Monday, July 30, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 30, 2007

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The Washington Post

· BEIJING -- China has banned a conference in August that would have broughttogether 50 Chinese and foreign experts and activists to discuss how topress the legal rights of people with HIV/AIDS, an organizer said of themeeting planned by Asia Catalyst group, based in New York.

· MEXICO CITY -- Mexico City's prison system has begun allowing gay conjugalvisits, agreeing to a recommendation by the country's National Human RightsCommission, the commission said.

Despite opposition from conservatives and religious groups, the city'sleftist government has taken controversial stands in recent months on socialissues such as abortion, gay marriage and prostitution.


Surveillance Cameras Win Broad Support

Crimefighting beats privacy in public places: Americans by nearly a 3-1margin support the increased use of surveillance cameras, a measure decriedby some civil libertarians but credited in London with helping catch avariety of perpetrators since the early 1990s.

Given the chief arguments pro and con - a way to help solve crimes vs. toomuch of a government intrusion on privacy - it isn't close: Seventy-onepercent of Americans favor the increased use of surveillance cameras, while25 percent oppose it.


The New York Times

July 30, 2007
The Long Run
In Illinois, Obama Proved Pragmatic and Shrewd

There was something improbable about the new guy from Chicago via Honoluluand Jakarta, Indonesia, the one with the Harvard law degree and the jobteaching constitutional law, turning up in Springfield, Ill., in January1997 among the housewives, ex-mayors and occasional soybean farmer servingin the State Senate.

The new senator, Barack Obama, was a progressive Democrat in a time of tightRepublican control. He was a former community organizer in a place wherepower is famously held by a few. He was a neophyte promising reform in aculture that a University of Illinois political studies professor describesas "really tough and, frankly, still quite corrupt."

"One of my first comments to Barack was, 'What the hell are you doinghere? " said Denny Jacobs, a former senator and self-described "backroompolitician, not one of those do-gooders that stands up front and says we gotto make changes."

Senator Obama's answer? "He looked at me sort of strange."

Mr. Obama did not bring revolution to Springfield in his eight years in theSenate, the longest chapter in his short public life. But he turned out tobe practical and shrewd, a politician capable of playing hardball to winelection (he squeezed every opponent out of his first race), a legislatorwith a sharp eye for an opportunity, a strategist willing to compromise toaccomplish things.


The New York Times

July 30, 2007
Religion Looms Large Over 2008 Race
Filed at 3:25 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- When George Romney ran for the 1968 Republicanpresidential nomination, his Mormon heritage was mostly a footnote. It wasscarcely mentioned in news accounts of the day. But for son Mitt Romney, thefamily religion presents a formidable political hurdle.

The younger Romney repeatedly is called on to defend his membership in theChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its teachings, encounteringskepticism particularly from Christian conservatives, a key component of theGOP base.

''I believe that there are some pundits out there that are hoping I'lldistance myself from my church so that'll help me politically. And that'snot going to happen,'' Romney asserts.

Religion has not played so prominent a role in a U.S. national electionsince 1960, when John F. Kennedy became the first Catholic to be electedpresident.

And it's not only Romney under scrutiny. All the Democratic and Republicanpresidential hopefuls have been grilled on their religious beliefs. Mostseem eager to talk publicly about their faith as they actively courtreligious voters.

Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasizes her Methodist upbringingand says her faith helped her repair her marriage.


The New York Times

July 30, 2007
An Immoral Philosophy

When a child is enrolled in the State Children's Health Insurance Program(Schip), the positive results can be dramatic. For example, after asthmaticchildren are enrolled in Schip, the frequency of their attacks declines onaverage by 60 percent, and their likelihood of being hospitalized for thecondition declines more than 70 percent.

Regular care, in other words, makes a big difference. That's whyCongressional Democrats, with support from many Republicans, are trying toexpand Schip, which already provides essential medical care to millions ofchildren, to cover millions of additional children who would otherwise lackhealth insurance.

But President Bush says that access to care is no problem - "After all, youjust go to an emergency room" - and, with the support of the RepublicanCongressional leadership, he's declared that he'll veto any Schip expansionon "philosophical" grounds.

It must be about philosophy, because it surely isn't about cost. One of theplans Mr. Bush opposes, the one approved by an overwhelming bipartisanmajority in the Senate Finance Committee, would cost less over the next fiveyears than we'll spend in Iraq in the next four months. And it would befully paid for by an increase in tobacco taxes.

The House plan, which would cover more children, is more expensive, but itoffsets Schip costs by reducing subsidies to Medicare Advantage - aprivatization scheme that pays insurance companies to provide coverage, andcosts taxpayers 12 percent more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.

Strange to say, however, the administration, although determined to preventany expansion of children's health care, is also dead set against any cut inMedicare Advantage payments.

