Saturday, February 24, 2007

GLBT DIGEST - February 24, 2007

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The New York Times

February 23, 2007
R.I. AG's Sister Weds Her Partner
Filed at 9:52 a.m. ET

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- Rhode Island's attorney general said his opinion this week advising his state to recognize same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts had nothing to do with his sister's wedding to her partner there days earlier.

Attorney General Patrick Lynch said the advisory opinion, which is not binding, was issued in response to a question from a state agency and was based on legal research.

''No disrespect to my sister, who I love very much, but it has zero impact on it,'' he said.

In Wednesday's opinion, Lynch said there was no strong reason for Rhode Island to deny recognition to gay marriages performed in Massachusetts because Rhode Island does not have a law banning such unions.

The opinion came a week after Lynch attended the Feb. 15 wedding of his sister Margaret Lynch-Gadaleta and her partner of 18 years in Attleboro, Mass.


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Parent Suit on Gay Marriage Talk Tossed
Filed at 4:03 p.m. ET

BOSTON (AP) -- A federal judge on Friday threw out a lawsuit filed by parents who wanted to keep their young children from learning about gay marriage in school.

U.S. District Judge Mark Wolf said federal courts have decided in other cases that parents' rights to exercise their religious beliefs are not violated when their children are exposed to contrary ideas in school.

Schools are ''entitled to teach anything that is reasonably related to the goals of preparing students to become engaged and productive citizens,'' Wolf said in his ruling.

Tonia and David Parker of Lexington sued after their 5-year-old son brought home a book from kindergarten that depicted a gay family. Another Lexington couple joined the suit after a second-grade teacher read the class a fairy tale about two princes falling in love.

Both couples claimed Lexington school officials violated their parental rights to teach their own morals to their children. They said they wanted to be notified before gay couples were discussed so they could remove their children from classrooms.


The Express Gay News

Gay group's school workshop on bullying assailed by some parents School board still supporting program
SWANTON, Vt. (AP) | Feb 23, 3:02 PM

Plans for a high school workshop by a gay advocacy group are getting a lot of scrutiny in the northwestern corner of the state.

A conservative radio talk show host has criticized Mississquoi Valley Union High School officials for allowing the two-day series of panel discussions with a group dedicated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth. It's scheduled for next month.

Paul Beaudry — host of radio shows on WRSA in St. Albans and WDEV in Waterbury — has called for the invitation to the group Outright Vermont to be revoked. That group wants to discuss ways to combat bullying and violence.

"I don't think this should be in the schools. If you go to their Web site, they're all about recruiting children into the homosexual lifestyle," said Beaudry, whose child attends the school.

The upcoming workshops were one of the subjects of a School Board meeting Thursday, which drew a crowd of about 75 that was nearly evenly divided between supporters and opponents. Neither the school board nor the superintendent indicated the workshops would be canceled.


Reuters Foundation

New AIDS drugs aim to combat resistant HIV strains
23 Feb 2007 16:18:04 GMT
Source: Reuters

By Deena Beasley and Ransdell Pierson

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, Feb 23 (Reuters) - More than 25 years into the AIDS epidemic, many drugs are used to treat HIV, but an alarming number of patients are becoming resistant to therapy, driving research into new ways to combat the virus.

Data from clinical trials of several promising new products will be unveiled at a conference of leading HIV researchers in Los Angeles next week.

"There is a confluence of new drugs in the pipeline that people are pretty excited about," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

These include next-generation versions of longstanding HIV fighters as well as drugs that combat the virus through innovative mechanisms, including blocking it from entering immune system cells.

The human immunodeficiency virus that causes AIDS infects more than 1 million people in the United States and nearly 40 million worldwide. An estimated 40,000 Americans become infected each year.


Published February 23, 2007

Family: Anthos slipped into coma, given last rites
Midday update

By John Schneider
Lansing State Journal

Andrew Anthos, the victim of what appears to be an anti-gay assault in Detroit, slipped into a coma Thursday night and was administered last rites, his niece, Athena Fedenis, reported Friday.

"His breathing is very shallow and doctors don't expect him to make it through the next 24 hours," Fedenis said.

Known in Lansing for his attempts get public officials to illuminate the Capitol dome with red, white and blue lights, the flamboyant Anthos was attacked Feb. 13 in front of his Detroit apartment building.

According to family members, witnesses said the attack came after a fellow passenger on a city bus took offense to Anthos' singing, then followed him off the bus.The man then reportedly called Anthos a "faggot" and beat him with a pipe.

Detroit Police spokesman Leon Rahmaan declined Friday to assign a motive to the assailant and said no arrest has been made.


The Independent Alligator

Friday, February 23, 2007 1:00 a.m.

Transgender alum works for equality

Alligator Staff Writer

Fear of insults or attacks convinced Ivana Black to hide her transgender identity when she enrolled at UF in 2004. Black had faced discrimination before and did not want to be targeted again, she said. She used her long hair and convincing curves to pass as a woman. But when she noticed that other transgender students were reluctant to embrace or reveal their own identities, she felt compelled to come out.

"In order for me to feel comfortable and for other people to be comfortable, I had to be visible (as a transgender)," she said.

During her stay at UF, Black worked toward making UF a more welcoming place for transgender students by educating people about transgender issues and culture. By the time Black graduated, she had made UF a home, but it still had a long way to go. The Student Body constitution, for example, didn't have a protection for transgender students.

But that could change if students approve a referendum during Student Government elections, which will be held Tuesday and Wednesday.

If the referendum is approved, the Student Body constitution's nondiscrimination clause will be amended to include the terms "gender identity and expression."


Express Gay News

Please listen

OK, I admit it. I’m a geek. My favorite kind of “music” is NPR .

In moments like this morning, I know why. This morning, Morning Edition ran a Story Corps segment that made me cry in my car. While I was driving.

The interview was between a 14 year old girl and her mother. The mother, Sue Hyde, told the story about how hard it was to grow up in rural Illinois in a large nuclear family, knowing that she liked girls. At 19, Sue came out to her own mother, whose first reaction was to ask “what did I do wrong?”

I’m sure many of us can relate.

Several years later, Sue’s mother became gravely ill. Sue and her partner sat up with her the night before she died, and during one of her last moments of being awake and aware, Sue’s mother told her and her partner that she wanted them to be happy.

By this time in the interview, Sue is crying and telling her own daughter, Jesse, that she doesn’t want Jesse to have to wait so long for her blessing. And Jesse, in turn, assures her mom that she knows and she is.

It was one of those moments that are almost indescribable – it was the universal story of how much we want our parents to love and approve of us, and the joy and relief that comes with getting that love and approval after uncertainty or even denial. To listen to it being shared through yet another generation was so sweet. I wish I had enough money to give those Story Corps geniuses a million dollars to keep up the amazing work.

Possibly the most remarkable thing about this interview is the fact that the word “lesbian” is never even uttered – perhaps especially since Sue is a professional organizer in our community. But this story is all about being a human being, a daughter, and a mother. And yet, the fact that Sue is a lesbian is critical to her human struggle, and clear in the context of the interview.

Please listen. Don’t read the essay, or do, but don’t stop there. The written version doesn’t begin to convey the touching, difficult, love and loss in the interview.

Liza Barry-Kessler’s blog can be found at .



Gays Told STD Vaccine 'Waste Of Money'
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 23, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Sydney, Australia) The scientist largely responsible for the development of a vaccine to protect men from genital warts and cancers says it is unlikely to help gay men.

The warning from Prof. Ian Frazer comes after reports from the UK that gay men have been access to the drug Gardasil.

Gardasil protects against the sexually transmitted infection, human papillomavirus (HPV). It has been approved for use in males and females from the ages of nine to 26 in the US, Britain and Australia.

The BBC reports that a large number of gay men have been demanding access to the drug an an effort to block anal cancer and genital warts. The British broadcaster reports that a number of private clinics are offering it to men at a cost of about $1,000 for the three-dose treatment. One London clinic told the BBC it had immunized dozens of gay men in the past six weeks.

"It's their money and their choice," Frazer, an Australian, told the Australian Associated Press on Friday.

"But the reality is that adult males who have sex with other males, and who have been in anything other than a monogamous relationship, are very unlikely to benefit."

He said it was true gay men were at a much higher risk of anal cancer and genital warts, particularly if they are HIV-positive.

But Frazer said that to be effective in preventing anal cancer the shots must be administered to people under the age of 26 and preferably to those closer to nine or ten, and that many promiscuous gay men likely already have at least one of the four strains of HPV.

Some British scientists disagree. They argue that the drug should be made available to all adults, saying even the most promiscuous person would not have encountered all four strains that Gardasil combats.



Romney: 'Traditional Marriage Parents' Best For Kids
by The Associated Press
Posted: February 23, 2007 - 3:30 pm ET

(Greenville, South Carolina) Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said that traditional marriage is essential for education in the U.S. to improve, and he recited a schoolyard ditty to underscore his point to gathering of Republican women.

"First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage," the presidential hopeful told a crowd of about 175 people gathered at a private club.

He said student success is closely tied to married couples getting involved in their children's education.

"Every child in America deserves a mom and a dad," Romney said. "We've got to have marriage before we have babies if we're going to have parental involvement in our schools."

Romney also told the crowd that he favors the establishment of charter schools and a system of increased pay for some teachers. "It's time for teaching to be recognized as the profession it is. This is not making widgets," he said.



