Thursday, September 20, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST September 20, 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 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 20, 2007
New York

Brooklyn: Computer Messages in Trial

Jurors in the trial of two men charged with murder as a hate crime sawtranscripts yesterday of computer instant messages between the suspects andthe victim. Prosecutors in State Supreme Court are trying to prove that thedefendants, John Fox, 20, and Anthony Fortunato, 21, lured a gay man,Michael J. Sandy, 29, of Williamsburg, to a remote spot in Sheepshead Bay bypretending that the meeting was for a sexual encounter. Once there,prosecutors claim, Mr. Sandy fled and was hit by a car. Mr. Fortunato'slawyer, Gerald J. Di Chiara, has said that his client is also gay and thatthe encounter was planned not as a robbery but as a misguided attempt toreveal Mr. Fortunato's homosexuality to his friends.



Richardson Explains a Stumble

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) still regrets his rather tortured answerto a question at a presidential candidate forum hosted by the Human RightsCampaign last month. "Did you ever make a mistake?" he asked Washington Postreporters and editors during an interview yesterday.

Richardson had stumbled over whether he believes homosexuality wasbiological or a matter of choice. He said "choice" and when given a chanceto clarify his answer failed to do so, to the dismay of the predominantlygay audience.

"I made a mistake," he repeated yesterday. "I was tired. Did you ever flyall night?"

The Democratic candidate pointed to his record in New Mexico and as acongressman as proof of his commitment to gay rights. "How many othercandidates have taken those positions [and] actually done something?" hesaid.

Richardson said that during the forum his first impulse was that he wasbeing thrown a trick question and that he seized on the word "choice" toguide him without thinking. "The word 'choice' is a big plus for Democrats."

Richardson has seen his poll numbers rise to low double digits in Iowa andNew Hampshire. He said his path to the nomination hinges on defeating one ofthe three top candidates -- Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and JohnEdwards -- in Iowa and then using that as a "slingshot" in New Hampshire andNevada, the next two states on the calendar.

He said that unlike Clinton and Obama, he is doing true grass-rootscampaigning in Iowa. "I do 10 house parties, 10 town meetings, a 100 peopleeach a day when I'm there," he said "You get the Clintons and Obamas there,they do a rally -- a thousand people -- and they're gone. "

-- Dan Balz



Thursday, September 20, 2007; C03

Dear Amy:

I am a 59-year-old gay man in a relationship of more than 20 years with aman who is eight years younger.

Although we care deeply about each other, we no longer have a sexualrelationship because of my loss of interest about 10 years ago.

About a year ago I retired after working all my adult life. I feel I haveearned the right to enjoy life and have discovered new interests, e.g. yoga,swimming, the Internet and going back to college.

My partner has not supported any of my new interests and has even ridiculedthem.

I feel I am moving my life in new directions while he is floundering (he hasa tough job, which he hates, and no chance of retirement soon).

Since my retirement, I am less depressed and my sex drive has returned,although I am not attracted to him. I have had (safe) sex recently withother men, but I have not told him. He has also had some sexual encounters,which is okay with me.

more . . . . .


Md. Senate President Won't Back Gay Unions
Advocates Vow to Fight For Marriage Equality

By Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 20, 2007; B06

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. said yesterday that he would notsupport legislation to legalize same-sex marriage or civil unions inMaryland, signaling that supporters of gay marriage will face resistance asthey take their campaign from the courts to the General Assembly.

Advocates vowed to continue their quest for full marriage rights in thelegislature after the state's highest court upheld Maryland's 34-year-oldlaw banning same-sex marriage Tuesday. But Miller said he sees no reason tochange the law now.

"People can introduce any bill they'd like," Miller (D-Calvert) said. "Butat this juncture, I don't believe the votes are there to change the law. . .. The burden will be on the people who feel it's needed to explain the needfor a change."

Maryland Democrats control the General Assembly and governor's office, buttheir views on same-sex unions are varied and nuanced. Many would prefer toconsider granting legal rights and benefits to gay couples rather thandebate whether the state should sanction their unions. Some say privatelythey would rather avoid putting the issue to a vote.

