Friday, July 27, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 27, 2007

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The New York Times

July 27, 2007
Buck Stops At "Chuck" on Gay Marriage Issue
Filed at 3:18 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Within the U.S., same-sex marriage mightbe legal only in Massachusetts. When the subject comes up in politicaldebates, most major politicians are quick to duck and cover.

But if Adam Sandler's comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" provesanything -- beyond the fact that Sandler hasn't lost his knack for turningout mainstream comedies -- it's that the multiplex crowd, though it might besqueamish about gay sex, isn't scared off by the sight of men exchangingrings. That was demonstrated when the Universal release opened at No. 1 lastweekend with North American box office sales of $34.2 million.

Now, no one has ever accused Sandler of being a social crusader. Although hehas been gay-friendly in the past -- his 1999 comedy "Big Daddy" included agay male couple without making too much fuss about it -- Sandler aims rightdown the middle of the road with his comedies, which he produces through hisHappy Madison Prods. with his producing partner Jack Giarraputo. (Sandlerisn't averse to taking risks, but he saves those impulses for his moreserious dramatic turns such as "Spanglish" and "Punch-Drunk Love.")

"Chuck" is no exception. Right off the top, the movie establishes Sandler'scharacter as a regular guy, a Brooklyn firefighter whose free time isdivided between pickup basketball games and warding off the attention of theladies. When his buddy Larry (Kevin James) proposes that the two pose as gayto score domestic-partnership benefits, Chuck's first response is tosputter, "You mean like faggots?"

But as Chuck and Larry's masquerade encounters anti-gay discrimination, thatattitude changes. By film's end, Chuck is lecturing a crowded courtroomagainst the use of the f-word. The movie ends with a surprise gay weddingthat has most of its characters applauding.


The New York Times

July 27, 2007
Voters Seeing More Outspoken Political Spouses
Filed at 8:09 a.m. ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Elizabeth Edwards has emerged as an outspoken,tenacious partner in her husband's White House bid, an illustration of whatexperts predict will be a growing trend of spouses taking active, autonomousand even combative roles in campaign politics.

The wife of former Sen. John Edwards, who is seeking the Democraticpresidential nomination, in recent weeks has wrangled with right-wing punditAnn Coulter, challenged U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton on women's issues anddisagreed publicly with her husband.

"I think this is going to be the norm," said Sandy Maisel, director of theGoldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Maine's ColbyCollege.

"When you have couples who are both professionals, it's going to be veryunusual for the spouse not running to say, 'OK, I'm just going to be thewallflower,"' Maisel said.

The American public met Edwards in 2004, when her husband first sought theDemocratic presidential nomination and then became Sen. John Kerry's vicepresidential running mate in a failed challenge to the Republican incumbent,George W. Bush.


The Washington Post

The Line: Debate Provides '08 Wake-up Call
For anyone not paying attention, the 2008 pre-season is over.

If anyone had any doubt about whether the presidential campaign was rampedup, the still-spurting volcano of rhetoric between Democrats Barack Obamaand Hillary Rodham Clinton over who is better equipped to handle foreignpolicy should clear that right up.

It's the first extended back and forth between the two frontrunners, andneither seems ready to back down just yet. Why? Because they each think theycan "win" on the issue.

For Obama, the fight represents a chance to paint Clinton as a creature ofthe past -- a past defined by her vote in favor of the 2002 use of forceresolution against Iraq. Obama's argument is also centered on the idea thatexperience and judgement are two entirely different things. Clinton'spolitical experience, Obama argues subtly, didn't help her make the rightvote in 2002, while his political inexperience didn't hamper his ability toargue against it.

For Clinton, the controversy shows why Obama is a risky vote for Democraticprimary voters. Yes, he has charisma, but is he ready for the job he isauditioning for? Clinton's campaign believes her experience dealing at thehighest levels of government as both first lady and as senator is thestrongest counter to the energy surrounding Obama. Your heart might be withObama, the argument goes, but your head is with Clinton.

It's a fascinating dynamic and one that will play out in any number ofiterations between now and January. We'll be watching.

To the Line!


The Washington Post

Anonymous No More
By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2007; 8:50 AM

Ryan Sager x

"Don't start printing up the Bloomberg for President bumper stickers quiteyet. A Quinnipiac poll out today finds that even in New York City -- wherevoters know Mr. Bloomberg about as well as they could, and like Mr.Bloomberg about as well as they could (he has 73% job approval) -- 57% saythey 'probably' or 'definitely' wouldn't vote for him. Only 34% say they'probably' or 'definitely' would vote for him.

"Let those numbers sink in as the Bloomberg for president hysteria continuesdaily. Even in what should be the stronghold of our technocratic,smoking-banning, gay-marriage-supporting, Bermuda-jetting-off-to,trans-fat-meddling mayor, he gets . . . about a third of the vote. This isnot a guy who can run a credible national campaign. Not for all the money inthe world."

And here I was worrying about whether Lindsay Lohan is a drunk-drivingmenace:

"A panel has found that astronauts were allowed to fly on at least twooccasions despite warnings they were so drunk they posed a flight risk,sources familiar with the panel's report said Thursday.

"Aviation Week also reported that the independent panel set up by NASA tostudy astronaut health issues found evidence of 'heavy use of alcohol'before launch that was within the standard 12-hour 'bottle-to-throttle'rule. Flight surgeons and other astronauts warned that drunken astronautsposed a flight risk when they flew on the two known occasions, according tothe publication."

I don't know: Doesn't that sound a tad self-destructive before blasting offinto outer space?

Finally, Rosie's replacement on "The View" is said to be . . . Whoopi.


The Washington Post

Buck stops at "Chuck" on gay marriage issue

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Within the U.S., same-sex marriage mightbe legal only in Massachusetts. When the subject comes up in politicaldebates, most major politicians are quick to duck and cover. But if AdamSandler's comedy "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry" proves anything --beyond the fact that Sandler hasn't lost his knack for turning outmainstream comedies -- it's that the multiplex crowd, though it might besqueamish about gay sex, isn't scared off by the sight of men exchangingrings. That was demonstrated when the Universal release opened at No. 1 lastweekend with North American box office sales of $34.2 million.

"Heroes" villain, Nimoy join Star Trek pic

SAN DIEGO (Hollywood Reporter) - Zachary Quinto, best known for playing thevillainous Sylar in "Heroes," will don a pair of pointy ears to play Mr.Spock in the newest installment of the Star Trek feature franchise -- andhe'll be joined by Leonard Nimoy, reprising the role that he created. J.J.Abrams, who is directing the 11th "Star Trek" film, currently untitled,revealed the casting Thursday at the San Diego Comic-Con Internationalconfab. The actors joined Abrams onstage as he made the announcement.


The Washington Post

· BOSTON -- Gay and lesbian couples from New Mexico can marry inMassachusetts because their state has not explicitly banned same-sexmarriage, Massachusetts officials say. New Mexico and Rhode Island are theonly states whose gay and lesbian residents can marry in Massachusetts --the only state that has legalized same-sex marriage.


