Democratic Underground

2001: The Year in Review - Part Two
January 4, 2002
by Smokey Sojac

Part 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 cut.

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 year."

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 control.

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 the product.

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 do.

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 the economy.

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 for years.

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 possessing guns.

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," he said.

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 human activity.

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 mornings.

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 strike."

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 outreach committee.

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 in April.

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 group.

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 Wyden.

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 Contras.

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 the campaign.

Tomorrow: July, August, September

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