Saturday, October 06, 2007

GLBT DIGEST October 6, 2007

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Romney expands evangelical effort

The Boston Globe
October 6, 2007


Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has stepped up his efforts to wooevangelicals in response to the threat by some Christian conservativeleaders to back a third-party candidate.

The third-party threat grew Thursday after a key evangelical leader, JamesDobson, said that he and other social conservatives had agreed to support a"minor party" candidate if the Republicans choose a presidential nominee whois not conservative enough.

Dobson's statement is viewed as significant in the Romney campaign becauseDobson has ruled out supporting GOP candidates John McCain, Rudy Giulianiand Fred Thompson, but has left open the possibility of supporting Romney.

"Dr. Dobson is keeping an open mind on Mitt Romney, and I think that isbecause they do share in common so many values," Romney spokesman EricFehrnstrom said Thursday.

Dobson, the leader of the high-profile Focus on the Family, whose radioprogram has 1.5 million listeners, did not respond to a request for commentThursday.

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Parents Upset Over Male Homecoming Queen

Last Edited: Thursday, 04 Oct 2007, 10:47 PM CDT
Created: Thursday, 04 Oct 2007, 10:47 PM CDT

Aaron Zaggy

(KTVI - -- It was supposed to be fun and a life lessonlearned but some parents and taxpayers in University City still are notlaughing and remain frustrated over the school board allowing a young man towear the homecoming queen crown.

Some took those frustrations out on school board members Thursday evening.

"A king should be a king and a queen should be a queen," says UniversityCity resident Richard Dockett.

The board's decision to accept Aaron Zaggy's win as Homecoming Queen lastweekend certainly broke ground but also broke some hearts.

"You just get into the limelight as much as possible and some people'sfeelings get hurt so what?" charged one Queen Candidate's mother. Thefeelings of the young ladies who lost among the concerns rather loudlyvoiced to the school board after a majority of members gave their blessingto Zaggy's quest and eventual coronation as Queen. "This has caused a dominoeffect that you really have no idea how it has effected people," said U-CityMom Lesia Shackleford. "What saddens me is that the media has come out tocover this and there is a whole list of problems wrong with the district,"said parent and teacher Vida Weekly.

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Gay retirees worried over 'straight influx'

By Catherine Elsworth in Los Angeles
Last Updated: 5:55pm BST 05/10/2007

Residents of a gay retirement community in America are worried the specialambiance of their "private oasis" could be ruined by an influx of straightpeople.

RainbowVision, billed as the "first community of its kind", opened last yearin the New Mexico desert offering resort-style comforts and promising itsmainly gay and lesbian retirees "the experience of people being together andsharing in the same values".

But now a glut of empty properties is prompting fears the community'scomposition, which is currently 80 per cent gay, could alter dramatically.

advertisementRoughly half the 120 units are up for rent or for sale and someworry that the depressed property market will mean owners seeking to offloadtheir homes will sell or let to whoever they can, regardless of sexualorientation.

And they are completely free to do so as New Mexico outlaws any housingdiscrimination based on sexuality.

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New Publisher Opens to Gay and Lesbian Writers and Readers

Friday, 05 October 2007 20:43

A new GLBT publishing house,, has recentlyopened to provide outlets for both writers of gay-themed literature andreaders who can't find enough gay reading materials.

Orlando, FL, September 1, 2007: The Gay Publishing Company has justcelebrated the opening of its virtual doors to writers and readers ofGLBT-themed literature. Physically located in Orlando, Florida, thepublishing house expects to pull writers and readers together from allEnglish-language countries around the globe.

"Interest has been quite supportive," says the company's founder and editor,Stephen Evans. Evans has been a freelance editor and project editor for mostof his adult life. "We're opening quietly, but we have big, big plans forthe future."

Those plans include online publication of gay-themed short stories,serialized mysteries, installments of science fiction and fantasyadventures, and even "respectable" romance novellas-anything with a GLBTfocus. In the not-too-distant future, The Gay Publishing Company evenexpects to enter print publishing, as well.

"Many of the gay publishers and gay imprints of the major publishing houseshave closed down over the past several years-not for lack of business butbecause of successful integration into the mainstream traditional publishinghouses," he says.

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Gay Man Transformed Himself Into a 'Mind Our Business' Activist

Friday, 05 October 2007 21:04
By Deb Price

Looking back, Jeffrey Montgomery says he used to be a "mind your ownbusiness" kind of gay guy.

But that was before his boyfriend, Michael, was fatally shot outside a gaybar in Detroit.

The murder was horrifying. But what fundamentally changed Montgomery's wayof thinking was the attitude of the cops.

The police just didn't care. They had no intention of investigating what, tothem, was just another gay homicide, he says.

Shocked and appalled, Montgomery began transforming himself into a "mind ourown business" kind of gay guy.

That transformation led him in 1991 to help found the Detroit-based TriangleFoundation, named after the pink triangle that gay men were forced to wearin Nazi concentration camps.

"Using the pink triangle as our logo was a way to liberate it from itsHolocaust past," Montgomery recalls. "We were finally going to be doingsomething to help people who had suffered from the same kinds of violence.And, unlike what had happened in Michael's case, we were going to hold thepolice accountable to do their job."

Sixteen years later, the Triangle Foundation ( has a $1 millionbudget, 10 staffers and a new branch in conservative Grand Rapids, Mich.

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Craig vows to stay despite court loss

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer
Fri Oct 5, 2:40 AM ET

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig defiantly vowed to serve out his term in office onThursday despite losing a court attempt to rescind his guilty plea in amen's room sex sting.

"I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively," Craigsaid in a written statement certain to disappoint fellow Republicans whohave long urged him to step down.

Craig had earlier announced he would resign his seat by Sept. 30, but hadwavered when he went to court in hopes of withdrawing his plea.

The third-term lawmaker issued his statement not long after Idaho Gov. C.L."Butch" Otter relayed word he has selected a replacement for Craig in theevent of a resignation.

"He is ready to act should we receive a letter of resignation," said JonHanian, Otter's spokesman in Boise, in what seemed like a calculated signalthat home-state Republicans want Craig to surrender the seat he has held for17 years.

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DiFatta twice detained in lewd conduct in restrooms

Councilman quits state Senate race citing health reasons
Friday, October 05, 2007
By Christine Harvey
St. Tammany bureau

St. Bernard Parish Councilman Joey DiFatta, who on Thursday withdrew fromthe 1st Senate District campaign, has been stopped twice since 1996 forsuspicion of engaging in lewd behavior in public restrooms in JeffersonParish, records obtained by The Times-Picayune show.

DiFatta, 53, acknowledged that reports he had been stopped are true, but hedenied any wrongdoing in both cases. He said he was not prosecuted in eithercase and has no arrest record.

"If I had done something wrong, I would have been arrested," DiFatta saidThursday afternoon. "I was not. I will deny that I was involved in anyactivity of that nature."

