Archive for Thursday, March 14, 2002


March 14, 2002


Washington, D.C.: Military's dismissal rate of gays highest since 1987

The number of people kicked out of the military for homosexuality rose last year to the highest total since 1987, military figures show.

About one-sixth were from a Kentucky Army base where a soldier thought to be gay was beaten to death in 1999.

The military dismissed 1,250 people last year for homosexual conduct or for stating their homosexuality, up from 1,241 in 2000, according to figures provided by the service branches to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an advocacy group.

Reports of anti-gay harassment increased 23 percent, from 871 in 2000 to 1,075 last year, the organization said in its annual report on the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The policy, which went into effect in 1994, allows gay men and lesbians to serve as long as they keep their sexual orientation private and do not engage in homosexual acts.

Washington, D.C.: Report says Clinton pardons were an abuse of his power

Former President Clinton abused his power by giving pardons to controversial figures like Marc Rich based on the recommendations of relatives and confidants, a congressional report says.

"Clinton granted pardons and commutations to individuals who never would have received clemency but for the fact that they hired individuals close to the president to represent them," a House Government Reform Committee report said.

The 470-page report called "Justice Undone: Clemency Decisions in the Clinton White House," to be released today, was obtained by The Associated Press.

The report has no legal weight.

The most controversial pardon was that of Rich, who was indicted in 1983 on federal charges accusing him of evading more than $48 million in income taxes and illegally buying oil from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis. He left the country before he was indicted and lives in Switzerland.

His ex-wife, Denise Rich, is a major financial contributor to the Democratic Party.

Washington, D.C.: Postmaster general warns of $2 billion deficit this year

The Postal Service is facing a loss of more than $2 billion this year as mail volume lags and costs of sanitizing the mail and cleaning up contaminated offices mount.

Postmaster General John E. Potter told a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday that the projected deficit for this year is "somewhere above $2 billion."

Potter said the agency is hoping the Postal Rate Commission will accelerate consideration of a rate increase so the higher prices can take effect this summer rather than in the fall as planned.

The post office is seeking a 3-cent increase in the price of sending a letter, to 37 cents. If the higher prices do not go into place early, losses could rise to $3 billion or more, Potter said.

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