Dumpster diver gets dirt on Hyde

Recently discovered documents which may reveal serious campaign finance abuses by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.) were unearthed by a mental patient who was rumaging through a dumpster outside a legal firm which occasionally represents Hyde, according to THE HILL.

The documents indicate that Hyde was the beneficiary of thousands of dollars of pro bono legal work in 1994 while he defended himself against allegations that his mismanagement of a savings and loan led to its 1990 failure and eventual federal bailout. If Hyde did not in fact pay the bill for that representation, he may have violated the House’s “gift rule,” which limits gifts to $100. If Hyde did pay the bill out of his campaign funds, as his own financial records appear to indicate, Hyde may find himself in hot water with the House ethics committee.



Gun dealer pays off murder capital

Dec. 2

The multi-city campaign to squeeze compensation out of gun dealers for their role in helping to flood urban streets with firearms has claimed its first small victory. THE MIAMI HERALD reports that Fetla’s Trading Company of Valparaiso, Ind., recently agreed to stop selling handguns and pay nearby Gary $10,000, in exchange for being dropped from a city lawsuit over illegal sales. Undercover cops had successfully posed as minors and felons to buy guns from several dealers in the Gary area, which has topped America’s murder charts three times in the ’90s.



Flying while Arab

Dec. 1

Whenever an airplane goes down, suspicion of Arab travelers goes up, reports THE BALTIMORE SUN. In the wake of the still-unexplained EgyptAir crash, civil-rights groups are collecting what they say are a growing number of reports of Arab passengers being singled out for extra questioning and humiliating security searches. The US Transportation Department, while denying any such systemic racism, is preparing an investigation into the issue.

Last month, for instance, an America West flight was evacuated on a runway while two Saudi Arabian doctoral students were handcuffed and questioned for hours. The evidence of their terrorist intent: allegedly jiggling the cockpit door and asking questions a flight attendant found suspicious. The airline later apologized.



Hog-maker heaven

Nov. 30

Harley Davidson — long known for sharing an intimate connection with its customers — is now at the forefront of a movement to strengthen the bond between workers and management, THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reports.

At the company’s motorcycle plant in Kansas City, Mo, egalitarianism reigns. Hourly workers decide everything from how to spend their department’s budget to which CD will be played over the plant’s speakers. Hourly employees here can leap to the ranks of salaried worker in just a few years — something virtually unheard of in most blue-collar positions.

Plant managers say their prole-positive approach has increased productivity and worker pride. “I’ll tell you, nobody at Honda is tattooing the company’s name on their body,” boasts union president Ted Gee.



Chernobyl back online

Nov. 29

Thought your biggest worry these days was Y2K? Think again. Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power plant is up and running at full capacity 13 years after the worst nuclear accident in history at the site, according to the NANDO TIMES. This is despite international criticism, and a 1995 agreement between Ukraine and the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations which called for Chernobyl to close permanently by the year 2000.

Why fire up an ancient reactor which still has serious safety problems — including holes in the steel-and-concrete sarcophagus which covers reactor No. 4, the one which exploded in 1986? Because the Ukranian economy can’t survive without the income from the plant, and can’t afford to build a safer alternative. Where’s the World Bank when you need it?




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