SUPREME COURT BEGINS DECISION-MAKING PROCESS

BY RHONDA HECTOR

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in the case of Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey.

Planned Parenthood is suing Gov. Casey of Pennsylvania, claiming that five provisions of Pennsylvania law dealing with abortion are unconstitutional.

The provisions were added to Pennsylvania law in 1988 and 1989. They are:

Informed consent -- meaning the physicians and counselors must provide details about abortion to the woman considering one

Waiting period -- the woman must wait 24 hours after receiving the information before having the abortion

Parental consent -- girls under the age of 18 must have the consent of at least one parent

Spousal notification -- a married woman must inform her husband of her desire for an abortion unless the child is not his or she fears bodily injury

Clinics and physicians must report information concerning abortions to the state -- including the age of the woman, the county and state where she resides, number of prior pregnancies, type of abortion and the age and weight of the fetus.

This abortion rights case will be historic in that the court will decide if the right to have an abortion is a constitutionally protected fundamental right.

"They (the Supreme Court) are basically arguing about how you know when a right is fundamental," said Mary Anne Bobinski, UH law professor. "Meaning that the right is so important and so essential to our society that it is fundamental.

"Free speech, for example, is fundamental. The right to have an abortion is trickier because nowhere in the Constitution does it say there is a right to have an abortion," Bobinski said.

The District Court that heard the case found all five provisions unconstitutional, but when the case was heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals, only the spousal notification provision was found unconstitutional.

Both sides presented their arguments, as well as court records and briefs, to the Supreme Court Wednesday. Now it's just a matter of time.

"Basically, everything is done on paper in the Supreme Court," Bobinski said. "Once the lawyers present their arguments, there are no witnesses called to testify. The past court records are used as evidence."

Once the court convenes, there is no time limit on how long they can take to decide.

The court could declare the provisions constitutional or unconstitutional. If declared constitutional, abortion could become strictly limited and Roe vs. Wade, the case that made abortion legal, could be on its way to being overturned.

"Another possibility is that, instead of coming out and saying abortion is not a fundamental right, they could rule that the state has a compelling interest in protecting the fetal life from the moment of conception," Bobinski said.

By doing that, the court gives states the authority to regulate abortion. If that happens, the abortion issue becomes a part of the political process.

The Supreme Court, in essence, would be divorcing itself from being involved in abortion laws, leaving state legislators to decide what to do.

The court is expected to issue its ruling sometime this summer.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

CONTROVERSY ARISES OVER FRAT PARTY T-SHIRT AT UW

COUGAR NEWS SERVICE

The student senate at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls has approved a resolution suggesting that a fraternity apologize for designing and printing T-shirts that students condemned as demeaning to women.

The senate passed a resolution in late February asking the Delta Theta Sigma fraternity chapter to be aware of the negative implications of the design and reconsider printing anything similar in the future.

The Interfraternity Council also approved a motion suggesting the Delta Theta Sigma members comply with the student resolution.

The T-shirts, which were sold for the fraternity's "Back to Jamaica" party, depicted a woman in a shark's mouth with the words "Decade of Dominance" below it.

Tom Goodenough, president of the fraternity, refused to comment.

Jim Chaussee, president of the Interfraternity Council, said there was concern about protecting the Greek image, but he noted that the Delta Thetas had not violated any rules.

"DTS has not broken any laws. At worst, they have used bad judgment," he said.

Some students have begun collecting petition signatures protesting the T-shirts.

"Hopefully, the petition will create a greater awareness among men and women on campus that this was sexist and degrading and dehumanizing," said Jeannette Barisonzi, one of the protesters and head of the Women's Student Association.

Betty Bergland, a professor who teaches a class on women and history, said students discussed the T-shirt during a recent meeting and suggested various courses of action.

"They were justifiably outraged and have gone about this in an intelligent and thoughtful way," she said.

Other students said the issue was not that important.

"I think people are blowing this way out of proportion," student John Kiecker said. "I don't think the words are meant to go with the picture. The words relate to the fact that it was their 10th annual party."

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

A SALUTE TO SPAIN AT THIS YEAR'S FEST

BY GRAM GEMOETS

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

It's time to put on your sombrero as the Houston International Festival celebrates Spain and the New World starting today and continuing through May 3.

