e-commerce and 50 percent avoid making purchases online because they are afraid their financial information will be stolen. "Against this backdrop of waning consumer confidence, questions of roles and responsibilities remain unanswered," said Paul Kurtz, executive director of CSIA. "Congress is currently debating legislation to address data security with a consistent national standard. Corporations are evaluating their own business practices and trying to understand the requirements of the more than 30 state laws currently addressing data security as well as the impact of a potential national law. Consumers are trying to figure out what they can do to protect themselves while also holding businesses accountable and looking to government to help. Data security affects everyone and we hope this town hall will shed some light on the roles we should all be playing to keep personal information secure." This event will provide an opportunity for consumers and businesses to learn more about what should be done to secure personal information and what role government should play in ensuring such information is protected. The Honorable Thurbert E. Baker, Georgia Attorney General, will be the featured keynote speaker, followed by a panel representing industry and academic experts. Panelists include: * Mustaque Ahamad, Director, Georgia Tech Information Security Center * Chad Hunt, Special Agent, Computer Crimes, Federal Bureau of Investigation * Leslie Harris, Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Technology * Horace Johnson, Manager of Information Security Operations, Ceridian * Thomas Noonan, Chairman, President and CEO, Internet Security Systems * Moderator: David Allison, Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle The free event will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 6 at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center at 250 14th St. N.W. in Atlanta. The event is open to all and lunch will be provided, but registration is required. For more details and to register, please visit About the Speakers: The Honorable Thurbert E. Baker, Georgia Attorney General Attorney General Baker was appointed in 1997 and has since been re-elected twice. His priorities as Attorney General include fighting crime, corruption and consumer fraud. In addition, he has authored Georgia's financial identity fraud statute and Georgia's first in the nation residential mortgage fraud statute. Mustaque Ahamad, Director, Georgia Tech Information Security Center Mustaque Ahamad is director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. He teaches courses in secure computer systems, advanced operating systems and computer security. His research interests are in distributed operating systems, computer security and fault-tolerant systems. Chad Hunt, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Chad Hunt is assigned to the Cyber Crime squad in the FBI's Atlanta Field Office. Prior to joining the FBI, Special Agent Hunt worked in the private industry computer field for over 12 years. He is also a member of the FBI's Cyber Action Team, which are teams of FBI agents, analysts, and computer forensics and malicious code experts who travel around the world to respond to cyber intrusions. Leslie Harris, Executive Director, Center for Democracy and Technology Leslie Harris joined CDT in the fall of 2005 and became Executive Director at the beginning of 2006. Ms. Harris brings over two decades of experience to CDT as a civil liberties lawyer, lobbyist, and public policy strategist. Her areas of expertise include free expression, privacy and intellectual property. Horace Johnson, Manager of Information Security Operations, Ceridian Horace Johnson is the manager of information security operations for Ceridian, a leader in human resources outsourcing management solutions. Johnson is responsible for the day-to-day operations of information security, which entails system and network vulnerability management, management of intrusion detection / prevention systems and threat monitoring. Additionally, Johnson is responsible for the maintenance, execution and leadership of the computer security incident response plan and team. He has worked in the computer and networking industry for more than 20 years. Thomas Noonan, Chairman, President and CEO, Internet Security Systems Thomas Noonan is chairman, president and CEO of Internet Security Systems, the worldwide leader in preemptive, enterprise security. Responsible for the overall strategic direction, growth and management, he and Chris Klaus launched ISS in 1994. He has since led ISS to a preeminent position in the network security industry with more than 1,200 employees and operations in more than 26 countries. David Allison, Editor, Atlanta Business Chronicle David Allison has been editor of Atlanta Business Chronicle since November 1998. He's been with the Chronicle nearly 22 years, having served in various positions, including being the paper's technology reporter in the late 1980s. About the Cyber Security Industry Alliance 20

The Cyber Security Industry Alliance is the only advocacy group dedicated exclusively to ensuring the privacy, reliability and integrity of information systems through public policy, technology, education and awareness. Led by CEOs from the world's top security providers, CSIA believes a comprehensive approach to information system security is vital to the stability of the global economy. Visit our web site at Members of the CSIA include Application Security, Inc.; CA, Inc. (NYSE: CA - News); Citadel Security Software Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CDSS - News); Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS - News); Entrust, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENTU - News); F-Secure Corporation (HEX: FSC1V); Fortinet, Inc.; Internet Security Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: ISSX - News); iPass Inc. (Nasdaq: IPAS News); Juniper Networks, Inc. (Nasdaq: JNPR - News); McAfee, Inc. (NYSE: MFE - News); Mirage Networks; PGP Corporation; Qualys, Inc.; RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: RSAS - News); Secure Computing Corporation (Nasdaq: SCUR - News); Surety, Inc.; SurfControl Plc (LSE: SRF - News); Symantec Corporation (Nasdaq: SYMC - News); TechGuard Security, LLC; Visa International and Vontu, Inc. About the Georgia Tech Information Security Center The Georgia Tech Information Security Center, a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education, is an interdisciplinary center involving faculty from the College of Computing, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Public Policy. For more information, visit About Internet Security Systems, Inc. Internet Security Systems, Inc. (ISS) is the trusted security advisor to thousands of the world's leading businesses and governments, providing preemptive protection for networks, desktops and servers. An established leader in security since 1994, ISS' integrated security platform automatically protects against both known and unknown threats, keeping networks up and running and shielding customers from online attacks before they impact business assets. ISS products and services are based on the proactive security intelligence of its X-Force® research and development team -- the unequivocal world authority in vulnerability and threat research. ISS' product line is also complemented by comprehensive Managed Security Services. For more information, visit the Internet Security Systems Web site at or call 800-776-2362. About The Technology Association of Georgia The Technology Association of Georgia was formed in 1998 with the mission to build, connect, and enable; people, companies, and communities. Its 18 Societies act as a distribution channel for TAG programs, offering over 75 meetings and seminars per year. TAG coordinates a series of meetings and events including the Featured Speaker Series, Field Trip Series, and the Georgia Technology Summits. TAG expands its reach by fostering public and private partnerships with organizations such as the Atlanta Telecom Professionals, the MIT Enterprise Forum, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and Georgia Department of Economic Development. In addition to adding value for its members, TAG's Board of Directors, Leadership Council, and staff act as a primary catalyst for fostering a rich environment for technology growth in the State of Georgia. For more information visit About GeorgiaLink GeorgiaLink Public Affairs Group secures and strengthens relationships between the private sector and government. We draw on our unique mix of experience in politics, private industry, government and professional associations to steer legislation and mobilize business and political communities to create opportunities for a diverse clientele that includes Fortune 500 companies, associations, entrepreneurs, professional groups and local governments.

Software Raises Red Flags Over Security Leaks (MSNBC)
By Adrienne Sanders, San Francisco Business Times MSNBC, June 4, 2006 Forget about hackers, spammers and spies. These days well-meaning employees are the culprits leaking corporate and government secrets. Take the recent Veterans Administration fiasco. This month, a VA analyst took home a laptop full of information without authorization, only to have the computer stolen from his home, putting the personal information of 26 million veterans into the hands of a thief. Story continues below ? advertisement To avoid such breaches, organizations are turning to companies like Workshare Inc. The 7-year-old company moved its headquarters from London to San Francisco last year and is growing rapidly by helping businesses use software to safeguard correspondence. "If you tell most employees they're about to do something risky for their company, they will change it," said CEO Joe Fantuzzi of inadvertent bean-spillers. "That's what Workshare does -- it notifies them." 21

Alerting employees that they're about to send out classified information is just one feature of Workshare's latest software, the "Protect Enterprise Suite," launched in February. The product line allows companies to manage all of their "gateway" points: outgoing documents, email, files copied to a laptop, web-site postings and instant-messenger notes, which could all bleed sensitive information. Given new privacy and corporate-responsibility laws with stiff penalties -- such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA -- a swelling tide of companies are taking data protection seriously. In fact, Workshare's enterprise product is driving its "new and exponential growth," Fantuzzi said of his 130-person outfit, which began the year with 115 and will likely end with 155. Workshare, which generated roughly $16 million in 2004, grew revenue to more than $20 million in 2005, and Fantuzzi expects that figure to jump 40 percent to $28 million by the end of this year. The private company raised a total of $4.4 million in venture funding in 2002 and is cash-flow positive but not profitable. Workshare built its original, slower growth business on document safety -- essentially the scrubbing out of unwanted information -- for professional groups such as law, accounting and consulting firms, or those who base their business on "deliverable content." The company's massive customer list includes 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies, including Bank of America, Booz Allen Hamilton and ABC Inc. Those relationships gave the company a ready supply of potential customers for its broader enterprise offerings. Obstacles ahead The company is not without its challenges. Like many Bay Area CEOs, Fantuzzi said difficulty finding the right employees is the biggest drag on his firm's growth. He is also breathlessly seeking alliances with computer security giants such as Symantec and Trend Micro, whose products focus on inbound threats like virus attacks. The idea is to leverage partners' sales forces to sell combined packages with Workshare products, giving the company "more feet on the street." Its biggest competitor, by far, is San Jose-based Adobe Systems Inc., a rival Fantuzzi wrestled with as marketing vice president of Macromedia, the San Francisco software company acquired by Adobe in December for $3.4 billion. Adobe, he said, is well-run but has certain weak areas such as document security. Specifically, Workshare competes with Adobe's ubiquitous Acrobat franchise, the tools that create portable document formats or PDFs. "We've been telling the world this for months -- PDF is not a secure format," he said, referring to the recent AT&T case, in which lawyers thought they had blocked sensitive information in a PDF brief, only to find that others could access it using another software program. "Adobe covers that up like a paint layer -- but the paint never dries, if you will." John Landwehr, Adobe's director of Security Solutions & Strategy, Adobe Systems denied Fantuzzi's claim and said, PDF is secure -- when used properly. "When people aren't using the software correctly they can get themselves into some trouble," Landwehr said. Fantuzzi said he is hoping to take the company public in the next two years. Slowing him down are the government regulations that drive many of his customers to use Workshare products in the first place. "I've been through two IPOs, so I know the thrill of it," he said. "The only negative is the cost of Sarbanes-Oxley management."

FTC Warns Vets About Phishing Scams (DMNEWS)
DM News, June 5, 2006 The Federal Trade Commission cautioned U.S. veterans last week to be on the lookout for scams after a recent data breach at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The agency is advising veterans to keep their eye on credit card numbers, bank account information, Social Security numbers, passwords and other sensitive information. The FTC specifically warned against e-mail phishing scams. Some tips for veterans and their families: · Do not give out your personal information over the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless initiating the contact and you know who you are dealing with. · Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails. Instead, type in a Web address you know. · The VA, other government agencies and legitimate businesses do not contact people by e-mail or telephone either to ask them for – or to confirm – Social Security numbers or other personal information.

Vets Need Full Picture (BSE)
Blue Springs (MO) Examiner, June 5, 2006 The government owes complete answers - and speedy answers if possible - on the theft of data about millions of veterans and current military personnel. 22

So far, the revelations have dribbled out. First, the Department of Veterans Affairs didn't let the public know about the theft of data for three weeks. Then it turned out that it wasn't just birth dates and Social Security numbers - which is bad enough - but also addresses and phone numbers in some cases. It's also come to light that some of the missing data are those of active duty personnel. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson is right to be outraged at his own agency. He's only been on the job for a year and has struggled to change not only policies but attitudes at the VA. That's surely a big part of the problem. Nicholson has appointed a new official to review VA procedures. Congress will no doubt hold hearings. Those are needed steps, but the bigger picture is that information on more than 26 million people has been compromised. This is a time for the VA to disclose, not circle the wagons. Local TV. Local broadcast outlets continue to offer criticism of VA for the data theft while reporting that it affects both veterans and active-duty personnel. For example, WTKR-TV Norfolk, VA (6/5, 11:09 p.m.) reports, “Now the problem is much worse than first thought. … The VA says this specifically affects active duty Navy and National Guard. It obviously could affect thousands here in Hampton Roads.” WGHP-TV Greensboro, NC (6/5, 12:04 p.m.) calls the incident an “identity theft nightmare.”

Closing The Barn Door (SANEWS)
The Saginaw News (MI), June 5, 2006 How could this have happened? The theft of sensitive personal data on 26.5 million veterans is almost too astounding to believe. Believe it. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson recently said that a computer disk containing the names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of every living veteran discharged since 1975 was stolen from a VA employee's home. Those veterans now face the risk of identity theft. Nicholson warned veterans to keep an eye on bank statements and credit cards to make sure accounts are not drained or money falsely borrowed in their name. Nicholson said the VA employee was not authorized to take the information on the veterans home. Unanswered was the question of how the employee was able to evade guidelines. Nicholson now promises to restrict access to sensitive data and to conduct background checks on anyone with access to that data. The mind reels with the obvious question: Why weren't such commonsense protections in place long before now? ©2006 Saginaw News © 2006 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.

Soldier Injured In Iraq Recounts Tour Of Duty (FDNM)
By Sam Bishop Fairbanks (AK) Daily News-Miner, June 5, 2006 WASHINGTON--Ian Wagner had a rapid introduction to the dangers of patrolling the streets in Iraq's Abu Ghraib sector last

"My very first patrol outside the wire, I'd been on patrol for about four hours, a bomb blew up right next to the truck in front of me," said Wagner, a 24-year-old Army combat medic who grew up in Fairbanks. That was in August of 2005. Over the following six months, improvised explosive devices struck Wagner's patrol convoys 27 times. Four times, the shrapnel tore into the Humvees in which he rode. The fourth blast, on Feb. 7, sent him home to the United States with two badly damaged feet. Wagner is now in the final week of rehabilitation work at the National Naval Medical Center just outside Washington, D.C. He's walking again with a cane, but is uncertain whether he'll regain full use of his feet. "I plan on hopefully strapping on hockey skates by the end of the year," he said. Wagner's mother, Sandy Bone, flew from Fairbanks to Washington and spent about six weeks helping him recover there and in Texas. "Ian is just so fortunate that his injuries are below his ankles. Some kids are a lot less fortunate," she said Friday. Last month, Wagner received his Purple Heart medal from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson at Arlington National Cemetery, part of a ceremony to unveil a new postage stamp featuring the medal. A news release from the Department of Veterans Affairs said incorrectly that Wagner was injured in Afghanistan. Wagner had been to Afghanistan on an earlier tour, but he made it through without injury. Wagner and his sister Amy, who also lives in Fairbanks, grew up in the family's home on Peger Lake in south Fairbanks. Bone said the kids enjoyed fishing and swimming in the lake. Wagner had a talent early on for music and learned the trumpet and guitar, which he still enjoys. 23


Wagner attended Barnette Elementary, Ryan Middle and West Valley High schools. He switched to North Pole High School, where his girlfriend attended, and traveled there by bus every morning. When he was 16, Wagner moved to Hawaii with his father, Glen Wagner, then to California and then back to Fairbanks. He joined the Army in October of 2002. After being trained as a combat medic, Wagner was sent to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y. In August 2003, they left for Afghanistan and stayed until June 2004. The war there was much different than in Iraq, Wagner said. Soldiers walked for weeks at a time, carrying 80-pound backpacks through rough terrain. Even though they came under fire from mortars, rocket propelled grenades and small arms, he said, the enemy wasn't as fearsome as in Iraq. "It just seems in Iraq they're more gathered, and they're more capable, they have more means," he said. After arriving in Baghdad in August of 2005, Wagner's 1st Brigade went to work trying to clear the "bad guys" from the Abu Ghraib sector. "We shut down the problems we were having in the area and turned it over to the Iraqi army and moved on," he said. "When we arrived there were significantly more IEDs going off than when we left. After three or four months, we were able to pull out most of the bad guys from the area." Wagner said the soldiers were well-received in most neighbhorhoods. "I've been walking down the street and had mothers come out and say 'thank you' in my own language and hug me," he said. Some neighborhoods were hostile, though, and he sensed that "people would shoot you if they could." After a few IED explosions, Wagner said, "you get a bit of a Superman complex," even though the close calls were deadly serious. "It'll make you dizzy, it gives you a concussion," he said. The Army has found the most effective strategy to clear neighborhoods is to "flood" the area with soldiers looking for information on the enemy, Wagner said. "Then anybody in that neighborhood could be the ones giving information," he said. With the information, soldiers would quickly raid homes. "There's no gun fight that way," he said. "Everything goes down peacefully. Any day that I don't have to do work is a good day." On Feb. 7, Wagner had to work on himself They were returning from a patrol in western Baghdad. "We were pretty close to being to our gate," he said. The IED exploded on the right side of the Humvee. The vehicle's armored walls stopped the shrapnel, but some got through the floor. A piece went through Wagner's right foot and hit his left, damaging an artery. "I didn't really realize I was hit until my gunner told me my boot was bleeding," he said. Staff Sgt. Mario Singer, one of three other soldiers in the Humvee, also caught a bolt in one foot. The Humvee was "completely incapacitated," Wagner said, so another vehicle pulled it to a safer spot. Wagner, unable to walk and bleeding badly from his artery, put the initial dressing on his own feet with the help of another soldier. They then called in a helicopter. Several transfers and days later, he arrived at the Bethesda hospital. Wagner credits the new "up-armored" M1114 Humvees for saving him, along with a lot of other soldiers. "They've saved a lot more lives than I have as a medic," he said of the armored vehicles. At some point shortly after his injury, Wagner called his mom. "He said, 'Mom, I've been hit, but I'm OK. It's not my hands,'" Bone said. He could still play the guitar. Now, he can walk again, too. Wagner is staying at a hall on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center grounds in Washington but has been treated at the naval center in Bethesda, Md. That's where his foot specialist works. "He's done a great job with my feet," Wagner said. Bone said the military is treating her son and other injured soldiers well. "I think it was just very top drawer all the way," she said. "With the amount of injured coming through and the kind of injuries, I really felt the kids were getting taken care of." After an initial two-week stay in Washington, the Army released Wagner to his mother's care. He was still in a wheelchair, which wouldn't have worked well at Bone's waterless cabin in Fairbanks, so they headed for Bone's mother's home in Texas instead. Bone's employer, Aircomm Avionics, "were so good to me," she said. After about a month in Texas, they returned to Fairbanks, where Wagner spent another month. After returning to Washington in May, a sergeant in the medical holding company at Walter Reed asked him if he wanted to participate in the Purple Heart ceremony, where he met Secretary Nicholson. 24

Wagner also met Donald Rumsfeld on one of the defense secretary's visits to the hospital. He gave Wagner one of his personalized coins, a token that top military personnel often present to people they meet. Soldiers use the coins as trump in friendly bets, Wagner said. "Pretty much the only coin that can beat me now is the president," he said.

Soldier Injured In Iraq Recounts Tour Of Duty (AP)
AP, June 5, 2006 FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Ian Wagner had a rapid introduction to the dangers of patrolling the streets in Iraq's Abu Ghraib sector last year. "My very first patrol outside the wire, I'd been on patrol for about four hours, a bomb blew up right next to the truck in front of me," said Wagner, a 24-year-old Army combat medic who grew up in Fairbanks. That was in August 2005. Over the following six months, improvised explosive devices struck Wagner's patrol convoys 27 times. Four times, the shrapnel tore into the Humvees in which he rode. The fourth blast, on Feb. 7, sent him home to the United States with two badly damaged feet. Wagner is now in the final week of rehabilitation work at the National Naval Medical Center just outside Washington, D.C. He's walking again with a cane, but is uncertain whether he'll regain full use of his feet. "I plan on hopefully strapping on hockey skates by the end of the year," he said. Wagner's mother, Sandy Bone, flew from Fairbanks to Washington and spent about six weeks helping him recover there and in Texas. "Ian is just so fortunate that his injuries are below his ankles. Some kids are a lot less fortunate," she said Friday. Last month, Wagner received his Purple Heart medal from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson at Arlington National Cemetery, part of a ceremony to unveil a new postage stamp featuring the medal. A news release from the Department of Veterans Affairs said incorrectly that Wagner was injured in Afghanistan. Wagner had been to Afghanistan on an earlier tour, but he made it through without injury. Wagner and his sister Amy, who also lives in Fairbanks, grew up in the family's home on Peger Lake in south Fairbanks. Bone said the kids enjoyed fishing and swimming in the lake. Wagner had a talent early on for music and learned the trumpet and guitar, which he still enjoys. Wagner attended Barnette Elementary, Ryan Middle and West Valley High schools. He switched to North Pole High School, where his girlfriend attended, and traveled there by bus every morning. When he was 16, Wagner moved to Hawaii with his father, Glen Wagner, then to California and then back to Fairbanks. He joined the Army in October 2002. After being trained as a combat medic, Wagner was sent to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y. In August 2003, they left for Afghanistan and stayed until June 2004. The war there was much different from in Iraq, Wagner said. Soldiers walked for weeks at a time, carrying 80-pound backpacks through rough terrain. Even though they came under fire from mortars, rocket propelled grenades and small arms, he said, the enemy wasn't as fearsome as in Iraq. "It just seems in Iraq they're more gathered, and they're more capable, they have more means," he said. After arriving in Baghdad in August 2005, Wagner's 1st Brigade went to work trying to clear the "bad guys" from the Abu Ghraib sector. "We shut down the problems we were having in the area and turned it over to the Iraqi army and moved on," he said. "When we arrived there were significantly more IEDs going off than when we left. After three or four months, we were able to pull out most of the bad guys from the area." Wagner said the soldiers were well-received in most neighborhoods. "I've been walking down the street and had mothers come out and say 'thank you' in my own language and hug me," he said. Some neighborhoods were hostile, though, and he sensed that "people would shoot you if they could." After a few IED explosions, Wagner said, "you get a bit of a Superman complex," even though the close calls were deadly serious. "It'll make you dizzy, it gives you a concussion," he said. The Army has found the most effective strategy to clear neighborhoods is to "flood" the area with soldiers looking for information on the enemy, Wagner said. "Then anybody in that neighborhood could be the ones giving information," he said. With the information, soldiers would quickly raid homes. 25

On Feb. 7, Wagner had to work on himself. They were returning from a patrol in western Baghdad. "We were pretty close to being to our gate," he said. The IED exploded on the right side of the Humvee. The vehicle's armored walls stopped the shrapnel, but some got through the floor. A piece went through Wagner's right foot and hit his left, damaging an artery. "I didn't really realize I was hit until my gunner told me my boot was bleeding," he said. Staff Sgt. Mario Singer, one of three other soldiers in the Humvee, also caught a bolt in one foot. The Humvee was "completely incapacitated," Wagner said, so another vehicle pulled it to a safer spot. Wagner, unable to walk and bleeding badly from his artery, put the initial dressing on his own feet with the help of another soldier. They then called in a helicopter. Several transfers and days later, he arrived at the Bethesda hospital. Wagner credits the new "up-armored" M1114 Humvees for saving him, along with a lot of other soldiers. "They've saved a lot more lives than I have as a medic," he said of the armored vehicles. At some point shortly after his injury, Wagner called his mom. "He said, 'Mom, I've been hit, but I'm OK. It's not my hands,'" Bone said. He could still play the guitar. Now, he can walk again, too. Wagner is staying at a hall on the Walter Reed Army Medical Center grounds in Washington but has been treated at the naval center in Bethesda, Md. That's where his foot specialist works. "He's done a great job with my feet," Wagner said. Bone said the military is treating her son and other injured soldiers well. "I think it was just very top drawer all the way," she said. "With the amount of injured coming through and the kind of injuries, I really felt the kids were getting taken care of." After an initial two-week stay in Washington, the Army released Wagner to his mother's care. He was still in a wheelchair, which wouldn't have worked well at Bone's waterless cabin in Fairbanks, so they headed for Bone's mother's home in Texas instead. Bone's employer, Aircomm Avionics, "were so good to me," she said. After about a month in Texas, they returned to Fairbanks, where Wagner spent another month. After returning to Washington in May, a sergeant in the medical holding company at Walter Reed asked him if he wanted to participate in the Purple Heart ceremony, where he met Secretary Nicholson. Wagner also met Donald Rumsfeld on one of the defense secretary's visits to the hospital. He gave Wagner one of his personalized coins, a token that top military personnel often present to people they meet. Soldiers use the coins as trump in friendly bets, Wagner said. "Pretty much the only coin that can beat me now is the president," he said.


"There's no gun fight that way," he said. "Everything goes down peacefully. Any day that I don't have to do work is a good

Options Open For Nursing Home (CCT)
By Bonita Brewer The Contra Costa Times, June 6, 2006 Despite a long silence from Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson on the subject, hope remains alive that the Veterans Affairs nursing home south of Livermore will stay in its pastoral setting. Jay Halpern, a special assistant to Nicholson, says he does not think the idea of keeping the nursing home at the existing Arroyo Road site will be taken off the table when it comes to options Nicholson wants studied further. "I don't believe so; in my opinion it won't be," Halpern said last week.. "You are not going to see one option (studied) here." Following two public hearings last year, Nicholson was to review a report from consultants and select which alternatives to the nursing home he wants to be explored in full-blown business plans. Those top options were to then be subject to another public meeting in late 2005 or early 2006. But his list is not yet ready under a complicated review process that involves potential reorganization of 17 VA medical sites nationwide. "He has Livermore and 16 other sites under review," Halpern said. "We want to make sure we're being consistent across all sites in the way decisions come out. "When that process is completed, we will make an announcement regarding which options should be studied. We want to make sure veterans have a modern nursing home that's going to meet the health care needs over the next 20 to 30 years and 26

we want to make sure we put that in the most accessible place for veterans. Third, we want to assure taxpayer resources are utilized the best." VA officials say the plan is to replace old, costly-to-repair buildings with modern clinics and facilities and bring services closer to where veterans live. In 2004, then-VA Secretary Anthony Principi called for closing Livermore's 40,000 square feet of outpatient clinics and the construction of a new 75,000-square-foot facility in the East Bay and expansion of clinic facilities in the Central Valley. Although Principi called for a new nursing home, he did not promise it would stay on the 112-acre Arroyo Road property -leading to protests from veterans who love the peaceful setting. In September, a federal advisory panel opposed further study of a stand-alone nursing home at the Livermore site but recommended studying a different option: construction of a new nursing home there next to new, expanded VA outpatient clinics. A majority said that though Principi had called for closing the current Livermore clinics, nothing precluded the replacement facility from going up at the same site. Among other options it recommended for further study: • A 120-bed nursing home in the Central Valley or elsewhere in the East Bay, either as a stand-alone facility or located near VA clinics. • In efforts to satisfy veterans in the Central Valley and in Alameda County, and despite potentially high costs, two new, smaller nursing homes, one in each area. Regardless of whether the nursing home stays or is relocated, "We have a lot of underutilized land on the Livermore campus and all options have a proposed study of reuse," Halpern said. "It's really not an either-or situation. We can still reuse portions of the campus, and the secretary can also add an option that wasn't considered." Once Nicholson's list is released, the commission will conduct yet another hearing in Livermore for public comment.

Shrine To Bravery (MDJ)
By Katie Fallon Marietta Daily Journal (OH), June 6, 2006 CANTON - Although the ceremony started out under a sweltering sun, the crowd nonetheless braved the heat Sunday to attend the official dedication of the Georgia National Cemetery. Located off Interstate 575 between Canton and Cartersville, the 775-acre site was donated by the late Atlanta native and World War II veteran Scott Hudgens and offers visitors multiple scenic views of both the Blue Ridge Mountains and Lake Allatoona. Phase one of construction covers 110 acres of the site and will include 29,000 gravesites, 3,000 columbaria niches, 765 inground garden niches for cremated remains and a garden for scattering ashes. Cemetery director Sandy Beckley said phase one of the site's construction should be complete by the spring of 2007. She said eventually, the cemetery will provide a final resting place for more than 38,000 veterans and their family members. The keynote speaker for the afternoon dedication was U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson. A 30-year Army veteran, Nicholson said the mere presence of those gathered at the dedication proves the significance of the contribution made by those who will come to rest in the cemetery. "We are gathered in a shrine to the measure of the bravery in this field of immortality," Nicholson said. "We who are here should feel humbled to dedicate to the memories of the men and women who stood for freedom in war and those who stood in peace with that uniform on willing to be engaged in war and all to whom we owe an eternal debt of gratitude." Nicholson said because more and more veterans are passing away every day - to the tune of 1,800 every day - it is particularly important to have sites like the Georgia National Cemetery where heroes of the armed forces can be laid to rest. "It is quite another thing to stand under the Georgia sun and listen to the sharp crack of rifles and the haunting solo of a bugler's 'Taps' as an everyday citizen who once wore the uniform of his country is laid to rest," Nicholson said. "If our national cemeteries are accurate gauges of our devotion to the selfless sacrifices to those who have worn the uniform, then we Americans can be justifiably proud as a nation for our sympathy, respect and loyalty to our departed citizen soldiers." Pete Wheeler, the Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Veterans Service, also made remarks at the Sunday dedication and in particular, noted the generous contribution of Hudgens. Calling Hudgens a "great American," Wheeler said Hudgens' first contribution to his country was his WWII service when he participated in the D-Day landing on Normandy, a date whose 62nd anniversary will be celebrated Tuesday. Wheeler said Hudgens originally came to him and said he had a vision to create a space for a national cemetery much like the cemetery in Normandy what overlooks the French coast. 27

Hudgens did indeed donate all 775 acres of land the new cemetery sits on to the Veterans Administration. Wheeler, though, said he had one regret. "We regret very much that our friend Mr. Hudgens did not live to see this cemetery completed" Wheeler said. "I have a feeling that Scott is looking down smiling right now as we dedicate this beautiful cemetery." In his closing remarks, Nicholson said the Georgia National Cemetery was the newest jewel in the crown of honor that America places so firmly on the heads of its defenders. "It is our sworn duty to never forget their service and to honor their gift of freedom," Nicholson said. The Georgia National Cemetery will serve the burial needs of veterans and their immediate families for the next 50 years. The cemetery will eventually include 16 interment areas, three committal shelters, a scattering garden and a public information center. Those eligible for burial in the cemetery include any active duty member of the armed forces who served honorably at the time of their death, any veteran discharged other than dishonorably, reservists and National Guard members who were entitled to retired pay at the time of their death or those who would have if not under the age of 60, and spouses and minor children of service members and eligible veterans.

Battling Stresses Of War (CHIT)
By Mike Dorning, Washington Bureau Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2006 Experts: Iraq `pressure cooker' takes psychological toll `It's a pressure cooker. It's a 24/7 situation in which you're constantly worried about your safety.' WASHINGTON -- Allegations that U.S. Marines massacred as many as 24 innocent civilians in Haditha provide a dire illustration of the psychological stresses and moral tests that service members face in their fight against Iraq's unrelenting insurgency. This is a war without front lines against an enemy who wears no uniform. Death can come at any moment, from a bomb hidden along a road or a mortar round lobbed onto a base. And often, in the angry moments after a comrade's life is ripped away, there is no readily identifiable enemy to confront--only a foreign population in which friend, foe and bystander may seem indistinguishable. "It's a pressure cooker. It's a 24/7 situation in which you're constantly worried about your safety, about danger," said Matthew Friedman, executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While no one argues that such pressure is an excuse for wartime atrocities, there are clear signs that the mission is taking a psychological toll on U.S. troops. An early study of veterans returning from the Iraq war found that 1 in 6 showed symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. A more recent study found that 1 in 3 Iraq veterans has sought help from a mental health professional. Many of the U.S. troops in Iraq are on their second or third tour of duty in a conflict that has stretched beyond original expectations; some have been forced to remain in the military longer than their original enlistment period. The Marine unit in Haditha was on its third rotation in Iraq when the incident allegedly occurred Nov. 19. The same month a year earlier, on a previous tour of duty, the unit had been engaged in fierce house-to-house fighting in the battle to retake Fallujah from insurgents. "The multiple tours just make the pressure worse," said Dr. Arthur Blank, an Army psychiatrist during the Vietnam War and former national director of a Veterans Administration counseling program who now treats Vietnam and Iraq veterans in private practice in Bethesda, Md. The Pentagon has yet to release its report on the Haditha incident. The military began investigating in February after Time magazine sought comment on its findings that Marines in Haditha had executed non-combatants in homes after a roadside bomb killed a Marine. Among the dead were women, children and an elderly man who used a wheelchair, according to the magazine's report, which was published in March. The Defense Department recently warned senior members of Congress that its investigation was pointing toward evidence of a rampage by Marines and a cover-up by superiors. Last week, all U.S. troops in Iraq were ordered to undergo "core values" training covering treatment of non-combatants. The military also has said it is investigating an incident in Hamandiya in which Marines allegedly took an Iraqi man from his house and executed him by the side of a road. 28

Speaking to reporters Friday at the Pentagon via a teleconference from Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, chief of staff at the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said troops "could snap" under the severe pressures of fighting the insurgency. "It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to look into them," Campbell said. "But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could snap." Most units don't cross line Many units in Iraq have faced similar circumstances--more than 2,400 Americans have died there, often from roadside bombs--without resorting to atrocities. Still, they have shared many of the same stresses and swirling passions. "They get attacked and ambushed all the time. And they want to take it out on somebody in some physical way. But you very seldom see the enemy," said Greg Wilcox, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who is a consultant to the military on urban warfare and counterinsurgency operations. Maj. Peter Kilner, a West Point professor who has researched combat stress, said the military relies on ground-level leaders, particularly the lieutenants who command platoons and sergeants who run squads, to keep those passions in check. "The difference between soldiers doing the right thing when they're off on the edge and falling into the abyss is leadership," Kilner said, reaching back to the 1968 My Lai massacre in South Vietnam to make his point. "Why did some platoons at My Lai do that and others not? Different platoon leaders." Haditha, located on the Euphrates River about 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, is in Anbar province, a stronghold of the insurgency heavily populated by Sunni Arabs hostile to the United States. Insurgents often have used Haditha and nearby villages as way stations to smuggle fighters, weapons and supplies along the river between Syria and Baghdad. The proclaimed leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is reported to have stayed at times in Haditha. One measure of the alienation of the local population: Of 90,000 Haditha residents, only 150 turned out to vote in October's constitutional referendum, according to The Associated Press. Civilians thought complicit Marines stationed elsewhere in the province have sometimes complained bitterly during interviews in Iraq about a civilian population that they consider complicit in the deaths of comrades by withholding information about impending attacks. One Marine stationed in Ramadi in 2004 described being ambushed by an insurgent wielding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher who clearly had been waiting in an alley beside a block of shops. Though the insurgent had been within sight of the shops and waited long enough to leave a half-eaten bowl of grapes by his chair, no Iraqi civilian warned the Marine platoon it was walking into an ambush, the Marine said. Three years into the U.S. presence in Iraq, a remarkable distance remains between U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. Because of the insurgency and concerns about force protection, troops mostly stay inside heavily fortified compounds apart from local communities, unless they are out for a patrol or other official duty. Because of shortages of interpreters, convoys may move through towns with no one who speaks the local language. Foot patrols frequently have only one interpreter, meaning squads cannot easily communicate. Though units destined for Iraq receive specialized preparations, the military's overall training and education efforts remain geared largely toward maneuver warfare in which uniformed armies clash rather than the multidimensional struggles of counterinsurgency operations. Troops also must operate in an unfamiliar culture, which can create misunderstanding and friction that can be a problem in the hinterlands of Iraq where tribal customs run deep. "Our folks are over there with--never mind the language gap--very little cultural training or understanding. It's just not a part of the world we're familiar with as a nation," said Blank, the former Army psychiatrist. "That's chillingly like Vietnam."

`It's A Pressure Cooker' For U.S. Marines In Iraq (BVND)
By Mike Dorning The Belleville News Democrat (IL), June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON - Allegations that U.S. Marines massacred as many as 24 innocent civilians in Haditha provide a dire illustration of the psychological stresses and moral tests that service members face in their fight against Iraq's unrelenting insurgency. This is a war without front lines against an enemy who wears no uniform. Death can come at any moment, from the blast of a bomb hidden along a road or a mortar round lobbed onto a base. And often, in the angry moments after a comrade's life is 29

ripped away, there is no readily identifiable enemy to confront - only a foreign population in which friend, foe and bystander may seem indistinguishable. "It's a pressure cooker. It's a 24/7 situation in which you're constantly worried about your safety, about danger," said Matthew Friedman, executive director of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. While no one is arguing that such pressure is an excuse for wartime atrocities, there are clear signs that the mission is taking a psychological toll on U.S. troops. An early study of veterans returning from the Iraq war found one in six showed symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder. A more recent study found that one in three Iraq veterans has sought help from a mental health professional. Many of the U.S. troops in Iraq are now on their second or third tour of duty in a conflict that has stretched beyond original expectations; some have been forced to remain in the military longer than their original enlistment period. The Marine unit in Haditha was on its third rotation in Iraq when the incident allegedly occurred Nov. 19. The same month a year earlier, on a previous tour of duty, the unit had been engaged in fierce house-to-house fighting in the battle to retake Fallujah from insurgents. "The multiple tours just make the pressure worse," said Dr. Arthur Blank, an Army psychiatrist during the Vietnam War and former national director of a Veterans Administration counseling program who now treats Vietnam and Iraq veterans in private practice in Bethesda, Md. The Pentagon has yet to release its report on the Haditha incident, an investigation begun in February after Time magazine sought comment on its findings that Marines in Haditha had executed non-combatants in homes after a roadside bomb killed a Marine. Among the dead were children and an elderly man who used a wheelchair, according to the magazine's report, which was published in March. The Defense Department recently warned senior members of Congress that its investigation was pointing toward evidence of a rampage by Marines and a cover-up by superiors. Last week, all U.S. troops in Iraq were ordered to undergo "core values" training covering treatment of non-combatants. On Sunday, Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, promised a thorough investigation of the Haditha incident and said it would be wrong to let "the emotions of the day weigh into the process." The military also has acknowledged it is investigating an incident in Hamandiya in which Marines allegedly took an Iraqi man from his house and executed him by the side of a road. Speaking to reporters Friday at the Pentagon via a teleconference from Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell, the chief of staff at the U.S. military headquarters in Iraq, said troops "could snap" under the severe pressures of fighting the insurgency. "It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to look into them," Campbell said. "But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could snap." Many units in Iraq have faced similar circumstances - more than 2,400 Americans have died in Iraq, often from roadside bombs - but the units have not resorted to atrocities. Still, they have shared many of the same stresses and swirling passions. "They get attacked and ambushed all the time. And they want to take it out on somebody in some physical way. But you very seldom see the enemy," said Greg Wilcox, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who is a consultant to the military on urban warfare and counterinsurgency operations. Maj. Peter Kilner, a West Point professor who has done research on combat stress, said the military relies on ground-level leaders, particularly the lieutenants who command platoons and sergeants who run squads, to keep those passions in check. "The difference between soldiers doing the right thing when they're off on the edge and falling into the abyss is leadership," Kilner said, reaching back to the 1968 My Lai massacre in South Vietnam to make his point. "Why did some platoons at My Lai do that and others not? Different platoon leaders." Haditha, located on the Euphrates River about 150 miles northwest of Baghdad, is in Anbar province, a stronghold of the insurgency heavily populated by Sunni Arabs hostile to the United States. Insurgents often have used Haditha and nearby villages as way stations to smuggle fighters, weapons and supplies along the river between Syria and Baghdad. The proclaimed leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, is reported to have at times stayed in Haditha. One measure of the alienation of the local population: Of 90,000 Haditha residents, only 150 turned out to vote in last October's constitutional referendum, according to The Associated Press. Marines stationed elsewhere in the province have sometimes complained bitterly during interviews conducted in Iraq about a civilian population that they consider complicit in the deaths of comrades by withholding information on impending attacks. Ground troops in Iraq have said that they often have reason to believe neighbors are aware of bombs hidden by insurgents on roads but that they are rarely tipped to the locations. 30

One Marine stationed in Ramadi in 2004 described being ambushed by an insurgent wielding a rocket-propelled grenade launcher who had clearly been waiting in an alleyway beside a block of shops. Though the insurgent had been within sight of the shops and waited long enough to leave a half-eaten bowl of grapes by his chair, no Iraqi civilian had warned the Marine platoon that it was walking into an ambush, the Marine said. Three years into the U.S. presence in Iraq, a remarkable distance remains between U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians. Because of the insurgency and concerns about force protection, troops mostly stay inside heavily fortified compounds apart from local communities, unless they are out for a patrol or other official duty. Because of shortages of interpreters, convoys may move through towns with no one who speaks the local language. Foot patrols frequently have only one interpreter, meaning individual squads cannot easily communicate. Even within earshot of reporters, U.S. troops in Iraq often refer to locals with the pejorative "hajji" - an ironic epithet because in Arabic the word is a term of respect reserved for those who have made the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Though units destined for Iraq receive specialized preparations, the military's overall training and education efforts remain geared largely toward maneuver warfare in which uniformed armies clash rather than the multidimensional struggles of counterinsurgency operations. Troops also must operate in an unfamiliar culture, which can create misunderstanding and friction that can be a problem in the hinterlands of Iraq where tribal customs run deep. "Our folks are over there with - never mind the language gap - very little cultural training or understanding. It's just not a part of the world we're familiar with as a nation," said Blank, the Army psychiatrist. "That's chillingly like Vietnam."

Sleep Deprivation, Stress Compromise Moral Judgments In Combat (NNS)
By David Wood Newhouse News Service (NNS), June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- While the specifics have yet to emerge in the alleged murder of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines last fall, it is clear that troops in Iraq are laboring under enormous stress that can intensify feelings of helplessness and rage and sap their ability to make moral judgments, military psychiatrists say. Typically, there are too few Marines for the enormous job of providing security, meaning they endure long bouts of extremely high-risk operations with insufficient sleep. They often lose buddies in ambushes or bombings by unseen insurgents, leaving them no one to fight back. And in contrast to past conflicts, they suffer casualties in unpredictable clusters: a sniper's bullet or suicide bomber can as suddenly strike a seasoned and alert sergeant or colonel as a greenhorn private. At issue are reports that members of 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment, led by an experienced staff sergeant, went on a killing spree after one of their unit was killed in a bomb blast during a routine patrol in Haditha, a dusty town in al-Anbar Province west of Baghdad. None of the experts who agreed to discuss the incident said the extreme conditions in Iraq could excuse the killing of innocent civilians. But they sought to understand how such an atrocity might happen. The military's first response was to dispatch senior leaders to lecture soldiers and Marines in Iraq on what Army Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, who commands all U.S. and allied ground forces there, called "core warrior values," including "moral and ethical standards on the battlefield." Gen. Michael W. Hagee, Marine Corps commandant, in a message to all Marines, acknowledged that counterinsurgency operations in Iraq have been difficult and bloody. "The effects of these events can be numbing," he wrote. "There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life." Hagee urged Marines to recognize that honor means "uncompromising personal integrity ... the moral courage to do the `right thing' in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines." But such messages may be off the point and even insulting to troops who know right from wrong, expert observers said. "There is clear evidence that young Marines today do not want to be murderers," said Dr. Jonathan Shay, a Veterans Administration psychiatrist who advises top Marine Corps leaders on issues of combat stress. "The question is why sometimes does this happen?" The chilling suggestion is that a phrase heard commonly among combat troops -- "Kill them all and let God sort them out later" -- came to ugly fruition in Haditha. "That is the literal voice of extreme sleep loss," said Shay, in which `you cannot tell the difference between a friendly and a hostile and a protected person, you just fire them all up. You just kill them all." U.S. forces have endured years of vicious attacks in Haditha, including one last August in which insurgents wired together three 155 mm artillery shells and blew up a 28-ton armored amphibious vehicle, killing 14 Marines. That same month, insurgents 31

ambushed and killed a six-man Marine sniper team, later boasting of the attack on a video that featured shots of the Marines' weapons and dog tags. Among combat Marines, "there is always a significant load of shame and guilt," said Navy Capt. Bill Nash, a psychiatrist who heads the Marine Corps' combat stress program. "A Marine feels guilt over surviving an event when someone close to him didn't, self-reproach for not having done something, not having raised his weapon faster or seen the sniper in the window. "Even having stress symptoms makes them ashamed, because they feel they're not living up to the ideal of Marine honor and their loyalty to that ideal." Lack of sufficient sleep can exacerbate the reaction to these stresses. Said Shay, "I would bet you will find the footprints of extreme sleep loss in not only the junior enlisted Marines but especially in their leaders at all levels." Shay has lectured to senior Marine Corps leaders on the dangers of sleep deprivation and the "macho" Marine culture of the tough warrior that can lead to it. "The neuroscience research at this point is unmistakable," he said. Ethical and moral judgments are performed by the brain's frontal lobes, where the emotions are centered, he said. "And sleep is the gas that makes the frontal lobes go." The Marine Corps is legendarily tough on discipline. From the first seconds of a recruit's collision with his drill instructor, uncompromising discipline is the single recurring principle that runs through a Marine's life. So does the concept of brotherhood or love, the bond that binds Marines and is so strengthened in combat that some refer to it as a mothering instinct: the willingness to sacrifice oneself so the other will be safe. When that drive is frustrated -- when a Marine believes he failed to protect the comrade killed by a remote-detonated bomb -- there can be an explosive impulse for revenge and to recapture lost honor, Shay said. "If you have killed my buddy, you have stolen my honor, and the only way I can restore it is to kill you," he said. "This is a very widespread and strongly conserved cultural pattern, and many people either just feel it or are led to it by their leaders." Shay recalled a combat veteran whose sergeant in Vietnam, after the unit had suffered several casualties, advised him, "Don't get sad -- get even." "Whether this is hard-wired into us or is a very ancient cultural pattern I haven't a clue," Shay said. "But it sure as hell is powerful and widespread. "Not surprisingly, you find it in a Marine platoon." Regarding the events alleged to have occurred at Haditha, Shay said, "The real question is, did it arise spontaneously from the emotions and culture of the junior enlisted Marines, or were they goaded into it by their direct leaders? "Or were both true, where the junior enlisted Marines may have wanted emotional payback and the leadership failed to say, `No! Don't do that! It's bad for America. We don't take revenge, we don't go around killing people just because it makes us feel better."' Like the other services, the Marine Corps has ramped up its combat-stress program with a pilot project called OSCAR, for Operational Stress Control and Readiness. The idea is to embed mental health professionals, along with chaplains and staff noncommissioned officers, in deployed units to provide immediate on-site care. But the program, in the midst of a war that is demanding second and third tours of personnel, has insufficient resources. Success depends on getting experienced NCOs to work on the teams, and "in order to fully staff the teams, you have to take a seasoned warfighter out of a line rifle company," said Nash, who worked with the 1st Marine Division during the battle of Fallujah in 2004. "So you can imagine this has been a little difficult." Deployed to Iraq as a member of an OSCAR team, Nash said he took along a bottle of Prazosin, a drug commonly used to treat hypertension, or high blood pressure. "We found it works in many cases to stop the (sudden) awakening at night so that Marines can get continuous sound sleep," he said. The drug is not a sedative, so "it doesn't take away Marines' edge or their ability to respond quickly if they need to." Overall, fewer than 1 percent of 30,572 deployed Marines have been prescribed psychiatric medication, according to Marine Corps records.

VA Hospital Patient, 41, Dies After Fight At Facility (ROANOKE)
By Reed Williams Roanoke Times, June 6, 2006 A 41-year-old patient at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem died in one of the hospital's psychiatric wards after a struggle with another patient during dinner Sunday, a hospital official said. 32

Salem police said William Henry Maki Jr. of Montvale died of natural causes after the brief altercation. Dr. Del Short, chief of mental health at the hospital, also said preliminary autopsy results found evidence of heart disease. But the medical examiner's office said its finding on the cause of death was pending toxicology results. No charges were placed in the incident. "We don't feel like there's any criminal action that led to his death, so we're not going to pursue any charges at this time," said Salem police Lt. Mike Green. The incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. in a dining area in Building 8, Ward 2. Maki tried to grab a carton of milk from the other patient, and the other man tried to hold Maki off him, Short said. Neither Short nor police identified the other patient. The two men fell to the floor after a brief "holding and pushing fight," Short said. Hospital staff broke them up. Maki started turning blue about five minutes later, Short said. Hospital staff noticed and tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at 5:55 p.m. "They were never able to find a pulse," Short said. WDBJ-TV Roanoke, VA (6/5, 11:03 p.m.) reports, “A fight over a milk carton ended in the death of a patient at the VA Medical Center in Salem last night. … The dispute over a carton of milk, escalated as the two patients began holding and pushing each other. Medical staff were called to break it up. As William Henry Maki was struggling against those trying to hold him down, he started turning blue. Twenty-four minutes later Macki was declared dead.” WDBJ-TV adds, “Dr. Delmar short of the VA Hospital staff says Macki had a heart condition. Dr. Short believes the 41-year-old veteran from Montvale may have suffered a heart attack during the struggle WDBJ-TV also reported on the incident on its 12 p.m., 5 p.m., and 6 p.m. newscasts as well as on its Web site.

Patient Dies After Fight At V-A Hospital (WDBJ)
WDBJ-TV, June 6, 2006 A fight at the V-A Hospital in Salem last night ended in the death of a patient. Forty-one year old William Henry Macki of Montvale got into a "physical altercation" with another patient in Ward Two of building eight. In the course of breaking up the fight, V-A medical staff realized one of the men was in "medical distress," according to a statement released today by Salem Police. Attempts to revive Macki were unsuccessful. Salem Police are still investigating, but they do not anticipate placing charges. The Medical Examiner lists Macki's cause of death as "natural."

Stand Up, Stand Up For Wicca (CHRISTTODAY)
By John W. Whitehead, June 5, 2006 Amidst a sea of memorial plaques at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, one space remains blank. That space is waiting to be filled by a plaque honoring the life and sacrifice of 34-year-old Sgt. Patrick Stewart, who was killed in action on September 25, 2005, when his helicopter was struck with a rocket-propelled grenade as it flew over Afghanistan. But it may be some time before Sgt. Stewart is remembered with a memorial plaque. That's because his war widow and the Department of Veterans Affairs are at odds over the Stewart family's request to have the Wiccan pentacle, a five-pointed star surrounded by a circle, placed on the plaque. As of May 31, 2006, government officials have refused to allow the Wiccan symbol to be placed on Stewart's plaque. Sgt. Stewart identified himself as belonging to the Wiccan faith. Although Wiccans are not considered part of America's mainstream religious establishment, they are a growing minority. According to 2005 Defense Department statistics, approximately 1,800 active-duty service members identify themselves as belonging to the alternative religion that subscribes to magical activities and Earth worship. According to federal guidelines, only approved religious symbols—of which there are 30—can be placed on government headstones or memorial plaques. Included among the 30 approved symbols are those that represent such mainstream religions as Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Hinduism. The list also includes more obscure religions like Konko-Kyo Faith and Seicho-NoIe. And while the list does not include a symbol for the Wiccan faith, incredibly enough, it does include symbols for atheism and humanism. Whatever one's opinion might be about the Wiccan faith, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind that the First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution provides for religious freedom for all individuals of all faiths—whether they are Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, Wiccans and others. 33

The United States Supreme Court has routinely held that viewpoint discrimination by the government against particular expressions of religion is unconstitutional. In the Supreme Court's 1963 ruling in Sherbert v. Vernor, Justice William J. Brennan observed, "The door of the Free Exercise Clause stands tightly closed against any governmental regulation of religious beliefs." In that same opinion, Justice Brennan wrote that "Government may neither compel affirmation of a repugnant belief, nor penalize or discriminate against individuals or groups because they hold religious views abhorrent to the authorities." Yet by refusing to place the Wiccan symbol on Sgt. Stewart's memorial plaque, while permitting symbols of other religions and non-religions, the government is clearly engaging in viewpoint discrimination—which is a shoddy way to treat someone who has died in service to his country. Having posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to Sgt. Stewart, the U.S. government intends that he should be remembered for his bravery and sacrifice. Yet what his widow, Roberta Stewart, will remember is the fact that her husband died defending the country that is denying him the right to express his religious freedom. Hours before official Memorial Day ceremonies were set to begin at the Northern Nevada Veterans Cemetery, Patrick Stewart's widow gathered at a park a few miles away to hold an alternative service in honor of her husband, his faith and his service to his country. Speaking to a gathering of approximately 200 friends and family, Roberta Stewart declared, "This is discrimination against our religion. I ask you to help us remember that all freedoms are worth fighting for." How do we remember? We do so by renewing our resolve to preserve and protect our freedoms. As President Ronald Reagan remarked as he looked out upon a sea of headstones at Arlington National Cemetery on a Memorial Day many years ago: The sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them. Yet, we must try to honor them—not for their sakes alone, but for our own. And if words cannot repay the debt we owe these men, surely with our actions we must strive to keep faith with them and with the vision that led them to battle and to final sacrifice. If we are to keep faith with Sgt. Stewart and the other brave men and women who have died in service to the United States, then we must remember that all rights hang together. That is both the genius and the strength of the American system. Although our country was founded on a Judeo-Christian base, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution understood that religious freedom was for everyone, not just Christians. In other words, the only way that freedom can prevail for Christians is for Christians to stand up and fight for the minority beliefs and religions of others. Without it, freedom will most likely be lost. And we will be left wondering whose freedoms we are really fighting for. Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. He can be contacted at Information about The Rutherford Institute is available at

Officials Discuss How To Divide Up Fort Gillem (CND)
Clayton (GA) News Daily, June 6, 2006 Congressman David Scott emerged from a closed door Monday afternoon session of officials to discuss the future of Fort Gillem land and said he is optimistic that a three-prong approach to use the land will eventually come together. It includes keeping a military presence on the 1,400 acre fort that is slated to be closed later this decade, having a permanent Homeland Security and FEMA presence and turning more than 900 acres over to Forest Park and Clayton County for redevelopment. Scott, who fought unsuccessfully to keep the fort off the federal cost-cutting closing list, said it is “critical” to keep the federal presence on the base with the world’s busiest passenger airport nearby and with disasters looming on the Southeast like hurricanes. “It would be a catastrophic mistake not to have some level of military presence in this Atlanta area,” Scott said. The plan calls for leaving about 250 acres in the control of the Army and the Reserves which has a state-of-the-art crime unit and an intelligence presence and for giving 264 acres to FEMA to store needed trailers and emergency response equipment and to have a command closer to the coastal areas that could be hit with another Katrina-like disaster. Col. Angela Manos-Sittnick, garrison commander of Fort Gillem, said the security needed to protect the existing and expanding facilities that would stay on the fort would not be a problem, by simply shrinking the area of guarded space to the actual facilities. She said she doesn’t believe this would pose any problem of having the redeveloped property and the military presence adjoining each other. Col. Manos-Sittnick said the timetable is for the development plan to be in place by September 2007 and for the whole process of turning over the fort to be completed by Sept. 15, 2011. Regardless of what else is decided, the crime lab that does forensics investigations for the Army and helps other branches of the military, and the intelligence facility, that provides intelligence worldwide, would stay put. First Army, which is the largest presence at Gillem, would be moved to Rhode Island. 34

The ultimate pulling out of Fort Gillem would be phased in, the colonel said. With a military presence staying, Col. Manos-Sittnick said the number of military personnel left or brought into the facility is “only limited by space and you can put a lot of soldiers on 250 acres.” Scott said another meeting of the officials planning the future of the fort land will be held in early August. A fair market value of land to be sold to Forest Park and Clayton County for redevelopment would have to be set. Scott said since the federal government could hold onto about 500 acres this is a matter of a reshuffling of titles rather than buying the land. Also some of those attending the meeting Monday were Forest Park Mayor Corine Deyton, County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell, Redevelopment Authority Chairman Shane Short, Joseph Whitaker, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for installations and housing, Kelly Kelkenberg,, director of F.E.M.A. regional office of National Preparedness. The federal agency has said it wants to use 300 of the 812 surplus acres available at Gillem for trailers and office space, and possibly its regional headquarters. That could interfere with plans the redevelopment authority has for a mixed-use development, said Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee Executive Director Philip Y. Browning. “The more they take, they less we have to redevelop,” Browning told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “It will help the (local redevelopment authority) a lot if FEMA can reduce its presence,” Browning said. The U.S. Department of Defense closed more than 180 installations nationwide under BRAC, including the Georgia closures, which were the state’s first. The redevelopment authorities are now in the process of working with homeless advocates to determine if and how the closed bases can be used to assist local homeless populations — in accordance with a federal law requiring officials to take affordable housing and homelessness into account when deciding how to use closed bases. The bases were made available to federal agencies earlier this year. An American Indian tribe and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expressed interest in the Navy School, but neither presented a formal proposal. Holly Reed, the base reuse coordinator, said an ad will be placed in the newspaper soliciting interested users through early November. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

FEMA Interest In Ft. Gillem Could Affect Future Of Closed Base (AP)
AP, June 6, 2006 FOREST PARK, Ga. How much of an interest the Federal Emergency Management Agency takes in Fort Gillem could affect plans to redevelop the base _ one of four closed by the military under the Base Realignment and Closure process. The federal agency has said it wants to use 300 of the 812 surplus acres available at Gillem for trailers and office space, and possibly its regional headquarters. That could interfere with plans the redevelopment authority has for a mixed-use development, said Georgia Military Affairs Coordinating Committee Executive Director Philip Y. Browning. "The more they take, they less we have to redevelop," Browning said in a telephone interview Monday before a meeting headed by U.S. Rep. David Scott to address the future of Fort Gillem. "It will help the (local redevelopment authority) a lot if FEMA can reduce its presence," Browning said. The government and the community discussed the issue for more than two hours Monday in an effort to move forward with plans for the base. The redevelopment process is also moving forward with the three other Georgia bases _ Fort McPherson, the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens and Naval Air Station-Atlanta. Scott said Monday's meeting was a good "beginning step in responding to the BRAC process" that could serve as a model for other bases undergoing the same changes. "Many other forts were completely closed. This one was not," Scott told reporters at a news conference outside the gates of Fort Gillem after the meeting. What's certain is that FEMA facilities, along with the National Guard, will be located at Fort Gillem. The base's proximity to the airport and location in a region prone to natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes made it especially valuable. A plan is due by September 2007, and it must be implemented by September 15, 2011, though the redevelopment could be completed sooner, officials said. The U.S. Department of Defense closed more than 180 installations nationwide under BRAC, including the Georgia closures, which were the state's first. The redevelopment authorities are now in the process of working with homeless advocates to determine if and how the closed bases can be used to assist local homeless populations _ in accordance with a federal law requiring officials to take affordable housing and homelessness into account when deciding how to use closed bases. The bases were made available to federal agencies earlier this year. An American Indian tribe and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs expressed interest in the Navy School, but neither presented a formal proposal. Holly Reed, the base reuse coordinator, said an ad will be placed in the newspaper soliciting interested users through early November. 35

On Tuesday, the Athens-Clarke County Commission will consider a request by the local redevelopment authority to hire a consulting firm to help develop a comprehensive reuse plan for the property to determine potential uses. The Navy School has received no proposals for redevelopment, Reed said. At Fort McPherson, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also expressed interest in buildings including medical clinics and said they were willing to pay for those buildings, Browning said. He added that the local redevelopment authority is nearly ready to hire a contractor to help them through the process and develop a reuse plan, which is not expected before September 2007. At the Naval Air Station-Atlanta in Marietta, three agencies _ the Air Force Reserve, Veterans Affairs and the National Guard _ have requested use of some of the same parcels of property there, Browning said. Officials will meet Tuesday and a decision could be reached. The remainder of the property would go to the local authority. Selling the property to the National Guard would be most beneficial for security and recruiting reasons, Browning said. "Keeping it as is, is very attractive," he said. "The migration of Georgians is coming north now, and what you want to do is recruit from where all the people are."

Coconut Creek Man Charged With Snatching VFW Donations In West Boca (FLSUNSEN)
By Leon Fooksman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 6, 2006 WEST BOCA – An 18-year-old Coconut Creek man has been charged with stealing $1,000 in donations from a military veteran who was selling Memorial Day poppies outside a Wal-Mart last week, the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office said on Monday. Acting on an anonymous tip, Norman Castillo was picked up with his girlfriend on Monday morning while they were driving. Deputies said he made incriminating statements during questioning and was arrested on a grand theft count. The girlfriend was not charged. Castillo is accused of robbing veteran Alfred Ricco, 80, who was selling the red plastic poppies for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10556 in Boca Raton. Ricco was outside the Wal-Mart store, at 22100 State Road 7 , around 10 a.m. on May 27, a Saturday, when the thief grabbed a collection jug full of money and sped off in a black car. Deputies said Castillo used the stolen money to purchase audio speakers for his girlfriend's car. Since the robbery, the VFW post has received checks and cash valued at $5,000 and many letters of support. "I had no idea people were going to be so generous," said veteran Al Lesser, who is post quartermaster. "We actually gained from this loss." The VFW holds two 28-day poppy drives annually. The first drive ends around Memorial Day and usually raises about $7,000. Ricco was helping out on the last day of the drive when he was robbed. The money the group collects throughout the year buys clothes and candy for disabled veterans at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach. It also helps bring entertainment such as bingo and horse racing games to the hospitalized veterans in wheelchairs. Individual donations after the theft ranged from $8 to $1,500. The largest came from Beau Payne, of Davie, who said he wanted to commemorate Memorial Day by helping recoup the stolen money. "I felt really bad that somebody would be such a lowlife to do something like this," he said. "People get so wrapped up in whether they are in favor or against the war that they forget about the sacrifices soldiers make to fulfill their duties." Staff Writer Paola Iuspa-Abbott contributed to this report. She can be reached at or 561-2436631 WPEC-TV West Palm Beach, FL (6/5, 12:01 p.m.) reports, “Deputies think they have nabbed the have nabbed the guy who stole about a thousand bucks from local veterans.”

Eastern Boca Man Charged With Stealing From Veterans (WFOR)
WFOR-TV, June 6, 2006 (CBS4 News) BOCA RATON The donations were supposed to help disabled veterans, but police in Boca Raton say that the money went instead into the pockets of of a man who asked questions of the peoples raising the money. Now, Norman Castillo can try raising bail, after police charged him with grand theft. Police say World War Two veteran Alfred Ricco was selling plastic red poppies outside a Boca Raton Wal-Mart when Castillo approached him about the fund-raiser. Ricco says he explained that the sale would benefit the VA Medical Center and that Castillo promised to make a donation when he left the store. 36

Instead, police say Castillo grabbed the jug Ricco was using to collect donations and jumped into a car. Police say he made off with an estimated $1,000. Castillo was picked up this morning while driving in a car with his girlfriend. Police say Castillo made incriminating statements during questioning. The girlfriend was not charged.

Man Arrested After Stealing From WWII Veteran Fund-Raiser (AP)
AP, June 5, 2006 BOCA RATON, FL (AP) -- A man who stole one thousand dollars in donations for disabled veterans in Boca Raton has been caught. Norman Castillo was picked up this morning while driving in a car with his girlfriend. Police say Castillo made incriminating statements during questioning. The girlfriend was not charged. Police say World War Two veteran Alfred Ricco was selling plastic red poppies outside a Boca Raton Wal-Mart when Castillo approached him about the fund-raiser. Ricco says he explained that the sale would benefit the VA Medical Center and that Castillo promised to make a donation when he left the store. Instead, police say Castillo grabbed the jug Ricco was using to collect donations and jumped into a car. Castillo faces grand theft charges.

Alabama, Arizona Veterans Warned Of Prostate Exam Danger. WJSU-TV Birmingham, AL (6/5, 5:12 p.m.)
reports, “The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says 22,000 men may have been treated with improperly sterilized equipment. The equipment was used during prostate biopsies. In Alabama, nearly 400 veterans have been notified of the problem.” KTVK-TV Phoenix (6/5, 5:33 p.m.) reports, “About 230 veterans in the Valley were notified to the possibility they could've been exposed to HIV because of a medical mistake. The VA says the warning is just a precaution.”

Veteran Investigates After VA Letter Tells Him He’s Dead. WTVT-TV Tampa, FL (6/5, 5:00 p.m.) reports, ‘Bill
Howell has been through three tours of duty in the Air Force, lived through three heart attacks, and a bypass surgery. But a letter mailed to him Saturday afternoon made him wonder about his own mortality.” Howell: “The first thing you see, is, ‘sorry to hear I passed away,’” and “they want their money back.” WTVT-TV reports, “It’s a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs, a note expressing sympathy for his death and asking for a past benefit check to be returned. Problem is, Clyde Howell, or Bill as he is known, is very much alive.” He “spent the morning calling the Department of Veterans Affairs trying to figure out when he died and how.”

VA Employee Honored For Service. WCSC-TV Charleston, SC (6/5, 5:07 p.m.) inducts that VA social worker William
Roberts into its “Live 5 Hall of Fame.” WCSC-TV reports, “William is always trying to help out our veterans with their problems. Sometimes even buying groceries for them or giving them a ride or even paying their bills. He wants to give back to the vets for all they have done for him and for us.” Roberts: “I look at the veterans as they were out fighting a war when I wasn't, especially the Vietnam vets. Because of their service, I can have a job here and because of their service I didn't have to go to war.” WCSCTV adds, “And the VA thinks so much of william that hugh Myrick and flo Hutchison present them with a plaque.”

Cemetery Expansion Will Provide Burial Space For The Next 10 To 12 Years (VDS)
By Patricia Steele Villages (FL) Daily Sun, June 6, 2006 BUSHNELL — The Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell became part of a long-standing American tradition to honor the men and women who served their country in the military when it opened in 1988 and, through proposed expansion, it will continue to serve veterans for the next 10 years. The tradition to provide burial space for veterans began on July 17, 1862, when Congress enacted legislation that authorized the president to acquire land to be used as national cemeteries for those who had given their lives for America. What began as a way to honor fallen Union soldiers during the Civil War has grown to include 123 national cemeteries overseen by the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Florida National Cemetery is one of these 123 burial grounds. The 512-acre site for the national cemetery was carved out of the Withlacoochee State Forest and, to date, 400 of those acres have been developed for burial sites, scatter gardens for those who choose cremation or columbariums. Plans are well under way to begin construction on another 56 acres for anticipated growth at an estimated cost of $21 million, according to cemetery director Billy Murphy. 37

“We are at approximately 90 percent capacity right now, but we are still in good shape until the construction is finished,” Murphy said. “Construction should start in 30 to 45 days and take 18 to 24 months to complete. The new construction will provide 48,000 more grave and cremation locations.” The cemetery is the second busiest national cemetery in the country, according to Murphy. By Veterans Day, sections of the new development will be finished if additional space is needed. Special services are held at the cemetery on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but the beauty of the cemetery draws people year-round — not just on holidays. Interspersed in the woods and burial areas are benches for quiet reflection and memorial trails provided by veterans’ service agencies that wind through large oak trees. The American Veterans donated a carillon on Oct. 9, 1993, which is located in the open meadow adjacent to the original administration building and it is played daily according to Murphy. “It’s a beautiful cemetery and many veterans and their spouses choose to be buried here rather than in cemeteries in their home states,” Bobby Hodges said. “The cemetery currently has 81,936 veterans and spouses interred here.” Hodges, a supervisory cemetery representative has worked at the cemetery since it first opened, and attended the first burial on June 1, 1988. He has watched the cemetery grow and change during the past 18 years. The number of interments changes daily, Hodges said. “It’s not uncommon to have 32 services a day.” Each individual who is buried at the Florida National Cemetery is owed the respect of the staff, Murphy said. “We look for employees that are caring, compassionate and sensitive to the families that use this cemetery,” Murphy said. “The families are hurting and we are here to serve the veterans and their families.” Often a veteran is brought to the cemetery who has no known living family or friends or the veteran is homeless. Once each quarter, cemetery employees have a service for these veterans. “These men and women deserve a full military funeral with honors,” Murphy said. “So, we have the honor guard present the colors; there is a gun salute and taps is played. The flag used in the ceremony, is then placed on the street of flags with the other 400 flags during special ceremonies. These veterans served their country; they should have the same respect and service as the veterans who have families to care for them.” Today, more than 24 million veterans, reservists and National Guard members with 20 years qualifying service (who are entitled to retired pay or would be entitled, if at least 60 years of age), have earned the honor of burial in a national cemetery. Veterans with discharges other than dishonorable, their spouses and dependent children may be eligible for burial in a VA national cemetery. Those who die on active duty may also be buried in a national cemetery. The cemetery is open to visitors from sunrise to sunset daily and is at 6502 SW 102nd Avenue, Bushnell. For directions and additional information call (352) 793-7740.

