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September 28, 1998 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-28

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I~

NATION/WORLD

The Mic1higan Daily Monday, September 28, 1998-- 9A

Georges takes
aim at Louisiana

The Washington Post
NEW ORLEANS - The leading
ge of Hurricane Georges lashed the
northern Gulf Coast along Alabama and
Mississippi with high winds and dri-
ving rain yesterday and then took aim
here, forcing hundreds of thousands of
people to flee inland.
In all, more than 1.5 million people
were ordered to leave New Orleans and
low-lying coastal areas nearby, and
more than 15,000 descended on the
city's nine emergency shelters, includ-
g the cavernous Louisiana
'perdome and the sprawling riverside
Ernest Morial Convention Center.
The center of the storm, which
already killed more than 300 people
during a week-long rampage through
the Caribbean and Florida Keys, was
crawling along the Gulf Coast at 8 mph,
and forecasters said it probably will
slow even more. The fear was that
Georges would hang over the
Mississippi Delta, suspended by a cool
tront that is headed south toward the
region. If that happens, forecasters said,
as much as 30 inches of rain could fall
over two days.
As the storm, packing winds of up to
110 mph, churned in the Gulf of
Mexico toward the mouth of the
Mississippi River, its outer fringes
began to whip. the coast with 50 mph
winds and offshore waves up to 33 feet.
A hurricane warning was in effect from
Onama City, Fla., to Morgan City, La.,
and forecasters predicted Georges
could spawn tornadoes as it made land-
fall and moved northwest.
"This is an absolutely worst-case sce-
nario," said James Lee Witt, director of
the Federal Emergency Management
Agency, after conferring by telephone
with President Clinton, Vice President

Al Gore and the governors of the affect-
ed states. "We've got the potential for a
major disaster down there."
Witt said Georges posed the worst
threat to this city since Hurricane Betsy
roared across the Gulf Coast in 1965,
killing 61 people in Louisiana and caus-
ing millions of dollars in damage as it
flooded downtown New Orleans and
other low-lying areas. Another big
storm, Camille, slammed into the coast
of Mississippi and Louisiana in 1969,
causing widespread flooding before
continuing as far north as Virginia and
leaving 259 dead.
While no amount of preparation
could handle what Georges was expect-
ed to throw at the northern Gulf Coast
over the next two days, Witt said, even
before the storm system passed by the
Virgin Islands last week, FEMA began
deploying emergency workers, flying in
search-and-rescue and medical teams
and positioning emergency equipment
such as generators, water pumps, sand-
bags, tents, cots and plastic sheeting
used to cover houses whose roofs have
been ripped off.
Witt said his most serious concern is
that a storm surge as high as 15 to 20
feet could drive Lake Pontchartrain over
its levees and submerge New Orleans
just as storm-whipped water is driven
up the Mississippi River toward the city.
For a city that sits below sea level and is
surrounded by tidal lakes, swamps and
the Mississippi River, the results could
be catastrophic, he said.
"We're the best city in America, but
this may not have been the best place
300 years ago to place a city," said
Mayor Marc Morial.
Witt said the Army Corps of
Engineers had been checking the levees
on Pontchartrain and had positioned

New Orleans resident Joey Sansovich pushes his bicycle through floodwaters on a walkway along Lake Ponchartrain
yesterday. Sansovich decided to stay in New Orleans through Hurricane Georges.

barges with massive water pumps,
while FEMA put in place a million bags
that could be filled for emergency
shoring.
Many New Orleans residents who
had planned to weather the storm at
home changed their minds yesterday
and dashed to the highways as
Saturday's balmy weather gave way to
darker skies and gusty winds.
Residents raced to get out of the area
by noon when officials said high winds
would force state troopers to close all
highways.
"I got scared at the last minute," said
Dorothy Carradine, as she packed lug-
gage and pictures and her 10-member
family into a two-car caravan.
"I'm not sure where we're going,"
she said, "but it looks bad enough to get
out of here."