The Washington Post

D.C. Official Proposes Black Caucus

By Nikita Stewart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2007; B06

In a majority-black city, where the mayor, the council chairman and thecongressional delegate are African Americans, one D.C. Council member saysit's time for black officials to pull together and form a coalition.

"I call it the African American Caucus," said Harry Thomas Jr. (D-Ward 5).

He says the city's shifting demographics have prompted him to propose anorganization similar to the Congressional Black Caucus and state legislativeblack caucuses.

Four of Thomas's black colleagues appeared tepid to the idea. Thomas said hehad not mentioned the proposal to any white council members. He alsoacknowledges that an African American caucus is unusual in a predominantlyblack city. But he said he is worried that the community's numbers areslipping in the District.

"For so long, we had the luxury of being the majority population," he said."There wasn't a need for it," he said of the caucus, "but that's changing."


The Washington Post

A Sound Investment
Packard Heir Gives Library of Congress Va. Facility for Audio and FilmTreasures
By Jacqueline Trescott
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2007; A13

CULPEPER, Va. -- On a hillside an hour or so southwest of Capitol Hill, theLibrary of Congress is moving into the newly completed home for its mammothcollection of U.S. recording and film history.

There are 6.3 million items in all: footage of Charlie Chaplin's totteringgait, paper prints of early movies, the original negatives from"Casablanca," the first 45-rpm record (a 1949 RCA Victor disc of the musicof Johann Strauss II) and kinescope reels of NBC broadcasts from the 1940s.There's a fine copy of Elvis Presley's 1964 movie "Viva Las Vegas," acomplete set of Ed Sullivan's variety shows and footage of PresidentFranklin D. Roosevelt's speech on Dec. 7, 1941.

The National Audio-Visual Conservation Center, which was officially turnedover to the library yesterday, will bring together all of the recordings andconservation staff in a single, specially equipped facility for the firsttime.

The three-building campus is the largest addition to the library in 30years. A $155 million gift from David Woodley Packard (son of the co-founderof Hewlett-Packard) and the Packard Humanities Institute made it possible.The Packard gift is the largest in the library's 207-year history. Congressappropriated $82 million for the project.

"It assures for the first time the permanent storage and preservation andheightened access to the audiovisual heritage of the last 110 years," saidJames H. Billington, the librarian of Congress.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,2350561,print.story

Lauderdale no paragon of heterosexual virtue
July 29, 2007

This whole debate about men having sex in public bathrooms takes my breathaway - especially when people like the author of Tuesday's letter, "Newera," write, "I remember when the city would have been embarrassed by thebehavior of gays in public restrooms."

Does the letter writer forget Kathy Willets and Doug Danziger? I bet thatletter writer cannot name the men caught incognito in public bathrooms, butwe all know of Fort Laladale's Peyton-Place-ic past.

There was a time when the sinless citizens of Fort Lauderdale wanted todrive out the wantonness of gays, strip bars, spring break and their wholeunwanted ilk. Came forth sir Doug Danziger, who with the help ofthen-Sheriff Nick Navarro, raided the Copa (gay) bar with the running reelsof a local TV station to humiliate the patrons. All in the name of morality!

Well, one Officer Willets, a stalwart aide to Sheriff Navarro, had a buxomwife who was not satisfied with her husband alone. So he made virtue ofvice. He rented her out to local men to satiate her. To satiate himself, hehid in the closet with a video camera running and filmed her eroticepisodes. One of her faithful clients was a certain city commissioner, DougDanziger.

Robb Kvasnak


Claim against gay magazine to proceed
July 26, 2007 By: Mark Fass

A defamation action filed in New York state court by a man who describeshimself as a "mere model and dancer" against the magazine that referred tohim as a "porn star" will go forward following the denial of the magazine'smotion to dismiss.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Emily Jane Goodman ruled against HXMagazine, holding that issues of fact remained regarding the measures takento "assure [the] veracity" of the statement. The magazine refers to itselfon its Web site as "Homo Xtra, the Totally Biased, Politically IncorrectParty Paper, the hottest guide to gay nightlife and culture in New YorkCity!"

Plaintiff Manuel Alex Saez -- referred to simply as "Alex" in the expurgated decision -- claimed that HX published a listing for his upcoming performanceat Splash, a gay dance club on West 17th Street, featuring a "'buff,'bare-chested" picture of him wearing "open jeans," according to thedecision.

The announcement also referred to Saez as "Big City Video porn star Alex."

The parties agree that Splash provided the announcement, including thephotograph and the porn-star description.


Ft. Lauderdale

Thursday, 26 July 2007 15:45
Human Rights Campaign to Co-sponsor Town Hall Dialogue on Transgender Issues

On Friday, August 3, 7-8:30 PM, HRC and the Gay and Lesbian Community Centerof South Florida will hold a town hall meeting discussing transgenderissues. Speakers to include the former Largo city manager Susan Stanton, andBlue, transgendered youth activist.

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida is located on 1717 NAndrews Ave, Fort Lauderdale, 33311.


Meth Use Among Gay Men Decreasing; Other Drug Use Holding Steady
By Aaron Rowe July 26, 2007 | 11:17:00 AM
Categories: AIDS/HIV, Drugs & Alcohol, Sexuality

Researchers from the San Francisco Department of Public Health report thatmeth use among men who have sex with men has decreased over the past threeyears. They attribute the change to successful public health campaigns, butsay that drug use is still a problem.

Methamphetamine reduces inhibitions, making all men -- not just gay ones --much more likely to participate in high-risk sexual behavior. In otherwords, by taking meth, men are more likely to perform sex acts that willresult in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

In 2002, researchers in San Francisco demonstrated a link betweenmethamphetamine use and the spread of HIV. Four years later, in 2006, theTed Haggard scandal drew further attention to methamphetamine use amonghomosexuals. Haggard resigned from his post as president of the NationalAssociation of Evangelicals and admitted to buying methamphetamine forhimself and a male masseuse.

Perhaps because the prevalence of HIV is higher in the gay population -- orbecause homosexuals are popular political targets -- countless researchpapers and news reports about high-risk sexual behavior in gay communitieshave neglected to make any comparison to their straight counterparts. Forthis reason, there is a false impression that meth use is only a problemamong gay men. Many public health campaigns have exclusively targeted gaymeth users. The California Department of Pubic Health, acknowledged thatresearchers have not paid enough attention to the risky sexual practices ofstraight meth users. Their study found that straight meth users were 50percent more likely to have had sex with a random stranger. Furthermore,straight meth users were almost three times as likely (29.6 percent) to havehad anal sex with a female in comparison to their sober counterparts (11.9perecent). This is particularly alarming because straight meth users onlywore a condom 25 percent of the time when having anal sex.