Everyone is invited to attend the festival's opening by Mayor Bob Lanier at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the City Hall Plaza.

Just because Spain is honored doesn't mean you won't find just about everything under the sun at the festival as several types of entertainment from across the globe will be offered.

The festival includes artwork, dance, marionette theater, workshops, a fun run, poetry readings, noontime concerts at Tranquility Park and City Hall, international arts and the annual "art car parade."

Roadside attractions such as the art car parade begin at 11 a.m. on May 2. This annual event features some unique mobile art and is a must-see.

For music, organizers have focused on Spanish artists and entertainers influenced by Spanish music, but you'll find all kinds of music around the festival. Anything from classical Spanish folk to Caribbean and Puerto Rican funk.

Eight stages will be in operation on the weekends. Each stage has its own theme -- country, cajun/zydeco, dance, Latin, New Spain/New World, worldbeat and a kids block.

On Saturday, the festival stage hosts "Texas Party Music," beginning at 12:30 p.m. with Johnny Boy and the Kings as well as other bands until 10:30 p.m. On April 26, the festival stage hosts the "Young Jazz Artists," including a variety of young talent.

Also, one of Spain's most noted Flamenca dance companies will entertain. They will do their gypsy dance at 8 p.m., May 1, on the City Hall stage. If you haven't seen a flamenca, you will want to see the Spaniards clicking their heels and snapping their castanets.

But you don't have to attend any stage shows to enjoy the music. Since the festival focuses on the guitar (a mainly Spanish invention), a number of sidewalk musicians will be on hand to lighten the spring air with melodies.

Theater buffs will have the opportunity to see the world premiere of Edward Albee's The Lorca Play. It is a specially commissioned work on the life of Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca. The play will be presented in the Wortham Theater on campus at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday as well as 8 p.m. May 1 and 2. There will also be a 2 p.m. performance on May 3.

Other events are too numerous to mention. As always, booths serving food and drinks will be everywhere.

The McKinney and Allen Parkway exits from Interstate 45 will be closed on the weekends. Organizers suggest you use the Dallas Street exit from I-45 North and the Houston Avenue exit from I-45 South. Most downtown parking lot spaces will be available for about $3.

METRO is providing shuttle service to the festival each weekend from the Park & Ride locations at North Shepherd, the West Belt, the West Loop and Edgebrook. The drop-off/pick-up areas are located on Louisiana and Milam between Walker and McKinney.

The fee is $2 per person for a round-trip. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 7 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call METRO at 635-4000.

Information booths will be located at each of the eight stages around the festival. Daily performance information will be available there. For more information on the festival itself, call SPAIN-92.

So, if you are looking for some outdoor entertainment this weekend, why not give the `92 Houston International Festival a try? What better way to spend a warm spring afternoon.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

BOBBY ROCK IS `LIVING CLEAN'

BY TINA MCDONALD

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Bobby Rock, drummer for the group Nelson and a founding member of the disbanded Vinnie Vincent Invasion, dances to the beat of his own drums.

Rock is making a Houston appearance May 1 at the Unity Church of Christianity to speak about his career and his successful battle against drug and alcohol dependence.

"I don't like to preach or shove my beliefs down other people's throats. I'm an advocate of `clean living' and exchange ideas about it (living clean)," Rock said.

Twenty-eight-year-old Rock's "clean living" includes being a vegetarian, following a strict regimen of body-building and being completely drug and alcohol free for more than 15 years.

"I've been on the wagon straight. Some people go off and on. They'll drink when someone says, `C'mon, have a beer, it's New Year's!' I haven't had a drop since I got sober at 13 years old, and that's why I've gotten where I am," Rock said.

Rock, who grew up in Houston, said his struggle with drugs and alcohol was induced by a combination of peer pressure and the high impressionability at his young age.

"I didn't come from a broken home. I came from your typical, middle-class family, but you model yourself after those you think are `cool,' and you don't think of the consequences," Rock said.

Rock is well on his way to the top, and his schedule can prove it.

Currently, he tours and performs drum exhibitions in the United States for Sonar Drums and Sabian Cymbals and is working on his solo album due out in 1993. He will return to the studio in the summer to record Nelson's follow-up to their debut album After the Rain.

Rock has written and co-written songs for his solo album, including instrumentals, but he is looking for the right voice to sing his songs.

