UPI's Capital Comment for May 8, 2002

By PETER ROFF, UPI National Political Analyst  |  May 8, 2002 at 11:14 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- Capital Comment -- Daily news notes, political rumors, and important events that shape politics and public policy in Washington and the world from United Press International.

Gilbert would be proud. Sullivan wouldn't get it. -- Republicans on Capital Hill, as part of their strategy to embarrass the Democrats and their allies into taking action on the president's languishing court nominees, are circulating a list of media organizations listed as contributors in the annual report of the liberal People for the American Way. The names include some of the most prominent entities in the news business, including several communications conglomerates that own television news operations.

People for the American Way is the lead organization in the fight against the Bush judicial nominees. Some Republicans hope to make a persuasive case that a conflict exists when the same companies responsible for covering judicial nominations are giving financial support to the group leading the opposition to those same nominees.

Do we really want to brag about this? -- The U.S. Government Printing Office is proudly proclaiming that last Friday's Federal Register, which provides official public notice of proposed and final rules issued by the departments and agencies of the federal government, was the largest single issue in its 66-year history. The 12-volume, 20-pound set was as large as it was because it included all the public comments received by the Justice Department on the proposed settlement of the lawsuit against computer giant Microsoft. Eleven of the 12 volumes released are composed of comments. Only the first volume contains the regular Register information for that day. The comments part of the Register took up 6,654 three-column pages -- 11 books of 512 to 640 pages each.

She works hard for the money -- On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO released its 2002 "Ask a Working Woman" survey, timed for Mother's Day. According to the survey, two in three working mothers -- 66 percent -- work 40 or more hours every week, compared with 60 percent of women without children. More than one out of four working mothers works nights or weekends and two out of five working mothers work different schedules from their husband or partner. Overall, 63 percent of women work 40 or more hours per week -- a slight increase from 60 percent in the 2000 survey. Nearly a third of those surveyed work non-traditional shifts, including weekend and evening work, and more than a third work a schedule that differs from their spouse or partner.

The Lake Snell Perry & Associates national telephone survey was commissioned by the AFL-CIO and consisted of more than 1,500 interviews conducted between March 4-7 among adults currently in the workforce. The project also surveyed 20,000 workingwomen across the country. The full text of the report can be found at AFLCIO.org/women.

Something's fishy here -- Nearly 60 Washington area restaurants and caterers, including Galileo, Equinox, and Nora have signed on to the national "Take a Pass on Chilean Sea Bass" campaign and have pledged not to serve the fish until regulations are in place to ensure the long-term sustainability of the species.

The National Environmental Trust says "Chilean Sea Bass is facing commercial extinction within the next five years unless drastic steps are taken to end illegal pirate fishing."

Is this Social Security's Grandpa M? -- The 60 Plus Association, a non-partisan senior citizens organization, is in the process of forming what it calls "a traveling truth squad" to counter election year Social Security scare tactics. The group's president, Jim Martin, is "actively enlisting experts from all fields; academia, economists, public policy groups, senior citizens, minorities, Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers and union members" to participate in the project, "sending them into the battle in every Congressional district and every state in America to set the record straight." The group says that at least 50 Social Security experts, Democrats and Republicans alike, are expected to participate.

Martin cites, as an example of the kinds of efforts they want to counter, the so-called Medi-Scare telephone campaign directed at voters in the 1996 Florida gubernatorial race. After a yearlong investigation into the calls, the campaign of Gov. Lawton Chiles admitted responsibility for the calls -- which did not identify that the governor's re-election committee had paid for them.

Correction -- In Tuesday's item about Rep. Joe Wilson's, R-S.C., letter to Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., we incorrectly reported that Hollings had, while governor, ordered the Confederate Battle Flag to be flown over the state capitol building. According to the senator's office, the Confederate Battle Flag was raised over the Capitol Dome by a concurrent resolution of the South Carolina State House and Senate, without Hollings' signature, as part of the centennial observance of the U.S. Civil War.

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