Monday, July 31, 2006

We're Off Line Until August 8

We will be off line until Wednesday, August 8. Taking a little vacation!

Ray and Michael

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.




Safeguard freedoms for all
By Ina B. Alterman

July 31, 2006

The July 9 Outlook section feature "God Is My Coworker" serves to underscore the fear that the U.S. is becoming a theocracy. The pervasiveness of religious intrusion into our lives, our schools and even our laws is offensive to the millions of non-believers, secular humanists and evenmoderate religionists in this country, all of whom still believe in theconstitutional separation of church and state.

It should be a warning to all believers as well. Our forefathers recognizedthe tyranny of a state religion and wrote religious freedom into ourConstitution. However, the money, influence and power of the extremereligious right have grown since having their chief spokesman in the White
House. They are intruding their religious views into matters that should beentirely secular, such as the teaching of established science in the schoolsrather than religious pseudoscientific "intelligent design."



Alcohol can be good for the heart -- not just occasionally, but often.
Still, doctors hesitate to recommend ...

By Susan Brink
Times Staff Writer

July 31, 2006

WHEN it comes to drinking alcohol for medicinal purposes, most Americans getit wrong. Take a sampling of wine samplers at a recent tasting in SantaBarbara.

"I usually drink wine, but not every day," says Mike White, 45. "Then oneday a week, I go big - maybe half to three-quarters of a bottle." - Wrong.

"I drink on the weekends only," says Sophie Calvin, 40. - That's not iteither.

"I have a glass of wine when I take a bubble bath," says Mary Whitney, 40. "Every night." - Getting close, but it might be better if she also brought an entrée into the tub.


The Palm Beach Post

President to linger in Miami area today
The Washington Post
Monday, July 31, 2006

MIAMI - With crucial midterm congressional elections just three months away,President Bush tried Sunday to return to his domestic agenda even as thelatest eruption in the Middle East continued to dominate hisadministration's attention.

Bush flew here after going for a Sunday bicycle ride and hosting achildren's T-ball game on the South Lawn of the White House to have dinnerwith Miami community leaders.

He plans a day of activities Monday in the Miami area, visiting the NationalHurricane Center, delivering an economic speech, touring the Port of Miamiand headlining a Republican fund-raiser.

The president's visit to the home state of his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush,suggested the depth of White House concern over his political standing asRepublicans head into the campaign with a leader whose approval ratingsremain stuck in the 30s.

The president rarely travels domestically on the weekend and hardly everspends the night in a city within easy flying time of home.White House strategists, however, are trying a new approach that has Bushlingering during targeted trips across the country rather than popping in
for a speech and leaving within hours.


The New York Times

July 31, 2006

Israel Halts Air Raids After Dozens Die


JERUSALEM, Monday, July 31 - Israel agreed to suspend air attacks insouthern Lebanon for 48 hours after one of its raids on the southern town ofQana left dozens of civilians, many of them children, dead on Sunday, thebloodiest day of the conflict so far.

Israel said the Qana raid was aimed at Hezbollah fighters firing rocketsinto Israel from the area, but the strike collapsed a residential apartmentbuilding, crushing Lebanese civilians who were taking shelter for the nightin the basement.

There were different accounts of the death toll. Residents said as many as60 people had been inside. News agencies reported that 56 had been killed,and that 34 of them were children. The Lebanese Red Cross, which conductedthe rescue, counted 27 bodies, as many of 17 of them children. The youngestof the dead was 10 months old, and the oldest was 95. One was in a


The New York Times

July 31, 2006

Prisoners and Human Rights

The United States has the worst record in the free world when it comes tostripping convicted felons of the right to vote. In contrast, most Europeancountries hold that right so dear that they bring ballot boxes into prisons.

This point was underscored last week in a scalding report from the UnitedNations Human Rights Committee, which held hearings earlier this month todetermine how well the United States was complying with the InternationalCovenant on Civil and Political Rights, which this country ratified in 1992.The hearings heard testimony about secret detentions, kidnappings and
accusations of torture.

But they also dealt with how the United States treats its prison inmates,particularly the disenfranchisement laws that bar more than five millionconvicted felons from the polls. The American representative weakly defendedthe practice's legality, but dodged explaining its rationale, saying the rules come from the states, not the federal government.


The New York Times

July 31, 2006

Fooling the Voters

The two bills passed by the House last Friday and Saturday reflect a single Republican electoral strategy. Representatives want to appear to haveaccomplished something when they face voters during their five-week summerbreak, which starts today, and at the same time keep campaign donationsflowing from special-interest constituents who are well aware that a great deal was left to do.

One of the bills was a pension reform measure. The other was a grab bag that contains three main items: an extension of the expired tax credit for corporate research; a $2.10 an hour increase in the minimum wage, to bephased in over three years; and a multibillion-dollar estate-tax cut. That's the deal House Republicans are really offering - a few more dollars for 6.6
million working Americans; billions more for some 8,000 of the wealthiest families.

It is cynical in the extreme. Extending the research tax credit is noncontroversial, yet pressing. A minimum wage increase is compelling - morally, politically and financially - but Republicans generally oppose it.And the estate-tax cut has already failed to pass the Senate twice this
summer. So House Republicans linked it to the research credit and theminimum wage, hoping to flip a handful of senators from both parties whohave voted against estate-tax cuts in the past. Democrats who vote againstthe estate tax, Republicans think, can be painted as voting against a higher minimum wage.


The New York Times

July 31, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Shock and Awe

For Americans who care deeply about Israel, one of the truly nightmarish things about the war in Lebanon has been watching Israel repeat the same mistakes the United States made in Iraq. It's as if Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has been possessed by the deranged spirit of Donald Rumsfeld.

Yes, I know that there are big differences in the origins of the two wars. There's no question of this war having been sold on false pretenses; unlike America in Iraq, Israel is clearly acting in self-defense.

But both Clausewitz and Sherman were right: war is both a continuation ofpolicy by other means, and all hell. It's a terrible mistake to start amajor military operation, regardless of the moral justification, unless youhave very good reason to believe that the action will improve matters.


