Monday, September 17, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 17, 2007


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 outto "Florida Red and Blue."

Ray and Michael


The New York Times

September 17, 2007
Bush to Name Ex-Judge as Successor to Gonzales


WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 - President Bush has decided to nominate Michael B.Mukasey, a former federal judge from New York who has presided over somehigh-profile terrorism trials, as his next attorney general and is expectedto announce the selection Monday, according to several people familiar withthe decision.

Should the Senate confirm him, Mr. Mukasey (pronounced mew-KAY-see) wouldbecome the third attorney general to serve under Mr. Bush. As the top lawenforcement officer in the United States, he would preside over a JusticeDepartment that has been buffeted by Congressional inquiries into the firingof federal prosecutors and the resignation of the previous attorney general,Alberto R. Gonzales.

Unlike Mr. Gonzales, Mr. Mukasey is not a close confidant of the president.Nor is he a Washington insider. But people in both political parties say hepossesses the two qualities that Mr. Bush has been looking for in a nominee:a law-and-order sensibility that dovetails with the president's agenda forthe fight against terror, and the potential to avoid a bruising confirmationbattle with the Democrats who now run the Senate. With 16 months left inoffice, Mr. Bush can ill afford a drawn-out confirmation fight.

One of those Democrats, Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, who led thefight to oust Mr. Gonzales, issued a statement on Sunday evening praisingMr. Mukasey - a suggestion that Democrats, who are already challenging Mr.Bush over the war in Iraq, have little appetite for another big fight.


The New York Times

September 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Nordic Option


Think Sweden and what comes to mind is probably not a youthful financeminister, with his long dark hair in a ponytail and a gold ring through hisleft ear, explaining that his ambition is to make it "more profitable towork" than to sit around on welfare.

But Anders Borg, 39, poster boy of the "New Moderates" who have put thelong-governing Social Democrats out of office, does just that, and when thequestion of his coiffure comes up, the retort is swift: "This is northernEurope, a modern society. Your public deficit or surplus is more importantthan your hairstyle."

Right. Sweden, of course, has a surplus that the deficit-ridden UnitedStates can only envy, as well as a knack for staying out of wars thatborders on the obscene. It's that reasonable, semi-socialist, Volvo-driving,super-taxed Nordic place that gave the world Ikea's cheap furniture andBergman's dissection of marriage.

Or is it? The ponytailed finance minister - a world first? - is just onesign that something funky is up in the Swedish woods. A government thatincludes the country's first black, avowedly gay and bisexual ministers(that's three distinct people) has set about a radical reform of thegenerous welfare state that defined the Swedish condition.

In doing so, it has adopted a few core principles. It should be moreprofitable to work than not to work. Welfare should mean caring for peoplewho cannot care for themselves. Unemployment insurance should be adjustmentinsurance rather than an open-ended sinecure. Employers should be encouragedto hire through lower taxes.



The New York Times

September 17, 2007

Restoring American Justice

In 2006, acting in reckless haste before an election, 65 senators and 250members of the House defied the Constitution, endangered the safety ofAmerican soldiers and hurt the nation's global reputation by passing theMilitary Commissions Act. The law created a separate, substandard andclearly unconstitutional system of trial and punishment for foreigners. Thisweek Congress has a chance to begin fixing that grievous mistake.

The Senate is expected to consider a measure that would reverse one of theworst aspects of the 2006 law - the suspension of the right of habeascorpus, the ancient principle that no governing power may lock people upwithout the chance for a hearing in a court of law.

The protection from arbitrary arrest, embedded in the Magna Carta and in theConstitution of the United States, is one of the most powerful weaponsagainst tyranny in democracy's arsenal. Before President Bush, only oneAmerican president suspended habeas corpus - Abraham Lincoln, during theCivil War - and the Supreme Court duly struck down that arrogation of power.