Morial called for a mandatory 6 p.m.
curfew in the city and issued an urgent
appeal for volunteer doctors and nurses
to report to the Superdome.
New Orleans International Airport,
which was closed to air traffic, was
transformed into an emergency shelter
after the city's main evacuation route,
Interstate 10, was closed at noon.
"I said to myself, 'Oh, Lord, please
let there be some place to go.' " said
Schena Lewis, as she herded her family
into a crowded meeting room at the
69,000-seat Superdome. Although she
described the accommodations as
uncomfortable and the crowd of 10,000
chaotic, Lewis said she'd be glad to call
the stadium home until Georges' fury
had passed.
In the nearly deserted French
Quarter, tourists wandered in search of

food and supplies. "It feels like we're
the only ones left,' said Sue Turner, who
was in town from Philadelphia fbr a
pharmaceuticals convention. "We
couldn't get a flight out or a rental car.
We're going to ride it out at our hotel
because we have no choice."
With a video camera he bought to
film Bourbon Streets carnival atmos-
phere, Dave Turner, caught instead eerie
desolation.
In a residential area of downtown
New Orleans, Shona Foster, waited 45
minutes to get into a corner grocery
store. She left with crackers, bread and
water.
Along Interstate 10, which stretches
east-west across the gulf states, traffic
was sparse and visibility clouded as
motorists drove with their headlights on
throughout the day.

Nixon impeachment
offers Clinton lessons

Slovakian
elections
may brmg
changes
The Washington Post
BRATISLAVA, Slovakia - For
Zuzana Slavkovska an economics
student at the university in
Bratislava, it seemed yesterday
morning that a fog was lifting.
"We were so isolated," she said, as
she walked the winding, narrow
streets of this city's old town where
sidewalk cafes and high-fashion
boutiques abut Gothic archways.
"Now, maybe we can take our place
in Europe."
Just an hour east of Vienna and
within sight of the Austrian border,
this small central European capital
had fallen into a self-created
cocoon, failing to make the progress
toward European integration that
some of its neighbors had made in
the last four years.
The United States and the
European Union had repeatedly crit-
icized the current government, led
by Vladimir Meciar, saying it had
trampled democracy.
And Slovakia's applications for
membership in NATO and the EU
were shelved.
But following national elections
over the weekend there is a sense,
especially among the young of this
striving city, that Slovakia is on the
verge of a new era with a new gov-
ernment.
"People were not living in a good
mood," said Ivan Telepcak who is
doing compulsory military service.
"It's very important that a good
change comes out of the election. I
think we're very optimistic now."
Slovakia is likely to have a new
coalition government in the next
month after the announcement yes-
terday morning of official prelimi-
nary election results, which showed
that a likely coalition of four oppo-
sition parties would command 93
seats in the 150-seat parliament.
At a news conference yesterday,
Mikulas Dzurinda,ethe leader of the
largest of the opposition parties, the
Slovak Democratic Coalition, said
negotiations to form a new govern-
ment have already begun.
He spoke like a prime minister-in-
waiting; saying his priorities were
jobs, reducing crime and getting the
country's application for EU mem-
bership on track.
The current government, led by
Meciar and his party, the Movement
for a Democratic Slovakia, refused
to concede defeat.
Meciar's party remained the
largest in parliament with 43 seats,
and officials said they would at least
try to form a coalition government.
But their pronouncements lacked
confidence.
"We accept the results of the elec-
tion," said Augustin Huska, deputy
chair of the parliament and a mem-
ber of the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia. "Our party
won, but it has certain signs of a
Pyrrhic victory."
But yesterday Jozef Migas, the
leader of the Party of the
Democratic Left, the third-largest

party, said "the creation of a govern-
ment with (the Movement for a
Democratic Slovakia) is unaccept-
able for us," effectively ensuring the
formation of a new government
coalition.
Meciar, who had said he would
leave politics before he would go
into opposition, made no appear-
ances yesterday. The populist figure
has dominated Slovak politics since
the country of 5.5 million people
became an independent state in
1993 after the peaceful breakup of
Czechoslovakia.
While Meciar's political future is
unclear, he bestowed a looming
financial crisis on the incoming
government.
According to one Western diplo-
mat, there is virtually no money in
government coffers for the remain-
ing months of the current budget
year.
The Slovak currency, then-koruna,
is dropping to the bottom of its fluc-
tuation band, amid fears it may have
to be devalued. Government credit
has been downgraded to junk-bond
status by Standard & Poor's.
Slovakia now has one of the high-
est interest rates in Europe and the
country's robust economic growth is
beginning to look very fragile in the
face of severe budget and trade
deficits.
That has led to some speculation

