PHOENIX — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ staff said Friday that the Arizona congresswoman will visit Tucson for Father’s Day weekend in her first time back to her hometown since she was shot in January.”We’ve been dreaming of this trip for some time,” Giffords’ astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, said in a news release. “Gabby misses Tucson very much and her doctors have said that returning to her hometown could play an important role in her recovery.”He said the trip “is sure to be very emotional” and hopes the news media respects their privacy.Giffords was released from a Houston hospital Wednesday, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event. She had been in the rehab facility since late January, a few weeks after the shooting that killed six and wounded 13.Giffords will make no public appearances and will grant no interviews during her visit to Tucson, spokesman C.J. Karamargin said.
Target faces much-watched union vote in New York
NEW YORK — Target may be known for its cheap-chic apparel, but workers at one New York store say the company is just plain cheap.Target says it pays its workers competitively. But late Friday night, about 250 workers at a Target store in Long Island will vote on whether to join the country’s largest retail union. This is the first union vote Target has faced in two decades and if workers vote “yes,” the store will be the first of the company’s 1,700 locations to bring in organized labor.The vote could have a ripple effect in the U.S. retail industry as the economy recovers from the worst recession since the 1930s. At a time when jobs are scarce, the retail industry is expected to be one of the strongest sectors for job growth during this decade. But the hours and pay for jobs selling clothes, computers and other goods have been declining in recent years. At the same time, the industry has faced decreasing union membership, which can limit workers’ ability to fight for better wages.Chris Tilly, who directs the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, says a win for the union — however unlikely — would be significant.”It would not be the end of the story,” he says. “They’re testing the waters.”
Redistricting key to future of Weiner’s House seat
NEW YORK — With U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner’s humiliating exit from office, New York is likely to hold a special election sometime in the next few months to pick his successor, but voters probably shouldn’t expect a bruising public contest over the right to go to Washington. The job might not even exist in 19 months.Because of population shifts, New York state is slated to lose two House seats in 2013, and lawmakers in Albany will spend the next few years redrawing the boundaries of congressional districts in a highly politicized process that could, in theory, wipe Weiner’s old territory in Queens and Brooklyn from the map.Traditionally, lawmakers looking to butcher a district have turned to ones where there is no incumbent, or one with little seniority. That would seem to put the 9th Congressional District at risk for elimination, or at least a bigger overhaul of its borders than other districts in the state.”The question then becomes, is it worth going for a seat that may not exist?” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor at Baruch College’s School of Public Affairs.That option still could present a good political stepping stone for a Democrat looking to move up the ranks in a highly Democratic city, said Matthew Hiltzik, a public relations specialist and political consultant.”It’s an opportunity to build name recognition, and be in a position to possibly stay in Congress if something unusual happens,” he said.
Libyan leader Gadhafi says NATO will not win
TRIPOLI, Libya — Provoked by renewed daylight NATO bombing of his capital, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi raged against the alliance Friday, screaming his message and daring Western forces to keep it up.Gadhafi spoke in a telephone call that was piped through loudspeakers to a few thousand people demonstrating in Tripoli’s Green Square, at the end of a day when NATO intensified bombing runs across the capital. State television carried the Gadhafi message live, then repeated it a few minutes later.”NATO will be defeated,” he yelled in a hoarse, agitated voice. “They will pull out in defeat.”The sound of automatic weapons being fired defiantly into the air echoed through the square for hours as carloads of pro-Gadhafi supporters — many with children in tow — crammed the streets leading to the plaza. Although there was a large presence of police and soldiers in the square, many of those popping off rounds wore civilian clothes.Protesters and foreign journalists in the capital said it was one of the biggest such demonstrations since airstrikes began.”Everyone in Libya wants Col. Gadhafi, not some traitors,” Rajab Hamman, a 51-year-old engineer from Tripoli, said in the square as another demonstrator shot a magazine load of automatic rifle fire into the air a few steps away. “These are the real, true Libyans,” he said of the crowd.