Saturday, January 06, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - January 06, 2007

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Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Court weighs parental rights of sperm donors
Posted 1/4/2007 11:46 PM ET
By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

A case before the Kansas Supreme Court has become a key test of the rightsof sperm donors who want to be involved with their offspring over theobjection of the children's mothers.

The dispute, which has drawn national attention, involves a single woman,identified in court papers only as S.H., who gave birth to twins in May 2005after being inseminated with the sperm of a friend, identified as D.H.

After the mother made it clear that she did not intend to share parenting,D.H. sued to establish paternity. He lost in a trial court because of aKansas law that says the donor of sperm provided for artificial inseminationis not the legal father of the child unless the donor and mother agree to itin writing.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The New York Times

NY: New Gov. Spitzer Aims to Legalize Gay Marriage

Spitzer Aims to Legalize Gay Marriage
WNYC Newsroom

NEW YORK, NY January 05, 2007 -While Governor Elliot Spitzer didn't mentionit in his State of the State speech, his office says the governor iscommitted to making gay marriage legal.

The Governor's Communication director tells The New York Sun that Spitzerwill advance the issue in his first year in office. The omission of anyreferences to same-sex marriage in Wednesday's address has raised questionsabout whether it will be a priority for the Governor.

During his electoral campaign, Spitzer said he would draft legislation thatwould make New York the second state to extend marriage to same-sex couples.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

U.S. Congress Likely to Take Up Gay Bills in '07 Vote possible on ENDA, hatecrimes

Jan. 05, 2007

The Democratic-controlled Congress is expected to consider legislation in2007 aimed at protecting gays and transgender people from job discriminationand hate crimes, but the prospects for bills dealing with other sexualorientation-related issues are less certain, according to activists andCapitol Hill observers.

Supportive members of Congress have introduced at least 10 gay- orAIDS-related bills during the past several years, including a measure torepeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Other bills call forallowing foreign nationals who are domestic partners of U.S.

citizens to enjoy the same immigration rights as married spouses and callfor domestic partnership benefits for federal employees.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who became Speaker of the House this month, isconsidered one of the strongest gay rights supporters in Congress and hassigned on as a co-sponsor to all 10 gay- and AIDS- related bills dropped inthe hopper in recent years.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Archbishop fears Church schism in gay row
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent 06/01/2007

The Archbishop of Canterbury has admitted that he fears losingcontrol of the worldwide Anglican Church, which is on the brink ofschism over homosexuality.

In a surprisingly frank assessment of the crisis, Dr Rowan Williamssaid that he feared anything that set Christians more deeply at oddswith each other.

"And because I am an ordinary, sinful human being, I fear thesituation slipping out of my control, such as it is," he said.

"I fear schism, not because I think it's the worst thing in the worldbut because, at this particular juncture, it's going to be bad forus. It's going to drive people into recrimination and bitterness."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

2007 session brings déjà vu for Va. lawmakers Gay marriage, studentpermission slip bill reemerge

[marriage content at ***]

Jan. 05, 2007

When the Virginia State General Assembly convenes Jan. 10, legislators andtheir constituents may experience déjà vu.

Lawmakers will again consider a bill to require that students receiveparental permission before joining extracurricular activities in publicschools, a measure seen as targeting gay-straight alliances.And the contentious gay marriage issue will be back, following voterapproval of a constitutional ban on same-sex unions in November.

Gay rights supporters fear HB1727 could threaten the existence of some 60gay-straight alliances in Virginia's public schools. Under the Federal EqualAccess Act, schools are required to treat all extracurricular clubs equally.

Some legislators and schools have tried to get around the provision byrequiring that parents approve all extracurricular activities. The bill isbeing sponsored by Republican Matthew Lohr, a delegate from RockinghamCounty, and Harrisonburg. It's based on a similar policy already in place inLohr's school district in Harrisonburg.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

WA: Rethinking Don't Ask: Military's closet [sharedsacrifice,marriage equality]

[An editorial about ending the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy comes to arelated conclusion on marriage equality.]

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, WA, January 5, 2007

Rethinking Don't Ask: Military's closet

Sometimes, the right thing is done for the wrong reason. Case in point:President Bush's upcoming decision on what to do about low troop levels inIraq has turned attention to rethinking our military's "don't ask, don'ttell" policy. This is not about enlightenment. It's about desperation. One insidertold the BBC this week that the "central theme will be sacrifice" in Bush'supcoming speech.

In a recent New York Times column, reprinted on today's Op-Ed page, retiredArmy Gen. John Shalikashvili, a former "don't ask, don't tell" supporter,wrote he now feels that serving with homosexuals would not damage troopmorale. No kidding. We're sure they have other things on their minds, suchas, say, dying on foreign soil and never seeing their families again.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

California NAACP to be Honored With Marriage Equality Award at EQCA's
Signature Awards Gala
Author: Equality California
Published on Jan 5, 2007, 08:49

The California State Conference of the National Association for theAdvancement of Colored People (NAACP) will receive the Phyllis Lyon and DelMartin Marriage Equality Award at Equality California's(EQCA) 2007 San Francisco Equality Awards event on February 10.

"Equality California is proud to honor the NAACP, one of the oldest civilrights organizations in the nation, for standing beside us in the fight forjustice and equal rights for all Californians," said EQCA Executive DirectorGeoff Kors. "We are grateful to have the NAACP's support as we work to makemarriage equality a reality in our state."

In 2005, Alice Huffman, president of the California State Conference of theNAACP, announced that her organization supported AB 849, the ReligiousFreedom and Marriage Equality Act. Authored by Assemblymember Mark Leno,D-San Francisco, and sponsored by EQCA, the bill would have given same-sexcouples the right to marry in California. Assemblymember Leno and EQCAreintroduced the bill on December 4, 2006, again pushing for marriageequality in the Golden State. The new bill, AB 43, retains the same name.

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NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST January 06, 2007

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The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Bush Facing a Deep Divide With Democrats Over Talk of Increasing Troops inIraq

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 - The new Democratic leaders of the Senate and the Housewarned President Bush on Friday against sending additional troops to Iraq,setting the stage for what could become a major confrontation over a new warstrategy.

Mr. Bush is expected to call for more troops in a speech as soon asWednesday, as part of a renewed effort to secure Baghdad. But Nancy Pelosi,the new speaker of the House, and Harry Reid, the new Senate majorityleader, dismissed that approach as a strategy "that has already failed."

"Adding more combat troops will only endanger more Americans and stretch ourmilitary to the breaking point for no strategic gain," Mrs. Pelosi and Mr.Reid wrote in a letter to Mr. Bush. "We are well past the point of moretroops for Iraq," they added, urging Mr. Bush to begin a "phasedredeployment," or gradual withdrawal.


Top Democrats balk at troop surge
Pelosi, Reid send warning to Bush
By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff | January 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's anticipated decision to increase troop levelsin Iraq set off a pitched battle yesterday as newly empowered Democratswarned the White House against an escalation of an unpopular war while twoinfluential senators who want to send more forces drew hundreds of anti warprotesters when they appeared at a conservative Washington think tank.

To preempt Bush's scheduled announcement of a new Iraq strategy onWednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate majority leader Harry Reidtold the president that sending thousands more troops into combat is a badidea, declaring that "no issue is more important than finding an end to thewar in Iraq."

The increase, described as a "surge" of forces, "is a strategy that you havealready tried and that has already failed," the Democratic leaders wrote ina letter delivered to the White House yesterday. "Like many current andformer military leaders, we believe that trying again would be a seriousmistake."


Hope on the Hill
January 6, 2007

THE FIRST actions by the new Congress have been encouraging substantivelyand politically, raising hope that the session will prove less bitterlypartisan than the bully-boy tactics of recent times, and perhaps moreeffective.

The session just ended was not only beset by scandals, but was alsounproductive, despite Republican control of both branches and the WhiteHouse. Even a modest level of comity within the new Congress, now led byDemocrats, could overcome the predicted partisan stalemate in Washington.That would be welcome news indeed.

The most significant action taken this week was the House vote on Thursdayendorsing a strong set of ethics reforms, severely limiting the gifts,travel, and other favors members may take from lobbyists and other specialinterests. A second round of ethics rules changes came yesterday, includingthe tightening of "earmark" projects for individual members' districts orsupporters.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
The Land of Rising Conservation

TOKYO, Jan. 5 — In many countries, higher oil prices have hurt pocketbooksand led to worries about economic slowdowns. But here in Japan, KiminobuKimura, an architect, says he has not felt the pinch. In fact, his monthlyenergy bill is lower than a year ago.

A reason is his new home fuel cell, a machine as large and quiet as a filingcabinet that sits in front of his house and turns hydrogen into electricityand cold water into hot — at a fraction of regular utility costs. But evenwith the futuristic device, which is available for now only in Japan, Mr.Kimura has not let up on the other shortcuts that leave him unscathed bylast year’s oil squeeze.

Energy-efficient appliances abound in the many corners of his cramped home.There is the refrigerator that beeps when left open and the dishwasher thatis compact enough to sit on the kitchen counter. In some homes, room heatershave a sensor that directs heat only toward occupants; there are “energynavigators” that track a home’s energy use.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Brownback to Move on Presidential Bid
Filed at 3:54 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican and favorite sonof the religious right, will officially enter the presidential race laterthis month in his home state.

''He will be fully announcing on January 20 in Topeka, Kansas,'' Brian Hart,the senator's spokesman, said Friday. The move was expected even thoughBrownback set up an exploratory committee in December to gauge whether hehad enough support for a full-blown campaign.

After the announcement in Kansas, Hart said Brownback will fly to Washingtonto participate in the anti-abortion march marking the anniversary of theSupreme Court ruling.

Brownback is a lesser-known candidate in a crowded GOP presidential fieldthat likely will include Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rudy Giuliani, theformer New York City mayor. Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor,rounds out the top tier. All three are considering runs but, to variousextents, also have records or positions on social or fiscal issues thatdon't sit well with the Republican base.