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has said he supports civil unions, but he has kepta low profile on the matter.

more . . . . .


PWAs, Others At Risk Told To Get Flu Shots
by The Associated Press
Posted: September 19, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Only a fraction of the people who need flu shots the most aregetting them say health officials who hope to boost those numbers as arecord vaccine supply heads out this fall.

The government sounded the alarm Wednesday, worried that a string of mildflu seasons and the vaccine confusion of recent years are deterring peoplefrom this simple lifesaver.

Manufacturers expect to ship more than 130 million doses of flu vaccine incoming months. The message: Anyone who wants to avoid the flu should seekout this ample supply, especially those at high risk of flu complicationsbecause of age or underlying illness.

While an early shot is good, don't give up if you can't schedule one in thefall - winter's not too late for protection, stressed Dr. Julie Gerberding,head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We need to rethink the influenza immunization season and encouragevaccination throughout the fall and winter for anyone wishing to beprotected," she said.

more . . . . .


Elizabeth Edwards: Hillary Stole John's Health Plan
by The Associated Press

Posted: September 20, 2007 - 6:30 am ET

(Columbia, South Carolina) Elizabeth Edwards is accusing Democraticpresidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton of copying the health careplan outlined more than seven months ago by her husband, John.

The New York senator has failed to lead on an issue in which she hasextensive experience, Edwards said.

"Does Mrs. Clinton's plan seem very familiar to you?" Edwards said in aninterview with The Associated Press. "Mrs. Clinton has - seven and a halfmonths after John unveiled his health care plan - unveiled a health careplan that is in every material respect just like John's."

Edwards calls Clinton's plan "John Edwards' health care plan as delivered byHillary Clinton."

Elizabeth Edwards has been one of Clinton's sharpest critics. She saidClinton, working with President Clinton, had a chance in 1993 to pushuniversal health care through Congress and they should have been the firstDemocrats to come up with a new plan for health care.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

September 20, 2007
A Shield for the Public

For freedom of the press to be more than a promise and for the public to bekept informed about the doings of its government, especially the doings thatthe government does not want known, reporters must be able to pursue thenews wherever it takes them. One of the most valuable tools they have is theability to protect the names of confidential sources - people who providevital information at the risk of their jobs, their careers and sometimeseven their lives.

That is why it is so important for Congress to finally pass a federal shieldlaw for journalists and why we commend Senators Arlen Specter, Republican ofPennsylvania, and Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, for a compromisebill designed to achieve passage.

The bill would create a qualified privilege, which is what this newspaperand other news organizations have sought, not an absolute protection againstrevealing a source's name under any conceivable circumstance.

The new measure does not contain everything we would have liked. The shieldfor sources in the sphere of national security is weaker than in a billapproved by the House Judiciary Committee in August and an earlier proposalby Senators Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, and Christopher Dodd,Democrat of Connecticut.



The New York Times

September 20, 2007

The G.O.P.'s Candidate-Free Debate

In the category of What Are They Thinking?: all the principal Republicanpresidential candidates have decided to skip a major televised debate nextweek on minority issues. The absentees will be noted by nameplates at emptylecterns, and some party leaders warn that the perceived disrespect willprove costly at the polls.

Ken Mehlman, former chairman of the Republican National Committee, is urgingthe candidates to reconsider their rejection of the debate on the PBSnetwork and "lay out their vision," according to The Washington Post. JackKemp, the party's 1996 vice presidential candidate, is more blunt in hisdismay: "What are we going to do, meet in a country club in the suburbs oneday?"

The candidates insist that their absence next Thursday is dictated byscheduling conflicts. But it's important to note that the invitation to thedebate at Morgan State University in Baltimore was sent out in February."Baloney," said Newt Gingrich of the scheduling excuse, warning of the"enormous error" in ducking the event. The Democrats' comparable debate atHoward University in June was attended by all the major contenders.

