Copyright 1994 Globe Newspaper Company The Boston Globe
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December 18, 1994, Sunday, City Edition
SECTION: FOCUS; Pg. 80
LENGTH: 1206 words
HEADLINE: Focus on: 12/11-12/17; A tax-cut bidding war in Washington, some new higher-ups for higher ed; World; CHOKING CHECHNYA; CARTER ON CALL
On Sunday, Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered troops into the breakaway Muslim region of Chechyna, in the southern Caucasus area. The Chechens, who have long resisted rule by Moscow, fought a drawn-out war against Russia in the last century. Russia has promised not to storm the region's capital, Grozny, a city of 400,000 people. Instead it plans to blockade the city to put pressure on the Chechens to retract their 1991 independence declaration.
Former President Carter said on Wednesday that Bosnian Serb leaders had asked him to travel to the region to help negotiate a peace settlement. President Clinton told Carter he would not stand in the way of his going, but any visit would be in a purely private capacity; Carter would not be representing the United States.
On Friday, Defense Secretary William Perry announced that the United States is sending 3,000 Marines to waters off Somalia in the event Clinton decides to aid in the upcoming withdrawal of United Nations forces from that country. Nation TACKLING TAXES; A BOMBER STRIKES AGAIN; FABLES OF FAUBUS
Last week Democrats continued their awkward efforts to accommodate themselves to the new Washington order. On Tuesday, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) proposed a middle-class tax cut in a speech to a Washington think tank. He called for an across-the-board cut for families making under $ 75,000. In a nationally televised address Thursday night, President Clinton offered a proposal of his own. Calling for a "middle-class Bill of Rights," Clinton announced his backing for $ 60 billion in tax cuts, which would be paid for with deep cuts in five federal departments and agencies. Republicans hammered both Democratic proposals as being copycat measures. In the GOP response to the president's speech, Senator-elect Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) said, "From what we heard tonight, the president's vision for the future now looks a lot like what Republicans just campaigned for."
On Sunday, federal investigators in New Jersey said a bomb that the day before had killed a prominent advertising executive, Thomas J. Mosser, had been the work of a serial bomber who has struck 15 times since 1978. Dubbed "Unabom" because of his frequent preference for individuals affiliated with universities, the bomber has now killed two men and wounded 23 other people.
It was revealed last week that former US Sen. Paul Tsongas has begun circulating a nine-page memorandum suggesting the nation's problems would best be addressed by a centrist third party led by a presidential candidate such as former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell. "The currency here would be moral authority, the kind of moral authority the administration clearly does not have and that the Republican 'Contract with America' cannot provide," Tsongas said.
Orval Faubus, who overcame rural poverty to win six terms as governor of Arkansas, only to find himself far better known for his opposition to civil rights, died Wednesday. He was 84 and had been suffering from bone and prostate cancer. Faubus' defiance of a federal desegregation order in 1957 brought about a school crisis in Little Rock and ushered in an era of Southern resistance to integration when President Eisenhower responded by ordering troops to enforce the order. Not previously regarded as a race baiter, Faubus nonetheless found himself linked by historians to such obstructionist governors as Mississippi's Ross Barnett, Alabama's George Wallace and Georgia's Lester Maddox. Metro/Region PLAZA SWEET? A BIT OF THE BLARNEY
On Monday, Mayor Menino announced five first-place winners in a competition to revamp City Hall Plaza, which has long daunted pedestrians with its uninviting brick expanse. The competition attracted 190 entries, with entrants ranging from design professionals to schoolchildren.
Gov. Weld spent last week in Ireland, Northern Ireland and England, heading a 70-member trade delegation promoting business investment in Massachusetts. Joining him overseas were Senate President William Bulger and House Speaker Charles Flaherty. All three men have come under fire for their part in passing a legislative pay raise and capital gains tax cut this month, and the fortuitousness of their absence on this trip did not go unremarked. Health/Science TEENS TAKING DRUGS
A new nationwide study released last week found that teen-agers' use of illegal drugs continues to grow. The survey of 50,000 students at 420 public and private high schools found that nearly 31 percent of seniors had smoked marijuana during the past year and 3.6 percent had used cocaine. Still, the levels of drug use are markedly lower than those found in the late 1970s and early '80s. The survey was conducted by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. Learning PRESIDENTIAL TIMBER
On Tuesday, it was learned that a Boston University committee is expected to recommend that Jon Westling succeed John Silber when he retires as president at a yet-to-be determined date. Westling, 52, was appointed BU's provost in 1983 and executive vice president in 1988. A former Rhodes scholar, he has twice served as acting president. Westling lacks a doctorate, which is rare for a president of a leading university; and BU's faculty council is likely to protest any selection of a president without a national search. But neither obstacle should stand in the way of Westling's eventual selection.
On Thursday, Smith College named Ruth Simmons, vice provost at Princeton University, as its ninth president. The daughter of Texas sharecroppers, she has also served as provost of Spelman College in Atlanta. Simmons, 49, is the first black to become president of a Seven Sisters college. She takes office July 1. In their own words
At a Washington press conference on Thursday, Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) introduced a plan to cut $ 124 billion in taxes over the next five years. He also discussed the tax cut proposal President Clinton would be announcing that night in his nationally televised broadcast.
"I think everybody realizes that this is the same person that two years ago was talking exactly the same way, and when he took office he not only did not propose a tax cut for working families, but he raised their taxes. So I believe in redemption. If the president heard the voice of the people on Nov. 8 and he wants to get on the train and be the engineer, great. If he wants to wave goodbye to us at the station, we can wave back. And if he wants to stand in the middle of the tracks and try to stop the train, we can live with that. But in any case, I think the president has got to decide what he wants to do.
The point I wanted to make clear is I am glad that the president is beginning to at least hum along as we sing our song of less government and more freedom. And to the extent that he will cooperate, I certainly am more than willing to share with him the credit for what we do and certainly listen to his ideas. But if the best he can do is $ 30 billion of tax cuts over a five-year period when the government is spending $ 1.5 trillion a year . . . clearly that is not going to be enough. That is a day late and a dollar short.