Sunday, July 01, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 1, 2007

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The New York Times

July 1, 2007
Perspective on Her Side, Mrs. Edwards Enters Fray

WASHINGTON, June 30 - Three months after Elizabeth Edwards said that hercancer had returned in inoperable form, her role and influence in JohnEdwards's presidential campaign is undiminished. She has made a flurry ofcharged public appearances, become a regular presence advising Mr. Edwardson the campaign trail, and wields behind-the-scenes influence in manyinternal campaign decisions, aides said.

Mrs. Edwards has also become a free operator on behalf of her husband of 29years, a development that her friends suggest reflects the clarity andperspective that come from her cancer diagnosis, and her increasinglyconfident political instincts as she advises Mr. Edwards, a North CarolinaDemocrat, in his second White House bid.

When Mrs. Edwards called in to a television talk show this week to confrontthe conservative commentator Ann Coulter who had attacked Mr. Edwards thisyear, it was a decision that Mrs. Edwards said she made impulsively and onher own. The resulting dramatic four minutes of television created a surgeof attention that at least momentarily electrified her husband's campaign,winning applause from the left and apparently spiking contributions in thecritical final days of this second-quarter fund-raising period.

It also made Mrs. Edwards the sympathetic face of the Edwards campaign, fora few days overshadowing the candidate himself.

Similarly, Mrs. Edwards told gay leaders at a kick-off event for the SanFrancisco gay pride parade last week that she supported same-sex marriage, aposition at variance with Mr. Edwards's. He learned of her remarks fromreading a newspaper, an aide said. Mrs. Edwards said that she was justoffering her opinion, as well as an explanation for her husband's moreconservative views on the issue, in response to a question. But theinterview, some Democrats said, had the political effect of at leastappeasing some liberal Democrats over Mr. Edwards's views of gay-rightsissues.

At campaign headquarters in Chapel Hill, N.C., Mr. Edwards's aides said they regularly heard from Mrs. Edwards, long known for being vigilantly protective of her husband's ambitions, through e-mail or telephone calls, onmatters large and small. They said that even in illness, she had kept a handin some of the big decisions of the campaign. She was an advocate for hiringJoe Trippi, the manager of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign, as asenior Edwards adviser, in large part to address her concern aboutlackluster fund-raising by the campaign. She argued vigorously with herhusband over details of his signature health care plan - before an audienceof transfixed campaign aides. (He won that argument, an aide said.)


The New York Times

July 1, 2007
Roman Candles
Wrapped in the Star-Spangled Toga

THIS Fourth of July, millions of ordinary citizens across the land areplanning to celebrate our nation's birthday with that most distinctivelyAmerican tradition: the backyard toga party.

Well, O.K., not really. But the idea might not be so farfetched. Recently,it has seemed that ancient Rome is everywhere - and especially comparisonsof modern America to the ancient empire. Moreover, it is one of the fewthings on which all segments of the political spectrum - left and right,Christian fundamentalists and Islamic radicals, Ivy League professors andrenegade bloggers - seem to agree.

Most recently, a book by Cullen Murphy, titled, plainly enough, "Are WeRome?" begins with an extended comparison of President Bush to the emperorDiocletian from the third century A.D. Everything from their respectiveforeign policies to their retinues of courtiers comes under scrutiny. (It'sa bit of puckish humor that the author, whose sympathies are decidedly ofthe liberal sort, chooses that particular Roman ruler, who was famous forfeeding Christians to the lions.)

Mr. Murphy, especially, draws parallels between Rome's imperial predicamentand what he sees as ours: the problems of a vast, multiethnic nation with amessianic view of itself and an often simplistic view of the rest of theworld, stretched too thin beyond its borders and facing mounting challengeswithin them.

He finds echoes of the emperors' reliance on legions of Visigothicmercenaries in the country's outsourcing of security contracts toHalliburton and Wackenhut.


The New York Times

July 1, 2007
4 Held in Scottish Attack as British See Broader Plot

LONDON, Sunday, July 1 - British officials raised the country's terrorismthreat alert to its highest level on Saturday after two men slammed anS.U.V. into entrance doors at Glasgow Airport and turned the vehicle into apotentially lethal fireball.

Less than 38 hours earlier the police uncovered two cars in London rigged toexplode with gasoline, gas canisters and nails.

Early Sunday, after a day of fast-moving developments, the London policeannounced that two people had been arrested in Cheshire, in northwestEngland, "in connection with the events in London and Scotland."

The arrests were in addition to those of the two occupants of the blazingcar at Glasgow Airport. A witness to the attack said on BBC television thatone of the car's occupants had been ablaze from head to foot, and as hestruggled with the police, "was throwing punches and shouting 'Allah,Allah.'

Britain's threat level is now at "critical," meaning another attack isconsidered imminent. The threat has not been as high since last year, afterauthorities discovered what they called a plot to attack trans-Atlanticairliners with liquid explosives.


A note from Ray and Michael:

We Saw 'Sicko' yesterday. A must see!

Forwarded by Ron Mills

Nothing funny about 'Sicko' state of health care
Gitmo prisoners get better medical treatment than Sept. 11 rescue workers
By Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
MSNBC contributor
Updated: 8:09 a.m. ET June 28, 2007

A number of reviewers have described "Sicko," Michael Moore's newdocumentary film about health care in the United States, as funny. It isn't.

Sure there is a chuckle or two to be had. You have to smile when Moore uses'50s-style anti-communist film clips to mock the fear-mongering Americanpoliticians engage in whenever the subject turns to "socialized" medicine,or when he is bellowing through a bullhorn while bobbing in a boat inGuantanamo Bay, Cuba, begging for the same level of health care for workersinjured in Sept. 11 rescue efforts as we afford the evildoers locked up inmaximum security at Gitmo.

But "Sicko," which opens nationwide Friday, is not funny. It is tragic. Youshould not come out of the movie theater smiling. You should leave angry."Sicko" is right on target about the mess that is American health care.

Moore's critics would like you to believe "Sicko" is slicko. Those withvested interests in preserving the current status quo in health care havealready activated their lobbyists, media flacks, think-tank mouthpieces andtrade organizations to go after Moore and his movie. There are nearly $2trillion worth of vested interests out there in insurance, managed care,hospitals, doctors, advertisers and salespeople looking to keep their shareof the health care pot of gold.

But there's no disputing the key flaws in our system that "Sicko" makesabundantly clear: Nearly one in five Americans doesn't have healthinsurance.


The Washington Post

A Political Force With Many Philosophies
Survey of Independents, Who Could Be Key in 2008, Finds Attitudes From Partisan to Apathetic
By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, July 1, 2007; A01

Fred Wood, a Marietta, Ohio, retiree, voted for George W. Bush in 2000 andJohn F. Kerry in 2004. In last year's midterm elections, he voted Republicanfor Senate and Democratic for governor. Is he on the fence for 2008? "Youbet I am!" he said.

Mary Welch, a program manager in Appleton, Wis., twice supported Bush forpresident and voted Republican in last year's hotly contested Wisconsingubernatorial race. Looking ahead to 2008, she said, "At this point, I tendto lean toward the Republican Party."

Julie McClure, a property appraiser in Bradenton, Fla., voted for Al Gore in2000 and Kerry in 2004. She would vote for almost any of the current crop ofDemocratic presidential candidates over any Republican nominee."Particularly on the war, I side with the Democratic Party," she said.

Wood, Welch and McClure all describe themselves as political independents.Wood is a classic swing voter, while Welch and McClure generally side withone party. They represent two of the five types of independents revealed ina new, in-depth study by The Washington Post in collaboration with the HenryJ. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard University.

The study is a comprehensive examination of a broad segment of theelectorate -- about three in 10 voters call themselves independents -- thatis poised to play the role of political power broker in 2008. Independentssplit their votes between President Bush and Kerry in 2004 but shifteddecisively to the Democrats in 2006, providing critical support in theDemocratic takeover of the House and the Senate.


The New York Times

July 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
When the Vice President Does It, That Means It's Not Illegal

WHO knew that mocking the Constitution could be nearly as funny as shooting a hunting buddy in the face? Among other comic dividends, Dick Cheney's legal theory that the vice president is not part of the executive branch yielded a priceless weeklong series on "The Daily Show" and an online "Doonesbury Poll," conducted at Slate, to name Mr. Cheney's indeterminate branch of government.

The ridicule was so widespread that finally even this White House had to blink. By midweek, it had abandoned that particularly ludicrous argument, if not its spurious larger claim that Mr. Cheney gets a free pass to ignore rules regulating federal officials' handling of government secrets.