The Washington Post

New Congress Brings Along Religious Firsts

By Jonathan Tilove
Religion News Service
Saturday, January 6, 2007; B09

The new Congress, for the first time, includes a Muslim, two Buddhists, moreJews than Episcopalians and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressionalhistory.

Roman Catholics remain the largest single faith group in Congress,accounting for 29 percent of all members of the House and Senate, followedby Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Jews and Episcopalians.

While Catholics in Congress are almost 2-to-1 Democrats, the most lopsidedlyDemocratic groups are Jews and those not affiliated with a religion. Of the43 Jewish members of Congress, there is only one Jewish Republican in theHouse and two in the Senate. The six religiously unaffiliated members of theHouse are all Democrats.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
The Senate's Task on Warming

Here are a few bulletins from planet Earth:

Dec. 12 - Exhaustive computer simulations carried out at the National Centerfor Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., suggest that the Arctic Oceanwill be mostly open water in the summer of 2040 - several decades earlierthan expected. Scientists attribute the loss of summer ice largely to thebuildup of carbon dioxide and other man-made greenhouse gases in theatmosphere.

Dec. 14 - Experts at NASA's Goddard Institute predict that 2006 will be thefifth-warmest year since modern record-keeping began, continuing adecades-long global warming trend caused, again, by the buildup of man-madecarbon dioxide.

Dec. 27 - The Interior Department proposes adding polar bears to the list ofthreatened species because of the accelerating loss of the Arctic ice thatis the bears' habitat. The department does not take a position on why theice is melting, but studies supporting the proposed listing identifygreenhouse gases as the main culprit, adding that if left unchecked thesegases will create ice-free Arctic summers in three decades.


The New York Times

January 5, 2007
Bush Is Expected to Shift U.S. Ambassador in Iraq to U.N.

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 - President Bush intends to name Zalmay Khalilzad, theAfghan-born diplomat who has been ambassador to Iraq for the past 21 months,to be the new envoy to the United Nations, part of a diplomatic shakeup asMr. Bush prepares to announce a new strategy for the war.

A senior administration official, who had been briefed on the decision buthad to discuss it anonymously because the change had not been formallyannounced, confirmed Thursday that the president had decided to nominate Mr.Khalilzad to the United Nations post.

The official said Mr. Bush intended to name Ryan C. Crocker, the ambassadorto Pakistan, to replace Mr. Khalilzad in Baghdad.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
A Status Quo Secretary General

The big powers in the United Nations Security Council chose Ban Ki-moon assecretary general because they wanted a low-key bureaucrat who wouldn't rockthe boat. Judging by Mr. Ban's early moves, the world has gotten exactly

Expect no Kofi Annan-style exhortations to live up to the values of the U.N.charter. In commenting on the sordid execution of Saddam Hussein, Mr. Baneven managed to forget that the U.N. opposes the death penalty on principle.Expect no shift from patronage to selection based on merit for key staffpositions. The top jobs in peacekeeping, political affairs and humanitarianrelief are already being doled out to the favored candidates of London,Paris and Washington (three of Mr. Ban's backers).

And expect no serious drive for much-needed administrative reform. The topmanagement job, previously held by a reform-minded American, has now beengiven to a long-serving insider, Alicia Bárcena Ibarra of Mexico.

Mr. Ban takes over at a difficult time. The secretariat's reputation forintegrity has been battered by the oil-for-food scandal, and the SecurityCouncil's claim to influence has been battered by its failure to halt thegenocide in Darfur or the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Congressional Memo
Giddy Sea of Fresh Faces in the Capitol, United by a Serious Mission

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 - Hours after casting his first votes in Congress,Representative Zack Space still beamed with excitement on Thursday, showingoff the identification card that doubles as an electronic balloting device.

"I had to ask someone how to use it," he said, proudly whisking the card outof its carrying case as he gave his family a tour of the Capitol.

Back in his office, a new receptionist apologized for hanging up on someonewho called. "Sorry, second day on the job," she chirped.

Even before his arrival in Washington this week, Mr. Space, 45, typified theincoming freshman class: A Democrat from Ohio, he campaigned hard on theissue of ethics reform in a race to succeed Representative Bob Ney, whopleaded guilty in a corruption case. Despite his political inexperience -and the fact that Democratic officials considered him one of their weakestcandidates - Mr. Space beat his Republican rival, in an increasinglyRepublican district, 62 percent to 38 percent.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Political Memo
Leaked Notes on '08 Show Giuliani Without the Spin

The country sure has been enjoying itself reading about the Rudy Caper,feasting on the inside dish gleaned from Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidentialplaybook.

The purloined or lost document gives outsiders a glimpse behind the curtain,a rare look at political calculations that, if predictable in theirrevelations, are decidedly surprising in their candor. Irresistible. Theunexpected - the macaca tidbit, it might be called today - is alwaysirresistible in the game of control that is politics.

Consider the alternative: Mr. Giuliani's own site on the, which went up last month when he formed his presidentialexploratory committee. Anyone with a computer can access the cheerful red,white and blue site to learn how the former mayor wants the public to seehim, how he would like to be portrayed in a presidential campaign.


The Washington Post

Polish Archbishop Admits Signing Communist Pact
Cleric Allegedly Cooperated With Secret Police

By Vanessa Gera
Associated Press
Saturday, January 6, 2007; A09

WARSAW, Jan. 5 -- After calls for him to step aside, Warsaw's incoming RomanCatholic archbishop admitted Friday that he had signed an agreement tocooperate with the secret police during the Communist era and said he wasleaving his fate in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI.

Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus, whose installation ceremony is scheduled forSunday, expressed regret for an act that he acknowledged "harmed thechurch." He said that despite signing the document, he "never informed onanyone and never tried to hurt anyone."

"Before you today, I confess to the mistake committed by me years ago, justas I have confessed to the Holy Father," Wielgus said in an open letter toPoland's Roman Catholic clergy and believers.


Text of Reid/Pelosi letter
January 5, 2007

Text of the letter to President Bush from Senate Democratic leader HarryReid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

January 5, 2007

President George W. Bush
The White House
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

The start of the new Congress brings us opportunities to work together onthe critical issues confronting our country. No issue is more important thanfinding an end to the war in Iraq. December was the deadliest month of thewar in over two years, pushing U.S. fatality figures over the 3,000 mark.

The American people demonstrated in the November elections that they do notbelieve your current Iraq policy will lead to success and that we need achange in direction for the sake of our troops and the Iraqi people. Weunderstand that you are completing your post-election consultations on Iraqand are preparing to make a major address on your Iraq strategy to theAmerican people next week.


Memoir blasts Kerry's 2004 campaign
Ex-Democratic chair vents his frustrations
By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press | January 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Two years after President Bush's re election victory, formerDemocratic honcho and Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe is airing his frustrationswith John Kerry's campaign in a revealing and waggish memoir.

Unlike other political autobiographies that read like pollster-approvedcampaign material, McAuliffe doesn't pull his punches in writing about hisrise from a scrappy Irish kid from Syracuse, N.Y., to chairman of theDemocratic National Committee.

Some of his harshest criticism focuses on the 2004 campaign that he was onceresponsible for defending. McAuliffe calls the Kerry campaign gun-shy,incompetent, and distracted from the mission of defeating a more organizedBush campaign.

McAuliffe said the Massachusetts senator's presidential campaign was soafraid of offending swing voters that it didn't defend his record and backedaway from criticizing Bush at critical turns.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
The Vanishing Man of the Forest

ONCE again, I am driving, under the blazing equatorial sun, down anuncomfortable, rutty relic of a road into the interior of central Borneo.With me are two uniformed police men, one armed with a machine gun. Thelandscape is bleak, no trees, no shade as far as the eye can see. Ourmission is to confiscate orangutan orphans whose mothers have been killed asa result of the sweeping forest clearance taking place throughout Borneo.

Many years ago, Louis Leakey, the great paleo-anthropologist whose work atOlduvai Gorge and other sites in East Africa revolutionized our knowledge ofhuman origins, encouraged me to study wild orangutans - just as he hadencouraged Jane Goodall to study chimpanzees and Dian Fossey to studygorillas. Later, he laughingly called us the "trimates," or the threeprimates.


Jet stream changes bring record temp
By April Simpson and Gareth Cook, Globe Staff | January 6, 2007

Boston set a record high temperature yesterday, and seemed likely to setanother one today, as the entire region did an unsettling impression ofspringtime in January, complete with blooming trees and people picnicking onthe Public Garden's emerald green grass.

Boston hit 63 degrees yesterday, breaking the record of 62 set in 1993,according to the National Weather Service. Forecasters predicted the mercurycould hit the mid-60 s again today, breaking a record that dates back to1913.

Meteorologists yesterday said the unseasonable temperatures since the fallhave been caused by changing weather patterns over the oceans. Instead ofcold air being drawn down from the north, as usually happens this time ofyear, warm air is continuing to flow in from the south and west.


The New York Times

January 6, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Monkey on a Tiger

There was a touch of parody to the giddy Democrat takeover this week: NancyPelosi indulging her inner Haight-Ashbury and dipping the Capitol intie-dye, sashaying around with the Grateful Dead, Wyclef Jean, Carole King,Richard Gere, feminists and a swarm of well-connected urchins.

The first act of House Democrats who promised to govern with bipartisancomity was imperiously banishing Republicans from participating in theinitial round of lawmaking. Even if Republicans were brutes during theirreign, Democrats should have shown more class, letting the whiny minorityparty offer some stupid amendments that would lose.

Perhaps the Democrats' power-shift into overdrive is a neurologicaldisorder, or neuropolitical disorder.

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FLORIDA DIGEST January 6, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,5549164.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

Former Broward school board member Carole Andrews succumbs to cancer

By Jean-Paul Renaud and Michael Turnbell
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 5, 2007, 9:23 PM EST

Carole Andrews, a former Broward school board member who helped lead thenation's sixth largest public school district for eight years, died Fridayevening at her Hollywood home after a long battle with cancer. She was 63.