Another Jihad

by Libby Post

13 here. 74 there. Tens of thousands actually when you add up all the civilians who have been killed in Iraq since the Commando-in-Chief began his crusade for democracy.

Like the Crusades of the Middle Ages, all this conflict is doing is causing more bloodshed, religious division and misunderstanding and the persecution of innocent people. In addition to the people who have lost their lives because of sectarian violence, there is a systematic sexual cleansing that is targeting gays, lesbians and heterosexual women who don’t tow the strict Islamic line.

While the media routinely reports about the killing of civilians and our own military personnel, no one has paid much attention to the jihad against lesbians and gays in Iraq. While this is disturbing, it’s not surprising. Say you’re a gay Iraqi and you meet up with NBC’s Richard Engle. If he does a story on you, you’re as good as dead. It will take Iraqi exiles and human rights activists outside of the country to bring this issue to the forefront.

At a Faith, Homophobia and Human Rights conference this past weekend in London, Ali Hili, the leader of an exiled Iraqi LGBT rights groups, told the attendees that the militias blamed for the murder of hundreds of lesbians and gays are sanctioned by the Iraqi government and the folks occupying the country, namely the U.S. Armed Forces, are doing nothing to stop the killings.

The Badr and Sadr militias—the armed wings of the two main Shia parties that control the Iraqi government—are routinely rounding up men and women who they suspect of being gay or lesbian. Most of this activity has been in Baghdad. According to Hili, once people are taken into custody they are never heard from again.


Forwarded from GLSEN South Florida

Soulforce Equality Ride Begins March 8


Will Challenge the Anti-gay Policies at 32 Schools.

The 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride launches in just a few weeks! 56 riders,50 days, 32 schools, two buses, and thousands of conversations about socialjustice for LGBT people.

Did you know that over 200 schools still practice and teach discriminationagainst openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students? Take forexample Baylor University with 14,000 students:

"Baylor will be guided by the understanding that human sexuality is a giftfrom the creator God and that the purposes of this gift includes (1) theprocreation of human life and (2) the uniting and strengthening of themarital bond in self-giving love. These purposes are to be achieved throughheterosexual relationships within marriage. Misuses of God's gift will beunderstood to include, but not be limited to, sexual abuse, sexualharassment, sexual assault, incest, adultery, fornication and homosexualacts."

Such policies are not in place just to give LGBT students a false sense ofinferiority and heterosexual students a false sense of superiority. Thesepolicies are strongly enforced! In April 2006 while the first Equality Ridewas on the road, the University of the Cumberlands in Williamsburg, Kentuckyexpelled student Jason Johnson for revealing he was gay on his MySpace page.Other schools state they will let LGBT students attend, but a closerexamination of their policies shows they discriminate against any openly gaystudents.

Before the Equality Ride, the antigay policies of these schools had goneunchallenged. Now in 2007, Soulforce is excited to launch the secondEquality Ride. And from today until March 8th (when the 2007 Equality Ridearrives at the first school) philanthropist and Soulforce supporter BruceBastian will match every financial contribution to the Equality Ride up to$25,000!

You can meet the fifty-six riders at

In their own words, read what brought each rider to give up two months to goon this journey for LGBT justice. If their stories resonate with you,please sponsor one or more riders. If you choose, your name will appear ontheir sponsor page showing your support.


All eyes on Ellen

Our favorite trailblazer already has America at her feet—and now, as thefirst openly gay host of the Academy Awards, Ellen DeGeneres is ready to winhearts all over the world.

By Anne Stockwell

Excerpted from The Advocate February 27, 2007

It should come as no surprise that Ellen DeGeneres is hosting the 79thannual Academy Awards. How could she not? With her warm, welcoming vibe andunparalleled comic timing, she’s probably the best performer alive for thejob. But the occasion is no less momentous for that. Think of it: OnFebruary 25, on televisions around the globe, a handsome, out Americanlesbian sporting a tuxedo will be the face of the Oscars, the mother of allawards shows, the biggest night in the entertainment universe. And Ellenwill be making history—again.

DeGeneres is the 66th performer to host the Academy Awards, and only thesecond woman to host solo. There’s a reason that group is so small. “Theshow is L-I-V-E, and there’s no two ways about it,” says Sid Ganis,president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “It doesn’tmean it’s live minus an hour, it means it’s live.”


The New York Times

Gay Jews Connect Their Experience To Story of Purim

By Nicole Neroulias
Religion News Service
Saturday, February 24, 2007; Page B08

As a child, Idit Klein celebrated Purim by wearing homemade gowns and tiarasto play the beautiful Queen Esther. She fantasized about how she, like theheroine who bravely confessed her faith to save her fellow Jews in ancientPersia, could have somehow rescued her relatives from the Holocaust.

Thirty years later, Klein, the director of Keshet, a Boston-based advocacygroup for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Jews, likens Esther'sfearful revelation of her religious faith to the experience of coming out ofthe closet.

"Purim is really a quintessential coming-out story," said Klein, now 34."When I came out, I immediately felt the parallels between the experienceand the Esther story. There are wonderful and exciting and obvious parallelsto the experience of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people."


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Protecting All Students

Like all too many school districts, Toms River, N.J., has done a poor job of protecting gay students from bullying. According to the New Jersey Supreme Court, the district punished students for being one minute late for class, but made harassing another child for being gay punishable only after a third offense.

In a landmark ruling this week, the court unanimously held that public school districts like Toms River’s are liable for damages if they fail to take reasonable steps to stop prolonged anti-gay harassment of a student by another student. It correctly found that students had a right to be protected against this sort of abuse.

The decision changes the legal landscape in New Jersey, and we hope it will be the start of a new national approach to the problem.

A study by the National Mental Health Association a few years ago found that more than three-quarters of teenagers reported that students who were gay or thought to be gay were teased and bullied in their schools and communities.

The anonymous student who brought the suit against Toms River schools clearly deserved better. He complained of being taunted almost daily from fourth grade on. In high school, he was physically attacked twice, and he said he eventually had to change schools. School administrators disciplined the worst offenders, but failed to address the overall school climate by taking such basic steps as talking to parents and holding student assemblies to make it clear that harassment would not be tolerated.

The court’s ruling provides much-needed support to some of the nation’s most vulnerable young people, and it sets a worthy standard for courts and educators nationwide.


The Washington Post

Thursday, March 1, 2 p.m. ET
Life of a Gay Pro Athlete: John Amaechi

Author, former NBA player
Thursday, March 1, 2007; 2:00 PM

Former NBA player John Amaechi discusses his book, "Man in the Middle," and his struggle to reconcile his sexuality with his life as a pro basketball player.
Amaechi will be online Thursday, March 1 at 2 p.m. to take your questions and comments.

Submit your questions and comments any time before or during the discussion to -


The Washington Post

Abuse Victims Demand More Than a Check From the Church

By Alan Cooperman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A01

In life, Neal and Jean Evans were very close to their parish priest. In death, less than 20 feet of gently sloping grass separated their graves from his in the Roman Catholic section of Forest Lawn cemetery, just outside of Asheville, N.C.

The Evanses never realized that the priest, William J. Kuder, had serially molested three of their sons beginning when each turned 9. But the sons certainly knew; they found the sight of his tombstone so painful that for years they avoided visiting the cemetery altogether.

On Feb. 6, as part of a legal settlement with the Evans brothers, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh unearthed the priest's remains and moved them to another cemetery five miles away.

"It was like desecrating my parents to have him there," said Jim Evans, 61, a general contractor in Greensboro, N.C. "Because they never knew in life. But you know that in the hereafter, they knew."

Across the country, victims of sexual abuse by priests are becoming more assertive in demanding compensation other than money. Church officials, reeling from an estimated $1.5 billion in settlements and other costs related to the sex abuse scandal, are often willing to oblige.



$24-Million Settlement In Lawsuit Against AIDS Drug Maker
by Newscenter Staff
Posted: February 24, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) An organization that fights for fair drug prices says it has reached a settlement in a nationwide class-action lawsuit against EMD Serono and Merck Serono International.

The $24-million settlement resolves claims that Serono wrongfully encouraged doctors to prescribe the AIDS drug Serostim to patients for whom it was unnecessary. Serostim is a recombinant human growth hormone manufactured by Serono to treat AIDS wasting, a condition involving profound involuntary weight loss in AIDS patients.

The lawsuit was filed in September 2005 by the Prescription Access Litigation Project and New York City's District Council 37 of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees.

It charged Serono with promoting the use of an unapproved medical device that improperly diagnosed people as having AIDS wasting; providing doctors with travel stipends in exchange for their agreement to prescribe Serostim; and marketing the drug for uses that were not approved by the FDA.

There was no allegation that any patient was medically harmed by Serono’s conduct.



Did Prodi Bargain Away Gay Unions Bill To Stay In Power
by The Associated Press
Posted: February 24, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

(Rome) Center-left leaders rallied behind Romano Prodi on Friday, boosting his chances of returning to office just days after he resigned as premier.

The politicians told the Italian president, who has been holding talks aimed at solving the political crisis, that they were ready to support any bids by Prodi to return to the premiership. Earlier, they all signed up to a new 12-point government program that Prodi said would be "nonnegotiable."

Prodi stepped down Wednesday evening after an embarrassing parliamentary defeat over foreign policy, including the government's plan to keep troops in Afghanistan. He is staying on in a caretaker role.