Earlier Thursday, DiFatta called reporters to announce that he planned towithdraw from the Senate race. He said he has been having chest pains for afew weeks, and elevated enzyme levels indicate he might have had a minorheart attack in the past few days. As a result, his doctor advised him toslow down and make some changes in his life.

DiFatta, who has served on the St. Bernard Parish Council since January 1996and is currently its chairman, denied he is stepping down from the Senaterace for fear that the reports would become public. In fact, he said he didnot know the reports had surfaced when he made his decision.

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Family of slain soldier meets Army investigators

Durkin was openly gay
BOSTON (AP) | Oct 5, 12:14 PM

Family members of a National Guard soldier who died in a secure area ofAfghanistan met with Army investigators for four hours and were reassuredthey were doing all they could to determine how the woman died, therelatives said Thursday.

Spc. Ciara Durkin, 30, of Quincy, was found dead with a single gunshot woundto her head in a secure area of Bagram Airfield on Friday.

Her family at first complained that the Army provided conflictinginformation about her death, telling them she was killed "in action," thenlater saying she died in a "non-combat related incident." They also said theArmy was withholding copies of the autopsy report and her will.

Durkin's sister Fiona Canavan told the Patriot Ledger of Quincy that Durkinsaid she had seen some things "she didn't like and made some enemies becauseof it." The family has discounted the possibility of suicide, saying Durkinwas upbeat during her last visit home in September.

The case drew Congressional attention, with U.S. Sens. John Kerry and EdwardKennedy and U.S. Rep. William Delahunt urging Army officials to be moreforthcoming with the Durkin family.

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Gay Foster Parents Ban Could Go on The 2008 Ballot

Thursday October 04, 2007 11:58pm
Reporter: Jessica Dean Posted By: Talisa Austin

Arkansas - The decision of whether to ban gay and unmarried couples asfoster parents may now go to voters in the 2008 election.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel approved an initiative Thursday, which willallow supporters of the ban to collect signatures in support of placing theissue on a ballot.

Now that their initiative has been approved, the Family Council ActionCommittee must collect at least 78-thousand votes in order to get theirproposal on the 2008 ballot.

It was struck down by the state Supreme Court in 2006 and failed in thestate legislature during the 2007 session, so proponents of a ban on gay andunmarried foster parents decided to take the issue to the voters.

After one failed attempt in September, the Family Council Action Committeegot their initiative approved on Thursday.

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Pentagon's Gay Bomb Wins Ig Nobel Prize

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Boston, Massachusetts) Good news for your Viagra-using hamster: On his nexttrip to Europe he'll bounce back from jet lag faster than his unmedicatedfriends.

The researchers who revealed that bizarre fact earned one of 10 Ig Nobelprizes awarded Thursday night for quirky, funny and sometimes legitimatescientific achievements, from the mathematics of wrinkled sheets to U.S.military efforts to make a "gay bomb."

The recipients of the annual award handed out by the Annals of ImprobableResearch magazine were honored at Harvard University's Sanders Theater.

A team at Quilmes National University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, came upwith the jet-lag study, which found that hamsters given the anti-impotencedrug needed 50 percent less time to recover from a six-hour time zonechange. They didn't fly rodents to Paris, incidentally - they just turnedthe lights off and on at different times.

Odd as it might be, that research might have implications for millions ofhumans. The same cannot be said for another winning report, "SwordSwallowing and its Side Effects," published in the British Medical Journallast year.

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Sweden Moves Closer To Gay Marriage

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Stockholm) Legalized same-sex marriage moved closer in Sweden on Fridaywhen the country's three opposition parties introduced a marriageequalization bill.

Sweden already has civil partnerships under a law enacted in 1995 that givesmost of the rights and obligations of marriage to same-sex couples whoregister.

On Friday, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Left Party said the timehad come to join the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain in Europe to allow fullmarriage. Elsewhere in the world, Canada and South Africa also allowsame-sex couples to marry.

The measure has wide support within the coalition government of PrimeMinister Fredrik Reinfeldt.

Two of Reinfeldt's coalition partners, the Center and Liberal parties,already have announced their support for the bill. A third party, theChristian Democrats, is opposed to same-sex marriage.

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Guilty Verdict For First Defendant In Sandy Slaying

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: October 5, 2007 - 7:30 pm ET

(New York City) The first of three defendants in the October 2006 death of29-year-old Michael Sandy was found guilty of manslaughter and robbery ashate crimes late Friday, but jurors stopped short of a murder conviction.

John Fox, 20, faces up to 25 years behind bars.

Sandy (pictured) met his assailants in an internet chat room and was luredto Plumb Beach, a well-known gay cruising spot in Brooklyn October 8, 2006.

When he arrived he was set upon.

Sandy bolted for the nearby Belt Parkway with his attackers in closepursuit.

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Film Explores Toll Of Battle Between Gays, Christian Conservatives

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 6, 2007 - 8:00 am ET

(New York City) TV and film producer Daniel Karslake enjoyed working onsegments about religion and gay relationships for the PBS gay news magazine"In the Life."

Yet as he watched the wrenching debates over Scripture and homosexuality inProtestant denominations and society at large, he felt a need to reachbeyond an audience that already accepted partnered gays and lesbians. Theresult opened nationally Friday in New York, a documentary called "For theBible Tells Me So."

The film takes a different approach to the gays-in-the-church debate. Itfocuses on devout Christians who learn their child is gay and how thataffected their belief that same-sex relationships are prohibited byScripture.

"I made this movie for the movable middle in America," Karslake said, beforea private screening Monday at New York's Marble Collegiate Church, whereinspirational pastor Norman Vincent Peale preached for decades. Karslake,who is gay and a mainline Protestant, believes that "sincere, honorable,compassionate people" have been misled about how they should read the Bible.

The documentary features many pro-gay veterans of the theological debates.

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California Partners Keep Property-Tax Relief


A California appellate court this week upheld a vital provision thatprotects registered domestic partners from property tax reappraisal whentheir partners die or transfer real estate.

The third district court of appeal came out strongly in favor of same-sexcouples in a unanimous three-judge decision Tuesday.

California is famous for 1978's Proposition 13, which freezes property taxassessment at a home's purchase price as long as there is no change inownership. "Change of ownership," in turn, was eventually defined to excludetransfer among spouses, parents and children, and grandparents andgrandchildren. These exceptions were enacted by the state legislature andratified by voters in two separate constitutional amendments, protecting thenamed parties from losing their homes if suddenly faced with double ortriple their annual taxes.

Back in 2003, the five-member California Board of Equalization, whichgoverns tax policy in the state, voted to add registered domestic partnersto those protected against new taxes during a "change of ownership."

It was no coincidence that the board was led by Carole Migden, California'sveteran lesbian politician, now a state senator from San Francisco and theoriginal author of the Golden State's domestic-partner registry.

