Friday, February 16, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST February 16, 2007

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Ray's List will publish only the 3 Ray's List Daily Digests [GLBT News,National/World News, and Florida News] on Saturday and Sunday - February17-18. We will not send the individual articles this weekend.

In an attempt to streamline our production of Ray's List, we anticipate thatwe will eliminate mailing full articles in the near future and focus only onthe 3 daily digests. As always, you are invited to request a full articlefrom us if it is unavailable through the attached link or if the link is notavailable.

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This week's news including the disgusting and dangerous comments from TimHardaway, the frightening attack by a large mob against gay men in Jamaica,and the collusion with Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola by a number ofright-wing break-away Episcopal congregations should serve as notice to usin the U.S. that our safety, security and well-being are seriouslychallenged by groups that have no intention of giving up their fight againstour dignity as human beings. Their intentions are not benign.

Even though statistics show Americans are growing more tolerant of gays, weare a long way from security for GLBT people. For those of us in S.Florida, life is pretty nice. Even though we have one of the largestpopulations of gay people in the U.S. our leadership and activism on thenational and world stage is sorely lacking. South-Floridian gays love toparty, but it is very difficult to gain the attention of the majority ofGLBT persons for more sober issues.

We publish Ray's List in the hope that our daily reminders of the news froma world-wide perspective will motivate and provide the links for actionwithin our community. We frequently feel we are only "singing to thechoir." But, we know that each time you forward a Ray's List article toyour contacts, you provide a great service and make it more difficult forbigotry and hatred to flourish.

Knowledge is power.

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Ray and Michael
Ray's List
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The Theocratic Inclinations of the Republican Electorate

The Nation
[from the May 1, 2006 issue]

Should a political leader rely on religion when making policy decisions?
(Source: ABC/Washington Post poll, April 2005)

Yes No
Conservatives 63% 32%
Republicans 62 35
National sample 40 55
Independents 38 59
Moderates 36 58
Democrats 27 65
Liberals 20 77

Which worries you more, politicians inattentive to religion or politicianstoo close to religion and its leaders? (Source: CBS News/New York Timespoll, Nov. 2004.)


The New York Times

February 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

The Health Care Racket

Is the health insurance business a racket? Yes, literally — or so say twoNew York hospitals, which have filed a racketeering lawsuit againstUnitedHealth Group and several of its affiliates.

I don’t know how the case will turn out. But whatever happens in court, thelawsuit illustrates perfectly the dysfunctional nature of our healthinsurance system, a system in which resources that could have been used topay for medical care are instead wasted in a zero-sum struggle over who endsup with the bill.

The two hospitals accuse UnitedHealth of operating a “rogue business plan”designed to avoid paying clients’ medical bills. For example, the suitalleges that patients were falsely told that Flushing Hospital was “not anetwork provider” so UnitedHealth did not pay the full network rate.UnitedHealth has already settled charges of misleading clients aboutproviders’ status brought by New York’s attorney general: the company paidrestitution to plan members, while attributing the problem to computererrors.

The legal outcome will presumably turn on whether there was deception aswell as denial — on whether it can be proved that UnitedHealth deliberatelymisled plan members. But it’s a fact that insurers spend a lot of moneylooking for ways to reject insurance claims. And health care providers, inturn, spend billions on “denial management,” employing specialist firms —including Ingenix, a subsidiary of, yes, UnitedHealth — to fight the


The New York Times

February 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Will Russia Bet on Its People or Its Oil Wells?

In a high-rise building with a view of Lenin’s Tomb, the U.S. aerospacegiant Boeing is designing key parts of its new 787 Dreamliner, usinghundreds of Russian aerospace engineers. Yes, President Putin may be talkingcold-war tough, but down the street from the Kremlin, America’s crown jewelindustrial company is using Russia’s crown jewel brainpower to design itsnext crown jewel jetliner.

Boeing’s Moscow Design Center, which employs 1,400 Russian engineers(earning less than their U.S. counterparts) on various projects, symbolizesRussia’s unique potential: Russia is that rare country that not only has atreasure trove of natural resources — oil, gas and mines — but also has atreasure trove of human talent: engineers, mathematicians and other valuableminds.