Veterans Cemetery Could Be Derailed (PB)
By Theresa Katalinas Philly Burbs, June 6, 2006 UPPER MAKEFIELD Plans to “swap” land and buy development rights could be sidelined indefinitely, further delaying — perhaps burying altogether — a deal to bring a national veterans cemetery to Bucks County, officials said. Earlier this week, Toll Brothers attorney Ed Murphy suggested trading about five acres of the 311-acre White parcel with a comparable portion of Upper Makefield Supervisor Bill Gunser's farm, which sits adjacent to where the Department of Veterans Affairs hopes to build a 200-acre veterans cemetery. Murphy also said the township could use open space funds to buy 27.5 acres of the White parcel from Toll and preserve it from development. Toll would keep the remainder and build 80 single family homes. At the same meeting, attorney Tracy Hunt notified the planning commission that his client, Leo Holt, a Newtown Township businessman and landowner, was interested in buying — and preserving — 94 acres of the Melsky tract from the Council Rock School District to prohibit Toll from building a proposed 90 homes there in conjunction with the cemetery. If the latter happens, John Mangano, Toll Brothers group president, said Friday, it would “absolutely” kill plans for a veterans cemetery in Upper Makefield. “There will be no cemetery if they sell to that group,” Mangano said. “I can say with all certainty that we'll continue the [conditional use] appeal [for 282 homes] and we'll file a new conditional use [application] and there will be a minimum of 250 homes on the Dolington property.” Despite the VA's announcement in January that the township would be home to Southeastern Pennsylvania's national veterans cemetery, Mangano said, “The cemetery is not a done deal.” That's why, he said, Toll filed an appeal Wednesday over zoning hearing officer William Bolla's denial of Toll's 282-home application. 38

“There's a lot of people that don't want the cemetery despite what they say,” Mangano said. “The reality is that the cemetery is a long way from getting done. We have to make sure that we continue with our other alternatives, because there is a very strong possibility that the cemetery won't happen.” But some of those alternatives might not happen either. Rich Harvey, Bucks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board administrator, said the land swap with Gunser can't be done because Gunser preserved his 229-acre farm from development. “They can't swap a portion of the easement for another parcel somewhere else,” Harvey said. “It's just not allowed.” Toll's Mangano said the builder will look into whether swapping land is possible. “It's better for the agriculture easement,” Mangano said. “It's better for our plan.” When contacted Thursday, Gunser agreed that it made sense but wondered why Toll approached the planning commission without contacting him. “I truly think it could make sense,” Gunser said. “I truly wish I didn't have to read about it in the paper and from everybody else.” Negotiating on something that the township could reject kept Toll from discussing it with Gunser, said Mangano, adding that if swapping is out, Toll's plans would have to undergo minor revisions. Preserving a portion of the Melsky or White properties would require more than slight modifications, according to Tim Duffy, Upper Makefield Environmental Advisory Council chairman. As of yet, neither Toll nor Holt has approached the EAC with a proposal to buy the development rights on the property, which is the first step in land preservation. Once a proposal is submitted — and if the EAC opts to recommend further investigation — land must be appraised and evaluated to determine if farmland preservation is on an equal plane with storm water management and preservation of groundwater. The EAC's team of attorneys, biologists and a Department of Environmental Protection employee also considers soil types, extent of buffers and linkage to other open space areas as qualifying criteria and suggests action to the board of supervisors. The “standard procedure” that Duffy said the EAC follows could get in the way of the VA's Sept. 30 deadline for acquiring 200 acres of the White property. “I know there's a lot of political ramifications to this, but that's not something we're interested in,” Duffy said. “We've turned around and closed on some deals within six months. It all depends on what else is involved with the buyers and sellers.” Mangano hoped that the process could be sped up. “Maybe something as important as this won't take six months,” Mangano said. Toll put forth the open space initiative after meeting with the Save Historic Dolington Committee, which suggested preserving the view leading into the cemetery, he said. Supervisor Chairman Daniel Worden estimated that the White property would appraise for about $60,000 to $65,000 per acre, or between $1.6 and $1.8 million. He would not say if the township would consider buying the 27.5-acre parcel. The township has $10 million in its land preservation coffers from a bond referendum voters overwhelmingly approved last year, Duffy said. Owners of land being preserved would be paid from that fund. To further complicate matters, Duffy said, Holt, of Holt Logistics, could not put the Melsky property into land preservation unless he is the equitable owner or until he has signed an agreement of sale with Council Rock. He has yet to do so, according to his attorney Hunt. In addition, Duffy said the EAC could only fund preservation of Upper Makefield land. Since, part of Melsky is located on Stoopville Road in Newtown Township, Duffy said, the land might have to be subdivided. Holt, who owns 65 acres adjacent to Melsky, was reportedly in Europe Friday, Hunt said, adding that his client might make a formal offer to the district. Council Rock has also said it is considering selling 94 acres to Toll for $7 million. The Courier Times was unsuccessful in reaching school board solicitor Derek Reid for comment. Hunt said time is of the essence — but not because of the VA's deadline. “If I'm going to have several meetings with the EAC, someone, Toll or someone else, could come and enter into an agreement of sale with the school district,” Hunt said. “We're still putting the money together. Part of what [Duffy] also needs to understand is that Mr. Holt has land that he is the equitable owner of, which he is offering to conserve as well.”Theresa Katalinas can be reached at 215-269-5081 or

World War II Veteran Shares Experiences Fighting In Europe (WTH)
By Terri Jo Ryan Waco (TX) Tribune Herald, June 6, 2006


Calvin Lee Hester, 84, acknowledges that the Greatest Generation is vanishing too quickly into the pages of history, so veterans like him have a duty to share their stories of combat and camaraderie in World War II before they join their fighting friends in the hereafter. “You don’t see many men left from World War II because they die probably about 19,000 a day,” he said. “You’re very lucky to get to talk to one.” And one thing he is adamant about is making sure military anniversaries do not pass unnoticed. Today, the 62nd anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, the beginning of the end of the Nazi stranglehold on Europe, is one such day. Hester boarded the Queen Mary, a luxury cruise liner converted into wartime service as a troop carrier, the night of June 6, 1944. He and his comrades in the U.S. Army’s 7th Armored Division were shipping out for Scotland and then traveling by train to Tidworth Barracks in Wiltshire, England. “We heard over the radio on June 6 at 5:30 p.m. that the invasion was on,” he recalled in a short war-time diary he kept. It was quite an adventure for a farm boy from Heidenheimer, Texas, a Bell County community with about 250 residents in the 1920s. Hester was the youngest of 11 children and one of the six boys in his family who all served in World War II. Hester was a student at Temple Junior College when his Uncle Sam told him to report to Fort Sam Houston in September 1943. After basic training at Camp Fannin in Tyler, he was assigned to the 7th Armored Division, Company B, 48th Armored Infantry Battalion, APO 257. He recalled praying the night of D-Day, asking Jesus to keep him safe so that he could see his native land again, especially the Statue of Liberty. After arriving in England, his division was put to work training for their role in the continued siege of the French coast. “General Patton came to talk to us,” he recalled. “I was just in my 20s, and I thought I could cuss. But it was nothing next to the way that man could cuss, I tell ya.” Patton bellowed to the soldiers that they had the finest food, equipment and the best spirit, adding he pitied those they fought, Hester said. But Patton also was blunt about the cost of taking Europe back from the Nazi war machine, he said. “Some of you are going to lose both arms and both legs,” Hester recalled the general saying. “And whoever’s left is going to take over Russia after we get rid of Hitler. We’re gonna win this war with your blood and my guts.” Hester said the men swarmed Patton after the speech, and he got to shake the general’s hand. On Aug. 6, 1944, Hester’s unit dropped ashore at Omaha Beach, at Normandy, France. Hester said he trudged to the beach in water up to his chest, his rifle over his head. He crawled on his belly up bloody sands, with tanks rolling behind the troops trying to take out the German pillboxes on the shoreline. He could see the ropes the infantry troops before them had thrown over the cliffs. That night darkness fell quickly, and Hester said the fog around the coastline made the situation seem even more ominous. “Was I scared?” he said. “I was so scared, my hair was nearly on edge. I was shaking so much, my teeth chattered. If you didn’t have the sense to be scared, there was something wrong with you. “Everybody was jittery, and I was, too. We were digging fox holes everywhere, and the mines had us scared to death.” The next night, “all hell broke loose as our tanks were shooting like hell, and artillery was pounding all around. Then came the (German) airplanes dropping flares everywhere,” Hester said. Hester and the other liberators drove through many French towns and “met some nice mademoiselles on the way to the Rhineland,” he said. They took part in operations throughout Holland, Belgium, Denmark and the Baltic. After the 7th Armored Division met the Russians in May 1945, he was shipped back to Camp Lucky Strike in England before sailing for America in July 1945. Hester’s outfit was going to be retrained for the planned invasion of the Japanese home islands, he said. He was on leave in Austin when word of the Japanese surrender came in August 1945. After his discharge, Hester went to Baylor for two years but didn’t graduate. He worked for Schmidt Engraving in Waco and then a host of odd carpentry jobs as well as the telephone company. He put in 25 years as a nursing service assistant at the Veterans Administration hospital in Waco. He retired from the VA in 1978 and started Hester Enterprises, which imprinted slogans on pens and fliers. He also worked for Winn-Dixie for the last six years the company did business in Waco. “We old war birds have to tell our stories while we still can,” he said. 40

Award Winning Art Exhibit Comes To Tallulah Falls (WNEG)
WNEG-TV, June 5, 2006 In the winter of 1984, Jim Herbert was hit by a car. He broke his neck and both of his legs. Leaving him wheelchair bound. And although his physical activities had somewhat come to an end, it was a new beginning for a hobby he has come to

"I started out with copper tooling when I was in the VA hospital. They started me with the art work of copper tooling which is pressing pictures out of copper sheet," disabled artist Jim Herbert tells NewsChannel 32. Then someone recognized his talent. "Louise Trexler who used to live here saw some of that work and said if you can do that, then you can do wood carving," he said. And the rest is history. 22 years later Jim Herbert is now an award winning artist whose work is on display at Georgia Artists with Disabilities Tour and Exhibit at Tallulah Gorge State Park. "I’ve won anywhere from honorable mention to best of show which was this year of the Artist with Disabilities program in Atlanta put on by Pilot Clubs," he said. “There are some very talented people here some very nice work," Ruby Harmon said. Jim Herbert says the head carvings on his canes have no significants. He says it's just what people like. "I just do it for people when they want something. I do it by word of mouth," he said. And he also does it because he refuses to be defeated by a handicap that limits only his body. For his mind is forever free. 39 artists are displaying their work at the exhibit. It’s four dollars per vehicle to get into the park, but the exhibit is free and open to the public.


LSU-VA Hospital Report Expected June 17 (BRADV)
Baton Rouge Advocate, June 5, 2006 A preliminary report on the proposed LSU-Veterans Affairs campus in New Orleans, which will replace Charity and University hospitals, is set for release on June 17, according to Plans for the shared facility call for a complex of teaching hospitals and research facilities on a 37-acre site. LSU would build a 10- to 12-story tower and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs would build an eight- to 10-story tower under the shared facility plan. The towers would be connected by a common building that would house a physical plant, emergency room, labs and testing equipment. The complex might also include a gene therapy research unit, a cancer center and a business incubator for biotechnology firms. Veterans Affairs estimates the cost of the project at $636 million.

Teenager Charged In VFW Robbery (FLSUNSEN)
By Leon Fooksman, South Florida Sun-sentinel South Florida Sun-Sentinel, June 6, 2006 By allegedly stealing $1,000 from veterans during the Memorial Day weekend, Norman Castillo helped the veterans' cause. "Frankly, I would like to send him a thank you note," said Al Lesser, quartermaster of the VFW Post 10556 west of Boca Raton. Castillo, 18, of Coconut Creek, was arrested Monday for allegedly stealing a jug of money from a military veteran who was seeking donations for red plastic poppies outside a Wal-Mart west of Boca Raton on May 27, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office said. He told a detective that he used the money to buy clothes in Miami and install stereo speakers in his girlfriend's car. Because of the attention generated by the theft, the Veteran of Foreign Wars post has raised at least $5,000 from donors who wanted to buy clothes, candy and entertainment events for disabled veterans at the VA Medical Center in Riviera Beach. Lesser said the additional donations will allow the post to assist veterans at another veterans hospital. "We are going to be able to help more veterans, buy more TVs and wheelchairs for them. We are so exuberant over it," said Lesser, a veteran. 41

Acting on an anonymous tip, authorities stopped Castillo and his girlfriend for questioning west of Boca Raton on Monday. Castillo admitted to robbing World War II veteran Alfred Ricco, 80, outside the store on U.S. 441, the Sheriff's Office said. He said he spent all the money taken from the donation jug. He estimated the jug had about $300. While searching Castillo's girlfriend's car, a detective found a large speaker box with a speaker. That speaker, officials suspect, was purchased with the stolen money. Castillo's girlfriend was not charged. She took Castillo to the store on May 27, parked her car and waited for him to come running, she told investigators. After Castillo told her about stealing from an "old man" at the front of the store, she drove off. Still, she was afraid and didn't want to get into trouble, she told officials. Lesser said the Sheriff's Office identified Castillo by analyzing a Wal-Mart security video and with the help of a store employee. Donations keep streaming in for the veterans causes. A $1,000 check was mailed on Monday, Lesser said. VFW holds two 28-day poppy drives annually with the goal of raising about $7,000. This year's first drive ended around Memorial Day. The VFW uses the money to buy amenities for disabled veterans not covered by the government such as underwear and candy. It donates the money to veterans receiving long-term hospital care. Ricco was helping on the last day of the drive. Castillo promised Ricco to make a donation on his way out the store. Instead, he snatched the jug and ran. "He came running faster than Jesse Owens," Ricco said. The veteran chased Castillo until he got dizzy and couldn't keep up with the youth. Ricco heard about Castillo's arrest from a detective. He said he was relieved Castillo was off the streets, but he felt bad for Castillo's parents.

Local News Motorcycle Ride Is All About The Veterans (WRH)
By Nancy Mace Waynesboro (PA) Record Herald, June 5, 2006 GREENCASTLE - Motorcycles as far as the eye could see lined a portion of Grindstone Hill Road Sunday morning as hundreds of enthusiasts awaited the start of Operation God Bless America XVI. The 1,500 people who registered raised $28,000 to benefit patients at the VA Medical Center in Martinsburg, W.Va. The funds will help to buy TVs, hearing aids, pool tables and shaving gear, etc., as well as build picnic areas. “I'm not a veteran, but I'm thankful for what the vets have done,” said A.J. Davenport of Mercersburg. He and his wife Mary Anne, who also serves as treasurer, coordinate the ride, along with a steering committee of 18 to 20 other volunteers. The ride has raised $153,000 in the last 15 years. The destination Following registration at the TA Truck Stop, the motorcyclists head down Interstate 81 to the center, where they have a picnic lunch with the vets and a ceremony to present the donation. “Whenever you see the faces of the veterans as 1,000 motorcycles pull up Š they tell us morale is the highest that day and stays high for two to three months after our visit,” Davenport said. All for them Ken and Sharon Hite of Chambersburg have been riding in the God Bless America event for six years. “This money goes directly to the vets for things that aren't covered under anything else,” noted Ken. He and Sharon belong to the Harley Owner's Group (HOG) and Keystone ABATE, two of the organizations represented at the ride. The others include Red Knights, Goldwing Road Riders Association, Military Vets Motorcycle Group, Christian Motorcycle Association, Derelicts Motorcycle Club, Washington County ABATE and Mason Dixon ABATE. The picnic with the vets is “wonderful,” according to Sharon, choking back tears. “They thank us and we say ‘we want to thank you,'” she added. Eighty-one-year-old Eldon Ensor of Warfordsburg has been leading the ride for 13 years. “I'm a regular patient down there myself. They look forward to us coming,” noted Ensor, a U.S. Navy Seal who fought in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars. The ride was a sentimental one for Mike Pappas and Dee Meckley of Mercersburg. Pappas' father John, a World War II veteran, died in the center in 1999. Attracts large crowd Riders come from all over Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia, according to Davenport. They range in age from 3- to 4-year-olds to folks in their 80s, he said. The event is always held rain or shine. 42

“The vets had to fight in all kinds of weather,” Davenport added. In addition to the $10 registration fee, volunteers sell raffle tickets, T-shirts, hats, pins and decals. Donations also are solicited from area veterans organizations, businesses and individuals. The ride was initiated by Rob McCulloh during Desert Storm in 1991 to buy personal care items for the soldiers, according to Davenport. “Before the ride was held the war was over and we went ahead and held it anyway, riding to the Peace Light in Gettysburg. “After five years it was more than one person could handle and he asked my wife and I if we would take it over.” Dana Shafer of Hagerstown, a member of the steering committee, has been helping with the ride for 11 years. “This is where my heart is.” She and fellow volunteer Judy Reese of Hagerstown milled through the crowd selling raffle tickets. The two friends raised $435 through Those Bikers the day before to buy car seats for needy families. Reese heads up the group of more than a dozen volunteers who hold fund-raisers to benefit children. Barry Stevens, another organizer, is the national coordinator of God Bless America. Stevens of East Berlin, served with the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. “I travel all over trying to get more runs started, I know in my heart, this movement is going to grow.”

Can Open Source Save Your Life? (ZD)
By Dana Blankenhorn ZDNet, June 5, 2006 Hospitals are the toughest nut to crack in the IT business. The systems they need are complex. They must be highly-networked, and they have to deal with tons of regulations. A hospital of 75-200 beds will pay as much as $18-20 million for a new IT system. Many do without, or use old systems bought over time. Wonder why you have to fill out a paper form each time you see a new doctor, and why every doctor's frontoffice is filled with file folders? That's why. For nearly 25 years the Veterans Administration has been fighting this paperwork battle. And it's been winning with a home-grown system called VistA. A few years ago Scott Shreeve, a former ER doctor, decided to build an open source business around it under the name Medsphere, with his brother Steve. (Kenneth Kizer, a former VA official, is CEO.) Medsphere's version is based on a Sourceforge project called OpenVista, built on a Linux stack. "The source code is in the public domain, available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Shreeve explained. "It's not an open source license, it's public domain - that's a major distinction. It's the freest thing possible. "The VA has thrown code over the fence, but there has not been a community to catch it and expand it in a traditional open source manner. A lot of the things you are used to in open source aren't there. There's no super-strong development community, just a lot of users." So that's what Medsphere is working with. They figure they can sell 85% of hospitals a system for $7 million, against commercial providers like Cerner, McKesson, and Meditech. OpenVista is built around an electronic health record, which covers everything from labs and radiology to clinical information. Shreeve's goal is to build a National Health Care Information Infrastructure, based on open standards. The first thing to be standardized, of course, has to be the license. Right now Medsphere is writing custom licenses for each client. Shreeve hopes to build a version of the Apache license, or a BSD-type license, by next year, working with the VistA Software Alliance. I think of this in terms of hassle, filling out paperwork each time I see a new doctor. Shreeve thinks of having spent 7 years in an ER, starting from scratch with each patient because he had no data on them. How many people have died because doctors made mistakes based on incomplete medical records, he asked?

WWII Veterans, Kin Seek Medals For Pacific Duty (DR)
By Navid Iqbal Daily Record (NJ), June 6, 2006 Mariana Islands recognizing Americans who risked lives Jim Kaag of Morris Plains said a "lump gathered in my throat" after reading a Daily Record story on six local veterans awarded medals from the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for their service in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Kaag's father fought with the 3rd Marine Division on the Mariana Islands of Saipan and Tinian and retired as a lieutenant colonel. Donald Kaag Sr. died last year at the age of 82. 43

"I can't believe the Mariana Islands actually reached out to veterans of that conflict," Jim Kaag wrote in an e-mail. "My dad spoke of that battle with a lot of emotion and loyalty to the guys he fought with and the officers who led them." The prospect of having a medal for his late father gives great hope to Kaag. He said his father was overlooked for a New Jersey medal because he was living in Florida at the time. "My dad never got to enjoy the recognition that vets here in New Jersey got," Kaag said. "It would be a huge lift for my mom, who is still living, if I could arrange to get a medal awarded to my dad posthumously." Another vet's story Fred Bender, 80, of Stanhope was supposed to crush coral to build air strips on Saipan as part of the 4th Marine division. He did, but under heavy fire. "He was just 18. He thought he had a job crushing rocks," said Bender's son, Michael, 50, of Stanhope. "They were kind of his defining moments." Fred and Lorraine Bender's eight children sent their parents on a trip to Saipan and Tinian 10 years ago to see where he fought. But Michael Bender said a medal from the people of Saipan is especially touching. "I know I'd like to get him the medal," Michael Bender said. Medals available Officials from Saipan, the largest of the Mariana Islands, said this week that the medallions marking the 60th anniversary of the bloody, four-week long Battle of Saipan still are available. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3457, which is on Saipan, will continue distributing the medals free of charge to fellow VFW members, said veterans affairs officials from Saipan. Air Force veteran Ruth Coleman, the director of veterans affairs for the commonwealth, which represents about 15 islands including Saipan and Tinian, said the medals originally were minted in 2004 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan. That battle, which raged from June 15 to July 9, 1944, cost the lives of nearly 8,000 Marines and Army soldiers. Located about 3,200 miles west of Pearl Harbor and 1,200 miles south of Tokyo in the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Islands have been U.S. territories since American troops liberated the islands from Japanese control during World War II. The large, 60th anniversary ceremony took place on Saipan and the nearby island of Tinian, said Coleman, who was a member of the commemoration committee. Hundreds of veterans attended the ceremony. The committee then decided to distribute the medals to veterans who were not able to attend. Jerry Facey, who headed the commemoration ceremony, said about 600 medallions have been issued so far. A native of Massachusetts, Facey moved to Saipan about 30 years ago. Facey said the letters he has received from veterans have been very emotional. '"You can see the tears on the letters," Facey said. None of the six members of the Whippany Veterans of Foreign Wars Post who were awarded the medals actually fought on Saipan or Tinian. The commemorative medals were commissioned for a broad range of Pacific Theater veterans, not just those who fought on the islands, Coleman said. Tip in newsletter Kenneth Schweiger, the commander of VFW Post 5351 on Route 10, Whippany, said he learned that the Mariana Islands had these medals when he read an advertisement in the January/February 2006 issue of Checkpoint, a national VFW newsletter. Below an article about the Saipan VFW Post is a small advertisement from the post. "Any veteran of the Pacific Theater during World War II is eligible," said Pete Callaghan, a former post commander. "We want Post commanders to make the request for members of their Posts who qualify. That way we know the request is genuine." Facey said the medals originally had been designed for veterans who served in the naval support, the battles of Saipan and Tinian or in follow-up operations. But the article and advertisement in the VFW newsletter caused the awards to be expanded. "We are committed to getting more medallions," he said. Before the advertisement was issued, some medals had been awarded posthumously, Facey said. He said families of deceased veterans still should try to go through their local VFWs. Many eligible If the medals are going to a broad spectrum of people who fought in the Pacific Theater of World War II -- not just on Saipan and Tinian -- Jack Gartenberg, 80, of Parsippany, the commander of the Morris County Chapter of the Purple Heart, said hundreds of Morris County veterans would be eligible. "If you go beyond Morris County, and into the rest of New Jersey, you're talking about thousands of veterans," said Gartenberg, who was wounded as a Marine on Iwo Jima. 44

Nationwide, the number could be in the millions, Facey said. While medals are just a token piece of metal or wood, their symbolic value carries a lot of weight, Gartenberg said. "They keep giving out these medals," Gartenberg said. "Everybody likes to receive a medal and put it among their other medals. It's important not so much for us. It's important for the public, for the future generations, for the kids in school to know, to understand that this is history."

Ozark Profile : ‘Making Fayetteville A Better Place To Live’ Comes Easy To Long-time Resident Gladys Ball (NAT)
By Kate Ward Northwest Arkansas Times, June 5, 2006 As she flipped through her thick, worn scrap book, Gladys Ball pointed to pictures of the people and things that have meant the most to her through the years; her garden club, her friends, her first house and most importantly — her family. "Here’s a picture of my husband and I when we first met," she gushed. "He had a broken arm and I was wearing one of those funny bathing suits that completely covered you up. I still can’t believe we wore those things!" Married to the late Fayetteville Attorney E. J. Ball, Gladys and her husband moved to Fayetteville in the late 1940s, where as newlyweds, they established a love for their community by becoming active citizens and participating in a variety of organizations. In May, friends and family members paid tribute to Gladys during a surprise birthday party at La Maison DesTartes. FayettevilleMayor Dan Coody proclaimed May 24, 2006, "Gladys Ball Day" to "let Gladys know how proud we are that she is part of our community and thank her for all the time she has devoted to making Fayetteville a better place to live." The event was organized by family members and the Maple Hills Garden Club, an organization founded by Gladys in 1960. "Gladys has done so much for the community," said Dee Dee Lamb, fellow garden club member. "Not just for the garden club, but also for a lot of other organizations. She’s a real gem in this community." Known by friends as "a club woman," Gladys’ gar- den club membership is the first in a long line of other organizations to which she has belonged. Other groups include the Securities Investment Club, the Hillcrest Investment Club, the New Comer’s Club, the Bridge Club, the Washington County Legal Auxiliary, the Washington County Hospital Auxiliary, the women’s association of the Fayetteville Country Club and the Alpha Chi Omega Club. She also participated in fundraisers to support the Bernice Richardson School, the North Arkansas Symphony Guild and the Hospice. Born in Red Lodge, Mont., in 1922, Gladys said knew she wanted to help people long before she moved to Fayetteville. After graduating high school in 1939, she was accepted to the Colorado Training School for Nurses. "One of the most important things in my life was going to nurse’s school," she said. "I spent over three years at CTS and for our first six months, we had classes and lectures and took written and practical tests everyday." After graduating in 1943, Gladys reported for active duty in the Navy Nurse’s Corp. She worked in Mare Island, Calif., for eight months before moving to Tillimkook, Ore., in 1944. "We took care of World War II victims, many of whom had amputated limbs," she said. "It was hard to see these young men wounded, especially when you’ve never been around anything like that before. But at the same time, it was great to see them recover." It was while she was doing what she did best, taking care of people, that Gladys would meet her future husband for the first time. "I was working in surgery and we only had two doctors and three nurses," she said. "E. J. had broken his arm and was sent to the infirmary. The doctor told me that I needed to go take care of him, so I went in and soaked his wrist." After their first visit, Gladys and E. J. were hooked. "The doctor told me that I needed to keep taking care of him," she said. "I think he had something in mind for the two of us! So I’d go back every day and massage his wrist." As E. J. recovered, the two began having dinner together in the hospital cafeteria. A short time later, they officially began to date. "We had friends with cars and we’d ride with them off base so we could go see movies or go out to dinner," Gladys said. But when she learned that E. J. would be transferred overseas, Gladys was devastated. "One day, I got a letter from him asking me to marry him!" she said. "So after he went to the Philippines and China, he came back and we went to dinner. That’s when he gave me a ring." At the age of 24, Gladys and E. J. exchanged vows at small chapel in Great Lakes, Ill. "We were married on Jan. 23, 1946," she said. "We both had on our Navy uniforms and I carried a bouquet of red roses and sweet peas." Though family members were unable to attend, the couple was surrounded by life-long friends from the Navy. "I had to work until 3 p.m. on my wedding day and we got married at 8 p.m.," she said. "And then I had to work the very next day." Three days later, the newlyweds spent their honeymoon in New Orleans. "One of the doctors I worked for, let us stay in a little apartment there," she said. "It was the first Mardi Gras after the war and I was just shocked. I had never seen anything like it." 45

After the honeymoon, the couple returned to east Arkansas, where Gladys would meet her in-laws for the first time. "We took a bus to Paragould, where E. J. was from" she said. "I was so afraid because I didn’t like cornbread and I had heard that was what everyone in the south ate. Fortunately, his mom couldn’t be more accommodating. Plus she made a certain type of fried chicken that I loved!" After moving to east Arkansas, E. J. began working for an audit company. In 1947, Gladys became pregnant with their first child. She carried the baby to full term, but suffered complications during delivery. "That was the hardest thing in my life," she said, as she pointed to a picture of a tiny coffin. "I still don’t think I’m over it and I don’t think I’ll ever be." Heartbroken, Gladys and E. J. decided to move to Fayetteville to continue their education. "I was glad to get out of there," she said. "It was too painful to stay. Plus, we were on the G. I. Bill so we came with a group of our life-long friends from the Navy." After finishing his master’s in business, E. J. was accepted to the UA’s law school and Gladys worked at the UA nursery. In 1948, she became pregnant with her second child, Ken. "We built a house right behind Razorback Stadium," she said. "It was so much fun because we’d always walk down to all the Razorback games. We were avid Hog supporters." After graduation, E. J. went on to practice taxation law, working in the field of tax-free land exchange and deliverable annuity. "At the time, that was a pretty hot topic and there weren’t many attorneys who specialized in it," Gladys said. "E. J. was partly responsible for a lot of the farm land development in Northwest Arkansas." Four years after giving birth to her first son, Gladys became the mother of her first baby girl, Kathy, followed by another baby, Karen, four years later. "All of my children are exactly four years apart," she said, as she pointed to their pictures from birth into adulthood. After completing two years of college, Gladys continued to use her nursing skills at the VA hospital and other local hospitals. E. J. eventually started his own practice while teaching at the UA. The couple also maintained an active social life, welcoming guests into their home for elaborate dinners to raise money for the law school. "We became close to Gladys when we bought their home," said Sherry Smith. "She was a master gardener and her yard was beautiful. We’re still reaping the benefits. There’s always something blooming every season." As a member of the University Women’s Club, Gladys was active in building various fund-raising programs within the school of law. She and E. J. were inducted into the Towers of Old Main, a prestigious society that extends membership to the most generous benefactors of the UA. When E. J. retired, the couple spent time exploring the United States and traveling around the world, visiting Canada, Europe, China and the Mediterranean. They went on to become the grandparents of three grandchildren, two boys and a girl, before selling their home. In 2004, at the age of 88, E. J. passed away. Since then, Gladys has spent the majority of her time working on scrapbooks for her grandchildren and reflecting on her many experiences.

Agency Offers Resources For Veterans (PSB)
Press & Sun-Bulletin (NY), June 6, 2006 Are you familiar with the Broome County Veterans Services Agency? This agency provides a wide variety of services to an estimated 18,000 veterans and their families. Service is extended to veterans of all wars and conflicts, as well as peacetime service. In addition, assistance and information is available to active duty servicemen and servicewomen and their families. Professional assistance and advice is given in the filing of applications for benefits under existing federal, state and local laws and regulations. It is also a primary function of the office to familiarize veterans and their families with the benefits available to them through the Department of Veterans Affairs. What benefits may vets be eligible for? Here are just a few examples: * Widow's death pensions * Burial benefits * VA educational benefits * Access to VA health care * Re-issuance of military medals The Veterans Service Agency assists veterans and their families in applying for these benefits and programs -- and many more. If you want to know more about services for veterans, plan on attending a special presentation, "What Caregivers Should Know About Benefits for Veterans," sponsored by the Broome County Office for Aging, from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, in the Decker Room of the Broome County Library, 185 Court St., Binghamton. 46

Two professionally trained and accredited service officers will discuss the wide range of services, who is eligible, and how to apply for them. The speakers will be Brian Vojtisek, director of the Veterans Service Agency, and Dan C. Bush, assistant director. Both men served in the Marine Corps. They are recognized under federal law by the VA to provide legal representation for individuals in matters relating to VA law. In addition, a staff person from the VA clinic will be present to discuss medical services available through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Preregistration for this free presentation is requested. Call the Office for Aging at 778-2411. Light refreshments will be served.

VA Failing In Helping Disabled (HA)
By Tom Philpott Honolulu Advertiser, June 6, 2006 Because of weak oversight of Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, some veterans get more compensation than warranted, and the Department of Veterans Affairs is ineffective in moving seriously disabled veterans toward productive working lives, the Government Accountability Office has found. Overall, the process VA uses to determine whether veterans are unemployable lacks integrity, GAO decided after 15 months of study. A report released last Tuesday says VA criteria, guidance and procedures for awarding such benefits "do not ensure that IU decisions are well supported." The number of disabled veterans rated unemployable and the cost of their benefits have risen sharply in recent years. From fiscal 1996 through 2005, veterans rated unemployable tripled from 71,000 to 220,000. In the same period, IU payments jumped from $857 million a year to $3.1 billion. The "marked increase" is troubling, GAO suggests, because it has occurred "at a time when advances in medicine and technology, along with labor market changes, have provided greater opportunity for people with disabilities to seek and maintain employment." Veterans with injuries or ailments tied to time in service can get VA compensation. Amounts vary based on the severity of disabilities, which are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 percent in increments of 10. Veterans rated 60 percent to 90 percent disabled still can qualify for compensation at the 100 percent level if they are deemed to be unemployable and qualify for IU designation. Almost half of all veterans with 60 percent to 90 percent currently receive IU benefits. It means a significant pop in payments. Based on VA disability compensation rates effective for most of 2006, 100 percent disabled veterans and those with the IU designations with no dependents draw $2,393 a month. By contrast, veterans rated 90 percent disabled receive $1,436 a month and those at 60 percent receive $873. So a 60 percent disabled veterans designated IU will receive an additional $18,240 a year. The disparity widens even more if veterans have spouses or dependent children. GAO estimates that the added lifetime value of IU designation for a 20-year-old, 60 percent disabled veteran is more than $460,000, in 2005 dollars. If a veteran doesn't gain IU status until age 75, says GAO, the lifetime compensation still would jump by $89,000 to $142,000, depending on the disability rating and life expectancy. Why the spike in IU determinations? VA officials have blamed a 1999 decision to stop requiring IU veterans to complete a form each year to verify that they remain unemployed or earning incomes below the poverty level. VA began asking IU veterans to complete the forms again last September. One senior VA official also told the commission that awarding IU status was a way for rating specialists to help clear a rising backlog of claims. The GAO report also suggests the VA is less conscientious than either the Social Security Administration or private sector disability plans in monitoring employability and encouraging beneficiaries to return to work.

Audit Finds Agency Errs In Benefits For Disabled Veterans (TTNJ)
By Tom Philpott Trenton Times (NJ), June 6, 2006 The Department of Veterans Affairs mismanages its program for rating disabled veterans as "unemployable," according to a new report by congressional auditors. Because of weak oversight of Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, some veterans get more compensation than warranted, and the VA is ineffective in moving seriously disabled veterans toward productive working lives, the Government Accountability Office has found. 47

Overall, the process VA uses to determine whether veterans are unemployable lacks integrity, GAO decided after 15 months of study. Its May 30 report says VA criteria, guidance and procedures for awarding such benefits "do not en sure that IU decisions are well supported." The number of disabled veterans rated IU and the cost of their benefits have risen sharply in re cent years. From fiscal 1996 through 2005, veterans rated unemployable tripled from 71,000 to 220,000. In the same period, IU payments jumped from $857 million a year to $3.1 billion. The "marked increase" is troublesome, GAO suggests, because it has occurred "at a time when ad vances in medicine and technology, along with labor market changes, have provided greater opportunity for people with disabilities to seek and maintain employment." The 54-page report has been much anticipated by members of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission which is conducting the first major review of veterans' disability benefits in 50 years. The commission, which will deliver a final report to Congress by October 2007, has listed among its priorities a finding on whether IU benefits need reform. Veterans with injuries or ail ments tied to time in service can receive tax-free VA compensation. Amounts vary based on the severity of disabilities which are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 percent in increments of 10. Veterans rated 60 to 90 percent disabled still can qualify for compensation at the 100 percent level if they are deemed to be unemploy able and therefore qualify for the IU designation. Almost half of all veterans with 60 to 90 percent currently receive the IU benefits. It means a significant pop in payments. Based on VA disability compensation rates effective for most of 2006, 100-percent disabled veterans and those with the IU designations with no dependents draw $2,393 a month. By contrast, veterans rated 60 percent receive $873 a month and the scale slides to $1,436 a month for 90 percent disabled. So a 60-percent disabled veteran designated IU will receive an additional $18,240 a year. The disparity widens even more if veterans have spouses or dependent children. GAO estimates that the added lifetime value of IU designation for a 20-year-old, 60-percent disabled veteran is more than $460,000, in 2005 dollars. If a veteran doesn't gain IU status until age 75, says GAO, the lifetime compensation still would jump by $89,000 to $142,000, depending on disability rating and life expectancy. Why the spike in IU determinations? Appearing before the benefits commission last year, VA officials blamed a 1999 decision to stop requiring IU veterans to complete a form each year to verify that they remain unemployed or earning in comes below the poverty level. VA began asking IU veterans to complete the forms again last September. One senior VA official also told the commission that awarding IU status was a way for rating specialists to help clear a rising backlog of claims. The GAO report, however, points to more systemic problems with how IU benefits are administered. It suggests the VA is less conscientious than either the Social Security Administration or private sector disability plans in monitoring employability and encourag ing beneficiaries to return to work. Here are some of the serious IU is sues raised in the report. AGE NO FACTOR - There is no age ceiling on eligibility for IU benefits. Though IU is compensation for being unable to work, benefits continue or even begin at ages when many Americans are retired. GAO said 79 percent of new IU beneficiaries are 60 or older and 19 percent are 75 or older. WEAK TOOLS - VA rating specialists are tasked with determining whether IU claimants can work, but VA regulations don't provide criteria or guidelines to make such assessments. In 2001, VA proposed new IU guidelines. Veterans' groups so strongly opposed the changes that the proposed regulation finally was withdrawn last December. SKILLS NOT ASSESSED - GAO in 1987 recommended that VA vocational counselors assess how disabilities of IU applicants affect job skills and work potential. The recommendation has been ig nored. Some rating specialists said that without vocational assessments to consult, they must base IU awards solely on medical reports. Those reports are prepared by clinicians not trained to conduct examinations to support employability. INCOME POORLY TRACKED - The VA doesn't aggressively use IRS, Social Security Administration or even more up-todate records to verify whether veterans are still unemployed or have earning modest enough to remain eligible for IU. The VA's "income matching process" relies on old data and time-consuming manual reviews of files of information. SHAKY DECISIONS - Some rating specialists told GAO they "may have awarded IU benefits to some veterans who appeared to be employable." They did so expect ing benefits to be stopped once in come matching occurs and earnings pop above the IU threshold ($9,570 for individuals in 2005). VA officials concurred with the report. But VA steps to improve IU management don't go far enough, GAO suggested. It urged more steps to ensure that IU decisions are well founded, that earnings are effectively tracked, and that veterans are helped and encouraged to return to work. GAO is expected to brief its report to the disability benefits commission. 48

Aid Expected For Veterans Home Improvements (HARTC)
By Ann Marie Somma The Hartford Courant, June 6, 2006 ROCKY HILL -- The aging state Veterans Home has been cited for safety code violations for years. The fire doors are warped and the fire alarm system doesn't work properly, but money to correct violations was never available. That will change Friday, when the State Bond Commission is expected to approve borrowing $435,170 to replace the fire doors, install safety devices and upgrade the fire alarm system and emergency signage, Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Monday. "I have said before that our veterans - especially those who may need a little extra help - deserve first-class, modern facilities," Rell said in a press release. "After too many years of neglect, we are starting to turn the tide at the Rocky Hill campus." The money will correct violations in two primary residential buildings, barracks-style living quarters where about 400 veterans reside. The state has committed $9 million to the facility this year for new building construction, housing renovations and infrastructure improvements. In March, the bond commission approved $8.7 million to help build a new, 125-bed residential care facility and replace the water distribution system on campus. It's the state's required share of the project's cost. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will contribute nearly $25 million. The facility, which includes a hospital, was built between 1937 and 1940 and has few modern conveniences and no air conditioning. Charley Williams, the chief of staff at the state Department of Veterans Affairs, said the lack of air conditioning and fluctuations in the heating and ventilation system have caused the old fire doors in the residential areas to warp. He's grateful to Rell and the bond commission. "This is about fire safety. Now we have the money," Williams said.

Vets Now Fight For Health Care (TD)
By Jim Ash Tallahassee Democrat, June 6, 2006 Area medical facilities strained; patients forced to wait Sixty-two years ago today, when Allied forces carved a bloody foothold on the Normandy beaches, it was the beginning of the end for Adolf Hitler and the Axis powers in Europe. Operation Overlord was a costly turning point in World War II, and America promised its veterans they'd always have access to health care for their service, a practice begun in earlier wars that has continued since. ADVERTISEMENT And as today's veterans return from the Middle East and Southwest Asia, they face medical facilities in North Florida and Georgia that are bursting at the seams and putting patients on waiting lists. "We are getting people just coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and we tell them to sign up with the VA right away," said Mark Alvarez, the 55-year-old commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3308 of Tallahassee. "We need to bring this to the attention of the public because the public needs to know what veterans have to go through to get access to health care that has already been promised to them." Alvarez has nothing but praise for the doctors and medical staff at the VA Outpatient Clinic in Tallahassee, which has been a godsend since it was built several years ago. But he worries about the waiting lists and the crush of more veterans to come. And for good reason. Florida represents 10 percent of the entire caseload for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It ranks second only to California in the number of veterans and first in terms of veterans 65 or older, according to state and federal figures. Like their civilian friends and neighbors, Florida veterans from downstate are moving north to enjoy a lower cost of living and a less stressful lifestyle, putting additional strain on veterans facilities already crammed with retired military, said U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs spokeswoman Mary Kay Hollingsworth. "They know what so many of us already know," she said. "North Florida and Georgia are great places to live. Unfortunately, a lot of these people are older and sicker." At the Tallahassee VA Outpatient Clinic, chief medical officer Dr. Robert C. Goodhope is an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran struggling with ever-rising caseloads. The clinic has the equivalent of nine physicians with average caseloads of 1,260 patients each. Waiting lists are inevitable, he said. 49

Veterans with service-connected disabilities move to the front of the line, which means a mandated appointment within 30 days. Arrivals from Iraqi and Enduring Freedom operations get the same treatment. Other veterans with non-service-related illnesses or disabilities can wait up to 120 days, the maximum allowed by the VA, Goodhope said. "We don't like waiting lists either," Goodhope said. "But you can't always have the money immediately follow the veteran. There is going to be a lag when the population shifts." Bill Lemocks, a public-affairs officer for the VFW post, said one missing link in the health-care network for the North Florida area is transportation. The post routinely organizes carpools to drive veterans as far south as St. Petersburg for specialty treatment not available in Tallahassee, he said. "The center on Mahan has been a godsend," Lemocks said. "The main focus on improvement would be a better system for transporting vets out of the area to services that aren't available here." In addition to the increasing number of veterans, Hurricane Katrina sent thousands of residents to the Tallahassee area, many of them veterans needing services. In early 2005, the clinic had 8,616 active patients - defined as a patient who has had one prescription written and filled. Now, it lists 12,607. The clinic already has served 256 veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It had a tough setback a few months ago, when it was prepared to open a mental-health unit in a 4,000-square-foot leased building across the street and an elevator fire destroyed the building, Goodhope said. Clinic administrators began advertising for a new building this week. Parking problems are ever-present. Democratic Congressman Allen Boyd of Monticello is spearheading a fight in Washington, D.C., to build a new communitybased outpatient clinic in Marianna to take some of the load off the Tallahassee facility. The clinic is tentatively scheduled to open next year, but as the war drags on and Northern and Midwestern politicians fight for their veterans facilities, the timetable for Marianna is far from certain, Boyd said. Boyd scored a political coup last week when he persuaded VA Undersecretary Jonathan Perlin to tour the Tallahassee clinic and the site for the proposed satellite clinic. Perlin didn't make any promises about a prompt construction date, and he raised some eyebrows when he suggested juggling work schedules to make better use of the Tallahassee facility. He also said he was eager to see a staffing plan, suggesting that recruiting could be a problem. Boyd said he was prepared to fight competing states for scarce VA dollars. "Some of this can get very political," he said. Despite long hours that force VA clinic staff to do mountains of paperwork at home on their own time, there are advantages to taking care of patients who have already made a contribution to society, Goodhope said. "The other day, a provider came up to me and said he just saw someone who was at Normandy. Once I see a provider's eyes light up like that, I know I've got them for life. They are seeing people who were part of history."

Patriot Guard Gives Athens Man A Chance To Still Serve (AR)
By Cristin Ross Athens Review, June 6, 2006 Based on onlookers’ expressions of awe and pride and the reactions from those in uniform Friday, the Patriot Guard Riders’ mission was a complete success. “I do this because it’s right and it is my right,” Athens resident Mike Burton said as he and 47 other members of the Patriot Guard Riders waited patiently in the hot Texas sun outside a Dallas church, on a mission to pay their respects to the late Spc. J. Adan Garcia. Garcia, a 20-year-old Irving native serving in Iraq, died May 27 after his convoy encountered small arms fire when returning from an explosive ordinance mission. Garcia was assigned to the 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, N.Y. The Patriot Guard Riders are a group of motorcycle enthusiasts — the majority of whom are veterans themselves — from all over the U.S., who, as their mission statement proclaims, “have an unwavering respect for those who risk their very lives for America’s freedom and security.” Guard members at Garcia’s service hailed from all over Texas as well as Oklahoma and Arkansas. In their effort to honor Garcia, guard members Friday stood sentry duty at the entrance of St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Dallas, each holding an American flag at attention. When the service had ended, guard members lined up to form a corridor of flags to the hearse for the deceased and family members to pass under. Those who had the right, saluted the deceased smartly as his casket trundled by, accompanied by the sound of the church bell tolling slowly and somberly above. As part of the funeral procession, guard members mounted their Harleys, Hondas, Yamahas and Kawasakis — letting their flags fly from the rear of their bikes. 50

Dallas residents — joggers, kids on bicycles, dog-walkers and construction workers — to a man, stopped what they were doing and watched the long line of vehicles, including 39 motorcycles, pass by. The corridor of flags was repeated at the cemetery, and each guard member bowed his or her head as “Taps” was played, prayers were said and the Honor Guard gave Garcia a 21-gun salute. The group’s mood was solemnly festive, if that’s possible. The camaraderie of the members — consisting of people from all walks of life and both genders — and the common vein of their business in Dallas, was unmistakable. Every member rides missions voluntarily. “I worked two shifts yesterday to get today off to be here, “ said M.B. “BluHog” Ingersoll of Fort Worth, “because I was spit on and called a baby killer when I was just out of basic during the Vietnam War. I hadn’t even seen any action yet. “We’re here today to make sure that doesn’t happen to these kids, so that never happens to any soldier ever again.” Burton remembers that time with a grimace. “Those soldiers came back to a lot of less-than-patriotic feelings then,” Burton said. “They were made to feel ashamed of serving their country, over nothing but politics. “We don’t want that to happen to any of our current soldiers.” And their efforts do not go unnoticed. One uniformed officer attending Garcia’s funeral hugged each and every one of the PGR members there Friday as she made her way into the church. “Thank you, thank you,” she told them, with tears in her eyes. The PGR’s mission statement, found at, states, “We don’t care what you ride, what your political views are, or whether you’re a ‘hawk’ or a ‘dove.’ It is not a requirement that you be a veteran. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or what your income is. You don’t even have to ride. The only prerequisite is respect. “Our main mission is to attend the funeral services of fallen American heroes as invited guests of the family. Each mission we undertake has two basic objectives: • show our sincere respect for our fallen heroes, their families, and their communities; and • shield the mourning family and friends from interruptions created by any protester or group of protesters. “We accomplish the latter through strictly legal and non-violent means.” All this is done at the invitation of the family of a deceased soldier or veteran — which the group insists on getting before showing up to any funeral or memorial service. Palestine PGR member Doug “Streaker” Smith, said, “We don’t even like to talk about the protesters, because groups like that just feed on the attention they get. It’s just obscene, to me, that they would use a soldier’s funeral to try and further their own political agendas.” No protesters made an appearance at Garcia’s funeral. “It’s not about them,” Burton said. “It’s about the sacrifice this young man made for his country.” Thanks to President George W. Bush, PGR members will have more time to get the first half of their mission statements accomplished. On May 29, Bush signed into law H.R. 5037, the “Respect for America’s Fallen Heroes Act,” which prohibits certain demonstrations at cemeteries under the control of the National Cemetery Administration and at Arlington National Cemetery, and provides for punishment of such demonstrations as misdemeanors. While politicians and push polls fight the battle of public opinion over the war at home, the support of folks like the Patriot Guard Riders doesn’t go unnoticed. “You’re efforts mean so much to the soldiers, all branches of the military,” Fort Hood Brigadier General John Campbell said to the group after Garcia’s service at Arlington National Cemetery in Dallas. “We truly appreciate everything you do. We are making a huge difference (in the MIddle East), but we’re fighting a long war. It isn’t just Iraq or Afghanistan. There are lots of countries out there who hate us, hate our lifestyle, and we’re trying to keep them out of the United States. “It’s hard because we’re doing things in Iraq we’ve never done before — building schools, getting water and power systems online. But we’re doing an outstanding job, and more and more Iraqi people are standing up for their country and their freedom. The proof of that is when 45 or 50 people show up one day to enlist in the Iraqi army or to become a police officer and a suicide bomber blows up the recruitment office, then the next day 100 to 200 people show up the next day to enlist. “These people are doing a great job and we should be proud of them, each and every one.”

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell To Participate In Disabled American Veterans Van Drive-Away Event (FO)
Forbes, June 6, 2006 51

Vans transport sick and disabled veterans to VA medical facilities Governor Rendell will address veterans at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 6, at the Disabled American Veterans Van Drive-Away event at Soldiers Grove, across from the Capitol fountain. The Disabled American Veterans Hospital Transportation Network provides rides to over 50,000 veterans each year, traveling over 1.5 million miles and accumulating over 100,000 volunteer hours by more than 270 volunteers. EVENT: Disabled American Veterans Van Drive-Away DATE: June 6 TIME: 10 a.m. LOCATION: Soldiers Grove Commonwealth Avenue Harrisburg, PA The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell's initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at:

VAPHS Hoptel Unit Dedicated (WPHN)
Western Pennsylvania Hospital News, June 6, 2006 U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle and VAPHS Director Michael Moreland recently dedicated the newly renovated Hoptel area at the University Drive Division of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System. For the past several years, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System has been providing lodging for veterans traveling an excessive distance, veterans traveling during inclement weather, and for those veterans without transportation. (l to r) VAPHS Director Michael Moreland, U.S. Congressman Mike Doyle, VAPHS Social Worker Hoptel was established to provide overnight lodging to independent veteran outpatients in association with outpatient examination or treatment. The Hoptel program was designed to achieve improved customer service by offering lodging at the University Drive Division while monitoring inpatient days of care. The VAPHS decided to eliminate the sterile hospital atmosphere by providing a comfortable and pleasant area within the hospital to heal. At a final cost of $1,534,001.36, this renovation of 8,400 square feet provided 16 bedrooms with a total of 20 beds, laundry facilities, a new HVAC system, a front reception desk, and a lounge/buffet/dining area that includes vending machines, an ice machine, appliances, and a large screen television. The Social Work Service provides oversight to the Hoptel program. Routine medical and nursing services are not provided to guests in the Hoptel. Guests must be medically and physically independent and are considered outpatients. Saint Vincent Health System Begins Third Year as Sponsor of Federal DMAT Team Saint Vincent Health System is the only hospitals in western Pennsylvania to sponsor a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team (DMAT). DMAT is a mobile medical support team, designed to respond when national disasters strike. This past year, more than 50 members of the 120 member Erie Regional DMAT PA-3 team were called to action in response to the devastating hurricane season in the southeastern United States as well as the Republication National Convention in New York City. "The DMAT PA-3 members who deployed in 2004 felt that they personally contributed in a small way to the immeasurable impact that FEMA had on the lives of those affected by the impact of the four major hurricanes," said Russell Bieniek, M.D., Erie Regional DMAT PA-3 unit commander and Vice President of Emergency Services at Saint Vincent. "Some people were behind the scenes in a support role, and they felt needed and appreciated. However, it was the clinical staff that interacted with the victims themselves who gave their knowledge and skills and at times their own personal belongings whose stories brought tears to your eyes and a sense of pride that cannot be put into words." Shown during a recent field drill are DMAT PA-3 team members (l to r) Jeff and Sue Breads, Terry Smith, Fran Lloyd and Rod Smith. According to Connie Day, R.N., Erie Regional DMAT PA-3 deputy commander and Director of Emergency Services at Saint Vincent, the most difficult part of the deployment was facing the end of it. "As deplorable as the living conditions were for some of the DMAT members, they wanted to extend their time in the devastation rather than to come home. All of the members who were deployed were ready to go back if needed." The Erie Regional DMAT-3 team consists of clinical and non-clinical professionals from the tri-state area, including nurses, paramedics, physicians, pharmacists, logistics, security, communications and administrative personnel. They are credentialed, trained, equipped and ready for rapid deployment to areas of federal disaster where local resources are overwhelmed. Most deployments are to scenes of natural disaster, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes. DMAT teams have also been deployed for acts of terror as well as for precautionary measures at major events, such as the Olympics, presidential inaugurations and national political conventions. Federal activation by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is required to deploy a DMAT. When deployed, team members become employees of FEMA. This provides for federalization of all professional licenses, federal worker’s 52

compensation coverage and federal liability coverage. Compensation is based on federal employee rates, depending on the person’s position on the team. All transportation, food, clothing, and lodging are provided during the deployment. Saint Vincent’s decision to sponsor the DMAT team came in the wake of 9/11. "Saint Vincent is a leader in disaster preparedness and response at the local level," said Angela Bontempo, chief executive officer of Saint Vincent Health System, "After 9/11, we were searching for a way to assist on the national level. Becoming a DMAT sponsor seemed like the right thing at the right time." The future holds continued development for the Erie Regional DMAT PA-3 team, according to Bieniek, unit commander. "We will continue in our quest of advancing our team status. The next step would be to obtain a federal cache of equipment and trucks that would allow us to deploy independently as a team," Dr. Bieniek said. "In the meantime, we will continue to recruit new members, train, and support other teams as the needs arise. We will be sponsoring a large, national DMAT field exercise to be held locally from July 28-31, 2005, and we anticipate approximately 400 participants from all over the country." Those interested in learning more about joining the Erie Regional DMAT PA-3 team can visit the website at, email the team’s leaders at or call (814) 452-5911. HEALTHSOUTH CEO, Faith A. Deigan Retires HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospitals of Pittsburgh recently announced that Faith A. Deigan, CEO of HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital of Greater Pittsburgh and Senior Vice President for the HEALTHSOUTH Corporation has retired after thirty five years in the healthcare industry. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, Katz School of Business, Deigan began her career in healthcare at St. Joseph’s Hospital, which became part of South Hills Health System. She held many administrative and executive positions there, including Vice President of Health System Service Corporation, a division of South Hills Health System. In 1986, she joined Greater Pittsburgh Rehabilitation Hospital, now known as HEALTHSOUTH Rehabilitation Hospital of Pittsburgh, as Administrator and Chief Executive Officer. Shortly thereafter, Deigan was promoted to the position of Regional Vice President and then to Senior Vice President for the HEALTHSOUTH Corporation where she has been responsible for eighteen HEALTHSOUTH facilities in five states. Deigan is the Chairman of Hospital Association of Pennsylvania Rehab Council and a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives. She is currently on the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities and has served on the Boards of both the National Spinal Cord Injury Association and the Federation of American Health Systems.

Small Changes, Big Results (NURSESPECT)
By Phyllis Class Nursing Spectrum, June 5, 2006 “We’re digging our graves with our teeth.” That statement from a work group participant at a recent interdisciplinary summit on nutrition and physical fitness at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale may sound overly dramatic, but it really isn’t if you keep reading. John P. Foreyt, professor in the Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicine, and director of the DeBakey Heart Center Behavioral Medicine Research Clinic, predicts that 100% of Americans will be obese by 2040. He cites a 45% increase in diabetes since 1987. Even a 10-pound weight gain can lead to an increase in coronary heart disease. The price tag for obesity is staggering, costing the U.S. $75 billion annually for adults’ medical expenditures, says Jennifer Seymour, epidemiologist for the Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet only 42% of patients receive weight-loss advice from their health care providers. And we haven’t even talked about obese children yet. Despite the ’year-round good weather, Florida fares no better. Last year, 60.4% of high school students did not participate in physical education at school, according to Nancy Humbert, RN, MSN, ARNP, deputy secretary for health and state public health nursing director in the Florida Department of Health. Are we ready to put our money where our mouths are? ”Lifestyle is the only answer,” says Foreyt. Just 100 calories per day — the equivalent of 20 minutes of walking or leaving three bites of that fast-food sandwich on your plate — would halt the epidemic. Foreyt advises keeping a food diary, sleeping for eight hours, and eating breakfast to control weight. He says that as little as a 5% to 10% weight loss can yield health benefits. The CDC started at home with its Healthier Worksite Initiative, which includes lactation rooms, attractive stairwells with music to encourage walking, walkability audits, and an on-site garden market. Florida’s Department of Health launched an Obesity Prevention Program, as well as the Step Up Florida program. Some hospitals are helping their employees make healthier choices. Baptist Health South Florida’s Wellness Advantage offers employees free fitness facilities, exercise classes, walking programs, Wellness Meals, vending machines with healthy 53

snacks and bottled water, fitness coaches, a wellness newsletter, reimbursement for Weight Watchers and smoking cessation classes, and discounts in medical plan premiums for employees with healthy lifestyles. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta recently launched The Club, a program encouraging healthy lifestyles. Employees fill out commitment cards to help evaluate weekly goals, such as exercising, healthier eating, and relieving stress by making time for family and friends — even getting a massage now and then. Children’s offers dozens of classes to help employees achieve wellness targets. Last year, more than 900 signed up for the program. Other efforts target specific patient populations. The Department of Veterans Affairs jumped on the bandwagon in January after learning that of the 7.5 million veterans receiving health benefits, more than 70% were overweight and 20% had diabetes. The VA introduced MOVE, a 10-week program that helps veterans plan healthy meals and offers personalized exercise programs to work around combat injuries or physical limitations. I’m living proof of the effectiveness of small changes. Several years ago, when faced with the “threat” of going on blood pressure medication, I went on a last-resort diet. I really didn’t think it would help, but a modest six-pound weight loss was enough to keep the doctor (in this case, the nurse practitioner) away. So far, I’ve been able to stay off medication. Foreyt’s 100-calorie challenge keeps coming back to me because it’s a concept I can get my arms (or teeth) around. Some days, it’s been enough to get me off the couch and out walking. Just 100 calories a day. How about you — are you up for the challenge? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------Phyllis Class, RN; Editorial Director, Florida/Greater Atlanta/North Carolina; E-mail:

Dial VOIP In Case Of Emergency (FCW)
By Alan Joch Federal Computer Weekly, June 6, 2006 Voice-over-IP technology finds a new fit with business continuity strategies When officials in Orange County, Fla., installed a voice-over-IP phone system in 2003, they quickly achieved the goal of cutting telecommunications costs by as much as 30 percent. But after a series of hurricanes hit a year later, county managers discovered another reason to love the technology. To provide services for citizens affected by Hurricane Charley and two other storms in 2004, the host county for Disney World created a temporary emergency center in an empty warehouse that the county was planning to renovate. “It had nothing in it, including [no] communications infrastructure,” said John Amiot, enterprise operations manager for the county. So officials trucked in PCs and network gear that supported VOIP, and within 24 hours, the facility opened for business with a line of storm-weary citizens already forming at the door. “Our people could cut checks and provide all the things that people needed in order to survive,” Amiot said. “We were able to deploy in 24 hours because we had voice-over-IP technology already in place.” Since then, the county has integrated IP telephony into its formal continuity-of-operations (COOP) plans by installing it in a regional computing center. Expanding role Business continuity plans are increasingly relying on new technologies to keep organizations running in the aftermath of natural disasters, terrorist attacks and more mundane incidents, such as local power outages. “IP telephony and continuity of operations are an excellent marriage,” said Jim Biskaduros, a client delivery executive who specializes in security and intelligence at systems integrator EDS. In Orange County, the newly wired warehouse became an extension of its infrastructure. An IP network provided connectivity among employees and the county’s main offices. “It was as if we had just opened a new building,” Amiot said. “This was in the center of one of the most devastated areas in the county, and it was strategically advantageous for everybody to come there versus getting them downtown while trees were down everywhere.” By the time the last of the storms plowed through the area, the warehouse had logged more than 226,000 calls. The system automatically routed some calls normally intended for headquarters to the site. Other agencies are also discovering IP telephony’s flexibility. The Department of Veterans Affairs turned to IP-enabled mobile communications trucks to keep Gulf Coast hospitals running after Hurricane Katrina hit last year. After finding success, the agency is extending contracts to formalize those backup communications tools and COOP plans. Similarly, the Education Department didn’t initially have COOP in mind when it installed IP telephony in 2002. But the technology’s reliability spurred new ideas for how the department could use it. “We said, ‘Hey, what if?’” said Peter Tseronis, Education’s director of network services. “We went back to the drawing board to seriously consider COOP.” 54

At those and other agencies, IP telephony provides resilience in emergencies because the networks that keep voice traffic flowing consist of widely distributed servers and connections that can pick up the slack if individual segments quit working. Traditional phone networks depend on point-to-point connections with fewer secondary options. Also, emergency workers can create ad hoc IP voice connections via IP phones or laptop computers with soft phone software that link to data network connections, including DSL and cable modems. Upfront planning Nevertheless, using IP telephony for COOP is still a relatively rare application at most agencies. “IP telephony is on their radar screen, but I wouldn’t say in general they’ve made lots of progress,” said Mike Corrigan, lead consultant at Suss Consulting. That’s partly because significant groundwork is necessary to make IP telephony reliable enough for COOP. The first step for any basic IP telephony installation is for IT administrators to secure the data network that supports voice communications, said John Speicher, market development manager at Cisco Systems. That includes installing redundant IP exchanges — the computer servers that provide voice capabilities — network switches and uninterruptible power supplies that support the hardware. COOP planners also need to understand the performance characteristics of their voice systems. “When you’re building your [request for proposals], account for survivability,” said Nora Freedman, research analyst for enterprise networking at market researcher IDC. Specifically, ask if solutions support automatic failover, and if so, how quickly, Freedman added. Failover means the systems smoothly and automatically reroute their functions if one or more component ceases to work properly. Security is a greater concern for IP telephony than in traditional public switched telephone network connections. Traditional “voice is hard-wired from phone to communications closet to switch,” said Guy Clinch, solutions director for government and education at Avaya. “To compromise calls, you have to gain physical access. The data world is a lot more distributed with more access points.” Experts say security needs to be an upfront consideration for COOP plans using IP telephony, not something that organizations cobble together in the middle of an emergency. Agencies concerned about reliability and security, including those in the defense and intelligence communities, need private network links among the main headquarters and COOP sites. “I don’t think at this time the public Internet is reliable enough for a COOP-type service,” Biskaduros said. Another security strategy is to separate voice and data transmissions using Multiprotocol Label Switching and virtual local-area network technology. The former uses management software to string particular computers together into groups on the network rather than relying on hard-wired connections for the segmentation. The virtual approach simplifies network reconfigurations in an emergency. Once administrators create individual voice streams, they can secure them with a virtual private network that encrypts communications. Separating data streams also delivers quality-of-service benefits. Administrators can give voice traffic priority over data packets to eliminate dropped or unintelligible calls. COOP strategies that dispatch critical workers to home offices should provide them with VPN software to protect communications via the Internet, said Siafa Sherman, vice president of systems engineering at Nortel Government Solutions, an IP equipment vendor. In addition to security considerations, the VA took an added step to prepare Gulf Coast facilities for the 2006 hurricane season. The department negotiated with telecom companies to ensure that all the services in the agency’s wide-area data network are part of the priority service restoration program that such companies make available to federal agencies. “We want to make certain that we are queued up as higher priorities where life surety issues come into play,” said David Cheplick, deputy director of the VA’s Office of Telecommunications. Service component After its first IP telephony building came online in late 2002, Education used the technology to establish voice failover capabilities. “The way we’ve structured and configured our IP communications network, we don’t have a single point of failure with our IP PBXs,” Tseronis said. Education’s IP exchanges cover four sites in Washington, D.C. If an IP PBX fails in one of the buildings, other servers in the immediate cluster of computers automatically take over the traffic to keep communications running. If an event disabled the entire D.C. area communications infrastructure, calls would flow to Education’s disaster recovery site in Georgia, which would act as a communications hub to connect satellite offices. The agency also installed routers that can send calls onto the public switched telephone network if the wide-area data network crashes. “That’s a definite no-brainer best practice,” Tseronis said. But he pointed out that such automatic failure capabilities take more than just buying hardware and expecting it all to automatically work. Like their VA counterparts, Education 55

officials discussed their COOP plan with telecom service providers, which are responsible for rerouting calls if network segments go down. “There is some manual intervention to ensure that if something fails, an alternative kicks in,” Tseronis said. “In some cases, it can be automated, but it takes working with the telcos.” Discussions with service providers should occur early in the COOP planning process. “If you wait until the last minute, after you’ve developed your bill of materials to buy a new solution, it is not going to be well thought out,” Tseronis said. “That relationship needs to be born early on and continually cultivated.” Joch is a business and technology writer based in New England. He can be reached Rolling communications No matter how much work goes into building resiliency into a communications network, exceptional forces can sometimes bring it down. The Department of Veterans Affairs confronted this fact last year when Hurricane Katrina severed communications with 10 medical centers stretching from the Florida panhandle to New Orleans. “The lesson we learned was that [wide-area network] service was restored several days before reliable voice service,” said David Cheplick, deputy director of the VA’s Office of Telecommunications. The only answer in the immediate aftermath came from mobile communications vehicles equipped with dishes that established IP telephony connections via Earth-orbiting satellites. “We connected both voice over IP as well as data links, and that proved to be a very good solution for interim communications at our outpatient clinics and major medical centers in that area,” he said. The satellite solution wasn’t part of the existing continuity-of-operations plan last year, but the VA now has reserved mobile satellite units and services for its Gulf Coast and southern Atlantic facilities. Monthly costs for the backup services are about $1,000 for each of the six operations in the areas. Communications hardware vendors are tapping into this growing interest in mobile communications units. Avaya recently announced two versions of mobile units that use IP technology to create rolling network gateways. The price is $25,000 to $75,000, depending on the sophistication level. Getting help to VOIP callers The flexibility of IP telephony can be a blessing and a curse. It can keep communications flowing when traditional phone lines are down, but it can also make it difficult for first responders to find the source of 911 calls if agency employees move IP phones to alternate offices or sign on with voice-enabled laptop computers. To help, networking vendors and service providers are offering proprietary location identification services. For example, Avaya sells software that prompts callers to enter a local phone number if, for example, they sign on to the voice network from home rather than from the main office number. A database maintained by the public safety infrastructure associates a physical address with the number. Similarly, Cisco Systems sells technology that identifies a phone’s location, including the particular floor and office, within a Cisco infrastructure. A company called eTelemetry has introduced a network device that crosses platform boundaries. Called Locate 911, the hardware and software bundle prompts callers to identify themselves when they log on to the network so the system can match them to the physical connection on the network. The appliance is network- and phone-agnostic, said Alan Schunemann, eTelemetry’s chief technology officer. The product also gives network managers the option of locking IP phones to a specific switch port to avoid potential location problems and prevent employees from moving the phones.

20/20 Take: Do HSAs Make Sense For Young Adults? (WSJ)
By Megan Ballinger The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 Editor's Note: 20/20 Take is a new Online Journal feature looking at how an issue in the news relates to people in their twenties. This installment looks at health savings accounts. Write to Megan Ballinger1. POS, PPO, HMO -- Sometimes it seems like you need a medical degree to keep all the health-insurance acronyms straight. But one -- HSAs -- could be worth studying for twentysomethings. HSAs, or health savings accounts, are tax-advantaged savings accounts that can be used to pay for medical expenses. The accounts are often offered to consumers who hold low-premium, high-deductible insurance plans that provide what's called catastrophic coverage -- insurance that starts paying after you've spent at least $1050 for medical expenses up front, (or $2,100 for somebody with a family policy). MORE ON HSAS 2 • HSA 'High-Deductible' Plans May Cost More3 56

HSAs can be an especially practical option for those of us in our 20s because we're generally a healthy demographic and tend to have low health-care costs. The idea is that the money you save by paying lower premiums can be contributed to an HSA. You contribute pretax dollars, and the money can be withdrawn tax-free at any time for qualified medical expenses, such as doctors visits and hospital care, eyeglasses, dental care and prescriptions. Contributions that aren't spent can be invested or earn interest -- that's money for the future. So are younger workers embracing these accounts? Maybe we would, if we knew about them. Though enrollment in HSAeligible insurance plans has tripled during the past year -- now three million Americans are signed up, according to the Government Accountability Office -- HSAs are still largely under the radar. A recent study conducted by America's Health Insurance Plans, a health insurance industry group, shows that 10% of those covered by HSA-eligible plans are between the ages of 20-29. Not every enrollee actually opens and contributes to an account. Health insurance industry officials and the IRS estimate that 50-60% of eligible policyholders have opened and funded an HSA. President Bush has been stumping for HSAs since early 2004, hoping to publicize the program and entice more consumers to take charge of their health spending. But many twentysomethings we talked with either hadn't heard of the plans, or confused them with flexible-spending accounts, which also let you set money aside for medical expenses. (Despite their name, FSAs are in some ways less flexible than HSAs. See this article4.) High-deductible plans aren't for the risk-averse. If you do get sick, under most plans you'll have to shell out cash before the coverage kicks in. Critics say consumers enrolled in high-deductible plans may skip needed medical care because they don't want to pay for it. Another issue is availability. HSA-eligible plans can be purchased by individuals, but in a handful of states they're still not an option. Relatively few employers currently offer HSA-eligible plans, though a growing number -- including Microsoft Corp. and General Motors Corp. -- have recently introduced them as a lower-cost choice, compared with more-comprehensive coverage. More employers may soon roll them out because low-premium plans can save money for corporations as well as consumers. Finally, many twentysomethings may not have the finances to take advantage of the potential savings these accounts offer. "You can have the best intentions, but how much can we afford to put away?" asks Douglas Birkey, a 25-year-old legislative assistant for the Air Force Association. He says that in theory HSAs can be a smart move for retirement planning, but "I'm not driving a Porsche, I'm thinking about my groceries for next week." Even for those young adults with some money to invest, a Roth IRA might make more sense because, should you need to, you can withdraw the principal without penalty for any expense -- not just health costs. (Read about the differences5.) If your employer offers HSAs, or you're in the market for individual health insurance, these can be a good option if you're healthy. They're an even better option if you're the kind of person who's always thinking about the future and looking for ways to save money and invest it. Of course, not all of us are that kind of person -- at least not yet. What Twentysomethings Say "I'm not sure what an HSA is. You mean the thing where you put money aside to pay for prescriptions and contact lenses?... I have no idea whether my company offers that as an option." --Melissa Waina, 23, control analyst, Euclid, Ohio * * * John Dietsche, 26, a mechanical engineer, purchased his own temporary insurance when he quit his job in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to move to Brooklyn, N.Y., last year. "It sounds like it's a good thing for people in between jobs. If the plan was an option through my employer, though, I think I would choose an HMO because it seems more structured. An HSA seems like it could be a hassle." * * * "I did actually consider an HSA when I chose my health-care plan. I ended up not choosing it because it was so unfamiliar and I didn't really understand how it worked." --Shana Boehm, 28, holds a master's in public health and is a program analyst for the Department of Veterans' Affairs in Los Angeles * * * "HSA-eligible plans are the only insurance my company offers, but I think this plan is much easier to understand [than the plan I used to be on with my parents]. It's especially good for a young person because you can save money for your family and yourself. I used to go to the doctor for every little thing. Now I think twice about it." --Kelly Farren, 20, sales assistant, Brooklyn, N.Y. * * *

Bombs, Bullets And Bravery At Omaha Beach (PO)
By Diane Tennant Pilot Online (VA), June 6, 2006 VIRGINIA BEACH - Cary Lee Jarvis, 84, knows D-Day. He knows why mines were called "bouncing betties" and how booby traps worked. He knows about being a staff sergeant whose lieutenant was newly dead, leading men in the first wave of invasion onto Omaha Beach, June 6, 1944. 57

"Lots of shells explodin' and guns goin' off and we was bein' machine gunned and shot at with cannon fire and mortars was fallin' around and there was just so much stuff blowing up and going off, you didn't know where it was comin' or going ... We, of course, wanted to get cover as fast as we could, get off the beach, 'cause we could see the sand jumpin' up all around us, so we knew there was bullets hittin' in the sand ... I saw a couple people get blown half in two, steppin' on those, right in front of me. So we was scared to keep goin' across the beach so we got on our hands and knees and was crawlin', feelin' with our fingers, to see if we could detect anything such as a bouncin' betty and avoid it." A few years back, Jarvis' daughter asked him to tape record his memories of World War II. He said he didn't think so. She gave him a recorder anyway, in case he ever wanted to tell people about volunteering to flush snipers out of French villages: Cary Jarvis in 1943 "Later on, you realized, man, you're askin' for it, sticking your neck out like that, but anyway the whole world was that way. Every day you stuck your neck out. And every day you was gettin' shelled or being shot at. It stayed in your mind all the time because somebody in your outfit was gettin' killed every day or gettin' shot every day. It stayed on your mind. When am I gonna get mine, or how will I get it? ... You lived in, I guess you'd call it, in fear or scared. Any soldier said he wasn't scared, he was lying. He was scared." Several months after his daughter's request, Jarvis sat down in the front seat of his Model A, a car like the one he'd had before he joined the National Guard and then the Army and then the war. He had the recorder. He talked into it about being a forward observer with the 111th Field Artillery, aiming at a German coastal gun that could fire shells close to 20 miles : "It must have hit the ammo dump or something right there by the gun. It looked like the whole world was blowin' up. It blew up the gun. All the ammo there, everything blew up. Planes that was trying to bomb it, them P-38 Lightnings, when all that big explosion and smoke rose, they had to go up in the air trying to get away from it." Jarvis recorded his memories of fighting inland from the coast of France and supporting the Battle of the Bulge. He talked about his battlefield commission as a second lieutenant, about picking up a Bronze Star and turning down a Purple Heart . And he talked about raiding the kitchen truck: "Two or three of the guys in my section asked me. I said, that's a no-no. 'Well, man, we're hungry, we're starving.' Well, I was hungry, too. So after a lot of persuasion from them I said all right, we snuck on down to where the kitchen truck was, one of the guys pulled up the back curtain and jumped inside, grabbed a can, a gallon can, come jumpin' out and we ran to our truck. Right away, we was gonna open that can and devour whatever was in it. When we opened it up, we had a gallon of orange marmalade. I don't know why, I still like orange marmalade." In 2004, Jarvis went back to France, to Omaha Beach. His daughter went with him. He smiled in the pictures she took, because at that point he wasn't talking about cheating death: "We was going across this real flat, open field. We was gettin' up one or two at a time and running in a zigzag fashion toward a hedgerow, which was maybe 100, 150 yards in front of us. There was two or three other guys that had already gotten up there and ... they hollered to us and said, 'Sergeant, when you come 'round this curve you'd better come fast, there's a sniper shooting at everybody.' When I started 'round that little curve where the hedgerow was, man, he shot at me. My heart, I guess, went right up into my throat. The bullet must have just missed my head ... "Then two or three infantry guys, they got ready to come up there. The first two, they made it up, and the third one got hit right between the eyes and fell right at my feet. His helmet crumped up on the back of his head when he fell face down. There was a hole in his head bigger than my fist and he just made two or three gasps. And that was it. That was the end of him. So ... " On the tape, there is a pause before Jarvis finishes his thought. "Anybody says that war isn't hell, they're crazy." The tape shuts off. In person, when he told the story again on Friday, he cried.