Washington Post Company

The Next Steps With Iran
Negotiations Must Go Beyond the Nuclear Threat to Broader Issues
By Henry A. Kissinger

Monday, July 31, 2006; A15

The world's attention is focused on the fighting in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, but the context leads inevitably back to Iran. Unfortunately, thediplomacy dealing with that issue is constantly outstripped by events. Whileexplosives are raining on Lebanese and Israeli towns and Israel reclaimsportions of Gaza, the proposal to Iran in May by the so-called Six (the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) fornegotiations on its nuclear weapons program still awaits an answer.

It's possible that Tehran reads the almost pleading tone of some communications addressed to it as a sign of weakness and irresolution. Or perhaps theviolence in Lebanon has produced second thoughts among the mullahs about therisks of courting and triggering crisis.

However the tea leaves are read, the current Near Eastern upheaval couldbecome a turning point. Iran may come to appreciate the law of unintendedconsequences. For their part, the Six can no longer avoid dealing with the twin challenges that Iran poses.


The New York Times

July 31, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

A World Gone Mad

As if the war in Iraq and the battles between Israel and its neighbors were not frightening enough, now comes word of a development in Pakistan that maywell be the harbinger of a much greater catastrophe.

Over the past few years, Pakistan has been hard at work building a powerfulnew plutonium reactor that when completed will be able to produce enoughfuel to make 40 to 50 nuclear weapons a year.

This is happening at the same time that the Bush administration is pushinghard for final Congressional approval of a nonmilitary nuclear cooperationdeal with Pakistan's rival, India, that would in fact enhance India'sbomb-making capacity. The deal would enable India to free up its own stocks of nuclear fuel to the extent that it could expand its nuclear weapons production from about seven warheads a year to perhaps 50.


Washington Post Company

The Wisdom Of Retreat
Three Lessons From Its Own Record Should Guide the U.S. on Lebanon

By Sebastian Mallaby
Monday, July 31, 2006; A15

Even before the death toll spiked yesterday, the Bush administration's diplomacy on Lebanon looked like a long shot. The goal, as laid out byadministration officials, is to secure a cease-fire that removes the threatthat Hezbollah poses to Israel. But Hezbollah's central function is to
threaten Israel; that is the purpose for which Iran and Syria sustain it.Hezbollah is unlikely to renounce its reason for existence in the course ofa negotiation. And the promised international peacekeepers will behard-pressed to contain a militia that has proved capable of resisting

If its diplomacy fails, the Bush administration will have to face thedilemma that it's now avoiding: whether to support an indefinite cease-firethat goes beyond the 48-hour suspension of airstrikes announced yesterdaybut does not neutralize Hezbollah. To support such an outcome would be toretreat publicly. It would boost the prestige of extremists in the Middle
East and encourage Iran to defy the West over its nuclear program. Yetrefusing to support an imperfect cease-fire would be a greater error, for itwould involve disregarding three lessons that emerge from theadministration's own record.


Washington Post Company

Roberts and Alito Misled Us
By Edward M. Kennedy
Sunday, July 30, 2006; B01

I have had the honor of serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee for 43 years, during which I've participated in confirmation hearings for all thejustices who now sit on the Supreme Court. Over that time, my colleagues andI have asked probing questions and listened attentively to substantiveresponses. Because we were able to learn a great deal about the nominees
from those hearings, the Senate has rarely voted along party lines. I voted,for example, for three of President Ronald Reagan's five Supreme Court nominees.

Of course, an examination of a nominee's views may cause the Senate towithhold its consent. That is what happened in 1795 to John Rutledge, whowas given a temporary commission as chief justice by President GeorgeWashington (while Congress was in recess) and was then rejected by theSenate several months later. In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon's nomination of G. Harrold Carswell was derailed when the Senate learned ofhis segregationist past. At that time, I explained that "the Constitutionmakes clear that we are not supposed to be a rubber stampfor White Houseselections." That was also the Senate's view in 1987, when its rejection of
Robert H. Bork's extreme views led to the unanimous confirmation of the moremoderate Anthony M. Kennedy. The Senate's constitutional role has helpedkeep the court in the mainstream of legal thought.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Jul. 30, 2006


Disillusioned with the war? Here's why

Al Qaeda's No. 2 beard appeared on Al-Jazeera television the other day andurged all Muslims to join a holy war against Israel.Ayman al Zawahri told the faithful that the whole world is their
''battlefield,'' and that they must keep fighting until Islam prevails from``Spain to Iraq.''

Spain seems stable, for the moment. Unfortunately, Iraq is a bloody mess,and the rest of the Mideast is erupting.

The fact that al Zawahri is still alive and ranting nearly five years after9/11 sums up the botched and misguided war on terror.No less undead and chatty is al Zawahri's boss, Osama bin Laden, the loonwho headed the conspiracy that targeted the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Osama has delivered five videotaped messages already this year, exhorting followers to pursue the jihad.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jul. 31, 2006

Child Custody Act doesn't protect

In passing the Child Custody Protection Act, the Senate meant to do good, but does harm instead. It compromised not only personal choice, but alsopersonal safety. The bill makes it a federal crime to help an under-age girlcross state lines to avoid parental notification laws for an abortion. Thebill's blanket requirement of parental consent wrongly assumes that all parents are worthy advisors. They are not. When the House and Senatenegotiate a final version of the bill, they should rethink this approach tohelping conflicted young women.

Parental counsel

The decision to get an abortion is stressful and traumatic, particularly for a minor. The intent of the bill, to encourage parental counsel when teensface an unintended pregnancy, is good policy and good common sense. Mostminors, thankfully, already turn to their parents for assistance when facedwith such a life-changing decision.


Washington Post Company

How the Brain Helps Partisans Admit No Gray

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006; A02

President Bush came to Washington promising to be a uniter, but public opinion polls show that apart from a burst of camaraderie after Sept. 11,2001, America is more bitterly divided and partisan than ever.

We'll leave the pundits to pontificate on the politics, and instead explore a more interesting phenomenon: People who see the world in black and white rarely seem to take in information that could undermine their positions.

Psychological experiments in recent years have shown that people are not evenhanded when they process information, even though they believe they are.(When people are asked whether they are biased, they say no. But when askedwhether they think other people are biased, they say yes.) Partisans whowatch presidential debates invariably think their guy won. When talking
heads provide opinions after the debate, partisans regularly feel the peoplewith whom they agree are making careful, reasoned arguments, whereas thepeople they disagree with sound like they have cloth for brains.


