Monday, October 01, 2007

GLBT DIGEST September 30, 2007

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Religion fostering intolerance

September 30, 2007
By William Butte

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make uslove one another" - Jonathan Swift, Irish cleric and satirist

Within Judeo-Christian theology, homosexuality has been misunderstood andcondemned from the time the ancient Hebrews mistakenly believed it wasdegrading behavior derived from paganism, to the equally erroneous belieffavored by today's conservative Christians who consider it chosen, evilbehavior derived from Satan.

So it was Swift's quote about religious-inspired hatred that came to mindearlier this month when I heard that the Rev. D. James Kennedy of CoralRidge Presbyterian Church had died.

Like the Rev. Jerry Falwell, that other recently deceased preacher ofpuritanism who infamously blamed 9-11 in part on the gay community, Kennedywas a modern-day preacher of hate, full of fire and brimstone - and a fewlies. He wasn't above the sin of false witness, such as his counterfactualclaim in a newsletter under the headline "Sex with children? Homosexuals sayyes!" that "Adult sex with children has been a crucial component of thehomosexual movement all along."

With the fervor of every 19th century Southern preacher who quoted the manyscriptures sanctioning slavery to rail against the emancipation of slaves,Kennedy focused on the few verses condemning homosexuality to rail againstthe emancipation of gay Americans from second-class citizenship. Opposingevery civil right, from protection against housing and job discrimination tohate crimes legislation and marriage equality, he instead offered the gaycommunity the "reparative therapy" of celibacy and prayer as an alternative.

But just as abolition created religious conflict and societal change yetleft behind the stain of racism, America again is in the midst of similarchanges.

Through social interaction and scientific research, our society's acceptanceof homosexuality as innate instead of evil has increased, which has createda more favorable atmosphere for gay rights legislation. It has also causedChristian denominations to debate a scriptural literalism that condemnshomosexuality as chosen behavior. Religious conflict and societal change,however, produce all types of repercussions - even for those who continue tofocus on homosexuality as illicit behavior.

Just days before Kennedy's death, his friend and acolyte, Fort LauderdaleMayor Jim Naugle, was removed from the county's Tourism Development Councilby a unanimous vote of county commissioners, after he spent the summerpublicly complaining about the city's epidemic of virtually nonexistentpublic restroom sex between gay men. Ironically, during this time, twomarried Republican congressmen were arrested for soliciting undercover malecops in restrooms.

Of course, the two lawmakers in question, Florida Rep. Bob Allen and IdahoSen. Larry Craig, both claim they are neither gay nor guilty, though Craig'ssexuality has long been questioned, and Allen chalked up his solicitation toracial fear. Instead of coming out of the closet earlier in life and perhapsfighting for the civil rights of all gay Americans, they both got married,aligned themselves and voted with a political party that vehemently opposesgay rights, relegated their same-sex attraction to illicit restroombehavior, and solicited their way to political ruin.

But as Bob Dylan would sing, the times they are a-changin'. Even in Iowa.

Those of us who view our sexuality as more than just behavior got avicarious thrill recently after a Polk County judge struck down Iowa's banon same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Before he put a hold on his rulingthe following day, one couple legally married. Sean Fritz and Tim McQuillan,turning Swift's quote around, found religious love through a Unitarianminister who married them on his front lawn.

Afterward, Fritz told McQuillan, "This is it. We're married. I love you."


Utah gay couple may loose kids because of their successful relationship. Thestate wants single closeted gay men as parents.

Sat, 09/29/2007 - 3:09pm by Editor

Three weeks ago, in Utah County, a niece asked her uncle to take her 4 kids.To care for them because she can't. She's dealing with drug-related criminalmatters - and the kids are aged 11, 6, 2-years, and 10 months. The father'snot able to care for them either.

The uncle happens to be gay, and in a long term relationship. Michael Valdezand Michael Oberg have been together for about 5 years. They have steadyjobs, a nice home, and no criminal record - but they aren't allowed by lawto take-in the needy kids.

Utah says that to adopt or be a foster parent, you must be legally married -or single - and not cohabitating. It doesn't license foster couples whoaren't legally married. In other words, gay Uncle Valdez could foster oradopt if he wasn't in a steady, thriving relationship. If he was "single".

