Saturday, September 30, 2006

Joint Statement from Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader Boehner and Majority Whip Blunt on Congressman Foley Matter

To: National Desk

Contact: Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller, 202-225-2800,
both of the Office of Dennis Hastert

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Speaker of the
House J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Majority Leader John
Boehner (R-OH), and Majority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
today released the following joint statement on the
Congressman Mark Foley matter:

"Members of Congress are given the trust of the
American people who have elected them to office. They
are expected to live up to the highest standard by
those who send them to our nation's Capitol.

"The improper communications between Congressman Mark
Foley and former House Congressional pages is
unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an obscene breach of
trust. His immediate resignation must now be followed
by the full weight of the criminal justice system.

"It is our responsibility to ensure that the students
in the Page Program are as safe in the nation's
Capitol as they are in their own homes. While we have
gone to great lengths to create a safe environment for
House Pages, we must do more and we must also consider
ways to protect them after they leave.

"We have asked the House Page Board to undertake a
full review of the incident and propose additional
safeguard measures. We have also asked for the
creation of a toll-free telephone number for House
Pages, parents, grandparents, and staff to
confidentially report incidents of concern.

"In addition, we have asked the Committee on Standards
to consider and recommend specific rules governing
communications and contacts between Members and House


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Internal Review of Contacts With the Office of the Speaker Regarding the Congressman Mark Foley Matter

To: National Desk

Contact: Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller, 202-225-2800,
both of the Office of Dennis Hastert

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- On Friday,
September 29, the Speaker Dennis Hastert directed his
Chief of Staff and Outside Counsel to conduct an
internal review to determine the facts and
circumstances surrounding contact with the Office of
the Speaker regarding the Congressman Mark Foley
matter. The following is their preliminary report.

Email Exchange Between Congressman Foley and a
Constituent of Congressman Alexander

In the fall of 2005 Tim Kennedy, a staff assistant in
the Speaker's Office, received a telephone call from
Congressman Rodney Alexander's Chief of Staff who
indicated that he had an email exchange between
Congressman Foley and a former House page. He did not
reveal the specific text of the email but expressed
that he and Congressman Alexander were concerned about

Kennedy immediately discussed the matter with his
supervisor, Mike Stokke, Speaker Hastert's Deputy
Chief of Staff. Stokke directed Kennedy to ask Ted Van
Der Meid, the Speaker's in house Counsel, who the
proper person was for Congressman Alexander to report
a problem related to a former page. Ted Van Der Meid
told Kennedy it was the Clerk of the House who should
be notified as the responsible House Officer for the
page program. Later that day Stokke met with
Congressman Alexander's Chief of Staff. Once again the
specific content of the email was not discussed.
Stokke called the Clerk and asked him to come to the
Speaker's Office so that he could put him together
with Congressman Alexander's Chief of Staff. The Clerk
and Congressman Alexander's Chief of Staff then went
to the Clerk's Office to discuss the matter.

The Clerk asked to see the text of the email.
Congressman Alexander's office declined citing the
fact that the family wished to maintain as much
privacy as possible and simply wanted the contact to
stop. The Clerk asked if the email exchange was of a
sexual nature and was assured it was not. Congressman
Alexander's Chief of Staff characterized the email
exchange as over-friendly.

The Clerk then contacted Congressman Shimkus, the
Chairman of the Page Board to request an immediate
meeting. It appears he also notified Van Der Meid that
he had received the complaint and was taking action.
This is entirely consistent with what he would
normally expect to occur as he was the Speaker's
Office liaison with the Clerk's Office.

The Clerk and Congressman Shimkus met and then
immediately met with Foley to discuss the matter. They
asked Foley about the email. Congressman Shimkus and
the Clerk made it clear that to avoid even the
appearance of impropriety and at the request of the
parents, Congressman Foley was to immediately cease
any communication with the young man.

The Clerk recalls that later that day he encountered
Van Der Meid on the House floor and reported to him
that he and Shimkus personally had spoken to Foley and
had taken corrective action.

Mindful of the sensitivity to the parent's wishes to
protect their child's privacy and believing that they
had promptly reported what they knew to the proper
authorities Kennedy, Van Der Meid and Stokke did not
discuss the matter with others in the Speaker's

Congressman Tom Reynolds in a statement issued today
indicates that many months later, in the spring of
2006, he was approached by Congressman Alexander who
mentioned the Foley issue from the previous fall.
During a meeting with the Speaker he says he noted the
issue which had been raised by Alexander and told the
Speaker that an investigation was conducted by the
Clerk of the House and Shimkus. While the Speaker does
not explicitly recall this conversation, he has no
reason to dispute Congressman Reynold's recollection
that he reported to him on the problem and its

Sexually Explicit Instant Message Transcript

No one in the Speaker's Office was made aware of the
sexually explicit text messages which press reports
suggest had been directed to another individual until
they were revealed in the press and on the internet
this week. In fact, no one was ever made aware of any
sexually explicit email or text messages at any time.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Parental Notification Falls Victim to Obstructionist Tactics Says Family Research Council

To: National Desk

Contact: J.P. Duffy of Family Research Council,

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Late last
night, the U.S. Senate fell three votes short of the
60 needed to invoke cloture on the Child Custody
Protection Act. This critical legislation would make
it a federal offense to transport a minor across state
lines for an abortion if this action circumvents the
application of a state law requiring parental
involvement in a minor's abortion. Senators Bayh,
Carper, Conrad, Dorgan, Inouye, Kohl, Nelson (FL) and
Salazar voted against cloture after voting for the
legislation last month. Family Research Council (FRC)
President Tony Perkins released the following

"The only major piece of pro-life legislation
considered by Congress this session fell victim to the
deceptive and obstructionist tactics of Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid and his allies who first
voted for the bill and then blocked it from getting to
the President. Last night, eight Senate Democrats
switched their votes, choosing instead to side with
abortion doctors and statutory rapists over parents
and families.