The New York Times

July 31, 2006

In Court Papers, a Political Note on '04 Protests

When city officials denied demonstrators access to the Great Lawn in Central Park during the 2004 Republican National Convention, political advocates andordinary New Yorkers accused Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of squelchingdemonstrations that could embarrass fellow Republicans during theirgathering.

The Bloomberg administration denied being guided by politics in banning theprotests. Instead, officials said they were motivated by a concern for thecondition of the expensively renovated Great Lawn or by law enforcement's ability to secure the crowd.

But documents that have surfaced in a federal lawsuit over the use of theGreat Lawn paint a different picture, of both the rationale for theadministration's policy and the degree of Mr. Bloomberg's role in enforcing it.

GLBT DIGEST July 31, 2006


Lesbian couple denied UK recognition of marriage

Staff and agencies
Monday July 31, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

A lesbian couple lawfully married abroad failed today in a high court bid to
have their union recognised under UK law.
The president of the high court family division, Sir Mark Potter, refused to
declare the Canadian marriage of Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson valid in

He said the couple faced "an insurmountable hurdle" in trying to have asame-sex marriage recognised in UK law.The couple were married in Canada, where same-sex marriages are legal, in2003 but found their status downgraded to that of a civil partnership whenthe relevant act came into force in the UK last December. The relationshipwould have been recognised if they were a heterosexual couple but is notregarded as such because of the UK's Matrimonial Causes Act 1973.

In his ruling, the judge said: "It is apparent that the majority of people,or at least of governments, not only in England but Europe-wide, regardmarriage as an age-old institution, valued and valuable, respectable andrespected, as a means not only of encouraging monogamy but also theprocreation of children and their development and nurture in a family unit
in which both maternal and paternal influences are available in respect of their nurture and upbringing.


Washington Post Company

As Vote Nears, Opponents Attack Ban's Wording

By Chris L. Jenkins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 31, 2006; B02

Opponents of a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in
Virginia have been fighting the proposal with emotional pleas: "Don't write
discrimination into the state Bill of Rights," goes one rallying cry. "We
are your friends and your neighbors," says another.

But as voters get closer to deciding whether to approve the amendment,opponents are using a more cerebral argument as well. The wording of theamendment is so vague that it might affect a broad range of Virginians bypotentially voiding contracts between unwed heterosexual couples as well,they say.

"This amendment would affect unmarried couples whether they are gay orstraight," said Dyana Mason, executive director of Equality Virginia, thestate's largest gay rights organization. "One of our biggest fears is thatthese documents [such as contracts or wills] could be found unconstitutional if a third party tries to come in and stop their enforcement. Those same
concerns apply to heterosexual couples who haven't gotten married."

Express Gay News

National Gay Basketball Association coming to Utah
Group not concerned about conservative climate
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) | Jul 30, 5:48 PM

The National Gay Basketball Association is coming to play a tournament inone of the nation's most conservative states this fall.Participants say they're not concerned that Utah's conservative religious and political climate will impact the games. Most Utah residents are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which considers homosexuality a sin.

Doug Fadel, captain of Queer Utah Aquatic Club, and co-chairman of Team Salt Lake, said such sporting events help to dispel myths about Utah. About 100members of Team Salt Lake competed in the Gay Games VII in Chicago. Theinternational tournament, modeled after the Olympics, is held every four years.

"People were really surprised there was such a big team from Salt Lake City,' he said. "I'm sure that will be the impression of the basketball teams when they come."

Local organizer Jeff Sanchez agreed. Anti-gay measures such as Utah's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, he said, are "not an issue for us. We're just here to play."


WI: Basic fairness is on the line in vote

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, WI, July 30, 2006
Basic fairness is on the line in vote

A remarkable story is unfolding across Wisconsin this year.

It's a story about who we are and who we want to be as a state.

It's a story about how we should treat people - our friends, neighbors,coworkers, and fellow citizens.

And it's a story about thousands of people who are giving thousands of hoursand dollars to stand up for what's right and make sure others in theircommunities understand what's at stake this year.

Wisconsin is having a serious conversation about whether, on election day,we should add these two sentences to our state constitution:"Only a marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.

=, July 30, 2006

Madrid Mayor Under Fire For Gay Wedding
by Newscenter Staff

(Madrid) Madrid mayor Alberto Ruiz Gallardon has drawn the ire of his ownparty for officiating at the wedding of two gay men.

Ruiz Gallardon is a member of the conservative Popular Party which opposessame-sex marriage. The PP fought last year's legislation which allows gayand lesbian couples to wed and continues to battle the law in the courts.

Ironically Javier Gomez and Manuel Rodenas, the couple married by the mayor,are also members of the PP. Gomez is an advisor and strategist for theparty. Rodenas is a party member and city council employee.



Ann Coulter Interview - Gay Bashing Unacceptable

Chris Mathews - I just watched your July 27 MSNBC interview
of Ann Coulter where she referred toAl Gore as a "fag." It scarcely fazed you. In fact, you praised her at theend of the interview and invited her back. What would your reaction have
been if she had referred to Joseph Lieberman as a "kike" instead? Wouldyou have accepted that remark so blithely?

Homophobic remarks and jokes about gays and lesbians on public televisionare too often tolerated. This toleration implies tacit acceptance and itgives license to those who would further demonize and do violence to gay and lesbian people.

It's time in America that we reject such remarks and penalize those thatmake them. Ann Coulter does not deserve the bully pulpit you afforded her.

Steve Krantz, Ph.D.
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG),
Los Angeles Chapter


To: Chris Matthews -

Your Interview With Ann Coulter at

I am extremely upset with your July 27 interview with Ann Coulter!!!

Why would you give this person a bully pulpit on your show? In an age when journalists are under great pressure to clean up their acts and producesolid information and programming for a grossly uninformed country, youslipped to a new low. Ann Coulter is an irresponsible loud mouth AND YOU INVITED HER BACK!

I used to admire your skills and abilities. Pandering to the "dumbest of the dumb" with cheap FAG JOKES puts you on the slippery slop to join theilk of the Fox News crowd and the right-wing radio jockeys.

Please get out of the gutter and use your intellect for serious work.

Ray Rideout
Wilton Manors, Florida


Stockholm ready to party with Pride

Published: 31st July 2006 15:16 CET
The Local

It is once again time for the Stockholm Pride festival - a week-longcelebration of gay culture that brings some truly original characters intothe streets, buses and restaurants.

