My Way News 10/01/2006
GOP Leaders Knew of Foley E-Mail in '05
Oct 1, 1:29 AM (ET) By DEVLIN BARRETT
WASHINGTON (AP) - Rep. Thomas Reynolds, head of the House Republican
election effort, said Saturday he told Speaker Dennis Hastert months
ago about concerns that a fellow GOP lawmaker had sent inappropriate
messages to a teenage boy. Hastert's office said aides referred the
matter to the proper authorities last fall but they were only told the
messages were "over-friendly."
Reynolds, R-N.Y., was told about e-mails sent by Rep. Mark Foley and
is now defending himself from Democratic accusations that he did too
little. Foley, R-Fla., resigned Friday after ABC News questioned him
about the e-mails to a former congressional page and about sexually
suggestive instant messages to other pages.
"The improper communications between Congressman Mark Foley and former
House Congressional pages is unacceptable and abhorrent. It is an
obscene breach of trust," Hastert, R-Ill., Majority Leader John
Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said in a written
statement Saturday evening. "His immediate resignation must now be
followed by the full weight of the criminal justice system."
The House leaders said it is their duty to ensure House pages are
safe. They said they are creating a toll-free hot line for pages and
their families to call to confidentially report any incidents, and
will consider adopting new rules on communications between lawmakers
The boy who received the e-mails was 16 in the summer of 2005 when he
worked in Congress as a page. After the boy returned to his Louisiana
home, the congressman e-mailed him. The teenager thought the messages
were inappropriate, particularly one in which Foley asked the teen to
send a picture of himself.
The teen's family contacted their congressman, Rep. Rodney Alexander,
R-La., who then discussed the problem with Reynolds sometime this spring.
"Rodney Alexander brought to my attention the existence of e-mails
between Mark Foley and a former page of Mr. Alexander's," Reynolds,
chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a
written statement Saturday.
"Despite the fact that I had not seen the e-mails in question, and Mr.
Alexander told me that the parents didn't want the matter pursued, I
told the speaker of the conversation Mr. Alexander had with me,"
Hastert said he does not remember talking to Reynolds about the Foley
e-mails, but did not dispute Reynolds' account.
"While the speaker does not explicitly recall this conversation, he
has no reason to dispute Congressman Reynolds' recollection that he
reported to him on the problem and its resolution," Hastert's aides
said in a preliminary report on the matter issued Saturday.
On Friday night, Hastert spokesman Ron Bonjean said the top House
Republican had not known about the allegations.
Saturday's report includes a lengthy timeline detailing when they
first learned of the worrisome e-mail in the fall of 2005, after a
staffer for Alexander told Hastert's office the family wanted Foley to
stop contacting their son. Alexander's staffer did not share the
contents of the e-mail, saying it was not sexual but "over-friendly,"
the report says.
Hastert's aides referred the matter to the Clerk of the House, and
"mindful of the sensitivity of the parent's wishes to protect their
child's privacy and believing that they had promptly reported what
they knew to the proper authorities," they did not discuss it with
others in Hastert's office - including, apparently, their boss.
After the issue was referred to the clerk, it was passed along to the
congressman who oversees the page program, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill.
Shimkus has said he learned about the e-mail exchange in late 2005 and
took immediate action to investigate.
He said Foley told him it was an innocent exchange. Shimkus said he
warned Foley not to have any more contact with the teenager and to
respect other pages.
Democrats charged Reynolds did far too little and said more digging
should be done.
"Congressman Reynolds' inaction in the face of such a serious
situation is very troubling, and raises important questions about
whether there was an attempt to cover up criminal activity involving a
minor to keep it from coming to light before Election Day," said
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Karen Finney.
New York Democrats hoping to unseat Reynolds blasted the congressman,
saying they call into question the Republican's values.
"Mr. Reynolds knew about these allegedly inappropriate e-mails from a
fellow congressman to a minor for months and didn't lift a finger,"
said Blake Zeff, a spokesman for the state Democrats.
On the Net:
National Republican Congressional Committee: http://www.nrcc.org/
Democrats See Chance in Foley's District
Sep 30, 10:19 PM (ET) By BRENDAN FARRINGTON
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Democratic candidate Tim Mahoney seized
the opportunity created by scandal and criticized GOP leaders Saturday
for not fully investigating Rep. Mark Foley when his raunchy
communications with a teenage boy came to light about a year ago.
Foley resigned Friday after revelations that he exchanged explicit
electronic messages with the 16-year-old boy, a former congressional
page, sending the Florida GOP scrambling for a replacement candidate
less than six weeks before the election.
Mahoney, who until two days ago was the underdog in the race for
Foley's seat, said Republican leaders should have fully investigated
at the time. Pages are high school students who attend classes under
congressional supervision and work as messengers.
"It looks to me that it was more important to hold onto a seat and to
hold onto power than to take care of our children," Mahoney said. "I
think that's wrong. I think that's what's wrong with Washington."
The House Page Board investigated the allegations late last year, but
Foley was not honest when he denied improper conduct with the
teenager, the committee's leader, Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois, has said.