In another group no-show, only Senator John McCain accepted an invitation toa TV debate on Univision, the major Hispanic network. One transparent factorin the selective shyness is that, except for Senator McCain, the majorcandidates have been avoiding nuanced approaches on the heated immigrationissue. Simplistic speeches may play well on the stump, but they're a shameto the party and nation. Next week's Morgan State debate would be just theplatform to put aside electoral pandering for larger principle on issuesimportant to all Americans.


The New York Times

September 20, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The French Revolution


The French Revolution of 2007 has not seen heads roll but has involved thedestruction of 10 taboos as President Nicolas Sarkozy assumes the role ofEurope's most dynamic leader.

THE AMERICAN TABOO Enthusiasm for the United States was unacceptable for aFrench political leader because it was always interpreted as an embrace of"Wild West" capitalism, "Anglo-Saxon" hegemony and vulgarity. De rigueurattitudes held sway: patronizing contempt in Paris met macho derision inWashington. Communication suffered. Sarko's New Hampshire vacation, enthusedAmerican dreaming, iPod-accompanied jogging and in-your-face style clearedthe air.

THE AGRICULTURAL TABOO No French president could seem uncomfortable pattingthe backside of a cow. This gesture, at the annual Paris Agricultural Fair,communicated a leader's link to the land and to deepest France. But the onlycows known to Sarko, city dweller par excellence, are on cheese packages.The vache political credential is dead; French urban politicos no longerfeel cowed.

THE MONEY TABOO "To live happy, live hidden" goes a French saying. Fewthings were more hidden than contacts between presidents and the rich.Fran├žois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac had well-heeled friends, but, knowingthat the French tend to think that wealth equals theft, or something close,they kept those ties quiet. Sarkozy, with his Rolexes and penchant for theyachts of millionaire friends, has broadcast that money's O.K.



The New York Times

September 20, 2007
Abbas Presses Rice on Mideast Talks


RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 20 - The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas,pressed Israel and the United States today to make sure that an upcomingMiddle East peace conference this fall tackles the big, politicallysensitive "final status" issues that have bedeviled peace negotiators since1979.

With two sentences during a joint press conference with the visitingSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Abbas dispensed with all of theusual diplomatic language that American officials have been using to try toreassure some Israelis who are uneasy about tackling the big issues.

For the past two months, Ms. Rice has talked about finding a "common set ofprinciples" while the Israeli foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, has expressedthe need for finding "commonalities" between Israelis and Palestinians.

Mr. Abbas today sidestepped all of that and went to the heart of the matter,spelling out Palestinian, and in many ways, American aims for the conferencein language anyone could understand.



The New York Times

September 20, 2007
Dubai Buys Large Stake in Nasdaq


Borse Dubai agreed today to take a stake in the Nasdaq stock exchange andbecome the first government-controlled stock exchange of the Middle East tohold a significant stake in an American rival, a step that may stirpolitical controversy in Washington.

In a complex four-way deal, Borse Dubai plans to take a 19.9 percent stakein Nasdaq and buy Nasdaq's 28 percent stake in the London Stock Exchange.Dubai will in turn let Nasdaq buy OMX, the Stockholm-based stock exchangeoperator, over which the two have been locked in a six-week bidding war. Ina separate statement, Qatar, which competes with Dubai as a financial centerin the region, said it bought 20 percent of the London exchange but does notcurrently intend to make an offer.

The agreement allows Borse Dubai, the fastest-growing financial center inthe Persian Gulf, to gain access to expertise for its one-month-oldenterprise and help it develop into a capital market center in thedeveloping world. For Nasdaq's chief executive, Robert Greifeld, the dealmeans he can finally fulfill his goal of creating a more global stockexchange after he failed to combine with the London exchange in the pastwhile the rival NYSE Group successfully merged with Euronext.



The Washington Post

When I Return to Pakistan

By Benazir Bhutto
Thursday, September 20, 2007; Page A21

I am returning to Pakistan on Oct. 18 to bring change to my country.Pakistan's future viability, stability and security lie in empowering itspeople and building political institutions. My goal is to prove that thefundamental battle for the hearts and minds of a generation can beaccomplished only under democracy.

