Sunday, September 16, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 16, 2007

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



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 outto "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


The New York Times

September 16, 2007
First Chapter
'Super Crunchers'


Recommendations make life a lot easier. Want to know what movie to rent? Thetraditional way was to ask a friend or to see whether reviewers gave it athumbs-up.

Nowadays people are looking for Internet guidance drawn from the behavior ofthe masses. Some of these "preference engines" are simple lists of what'smost popular. The New York Times lists the "most emailed articles." iTuneslists the top downloaded songs. lists the most popular Internetbookmarks. These simple filters often let surfers zero in on the greatesthits.

Some recommendation software goes a step further and tries to tell you whatpeople like you enjoyed. tells you that people who bought The DaVinci Code also bought Holy Blood, Holy Grail. Netflix gives yourecommendations that are contingent on the movies that you yourself haverecommended in the past. This is truly "collaborative filtering," becauseyour ratings of movies help Netflix make better recommendations to othersand their ratings help Netflix make better recommendations to you. TheInternet is a perfect vehicle for this service because it's really cheap foran Internet retailer to keep track of customer behavior and to automaticallyaggregate, analyze, and display this information for subsequent customers.



The New York Times

September 16, 2007

The Wrong Balance on Civil Liberties

Following the dastardly attacks of 9/11, it was evident that the nation hadto do some careful thinking about the proper balance between nationalsecurity and civil liberties. Instead of care and balance, sadly, the Bushadministration immediately lunged to claim extraordinary, and largelyunnecessary, new powers. Aided by a compliant Congress, the administrationrepeatedly tried to shield the resulting intrusions on people's rights frommeaningful scrutiny, even by the courts.

Recently, however, a federal district judge in New York declaredunconstitutional one notorious outgrowth of the Bush team's approach: theFederal Bureau of Investigation's overreliance on informal demands forinformation, called national security letters, to obtain private recordsfrom telephone and Internet companies, banks and other businesses without acourt warrant.

The decision by Judge Victor Marrero struck down 2006 revisions to thePatriot Act that expanded the bureau's power to use national securityletters, and a 1986 law that first authorized such letters. The recentprovisions not only compelled companies to turn over customers' recordswithout a warrant, but forbade them to tell anyone what they had done,including the customers involved. The authority of the courts to reviewchallenges to the gag rule was extremely limited.



The New York Times

September 16, 2007
Editorial Observer
Looking Back at the Shame of the Vietnamese Left Behind


I was stationed at the Phu Loi Army base in Vietnam when the withdrawal of
American troops got under way, and I often used to wonder what would happento our "hootch girls" when we all left. We felt very protective toward theseVietnamese women who did our laundry and tended to our "hootches," orbarracks. They provided a touch of domestic normalcy with their cheerfulbanter through the day, their radios blaring Vietnamese music we didn'tunderstand and their willingness to listen to homesick guys reading lettersthey didn't understand.

We knew nothing about their lives outside - nor, for that matter, abouttheir country, which we were supposed to be defending from something. We hadno idea what they really thought of us, but they were still the closest linkwe had to a "normal" Vietnam.

Later, back in New York, watching those searing images of desperateVietnamese being shoved away from the United States Embassy by franticsoldiers, or clinging to the runners of departing helicopters, I anguishedover the fates of the girls and all the other Vietnamese who had worked withus. Many veterans, many Americans, still feel a deep shame and guilt atabandoning so many people who had come to trust us and depend on us.



The New York Times

September 16, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
What They're Saying in Anbar Province


IN his address to the nation on Thursday, President Bush singled outprogress in Anbar Province as the model for United States success in Iraq.The president's claims echoed those made earlier in the week by Gen. DavidH. Petraeus, the top American commander in Iraq, in his Congressionaltestimony. And they raised a question worth examining: Do United Statesmilitary alliances with Sunni tribal leaders truly reflect a turning ofhearts and minds away from Anbar's bitter anti-Americanism?

The data from our latest Iraq poll suggest not.

Al Qaeda, it should be said, is overwhelmingly - almost unanimously -unpopular in Anbar, as it is in the rest of Iraq. But our enemies' enemiesare not necessarily our friends. The United States, it turns out, is equallyunpopular there.

In a survey conducted Aug. 17-24 for ABC News, the BBC and NHK, the Japanesebroadcaster, among a random national sample of 2,212 Iraqis, 72 percent inAnbar expressed no confidence whatsoever in United States forces.