"Thirty-seven states have passed parental notification
laws with polls showing overwhelming support from over
80 percent of the American people. However, the
Senate's unconscionable failure to pass this
legislation undermines these state laws by allowing
almost anyone to strip a parents' rights away and
endanger the health and safety of minor girls

"We commend Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and
Senator Ensign for their leadership in promoting a
piece of legislation so important to America's


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Friday, September 29, 2006

Hastert Comments on Passage of the Homeland Security Spending Bill: Creates Funding for the Building of New Border Fence

To: National Desk

Contact: Ron Bonjean or Lisa C. Miller, 202-225-2800;
both of the Office of House Speaker Dennis Hastert

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Speaker of the
House J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today issued the
following statement regarding passage of the
Conference Report for H.R. 5441, the Department of
Homeland Security Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year
2007. The bill passed 412-6.

"Since the birth of our nation, the security of our
borders has remained a vital matter to the safety of
our citizens and our freedom. America's strength has
grown due to our ability to protect our homeland from
foreign invaders. Today the ideals of protecting our
country remain as true as ever. House Republicans
understand this and have addressed this through the
passage today of the Department of Homeland Security
Appropriations Bill.

"The bill includes $1.2 billion to build a security
fence along part of the Southwest border and is a
strong step to protect the American people. It will
also allocate $5.2 billion for the Secure Border
Initiative and will provide the Department of Homeland
Security with the tools and the manpower they need to
secure our borders.

"The bill will continue to fund our first responders
throughout this nation, including grants to higher
threat areas. Since Sept. 11, 2001, this Republican
Congress has answered the call by providing $37.6
billion to first responders. From terrorist prevention
to airport security to law enforcement, we in Congress
are making sure this nation is fully prepared. Like
our forefathers, the House Republicans continue to
answer the call to protect our borders and keep our
citizens safe."


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Justice Department Sues Owner and Manager of Lakewood, N.J. Apartment Complex for Discrimination Against Non-Jewish Black and Hispanic Tenants

To: National Desk

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-2007,
202-514-1888 (TDD)

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice
Department filed a lawsuit today against Triple H.
Realty LLC and a current and former employee of the
corporation, alleging that they discriminated against
non-Jewish black and Hispanic tenants at the Cottage
Manor Apartments in Lakewood, N.J.

The complaint, filed in federal district court in
Newark, alleges that the defendants marketed the
complex to Orthodox Jews in the local area beginning
in 2002 by offering lower rents than current tenants
paid for comparable apartments. Non-Jewish black and
Hispanic residents were allegedly pressured to move
out of buildings that management reserved for incoming
Jewish tenants and that were better maintained than
other buildings in the complex. The complaint also
alleges that management provided Jewish residents more
favorable living conditions, such as a fenced,
landscaped yard.

"It is inexcusable and illegal to deny equal access to
housing based on one's race or ethnicity," said Wan J.
Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights
Division. "The Department of Justice will continue to
vigorously protect the equal housing rights of all

The suit seeks monetary damages to compensate victims,
civil penalties, and a court order barring future

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination
in housing on the basis of race, color, sex, familial
status, national origin and disability. Since Jan. 1,
2001, the Justice Departments' Civil Rights Division
has filed 210 cases to enforce the Fair Housing Act.
For more information about the Civil Rights Division
and the laws it enforces, visit


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Sensenbrenner/Hoyer Introduce Bipartisan Legislation Restoring Americans with Disabilities Act Protections

To: National Desk

Contact: Jeff Lungren or Terry Shawn, both of the
Office of Sensenbrenner, 202-225-2492; Stacey Farnen
Bernards of the Office of Hoyer, 225-3130

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House
Judiciary Committee Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner,
Jr. (R-Wis.) and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer
(D-Md.) today introduced bipartisan legislation that
would restore protections for disabled Americans under
the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).
H.R. 6258, is titled the "Americans with Disabilities
Act Restoration Act of 2006."

Chairman Sensenbrenner stated, "The landmark American
with Disabilities Act has helped ensure American
citizens no longer live in isolation but live as
independent, self sufficient members of our
communities. In recent years, however, the Supreme
Court has slowly chipped away at the broad protections
of the ADA and has created a new set of barriers for
disabled Americans. This bipartisan legislation will
enable disabled Americans utilizing the ADA to focus
on the discrimination that they have experienced
rather than having to first prove that they fall
within the scope of the ADA's protection. With this
bill, the ADA's 'clear and comprehensive national
mandate for the elimination of discrimination on the
basis of disability' will be properly restored and the
ADA can rightfully reclaim its place among our
Nation's civil rights laws."

