UPI's Capital Comment for Nov. 26

By United Press International   |   Nov. 26, 2001 at 3:37 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 26 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- News notes, political rumors and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

Treasure trove -- The Eisenhower presidential library recently took ownership of 1944 and 1945 wartime desk diaries used by the Allied supreme commander and will make them available for research. The diaries had been in the possession of author Barbara Wyden, who ghost-wrote the memoirs of Ike's driver and secretary, Kay Summersby. According to library officials, the diaries served as logs of appointments, meetings and trips and include candid observations of Eisenhower on wartime events and personalities.

Bells are ringing ... -- Republican U.S. Rep. Mary Bono, the widow of congressman and pop culture icon Sonny Bono, married a Wyoming businessman over the weekend. Bono, who represents Palm Springs, Calif., in the U.S. House of Representatives, married Glenn Baxley at Our Savior's Community Church.

It shall be three -- The congressional delegation in Utah shall remain at three members because the state has lost an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Utahans had been trying to take a congressional seat away from North Carolina, which came out 856 residents ahead of Utah in the 2000 Census.

Without comment, the court rejected the request to rule on the constitutionality of counting some Americans living abroad, but not all, based on the reason for their overseas presence. Utah maintained the seat added to North Carolina should have gone to them because the Census does not count thousands of state natives serving as Mormon missionaries overseas, while it does count people living overseas if they are in military or government service.

In -- U.S. Rep. Ken Bentsen, nephew of former U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, is announcing he will be a candidate for the Democrat nomination for the Senate seat of retiring Republican Phil Gramm. Recently resigned Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk and former nominee Victor Morales are already in the race.

Grey lady down -- Iain Murray at the non-partisan Statistical Assessment Service is of the opinion that The New York Times, the great gray lady of American newspapering, may be slipping of late. Of particular note is a recent analysis of the president's call for a two-thirds reduction of the U.S. nuclear arsenal because it would undo Start II -- which the Times calls "one of the signal accomplishments of his father's administration."

Never mind, says Murray that START II was never ratified, as the Times itself acknowledges, "because of disputes about conditions attached by both the United States Congress and the Russian parliament." More significant, he says, is the Times' reference to Start II as "a treaty signed in 1993 by the first Bush administration..." because, as Murray points out, Bush the elder wasn't president in 1993. "That honor belonged to the Grey Lady's main love interest, Bill Clinton."

New rules -- The U.S. Treasury has issued new rules to help banks comply with the anti-money-laundering provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which takes effect Dec. 25. Under the law, banking institutions in the U.S. may no longer directly provide correspondent accounts -- which allow foreign bank to use American banking services -- to foreign shell banks.

Check this out -- With less then one year under his presidential belt, the bidding for George W. Bush's presidential library is already under way. Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and the Dallas-based Southern Methodist University are both trying to get the prestigious site. Also working for it is the University of Texas, which has reportedly picked out a spot northwest of Austin. The LBJ presidential library is already located near the UT campus, while the president's father's library sit among the Aggies at Texas A&M.

Surprise! -- Lou's Village Restaurant in San Jose, Calif., played host to a surprise 70th birthday party for Norm Mineta, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation. Among the gifts, an aerial shot of the San Jose Airport, which has recently been renamed in honor of the secretary, who served in the Clinton Cabinet as well as the current one and is the first Cabinet secretary of Japanese ancestry. Mineta, known for his good humor, told the assembled admirers that he gets more grief from his Cabinet colleagues for being from California than he does for being a Democrat "because most of the guys are from Texas."

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