Most nations with highly developed human talent — like Singapore or Taiwan —have few natural resources, and those that are rich in natural resources —Venezuela or Sudan — tend not to develop their people’s talents. Theexceptions, like Norway, which is rich in both human and natural resources,usually built their democratic institutions before they got rich on oil, sothe money was well spent.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Calif. Senate OKs Resolution Against Iraq
By Robert Salladay
The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday 14 February 2007

Amid accusations that it would give comfort to America's enemies, theCalifornia Senate approved a resolution Tuesday calling for a halt toboosting the number of troops in Iraq or spending any more taxpayer dollarson the war without explicit approval from Congress.

The resolution was introduced by state Sen. Carole Midgen (D-SanFrancisco). She said she would amend the resolution, approved 22 to 14,before it reached the state Assembly to include a stronger message ofsupport for the troops. Democrats nevertheless said the Iraq war had been afailure and no longer appeared to be a "just cause."

Republicans stood to oppose the resolution, which expresses the opinionof the Legislature but is legally meaningless. One said the Democratic Partyshould be ashamed of supporting terrorists, who could soon be attackingCalifornia cities.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Gingrich at the Gate
Bill Berkowitz | February 8, 2007

Although Newt Gingrich, the former Republican Speaker of the House ofRepresentatives who was forced to relinquish his post over a series ofethical missteps, is still considering his options regarding a run for the2008 presidency, there's little doubt that he wants to be president.Gingrich, who has never been camera shy and appears regularly on the FoxNews Channel, does not hesitate to let audiences know where he stands on thecritical issues of our time. (His upcoming schedule includes speakingengagements at the American College of Dermatology convention, the WorldMoney Show in Orlando, Florida, an Ameritrade conference in Los Angeles, andthe Texas Bankers Association.)

Late last year, at an annual dinner in New Hampshire held in memory of thelate publisher of the conservative Manchester Union Leader and honoringindividuals who stand up for free speech, Gingrich proposed that newstrategies and tactics in the war on terror should be considered, includinga reexamination of First Amendment rights. Gingrich said: "This is aserious, long-term war, and it will inevitably lead us to want to know whatis said in every suspect place in the country, that will lead us to learnhow to close down every website that is dangerous, and it will lead us to avery severe approach to people who advocate the killing of Americans andadvocate the use of nuclear or biological weapons" (November 27, 2006).


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Controversial sexologist backs down sex talk

BEIJING, Feb. 15 -- Li Yinhe, a noted sexologist and professor at theChinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), who is expected to propose for afourth time that gay marriage be legalized in China at this year's ChinesePeople's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) of which she is a member,just wrote in her personal blog about her decision to refrain frominterviews and talk about sex because of pressure from above.

"... My leaders [at CASS], under pressure from "non-average people,"would like me to shut up. ...So starting now, I have decided, for a while(maybe for the rest of my life): 1. to accept as few press interviews aspossible; 2. to talk about sex as little as possible," Li wrote in an updateentitled "My latest decision".

"...I don't want to uphold any more of my social responsibility becauseit's interfering with my life, and it's causing pressure on myhigher-ups...Gay marriage is not something our country can accept at thisstage. History will change when it must. And perhaps I will only be able tobe a bystander when the change comes, rather than a participant," Li wrote.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Fifth Marine pleads guilty in Hamdania killing
Tue Feb 13, 2007 3:31PM EST

CAMP PENDLETON (Reuters) - A U.S. Marine offered a guilty plea to conspiracycharges on Tuesday in connection with the April 2006 killing of a52-year-old Iraqi grandfather in the village of Hamdania.

Lance Cpl. Robert Pennington, 22, entered the plea at a hearing and becamethe fifth man to plead guilty in the death of Hashim Ibrahim Awad. His pleamust still be accepted by a military judge during a two-day hearing at CampPendleton that will conclude with Pennington's sentence.

Pennington is one of seven Marines and a U.S. Navy medic charged in Octoberwith murder, conspiracy, larceny, kidnapping and making false statements toinvestigators. Hearings in the matter are being held at the U.S. MarineCorps Base Camp Pendleton, north of San Diego.

Also on Tuesday, charges were re-issued against Lance Cpl. Trent Thomas.Thomas had planned to accept a plea deal but changed his mind and withdrewhis guilty plea.