To measure trends in drug use among the gay community, members of the STOPAIDS Project surveyed 4602 gay men in the San Francisco area. Theyapproached gay men on the street and asked them which drugs they used justbefore sex and if they had engaged in unprotected sex with a partner ofunknown HIV status in the past six months. Led by Willi McFarland, membersof the San Francisco Department of Public Health analyzed the data andcompared it to hospital records. They reported their findings in Drug andAlcohol Dependence, a fascinating journal that examines sociological dataabout drug use.


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
Jersey City welcomes new community center

Jersey City, N.J., is scheduled to open a new three-story community centerfor LGBT residents as well as those living with HIV/AIDS.

Local nonprofit Hudson Pride Connections acquired the property in JournalSquare, a short walk from its current, rented location. Several "work days"have brought a number of volunteers to prepare the building for occupancy onSeptember 1. An official ceremony will be held on October 25 to celebratethe center's grand opening.

"This is an amazing opportunity for everyone in the community, including allits members and allies, to rally behind a project that stands for theinclusion, visibility, and equality of all people in our communities," saidexecutive director Guido A. Sanchez in a press release.

"We need an organization that advocates for us.... It would soon be atravesty not to have a place to call home," said Tracee Ross, a localtransgender woman, expressing her support for the center in the pressrelease.

Two other groups, the Northern New Jersey chapter of the nationalorganization Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network and the organizers ofJersey City's annual pride festival, Jersey City Lesbian + Gay Outreach,will also occupy the space to create the feeling of a strong, centralizedcommunity.


The Advocate

July 27, 2007 acquired for a bargain quarter-million

Hammerberg & Associates Inc. has recently acquired the domain for the "bargain" price of $250,000, reports a pressrelease from the company. The well-known Denver brokerage owns thousands ofdomain names, a large number of which cater specifically to LGBT people.

Popular domain names developed by the company include,,,, and to the press release, joins a list of more than4,000 domain names.

" is the most extensive database of everything gay inCalifornia on the Web," owner Jeffery Hammerberg explains in the pressrelease. "Over 550 California cities have listed detailed information aboutgay and lesbian services, gay and lesbian events, and provided ideas on whatto do, and where to go. Business directories serve just about every industryimaginable."

LGBT neighborhoods are popping up across the country, creating a lucrativemarket for online entrepreneurs. According to the press release, the currentbuying power of an estimated 15 million LGBT Americans tops $600 billion.California, with gay meccas San Francisco and Los Angeles, represents a gayand lesbian "mega-market."

"Our mission at is clear," Hammerberg says in the release."We want to ensure that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people whoreside in California communities, are visiting the Golden State, or simplyconsidering relocation, have instant access to information that can guidethem to gay-friendly resources and quality businesses."


July 27, 2007
Bloomberg: No plans to run for president

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg Thursday rejected speculation that histravels to big electoral vote states is part of an effort to test the watersfor a presidential bid.

It's ''just an accident'' that his speeches take him to ''big states'' wherethere are a lot of events, Bloomberg told ABC's Good Morning America.

Bloomberg repeated that he has no plans to run for president in 2008 andsaid he doesn't want the vice presidency, either. He said he had 890 daysleft in his mayoral term-''but who's counting''-and would serve them all,which would take him to the end of 2009.

''I've got a job and it's a great job, and I'm going to finish this job,''Bloomberg said. ''And my next career is going to be in philanthropy.''

Speculation that the billionaire mayor would launch a self-financedpresidential bid swelled last month when Bloomberg announced that he wasleaving the Republican Party to become politically independent. He also hasbeen traveling the country speaking about issues, including a speech oneducation at the National Urban League conference in St. Louis on Wednesday.


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
DNC's Howard Dean faces formidable challenges with 2008 election

Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean faces several formidable challenges. Some U.S. states are determined to move up the dates of theirpresidential primaries, despite the potential for upending the nominationprocess, and organizers of the party's 2008 convention in Denver are alreadydealing with labor and financial woes.

Dean's biggest test will come next year, when the party will serve primarilyas a shadow campaign operation for its presidential nominee.

But first he must contend with Florida, whose decision to push its primaryto January 29 could set off a ripple effect among other states eager to moveup as well. The party's rules and bylaws committee is expected to rejectFlorida's plan at an August 25 meeting in Washington, but that is notexpected to stop Democrats in the state from observing the new primary date.

Nearly a dozen other states, including California and New Jersey, havealready moved their primaries or caucuses-party meetings to endorsenominees-to February 5. A dozen more are considering such moves. The bid tohold earlier primaries gives states more influence in selecting a party'snominee for the 2008 presidential race.

In past elections early primaries effectively determined who would have theparties' nominations. That meant large states with later primaries, such asCalifornia, had little role in the selection process.


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
Possible "straight-bashing" in Palm Springs

A Palm Springs, Calif., man is recovering from an alleged "straight-bashing"after being beaten unconscious Tuesday night, reports KESQ TV, a local ABCaffiliate.

Police say the 68-year-old was walking through the Warms Sands and Vista Oroareas of Palm Springs when he was approached by two Hispanic men who askedhim if he was gay and if he would like to go home with them. "He expressedno interest in doing that and turned away," said Sgt. Mitch Spike of thePalm Springs Police. "He then felt something hit him, and he then lostconsciousness.

"It definitely sounds like a hate crime because anyone who doesn't even knowthe gay scene knows this is predominately a gay neighborhood," Spike added.

According to the station, other police officers reported the reverse,contending that the man was beat up because he is not gay.

The victim was shaken but is recovering well. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
Police chief criticized for investigating gay bashing

Rochester, N.Y., police union leader Ron Evangelista has publicly criticizedpolice chief David Moore for requesting an internal investigation into analleged June 1 gay bashing, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reportedThursday.

"Let's have a vote of confidence on Chief Moore," Evangelista said at apress conference, reports the paper.

Moore ordered the investigation after the victims of a local gay-bashingincident claimed that police who responded used gay slurs against them. Inthe ensuing confrontation, three of the complainants were arrested, whilethe original suspects were let go.

Evangelista expressed his distaste for internal investigations that "[step]on the hard work of our criminal investigators," reports the Democrat andChronicle. He added that any investigation could skew findings from theoriginal crime.

Evangelista accused Moore of disregarding the rights of the police officers."In this world we live in, the cops aren't the problem," he said. "It's thepeople with guns and drugs that are the problem. You can't chastise them[the police] for their discretions." (The Advocate)


July 27, 2007
Gay man hires hit man to kill wife

A gay Reno, Nev., man with six children has been arrested for hiring a hitman to kill his wife so he could avoid a costly divorce and live with hisnew boyfriend, reported The Salt Lake City Tribune on Thursday.

James Gau, 50, has been searching for a hit man for several weeks, offeringseveral people money to travel to her home in American Fork, Utah, and killher.