"I see the voice as another instrument to accent the music. The album is going to be an interesting hybrid of music since I am influenced by all types," Rock said.

Rock, whose real name is Robert Brock, began drumming at age 10, later became active in his school band and played with local garage bands.

"I had the good fortune to have a father who played the drums. When I was 10 years old, we took Dad's drums out, and I started playing them. I was hooked," Rock said.

In 1989, after years of study, Rock created a successful instructional video and workbook entitled Metalmorphosis, which offers tips on drumming.

"The video shows certain drumming techniques and is like a study guide to better drumming. There is even a brief part in Gold's Gym where I tell how weight-lifting relates to your drumming capabilities," he said.

In addition to discussing his career and struggle with substance abuse, Rock will perform drum solos, sign autographs and hold a question-and-answer period.

"When people see how passionate and convicted you are about what you believe in, they'll usually listen and respect it," Rock said.

He will be appearing at 7:30 p.m., May 1, at the Unity Church of Christianity, 2929 Unity Dr. For more information or directions, call 782-4050.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

MEMBERS OF 29TH SA SENATE SWORN INTO OFFICE MONDAY

BY FRANK SAN MIGUEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

As the gavel fell for the first meeting of the new Students' Association Senate Monday, the UH Hearing Board announced a schedule for the new general elections.

Two weeks ago, the Hearing Board ousted PRIDE candidate Damien Kauta and declared a new presidential election between PLAID's Eric De Beer, YES candidate Rusty Hruska and Student Advocacy candidate Andrew Monzon.

Wednesday, the Hearing Board scheduled the elections for next week.

General elections for the position of president will take place Monday and Tuesday, with runoffs on Wednesday and Thursday if necessary.

The election and allegations resulting from it have damaged SA, many new senators said. Building student trust and better student relations, some senators said, were their priorities.

"I'd like SA to have better relations with students because they're very bad right now," Senator Aijaz Chaudry said.

"I'm here because Stefan and Rusty asked me to run," College of Business Senator Ralph Coatsworth said. "But I'm also interested in getting involved."

"I want to help SA's image because a lot of things happened that need to be helped," College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication Senator Carlos Morales said.

The first legislation introduced before the new Senate dealt with the elections.

SA Bill 29001, introduced by Select Committee Chair Michelle Palmer, would bar campaign materials from being posted in areas such as "stores, restaurants, residential areas or areas not specifically designated by the university for academic purposes."

"I didn't want the future senates to come in with the animosity that is in our senate," Palmer said. "I wanted to alleviate one of the reasons it existed. One of the reasons people were so upset with YES is because of some individuals on the ticket posting in areas that are not for academic purposes. That hurts the reputation of all the candidates."

During the general election, complaints were filed with the Election Commission about posting by the YES Party at the Chinese Star Restaurant. YES materials were also posted in Rother's Bookstore and at a residence near the Quadrangle.

"This race is going to be really tough," De Beer said. "Four days is a lot."

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

ROTC PROGRAM WHIPS YOUNGSTERS INTO SHAPE

BY ADAM KING

NEWS REPORTER

On a normal day, 17-year-old Kenna Nix walks up and down the halls of Clements High School, twirling No. 2 pencils and talking with friends.

All that changed Wednesday when she donned an olive-drab, camouflage uniform and attacked a grenade assault course during the second ROTC Cougar-For-A-Day program.

The program, created by last year's ROTC freshman class, is designed to bring the ROTC and college experience to high school students interested in what the corps and the Army have to offer.

The head of the UH-ROTC program, Lt. Col. Robert Shaffer, said Cougar For A Day offers the students a chance to view the campus and exposes them to the senior corps program, showing them they don't have to go outside of Houston for a combined ROTC and college education.

First Lt. Derek Boese, the second-in-command of Cougar For A Day, said, "I think it's a good experience (for the students). They actually have to get up and do (physical training) with us. They see a lot of what we actually do."

In the day-long session, the students learned basic rifle marksmanship, how to throw a grenade properly and how to navigate an obstacle course.

One platoon of high school students took some time out from their rigorous training to beat their UH-ROTC platoon leaders in a soccer game, 2-1.

"I thought it would be a better experience (than Junior ROTC in high school)," said Juana Lopez, a freshman at Jefferson Davis High School.

