Monday, July 09, 2007

Ray's List Offline for next two (2) weeks

To: Ray's List

Michael and I will be visiting family from tomorrow, July 10 until the 20th. Ray's List will be off line for the next couple of weeks.

Best wishes to you all!

Ray and Michael

GLBT DIGEST July 9, 2007

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


Naugle's toilet talk betrays his ignorance and prejudice
July 9, 2007

Mayor Jim Naugle's latest statement about gays and public bathroomsdemonstrates a profound lack of knowledge about a large proportion of thepeople he represents that it is almost frightening. This is 2007 and this isFort Lauderdale. The days when gay men had to resort to using publicbathrooms to meet people like themselves in Southeast Florida have longgone.

Before opening his mouth, it plainly didn't even cross his mind to checkwith the police to see if men having sex in public bathrooms was an issue.Based upon your reporter's conversation with the police spokesman, itclearly is not.

Comments such as Naugle's about gays do not give a good impression of ourcity to those considering either vacationing or, heaven forbid, openingbusinesses in our area. We are lucky to live in a progressive-thinkingcommunity that for the most part accepts and welcomes our community'sdiversity. Various studies have shown that more diverse and acceptingcommunities enjoy higher rates of economic growth and greater prosperity. Ihope that anyone reading Naugle's comments will not treat them asrepresentative of the vast majority of people living and working here.

Based upon Mayor Naugle's grasp of the world in which we live, it can onlybe a matter of time before he suggests imprisoning or burning at the stakethose he believes are possessed by demons - meaning those who areleft-handed. Watch out - you have been warned.

Paul Harris

Wilton Manors


The global resurgence of religious intolerance

From Washington to Baghdad and beyond, religious intolerance is makinga comeback; threatening democracy and human rights.

Peter Tatchell interviews feminist commentator, writer and secularist,Joan Smith. Watch this Talking with Tatchell interview here:

Two centuries after the Enlightenment, religious ignorance,superstition, sectarianism and prejudice are on the rise again.Reason, science, liberalism, democracy, secularism and humanitarianvalues are under attack from fundamentalists within many faiths: Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and Judaism. They want to reassertreligious dogma, authority and control. More and more of these zealotsare prepared to use violence; as evidenced by the growth ofreligious-inspired terrorism.

Liberal and progressive people of faith are on defensive in largeparts of the world; often being eclipsed by the shrill voices ofreligious fanaticism.

Even in a wealthy, well-educated democratic nation like the US, theChristian Right has succeeded in hijacking the Republican Party andthe Presidency, propagandising creationism and sexual abstinence, andsecuring a prohibition on the federal funding of stem cell researchand condom use as a method to prevent HIV.

In Britain, the Church of England bans women bishops, faith schoolstolerate the bullying of lesbian and gay pupils, and religiousextremists have succeeded in closing down the play Behzti andcancelling regional performances of Jerry Springer: The Opera.


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Jul. 08, 2007
GAY TRAVEL: Caribbean -- Make sure islands will welcome you

The irresistible lure of tropical breezes, powdery white-sand beaches andturquoise sea is expected to lure upwards of 10 million visitors to theCaribbean this year. But for gay and lesbian travelers, planning a vacationin paradise requires more consideration than tossing flip-flops and a beachhat into a suitcase.

Many islands in this region have shown gay tourists a less-than-sunny sideto their disposition.

In 2004, a Rosie O'Donnell R Family cruise, which caters to gay families,was met by 100 protesters when it stopped in The Bahamas. AmnestyInternational has described Jamaica, where a leading gay activist wasabducted and murdered in 2005, as ''suffering from an appalling level ofhomophobia.'' Last year, two gay men were severely beaten on theFrench/Dutch island of St. Maarten.

The St. Maarten incident notwithstanding, the gay-friendliness of eachCaribbean island often correlates directly to its cultural heritage andpolitics. The most noticeable signs of gay life can be found in Americanterritories such as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, particularly onSt. Croix. Puerto Rico offers the largest concentration of gay bars (in SanJuan) as well as the opportunity for a quiet gay getaway on the isle ofVieques. French and Dutch-speaking islands also lean toward tolerance. TheFrench West Indies isle of St. Barts may not have any all-gay venues, butit's a popular choice among sophisticated gay travelers. Saba, the tiniestmember of the Netherlands Antilles, frequently welcomes gay and lesbianscuba diving groups.


While the Caribbean lags far behind most of the western world in terms ofopenness toward gay residents and visitors, signs of a sea change are slowlycoming into view. Most prominent is the work of the Curac¸ao Tourism Board,which launched a gay website ( in January 2005 -- theCaribean's first gay marketing campaign.

''We are committed to increasing Curac¸ao's profile as a gay-friendly travel destination, and as a viable alternative in the Caribbean,'' said AndreRojer, a marketing representative with the Curac¸ao Tourism Board.


National Gay News

He Shoots, She Scores

When Mike became Christine, she gave Los Angeles sports fans a courtsideview of gender politics.

For all of its trappings of money, fame, and corruption, professional sportshas a lot to do with character. Avid sports fans seem to respect those whoface up to overwhelming challenge and overcome adversity. So it should notcome as a surprise that readers rose in solidarity when a 23-year veteransports writer announced in the Los Angeles Times that he would return from ashort a woman.



State Ban On Gay Marriage No 'Slam-Dunk'
By WILLIAM MARCH , The Tampa Tribune
Tampa Bay Online
Updated: 12:35 a.m. ET July 8, 2007

TAMPA - As social conservatives gear up to put an antigay marriageconstitutional amendment on the 2008 state ballot, opponents are gearing upa campaign to defeat it.

Their task may not be hopeless, as it has been thought.

Gay marriage bans long have been considered virtually unbeatable at pollsnationwide, particularly in conservative states such as Florida. From 1998through 2006, voters approved the bans in 28 states.

Recently, however, there have been indications that this conventional wisdommay not always hold true.

The 2006 election saw the first-ever defeat of a gay marriage ban, inArizona. Voters at local levels, in city and county referendums, also haveshown an increased willingness to oppose the bans recently, said Universityof South Florida political scientist Susan MacManus.

"They are increasingly not a slam-dunk," she said.

That could be particularly true in Florida, where constitutional amendmentsnow must pass with 60 percent of the popular vote, not just a simplemajority.

Opponents also have received some new ammunition against the measure, fromcourt rulings in other states that the bans can undercut domesticpartnership laws, employee benefits and even laws against domestic violence.

That, they say, shows unintended negative consequences that can arise from agay marriage ban.

The intent of the amendment, advocates say, is simply to put into the state constitution a ban on gay marriage that already exists in state statutes.

The amendment states: "Inasmuch as marriage is the legal union of only oneman and one woman as husband and wife, no other legal union that is treatedas marriage or the substantial equivalent thereof shall be valid orrecognized."

Staying On Message

In Florida, two political action committees have formed to oppose the ban.

One, originating in South Florida, has taken advantage of the region'sconcentration of big-dollar, liberal donors and links to national interestgroups. That group, Florida Red & Blue, won't reveal its fundraising -figures will be public this week - but has told supporters it raised morethan $1 million since its founding this year.

The other, Fairness for All Families, organized mainly by Equality Floridaand its well-known Tampa leader Nadine Smith, is a coalition withorganizations including the National Association for the Advancement ofColored People, churches and retiree groups.

That division into two separate opponent groups could be a drawback. Arizonaactivists said a consistent message pushed by a disciplined organization isessential for opponents of a gay marriage ban to succeed.

"Discipline can be hard for activists," said Arizona State Rep. KyrstenSinema of Arizona Together, which opposed the measure there. "In otherstates, they would bounce back and forth between messages."

Her advice to Floridians: "Raise a lot of money now. Do the research tofigure out a message that works for Floridians. Be disciplined incommunicating that message."

Signature Goal Near

The constitutional amendment petition drive is being conducted by theFlorida Coalition to Protect Marriage, also known by its Web site, It's led by John Stemberger, an Orlando lawyer andnational-level religious conservative activist.

The organization says it has gathered all but 18,000 of the 611,009petitions needed to place the amendment on the November 2008 ballot, and therest will be turned in this summer. So far, state officials have checked andapproved 467,000.

Stemberger wouldn't discuss his group's fundraising, but said he expectsconcerted opposition to the amendment, and that his organization will mountan effective campaign.

Both the pro- and anti-amendment groups, like other political committees inFlorida, will file reports this week detailing their fundraising for thesecond quarter of 2007.

Fairness for All Families will show more than $50,000 raised in the quarterfrom about 600 donors, said board member Gregory Wilson of St. Petersburg, apolitical consultant.

From its founding in 2005, when it began its petition drive, through thefirst three months of 2007, Florida4marriage raised more than $500,000 incash and in-kind contributions - $300,000 of it from the Florida RepublicanParty - and spent about $440,000, according to previous reports.