Starting on Monday, the festival brings thousands to Sweden's capital totake part in a variety of talks such as "Voice training for transsexuals,"and "Cunt - the facts," and a session where participants would be able toquestion the political parties.

The heart of Stockholm Pride 2006 is Pride Park on Södermalm, which iscalled Tantolunden during any other time of the year, will have performanceson stage starting on Wednesday.

Pride House is the festival's cultural centre. It is loaded with seminars,debates, workshops, exhibitions, and other performances.


Klaipeda authorities ban gay parade planned to coincide with the city's

Vilnius, July 28, Interfax/BNS - Klaipeda mayor refused to issue permissionfor a march of sex minorities through the city during the celebrations tomark another anniversary of this port city.

Klaipeda is to celebrate its 754th anniversary on August 1. To mark this occasion, representatives of sex minorities requested Mayor RimantasTaraskevicius to permit a march of sex minorities through the city.

The initiators of the march, members of the League for Equal Opportunities,suggested that their event would underscore the historical and culturalidentity of the city and foster the public spirit of the Klaipeda people.

The mayor's office however, having considered the request, refused to issue a permission, Jolanta Braukyliene, press secretary of the Klaipedaself-government, informed the BNS agency. She said the mayor's office refused the permission because of the failure of the request to indicate the aim of the march, its time and venue, its route and number of participants.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

FLORIDA DIGEST July 30, 2006


Rod Smith: Happy to talk - at length - about his causes.
By JENNIFER LIBERTO, Times Staff Writer
Published July 30, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - On the last Friday in April, a Democratic senator from a townof 6,000 steered the Republican-controlled Florida Senate toward a meltdown.

On the day the Senate killed a Gov. Jeb Bush education priority, Sen. RodSmith of Alachua didn't sit much. He walked the Senate's blue carpet,grabbing arms to whisper. The few times he sank into his navy leather chair,he rocked back and forth, staring blankly between bursts of furiousscribbling on a legal pad.

Smith had assembled a fragile coalition of Republicans to help his partyblock a GOP effort to weaken the state's limits on class size.But to make it all work, Smith needed to convince his colleagues to keepquiet and not harp on the controversial class-size issue.

Hard to do for Senate Democrats. Nearly impossible for Smith.


Jim Davis: Earnest and detailed, if not very flashy
By ALEX LEARY, Times Staff Writer
Published July 30, 2006

The congresswoman from South Florida trembled at the lectern, her defiant words carried on national television on Palm Sunday.

"Where will we stop if we allow this to go forward?" she asked. "Today it'll be Terri Schiavo; tomorrow it'll be my brother."

Slowly, the camera pulled back. A thin, gray-haired man stood in the rear of the conference room, head cocked to the side, eyes squinting.

He stepped forward. Jim Davis had something to say.

But before he could speak, the moment disappeared. Another congressman beat him to the microphone. Davis retreated and, like a proud father, patted Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the back.

That scene, captured on C-SPAN as Schiavo's right-to-die saga concluded last year, exemplifies Davis' 17 years in politics.



Azzaman, Iraq

What the American Flag Symbolizes for Iraqis
By Fatih Abdulsalam

July 26, 2006
Azzaman - Iraq- Original Article (English)

Some 230 years have passed since the United States declaration of independence. But as Americans celebrated their national day this year, theycertainly had the terrible experience of their Iraqi adventure in the backof their minds.

The grey years that the Americans have spent in Iraq will haunt the UnitedStates for decades to come, even though their presence in the country isostensibly under the U.N. banner.

Almost everywhere in the world, the American flag indicates the values of acivilized society, and one that has transformed the face of the globe overthe past 70 years. But that is unfortunately not the case in Iraq, where theU.S. flag carries entirely different connotations.


Beyond Lebanon
This Is the Time for a U.S.-Led Comprehensive Settlement

By Brent Scowcroft
Sunday, July 30, 2006; B07

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has stated that a simple cease-fire inLebanon is not the solution to the current violence. She says it isnecessary to deal with the roots of the problem. She is right on bothcounts. But Hezbollah is not the source of the problem; it is a derivative
of the cause, which is the tragic conflict over Palestine that began in1948.

The eastern shore of the Mediterranean is in turmoil from end to end, arepetition of continuing conflicts in one part or another since the abortiveattempts of the United Nations to create separate Israeli and Palestinianstates in 1948. The current conflagration has energized the world. Now,perhaps more than ever, we have an opportunity to harness that concern and
energy to achieve a comprehensive resolution of the entire 58-year-old tragedy. Only the United States can lead the effort required to seize this opportunity.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Op-Ed Contributors
The Insanity Defense Goes Back on Trial

IN June, the Supreme Court upheld a narrow Arizona test for legal insanity, which asked simply whether mental disorder prevented the defendant from knowing right from wrong. Last week, a Texas jury used a similarly narrow test to decide that Andrea Yates was legally insane when she drowned her five children in a bathtub, allegedly to save them from being tormented forever in hell.

Many scientists and legal scholars have complained that tests like these, used by the law to determine criminal responsibility, are unscientific. Given recent advances in our understanding of human behavior and of the brain, these critics argue, the legal test for insanity is a quaint relic of a bygone era.

These criticisms misunderstand the nature of criminal responsibility, which is moral, not scientific. On the other hand, legislation that has eliminated or unduly constrained the insanity defense, often in response to unpopular verdicts of not guilty by reason of insanity, is likewise off the mark. Between these two attacks, the concept of the morally responsible individual seems to be disappearing.


July 30, 2006

The Nation
Case Won on Appeal (to Public)

IN some ways, it was a modest decision. A year ago, the United StatesSupreme Court ruled that a city in Connecticut could use the power ofeminent domain to make room for private development. The decision simplyapplied existing law and deferred to the judgments of local officials.

But the outcome was a revolt.

The decision provoked outrage from Democrats and Republicans, liberals andlibertarians, and everyone betwixt and between.

Dozens of state legislatures considered bills to protect private propertyfrom government seizure, and many passed new legislation; Justice John PaulStevens, the author of the decision, issued something like an apology; a campaign was started to use eminent domain to seize the home of anotherjustice, David H. Souter; and, on Wednesday, a ruling from the Ohio Supreme
Court adopted the analysis of the dissenters in last year's decision to reject an effort to oust the residents of a Cincinnati suburb.


