Tuesday, September 11, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 11, 2007

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Don't Forget! We need your response!

Florida Red And Blue!!!!

Do your part to fight the right-wing state-wide anti-gay initiativeto amend the Florida constitution.

Friday, September 28, at the GLCC, Ft. Lauderdale - 11:45am to 1:30pm.

Michael and I promised to get a minimum of 10 people to attend thislow dollar boxed lunch - only $25 - to learn about Florida Red And Blue andthe multiple efforts to overcome this hateful amendment. Florida Red andBlue has already raised over $1 million, but our work is only beginning.

Will you support us with this? Every GLBT person in Florida needs to be apart of this effort.

Boxed Lunch Series
Friday, September 28
Noon - 1:30pm
Networking 11:45am
GLCC - Ft. Lauderdale

Send us an e-mail and let us know if you'll join us on the 28th.

And...... If you can't attend, we'll be glad to accept your check made out to "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


The New York Times


September 11, 2007
Giuliani Still Faces Hurdles With G.O.P., Poll Shows


Republican voters say Rudolph W. Giuliani has strong leadership qualitiesand they associate him closely with his handling of the 9/11 terroristattacks, but those impressions have not translated into a substantialadvantage over his party's other presidential candidates when it comes towho can best fight terrorism, according to the latest New York Times/CBSNews poll.

Nearly a third of Republican primary voters said in the poll that they donot know his position on abortion - he supports abortion rights - suggestingthat he could still be vulnerable among conservatives because of hispositions on social issues. In addition, many voters said that Mr. Giuliani'sexperience as mayor of New York City, which he consistently trumpets, limitshis ability to understand their needs and concerns and is not as good abackground for the presidency as having been a governor or a senator.

While the poll found that Mr. Giuliani faces some big challenges in winninghis party's nomination, with 31 percent of self-identified Republicanprimary voters saying he does not share the values of most members of hisparty, it also suggested he might be able to win over wary or unconvincedRepublicans if he can make the case that he would be the candidate with thebest chance of winning the general election.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007

Empty Calories

For months, President Bush has been promising an honest accounting of thesituation in Iraq, a fresh look at the war strategy and a new plan for howto extricate the United States from the death spiral of the Iraqi civil war.The nation got none of that yesterday from the Congressional testimony byGen. David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, and Ambassador RyanCrocker. It got more excuses for delaying serious decisions for many moremonths, keeping the war going into 2008 and probably well beyond.

It was just another of the broken promises and false claims of success thatwe've heard from Mr. Bush for years, from shock and awe, to bouquets ofroses, to mission accomplished and, most recently, to a major escalationthat was supposed to buy Iraqi leaders time to unify their nation. We hopeCongress is not fooled by the silver stars, charts and rhetoric of yesterday's hearing. Even if the so-called surge had created breathing room, Iraq'ssectarian leaders show neither the ability nor the intent to take advantageof it.

The headline out of General Petraeus's testimony was a prediction that theUnited States should be able to reduce its forces from 160,000 to 130,000 bynext summer. That sounds like a big number, but it would only bring Americantroops to the level that were in Iraq when Mr. Bush announced his "surge"last January.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007

Blocking Mexican Trucks

One way the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed toencourage free and efficient trade was by allowing long-haul trucks fromCanada, Mexico and the United States to deliver goods throughout the threecountries. Unfortunately, more than a decade later the Teamsters union, theSierra Club and their allies in Congress are still working to keep Mexicantrucks out.

The Teamsters and their environmental allies claim that the trucks aren'tsafe and are dirty. A new pilot program, however, would require that anyMexican trucks approved for entry into the United States be inspected forsafety every three months. Environmental regulations that apply to Americantrucks would also apply to Mexican trucks.

That's not enough to satisfy the Teamsters, which, we suspect, are justtrying to stave off the competition. And it's not been enough for the SierraClub, which doesn't trust the Bush administration - or the Clintonadministration before that - to enforce environmental standards.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007

Cancer's High Toll on the Uninsured

The American Cancer Society's new advertising campaign urging access toquality health care for all Americans will bring home in gripping terms whathappens to people without health insurance. When it comes to dealing withcancer, any delay in detection or treatment, as is common among theuninsured or poorly insured, can be fatal.

