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UPI's Capital Comment for Aug. 13, 2002

By United Press International

WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 (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.

How to remember that day in September -- Bracelets commemorating those who were killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on New York and Washington are becoming an increasingly common sight in Washington. Bracelets for America.com, one group making them available, is selling steel bands engraved with the name of someone lost in the attack for $15. According to the company Web site, "100 percent of profits from the sale of the 9-11 bracelets will be distributed to victims' families' charities or directly to victims' families. No proceeds from the sale of 9-11 bracelets goes towards administrative costs -- only the bill is paid to have the bracelets made." The project takes its inspiration from the POW-MIA bracelets that were in vogue in the early 70s as the war in Vietnam became increasingly unpopular.

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A peach of a race -- With a week to go in the campaign for the Georgia Republican gubernatorial nomination, a survey of 501 likely GOP primary voters conducted for WSB-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution finds the race is up in the air.

The three candidates, State School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, former Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne and former state Senate President Sonny Perdue are in a close race though "undecided" leads the field at 32 percent.

Schrenko, who has been in charge of the state's schools for the past eight years, has the support of 25 percent of respondents and is, according to the survey, easily the best known of the three. Perdue, a former Democrat, is right on her heels at 24 percent while Byrne is the choice of 19 percent. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent, meaning that any of the three candidates could win. The result will likely depended on turnout, with the campaign that has invested the most in identifying their supporters and has the best program to get them to the polls going to win. But insiders say that a runoff is not out of the question.

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It may all be for naught however. Polls show incumbent Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat, with strong approval numbers, winning high marks even from 42 percent of self-identified Republicans contacted in the overall survey.


There is such a thing as a free lunch -- On Wednesday, Aug. 14, the Center for Immigration Studies, a non-partisan research organization that favors low immigration but more support for those who are allowed in, is hosting a luncheon discussion on the subject of immigration from the Middle East. The program, set for noon in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, will feature remarks from Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes, CIS Research Director Steven Camarota, and Peter Skerry, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College.

The panel will discuss two new reports: "Muslims Immigrants in the United States," by Pipes and Khalid Duran, and Camarota's paper "Immigrants from the Middle East in the U.S.-2000: A Profile of the Foreign-Born Population From Pakistan to Morocco." Interested parties are asked to phone John Keeley at 202-466-8185.


Don't be afraid, be ready -- The Terrorism Research Center, a non-profit organization, is holding a two-day training seminar -- "Terrorism: Threats, Tactics, Training and Technology" -- in conjunction with the Metro-Boston Police Training Academy. The Aug. 12-13 seminar is aimed at first responders and emergency planners. Topics covered in the two-day program in Quincy, Mass., include terrorist attack profiles, training and tactics, emerging technologies, threat of cyber-terrorism, and the newest aviation security threat information.

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According to a release from the TRC, participants "will hear first hand accounts of terrorist training and tactics from Aukai Collins, the first American in the Khalid bin Walid training camp in Afghanistan; learn of current domestic and international terrorist threats; examine weapons available to terrorists and measures to deter, defeat and mitigate attacks; examine the issue of suicide bombers and security considerations they pose for special events; and hear from a special security representative regarding aviation security issues for law enforcement officers." A complete agenda for the program can be found on the Web at terrorism.com.


First amendment need not apply -- The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, a libertarian group concerned with legal and judicial policy in the United States, is mixing it up with the American Bar Association. Members of the society, who in some cases are also members of the ABA, were ejected from the convention by hotel security on the instructions of ABA staff. "Individuals circulating copies of ABA WATCH at this year's convention are, at the instruction of ABA staff, being ejected from the convention hotels by hotel security. Hotel security has warned these individuals that they will be arrested and charged with trespass if they return to the premises," the group said in a release. ABA members wishing to receive a copy of the current issue of ABA Watch, which includes an interview with incoming ABA President A. P. Carlton, are being directed to the society's Web site at Fed-soc.org.

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