That retreat might allow us to mark the end of this installment of the Bush-Cheney Follies but for one nagging problem: Not for the first time in the history of this administration - or the hundredth - has the real story been lost amid the Washington kerfuffle. Once the laughter subsides and you look deeper into the narrative leading up to the punch line, you can unearth a buried White House plot that is more damning than the official scandal. This plot once again snakes back to the sinister origins of the Iraq war, to the Valerie Wilson leak case and to the press failures that enabled the administration to abuse truth and the law for too long.


Our view: Rejecting reason
Senate ideologues defeat immigration compromise but offer no solutions

The defeat of the immigration bill in the Senate marks a sad day for the United States.

The reasonable compromise reached by conservative and liberal leaders was crushed Thursday when three-quarters of Senate Republicans voted to derail the bill.

That alone shows how polarized our government has become, with far-right ideologues firing up their base with cries of amnesty while offering no realistic solutions of their own.

The bill would have made many immigrants eligible to earn lawful status, tightened border security and set up an identity system for employee verification.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is correct when he says the bill's failure results in "silent amnesty" for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

If there is any positive in this debacle, it's the political courage of Florida's Sen. Mel Martinez, a Republican, and Bill Nelson, a Democrat, who supported the bill.


New Hampshire,1,402676.story?coll=la-news-a_section&ctrack=5&cset=true

Law on abortion for minors is nixed
From Times Wire Reports
June 30, 2007

Gov. John Lynch signed legislation in Concord repealing a law requiring that a parent be notified before a minor received an abortion.

The 2003 law never took effect because of a court challenge, and the repeal was effective immediately. "I strongly believe parents should be involved in these decisions, providing important support and guidance," Lynch said. "Unfortunately that is not possible in every case."


Chores influence marriage more than kids
Survey finds childbearing drops in importance
The Associated Press
July 1, 2007

NEW YORK The percentage of Americans who consider children "very important"to a successful marriage has dropped sharply since 1990, and more now citethe sharing of household chores as pivotal, according to a sweeping newsurvey.

The Pew Research Center survey on marriage and parenting found that childrenhad fallen to eighth out of nine on a list of factors that people associate with successful marriages - well behind "sharing household chores, " "goodhousing," "adequate income," a "happy sexual relationship" and "faithfulness."

In a 1990 World Values Survey, children ranked third in importance among thesame items, with 65 percent saying children were very important to a goodmarriage. Just 41 percent said so in the new Pew survey.

Chore-sharing was cited as very important by 62 percent of respondents, upfrom 47 percent in 1990.

The survey also found that, by a margin of almost 3-to-1, Americans say themain purpose of marriage is the "mutual happiness and fulfillment" of adultsrather than the "bearing and raising of children."


The Advocate

June 30, 2007
House wards off veto threat with gay slap

By a surprisingly bipartisan vote of 224-200, the U.S. House ofRepresentatives on Thursday passed an amendment banning the use of federalfunds to support Washington, D.C.'s local domestic-partner registry.

The White House warned Wednesday that President Bush would veto this year'sroutine appropriations bill for the District of Columbia if it did notinclude such an amendment, a response to the district's strengthening of its
same-sex partner benefits last year.

Officials said the vote will have little practical effect because the cityuses local funds for the partner registry, The Washington Post reported.

But gay activists deplored the move, with Human Rights Campaign presidentJoe Solmonese calling the veto threat "a new low" in "antigay zeal."

The district, though it gets most of its revenue from local taxes, alsoreceives federal funding through Congress, making it more vulnerable thanother cities to shifts in the national political winds.


Clinton: 'Clean Sweep' Needed At White House
by The Associated Press
Posted: June 30, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(Miami, Florida) "A clean sweep" is needed at the White House becausePresident Bush has fostered "a culture of cronyism, corruption andincompetence," Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday.

The Democratic presidential candidate told nearly 1,000 women at afundraiser that she would have much work to do at the White House if she wonelection in 2008.

"After eight years of the Bush administration, we are going to be shocked bywhat we find," the New York senator and former first lady said. "Somebodysaid to me the other day if there was ever a time for a woman president it'snow because we're going to have to do a lot of cleaning."

The women, many of who brought their daughters to the $100 per plate "Womenfor Hillary" breakfast, applauded wildly.

"Grab your buckets, grab your brooms," Clinton said. "We're going to have todo a clean sweep because there has been a culture of cronyism, corruptionand incompetence."


London Celebrates Pride Amid Security Alert
by Newscenter Staff

Posted: June 30, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(London) Neither rain nor the discovery of two car bombs could deter tens ofthousands of people from lining the streets Saturday for Gay Pride.

