Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GLBT DIGEST - December 13, 2006

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

w w w . b r o a d c a s t i n g c a b l e . c o m

Profanity Response Expected By Midweek

By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 12/11/2006 10:01:00 AM

Look for broadcasters, led by Fox, to file their responses to the FCC'sdefense of its indecency enforcement regime by midweek.

The legal back-and-fourth in the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuitin New York is over profanity rulings the FCC issued, then re-issued afterbroadcasters took them to court, reversing rulings against ABC and CBS andsaying the court should drop the case.

the two profanity rulings remaining are against Fox for cussing it allowedby Nicole Ritchie and Cher on Billboard Awards shows in 2002 and 2003 thatthe FCC defended last week in its brief to the court. The commission alsodefended its indecency enforcement powers, saying it was correct in rulingthe broadcasts were indecent and profane and that it was reasonable to holdthat contemporary community standards for broadasting don't allow thegratuitous uttering of "the 'F-Word. and the 'S-Word.'"


The New York Times

December 13, 2006

Will Hillzilla Crush Obambi?

So the question of the moment is: Which would be a greater handicap in apresidential bid, gender or race?

The answer will depend, of course, on how manly the woman, and how white theblack.

Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama both straddle two worlds,trying to profit from both.

Despite her desire to seem far more experienced than her rival, Hillary'srole in high-level politics has been mostly that of a spouse - a first ladywho felt that she got elected too. The Yale-trained lawyer had one pump inthe "The West Wing" and one in "Desperate Housewives," one foot in the worldof hotshot alphas ruling the globe and one in the world of middle-age womenhumiliated by their husbands' dallying with office cupcakes.

She won her Senate seat only after becoming sympathetic as a victim. And shestill struggles with the balance between her Mars and Venus sides, sometimesshowing her political steel and other times fetching coffee for malecolleagues.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Wed, Dec. 13, 2006

Holocaust conference was all about deceit

No one should be deceived by the farce that took place in Tehran this weekwith a gathering of nobodies who attempted to deny that the Holocaust evertook place. The conference was a cynical and callous attempt by IranianPresident Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to project himself as chief scold and criticof Israel and the biggest bully in the Middle East. If the conferencesucceeded at anything, though, it was in identifying Ahmadinejad as thebiggest scoundrel in the Middle East since Saddam Hussein.

A despot's tactic

Most of the international community, including the United States and GreatBritain, roundly condemned the conference and Ahmadinejad for attempting toperpetuate such a ridiculously contemptuous idea. The White House called it''an affront to the entire civilized world, as well as to the traditionalIranian values of tolerance and mutual respect.'' Britain's Tony Blair saidthe conference was ``a symbol of sectarianism and hatred.''


The Washington Post

Beyond Baker-Hamilton
One Approach to a Last Try at Stability in Iraq

By Barry R. McCaffrey
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A21

A collapse of the Iraqi state would be catastrophic -- for the people ofIraq, for the Middle East and for America's strategic interests. We need anew political and military approach to head off this impending disaster --one crafted with bipartisan congressional support. But Baker-Hamilton isn'tit.

Our objective should be a large-scale U.S. military withdrawal within thenext 36 months, leaving in place an Iraqi government in a stable and mostlypeaceful country that does not threaten its six neighboring states and doesnot intend to possess weapons of mass destruction.


The Washington Post

A Pragmatic Left in Latin America

By Jaime Daremblum
Special to's Think Tank Town
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; 12:00 AM

Not so long ago, Brazilian president Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva was widelyconsidered a Castroite intent on a Communist-style centralization ofBrazil's economy and the subversion of neighboring democracies. Yet afterfour years of surprisingly responsible governance, Lula no longer sets offalarm bells in Washington. American policymakers should keep him in mindbefore dismissing the new leaders of Nicaragua and Ecuador as authoritarianextremists in the same vein as Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez.

Those leaders, Daniel Ortega and Rafael Correa, are both well known men ofthe left. As the boss of Nicaragua's Sandinista party, Ortega spent much ofthe 1980s turning his country into a Soviet client state, while fighting offthe U.S.-backed Contra rebels. Correa, meanwhile, is a self-described"personal friend" of Chavez who wants to fundamentally overhaul theEcuadorian constitution.


The Seattle Times

Floyd J. McKay / Guest columnist
Yet another tough task for the Bush family's fixer

Historians attempting to decipher the rise and fall of President George W.Bush will need to dabble in psychology as well, and what is sometimes knownas the "famous father syndrome," the impact of people such as George H.W.Bush on their children who attempt to follow in their steps.

We are reminded again of the role of the elder Bush in the actions of hisson, as we examine the work of James Baker, co-chair and dominant member ofthe Iraq Study Group, for it is Baker who for half a century has been theBush family's fixer.