Navy investigators charge that the defendants conspired to kill a knowninsurgent, Saleh Gowad in the early morning hours of Aprii 26, 2006.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Poll: Most residents OK with use of medical marijuana

By STEVE TERRELL | The New Mexican
February 15, 2007

An overwhelming majority of New Mexicans support the idea of allowing peoplewith serious medical conditions to smoke marijuana to ease symptoms,according to a poll commissioned by a drug-reform group lobbying for amedical marijuana bill in the Legislature.

The poll, conducted by the SJC Research of Washington, D.C., also showedthat a plurality of voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate whosupported medical marijuana while a third would not be affected by acandidate’s stance on the issue.

Reena Szczepanski of the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, which commissionedthe poll, said the findings show that legislators need not fear voting forSenate Bill 238, which recently passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and ismoving through the House.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007
Hardaway Banished for Anti - Gay Remarks
Filed at 8:00 a.m. ET

The NBA banished Tim Hardaway from All-Star weekend in Las Vegas because ofhis anti-gay remarks.

Hardaway, who played in five All-Star games during the 1990s, was already inLas Vegas to make a series of public appearances this week on behalf of theleague. But after Hardaway said, ''I hate gay people'' during a radiointerview, commissioner David Stern stepped in.

''We removed him from representing us because we didn't think his commentswere consistent with having anything to do with us,'' Stern told reportersThursday at the opening of a fan festival at a Las Vegas casino, part of theNBA's All-Star weekend.

Stern said he had not spoken with Hardaway, who left Las Vegas on Thursday,but he planned to do so.

While Stern said a discussion about openly gay players could be part offuture rookie orientation programs, he doesn't see a need to address theleague.


The Washington Post

Special Counsel Accused Of Intimidation in Probe
Contact With Investigators Controlled, Employees Say

By Elizabeth Williamson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007; A21

A trouble-plagued whistle-blower investigation at the Office of SpecialCounsel -- whose duties include shielding federal whistle-blowers -- hitanother snag this week when employees accused the special counsel ofintimidation in the probe.

The Office of Personnel Management's inspector general has beeninvestigating allegations by current and former OSC employees that SpecialCounsel Scott J. Bloch retaliated against underlings who disagreed with hispolicies -- by, among other means, transferring them out of state -- andtossed out legitimate whistle-blower cases to reduce the office backlog.Bloch denies the accusations, saying that under his leadership the agencyhas grown more efficient and receptive to whistle-blowers.

The probe is the most serious of many problems at the agency since Bloch, aKansas lawyer who served at the Justice Department's Task Force forFaith-based and Community Initiatives, was appointed by President Bush threeyears ago. Since he took the helm in 2004, staffers at the OSC, a smallagency of about 100 lawyers and investigators, have accused him of a rangeof offenses, from having an anti-gay bias to criticizing employees forwearing short skirts and tight pants to work.

The 16-month investigation has been beset by delays, accusations andcounter-accusations. The latest problem began two weeks ago, when Bloch'sdeputy sent staffers a memo asking them to inform OSC higher-ups wheninvestigators contact them. Further, the memo read, employees should meetwith investigators in the office, in a special conference room. Someemployees cried foul, saying the recommendations made them afraid to beinterviewed in the probe.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

Protecting Those Who Speak Out

The plight of federal workers who raise alarms about waste and fraud ingovernment has become a scandal unto itself. That candid air marshalsuddenly assigned to desk duty after complaining of shoddy agency practiceshas plenty of company, including workers who have lost security clearancesor found their jobs suddenly relocated far from home. But in a vote thisweek of bipartisan unanimity, the House government reform committee offeredwhistle-blowers fresh hope with a much needed measure to protect themagainst official retaliation.

Existing law gives too much of an edge to oversight boards that are inclinedto dismiss or belittle the charges of whistle-blowers. The bill, sponsoredby Henry Waxman, Democrat of California, and Tom Davis, Republican ofVirginia, would guarantee a worker the right to a court review of acomplaint if it lingers beyond six months without action.

The protection against retaliation would also be extended for the first timeto the F.B.I. and to intelligence agencies where wastefulness is draped insecrecy. (Maybe someone on the inside could finally explain the hundreds ofF.B.I. computers and firearms that are regularly lost.) And nongovernmentworkers employed by federal contractors would finally have protection ifthey blew the whistle. The bill would extend anti-retaliation rights tothose workers who courageously complained about the politicization ofscience by patronage appointees, and to airport security workers.

Politicians campaign endlessly on promises to end waste, fraud and abuse.Congress has a golden opportunity to protect the people whose courage canmake that possible.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

In Fraud Case, 7 Years in Jail for Contempt

On Jan. 14, 2000, Martin A. Armstrong, a globe-trotting investment manager,was told to produce $15 million in gold and antiquities, as well asdocuments, in response to a civil suit by the government accusing him ofsecurities fraud involving hundreds of millions of dollars.

When he said that he did not have the items and could not produce them, afederal judge ordered him jailed for contempt of court.

Seven years later, Mr. Armstrong sits in the Metropolitan CorrectionalCenter in Lower Manhattan.

Imprisoned two years before Enron and WorldCom brought corporate crime tocenter stage, Mr. Armstrong, 57, is the white-collar defendant whom timeforgot. Over the years, the losses of his former clients have been repaid bya bank involved in his trades.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

Home Prices Fall in More Than Half of Nation’s Biggest Markets

Prices for single-family homes fell in more than half of the nation’s 149biggest metropolitan areas in the last three months of 2006, according todata released yesterday by a trade group for real estate agents.

The figures from the National Association of Realtors show that the housingmarket weakened noticeably in many parts of the country at the end of lastyear and indicate that suggestions by some industry officials that themarket has hit bottom could be premature. In the previous quarter, pricesfell in one-third of all metropolitan areas.

The biggest price declines were concentrated primarily in two kinds ofcities: the formerly booming markets along the coasts and in the Southwest,and in Midwest and Northeast cities hurting from the loss of manufacturingjobs. The biggest declines, for instance, were in Florida —Sarasota-Bradenton (down 18 percent), Palm Bay-Melbourne (17 percent) andCape Coral-Fort Myers (11.7 percent). The declines in prices were especiallysteep for condominiums.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

Democrats in State Capitols Push Antiwar Resolutions

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 15 — Frustrated by the inability of Democrats in Congressto pass a resolution opposing President Bush’s policies in Iraq, statelegislators across the country, led by Democrats and under pressure fromliberal advocacy groups, are pushing forward with their own resolutions.

Resolutions have passed in chambers of three legislatures, in California,Iowa and Vermont. The Maryland General Assembly sent a letter to itsCongressional delegation, signed by a majority of the State Senate and closeto a majority of the House, urging opposition to the increase in troops inIraq.

Letters or resolutions are being drafted in at least 19 other states. Thegoal is to embarrass Congress into passing its own resolution and to providecover for Democrats and Republicans looking for concrete evidence back homethat anti-Iraq resolutions enjoy popular support.

“The end of this war has to start sometime and somewhere,” the president ofthe Iowa Senate, John P. Kibbie, a Democrat, said Thursday. “And stoppingthe expansion of these troops needs to happen now.”


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

In Setback for New Orleans, Fed-Up Residents Give Up

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 15 — After nearly a decade in the city of their dreams,Kasandra Larsen and her fiancĂ©, Dylan Langlois, climbed into a rented movingtruck on Marais Street last Sunday, pointed it toward New Hampshire, andsaid goodbye.

Not because of some great betrayal — they had, after all, come back afterlosing everything in Hurricane Katrina — but a series of escalatingindignities: the attempted carjacking of a pregnant friend; the announcedmove to Nashville by Ms. Larsen’s employer; the human feces deposited ontheir roof by, they suspect, the contractors next door; the two burglariesin the space of a week; and, not least, the overnight wait for the police torespond.

A year ago, Ms. Larsen, 36, and Mr. Langlois, 37, were hopeful NewOrleanians eager to rebuild and improve the city they adored. But now theyhave joined hundreds of the city’s best and brightest who, as if finallyacknowledging a lover’s destructive impulses, have made the wrenchingdecision to leave at a time when the population is supposed to berebounding.


The New York Times

February 16, 2007

Italy Indicts 31 in ’03 C.I.A. Abduction Case
Filed at 10:37 a.m. ET

MILAN, Italy (AP) -- A judge Friday indicted 26 Americans and five Italiansin the abduction of an Egyptian terror suspect on a Milan street in whatwould be the first criminal trial stemming from the CIA's extraordinaryrendition program.

The judge set a trial date for June 8, although the Americans, who have allleft the country, almost certainly will not be returned to Italy.

Prosecutors allege that five Italian intelligence officials worked with theAmericans to seize Muslim cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr on Feb. 17,2003.

Nasr was allegedly transferred by vehicle to the Aviano Air Base near
Venice, then by air to the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and on to Egypt,where his lawyer says he was tortured. Nasr was freed earlier this week byan Egyptian court that found his four years of detention in Egypt''unfounded,'' and he is at a family home in Alexandria.


The New York Times

February 14, 2007

Tougher Standards Urged for Federal Education Law

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — No Child Left Behind, the federal education law,should be toughened to judge teachers and principals by their students’ testscores, and to block chronically ineffective educators from working inhigh-poverty schools, a private bipartisan commission recommended onTuesday.

The recommendations were in a report released here by the Commission on NoChild Left Behind, a 15-member group led by former Gov. Roy E. Barnes ofGeorgia and Tommy Thompson, the former secretary of the Department of Healthand Human Services, and financed by private foundations. The report is meantto be a blueprint for Congress as it prepares to consider renewal of thelaw, President Bush’s signature education initiative, later this year.

The commission also proposed that states revamp their testing systems totrack individual student progress from year to year, and to give schoolscredit if students are within sight of achievement targets, rather than onlyif they reach them.

The report drew praise from the leaders of the Congressional educationcommittees and the administration, but it was immediately attacked by theteachers’ unions and others.


The Washington Post

Pelosi Backs War Funds Only With Conditions
Equipment, Training For Troops Would Face New Standards

By Jonathan Weisman and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, February 16, 2007; A01

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) yesterday linked her support forPresident Bush's war-funding request to strict standards of resting,training and equipping combat forces, a move that could curtail troopdeployments and alter the course of U.S. involvement in Iraq.

The pledge came as Congress appears ready to assert its authority in mattersof war and diplomacy, down to decisions that the White House believes to bethe domain solely of the president as commander in chief: the deployment andtraining of military forces.

The House is to vote today on a nonbinding resolution disapproving of Bush'sdecision to deploy more than 21,000 additional troops to Iraq. Also, SenateMajority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) announced a rare Saturday vote tobegin debate on the House resolution.

Congressional Democrats signaled a willingness to directly challenge andcurtail Bush's warmaking powers, a move that will almost certainly spark alegal or constitutional confrontation. Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.), a Pelosially, is rewriting the president's spending request to limit Bush's optionsin prosecuting the war, and Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), chairman ofthe Foreign Relations Committee, said he will seek to repeal the 2002congressional authorization for Bush to wage war in Iraq and substitutelegislation that would narrow the mission of troops there and begin to bringsome home.


The Washington Post

Tale of Marooned Passengers Galvanizes Airline Opponents

By Del Quentin Wilber
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007; D01

Valentine's Day was no lovefest for some airline passengers and JetBlueAirlines.

Hundreds of travelers spent Wednesday crammed inside JetBlue planes strandedon the tarmac at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York. The mostunfortunate were stuck for 10 hours without food during an ice storm thatslowed operations to a standstill.

The airline has acknowledged its mistake and offered free trips to those whowere affected, hoping to blunt the long-term impact.

The incident is the latest example of the poor service that many travelersthink is becoming routine on U.S. airlines. But passengers facing chronicflight delays, near-record amounts of lost luggage and declining foodoptions are complaining less. Last year, they filed a little more than 8,000service complaints, down from about 20,000 in 1999, even though one in fourflights arrived late or not at all and 4 million bags were lost, stolen ormisplaced.


The Washington Post

Va. Traditionalist Represents Developing World
Martyn Minns

By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007; B01

Shortly after becoming an Episcopal priest in the late 1970s, Martyn Minnsvisited Tanzania and was changed forever.

"I was just blown away by the faith, the commitment, the cost of being aChristian" on a continent where the religion's followers are an embattledminority in some places.

The image of an intense, miracle-working God worth fighting for has fueledthe conservative Fairfax City priest for decades as he and those like himhave felt increasingly sidelined in the Episcopal Church, with itsprogressive politics and sometimes staid worship style.

But the dry-witted native Brit isn't feeling isolated lately.


