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2/29/1996 - Navy Cook Sentenced for Sexual Harassment
On Tuesday, Chief Petty Officer George Powell was convicted of indecent assault, simple assault, and drunk and disorderly conduct for sexually harassing an enlisted woman on a commercial jet in October of 1995 and another woman on a flight in November. The 23-year-old woman on the October flight had testified that Powell, 49 grabbed her breast and said "honk" and put his hand between her legs while she slept in the seat next to his.
Powell was sentenced by a military judge in San Diego to 89 days in the brig, demotion one rank, and reduced pay. He faces additional loss of rank and pay if he does not complete alcohol treatment. Powell has testified that he is an alcoholic suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome and that he was so drunk he does not remember the assault.
Two antiabortion activists, Rae Powell and Carol McAdoo, were taken into custody Wednesday after refusing to answer some questions of a federal grand jury investigating abortion clinic violence. At least one of these questions related to the Army of God manual. Federal officials have called the Army of God a terrorist group and describe its manual as a handbook on crimes against abortion clinics and workers.
Powell and McAdoo were among four Virginia residents alleged to be involved in abortion protests who were subpoenaed to appear before the panel in Newport News. The other two apparently answered questions and were not detained
2/29/1996 - Judge Denies Custody to Lesbian Mother
Judge William G. Boice Tuesday upheld an earlier ruling and denied a lesbian custody of her four-year-old son. Sharon Bottoms had argued that her son, Tyler Doustou, is not developing well under his grandmother’s care and that she could give the boy more loving care. The 1993 custody decision was upheld by the State Supreme Court last year.
The judge ruled that Bottoms’ lesbian lifestyle makes her an unfit parent and denounced plans for a TV movie about the custody battle. Bottoms’ lawyers said she and partner April Wade cooperated with the producers of "For the Love of Tyler" having been told the ABC movie would be made with or without their help.
2/29/1996 - Governors and White House Clash on Welfare, Medicaid; Shalala Says Conflicts Can Be Worked Out
Despite differences in governors’ plan for welfare and Medicaid and the White House vision, Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala said Wednesday that conflicts could be fixed "in 24 hours if everyone got to the table." She told the Senate Finance Committee that Congress must make a number of changes to win approval from President Clinton. The plans were adopted unanimously by governors on February 6; they are based on a bill passed by Republicans but vetoed by Clinton.
"Let’s pass needed Medicaid and welfare reforms. Let’s cut the deficit. But let’s not mix up the two and pretend that one is the other," Shalala said. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), an expert on welfare, argued that almost 5 million of the 10.2 million children expected to be receiving Aid to Dependent Children in 2005 would be cut off from assistance under the five-year time limit being considered. Of that 5 million, almost half would be African American. Sen. Carol Mosley-Braun (D-Ill.) said, "Clearly there is a disparate impact ... on African Americans."
Among Shalala’s other concerns about the plan were eliminating mandatory coverage of children between 13 and 18 and allowing states to set their own definitions for who would qualify as disabled.
Catalyst, a women’s professional support organization, has released a study on female executives that shows women at the top in business are characterized by long work hours and being flexible. Women indicated that the best explanation for their success was they deliver results superior to male colleagues, consistently exceeding expectations. The study showed that 85 percent of female executives are optimistic about women’s promotional potential.
A majority of the women reported having to adjust their personal style so that male executives would not feel threatened. Many indicated that taking up sports such as golf let them in on an inside track that they were otherwise excluded from due to the fact that they were women, with 49 percent of the respondents indicating "exclusion from informal networks" acted as a barrier to career enhancement. Senior vice president and chief financial officer for Avon Products, Inc. Edwina Woodbury, commented on the pervasiveness of male corporate culture, stating, "It’s there all the time. How many business conversations, business decisions, are made in the men’s room … or on a golf day?"
The study polled 1,250 women executives from Fortune 1,000 companies by mail in September of 1995. Thirty-seven percent, or 461 women responded, and their responses were compared to responses from 325 male executives. More than half of the women, and only 25 percent of the men indicated that "male stereotyping and preconceptions of women" were top factors in holding back their careers. Male CEOs cited "lack of significant general management or line experience" as the chief factor holding back women’s advancement, while women ranked it third. The report stated, "Until more women become plant managers, heads of sales and marketing, vice presidents for operations and division presents … with substantial profit and loss responsibilities, the pipeline to corporate leadership will continue to lack a critical mass of women."
The average income for respondents was $248,000, and 91 percent were white. Three quarters of them are married, and 64 percent have children. The study was funded by Seagram Co.