"For some reason, people think they can tell multiple people of their planto kill their spouses and that they're going to get away with it," policesergeant Dave Evans told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "It's amazing."

The man who tipped off the police pretended to agree with Gau's terms andwas given a photo of Sheryl, his wife of 28 years, and their six children.

"With their pending divorce and splitting of the property, he just felt itwas easier for her to die than to go through a divorce," Evans said to theGazette-Journal. "In this case, it appears he wanted to make his life easierand get on with his new lifestyle. He had no regard for his wife or his


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
Lutheran pastor calls for removal of celibacy requirement for gay clergy

Lutheran pastor Wayne Miller of Aurora, Ill., who will soon become bishop ofthe Metropolitan Chicago Synod, is calling for his denomination to remove acelibacy requirement for gay and lesbian clergy, reports the ChicagoSun-Times. "That's where I think the church is going," said Miller. "That'swhere I think it needs to go."

Miller is hoping the change could come as early as next month in Chicago,where the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is scheduled to conduct itschurchwide assembly. Nearly a third of the denomination's 65 synods areasking for a policy change in clergy standards.

Homosexuality is a debated issue at mainline church conventions. The ELCAhas adopted a compromise position, allowing gay and lesbian clergy to serveas long as they remain celibate. Heterosexual clergy, however, are notsubject to the celibacy requirement if they are married, a right gay clergydon't have.

As reported by the Sun-Times, more than 1,000 voting church members areexpected at the August 6-11 assembly at Navy Pier. If the rules for gayclergy aren't altered, Miller acknowledges he'll experience conflict betweenhis personal beliefs and his vows as bishop.

"That is the dilemma of a bishop at this particular moment in history," hesaid. (The Advocate)


The Advocate

July 27, 2007
O'Reilly apologizes for overstating lesbian gang threat

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly has apologized on the air for errors in a widelycriticized June 21 segment that reported a "nationwide epidemic" of violentlesbian gangs terrorizing neighborhoods and schools.

"We overstated the extent of gay gangs in the Washington area," the O'ReillyFactor host said on his show as GLAAD spokesman Rashad Robinson stood by ona split screen. "Detective Wheeler has apologized," he added, referring toFox crime analyst Rod Wheeler.

"Thank you for correcting the record," Robinson said.

The exchange disintegrated, however, as O'Reilly went on to explain how thestory came into being: He had seen a story in which several New Jerseylesbians attacked a man who spat on one of them when she spurned hisattentions. Four of the women were ultimately convicted in the August 18incident.

"They were never identified as being in a gang. Gang charges were dropped."Robinson said.

"They were a pack of lesbians who jumped this guy," O'Reilly said. Soonafter, he said, he saw tape on a "gang" in Memphis.


Quebec Gays Take Aim At Homophobia Following Bashing
by The Canadian Press
Posted: July 26, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Quebec City) Quebec LGBT rights groups have stepped up the fight againsthomophobia after a gay man recently was severely beaten in the provincialcapital.

Philippe, who did not release his last name, says four men with shaved headsfollowed him after he left the Le Drague gay bar in downtown Quebec City onJuly 1.

After calling the 24-year-old man derogatory names, the assailants knockedhim to the ground. In a melee lasting less than 60 seconds, the men punchedand kicked him repeatedly.

The victim spent two days in hospital and doctors needed eight screws toreassemble his jaw.

``This man who was attacked is not alone. He has a community with him,''said Olivier Poulin, president of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and TransgenderQuebec.


Fort Lauderdale Tourist Attractions Fear Gay Backlash Over Homophobic Mayor
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: July 26, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) Hotels and tourist attractions that depend onLGBT travelers are reportedly worried incendiary comments by Fort LauderdaleMayor Jim Naugle about gays will result in a severe loss of business.

Fort Lauderdale with its white sandy beach and large number of hotels andresorts catering to gays has long been an LGBT key destination, bringing intens of millions of dollars to the city.

Following 9-11 when travel in general fell off, gay travel remainedrelatively high, and in the year after the terrorist attacks on New York andWashington gay travelers were credited with helping save Florida's tourismindustry.

Fort Lauderdale ranked No. 6 among gay travelers last year, and accountedfor about 11 percent of Broward's $8.5 billion tourism industry.

But over the past month Naugle has infuriated gays with homophobic remarks.


Libya Fumes, Bulgaria Celebrates In Latest HIV Nurses Case Twist
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 27, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Sofia) Bulgaria is rejecting Libyan protests over the presidential pardonsit gave six medical workers freed earlier this week from life imprisonmentin the Arab country.

"There are no legal problems with the status of the medics that returnedfrom Libya," Prosecutor General Boris Velchev told the state news agency BTAon thursday.

Libya had accused the six of deliberately infecting more than 400 Libyanchildren with HIV; 50 of the children died. The nurses, jailed since 1999,were initially sentenced to death, but later had their sentence commuted tolife imprisonment.

The medical workers denied infecting the children and said their confessionswere extracted under torture. The charges were widely denounced abroad asfalse.

During their Libyan trials, international experts testified that the HIVinfections were caused by unclean conditions at the hospitals where thechildren were treated.


Sterilization Scandal Prompts HIV Concerns At Canadian Hospital
by The Canadian Press
Posted: July 27, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Edmonton, Alberta) More firings appear to be in the works as the falloutcontinues from a hospital sterilization scandal that has rocked Alberta'shealth-care system and forced 3,000 former patients to be tested for HIV andhepatitis.

Premier Ed Stelmach is hinting that senior officials in charge of the EastCentral Health Authority will be removed in the wake of a scathing report onpoor sterilization across the region.

``Let's put it this way, there are further changes (coming),'' said thepremier. ``Stay tuned.''

A source close to Stelmach later confirmed that the premier supports aninternal call for the firing of two senior executives once a newadministrator takes control of the health region's operations.

The government forced the 12-member hospital board to resign this week afterthe Quality Health Council released a report on poor equipment sterilizationat St. Joseph's General Hospital in Vegreville.


Ft. Lauderdale

Please attend Combating HIV/AIDS in our Backyards with Congressman AlceeHastings.

His district remains as one of the hardest areas adversely impacted withHIV.

When: Saturday, July 28 1:00 PM
Where: African American Research Library and
Cultural Center


Human Rights Campaign to Co-sponsor Town Hall Dialogue on Transgender Issues

Panel Discussion Will Focus on Status of Movement toward Transgender
Equality and Opportunities for Community Involvement

FT. LAUDERDALE - On Friday, August 3, the Human Rights Campaign willco-sponsor a town hall panel discussion to educate the South Floridacommunity on the efforts toward full equality for transgender people.Attendees will hear about recent progress and current initiatives, as wellas learn how they can become a part of the movement for transgenderequality. Panelists include Susan Stanton, former city manager of Largo,Fla. and Blue, a transgender youth activist. Tracee McDaniel, of HRC willmoderate the discussion.