Officials asked the court to take custody of the kids or grant custody tothe state's Division of Child and Family Services. The Daily Herald reportsthat, on Friday, the courts took custody, then granted Valdez temporarycustody of the children.

The judge said, "I see absolutely no reason why the kids can't stay wherethey're at."

more . . . . .


In SF, a fun-filled weekend to leave the car at home

Marisa Lagos, Chronicle Staff Writer

Saturday, September 29, 2007

If you're in San Francisco and you're into blues, leather, comedy, biking,running or blessing fishing boats, you're in luck this weekend.

But you just may want to leave your car at home.

A plethora of events will grace the city by the bay today and Sunday,including the Lovefest Parade and Celebration, the Blues Festival, theFolsom Street Fair and Comedy Day. Several bicycle riding events as well asthe Bridge to Bridge Run are also scheduled to take over - or at leastshare - many city streets.

Combined, the events are expected to equal a lot of fun - and a ton oftraffic headaches.

"There are just so many events - it's San Francisco, and everybody wants tobe here and do things here," said Maggie Lynch, spokeswoman for theMunicipal Transportation Agency, which runs the city's transit system andtraffic department. "We recommend, as always, that you take transit."

The Lovefest Parade - a huge parade ending with a dance party at CivicCenter - will begin at noon today at Second Street near Market Street;attendees will begin gathering around 10 a.m. Last year, the event attracted65,000 people. The party will affect 11 Muni lines in the downtown area andwill shut down Market Street for several hours.

more . . . . .



Gays to set up security patrol to curb attacks

John Kidman
September 30, 2007

FRUSTRATED by a lack of official action on homophobic violence, the gay andlesbian community will organise its own security patrols at popular eventsand party venues.

The GenQ Street Angels want volunteers with policing, military, security ormedical experience to join.

They could be patrolling in Sydney's Oxford Street precinct and the KingStreet strip in Newtown as early as the first weekend in November.

Organiser and founder Andrew Stopps said he hoped thepatrols would initially focus on Friday and Saturday nights between 9pm and3am, when as many as 10,000 partygoers flood Surry Hills, Darlinghurst andPaddington.

"We're hoping that just by their presence, the Angels will deter people fromany sort of threatening behaviour," Mr Stopps said.

more . . . . .


Obama Personal Finances Not Chump Change

by The Associated Press
Posted: September 29, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Springfield, Illinois) Barack Obama has two best-selling books, a nicesalary as a senator and a wife with a handsome income. Earlier this year hereported assets of up to $1.14 million in addition to his Chicago home.

That's small change to some of his presidential rivals, but more than enoughto create entanglements and controversies for Obama, a Democrat who has beenpositioning himself as a friend of the little guy on financial matters.

Recently, he scolded Wall Street executives for focusing too much on theirown success and not enough on what's good for the whole nation. And hecalled for tax cuts for the working poor.

"I didn't just discover working folks on the campaign trail. That's whatI've been doing my entire adult life," he told union members Tuesday as herecounted his experience as a community organizer and civil rights attorney.

Obama's own success allowed him to buy a $1.65 million mansion near theUniversity of Chicago in 2005. Political insider Antoin "Tony" Rezko, whowas under federal investigation, bought the vacant lot next door and soldpart of it to Obama, giving the senator more space.

more . . . . .


Federal DOMA Crafter Newt Gingrich Nixes White House Bid

by The Associated Press
Posted: September 29, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for presidentin 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain ashead of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.

"Newt is not running," spokesman Rick Tyler said. "It is legallyimpermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (forWinning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president."

Gingrich decided "to continue on raising the challenges America faces andfinding solutions to those challenges" as the group's chairman, Tyler said,"rather than pursuing the presidency."

Over the past few months, Gingrich had stoked speculation he might enter thecrowded GOP field. He noted that Republicans, especially conservatives, wereunhappy with the candidates already in the race.

Yet he also has spoken positively of all the leading contenders, includingformer New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney,former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

more . . . . .


Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrief

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

To Form a More Perfect Union: Marriage Equality News

Go to the website, above, for the following articles:



[This was sent to Ms. Mathis, spokeswoman for the paper, over theweekend, and I hope to receive a reply from her on Monday morning.This reversal in reporting a key fact is significant.]