The society decided to devote its entire advertising budget this year to theproblem of inadequate health coverage after reaching a stark and soberingconclusion. It has no hope of meeting its goal of reducing cancer deathrates by 50 percent, and incidence rates by 25 percent, from 1990 to 2015unless cancer patients gain quicker access to screening and treatment. AsKevin Sack recently reported in The Times, the society's chief executive,John Seffrin, believes that, unless the health care system is fixed, "lackof access will be a bigger cancer killer than tobacco."

The society's campaign is rooted in solid research showing that uninsuredpatients suffering from cancers of the breast, larynx and mouth were muchmore likely to have these cancers diagnosed at an advanced stage, when theyare less curable, than were patients with private insurance. As aconsequence, they faced more difficult and more expensive treatments, adiminished quality of life and a greater risk of death.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007

A Virus Among Honeybees

Last week, scientists reported having found a possible - emphasis onpossible - cause of the collapse of honeybee populations reported in thepast year. What is interesting isn't just the virus, called Israeli acuteparalysis virus, but the use of new methods of genetic screening todetermine what pathogens the bees in collapsed colonies had been exposed to.Researchers were able to quickly screen the DNA from all the organismspresent in the bees and compare them with the DNA in genomic libraries, acatalog of known organisms. Bees from collapsed hives had the virus. Healthybees did not.

Identifying this virus is only a first step in ascertaining the cause ofcolony collapse disorder, but it is a remarkable first step, a sign of howquickly new tools can be drawn from divergent scientific pursuits to trackdown and identify potentially global diseases.

Two other factors may also have played a role in this die-off. One isdrought, which in some areas has affected the plants that bees draw nectarand pollen from. The other - still unproved - may be the commercial truckingof bees from crop to crop for pollination, a potential source of stress.These may have made bees more vulnerable to the effects of this virus.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007
Mexico Leader Visits India's Tech Hub

Filed at 9:49 a.m. ET

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon visited India'stechnology hub of Bangalore on Tuesday to get a feel for the success of itsoutsourcing companies, and to encourage them to invest more in Mexico.

Several Bangalore-based information technology companies are either alreadyoperating centers in Mexico or looking to expand there, hoping it would helpthem provide better services to U.S.-based clients.

Wipro Ltd., India's third-largest software company, said it would open adevelopment center in Monterrey, Mexico, catering to clients in NorthAmerica, Latin America and Europe with bilingual staff. It was notimmediately clear when the center would open.

The announcement coincided with Calderon's visit to Wipro's headquartersTuesday.

''I am sure that this relation that has now begun will also enhance thepartnership between the people of India and Mexico,'' a Wipro statementquoted Calderon as saying.

Calderon's trip to Bangalore came a day after he held talks with politicalleaders in New Delhi to strengthen ties between the countries. During thetalks Monday, they agreed to boost economic and political ties and set atarget to more than double trade to $5 billion by 2010.


The New York Times


September 11, 2007

Teachers and Rights Groups Oppose Education Measure

WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 - The draft House bill to renew the federal No ChildLeft Behind law came under sharp attack on Monday from civil rights groupsand the nation's largest teachers unions, the latest sign of how difficultit may be for Congress to pass the law this fall.

At a marathon hearing of the House Education Committee, legislators heardfrom an array of civil rights groups, including the Citizens' Commission onCivil Rights, the National Urban League, the Center for American Progressand Achieve Inc., a group that works with states to raise academicstandards.

All protested that a proposal in the bill for a pilot program that wouldallow districts to devise their own measures of student progress, ratherthan using statewide tests, would gut the law's intent of demanding thatschools teach all children, regardless of poverty, race or other factors, tothe same standard.

Dianne M. Piché, executive director of the Citizens' Commission on CivilRights, said the bill had "the potential to set back accountability byyears, if not decades," and would lead to lower standards for children inurban and high poverty schools.


The Washington Post


'Six Months' Without End

By Eugene Robinson
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; Page A17

The next six months in Iraq are crucial -- and always will be. That noiseyou heard yesterday on Capitol Hill was the can being kicked further downthe road leading to January 2009, when George W. Bush gets to hand off hisIraq fiasco to somebody else.

It's clear by now that playing for time is the real White House strategy forIraq. Everything else is tactical maneuver and rhetorical legerdemain --nothing up my sleeve -- with which the administration is buying time,roughly in six-month increments. Appearing before a joint hearing called bythe House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, Gen. David H.Petraeus probably won the respite Bush wanted when he said that U.S.military objectives "are in large measure being met."