"I wanted to see what the Army was like and to have fun and to meet new people.

"It's hard work. You have to put your mind and effort into it. (Cougar For A Day) has taught me to become a better student and to finish school," Lopez said.

Shirley Willeford, a freshman from New Caney High School, agreed with Lopez. "It takes a lot of work physically and mentally to be in this program. You have to be dedicated, or else you won't be able to do it."

One of the more popular attractions of the day was the UH-1 Iriquois Huey helicopter that was on display in the field adjacent to the Optometry Building.

Chief Warrant Officer David McCurry, who piloted the Huey from Fort Hood, said the Army enjoys supporting the ROTC.

"We're always interested in what the ROTC department is doing in bringing up the nation's youth," McCurry said, "and anything we can do to help, we're more than happy to do."

Nix, now a junior at Clements, was immediately drawn to the Huey after seeing it. Her interest in the helicopter is understandable. She said she hopes to be an Apache helicopter pilot. Nix wants to join the UH-ROTC program and, upon graduation, join the Army.

"But I'm afraid of heights," admitted Nix, who hopes her fear will be overcome by her desire to fly.

After her senior year at Clear Creek High School, Vonetta Berry will enter the Army Reserves, but she plans on attending UH next spring. She said attending Cougar For A Day was a valuable experience.

"I learned how to work well with other people. I (also) learned how to run without throwing up," she said, smiling.

Shaffer said he received only positive feedback from the high school students and faculty who attended last year's program, and he expects much the same this year.

"If nothing else, when they all go home this evening, they'll have a good appreciation for what a hard day at work (in the ROTC) can involve," Shaffer said.

Shaffer said he plans to make the Cougar For A Day an annual event, and if the 65 tired, smiling faces on the students were any indication, many of them will be back next year.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

PENNSYLVANIA CASE STIRS UP ABORTION ISSUE

BY CHRISTOPHER CUMMINGS

NEWS REPORTER

A rally at the UC Satellite Wednesday drew hundreds in protest and support of abortion rights.

"Not Every Ejaculation Deserves a Name," "Keep Abortion Legal" and "It's a Baby, Not a Choice," were some of the protestors' signs in the large crowd.

For most speakers, the message was clear: Women should have the legal right to have an abortion.

"If you're not a woman-hater, you have to be pro-choice," said Cathy Nelson-Archer, president of the Houston Area National Organization for Women (NOW).

The rally attracted about 500 media members, political advocates and students for and against abortion. Junior Travis White said he was taking part in the rally to support his beliefs.

"I strongly believe a woman needs to have the choice to decide whether or not she wants to have a baby," White said.

Frank San Miguel, Students' Association director of Public Affairs and the rally's organizer, said the event was held to inform students about the Freedom of Choice Act.

The Freedom of Choice Act states, "a state may not restrict the right of a woman to choose abortion before fetal viability; or at any time, if such termination is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman."

Voters will have an opportunity to cast their vote for or against the act when it appears on the ballot Nov. 3.

Organizers selected April 22 to hold the rally because it coincides with the Supreme Court's review of a case that could reshape abortion rights.

"Today, the Supreme Court is hearing a very important abortion case, Pennsylvania Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania vs. Casey," San Miguel said. "The Casey case is the legal basis to Pennsylvania's strict abortion laws, which include a 24-hour waiting period and spousal consent.

"We need to let the people know that America is a free-choice country, and the Freedom Act should be passed," San Miguel said.

Susan Kennedy of Texas Abortion Rights Activist League (TARAL) said their mission is to keep abortion legal and safe.

"Show your face to your congressmen; they have the power to protect women's rights. Bad people get elected by those who don't vote," Kennedy said.

Although the rally began peacefully, things began to heat up as anti-abortionists moved in.

"Everyone turn around and take a look at the man who will be barracading the abortion clinics," shouted freshman Melissa Brady, a pro-choice advocate.

She referred to Don Treshman, national director of Rescue America, a nationwide anti-abortionist group.

"We are gearing up for the National Republican Convention in August when, for the first time, two anti-abortionist groups will be in the city: Operation Rescue and Rescue America.

"We intend to work in tandem to prevent as many mothers as we can from committing abortions during the four-day convention," Treshman said.

Sophomore Kimberly Baranowski expressed similar views.