Mrs. Andrews will be remembered as "loving children," said her husband,Broward Circuit Judge Robert L. Andrews.

"They always came first for her," said Mr. Andrews. "She always believedthat children came into the world in all shapes and sizes, all colors,creeds and religions. All they wanted was a little (tender loving care)."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7716397.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

New year has fourth and fifth slayings in Broward

Business owner, teen are latest victims
By Brian Haas
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 6, 2007
Five homicides in five days.

Broward County's torrid homicide pace continued with the Thursday nightshooting death of a Miami Gardens teenager in Miramar and the killing of aman in a Lauderdale-by-the-Sea condominium less than 24 hours later.

The deaths of Anthony Elias, 18, and business owner Ustun Atac, 65, bringsBroward's 2007 homicide total to five -- the same number the county saw in2006 by this time. Three people were killed on New Year's Day. Last year,the county had the largest number of homicides in a decade.

Detectives had few details Friday about either death. No one had beenarrested. Relatives of both men could not be reached.


From: Nicole Martin
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007 12:02 PM
Subject: STARS (HONOREES and MORE) Press Release - Pictures to follow


FORT LAUDERDALE/WILTON MANORS, FL – The Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC) will honor its “Stars of the Rainbow” this year aboard the Grand Floridian Yacht on Sunday, January 21, 2007. The four-deck luxury yacht will host more than 400 friends and supporters of the GLCC’s biggest fundraiser of the year. “The theme for the event is SPLASH! And will offer not only an elegant venue, but great entertainment, open bar and superb cuisine,” said Paul Hyman, GLCC Executive Director.

The Grand Floridian yacht will remain docked at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66 in Fort Lauderdale, allowing individuals to come and go. There will be a VERY VIP Reception and honoree recognition at 4pm at the Hyatt Regency’s newly redesigned Pier Top, which offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the city and ocean on its revolving floor. The Gala and Silent Auction will run from 5pm to 10pm on board the Grand Floridian!

Contact us for full article.....

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Friday, January 05, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - January 05, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US and we'll be happy to send the full article.


The Washington Post

Sex-Ed Plan Could Revive Heated Debate From 2005

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007; B04

Montgomery County school officials previewed new middle and high schoollesson plans yesterday on sexual orientation and condom use, topics thatcould refuel the debate on how much the county's teenagers need to knowabout homosexuality and premarital sex.

The lessons -- which have come under more dispute than any other piece ofthe county schools curriculum -- represent an attempt at compromise amongthe school system and polarized community groups that have fought bitterlyabout the merits of taking lessons on sexuality beyond heterosexuality.

In spring 2005, a federal judge halted the school system's sex educationlessons, noting that they seemed to offer only one perspective onhomosexuality and to dismiss religions that consider it a sin.

School board members will consider the new sex education curriculum Tuesdayat what promises to be a well-attended meeting. Defenders of the curriculumexpect the community groups that sued in 2005 to halt the new sex-edcurriculum to do so again. But group leaders said yesterday that they wouldgive the school board a chance to act before taking any steps.


The Miami Herald

Support for gay teen

Re the Jan. 2 article Gay teen draws scorn for proposed club at school: Thecomments by the residents of Okeechobee regarding Yasmin Gonzalez and herefforts to establish a gay-straight alliance would be risible if theyweren't so ignorant and hateful toward gay youth.

Why is holding hands a simple public display of affection when performed byheterosexuals but a sex act when done by same-sex couples? Society hastrained us to conflate homosexual orientation with homosexual behavior.Sexual privacy in the straight world starts at the bedroom door; all otherheterosexual behavior is fine in public.

For gay people, it starts at our societally imposed closet door, which ismeant to completely hide us from public view. Thankfully this is changingbecause young people like Gonzalez are saying ``Stop.''

DAVID LEVY, Lake Worth


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

US: Paul Varnell--Why 'Just' Discrimination Isn't

Independent Gay Forum, January 3, 2007

Why 'Just' Discrimination Isn't
by Paul Varnell

(First published in the Chicgo Free Press on January 3, 2007.)

It is amazing how many politicians claim they support equal rights andoppose discrimination against gays, but then favor a ban on same-sexmarriage, oppose allowing gays to serve openly in the military, even opposeadoption by gay couples.

Exactly what is equal about letting heterosexuals marry the person theylove, but not gays; letting heterosexuals serve openly in the military, butnot gays; and letting heterosexuals adopt children, but not gays--not evenlet them adopt gay youths?

I don't know about you, but I am getting a little tired of people who saythey are for gay legal equality--except when they are against it, or sayingthey are against discrimination--except when they are for it, and then usingall sort of verbal evasions to wriggle out of acknowledging how anti-gaythey are.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Schwarzenegger's gay marriage misstep;If hehadn't vetoed a bill granting marriage rights to all, thegovernor could havesaved the state a court battle.

Los Angeles Times, CA, January 3, 2007,1,5485885.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=1&cset=true

Editorial--Schwarzenegger's gay marriage misstep If he hadn't vetoed a billgranting marriage rights to all, the governor could have saved the state acourt battle.

IT COULD have been different. If Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had signed abill in2005 legalizing same-sex marriage instead of vetoing it, the CaliforniaSupreme Court would have been spared the task of deciding, as it probablywill this year, whether a voter-approved ban violates the stateConstitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

But Schwarzenegger said he had to respect Proposition 22, approved in 2000,which states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid orrecognized in California." Whether committed same-sex couples will berelieved of second-class status now depends on the state Supreme Court. Andas Superior Court Judge Richard A. Kramer's ruling notes, the stateConstitution trumps any ballot question and entitles same-sex couples towhat he called "the last step in the equation: the right to marriageitself."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Boston Phoenix, MA, January 3, 2007

A deadly move against same-sex marriage
The politics may be even more complicated than you think, but the issue iseasy to understand

There was never any real question that the legislature, convened in aConstitutional Convention, would vote on the bigoted proposal to banmarriage between couples of the same sex.

The vile jaw-boning of the thankfully now ex-governor Mitt Romney hadnothing to do with it.

Likewise, the admonition of the state's Supreme Judicial Court had little todo with it.

The issue, as Phoenix political writer David S. Bernstein pointed out beforethis week's dispiriting vote, was guaranteed to come to a vote becauseSenate president Robert Travaglini thought it should.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

List of MA legislators who voted for the amendment.
Issue Date: 1/04/2007, Posted On: 1/4/2007

Roll call of shame

On Jan. 2, 62 lawmakers voted in favor of taking marriage rights awayfrom their LGBT constituents. For more than a year advocates andthe public have wondered which legislators would join camp and vote to overturn marriage equality. Thisweek's vote provided the answer.

Now that we know who they are, it's time to let them know how you feel.The lawmakers in blue won reelection last November and will be voting onthe amendment when it comes up again at the next ConCon. If you live inthe district of any of these lawmakers, they need to hear from you,either by calling their office or via e-mail, that you're disappointedin their vote and that you want them to oppose the amendment when itcomes up next time (If you don't know who your state representative andsenator are, visit to find out). As for thoselawmakers in red, they either retired or lost their reelection bids, sowe won't be seeing them again at the next ConCon.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Iran police move into fashion business

By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran

Women in high-heeled shoes and plenty of make-up strut down the catwalk amidclouds of artificial smoke.

It is the first time live models have been allowed to appear in a fashionshow in post-revolutionary Iran.

"Arab styles" failed to impress some in the fashion show audienceThe only unusual aspect is they're draped from head to toe in the allenveloping chador that hides everything except the face.

It's part of a new drive to give women more attractive choices of Islamicdress that allow them to express their individuality, while remaining withinthe letter of the law.

Not everyone in the all female audience was happy.


The Washington Post

The Hanging: Beyond Travesty

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 5, 2007; A17

Of the 6 billion people on this Earth, not one killed more people thanSaddam Hussein. And not just killed but tortured and mutilated -- doing sooften with his own hands and for pleasure. It is quite a distinction to bethe preeminent monster on the planet. If the death penalty was everdeserved, no one was more richly deserving than Saddam Hussein.

For the Iraqi government to have botched both his trial and execution,therefore, and turned monster into victim, is not just a tragedy but acrime -- against the new Iraq that Americans are dying for and againstjustice itself.

In late 2005, I wrote about the incompetence of the Hussein trial and how itwas an opportunity missed. Instead of exposing, elucidating and irrefutablymaking the case for the crimes of the accused -- as was done at Nurembergand the Eichmann trial -- the Iraqi government lost control andinadvertently turned it into a stage for Hussein. The trial managed torepair the image of the man the world had last seen as a bedraggled nobodypulled cowering from a filthy hole. Now coiffed and cleaned, he acted theimperious president of Iraq, drowning out the testimony of his victims incoverage seen around the world.


Tfhe Washington Post

Good Times or Good Governance

By David Ignatius
Friday, January 5, 2007; A17

Now that the Democrats have taken control of Congress, President Bush hasdecided it's time for fiscal discipline and a balanced budget. That'sshameless, even by local standards. Who does Bush think was in power whenthe big deficits of the past six years were created?

A good way for the Democrats to start the new congressional season is toexamine just how it happened that the federal government moved from budgetsurplus to deficit during the Bush presidency. If Democrats can be clearabout what went wrong, then maybe (maybe) they can begin to fix it.

An honest budget discussion should start with an admission that theprojected surpluses of the post-Clinton years were largely illusory -- inthe sense that they were predicated on overly upbeat assumptions about theeconomy. That's not to diminish the importance of what Clinton and theDemocrats did during the 1990s to impose some fiscal discipline. But it wasunrealistic to assume that the boom years would continue indefinitely,piling up ever-greater budget surpluses.


The Washington Post

Forgive the Cynicism, But This Is Change?

