Saturday, September 15, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 15, 2007

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Do your part to fight the right-wing state-wide anti-gay initiative to amendthe 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 15, 2007

Fed's Ex-Chief Attacks Bush on Fiscal Role


WASHINGTON, Sept. 14 - Alan Greenspan, who was chairman of the FederalReserve for nearly two decades, in a long-awaited memoir, is harshlycritical of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and theRepublican-controlled Congress, as abandoning their party's principles onspending and deficits.

In the 500-page book, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,"Mr. Greenspan describes the Bush administration as so captive to its ownpolitical operation that it paid little attention to fiscal discipline, andhe described Mr. Bush's first two Treasury secretaries, Paul H. O'Neill andJohn W. Snow, as essentially powerless.

Mr. Bush, he writes, was never willing to contain spending or veto billsthat drove the country into deeper and deeper deficits, as Congressabandoned rules that required that the cost of tax cuts be offset by savingselsewhere. "The Republicans in Congress lost their way," writes Mr.Greenspan, a self-described "libertarian Republican."

"They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deservedto lose" in the 2006 election, when they lost control of the House andSenate.



The New York Times

September 15, 2007

Olympics Bound

China sees the 2008 Olympics, to which it is playing host, as aninternational coming-out party for its rising global economic, political andmilitary power. Which is why China's president, Hu Jintao, lobbied so hardto persuade President Bush to accept his invitation to the openingceremonies. Mr. Bush was right to agree, although we wish he had played alot harder to get.

China's Olympic bid was controversial from the start. Human Rights Watchnotes that the 2008 Games will be the first since the 1984 Games in Sarajevoto be held in an undemocratic country. Some critics continue to call forprotests or a boycott because of China's abysmal human rights record and itsinaction on Darfur.

Beijing promised the International Olympic Committee it would allowaccredited foreign journalists "complete freedom to report" in China beforeand during the games - and in 2006 it unveiled new, temporary regulations tothat effect. But Human Rights Watch says these regulations have been ignoredor denied and there has been scant letup in the detention, harassment andintimidation of foreign reporters. The government also maintains a"stranglehold" on the activities of domestic journalists, the rights groupsays.


The New York Times

September 15, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

The Nightmare Is Here


We've heard from General Petraeus, from Ambassador Crocker, and on Thursdaynight from President Bush. What we haven't heard this week is anything aboutthe tragic reality on the ground for the ordinary citizens of Iraq, which isin the throes of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis.

President Bush may not be aware of this. In his televised address to thenation he warned that a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq could cause a"humanitarian nightmare."

A trusted aide should take the president aside and quietly inform him thatthis nightmare arrived a good while ago.

When the U.S. launched its "shock and awe" invasion in March 2003, thepopulation of Iraq was about 26 million. The flaming horror unleashed by theinvasion has since forced 2.2 million of those Iraqis, nearly a tenth of thepopulation, to flee the country. Many of those who left were professionalsmarked for death - doctors, lawyers, academics, the very people with theskills necessary to build a viable society.



The New York Times

September 15, 2007

Prosecutor Who Opposed a Death Sentence Is Rebuked


ATLANTA, Sept. 14 - A prosecutor in Alabama has been criticized by the stateattorney general for arguing that a man who was on death row for a doublemurder should not be put to death because the gunman in the killings wasspared from execution.

The attorney general, Troy King, included the criticism in a statement onWednesday saying he had notified the prosecutor, Robert E. Owens, the ShelbyCounty district attorney, that he would seek to reinstate the death penaltyin the case of LaSamuel Gamble, 29. Mr. Gamble won an appeal last week thateffectively commuted his death sentence to life in prison.

Mr. King said that his intent was to protect the interests of the victims inthe case and that Mr. Owens had acted on the side of the criminal.

Critics of Mr. King said, however, that his actions were politicallymotivated; Mr. Owens supported Mr. King's opponent in the 2004 election forattorney general.



The New York Times

September 15, 2007

Conviction in Racially Tinged Louisiana Case Is Overturned


NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 14 - A Louisiana appeals court on Friday overturned theconviction of an African-American high school student who was accused of thebeating of a white classmate in case that has become a flashpoint foraccusations of racial bias in the state's judicial system.

The student, Mychal Bell, 17, was one of six black teenagers accused in thebeating of a schoolmate in the northern Louisiana town of Jena lastDecember. Mr. Bell was the first accused student to face trial, and hisconviction on charges of conspiracy and aggravated battery drew accusationsthat prosecutors were biased.

