The Year in Review - Part Two
by Smokey Sojac
One - January, February, March
Deadheart Dick Cheney casts his first tie-breaker vote in
the Senate, blocking a Democratic attempt to give prescription
price help to seniors with some of the funds earmarked for
the tax cut. Prescription price help to seniors had been promised
by Bush during the campaign, and had been the subject of the
famed illegal subliminal ad.
Pat Robertson's Regent University runs a full-page ad in
U.S. News & World Report that quotes James Madison on the
importance of the Ten Commandments. The quote, which is completely
bogus, was invented by revisionist historian David Barton,
who admitted in 1996 that it was bogus. Madison opposed tax
funding of religion, publicly funded chaplains in the Congress
and the military and even expressed regret for issuing proclamations
declaring official days of prayer during his presidency. In
an 1819 letter to a friend, Madison wrote, "[T]he number,
the industry and the morality of the Priesthood & the devotion
of the people have been manifestly increased by the total
separation of the Church from the State."
The Bush administration announces that it will block a rule
issued by the Clinton administration requiring new central
air-conditioners to be 30 percent more efficient. According
to the Energy Department, the retail price difference between
models meeting the 30 percent standard is about $123 for an
appliance that generally costs $2,000 to $4,000. The extra
cost is covered by the savings in energy over about 15 months
of its 18-year average life.
Reports of an ammonia leak at the San Antonio Produce Terminal
Market forces workers to be evacuated. San Antonio hazardous
materials emergency crews are called to the produce terminal
to help stop the leak. Authorities say that an employee was
doing some maintenance on the valve "in the mechanism" when
an ammonia valve failed.
Children at the Bush Easter Egg hunt are frisked for weapons,
and access to the South Lawn is limited to invited guests
only. Tickets contain specific warnings about bringing "Guns/Ammunition,
Knives with blades over 3 inches, Mace, Nunchuks, Electric
stun guns, and Balloons."
On April 18, the Fed makes its fourth rate cut of the year.
Bush appoints recycling foe Lynn Scarlett as Assistant Undersecretary
for policy at the Interior Department. Scarlett, president
of a libertarian think tank, is in principle opposed to most
government regulation. Bennett Raley--who advocates repealing
the Endangered Species Act -is nominated for Assistant Secretary
for Water and Science at Interior.
The White House holds an Earth Day event to announce that
it will not rescind a Clinton-era regulation requiring businesses
to report releases of lead into the environment. At the event,
EPA Administrator Christie Whitman also announces that the
Bush White House will keep in place Clinton's regulations
on wetlands. The White House will scuttle the wetlands regulations
anyway in August.
W.R. Grace files for bankruptcy, citing 124,000 asbestos-related
claims that have been filed against Grace nationwide -- 48,000
of them last year alone.
Linda Fisher, the top lobbyist for Monsanto in Washington,
will be deputy administrator of the Environmental Protection
Agency. James Conaughton, a Washington lawyer for Arco and
General Electric, will head the Council on Environmental Quality.
And for the No. 2 slot at the Interior Department, which oversees
mining on public land, none other than J. Steven Griles, lobbyist
for the National Mining Association.
Defending his refusal to participate in talk regarding the
Kyoto Protocol, Bush says defiantly, "First, we would not
accept a treaty that would not have been ratified, nor a treaty
that I thought made sense for the country."
The US is not re-elected to the UN Human Rights Commission,
after years of withholding dues to the UN and after having
forced the UN to lower its share of the UN budget from 25
to 22 percent. (In the Human Rights Commission, the US stood
virtually alone in opposing resolutions supporting lower-cost
access to HIV/AIDS drugs, acknowledging a basic human right
to adequate food, and calling for a moratorium on the death
penalty.) Bush has yet to even nominate a UN ambassador.
John Bolton, who opposes nonproliferation treaties and the
existence of the UN, is appointed Undersecretary of State
for Arms Control and International Security.