By Greg Craig
Friday, January 5, 2007; A17

Forgive the cynicism, Mr. President, but if you were serious aboutcooperating and consulting with the new Congress, you wouldn't be paradingyour bipartisan bona fides through the op-ed pages of the Wall StreetJournal. You wouldn't be holding news conferences in the Rose Garden tellingthe world how ready, willing and able you are -- we know you are noteager -- to work with the Democratic Congress. You would instead be meetingprivately with Democratic leaders, identifying specific areas where progresscan be made and joining with them to come up with a legislative agenda thatis truly bipartisan.

To many of us, your post-November conversion to bipartisanship appears to benothing but spin -- at least so far. You misunderestimate our capacity toremember the way you treated the Democrats when your party ran Congress. Wewill not soon forget your "my way or the highway" approach. You will forgiveus if we pay more attention to what you do than to what you say.


The Washington Post

Bush Warned About Mail-Opening Authority
Recent 'Signing Statement' Seen as Stretching Law

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007; A03

President Bush signed a little-noticed statement last month asserting theauthority to open U.S. mail without judicial warrants in emergencies orforeign intelligence cases, prompting warnings yesterday from Democrats andprivacy advocates that the administration is attempting to circumvent legalrestrictions on its powers.

A "signing statement" attached to a postal reform bill on Dec. 20 says theBush administration "shall construe" a section of that law to allow theopening of sealed mail to protect life, guard against hazardous materials orconduct "physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreignintelligence collection."


The Washington Post

After the 100 Hours, a War Awaits

By Eugene Robinson
Friday, January 5, 2007; A17

An unusual number of the people wandering through the tunnels thatcrisscross Capitol Hill on Wednesday had no earthly idea where they weregoing. "I think the Rayburn building is this way," one young woman announcedto a colleague, as the two of them -- newly minted congressional staffmembers, I guessed -- strode away down a long corridor. I knew I'd run intothem again, and soon, since actually they were just leaving the Rayburnbuilding.

Wednesday was the last day of the "Where am I?" phase of the transition fromRepublican to Democratic rule on the Hill. Yesterday, with the swearing-inof new members of Congress, began the "Here we are, and now what?" phase,which means things are about to get interesting.

Much history already has been made, starting with the election of NancyPelosi as the first female speaker of the House. Rep. Jim Clyburn of SouthCarolina, an African American, will serve as majority whip. The first Muslimcongressman, Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, took his ceremonial oath ofoffice with his hand on a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. PowerfulHouse committees such as Ways and Means, Judiciary, and Intelligence will beled by minorities.


The New York Times

January 3, 2007
The Critical Years
Trying to Find Solutions in Chaotic Middle Schools

Sit in with a seventh-grade science class at Seth Low, a cavernous Brooklynmiddle school, as paper balls fly and pens are flicked from desk to desk.

A girl is caught with a note and quickly tears it up, blushing, as herclassmates chant, "Read it!" The teacher, Laura Lowrie, tries to demonstratesimple machines by pulling from a box a hammer, a pencil sharpener and then,to her instant remorse, a nutcracker - the sight of which sends a cluster ofboys into a fit of giggles and anatomical jokes.

"It's the roughest, toughest, hardest thing to teach," Ms. Lowrie said ofmiddle school. "I'll go home and feel disappointed with what's going on andI'll try a different tactic the next day." As for the nutcracker, shesighed, "I should have used a stapler."

Driven by newly documented slumps in learning, by crime rates and by highdropout rates in high school, educators across New York and the nation arestruggling to rethink middle school and how best to teach adolescents at atransitional juncture of self-discovery and hormonal change.


The New York Times

In Oprah's South African School, Girls Will Get a Beautiful Education

By Robin Givhan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 5, 2007; C01

Talk show mogul Oprah Winfrey opened her girls' school in South Africa onTuesday and details about the lavishness of the 28-building campus havepoured in from various media reports.

The $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls is spread over 52acres outside Johannesburg. In addition to computer-filled classrooms andresidence halls, there are indoor and outdoor theaters, original works ofart, a yoga studio and a . . . beauty salon. The goal of the school is notto train the 152 seventh- and eighth-grade students as yoga masters orcosmetologists, but rather as future leaders of their country.

For Winfrey, making sure that the girls look pretty -- or more accurately,feel pretty -- is an important part of that mission.

It's easy to dismiss the inclusion of a beauty salon in a girls' school inSouth Africa as little more than a wasteful perk in a country with adysfunctional education system. In interviews, Winfrey has been askedrepeatedly: Why so much? Wouldn't it be better to build 10 modest schoolsrather than a single luxurious one? In an interview in Newsweek magazine,Winfrey said, "These girls deserve to be surrounded by beauty, and beautydoes inspire. . . . I wanted this to be a place of honor for them."


The New York Times

January 5, 2007
Tax Cuts and the Minimum Wage

As the minimum wage moves to the top of the new Congress's agenda, somepoliticians - mainly President Bush and Senate Republicans - seem incapableof viewing the issue as anything other than a pretext for more tax cuts.This time the lucky recipients would be small-business owners, who thepoliticians contend will be unduly harmed by having to pay higher wages. Somuch for ringing in the new.

It has been more than nine years since the government last increased thefederal minimum wage, currently $5.15 an hour. During that period inflationhas severely eroded the wage's value. Arguing that it is only fair to cuttaxes on business owners when the minimum wage goes up is akin to arguingthat taxes should have been raised as the wage fell because of inflation.Instead, as the minimum wage has eroded over the past decade, taxes havebeen cut sharply.


The New York Times

January 5, 2007
Gadflies Get Respect, and Not Just at Home Depot

For decades, activist shareholders were an entertaining, but largelyignored, Wall Street sideshow. Disgruntled investors would attend annualmeetings to harangue executives, criticize strategies - and protest thattheir complaints were being ignored. One agitator appeared in face paint anda red nose after executives called him a clown.

Today, however, it seems that activists have captured the center ring andare directing the main event.

On Wednesday, shareholder advocates could claim one of their biggest prizesyet when Home Depot announced the resignation of its chairman and chiefexecutive, Robert L. Nardelli, long a target of shareholder ire for hislarge compensation and the company's flagging stock price.

The main investor who pressed for the overthrow at Home Depot might at firstglance seem an unlikely rebel: Ralph V. Whitworth, a lawyer educated atGeorgetown and a former campaign worker for President Ronald Reagan who inDecember announced he had bought about $1 billion of the retailer's stock,or a 1.2 percent stake, through his fund, Relational Investors.

But the rapid success of Mr. Whitworth's campaign against the management andstrategy of Home Depot demonstrates how thoroughly activists have moved intoWall Street's inner sanctum. Mr. Whitworth has said he still intended tonominate himself and at least one other candidate to Home Depot's board atits shareholder meeting in the spring.


The New York Times

January 5, 2007

Rethinking the Death Penalty

New Jersey could take the lead among states in abolishing the death penaltyif it follows the recommendation that a legislative commission made thisweek. It is the right thing to do, and not just because capital punishmentis barbaric and a poor deterrent. It has become increasingly clear as theuse of DNA evidence has grown that there is simply too great a risk ofmaking an irreversible mistake.

While we would have used stronger language, we applaud the 13-member panelfor having the courage to recommend that New Jersey become the first stateto abolish the death penalty since states began reinstating it 35 years ago.The commission included two prosecutors, a police chief, members of theclergy and a man whose daughter was murdered in 2000. Only one member, aformer state senator who wrote the death penalty law, dissented.


Seattle Times

Ellen Goodman / Syndicated columnist
Speaker of the household

BOSTON - And so Nancy Pelosi ascends to the speakership with a series of"firsts" raining down on her like confetti. She's the first woman, the firstItalian American, the first Californian, probably the first chocoholic totake her place two heartbeats away from the Oval Office.

But maybe there's another moniker worth adding to her résumé as head of theunruly House-hold of Representatives. She's the only speaker whose firstcareer was as a stay-at-home mom.

There's nothing new about politics itself as a second career. Former SenateMajority Leader Bill Frist was a doctor before he ran for the Senate. FormerHouse Speaker Dennis Hastert was a teacher and coach. And who can forgetRonald Reagan's first career before he ran for political office at age 55?


The New York Times

January 5, 2007
News Analysis

New Majority's Choice: Should G.O.P. Policies Be Reversed?


WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 - Democrats realized their political and legislativedream Thursday. Now they must face reality.

As they take control of the House and Senate, members of the new majoritymust reconcile diverse ideological factions within their ranks and make afundamental choice. They can spend their energy trying to reverse what theysee as the flaws of the Bush administration and a dozen years in whichconservative philosophy dominated Congress. Or they can accept the rightwardtilt of that period and grudgingly concede that big tax cuts, deregulation,restrictions on abortion and other Republican-inspired changes are now apermanent part of the legislative framework.

The competing drives were on display amid the constitutional hoopla Thursdayand the emotion surrounding Representative Nancy Pelosi's election asspeaker, a position filled until now by the likes of Sam Rayburn, JosephCannon and Nicholas Longworth - men whose names adorn nearby House officebuildings. "We have broken the marble ceiling," Mrs. Pelosi said after shewas handed the gavel.


LA Times,0,6790753,print.column?coll=la-opinion-rightrail


Weaning the military from the GOP
A less partisan military is good for democracy and allows a more frankdebate on national security.
Rosa Brooks

January 5, 2007

BURIED IN THE NEWS last week was one of the most potentially significantstories of recent years. The Military Times released its annual poll ofactive-duty service members, and the results showed something virtuallyunprecedented: a one-year decline of 10 percentage points in the number ofmilitary personnel identifying themselves as Republicans. In the 2004 poll,the percentage of military respondents who characterized themselves asRepublicans stood at 60%. By the end of 2005, that had dropped to 56%. Andby the end of 2006, the percentage of military Republicans plummeted to 46%.