Gov. Charlie Crist has said he does not favor the party giving any moremoney to the effort, which means it almost certainly won't.

Florida Red & Blue formed after a February gathering in Miami of state andnational supporters of progressive or gay rights causes.

The organization has received $50,000 from the Human Rights Campaign, anational gay rights advocacy group.

Its bipartisan name reflects a board of directors including Republican SouthFlorida businessman Jonathan Kislak, previously campaign finance chairmanfor both Attorney General Bill McCollum and former U.S. Rep. Clay Shaw; andDemocrat Bob Farmer, previously treasurer for the John Kerry, Bill Clintonand Michael Dukakis campaigns.

Advocates of the amendment have one big advantage: By and large, majoritiesof voters in Florida and nationwide consistently oppose gay marriage inpolls.

A recent national poll by the Pew Research Center found voters opposed by 57percent to 32 percent; a 2004 poll of state voters by Mason-Dixon Polling &Research for the Tribune found 60 percent opposed.

Plans Of Attack

Even though voters oppose the concept, that may not mean they will vote foran amendment, opponents say.

They intend to argue that the amendment could have sweeping, unintendedconsequences, interfering with legal rights of gay and straight unmarriedcouples, from hospital visitation and health care decisions, even todomestic partner employee benefits.

"This is not about gay marriage," said Stephen Gaskill, a veteran SouthFlorida Democratic operative and Red & Blue spokesman. "This is aboutensuring that people are able to determine their own life choices."

Sinema said the Arizona campaign featured a Tucson retiree couple, "Al andMaxine," both widowed, who live together but don't want to marry because itwould cost Maxine her pension.

The amendment, Sinema said, could have interfered with their rights forhospital visitation and health care decision-making under a domesticregistry program available in Tucson.

The Florida opponents have taken note.

"Arizona was a valuable lesson in process that we have learned from," saidWilson of Fairness for All Families. "People may have strong feelings aboutdifferent lifestyles, but as Americans we find it difficult to supportdiscrimination."

The opponents also note that in several states where gay marriage bans havepassed recently, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia, the favorablevotes were less than the 60 percent needed in Florida.

Stemberger acknowledged the 60 percent requirement is "a challenge."

He also said his side is ready to counter arguments about domestic partnerbenefits and rights, and that the Florida amendment language is notidentical to any other state's.

"What they're going to do is try to scare senior citizens of Florida intothinking the amendment will somehow take away their benefits," he said. "Itwill not. It simply codifies the current law of Florida. It does not preventdomestic partner benefits."

Reporter William March can be reached at (813) 259-7761



Sheehan plans run against Pelosi
Anti-war leader wants House Speaker to begin impeachment process
08:06 PM CDT on Sunday, July 8, 2007
Associated Press

CRAWFORD, Texas - Cindy Sheehan, the fallen soldier's mother who galvanizedthe anti-war movement, said Sunday that she plans to run against HouseSpeaker Nancy Pelosi unless she moves to oust President Bush in the next twoweeks.

Sheehan said she will run against the San Francisco Democrat in 2008 as anindependent if Pelosi does not file articles of impeachment against Bush byJuly 23. That's when Sheehan and her supporters are to arrive in Washington,D.C., after a 13-day caravan and walking tour starting from the group's warprotest site near Bush's Crawford ranch.

"Democrats and Americans feel betrayed by the Democratic leadership,"Sheehan told The Associated Press. "We hired them to bring an end to thewar. I'm not too far from San Francisco, so it wouldn't be too big of a movefor me. I would give her a run for her money."


Thompson had hidden Watergate role
Tapes reveal that Nixon considered him a not-too-bright ally in the Senate investigation.
Published July 8, 2007

WASHINGTON - Fred Thompson gained an image as a tough-minded investigativecounsel for the Senate Watergate Committee. Yet President Richard Nixon andhis top aides viewed the fellow Republican as a willing, if not too bright,ally, according to White House tapes.

Thompson, now preparing a bid for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, wonfame in 1973 for asking a committee witness the bombshell question thatrevealed Nixon had hidden listening devices and taping equipment in the OvalOffice.

Those tapes show Thompson played a behind-the-scenes role that was verydifferent from his public image three decades ago. He comes across as apartisan willing to cooperate with the White House's effort to discredit thecommittee's star witness.

It was Thompson who tipped off the White House that the Senate committeeknew about the tapes. They eventually cinched Nixon's downfall in thescandal resulting from the break-in at Democratic headquarters in theWatergate complex in Washington and the subsequent White House coverup.

Thompson, then 30, was appointed counsel by his political mentor, TennesseeSen. Howard Baker, the top Republican on the Senate committee. Thompson hadbeen an assistant U.S. attorney in Nashville and had managed Baker'sre-election campaign. Thompson later was a senator himself.

Nixon was disappointed with the selection of Thompson, whom he called "dumbas hell." Nixon did not think Thompson was skilled enough to interrogateunfriendly witnesses and would be outsmarted by the committee's Democraticcounsel.


The Boston Globe

Middle class feels squeeze as rich get richer
By Lisa Von Ahn, Reuters | July 8, 2007
Falling Behind: How Rising Inequality Harms the Middle Class
by Robert H. Frank
University of California Press, $19.95

When the rich get richer, it isn't just the poor who get squeezed, accordingto a new book by income-inequality expert Robert H. Frank.

Skyrocketing pay for the top tier and increasingly conspicuous consumptionin the United States have "raised the cost of achieving goals that mostmiddle-class families regard as basic," Frank writes in "Falling Behind."

Frank, who teaches at Cornell University and has written several books onincome inequality, points to the US housing market as one example of what hecalls an "expenditure cascade."

It begins when the ultrawealthy build bigger homes, prompting the near-richto upgrade, and so on down the income ladder. As a result, the median sizeof a house has increased to more than 2,010 square feet in 2001 from 1,600in 1980 even though median income has barely changed.

That puts pressure on families with children, since school quality is oftenlinked to property values.

"Middle-income families cannot send their children to schools of averagequality now without spending significantly more, in real terms, than in1980," Frank writes.

The expenditure cascade has also engulfed the auto business. Drivers who 20years ago might have been content with a compact car now base their purchaseon the fact they are sharing the road with huge SUVs.

For the nonwealthy, all this takes its toll in the form of longer workinghours and commutes, reduced savings, and higher debt. But Frank sayseveryone suffers because of cutbacks in public services, with rich and pooralike inconvenienced by poorly maintained roads and endangered by inadequateport security.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Editorial Observer
Last Term's Winner at the Supreme Court: Judicial Activism

The Supreme Court told Seattle and Louisville, and hundreds more cities andcounties, last month that they have to scrap their integration programs.There is a word for judges who invoke the Constitution to telldemocratically elected officials how to do their jobs: activist.

President Bush, who created the court's conservative majority when heappointed Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, campaignedagainst activist judges, and promised to nominate judges who would"interpret the law, not try to make law." Largely because of Chief JusticeRoberts and Justice Alito, the court has just completed one of its mostactivist terms in years.

The individuals and groups that have been railing against judicial activismshould be outraged. They are not, though, because their criticism has alwaysbeen of "liberal activist judges." Now we have conservative ones, who usetheir judicial power on behalf of employers who mistreat their workers,tobacco companies, and whites who do not want to be made to go to schoolwith blacks.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
Health Care Terror

These days terrorism is the first refuge of scoundrels. So when Britishauthorities announced that a ring of Muslim doctors working for the NationalHealth Service was behind the recent failed bomb plot, we should have knownwhat was coming.

"National healthcare: Breeding ground for terror?" read the on-screenheadline, as the Fox News host Neil Cavuto and the commentator Jerry Bowyersolemnly discussed how universal health care promotes terrorism.

While this was crass even by the standards of Bush-era political discourse,Fox was following in a long tradition. For more than 60 years, themedical-industrial complex and its political allies have used scare tacticsto prevent America from following its conscience and making access to healthcare a right for all its citizens.

I say conscience, because the health care issue is, most of all, aboutmorality.

That's what we learn from the overwhelming response to Michael Moore's"Sicko." Health care reformers should, by all means, address the anxietiesof middle-class Americans, their growing and justified fear of findingthemselves uninsured or having their insurers deny coverage when they needit most. But reformers shouldn't focus only on self-interest. They shouldalso appeal to Americans' sense of decency and humanity.


The New York Times

July 9, 2007
Advocate to Offer Magazine Without 2nd Cover

The Advocate, the national gay magazine, is kicking off the covers. That is,the magazine is starting to do away with the extra cover that is placed onthe magazine before it is sealed in a plastic wrapper, concealing itsidentity during shipment.

Its July 3 issue, which features on its cover a gay Marine who is a warveteran, was mailed to most subscribers with a standard address label in thelower left-hand corner, looking like any other magazine delivered by thePostal Service.

