Friday, September 14, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 14, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


Please Don't Forget! We need to hear from you!

Florida Red And Blue!!!!

Do your part to fight the right-wing state-wide anti-gay initiative
to 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 outto "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


Forwarded from Ron Mills

Congressional Democrats -- who have pushed to pull U.S. combat troops out of Iraq -- Have a 50 percent approval rating, compared to 34 percent who gave Bush the nod of approval.

Thursday's poll found more Americans believe Democratic leaders would move the country in the right direction than would Bush.

Fifty percent of those surveyed expressed support for the Democrats, while 34 percent expressed confidence in Bush.

The war remains widely unpopular among Americans. Figures released earlier this week showed that 63 percent opposed the war, while 34 percent still support the four-year-old

Of 1,017 adults polled by telephone, Democrats in general had a 50 percent confidence vote for moving the country in the right direction, CNN reported.

Bush is expected to announce an 'undoing' of the surge of 30,000 troops dispatched to Iraq in January, which would bring the number in Iraq back to 130,000.

The same numbers we had in Iraq in January. Most military experts agree, due to rotation, Bush would have to withdraw 30,000 in any case.

The Opinion Research Corp. poll had a margin of error of 3 percentage points, CNN said.

Stay up to date on the News always check Daily


Pew Research Center

A Nation of "Haves" and "Have-Nots"?
Far More Americans Now See Their Country as Sharply Divided Along Economic Lines
by Jodie T. Allen, Senior Editor, Pew Research Center and Michael Dimock, Associate Director for Research, Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
September 13, 2007

Over the past two decades, a growing share of the public has come to the view that American society is divided into two groups, the "haves" and the "have-nots." Today, Americans are split evenly on the two-class question with as many saying the country is divided along economic lines as say this is not the case (48% each). In sharp contrast, in 1988, 71% rejected this notion, while just 26% saw a divided nation.

Of equal importance, the number of Americans who see themselves among the "have-nots" of society has doubled over the past two decades, from 17% in 1988 to 34% today. In 1988, far more Americans said that, if they had to choose, they probably were among the "haves" (59%) than the "have-nots" (17%). Today, this gap is far narrower (45% "haves" vs. 34% "have-nots").



Pew Research Center

A Half Century After It First Appeared on the Dollar Bill, "In God We Trust" Still Stirs Opposition
by David Masci, Senior Research Fellow, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
September 12, 2007

Oct. 1 marks the 50th anniversary of the appearance of "In God We Trust" on the paper currency of the United States. The phrase, which is the nation's official motto as well, has been caught in a broader debate over just how high the wall separating church and state should stand.

Many people see the "In God We Trust" motto and other official evocations of a creator as a reflection and acknowledgement of America's rich religious heritage. Supporters also contend that the motto is simply a recognition of the fact that the people of the United States have always relied on "divine rovidence."

But others argue that the government's evocation of God in any official capacity amounts to the establishment of a state religion, which is prohibited by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Critics also say that "In God We Trust" is divisive because it excludes those who don't believe in God, as well as Buddhists, Hindus and others who follow non-monotheistic faiths



Pew Research Center

Craig Scandal Highlights Governors' Appointment Powers
by John Gramlich, Staff Writer
September 10, 2007

For the third time in less than a year, the sudden departure from office of a U.S. senator -- or the threat of a departure -- has thrust a governor into the national spotlight, calling attention to the sometimes murky and often politicized process of how states choose congressional replacements.

The recent vacancies -- or near-vacancies -- have highlighted differences in state procedures for filling positions in Congress and the varied roles of governors in naming successors, especially in the exclusive, 100-member Senate, where openings are relatively rare.

In Idaho, the governor figures prominently in the process. If embattled Sen. Larry Craig (R) decides to resign from office, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter (R) will have full authority to appoint a replacement for the senior senator, who was arrested in a sex sting operation inside a men's restroom at an airport in Minnesota in June. Otter can choose anyone he wants, and rumors are swirling over who the appointee might be, even as Craig fights an uphill battle to keep his job after pleading guilty to disorderly conduct.