The central issue facing Pakistan is moderation vs. extremism. Theresolution of this issue will affect the world, particularly South andCentral Asia and all Muslim nations. Extremism can flourish only in anenvironment where basic governmental social responsibility for the welfareof the people is neglected. Political dictatorship and social hopelessnesscreate the desperation that fuels religious extremism.



The Washington Post

A Lame-Duck Choice

By Robert D. Novak
Thursday, September 20, 2007; Page A21

According to conventional wisdom in Washington, opposition from SenateDemocratic leader Harry Reid killed President Bush's choice of Theodore B.Olson for attorney general. But that is not the whole truth. From the momentAlberto Gonzales resigned on Aug. 27, there was divided advice about Olsoninside the White House. Influential senior aides flinched at a difficultconfirmation, reflecting a disinclination to confront Democrats -- withconsequences for the last year of George W. Bush's presidency.

Before Reid issued his dictate, there was hand-wringing among thepresident's aides not only about Olson, a former solicitor general, but alsoabout other well-qualified prospects who might not meet with Reid'sapproval. That launched a three-week search for someone who could satisfySenate Democrats while not antagonizing the conservative Republican base --no easy task. The best Bush's talent scouts could do was Michael B. Mukasey,a 66-year-old retired federal judge who appears unqualified and ill-equippedfor the daunting task of rehabilitating the Justice Department.


The Washington Post

Shock Waves From Syria
Did Israel bomb a secret nuclear facility equipped by North Korea?
Thursday, September 20, 2007; Page A20

THERE'S BEEN no official confirmation of the targets or results of anIsraeli air raid in northeastern Syria on Sept. 6. Yet, like a subterraneanexplosion, the event is sending shock waves through the Middle East andbeyond. Syria has protested to the United Nations, though it hasn't beenvery clear about what it's protesting. On Tuesday, a front-page editorial inDamascus's main government-run newspaper criticized the United States fornot condemning the attack. An Israeli newspaper, meanwhile, notedtriumphantly that no nation other than North Korea had come to Syria'sdefense, rhetorically or otherwise.

What happened? Media accounts are beginning to converge on a report thatIsrael bombed a facility where it believed Syria was attempting to hatch itsown nuclear weapons program with North Korea's assistance. The Post's GlennKessler reported that the strike came three days after a ship carryingmaterial from North Korea docked at a Syrian port and delivered containersthat Israel believes held nuclear materials. It's not clear whether U.S.intelligence agencies concur with Israel's conclusion, and independentexperts have said that Syria lacks the resources for a credible nuclearweapons program.


The Washington Post

India's Long-Established Ties With Iran Straining Alliance With U.S.

By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, September 20, 2007; Page A15

NEW DELHI, Sept. 19 -- India's long-standing ties with Iran appear to bethreatening the beleaguered nuclear energy deal between Washington and NewDelhi and, more broadly, their growing strategic alliance.

The Bush administration has long expressed concern regarding India'srelations with Iran and its reluctance to help curtail Iran's nuclearprogram. On Wednesday, Richard A. Boucher, assistant secretary of state forSouth Asia, made clear that the administration is still looking for answersfrom New Delhi.


To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Information, news, and discussion about the legal recognition of same-sexcouples and their families, including marriages, domestic partnerships,civil unions, adoptions, foster children and similar issues.


From Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan

White House in Contempt

Dear Friend,

I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on the status of the contemptof Congress resolution in the House of Representatives.

As you may know, the Judiciary Committee passed a resolution before theAugust recess holding the White House and Harriet Miers in contempt ofCongress for their failure to provide documents and appear before thecommittee as legally required by subpoena.

The information we have received to date from the Justice Department fromour U.S. Attorneys investigation indicates the White House played a centralrole in the firing of the nine federal prosecutors. Yet, the White House hasstonewalled and consistently refused to cooperate with inquiries into thismatter.

