The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 27, 2001, Page 2, Image 2

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Critics: Funds system 'stinks'
■ Members of the Senate argued
for limits on campaign contributions,
calling the current system 'obscene.'
WASHINGTON — Critics of the
nation’s campaign fund-raising system
denounced it in pungent terms Monday
putrid, rotten and ohscene - as die Senate
moved toward a vote on a constitutional
amendment designed to help rein in the
money chase.
"Welcome to the $7 million club
because that’s the cost of the average cam
paign in order to become a U.S. senator,”
said Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., arguing
for a provision that would overturn a 1976
Supreme Court decision that struck down
limits on campaign contributions and
many expenditures.
But Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
argued the proposed constitutional
change “reaches right in and rips the heart
out of die First Amendment No pretense,
no artifice, no question about it”
Rollings’ amendment has been defeat
ed before, and there were no forecasts of
victory this time, either, particularly since
a two-thirds vote is required for passage of
a constitutional amendment
The debate served as a brief intermis
sion in the Senate’s struggle over legisla
tion advanced by Sens. John McCain, R
Ariz., and Russ Feingold, D-Wis., to reduce
die role of money in politics.
“The current system is rotten, it’s
putrid, it stinks,” said Sen. Robert C. Byrd,
D-W. Va. Without a change, he said, it will
“eventually undermine the very founda
tion of this Republic."
Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said
the system was “obscene,” and added that
die Supreme Court relied on flawed logic
when it ruled in 1976 that money was the
same as flee speech when it came to poli
The McCain-Feingold bill would ban
so-called soft money, the unlimited, loose
ly regulated donations that flow to the
political parties. It also would place
restrictions on certain paid broadcast
advertising in the weeks leading to elec
An important test vote was likely today
as Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., sought sup
port for an approach to limit soft money
without banning it. His proposal also
would raise the limits on individual dona
tions to candidates and parties, restric
tions which have remained unchanged
since the 1970s, and allow them to rise
with inflation in the future.
McCain told reporters, “I think we have
the vote to defeat* Hagel’s proposal.
He and his allies have criticized Hagel’s
legislation for failing to crack down on soft
money donations to state parties.
In reply, the Nebraska senator recently
added a provision requiring that soft
money would have to be combined with
hard money - more difficult to raise
because donations are limited in size -
before it could be spent in connection with
federal campaigns.
McCain, Feingold and their allies must
confront other issues as they struggle to
win approval for their bilL
In addition to the current $1,000 limit
on individual donations to candidates,
current law restricts donors to a total of
$25,000 a year in so-called hard money to
all recipients combined.
Democrats are split over how large an
increase to permit, and the party's Senate
leader, Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota,
said last week he feared Republicans could
gain a significant advantage if it was raised
too high.
Another thorny issue relates to an
expected legal challenge to any bill that
passes. McCain, Feingold and others favor
a provision to let die Supreme Court rule
on each campaign restriction separately.
Others argue the court should take an all
or-nothing approach, since the result oth
erwise could be a system Congress never
loses three
U.S. planes
WASHINGTON—U.S. military aviation suffered
two hard blows Monday with the fatal crash of an
Army plane in Gennany and the disappearance-and
apparent loss - of two Air Force fighter jets in
An Anny RC-12, a twin-engine propeller aircraft
used to detect, identify and locate enemy radar and
electronic communications, crashed inaforest about
eight miles ftom Nuremberg, killing the two pilots on
board, Army spokeswoman Hilde Patton said from
5 th Coqps headquarters at Heiddbeig.
German and American authorities at the scene
were attempting to recover the pilots'remains from
the crash scene. Patton said There wasnn initial faidi
catkm off what caused the crash.
At roughly the same time, the Air Force disclosed
that twoF-15Cfighters were overdueonaretumflight
to their home base at Lakenheath in southern
England after conducting low-level flight training in
Several hours later, the Air Force said there had
been no word from the two F-15 pilots nor any confir
mation of their fate.
The lack of communication suggested a strong
possibility that they had crashed, officials said.
A search effort was suspended late Monday night
due to a snowstorm that was creating a safety prob
lem for the searchers, said Maj. Stacee Bako, a U.S. Air
Force spokeswoman at Lakenheath. She said die
search would be resumed at first light today. There
was no indication Monday of what happened to the
planes, she said.
The two single-seat F-15s left Lakenheath around
1230 pun. (630 am EST) for a three-hour sortie over
the Scottish Highlands. The jets were over the
Cairngorm Mountains in the Scottish Highlands
when they lost contact with ground controllers at
lakenheath, 75 miles northeast ofLondon, Bako said.
Air Force spokeswoman CaptAlmarah Befit at the
Pentagon said a search and rescue mission was
launched from RAF Kinloss in Scotland. A Royal Air
Force spokeswoman said two RAF Nimrod recon
naissance planes and three Sea King helicopters were
searching, helped by two RAF mountain rescue teams
on the ground.