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The New York Times

Conviction in Death of Gay Man in Traffic

October 6, 2007

For his role in selecting a gay man as a robbery target and chasing him tohis death in traffic, a Brooklyn man was convicted yesterday of manslaughterand attempted robbery as hate crimes, but acquitted of murder.

The convicted man, John Fox, 20, bowed his head for a moment after theverdict was read in State Supreme Court in Brooklyn, then gave his father asolemn wink as he was led away. Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 24.

"He didn't murder anybody," said his father, also named John Fox, outsidethe courtroom. Offering regrets to the victim's parents, the elder Mr. Foxadded, "If I could arrange for their son to be alive and me to be dead, I'ddo so."

A separate jury deliberating the same charges against Mr. Fox'sco-defendant, Anthony Fortunato, 21, retired for the weekend yesterdaywithout reaching a verdict.



The New York Times

Colombia: Court Extends Benefits to Gay Couples

October 6, 2007
World Briefing | The Americas

The Constitutional Court ruled that homosexuals may include their partnersin their health insurance plans. It is the first nationwide law of its kindin Latin America. A bill granting the benefit was passed by Congress in Junebut thrown out when a group of senators changed their minds. The bill'sbackers then appealed to the court.


The New York Times

Craig Poses Dilemma for GOP Colleagues

October 5, 2007
Filed at 4:13 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Facing untimely resignations, an unpopular war and atroubling 2008 election landscape, Senate Republicans didn't need anotherheadache this week.

But they got one anyway when Sen. Larry Craig vowed Thursday to serve outthe last 15 months of his term, despite a court ruling that left intact hisguilty plea in a sex sting operation.

The Idaho Republican's decision gives his GOP colleagues two unpleasantchoices. They can resume pressuring him to leave, and risk being seen asdisloyal politicians who go harder on alleged homosexual misdeeds than onheterosexual wrongdoings.

Or they can basically ignore him for months, and endure more TV comics'taunts about a conservative senator convicted in a case involving publicbathroom stalls.



The New York Times

Panel Says Episcopalians Have Met Anglican Directive

October 4, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 - In a victory for the Episcopal Church in its effort toremain in the Anglican Communion, a high-ranking Anglican advisory committeesaid Wednesday that Episcopal bishops had complied with a directive byAnglican leaders on same-sex unions and gay bishops.

The Episcopal Church is the American branch of the 77-million-memberAnglican Communion, which has been torn by disputes over the church'sliberal stance on homosexuality.

Earlier this year, the communion's regional leaders, or primates, issued adirective to the Episcopal Church to curtail the consecration of partneredgay and lesbian bishops and the authorizing of rites of blessing forsame-sex unions.

Last week in New Orleans, Episcopal bishops pledged not to authorize ritesof blessing for same-sex unions and to exercise restraint in theconsecration of partnered gays as bishops. Conservatives in the EpiscopalChurch and the Anglican Communion contended at the time that the bishops hadmerely restated past positions and fallen short of complying with thedirective.



The New York Times

Calendar Shows Another Side of Mormons

By Lilly Fowler
Religion News Service
Saturday, October 6, 2007; Page B09

Mormon missionaries can usually be spotted by what they're wearing: whiteshirt, dark tie, name tag, bike helmet. Lately, they're getting noticed forwhat they're not wearing: anything above the waist.

Hoping to debunk the popular image of Mormons as strait-laced corporatetypes, a steamy new "Men on a Mission" calendar features 12 formermissionaries, each of them shirtless, sculpted and looking seductive.



The following is an interesting exercise.... You answer a few questions thenclick the "find your candidate button" and the program selects the candidatewho's position on the issues is most like your own... You may be surprisedat what you find... Click the link below....


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List


WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Whip, James E. Clyburn today releasedthe following statement on Whip activity related to the EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

"At the direction of House leadership, my Whip organization conducted aformal Whip count on a gender identity-inclusive version of theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act. Despite the Leadership's strongdesire to pass an inclusive measure, the whip count made clear that wesimply lack the necessary votes to pass a gender identity-inclusiveversion of the bill at this time.

"Were it not for the tireless efforts of Congressman Frank andCongresswoman Baldwin, working closely with the Leadership and ourallied organizations outside of Congress, we would not have made as muchprogress as we have. Moreover, ENDA is on the table for movement thisCongress because the Democratic Leadership and the overwhelming majorityof our Caucus have made it a priority and are committed to itsenactment."


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

SR International - Radio Sweden

Sweden's three opposition parties, the Social Democrats, the Greens and theLeft Party have put forward a motion in the Swedish Parliament to allow gaymarriages.

There is wide support in the parliament for the move, with the only partyagainst the plans the Christian Democrats. They are also in a minority inthe government, with three out of four of the ruling parties also in favour,but the Christian Democrat's opposition means the government is unable toput forward a motion itself.

This is the first time the three opposition leaders have put forward acommon motion, and they are now hoping enough gay friendly MP's from thegovernment parties will rebel so they can get a majority in the parliamentvote. The government's small majority mean that only four MP's have toswitch sides.

Swedish gays and lesbians can currently become legal partners, but thisisn't quite the same as heterosexual marriage.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Gay Discrimination Still Exists in Medical Schools

Your lifestyle is unnatural.
You should not be eligible to become a U.S. citizen.
Your opinion

Because you are less than one person.

You should not become a doctor, nor should a doctor be permitted to treatyou.

Some may assume that these remarks-each targeted toward gay, lesbian,bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals-are nowadays confined to theshadier corners of society. That assumption may partially explain thesurprise among members of academic medicine who learned recently that theseand other anti-GLBT sentiments still exist on the nation's medical schoolcampuses.

Separate surveys conducted during the 2005-2006 academic year by the AAMC'sGroup on Student Affairs (GSA) and Organization of Student Representatives(OSR) found that, while cases of discrimination and mistreatment arecertainly few and far between, their existence is undeniable.

Approximately 15 percent of GSA survey respondents reported being aware ofthe mistreatment of GLBT students at their schools during the precedingacademic year; 7 percent described the social, personal, and learningenvironments at their institution as "hostile" toward GLBT students.

On the OSR survey, up to 17 percent of self-reported GLBT studentrespondents reported hostile environments. Additionally, 34 percent of GSAand 53 percent of OSR survey respondents indicated that they were unaware ofthe existence of nondiscrimination statements at their schools and atschool-based clinical training sites, despite the fact that every medicalschool has such a statement.

"This was a real wake-up call," said Samuel K. Parrish, M.D., associate deanfor student affairs at Drexel University College of Medicine, and a memberof the GSA national committee on student affairs. "We thought a lot ofimprovement had been made on this issue."

After encouraging results from a 1998 AAMC GLBT survey, organizers thoughtthe 2005-2006 surveys would highlight issues such as domestic partnerbenefits.



Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Chaste Home, Alabama, Where You Can't Buy a Dildo
By Regina Lynn>

10.05.07 | 12:00 AM

Oh, Alabama. What has been done to thee?

The U.S. Supreme Court refused Mond y to have anything to do with the infamous Williams v. Alabama case, which has been wending its way through the court system for nine years. In that case, adult retailer Sherri Williams challenged the constitutionality of a state law banning the sale and distribution of any device intended for the purpose of stimulating the human genitals. This week a federal judge is expected to lift the injunction that has prevented the law from being enforced since 1998.The law was originally intended to shut down certain adult establishments, like strip clubs, so that children wouldn't have to walk past them on the way to malt shops and sock hops. The sex-toy thing got thrown in so minors wouldn't be exposed to adult retail shops either, and that's the part that got national attention. No one outside the local community cares if a strip club gets shut down; start telling women they can't buy vibrators, and the angry murmurs begin.


Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List

Bay Windows

Susan Ryan-Vollmar

Rep. Barney Frank is right

If only we'd seen the passion, the blog posts and the last-minuteorganizing by LGBT organizations around a trans-inclusive EmploymentNon-Discrimination Act (ENDA) last year. And the year before that. Andthe decade before that. Just yesterday, a coalition called United ENDAunveiled its website featuring talking points for a trans-inclusiveENDA; legal analysis showing that an ENDA bill that only protectslesbians, gay men and bisexuals will be too weak to actually protectlesbians, gay men and bisexuals (the bill's failure to protect actualtransmen and women is conspicuously absent from the analysis); and animpressively lengthy list of national and state LGBT organizationsdemanding an all-or-nothing approach to passing ENDA.

The outcry has been strong enough to convince House Speaker NancyPelosi, who supports a trans-inclusive ENDA and U.S. Rep. Barney Frank,who has been lobbying House members on the trans-inclusive ENDA, to backoff of their controversial plan to put forward two ENDA bills: one thatis trans-inclusive and one that would make it illegal to fire anemployee based solely on his or her sexual orientation.

In a lengthy statement outlining his rationale, Frank said that afterHouse Leadership took an official count of the votes, it became clearthat the trans-inclusive ENDA bill wouldn't pass. Even worse, Frankwrote, a trans-inclusive ENDA would also be vulnerable to anti-transamendments from Republicans: "[I]t became clear that an amendmentoffered by Republicans either to omit the transgender provisionaltogether or severely restrict it in very obnoxious ways would pass."

LGBT organizations from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to theLambda Legal Defense and Education Fund to the Gay, Lesbian and StraightEducation Network are demanding that either a trans-inclusive ENDA beput forward or none at all.

This is madness.



Gay & Lesbian Leadership SmartBrief

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

ENDA debate sign of Congress', public's gay comfort level
The final version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is not likely toinclude transgender protections -- a reality that reflects where manymembers of Congress and the public stand on LGBT issues: They are aware ofissues facing gays and lesbians, but not in tune -- yet -- with the problemsof transgender people, according to this article. LGBT activists have twoweeks to lobby lawmakers to include transgender workers in the bill,according to out U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., ENDA's chief sponsor.
MSNBC (10/4)

Sens. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and John Kerry, D-Mass., and Rep. WilliamDelahunt, D-Mass., have joined with the family of Ciara Durkin to uncoverthe circumstances behind the death of the Army National Guard Specialist,who apparently was shot in the head and killed last week inside the secureBagram Air Base in Afghanistan. The woman, who was a lesbian, previously hadtold her family that if she were harmed in Afghanistan, they should pressfor answers, according to this article. A Pentagon investigation into thecircumstances surrounding her death is reportedly ongoing. CBS/AssociatedPress (10/4)


Murdoch tabloid in trouble again over LGBT slurs

5th October 2007 12:55 writer

American tabloid newspaper the New York Post has been condemned by gayactivists for using the term "she-male" to refer to a trans person.

The Rupert Murdoch-owned title has long been hostile to the sensibilites ofthe LGBT community.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) today condemned parentcompany News Corporation for latest in the paper's "series of dehumanisinginsults directed at the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community."

The Post's edition yesterday contained a Page Six item about an upcomingdating show on Fox Reality Channel (also owned by News Corporation) calledThere's Something About Miriam.

The item referred to Miriam, a transgender woman from Mexico, using the slur"she-male."

more . . . . .


Hossein Alizadeh

Two Saudi men get 7000 lashes for sodomy

Friday October 5, 2007

Two men in Saudi Arabia have been sentenced to 7000 lashes each afterbeing convicted of sodomy and have received their first round ofpunishment in public, a newspaper has reported.

The men, who were not identified, were meted out an unspecified numberof lashes in public in the the southwestern city of Al-Bahah on Tuesdayevening, the /Al-Okaz/ daily reported.

They were then returned to prison where they are to be held until thefull punishment is completed, the newspaper added, without saying howmany sessions this would involve.

Homosexual acts are illegal in Saudi Arabia, which metes out strictpunishment based on sharia, or Islamic law.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking can all carrythe death penalty in the kingdom, with public beheading the common formof execution.

Jonas Hansson
Chair of international affairs committee
Member of the board
Swedish federation for gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender rights (RFSL)
00 46 70 670 75 11


Russian Patriarch's anti-gay comments condemned by European parliamentarians

The Associated Press
Published: October 4, 2007

STRASBOURG, France: Former British Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott andseveral dozen other European parliamentarians protested Thursday comments bythe head of the Russian Orthodox Church assailing homosexuals.

In an address to the Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly earlier thisweek, Russian Orthodox Patriarch Alexy II branded homosexuality an "illness"and attacked what he called "homosexual propaganda" influencing youngpeople.

The patriarch was invited by the Council of Europe as part of its regulardebates with political and religious leaders.

But parliamentarians from all major political groups in the assembly said adialogue between cultures and religions must be based on mutual respect andtolerance.

They pointed out that the patriarch had spoken out against gays and lesbiansbefore and supported the banning of a gay parade in Moscow.

"We urge Patriarch Alexy to avoid the use of language inciting intoleranceand to respect, rather than seek to deny, the fundamental rights of sexualminorities," the lawmakers said in a petition.


Ahmadinejad's Gay Denial Must Occasion Caution

Followed by

Gays in Iran
by Mitra Roshan and Kourosh Shemirani; Gay City News; August 16, 2006

Ahmadinejad's Gay Denial Must Occasion Caution


Following the recent trip of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the US and hisremarks at Columbia University where he denied the existence of homosexualsin Iran, the issue of Iranian gays is now in international public view.

Whether this newly gained global visibility marks a step in favor ofimproving the situation of gays in Iran or leads to a deepening of theirplight has as much to do with internal Iranian society as with the actionsof the international community. There are dangers and possibilities in thisincredible turn of events that Western gay activists have to considercarefully.

