The Earlybird: Today's Headlines

Treasury troubles, election reform, Norwood deal, Canadian medical marijuana, Cheney's Jersey stump, Smith's disappointment, Clinton's celebration:
  • The Treasury Department said Monday that because of the economic slowdown and the rebate checks for President Bush's tax cut, the United States will have to borrow "$51 billion by September, an about-face from its previous predictions," the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Treasury officials' new projection is "a drastic -- but widely anticipated -- revision from April, when they expected to pay down $57 billion of the national debt during the period," the Wall Street Journal reports. "A Treasury spokesman noted that when the April projections were made, it was known they likely would be affected by the tax cut then being deliberated."
  • Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., said the lowered budget projections "could force lawmakers to whittle President Bush's request for increased defense spending," the Washington Times reports.
Holiday For Voting
  • "A commission chaired by former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford recommends turning Election Day into a federal holiday and says that voters challenged by poll workers should be allowed to cast ballots, their validity to be determined later," AP reports.
  • Bush will endorse the suggested reforms when the commission's report is revealed today at a Rose Garden ceremony, the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • The commission also said "Congress should offer states about $150 million or $200 million a year to upgrade voting equipment and operations," the Washington Post reports.
Stand By His Plan
  • In a speech to the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives in Washington on Monday, Bush urged Congress "to take action on his faith-based initiative," AP reports.
  • Bush plans to stick "by his plan to gradually phase out bombing exercises on Puerto Rico's Vieques island" despite the island's non-binding vote over the weekend to halt bombing immediately, AP reports.
Reading Into Laura
  • First lady Laura Bush on Monday announced she will hold a National Book Festival on Sept. 7-8, the Washington Times reports. The festival will feature "readings, book signings by nearly 50 well-known American authors and musical performances."
  • The first lady said Monday "she has made up her mind on the controversial issue of embryonic stem cell research but gave no hint of her stance as President Bush grapples with the divisive question," Reuters reports.
On The Hill
  • Georgia Rep. Charlie Norwood's (R) spokesman said Monday that the legislator has come close to reaching an agreement on patients' rights legislation with the White House, the New York Times reports.
  • Last night the House approved "a $113 billion bill to fund veterans, housing, space exploration and environmental protection in 2002," the Houston Chronicle reports.
  • Today the House "is expected to vote on whether to ban human cloning, weighing the potential benefits of 21st-century medical research against the futuristic spectacle of duplicating human beings," the Boston Globe reports.
  • During his nomination hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday, FBI Director-designate Robert Mueller said "that if confirmed he would move forcefully to fix problems at the agency," AP reports.
  • Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has written a letter to Attorney General John Ashcroft asking him to assure Frank that the FBI's formerly "widespread" program of spying on Americans has ended, the Boston Herald reports. "A three-paragraph letter" Frank wrote "in 1989 about immigration legislation he was very publicly sponsoring ended up in FBI files stamped 'secret.'"
The Reports Are In
  • The National Academy of Sciences released a study Monday on fuel efficiency standards but "ducked the question of whether or not those standards needed to be raised" as Congress debates the issue, the Boston Globe reports.
  • Congressional investigators released a report Monday showing that "elderly people were abused in nearly a third of the nation's nursing homes in the past two years," AP reports.
  • New research suggests that "teenagers whose mothers participated in welfare-to-work programs appear to do worse in school and have more behavior problems than teens from other welfare families," AP reports.
In The Courts
  • On Monday "a federal district court judge issued a preliminary injunction ordering the Christian Coalition to stop retaliating against four black employees who filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the organization in February," the Washington Times reports.
  • "Gay rights advocates filed a lawsuit yesterday seeking to prevent Maryland's new anti-discrimination law from being put before voters in November 2002," the Baltimore Sun reports.
Around The World
  • Canada's Ministry of Health issued new regulations Monday "to allow people suffering from terminal illness or long-term debilitating disease to grow and smoke their own marijuana," the Boston Globe reports. Canada is the first country to make medical marijuana legal.
  • "Sources familiar with the findings of a State Department investigation" said Monday that the United States will share responsibility with Peru "for the mistaken shootdown of a civilian aircraft carrying American missionaries over northern Peru in April," the Washington Post reports.
  • "An Iraqi newspaper branded U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice 'the mad woman of the White House' on Tuesday for saying the United States would use military force against President Saddam Hussein's government," Reuters reports.
