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A health insurance safety net for officers

Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla., is honoring two Plantation police officers with a measure that creates a health insurance safety net for officers injured in the line of duty.

The bill is named for Joseph Alu and James O'Hara, whose police careers ended a year ago when a hostage-taker doused them and two teenagers with gasoline, and ignited a fire.

"Public safety personnel across the country put their lives on the line each and every day," Graham said. "It is outrageous that many of them have to risk their health insurance coverage in the process.""

Ealier this year, the Florida Legislature passed its version of the legislation to protect the health benefits of injured officers and their families.

Rep. Peter Deutsch, D-Lauderhill, is sponsoring the bill in the House.

Bill to honor Gibbons

is moving along

An effort to name the federal courthouse in Tampa after retiring Rep. Sam Gibbons is moving through Congress.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bob Graham has passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and is being reviewed by the House Transportation Committee.

Gibbons, 76, is retiring after 34 years in Washington and after 10 years in the state Legislature.

The naming of the federal courthouse would represent one of many awards bestowed recently on the Tampa Democrat. Among the other kudos are a lifetime achievement award from the Washington International Trade Association and a recent bipartisan tribute on the House floor by fellow lawmakers.

Ceremony finds Clinton

testing his mettle

Here's one problem we haven't seen at the Atlanta Olympics.

President Clinton's assignment Friday was to slip the National Medal of Technology over the head of economist Paul Samuelson.

To his embarrassment, the gold medal and ribbon got stuck _ from the top of Samuelson's head to the bottom of his chin.

"His brain is simply too big," Clinton said.

Samuelson walked back to his seat, where he wrestled with the ribbon until he finally tugged it over his head.

"That is not the first problem that he could solve," Clinton said, "that I couldn't."

Striptease fund-raiser

for Detroit Democrat

Rep. Barbara-Rose Collins is raising eyebrows with plans for a campaign fund-raiser at a club that features male and female strippers.

Collins, 57, a three-term Democrat from Detroit, is already under investigation for the alleged misuse of official funds.

Her campaign treasurer and daughter, Cynthia Simpson, said tonight's event at Detroit's Watts Club Mozambique will not feature total nudity. Instead, she said dancers have been instructed to strip down only to swim suits.

Simpson said that club owner Cornelius Watts, a longtime Collins supporter, offered to hold the fund-raiser.

"I wouldn't say this is something we would brainstorm ourselves," Simpson said. "It was something that was presented to us. Mr. Watts is a supporter and it's not proper to reject him."

Alien invasions

and family values

The alien-invasion movie thriller Independence Day has won two thumbs-up from family-values author Bill Bennett.

The former education secretary, while on a recent campaign swing with Bob Dole, said he couldn't wait to see the movie a second time.

He shrugged off its depiction of wholesale carnage as aliens wipe out the world's major metropolitan areas and blow up the White House.

"Everybody dies eventually," Bennett said.

The movie's underlying _ and redeeming _ message for Bennett?

"All the marriages get back together, unbelievable."

Quotable

"It's hard to disguise the fact that the (Republican and Democratic) conventions are mainly a bunch of middle-aged white guys giving speeches that not many people care about." _ Lane Venardos, vice president of hard news and special events for CBS.

_ Information from Times staff writer Katherine Gazella and Times wires was used in this report.

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