The drop in Republican Party identification among active-duty personnel is asharp reversal of a 30-year trend toward the "Republicanization" of the U.S.military, and it could mark a sea change in the nature of the military - andthe nature of public debates about national security issues.


The New York Times

January 5, 2007
Mr. Negroponte's Newest Job

The No. 2 job in the State Department is technically a step down from JohnNegroponte's present post of director of national intelligence. But thereported return to the foreign policy fold of this former ambassador toBaghdad, and, before that, to the United Nations, has a certain logic to it.

The diplomacy-challenged Bush administration could surely use the help. Wehope that Mr. Negroponte can provide Secretary of State Condoleezza Ricewith the intellectual and bureaucratic reinforcement she so desperatelyneeds to help guide the administration to a wiser course on Iraq.

Mr. Negroponte certainly has experience. In a 40-plus-year career -including an early stint as a political officer in Vietnam - he has alsoserved as ambassador to Honduras (during Ronald Reagan's contra war), Mexicoand the Philippines. He is known as a canny, and sometimes ruthless,bureaucratic player. What he doesn't have, unfortunately, is much of areputation for challenging the unwise policy presumptions of his bosses.


The Washington Post

Bush Claims Right to Open Mail

By Dan Froomkin
Special to
Thursday, January 4, 2007; 12:38 PM

The New York Daily News today reports on a signing statement President Bushquietly issued two weeks ago, in which he asserts his right to open mailwithout a warrant.

Signing statements have historically been used by presidents mostly toexplain how they intend to enforce the laws passed by Congress; Bush hasused them to quietly assert his right to ignore those laws.

James Gordon Meek writes about the latest: "President Bush has quietlyclaimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge'swarrant, the New York Daily News has learned.

"The President asserted his new authority when he signed a postal reformbill into law on Dec. 20. Bush then issued a 'signing statement' thatdeclared his right to open people's mail under emergency conditions.

"That claim is contrary to existing law and contradicted the bill he hadjust signed, say experts who have reviewed it. . . .


The New York Times

January 4, 2007
Democrats Take the Gavels in Congress

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 - Jubilant Democrats took the gavels in the Senate andHouse today for the first time in 12 years, pledging a new era in Congressand a new effort at bipartisan progress.

"I accept this gavel in the spirit of partnership, not partisanship," saidRepresentative Nancy Pelosi of California after her election as the firstwoman in the nation's history to be Speaker of the House.

Ms. Pelosi, whose party has 233 of the 435 seats in the new House, said shelooked forward to working with Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, thenew Republican minority leader, who said the gavel was "on loan from theAmerican people," and that Republicans and Democrats could "disagree withoutbeing disagreeable to each other."

Ms. Pelosi invoked the memory of President Gerald R. Ford, who in his daysas Republican House leader was one of the best-liked members in eitherparty. "Let us honor his memory," she said.


The Advocate

January 05, 2007
John McCain a target for all sides

Everyone, it seems, is taking jabs at John McCain these days, from aRepublican rival for the presidential nomination challenging his stand onsame-sex marriage to several potential Democratic candidates questioning hisposition on the Iraq war. "When you're the perceived front-runner, yourhead's above the political trench, and everyone takes shots at you," saidChris Lehane, a Democratic strategist and presidential campaign veteran.

McCain, considered by many to be the Republican to beat, has largelyremained silent about the criticism, which is somewhat uncharacteristic forthe outspoken Arizona senator. His presidential exploratory committee onWednesday declined to comment on the spate of reproaches over his stands onsame-sex marriage and the Iraq war.

"He doesn't have to respond yet," said Rich Galen, a Republican consultant."If I were advising McCain, I'd say wait until somebody makes a dent."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,6447101.story

Nancy Pelosi Basks in Historic Day

Associated Press Writer

January 4, 2007, 9:43 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- Surrounded by kids as well as cheering lawmakers, Nancy Pelosimarveled aloud at her long journey "from the kitchen to the Congress."

Six times a grandmother, now second in line to the presidency, Pelosi saidher ascension to become the first female House speaker in history was theculmination of 200 years of struggle for women as well as a personalvictory.

"We have made history, now let us make progress for the American people,"she said.

It was her coming-out to the nation, and Pelosi, 66, sought to introduceherself not only as the San Francisco liberal decried by Republicans, but asNancy D'Alesandro Pelosi, Italian-American Catholic, mother of five andnative of gritty Baltimore, where her father was mayor.

She arrived on the House floor Thursday with all six grandchildren in tow,including baby Paul Michael Vos, born to her daughter Alexandra in November.

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FLORIDA DIGEST January 5, 2007

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The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Jan. 05, 2007


Mayor scrutinizes Commissioner Moore's bar visit
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugleconsiders whether to seek an investigationinto Commissioner Carlton Moore's actions at a downtown bar.


Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle said Thursday he wants to know exactly whathappened last weekend during an encounter between a fellow city commissionerand police.

Naugle said he has asked the city manager for copies of witness statementsto police and will then determine whether to ask for an independentinvestigation into Commissioner Carlton Moore's actions.

''I'm just gathering information,'' Naugle said. ``I want to hear that sideof it, if that information is available to me. I've made it very clear thatI don't want to be given anything that I'm not entitled to.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Jan. 05, 2007

County considers steering Metrorail to airport

Miami-Dade is looking at scenarios to supplant a people mover into MIA,which could save the airport $180 million and shift responsibility toanother agency.

Miami-Dade Transit is quietly trying to find a way to run Metrorail directlyinto Miami International Airport, a move that could potentially save thefinancially strapped airport $180 million.

Transit consultants are working on an array of scenarios to add to thecurrent $523 million plan to extend Metrorail 2.4 miles from the EarlingtonHeights station into the Miami Intermodal Center, under construction east ofthe airport.

If county officials succeed -- and it's a very big ''if'' at this point --by 2012 a passenger arriving at MIA might be able to catch a single trainall the way into downtown Miami or the popular Dadeland stations at thesouthern end of the original Metrorail line.

''I've always felt that Metrorail should have gone into the airport, and I'mhoping that's what we can do,'' Transit Director Roosevelt Bradley said in atelephone interview.


Herald Tribune

Article published Jan 4, 2007

Big business lobby: don't force lower rates


Floridians may be asking politicians to do something quickly aboutskyrocketing property insurance rates. But a powerful business lobby warnedThursday that not everyone thinks fixing the state's insurance problem meanslowering premiums right away.

A coalition of business groups led by Associated Industries of Floridarecommended several things lawmakers should do when they meet in specialsession later this month to deal with insurance rates. Not among them,however, is anything that would quickly reduce premiums.

As the insurance industry has long argued, the business-backed "FloridaHurricane Crisis Coalition" said that rather than rates being too high, insome cases they may be too low, and that's why many insurance companies areshedding policies or seeking to raise premiums. Most ideas for lowering themare a bad idea, the group says.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Fri, Jan. 05, 2007

Crist's pick to head party fuels discord

The head of Florida's GOP did not endorse Gov. Crist's choice to run theparty, hinting at her own reelection.

Just days after his inauguration, Gov. Charlie Crist is facing the firstchallenge to his leadership -- and it's coming from the leader of his ownparty.

Carole Jean Jordan, chairwoman of the Florida Republican Party, was expectedto endorse the governor's choice to replace her: Jim Greer, vice mayor ofOviedo and an energetic leader of Crist's campaign in Central Florida.

Instead, Jordan has distributed a letter extolling her ownaccomplishments -- and failing to mention Greer's name. A few of hersupporters are sending out e-mail missives tearing Greer down.

Though Jordan's letter does not explicitly say she is running forreelection, it notes that the governor's choice to lead the party is only aconsideration, not a mandate.

Party leaders are not pleased.


Fla. leaders don't all use blind trusts
By JENNIFER LIBERTO, Times Staff Writer
Published January 5, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Only two of the four members of Florida's Cabinet arefollowing the advice of the state Ethics Commission and putting theirpersonal financial assets in a blind trust to avoid conflicts of interest.

Gov. Charlie Crist and Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink are setting uptrusts, which will manage their money while they handle statewide mattersthat often directly affect the financial well-being of private companies andlandowners.

But Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson doesn't plan to use a trust,and Attorney General Bill McCollum remains undecided.

The Ethics Commission made its recommendation last year after it wasrevealed that then-Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher was investing ininsurance companies while he served as state insurance commissioner. Thecommission suggested that the use of trusts, in which the owner surrendersdirect control over his or her assets, would free officials to makedecisions without knowing how it might affect them personally.


Crist Selects 2nd Democrat Leader
By DAVID ROYSE The Associated Press

Published: Jan 5, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - On Thursday, Tallahassee Police Chief Walt McNeil was named byGov. Charlie Crist to lead the state Department of Juvenile Justice, anagency that has been under fire over the death of a teen at a sheriff's bootcamp.

The Republican governor announced that McNeil will take over from AnthonySchembri, who has run the agency since 2004.

McNeil is a Democrat, the second to be tapped by Crist to lead a stateagency, along with Department of Children & Families Secretary BobButterworth, who served four terms as state attorney general.

"Excellent, excellent, excellent," was the reaction of Sen. Tony Hill,D-Jacksonville, the chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus, which hascriticized the agency.

Hill said McNeil, who is black, will have credibility and that the pickshows Crist is sensitive to the black community's concerns.


From Paul Harris
The Independent

Indy Theater Club Offer! - Go see "Kiss Of The Spiderwoman" at a DiscountPrice

Great news! Our friends at the Public Theatre of South Florida have offeredus a discount on the price of tickets to this Sunday matinee's performanceof "Kiss Of The Spiderwoman." The performance, the first after the 'openingnight,' is this Sunday (January 7) at 2pm. Tickets will be $15 so long asyou remember to mention THE INDEPENDENT when you purchase your tickets whenyou call 954.427 0784.

The play ran in NYC and in London. It was also turned into a highlysuccessful film starring William Hurt and Raúl Juliá. Hurt won the AcademyAward for Best Actor for his role, and the film received three othernominations. Then it was turned into a stage musical by the writing team ofKander and Ebb, who are of course most famous for "Cabaret."