Congressman Hoyer said: "As the lead Democratic
sponsor of the ADA in the House, I harbored no
illusions that this legislation would topple centuries
of prejudice overnight - nor that we could legislate
that prejudice out of existence. Over the last 16
years, this landmark law has ushered in significant
change. However, the promise of the ADA remains
unfulfilled. The Supreme Court's interpretations of
this historic law have been largely inconsistent with
the original intent of Congress and President George
H.W. Bush in enacting the ADA. For example, people
with diabetes, heart conditions and cancer have had
their ADA claims kicked out of court because, with
improvements in medication, they are considered 'too
functional' to be considered 'disabled.' This is not
what Congress intended when it passed the ADA. We
intended the law to be broadly - not narrowly -
interpreted. The point of the law is not disability;
the point is discrimination. I am pleased to join
Chairman Sensenbrenner in introducing this
legislation, which will help restore the original
intent of the ADA."

"Americans with Disabilities Act Restoration Act"

Replacing "against an individual with a disability"
with "on the basis of a disability" harmonizes the ADA
with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other civil
rights laws that prohibit discrimination "on the basis
of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex."

Prohibiting discrimination "on the basis of a
disability" will enable individuals utilizing the ADA
to focus on the discrimination that they have
experienced rather than having to prove that they fall
within the intended scope of the ADA. This phrase
presumes that an individual is a member of the
protected class if they are disabled, which the
current language - "against an individual with a
disability" - does not.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Liberian Man Pleads Guilty to Scheme to Extort Ransom; Money for Kidnapped Christian Science Monitor Journalist

To: National Desk

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-6933;
Web: http://www.Usdoj.Gov/Usao/Dc

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A Liberian
man, Kelvin Kamara, has pleaded guilty to a scheme to
extort $2 million in ransom money for kidnapped
Christian Science Monitor journalist Jill Carroll,
U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor of the District of
Columbia and Acting Assistant Director in Charge
Joseph Persichini Jr. of the FBI's Washington Field
Office announced today.

Kamara, 27, a Liberian national, pleaded guilty in the
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
earlier today to transmitting ransom demands in
interstate and foreign commerce. Kamara will be
sentenced on Dec. 8, 2006. He faces a maximum sentence
of 20 years in prison and under the terms of his plea
agreement, a likely sentence of 33 months of

"The United States will not tolerate the actions of
those who try to profit from the tragic circumstances
of others," stated U.S. Attorney Taylor. "As a result
of the extraordinary assistance from the German
government, we were able to bring Mr. Kamara to
justice, despite the fact that he was committing his
crime from abroad."

"The crime committed by Mr. Kamara further victimized
Jill Carroll, her family and associates," said FBI
Acting Assistant Director in Charge Persichini.
"Today's plea is the result of the efforts of law
enforcement working together from opposite parts of
the world to end that victimization."

According to the government's proffer of evidence at
today's plea hearing, on Jan. 7, 2006, armed gunmen in
Iraq kidnapped Jill Carroll. At the time, Carroll was
working as a freelance journalist for The Christian
Science Monitor.

On Feb. 12, 2006, Kamara, who was then residing in
Germany, sent an e-mail to the Washington, D.C. Bureau
of The Christian Science Monitor. Using the alias
"Saidu Mohammed," Kamara wrote:

I can give you informations (sic) to secure the
release of jill carroll, i am mujaheeden and i can
give every information that can lead to securing her
release . . . . i am impatiently waiting to read from
you for further directives and negotiations . . . .
saidu mohammed

The e-mail was false. Kamara had no association with
the real kidnappers, nor was he even in Iraq.

On Feb. 14, 2006, Kamara, continuing to pose as "Saidu
Mohammed," sent the Washington Bureau Chief of The
Christian Science Monitor an e-mail demanding $2
million in ransom money "or else Jill is likely to
become history."

Over the next month, Kamara, by phone and e-mail, made
repeated demands to The Christian Science Monitor for
$2 million in ransom to secure the release of Jill
Carroll. He also repeatedly claimed that Carroll would
die if he did not receive the ransom money.

The German police, through electronic monitoring, were
able to trace the phone that Kamara was using to call
The Christian Science Monitor's Washington Bureau
Chief to an apartment in Muenster, Germany. By similar
means, the German police were also able to determine
that several of the ransom e-mails that Kamara sent
emanated from a computer located in the same

On March 16, 2006, the German police searched the
apartment in Muenster, Germany. Kamara was present
when the police arrived. During the search, they
discovered the telephone that Kamara was using to
contact The Christian Science Monitor. A search of a
computer seized in the apartment revealed that it
contained several of the e-mails that Kamara had sent
to The Christian Science Monitor's Washington Bureau.

Pursuant to a request from the United States, the
German authorities arrested Kamara on March 16, 2006.
He was extradited to the United States on Aug. 25,

In announcing today's plea, U.S. Attorney Taylor and
Acting Assistant Director Persichini praised the
investigate work of FBI Special Agent Charles Price
and Assistant Legal Attaché Kristen McClaren, as well
as Assistant U.S. Attorney Jay I. Bratt, who is
prosecuting the case. They also expressed their
gratitude for the excellent assistance provided by
Michael Heller of the Hessiisches Landeskriminalamt.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Federal Court Revokes Citizenship Of Pittsburgh-Area Man Who Served As Nazi Concentration Camp Guard

To: National Desk

Contact: U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public
Affairs, 202-514-2008 or

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The U.S.
District Court in Pittsburgh today revoked the U.S.
citizenship of Anton Geiser of Sharon, Pa., because of
his participation in Nazi-sponsored acts of
persecution while serving during World War II as an
armed SS guard at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and
other places of persecution, Assistant Attorney
General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and
U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan of the Western
District of Pennsylvania announced today.