The death of Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas (R) in June put Gov. Dave Freudenthal in a similar position, but with one major difference -- Freudenthal is a Democrat. Uncommon among states, however, Wyoming law required Freudenthal to choose from three candidates nominated by the state Republican Party; he chose John Barrasso, a conservative former state senator. A special election next year will determine a permanent replacement for Thomas, whose term was set to expire in 2013.


Pew Research Center

Global Unease with Major World Powers and Leaders
47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey Finds Rising Environmental Concerns
June 27, 2007

A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world's dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. At the same time, the image of China has slipped significantly among the publics of other major nations. Opinion about Russia is mixed, but confidence in its president, Vladimir Putin, has declined sharply. In fact, the Russian leader's negatives have soared to the point that they mirror the nearly worldwide lack of confidence in George W. Bush.

Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of U.S. foreign policy. Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, but there also is considerable opposition to U.S. and NATO operations in Afghanistan. Western European publics are at best divided about keeping troops there. In nearly every predominantly Muslim country, overwhelming majorities want U.S. and NATO troops withdrawn from Afghanistan as soon as possible. In addition, global support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism ebbs ever lower. And the United States is the nation blamed most often for hurting the world's environment, at a time of rising global concern about environmental issues.



Pew Research Center

51% - British With Favorable View of U.S.

This year America's image shows further signs of erosion in Western Europe and Canada, reaching a new low in Great Britain (51%), America's closest European ally, as well as in Germany (30%); this continues a trend that began in 2003 and 2004, following the start of the Iraq war. Favorable views of the U.S. are up this year inSpain, although Spanish opinion remains quite negative; only 34% have a favorable iew of the U.S., compared with 60% who have an unfavorable opinion. Read more


September 14, 2007
N.H. poll: Clinton leads, Giuliani gains on Romney

-Hillary Rodham Clinton, 35%
-Barack Obama, 16%
-John Edwards, 16%
-Bill Richardson, 8%

more . . . . .


September 14, 2007

Analysis: Arnold Pushes GOP Moderation
Filed at 6:28 a.m. ET

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- In a year when Republicans are slouching toward apost-Bush era, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says he has a winning strategy forhis party -- be like me.

California's popular governor is known for his kaleidoscopic politicalstripes, and that's his point. He said Republicans could face a future ofElection Day misery unless the party makes a decisive shift to the politicalcenter and claims issues usually associated with the Democratic agenda, likeglobal warming and health-care eform.

''We are dying at the box office,'' the actor-politician told partyactivists, lamenting a decline in Republican registration that has cost theparty 370,000 voters in California since 2005. In a speech clearly intendedto have national relevance, he said, ''Our party has lost the middle.''

Schwarzenegger's blunt warning left some of the party faithful asking if heis a Republican at all. But far from proposing radical notions,Schwarzenegger entered a national debate about the future of the party thathas been taking stock of President Bush's ebbing popularity, a rapidlydiversifying population and election losses last year that put the House andSenate in Democratic control.

His speech came at a time when the leading Republican presidential candidatein national polls is a former Democrat who supports abortion rights, gayrights and gun control -- not exactly foundation stones of the right. RudyGiuliani, who as New York mayor talked about transcending party labels andendorsed liberal lion Mario Cuomo for governor in 1994, could hardly bedescribed as a conservative's conservative.

''The Republican Party got a big shock in November 2006 and it's trying tofigure out what it means and what to do about it,'' said William A. Galston,a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

September 14, 2007

Film With Same-Sex Parents Splits School District


EVESHAM TOWNSHIP, N.J., Sept. 7 - The children talked among themselves abouttheir parents - children of interracial families, children of divorce,children who had been adopted - and that did not seem to cause a ripple.

"It's not your fault," says Montana, a first grader whose parents aredivorced.