Without giving too much away the play is about two very different men havingto share a prison cell. Luis, a homosexual, is found guilty of immoralbehavior while Valentin is a political prisoner. During the time they spendtogether the two men come to understand and respect one another even thoughthey are, or think they are, very different.

The production stars one of South Florida's leading actors, MichaelMcKeever, and David Perez-Ribada. It is directed by Stuart Meltzer.

Readers of "THE INDEPENDENT" are invited to see "Kiss Of The Spiderwoman" onSunday, January 7 at 2pm. For tickets at the SPECIAL price of $15 call954.427 0784. REMEMBER TO MENTION "THE INDEPENDENT" for the special offer.Performances are at the Soref J.C.C. (6501 West Sunrise Blvd.), three lightswest of the Turnpike. It is easy to get to and there is good free parking.



Stars of the Rainbow is the premier fundraising event for the GLCC, at which honorees are recognized for their contributions to our community. This year’s event will be held at Hyatt Regency - Pier 66, on 17th Street Causeway, aboard the Grand Floridian Yacht. The GLCC is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.


We are in the process of putting together our program and sponsorship opportunities. We would like to offer you this opportunity to congratulate THE honorees: Commissioner Keechl; Tuesday's Angels; Bob & Hal Bernier-Peterson; LeAnna Bradley; Alison Burgos; BPG (Business & Professional Group); Sonia Mitchell; Series2006FTL - show your support and support the community center.

[ ] Outside Back (4.75” x 8”) $1,500
[ ] Centerfold (2 pages) $1,250
[ ] Inside Front (4.75” x 8”) $750-SOLD
[ ] Full Page (4.75” x 8”) $500
[ ] Half Page (4.75” x 4”) $300
[ ] Business Card $100

PROGRAM SIZE (5.25 x 8.5) COLOR portrait format, ads must be received



[ Send your comments about any of the articles in Ray's List Digest ]

Thursday, January 04, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - January 4, 2007

****IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Canadian Boy Can Have Two Moms And A Dad High Court Rules
by The Canadian Press

Posted: January 3, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Toronto, Ontario) An Ontario boy can legally have two mothers and afather, the province's highest court ruled Tuesday.

The same-sex partner of the child's biological mother went to court seekingto also be declared a mother of the boy.

After hearing arguments in 2003, Superior Court Justice David Astondismissed the application saying he didn't have the jurisdiction to rule inthe case.

Court was told the child has three parents: his biological father and mother(identified in court documents as B.B. and C.C., respectively) and C.C.'spartner, the appellant A.A.

A.A. and C.C. have been in a stable same-sex union since 1990. In 1999, theydecided to start a family with the assistance of their friend B.B.


Gay Media Watchdog Identifies Top Offenders Of 2006
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: January 3, 2007 - 7:00 pm ET

(New York City) The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation on Wednesdayidentified what it called the worst media and anti-gay voices in 2006.

In releasing the list GLAAD's President Neil G. Giuliano said theorganization is putting the media on notice to stop all anti-gay rhetoricthat he said has fed a climate of hatred and prejudice against LGBTAmericans.

"Every day, LGBT people are viciously attacked and slandered by those whocreate and or profit from anti-gay messages," said Giuliano.

"Such expressions of intolerance clearly have an impact on how people treatmembers of our community."

GLAAD works with reporters and editors and bookers and producers to ensuretheir stories are fair and accurate, and speaks out publicly when homophobicremarks are made in the media.


January 04, 2007

Former secretary of Defense urges Congress to "revisit" gay ban

Former secretary of Defense William Cohen said Tuesday that congressionalleaders should take another look at the military's antigay "don't ask, don'ttell" policy regarding gay service personnel.

Joining a long list of former military leaders who have come out against thePentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding gay service personnel,former secretary of Defense William Cohen told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Tuesdaythat congressional leaders should revisit the gay ban. "It's time to startthinking about it and starting to discuss it," Cohen said in an interviewregarding a January 2 New York Times op-ed by retired chairman of the JointChiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili. "I think what we're hearing from withinthe military is what we're hearing from within society-that we're becoming amuch more open, tolerant society for diverse opinions and orientation,"Cohen said, adding that the ban is "a policy of discrimination."

Cohen's remarks are the first by a Defense secretary indicating support forreevaluating the law. He went on to say that "we ought to have discussions,some hearings" and noted that "I think that [incoming Senate Armed ServicesCommittee chairman Carl] Levin and others will ask for hearings and listento testimony."


Who's Who embraces gay partners

3rd January 2007 12:10pm
Tony Grew

It is THE reference guide to the great and the good of British society.Every year since 1849 it has listed those judged prominent enough in publiclife to be included.

Now, for the first time, among the ossified entries listing the achievementsand hobbies of retired civil servants, obscure peers and failed politicians,will be a shining example of 21st century modernity.

Gay and lesbians have for the first time been allowed to list their civilpartners in the book, the latest edition of which costs a mere £145.

Who is included is based on choosing people whose "prominence is inherited,or depending on office, or the result of ability which singles them out fromtheir fellows," according to their official website.

There are around 32,000 entries, which are compiled from questionnairesfilled in by the subject themselves. Around a thousand new entries arerevealed each January to replace those who have died.


Chris Hedges: America's Holy Warriors
Posted on Dec 31, 2006
By Chris Hedges

Editor's note: The former New York Times Mideast Bureau chief warns that theradical Christian right is coming dangerously close to its goal of co-optingthe country's military and law enforcement.

The drive by the Christian right to take control of military chaplaincies,which now sees radical Christians holding roughly 50 percent of chaplaincyappointments in the armed services and service academies, is part of a muchlarger effort to politicize the military and law enforcement. This effortsignals the final and perhaps most deadly stage in the long campaign by theradical Christian right to dismantle America's open society and build atheocratic state. A successful politicization of the military would signalthe end of our democracy.

During the past two years I traveled across the country to research andwrite the book "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War onAmerica." I repeatedly listened to radical preachers attack as corrupt andgodless most American institutions, from federal agencies that providehousing and social welfare to public schools and the media.


Same-sex marriages continue as judges delay action on challenges

Published 12:18 pm PST Tuesday, February 17, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO -- Two judges delayed taking any action Tuesday to shut downSan Francisco's same-sex wedding spree, citing court procedures as theytemporarily rebuffed conservative groups enraged that the city's liberalpoliticians had already married almost 2,400 gay and lesbian couples.The second judge told the plaintiffs that they would likely succeed on themerits eventually, but that for now, he couldn't accept their proposed courtorder because of a punctuation error.

It all came down to a semicolon, the judge said.

"I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal ... That semicolonis a big deal," said San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Birds do it, bees do it . . .
Martin Fletcher

The Times January 03, 2007,,7-2527347_1,00.html

Our correspondent reports from Oslo on a new exhibition that appears todebunk the theory that homosexuality is an exclusively human preference

Is homosexuality natural? Post your comments using the form below

It is not what you would expect to see when you take your children on aSunday outing to the natural history museum: a giant photograph of one malegiraffe humping another, or two whales sparring with giant penises. This,however, is Norway, where - for better or worse - the normal rules do notapply. Three years ago the Government told the country's museums andlibraries that they should do more to contribute to social debates and dareto tackle taboo subjects.

The results of that order are now coming through. One museum is staging anexhibition that debunks the national myth that every Norwegian was an heroicResistance fighter in the Second World War. A second is planning anexhibition on Vidkun Quisling, the ultimate Norwegian collaborator. A thirdhas an exhibition showing how badly Norway has treated Gypsies.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Andrew Sullivan, The Daily Dish (blog), January 3, 2007
Let Them Vote
Andrew Sullivan

The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts did the right thing, it seems tome, in upholding the duty of the commonwealth's legislature to vote on apossible 2008 marriage amendment. (I await the howls about judicial activism from thetheocon right.) Yes, there will be a huge surge of Christianist money intoMassachusetts to keep gay couples stigmatized under the law. Yes, there willbe another round of bitter and emotional debate. But advocates for marriageequality are far too defensive in fearing such a vote.

We should be relishing it. So far, very few can argue that marriage equalityin Massachusetts has been a failure. On the contrary, it has united many oncedivided families, it has strengthened many relationships, it has broughtmore stability to gay culture, it has given children more security, and ithas opened hearts and minds. We have close to two years to use this evidenceto persuade the people of Massachusetts that civil equality is something tobe proud of.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Worcester Telegram, MA, January 3, 2007
Editorial--The right vote
Lawmakers did their constitutional duty

Massachusetts' legislative leaders did the right thing twice yesterday,first by resisting pressure to convene then immediately recess theconstitutional convention, then by promptly calling a roll call vote onwhether the initiative petition on marriage should be moved forward for asecond vote in the 2007-08 session.

The Supreme Judicial Court last week left no doubt as to where lawmakers'duty lay. In a unanimous decision, the justices ruled that the Legislaturewas required by the state constitution to act on the initiative.

Sixty-two lawmakers voted to move forward the proposed amendment, 12 morethan the 50 votes needed. A second vote is needed to place the proposal onthe November 2008 ballot.


From: Deb Price

Deb Price:

Gay admirer thanks President Ford

Thirty years ago, I thought of myself as a Jerry Ford Republican.

I was one of the schoolgirls shouting and waving when President Ford andQueen Elizabeth II arrived at Washington National Cathedral in July 1976 forthe building's dedication ceremony.

Just weeks earlier, I had graduated from the Episcopal girls' school nextdoor. I was headed for the University of Michigan, Ford's alma mater.

When I voted for him in November 1976, I was a timid, closeted 18-year-old.I couldn't have imagined -- and, I expect, neither could he -- that 25 yearslater, in an interview with me, Ford would become the highest-rankingRepublican in history to endorse equal treatment for gay couples.