Michael Phelps, the publisher of The Advocate, said the new policy ofopenness came about after the magazine polled its readers in April, askingthem if they wanted to continue to receive the magazine in the wrapper ornot.

"The majority no longer wanted the covering," said Mr. Phelps, who waspromoted to publisher of the magazine just a few weeks ago. "For some, theysaid they were environmentally conscious and wanted to cut down on waste.For others, it was more of an out-and-proud issue."


The Washington Post

Edging Away From Inner Circle, Pelosi Asserts Authority
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 9, 2007; A01

In February, only a month after becoming speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosisettled weeks of threats from Rep. John D. Dingell, her blustery Energy andCommerce Committee chairman, by putting in writing her assent to one of hisbig demands -- Pelosi's new Select Committee on Energy Independence andGlobal Warming would not infringe on his power to write legislation as hesaw fit.

Four months later, Dingell (D-Mich.) appeared in the speaker's conferenceroom to walk through a bill that would override California's attempts tocombat global warming by raising fuel efficiency standards, strip theEnvironmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate greenhousegases and promote a controversial effort to turn coal into liquid fuel.

This time, Pelosi was in no mood to mollify Dingell. The bill he wassponsoring, she said, was unacceptable. The environmental costs would be toosevere, the political costs for the Democratic caucus too high, she said.

The two episodes with Dingell illustrate Pelosi's evolution from a somewhattentative political figure reliant on a small circle of advisers to theundisputed leader of the House's fractious Democratic majority.

"Nancy now represents the majority of this caucus, overwhelmingly," saidBarney Frank (Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.


The Washington Post

A Vision to Match the Threat
By Walter Isaacson
Monday, July 9, 2007; A15

Sixty years ago, America faced a new and dangerous global challenge, theexpansionist aims of Soviet communism. This threat arose rather suddenly,and it was clear that it could portend a long struggle.

Our leaders reacted with a burst of creativity. Working across party lines,they created a military alliance, NATO, to counter Soviet aggression. To winthe economic struggle, they formed institutions such as the World Bank andthe International Monetary Fund and programs such as the Marshall Plan. Towin hearts and minds, they created Radio Free Europe and revamped Voice ofAmerica. They defined the struggle clearly and articulated it publicly withthe Truman Doctrine. Then, in such documents as NSC-68, they worked to agreeon the balance of commitments and resources necessary to sustain thisstruggle for as long as it would take to prevail.

This response was conceived and put into place within five years, and overthe course of nine presidencies it eventually led to the fall of the BerlinWall and the collapse of the Soviet state.

Now we are again faced with a new and dangerous global threat, the rise ofjihadist terrorism. But more than five years after the Sept. 11 attacks, wehave not yet responded with the creativity displayed at the outset of theCold War. Instead, we are either disparaging Cold War institutions or, atbest, tinkering with them to make them play a role for which they were neverdesigned.

With a presidential election approaching, we should push the candidates toprovide some imaginative ideas and a vision that match the creativityexhibited 60 years ago. Here, for example, are proposals they could explore:


The Washington Post

The Wrong Place to Treat Mental Illness
By Marcia Kraft Goin
Sunday, July 8, 2007; B07

Last month the Supreme Court rightly blocked the execution of Scott Panetti,a Texas man who was convicted of a double murder and who suffers fromdelusional schizophrenia. The case drew public attention to the intersectionbetween mental illnesses and executions.

But what about those who are mentally ill and imprisoned but not on deathrow? A national conversation on this issue is urgently needed.

There is a pervasive attitude in this country that such people are gettingwhat they deserve: After all, like Panetti, they are in jail for something.

But did you know that the Los Angeles County Jail houses the largestpsychiatric population in the country? That's not justice. That's emblematicof a national emergency.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

The Los Angeles Times,1,1631472.story?ctrack=6&cset=true

Law firm criticizes Padres over gays
By Tony Perry, Times Staff Writer
July 7, 2007

SAN DIEGO - A national law firm involved with religious issues joined alocal Christian minister Friday in decrying what they termed support by theSan Diego Padres' management for the "homosexual lifestyle."

The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center said the baseball team isencouraging homosexuality by allowing a gay group to attend the Sunday gameat Petco Park featuring the Padres against the Atlanta Braves. At the game,the Padres plan to distribute free floppy hats to children 14 or younger.

"The Padres are playing the part of the Pied Piper leading unsuspectingchildren into the homosexual lifestyle as normal," said Richard Thompson,the group's president and chief counsel.

Ron deHarte, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride, said the lawcenter's concern for children "is just a shield for the homophobic, anti-gaymessage they're trying to get out."

"Gays and children attend games all season and there is no problem," DeHartesaid. "We hear this rhetoric every June and July during pride season."

A Padres spokesman said the team sold a block of tickets to San Diego LGBTPride, one of about 100 business, community and family groups buying ticketsfor the Sunday game. With block sales, the group's name is often shownmomentarily on the electronic scoreboard.

San Diego LGBT Pride, which states its mission as fostering "pride in andrespect for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in SanDiego," is referring to the event on its website as "Out at the Park - SanDiego Pride Night at Petco Park."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Mon, Jul. 09, 2007
Erasure offers colorful concert

Erasure took time off from Cyndi Lauper's multiartist gay pride tour, TrueColors, to headline its own colorful show Saturday before about 2,500 fansat downtown Miami's James L. Knight International Center.

The center is looking a bit worn these days, but the sound mix wasexceptional for Erasure's 90-minute set, as well as for the opening act, SanFrancisco newcomers Scissors for Lefty, which threatened to steal the nightfrom the '80s British duo with a frisky, fun 40-minute romp through itscatchy indie album Underhanded Romance.

Twice, Scissors lead singer Bryan Garza told the crowd, ''Thanks for puttingup with a band like us,'' but the apology was unnecessary. The quirkyrockers, made up of two sets of brothers and an uncle, proved a perfectcomplement to the programmed dance music of Erasure.

Erasure -- musician/programmer Vince Clarke and singer Andy Bell -- ranthrough the '80s synth-pop hits Oh L'Amour, A Little Respect, Chains ofLove, and much of the new album, Light at the End of the World, seamlesslyblending old and new.

Largely, this feat is due to Erasure's lack of musical development over thedecades. Rather than being a total detriment, however, the duo's knack forcomposing infectious pop hooks, crafted largely by wallflower Clarke,remains its chief attribute. Since Clarke can flawlessly reproduce the dancemusic to sound like the records via the laptop and keyboard he hides behindstage, fans of this melodic style had much reason to leap from their seatsthroughout the concert to dance and satisfy cravings to hear Blue Savannahand Love to Hate You.


Analysis: Cash But Doubts For Obama
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 9, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(New York City) For Barack Obama, the millions of dollars he's raised can'tquite paper over the nagging doubts and growing pains.

The Democratic presidential hopeful recently reported raising $32.5 millionover three months, a staggering haul that shifted focus from the question ofwhether the 45-year-old political phenom is ready for prime time.

The first-term Illinois senator continues to draw large crowds - as he didin Iowa last week - and his message of hope and unity has captivated manyvoters weary of political polarization. The campaign has already attractedmore than 259,000 contributors - a jaw-dropping figure.

But in the weeks before his cash totals were disclosed, the Obama campaignhit a series of rough patches that seemed to highlight his relativeinexperience on the national stage.

-Critics dismissed as somewhat lackluster Obama's performance in threenationally televised debates. One was a civil rights forum in which Obama,the field's only black contender, was expected to shine.


[Send your comments about articles to]


Sunday, July 08, 2007

GLBT DIGEST July 8, 2007

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


The New York Times

July 8, 2007
Street Level | Hunts Point
Dark Rumblings During a Rainbow Moment

A WEEK before Manhattan's annual gay pride parade last month, when thousandsof revelers streamed down Fifth Avenue in a gale of feather boas, leathervests and shiny underwear, the Bronx had its own modest gay pridecelebration, which from the outside, seemed to go off without a hitch.

Gathering in Barretto Point Park, a lush, five-acre nook at the foot ofTiffany Street nestled against the East River in Hunts Point, about 800people listened to the singer Lisette Melendez, watched a performance byCharles Rice-Gonzalez's dance company and snacked on roast pork and potatosalad. The park was adorned with rainbow-colored balloon arches, and it wassunny nearly all day.

Still, according to representatives of the Bronx Community Pride Center, theMott Haven-based group that organized the June 16 event, the day was marredby hostile interactions with Parks Department employees.

Lisa Winters, the center's executive director, sent a letter to electedofficials charging that participants were harassed, vendors faced problemswhen they tried to set up their stands, and Park Department employees triedto end the event at 6 p.m. even though the sound permit was valid until 8.

"Basically, it was like every barrier possible to prevent us from having theevent was thrown up," said Zachariah Hennessey, another official of thecenter.