Lieberman's Eroding Base

Many Democratic Faithful Support a Political Newcomer Rather Than the
Senator Who Has Not Toed Party Line

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 30, 2006; A04

Irving Stolberg is not just another Connecticut Democrat who wants Joe Lieberman out of office.

The former speaker of the Connecticut House is one of Lieberman's oldestallies in state politics. The two met as antiwar activists in the late 1960sand won seats to the legislature together in 1970, and Stolberg remained anadmirer when Lieberman drifted to the political center, while Stolberg stuckto his liberal roots.

But this year, as Lieberman battles for a fourth term in the Senate,Stolberg has reluctantly endorsed his ally's Democratic primary opponent,multimillionaire businessman and political neophyte Ned Lamont. "It's been awrenching decision. I've supported him every step," Stolberg said of Lieberman. "But the issues and the principles trump 40 years of friendship."


The New York Times

July 25, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

In Lebanon, Echoes of Iraq?

The U.S. position on the fighting in the Middle East is essentially: "Stop the killing. But not yet."

Washington is resisting an immediate cease-fire so as to give Israeli forces more of a chance to destroy Hezbollah. But more time isn't likely to accomplish much militarily, while every day of grisly photos on Arab television strengthens hard-liners - and Iranian and Shiite influence -
throughout the region.

The Israeli offensive and the American support for it seem to reflect the same misguided thinking that led to our Iraq war. It's a utopian notion that every outrage must have a solution, and that armed intervention is a useful way to reshuffle the Arab political stage.

Israelis are brimming with moral clarity, as we Americans were after 9/11. And they're right: the Hezbollah attacks on Israel were particularly contemptible because they followed Israeli withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza. Israel should have been rewarded for those withdrawals, not subjected to rocket attacks and cross-border incursions.


Probe Of Mysteriously Low HIV Rates In African Tribe
by Newscenter Staff
July 28, 2006 - 9:00 pm ET

(Toronto, Ontario) A Canadian anthropologist is trying to determine howmembers of an African tribe have extremely low instances of HIV despiteliving in Sub-Saharan Africa which has the world's highest rests of infection.

Prof Richard Lee of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Toronto calls the low HIV rate of the San people "mysterious".

The San live in Botswana and Namibia, two countries known for their extremely high AIDS mortality statistics.

Formerly hunters and gatherers, the San live in remote areas of the two nations and yet, unlike other tribes living under the same conditions and in similar locations, the San are not succumbing to AIDS at the same rates as other tribal populations, Lee said on Friday.


From: Congressman John Conyers:

Dear Activist,

Two years ago, a tireless band of organizers launched the Progressive Democrats of America in Roxbury-and I was there with them at their launch. Against all the odds, PDA decided that it could move the Democratic Party, change American politics for the better, and help make this a more peaceful, more just world.

That same fall, when irregularities emerged after the 2004 elections in Ohio, PDA and I again worked together to challenge the results, to hold voting rights hearings in Columbus, and to investigate the results. Most people, and even many progressive groups, avoided the Ohio controversy at the time-but PDA showed up to fight back against the fraud.

When the Downing Street Memo was leaked in the spring of 2005, most of the mainstream media and the pundits mocked its value. Together with PDA and the newly-launched activist internet group (whose founding members were all active PDAers, including Tim Carpenter), I held packed hearings in Washington, D.C., with testimony from Cindy Sheehan, Joseph Wilson, Ray McGovern, and John Bonifaz.

And our close working relationship continues to the present, as PDA keeps pushing, day after day, for accountability at long last by the Bush Administration.

Plus, PDA understands that to move forward with those investigations, with an increase in the minimum wage, with health care for all, with the Apollo initiative for renewable energy, with developing a plan to end the occupation and real election protections, we must first take back the House in November-and PDA staff and volunteers are spending countless hours this year helping progressive underdog candidates grow stronger.

So Happy Birthday, Progressive Democrats of America.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

A Senate Race in Connecticut

Earlier this year, Senator Joseph Lieberman's seat seemed so secure that - legend has it - some people at the Republican nominating convention in Connecticut started making bleating noises when the party picked a presumed sacrificial lamb to run against the three-term senator, who has been a fixture in Connecticut politics for more than 35 years.

But Mr. Lieberman is now in a tough Democratic primary against a little-known challenger, Ned Lamont. The race has taken on a national character. Mr. Lieberman's friends see it as an attempt by hysterical antiwar bloggers to oust a giant of the Senate for the crime of bipartisanship. Lamont backers - most of whom seem more passionate about being Lieberman opponents - say that as one of the staunchest supporters of the Iraq war, Mr. Lieberman has betrayed his party by cozying up to President Bush.

This primary would never have happened absent Iraq. It's true that Mr. Lieberman has fallen in love with his image as the nation's moral compass. But if pomposity were a disqualification, the Senate would never be able to call a quorum. He has voted with his party in opposing the destructive Bush tax cuts, and despite some unappealing rhetoric in the Terri Schiavo case,
he has strongly supported a woman's right to choose. He has been one of the Senate's most creative thinkers about the environment and energy conservation.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Another Small Step for Earth

The best argument for ignoring global warming has been that there are better ways to spend money: instead of devoting billions to curb carbon emissions and reduce the impact on sea levels in 2050, we could spend the resources developing a vaccine for AIDS or providing universal health care to all Americans.

In essence, the dangers of climate change appeared distant and uncertain, while the costs of curbing greenhouse gases were immediate and appeared substantial.

But all across the country, states and local governments have chipped away at those arguments for delay - actually, pretty much demolished them - by showing that there are myriad small steps we can take that significantly curb carbon emissions and that are easily affordable.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Still the Wrong Man for the U.N.

When President Bush nominated John Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations last year, we argued that this convinced unilateralist and lifelong disparager of the United Nations should not be confirmed. The Senate agreed. Mr. Bush sent him to New York anyway, using the constitutional end run of a recess appointment. That appointment expires in January.