A US spy plane collides with a Chinese fighter jet 60 miles
from the Chinese coast and is forced to make an emergency
landing in China. The Chinese demand an apology. Bush refuses
to speak to Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the phone. When
Jesse Jackson gets a visa to go to China to negotiate, Bush
abruptly sends a letter of apology, and the crew is returned
after 11 days. Shortly afterwards, Bush says he is scrapping
the annual review of arms sales to Taiwan, ending a policy
used by the United States since 1982 to provide the island
with weapons to defend itself against China.
Janet Rehnquist, daughter of Chief Justice William Rehnquist,
is named the inspector general of the Health and Human Services
Department. Eugene Scalia, the 37-year-old son of Supreme
Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a foe of organized labor,
is nominated for the number-three spot at the Department of
Labor. Rehnquist and Scalia helped appoint Bush to the presidency.
Bush signs a proclamation naming April 2001 "National Child
Abuse Prevention Month." He is cutting funding for child abuse
prevention programs by $15.7 million, or 18 percent. He also
makes an appearance at H. Fletcher Brown Boys and Girls Club
in Wilmington, DE, to talk about how his budget would affect
children, but fails to mention that he has eliminated all
Federal funding for the Boys' and Girls' Clubs.
Bush names John Graham Director of the Office of Information
and Regulatory Affairs, with oversight over environmental
regulations. Graham has made a career of downplaying the risk
caused by carcinogen dioxin, once arguing that reducing dioxin
levels too far might "do more harm than good." Graham has
also, in his strange career, told Congress that smog protects
people from the harmful effects of too much sunlight.
The week after Laura "She's a Killer" Bush announces publicly
that libraries are "community treasure chests, loaded with
a wealth of information available to everyone, equally," Bush
slashes funding for them by $39 million to pay for his tax
The Bush administration proposes ending salmonella testing
on meat used in school lunches and allowing schools to use
irradiated meat. Former Agriculture Department official Carol
Tucker Foreman, now director of the Food Policy Institute
of the Consumer Federation of America notes, "They caught
five million pounds of meat that had salmonella in it last
Bush reduces staff in securities fraud investigations and
enforcement, although the Securities and Exchange Commission
(SEC) acknowledges that the jumpy stock market brings more
opportunities for abuse. The SEC budget proposal also includes
staff reductions in inspections of mutual funds, currently
owned by 49 percent of all U.S. households and with $7.4 trillion
in assets under management.
Bush proposes dropping a requirement that all health insurance
programs for federal employees cover a broad range of birth
The Enron administration proposes weakening some of the strictest
mandates and deadlines in the Endangered Species Act for one
year, letting Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton set her own
priorities and timetables for adding species to the threatened
and endangered lists. The proposal would limit the ability
of citizens and environmental groups to obtain court orders
that aid the Interior Department's efforts to preserve additional
species and their natural habitats.
Bush intended to nominate Mary Sheila Gall to be the Chairman
of the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Gall was opposed
to a federal flammability standard for upholstered furniture,
the banning of baby bath seats and voted against the regulation
of baby walkers because any death or injury caused by the
use of these products was the fault of the parent and not
Bush's budget cuts $1.9 million, nearly 10 percent, from
the EPA's Chesapeake Bay Program. The program supervises many
of the grants and other clean-up efforts aimed at restoring
the polluted Chesapeake Bay.
Despite his statements that the country is facing an energy
crisis. Bush's budget proposal cuts $180 million, or about
15 percent, from programs that promote solar and wind power
and that encourage buildings and factories to use less energy.
Bush is able to attend the Summit of the Americas in Quebec
City when Canada waives its law prohibiting those convicted
of drunk driving from entering the country. He announces to
reporters that he will answer no questions, "Neither in French
nor in English nor in Mexican." He goes on to add, "It's very
important for folks to understand that when there's more trade,
there's more commerce." Delegates complain publicly about
his table manners.