The Washington Post

A Wide-Open Web for the '08 Campaign

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, February 16, 2007; A23

Does Barack Obama have the potential to trump Hillary Clinton's money,organization and methodical planning by becoming the online phenomenon of2008? The answer may determine who wins the Democratic presidentialnomination.

This is the election in which Internet campaigning will reach maturity. The2000 campaign offered the first glimmers of the medium's power when JohnMcCain surprised the political world by raising $6 million to $7 milliononline in his unsuccessful Republican primary campaign against George W.Bush.

Howard Dean rode the Internet from nowhere to a strong early position in the2004 Democratic presidential race, only to fall to John Kerry. The sameanti-Bush sentiment that had powered Dean later allowed Kerry to raise anestimated $82 million in Internet contributions.

Today, the next new thing is old hat -- but still evolving. "It's somainstream now that every part of the campaign touches the Internet," saidBecki Donatelli, who pioneered McCain's 2000 Internet fundraising and isworking for him again. "It's the 900-pound gorilla. It's the real thing."


The Washington Post

Hershey Plans to Cut Work Force by 1,500

The Associated Press
Friday, February 16, 2007; 12:38 AM

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The Hershey Co., whose name has been synonymous with U.S.candymaking for more than a century, is moving a bigger chunk of itsproduction to Mexico.

A day after Valentine sweethearts across the country enjoyed bags of HersheyKisses, the company on Thursday announced a restructuring plan that willscale back its work force by 1,500 jobs and force some plants to close.

Hershey said the three-year blueprint would reduce the number of productionlines by more than one-third while saving the company as much as $190million a year.

The maker of Hershey's Kisses, Reese's peanut butter cups and Mounds barscurrently employs about 13,000 people at 20 plants in the United States,Canada, Mexico and Brazil. The planned cuts amount to 11.5 percent of thatwork force.

The proportion of Hershey's manufacturing done in the U.S. and Canada willshrink, from 90 percent currently to 80 percent, and the impact will varyfrom one plant to another.


The Washington Post

Black Like Me?
Those Asking if Barack Obama Is 'Black Enough' Are Asking the Wrong Question

By Marjorie Valbrun
Friday, February 16, 2007; A23

What does it mean to be black, and who is the arbiter of authenticblackness? As Sen. Barack Obama's "blackness" has increasingly beendiscussed on black-oriented radio shows, at political conferences and onSunday morning news shows, I've grown more dismayed by the day.

The discourse, occurring mostly among black people, has been dominated byquestions about Obama's being biracial, his immigrant father and hissuitability as a presidential candidate, given that his life story doesn'tparallel that of most blacks born in the United States. Some have impliedthat only a black candidate whose ancestors were slaves here or who havethemselves experienced the trauma of this country's racial history can trulyunderstand what it means to be black in America and represent the politicalinterests of black Americans.

This is a narrow-minded and divisive notion. At a time when blacks living inthis country, whether by birth or by choice, should be harnessing theircollective political clout to empower all black people, we're wasting timedebating which of us are truly black.

As a black immigrant and a Haitian-American who has lived in the country for37 years, I know how it feels to have my blackness challenged by native-bornblacks.


The Washington Post

Bush Regains His Footing

By David S. Broder
Friday, February 16, 2007; A23

It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of
Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poisedfor a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case.

Like President Bill Clinton after the Democrats lost control of Congress in1994, Bush has gone through a period of wrenching adjustment to his reducedstatus. But just as Clinton did in the winter of 1995, Bush now shows signsof renewed energy and is regaining the initiative on several fronts.

More important, he is demonstrating political smarts that even his criticshave to acknowledge.

His reaction to the planned House vote opposing the increase he ordered inU.S. troops deployed to Iraq illustrates the point.


The Washington Post

The Putin Doctrine

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, February 16, 2007; A23

Vladimir Putin -- Russia's president, although the more accurate title wouldbe godfather -- made headlines last week with a speech in Munich that set anew standard in anti-Americanism. He not only charged the United States withthe "hyper-use of force," "disdain for the basic principles of internationallaw" and having "overstepped its national borders in . . . the economic,political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations."He even blamed the spread of weapons of mass destruction, which the UnitedStates has been combating with few allies and against constant Russianresistance, on American "dominance" that "inevitably encourages" othercountries to acquire them.