When the going gets tough, Baker gets going. The closest friend of GeorgeH.W. Bush since the 1940s, Baker helped the elder Bush out of politicalbinds and ran his campaigns. Baker also masterminded George W. Bush'sFlorida recount in 2000.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006
Op-Ed Contributor
One War We Can Still Win

NO one can return from visiting the front in Afghanistan without realizingthere is a very real risk that the United States and NATO will lose theirwar with Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the other Islamist movements fighting theAfghan government.

Declassified intelligence made available during my recent trip there showedthat major Al Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani Network and Hezb-i-Islami sanctuariesexist in Pakistan, and that the areas they operate in within Afghanistanhave increased fourfold over the last year.

Indeed, a great many unhappy trends have picked up speed lately: UnitedStates intelligence experts in Afghanistan report that suicide attacks rosefrom 18 in the first 11 months of 2005 to 116 in the first 11 months of2006. Direct fire attacks went up from 1,347 to 3,824 during the sameperiod, improvised explosive devices from 530 to 1,297 and other attacksfrom 269 to 479. The number of attacks on Afghan forces increased from 713to 2,892, attacks on coalition forces from 919 to 2,496 and attacks onAfghan government officials are 2.5 times what they were.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006

Lobbying the Jury

We are disappointed that the Supreme Court has upheld a defendant'sconviction even though spectators at his trial put prejudicial material insight of the jury. Fortunately, the court made clear that its ruling thisweek was based only on the unusual way the issue was raised, and that it wasnot deciding when this kind of politicking from the audience violated theConstitution. The decision should prompt courts to think about how to ensurethat courtroom atmosphere does not deprive defendants of a fair trial.

At Mathew Musladin's murder trial in California, the dead man's family satin the front of the spectators' gallery wearing buttons with their relative'spicture. The key issue at trial was which of the two men was the aggressorin a fight, and the photographs were essentially an argument that thedeceased was the innocent victim.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006
Saudis Say They Might Back Sunnis if U.S. Leaves Iraq

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 - Saudi Arabia has told the Bush administration that itmight provide financial backing to Iraqi Sunnis in any war against Iraq'sShiites if the United States pulls its troops out of Iraq, according toAmerican and Arab diplomats.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia conveyed that message to Vice President DickCheney two weeks ago during Mr. Cheney's whirlwind visit to Riyadh, theofficials said. During the visit, King Abdullah also expressed strongopposition to diplomatic talks between the United States and Iran, andpushed for Washington to encourage the resumption of peace talks betweenIsrael and the Palestinians, senior Bush administration officials said.

The Saudi warning reflects fears among America's Sunni Arab allies aboutIran's rising influence in Iraq, coupled with Tehran's nuclear ambitions.King Abdullah II of Jordan has also expressed concern about rising Shiiteinfluence, and about the prospect that the Shiite-dominated government woulduse Iraqi troops against the Sunni population.


The Washington Post

66% Think U.S. Spies on Its Citizens
52% in Poll Back Hearings on Handling of Domestic Surveillance

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A19

Two-thirds of Americans believe that the FBI and other federal agencies areintruding on privacy rights as part of terrorism investigations, but theyremain divided over whether such tactics are justified, according to aWashington Post-ABC News poll released yesterday.

The poll also showed that 52 percent of respondents favor congressionalhearings on how the Bush administration has handled surveillance, detaineesand other terrorism-related issues, compared with 45 percent who areopposed. That question was posed to half of the poll's 1,005-person randomsample.

Overall, the poll -- which includes questions that have been asked since2002 and 2003 -- showed a continued skepticism about whether the governmentis adequately protecting privacy rights as it conducts terrorism-relatedinvestigations.


The Washington Post

Appellate Ruling Pushes Skilling Closer to Prison

By Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; D03

Former Enron chief executive Jeffrey K. Skilling must report to a Waseca,Minn., prison soon, an appeals court judge ruled yesterday, becauseSkilling's appeal will not result in the reversal of all 19 of his criminalconvictions.

Skilling, 53, had prepared to begin serving his 24 1/2 -year sentenceyesterday. But an eleventh-hour reprieve from the U.S. Court of Appeals forthe 5th Circuit late Monday kept him from flying to Minnesota. The courtsaid it needed more time to consider Skilling's plea to remain free pendingappeal.

Yesterday, in a two-page order, Circuit Judge Patrick E. Higginbothamreversed course. The judge cited "serious frailties" with Skilling'sconviction on conspiracy, securities fraud and insider-trading charges by aHouston jury in May. In another Enron case last summer, the appeals courtinvalidated a legal theory the government had used, casting doubt on thesurvivability of many of Skilling's convictions.


Palm Beach Post

More tests for Pelosi
Palm Beach Post Editorial

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Voters in Louisiana may believe that William Jefferson is fit to serve inCongress, but his party doesn't have to believe that he deserves a keycommittee assignment.

Last weekend, despite predictions that he will be indicted soon on briberycharges, William Jefferson won another term in the House from his NewOrleans district. Former aides have testified about payments to Rep.Jefferson, and the FBI claims that agents found $90,000 in bribe money inhis freezer.