  • "Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi guided his party to victory in legislative elections but Monday had to fend off investors' skepticism, word of a rift in his party and a controversy over visiting a WWII shrine," CBSNews.com reports.
  • "Israeli forces have tightened restrictions around Palestinian towns and cities in the West Bank... in response to warnings of impending bomb attacks," CNN.com reports.
  • "A bus carrying at least 40 people in southern Russia was seized Tuesday by gunmen demanding safe passage to an airport," Reuters reports.
It's Never To Early...
  • Virginia gubernatorial candidate Mark Warner (D) is kicking off a "media effort [that] will cost an estimated $750,000 a week at its peak, aides said, and will total at least $7 million for the remaining 14 weeks of the campaign," starting with a statewide TV spot today, the Washington Post reports.
  • Vice President Dick Cheney stumped for New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Bret Schundler (R) yesterday at a fund-raiser, calling the Jersey City mayor "a 'leader of conviction and purpose' whom New Jerseyans should view as a 'must-hire' governor," the New York Times reports.
  • Schundler's opponent, Woodbridge Mayor Jim McGreevey (D), "has garnered more than $3 million -- exceeding in roughly 48 hours the amount needed to get the maximum in state matching funds," the Gannett State Bureau reports. Joining McGreevey at a fundraiser last night were Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., and Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner (D).
  • Former Chicago schools chief Paul Vallas "formally entered the race for the [Illinois] Democratic gubernatorial nomination Monday," the Chicago Tribune reports. A long list of Democrats are considering a run in the March 2002 primary to take advantage of the "political problems that have surrounded Republican Gov. George Ryan in his first term in office."
  • Former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley (R) "is asking donors for $500 or more as part of what's being called the Groundwork 2002 campaign" in an effort to retake the Governor's Mansion next year, AP reports.
  • California Secretary of State Bill Jones (R), who is challenging Gov. Gray Davis (D) in 2002, requested "a preliminary inquiry into whether energy consultants advising" Davis "used inside information to trade stocks of power companies doing business with the state," an investigation that the Securities and Exchange Commission has already started, the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Meanwhile, AP reports, Davis' "press secretary recently purchased the same energy stock as five consultants the governor fired last week, he disclosed Monday."
  • A new poll in Texas shows businessman Tony Sanchez an "early frontrunner among Democrats for the 2002 governor's race," the Brownsville Herald reports.
  • Pennsylvania "Democrats figure that if precedent holds, next year will be their turn to elect a governor," the New York Times reports.
Dollars And Support
  • Sen. Bob Smith, R-N.H., said "he is unhappy fellow New Hampshire Republicans like Sen. Judd Gregg and Rep. Charles Bass have yet to endorse him publicly" for his 2002 re-election bid, AP reports.
  • Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter (D) "will make a decision by the end of August" regarding a 2002 challenge to Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo., the Rocky Mountain News reports. And former U.S. Attorney Tom Strickland (D) "is expected to announce next week that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for the" seat.
  • "Fifty-three percent of 400 adults questioned in a CBS-2/Chicago Sun-Times survey said they either would strongly support or somewhat support a bid by" William Kennedy Smith (D) in Illinois' 5th District.
  • Freshman Rep. Mark Kennedy, R-Minn., "already has received strong financial support from House Republican leaders for next year's race," the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
  • Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., "raised $272,500 in the first half of the year, saying he decided to augment his campaign fund before his Congressional seat is redistricted and gubernatorial candidates begin to compete for money," AP reports.
Condit "Blows His Top"
  • "The FBI has concluded that a Pentecostal minister's account of an affair between his daughter and" Rep. Gary Condit, D-Calif., "is untrue," the Washington Post reports.
  • The New York Post reports that the "usually cool" Condit "yesterday blew his top for the first time -- getting into a shoving match with a photographer staking him out in the case of intern Chandra Levy's disappearance."
  • Two D.C. Council members on Monday "criticized the Metropolitan Police Department's search for Chandra Levy, saying too many resources are being diverted to the missing-persons case," the Washington Times reports.
Bouncing With Joy
  • The opening of Bill Clinton's new Harlem office on Monday "was a day to celebrate the arrival of a new neighbor whose move has seemed to affirm Harlem's resurrection," the New York Times reports. "At one point" during the festivities, Clinton "appeared to be literally bouncing with joy."
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