Bush's Department of Labor abruptly cancels 19 grants in
the amount of $4.8 million for OSHA worker health and safety
programs just hours before they were to take effect. These
grants would have assisted unions, universities and labor-management
groups with safety and health training programs for immigrant
workers, small business employers and employees and workers
in high-risk jobs such as construction.
Bush suspends a Clinton Administration rule that directs
federal agencies to assess whether prospective contractors
have violated environmental, civil rights, worker protection,
consumer and other federal laws before awarding contracts.
Struggling to defend his proposed school voucher program,
Bush says, "It is time to set aside the old partisan bickering
and finger-pointing and name-calling that comes from freeing
parents to make different choices for their children."
BP Amoco agrees to pay a $804,700 fine for violating the
federal Clean Water Act by dumping almost 162,500 gallons
of oil in a Kansas river, according to the U.S. EPA. The oil
was dumped in the Marais des Cygnes River in Osawatomie, Kansas,
disrupting the town's water supply for 38 days during the
winter of 1994. BP Amoco agrees to spend at least $145,300
on a supplemental environmental project involving reconstruction
improvements to Osawatomie's water intake.
A hole in a pipeline used for transporting by-products at
the Kuparuk oil field on Alaska's North Slope causes the biggest
spill of industrial material onto the tundra in recent years,
according to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
(DEC). The leak, discovered on Sunday night, caused a spill
of 92,400 gallons of so-called "produced water," a mixture
of salty water and oil.
Bishop J. Delano Ellis, a minister who was dismissed as Cleveland
police chaplain in 1995 for making derogatory comments about
Jews and Muslims ("Jews are carnal, selfish ... dirty and
lowdown and wicked," he said in a radio address, adding that
God allowed Hitler to hurt Jews because they had mistreated
others in the past), is named to the advisory committee for
the Republican Faith-Based Leadership Summit. Other members
include right wing nut Lou Sheldon, and former football player
Reggie White, famed for their intolerant comments.
An oil rig fire in a remote, unpopulated desert near Carlsbad,
NM, destroys the $3 million rig owned by Timber Sharp and
injures three workers, one critically.
The Southern Colorado Sportsman and Arms Expo in Colorado
Springs, CO, the first in the state to require mandatory background
checks on all sales, sells fewer than 40 guns over the weekend.
Hundreds of weapons had been sold the year before, when no
background checks were required. Colorado voters passed a
referendum requiring background checks overwhelmingly the
previous November, despite millions of dollars worth of hysterical
propaganda by the gun lobby.
The Enron Administration reveals its energy policy, devised
illegally in secret by a task force headed by Deadheart Dick
Cheney. Major elements of the plan include a $35 billion subsidy
for campaign contributors from the energy industry, building
up to 1,900 new fossil fuel and nuclear power plants, drilling
for oil in Alaska's National Wildlife Refuge and the construction
of 18,000 miles of fuel pipelines. Virtually all conservation
programs and research into renewable energy are eliminated
or have their budget slashed drastically. Bush denies there
is any price-gouging going on, "We face a shortage of energy.
It is real. It is not the imagination of anybody in my administration.
It's a real problem." Counters Democratic Senator Harry Reid,
"The GOP now stands for 'Gas, Oil and Plutonium.'"
Less than two weeks after pleading no contest to charges
of underage drinking, First daughters Barbara and Jenna Bush
are arrested for illegally trying to buy alcohol at a restaurant
using someone else's identification. Police respond to a 911
call Tuesday evening from the manager of Chuy's restaurant
who said minors were trying to buy alcohol. The right-wing
website Free Republic publishes the address, home phone and
social security number of the manager, and its members launch
a campaign of death threats and harassment. Ironically, the
twins are breaking a "zero tolerance" law signed by their
dad as governor of Texas; however, the penalty other teens
receive are waived in their cases.
