The Common Good
November-December 2002

Newsbites

by Rose Marie Berger, Jodi Hochstedler | November-December 2002

Waste Not. South Carolina Gov.

Waste Not. South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, below, who vowed to block federal shipments of radioactive plutonium through his state by any means necessary, now says he won't block shipments while his case is under appeal. Hodges blasted the federal government in television commercials, mobilized state troopers, and threatened to set up a roadblock to keep the waste out.

No Noose. After the pope's visit to Guatemala earlier this year, President Portillo introduced legislation to end the death penalty in his country. If successful, Guatemala will bring the total to 112 countries that have abolished the death penalty in law or practice. Turkey (yep, Turkey) and Montenegro also recently ended capital punishment.

Child Care. Abused and neglected children are 59 percent more likely to be arrested as juveniles, 28 percent more likely to be arrested as adults, and 30 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime than their counterparts, according to a study by Kidsave International.

Latin Losers. Key players in Venezuela's failed coup last April were trained at the U.S. Army's School of the Americas in Columbus, Georgia. Additionally, U.S. officials met with coup leaders for months prior to the attempt, and a U.S. intelligence officer alleges that the Navy provided intelligence support from its Caribbean fleet.

You're Fired. A .38-caliber pistol accidentally discharged as Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), an NRA board member, was handling it during a reception in his honor. The bullet shattered a glass door, but no one was hurt. "We were handling it safely, except that it was loaded," said lobbyist Bruce Widener.

Organized Religion. Employees at four Rio Grande Valley Catholic parishes have unionized, forming the first Catholic Church employee union in the nation. About 30 people signed contracts with the United Farm Workers of America and the AFL-CIO in an effort to secure pensions and fair wages.

School Closing. The U.S. Army has closed its Peacekeeping Institute—the only arm of the military devoted entirely to developing principles on how to conduct peacekeeping missions. "They're dismantling an office that has brought real expertise and perspective to peacekeeping," said Kenneth Bacon of Refugees International.

Bombs Away. High-ranking U.S. military officials joined with national religious leaders in August in calling for the outlawing and prohibition of nuclear weapons worldwide. "Nuclear weapons are weapons of indiscriminate effect and terror. The threat of their use represents an abhorrent condition we seek to eliminate cooperatively," said signers of the Nuclear Reduction/Disarmament Initiative.

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