His lawyers argued that Mr. Bell was not old enough to be tried as an adultand that the maximum penalty that he faced - 22 years in prison - wasexcessive. Facing increasing pressure from national civil rights groups,prosecutors in recent weeks have reduced the charges against some of theother defendants, who are yet to face trial.



The Washington Post

Cooling The Clash With Iran

By David Ignatius
Sunday, September 16, 2007; Page B07

Overarching the Middle East like a dark canopy is the growing confrontationbetween the United States and Iran. The test of wills is sometimes obscuredby the daily war news from Iraq, but it has become the main event in theregion -- carrying dangers of wider war and also some new opportunities forcreative diplomacy.

The spillover of U.S.-Iranian tension was evident this summer when Israeliintelligence detected signs that Syria was mobilizing its military. TheIsraelis put their own forces on heightened alert. They also contactedDamascus through intermediaries to warn against miscalculation.



The Washington Post

Mr. Craig's Plea

More than gestures should be required to charge someone with a crime.
Saturday, September 15, 2007; Page A16

A MINNESOTA court will probably reject the attempt of Sen. Larry E. Craig(R-Idaho) to withdraw the guilty plea stemming from his arrest in aMinneapolis airport men's room, and rightly so. That doesn't mean that thesting operation that led to Mr. Craig's predicament was legitimate.

On June 11, an undercover officer who staked out the airport restroomclaims, Mr. Craig used a series of signals to indicate interest in engagingin sex. Mr. Craig, the arrest report states, stared so long into the stallthe officer occupied that the officer could tell that Mr. Craig had blueeyes; Mr. Craig then entered an adjoining stall and tapped his footrepeatedly, moved his foot to touch the officer's and swiped his handseveral times underneath the stall divider.



St. Petersburg Times

GOP losing its grip on Miami's Cuban-Americans

The Iraq war pushes some to the Democrats.
By DAVID ADAMS, Times Latin America Correspondent
Published September 15, 2007

MIAMI - For decades it has been a ritual of American politics forpresidential candidates to visit this city hoping to win over Cuban-Americanvoters.

Usually a cry of "Viva Cuba Libre" and promises to keep the economic nooseon Cuba would do.

Starting with Ronald Reagan, they have all done it, Republican and Democratalike.

It's still early in this election season, but something odd is happening.The old anti-Castro rhetoric seems to be fading.

An array of Democratic candidates at a Miami forum broadcast live lastweekend on the Spanish-language network Univision weren't exactly beatingthe drum on Cuba.

The harshest line any of them could muster was Hillary Clinton's affirmationthat Cubans "deserve liberty and democracy." In fact, two of thecandidates -- albeit not front-runners -- spoke in favor of softeningcurrent U.S.-Cuba policy. "Why can't we recognize Cuba?" asked former AlaskaSen. Mike Gravel. "What's the big deal?"

But if the candidates don't sound like they used to, that may be becauseMiami's Cuban community doesn't think like it used to.



When the Rich Make Too Much: Is it Time for a Maximum Wage?

By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much: A Commentary on Excess and Inequality
Posted on September 13, 2007, Printed on September 15, 2007

Can our contemporary world be saved from the problems that ail us, fromclimate change and oil dependency, from AIDS and religious extremism, frompoverty and inequality? Foreign Policy, the world's most prestigious globalaffairs journal, is tackling this weighty question head on, in a new issuethat asks 21 of our earth's most thoughtful observers to suggest the "onesolution that would make the world a better place."

That "one solution," suggests Howard Gardner, the Harvard-based psychologistwhose widely acclaimed books on human intelligence have been translated into26 languages, ought to be a cap on the income and wealth that any oneindividual can accumulate.

The United States needs an income cap, Gardner posits in the new ForeignPolicy, that limits the amount of money a single individual can annuallytake home to no more than "100 times as much money as the average worker ina society earns in a year."

"If the average worker makes $40,000," Gardner proposes, "the topcompensated individual may keep $4 million a year."

Gardner's Foreign Policy contribution also advocates a cap on wealth,proposing that "no individual should be allowed to accumulate an estate morethan 50 times the allowed annual income."

If that allowed annual income were $4 million, then Gardner's proposal wouldallow no one, at death, to bequest a fortune greater than $200 million. Anyindividual wealth above that would have to "be contributed to charity ordonated to the government."