Bush names a commission to "review" Social Security. All
of the members appointed, who will illegally meet in secret,
publicly favor privatization. Co-chairman Richard Parsons,
AOL Time Warner's co-chief operating officer complains publicly,
"I never believed I was going to get anything out of Social
Security when I retired." Parsons earned $16.6 million in
2000, while AOL lost $300 million.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission imposes price caps
in California, amid a caterwauling by conservative pundits
that they will not solve California's energy problem. They
24-year old Chandra Levy, an intern for the Federal Bureau
of Prisons, is reported missing. There is no evidence of foul
play. She had been having an affair with Democratic Congressman
Gary Condit. He says he has no knowledge of her disappearance,
and no evidence suggests otherwise. Despite the lack of further
developments, this story and unfounded innuendo surrounding
it will obsess the nation's press all summer, to the point
where right-wing nuts begin to harass Dan Rather and CBS News
for not obsessing over it.
The Bush administration refuses to participate in Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-sponsored
talks in Paris, May 2001, on ways to crack down on off-shore
and other tax and money-laundering havens.
In May 2001, the Bush administration refuses to meet with
European Union nations to discuss, even at lower levels of
government, economic espionage and electronic surveillance
of phone calls, e-mail, and faxes (the US "Echelon" program),
On May 15, the Fed makes its fifth rate cut of the year.
Last year at this time, it was raising rates to cool down
Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough resigns suddenly,
citing family pressures. There are rumors of an affair with
a female staffer.
Republican Gov. Rick Perry signs the James Byrd Jr. Hate
Crimes Act, that strengthens the penalties for offenses against
minorities, gays and others. As Governor of Texas, Bush had
refused to support the measure two years ago, saying all crimes
are hate crimes.
In response to continued criticism that his administration
has done nothing since January about the Hart-Rudman Commission's
recommendations to protect America against terrorism, Bush
announces that he will have Vice President Dick Cheney study
the potential problem of domestic terrorism -- which the bipartisan
group had already spent two and a half years studying -- while
assigning responsibility for dealing with the issue to the
Federal Emergency Management Agency, headed by former Bush
campaign manager Joe Allbaugh. The Hart-Rudman Commission
had specifically recommended that the issue of terrorism was
such a threat it needed far more than FEMA's attention.
During his May 11 press conference, Bush giggles aloud when
asked a question about children being killed in the Middle
East. "Uh, I was kind of smiling, sounded kind of like an
editorial," he adds.
At a hearing by the House Government Reform subcommittee,
which is examining the efficacy of religious social service
providers, John Castellani, executive director of Teen Challenge
International, a fundamentalist Christian substance-abuse
program, reveals he does not hire non-Christians. He boasts
that he will, however, treat Jews who convert to his cult
for substance abuse, and calls them "completed Jews." Bush
singled out the Teen Challenge program as a model of success
and visited the group's facilities during his campaign.
Bush re-announces "Project Safe Neighborhoods," a two-year,
$550 million effort that involves hiring 113 new assistant
U.S. attorneys and 600 state and local prosecutors to work
with police agencies and community groups on gun cases. The
program had actually been put through by President Clinton
the year before; Bush's announcement merely means he is not
canceling it as he is canceling so many others. Says the Dim
Son, "For every fatal shooting, there are roughly three nonfatal
shootings. Folks, this is unacceptable in America."
The Supreme Court refuses to hear the challenge of the National
Rifle Association to the National Instant Criminal Background
Check System (NICS). The NRA does not want the Department
of Justice to hold the records for 180 days, although that
is the minimum needed for an effective audit. The NRA has
already challenged the NICS in a lower court and lost. That
same week, John Ashcroft announces he is cutting down the
NICS time from 90 days to 24 hours, doing by fiat what the
NRA could not do in court.
Three Florida newspapers reveal that Jeb Bush is having an
affair with Cynthia Henderson, secretary of the Department
of Management Services. "Sadly, it's reached the point where
it's being written about, not just by tabloids, but by newspapers
in our state," says Jebbo. "But the fact you have to ask that
question and I have to answer is sickening, it really is."
A tourist finds a small pipe bomb in downtown Disney. Officials
evacuate people from the marina and the nearby Ca'n Jack's
Oyster Bar until bomb disposal experts remove the device.