Geiser admitted under oath that he served during most
of 1943 as an armed SS guard at the Sachsenhausen
Concentration Camp near Berlin, Germany; that his
duties included escorting prisoners to slave labor
sites and standing guard in the camp's guard towers;
and that he was under standing orders to shoot any
prisoner attempting escape. He also admitted serving
as a guard at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and
its Arolsen subcamp. Prisoners held at Sachsenhausen
and Buchenwald were forced to engage in hard physical
labor under extraordinarily brutal conditions. Many
prisoners died from exhaustion or disease. Many were
shot or hanged. During the period when Geiser served
at Sachsenhausen, more 3,000 prisoners were murdered
or died from the brutal treatment.

"Anton Geiser's service as an armed SS guard at
several Nazi concentration camps helped to ensure that
thousands of men and women held prisoner could not
escape the brutal conditions of their confinement,"
said Assistant Attorney General Fisher. "The court's
ruling today confirms that the United States is not
and never will be a haven for those who participated
in Nazi genocide."

Geiser, 81, immigrated to the United States from
Austria in October 1956, and was naturalized as a U.S.
citizen in March 1962. The district court found that
he was not eligible for citizenship because his
service to Nazi Germany made him ineligible to
immigrate to the United States. Geiser's service as an
armed SS guard, the court concluded, "clearly assisted
in the persecution of the prisoners" held by the Nazis
at Sachsenhausen, Buchenwald and Arolsen.

"By standing guard with a loaded weapon under orders
to shoot, Anton Geiser helped to ensure that thousands
of innocent men and women were forced to endure slave
labor, medical experiments, malnourishment and
murder," said Eli M. Rosenbaum, Director of the
Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations
(OSI), which investigated the case. "Such individuals
do not deserve the privilege of living in the United
States. The Government will work to remove Geiser from
this country as swiftly as possible."

U.S. Attorney Buchanan stated: "Individuals like Anton
Geiser, who assisted the Nazis in their quest to
extinguish the lives of millions of innocent men,
women and children, do not deserve the benefits of
U.S. citizenship."

The proceedings to denaturalize Geiser were instituted
in 2004 by OSI and the U.S. Attorney's Office in
Pittsburgh. The case is a result of OSI's ongoing
efforts to identify, investigate and take legal action
against former participants in Nazi persecution who
reside in the United States. Since OSI began
operations in 1979, it has won cases against 103
individuals who assisted in Nazi persecution. In
addition, more than 175 individuals who sought to
enter the United States in recent years have been
blocked from doing so as a result of OSI's "Watchlist"
program, which is enforced in cooperation with the
Department of Homeland Security.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Louisiana Health Care Threatened by Court Decision, Says American Medical Association

To: National Desk

Contact: Melissa M. Guido of the American Medical
Association, 312-464-4443

CHICAGO, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The following is
a statement by William G. Plested, III, M.D., American
Medical Association president:

"Louisiana's health care environment is further
endangered by the narrowly split decision of the Third
Circuit Court of Appeals, which superseded the will of
the people when it ruled unconstitutional the state's
cap on damages in medical liability actions.

"Nearly 30 years ago, the Louisiana state legislature
enacted legislation to provide the state with a remedy
for the clear social and economic problems caused by
the state's broken liability system. Louisiana
patients and physicians have long benefited from a
stable medical liability environment as a direct
result of these reforms.

"While maintaining support for state legislative
initiatives, the AMA continues to push for the
enactment of federal reforms to provide necessary
relief from unsustainable liability insurance premiums
for all physicians while increasing access to care for
our nation's patients."


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Press Statement by Rep. Gregory W. Meeks on HR 6143, The Ryan White Re-Authorization

To: National Desk

Contact: Candace Sandy, 718-725-6000 or 718-683-4209,
for Rep. Gregory W. Meeks

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Last night,
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), along with the entire
New York delegation, voted against the bill that
reauthorizes the Ryan White Care Act, which provides
federal funding for HIV/AIDS related primary health
care programs and services.

"Under this bill’s funding formulary, New York City
will experience devastating cuts in funding to
established programs that provide critical services to
our most needy HIV/AIDS population. Minorities, the
poor, the uninsured and under-insured will most
seriously suffer" stated Meeks. "It will change the
way that the money is distributed, providing more
funding to states that are beginning to experience
increasing numbers of HIV positive persons, by taking
funding away from the cities most historically and
disproportionately affected by the pandemic."

More than half of all people living with AIDS in the
United States live in five states. Three of the states
with the highest prevalence in the nation (NY, NJ and
FL) will lose significant funding. It is estimated
that New York City will lose $17.8 million in the
first year and will likely experience more devastating
losses in the subsequent four years of the

"The real problem is that HIV/AIDS is terribly
underfunded under this bill, forcing states to compete
against each other. My colleague, Rep. Ed Towns (D-NY)
offered an amendment in committee that would have
increased authorization to correct the problems. The
amendment failed, with most of the Republicans on the
committee voting against it. It was then placed on the
suspension calendar, which requires that the bill pass
by 2/3 of the House and does not allow amendments to
be considered."