Obama Gets Oprah, Hillary Gets Magic
by The Associated Press

Posted: September 15, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) Hillary Rodham Clinton pursued votes Friday in theLos Angeles area's historical black heartland with basketball legend Earvin"Magic" Johnson at her side. Less than a week ago, her rival Barack Obamabanked $3 million at a fundraiser at Oprah Winfrey's seaside estate.

For the two leading Democratic presidential contenders, the dueling eventsjust six days apart highlighted the stiff competition for support anddollars within one of the party's key voter groups - blacks.

Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star whose sprawling businessinterests range from movie theaters to health clubs, also held a fundraiserfor Clinton at his Beverly Hills home Friday night. It was expected to beconsiderably smaller than the lavish event staged by Winfrey for Obama, anIllinois senator, on Sept. 8.

Johnson's fundraiser was co-hosted by music industry heavyweights QuincyJones, Berry Gordy and Clarence Avant, and scheduled guests included MayorAntonio Villaraigosa. Guests at the Obama event included Sidney Poitier,Forest Whitaker and Chris Rock.


Poll: GOP Presidential Race Fluid

by The Associated Press

Posted: September 14, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Washington) White men, conservatives, evangelicals and other pivotalbuilding blocs of the Republican Party are divided among its leadingcontenders for president, leaving the race for the 2008 GOP nominationhighly fluid, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.

Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are each attracting significant support fromcore GOP groups, based on the poll conducted this week. Even Sen. JohnMcCain of Arizona, whose campaign has been staggered by money problems andstaff shake-ups, is backed by solid shares of suburban, college-educated andMidwestern Republican voters.

The roughly one-third of Republicans in the poll who said they disapprove ofthe job President Bush is doing were gravitating around all three of thosehopefuls. Overall, the survey underscores that no contender has yet toconvincingly make the case that he is the candidate for change that so manyvoters want as the party searches for its identity and a successor to Bush.



The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Sep. 15, 2007

Florida Democrats backing down on Jan. 29 primary


Florida Democrats, unable to work out a compromise to avoid harsh sanctionsimposed by the Democratic National Committee, appear ready to give in anddeclare the Jan. 29 presidential primary meaningless.

While state party officials insist no ''consensus'' has been reached on whatthe party should do, there is a growing recognition that within the nextweek Democrats will announce a plan that renders the primary vote nonbindingin order to comply with national party rules. Florida Democrats will insteaddecide some time after Jan. 29 which presidential candidate is the winner ofthe state's delegates to the national convention.

One suggested plan is to have Democrats vote by mail, although anotherproposal that may win out calls for Democrats to hold a state conventionsometime after Feb. 5.


The New York Times

September 15, 2007

Mayo Clinic Recommends Universal Health Insurance Plan


The Mayo Clinic jumped into the national debate on improving health careyesterday, calling for every individual to have basic universal insurance asa step toward gradually replacing the current employer-based system.

But Mayo, in a proposal hammered out over 18 months by a panel of more than400 health policy experts, is not advocating a government-run single-payersystem. Instead, it suggested that private insurance companies be requiredto offer standard plans with many options, like the Federal Employees HealthBenefits Plan available to government workers.

Applicants for this insurance could not be turned down, under the Mayo plan.

The policies would be paid for by individuals, in some cases with help fromemployers. Lower-income people would get government help on a sliding scale.


The New York Times

September 15, 2007

Behind an Antiwar Ad, a Powerful Liberal Group


There is no mistaking the influence of, with its 3.2 millionmembers and powerful fund-raising apparatus, within the Democratic Party.

This liberal activist group has come to occupy a prominent seat at the tableamong the party elite, so much so that Republicans leaped at a chance tohold Democrats and their presidential candidates responsible for MoveOn'spositions after it ran an advertisement attacking the credibility of Gen.David H. Petraeus.

MoveOn, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for Democraticcandidates since its inception in 1998, clearly enjoys friendly relationswith Democratic Party officials. Its leaders have met several times over theyear with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid,to discuss policy and strategy on ending the Iraq war.

MoveOn representatives also take part, as co-founders of a coalition ofantiwar groups together under the umbrella Americans Against Escalation inIraq, in a daily conference call with the Democratic leadership staff onCapitol Hill to coordinate efforts.

Despite conservatives' efforts to lump together the grass-roots organizationand the party and to force individual Democrats to take responsibility forMoveOn's wordplay on General Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq,as "General Betray Us" in its advertisement in The New York Times, therelationship between the two is often complicated and, at times, showsvisible fractures.



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