At the same time, a 350-acre wildfire blazes just two miles
away from the Walt Disney World Resort. By the end of the
month, there are 15 large fires across the entire peninsula,
which is suffering the worst drought on record.
Ford announces that it is replacing 10 million to 13 million
Firestone tires, far surpassing the already huge recall ordered
last summer by Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. The tires, standard
equipment on the Ford Explorer sport utility vehicle, have
been linked to at least 174 U.S. traffic deaths. Ford officials
blame the problem on replacement workers hired after a 1994
labor dispute and lockout. Workers say the plant is overly
humid, possibly causing corrosion on the steel belts of the
tires. Also, they say, inspections are inadequate and financial
incentives push workloads to unsafe levels.
Vermont Senator Jim Jeffords bolts the Republican Party,
giving control of the Senate to the Democratic Party. After
Jeffords opposed Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut, he was excluded
from a White House Rose Garden ceremony honoring a Vermont
woman as national teacher of the year, especially striking
because he chairs the Education Committee. Jeffords' pet cause
is more money for special education, which the GOP has fought
Trent Lott reacts to the Jeffords switch by declaring war.
"Their effective control of the Senate lacks the moral authority
of a mandate," he rages (remember, Bush lost the popular vote
to Gore by a larger margin than Nixon did to Kennedy). He
accuses Senator James M. Jeffords of Vermont, whose departure
from the Republican Party shifted control of the Senate, of
"a coup of one." Rush Limbaugh announces that Tom Daschle
is "power mad."
Attorney General John Ashcroft visits The Hague to discuss
law enforcement. Security personnel are alerted to remove
any calico cats found on the premises, as Ashcroft believes
they are sent by the devil.
A General Accounting Office (GAO) report concludes, "there
is no record of damage (to the White House) that may have
been deliberately caused by the employees of the Clinton administration."
Washington Post columnist Lloyd Grove, who first reported
on this non-scandal, blames White House Press Secretary Ari
Fleischer. "The person who really needs to explain what he
was doing was Ari, why he let the story percolate, and why
he juiced it with his coy responses. I think it's a fair point
to ask to what extent Mr. Fleischer's credibility has been
damaged by this." The White House does not return the thousands
of dollars worth of office equipment Office Depot had donated
earlier in the year to "replace" what was damaged.
A New York city jury convicts Rashed Daoud Al-'Owhali, 24,
of Saudi Arabia; Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, 27, of Tanzania;
Wadih El-Hage, 40, of Arlington, Texas; and Mohamed Sadeek
Odeh, 36, of Jordan, of all charges in the 1998 bombings of
two U.S. embassies in Africa. Two of the four defendants,
Al-'Owhali and Odeh, were arrested in Nairobi just days after
the bombings. The Texan, El-Hage, was arrested in this country
one month after the bombings, while Mohamed was apprehended
in South Africa in October 1999.
Tim Moore, head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,
issues an order to state agencies to delete records of gun
transactions at pawnshops at the request of the National Rifle
Association. The change outrages local sheriffs, who use such
information to detect and arrest convicted felons illegally
The National Rifle Association mobilizes its members to fight
a proposed law in Hawaii that would keep guns out of the hands
of the mentally ill.
An estimated 417 pounds of sulfur dioxide and six pounds
of sulfur trioxide are released at the General Chemical Corp
plant in Richmond, California. The leak prompted 150 people
to go to area hospitals and shut down streets around the plant
for more than four hours. People within a half mile radius
of the plant are asked to shelter-in-place. The leak starts
when workers tried to restart operations after a power outage.
The outage is caused when a vehicle hits a pole at about 2:00
p.m., knocking down electric lines to the plant.
James Roche, vice president of Northrup Grumman, the giant
defense contractor which wants billions in new Air Force contracts,
is named Secretary of the Air Force. Gordon England, vice
president of General Dynamics which is seeking billions in
new contracts from the Navy, is named Secretary of the Navy.
