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Dan Goodman's prediction and politics journal.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Democratic Louisiana congressman switches to GOP
By MELINDA DESLATTE
The Associated Press
8/6/2004, 7:29 p.m. CT

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander switched his party affiliation to Republican on Friday — making the surprise flip in the last minute of registration for the Nov. 2 ballot and virtually assuring the seat for the GOP.

Alexander, a first-term congressman from Quitman, had registered at the start of qualifying on Wednesday as a Democrat. Then he said, "I'm not ashamed to be a Democrat, but I vote what I think the people of the 5th District want me to represent."

There is another strong Republican in the three-candidate field. He is Jock Scott, a former state representative from Alexandria. The Democrat is Zelma "Tisa" Blakes, of Monroe, a political newcomer who called herself a "domestic engineer" when she signed up for the race.

Asked if the party will get behind a political unknown, state Democratic Party chairman Mike Skinner said they will explore all possible options, but wouldn't say if they will support her and offer campaign assistance.

Under the unique Louisiana open primary system, all candidates run on the same ballot regardless of party. If no one gets more than half the vote on Nov. 2, a runoff will be held in December.

ABA May Bar Judges From Anti-Gay Groups
By GINA HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer
August 6, 2004, 4:29 PM EDT

ATLANTA -- Judges are on the front line of battles over legal rights for same-sex couples and should never belong to an organization that discriminates against gays, supporters of a proposed change to American Bar Association ethics rules argued Friday.

Judges are already prohibited from joining clubs that discriminate based on race or sex. An ABA panel is debating whether to make groups that discriminate against gays off limits as well.

Meanwhile, a new report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' auditing arm, shows that some judges request -- and receive permission -- to withhold information about gifts from the public on the premise that their safety could be compromised. The ABA ethics panel is considering redefining a gift, possibly to include paid trips to seminars.

From EurekAlert http://www.eurekalert.org/pubnews.php:
Public Release: 6-Aug-2004
American Journal of Preventive Medicine
Documents show tobacco industry's attempts to influence journalists' reporting on secondhand smoke
A study based on the tobacco industry's own documents shows the extent of the tobacco industry's efforts to influence the print media on the health effects of secondhand smoke.
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