Issues surrounding transgender equality have become increasingly common inthe United States. Panelist Susan Stanton was fired from her job as citymanager of Largo, Fla. following her transition from male to female.Longtime Los Angeles Times sports columnist Mike Penner recently announcedthat he will take a leave of absence while he transitions from male tofemale, and recently-transitioned Drew Phoenix was reappointed as Sr.Minister of the St. John's United Methodist Church in Baltimore, Md. Thisevent will highlight achievements and setbacks and will provide communitymembers with concrete actions they may take in the coming days and months topursue equality for all.

WHAT: Town hall panel discussion on status of South Floridaefforts toward transgender equality.
WHO: Susan Stanton, former city manger of Largo, Fla.
Transgender youth activist Blue, Ft. Lauderdale,
Transgender Advocate Tracee McDaniel , Human Rights
WHEN: Friday, August 3
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
WHERE: Gay & Lesbian Community Center of South Florida
1717 N. Andrews Ave., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33311


July 26, 2007
Contact: Michael Petrelis at (415) 621-6267


SAN FRANCISCO (July 26) -- A group of activists staged a protest at anevening meeting at the Fairmont Hotel featuring the United Nations SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-Moon, in order to protest the unconscionable, murderoussilence of the United Nations concerning continued violence and executionsglobally which specifically target gays and lesbians. Ban was speakingbefore the World Affairs Council of Northern California, as San Francisco isconsidered the birthplace of the UN.

The nonviolent protesters twice interrupted Ban's speech, first standing ontheir seats, chanting "Break the silence! Talk about about gays!" whileholding up signs which read "Gay Rights Are UNiversal", capitalizing theletters UN to drive home the point that the UN has not accepted itsresponsibility to monitor and defend the human rights of gay and lesbianpeople worldwide.

UN Secretary General Ban replied, "That is most unusual welcome for me . . .As Secretary General, I'm supposed to answer all questions . . . The gayrights issue is very sensitive."

The protesters included Michael Petrelis and Hank Wilson, longtime LGBTactivists, who were escorted out of the hotel and questioned by U.S. SecretService agents.

Thirty minutes later, George Duvoisin, a gay youth advocate, wearing a largerainbow flag draped over his shoulders, rose up and asked Ban, "What aboutgay rights, and specific language in UN documents for gays and transgenderpeople to protect against violence and discrimination?"



26/07/2007 23:15

BBC bosses have cleared radio DJ JO WHILEY after rapper THE GAME madehomophobic comments during an interview with her in 2006. Complaints werelodged after the hip-hop star called gay males "faggots" and "not real men"during an appearance on Radio 1's The Jo Whiley Show in July last year (06).

After a committee meeting, the BBC governors ruled: "The Game's commentswere very offensive, completely unacceptable and clearly homophobic". Butthey decided not to take action against Whiley because she made a "sincere,full and swift" apology and distanced herself and the network from TheGame's comments.

The BBC has also banned The Game from future interviews, although they willcontinue to play his music.


'Gay' rally in Georgia cancelled
By Matthew Collin
BBC News, Tbilisi

An event promoting tolerance and cultural dialogue in Georgia has beencancelled, after rumours spread that it was in fact a gay parade.

The highly influential head of the Georgian Orthodox church spoke outagainst the event.

Organisers told the BBC they feared that the participants could have beenattacked if it went ahead.

Gays have come under attack in former Soviet republics, with the OrthodoxChurch one of their main critics.

Since false rumours spread that the planned event was a demonstration forhomosexual rights, the organisers say they have received large numbers ofabusive telephone calls and emails, some making threats of physicalviolence.

Anti-gay feelings

The event was to have been held in the Georgian capital next week as part ofa Europe-wide campaign against intolerance, called "all different, allequal".

But it was cancelled on Tuesday amid fears for the safety of the youngpeople taking part. The organisers, a human rights organisation calledCentury 21, say they are victims of what they describe as disinformation andlies broadcast by Georgian television channels.

The head of the Georgian Orthodox church had also warned that any rallyinvolving sexual minorities would cause widespread offence and possibly leadto physical confrontation.

Georgia is a highly religious country which prides itself on its traditionalChristian values.


'Dude, You're a Fag'
By C.J. Pascoe

"There's a faggot over there! There's a faggot over there! Come look!"Brian, a senior at "River" High School yelled to a group of 10 year-oldboys. The group of boys dashed after Brian as he ran down the hallway,towards the presumed "faggot." Peering down the hallway I saw Brian'sfriend, Dan, waiting for the boys. As the boys came into his view, Danpursed his lips and began sashaying toward them. He swung his hipsexaggeratedly and wildly waved his arms on the end of which his hands hungfrom limp wrists. To the boys Brian yelled, referring to Dan, "Look at thefaggot! Watch out! He'll get you!" In response, the 10 year olds screamed interror and raced back down the hallway.

I watched scenes like this play out daily while conducting research for mybook Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School. I saw andheard boys imitate presumed faggots and hurl the fag epithet so frequentlyat one another that I came to call it a "fag discourse." I use the term fagand not gay, advisedly. Boys at River High repeatedly differentiated fagsfrom gay men. For these boys gay men could still be masculine, whereas a fagcould never be masculine. Thus the term "gay" functioned as a generic insultmeaning "stupid" or "lame" whereas "fag" invoked a very specific genderedslur, directed at other boys. For these boys a fag was a failed, feminineman who, in all likelihood, was also gay. Boys participated in a fagdiscourse to ensure that others saw them as masculine by renouncing anyfag-like behavior or same-sex desire. They did this by imitating fags andcalling other boys fags. Boys imitated fags by lisping, mincing andpretending to sexually desire men, drawing laughs from male audiences whohowled at these imitations.

They frantically lobbed the fag epithet at one another, in a sort ofcompulsive name calling ritual. In the context of River High (the pseudonymof the school where I conducted this research) being called a fag had asmuch to do with failing at tasks of masculinity as it did with sexualdesire. More often than not these fag-like behaviors were those associatedwith femininity. Exhibiting stupidity, emotions, or incompetence, caring toomuch about clothing, touching another guy, or dancing were all things whichcould render a boy vulnerable to the fag epithet. In this sense what I calla fag discourse is not just about homophobia, it is about a particularly gendered homophobia as these renouncements of the fag are as much aboutrepudiating femininity as they are about denying same-sex desire.



Chronicle of Higher Ed website.

July 25, 2007

38-Year-Old Harvard University Official [Gay] Named President of University of the

The new president ofPhiladelphia's University of the Arts is Sean T. Buffington, HarvardUniversity's associate provost for arts and culture, and director ofcultural programs. At 38, Mr. Buffington, who has been Harvard's top artsadministrator since 2002, will be one of the nation's youngest universitypresidents. He will also be among only a small number of openly gay collegechiefs.