The Bush administration sends the Taliban $43 million for
declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. The
Taliban used a system of consensus-building," says James P.
Callahan, director of the State Department's Asian anti-drug
program. He adds that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs
"in very religious terms."
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill tells the Financial Times
of London that the Administration plans to abolish corporate
income tax and capital gains taxes, aiming for higher personal
income taxes. He also tells the publication that Medicare
and Social Security should be abolished. "Able-bodied adults
who have the ability to earn income have an obligation not
to pass part of their own responsibility on to a broader population,"
Nine employees were severely injured on May 25 when an explosion
and fire rocked a section of the Georgia-Pacific pressed board
manufacturing plant in Gaylord, Michigan. Six of the injured,
suffering varying degrees of severe burn injuries, were airlifted
to trauma and burn centers in several Michigan cities. A second
explosion occurred the next day as firefighters were trying
to extinguish the first fire.
Bush signs into law a $1.35 billion tax cut, which supporters
say will be a second wind for the economy. 34 million Americans
get no rebate at all; while another 17 million get only partial
rebates. For four-fifths of Americans, this year's $300 rebate
reflects almost all of their benefit from this bill. Virtually
all of the benefits of the bill go to the richest 5% of Americans;
four-fifths of those benefits go only to the richest 1%. The
estate tax is repealed in 2010; this will translate into an
extra $11 million personally for Bush, another $41 million
for Deadheart Dick Cheney, and roughly $80 million each for
Rumsfeld and O'Neill.
Bush appears at a "Tax Relief Celebration" at which signs
printed by the Florida Republican party are handed out to
2,000 hand-picked attendees. Some who refuse to surrender
anti-Bush signs to police are handcuffed and led away.
Tens of thousands of angry demonstrators greet Bush on his
first official trip to Europe. Militant protests in Goteborg,
Sweden against Bush and the policies of the European Union
meeting there end in street battles where three demonstrators
are shot by police. Bush addresses Spanish Prime Minister
Jose Maria Aznar as "Mr. President" and "Anzar."
On June 27, the Fed makes its sixth rate cut of the year.
FBI Director Louis Freeh retires. During his watch, the FBI
failed to provide the Tim McVeigh defense team with documents
to which they were entitled, Robert Hanssen was discovered
to have been a Soviet spy, and an FBI lab was discovered to
have falsified evidence in hundreds of high profile cases.
The bureau has lurched from one debacle to another in cases
such as the Wen Ho Lee persecution and the Olympic bombing
investigation. Nonetheless, he is a darling of the right wing
for his frequent criticism of Janet Reno.
The FBI investigates suspicious damaged wiring found in as
many as 10 Boeing 737 jetliners undergoing final assembly
at a suburban Seattle plant.
The McGuckin family surrenders. Six armed and undernourished
children have been holed up in feces-strewn squalor in a five-day
standoff with sheriff deputies since the mother has been arrested
on a complaint by the eldest daughter. The children have been
home-schooled. The mother's attorney, Edgar Steele, who also
represents the Aryan Nation, calls for an uprising of patriots
against big government. Far right wing nuts across the Internet
rage about a "siege by storm troopers." The father died the
month before of malnutrition and dehydration; he suffered
from multiple sclerosis.
The Wall Street Journal reports June 28 that Dominion Resources
Inc., about to settle a lawsuit under the Clean Air Act and
submit to a $1.2 billion pollution control order, is advised
by government negotiators not to sign until August, when the
EPA will review the regulation that prompted the suit. On
August 17, Bush's EPA will change the regulation and the Justice
Department will drop dozens of suits, including the Dominion
action. Pollution from the 51 plants targeted in the lawsuits
leads to as many as 170,000 asthma attacks annually while
shortening the lives of 5,500 to 9,000 people a year
Upon taking office, Bush directed the National Academy of
Sciences to study the problem of global warming to justify
his rejection of the Kyoto treaty. Unfortunately, the NAS
delivers a consensus report concluding that global warming
has indeed taken place in the past 50 years as a result of
British students at Oakhill College in Lancashire, England,
who had sent Bush a letter congratulating him on his inauguration
and voicing some concerns for the future, are mystified to
receive a letter signed by Bush that contains the sentence
"As young Americans, you have an important responsibility,
which is to become good citizens."