Good Vision Enhances Seniors' Lives (HC)
By Heloise, King Features Syndicate Houston Chronicle, June 6, 2006 Dear Heloise: Seniors can maintain their independence with a free medical eye exam. In addition to making it possible to enjoy things such as reading, gardening and golfing, good eye health influences many other aspects of life, including the ability to live independently as one ages. By age 65, one in three Americans has some form of vision-impairing eye disease. But most eye diseases are treatable, especially if caught early. That's why annual dilated eye exams are so important in helping seniors preserve their sight. Cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are the most common eye diseases for those 65 and older. 58

This year, I would like to encourage people to contact EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program and get a free eye exam for a friend or family member or even themselves. EyeCare America's Seniors EyeCare Program helps to ensure that all eligible seniors (U.S. citizens or legal residents 65 or older who have not seen an ophthalmologist in the past three years and do not belong to an HMO or the VA) have access to free medical eye care. Those eligible for a referral through the program receive a medical eye exam and up to one year of treatment — at no out-of-pocket cost. EyeCare America's 7,500 volunteer ophthalmologists across the U.S. accept Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full. To learn more about EyeCare America's public-service programs, call 800-222-3937 or visit DR. B. THOMAS HUTCHINSON, ophthalmologist and chairman of EyeCare America Thanks to your wonderful organization for all it does. HELOISE

Primary Packed Full Of Proposals (MT)
By Kate Finneren Michigan Thumb, June 6, 2006 HURON COUNTY — Voters may spend a little more time than usual at the polls during the August primary as 17 proposals have been added to what’s already a large list. The Huron County Department of Veterans Affairs Millage is officially Proposal 3 on the Aug. 8 primary elections’ ballot. The proposed veterans millage is an increase of .08 mills ($0.08 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of six years to equip, operate, maintain and provide support and assistance services to veterans through the county Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). “If people understand that it’s going to be $4 or $5 a year, and all that money is going to veterans services, I feel that they’re going to feel positive about that,” said Huron County Commissioner Mike Gage. “It’s not a lot of extra money to spend for the benefits the veterans of Huron County are going to receive.” If approved, the millage would raise an estimated $117,421.74 in the first year of the levy. Gage said the money being asked of voters in Proposal 3 is not going to be used for anything else except veterans services. “I think they deserve the services and support that’s been given to them in the past,” he said. “Unfortunately, money has been tight in the past and we don’t really feel we have the money to fund (the position of director of Huron County’s VA) on a fulltime basis and give it the support that it needs in that office.” Sharon McLeod has worked as the county’s director of veterans affairs on what’s been a mostly volunteer basis. The millage would allow for the VA office to be staffed with a full-time director for the first time since she took over the duties in 2004. Huron County Clerk Peggy Koehler released 16 other proposals on ballots across the Thumb, including two others from Huron County. Proposal 1 is asking voters to renew a millage of 2/10 of 1 mill ($0.20 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of five years to maintain and expand services to older citizens in Huron County. Proposal 2 is an operating surcharge renewal of up to 16 percent of the lesser of $20 or the highest monthly rate charged for basic telephone service for equipping, maintaining and operating costs of the 911 emergency answering and dispatch services in Huron County. There also are three proposals from Fairhaven Township, and two others from Chandler Township. The Harbor Beach District Library, in addition to Caseville, Colfax, Gore, Lake, Oliver, Rubicon, Sand Beach and Sebewaing townships all have one proposal to consider. HURON COUNTY, MICHIGAN AUGUST 8, 2006 PRIMARY ELECTION BALLOT PROPOSALS HURON COUNTY Proposal 1: Millage renewal of 2/10 of 1 mill ($0.20 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of five years (2007 through 2011) to maintain and expand services to older citizens in Huron County. Proposal 2: Operating surcharge renewal of up to 16 percent of the lesser of $20 or the highest monthly rate charged for basic telephone service for equipping, maintaining, and operating costs of the 911 emergency answering and dispatch services in Huron County. 59

Proposal 3: Millage increase of .08 mills ($0.08 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of 6 years (2006 through 2011) to equip, operate, maintain, and provide support and assistance services to veterans through a county Department of Veterans Affairs. CASEVILLE TOWNSHIP Millage renewal of .80 mills ($0.80 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of 2007 through 2010 inclusive, for township road maintenance. CHANDLER TOWNSHIP Proposal 1: Millage renewal of 2 mills ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2006 through 2014 inclusive, for township road construction and maintenance. Proposal 2: Millage renewal of 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2006 through 2014 inclusive, for township emergency services. COLFAX TOWNSHIP Millage renewal of 1.75 mills ($1.75 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2007 through 2010 inclusive, for fire protection and other services. FAIRHAVEN TOWNSHIP Proposal 1: Millage renewal of 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of 2007 through 2009 inclusive, for fire protection. Proposal 2: Millage increase of .5 mill ($0.50 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2007 through 2009 inclusive, for fire protection. Proposal 3: Reduction in millage to 2 mills ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2007 through 2009 inclusive, for police protection. GORE TOWNSHIP Millage request for 3 mills ($3 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2006 through 2012 inclusive, for maintenance and repair of township roads. LAKE TOWNSHIP Millage renewal of 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2007 through 2010 inclusive, for general operating expenses to be designated for road maintenance and gypsy moth suppression. OLIVER TOWNSHIP Millage request for .25 mills ($0.25 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the year 2006 inclusive, for library purposes. RUBICON TOWNSHIP Millage request for 3 mills ($3 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the years 2006 through 2015 inclusive, for road construction and maintenance. SAND BEACH TOWNSHIP Millage renewal of 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2006 through 2010 inclusive, for fire protection. SEBEWAING TOWNSHIP Millage renewal of 2 mills ($2 per $1,000 of taxable value) for the period of 2006 through 2012 inclusive, for roads. HARBOR BEACH DISTRICT LIBRARY (Comprised of the Harbor Beach School District voters) Bond Proposition: To borrow a sum not to exceed $1,800,000 for 15 years for the purpose of paying for the costs of renovating and constructing an addition to the existing library building located in the City of Harbor Beach. And amount levied in the first year is 0.3273 mills ($0.3273 per $1,000 of taxable value).

Holmdel Center's Doors To Open For Disabled Vets (NSL)
By Nawal Qarooni Newark Star-Ledger (NJ), June 6, 2006 A special unit of the state Department of Treasury charged with making public buildings wheel chair-accessible will pay to automate the doors of the Vietnam Era Educational Center. The doors of the state-owned facility are wide enough for wheel chairs to fit through, but they were never automated. The center, which is next to the state's Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Holmdel, was built in 1998 and about 15,000 people visit yearly. For veterans with disabilities whose lives were altered in war, it seemed a small request to be able to press a button and have the doors swing open for them. 60

"Of course it would be more convenient if they were automatic," said Richard Clark, who is paralyzed on his left side because of a gunshot wound from his service in the Vietnam War. "For such a small price, I didn't see why they couldn't just fix them." Since a story appeared last week in The Star-Ledger describing the problem, there has been an outpouring of support from private citizens promising to donate money to fix the doors. An official at the Americans With Disabilities Act compliance unit of the state Division of Property Management and Construction also saw the story. Bernie McLaughlin, deputy di rector of the division, determined that a $1.5 million fund to make state facilities handicappedaccessible could be used at the education center. "The fund has a small balance of a little over $100,000 now at the close of this fiscal year to meet the needs of ADA compliance," said Tom Vincz, spokesman for the state Department of Treasury. "This sort of remedial project is one we're proud to take care of for the modest cost of near $20,000." Vincz said officials are itemizing what needs to be done for the education center and will soon take bids for the work. In addition to fix ing the doors, they will cover the costs of adding more signs and making the bathrooms more handicappedaccessible. The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation -- which runs the education center, develops interactive programming, brings speakers and plans ceremonies -- operates on about $400,000 a year. The money is raised through the income tax check-off, golf outings, gala dinners and school trips for which students pay $3.50 admission, Watts said, which is why there was never extra money for special projects like fixing the doors. The state has always been responsible for maintenance of the facilities, utilities and employee wages. Stephen Abel, deputy commissioner for the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, said a $350,000 appropriation must cover the Vietnam War and Korean War memorials. He said the doors were never mentioned as a priority for state funding. Those who volunteered money or services to repair the doors will still be able to donate to the center. Kelly Watts, the executive director of the education center, said she will ask those people to donate to other projects, such as a $40,000 proposal that would put touch screens in kiosks near the memorial that would locate veterans on the memorial. "If the ADA guys can fix the doors, then I'd love to use the do nations for additional special projects we struggle to fund," Watts said. "Having a flood of offers is lovely, but I have to figure out how to best utilize everyone's generosity and be honest with them about how their money could be used." For an advocate like Nellie Malet of Sayreville, whose husband was a Vietnam War veteran, the cost to give veterans with disabilities a sense of independence when they enter a facility dedicated to them is priceless. "The money shouldn't have been such an issue. It's the point that these veterans gave to their country. This is their building," said Malet, who has been fighting to secure state funding for the doors since 2002. "They should have been able right from the be ginning to be able to enter without having to ask for help and now I'm glad they'll be able to." Nawal Qarooni may be reached at (732) 404-8082 or nqarooni@starled

One Fourth Of Older Patients Receive Catheters For No Reason (BRN)
Boca Raton News (FL), June 6, 2006 A study of 1,586 hospitalized patients age 70 and older at two Ohio hospitals indicates that 24 percent were given medically unnecessary urinary catheters, according to investigators led by a researcher at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. None of the 378 catheterized patients had a medical condition indicating a need for a catheter. Among patients 85 or older, the rate of unnecessary catheterization was 32 percent. The risk of medically inappropriate catheterization was also higher among women, patients with disability or dementia, and patients admitted with a geriatric condition such as confusion or frequent falls. The study authors note that, in previous research, catheterization has been shown to cause urinary infection in one fourth of patients catheterized. "This highlights the fact that the people who are most likely to suffer the adverse effects of a urinary tract infection are exactly the people who seem to be getting unnecessary catheterizations," observes principal investigator Seth Landefeld, MD, associate chief of staff of geriatrics and extended care at SFVAMC and Senior Scholar in the VA National Quality Scholar Program. 61

The study identified nine specific risk factors for unnecessary catheterization: female gender, chronic illness, cognitive impairment, incontinence, inability to carry out common activities of daily living, a physician's order for bed rest, and three geriatric conditions -confusion, falls, and failure to thrive at home. Patients with five or more risk factors had a 50 percent risk of being catheterized unnecessarily. "None of these factors are in themselves an indication for having a catheterization," says Landefeld, who is also a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. The study did not examine the question of why unnecessary catheters are being placed. "Other studies have found that most doctors don't know whether their patient has a catheter in place or not," Landefeld notes. "It's something that happens frequently for reasons that have not been fully teased out." When the reasons are eventually determined, he says, the next step would be think about ways to decrease unnecessary catheter use. "It's like hand washing in hospitals, which has become much more common recently thanks to interventions that encourage hospital staff to modify their behavior," he says. "We need very obvious approaches that will get people to think three times before placing the catheter - and once it's in, to think how quickly they can get it out." Landefeld says that he and his fellow researchers have completed a follow up study on what happens to patients who have been catheterized unnecessarily: "Are they more likely to decline and be unable to care for themselves? Are they more likely to die, or go to a nursing home?" That study is currently under peer review.

Rural And Urban Disparities In Health-Related Quality Of Life Among Veterans With Psychiatric Disorders (PS)
By Amy E. Wallace, M.D., M.P.H., William B. Weeks, M.D., M.B.A., Stanley Wang, M.S., Austin F. Lee, Ph.D. And Lewis E. Kazis, Sc.D. Psychiatric Services (subscription), June 6, 2006 OBJECTIVE: The authors studied whether rural and urban disparities in health-related quality of life, demonstrated previously among veterans, persist among veterans with common psychiatric disorders. METHODS: A cohort of 748,216 users or anticipated users of Veterans Affairs services completed the Veterans Short Form Health Survey in 1999. From the survey, the authors determined health-related quality-of-life scores (physical [PCS] and mental [MCS] health component summaries) and used ICD-9-CM codes to identify veterans with six mental health disorders—depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, alcohol dependence, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. With Rural-Urban Commuting Area codes to determine urban residency, the prevalence of psychiatric illness and health-related quality of life were compared across rural and urban groups. RESULTS: All psychiatric disorders except anxiety disorders not related to posttraumatic stress disorder were more prevalent in urban settings. However, rural veterans within mental illness cohorts had worse PCS and MCS scores. Differences in PCS scores were substantial, ranging between 2.27 for schizophrenia and 3.39 for alcohol dependence (p<.001 for all diagnoses). Differences in MCS scores were statistically significant but modest. In regression models, rural-urban disparities within psychiatric disorder cohorts persisted after sociodemographic factors were controlled for. CONCLUSIONS: Although less likely than their urban counterparts to have mental disorders, rural veterans with mental illness experienced a greater disease burden and were likely to incur greater health care costs. Improving access to mental health care for veterans in rural settings may narrow quality-of-life disparities among rural and urban veterans.

DOD, VA Told To Use Common Software (FCW)
By Bob Brewin Federal Computer Weekly, June 6, 2006 Legislation aims to ease health data sharing by requiring uniform e-health records The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs would need to adopt identical software, data standards and data repositories for their electronic health record (EHR) systems if a fiscal 2007 spending bill recently passed by the House Appropriations Committee survives the remainder of the budget process. The committee’s Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee said in its spending bill report that its members feel strongly that the two departments should use identical technology as much as possible to make it easier to share EHR data. The report directs the VA and DOD to update Congress on their plans for data-sharing systems and standards no later than December. 62

If the VA and DOD follow the committee’s direction, the two largest health care systems in the country, which collectively served more than 14 million beneficiaries last year, would use the same systems. The electronic records for military personnel would cover them from enlistment to death. A common EHR platform is the rational answer for data sharing, said Dr. Stanley Saiki, director of the Honolulu-based Pacific Telehealth and Technology Hui, a partnership between the VA and the Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. That view is not universal, however. Dr. Harold Timboe, assistant vice president for research administration and initiatives at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, said the VA and DOD do not need to adopt identical systems to share data. But Timboe said he believes that they do need to adopt common standards. The Department of Health and Human Services wants health providers to do that nationwide, and Timboe believes the VA and DOD can help lead the way. Timboe, a retired Army major general, commanded the Walter Reed Army Medical Center from 1999 to 2002. Because DOD and VA beneficiaries receive treatment at private and federal facilities, Timboe said facilities operated by the two departments should become the anchors of regional health information organizations in specific geographic areas to spur data sharing throughout the entire health care system. Creating common standards for the VA and DOD EHRs could foster economies of scale, said Dr. Kevin Fickensher, executive vice president of health care transformation at Perot Systems. DOD operates 70 hospitals and 411 clinics. The Military Health System covers slightly more than 9 million beneficiaries, including active-duty and retired military personnel and their families. The VA operates 154 hospitals, 875 clinics and 136 nursing homes. It treated 5.3 million VA beneficiaries, including veterans and eligible family members, last year. Paul Grabscheid, vice president of strategic planning at InterSystems, whose Cache software sits at the heart of the VA’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture medical record system, said he supports data sharing between DOD and the VA. But he argued that a mandate for identical software is the wrong approach. Data sharing can be done through the use of standards-based systems, Grabscheid said. Replacing the two systems at the VA and DOD is not a good strategy, he added. Saiki said that although the VA and DOD have made some progress on data-sharing initiatives since 1998, it has been slow going. “Heaven here is a common platform built from the bottom up, with the clinicians dictating the design, not the bean counters,” he said.

Veterans Need The Help This Bill Would Offer (WP)
The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Christopher Lee's May 30 article "Legal Help for Veterans" portrayed a proposed piece of legislation aimed at assisting veterans -- the Veterans' Choice of Representation Act -- as a crass attempt by two senators to help lawyers make money. All veterans injured as a result of their service have the right to seek compensation from their government. This legislation will not affect the ability of veterans organizations to continue providing representation to veterans who seek it. To date more than 18,000 service members have been wounded in action in Iraq and Afghanistan. These figures do not include those injured in non-hostile acts (such as vehicle accidents) in the war zones, nor do they include those injured in training or other military activities outside the combat areas. It is not difficult to imagine that at least some veterans injured while serving their country might want to retain attorneys to help them with disability claims. But at present there is a statute that forbids them from doing so. The proposed legislation removes that restriction. Military veterans should be provided with the same rights that they were called upon to defend when they wore the uniform. Surely they should have the choice to hire attorneys if that is what they want. ADELE H. ODEGARD Haddonfield, N.J.

Capitol Hill (MBSN)
Myrtle Beach (SC) Sun News, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, D.C. VETERANS AFFAIRS Agency to divulge sex offenders 63

Congressional leaders have ordered the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs to produce the identity and location of all convicted sexual offenders employed by the agency. The order came after the St. Petersburg Times disclosed that the VA Medical Center at Bay Pines employs convicted sex offenders who work among scores of middle and high school students in a volunteer program. WAR FUNDS Lawmakers meet to finalize spending Hoping to speed approval of war funds, House-Senate negotiators were to meet tonight on legislation to pay for the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and for hurricane relief. "It's imperative that Congress finish its work and get this to the president to sign," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "This supplemental went up in February. It's now June." LOBBYISTS Special interests foot travel bills Members of Congress and their aides took 23,000 trips financed by private groups over a five-and-a-half-year period, a study released Monday found. The price tag totaled at least $50 million from January 2000 through June 2005, with much of the travel financed by groups that have agendas on Capitol Hill, said Wendell Rawls, acting executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a private watchdog group that led the study. STATE DEPARTMENT Expert says agency overhaul flawed A reorganization of the State Department offices that are leading the fight against weapons of mass destruction was badly managed and politicized, according to a new account by a veteran weapons expert. Dean Rust, who watched the reorganization unfold, charges that its "botched implementation" led many career officers to leave and "will hamper the State Department's role at home and abroad for years to come."

Kids All-American Fishing Derby Held At Lake Fannin (NT)
By Allen Rich North Texas e-News (TX), June 6, 2006 It pays to know how to fish. Just ask Jeremy Hunter Treybig, 12, of Ivanhoe. Seventy-five participants in the Kids All-American Fishing Derby enjoyed a near-perfect day Saturday, June 3 at Lake Fannin and for one young man the contest was especially rewarding. The biggest fish of the day, a 2.2 pound bass, earned Jeremy Hunter Treybig $50. The Kids All-America Fishing Derby is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Bonham V.A. Employee Association, Bonham Wal-Mart, and mnay local merchants and citizens. In addition to the fishing contest, hot dogs, chips and soft drinks were provided the the young fishermen and their families. This was the first year the contest was held at Lake Fannin. In addition to Treybig's top catch, other winners included: Jacob Propst - winner of 13-16 age division Ethan Gregory - winner 0-4 age division Reece Jones - 2nd place 9-12 age division Derrell Crain - 3rd place 9-12 age division 1st prize: Jeremy Hunter Treybig's 2.2 lbs. largemough bass earned him $50.

Ex-POW Group To Meet This Weekend In Bridgeport (HNN)
Huntington News (WV), June 6, 2006 Bridgeport, WV (HNN) -- The Barbed-Wire Mountaineers, Chapter Number One, of the American Ex-Prisoners of War will host the West Virginia state convention at the Bridgeport Holiday Inn on June 9, 10, 11, 2006. Registration will begin at noon on Friday June 9. National directors and members from several states are expected to attend the weekend festivities. Workshops conducted by the veterans affairs and VA hospital will be held on Saturday. A dinner banquet will be held Saturday evening, with memorial services on Sunday morning. 64

How To Be Happy (when You Feel Like Staying In Bed) (ACT)
By Susan Reinhardt Asheville Citizen-Times (NC), June 6, 2006 ASHEVILLE - The old expression "What happened to you? Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?" doesn't always have to ring true. There are plenty of ways to go from grouch to grateful and turn a bad day into a good one. People from throughout the area commented on how they find joy and happiness in a world that often seems full of sad news and tragedy.Wendi Griffin Wendi Griffin is a waitress in Asheville who wears a big smile while pouring sweet tea and charm. The 38-year-old mother of three appears to be on top of the world. But her world went under two years ago when her husband took his own life. "It was a struggle," the Asheville woman said, pausing between customers. "I got therapy and took antidepressants for a year." Sometimes, this is the way to go if the depressive state is serious. After about a year, she decided to create ways to heal and find joy on her own. "I stay busy," she said. "I spend time with loved ones and open the doors and let the sun in." Griffin said she likes to get on the floor and play with her children. She also volunteers in her community, helping others. "When I about think things other people go through," she said. "I try to remember things could be a lot worse."Juan C. Martinez "I exercise in the mornings," he said. "I rent funny movies, mostly when I'm down. I also collect comics and read them." Martinez said going to the park with his kids makes him happy. As for his wife, Rosa, he grinned and said, "She likes to eat and shop."Ben Gay "Every day is a good day," said this Fairview area man. "When you get up and put your feet on the floor, then it's a good day. I'm happy every day, because each day is a day of life." When you're mad, he said, the world is mad with you. Then again, "When you smile, the world smiles, too. "I've had my bad days," he said. "Back in the military." He's now retired and can do what he wants each morning he arises. It's a good way to live, he said, having such freedom of choices.Margie Parham "When you get up in the morning and see or know the sun rises, it's a good day," said Margie Parham, a part-time schoolteacher from Reynolds. God, she said, is always with her. "I visualize a rainbow or sunset and remember I'm not alone." On a lighter note, and with a bit of coaxing, she admitted shopping makes her happy. There are few things as thrilling as finding a fabulous suit on sale, she said. "I'm a shopaholic," she said, working in the faint light of dusk as she planted and watered flowers. "A love to find a haute couture outfit on sale for 80 or 90 percent off."Dr. John Parham "I beat the kids," he said, laughing and obviously joking. This gentle doctor is Margie's husband and works at the V.A. Medical Center. He's as docile and happy as they come. He has a wry sense of humor and even rides a motorcycle some days to work. He also loves to burn off stress by going fly fishing and playing golf. Like Martinez and other grown men, he, too, collects comic books and loves reading and laughing at the strips. "I don't have bad days," he said. "I play my music, see my friends. What's there to be unhappy about?"Rob Williams On the tennis courts at Aston Park is where one will find Rob Williams most days. This Fletcher man is 68 and looks at least 15 years younger. He has six children and 19 grandchildren and has been playing tennis for the past 40 years. It's his therapy, one of the many ways he finds joy and happiness in life. He is also a man who feels blessed. "I'm thankful for each day the good Lord is giving me," he said. "One way to be happy is to make others happy. I don't believe in a bad day. I believe in counting your blessings."Dr. Anthony Weisenberger From the mouth of Asheville psychiatrist, Weisenberger knows the difference between real depression and mental illness from a case of the plain old blues. For those who are in trouble and suicidal, he recommends immediate help and even hospitalization. For others who are suffering mild cases of the "Who tinkled in my Cornflakes?" syndrome, less intensive ways can lift the clouds. He lives by a formula called "MEDS." "Meditate, exercise, diet and sleep." 65

Fitch Affirms 6 Classes From MASTR RLT 2005-1 (BW)
Business Wire (press release), June 6, 2006 NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 5, 2006--Fitch has affirmed the following Mortgage Asset Securitization Transactions (MASTR) Reperforming Loan Trust (MASTR RLT) mortgage pass-through certificates: Series 2005-1 -- Classes 1-A-1 through 1-A-5 & 2-A-1 'AAA'. The affirmations affect approximately $226.2 million of the outstanding certificates and reflect a stable relationship between credit enhancement and expected loss. As of the May 2006 distribution date, the transaction has experienced a cumulative collateral loss of approximately $104,981 or 0.03% of the original collateral balances. The collateral of the above transaction primarily consists of closed-end, fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage loans secured by first liens on one- to four-family residential properties. All of the loans were originated by various originators and in accordance with the underwriting guidelines of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), or the Rural Housing Services (RHS). In addition, all of the loans were previously included in a Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) pool and subsequently repurchased from the GNMA pool when a delinquency was not cured for at least 90 days. All of the loans are insured by the FHA, or partially guaranteed by the VA or the RHS. The above transaction is master serviced by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., which is rated 'RPS1' by Fitch. The transaction is seasoned 14 months and the pool factor (i.e., current mortgage loans outstanding as a percentage of the initial pool) is 72%. Further information regarding current delinquency, loss and credit enhancement statistics is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at ''. Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, ''. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.

VA Hospital Seeks Student Volunteers (TNR)
The News-Review (OR), June 6, 2006 ROSEBURG: The Roseburg VA Medical Center is hosting its summer "Operation Cheer A Vet" program. The VA is seeking student volunteer to spread cheer and energy to hospitalized veterans. Students can volunteer in recreational and social activities with veterans and may apply their time to community service hours needed for National Honor Society or other school organizations. Students must be at least 14 years old and have parental or guardian written consent. Information: VA Voluntary Service Office, 440-1272.

Summer Means Time To Review Lawn Mower Safety With Kids (BCDR)
Benton County Daily Record (AK), June 5, 2006 LITTLE ROCK – Though summer is just dawning, Arkansas Children’s Hospital has already treated more patients with lawnmower injuries this year than it did during all of 2005. This means that as grass continues to grow through the warm months and school lets out, parents need to be on guard. "If a trend like this starts early, it usually continues through the summer," said Donna Parnell-Beasley, trauma coordinator for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. "Always know where your children are when you’re mowing." Already, the hospital has treated six patients who were seriously injured in accidents involving lawnmowers. ParnellBeasley points out that lawnmower injuries are usually penetrating and in many scenarios, amputation or partial amputation occurs. "Some children even require subsequent hospitalizations for skin grafts and wound care," she said. "The injuries we see are typically to the hands or feet. These are devastating and disfiguring injuries." Windy Favre of Conway knows from experience how traumatic lawnmower injuries can be to children and their families. Her 5-year-old son Michael lost a third of each of his feet in late March after a family member, unaware that the child was standing near, backed over him with a lawnmower. Michael also fractured his hand in multiple places, suffered several deep cuts and had his leg skinned. "You always hear how fast your kids move, but I don’t think it registers," Windy Favre said. "We now know." Michael is now at home and adapting to a wheelchair. As he grows older, he will have the option of using inserts to fill out his shoes because his feet won’t be able to on their own. 66

Dale Blasier, M. D., vice chief of orthopedics at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, believes Michael will regain strength in his right foot. But many of the muscles in his left foot are destroyed. Blasier says this is fairly typical of the types of injuries associated with lawnmower accidents. "They’re generally ragged and filled with dirt and pieces of grass," Blasier said. "They’re at high risk for infections. They need to be on antibiotics for a long time. We don’t see these patients once. We see them over and over and over again to get them healed up." For now, Michael seems to be more concerned with seeing friends he missed at school and letting his injuries heal so he can go swimming again. "He’s very much the same Michael he was before," Windy Favre said. "He’s a spunky little fellow." She echoes some of the same tips that Parnell-Beasley advocates for avoiding lawnmower accidents during the summer months. "Just keep your kids inside when the lawnmower is going," Windy Favre said. "My kids won’t be outside if anyone is mowing or using farm equipment near us ever again." Parents should also remember that riding lawnmowers are for adults and are not passenger vehicles. Children should not be allowed to sit on parents’ laps as they mow. Adolescents and teenagers who operate push-lawnmowers should wear long pants, protective boots and goggles because the machines can toss objects towards their faces. Those younger than 12 should not be allowed to operate push mowers. "It is a vehicle, and it does require some critical thinking skills to maneuver," Parnell-Beasley said. As school lets out, parents should be aware when their neighbors are mowing. They should also talk to their children about staying away from lawnmowers and talk to them about safety. "It’s still early summer," Parnell-Beasley said. "When kids are out of school, there is a great opportunity to look at a lot of different summer safety issues." Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the only pediatric medical center in Arkansas and one of the largest in the United States serving children from birth to age 21. The campus spans 24 city blocks and houses 290 beds, a staff of approximately 500 physicians, 80 residents in pediatrics and pediatric specialties and more than 3,600 employees. The private, nonprofit healthcare facility boasts an internationally renowned reputation for medical breakthroughs and intensive treatments, unique surgical procedures and forward-thinking medical research — all dedicated to fulfilling our mission of enhancing, sustaining and restoring children’s health and development. Arkansas Children’s Hospital is the comprehensive clinical, research and teaching affiliate of the College of Medicine at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. UAMS pediatric faculty physicians and surgeons are on staff at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit www. archildrens. org. UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has about 2,320 students and 690 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 9,300 employees, including nearly 1,000 physicians who provide medical care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the VA Medical Center. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.4 billion a year. For more information, visit uams. edu.

Local VA Office Not Open On Fridays (GU)
Go Upstate (SC), June 6, 2006 Veterans' Affairs Director Gerald Kiehl says he has to close his office to the public on Fridays to help veterans in Spartanburg County. Kiehl says his staff can't process the paperwork that veterans need if they also have to serve walk-ins on Fridays. But Spartanburg County administrator Glenn Breed points out that public offices are expected to serve residents five days a week. Kiehl has posted a sign beside the door to the county Veterans' Affairs office in the Evans Building on Dean Street stating that the office will be closed on Fridays so the staff can attend to administrative duties. "We're not playing cards. We're not playing golf," said Kiehl, who will celebrate his first anniversary as director next month. Kiehl said veterans bring about $35 million a year into Spartanburg County, including home and education loans as well as pensions and disability benefits. And most of that is facilitated through the Veterans' Affairs office, he said. Kiehl said his staff often sees as many as 50 veterans in a day. Last week, they saw 16 on Wednesday and 31 on Friday, according to the sign-in sheet posted in the main lobby. Some cases require a few minutes of staff time; others, a couple of hours, Kiehl said. Fridays are needed to process the requests and send them to the state office in Columbia, he said. Kiehl says he could keep the office door open five days a week if he had more staff. He has asked County Council for permission to hire two additional workers -- an administrative assistant and an eligibility specialist. The office is currently staffed by Kiehl, his assistant and two eligibility specialists. County Administrator Glenn Breed denied Kiehl's request because the office is too small to house six people. 67

Kiehl plans to appeal that decision to the council at its next meeting on June 19. Meanwhile, Breed said he was "shocked and surprised" that Kiehl was trying to keep the public out on Fridays. "Every other county office is open (for business) on Fridays," he said. Breed said he wishes Kiehl would keep the office fully functional, but can't force him. Although the county funds the office, Kiehl reports to the Spartanburg County Legislative Delegation. The governor appoints a veterans' affairs officer for each county, based on the recommendation of its legislative delegation. Breed said he's asked the Spartanburg County delegation to look into Kiehl's actions at its next meeting on Aug. 7. "It's a difficult setup," said Rep. Bob Walker, R-Landrum, vice chairman of the delegation. Walker, who's also a veteran, said he understands Kiehl's dilemma, but doesn't know whether limiting office hours is the best way to handle the problem. Kiehl said he's not turning everyone away. Anyone who knocks on the door can make an appointment for another day, he said. If it's an emergency, the staff will help the veteran or refer him to an agency that can. But the sign on the door only says the office is closed, and some folks have left without help. Kiehl said if a veteran or their spouse can't come to the office Monday through Thursday, he would see them on a Friday, which was the case for several people who came to the office last week. Kiehl also said he and his staff have been answering the phones on Fridays. "We're just not taking walk-ins," he said. County Councilman and War World II veteran Ken Huckaby, who will have a vote in whether Kiehl can hire additional employees, said he is "disappointed" to hear what's going on, but understands why Kiehl may have problems. "I will have a receptive ear to what he has to say and go from there."

Veteran's Appreciation Event Comes To Area (SLPT)
Storm Lake (IA) Pilot Tribune, June 5, 2006 The first Veteran's Appreciation Days in the area will be held Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds. Several Veteran Administration offices will be represented at the event: * Sioux Falls VA Hospital: will have a machine to create photo ID's for veterans and to register new clients. This will be the first time for this service in the region. * Des Moines VA Regional Office: to answer questions on disability claims. * Camp Dodge Veteran Office: Information on the new Veteran Cemetery in Iowa. * American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America Service Representatives: to do disability claims. * Military Organizations including the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marines will be on site with some of their equipment, along with their Guard and Reserve units. * The American Legion, Legion Riders, VFW and Vietnam Veterans of America Organizations with their programs will also be available. * Operation Military Kids: help for kids whose parents are deployed. * POW/MIA table and information, NW Iowa Vietnam Healing Wall, food and a lot of fun. * Cherokee Civil War Artillery Battery. Many more activities and opportunities for area veterans and their families will be included. Three concerts will be held at the Cherokee Bowl: Friday night, 9 p.m., "Cuz'n Eddie". Saturday night, 8 p.m., "Going Nowhere". Saturday June 1, "Top Down" at 8 p.m. All tickets are $5. Proceeds help to raise money for bringing the Vietnam Healing Wall to Cherokee in September 2007. For more information contact: Dana C. Evans, Cherokee County Veteran Affairs Director, 712-225-6704, 712-282-4360 or

Debate On Gay-marriage Ban Splits Senate, Public (USAT)
By Andrea Stone USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — The Senate began debate Monday on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, as President Bush told supporters at the White House that marriage should not “be redefined by activist judges.” 68

Advocates on both sides say there's virtually no chance the Senate will muster the 67 votes needed to approve the amendment when the Senate votes Wednesday. Backers could get just 48 votes on a preliminary vote when the Senate debated it in 2004. With five months to go before Republicans try to hold on to their majority in congressional elections this November, however, the goal may not be so much to win as to raise this and other issues that energize conservative Republicans. The Senate is also scheduled to take up a bill to repeal the estate tax and a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag. Like the gay-marriage ban, both have been debated and rejected before. Democrats attacked the decision by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., to spend time on these issues. “The reason for this debate is to divide our society,” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems.” “The Senate needs to act now,” Frist said recently. “The American people deserve a full debate … before marriage is redefined for everyone.” Debating issues such as gay marriage appeals to core voters Republicans will need this fall, says Jennifer Duffy, an analyst at the non-partisan Cook Political Report. “It plays into their fear” that if more Democrats are elected, issues like this will fare even worse, she says. A Gallup Poll last month found the public divided over whether to change the Constitution to ban gay marriage: 50% favor an amendment, and 47% oppose it. The White House also is split. Vice President Cheney, whose daughter Mary is gay, says the issue should be left up to the states. A federal amendment would reverse a 2003 Massachusetts court ruling that legalized gay marriage and head off similar decisions by judges in other states. It also would halt legal challenges to amendments in 19 states that bar same-sex marriage in their constitutions. Last year, a federal judge overturned Nebraska's amendment, which was approved by 70% of voters in 2004. “Marriage is under attack,” said Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., the federal amendment's chief sponsor. “As a legislature, I don't think we should stand back and surrender this issue to the courts.” A constitutional amendment must be approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate and then ratified by 38 of 50 states to become law. Allard said he won't get the 67 votes to approve it in the Senate, but he predicted a “significant milestone”: a majority approval for the first time. Allard and the Human Rights Campaign, a gay advocacy group, expect a 52-48 vote. Almost all Senate Democrats oppose the measure, as do several moderate Republicans. Amendment supporters say that the issue cuts across party lines and that Democratic African-American ministers and inner-city Hispanic activists favor a ban. But some in Bush's own party are dissatisfied with his commitment to the issue. “He needs to twist some arms” to get the needed votes, says Paul Weyrich of the conservative Free Congress Foundation. “There's no evidence he's doing that.”

Senate Debates Measure To Ban Gay Marriage (LAT)
By Maura Reynolds And James Gerstenzang The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — The Senate opened debate Monday on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, an issue Republican strategists hope will help drive conservative voters to the polls during fall congressional elections. At the White House, President Bush tried to rally support for the amendment, even though its backers said it was expected to fall well short of the 67 votes needed for passage. "Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges," Bush told supporters. It was the second time in three days that the president spoke in favor of the amendment, a topic he had barely touched since he energized conservative loyalists with his support for the measure during the 2004 presidential campaign. In a 10-minute address interrupted 11 times by applause, the president repeatedly referred to courts and judges — calling them "activist" and "over-reaching." If a court overturns the federal Defense of Marriage Act, Bush said, "every state would have to recognize marriage as redefined by judges in, say, Massachusetts or local officials in San Francisco, no matter what their own state laws or their state constitutions say." The 1996 law says that states are not required to recognize same-sex marriages contracted in other states. But supporters of the constitutional amendment say the law faces challenges in several states, making the amendment necessary. They say the country's social foundation is threatened by moves in Massachusetts and elsewhere to expand the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Opponents say that marriage laws are the purview of the states, not the federal government. They complain that the amendment would formalize discrimination against a social group. 69

On the Senate floor, supporters of the amendment echoed Bush's arguments. "We're here today at the threshold of the democratic process — that is, a constitutional amendment — because marriage is under attack," said Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), the amendment's sponsor. "I believe that because the institution of marriage is too precious to surrender to the whims of a handful of unelected activist judges, now is the time to send to the states a constitutional amendment that protects traditional marriage and prevents judges from rewriting our traditional marriage laws." A procedural vote on the measure is slated for Wednesday. Democrats accuse Republicans of scheduling the debate to help organize voter turnout in November, when Republicans appear to face the toughest election challenge since they won a majority in Congress in 1994. "For me it is clear the reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another," said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract and to confuse America. It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day." White House Press Secretary Tony Snow acknowledged there was a "political dimension" to Bush's speech, because the measure was before the Senate, but said in response to a question, "I don't think it's posturing." As for making same-sex marriage a priority at a time when issues such as the war in Iraq have hurt Bush's poll numbers, Snow said the president could "deal with more than one issue at a time." Bush spoke at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next door to the White House. Some of those invited had been told the session would take place in the White House Rose Garden, a location that would have elevated the status of the meeting, but without explanation the venue was shifted. Bush's position on the marriage amendment is at odds with Vice President Dick Cheney's, whose daughter Mary is a lesbian. Cheney has said Americans should be more accommodating of relationships that differ from traditional marriage.

Bush Rallies Gay Marriage Opponents (AP)
By Laurie Kellman The Associated Press, June 5, 2006 Cheered by conservative supporters, President Bush gave a push Monday to a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as the Senate opened debate on an emotional, election-year measure that has little chance of passing. "Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them," Bush said in a speech. "And changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure." All Senate Democrats, except Ben Nelson of Nebraska, oppose the amendment, and critics say Bush's efforts are primarily aimed at energizing conservative voters for the November elections. Together with moderate Republicans, the Democrats are expected to block a yes-or-no vote, killing the measure for the year. "This proposed constitutional amendment is being used to satisfy the most extreme right-wing supporters and politicians," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (news, bio, voting record), D-Vt. "The Constitution is too important to be used for such a partisan political purpose." Sen. Wayne Allard (news, bio, voting record), R-Colo., who sponsored the measure, acknowledged that politics played a part in the timing of the debate, but for a different reason: to force senators to take a stand and answer for their votes on the campaign trail. "We ought to have a vote on the amendment every year," Allard said. The amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. To become law, it would need two-thirds support in the Senate and House, and then would have to be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures. The White House played down the significance of the 10-minute presidential event, saying Bush was simply speaking out on an issue being debated on Capitol Hill. Press secretary Tony Snow said the president was not personally lobbying senators to pass the amendment. Bush also pressed for it in his radio address on Saturday. "I'm not sure this is a big driver among voters," Snow said. Bush said a constitutional amendment is needed because laws that state legislatures have passed defining marriage as being between a man and a woman are being overturned by a few judges. "When judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution — the only law a court cannot overturn," the president said. Bush also rebuffed critics who argue that the amendment conflicts with the GOP's opposition to government interference and the importance of states' rights. 70

"A constitutional amendment would not take this issue away from the states, as some have argued," Bush said. "It would take the issue away from the courts and put it directly before the American people." First lady Laura Bush said recently that while Americans want to debate the issue, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool." Vice President Dick Cheney, whose daughter, Mary, is a lesbian, splits with Bush on the issue. Cheney said he thinks Americans should do everything they can to accommodate any type of relationship, and that there should not necessarily be a federal policy in this area. Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said Bush was favoring an amendment that would give Americans license to discriminate against homosexuals. "The fact that he's out of step with the first lady and the powerful vice president tells me who he's answering to today," Solmonese said. More than half of Americans, 58 percent, said in an ABC News poll released Monday that same-sex marriages should be illegal. But only four in 10 said they support amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, while a majority said states should make their own laws on gay marriage. With Bush taking center stage on the issue, advocates on both sides of the issue rushed to comment. On the left, Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU legislative office in Washington, said lawmakers rightly rejected the amendment in 2004 and should do so again. "Discrimination has no place in America, and certainly not in our founding document," she said. On the right, Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, argued that same-sex marriage advocates are trying to circumvent the democratic process and redefine marriage through the courts. "Marriage is the social glue that unites the two halves of the human race to share in the enterprise of raising the next generation," Daniels said.

Bush Reiterates Support For Amendment Banning Gay Marriage (KRT)
By William Douglas Knight Ridder, June 5, 2006 WASHINGTON - For the second time in three days, President Bush implored the Senate to pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, saying Monday that the issue needs to be wrestled away from "overreaching judges" and placed in the hands of the American people. Critics on both sides of the debate accused the president of playing politics with the socially sensitive issue by seeking to rouse social conservatives to support Republicans in this congressional election year even if the cause has no realistic hope of enactment. Bush's talk came as the Senate continued debate on a measure that isn't likely to win the two-thirds majority vote in both the Senate and House of Representatives that the Constitution requires. "Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization and it should not be redefined by activist judges," Bush said following a meeting with amendment supporters in the White House. "Our policies should aim to strengthen families, not undermine them. And our changing the definition of marriage would undermine the family structure." Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the White House is using the gay marriage issue to try to divert attention from the war in Iraq, high gasoline prices and other issues that aren't going the administration's way. "This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract and to confuse America," Reid said. "It is this administration's way of avoiding the tough, real problems that American citizens are confronted with each and every day." The Log Cabin Republicans, a Republican gay and lesbian organization, called the amendment a "politically motivated" effort to "write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution." "The president's call for `tolerance and civility' while advocating discrimination rings hollow," Log Cabin President Patrick Guerriero said in a written statement. Bush told conservative religious leaders, educators and social activists that he's supporting the Marriage Protection Amendment in the Senate because traditional marriage - between a man and a woman - is under fire. "This national question requires a national solution," he said. "An amendment to the Constitution is necessary because activist courts have left our nation with no other choice. When activist judges insist on imposing their arbitrary will on the people, the only alternative left to the people is an amendment to the Constitution, the only law a court cannot overturn." The Senate measure states: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any state, shall be construed to require that marriage or legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." Sponsors of the amendment say it gives room for state legislatures to approve civil unions for same-sex couples. 71

Bush's unequivocal support of the act impressed some in his audience who have questioned his commitment to conservative causes. "I was very pleased with what the president said," said James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian organization. "I would prefer the amendment prohibit civil unions, but we will take what he can get." Paul Weyrich, chairman of the conservative Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, was less impressed. "He is not serious about the amendment," Weyrich said. "He's reluctantly gotten back in the fight, but he doesn't like it. The rhetoric is fine, but to get anywhere he's got to twist arms and he's not doing it. You know the U.S. Senate - they won't do anything unless extraordinary pressure is put on them." The amendment faces daunting odds in the Senate. Only one of the 44 Senate Democrats - Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska - has expressed support for the measure. Support among the Senate's handful of moderates among 55 Republicans is scant. The Senate's lone independent, James Jeffords of Vermont, tends to vote with Democrats. The Constitution requires approval by two-thirds of both the House and Senate to forward a constitutional amendment to the states, and three-quarters of state legislatures also must approve it to change the nation's fundamental legal charter. Bush said the Senate proposal reflects the will of Americans who "have spoken clearly on this issue" through state referendums and the 1996 passage of the Defense of Marriage Act, which then-President Clinton signed. But a recent Gallup Poll shows that issues such as same-sex marriage are a low priority for most Americans at this time. In the poll, conducted last month, 42 percent of Americans said Iraq should be the top priority for the president and Congress, while only 1 percent said ethics/moral, religious/family decline issues should top their agenda. --(EDITORS: The survey mentioned in the last graf was conducted May 22-24 with 1,003 adult respondents ages 18 and older. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Bush Promotes Amendment To Define Marriage, Ban Same-Sex Unions (BLOOM)
By Richard Keil Bloomberg, June 6, 2006 June 5 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush, facing record low job-approval ratings, renewed his support for a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages as he and his Republican Party seek to rally supporters ahead of the November congressional elections. ``You are here because you strongly support a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between a man and a woman,'' Bush told a group of activists and supporters today at the White House. ``I am proud to stand by you.'' Speaking just before the Republican-controlled Senate opened debate on the issue, Bush said amending the U.S. Constitution would prevent ``activist judges'' from redefining the institution of marriage by striking down state laws limiting statesanctioned unions to heterosexual couples. The president was addressing for the second time in three days an issue that had dropped on his agenda since the 2004 election. While White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said Bush was simply following a common practice of commenting on legislative matters pending before Congress, Bush's Democratic opponents said the timing has more to do with politics. Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in an e- mail to supporters that Republican Senate leaders should be addressing gasoline prices, health care costs and the Iraq war. ``But there's an ugly truth: it's election season and down- in-the-polls Republicans are turning to their same old playbook fear and division,'' Reid wrote. Senate Majority Leader ``Bill Frist, in an attempt to appease extreme right wing elements of the Republican Party, has promised that the Senate will vote on the Federal Marriage Act.'' Shoring Up Support Republicans are reviving the same-sex marriage ban as part of an effort to ``shore up their base'' before the congressional elections, said L. Michael Seidman, a Georgetown University law professor. As written, the Senate's amendment proposal wouldn't overturn state laws like one in Massachusetts that broadened the definition of marriage. Snow said the timing was a product of the Senate's legislative schedule, set by Frist and other Republican leaders without input from Bush. While Bush's views on gay marriage haven't changed, he and his party have paid greater attention to the issue during election years. On Feb. 24, 2004, as his re-election campaign was getting underway, Bush called for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, a position also taken by his 2004 opponent, Democratic Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts. Senate Support 72

Shortly after winning re-election, Bush told The Washington Post in a January 16, 2005, interview that while he still supported the amendment, he would not lobby heavily for its passage because he believed that until a federal court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, there would not be enough votes to ensure its passage in the Senate. There is some evidence that the issue helped Bush in 2004; even though the amendment died in Congress during the runup to the election, 11 states had measures related to the same-sex marriage ban on their ballots. Bush won nine of those states, including Ohio, which ensured he would serve a second term. So far, voters in 19 states have approved amendments to their state constitutions that define marriage as being between a man and a woman. The initiatives were approved by ``decisive majorities,'' Bush said today. ``The American people have spoken clearly on this issue.'' Amending the Constitution requires approval of a 2/3 majority in the House and Senate. The amendment must then be ratified by 3/4 of the states. ``The question is, whether there are the votes in the U.S. Senate to push forward,'' Snow said. Another is how hard Bush will press lawmakers. On past legislative priorities, such as the $1.85 trillion in tax cuts passed during his first term and immigration legislation now under consideration, Bush has telephoned lawmakers or invited them to the White House for personal lobbying. ``I'm not aware of any planned phone calls,'' Snow said. ``Too much is being made of this.'' Bush's job approval rating was at a record-low 33 percent in an ABC News/Washington Post poll published May 16, with 65 percent of the 1,103 respondents disapproving of the way Bush is handling his job. That was matched by public disapproval of the way Congress is doing its job.

Debate Begins On Gay Marriage (WP)
By Michael Abramowitz And Charles Babington The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 President Bush renewed his call yesterday for Congress to approve a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman, saying such a step is necessary to keep courts from undermining traditional marriage. As the Senate began debate on the amendment barring same-sex marriage, the president summoned supporters to the White House to hear his plea that marriage "not be redefined by activist judges." The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has legalized same-sex marriage, and courts in other states have nullified voter-approved referendums that would ban it. The president's comments cheered conservative activists, coming after a long period of relative quiet from him on an issue many analysts believe was critical to his reelection victories in Ohio and other states in 2004. But Bush's latest foray on this emotional terrain dismayed Democrats and gay rights advocates, who accused the president of using a wedge issue to regain political momentum after setbacks from Iraq and Hurricane Katrina. They said Bush's political motives were transparent, given that even backers acknowledge the amendment has virtually no chance of being approved in the current Congress. Aides have portrayed the president as a somewhat reluctant warrior in a battle forced on him by judges who have struck down laws against same-sex marriage in Maryland, New York and other states. The White House itself has been unusually divided on the issue, with Vice President Cheney making it clear that he disagrees with the president and first lady Laura Bush saying the issue should not be made a political tool. "He does not want to be wrongly seen as driving this debate," said Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, a leading advocate of the constitutional amendment and part of a small group of activists who met privately with Bush before his speech. Daniels and other conservatives professed themselves content with the president's statement, despite complaints from some of their allies that Bush should be doing more. "I was very pleased with what the president said -- I don't think he could say it much stronger than he did," said James C. Dobson, chairman and founder of Focus on the Family, a prominent conservative voice. Minutes after Bush's remarks on marriage, the Senate opened debate on the proposed amendment. Democratic leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) rebuked Republicans for devoting time to the issue rather than addressing high gasoline prices, the national debt and other matters. "For me, it is clear the reason for this debate is to divide our society, to pit one against another," Reid said. "This is another one of the president's efforts to frighten, to distort, to distract and to confuse America." The politics of same-sex marriage are complex: Polls suggest the country remains solidly opposed, but the public is more ambivalent about a constitutional amendment. The issue galvanized conservative voters in 2004, but pollsters believe the issue 73

simultaneously weakens Bush's efforts to rebuild ties to moderate voters, who have abandoned him in recent months and have helped drive down his approval ratings. Republican leaders appear to be betting that a new thrust against same-sex marriage could help the party in this year's midterm elections, especially in such states as Pennsylvania, Montana, Missouri and Ohio, where Senate GOP incumbents face stiff challenges. But Bush appeared mindful of the minefield he was navigating yesterday. He appeared at a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building rather than the more symbolic Rose Garden, where activists were first told he would make his statement. The debate over the amendment, he said, should be conducted with "tolerance and respect and dignity." Bush also took pains to note the limitations of the proposed amendment, which reads, in its entirety: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." That language, he said, leaves the states free to define other legal arrangements for gay couples -- such as civil unions, proponents of the amendment said. Bush also framed the issue as one being created by courts, an approach that could appeal to conservatives concerned about what they consider judicial excesses though not necessarily same-sex marriage. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the leading gay rights lobby, rejected that explanation. "When I hear this whole thing talked about in terms of activist judges, to me it says [they] have got to find another way to talk about discrimination," he said. With Democrats largely opposed, congressional leaders say neither the House nor the Senate has the two-thirds majority in favor that would be necessary to send the amendment to the states for ratification. Still, Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) defended the effort. "Marriage is under attack," he said at a news conference. "The Constitution will be amended whether we pass this amendment or not. The only question is whether it will be amended through the amendment process or by unelected activist judges." But another Republican -- Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (Pa.) -- spoke against the amendment, calling it "a solution in search of a problem." Like Reid and some other senators, Specter said he opposes same-sex marriage but feels states can handle the issue.

With Gay Marriage Ban, Conservatives Keep Score (NYT)
By Jim Rutenberg The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — President Bush's push for the constitutional ban on same-sex marriage that is being debated in the Senate this week comes as many Republicans and religious conservatives are beginning a campaign to help lawmakers who support it during this year's elections — and to punish those who do not. Though people on both sides of the debate say they do not expect the amendment to come anywhere near winning approval this week, both sides say they expect it, and an anticipated version in the House, to be used as a conservative litmus test in elections this fall. "It is true what this vote will do will be to help the voters identify who is and is not supportive of the family," Dr. James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said in an interview on Monday. "And I think those that are not are going to have to answer for it." Dr. Dobson's group is already running advertisements against senators who do not plan to support the amendment, including one against Senator Ken Salazar, Democrat of Colorado, that says, "Why doesn't Senator Salazar believe every child needs a mother and a father?" Republican Party officials in several states have released statements attacking Democrats who are not expected to vote for the amendment. And another conservative group, the Family Research Council, is planning to ask lawmakers to take "a marriage protection pledge" and then tell voters who signs it and who does not. Dr. Dobson and other proponents of the ban got a boost on Monday afternoon, when Mr. Bush called on the Senate to approve the measure. "The constitutional amendment that the Senate will consider this week would fully protect marriage from being redefined," Mr. Bush told a room of religious leaders and advocates. His speech came as the Senate began to debate the proposed amendment, which would define marriage as being between a man and a woman and would prohibit judges from requiring states to grant same-sex couples the legal benefits of marriage.


It was the second time in three days that Mr. Bush made an address supporting the measure. His speeches were part of an effort by the White House to re-energize culturally conservative voters who have long supported Mr. Bush and his Congressional allies, but who are expressing frustration that their issues have not been pushed strongly enough since 2004. Pollsters have cited demoralization as a major reason for the low opinion ratings for the president and his party this election year, when Republicans are trying to keep control of the Senate and the House. Republican officials are hoping that the marriage debate will help them as it did in 2004, when 13 state ballot initiatives banning same-sex marriage or civil unions were credited with drawing many conservative voters to the polls and propelling Mr. Bush and Congressional Republicans to victory. Democrats have called the Republican push for the amendment a diversionary tactic that will not work this year, when voters are focused on other matters like rising gas prices and the war in Iraq. And some pollsters say the issue may not resonate as it did in 2004. "People are so disillusioned with Iraq and $50 tanks of gas that I don't think it's as much of an attention grabber," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. But Republican officials note that up to eight states may have ballot measures to ban same-sex marriage, including Alabama, South Dakota, Virginia and Tennessee, where a court decision on a referendum is pending. Chris Devaney, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, said a ballot measure would help drive turnout for whoever wins the Republican Senate primary in August. "People voting for this are generally more conservative," he said. "It will definitely have an effect." The Democrat seeking the open Senate seat, Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., supports the amendment being debated this week. Elsewhere, some moderate Republicans, including Senators Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, have not supported the amendment and are also coming under fire from conservative groups. The Senate debate on Monday showed just how contentious the issue could become. "Our nation would be better served if we refrained from divisiveness that is wielded like a weapon in order to score political and emotional points before an election," said Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. Republicans argued that the state of marriage and the American family was exactly the sort of fundamental issue that Congress should take up. "It is not bigotry to define marriage as a union of a man and a woman," said Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas.

GOP Targets Gay Marriage (CSM)
By Linda Feldmann The Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON - Gay marriage is back in the political spotlight, as the Senate begins debate on a constitutional amendment banning it and President Bush speaks out on behalf of the measure. But from the outset, the outcome is nearly certain: There are probably not enough votes in the Senate to build the twothirds majority needed to pass a constitutional amendment, members of both parties agree. And so, as debate began Monday, analysts were hard put to see any other motive than political for putting the issue forward now. "It's connected to the fall elections and the situation in the Republican Party," says James Guth, a political scientist at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. "There's no way around that." With Mr. Bush struggling to win back support of fellow Republicans who have grown discouraged, the president has been under increasing pressure to advocate forcefully on an issue that religious conservatives consider of utmost importance, especially with state court cases under way that could lead to legalization of same-sex marriage. Congress faces even larger political stakes: low public approval ratings, and, unlike Bush, danger of low voter turnout this fall in the midterm elections among social conservatives that could hurt Republicans seeking to maintain their majority. At the same time, the GOP's efforts at creating a "big tent" image will be put to the test. Some of the most vulnerable members of Congress - many of them moderate Republicans from the Northeast - could be hurt by the debate, as it highlights a point of view less resonant in that part of the country than in others. The debate could also reverberate further into the future, into the 2008 presidential contest. Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a likely GOP contender, opposes a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman, arguing that the issue should be left up to the states. He has long faced hostility from social conservative leaders over this and other positions, and his recent efforts at reconciliation with this activist wing of the party could be set back by the debate. 75

Sen. Bill Frist (R) of Tennessee, who is retiring from the Senate at the end of the current term, also may run for president, and so his advocacy for the Marriage Protection Amendment is also seen through the lens of his own possible ambitions. Senator Frist has also scheduled a vote this week on a constitutional amendment banning flag-burning, another measure seen as highly political. For Bush, after a flurry of action this week on gay marriage, the question could be, what next? If the amendment fails in the Senate, as presumed, he will face continuing pressure to push for this and other measures important to religious conservatives. During his presidency, his pattern usually has been to hold positions consistent with those of religious conservatives, but not to advocate for them as fiercely as religious leaders would like. On constitutional amendments, the president plays no formal role his signature is not required - so any power he may wield would come through the bully pulpit. The amendment consists of two sentences: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." Speaking to a bipartisan group of amendment supporters at the White House on Monday afternoon, Bush repeatedly castigated what he called "activist judges" for thwarting the will of the people on same-sex marriage. "Marriage is the most fundamental institution of civilization, and it should not be redefined by activist judges," Bush said. But not all religious conservatives are happy with the amendment's wording. One opponent, the Rev. Louis Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition, says the amendment amounts to a "hollow gesture" when it comes to protecting marriage and argues that the second sentence, in particular, would in fact allow civil unions and other forms of "counterfeit marriage" in the states. "Saturday the president said in his [weekly radio] message that this Marriage Protection Amendment does fully protect marriage. It doesn't," says Mr. Sheldon. "So why would you want to break your back and spend millions of dollars in 38 states passing it, even if it did pass the Congress, if it gives the states the right to do the thing that has totally brought all this to a head, civil unions and domestic partners?" Sheldon represents a minority view among social conservatives, however, and for now, Bush and supporters of the current language are pressing ahead. But even if the measure dies for now in the Senate, the issue will remain alive at the state level. At least six states will have measures on the ballot this year, most of them banning gay marriage, and activists in other states are working on fulfilling requirements for similar measures. In New York, the state's highest court is considering an appeal that could end up legalizing gay marriage there. Unlike public opinion on other hot-button social issues, such as abortion, Americans' views of gay marriage have been evolving. In March 1996, 27 percent of Americans believed homosexual marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, according to the Gallup Poll. Today that number is 39 percent. Amendment history Most recent amendment: 1992, the 27th, limiting congressional pay raises. Last two serious attempts: • The Equal Rights Amendment, proposed in 1972. It read in part: "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." It cleared both chambers of Congress and at one time was ratified by 35 states - short of what was needed. • The District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, proposed in 1978. It would have granted Washington, D.C., the full voting rights in Congress of a state. It expired unratified in 1985. - Staff

Republicans Reignite Hot-Button Issues (WSJ)
By Sarah Lueck And Brody Mullins The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans are pushing ahead with votes this week to repeal the estate tax and to ban gay marriage. Neither measure is likely to pass. But party strategists say both issues could help Republicans maintain control of Congress, by rallying demoralized social and economic conservatives, and by forcing divisions between liberal and conservative Democrats. First up is a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, which the Senate is expected to consider tomorrow. President Bush, who has been largely silent on the issue since pushing it during his 2004 re-election campaign, urged passage yesterday in a speech near the White House to religious leaders and other backers of the measure. Supporters concede they are unlikely to get the 60 votes necessary to cut off debate, much less the two-thirds vote needed to clear the Senate. But they hope the bill can help some embattled candidates at the polls. 76

One is Ohio Republican Sen. Mike DeWine. A gay-marriage ban on the 2004 ballot in the Buckeye State is widely credited with drawing evangelicals to the polls and helping Mr. Bush narrowly carry that state. But Mr. De-Wine opposed that measure, citing objections to language that he said would invite lawsuits. That is one reason he appears to have trouble rallying social conservatives. This year, Mr. DeWine is a sponsor of the Senate amendment, which doesn't include the language he objected to previously. In Pennsylvania, where Republican Sen. Rick Santorum is in a close contest to keep his seat, Republicans have highlighted his support of the gay-marriage amendment to help separate him from Democrat Bob Casey Jr. Mr. Casey has blurred his differences with the incumbent on social issues, since he is one of the few prominent Democrats who, like Mr. Santorum, opposes abortion. Mr. Casey said in an April debate that he opposes gay marriage but wouldn't support a constitutional ban, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Republicans "are playing to that smaller group, that group of conservative, Republican, religious people," says John Green, a political-science professor at the University of Akron in Ohio and a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. "In a close election, those people could make a very big difference. If it wasn't a close election, I don't think you'd see it being much of an issue." Definition of Marriage The measure would define marriage as a union of a man and woman and declare that constitutions at the state and federal levels shouldn't be interpreted as requiring that marital status be available to gay couples. The drive for a federal ban gained momentum when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the state's constitution did forbid restricting same-sex marriages. "This flushes out senators who try to have it both ways," says Tom Minnery, senior vice president of government and public policy at Focus on the Family, which in a recent ad campaign has turned up pressure on Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans to vote for the amendment. "If they don't vote for this amendment, they don't support traditional marriage. It comes down to that." Indeed, while Democratic leaders oppose the measure, at least one senator facing re-election in a Republican-leaning "red state" is breaking with the party over the issue. Nebraska's Ben Nelson is dropping his opposition and says he will now support the constitutional amendment. He says he changed his mind after a federal judge last year overturned a state-level ban. Mr. Nelson also plans to split with the majority of fellow Democrats when the Senate takes up estate-tax repeal, likely on Thursday. He won't be the only Democrat on the ballot in a state carried by President Bush making that choice. Bill Nelson of Florida also plans to vote to repeal the tax. Republicans say they may be able to pick up support from two other Democrats running for re-election: Washington's Maria Cantwell and North Dakota's Kent Conrad. Like the gay-marriage amendment, the estate-tax measure is likely to draw support from a majority of senators, but also to fall short of the 60 votes required to shut off a Democratic filibuster. Estate-tax repeal could be salvaged by an election-year compromise between a Republican facing a re-election fight in a state that appears to be trending Democratic, and a Democrat in a heavily Republican state. Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona has opened talks with Montana Democrat Sen. Max Baucus, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee. New York Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer, who is chairman of the Senate Democrats' campaign arm, is also part of the discussions. Aides say they hope to reach a deal in the next couple of days. Rather than repeal the tax, the senators are working on legislation that would exempt all but the super-wealthy from paying taxes on their estates at death by exempting as much as $10 million of estates from the tax. The senators are also talking about lowering the tax rates that individuals pay on the value of their estates when they die. Republicans rolled back the estate tax in President Bush's 2001 tax bill. The tax is being lowered each year from the 55% rate of 2001 until it is abolished in 2010. The rollback expires the following year, returning to 55% in 2011. A Vote Before Elections House Republicans vote each congressional session to wipe out the tax. But the Senate has fallen short of the 60 votes needed to follow suit. If senators reach a compromise, Republican leaders in the House are likely to bring it to a final vote before the elections. But it is unclear if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist would allow a compromise to come to a vote on the Senate floor. The possible 2008 presidential contender has positioned himself as a champion of abolishing the tax. Giving his blessing to the compromise could hurt his chances with the party's base in primaries two years from now. Beyond the marriage and tax measures, Republicans in Congress and the White House are looking for other issues to lure conservatives to the polls. The Senate also is likely to debate, perhaps as soon as this month, an anti-flag-burning amendment and might consider a prohibition on transferring a minor across state lines to get an abortion unless her parents give permission. 77

Republicans need a boost from within their party if they are to maintain their majorities in the House and Senate. As of April, just 27% of conservatives approved of Congress, compared with 53% in January 2005, according to a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. That is even lower than Mr. Bush's approval rating among conservatives, which was 60% in April compared with 71% in January 2005.

Bush Pushes Hill On Marriage Measure (WT)
By Stephen Dinan And Amy Fagan The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 President Bush yesterday told Congress to pass an amendment defining marriage in the U.S. Constitution and send it to the states for ratification, saying that's the only way to decide the issue through the democratic process rather than the courts. "Take this issue out of the hands of overreaching judges and put it back where it belongs -- in the hands of the American people," he told dozens of leaders from religious and pro-family groups in a speech yesterday. He said an amendment is the most democratic solution because it requires two-thirds approval in the House and Senate and ratification by legislatures in three-fourths of the states. The president is staking out a position while trying to avoid being seen as driving the issue for political purposes, and in his 10-minute speech, he blamed "activist judges" and "activist courts" four times for forcing the issue. But politics is exactly what Democrats said was going on as the Senate took up the Marriage Protection Amendment yesterday, following through on a promise by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, Tennessee Republican. "They intend to stir up an election-year fight and use it as a campaign tool and a political strategy," said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat. "Right now, we should be addressing America's top priorities, including ways to make America safer or the war in Iraq, or the rising gas prices." The amendment is not expected to pass -- or for that matter even to garner the 60 votes needed to overcome a Democratic filibuster. A vote is scheduled for tomorrow. Both Republicans and Democrats are using the debate to try to score political points with supporters. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) used the Senate's marriage-amendment debate to criticize the Democratic challenger to Sen. Rick Santorum, a Pennsylvania Republican facing a tough re-election battle. They chided Democrat Bob Casey Jr. for not speaking at a Saturday meeting in Pittsburgh of the Stonewall Democrats, a homosexual rights group that supports him. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean did speak to the group. "The fact that Casey Jr. is having Howard Dean stand in for him speaks volumes about his political courage," said NRSC spokesman Dan Ronayne. "When given a chance to stand up for something, Casey Jr. comes up empty again." From the other side, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an e-mail to supporters yesterday from Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, blasting Republicans. "It's election season and down-in-the-polls Republicans are turning to their same old playbook -- fear and division," wrote Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat. "We need a president and a Congress that doesn't play divisive politics." The amendment being debated in the Senate reads: "Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman." Mr. Bush said it would create a national definition of marriage but would leave to state legislatures the issue of civil unions or other legal benefit arrangements for unmarried partners. He called marriage "the most enduring and important human institution" and said changing the definition would undermine it. Before speaking in an auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the president met in the White House Roosevelt Room for more than a half-hour with a small group of leaders. Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, which helped craft the Senate language, attended the meeting and said the president and leaders present all agreed marriage should be a unifying issue, not a divisive one. Mr. Daniels said he told the president that he was raised on welfare by a single mother in Spanish Harlem in New York. He said Mr. Bush marveled at that, saying, "That's a long way from where I grew up." Mr. Daniels said he responded that the issue of marriage "bridges the gap of where you come from and where I come from." Conservative leaders said they were happy with Mr. Bush's emphatic endorsement of the amendment. "It left no room for misinterpretation," said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. One key question for conservatives is how much effort the president will put into working senators on the issue. 78

Both Mr. Perkins and James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, said they expected the White House to make phone calls to senators on the issue as a way of showing their commitment, but the White House did not rule that in or out. White House press secretary Tony Snow cautioned against reading too much into Mr. Bush's efforts both yesterday and Saturday, when he devoted his weekly radio address to the issue. "I don't know [that] this counts as lobbying. The president has issued a radio address restating his position, and he is meeting with some supporters of the amendment," he said.

Base Assumptions (WP)
By E. J. Dionne Jr. The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 This month's offensive by President Bush and his allies in Congress against gay marriage and flag burning proves one thing: The Republican Party thinks its base of social conservatives is a nest of dummies who have no memories and respond like bulls whenever red flags are waved in their faces. The people who should be angry this week are not liberals or gays or lesbians, but the president's most loyal supporters. After using the gay-marriage issue shamelessly in the 2004 campaign, Bush and Republican leaders left opponents of gay marriage out in the cold as they concentrated on the party's real priorities: privatizing Social Security and cutting taxes on rich people. When Bush was at his position of maximum strength after the 2004 election, did he use his political energy on behalf of a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage? Not at all. In an interview with The Post on Jan. 14, 2005, he dismissed the question, arguing that since many senators felt that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was already an effective bar to the spread of gay marital unions, there was no point in fighting for a constitutional change. "Senators have made it clear that so long as DOMA is deemed constitutional, nothing will happen," Bush said then. "I'd take their admonition seriously." On Jan. 24, 2005, Republican Senate leaders announced their top 10 legislative priorities. The marriage amendment was nowhere to be seen. At the time, social conservatives knew they were getting rolled. In mid-January, a group of them expressed their dismay in a letter to Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser. "We couldn't help but notice the contrast between how the president is approaching the difficult issue of Social Security privatization . . . and the marriage issue," they wrote. "Is he prepared to spend significant political capital on privatization but reluctant to devote the same energy to preserving traditional marriage? If so it would create outrage with countless voters who stood with him just a few weeks ago." The marriage amendment is unlikely to pass (and it shouldn't, since marriage is an issue for the states to decide). What's changed is that the president and his friends in the Senate fear that their disillusioned base will stay home on Election Day. So they are about to engage in an exercise that George "Nothing Will Happen" Bush once acknowledged to be meaningless. The constitutional amendment to ban flag burning is also about electoral politics. As a Senate Republican leader said happily, a vote against the amendment "would make a good 30-second spot." An official of the National Republican Congressional Committee said that "if Democrats choose to vote against a Constitutional amendment" banning flag desecration, "I think they'll pay a price." Both quotations appeared in a New York Times story that ran 16 years ago -- from Bob Dole, the Republican leader, and Ed Rollins, the GOP official. Does wedge politics have to be so boringly predictable? At least Scott Reed, Dole's 1996 campaign manager, has a sense of humor about all this. He told Knight Ridder's James Kuhnhenn last week: "If you're a gay who likes to burn flags, it's going to be a long year." Ah, but there is one issue in the Republican Senate's June Pandering Trifecta that the party really cares about: the repeal of the inheritance tax on large fortunes. The Republicans go hot and cold on the social conservatives, but they're always solicitous of the really, really privileged. Current law would keep the estate tax falling (eventually to zero) until the end of 2010, so there is no urgency to act now. Or is there? The Los Angeles Times quoted Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) this weekend as acknowledging that the position of the estate tax abolitionists is "eroding" and "could be dramatically negatively impacted this fall and after the next presidential election." So the real question is whether moderate Democrats and Republicans choose to hand the friends of the truly wealthy a victory at the very moment the tide is starting to turn toward fiscal sanity. The one thing worse than opportunistically using wedge issues is cravenly selling out the nation's financial future to appease the powerful.


Social conservatives, who are a lot smarter than their leaders think, should watch the Senate closely this month. My bet is that their so-called champions will fight much harder on behalf of the interests of the affluent than for the "values" that conservative politicians proclaim with such pious urgency whenever they're in danger of losing an election.

Distracter In Chief (WP)
By Eugene Robinson The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 What uncharted realm lies beyond brazen cynicism? A wasteland of utter shamelessness, perhaps? A vast Sahara of desperation, where principle goes to die? Someday George W. Bush and the Republican right will be able to tell us all about this barren terra incognita, assuming they ever find their way home. The Decider's decision to whip up a phony crisis over same-sex marriage -- Values under attack! Run for your lives! -- is such a transparent ploy that even conservatives are scratching their heads, wondering if this is the best Karl Rove could come up with. Bush might as well open his next presidential address by giving himself a new title: The Distracter. Let's check in on what's happening in the real world: Iraq has become a charnel house for the victims of escalating sectarian slaughter. On Saturday, a car bomb killed 28 people in Shiite-dominated Basra, and hours later gunmen killed nine Sunni worshipers in a mosque. On Sunday, on a road near Baghdad, assassins pulled travelers out of their minivans, sorted them by faith, killed nearly two dozen Shiites and let the Sunnis go. Yesterday, men wearing police uniforms grabbed at least 56 people from bus stations and travel agencies in Baghdad and took them away -- no one knows why, no one knows where. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's new government remains toothless and ineffectual, despite his pledge to end the sectarian violence. On Sunday, he failed yet again to reach agreement on who will run the only two ministries that matter -- the ones in charge of the army and the police. The butcher Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most prominent figure in the armed Sunni insurgency and the most hunted man in Iraq, remains at large and periodically manages to issue messages inspiring his followers to continue their jihad. (Just like his hero, Osama bin Laden.) Yet the president spent his weekend radio address pushing "a constitutional amendment that defines marriage in the United States as the union of a man and woman." Immigration, the last artificial crisis, at least is a genuine issue. But the president and his allies did such a job of rabblerousing that the best outcome, at this point, is probably for Congress to deadlock and end up doing nothing. The National Guard is headed for the frontier, apparently under orders not to do much of anything. Immigrants are still marching north, employers are still hiring them and self-appointed sentries are still patrolling the border, where something really bad is bound to happen sooner or later. Yet the issue of "profound importance" the president urgently wants to highlight is "protecting the institution of marriage." The diplomatic maneuvering over Iran's nuclear program, which looks like the next crisis, is at a critical point. Defiant words from Iranian leaders on Sunday rattled the world's financial markets yesterday and sent oil prices soaring -- threatening even the modest relief most analysts had predicted from $3-a-gallon prices at the gas pump. Just in time for summer vacation. The president, however, would rather we all reflect on the fact that "marriage is the most enduring and important human institution." Not satisfied that he had gotten his message across in his Saturday radio address, Bush gave another speech in support of a marriage amendment yesterday. It's almost surreal. For one thing, the president has no role in amending the Constitution. Proposed amendments must be passed in both the House and Senate by two-thirds majorities, and then they must win approval from the legislatures of threefourths of the states. The president doesn't have to sign it. He doesn't even have to read it. People who are close to the president are always telling us what an essentially decent man he is, without a bigoted bone in his body. But that doesn't square with all this demagoguery in support of a measure whose only effect would be to write discrimination against gay men and lesbians into the United States Constitution. Bigotry, pure and simple. But of course the president knows that there's essentially no chance an amendment to ban gay marriage will make it out of the Senate -- that in fact it might not even get out of the House. All he can possibly accomplish is to energize activists on the religious right, who otherwise might be tempted to sit out the November midterm elections. It's risky to raise expectations you have no intention of fulfilling, but maybe enough of the Republican base can be fooled by this charade to make a difference in the fall. Meanwhile it keeps us from talking about things that are real, and that really matter.

U.S. Commander To Review Haditha Report (AP)
By Frederic J. Frommer 80

AP, June 5, 2006 The No. 2 American general in Iraq will soon review a preliminary criminal report into the alleged massacre by Marines of Iraqi citizens in Haditha, a congressman just back from Iraq said Monday. Rep. John Kline (news, bio, voting record), R-Minn., one of four House members who traveled to Iraq over the weekend, said the lawmakers discussed the investigations with Lt. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking U.S. general in Iraq. Kline said it was unclear when the report would be released. "General Chiarelli expressed some concern in that he did not want to sign off an investigation until he felt like he had all of the information that he needed" from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said Kline, a former Marine. The investigative service is probing whether crimes were committed in the killing of two dozen Iraqis last November. A senior defense official told the Associated Press last month that evidence points to unprovoked killings by the Marines involved. A separate probe is examining whether there has been a coverup of the incident by the U.S. military. The four House members who visited Iraq took issue with comments made by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who complained that coalition forces have shown "no respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars and killing on a suspicion or a hunch." "The prime minister has a platform and a pulpit now that he may not have had in the past," said Rep. Mike Conaway, RTexas. Conaway said with that platform comes "responsibility to be very careful and to choose your words very carefully." Kline said his group was told that U.S. military officials and embassy staff had told al-Maliki that his comments were not helpful. Kline also said Iraqi generals told the U.S. lawmakers that they were frustrated about the slow pace in filling the new Iraqi government's security posts, saying it was hindering the training of the Iraqi military. "The generals were very candid with us," he said. "There's no question that they understand that until you get a functioning ministry of defense, until you get a functioning Pentagon — Iraqi Pentagon — they're not going to be able to reach their full potential." On Sunday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed confidence that Iraqi leaders will be able to fill key security posts in the next few days while downplaying recent sectarian violence. Rice, who appeared on three television news shows, said of the vacant security posts, "Of course, they need to get this settled, but they will get it settled. When they get it right, and they will get it right, everybody will forget how long it took them." An Iraqi parliament session was postponed earlier Sunday after al-Maliki again failed to reach consensus on candidates to head ministries that run Iraq's military and police. Also Sunday, the top U.S. military officer pledged a thorough investigation in the alleged massacre at Haditha, acknowledging that the charges have raised concerns among Iraqi officials and in the United States. Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it is not clear exactly what happened last November when as many as two dozen Iraqis were killed during a U.S. attack in Haditha. Still, he said it was important not to rush to judgment. "You don't want to have the emotions of the day weigh into the process," Pace told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday. "We need to stick with our judicial process. We want to be sure that it moves forward without any influence." Rice appeared on "Fox News Sunday," CBS's "Face the Nation" and CNN's "Late Edition."