There is something amusing about criticism of the use of force by the manwho turned Chechnya into a smoldering ruin; about the invocation ofinternational law by the man who will not allow Scotland Yard to interrogatethe polonium-soaked thugs it suspects of murdering Alexander Litvinenko, yetanother Putin opponent who met an untimely and unprosecuted death; about thebullying of other countries decried by a man who cuts off energy supplies toUkraine, Georgia and Belarus in brazen acts of political and economicextortion.


The Washington Post

Anatomy Made Controversial
Exhibit's Use of Human Cadavers Is Often Condemned

By Fredrick Kunkle
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 16, 2007; B05

Ever wonder what another person might look like without makeup or hair? Howabout without skin?

Washingtonians will soon be able to gaze at -- and, in some cases, handle --human remains that have been transformed at the cellular level into siliconemummies at an exhibition in Arlington this spring.

"BODIES . . . The Exhibition" will open in the former Newseum building inRosslyn in mid-April, organizers said. It is one of at least three exhibitsusing human cadavers that have stirred controversy nearly everywhere theygo.

Catholic and Protestant churches have protested the opening of body exhibitsin Europe, and the directors of an off-beat museum in Seattle filed a legalchallenge to "BODIES . . . The Exhibition" there. The German physician whopioneered the preservation method created a competing exhibit and has beenaccused of using bodies without proper consent, which he has denied.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Why the Left Should Take the Iran Issue Back from the Neo-cons

From, February 7
Legitimation Crisis
By Scott McLemee

Imagine that there is a reactionary and theocratic regime somewhere in theworld - one that routinely violates human rights, censors newspapers,harasses labor unionists, and punishes women for "sex outside of marriage"(even when they committed that "crime" by being the victims of rape).Suppose the regime does all this, and more, while enjoying friendlyrelations with the United States. Not so hard to picture, I'm afraid,realpolitik being what it is. We used to give big fat foreign-aid checks tothe Taliban, remember.

But let's go further. Let's imagine that (in spite of everything) there areeloquent and courageous critics of the status quo within the country whofight to get a hearing. They organize, they demonstrate, they publish; theyexploit every opportunity available to put forward an alternative vision oftheir society. The dissidents find that their fellow citizens, especiallyyoung people, are interested in what they have to say. They also often findthemselves, no surprise, in prison.

Furthermore, let's picture the ranks of that opposition as filled witheloquent and well-read academics and intellectuals - men and women whoturned out, hard questions already formulated, whenever Jurgen Habermas orAntonio Negri showed up to give a lecture.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Assassinations, Terrorist Strikes and Ethnic Cleansing: Bush's Shadow War inIraq

By Chris Floyd,
Posted on February 15, 2007, Printed on February 16, 2007

Imagine a city torn by sectarian strife. Competing death squads roam thestreets; terrorists stage horrific attacks. Local authority is distrustedand weak; local populations protect the extremists in their midst, out ofloyalty or fear. A bristling military occupation exacerbates tensions atevery turn, while offering prime targets for bombs and snipers. And behindthe scenes, in a shadow world of double-cross and double-bluff, covert unitsof the occupying power run agents on both sides of the civil war,countenancing -- and sometimes directing -- assassinations, terroriststrikes, torture sessions, and ethnic cleansing.

Is this a portrait of Belfast during "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland? Ora picture of Baghdad today? It is both; and in both cases, one of Britain'smost secret -- and most criminally compromised -- military units has pliedits trade in the darkness, "turning" and controlling terrorist killers in adangerous bid to wring actionable intelligence from blood and betrayal. AndAmerica's covert soldiers are right there with them, working side-by-sidewith their British comrades in the aptly named "Task Force Black," the UK'sSunday Telegraph reports.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Debunking guest worker myths

Posted By SHNS On February 15, 2007 @ 12:04 am In Capitol Hillbillies | 18

By JOSE de la ISLA

It’s stunning how little we learn from the events closest to us. Take, forinstance, how we got into this situation about guest workers and howleadership avoids the obvious.

A century ago, Mexican workers came across the virtually unknown border towork in this country’s agriculture and on the railroads. Then, as now, wehad labor shortages. Then, as now, some U.S. companies were doingland-office business south of the border.