Bush suggests his administration will end the nine-year moratorium
on testing nuclear weapons, to see if they still work.
The European Union kills the $41 billion merger of General
Electric Co. and Honeywell International, saving thousands
of US jobs.
John Ashcroft speaks at a Washington appearance by TV preacher
D. James Kennedy. The televangelist announces America is a
Christian nation, that only Christians should be allowed in
public office ("We would have far less trouble I'm sure if
we did," he said.) and that church/state separation is unconstitutional.
Far from repudiating Kennedy's "Christian" version of America,
Ashcroft takes the podium to praise the Florida-based television
preacher, noting that he watches Kennedy's show on Sunday
Bush stops a threatened walkout by American Airlines flight
attendants by appointing a Presidential Emergency Board, which
will offer a non-binding settlement plan within 60 days. The
Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union representing
American flight attendants, says the presidential emergency
board will "only serve to delay the beginning of a strike
to early September, but not to eliminate the prospect of a
Florida Republican Party Chair Al Cárdenas unveils his strategy
for the African-American voter by describing his plans to
write off the African-American voter and also attack the credibility
of African-American leaders. "We need to call into question
the African-American leaders and what they're saying," said
Cárdenas, with a strategy "to call into question the credibility"
of African-American leadership. Cárdenas also sits on the
Republican National Committee's "New Voices, New Faces" minority
Two chlorine gas leaks two hours apart from one another shut
down Tampa's main water plant, sending a cloud of noxious,
green gas drifting west over east Tampa. Police issue a reverse
911 telephone message to about 105 neighbors within a 1-mile
radius, alerting them to stay indoors and keep their windows
and doors closed.
Amnesty International publishes a report documenting human
rights violations in the United States, whose human rights
record Amnesty says, "continues to fall short of international
standards." Criticisms raised against the U.S. include increased
use of the death penalty, especially against individuals who
are mentally impaired or who committed crimes as minors. Amnesty
cites a long list of cases documenting police brutality linked
to racial discrimination, torture against prisoners and the
prosecution of children as adults, many serving time in adult
prisons under inhumane conditions. Amnesty further criticized
the U.S. for its failure to ratify the accord establishing
an International Criminal Court, the treaty banning land mines
and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is executed
by lethal injection at a federal prison in Terre Haute, IN.
For Bush, it is his 153rd death sentence in nine years and
marks the first federal execution in 38 years.
Sara Lee Corp. pleads guilty to a Federal criminal charge
after killing 15 people, sickening 80, and causing six miscarriages
by selling meat tainted with listeria in the Midwest. The
company agrees to pay a $200,000 criminal fine and as a condition
of its probation to fund $3 million in food safety research
at Michigan State University. Because some of the tainted
meat was sold to the Department of Defense, a civil action
also was brought. In settlement of the civil action, Sara
Lee agrees to pay the Department of Defense $915,000 plus
the cost of the government investigation.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights releases a report which
examines irregularities in Florida's pivotal 2000 election.
The commission concludes that Florida's African American citizens
were nearly 10 times more likely than white voters to have
their ballots rejected. While African Americans comprised
about 11 percent of all voters in Florida in the November
election, blacks cast about 54 percent of the ballots thrown
out. The commission, which held three days of hearings, with
over 30 hours of testimony from over 100 witnesses, also found
that Florida election officials had wrongfully purged thousands
of voters from the registration rolls.
The day after the U.S. Navy resumed military exercises using
dummy bombs on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, 40 protesters
have been arrested, including the wife of Rev. Jesse Jackson.
The group had entered the firing range demanding an immediate
end to the military maneuvers.