The Washington Post
WASHINGTON -With the House scheduled
to vote Oct. 9 on whether to start formal
impeachment proceedings against President
Clinton, the pattern it set in 1974 with the inves-
tigation of Richard Nixon offers both hope and
despair for the person in the White House.
If the House does now what it did nearly 25
years ago, it will authorize an open-ended
investigation of the president, without any
restrictions or deadlines. The actual measure
voted by the House would be called a "resolu-
tion of inquiry," and if the Watergate example
holds, it would not be lim-
ited to the Monica
Lewinsky scandal, cam-
paign financing abuses,
technology transfers to
China or any other partic-
ular allegations against
the Clinton White House.5
A Nixon-style resolu- 4
tion of inquiry would also
permit the House to cen-
sure Clinton or take some Gingrich
other action short of vot-
ing on articles of impeachment that would send
him to trial in the Senate.
The resolution directed at Nixon, adopted
Feb. 6, 1974, by a vote of 410 to 4, didn't even
mention Watergate. It simply said that the
House Judiciary Committee "is authorized and
directed to investigate fully and completely
whether sufficient grounds exist for the House
of Representatives to exercise its constitutional
power to impeach Richard Nixon, president of
the United States of America."
Democrats fearful of "a fishing expedition"
against Clinton can take no comfort in such a
wide-open authorization, but they might find
solace in the next part of the 1974 resolution.
It said that "the committee shall report to the
House of Representatives such resolutions, arti-
cles of impeachment, or other recommenda-
tions as it deems proper."
Although House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-
Ga.) has rejected a quick plea-bargain type of deal
to head off impeachment proceedings, Clinton

supporters might use such a provision to press for
a censure, large fine or some other punishment
short of impeachment at the end of the inquiry.
The special counsel for the Nixon inquiry,
John Doar, confirmed at a Jan. 31, 1974,
Judiciary Committee business meeting that the
provision was intended to give the panel "broad
leeway as to what it might recommend, based
upon the facts as they were developed in the
course of the inquiry."
When then-Rep. Charles Wiggins (R-Calif.) a
Nixon defender, sought assurances that the com-
mittee would not go beyond its essential task of
deciding whether the president should be
impeached, Doar balked. Whatever the committee
recommended, he told Wiggins, "would depend
upon how the inquiry developed and what facts
and circumstances were brought forward."
The chair of the Judiciary Committee now,
Rep. Henry Hyde, (R-Ill.) told reporters last
week that he had little interest in "casting a very
wide net" to expand the panel's impeachment
deliberations beyond the Lewinsky case.
Neither, as it turned out, did the Nixon-era
panel expand its investigation. Despite the no-
holds-barred wording of the resolution, it did lit-
tle original investigating and, under Doar's tute-
lage, confined itself largely to information that
had already been uncovered by Watergate prose-
cutors and the Senate Watergate committee.
In the controversy over Clinton, outnumbered
House Democrats are making many of the same
complaints that then-outnumbered Republicans
raised on Nixon's behalf. The Democrats want a
deadline for the inquiry; they opposed it in 1974.
They want a right to issue their own subpoenas;
they insisted on a veto when the Republican
minority asked for that right in 1974.
If a formal inquiry is conducted this fall, the
House could still postpone a decision on
whether to vote on articles of impeachment
until the new Congress convenes in January. As
a House Judiciary Committee manual on
impeachment puts it, "the House sometimes
continues an investigation begun in a preceding
Congress with view to an impeachment, mak-
ing use of the former report and testimony
already taken."

I

AP PHOTO
*President Clinton prepares to board Airforce One at Los Angeles International Airport yesterday. The
president Is on the final day of a three-day, three-state fundraising trip.

t

Critics decry 'sexual McCarthyism' in media

0 Standards of personal
o onduct shift debates
over proper leadership
The Los Angeles Times
NEW YORK - As the mass media
continue their saturation coverage of
the Clinton scandal, some critics have
coined the phrase "sexual

his wife or had a homosexual
encounter. He dared his opponent to
do the same.
In Texas, Gov. George Bush -
widely expected to be a Republican
presidential candidate - has been
openly discussing his rowdy past with
magazine writers, in the apparent hope
of immunizing himself against future
news investigations.

heavy fire.
The main similarity between cur-
rent events and the Red scare of the
1950s is the issue of privacy, accord-
ing to Kathleen Hall Jamieson, dean
of the Annenberg School of
Communication in Philadelphia.
"When you open up everything in
someone's past to scrutiny, and with
no sense of fairness, it can lead to a

government, and thousands of people
lost their jobs after they were "black-
listed" for allegedly subversive activi-
ties. McCarthy was censured by the
Senate in 1954 for his behavior, and
died three years later.
Today, "sexual McCarthyism"
means different things, depending on
whom you talk to. For some, it high-
lights Starr's probing of President

public figures have become legitimate
targets of inquiry for media and gov-
ernment investigators - even though
polls suggest a majority of Americans
do not approve.
America has a long tradition of civil
liberties, but witch hunts of any kind
put it to the test, said Ellen Shrecker,
author of "Many Are the Crimes," a
history of McCarthyism. In the 1950s

'r

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