For U.S. Troops, It's Hard To Know Who Is Friend And Who Is Foe (KRT)
By Tom Lasseter Knight Ridder, June 5, 2006 MUSAYYIB, Iraq - Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Cremer listened carefully as Army Capt. Irvin Oliver described the upcoming mission. They'd raid a compound of houses the next morning; a map was sketched on the ground in chalk lines of yellow, blue and white. Oliver looked at the soldiers bunched around him and reminded them that aerial photographs had showed at least 17 people in the compound the night before, and that they were looking for just one - an insurgent cell leader suspected of orchestrating roadside bombs that'd killed American soldiers. Be careful, Oliver told his men, not to get shot. And be careful, the company commander said, not to shoot any unarmed civilians. Despite those warnings, last Thursday's mission would serve as a reminder that counterinsurgency is among the most complex forms of warfare, and sometimes the wrong people are killed. While outrage gathers over the reported killings of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines in the western Iraqi town of Haditha, U.S. military units such as Oliver's Delta Company quietly go about the daily task of patrolling a very complicated battlefield. 81

As part of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the U.S. Army's 4th Infantry Division, Oliver's soldiers are responsible for an area south of Baghdad where there are Sunni Muslim insurgents who kill U.S. soldiers, Shiite militiamen who kill Sunni families, Sunni insurgents who kill Shiite Muslim families, and an assortment of smugglers and criminals. Most Iraqis are caught in between, just trying to make it to the next day. Cremer's job on this mission was to make sure that Oliver, 31, from Sierra Vista, Ariz., and his men had the clearest possible picture of the line between friend and foe. He is, in military jargon, a Joint Terminal Attack controller - the front line of the U.S. Air Force. Cremer (pronounce CRAY-mer) rides into missions with Army soldiers and, by watching real-time video streamed down from F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, looks for insurgents on the run and signs of civilians caught in the crossfire. The 29-year-old from Modesto, Calif., can call for a barrage of 500-pound bombs, and he can call for illumination rockets to be sure innocents aren't killed. It's often a gray line, said Staff Sgt. Francis Lott, who works with Cremer. "They (the jets) look for anything suspicious, but everything's suspicious around here," said Lott, 25, of Clarkesville, Tenn. "It's a big game of hide and seek. You're fighting people where you can't tell who's who. You can't tell the good guys from the bad guys in Iraq." The convoy rolled out of its forward operating base just after 1 a.m., a line of tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and Humvees. As the tires and tracks crunched across the ground, dirt flew in the night air, making it hard, for a moment, to see the headlights. The air was cooler than the afternoon had been - around 110 degrees - but it was still hot. Cremer was talking with a pair of F-16 pilots and a surveillance plane higher up. He cradled a receiver in each ear, going over the final details of the mission. As they got closer to Musayyib, a small group of Humvees, including Cremer's, peeled off and rode into town. They were going to pick up a truckload of Iraqi police who hadn't been told about the operation in advance because of fears of insurgent sympathizers in the police force. Insurgents have left their mark in the town: A suicide bomber blew himself up next to a fuel tanker last July, killing almost 100 people in a shower of fire and shrapnel. Less than five minutes after arriving at the police station, Cremer got a call on his radio: "Be advised, the lights just went off in that area." The pilot, watching the insurgent leader's compound, had seen every light in the group of houses get turned off. Cremer shook his head. "These (expletive) - someone made a phone call," he said, motioning toward the police station. The convoy left, a pickup truck of police now with it. A few minutes later, the tanks blocked the road in and out of the compound. A sniper team set up in the distance. The Bradleys began to rumble toward the houses. The buildings, separated by a couple of courtyards, were in a thick grove of palm trees, where a series of dirt roads ran parallel to canals fed from the Euphrates River. The dirt roads would make it easy for insurgents to dig a hole and plant a roadside bomb. The palm trees would provide better cover for insurgents trying to escape. The Bradleys stopped and soldiers began to pour out. The light of Cremer's computer flickered in the darkness, and he stared at the video feed, in which dark spots - soldiers circled and entered the buildings. It looked, he said, "like a video game." The radio crackled with a report of one shot fired, then a second, third and finally a fourth. Soldiers called in as they cleared rooms of the seven houses. They'd come in expecting about 17 people; there were 27. Time passed. Cremer kept watching the screen. The radio squawked: Two men and a woman were dead. The details were vague. A soldier had seen the woman and said he thought she had a rocket-propelled grenade launcher on her shoulder. A sergeant's voice boomed on the radio: "I need to know what the (expletive) that rocket (expletive) ended up being." Cremer called in for illumination rockets, and the white balls bounced in the air, turning night to day. The soldiers didn't find a rocket-propelled grenade or its launcher. They scoured the compound and found only two AK-47 assault rifles, common in Iraq. The insurgent leader wasn't there. The soldiers detained a man who intelligence reports suggested was an associate. Cremer and the rest of the convoy didn't get back to the base until after 5 a.m. They ate breakfast, did some paperwork and then passed out in their bunks. At the mess hall later that day, Oliver said he would have to return to the compound to give the family compensation payments for the woman and probably for the two men as well, depending on whether intelligence officers determined they were insurgents. Oliver wasn't looking forward to the trip. 82

Cremer's boss, Capt. Jason Earley, said there would be plenty more missions to come - bringing the chance to stop insurgents who've killed and maimed innocents, but also bringing the risk of killing the innocents themselves. "We're trying to give these people freedom, which I think is an incredibly noble thing," said Earley, 32, of New Buffalo, Mich. But, he added, "it's complicated."

Unblinking Observer (WP)
By Philip Kennicott The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Photographs Show a War Beyond Investigations The Iraq war is the first major conflict fought in what might be called the age of the new Panopticon. The English philosopher Jeremy Bentham coined the term in the late 18th century to describe a prison in which the guard tower was in the center of concentric rings of cells, allowing authorities to exercise an "invisible omniscience." Although the word emerged in the context of prison reform, it has become more suggestive over the years, capturing something essential about power and authority, from Big Brother's pervasive surveillance to the more benign notion that government is always "looking into" things. But the new Panopticon is a digital phenomenon, a world of instant cameras, cellphone snapshots, e-mailed photographs, a world that produces a nonstop, immediate and ubiquitous visual record of itself -- and it is breaking the government's monopoly on omniscience. Again and again throughout this war, amateur photographs have exposed the flaws of the military's carefully constructed image of discipline. Photographs made Abu Ghraib a symbol of shame throughout the world. And photographs and video images are again undermining the military's cherished reputation for calm under fire and heroic self-restraint. The most horrifying images are not published or shown on TV, though they're easy to find on the Web. But the ones we are confronted with are bad enough: A small child, a victim of a devastating and controversial U.S. airstrike in Ishaqi, is dressed in baby-blue, his eyes are closed, and his tiny, gently clenched hand rests by his side. He might be asleep, except that the photograph, which ran in Newsweek, shows a mangled, bloody arm next to him. The unidentified, shredded limb (does it belong to yet another child?) reaching into the center of the image might well stand for all the rest of these photographs that prick the conscience: They seem to come from the margins of our attention, they reach in and put their bloody imprint on a war that we wish had more innocence and calm to it. The military has concluded that there was no U.S. wrongdoing in the March 15 Ishaqi attack that left the child dead. They are not so certain about two other incidents, the killing of a disabled Iraqi man in Hamdaniyah on April 26 and the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha on Nov. 19. Both are under investigation, and photographs and video from both have begun to circulate. In the Hamdaniyah case, we know there are graphic images of a man wrapped in plastic sheeting -- a see-through shroud that has become a grisly visual marker of the ongoing conflict. Neighbors and family say the man, who has four bullet holes in his face, was dragged from his house and shot by U.S. soldiers. Eight American servicemen are under investigation. In Haditha, the range of images is wider: bodies wrapped in rugs; bodies bundled in white cloth and tied into neat, ghostly packages; and bloody, bloated faces emerging from stiff folds of transparent plastic, rather like Rodin's deathly Balzac looks out from his small cave of draping metal. Hands and feet of the living -- bystanders, onlookers, witnesses to the silence of the dead -- often frame the images. These strange, anonymous additions to the picture -- disembodied appendages -- suggest humanity at a standstill. They suggest an impotence among Iraqi civilians that is heartbreaking. The U.S. military is still looking into the Haditha killings. It's also looking into the possibility of a military coverup, which kept the killings under wraps for half a year. Photographs are immediate. Investigations are by necessity methodical and often slow. These two different senses of time -- the immediate and the methodical -- are now in troubling conflict. A dead child cries out for immediate response; the military investigates. We see photographs of men doubled over with grief, tear-stained faces, mouths contorted in pain, and the pang is instant; the military investigates. A boy standing next to the bodies of his family or friends looks up at his elders with a blank stare on his face, an image that puts death and childhood in excruciating proximity; the military investigates. Photographs may play an important role in some of these investigations. But it is the degree to which the photographs exist in a world of their own, apart from the military's cautiously worded statements, that is increasingly perplexing. Throughout the war, the notion of two realities has dogged the warmakers. Is the president living in a world of good news and progress and missions accomplished, while our soldiers and the Iraqi population live in a world of chaos and death and uncertainty? Are the media presenting a world of antiseptic images, bloodless and vague, mere suggestions of a carnage they know all too well but dare not make explicit to the public? 83

Investigations are meant to create closure. But photographs, which can circulate forever, keep death and destruction open. Investigations are also meant to assure us that the war waged in our name is being fought with some measure of precision and dignity, but as photographs (and incidents) accumulate, and as investigations linger and overlap one another, they begin to lose their moral force. Investigation, a word meant to reassure us that the government is always "looking into" itself, is itself now subject to the blur that makes the nightly news coverage of Iraq seem like a tape loop. And the only image that fades, as the war grinds on, is the one with which we prepared for battle: the fantasy, so beloved of Americans, of a clean, surgical, decent war.

Marines In Iraq: The Warriors' Way (LAT)
By David J. Danelo The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 ON APRIL 6, 2004, Cpl. Jason Howell, a Marine squad leader who had arrived in Iraq three weeks before, was enduring his baptism of fire in what later became known as the "first battle of Fallouja." Howell, who had not eaten in 18 hours or slept in 36, was running on nothing but adrenaline. His dehydrated spittle, caked around the side of his mouth, was dirty white. Kneeling on a roof, he saw a flash of movement. An Iraqi child put his face out the window. Exhausted, Howell found himself unable to process the Arabic word he had learned for "stop." Without thinking, he screamed. The child pulled the curtains as Howell automatically raised his weapon to shoot. Then Howell blinked. An instant later, clarity returned to his thoughts. The corporal, who was in his first of what would become many days of combat, had almost shot an innocent. "I don't know exactly why I didn't pull the trigger," said Howell, who now serves with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. "It all happened so fast. It was a combination of training, instinct and luck." As the furor grows over allegations that Marines killed 24 Iraqi civilians last November — including women and children — the origins of Howell's discipline are worth examining. The Corps is the smallest of the United States' military services, and it also has the highest enlisted-to-officer ratio (about 10 to 1). Because of this, a much higher level of responsibility is placed on corporals and sergeants, or noncommissioned officers. In each Marine infantry battalion, which is the primary combat element, an average of 60 noncommissioned officers lead squads or a unit of similar size. As squad leaders, they assume responsibility for the lives — and split-second decisions — of about a dozen men. Marines are legendary for their monastic devotion to the warrior ideal. The mottos inked on their bodies — Death Before Dishonor, Make Peace or Die, Always Faithful — function as physical scriptures for their choice of religion, like scapulars, phylacteries or "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets. The ancient Spartans, who sacrificed at the battle of Thermopylae to defend the Greeks from the Persian onslaught, are venerated as saints within the Corps. The Spartan Way is a stoic faith. SINCE THE FALL of 2001, 26 active duty and nine Marine Reserve infantry battalions have rotated into and out of Afghanistan and Iraq as units for seven-month tours of duty. As new recruits join a battalion, seasoned noncommissioned officers either gain rank toward senior billets or leave the Corps for civilian life. Although the exact numbers remain classified information, unit casualty reports suggest that about 50 separate rotations of Marine infantry battalions have been tested in combat over the last four years. Using those statistics as a bare minimum, at least 3,000 corporals and sergeants have served combat tours as infantry squad leaders. Not to mention hundreds more who cut their teeth as combat replacements, convoy security escorts, translators, intelligence collectors or instructors for the new Iraqi army. When the histories are written, we will learn that the exact number of young Marines thrust into positions of leadership — amid an international media spotlight — is actually much higher. Several Marines have already been convicted in the court of public opinion in the Haditha case. As military investigators evaluate these allegations, those on the sidelines should avoid castigation of an entire system because of the errors of a few. Consider the rush to judgment of 2nd Lt. Ilario G. Pantano, who was charged with murder at an April 2004 checkpoint shooting, or the nameless Marine in a Fallouja mosque who was seen on video killing an insurgent thought to have been booby-trapped. Both were eventually exonerated of all charges. Responsible critics of the Iraq war say that we misappropriated U.S. military resources in making an unnecessary choice to topple Saddam Hussein's regime, a choice that has plunged young soldiers and Marines into the amorality of a protracted counterinsurgency. But placing too close an association on the Haditha massacre with the war's politics ignores the thousands of troops who have navigated the chaos and still made the right decisions. Accuracy in the application of deadly force is the foundational creed for any who protect and defend their society. Discerning combatant from innocent is the greatest challenge for all who have engaged in this kind of war. Like spiritual perfection, the warrior ideal is often an impossible thing to fully achieve. But as we condemn the handful who have backslid in 84

their pursuit of the Spartan Way, we should not forget to esteem the thousands who, like Cpl. Jason Howell, have kept their honor clean amid Iraq's insanity. David J. Danelo, a former Marine officer and Iraq war veteran, is the author of "Blood Stripes: The Grunt's View of the War in Iraq."

Uniformed Gunmen Kidnap 50 In Baghdad (USAT/AP)
By The Associated Press USA Today, June 6, 2006 BAGHDAD — Gunmen wearing police uniforms kidnapped at least 50 people Monday during a brazen daylight raid on bus stations in central Baghdad. Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohamedawi, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the gunmen arrived at midmorning in the Salihiya business district, where several transportation companies are based and where buses pick up passengers bound mostly for Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Witnesses said the attackers blocked roads leading into the area before grabbing people seemingly at random. The gunmen beat the captives before putting bags over their heads and herding them into more than a dozen vehicles. “They took all the workers from the companies and nearby shops,” said Haidar Mohammed Eleibi, who works for Swan Transportation. He said his brother and a cousin were among those taken, along with merchants, travelers, passersby and even street vendors selling tea and sandwiches. “They did not give any reason for it,” he said. “Police came afterward and did nothing.” Another transportation worker, Amjad Hameed, said that as the attackers began seizing people, “we asked them why, but nobody replied.” The Shiite Muslim-dominated Interior Ministry, which oversees the police, has been accused of backing militias in sectarian violence. It denied that its officers were behind Monday's attack. Most of the workers in the area that was raided are Shiites. Al-Mohamedawi said at least 50 people were abducted. In other Iraq news: •Mustafa Salman, a 30-year-old Iraqi, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of aid worker Margaret Hassan, Iraq's criminal court said. Two other defendants were acquitted. Hassan, 59, a citizen of Ireland, Britain and Iraq, had headed CARE International's operations in Iraq since 1991. She was abducted in October 2004 and killed a month later. Her body has not been found. •In southern Iraq, a bomb went off near an Italian patrol Monday night, killing one Italian soldier and wounding four, Adm. Gianpaolo Di Paolo announced in Rome. •The chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein said Monday that four defense witnesses have been jailed on suspicion of perjury. That drew accusations from defense lawyers that the court was trying to intimidate witnesses. Three of the witnesses testified last week that some of the 148 Shiites that Saddam and his seven co-defendants are accused of killing are still alive, defense lawyer Najib al-Nueimi told the Associated Press. The fourth told the court that chief prosecutor Jaafar al-Moussawi tried to bribe him to provide false testimony against Saddam.

In Brazen Roundup, 56 Vanish From Baghdad (WP)
By Nelson Hernandez And Salih Saif Aldin The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 BAGHDAD, June 5 -- "Turn back," a friend told Haji Abu Shamaa as he walked Monday morning toward his moneychanging shop in the Karkh neighborhood of central Baghdad, a mile north of the heavily guarded Green Zone. "The Interior Ministry police are rounding up people." But Shamaa walked on, right into a swift, coordinated operation unfolding within sight of Iraq's Ministry of Justice. Gunmen in police uniforms and ski masks had cordoned off the street and were swiftly shoving captives, four or five at a time, into a dozen waiting pickup trucks. Fifteen minutes later, the trucks were gone, and so were 56 people. The roundup displayed all the signs of an unrelenting kidnapping epidemic in Baghdad. Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, more than 400 foreigners have been abducted in Iraq, but thousands more Iraqis have been snatched from the streets, often by people wearing knockoff police uniforms that are easily purchased at local markets. Many people, like Shamaa's friend, believe the kidnappers are actually police. Usually the hostages are held for ransom. Sometimes they are killed because of their faith or ethnicity. The fate of the 56 people was unknown Monday night. But the scale and audacity of the operation were unusual even by the capital's lawless standards. 85

The gunmen seized workers from several bus companies that offer transport to Syria and Jordan, witnesses and police said. Others of those taken were passengers aboard the buses: Syrian businessmen going home, a handful of Palestinians, Iraqis. Many Iraqis are leaving their own country precisely because it is the sort of place where a trip to the bus stop can end with being led away at gunpoint. Shamaa said he was intent on returning to his office, to rejoin his son, Alaa, and thought the police wouldn't arrest him -- he hadn't done anything wrong, he reasoned. Then he saw a dozen pickup trucks, two of them with machine guns mounted in their beds, and none with any license plates. A man in a camouflage police uniform and a ski mask -- an article commonly worn by police in Baghdad-- stopped Shamaa, saying he would shoot him if he didn't turn back. "I haven't done anything," Shamaa recounted explaining to him. "I just want to go to the bank to get some money, and I'll be gone." The man let him pass. Shamaa went into the bank, and watched the scene unfolding through the window. He said he saw gunmen entering the Mohammed Ugaili Transportation Co. across the street. He saw the owner, Jasim Ugaili, and his son being forced into one of the pickup trucks with the butts of rifles. Shamaa saw his own son, Alaa, with them, his hands tied behind his back. Shamaa rushed outside to save his son. Another man with a rifle blocked his way. "What, do you want to join him?" the man threatened. Shamaa turned back. And the trucks drove off. Police Col. Adel Younis said guards at the Ministry of Justice shot at the kidnappers, but couldn't stop them. Another witness, Hussein Ali, said he had seen a police car drive up to the scene, only to be driven off by gunfire and shouted warnings from the kidnappers that they were from the Interior Ministry's intelligence section. Younis said the incident is under investigation. A police major who came on the scene after the attack said the men were not with the Interior Ministry, a witness said. Raids like this one only increase popular mistrust of the police. Sunni Arabs often accuse the Interior Ministry police, dominated by Shiites, of conducting a terror campaign against them, or at least looking the other way as Shiite militias associated with political parties do so. But police say the attacks are carried out by criminals wearing police uniforms. At the same time, they counter that Iraq's major insurgent organizations are led by Sunnis and that a tough response is required. Monday's kidnappings did not appear to be motivated by sectarian rivalry, a witness said. "Among the passengers were Syrian businessmen, about five or six of them," Hasan Falah said. "There were also some passengers from Diwaniyah" -- a predominantly Shiite city south of Baghdad-- "and other parts of Iraq. There was no question of Shiite or Sunni because it was a whole mixture." That suggested that the people were simply taken for ransom, a lucrative business that has grown rapidly since U.S. forces overthrew Saddam Hussein's government in 2003. A group of Shiite students in a neighborhood of southern Baghdad, kidnapped in another roundup on Monday, did not have the option of paying their way out. In Abu Dashir, a Shiite neighborhood south of Dora, the volatile southern section of Baghdad, gunmen posing as drivers lined up a set of minibuses as if to offer rides to central Baghdad, a police officer said. Fifteen students from Abu Dashir got aboard. The drivers and their accomplices killed them -- where the murders happened is unclear -- and threw their bodies off the side of the Dora highway. Abduction statistics are unreliable because many families do not report crimes, fearing the police as much as they do the kidnapping gangs. But every so often, kidnappers are brought to justice. On Monday, an Iraqi court sentenced an Iraqi man to life imprisonment in connection with the killing of Margaret Hassan, an Iraqi-British aid worker kidnapped in 2004. It is believed to be Iraq's first trial of a suspect accused of the abduction or murder of a foreign-born civilian since the U.S.-led invasion. *** Hassan, originally from Ireland, married an Iraqi engineer and lived in Iraq for more than three decades before becoming an Iraqi citizen. At the time of her kidnapping in October 2004, she headed Iraqi operations for the CARE International charity. She was abducted on her way to work in Baghdad. She was presumed murdered about a month later, after her captors released video messages of her appealing for the withdrawal of British forces from Iraq. Her body has not been found. Also in Baghdad on Monday, the defense team in the trial of Saddam Hussein protested the arrest of four of its witnesses. Defense attorneys charged that some of them were beaten by Iraqi guards. 86

The chief judge said they were jailed on suspicion of perjury last week after testifying that they had seen the chief prosecutor offering money and unspecified fake documents in exchange for testimony. One of the witnesses also claimed that some of the 148 Shiites from the town of Dujail who were allegedly killed on Hussein's orders were still alive.

As Iraq Violence Worsens, Security Remains Elusive (LAT)
By Megan K. Stack And Saif Rasheed The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 BAGHDAD — Clad in camouflage uniforms, the gunmen came peeling through the thick morning heat in police trucks. They stopped at a downtown strip of travel companies where Iraqis gather each morning to board buses bound for the safer lands of Syria and Jordan. The gunmen leaped to the ground, witnesses said, and they worked fast. They seized more than 50 bystanders, pulling men away from their families and hauling drivers from behind the wheels of the buses. They handcuffed the men, blindfolded them and stuffed them into the backs of the trucks like human loot. They covered some of their captives with sheets. And then they were gone, slamming doors and speeding off into the brilliant morning sunlight. It was only 9 o'clock in a city where security has come unraveled, just another mundane scene that splintered suddenly into violence. "Those are criminals going after the ransom," said Saad Tawil, a 42-year-old manager of one of the travel companies clustered on the street in downtown Baghdad. "They will see who is important or rich, and who is not, after interrogating them." But other mass kidnappings that have struck the capital this year remain unsolved. In some cases, the victims have never turned up, living or dead. The mass kidnapping came one day after Prime Minister Nouri Maliki was forced to concede that Iraq's warring factions were too mutually distrustful to agree on who should run the security services. Having suspended indefinitely a parliament vote on those key ministries, Maliki has left the army and police leadership dangling in a vacuum at a time when bloodshed in Baghdad, and across Iraq, has spiraled upward. In Baghdad, leaving home to work, shop or visit family has become an increasingly dangerous proposition. Violence rears up without warning; residents navigate a citywide obstacle course of roadside bombs, shootouts and security checkpoints. The city just had its most murderous month since U.S.-led forces invaded the country in 2003, new Iraqi government documents indicate. More people were shot, stabbed or otherwise violently killed in May than in any other month since the invasion, according to Health Ministry statistics. The figure does not include slain soldiers or civilians killed in bombings, on whom autopsies are not usually performed. Last month alone, 1,398 bodies were brought to Baghdad's central morgue, the ministry said. All over the city and out into the provinces, corpses surface on a daily basis in garbage dumps, in abandoned cars or along roadsides. They often bear marks of bondage and torture. The attacks are frequently characterized by their brazen nature. Gunmen climbed onto a Baghdad bus Monday and killed at least two Shiite students, an Interior Ministry source said. Over the weekend, masked gunmen set up a roadblock north of Baghdad, stopped a passing bus and ordered the men to disembark. Dividing the Sunnis from the Shiites, they told the Shiites they were "traitors" who would be killed on religious principle, a witness told the Associated Press. The assailants shot their victims execution-style. When they were done, 24 passengers were dead. Most of them were teenage university students and elderly men. Although much of Iraq's bloodshed is carried out for sectarian reasons, there are plenty of criminals simply angling for cash in a lawless land. Kidnapping fellow Iraqis has bloomed into a popular moneymaking scheme. Monday's mass kidnapping took place in a bustling, shabby commercial district in downtown Baghdad. The site is relatively fortified: It stands just a stone's throw from the Justice Ministry, amid a network of Iraqi police checkpoints. The gunmen's vehicles roared to a stop on a road lined with the offices of travel agencies and bus line operators. Salihiya is a neighborhood of transit and escape, the last stop many Iraqis make in their flight from a war-ravaged homeland. The buses leave Baghdad in the morning — the crushing heat of day is deemed preferable to the perils of riding through the desert at night. The roads to the border run through Sunni-dominated Al Anbar province. Buses are periodically stopped and looted, their passengers killed. For many Iraqis, boarding the bus is yet another gamble — they've grown used to weighing out a certain amount of risk in their daily lives. Some of the Iraqis who bought tickets Monday didn't get out soon enough. Along with passengers — who presumably carried money and could afford to leave the country — office workers from the transit companies and bus drivers, some of them Syrian, were also grabbed by the assailants. At least one boy who eked out tips for toting suitcases was snatched up and carted off, witnesses said. 87

"They shouted at me and they tried to take me," he said between puffs of cigarette smoke and telephone calls from Iraqis eager to book a seat on a future bus. "But I fled." Witnesses said the kidnappers were outfitted in the uniforms and vehicles used by some of the special forces of the Iraqi police, overseen by the long-troubled Interior Ministry. Police units under the ministry have been accused of working as Shiite death squads on a campaign to eliminate Sunni Arab men. Police have also been accused of kidnapping civilians for ransom. On Monday afternoon, a special forces commander issued a statement denouncing the kidnapping and insisting his men were innocent. But in a city where the highway patrol is accused of forming death squads and paramilitary fighters are believed to have infiltrated state security organs, witnesses were not convinced. "I accuse the police," said a travel office owner who would give only his last name, Ghanem. "The cars were definitely police cars."


Transit worker Hamza Mohammed, 34, said he took off running when the gunmen arrived. They fired at him but missed, he

Minor Figure In Iraqi Kidnapping Gets A Life Sentence (NYT)
By Sabrina Tavernise The New York Times, June 6, 2006 BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 5 — A judge imposed a life sentence on Monday on a man who apparently played a minor role in the kidnapping of Margaret Hassan, a British-Iraqi aid worker whose disappearance and death showed that no one was immune from insurgent viciousness. The verdict, the first in a kidnapping of a foreigner in Iraq, brought an inconclusive end to the case of Ms. Hassan, 59, who was abducted on her way to work in Baghdad in October 2004. Two other men were acquitted and a sheik suspected of having played an important role in the kidnapping has eluded arrest. The kidnapping of Ms. Hassan, the director of CARE International in Iraq who had dedicated her life to helping the country's poor, stunned Iraqis and opened a more dangerous era for foreign nationals working here. In one enduring image from a grainy video broadcast on television, she was seen crumpled and pleading. Her body was never found. Judge Saab Khorshid of the Central Criminal Court sentenced Mustafa Muhammad Salman al-Jibouri, a man associated with a Sunni mosque in central Baghdad, to life in prison, a British Embassy official said. The charge, according to an Iraqi lawyer who watched the trial, was aiding and abetting: Mr. Jibouri held Ms. Hassan's purse after she was abducted, though he said he did not know whose it was at first. The spasm of violence in the capital continued Monday, with armed men dressed as police commandos seizing 24 people in Salheya, a bustling commercial district in the heart of the city that is dotted with bus companies that take travelers to Syria and Jordan. Families of those who were seized, including bus owners, riders and a kebob seller, formed an impromptu demonstration and demanded their release. "What happened today is a catastrophe, something unnatural," said one of the relatives on the Iraqi evening news here. Security in the capital has deteriorated precipitously in recent months. Increasingly brazen assassinations torment neighborhoods and no longer seem to follow any obvious patterns. In May, the Baghdad morgue recorded the highest number of bodies received since the beginning of the war: 1,375, approximately double the toll of May 2005. The surge in killings comes as Iraqi political leaders remained deadlocked for a seventh week over the most important positions in the Iraqi cabinet, the ministers of defense and interior. The stalemate has left Iraq rudderless when it most needs a full government. "It's a real problem," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, who said a new security plan for Baghdad cannot begin until the ministers are in place. The trial in Ms. Hassan's killing, which was completed in only two and a half hours, went virtually unnoticed by Iraqi television outlets, and raised more questions than it answered. The testimony connected Ms. Hassan's kidnapping to a mosque in Jadriya, a leafy neighborhood of university professors in central Baghdad, and the sheik who presided there, identified by defendants as Hussein Ahmed Salman al-Zobai. The sheik had given Mr. Jibouri, a resident of Madaen, an angry Sunni Arab town south of Baghdad, Ms. Hassan's purse and identification cards in a plastic bag for safekeeping, according to Shawkat al-Samarrai, an Iraqi lawyer who watched the trial. Mr. Jibouri, who denied he played a part in the kidnapping, said he looked inside the purse two months later and discovered it belonged to Ms. Hassan. The sheik, who had moved to Jamiya in western Baghdad, an area dominated by insurgents, said he would come to collect it, but never did, Mr. Samarrai said. Two other men, Mohsin Ahmed and Qasim Muhammad, identified by The Associated Press as a guard and a worshiper from the mosque that figured in the case, were acquitted. It was not clear from the testimony what happened to the sheik, but 88

some participants in the trial said that he had fled, according to Mr. Samarrai. Court officials were not available for comment on Monday afternoon. In a frustrating tale of missed opportunities and painful waiting, Ms. Hassan's husband, Tahseen Hassan, took the stand on Monday. In a calm voice, he spoke of the ordeal of losing his wife, beginning from the morning of her disappearance on Oct. 19, 2004. She left the house at 7:30 a.m., he said, according to Mr. Samarrai, riding with her driver and bodyguard in her Toyota Camry to her office in Quthat, a neighborhood on the edge of Jadriya. Two hours later, her secretary called Mr. Hassan and told him his wife was missing. The driver, an Iraqi, and the guard, an Egyptian, had been badly beaten. In the days after his wife was abducted, Mr. Hassan received several telephone calls — her relatives said on Monday that four were made from her cellphone — from people he did not know, asking for the numbers of the British Embassy in Baghdad, and of Ms. Hassan's office. Shortly after that, a caller who identified himself as Abu Mustafa reassured him that his wife was doing well, and proposed a meeting in the Shiite neighborhood of Kadhimiya. Mr. Hassan said he went there with the Iraqi police, but that the caller never showed up. Abu Mustafa later called back, according to Mr. Samarrai, and asked Mr. Hassan why he had come with the police. In a statement released in England on Sunday, Ms. Hassan's family accused the British government of contributing to her death by refusing to negotiate with her kidnappers. "The hostage-takers demanded to speak to a member of the British Embassy, but Tahseen had been told by the British that they would not speak to the kidnappers," said Ms. Hassan's siblings — Deirdre, Geraldine, Kathryn and Michael Fitzsimmons. "We believe that the refusal by the British government to open a dialogue with the kidnappers cost our sister her life." In an interview with the BBC on Monday, Deirdre Fitzsimmons said that the last phone calls were made on Nov. 7, and that Mr. Hassan was essentially left on his own by an unhelpful British government. "I don't think he knew what to do," she said. "He did the best he could. After all, this was a man in a house on his own, his wife had been taken hostage, he had seen terrible videos of her. He was really left on his own with this advice." A spokeswoman for the British Embassy in Baghdad said: "Our thoughts are with her family." Typical of the breakdown in the capital, confusion prevailed late into the evening in Salheya, where the 24 people were taken Monday. The head of the commandos said his forces had not been in the area, but an official in the Interior Ministry said that a special police unit, possibly from the Ministry of Transportation, might have conducted the raid. One witness, who runs the Tiger Bus Company, said the armed men blindfolded the people they were leading away and fastened their hands with plastic ties. "I knew that if they will take me, that means I am dead," said the man who asked that his name not be used out of safety concerns. "We knew this was the end. We ran out the back." In other violence, Iraqi television reported that one Italian soldier had been killed and three others wounded by a bomb in southern Iraq. Two students were killed in the southern neighborhood of Dawra, part of a spate of recent killings of students, an Interior Ministry official said.

Iraqis Believe Violence Will Abate, New Report Says (WP)
By Walter Pincus The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Attacks and casualty levels against civilians and military personnel in Iraq have risen "substantially" since the December elections, but Iraqis have confidence the new Baghdad government will improve the situation, according to the Defense Department's quarterly report to Congress. "The formation of the new, permanent Iraqi government that addresses key sectarian and political concerns could help reverse the attack trend," states the report, which measured progress in Iraq through May. Although the report states that since the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, attacks have increased against rival sectarian groups and populations, it says that al-Qaeda "has been unsuccessful in driving Iraq to civil war [although] Sunni and Shia Arab reprisals elevated the level of violence throughout this period." Anthony H. Cordesman, who holds the Arleigh Burke chair in strategy at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies and has closely studied the Iraq insurgency, yesterday criticized the new Pentagon report as presenting "a fundamentally false picture of the political situation in Iraq, and of the difficulties ahead." He said it "does not prepare the Congress or the American people for the years of effort that will be needed even under 'best case' conditions and the risk of far more serious forms of civil conflict." 89

Saying "only the U.S. government has the resources and access to information that provide a comprehensive overview of the situation," Cordesman added, "The American people and the U.S. Congress need an honest portrayal of what is happening, not lies by omission and 'spin.' " For example, he notes the poll of Iraqis' confidence in their new government's ability to improve the situation is described as a "nationwide survey" with no explanation of who was polled and how. He also points out that despite the increase in sectarian killings and the failure to form a government after the elections, the number of Iraqis with doubts hardly changed. Cordesman said the report "highlights real problems with crime and militias and the importance of sectarian, tribal and ethnic violence," but he took issue with the Pentagon assertion that 90 percent of the suicide bombings in Iraq are carried out by al-Qaeda terrorists, saying, "This may be what some want to believe, but there is no validation."

Afghanistan Under Siege (WT)
By Tulin Dalogl The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 KABUL, Afghanistan. -- The pictures of the anti-U.S. riots last week in Kabul show the immense contradictions of Afghanistan. Monday's riot, triggered by a traffic accident involving an American military truck, was the worst since the fall of the Taliban. The next day, however, was absolutely calm, illustrating how impossible it is to predict anything that will happen in Afghanistan. Hikmet Cetin, NATO's senior civilian representative, says the riots did not accurately express either the level of antiAmerican sentiment or the people's attitude toward foreign influences. "There were different elements in that demonstration," Mr. Cetin said in an interview. "They were angry against their government, too." He said it is clear to him that the Taliban knows it is militarily overmatched by the NATO forces preparing to take control in Afghanistan. "The Taliban [leaders] understand they cannot fight with our military face to face, so they started to use roadside bombs, IEDs and suicide bombers," Mr. Cetin said. "They are trying to give the impression that there are two powers in this country: the government and the Taliban. They are sending [a] message [to NATO]: don't come, we will kill you." A native of Turkey, the only Muslim country in NATO, his service in Afghanistan is crucial. Afghans remember the days of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern-day Turkey, and Emanullah Han, and how Ataturk helped them build numerous Afghan state institutions. Dr. Rifki Kamil Urga, who Ataturk sent to Afghanistan, built the first medical school. Mr. Cetin's personality is also crucial. He's a Muslim representing NATO, but to preserve relations he needs to appeal to the Afghan people. He's not only an official; he is also very popular even among ordinary Afghanis. On days of upheaval like Monday, people ask him what to do, and they learn from him the lessons of how to govern their country. What's more, when a former warlord told Mr. Cetin that his community needed a mosque, he replied, "No, you need schools." He is exactly right to try to show Afghanis what their priorities should be as they learn how to navigate governing and their established religious institutions. Alas, the literacy rate in this country is less than 40 percent -- needless to say that the female literacy rate is around 14 percent. The day after the riot, Mr. Cetin hosted a dinner at his residence for more than a dozen members of the Afghan Parliament. "The day two Canadians were killed in Kandahar, [Canada's] Parliament decided to extend its stay for another two years," he told the assembled group of parliamentarians on Tuesday. He noted that Canadian, Dutch and British forces will be doubling the number of troops in the Taliban's stronghold in the south. The move will change the rules of engagement for NATO forces. And it also proves, Mr. Cetin says, "[w]hen NATO commits itself, it acts decisively." Mr. Cetin says he is sure that NATO will defeat the Taliban. But he believes it requires more than military effort. The world should help Afghanistan to stand on its own as a sovereign, independent country, he says. Some at the dinner raised some thought-provoking points. M. Daoud Sultanzoy, the head of a parliamentary committee on the economy, said that because the West had defeated the Soviet Union, Western powers should be well-versed in valuable psychological warfare tactics, and he questioned why that knowledge is not being employed against the Taliban. Obviously, the answer is not an easy one until security conditions have been improved and economy driven infrastructure and industries start to show a presence in the country. "Any country could have problems. Any country may lack some institutions. And they may take steps to correct it," Mr. Cetin told me during the interview. "But in Afghanistan, in the beginning of 2001, there were no state institutions. There was no government, no governance, no military, no police, no public administration." Because that infrastructure is only beginning to be conceived, much less implemented, "NATO can not fail in Afghanistan," he said. "That will be the end of NATO. Then we can't succeed anywhere." He also reminded the group of what NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said: "If we don't go to Afghanistan, Afghanistan will come to us -- as a terror, as a drug trafficker." 90

Even with the monumental challenges, everyone accepts that Afghanistan has changed remarkably for the good since 2001. "It reminds me the place where I grow up," said Mr. Cetin, referring to his birthplace of Lice, Turkey -- an area where the Kurdish citizens make up the majority and little infrastructure or mechanisms for governing exist. He acknowledges that putting together the institutions of government and statehood, along with educating the people, will take a long time. But he refused to compare Afghanistan and Iraq. "There is no deep ethnic and religous division in Afghanistan like there is in Iraq," he said. Tulin Daloglu is a freelance writer.

Many Afghans Lost To Hazards Of Childbirth (WP)
By Pamela Constable The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 SHEIKHABAD, Afghanistan -- According to Afghan tradition, children are the fruit of heaven. The more each couple produces, the greater the blessing; hence the country has one of the world's highest birthrates. If an infant dies, village tradition says, another will come along soon. If a mother dies giving birth, it is the will of God. But according to international studies, Afghanistan is also one of the most dangerous places in the world to be born or to deliver a child. In a recent report, the U.S. charity Save the Children found that Afghanistan has the world's second-highest rate of newborn deaths, 60 per 1,000 births, just below Liberia. It also found that one in six Afghan mothers -- 20,000 a year -- die during or after childbirth. Safia, an illiterate villager of about 30, has survived several pregnancies, but just barely. Last month, she arrived at physician Roshanak Wardak's clinic in this town 50 miles west of the capital carrying a 3-week-old baby. The child was thin and weak, because Safia could neither produce milk nor afford to buy formula. Her previous child, a boy, had nearly died at birth. Safia was in labor for two days and nights, she said, with no way to travel from her village. By the time she finally reached a hospital two hours away, she had to have an emergency Caesarean section, and both she and the baby were hospitalized for a week. "My husband was away working. I couldn't reach him, and no one else would help me," she said. "I was having terrible pains, but the baby would not come. Later the doctors told me it was because I worked so hard during my pregnancy, lifting water buckets and other heavy things. They told me not to have any more children for three years, but now I have this new one." Although Afghanistan has had a stable, Western-backed government since late 2001 and foreign donors have since spent tens of millions of dollars to improve health care, conditions still conspire to sabotage the chances of healthy and normal births. "It's really as bad as it can get and still sustain a population," said Linda Bartlett, a physician and maternal and child health officer for UNICEF in Kabul, the capital. Many parts of Afghanistan are harsh and remote, with bad roads, few clinics and little ability to attract skilled health workers. Village girls are often married by 15 and urged to produce a child each year. About 85 percent of Afghan infants are born at home, without even a trained midwife in attendance. If complications arise, families may not recognize the danger signals and end up wasting precious time deciding what to do. The mother, in protracted labor or losing blood, may have to be carried or put on a donkey for several hours to reach a road leading to a hospital. By then, it may be too late to save her or the child. "The worst problem is lack of skilled staff. In some provinces, there are no female health workers at all," said Nadra Hayat, director of maternal and infant health at the Public Health Ministry in Kabul. Delivering babies is traditionally done in Afghanistan by women, and many families do not want male doctors to treat their wives or daughters. Even when foreign donors offered to increase the government's monthly salary for doctors from $40 to $1,000 for those willing to work in arid, isolated southern provinces, Hayat said, "the living conditions were so bad that no one wanted to go." According to Bartlett, health care has improved significantly in some provinces, with new clinics built and staffed in large towns. The problem, she said, is at two extremes: remote regions where medical help is dangerously scarce, and urban areas where hospitals can barely keep up with the population boom. In Kabul, the main maternity hospital, Malalai, is hard-pressed to keep pace with the crush of deliveries resulting from a wave of returning refugees that has tripled the city's population since the U.S.-led invasion in late 2001. The staff delivers 80 to 100 babies every 24 hours, and most new mothers are discharged the same day to keep enough beds open. Doctors and nurse-midwives said that since the end of Taliban rule and the influx of foreign aid, the hospital has made major improvements. Infection rates have fallen sharply, and new diagnostic equipment has been donated. In the past 15 months, fewer than 10 patients have died. "Some things are much better. We used to do 10 deliveries with one pair of gloves," said Safia, a nurse-midwife who has worked there for 35 years. 91

Still, conditions are far from ideal. Basic supplies often run out. Patients may be asked to privately purchase such items as intravenous drips. When patients arrive with severe bleeding, doctors often take up a collection to buy plasma from other hospitals. With doctors in short supply, Afghan and foreign aid agencies have focused on increasing the quantity and quality of midwives. Until recently, many were unskilled women who did little more than cut the umbilical cord. If the mother started hemorrhaging or the birth was obstructed -- the two leading causes of maternal mortality here -- there was little they could do. In the past three years, a U.S.-funded program has trained hundreds of community midwives, and a national midwives association has been formed. The number of trained midwives has increased from about 500 to 1,500, and many are working in remote regions with high rates of infant and maternal deaths. "It is a real revolution," said Pashtun Afzer, the association's president. "These women are so committed. They want to be competent. They know the danger signs and the causes of bleeding. Some rural people were afraid to go to strange clinics, but these are women from their own areas, so the people trust them." Bibi Ashrafi, a midwife in her fifties, has delivered more than 1,000 babies in Wardak province. She said most village families still prefer home births because they don't want to expose their wives or daughters to unfamiliar doctors. "I only carry a bag with a scalpel, soap, gloves and clean cloths," she said. "I am very careful. I wash my hands eight times before and after the birth, I sterilize my scissors, and I make sure the placenta is not left inside. If the mother is doing well, I feed her a soup of sugar and oil and flour, and then I leave." In the past, Ashrafi said, many women died giving birth, and their families would say it was "God's decision that her time had come." But three years ago a clinic opened in the area and she received some training. Now, when a mother is bleeding heavily after the birth, she has a place to send them. "It's great we have a clinic now, but the problem is with the people," she said. "They are so concerned about privacy that they don't call me until a woman has been bleeding for three days. I tell them to space out the births, but they want to have as many children as possible. I tell them that is bad for the mother's health, but they don't want to change." A few miles away, outside Wardak's clinic in Sheikhabad, several dozen women huddled on the ground, their swollen bellies hidden under billowing burqas . All were illiterate. Many had histories of multiple miscarriages, problem deliveries or babies born early and weak. Wardak said she opened her clinic after the winter of 1996, when 40 women died giving birth in the district. Even now, she said, many pregnant women live so far up in the barren brown hills that they can barely get to her door, let alone endure another two-hour ride to the hospital in Kabul if they have labor complications. "Some villages are eight or nine hours away, and the cars charge extra because the roads are so bad," she said. "I haven't lost a patient in nine years, but we have women traveling from one district to another with labor pains, trying to find help. Sometimes, on the way, the babies die inside them."

Senators Seek Better Defense Imagery (WP)
By Walter Pincus The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence wants to expand the mission of the nation's imagery intelligence agency so that it can provide U.S. forces on the ground with laptop computers that display still pictures and video of what may lie over the next hill. "New products including full-motion video and ground-based photography should be included with available positional data [such as maps] in National Geospatial-Intelligence libraries for retrieval on Defense Department and intelligence community networks," the Senate panel said in its report on the fiscal 2007 intelligence authorization bill. "The committee wants troops to be able to dial up what the route ahead will look like and where potential ambush points may be," said John Pike of, an expert in satellite- and ground-based intelligence. He said digital still photos taken by military attachés and Special Forces teams that have slipped in and out of potential target countries such as Iran and North Korea as well as video footage taken by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have been collected for years, but have not been integrated into the main data libraries maintained by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). "The NGA's current library of geospatial products reflects its heritage -- predominantly overhead imagery and mapping products," the committee wrote in its report. "While the NGA is beginning to incorporate more airborne and commercial imagery, its products are nearly devoid of FMV [full-motion video] and ground-based photography," it added. The panel's solution is to give the director of national intelligence authority to direct the NGA to "analyze, disseminate and incorporate" into its national system "likenesses, videos, or presentations produced by ground-based platforms including handheld or clandestine photography taken by or on behalf of human intelligence collection organizations." 92

The new visual materials would be available along with traditional mapping data for retrieval by mission planners and troops in the field. "The route to and from a facility or photographs of what a facility would look like to a foot soldier -- rather than from an aircraft -- would be of immense value to our military personnel and intelligence officers," the report said. Sensitive to the unique roles played by human collectors, including Special Forces teams and clandestine CIA operatives, the report made clear that the NGA's new mission would not give the agency authority to "manage or direct" the collection or set the technical requirements for "handheld or clandestine photography." The human collection agencies would also control the classification of their photography as well as how and to whom it is distributed. Instead, the panel encouraged the NGA, whose database includes the exact location of where images are taken and the timing, to work with the other collection agencies so their data can easily be retrievable from the National Geospatial data libraries. Pike said, however, that technical difficulties exist in finding ways to integrate the new collection into the NGA data libraries. "Lots of still-camera imagery does not have time and place stamped into it as do the satellites," he said. He also noted that fullmotion videos, where a UAV can be traveling 100 mph, creates a problem in stamping locations so viewers know the start and finish of the target. An NGA spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending legislation such as the Senate intelligence committee's version of the authorization bill. But the NGA has been making changes in its databases over the past few years. More commercial imagery has been purchased and some video from UAVs such at the Predator and Global Hawk have gone into the system. Last December, Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte gave the NGA responsibility for overhead, nonimagery infrared and space-borne collectors of measurement and signature intelligence, which involves sensors that, among other things, gather signs of chemical, electronic, nuclear or other radiations emitters. The NGA also has linked elements of its group with the National Security Agency, whose satellites and ground-based facilities collect electronic messages. Negroponte recently praised this step as "linking our nation's 'eyes and ears.' " In a presentation last September, retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., the head of the NGA, described his view of "geointellingence" as seeking to answer such questions as "Where am I? Where are the friendlies? Where are the enemies? Where are the noncombatants? Where are the obstacles, natural and manmade, and how do I navigate among them? And what is the environment?" Clapper, who became director of the NGA in 2001 when it was still the National Imagery and Mapping Agency, plans to retire this month.

U.S. Links To Canadian Plot Probed (WT)
By Jerry Seper The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 U.S. and Canadian officials are investigating links between Canadian terror suspects accused of plotting to bomb government buildings and Islamic militants in the United States and other countries. Investigators are looking at links between two Atlanta men arrested in March after they videotaped the U.S. Capitol and at least three other Washington locations and two Canadians identified as part of a terrorist ring. The Canadians were arrested last year trying to smuggle weapons into Canada. Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, 19, and Syed Haris Ahmed, 21, both U.S. citizens and Georgia residents, were arrested and later indicted after they traveled to Canada to meet with at least three other targets of an ongoing FBI terrorism investigation in March 2005. An FBI affidavit said they discussed "strategic locations in the United States suitable for a terrorist strike." The affidavit said Ahmed, charged with giving material support of terrorism, and Sadequee, accused of making materially false statements in connection with an ongoing federal terrorism investigation, talked about attacks on oil refineries and military bases and planned to travel to Pakistan to get military training at a terrorist camp, which authorities said Ahmed then tried to do. U.S. authorities have established that the two men also had been in contact via computer with some of the 17 terror suspects arrested Saturday in Canada. During a hearing in their case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Colleen Kavanagh said Sadequee and Ahmed made videos in Washington of the U.S. Capitol, the Masonic Temple, the World Bank and a fuel storage facility and were preparing to send them to "overseas brothers." She said Sadequee gave Ahmed information on how to receive military-style training in Pakistan. FBI spokesman Richard Kolko acknowledged over the weekend that some of the Canadian suspects had been in "contact" with the two Georgia men but said there was "no current outstanding threat to any targets on U.S. soil emanating from this case." 93

"There is preliminary indication that some of the Canadian subjects may have had limited contact with the two people recently arrested from Georgia," Mr. Kolko said. Yesterday, he noted that the bureau had been working with Canadian authorities on the suspected terrorist cell for "some time" and had established "a working relationship with the Canadians in the prevention of terrorism." Authorities said Canadian investigators have focused on Mohammed Dirie, 22, and Yasin Abdi Mohamed, 24, both Somali immigrants living in Kingston, Ontario, who were taken into custody Aug. 13 on weapons charges at the Peace Bridge between Canada and Buffalo, N.Y. Stopped by Canadian Border Services inspectors, they later were convicted on weapons violations and are serving two-year prison sentences in Canada. Listed among the 17 charged with being members of the Canadian terrorist organization, Dirie and Mohamed attempted to smuggle three handguns and 200 rounds of ammunition into Canada from the United States. "This investigation is not over," Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Mike McDonell told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. "We will be following every investigative lead we have to its conclusion, and anybody that aided, facilitated or participated in this terrorist event will be arrested." The Canadians are accused in a scheme to buy 3,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate for bombs, which were to be used against buildings and landmarks in that country. The amount is three times what was used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 persons. Twelve of those charged are accused of participating in a terrorist group, including Dirie and Mohamed, who were also named on charges of importing weapons and ammunition for the purpose of terrorist activity. Another man, Fahim Ahmad, 21, an Afghan national living in Canada, also was named on weapons charges. Dirie and Mohamed reportedly were driving a car rented by Ahmad at the time of their arrest last year. Nine of the men are facing charges of receiving training from a terrorist group, and four others are accused of providing training. Six are also charged with intending to cause an explosion causing serious bodily harm or death. Five youths have also been charged in connection with the plot, but details of their charges were not released. U.S. authorities have been concerned for some time about the possibility of terrorists coming into the United States from Canada. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) first reported in December 2002 that al Qaeda terrorists had established "sleeper cells" in Canada whose members had the "capability and conviction" to support terrorist activities all across North America. The agency called the cells secretive, operational and loyal to Osama bin Laden, named as the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

More Vigilance Seen On U.S.-Canada Border (AP)
By David Crary AP, June 5, 2006 U.S. authorities tightened their checks of traffic from Canada on Monday as debate over the long and hard-to-police border intensified following the weekend arrests of 17 Muslim Canadians in a suspected Ontario terror plot. Calls for tougher security measures were countered by pleas from business and civic leaders on both sides to keep border crossings as quick and simple as possible. "Terrorism is clearly part of the North American environment whether we like it or not, but closing down the border is not going to eliminate it," said Arlene White, a Canadian who is executive director of the Binational Tourism Alliance in the Niagara Falls-Buffalo area. In Washington, U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said patrol stations along the 4,000-mile border — especially those adjoining Ontario — are on high alert because of the arrests, although investigators say the suspects' alleged plot apparently involved only targets in Canada. U.S. agents already deployed to the Canadian border will work overtime and some will be moved closer to the areas where the arrests occurred, Aguilar said. U.S. Customs and Border Protection official Kristi Clemens said some traffic headed into the United States would under go tougher procedures at the 89 ports of entry along the border. "The current events may result in some additional questions of commuters and travels," Clemens said. She also said, without elaborating, that her agency has added some "enforcement capabilities" following the arrests. Security along the border has been increasing ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001: new surveillance camera systems, new scanning devices to check on trucks' cargo, and many more agents on duty.


But concerns remain high among some politicians and experts, such as David Harris, former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. He contends that Canada's immigration policies are too lax, enabling more than 50 terrorist organizations to have a presence in the country. "Canadians are determined to keep the border open at almost any cost, because so much of Canada's economy relies on U.S. trade," said Harris, who now is a private security consultant in Ottawa. "The general theory of the trade devotees is the border should be open all the time, at virtually any cost — but you can only enjoy your prosperity if you're alive to do so." Harris has urged Canada to tighten its immigration policies — it welcomes some 250,000 new immigrants and refugees each year — and work with the United States on bolstering border controls with such high-tech devices as such as sensors and infrared cameras. Prior to the weekend arrests, the U.S. debate over immigration and border security been focused on border with Mexico. Said Harris: "A sole American preoccupation with the southern border is living in the past." About 1,000 U.S. Border Patrol agents work along the U.S.-Canada border, roughly triple the 2001 force but a fraction of the 9,600 agents who patrol the Mexican border, about half as long at 1,900 miles. Though often depicted as porous, controls along the U.S.-Canada border have entrapped some terrorist suspects, such as Ahmed Ressam, who was arrested as he drove off a ferry in Port Angeles, Wash., in 1999 and was later convicted of plotting to bomb the Los Angeles airport. Last summer, two men believed to be part of a terrorist ring in Canada were arrested in Buffalo while trying to smuggle guns and ammunition from the United States. The men are serving two-year jail sentences. One initiative to change border procedures has been mired in controversy — the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative. It would require Americans re-entering the United States after short visits to Canada and Mexico to show passports or other hightech ID cards — a change from the current practice in which a driver's license usually suffices. The Senate — concerned about border-crossing snarls — recently voted to delay implementation of the measure from January 2008 until June 2009. Arlene White, the binational tourism official, said confusion about the passport requirement already had reduced crossborder visits. "I recognize the immigration issue is huge in the states," White said. "But the northern border is very, very different, and we must continue to appreciate those differences." White acknowledged, however, that some of the security measures implemented since the Sept. 11 attacks have actually speeded border crossings. These include the use of high-tech x-ray scanners to screen vehicles and a binational program that allows speedier crossings for people accepted into a special program for low-risk frequent travelers. "The border's definitely safer — and more efficient," said Kevin Corsaro, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Buffalo. Canada is the United States' largest trading partner, conducting an estimated $1.5 billion in business daily.

Arrests Raise Questions About U.S.-Canada Border Security (KRT)
By Dave Montgomery Knight Ridder, June 5, 2006 WASHINGTON - The breakup of an alleged terrorist bomb plot in Canada late last week has raised new fears that the next terrorist attack could come from the north. The 4,000-mile border between the United States and Canada is twice as long as the one with Mexico, but it's guarded by fewer than 1,000 Border Patrol agents - one-tenth of the force in the Southwest. Vast stretches of unpatrolled terrain offer potential terrorists an easily accessible gateway into the United States. "Do the math," said T.J. Bonner, a San Diego agent who serves as the president of the National Border Patrol Council, a 10,500-member union that represents nonsupervisory Border Patrol agents. "We're very vulnerable out there." While boosting border enforcement and national security have emerged as central elements of the immigration legislation that's moving through Congress, attention has centered on the porous Southwest border, where more than 1 million illegal immigrants are arrested annually. But some lawmakers are calling for a harder look at the northern border after Friday's arrests of 12 men and five juveniles who allegedly had stockpiled three tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer to carry out terrorist bombing attacks in Canada. Timothy McVeigh used two tons of the highly destructive chemical substance in the 1995 attack that demolished the Oklahoma City federal building, killing 168 people.


Although the suspects appeared to be targeting sites in Canada, including the Parliament building in Ottawa, investigators fear they'd established a U.S. link with two terrorism suspects in Georgia who may have been plotting attacks in the United States, but that remains unconfirmed. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the government's chief national-security agency, has estimated that as many as 50 terrorist organizations and 300 individual terrorism suspects have bases of operations in Canada. Active groups, the agency said, include Shiite and Sunni Islamic extremists, the Irish Republican Army and all major Sikh terrorist organizations. "We're aware that there is a terrorist infrastructure within Canada, no different than within the United States and other countries, that contains a variety of elements ranging from fundraisers, ideological support, to direct membership," said Ben Venzke, who heads the IntelCenter, a private contractor that does counterterrorism support work for the U.S. government. "Despite all of the security measures and procedures put in place to stop terrorists" from crossing the border, Venzke said, "it is extremely difficult. Even if you do the best possible effort, there are still going to be a fair number to get through." Even before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the northern border had a reputation as a potential open door for extremists who'd settled in Canada to take advantage of its liberal immigration policies. One Canadian officer was quoted as describing the country as "Club Med for terrorists." In December 1999, authorities arrested Ahmed Ressam after he drove from Canada to Washington state in a rental car packed with bomb-making material, which he'd planned to use to bomb Los Angeles International Airport on New Year's Eve. He later was sentenced to 22 years in prison. In 1997, Ghazi Ibrahim Abu Maizar, a would-be suicide bomber who planned to detonate a pipe bomb in a New York subway station, crossed illegally into the United States three times, once by bus and twice by hiking across, according to news accounts. Several of the Sept. 11 hijackers also crossed into the United States from Canada. The scramble to toughen national security after Sept. 11 prompted a nearly threefold increase in Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Canada border, from 340 in 2001 to 980 by this year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. U.S. officials also doubled inspectors at the 89 ports of entry, from 1,615 to 3,391, expanded cooperative law-enforcement operations with Canada and have increasingly employed sensors, cameras, aircraft and marine patrols. Even so, law enforcement authorities acknowledge the immense challenges of patrolling a 3,987-mile stretch that cuts along 12 states, traversing waterways, mountainous terrain and dense forests. Some illegal crossers have been known to enter the United States on snowmobiles. Others fly across unpatrolled airspace or simply walk down deserted farm roads. Smugglers also exploit the remote terrain, transporting drugs and human cargo. In recent months, agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have smashed smuggling rings that transported Asians, Pakistanis and Eastern Europeans. "I don't care how much technology you have up there, you'll still have trouble getting agents to respond in a timely fashion," Bonner said. "There's vast stretches that make it very difficult, depending on the season. For the well-trained, determined crosser, it's actually an advantage for them." Montgomery covers Washington for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Star-Telegram researcher Marcia Melton contributed to this report.

Charges In Canadian Bomb Plot Isolate 6 Ringleaders (WP)
By Doug Struck The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 TORONTO, June 5 -- Six men arrested in a broad police sweep last weekend have been charged with hatching the alleged plot to set off a powerful bomb somewhere in Ontario, according to charges made public Monday. A total of 17 people were arrested -- 12 adults and five juveniles -- and all have been charged under Canada's post-Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism laws. But details made public Monday suggest that some members of the group may have had more limited knowledge of the alleged plot than others. All 12 adults are charged with "knowingly participating, directly or indirectly, in the activity of a terrorist group." The terrorism-related charges against the juveniles, all of them males, have not been disclosed. A report in the Toronto Star said police had intercepted the fertilizer to be used in the bomb and substituted a harmless powder before the arrests were made. Police officials said Monday they stood by their statement that three tons of the fertilizer, which is highly explosive when mixed with fuel oil, was "delivered" to the bombers. Mike McDonell, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said on Saturday that police had swooped in as the danger increased and that the detained men had the "intent and capability" to carry out the bombing. 96

The RCMP and intelligence agents said they had been closely watching the activities of at least some of the men for an extended period before Friday's arrests. According to their statements and reports here, several members of the group came under scrutiny as a result of political conversations on the Internet that were monitored by authorities. The investigators' interest was heightened after the visit to Toronto in March 2005 of two men from Georgia, Syed Ahmed, 21, and Ehsanul Sadequee, 19, who were later charged under anti-terrorism laws. The men allegedly met with at least three Canadians to discuss potential bombing targets, the FBI has said. The charges revealed Monday said the terrorism activity in Canada began on March 1, 2005. According to those charges, 10 of the men gathered in a vacant wooded area north of Toronto for what authorities call "terrorism-related training." Residents of the rural area say they heard the sounds of automatic weapons and saw men in camouflage uniforms in the woods near Washago, about 90 miles north of Toronto, several times last year. Police swept the area for evidence after the men had left, according to reports here. Several of the men attended a storefront mosque in Mississauga, an incorporated suburb west of Toronto that is home to many immigrant groups. A key and, to some, troubling figure in that mosque was Qayyum Abdul Jamal, 43, the oldest of those arrested. Some people who heard Jamal discuss politics at the mosque objected that he was trying to teach younger men that Western countries are at war with Muslims. It is unclear how far their complaints went, but Wajid Khan, a member of Parliament and one of those who confronted Jamal at the mosque last year, said Sunday that "many people in the community were cooperating" with authorities. The charged men, all of them said by authorities to be Canadian citizens or longtime residents, are from areas around Toronto and Kingston, Ontario. Two of those charged, Yasim Abdi Mohamed, 24, and Mohammed Dirie, 22, both of whom moved from Somalia to Kingston, are already in jail, having been caught at the U.S. border last August attempting to bring handguns into Canada.

Plot Puts Focus On Security, Immigration Agencies (WT)
By Fawzia Sheikh The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 TORONTO -- Canadian security and immigration practices came under scrutiny yesterday after the weekend arrests of 17 persons suspected of plotting to blow up southern Ontario landmarks. About 90 percent of immigration applicants from Pakistan and Afghanistan in the past five years have not been sufficiently screened for security concerns, Jack Hooper, deputy director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), told a Senate committee last month. Security analysts, meanwhile, warned that past cuts in staffing and funding for the nation's security services have left them short of manpower to search for terrorist cells. Seventeen Canadian residents, many of them regular attendees at a Toronto mosque, were arrested Friday and Saturday after members of the group purchased 3 tons of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer that can be used to make bombs. Authorities said the suspects had been monitored by security agencies since 2004, but few details of the plot were offered ahead of a court hearing today. News reports said investigators had been eavesdropping on Internet chat rooms espousing antiWestern sentiment that are frequented by some of the accused. John Thompson, president of the MacKenzie Institute think tank, said he thinks at least one other terrorist cell and "probably more" were still operating. "Most of them would be in the Toronto area. It's the largest concentration of Muslims," he said. If he is correct, finding such groups will be a challenge for the CSIS, which worked with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and local and federal agencies in the weekend roundup. The budget of CSIS was cut by about 20 percent in the 10 years before the September 11 attacks in the United States, and staff levels went from about 2,700 to 2,200, said Dwight Hamilton, lead author and editor of a recently released book on terrorism and Canadian intelligence. The federal government boosted the CSIS budget by 30 percent a few months after the attacks, funding "a recruiting drive to expand on their linguistic and cultural skills," Mr. Thompson said. CSIS also integrated with other Canadian law-enforcement agencies to better track terrorism. Even so, Mr. Hamilton said, "CSIS doesn't have the manpower to deal with the threat. They've been gutted. And just because [staff] numbers went up after 9/11 doesn't mean that all is well. "The head of the standing [government] committee on national defense and security, Colin Kenny, has said that training an intelligence analyst takes about as long as training a neurosurgeon. You do the math." 97

Mr. Hooper, the CSIS deputy director, acknowledged to a parliamentary committee last month that most immigration applicants from Pakistan and Afghanistan are not adequately screened. CSIS spokeswoman Barbara Campion said that everyone who applies for immigration or refugee status in Canada is screened but that security checks are completed on only the 10 percent of overseas applicants who are deemed worrisome by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Mr. Thompson said that as well as monitoring jihadist groups, CSIS is struggling to monitor threats from non-Muslim organizations in Canada, such as Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sikh group Babbar Khalsa. CSIS said it plans to complete a review of "operational resources" this summer.

Terrorist Plot Shatters Peaceable Canadian Self-Image (LAT)
By Carol J. Williams The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 MISSISSAUGA, Ontario -- In a country that celebrates cultural diversity, a thwarted suspected terrorist plot has shattered the image that many Canadians have of themselves as more secure, more generous and more likable than their U.S. neighbors. From Muslim shopkeepers in multicultural neighborhoods such as Mississauga to intellectuals debating social policy in Toronto and Ottawa, Canadians have been forced into a disturbing confrontation with the reality that global terrorism may have found fertile soil inside their own boundaries. "I thought this was a very safe country. That's why we came here from Pakistan," said Anjun Ahmed, a 54-year-old convenience store owner who moved to this thriving Toronto suburb, the fastest-growing in Canada, nearly two years ago from Rawalpindi. "This is very bad. If they (the suspects) were really going to do these things, people will be afraid and won't come here." The 17 men and youths arrested over the weekend for allegedly plotting to blow up Canadian national landmarks were to be arraigned Tuesday on charges including participation in a terrorist group. Three also face weapons-smuggling charges, six have been charged with intent to carry out a bombing on an undisclosed target, and nine stand accused of taking part in a terrorist training course, according to documents filed with the Ontario Court of Justice. Like the home-grown British extremists who bombed London's transit system last July, the alleged perpetrators of immigrant origin were mostly long-settled citizens whose families fled poverty and oppression in Somalia, the Middle East, the Asian subcontinent and the Caribbean. Like the al-Qaida and Taliban extremists who practiced bomb-making and firearms use at secret camps in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 terror attacks, the Canadian suspects allegedly trained at a clandestine base near remote Lake Simcoe, covering their tracks by dismantling the facility after the sessions in November and December. And like Timothy McVeigh, whose 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City killed 168 people, the Canadian suspects had amassed ammonium nitrate -- three times as much as McVeigh used for the worst-ever act of domestic terrorism on U.S. soil. While the men, means and methods prompted comparison to past attacks, Canadian analysts and observers were saddened and miffed that the accused plotters would want to harm their nation. "Terrorists always try to target peaceful places because it's easier to hit a place where people don't think such things can happen," said Mohsin Ali, a 20-year-old Ryerson University engineering student who came here with his family two years ago from Karachi, Pakistan. "My children go to college and school here. They don't have problems," said shop-owner Ahmed, who invested his life savings in the shop adjacent to the strip-mall mosque where most of the arrested terror suspects worshipped. "I'm disappointed." The attacks have quickly led to acts of anti-Muslim retaliation. Thirty windows were smashed by unknown vandals early Sunday at the huge Rexdale mosque north of here, an incident its Guyanese founder, Omar Farouk, said Muslims were "hoping and praying was an isolated incident." "The Canadian people are very loving and kind, equally are the Muslims," said Farouk, whose mosque is attended by nearly 20,000 and serves as a gathering place for interfaith community events. The view of Canada as removed from the immigrant frictions and diplomatic strains suffered by its superpower southern neighbor may be outdated, according to Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto law professor who specializes in immigration, refugee and citizenship affairs. "There is a desire in Canada to see ourselves as very different from the United States. Whatever we are, we are not the United States," she said, citing the nation'smore liberal immigration policy and rejection of go-it-alone military actions. Canada has declined to be part of the U.S.-led forces that invaded and occupy Iraq. "We're not a priority target the way the United States is but that doesn't mean we are protected," she said, adding that Canadians "picture themselves as being thought of as nicer than the United States." 98

Yet even the best justice system in the world cannot eradicate crime and neither can all acts of extremism be prevented, she said, warning that "no country should be smug enough to think it's immune." Toronto Mayor David Miller gave voice to his country's collective and reluctant realization that vulnerability to extremist violence may be a price paid by an open society unwilling to rein in its rights and freedoms. "We didn't, as Canadians, expect this but obviously it is part of modern reality," he told CBC Radio. David Rudd, president of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, said Canada's liberal immigration policy and generous social spending are laudable. And he brooks no patience with those looking for justification of any disaffection among the alleged would-be bombers, only two of whom are older than 25. "Certainly the political landscape of this country is very, very amenable to people from foreign countries and non-AngloSaxon cultures coming here and living in peace and getting ahead in their lives," said Rudd, applauding the government's emphasis on accepting the cultural individualities of newcomers rather than seeking homogenization. Unlike the suburban ghettos that have sprung up around major European cities, Canada's 6 million immigrants live scattered throughout the country of 32 million people. They reside primarily in leafy bedroom communities like Mississauga, a predominantly immigrant venue but one where Jamaican jerk shops, Arab kebab stands, sushi bars and Indian restaurants stand side-by-side with burger stands and doughnut shops in suburbs and strip malls. One school of thought gaining traction in explaining why Canada could become a terror target to Muslim extremists is its very liberal, consumer-oriented and socially permissive nature, said Rudd. "To some people that situation is offensive or degenerate, that women should be allowed to walk down the street wearing a halter top," said Rudd. Some who espouse radical or ultra-conservative views on the practice of Islam come to Canada for its generous welfare and professional opportunities, often quietly harboring resentment of their environment but at times acting on what they see as blasphemous, he said. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking of the new plot, said in a national address: "Their alleged target was Canada, Canadian institutions, the Canadian economy, the Canadian people." "We are a target because of who we are and how we live, our society, our diversity and our values -- values such as freedom, democracy and the rule of law," Harper said. "The values that make Canada great, values that Canadians cherish."

Padilla Lawyer Wants Key Evidence Tossed (AP)
By Curt Anderson AP, June 5, 2006 A lawyer for alleged al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla is asking a judge to throw out key evidence, saying the warrant for his arrest was based on statements from one source who claims he was tortured and another who was heavily medicated. The statements were cited in an FBI affidavit "that distorted the facts in an apparent disregard for the truth," attorney Andrew Patel said in court papers filed late last week. Padilla was arrested in 2002 at Chicago's O'Hare Airport. Initially accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a major U.S. city, Padilla was designated an enemy combatant and held without charge by the military for 3 1/2 years. President Bush dropped the combatant label in November and Padilla was indicted in Miami along with four others on charges of being part of a support cell for Islamic extremists. Padilla's trial is set for this fall. The evidence being challenged includes a cell phone allegedly provided to Padilla by another al-Qaida operative, an address book containing names of his alleged al-Qaida recruiter and sponsor, and more than $10,000 in cash. In court papers, Patel does not accuse the FBI or other U.S. interrogators of engaging in torture. But he argued that U.S. failure to detail the torture allegations before Padilla's arrest invalidate the evidence seized from him. A spokesman for U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta had no comment Monday. According to Patel, the sources cited in the FBI affidavit were Binyam Ahmed Muhammad — being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp — and Abu Zubayda, a top al-Qaida leader held at an undisclosed location. They were arrested in Pakistan in 2002. Patel said Muhammad has told his own lawyer that he was whipped, hung from the ceiling of his cell with leather straps and later taken to Morocco where he was tortured with a razor. Patel said Zubayda was treated after his arrest for gunshot wounds, raising questions about "the effect the medications may have had on Abu Zubayda's ability to provide accurate information."

Maryland Teacher's Terror Trial Goes To Jury (WT/AP)
By Matthew Barakat, Associated Press 99

The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 A third-grade teacher at a Muslim school in Maryland traveled to Pakistan shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks, trained with a terrorist group there and later served as chauffeur for one of that group's leaders during his U.S. travels, federal prosecutors said yesterday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys made their closing arguments yesterday in the trial of Ali Asad Chandia, 29, who is charged with providing material support to Lashkar-e-Taiba, a group that supports Muslim control of the disputed Kashmir territory on the India-Pakistan border. The jury began its deliberations yesterday afternoon. The U.S. government declared Lashkar a terrorist group in December 2001. Prosecutors have said Lashkar served as a potential gateway for Americans and others who wanted to join the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan in its fight against U.S. troops in late 2001. The charges against Mr. Chandia stem from a government investigation of what prosecutors called a "Virginia jihad network," a group of young Muslim men who used paint-ball games in 2000 and 2001 as paramilitary training for holy war around the globe. Ten persons have been convicted in that investigation, including the group's spiritual leader, Ali al-Timimi, who was sentenced to life in prison for soliciting treason and urging group members to fight U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Prosecutors do not say that Mr. Chandia intended to take up arms against U.S. troops, but they do say he received jihad training at a Lashkar camp in late 2001. Then, after returning to the United States in 2002, they say he helped Lashkar by assisting one of its officers, Mohammed Ajmal Khan, in his U.S. travels. Specifically, Mr. Chandia served as a driver for Khan and picked him up at various airports. He also helped Khan obtain and ship equipment from the United States to Pakistan, including a remote-controlled aircraft and 50,000 paint balls, according to the government. Prosecutor John Gibbs said the defense sought to portray Khan as an eccentric, largely innocuous character. "He is not cute. He is a terrorist," Mr. Gibbs said of Khan, who was convicted in Great Britain of supporting Lashkar and sentenced earlier this year to nine years in prison. Defense lawyer Marvin Miller said prosecutors had no evidence that Mr. Chandia attended a Lashkar camp, only testimony from an eyewitness who saw Mr. Chandia at a Lashkar office in Lahore. Mr. Miller said Mr. Chandia traveled to Pakistan to help arrange his brother's wedding there in January 2002. As for the assistance Mr. Chandia lent to Khan, Mr. Miller argued that Mr. Chandia didn't know of Khan's connections to Lashkar. Mr. Chandia is on leave from a teaching job the al-Huda school in College Park.