Editor Sarah Baker
Managing Editor Bradley Davis
W Aaanrtato tow Editor Kimberly Sweet
^ iaeigmnsnt Editor. JHIZeman 1
■■■ Optotoa Editor Jake Giazeski
/#| Sparta Editor Matthew Hansen
W AaststotoSperts Editor David Diehl
fn Arts Editor Samuel McKewon
Jw Copy Desk Chief: DaneN McCoy
Copy Desk Chief: Jeff Bloom
Art Director. Meiante Falk
■Lb Art Director Deian Lonowski
O Plate Chief: Scott McClurg
Peeipe Coordinator Bradley Davis
Z Web Editor Gregg Stems
Assistant Web Editor Tanner Graham
General Manager Daniel ShattH
PebliteMew Board Russell WHIbanks
Chairman: (402)484-7226
Pratosstonal Adehar Don Walton
ZT (402)473-7248
W AdenrMetoi Manager NickPartsch
r^N Assistant Ad Manager Nicole Woita
CtossMod Ad Manager Nikki Bruner
CbcntottenManager ImtiyazKhan
Fa number (402) 472-1781
tOf-iJ Ui-L.-___
wonu wioc weo.
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Talks aimed at Macedonian peace
SKOPJE, Macedonia — The
Macedonian government came under
pressure Monday from NATO and the
European Union to show restraint in its
crackdown on ethnic Albanian rebels,
signaling new momentum for a political
solution to end the six-week standoff
With the battlegrounds quiet, NATO
Secretary-General Lord Robertson and
European Union security affairs chief
Javier Solana arrived in the former
Yugoslav republic for talks.
Referring to gains made by the
Macedonian army in recent fighting,
Robertson said on arrival, “They have
taken the military high ground above
Tetovo. Now is the time (for the govern
ment) to take the political high ground.”
Similarly, Solana, who arrived later,
told reporters, “New is the moment for
“Objectives cannot be met through
violent acts,” he said. Robertson and
Solana both held talks with Macedonian
President Boris TkykovskL
Macedonian forces dug in overnight
after piercing rebel lines and retaking
ground held by ethnic Albanian insur
gents and vowed that their offensive
would continue until the rebels were
driven out of the country.
The ragtag infantry punched
through rebel positions Sunday in a day
of fierce battle that raged in die hills just
outside Tetovo, Macedonia’s second
largest city, spraying houses with bullets
and forcing the guerrillas to pull back.
Even while saying the time had come
for a political effort, Solana and
Robertson underlined NATO and EU
support for the Skopje government’s
action. NATO has worried drat the rebel
insurgency could widen ethnic divisions
in Macedonia - where at least of the
quarter of the population are ethnic
Albanians living with a Slav majority -
and open up a new Balkan war.
“My message in Skopje is to keep the
country united against its external
enemy and to make sure the internal
unity is safeguarded," Robertson said.
“No one wants to see another Balkan
“Macedonia enjoys the film support
of the international community to act
against those who use the bullet rather
than the ballot box,” he said.
The guerrillas say they are fighting
for greater rights for Macedonia’s ethnic
Albanians, accusing the Skopkje govern
ment of discrimination. The govern
ment, however, says they are separatists
seeking ultimately to split away northern
Macedonia to create an independent
“Objectives cannot be met
through violent acts ”
Javier Solana
European Union security affairs chief
state with mostly ethnic Albanian
An opposition ethnic Albanian party
in Macedonia, the Democratic
Prosperity Party, announced it was boy
cotting parliament beginning Monday.
Party leader Imer Imeri demanded that
Trajkovski end the army offensive and
that the rebels lay down their arms.
Meanwhile, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair promised to reinforce NATO
led peacekeepers in Kosovo, from which
guerrillas are said to smuggle weapons
and fighters across the border into
Blair said a unit with an unmanned
reconnaissance plane would deploy to
Kosovo to provide peacekeepers with a
dearer picture of activity in the region.
Robertson said NATO would contin
ue to strengthen its policing of Kosovo’s
border with Macedonia to cut off the
rebel’s military supplies but ruled out
direct intervention in the conflict by
international peacekeepers.
Movies break out of Oscar mold
LOS ANGELES —When the year's
big Academy Award-winning movies are
an eariy-summer Roman action flick, a
martial-arts fable in Mandarin and a
docudrama about drugs with a hundred
or so speaking characters, you have to
wonder-this is Hollywood?
2000was a year that broke a few for
mulas. Many critics considered it scarce
on quality fihns. But awards voters found
a diverse lot to choose from.
“Anyyearabunch of motion pictures
that don't fit the traditional grids are very
successful is just good for the movie
Partly Cloudy
High 47, low 37
High 47, low 33
- £
business because it makes everyone
guess more about which choices they
make,” said Douglas Wick, a producer on
Toss in Julia Roberts’ best-actress
win for the pollution drama "Erin
Brockovich” and Marcia Gay Harden’s
supporting-actress award for the bleak
artist bio "Pollock,” and it looks like a
continuation from 1999’s awards season,
which featured such darker, moodier
flicks as "American Beauty and "Being
The year before that more tradition
al awards pictures - “Shakespeare in
Love,” "Saving Private Ryan,” “Elizabeth”
- were in contention.