Despite the claims of the administration that there is an
energy crisis, Bush decides to reverse the ban on snowmobiles
in National Parks. The reversal comes over the objections
of the National Park Service, whose rangers say the ban limits
pollution, noise and congestion in the park and protects wildlife.
Just days after tobacco industry loses yet another billion
dollar lawsuit, John Ashcroft directs the Justice Department
to settle its billion dollar suit with the industry.
Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill finally sells his Alcoa stock,
having made an additional $62 million since promising to sell
Andrea Yates drowns her five children in a bathtub in her
Houston home. She had been home schooling them without supervision
despite a suicide attempt in 1999 and treatment for depression
that included the powerful anti-psychotic drug Haldol. She
had delivered a fifth child just six months earlier, and with
her husband is a member of the fundamentalist Church of Christ,
which demanded that she be subservient to her husband Right
wing pundits such as Newsmax and Rush Limbaugh concoct the
fiction that the National Organization for Women has started
a legal defense fund for Yates and use the lie to bash the
Milt Bearden, the former CIA station chief in Pakistan and
Sudan, argues in The Wall Street Journal that the Bush administration
should take a "more restrained approach" to Osama Bin Laden.
"There may be a realization that the two years of unrestrained
rhetoric of the Clinton administration following the 1998
attacks in Africa may have done little more than inflate the
myth that has inspired others to harm Americans," he writes.
NASCAR gives $15,000 to the Florida State Republican Party
the day after a GOP judge keeps racing legend Dale Earnhardt's
autopsy photos sealed. It is the only political donation by
NASCAR in five years. "It certainly looks as though NASCAR
is paying off the governor and the Republican party for supporting
their position in the case," says Tom Julin, the lawyer who
unsuccessfully fought to open Earnhardt's crash photos for
inspection. GOP spokesman Daryl Duwe says the contribution
was simply a donation for "good government."
A sport utility vehicle tips over at Busch Gardens, dumping
16 tourists onto the ground between the rhino habitat and
the crocodile habitat.
Now that the Senate is under Democratic control, Sen. Ron
Wyden has subpoena power. This month he releases a report
on internal oil company documents he has subpoenaed that show
the nation's leading oil companies have engaged in anti-competitive
and anti-consumer practices. For the last several months,
limited domestic refinery capacity has taken center stage
as the purported reason for insufficient domestic gasoline
supply and higher prices. The documents show major oil companies
pursued efforts to curtail refinery capacity as a strategy
for improving profit margins; that competing oil companies
worked together to subvert supply and that refinery closures
inhibited supply. "The nation's major oil suppliers have set
out in a strategic effort to orchestrate a financial triple
play, a coordinated effort that would reduce supply, raise
prices at the pump and relax environmental regulations," says
The scheduled release of 68,000 pages of Reagan era documents
is delayed again by the Enron administration, which says it
wants until August to review them, in violation of the Presidential
Records Act of 1978. The papers cover the period when Osama
Bin Laden was recruited and trained by the Reagan Administration,
as well as the period when arms were being sold secretly in
the Middle East to finance the terrorist campaigns of the
On June 23, Reuters runs a report that begins "Followers
of exiled Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden are planning a major
attack on U.S. and Israeli interests."
HMO Humana Medical Plan Inc. is discovered to have double-billed
Medicare and Medicaid for the same people on a monthly, per
capita basis from July 1, 1992 through Dec. 31, 2000.
The tiny town of Virgin, UT (population 229), passes a law
requiring mandatory ownership of firearms and ammunition.
It also declares all enviromental groups persona non grata.
Says resident Ken Cornelius, "Most people think we're a bunch
of lunatics here."
The Financial Times discovers that between 1998 and 2000
Dick Cheney used Halliburton subsidiaries in Europe to rebuild
Iraq's war-damaged petroleum-production infrastructure, in
violation of US law. Halliburton also had business dealings
in Iran and Libya, which remain on the State Department's
list of terrorist states. Cheney lied about the issue during
July, August, September