- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 30, 2002

Poll: American majority favors "under God"
NEW YORK A vast majority of Americans say "under God" should remain part of the Pledge of Allegiance in the wake of a court ruling that said the pledge is unconstitutional, a Newsweek magazine poll said yesterday.
The survey showed that 87 percent support the phrase and 54 percent think the government should not avoid promoting religion. Additionally, 60 percent think that government leaders making public expressions of faith in God is good for the nation.
The poll was taken shortly after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco one of the most liberal in the nation and one whose decisions are frequently overturned ruled that the words "under God," added by Congress in 1954, violated the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
If Wednesday's ruling is allowed to stand, children in nine Western states covered by the court could no longer recite the pledge in schools.

Forest Service fires woman charged in fire
DENVER The U.S. Forest Service has fired Terry Barton, the employee charged with starting the largest wildfire since Colorado became a state.
Forest Service spokesman Lynn Young said yesterday that Mrs. Barton was fired because of her "conduct." He wouldn't elaborate because the investigation is continuing into the Hayman Fire, which has burned 137,000 acres, destroyed at least 133 homes and cost more than $29 million to fight.
Mrs. Barton, 38, has pleaded not guilty to four federal charges, including arson, for purportedly starting the blaze June 8 southwest of Denver. She was indicted by a federal grand jury.
She had been a seasonal employee with the Forest Service for 18 years, and was serving a year's probationary period as a full-time staffer, Mr. Young said. Probationary employees are not allowed to appeal administrative decisions.
Mrs. Barton was given a letter that her job was terminated June 22.

Mayor slammed for greed remarks
NEW YORK With corporate America battered by a series of financial scandals, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has sparked a storm by suggesting greedy investors are as much to blame as corrupt executives.
Small investors, some of whom have lost small fortunes in recent months, were up in arms yesterday at the billionaire media mogul's remarks, describing them as cynical and displaying the arrogance of the self-made man.
Speaking on his weekly radio show on Friday, Mr. Bloomberg had condemned as a "disgrace" the purported fraudulent accounting by corporate giants such as energy trader Enron, telecommunications provider WorldCom and copier behemoth Xerox.
However, he went on to say that those who had been buying stocks at multiples that "never made any sense" should also look at themselves in the mirror.
"They're as responsible, I think, as those who actually committed the crimes of misstating earnings and fudging the numbers," Mr. Bloomberg charged.
James Cloonan, chairman of the American Association of Individual Investors, reacted with disbelief.
"That kind of sounds like a thief breaks into my house, steals all my stuff … and I'm responsible because I didn't have a burglar alarm," Mr. Cloonan said.

FBI informant sues agency
LOS ANGELES A former FBI informant is suing the federal agency, claiming it abandoned him after he infiltrated a violent drug cartel in Mexico.
Avery "Skip" Ensley, 56, says that the FBI failed to pay more than $1 million he had been promised from seized assets linked to the investigation into the Arrellano Felix syndicate. He sued in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Friday.
"One of the reasons I'm going forward with this thing is that I want other people to know the FBI does not take care of its people," Mr. Ensley said. "My experience is that they will put anybody at risk for their own benefit."
An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment, citing policy not to discuss pending litigation.


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