In 2004, the Supreme Court again affirmed habeas corpus, declaring that Mr.Bush had no right to revoke the rules of civilized justice at his whim forhundreds of foreigners he declared "illegal enemy combatants." But Mr. Bushwas determined to avoid judicial scrutiny of the extralegal system ofprisons he created after the Sept. 11 attacks. With the help of his allieson Capitol Hill, he railroaded the habeas corpus suspension through theRepublican-controlled Congress.



The New York Times

September 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Sad Alan's Lament


When President Bush first took office, it seemed unlikely that he wouldsucceed in getting his proposed tax cuts enacted. The questionable nature ofhis installation in the White House seemed to leave him in a weak politicalposition, while the Senate was evenly balanced between the parties. It washard to see how a huge, controversial tax cut, which delivered most of itsbenefits to a wealthy elite, could get through Congress.

Then Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, testified beforethe Senate Budget Committee.

Until then Mr. Greenspan had presented himself as the voice of fiscalresponsibility, warning the Clinton administration not to endanger itshard-won budget surpluses. But now Republicans held the White House, and theGreenspan who appeared before the Budget Committee was a very different man.

Suddenly, his greatest concern - the "emerging key fiscal policy need," hetold Congress - was to avert the threat that the federal government mightactually pay off all its debt. To avoid this awful outcome, he advocated taxcuts. And the floodgates were opened.

As it turns out, Mr. Greenspan's fears that the federal government wouldquickly pay off its debt were, shall we say, exaggerated. And Mr. Greenspanhas just published a book in which he castigates the Bush administration forits fiscal irresponsibility.

Well, I'm sorry, but that criticism comes six years late and a trilliondollars short.



The Washington Post

Crocker Blasts Refugee Process
Iraqis Could Wait 2 Years for Entry, Ambassador Says

By Spencer S. Hsu and Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, September 17, 2007; A01

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq warned that it may take the U.S. government aslong as two years to process and admit nearly 10,000 Iraqi refugees referredby the United Nations for resettlement to the United States, because ofbureaucratic bottlenecks.

In a bluntly worded State Department cable titled "Iraqi Refugee Processing:Can We Speed It Up?" Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker noted that the Department ofHomeland Security had only a handful of officers in Jordan to vet therefugees.

Bush administration officials in Washington immediately disputed several ofCrocker's claims.

Still, the "sensitive" but unclassified memo, sent Sept. 7, laid out awrenching, ground-level view of the U.S. government's halting response toIraq's refugee crisis. Human rights groups and independent analysts saythousands of desperate Iraqis who have worked alongside Americans now findthemselves the targets of insurgents and sectarian militias, prompting manyof them to seek residency in the United States or Europe.

Although the subject was little addressed during Crocker's and Gen. David H.Petraeus's public testimony to Congress last week on the state of the war,the envoy has raised the issue in two cables in the past two months.



The Washington Post

The Next War
It's always looming. But has our military learned the right lessons fromthis one to fight it and win?

By Wesley K. Clark
Sunday, September 16, 2007; B01

Testifying before Congress last week, Gen. David H. Petraeus appearedcommanding, smart and alive to the challenges that his soldiers face inIraq. But he also embodied what the Iraq conflict has come to represent: anembattled, able, courageous military at war, struggling to maintain itsauthority and credibility after 4 1/2 years of a "cakewalk" gone wrong.

Petraeus will not be the last general to find himself explaining how amilitary intervention has misfired and urging skeptical lawmakers to believethat the mission can still be accomplished. For the next war is alwayslooming, and so is the urgent question of whether the U.S. military canadapt in time to win it.

Today, the most likely next conflict will be with Iran, a radical state thatAmerica has tried to isolate for almost 30 years and that now threatens tofurther destabilize the Middle East through its expansionist aims, backingof terrorist proxies such as the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Hamas in Gazaand the West Bank, and far-reaching support for radical Shiite militias inIraq. As Iran seems to draw closer to acquiring nuclear weapons, almostevery U.S. leader -- and would-be president -- has said that it simply won'tbe permitted to reach that goal.

Think another war can't happen? Think again. Unchastened by the Iraq fiasco,hawks in Vice President Cheney's office have been pushing the use of force.It isn't hard to foresee the range of military options that policymakersface.