Although most of the Representatives from the states
facing losses voted against the bill, it passed in the
House by 325-98. "This bill determines the life or
death of thousands of New Yorkers living with
HIV/AIDS. If it passes in the Senate with no increase
in funding or a more equitable distribution of funding
considered, New York’s healthcare community and
HIV/AIDS population will face catastrophic losses."

Congressman Meeks plans to lead a press conference on
this issue in his district at the AIDS Center of
Queens County at 97- 45 Queens Blvd, Rego Park on
Thursday, October 12, 2006, 9:30 a.m. Meeks will
continue his commitment to addressing the HIV/AIDS
crisis by inviting hundreds of children, women and men
to an interactive HIV/AIDS Congressional Town Hall at
York College on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 in
partnership with Queens Hospital Center, Queens HIV
Care Network, Black Entertainment Televisions'
Rap-It-Up campaign among other community partners. For
more information contact Ida Smith at Congressman
Meeks' district office at 718-725-6000.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Schwarzenegger Signs Pay-TV Deregulation Bill Devoid of Consumer Protections As Telecom Money Greases Bipartisan Support

To: National Desk

Contact: Jamie Court of the Foundation for Taxpayer
and Consumer Rights, 310-392-0522 ext. 327 or

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sep. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights said
pay-tv deregulation signed today by Governor Arnold
Schwarzenegger threatens consumers with higher prices,
inequitable access and poorer customer service because
of the loss of local accountability under the
legislation and the failure to compensate for it with
new consumer protections. The bill was authored by
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.

"This deregulation legislation is the biggest gift to
any special interest in Sacramento this year," said
FTCR president Jamie Court. "The legislature and the
governor took power from cities and from consumers to
give to the AT&Ts, the Verizons and the TimeWarners
without adding necessary consumer protections. Shame
on the Governor and the Speaker for pandering to
telecom and cable companies that have pumped up their
parties' campaign war chests with millions of dollars.
500 local franchise agreements have basically been
replaced with an application form that has few

Governor Schwarzenegger has received $284,940 in
campaign contributed from AT&T, SBC (AT&T's parent)
and Verizon -– the main beneficiaries of the bill. The
California Cable and Telecommunications PAC
contributed $54,600 to Schwarzenegger.

The bill would grant telephone companies and current
cable television providers a statewide franchise
without statewide enforcement of consumer rights or
terms of service. Localities, lacking the power
granted by their current franchise rights, will have
no incentive or avenue of appeal to safeguard
customers from abusive service or deceptive sales of
bundles of video, internet and phone services. The
Public Utilities Commission cannot withdraw
franchises, thus has little leverage over the

"This will bring as about much competition to the
pay-tv market as Enron brought to the electricity
market," said Court. "The competition without
regulation will be over who cheat consumers the most."

AT&T, while publicly billing the deregulation as
beneficial competition in the video market, has not
promised any rate reductions or other specific
consumer benefits. It has poured nearly $18 million
into lobbying efforts over the last few months, and
$500,000 into direct political contributions during
this election cycle, noted FTCR. That does not include
contribution pledges made during legislators' mad dash
of fund- raising during the last three weeks of the
legislative session.

"The big bucks to leaders of both political parties
that wired passage of this anti-consumer legislation
is the best case for Proposition 89, which eliminates
special interest control over Sacramento," said Court.
"If private campaign contributions are removed from
California politics, this legislation would not stand
a chance of passage."

FTCR supports Proposition 89, the Clean Elections
Initiative, on the November ballot. The voter
initiative would, through broad restrictions on
campaign contributions and voluntary public funding of
candidates, suppress the power of large special
interests to influence legislation and public policy.

Learn more about Proposition 89 at:


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Thursday, September 28, 2006

National PACE Association Applauds $7.5 Million in Grants to Expand PACE to Rural Areas

To: National Desk, Health Reporter

Contact: Robert Greenwood of the National PACE
Association, 703-535-1522,

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The National
PACE Association (NPA) applauds Congress and the
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for
creating new opportunities to develop innovative,
provider-based integrated models of care in rural
communities to better serve the growing number of
older Americans with long term care needs. Originally
passed by Congress as part of the Deficit Reduction
Act of 2005, CMS announced $7.5 million in competitive
grants today to 15 rural health care provider
organizations to support development of Programs of
All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) across rural

"The National PACE Association looks forward to
working with this forward thinking group of rural
health care providers as they utilize the PACE model
to develop innovative approaches to delivering a fully
integrated and comprehensive set of services outside
of the traditional institutional setting," said Shawn
Bloom, president and CEO of the National PACE

"By supporting the expansion of these programs for
beneficiaries who live in rural areas, we expect to
see comprehensive service delivery models evolve that
will work well in rural communities, said CMS
Administrator Mark B. McClellan, M.D., Ph.D.

PACE organizations are provider-based programs that
serve adults 55 and older who need nursing home care.
PACE programs use an interdisciplinary team approach
to integrate, deliver and coordinate all the care and
services that PACE enrollees need. Because of the
complex issues of caring for older individuals with
multiple diagnoses in community settings, the
flexibility and creativity provided by the PACE model
of care is key to successfully maintaining frail older
adults in the community for as long as possible.