Anthrax Dispute Suggests Bioshield Woes
Oct 1, 1:20 AM (ET) By PAUL ELIAS
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - By now, millions of anthrax vaccine shots
developed through cutting-edge genetic engineering were supposed to be
filling a new national stockpile of biodefense drugs. Instead, five
years after anthrax attacks left five dead, sickened 17 and panicked
the country, the nearly $1 billion contract awarded by the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services to a tiny and struggling San
Francisco Bay Area biotechnology company is plagued with misfortune
Delivery has been put off until at least 2008 - and maybe later -
while the government and VaxGen Inc. trade barbs over who is at fault.
The dispute has further tarnished Project Bioshield, a government
program that has alienated many potential biodefense contractors.
"We have all come to understand that there is more complexity than it
originally appeared," said Thomas Inglesby, deputy director of the
University of Pittsburgh's Center for Biosecurity.
5 Found Dead in South Carolina Home
Sep 30, 11:56 PM (ET) By BRUCE SMITH
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Five people were found dead in a home
Saturday, and all appeared to have been shot, police said.
Investigators were talking to a suspect.
No motive had been identified. Officers discovered the bodies in the
mobile home after a neighbor called police when no one answered a
knock at the door.
Police spokesman Spencer Pryor would not release information Saturday
night about the victims' identities or whether they were related. The
Charleston County coroner's office did not immediately return a
message seeking comment.
Monique Singleton, who lives across the street, said four children
lived in the home and her children occasionally played with them.
"They were nice people, they seemed fine," she said.
The subdivision of about two dozen mobile homes sits in the shadow of
Interstate 526 - one of the main highways around the Charleston area.
La. Voters OK Consolidating Levee Boards
Oct 1, 12:43 AM (ET) By DOUG SIMPSON
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Louisiana voters on Saturday approved consolidating
the New Orleans area's levee boards, the generations-old agencies
whose politically appointed members were criticized after Hurricane
Katrina for failing to maintain the area's levees and floodwalls.
The constitutional amendment - passing with about 80 percent of the
vote - will combine 10 southeast Louisiana boards into two, one for
each bank of the Mississippi River. Members of the new boards will be
required to have expertise in engineering, geology and hydrology,
mandates that advocates of the new structure hope will convince
Congress and the nation that Louisiana has shed a system mired in
"I think it shows that people really care about basic reform in
Louisiana," said Gov. Kathleen Blanco, who supported the measure.
"They want everything to be professional."
With about 97 percent of precincts reporting, voters supported the
measure by a 4-1 margin. The amendment was passing in every parish
that was hit hard by Katrina in August 2005.
After Katrina breached New Orleans' levees last August, the boards
were criticized as disorganized, full of patronage and badly lacking
in technical knowledge to manage the system of levees that protect New
Orleans, which is largely below sea level.
Agency Lagging on Border Maintenance
Sep 30, 6:37 PM (ET) By DAVID SHARP
HOULTON, Maine (AP) - The United States wants to better secure its
border with Canada, but it might have trouble finding it in some
areas, an official with the agency that maintains the border said.
The U.S. and Canada have fallen so far behind on basic maintenance of
their shared border that law enforcement officials might have to
search through overgrown vegetation for markers in some places, the
"If you can't find it, then you can't secure it," said Dennis
Schornack, the U.S. commissioner of the International Boundary
Commission, the intergovernmental agency responsible for maintaining
the U.S.-Canada border.
The Boeing Co. (BA) has been awarded a three-year, $67 million
contract to implement the first part of a plan to reduce illegal entry
along thousands of miles of border with Canada and Mexico using better
technology, including cameras, sensors and even unmanned airplanes.
But commission officials say their budget of about $3.6 million is
insufficient and insist that if they are not given more money to buy
basic machinery to beat back the weeds, bushes and trees that threaten
to overtake parts of the border, all those high-tech gadgets could
"I've talked and talked, and we don't seem to be getting anywhere,"
Schornack said. "Yes, it's not glamorous. It's not high-tech. It's
chain saws and weed whackers. But if you don't get that basic job
done, all I know is cameras won't work."
The 5,525-mile U.S.-Canada border cuts a 20-foot-wide swath through
many wooded areas. Down the middle are monuments and markers denoting
the actual border.
The agency, consisting of two commissioners (one from each country),
seven field engineers and a small support staff, is responsible for
surveying and maintaining more than 8,000 monuments and reference points.
The International Boundary Commission has warned that it has fallen
far behind in clearing fast-growing brush and trees, especially in the
United States' Northeast and Northwest - between Washington state and
British Columbia and between New England and Quebec and New Brunswick.
Schornack will meet in Washington on Monday and Tuesday with his
Canadian counterparts, high-ranking homeland security officials and
members of Congress to lobby for more funding.
Part of his goal, he said, is to lift the agency's profile. The agency
is so small, he said, that it gets lost in the $2.7 trillion federal
"The boundary has been ignored for a very long time," Schornack said.
"I'm not even sure people know we exist."
Canadian officials say the U.S. needs to contribute more money.