Counterterror Exemption Proposed For Privacy Act (WT/UPI)
By Shaun Waterman, United Press International The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 A little-noticed proposal from the Senate intelligence committee would exempt federal agencies from important provisions of the Privacy Act in the name of the war on terrorism. The committee's annual authorization bill, which was sent to the Senate last month after a unanimous vote, would initiate a three-year pilot program, during which U.S. intelligence agencies would be able to access personal information about Americans held by other federal departments or agencies if it is thought to be relevant to counterterrorism or counterproliferation. In the wake of revelations about the administration's use of data mining and warrantless surveillance of telephone and Internet communications in pursuit of the nation's terrorist enemies, the provision could cause a furor. "If this is enacted, the Privacy Act will look like Swiss cheese," American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) legislative counsel Tim Sparapani said. Mr. Sparapani said he was not reassured by the role that the law envisages for the president's Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, which would monitor the program and report to Congress as the three-year sunset approached. "The board is stacked four [Republicans] to one [Democrat]," he said. "It is not truly independent" because it is inside the president's own office, which puts it "under the thumb of the president and his advisers." The board's chairwoman, Texas lawyer Carol Dinkins, did not respond to a request for comment yesterday afternoon. A Democratic committee staffer defended the proposal, saying the exemptions were "narrowly drawn to address the kinds of problems we found during our September 11 inquiry" when U.S. agencies failed to pool information about known al Qaeda militants, who were, thus, able to slip into the country. 100

At the moment, the 1974 Privacy Act broadly prohibits a federal government entity that has collected information about Americans from using it for any purpose other than that for which it was collected. Information typically cannot be passed on to other agencies or departments without the person's permission. These restrictions "could prevent the sharing of intelligence information within the executive branch," said the committee report accompanying the intelligence authorization bill, designated S. 3237. The report goes on to say that an "Information Sharing Working Group," made up of representatives from U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies and from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security, had recommended changes to the Privacy Act restrictions on personal-information sharing in 2004. The committee included similar provisions in its authorization bill last year, but that legislation died after an anonymous hold -- apparently from at least one Republican senator angered by Democrat-authored provisions on detention and interrogation -prevented it from reaching the Senate floor. Though the Privacy Act created 12 exceptions to the restriction on data sharing -- including for information used "to support a civil or criminal law-enforcement activity under certain proscribed circumstances" -- the committee report says there is no such exemption for intelligence activities. Section 310 of the committee's new bill creates one, exempting all U.S. intelligence agencies from data-sharing restrictions in cases in which the information "is relevant to a lawful and authorized foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activity." If the information does not "pertain to an identifiable individual," then the director of national intelligence or one his deputies has to approve the sharing. Under the provision, intelligence agencies also can ask for Privacy Act-covered records from nonintelligence agencies -and be entitled to them -- if the information relates to international terrorism or proliferation.

Intel Chief Gives Vt. Commencement Talk (AP-Y2)
By David Gram AP2, June 5, 2006 National Intelligence Director John Negroponte urged graduates of a private high school Monday to appreciate and take full advantage of the human ability to communicate. In a brief speech, Negroponte said words had profoundly shaped human history, giving people "the ability to express feelings, to record events, to plan ahead, to resolve differences and to share a common identity." "You have been empowered to express yourselves, to get to know one another, to define your aspirations and to understand and respect your differences," he said. Negroponte, a former U.S. ambassador, is the first director of National Intelligence, a position designed to oversee the country's different intelligence agencies. He made no reference to foreign policy or the controversy over the government's domestic eavesdropping program during his speech at St. Johnsbury Academy, where his son John was one of the graduates. About 75 peace activists stood outside in the drizzle holding signs and giving speeches, alleging that Negroponte was a key player in abusive U.S. foreign policies from Central America in the 1980s to Iraq today. "It's outrageous that he's being given a position of honor in our community," said Brian Tokar of East Montpelier. Police arrested four protesters, two who were removed from the hall while heckling during Negroponte's speech and two who ventured onto what police said was the academy's private property. After the second heckler was hustled out by security, Negroponte drew a laugh when he said, "I think you'll all be very grateful that I have a very short speech."

Groundbreaking For 9/11 Memorial At Pentagon Set (WP)
By Timothy Dwyer The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 The president of the Pentagon Memorial Fund announced yesterday that a groundbreaking ceremony will occur June 15, a huge milestone in the nearly five-year fundraising effort for the 9/11 monument. About 150 family members and other guests, including Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, are expected to attend the invitation-only ceremony, which will be held at the memorial site on the west lawn of the Pentagon, James J. Laychak said. "It is one step toward completion of the memorial," said Laychak, who lost a brother in the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. "It gets us closer to the vision that I have of all of us family members sitting in a quiet corner at the completed memorial watching everyone enjoying what we helped create." 101

Laychak said about $10.8 million has been raised for memorial construction. He said the goal is to raise $22 million for construction, which is expected to be completed in September 2008, as well as another $10 million that will be used to maintain the memorial. The majority of the money to build the memorial has come from private donations, Laychak said. He said the memorial fund got a grant of nearly $1 million from the federal government recently and has asked for $100,000 from the state of Virginia, but that has yet to be approved. Among those who will attend the groundbreaking are architects Julie Beckman and Keith Kaseman, who won a worldwide competition to design the memorial. "It is a huge milestone, and I am very excited about it," Beckman said. "It is something that we have been waiting for, and it is timed to go along with real construction that is beginning on the site. We are just thrilled." The memorial will have 184 cantilevered benches, one in memory of each victim of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Occupying 1.93 acres, the memorial will be 165 feet from where American Airlines Flight 77 hit the building. After the groundbreaking, construction crews will begin removing underground utilities and work on the installation of a system that will supply water for reflecting pools beneath each of the 184 memorial benches. Laychak said about $3.3 million has been spent for research and development on components and materials. One challenge has been to come up with a mold for the memorial benches, which will be composed of one piece of super duplex stainless steel, the same material used in the reconstruction of the Statue of Liberty and in catapults on aircraft carriers because of its high resistance to corrosion. "We have been continuing the prototyping process for the memorial unit, and that has been going very well," Beckman said. "We were back out at the foundry in St. Louis to see five more prototypes that they have been working on . . . to make sure that 184 of them can be made exactly the same." About 80 paperbark maple trees will shade the memorial. "They were chosen because they have year-round interest," Beckman said. "They are late-turning maples. The leaves change color a little later than the rest of the maples. So when most of the trees in Arlington have lost their leaves, these will still be a brilliant red." She said the trees have cinnamon brown bark, which would contrast with a gray winter. Kaseman and Beckman, now engaged, were young and unknown New York architects when their design won a competition that had more than 1,000 entries. They moved out of their closet-size studio apartment on the Upper West Side nearly three years ago to an apartment in Old Town Alexandria to work on the memorial. "For Keith and I, it has been absolutely amazing to work on this with all the people who have been involved so far," Beckman said. "I know this place will help all of the people for whom the healing process is still going on."

Ground Zero (WSJ)
By Debra Burlingame The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 I am an ironworker. I held you in my hands. I did not know who you were and now I am showered clean . . . yet I still feel dirty. I don't know why, but I feel ashamed. WHO WERE YOU? -- Anonymous message, left at Ground Zero. They came and would not leave, an army of ironworkers and heavy-equipment operators, stopping only when the scenttrained dogs barked out a signal. They cut and moved twisted steel and steaming concrete, clearing an astonishing 1.8 million tons in a continuous convoy of trucks and a 20,000-barge armada. The last steel beam, covered from top to bottom with handwritten prayers and messages of hope from those who worked the site, was hauled away in a solemn site-closing ceremony that left grown men weeping quietly. "The Pile" was cleared in eight-and-a-half months. Only then did they go home, different men. Who will tell their story? The answer depends on whether we believe we have a stake in a future we will not live to see. Today, a handful of people are considering how the history of 9/11 will be preserved for future generations. Will it be scattered all over the globe, eroded by small museums, cannibalized by private collectors, or simply lost forever? From the giant steel façades that broke but did not fall to the thousands of "Missing" flyers that speak of humanity as no granite monument can; from the harrowing digital footage to the oral histories that provide a mosaic of facts as detailed and compelling as a thousand handmade quilts; these are the pieces that make up our generation's "Day of Infamy." Preserving that history is both the mission and the moral imperative of the World Trade Center Memorial Museum -- if we build it. The decision lies in one man's hands: New York Gov. George E. Pataki. It is that simple. Advisory councils, stakeholder meetings and a public comment period notwithstanding, if Gov. Pataki agrees with 87% of the respondents in last year's Zogby 102

poll, stating that 9/11 was "the most historic event of their lifetime" that "changed the way Americans live and view the world," then he will step up and mark that history -- or answer to those same people. And he will have one tough time doing it. * * * The American people, watching the horrific scenes in New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, voiced nary a peep of dissent when the federal government handed over $21 billion in disaster relief -- $18 billion in rebuilding bonds and tax credits, and $2.8 billion in immediate cash grants -- to the state and city of New York. The desire to raise buildings and bring back neighborhoods and businesses far from their own communities is powerful proof of the generosity of a people whose hearts were broken but whose resolve was not. The public has heard plenty about the "empty pit of Ground Zero," but most do not know that the $2.8 billion allocated to Lower Manhattan in cash grants has virtually all been spent. It is difficult to trace where all the money went while being routed through the Department of Housing and Urban Development and six different city and state entities. Now, after four-and-a-half years of press conferences, ribbon-cuttings and groundbreakings (the Freedom Tower has had two), at which the lost 343 firefighters were invoked and the memorial and museum was touted as the "centerpiece" around which hundreds of millions of dollars in spending projects would turn, Gov. Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have teamed up to tell the public that it's time to "rethink" the project where the history of those valiant firefighters will be secured. Not only does this undermine Daniel Libeskind's master plan, which always included a museum of "memory and hope," it also manifests a standard of fiscal responsibility that the governor and the mayor have refrained from imposing anywhere else at Ground Zero. The Port Authority's massive new transportation hub, designed by superstar architect Santiago Calatrava, will cost an estimated $2.2 billion. Some $2 billion of that is federal money, which means that the entire country is supporting the "aweinspiring" makeover of a terminal that will serve a mere 40,000 commuters (a number so embarrassing the Port Authority upped it to 80,000 by including round trips). The chief executive of a construction firm involved in the building illustrates the absurdity of what insiders call a "vanity project" by pointing out that $2.2 billion is enough to build a metropolitan airport. The governor has also handed out hundreds of millions in relief money to corporate powerhouses, ostensibly to get them to relocate to Lower Manhattan or to prevent them from leaving. He signed off on $25 million worth of recovery funds for American Express, which expressly announced it hadn't intended to leave Lower Manhattan and posted doubled profits less than a year after 9/11. Goldman Sachs, which made $4.55 billion dollars in net profits in 2004, received a $2 billion "assistance" package consisting of triple-tax-free Liberty Bonds, tax credits and cash the following year. Mr. Bloomberg talks about a "sensible" approach to Ground Zero rebuilding, but has declined to fully explain his allocation of $650 million dollars worth of Liberty Bonds to construct the Bank of America tower in midtown, an allocation that competes with downtown redevelopment; or why he awarded $114 million in Liberty Bonds to the Ratner office tower -- in Brooklyn. The mayor has suggested locating the World Trade Center Museum in the controversial Freedom Tower, declaring it "a good use of that lobby." To put the story of that day in another commercial office tower is an insult to the memory of the 3,000 who died and to the thousands who barely escaped. Would the Holocaust Museum be treated as an afterthought and crammed into such a space? Moreover, why would any commercial tenant be attracted to a building that will be the destination of as many as 20,000 to 30,000 tourists per day? The mayor's proposal was promptly embraced by New York's cultural elite -- the same folks who were despondent over the loss, last fall, of the International Freedom Center and its slavery exhibits. The New York Times editorial page went so far as to suggest that the 9/11 museum is not really necessary since "most of us remember that day very clearly." The same paper, in contrast, published six hyperventilating editorials last year, telling us that the Freedom Center must be built on sacred ground to provide the memorial with "historical context," albeit one that didn't include a word about terrorism. Interestingly, the no-museum proponents have uniformly invoked the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington as an example of a simple and appropriate remembrance. While it eventually became accepted as a locus of healing, "The Wall" was controversial when it opened in 1982 in no small part because of its failure to tell the story of the war. Jan Scruggs, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Foundation, recognizes that when the contemporaries of that war are gone, the 58,000 names carved in granite will not resonate with future generations. To remedy this, he sought and won congressional approval to build a museum that will tell the story of the war and those who fought it. Ironically, the designer of the Vietnam memorial, Maya Lin, was a member of the World Trade Center Memorial jury and the most vocal advocate of the design that was eventually chosen, Michael Arad's "Reflecting Absence." Like Ms. Lin's Wall, Mr. Arad's design, consisting of reflecting pools and waterfalls with a random listing of 3,000 victims' names, says nothing about how they died or the historic event it is memorializing. Without the museum there will be nothing on the plaza, not even the iconic artifacts, to tell future visitors what actually happened on 9/11. But let us not get too carried away with comparisons to other memorials. The Vietnam War did not take place on that grassy mall in Washington. Ground Zero is an historic battleground; and of the 2,755 who died there, 1,157 were vaporized without a trace. 103

The American people intuitively understand what the New York intelligentsia does not. They already stream to Ground Zero in the tens of thousands, signing up for tours to stand and look at the iron fence of St. Paul's Church across the street, now stripped of the faded flags, the personal tokens of remembrance and the hand-lettered messages of sympathy that poured in from all over the world. They shell out countless thousands of dollars for picture books and postcards bearing the images of the twin towers from the ragtag vendors who line the site's perimeter. It is this humble assortment of Ground Zero entrepreneurs who have shown City Hall's economic development experts that it is possible to blend commerce and commemoration. And the Memorial Museum will help restore a standard of dignity, which will be more about providing a lasting remembrance than making a quick buck. * * * Yes, the $500 million price tag for the memorial and museum is steep, but the reality is that it was the terrorists who chose the most expensive building site in all the world for the location of their attack. That is where our people died and that is where we must build it -- especially as the cost of not doing so is even higher. This is an investment in the future that will allow visitors from all over the world the opportunity to see the contrast between those who died to take the lives of strangers, and those who gave their lives to save them. The millions who will make a pilgrimage to Ground Zero will surely enjoy the fine boulevards and piers that their own generosity provided, but the experience they most anticipate is not a frozen latte in Hudson River Park. They want to confront the reality of the day that changed their lives, and the world they once knew. The World Trade Center Memorial and Museum will commemorate, educate and inspire. It will convey to future generations that we as a people are more than sleek neighborhoods and buildings. That is something our enemies did not understand and should be reflected in everything we do on that much-hallowed ground. Governor, we're ready. Ms. Burlingame, a director of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, is the sister of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, the pilot of AA flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

No Defense For Degrading Prisoners (LAT)
The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 IN AN UNUSUAL MOMENT OF public introspection, President Bush told a recent news conference that "the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq, is Abu Ghraib. We've been paying for that for a long period of time." Apparently, planners in the Pentagon weren't listening to the president's remarks, or failed to understand their larger import: This country harms its own image — and puts its troops in harm's way — when it humiliates and degrades prisoners. On Monday, The Times' Julian E. Barnes reported that the Defense Department, over the objection of the State Department, has decided to omit from a new Army Field Manual on interrogation a prohibition against "humiliating and degrading treatment" contained in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Convention. Unfortunately, there is a precedent for this deletion. In a 2002 order, President Bush wrote that because Article 3 was designed to deal with conflicts that were not "international" in scope but rather civil conflicts, it didn't apply to Al Qaeda or Taliban detainees. More recently, Pentagon officials — supported by Vice President Dick Cheney's office — apparently have come to believe that including the prohibition in the manual would cramp the style of interrogators and create an "unintentional sanctuary" for Al Qaeda fighters. For example, one official complained, adherence to Article 3 might make it difficult to "punch the buttons of a Muslim male" by questioning his manhood. Even if this were true — and we doubt whether verbal insults constitute "humiliating and degrading treatment" — the alternative is worse. Omitting Article 3 from the interrogation manual not only would be handing the enemies of the United States a propaganda victory, but by giving interrogators an inch of discretion, it would be encouraging some of them to take a mile. Such slippage isn't just a matter of speculation. It's what happened at Abu Ghraib. We have been here before. In 2002, Justice Department lawyers produced a now-infamous memo espousing a ridiculously narrow definition of torture, limiting it to the pain accompanying "death, organ failure or the permanent impairment of a significant body function." The administration repudiated the memo, just as it had second thoughts about a directive from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowing interrogators to subject detainees to "mild, noninjurious physical conduct" to induce them to talk. Any plan to omit Article 3 from the interrogation manual justifies the same sort of serious second thoughts. If Rumsfeld can't see that, his newly reflective boss should set him straight.

Degrading America's Image (NYT)

The New York Times, June 6, 2006 For more than seven decades, civilized nations have adhered to minimum standards of decent behavior toward prisoners of war — agreed to in the Geneva Conventions. They were respected by 12 presidents and generations of military leaders because they reflected this nation's principles and gave Americans some protection if they were captured in wartime. It took the Bush administration to make the world doubt Washington's fidelity to the rules. And The Los Angeles Times, reporting yesterday on a dispute over updating the Army rulebook known as the Field Manual, reminded us that there is good reason to worry. At issue is Directive 2310 on the treatment and questioning of prisoners, an annex to the Field Manual. It has long contained a reference to Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which covers all prisoners, whether they meet the common definition of prisoners of war or are the sort of prisoners the administration classifies as "unlawful enemy combatants," like suspected members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda. Article 3 prohibits the use of torture and other overt acts of violence. But Mr. Bush's civilian lawyers removed it from the military rulebook over the objections of diplomats and military lawyers. Mr. Bush has said he does not condone torture, but he has also said he would decide for himself when to follow the ban on torture imposed by Congress last year. Removing the Geneva Conventions from Army regulations gives the world more cause for doubt. Article 3 also prohibits "outrages on personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." (Remember the hooded man, the pyramids of naked prisoners?) The Pentagon says the new rules require humane treatment, but that is not much comfort, since the Bush team has shown that it does not define humane treatment the way most people do. There are other aspects of Article 3 that this administration probably finds inconvenient, like its requirement that governments holding prisoners subject them to actual courts "affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples." The hearings at Guantánamo Bay hardly meet that description. It defies belief that this administration is still clinging to its benighted policies on prisoners after the horrors of Abu Ghraib, the killings at American camps in Afghanistan and the world's fresh outrage over what appears to have been the massacre of Iraqi men, women and children in the village of Haditha.

Congress Pushing Back Against Bush's Expansion Of Presidential Authority (USAT)
By Susan Page USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — Republican and Democratic House leaders join forces to protest the FBI search of a congressman's office. The Senate Intelligence Committee demands fuller briefings from the CIA. The Supreme Court hears a landmark case challenging presidential war powers. After five years of a concerted White House campaign, there are tentative signs that Congress and the courts are beginning to push back against what has been the greatest expansion of presidential powers in a generation or more. Those pushing back include some congressional Republicans and conservative jurists who have been among President Bush's chief allies. The efforts surely would intensify if Democrats won control of the House or Senate in November's elections — and with it the power to convene hearings and issue subpoenas. “You ask, ‘Is the tide shifting?' and I say, ‘Maybe, maybe,' ” says Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who has pushed for stronger congressional oversight of intelligence operations. “If you ask me if I still feel like a lonely voice, I would say that I feel like a member of a small chorus.” Some examples: •House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, usually at war, issued a joint statement denouncing the FBI search last month of Rep. William Jefferson's congressional office as a violation of the separation of powers between coequal branches of government. Their ultimatum that seized documents be returned is now the subject of negotiations with the Justice Department, which is investigating bribery allegations against Jefferson, D-La. •The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 9-6 two weeks ago to demand that the administration notify all members of the committees about intelligence operations. The administration has bypassed the intelligence committees to inform only eight congressional leaders about such sensitive programs as the National Security Agency's warrantless-surveillance operation. •Congressional Republicans and Democrats in March upended plans for a Dubai-owned company to take over some U.S. port operations, forcing the firm to promise to transfer the operations to a “U.S. entity.” Outraged lawmakers weren't convinced when the president dismissed their national-security concerns as unfounded, and they weren't deterred when he threatened the first veto of his presidency to protect the deal. •The White House and Congress continue to jockey over who has the last word on the treatment of terror suspects. Congress approved an amendment banning torture over the objections of Vice President Cheney. Bush signed the legislation in 105

December but issued a “signing statement” in which he reserved the right to waive the ban, which he suggested violated his constitutional authority as commander in chief. Senate Armed Services Chairman John Warner of Virginia and Arizona Sen. John McCain of Arizona, both Republicans, then issued a joint statement vowing “strict oversight to monitor” implementation of the law. The dispute has delayed the release of a new Army Field Manual on interrogation this spring. The Los Angeles Times reported Monday that several senators say the proposed manual sets standards for terror suspects that violate the congressional ban. White House spokeswoman Dana Perino says the administration has been able to meet Congress' concerns without conceding presidential powers. She notes that administration officials agreed to brief Intelligence Committee members last month about the NSA operation, reported in The New York Times in December, which includes wiretapping calls within the United States without warrants if one of the participants is abroad. The administration calls it the Terrorist Surveillance Program. “There have been — and always will be by nature of our system — conflicts between Congress and the White House on the limits of executive power,” Perino says. “But far from clashing, the two branches have worked well together on very difficult cases and generally made accommodations on issues, like the Terrorist Surveillance Program.” It's true that Congress generally hasn't used or even threatened to use its most potent weapons in a confrontation with the White House, such as issuing subpoenas or cutting off funding for programs. Still, Bruce Fein, a Justice Department official in the Reagan administration, says Congress' attitude toward the White House is toughening a bit. “We're seeing, maybe, the embryonic stages of drawing the line and saying: ‘Here. No more,' ” he says. In the courts, too, some judges in recent months have been more willing to scrutinize Bush's assertions of presidential power. Judge J. Michael Luttig of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, who had been on Bush's short list of possible Supreme Court picks, last fall wrote a key opinion endorsing the administration's argument that the president could order Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen and suspected terrorist, to be held indefinitely in a military brig without charges. But when the administration abruptly decided to charge Padilla in civilian court — apparently to avoid a possible Supreme Court reversal — the judge objected and tried to stop the transfer. Luttig, who resigned from the bench last month, warned of a “substantial cost to the government's credibility before the courts.” The Supreme Court is expected to rule this month in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, another case that could test presidential powers. Lawyers for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's former driver, are challenging the administration's plan to put prisoners at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba on trial for war crimes in special military tribunals. At issue: Does Bush's claim of presidential war powers override the protections of the Geneva Conventions? Some historians say a pattern seen after previous threats to the nation's security — during the Civil War and World War II, for instance — may be repeating itself now that five years have passed since the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “In the first few years after a crisis emerges, the courts tend to be very deferential to the White House,” says Phillip Cooper of Portland State University in Oregon, who studies separation of powers. “But what tends to happen is after two or three years of deference, then the courts may begin to take a hard look at what's going on … and remind the administration they don't have carte blanche.” On Saturday, the American Bar Association's board of governors voted to establish a bipartisan task force to investigate whether Bush has gone beyond his constitutional authority in asserting a right to ignore provisions of new laws. Bush has issued more than 750 “signing statements” — more than all previous presidents combined — that state his interpretation of new laws and sometimes declare that they infringe on his presidential powers. Even before 9/11, Cheney had made restoring presidential authority a priority. As White House chief of staff for President Ford, Cheney found himself dealing with laws passed in the wake of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal that constrained presidential authority. The 1973 War Powers Act, for one, restricted a president's authority to launch military action without congressional approval. Later, as a Wyoming congressman, Cheney argued that Congress was “abusing its power” when it barred the Reagan administration from funding the Nicaraguan contras. The administration's efforts to evade the law by funneling profits from secret arms sales to Iran reflected “mistakes in judgment and nothing more,” according to a minority report he helped draft. Now, as vice president, Cheney has been in a position to resist and even reverse efforts by Congress to restrain the executive. In the administration's first months, the energy task force he chaired went to court to avoid disclosing the names of industry executives it consulted. Recently, amid the furor over the NSA's warrantless-surveillance program, Cheney took a similarly hard line. “We have all the legal authority we need,” the vice president said in an interview on PBS' NewsHour With Jim Lehrer, citing the Constitution 106

and a congressional resolution passed soon after 9/11. And Congress' role? “We said, ‘Look, if you've got suggestions, we're happy to listen to them.' ” The Bush administration has taken a series of actions to expand presidential powers: Enabling past presidents and vice presidents to restrict release of their papers after the 12-year period set in law has expired. Refusing to allow aides to testify before Congress about the federal response to 9/11 and to Hurricane Katrina, arguing that might discourage staffers from providing “unvarnished advice” in the future. Asserting wartime powers to ignore federal laws and international treaties when the president says national security is at stake. “The administration has been very consistent,” Cooper says. “At every turn the White House has issued a reading as expansive as possible for its own authority, a reading as narrow as possible of congressional authority, and in some cases preempted the courts.” At a rare session with reporters in December, Cheney expressed satisfaction with what the administration has achieved. “The president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired,” Cheney said. “I do think that, to some extent now, we've been able to restore the legitimate authority of the presidency.” Bush's actions and Congress' response matter beyond his own tenure at the White House. They set precedents for future administrations and courts, though presidential powers have surged and ebbed through U.S. history. Legal historian Kermit Hall says Bush is “in a class” with Richard Nixon and Woodrow Wilson during World War I in extending presidential authority. Tom Mann, a congressional scholar at the Brookings Institution, says Bush has exceeded even the expansive view that Franklin Roosevelt took of the presidency during the buildup to World War II. Analysts credit Bush's ability to prevail in large part to the aftermath of 9/11, which buttressed Americans' backing for a president with the power to battle a shadowy and terrifying foe. In the fiercely partisan climate of Washington, the Republicancontrolled House and Senate generally have lined up behind Bush, not challenged him. “For five years, this Congress has been breathtakingly supine in the face of the most aggressive assertions of executive power we have seen in modern American history,” Mann says. Even now, he says, the House “blowback” over the Jefferson search “probably wouldn't have happened if we didn't have a president whose popularity is in the low 30s.” Bush's dismal job-approval ratings have made critics in Congress and elsewhere more willing to confront him. Another factor: As time passes since 9/11, the threat of terrorism remains a potent argument but may no longer automatically trump other issues. Now, about half of Americans surveyed by USA TODAY/Gallup from Thursday to Sunday say the Bush administration has “gone too far in expanding the power of the presidency.” About one-third say it has struck the right balance. Just 14% say it hasn't gone far enough. Congress' outrage over the search of Jefferson's office hasn't struck a sympathetic chord with the public, though. In an ABC News Poll taken last week, 86% said the FBI acted properly. Of two dozen letters to the editor to USA TODAY on the issue, many derided Congress for countenancing corruption. Several wondered why lawmakers hadn't shown equal outrage over, say, the warrantless-surveillance program. Not one praised the institution for defending separation of powers. Even some lawmakers are skeptical about Congress' commitment to the issue. “This is a newfound interest,” says Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn. “I hope it extends beyond just protecting ourselves.”

How Bush Has Asserted Powers Of The Executive (USAT)
USA Today, June 6, 2006 The Bush administration has asserted broad executive powers, among them: •To keep deliberations private — Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 refused to release the names of industry executives consulted during its deliberations. A U.S. District Court judge in December 2002 dismissed a lawsuit by the non-partisan General Accounting Office seeking the information. •To restrict access to presidential papers — Bush signed an executive order in 2001 permitting current and former presidents and vice presidents to restrict release of their papers, which under a 1978 law become available 12 years after the end of an administration. •To set aside laws and treaties — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, in his previous job as White House counsel, issued a memo asserting that the president could violate federal laws and international treaties when he viewed it as necessary for the nation's security. •To interpret and curtail new laws — Bush has issued more than 750 “signing statements” — more than all previous presidents combined — to state his own interpretation of new laws and in some cases to claim a presidential prerogative not to enforce provisions that he says encroach on executive authority. 107

•To permit warrantless surveillance on certain domestic phone calls — Bush authorized the National Security Agency to wiretap domestic phone calls of terror suspects without a court warrant if one of the participants on the call is abroad. The White House cites his constitutional powers and a congressional resolution passed within days of 9/11. •To limit judicial oversight — The president claims the authority to designate U.S. citizens as “enemy combatants” who can be held indefinitely without charges, a stance upheld last year in a decision by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He also has asserted the right to hold terror suspects overseas and try them before special military commissions. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling this month in a case on the issue.

When Reality No Longer Matches Rhetoric (FT)
By Michael Fullilove Financial Times, June 6, 2006 President George W. Bush is well known for his verbal awkardness. Sometimes it is hard not to be disheartened by his speeches – for example, when he told a New Hampshire audience: “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your families.” In fact, though, many of the president’s speeches – in particular his foreign policy speeches after 9/11 – are beautifully written and more than competently delivered. Starting with his ad-libbed bullhorn cry atop a wrecked fire truck at Ground Zero (“I can hear you. The rest of the world hears you. And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”) and his address to a joint session of Congress nine days after the attack, he has generally struck a fine note. If anything, Mr Bush’s foreign policy speechifying suffers from the opposite problem: he is too verbal. Many policy wonks and diplomats are nervous nellies when it comes to foreign policy speeches. They want more matter and less art. They argue that foreign policy is technical and difficult stuff, and flashiness is fatal. Of course it is true that care must be taken, shouting avoided, pronunciations checked and all the rest of it. That does not mean that foreign policy speeches need be boring. In the end, a speech is just a speech. A speech is not a treaty and drafting a speech should not be like negotiating a diplomatic text. Foreign policy speeches that have flair as well as substance are able to mobilise support and crystallise intent. Franklin D. Roosevelt used his fireside chats to dramatise a distant war, convert America into “the great arsenal of democracy” and ratchet up public preparedness to enter the European conflict. Ronald Reagan assembled his words and sent them into battle against the evil empire: “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” However, a declaratory presidency also poses dangers. Mr Bush has badly overwritten his foreign policy, in two distinct ways. For most of his first term, Mr Bush pursued a muscular grand strategy aimed at imposing America’s will on the world. He was the Charles Atlas of international relations. To reinforce his seriousness he delivered speeches that were strangers to nuance. They drew an explicit link between values and coercion, between freedom and force. The reference in the 2002 State of the Union address to the “axis of evil” formed by Iran, Iraq and North Korea was the world’s worst analogy: inflammatory, operationally useless and bad history to boot. On the same occasion the following year, Mr Bush upped the ante further by making a dubious assertion about Saddam Hussein’s supposed hunt for uranium in Africa. It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the sustained power of Mr Bush’s language nudged the administration (and perhaps the president himself) toward risky policies that have proved costly. Past US presidents have used their speeches to marshal the opinion of the world. Sometimes they have honeyed their words in order to sweeten their unilateral actions. The sweeping, unqualified tone of Mr Bush’s rhetoric, by contrast, actually exaggerated the defects of his policies and scared off even the most ardent Americanophiles. Not only did his speeches reveal little understanding of the dilemma of multiple and diverse audiences, they also explicitly denied that such a dilemma existed. At West Point in 2002, for instance, the president decreed: “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, and in every place . . . We are in a conflict between good and evil, and America will call evil by its name.” Thankfully, in the past two years US policy has reverted to a more moderate course. The failure of foreign policy adventurism, especially in Iraq, has made diplomacy the comeback concept. Washington’s conditional offer to join its European partners in negotiating directly with Tehran on the nuclear issue is the latest and clearest indicator of this shift. Strangely, though, the old highfalutin speaking style remains in place, opening up a chasm between rhetoric and reality. In his second inaugural address in 2005, President Bush claimed that “America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one” and that US policy was to promote democracy “in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world”. The problem with that line is that the dream of Middle Eastern dictatorships falling like dominoes ended with Washington’s rapprochement with Libya. The White House’s reluctance to lean too hard on allies such as Egypt and Pakistan to democratise drains the president’s words of meaning. Even worse than double standards, though, is weakness. The tenor of this year’s State of the Union address was surprising because it failed utterly to reflect either the sensible recalibration of policy that has taken place or the present results of 108

US actions. The president boasted: “We will act boldly in freedom’s cause” and committed his country to “the end of tyranny in our world”. But banging on about the liberty agenda when ordinary Iraqis are not at liberty to walk to the market without being kidnapped or killed is seriously damaging to foreign policy credibility. A diplomatic briefing note does not usually make a great foreign policy speech. Neither does a string of 10-dollar words. The best speeches are finely crafted arguments. Given America’s historical and continuing contribution to global peace and prosperity, any president has a very good argument to make to the world – so long as the language is not privileged over content and effect. The writer is programme director for global issues at the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney and editor of “Men and Women of Australia!” Our Greatest Modern Speeches (Vintage, 2005)

Grassley Sees Quick Paulson Confirmation (AP-Y2)
By Martin Crutsinger AP2, June 5, 2006 Henry Paulson Jr. met Monday with the head of the Senate Finance Committee, who predicted that President Bush's selection as Treasury secretary could be confirmed and on the job by early July. Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said he and Paulson had a productive meeting and that he believed the nomination could win Senate approval before Congress leaves for the July 4 break. Grassley praised Paulson, chief executive of the Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, for the "vast amount of experience" he will bring to the job. The 45-minute meeting marked the beginning of a round of courtesy visits Paulson will make in coming days to hear the concerns of senators. With his approval rating at record lows despite strong economic growth and low unemployment, Bush announced last week that he was turning to Paulson to replace Treasury Secretary John Snow, whose departure had been rumored for more than a year. By choosing a 32-year veteran of one of Wall Street's premier investment houses, the administration is hoping for the same economic credibility that President Clinton gained when he picked Robert Rubin, one of Paulson's predecessors at Goldman Sachs, as one of his Treasury secretaries. Paulson's selection was the latest shake-up for Bush, who in recent weeks has tapped his budget director to become the new White House chief of staff, moved his trade negotiator to the budget job and replaced the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. Paulson did not talk to reporters after his meeting with Grassley. Grassley said the two covered a wide range of issues from the importance of overhauling the nation's complex tax code to the need to apply pressure to China to revalue its currency as a way of dealing with America's soaring trade deficit. The administration's nomination of Susan Schwab to replace Rob Portman in the trade job has been held up because of unhappiness by Sen. Charles Schumer (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y., over what Schumer sees as a failure by the administration to pressure China to allow American banks and other financial service companies to operate in China. Schwab's nomination had cleared Grassley's committee, but a vote expected before Congress left for a weeklong Memorial Day recess was delayed because of Schumer's concerns. Grassley told reporters he would have a better idea on whether Schwab's nomination could now go forward after Schumer and Schwab hold a planned meeting on Tuesday.

Treasury Nominee Has Ties To China (WP)
By Paul Blustein The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 In an administration with just 2 1/2 years to go, Henry M. Paulson Jr., President Bush's nominee for Treasury secretary, may have little chance to make a mark on many economic issues. The administration's tax policies were pretty much set in Bush's first term, and its more recent big economic initiative, aimed at revamping Social Security, is moribund. But one issue on which Paulson can surely exert influence is the U.S. relationship with China. The Treasury secretary has formal responsibility for some major decisions to be made in coming months, such as whether to label Beijing a "currency manipulator." And when it comes to cutting deals with Beijing, few U.S. business executives can match Paulson's record. As chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Paulson has aggressively led the firm's foray into the Chinese market, where it has become a dominant player in selling the securities of China's biggest companies to investors abroad. He takes pride in having visited China more than 70 times since 1992 and has cultivated relationships with Chinese 109

officials at the highest levels. President Hu Jintao, for example, chose Paulson as his host when he visited the New York Stock Exchange in 2002. To supporters of warm relations between Washington and Beijing, a Paulson-led Treasury bears the promise of a heightened level of sophistication in dealing with thorny transpacific problems, especially China's policy concerning its currency, the yuan. The administration has had only limited success in persuading China to allow a rise in the exchange rate of the yuan, which U.S. manufacturers complain is artificially cheap, giving Chinese exporters an unfair competitive edge. With his deep knowledge of China's financial system and long experience dealing with the country's officials, Paulson is ideally suited to bring Beijing around, according to many experts. "He knows the people. They've trusted him. He can draw on that in the national interest," said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Institute for International Economics, who is one of the most outspoken advocates among economists for a change in China's currency system. "This is exactly why you want somebody like that for a job like this." But the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a group with a history of agitating for tough policies toward Beijing, is arguing that Paulson's associations pose a conflict of interest. Although Paulson is expected to sever his links to Goldman by disposing of his stock in the firm -- presumably by putting the shares in a blind trust, which would then sell them -- he would still feel obligated to Chinese officials, in the view of Kevin L. Kearns, the president of the group, which represents about 1,500 small and medium-size companies. "Mr. Paulson has actively courted Beijing during his tenure at Goldman Sachs," said Kearns in a statement. "His key clients have included the Beijing government and several state-owned Chinese firms. Are we to believe that Mr. Paulson will do a sudden about-face and crack down on many of Beijing's aggressive violations of internationally accepted trade law?" Kearns noted that as Treasury chief, Paulson would chair the interagency task force that scrutinizes foreign acquisitions of U.S. businesses for national security problems -- the panel that drew widespread criticism during the controversy over Dubai's proposed takeover of terminal operations at U.S. ports. "Would Mr. Paulson act to block Chinese attempts to purchase strategic American assets?" Kearns asked, adding that the answer is probably not because Paulson would be inclined to "use his position in the cabinet to urge continued appeasement of China." He was on Capitol Hill yesterday, hoping to drum up opposition to the nomination. A Goldman spokesman, Peter Rose, said Paulson would not comment pending his Senate confirmation hearing, but he scoffed at the conflict-of-interest accusation. "When Mr. Paulson becomes secretary of the Treasury, he will have totally divorced his interests from those of Goldman Sachs," he said. "The claim that he has a conflict would mean that only the ignorant could be appointed to a Cabinet position." Goldman officials readily acknowledge that the firm has managed -- usually together with one or two other major firms -nearly every important international securities offering by big Chinese companies. In 1997, the firm was lead manager for a $3 billion stock sale of the country's major cellphone company -- the first issuance of shares by a big, high-tech Chinese company to investors overseas. Another, similar-size deal in which Goldman played the lead role was the 2000 sale of shares in PetroChina, the nation's flagship oil company. Just last week, Goldman co-managed the $9.73 billion sale of shares in the Bank of China -- the world's biggest initial public offering in six years. Goldman was also the first Western firm to be allowed to gain a controlling interest in a Chinese investment bank. Paulson's role in negotiating those transactions was "very crucial," said Robert D. Hormats, vice chairman of Goldman's international business, adding that Paulson "really immersed himself in a lot of activities in China." Those include serving as chairman of the advisory board of the management school at Tsinghua University, one of the country's most prestigious institutions. "There's a difference between having a good relationship with the Chinese and being cozy with them," said Hormats, who said Paulson "is as good as anyone around in negotiating with them." Hormats said, "I've been going to China since the early '70s, and if there's one thing I've learned, it's that you get more progress from the Chinese if they respect you and think you understand them." So far, there is little evidence that the issue will cause Paulson problems in his confirmation. Even Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), one of the most militant lawmakers on the currency issue and a member of the Senate Finance Committee, which will consider the nomination, said he was more impressed than bothered by Paulson's business ties. "My view is, he will understand the need to get results," said Schumer, who has spoken many times with Paulson. "And he will have a good chance of getting it done."

Pentagon IG Nominee Goes To Senate (AP)
AP, June 5, 2006 110

Assistant U.S. Attorney David Laufman is President Bush's pick to be the Pentagon's chief overseer of internal investigations. The White House on Monday sent the Senate Laufman's nomination for inspector general at the Defense Department. If confirmed, Laufman would replace Joseph E. Schmitz, who resigned last September to become chief operating officer for the Prince Group, a division of Blackwater USA, which provides security services to troops in Iraq and around the globe. The inspector general is the principal adviser to the secretary of defense for matters relating to the prevention of fraud, waste and abuse in the Defense Department. Laufman, who received a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from Georgetown University, is assistant U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. Before that, he was chief of staff for the office of the deputy attorney general at the Justice Department. Earlier in his career, he was investigative counsel for the House Ethics Committee.

Restructuring At State Department `botched,' Retiree Says (KRT)
By Warren P. Strobel Knight Ridder, June 5, 2006 WASHINGTON - A reorganization of the State Department offices that are leading the fight against weapons of mass destruction was badly managed and politicized, which led to a flight of experts with decades of knowledge, according to a new account by a veteran weapons expert. Dean Rust, who watched the reorganization unfold, charges that its "botched implementation" led many career officers to leave and "will hamper the State Department's role at home and abroad for years to come." The account by Rust, who left the department last September, appears in the upcoming issue of Arms Control Today magazine, published by the nonpartisan Arms Control Association. It's scheduled to be posted Tuesday on the group's Web site. Knight Ridder first reported in February about problems in State Department offices that deal with weapons proliferation, one of President Bush's national security priorities. The reorganization, which Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced last July, ostensibly was done to strengthen the department's ability to counter 21st-century weapons threats. But, according to numerous officials and documents, it was carried out largely in secret by a panel composed of political appointees, it denied top jobs to career officials who had clashed with former Undersecretary of State John Bolton and it ran counter to some recommendations by the department's inspector general. Robert Joseph, Bolton's successor as the department's top arms-control official, told Arms Control Today in an interview that "the reorganization was not politically motivated," according to excerpts that the magazine provided. The new structure, he said, will allow the United States to better address threats from Iran, North Korea and terrorists seeking mass-destruction weapons. But a State Department official said Monday that the office that dealt with nuclear diplomacy toward Iran, North Korea and other countries had lost five of its 12 employees and two more were on their way out. The official and others spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing retaliation. Three senior female employees who were denied promotions in the reorganization have left or are leaving and, according to current and former officials, one has sued alleging gender discrimination. Undersecretary of State for Management Henrietta Fore appointed a panel to review the reorganization earlier this year, the officials said. But its mandate is limited to assessing bureaus' work load under the new management structure. Rust, a veteran with 35 years' experience, said in a telephone interview that he was "very dismayed with the decisions" made by political appointees but would have retired last year in any event. "Undoubtedly, this is not the first time that sub-Cabinet-level political appointees have hijacked a reorganization to pursue their own agenda," Rust wrote. Rice, he said, "can still salvage some aspects of this unfortunate situation, but she needs to move quickly." --For more information online, go to the Arms Control Today Web site, at

Now Playing In Senate: A GOP Double Bill (WP)
By Shailagh Murray And Charles Babington The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Republican voters, are you paying attention? 111

Because this week's Senate agenda is all about you, with debates scheduled on same-sex marriage and a permanent repeal of the estate tax. At least through tomorrow, the Senate will consider a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Republican leaders, including President Bush and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (Tenn.), a potential 2008 White House candidate, believe Senate action is vital because of recent federal court intervention. For Democrats, the issue is a tricky one. They recognize the issue's sensitivity, and many -- including Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (Nev.) -- personally oppose same-sex marriage. Indeed, Democrats have focused their objections on changing the Constitution, which has typically been amended in order to expand rights, not restrict them. "I am confident that the American people will see this for what it is: a mean-spirited attempt to score political points in an election year," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.). Later in the week, the Senate is expected to consider a permanent repeal of the estate tax, which Bush phased out as part of his first-term tax relief package, but after a one-year hiatus, in 2010, the levy phases back into existence. Most Democrats object to full repeal as a giveaway to the super-rich, but Republicans believe the estate tax, which they call the "death tax," is unfair because it taxes some income twice. Conservatives are considering a compromise that would shield all but the wealthiest estates, and some moderate Democrats are interested in a similar approach. But first, business groups want to put senators on the spot with a vote on full repeal. Pro-repeal organizations are targeting possible swing votes such as Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). Another lobbying campaign, this one by repeal opponents, features an ad with blond woman in a slinky dress and asserts, "The last thing a rich heiress needs is a $1 trillion raise in her allowance." In a letter to senators, a group of former advisers to President Bill Clinton notes that 997 out of 1,000 estates are not subject to the tax under current law. The House, meanwhile, will consider legislation to expand oil refinery capacity, an overhaul of telecommunications law, and appropriations bills for foreign operations, homeland security and legislative expenses. House and Senate negotiators also this week will try to complete a final emergency spending bill for the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina recovery costs. Sticking points include $4 billion in agriculture assistance, port security spending and subsidies to the commercial fishing industry. Another hurdle is how to spend about $2 billion in border security improvements, with Bush wanting to add National Guard troops, and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) pressing for equipment replacements, including helicopters and patrol vehicles.Opposition to Nominee Some retired military officers have served notice that if conservatives keep pressing for a Senate confirmation vote for judicial nominee William J. Haynes II, it won't come without a fight. Haynes, the Defense Department's general counsel, is President Bush's choice for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. Democrats have opposed Haynes since 2003, and now some Republicans are joining them. They object to his role as the Pentagon's top lawyer when controversial policies were adopted regarding harsh treatment of detainees captured in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. The conservative group Committee for Justice has launched a telephone and e-mail campaign against one of those Republicans, Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.). Last week, some retired military lawyers came to Graham's defense, sending letters to the Judiciary Committee that call Haynes unfit for a lifetime appointment to the appellate court. Haynes's "unwillingness to listen to others caused him to preside over the DOD legal system during the time of its greatest debacle in memory, the abuse of detainees by military personnel around the world," wrote John D. Hutson, a retired rear admiral who was a senior Navy lawyer. Donald J. Guter, who held the same rank, wrote that he doubted Haynes would have the independence or judgment to oppose unwise policies being pushed by his superiors. Among those praising Haynes in letters to the committee is Bernard D. Meltzer, a retired law professor and former assistant trial counsel in the trials before the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg. Meltzer wrote that he got to know Haynes while consulting with the Pentagon and that "I was impressed by his informed and sensitive concern for the rights and legitimate interests of those who might be tried before a military commission."

Mandate Aside, Private Tutors Aren't Always An Option (WP)
By Amy Goldstein The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 When Amber Howe began ninth grade in Mandaree, N.D., her parents were thrilled that the federal government had forced her school to offer private tutoring free of charge. With nine classmates, Amber left school at 2 p.m. twice a week, traveled in a van three hours southeast to Bismarck, practiced English and algebra for two hours, and then rode three hours home. 112

The 328-mile round-trip treks to a Sylvan Learning Center lasted until that October, when Amber's mother and the other parents decided that their children were too exhausted to keep going. In the year and eight months since then, the Mandaree school district, housed in a single building on an Indian reservation where poverty runs high and test scores run low, has provided no tutors. It has not found any willing to come. As part of the No Child Left Behind Act, Mandaree and other schools whose students are making little headway are required to hire outside education companies to give extra help. Across the country, educators say, many poor, rural schools are having trouble following the law. Private tutoring firms are reluctant to work in remote places where children are few and the opportunity to make money is slim. With such scanty options, some schools have turned to grass-roots tutoring companies that have sprung up with little track record, such as a small Arkansas firm started by a former basketball player. Some are trying online tutors. But many, such as Mandaree, are doing nothing at all. "For us, it's sort of a fake help, because it's just not there," said Linda McCullough, superintendent of public instruction in Montana, where 20 of the 14,000 eligible students this year at 66 schools are getting the tutoring the federal government envisions. The tutorless schools illustrate a tension in an essential aspect of the 2001 law intended to overhaul public education. The law seeks to create a marketplace of help for youngsters in failing schools, but private enterprise does not always mesh smoothly with the needs of poor, struggling students. Private tutoring emerged as a compromise after Congress resisted the Bush administration's voucher plan to allow parents to send their children to private schools at public expense. Under the law, schools with many low-income students must offer tutoring if they fail to make enough academic progress three years in a row. At first, those schools may provide that help directly, but after a year they must contract with outside companies and nonprofit groups, paying them with part of their federal subsidies. Debate over "supplemental education services," as the law calls the tutoring, has focused largely on issues in urban settings: how to rein in aggressive marketing practices by rival companies, how to motivate schools to encourage parents to sign up their children, and how to gauge whether the extra help does much good. Less noticed has been the more fundamental issue that many rural schools -- about one-third of the nation's public schools -- are having trouble simply finding tutors. When federal officials paid a visit to Nebraska last year to see how tutoring was going, state educators "showed them the letters of the companies that refused to serve us," said Marilyn Peterson of the Nebraska Department of Education. In North Dakota, 20 schools, including Mandaree's, are required to hire extra help. But half of the schools -- small schools in out-of-the-way places -- have not found a company that is prepared to come. Administration officials acknowledge the problem. Noting that state officials are responsible for screening companies and determining which schools must offer tutors, Stacy Kreppel, a senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education, said: "There's not a lot they can do if a provider turns around and says, 'No, we are not going to serve.' . . . We may need to examine . . . where the gaps are and if there are additional strategies we can take." Often, tutoring companies require a minimum number of students. Mary Szwec, superintendent of a district that covers three small towns in mid-coast Maine, contacted all six companies permitted to work in the state. She found that some required 1,000 students -- five times the enrollment at Searsport District Middle School, the school that needs to offer tutoring. With some national education companies shunning such schools, small entrepreneurs are sometimes stepping in. Fred Smith, a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters, moved home to Arkansas and, two years ago, created a controversial program called Save Our Kids: Academics Through Sports. Believing that youngsters need incentives to do extra schoolwork that is voluntary, Smith has designed his program to reward work on reading and math with pizza and sports. Every child who signs up gets a basketball and a T-shirt. They spend four hours a week on academics, and if they fulfill that they are allowed to practice basketball with him at the end of the week. He is working with half a dozen school districts in the poor, rural delta of the Mississippi River. At Lakeside School District, two of whose three schools have to offer tutors, Assistant Superintendent Billy Adams found that Save our Kids was his only choice after most companies on Arkansas's list turned him down and after one firm, for which several parents had registered, "just didn't show up." Adams complains that Smith, like many companies that go into rural places, has hired public school teachers who cannot, under the law, tutor directly for the school system. In the Marianna, Ark., school district, where Smith is being paid about $90,000 for work he began in February, Superintendent Wayne Thompson said, "We have someone who comes in, basically does not have any real educational background, and hires our teachers who already have been on the job and haven't been able to do the job either." 113

Smith said he takes principals' advice to hire the best teachers he can find and pays them $30 per hour, more than what other companies pay in the state, so he can get the teachers he wants. For Smith's company and others around the country, the process of finding adults in small communities who are qualified to work with struggling students takes time. It was February before 18 children began to get tutored at the elementary school in Gunnison, Colo. Suzanne Oliver, a school administrator, said the one company she could find, A to Z In-Home Tutoring LLC, first had to hire eight instructors, all but three of them employees of the school district. To get around such difficulties, federal officials promote the use of companies that provide tutoring online, and such firms have been proliferating. "We think the online program is eliminating the geographic divide," said Jeffrey H. Cohen, president of Catapult Learning LLC, a national company that has in-person and online divisions. "There are no minimums. If one student signs up, that's okay, because the teacher is not local." Catapult provides every child who signs up a computer, which can be used only for the tutoring sessions until the lessons are completed. In Searsport, Maine, about two dozen students work with an online company, and Szwec, the superintendent, said she is especially pleased that the firm, Brainfuse, has consulted with local teachers about which skills the students need to improve most. Other educators are less enthusiastic about tutoring by computer, saying that it can be hard to motivate students to learn online -- and that some of their families are too poor or too remote to have Internet connections. "People don't see it as a positive thing," said Laurie Matzke of the Department of Public Instruction in North Dakota, where no parent has signed up a child for an online tutor. Educators are searching for ways to cope. In Alaska, state education officials are recommending that parents at a given school join together to select a single company, rather than each choosing separately, in hopes that such a move will create a critical mass of children for the company to tutor. With a small federal grant, Catapult and an association of regional education service agencies are trying to form buying groups of several small schools. As in several other states, state officials in North Dakota are urging local college students to become tutors. But, in the meantime, Michael and Lorraine Howe worry about their daughter Amber, a bright girl who is drawn to reading and music but is repeating ninth grade this year because she has poor motivation and does not concentrate well in class. Tiring as the trips to Bismarck were "she was just kind of into it" at Sylvan, said Michael Howe, who is troubled that Amber uses some of the same textbooks he used at the Mandaree school a generation ago. Finding a tutor, he said, "would make a huge difference."

Spending Bill Still Includes Extra Katrina Aid (WSJ)
By David Rogers The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- A $92.2 billion wartime spending bill taking shape in Congress has been cut substantially since passing the Senate last month but still provides at least $2 billion more in Katrina aid than the White House first requested. House-Senate negotiators will meet tonight in hopes of expediting passage by Congress this week, and Republicans are confident they can avoid a veto fight with President Bush. But the deal rests heavily on borrowing against Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster funds, and that means FEMA will have to come back sooner to Congress for more money, quite possibly this fall. More than two-thirds, or $67 billion, of the bill would pay for defense and intelligence activities, including military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tentative agreements would spend more than the White House requested to buy armored Bradley fighting vehicles and V-22 Osprey and KC-130J aircraft. Disputes remain over the precise makeup of a $1.9 billion border-security initiative proposed by Mr. Bush. But the more protracted fight has been over Katrina aid and how much flexibility to give states struggling to recover. The bill is expected to provide $5.2 billion in community-development block grants or $1 billion more than the president's request. An estimated $250 million in additional educational funds would be included as well as about $500 million in agriculturerelated assistance. Within FEMA accounts, up to $400 million is proposed to help build "Katrina cottages" -- more resilient temporary housing than the trailers now used. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Thad Cochran (R., Miss.), who first proposed to add more than $4.6 billion in extra hurricane aid, has dropped a $700 million request to relocate a CSX Corp. rail line in his state. But over the objections of the House, he is still pursuing federal funds to move a Coast Guard station in Gulfport, Miss., thereby opening up the nearly three-acre waterfront site for commercial development. The idea of Coast Guard funds being used for a renewal project is controversial -- especially if casinos might be involved. 114

Mississippi state officials said they are offering a larger four-acre site for the Coast Guard and hope to better rationalize the distribution of big and small craft in the harbor. Brent Warr, Gulfport's mayor, and Gray Swoope of the Mississippi Development Authority said there no plans for a casino on the station's site. But Mayor Warr acknowledged that one goal is to give more latitude to a private developer assembling a larger Gulfport land package for renewal. "There could be casinos in the area but not on that site," he said. Mr. Bush waited until the middle of last month before announcing his $1.9 billion border-security initiative, which has complicated the talks on two fronts. Sen. Judd Gregg (R., N.H.), who oversees the Department of Homeland Security's budget, has complained that the president's plan is tilted too heavily toward personnel and shortchanges capital needs for new equipment. At the same time, Mr. Bush has insisted that the $1.9 billion be absorbed within his prior defense request, requiring House and Senate negotiators to go back and recalculate their own proposals. For example, the House had approved $250 million for Bradley fighting vehicles, but that's now expected to be scaled back to $175 million. The additional House and Senate aircraft purchases -- two of the KC-130J and three V-22 Ospreys -- were preserved. But $100 million to buy the Army's improved recovery vehicle -- able to tow damaged tanks -- is expected to be dropped.

Negotiators To Meet On Iraq, Relief Funds (AP)
By Andrew Taylor AP, June 5, 2006 Hoping to speed approval of war funds, House-Senate negotiators were to meet Tuesday evening on legislation to pay for the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and for hurricane relief along the Gulf Coast. After missing a Memorial Day deadline, negotiators hope to seal agreement this week. The White House says a money crunch is threatening military operations and training accounts, especially for the Army, and could slow training and equipping of Iraqi soldiers. "It's imperative that Congress finish its work and get this to the president to sign," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "This supplemental went up in February. It's now June." He said the Army will impose a civilian hiring freeze Tuesday and has cut spending on spare parts, transportation and travel. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jerry Lewis, R-Calif., and Senate counterpart Thad Cochran, R-Miss., are leading the talks and have agreed to live within a White House demand that the emergency funding bill be limited to $92.2 billion for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and hurricanes — plus $2.3 billion to combat bird flu. The underlying bill would provide about $66 billion for Pentagon costs such as military operations and maintenance, weapons procurement, personnel and an initiative to locate and disarm roadside bombs. Another approximately $20 billion would go for hurricane relief and reconstruction, including new and rebuilt flood control projects for New Orleans, housing aid for Louisiana and replenishing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund. The overall limit has meant dumping or dramatically scaling back Senate initiatives like $4 billion in agriculture disaster assistance to farmers to help them deal with high fuel prices and damage from floods and droughts last year. The move promises to dismay Senate GOP sponsors of the farm aid such as Conrad Burns of Montana, embroiled in a very difficult reelection bid. An additional $648 million obtained by Sen. Robert Byrd (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., to beef up security at U.S. ports is to be dropped, while $1.2 billion in aid for the Gulf Coast fishing and seafood industry obtained by Sen. Richard Shelby (news, bio, voting record), R-Ala., will be sharply scaled back. Meanwhile, a conservative group announced an ad campaign in three states aimed at pressuring Senators to drop several controversial homestate projects from the bill. Top among the targets of Americans for Prosperity is a $700 million Senate plan to pay CSX Transportation to abandon a recently repaired freight rail line to Mississippi to use the right of way for a new East-West highway. "A bill to fund our war against terrorism is held hostage to pork-barrel spending," Duane Sand, a veteran of Iraq, says in the ad, to be run in Rhode Island, Michigan and West Virginia. In fact, negotiators are expected to eventually drop the Mississippi rail line relocation as well as the bulk of more than $14 billion in Senate add-ons unrequested by President Bush. Still, FEMA funding would be cut below the White House's $7.2 billion request to fund lawmaker priorities, which could mean FEMA might need another infusion of cash before Election Day. A key remaining challenge for negotiators is devising a compromise border security plan.


Bush's $1.9 billion border security plan is focused on hiring 1,000 new Border Patrol officers and sending 6,000 National Guard troops to help secure the Mexican border. A rival Senate plan, sponsored by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and also budgeted for $1.9 billion, focuses on capital needs such as helicopters, Coast Guard vessels and vehicles.

House, Senate Tension Fuels Impasse (RC)
By Erin P. Billings And Ben Pershing Roll Call, June 6, 2006 As Congress gets back to work this week, the Republican majority faces the daunting task of trying to advance several bigticket legislative items amid a sometimes strained relationship between the two chambers. House and Senate Republicans will not only wrestle with their Democratic opponents, but in some cases with each other, as they look to complete an emergency supplemental spending bill for Iraq and Hurricane Katrina recovery, as well as a pension bill, immigration reform and a lobby overhaul package. The majority views passage of these as key to bolstering its chances in the November elections, along with consideration of several other measures important to the GOP base, including an anti-gay-marriage amendment, abolition of the estate tax and energy legislation. GOP tensions have risen in both chambers over some of the most hotly contested bills this year, leaving some to wonder whether the party can come together quickly enough to pass them in the time that remains in this Congress. Immigration and the emergency spending bill are the most high-profile measures on which Republicans have faced internal battles over how far to go in this election year. “From the inside, it looks completely as if we are in a free-fall, chaotic mix,” acknowledged one GOP Senate aide. “We are debating amongst ourselves for competing proposals. We do have some differences, but ours are only visible because we have the spotlight on us.” But this aide said: “Without a doubt, we need to realize that we need to be fighting the Democrats and not ourselves.” “There’s always this natural tension between the House and the Senate that is almost imprinted on everyone’s DNA,” added a House Republican leadership aide. “That always tends to create a tough work environment.” At the same time, the House aide said, “for as many House folks as there are who hold grudges, there are other folks who 30 seconds later forget they’re mad at the Senate. The bottom line is we have to put points on the board. We’ll be judged at the polls.” In part, the GOP infighting can be attributed to the inherent differences between the two chambers: The House is known for striking a more conservative tone, while the Senate is viewed as more of a consensus-building body. But beyond that, Republicans say they currently lack the powerful mediator they once enjoyed in President Bush, whose poll numbers continue to lag and who lacks the political capital he had just a year ago. And the GOP is facing pressure from a conservative base seeking to move it to the right while trying to appeal to a broader electorate. Another House Republican leadership aide described the current state of House-Senate relations as “decent” and said the attitude of House leaders toward their Senate counterparts was “trust but verify.” GOP Senate sources said Republicans in both chambers know they must spend the next couple of months working together to try to get as much done as possible. The closer to November they get, the more difficult it will become to advance legislation against a Democratic Party looking to deny the GOP any victories to take to the voters. “Most people recognize that accomplishment on good bills is important to Republicans in both houses,” another well-placed Senate GOP aide said. “We’ve got enough gridlock coming from the Democrats. We don’t need to create any of our own.” Added another Republican aide: “We’re joined at the hip, so it’s imperative that we pass legislation that is going to give our guys ammo when they head back home and campaign this fall.” Republicans in both chambers agreed that they can set aside their differences on most of the major items, with the exception of immigration reform, where the parties in the two bodies are in starkly different camps. Republicans privately concede that it could be an impossible task to advance a comprehensive bill this year. Instead, they may have to settle for a watered-down version that can meet the test of both chambers. “Immigration will prove if we can all pull in the same direction or not,” a Republican Senate staffer said. The path to completion for an immigration bill also is complicated by differing opinions over whether a mediocre bill is better than no bill at all. House Republicans are convinced that the public — and particularly the GOP’s base — supports their enforcement-only bill more than the Senate’s comprehensive approach, leading some lawmakers to say privately that they would rather run in November on the House-passed bill than on a potentially weaker conference report. 116

But other Members and aides believe Republicans will be punished at the polls even more if no bill makes it to the president’s desk. Separately, conferees are currently hammering out a compromise on the supplemental spending bill — the Senate version of which came out nearly $14 billion bigger than the House version. President Bush has threatened to veto the measure if it comes to his desk much above the $94 billion mark. But appropriators, known for their bipartisan approach to working through spending bills, are expected to come up with a conference report within the coming days. Those lawmakers will be called on again when some of the regular appropriations bills come up, although few are expected to advance before Nov. 7. As for other pending bills, immigration conferees should be named within the coming days, while lawmakers in both chambers are seeking to strike final deals on the pension bill and lobbying reform. Republicans also say they may be able to advance legislation targeted at gas prices as well as small-scale health care reforms this year. One GOP Senate aide said that even while Republicans struggle among each other on some of the pending legislation, there are areas where the party can and will continue to agree. Expect Republicans, led by Bush, to continue to talk up the country’s economic success and to press for heightened fiscal discipline — an area that has produced electoral gains for the party in the past but has been overshadowed by a ballooning federal deficit in recent years. “You are going to hear a lot more about spending — and that’s something most of us in both houses can agree on,” a Republican aide said.

Hurricane Mary Still Storms Over Katrina (HILL)
By Jonathan Allen The Hill, June 6, 2006 In the nine months since Hurricane Katrina bore a hole through the Gulf Coast and triggered cataclysmic flooding in New Orleans, Sen. Mary Landrieu has been battling for more than just cash to rebuild. “I’m still in a fight to explain,” the Louisiana Democrat said during an interview in her seventh-floor Hart Building office suite. In endless meetings with lawmakers, aides, interest groups and even singer Placido Domingo, she uses color-coded charts, sweeping gestures and Cajun charm to explain the difference between the hurricane and the flood, the biblical-scale damage to her home city, coastal restoration plans, why New Orleans should be rebuilt and why further assistance should not be routed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “It’s important for people to understand what really happened, who is responsible, why it happened, so that we can actually fix it,” she said. For Landrieu, villains are easy to identify: President Bush and top White House officials, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Early on, Hastert suggested New Orleans should not be rebuilt. “That kind of set us off in a defensive posture when we should have been in an offensive posture,” Landrieu said. Since then, the 50-year-old senator has been the one taking swings. Last year she said on national television that she would punch the president or anyone else who berated local officials. In April, she threatened to hold up Bush’s executive-branch nominees until he delivered funding for the Gulf Coast. But her pugnacity has not stopped her from forming alliances. In March she became the first Democrat in either chamber to support a Republican-written budget since 2004 after securing a promise for more levee money. Landrieu, now in her second term, met with Senate Republican bulls Ted Stevens (Alaska) and Pete Domenici (N.M.) in the office of Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) to hammer out a deal for her vote. She says top Senate appropriators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) have come to Louisiana’s rescue. She also notes the names of senators who dispatched aides to help her staff in Katrina’s aftermath, and she singles out Education Secretary Margaret Spellings and Housing Secretary Alphonso Jackson for praise. ‘AROUND THE WHITE HOUSE’ Landrieu has not let up a bit in her condemnations of the White House, but she is careful to draw a distinction between the president’s inner circle and other parts of the administration, where she has found some of her staunchest allies. “I just sort of went around the White House and just went directly to their Cabinet people, and some of the Cabinet people really understand what happened and they’re really trying to help,” Landrieu said. “Margaret Spellings was one of the first to grasp it.” Landrieu and Spellings have found common ground in their support for charter schools, facilitating a strong alliance. Spellings did “everything she could” to put kids in classrooms, a Landrieu aide said. 117

But other agencies remain in Landrieu’s crosshairs, particularly FEMA, which she says should not be the vehicle for federal assistance because it is “dysfunctional.” Landrieu is among those who argue that aid should move directly through other departments and agencies — the Education Department, Housing and Urban Development, the Commerce Department and the Small Business Administration, to name a few — rather than FEMA, which has become a symbol of the federal government’s difficulties in handling the problems of the Gulf Coast region. “They kept thinking FEMA could do it, FEMA could do it,” Landrieu said. “But even on FEMA’s best day they couldn’t have done it, and FEMA didn’t have too many good days.” A SINGULAR FOCUS Landrieu has other responsibilities in the Senate; she is the ranking Democrat on the District of Columbia Appropriations Subcommittee and a member of the bipartisan Gang of 14 that has played a decisive role in the judicial confirmation process, and her brother just lost a hotly contested Democratic mayoral primary. But the names of the hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, are seldom far from her lips. When Placido Domingo visited Landrieu to discuss money for the arts, the opera star instead got a lesson on Louisiana’s infrastructure. “We had spent 30 minutes with this guy, and we had not talked about arts funding,” a Landrieu aide said. The next day, with the Senate out of session, Landrieu and Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (N.D.) spent more than an hour interviewing local business owners at a poorly attended hearing titled “An Oversight Hearing on Gulf Coast Reconstruction: Has the Federal Government Left Small Businesses Behind?” Republican and Democratic aides say Landrieu has been somewhat less involved with issues unrelated to the hurricanes since they hit. NO APOLOGIES “If one person criticizes them or says one more thing, including the president of the United States, he will hear from me,” Landrieu told ABC’s George Stehanopoulos in September. “One more word about it after this show airs and I might likely have to punch him. Literally.” Landrieu maintains that radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh and others took her line about punching the president out of context, but she says she stands by it. “I don’t regret it at all, and I’d say it again exactly that way,” she said. “As a leader, I think you should defend your people, not gloss over their faults. But I’m not going to let anybody talk about the first responders of New Orleans.” The most recent twist in Louisiana’s battle for federal aid is a threat by Gov. Kathleen Blanco to delay drilling leases if the federal government does not give the Pelican State a share of the revenue. Landrieu, who has said she will block energy legislation that does not include a share of federal receipts for Louisiana, supports Blanco’s approach but would prefer a legislative fix, according to spokesman Adam Sharp. “The entire state leadership supports getting our fair share, and each of us does what is within our ability to drive that result,” Sharp said in an e-mail.

Clamoring To Come Home To New Orleans Projects (NYT)
By Susan Saulny The New York Times, June 6, 2006 NEW ORLEANS, June 5 — Hundreds of displaced residents of public housing have for several days been returning here for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. They are armed with little more than cleaning supplies and frustration, in an effort to force the city to reopen their stormdamaged apartments. The city, saying the projects are not ready, has refused. Outside the largest complex, the St. Bernard Housing Development in the Seventh Ward, tenant groups have organized evacuees into a tent city called Survivors Village. At the C. J. Peete Development in Central City, older residents, mostly women, broke into their old apartments and carted away plastic bags of refuse and ruined furniture. At the Florida housing complex in the Ninth Ward, residents slipped through fences topped with razor wire to reach their old units. They piled up heaps of debris that lined Bartholomew Street in the shadow of Interstate 10. In bone-baking heat under a cloudless sky, evacuees traveling from Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Houston and elsewhere fumed at the city and federal housing officials who have opened fewer than 1,000 of more than 8,000 public housing units in a city suffering from a housing crisis and a shortage of workers. 118

The residents promised on Sunday to gut and rebuild their own units, and they said they planned to be back permanently — with or without the city's permission — as soon as their work was done. "They're not giving us any help, and we're tired of waiting," a resident, Nickole Banks, said of the Housing Authority. "People want to come home." Damage to the projects ranged from very little to severe. The Housing Authority says that as many as 90 percent of the apartments are unsafe and uninhabitable and that time-consuming environmental evaluations remain unfinished. To the residents, these are excuses. They fear that city officials are really trying to redevelop the projects to bring in other residents with more money. That is a move that some city and federal officials say would be desirable. Private developers have openly discussed the possibility of rebuilding some projects to house a much wider range of tenants. Because private homeowners are being encouraged to return to the same areas, the public housing question has become part of a larger debate about the future of the city's poor population. Does New Orleans intend to make itself a home for them again? After the storm, many of the most important institutions and services for the poor broke down and were never repaired. Charity Hospital, a historic institution for the poor, remains closed. The public defender system has been unable to provide lawyers to poor defendants, and public transportation is essentially broke and is providing far fewer rides. "They're trying to steal New Orleans from us," Phyllis Jenkins, who has been living in Fort Worth, said Sunday outside what used to be her home in the sprawling St. Bernard development. "Well, I will not be displaced anymore. I'll take my home any way they give it to me. It's been 10 months. They've got to know we're serious. We're going to stand here until they let us in our homes." Local officials have been clear that they do not want to return to the way things were before the storm, when 10 traditional public housing developments concentrated low-income residents in some of the worst conditions in the city, leading to intense crime and drug use. "We don't need to recreate pockets of poverty," the president of the City Council, Oliver M. Thomas Jr., said. "They don't work. We want more mixed-income, working communities. I think that's really the only way." Some officials have made remarkably unveiled comments suggesting that the storm did the city a favor in terms sweeping away the poor. Representative Richard H. Baker, a Republican from Baton Rouge, said just after the hurricane: "We finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it. But God did." A spokesman for the Housing Authority, Adonis Exposé, said the authority was encouraging private and public partnerships to redevelop the projects, a move that began in limited form before the hurricane. "We find it has worked out, and we're looking into doing it at a lot of other sites," Mr. Exposé said. Before the storm, 2,000 public housing units had been demolished to make way for newer, better complexes. That stoked fears among residents of public housing that they were being scattered to nowhere in particular. That turned out to be the case in the redevelopment of the St. Thomas Project, the largest and most controversial to date. It is now a mixed-income development called River Garden, with a small fraction of the original public housing tenants. Residents who have been protesting fear more of the same could be in store for them. Some of the poor and their advocates see the lack of action as a delay tactic to diminish the chances that many would return. The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which took control of the bankrupt local housing authority years ago, says it is continuing to assess the storm damage to the buildings. "I wish I could say everything's great, come on home," an assistant secretary, Orlando J. Cabrera, said in an interview. "But it's not great. We've got entire parts of the city that have very few services, that have questionable ability in terms of infrastructure. We have to ask the hard question: 'What would these folks do? Can we put people in there?' " Mr. Cabrera said considerable federal money was available to allow private builders to redevelop public housing in such situations. The Housing Authority has begun to apply for those funds. Developers have been seeking permission to rebuild the crown jewel of the projects, the Iberville Housing Development, on a coveted location next to the French Quarter. It is a gem of Depression-era buildings, a sturdy assemblage of small-scale town houses with wrought-iron balconies that overlook courtyards and oak trees. The project, barely damaged by the hurricane, continues to house hundreds of families. Michael Valentino, the managing partner of a hotel group here, and some tenants have proposed knocking down walls to make the apartments bigger, adding public art and fountains, and bringing in some tenants who would pay market-rate rent. So far, no deal has been made. 119

"The magic of Iberville is that the architecture is magnificent; it could be beautiful and vibrant again," Mr. Valentino said about the development, which replaced the Storyville red-light district in an early example of slum clearance. "It's a linchpin piece of the redevelopment of Canal Street and the Quarter." Mr. Valentino and other developers have the support of some tenants like Kim Paul, president of the residents' council. But they have also drawn the ire of another group, Hands Off Iberville, made up of housing advocates and tenants. Even though she wants to help remake Iberville into something it never was, Ms. Paul complained about how slowly housing officials were letting residents return to the development, the least damaged in the city. She is in the unusual position of standing up for tenants and developers at the same time. "I can show you that the apartments don't have mold or mildew," she said Sunday as she joined the other protesters at St. Bernard who were eating jambalaya out of plastic cups. "Before we do anything, we're trying to get all the pre-Katrina residents home." Passers-by on St. Bernard Avenue, a main thoroughfare, generally supported the peaceful protest outside the fenced-in project. A woman from the Uptown section, Cliffie Pettigrew, stopped her truck and said, "I don't know if you folks are supposed to be here or not, but I want to help because I remember how sad I was when I couldn't get home." "What ya'll need?" she asked. "Everything," they answered.

