- - Tuesday, September 13, 2011


New airport policy created for children

Homeland Security Secretary Janet A. Napolitano says the government will be rolling out a different airport pat-down policy for children under 12 in the coming months.

Ms. Napolitano says the traveling public can expect to see some of these changes in the coming months.

Some travelers and privacy advocates have complained that children, who don’t appear to pose terror threats, are subject to intimate pat downs that involve Transportation Security Administration screeners touching private areas. Children under 12 will also be spared the hassle of taking off their shoes as they go through security, Ms. Napolitano said.

Ms. Napolitano was speaking at a Senate hearing Tuesday on the terrorism threat to the United States.


Republican lawmaker says she’s not bashing U.N.

The head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee says she’s “not trying to bash” the United Nations with legislation that would withhold or slash U.S. funds to the world body.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on Tuesday defended her bill and rejected criticism from the State Department that the measure is “backwards.” She spoke at a Capitol Hill news conference.

The Florida Republican’s proposal would push the U.N. to adopt a voluntary funding system and would withhold 50 percent of the U.S. nonvoluntary regular budget contributions if, after two years, 80 percent of the U.N. regular budget is not funded on a voluntary rather than assessed basis.

In the 2010 budget year the U.S. provided $7.7 billion to the U.N. for its regular budget, peacekeeping and other programs.


Professor: Redistricting a lesson in rivalries

Political scientist Jack Pitney says “The Federalist Papers” won’t help you understand redistricting. You need to read “The Godfather.”

As states redraw congressional districts, the once-a-decade process can also be used to exact political revenge.

Mr. Pitney teaches at Claremont McKenna College and says it’s no surprise partisan rivalries creep into the process.

Political adversaries rarely make their efforts explicit. Texas Republicans, for example, maintain they have put forward a fair map designed to reflect the state’s conservative tilt.

But Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett says he is certain his past squabbles with the Republican-controlled Legislature and Texas Gov. Rick Perry are to blame for his district being redrawn over the years.


Lewis aims again at spot on N.J. ballot

PHILADELPHIA — A lawyer for nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis says voters should decide whether he is qualified to be a New Jersey state senator.

Tuesday’s hearing in a federal appeals court was likely the final pitch to get Mr. Lewis back on the ballot for the November election.

The Republican secretary of state ordered the Democrat off the ballot last month, saying he didn’t meet a four-year state residency requirement.

A lower federal court agreed.

But Mr. Lewis’ lawyer told an appeals court judge that Mr. Lewis meets the residency requirement. Mr. Lewis has testified that he now lives in Medford but also owns a home and business in California.

The lawyer also says the rule is unconstitutional because it would treat Mr. Lewis differently from others.

Officials say the ballot must be set by Thursday.


State lawmaker charged with pulling gun resigns

AUGUSTA | A Maine lawmaker barred from the State House after he was charged with pulling a loaded gun on a stranger in a parking lot has resigned.

The lawyer for Republican Rep. Frederick Wintle of Garland disclosed the resignation Tuesday at a hearing in Kennebec County Superior Court. The House speaker said later he had accepted the resignation.

Last month, attorney Leonard Sharon said he was seeking a resolution that would get Mr. Wintle treatment and allow him to continue serving in the Legislature. But Mr. Sharon said Tuesday that Mr. Wintle had recently resigned.

The hearing focused on a deal under which Mr. Wintle would plead guilty to a felony, with the charge later reduced to a misdemeanor if he meets certain conditions. Objections were raised, and the matter wasn’t immediately resolved.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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