On Tuesday, prosecutors rested their case in the murder trial of John Salvi, accused of murdering two women in an attack on two abortion clinics in Brookline, Mass. They concluded their case with graphic testimony from Dr. Richard Evans, the chief Massachusetts medical examiner, describing the damage to the bodies of Lee Ann Nichols, shot 10 times, and Shannon Lowney, shot twice. The jury was prevented from seeing part of a videotape showing Lowney’s body shortly after the shooting.
The defense opened its case with the testimony of Harvard University psychiatrist Dr. Donald Goff, an expert on schizophrenia who described the disease’s symptoms. Dr. Goff has not examined Salvi. Defense lawyers say Salvi was insane at the time he committed the crimes, and they are expected to bring in half-a-dozen mental health workers. Prosecutors will rebut with state psychiatrists testifying that Salvi is sane by legal standards.
If convicted, Salvi would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. An acquittal by reason of insanity would confine him to a mental hospital, but he could be released if authorities later conclude he is sane.
Shortly before attacking two abortion clinics and killing two people, John Salvi portrayed himself as a rebel combating an evil, anti-Christian cabal in a skit he wrote. Prosecutors presented the handwritten script and religious diatribe hoping to show that Salvi was motivated by his anti-abortion views when he attacked the clinics in Brookline, Mass. in December of 1994.
Quotes from the script include: "God bless America’ is a good speech, but God does not bless those for promoting abortion and saying it’s OK" and "In the United States of America, the Supreme Court has killed over 23 million American citizens by ruling on Jan. 22 1973 that abortion is legal." One character, "Tax Collector Bob," is also referred to as "Mr. Clinton" and says his cabal, the "Pentagram" needs taxes to fight the Russians. Character "Peasant John" protests that God gave humans land to live on and did not make other men its owners or give governments the right to collect taxes.
The defense maintains that such passages show delusions of grandeur and belief in a conspiracy against the sufferer, indicators of paranoid schizophrenia. While Salvi’s lawyers do not that deny Salvi committed the murders, they claim he was insane at the time. A verdict of innocent by reason of insanity would confine Salvi to a prison mental hospital, with the possibility that he could be released if authorities determine he is sane.
If convicted, Salvi would face a mandatory life sentence in prison. The prosecution maintains that Salvi planned and executed the clinic attacks, later changing his appearance in an effort to escape detection. FBI agents have testified to finding anti-abortion literature and pictures of aborted fetuses in Salvi’s apartment and truck after his arrest in Norfolk, VA following his alleged shooting at a Norfolk abortion clinic.
2/27/1996 - Abortion Clinic Violence Investigated
A federal investigation into violence against abortion clinics will convene next week in Norfolk, VA. The Norfolk clinic attacked in December, 1994 by John Salvi, accused of murdering two clinic workers in Brookline, Mass., is still having trouble.
According to documents and interviews with military service members and their families, there is widespread confusion over how to implement the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy; some service members are still being subjected to sweeping investigations of their sex lives on the basis of second-hand reports.
The Defense Network was to make a public report Tuesday to say that its monitoring of hundreds of cases showed that the policy was "as bad, if not worse, than its predecessors," with witch hunts of homosexuals prevalent in all branches of the military.
The Defense Network said that women account for a fifth of discharges for homosexuality even though they make up 13 percent of the active duty force, statistics which show that women are being singled out for harassment.
Lawrence J. Korb, assistant secretary of Defense for manpower in the Reagan administration and current senior fellow at the Brookings Institution said that the "don’t ask, don’t tell" policy was being violated "all the time" and that women are often accused of being lesbians after they file complaints of sexual harassment or assault against co-workers. "With women in the military," Korb said, "you’re either accused of being promiscuous or of being a lesbian."
Administration officials said Monday that the Clinton administration will soon raise major objections to changes in welfare and Medicaid that were unanimously recommended by the nation’s governors. After studying the proposals for three weeks, administration officials said they had found many reasons for concern. A draft of secretary of health and human services Donna Shalala’s testimony says the federal guarantee of Medicaid coverage under the governors’ plan "does not appear to be real and enforceable for beneficiaries."
The testimony, prepared for a Senate hearing on Wednesday also said that the governors’ proposals are unacceptable because they could harm people who receive welfare, food stamps or Medicaid; children who have been abused or neglected; doctors; hospitals; and the federal government. Shalala explains that "Some long-standing protections would be reduced or eliminated" and "Medicaid would be the sole federal statute conferring benefits on individuals with no possibility of federal enforcement by its intended beneficiaries."
Shalala said that "individuals with HIV, certain physical disabilities or mental illness could be precluded from receiving critically need services under Medicaid" if governors repealed the federal definition of disability and allowed states to set their own eligibility standards. Federal standards for nursing homes could also "be rendered meaningless" without federal monitoring and enforcement, Shalala said.