Emily describes her interracial family - her father is of European descentand her mother's background is Asian - this way: "It doesn't mean you haveto be a rat to marry a rat. You can be a rat and marry a mouse."

But at another point in a state-approved educational video shown to thirdgraders here, Daniel introduces his parents: "These are my two dads."

Another child says, "It's really cool have to two gay dads, because theybrought us into a home, and they adopted us, and they love us."

more . . . . .


Prison Library Purge

By Michael Gerson
Friday, September 14, 2007; A13

Six years after Sept. 11, 2001, its shock still makes its way in slow motionthrough the federal bureaucracy.

In the spring of 2004, the inspector general of the Justice Departmentissued a report warning of radical Islamist influence in American prisons.It concluded that many prison libraries had not been screened for extremistliterature. In what passes for governmental urgency, the federal Bureau ofPrisons recently revealed its response: the Standardized Chapel LibraryProject. In consultation with outside experts, the New York Times reportedthis week, the bureau has produced lists of up to 150 noncontroversial booksfor each of the major religions, then banned anything from prison librariesthat didn't make the cut.

In response to a genuine problem, the Bureau of Prisons has managed to belate, clumsy and self-defeating, all at the same time.

The immediate effect of the new policy has been to decimate prison librariescollected over decades. A policy directed at jihadist literature has, forexample, resulted in the removal of three-quarters of the Jewish books atthe Otisville Prison in New York, ranging from the Zohar to the works of12th-century Jewish scholar Moses Maimonides to Rabbi Harold Kushner's "WhenBad Things Happen to Good People." In the ongoing war on terrorism, theMaimonides threat has been neutralized.

Understandably, a number of Orthodox Jewish groups and the American JewishCommittee have publicly opposed the policy. And the predictable lawsuits ofJewish and Christian prisoners have begun.

more . . . . .


The Fort Report

Attorney General Olson?

Palm Beach Post Editorial
Friday, September 14, 2007

Republicans and Democrats have told President Bush that nominating adivisive candidate to replace Alberto Gonzales as attorney general wouldinflict unnecessary damage on the already battered Justice Department. Sowhy is the White House floating Ted Olson's name?

One possible answer is that President Bush doesn't want a competent,functioning Justice Department, as his previous choices of Mr. Gonzales andJohn Ashcroft have shown. A professional Justice Department might enforcecivil rights laws rather than look for ways to undermine minority votingrights. Such a department might ask whether administration directives to spyon Americans and torture detainees are legal. A competent Justice Departmentmight think that members of the administration are in criminal contempt ofCongress for refusing to testify about the abundant evidence that U.S.attorneys were fired for political reasons.

It might even decide that Mr. Gonzales committed perjury.

Mr. Olson successfully pressed candidate George W. Bush's drive to have theSupreme Court declare him winner of the 2000 election. That could be why Mr.Bush would want him, and why the Senate wouldn't - and shouldn't.

Mr. Bush could find a respected, bipartisan figure to begin rebuilding theJustice Department. Or Mr. Bush, oblivious to his ratings and the good ofthe country, could pick a fight. As usual, it would be the wrong fight.

more . . . . .


September 14, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

Anti-Roe and Pro-Rudy


TO the disbelief of the political class, Rudy Giuliani still leads the pollsin the race for the Republican nomination for president. Mike Huckabee, JohnMcCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson seem unable to compete withconservative affection for a thrice-married, twice-divorced, sociallyliberal New Yorker.

Perhaps I can help alleviate the pundits' bafflement. I am a ferventpro-lifer, and I like Rudy Giuliani. And it's not because, as some suggest,I think national security is more important than abortion. I think Mr.Giuliani will be the most effective advocate for the pro-life causeprecisely because he is unreligious and a supporter of abortion rights.