After Ford left office, my regard for him grew. I came to see his pardoningof Richard Nixon as wise and gutsy.

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The New York Times

January 4, 2007
John McCain a Target for All Sides
Filed at 8:14 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Everyone, it seems, is jabbing at John McCain thesedays -- from a Republican rival for the presidential nomination to severalpotential Democratic candidates.

''When you're the perceived front-runner, your head's above the politicaltrench and everyone takes shots at you,'' said Chris Lehane, a Democraticstrategist and presidential campaign veteran.

McCain, considered by many to be the Republican to beat, has largelyremained silent about the criticism, which is somewhat uncharacteristic forthe outspoken Arizona senator. His presidential exploratory committee onWednesday declined to comment on the spate of reproaches over his stands ongay marriage and the Iraq war.


USA Today

Pelosi leads wave of women making political history
Updated 1/3/2007 11:26 PM ET
By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Nancy Pelosi won't be the only woman making history when shetakes the oath Thursday as the nation's first female speaker of the House.The California Democrat is the most visible among a record number of femalestate legislators, governors and members of Congress. The cracks in the"marble ceiling," as Pelosi likes to call it, will be on display as the newCongress convenes.

An example: When Democrat Barbara Mikulski of Maryland joined the Senate in1987, she was the 16th woman ever to hold a seat in that chamber. Thursday,when Democrats Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Claire McCaskill of Missouritake their oaths as new senators, Mikulski will be among a record 16 womenserving in the Senate at the same time.


GOP girds for battle over Pelosi's agenda
Blasts decision for quick votes
By Rick Klein, Globe Staff | January 4, 2007

WASHINGTON -- As Democrats take control of Congress today with ambitiousplans for a new agenda, early signs of bipartisan cooperation have all butevaporated on Capitol Hill, shattering Democrats' hopes for a smoothtransition into power.

Even before House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi takes over as Housespeaker, Republicans have begun an assault on her leadership decisions. Theyblasted Pelosi's decision to hold votes on a series of bills in the first100 legislative hours of the new Congress, saying that her decision tocircumvent the committee process and prohibit Republican amendmentsundercuts her vows of a more open lawmaking process.

"Half of the Congress has been cut out of the process," Representative AdamH. Putnam of Florida, chairman of the House Republican Conference, saidyesterday. "The American people were promised a new way of doing business inthe United States Congress. . . . This is a missed opportunity."


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1107306.story?coll=sfla-news-opinion


Many Israeli policies fit `apartheid' label
By Johnny Barber

January 1, 2007

I take exception to the recent Sun-Sentinel editorial denouncing JimmyCarter's new book Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid. The editorial citescritics who describe the book as "dishonest and biased," yet not one exampleis given.

The editorial claims that the Israelis and Palestinians do not occupy thesame land, and this much is true. Palestine is not part of Israel, but onlyone people are occupiers. The editorial may claim that "Israel has noobligation to return it (the so-called "disputed land," in fact occupiedland) until a permanent peace is achieved," but this is not the law.

The settlements in the West Bank are not Israel, and they are not ondisputed land, they are on occupied land, and Israel has internationalobligations that it is flagrantly ignoring in continuing its expansion ofthese settlements.

The editorial found no comparison with apartheid. Perhaps I can elucidate afew.


FBI ran checks on critics of Rehnquist nomination
2 administrations tied to inquiries
By Mark Sherman and Pete Yost, Associated Press | January 4, 2007

WASHINGTON -- The FBI, replying to a Nixon administration request, rancriminal background checks on Senate witnesses critical of William H.Rehnquist's nomination to the Supreme Court in 1971, according to newlyreleased FBI files.

Fifteen years later, Justice Department officials in the Reaganadministration asked the FBI to check on witnesses who were scheduled totestify in opposition to Rehnquist's elevation from justice to chief

"Thurmond just gave these names to Bolton they will testify for theDemocrats and we want to know what they are going to say," a JusticeDepartment official, Gene Hickhock, told a counterpart at the FBI, accordingto a memo in Rehnquist's file.


Los Angeles Times,1,3095464.story?coll=la-news-comment

Make the CIA talk
Congressional Democrats are right to demand more information aboutinterrogation tactics.

January 4, 2007

HOWEVER ELSE it might modify its behavior in dealing with a new,Democratic-controlled Congress, the Bush administration is stillstonewalling when it comes to sharing information about its tactics in the"war on terror." That's a mistake.

This week, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the incoming chairman of theSenate Judiciary Committee, disclosed that the Justice Department hadspurned his request for two documents. One is a presidential directiveregarding Central Intelligence Agency interrogation methods and detentionfacilities outside the United States. The other is a 2002 Justice Departmentmemo on the subject to the CIA's top lawyer.

Leahy, who raised the possibility of issuing subpoenas to obtain thedocuments, lamented that the rebuff from the Justice Department "is not theconstructive step toward bipartisanship that I had hoped for, givenPresident Bush's promise to work with us." In this case Leahy's complaint isjustified.


CBS News

Bush The Believer

Jan. 3, 2007
(Weekly Standard)
This column was written by Joseph Epstein

When George W. Bush addresses the nation with his Iraq proposals in earlyJanuary, a great many people will be disappointed. They will be so becausethe president is unlikely to change the position he has held all along: thatin Iraq victory, or something that looks to the world like victory, is stillessential, crucial even.

How could it be otherwise? George W. Bush is not, strictly speaking, apolitician; he came, after all, to politics late. He is instead a believer.It may well be in his nature to believe, as witness his midlife conversionto earnest Christianity. But there can be very little doubt that, on themorning of September 11, 2001, he also acquired political religion. Hebelieves American security is being challenged; he believes this challengemust be met directly and with force; and he believes that he knows what isbest for the country which he has been chosen to lead. The question of therightness of his belief may be debated; but about the sincerity of hisbelief there can't be much question.


The New York Times

January 4, 2007
U.S. Bars Lab From Testing Electronic Voting

A laboratory that has tested most of the nation's electronic voting systemshas been temporarily barred from approving new machines after federalofficials found that it was not following its quality-control procedures andcould not document that it was conducting all the required tests.

The company, Ciber Inc. of Greenwood Village, Colo., has also come underfire from analysts hired by New York State over its plans to test new votingmachines for the state. New York could eventually spend $200 million toreplace its aging lever devices.

Experts on voting systems say the Ciber problems underscore longstandingworries about lax inspections in the secretive world of voting-machinetesting. The action by the federal Election Assistance Commission seemscertain to fan growing concerns about the reliability and security of thedevices.

The commission acted last summer, but the problem was not disclosed then.Officials at the commission and Ciber confirmed the action in recentinterviews.


The Washington Post

A Chance To Change The Game

By Barack Obama
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A17

This past Election Day, the American people sent a clear message toWashington: Clean up your act.

After a year in which too many scandals revealed the influence specialinterests wield over Washington, it's no surprise that so many incumbentswere defeated and that polls said "corruption" was the grievance cited mostfrequently by the voters.

It would be a mistake, however, to conclude that this message was intendedfor only one party or politician. The votes hadn't even been counted inNovember before we heard reports that corporations were already recruitinglobbyists with Democratic connections to carry their water in the nextCongress.


The Washington Post

Christian Political Fast?

By Ryan Messmore
Special to's Think Tank Town
Thursday, January 4, 2007; 12:00 AM

How much political involvement can Christians stomach and still remain trueto their faith? A cadre of religious believers in America is considering amal-nourishing proposal: that followers of Jesus should "fast" from politicsfor two years.

David Kuo, an evangelical Christian who once worked for the Bushadministration in the White House Office of Faith-Based and CommunityInitiatives, has advocated this suggestion in The New York Times. Such afast, he explains, would entail giving up "intense political activism" suchas sending letters to Congress, volunteering for campaigns, and "engaging inpolitical arguments with friends." The only political activity Christianswould engage in is voting. With all of the free time and saved energyresulting from not "making political arguments" or watching "crazy politicalnews," Kuo argues, followers of Jesus could spend more time hanging out withtheir families and helping the poor.


The Washington Post

Suggester in Chief

By David S. Broder
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A17

An element of unreality has infected the speculation about President Bush'sdecision on a new strategy for Iraq. In the weeks since the Iraq Study Groupissued its report and the president said he was going to canvass a varietyof other sources before making up his mind, the assumption has grown that hewill declare the next steps himself.

In reality, Bush's ability to act on his own is severely limited. His handsare tied both at home and abroad. At most, he can suggest what he would liketo do, but he is dependent on others to actually do it.

The overseas constraints begin in Iraq, where any policy depends on thecooperation and dubious capacity of the struggling government in Baghdad.That government is consumed by factional fighting and has yet to find thewill to deal with its own thuggish Shiite elements or to reach any kind ofaccommodation with the rebellious Sunni minority.


The Washington Post

Pelosi Walks Tightrope Enforcing Rules
New Speaker Must Come to Terms With Her Party's Own Troubles

By Michael Grunwald and Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A01

First in a series of occasional articles on the new Democratic-controlledCongress.

On June 15, beneath the crystal chandeliers and Corinthian pilasters of theCannon Caucus Room, House Democrats had to decide how they really felt aboutthe "culture of corruption." After months of expressing outrage overRepublican scandals, what would they do about the $90,000 the FBI had foundin the freezer of one of their own?

To House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the answer was obvious:Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) had to give up his coveted spot on theWays and Means Committee. But at the closed-door caucus meeting, severalblack Democrats complained that Pelosi was not their emperor or queen, whileJefferson implored his colleagues to keep him on Ways and Means for the sakeof Hurricane Katrina's victims. No one spoke up for Pelosi -- except Pelosi.

She began by praising Jefferson's wife and five daughters: Jamila, Jalila,Jelani, Nailah and Akilah. But she quickly made it clear that Jefferson'slegal problems had become her political problem: "I am not an emperor or aqueen. But neither am I a fool."


