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Watercooler Stories

By United Press International   |   Sept. 8, 2006 at 6:30 AM
Did Rove try to exorcise Hilary Clinton?

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Karl Rove denies a story that he held an exorcism when he came to Washington and took over Hilary Clinton's office in the White House.

The story comes from "The Architect," a new book about Rove from James Moore and Wayne Slater, the men who wrote "Bush's Brain." They say they heard it from a witness, Deal Hudson, a Baptist minister turned conservative Catholic. Hudson told them three clergymen were involved in "an actual liturgical ceremony."

Clinton, now a U.S. senator from New York, told Newsday, "I'm speechless."

"They sure did exorcize any lingering competence right out of the building," a Clinton spokesman, Philippe Reines, said.

But Dana Perino, a spokesman for the White House, told Newsday she had talked to Rove, who said he would have no comment except to say that the exorcism did not happen. Rove is an Episcopalian.


Dress code has D.C. legal types angry

WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Workers in the U.S. agency that protects government workers from discrimination are miffed with a new dress code that says women should avoid tight pants.

An employee newsletter that circulated at the U.S. Office of Special Counsel in Washington last month raised eyebrows when it advised women to avoid tight pants and "before choosing a skirt to wear, sit down in it facing a mirror," the Washington Post reported.

Men were advised to "avoid sneakers for receptions, leave earrings at home and strap on a conservative watch."

Many of the agency's more than 100 lawyers and investigators were offended by the newsletter that recommended women should "make certain you can walk comfortably in your shoes," the report said.

The Post contacted the agency head, Special Counsel Scott Bloch, who said he had only skimmed the newsletter, and that the fashion advice had been copied -- without legal attribution -- from student Web sites at the University of Missouri and Virginia Tech.


Atlanta zoo welcomes newborn panda

ATLANTA, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- A newborn panda at Atlanta's zoo was under 24-hour staff watch Thursday after putting its mother Lun Lun through 35 hours of labor.

Zoo Atlanta President and CEO Dennis Kelly told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was cautiously happy with the birth of an endangered species at the facility.

"We remain concerned because she's a first-time mom, and we're going to have to keep a careful watch," Kelly said. "Just remember that (panda) infant mortality is very high, and what we're going to be looking for ... is active nursing."

The tiny panda has almost no fur, and weighs about four ounces, or about the size of a stick of butter, the report said.

If the cub survives, it will be just the fifth to be born and raised successfully in a U.S. zoo.

It will be months before the baby will be available for public viewing, but zoo officials said in keeping with Chinese custom, a naming contest will conclude for the cub after 100 days.


Students protest social site's too social

NEW YORK, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Thousands of U.S. students are protesting the popular Facebook.com socializing Web site, saying it has become too social and invasive of their privacy.

This week, the site launched a "news feed" feature that summarizes and posts each member's most recent activity, complete with a time stamp, Time magazine reports.

The feed is posted for everyone a member has listed as a friend, and includes such summaries as "John and Beth broke up," and "Sally befriended Joan," the report said.

But more than 284,000 members have rallied against the feed based on privacy concerns.

"Every action I take on Facebook is now time stamped," Erik Ornitz, 18, told Time. "It's a little strange because everyone will now know that at 10 o'clock I updated my Facebook profile and that I wasn't in class."

However, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the feed was here to stay.

"The analogy would be instead of an encyclopedia, it's now news," he said. "We're emphasizing what's going on now."

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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