Hurricane Season Brings Urgency To Fixing FEMA (HILL)
By Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) The Hill (opinion), June 6, 2006 When Max Mayfield of the National Hurricane Center talks, the people in my district listen. Mayfield has predicted another volatile year, with this hurricane season delivering up to eight to 10 hurricanes, according to the latest predictions of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. While we prepare for the season, which began Wednesday, structural problems remain that plague the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal agency that delivers aid in the wake of a hurricane and ensures localities are prepared with disaster plans. There is no doubt in my mind that FEMA’s response to the storms of the past two years was hampered greatly — and will continue to be hampered for the coming hurricane season — by the top-heavy government bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security. FEMA does some of its most important work during the initial hours before a storm, when first responders prepare, federal authorities are placed at the ready and residents are given instructions. While local and state governments are the first line of response, much of the planning and work is done by FEMA, which is charged with coordinating federal efforts while complementing the local response. In fact, in years past, FEMA’s role was considered important enough to make its director, until recently, a Cabinet-level position. But as the federal government reacted to Sept. 11 and viewed most federal services through the prism of terrorism, placing FEMA within the security clearinghouse of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seemed to be the right move. Unfortunately, Katrina, Wilma, Frances, Rita, Jeanne, Ivan and Charley have proved that wrong. By folding FEMA into DHS, we have, in effect, tried fitting a square into a circle. FEMA is charged with responding to natural disasters and emergency situations, while its overseers are more focused, and rightly so, on terrorism. By placing FEMA in the labyrinth of government agencies housed in DHS, we have put FEMA’s priorities in direct competition for attention with our efforts to protect our cities from al Qaeda and to protect our borders. In the process, decisions that once were made quickly and efficiently at FEMA now have to go through a web of paperwork, authorizations and releases before they can be made — adding further risk to people who wait for relief. We also have diminished FEMA’s ability to act autonomously and take charge of a disaster. By making the agency just another department in a huge bureaucracy, we have neutered its ability to take the reins of federal response and handed them off to undersecretaries and assistant secretaries of the Department of Homeland Security. From our own experience in Florida, we know the importance of strong leadership in dealing with hurricanes. Before and after Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne hit Florida two years ago, Gov. Jeb Bush was in constant contact with local authorities and was swift in his decisionmaking. Law enforcement and first responders were kept informed and knew their roles. Unfortunately, there was no Jeb Bush in Louisiana, and there were no Rudy Giulianis in New Orleans. Instead, the buck was passed from local to state and then to federal authorities, many times with the assumption that FEMA had the experience to know what to do. But the sluggish bureaucracy at DHS produced no leaders and left people across the country to wonder who was in charge. 120

Last year I introduced legislation to sever FEMA from the DHS bureaucracy, returning it to an independent agency. My goal is to allow FEMA to break free from the Washington-style adherence to paperwork and memos in order to make it the nimble, quick-response team that it wants to be. Saddled with the bureaucracy of DHS, FEMA’s priorities have gotten lost, and we need to place them back at the forefront. I have been encouraged by the support of the idea by Subcommittee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), and I have been working to convince others of its merit. I first called for this before 2004’s hurricane season wreaked havoc on our state, but nearly two years of recovery efforts that have been delayed and a frustrating effort to find accountability at FEMA — culminating with its slowed response to Katrina — made me realize we cannot wait. Unfortunately, I fear these frustrations will only grow for the people of the Gulf Coast area making the transition into the long-term recovery process as the tasks of FEMA remain a source of competing interests within DHS. Blame for the slow response to Katrina does not rest solely at one level of government. Local officials failed. State officials, especially the governor, failed. The federal government failed. In Congress, we must take these lessons to heart and recognize that change has to happen — and we have to make it happen now, not later. Foley represents Florida’s 16th District, which includes Port St. Lucie and Port Charlotte.

A Foxx In The Luxury World (HILL)
By Jeff Dufour The Hill, June 6, 2006 One of the most egregious examples of abuse that came to light last year during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina was displaced people and other victims spending their government-issued debit cards on Louis Vuitton purses and other luxury goods. And Rep. Virginia Foxx, the grandmotherly freshman Republican from North Carolina, has had enough. Foxx has introduced an amendment, known as the “Louis Vuitton Amendment,” to the homeland-security appropriations bill that would specifically restrict that type of misuse of funds. It reads, quite simply, “None of the funds made available to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in this act may be used to purchase a Louis Vuitton handbag.” Foxx spokeswoman Amy Auth explained that the language is designed to “highlight the abuse that occurred with the debit cards last year so that it doesn’t happen again.” A spokeswoman for Louis Vuitton did not return phone calls. Perhaps she’s offended that anyone would pay for one of their bags with a debit card. How déclassé! Image of Bob Casey as Kevin Smith persists The National Republican Senatorial Committee last week went after Pennsylvania Senate candidate Bob Casey (D) for failing to appear at the annual convention of a group of activist gay Democrats in Pittsburgh. Howard Dean, Democratic Party chairman, appeared at the Stonewall National Convention on Saturday. “As the Senate prepares to vote on the Federal Marriage Amendment, Silent Bob is ducking an appearance before a gayrights group,” NRSC spokesman Dan Ronayne said in a statement. “The fact that Casey Jr. is having Howard Dean stand in for him speaks volumes about his political courage. When given a chance to stand up for something, Casey Jr. comes up empty again.” It’s by no means the first time that Republicans have tagged Casey, who’s challenging Sen. Rick Santorum (R), with the “Silent Bob” moniker, reminiscent of the recurring character Kevin Smith plays in his films. The name began to stick during the confirmation hearings for Justice Samuel Alito, when Republicans pressed Casey to say whether he supported the judge. After Casey won the Democratic primary, even NRSC Chairwoman Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) got in on the act, saying, “Now that the general election is under way, maybe it’s time for ‘Silent Bob’ to articulate his positions.” Casey spokesman Larry Smar said the nickname is childish. “Santorum’s allies are resorting to childish name calling because they have no accomplishments to talk about and rather focus on divisive issues.” Obama turns tables on Colbert After Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) gave the keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and won election to the Senate, he was asked to give the next year’s commencement address at tiny Knox College in Galesburg, Ill. This year the college invited Comedy Central’s mock newsman Stephen Colbert. So Obama decided to have a little bit of fun with him. 121

In a statement released late last week, Obama told Colbert, “I’d like to welcome you to our state. As you know, I was invited to speak at Knox after my keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and subsequent election to the United States Senate. Your convention speech must also have gone really well to have been invited. It’s weird that I didn’t read about it somewhere. “Before you deliver your remarks in front of literally millions fewer people than you would at say, a nationally televised political convention, I’d like to offer you a few words of advice. First, I know you’re fond of your Peabody Awards, whatever those are, but I’d recommend not bringing them. The students at Knox are down to earth and not impressed by material possessions like my Grammy Award for best spoken-word album.” At the close of the release, Obama’s staff assures readers that it was intended “completely tongue-in-cheek. … Colbert has had so much fun with members of Congress on his show that we decided it was our turn.” By most accounts, Colbert’s speech went over well. His advice for graduates? Get a TV show. “It pays well,” he said. “The hours are great, and you have fans. Eventually, some nice people will give you an honorary degree for doing jack squat.” Colbert also used his speech to come out against slavery. “I just hope the mainstream media gives me credit for the stand I’ve taken today,” he said. Beer, wine take center stage tonight It’s going to be a boozy night on the House floor, with two resolutions celebrating the nectar of the gods. First, Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-N.Y.) brings forth a resolution commending American craft brewers. A bit late for American Craft Beer Week, which ended May 21, the bill nevertheless recognizes that “American craft brewers promote the nation’s spirit of independence through a renaissance in hand-crafted beers … for the enjoyment of the citizenry.” Indeed. Boehlert represents the Matt Brewing Co. in Utica, N.Y., which brews Saranac beers. Then it’s on to H. Con. Res. 399 by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) recognizing the 30th anniversary of the victory of United States winemakers at the 1976 Paris wine tasting. That event, known as the “Tasting Heard Round the World,” put American wine on the map, as California red and white wines bested the best French wines in a blind test by wine experts. It should be noted that the anniversary tastings, held in Napa Valley and France on May 24, yielded the same result. So take that, Monsieur Chirac. Coble wakes up to ‘Idol’-atry In surely the most controversial elimination of the season, Chris Daughtry of McLeansville, N.C., was voted off “American Idol” in the third-to-last round. Now his congressman, Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.), apparently goaded by his staff and constituents, is finally crying foul over the results. “Most people know that my musical tastes run more towards bluegrass,” said Coble, “but we were proud of Chris for finishing so strong on ‘American Idol.’ I was told by many people, including some of my own staff, that he should have won the doggone thing.” Late last month, Coble placed a statement in the Congressional Record in which he argued that “with no disrespect intended toward this year’s winner, Taylor Hicks, most people think this year’s American Idol should have been Chris Daughtry. … While I will not call for Congress to investigate this Idol election process, those of us who reside in the 6th District of North Carolina will always be convinced that our guy really won — sort of like fans of Al Gore in 2000.” Then this past Saturday, at a rally and mini-performance before 1,200 supporters Daughtry received a copy of the statement. Coble isn’t a total “Idol” neophyte — he noted that Fantasia Barrino, the winner of the show’s third season, is also a native of the 6th District of North Carolina. Daughtry recently turned down an offer to become lead singer of the band Fuel. Issa: No love lost for Gonzalez “We have the power to impeach the attorney general,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said last week as the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the FBI’s search of Rep. William Jefferson’s (D-La.) Rayburn office. A member of Congress musing on the impeachment of a Cabinet member of his own party would be inflammatory enough, but Issa wasn’t done. When asked by a radio reporter for Capitol News Connection what he made of Alberto Gonzales’s threat to resign over the Jefferson imbroglio, Issa was nothing if not direct. “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass,” he said.

Hard Lesson Learned At Red Cross (USAT)
By Bill Nichols USA Today, June 6, 2006 122

PRENTISS, Miss. — In the torrid temperatures that mark the start of the steamy Mississippi summer, the biggest safety threat to the parched landscape of Jefferson Davis County at the moment is fire. But on a recent morning under a cloudless blue sky, several dozen people gather to hear Charlie Conerly, the county emergency management coordinator, talk about hurricanes and how this county needs the Red Cross to help it prepare for a new season of storms. “Were any of you ready when Katrina came?” Conerly asks the room in general. No hands go up. “That's what I thought,” he says. “That's why we're here.” The efforts in Prentiss to be better prepared as hurricane season gets underway present a telling microcosm of lessons learned by the national Red Cross after its much-criticized performance in the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina last year. The charity was stung by complaints, including in a congressional report, of supply shortages, poorly run shelters, inadequate phone and computer systems and a lack of outreach to rural areas. But interim President and CEO Jack McGuire says the American Red Cross now has far-reaching reforms in place. McGuire says the Red Cross will have more resources, a streamlined process to get aid to victims, a vastly expanded communications network and a new effort to reach out to Prentiss and communities like it. Prentiss has no Red Cross chapter and waited days for help when hundreds of evacuees arrived after Katrina. He acknowledges that the response to Katrina sullied the image of the Red Cross. “Our surveys indicate that our image is not as good as we were before Katrina and not as bad as we were in January,” McGuire says. “We would prefer to be back to where we were pre-Katrina, but we have to earn that. We'll earn that by showing what happens in the next hurricane season.” At the South Central Mississippi Red Cross chapter, which is headquartered in nearby Hattiesburg, Executive Director Janice Vannatta is working long hours to translate McGuire's rhetoric into results. A “spontaneous volunteer” during Katrina who has since been hired to run the chapter, Vannatta attended the preparations meeting in Prentiss and hopes to have at least two Red Cross shelters ready in coming weeks. Prentiss had no shelters when Katrina hit. During Katrina, conditions in Prentiss “were horrible,” says Spencena Hinton, the new Red Cross liaison with county and city officials in Prentiss. Hinton says Jefferson Davis County was swarming with evacuees from the Gulf Coast while it tried to deal with serious damage from the storm. Charles Reid, president of the county Board of Supervisors, says a common complaint was that once the Red Cross got teams to the county, its aid programs had few controls. “People got money who didn't need it,” Reid says. Vannatta, whose staff of five covers nine counties, listens to the complaints while keeping a nervous eye on the calendar. As hurricane season begins, 40,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers remain on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Vannatta's fear: Even a mild storm will force people living in those trailers to evacuate. And key roads north from Mobile, Ala., New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf coast all lead straight through Hattiesburg. Some of Vannatta's efforts to be ready for this storm season: •More shelters. Vannatta hopes to have 20 shelters ready, up from eight last year. She's also following Washington's lead in trying to partner with churches, schools and community organizations to open shelters that can give residents of poorer and more remote areas faster help. •Pre-positioned supplies. The South Central Mississippi chapter gave out 553,000 snacks or meals last year. Vannatta is lining up vendors to get more supplies earlier. •Communications. The chapter plans to use handheld radios so shelters can communicate with one another and headquarters. Virtually all communication was cut off during Katrina. •Volunteers. The chapter has more than doubled its volunteer base since Katrina. More than 100 volunteers were trained in a single event on April 1. •Preparations. Vannatta has sent basic information home with schoolchildren to emphasize the message that residents need to be ready to survive on their own for 72 hours after any disaster. And there's a special outreach program to the thousands of new Hispanic residents in Hattiesburg — most of them stormrepair workers — says the Rev. Tommy Conway of St. Thomas Catholic Church. For the first time, hurricane warnings on local TV will be in both English and Spanish, Conway says. In Prentiss, Conerly and Vannatta promise residents that as hurricane season begins, this year things will be better. “We're going to make this easier than it was last time,” Conerly says. “But it's not going to be perfect. We're human beings.”

More Migrants Apprehended Along Border (USAT)

By Judy Keen USA Today, June 6, 2006 CHICAGO — The Border Patrol says apprehensions of illegal immigrants along the Mexican border are up nearly 4% so far this year because of increased enforcement. But advocacy groups say greater numbers are crossing the border because they are confused about conflicting legislation passed by Congress and hope to qualify for legal status. “More people are coming because they believe they'll get a crack at legalization,” says Jessica Aranda of the Latino Union of Chicago. Chicago has one of the USA's largest Mexican immigrant communities. There is no official data on the flow of illegal immigrants. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said Monday there has been no surge in the number of illegal crossings since President Bush announced in May that 6,000 National Guard troops would be sent to the border. Aguilar expects a decrease as more agents and Guard members are deployed. Border Patrol spokesman Richard Rojas says apprehensions at the southern border are up this year to 826,109, from 795,218 at this point in 2005. “We're enforcing more; therefore, we're apprehending more,” he says. Daniel Martinez, immigration program director at Catholic Charities in Laredo, Texas, says some immigrants believe crossing is easier now than it will be when National Guard troops arrive. Other immigrants believe “maybe they can qualify” for a “guest worker” program or citizenship if they enter the USA soon, Martinez says. Sheriff Omar Lucio in Cameron County, Texas, says his department is getting more reports of illegal immigrants abandoned in trucks or jammed into apartments. A House bill passed in December would make illegal immigration a felony and boost enforcement. The Senate version, passed May 25, calls for a guest-worker program proposed by Bush and giving illegal immigrants here since Jan. 7, 2004, a chance to become citizens. Both chambers will negotiate compromise legislation. Groups say confusion over the bills means some illegal immigrants are being ripped off. Some pay $500-$1,000 to people claiming to be lawyers who promise to expedite applications for a guest-worker program that was passed by the Senate but not the House. Applications don't exist. “The fake lawyers disappear with the money,” says Ana Maria Achila of the Latin American Integration Center in New York City. “There is definitely confusion. We're seeing a lot of people asking where they sign up.” Advocacy groups and Spanish-language media are trying to educate immigrants. Meetings were being held here Monday and today to tell immigrants that they can't apply for guest-worker status. In Alamosa, Colo., a community meeting Sunday explained that no bill has become law. People who work with immigrants say the uncertainty and a legal crackdown are roiling communities: •Tougher border enforcement is prompting some illegal immigrants to use crossings that are “more isolated, desolate and dangerous,” says Jennifer Allen of Border Action Network, a human-rights group in Tucson. •Workplace raids that became more frequent recently made some illegal immigrants afraid to leave home, says Mariano Espinoza of the Minnesota Immigrant Freedom Network in St. Paul: “They want to work, but they don't know if the next time they will be detained.” •“I see more fear than anything, because people just don't know what's going on,” says Flora Archuleta of the San Luis Valley Immigrant Resource Center in Alamosa. “There is fear, there is confusion,” says Catherine Salgado of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. But the possibility of a new path to citizenship means “there is hope, too.”

An Increasingly Deadly Trail (WP)
By John Pomfret The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 COVERED WELLS, Ariz. -- It was early on a May morning, still dark, when Border Patrol agent Dan McClafferty first smelled death, its rich odor piercing the desert bouquet of sage, salt cedar and creosote. Following the beam of his flashlight, McClafferty looked under the thorny branches of a paloverde tree and found what he was looking for. The body of the 3-year-old boy lay still, covered with a jacket and his arms crossed over his chest. His mother, found wandering along a desert highway hours earlier, had carried him there as she had tried to cross into the United States illegally. The sad discovery was not unique. Since 1993, when the Clinton administration began a crackdown on border crossings in San Diego and El Paso, more than 3,500 people have died trying to cross into the United States through desert. And, as officials work to put more patrols and fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, immigrant advocates fear there will be more deaths among the tens of thousands who attempt the trip. 124

Most of the deaths so far -- 959 since Oct. 1, 2001, according to local government statistics and the Mexican government -have been in Arizona, where the landscape comprises mountains, ranches, Indian reservations, military proving grounds and endless miles of cactus-filled desert. The boy, who was found on May 16 and whose name could not be ascertained from U.S. or Mexican officials, was one of the latest additions to the list. Border Patrol statistics show that while the death toll mounts annually, the number of those apprehended while crossing the border has not changed significantly since 1993. But because federal agencies have tightened the border in urban areas, smugglers who move the men, women and children seeking to enter the United States illegally have funneled them onto increasingly perilous trails where temperatures are high, water is scarce and danger is abundant. "All the evidence is that increased enforcement on the border has achieved no benefit at all except in additional employment of Border Patrol agents," said John Fife, a Tucson pastor and founder of No More Deaths, a coalition of charities devoted to stopping deaths during desert border crossings. "What has changed is the devastating elements of this policy. You have a number of deaths that surpasses the number of American deaths in Iraq. And yet still we are determined to persist and redouble our efforts." The other view is that a tipping point could be reached if the flow of agents and materiel to the border continues to increase. Since 1993, the Border Patrol has tripled in size and President Bush has pledged to add 6,000 more agents. He also has ordered the National Guard, which began deploying to the border Monday, to help build new fencing and other protections. "America has the best technology in the world, and we will ensure that the Border Patrol has the technology they need to do their job and secure our border," Bush said May 15 in a nationally televised speech. Even as the president was speaking, McClafferty was searching the Arizona desert.A Toxic Mix The 3-year-old's mother's name was Edith Rodreguez. She and her son crossed into the United States from Sasabe, Mexico, on May 11, said a spokesman for the Mexican consulate in Tucson. A native of the Mexican state of Veracruz, a major source for illegal immigration, the 25-year-old woman was traveling in a group of eight to 10 people, herded north by a smuggler, called a coyote. To keep the group moving fast, the coyote handed out a Mexican over-the-counter drug called Sedalmerk, consulate spokesman Alejandro Ramos Cardoso said after Mexican officials interviewed Rodreguez. Sedalmerk is a combination of caffeine, Tylenol and the herbal supplement ephedra -- an amphetamine precursor that is banned in the United States. Sedalmerk may be safe to use as a pick-me-up in a normal environment but it is a toxic mix when combined with a trek through the desert because it accelerates dehydration, McClafferty said. Two days into the journey, the boy's energy was flagging and he was dehydrated. On May 13, Ramos Cardoso said, the coyote and the rest of the crossers abandoned Rodreguez and her son, leaving them to walk in the desert by themselves. Rodreguez began carrying the child, moving north through a sliver of earth hemmed in by two mountain ranges on land belonging to the Tohono O'odham Indian reservation. Sometime that day, the boy lost consciousness, Ramos Cardoso said. But Rodreguez kept on walking, clutching him.A Search for a Child In early January, the Border Patrol began concentrating on Arizona's Altar Valley, which had become a virtual highway into the United States for thousands of illegal immigrants and is dotted with natural water holes and water stations serviced by American charities. The renewed enforcement there resulted in traffic being diverted to the Tohono O'odham land that has less water. Some religious and charitable groups have placed water barrels in the desert and handed out maps in Mexico showing their locations, drawing the ire of those who seek tougher enforcement along the border. One of the groups, Humane Borders, received permission to keep water barrels on land belonging to the Bureau of Land Management, the Interior Department, the city of Tucson and Pima County. But the Tohono O'odham tribe has declined to give its permission. It was on that land that Rodreguez found herself walking with her son. She carried him for more than a day, Ramos Cardoso said, before placing him under the paloverde tree and going to look for help. Like many who cross the border illegally, Rodreguez had been in the United States before. She worked menial jobs in Kentucky, where she met a man who apparently was married. The two had a relationship and Rodreguez got pregnant, Ramos Cardoso said. She decided to have the baby in Veracruz so her mother could help her. Returning to Mexico to have a baby was an unusual decision -- many Mexican women make the reverse trip, traveling to the United States to have their babies so their children will be U.S. citizens. Earlier this year, Rodreguez decided to return to the United States to show the boy to his father, Ramos Cardoso said. She traveled to Sasabe, joined the coyote's group and walked across the border. After placing her son under the tree, Rodreguez chanced upon Highway 86, which runs through the heart of Tohono O'odham. There, on the afternoon of May 15, Border Patrol agents picked her up. 125

Ramos Cardoso said she told the agents immediately that she had left her son in the desert, but Gustavo Soto, a Border Patrol spokesman, said they learned of a missing boy four hours later after she was sent to a processing center in the border town of Nogales before she was returned to Mexico. McClafferty received word about the missing boy that night. He is a member of BorStar, the Border Patrol's elite search and rescue unit, established in 1998 to help save illegal immigrants lost in the desert. When McClafferty went searching for the boy, it was unclear whether he was alive. He said he was told that the mother was so distraught that Border Patrol agents understood only that her son was missing. McClafferty and three other agents began bushwhacking through the desert scrub, looking for footprints, where Rodreguez had been found. There were thousands, making it impossible to track the boy that way. Back at Nogales, Border Patrol agents photographed the bottom of Rodreguez's shoes and faxed the image to McClafferty. Just as the sun was setting, he found matches in the dust. For the next seven hours he and the other agents tracked them by flashlight. "We figured she was in bad shape," McClafferty said. "She was walking around in circles. She went for help then went back to her son but couldn't find him." In the end, McClafferty smelled the boy's remains before he found them. "She carried her kid in the desert for four or five hours and not one of them helped her," McClafferty said of the others who walked in with Rodreguez. "I've seen a lot in six years, but this kid thing was one of those that I just couldn't file away."More Deaths Expected After being expelled from the United States, Rodreguez was allowed back on May 18 on a short-term humanitarian visa to identify her son's body. An autopsy revealed that the probable cause of death was dehydration and exposure to the sun. The temperature had been above 100 degrees during their journey. Eric Peters, deputy chief medical examiner for Pima County, placed the time of death between May 13 and May 14, meaning the boy had probably died in his mother's arms. The last time a young child died on the border, according to Pima County records, was November, when a 1-year-old girl succumbed to pneumonia. Peters said authorities told him they had seen women with babies trudging through the reservation lands, and he and his colleagues are bracing for more child deaths this summer. The Tohono O'odham police considered charging Rodreguez with child endangerment, but the Pima County attorney's office said it had no interest in prosecuting her. Rodreguez returned to Mexico on May 20 and her son's body followed two days later. Ramos Cardoso said he tried to persuade Rodreguez to speak to the media because the consulate hoped her story would encourage others not to follow her. "She had been through a lot of suffering," he said. "She told us she just wanted to go home."

800 Guard Members To Be Added To Border Soon (USAT)
By Mimi Hall USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — The National Guard will have 800 troops along the U.S.-Mexican border by mid-June, and the 6,000 troops President Bush pledged to send to the southern border will be in place by Aug. 1, Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum said Monday. Blum, chief of the Guard, said 40% of the troops will be stationed in Arizona, where illegal migrants have overwhelmed the Border Patrol. The rest will be evenly divided among California, New Mexico and Texas. The troops are being sent to augment the Homeland Security Department's Border Patrol while the agency recruits 6,000 additional agents. If the Border Patrol can meet that goal, set by Bush in a speech May 15, it will have 18,000 agents by the end of 2008, a doubling since the Sept. 11 attacks prompted tighter border security. “It's going to be a very dynamic operation over the next two years,” Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said. “As a force multiplier, it will be tremendous” to have the Guard's help, he said. Despite the weekend arrests near Toronto of 17 terrorism suspects, Aguilar said no National Guard troops and no more border agents will be sent to the U.S.-Canadian border. Because nearly all illegal immigration is from the south, fewer than one in 10 of the Border Patrol's nearly 12,000 agents work at the Canadian border. Aguilar said northern border agents are “at high alert” and are conducting more vigilant ID checks and car and truck inspections at border crossings. National Guard troops have worked with the Border Patrol and the Drug Enforcement Administration for nearly 20 years along the southern border, mostly helping the Border Patrol catch drug smugglers. There are nearly 500 Guard members there 126

now, including more than 50 from Utah and Connecticut who just arrived in Arizona. None of those are part of Bush's Operation Jump Start plan to make troops available over the next two years to try to stem illegal immigration and tighten security. Blum said his troops will not have law enforcement duties and will not arrest people who sneak across the border. They will help border agents build roads, monitor surveillance cameras, install sensors and do other engineering and maintenance work. They'll also pick up office duties, freeing border agents to patrol the border and make more arrests.

55 Utah Guardsmen Join Border Agents In Arizona (WT)
By Jerry Seper The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 The first contingent of National Guard troops -- a 55-member platoon from Utah -- has arrived in Arizona to help protect the U.S.-Mexico border and is expected to build fences, repair roads and erect better border lighting as part of President Bush's plan to crack down on illegal entry. The soldiers arrived for the weekend in San Luis, Ariz., about 25 miles south of Yuma, which has surfaced in recent months as one of the busiest illegal alien corridors in the country. The U.S. Border Patrol's Yuma sector is responsible for 118 miles of the border with Mexico, with apprehensions of illegal aliens -- 100,000 through May -- up 13 percent from the same period last year. The presence of National Guard troops, who are not expected to perform law-enforcement functions, is aimed at freeing up Border Patrol agents to focus on enforcement along the border. A total of 300 National Guard troops are expected in Arizona by June 15. Mr. Bush has proposed sending 6,000 National Guard troops to Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. The 55 Guard members in Arizona are from the 116th, 1457th and 489th units of the Utah National Guard and arrived Saturday aboard a C-130 cargo plane. They will help repair and expand a 12-foot-high corrugated metal fence that separates San Luis and Mexico and a chain-link fence 50 yards inside the border. Last week, Mr. Bush said 6,000 National Guard troops will be deployed along the U.S.-Mexico border to assist the Border Patrol by operating surveillance systems, analyzing intelligence, installing fences and vehicle barriers, building patrol roads and providing training. "In other words, they're going to be a complement to the Border Patrol. The Guard units will not be involved in direct lawenforcement activities. That's the job of the Border Patrol," he said. "The United States is not going to militarize our border. What we're going to do is support those who we hire to do the job of enforcing the border." Mr. Bush said that as the Border Patrol hires additional agents and as new technologies become available, the Guard force will be reduced -- probably by 2008. "The federal government's working to conclude formal agreements with California and Arizona and New Mexico and Texas that will define the roles and responsibilities of National Guard units deploying to the southern border," he said in a speech Thursday before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "We're going to work closely with the governors of those states to secure this border." Last year, the Tucson and Yuma sectors of the Border Patrol apprehended more than half of the 1.15 million foreigners caught trying to sneak into the United States. On Sunday, T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, which represents all 10,500 of the Border Patrol's nonsupervisory agents, said during a speech in Las Vegas that he doubted the deployment of 6,000 Guard troops on the border will stop the flow of illegal aliens. "It's great to have help, but they're only going to be able to do so much," said Mr. Bonner, a 28-year Border Patrol veteran. "The answer is to turn off the employer magnet, focus on the reason people are crossing borders." Mr. Bonner has vigorously argued that although most politicians know that the availability of jobs draws people to illegally enter the United States, few have supported legislation addressing the problem. He said the pending immigration enforcement bills in the House and Senate fail to "effectively reduce the employment magnet."

Utah Guard Unit Patrols U.S.-Mexico Border (AP-Y2)
By Arthur H. Rotstein AP2, June 5, 2006 Military bulldozers, road graders and other heavy equipment rumbled along the Mexican border early Monday as more than 50 National Guardsmen from Utah became the first unit to get to work under President Bush's crackdown on illegal immigration. 127

The soldiers with the 116th Construction Support Equipment Company will hit their work sites by 5:30 a.m. during their two weeks of duty. They will improve a dirt road running parallel to the border, fill in gaps in fortified fencing and run wiring for new lighting to help the Border Patrol spot illegal crossers. "It's exciting to do something that's relevant to the safety of the United States," said Capt. Talon Greeff, the unit's commander. "There is a sense of excitement when you are doing something real-world." The goal is to strengthen the border and free up border agents to catch illegal immigrants. The guardsmen are unarmed and wearing hardhats instead of Kevlar helmets — "we do not want to appear as if we're militarizing the border," Greeff said. They will not perform any law enforcement duties. The troops arrived in Yuma on Saturday and were briefed Sunday on their mission and given tips on how to survive the triple-digit heat of the Arizona desert. Under Bush's plan, up to 6,000 National Guardsmen will be sent to the four southern border states. Officials say 300 Guardsmen from Arizona are expected to begin arriving at the state's border in mid-June. The Utah unit is working in San Luis, 25 miles south of Yuma, home of the nation's busiest Border Patrol station. Two sets of barriers run along the border: a 12-foot corrugated-metal fence and, about 50 yards to the north, an 8-foot chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. Surveillance cameras are mounted on towers, and stadium lights help agents spot people trying to slip across at night. Most of the 11 soldiers assigned to operate the heavy equipment have full-time jobs in the construction business in Utah. They would normally be pulling two weeks of training duty at this time of year anyway. Now they are working to widen the dusty dirt track used by the Border Patrol, compact it and top it with gravel so agents can get to hot spots faster. "They all feel pretty privileged to be out here as part of the first group," said Sgt. 1st Class James Colledge, a 52-year-old truck driver from West Valley, Utah. In San Luis, some residents were pleased with the guard's presence. Raymond Ruiz, a clerk at Charles and Frank Auto Parts, said the response was long overdue. "I think we need it, because besides illegal people coming across, I know there's drugs and you never know, maybe some terrorists one of these days," Ruiz said. Others were leery, worried that legal border crossers would stop shopping. Alex Furniture employee Israel Escobar said the Guard's presence "scares the people. No one wants to buy in the U.S." But his co-worker, Israel Torres, disagreed. "It's OK. It's right, because it means more security in the houses," Torres said. "I live next to the border, and I'm afraid."

Securing The Border (Again) (NYT)
By John Tierney The New York Times, June 6, 2006 President Bush heads to New Mexico today to visit his new favorite school, the Border Patrol Academy. He wants it to train thousands more federal agents, but they'll make little difference unless Bush can teach Republicans the lesson learned by agents like Buck Brandemuehl a half century ago — the last time anyone could seriously claim the border was under control. In the 1950's, federal agents were initially overwhelmed by waves of Mexican farmworkers illegally crossing the border. The number of immigrants apprehended surpassed half a million in 1951 and was approaching 900,000 in 1953, a level roughly comparable to the situation now. Back then there were fewer than 2,000 federal agents patrolling the borders, less than a fifth the size of today's force. But within two years, the flow of illegal immigrants declined so drastically that the immigration service declared in its 1955 annual report, "The border has been secured." And it stayed that way the rest of the decade. The number of immigrants caught kept dropping until it reached 45,000 in 1959 — a decline of 95 percent in just six years. "We really had to scratch for illegals," recalls Brandemuehl, who worked along the New Mexico border in the late 1950's. "We'd do traffic checks and freight-train checks, but we weren't apprehending many people. We'd go camp on the border and look for tracks, but in 30 days you might apprehend only 15 or 20 people, and a lot of them weren't even farmworkers. They were criminals sneaking back and forth to rob ranchers." What stopped the farmworkers from sneaking across? It wasn't simply the get-tough measures that Republicans are calling for today. Although federal agents did intensify their efforts, conducting sweeps of farms and ranches, immigration officials realized that stricter enforcement wasn't enough. 128

Along with the crackdown, officials encouraged farmers and ranchers to legally hire Mexican temporary workers called braceros. As new rules made it easier to hire braceros, the number of these legal workers doubled to more than 400,000 at the same time illegal immigration was plummeting. "We wanted people to come in the front door, not the back door," Brandemuehl says. The agents' job became simpler not only because there were fewer Mexicans to catch but also because there was more help from American employers. Once farmers and ranchers could legally get the workers they needed, they were more willing to cooperate with agents tracking down illegal immigrants. Unfortunately, though, Congress started shutting the front door. The bracero program became controversial, partly because American labor unions objected to the competition and partly because of concerns that Mexicans were being exploited. Some of the complaints were legitimate, but Congress's response didn't leave immigrants any better off. They ended up with even fewer rights because they were working illegally after the bracero program was restricted in 1960 and then eliminated four years later. As the number of legal workers entering from Mexico dropped during the 1960's, the number of illegal immigrants shot back up, and kept increasing after new limits were placed on other visas available to Mexicans in 1968. The border has been out of control ever since, even though the number of agents has grown to 11,000. "Tough enforcement alone can't work unless you allow more people in legally," says Stuart Anderson of the National Foundation for American Policy, who has studied the impact of the bracero program. Today President Bush and the Senate are trying to apply that lesson by expanding the number of legal immigrants and temporary workers. These visiting workers would have more rights than braceros, which is why the reforms are supported by the United Farm Workers and other unions. But Republicans in the House are resisting. They say they won't expand legal opportunities until the border is first secured — which will never happen if they have their way. In 1958, a high-ranking immigration official named James Hennessy was quizzed by a House committee about his agency's success in controlling the border. He said it was due in large part to the increase in legal immigration. When he was asked how his agents would control the border if the bracero program ended, he gave a prescient reply that's more relevant than ever today: "We can't do the impossible, Mr. Congressman."

Mexico Hopes Reserve Will Slow Crossings (AP)
By Mark Stevenson AP, June 5, 2006 Mexico is creating an environmental reserve about 30 feet wide and 600 miles long on the Texas border, a "green wall" to protect the Rio Grande from the roads and staging areas that smugglers use to ferry drugs and migrants across the frontier. Much of this border zone is remote and inhospitable — generally too rough to hike through unless you're a black bear or a pronghorn sheep, species that have flourished in the area's deserts and mountains. And that's the way Mexico wants to keep it. While the proposed Rio Bravo del Norte Natural Monument is only about 30 feet wide, it will connect two large protected areas south of the river. When a third nature reserve, known as Ocampo, is created this year, the protected areas in Mexico will form a "wall" of millions of acres of wilderness, matching Texas' Big Bend parks foot-by-foot along the border. "This stretch of border is the safest one we have. It's safe because it has wilderness on both sides," said Carlos Manterrola, who heads the environmental group Unidos Para la Conservacion. Big Bend National Park has had some problems with migrant and drug trafficking, but superintendent John King says extending protected areas on either side of the border will likely keep the problem from getting worse. "When you have a roadless area, you make it more difficult for these activities to happen," King said. The strip protects a much longer stretch of riverbank, from just downstream of the Texas border town of Presidio to the outskirts of Laredo, Texas, raising the possibility of still larger reserves that will serve as biological corridors, encouraging fourfooted traffic but making it exceedingly difficult for humans to pass. In other border areas where U.S. reserves aren't fully matched in Mexico — such as Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument — primitive roads and ramshackle hamlets have sprung up on the Mexican side to provide supplies and staging areas to illegal border crossers. They have then overrun U.S. wilderness areas. As the U.S. puts up more fencing near cities and popular crossing zones, migrants will likely be looking for new routes in remote areas. 129

That happened with the Mexican hamlet of Las Chepas, which became a hub for undocumented border crossers. The problem got so bad that Mexican authorities — at the urging of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson — bulldozed 31 buildings to discourage them from being used as a smuggling haven. Now, Mexico is working on yet another "mirror" border reserve, to be announced this summer in an area known as the Janos grasslands, roughly west of Las Chepas and across from the Alamo Hueco Mountains and Big Hatchet Mountains Wilderness areas in New Mexico's boot heel region. Law enforcement is a problem at many Mexican parks, but if well policed, the 1.2 million acres of the proposed Janos wilderness area could not only protect one of the largest prairie dog populations in North America, but also present a natural barrier to smugglers moving deeper into the wild as border security tightens. Mexican ranchers and environmentalists applauded the Rio Bravo del Norte proposal, which was published Monday, starting a 30-day comment period. Along with the Ocampo wilderness, it will protect several pine- and oak-clad mountains often described as "sky islands," temperate mountaintop enclaves divided by seas of heat-seared desert or grassland. "This would close the circle," said Jesus Armando Verduzco, a 73-year-old ranch owner from Ocampo. "Perhaps later, we could do a bit of hunting, eco-tourism, preserve it for humanity." Some environmentalists say this policy of establishing nature preserves along the border could be a more effective alternative to the walls and "smart" fences being pondered in Congress. "The whole idea that people are coming up through wilderness and roadless areas, and that's simply not the case," said David Hodges, policy director of the Sky Island Alliance. "People have a tendency to stay near roads, because they don't get lost and that's where they get picked up. ... It would be disastrous to put roads through these areas."

AP: Millions Of Visa Overstays Overlooked (AP-Y2)
By Will Weissert AP2, June 5, 2006 Millions of illegal immigrants in the United States never jumped the U.S.-Mexico border where Congress wants to erect impenetrable walls and President Bush is sending National Guard troops to patrol. They never sneaked in at all. The little-acknowledged reality is that nearly half the estimated 12 million undocumented foreigners in the United States entered on bona fide U.S. visas — and simply never left. Authorities call them "overstays" who have been largely overlooked in the vitriolic debate on immigration. "The southwestern border gets all the attention, but it's staggering the number of people who come and overstay their visa," said Dean Boyd, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington. "It's a very large-scale problem." A study by the Washington-based Pew Hispanic Center last month indicated that 45 percent of the undocumented migrants in the United States overstayed legal visas. Confirming those findings or knowing the home country of those who overstay their visas is tricky because U.S. authorities don't track the problem. Immigration authorities also generally don't compare entry and exit information to see who should have left the country. "There's no annual reports published on visa overstays because obviously these people are hiding and don't want to be found," Boyd said. Ana Luisa certainly doesn't, so she asked that her last name not be used. The Mexico City native lives in Dallas with her husband, 13-year-old son and 5-month-old daughter — who was born in the United States and is an American citizen — and volunteers at a middle school. When she moved to the United States, she made sure to return to Mexico every six months to renew her tourist visa. But the trip soon became a chore and she let her visa lapse a year ago. Now if she returns to Mexico again she likely won't be able to get another U.S. visa. "I'm illegal, but I'm someone who is trying to help with my work," she said in a phone interview. Ana Luisa said she would never have sneaked across the border to get into the United States, and didn't see the harm in overstaying her visa. In Dallas, she said, her son is able to get a better education than he would in Mexico. "I wouldn't risk my life in the river or in the desert like thousands of others do," she said. Many borrow the social security numbers of legal residents or use falsified documents to build what appear to be legal identities, making it difficult for employers to know when someone is undocumented. Others work informally, as maids, gardeners or in other jobs where employers rarely require paperwork, despite federal law. The immigration reforms soon to be hashed out in a Congressional conference committee may crack down on employers who fail to make sure their workers are legal. But it's unclear whether the proposed reforms will send many "overstayers" home. 130

The U.S. State Department issued nearly 5.4 million temporary, nonimmigrant visas in fiscal year 2005, and about 17 percent went to Mexicans. The most common visas are for tourism, business travel and medical care. Boyd said he couldn't pinpoint the type of visa that is overstayed the most. Thousands of foreigners who come as students remain in the United States after finishing school or dropping out, and many who come on work visas lose their jobs or stay after their papers expire. Of course, getting a visa in the first place is a challenge. Lines at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City form before dawn. Applicants pay $100 for an appointment, bringing proof of employment, savings and family and community roots. Still, Embassy spokeswoman Judith Bryan said most applicants are approved — about 70 percent. "The main thing is you have to have sufficient ties to your home country to show you are coming back," she said. "The law — not just for Mexico but everywhere — says that the burden is on the applicant to prove they aren't going to stay. In some cases that's very difficult, especially if you have a lot of family in the U.S. and you don't own property or have money in a bank at home." Ricardo Ortiz, 55, said visitors who overstay their visas have made it harder for honest people to get visas in the first place. For each of the past 10 years, he has spent nine months working legally at a Long Island racehorse farm. "Those who are working there and don't have papers are making trouble and holding up our visas," he said, waiting for his Embassy appointment in Mexico City. "We are legal workers, and we are being unfairly hurt." Nasario Perez, 36, spent three hours on a bus to get to his embassy appointment. He hoped to take a landscaping job in New York state, but said there was no way he would overstay his visa. "If I do good work and then leave, I will have a chance to get a visa the next time," he said. "That's more important than extra money I could make by staying too long."

Immigration Debate Stirs Racial Tensions (AP-Y2)
By Erin Texeira AP2, June 5, 2006 As the fight over immigration reform drags on, an ominous undercurrent to the debate — racism — is becoming more pronounced. From muttered ethnic slurs to violent attacks, activists say an anti-immigrant backlash seems to be growing in America's neighborhoods and workplaces. A few political leaders have called proposed immigration measures before Congress "racist." "The climate has gotten demonstrably worse and it is racially charged," said Devin Burghart of the Center for New Community, which tracks anti-immigrant activity. "It's not simply a debate about immigration policy. ... It's about race and national identity and who and what we are as Americans." Some activists say the House of Representatives started it. When lawmakers passed a bill in December that would make illegal immigrants felons, many felt that was a swipe at Latinos, who make up 80 percent of the nation's estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Former President Jimmy Carter has said the bill had "racist overtones," and that feeling helped push more than 1 million demonstrators to attend street rallies in recent months. Some reacted the same way after the Senate passed an amendment to its immigration bill last month that declared English the national language. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, called that "racist" and "divisive." The amendment's sponsor, Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe (news, bio, voting record), replied that Reid's statements were "ridiculous." Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, who wrote much of the House bill, issued a study on six countries' immigration policies and found that five — including Mexico — make illegal entry into their nation a criminal offense. But Luis Valenzuela, of the Long Island Immigration Alliance in New York, said the measures feel hostile to many immigrants. The bills "set (an) overall climate which is quite racist," he said. "That elicits action by extremists." Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which has tracked hate crimes for decades, said that hate groups "consistently try and exploit any public discussion that has some kind of racial angle, and immigration has worked for hate groups in America better than any issue in years." The Anti-Defamation League, a nonprofit that fights anti-Semitism and other bias, put out a report last month that said "hateful and racist rhetoric" aimed at Latino immigrants had grown "to a level unprecedented in recent years." The report did not give an overall figure for hate speech and hate crimes, but detailed numerous examples including: • Two men in Tennessee who were sentenced to prison in December for shattering windows and painting Nazi symbols in a local Mexican market. • Internet video games, such as one called "Border Patrol," urge players to shoot characters drawn as Latino caricatures. 131

• New Jersey Internet radio talk show host Hal Turner posted an "ethnic cleansing manual" on his Web site days after the massive May 1 protests. Near Houston, two white teenagers were arrested in April, accused of beating a Latino youth and sodomizing him with a pipe. Days later, on Long Island, a white teen was accused of threatening two Latinos with a machete and a chain saw. Police say ethnic slurs were used in each case. In Herndon, Va., opponents of a day laborer work site regularly picket it, taking photographs of workers and threatening to follow them home, said Bill Threlkeld, director of Project Hope and Harmony, a nonprofit that runs the site. When a man protesting the site wore a "Whites Only" T-shirt, a neighborhood controversy had become an ethnic issue, Threlkeld said. Sociologist Gonzalo Santos of California State University at Bakersfield said immigration is just the latest example of social policy issues taking on racial overtones in America. "People talk about immigration as if race doesn't matter, saying 'No, I don't have anything against immigrants or Mexicans, it's just the illegal part of it I don't like.' But those are code words," he said. "We experience race in this country through issues like welfare policy, anti-poverty programs and now immigration." Cecilia Munoz of the National Council of La Raza said it's important for immigration advocates not to slip into bias themselves. Most people on the other side are engaging in civil discussions focused on public policy, not ethnicity, she said. "The assumption is that we believe everybody who disagrees with us in this debate must be a racist but that's absolutely false," Munoz said. "But we are feeling the effects of what can only be described as racism and hatred. "We get letters with ethnic slurs. I've personally been called 'wetback' and a word beginning with 'n' that I don't like to say. This is in the last two months." Increasingly, security is a concern. For the first time at its annual conference last year, La Raza offered a program to community groups on how to stay safe amid harassment. "It was well-attended," Munoz said. "We plan to do it again this year." ___ On the Net: Anti-Defamation League: Southern Poverty Law Center:

Witness To The American Dream (USAT)
By Patrick Welsh USA Today, June 6, 2006 Until the early '80s, the central issue at T.C. Williams High School, where I teach, was always this: How do we teach relatively well-off whites and relatively poor blacks together without shortchanging or alienating either group? But while T.C. and the rest of the Alexandria, Va., school system wrestled with the black-white issue, another challenge surfaced. A steady influx of Hispanic students, many of them destitute Central Americans illiterate in their own language, gradually transformed the complexion of the community. With all the recent talk of immigration reform, one thing has become clear to me: While Congress still must thrash out its differences on policy, I can put real faces on this issue. Each day, I teach students who are immigrants, probably legal and illegal, and I can tell you that when I look into the eyes of these kids, I do not feel the sort of fear or loathing that some Americans have voiced. Instead, I see on their part a yearning to learn and a motivation to succeed that I don't always see in my Americanborn students. Certainly, we cannot open the door to every immigrant who wants to make this country home. But for those already here, I hope they will be given the opportunity to stay. These students not only enrich our society, but they also bring parts of the world closer together. Magnet for immigrants Since the early '70s, Alexandria, right across the river from Washington, D.C., has been a magnet for immigrants from trouble spots all over the world. At T.C., Alexandria's only high school, I have taught kids from such places as Korea, Iran, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Ethiopia. Getting to know these kids has given teachers and students a sense of being connected to the larger world. Though many Americans had no idea where Afghanistan was prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, it was very familiar to me. For years, I had been teaching students whose parents had escaped from the cities of Kabul and Kandahar after the Russian invasion in 1979. But I'd be less than honest if I didn't say that as a teacher I am well aware of the enormous social problems many immigrant families have. In some cases, parents come here alone before sending for their children. When the kids finally do 132

arrive, often as teenagers, they hardly know their parents and are rebellious. More common is that both parents work two jobs to survive; as a result, the kids are often left on their own. Some students are lured into gangs. Then there is the high rate of teen pregnancy, which leads many girls to drop out of school and become a burden on social services. In the past two decades, the Hispanic population has been the only one in the school system to grow: from 5.3% in 1983 to 26.7% today. One section of the city is now called Chirilagua, after a province in El Salvador. Alexandria, which is known for its liberal politics, reacted to this growth with disbelief, shock and anger. Many residents blamed city officials for allowing immigrant families, many of them illegal, to overcrowd apartments. Blacks primarily saw Hispanics as cutting into their jobs and benefits. Still, what I've witnessed are the virtues of the majority of these immigrant families. Many of them have family values and a work ethic that would shame many American families. While my middle-class students work for luxuries — to pay for the tanning salon or the latest cellphone or hot accessory for their car — most Hispanic kids I see work to support their families here or those who were left back in their native country. While middle-class neighborhoods are still dormant at 5 a.m., Chirilagua is bustling as men go out to work construction throughout the area. Successful transitions Many immigrant families have successfully assimilated into society over generations. I recently read in our local newspaper the name of Ilryong Moon, a Harvard graduate who is chairman of the Fairfax County, Va., school board. I remembered him in my class as a 16-year-old, fresh from Korea and fiercely determined to master English. Victor Ignacio is a highly respected Alexandria police detective. His father left the Dominican Republic to settle in America, and five years later sent for Victor, then 12 years old, and the rest of the family. Many of our school history books are filled with success stories of immigrants who have made significant contributions to America. But there are still more stories to be written. Take T.C. Williams senior Jeff Hernandez. He knows how different his life would have been had his mother not left war-torn El Salvador 20 years ago and made the dangerous journey through Mexico to the California border, where she slipped into the USA illegally. Eventually, she ended up as a housekeeper and was sponsored for citizenship by her employers. On the two trips he took to El Salvador, Jeff, who was born in the United States, saw poverty that stunned him. That made him all the more determined to live his mother's American dream. The captain of T.C. Williams' Virginia state champion 4x400 relay team, Jeff will enter Virginia Commonwealth University in the fall, the first member of his family to attend college. The transformation that has taken place in Alexandria merely represents a microcosm of what is going on across America today. As a teacher on one of the frontlines where immigration is most visible, I can assure you we have nothing to fear, and much to hope for, from these students and their families. Patrick Welsh is an English teacher at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., and a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors.

Fed Chief Startles Markets (USAT)
By Sue Kirchhoff USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke suggested Monday that the central bank might have to keep raising interest rates to combat “unwelcome” inflation, even though the economy has started slowing. His comments rattled stock markets, which had one of their worst days of the year. In a speech to a banking conference here, Bernanke said the economy is entering “a period of transition” to less robust growth. But he also implied that inflation, pressured by high energy prices, is now the bigger threat. He vowed the Fed “will be vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern” of rising prices doesn't take permanent root. The inflation outlook for the next six to 12 months will receive “particular scrutiny” as the Fed sets policy, he said. Bernanke's language, suggesting that the central bank could raise short-term rates yet again when it meets June 28-29, shook up financial markets. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 199 points, or 1.8%, to 11,049. That's the third-worst one-day sell-off of the year for the Dow, which has lost 594 points since May 10. Small stocks fared even worse, with the Russell 2000 small-stock index falling 3.2%, its biggest drop this year. That's because some traders and economists had anticipated that the Fed, which has boosted rates 16 times since mid2004, might take a breather in June, given last week's gloomy employment report showing businesses created 75,000 jobs in May — far fewer than expected. A private report Monday showed the service sector expanding at a less rapid clip. The Fed wants to move its target for short-term rates, now 5%, to a level that keeps prices under control but is not so high that it unduly chokes off growth. 133

Mark Zandi of Moody's says he was surprised by the hawkish tone of Bernanke's speech, given that the economy is cooling faster than expected. He said a good case could be made for the Fed to pause, though he expects a rate increase if inflation remains elevated. “(Bernanke) laid out a strong case why stable inflation is vital to long-term growth,” Zandi says. “He's new in his term and has to establish inflation-fighting credentials.” Bernanke said an “anticipated moderation of economic growth seems now to be underway,” adding that at such a time, interest rate “policy must be conducted with great care and with close attention to the evolution of the economic outlook.” The Fed chairman pointed to slowing consumer spending, a softening housing market and cooling job creation. The interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage has risen from about 5.6% in January 2005 to about 6.7% today, largely due to Fed action. At the same time, Bernanke noted, business investment is accelerating and the global economy is strong. But Bernanke made it clear that, from the Fed's point of view, the main ingredient for stable, sustained growth was stable inflation and inflation expectations. The Fed chairman pointed out that core consumer inflation, a measure that excludes food and energy prices, has risen at a 3.2% annual rate in the past three months and a 2.8% rate in the past six months. That's above the Fed's informal comfort range of 1% to 2%. “The (Fed) must continue to resist any tendency for increases in energy and commodity prices to become permanently embedded in core inflation,” he said. The economy expanded at a rapid 5.3% annual pace in the first three months of the year, a rate the Fed expects to slow but not stall.

Bernanke Talks Tough On Inflation (NYT)
By Edmund L. Andrews The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, warned Monday that recent inflation trends were "unwelcome developments," indicating that he was far less worried about signs of weaker economic growth than about the danger of higher prices. In his toughest comments yet about the risks of inflation, Mr. Bernanke said consumer prices were rising faster than he would like. He gave short shrift to evidence of a slowdown in hiring, and he conspicuously avoided repeating his earlier suggestion that the Fed might consider a "pause" in its two-year program of steady interest rate increases. Investors, increasingly convinced that the central bank will raise rates at its two-day policy meeting at the end of this month, immediately began selling stocks. The Dow industrials and the broader Standard & Poor's 500-stock index each fell about 1.75 percent, and the Nasdaq index tumbled more than 2 percent. Bond prices also fell and interest yields edged up, particularly for two-year Treasury securities. The dollar rose slightly as traders in the Fed funds futures market sharply increased their bets that the central bank would lift its benchmark short-term interest rate another 0.25 percentage point from its current 5 percent. Speaking to a conference here on international monetary issues with other central bankers, Mr. Bernanke said inflation had climbed to the upper limits of his acceptability. "Core inflation, measured over the past three to six months, has reached a level that, if sustained, would be at or above the upper range that many economists, including myself, would consider consistent with price stability," Mr. Bernanke said. Core inflation refers to the increase in prices for consumer goods and services other than food and energy, whose prices are more volatile and are considered not as important as others in determining whether inflation becomes embedded in the economy. Mr. Bernanke has previously said that core inflation should ideally remain between 1 and 2 percent a year. In his speech, he noted that it had been running at 3 percent over the last six months and 2.3 percent over the last 12 months. "These are unwelcome developments," the Fed chairman said. Jan Hatzius, chief United States economist at Goldman Sachs, said Mr. Bernanke was signaling that the Fed was likely to raise interest rates for a 17th time in two years when its policy-making committee meets on June 28-29. "He's trying to send a pretty fair message that he's going to err on the side of doing more rather than doing less," Mr. Hatzius said. But Mr. Hatzius, who had been predicting that the Fed would not raise rates in June, said the decision was not yet signed, sealed and delivered.


Fed officials will take a close look at the coming report on consumer price increases in May, which is scheduled to be released on June 14, he said. And they will be watching for additional evidence that the economy is slowing more abruptly than previously thought. But with Mr. Bernanke and other Fed officials sounding increasingly hawkish on inflation, many analysts contend that the Fed faces less risk of slowing the economy too much by "overshooting" in its rate increases than it would if it let inflationary expectations take hold among consumers and businesses. "They know that if they are perceived to have gone too far, they can change things fairly quickly by reducing rates," said Nigel Gault, a forecaster at Global Insight in Lexington, Mass. "They probably also know that credibility on inflation, once lost, may be difficult to get back." Mr. Bernanke made clear that he thought the economy was now in a "transition" to slower economic growth, but he took little solace from data showing that wages had climbed only modestly, that the housing market appeared to be cooling and that job creation appeared to have slowed markedly. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the nation added an estimated 75,000 nonfarm jobs in May, only about half as many as most economists consider necessary to absorb the normal increase in the labor force. Instead of highlighting signs of a cooling economy, which would ease inflationary pressures, Mr. Bernanke placed top emphasis on the need for vigilance against rising prices. "Given recent developments, the medium-term outlook for inflation will receive particular scrutiny," Mr. Bernanke said. "There is a strong consensus among the members of the Federal Open Market Committee that maintaining low and stable inflation is essential" for achieving the central bank's dual goals of price stability and full employment. The Fed, he continued, "will be vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern of elevated monthly core inflation readings is not sustained." Despite the sharp sell-off in stock markets after Mr. Bernanke spoke, some analysts cautioned that the Fed had not necessarily closed the door to a pause. "Mr. Bernanke's speech is more nuanced than the headlines at first suggest," wrote Ian C. Shepherdson, who tracks the American economy for High Frequency Economics, noting that the Fed chairman had been his most emphatic yet in stating that the economy was indeed starting to cool off. But Mr. Bernanke's tough tone on Monday contrasted starkly with his testimony in late April before the Senate Banking Committee. In those remarks, Mr. Bernanke explicitly broached the idea of refraining from a rate increase at a Fed meeting to take more time to evaluate incoming economic information, and he said that the Fed might pause even if data pointed to lingering inflation pressure. In the days that followed, bond investors began selling off Treasury bonds and pushing up yields amid rising suspicions that Mr. Bernanke was soft on inflation. Those concerns have since abated. Yields on 10-year Treasury notes, which are closely tied to rates on home mortgages, peaked at about 5.19 percent in mid-May but have since declined to about 5 percent. On Monday, Mr. Bernanke also avoided any recitation of the Fed's statement after its last rate increase on May 10, when it said that the "extent and timing" of additional increases would depend on how incoming information affects the economic outlook. He also continued to leave his options open but characterized low and stable inflation as a prerequisite for sustainable economic growth. And while he noted that the recent surge in energy prices was likely to abate, he warned that oil prices might have contributed to the rise in core inflation and that volatile prices for oil and other commodities "remain a risk" to the inflation outlook. "The best way to prevent increases in energy and commodity prices from leading to persistently higher rates of inflation," Mr. Bernanke said, "is by anchoring the public's long-term inflation expectations."

Dow Falls 1.77% As Fed Chief Adds To Investor Jitters (WSJ)
By E.S. Browning And Greg Ip The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 A surprisingly frank inflation warning from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stoked fears of further interest-rate increases, adding to investor jitters and knocking the Dow Jones Industrial Average down almost 200 points to its lowest finish since March 9. Speaking at an international bankers' conference in Washington, Mr. Bernanke warned that inflation in recent months has been running "at or above the upper end of the range that many economists, including myself, would consider consistent with price stability." He said Fed policy makers would remain "vigilant" to ensure that recent inflation readings don't become the norm. 135

Although other parts of Mr. Bernanke's speech indicated that he sees signs economic growth is slowing, investors quickly concluded that the odds have increased that the Fed will raise target short-term interest rates at its policy meeting on June 2829. Stocks, which already were down earlier in the day on worries about the outlook for oil prices and interest rates, fell further in the wake of Mr. Bernanke's speech. The Dow Jones industrials tumbled 199.15 points, or 1.77%, to 11048.72. Fears of more interest-rate increases have been spreading since the Fed warned of that possibility at its last policy meeting on May 10. The industrial average now is down 593.93 points, or 5.1%, from its May 10 six-year high of 11642.65. That close was less than 100 points short of the industrial average's record finish of 11722.98 in January 2000. Since mid-May, inflation fears also have roiled a variety of international markets. The prices of many industrial commodities, such as metals, have fallen sharply, as have stock markets in developing countries and in developed nations from Japan to Europe. Despite yesterday's declines in the U.S., the Dow Jones industrials are still up 3.1% for the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index, full of volatile technology stocks, fell 2.24%, or 49.79 points, yesterday to 2169.62. It is down 1.6% for the year. The concern among investors is that inflation is proving more resilient than expected, despite the Fed's campaign of interest-rate increases that began two years ago. Over that time, the Fed has raised its target rate for overnight bank lending to 5% from 1%. Investor attention now will focus on the government's next release of consumer-price data, due on Wednesday of next week. If the pace of inflation doesn't show signs of slowing, fears of more interest-rate increases will spread. Higher rates are bad news for stocks because they weigh on corporate profits and make alternative investments, such as money-market accounts, more attractive. The prospect of higher short-term rates also is bad news for bonds, because it suggests that future bond yields probably will be higher, making existing bonds, with their lower yields, less attractive. In response to Mr. Bernanke's speech, Treasurybond prices fell, pushing the yield of the 10-year Treasury note up to 5.024%. Mr. Bernanke's remarks were unexpectedly hawkish. He called a recent rise in inflation "unwelcome," and his comments overall suggested the Fed is more concerned about recent price developments than by signs of slowing economic growth, such as the sharp slowdown in job growth in May. The May jobs report had prompted many economists to speculate that the Fed would finally pause in its tightening of monetary policy, with the idea that a slowing economy would ultimately keep a lid on inflation pressure. Mr. Bernanke's remarks yesterday, however, sent a different signal. They dwelt heavily on the risks of higher inflation. By contrast, he called signs of a weaker economy, including the soft jobs data, part of an "anticipated moderation of economic growth." He made it clear that the Fed's preoccupation, at least for now, will be keeping inflation down, not supporting economic growth. "Given recent developments, the medium-term outlook for inflation will receive particular scrutiny," Mr. Bernanke said. Fed policy makers "will be vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern of elevated monthly core inflation readings is not sustained." Inflation, measured by the consumer-price index, was 3.5% in April. By the Fed's preferred measure, which uses a different basket of goods and services and excludes food and energy, it was 2.1%, just above the 1% to 2% "comfort zone" of many Fed officials. Mr. Bernanke noted yesterday that in the past three months, inflation by the latter measure has been running at a 3% annualized rate. After Mr. Bernanke spoke, futures markets raised their odds to 74% that the Fed would further increase its target for shortterm interest rates to 5.25% from the current 5%. They had put those odds at 48% before his speech. While one more rate increase is unlikely to weaken the economy much, it does, at the margin, raise the odds of a sharper economic slowdown than investors had so far been betting on. Expectations of the Fed's actions have swung wildly in the past month. In late April, Mr. Bernanke told Congress the Fed might pause in its rate increases, even if inflation remained a risk, to assess the impact of previous rate increases. He indicated that a pause need not mean a halt. But some investors questioned the wisdom of signaling a pause when the economy still appeared strong and inflation data had turned worrisome. Higher inflation data a few weeks later further cemented those concerns, and some analysts said Mr. Bernanke's anti-inflation credentials were being tested. While Fed officials don't believe their credibility is in danger, Mr. Bernanke's remarks yesterday may have been aimed in part at putting to rest any doubts about his commitment to low inflation. But the remarks don't guarantee another rate increase later this month. If the inflation data reported next week are tame, or there are signs of a more pronounced slowing in the economy, the Fed could decide to leave rates alone. 136

Among investors, meanwhile, worries are spreading that they have gone too far in their pursuit of stocks related to economic growth and industrial commodities. Shares of equipment maker Caterpillar fell 4.8% yesterday and aluminum maker Alcoa shed 3.7%. Some analysts thought investors overreacted to the Bernanke speech. They noted that Mr. Bernanke pointed to signs of a cooling economy, which could suggest that, if data show inflation relenting, the Fed might be prepared to pause soon in its rate increases. "We're still leaving the June hike penciled in, lightly," wrote Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, after the Bernanke speech. "But the key point for medium-term investors is that a real slowdown is here; a June hike will be the last hike." But not everyone was so optimistic yesterday. Financial markets began the day lower in reaction to soaring crude-oil futures. Futures rose as high as $73.40 a barrel after a speech Sunday in which Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said Iranian oil shipments could be "seriously jeopardized" if the West tried to punish Iran for its nuclear program. By day's end, those worries dissipated, and oil finished up just 27 cents at $72.60. But by then, Mr. Bernanke's speech had seized center stage. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index suffered its second-heaviest decline of 2006 in percentage terms, falling within 11 points of its low for the year, which it hit in February. The S&P 500 declined 1.78%, or 22.93 points, to 1265.29, still up 1.4% this year. The Nasdaq composite's decline also was its second-heaviest of the year, while the Dow's was its third-worst. Although the Dow Jones industrials still are less than 700 points off their record, the S&P and Nasdaq composite, which fell harder in the bear market, remain far from records. The dollar, which becomes a more attractive investment when interest rates rise, gained 0.1% yesterday against the euro and 0.5% against the yen. It remains down against both currencies for the year. Gold rose $7.70 to $643.20 a troy ounce.

Inflation Above Fed's 'Comfort Zone' (WT)
By Patrice Hill The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke yesterday signaled more interest-rate increases are likely because underlying inflation has spiked to "unwelcome" levels, touching off a nearly 200-point drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Mr. Bernanke's remarks before a gathering of international bankers here came as oil prices surged on a threat from Iran's supreme leader to withhold energy supplies if the United States attempts to punish the Middle Eastern oil producer for pursuing nuclear research -- a development that also troubled the markets because it adds to inflation and weakens economic growth. Mr. Bernanke blamed high energy prices for zapping consumer spending and confidence this year as well as pushing the underlying, or "core," level of inflation above levels that the Fed will tolerate. Core inflation, which excludes energy prices but reflects moves to pass on higher energy costs by businesses, has been running between 2.3 percent and 3.2 percent, he said, above the Fed's 1 percent to 2 percent "comfort zone." "These are unwelcome developments," he said. The Fed's rate-setting committee "will be vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern of elevated monthly core-inflation readings is not sustained." The economy is in a transition to substantially slower growth under the weight of four percentage points of interest-rate increases the Fed has ordered in 16 actions in the past two years, Mr. Bernanke said. The economy from now on should grow no faster than its average potential growth rate -- estimated at about 2.5 percent to 3 percent -- to ensure that inflation does not get out of hand, he said. His remarks caused markets to plunge not only at the prospect of higher rates but also on fears that the Fed may go too far and induce a severe slowdown or recession by raising rates too much. Mr. Bernanke has proven to be far more hawkish on inflation than Wall Street expected when he took office in February, and his remarks yesterday were among his toughest yet on the need to stamp out the inflation threat. Stocks plunged across the board, with the Dow falling 199 points to end at 11,049, and other major indexes posting declines in the 2-percent range. Market interest rates and the dollar rose in anticipation of higher short-term rates, retracing declines they posted Friday when a report showing weak job growth convinced many on Wall Street that the Fed would pause at its next meeting June 29 and not raise rates. Mr. Bernanke noted that job gains have tailed off this year and said that was "consistent with the softening in the pace of overall economic activity that seems to be under way." He added that the low unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, however, suggests that wage growth that so far has been subdued could start to pick up and add to inflation pressures. 137

"He's telling you inflation concerns are tipping the scale toward raising rates," said Raymond Remy, head of fixed income at Daiwa Securities America Inc. Mr. Bernanke held out hope that inflation pressures will ease later this year if oil prices come down -- a possibility that seemed remote yesterday as worries about the nuclear standoff between Iran and the United States continued to roil the markets. By some estimates, the Iran affair has added $15 to the price of premium crude, which landed at $72.31 a barrel at the end of New York trading yesterday. As yesterday's developments showed, the Fed has little control over crude prices despite its efforts to keep inflation low. Oil prices in recent years have been driven higher by strong demand in the United States and China that has barely been matched by the growth in supplies worldwide because of persistent geopolitical tensions in the Middle East and elsewhere. The Fed's rate increases have mostly failed to temper demand among Americans consumers, who use a quarter of the world's oil supplies primarily to fuel their cars and sport utility vehicles. To the extent that consumers have cut back on spending in response to higher prices and interest rates, it has been in other areas, such as eating out. Consumers also have maintained their spending patterns despite high prices by going deeper into debt -- a trend that the Fed also seeks to stop.

Fed Chief’s Fears Fuel Talk Of Rate Hike (FT)
By Krishna Guha And Richard Beales Financial Times, June 6, 2006 Stocks tumbled on Monday after Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, expressed strong personal concern about the recent rise in inflation, raising expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates again this month. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite index had their worst day since January, with the S&P 500 down 1.78 per cent at 1265.29 and the Nasdaq down 2.24 per cent at 2169.62. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.77 per cent to 11,048.72. Treasury bonds also fell, while the dollar benefited from the expectation of higher US rates, rebounding against the yen and the euro. The Fed chairman told a conference organised by the American Bankers Association that core inflation - excluding energy and food prices - had reached a level that “if sustained, would be at or above the upper end of the range that many economists, including myself, would consider consistent with price stability.” He pledged that the Fed would be “vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern of elevated monthly core inflation readings is not sustained.” In the futures market, the probability of a rate rise this month jumped to more than 70 per cent, up from about 50 per cent at the close on Friday, when weak jobs data suggested the Fed might pause this month. Mr Bernanke also called for “greater flexibility of exchange rates” in order to moderate global economic imbalances. This is generally regarded as code for dollar depreciation against at least some other currencies. The Fed chairman’s tough talk on inflation may, in part, reflect a desire to strengthen perceptions of his own inflationfighting commitment, amid some concern in the markets that the Fed has been slow to react to inflation data. Mr Bernanke said the Fed would pay close attention to inflation expectations, which have risen recently. He said “the best way to prevent increases in energy and commodity prices from leading to persistently higher rates of inflation is by anchoring the public’s inflation expectations.” He said this required both a strong commitment to fighting inflation, and a predictable response to economic developments. However, in a sign that the June rate decision remains finely poised, the Fed chairman emphasised that there is growing evidence that the economy is slowing, as required to cool overall inflationary pressures. Mr Bernanke said “the anticipated moderation of economic growth seems now to be under way.” He said consumer spending had “decelerated noticeably” and the housing market was cooling. The weak jobs data was “consistent with the softening in the pace of overall economic activity.” The Fed chairman also pledged to take “full account of the lags with which monetary policy affects the economy.” Mr Bernanke said the economy was in a “period of transition” during which policy had to be “conducted with great care and with close attention to the evolution of the economic outlook as implied by incoming information.” But he added that “given recent developments, the medium term outlook for inflation will receive particular scrutiny.”

Fed Chief Raises Inflation Concern (WP)
By Nell Henderson And Brooke A. Masters The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke expressed more concern about rising inflation than the cooling U.S. economy yesterday, sending his strongest signal yet that interest rates are probably headed higher. 138

Stocks plunged after Bernanke vowed to combat the recent "unwelcome" pickup in inflation, even as he told an international bankers' conference that an economic slowdown "seems now to be underway." The combination of high inflation and sluggish growth causes pain throughout an economy: Rising prices reduce the purchasing power of workers' wages, erode savings and diminish the returns on investment. Slow growth pushes up unemployment, squeezes corporate profit and discourages businesses from expanding. Like many economists, Bernanke argues that keeping inflation low is vital to promoting a strong economy because it allows people to make purchases, borrow money, plan for retirement, invest and make other financial decisions without worrying about rising prices. But beating inflation means raising interest rates, which crimps consumer spending by raising borrowing costs. "He came right out and said we're worried about inflation," said Arthur Hogan, chief market analyst at Jefferies & Co. "Just what the market didn't need to hear." Major U.S. stock market indicators fell about 2 percent on the day as Bernanke's comments deflated hopes that the Fed was near the end of two years of steady interest rate increases. After taking over as Fed chief in February, Bernanke's first public speech was on the importance of low inflation, or "price stability" in central bank jargon. Yet many analysts and investors in financial markets questioned his inflation-fighting credentials in recent weeks, particularly after he told Congress in late April that the Fed might leave interest rates unchanged at an upcoming meeting even if there were risks of higher inflation. Bernanke's comments yesterday left much less doubt. "He laid down a marker -- that inflation is the primary issue" for the Fed, said David Shulman, a senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast produced by the University of California at Los Angeles Anderson School of Management. Consumer price inflation has risen this year, largely because of climbing energy prices, Bernanke said. Moreover, he added, measures of "core" inflation, which exclude traditionally volatile food and energy prices, have also moved higher in recent months. The Labor Department's core consumer price index rose at a 3.2 percent annual rate over the past three months and at a 2.8 percent pace over the past six months, he said. "These are unwelcome developments," Bernanke said, deflating financial market hopes that the central bank would soon stop raising interest rates. Fed officials "will be vigilant to ensure that the recent pattern of elevated monthly core inflation readings is not sustained." Many analysts forecast the economy to slow as the housing market cools and dampens consumer spending, which would cause employers to pull back on hiring. That process has begun, Bernanke said. Still, he did not sound too worried about the economy's health, noting other sources of strength in rising U.S. exports, increased business investment, low unemployment and generally healthy consumer finances. Fed economists have expected consumer prices to rise temporarily this year, as businesses pass on some of their higher costs for energy, metals and other raw materials. But Bernanke expressed concern that inflation might persist at an unacceptably high level, particularly if it causes businesses and consumers to expect bigger price increases. Fed policymakers "must continue to resist any tendency for increases in energy and commodity prices to become permanently embedded in core inflation," Bernanke said. Before his warning, many investors believed there was a 50-50 chance the Fed might leave its benchmark short-term rate unchanged at its policymaking meeting June 28-29, taking a pause after two years of steady increases. After his remarks, futures markets traders boosted their bets that Fed officials will increase the rate to at least 5.25 percent from 5 percent, for a 17th consecutive increase. "The markets see [interest] rates going up and staying high for a while," while the economy slows and profits get squeezed, Shulman said. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 1.8 percent, its steepest one-day drop since January. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 1.8 percent, to its lowest level since early March. The Nasdaq composite index shed 2.2 percent, erasing any gain this year. Meanwhile, oil closed at more than $72 a barrel yesterday after Iran's leader threatened to reduce production in response to Western pressure to curtail that nation's nuclear technology program. Global financial markets have been volatile for more than a month, largely because of uncertainty about inflation, interest rates, oil prices and the pace of U.S. economic growth. The markets' reaction yesterday reversed the gains recorded Friday, when a weak labor-market report encouraged many investors to think the Fed would not raise interest rates this month for fear of "overshooting," or raising rates too high and triggering a sharper economic slump. But, Bernanke said, a single economic report, such as one month's employment figures, would not by itself change the Fed's interest rate policy. Rather, because interest rate changes take effect over many months, the Fed would study how such a report affects its forecast for the economy six to 12 months down the road. 139

"He seemed to have greater concern for inflation than a slowing economy," said Stephen Massoca, co-chief executive of the boutique investment bank Pacific Growth Equities LLC.