The Washington Post


A War Still Seeking a Mission

By George F. Will
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; A17

Before Gen. David Petraeus's report, and to give it a context of optimism,the president visited Iraq's Anbar province to underscore the success of thesurge in making some hitherto anarchic areas less so. More significant,however, was that the president did not visit Baghdad. This underscored thefact that the surge has failed, as measured by the president's andPetraeus's standards of success.

Those who today stridently insist that the surge has succeeded also say theyare especially supportive of the president, Petraeus and the militarygenerally. But at the beginning of the surge, both Petraeus and thepresident defined success in a way that took the achievement of success outof America's hands.

The purpose of the surge, they said, is to buy time -- "breathing space,"the president says -- for Iraqi political reconciliation. Because progresstoward that has been negligible, there is no satisfactory answer to thisquestion: What is the U.S. military mission in Iraq?

Many of those who insist that the surge is a harbinger of U.S. victory inIraq are making the same mistake they made in 1991 when they urged anadvance on Baghdad, and in 2003 when they underestimated the challenge ofbuilding democracy there.


The Washington Post


Democrats' Last, Best Hope

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; A17

Even before Gen. David Petraeus began his account of the "substantial"progress brought about by the troop increase in Iraq, congressional criticsof President Bush's policy had come to the depressing conclusion that thesurge has done what the administration needed it to do.

It has not won the war. It has not achieved reconciliation at the nationallevel in Iraq. But it has bought more political time in Washington, bringingBush closer than ever to reaching one of his main objectives: keeping largenumbers of troops in Iraq beyond Election Day 2008.

Yet if the testimony of Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker was the centralact at yesterday's House hearing, Rep. Ike Skelton, chairman of the ArmedServices Committee, signaled within minutes of opening the session the onehope that critics of the war have to force a change in course.

Their goal, Skelton made clear, was to move away from a narrow argument overwhether the surge has succeeded or failed -- the subject on which Petraeus,in a clear and steady voice, offered a small mountain of statistics -- to abroader debate about "the overall security of this nation."

The issue, Skelton insisted, is whether "Iraq is the war worth the risk ofbreaking our army and being unable to deal with other risks to our nation."


The Washington Post


Rationalizing Israel Out of Existence

By Richard Cohen
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; A17

A strange thing happened to me while reading "The Israel Lobby" by John J.Mearsheimer and Stephen M. Walt. I went from nodding at the obviousness ofit all -- of course there's an Israel lobby, and of course it's effective --to a mounting irritation at the supposed unrelenting mendacity of Israel andthe unrelenting assurance of the authors that they supported its existence.By the time I put down the book, occasional critic of Israel though I am, Iwas ready to burst into "Hatikvah," the Israeli national anthem.

The book, which almost instantly made Amazon's list of bestsellers (rightbelow the Harry Potter paperback boxed set, when I last checked), hasproduced the sort of intellectual and emotional storm you don't have to beJewish to understand -- but it sure helps. Mearsheimer and Walt have beencalled anti-Semitic by the New York Sun (among others), and they have beenpraised as gutsy truth-tellers by elements of the British press (amongothers), an irony we shall return to in a moment. My own reading of the bookfound no evidence of anti-Semitism but also no evidence that either man hasan ounce of sympathy for Israel. They swear they support its existence, butif Israel were to disappear tomorrow, I doubt they would reach for thehankies.

That's okay. No one has an obligation to love or admire Israel, and it isundoubtedly true, as Mearsheimer and Walt argue, that the Jewish state is nolonger a strategic asset to the United States, if it ever was.


The Washington Post


Left Behind in Iran

Three Americans have yet to come home.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007; Page A16

FROM THE MOMENT Haleh Esfandiari was arrested and imprisoned by thegovernment of Iran in May, her friends in high places in Washington ralliedto her defense and demanded that she be released. Most notable among themwas former representative Lee H. Hamilton, president of the SmithsonianInstitution's Woodrow Wilson International Center, where Ms. Esfandiari ishead of the Middle East program. She is known for championing dialoguebetween Iran and the United States. The accusation of "crimes againstnational security" by the Iranian Intelligence Ministry was bogus. Sheendured solitary confinement, endless hours of interrogation and pressure toconfess to a plot to help spark a "velvet revolution" in the theocraticnation.

