Thursday, November 10, 2005

Covert, Theatrical Performance Disrupts 'The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show'; Group Highlights Poor Environmental Practices

NEW YORK, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The environmental campaign against Victoria's Secret escalated tonight as the lingerie retailer was subjected to a "hijack" of its annual "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" in New York. Amid heavy security, Reverend Billy and his choir -- -- and a coterie of chainsaw-bearing angels and paparazzi staged a street theater spectacle outside and briefly disrupted the red-carpet interviews to draw attention to the company's destructive environmental practices.

The performance from ForestEthics and Reverend Billy follows a coordinated international day of action on Nov. 3 that included 350-plus demonstrations. Just days before, on Oct. 28, ForestEthics also ran a full-page ad in the New York Times. All are part of a continuing, multi-faceted effort to raise awareness with consumers and pressure the company.

Victoria's Secret mails more than a million catalogs daily on virgin paper that comes largely from endangered forests. Two years of research has confirmed that 25 percent of its catalog paper comes directly from North America's endangered Great Boreal forest -- one of the three largest remaining forests on earth. The Boreal is crucial as a defense against global warming and for keeping our air and water clean, and it's currently being logged at a rate of two acres a minute, 24 hours a day. An area the size of Manhattan is destroyed every 5 days.

Controversy and drama are nothing new to the annual fashion show. In 2002 animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) rushed the runway toting protest signs and CBS cancelled last year's event due to the FCC crackdown on indecency following Janet Jackson's infamous Super Bowl halftime show exposure.

The environmental campaign against Victoria's Secret and its parent company, Limited Brands, began in the fall of 2004 and includes ad campaigns in major cities, hundreds of demonstrations, and a website -- -- where people can get involved and motivate the retailer to use recycled paper, to stop using paper from Endangered Forests, and to reduce its overall paper usage.

ForestEthics -- -- protects Endangered Forests by transforming the paper and wood industries in North America and by supporting forest communities in the development of conservation-based economies.

More information, B-roll and photos are available at or by calling 917-449-6356.

You Name It, They'll Do It: Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy Do the Far Left's Bidding in Desperate Attacks on Judge Alito, Says RNC

WASHINGTON, Nov. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- "The latest attempts by Democrats to smear Judge Alito are nothing short of outrageous. Working with left-wing special interest groups, Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy know they can't argue Judge Alito's qualifications, know they can't argue the hearing schedule, and are afraid to have an honest debate on the proper role of the judiciary in America today. As two of America's leading legal experts have pointed out, these desperate attacks are nothing but a red herring," said Ken Mehlman, Republican National Committee chairman.


Earlier This Month, (Alliance For Justice's Nan) Aron Proclaimed, "You Name It, We'll Do It" To Oppose Alito. (Jim Drinkard, Judy Keen and Kathy Kiely, "Bush Nominates Alito For Supreme Court," USA Today, 11/1/05)

Nan Aron And Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) Have Teamed Up To Oppose Judge Samuel Alito:

"In Ted Kennedy's Senate Office -- Where No Lobbying Is Needed -- (Alliance For Justice's Nan) Aron, Lobbyist Richard Woodruff And Rosenthal Sit Down With An Aide To See How The Alliance Can Help." (Marcia Davis, "Her Idea of Justice: Absolutely Not Alito," The Washington Post, 11/9/05)

-- "'Just Keep Sending Us Research,' The Aide Tells Them." (Marcia Davis, "Her Idea of Justice: Absolutely Not Alito," The Washington Post, 11/9/05)

Kennedy Baselessly Attacks Judge Alito:

"Sen. Edward Kennedy Is Asking Supreme Court Nominee Samuel Alito To Explain His Holdings Of Vanguard Mutual Funds And Disqualify Himself From Cases Related To The Company." (Robert Schroeder, "Kennedy Queries Alito About Vanguard Case," CBS MarketWatch, 11/8/05)

-- "Kennedy, D-Mass., A Key Member Of The Senate Judiciary Committee, Sent A Letter To Alito On Tuesday Asking Why The Judge Heard A Case In August 2002 In Which Vanguard Companies Were Mentioned." (Robert Schroeder, "Kennedy Queries Alito About Vanguard Case," CBS MarketWatch, 11/8/05)

Legal Ethics Experts Assert That Alito Did Not Violate The Rules Of Ethics:

Professor Ronald D. Rotunda: "(N)either Federal Statutes, Nor Federal Rules, Nor The Model Code Of Judicial Conduct Of The American Bar Association Provide That A Judge Should Disqualify Himself In Any Case Involving A Mutual Fund Company (E.G., Vanguard, Fidelity, T. Rowe Price) Simply Because The Judge Owns Mutual Funds That The Company Manages And Holds In Trust For The Judge." (Ronald D. Rotunda, Professor Of Law George Mason University, Letter To Senator Arlen Specter, 11/4/05)

-- Rotunda: "(T)he Ethics Rules Make Clear That A 'Depositor In A Mutual Savings Association, Or A Similar Proprietary Interest (E.G., Vanguard), Is A 'Financial Interest' In The Organization Only If The Outcome Of The Proceeding Could Substantially Affect The Value Of The Interest.'" (Ronald D. Rotunda, Professor Of Law George Mason University, Letter To Senator Arlen Specter, 11/4/05)

-- Rotunda: "Judge Alito's Decision In A Case That A Pro Se Litigant Filed And Lost At Every Level, As Not A Case Where The Outcome Of The Proceeding Could 'Substantially Affect' The Value Of His Vanguard Mutual Funds. Indeed, The Judge Simply Had No Financial Stake In This Case." (Ronald D. Rotunda, Professor Of Law George Mason University, Letter To Senator Arlen Specter, 11/4/05)

Professor Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr.: "In My Opinion Judge Alito Handled (The Vanguard Case) Quite Properly, In Correcting A Situation In Which He Can Be Said To Have Made A Mistake About Recusal." (Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Professor Of Law University Of Pennsylvania, Letter To Senator Arlen Specter, 11/3/05)

-- "In My Opinion Judge Alito's Initial Participation In That Appeal Was Not Improper Under 26 U.S.C.§455, Which Establishes The Governing Rules." (Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr., Professor Of Law University Of Pennsylvania, Letter To Senator Arlen Specter, 11/3/05)

In 1994, Sen. Kennedy Quite Properly Took The High Road When Judge Stephen Breyer Was Questioned Over Recusals:

"The White House Scrambled ... To Defuse Perhaps The Most Thorny Potential Problem Area For Breyer - Possible Conflicts Of Interest Over His Investment In Lloyd's Of London. Recent Media Reports Have Raised Questions About Whether Breyer Should Have Recused Himself From Eight Superfund Toxic Waste Cases That Indirectly Affected The Global Insurance Syndicate." (Andrew Miga, "Breyer To Face Questions On Superfund Cases," The Boston Herald, 7/12/94)

-- "Breyer Reportedly Recused Himself From Cases Involving Asbestos Damage, But Made Rulings On Superfund Cases." (Andrew Miga, "Breyer To Face Questions On Superfund Cases," The Boston Herald, 7/12/94)

"Sen. Edward M. Kennedy And Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum, Democrat Of Ohio, Squabbled Over Whether Breyer Had Exercised Poor Judgment In Ruling On Environmental Cases While He Held Investments In A Firm That Insures Polluters." (Ana Puga, "Biden Accuses Breyer Of Elitism," The Boston Globe, 7/15/94)

-- "Metzenbaum Appeared To Irritate Kennedy, Biden And Sen. Orrin G. Hatch Of Utah, The Committee's Senior Republican, By Raising Questions About Breyer's Investments In Lloyd's Of London, A Subject The Committee Leaders Had Hoped To Dismiss On Tuesday When Breyer Vowed To Divest Himself Of The Investment." (Ana Puga, "Biden Accuses Breyer Of Elitism," The Boston Globe, 7/15/94)