The march left Baker Street and made its way through the West End toTrafalgar Square where gays and lesbians and their friends partied andenjoyed music for the remainder of the day.

Police met Friday night with Pride organizers with both sides agreeing therewas no need to cancel or alter the celebration. Police said they werestrengthening patrols in the city, however, to reassure the public.

The cars turned into bombs were discovered in area of Saturday's parade -one in the entertainment district the other at Trafalgar Square. (story)

A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said that it is believed theparade was not the intended target, but "when you are expecting ahalf-million people in the area you raise the security net".


National Gay News

Lead Elephants Stampeding in Risky Direction
by Deb Price

In the spring of 2000, as Texas Gov. George W. Bush was cruising toward theRepublican presidential nomination, he invited a dozen gay Republicans toAustin. That sent a powerful message to the independent voters Bush neededin winning the White House: He would be a different kind of Republican --tolerant and respectful toward gay Americans.

"These are people from our neighborhoods, people with whom all of us went toschool . and I appreciate them sharing their stories with me," Bush saidafter the cordial 90-minute meeting where he heard about hardships faced bygay parents, gay soldiers and gay workers. Bush declared that listening hadmade him a "better person," adding, "And I'm mindful that we're all God'schildren."

Fast-forward seven years. Bush hasn't lifted a finger to end anti-gaydiscrimination. He's the first president to advocate writing it into theConstitution.

And in a sad and bizarre twist, the men competing for the 2008 Republicanpresidential nomination act as if the contest is over who can show the mosthostility to gay rights -- even though their party desperately needs to winback the moderates and independents who've abandoned it, largely over thewar in Iraq.

Take Mitt Romney, for example. In 1994, he boasted that if Massachusettselected him to the Senate, he'd do more for gay people than Ted Kennedycould. These days, Romney never seems to meet an anti-gay policy he doesn'tlike.

And take Rudy Giuliani. He was the gay-friendly mayor of New York City whomoved in with a gay couple while getting a divorce. Now, he no longersupports civil unions.

The gay Log Cabin Republicans' online overview of where these presidentialwannabes stand is full of lines like "he has made his opposition to basicfairness for gay people one of the pillars of his campaign" (Sen. SamBrownback of Kansas) and "an ardent opponent of gay and lesbian rights"(former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore).

Yet the nation is getting increasingly comfortable with gay rights. Bigmajorities favor outlawing anti-gay job discrimination and ending themilitary ban. Sixty percent support civil unions or gay marriage, a New YorkTimes/CBS poll found this March.

And a new poll conducted by GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio suggests that evenself-identified Republicans may be warming to basic gay rights: 77 percentof self-identified Republicans say employers shouldn't have "the right tofire an employee based solely on their sexual orientation"; by 49 to 42percent, they want the military ban lifted; and although 51 percent opposelegal recognition of gay couples, 43 percent favor civil unions or gaymarriage.


Forwarded from Ron Mills

Glasgow's Burning--Run For Your Lives
by Larry C Johnson

Preliminary, unconfirmed reports indicate a nuclear blast has occurred atGlasgow's international airport. No one has seen the mushroom cloud orheard the blast, but something by God is happening and it must be terrible.There is smoke and fire. In fact, a car is on fire. It must be Al Qaeda.Only Al Qaeda knows how to set themselves on fire inside a car. Please.Flee to the hills (leave you doors unlocked). Oh the humanity!


As events unfold I'm simply asking that folks take a big deep breath and tryto keep things in perspective. Are there jihadist extremists in the worldwho are willing to kill innocents? Absolutely. Are they amenable tonegotiation? No. I am not in the, "have you hugged a terrorist today"camp. However, we need to stop equating their hatred with actualcapability.

If today's events at Glasgow prove to be linked to the two non-eventsyesterday in London, then we should heave a sigh of relief. We may bewitnessing the implosion of takfiri jihadists--religious fanatics who areincredibly inept. While I am not an explosives expert I am good friendswith one of the world's foremost explosives experts. Propane tanks andpetrol (gas for us Americans) can produce a dandy flame and a mighty boombut these are not the tools for making a car bomb long the lines of what wesee detonating on a daily basis in Iraq.

My main beef remains that much of the cable news media reacts to thisnonsense like a fifty year old guy on Viagra or Cialis--they pop major wood.And the same warnings are appropriate--an erection lasting more than fourhours may be harmful. Amen.

Posted by Larry Johnson on Saturday, 30 June 2007


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