"We are convinced that this experience served as a lesson to all of us," said Antonio Di Pietro, who serves as infrastructure minister. "This renewed sense of responsibility and political maturity ... can lead us to do our job better."

Among those who also expressed their support were leaders of Communist parties and other radical leftists.



Ads Criticize Bristol Myers For High HIV Drug Prices In Mexico
by The Associated Press
Posted: February 23, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(New York City) An AIDS organization has launched an ad campaign against Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., demanding that it lower the prices on two of its AIDS treatments in Mexico.

Ads with the headline ``AIDS Drug Prices to Die For'' began appearing on Thursday in The Los Angeles Weekly, according to the campaign's sponsor, AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The foundation runs clinics in the United States and other countries, including two in Mexico.

Similar ads are slated to appear in The Village Voice in New York and La Jornada, a newspaper in Mexico City.

``In Mexico, Bristol-Myers Squibb charges four times as much for Reyataz and Videx as it does in the least-developed countries in Africa and parts of Asia, a cold-hearted business calculation which effectively makes these drugs out of reach for nearly all people living with HIV/AIDS in Mexico,'' Michael Weinstein, the foundation's president, said in a statement.

Bristol-Myers and other makers of AIDS drugs give rock bottom prices to very poor countries. However, according to the foundation, Mexico is considered a middle-income country so it doesn't qualify for extremely low prices.

The foundation said an AIDS drug regimen in Mexico can cost as much as US$6,000 a year, while the country's per capita income is roughly $7,300 a year.
Bristol-Myers didn't have an immediate comment.



Dear Uncle,

My boyfriend has gone crazy. For Christmas a friend gave us a camera for our computer. It was a wonderful thought. My parents live halfway across the country, and we have used it to keep in touch with them. They went out and got a camera of their own, and now we can see each other as we chat.

But, now, I'm beginning to think the whole thing may have been a mistake. A couple of days ago, I came home to find Buddy naked, in front of the camera, jerking off with someone he had met on the web.

I wasn't overly upset that he was getting off, we have a pretty open relationship. But, Uncle, on the web?

We talked about it later and he said he really gets turned on being watched. Now, he wants us to have sex together on the web and maybe set up a website.


The Advocate

Victim, 72, of Detroit hate beating dies

Andrew Anthos, whose dream was to light up the Michigan state capitol dome in red, white, and blue, died Friday of injuries sustained in a February 13 hate beating.

Though Anthos, 72, was visiting with friends as recently as Wednesday, his condition declined rapidly in the past two days and he was administered the last rites late Thursday in Detroit Receiving Hospital.

The attack, which left Anthos paralyzed from the neck down and virtually without speech, shocked the gay community, which reached out to his family with love and support—as well as anger and a resolve for justice.

"So many people want to pay their respects," Anthos's niece, Athena Fedenis, told on Friday, adding that she considers the gay people who've offered to help "like family. He will not have died in vain."

Anthos, known to loved ones as "Buddy," was gay and biracial, being of half-black, half-white ancestry, Fedenis said. He had been riding the bus that evening from the public library back to his Detroit apartment when another passenger annoyed with his singing approached him and asked if he was gay.

Anthos left the bus and helped a wheelchair-bound fellow passenger through the snow, only to be followed by the assailant, who hit him in the back of the head with a metal pipe and fled.

Washington, D.C.–based gay rights group Human Rights Campaign has offered to pay for Anthos's funeral, Fedenis said.

The wheelchair-using friend was able to provide some information in what now
becomes a homicide investigation, Detroit police detective Sgt. Ryan Lovier said.
But police still seek potential witnesses aboard the bus, which would have arrived at the stop near Detroit's Windsor Towers apartments roughly between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

The assailant is described as a light-skinned black man, no more than 23 years old, about 5 foot 7 and 150 pounds, wearing a dark coat and pants, Lovier said. (Barbara Wilcox, The Advocate)


The Advocate

Orman comes out in NYT Magazine interview

Television financial guru Suze Orman will publicly talk about her relationship with her partner and being a "55-year-old virgin" in Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Television financial guru Suze Orman will publicly talk about her relationship with her partner and being a "55-year-old virgin" in Sunday's New York Times Magazine. According to Editor & Publisher's Web site, when she was asked by Deborah Solomon if she is married, Orman countered that she has a "relationship with life." After further pressing, Orman revealed that she is currently in a seven-year relationship with Kathy Travis, a coproducer on The Suze Orman Show.

She told Solomon that the two would like to get married because they each "have millions of dollars in our name. It's killing me that upon my death, K.T. is going to lose 50% of everything I have to estate taxes. Or vice versa."

The host of the five-year-old PBS show has won two Emmys for Outstanding Service Show Host and three Gracie Allen Awards through American Women in Radio and Television. Orman is the author of several best-selling personal finance books and products. She is also a contributing editor for O: The Oprah Magazine and writes a regular column for Yahoo! Finance. (The Advocate)


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Call for Participants - Asian Women for University Research -Incentive Offered


We are Dr. Meifen Wei (Assistant Professor) and Robyn Zakalik (DoctoralStudent) in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University. Thisstudy involves Asian or South Asian American women who have a concern (e.g.,question, struggle, difficulty, etc.) related to their sexual orientationand/or being an Asian American. This is a research study approved by theUniversity Institutional Research Board (IRB #05-601) at Iowa StateUniversity.

We are looking for participants who are 18 years of age or older. You shouldbe an Asian or South Asian American woman who is romantically attracted toother women. You may identify as lesbian, bisexual, queer, or questioning ORyou may be attracted to women but feel that none of these identificationsrepresent you.

If you feel that you are appropriate for this study based on the abovedescription, please consider participation. Monetary compensation will bemade available to compensate you for the time and effort necessary toparticipate in this study.

If you know of someone else who may be appropriate for this study, we wouldappreciate you forwarding this email on.

If you are interested in participating in this research study and would liketo find out more about it, please email Robyn Zakalik at robynz@iastate.eduParticipation in this research study is voluntary and you may withdraw yourparticipation at anytime.

Meifen Wei, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
W112 Lagomarcino Hall
Department of Psychology
Iowa State University

Robyn Zakalik
Graduate Student in Counseling Psychology
W112 Lagomarcino Hall
Department of Psychology
Iowa State University


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

New Jersey Supreme Court Rules on Gay School Harassment Case

by New York Law School Professor Arthur S. Leonard, February 21, 2007 inLegal Issues

The New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously ruled on February 21 that publicschool students suffering from harassment by their peers based on actual orperceived sexual orientation have a right to sue the school district underthe state's Law Against Discrimination (referred to by the court as theLAD), which bans sexual orientation discrimination in places of publicaccommodation. The case is L.W. v. Toms River Regional Schools Board ofEducation, A-111-05.

According to the opinion for the court by Chief Justice James R. Zazzali,the same standards that apply to workplace harassment under the state'scivil rights law should be used to evaluate whether unlawful harassment hastaken place in the educational environment, because students and employeesare equally protected against discrimination. As in workplace cases, thedefendant school district may discharge its statutory duty by maintaining aformal policy against such harassment and responding to complaints in amanner reasonably calculated to put an end to the harassment. It is thefailure of the school district to respond reasonably that subjects it toliability under the LAD.

The ruling affirmed a decision by the New Jersey Appellate Division, whichhad upheld a determination by the state's Division of Civil Rights. However,because the court's opinion spelled out for the first time the standards forevaluating whether the school district's response to the harassment wassufficient to meet its statutory obligations, the court remanded the matterto the Division of Civil Rights to reopen the hearing record so that eachside could present evidence as to the reasonableness of the district'sresponse.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp
July 24-29, 2007
Towson University


Campus Pride organizes the first-ever summer leadership camp for LGBT andAlly undergraduate student leaders from campuses across the country. Thefive day annual camp will be hosted by the Queer Student Union at TowsonUniversity from Tuesday, July 24 to Sunday, July 29, 2007. The campfocuses on key leadership skills, campus organizing and how to buildeffective coalitions for change. Camp registration includes all housing,food and camp supplies. More information available online.

CAMP is for you if you want:
**A phenomenal leadership and personal growth experience inclusive of genderidentity/expression and sexual orientation.
**Key leadership concepts to becoming a stronger LGBT & Ally leader.
**Effective strategies and skill training for grassroots coalition building.
**Access to premiere faculty and national leaders in social justice, humanrights and civil rights advocacy.
**Successful campus organizing practices and the chance to explorechallenges confronting your campus.
**Helpful resources and innovative tools from national organizations.
**A personal action plan for your campus to become more LGBT-friendly.
**Opportunity to connect and work with peer student leaders from across thecountry.
**An inclusive approach for celebrating diversity and motivating others.
**An open, safe environment to express yourself.
**Fun, entertainment and lasting relationships.

Target Audience
Undergraduate LGBT & Ally student leaders at colleges and universities
across the United States.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

[euro-queer] Latvian government hesitates to include LGBT peopleinto National Tolerance Programme after loud protests by radicals andChristian fundamentalists

Latvian government hesitates to include LGBT people into National ToleranceProgramme after loud protests by radicals and Christian fundamentalists

Latvian Alliance of LGBT People and Their Friends "Mozaika" is seriouslyconcerned with latest anti-gay hysteria and call on your support in a formof writing letters to the Latvian Prime Ministers and the Secretariat of theMinister for Special Assignments on Social Integration.