Fears Of Stagflation Leave Dow Battered (USAT)
By Adam Shell USA Today, June 6, 2006 NEW YORK — The Dow Jones industrial average suffered its fifth triple-digit loss in less than a month Monday after Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke said the central bank would keep fighting against still-worrisome inflation despite signs of a slowing economy. The Dow cratered 199 points to 11,049 for a 1.8% loss that was its third worst this year. But stocks of all types fell sharply. The biggest losses came in areas that had been market leaders before the recent slide began after May 10, when the Fed raised interest rates a 16th time and gave no sign it would stop boosting soon. The small-stock Russell 2000 index, for example, slumped 3.2%, as investors continued to reduce risk in their portfolios. Bernanke's comments unnerved investors because they raise fears of stagflation, an environment of rising prices and stagnating economic growth. His tough talk on inflation also increased concerns that the Fed will raise its target for short-term interest rates, currently 5%, again at the end of June, dashing hopes it would pause in its two-year-long rate-tightening campaign. The sell-off was the latest example of sharp volatility in reaction to Bernanke's comments. Bernanke, who took over for longtime Fed chief Alan Greenspan in January, continues to take a tough stance on inflation in an effort to enhance his inflationfighting credentials. But like past new Fed chairmen, analysts say he has had trouble earning credibility with Wall Street and has had mixed success communicating Fed policy. “Here we have some suspicion the economy may be weakening … and a struggling stock market,” says Jim Paulsen, strategist at Wells Capital Management. “And the Fed chairman chooses (Monday) to inform everyone he has decided to get tough on inflation.” That suggests the Fed will fight inflation even as the economy falters — “sort of a sense of stagnation,” he says. “That's always a bad word for the stock market.” Prior to Bernanke's comments, stocks were already deep in negative territory due to soaring crude prices sparked by threats from Iran that it would reduce oil exports to serve its political needs in the controversy with the West over its nuclear program. Gary Kaltbaum, a money manager at Kaltbaum & Associates, says the Fed has been sending mixed messages. “Monday, Bernanke states inflation is ‘at or above expectations.' But last week, all the other Fed (officials) said inflation was ‘well contained.' What changed in a week?” What's making the Fed officials' job more difficult is they told the market that they will make rate decisions based on economic data. But so-called data dependency creates an awful lot of short-term volatility, says John Caldwell, strategist at McDonald Financial.

Iran Rumblings Push Oil Prices Up (USAT)
By Barbara Hagenbaugh USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — Oil prices climbed to the highest in nearly a month Monday after Iran warned over the weekend that any efforts to punish the major oil producer could lead to a reduction in world supply. Average U.S. retail gasoline prices, meanwhile, edged higher. After jumping more than $1 in trading early in the day, oil ended the day up 27 cents at $72.60 a barrel. That was the highest since May 11 and marked the second-consecutive trading day of increases. Prices are less than $3 from the all-time high hit in April. “Today's price spikes may well be yet another ominous sign of higher prices to come, at least for the short- to mediumterm,” Moody's senior economist Matthew Cairns said in a note to clients from London. Cairns estimated the war of words between several countries, including the USA and Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer, has added 20% to the price of oil this year. Oil prices are likely to stay high in the near term, “as heightened geopolitical tensions will continue to spook markets,” he said. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Sunday denied that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons and said attempts to punish the country would jeopardize the world oil supply. Although Cairns, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others have noted that Iran relies too much on oil revenue to cut off supplies, the Iranian leader's comments still shook investors. 140

Bill Ferer, president of W.H. Reaves, a Jersey City investment management company that focuses on energy, says such statements have a big impact because the balance between supply and demand is so tight. “At a different time, at a different place, this would be a source of concern, but not nearly as much as it is today,” Ferer says. “The market is right to be concerned, given the clear lack of surplus producing capacity in lots of places. We just don't have it.” Although the USA does not import oil from Iran, there is concern that should sanctions be imposed on that country, there would be less oil on the world market. In other energy news, after falling for two consecutive weeks, the average retail gasoline price rose to $2.89 a gallon Monday, up more than 2 cents from a week ago and 78 cents higher than a year ago, the Energy Department said. Prices rose in such cities as Boston, Chicago and Cleveland, but fell in others, such as San Francisco and Seattle. Oil accounts for about half of the cost of gasoline at the pump.

High Cost Of Oil Could Put Many Jobs At Risk (USAT)
By Barbara Hagenbaugh USA Today, June 6, 2006 DARLINGTON, S.C. — Gazing out at the thousands of bales of fluffy, white polyester filling Wellman's factory, it's hard to imagine that the man-made fiber has the same origins as a gallon of gasoline. But it does. Of the 2.3 billion pounds of materials Wellman produces at its several factories around the world each year, 2 billion are derived from oil or natural gas. The company's polyester is used to make numerous products, including sports apparel, diapers and pillows. The rising cost of oil has put a squeeze on the companies that use oil as an ingredient for their products. Although they are down from the records seen recently, oil prices are up more than 20% from a year ago and are more than 150% higher than they were five years ago. Natural gas prices have also risen. Chemicals made from oil are used by companies to manufacture many products consumers rely on every day, such as plastic bottles, aspirin, lipstick and deodorant. “It's used in pretty much everything,” Wachovia economist Jason Schenker says. “I cannot look at my desk and see things that are not petroleum-based.” Even though oil-based products are so pervasive, the direct impact of the rise in the cost of making such goods on consumers has been — and likely will continue to be — minimal. That's because manufacturers, faced with strong global competition, are unable to pass along all of the added costs to customers. That means prices for most oil-derived products will likely barely budge as a result of higher energy costs. But the impact on manufacturers and other companies that use oil-based ingredients could be significant, causing a ripple effect throughout the economy. As firms are faced with rising prices and see their margins cut, they may have to cut back on production, reduce pay increases or maybe even cut jobs or shut down. “There's a squeeze going on,” Wellman CEO Tom Duff says. High oil prices are “an issue that extends beyond just the gas pump. But that's all anybody really pays any attention to.” Says John Hodgson, chief marketing and sales officer at DuPont, “This is about jobs.” At some companies, job losses are already hitting. Continental Tire announced last month that 481 employees will lose their jobs July 7 when it will drastically reduce production at its plant in Charlotte. The cutbacks are in part a response to higher raw material costs as well as declining demand for the company's tires in North America, Continental Tire says in a news release. The company has warned it may close the plant entirely. Tires are made with synthetic rubber produced with a chemical derived from oil. Although pink slips have not been given out, Angela Keener, 44, and her husband, Doug, 47, expect they will be part of the July 7 layoffs because they work on lines at the factory that are set to be cut. They have both worked at the tire plant for 25 years. They met on the factory floor and have been married for 21 years. Her sister and brother-in-law also work at the tire plant. “It's really upsetting to think that you have put that much time in, and then you have to start over,” says Angela of High Shoals, N.C. “I could lose everything I have worked for 25 years.” The layoffs are not unexpected. Angela began taking accounting classes in the fall, and Doug has been taking welding courses. They have also been saving money. Local governments across the country are warning they may have to let planned road projects lapse because prices for asphalt, an oil-based product, are skyrocketing. That means fewer hours for road workers. 141

Lynn Kading, president of Hills Materials, a highway contracting company in Rapid City, S.D., says his asphalt costs have doubled in the last year. He figures he has lost $3 million because governments, balking at the asphalt tab, have suspended projects that he has bid on recently. “It's a big industry concern,” Kading says. “It affects how much work we've got. Consequently, it affects how many hours our employees can get. And they have families to feed.” Wachovia's Schenker says the squeeze on companies could become more severe if oil prices exceed $70 a barrel for a considerable period. Making matters worse, many companies are being hit with higher energy prices on a number of fronts. Not only are prices of oil-based goods increasing, but so are transportation costs and electricity prices. But an extremely competitive market limits price increases. As the product gets processed further, the price increases typically get smaller because of strong competition at that level. By the time the product is in the hands of the average U.S. consumer, the gains are barely noticeable. “The further out you get from the initial increases, the less you see them,” says Stephen Brown, director of energy economics at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. Don Norman, economist at industry group Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, says U.S. companies are at a distinct disadvantage compared with companies in other parts of the world. “While the price of oil may be the same in the U.S. and China, the other cost of production, namely labor … gives foreign competitors that much more of an advantage,” he says. At Wellman, oil and natural gas account for approximately three-quarters of the company's total costs — including payroll and health care, typically the biggest costs for companies. In addition to making polyester, Wellman manufactures a BB-sized material made from energy-derived chemicals used to produce plastic containers made to hold everything from water to shampoo to peanut butter. “We like to say we control costs well, and we cut costs and we do all the things that we are supposed to do, but when you have that big a piece of it that gets controlled by the price of oil and natural gas, it's much more difficult to be able to keep your costs under control,” CEO Duff says. So the company tries to save on energy-related costs anywhere it can. At its 760-acre factory in Darlington, just a few minutes from the famous NASCAR racetrack, Wellman has installed new software to maximize the efficiency of the company's boilers. The software has reduced energy use in that area by 5%, says plant manager Ian Shaw. The factory, which operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, also cuts some production during peak hours in the summer, when the local utility charges more to encourage conservation during what is typically a two-hour window in late afternoon. And throughout the million-square-foot plant, workers save every scrap — including small, wayward strands of polyester — to be recycled. Recycling is a way the company has tried to reduce the impact of higher energy costs. The company is stepping up its use of recycled plastic bottles to make fiber products rather than manufacturing the products using chemicals. Using recycled materials is typically far more expensive than manufacturing with the energy-derived chemicals. But that is no longer a given. Wellman is also promoting its product that is made from recycled carpeting fibers. For decades, auto companies have been using the chemicals for “under the hood” applications, Duff says. Wellman in recent years has been working to make the process of separating out the fibers more efficient. The company has also raised prices several times in recent months. But the increases do not come close to offsetting the gain in the company's energy costs, Duff says. “The margins have been tightening because you just haven't been able to pass everything through,” he says. Companies — big and small — that depend on oil as a key ingredient are trying to cope with the higher costs: •Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont announced May 17 its intent to raise prices for a variety of its products. The company previously increased prices 5% in the fourth quarter and 3% in the first quarter. But the increases won't completely cover the higher costs. Raw material costs have risen 85% in four years and hit a record in the first quarter, the company says. “The cost increases have been so significant, so rapid and so sustained, you have a triple whammy,” DuPont's Hodgson says. “There comes a point where you say, ‘I just can't absorb it anymore.' ” •Profit margins at Erie Molded Plastics in Erie, Pa., have been reduced. Phil Tredway, president of the firm that makes plastic caps for soda and water bottles, says the price of oil-based plastic resin is up as much as 70% from a year ago. He says his suppliers are announcing price changes weekly, making it hard to draw up contracts with his clients. Tredway says he can pass some of those added costs along to his customers, but not all. 142

“It makes a difficult business even more difficult,” he says. •Paraffin wax, an oil-based product, is one of the key ingredients in Crayola crayons. Paraffin costs have risen 60% since 2004 and are up 80% from five years ago, Crayola spokesman Eric Zebley says. But the company has not raised prices. Crayola is taking a number of steps to make its factory in Easton, Pa., more efficient, including reusing more scrap materials. “We are doing everything we can to keep our crayons affordable and not raise prices,” Zebley says. •Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire and Rubber has raised tire prices five times, 5% to 6% each time, since the start of 2005 in response to the higher raw materials prices. Approximately two-thirds of Goodyear's raw material costs are related to oil, spokeswoman Tricia Ingraham says. The company's raw materials prices nearly doubled from 2004 to 2005 to $5.6 billion. Raw materials now account for more than twothirds of Goodyear's total costs. In addition to raising prices, the company is focusing on higher-end tires, which bring in more money. “Our main focus has been on the higher-margin, higher-technology tire,” Ingraham says. Wellman's Duff warns that high energy costs will likely pose a challenge to companies for many years. And although consumers might not be paying now for the increased costs, they may end up paying for it later, in the form of lost jobs when companies start losing money and are forced to shut down, he says. “The consumer doesn't want to pay more for the end product,” Duff says. “But at the end of the day, (the high cost of energy) gets pushed back to that consumer, whether they recognize it or not.”

Avian Flu News Tracker (WSJ)
The Wall Street Journal Online, June 6, 2006 Monday, June 5 3:55 p.m.: Japan said it will nominate WHO Western Pacific chief Shigeru Omi to succeed the late Lee Jong Wook as head of the U.N. health agency, the AFP news agency reported1. 2 2:05 p.m.: Wall Street Journal Video:3 Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt and Agriculture Secretary Michael Johanns discuss the latest news regarding a person-to-person transmission of the avian flu and what it means. 11:40 a.m.: Skinvisible Pharmaceuticals4 said its new hand sanitizer was 98% effective in deactivating or killing the bird-flu virus on skin for up to four hours during a recent test at a subsidiary of London's Queen Mary School of Medicine. The Las Vegas company developed the hand sanitizer primarily for health-care professionals. The active ingredient is Chlorhexidine. 9:05 a.m.: Less than one-sixth of the $1.9 billion pledged in January by donor countries to prepare developing nations for a flu pandemic has been dispersed, despite calls for a rapid escalation of efforts, the Financial Times reported6 Monday, citing the World Bank. The news of scant fund distribution comes as U.N. bird-flu chief David Nabarro is set to call for additional bird-flu funding, according to the report.

Washington In Brief (WP)
By From News Services The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 USDA Secretary Sets Strategies for Avian Flu The U.S. Department of Agriculture can tap an emergency fund of about $30 billion to fight an outbreak of lethal flu in poultry, Secretary Mike Johanns said yesterday. Any colony of birds in which a positive test occurred would be destroyed and the owners would be compensated, Johanns said. "We would quarantine that flock, and we would humanely destroy those birds," he said. "Our goal would be to eradicate. We don't want to mess around with it." Johanns said he might use rarely exercised emergency powers to access funds without congressional intervention if a lethal form of the H5N1 avian flu began spreading through domestic U.S. flocks. Health and agriculture officials are concerned that the virus may enter the United States through migratory, smuggled or imported birds and perhaps mutate into a form contagious among people that might set off a lethal worldwide human pandemic. "You start considering the multitude of opportunities here and it's very important to be prepared," Johanns said. At least 127 of the 224 people confirmed to have been infected with the H5N1 avian flu have died since 2003, the World Health Organization said May 29. Although the virus has primarily infected people through contact with sick or dead birds, some possible human-to-human transmission has been reported when people have come in close contact with sick, coughing patients.Medicaid to Require Proof of Citizenship 143

Tens of millions of low-income Americans will soon have to show their birth certificates or U.S. passports if they want to obtain health care through their state Medicaid programs. The requirement that beneficiaries provide proof of citizenship goes into effect July 1. It's designed to root out cases of illegal immigrants getting their health care paid for by the government. Health analysts say they fear the provision could prevent some citizens from getting health care. Advocacy groups for the homeless and mentally ill have asked the Bush administration to presume that beneficiaries seeking care are eligible for the health insurance program for the poor. Then, they would be given time to get the necessary documents. "They may not have kept the best records, particularly those with serious mental health disorders," said Kirsten Beronio, senior director of government affairs for the National Mental Health Association. "For them, there needs to be some accommodations made that other types of records could be used."Conferees Seek to Seal Deal on War Funding Hoping to speed approval of war funds, House-Senate negotiators were to meet this evening on legislation to pay for the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and for hurricane relief along the Gulf Coast. After missing a Memorial Day deadline, negotiators hope to seal an agreement this week. The White House says a money crunch is threatening military operations and training accounts, especially for the Army, and could slow training and equipping of Iraqi soldiers. "It's imperative that Congress finish its work and get this to the president to sign," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "This supplemental went up in February. It's now June." He said the Army will impose a civilian hiring freeze Tuesday and has cut spending on spare parts, transportation and travel.

GAO Urges Better Tsunami Warnings (WP)
By Matthew Daly The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 The federal and state governments need to improve warning systems before a deadly tsunami strikes the West Coast, a new study says. Modern technology is able to detect the formation of a tsunami fairly quickly, but the United States lacks a robust warning system and detailed knowledge on the impact a tidal wave could have on coastal areas, the Government Accountability Office says. In a report issued yesterday, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, warns that false alarms may have lulled West Coast residents into an inaccurate sense of security. Sixteen tsunami warnings issued since 1982 were not followed by destructive waves on U.S. shores, the report says, "potentially causing citizens to ignore future warnings." The report urges that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration develop "loss estimation" software for tsunamis similar to those available for hurricanes or floods so officials can predict how severe a potential storm would be. The stakes are high, the report notes. While the United States has not been hit by a severe tsunami in more than four decades, experts say a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami is all but inevitable. The report was issued 18 months after the 2004 South Asian tsunami, which killed more than 216,000 people in 17 countries. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who requested the report, said it indicates that California and other states are at risk of a catastrophic tsunami, "and we are ill-equipped to deal with the threat." The United States needs a warning system that can protect its most vulnerable communities, as well as software to determine where a tsunami is most likely to hit and do the most damage, Feinstein said. "We've seen the danger. Now is the time to respond," she said. Rep. David Wu (D-Ore.) said the GAO report confirms his belief that programs focused on local warning systems and educating the public are key to protecting against a tsunami. "We cannot prevent earthquakes and tsunamis, but we can prepare for them and ensure the citizens of our coastal communities are safe and secure," Wu said. "After witnessing the devastation following the Indonesian tsunami, there is no excuse for the federal government to be this far behind on coastal preparedness and making sure Americans have enough time to get to safety," Sen. Maria Cantwell (DWash.) said. She called for the House to approve a Senate-backed bill aimed at improving tsunami detection and warning systems, providing tsunami preparedness tools, and developing "inundation maps" for affected areas. Congress appropriated more than $17.2 million last year to enhance tsunami warnings and protection, including repair of malfunctioning tsunami-detection buoys.

GAO Deems U.S. Unprepared For Tsunami Disaster (WT)

By Audrey Hudson The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 Tsunami warning systems for West Coast states are ineffective and several local agencies are not prepared for such a disaster, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released yesterday. Although the National Weather Service issues timely warnings, alert systems cannot transmit to some coastal areas, the report said. "This shortcoming was highlighted in June 2005, when an actual tsunami warning for the west coast was issued but signal problems prevented the warning from reaching portions of the coasts of Washington and Oregon," the report said. In addition, the report said, all 16 warnings issued since 1982 have been false, which has created an apathetic public. Parts of Northern California, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Hawaii and the territories of the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico "face the greatest tsunami hazard," while the Gulf Coast is "relatively low-hazard," the report said. The GAO recommends updated maps and more community participation in the National Weather Service's TsunamiReady program. Participation is low "because of community perceptions of a low tsunami threat and perceived high cost versus benefit." The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 killed nearly 250,000 people in 13 countries. The disaster raised concerns about U.S. vulnerability and the ability of communities to detect and warn of an approaching killer wave. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which oversees the National Weather Service, has agreed to GAO recommendations such as reducing the number of false alarms, periodic testing of the warning system, encouraging high-risk communities to participate in TsunamiReady, and developing mapping software with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government organizations. Homeland Security Department officials, however, say FEMA does not have the "funding or the staff resources" to assist NOAA. The West Coast has suffered the most destruction from tsunamis because of Pacific earthquakes in the South America and Aleutian regions. In 1960, an earthquake in Chile generated a tsunami that caused more than $1 million in damage in California. A 1964 earthquake in Alaska created a tsunami that killed 12 in the San Francisco Bay area and caused $15 million in destruction. Within two minutes of that earthquake, more than 100 Alaskans were killed. Distant earthquakes have created tsunamis that have hit Oregon and Washington, but it is the 750-mile-long Cascadia subduction zone 50 to 100 miles off the coast of these states that has scientists worried. "Geologic and other records from a Cascadia earthquake in 1700 suggest that the fault could generate a tsunami wave of up to 30 feet that would likely reach the Oregon coast in 15 to 30 minutes, raising concerns of a catastrophic future event," the report said.

Study Finds Thousands Of Trips Taken By Lawmakers, Staff (KRT)
By James Kuhnhenn Knight Ridder, June 5, 2006 WASHINGTON - Join Congress, see the world. Join a congressman's staff, see more of it. Private groups, corporations or trade associations - many with legislation that could affect them pending before Congress paid nearly $50 million since 2000 to send members of Congress and their staffers on at least 23,000 trips overseas and within the United States, according to a study released Monday. The trips included at least 200 journeys to Paris and 150 to Hawaii, room rates of up to $500 a night and some high-flying on corporate jets that cost up to $25,000 a trip, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University's Medill News Service. "Some trips seem to have been little more than pricey vacations - often taken in the company of spouses or other relatives - wrapped around speeches or seminars," the report said. "In many instances, trip sponsors appeared to be buying access to elected officials or their advisers." Congressional aides took more than 70 percent of the trips, the study found. While the travel isn't illegal, the report shines a light on how business is often done in Washington. It comes in a congressional election year when one of the biggest issues is corruption. The findings also emerged as Congress remains deadlocked on legislation that would restrict contacts with lobbyists and impose new ethics standards on members. As scandals have emerged over the past two years, lawmakers moved to ban privately financed travel and do away with meals and gifts from lobbyists. Eventually, both the House of Representatives and Senate passed versions of ethics legislation, though neither banned privately financed travel. Negotiations to reconcile differences in the bills haven't begun. 145

Under current law, lobbyists are prohibited from paying for congressional travel. But a federal investigation into former lobbyist Jack Abramoff uncovered a scheme in which Abramoff used nonprofit groups to pay for extravagant Scottish golf outings for members and staffers. A separate study by Political Money Line, a nonpartisan Washington watchdog group, has found that the number of privately financed trips by members of Congress declined this year. Between 2000 and 2005, members of Congress logged an average of 1,100 trips a year. As of April of this year, members had reported 291 trips. Advocates of tighter ethics rules said the recent travel decline reflects public attention to the Abramoff scandal and others. "As soon as the attention starts to fade, the travel will start to increase," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a watchdog group. The study released Monday found that Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, and his aides accepted about $500,000 in trips since 2000. DeLay is resigning from Congress on Friday under a cloud cast by the investigation into Abramoff, who arranged trips for him. The top 10 travelers identified in the study are all members of the House of Representatives and include House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Spokesman Kevin Madden said Boehner met all congressional requirements for his travel, including prompt and public disclosure. "Travel funded by private interests relieves taxpayers of having to cover the costs of educational travel," Madden said. According to the study, among the top corporate sponsors of travel was General Atomic, a San Diego-based high-tech firm that has developed surveillance aircraft as well as wireless and laser technologies. The company spent $660,000 on 86 trips for lawmakers, staff and spouses from 2000 to mid-2005, the study said. The company, which developed the Predator spy plane, didn't immediately comment. The private organization that spent the most on travel is the Aspen Institute, an educational organization that paid about $3.5 million to send lawmakers and their spouses to high-level conferences around the globe. The institute's congressional program began in 1983 and is run by former Sen. Dick Clark, D-Iowa. It is nonpartisan and accepts money only from foundations, not corporations. The institute defended its travel policy, noting that by getting out of Washington, members can concentrate on subjects that are likely to come before Congress. "The idea behind this is that senators are so distracted they never give enough focus to one issue," Aspen Institute spokesman James Spiegelman said. Watchdog groups say groups such as Aspen generally fulfill a useful purpose and that lawmakers should try to write legislation that distinguishes between non-corporate educational travel and that paid for by corporations or industry groups. "The lines are hard to draw because some of the fact-finding trips give people access to special interests," said Dennis Thompson, director of Harvard's Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Trip Study Finds More Was Spent On Aides Than Lawmakers (NYT)
By Kate Phillips The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — Congressional aides took $30 million in trips paid for by private groups from 2000 through mid2005, surpassing the privately sponsored travel of their bosses by nearly $10 million over the same time, according to a new analysis of publicly disclosed travel expenses. Together, aides and members of the House and Senate filed 23,000 public disclosure forms on their individual trips, the survey found, for an estimated price tag of about $50 million. Among the most popular destinations were Paris (at least 200 times), Hawaii (150) and Italy (140). Congressional travel paid for by outside organizations like trade groups and corporations has been under intense scrutiny following scandals involving the lobbyist Jack Abramoff. While much attention has been focused on elected officials and corporate jet travel with lobbyists, the new study, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, Medill News Service of Northwestern University and American Public Media programs, is the most extensive in recent years because it tallied the costs, purpose and destinations of trips by Congressional aides and politicians. The study concluded that about 90 of the trips were paid for by lobbyists, which is an ethical violation, during the five and a half years examined. About 500 trips cost $10,000 or more each, and 16 cost $25,000 or more apiece, the study showed. About $20 million was spent on overseas travel. Wendell Rawls, acting executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonpartisan group that has conducted many investigations of money and politics over the years, said Monday that some trips could be considered legitimate for educational purposes. But he pointed out that the study found multiple ethics violations from members of both political parties, and that many trips were paid for by corporations that had business interests before Congress. 146

Mr. Rawls also questioned the amount of spending on some trips. For example, he said, former Representative Thomas Bliley, Republican of Virginia, and his wife went to London at a cost of $31,171 for four days in July 2000. Their air travel tickets were valued at $11,938.49 each, and were paid for by the Brown and Williamson tobacco company. The former congressman's public filings listed the purpose of the trip as meetings with officials from British American Tobacco and other trade officials. "I would ask if every constituent for Representative Bliley had the same access as the people at Brown, Williamson," Mr. Rawls said of the former chairman of the House Commerce Committee. Mr. Bliley could not be reached for comment. The study turned up other interesting educational travel and irregularities. Congressman Charles B. Rangel, Democrat of New York, has amended his forms for a trip in 2000 to Cuba, where he met with Fidel Castro. He first violated ethics rules by accepting travel expenses for his son and his wife, on a trip that was supposed to address the plight of endangered birds. But confronted with the center's findings, Mr. Rangel recently reimbursed and identified additional sponsors for his son's travel and for the trip; the sponsors included one of his longtime fund-raisers, John Catsimatidis of Gristede's Foods in New York, and the Cuban government. George A. Dalley, Mr. Rangel's chief of staff, said he erred in not knowing the reporting rules. The study singled out General Atomics, a company based in San Diego that developed the Predator, the unmanned spy plane, because it spent more — $660,000 — on Congressional travel than any other corporation on lone-sponsor trips. The study noted that General Atomics seemed to favor trips for Congressional staff members and aides. Among those on trips to Turkey in 2004 or to Australia in 2005 were aides to Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican who has since been convicted of bribery and other crimes, and an aide to Senator Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who is minority leader. The study said that some aides sat in on sales meetings that company officials held with foreign government officials, although the aides later told the survey's interviewers that they did not engage in sales pitches. Gary Hopper, a vice president for General Atomics' Washington offices, said: "We wouldn't mix any kind of sales situation with Congressional staff there. I know that's a bone of contention with a lot of people out there but there was not in any way a quid pro quo." Democrats, Republicans and lobbying associations all say that travel has slowed since the scandals over the Scotland golfing trips by Representative Tom DeLay received headlines last year and put a spotlight on Congressional travel. Paul A. Miller, the president of the American League of Lobbyists, defended travel by lobbyists and elected officials. "Since the scandal, a lot of the travel has ceased to exist or members of Congress have been very diligent by what trips we go on," Mr. Miller said. "These trips are valuable experiences for members of Congress and their staffs. If the public doesn't pay for it and the private sector doesn't pay for it, the government isn't going to pick up the tab for it." The House and Senate have passed legislation that would require additional disclosure for lobbying, but neither bill would place a permanent ban on privately sponsored travel. It is unclear what will emerge from a House-Senate conference committee. The Center for Public Integrity was forced last year to withdraw a study it conducted on White House travel because of a flawed database that inflated the amount of money spent as well as the number of staff members. To avoid such errors this time, Mr. Rawls said the center pored over the 26,000 pages of travel documents individually, hired outside consultants to comb the data and the findings, and made conservative estimates of the data tallies.

Privately Funded Trips Add Up On Capitol Hill (WP)
By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Over 5 1/2 years, Republican and Democratic lawmakers accepted nearly $50 million in trips, often to resorts and exclusive locales, from corporations and groups seeking legislative favors, according to the most comprehensive study to date on the subject of congressional travel. From January 2000 through June 2005, House and Senate members and their aides were away from Washington for more than 81,000 days -- a combined 222 years -- on at least 23,000 trips, according to the report, issued yesterday by the nonpartisan Center for Public Integrity. About 2,300 of the trips cost $5,000 or more, at least 500 cost $10,000 or more, and 16 cost $25,000 or more. "While some of these trips might qualify as legitimate fact-finding missions," the study said, "the purpose of others is less clear." In addition, the lawmakers' financial reports that disclose the details of the trips are routinely riddled with mistakes and omissions. Lawmakers and their staffers were treated to $25,000 corporate-jet rides and $500-a-night hotel rooms, the study showed. Lawmakers accepted thousands of costly jaunts -- one worth more than $30,000 -- to some of the world's choicest destinations: at least 200 trips to Paris, 150 to Hawaii and 140 to Italy. "Congressional travelers gave speeches in Scotland, attended meetings in Australia and toured nuclear facilities in Spain," the study reported. "They pondered welfare reform in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the future of Social Security at a Colorado ski resort." 147

Many congressional offices have voluntarily curtailed their privately funded travel since disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty in January to conspiring to bribe public officials, in part with lavish overseas trips. But lawmakers and their aides still may accept travel for official purposes from private interests without limit. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) proposed banning such travel soon after Abramoff's plea. But lawmakers of both parties and in both chambers of Congress quickly resisted imposing significant new restrictions on the trips, which are a muchprized perk of office. Rep. John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) won election to the post of House majority leader this year by running on a platform that included opposing the travel ban. Boehner and members of his office were among the top beneficiaries of privately funded travel, according to the study, taking more than 200 trips during the 5 1/2 -year period reviewed. Others included the offices of Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Rep. Michael G. Oxley (R-Ohio), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Robert Wexler (DFla.). Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Boehner, said yesterday that privately funded travel by members of Congress is fully disclosed and "leads to greater understanding of the issues" at no cost to taxpayers. One of the largest corporate sponsors of lawmakers' travel was General Atomics, a relatively small San Diego-based defense contractor that makes the Predator, an unmanned spy plane now in wide use by the United States and other countries. The study reported that the company "largely targeted congressional staff members, spending roughly $660,000 on 86 trips for legislators, aides and their spouses from 2000 to mid-2005." Some of the trips were valued at more than $25,000. General Atomics' spending on congressional travel was more than that of many larger companies and was considerably higher than what other defense contractors spent. Microsoft, for instance, funded nearly $395,000 in trips during the period; SBC Communications Inc. spent about $205,000. Among General Atomics' defense competitors, Northrop Grumman spent about $12,000 on congressional junkets and Boeing spent about $13,000. On trips paid for by General Atomics to Turkey and Australia, congressional staffers attended meetings with foreign government officials that the company was soliciting to buy the Predator. "[It's] useful and very helpful, in fact, when you go down and talk to the government officials, to have congressional people go along and discuss the capabilities of [the plane] with them," Tom Cassidy, chief executive of General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, the company's aircraft-manufacturing subsidiary, told the center. The center's study illustrates how widespread the practice has become, for both Democrats and Republicans. Of the 25 individual lawmakers who accepted more than $120,000 worth of travel during the period, 17 were Democrats. Of the two dozen congressional offices on which private trip sponsors spent the most money, 15 were Republican, the study said. At least 150 of the disclosure forms scrutinized by the center did not list a sponsor. After the center contacted her, Rep. Katherine Harris (R-Fla.), a candidate for Senate, amended her 2003 form to fill in the name of the group that paid for her twoday visit in November to the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla. -- the Center for the Study of Popular Culture. A spokesman for Harris called the omission "a staff error." After he was contacted by the Center for Public Integrity, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) reimbursed the Cuban government and John A. Catsimatidis, a grocery store owner, $1,922 for expenses incurred by his son, Steven, during a trip that Rangel, his wife and his son took to Cuba to study the ecology there in 2002. House rules permit sponsors of lawmakers' trips to cover the cost of only one accompanying relative. A Rangel spokesman said the office had not been aware of the rule. The House had more frequent fliers than did the Senate during the period. The 10 congressional offices that accepted more than 200 privately sponsored trips each were all in the House, as were the 11 offices that had travel expenses exceeding $350,000 each. The 10 most expensive trips were taken by members of the House or, in one instance, a House aide. The study, which took nine months to complete, found many instances in which, the center said, "trip sponsors appeared to be buying access to elected officials or their advisers." Several of the sponsoring organizations defended their trips, saying they provide lawmakers with an opportunity to discuss issues in a relaxed setting. "If you try to talk to a member for any great length of time about your issues while they're in Washington, they're simply too busy," Tom White, a spokesman for the Association of American Railroads, told the center. The center's study was co-sponsored by American Public Media and Northwestern University's Medill News Service.

Study Finds $50M In Privately Funded Travel By Lawmakers (HILL)
By Jonathan Allen And Josephine Hearn The Hill, June 6, 2006 If voters find industry-sponsored junkets objectionable, a study out today could be bad news for globetrotting lawmakers. Private sponsors paid nearly $50 million over five and a half years to send members of Congress and their staffs on at least 148

23,000 trips, according to a review of travel records by the Center for Public Integrity, American Public Media and Northwestern University journalism students. The study is the first time that researchers have pinpointed the full cost of privately funded congressional travel. An earlier tally of about $15 million counted only travel by lawmakers themselves and neglected more numerous trips for staff. The researchers kept tabs on which offices filed incomplete, incorrect or late reports disclosing details of their travels. They singled out two lawmakers, Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), for failing to disclose until six weeks ago that the Cuban government and a New York grocery mogul paid for their April 2002 trip to Havana to meet President Fidel Castro. Earlier disclosure reports had specified only a Minneapolis-based conservation group, the Sian Ka’an Conservation Foundation, as the sponsor. Rangel also took fire for allowing the sponsors to pay travel costs for his wife and son, a violation of House rules that allow only one family member to be reimbursed. Rangel, who organized the trip for himself and Kaptur, has since reimbursed the Cuban government and the New York businessman, John Catsimatidis, for his son’s portion of the $5,766 trip. Rangel’s chief of staff, George Dalley, called the filing an honest mistake. “We believe we have now adequately corrected what I admit was a mistake. We weren’t trying to hide it. ... Our practice has always been that we try to abide by whatever laws and regulations exist at the time,” he said. Rangel has been a frequent traveler to Cuba and a vocal opponent of the U.S. embargo against the country. Supporters of privately funded congressional travel say that such trips provide opportunities for lawmakers and aides to learn more about issues before them without forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. Critics argue that the trips give wealthy interests unchecked access to power and can lead to corruption. Golf trips to Scotland are at the center of an expansive federal investigation of congressional corruption that has netted plea agreements from lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon. Scanlon was once a senior aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). During the five and a half years ending in 2005, DeLay’s office spent about $500,000 of other people’s money on travel, topping the report’s list. That total is nearly three times the annual salary of a party leader in the House. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) accounted for $150,000 in trips — his yearly salary is $165,200 — in five years, mostly paid for by the nonprofit Aspen Institute. Nearly 3,000 of the 23,000 privately sponsored trips identified in the report cost $5,000 or more, including 500 that cost at least $10,000 and more than a dozen amounting to at least $25,000 apiece. Destinations included Australia, Grand Cayman, Paris, Rome, Hawaii and Pebble Beach, Calif., home of one of the nation’s top golf courses. Lawmakers in both parties and in both chambers have reason to be nervous about how the public perceives privately funded jaunts to prime vacation spots. Recent polls show that less than one-third of the public approves of the job Congress is doing. Attentive challengers can turn incumbents’ travel patterns into potent political issues. Two years ago, Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) found travel to be a powerful weapon in her successful bid to unseat longtime Republican Rep. Phil Crane (R), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee and onetime presidential candidate. Bean labeled the well-traveled Crane the “Junket King” to portray him as out of touch with his constituents after more than three decades in Washington. In other cases, voters have been more forgiving, at least for a while. The House refused to seat Adam Clayton Powell Jr. (D-N.Y.) in 1967 after he took lavish, publicly funded trips to exotic locales while spending little time legislating in Washington. “He is a study in contrasts,” fellow Rep. Mo Udall (D-Ariz.) wrote of Powell that year. “Brilliant but erratic; a self-styled ‘poor parish priest’ but living like a member of the jet set; working hard for a few days to finalize a major bill, then flitting off to Europe or the Bahamas for weeks.” But Powell’s constituents fired back at the House, electing the oft-vacationing Powell to fill the vacancy caused by the House’s refusal to seat him. He won another two-year term after that. Powell’s lifestyle eventually caught up to him at the ballot box: In 1970, he lost a primary to Rangel, now the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee. Candidates across the country already are grappling with the question of whether they would vote to ban privately funded travel. The House voted to block privately funded trips through the end of the year, but the two chambers have yet to complete action on the legislation. 149

Dems Hold Steering Meeting As Jefferson Dilemma Looms (HILL)
By Josephine Hearn The Hill, June 6, 2006 With emotions still raw over House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) recent request that Rep. William Jefferson (DLa.) relinquish his seat on the Ways and Means Committee while he faces a government bribery investigation, House Democrats are convening a meeting this evening of their Steering and Policy Committee. The committee is charged with determining panel memberships, among other matters.. It was unclear at press time whether the steering committee, which is stocked with Pelosi loyalists, would discuss Jefferson’s situation or vote to take him off the tax-writing panel. A notice on the meeting stated that the gathering would address Democratic messaging efforts. But it could be an indication that Pelosi is seeking to overcome the first hurdle in the process of formally ejecting Jefferson from the panel. The matter could then proceed to a potentially contentious vote in the House Democratic Caucus followed by a vote on the House floor. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and one of Jefferson’s most vocal defenders, said through an aide last night that he had not been made aware of the meeting. Watt does not sit on the Steering and Policy Committee.

Democrats To Discuss Jefferson (RC)
By Steve Kornacki Roll Call, June 6, 2006 Rep. William Jefferson’s (La.) tenuous standing as a member of the Ways and Means Committee will be discussed when the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee convenes a members-only session, tentatively set for late Tuesday afternoon. The committee does not hold regularly scheduled meetings, but on Monday, members were told to be present Tuesday for what was billed as an important event: a discussion of the party’s message and agenda. But the timing — it was only a few session days ago that Jefferson ignored a demand from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he leave Ways and Means immediately — promptly ignited specualtion that Pelosi is planning to ask the Steering and Policy Committee to recommend to the full Democratic Caucus that Jefferson be stripped of his assignment on the exclusive panel. “If that’s what they’re going to do, they probably won’t say it until everyone’s there,” a Democratic aide noted. A senior Democratic aide, however, said that Pelosi is expected to broach the Jefferson subject but said that she is likely to tread carefully, perhaps only sampling opinion instead of calling for specific actions. “I don’t even know that she’s in a position to do anything about it,” the aide said. (With Members trickling back to Washington, D.C., after the Memorial Day recess, there was talk late Monday that the Steering and Policy meeting might be moved to Wednesday morning. A final decision is expected Tuesday morning.) Other aides also expressed doubt that Pelosi would ask for an actual vote on Jefferson’s status at the meeting, but in showing a desire to press ahead on the matter, she is testing, at least potentially, her relationship with the Congressional Black Caucus. The 59-year-old Jefferson, an eight-term House veteran, has not been charged with any crime. But, while maintaining his innocence, even the Congressman has acknowledged that an indictment on bribery charges is likely, and soon. Pelosi requested his resignation from the panel “in the interest of upholding the high ethical standard of the House Democratic Caucus,” a move that figured to score points with a general public not known for its willingness to give ethically suspect politicians the benefit of the doubt. But it also rankled Jefferson’s 42 colleagues in the CBC, who communicated to Pelosi their readiness to go to war with her publicly if she took any further steps to force Jefferson out once he refused her request. There are two avenues available to Pelosi to pry Jefferson from the committee. She could simply invoke her status as Minority Leader and bring a privileged resolution to the House floor, a death knell for Jefferson unless Republicans for some reason rallied to his defense. But such a move could stir broad resentment among House Democrats, who might interpret it as a precedent for future heavy-handedness. Pelosi’s other option involves building consensus within the Democratic Caucus, first by winning a recommendation from the 50-member Steering and Policy Committee and then by making her case to the full Caucus. As the Minority Leader, Pelosi has packed Steering and Policy with some of her closest allies, including Reps. George Miller (Calif.) and Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), who serve as the body’s co-chairs. The primary function of Steering and Policy is to 150

make recommendations on committee appointments — recommendations that typically, and not coincidentally, jibe with Pelosi’s own preferences. Still, there are nine CBC members on the Steering and Policy Committee, including Reps. John Lewis (Ga.) and Charlie Rangel (N.Y.), who were among the sextet of senior CBC members who warned Pelosi to her face two weeks ago about the dangers of pursuing Jefferson’s departure too aggressively. Pelosi’s office was tight-lipped Monday about the looming meeting. Jennifer Crider, Pelosi’s press secretary, said the meeting was part of the Democrats’ “ongoing message efforts.” Several Democratic aides said they are inclined to believe that Pelosi will do little more than take the temperature on the Jefferson question. And they also said they expect the Democratic message and agenda will, as touted, be discussed. If Steering and Policy were to endorse Jefferson’s removal, the matter would be taken up by the full Caucus, which will next hold a weekly meeting on Wednesday morning. Those close to Pelosi say she did her homework before calling for Jefferson’s head and have expressed confidence she would prevail in a vote of all 203 Democrats — even if the CBC’s opposition ensures the maneuver wouldn’t be entirely tidy. CBC leaders have told Pelosi they will not resist any reprisals against Jefferson — if and when he’s indicted. Until then, they are willing to give her room to posture, as long as she doesn’t formally act. Bringing up the subject at a Steering and Policy Committee meeting without asking for a vote would, it appears, preserve this balance. The latest hint that Jefferson’s days on Ways and Means might be drawing to a close is only fueling speculation about his successor. The most popular theory has Pelosi tapping Rep. Artur Davis (Ala.) to fill a slot that many believe is unofficially earmarked for a CBC member from a Southern state. Given the current tension, Pelosi might find particular urgency in trying to assuage the CBC with a Jefferson replacement pick. But there also are suggestions that some CBC veterans, who recall that Davis ousted Earl Hilliard, a longtime CBC member, in 2002, might prefer that the spot go to someone else — Elijah Cummings (Md.), for instance, who already has expressed a desire to replace Rep. Benjamin Cardin on Ways and Means when his fellow Marylander leaves the House at the end of the year. Other names making the rounds include Reps. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), Brian Baird (Wash.), Shelley Berkley (Nev.), Bob Etheridge (N.C.), Ron Kind (Wis.), and Charlie Melancon (La.). One rumored scenario actually has Pelosi putting off any appointment until after the November election. If the Democrats retake the majority, the thinking goes, she would likely have four new Ways and Means seats to dole out, meaning she might not have to say no to as many of her members seeking to sit on the panel.

Ex-Official Testifies He Provided 'Insight And Advice' To Abramoff (NYT)
By Philip Shenon The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — A former White House budget official acknowledged Monday that he had provided "a lot of insight and advice," including government information not available to the public, to the lobbyist Jack Abramoff in 2002. But the former aide, David H. Safavian, testified that he had not violated ethics rules in accepting the lobbyist's invitation for a golfing trip to Scotland that summer. Mr. Safavian insisted in testimony in federal court here that he had not lied to government investigators when he was asked about the golf trip, although he acknowledged giving them inaccurate information about some contacts with Mr. Abramoff, a former lobbying partner. Mr. Safavian, who is charged with lying about his relationship with Mr. Abramoff and the circumstances of the golf trip, attributed the inaccuracies to a faulty memory, a claim that brought expressions of disbelief from prosecutors. Mr. Safavian is the first person to go on trial as a result of the influence-peddling scandal centered on Mr. Abramoff, who has pleaded guilty to trying to corrupt public officials. In testimony that concluded the defense case, Mr. Safavian acknowledged under cross-examination that he had been helpful to Mr. Abramoff in the summer of 2002 in gathering information about two parcels of government-owned property that the lobbyist was interested in acquiring from the General Services Administration, where Mr. Safavian then worked. He later went to work in the White House budget office as the director of federal procurement policy. "I gave him a lot of insight and advice," Mr. Safavian testified, acknowledging that he had set up a meeting at the services agency to discuss one property for Mr. Abramoff's wife on Aug. 2, 2002, the day before his departure for Scotland. But he said he had set up several similar meetings at the agency, a comment that led the trial prosecutor, Peter R. Zeidenberg, to ask in a sarcastic tone, "Were those for lobbyists who were taking you on vacation?' 151

Mr. Safavian replied in an angry tone, "That had nothing to do with it." Mr. Safavian's trial is in abeyance for the rest of the week because of scheduling difficulties involving the trial judge, Paul L. Friedman, and as a result of a judicial conference that will largely close the federal court here on Thursday and Friday. The case is scheduled to go to the jury after closing arguments next Monday.

Vice President Visits For Fundraiser (CHIT)
By Susan Kuczka Chicago Tribune, June 6, 2006 Vice President Dick Cheney headlined a closed-door fund-raising event Monday night in Lake Forest, helping raise an estimated $300,000 for the Republican National Committee. About 50 people attended Cheney's hour-long visit at the home of William Strong, a vice chairman of Wall Street financial services firm Morgan Stanley, and a major political donor. David McSweeney, the Republican nominee challenging freshman Democratic Rep. Melissa Bean in the 8th Congressional District, said Cheney spoke of the importance of keeping GOP majorities in the House and Senate in order for the Bush administration to continue to fight terror abroad and at home. McSweeney said Cheney also singled out his race as "one of those that determines who controls Congress." In a statement, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee accused Cheney and the RNC of "failed leadership and misplaced priorities" for Illinois working families. At the same time, the DNC statement said the Cheney event was located in "Forest Lake, Illinois." Cheney's visit came as Illinois Republicans and Democrats prepare for two major congressional races in Chicago's suburbs. Besides the McSweeney-Bean contest, GOP state Sen. Peter Roskam and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth are vying for the west suburban 6th District seat being vacated by longtime Republican Rep. Henry Hyde. RNC spokeswoman Ann Marie Hauser said money raised from Monday night's event would be used to promote Republicans nationwide in November's mid-term elections. Bean shocked many in the GOP when she ousted Republican Rep. Philip Crane from his longtime northwest suburban congressional seat two years ago, putting the 8th District seat high on the Republicans' radar screen.

Runoff For Disgraced Congressman's Seat May Be Bellwether (USAT)
By William M. Welch USA Today, June 6, 2006 A special election today in San Diego to fill the seat of a congressman imprisoned for bribery has become a test of voter discontent with Republican leadership and frustration over the porous border with Mexico. In the race to replace disgraced Republican former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, Republican nominee Brian Bilbray, a former three-term congressman from a neighboring district, would in any other time be a heavy favorite against a Democratic opponent. California's 50th Congressional District tilts heavily Republican in registration. A Democrat hasn't won here in modern times, and President Bush twice carried the district by 10 percentage points. Yet the race between Bilbray and Francine Busby, a relative newcomer to politics, appears to be coming down to a tight finish. Both candidates have said their private polling shows each with a very slight lead. “If Republicans lose a district that is this Republican, they ought to be real worried,” says Gary Jacobson, political scientist at the University of California, San Diego. “It's driven by unhappiness with the state of the nation.” The winner will serve out the remaining seven months of Cunningham's term. Whoever wins, Jacobson says, will prevail for reasons that transcend “local politics or local issues.” Bilbray has focused on illegal immigration, criticizing Bush for what he says is amnesty for illegal immigrants and Busby for supporting a bill that would permit those who got into the country illegally to qualify for legal status. Bilbray calls for a crackdown on employers who hire illegal immigrants, thousands of whom have used the area as a port of entry from Mexico. “The choice between Busby and Bilbray is between benefits for illegals and amnesty, or no benefits,” Bilbray says. With Bush's popularity low in polls in California as well as nationally, Bilbray has made a point of separating himself from the president even as Vice President Cheney visited recently to help Bilbray raise campaign money. On immigration, Bilbray says of Bush: “We don't casually disagree. We strongly disagree.” Busby has tried to capitalize on voter discontent on issues such as gas prices, deaths of servicemembers in Iraq, and a lobbying scandal in Washington she ties to the Republicans. 152

“I think people are looking at me as a messenger of hope and a symbol of change in Congress,” she says. “People are dissatisfied both with his direction and that of Congress. They see Congress rubber-stamping everything.” She calls Cunningham the personification of corruption and has tried to tie Bilbray to it by pointing to his work as a Washington lobbyist. After losing his House seat in 2000, Bilbray lobbied for clients including an anti-illegal-immigration group and a utility company. A TV ad she is airing charges Bilbray “flip-flopped on a guest-worker program” and plugs a third candidate — independent anti-illegal-immigration hard-liner William Griffith — as an alternative for conservatives. “Don't expect lobbyist Brian Bilbray to fix Washington or fix our borders,” her ad says. A school board member who lost overwhelmingly to Cunningham two years ago, Busby has been catapulted to contender status by Cunningham's bribery convictions and Bush's difficulties. She has raised more campaign money, $2.25 million to Bilbray's $1 million as of May 17 federal reports. Bilbray says his victory would dampen national Democrats' hopes for a House majority. “Mrs. Pelosi,” he says, referring to the House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi who hopes to be elevated out of the minority, “shouldn't be measuring the speaker's office just yet.”

All Eyes On California-50 (HILL)
By Jonathan E. Kaplan And Patrick O'connor The Hill, June 6, 2006 SAN DIEGO — Trying to leave nothing to chance, Republicans sought to ensure victory in today’s runoff election to replace imprisoned Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham (R-Calif.), while Democrats sought to shape the post-election spin by arguing that even losing is winning. Hoping to push former Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.) into office, the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) paid for automated phone calls recorded by President Bush, Laura Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and kept up its television advertising campaign. After today’s vote, the NRCC will have spent $5 million on the race. Over the weekend, the Republican National Committee (RNC) paid to send approximately 160 “deployed volunteers” to San Diego to help the Bilbray campaign turn out supporters, an RNC official said. An estimated 65 of those volunteers, working 10- to 12-hour days making phone calls and knocking on doors, are Republican staff members on Capitol Hill. RNC spokesman Josh Holmes said the national party also has from six to eight field staffers in San Diego, including some of their regional directors from other parts of the country. The RNC’s deployment of Hill staff marks a planning shift from at least the past two cycles, when the NRCC was responsible for sending volunteers to the tightest races. The NRCC will no longer operate its Strategic Taskforce for Organizing and Mobilizing People (STOMP) this cycle and instead will allow the RNC to organize those efforts. Without a presidential election to dominate the national committee’s planning efforts this cycle, the RNC has more flexibility than either of the two congressional campaign committees to coordinate the flow of money, staff and volunteers for these getout-the-vote drives in the days before an election, the RNC official said. That means the RNC is in a better position to focus partywide efforts while the congressional committees can focus their planning on individual races. “It’s a more streamlined process,” the official said. “There are not as many moving parts.” Carl Forti, spokesman for the NRCC, said, “Bush-Cheney ’04 ran one of the best turnout operations in history. [RNC Chairman] Ken Mehlman ran that effort, and it makes total sense for him to be in charge of turnout in November.” As Californians began voting early for today’s special general election in the heavily Republican 50th District, Bilbray spent the overcast morning at home with his family while Democrat Francine Busby shook hands with voters at a commuter train station in Encinitas. Political observers expected the race to be close, although they disagreed on whether it would be a harbinger of Democrats’ fortunes for winning the House in November’s midterm elections. If Busby upsets Bilbray, political experts expect that K Street PAC money will flow to Democrats and that it will shape the national media’s storyline in a way that is favorable to Democrats. “This is a psychological race,” said former House Democratic Whip Tony Coelho (Calif.). “If the Democrats won it’s a foregone conclusion” of a Democratic sweep in November. Coelho added, “If they lose closely, it will continue the paranoia among Republicans to separate themselves from President Bush.” 153

But Republican strategists said the race to fill Cunningham’s seat is a function of circumstance: Cunningham’s corruption and the difficulties of motivating voters in a midterm election without a competitive statewide GOP primary. “Of course the seat itself is a prize, but a win for Democrats would give them drip-drip press coverage for the next couple of months,” said a GOP lobbyist. “Republicans can’t let that happen.” But the fashion in which the candidates spent the morning could foreshadow tomorrow’s results. Bilbray’s confidence appeared to grow — his northern San Diego suburban campaign office was relatively quiet as campaign aides listened to Rush Limbaugh and ridiculed Busby for misspeaking about the voting rights of illegal immigrants. He later appeared, in a dark suit and blue tie, his wife and college-aged daughter in tow, at the San Diego County office building to cast his vote and take a few questions from reporters. A Survey USA poll released yesterday found that Bilbray led Busby, 47-45 percent. The poll had a five-point margin of error. Busby had led in previous polls. “It’s too close to call,” said Jon Fleischman, former executive director of the California state GOP and editor of “There’s a slight edge to Bilbray because of the numbers in the district, and he’s benefiting from Busby’s lastminute gaffe.” The potential spoiler in the race, anti-immigration independent candidate William Griffith, spent the day teaching geometry to students in a Carlsbad high school. He started campaigning when school let out late yesterday afternoon, he said. While Bilbray might have some breathing room, the final days of his campaign have not been easy. McCain pulled out of a fundraiser because he and Bilbray disagree on whether to grant a form of amnesty to illegal immigrants. And Bill Hauf, a conservative Republican whom Bilbray faces in the GOP primary to run for a full two-year term in November, continued to pummel him on the immigration issue. “The question is whether Hauf’s $1 million will further suppress the conservative vote,” Fleischman said, noting that Hauf has sent out several hard-hitting direct-mail pieces criticizing Bilbray and carefully explaining to voters that they do not have to vote for the same person in the special general election and in the primary. As Republicans ran scared in the final day before the election, Democrats worked overtime to shape the storyline about what a victory or loss would mean — or would not mean — about the Democrats’ shot at winning the House in November, or coming up short. Strategists argued that, win or lose, they have triumphed because they forced Republicans to spend millions to win Cunningham’s overwhelmingly GOP district — the equivalent of their spending millions to save Rep. Barney Frank’s seat in Massachusetts. They suggested that Busby, who lost to Cunningham in 2004 and would likely win the Democratic nomination to run again for a full two-year term in November, has been a less-than stellar candidate who nonetheless has turned a race that should have been a GOP rout into a nail biter. That an inexperienced candidate could run a close race in a heavily GOP district, a Democratic source said, should worry Republican incumbents running against seasoned politicians in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Connecticut. Since the April primary, Democrats have spent $2 million on phone banks, direct-mail pieces and television advertisements attacking Bilbray or encouraging conservative voters to support Griffith. Bilbray downplayed the national implications of the race and complained to reporters that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Busby had distorted his 25-year record in public service, adding that it was “unheard of” for a candidate of one party to run ads supporting a candidate of another party. Conducting morning drive time radio interviews by cell phone and shaking hands with voters in the coastal town of Encinitas, Busby agreed that the race would be a harbinger for November even if she lost. “Yes, absolutely,” Busby said. “When I first ran I was dismissed as a sacrificial lamb, but I am where I am in such a tight race because people in this district have a desire for change.”

Parties On Edge In California (RC)
By David Drucker Roll Call, June 6, 2006 The wild special election to replace former Rep. Duke Cunningham (R) in California’s 50th district comes to a head today, and the outcome will have broad implications in the battle for the House and on the role issues such as illegal immigration and ethics might play in the fall. In a normal year, the race probably wouldn’t be close. But Cardiff school board member Francine Busby (D) has pushed ex-Rep. Brian Bilbray (R) to the limit in the special election runoff that was forced by Cunningham’s resignation and subsequent incarceration after he admitted to taking bribes. 154

Republicans acknowledge that she effectively has exploited Bilbray’s post-legislative career as a lobbyist in a San Diego-area district that has experienced multiple corruption scandals of late, including at the local government level. But Bilbray, a longtime, staunch opponent of illegal immigration despite other views considered moderate by Republican standards, successfully has nailed Busby on that subject. His support for the hardline House immigration bill — and his opposition to the Senate bill — has been well-received by voters and the local newspapers. The race also has enabled national organizations to give the strategies they plan to use in the fall a trial run. “This election, five months out, has given both parties a chance to test the messages they will use in November,” said Martha McKenna, campaign services director for EMILY’s List, which is playing heavily in the race on Busby’s behalf. Republicans, who have been apprehensive about their chances for weeks despite the 50th district’s solid GOP tilt (there are about 50,000 more registered Republicans there than Democrats), now feel cautiously optimistic that Bilbray will squeak out the victory. Republican sources both in the district and in Washington, D.C., said that Bilbray turned the corner in the past five days, partly because for the past two weeks of the campaign the main topic of debate had been illegal immigration. Although the GOP base there has been described as unhappy with the party’s leadership on Capitol Hill and ambivalent toward Bilbray, one Republican said that the GOP has returned to the fold in recent days. “Bilbray’s camp is now super energized — just where you want to be the day before a tight election,” a Republican House aide with knowledge of the race said Monday. Even if Busby loses today, some Democrats believe the race will have helped them toward their goal of taking back the House this November. The National Republican Congressional Committee will end up spending up to $4.8 million to defend a GOP seat, said one Democratic strategist, giving Republicans less money to use in the fall to either defend more vulnerable Republican seats or target Democratic seats. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee had spent $2 million on this race as of Friday. That Busby has benefited in this campaign from the fact that Bilbray has worked as a lobbyist since losing his House seat to now-Rep. Susan Davis (D) in 2000 also has buoyed Democrats. This proves, the Democratic strategist indicated, that a message centered around the need to send “change” candidates to Washington to address the lobbying scandals — many of which have been associated with GOP lawmakers — could be a potent strategy. If Busby wins, look to hear one word spouted by Democrats over and over again: momentum; as in, positive momentum for fundraising, volunteer recruitment, media coverage and overall excitement about November. McKenna, of EMILY’s List, believes Busby’s message of clean government has resonated with the district’s voters in the wake of the Cunningham scandal and said Bilbray’s move to change the subject to illegal immigration has failed. But conservative activist Grover Norquist said the jury’s still out on that claim. Norquist argued there is no better district to test the effectiveness of the Democrats’ “culture of corruption” message, at least as one that can help Democrats pick up the 15 seats they need to take control of the House. If Busby loses in a district whose former Congressman went to jail for taking bribes, Norquist said it effectively eliminates “culture of corruption” as a Democratic trump card in November. “If you’re going to have tsunami in November, you’re going to have to surf a wave in San Diego in June,” he said. Ron Nehring, chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party and vice chairman of the state GOP, cautioned against reading too much into the results of this race. Nehring said the race revolves around a number of issues, and he predicted that individuals and political factions looking for evidence to support a particular point of view will cherry-pick from the election’s results and spin those results to prove the point that suits them. “This special election is awash in externalities: Duke Cunningham, national mood, national issues, and forces outside the 50th, all acting on this special election — so I think it’s easy to overestimate the impact of those externalities,” Nehring said. “I think we’re looking at a confluence of factors that is unlikely to be repeated in any Congressional district.” As they have for weeks, both parties are playing heavily in this race. Estimates peg the number of Democratic volunteers on the ground for Busby at around 400, with at least 160 Republican volunteers under the supervision of about seven Republican National Committee staffers on the ground for Bilbray. The RNC is coordinating the get-out-the-vote effort for Bilbray, and in recent days volunteers have logged about 105,000 phone calls and knocked on nearly 20,000 doors. Meanwhile, both the DCCC and the NRCC have been on television and radio for weeks with independent expenditure campaigns. With the polls closing at 8 p.m. PST tonight, a number of wildcards remain that could affect the outcome of this race. 155

The regular statewide primary is also being held today, and voters in the 50th district essentially will have two ballots. One is for the special election and features Bilbray, Busby, a Libertarian candidate and an Independent; the other is for the regular primary and includes the party primaries for the 50th district race for the right to run for a full term in November. The winner of the special election earns the privilege of serving only the remainder of Cunningham’s term. In addition to fending off Busby from the left, Bilbray has had to deal with multimillionaire Bill Hauf (R) on the right, running against the former Congressman on the regular primary ballot for the GOP nomination to the November election. The Independent candidate on the runoff ballot, William Griffith, was endorsed by the San Diego Minuteman, the local chapter of an outspoken, anti-illegal immigration group whose volunteers have patrolled the Mexican border. Busby has had the luxury of a unified Democratic Party behind her candidacy and might also benefit from the gubernatorial primary on the ballot today between state Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) and state Controller Steve Westly (D). Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is not being contested in his primary. But Busby’s biggest problem might be of her own making. She was recorded at a campaign event Friday telling a group of supporters, many of whom were Latino and spoke Spanish as a first language, that “you don’t need papers to vote.” Busby said she simply meant to say that non-citizens were allowed to volunteer on her campaign, but Republicans have used the recording against her. The NRCC went up with radio ads about the recording Monday morning, and it has been playing repeatedly on conservative talk radio. Republicans monitoring the race credit this statement with sending undecided voters and unenthusiastic Republicans into Bilbray’s camp.

GOP Seeks To Capitalize On Busby Remarks (AP-Y2)
By Allison Hoffman AP2, June 5, 2006 Republicans seized on Democrat Francine Busby's comments that sounded like encouragement for illegal immigrants to help her campaign as the GOP sought an edge in the final hours of a surprisingly close House race. Immigration looms large in the runoff election Tuesday in the San Diego-area district some 30 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border. Busby's remarks, and her subsequent explanation that she misspoke, has drawn much of the attention in the race's last days. Speaking to a largely Hispanic audience last Thursday, Busby faced a Spanish-speaking questioner who said he wanted to help her campaign but lacked voting papers. The question was translated into English and she responded, "Everybody can help. You can all help. You don't need papers for voting, you don't need to be a registered voter to help." Busby's GOP rival, Brian Bilbray, criticized the Democrat, saying she was encouraging possible illegal immigrants to volunteer for the campaign. On Monday, the GOP launched a radio ad that said, "That's right. Francine Busby says you don't need papers to vote." Busby said repeatedly throughout the weekend that she misspoke. She said she had been trying to encourage underage high school students or people who weren't registered — but are in the country legally — to participate in the political process. "I had a slip of the tongue and I corrected it immediately," Busby said. "I want to make it unequivocal that I do not support anyone who is here illegally voting or working on campaigns." In the traditional GOP stronghold, registered Republicans outnumber Democrats, 3-to-2. But the downfall of convicted former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, doing time for accepting bribes, has given Democrats hope of capturing the seat. The winner of Tuesday's runoff will serve the remaining seven months of Cunningham's term. The prevailing party will play up the outcome as an early barometer of the November midterm elections. Reflecting the high stakes, the two parties have spent more than $6 million combined on the contest. President Bush and first lady Laura Bush recorded automated telephone messages for Bilbray. A mass e-mailing from Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., the party's 2004 presidential nominee, was sent last week to more than 100,000 supporters urging them to help get out the vote. Early voting began this weekend at county registrars' offices, with several hundred casting ballots. Busby and Bilbray voted on Monday. Busby, a local school board member, has focused her campaign on an anti-corruption theme and assailed Bilbray, a former congressman, for his time working as a lobbyist. On immigration, she backs the Senate-passed bill that combines enhanced border security with a guest worker program and a shot at citizenship for many of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Bilbray, who highlights his congressional experience, favors construction of a fence "from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico," and barring "illegal aliens from any access to Social Security benefits." On his Web Site, he offers no plan for treatment of the illegal immigrants currently in the country. 156

A fractious Republican Party base and the presence of a third candidate are the wild cards in the race. Some conservatives consider Bilbray too liberal on social issues and even on immigration. The ultraconservative San Diego Minutemen have endorsed William Griffith, an American Independent on the runoff ballot who won less than 1 percent in the April special election that led to the runoff. Griffith has spent only a few thousand dollars on his campaign, but last week got a boost from Busby's campaign, which ran ads on conservative talk stations encouraging listeners concerned about immigration to vote for Griffith. Bilbray also faces a primary challenge from self-financed candidate Bill Hauf, who backs Bilbray in the runoff but has recently spent more than $100,000 on radio ads running to his right for the Republican berth in November's election. "The Republican Party is splitting 14 ways from Sunday on border issues, along with fiscal issues and social issues," said Carl Luna, a political scientist at Mesa College. "The real conservatives may just take their jacks and go home."

8 States Hold Primaries For Some Offices (AP-Y2)
By Robert Tanner AP2, June 5, 2006 The old adage says all politics are local. But challengers this year are convinced that national dissatisfaction with Iraq, immigration and political corruption give them an unusual chance to topple sitting governors, senators and House members. Primaries on Tuesday for governor in Alabama and California, a Senate seat in Montana and a handful of House contests, among other races, will put their faith to the test. The most-watched congressional contest is the only one that will actually put someone in office — a special election in southern California to replace jailed former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. Democrats hope to win in what has long been a conservative, GOP stronghold, and the race is seen as a bellwether for fall midterm elections. In all, eight states are holding primaries, with polls also open in Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota and Iowa, where there is an open governor's seat. In Montana, revelations of three-term Republican Sen. Conrad Burns (news, bio, voting record)' ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff have made him one of the most vulnerable members of Congress, inspiring a vigorous contest among Democrats for the right to face him this November. The issues in Alabama include tax policy, social conservatism and immigration, as GOP Gov. Bob Riley's failed tax increases have spurred both a Republican primary and a heated contest among Democrats. Former Judge Roy Moore is challenging Riley for the GOP nomination, after gaining social conservatives' notice for his unsuccessful fight to put a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse. Among the Democrats hoping to get Riley's job is former Gov. Don Siegelman, who will likely be in federal court on racketeering and bribery charges. His toughest opponent is Democratic Lt. Gov. Lucy Baxley. In California, early polls that showed a drop in GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's popularity raised Democratic hopes. But he's benefited from a mean-spirited Democratic primary campaign between Treasurer Phil Angelides and Controller Steve Westly. Schwarzenegger faced no major primary competition. "It seems clearly to be a time when people are not real happy and not thrilled with incumbents almost anywhere," said Norm Ornstein, a political analyst at the American Enterprise Institute. "There's no doubt you're getting highly attractive (challengers) running because of the peculiar circumstances." It's always uncertain whether national dismay will trickle down when people vote for their own members of Congress, and the connection is even harder to make to governors. But already this year, possible signs of anti-incumbent sentiment have emerged in Oregon, where Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski won a hard-fought primary with only 54 percent support; GOP Rep. Don Sherwood (news, bio, voting record), a Pennsylvania congressman, faced a surprisingly strong challenge from a poorly funded, little-known opponent; and voters threw out more than a dozen Pennsylvania state legislators over a legislative pay raise. Polls track the discontent: An AP-Ipsos poll last month found the electorate's mood souring, with 73 percent of those polled saying the nation is on the wrong track. That poll had President Bush's approval ratings down to a low of 33 percent, with Congress even lower at 25 percent. The efforts to highlight discontent over national issues pops up in primary campaigns everywhere. Immigration has been argued in Alabama, California and New Mexico; Iraq in California and New Mexico; political corruption in Montana; ties to oil companies and complaints about gas prices in California; abortion in Iowa. California's special election pits Republican former House Rep. Brian Bilbray against Democrat Francine Busby for Cunningham's former seat in a conservative San Diego-area district. It's brought national money and speculation that a Democratic win would be a taste of bigger victories in the fall. 157

Their ads: Bilbray featured his fight against illegal immigration, while Busby promised higher ethical standards. Democrats also are hoping for a critical autumn victory in Montana, where Burns, seeking a fourth term, has denied that Abramoff or his money ever influenced him. He has blamed the "Eastern liberal press" for his troubles and predicted that Montana voters "will make the right judgment call." Among other races that Tuesday's primaries will sort out for the fall: • An open governor's seat in Iowa brought out four Democrats hoping to face GOP Rep. Jim Nussle (news, bio, voting record). • Republican Tom Kean Jr., son of the former governor, was favored in the GOP primary to challenge New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez. • Former California governor and presidential candidate Jerry Brown, term-limited from staying on as Oakland mayor, is running for state attorney general. In many cases, Democrats are hoping to capitalize on anti-incumbency sentiment — a reflection on the GOP control of the House, the Senate and a majority of the nation's governorships. "All the short-term factors are working in the Democrats' favor," said Merle Black, an expert at presidential and Southern politics at Emory University. "To the extent that these elections are nationalized, the Democrats ought to come out better. But I don't know if the national thing really plays out in state contests."

Up For Grabs Midterm Tea Leaves Signal Hot Water For Republicans (WSJ)
By Jackie Calmes The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- As a bad year for Republicans keeps getting worse, expectations are growing that Democrats could capture at least one house of Congress, ending one-party dominance of the nation's capital and crippling President Bush for his final years. If the current mood holds, Democrats are in a position to win the 15 seats they need to take control of the House. They have a harder task, however, snagging the six seats needed in the Senate. As the list of vulnerable Republicans grows, all sides are scouting for signs of an electoral wave like that of 1994, which swept away the Democrats' four-decade control of Congress. A key factor is the president's approval ratings, which are even lower in states featuring key battles than they are nationally. A recent poll had him at 23% in New York, home to as many as six endangered Republicans. Particularly threatened are Republican moderates in Democratic-leaning areas, including the Northeast, the Ohio River Valley and Florida. In all these areas, seniors are disgruntled about the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit and the administration's nowdead proposal to remake Social Security. In midterm elections, with their low turnouts, seniors account for roughly 40% of the vote. Two elections being held today are being closely watched as potential barometers for the fall: a special election in California to replace former Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, who has pleaded guilty to bribery charges; and a Senate primary in Montana, where scandal-touched Sen. Conrad Burns faces a Republican challenge. Democrats are hoping that Iraq, gas prices, immigration and the environment will boost turnout for their side just as conservatives demoralized by spending and scandals opt to stay home. (See related article1.) Much can change between now and the elections. Democrats are sparring over what agenda, if any, to put forward and their leaders don't have the tactical vision of former Rep. Newt Gingrich, who inspired the 1994 Republican revolutionaries. Scandals have embroiled two of their House members and voters appear to be turning against all incumbents, putting some Democrats at risk, too. Recent polls and primaries, however, suggest voters are gunning for the party in power. If the elections were held today, "Democrats would take at least one of the houses," says analyst Bernadette Budde, senior vice president of the Business Industry Political Action Committee, which typically favors Republicans. Republicans won't lose for lack of funds. Mr. Bush may be a drag on his party, but he remains a money magnet. He recently raised $860,000 at one Florida event for endangered Rep. Clay Shaw -- nearly as much as many House members spend in a whole campaign. Rep. Rahm Emanuel of Illinois and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who head the Democrats' House and Senate campaign committees, have raised more than ever before. Yet Democrats fear -- and Republicans hope -- that the minority party could fall short when it comes to buying costly TV ads in suburban battlegrounds later this year. The House For Democrats to net 15 seats for a bare majority of 218 is harder than the number suggests. The remapping of the 435 districts after the 2000 census leaves no more than several dozen seats up for grabs. Currently Republicans have 231 to Democrats' 202, which includes one Independent ally. (Two seats are currently vacant.) 158

Democrats have one big advantage: few vulnerable seats of their own. The anti-Bush climate has a lot to do with that. Also, Democrats have few seats in the conservative South, reflecting the Republican realignment since the civil-rights era. Stuart Rothenberg, an independent analyst once skeptical of Democrats' chances, now says: "Although I can't count the seats right now to get Democrats to 218, my gut tells me that by November they'll be there." The Northeast With a big wave of support, Democrats could plausibly reach a majority without leaving the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, home to about a third of the 40 to 50 hottest races. Mr. Bush's approval rating is in the low 30s nationally. In these states it is generally lower. Half of the 18 House districts with Republican representatives that picked Al Gore or John Kerry for president are located here. The Iraq war is especially unpopular as are Mr. Bush's environmental policies. Many voters, including moderate, suburban Republicans, also dislike the party's emphasis on cultural issues such as gay marriage, as well as its fiscal record. Even the head of Republicans' House campaign committee, Rep. Tom Reynolds of New York, now is on some handicappers' watch lists. Republican turnout in New York could be particularly low because the party doesn't have strong candidates to excite voters running against Democrats Sen. Hillary Clinton and gubernatorial aspirant Eliot Spitzer. On election night, northwest Connecticut's Rep. Nancy Johnson will be "my canary in the coal mine," says Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report. In a normal year, the 12-term Republican congresswoman would be safe, even though Mr. Bush twice failed to carry her district. If Mrs. Johnson loses, Ms. Walter says expect a national Republican wipe-out. Mrs. Johnson is a popular, well-funded moderate who is already running TV ads. The Midwest In the Ohio River Valley, home to economic troubles and scandals both local and national, nine House Republicans are targets. They include Ohio Rep. Bob Ney, who faces possible indictment in the widening corruption scandal relating to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Mr. Bush twice carried Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, but polls show that only a third of their residents approve of his performance. All three states have unpopular Republican governors. Central Ohio's seven-term Rep. Deborah Pryce is threatened as never before. With Congress so unpopular, her status as the fourth-ranking House leader could become a liability. Mr. Bush easily carried her Columbus-based district in 2000, but nearly lost it in 2004 after a Democratic voter-registration drive. Republicans take heart that Democrats failed to recruit strong challengers to face other vulnerable incumbents, such as Kentucky's Anne Northup -- whose district went for Gore and Kerry -- or even the embattled Mr. Ney. Republicans also seem prepared for the challenge. That is a contrast, says Carl Forti, communications director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, with the complacency of many Democrats in 1994. "Anyone who could potentially be in trouble is already paying attention," Mr. Forti says. "That makes it harder to sneak up and beat them." Florida and the Southwest While Florida and the southwest have been friendly areas to Republicans, Democrats have made inroads. Republican seats from Florida to California could now be at risk as a potential Hispanic backlash to the House's hard-line immigration bill combines with seniors' worries about Social Security and Medicare, as well as well as voters' vexation generally with war, scandal and deficits. That dynamic threatens conservative Rep. J.D. Hayworth, the firebrand from suburban Phoenix, and New Mexico's Heather Wilson. Democrats hope to pick up the Texas seat of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is officially stepping down this week to face trial on corruption charges. In Florida, five of 18 Republican-held seats are at risk -- none more so than that of 13-term Rep. Clay Shaw. The district, which Mr. Bush lost twice, includes more voters over the age of 65 than any other and Mr. Shaw was a prominent backer of the administration's Medicare and Social Security policies. Such issues have been used against him before, but not in a year so hostile to Republicans. The Senate Democrats' chance for a Senate majority is limited by the lineup of races. Democrats already hold 18 of 33 seats up for grabs. Seven of the Republicans' 15 seats are considered safe, putting eight Republican seats in play. Handicappers say three of those are reachable only in the event of a Democratic landslide. That leaves five. And with the Senate divided 55 Republicans to 45 Democrats, counting one Vermont Independent, Democrats need six to get to a majority of 51. Moreover, the minority party has several seats of their own to protect. Top Targets In most danger are two Republicans from opposite ends of the party's spectrum -- liberal Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and conservative Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Both states twice went for Democrats over Mr. Bush. In Rhode Island, Mr. Bush's 21% approval rating in one poll has been his worst anywhere. 159

Democrats say the two-term Mr. Santorum, the third-ranking Senate leader, is too conservative for the state. Unlike other Republicans, he didn't flinch last year from supporting Mr. Bush on Social Security. Democrats recruited state Treasurer Bob Casey, son of the popular late governor, to run against him, over the objection of women's groups. The Democrat, like Mr. Santorum, opposes abortion rights. Mr. Chafee is doubly threatened. He faces an intraparty challenge from a conservative backed by the antitax Club for Growth, which seeks to punish Mr. Chafee for opposing the Bush tax cuts. If Mr. Chafee survives the September primary, he has just weeks to campaign against Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse, a former prosecutor and state attorney general. Normally Mr. Chafee would be favored to win a second full term. He didn't vote for the president in 2004 and his opposition to Mr. Bush may provide some protection in November, if it doesn't cost him the primary. Ohio's Mike DeWine and Missouri's Jim Talent are also big targets. Mr. DeWine has upset social conservatives for his position on judicial nominations, among other issues, and is also facing scandals within the Ohio Republican party, in addition to national ones. In Missouri, Mr. Talent has a conservative base unhappy with his vacillation on a stem-cell research issue that will be on November's ballot. Montana's Mr. Burns was fairly well prepared to run for a fourth term -- until his contacts with Mr. Abramoff drew Justice Department scrutiny. He has denied any wrongdoing. He faces several challengers in today's primary. Although he is expected to survive, some Republicans still hope he will drop out by August. Democrats have made gains in the populist state and have a couple of credible candidates. A poll that ran in some Montana newspapers recently suggested either could beat Mr. Burns. Other Notable Battles In the case of a big swing to Democrats, Republicans could lose seats in Tennessee and Arizona. Democrats are even targeting a Virginia seat long thought safe. Three Tennessee Republicans, including two former House members, are vying for the nomination to succeed Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is retiring and weighing a 2008 presidential campaign. The winner will face Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who would be the state's first black senator. Mr. Ford has a moderate record and has already run TV ads, although he would have to overcome the state's Republican tilt. Arizona's Jon Kyl is favored for a third term but he could be hurt by a Hispanic backlash. Mr. Kyl wants a tougher approach to illegal immigrants than either Mr. Bush or Arizona's better-known Republican senator, John McCain. Virginia's George Allen once was considered a shoe-in, but he is now on handicappers' watch lists. As he focused on a possible 2008 presidential campaign, two potent opponents emerged. Some national Democratic leaders support Vietnam veteran James Webb, a former Republican and Reagan administration Navy secretary who opposes the Iraq war. Democrats on the Defensive Half of Democrats' 18 seats are safe and in several red states, Republicans failed to recruit strong challengers. Democrats are indeed being tested -- but in blue states, such as Maryland, New Jersey, Michigan and Washington. In Maryland, Republicans are united behind Lt. Gov. Michael Steele to be the state's first black senator. Democrats won't pick their nominee until Sept. 12. Rep. Ben Cardin is favored over Kweisi Mfume, former head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Democrats fear disgruntled black voters might jump to Mr. Steele. Michigan's Debbie Stabenow is weakened by local conditions. Michigan has missed the nation's economic recovery and its unpopular Democratic governor heads the party ticket. In New Jersey, Robert Menendez is facing his first election for a seat to which he was appointed. His Republican foe, Tom Kean, has a valuable name: His father was a popular former Republican governor and recent co-chairman of the 9/11 commission.