Shalala objects to block-granting money for child protection services which she says could "jeopardize the ultimate safety net for abused and neglected children. Shalala also said the administration strenuously objects to allowing some states to run their own food stamp programs with lump sum of federal funds and minimal federal standards, another part of the governors’ plan.
The White House may pursue a two-track strategy, making vague, favorable comments about the intentions of the governors’ plan while objecting to many of the important details of the proposals.
2/26/1996 - Buchanan Appeals to Foes of Homosexuality, Immigration and Big Government in Fundraising
According to Pat Buchanan’s recent direct-mail fundraising letter, there’s a "bloody assault" on the GOP’s stand against abortion, and "liberals in our party are already demanding the addition of a homosexual rights plank in the next Republican platform." Pitched to those who fear recognition for gays, immigrants, and "renegade" federal judges, Buchanan’s fundraising letters offer believers an opportunity to fill out a petition called the "1996 Republican Platform Demand" and send it along with a donation.
A dozen direct-mail letters sent out by Buchanan during this campaign were reviewed by the Associated Press. One letter criticized the "judges and justices who drove prayer and the Bible out of our public schools" as well as the "social radicals and gay rights activists who wish to indoctrinate America’s children in positive attitudes’ toward homosexuality using as propaganda tools, books for first-graders like Daddy’s Roommate and Heather Has Two Mommies.
A favorite populist line of Buchanan’s in fundraising letters is that, if elected, he’ll "run a sword through the ruinous and failed ideology of Big Government Liberalism, and finish it off for once and for all."
The Associated Press report follows Buchanan’s statement last week that he would not allow anyone who was openly gay to serve in his administration. Several campaign staff were also let go last week among allegations that they had ties to the National Association for the Advancement of White People, the Ku Klux Klan and/or the 1992 David Duke Presidential campaign.
Protesting a ban on all extracurricular clubs enacted to get rid of student gay-straight alliances, hundreds of Salt Lake City, Utah high school students walked out of school Friday and marched on the state capitol. About 400 students gathered across the street from East High School shouting We will fight for our rights” and holding signs reading Separate Church and State” to denounce the school board’s 4-3 decision Tuesday to ban all non-academic clubs.
Protesters from East High heeded their principal’s request to end the protest because they felt they had gotten the recognition they sought, according to Vanessa Palme, member of the alliance that sought formal recognition at East.
The march occurred as the Utah Senate passed a bill that would prohibit teachers from condoning illegal conduct in schools, a measure Democratic opponents decry as a swipe at gay clubs and their faculty sponsors.
The march also turned out gay club opponents with signs reading SAFE- Students Against Faggots at East” and resulted in an accident when a protester walking out of West High school fell from a car hood and was pinned underneath the car.
2/24/1996 - Louisiana NAACP Holds Civil Rights March
Ernest Johnson, president of the Louisiana branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People called a march for Saturday on the state capitol in response to Republican Gov. Mike Foster’s executive order last month abolishing affirmative action and minority set-aside programs. Foster had also supported a federal court-drawn congressional redistricting plan that eliminates one of the state’s two majority black districts.
The march was expected to draw 20,000 people. We’ve worked hard for a non-violent, peaceful march, and we intend to keep it that way,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, a significantly smaller group of white supremacists--the National Association for the Advancement of White People--planned its own rally at the Old State Capitol. The NAAWP rally was called to support the governor’s actions and will feature as a key speaker David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan leader and founder of the NAAWP.
Two prosecution witnesses testified Thursday that they watched accused abortion-clinic gunman John Salvi engaged in target practice at extremely close range on the day before the December 1994 attacks on two Brookline, Mass. abortion clinics. Salvi's lawyers say that Salvi committed the shootings, which claimed the lives of two women and wounded five others, but that he was insane at the time.
Prosecutors showed jurors videotapes of Salvi demonstrating at two protests at the woman's clinic he later attacked, claiming the tapes reveal Salvi was a purposeful anti-abortion activist.
Another prosecution witness, David Fairbanks, testified last week that Salvi fired at him three times and missed. Fairbanks said that Salvi shouted at victim Lee Anne Nichols, "This is what you get! You should pray the rosary!" while shooting her ten consecutive times. Other prosecution witnesses present during the shootings testified. Salvi has been identified as the gunman by nearly a dozen witnesses.
South Dakota Governor William J. Janklow signed a bill Friday that says the state will only recognize marriage between a man and a woman. South Dakota became the second state to rewrite its marriage laws to deny lesbian and gay couples the right to marry, following a similar law enacted last year in Utah.
