Plan would overhaulCondit's district
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Lawmakers unveiled a California redistricting plan Friday that would apparently give Democrats only one additional seat in Congress next year -- not the two or three national party leaders had hoped for -- and overhaul the district of Rep. Gary Condit.
With Democrats controlling redistricting because they hold majorities in the state Legislature and the governor's office, national party officials had hoped the plan would create two to three districts that could be easily won by Democrats. The party wants to pick up at least six seats overall and end eight years of Republican rule in the House.
Instead, the plan drawn up for the state's Democratic Congressional delegation appears to guarantee Democrats only the new 53rd District in the heavily Democratic Lakewood-Lynwood-Southgate area of Los Angeles County.
Condit's 18th Congressional District would become even more Democratic under the plan but would encompass many new voters who know him mostly through coverage of missing Washington, D.C., intern Chandra Levy.
His new district would stretch north into San Joaquin County and include Stockton, which contains urban, Hispanic Democrats. Previously, Condit has largely relied on votes from Republicans and conservative Democrats.
The map is "certainly not designed to help" Condit, said Ed Costantini, a retired University of California, Davis, political scientist and expert on redistricting.
Fans mark anniversaryof Diana's death
LONDON -- The sons of Diana, Princess of Wales, marked the fourth anniversary of her death in private Friday while a devoted core of admirers bore their tokens of remembrance to the palace gates that have become an unofficial public shrine.
Tears slid down the painted face of "Garibaldi" the clown as he stood in a large plaid coat reading the messages fastened with flowers and cards to the ornate wrought-ironwork outside Kensington Palace.
"I've come in costume because this is how she knew me. I met her when she came to visit a hospital close to where I live," said 81-year-old retiree Edward Larkin of Tooting, London, who dons his Garibaldi garb to clown for charity.
"I had a bunch of flowers for her and was dressed up and cracking jokes for the crowd," he said. "When she came out, she said 'hello,' and I gave her the flowers. She was so warm and genuine."
The gates of the palace where Diana had lived became a focus of mourning within hours of the Paris car crash that killed the princess on Aug. 31, 1997. Flowers often are left entwined in the ironwork.
White House Web site
WASHINGTON -- Presidential pooches Spotty and Barney are ready to welcome young people to the White House's new Web site. India the cat and Ofelia the longhorn cow are waiting, too.
The site, redesigned for the Bush White House, made its debut Friday with links to presidential announcements, briefings, appointments and radio addresses.
It offers a Spanish-language section and a voice synthesizer and closed-caption Web casts to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.
The children's' section has a photo album of the presidential pets and offers a virtual tour of the White House led by Spotty, President Bush's English springer spaniel. Barney, Bush's Scottish terrier, tries to help kids learn their ABCs, while Ofelia teaches a lesson on American heroes. India, the black cat that is nicknamed Willie, leads a history quiz.
The Web site's address is http://www.whitehouse.gov.
Missouri River plan
WASHINGTON -- Environmentalists said Friday the Missouri River's managers are choosing business interests over wildlife by backing away from plans to alter the flow of the waterway.
The Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the federal Endangered Species Act, says that switching to a seasonal ebb and flow is the only way to save the pallid sturgeon, least tern and piping plover. Barge and farm interests argue the change would shut down a vital shipping artery.
The Army Corps of Engineers on Friday proposed an array of alternatives for managing the Missouri, including keeping the current flow as it is. The agency had been leaning toward the changes suggested by the wildlife service, but officials indicated last month they would back off that approach.
The corps wants to manage the river to control flooding, generate hydropower and benefit shippers while protecting endangered fish and birds, too, said Col. David Fastabend, commander of the corps' northwestern operations.