At the heart of our investigation is the evidence uncovered suggesting thatthe nine U.S. Attorneys were fired for politically-motivated reasons, whileothers may have been retained because they were pursuing partisaninvestigations.

We have also discovered that job candidates' political contributions andaffiliations were considered in hiring decisions for nonpartisan positionsin the Department of Justice. Our job has been made more difficult byapparent misleading testimony from the Attorney General and other Departmentof Justice officials.

This politicization of our judicial system cannot be tolerated. Ourcitizens have a right to expect that federal prosecutions will be conductedin a fair and nonpartisan manner.

There are many steps we can take in this confrontation with the White House.Some are more extreme than others. What we must first do is get the factsthat show who made these decisions in the White House. Only once we havethis evidence can we adequately pursue justice.

What is now required is for the House to pass these contempt of Congresscitations and pursue legal action against the White House and Harriet Miersfor their failure to meet the requirements of the subpoenas. Hopefully thiscontempt of Congress resolution will soon have a vote on the floor of theHouse. I am not prepared to allow this administration to operate above thelaw.

Thank you for your continued support for a better democracy.

Your Friend,

John Conyers, Jr.


Louisiana case stirs outcry of race bias

Throngs to protest teens' prosecution
By Darryl Fears and Avis Thomas Lester, Washington Post | September 20,

WASHINGTON - Spurred by the Internet and a nationwide urban radio program bya popular disc jockey, tens of thousands of people are expected to descendon a sleepy rural Louisiana town today to protest what they say areexcessive criminal charges against six black teenagers involved in aschoolyard brawl.

About 500 tour buses bearing thousands of riders were scheduled to departfrom cities across the United States in the wee hours this morning for Jena,La., about 230 miles northwest of New Orleans. They will join others whowill travel by airplane, automobile caravans, and motorcycle convoys in whatorganizers say is a protest reminiscent of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s.

The demonstration was originally scheduled to coincide with the sentencingof one of the defendants. But, even though a state appeals court dismissedhis battery conviction last week, organizers decided to go ahead with therally. In addition, they asked people across the country to dress in blacktoday to show solidarity with the demonstrators.

As of yesterday, according to the local NAACP and news reports, organizerssaid they were hoping up to 40,000 people would converge on Jena, atwo-lane-highway town of 3,500. Though no one is sure whether the crowd willbe that large, Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco has ordered thechief of the State Police to work with the LaSalle Parish sheriff on crowdcontrol.

Even if the numbers do not reach the organizers' hopes, the march is anotherexample - the immigration rights protests of last year being another - ofhow radio, the Internet, and word of mouth can create a buzz and a unity ofpurpose.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

September 19, 2007

Obama Proposes Tax Cuts for Middle Class and Elderly

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 - Senator Barack Obama proposed a plan on Tuesday toprovide at least $80 billion a year in tax cuts to middle-class workers,homeowners and retirees, saying if he was elected president he would "endthe preferential treatment that's built into our tax code."

Mr. Obama said he would give a $500 tax credit to more than 150 millionworkers, create a tax credit for homeowners who do not itemize theirdeductions and eliminate income taxes for older taxpayers who make less than$50,000 a year. To pay for the plan, he said he would raise capital gainstaxes on the wealthy, close corporate loopholes and abolish tax breaks thathave saved hedge fund and private equity managers billions of dollars.

"If you talk about this in polite company, sooner or later you'll getaccused of waging class warfare," Mr. Obama said. "As if it's distasteful topoint out that some C.E.O.'s make more in 10 minutes than a worker makes in10 months."

As he pursues the Democratic presidential nomination, Mr. Obama, ofIllinois, is seeking to cast himself as an advocate for working Americans,arguing against special interests that he says have contributed to awidening gap between the rich and the middle class and poor. He said thenation's "social compact is starting to crumble."

In an address to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, Mr. Obama also proposedmajor simplifications to the tax system, with a goal of making basic taxfiling a five-minute exercise. For about 40 million Americans withoutcomplex taxes, he said, the government would essentially send a bill basedon electronic information from employers and banks.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: