Archive for Sunday, June 23, 2002

Nation briefs

June 23, 2002


Washington, D.C.: Democrats challenge Bush on drug benefit

Two years after George W. Bush promised elderly voters he'd deliver a prescription drug benefit, a veteran congressman is challenging him to make good on his word.

Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., a 47-year House member, said in the Democrats' weekly radio address aired Saturday that it's up to President Bush to reject the Republican plan that will be debated in a few days. Republicans, he said, are offering phantom drug benefits.

"Democrats have a plan that would offer senior citizens the same drug benefits that members of Congress and other federal government employees get today," Dingell said. "Can it pass? That's entirely up to you, Mr. President."

The Republican proposal would cost $350 billion in a 10-year period and would allow private insurers to administer the drug plan. The Democrats' version in the House would be administered by Medicare and cost $800 billion.

Washington, D.C.: Disabilities Act champion dead at 71

Justin Dart Jr., an activist who for more than five decades worked in his wheelchair to champion the cause of people with disabilities, died Saturday. He was 71.

Dart, whose family said he died in his sleep of natural causes, was regarded among the fathers of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the landmark 1990 civil rights law for the disabled. In 1998, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Clinton.

Born in Chicago in 1930, Dart contracted polio in 1948 and used a wheelchair since then. He began working for the disabled from that time and went on to become chairman of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities in the Reagan administration.

In 1990 he received the first pen used by former President Bush at the signing ceremony for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Miami: Trans-Atlantic trip accomplished on jet ski

A Spanish aristocrat who spent 117 days jumping the waves while crossing 8,000 miles of the Atlantic on a waterbike glided to shore Saturday in Miami Beach, heralding his own arrival by nobly waving the Spanish flag.

Then after removing his "ski mask," Alvaro de Marichalar y Saenz de Tejada did something he had not done in four months: allow his feet to touch dry land.

"It feels very, very nice," said Marichalar, who arrived on his twin-engine Bombardier Sea-Doo personal watercraft at 11:53 a.m. Miami time.

A high-profile bachelor who enjoys water sports, Marichalar, 41, first set sail on the high seas on Feb. 23. He left from Rome in hopes of setting a Spanish record for navigation and becoming the first person to cross the Atlantic on a waterbike.

Los Angeles: TV series producer dies at age 70

Television series producer William P. D'Angelo, whose credits include "Love American Style," "Room 222" and "Alice," has died. He was 70.

D'Angelo died June 8 in Los Angeles of pancreatic cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. No other details were given.

D'Angelo was raised in New York, graduated from Fordham University and he was drafted into an Army film unit as a cameraman.

After he was discharged, he worked briefly as an NBC page, then moved to Los Angeles, where he was hired at Warner Bros. as a story analyst. By 1966, he was helping produce the television series "Batman."

In the late 1960s, D'Angelo was producing episodes of "Room 222," "Love, American Style" and "The Young Lawyers." He went on to produce the series "Barefoot in the Park," "Alice," "Big John, Little John" and "Turnabout."

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