Catherine Mathis
The New York Times

Dear Catherine,

As a gay activist, I have been involved with organizing streetprotests and candlelight memorials for Iranian teenagers Ayaz Marhoniand Mahmoud Asgari since July 2005, when news and horrific photos oftheir hanging in Mashad began circulating on the web.

I believe one reason they were executed was because they engaged inhomosexual relations, and that the Iranian government threw extracharges at the boys to obscure the inherent gay element to their hangings.

There have been questions raised by non-governmental organizations,particularly Human Rights Watch, about why Marhoni and Asgari were putto death in the public square, and HRW has never gone on recordstating conclusively either that the boys were gay or killed forhomosexual relations.

In the July 29, 2005, Times article by Nazila Fathi on the case, shenever used the words gay or homosexual, even to report that in the gayand human rights communities, debate raged about whether the hangingswere gay-related or part of a larger anti-gay campaign by the IslamicRepublic's leaders. Fathi also prominently cited the investigation byHRW and quoted a researcher for the NGO high-up in the story.




Anglican call for gay 'inclusion'

Anglican leaders from Scotland and Mexico are expected to call for gay people's full inclusion in the church, in a row which has split the Communion.

Their call is anticipated at a conference in Manchester Cathedral to promote "inclusive theology".

It follows last week's undertaking by the US Episcopal Church to modify its liberal approach to homosexuality.

Many African Anglicans threatened to leave the worldwide Communion after the first openly gay bishop was ordained.

Autonomous organisation

Archbishop Carlos Touche-Porter of Mexico, and Primus Idris Jones of the Scottish Episcopal Church, are taking part in the conference.

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott said that their call will illustrate the determination of liberal Anglicans to prevent what they fear could be a traditionalist domination of the Communion.

He added that the Communion is delicately poised after the bishops of the American Episcopal Church agreed not to authorise liturgy for blessing same-sex relationships or to repeat the ordination of an actively gay bishop.

But the US church refused to provide an autonomous organisation for traditionalists in America.


Salt Lake Tribune

Cheney to address secret group

The conservative Council for National Policy will meet in downtown Salt Lake

By Thomas Burr The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated: 09/26/2007 02:11:44 AM MDT

WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney will speak to a super-secret, conservative policy group in Utah on Friday during his second trip to the state this year.

Cheney will address the fall meeting of the Council for National Policy, a group whose self-described mission is to promote "a free-enterprise system, a strong national defense and support for traditional Western values."

The organization - made up of few hundred powerful conservative activists - holds confidential meetings and members are advised not to use the name of the group in communications, according to a New York Times profile of the group.

"The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before [or] after a meeting,'' a list of rules obtained by The Times showed. The group did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Czech Republic President Václav Klaus is also expected to address the Council for National Policy's meeting in downtown Salt Lake City. After his speech, Cheney will meet with Klaus, the vice president's office said

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, will also be in Utah on Friday but his campaign did not respond to a question about whether he would talk with the group.



Forwarded from Gus Kein:

I urge you to consider my e-mail below and express your opinion to Commissioner Rodstrom or your commissioner directly. You can get their e-mail addresses from the City of Fort Lauderdale Web Site.

In Germany, they were fond of putting together "lists" and restricting where people lived, but that was 1940, couldn't happen today right?

Please forward widely if you think this is important.

Thank you for your consideration of this important matter.

Gus Kein

From: Gus Kein []
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2007 9:03 AM
To: ''
Subject: Proposed Sexual Offender Exclusion Zone

Commissioner Rodstrom:

I am opposed to the ordinance being considered which would prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,400 feet of a school, day care, school bus stop, or other places where children congregate. According to the Sun-Sentinel, this would limit these people to 10% of areas left in the City that do not meet this criteria.

The Sexual Offender law is written so broadly that people engaged in consensual sexual activity with other adults have been placed on this list. The list includes people who have had non-violent sexual activities with consenting minors (i.e. an 20 year old dating a 17 year old). Many gay men, having been arrested for having sex in a public location with another consenting adult such as inside a car would qualify (heterosexuals doing the same thing are often given a free pass and a grin from the officer). Their lives are often destroyed because of our puritanical views on sex. These "sexual criminals" are more feared than someone who commits a violent crime such as armed robbery or murder. Yet, we don't keep a list of where these folks live do we?