The Washington Post

Leave Iraq and Brace for a Bigger Bloodbath

By Natan Sharansky
Sunday, July 8, 2007; B03

Iraqis call Ali Hassan al-Majeed "Chemical Ali," and few wept when thenotorious former general received five death sentences last month forordering the use of nerve agents against his government's Kurdish citizensin the late 1980s. His trial came as a reckoning and a reminder -- summoningup the horrors of Saddam Hussein's rule even as it underscored the waytoday's heated Iraq debates in Washington have left the key issue of humanrights on the sidelines. People of goodwill can certainly disagree over howto handle Iraq, but human rights should be part of any responsible calculus.Unfortunately, some leaders continue to play down the gross violations inIraq under Hussein's republic of fear and ignore the potential for a humanrights catastrophe should the United States withdraw.

As the hideous violence in Iraq continues, it has become increasingly commonto hear people argue that the world was better off with Hussein in power and(even more remarkably) that Iraqis were better off under his fist. In hisfinal interview as U.N. secretary general, Kofi Annan acknowledged that Iraq"had a dictator who was brutal" but said that Iraqis under the Baathistdictatorship "had their streets, they could go out, their kids could go toschool."

This line of argument began soon after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Byearly 2004, some prominent political and intellectual leaders were arguingthat women's rights, gay rights, health care and much else had suffered inpost-Hussein Iraq.

Following in the footsteps of George Bernard Shaw, Walter Duranty and otherWestern liberals who served as willing dupes for Joseph Stalin, some membersof the human rights community are whitewashing totalitarianism. A textbookexample came last year from John Pace, who recently left his post as U.N.human rights chief in Iraq. "Under Saddam," he said, according to theAssociated Press, "if you agreed to forgo your basic freedom of expressionand thought, you were physically more or less OK."

The truth is that in totalitarian regimes, there are no human rights.Period. The media do not criticize the government. Parliaments do not checkexecutive power. Courts do not uphold due process. And human rights groupsdon't file reports.


Law firm criticizes Padres over gays
By Tony Perry
Times Staff Writer
July 7, 2007

SAN DIEGO - A national law firm involved with religious issues joined alocal Christian minister Friday in decrying what they termed support by theSan Diego Padres' management for the "homosexual lifestyle."

The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center said the baseball team isencouraging homosexuality by allowing a gay group to attend the Sunday gameat Petco Park featuring the Padres against the Atlanta Braves. At the game,the Padres plan to distribute free floppy hats to children 14 or younger.

"The Padres are playing the part of the Pied Piper leading unsuspectingchildren into the homosexual lifestyle as normal," said Richard Thompson,the group's president and chief counsel.

Ron deHarte, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride, said the lawcenter's concern for children "is just a shield for the homophobic, anti-gaymessage they're trying to get out."

"Gays and children attend games all season and there is no problem," DeHartesaid. "We hear this rhetoric every June and July during pride season."


Enrique Iglesias knows what it feels like loving the gays
By Brandon Voss

His romance with tennis star Anna Kournikova may keep him in the tabloids,but his undeniable talent and sex appeal have kept Enrique Iglesias at thetop of the charts for the past decade. With more than 40 million recordssold since his 1995 debut, the 32- year-old Spanish-born, Miami-bred hunkrecently released his eighth album, Insomniac, a caffeinated pop cocktailpacked with Latin, hip-hop and electro flavors. Less than a week after hisheadline-making appearance at London's G-A-Y nightclub, Iglesias opened upto us about his gay friends and squashed those "stupid" rumors about hissexuality and pene pequeño.

HX: Why did you name your new album Insomniac?
Enrique Iglesias: I've had problems sleeping since I was a kid because I wasalways hyperactive. But I made this album mostly at night, and I would comeback home and I would turn on TV, and a lot of the time it was those wakeupexercise shows that you see in the morning or VH1 Insomniac Music Theater. Iwanted to name it something I could identify with instead of just naming itafter any track on the album.

Your first single, "Do You Know (The Ping Pong Song)," asks, "Do you knowwhat it feels like loving someone that's in a rush to throw you away?" But Ihave a hard time believing that you know what it feels like.

C'mon, we all know what it feels like. But for me, it's not only aboutfollowing someone who doesn't give a shit about you, it's also about whenyou're in a relationship and you always ask, "I wonder if that person lovesme more or if I love them more?" It's about when you can't find thatbalance, and that person doesn't love you as much as you love them, itdrives you absolutely nuts. And trust me, I have been through that.

Which track on the album will your gay fans enjoy most?"Ring My Bell." [Laughs] I'm kidding, I honestly don't know. I just saidthat. I think it's a sexy song, though. Hopefully they'll like all of 'em!


Report shows GOP presidential hopefuls stumble on gay issues
Jul. 06, 2007

A new report on the Republican presidential hopefuls shows they're stumblingon gay issues. None of the 11 Republican contenders reviewed by the NationalGay & Lesbian Task Force support barring employment discrimination againsttransgender people, or permitting gays to serve openly in the military.

And former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the only contender to clearlysupport civil unions or domestic partnerships, according to the June 27report.

The report marked the first time that the Republican Party's leading 2008contenders were scored by a major gay organization.

Dave Noble, the Task Force's director of public policy and governmentaffairs, said the report intentionally did not survey the presidentialhopefuls.

"This is what they've told the mainstream press," he said, "not just whatthey're saying to the LGBT community when they're asked."


Pink pride
Express News Service
Posted online: Sunday, July 08, 2007 at 0000 hrs

As small pockets of urban India shed straitjackets and stray from straight,narrow paths, a growing community...

Queer things can happen over coffee. Lovers smoulder, friends fall out andevery Sunday morning, at a coffee shop in south Delhi, a group of 10-15 menget together-to steer clear of straight talk. They are a motley bunch:young, bleary-eyed call centre workers and shy undergraduate students,middle-aged bankers and photographers, corporate executives and NGO members.

They are also gay. The banter, over cups of bitter brew and stacks of crustysandwiches, is lively as they talk about Tendulkar's return to form, theknotty politics of a corporate office, the lack of a love life, the pressureto get hitched and the sullen walls of silence they run into in homes. Thisis the Gay Delhi Sunday Social, a gathering of a handful of urban,middle-class and upper middle-class homosexual and bisexual men of thecapital that every week stakes a claim-to visibility, to a social space.

"When we decided to start the Socials about a year ago, it was a consciousdecision to be visible, to hold our gatherings in the day in a coffee shop.It was our way of pushing for a bit of public space," says 41-year-oldRanjan, who works for an NGO.

Last Sunday, as Ranjan and his friends sipped on dark cappuccinos and creamylattes, in Kolkata-the city has been organising a annual Gay Pride Marchsince 2003 to mark the homophobic Stonewall Riots in New York of 1969 -afile of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, was curlingitself around the lush-green Maidan. They were on their way to the RabindraSadan-Nandan complex, the hub of the state government's intellectual andcultural activities in an annual ritual of affirmation. Some wore masks;others looked onlookers straight in the eye.


Sunday, 08 July 2007 07:51
Gay Sports Magazine Launched
First-of-its-kind publication to focus on the Local & Global Gay AthleticScene

Tempe, Arizona-July 4th, 2007- Media Out Loud, LLC owners Eric Carlyle andDavid Riach launched the new, first-of-its-kind Gay Sports Magazine --SPORTS OUT LOUD on June 9th. The first issue features amateur athletes fromDallas in a swim suit layout. The studio shoot was conducted by celebratedphotographer Sean Northcutt.

"Sports Out Loud is Men's Health meets Sports Illustrated with just a hintof The Advocate thrown in," says Carlyle. "We hope to serve a healthy doseof sports and fun for both the gay spectator and gay athlete."

The need is there. In the past year, a growing number of gay sporting eventsreceived national and international exposure. New York City hosted gayrugby's premier tournament, The Bingham Cup. And in the summer, thousands ofgay athletes from around the world descended upon Chicago and Montreal forthe Gay Games and the World Outgames.

What was missing from these monumental events? NO coverage by a leading gaysports magazine. Arizona-based Media Out Loud, LLC hopes to fill that voidwith its new entry into the gay publishing world, SPORTS OUT LOUD®.

Leading the editorial team is Echo Magazine's (Arizona's most widely readGLBT magazine) former assistant editor Ted Rybka. Rybka was also the formerassociate editor for a nationally-ranked top ten radio show whose workappeared nationwide in the Gannett Newspapers and on USA Today's Web site.Rybka brings a master's degree in mass media to his job and years ofexperience covering gay culture. But he is also an avid sportsman andathlete.

"To put it simply, I love journalism and I love sports. I feel veryfortunate to be able to combine those two worlds," said Rybka.