No matter what anyone thinks of Iran, its regime, or its president, the factis that Ahmadinejad's trip was a conscious change in policy by the Iraniangovernment aimed at reaching out to the US and the American people. The Bushadministration and the mainstream media have downplayed this fact and haveeven increased the same rhetoric that they developed before the invasion ofIraq - WMDs, state-sponsored terrorism, etc.

None of us can know what the outcome of these diplomatic maneuvers will be.But now that the issue of gays in Iran has become front and center, there islittle doubt that it will work into the propaganda wars of both the Bush andthe Ahmadinejad administrations.

In Iran, the president's comments denying the presence of homosexuals havebeen generally ignored or censored in the mainstream media; however theissue is debated and discussed publicly and on the Internet. It remains tobe seen if activists and progressives in Iran will make any inroads ingaining greater public visibility and support as a result of thisdiscussion.




HRC Launches Full-Scale, Nationwide Call to Action in Support of a FullyInclusive ENDA

Action Urges Members to, " Tell your Representative you stand behindlegislation that will provide the same protections to all GLBT people. "

WASHINGTON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign launched a nationwide call toaction to the organization's 750,000 members and supporters to begin animmediate campaign to urge their Members of Congress to support ENDAlegislation the protects the entire GLBT organization. To view the Call toAction from Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese and to takeimmediate action online, please go to:

Please click on the link below to see a short video of HRC President JoeSolmonese call everyone to action to contact their congressperson to pass anTransgender inclusive ENDA.


Wilton Manors City Commission Votes to expand protections for TransgenderCommunity

Mark your calendar for a meeting of the Wilton Manors City Commission asCommissioner Joe Angelo provides the leadership to bring forward aninitiative to expand protections for the transgender community.

Commissioner Angelo also serves on the Broward County Human Rights Boardwhich voted unanimously to recommend to the Board of County Commissioners toinclude "gender identity" and "gender expression" as protection classes aspart of Broward County's Human Rights Ordinance.

Please attend and support the City Commission as they move forward withgreat leadership!

DATE: Tuesday, October 9, 2007 at 7:00 PM

WHERE: City of Wilton Manors City Hall Commission Chambers
524 NE 21st Court (just off Wilton Drive)
Wilton Manors, FL


Polish gays and lesbians without UE protection

The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has decided that Poland is not goingto accept the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union as a partof The Reform Treaty of UE (European Constitution).

Robert Szaniawski - spokeperson of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairssaid:

- Poland has finally decided to use "opt-out" clause together with theUnited Kingdom.

Szaniawski explained that Poland can't agree with a possible futureinterpretation of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) of the Charter whichcan refer to changes in the definition of family and could put preassure onPoland to respect homosexual marriages.

TSz, based on:,76842,4541698.html


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Daily Queer News

Rita Cosby vows to publish gay Stern porn videos amid $60 million defamationsuit

Atlanta - (Ass Mess): Veteran TV news anchor and ex-MSNBC seniorcorrespondent Rita Cosby has vowed to publish gay porn videos in support ofher book that claims Anna Nicole Smith's ex-partner and lawyer Howard KStern and Larry Birkhead, father of her daughter Dammielynn Hope MarshallBirkhead, had a gay fling.

The move follows Stern's $60 million defamation suit against Cosby and herpublishers Hachette Book Group USA Inc which was filed in federal court inNew York this week.

Cosby's book "Blonde Gay Ambition: The Untold Story Behind Anna NicoleSmith's Death" is a hard-hitting expose of an alleged plot by the two men tomilk the potential $500 million legacy that Anna Nicole Smith was fightingto receive following the death of her billionaire oilman husband J HowardMarshall III.

Her attorneys were in bullish mood today as their client claimed theincriminating videos are undisputable proof that the two men conspired topursue the peroxide former Playboy centerfold for over two years in a bid tocream off some of the disputed legacy.

Stern meanwhile is suing on libel grounds about Cosby's accusations of'criminal lewd acts, homosexual acts, perverted acts, illegal possession anduse of cocaine and crystal-meth, conspiracy to commit murder and kidnappingfor ransom' - according to papers filed before the court.


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How far will Democrats go on gay rights?

House likely to pass job protections, but omit transgender people
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
Updated: 1:28 p.m. ET Oct 5, 2007

WASHINGTON - The gay rights movement has come a long way since 1970 whenVice President Spiro Agnew attacked a liberal Republican critic of the Nixon Administration.

Agnew called Sen. Charles Goodell of New York "the Christine Jorgensen ofthe Republican Party."

Pundits found Agnew's sneering reference to the well-known 1950s transsexualclever, even if a bit harsh.

Today members of Congress aren't making such people the butt of jokes; they're debating whether they should have protection under federal law.

Many Americans know and work with a gay or lesbian person, but how many havea nodding acquaintance with a transgender person?

That distinction may explain why the House of Representatives is likely tovote within the next few weeks for job protections for gays and lesbians,but not for people who are transsexuals or adopt the appearance andmannerisms of the other sex.

more . . . . .


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HRC Alone in Eschewing No-Compromise Stand

In an extraordinary six days on Capitol Hill and among more than 100 LGBT organizations nationwide, Democratic leaders in the House of Representativesdecided to amend the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) bystripping out protections for transgendered Americans - only to face such agrassroots pushback that they were forced by Monday of this week to retreat,though likely only for the moment.

The frantic pace of congressional meetings, lobbying, and grassrootscaucusing and action alerts exposed not only a potentially deep rift betweenthousands of LGBT leaders and committed activists and their Capitol Hillchampion, out gay Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, but also simmeringmistrust between the community's lead national lobbying group, the HumanRights Campaign (HRC), and many of the 113 organizations that have nowsigned on to a statement opposing any congressional action on ENDA until thegender identity and expression language is restored.

Late on Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in tandem with Frank, TammyBaldwin, the out lesbian Wisconsin Democrat, and California's GeorgeMiller - chairman of the Labor and Education Committee that was due to takeup the streamlined bill the following day, and likely report it out for afairly expeditious floor vote - reversed course, announcing the hearing hadbeen postponed "to allow proponents of the legislation to continue theirdiscussions with Members in the interest of passing the broadest possiblebill." But according to HRC that delay is likely to last only two weeks, sothe community might soon be back at the same place it was over the past fewdays.

Transgender rights groups are of course especially alarmed - and HRC onOctober 2 lost its first and only openly transgendered board member, DonnaRose, who released an impassioned statement saying the group "has chosen notto be there" in the fight - but what is striking about the developments ofthe past week is the degree to which gender rights advocates have won theunqualified support of organizations typically thought of as mainstream gayoutfits.

Among non-trans specific groups, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force(NGLTF) has taken the lead on this issue, joined by the movement's three toplegal advocacy groups-Lambda Legal, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders inBoston, and the National Center for Lesbian Rights in San Francisco - aswell as by the National Stonewall Democrats; Pride at Work-AFL-CIO; theNational Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs; the Gay, Lesbian, and StraightEducation Network (GLSEN); Freedom to Marry; Immigration Equality; theNational Black Justice Coalition; and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, amongmany.

more . . . . .