So what kind of philosophy says that it's O.K. to subsidize insurancecompanies, but not to provide health care to children?


From: Bill Vayens

Don't be mislead by the following ad that appeared in this week's ExpressGay News: "Warning! Broward County is about to pass legislation that willdramatically impact the GLBT community! Your immediate action is required!Find out what you can do to protect GLBT rights and protect our hard foughtrights from being repealed. Wednesday, August 1, 7pm at Gay and LesbianCommuity Center."

This is nothing but another attempt by the same individuals who recentlytried to derail the proposal to add transgender protection to Broward County'scivil rights ordinance. This proposal has been unanimously approved by theBroward County Human Rights Board and is being prepared for presentation tothe County Commission, where passage is expected. They were unsuccessful intheir attempts at July 16 meeting of the Human Rights Board and in fact werethe ONLY individuals who spoke in favor of delaying this ordinance change.They base their claims on the outside chance that adding transgenderprotection will cause right-wing elements within Broward County to try andoverturn all GLBT protection.

For the full letter, contact


The Advocate

July 28, 2007
Recently released doctor describes torture in Libyan jail

The Palestinian doctor who was freed from a Libyan jail this week along withfive Bulgarian nurses said his captors tortured him by tying his hands andlegs to a metal bar and spinning him like a chicken on a rotisserie.

In an interview broadcast Friday on Dutch television, Ashraf al-Hazouz alsosaid Libyan authorities drugged him, shocked him by attaching electrodes tohis feet and genitals, and set dogs on him.

''They asked me how many days it had been since I had eaten. I said fourdays-I thought they were being compassionate,'' said al-Hazouz, 39. ''Theysaid, 'Roasted chicken,''' he said.

Then they tied his arms and legs to a bar and spun him repeatedly, like achicken on a rotisserie.

Al-Hazouz, speaking in Arabic on public TV's Ein Vandaag program, with hiswords translated into Dutch subtitles, said he was forced to sign astatement that he had been well-treated.


The Advocate

July 28, 2007
Democrats back Urban League agenda on childhood education, health care

The leading Democratic presidential contenders on Friday endorsed a NationalUrban League agenda that calls for mandatory early childhood education anduniversal health care for children.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards each promised supportfor the Urban League's plan, which favors extending childhood educationprograms to children as young as age 3 and guaranteeing access for all toattend college.

Senators Clinton and Obama have engaged in a weeklong feud precipitated byMonday's debate exchange over whether a president should meet with leadersof rogue nations without preconditions.

The two did not share the stage in St. Louis, and instead spoke one afterthe other. Neither mentioned the flap, but Edwards did.

''We've had two good people-Democratic candidates for president-who spenttheir time attacking each other instead of attacking the problems thiscountry faces,'' Edwards told the roughly 1,400 people in the conventionauditorium.


Mexico Begins Allowing Gay Conjugal Visits In Prisons
by The Associated Press

Posted: July 30, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Mexico City) Mexico City's prison system has begun allowing gay conjugalvisits, bowing to a recommendation by the country's National Human RightsCommission, the commission has announced.

Mexico City's leftist government has taken a series of controversial standsin recent months on social issues like abortion, gay marriage andprostitution, despite opposition from conservatives and religiousorganizations.

"The Mexico City department of prisons and rehabilitation has allowed thefirst conjugal visit to an inmate with a sexual orientation other thanheterosexual," the government-funded rights commission said in a newsrelease. It called the move "an important step in terms of nondiscriminationregarding sexual preference."

In many Mexican prisons, inmates are allowed to receive conjugal visits, andmost do not require the visitor to be married to the inmate. Special roomsare set aside in many prisons so that inmates and visitors can be aloneduring such visits.

The decision was prompted by a complaint filed by a man identified only as"Agustin N.," who said he wanted to visit his companion, "Ricardo N.," atthe Santa Martha Acatitla prison on the city's east side.


'Grey's' Creator Hopes For New Beginning After Washington Departure
by The Associated Press

Posted: July 29, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Los Angeles, California) "Grey's Anatomy'' creator Shonda Rhimes saidshe's confident fans will put last year's unsettling season in perspectiveand remain loyal to the ABC medical drama.

``It's a thing that happens in any show,'' Rhimes said. ``People love you,then there has to be a moment ... in which people disagree with where you'regoing creatively. But if you're telling your stories, well, they'll stickwith you, hopefully, and watch us grow and change.''

The series will get back to having fun next season, she said.

Rhimes acknowledged story lines that included death and infidelityrepresented a ``darker journey,'' one that provoked some critics and fans.The series was hit by the real-life drama involving Isaiah Washington, whowas fired after he twice used an anti-gay slur.

Rhimes said the show rose above that crisis.

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