WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (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.
Harry Potter and the bootleg disk -- With bootleg digital copies of the blockbuster hit "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" already showing up on street corners, Motion Picture Association of America head Jack Valenti wants the Chinese government to crack down on video piracy. According to a story in the Hollywood Reporter, Valenti wants the Chinese to take more forceful action, but without interference from Washington. As part of the deal that bought Washington's support of China's entry into the World Trade Organization, Beijing pledged to get control of rampant video piracy in that country. On the whole, the Chinese have made good on that pledge, Valenti said. Still, the Reporter says, the appearance of "Potter" on China's streets points out the difficulty in dealing with the problem. The MPA estimates that piracy in China still racks up $120 million a year, while the Asia-Pacific region rakes in more than $500 million a year.
Off the hook -- Capital Comment hears that U.S. Federal Judge Emmett Sullivan is expected to rule Thursday that Kenneth Bacon, the former spokesman in the Clinton Defense Department, is off the hook -- at least as far as the case of Linda Tripp is concerned. Bacon was accused of making facts found in Tripp's personal file available to reporters, something that is in many cases illegal. Tripp supporters compared Bacon's action to what former Nixon White House aide Charles Colson had done, which earned Colson a jail sentence. The judge will reportedly find, according to one highly placed source, that Bacon's offense was not a serious violation of the rules.
Hoping they will be brief -- Counsel to the President Alberto J. Gonzales, and Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff, Criminal Division, U.S. Department of Justice, will be the keynote speakers at the American Bar Association Standing Committee on Law and National Security's 11th Annual Review of the Field of National Security Law on Thursday and Friday at the Capital Hilton in Washington.
Off the Christmas card list -- The conservative Christian group, The Traditional Values Coalition, has filed a hate crime complaint with the U.S. Justice department based on an attack against the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, TVC's leader, and several members of his family. The Web site usQueers.com, Sheldon says, targets him and others for "a horrible death soon."
"The hateful diatribe (on the Web site) against President Reagan and (other) good people ... is shocking, especially when it is done in the name of fighting discrimination. All of those targeted have one thing in common -- their strong Christian faith," Sheldon said, pointing out the Web site says it will be listing home addresses, descriptions of the cars the targets drive, etc.
Coming soon - Publisher Simon & Schuster is touting the forthcoming Heartbeat: "George Bush In His Own Words" as a perfect gift for the Christmas season. The book, compiled by Jim McGrath, is a collection of the writings and speeches of the 41st president of the United States.
Pressing business -- Jennifer Millerwise, former regional press coordinator and spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee's Victory 2000, has been tapped by Vice President Dick Cheney as his new deputy assistant for communications and press secretary. "Jennifer Millerwise has served the president well in her roll as Assistant Press Secretary. She brings great energy and skill to her new post as my press secretary and spokesperson," Cheney said.
Gun it -- Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., is likely unpopular with the congressional leadership these days because he will not give H.R. 218 -- The Community Protection Act - a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, which he chairs. The bill, which has 219 co-sponsors, one more than is needed for passage on the floor, would allow qualified active off-duty and retired law enforcement personnel to carry their firearms with them anywhere in America. Supporters of the legislation believe it's not coincidental that Sensenbrenner's Wisconsin is one of a half-dozen states that does not currently have a law granting the right to carry concealed firearms. Rep. Duke Cunningham, R-Calif., a supporter of the legislation, has started a discharge petition that, if it gains the requisite 218 signatures, would bring the bill directly to the House floor for a vote, bypassing the committee. As discharge petitions are inherently anti-leadership, House GOP leaders are likely ready to pressure Sensenbrenner to permit a hearing lest they lose face.
Something's fishy in the land of 10,000 lakes -- Word comes from Minnesota that independent Gov. Jesse Ventura may be considering a new job. Nearing the end of his controversial first term as governor, Ventura is reportedly considering making a leap into the race for Democrat Paul Wellstone's U.S. Senate seat. A three-way contest among Wellstone, Ventura and the likely GOP nominee Norm Coleman -- whom Ventura defeated in 1998 -- would likely not end up best two-falls-out-of-three.
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