Now the Senate is being asked to confirm Mr. Bolton again. With one of last year's critics, George Voinovich, Republican of Ohio, having recently changed sides, confirmation seems more likely. But after a year of watching Mr. Bolton at work, we still believe the Senate should reject his

As ambassador, Mr. Bolton's performance has been more restrained than many of his opponents feared. He has, as far as we know, faithfully carried out any instructions he was given. And on some issues, like this spring's botched reform of the United Nations' human-rights monitoring body, Mr. Bolton was right not to accept a bad result.

But over all, American interests at the U.N. have suffered from Mr. Bolton's time there, and will suffer more if the Senate confirms him in the job. At a time when a militarily and diplomatically overstretched Washington needs as much international cooperation as it can get - on Iraq, on Iran, on North Korea and now on the latest fighting between Israel and Lebanon - Mr. Bolton
is a liability, not an asset at the United Nations.


Bush Submits New Terror Detainee Bill
By Anne Plummer Flaherty
The Associated Press
Friday 28 July 2006

Washington -U.S. citizens suspected of terror ties might be detained indefinitely and barred from access to civilian courts under legislationproposed by the Bush administration, say legal experts reviewing an earlyversion of the bill.

A 32-page draft measure is intended to authorize the Pentagon's tribunalsystem, established shortly after the 2001 terrorist attacks to detain andprosecute detainees captured in the war on terror. The tribunal system wasthrown out last month by the Supreme Court.

Administration officials, who declined to comment on the draft, said theproposal was still under discussion and no final decisions had been made.

Senior officials are expected to discuss a final proposal before theSenate Armed Services Committee next Wednesday.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

The Peculiar Disappearance of the War in Iraq

AS America fell into the quagmire of Vietnam, the comedian Milton Berle joked that the fastest way to end the war would be to put it on the last-place network, ABC, where it was certain to be canceled. Berle's gallows humor lives on in the quagmire in Iraq. Americans want this war
canceled too, and first- and last-place networks alike are more than happy to oblige.

CNN will surely remind us today that it is Day 19 of the Israel-Hezbollah war - now branded as Crisis in the Middle East - but you won't catch anyone saying it's Day 1,229 of the war in Iraq. On the Big Three networks' evening newscasts, the time devoted to Iraq has fallen 60 percent between 2003 and this spring, as clocked by the television monitor, the Tyndall Report. On
Thursday, Brian Williams of NBC read aloud a "shame on you" e-mail complaint from the parents of two military sons anguished that his broadcast had so little news about the war.

This is happening even as the casualties in Iraq, averaging more than 100 a day, easily surpass those in Israel and Lebanon combined. When Nouri al-Maliki, the latest Iraqi prime minister, visited Washington last week to address Congress, he too got short TV shrift - a mere five sentences about the speech on ABC's "World News."


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Audit Finds U.S. Hid Cost of Iraq Projects

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 29 - The State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects there and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found.

The agency hid construction overruns by listing them as overhead or administrative costs, according to the audit, written by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, an independent office that reports to Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department.

Called the United States Agency for International Development, or A.I.D., the agency administers foreign aid projects around the world. It has been working in Iraq on reconstruction since shortly after the 2003 invasion.

The report by the inspector general's office does not give a full accounting of all projects financed by the agency's $1.4 billion budget, but cites
several examples.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Minimum Wage Fight Heads to the Senate

WASHINGTON, July 29 - A bitter fight over legislative tactics and the minimum wage shifted to the Senate after the House early on Saturday approved a $2.10 increase in the wage scale but tied it to a reduction in the estate tax and a package of tax breaks.In an early-morning decision that Republican leaders said they hoped would provide political benefits to lawmakers headed home for five weeks of campaigning, the House voted 230 to 180 to increase the federally required pay rate to $7.25 over three years - the first increase in nearly a decade.

"This bill actually stands a chance of being signed into law," said Representative Frank A. LoBiondo, Republican of New Jersey. "If we really want to give relief to working men and women who deserve this change, this is the opportunity."

But Democrats criticized the decision as a cynical charade intended to give Republicans the appearance of supporting an increase in the minimum wage through a bill that would not clear the Senate because of opposition to an estate tax change aimed at extremely affluent Americans.

GLBT DIGEST July 30, 2006


The Advocate


Montreal human rights conference under way ahead of Outgames

The opening ceremonies for the World Outgames in Montreal begin on Saturday. But preliminary events, including a human rights conference, have been under way in the city since Wednesday.

From the moment you land in Montreal's airport and pick up your luggage in the rainbow -swathed baggage retrieval area, you know the Outgames have arrived. The first few days of this multicultural and multinational event featured a human rights conference run in conjunction with the International Lesbian and Gay Association.

The opening gala was headlined by a speech by United Nations high commissioner for human rights Louise Arbour. The next morning opened with a series of speeches by Canadian Olympic-medal swimmer Mark Tewksbury, Muslim-Canadian author Irshad Manji, and others. The 1,500 attendees and speakers came from over 110 countries, including far-flung locations such as Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Cameroon, South Africa, and Pakistan.

Organizers staged the event in the historic Palais de Congress, with sessions filling more than 25 rooms at a time. A final Montreal resolution on LGBT civil rights will be presented to the United Nations, the European Union, and the Canadian parliament. (Michael Luongo, Sirius/OutQ News)


No pastelitos in Connecticut

Craving the feeling of home that only Miami could provide, poet Richard Blanco finds that you (sort of) can't go home again.

By Chauncey Mabe
Books Editor

July 30, 2006

Richard Blanco grew up under the influence of two myths. The first is aboutthe paradise of Havana, as his parents remember it, before Castro ruinedeverything in 1959.

In the second, America -- the true America, the one found in books, TVshows, and civics class -- lies somewhere to the north of Latino Miami.

So when Blanco decided to leave his hometown in 1999, trading civilengineering for the creative writing faculty at Central Connecticut StateUniversity, it was with mingled apprehension and excitement.

"Going to Hartford was a dream come true," says Blanco, 38. "I was going tothe Northeast, the land of Wallace Stevens, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson. But I was scared to death."

He laid the groundwork for this dramatic career change by earning a graduate creative writing degree in the early 1990s at Florida InternationalUniversity, where he studied under MacArthur Fellowship poet Campbell McGrath.

Blanco's early promise as an English-language Latino poet was confirmed byhis first collection, City of a Hundred Fires, which won the Agnes LynchStarrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997 and led tothe Connecticut professorship.