He Shoots, She Scores
When Mike became Christine, she gave Los Angeles sports fans a courtsideview of gender politics
By John Ireland June 27, 2007

For all of its trappings of money, fame, and corruption, professional sportshas a lot to do with character. Avid sports fans seem to respect those whoface up to overwhelming challenge and overcome adversity. So it should notcome as a surprise that readers rose in solidarity when a 23-year veteransports writer announced in the Los Angeles Times that he would return from ashort a woman.

On April 26, Mike Penner wrote what he thought would be the toughest articleof his career. "I am a transsexual sportswriter. It has taken more than 40years, a million tears and hundreds of hours of soul-wrenching therapy forme to work up the courage to type those words." The piece ran in the Sportssection, next to his regular column.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Penner's story was "by mid-evening, oneof the most heavily viewed stories on in the last year, withabout half a million page views." Nancy Sullivan, executive director ofcommunications for the newspaper, says "There was a massive response to thisstory, not only on our website, but across the media spectrum." The onlinemessage board accompanying the article was closed to comments in less than 8hours, with 800 comments logged in. Hundreds more messages were sent viae-mail. Responses to the revelation came in three distinct flavors: kudosfrom sports fans, effusive thanks from other transsexuals and rants frombible-thumpers. Readers' initial shock, however, subsided almostimmediately.

Michael Daniel Penner returned to work on May 23 as Christine MichelleDaniels. So far, it appears to be smooth sailing. But Daniels' very publictransition has put a spotlight on a culture that is slow to acknowledge, letalone attempt to rehabilitate its ingrained intolerance and bigotry.

Translating her world

"The concept of one day having to come out publicly, as an LA Times sportscolumnist, was a paralyzing fear that, looking back, kept me fromtransitioning at least 5 years sooner," Daniels tells In These Times. Shesays she was "bracing for the worst."


The Miami Herald

Posted on Sun, Jul. 08, 2007
Wanted: openly gay lawyers

Like most expectant parents, McKay Bray and Dayna Shelkey of Fort Lauderdalewant to do all they can to protect their family if something horriblehappens.

But Bray and Shelkey are lesbians and don't have the same legal rights asmarried couples. They've hired an attorney to make sure everyone --
including Shelkey, the nonbiological mother -- is secure.

The couple had no trouble finding one: Many gay and lesbian lawyers todayare out of the closet, ready to assist clients who have same-sex partnersand children. And large law firms have caught on, too, that top-notch gaystaff attorneys can bring in big gay business.

The number of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender lawyersincreased by more than 50 percent from 2002 to 2006, reports the NationalAssociation for Law Placement.

The nonprofit group, which uses data from about 700 large U.S. law firms,reported 1,733 openly gay lawyers in 2006, up from about 1,100 four yearsearlier. Openly gay lawyers represent 1.8 percent of associates and 1.1percent of partners.


July 07, 2007
U.K. schools told to be tough on homophobia

Teachers who ignore the casual use of "gay" and "queer" among students arepromoting the homophobic bullying that has become prevalent in U.K .schools,a government minister said Thursday, according to The [London] Times.Speaking to the U.K. gay rights organization Stonewall, Kevin Brennan, therecently installed children's minister, said faculty members have anobligation to end the use of homophobic language that is supposedly"harmless banter," reported The Times.

His comments came after the release of a study from the Schools HealthEducation Unit that suggests nearly half of British teachers disregard theuse of homophobic language. According to The Times, Brennan believes thatsuch language should be addressed in the same manner as racist slurs.

"To ignore this problem is to collude in it. Turning a blind eye to casualname-calling, looking the other way because it is the easy option, is notacceptable-not only because it is disrespectful and hurtful but because itis often the precursor to more serious bullying. We need to create a culturewhere homophobic bullying is as unthinkable as racist bullying," thenewspaper quoted Brennan as saying. He was particularly adamant about theuse of "gay" as a synonym for "bad," which he says contributes to anenvironment which can be hostile to LGBT students.

Brennan told The Times that the British government is in the process ofdeveloping a new curriculum "so that children and young people are taughtabout the importance of equality and diversity in ways that are appropriateto their age." He hopes schools will take a lead role in increasingtolerance among U.K. citizens.


The Advocate

July 07, 2007
Funeral protester with Phelps group charged after son stomps on Americanflag

A member of an antigay Kansas group that has drawn criticism for protestingat soldiers' funerals was charged Thursday with misdemeanors after her sonstomped on a U.S. flag during a demonstration last month in Bellevue, Neb.

Shirley Phelps-Roper, 49, of Topeka, Kan., was charged with negligent childabuse, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, flag mutilation, anddisturbing the peace.

''I have not failed to do my duty to my children, to my God, or to my fellowcountrymen, and I take my job dead serious,'' Phelps-Roper said Thursday.She said Sarpy County prosecutor Lee Polikov ''has pointed the big guns ofgovernment at my liberty and at my children.''

Polikov did not immediately respond to a message left Thursday afternoon.

Phelps-Roper is a member of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka and thedaughter of the church's founder, the Reverend Fred Phelps. For years churchmembers have protested at funerals of gay people who have died of AIDScomplications or as a result of antigay violence, including the funeral ofmurder victim Matthew Shepard, with signs asserting the deceased will go tohell for being gay. Westboro members are protesting at military funeralsbecause they claim U.S. soldiers' deaths are God's punishment for thenation's acceptance of gays and lesbians.


July 07, 2007
Fort Lauderdale mulls anticottaging toilet

A $250,000-plus high-tech toilet being considered for Fort Lauderdale, Fla.,beaches raised even more eyebrows when the city's mayor suggested its timingfeature would stop bathrooms from being used for gay sex.

"We're trying to provide a family environment where people can take theirchildren who need to use the bathroom without having to worry about a coupleof men in there engaged in a sex act," Mayor Jim Naugle told theSun-Sentinel newspaper earlier this week.

Public restrooms, Naugle told the paper, reiterating statements he has madein public meetings on the subject, are rendezvous points for"homosexuals...engaging in sex, anonymous sex, illegal sex."

The new toilets, similar to models already in use in New York, Atlanta,Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay qrea, would have doors that openautomatically after a set interval. They also clean the seat automatically,meter toilet paper, and play music. The New York and Bay Area toilets aremodeled after vintage vespasiennes in France.

It seems a six-figure toilet is expected not only to accommodate its statedfunction but to solve a social problem: Officials in San Francisco, whichgot its first high-tech toilets from French maker JCDecaux in 1995, claimedthey were clean and non-gender-specific, and would help solve vagrancy bypreventing homeless people from taking up residence inside.


The Advocate

July 07, 2007
Antigay banner waver announces candidacy for Miami Beach mayor

A Miami Beach, Fla., man who offended the city's LGBT residents last week byhanging a banner criticizing homosexuality in front of his home hasannounced his candidacy for mayor, The Miami Herald reported Friday.

William Charles Smatt, 76, told the paper that he wishes to combatcorruption in Miami Beach. "I am going to clean up the garbage. I'm going tobring in the state attorney to investigate what is going on down there atCity Hall," he said.

He refused to tell the Herald what issues he wants authorities to address.

Smatt offended his neighbors last week with a banner that read, "God createdAdam + Eve, NOT Adam + Steve," in front of his house. According to theHerald, city workers issued Smatt citations for five code violations on June29, including one for displaying an election banner at a residence.

Smatt says he is not homophobic but wishes that LGBT people would keep theiraffection out of the public eye, the Herald reported.


July 07, 2007
GOP candidates take shots at Hillary Clinton to boost support

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leader in the Democratic presidential field, hasbecome the Republican candidates' favorite punching bag. They accuse her ofbeing antimiltary and trying to create a ''big government, big taxationwelfare state.''

Forget Bill. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the leader in the Democraticpresidential field, has become the Republican candidates' favorite punchingbag.

Mitt Romney argues she would turn the United States into a ''big government,big taxation welfare state.'' John McCain calls the New York senator anirresponsible guardian of taxpayer dollars. Rudy Giuliani claims she'd putthe country ''on defense against terrorism.'' And all three lambaste her onIraq.

At every turn, the leading GOP contenders are criticizing Clinton even asthey are entangled in their own turbulent race for the Republicannomination.

''They see her not only as the clear Democratic front-runner but also as themost formidable potential opponent,'' said Joseph Marbach, a Seton HallUniversity political science professor. Marbach and others say that eachcandidate is trying to prove he is the strongest Republican to challengeClinton in November 2008-and damage her in the process.


Forgotten Inequality: GLBT Prisoners
by Jennifer Vanasco,

Same-sex marriage, Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Matthew Shepard Hate CrimesPrevention Act, ENDA. These are the sexy topics in the GLBT civil rightsmovement.

We all know about them, we vote according to the way politicians feel aboutthem, some of us give money toward their favorable resolution.

But equality has limits.

Most of us, for example, don't know about the often dangerous inequalityfacing GLBT prisoners.

