Saturday, December 23, 2006

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 23, 2006

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The New York Times

December 23, 2006
Fire Chief Steps Down in Misconduct Settlement

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 22 - This city's beleaguered fire chief, the first openlygay woman to lead a professional fire department of a major city, steppeddown on Friday, Mayor R. T. Rybak announced.

As part of a settlement, the chief, Bonnie Bleskachek, will remain as anadministrator in the department, but without any supervisory role. Hersalary will drop to less than $74,000 from $112,000.

In five lawsuits, Ms. Bleskachek was accused of playing sexual politics,retaliating against a former partner, acting as a lustful predator andshowing bias against at least one heterosexual male firefighter.

A city investigation substantiated 20 accusations of misconduct orimpropriety against Ms. Bleskachek, including that she was nude in a hot tubwhen firefighters were present. It also found that her romantic relationshipwith an employee had a negative effect on the work environment. But as partof the settlement, all administrative charges against her will be dropped.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Groundbreaking Legislation Boosts
Protectionsfor Domestic Partners

December 21, 2006

From Equality California

CONTACT: Dannie Tillman, Director of Communications & Coalitions
PHONE: (323) 217-8875 EMAIL:


Groundbreaking Legislation Boosts Protections for Domestic Partners

Sacramento - California's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender(LGBT) community will ring in the new year with more legal protections andrights. On January 1, eight new laws affecting LGBT Californians will gointo effect, including a law that requires companies contracting with thestate to provide employees with domestic partners the same benefits given toemployees with spouses.

During the 2003-2004 legislative session, Equality California (EQCA)sponsored AB 17, requiring equal benefits in state contracts entered intoafter January 1, 2007. Authored by former Assemblymember and current SenatorChristine Kehoe, D-San Diego, the legislation was modeled after a 1996 equalbenefits ordinance enacted in San Francisco.

"We are excited to see this policy become state law," said EQCA ExecutiveDirector Geoff Kors, who initiated the idea of enacting an equal benefitspolicy in San Francisco in the 1990s. "The new law establishes the fairprinciple of equal pay for equal work, regardless of sexual orientation."


Yesterday -

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Celebrate Global Orgasm for Peace Day

Celebrate Global Orgasm for Peace Day
By Liz Langley, AlterNet
Posted on December 22, 2006, Printed on December 22, 2006

When anti-war activists Paul Reffell and Donna Sheehan planned their latestpeace-making project -- the synchronized global orgasm -- to fall on Dec.22, they may not have realized that it's the last Friday before Christmas.It's a day many people take off, and so, have a little extra time on theirhands. Sweet coinkydink or a holiday miracle, today's your chance to improvethe world -- batteries not included.

The goal of the Synchronized Global Orgasm for Peace (or as I think of it,The Other GOP) is to effect a change in the world's energy by having as manypeople as possible orgasm while focusing their thoughts on world peace.

The rules are simple: Yes, you can do it on your own. No, there's nospecific time. And, no, you can't fake it.

Personally, I hope this will usher in a whole new method of activism -- onethat doesn't involve buying poster board. Even if it doesn't work, hey, it'smore fun than marching.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

How the 'taxpayer census' fights the 'homosexual agenda'
- David Lazarus
Friday, December 22, 2006

Who would have guessed that answering a few census questions could make youa participant in battling the "homosexual agenda"?

Napa resident Marcia Zwick never imagined this when she recently received alarge, important-looking envelope in the mail. She works as a legalsecretary and is accustomed to handling official documents.

"I'm a reasonably intelligent person," Zwick said. "I couldn't tell whatthis really was."

The answer isn't readily apparent.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,803953.story?coll=sns-newsnation-headlines

U.N. Security Council to Vote on Iran

Associated Press Writer

December 23, 2006, 7:33 AM EST

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote Saturday on aresolution that would impose sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program,culminating two months of tough negotiations aimed at getting Tehran tosuspend uranium enrichment.

It wasn't clear whether there would be unanimous support, with the votes ofRussia, China and Qatar still in question. In a final attempt to win Russiansupport, key European nations circulated a new text of a U.N. resolutionlate Friday.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Masculinity and the War on America's Youth
by Bob Roehr

"50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America's Youth" documents the tideof murderous violence against gender nonconformity in the United States overthe last decade, said Riki Wilchins, executive director of the Gender PublicAdvocacy Coalition ( GenderPAC ) .

One such murder occurs every two to three months, said Wilchins, who wrotethe report. It was released on Dec. 14.

Wilchins believes the report undercounts "effeminate gay men who weretargeted because they weren't being masculine enough and butch women whowere targeted because they were not being fem enough."

There is strong commonality to most violence based on gender nonconformity."It is consistent in method and precise in target," said Wilchins. Roughly90 percent of the victims "were biologically male but transgressed gender insome profound way;" were people of color; identified as gay or transgenderidentified; and were killed by persons about their own age.


Gay couples as parents


By now, Mary Cheney must have inspired an entirely new chapter in Whatto Expect When You're Expecting. Expect your pregnancy to provoke a nationalcontroversy.

It's been years since the Vice President's Openly Gay Daughter firstcreated a stir on the right for her sexual preference and a stir on the leftfor her political preference. Now her ''bump,'' as all celebrity pregnanciesare described, is fodder for the sort of uncontrolled food fight she'll findall too familiar in another year or so.

Her opponents criticize her as a single mommy and one of two mommies.Her pregnancy has been labeled ''unconscionable,'' ''selfish'' and''cruel.'' She and partner Heather Poe have been especially lambasted forbringing a child into the world ''without a father.'' As Robert Knight ofthe Media Research Center moaned, ``I think it's tragic that a child hasbeen conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father.''

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