The Washington Post

Held in My Homeland

By Haleh Esfandiari
Sunday, September 16, 2007; B01

The steel door closed with the clang of finality. Suddenly, I was cut offfrom the outside world, surrounded by four high walls. And completely alone.

In solitary confinement.

It's difficult to describe the feeling that overtakes you when you enter aprison cell. First comes overwhelming dread. Then disbelief: How did I endup a political prisoner? And doubt: Will I be here for weeks, months, years?Will I be able to bear up under the pressure?

On May 8, I was arrested by agents of Iran's intelligence ministry onsuspicion of working to destabilize the Islamic Republic. For the next 105days, this cell in Ward 209 of Tehran's Evin Prison would be my "home."

The cell -- really a room -- was of reasonable size, as it was two cellsjoined together. It was bare but clean. A brown wall-to-wall carpet coveredthe floor. In one corner lay a blanket and a copy of the Koran. Against onewall stood an iron sink with a broken faucet. Along another were two steeldoors, only one of which was used to enter and exit the room. About eightfeet up one of the walls were two rectangular windows that looked out onto aflat roof. They were open to let in fresh air, screened to keep out fliesand barred to keep in prisoners.



The Washington Post

Rangel's Tax-the-Rich 'Reform'

By Robert D. Novak
Monday, September 17, 2007; A19

Meeting reporters for breakfast last week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsonset as his tax priority a "patch" to slow the runaway alternative minimumtax (AMT). The former investment banker acted as though he was oblivious toplans by Rep. Charles Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and MeansCommittee, to turn the need for such a temporary fix into the most radicalleft-wing tax revision in half a century.

When one questioner asked whether Paulson contemplated recommending apresidential veto of AMT legislation, he indicated astonishment at the veryidea. His only stated concern was that Congress had not patched the AMT --originally intended to catch tax-evading millionaires -- this year toprevent it from wreaking havoc on middle-income Americans. Paulson utterednot a word about what Rangel is up to.

Rangel, having finally achieved his coveted chairman's role after years ofwaiting, wants to make history. His staff is hard at work on an audaciousplan that over the next decade would redistribute up to a trillion dollarsin American income through the tax system. Even if this package got throughthe House, it probably would be filibustered to death in the Senate, with aveto by President George W. Bush a last resort. But Rangel may really beaiming at 2009, envisioning a Democratic president and a filibuster-proofDemocratic majority in the Senate.



The Washington Post

Nomination Preemption

President Bush may choose a new attorney general for his ability to avoid aconfirmation fight.

Monday, September 17, 2007; A18

IF PRESIDENT Bush names retired federal judge Michael B. Mukasey to succeedAlberto R. Gonzales as attorney general, it may be as much out of a desireto avoid a confrontation with Congress as out of esteem for Mr. Mukasey.

To be sure, there is much to be admired in Mr. Mukasey. He won plaudits forhis deft handling of the difficult case of Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blindsheik," who was convicted for his role in the 1993 bombing of the WorldTrade Center. He garnered applause from conservatives for upholding theexecutive's right to designate alleged dirty bomber Jose Padilla an enemycombatant, even while winning the respect of liberals for insisting that Mr.Padilla be allowed to consult with a lawyer. And in a time when bipartisanconsensus on almost any subject seems but a quaint ideal, Mr. Mukasey haswon fans across the political spectrum, including Gonzales critic Charles E.Schumer (D-N.Y.) and leading conservative pundit William Kristol.

Yet there's also no question that if Mr. Mukasey gets the nod it will in nosmall part be because he is not Theodore B. Olson, the Washington lawyerwhom Mr. Bush was said to be considering for attorney general. Mr. Olson'spossible nomination drew howls from Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid(D-Nev.), who proclaimed last week that he would do "everything I can toprevent" Mr. Olson's confirmation.