-- Kennedy: "You've Asked For My Opinion Whether Judge Breyer's Committed A Violation Of Judicial Ethics In Investing In Lloyds Name And Insurance Underwriting While Being A Federal Judge. In My Opinion, There Was No Violation Of Judicial Ethics." (Sen. Edward Kennedy, Committee On The Judiciary, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 7/14/94)

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Also Faced Inconsequential Questions Over Recusals:

"Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg May Have Violated A Federal Law 21 Times Since 1995 By Participating In Cases Involving Companies In Which Her Husband Owned Stock." (Richard Carelli, "Justice Took Part In Cases Involving Husband's Stocks," The Associated Press, 7/10/97)

"Appointed To The Nation's Highest Court By President Clinton In 1993, Justice Ginsburg Did Not Disqualify Herself In Cases Involving Eight Companies In Which Her Husband Owned Common Stock In 1995 And 1996. The Companies Are Nynex, Exxon, General Electric, American International Group, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson, American Home Products And AT&T." (Richard Carelli, "Justice Took Part In Cases Involving Husband's Stocks," The Associated Press, 7/10/97)

"The Problematic Stock Holdings Are Traceable To A Smith Barney Account Martin Ginsburg Opened Sometime In 1995." (Richard Carelli, "Justice Took Part In Cases Involving Husband's Stocks," The Associated Press, 7/10/97)


Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Focus on the Family Decries FDA Condom Guidelines; New Guidelines Still Fail to Ensure 'Truth in Advertising'

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 10 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Focus on the Family Analyst for Sexual Health Linda Klepacki, RN, MPH, today criticized the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) new guidelines for condom-package labeling, which fall short of fulfilling the requirements of a law signed by President Clinton in 2000. These requirements mandate that condom labels be medically accurate about the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of condoms in preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), specifically the human papillomavirus (HPV).

"The FDA has finally attempted to comply with a law signed five years ago," Klepacki said, "and yet, these new guidelines for condom labeling still fail to ensure truth in advertising. Up to this time, condom labeling has been notoriously misleading about the efficacy of preventing the spread of STDs, particularly the spread of HPV - the leading cause of cervical cancer. Unfortunately, the guidelines released today remain medically inaccurate.

"The American people expect - and are entitled to - accurate information about the true failure rates of condoms. However, today's guidelines will continue to mislead Americans. Two decades of research have shown no evidence that condom use reduces the risk of HPV transmission."

Despite the fact that there is no epidemiological evidence that condoms reduce the risk of contracting HPV, the FDA's guidelines state that "consistent use of condoms may provide some benefit for these STDs, such as reduced risk of herpes infection or reduced risk of developing HPV-related diseases."

"This is an appalling deception," Klepacki said. "Under the guise of correcting previous errors, the FDA has allowed the condom purveyors to continue to create false hope about the effectiveness of their product.

"Even more disturbing is the knowledge that our children are being indoctrinated with this deception in their schools - in the name of comprehensive sex-ed. Our kids are being assured that they should place their faith in a piece of latex - never knowing that they are jeopardizing their own lives if they do so.

"Today's announcement only serves to underscore the importance of parents educating their children about the only safe and effective method of preventing STDs - abstinence before marriage and faithfulness thereafter," Klepacki said. "We must not be lulled into a false sense of security - abstinence ensures the best possible future for our children: a future not marred by disease and unplanned pregnancies.

"We call on the FDA to revise their guidelines to fully comply with federal law and end this misinformation campaign."


James C. Dobson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, radio broadcaster and the founder of Focus on the Family. Founded in 1977, Focus on the Family is a nonprofit Christian organization committed to strengthening the family in the U.S. and throughout the world.

FTCR's Statement on Californians' Rejection of Schwarzenegger's Measures and His Extra Election

"Californians rejected Governor Schwarzenegger's measures, his unnecessary election and the governor himself when they defeated every one of the measures on yesterday's ballot. The election was a denunciation of the concept of governor as celebrity marketer. It was the repudiation of corporate campaign cash and a dramatic rejection corporations' and politicians' attempts to steal the initiative process from the people." [read more]

Community Action Partnership Calls for Anti-Poverty Bill

"The Community Action Partnership, the nation's largest anti-poverty organization, is calling for a comprehensive, national anti-poverty bill and has written President Bush and the Congressional Black Caucus about this critical effort. "The time is now to eradicate poverty," said Derrick Len Span, national president of the Community Action Partnership, speaking today to a group of journalists meeting in Nashville. Copies of the letters appear below." [Read more]

CAIR Calls for Peaceful End to Rioting in France; U.S. Muslim Group Urges 'Dialogue and Mutual Respect'

"A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on French authorities to employ "dialogue and mutual respect" in efforts to end rioting and violence in suburbs of Paris.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined Muslim leaders in France in calling for an immediate and peaceful end to the violence. CAIR also called for a national campaign to address the economic and social marginalization and exclusion that appear to be the root causes of the violence." [Read more]

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Statement by Rafael Palmeiro

To: National Desk, Sports Reporter

Contact: Beau Phillips, 202-368-9033; Sharon Castillo, 202-777-3526

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is a statement of Rafael Palmeiro:

Since I was informed last May that I tested positive for steroids, I have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball and Congress in their respective inquiries into this matter. I have done so because I have nothing to hide. I am grateful to Chairman Tom Davis, Congressman Henry Waxman and their respective staffs for the fairness and professionalism with which they have conducted their investigation.

Now that the House Government Reform Committee is finishing its work, I will address the facts as I have always said I wanted to do. Everything I have been working for all my life - to play the game that I love with dignity and earn the respect and admiration of my colleagues and fans - has been changed by my suspension. For this, I alone take full responsibility.

I have never intentionally taken steroids. But I must also acknowledge that Stanozolol, a banned substance, was found in my system in May. Although I do not know how this substance came into my body, it is possible that a shot of vitamin B12 I took sometime in April might have been the cause. Under questioning by the Major League Player's Association - the player's union ­I had to reveal the details of how I got the possibly tainted B12 and then had to testify about the facts of this case under oath. I have never implicated any player in the intentional use or distribution of steroids, or any other illegal substance, in any interview or testimony.

I am not trying to hold others responsible. I was careless in not seeking a doctor's advice and made a foolish mistake. Nobody is more frustrated and disappointed in me than I am. Throughout my adult life, I have worked very hard on and off the field to live my life in an honorable way.

All my accomplishments are now tainted, and many people have been hurt. I deeply regret the pain I have caused my family, my teammates, my fans and the game of baseball. I am sorry for the distraction that I have caused to the Orioles clubhouse and the League.

I remain opposed to the use of steroids by athletes. I hope others find a lesson to be learned in my experience and I will do my part to teach it.

Argentine President Tells AJC Leaders Plan to Visit Israel, Reaffirms Pledge to Pursue Justice in AMIA Bombing Case

To: Foreign and National desks

Contact: Kenneth Bandler of American Jewish Committee, 212-891-6771 or ; Web:

BUENOS AIRES, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ Argentine President Nestor Kirchner told the American Jewish Committee today that a multilateral approach is needed to isolate Iran and other countries that support terrorism.

"Terrorism is a scourge that goes beyond any ideological or political decisions," Kirchner said during an hour-long meeting with an AJC leadership delegation.

AJC Executive Director David A. Harris thanked Kirchner for the fact that Argentina was one of the first countries to condemn the recent remarks of the Iranian president calling for the destruction of Israel.

President Kirchner told the AJC leaders that he is planning to visit Israel for the first time in early 2006, a trip he hopes will further deepen Argentine-Israeli relations.

