By LISA HOFFMAN
October 20, 2006
Two years ago a California company came up with a way to get around the telemarketing ban that millions of consumers signed up for when a "do-not-call" registry was created in 2003.
The firm contended prerecorded calls should be exempt from that don't-bother-us-anymore rule. Other marketers joined in, saying taped calls aren't as annoying as those with a human doing the speaking.
But the FTC disconnected that argument this month, saying no robo-calls would be allowed unless the customer consented in writing to receive them.
Lobbyists are lining up to get their contributions back from the campaign chest of former Rep. Mark Foley, the Florida GOP lawmaker who fled Congress amidst a sex scandal involving congressional pages.
When he resigned in September, Foley had accumulated nearly $2 million in a political action committee that funneled big bucks to Republican candidates. Now, it's the contributors with their hands out.
Foley's latest campaign report shows he already has returned about $25,000, including $7,000 to the National Restaurant Association's PAC and $4,000 to pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. The Hill newspaper reported insurance company AFLAC has requested its $10,000 back.
But one PAC appears not to have gotten the message. Instead of asking for a refund, the National Right to Life Political Action Committee sent Foley an $820 donation on Wednesday.
Nov. 7 will be the first national election night in decades without the formidable troika of network news lions anchoring the returns. Since 2004, CBS's Dan Rather and NBC's Tom Brokaw have retired, and ABC's Peter Jennings died.
The doctor supply is beginning to catch up with demand. The Association of American Medical Colleges reports that first-year enrollment in the nation's medical schools edged up by about 2.2 percent this year, the second straight year of an increase in the ranks of freshman medicos.
This trend is a reverse from one that began in the late 1990s, when talented college students were more likely to shun the rigors and expense of medical careers, which were becoming less rewarding thanks to the advent of managed care. Still, the association says enrollment needs to jump by 30 percent in the next decade to ensure there will enough docs to care for the nation's aging population.
Now hear this: The Navy's new reading list for upwardly mobile sailors is out. Among the books recommended: "Leadership," by Rudolph Giuliani; "Starship Troopers," by Robert Heinlein; "The Crisis of Islam," by Bernard Lewis; "Freakonomics," by Steven Levitt; "The Savage Wars of Peace," by Max Boot; "A Passage to India," by E.M. Forster, and "The Caine Mutiny," by Herman Wouk.
Hoping to create a new national Veterans Day tradition, the Department of Veterans Affairs is inviting all vets on the upcoming Nov. 11, and all that follow, to wear the medals they earned during military service. Inspired by a similar annual rite in Australia and New Zealand, the idea is to remind Americans of the thanks owed its vets and the pride the nation should take in them.
All is apparently not well in giant panda land at the National Zoo, where the father of toddler Tai Shan has developed some behavioral issues. Tian Tian, who has been kept by himself since Tai was born last year, is compulsively "rocking his mouth over his forepaws and foaming from the mouth," according to zoo officials. Boredom is one likely cause, and his keepers say they will try to jazz his life up a bit now that a new and larger panda compound was opened this week.
It was quite a menu for Monday's White House Iftaar dinner, an annual affair that brings distinguished U.S. Muslims and diplomats together with President Bush to break the day's fast during the holy month of Ramadan. Among the dishes served: spiced carrot soup and roasted quince; mint pesto-crusted halibut, citrus fondue, wheatberry pilaf and almonds and currants; vine-ripened tomato salad; warm pear souffle, and chocolate macaroons.
Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com
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