"This announcement is an important milestone in the
continuing efforts to bring the benefits of PACE to
rural America," Bloom said. "In 2002 NPA began this
process by co-hosting a Rural PACE Summit with the
National Rural Health Association in Roanoke, Va.
Since that initial meeting, through the support of
Department of Health and Human Services we have
provided technical assistance to over 22 rural health
care providers to explore how they could utilize the
PACE model of care to keep our seniors in the
community for as long as possible."

NPA is grateful to the Congressional sponsors that
made these grants possible: Sen. Blanche Lincoln
(Ark.) and Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), and cosponsors,
Sen. James Jeffords (Vt.), Sen. Byron Dorgan (N.D.)
and Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.). Equally, NPA is thankful
for the critical support of Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah)
and Senator Grassley (Iowa) as they worked to develop
the Deficit Reduction Act of 1995 and include
provisions for the rural PACE Grant Program in the

The new Rural PACE Provider Grant Program will provide
each of the 15 grantees with $500,000 to support the
development of a rural PACE program for some of the
most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries within thirteen
states across the country. CMS awarded all of the
possible funds and the maximum number of grants
available to expand patient-based care to a greater
number of people with Medicare and Medicaid who live
in rural areas.

Awardees include:

State --------- City ------------ Awardee

Ark. ---------- Jonesboro --------AllCare of Arkansas

Colo. ------- Grand Junction/Montrose -- Volunteers of

Hawaii ------- Kahului ----------- Hale Makua Iowa
-------- Sioux City ------- Hospice of Siouxland

Mont. ------- Billings --------- Billings Clinic

N.Y. -------- Olean ------ Community Care of Western
New York N.C.---------- Carrboro ------ Piedmont
Health Services

N.D. -------- Bismarck ---- Northland Healthcare

Pa. --------- Danville --- Geisinger Health System

Pa. --- Chambersburg -- Lutheran Social Services of
South Central Pa.

S.C. ------ Orangeburg --- The Methodist Oak

Vt. ------- Rutland ------ PACE Vermont

Va. ----- Cedar Bluff --Appalachian Agency for Senior

Va. ------ Big Stone Gap --- Mountain Empire Older

W.V. ------- Charleston ------ CAMC Health Ed and

"From our past work with these rural providers we know
that they are an innovative group, adept at maximizing
the resources they have to deliver the best care
possible," Bloom said. "I am confident that the
resources provided by this grant and the flexibility
provided through the PACE model of care we will see
many exciting new approaches to delivering care and
services outside of institutional settings to rural
older Americans with long term care needs."


The National PACE Association works to advance the
efforts of Programs of All-inclusive Care for the
Elderly (PACE) to support, maintain, safeguard and
promote the provision of quality, comprehensive and
cost-effective health care services for frail older
adults. More information on NPA and PACE is available


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Justice Department Settles Allegations of Disability Discrimination Against Texas Developers, Architects, Engineers

To: National Desk

Contact: Department of Justice Office of Public
Affairs, 202-514-2007

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Justice
Department today settled a lawsuit against 10 Austin,
Texas developers, builders, architects and engineers
alleging disability discrimination in the design and
construction of two housing developments in Austin.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western
District of Texas, was brought to enforce provisions
of the federal Fair Housing Act that require recently
constructed dwellings to include features designed to
make the dwellings more accessible to persons with
physical disabilities.

"People with disabilities, like all Americans, deserve
the opportunity to obtain fair housing in their
communities," said Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney
general for the Civil Rights Division. "This lawsuit
under the Fair Housing Act helps to ensure that we
remain a welcoming society for all Americans."

Under the consent decree, which must be approved by
the court, the following companies have all agreed to
make accessibility retrofits at St. John's Village and
Hunting Meadows Apartments.

-- Legend Communities Inc., which does business as,
SDC Austin, Communities

-- Randall Jones Engineering, Inc.

-- Alexander Consulting Engineers, Inc., which does
business as, Professional Design Group

-- Trugreen Landcare, L.L.C., which does business as,
Land Design Studio

-- Hatch Partnership, L.L.P., Architects

-- Danze & Davis Architects, Inc.

-- St. John's Housing Partnership, L.P.

-- SMDC Development, Inc.

-- Decker Lane Partners, L.P. and

-- SDCW Development Corp.

St. John's Village is a complex of 156 rental
apartments, including 52 ground-floor units and
Huntington Meadows has 200 rental apartments,
including 110 ground-floor units. Under the Fair
Housing Act, ground-floor units in non-elevator
buildings must contain certain accessible features,
such as: usable doors; accessible routes into and
through the units; accessible light switches,
electrical outlets, thermostats and other
environmental controls, reinforced walls in bathrooms
for installation of grab bars and usable kitchens and

The defendants will retrofit parking areas, paths and
walkways, public and common-use areas, as well as the
interiors of ground-floor units, to enhance the
accessibility of the complexes to disabled residents
and their guests. The decree also requires the
defendants to establish a $50,000 fund which will be
used to compensate individuals harmed by the
inaccessible housing and to pay $10,000 in civil
penalties to the government. The settlement also
mandates the defendants to undergo training on the
requirements of the Fair Housing Act and to make
periodic reports to the government on the status of
their facilities.