Turning to the ongoing investigation of the worst terrorist attack in Argentine history, the bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) building in 1994, which killed 85 people and wounded hundreds, Kirchner reaffirmed his commitment to pursuing justice in the bombing. It is widely believed that Iran and Hezbollah played a central role in the attack.

Specifically, the Argentine leader spoke of his commitment to submit a new request to Interpol, based on more solid information, to reissue warrants for the arrest of eleven Iranians suspected of involvement in the AMIA bombing.

Moreover, the Argentinean leader expressed confidence in the investigation conducted by the Prosecutor Alberto Niessman who is expected to issue his findings momentarily. The report is expected to give a new boost to the long stalled case. The AJC group will be meeting with Niessman during their visit to Buenos Aires.

AJC has met regularly with Kirchner both in Argentina and in the U.S. The Argentine President was a keynote speaker at the AJC Annual Meeting in Washington in 2004.

The AJC senior leadership delegation came to Argentina this week as part of a four-nation tour to discuss with top political leaders issues of democracy, human rights and terrorism, ties between the U.S. and South American countries, and policies towards the Middle East.

The visit is an initiative of AJC's Institute on Latino and Latin America Affairs. The Institute sponsors research, publications, conferences, and travel missions such as this week's visit to Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Peru. Last month, AJC leaders visited Venezuela.

Civilian Nuclear Technology and U.S.-India Relationship - Open Letter to House International Relations Committee Chairman Hyde

NEW YORK, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Following is an open letter from Federation of Indian Associations President Sudhir Parikh, M.D., to House International Relations Committee Chairman Henry Hyde:

Dear Chairman Hyde,

On July 18, President Bush and the Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh reached an historic understanding on cooperation in civilian nuclear technology that serves long-term U.S. interests. I urge you to support this agreement that is an important part of the process of transforming relations with this fellow democracy.

India and U.S. interests have been converging and overlapping in recent years in key strategic areas. India has worked with us and the Europeans in the IAEA in developing a consensus and voting with us to stop Iran's secret nuclear program. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, India gave us crucial facilities for our military aircraft on its soil. Last year Indian and American navies worked together to bring relief and succor to many Asian countries struck by the tsunami killer waves. Today India is helping us in Afghanistan to support the government of President Karzai and to fight the Taliban-Al Qaeda elements. India and the United States are natural partners and we need to strengthen these ties in every way because it meets our interests, furthers our objectives.

The U.S.-India civil nuclear understanding reached on July 18 this year is based on the premise of reciprocity and mutual steps. We undertook to amend our laws and work with our international partners to enable civil nuclear cooperation with a responsible fellow democracy in return for a slew of measures India is expected to take. Our obligations kick in only after India has also fulfilled its side of the understanding.

The first question is: why India? This is a unique country that developed its own advanced civil nuclear energy program over decades but never allowed its technology to leak to other nations -- ever. On the other hand, India's neighbors -- Pakistan and Red China -- have been the main source of proliferation of nuclear and missile technology to countries like Iran, Libya and North Korea. There have been absolutely no cases of proliferation of sensitive nuclear and missile technology from India. Second, India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world with a huge pent up need for energy that will only grow in the future.

It is one of the most promising markets for our energy companies in the free world. Third, nuclear energy in India will help reduce pressure on the world oil and gas reserves. Fourth, as we are ourselves realizing now, nuclear energy is clean and environment-friendly. In return for civil nuclear cooperation with us India has done the following:

-- It has enacted a comprehensive law to further tighten its WMD export control regime.

-- It has harmonized its control lists with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime.

-- It has undertaken to separate its civil nuclear facilities from the military and put them under IAEA safeguards. For the first time India will put indigenously built facilities under safeguards.

-- It has reiterated its promise not to do any further nuclear explosive tests.

-- It will work with us to help negotiate an international treaty on controlling the production of fissile material for weapons.

Taken together, these are obligations no Indian government has undertaken before. We believe that it is crucial for our Congress to pass the necessary amendments to our laws so that we do not lose this great opportunity to transform relations with the world's largest democracy while furthering our key interests in non-proliferation and building an alliance with an emerging Asian power.

The 2 million strong Indian-American community is particularly excited by the turn of events that holds the promise of combining the moral and material strength of the United States and India not only in supporting each other but working together on global issues like non-proliferation, terrorism and environment protection. Do not let this opportunity pass.

With warm regards,

Sudhir Parikh, M.D.,

President, Federation of Indian Associations

Defendant Pleads Guilty to Threatening Detroit Members of the Islamic Center of America

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced that Michael Bratisax pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan to violating the civil rights of members of the Islamic Center of America, located in Detroit, Michigan.

In May 2004, Bratisax sent an e-mail from his home computer in New York to the Islamic Center of America threatening to kill Muslims. Bratisax made this threat with the intent to intimidate and frighten the members of the Islamic Center from practicing their religion.

"The Justice Department is committed to protecting our diverse religious heritage against acts of criminal bigotry," said Wan J. Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "All American families have the right to worship where they choose, undisturbed by intimidation and racist threats."

The guilty plea results from an investigation by the Detroit Field Office of the FBI, the United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, and the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.

Pelosi: 'We All Want a Bright Future for China, That's Why We Have to Push for Change'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Tom Lantos (D- Calif.), Mark Kennedy (R-Minn.), Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom at a press conference in her office in the Capitol this afternoon about human rights in China. Below are Pelosi's remarks:

"I am honored to join Congressman Frank Wolf, an unmatched leader in his commitment to human rights. From Sudan to Sierra Leone to China and Tibet, Frank Wolf has used his position in Congress to give a voice to the suffering of people all over the world. We all want to commend and thank Congressman Wolf.

"I also am pleased to be here with my colleague from California, Congressman Lantos, who for years has been the chair or co-chair of the Human Rights Caucus in the Congress. I have said before that people all over the world are deeply in his debt -- people whose names he does not know, and people who do not know his name -- because he has been their champion.

"Chris Smith -- we have been through many battles for human rights all over the world. Chris knows the high regard in which I hold his credentials as a champion for human rights in our country. We welcome you, Mr. Kennedy, to the fold in our struggle for human rights.

"We commend the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom for completing a comprehensive and insightful report on religious freedom in China. The commissioners, including Chairman Michael Cromartie, as well as Preeta Bansal, and Commissioner Richard Land are with us today. They are shining a bright light on the continued crackdown on Chinese citizens who seek the freedom of religion, speech and assembly.

"This past August, the International Religious Freedom Commission visited China and documented the Chinese government's intensifying crackdown on religious freedom. Over the past year, the Chinese government has tightened its control over religious leaders, journalists, intellectuals, the Internet, and non- governmental organizations; violated the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief contravening both the Chinese Constitution and international norms; intensified a campaign to bring out all "unregistered" religious activity under government control - by enticement or by force; continued to control the Uighur Muslim religious activity; required Tibetans to denounce His Holiness the Dalai Lama as the spiritual leader of the Tibetans, imprisoned individuals for owning pictures of the Dalai Lama, and prohibited any public display of devotion to him.

"For too long, the United States has pursued a policy of trickle down liberty - first economic freedom, and then political freedom and religious freedom will follow. The 16 years since Tiananmen have exposed this policy as the illusion that it is.

"Despite more than a decade of concessions from Washington, our trade deficit with China has grown from $2 billion a year to over $2 billion a week. Remember, Chris and Tom, when we started to work on human rights in China? We thought that with a $2 to $3 billion dollar annual budget, we would have tremendous leverage. Little did we know, that despite all the talk that trade was going to become more fair, instead those obstacles still remain, and we are at a deficit of $2 to $3 billion a week. Over a third of China's exports come to the United States; only 4 percent of our exports are allowed into China.

"President Bush will travel to China next week to meet with President Hu Jintao. My colleagues and I will be requesting that he make human rights a top priority in the bilateral agenda.