GLBT prisoners are raped. They are isolated. They are denied access tosustaining graces, like hugging a family member during visitation. Allbecause they are gay, or their gender swerves from the standard.


Concerns Over Rising HIV Rate Among Canada's Aboriginals
by The Canadian Press
Posted: July 8, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Montreal, Quebec) An internationally recognized expert on the HIV virussays a better job needs to be done to fight the rising rate of infectionsamong Canada's natives.

Dr. Mark Wainberg says 15 to 20 per cent of all new infections in Canada areoccurring among members of the country's Aboriginal Peoples.

He says a disproportionate number of natives continue to be infected by thevirus that leads to AIDS.

Wainberg made his comments at the opening of a new $5-million high-securitylaboratory at Montreal's Jewish General Hospital.

The bio-containment lab, one of only a few such facilities approved byHealth Canada, will be used to grow the HIV virus and test tissue samples todetermine how patients respond to various types of medication.


Anti-Gay Riot Mars Hungary Pride
by The Associated Press
Posted: July 7, 2007 - 4:00 pm ET

(Budapest) Several hundred skinheads and right-wing activists threw rotteneggs and smoke bombs at people participating in a gay rights parade inHungary's capital Saturday.

Police detained several of the protesters and tried to disperse the rest,some of whom threw beer bottles at police. No injuries were reported.

Members of the Movement For A Better Hungary and the Hungarian NationalFront said they were angry about two recent developments.

On Thursday, Gabor Szetey, a state secretary in the prime minister's office,announced he was gay while the smaller party in the Socialist-led rulingcoalition said it would seek to legalize gay marriages. (story)

Some 2,000 people participated in Saturday's march, which took place overseveral kilometers (miles), from Heroes' Square to the foot of one of thebridges over the Danube River.


All-Out War Between Bush, Democratic Congress
by The Associated Press

Posted: July 7, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Washington) President Bush accused Democratic lawmakers on Saturday ofbeing unable to live up to their duties, citing Congress' inability to passlegislation to fund the federal government.

"Democrats are failing in their responsibility to make tough decisions andspend the people's money wisely," Bush said in his weekly radio address."This moment is a test."

The White House has said the failure of a broad immigration overhaul wasproof that Democratic-controlled Capitol Hill cannot take on major issues."We saw this with immigration, and we're seeing it with some other issueswhere Congress is having an inability to take on major challenges," saidspokesman Tony Fratto.

The main reason the immigration measure died, however, was staunchopposition from Bush's own base - conservatives. The president could notturn around members of his own party despite weeks of intense effort.

The immigration bill was the top item on Bush's domestic agenda. With itsdemise, Bush was left to focus on the annual appropriations process andreining in federal spending.


The New York Times

July 8, 2007
The Road Home

It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay thanthe Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.
Like many Americans, we have put off that conclusion, waiting for a signthat President Bush was seriously trying to dig the United States out of thedisaster he created by invading Iraq without sufficient cause, in the faceof global opposition, and without a plan to stabilize the country afterward.

At first, we believed that after destroying Iraq's government, army, policeand economic structures, the United States was obliged to try to accomplishsome of the goals Mr. Bush claimed to be pursuing, chiefly building astable, unified Iraq. When it became clear that the president had neitherthe vision nor the means to do that, we argued against setting a withdrawaldate while there was still some chance to mitigate the chaos that would mostlikely follow.

While Mr. Bush scorns deadlines, he kept promising breakthroughs - afterelections, after a constitution, after sending in thousands more troops. Butthose milestones came and went without any progress toward a stable,democratic Iraq or a path for withdrawal. It is frighteningly clear that Mr.Bush's plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump themess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.

The political leaders Washington has backed are incapable of puttingnational interests ahead of sectarian score settling. The security forcesWashington has trained behave more like partisan militias. Additionalmilitary forces poured into the Baghdad region have failed to changeanything.


The New York Times

July 8, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
A Profile in Cowardice

THERE was never any question that President Bush would grant amnesty toScooter Libby, the man who knows too much about the lies told to sell thewar in Iraq. The only questions were when, and how, Mr. Bush would buy Mr.Libby's silence. Now we have the answers, and they're at least asincriminating as the act itself. They reveal the continued ferocity of aWhite House cover-up and expose the true character of a commander in chiefwhose tough-guy shtick can no longer camouflage his fundamental cowardice.

The timing of the president's Libby intervention was a surprise. Manyassumed he would mimic the sleazy 11th-hour examples of most recent vintage:his father's pardon of six Iran-contra defendants who might have dragged himinto that scandal, and Bill Clinton's pardon of the tax fugitive Marc Rich,the former husband of a major campaign contributor and the former client ofnone other than the ubiquitous Mr. Libby.

But the ever-impetuous current President Bush acted 18 months before hisscheduled eviction from the White House. Even more surprising, he did sowhen the Titanic that is his presidency had just hit two fresh icebergs, thedemise of the immigration bill and the growing revolt of Republican senatorsagainst his strategy in Iraq.

That Mr. Bush, already suffering historically low approval ratings, wouldinvite another hit has been attributed in Washington to his desire toplacate what remains of his base. By this logic, he had nothing left tolose. He didn't care if he looked like an utter hypocrite, giving his cronya freer ride than Paris Hilton and violating the white-collar sentencingguidelines set by his own administration. He had to throw a bone to the lastgrumpy old white guys watching Bill O'Reilly in a bunker.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List>

Unequal treatment
What?s so hard about peace, love, and understanding?
by Jim Toevs

On April 15, 2006, I received a telephone call from a bereaved mother inCrown Point, N.M., informing me that her son, Henry Etcitty III, had beenburied that day. She wondered why she hadn?t heard from me.

I was overwhelmed with grief. Henry was the love of my life, and we had beeninvolved in an on-again, off-again relationship (mostly off because of hisalcoholism) for 14 years.

He had come to visit me in Hot Springs in late March during his spring breakfrom the technical institute in which he was enrolled on the NavajoReservation. Henry was 39 years old, and seemed to finally be getting hislife together. The previous semester he had a 4.0 grade point average andperfect attendance.

At the conclusion of our visit, I delivered Henry to the Greyhound BusStation in Missoula on Tuesday, March 28. I knew that he did not want toleave, but it was important for him to finish his degree, and he had theopportunity of an internship with NASA, in Houston, Texas, when he finishedthe semester in June.

But Henry never made it onto the bus. He died alone of alcohol poisoning ina vacant building in Missoula on April 1, 2006.

His body was discovered on April 3, and although he had a piece of paper inhis pocket with my name and telephone number on it, I was never contacted.

After the phone call from Henry?s mother, I drove to Missoula to speak withOfficer Scott Oak, then the Missoula Police Department?s Liaison Officer tothe Gay & Lesbian Community. Scott was back East at a training, but SargeantCasey Richardson was most helpful. He was kind and consoling, and made sometelephone calls to find out the circumstances surrounding Henry?s death.

The building in which Henry died, though virtually surrounded by cityproperty, was county property, and therefore the Sheriff?s office hadjurisdiction. Sergeant Richardson was able to obtain some basic informationfor me but referred me to the Sheriff?s office for more details.

The contrast of my experiences with the two local law enforcement agenciescould not have been more extreme. When I contacted the Sheriff?s office, Iasked the officer why I had not been contacted.

?Well, you weren?t married, were you?? the officer said. I told the officerwhat he well knew: that under Montana law it was impossible for us to bemarried, but that we loved each other dearly, and that in reality I was theperson closest to Henry, both emotionally and geographically, and thus Ishould have been informed at the time of Henry?s death.

?Well, you know now, don?t ya?? was his response.?


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Gay pride - political will needed to change attitudes

Budapest, July 7 (MTI) - Around 2,000 gays, lesbians and transvestitesparaded in downtown Budapest on Saturday afternoon to mark the capital's11th Gay Pride day.

The decorated floats and dance stages started out from City Park with apolice escort towards the Danube's Freedom Bridge.

Several hundred demonstrators gathered along their route, holdingfar-fight banners, pelting eggs, bottles and plastic bags filled with sand.A group of masked skinheads pelted police with beer bottles. Police arrestedsix people.

At the parade Arpad Toth, a board member of the Rainbow MissionFoundation, told MTI that the occasion was also part of Hungary's 12thLesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite Film and Cultural Festival, beingheld to promote the struggle to attain equal legal rights of alternativepartnerships and marriages.

Toth said that part of the parade's objective was to send a message togay people to put themselves on an equal footing with the rest of societyand shed decades of seeing themselves as second-class citizens.

He said they were grateful to Gabor Szetey, state secretary in charge ofgovernment human resources, who had recently come out and started apolitical process to break the taboo of being gay in Hungary.

He added that the parade was not a political demonstration but at thesame time they counted on the support of all political parties to realisetheir legal goals.

Katalin Levai, a Hungarian (Socialist) MEP, said the Civil Code shouldbe changed to allow same-sex marriages. She added that this was by now noteven a question in many member states but there needed to be a change ofpolitical will in Hungary and greater support on the part of mainstreamsociety.

Janos Koka, leader of the junior governing Free Democrats (SZDSZ), senta message of support to the event.


The New York Times

July 8, 2007
Evangelicals See Dilemmas in G.O.P. Field

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa, July 3 - Dell Collins teaches an adult Sunday schoolclass at his evangelical church in central Iowa, and he recently took hisstudents through a series of lessons on the Book of James and its repeatedexhortations to put faith into action.

But Mr. Collins is grappling with just how to apply his beliefs when itcomes to picking a favorite from a Republican field in which the leadingcontenders each face serious obstacles to winning over Christianconservatives.

"Do you go with your heart or with your head?" he said. "My first choice iswith my heart, but you also have to be realistic."

Unlike in the 2000 presidential campaign, when George W. Bush was able toovercome early doubts among religious conservatives by speaking the languageof personal faith, the three most prominent Republican candidates, RudolphW. Giuliani, Senator John McCain and Mitt Romney, are continuing to havedifficulty winning over this crucial constituency in the Republican base.


The Washington Post

The Boy on the Bus
Growing Up in 1970s Florida, I Was a Small Cog In America's Grand Integration Project. We Thought It Worked. Did It?
By Joel Achenbach
Sunday, July 8, 2007; B01

Every morning when I was in fifth grade, I walked a mile down the road toStephen Foster Elementary, my neighborhood school. Then I got on a yellowschool bus and rode across town. The Supreme Court had issued adesegregation order. It was 1970. Men had landed on the moon twice. Nowwhite kids and black kids would go to the same schools.

The court order roiled Gainesville, Fla., and the rest of Alachua County.Private academies sprouted overnight to accommodate white families thatbailed on the public schools. But most white folks hoped for the best, andtheir kids headed to what many of them had always considered the wrong sideof the tracks.

The Supreme Court has recently revisited school integration, declaring, togasps from many liberals and academics, that the government can't use raceas a criterion for assigning students to schools. But 37 years ago, thegovernment not only took race into account, it also assembled a fleet ofbuses and began hauling white kids and black kids back and forth across townlike so much cargo.

It was, in retrospect, an ambitious social experiment. It was also clumsy,and at some level outrageous, reducing all of us to a single characteristicof white or black.

For me it was ultimately a good experience, a chance to get outside thebubble of the white Southern Baptist neighborhood where my eccentricUnitarian, single-parent family had always lived. But I know that othersexperienced it differently. And I wonder to this day whether it was truly amajor step toward a more egalitarian nation, or just a momentary spasm in asociety that has remained essentially befuddled by race.


The Washington Post

Base to Bush: It's Over
By Byron York
Sunday, July 8, 2007; B01

Let's say you're a Republican president, a bit more than midway through yoursecond term. You're scrambling to salvage what you can of a deeply unpopularwar, you're facing a line of subpoenas from Democrats in Congress and yourpoll ratings are in the basement. What do you do?

You estrange the very Republicans whose backing you need the most.

That's precisely what President Bush has managed to accomplish during thetwo big political developments of recent weeks: the commutation of I. Lewis"Scooter" Libby's prison sentence and the defeat of comprehensiveimmigration reform. But the president's problems with the GOP base go beyondthose awkward headlines.

Republicans aren't mad at Bush for the same reasons that Sen. Charles E.Schumer (D-N.Y.) and the devotees of are; there's no newanti-Bush consensus among left and right. No, conservatives are unhappybecause the president allied himself with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.)over an immigration deal that leaned too far toward amnesty for illegalimmigrants. They're unhappy because Bush has shown little interest in fiscalresponsibility and limited government. And they're unhappy, above all,because he hasn't won the war in Iraq.

All of this has left Republicans saying, at least among themselves,something blunt and devastating: It's over."Bush fatigue has set in," declares one plugged-in GOP activist."We're ready for a new president," says a former state Republican Partyofficial in the South.


Tampa Bay Online

Gay Marriage Hysteria Subsides
Published: Jul 9, 2007
News from

When the high court of Massachusetts ruled in 2003 that the commonwealth's constitution gave same-sex couples the right to marry, detractors railedagainst "activist judges" who were "imposing" their will on the people. Onlythe people, through their elected representatives, should decide somethingso fundamental, they said. Thus began an effort to amend Massachusetts'constitution by referendum to define marriage as a union between a man and awoman. Four years and about 10,000 same-sex marriages later, here's what thepeople have said: never mind.

To get the referendum on the 2008 ballot, opponents of gay marriage neededonly 50 of Massachusetts's 200 legislators to vote for the amendment duringconsecutive two-year sessions. The first vote at the end of the lastsession, in January, garnered the support of 62 lawmakers. But the secondvote last month attracted only 45. Now the earliest the amendment could hitthe ballot is 2012. By then, the response from the people very well might be"What's the big deal?"

Opponents of same-sex unions felt democracy was under attack by the courts,with judges dictating what people could and couldn't accept. Meanwhile,supporters argued that the rights of a minority should not be put to a vote.The ultimate defeat of the referendum was democracy catching up with thecourt.


The Palm Beach Post

Voters should pass tax amendment [Florida]
By Dean Cannon
Special to The Post
Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Florida Legislature passed two bills to create the largest tax cut inFlorida history. But the plan works in two parts, and the second part cannotbe completed without your vote.

The first part is a statutory measure that will reduce the next tax bill youreceive, this fall, by first rolling back all property taxes to last year'slevels, and forcing cities and counties to further cut taxes depending onrecent spending. All property owners will benefit, whether you ownhomesteaded property, a second home, or rental or commercial property.Critically, there also will be a cap on tax growth from year-to-year toprotect all property owners from runaway tax increases.

While the rollback and caps passed by the Legislature are important, thereal centerpiece of the tax relief plan is the constitutional amendment. OnJan. 29, Floridians will have the power to cut homestead property taxes byan average of 44 percent, and enshrine taxpayer protections in the tateconstitution, ensuring that your tax bill is forever protected from the biggovernment special interests.

If approved, the amendment would create a Super Homestead Exemption toexempt 75 percent of the first $200,000 of your home's value, and 15 percentof the next $300,000.

The constitutional amendment also, for the first time in the history of ourstate, would create a form of portability, giving homeowners the freedom tomove and freedom to choose.

The constitutional amendment would give Floridians the freedom to move byeliminating the so-called moving tax that is currently keeping Floridianstrapped in their homes. If you move, the new Super Homestead Exemption wouldsignificantly reduce the tax costs of your new home and alleviate thecurrent inequities that exist. In addition, your new home would be protectedwith a new, Save Our Homes-like cap on future tax increases.

The constitutional amendment also would give you the freedom to choose thetax savings that work best for you. For as long as you stay in your currenthome, you can choose to continue with your current homestead exemption andSave Our Homes cap, or you can select the new Super Homestead Exemption andthe new cap on overall property-tax growth.

The constitutional amendment also would contain targeted tax relief forseniors and small businesses.

Low-income seniors would receive a minimum $100,000 homestead exemption. Andsmall businesses would receive an exemption on the first $25,000 of theirtangible personal property, translating to almost a $1 billion tax cut for 1million small businesses over the next five years.

All told, the constitutional amendment adds up to a $16 billion savings forFlorida's taxpayers over the next five years.

Of course, the usual interests that insatiably consume taxpayer dollars -government employee unions, government contractors and local politicians -already have begun to work toward defeating the amendment with the sametechniques that have become all too familiar to taxpayers: scare tactics.

In order to defeat the constitutional amendment, government lobbyists areclaiming that the constitutional amendment would eliminate Save Our Homesprotections and threaten education financing. Neither of these claims, whichare intended to frighten good people out of voting for a good amendment, isaccurate.

Education financing has been and always will be a priority of theLegislature. Even during lean times, such as this past session, theLegislature has made education financing a priority and provided significantincreases to keep our teachers and schools on the path toward improvement.Gov. Crist and the education champions in both chambers of the Legislaturehave vowed to continue our commitment to education.

Second, Save Our Homes will not be taken from anyone unless and until theychoose to get the larger tax exemption under the constitutional amendment.Instead, the idea of Save Our Homes - caps on increases in how much you payfrom year to year on your property taxes - would be expanded to commercialand non-homestead property for the first time in the state's history. If theconstitutional amendment passes, no Floridian would lose his or her Save OurHomes cap unless he or she elects to choose greater savings under the newSuper Homestead Exemption.

The $32 billion in property taxpayer relief contained in our comprehensiveapproach would make a real difference in the lives of Floridians - thisisn't just a first step forward, it is the first giant leap forward. TheLegislature was given the difficult task of crafting a historic rewrite ofFlorida's outdated and unfair property-tax code, and we intend to continueto work to achieve a tax system that is affordable and fair.

The Legislature took the first step in delivering responsible tax cuts thatwould allow local governments to prioritize their spending, provideessential services and return precious tax dollars to the taxpayers to whomthey belong in the first place.

Florida's voters will determine whether we take the next step.


The Palm Beach Post

Property-tax amendment is not solution
By By Carl J. Domino
Special to The Post
Sunday, July 08, 2007

An opportunity to make homeownership more affordable for all Floridians waslost with the conclusion of the recent special session. Portability wasignored and commercial buildings still face unlimited upwards assessments.

However, there was some good news. By statute, taxes will be rolled back by7 percent, about $13 billion in savings over five years (if there are nosuper-majority overrides). Of course, other types of fees and permits may bemade more costly - offsetting some of the savings.

On Jan. 29, a constitutional amendment will be offered to the voters. Thiswould provide a progressive property tax, in return for abolishment of SaveOur Homes. Current Save Our Homes beneficiaries, if they choose, could keepwith their protection until they decide to move.

The resolution was introduced on Friday, June 15, at approximately 5:30 p.m.and was quickly jammed through the House and the Senate. Originally, SenateMajority Leader Dan Webster was quoted as saying "no changes would beallowed," but later the Senate included a provision allowing everyone nowcovered by Save Our Homes to have an option to retain their privileges underSave Our Homes. Only a few days previously, the lead House negotiator hadstated that "the provision presented a potential constitutional complication."

According to some estimates, this could reduce tax savings by $6 billion.

I was the sole Republican who voted against the bill. In 1992, Floridiansconcerned about losing their homes to high taxes voted for constitutionalprotection against future tax increases. As a result, millions of Floridafamilies could plan for their future, certain that their tax assessmentcould not go up more than 3 percent. Now, Tallahassee politicians haveconcocted a scheme to rob Floridians of this benefit. They say "trust usthat you will be better off."

Is the progressive tax fair? When you compare a $200,000 house with a$500,000 house, the latter, worth only 21/2 times as much, would pay sixtimes more tax. If the house is worth a million - five times as much - thenthe tax burden would be 16 times greater.

This would hurt the real-estate market, as potential buyers of lessexpensive homes undoubtedly will wait to see whether the amendment isapproved. Above the $500,000 level, homeowners soon will realize that thesuper-exemption benefit will be eroded by the passage of time. After fiveyears, if home prices go up 10 percent a year, a $500,000 homeowner couldpay thousands of dollars more each year. A million-dollar home buyer could,in as little as two years, pay more.

In fact, everyone (except those remaining under Save Our Homes protection)could experience tax increases above the 3 percent cap of Save Our Homes.

1. Save Our Homes protection is the lesser of the consumer price index or 3percent, while the statutory cap is personal income growth.

2. If a super-majority of the taxing jurisdiction's governing officials givetheir approval, increases will be more than Save Our Homes protection.

3. If your home appreciates more than average, you will pay more. This willpenalize the person who bargained hard to get a good deal on the initialpurchase.

4. A future majority in the Legislature could raise or eliminate thestatutory cap. Proponents argue that voters will not allow that to happen,but with such high progressivism in the system, many voters will supportraising taxes for services because someone else will foot the bill.

Within 24 hours of the bill's passage, Republican Sen. Mike Bennettpredicted the measure is "going to fail." Sen. Dennis Jones, R-Seminole,said he voted for the bill to give voters a chance, but intends to voteagainst it in January 2008. He stated, "I will be amazed if it ever passes."

In the June 16 editorial referring to the bill, titled "Lawmakers' shortcutsmade tax cuts suspect," The Palm Beach Post reported that "passage of thereferendum will add to the pressure on the housing market and not bringrelief."

In summary, the initiative that passed without portability or limits onincreases for commercial assessments will create a future of greatuncertainty for Florida's homeowners. I think it will significantly hurt thereal-estate markets, in both the short and long term. Amendments that couldhave provided immediate relief for Floridians were, in a rare parliamentarymaneuver, not brought up for debate. If this initiative fails, perhapslegislators will go back to Tallahassee and let all ideas be debated.

A plan to better serve the citizens of Florida may take more than 31/2 daysto construct, but I am convinced that we can find a more comprehensivesolution.


The New York Post


July 7, 2007 -- Capitalizing on her experience, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clintonhas opened up a 23-point lead over Barack Obama, a new poll releasedyesterday shows.

The Newsweek poll shows Clinton leading Obama 56-33 percent in a two-waymatchup of the Democratic presidential candidates.

That's almost double a previous survey in early May that showed Clinton witha 51-39 percent edge over Obama.

The latest numbers also indicate that the question of which candidate isexperienced enough to take the Oval Office is playing into the equation.

Asked "do you think he or she has enough experience in politics andgovernment to be a good president," some 70 percent of voters said Clintondoes, compared to 25 percent who gave her experience level a thumbs down.Five percent said they didn't know.

But asked the same question about Obama, 40 percent said he had enoughexperience, while 34 percent thought he didn't. Another 26 percent of votersweren't sure.

The notion of experience has been a hallmark of the Clinton campaign, andit's been an issue on the stump for Obama in recent weeks.

The Illinois senator recently told a crowd at a fund-raiser for his WhiteHouse bid that the only person prepared to lead the nation on "Day One" isBill Clinton and not Hillary, and on a recent Iowa campaign swing he paintedthe couple as part of a has-been past.

And Clinton pollsters reportedly message-tested questions about Obama'sexperience with Democratic primary voters.

In other findings, 86 percent of voters said if a woman were their party'snominee they would cast a ballot for her, but only 58 percent said theythink the nation is ready for a woman president.

When the same question was asked about the first black presidential nominee,a whopping 92 percent said they'd vote for their party's choice, but 59percent said the country isn't prepared for a black president.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

International Herald Tribune
Right-wing protesters in Hungary throw eggs, smoke bombs at gay rightsmarchers
The Associated Press
Saturday, July 7, 2007

BUDAPEST, Hungary: Several hundred skinheads and right-wing activists threwrotten eggs and smoke bombs at people participating in a gay rights paradein Hungary's capital Saturday.

Police detained several of the protesters and tried to disperse the rest,some of whom threw beer bottles at police. No injuries were reported.

Members of the Movement For A Better Hungary and the Hungarian NationalFront said they were angry about two recent developments.

On Thursday, Gabor Szetey, a state secretary in the prime minister's office,announced he was gay while the smaller party in the Socialist-led rulingcoalition said it would seek to legalize gay marriages.


The National Gay News

Lake Worth, FL Opts to Expand Civil Rights Protection Laws
Saturday, 07 July 2007 12:44
Mayor Jeff ClemensLake Worth, FL Opts to Expand Civil Rights Protection Laws

The city this week became the third municipality in Palm Beach County toexpand its civil rights protection laws to include sexual orientation,gender identity and gender expression.

Mayor Jeff Clemens and Commissioner Cara Jennings proposed that the cityrevise its Civil Rights Act at the request of the Palm Beach County HumanRights Council.



07/07/07 21h25 GMT+1
AFP News brief

Violence at Croatian Gay Pride march

Police said they arrested eight people on Saturday after violence marreda Gay Pride march through the centre of the Croatian capital Zagreb.

Organisers said more than 20 marchers had been the target of homophobicattacks. "Around 10 people were hurt, with two needing medical treatment,"Marko Jurcic, one of the organisers, told AFP.

Italian senator Gianpaolo Silvestri was in one of the groups attacked,but was unhurt, Jurcic said. Police said the eight arrests were for threatening behaviour towards the

"Five of them were carrying what appeared to be Molotov cocktails, butthe contents of the bottles they were carrying has yet to be analysed,"police spokesman Marina Burazer said.

Earlier, around 200 homosexuals braved the jeers of onlookers to takepart in the annual Gay Pride march through Zagreb to back demands for gayrights.

The marchers were protected by almost as many police as they made theirway through the city centre, jeered and taunted by around 20 youths.

The leaders of the city's gay and lesbian association said they facedrejection, discrimination, job dismissals and physical assault in Croatia,whose population of 4,400,000 is nearly 90% Roman Catholic.


The National Gay News

Legally Insane? A History of Jack Thompson

Last year Publisher Norm Kent won a $50,000 libel claim against Coral Gablesattorney Jack Thompson. As the self made anti gamer faces disbarmentproceedings for misconduct in his capacities and performances as a lawyer,he continues his zealotry by suing the Florida Bar, its Supreme Court, thejurist assigned to hear his potential disbarment claim, and what seems likeany company bent on introducing a new video game to America. His history ofanti gay zealotry goes back to even the era of when Janet Reno was the StateAttorney of Dade County in Florida. At the time, Jack announced to the worldthat Reno was a Lesbian and therefore disqualified for office.



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