Looking Forward

Looking Back

February 27, 2005



President Bush probably will get an earful at the National Governors Association's winter meeting in Washington. Topics are certain to include the mounting costs to states of the federal Medicare and Medicaid programs and Bush's budget for the coming fiscal year, which cuts an array of state aid programs, from education assistance to funding for job training.

Black farmers who claim they suffered racial discrimination in being denied federal loans will testify before a U.S. House subcommittee in Cincinnati on problems in a settlement they reached with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Michael Jackson's child molestation trial begins with opening statements in Santa Maria, Calif.


The drug approval process of the Food and Drug Administration, which has been recently criticized by consumer advocates as being influenced by advisory panel members with ties to drug makers, will be reviewed in a hearing by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in Washington.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the federal agency set up to protect private sector pension plans, gets a hearing before the Senate Finance Committee. Though set up to insure workers if their pension plans went broke, the corporation appears to be slowly going broke itself because so many private plans are failing.


Alan Greenspan, chairman of the Federal Reserve, is expected to give his standard cautiously optimistic assessment of the economy to the House Budget Committee, though he speaks before an increasingly unsettled backdrop with the dollar falling, oil prices rising and investors nervous about inflation.


John Lithgow takes the stage at Broadway's Imperial Theater for the opening of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which for some reason ignores nearby Wall Street and sets its musical about con men on the French Riviera.


Martha Stewart is expected to be released from federal custody over the weekend, just in time for late winter pruning.


The World

Pope John Paul II munched on cookies and jotted messages to an aide about his condition as he recovered from surgery to ease another breathing crisis. The Vatican took pains to emphasize the positive: the 84-year-old pope was breathing on his own, showed no signs of pneumonia and ate breakfast. The pontiff's rush by ambulance to Rome's Gemelli Polyclinic hospital - a replay of a breathing crisis earlier this month - crushed hopes he was out of danger.

Israel released 500 Palestinian prisoners, loading them on buses and transporting them to drop-off points in the West Bank and Gaza. It is one of the steps that both sides are counting on to deepen the apparent trust between Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon, and the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

President Bush and European leaders settled some of their simmering differences about Iraq but plunged into a new dispute yesterday over the lifting of a 15-year-old arms embargo against China.

Same-sex partners in Britain will be able to enter into civil unions starting in December, joining gays in parts of Europe and the United States in obtaining many of the rights enjoyed by married people.

The Nation

The Supreme Court agreed to hear the Bush administration's challenge to the United States' only right-to-die law, setting the stage for a showdown over whether states may permit doctors to prescribe drugs intended to end patients' lives.

A Virginia man was charged with plotting to assassinate President Bush and supporting the al-Qaida network. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, an American citizen from Falls Church who was valedictorian of his high school class, was charged with six counts of conspiracy and providing support to terrorists, including participation in a plot to kill the president with a car bomb or by shooting him in public.

Mudslides trapped people in their homes and forced others to flee as Southern California was soaked by yet another of the powerful storms that have pounded the region this winter. The city's rain total since July 1, the start of the region's "water year," reached 31.40 inches early in the week, making it one of the wettest on record.


"The court is no longer comfortable granting stays simply upon the filings of new motions. There will always be `new' issues."

Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer,in deciding to allow the husband of brain-damaged Terri Schiavo to remove her feeding tube at 1 p.m. on March 18.

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