Last June, the Democratic leadership removed Rep. Jefferson from his seat onthe Ways and Means Committee, which writes tax legislation. Next month, theDemocrats will be in the majority, and incoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi haspledged to stress ethics more than the corruption-tolerant Republicans. So,she correctly has kept Rep. Jefferson off Ways and Means for the newCongress. She could send an even stronger signal by also denying Rep.Jefferson a seat on the Budget Committee. If no charges are filed, the partycan reassess.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006
Democrats Consider Outside Ethics Panel

WASHINGTON, Dec. 12 - House Democrats are seriously exploring the creationof an independent ethics arm to enforce new rules on travel, lobbying, giftsand other issues that Democrats intend to put in place on taking power nextmonth.

Senior party officials said Tuesday that Representative Nancy Pelosi ofCalifornia, the incoming speaker, had consulted with Representative John A.Boehner of Ohio, the minority leader, on forming a bipartisan group toexamine outside enforcement. The goal would be to have the group report backin the spring.

An independent Congressional watchdog, if approved, would be a major breakwith tradition. Some lawmakers say House and Senate members have soleresponsibility for policing themselves when it comes to internal rules.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006

800,000 Affected by Data Breach, U.C.L.A. Says

The University of California, Los Angeles, said yesterday that hackers hadgained access to a restricted university database, exposing the privateinformation of 800,000 current and former faculty, staff and students.

U.C.L.A. said there was no evidence that any of the data had been misused,but it has contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which isconducting an inquiry.

The university is the latest among a growing list of companies, colleges andgovernment agencies to reveal that its computer security had been breached.The U.C.L.A. breach appears to be the largest such case among universities.The City University of New York, Ohio University, the University of SouthernCalifornia and Tufts University have all suffered computer break-ins thatexposed personal information.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006
Chinese Rights Lawyer Is Put on Trial

BEIJING, Dec. 13 - An outspoken Chinese human rights lawyer was put on trial
this week on charges of inciting subversion, but the authorities kept such
tight control over the proceedings that his lawyer and his family were not
given a chance to attend, his lawyer said today.

Gao Zhisheng, the human rights lawyer, was tried Tuesday at Beijing's No. 1
People's Intermediate Court. The proceeding lasted less than a day and was
conducted in open court, but Mr. Gao's family and their chosen lawyer, Mo
Shaoping, were never notified. No verdict has been announced.

"This hearing did not follow the proper legal procedures," Mr. Mo said.
"They didn't even inform the family."


The New York Times

December 13, 2006
Without Deliberate Speed

The claims of calm deliberation emerging from the White House this week aremaddening. The search for a new plan for Iraq seems to be taking place withas much urgency as the deliberations over a new color for the dollar bill.

In Baghdad yesterday, a suicide bomber killed at least 70 people, most ofthem Shiite laborers whose only sin was looking for work. In Washington,meanwhile, President Bush held a series of carefully stage-managed meetingswith officials and outside experts whose common credential appeared to betheir opposition to the recommendations of James Baker's Iraq Study Group.

To top it off, White House aides told reporters that - despite earlierpromises of a pre-Christmas speech by Mr. Bush - the country now should notexpect any announcement of a new strategy until early next year. Thepresident's spokesman, Tony Snow, said that "it's a complex business, andthere are a lot of things to take into account," adding that Mr. Bush "wantsto make sure it's done right."


The New York Times

December 12, 2006
By 2040, Greenhouse Gases Could Lead to an Open Arctic Sea in Summers

New studies project that the Arctic Ocean could be mostly open water insummer by 2040 - several decades earlier than previously expected - partlyas a result of global warming caused by emissions of greenhouse gases.

The projections come from computer simulations of climate and ice and fromdirect measurements showing that the amount of ice coverage has beendeclining for 30 years.

The latest modeling study, being published on Tuesday in the journalGeophysical Research Letters, was led by Marika Holland of the NationalCenter for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.


The Washington Post

The GOP's Iraq Two-Step

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, December 13, 2006; A21

Where do the Republicans' likely 2008 presidential candidates come down onIraq?

You might think that a decent regard for the opinions of their fellowcitizens, as registered in last month's elections, would rouse them fromtheir Bushian dreams of victory in what has become a savage intra-Islamicwar where the very notion of an American triumph makes no sense whatever.

You might think that, with the president's approval rating now sunk tonear-Nixonian depths, Republican leaders, for their own good as well astheir country's, might want to withdraw our men and women from Iraq beforethe next election.


The New York Times

December 13, 2006

U.S. Moves to Restrain Prosecutors
The Justice Department placed new restraints on federal prosecutorsconducting corporate investigations yesterday, easing tactics adopted in thewake of the Enron collapse.

The changes were outlined in a memorandum written by Paul J. McNulty, thedeputy attorney general. Under the revisions, federal prosecutors will nolonger have blanket authority to ask routinely that a company underinvestigation waive the confidentiality of its legal communications or riskbeing indicted. Instead, they will need written approval for waivers fromthe deputy attorney general, and can make such requests only rarely.

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