The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 41.0°F | Light Rain Fog/Mist

News Briefs I

Perot Likely to Name Running Mate

The Washington Post

Ross Perot Monday said to tune in Tuesday for the announcement of his running mate.

Like any good television personality, Perot plugged his next 30-minute program - scheduled Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS - by promising "a real exciting announcement" on the show. He gave no clues beyond that.

Perot is conducting his third-party campaign for president largely via paid television advertisements, but Monday he finally took questions from someone other than talk-show host Larry King. The answers he gave to members of the Economic Club of Detroit on how he would deal with Social Security and the budget deficit had a familiar ring to them - "watch my infomercials."

Perot, who always extols populist views, sounded particularly sour on the political process Monday.

Unlike war, or even mud-wrestling, Perot said, "there are no ethical standards in politics. Politics is negative, bitter, mean-spirited and destructive.

"It has deteriorated to the point that the best people in our country won't even participate," he said, specifically citing former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Colin Powell, retiring Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia and former Oklahoma senator David Boren. Boren, now president of the University of Oklahoma, is one of those who declined Perot's invitation to join the ticket.

House Panel to Study Federal Union Activities

The Washington Post

Should taxpayers be forced to pay salaries of dozens, maybe hundreds, of federal workers who seldom, if ever, spend time doing the jobs for which they were hired?

Should coworkers (at no extra pay) do the work left by a colleague who - in his union capacity - takes off to negotiate a contract, handle a grievance or have lunch with the head of the agency? If this happens a lot, should that absentee employee even be on the payroll?

Put another way:

Isn't it, in fact, highly cost-effective to pay a few people their salaries to ensure that labor relations run smoothly in the nation's biggest business?

Is is fair to force unions, which must represent non-members, to make up salary lost when an employee representative takes time off to help a non-member in trouble? Oftentimes the most anti-union worker - when in trouble - finds the union is the only place to go for justice.

The above is an oversimplified background to Wednesday's House Civil Service subcommittee hearing. The subject: "Official Time." Unions have been summoned to explain how much time and money their members are getting from the taxpayers to conduct union business rather than do their assigned jobs.

Beach Property Not Made To Survive Hurricanes


As residents of North Carolina's blighted barrier islands start to assess the damage wrought by Hurricane Fran, a number of geologists and storm specialists are shaking their heads in bemusement, and saying many of the beachfront communities should never have been built.

Despite the inspiring beauty of the coast, some island areas are too low and too thin to withstand the might of a hurricane such as Fran, said Duke University geologist Orrin Pilkey.

"People, when they buy property on the beach, are generally in heat," said Pilkey, co-author of the book "Living With the Long Island Shore."

"They know there are storms out there, and they know they're generally infrequent, and that's all they think about it," Pilkey said.

But on islands such as Topsail Island off North Carolina, which took the worst of Fran's wrath, and other beach developments from Long Island to Florida, hurricanes are an inevitability, said Pilkey, director of Duke's program for the study of developed shorelines.