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— Last week's deciding vote by Democratic congresswoman Susan Davis, in favor of fast-track trade-negotiating power for the president, was preceded by campaign contributions from many with a connection to free-trade backer Irwin Jacobs and Qualcomm, the company he founded. In January, Jacobs himself gave Davis $1000; his wife Joan also gave $1000. In June, his son Gary gave $1000. In March and June, Qualcomm's political action committee contributed a total of $5000. In May, Qualcomm co-founder Andrew Viterbi kicked in $500, and Viterbi's son Alan, gave $1000 ... Nobel prizewinner Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA with James Watson in 1953, has sold his personal collection of scientific papers and research notes to the Wellcome Trust of Great Britain for £1.8 million, reports London's Financial Times. Crick, 85, who lives in La Jolla and works at the Salk Institute, was about to sell the collection to a private American collector when the English foundation -- along with a £900,000 contribution from the English Heritage Lottery Fund -- stepped in with enough money to save the stash for the Brits. The documents will be housed at the Wellcome Library in London. In a statement, Crick said he unloaded the papers to raise cash. "The money will go to my heirs -- three children and six grandchildren -- all of whom seem to be in need of financial assistance. Unfortunately, almost half will go in tax, as it counts as income. I have to pay Californian state tax as well as federal tax." Copies of the papers will be kept at UCSD.

Whites of their eyes Judging from the latest public relations salvo fired by Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar commander Major General William Bowdon, locals eyeing the base for a new civilian airport have about as much chance as the Taliban against a daisy cutter bomb. A photo of the stern-faced general peers from a glossy, four-color, 17-page handout labeled "MCAS Miramar Shareholders Report 2001," bristling with menacing images of Marine firepower. The general's forward, headlined "From the Chairman of the Board," proclaims: "Our vocation is to be supremely prepared when our nation is most vulnerable" and vows to "guard against a domestic threat surrounding the air station's fences...urban sprawl and encroachment."... A painted stork on loan from the San Diego Zoo to the Topeka Zoo turned up in an Oklahoma City backyard last week, and the Topeka zookeeper was forced to admit he misled the public, reports the Topeka Capital Journal. Three of the storks had escaped in October, but zoo director Mike Coker confirmed a report that only two had escaped and that they'd been returned. When San Diego Zoo officials called to report that the third bird had surfaced, Coker issued a mea culpa: "Because I have only recently been made zoo director and because of a history of negative publicity about the Topeka Zoo, I was reluctant to make public that under my watch we made a mistake. I was wrong to have allowed an incorrect impression to stand as fact and I accept full responsibility for this error of judgment."

Junketeers Republican congressman Jerry Weller of Illinois is bringing his tax-exempt industry trade association, New Economy Republicans, to the Marriott Coronado Island Resort for a three-day meeting next month, reports Roll Call. The group is controversial because it allows lobbyists to deduct their $25,000 annual dues. In addition to talks from GOP legislators, members can choose golf, tennis, SeaWorld, and "much more"... The Riverside Press Enterprise reports that the live-in girlfriend of a man charged with stealing more than $185,000 from four elderly women for whom he acted as conservator in Palm Springs is believed to have killed herself at the couple's Chula Vista house. Patricia Duff, 50, was found November 27 in the backyard pool of the home, the paper said. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey James Walker, is facing more than 100 criminal counts in a Riverside court. Deputy District Attorney Mark Mandio told the paper that investigators suspected Duff might have been involved in hiding some of Walker's assets. "She found out that he was a fraud," he said.

Contributor: Matt Potter

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