Unlike Mr. Huckabee or Sam Brownback, who are deeply religious and reliablypro-life, Mr. Giuliani has said he attends Catholic Mass only "occasionally"and he ducks questions about his personal faith. Mr. Giuliani's lack ofreligious devotion gives him the potential to upend the nation's moribundabortion debate.

In 2004, John Kerry said he was personally opposed to abortion but supportedRoe v. Wade. With Mr. Giuliani, Republicans have the chance to nominate acandidate who is the reverse: He says he personally supports abortionrights, but he opposes the constitutional logic of Roe v. Wade.

In a televised Republican debate, Mr. Giuliani said it would be "O.K." ifRoe were overturned but "O.K. also" if the Supreme Court viewed it as abinding precedent. Despite this ambivalence, Mr. Giuliani promises tonominate judges who are "strict constructionists." His campaign Web siteexplains: "It is the responsibility of the people and their representativesto make laws. It is the role of judges to apply those laws, not to amend ourConstitution without the consent of the American people."

more . . . . .


What I Saw in Darfur
Untangling the Knots of a Complex Crisis

By Ban Ki-moon
Friday, September 14, 2007; A13

We speak often and easily about Darfur. But what can we say with surety? Byconventional shorthand, it is a society at war with itself. Rebels battlethe government; the government battles the rebels. Yet the reality is morecomplicated. Lately, the fighting often as not pits tribe against tribe,warlord against warlord.

Nor is the crisis confined to Darfur. It has spilled over borders,destabilizing the region. Darfur is also an environmental crisis -- aconflict that grew at least in part from desertification, ecologicaldegradation and a scarcity of resources, foremost among them water.

I have just returned from a week in Darfur and the surrounding region. Iwent to listen to the candid views of its people -- Sudanese officials,villagers displaced by fighting, humanitarian aid workers, the leaders ofneighboring countries. I came away with a clear understanding. There can beno single solution to this crisis. Darfur is a case study in complexity. Ifpeace is to come, it must take into account all the elements that gave riseto the conflict.

Everything I saw and heard convinced me that this is possible. And we mustsucceed. Outside El Fasher, the largest city in North Darfur, I visited theEl Salam camp, which is sheltering some 45,000 internally displaced people.My heart went out to them. I felt their hopelessness and frustration. I sawchildren who had not seen life outside the camps. I wanted to give them asign. I promised that we would do our best to bring peace and to help themreturn to their villages.

We have made a good start. The U.N. Security Council has authorized thedeployment of 26,000 multinational peacekeepers, jointly conducted by theUnited Nations and the African Union (A.U.). In going to Darfur, I saw thedifficult conditions our forces will encounter -- and saw, too, that ourlogistical preparations are underway.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

The Least Bad Plan

President Bush's long-shot strategy for Iraq is less risky than thealternatives.

Friday, September 14, 2007; A12

PRESIDENT BUSH'S explanation of his latest plans for Iraq last night wasmarred by a couple of important omissions. First, the president failed toacknowledge that, according to the standards he himself established inJanuary, the surge of U.S. troops into Iraq has been a failure -- becauseIraqi political leaders did not reach the political accords that thesacrifice of American lives was supposed to make possible. Instead hefocused on the real but reversible military gains achieved in and aroundBaghdad and on the unexpected decision of Sunni tribes to take up armsagainst al-Qaeda, a development facilitated but not caused by the surge.

Mr. Bush also failed to mention one of the principal reasons for thedrawdown of troops he announced. The president said that the tacticalmilitary successes meant that American forces could be reduced in the comingyear to pre-surge levels. What he didn't say is that the Pentagon has nochoice other than to carry out the withdrawals, unless Mr. Bush resorts topolitically explosive steps such as further extending deployments. Anotherway of describing Mr. Bush's plan is that it leaves every available Army andMarine unit in place in Iraq for as long as possible. If the war were goingworse than it is, the deployment schedule probably couldn't have been muchdifferent.

