The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 14, 1995, Page 2, Image 2

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    &=- News Digest
‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy
faces challenge in court
NEW YORK — The first law
suit challenging the Pentagon’s
“don’t ask, don’t tell” policy went
to trial Monday, with experts testi
fying there is no evidence homo
sexuals damage morale or make
bad soldiers and sailors.
As some of the six plaintiffs sat
in court in their Army or Navy
uniforms, U.S. District Judge Eu
gene Nickerson heard testimony
from a psychiatrist who said the
hundreds of gay sailors he coun
seled over the years were no better
or worse at their jobs than hetero
The judge also heard from a
military analyst who said he could
find no “clear line of agreement”
that a person’s sexual orientation
can harm military performance.
Nickerson, who is hearing the
case without a jury, said he will
issue a ruling sometime this month.
The lawsuit seeks to overturn
the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t
tell” policy, saying it violates free
speech rights. Under the rule, gays
may serve in the military as long as
they do not engage in homosexual
activity and keep their sexual ori
entation private.
‘Tow don’t have to like
someone to work with
them. ”
Former Rand Corp. researcher
The plaintiffs want it replaced
with a rule that states sexual orien
tation is “not germane” to perfor
mance and that all service mem
bers be held to identical standards.
Deputy Assistant Attorney Gen
eral John Rogovin said the govern
ment plans to call no witnesses;
but will cite testimony of senior
officers and experts before Con
gress to buttress its view that “don’t
ask, don’t tell” works.
About 500 people have been
discharged under the rule. Some
15 openly gay service members
are still on duty, pending the out
come of appeals.
The Washington-based Service
Members Legal Defense Network
also said there have been about
340 violations of the policy, mostly
in the form of harassment by com
In another pending case, argu
ments were heard in Seattle last
month in a Navy petty officer’s
challenge to the “don’t ask, don’t
tell” rule. That lawsuit was filed
after the New York case.
In the New York case, plain
tiffs’ lawyer Michael Lacovara said
in his opening statement that
“prejudice, antipathy, the abhor
rence of homosexuals” are not a
proper basis for official policy.
Before “don’t ask, don’t tell”
was adopted in 1993, homosexu
als were simply barred from the
armed forces. The military con
tends that openly gay personnel
are bad for morale and erode pre
paredness because heterosexuals
are wary of working with them.
Former Rand Corp. analyst Rob
ert MacCoun testified that his stud
ies of “unit cohesion” found the
presence of gays did not affect a
military unit’s ability to function.
“You don’t have to like some
one to work with them,” said
MacCoun, who teaches at the Uni
versity of California, Berkeley.
Jet service from Omaha/Eppley Airfield. Seats may be limited. Other available fares from $119 each way. Some restrictions
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in a Minute
Iraqi sanctions extended
UNITED NATIONS — After intense U.S. lobbying, the Security
Council on Monday extended its crushing economic sanctions against
Iraq at least until May.
Despite counter-arguments by Iraq and pressure from countries that
want to resume trade with the country, council members maintained
the 4 1/2-year-old embargo.
Washington has repeatedly demanded that the sanctions stay until
Iraq fully cooperates with U.N. weapons monitors and returns missing
Kuwaiti military equipment. The sanctions, including an oil embargo,
were imposed after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright visited the capitals of five
council members and spoke with the leaders of another four members
to press the U.S. view that Iraq has far to go in complying with U.N.
Washington also wants Iraq to improve its human rights record.
Telescopes study celestial baby boom
SPACE CENTER, Houston — Space shuttle Endeavour’s ultravio
let telescopes peered 14 million light years into the universe Monday
toward a galaxy in the midst of a baby boom.
The dwarf galaxy, about one-fifth the size of our Milky Way, is
undergoing a population explosion called a starburst, when stars up to
100 times as massive as the sun are bom at a prodigious rate.
“In an astronomical blink of an eye, tens of thousands of massive
stars have formed,” said Michael Fanelli, an astronomer working on
the ground with one of the telescopes.
“This should tell us something about how galaxies formed in the
early universe because it’s believed that most galaxies formed in a
starburst phase several billion years ago.”
Fanelli’s science team took 70-millimeter ultraviolet photographs
that will be developed after Endeavour returns to Earth, probably on
GOP lists billions saved
in altering benefits
publicans out to erase the federal
deficit unveiled options Monday for
saving money by braking Medicare’s
growth, giving states more power
over Medicaid and welfare, and trim
ming other benefits.
Included is a plan for altering the
way the government calculates infla
tion, a change that would shrink cost
of-living increases to beneficiaries of
many programs, including Social
The suggestions, compiled by a
Senate GOP task force seeking sav
ings in the mammoth programs,
would cut projected spending by
nearly $500 billion over five years.
They would affect tens of millions
of Americans and, if pursued, ig
nite a bitter political struggle with
Democrats, advocates for seniors
and others who have long defended
the targeted programs.
“Hopefully, these proposals will
not cause a buckling of political knees,
but rather help pave the way to better
programs, smaller and more efficient
government, and a balanced budget,”
said the draft report of the task force
headed by Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H.
The immediate response offered
by Martin Corry, chief lobbyist for
die American Association of Retired
Persons: “You can expect to see
strenuous objections.”
The plans, being studied by Sen
ate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R
Kan., and other party leaders, inject
the Senate into the GOP deficit-re
duction effort the House has so far
dominated. Republicans controlling
both chambers say they will produce
plans this spring paving the way to a
balanced budget by the year 2002.
One of the most controversial pro
posals would change the way infla
tion is calculated. Federal Reserve
Chairman Alan Greenspan and other
experts say the current system over
states the inflation rate by up to 1.5
percentage points. But others say the
plan would simply let Republicans
lower benefits while blaming bureau
The idea would save the govern
ment money because there would be
lower yearly cost-of-living increases
in payments to beneficiaries of many
programs. In addition, tax brackets
which are reset for inflation annually
would rise more slowly, causing more
people to pay higher tax rates and
boosting revenue collections.
This change would raise an extra
$64 billion for the government over
five years, most of it coming from
lower cost-of-living adjustments for
Social Security recipients.
“It works out to a 10 cents a day
miscalculation that most seniors are
seeing,” said Gregg. “I don’t know
many people who in the name of
fairness will take the 10 cents.”
Editor Jeff Zeieny Night News Editors RondeVlasin
472-1766 Jamie Karl
Managing Editor Jeff Robb Damon Lee
Assoc. News Editors DeOra Janssen Pat Hambrecht
DougKouma Art Director KaiWilken
Opinion Page Editor Matt Woody General Manager DanShattil
Wire Editor Jennifer Miratsky Production Manager Katherine Policky
Copy Desk Editor Kristin Armstrong Advertising Manager Amy Struthers
Sports Editor Tim Pearson Asst. Advertising Manager Sheri Kraiewski
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