"We once again call on Beijing to release the thousands of prisoners of conscience whose only crime was to demand their basic human rights.

"The United States government should press for the release of the Panchen Lama, who has not been seen in more than a decade after being kidnapped by the Chinese government. Think of it, this was the successor to the Dalai Lama, and the Chinese Government kidnapped him as a small child and he has not been seen since. We also call for the release of Dr. Yang Jianli, a pro-democracy activist and permanent U.S. resident who was arrested in 2002 and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.

"We all want a bright future for China and a wonderful relationship between our two nations: politically, culturally, diplomatically and economically. That is why we also have to push for change.

"I hope that one day the world's most populous nation can at last be called the world's largest democracy.

"In that spirit, I would like to yield to the very distinguished gentleman whom I described earlier, a champion for human rights, a model to us all, unsurpassed in his effectiveness, Frank Wolf."

Pelosi Urges Attorney General to Secure Voting Rights for All

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi today issued a statement calling on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to report immediately on the activities undertaken by the Justice Department to protect the right to vote in the recently concluded elections, especially of citizens affected by the recent hurricanes. In light of reports last month that Republicans may seek to exploit the mass displacement of voters due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Pelosi, leading Democrats, and several Representatives from areas affected by the hurricanes, had asked the Attorney General on October 27 for an immediate status report on the Justice Department's efforts, given the elections in several affected states yesterday, a report that still has not yet been provided.

"Yesterday, across the country, Americans proudly cast votes and performed one of their most critical civic responsibilities. Our democracy depends on protecting the right of every American citizen to vote - and to register to vote - in every election. As the Supreme Court has noted, 'No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make the law, under which, as good citizens, we must live.'

"Special challenges, however, exist for the citizens of the states affected by the recent hurricanes. The Justice Department has a special responsibility and obligation to help people fulfill their right to participate in their government. I urge the Attorney General to work to secure voting rights for all, to prevent barriers, and to provide a report on the Justice Department's activities in the affected states without delay."

Excerpts from the House Democrats' letter dated October 27:

"We fear...victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas may encounter politically engineered obstacles when exercising their right to the (voting) franchise this November, next year and beyond. This possibility compels the federal government to ensure that these jurisdictions and any jurisdiction with displaced voters comply fully with all statutes designed to facilitate the vote of every American and protect minority voting rights...

"Given the elections in many of the affected states this November, we need an immediate status report by the Justice Department on its efforts to proactively protect the right to vote in those elections."

The full text of the letter follows:

October 27, 2005

The Honorable Alberto Gonzales

Attorney General

U.S. Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Gonzales:

The October 24, 2005 issue of Newsweek magazine includes a disturbing story suggesting that political operatives may be exploiting the mass displacement of New Orleans voters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina for partisan political gain.(1) This troubling story comes on the heels of reports of insensitive remarks made by elected officials shortly after the hurricane swept New Orleans suggesting that this tragedy could be viewed as a positive event.(2) We also note that, immediately after the tragedy, the President's political advisor, Karl Rove, who has no experience in post-disaster planning, was appointed to play a major role in rebuilding efforts.

As you are no doubt aware, residents of New Orleans neighborhoods most affected by the storm are predominantly African-American. In addition, many Hispanic residents were dislocated. Thousands of these citizens have been temporarily relocated to other parishes and states, particularly Texas, for an indeterminate period while their homes and communities are rebuilt.

We fear these New Orleans residents, as well as victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas may encounter politically engineered obstacles when exercising their right to the franchise this November(3), next year and beyond. This possibility compels the federal government to ensure that these jurisdictions and any jurisdiction with displaced voters comply fully with all statutes designed to facilitate the vote of every American and protect minority voting rights, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA), the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

It is our expectation that the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division will be especially vigilant for the foreseeable future regarding the plans of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas to recover lost voter registration information, replace or repair damaged voting equipment, designate new polling locations, and provide accurate and up-to-date voter absentee information to people who have been forced to move to other jurisdictions but intend to return to their places of residence once their communities are restored. In addition, because a significant number of displaced voters are located in Texas, the Civil Rights Division should ensure that Texas does not impose barriers on those citizens' right to vote.

Moreover, we expect that the Civil Rights Division will take immediate steps to prevent any attempts by partisan operatives to purge the voting rolls. Recent experience attests that attempts to purge voting rolls is a persistent concern.(4)

Given that each of these jurisdictions(5) is covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, we strongly advise the Voting Section to review with the utmost of care any changes these jurisdictions propose in the months ahead that purport to ease the work of election officials during this difficult time but risk imposing undue burdens on voters. Elections must never be administered for the convenience of election officials, even during a time of recovery from a major catastrophe, if it means voters' rights will be diminished.

The Justice Department should summarily reject any proposed change that would have this effect, taking into account not only the arguments of election officials but those of civil rights and voter advocacy groups as well. The Department will, as you know, be failing to execute the law if it concludes the recovery challenges facing these jurisdictions in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita justify lenient application of Federal voting statutes.

We would greatly appreciate a status report on the actions being taken by the Voting Section to ensure that a natural disaster does not lead to an electoral disaster this November and next year in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas. Given the elections in many of the affected states this November, we need an immediate status report by the Justice Department on its efforts to proactively protect the right to vote in those elections. We are particularly interested in how the Department will apply the Voting Rights Act's pre-clearance requirements in cases where local election infrastructure has, for all practical purposes, been destroyed and needs to be rebuilt from scratch.

We have an obligation to every American to ensure that our nation's election system is one that will inspire pride and confidence, even when a natural disaster strikes and causes unexpected disruption.

We appreciate your consideration of this important matter and look forward to your response.


Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader

Steny Hoyer, House Democratic Whip

Robert Menendez, House Democratic Caucus Chairman

James Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus Vice-Chairman

John Conyers, Ranking Member, Judiciary Committee

Bennie Thompson, Ranking Member, Homeland Security Committee

Juanita Millender-McDonald, Ranking Member, House Administration

Melvin Watt, Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

Grace Napolitano, Chair, Congressional Hispanic Caucus

John Lewis, Senior Chief Deputy Democratic Whip

Gene Taylor, Member of Congress

Gene Green, Member of Congress

Sheila Jackson Lee, Member of Congress

Al Green, Member of Congress

Artur Davis, Member of Congress

(1) Mark Hosenball and Richard Wolffe, Race: The GOP's 'Disturbing Comments', NEWSWEEK, Oct. 24, 2005.

2 Charles Babington, Some GOP Legislators Hit Jarring Notes in Addressing Katrina, THE WASHINGTON POST, Sept. 10, 2005, A04. The article reports that Rep. Richard H. Baker, a 10-term Republican from Baton Rouge, was overheard telling lobbyists, "(w)e finally cleaned up public housing in New Orleans. We couldn't do it, but God did." Id.

3 The following affected states have elections scheduled this year: Alabama (November 1 and 8); Louisiana (November 12 and December 10); Mississippi (November 8); and Texas (November 8).

4 See Report of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Federal Election, June 2001. The report found high instances of purging voter rolls in Florida during the 2000 Presidential election, id. at p.45. See also, Report of People For the American Way, Shattering the Myth: An Initial Snapshot of Voter Disenfranchisement in the 2004 Elections, December 2004.

5 Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Statement of U.S. Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao on Supreme Court Decision in Poultry Worker Case

To: National Desk

Contact: Lisa Kruska of the U.S. Department of Labor, 202-693-4676

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao issued the following statement on the decision today by the Supreme Court in IBP v. Alvarez and Tum v. Barber Foods:

"Today's unanimous Supreme Court decision in IBP v. Alvarez and Tum v. Barber Foods, is a tremendous victory for low-wage workers across the country and the Department of Labor. The Supreme Court vindicated the department's position that employees in meat and poultry processing plants must be paid for the time they spend walking between the place where they put on and take off protective equipment and the place where they process the meat. These private cases, in which the government filed amicus briefs, are the culmination of this Administration's initiative to compel poultry processors to pay their workers for all hours worked. We will now move ahead to assure that all affected companies pay their employees correctly."