"I don't think that just because people are irresponsible, they should kill an innocent life," Baranowski said.

William Collins, a junior RTV student, took the pro-choice side. Collins said he was disgusted with the pro-lifers.

"These people who are rallying against abortion should be well-informed in all issues, and they're not. Most of these people (pro-lifers) are heavily religious, narrow-minded people who can't make a decision that isn't biased," Collins said.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

PICKERING REIGNS 'TIL '94, STUDENT FEES RAISED $6

BY DEBBIE HOUSEL

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

James Pickering will continue as UH's chief administrative officer for the next two years following the UH System Board of Regents appointment Wednesday.

Pickering will remain as acting president until August 31, 1994. A permanent replacement is expected to take the helm in September of 1994.

Pickering has been presiding over UH since he was named acting president on Jan. 28 when the late UH President Marguerite Ross Barnett took a leave of absence.

"I'm glad to know where I'm going to hang my hat for the next two years, and my mother will be glad because she doesn't understand the interim and acting part," Pickering said.

He said he anticipates a bustling of activity and plans to move UH forward in the next two years on a number of different fronts.

"We're looking at a very uncertain future on the one hand, and on the other, we're moving into the next part of the Creative Partnership Campaign," he said.

UH System Chancellor Alex Schilt said a national search will be initiated in the fall of 1993 for a permanent president to assume office in 1994.

"There is no need for me to share with you the reasons why the regents and all of us in the system administration continue to have the highest confidence in Jim's able leadership.

"His abilities, his knowledge of UH and his commitment to your continued success are well known on campus," Schilt said.

Regents Chair John Cater said over the next two years, a substantial amount of planning will be undertaken, and with the current legislative woes, choosing Pickering was the right decision.

"Clearly, we gain stability and his experience," Cater said, adding that Pickering has enjoyed broad support as provost and acting president.

During the meeting, the regents also approved a $6 increase in student service fees to $96 from $90, although SFAC Chair Daniel Lurvey tried to persuade them to follow SFAC's recommendation of only a $4 increase.

Pickering assured Lurvey during the meeting that if the additional money from the increase is not needed, he and SFAC will work together on its use.

The regents also appointed Max Castillo as the fourth president of UH-Downtown. UH sociology professor George Magner has been the interim president at UH-DT since last summer.

Schilt said if Pickering decides he would like to be a UH presidential candidate, his name will be on the final slate of candidates.

Pickering responded, "I'm not going to worry about that before I have to. At some point, I will decide. A lot depends on the confidence of the campus."

Schilt said he hopes Pickering decides to become a candidate and would be surprised if he decides against it.

Pickering's new salary is $150,000, and he will receive a $25,000 housing allowance since he will not be moving into Melcher House, Schilt said. He was making $145,000 as both acting president and provost.

Pickering, who was appointed senior vice president for Academic Affairs/provost in January, said he doesn't know whether he would resume the role of provost.

"It's an option. Once you climb to the top of the tree, it's difficult to climb down to the branches," he said.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

CHAVEZ HOPES TO MAKE MUSIC HISTORY

BY TIFFANY RATHER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

New pop sensation Ingrid Chavez is enjoying the release of her first self-titled CD and wants to talk about it.

"Candle Dance" is Chavez's favorite song off the CD because it talks about the inner strength people use to make it through life's ups and downs, Chavez said.

Her songs are mainly poetry put to music.

"Life and experience" influenced her to write poetry, Chavez said. "I was trying to understand myself and things around me."

She said she got the idea to put music to her poetry by being around songwriters. She was in a band called Skyfish in 1990.

Prince and Michael Koffman influenced the funky jazz sound on her CD, Chavez said.

She said David Sylvian has been the person she's been musically influenced by the most.

Chavez's CD cover is a black-and- white picture of her with May 19, 1992 written across the bottom. The picture's background and setting are gloomy.

"This is a person's life," Chavez said in explanation of the cover's meaning. "It gives the idea of what people are going through within themselves."

The picture for the CD was taken May 19, 1991. However, Chavez upped the date a year and placed it on the cover, she said.

A native of Albuquerque, N.M., Chavez is now living in Minneapolis. She has a 7-year-old son and was recently married.

Chavez's son lives in Atlanta, and her husband stays mostly in London. She's hoping her whole family can soon live together.