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Monroe Views: Jena 6's Black Leadership Splits Queers
by Irene Monroe

The Jena 6 case-in which Southern white law enforcement in Jena, La.,unabashedly doled out biased treatment against six African-American highschool students-harkens backs to this country's era of Jim Crow. And it is ano-brainer as to why there was a mass protest.

What boggles my mind, however, is the protest from many in our queercommunity toward the LGBTQ individuals and organizations that showed up insolidarity.

For example, Chris Crain, the former editor of the Washington Blade and theman behind the popular blog and syndicated column "Citizen Crain," balked atHRC's president, Joe Solmonese, for appearing at the rally.

"Why pick this case? It doesn't involve discrimination of the type suffered historically by gay Americans. I would agree completely that there is racialdiscrimination in this country, and that the criminal justice system suffersfrom prosecutorial abuse, biased jury verdicts and lopsided sentences basedon race," Crain wrote. "But ... why pick the Jena 6, . a case of six bullieswho beat, kicked and stomped a defenseless teen unconscious in a schoolyard,as the one for the GLBT movement to take a stand?"

When your identity, like mine, is the intersection of these two marginalizedgroups, the question is moot. Crain's question is similar to the mindset ofAlveda King, the niece of Martin Luther King, who said gays never had to sitin the back of the bus.

Alexander Robinson of the National Black Justice Coalition ( NBJC ) , theonly national African-American LGBTQ organization in the country, showed hissolidarity in a statement: "Earlier this summer, NBJC joined the NAACP inits effort to right the wrongs against the Jena 6. We cannot allow theinjustice in Jena, La., or anywhere else in the country to go unnoticed orunchallenged and we need your support to do it!!"

more . . . . .


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Hillary Stumbles During Debate

by Lisa Keen

Gay supporters of Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton were quickto the mat after the senator used the word "choice" in reference to sexualorientation during a Sept. 26 debate in Hanover, N.H.

"She did not mean sexual orientation is a choice," said Jin Chon, aspokesperson for the Clinton campaign on gay-related issues. She doesn'tthink sexual orientation is a choice."

The question-posed during the Democratic presidential debate at DartmouthCollege in Hanover, New Hampshire, Wednesday night-was not about the originsof sexual orientation. It was whether the candidates would be "comfortable"having a story about same-sex marriage between two princes "read to yourchildren as part of their school curriculum?" The issue is the focus of afederal lawsuit in Massachusetts, where parents of a second grader inLexington have challenged their school's inclusion of the book among thoseto be read out loud to children.

The question was tossed first to John Edwards and Barack Obama, both of whomhave young children.

Edwards said he would "absolutely" be comfortable with it, and added that hewants his children to understand "everything about the difficulty that gayand lesbian couples are faced with every day."

more . . . . .


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T is to GLB as mascara is to.

October 04, 2007

Crack open those SAT brain cells because a few useful analogies helpillustrate why it's so wrong -- politically, logically and morally -- forgay Americans to be saddled with a "trans or bust" strategy for passing theEmployment Non-Discrimination Act.

First off, Robin Tyler, the respected longtime lesbian activist (comedianand tour organizer) who headed up the 1987 and 2000 marches on Washington,offered up one in an email to me based on her own relationships withtransgender friends:

I support full transgender rights. However, when I have been invited tolegal weddings of some of my transgender friends, not one of them has said,"We will not get married until Diane and you and other same sex couples canget married." They did not sacrifice on the alter of political correctness,the state and federal benefits of marriage. And yet, with regard to ENDA,the lesbian and gay community is expected to do so, leaving millions andmillions of us in the majority of states, once again, unprotected.

Even Brad and Angelina and Charlize Theron and her boyfriend have pledgednot to marry until we can, but none of us would dream of forcing transgendercouples who can marry today to wait until we can as well.

The trans-ENDA debate is also raging over at Immigration Equality's blog,where Ben Gardent -- a frequent commenter to this blog -- came up with afantastic analogy that shows why IE should never have signed on to the TaskForce letter with 100 signatory groups opposing gay-specific ENDA.

more . . . . .


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LGBT Americans still have far to go, but we have witnessed a sea change insocietal attitudes

by Rep. Tammy Baldwin

In the 1960s, while confronting segregation, discrimination, obstruction ofvoting rights and physical violence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., oftenborrowed the words of another pastor, an abolitionist from Boston namedTheodore Parker, to inspire and give strength to those in the civil rightsmovement. In the fight for full equality, both Dr. King and Rev. Parkerreminded their flock what I believe is equally true and relevant today as wediscuss the gay rights movement in America:

"The arc of the moral universe is long . . . but it bends toward justice."

You may wonder how I can say that in 2007, when LGBT Americans are still thevictims of violent hate crime and discrimination, still unable to serveopenly in the armed forces, still unable, in many states, to adopt children,still unable in 49 states to marry, still denied the full and equal rightsthat citizenship grants and morality demands.

Gay History Month is an appropriate time to step back from our dailystruggles and frustrations to assess how much progress we have made inrecent years. Despite political setbacks and sadly, still, hate crimesagainst the LGBT community, young Americans are growing up in ever-moretolerant times.

Ten years ago, Ellen DeGeneres announced she was gay on national televisionand cynics predicted it would end her career. Earlier this year, she hostedthe Academy Awards where a billion viewers around the world were not onlyentertained by this openly-gay and hugely popular comedian, but then theyheard Oscar-winner Melissa Etheridge publicly thank her own wife and theirfour children.

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Gay rights off the agenda for African church leaders

5th October 2007 17:16 writer

A meeting of African Anglican Archbishops avoided homosexuality yesterday, atopic dividing their Communion, in favour of other issues affecting thecontinent.

The gathering took place in Mauritius and was chaired by Nigerian ArchbishopPeter Akinola, an outspoken opponent of gay rights.

Last month he criticised the US Episcopal Church for not making a clearstand against consecrating gay clergy or blessing gay unions.

The Archbishop told journalists: "I'm trying to avoid dragging us intounnecessary controversy when there are more profitable things to talk about.

"This is Africa, and we would rather focus on those important things thataffect us Africans," he said, according to Reuters.

more . . . . .


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Pro-gay Christians tour early-decision states Wed Oct 3, 9:04 PM ET

SUMMARY: Mitchell Gold's Faith in America starts the second leg of afive-city campaign Monday to help stop anti-gay bias in the spiritual realm.

Furniture czar Mitchell Gold's religious organization, Faith in America, onMonday started the second leg of a five-city campaign to educate the publicabout discrimination against gays in the spiritual realm.

The "Call to Courage" campaign kicked off in Greenville, N.C., where localresident Sean Kennedy was killed outside of a local bar after being called agay slur.