U.S. Department of Labor Awards Nearly $20 Million in Grants for President's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U.S. Department of Labor today awarded 30 grants totaling $19.8 million to faith- and community-based organizations to assist non-violent ex- offenders returning to their local communities. These grants were awarded under the President's Prisoner Re-entry Initiative grant competition and are designed to serve urban centers and areas of greatest need.

"Communities benefit when non-violent ex-offenders become contributing members of society," said Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao. "This $20 million in grants will fund projects in 20 states to provide job training, mentoring and other services to prepare returning ex-offenders for new lives as productive workers."

Introduced by President Bush in his 2004 State of the Union Address, the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative is designed to help strengthen urban communities and assist ex-prisoners re-entering the community through an employment-based program that incorporates housing, mentoring, job training and other services.

This competition for grants turned out to be the biggest and most competitive in recent years, with 549 applications submitted to the Department of Labor.

"Employment can be the most stabilizing factor in an ex- offender's transition back into the community. Many of the individuals who will receive services under these grants need skills training and assistance as they make this transition," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment and Training Emily Stover DeRocco. "These grants will support faith- and community-based organizations in providing the help ex-offenders need as they move to find employment and restart careers, as well as build safer communities."

The Prisoner Re-entry Initiative is a collaboration of the Departments of Labor, Justice, Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services. The Department of Justice is holding a limited grant competition in the 20 states where the Labor Department grants were awarded to conduct pre-release services for program participants.

Please visit for more information on the Prisoner Re-entry Initiative. For additional information on the Department of Labor's employment and training programs, please visit

-- Note: A complete list of award winners follows:

Award Recipient: The Primavera Foundation, Inc.; City: Tucson; State: AZ; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Arizona Women's Education and Employment, Inc.; City and State: Phoenix; AZ ; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Metro United Methodist Urban Ministry; City and State: San Diego; CA; Amount: ;$665,935

Award Recipient: Allen Temple Housing & Economic Development Corporation; City and State: Oakland; CA; Amount: ;$660,000

Award Recipient: Mexican American Alcoholism Program, Inc.; City and State: Sacramento; CA; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Fresno Career Development Institute, Inc.; City and State: Fresno; CA; Amount: ;$660,000

Award Recipient: The Empowerment Program; City and State: Denver; CO; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Community Partners In Action, Inc.; City and State: Hartford; CT; Amount: $666,671

Award Recipient: OIC Of Broward County, Inc.; City and State: Ft Lauderdale; FL; Amount: $660,474

Award Recipient: The Directors Council; City and State: Des Moines; IA; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: The Safer Foundation; City and State: Chicago; IL; Amount: $663,746

Award Recipient: The Church United for Community Development; City and State: Baton Rouge; LA; Amount: $659,391

Award Recipient: Odyssey House Louisiana, Inc.; City and State: New Orleans; LA; Amount: $684,250

Award Recipient: Span, Inc.; City and State: Boston; MA; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Episcopal Community Services of Maryland; City and State: Baltimore; MD; Amount: $657,935

Award Recipient: Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency; City and State: Pontiac; MI; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: St. Patrick Center; City and State: St. Louis; MO; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Connections to Success; City and State: Kansas City; MO; Amount: $659,432

Award Recipient: Career Opportunity Development, Inc.; City and State: Egg Harbor City (serving Atlantic County);NJ ; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: The Doe Fund, Inc.; City and State: Brooklyn; NY; Amount: $659,000

Award Recipient: Goodwill Industries of Greater NY & Northern NJ, Inc.; City and State: Astoria (Serving Newark, NJ); NY based, serving NJ; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Urban Youth Alliance International, Inc.; City and State: Bronx; NY; Amount: $660,121

Award Recipient: Talbert House; City and State: Cincinnati; OH; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: SE Works, Inc.; City and State: Portland;OR Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Connection Training Services; City and State: Philadelphia; PA; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: WABC Central City Comprehensive Community Center; City and State: Houston; TX; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Goodwill Industries of San Antonio; City and State: San Antonio; TX; Amount: $663,045

Award Recipient: Urban League of Greater Dallas & North Central Texas; City and State: Dallas; TX ; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: People of Color Against AIDS Network; City and State: Seattle; WA; Amount: $660,000

Award Recipient: Word of Hope Ministries, Inc; City and State: Milwaukee;WI; Amount: $660,000


U.S. Labor Department (DOL) releases are accessible on the Internet at The information in this news release will be made available in alternate format upon request (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc) from the COAST office. Please specify which news release when placing your request. Call (202) 693-7765 or TTY (202) 693-7755. DOL is committed to providing America's employers and employees with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws and regulations. For more information, please visit

Kansas School Board Decision Lambasted by Teachers, Scientist as Attack on Science; Campaign Launches New Online Ad, Petition

TOPEKA, Kan., Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Teachers and scientists affiliated with the Campaign to Defend the Constitution today admonished the Kansas Board of Education over its anticipated approval of new statewide science standards that encourage students to question the validity of evolution. The decision is being led by the Board's conservative Christian majority and weakens the state's science standards to allow the teaching of "pseudo-sciences" such as intelligent design.

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution (DefCon), a 25,000- member online grassroots movement to combat the threat posed by the religious right to American democracy, has launched a number of actions to protect science education from religious attack:

-- New Flash Ad.

Today, DefCon released a new online ad to highlight the discriminatory "values" that children are being taught by the religious right: the subordinate role of women, the Bible's role in driving the public lives of our politicians, and the notion that all non-Christians are failures. View ad at:

-- Petition to School Board Chairman Steve Abrams.

Today, DefCon is launching an online petition to encourage its members to email Kansas School Board Chairman Steve Abrams, asking him to uphold scientific integrity in Kansas schools.

-- $200,000 Online Ad Campaign on Evolution.

DefCon has an ongoing online ad campaign consisting of large buys on several major news Web sites. The ads highlight the threat the religious right poses to our children's education and encourages readers to take action to prevent the erosion of science in their states.

-- 5,000 Letters from Clergy, Scientists, DefCon Members to Governors.

Over the last month, DefCon members, scientists, and clergy have sent over 5,000 letters to governors in all 50 states demanding that pseudo-sciences, like intelligent design, are kept out of science classrooms.

"I find it incredulous that Kansas might very well pass these standards. American children are consistently falling behind those of other nations in their knowledge and understanding of science. We will not be able to close this gap if we substitute ideology for fact in our science classrooms," said DefCon advisory board member Francisco Ayala, former President of AAAS and current biology professor at UC Irvine.

Jack Krebs, a Kansas science teacher who sits on the science standards writing committee, expressed early outrage over the standards sent to the Kansas Board of education for approval:

"The revisions to the standards misrepresent, distort and even contradict mainstream science. They advance a narrow sectarian theological viewpoint, disguised as science, that abuse of the educational system. It is not the responsibility of the state Board of Education to decide what is and is not verified science."

The Campaign to Defend the Constitution was launched four weeks ago and already has 25,000 members. Its Advisory Board consists of leading Americans from many walks of life including former ACLU Director Ira Glasser, former head of the National Institutes of Health Harold Varmus and former NARAL ProChoiceAmerica Executive Director Kate Michelman.

To view the ad and learn more about the Campaign to Defend the Constitution, visit:

Contact Jessica Smith at 202-822-5200 ext. 234 to schedule further interviews with: Kansas science teachers and science standards writing committee members Jack Krebs or Carol Williamson; Eugenie Scott, Director of the National Center for Science Education; or Francisco Ayala, former president of AAAS.