By passing this law we would follow the herd mentality that results when one horrible tragedy, such as the Jessica Lundsford case, gets widespread media attention. Yet most sexual offenders do not fall into this category. They have been found guilty of a crime, fulfilled their sentences, and unless they have committed another crime should be free to go about their business.

I have known people who have been labeled "sexual predators" because of one non-violent consenting sexual act. Their lives are forever made more difficult because of a "crime" that doesn't even exist in Europe or even the State of Colorado (age of consent is 16 years old). I'm all for putting rapists or child killers behind bars, but as is often the case, public hysteria often trumps rational thought and people's lives are ruined in the process.

While I know that it may be politically difficult for you to do so, I urge you to vote NO on this ordinance.

Sincerely yours,

Gus Kein
City of Fort Lauderdale


Forwarded from Paul Harris

Counterpunch - Sep 27, 2007

The Dark Side of Rev. Billy Graham: A Prince of War Exposed

"The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep thattheir interests and his own are the same." -Stendhal

The propaganda machine of the Evangelical Christian Right will soon bein counter attack mode. One of its darling preachers is about to takeit on the proverbial chin. The Rev. Billy Graham, who has created amultimillion dollar media empire, that a Rupert Murdock would envy, isthe subject of a shocking expose' due out on Nov. 15, 2007. It'sentitled, "The Prince of War: Billy Graham's Crusade for a WhollyChristian Empire." The author is Cecil Bothwell. He hails fromAsheville, North Carolina and is an award winning investigativereporter. Bothwell's unflattering portrait of Rev. Graham shows him asa wily warmonger and a lackey for the Establishment. He describes Rev.Graham as a public figure who: "Undermined the Founders' skepticalDeism and sought to rebrand the U.S. as a Christian nation, [and] itsarmies [as] the rightful instruments of [a] Christian crusade andempire."

Bothwell documents that there wasn't a war the U.S. was involved inthat Rev. Graham couldn't bless. In fact, he reveals that during thehorrific Vietnam conflict, (1959-75), he had urged the then-President,Richard M. Nixon, to bomb North Vietnam! In a 13-page letter, that Rev.Graham had forwarded to the White House in April, 1969, it was stated:"There are tens of thousands of North Vietnamese defectors to bomb andinvade the North. Why should all the fighting be in theSouth?...Especially let them bomb the dikes which could over nightdestroy the economy of North Vietnam." Mr. Bothwell underscored thatsuch a military action against the dikes, a huge complex of earthworks,would probably "kill a million people and wipe out an already poornation's agricultural system" He added that the advice in Graham'stransmittal "fell on receptive ears. Not longer after, Nixon moved theair war north and west."

There is more. After the deadly Kent State U. affair, (May 4, 1970),where four students, who were protesting the Nixon-HenryKissinger-inspired bombing of Cambodia, were killed by Ohio's NationalGuard troops, Rev. Graham invited the mostly unbalanced Nixon toaddress his crusade.



Former Congressman Mark Foley's scandal seen as turning point

By Josh Hafenbrack
September 30, 2007

A year removed from his stunning retreat from power, Mark Foley is not justa man. He is a symbol for a weakened Republican Party and, experts say, alingering liability as his old allies try to regain their political footing.

On Sept. 29, 2006, the veteran, well-liked congressman resigned in shameafter illicit instant-message exchanges he had with teenage congressionalpages came to light.

Today, Foley has disappeared from public life, but his name is notforgotten.

"It's been that long already?" said Rand Hoch, a Democratic activist who hasknown Foley since he was an aspiring politician in the 1980s.

Much has changed since Foley's resignation sent shock waves across thenation. Foley's scandal helped lead to the Republicans' downfall in 2006,but it only played a part. One of the leading causes was the Iraq war, whichremains unpopular with the public. Republicans lost their grip on power inWashington, D.C., with Democrats seizing control of both the House andSenate.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

September 30, 2007
Despite Denials, Gays Insist They Exist, if Quietly, in Iran

TEHRAN, Sept. 29 - When Reza, a 29-year-old Iranian, heard that his president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had denied in New York that homosexuals were in Iran, he was shocked but not surprised. Reza knows the truth. He is gay.