The South Dakota bill is in response to a lawsuit being brought in Hawaii by the ACLU that seems likely to lead to the legalization of same-sex marriages. Radical right groups at a recent Iowa rally vowed to pass anti-gay marriage legislation throughout the 50 states in a preemptive attack on the Hawaii lawsuit.
Director of the ACLU's National Lesbian and Gay Rights Project Matthew Coles responded, "Marriage is a fundamental human right that every American should have the freedom to choose... Although many lesbian and gay couples have been together for decades, and share the same responsibilities that married couples share, they are treated as no more than strangers under the law."
Milwaukee circuit Judge David Hansher hit a medical lab Thursday with the maximum $20,000 fine for misreading the Pap smears of two women who subsequently died of cervical cancer. The judge said the maximum fine for the 1993 deaths of Dolores Geary and Karin Smith was "absolutely inadequate" and asked lawmakers to set tougher penalties.
The women's numerous tests from 1987 to 1990 were sent to Chem-Bio Corp. by their HMO, Family Health Plan, and were all handled by the same technologist, June S. Fricano. An expert reviewed the test slides, stating that cancer signs were obvious and that the women would have had up to a 95 percent chance of survival if they were properly read.
The Geary family and the Smith family sued the lab, the HMO, Fricano, the lab owner and others, settling for $3.5 million and $6.3 million, respectively.
2/22/1996 - Clinton Announces Domestic Violence Hotline
On Wednesday, President Clinton inaugurated a national domestic violence hotline at a White House ceremony. Having intervened as a teen-ager after his step-father beat his mother, Clinton was visibly moved as survivors of domestic violence told their stories of fear and of the need for advocacy when members of the clergy, the health profession, and the police force could not be trusted to act on the problem.
The Health and Human Services Department provided a $1 million grant to the Texas Council on Family Violence to establish the computerized hotline as a result of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers, and counseling.
Also on Wednesday, the American Psychological Association announced that domestic violence has reached "epidemic proportions. Members spoke as a presidential task force unveiled recommendations for intervention programs in schools, churches and hospitals.
The domestic violence hotline began operating Wednesday morning and took more than 60 calls in its first few hours. The toll-free number is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). There is also a toll-free number for the hearing-impaired, 1-800-787-3224.
Domestic Violence Information Center
Backers of a California initiative that would outlaw affirmative action programs for women and people of color and would make sex discrimination legal filed over 1 million signatures Wednesday (February 21) to place the measure on the November ballot. The deceptively titled "California Civil Rights Initiative" would bar the state of California from continuing affirmative action policies used since the 1960s, policies enacted to increase opportunities for women and people of color.
A coalition of more than 100 women’s rights and civil rights groups vowed to defend affirmative action and sex discrimination laws by defeating the CCRI. The Campaign for Women’s Rights and Civil Rights includes the Feminist Majority, the YWCA, the National Organization for Women (NOW), and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. Katherine Spillar, National Coordinator for the Feminist Majority, explained, "This (measure) is a big, big threat to all the rights that women have won in recent years. And it goes without saying that now you’re talking about half the population."
A little-known clause within the CCRI, Clause C, specifically legalizes discrimination on the basis of sex. "People need to know that if this initiative passes, we’ll be going back to things like firing women from their jobs just because they’ve become pregnant," Spillar said. "Women’s jobs and women’s paychecks are on the line."
Opponents of the initiative and supporters alike acknowledge that the effect of this initiative could reach well beyond California. Former campaign manager for the initiative Joe Gelman said, "The idea is to start here and then do away with affirmative action in the entire country." Already, deceptive "Civil Rights" initiatives are being circulated in 5 other states: Colorado, Florida, Oregon, Illinois, and Washington. Similar legislative efforts have been introduced in 17 states. With the backing of leaders in both houses of Congress, 9 similar bills have been introduced at the federal level.
Supporters of the CCRI include California Governor Pete Wilson ( R ) and Sacramento businessman Ward Connerly.
Text of CCRI
The Salt Lake City, Utah Board of Education voted Tuesday to ban all non-academic extracurricular clubs from the city’s three public high schools rather than allow a gay student organization.
Board members said federal law and a Supreme Court ruling forced them to choose between allowing all, or eliminating all, extracurricular clubs. The ban begins with the 1996-97 school year and will affect some 30 service, ethnic or sports clubs. An opponent of the ban, Board president Mary Jo Rasmussen said it was unclear whether the high schools’ varsity teams would be eliminated as well.
Club backers maintain that gay students need one another’s support in a homophobic environment, while opponents of the club are wary of giving "approval" to what they consider "immoral conduct."