House At Stake, Midterm Election Gets Early Start (NYT)
By Adam Nagourney The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — Congressional campaigns have begun early and with unusual intensity this year in many districts across the country, reflecting a consensus in both parties that Republicans could lose control of the House and perhaps the Senate. A special election in a bedrock Republican Congressional district in San Diego on Tuesday — for the seat left vacant when Representative Randy Cunningham resigned after pleading guilty to corruption charges — has sharpened the early intensity and could provide the clearest evidence so far about whether Democrats can capitalize on the unsettled political climate. The National Republican Congressional Committee, fearful that a loss or meager victory could further rattle the party and give Democrats a huge boost, has poured at least $4.5 million into the district. And it has enlisted President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Laura Bush to make automated telephone calls to voters, putting the prestige of the White House on the line. 160

But even for candidates who will not face the voters for five months, the campaign is shaping up as not only the most contested midterm election in over a decade, but also the most substantive. In a typical election year, intense campaign activity normally does not begin until around Labor Day. Democrats and Republicans said they were struck by the level of political activity now going on. Television advertisements have been shown by candidates in at least five districts, party officials said, and there are radio and Internet advertisements popping up around the country., the liberal advocacy group, began broadcasting hard-hitting advertisements attacking Republican incumbents in four states nearly three months ago and is about to start a second round on Thursday, officials with the organization said. Visits last week to three competitive districts — encompassing an endangered Republican in Pennsylvania, an endangered Democrat in Illinois and a race for an open seat in upstate New York — found incumbents and their challengers locked in debates over a strikingly wide range of issues, including the war in Iraq, tax cuts, immigration, stem cell research and raising the minimum wage. If this early pattern holds, it could undercut Republican efforts to prevent this election from becoming a national referendum on Mr. Bush and Republican policies. In New York's highly contested 24th District, left vacant by the retirement of Representative Sherwood Boehlert, a Republican, the Democratic candidate, Michael A. Acuri, called for the United States to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. "We shouldn't have been there in the first place," Mr. Acuri said, "and we really need to start bringing the troops home." His opponent, Ray Meier, speaking over coffee before holding a news conference with Republican supporters in Seneca Falls, N.Y., said that the United States should stay until the situation there stabilized, and that Mr. Bush had been correct in taking the country to war. "History will judge this as having been the right thing to have done," Mr. Meier said. "Saddam Hussein was a regional security threat for well over a decade before we went in." In the suburbs of Philadelphia the other day, Lois Murphy, a Democratic challenger to Representative Jim Gerlach, one of the Democrats' top targets, called a news conference to attack Mr. Gerlach for not supporting an increase in the minimum wage. "The minimum wage hasn't been raised in a decade by the U.S. Congress," Ms. Murphy said. "In that period of time, Congress has given itself a raise five times." And sitting in his campaign headquarters in Lake Zurich, Ill., outside Chicago, David McSweeney, a Republican challenger to Representative Melissa Bean, said Ms. Bean's re-election would lead to the repeal of Mr. Bush's tax cuts and legislation that would permit some illegal immigrants to gain citizenship, something he has campaigned against. "Melissa Bean has voted with Democrats in Congress 83 percent of the time," Mr. McSweeney said. "Her first vote would be to make Nancy Pelosi speaker of the House. I'm talking about the implications of what happens if Democrats take control of the House." The contours of the gathering debate became clear in interviews in these three districts, along with others during a Memorial Day recess that took candidates to V.F.W. halls, parades and news conferences. After a decade in which Congressional elections have been derided as often being free of issues, or characterized by personal attacks, there seems to be an abundance of things for the candidates to talk about. And they are talking about them. Mr. Acuri is drawing a contrast with Republicans on stem cell research. "Ray Meier and George Bush both oppose stem cell research — and I think that's where we should be going," he said. In Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, a Democrat given a strong chance of winning a Republican seat being left vacant by the retirement of Henry J. Hyde, attacked Republicans on earmarks, a budgetary process used by members of Congress to send federal dollars to favored projects. "Earmarks can have some benefit, but I just think that approaching $9 trillion in debt, where we are borrowing millions of dollars from China, there has got to be a line," Ms. Duckworth said at a V.F.W. picnic in Addison, outside Chicago. Abortion rights are emerging as an issue, on both sides of the divide. In Pennsylvania, Ms. Murphy said of her opponent: "That's one way that Congressman Gerlach is out of step with this district. He opposes the right to choose, and that's not what this district supports." Mr. Meier, seeking the seat of Mr. Boehlert, who supported abortion rights, said he would emphasize his own opposition to abortion. "You'll find that my record is consistent, and I'm strong on the issue," he said. "I won't dodge or waver if it is raised." Candidates from both parties are battling over whether Mr. Bush's tax cuts should be made permanent. Mr. McSweeney called them essential for the nation's prosperity. Ms. Bean said she would support making the tax cuts permanent only "so long as we're cutting spending," adding, "Otherwise it's not a tax cut; it's just a deferred tax increase." Mr. Acuri, the Democrat running in New York, said Congress should roll back tax cuts for the upper-income taxpayers. "We have these record deficits," he said, "and we are mortgaging our country to reduce the taxes on the top 1 percent." 161

Ms. Murphy attacked Mr. Gerlach for supporting the strict House immigration bill sponsored by Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin. "He voted for the Sensenbrenner bill — he's a hard-liner," she said. "I would not. Making it a felony for clergy to assist people in need? I think that's totally inappropriate." Mr. Gerlach said: "I do not support amnesty. I think we need to continue to work through this issue of guest workers." Not surprisingly, Mr. Bush is hovering over the races in these early days. When Ms. Murphy campaigned in Pottstown, Pa., the other night, she told a small crowd, "You probably know that President Bush came in and did a fund-raiser for Congressman Gerlach, and Congressman Gerlach has been very close to the administration." Mr. Gerlach said he was not concerned by such criticism. "We're not running away from the president," he said. "We're not running to the president. We're running for the House of Representatives. When we agree with the president, we talk about that, and when we disagree with the president, we'll talk about that."

Democrats Advised On Military Relations (WT)
By Eric Pfeiffer The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 Democrats are seeking ways to reach out to military families, hosting a discussion yesterday to help congressional staffers better communicate with men and women serving in the armed forces. Kathy Roth-Douquet and Frank Schaeffer, authors of "AWOL: The Unexcused Absence of America's Upper Classes from Military Service -- and How it Hurts Our Country," spoke in a Capitol basement office filled with Democratic staffers who shared their personal stories of military service and examples of being part of a military family while trying to relate to "elite" colleagues who "dismissed" their experiences. "To trivialize this doesn't win any friends or sense of understanding," Mrs. Roth-Douquet said of the "great disconnect" between liberal and military culture. Mrs. Roth-Douquet and Mr. Schaeffer presented their "top 10 mistakes people make when dealing with the military" as a what-not-to-do list when communicating with those in the military. While it was noted that those in attendance were already likely to be "sensitive to the disconnect," Mrs. Roth-Douquet and Mr. Schaeffer said it would be beneficial to have military officers visit congressional offices. Yesterday's discussion was sponsored by the Truman National Security Project, a Washington think tank that declares its aim is to boost Democrats' "national security credentials" through an "innovative, distinctly Democratic approach to national security." Mr. Schaeffer described himself as someone "from Massachusetts who usually votes for the Republicans," adding that he thinks the disconnect he and Mrs. Roth-Douquet describe comes from "a guilty relationship between Democrats and the military" after Vietnam "It wasn't necessarily Democrats spitting on the troops when they returned home," Mr. Schaeffer said. "But those events are certainly more associated with the left." An unidentified Democratic staffer in attendance said, "When you get down to it, most military values are really Democratic values," which received a warm applause from the estimated two dozen fellow staffers in attendance. Mrs. Roth-Douquet said she agreed with the statement -- but when asked if politicizing military values was dangerous, added, "The military shouldn't be an institution that belongs to either party." Mr. Schaeffer said he thinks "Congress would be better served" if it was more representative of the American population in the percentage of its members who have served in the military. Mr. Schaeffer, whose son served in the Marines, said part of his motivation for writing the book was to "take it to my rich friends and stick it in their faces." Mrs. Roth-Douquet, who is the wife of a Marine and has worked on every presidential campaign of the past 20 years, said that Sen. John Kerry, Democrat from Massachusetts, made two mistakes in communicating with veterans during his 2004 presidential campaign. "He talked about how he was a war hero," Mrs. Roth-Douquet said. "That's not received well in the military. He should have let other people do the talking." Mrs. Roth-Douquet said Mr. Kerry's second mistake was in never publicly apologizing for accusing fellow Vietnam veterans of war crimes.

Former Democratic Rep. Lucas Deals With Bush-backing Past (HILL)
By Aaron Blake The Hill, June 6, 2006 In a year in which many House and Senate candidates are agonizing over whether to embrace an increasingly unpopular President Bush on the campaign trail, former Rep. Ken Lucas is no exception. 162

Except, of course, for the fact that Lucas is a Democrat. Two years after retiring from Congress, Lucas, a Blue Dog Democrat who frequently backed Bush while in office, is trying to regain his Kentucky seat. In the process, he has been treading a fine line between promoting what was an amicable working relationship with the president and reaping the benefits of tying his opponent to him. Lucas will face his successor, Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.), in a hotly contested rematch of the 2002 election. Lucas’s campaign’s political consultant, Bob Doyle, called Bush “an albatross” who would hurt Davis in the 4th District, but he said Lucas is still looking forward to working with the president. “Ken supported the president when he thought the president was right on the issues that matter to the people in his district and opposed him when he thought he was wrong. That’s the same way that he’s running now,” Doyle said. “It’s a helluva contrast with Geoff Davis, who is an absolute, 100 percent vote for his congressional leadership and for the president on every single issue.” Davis’s campaign is standing by the president, with whom Davis actually voted 87 percent of the time in 2005. Bush was in the northern Kentucky district in mid-May raising nearly half a million dollars for the congressman when he said in a moment of self-deprecation that the Davis campaign “really wanted Laura” to fly in for him instead of himself. “[Davis] said, ‘You stay home, Mr. President,’” Bush joked. Joking aside, Davis’s campaign manager, Justin Brasell, said his boss had no hesitancy about playing host to Bush. He said Lucas, on the other hand, is trying to “have it both ways” with the president. “He has done nothing, until he got into this race, but try to tie himself to Bush,” Brasell said. “It’s just recently that he’s become a full-blown partisan Bush-basher, because he’s relying on the extreme wing of the Democratic Party to fund his campaign now.” Kentucky epitomizes the president’s fall from grace. Statewide, Bush enjoys just a 34 percent approval rating, despite winning 60 percent of the vote there in 2004. The district gave him 63 percent of the vote. The two candidates practically fought over who was closer to a much more popular Bush in 2002, when the president halfheartedly endorsed Davis. While officially backing the challenger, Bush also made note of his rapport with Lucas. The candidates traded barbs over what the endorsement actually meant. Davis emphasized how big a fan of the president he was and how similar their agendas were. Lucas’s camp dismissed Bush’s tepid endorsement as something akin to “kissing your sister” and said it didn’t live up to Bush’s endorsements of other candidates. Both candidates featured Bush in their campaign ads. This time, the president is more emphatic about whom he supports. During the fundraiser, he immediately made it known that there is “no doubt in my mind” that Davis is the right candidate for the district. After announcing his retirement in 2003, Lucas criticized Bush’s handling of the Iraq war and his prescription-drug benefit. Of the former, he told The Cincinnati Enquirer, “I feel deceived.” But on the welcome message on his campaign website, Lucas still touts his work with Bush in the third sentence. “I worked with President Bush to cut taxes, protect the Homeland, grow the economy, and support our military,” the site says. Mostly, Lucas is promoting his independent and conservative credentials, noting his affiliation with gun-rights and antiabortion groups. While in office, he was often rumored to be a candidate for switching parties. Last month, Lucas tried to cement that independent image by calling for the resignation of Democratic Rep. William Jefferson (La.), who has been under investigation for allegations that he accepted bribes and stashed $90,000 worth of them in his freezer. “I will stand against unethical conduct today as I always have — with a blind eye to political party,” Lucas said in a release. The Davis campaign said Lucas’s votes in 2003 and 2004, after he announced his retirement, show his true politics. His National Journal composite liberal score jumped 20 points in his final two years in office but still stood in the middle, around 50. Brasell said the call for Jefferson’s resignation was “all about politics.” “His new self-righteousness on all things involving corruption is exactly that — it’s brand new,” Brasell said. The National Republican Congressional Committee responded to Lucas’s call by publicizing a note he had written in 2004 pleading with a judge for leniency in the case of a corporate criminal from northern Kentucky. And on Thursday it criticized him for taking a $16,000 privately funded trip to Taiwan after he announced his retirement. Doyle said that the private-travel charge “means absolutely nothing” because the trip was within the rules and that the letter was merely “in a humanitarian vein,” asking the judge to consider the convicted man’s good work in the community, not to overlook crimes he had committed. 163

A Democratic poll in February showed Lucas ahead by 10 points. Lucas beat Davis 51-48 in 2002 to win his third term and then honored a term-limit pledge by deciding not to run in 2004. But soon after Davis beat Democrat Nick Clooney, actor-activist George Clooney’s father, in 2004, a “Draft Ken Lucas” effort took shape, and Lucas declared his candidacy in January. Doyle said Lucas is not breaking the term-limit pledge because it was a “three consecutive terms” pledge.

Primary Could Determine Burns’ Political Health (RC)
By Nicole Duran Roll Call, June 6, 2006 Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) likes to joke that Democrats will choose John — spell it how you like — as their Senate nominee today. All kidding aside, the race between state Auditor John Morrison and state Senate President Jon Tester should be close — an outcome that just a month ago seemed unlikely. Morrison led from the get-go. He outraised, outspent, out-organized and out-campaigned Tester for the right to challenge Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) in the fall. Then he revealed an extramarital affair from eight years ago. Alone the news may not have been cataclysmic, but unfortunately for Morrison, the woman eventually married a man whom Morrison’s office had to investigate for securities fraud. Morrison tried to distance himself from the matter by handing the case over to an outside attorney. The man is now serving time in a federal prison, but questions about Morrison’s handling of the case remain. Trailing badly in the money chase and less well-known to voters than Morrison, who was twice elected statewide, Tester appeared ill-equipped to capitalize on the news. And for a while it seemed Morrison had weathered the storm. Then Tester dropped a mild bombshell. “I am the only person on this stage that can go belly to belly with Conrad Burns on the situation of ethics,” Tester boasted at a May 2 debate in Helena. In the past few weeks, Tester has turned his supporters loose to question how, with the affair hanging over his head, Morrison can credibly challenge Burns on allegations that he did favors for former lobbyist Jack Abramoff in exchange for campaign cash. Morrison defends his office’s work and asserts that an affair pales in comparison with a Justice Department investigation into Abramoff’s dealings, which may include Burns and former Burns staffers. But Montana Democrats seem nervous. Former Sen. John Melcher (D-Mont.), whom Burns defeated to win the seat in 1988, recently got on the Tester train after initially backing Morrison. Former state Rep. Paul Richards, one of the three lesser-known Democrats also vying for the nomination, threw his support to Tester last week, and three women who previously served Morrison in the auditor’s office penned a public letter asking voters to back Tester. Tester also outraised Morrison, albeit narrowly, for the first time ever when he filed his pre-primary campaign report last month. But Morrison is not conceding anything. He led Tester in a recent independent poll by 1 point, easily within the margin of error. He has been on television longer and assembled a wider operation. And he has been working the senior citizen circuit hard — a push among a reliable voting bloc that could be pivotal given that as few as 50,000 votes could be cast in the open primary. “We feel really good about things,” said Morrison spokeswoman Tylynn Gordon. “There’s a lot of support out there for Morrison.” Both candidates have spent the past few days shoring up support in the major cities. Morrison will spend primary day in Helena, while Tester will decamp to his stronghold in Missoula. The Montana Democratic Party and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee have remained neutral. “This has been a spirited primary that Montanans have followed closely, and regardless of who our candidate is on Wednesday we will be ready to mount a very aggressive campaign against Conrad Burns, who we believe to be as out of touch with his constituents as any elected official in the country,” said state party spokesman Matt McKenna. Tester, a burly man with a flat-top haircut who has continued tending to his organic farm during the entire campaign, thinks momentum is on his side. “He connects with people,” said Tester spokesman Bill Lombardi. “His message is getting through, and he’s the best candidate to go toe-to-toe with Conrad Burns on Burns’ ethical problems — people have realized that, and they’re taking a closer look at the race.” 164

The race will come down to the 14 percent of primary voters polled by Mason-Dixon late last month who remained uncommitted. The question is, can Morrison hold on to the support he built before the affair revelation? The main event is on the Democratic side, but Burns will have a test, too. He is expected to easily defeat the three Republicans challenging him, but national pundits will be looking to read the returns for signs of weakness if he does not post extremely high numbers. One of his primary opponents, state Senate Minority Leader Bob Keenan (R), is a credible challenger, though he got into the race late and hasn’t raised much money. Both Morrison and Tester bested Burns in the latest Mason-Dixon poll, signaling that the general election will be competitive regardless of who wins tonight.

Webb's Support Of Affirmative Action At Issue (WP)
By Rosalind S. Helderman The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 RICHMOND -- Democratic Senate candidate James Webb has a childhood memory of relatives living hard lives in southwest Virginia communities with no electricity. That's why when he started studying affirmative action programs as a law student, he came to a question: Why was preferential treatment given on the job to all kinds of ethnic groups that were considered disadvantaged -- Latinos, Asians, blacks, Native Americans -- but not to working-class whites struggling to overcome poverty? "The original intent of affirmative action expanded, and a lot of different ethnic groups who never suffered state-sponsored discrimination at all came under the rubric of affirmative action," he said recently. "The assumption that everyone who was white had a benefit and anyone who was not white didn't have a benefit, it was not a fair assumption." If there was ever proof that Webb, who served as secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, is not a typical candidate for a Democratic Party nomination, it is his nuanced -- and, opponents charge, shifting -- position on affirmative action, which has been endorsed by the party establishment for decades. Webb, a former Marine who joined the Republican Party after the Vietnam War and has returned to the Democratic Party over the Iraq war, said he has been writing and thinking about the issue for years. On the one hand, he argues that diversity programs that were once intended to help African Americans have been extended to benefit everyone except whites. On the other, he recently has made a point of singling out hardships faced by African Americans, who he said still experience lingering effects of government-sponsored oppression and discrimination. So Webb comes to an unusual view among candidates in either major party: He supports affirmative action for blacks but otherwise thinks preferential job and education programs should be awarded based on economic conditions or eliminated altogether. "I think it's time to either open this thing up to poor white groups or just go back to a level playing field -- while keeping an eye on African Americans," said Webb, who is white. "I'm a strong supporter of affirmative action in its original intent, which is to help African Americans." His opponent in next Tuesday's primary -- to determine who will face Sen. George Allen (R) in the November general election -- is longtime Democratic operative Harris Miller, a former technology industry lobbyist. Miller has characterized Webb's views as out of step with most party members, using affirmative action as a prime example. "Webb is a Republican disguised as a Democrat," said Del. Lionell Spruill Sr. (D-Chesapeake), a Miller supporter and one of seven members of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to endorse the former Fairfax Democratic Committee chairman. "Harris Miller and I go way back, and he has always been for affirmative action." In a low-turnout primary, Webb's position could cost votes in critical black communities. At the same time, his criticism of diversity programs intended to help groups other than blacks could jeopardize support among such constituencies as women and Latinos who also have benefited from diversity initiatives. "He's essentially articulated a position on affirmative action that almost no one articulates today," said Robert D. Holsworth, a professor of government at Virginia Commonwealth University who has written a book on affirmative action. "It's not an indefensible position, but it's not a position that fits comfortably into the normal debate." Webb acknowledges his textured stand is not ready-made for a stump speech and hardly a "30-second sound bite." For opponents, it's not the issue's complexity but Webb's writings on the topic that are problematic. Webb, a journalist and novelist, wrote a highly complimentary book review in 2000 of the autobiography of Ward Connerly, a prominent opponent of affirmative action who was then a University of California regent. "Affirmative action, which originally sought to repair the state-induced damage to blacks from slavery and its aftermath, has within one generation brought about a permeating state-sponsored racism that is as odious as the Jim Crow laws it sought to countermand," Webb wrote in the Wall Street Journal. 165

Nowhere in the column did he suggest that he would support continued affirmative action programs for African Americans, as he has on the campaign trail in recent days. "I'm not sure where the real Jim Webb is," said state Sen. Henry L. Marsh III (D-Richmond), a longtime civil rights leader and the first black mayor of Richmond. "Why doesn't he just do the manly thing and retract his statement, admit he was wrong, rather than trying to come up with these bizarre explanations?" Webb insists that his position has not changed since he started thinking deeply on the issue as a Georgetown law student - shortly after the decorated veteran ended the Marine Corps stint that has formed the backbone of his campaign. He said his ultimate goal has always been to ensure an equal shot at success for everybody. As for the different emphasis in his Wall Street Journal writing, he said he covered as much ground as he could in a short piece: "How much can you do in a book review?" he said. "Give me a break." Last week, Webb countered the criticism by announcing he has the backing of Del. A. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), also a member of the Legislative Black Caucus and the Democratic nominee for attorney general in 2001. On Monday, Webb added the support of civil rights leader Milton A. Reid, a former chairman of the Virginia unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. McEachin said he had discussed the issue fully with Webb and pronounced himself more than satisfied. "It just doesn't get any better than that from an African Americans perspective on affirmative action," he said.

Right Just Doesn't Get Sen. Frist (HILL)
By Alexander Bolton The Hill, June 6, 2006 Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has both pleased and outraged conservatives with his Senate schedule this week, and they are once again left scratching their heads over what to make of him. Is he one of them? Does he want to be president? The Senate will vote this week on cutting off debate on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages, an issue conservatives have clamored for since the 2004 election. It will also vote to quash a potential filibuster of the estate-tax repeal, another high priority for conservatives. But Frist has also brought a skunk to what otherwise would be a conservative garden party by also scheduling the Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Daniel Akaka (Hawaii). Conservative senators and activists hate that bill, which would allow native Hawaiians to establish their own government entity to “safeguard their welfare,” according to a description by the Congressional Research Service. This month, Frist will give conservatives a floor vote on an amendment that would ban burning the American flag, but he will also likely let stem-cell legislation reach the chamber floor for a vote before the July recess, GOP aides say. A lobbyist for one prominent socially conservative group said Frist’s staff has called the stem-cell vote “unavoidable,” but some conservatives are skeptical because Frist determines the schedule. One conservative GOP aide said Frist has not yet agreed to allow Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) an accompanying vote on a bill favored by social conservatives that would ban embryonic cloning. Conservatives such as former Reagan Attorney General Edwin Meese and Todd Gaziano, director of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at the conservative Heritage Foundation, call Akaka’s legislation unconstitutional and say it could allow native Hawaiians to exempt themselves from “whatever aspects of the United States Constitution and state authority [they] thought undesirable.” The Family Research Council, an influential group representing Christian conservatives, also opposes it, saying it could open the door to legalized gambling in the Aloha State. Aides to conservative senators say they are discussing ways to tie the bill up on the floor, possibly by offering anti-abortion amendments. But, nevertheless the bill has a good chance of passing, and if it does it will likely be with the support of almost every Senate Democrat and a minority of the Senate Republican Conference. If conservative GOP senators such as Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Jeff Sessions (Ala.), John Ensign (Nev.), Tom Coburn (Okla.) and John Cornyn (Texas) square off against the Hawaii bill, as they are expected to, it would be the second time in a month that the conservative heart of the Senate GOP conference has rebelled against a bill Frist has brought to the floor. Passage would begin to establish a trend in which bills pass the Senate floor with overwhelming Democratic support and the backing of few Republicans. “Frist is the leader of what may be a Republican majority but isn’t a conservative majority,” said Michael Franc, vice president of government relations for the Heritage Foundation. He explained that because chamber rules often require the support of 60 lawmakers and Republicans control only 55 seats, coalitions are sometimes a mix of Democrats and liberal Republicans. The discipline that Senate Democratic Leader Harry 166

Reid (Nev.) has imposed on his caucus has made it more difficult for Frist to pass bills amenable to the majority of Republicans with the support of a handful of Democratic defectors. Immigration was an example of that. “The Democrats have been very effective at turning that majority into a dysfunctional one,” Franc said. “You have to give credit to Reid and others for sowing this kind of discontent among Republicans in the Senate.” One veteran GOP aide wondered whether past majority leaders would have allowed major legislation to pass with a minority of Republicans supporting it. “The thing I keep hearing is if [Sen.] Trent Lott [R-Miss.] was still majority leader that would never have seen the floor,” the aide said. On Fox News last month, Frist acknowledged that the immigration bill was not popular but argued that the Senate had to address the problem of nearly 12 million illegal immigrants living in the U.S., and of what he called the hemorrhaging of immigrants across the U.S.-Mexican border. A Frist aide said the problems could not be addressed if the Senate did not pass legislation and send a bill to negotiations with the House. The Senate majority may have seemed dysfunctional lately, but Frist has had successes. He helped pass the 2003 Medicare act, which many congressional observers thought would be difficult. Many conservatives still grumble about the cost of that vote. Frist also navigated Democratic opposition to pass long-stalled energy and transportation reauthorization legislation last year. While the tactics of passing bills on the Senate may be easy for Frist and his staff to justify in Washington, it is more difficult for them to make their case outside the Beltway. “Senator Frist in some instances has been a strong advocate for certain issues that are of importance to conservatives such as his work on passing the Bush tax cut, his continuing efforts to try to repeal the death tax, his work to assist the administration in getting their political appointees approved particularly on the judiciary, but at the same time he’s been disappointing to conservatives on issues involving federal spending, and immigration,” said William Lauderback, executive vice president of the American Conservative Union, who served as deputy campaign manager on Frist’s first Senate campaign, in 1994. “If the senator’s future political ambitions encompass a run for the presidency he will not be able to position himself as a true conservative.” Laudenbach said that Frist was regarded as a leader of very high integrity and that Republican and Democratic senators respect him, but that, in the final analysis, “he’s not been a strong majority leader. In some instances he’s been disappointing.” Amy Call, Frist’s spokeswoman, defended her boss. “Senator Frist has been a strong advocate throughout his time in the Senate for the things he believes in and will continue to be,” she said. “He is guided by what he feels is the right thing to do and will continue to be guided by that.”

N.H. Democrats Warm To Feingold, Warner (WT)
By Christina Bellantoni The Washington Times, June 6, 2006 MANCHESTER, N.H. -- Democrats here love to bash President Bush, and cheered wildly for their prominent political visitors over the weekend, when they took aim at the administration. But while Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold fired up the crowd by urging his party to stand up and fight against the Iraq war, former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner gave a broad speech focused mostly on domestic issues, prompting some Democrats to say the Virginian seemed a more likely contender to make it all the way to the White House. "Senator Feingold spoke to the Democrats, and I felt that Governor Warner spoke to everybody," said Kermit Williams of Wilton, one of about 800 at the New Hampshire Democratic Convention. "It's great to be very focused on a philosophy, but winning in the end is the important thing." Mr. Feingold and Mr. Warner advised the crowd Saturday on how the party can regain congressional majority and win back the presidency in 2008. Mr. Feingold, who has called for censuring Mr. Bush, threw the audience political red meat with lines like: "The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were not repealed on 9/11" and "We have got to show that we will stand up to the mistakes of this administration." He also called for universal health care. Mr. Warner kept the Bush-bashing to a minimum and instead espoused centrist themes of deficit reduction, better math and science education, and ensuring localities have adequate infrastructure to avoid catastrophes like the flooding during Hurricane Katrina. "We have an administration and Congress that is more interested in building a bridge to nowhere than it is about laying any kind of foundation for future success," he said. He called for funding alternative-energy research, adding the applause line: "Of course, that would require an administration that believes in science." 167

"Why are so many Democrats too timid to say what everybody in America wants? It's time to redeploy the troops. ... I say bring them home by the end of 2006," Mr. Feingold said, bringing most in the crowd to their feet. Mr. Warner opposes a fixed timetable for troop withdrawal, but said the Bush administration has created a haven for al Qaeda and a frightening situation in Iran with its botched foreign-policy decisions. "Going out without a plan is just as bad as going in without a plan," Mr. Warner said. "This government has months, not years, to demonstrate its willingness to step up, eliminate the militias and stabilize the country." Judging by applause and standing ovations, the Democrats were more excited by Mr. Feingold's breakfast keynote than Mr. Warner's lunch speech, but the differing impressions the two men left behind were clear, with most saying the former governor had a better shot at winning the Democratic nomination. State Sen. Joe Foster of Nashua said Mr. Warner has an impressive record and his speech was well-received by delegates. Patty Giguere of Goffstown liked both men, but thinks Mr. Warner "is going to go a little farther, that he is maybe a stronger leader." State Rep. Jackie Cilley of Strafford said many Democrats will say Mr. Feingold is not "electable" because he is outspoken, but rejects that notion. "It is well past the time that we should be settling for mediocrity in this country, the lowest common denominator, the safest bet, the candidate that won't get us into trouble," said Mrs. Cilley, 54. "Senator Feingold challenges me. He makes me want to be a better Democrat. He makes me want to be a better citizen of this country." Both men made their records known -- Mr. Feingold proudly outlined his votes against the Iraq war, USA Patriot Act and NAFTA, while Mr. Warner showed a slick video outlining how he worked with Virginia's Republican legislature to improve education and the state budget.


The starkest contrast between the Wisconsin senator and the former Virginia governor was their positions on the war in

Clinton Is The Life Of The Democratic Party (NYT)
By Raymond Hernandez The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — In what promises to be his most intensive campaign season since he left office, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to appear at more than two dozen fund-raisers for Democrats around the country, hoping to collect at least $20 million for his party's drive to recapture Congress. "In contrast to Republican candidates who are running away from George Bush, our candidates are clamoring for him in every part of the country," said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, Tracey Schmitt, said President Bush was very much in demand this campaign season, noting that he had appeared at 37 fund-raising events that had raised nearly $125 million since the beginning of 2005. Ms. Schmitt also took a jab at Democrats, criticizing them as relying on the assistance of a politician no longer in office. "Given the current lineup of Democratic leaders in Washington," she said, "it's no surprise that many Democrats would turn to Bill Clinton for help." Mr. Clinton's advisers say he is entirely motivated by his desire to resurrect his party's political fortunes. "President Clinton's goal here is helping Democrats win in 2006 to put Congress in the hands of the party that will get the country back on the right track," said Jay Carson, a spokesman for Mr. Clinton. Yet there is another potential beneficiary of his largess: his wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is running for reelection in New York this year. Should Mrs. Clinton decide to run for president in 2008, some Democrats who reap the benefits of her husband's fund-raising this fall may feel a loyalty to him that could extend to her. In the coming weeks, for example, Mr. Clinton plans to appear at a fund-raiser for Democrats in New Hampshire, an important presidential primary state that his wife has avoided so as not to fuel speculation about any presidential ambitions. Mr. Clinton has already made a series of appearances on behalf of other Democrats. One was at an event in New York a few weeks ago that raised $1.5 million for the Democratic National Committee, whose fund-raising lags behind that of the Republican National Committee by about $72 million in the current campaign season. In the last week, Mr. Clinton made five appearances, collecting $3.5 million in visits to Arizona, California and Maine. He has also taken time to help his wife, appearing at several events for her in recent weeks that brought in $1.5 million, his office said. (In all, he has raised $3.4 million for Mrs. Clinton in the current election cycle.) 168

That said, Mrs. Clinton is a fund-raising machine in her own right, and her efforts on behalf of the Democratic Party have made her a popular headliner among Democrats nationwide. She has helped the party and its candidates raise about $55 million since taking office in 2001. Mr. Clinton's office says he also intends to appear on behalf of Democratic candidates for governor around the nation. He is scheduled to appear in nine states but is likely to add more as the campaign season heats up, his office says. Democrats need to pick up 15 seats to win control of the House and six to capture the Senate. Mr. Clinton's aides say he believes the Democrats are in their best position in years to retake control of Congress. But Republicans and many analysts say his emergence in the 2006 campaign also comes at a time when Democrats are still trying to find galvanizing themes to pull together the disparate elements of their party. Mr. Clinton was a tireless fund-raiser throughout his time in the White House. And despite his busy summer schedule, his office said, he also plans to continue focusing his energies on the Clinton Foundation, the nonprofit organization he set up to work on issues including AIDS, poverty, childhood obesity, and religious and racial reconciliation. In some places, Mr. Clinton plans to squeeze political and foundation work into the same trips. He will appear at the New Hampshire fund-raiser, for instance, after attending an event highlighting childhood obesity with Dr. Susan Lynch, a pediatrician and the wife of Gov. John Lynch. Mr. Clinton's fund-raising schedule has included states with competitive races, like Arizona, where Democratic efforts to unseat Senator Jon Kyl, the two-term incumbent Republican, could prove crucial to the party's goal of recapturing the Senate. Mr. Kyl's Democratic challenger, Jim Pederson, a wealthy shopping mall developer, said in an interview that Mr. Clinton's presence in the state had helped elevate the profile of his campaign. "I think people will stand up and take notice," said Mr. Pederson, whose campaign collected $500,000 at a recent event featuring Mr. Clinton. The former president also plans to appear in Denver at a June 16 fund-raiser for Senator Robert Menendez, who faces a strong challenge in New Jersey. Mr. Menendez said in an interview that he had asked Mr. Clinton to headline the event — which was being set up by his colleague from Colorado, Senator Ken Salazar — when he learned that Mr. Clinton would be in town that day. Mr. Menendez estimated that the former president's presence would increase the total proceeds of the event by about 50 percent. "He is of enormous value to Democrats," Mr. Menendez said.

A Little More Clinton At Clinton Library (WP/AP)
By The Associated Press The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 LITTLE ROCK -- Welcome to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center. Your personal tour guide: President Bill Clinton. "There were lots of times when Republicans thought I was right about an issue but they were determined not to let anything happen," Clinton says in a new audio tour of his presidential library. "I know that when I got elected president, a lot of those folks just went into denial." The library, along the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock, will begin offering the audio tour Saturday. The tour was Clinton's idea and is the first narrated by a former president for a presidential library, said Jordan Johnson, spokesman for the William J. Clinton Foundation. Visitors pay an extra $3 for a device shaped like an oversize cordless phone. For each exhibit, Clinton recounts his thoughts on and memories of the topic. He describes the impeachment hearings, for example, as an ideological battle that went overboard. "So when I won, it was a profound sort of psychological shock to a lot of them," he says of his opponents, with a chuckle. "Then they went into overdrive fighting me. They weren't accomplishing anything, just banging away. Then they did what people who care too much about power do: They overdid it." Clinton's commentary also addresses his childhood as well as issues such as crime, foreign affairs and the economy. He speaks of hosting state dinners for foreign leaders and his wife's role as first lady. He describes choosing a running mate as one of the most important decisions for a presidential hopeful. He says he chose Al Gore because the Tennessee Democrat complemented him and provided a more moderate perspective. Although Clinton says the Oval Office was "the best place in the world to work," he had another favorite spot in the White House: his private office. "I restored it to look the way it did after the Civil War, and I brought in a desk, which was Ulysses Grant's Cabinet table," Clinton says.


"And I would go in there, often after Hillary went to bed, or late at night, play my music, and that's where I did my reading and thinking and that's where my daughter would find me late at night when she called me from Stanford. I had a lot of happy times there." Johnson said Clinton spent hours walking through the library while aides followed with a tape recorder. He recorded his thoughts in a handful of visits. "Hopefully, visitors will go away with an experience that sheds some light on the personal experience of being president," Johnson said.

You Trust This Guy? (RC)
By Mary Ann Akers Roll Call, June 6, 2006 It appears there may be an even more bizarre genesis to the FBI’s already unusual attempt to seize the papers of the late journalist Jack Anderson, who was 83 when he died in December. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hear about the allegedly sordid past of a former Anderson reporter who tipped off the FBI when it convenes this morning to hold a hearing on the controversy. According to a Senate Judiciary Committee source, a witness will testify that the entire Anderson investigation was triggered by a tip from a man convicted and imprisoned for sodomizing a young boy and who allegedly admitted to having a history of mental illness. The witness who will make these charges is Mark Feldstein, a journalism professor at George Washington University, where the Anderson papers are stored. Feldstein is working on a book titled “Poisoning the Press: Richard Nixon, Jack Anderson and the Rise of Washington’s Scandal Culture,” which is due out next year. So the FBI went to him to seek Anderson’s papers. The FBI reportedly said it wanted Anderson’s files, going back as far as the early 1980s, as part of its criminal probe of two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee who are accused of violating espionage laws. The FBI came knocking even though, as The Chicago Tribune noted in an editorial last month, Anderson “had been ill with Parkinson’s disease since 1986.” Don Goldberg, a veteran spinmeister for the Clinton administration who is now a managing director for Qorvis Communications, says he and other former Anderson associates find the FBI’s attempt to seize Anderson’s papers “outrageous.” For one, Goldberg said, Anderson had not been an active journalist for at least 15 years before his death. More importantly, he said, “the First Amendment ability of journalists to protect their confidential sources regarding legitimate issues relating to how our government works is sacred. It doesn’t evaporate when a journalist dies. This is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate reporters by threatening them even in death.” Several close-knit Andersonites plan to attend today’s hearing. One of them, author James Grady, whose spy novel “Six Days of the Condor” was made into the ’70s suspense classic “Three Days of the Condor,” has a notion to corral the Anderson gang to sing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of the session. “I think that would be appropriate to remind people where they are,” he said. Speaking of Investigative Reporters ... Robert Redford’s trip to the nation’s capital next week has nothing to do with Deep Throat. The liberal group Campaign for America’s Future has snagged the one-time star of “All the President’s Men” (and, as it happens, the aforementioned “Three Days of the Condor”) to add a little Hollywood gleam to its “Take Back America” conference. Toby Chaudhuri, the group’s spokesman, wrote in an e-mail that Redford, who is 69, will join Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other activists to officially launch the group’s Apollo Challenge to urge the White House and Congress to “kick our nation’s oil habit.” The conference starts June 12 at the Washington Hilton. Attendees will also hear from Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barack Obama (D-Ill.). Be Cool. Hey, softball players, keep those beers down if your team is playing down on the Mall this week. Police are out in full force in light of three recent muggings and one sexual assault. Last week, a police officer issued a verbal warning to a couple of members of the Shays Lounge and the Swinging Johnsons — the softball team of Reps. Christopher Shays and Nancy Johnson, both Connecticut Republicans — before the start of their game last Wednesday against the Hoosier Daddys. The two teams were warming up, and some of their players were swilling brewskis, when police on bicycle, horseback and motorcycle showed up. “I was wondering when they were going to bring in Scotland Yard,” one eyewitness said dryly. 170

The informant said he thought some members of the Shays-Johnson team were issued a warning, but not an official ticket. He was right. Sarah Moore, a spokeswoman for Rep. Shays, says an officer simply asked them to put the beer away and gave them “a verbal warning.”

No Relief For Reporters Seeking To Shield Sources (CSM)
By Warren Richey The Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON - Four journalists have lost their bid to reverse a judge's order to either disclose their confidential sources or face $500 per day in fines. The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the reporters' cases to examine whether a generally recognized "reporters' privilege" against revealing sources should extend to a civil lawsuit brought by former nuclear-weapons-lab scientist Wen Ho Lee. The action marks the second time in a year that the justices have let stand a judicial order seeking to force members of the media to renege on professional pledges of confidentiality made to government officials to obtain information for their news reporting. The high-court action comes days after five media organizations agreed to pay $750,000 as part of a $1.6 million settlement of Mr. Lee's Privacy Act case. To some media analysts, the settlement sets a dangerous precedent of media companies paying to protect their reporters' pledges to keep confidential sources anonymous. "It is going to make it much more difficult for reporters to cover stories about issues that might end up in federal court," says Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Recent developments, she adds, highlight the need for a federal reporters' shield law. In June 2005, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Time correspondent Matt Cooper. Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail before agreeing to testify to a grand jury investigating who leaked CIA employee Valerie Plame's identity. The action Monday at the high court arises from a civil suit filed by Lee, a former computer scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. In news reports in 1999, Lee was identified by unnamed officials as a potential target of a government investigation into Chinese efforts to obtain US nuclear secrets. No espionage charges were ever filed. Lee was charged with mishandling classified information and eventually agreed to plead guilty to one count. But the matter didn't end there. Lee sued, claiming that officials at the Justice and Energy Departments and at the FBI violated his privacy rights by revealing private details of his life from government files to members of the press. Lee's lawyers questioned 20 officials - and called upon journalists to disclose who told them the private details they reported. The journalists refused to reveal their sources, and a federal judge found them in contempt of court. The journalists were from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Associated Press, and CNN. A US appeals court panel upheld the ruling. While reporters enjoy a privilege against forced disclosure of their sources in some circumstances, it said, Lee's suit required their cooperation to uncover the source of the alleged wrongdoing. Free-press advocates saw the appeals court ruling as a setback. "This decision has far-reaching implications for the ability of journalists to inform the public about the operations of its government and misconduct in the private sector," wrote Washington lawyer Lee Levine, in a legal brief urging the high court to take up the reporters' case.

Supreme Court Turns Down Reporter Appeals In Lee Case (WSJ/AP)
By Associated Press The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court rejected an appeal from news organizations fighting to protect confidential sources, refusing to consider the case of four reporters in legal trouble over their stories about former nuclear weapons scientist Wen Ho Lee. The court's action, released Monday, was taken without comment. Late last week, Mr. Lee, who had sued the government for violating his rights under the Privacy Act, settled the lawsuit. He will receive $1.6 million from the government and five news organizations. Journalists had been in civil contempt of court for refusing to disclose who leaked them information about an espionage investigation of Mr. Lee. The four reporters are H. Josef Hebert of the Associated Press, James Risen of the New York Times, Bob Drogin of the Los Angeles Times and Pierre Thomas, formerly of CNN and now working for ABC News. 171

The $750,000 payment by the news agencies is the first of its kind in recent memory, and perhaps ever, legal and media experts said. The companies bluntly said they agreed to the sum to forestall jail sentences for their reporters, even larger payments in the form of fines and the prospect of revealing confidential sources. Justices could have dismissed the appeal based on the out-of-court settlement. Instead, they flatly rejected the appeals, which had been filed on behalf of the reporters during the legal wrangling with Mr. Lee. Justice Stephen Breyer did not participate. The cases are Drogin v. Lee and Thomas v. Lee.

In Wen Ho Lee Case, A Blow To Journalists After The Fact (WP)
By Charles Lane The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 Adding a coda to the legal battle between Wen Ho Lee and the media, the Supreme Court announced yesterday that it would not hear the appeals of reporters facing court orders to testify in Lee's lawsuit against the U.S. government. The court spoke even though the case was over. Lee's lawsuit was settled on Friday, with the government and five media organizations supplying more than $1.6 million to Lee and his attorneys. The reporters no longer face contempt-of-court penalties for not naming their confidential sources, and their attorneys had been expected to file papers with the court asking it to dismiss the matter as moot. But the justices had met to consider the appeals last Thursday. They knew by then that settlement talks were underway and postponed a decision to allow time for negotiations. Indeed, a day before the court's conference, a court aide contacted Lee's attorney, Brian A. Sun, to check on the progress of settlement talks. Sun said that agreement was very close, according to lawyers knowledgeable about the case. Sun declined to comment. The court was informed of the settlement on Friday. The court's action leaves intact a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which found that the reporters had no legal right to shield the names of their sources. Yesterday's order is not a ruling on the legal issues in the case, but it does make it clear that the court saw no reason to review the D.C. Circuit's decision. Permitting the case to fade away at the request of the reporters who brought it would have left that point unmade. Justice Stephen G. Breyer did not participate in the case, for reasons that, as is customary when justices recuse themselves, he did not detail.

Media Sources Need A Shield (LAT)
The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 FIVE NEWS ORGANIZATIONS — including the Los Angeles Times — agreed last week to pay a total of $750,000 to Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear scientist who was arrested in 1999 and jailed for nine months as part of an espionage investigation at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. The payments, part of a negotiated settlement of Lee's lawsuit accusing the U.S. government of leaking information to the media from his personnel files, mean that reporters for The Times and the other news organizations won't be punished for declining to identify confidential sources. Some free-press advocates expressed concern that the payments would encourage the subjects of other stories based on confidential sources to seek similar payments. But that slippery slope can be avoided if Congress follows the example of two-thirds of the states (including California) and enacts a "shield law" providing limited but real protection to journalists' confidential sources. The Senate and the House are considering different versions of the Free Flow of Information Act. Both bills would require that journalists be questioned about confidential sources only after investigators or other parties have exhausted attempts to obtain the information elsewhere — a codification of current Justice Department guidelines. Equally important, both bills also would allow judges to weigh the reporter's privilege against the importance of the government's interest in breaching confidentiality. The Senate bill eloquently emphasizes that two public interests must be balanced: "the public interest in compelling disclosure and the public interest in news gathering and maintaining a free flow of information to citizens." Where the bills differ is in the definition of those who could assert the confidentiality privilege. The Senate bill, supported by Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), defines a journalist as someone who "for financial gain or livelihood" reports, writes or takes photographs for a newspaper, book publisher, radio or television network or "Internet news service." 172

The House bill extends the privilege to anyone who "publishes a newspaper, book, magazine or other periodical in print or electronic form" — a formulation that is friendlier to bloggers and student journalists but is too sweeping for some members of Congress. We favor this broader approach, but not to the point of blocking legislation that could bring federal protections at least in line with those offered by California and states with similar laws. The California law, which is part of the state Constitution, protects "a publisher, editor, reporter or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication, or by a press association or wire service, or any person who has been so connected or employed." (Recently a state appeals court extended the law's protection to online news services as well.) The day may come when Congress or the states will provide greater legal protection for bloggers and "nonprofessional" journalists. For now, the priority is to make federal law at least as protective of traditional journalists' confidential sources as the laws of most of the states

Justices To Look At Race-based School Policy (USAT)
By Joan Biskupic USA Today, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to decide whether public elementary and high schools can use race in determining where students go to school. The move means that the court will re-enter the debate over affirmative action during the 2006-07 term with two cases that could affect districts that seek diversity in schools. The cases from Seattle and Louisville will be the first of their kind taken up by the court led by new Chief Justice John Roberts. They also will be the first disputes over race-based policies to be heard since the retirement of Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate justice whose support of some forms of affirmative action became the court's standard. In 2003, O'Connor cast the decisive vote in a 5-4 ruling that allowed minority preferences in higher education to increase diversity. Justice Samuel Alito, whose record is generally more conservative than O'Connor's, succeeded her in January. Three months earlier, Roberts succeeded fellow conservative William Rehnquist as chief. Alito and Roberts opposed some types of affirmative action when they were lawyers in the Reagan administration. The Seattle and Louisville cases test whether the Constitution's guarantee of equality allows schools to use race as a factor in admissions. In both disputes, lower courts backed the school plans, and parents of white students appealed. “The scope of a ruling would be widespread,” says Francisco Negrn, general counsel of the National School Boards Association. He says many public school districts have policies to boost diversity. The Seattle and Louisville area districts say considering race in assignments can have social benefits and offset racially polarized housing patterns. The Pacific Legal Foundation counters that such affirmative action policies place “racial identification” above individual rights. Seattle allows students to choose their high school. Officials aim for each school to have about 40% white students and 60% racial minorities. When there are more applicants than openings at a particular school, students with a sibling there get priority. Officials use race as a “tiebreaker” to decide who is admitted. In the Louisville area, most Jefferson County schools have tried to keep most schools' black enrollment at 15%-50%. A challenge was brought by a white student who could not go to the school across the street from his home. The cases are Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education.

Court To Weigh Race As Factor In School Rolls (NYT)
By Linda Greenhouse The New York Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON, June 5 — The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to rule on what measures, if any, public school systems may use to maintain racial balance in individual schools. The eventual decision on whether they can take race into account could affect hundreds of school systems in all areas of the country. The court accepted challenges to plans in Louisville, Ky., where the schools were once racially segregated by law, and in Seattle, where segregation was never official but was widespread because of residential patterns. Federal appeals courts upheld these plans, both of which offer students a choice of schools while taking race into account in deciding which transfer applications to accept. Variations of this approach are common, and have been under legal attack around the country. 173

The Supreme Court's decision to add the cases to the calendar for its next term, a step that by all appearances was controversial within the court and unexpected outside it, plunged the new Roberts court into one of the country's deepest constitutional debates. The action came three years after the court upheld a racially conscious admissions plan at the University of Michigan Law School. Writing for the majority in that 5-to-4 decision, Grutter v. Bollinger, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested that, at least in higher education, affirmative action might be necessary for another 25 years. The new cases do not ask the court to revisit that decision, and the justices are unlikely to do so. But the implications are far-reaching nonetheless. The eventual decision, roughly a year from now, could not only set the court's path in this area but could also shape the climate in which government policies with respect to race will be debated. One difference between the Michigan decision and the new cases is that while the University of Michigan sought to use affirmative action to achieve a measure of racial balance, the school districts are trying to maintain such a balance. In December, with Justice O'Connor still on the court, the justices refused to hear a challenge to a racially conscious student assignment plan in the public schools of Lynn, Mass. That plan, which a federal appeals court had upheld, is basically indistinguishable from the plans at issue in the new cases: Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District, No. 05-908, and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education, No. 05-915. What has changed is the Supreme Court itself, with the retirement in January of Justice O'Connor and her replacement by Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. One lawyer involved in the challenges to the Seattle and Louisville plans, Sharon L. Browne of the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative public-interest law firm, expressed the view that this change made the difference. "I think the writing's on the wall, or at least I hope it is," Ms. Browne said in an interview Monday. The plans under review in the new cases differ in details that are unlikely to prove constitutionally significant. The Jefferson County, Ky., school board adopted the Louisville plan in 2001, shortly after the school system was declared desegregated and was released from 25 years of federal court supervision. The "managed choice" plan applies to all schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. In a district that is one-third nonwhite, every school is required to seek a black student enrollment of at least 15 percent and no more than 50 percent. The Louisville case was taken to the Supreme Court by Crystal D. Meredith, a white parent whose son, Joshua McDonald, did not receive a requested transfer to attend kindergarten in a school that was trying to maintain a sufficient number of black students. The plan in Seattle, which has struggled for decades to deal with the effects on its school system of segregated housing patterns, applies only to the city's 10 high schools. The policy is one of "open choice," subject to various "tiebreakers," one of which is race. Other factors include geographic proximity and whether a student has a sibling at the desired school, both of which count in favor of an application. Under the "integration tiebreaker," high schools that deviate by more than 15 percent from the systemwide balance, which is 60 percent nonwhite, must take account of an applicant's race in order not to deviate further. A group of parents organized as a nonprofit corporation called Parents Involved in Community Schools to fight the plan, and filed the Supreme Court appeal after losing by a vote of 7 to 4 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Both appeals reached the court in January and evidently provoked a vigorous internal debate among the justices, who considered the Seattle case six times and the Louisville case seven times before issuing the one-line order accepting both. Prolonged review of this sort is unusual. Briefs are now likely to pour into the court in advance of a November argument; the University of Michigan case drew more than 100 briefs. But one of the more influential analyses may prove to be a brief concurring opinion in the Seattle case by Judge Alex Kozinski, the Ninth Circuit judge whose views carry great weight among legal conservatives. Describing the Seattle plan as one "that gives the American melting pot a healthy stir without benefiting or burdening any particular group," Judge Kozinski addressed the Supreme Court justices directly, on the assumption that they would soon be reviewing the decision. "There is much to be said for returning primacy on matters of educational policy to local officials," he said. These were among the other developments at the court. Speedy Trial The court ruled unanimously that a federal defendant's rights under the Speedy Trial Act of 1974 were violated when, while seeking more time to prepare his defense to counterfeiting charges, he signed a statement presented by the trial judge in which he waived any future right to a speedy trial. With certain exceptions, the federal law requires criminal trials to begin within 70 days after a defendant is charged. The trial for this defendant, Jacob Zedner, did not begin for seven years. Mr. Zedner eventually tried to assert his rights under the law 174

and sought dismissal of the indictment, but two lower federal courts in New York enforced his waiver. He was convicted by a jury and sentenced to five years in prison. In an opinion by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court ordered the indictment dismissed. The statute does not permit such a waiver, Justice Alito said, noting that the public as a whole, and not only an individual defendant, has an interest in the speedy administration of justice. The significance of this decision, Zedner v. United States, No. 05-5992, is likely to transcend the particular case. Justice Antonin Scalia refused to sign the paragraph of the opinion in which Justice Alito cited the legislative history of the Speedy Trial Act as further evidence for his interpretation of the statute. "The use of legislative history is illegitimate and ill advised in the interpretation of any statute," Justice Scalia's concurring opinion declared in what has become a familiar theme from him. The fact that Justice Alito's paragraph of legislative history remained in the majority opinion, and that Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. signed the opinion without comment, indicates that Justice Scalia remains isolated in his view. Sentencing The court agreed to decide whether to give retroactive application to a 2004 decision that sharply limited judges' discretion to impose sentences above the thresholds set by sentencing guidelines systems. The question is whether that decision, Blakely v. Washington, established a "new rule," in which case it is not retroactive, or whether it was a straightforward application of an earlier sentencing ruling, Apprendi v. New Jersey. The deeper issue in the new case, Burton v. Waddington, No. 05-9222, is how to tell a "new rule" from one that is not, a question that comes up with some frequency in habeas corpus cases.

High Court To Examine Race-balancing Schools (CSM)
By Warren Richey The Christian Science Monitor, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON - Nearly three years after its landmark ruling upholding a race-based admissions plan at the University of Michigan Law School, the US Supreme Court has agreed to consider to what extent race may be used to balance white and nonwhite enrollment in public schools. On Monday, the high court agreed to examine cases involving two school districts attempting to maintain racially integrated schools. One involves a school board plan in Seattle that seeks to achieve a rough balance of 40 percent white and 60 percent nonwhite enrollment at each of the city's 10 public high schools. The second is a school district in Louisville, Ky., that set broad guidelines that the black student population of any particular school should range between 15 percent and 50 percent. Both cases will be closely watched for indications of how the new lineup of justices - including the replacement of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor with Justice Samuel Alito - may shift the court's jurisprudence on the constitutionality of affirmative action plans. Justice O'Connor provided the key swing vote and authored the landmark 5-4 decision upholding the University of Michigan Law School's admissions plan. The majority opinion recognized that diversity in education can be a compelling interest, justifying the use of race in the student selection process. The decision drew sharp dissents from four members of the court's conservative wing, who wrote that the Michigan plan violated the Constitution's equal protection mandate by relying too heavily on race as a factor in the admissions process. At issue in both the Seattle and Louisville cases is how the high court's 2003 Michigan Law School decision should be applied in public school districts seeking to achieve diversity. The Kentucky plan relies in large part on school administrators drawing boundaries for each school that extend into both white and black neighborhoods. School enrollment is then determined in part by randomly selecting students from an integrated pool of prospective students. As an additional boost to integration efforts, school officials tracked prospective students by classifying each as "black male," "black female," "white male," or "white female." This aspect of the Kentucky plan was struck down by a federal judge as an impermissible use of race and gender for public school admissions. The judge and an appeals court panel upheld the rest of the Kentucky plan. A parent filed an appeal to the Supreme Court claiming that school officials violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection when they refused to allow her son to attend his neighborhood school and later refused to allow him to transfer to another elementary school because there were no more slots available at that school for white students. 175

The judge said the boy was not unduly harmed by the denial of the transfer under the racial guidelines. Because the school district maintains equal and integrated schools, prospective students enjoy no particular benefit by attending one school rather than another, the judge ruled. But the district's schools are not all equal, argues Teddy Gordon, a Louisville lawyer who represents the mother of the student denied admission to his neighborhood school. Mr. Gordon says in his brief to the Supreme Court that the school district should be focusing on the quality of neighborhood schools rather than the skin color of children attending them. A similar debate is under way in Seattle. Its school board plan was designed to counter the impact of racially segregated housing patterns on the city's school system. School officials were concerned that reliance on neighborhood schools would simply mirror the city's segregated housing market and translate into a similarly segregated public school system. To try to break that cycle, the district adopted its "Open Choice" plan in which parents were permitted to send their children to any school within the city. The school board established "tiebreakers" to help determine enrollment at the most popular high schools in the system. If a student had a sibling at a particular school, that student would be given priority to attend the same school. But if there were no siblings, the "integration tiebreaker" would kick in. In effect, students who were members of an "oversubscribed" race would be given a lower priority for admission than any students of the desired race. At high schools in the city's largely white north side, that generally meant that minority students were given preference, while at schools in Seattle's largely minority south side, white students were given preference. Critics of the plan formed a group called Parents Involved in Community Schools. They sued the school district, saying the plan was an unconstitutional form of racial discrimination. The school district defended the plan as a justifiable effort to achieve racial diversity in the public school system. The plan was adopted in 1998, but has been suspended since 2002 pending the outcome of the litigation. A federal judge, the Washington Supreme Court, and the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals have all upheld Seattle's Open Choice program. The state supreme court in a 2003 decision rejected the parents' arguments, saying that a racially diverse school population provides educational benefits for all students.

Justices To Hear Cases Of Race-Conscious School Placements (WP)
By Charles Lane The Washington Post, June 6, 2006 The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will rule on the race-conscious assignment of students to public schools, in a pair of cases that could produce some of the most important decisions on school integration since the busing battles of the 1960s and '70s. The court agreed to hear arguments in separate lawsuits by white parents in Seattle and Jefferson County, Ky., which encompasses Louisville, who say each public school system unconstitutionally discriminates based on skin color. The jurisdictions' programs differ, but each seeks to maintain racial balance with the help of numerical targets for minority enrollment. Although the court has addressed race-conscious admissions for diversity in higher education, upholding them on a 5 to 4 vote in 2003, this would be the first time it has addressed the "diversity rationale" as it affects the country's 48 million public elementary and secondary school students. It will also be the first race-related constitutional case for President Bush's two appointees, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. The court's decision to take the cases was something of a surprise, since all three federal appeals courts to rule since 2003 sided with the school systems. The court usually intervenes to settle lower-court conflicts. Six months ago, before Alito replaced Sandra Day O'Connor, who wrote the 2003 opinion, the court declined to hear the challenge of a parent in Lynn, Mass., to a race-conscious plan. "It's bad news for desegregation advocates," said Goodwin Liu, a Clinton administration education official who teaches constitutional law at the University of California at Berkeley. "It looks like the more conservative justices see they have a fifth vote to reverse these cases." But lawyers for the Seattle and Louisville parents argued there was a circuit split because the post-2003 lower-court rulings clashed with three pre-2003 rulings against race-conscious policies. Sharon Browne, principal attorney of the Pacific Legal Foundation, which supports the parents' lawsuits, said she "was pleased that the Court has decided to hear these cases. Together, these cases could put an end to schools using race as a factor to decide where children can attend public school." Yesterday's decision returns the court to an area of American life that it revolutionized in 1954 with Brown v. Board Education -- and the lower-court desegregation orders, including busing in many cities, that flowed from that decision. 176

In the intervening years, however, direct court supervision of public school racial composition has generally lapsed, and schools face student demographics determined not only by the country's historic black-white divide, but also by immigration from around the world. Embracing diversity not as a legal requirement but as an educational objective, school districts frequently offer alternatives to geographical assignment, including school choice and magnet school options. But these, in turn, can result in competition for spots at the most-sought-after schools. "The decision and the opinions will be impactful," said Francisco Negron, general counsel of the National School Boards Association, which has supported the school districts in the lower courts. "We're in the post-integration era. Many desegregation lawsuits filed in the '70s have come to a natural ending point. . . . Schools are trying to implement policies that recognize the need for diversity." Seattle and Louisville say their plans are consistent with the Supreme Court's 2003 ruling -- which allowed universities to consider race as one of many factors when assembling diverse colleges and graduate schools. They say their use of race is necessary to meet compelling educational goals, and accounts for a modest number of school assignments. But the plaintiffs argue that school officials have gone beyond what the court permitted in 2003, because they ultimately rely on fixed numerical targets for assigning students. Each system adopted its plan voluntarily, but against the backdrop of different social and legal histories. In Louisville, the 97,000-student public school population is 34 percent black, with the rest predominantly white. In 1973, a federal court ruled that it was officially, and unlawfully, segregated. This led to court-ordered busing from 1975 to 1984. The system remained under court supervision until 2000. The current Louisville plan says that all schools, including magnets, must have a minimum black enrollment of 15 percent and a maximum of 50 percent. The only exceptions are for pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, alternative and special schools -- and four magnet schools covered by a federal judge's ruling barring the use of race to allocate educational opportunities not widely available. Parent Crystal D. Meredith, however, argues that the plan cost her son admission to the school in his neighborhood. In Seattle, which has substantial Asian and Hispanic populations as well as large numbers of whites and African Americans, no court has ever found the 47,000-student school system guilty of official segregation. Instead, the school board says that diversity is a key educational value and that segregated housing patterns must be changed. The city began busing in 1977 but stopped in 1988. Under an "Open Choice" plan adopted in 1998, the goal was to have schools close to the city's overall racial composition: 60 percent minority, 40 percent white. Children can attend any school. At schools where demand for spaces exceeds supply, however, siblings of current students have priority -- and an "integration tiebreaker" favors students whose race would tip a school toward 60-40. The tiebreaker has not been in use since 2002 because of the litigation, which was brought by Parents Involved in Community Schools, a group of white parents who say it cost their children admission to the popular Ballard High School. The tiebreaker was initially invalidated by a three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. But an 11-judge panel granted a new hearing and upheld it 7 to 4. The cases are Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1 , No. 05-908, and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education , No. 05-915. Argument will take place in December, with decisions due by July 2007.

Court To Revisit Race In Schools (LAT)
By David G. Savage The Los Angeles Times, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to take up two cases that could mark a historic shift in the role of race in education and spell the end of official efforts to integrate the nation's public schools. The justices said they would hear appeals from parents in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., who say it is unconstitutional for officials to consider race when deciding which school a student will attend. The cities adopted voluntary integration programs in recent years that put limits on how many white or black students may be enrolled in some schools. The Seattle and Louisville cases could put the court on the opposite side of an old issue. Having told school officials in the landmark 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling that they must desegregate their classrooms, the high court will now consider whether the Constitution forbids official efforts to maintain integration. A ruling outlawing such efforts would have a wide effect on schools that continue to use race even after desegregation orders have expired. 177

The Los Angeles Unified School District uses magnet schools to achieve integration, but it does so partly by enrolling students based on their race or ethnicity. Just three years ago, the court upheld affirmative action in colleges and universities, but two new conservative justices have joined the court since then. Monday's announcement is the second this year that could indicate a shift to the right in a major area of law. The court agreed to hear a case this fall that will determine whether Congress can outlaw a late-term abortion procedure. Beginning with the Reagan era of the 1980s, conservatives have insisted it is unconstitutional for the government to use a person's race as a factor in hiring, awarding contracts, admitting college students, or, in this instance, assigning students to public schools. In 2003, however, the Supreme Court dealt conservatives a defeat in a University of Michigan law school case. The court, in a 5-4 decision, said higher education had a "compelling" need to consider a student's race if it was to maintain diversity in classes. That decision was written by Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who retired in February. Her replacement, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., is seen as likely to take a more conservative stand on race and affirmative action. In 1985, as a lawyer in President Reagan's Justice Department, he said he was "particularly proud" of the administration's efforts to persuade the Supreme Court that "racial and ethnic quotas should not be allowed." Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who also worked in the Reagan administration, wrote memos that criticized the overt consideration of race by the government. Lawyers for the parents in the school cases say a student's race or ethnicity should not affect their chances of attending a school. "The issue here is: Can public schools voluntarily discriminate among students to achieve racial balance?" said Sharon L. Browne, a lawyer for the Pacific Legal Foundation in Sacramento, which had urged the court to hear both cases. "They are teaching our kids that race still matters. If they can continue to do that, we will never get to a place where the country is colorblind." She said as many 1,000 school districts nationwide seek to integrate some schools by enrolling or not enrolling students based on their race. Last year, her group sued the Los Angeles Unified School District in state court, contending its magnet school program is unconstitutional because it seeks "a racially balanced enrollment." Seattle has 10 high schools, and it allows students to choose which one they want to attend. The district's integration plan calls for trying to maintain a racial balance in each high school that is within 10 percentage points of its overall enrollment, which is 60% minority and 40% white. But if too many students choose a certain school and it is "over-subscribed," officials put limits on who may enroll. One factor they consider is race. In 2001, for example, 300 students were denied their first choice of a high school because of their race. Of these, 210 were white and 90 were minorities. The minorities include students who are black, Latino, Asian and Native American. The Seattle plan has been tied up in litigation for years. In October, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the plan on a 7-4 vote and applauded the school system for achieving "racial diversity" despite the city's segregated housing patterns. Harry Korrell, a lawyer for the Seattle parents, insisted the city was not segregated. "This is becoming a very diverse city. Even the whitest neighborhoods are integrated," he said. Because of this natural integration, he said, the racial balancing plan is not needed. He said he hoped the high court would say that "absent a history of past discrimination, it is impermissible to use race in making government decisions." Louisville had a history of official racial segregation. In 1975 it was ordered to bus students to achieve desegregation, but that court order ended in 2000. A year later it adopted a voluntary integration plan that seeks a black enrollment of at least 15% and no more than 50% in each school. Crystal Meredith, a white parent, challenged the plan, charging that it violated her son's rights; he was blocked from attending his neighborhood elementary school because it had too many white students. But a federal judge and the U.S. appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the integration plan, based in part on O'Connor's opinion in the law school case. The Supreme Court said it would hear both cases, Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District and Meredith vs. Jefferson County Board of Education, in the fall. The cases are likely to attract unusual attention because of the Supreme Court's historic role in ending school segregation. After declaring segregation unconstitutional in Brown vs. Board of Education, the court said school officials should proceed "with all deliberate speed" to end segregation. Many chose to be deliberate, but not speedy. 178

In 1968, the court said it would wait no longer for schools to achieve real desegregation, and by the early 1970s, many school systems were under federal court orders to bus students across town to achieve desegregation. That effort met strong public resistance nearly everywhere it was tried. In one Reagan-era memo, Roberts referred to busing for desegregation as a "failed experiment." "We're glad the Supreme Court is taking an opportunity to clarify for school districts the issues around diversity and school attendance. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty," said Francisco Negron, counsel for the National School Boards Assn. The school cases join another that could reveal a shift to the right by the high court. In late February, the same week that Alito took his seat as O'Connor's replacement, the court agreed to hear a case that could revive the federal law forbidding the abortion procedure known as intact dilation and extraction — which opponents label "partial-birth" abortion — performed during the second trimester of a pregnancy. That law was struck down by a lower court based on a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling, joined by O'Connor, which said the ban on this surgical method could threaten the health of some women seeking an abortion.

Court To Review School-Race Issues (WSJ)
By Jess Bravin And Ben Winograd The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2006 WASHINGTON -- Three years after upholding affirmative action in university admissions, the Supreme Court agreed to review whether elementary and secondary schools also may consider race in voluntary efforts to maintain desegregated classes. Separately, the justices rolled back the reach of federal racketeering law, ruling that to prevail in a civil lawsuit, a plaintiff would have to show it was directly injured by a competitor's illegal actions, not only that such acts may have created a competitive disadvantage. The school cases are the latest progeny of Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 opinion declaring that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The Brown case opened decades of litigation to integrate U.S. schools. In the 1960s and '70s, courts ordered busing and other desegregation methods that prompted a backlash among white parents unwilling to see their children bused to black neighborhoods. Other court-ordered plans were dissolved after school officials demonstrated they had succeeded in creating the required "unitary" systems. The two cases accepted yesterday concern whether schools can still consider race to promote desegregation after court orders have been lifted -- or if they had never been imposed at all. One case comes from Louisville, Ky., where in 1973, a federal court required schools to eliminate "all vestiges of stateimposed segregation." A variety of court-imposed plans followed, including mandatory busing, until the decree was dissolved in 2000. School officials, seeking to promote campus integration, then adopted a plan to maintain each school's black enrollment between 15% and 50%. The other case comes from Seattle, which never had legally imposed racial segregation, but nevertheless saw schools effectively segregated by neighborhood housing patterns. Seattle students can choose to attend any of the city's 10 high schools. Under a plan adopted in the late 1990s, race is a "tie-breaker" for admission to oversubscribed schools so that their enrollment approximates that of the city as a whole: 40% white, 60% non-white. Several parents of white children challenged the plans, but appellate courts upheld them, finding they complied with two 2003 Supreme Court opinions involving admission policies at the University of Michigan. Those decisions found student diversity a compelling governmental interest and that race could be a factor considered by admissions officers. The court did not say, however, how its doctrine might apply to lower education. Since those 2003 opinions, the court's composition has changed, with the arrival of conservative Justice Samuel Alito. His predecessor, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, wrote the 5-4 majority decision upholding an affirmative-action program at Michigan's law school. (Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Education; Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1) Separately, the justices dismissed a suit filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act by a New York steel-supply company alleging that a competitor had undercut prices by failing to collect sales