Despite the dearth of gay presidents, Mr. Buffington said in an interviewwith The Chronicle that his sexual orientation was a "non-issue" during thehiring process. "The board and the search committee were interested in myexperience and my ideas," he said, adding that his personal life was "notrelevant to the job I've been asked to do."

Mr. Buffington said he hoped his age would help him bring energy andexcitement to the role of president. "In some ways, my youth is probably agood thing," he said.

A former deputy chief of staff to Harvard's president and provost, Mr.Buffington began working at Harvard in 1994 as assistant director of theuniversity's alumni association.

The University of the Arts, with 2,300 students, focuses on the visual,performing, and communication arts. Mr. Buffington said he was attracted tothe university's interdisciplinary curriculum. Arts students faceever-widening career options, which is both a challenge and an opportunityfor arts institutions, Mr. Buffington said. -Paul Fain


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

ACLU Applauds Michigan Supreme Court Decision to Dismiss Suit ChallengingDomestic Partner Benefits

July 25, 2007
CONTACT: Jay Kaplan, ACLU of Michigan LGBT Project Staff Attorney,

Detroit -- The American Civil Liberties Union lauded a Michigan SupremeCourt ruling today that upheld a lower court's decision to dismiss a lawsuitagainst the Ann Arbor Public School District. The lawsuit was brought by 17taxpayers in an attempt to force the school district to discontinue benefitsto the families of gay and lesbian employees.

Although divided on the legal rationale, the Michigan Supreme Court upheldthe dismissal of the lawsuit in an 8-1 decision ruling that the plaintiffslacked standing, or the right to sue.

"The dismissal of this lawsuit is a step in the right direction forequality in Michigan," said Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU ofMichigan. "Disapproval of same-sex relationships and of same-sex couplesreceiving health insurance are not reasons enough to sue."

After voters passed an amendment to the state constitution in 2004limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples, the 17 taxpayers sent letters toschool board members asking them to stop providing benefits to the domesticpartners of gay and lesbian employees. The trial court dismissed theplaintiff's lawsuit due to lack of standing and the Court of Appealsaffirmed this decision.

The taxpayers alleged that by providing health insurance coverage todomestic partners of employees, the school district violated both Michiganstatutory and constitutional law limiting marriage to opposite sex couples.

The decision did not address whether the constitutional ban on same-sexmarriage blocks the state, local governments and public institutions fromproviding benefits to the same-sex partners of employees. That issue isproceeding separately before the Michigan Supreme Court in National Pride atWork v Granholm et al. In this case, the ACLU of Michigan is representingtwenty-one gay couples, in which at least one partner in each relationshipworks for state or local government.


Pew Research Center

States Work to Plug 'Brain Drain'
by Pauline Vu, Staff Writer
July 25, 2007

A "brain drain" problem is plaguing a number of states in the Midwest, GreatPlains and Northeast. Young, educated people flee, taking high tax revenuesand economic potential with them.

To reverse the loss of such a valuable asset, states are trying solutionsthat veer from granting financial incentives to stay, to trying to createjobs to keep and attract new workers, to improving the quality of life foryoung people.

The problem for states is there's no sure-fire solution.

"There is an argument of what comes first - the businesses who hire thegraduates, or the graduates who lure the businesses? I don't think theresearch on that is definitive," said Dan Hurley, the director of staterelations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Collegesand Universities.

Maine will become the first state to give future college graduates a heftytax credit to help pay back their student loans if they stay and work in thestate. The incentive could amount to a yearly tax credit of just under$5,000 a year over the course of 10 years.

But will it work? Yes, says Andrew Bossie, a recent University of SouthernMaine graduate who led a successful grassroots effort that convincedlawmakers to pass the tax incentives this year. Several friends wanted tostay in Maine but had to leave for higher-paying jobs elsewhere to beginpaying off their loans, Bossie said.

"The economy is going to have the benefits of a more-educated workforce,"Bossie said. "It's a really smart way to get more bang for our buck."

But others question whether financial incentives alone will keep the youngfrom leaving.


Pew Research Center

July 26, 2007
37%: Support Gay Marriage

That's the number of U.S. adults who support allowing gay and lesbiancouples to marry legally; a majority, 55%, are opposed.


Hate Takes a Life in Houston
Bitter Jailhouse Confession Sparks Outrage in Houston
ABC News Law & Justice Unit
July 26, 2007 -

Gay rights activists are furious about the jailhouse claims of a Texas mancharged with killing a gay male flight attendant last month.

In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, murder suspect Terry Mangum, 26,admitted to the murder and said that he had no remorse over the crime,implying his victim got what he deserved.

"I believe with all my heart that I was doing the right thing," Mangum toldthe Houston Chronicle. "I planned on sending him to hell."

Mangum, who described himself as "definitely not a homosexual," said in theinterview that he'd been called by God to "carry out a code of retribution"against a gay man because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."

Kenneth Cummings Jr., 46, was the subject of a massive manhunt after hedisappeared early last month. His charred remains were discovered buried ona Houston-area farm reportedly owned by Mangum's grandfather. Mangumadmitted to stabbing Cummings to death after luring him from a bar.


Gay "ordeal" before and after law

Gay men in Wales have recalled their experiences, on the 40th anniversary ofthe decriminalisation of homosexuality.

Leo Abse, who was MP for Pontypool at the time, says he piloted through the1967 Sexual Offences Act to end the "cruel and savage" laws of the day.

The law decriminalised homosexual acts between two men over 21 years and inprivate, but only in England and Wales.

Campaigner Howard Llewellyn said that, despite the law, attitudes towardsgay people had remained slow to change.

The 62-year-old from the south Wales valleys village of Abercynon said hefelt isolated growing up in the '50s and '60s because homosexuality was notdiscussed or tolerated.


Gay advocacy group challenges adoption Web site
Dianna M. Náñez
The Arizona Republic
Jul. 26, 2007 05:04 PM

A national gay and lesbian advocacy agency has launched a campaign topersuade one of the country's leading adoption Web sites based in Gilbert toallow people of all sexual orientations looking to adopt to post profiles onthe site.

Family Pride, based in Washington, D.C., launched the campaign in late Mayin response to a settlement reached earlier that same month regarding alawsuit filed by a gay male couple from California against Gilbert-basedAdoption Profiles, L.L.C.

Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of Family Pride, which focuses onequal rights for family's headed by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenderparents, said her organization's call to action encouraged same-sex couplesto send letters and photos of their families to the Gilbert business. Atleast 50 families, she said, have responded to date.

Michael and Rich Butler, registered domestic partners since 2000, who livein San Jose, filed the lawsuit that prompted the campaign. The Butler'sstated that the adoption Web site discriminated against them by rejectingtheir application, which was submitted in Oct., 2002, to post an adoptionprofile of their family for birth parents of adoptable children to review.

Attorneys from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe and the National Center forLesbian Rights, who acted as co-counsel for the couple, asserted that theadoption business violated the Butler's rights under California law, whichprohibits discrimination on the basis of people's gender identity.