The U.S. contributed $1.43 million this fiscal year, compared with
$2.2 million Canada contributed, the commission said. The U.S.
contribution pales in comparison with the $33 million it is giving the
International Boundary and Water Commission, which oversees
maintenance of the border with Mexico - though it also is responsible
for flood control, sewage treatment plants and other issues. And a
bill to erect a fence along the Mexican border went to President Bush
"Some of the catch-up projects that the Americans are supposed to
undertake are not being done. We're doing as much as we can with our
funding, but the catch-up rate is not what it should be," said Al
Arseneault, the deputy commissioner of the commission's Canadian branch.
On the Net: IBC http://www.internationalboundarycommission.org/
Department of Homeland Security http://www.dhs.gov/
Immigration Activist Defying Ruling
Sep 30, 9:47 PM (ET) By SOPHIA TAREEN
CHICAGO (AP) - An immigration activist who took refuge in a church
after the government ordered her deported to Mexico said Saturday she
will remain holed up there, even though a federal judge dismissed a
lawsuit filed on her behalf.
The lawsuit against the government had contended that deporting
Arellano would effectively deport her son Saul, who is a U.S. citizen,
and would violate his rights. U.S. District Judge Amy St. Eve ruled
Friday that although the 7-year-old would face hardships, they weren't
of constitutional magnitude.
Arellano, 31, and her son have been living at the Adalberto United
Methodist Church since mid-August.
"I want to stay here with my son," Arellano said in Spanish to
reporters at the church. "I'm not just fighting for my situation. ...
You can't separate families."
The Rev. Walter L. Coleman, the Adalberto pastor who sued in August on
the woman's behalf, said he and Arellano are in contact with other
families in similar situations and are considering filing a
class-action lawsuit, he said.
Coleman said he is not concerned that federal officials will enter the
church to remove Arellano.
"We fear God more than we fear Homeland Security," he said.
Arellano was to surrender to federal authorities for deportation Aug.
15 but instead sought refuge in the small church, in a heavily Puerto
She first was arrested in 1997 soon after crossing into the United
States and was sent back to Mexico.
She returned and was arrested again in 2002 and convicted of working
as a cleaning woman at O'Hare International Airport under a false
Social Security number.
Schwarzenegger signs telephone privacy bill
Friday September 29, 8:56 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed
a law on Friday making it a crime to buy telephone records or obtain
them through deceit, an issue that has become important amid a furor
over Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (HPQ) attempts to track down boardroom
leaks to the press.
The new law punishes violators with a fine of up to $2,500 and a year
in prison, with the maximum fine rising to $10,000 for repeat offenders.
It applies to anyone who sells, buys, or conspires to buy or sell any
records of telephone-calling patterns without the written consent of
the subcriber, or anyone who obtains such records through fraud or deceit.
Schwarzenegger signed the law as HP, a stalwart of Silicon Valley, is
embroiled in a scandal centering on the computer maker's investigation
into leaks to the media from its board of directors.
HP has admitted that investigators impersonated company board members,
employees and journalists to get their phone records so it could learn
the source of leaks of secret board deliberations.
Previous California law prohibited telephone companies from making
such records available without first obtaining written permission from
the subscriber, but did not lay out criminal penalties for doing so.
The new law was introduced by state senators in February 2005, a year
and a half before the HP scandal broke.
The law also says that any personal telephone data obtained in a way
that violates the law will be inadmissable as evidence in any legal or
©2005 Reuters Limited.
GOP Aims to Crack Down on Web Gambling
Sep 30, 2:35 AM (ET) By NANCY ZUCKERBROD
WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional Republicans attached a measure
cracking down on Internet gambling to a bill aimed at enhancing port
security that passed Saturday.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.,
pushed for the gambling provision to be added to the larger bill.
Online gambling is generally illegal in most circumstances, but it is
something that is difficult to enforce. The new measure tackles that
by prohibiting gamblers from using credit cards, checks and electronic
fund transfers to settle their online wagers.
"The enforcement provision provided by this bill will go a long way to
stop these illegal online operations," Kyl said late Friday.
Kyl and Frist previously tried unsuccessfully to put the measure on a
bill authorizing funding for the military, but critics said the
Defense Department bill was no place for the gambling measure.
Similarly, Democrats complained Friday that Republicans had used the
port security bill as a vehicle for other GOP-backed measures.
The House passed a version of the Internet gambling bill in July, but
the Senate has taken no action on similar legislation.
Frist, eyeing a 2008 presidential bid, recently discussed the online
gambling provision in the politically important state of Iowa. He also
called it a legislative priority in a recent speech on the Senate floor.
"Congress has grappled with this issue for 10 years, and during that
time we've watched this shadow industry explode," Frist said in a
statement Friday. "For me as majority leader, the bottom line is
simple: Internet gambling is illegal."
The measure's supporters include the National Football League as well
as conservative and antigambling groups. Some banking groups have
lobbied against it.
Federal officials have made recent arrests involving offshore
companies operating Internet gambling sites. The Internet gambling
industry is headquartered almost entirely outside the United States
although many of its customers live in the U.S.
The new gambling provision is not expected to affect gambling at
tracks or casinos.
The ports security bill is H.R. 4954.
On the Net: Congress: http://thomas.loc.gov/