“We know you’re not supposed to
make pictures about toxic waste,” said
Wide “You don't have pictures with sub
titles. You don’t use swords and sandals.
So there’s a lot of rules to be broken.
Every time there’s a success, it’s good for
everybody, so I think it will open up
everyone's thinking”
In "Gladiator,” which took best pic
ture and four other Oscars, the Roman
epic became new again through the
magic of computer imagery. The drug
drama "Traffic” and the historical
romance "Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon” followed with four Oscars each.
The fifth best-picture nominee,
"Chocolat,” arguably was the most con
ventional of the bunch, a feel-good film
about tolerance and sweets. While still a
commercial success, it lags well behind
its Oscar competitors and foiled to win
an Academy Award.
“Erin Brockovich” and “Tkaffic” were
two issue-driven movies by Steven
Soderbergh, who won best director for
the latter. "Brockovich” had the luster of
Roberts. And the film was based on a lit
tle-known legal case about toxic water,
not the sexiest of topics on the surface.
“Traffic," a for-flung tale based on a
British miniseries, had much of its dia
logue in Spanish and three parallel story
lines. It depicts the futility of the war on
drugs, yet ends with a glimmer of hope
“Gladiator” had the sort of big-pic
ture quality that Hollywood loves, but as
its producers have noted, there was a
reason no one bothered making Roman
spectacles for more than three decades.
"Crouching Tiger” was the most
audacious of the lot
The Associated Press
■ California
Bjork puts neck on line with
'fowl'Academy Awards dress
LOS ANGELES—Bjo* laid a
fashion egg, literally, on Oscar’s
red carpet
The singer-actress, nominat
ed for best original song for “IVe
Seen It All” from her movie
“Dancer in the Dark,” arrived at
Sunday’s Academy Awards in a
white, feathered, knee-length
dress tailored to look like a swan.
It even included a swan’s neck and
head that she draped around her
own neck.
Julia Roberts, the best actress
winner for “Erin Brockovich,”
opted for vintage Valentino - a
black-and-white velvet column
dress with white straps forming a
“Y" down the front
Jennifer Lopez, known for ha
skimpy awards show outfits,
raised eyebrows once againwith a
one-shoulder, two-tone Chanel
gown with a gray, see-through
Samuel L. Jackson and Ed
Harris, a best-actor nominee for
“Pollock,” reinterpreted the tuxe
do in their Armani outfits.
■ Washington, D.C.
Court to decide if execution
cruel for mentally retarded
The Supreme Court agreed
Monday to consider whether the
Constitution bars the execution
of mentally retarded people as
“cruel and unusual” punishment
The court said it would hear
an appeal by North Carolina
death-row inmate Ernest
McCarver, whose execution die
justices halted this month just
hours before he was to he put to
The justices are scheduled to
hear arguments today on a case
involving a Texas death-row
inmate whose lawyers say he is
mentally retarded and has die
mind of a 7-year-old. However,
the justices are not being asked in
that case to decide whether the
Constitution prohibits executing
the mentally retarded.
■ Iliya
Fire kills 58 teen-agers in
suspected dormitory arson
MACHAKOS —A gasoline
fueled fire struck a dormitory
crowded with sleeping school
boys on Monday, killing 58 teen
agers. The building had only one
unlocked door, and many boys
died as they struggled to escape
through the 10 barred windows.
Some boys were on fire when
they ran from the dorm into the
pouring rain, students said.
Twenty-eight boys were injured,
nine of them critically.
une teen-age survivor said
school officials investigated a
gasoline smell in the building
during die weekend. Other boys
said students were angry because
authorities annulled the results of
final exams and because the
headmaster ordered students to
pay all back fees.
Police said they strongly sus
pected arson at Kyanguli
Secondary School in Machakos, a
burning town 30 miles southeast
ofRenya^s capital Nairobi
Boys who escaped said they
believed a disgruntled student
doused die floor of die dormitory
with gasoline and set it afire.
■ London
British politicians unhappy
with speed of disease control
LONDON—The army began
burying sheep in a huge pit
Monday in an expanding cam
paign to control foot-and-mouth
disease in Britain, but not fast
enough to suit increasingly rest
less opposition politicians.
“The message from across the
country abouttheuseofthe army,
the speed of slaughter and carry
ing out the cull is:... stop dithering
and get on with it,” said opposi
tion Conservative leader William
Hague, who claimed the effort
was undermined by friction
among departments.
Hague called for naming a
“crisis Cabinet” to focus on the
Prime Minister Tony Blair
rejected the suggestion.
“The idea that this requires
another committee is beside the
point,” Blair said. “What it actual
ly requires is to make sure that the
work that is supposed to happen
on the ground is happening on
the ground.”