Leaning back in his black leather desk chair at home in Tehran, he said there were, in fact, plenty of gay men and women in Iran. The difference between their lives and those of gays in Europe and North America is one of recognition and legitimacy.

"You can have a secret gay life as long you don't become an activist and start demanding rights," he said, speaking on the condition that his family name not be used because he feared retribution.

Reza, who shaves his head and often wears an earring in his left ear, has lived in Europe extensively. Gay life in Iran, he said, "is just complicated in the same way that it is for other groups, like workers and feminists, who don't have many rights."

Since Mr. Ahmadinejad uttered his words at Columbia University last Monday, discussion of homosexuality has been stifled here. Sociologists and other analysts normally willing to discuss such issues on the record with a reporter suddenly were not.



The New York Times

September 30, 2007
Michael Says Trying to Smoke Less Marijuana

Filed at 10:16 a.m. ET

LONDON (Reuters) - British singer George Michael is trying to reduce his consumption of marijuana, the pop star told the BBC on Sunday. "I'm constantly trying to smoke less marijuana. I'd like to take less and to a degree it's a problem," Michael told BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs program.

"Is it a problem in my life? Is it getting in the way of my life? I really don't think," added Michael. "I'm a happy man and I can afford my marijuana so that's not a problem."

Previously Michael, who has sold more than 85 million records with hits such as "Careless Whisper," has admitted to a dependency on prescription drugs and has called marijuana much less harmful than alcohol.

Britain relaxed its laws against cannabis in 2004 but warned the country's estimated 3.5 million users the drug remained illegal and possession of even a small amount could still lead to arrest.

Michael infuriated mental health charities last year by smoking a cannabis joint during a television interview and saying, "This stuff keeps me sane and happy."

In June the 44-year-old Michael was banned from driving for two years and sentenced to 100 hours of community service after admitting driving when unfit due to drugs.


The New York Times

Groups Plan New Branch to Represent Anglicanism

September 30, 2007

Bishops from 13 Anglican and Episcopal groups in North America announced Friday that they had formed a partnership as the first step to creating a rival to the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The announcement by the group, the Common Cause Partnership, marks a widening of the fissures within the Episcopal Church and in the greater communion over the church's liberal stance on homosexuality.

Earlier in the week in New Orleans, the bishops of the Episcopal Church defied a directive by leaders of the Anglican Communion asking them to set up an alternate structure for conservative churches, to stop consecrating openly gay and lesbian bishops and to ban the blessing of same-sex unions.

At the end of a three-day meeting in Pittsburgh, the College of Bishops of the Common Cause Partnership announced a timeline for organization and a plan to appeal to individual archbishops in the global Communion for recognition as the true representative of Anglicanism in North America. Some Common Cause bishops attended the New Orleans meeting but left early.



The New York Times

September 30, 2007
The Roberts Court Returns

The Supreme Court begins its new term tomorrow as bitterly divided as it has ever been. There are three hardened camps: four very conservative justices, four liberals, and a moderate conservative, Justice Anthony Kennedy, hovering in between. The division into rigid blocs is unfortunate, because it makes the court seem more like a political body than a legal one. Justice ennedy's tendency to vote with the most conservative justices also means that there is a real danger the court will do serious damage to important freedoms this term.

At his confirmation hearings, Chief Justice John Roberts told the Senate he had "no agenda," and famously compared his role to that of an umpire calling balls and strikes. He has also said he wants more consensus on the court, and fewer 5-to-4 decisions. Those were fine sound bites, but in reality Chief Justice Roberts quickly settled into a bloc with his fellow conservatives Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The controversial 5-to-4 decisions have kept coming.



The New York Times

September 30, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
9/11 Is Over


Not long ago, the satirical newspaper The Onion ran a fake news story that began like this:

"At a well-attended rally in front of his new ground zero headquarters Monday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani officially announced his plan to run for president of 9/11. 'My fellow citizens of 9/11, today I will make you a promise,' said Giuliani during his 18-minute announcement speech in front of a charred and torn American flag. 'As president of 9/11, I will usher in a bold new 9/11 for all.' If elected, Giuliani would inherit the duties of current 9/11 President George W. Bush, including making grim facial expressions, seeing the world's conflicts in terms of good and evil, and carrying a bullhorn at all state functions."