The Chicago Tribune,1,1276687.story


Obama's policy team loaded with all-stars

Criticized by some as lean on experience, the Democrat has drawn a hugecircle of advisers with expertise honed in the circles of power

By Mike Dorning
Washington Bureau
September 17, 2007


Barack Obama's presidential bid may have a well-cultivated insurgent feel,as the candidate both benefits and suffers politically from a relativelythin record of experience in Washington.

But the swelling team of policy advisers who have joined his campaign showsa politician grounded in his party's intellectual mainstream andwell-connected within the capital's Democratic establishment.

As Obama rapidly transitioned from a senator with less than three years inoffice to a presidential candidate who has delivered detailed policyspeeches, he has assembled a personal think tank that easily outsizes any ofthe established Washington policy institutes that provide intellectualfodder for the political war of ideas.

On foreign policy alone, some 200 experts are providing the Obama campaignwith assistance of some sort, arranged into 20 subgroups. On the domesticfront, more than 500 policy experts are contributing ideas, campaign aidessaid. Veterans of previous election campaigns say the scale of the policyoperation resembles the full-blown effort candidates typically undertake fora general election campaign rather than the more stripped-down versionscommon for the primary season.

Senior advisers include heavy hitters from the administration of PresidentBill Clinton, husband of Obama's primary rival.




O.J. Simpson Ordered Held Without Bail
Associated Press Writer

7:01 AM EDT, September 17, 2007


O.J. Simpson's arrest may be the start of a new legal odyssey for thefallen football star, one that could reopen the possibility of prison timemore than a decade after his acquittal on murder charges.

Police arrested Simpson on Sunday, saying he was part of an armed group thatburst into a Las Vegas hotel room and snatched memorabilia that documentedhis storied career.

Simpson said it was merely a confrontation with no guns. He said autographedsports collectibles, his Hall of Fame certificate, a photograph with formerFBI director J. Edgar Hoover and video from his first wedding were all his,and that they were stolen from him and were about to be fenced by unethicalcollectors.

Police said they were not sure who owned the memorabilia. But they say themanner in which the goods were taken was under investigation.

"Whether or not the property belonged to Mr. Simpson or not is still indebate," Lt. Clint Nichols said Sunday. "Having said that, the manner inwhich this property was taken, we have a responsibility to look into that,irregardless of who the property belonged to."



CBS News

Clinton To Offer Sweeping Health Care Plan

Plan Requires All Americans To Carry Insurance; Proposes GovernmentSubsidies To Cut Coverage Costs
DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept. 17, 2007

(CBS/AP) For months, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary RodhamClinton has promised a plan to bring health care to every American.

She was to make good on that pledge Monday, unveiling a sweeping proposalrequiring everyone to carry health insurance and offering federal subsidiesto help reduce the cost of coverage.

With a price tag of about $110 billion per year, Clinton's "American HealthChoices Plan" represents her first major effort to achieve universal healthcoverage since 1994, when the plan she authored during her husband's firstterm collapsed.

The former first lady says she has learned from that experience, whichalmost derailed Bill Clinton's presidency and helped put Republicans incontrol of Congress for years to come. Aides say she has jettisoned thecomplexity and uncertainty of the last effort in favor of a plan thatstresses simplicity, cost control and consumer choice.

The centerpiece of Clinton's plan is the so-called "individual mandate,"requiring everyone to have health insurance - just as most states requiredrivers to purchase auto insurance. Rival John Edwards has also offered aplan that includes an individual mandate, while the proposal outlined byBarack Obama does not.



[Send your comments about articles to]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Many people talk about the need to reform Islam. Now you can stop talking and start helping.

With the help of our readers we went through the Koran and removed every verse that we believe did not come from Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate. However, it is possible that we missed something, and we could use your help. If you find verses in the reformed version of the Koran that promote violence, divisiveness, religious or gender superiority, bigotry, or discrimination, please let us know the number of the verse and the reason why it should be removed. Please email your suggestions to

When we finish editing process, we would like to publish Reform Koran in as many languages as possible. If you could help with translation or distribution of the Reform Koran, please email us at If you could provide financial support, please visit our support page.

In Memoriam of Aqsa Parvez.