Background information

The National Programme for Promotion of Tolerance was adopted by the Latvian
government in 2004. Initial draft of the National Programme contained sexualminorities as one of the Programme's target groups alongside the national,ethnic and religious minorities. Including sexual minorities into theNational Programme was motivated by the research data and public opinionsurveys confirming that sexual minorities is one of the social groups facingone of the highest levels of intolerance and discrimination. Neverthelessthe Latvian government when approving the National Programme excluded sexualminorities from the list of target groups.

Following the event around LGBT Friendship Days/Riga Pride 2006 when thehomophobia became synonym to Latvia in the eye of the internationalcommunity, Aigars Kalvitis, the Prime Minister of Latvia, who maintained hisposition as a Prime Minister after the parliamentary election last October,instructed the Secretariat of the Minister for Special Assignments on SocialIntegration (the Secretariat) to come out with a proposal to tacklehomophobia by the way of explicit inclusion of sexual minorities into theNational Programme for Promotion of Tolerance.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The Register-Herald

Senate prepares to vote on jail term for voyeurism
Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

— CHARLESTON — Stealing a look at one’s uncovered body, and, worse yet, recording this invasion of privacy on film in secret could be a crime in West Virginia — one that is simply to be known as voyeurism.

In existing law, those who skulk about on another’s property in hopes of getting a look to satisfy them sexually are merely guilty of trespassing.Without a single change Monday, the Senate advanced to the voting stage a bill sought by Sen. Andy McKenzie, R-Ohio, at the behest of a distraught female who fell victim some years ago to a Peeping Tom.

“Everybody thinks this is kind of a funny issue,” McKenzie said, alluding to some guffaws and one-liners tossed around when the bill was taken up in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“But I think it’s a very serious issue. It’s more serious if it happens to you.”

In today’s modern setting, voyeurism has taken on an even more serious side, given the technology that allows intruders to sneak into dressing and locker rooms with camera phones to snap those in the altogether.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Study: Herpes Drug Helps Control AIDS

By Alicia Chang, AP Science Writer, Wednesday February 21, 2007

Study: Herpes Drug Helps Control AIDS Virus and May Prevent Spread

Treating genital herpes can also help keep the AIDS virus under control inwomen with both infections, and might reduce the spread of HIV, too, thefirst major study to test this strategy suggests.

Many people with HIV are also infected with the herpes type 2 virus, andscientists have long known that herpes sores on the genitals can make iteasier to become infected with the AIDS virus and could increase the risk oftransmitting HIV to others.

In the latest study, conducted in Africa and published in Thursday's NewEngland Journal of Medicine, women who took the herpes drug valacyclovir hadless HIV in their blood and in their genital secretions.

The study did not look at whether the drug, sold as Valtrex byGlaxoSmithKline PLC, actually reduces transmission of the AIDS virus.However, scientists generally have found that the more virus someone has,the greater the risk of transmission.



Upholding diversity lessons
February 24, 2007

FEDERAL DISTRICT court judge Mark Wolf was right to dismiss the lawsuit a group of parents brought against the Lexington Public Schools because their children were taught diversity lessons that depicted same-sex couples. The decision Wolf issued yesterday is based on earlier court findings that parents do not have a constitutional right to dictate what their children are taught in the public schools. As such, the decision is a boost not just for tolerance and inclusion but for public education as well.

The parents brought suit after their children were exposed to diversity education materials that included children's books -- such as "Who's in a Family?" and "Molly's Family" -- that featured same-sex parents, along with others. They said their constitutional rights to free exercise of religion were violated, as were their rights as parents to raise their children as they see fit. Judge Wolf reasonably concluded that options remain for the parents, such as private school or home schooling, so their rights were not abridged.

Under a 1993 Massachusetts law, the state Department of Education requires that all public school districts develop curricula advancing respect for diversity, including for gays and lesbians. The Estabrook Elementary School was only following statewide curriculum frameworks that encourage instruction in "different types of families" and "the concepts of prejudice and discrimination." Such classroom material is as legitimate in today's society as the three Rs.

Among other remedies, the parents had demanded in the suit that they be allowed to "observe silently and record" any classroom discussions of gender identity, sexuality, or forms of marriage -- an obvious chilling effect on a school's ability to educate its students. Wolf left open whether the parents should have been able to remove their children from the lessons they found objectionable, finding that a matter for the state courts.


Taking stock of the 2008 field
February 24, 2007

LOOKING AT the Republican presidential field, you might be forgiven for thinking that none of the main contenders can be nominated.

The presumed front-runner, Senator John McCain, never a favorite of the Bush crowd, has lately emerged as more hawkish than the president himself. But by primary season , the war may be even more unpopular, and most Republicans will be distancing themselves from the Iraq mess, not urging its escalation.

Rudolph Giuliani did well after Sept. 11 , 2001, and was an impressively well-liked Republican mayor in liberal New York. But Giuliani was popular as a steadfast social liberal, respectful of gay rights and abortion rights. Unlike former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Giuliani was far too forthright to start doing pirouettes now. It's hard to imagine the GOP base going along.

And speaking of Romney, the malleable Mitt has done so many reversals that the makers of flip-flop commercials will have a field day. Romney is also on the defensive as a Mormon, since many fundamentalists don't consider Mormons Christians. Almost half a century after the civil rights revolution, this should not matter, but that's right-wing politics for you. Romney is having trouble getting out of first gear.

Of the also-rans, Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas fundamentalist, is unlikely to travel well. Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas, has likewise failed to take off. And Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a traditional conservative, would make a good president; but he's too vocal a critic of the president to be forgiven by loyalists.


From Marc Adams

Dear HeartStrong Friends,

My heart breaks every time one of our students shares their storyand Drew's is no exception. His story is featured on the front of ourwebsite.

I remember well the emotional roller coaster of being trapped in anabusive religious system and trying to live up to the standards Ibelieved were right and then the daily fight against myself. Like Drewand many others, I kept moving around in my efforts to find peace.Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-one I moved thirteen times.Clearly a sign that I was searching for my place to belong.

That search is reflected in Drew's story.

What is hopeful about Drew's story is that, thanks to HeartStrong,he won't have to endure any more years of searching. He is at a place now,at 22, where he is moving forward in his journey of self acceptance andpersonal healing. Something he could never find in his former harshreligious experience.

We are continuously amazed at the bravery of so many of ourstudents.
They endure things at school, home and in their religious congregationsthat most of us are not even able to comprehend. But that is theimportance of HeartStrong.

For more than ten years, HeartStrong has been and still is the onlyorganization in the world with a mission to provide hope and help and toeducate the public about what can and does happen in religiouseducational institutions.

And it only because of you, our supporters that we, as volunteers,can even begin to do our work.

We are still trying to raise about $1800.00 leftover from last year'sexpenses. If you are able to help with that, your gift will be greatlyappreciated. We also need to raise about $10,000 for our 60 SpringOutreach Trip which begins on April 3.

Thank you for your ongoing support of the work of HeartStrong!

Marc Adams, Executive Director

[Send your comments about articles to]


NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST February 24, 2007

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


Technology Review

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Promise of Personal Supercomputers
What will it take to put thousands of microprocessors in cell phones andlaptops?

By Kate Greene

Last week, Intel announced a research project that made geeks jump withglee: the first programmable "terascale" supercomputer on a chip. Thecompany demonstrated a single chip with 80 cores, or processors, and showedthat these cores could be programmed to crunch numbers at the rate of atrillion operations per second, a measure known as a teraflop. The chip isabout the size of a large postage stamp, but it has the same calculationspeed as a supercomputer that, in 1996, took up about 2,000 square feet anddrew about 1,000 times more power.


Pew Research Center

Americans and Social Trust: Who, Where and Why

Just under half of Americans say most people can be trusted, while 50% say you can't be too careful, a new Pew survey finds. Whites are more trusting than blacks or Hispanics. High income folks are more trusting than those with low incomes. The married are more trusting than the unmarried. The old are more trusting than the young. And rural folks are more trusting than their city cousins. Read More at address above.


Pew Research Center

Voters Still in Neutral as Presidential Campaign Moves into High Gear

The latest Pew poll finds Republicans lagging Democrats in attention to the race and enthusiasm for candidates. Clinton is Democrats' strongest choice but Obama leads among independents; Guiliani tops McCain in popularity among Republicans and independents. Read more...


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Son of Key Iraq Shiite Arrested at Iran’s Border

BAGHDAD, Feb. 23 — The eldest son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, perhaps the most powerful political leader in Iraq and the head of the dominant Shiite political bloc, was detained by American forces for several hours on Friday after traveling across the border from Iran into Iraq.

Angry advisors to Mr. Hakim denounced the detention as an insult and said American forces had beaten several guards after stopping the convoy on Friday. The son, Amar Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, is himself a senior official in Mr. Hakim’s political movement and has often taken a lead role in building support for his father’s political efforts.

An American military official declined to comment on the beating allegations, but said in an interview Friday night that the son had been detained because he had an expired passport and because he was traveling with people who had a large number of guns.

According to an Iraqi stringer for The New York Times, Mr. Hakim showed a passport that had an expiration date of September 17, 2007, and quoted him saying: "They claim the reason for the arrest was because my passport had expired, but as you can see my passport expires on the 17th of September."

Two news agencies also quoted Mr. Hakim as saying that the Americans had dealt with him harshly, but neither news agency reported that Mr. Hakim had shown them an unexpired passport. Whether Mr. Hakim had a valid passport could not be confirmed by late Friday.


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Canada's High Court Strikes Down Indefinite Detention
Filed at 10:40 p.m. ET

OTTAWA (AP) -- One of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism measures was struck down Friday by the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely while the courts review their deportation orders.

The 9-0 ruling dealt a blow to the government's anti-terrorism regulations. Five Arab Muslim men have been held for years under the ''security certificate'' program, which the Justice Department had insisted is a key tool in the fight against global terrorism and essential to Canada's security.

The court found that the system violates the Charter of Rights and Freedom, Canada's bill of rights. It suspended the judgment from taking effect for a year, to give Parliament time to rewrite the part of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that covers the certificates.

The security certificates were challenged on constitutional grounds by three men from Morocco, Syria and Algeria -- all alleged by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service to have ties to al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.

The law now allows sensitive intelligence to be heard behind closed doors by a federal judge, with only sketchy summaries given to defense attorneys.


The New York Times

February 23, 2007
Vilsack Withdraws From Presidential Race

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 — Former Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa withdrew from the Democratic presidential race today, saying the crowded field had made it impossible for him to raise enough money to wage a competitive national campaign.

“I came up against something for the first time in my life that hard work and effort couldn’t overcome,” Mr. Vilsack said, speaking at a news conference in Des Moines. “I just couldn’t work harder, couldn’t give it enough.”

Mr. Vilsack became the first Democratic candidate to enter the race, opening his campaign on Nov. 30 as the not-from-Washington candidate who pledged to renew a forgotten sense of community across America. He also became one of the most outspoken critics of the Iraq war and called for an immediate withdrawal of United States troops.

But Mr. Vilsack, 56, conceded he was unable to compete in a contest where the ability to raise money trumps all. In recent weeks, officials said, his campaign has been unable to meet payroll, with some aides taking pay cuts and others being turned away for jobs.

“The reality is that this process has become to a great extent about money — a lot of money,” Mr. Vilsack said, lamenting the fact that today’s presidential campaigns are “simply about a money primary.”


The New York Times

The Presidential Candidates on Iraq

The war in Iraq is, as expected, one of the threshhold issues of the 2008 presidential election. A look at the candidates and what they have said on various aspects of the issue. - FARHANA HOSSAIN AND BEN WERSCHKUL


The Washington Post

Illinois Senate OKs Stem Cell Research

The Associated Press
Friday, February 23, 2007; 12:38 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- The Illinois Senate voted Friday to spend state tax dollars on embryonic stem cell research, despite objections from those who argue the research destroys human life.

The measure passed 35-23 and now goes to the Illinois House.

Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich has already used his executive powers to fund stem cell research. He created the Illinois Regenerative Medicine Institute, which has awarded $15 million in grants.

The Senate legislation would make the institute and its grants a part of state law.

Supporters say embryonic stem cells could yield treatments for a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer's. They argue the cells are taken only from embryos created for in vitro fertilization that would otherwise be discarded.


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn
Tri-County -,,2019666,00.html

Published on Friday, February 23, 2007 by the Guardian / UK

US Intelligence on Iran Does Not Stand up, Say Vienna Sources

· Tip-offs did not lead to signs of banned activity
· IAEA report raises pressure for new sanctions

by Julian Borger

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UNinspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded,according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war,coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as theInternational Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying aUN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general,Mohamed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on theimposition of stricter sanctions on Iran, and raises the possibility thatthe US might resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

At the heart of the debate are accusations, spearheaded by the US, that Iranis secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons. However, most of the tip-offsabout supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other USintelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEAinspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.


Washington Post

McConnell Threatens to Block Bid to Repeal War Resolution
Republican Wants to Force Vote on Guaranteeing Funding for Troops

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A04

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned yesterday that a new Democratic effort to repeal the 2002 Iraq war resolution would meet the same fate as two previous efforts to limit President Bush's authority: blocked by procedural obstacles, unless Democrats relent to GOP terms.

Speaking to reporters by conference call from his Louisville home, McConnell compared the latest Democratic move to "trying to unring a bell." He warned that Lt. Gen. David H. Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq, would "have to surround himself with lawyers" to comply with the new resolution that senior Democrats are drafting.

McConnell predicted he could muster Republican support to block the measure, unless Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) allows a vote on a nonbinding GOP measure to guarantee troop funding.

A showdown over both measures could come as early as next week. Reid has signaled that Iraq-related amendments may be offered to an upcoming homeland security bill. "It's a bit of a cat-and-mouse game," a senior Democratic Senate aide said.

Democratic leaders will present the repeal plan to their colleagues next week. The measure would replace the broad authority that Congress granted Bush in October 2002 with a narrower mandate establishing a March 31, 2008, goal for withdrawing combat troops. It also would restrict longer-term engagement in Iraq to a handful of high-priority realms, including counterterrorism, training for Iraqi troops and border security.


The Washington Post

Democrats Offer Up Chairmen For Donors
Party's Campaigns Had Faulted GOP For 'Selling Access'

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum and John Solomon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A01

Eager to shore up their fragile House and Senate majorities, congressional Democrats have enlisted their committee chairmen in an early blitz to bring millions of dollars into the party's coffers, culminating in a late-March event featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 10 of the powerful panel chairs.

In the next 10 days alone, Democratic fundraisers will feature the chairmen of the House's financial services panel and the House and Senate tax-writing committees. Senate Democrats also plan a fundraising reception during a major gathering of Native Americans in the capital Tuesday evening, an event hosted by lobbyists and the political action committee for tribal casinos, including those Jack Abramoff was paid to represent.

Critics deride the aggressive fundraising push as the kind of business as usual that voters rejected at the ballot box last November -- particularly the practice of giving interest groups access to committee chairmen in exchange for sizable donations -- but Democrats are unapologetic.

"Financial services companies are inclined to give to me because I'm chairman of the committee important to their interests," said Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank, who will headline a breakfast Wednesday at a D.C. hotel, for which donations range from $1,000 to $15,000 for the Democratic National Committee. "I'm fundraising to give to others so I can help stay in the majority and do the public policy things I want."

Asked whether banking interests feel obligated to give to Democrats when he asks them for contributions, Frank answered: "Obligated? No. Incentivized? Yes." Frank said, however, that those donating "understand, and others do, too, that there are no guarantees of my doing what they want, or even my being pleasant."

"I'm getting a lot of fundraising invitations," said Robert E. Juliano, a Democratic lobbyist. "It's no different than any other year."


Washington Post

Diplomacy, Not War, With Iran

By Bill Richardson
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

The recent tentative agreement with North Korea over its nuclear program illustrates how diplomacy can work even with the most unsavory of regimes.Unfortunately, it took the Bush administration more than six years to commit to diplomacy. During that needless delay North Korea developed and tested nuclear weapons -- weapons its leaders still have not agreed to dismantle. Had we engaged the North Koreans earlier, instead of calling them "evil" and talking about "regime change," we might have prevented them from going nuclear. We could have, and should have, negotiated a better agreement, and sooner.

As the International Atomic Energy Agency just confirmed, Iran has once again defied the international community and is moving forward with its nuclear program, yet the Bush administration seems committed to repeating the mistakes it made with North Korea. Rather than directly engaging the Iranians about their nuclear program, President Bush refuses to talk, except to make threats. He has moved ships to the Persian Gulf region and claims, with scant evidence, that Iran is helping Iraqi insurgents kill Americans. This is not a strategy for peace. It is a strategy for war -- a war that Congress has not authorized. Most of our allies, and most Americans, don't believe this president, who has repeatedly cried wolf.

Saber-rattling is not a good way to get the Iranians to cooperate. But it is a good way to start a new war -- a war that would be a disaster for the Middle East, for the United States and for the world. A war that, furthermore, would destroy what little remains of U.S. credibility in the community of nations.

A better approach would be for the United States to engage directly with the Iranians and to lead a global diplomatic offensive to prevent them from building nuclear weapons. We need tough, direct negotiations, not just with Iran but also with our allies, especially Russia, to get them to support us in presenting Iran with credible carrots and sticks.

No nation has ever been forced to renounce nuclear weapons, but many have chosen to do so. The Iranians will not end their nuclear program because we threaten them and call them names. They will renounce nukes because we convince them that they will be safer and more prosperous if they do that than if they don't. This feat will take more than threats and insults. It will take skillful American diplomatic leadership.


Washington Post

A Brave New Wikiworld

By Cass R. Sunstein
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A19

In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that "anyone can edit," has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world's most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society's unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other's resources.

Developing one of the most important ideas of the 20th century, Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek attacked socialist planning on the grounds that no planner could possibly obtain the "dispersed bits" of information held by individual members of society. Hayek insisted that the knowledge of individuals, taken as a whole, is far greater than that of any commission or board, however diligent and expert. he magic of the system of prices and of economic markets is that they incorporate a great deal of diffuse knowledge.

Wikipedia's entries are not exactly prices, but they do aggregate the widely dispersed information of countless volunteer writers and editors. In this respect, Wikipedia is merely one of many experiments in aggregating knowledge and creativity, that have been made possible by new technologies.

The Central Intelligence Agency disclosed the existence of its top-secret Intellipedia project, based on Wikipedia software (and now containing more than 28,000 pages), in late October. The agency hopes to use dispersed information to reduce the risk of intelligence failures. NASA officials have adopted a wiki site to program NASA software, allowing many participants to make improvements.

In the private domain, businesses are adopting wikis to compile information about products, profits and new developments. The Autism Wiki, produced mostly by adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome, contains material on autism and related conditions., founded by dissidents in China and other nations, plans to post secret government documents and to protect them from censorship with coded software.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Hispanic help no sure thing for Richardson

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson brings his presidential campaign to South Florida but finds that support from fellow Hispanics is not universal.

WASHINGTON - Although he says he is not seeking the presidency as the ''Hispanic candidate,'' New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is proving a rock star among the Spanish-language press, and Democrats hope that his presence among presidential contenders will fire up Hispanic voters.Still, his popularity is not translating into unified support among prominent Hispanic Democrats, many of whom have signed on with Sen. Hillary Clinton, despite voicing pride in Richardson's candidacy.

Observers say the two-term governor has an impressive résumé -- a globe-trotting diplomatic troubleshooter and former seven-term member of Congress who served as a Clinton-era energy secretary. He has personality and garrulousness to spare.

But sheer political calculation and loyalty to Clinton and her husband are trumping ethnic ties, as Hispanic Democrats such as longtime former National Council of La Raza leader Raul Yzaguirre and 2004 Kerry campaign co-chairman José Villarreal sign up with the New York senator.

''A lot of people are thrilled with the historic significance for Gov. Richardson,'' said Villarreal, a San Antonio lawyer who was deputy campaign manager for Bill Clinton in 1992. ``But for a lot of us, our political identity is wrapped around the Clinton experience.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Stardom, money elude candidate who made sense

Ishould have known that any presidential candidate who would sit down and talk to me about carbon emissions trading was destined for Loserville.

Tom Vilsack, the Iowa Democrat you never heard of amid the Hillary hype and Obamania, dropped out of the race Friday. He is thoughtful and smart. If Democrats were looking for a candidate with a detailed energy plan and a strong, consistent stance against the war, he should have been on their radar screen.

But Vilsack is a somewhat boring white man at a time when the Democratic front-runners include a fascinating former first lady and a charismatic African American.
He wasn't even leading the polls in his home state, host to the first-in-the-nation caucuses.

And perhaps most important, his fundraising network was limited by the fact that he was governor of a state with a population smaller than Miami-Dade and Broward counties.


''It's really a shame that money propels someone forward and not issues or ideas or vision,'' said supporter Max Holtzman, a lawyer who lives in Miami Beach. ``I really believed in the guy.''


Feb. 24, 2007, 12:47AM
Oscar would energize Gore supporters

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Among the stars gathering Sunday night for the Academy Awards will be a man whose face may be rounder than in years past, but whose step down the red carpet may have more bounce.

Al Gore, the star of the global warming film An Inconvenient Truth, which is the odds-on favorite for Best Documentary, has been transformed in the eyes of many.
He's gone from an oft-maligned former vice president to being a best-selling author and nominee for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Now, if the Oscar becomes his, his supporters are ready to demand an encore: another presidential run.

Gore has repeatedly said he has no plans to run, but his statements haven't foreclosed the possibility.

Many are already plotting ways to persuade Gore to run. One of them is Linda Sophia Pinti, a Democratic activist in Cambridge, Mass., who has held monthly "draft Gore" meetings since June. She said at least 25 other gatherings are held regularly around the country.


Obama ridicules Cheney's Iraq comments
By Kelley Shannon, Associated Press Writer | February 24, 2007

AUSTIN, Texas --Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama ridiculed Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday for saying Britain's decision to pull troops from Iraq is a good sign that fits with the strategy for stabilizing the country.

Obama, speaking at a massive outdoor rally in Austin, Texas, said British Prime Minister Tony Blair's decision this week to withdraw 1,600 troops is a recognition that Iraq's problems can't be solved militarily.

"Now if Tony Blair can understand that, then why can't George Bush and Dick Cheney understand that?" Obama asked thousands of supporters who gathered in the rain to hear him. "In fact, Dick Cheney said this is all part of the plan (and) it was a good thing that Tony Blair was withdrawing, even as the administration is preparing to put 20,000 more of our young men and women in.

"Now, keep in mind, this is the same guy that said we'd be greeted as liberators, the same guy that said that we're in the last throes. I'm sure he forecast sun today," Obama said to laughter from supporters holding campaign signs over their heads to keep dry. "When Dick Cheney says it's a good thing, you know that you've probably got some big problems."

A spokeswoman for Cheney, traveling with him in Australia, said they had no comment on Obama's remarks.


Los Angeles Times,0,7134619,print.story?coll=la-ap-topnews-headlines

Americans Underestimate Iraqi Death Toll
Associated Press Writer

6:25 AM PST, February 24, 2007

WASHINGTON — Americans are keenly aware of how many U.S. forces have lost their lives in Iraq, according to a new AP-Ipsos poll. But they woefully underestimate the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

When the poll was conducted earlier this month, a little more than 3,100 U.S. troops had been killed. The midpoint estimate among those polled was right on target, at about 3,000.

Far from a vague statistic, the death toll is painfully real for many Americans. Seventeen percent in the poll know someone who has been killed or wounded in Iraq. And among adults under 35, those closest to the ages of those deployed, 27 percent know someone who has been killed or wounded.

For Daniel Herman, a lawyer in New Castle, Pa., a co-worker's nephew is the human face of the dead.

"This is a fairly rural area," he said. "When somebody dies, ... you hear about it. It makes it very concrete to you."


Feb. 23, 2007, 10:23PM
ACLU: US can't bar terrorism supporters

By LARRY NEUMEISTER Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A civil rights group asked a judge Friday to find it unconstitutional for the federal government to exclude a prominent Muslim scholar or anyone else from the United States on the grounds that they may have endorsed or espoused terrorism.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the papers attacking the policy in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. The group included in its submissions a written declaration in which the scholar, Tariq Ramadan, said he has always "opposed terrorism not only through my words but also through my actions."

The ACLU said schools and organizations who want to invite Ramadan and others into the United States are concerned about what is known as the ideological exclusion provision.

It said an entry in the State Department's Foreign Affairs Manual says that the provision is directed at those who have voiced "irresponsible expressions of opinion."

The group said the provision violates the First Amendment and has resulted since 2001 in the exclusion from the United States of numerous foreign scholars, human rights activists and writers, barred "not for legitimate security reasons but rather because the government disfavors their politics."


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Misguided Missiles

Fifteen years after the cold war’s end, it would seem that everyone involved should know better. But the Bush administration’s tone-deaf plan to station parts of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe and Moscow’s snarling response show that all sides could use a refresher course in diplomatic sense and civility.

American officials insist that the 10 interceptors it is planning to place in Poland and the early warning radar for the Czech Republic are supposed to defend Europe from Iran’s missiles — not Russia’s. And there is no doubt they’re telling the truth. The untested system could be easily overwhelmed by Russia’s huge nuclear arsenal.

It is unlikely, however, that more military posturing against Iran is going to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear ambitions. Russia’s furious reaction to the stationing of even weak missile defenses near its borders (and on the territory of its former satellites), while wildly out of proportion, was also utterly predictable. A top Russian general — who sounded as if he’d slept through the last 15 years — warned the Poles and the Czechs that if they went along with America’s plans, Russia’s missiles “will be capable of targeting the facilities.”

The mixture of crocodile tears and threats from Russian officials seems overly dramatic — and very much in character for President Vladimir Putin, who is hoping to divert attention from his own thuggery at home, not to mention his desire to reassert power in Russia’s old neighborhood.


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Op-Ed Contributor

Borders Without Fences
Kelly, Wyo.

IN the debate over how to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States — armed patrols, electronic surveillance, prison time for first offenders and a 700-mile-long 15-foot-high fence — few politicians have voiced concern over the last option’s profound effects on wildlife.

Authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, this barrier (83 miles of which have already been built) will bisect a border region that has some of the most ecologically diverse landscapes in the hemisphere. It is here — in a land of deserts, mountains, conifers and cactus — that bird species from North and Central America share territories and cross paths during migrations. It is here that endangered wildlife, like the jaguar and gray wolf, have an opportunity to reoccupy lands from which they were extirpated during the last century.

The list of other beautiful common or rarely seen animals that live along the border is long. A small sampling would include cougars, desert bighorn sheep, ocelots, pronghorn antelope, road runners, white-tailed deer and hundreds of species of birds and insects. The fence would physically prevent both large and small mammals as well as reptiles from traveling across the border, and the lights atop the fence would attract insects, making them easier prey for birds that feed on them. Some of these insects pollinate the plants of the region, including cactus.

Since the secretary of homeland security will have authority to waive laws that stand in the way of building the fence — like the Endangered Species Act — wildlife and habitats could be destroyed on a scale not seen since the 1960s, when the nation’s first wilderness and environmental laws were passed. Of course, many argue that the fence is an issue of national security and the safety of the American people trumps that of American wildlife. But that reasoning is flawed. The economic health of many people is increasingly reliant on the health of their natural surroundings.


The New York Times

February 24, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

A Cat Without Whiskers

So some guy stands up after John McCain’s luncheon speech here yesterday to a group of business types and asks him a question.

“I’ve seen in the press where in your run for the presidency, you’ve been sucking up to the religious right,” the man said, adding: “I was just wondering how soon do you predict a Republican candidate for president will start sucking up to the old Rockefeller wing of the Republican Party?”

Mr. McCain listened with his eyes downcast, then looked the man in the eye, smiled and replied: “I’m probably going to get in trouble, but what’s wrong with sucking up to everybody?” It was a flash of the old McCain, and the audience laughed.

