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News Briefs

Party Operatives Form Groups To Continue Soft Money Flow

THE WASHINGTON POST -- WASHINGTON

Some of the biggest names in Republican and Democratic circles are establishing new groups to collect and spend the unlimited political donations that were supposed to be curbed by the recent campaign finance law.

White House political operatives, high-profile lobbyists, former aides to President Clinton and staffers at the Democratic and Republican senatorial campaign committees are setting up tax-exempt organizations to raise and spend “soft money.” That refers to large sums collected from corporations, unions, trade groups and individuals outside of the normal limits on donations to federal campaigns.

Growing Deficit Not an Issue In Current Races

THE WASHINGTON POST

Iowa Democrat Ann Hutchinson figured she had the perfect theme for her uphill campaign to unseat House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle. The mayor of Bettendorf had taken over that troubled Mississippi River town and turned its finances around, while Nussle watched in Washington as record federal budget surpluses turned suddenly into burgeoning deficits.

But then scandal-scarred Tyco International Ltd. decided to shut down two plants in the congressional district, and Hutchinson’s campaign pivoted from budgets to corporate accountability. Jobs and the economy jumped to the fore, followed by such Democratic staples as Social Security and prescription drug coverage for seniors.

The Hutchinson campaign’s decision illustrates a significant feature of the midterm elections of 2002. On Tuesday, the Congressional Budget Office will release its midyear portrait of the government’s fiscal health, officially declaring the budget in triple-digit deficit, probably through 2004, the most dramatic turnabout in the nation’s fiscal fortunes since World War II. Yet neither party has been able to make political hay out of the return to red ink.

“Deficits have never been a good issue,” said Lea Anne McBride, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s press secretary. “I have absolutely zero concern about that.”

Indiana University Officials Won’t Follow Party Line

THE WASHINGTON POST

The chant “We’re Number 1!” is a staple at school gymnasium and ball fields as opposing teams square off in sports.

But being No. 1 is not always a good thing. Officials at Indiana University’s Bloomington campus were none too happy with the school’s designation as the nation’s No. 1 party school, according to a survey by the Princeton Review.

IU President Myles Brand and Chancellor Sharon Brehm, in a letter to the Review, said they were “profoundly disturbed” and took “great exception” to the ranking.

“We join with the American Medical Association in its recent call to your company to stop publishing such an annual ranking because it ignores the risk of heavy drinking and promotes a distorted view of college life,” the letter said. “Frankly, if any student bases his/her decision about Indiana University Bloomington on alcohol availability, that student will be sadly disappointed. We have never been more aggressive in enforcing our university’s strict alcohol policies.”

The annual listing is compiled from an unscientific survey of 100,000 students at 345 colleges. Schools are ranked in 63 categories, including least religious students and best dorms, based on 70 questions students voluntarily answer online or during campus visits. An average of 300 students responded per campus.

Clemson University, the University of Alabama, Penn State University and the University of Florida rounded out the top five party schools.

Adelina Domingues, Oldest American, Dies at 114

LOS ANGELES TIMES -- SAN DIEGO

Adelina Domingues, considered the oldest person in the United States by the Guinness Book of World Records, has died. She was 114.

Domingues died of congestive heart failure Wednesday afternoon at a San Diego-area nursing home, family members said.

A naturalized citizen of fiercely independent temperament and deep religious faith, she outlived her sea captain husband and four children and carried on a correspondence with Ronald Reagan while he was president.

“She believed in the American dream,” said grandson Stephen Domingues. “If you gave her a microphone or an audience, she was ready to go.”

Born in 1888 in modest circumstances on the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa, Domingues attributed her longevity to her daily regimen of eating vegetables and beans and her lifelong avoidance of alcohol and tobacco.

“She also thought she lived longer because she never played cards or went to a beauty parlor,” said Bob Silva, a Palm Desert artist and friend of Domingues. “She was very proud of that.”

She did missionary work for the Church of the Nazarene in Africa and the Cape Verde Islands and was a vigorous street-corner preacher during her years in Boston and New Bedford, Mass. She occasionally sailed with her husband, Jose, on his voyages as the captain of merchant ships. He died of cancer in 1950.

On her 100th birthday, in heavily accented English, Domingues lectured a public gathering that too many Americans take freedom for granted.