Prince was the first to discover Chavez's talent. Her chance meeting with him got her a starring role in his movie, Graffiti Bridge.

Even though Prince recognized Chavez's talents first, Madonna introduced Chavez's sound to the pop music world with the No. 1 single, "Justify My Love."

Chavez wrote and recorded the demo of "Justify My Love" with Lenny Kravitz, who introduced it to Madonna. The rest became pop-music history.

Chavez created the same "Justify My Love" sounds on her new CD, hoping the sound will create music history again.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

CONGRESSMEN EXIT IN LARGEST NUMBERS SINCE '69

BY MICHAEL D. OESER

DAILY COUGAR STAFF

While many people around Capitol Hill are alarmed by the recent exodus of frustrated legislators, UH professors blame the flight on redistricting problems, fund raising and scandal backlash, instead of disillusionment.

Campus professors also say the tallies of exiting legislators are not significantly greater than past numbers.

Sachie Canalies, a junior political science major, entered the Mickey Leland Professional Internship Program at the end of last fall. Since Jan. 15, she has been working in Florida representative Dante Sascel's office on the Hill.

"A lot of them are really frustrated with the bureaucracy," Canalies said. "A lot of them go in, and they have an agenda and think they're gonna get a lot done. Then they get discouraged."

She said the present turnover rate is not cause for alarm, but it could be.

"The turnover is not great enough to cause a noticeable change now, but there are going to be a lot of novice Congressmen. If this keeps up for two or three terms, you will see an effect," she said. She also said incumbent backlash is playing some part in legislators' decisions to leave.

According to figures from the April 20 issue of U.S. News and World Report, as of April 10, 61 seats will be open this year in the U.S. House and Senate, and 20 of those were involved in the House bank scandal. This sets a new high in departures since 1969.

Within the past two months, two prominent senators have announced their decisions not to seek re-election, citing disgust with the legislative process and the escalating national fiscal dilemma as chief reasons for throwing in the towel.

In an impassioned statement released April 8, Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Col., said, "(The first reason for not seeking re-election) is the stalemate to which economic mismanagement and partisan pettiness have reduced the work of our government ... The Congress is stymied by relentless and pointless maneuvering for short-term political advantage."

Wirth made references to the issues of the environment, education and the deteriorating style of modern campaigns where he has met with disappointment, eventually leading to his decision to leave congressional politics.

"When the enthusiasm starts to flag, when indignation decays into resignation, and personal anger starts to shadow my instinctive Western-born optimism, I know myself well enough to know I need a new venue.

"When I came to Washington in 1974 in the aftermath of Watergate, it was a year of revulsion against political corruption ... 1992 could bring another revolution, this time a return to civility, common sense and shared purpose," he said.

The revered Sen. Warren Rudman, R-N.H., made his announcement on Mar. 24. His reasons are tightly linked to his fight to reduce the national debt.

Rudman said the main reason for his resignation is the national budget and debt, how ever-increasing foreign debt will cripple the nation and, despite years of work on that problem, his frustration that nothing is getting better.

"Although I am not discouraged beyond repair, I am terribly frustrated. I do not see Congress doing what has to be done while we have time to do it. I have fought this fight for 12 years," he said.

Rudman blames part of Congress' inability to get things done on its relationship with the president.

"Frankly, it's got many good people in it, but somehow, institutionally, we, the Congress, generally cannot work with presidents," he said.

Despite alarm over these legislators' departures, UH professor Bruce Oppenheimer said the number of voluntary retirees is not significantly higher than in decades past.

"We're at a level that's higher than it has been in a decade, but voluntary retirements were only slightly lower in the 1970s," Oppenheimer said. "Compared to the 19th century, it's peanuts."

Oppenheimer said the average number of voluntary retirees in the House from 1969 through 1979 was 46.6.

"We're not seeing a huge, huge number at this point," he said. "You have a couple of very visible congressmen announcing their retirement."

Oppenheimer attributed the large number of departures to redistricting and other reasons.

"Some members are being districted out or are having to run in new districts drawn in areas unfavorable to them or are being forced to run in an area against another incumbent," he said, adding the bank and check-kiting scandals have had their impact as well.

Oppenheimer said, however, he felt the current incumbent backlash Congress is experiencing will not seriously affect the outcome of the '92 elections.

Visit The Daily Cougar