Certainly, the senator has tried to worm his way into the affections of W. and the religious right: the Discovery Institute, a group that tries to derail Darwinism and promote the teaching of Intelligent Design, helped present the lunch, dismaying liberal bloggers who have tracked Mr. McCain’s devolution on evolution.

A reporter asked the senator if his pandering on Roe v. Wade had made him “the darling and candidate of the ultra right wing?” ( In South Carolina earlier this week, he tried to get more evangelical street cred by advocating upending Roe v. Wade.) “I dispute that assertion,” he replied. “I believe that it was Dr. Dobson recently who said that he prayed that I would not receive the Republican nomination. I was just over at Starbucks this morning. ... I talk everywhere, and I try to reach out to everyone.”


The Washington Post

'Terrorist' Remark Puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy

Zumbo's Criticism of Hunters Who Use Assault Rifles Brings Unforgiving
Response From U.S. Gun Culture

By Blaine Harden
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007; A03

SEATTLE -- Modern hunters rarely become more famous than Jim Zumbo. A mustachioed, barrel-chested outdoors entrepreneur who lives in a log cabin near Yellowstone National Park, he has spent much of his life writing for prominent outdoors magazines, delivering lectures across the country and starring in cable TV shows about big-game hunting in the West.

Zumbo's fame, however, has turned to black-bordered infamy within America's gun culture -- and his multimedia success has come undone. It all happened in the past week, after he publicly criticized the use of military-style assault rifles by hunters, especially those gunning for prairie dogs.

"Excuse me, maybe I'm a traditionalist, but I see no place for these weapons
among our hunting fraternity," Zumbo wrote in his blog on the Outdoor Life Web site. The Feb. 16 posting has since been taken down. "As hunters, we don't need to be lumped into the group of people who terrorize the world with them. . . . I'll go so far as to call them 'terrorist' rifles."

The reaction -- from tens of thousands of owners of assault rifles across the country, from media and manufacturers rooted in the gun business, and from the National Rifle Association -- has been swift, severe and unforgiving. Despite a profuse public apology and a vow to go hunting soon with an assault weapon, Zumbo's career appears to be over.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Legislature moves closer to abortion-ban agreement

"This is as good as we will get this session," committee chair says

By Natalie Chandler, February 23, 2007

A bill that would ban most abortions in Mississippi could be finalized asearly as next week since a key Senate chairman said he probably will agreeto changes the House made Thursday.

"My tendency is to say, this is as good as we will get this session, solet's take the offer and move on," Senate Public Health and WelfareCommittee Chairman Alan Nunnelee, R-Tupelo, said after the House approvedthe bill.

The apparent compromise would end an election-year push that appeared to beover when House Public Health and Human Services Committee Chairman SteveHolland, D-Plantersville, emphatically said two weeks ago he was not goingto consider the legislation.

But Holland relented during a committee meeting Thursday, citing pressurefrom his fellow legislators and "about 800 and something phone calls fromthe general public. Phones have been jammed for 10 days."

After the bill passed out of Holland's committee, the House voted 97-16, andwith little debate, to approve legislation that combines threeabortion-related bills recently cleared in the Senate.


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FLORIDA DIGEST February 24, 2007

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


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7396592.story?track=rss

Small business group opposes House property tax plan
Associated Press Writer

February 22, 2007, 8:27 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE -- The head of a group representing small Florida businesses opposed the House Republican leadership's plan to exchange lower property taxes for a higher sales tax, in testimony Thursday before the Senate Finance and Tax Committee.

Members of the National Federation of Independent Business are worried such a swap, while providing short-term property tax reductions, in the long run would result in higher levies on commercial property, said NFIB state director Allen Douglas.

House GOP leaders Wednesday unveiled a two-part plan that includes a proposed state constitutional amendment that would abolish taxes on homestead property _ primary homes _ while increasing the state's sales tax from 6 percent to 8.5 percent. The increase would go to local governments to partly offset property tax losses.

The proposed amendment would also limit state and local revenue increases to a factor equal to population growth and inflation, starting from 2000-01 budget figures. That cap is expected to also result in significant savings for owners of second homes, rental and commercial property.

Local government bodies, though, would be able to exceed the cap by unanimous vote.


The Florida Times-Union

ebruary 22, 2007

Fla. business leaders to build pressure to break immigration jam

AP Hispanic Affairs Writer

CLEARWATER, Fla. - When it comes to immigration, Florida gets slammed on all sides, business leaders said Thursday, as they laid ground for a statewide industry coalition to push for comprehensive immigration reform.

In many ways, Florida represents a microcosm of all immigration issues facing the U.S. Some state business leaders want access to more skilled workers to feed Florida's booming high tech industry. Some want the U.S. to do more to welcome wealthy foreigners looking to study, retire or invest here. Still others want a temporary worker program and an avenue to legalize unskilled workers.

Those in the tourist industry want changes at both ends.

"Immigration affects both our visitors and our workers," said Candace Rodatz Barners, head of government relations for Universal Orlando Resort.She said the company is worried both about ensuring it hires only legal workers and about ensuring foreigners who want to visit the resort can obtain visas.


The New York Times

February 24, 2007

Panel Cites Voter Error, Not Software, in Loss of Votes

Florida election officials announced yesterday that an examination of votingsoftware did not find any malfunctions that could have caused up to 18,000votes to be lost in a disputed Congressional race in Sarasota County, andthey suggested that voter confusion over a poor ballot design was mainly toblame.

The finding, reached unanimously by a team of computer experts from severaluniversities, could finally settle last fall’s closest federal election. TheRepublican candidate, Vern Buchanan, was declared the winner by 369 votes,but the Democrat, Christine Jennings, formally contested the results,claiming that the touch-screen voting machines must have malfunctioned.Legal precedents make it difficult to win a lawsuit over ballot design, buta substantial error in the software might have been grounds for a newelection.

The questions about the electronic machines arose because many voterscomplained that they had had trouble getting their votes to register for Ms.Jennings, and the machines did not have a back-up paper trail that mighthave provided clues about any problems. The report said some voters mighthave accidentally touched the screen twice, thus negating their votes, whilemost of the others probably overlooked the race on the flawed ballot.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,1682505,print.story?coll=sfla-news-broward

Minority organization forced out of Lauderdale neighborhood
By Alva James-Johnson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

February 24, 2007

Francois Leconte knew he would have to move his social service agency from its dilapidated quarters in northwest Fort Lauderdale one day.

But he was hoping to hang around until Minority Development Empowerment Inc., an organization serving South Florida's Caribbean population, completed a building project in 2009.

Such hopes vanished this week as plans for a new condo development forced the agency from its 10,000-square-foot office space at 1703 N. Andrews Ave.

The office was the last remaining tenant at the soon-to-be-demolished strip mall. On Friday, movers trucked the organization's belongings to a smaller location in Wilton Manors. As employees withdrew from the neighborhood, they left behind a block of boarded-up buildings, some encircled with fences that featured drawings of the coming condos against a soft blue sky.

Leconte said his organization is now feeling what many of its clients experience as they are displaced by upscale developments.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Gays tap into spirituality


Nan Van Den Bergh grew up in a religious household: born Baptist, raised Protestant, baptized at 12. ''I was pretty involved as a youth,'' Van Den Bergh recalls. ``I had a minister who was very intellectual. He gave me a lot of validation and feedback .''

As a teenage feminist, Van Den Bergh felt less and less comfortable at church and abandoned organized religion.

Then, in the 1970s on the beach of San Diego, Van Den Bergh was writing poetry: ``I felt something was working through me, a voice through me. It made me feel I could reconnect with organized religion.''

Van Den Bergh eventually came out as a lesbian and found Dignity, an Episcopal ''welcoming and affirming congregation.'' She attended services and took communion for the first time in years.

Now 59 and a professor at FIU's School of Social Work, Van Den Bergh wants to help lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth reconnect with their spiritual sides. She and university co-workers have organized ''Spirituality LGBT Style,'' an FIU fair supported by many of South Florida's gay-friendly congregations.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Bombshell shook lawyer's life

Lawyer Richard Milstein, who has looked into Anna Nicole Smith's private life in the past week, says the public might be surprised to know she was generous and good-hearted.


Richard Milstein, a respected arts patron, civic activist and family-law attorney, didn't know much until last week about bombastic sex symbol Anna Nicole Smith.

''I heard she was this generation's Marilyn Monroe,'' Milstein, 60, said Friday. ``I didn't follow her. I didn't know she had a reality show. I didn't see her in the tabloids or Playboy.''

Milstein quickly got up to speed on the world-famous centerfold who died suddenly Feb. 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino near Hollywood.

As Smith's mother, her boyfriend and her ex-lover battled over where she would ultimately spend eternity, Broward Circuit Judge Larry Seidlin asked Milstein to represent someone in the case who can't yet speak for herself: Smith's 5-month-old daughter, Dannielynn.


''The judge called me,'' said Milstein, father of two adult children and longtime guardian ad litem. 'I was in front of him two weeks ago in a case involving a child. He called early in the morning and said, `Richard, can you do me a favor?' I said, 'Whatever you need,' and he told me what it was.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

A cautious Hillary comes to town


Sen. Hillary Clinton came to town the other day, and if I had to choose one word to describe her visit -- at least the part we in the media were allowed to see -- it would be: cautious.

To be sure, it was professionally produced, beautifully staged and nicely executed, but cautious. Twenty-one months before the election, that's probably a good strategy. And possibly a winning one. But not very exciting.

