Monday, July 31, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST July 31, 2006



At this Wilton Manors synagogue, all are welcome: gay, heterosexual or

By Lisa J. Huriash
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

July 31, 2006

WILTON MANORS -- Every Friday night, Jennifer and Agnes Winokur drive fromtheir Miami home to one of the oldest gay synagogues in the nation to pray.

The lesbian couple, who took the same last name, decided last year theywanted to marry and have children. Although they knew it wouldn't be a legalmarriage recognized by the state, they found Rabbi Harold Caminker ofCongregation Etz Chaim in Wilton Manors. Caminker joined them on theirBahamas cruise and married them in a religious ceremony.


Crist: Dismissed, even ridiculed, but skillfully steering clear of conflict
By STEVE BOUSQUET, Times Staff Writer
Published July 31, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Charlie Crist's political role models are Ronald Reagan andConnie Mack, and he has spent his public career emulating both men.

Reagan was the "Great Communicator" whose great skill as president wasconnecting with people. Mack was the two-term Florida senator known for civility and a "less taxes, more freedom" philosophy.

Neither seemed burdened by the complexities of public policy, but bothenjoyed great success.

Like Crist, both men conveyed hopeful messages. Like Crist, both were fiscal conservatives, not social conservatives - and there's a big difference.

As a state senator from St. Petersburg more than a decade ago, Crist's toughbut simplistic talk against prison inmates earned him the name "Chain GangCharlie," and it wasn't meant as a compliment.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jul. 31, 2006

Hate acts outrage S. Florida Jews
South Florida's Jewish community was shocked by four acts of vandalism against two synagogues and two businesses that cater to a Jewish clientele.

Two North Miami Beach synagogues and two businesses that serve the Jewishcommunity were spray-painted with anti-Semitic graffiti early Sunday,prompting North Miami Beach police to launch an investigation and a searchfor the perpetrators.

Four people were seen late Sunday near one of the crime scenes. Witnessesand police said the group had begun spray-painting a swastika on a wallbehind the two adjacent businesses. Police said three of the four fled onfoot when approached, but one juvenile was arrested.

Police did not immediately identify him.

The incidents come at a time when Jewish communities across the nation andaround the world are on edge because of the ongoing Israeli-Hezbollahfighting. Security at many sites has been tightened, especially afterFriday's attack when a Muslim man allegedly opened fire in the office of theJewish Federation of Greater Seattle, killing one woman and wounding five


Priest under investigation has ties to Fort Lauderdale
Michael Fay, apparently gay, accused of using church money to fund 'lavish

Jul. 29, 2006

A Connecticut priest who is apparently gay and who is under investigationfor allegedly using church money to fund a lavish lifestyle, owns anexpensive condominium near the beach in Fort Lauderdale and often dined atupscale restaurants in South Florida with his male companion.

Fr. Michael J. Fay, the former pastor of St. John Roman Catholic Church inDarien, Conn., is under investigation for allegedly misspending $200,000 inparish funds, according to a church official and a private investigator.

Fay is accused of using the parish's American Express card to charge itemsfor his personal use. He has not been formally charged with any criminal offense.


South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board
July 31, 2006

ISSUE: A new state law governing voter registration sparks an outcry.

Politics can be many things, but no one promised ease or convenience. Such is the dilemma facing several advocacy groups and labor unions regarding anew state law affecting voting registration drives.

Third-party voter registration has been a political staple as groups of allstripes sign up new voters who might support their cause. Unfortunately, theprocess became a logistical nightmare, which prompted the FloridaLegislature to change the procedures.


July 30, 2006

Smith trying to build funding, momentum
By Aaron Deslatte

Democrat Rod Smith has never run statewide before and faces dauntingobstacles in getting his message out.

His opponent, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, has raised $2.9 million to Smith's $2.4million, and calls the huge Tampa media market his home.

This weekend, Smith's campaign is going on television with its firststatewide ad - everywhere except in the Pensacola and Fort Myers-Naples

Smith is hopeful he can catch up because federal campaign-finance reformswill prevent Davis from raising the same soft-money dollars as Smith. Butthe question is whether Smith can go after South Florida money and voteswhile keeping Blue Dogs convinced he's one of them.


The Miami Herald
Posted on Mon, Jul. 31, 2006

Democratic candidates woo gay voters

Gay-rights activists said the Democrats vying to replace Gov. Jeb Bush are not their dream team, but they are a lot more sympathetic to their cause than the Republican contenders.


When Rod Smith went to a recent Tallahassee conference of gay and lesbian activists, the Democratic candidate for governor cracked a joke alluding toBrokeback Mountain, the gay cowboy movie.

The crowd howled. That was a marked contrast to the lukewarm reception thestate senator got at a Hollywood gathering a year earlier, when some of thesame activists complained that he addressed them as ``you homosexuals.''

Smith's rival, U.S. Rep. Jim Davis, voted to bar same-sex couples inWashington from adopting children in 1998. ''I'm just not convinced thatit's appropriate to allow children to be raised in that environment,'' he said at the time. He changed his mind and voted against the adoption ban one
year later.


Washington Post Company

Crisis Could Undercut Bush's Long-Term Goals

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006; A01

The Israeli bombs that slammed into the Lebanese village of Qana yesterday did more than kill three dozen children and a score of adults. They struckat the core of U.S. foreign policy in the region and illustrated inheart-breaking images the enormous risks for Washington in the current
Middle East crisis.

With each new scene of carnage in southern Lebanon, outrage in the Arab world and Europe has intensified against Israel and its prime sponsor, raising the prospect of a backlash resulting in a new Middle East quagmire for the United States, according to regional specialists, diplomats and
former U.S. officials.

Although the United States has urged Israel to use restraint, it has also strongly defended the military assaults as a reasonable response toHezbollah rocket attacks, a position increasingly at odds with allies thatsee a deadly overreaction. Analysts think that if the war drags on, as
appears likely, it could leave the United States more isolated than at anytime since the Iraq invasion three years ago and hindered in its foreignpolicy goals such as shutting down Iran's nuclear program and spreadingdemocracy around the world.