The Immigration and Naturalization Service was created in 1924 — to haltChinese entry, I might add. The history and tradition of a U.S.-Mexicotrans-border movement already was well-established. The fluid comings andgoings were influenced by market forces.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Study finds female students in colleges outnumber males - but why?
University gender gap mystery
Jonathan Wroble
Posted: 2/15/07

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the number of womenenrolling in higher education is greater than the number of men. Whatremains a secret, however, is the reason why this gender gap exists.

"'Why' is the $64,000 question," said Jacqueline King, director of theCenter for Policy Analysis at the American Council on Education. "There'snot a lot of research that tells us exactly why this is happening."

In a report titled "Gender Equity in Higher Education: 2006," King namesthree prevalent theories surrounding this gender-based phenomenon: aneconomic explanation, the "school experiences" theory and the "socialreasons" theory.

The economic explanation proposes that low returns on high school diplomasprovide "a special incentive (for women) to go to college," King said. In2004, for example, 25- to 34-year-old women with only a high school diplomamade an average of $24,000. Men in the same category made over $30,000.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Fighting the Right Wing Smear Machines

By Paul Waldman, Posted February 15, 2007.

Obama and Edwards have already been slimed by right wing smear campaigns.But we're learning to fight back.

In June of 2004, I wrote a column for The Gadflyer asking why the right wingseemed so slow in getting its machinery of anger and innuendo aimed atpresumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry.

"Where are the anti-Kerry books?" I asked. "The conspiracy theories? Theintimations of murder and drug-running? The maniacal ravings of the unhingedRight we've come to know and love?" Before long, of course, they got theiract together, and Kerry never recovered from the blizzard of lies told bythe Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and other assorted conservative dirtytricksters.

We all know how early the 2008 presidential campaign has begun. It is nearlya year before the first primary vote will be cast, and the smear machine isalready taking aim at the Democratic contenders, hoping to replicate thesuccesses it had in torpedoing the last two Democratic nominees andhamstringing Bill Clinton's presidency.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Wind vs. Coal: False Choices in the Battle to Resolve Our Energy Crisis
By Tara Lohan, AlterNet

Posted on February 15, 2007, Printed on February 16, 2007

When you cross the border into West Virginia along I-64 the welcome signthat used to say, "West Virginia: Wild and Wonderful," now says, "WestVirginia: Open for Business."

It is a sign of the times.

According to a few area residents, the sign change coincidently occurredthis fall around the same time that the state decided to approve anapplication for development of the largest wind farm east of theMississippi.

West Virginia, long known to be an energy sacrifice zone for its sizablecontribution to our nation's coal supply at the expense of Appalachians, isnow beginning to diversify. But not everyone is excited about the prospect.


The Chronicle Of Higher Educatioon

Judge Says U.S. Should Approve UMass as a Supplier of Marijuana for MedicalResearch


The federal government should allow the University of Massachusetts atAmherst to grow marijuana for medical research, an administrative judgeruled this week in a nonbinding decision. Such a move would end a monopolyon cultivation held by the University of Mississippi.

The ruling recommends that the federal Drug Enforcement Administrationreverse its December 2004 decision to deny permission to Massachusetts and afaculty member there, Lyle E. Craker, who would cultivate the cannabis. TheDEA now has 20 days to file a formal response to the judge's decision, butno deadline beyond that to reverse itself.

If the DEA does not reverse its previous decision, a nonprofit group thatwants to finance Mr. Craker's work, the Multidisciplinary Association forPsychedelic Studies, said it would pursue additional litigation against theagency.


Inside Higher Ed

A Campus Nightmare

Cheyney University of Pennsylvania is reeling from the news that a womanarrested on prostitution charges Thursday for allegedly soliciting studentsin its dorms had told police officers that she is HIV-positive.

According to police records, the woman told university police that she hadsex with 10 male students but “could not relate if all 10 sexual acts hadcondoms involved.” She told authorities she was HIV-positive and was foundto be in possession of several bottles of prescription pills commonly usedby people with HIV.

Police officials reported that the woman had been walking around the sixthfloor of a residence hall offering to perform sexual acts for cash,according to an affidavit. Campus authorities had originally responded to acomplaint about 2 p.m. Thursday that a woman, believed to be the accused,had been running nude through the building. Sakinah K. Floyd, 34, wascharged with prostitution, criminal solicitation, open lewdness, aggravatedassault, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct, according to thepolice report.

The woman, who is not a student, visited two separate dormitories during a24-hour span last week, according to a university statement.


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