The Utah Legislature is considering two bills addressing gay clubs, one requiring parental consent for clubs meeting on school grounds and another preventing school employees and volunteers from supporting illegal conduct, such as sodomy. Roughly 85 percent of the 104 member of the Utah State Legislature are Mormon. The Mormon church condemns homosexual acts and sexual relationships outside of marriage.
Carol Gnade, executive director of the ACLU in Salt Lake city described the Board’s decision as an outrage and compared it to segregation.
In a unanimous opinion Friday, a federal appeals court upheld a permanent injunction issued last March by U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Stevens ordering abortion protester Regina R. Dinwiddie to stay 500 feet from any abortion clinic in the U.S., except for "legitimate personal activity" and peaceful protesting. The injunction also bans her use of an electric bullhorn to yell at patients or employees of abortion clinics.
The decision marks the first finding nationwide in a case involving a protester where the court ruled that a 1994 law protecting access to abortion clinics was legal. The Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) law, signed by President Clinton in May 1994, has been upheld by two other federal appeals courts.
In addition to her long-standing activism in the anti-abortion movement, Dinwiddie, of Kansas City, also threatened or intimidated Planned Parenthood employees, according to their testimony in a series of hearings before Stevens. Clinic medical director Robert Crist said that Dinwiddie warned him, "remember Dr. Gunn ... This could happen to you ...He is not in the world anymore," referring to the abortion provider murdered in Pensacola, FL.
While Hawaii sits on the verge of sanctioning marriage or "domestic partnership" by couples of the same sex, opponents of same-sex unions are complaining about the potential societal impact of such unions and their cost to state and federal agencies. Peter Knight, a Republican member of the California Assembly and chief sponsor of the state's bill prohibiting recognition of gay unions, said, "It's not right to give same-sex couples the same economic benefits meant to aid families raising children."
An equal protection clause in Hawaii's liberal state constitution prohibits such denial of rights unless there is a "compelling state interest," according to a 1993 Hawaii Supreme Court ruling. A lower court is expected to grant the marriage licenses by year's end, ruling on a case to be reheard in July. This outlook has opponents pushing a state constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex unions. At a debate before the Iowa caucuses, five of the Republican presidential candidates pledged to oppose legalization of "same sex" marriages by either signing or delivering letters.
Hawaii Gov. Benjamin Cayetano supports a separate plan of key legislators to push a measure next year approving expanded benefits for any co-habitating couples, regardless of gender, and including siblings.
Last week, convicted batterer Maximo Pena assaulted his ex-girlfriend, who he felt had "snubbed him" on Valentine's Day. In July 1995, Pena had been freed by New York Judge Lorin Duckman in spite of prosecutors' demands for a two-year jail term. Earlier last week a woman was killed by ex-boyfriend Benito Oliver, another convict set free by Duckman under similar circumstances. Oliver then turned the gun on himself.
These instances have inspired efforts to get Duckman removed from the bench. Mayor Rudolph Guiliani has called the judge's record "bizarre" and "sick," and Gov. George E. Pataki questioned the judge's "fitness to continue to serve" out the 10-year term he was appointed to in 1993.
Special school investigator Edward Stancik also expressed concern, citing the case of the teacher who was acquitted of using a stolen school computer to produce child pornography after Duckman threw out key evidence.
After remarking that Microsoft did not employ a single "secretary" and that the company wanted nothing to do with "secretaries," computer mogul Bill Gates has written an apology to this week's Administrative Assistant Adviser magazine. He stated that while Microsoft support staff go by the title of "administrative assistant" rather than secretary, he has the "highest regard for office professionals."
According to attorney J.W. Carney, Jr., John Salvi killed two abortion clinic workers and wounded five others because he was driven by schizophrenic delusions. Carney stressed that this case is about "not what happened, or by whom it happened, but why it happened." However, Assistant District Attorney John Kivlan noted in his opening statement that when Salvi was arrested, police found maps in his truck detailing routes to the clinics and found that Salvi had purchased a .22-caliber assault rifle, "used primarily for killing."
Many witnesses for the prosecution testified Wednesday, one after another identifying Salvi as the gunman. Salvi's defense attorney did not cross-examine any witnesses.
On Tuesday, a federal court ruled that by not properly investigating claims of sexual harassment by an employee, Columbia University implicitly condoned that behavior. The jury found that Columbia must pay Sharon Karibian $450,000.
Ms. Karibian had reported that her supervisor, Mark Urban, had threatened to cut her hours if she did not have and continue to have a sexual relationship with him. When she went to university officials, they failed to investigate the charges