Faith in America is planning to put up 22 billboards around the city withthe message, "Don't confuse against gays and lesbians with religious truth,"said Jimmy Creech, executive director of the organization.

Outreach also includes newspaper ads, radio and TV commercials, anddoor-to-door campaigners.

more . . . . .


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Advocates seek to raise awareness about lesbian breast cancer issues

Insensitivity of medical workers, lack of insurance blamed for increasedrisk
Oct. 04, 2007

Discrimination is one of the factors keeping lesbians and bisexual women
from getting the best medical care and detecting breast cancer at an earlystage, according to women's health care advocates. In fact, theinsensitivity of some medical workers is identified as one of the mainreasons why lesbians are considered at higher risk than straight women forbeing diagnosed with breast cancer.

Andrea Densham, interim executive director of the Mautner Project, one ofthe leading lesbian health organizations in the nation, said lesbians oftenreport experiencing subtle and not-so-subtle prejudice when they disclosetheir sexuality to medical professionals.

"Discrimination reduces the number of lesbians who get annual screenings,"Densham said. "Women have told us about providers saying, 'We're sorry you're a lesbian' and getting materials about changing their sexuality."

As part of the observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the MautnerProject will join the Aqua Foundation for Women's Lesbian Health Project ina forum on Oct. 19 that will focus on educating medical professionals aboutspecific issues affecting lesbians. The forum, titled "Removing theBarriers," will take place at the Sunshine Cathedral in Fort Lauderdale.

"The most important thing for doctors to know is that we are women and thatwe have experienced discrimination," Densham said. "It's important fordoctors and nurses to create an environment where there is trust and respectso that lesbians and bisexual women can feel comfortable sharinginformation."

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October 5, 2007

Bible Lesson in Gay Rights

Daniel Karslake's documentary "For the Bible Tells Me So" won't win anyprizes for technique, but innovation surely ranks very low on this filmmaker's to-do list. Mr. Karslake has said that the movie is mainly intended as afeature-length primer that can be deployed in arguments with homophobes.

Directorially, the movie is unremarkable, with one conspicuous andunfortunate exception: when Mr. Karslake apes the supercharged empathy of anepisode of "Dateline" on NBC, right down to the verging-on-schmaltzy music.Otherwise, the interviews with scholars parsing the Old and New Testamentsare paired with the expected archival photographs and illustrations ofbiblical scenes. "For the Bible Tells Me So" is, strictly speaking, aneducational film, with the artlessness that that phrase implies.

The movie's ensemble portrait of parents (many of them ministers) with adultgay or lesbian children strives to demonstrate that homosexuality is agenetic predisposition, not a lifestyle choice, and that those who quoteLeviticus to justify their animosity are guilty not just of intolerance butalso of selective piety, an inability to understand historical context andpoor reading comprehension. (Abomination, for example, does not mean againstGod, but against a civilization's cultural norms.)

"For the Bible Tells Me So" moves through its stories of coming out,detailing how individuals adjusted (or failed to adjust) to their newreality and how parents reacted (usually poorly).

Mary Lou Wallner, one of the staunchest advocates of gay rights in themovie, became a political activist after her daughter, Anna, committedsuicide - the result, Ms. Wallner believes, of the letter she wrote to Annarejecting her after she came out. Brenda and David Poteat, marriedministers, struggle to accept their daughter Tonia's lesbian identity, andjudging from Mr. Poteat's statements, he's not there yet.

more . . . . .


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Gay and lesbian film festival forges connections
The 11-day event, in its 18th year, kicks off in Tampa Thursday.

By Steve Persall, Times Film Critic
Published October 4, 2007

18th annual Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Thursday through Oct. 14, chiefly at Tampa Theatre, with weekday screeningsstarting Monday at Muvico Baywalk 20 in St. Petersburg. Single film ticketsare $9 or $7 for students, available at the door. Ticket packages range from$46 for six films ($40 for students) to $500 for the all-access SimplyFabulous pass. Party tickets are $15 for Oct. 12 and 13, and $50 forFriday's festival gala. Visit the festival Web site at orcall (813) 879-4220 for information and ordering.

- - -
Over 18 years, the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival changedleadership several times because, frankly, staging an event of thismagnitude can wear out anyone.

One thing that hasn't changed is the festival's purpose, says first-yearprogrammer Roberta Munroe, a Los Angeles filmmaker whose art, organizationalskills and jury tastes have taken her from Sundance to Cannes.

"There is no better way to bring the community together, across race / religion/ class/ age and gender lines, than to provide a diverseselection of some of the best queer film available," Munroe said in ane-mail from her California home.

Add the parties and panel discussions on gay, lesbian and transgenderissues, and you have the ingredients of an 11-day festival that alterslives - and occasionally straight perspectives.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News

Statement of Congressman Barney Frank in Response to a Recent Press Release
by Lambda Legal Raising Questions About ENDA

Contact: Steven Adamske, 202-225-7141
October 3, 2007

Washington, DC-Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) released thefollowing statement in response to Lambda Legal's recent press release aboutH.R. 3685, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act:

"Lambda Legal's analysis of the bill I have reintroduced to outlaw sexualorientation discrimination contains one essential error, and twomisunderstandings of where we are in the legislative process.

"First, Lambda asserts:

In addition to the missing vital protections for transgender people on thejob, this new bill also leaves out a key element to protect any employee,including lesbians and gay men who may not conform to their employer's ideaof how a man or woman should look and act. This is a huge loophole throughwhich employers sued for sexual orientation discrimination can claim thattheir conduct was actually based on gender expression, a type ofdiscrimination that the new bill does not prohibit.

"The 'also' in this phrase is wrong. The second bill does omit reference topeople who are transgender, but it makes no other change in the wording onthis point. It neither adds nor deletes any reference to employers' rightsto fire people based on how they appear.

more . . . . .


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Daily Queer News

Russian Gay Rights Activist To Speak In Chicago

Nikolai Alexeyev Was Detained By Police At 2 Moscow Pride Parades
Oct 2, 2007 8:24 am US/Central

(CBS) CHICAGO A Russian activist who has organized pride parades in Moscowin defiance of city bans will speak this weekend at a gay rights march thisweekend.

The ninth annual Matthew Shepard March is scheduled for Saturday at Halstedand Roscoe streets. Nikolai Alexeyev is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

Alexeyev has organized several gay pride parades in Moscow, facing violentprotests and getting arrested for defying a ban on such events by Moscow'smayor.

Homosexuality has been decriminalized in Russia for the past 14 years, butis still widely despised.

At a gay pride parade in Moscow last May, police detained gay rightsactivists, among them European lawmakers, as they tried to present a letterto Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov in a demonstration that also attracted ahostile crowd of people who punched and threw eggs at the activists.

more . . . . .


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Taiwan gays demand action not words from politicians

4th October 2007 14:45 writer

This weekend, Taiwan will see its eighth annual gay carnival and fourthannual pride parade, the biggest events of this kind in Asia.

