By BILL STRAUB
Scripps Howard News Service
May 20, 2005
High court OKs wine shipments
In a ruling sure to please lovers of the fruit of the vine, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that states that permit in-state wineries to ship their products to consumers must accord out-of-state producers the same privilege. Cheers.
Base closings questioned
The independent commission responsible for reviewing the Pentagon's base-closing proposals wasted no time ripping into the package on Tuesday, raising questions about a plan to close or consolidate hundreds of National Guard and Reserve centers.
"Do you really think this was a smart move?" panel member James Bilbray, a former Democratic congressman from Nevada, asked Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Senate opens debate
It could take the Senate longer than usual to get things done with Wednesday's opening of debate into the use of filibusters to waylay President Bush's judicial nominations. Republicans are hoping to end the practice, arguing that all judicial choices merit an up-or-down vote, while Democrats argue that the majority is stomping on minority rights.
Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., set the tone for the discussion, asserting that what Democrats are doing is "the equivalent of Adolf Hitler in 1942 saying: 'I'm in Paris. How dare you invade me? How dare you bomb my city? It's mine.' This is no more the rule of the Senate than it was the rule of the Senate before not to filibuster."
U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow, whose husband and mother were killed by a gunman at her Chicago home in February, appeared before a Senate committee on Wednesday and criticized lawmakers for engaging in "harsh rhetoric" about the federal bench, saying that such talk could endanger the lives of judges.
President threatens veto
President Bush on Friday threatened to veto legislation pending in the House that would loosen restrictions on stem-cell research despite widespread public support for such study. Bush told reporters that he is concerned the research could involve human cloning.
"I made very clear to Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayer's money, to promote science which destroys life in order to save life - I'm against that," Bush said. "Therefore, if the bill does that, I would veto it."
Magazine retracts claim
Newsweek, which created a firestorm in the Middle East with a report that military officials had confirmed that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had desecrated a copy of the Koran - pitching it into a toilet - retracted the article, saying the source couldn't identify where he discovered the information. The White House blamed the magazine for the unrest in which at least 15 died.
Latino wins in L.A.
Antonio Villaraigosa became the first Latino to win the mayoral race in Los Angeles in more than a century, besting incumbent James Hahn by a substantial margin in Tuesday's voting.
Rice in Iraq
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice took a quick trip to Iraq on Sunday in an effort to convince the new Shiite-dominated government to make more room for the Sunnis, who have not bought into the new system. The word of the day was "inclusiveness." She also warned Syria not to get in the way of progress.
U.S. warns North Korea
National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley warned North Korea on Sunday about conducting nuclear tests, maintaining that the United States and a handful of North Korea's neighbors - though not China - are poised to take punitive action.
"Action would have to be taken," Hadley said on CNN's "Late Edition."
Uzbekistan authorities ended a bloody, four-day revolt on Thursday that the government said led to 169 deaths. The unrest occurred as a result of attempts to establish an Islamic republic in the nation's far eastern part. Some protesters also objected to poor economic conditions.
Martin survives in Canada
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberal government barely survived a no-confidence vote Thursday, pulling off a one-vote victory in the House of Commons after weathering months of scandal that served as a kick-start to the Quebec separatist movement - again.
Firm hit hard
Morgan Stanley has a little explaining to do. A Florida jury found that the investment-banking firm defrauded financier Ronald Perelman in 1998 and awarded him $1.45 billion.
US Airways, the nation's seventh-largest carrier, and Phoenix-based America West, the eighth-largest, announced plans to merge Thursday in a $1.5 billion deal that would create the nation's fifth-largest airline. Arlington, Va.-based US Airways is in bankruptcy, so good luck on your next flight.
"Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" opened in many theaters at midnight Thursday to massive box office returns and little explanation about what a Sith actually is. The reported final chapter of the intergalactic saga brought in $16.5 million in its initial showing.
Gen. Andrew Goodpaster, a trusted adviser to President Dwight Eisenhower and a former NATO commander, died Monday. He was 90.
Frank Gorshin, an impressionist best known for playing the Riddler in the 1960s television series "Batman," died Wednesday. He was 72.
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