"I thought, `Now I'm finally moving to America. Maybe I'll become a realAmerican,'" he recalls. "I dreamed of sledding in the snow."


The New York Times

July 30, 2006
Op-Ed Columnist

Same-Sex Marriage Wins by Losing

THERE were community meetings in Seattle on Wednesday. Some of the couples who had sued to overturn Washington's ban on same-sex marriage, a case they lost before the state's Supreme Court earlier that day, were going to appear. Gay and straight elected officials who support "marriage equality" were going to make speeches. I probably should have been there too. But I had a previous engagement.

The Seattle Mariners were playing the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field. My 8-year-old son - adopted at birth by my boyfriend and me - loves the M's almost as much as he hates the way a breaking news story can keep me late at work. He would never have forgiven me for skipping the game.

I didn't feel too bad about missing the meetings. Washington's high court rejected same-sex marriage for much the same reason the New York Court of Appeals did earlier this month. The speeches in Seattle would no doubt be similar to those made in New York, and I didn't need to hear them again.

Basically, both courts found that marriage is like a box of Trix: It's for kids.


Associated Press, July 29, 2006

Gay-marriage ruling: Now the backwash hits

The state Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage wasn't the bombshellthat both sides predicted - full marriage equality - and it did little tosettle whether gays and lesbians can marry or join in "civil unions."

Next stop: the Legislature - and possibly the ballot box.

The high court dismissed constitutional challenges to the Legislature's 1998gay-marriage ban, but invited lawmakers to reopen the debate.

It's an issue Olympia doesn't much want to deal with.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said top Democratic leaders in the Legislature told her privately that they don't have votes to move forward, backward or sideways.


R.I. Woman Ordered To Stay Away From Gay Neighbor
by Newscenter Staff
July 29, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Providence, Rhode Island) In the first charge laid by Rhode Island's newlyformed Office of Civil Rights Advocate a Providence area woman has beenconvicted of harassing a gay man with AIDS.

Kenneth Potts turned to the Advocate's office, a division of the AttorneyGeneral's Department, after enduring what he calls months of abuse from hisupstairs neighbor, Theresa Deschenes.

In court Friday Potts said that he had been subjected to homophobic slurs and a campaign of abuse.

He told Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel that he has called police morethan a dozen times to complain about Deschenes. The last time, June 12, he said, there was "excessive music and loud jumping up and down on the floor and obscene names."


A Response to Scott Long from the Editor of Gay City News


Defending Iran's Gays

As the dust settles following the worldwide July 19 vigils that marked theone-year anniversary of the killing of two young men in Iran, it is worthcontemplating why these simple events caused such a stir.

The vigils, at least 27 of them, noted that one year earlier, Ayaz Marhoni,18, and Mahmoud Asgari, who was 16 or 17, were hanged in public by theIranian government.

When Outrage!, a British gay group, circulated photos of the hanging lastyear many in the lesbian and gay community believed that the two young menhad been killed solely because they were gay. Certainly, Outrage! believedthis to be true. The vigils, organized by Outrage!, demanded an end to such atrocities. Human rights groups, however, had a different view.


Singer k.d. lang says Harper supporting intolerance by skipping Outgames
July 28, 2006 - 19:08


MONTREAL (CP) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to "supportintolerance" by refusing to attend an international gathering of gayathletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.

Lang was critical of her fellow Albertan for failing to support the WorldOutgames, which is expected to attract up to 13,000 gay, bisexual andtransgendered athletes when it begins Saturday.

"It's a sad statement that the national leader of a country that's one ofthe most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance,"she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.

But lang added that the gay community shouldn't take Harper's absence personally.

"It's our job to see that as an unfortunate ignorance, rather than as a statement against us," she said. "It's just that he hasn't got there in his heart."


Sir Ian McKellen not appointed to Ga. National Guard
Gay actor told similar story in 1997 stage show

Friday, July 28, 2006

Southern Voice

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue never appointed gay actor Sir Ian McKellen to be an honorary member of the Georgia National Guard, despite widespread reportsthis week on numerous gay websites sparked by a gossip column in the NewYork Daily News.

The actor's films include "Richard III," "The Lord of the Rings, ""The X-Men" and more recently "The Da Vinci Code." The Georgia governor actually cannot make appointments to the NationalGuard, and such a position does not exist, Perdue spokesperson Dan McLagan
said July 26.

"[McKellen] has previously claimed that this [kind of appointment] occurredin 1995, not 2006. The movie opening was 'Richard III,' not 'The Da VinciCode.' All that being said, this guy is Gandalf and Magneto rolled into one,and if he wants to join forces with Georgia when we must battle evil, we welcome him," McLagan added.


Northern Ireland: Plans to end gay discrimination

Plans to end gay discrimination

Plans to end discrimination based on sexual orientation in Northern Ireland have been published by the government.

Anti-discrimination legislation is already in place, but the goods andservices proposals up for an eight-week consultation would close a loophole.

They include measures to prevent gays or lesbians being turned away fromhotels or being denied house tenancies.

NI Secretary Peter Hain said everybody must enjoy "the same access to goods,facilities, services and education".

Mr Hain said fresh financial backing was also planned for organisations who support the gay community.

"The government's vision is for a fair society founded on equal opportunities for all, respect for the dignity and worth of each person and mutual respect between communities.


Gala Performance, Controversy Mark Opening Of Outgames
by Newscenter Staff
July 30, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Montreal, Quebec) Thousands of people attended Saturday night's Opening Ceremonies for the First Outgames in Montreal, including about 12,000 LGBT athletes. But conspicuously absent were teams from Cameroon.

The Canadian government refused to give visas to a small group from the African nation on the grounds they did not hold jobs.

Canadian law requires visa applicants be employed in their home countries.

It was the latest setback for gays in Cameroon where homosexuality is a criminal offense punishable by prison terms and where many gays are refused employment.

That it came from Canada, considered one of the world's most liberal countries, was soundly criticized by members of the New Democratic Party who accused the federal government of putting roadblocks in the way of people attending the games.


The Stranger, WA, July 29, 2006

Stay in the Fight
The Court Stumbled, but the Movement for Justice Continues

In 1790 George Washington declared, "As Mankind becomes more liberal, theywill be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthymembers of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civilgovernment. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justiceand liberality."