Tammy Faye remembered as friend to gays
Former televangelist became pop culture icon
Jul. 26, 2007

The gay community lost a dearly loved ally when Tammy Fay Messner died atage 65 on July 20 at her home in Kansas City, Mo.

The former televangelist, who built a religious empire with her formerhusband Jim Bakker, reached out unabashedly to gays in a way that remainsunprecedented for fundamentalist Christians.

Tammy Faye became popular with viewers for her slightly ditzy, yet endlesslyempathetic, onscreen persona.

Heavy eye makeup became Tammy Faye's trademark. It was applied with anincreasingly heavy touch as the years went by. Her on-air tears, which wereshed copiously, often smudged her makeup providing an unintended campquotient to the proceedings. Jan Hooks famously parodied her on "SaturdayNight Live."

Tammy Faye was never charged with any wrongdoing when scandal rocked PTL,the ministry she ran with ex-husband Jim, though he spent five years inprison. The two remained close until Tammy Faye's death. In 1996, shemarried Roe Messner, who built the Bakker's Christian theme park HeritageUSA.


The New York Times

The Case for Trade
Published: July 27, 2007

Trade has been getting an unfair beating from Democrats. Party leadersbackpedaled from their agreement with the White House to approve free tradepacts with Peru and Panama and are opposing the agreement with South Korea.They also refused to extend so-called fast track authority, which guaranteesa simple up or down vote on trade deals. And Senators Hillary Clinton andBarack Obama - playing to the campaign crowds - are backing legislation thatwould punish China for manipulating its currency and, not incidentally,could trigger an ugly trade war.

Yet for all their concern about globalization's impact on American workers,Democrats are going after the wrong targets. It is true that wages for mostworkers are going nowhere. Many fear for their jobs. But, as many centristDemocrats have argued for years, throttling trade would end up hurting a lotmore people than it helped.

There are several ideas worth considering to assist the workers who losetheir jobs because of trade or other forces buffeting the American economy.More progressive taxation can also be used to mitigate the impact ofstagnating wages. But for American incomes to keep growing, the nation needsto embrace globalization, not turn against it.

Trade expands access to foreign markets for American exporters andmultiplies the choice of products for producers and consumers. Foreigncompetition also spurs productivity growth at home. Economists at the PeterG. Peterson Institute for International Economics estimate that growth intrade since World War II added about $1 trillion a year - in 2003 dollars -to America's national income. If the world's remaining barriers to trade andinvestment were to fall, they say, it would add $500 billion more.


The New York Times

July 27, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Sum of Some Fears

Yesterday's scary ride in the markets wasn't a full-fledged panic. Theinterest rate on 10-year U.S. government bonds - a much better indicatorthan stock prices of what investors think will happen to the economy - fellsharply, but even so, it ended the day higher than its level as recently asmid-May, and well above its levels earlier in the year. This tells us thatinvestors still consider a recession, which would cause the Fed to cutinterest rates, fairly unlikely.

So it wasn't the sum of all fears. But it was the sum of some fears - three,in particular.

The first is fear of bad credit. Back in March, after another market plunge,I spun a fantasy about how a global financial meltdown could take place:people would suddenly remember that bad stuff sometimes happens, riskpremiums - the extra return people demand for holding bonds that aren'tgovernment guaranteed - would soar, and credit would dry up.

Well, some of that happened yesterday. "The risk premium on corporate bondssoared the most in five years," reported Bloomberg News. "And debt salesfaltered as investors shunned all but the safest debt." Mark Zandi of Moody' said that if another major hedge fund stumbles, "That couldelicit a crisis of confidence and a global shock."

I saw that one coming. But what's really striking is how much of the currentangst in the market is over two things that I thought had been obvious for along time: the magnitude of the housing slump and the persistence of highoil prices.


The New York Times

July 27, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Uphill Struggle
Laconia, N.H.

The biggest story of this presidential campaign is the success of HillaryClinton. Six months ago many people thought she was too brittle andcalculating and that voters would never really bond with her. But now sheseems to offer the perfect combination of experience and change.

She's demonstrating that it really helps to have lived in the White House.She can draw on a range of experiences unmatched by her rivals. She'sdominated most of the debates. She's transformed her position on Iraqwithout a ripple. Her measured, statistic-filled speeches rarely inspirepassion, but always confidence.

Her success has put incredible pressure on Barack Obama. He continues toattract huge crowds and huge money, but he also continues to make rookiemistakes, like saying he'd talk with Hugo Chávez. He's forced to campaign onthe defensive now, knowing that each misstep reinforces the "He's too young"story line.

Clinton's performancewill also have an effect on the Republican race, thoughmany Republicans are only now beginning to realize it. When you askRepublican presidential candidates about Clinton, a smile of professionalrespect comes over their faces.

But their world is transformed. The one thing Republicans had going for themwas the head-to-heads. Bush, the war and the party could all be unpopular,but individual G.O.P. candidates beat Clinton because her negatives were sohigh. But she is changing that. People who've said they would never vote forher will take a second look once they see her campaign.


The Washington Post

The Kind Of Village It Takes
By Michael Gerson
Friday, July 27, 2007; A21

Recent books and studies seem to indicate disturbing sexual trends amongevangelical Christians. And this time we're not talking about their pastorsor political leaders. The new attention is on evangelical teenagers, whoreportedly start sex earlier than their mainline Protestant peers.

One gleeful headline on an Internet site recently read: "Evangelical GirlsAre Easy." That is not the way I remember it.

Now, in the cruel march of years, I have a child on the verge of joining thetribe of the teenager, and its rituals hold sudden interest. In thiscircumstance, a parent has a choice between turning to sociology or turningto drink. So I called a bright young sociologist at the University ofVirginia named W. Bradford Wilcox in search of consolation.

Wilcox argues, in a paper for the Russell Sage Foundation, that the factsare more complicated and more hopeful than the sniggering media caricature.

When the statistics on teen sexuality are controlled for social and economicfactors, conservative Protestant teens first have sex at about the same timeas their peers -- the average is midway through their 16th year. That ishardly comforting to conservative Protestant parents, who would expect morebang for the bucks they spend funding Sunday schools -- well, actually, lessbang.

But these numbers shift when controlled for religious intensity. For thosewho attend church often, sexual activity is delayed until nearly 17, whilenominal evangelicals begin at 16.2 years, earlier than the national average.


The Washington Post

Strike Two
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, July 27, 2007; A21

For Barack Obama, it was strike two. And this one was aright-down-the-middle question from a YouTuber in Monday night's SouthCarolina debate: "Would you be willing to meet separately, withoutprecondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington oranywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and NorthKorea?"

"I would," responded Obama.

His explanation dug him even deeper: "The notion that somehow not talking tocountries is punishment to them -- which has been the guiding diplomaticprinciple of this administration -- is ridiculous."

