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News Briefs II

New Analysis of Texaco Tapes Challenges Alleged Racial Slurs

The Washington Post

Texaco Inc. officials said Monday that a new analysis of a controversial tape recording shows that its officials did not use racial epithets in discussing a race-discrimination lawsuit. But the findings "do not change the categorically unacceptable context and tone of those conversations," Texaco Chairman Peter I. Bijur said.

Outside investigators hired by Texaco concluded that the company's former treasurer, who was tape-recorded allegedly using the word "nigger," actually said "Saint Nicholas," and that other comments about "black jelly beans" were used in what could have been a non-racist context.

Although the report may lessen the damage to Texaco's wounded public image, it will not eliminate the company's legal problems. The company continues to face the lawsuit and a criminal investigation into whether its officials destroyed documents regarding the employment of blacks.

In the civil lawsuit, filed in federal court in White Plains, N.Y., numerous current and former Texaco employees have said that the company discriminated against them in pay and promotions, in addition to calling them names like "porch monkey" and making remarks about their ability to do their jobs, according to court records.

GOPSeen as Likely to Keep Control Of House in 1998 Elections

The Washington Post

The re-elections of President Clinton and a Republican House majority give the GOP a clear edge to keep control of the House in the next congressional elections, according to political analysts.

But Republicans' grand predictions of building the same kind of 40-year dominance in the House that the Democrats had until 1994 are premature, the analysts said.

"They'll certainly have the edge in 1998," said Gary C. Jacobson, a University of California, San Diego, political scientist. "But that doesn't mean they'll win in 2000."

Beside the inherent advantages of incumbency, the greatest basis for forecasting a Republican's advantage in two years is history: The president's party has lost seats in the House in every off-year election but one since the Civil War.. The exception was in 1934, during President Franklin D. Roosevelt's first term, signaling a major shift toward the Democratic Party.

Both analysts and Democratic officials forecast that many veteran Democratic lawmakers are likely to retire, presenting opportunities for GOP gains. One reason is the Democrats' failure to regain the majority this year - despite the unpopularity of House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), lingering public anger over the two partial government shutdowns and massive spending by Democrats' allies in organized labor.

In addition, life in the minority of a narrowly divided House is likely to be frustrating. If the post-election rhetoric from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is to be believed, Clinton and congressional Republicans will work together to balance the budget and overhaul the nation's campaign finance laws and entitlement programs - issues that hold little appeal for congressional Democrats.