The Earlybird: Today's headlines

Tax plan faces changes, Congress holds Rich hearings, Quayle in running for ambassador, Sharon and Barak may govern together, India gets another quake, Pentagon overhaul in the works, ABC changes election night procedures, Klan to march in Indiana, Edwards raises more 2004 eyebrows:

  • President Bush sent his $1.6 trillion tax cut plan to Congress Thursday, saying it "would jump start growth" in the economy. Meanwhile, Democrats "borrowed a brand new $40,000 car to help make their point that Bush's across-the-board tax relief unfairly favored the wealthy and was a luxury the country could not afford," Reuters reports.
  • Moderate Republicans said Thursday they will work to scale back Bush's tax cut plan, reports.
  • Most people would get some benefits from Bush's plan, the Washington Post reports.
Pardon The Investigation
  • During a congressional hearing on Thursday, former White House counsel Jack Quinn said "that former President Clinton's controversial last-minute pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich was merited by the facts and was not the result of improper influence," Reuters reports.
  • The hearings also revealed that Rich's lawyers "strategized about how to win support from politicians and big campaign contributors but worked hard to keep their effort secret," the Washington Post reports.
  • Rich's wife contributed "an enormous sum of money" to Clinton's presidential library, the New York Times reports.
Still Filling In Posts
  • Democrat Norman Mineta was sworn in as Transportation Department secretary yesterday, AP reports.
  • Mississippi's two Republican senators, Thad Cochran and Trent Lott, "have asked President Bush to retain William R. Ferris as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities," the New York Times reports. Ferris was appointed by President Clinton in 1997.
  • A "transition adviser" said former Vice President Dan Quayle "wants to be ambassador to NATO, but faces Pentagon resistance." He could also be tapped as ambassador to either China or Japan, the Wall Street Journal's "Washington Wire" reports.
  • "Evidence is mounting that" Massachusetts Gov. Paul Cellucci (R) will resign to join the Bush administration, possibly as ambassador to Canada, the Boston Globe reports.
Legislative Plans
  • Sen. Frank H. Murkowski, R-Alaska, "will unveil legislation next week to dramatically boost domestic energy production and permit oil and gas drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge," the Washington Post reports.
  • On Thursday, the Senate approved a pipeline safety bill that will require "the nation's aging network of oil and natural gas pipelines" to "come under new inspection standards," the New York Times reports.
Peace Struggles
  • Israeli Prime Minister-elect Ariel Sharon and his predecessor, Ehud Barak, may set up a "joint government even though the two disagree sharply on how to make peace with the Palestinians," the New York Times reports.
  • After a car bomb exploded in Jerusalem Thursday, Sharon told Palestinians "that he will not negotiate as long as such attacks continue," AP reports.
  • Bush "called Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Thursday and urged him to help stop the violence in the region," Reuters reports.
  • On Thursday, the Bush administration "formally abandoned the Middle East peace proposals of President Clinton... saying they belonged to the former president and did not apply now that Ariel Sharon has been elected prime minister of Israel," the New York Times reports.
Around The World
  • "A series of earthquakes shook buildings late Thursday and early Friday" in India, injuring at least 25 people in the same area "where a large quake killed at least 17,000 people two weeks ago," AP reports.
  • "Afghanistan's Taliban rulers are prepared to allow Osama bin Laden--sought by the United States on terrorism charges--to be tried by Islamic clerics, perhaps in a third country," the Chicago Tribune reports.
  • Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic, considered an international war criminal, could be arrested in Serbia "very soon and tried for multiple crimes ranging from embezzlement and election fraud to discrimination against minorities and perhaps treason," the New York Times reports.
Tough Justice
  • The White House wants the Justice Department to cut $1 billion from its budget, the Washington Post reports. That could result in "thousands of job losses and reductions of millions of dollars in funding for local police departments."
  • Former Attorney General Janet Reno was back at the Justice Department Thursday to have lunch with new Attorney General John Ashcroft and discuss the job with him, AP reports.
The National Interest
  • The Pentagon will "conduct a sweeping review of the U.S. military in the clearest indication yet that senior officials intend to shake up the armed forces," Reuters reports.
  • "With China's encouragement, Pentagon officials are planning to visit two crash sites in the Himalayas that may hold the remains of American airmen lost in World War II," AP reports.
  • President Bush plans to conduct "a comprehensive review of the nation's nuclear arsenal, a first step toward the unilateral cuts in warheads and missiles that he promised during last year's campaign," the New York Times reports.
  • Robert W. Pickett, the man who "was shot outside the White House after a standoff with police," faces "the possibility of local and federal charges," the New York Times reports.
Networks On The Block
  • "Television network executives will testify before Congress next week on their erroneous election-night projections in Florida and how they plan to avoid similar mistakes in the future," AP reports.
  • "ABC News has decided to change its U.S. election-night coverage," Reuters reports. Changes include "avoiding projections before a state's polls close or resisting competitive pressure to 'call' a winner."
Govs Positioning For 2002
  • Illinois Gov. George Ryan (R) is considering giving the governor's office more control over the state education system, an idea which "would be similar to the model of Chicago Public Schools, where Paul Vallas is chief executive officer and there is a separate board," the Chicago Tribune reports. Vallas is a possible Democratic challenger to Ryan in 2002.
  • Connecticut Gov. John Rowland (R) said yesterday that he "is preserving his option for a 2002 candidacy by forming a re-election committee and raising campaign funds, but has not yet decided whether he will run," the Hartford Courant reports.
In The States
  • Pacific Gas & Electric Co. has warned California Gov. Gray Davis (D) that "customers could face natural gas cutbacks by mid-March... despite the utility's limited success in lining up supplies by using customer accounts as collateral," the Los Angeles Times reports.
  • "The Libertarian Party has picked Indianapolis as host of its national convention at the new Downtown Marriott in July 2002," the Indianapolis Star reports.
  • Scott King, mayor of Gary, Ind., "said Thursday that he had no choice but to approve a Ku Klux Klan request to hold a rally in his predominantly black city," AP reports.
Names In The News
  • Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., will speak at Drake University in Iowa on March 3, fueling speculation that he is looking at a 2004 White House bid, the Charlotte Observer reports.
  • Former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader visited congressional Democrats on Thursday to "reconnect," Reuters reports.
  • Arthur W. Hummel Jr., former U.S. ambassador to China, Burma, Pakistan and Ethiopia, died Tuesday, AP reports.