From the Nation's David Corn to super-blogger Mickey Kaus, a near-audiblegasp. For Hillary Clinton, next in line at the debate, an unmissableopportunity. She pounced: "I will not promise to meet with the leaders ofthese countries during my first year." And she proceeded to give the reasonsany graduate student could tick off: You don't want to be used for theirpropaganda. You need to know their intentions. Such meetings can make thesituation worse.


Defining Moment?
By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, July 27, 2007; A21

CHICAGO -- A dozen or so young staffers were gathered around a bank oftelevision sets at Barack Obama's vast campaign headquarters here onMichigan Avenue. They were cheering on Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.) as he tooktheir candidate's side in the great Obama- Hillary Clinton debate over howpresidents should negotiate with unfriendly dictators.

The mood was upbeat not only because the Obama loyalists judged Smith thewinner in his Wednesday clash with Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) on MSNBC's"Hardball," but also because Obama had pulled the front-runner into a directconfrontation over foreign policy.

Obama's own confidence was clear yesterday morning during a conference callannouncing that he had won the endorsement of Rep. Paul Hodes, a freshmanDemocrat from New Hampshire.

Politicians often underscore their own virtues by discovering the sametraits in others, and Obama is no exception. He praised Hodes, an upsetwinner in the 2006 elections, as "a fresh new voice" who "spoke the truth"and "believed he could be an agent of change." Hodes, right on message,explained his support for Obama as an effort to "complete my mission" inpolitics, which is -- you guessed it -- "to make some change."

And in response to questions, Obama continued to fire away at Clinton,saying her stand on negotiations with dictators was a continuation of "Bushadministration policy." In the Democratic contest, those are fighting words.

The Obama-Clinton confrontation might easily be written off as midsummermeaninglessness. It was set off during Monday's CNN-YouTube debate, when thecandidates were asked whether they would "be willing to meet separately,without recondition, during the first year of your administration . . .with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in orderto bridge the gap that divides our countries."

Without hesitation, Obama replied: "I would." He dismissed as "ridiculous"the "notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them."


Giuliani may skip St. Pete debate
His schedule may keep him from the CNN/YouTube event on Sept. 17.
By STEPHANIE GARRY, Times Staff Writer
Published July 27, 2007

Republican presidential front-runner Rudy Giuliani may have better things todo than answer YouTube users' questions at the GOP debate in St. Petersburg.

The news broke late Thursday that the former New York City mayor hasscheduling issues with the Sept. 17 date, jeopardizing the showdown at theMahaffey Theater.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney also is frowning on the plan.

"I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having toanswer questions from a snowman," Romney told the Manchester (N.H.) UnionLeader this week.

The announcement comes just a week after the debate's location wasannounced, and just days after Democratic presidential candidates fieldedquestions from citizens who made YouTube videos, including one of a snowmanworried about global warming.

Elected officials touted the choice of St. Petersburg as a sign of Florida'sincreasing clout in the 2008 presidential contest, especially since theLegislature moved the primary to Jan. 29.

Giuliani campaign officials could not be reached late Thursday to elaborateon the specific scheduling conflicts.

Erin VanSickle, state GOP spokeswoman, said news of Giuliani's schedulingissues shouldn't become a problem.

"We look forward to working with all of the Republican presidentialcampaigns to make sure that this debate is as successful, compelling, andinformative for Florida voters as possible," VanSickle wrote in an e-mail."The innovative format is empowering and it offers viewers a one-of-a-kindopportunity to have their question answered by the next president of theUnited States."


Los Angeles Times,0,1567485.story?coll=la-home-nation

Edwards announces his 'tax the rich' plan

The Democratic presidential hopeful wants to repeal Bush's tax cuts for thewealthy and raise rates to fund breaks for lower-income families.
By Janet Hook
Times Staff Writer

July 27, 2007

WASHINGTON - Tax hikes, once anathema to Democrats trying to shed theirimage as tax-and-spend liberals, are back.

The three leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination arepromising that, if they win the White House, they will repeal or let expirethe tax cuts for wealthier voters that were enacted under President Bush.

In Iowa Wednesday, former Sen. John Edwards went even further by proposingadditional tax hikes on capital gains, hedge funds and corporations to helppay for new tax breaks for lower-income families.

Edwards' plan, which dovetails with the populist tone of his campaign, wouldreverse the Bush-era trend toward taxing investment income more lightly thanwages.

"It's time to stop promoting the wealth of the wealthy and to start makingsure that every American who works hard has the chance to move up theeconomic ladder," Edwards said in a speech in Des Moines.

Edwards' proposal may be a crowd-pleaser for Democratic primary voters whoobject to Bush's big tax cuts.

But it may be a politically risky position for anyone heading into a generalelection contest against Republicans, who portray Democrats as incorrigibletax raisers.

Matt Bennett, vice president of the centrist Democratic group Third Way,said the challenge for the Democrats would be to explain why they did notwant to extend Bush's tax cuts, which are due to expire during the nextpresident's term. "How do you respond to the charge that they support thebiggest tax increase in history?" he asked.

One Democratic strategist who is neutral in the campaign but did not want tobe named criticizing Edwards' tax plan warned: "If we have an election wherethe dialogue is about whether or not taxes should be increased, it's not agood dialogue for us."

Edwards' speech, which laid out the most detailed tax policy of any leading candidate, reflected his efforts to cast his campaign as one of "bold ideas"and to court the party's left wing with ambitious and liberal policies.Though he places third in many national polls of the Democratic field,analysts say his initiatives have helped shape the campaign debate on Iraq,poverty and healthcare, pressuring front-runners Sens. Barack Obama ofIllinois and Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York to offer initiatives oftheir own or to tack to the left.


Posted on Fri, Jul. 27, 2007
GOP plan: health coverage for all

A group of conservative Republican senators put forth a plan Thursday thatseeks to ensure every American has health insurance.

The bill encourages families to find their own health coverage and offersrefundable tax credits of up to $5,400 per family. But advocates for theuninsured say the proposal could jeopardize low-income families andchronically ill patients, as well as the employment-based healthcare system,which now covers 65 percent of Americans.

''It's time for a major debate on healthcare insurance,'' Florida'sRepublican senator, Mel Martinez, said in a statement. ``Not enough peoplehave access to affordable healthcare, and the Congress has not done enoughabout this crisis.''

Martinez was joined in introducing the bill by fellow Republican Sens.Richard Burr of North Carolina, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Bob Corker ofTennessee.

The bill could bring health coverage to millions of Americans now withoutit. But Burr said in an interview that it also would begin taxing the valueof healthcare plans that many employers now offer workers, a controversialprovision sure to face opposition. Such benefits are now tax-free, both forthe employer and the worker.

''Our aim is to remove inequities in our tax laws and make tax relief forhealth insurance available to everyone,'' Martinez said.

The legislation would offer special tax credits to help cover the cost ofhealth insurance and other health bills: $2,160 per person, up to a $5,400maximum per family.


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