Barack Obama was in L.A. and exciting the heck out of people. ''Inspirational'' is how Hollywood mogul and one time Bill Clinton buddy David Geffen described him to The New York Times' Maureen Dowd. ``. . . he's not from the Bush royal family or the Clinton royal family. Americans are dying every day in Iraq. And I'm tired of hearing James Carville on

Well, who isn't? Mary Matalin, too. Obama may produce a new punditocracy worthy of his Kansas-Kenyan heritage and Harvard Law education, but part of the fun is that columnists are having to find new adjectives to describe him. Beyond ''inexperienced,'' anyway.

Hillary's handlers, however, had no trouble at all describing Obama, and it wasn't pretty. Obama Embraces Slash & Burn Politics read the headline of the press release sent out by the Clinton campaign the day after her Miami visit. In it the New York senator's chief spokesman excoriated Obama for having denounced ''slash & burn politics'' in a speech, but refusing to disavow a personal attack on Hillary by one of Obama's ``biggest fundraisers.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Oscars raise profile of local arts program

An Oscar-nominated documentary is bringing national attention to a little-known annual workshop for young artists that takes place in Miami.

The presentation of the Best Documentary Short award during the Oscar telecast is usually an excellent cue for a bathroom break or a refill of the popcorn bowl.

But Sunday night, when the 79th Academy Awards are handed out, South Florida viewers will have a stake in the race. One of this year's nominees, Rehearsing a Dream, tells the story of youngARTS week, an intensive seven-day retreat for arts-oriented teenagers from around the country that takes place every winter in Miami.

The 40-minute film captures the experiences of the 150 participants of last January's event -- gifted photographers, actors, musicians, painters, writers and dancers -- as they work with professionals such as New World Symphony artistic director Michael Tilson Thomas and ballet star Mikhail Baryshnikov; put on a nightly talent showcase for their peers; and feed on the enthusiasm and energy of being surrounded by like-minded young adults.

Although the program is in its 26th year, many don't even know it exists.

''One of the challenges we've had as an organization based in Miami with a national scope is attaining visibility,'' said William H. Banchs, president of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, the nonprofit organization that sponsors the program and provides cash grants and scholarships to young artists. ``The most painful thing I hear on a regular basis from teachers and students is I had never heard of this program before.''


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Fate of merit-pay plan for Broward teachers is in doubt

It is unclear whether the Broward School Board will give final approval to an unpopular merit pay plan Tuesday, two weeks after members voted 5-4 for it.

Teachers in Broward might get a chance to claim victory next week in their battle against a controversial pay-for-performance plan -- even though victory, in this case, would mean bonuses for fewer educators.

Broward Teachers Union and school district officials have been meeting to try to come up with an alternative to the Special Teachers Are Rewarded plan, which School Board members tentatively approved 5-4 on Feb. 13.

And at least two board members who voted for the STAR plan then, Robin Bartleman and Stephanie Kraft, say they may change their votes.

'I'm really tempted to say: `OK, fine, this is what you want, then this is what you're going to get,' '' Kraft said.

School districts must implement a performance pay plan this school year. The state would give Broward $15 million to pay for bonuses if the board forces teachers to go along with STAR. But if board members decide to create a plan that the union agrees with, the district would have to come up with its own pot of money -- which would likely be much smaller.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

$2 million in tax breaks mulled to keep pro teams

Several bills have been drafted that aim to keep professional sports in Florida by offering money to build or upgrade stadiums.

TALLAHASSEE - (AP) -- In an effort to keep pro sports in Florida, lawmakers are considering offering stadium operators yearly tax breaks to upgrade facilities if the teams that play in them promise not to move.

One team that might benefit is the Florida Marlins baseball team.

The Marlins want to build a new stadium instead of continuing to share a home with the NFL Dolphins.

A bill drafted by a Senate committee would give up to nine existing sports facilities in the state a $2 million a year tax break if the teams that call the facilities home commit to remaining in Florida for 15 years.

The money would have to be used for construction or renovation.


Cities lament property tax relief plan
By Michael C. Bender
Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Saturday, February 24, 2007

TALLAHASSEE — Florida cities and counties that have grown the fastest would be hit the hardest under a plan by Republican leaders in the Florida House to rewrite property tax laws, according to documents released Friday.

In Wellington, the plan would cut the property tax rate almost in half. But in Belle Glade, the tax rate could increase by 12 percent.

"It means firing a lot of people," said West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel, whose city's property taxes would take a 38 percent hit in the House plan.

"It's not going to be good for the people if you have to cut the services closest to the people," she said. "It hurts the very people you're trying to help."

While local government budgets include more revenue sources than just property taxes, local government officials in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast threw up their arms in frustration Friday after figures released by the House showed some of their property tax rates being slashed by more than twice the state average.


'Paper trail' printer jams can gum up vote recounts

By George Bennett
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 24, 2007

It may seem as straightforward as giving a customer a receipt at a gas pump or ATM, but some elections experts say adding a "paper trail" to electronic voting machines could create new headaches in close races.

Gov. Charlie Crist has proposed adding printers to previously paperless electronic voting machines as one component of his $32.5 million election reform plan. If Florida legislators agree, they'll also have to decide how to count votes in a tight election if a piece of high-tech voting equipment experiences a low-tech paper jam.

"It does not happen often. But the point is, it does happen," says Larry Lomax, the top elections official in Nevada's Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. The county has used touch-screen machines with printers since 2004.

Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning calls paper-jam fears overblown but says Crist's proposal will address them.

Crist wants to end paperless voting in Florida and eliminate the kinds of concerns that engulfed a Sarasota-area congressional race in November. The race was decided by 369 votes, with paperless electronic machines registering more than 18,000 blank ballots.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Bill aims to curb underage drinking in college culture

A bill approved by a Florida Senate committee takes aim at underage college drinking by tightening laws against it.

It's a well-known trick to underage college students: When a cop walks into a keg party, put the beer down.

It's illegal in Florida for a minor to buy or possess alcohol -- but not to consume it. So if police don't see a beer in hand, they can't arrest an underage drinker.

That loophole would disappear under a bill approved by a Florida Senate committee this week to toughen underage drinking laws.

Instigated by the deaths of two University of Florida students in Jacksonville in 2004 and 2005, the proposed legislation is aimed at the heart of underage drinking -- college campuses, where according to a legislative survey about 40 percent of students are under 21.

The bill would:

• Outlaw the consumption of alcohol by minors, allowing police to arrest underage drinkers who fail breath tests or show other signs of intoxication. Thirty-one states have passed similar laws.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sat, Feb. 24, 2007

Questions of equity and tax fairness


Below are excerpts from a statement by Dominic M. Calabro, President of Florida TaxWatch (www.florida, on the state House property-tax plan.

This is a bold and ambitious effort that has a lot of good elements, some of which Florida TaxWatch has recommended. This plan contains ideas that are healthy to discuss and needs more analysis. We should review and vet these proposals with an eye toward evolution, not revolution, of Florida's tax system.

Increasing Florida's sales tax to eliminate property taxes for homesteaded owners raises the question of whether it is equitable and wise to exempt one large class of taxpayer from such a significant source of government income, while increasing another tax that everyone pays to replace it. We would be replacing a proportional tax with one that is more regressive. Issues of equity and tax fairness will have to be resolved.

It will cut the cost at one end for homesteaded homeowners, but this tax shift will add tremendous costs to business inputs, increase the cost of doing business in Florida and make us far less economically competitive with our neighboring states.

There are questions as to whether it is a good idea to have the highest sales-tax rate in the nation. This could create competitive problems, increase taxes for anyone who doesn't currently pay property taxes, make Florida more expensive (and less desirable) for tourists and create some major enforcement issues. With sales taxes that high, people will search for ways to avoid them. It could also hasten the eroding of Florida's sales-tax collections from Internet and other remote sales.

In trying to achieve needed results, Florida must make sure there are no unintended consequences that could kill the goose that that laid the golden egg of economic vitality.


National Center for Lesbian Rights

In less than a month, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR),Securing Our Children’s Rights (SOCR), Equality Florida and other alliesfrom the Coalition for Fair Adoption will come together in Tallahassee forour Second Annual Fair Adoption Lobby Days.

Please Join Us!

Register today to join us in Tallahassee on March 14th and 15th as familiesfrom around the state come together to share their stories with Floridalawmakers. No prior lobbying experience is needed – your personal storiesare more powerful than any professional lobbyist! We will provide trainingand will have materials available that you can give to lawmakers. Bring yourkids, your partner and your non- gay family and friends with you! Let ourlawmakers know why repealing Florida’s shameful gay adoption ban isimportant to you.

To Register: E-mail Tracy Powell and let us know whether you will be joiningus on both Wednesday March 14th and Thursday March 15th, or whether you canonly come for one day; tell us your name; address; phone number; and howmany people will be joining us. Also, please let us know if you needtransportation or housing assistance. NCLR will be renting vans around thestate and a limited number of hotel rooms will be made available through thegenerosity of special lobby day donors who are committed to ensuring thatanyone who would like to attend is able to do so!

If you are unable to travel to Tallahassee on March 14th and 15th, but wouldlike to sponsor another family’s travel to Tallahassee, please contact Tracy.

We look forward to seeing you in Tallahassee on March 14th and 15th!

Thank You,

Karen Doering, Senior Counsel
National Center for Lesbian Rights
phone: 415.392.6257

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