Gen. David H. Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker have argued this weekthat the maximal troop levels are necessary to prevent Iraq from returningto the downward spiral into sectarian war it suffered before the surge. Theyalso have emphasized that political accords will be slower in coming thanWashington has expected, if they are achievable at all. Yet Mr. Bush's planfor the coming year is based, once again, on the hope that Iraqis will takesteps that will make the added security provided by U.S. troopssustainable -- and prevent a worsening of the situation when Americanbrigades withdraw. Though this hope proved illusory during the past eightmonths, there will be no change in the U.S. mission.

It's impossible not to be skeptical that the necessary political deals andimprovements in Iraqi security forces will take place. Unless there isprogress that justifies withdrawals going well beyond those he announcedlast night, Mr. Bush is unlikely to achieve the agreement in Washington onIraq he said he now aims for. Still, there are no easy alternatives to thepresent policy. In the past we have looked favorably on bipartisan proposalsthat would change the U.S. mission so as to focus on counterterrorism andtraining of the Iraqi army, while withdrawing most U.S. combat units. Mr.Bush said he would begin a transition to that reduced posture in December.But according to Gen. Petraeus, Mr. Crocker and the consensus view of U.S.intelligence agencies, if the U.S. counterinsurgency mission were abandonedin the near future, the result would be massive civilian casualties andstill-greater turmoil that could spread to neighboring countries.

more . . . . .


A 'Realistic Chance' of Success

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, September 14, 2007; A13

As always, the inadvertent slip is the most telling. Discussing theperformance of British troops, Gen. David Petraeus told Sen. Joe Biden ofthe Foreign Relations Committee that he'd be consulting with Britishcolleagues in London on his way back "home." He had meant to say "Iraq,"where he is now on his third tour of duty. Is there any other actor inWashington's Iraq war drama -- from Harry Reid to the Joint Chiefs -- whocould have made such a substitution? Anyone who not only knows Iraq the wayPetraeus does but feels it in all its gravity and complexity?

When asked about Shiite militia domination of southern Iraq, Petraeuspatiently went through the four provinces, one by one, displaying a degreeof knowledge of the local players, terrain and balance of power that no onein Washington -- and few in Iraq -- could match.

When Biden thought he had a gotcha -- contradictions between Petraeus'sreport on Iraqi violence and the less favorable one by the GovernmentAccountability Office -- Petraeus calmly pointed out that the GAO had to cutits data-gathering five weeks short to meet reporting requirements toCongress. And since those most recent five weeks had been particularlyproductive for the coalition, the GAO numbers were not only outdated butmisleading.

For all the attempts by Democrats and the antiwar movement to discreditPetraeus, he won the congressional confrontation hands down. He demonstratedenough military progress from his new counterinsurgency strategy toconclude: "I believe we have a realistic chance of achieving our objectivesin Iraq."

The American people are not antiwar. They are anti-losing. Which means theyare also anti-drift. Adrift is where we were during most of 2006 -- theannus horribilis initiated by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's bringing down theGolden Mosque in Samarra -- until the new counterinsurgency strategy of 2007the "surge") reversed the trajectory of the war.

more . . . . .


The Fort Report

Smiley: GOP candidates ignore minorities

By Jill Lawrence, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Three of the four leading Republican presidential candidatesturned down invitations to a PBS debate this month at a historically blackcollege in Baltimore, leading moderator Tavis Smiley on Thursday to accusethem of ignoring minority voters.

Smiley told USA TODAY the rejections are part of a pattern, noting most GOPcandidates declined invitations to address several black and Hispanicgroups, including a Univision debate for a Latino audience.

"No one should be elected president of this country in 2008 if they thinkthat along the way they can ignore people of color," said Smiley, host ofradio and TV talk shows. "If you want to be president of all America, youneed to speak to all Americans."

Arizona Sen. John McCain, former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani andformer Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney have declined to participate inthe Sept. 27 debate at Morgan State University. "I feel good," Smiley said,about the odds of getting former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson. Fivecandidates trailing in national and state polls will be there.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: