- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2005

Poll numbers down for Bush

Evangelicals, Republican women, Southerners and other critical groups in President Bush’s political coalition are increasingly worried about the direction the nation is headed and disappointed with his performance, an Associated Press-Ipsos poll found.

The growing unease could be a troubling sign for a White House already struggling to keep the Republican Party base from slipping over Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers, Gulf Coast spending projects, immigration and other issues.

Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds, 66 percent, say it is on the wrong track, the poll found.

Those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation’s direction over the past year include white evangelicals, down thirty percentage points since November; Republican women, down 28 points; Southerners, down 26 points; and suburban men, down 20 points. The president’s job approval is at 39 percent — the lowest level of his presidency.

Senate panel OKs immigration nominee

A Senate committee voted yesterday to approve President Bush’s nominee to head the Homeland Security Department’s immigration agency after dismissing criticism that she lacked management experience.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Julie L. Myers’ nomination 7-2. Should she win Senate approval, she would run the Immigration and Customs Enforcement bureau.

Mrs. Myers, 36, is a former Treasury official and assistant U.S. attorney.

Judge rules against department in dispute

A federal judge yesterday ruled against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a labor dispute over proposed workplace rules that would reduce the power of labor unions at the department, which has 160,000 employees.

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said the department’s proposal falls short because it leaves open avenues to unilaterally disavow lawful contracts. One provision embraced by DHS, the judge noted, says that homeland security managers may “take whatever other actions may be necessary to carry out the department’s mission.”

White House ex-official pleads not guilty

The Bush administration’s former chief procurement official pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges that he made false statements and obstructed investigations into high-powered Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

A federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment Wednesday, charging David H. Safavian with obstructing Senate and executive branch investigations into whether he aided Mr. Abramoff in efforts to acquire property around the nation’s capital controlled by the General Services Administration.

Mr. Safavian’s lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, said the charges against Mr. Safavian hinge on statements made by Mr. Abramoff in e-mails. But because Mr. Abramoff is the subject of a wide-ranging federal investigation of his lobbying activities and is unlikely to testify against Mr. Safavian, prosecutors will be unable to use those statements against Mr. Safavian, Miss Van Gelder told reporters after the arraignment.

Surrogate mom wins custody of triplets

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A woman who gave birth to triplets using donated eggs is the legal mother of the children even though she has no genetic link to them, the Tennessee Supreme Court ruled.

The court’s 4-1 ruling Thursday upheld decisions by lower courts that awarded parental rights to the birth mother.

Cindy Culpepper and Charles Galiwango were not married when they sought to have a child by in vitro fertilization using two anonymously donated eggs, which were fertilized with Mr. Galiwango’s sperm. One of the eggs divided, resulting in triplets.

After the relationship deteriorated, Mr. Galiwango challenged the parental rights of his ex-girlfriend, who gave birth to the children in 2001.

Judge ousted for viewing porn

TOPEKA, Kan. — The Kansas Supreme Court yesterday ousted a county judge for viewing Internet pornography on his office computer.

Saline County District Judge George R. Robertson, 56, had been on the bench for 10 years and on administrative leave since June, when a judicial panel recommended his removal for violating the canons of judicial conduct.

Justices noted that the canons state “public trust is essential to an effective judiciary” and that one judge’s conduct may affect the public’s perception of the entire judicial system.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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