Ms. Esfandiari was released last month and arrived back at her home inPotomac last week. We celebrate her return and can imagine the relief andjoy her family must feel. But our concern remains with the three people whohave yet to return. Ali Shakeri, a California businessman, and KianTajbakhsh, an Open Society Institute consultant and social scientist, arebeing held in Evin Prison, where Ms. Esfandiari was jailed. And missingsince a March visit to the Iranian duty-free zone of Kish Island is formerFBI agent Robert A. Levinson.


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Dahr Jamail's Mid-East Dispatches

September 10, 2007
Clerics Begin to Take Over

Inter Press Service
By Ali al-Fadhily*

BAGHDAD, Sep 10 (IPS) - Religious clerics are beginning to play anincreasingly powerful role in Iraq. Many Iraqis now fear that they areendangering human rights and religious freedom in the once largely secularcountry.

Clerics began to play a major role since the U.S.-led occupation began inApril 2003. Despite the promises of U.S. President George W. Bush to turnIraq into a secular and free country, clerics have become the real leaders,and are beginning to control most political matters.

"It is the Iraqis' misfortune that the international coalition has broughtclerics to power," Dr. Shakir Hamdan, an expert on Islamic issues told IPSin Baghdad. "They will only lead the country into sectarian wars and takethe whole country into the dark ages where one man rules and freedom islost."

Hamdam cited a recent meeting between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Malikiand the powerful Shia Grand Ayatollah, Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, wherematters of state were discussed.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Tue, Sep. 11, 2007
Stem cells from cord blood could become the standard


Today, stem cells from bone marrow are considered the ''gold standard'' for treating leukemia, many immunologists say. But that may be changing.''I think it's likely that cord blood will become the standard in the future,'' says Deborah Banker, vice president of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

In 2006, 17.5 percent of the transplants coordinated by the National Marrow Donor Program were from cord blood, said spokeswoman Shauna Sheffer. ''That is up 4.2 percent from last year and that number continues growing,'' she said.

Because demand is expanding so rapidly, with a need for 150,000 units in storage to serve all who need it, Congress in 2005 allocated $79 million to increase the supply.

''It's not enough to achieve 150,000 units, but it's a good start,'' says Dr. Edward Guindi, president of CORD:USE, an Orlando company that takes part in the collection process.

The National Marrow Donor Program has up to 5 million registered bone marrow donor volunteers. But blood marrow has several drawbacks. The biggest is that only about 30 percent of patients who need stem cell transplants can find a properly matched donor with bone marrow -- while a match from umbilical cord blood is much easier.




Romney Campaign Office Burglarized
by The Associated Press

Posted: September 10, 2007 - 1:30 pm ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) The campaign headquarters for Republicanpresidential contender Mitt Romney was burglarized over the weekend and atelevision and computers stolen.

A campaign spokesman for the former Massachusetts governor described thecrime as "a routine burglary" and did not believe it was politicallymotivated.

"Several laptops and a TV were stolen," said campaign spokesman EricFehrnstrom. "All the computers are password-enabled and the hard drives areencrypted. The only thing they're good for is parts."

The Boston Police Department was called to the scene, an office buildingoverlooking Boston Harbor in the city's North End, but a report was notimmediately available, said Officer Eddy Chrispin.

The incident is the second of its kind recently involving a presidentialcontender. Last month a man was arrested and charged with breaking into aHartford, Conn., office belonging to Sen. Chris Dodd, who is seeking theDemocratic presidential nomination.




Democrats In Virtual Web Debate
by The Associated Press

Posted: September 11, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Washington) Imagine shaping your own presidential showdown, usingcandidates and their answers like building blocks that shatter the standardconventions of a televised political debate.

Yahoo! and the blog HuffingtonPost.com and the Web magazine Slate.com thisweek will let viewers assemble their own presidential confrontations. Theycan stack one candidate against another, or line them all up by singleissue.

PBS' Charlie Rose will be the moderator and interviewer who will elicit theanswer blocks in a series of interviews Wednesday with the eight Democraticpresidential candidates. Rose will quiz each candidate separately, bysatellite from New York, on topics selected by a vote of Yahoo! users.

Once posted on the three Web sites on Thursday, viewers will be able to editto taste. Joe Biden vs. Barack Obama on the war in Iraq. Hillary RodhamClinton on health care, education and the war. All eight on a "wild card"question reserved for each one. And more.

Call it Web 2.0 politics. Or, call it what its organizers do - a "mashup."


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