View New Online Ad at:

House Leaders to President Bush: Uphold the Rule of Law, Do Not Misuse the Public Trust

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Democratic Caucus Chair Robert Menendez, and Democratic Caucus Vice Chair James E. Clyburn sent a letter to President Bush today, urging him not to give special treatment to anyone under investigation regarding the CIA leak case.

Following is the text of the letter:

November 8, 2005

The Honorable George W. Bush

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

At the heart of the criminal indictment of I. Lewis Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Cheney, are indications of a serious and reckless disregard for the public trust. We write to you today to request you make efforts to restore this public trust, with a pledge to the American people that no one under investigation in connection with the misuse of classified information involving the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame will receive special treatment from the White House during the course of the investigation.

Specifically, we urge you to pledge that you will not use your ability to issue a Presidential pardon to any person prosecuted for, or convicted of, a crime in connection with the disclosure of Ms. Plame's association with the CIA. Anything less is a misuse of the public trust.

Under our system of law, all are innocent until proven guilty. But another fundamental tenet is that of equal treatment under the law. It is only by allowing the special prosecutor's essential investigations to continue without interference, and abiding by the results of any legal determinations based on the facts of those investigations, that we can reassure the American people that the White House officials are not above the law.

Perjury and obstruction of justice are serious crimes. The allegation that civil servants, working for the highest offices in our country, abused the public trust is a black mark upon your Administration. We ask that you uphold the rule of law by making clear that no one who has been charged, or is being investigated in the Plame matter, will be pardoned.

We look forward to your earliest response on this vital matter.


Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader

Steny Hoyer, Democratic Whip

Robert Menendez, House Democratic Caucus, Chair

James E. Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus, Vice Chair

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to Discuss the Democratic Legislative Agenda at National Press Club

To: Assignment Desk, Daybook Editor

Contact: Keith Hill, 202-785-6882 or 301-467-6737

News Advisory:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will talk about the Democrats' legislative agenda for technology and jobs in the next Congress at a morning Newsmaker.

WHAT: National Press Club "Newsmaker" News Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, November 15, 2005 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

WHERE: National Press Club (Holeman Lounge), 14th & F Streets NW, Washington, DC

CAIR Calls for Peaceful End to Rioting in France; U.S. Muslim Group Urges 'Dialogue and Mutual Respect'

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on French authorities to employ "dialogue and mutual respect" in efforts to end rioting and violence in suburbs of Paris.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) joined Muslim leaders in France in calling for an immediate and peaceful end to the violence. CAIR also called for a national campaign to address the economic and social marginalization and exclusion that appear to be the root causes of the violence.

SEE: "Paris Heat Not from Muslims"

In its statement, CAIR said:

"Dialogue and mutual respect, rather than senseless violence or repressive tactics, are the only answers to social, political and economic grievances. Islam seeks just and stable societies and condemns the wanton destruction of lives and property.

"We agree with French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin who said Tuesday that, 'The struggle against all discriminations must become a priority for our national community.'

"It is imperative that people of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds in France come together to help address critical issues of unemployment, alienation, racial discrimination, and social integration."

CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:


NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist's window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society.


Justice Department Files for Contempt Against Golden Grove Prison Authorities Regarding Conditions of Confinement

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced that it filed a Show Cause Motion with the United States District Court for the Virgin Islands asking the Court to hold the Virgin Islands in contempt of a long standing Consent Decree regarding conditions of confinement at the Golden Grove Prison and Detention Facility in St. Croix.

A Consent Decree was filed in November 1986 that required Golden Grove to remedy unconstitutional conditions including operational and security procedures, medical and mental health care, and fire safety and environmental sanitation deficiencies. In the years following, the United States provided technical assistance to the Virgin Islands in the form of expert consultant reports, staffing needs assessments and other assistance. The United States also obtained supplemental Orders and agreements with the Virgin Islands on several occasions to implement the Consent Decree's requirements. In 2003, 2004 and 2005 the Justice Department conducted expert consultant visits at the facility and received reports, which were shared with the jurisdiction in an attempt to identify current and ongoing conditions that did not meet constitutionally mandated minimum requirements of security and safety. The jurisdiction promised remedial action, but Justice Department attorneys found that conditions at the facility had regressed in all areas. The Department found a routine history of inmate on inmate assaults, lack of correctional officer staffing in housing units, and constitutionally inadequate medical and mental health care for incarcerated individuals.

"The Justice Department has made every effort to assist the Virgin Islands in meeting its obligation to remedy the deplorable current and ongoing violations at Golden Grove," said Bradley J. Schlozman, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "Today, we are simply asking the court to ensure this prison facility's compliance with constitutional standards."

In its filing, the Department asks the Court to find the Virgin Islands in contempt of the Consent Decree, supplemental Court Orders, and Plan of Compliance and further seeks the appointment of a Special Master to implement the requirements of the Consent Decree.

RNC Response to Harry Reid's Out-Of-Touch Attack on the Vice President

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Republican National Committee (RNC) Communications Director Brian Jones responded to Sen. Harry Reid's out-of-touch attack on Vice President Cheney with the following statement:

"Harry Reid's vicious and out of touch attack today highlights why he is a leader of the country's minority party. The American people respond to leaders who are interested in solving problems, not politicians who are on the lookout for black helicopters. Democrats should focus on finding an agenda, instead of the far- flung conspiracy theory of the day."

Paid for by the Republican National Committee. Web: Not authorized by any candidate or candidate committee.

Aid Expert Urges U.S. Millennium Challenge Corp. to Focus on Poorest

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Foreign aid expert Steven Radelet welcomed new country selections announced today by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), the Bush administration's flagship foreign aid program, but questioned the decision to include for the first time two lower-middle income countries.

Radelet, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury who served under both Democratic and Republican administrations, said he was pleased that the MCC had resisted pressure to rapidly expand the number of middle-income countries in the program, and had largely kept the focus on the poorest, so-called low-income countries.

"The rubber is meeting the road this year and the MCC faces some critical choices in terms of its mission, its institutional capacity, and its placement within the broader foreign assistance apparatus," he said.

Of the 34 countries that passed the performance indicators, the Board chose to add only 6 new countries to its current list of 17 eligible for MCC funding. Two of the six-El Salvador and Namibia-are lower middle income countries, with average incomes much higher than the countries previously covered by the program.

"It's great news that more countries passed the basic eligibility tests of good governance and strong economic policies. But not all of these countries that passed the tests were selected. Faced with a budget appropriation that will fall well below the requested $3 billion, the Board appears to be sending some clear signals that it will reward a more selective group of countries with larger, higher-impact programs," he said. "I hope that the Board will clarify to the public why several countries that passed its criteria were not chosen for the program."

Radelet said he disagrees with the MCC decision to expand from low-income countries to lower middle-income countries this year, or ever. "It makes little sense for the United States to be considering providing grants to countries that are three times richer than the low-income group on average, have access to other sources of financing, and for the most part have already graduated from other aid programs," he said. "Faced with the budget reality and lack of accumulated experience, expansion was premature. But it could have been worse. The Board deserves credit for only selecting two lower-middle income countries this year," he said.

Radelet, a leading expert on foreign aid and economic growth, was previously Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Africa, the Middle East, and Asia developing policies on U.S. financial relations with the countries in these regions, including debt rescheduling and programs with the IMF, World Bank, and other international financial institutions. CGD's MCA Monitor Initiative tracks the progress of the Millennium Challenge Account.

Kansas Couple Convicted on Involuntary Servitude Charges For Abusing Mentally Ill Patients

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice Department announced today that Arlan Kaufman, 69, and his wife, Linda Kaufman, 62, were convicted on federal charges for forcing mentally ill patients to perform sexually explicit acts on videotape and to perform physical labor in the nude. The jury found Arlan Kaufman guilty on 31 federal counts and Linda Kaufman guilty on 30 federal counts, including involuntary servitude, forced labor, conspiracy, healthcare fraud, mail fraud, and Medicare fraud.

