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The Friday Faxline

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The Friday Faxline
Issue 383, November 19, 2004

Senate considers "nuclear option"
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has voiced his support for the so-called "nuclear option" on judicial appointments. Over the last three years, abuse of the filibuster by Senate Democrats has resulted in the need for judges to gain the support of sixty Senators rather than the constitutionally-mandated fifty-one. Several judges deemed well-qualified by the American Bar Association gained majority support but did not clear this new hurdle erected by Democrats. The "nuclear option" would change Senate rules so that a simple majority could bring an end to a filibuster. This move it not unprecedented. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the 100-member Senate. Senator Frist was reported this week to have told colleagues that he supports the plan should Democrats continue to block qualified judicial nominees with an unconstitutional delay tactic.

UN's Oil-for-Food program examined by House committee
The House Committee on International Relations met to examine how the United Nations Oil-for-Food program operated. It has become clear in recent weeks that Saddam Hussein played the international community to the tune of billions of dollars a year. This week we got a number: $21.3 billion. That is the amount of money Saddam Hussein socked away by subverting the U.N. Oil-for-Food program. It is unclear what happened to that money, though ample evidence suggests it is still funding terrorist activities against coalition troops, Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces, and humanitarian aid workers in Iraq . Saddam Hussein was able to weaken sanctions by manipulating the Oil-for-Food program in order to funnel humanitarian aid to his military.

Does the government still owe you money?

The National Taxpayers Union says that more than 80,000 Americans have not received $73 million in federal income tax refunds that they are legally owed. These refund checks were sent by the IRS, but were returned because of problems with the recipients' address or name. Those interested in determining whether missed out on a tax refund should visit http://www.ntu.org.

Secretary Powell's next mission
I was saddened to learn of Secretary of State Colin Powell's decision to leave his post. He has distinguished as a great military leader and statesman but his successor, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, will do an excellent job. New York Congressman Vito Fossella has proposed a new mission for General Powell to undertake: a run for the United States Senate in 2006 against current Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. It is unclear what his agenda might be in the Senate or whether he is even interested. The outgoing Secretary of State has offered no hints about his future plans.

F&M Grad offered leadership of Republican Party
President has asked the Republican National Committee to appoint his campaign manager Ken Mehlman as its next chairman. Mr. Mehlman is a 1988 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College .

Quote of the Week
"I know one thing. If we were under direct threat, America would be our ally. I know that its people enjoy, as we have seen, a vibrant competitive democracy; and that in America, Hispanics, blacks, Asians and former Europeans live together, worship in their different ways and can rise from the bottom to the top in a manner we could do well to emulate. I didn't agree with Michael Moore's film. But in America he was able to make it and be praised for it. This is called freedom."

• British Prime Minister Tony Blair

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