The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination
in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex,
familial status, national origin and disability. Since
Jan. 1, 2001, the Justice Department's Civil Rights
Division has filed 209 cases to enforce the Fair
Housing Act, including 97 based on disability
discrimination. For more information about the Civil
Rights Division and the laws it enforces, visit


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Federal Jury Convicts Two for Cross Burning

To: National Desk

Contact: The U.S. Department of Justice, 202-514-2007
or 202-514-1888 (TDD); Web:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A federal jury
today convicted Christopher Mitchell and James Bradley
Weems of burning a cross in front of the home of an
African-American man in Fouke, Ark. The jury convicted
each defendant of one count of conspiracy to violate
the victim's civil rights.

The evidence at trial established that on the night of
Aug. 5, 2005, Mitchell and Weems, attended a party
where they discussed an African-American man who lived
nearby, using racial slurs to describe him. The
defendants, along with a third man, Christopher Baird,
who had pleaded guilty to his role in the offense,
used wooden boards to erect a cross. The defendants
then planted the cross near the home of the
African-American man and lit it on fire. Witnesses
testified that as a result of the cross burning, the
African-American victim and the family he lived with
all moved from their home because they were too
frightened to remain in the town.

"Few symbols of racial hatred are as grotesque as a
cross burning," said Wan J. Kim, assistant attorney
general for the Civil Rights Division. "People have
the right to live where they choose, free from such
threats based on bigotry. The Department of Justice
will continue to vigorously prosecute such offensive
and criminal conduct."

The case was investigated by special agents from the
Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was
prosecuted by Trial Attorneys Christine Dunn and John
Richmond of the Civil Rights Division of the
Department of Justice.

Prosecuting the perpetrators of bias-motivated crimes
is a top priority of the Justice Department. Since
2001, the Civil Rights Division has charged 161
defendants in 102 cases of bias- motivated crimes.


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

FTCR: Wisconsin Governor's Stem Cell Announcement Acknowledges That WARF Patents Impede Cures, Harm Patients

To: National Desk

Contact: Jerry Flanagan of FTCR, 310-392-0522, ext.

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ --
Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle's announcement today that
stem cell researchers working in Wisconsin will not
have to pay royalties to the Wisconsin Alumni Research
Foundation (WARF) amounts to an acknowledgment that
the WARF stem cell patents are a roadblock to cures
for patients everywhere, said the non-partisan
Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR).

The agreement announced today will not help to get
cures to patients because scientists must still seek
approval from WARF and pay royalties before selling
the cures or otherwise making them available to the
public. In July, FTCR filed challenges to the three
overreaching stem cell patents held by WARF that
significantly undermine research and waste taxpayer

"The agreement between Gov. Doyle and WARF is an
acknowledgment that the overly broad WARF patents
stymie research and delay cures. It is absurd that
WARF, or any organization, could own the rights to
life itself. For the good of patients, these patents
must be dissolved," said Jerry Flanagan of FTCR.

California voters approved the nation's largest
publicly funded stem cell research program in 2004
with Proposition 71 which allocated $3 billion in
grants over the next 10 years. For an overview of
state stem cell programs and pending legislation go

FTCR said the patents' dubious validity is underscored
by the fact that no other country in the world honors
them. As a result, U.S. researchers have sent research
monies abroad where they can avoid paying royalties to
WARF. Already, the Juvenile Diabetes Research
Foundation has funded scientists in other countries
and calls the WARF patents a "major inhibition to
productive scientific research."

The patent challenges filed by FTCR and the Public
Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) call on the United States
Patent and Trademark Office to reexamine and revoke
three patents that give the rights to all human
embryonic stem cells used for research to WARF.

The patents resulted from University of Wisconsin
researcher James Thomson's work to isolate stem cells.
The basis of the challenges is that the patents on
human embryonic stem cells should not have been
granted in the first place, because the previous work
of other scientists made the derivation of human
embryonic stem cells obvious and therefore
unpatentable. Dr. Jeanne Loring, a stem cell scientist
and renowned authority on stem cell research,
submitted a declaration in the support of the patent

"These patents should have never been issued in the
first place," said Dr. Loring of the Burnham Institute
for Medical Research. "The real invention was made 25
years ago, when embryonic stem cells were first
discovered - and the scientists who discovered them
didn't expect a payoff. James Thomson just followed a
recipe written by other scientists, and there's
nothing patentable about that."

Read Loring's three declarations supporting the
challenges at:

FTCR and PUBPAT filed challenges against three patents
previously granted to WARF:

-- One patent on all primate embryonic stem cells,
including humans, issued in 1998 (Patent No.
5,843,780). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT challenge at:

-- A second, specifically on human cells, granted in
2001 (Patent No. 6,200,806). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT
challenge at:

-- And a third on human cells issued in April of 2006
(Patent No. 7,029,913). Read the FTCR & PUBPAT
challenge at:


FTCR is a leading nonpartisan consumer advocacy
organization. For more information, visit us on the
web at


/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

Pakistan's Cooperation in the War on Terror Leads to Enforced 'Disappearances,' According to Amnesty International

To: National and International desks

Contact: Sharon Singh of Amnesty International,
202-544-0200 ext. 289

WASHINGTON, Sept. 28 /U.S. Newswire/ -- In a new
report released today, Amnesty International charges
that by cooperating in the war on terror, the
Pakistani government has systematically committed
human rights abuses against hundreds of Pakistanis and
foreign nationals. As the practice of enforced
"disappearance" has spread, people have been arrested
and held incommunicado in secret locations with their
detention officially denied. They are at risk of
torture and unlawful transfer to third countries.