Seventy-six percent said the United States should withdraw now - up from 49percent when we polled there in March, and far above the national average.



The New York Times

September 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Will the Democrats Betray Us?


SIR, I don't know, actually": The fact that America's surrogate commander inchief, David Petraeus, could not say whether the war in Iraq is makingAmerica safer was all you needed to take away from last week's festivitiesin Washington. Everything else was a verbal quagmire, as administration spinand senatorial preening fought to a numbing standoff.

Not that many Americans were watching. The country knew going in that theWhite House would win its latest campaign to stay its course of indefinitelyshoveling our troops and treasure into the bottomless pit of Iraq. The onlytroops coming home alive or with their limbs intact in President Bush'stroop "reduction" are those who were scheduled to be withdrawn by Aprilanyway. Otherwise the president would have had to extend combat tours yetagain, mobilize more reserves or bring back the draft.

On the sixth anniversary of the day that did not change everything, GeneralPetraeus couldn't say we are safer because he knows we are not.


The New York Times

September 16, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Somebody Else's Mess


George W. Bush delivered his farewell address on Thursday evening - handingthe baton, and probably the next election, to the Democrats.

Why do I say that? Because in his speech to the nation the presidentbasically said that on the most important, indeed only, legacy issue left inhis presidency, Iraq, there would be no change in policy - that asubstantial number of U.S. troops would remain in Iraq "beyond mypresidency." Therefore, it will be up to his successor to end the war hestarted.

"In one fell swoop George Bush abdicated to Petraeus, Maliki and theDemocrats," said David Rothkopf, visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment,referring to Gen. David Petraeus and the Iraqi prime minister, Nurial-Maliki. "Bush left it to Petraeus to handle the war, Maliki to handle ourtimetable and therefore our checkbook, and the Democrats to ultimatelyfigure out how to end this."

The sad thing for the American people is that we have no commander in chiefanymore, framing our real situation and options. The president's descriptionon Thursday of the stakes in Iraq was delusional. An Iraqi ally fighting for"freedom" against "extremists"? There are extremists in the Iraqigovernment, army and police. There is a civil war on top of tribal,neighborhood and jihadist wars, fueled not by a single Iraqi quest forfreedom, but by differing quests for "justice," revenge and, yes, democracy.The only possible self-sustaining outcome in the near term is some form ofradical federalism.



The Washington Post

A Promise to Keep Up the Pressure

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, September 16, 2007; A04


Lest there be any doubt where Rep. Jan Schakowsky stands, her house is theone with the two red-and-white yard signs, installed just last week, thatcall out, "Support The Troops. END THE WAR."

The Illinois Democrat, one of the most outspoken Iraq war opponents inCongress, was unimpressed by the assurances last week from President Bushand Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, who said this year's increase of 21,500combat troops has been successful and should be extended into next summer,with no exit strategy or timetable for bringing most American forces home.

"We have been bludgeoned with the notion that unless you support endlesswar, you don't support the troops. It's quite the opposite," Schakowskysaid, predicting that the contentious war debate in Congress will continue."There are going to be legislative battles. I think people have a 'noexcuses' attitude. They want to see a demonstration of resolve."

When Schakowsky says "people," she is speaking of a constituency deeplyfrustrated with the Iraq war and anxious to find a way out. It is a categorythat has only recently become a national majority but that for years hasbeen emblematic of her progressive district in Chicago and scatteredsuburbs, where she skated to a fifth term in 2006 with 75 percent of thevote.

Political triangulation here tends to be not only undesirable, but alsounnecessary.



St. Petersburg Times

Thompson seeks pro-gun vote in Fla., but met with some skepticism


LAKELAND, Fla. -- Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson walkedthrough rows of assault rifles, pistols and other firearms, signingautographs and greeting voters at a gun show Saturday, but some of the gunadvocates weren't convinced he was completely on their side.

"I was all for him until I started reading the votes," said gun dealer KenStrevels, standing at a table line with machine guns, including an enormous.50 caliber rifle held up by a tripod. "I'm not sure now. He's flipping onthe vote. It's like he's working both sides."

Strevels was referencing a Gun Owners of America report that said Thompsonvoted "anti-gun" 14 times on 33 votes the group tracked during his eightyears in the Senate, ending in 2003.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Sep. 16, 2007
Why next 90 days may be crucial

Now that the president has endorsed the Petraeus-Crocker plan for Iraq, itis worthwhile noting one exchange from their Senate hearings.Some senators, such as Barbara Boxer of California, were so self-absorbedthey could not manage to ask a single question in their allotted time, evenwhen they had Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker ready toprovide answers.

Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is not like that. An Air Force Reserveofficer, Graham is an incisive questioner whose unexpected and provocativeinquiries often produce revealing answers, whether the subject is Iraq,immigration or a Supreme Court nomination.

A Republican with a notable record of independence, Graham has been anoutspoken advocate of the surge strategy -- claiming real success on theground and urging its continuation.

But Graham's first question to Petraeus called on the general to ``put onthe table as honestly as we can what lies ahead for the American people andthe U.S. military if we continue to stay in Iraq. . . . It's highly likelythat a year from now we're going to have at least 100,000 troops in Iraq?''

''That is probably the case,'' Petraeus said. ``Yes, sir.''

Graham's follow-up was even more surprising. ``How many people are we losinga month, on average, since the surge began, in terms of killed in action?''

``Killed in action is probably in the neighborhood of 60 to 90.''

Graham then noted that ``we're spending $9 billion a month to stay in Iraq.. . . So you're saying to the Congress that you know that at least 60soldiers, airmen and Marines are likely to be killed every month from now toJuly, that we're going to spend $9 billion a month of American taxpayerdollars, and when it's all said and done, we'll still have 100,000 peoplethere. You believe it's worth it in terms of our national-security intereststo pay that price?''

Petraeus said: ``Sir, I wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't have made therecommendations that I have made, if I did not believe that.''

After a few more questions, Graham turned to Crocker and confronted him witha surprising question: ``What's the difference between a dysfunctionalgovernment and a failed state?''



South Florida
Short-sighted actions embarrassing
September 16, 2007

By Robert Watson

After years of licking the wounds of the 2000 election debacle, Florida isback in the nation's election spotlight. The issue this time is not chads orbutterfly ballots but the presidential primary election, and Florida'sDemocrats have become entangled in what might be a no-win situation.

The practice known as "frontloading" - whereby states move theirpresidential primaries as close to the start of primary season as possible -has finally reached the point of absurdity and impracticality. Roughly halfthe states will be holding contests near the official primary kickoff date(Feb. 5) and four states - Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina -have been given permission by the national political parties to hold theircontests in January.

The result is both parties' presidential nominees will likely be selected asearly as the closing of the polls on Feb. 5. A four-month primary will thusbe condensed into the period of one day, meaning voters in states with laterprimary dates will play no role whatsoever in picking their nominees.

Enter Florida. State leaders decided they, too, would "frontload" theprimary election by moving it from March to Jan. 29. Good move, right?Florida's voters, rather than Iowa's or New Hampshire's, would get to selectthe presidential frontrunners. The problem is the new date is a week aheadof the official starting date of the primaries. This foolishness earned thewrath of the Democratic National Committee, which has given Florida a fewdays to rescind their move. Or else!


Fordham University

Management Professor Seeks to Understand the Nature of Professional Calling
By Janet Sassi

The dream of being professional musicians and the romance of beingonstage can embed themselves deeply in the psyche of young musicians,many of whom see music as their destiny. Shoshana Dobrow, Ph.D.,assistant professor of management systems at Fordham University'sSchools of Business Administration, refers to this phenomenon as asense of "calling," and it is something she knows firsthand.

In addition to her academic career, Dobrow is a professionalbassoonist with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra. As thedaughter of two musicians, she first became involved in music earlyin her life. Years later, as a graduate student at HarvardUniversity, however, Dobrow developed a scholarly interest in thedynamics of musicians' careers under the guidance of one of heradvisors who had conducted studies on the job satisfaction oforchestra musicians (and whose findings included the remarkableresult that these musicians were less satisfied with their jobs thanwere prison guards).

"I began to wonder about the psychological orientation that enablespeople to have the starving-artist mentality," she said. "How canpeople be so passionate about a career and yet receive so few rewardsin terms of objective outcomes like salary and job security?"

Dobrow hypothesized that many musicians experienced a sense ofcalling that compelled them to pursue this type of challengingcareer. In 2001, Dobrow began a longitudinal study of 567 high schoolmusicians attending two prestigious summer music camps­theInterlochen Arts Camp in Michigan and the Boston UniversityTanglewood Institute in Massachusetts­in an effort to understand whata calling is, how it evolves over time, what factors shape it and theconsequences that result. She measured such factors as career advicefrom parents and music teachers, social influences from peers, andpersonal satisfaction with music.


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: