- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 29, 2002

Governor urges state poet to quit
TRENTON, N.J. Gov. James E. McGreevey has called for the resignation of the state's poet laureate, citing a poem critical of Israel that Amiri Baraka read at a festival earlier this month.
Mr. Baraka read his poem, "Somebody Blew Up America," at the 2002 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival at Waterloo Village in Stanhope on Sept. 19.
"Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed," read a line from the poem, which was cited by the Jewish Standard weekly newspaper. "Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers/To stay home that day/Why did Sharon stay away?"
Some Jewish groups have characterized the poem as anti-Semitic.
McGreevey spokesman Kevin Davitt said the governor strongly condemns any racist or anti-Semitic behavior.
"The language used in Mr. Baraka's recent poem could be interpreted as stating that Israelis were forewarned of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Mr. Baraka should clarify the intent of his language, apologize for any potential misinterpretation of his language and resign," Mr. Davitt said.
Mr. Baraka said he had no intention of apologizing or resigning. He strongly rejected the criticism, denied that he is an anti-Semite and said criticism of Israel does not amount to anti-Semitism.

Mother arrested in death of son
LAS CRUCES, N.M. The mother of a 10-year-old girl who beat her 4-year-old brother to death on the instructions of their stepfather was arrested for watching television during the incident, officials said yesterday.
Natasha Guerrero, the children's mother, was arrested on charges of negligently permitting child abuse resulting in the death of her son, 4-year-old Devon Booth, said Las Cruces Police spokesman Mark Nunley.
Devon's 10-year-old sister kicked, punched and hit him purportedly on the instructions of their stepfather, Louie Guerrero, 38.
The boy was being punished for bed wetting and drinking from the toilet, and was beaten late Sept. 21 and into the next morning. He died in an Albuquerque hospital Monday.
The complaint said the stepfather instructed the 10-year-old sister to punish Devon while the mother watched television in another room. He was arrested earlier in the week on charges of child abuse resulting in death.

Candidate pitched jobs for relatives
NEW YORK A second letter written by state comptroller and Democratic gubernatorial candidate H. Carl McCall to a company executive pitching a relative's resume and noting the state's stock holdings in that company surfaced yesterday.
The letter, printed in the New York Post yesterday, was to a senior vice president of Coca-Cola Co. In it, Mr. McCall writes that he is an investor, then he asks the executive to review an enclosed resume of his cousin.
A similar letter from Mr. McCall to a Bell Atlantic executive sent with Mr. McCall's daughter's resume was reported Friday.
Both were written in 1997 on the official stationary of the Office of the State Comptroller, which oversees the state's pension fund.
"As an investor, I am impressed with Coca Cola's performance, and I wish you continued success," Mr. McCall writes in one letter, dated July 15, 1997.
At the time, the state pension fund had $700 million in shares of Coca-Cola stock, and Mr. McCall did not personally own any, the Post reported.
It was not clear whether Atlanta-based Coca-Cola offered the cousin a job.

University opens hiring drive
LOS ANGELES The University of Southern California has launched a $100 million program to upgrade its faculty, seeking to hire 100 professors over the next three years in a recruitment drive that could lead to bidding wars for top-flight academics.
University officials said yesterday that the hiring program would boost by 25 percent the full-time faculty at the university's College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, which includes such departments as comparative literature, economics and biology.
The faculty recruitment effort will be paid for by a fund-raising drive that the university launched in 1993 that has raised more than $2.5 billion in gifts and pledges.

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