"Profiting from the systematic abuse and degradation of some of society's most vulnerable citizens, these defendants showed no regard for human dignity and exploited the residents entrusted to their care," said Bradley J. Schlozman, acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division. "Today's verdict sends a clear message that society will not tolerate this form of modern-day slavery."

For over 24 years, the Kaufmans operated Kaufman House in Newton, Kan., a home for mentally ill patients where Arlan Kaufman, a social worker, routinely forced and coerced his patients to engage in nude "therapy" sessions, which Kaufman documented on videotapes he stored in his bedroom. The videotapes, some of which were played for the jury during the four-week trial in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas, depicted Arlan Kaufman directing the victims to perform sexually explicit acts in front of other patients. In some of the videotapes, Arlan Kaufman can be seen sexually assaulting victims.

Several victims testified at trial that Arlan Kaufman also forced them to perform manual farm labor in the nude. The victims' testimony was corroborated by Butler County Sheriff's Deputies who discovered four Kaufman House patients, naked, working around the farm under the Kaufmans' supervision.

Testimony at trial established that the defendants kept their mentally ill victims compliant by creating a "climate of fear" at Kaufman House through threats, force, manipulation, and constant abuse. Witnesses testified that the Kaufmans established strict rules and punished violators by taking away residents' clothes. In addition, the Kaufmans isolated residents from friends and family, and on one occasion used a stun gun on a resident's testicles.

Linda Kaufman, a registered nurse, helped her husband enforce the house rules and participated in fraudulently billing the government for the "therapy" provided at Kaufman House. In addition, when patients revealed to relatives or outside health care providers that Arlan Kaufman's treatment included nude therapy sessions, Linda Kaufman denied the allegations and assured outsiders that the victims' allegations were "delusions" resulting from their mental illnesses.

The Justice Department has increased prosecutions of human trafficking cases in recent years. Since 2001, the Justice Department has opened 493 investigations and prosecuted 289 traffickers -- more than three times the number prosecuted over the prior five year period. The conviction rate for these cases is nearly 100 percent.

Civil Rights Division attorneys Lisa Krigsten and Kristy Parker and Assistant United States Attorney Tanya Treadway prosecuted this case for the government. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General.

Monday, November 07, 2005

ADL Says Bible Teaching Guide for Public Schools 'Unacceptable'

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has labeled "unacceptable" a newly revised curriculum for teaching the Bible in public schools, saying that it continues to raise serious constitutional problems. "The Bible in History and Literature," which is being offered by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools, "advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."

"This wholly inappropriate curriculum blatantly crosses the line by teaching fundamental Protestant doctrine," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "The text relies solely upon the King James Version of the Bible and hews to a fundamentalist reading, especially of New Testament passages. This is the primary flaw in the curriculum -- that it advocates the acceptance of one faith tradition's interpretation of the Bible over another."

According to ADL, the King James Version is the least faithful one to the original Biblical languages of Hebrew and Greek.

There are acceptable resources available for teaching the Bible in public schools. For example, the newly published textbook, "The Bible and Its Influence" from the Bible Literacy Project is designed to meet the standards for teaching the Bible in public schools with one semester on the Hebrew Scriptures and one on the New Testament.

The U.S. Supreme Court has said that although public schools may not teach religion, they may teach about religion in a secular context. The Bible may be taught in a public school, but only for its historical, cultural or literary value and never in a devotional, celebratory or doctrinal manner, or in such a way that encourages acceptance of the Bible as a religious document. If a school district chooses to teach the Bible in this context, the adopted curriculum must be balanced and pluralistic in nature and the curriculum should not advocate one particular religion, interpretation or translation over another.

Justice Department to Monitor Elections in States Across the Nation

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice Department today announced it will send federal observers and Justice Department personnel to 16 jurisdictions in seven states to monitor elections held on Nov. 8 to ensure compliance with various federal voting rights statutes including the Voting Rights Act and the Help America Vote Act.

Under the Voting Rights Act, which protects the rights of Americans to participate in the electoral process without discrimination, the Justice Department is authorized to ask the Office of Personnel Management to send federal observers to areas that are specially covered in the Act itself or by a federal court order under the Act.

For eight jurisdictions, federal observer authority comes from court orders, and observers were assigned to another two jurisdictions based on the special coverage provisions.

Federal observers will monitor polling place activities in: San Diego and Ventura counties, Calif.; Boston; Hamtramck, Mich.; Kings, New York, Suffolk and Westchester counties, N.Y; Reading, Pa.; and Ector County, Texas.

The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at select polling locations in the counties. Justice Department personnel will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

In addition, Justice Department personnel, most of whom are attorneys, will monitor elections in: San Francisco County, Calif.; Lawrence and Lowell, Mass.; Edison, N.J.; and Queens and Richmond counties, N.Y.

Each year, the Justice Department deploys hundreds of observers and attorneys to monitor elections across the country. In 2004, the Department coordinated and sent 1,463 federal observers and 533 Department personnel to monitor 163 elections in 105 jurisdictions in 29 states. This compares to 640 federal observers and 103 Department personnel deployed in 2000.

To file complaints about voting practices, voters may call the Voting Section of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division at 800-253-3931.

Sir Elton John Becomes Gay Games Ambassador; As Chicago prepares for 2006, Cologne, Johannesburg and Paris Await Next Week's Announcement of 2010 Host City

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Federation of Gay Games is proud to announce that Sir Elton John has become a Gay Games Ambassador.

Sir Elton said, "I am thrilled to be involved with the Gay Games. For more than two decades the Gay Games have turned a well-deserved spotlight on athletic and cultural performances by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their friends from around the world."

The Gay Games Ambassadors are an international group of prominent individuals supporting the goals and principles of the quadrennial Gay Games. First held in 1982, Gay Games VII takes place in Chicago, U.S.A., from 15-22 July 2006.

The Host City for the 2010 Gay Games will be selected and announced at the Federation of Gay Games annual meeting next week in Chicago. Three bid cities - Cologne, Johannesburg and Paris - will gather in Chicago for final presentations to the Federation board. The announcement will be on Sunday, 13 November 2005, at 3 PM, in the Wabash Room at the Palmer House Hotel, 17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL, 312-726-7500. A news conference with the Host City and the Federation of Gay Games will be held the following day on Monday, 14 November 2005, in the Clark 3 Room of the Palmer House.

"The Federation of Gay Games has an excellent working relationship with each bid city. Whichever city wins the 2010 Gay Games will carry on the 24-year legacy of the Gay Games," said Kathleen Webster, co-president of the Federation.

"We feel truly honoured that Sir Elton John has become an ambassador for the Gay Games", said Roberto Mantaci, co-president of the Federation. "For many years, he has been an 'ambassador' for the entire LGBT community, particularly through his charitable work, and his contribution has been immense".

DeKalb County, Georgia Democrats Call For Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'; Resolution Calls on Congress to Pass Military Readiness Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Democratic Party of DeKalb County, Georgia, today passed a resolution urging Members of Congress to pass the Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), a Congressional bill to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel. The resolution was supported by American Veterans for Equal Rights and DeKalb County Democrats treasurer Danny Ingram, a U.S. Army veteran discharged under the military's ban in 1994, spoke in favor of the resolution's passage.

"The DeKalb County Democrats have become only the latest community organization to recognize the service and sacrifice of lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans," said former Army Captain Sharon Alexander, deputy director for policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). "From California to New York, communities understand that the best way to strengthen our armed forces, and salute the service of more than one million gay veterans now living in our country, is to repeal the military's ban. SLDN salutes the DeKalb County Democrats and American Veterans for Equal Rights for their unwavering support for our men and women in uniform."