"In Pakistan, neighbors turn against neighbors," said
Amnesty International USA Executive Director Larry
Cox. "Anyone can be labeled a 'terrorist,' sold to the
United States government and transferred to
U.S.-controlled detention centers in Guantanamo Bay,
Bagram Airbase or God knows where."

The routine practice of offering rewards running to
thousands of dollars for unidentified terror suspects
facilitated illegal detention and enforced
"disappearance," the report found. Bounty hunters --
including police officers and local people -- have
captured individuals of different nationalities, often
apparently at random, and sold them into United States

The new report, "Pakistan: Human Rights Ignored in the
War on Terror," states that 85 percent of detainees at
Guantanamo Bay were arrested, not by United States
forces, but by the Afghan Northern Alliance and in
Pakistan at a time when rewards of up to $5,000 were
paid for every "terrorist" handed over to the United
States government. Often the only grounds for holding
them were the allegations of their captors, who stood
to gain from their arrest. Some 300 people --
previously labeled as "terrorists" and "killers" by
the United States -- have since been released from
Guantanamo Bay without charge, the majority to
Pakistan or Afghanistan.

Many detainees remain unaccounted for, their fate and
whereabouts unknown. Three women and five children
were arrested alongside Tanzanian terror suspect Ahmed
Khalfan Ghailani in Punjab province in July 2004. They
included a baby and a 13-year- old Saudi boy called
Talha, according to reports. More than two years
later, nothing is known about the fate and whereabouts
of Talha and the other children and women. Ahmed
Ghailani was one of 14 individuals transferred from
secret CIA custody to Guantánamo Bay in September

"Many children have lost their innocence as a result
of the Pakistani government's hunt for 'so-called'
legitimacy in the war on terror," said Cris Toffolo,
Amnesty International USA Country Specialist for
Pakistan. "These children are imprisoned for months
and years, without a trial or even an opportunity to
prove that they are not guilty. Pakistan's
politicians, media and citizens must take a stand and
hold the government accountable."

Terror suspects held in secret are especially
vulnerable to torture in Pakistan. Victims have been
hung upside down and beaten and deprived of sleep and
food. Agents from other countries, including the
United States, appear to have known of, or been
present during interrogations of people held in
arbitrary and secret detention.

Relatives have few places to turn in searching for
those who have been abducted. Police have refused to
investigate or register complaints. Those who
challenge detentions through the provincial high
courts find that security forces deny all knowledge of
a person's whereabouts and judges have frequently
failed to challenge these denials.

Khalid Mehmood Rashid, a Pakistani national, was
handed over to Pakistani officials in South Africa on
Nov. 6, 2005, and flown to Pakistan. He has not been
seen since. Despite official acknowledgements that he
is being held by the Pakistani government, the
Ministry of Interior has not responded to his family's
inquiries as to where he is being held.

The clandestine nature of the war on terror makes it
impossible to know exactly how many enforced
"disappearances," other arbitrary detentions or
unlawful killings have been committed in Pakistan, but
Pakistani military spokesperson Major- General Shaukat
Sultan said in June 2006 that since 2001 some 500
"terrorists" had been killed and more than 1,000 had
been arrested.

Amnesty International urges Pakistan to create a
complete record of the name and location of all
detainees that have been or are being held and
investigate every allegation of torture.

"The war on terror will not be won by any country that
sells its own men, women and even its children to the
highest bidder," added Cox.

For a copy of the new report, "Pakistan: Human Rights
Ignored in the War on Terror," and its summary, please
contact the AIUSA media office at 202-544-0200 ext.
302 or go to

To see the text of a U.S. flyer offering substantial
rewards for the capture of suspected enemies, please
go to



/© 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

President Meets with Republican Senate Conference

United States Capitol

THE PRESIDENT: I just had a really constructive and
interesting session with Republican members of the
United States Senate. I'm impressed by the leadership
here in the Senate, I'm impressed by the caliber of
people that serve our country.

I want to congratulate the House for passing a very
vital piece of legislation that will give us the tools
necessary to protect the American people, and that's
the Hamdan legislation. That's the legislation that
will give us the capacity to be able to interrogate
high-valued detainees, and at the same time, give us
the capacity to try people who -- in our military

In speaking to the Senate, I urged them to get this
legislation to my desk as soon as possible. Senator
Frist and Senator McConnell committed to that end. The
American people need to know we're working together to
win this war on terror. Our most important
responsibility is to protect the American people from
further attack. And we cannot be able to tell the
American people we're doing our full job unless we
have the tools necessary to do so. And this
legislation passed in the House yesterday is a part of
making sure that we do have the capacity to protect

Our most solemn job is the security of this country.
People shouldn't forget there's still an enemy out
there that wants to do harm to the United States. And
therefore a lot of my discussion with the members of
the Senate was to remind them of this solemn
responsibility. And so I look forward to you passing
good legislation, Senators. Thank you for having me.
Appreciate your time.