In its sharply divided 5-4 ruling last week, the State Supreme Court fellshort of Washington's principle of fairness, failing, for now, to end theexclusion of committed gay couples and their kids from marriage, with allits protections, security, and meaning.

What's to be said about the court's ruling?


Gay Catholics Protest 'Ex-Gay' Conference
by Newscenter Staff
July 28, 2006 - 7:00 pm ET

(St. Louis, Missouri) Members of gay Catholic groups are protesting a weekend conference by a national Church organization that advocates chastityto help overcome homosexuality.

The organization, called Courage, is holding the conference at St. LouisUniversity. Members of the Catholic Action Network for Social Justice andDignity are demonstrating across the street.

The are about 110 Courage chapters across the country and about 200 peopleare taking part in the conference - priests and lay people.

In material handed out to the media Courage says that gays and lesbians can"move beyond the confines of the homosexual identity to a more complete one in Christ."

Dignity and the Action Network call it "reparative therapy" somethingCourage leaders dispute.

"The purpose of Courage is to provide support for men and women withsame-sex attractions who want to live a chaste life," Courage spokespersonChristina Nair told the Post-Dispatch.

"We're not trying to 'cure' anyone. We provide spiritual support."


New York Times, July 30, 2006

For Some Gays, a Right They Can Forsake

WHEN Bill Dobbs sees the heartwarming photographs of gay couples cuddling,grinning and holding dogs and children, accompanied by pious remarks abouthow many years they have been a couple - "five years,""eight years," "24 years!" - in news releases and newspaper and televisionreports about the fight for gay marriage, it turns his stomach.

Mr. Dobbs's reaction is, he admits, probably not that different from the onehe imagines that the anti-gay forces feel. But Mr. Dobbs is gay, part of anintense strain of gay activists who have fought against the idea of gaymarriage from the beginning and who think that the escalating pursuit of itis a mistake, especially in light of legal setbacks like the decision onWednesday by the Washington Supreme Court that lawmakers may restrictmarriage to a man and a woman.

To these activists, the fight for gay marriage is the mirror image of theright-wing conservative Christian lobby for family values and feeds into the same drive for a homogeneous, orthodox American culture. The Stonewall confrontation and early gay rights movement, after all, was about the rightto live an unconventional life, and to Mr. Dobbs and others like him,
marriage is the epitome of convention.


Anything But Straight
by Wayne Besen

July 25, 2006

A Couple Of Disasters

A few years ago, my boyfriend (now an ex) and I walked into achain bookstore while on vacation. Only minutes before, we hadmended fences over a fight about nothing. While traversing themaze of books, my boyfriend noticed an unusually hot young manstaring at me. "Do you know him?" he irascibly inquired, threatening an end to our fragile ceasefire. Before I could answer, the mystery stud bounded in front of us and blurted out, "You're Wayne Besen, aren't you?"

I nodded and the young man lit up and in a very Kathy Bates moment gushed, "I loved your book, Anything But Straight! I'm your number one fan!"


Gang Members Charged In Calif. Gay Hate Crime
by Newscenter Staff
July 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Riverside, California) Three men Riverside men have been charged with attacks on patrons of a local gay club. Juan Anthony Mauricio, 20, Sergio Roberto Rodriguez, 18, and Gerald Abraham
Gallo, 18, have pleaded not guilty to assault and committing a hate crime in connection with the attacks.

Police say the three are believed to be members of a local street gang.

Witnesses said that the men gathered outside the door of The Menagerie lastTuesday and began harassing people as they entered the club. They yelled homophobic epithets and then threw two bricks and a rock at the club,shattering a window.

When several people confronted the trio they were subjected to more verbal abuse and a scuffle broke out.


'No Regrets' In Washington Gay Marriage Case
by The Asscociated Press
July 29, 2006 - 5:00 pm ET

(Olympia, Washington) With the far-off peal of wedding bells for gay couples growing louder and local pressure mounting, Ron Sims found himself in a legal bind in early 2004.

The King County executive felt he couldn't just ignore a state ban on gaynuptials - no matter how much he wanted to issue marriage licenses. However,Sims reasoned, he could try to get the law thrown out.

That's when gay-marriage advocate Lisa Stone got a very unusual phone callfrom an intermediary, who asked: Would you please sue Ron Sims?

"I said 'Probably. We will probably do that. When was she thinking?'" Stone recalled last week. "She said: 'Oh, immediately.'"

A flurry of legal work followed, and the field of possible plaintiffs was winnowed to 16 people willing to be public examples.


The New York Times

July 30, 2006

Disowning Conservative Politics Is Costly for an Evangelical Pastor

MAPLEWOOD, Minn. - Like most pastors who lead thriving evangelical megachurches, the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd was asked frequently to give his blessing - and the church's - to conservative political candidates and causes.

The requests came from church members and visitors alike: Would he please announce a rally against gay marriage during services? Would he introduce a politician from the pulpit? Could members set up a table in the lobby promoting their anti-abortion work? Would the church distribute "voters' guides" that all but endorsed Republican candidates? And with the country at
war, please couldn't the church hang an American flag in the sanctuary?

After refusing each time, Mr. Boyd finally became fed up, he said. Before the last presidential election, he preached six sermons called "The Cross and the Sword" in which he said the church should steer clear of politics, give up moralizing on sexual issues, stop claiming the United States as a "Christian nation" and stop glorifying American military campaigns.

"When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses," Mr. Boyd preached. "When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross."


Express Gay News

R.I. judge orders woman to stop making anti-gay comments
Defendant claims his First Amendment rights violated
PROVIDENCE, R.I. | Jul 29, 11:21 AM

A judge ordered a Warren woman to stop directing anti-gay slurs at her homosexual neighbor, saying the insults amounted to "hateful conduct" and interfered with the man's right to live in peace.

The attorney general's newly formed civil rights advocate's office sued Theresa R. Deschenes in its first case, accusing her of harassing a gay neighbor with AIDS and threatening him with violence.

Superior Court Judge Netti Vogel on Friday ruled that Deschenes, 33, had deprived Kenneth W. Potts of his right to live peacefully under the state's Fair Housing Practices Act, which protects against discrimination, and issued an injunction forcing her to stop her behavior.

Deschenes' lawyer, Christopher Millea, said his client's comments were protected by the First Amendment and were merely part of a "kindergarten name-calling contest."

But the judge rejected that argument.