The Military Readiness Enhancement Act, introduced in March, would repeal the military's ban and allow lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel to serve openly. The bill is currently supported by a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers, including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia. The bill is also supported by nine members of the House Armed Services Committee. Resolutions supporting the bill have recently been approved by city councils in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, West Hollywood, San Francisco and Cathedral City, Calif. In September the California State Assembly also approved a similar resolution, making it the state the first to officially oppose the military's ban.

"When my commanding officer asked me if I was gay, I replied 'Yes sir, I am,'" recalled Ingram. "No one in the United States of America should ever be fired from their job for saying 'I am.'" He went on to say that, "Patriotic gay and lesbian Americans who are courageous enough to put their lives on the line to defend their nation ... should not be fired from their jobs because of who they are."


Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit

House Speaker Urges Democratic Leadership to Offer Positive Agenda, Thanks Rank-and-File Democrats for Supporting House Republican Priorities

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today urged the House Democratic Leadership to finally offer an agenda that reflects the vision of the Democratic party and thanked the many rank-and-file Democrats that have voted to support Republican priorities this fall.

"While Democrat leaders keep promising the American people an agenda, they remain on opposite sides of many Democrat rank-and-file members who continue to support House Republican priorities," Hastert said. "They have promised a blueprint by Thanksgiving, so we'll be waiting to see what they've come up with. We hope it will be full of new, cost-effective and innovative solutions to America's problems and not just another list of pricey programs to be paid by American taxpayers."

In the months since Labor Day, at least one half of the Democratic Caucus has broken ranks from their Leadership and joined the House Republican Conference in supporting several measures:

-- H.R. 1461 - Federal Housing Finance Reform Act of 2005 (approved 331-90 -- 122 Dem ayes, Pelosi no, Hoyer aye)

-- S. 397 - Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (approved 283-144 -- 59 Dem ayes, Pelosi no, Hoyer no)

-- H.R. 554 - Personal Responsibility in Food Consumption Act of 2005 (approved 306-120 -- 80 Dem ayes, Pelosi no, Hoyer no)

-- H.R. 3824 - Threatened and Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2005 (approved 229-193 -- 36 Dem ayes, Pelosi no, Hoyer no)

83 Percent of Maryland Residents Favor Making English Official Language of State; High Rates of Support Evident Throughout Old Line State

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Five-in-six Maryland residents support making English the official language of the state according to a new poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies. The poll of 815 registered voters in the Old Line State found that 83 percent of Marylanders favor legislation that would enact official English legislation, with more than two-thirds of respondents strongly favoring such a measure.

The overwhelming support for the proposal carried across party, race and regional lines. More than three-in-four Democrats and nine- in-ten Republicans favored the legislation, while regional support ranged from 89 percent in western Maryland to 77 percent in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Residents of the Baltimore suburbs (86 percent), the city of Baltimore (83 percent) and the Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland (83 percent) also displayed favorable responses in the Oct. 17 through Oct. 21 poll, which has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points, with higher margins of error in sub-groups.

"Maryland residents continue to realize that English fluency is the most important skill for education, employment, and personal growth," said Mauro E. Mujica, chairman of U.S. English, Inc. "I hope these numbers will spur our legislators into action to do what is best for both new and native residents. If the people cannot find elected officials who will carry out their wishes within the current legislature, they will replace them with legislators who will."

Past official English legislation in Maryland has called for the government to conduct official business in English and ensures that the state does not have an obligation to provide foreign language services. The bills take into account numerous common sense exceptions to ensure the constitutional rights for all Marylanders. Public health and safety information, law enforcement and courtroom translation are all be exempted from the law.

Twice in the past 12 years, the legislature has voted to make English the official language of Maryland, only to have the measure vetoed by the governor. In 2005, a similar bill was deadlocked in the Health and Government Operations Committee.


U.S. English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non- partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S. English, Inc. ( ) now has more than 1.8 million members nationwide.

U.S. Helsinki Commission to Hold Press Conference on the Plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), chairman of the United States Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a press conference to discuss recent attacks on the Coptic Christian community in Egypt. The press conference will be held on:

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 11 a.m. to Noon

WHERE: 430 Dirksen Building

Participants will include:

-- Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) –- chairman

-- The Honorable Frank Wolf (R-Va.) -- member of the Commission

-- Michael Meunier -- president, U.S. Copts Association

-- Others to be Announced

Media interested in participating should contact James Geoffrey, director of Communications, at 202-225-2054, or by e-mail at Please indicate PRESS CONFERENCE on the subject line of your e-mail response.


The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.

New Orleans Lawsuit Allegations Confirmed by Independent Investigations

NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A New Orleans attorney, who has filed suit charging malfeasance and incompetence by public officials responsible for levee protection, says a U.S. Senate Committee probe reinforces the allegations in his suit, filed three weeks after Hurricane Katrina.

Attorney Ashton O'Dwyer, alleges in his Class Action suit filed in U.S. District Court, that public officials at all levels of government (federal, state and local) failed to protect residents from death, injury and property damage by allowing incompetent engineering and design of levees including the 17th Street and London Avenue Canals.

Much of the New Orleans east bank was inundated with 6 to 10 feet of flood waters only one day after Katrina when a 200 foot wide breach of the 17th Street Canal levee pushed water deep into the city, including its downtown area.

At least two independent investigations into the levee breaks have indicated poor engineering and design flaws led to the disaster. One of the groups hearing testimony this week was the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. O'Dwyer claims, among other things, in his "Victims of Katrina" suit, that the engineering flaws and the failure of public officials to identify potentially dangerous soil conditions were the major cause of the deaths, damage and destruction in New Orleans, and not hurricane Katrina itself.

Ashton O'Dwyer is available to discuss his lawsuit in more detail. Please call 504-884-6727.

Oldest Mom's Twins Turn One; Twins of 57-Year-Old Celebrate 1st Birthday; 26,644 Diapers Later Aleta St. James is Still Living Her Dream

NEW YORK, Nov. 7 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Internationally acclaimed success coach, Aleta St. James, garnered worldwide attention last November when she became the second oldest woman in America, and oldest woman in NY, to give birth to twins three days shy of her 57th birthday, adding motherhood to her personal and professional accomplishments. This month, Aleta's children, Gian and Francesca Sliwa, will be celebrating their first birthday at MY GYM a children's play center, at 22 West 66th St. (b/w Columbus Ave. and CPW)

"Fulfilling the dream of becoming a mother has been challenging," says Aleta. "But because I took action on what I truly desired, I am more inspired, empowered and productive than I have ever been."

November brings new challenges and inspiration to Aleta's life. Mommy will turn 58 and begin sharing her work of 25 years in her self-help book, Life Shift, Let Go and Live Your Dream (Fireside Hardcover/Simon and Schuster, Nov. 9), due to be released on the twins first birthday. Her book instructs readers on how to fulfill their dreams.

Aleta has dedicated her life to helping thousands of clients to shift from feeling stuck and unfulfilled to overcoming obstacles and going for what they truly want. She has used the same techniques she shares in Life Shift in her own life, to achieve what many people would have considered an impossible dream.

"I could never accomplish all of this without using these techniques. They are an integral part of my success, while I juggle the demands of running my own company, as a single parent and mother of twins," Aleta says.

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In addition to lectures and seminars, Aleta St. James has joined forces with Dr. Ming Jin (renowned infertility specialist) to create a holistic fertility center. Aleta is also director of the body-mind connection section of Dr. Frederic Vagnini's Longevity Centers of New York, and the Director of the Stress Management Programs for the Focus 28 anti-aging center in Westchester, N.Y. She has received accolades in the alternative healing community and has impacted the lives of celebrities (including Estee Lauder's spokeswoman and supermodel Caroline Murphy, and designer author Todd Oldham), as well as men and women from all walks of life.