The Washington Post

The Right Minimum Wage

By George F. Will
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A17

A federal minimum wage is an idea whose time came in 1938, when publicconfidence in markets was at a nadir and the federal government's confidencein itself was at an apogee. This, in spite of the fact that with 19 percentunemployment and the economy contracting by 6.2 percent in 1938, the NewDeal's frenetic attempts had failed to end, and perhaps had prolonged, theDepression.

Today, raising the federal minimum wage is a bad idea whose time has come,for two reasons, the first of which is that some Democrats have an evidentlyincurable disease -- New Deal Nostalgia. Witness Nancy Pelosi's "100 hours"agenda, a genuflection to FDR's 100 Days. Perhaps this nostalgia resonateswith the 5 percent of Americans who remember the 1930s.

Second, President Bush has endorsed raising the hourly minimum from $5.15 to$7.25 by the spring of 2009. The Democratic Congress will favor that, and hemay reason that vetoing this minor episode of moral grandstanding would notbe worth the predictable uproar -- Washington uproar often is inverselyproportional to the importance of the occasion for it. Besides, there wouldbe something disproportionate about the president vetoing this feel-good bitof legislative fluff after not vetoing the absurdly expensive 2002 farmbill, or the 2005 highway bill larded with 6,371 earmarks or theanti-constitutional McCain-Feingold speech-rationing bill.


The Washington Post

Litmus Test for Pro-Life Democrats

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A17

Near the top of the new Democratic congressional majority's agenda ispassage of stem cell research legislation vetoed last year by PresidentBush, a measure that will answer a major question. There is no doubt the newbill will pass both houses of Congress. What remains in doubt are the votesto be cast by newly elected Democrats who campaigned as pro-life advocates,particularly Pennsylvania Sen.-elect Bob Casey Jr.

Outside the boundaries of his state, Casey is best known as the son of theDemocrat most revered in the pro-life movement: the late Gov. Robert Casey.Denied the podium at the 1992 Democratic National Convention because of hisantiabortion views, the elder Casey planned a serious independent campaignfor president before being stopped by poor health. But will the son, lessardent a pro-lifer than the father, vote against the embryonic stem cellresearch bill as he promised during the campaign? Will seven self-describedpro-life Democrats newly elected to the House do the same?


The Washington Post

The Voices on the Gallows

By Jim Hoagland
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A17

This is a column I never expected to write.

I never expected to say that the Iraqis who put Saddam Hussein to death madethe sadistic dictator look almost noble by their own depraved standards ofbehavior in that moment.

The mishandled execution carries a larger message that President Bush mustabsorb for the decisive address he plans to give on Iraq as early as nextweek: If Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his aides cannot control agallows chamber containing 20 people, how can they hope to manage a countrythat is disintegrating under the weight of religious and ethnic hatreds?

Was Maliki's office complicit in a grisly in-your-face payback by the primeminister's Dawa Party for Hussein's atrocities against its founders andIraqis at large? Or -- and this could be worse -- did Maliki's people failto foresee the consequences of their rush to rid themselves of thistroublesome prisoner? Either way, the result is a sharp setback for astrategy that depends on national unity to underpin an orderly, secure U.S.exit from Iraq.


The Washington Post

Negroponte to Leave Job to Be State Dept. Deputy

By Glenn Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A11

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has persuaded John D. Negroponte toleave his post as director of national intelligence and come to the StateDepartment as her deputy, government officials said last night.

Negroponte's move would fill a crucial hole on Rice's team. She has beenwithout a deputy since Robert B. Zoellick left in July for a Wall Streetfirm. It also comes as President Bush plans to announce a new Iraq strategy;as former Iraq envoy, Negroponte would be expected to play a major role inimplementing that plan in his new role.

Negroponte's decision to step down as the nation's top spy for a sub-Cabinetposition marks a sudden reversal. Rice had earlier sought to recruitNegroponte -- as well as other high-profile figures -- for the job, but lastmonth he insisted he was staying at his post.

"In my own mind at least, I visualize staying . . . through the end of thisadministration, and then I think probably that'll be about the right time topack it in," he told C-SPAN in an interview broadcast Dec. 3. "I've pulledtogether a very good team, and they've stayed with me for the past 18months," he said, "and I hope they'll stay with me as long as I'm in thejob."


The Washington Post

Romney Forms Presidential Committee, Focuses on Fundraising

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 4, 2007; A03

Outgoing Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a successful businessman from aprominent Michigan Republican family, joined the 2008 sweepstakes yesterday,formally establishing a presidential committee and turning his attention tothe substantial fundraising and organizational demands of a nationalcampaign.

On a day he participated in a ritualistic walk from the statehouse thatsymbolically marked the end of his single term as governor of one of themost liberal states in the union, Romney set his sights on winning hisparty's presidential nomination against such nationally known opponents asSen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Romney's filing, delayed for a day out of respect for the national day ofmourning for former president Gerald R. Ford, set up what is called apresidential exploratory committee, but the time for exploring ended forRomney some time ago. Along with McCain, Romney has been aggressivelybuilding a national network for months, particularly in Iowa, New Hampshire,South Carolina and Michigan -- all states with early caucuses or primariesnext year.


Robertson: God warns of terror attack in '07

January 3, 2007

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday Godhas told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in''mass killing'' late in 2007.

''I'm not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear,'' he said during''The 700 Club'' on the Christian Broadcasting Network. ''The Lord didn'tsay nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that.''

Robertson said God told him major cities and possibly millions of peoplewill be affected by the attack, which should take place sometime afterSeptember.

The broadcaster predicted in January 2004 that President Bush would easilywin re-election. Bush won 51 percent of the vote that fall.

In 2005, Robertson predicted Social Security reform would be approved andBush would nominate conservative judges to federal courts.


Yahoo! News

Pentagon not pursuing Guantanamo report
By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
Wed Jan 3, 12:13 PM ET

The Pentagon plans no action as a result of a newly released FBI report ondetainee abuse at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, a spokesman saidWednesday, asserting there is nothing new in the report.

"The idea that this is new is misguided and misleading," said DefenseDepartment spokesman Bryan Whitman.

"These are things the department has thoroughly investigated and whereallegations have been substantiated, disciplinary action has been taken," hesaid.

Documents released Tuesday by the FBI focused on harsh interrogationtechniques used by military officials and contractors when questioningso-called enemy combatants at the facility the Pentagon set up in Cuba forterrorism suspects.


Democrats Finalize New Ethics Rules
By Jonathan E. Kaplan and Jackie Kucinich
The Hill

Wednesday 03 January 2007

House Democrats hurried yesterday to put the finishing touches on ethicsreforms that would ban lawmakers and staffers from accepting trips, giftsand meals from lobbyists and prevent the new majority from holding votesopen to change the outcome.

Democrats will adopt and then amend the House Rules package tomorrow toban all travel paid for by lobbyists or organizations that employ lobbyists,require the ethics committee to pre-approve travel paid for by outsidegroups, enact a total gift ban, and require lawmakers to pay the market costof flying on a corporate jet, said Democratic staffers and officials withgovernment watchdog groups.

And, because they feel they lost the 2003 Medicare prescription drugbenefit vote because GOP leaders held it open for three hours, during whichthey flipped opponents into the "yes" column, Democrats will include aprovision in the rules to prevent any sort of repetition, said aides toincoming Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).


The New York Times

January 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Another Thousand Lives
How long can this go on?

Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction were a mirage. More than3,000 American G.I.s and scores of thousands of Iraqis have been killed.Voters in the United States have made it clear that they no longer supportAmerican involvement in this exercise in sustained barbarism. Incredibly,the U.S. military itself is turning against the war.

And yet the president, against the counsel of his commanders on the ground,apparently is ready to escalate - to send more American lives into the firehe set in Iraq.

In a devastating critique of the war, the newsweekly Army Times led itscurrent edition with the headline: "About-Face on the War - After 3 years ofsupport, troops sour on Iraq." The article detailed a Military Times Pollthat found, for the first time, that "more troops disapprove of thepresident's handling of the war than approve of it."

Only a third of the service members surveyed approved of the president'sconduct of the war, while 42 percent disapproved. Perhaps worse was thefinding that only half of the troops believed that success in Iraq waslikely.


The New York Times

January 4, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
A Snit in First Class

I have a dream, my friends. I have a dream that we are approaching the day
when a ranch-owning millionaire Republican like George Bush will make peacewit a vineyard-owning millionaire Democrat like Nancy Pelosi.

I have a dream that Pelosi, who was chauffeured to school as a child andwho, with her investor husband, owns minority shares in the Auberge duSoleil resort hotel and the CordeValle Golf Club, will look over her famousstrand of South Sea Tahitian pearls and forge bonds of understanding withthe zillionaire corporate barons in the opposing party.

Furthermore, I dream of a great harmonic convergence among the obscenelyrich - between Randian hedge fund managers on the right and helipadenvironmentalists on the left. I dream that the big-money people who seem todominate our politics will put aside their partisan fury and discover theclass solidarity that Karl Marx always said they shared, and their newfoundcivility will trickle down to the rest of us. I dream that Berkeley willmake peace with Buckhead, Streisand with DeVos, Huffington with O'Reilly.


Group: ExxonMobil paid to mislead public

Wed Jan 3, 2:15 PM ET

ExxonMobil Corp. gave $16 million to 43 ideological groups between 1998 and2005 in a coordinated effort to mislead the public by discrediting thescience behind global warming, the Union of Concerned Scientists assertedWednesday.

The report by the science-based nonprofit advocacy group mirrors similarclaims by Britain's leading scientific academy. Last September, The RoyalSociety wrote the oil company asking it to halt support for groups that"misrepresented the science of climate change."

ExxonMobil did not immediately respond to requests for comment on thescientific advocacy group's report.

Many scientists say accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trappinggases from tailpipes and smokestacks are warming the atmosphere like agreenhouse, melting Arctic sea ice, alpine glaciers and disturbing the livesof animals and plants.

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