Like all good satire, the story made me both laugh and cry, because it reflected something so true - how much, since 9/11, we've become "The United States of Fighting Terrorism." Times columnists are not allowed to endorse candidates, but there's no rule against saying who will not get my vote: I will not vote for any candidate running on 9/11. We don't need another president of 9/11. We need a president for 9/12. I will only vote for the 9/12 candidate.

What does that mean? This: 9/11 has made us stupid. I honor, and weep for, all those murdered on that day. But our reaction to 9/11 - mine included - has knocked America completely out of balance, and it is time to get things right again.



The New York Times

September 30, 2007
Op-Ed Contributors
Blogging Ahmadinejad in Tehran

AMERICANS might be forgiven for thinking they have heard everything there is to say about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Columbia University, but the story occupied Iranian bloggers at least as much as it dominated the American news cycle. Although Iranian authorities have introduced laws requiring citizens to register their blogs and Web sites with the government, Persian is the 10th most widely used language on blogs worldwide, according to Technorati, the blog-tracking service.

Despite official harassment and intimidation, Iranian blogs remain a vibrant source of debate and provide a valuable insight into popular opinion inside the country. Bloggers tend to be young, well educated and not very supportive of President Ahmadinejad, who typically attracts followers from the urban poor.

Here are excerpts from the conversation as it unfolded in Iran last week. They have been translated by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center from the Persian.

- Tom Parker, executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center.

Someone who denies the Holocaust and promises the downfall of the Western world will inevitably remind Westerners of bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

Ahmadinejad comes from a country that burns the American flag, the symbol of American identity, and shouts its desire for the death and destruction of the government and its president.

American anger is understandable. Maybe it comes from the same source as the anger of the Iranian students at Amirkabir University in Tehran who confronted Ahmadinejad and his entourage.

- Republic,, Sept. 23

Can anyone imagine George Bush coming to Tehran and then criticizing the Islamic Republic's policies in a speech? Is it plausible to imagine George Bush speaking about wiping Palestine off the map? Could George Bush talk about sending democracy to Tehran in Tehran? Would George Bush even be provided with security or would plain-clothed operatives be sent to "spontaneously" attack him?



The New York Times

Jena, O. J. and the Jailing of Black America

September 30, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor
Cambridge, Mass.

THE miscarriage of justice at Jena, La. - where five black high school students arrested for beating a white student were charged with attempted murder - and the resulting protest march tempts us to the view, expressed by several of the marchers, that not much has changed in traditional American racial relations. However, a remarkable series of high-profile incidents occurring elsewhere in the nation at about the same time, as well as the underlying reason for the demonstrations themselves, make it clear that the Jena case is hardly a throwback to the 1960s, but instead speaks to issues that are very much of our times.

What exactly attracted thousands of demonstrators to the small Louisiana town? While for some it was a simple case of righting a grievous local injustice, and for others an opportunity to relive the civil rights era, for most the real motive was a long overdue cry of outrage at the use of the prison system as a means of controlling young black men.

America has more than two million citizens behind bars, the highest absolute and per capita rate of incarceration in the world. Black Americans, a mere 13 percent of the population, constitute half of this country's prisoners. A tenth of all black men between ages 20 and 35 are in jail or prison; blacks are incarcerated at over eight times the white rate.



The Washington Post

A Small Outbreak of Mideast Hope

By Jim Hoagland
Sunday, September 30, 2007; B07

NEW YORK -- Hopes for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal that will isolate the Hamas radicals who control the Gaza Strip have brightened measurably in recent days, according to European officials visiting here. The real news is that the Europeans report this possible outcome without a frown.

Their cautious but clear optimism is based primarily on movement in the private preparatory talks between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who are both so weakened politically that they may have no place to go but toward peace.

There is no certainty that the November conference the Bush administration hopes to sponsor will work or even happen. In the Middle East, an unexpected day of atrocity or domestic political upheaval can cancel months of diplomatic groundbreaking. The safe bet is always the same: no peace now.



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