WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- United Press International's daily roundup of notable news, hot gossip and important events shaping politics and public policy in Washington and the world.
Debunk destory -- The Internet is alive with rumors that a woman who came home to find her live-in-lover gone received a note telling her not to look for her missing beau and not to travel on any of the major airlines on Sept. 11 and to avoid malls on Oct. 31, Halloween. Before anyone panics, several Web sites devoted to urban legends are reporting this to be a hoax. It is also a good reminder to be intelligent consumers of information and to be careful of anything on the Internet, especially things that begin "A friend of a friend of mine... "
Just in? -- Now that U.S. Rep. John Cooksey appears to have imploded on his way to the GOP nomination to face Democrat Sen. Mary Landrieu in November 2002, sources say the new name to watch is former Speaker of the State House, H.B. "Hunt" Downer, Jr. One of Governing Magazine's 1997 Public Officials of the Year, the former Speaker is also a former Democrat, having made the switch earlier this year after heading up "Democrats for Bush" in his home state. Cooksey derailed his campaign shortly after the Sept. 11 terror attack with an ill-timed, ill-informed and ill-tempered comment about diapers, fan belts and people who appeared to be of Middle Eastern origin.
For the children -- In response to the outpouring of humanitarian concern by Americans, President Bush announced Thursday night that a America's Fund for Afghan Children had been created, The White House hopes to encourage children and their families to contribute to relief efforts for Afghan children. In particular, it is hoped that the children of America will be inspired to make contributions of $1 -- or whatever they can give -- that they have saved or have earned through efforts in their community like car washes or lawn care. Contributions can be sent to: America's Fund for Afghan Children, c/o The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC, 20509-1600. A special zip code has been created to allow more efficient processing of contributions.
Big buy -- NBC, a subsidiary of General Electric, is reportedly paying just under $2 billion to buy Telemundo Communications Group, the nation's second-largest Spanish-language broadcaster.
In memoriam -- A group of high-profile Washington Republican women got together at the Capitol Hill Club on Friday to honor the memory of Washington attorney Barbara Olson, who was killed when her hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon. The Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, a group that works to increase the visibility of empowered Republican women, sponsored the event.
In memoriam 2 -- No Greater Love, a humanitarian, educational organization dedicated to providing annual programs of remembrance, friendship and care for U.S. families who lost a loved one in the service of the United States or by an act of terrorism, held a wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetery on Friday to mark the first year anniversary of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole that killed 17 sailors.
Champing at the bit -- Bob Reilly, the president's nominee to head the Voice of America, is under attack from those who fear his conservative political beliefs will add a tone to VOA broadcasts that is too pro-American. Reilly, who is promising to be scrupulously fair, denies the charge. At the same time, conservatives are carping that the president's nominee to head the U.S. Patent Office, former U.S. Rep. and House impeachment manager Jim Rogan, has been waiting four months for a confirmation hearing. Rogan supporters suspect this is retribution for his efforts in the trial of former President Bill Clinton.
Mark your calendars -- On Oct. 27, the public interest legal group, the Southeastern Legal Foundation celebrates its 25th anniversary with a gala event in Atlanta. The gathering, Celebrate America, will feature U.S. Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss., as the keynote speaker. And will honor U.S. Reps. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., and Bob Barr, R-Ga., for their efforts as House Impeachment Managers and their leadership through the post-Sept. 11-crisis period.
In? -- It appears, according to reliable sources, that former Montana GOP Gov. Marc Rasciot, happily ensconced in a Washington law practice, may be succumbing to White House pressure to take on Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., in November 2002. Baucus is believed by experts on both sides of the aisle to be the most vulnerable member of his party up for re-election in 2002.
Personnel note -- Margaret Conway has been hired as the Sierra Club's new national political director, where she will oversee both the Sierra Club's PAC and volunteer political committee. Conway joins the Sierra Club from the Human Rights Campaign, where she served as managing director for more than two years.
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