After the government-funded carnival a procession, expected to be 10,000strong, will march through the capital, Taipei.

Gay activism in Taiwan has grown stronger in past years, with politicianscourting the pink vote, especially in the run up to the legislativeelections at the end of the year and the presidential elections next March.

But these politicians, don't always back up their promises for greatertolerance through legislation after they are elected, according to thepresident of the Taiwan Tongzhi (a Chinese euphemism for gay) HotlineAssociation.

"Some candidates who have shown support for gay, bisexual and transgendergroups during their campaigns never did anything after being elected.

more . . . . .


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Poll shows most against Gay-Straight Alliance

By Rhys Saunders The Daily Times
Farmington Daily Times
Article Launched:10/03/2007 12:00:00 AM MDT

FARMINGTON - More than 1,600 people rendered their opinions regarding PiedraVista High School's dilemma of whether to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance clubby Tuesday afternoon on The Daily Times' Web site.

After posing the question, "Do you think a Gay-Straight Alliance club shouldbe allowed in any of our local schools?" 1,000 residents voted against suchan organization.

The issue has been subject to extensive media coverage, and the issue camebefore a Farmington Municipal Schools Board of Education meeting and a highschool community forum. Each meeting was attended by more than 300 people.The proposed club will be discussed again at an Oct. 11 board meeting.

Farmington Municipal Schools' attorney, Frank Albetta, previously said thelaw is quite clear on the issue, adding that under the federal Equal AccessAct, when any school receiving federal financial assistance permits even onestudent-initiated noncurricular club to form it has created a limited-openforum that forbids the school from denying the creation of a club on thebasis of ideological, religious, political or social grounds.

The Equal Access Act, originally created in 1984 to benefit Christianstudents so they could initiate noncurricular student-led clubs in publicschools, now has been used as the legal basis for the formation of theGay-Straight Alliance club at schools nationwide.

more . . . . .


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Christians are 'anti-homosexual' according to US poll

4th October 2007 18:30
Ruth Owen

A survey in the United States conducted by the Barna Group between 2004 andnow has found that both Christians and non-Christians have a 'badimpression' of Christianity.

The religion is also waning in popularity with a rapid increase in peopledescribing themselves as 'non-Christian' since the same poll was conductedin 1996.

Surveying 440 Christians and the same amount of non-believers, nine out often non-Christians found Christians too "anti-homosexual."

Almost the same amount viewed it as "hypocritical" and "judgmental."Seventy-five percent thought Christianity was "too involved in politics."

Of believers, 80% identified "anti-homosexual" as a negative adjectivedescribing Christianity today.

more . . . . .


Scandal brewing at Oral Roberts

By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press Writer

TULSA, Okla. - Twenty years ago, televangelist Oral Roberts said hewas reading a spy novel when God appeared to him and told him toraise $8 million for Roberts' university, or else he would be "called home."

Now, his son, Oral Roberts University President Richard Roberts, saysGod is speaking again, telling him to deny lurid allegations in alawsuit that threatens to engulf this 44-year-old Bible Belt collegein scandal.

Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local politicalcampaign and lavish spending at donors' expense, including numeroushome remodeling projects, use of the university jet for hisdaughter's senior trip to the Bahamas, and a red Mercedes convertible and aLexus SUV for his wife, Lindsay.

She is accused of dropping tens of thousands of dollars on clothes,awarding nonacademic scholarships to friends of her children andsending scores of text messages on university-issued cell phones topeople described in the lawsuit as "underage males."

At a chapel service this week on the 5,300-student campus known forits 60-foot-tall bronze sculpture of praying hands, Roberts said Godtold him: "We live in a litigious society. Anyone can get mad andfile a lawsuit against another person whether they have a legitimate caseor not. This lawsuit ... is about intimidation, blackmail andextortion."



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Daily Queer News

The Religious Right's New Tactics for Invading Public Schools

By Rob Boston, Church and State
Posted on October 4, 2007, Printed on October 6, 2007

In mid-August, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed something called the "ReligiousViewpoints Antidiscrimination Act" into law. Although the new law has aninnocuous-sounding title, it's really a ticking time-bomb, opponents say.

The law requires every public school in the state to adopt a policyguaranteeing students' right to religious expression. It mandates thatschools create "limited public forums" for religious and other types ofspeech. A student could, for example, read the morning announcements over aloudspeaker and then lapse into a prayer or mini-sermon.

Many people think the law is yet another effort to get around the SupremeCourt's rulings on separation of church and state in public schools -- andthey're expecting a torrent of litigation to result.

"This law is fundamentally at odds with the principle of religious freedom,"said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an Austin-basedgroup that opposes the machinations of the Religious Right. "It will forcepublic school students to participate in public events that promotereligious views -- through prayer or even proselytizing -- that they andtheir families may not share or may even find deeply offensive. So ratherthan protecting religious freedom, this law represents a grave threat to it.

"Rather than providing schools with training and appropriate guidelines forprotecting First Amendment freedoms," Miller said, "legislators decided toplay politics with our children's faith. So now they have recklessly putlocal schools and their taxpayers at risk of expensive lawsuits."

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Smooth Thinking about Sexuality

"Gay" and "straight" are misleading terms
By Robert Epstein

From the October 2007 issue of Scientific American Mind

Is sexual orientation similar to eye color, consisting of fairly discretecategories? Or is it more like height-that is, falling along a continuum? Asa psychologist, I have explored that question in several venues, includingthe February/March 2006 issue of Scientific American Mind ["Do Gays Have aChoice?"]. Although common thinking holds that everyone is either "gay" or"straight," my new survey of nearly 18,000 people who voluntarily answeredan online quiz shows that these terms are highly misleading. Sexualorientation actually lies on a smooth continuum, and the way people statetheir orientation is often a poor predictor of their true sexual behaviorsand fantasies. Someone can call himself "gay" but behave "straight," andvice versa.

At the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality meeting in November, Iwill report that the same continuum of scores exists in the U.S. and in theaverage of scores from a dozen countries outside the U.S. I also find thatfewer than 10 percent of subjects score as "pure" hetero­sexual orhomosexual and that females place, on average, farther toward the gay end ofthe continuum than males do. My study suggests that characterizing sexualorientation properly requires two numbers: mean sexual orientation (where agiven person lies on the continuum) and sexual orientation range (how muchflexibility or "choice" the person has in expressing that orientation, whichalso forms a continuum).


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Daily Queer News

Sex Toys and the Technology of Orgasm

By Rachel Kramer Bussel, AlterNet
Posted on October 4, 2007, Printed on October 6, 2007

For those who don't think pussies and their playthings are political, thenew documentary Passion and Power: The Technology of Orgasm (Wabi SabiProductions) will set you straight. Co-produced and co-directed by WendySlick and Emiko Omori, the film offers up a disturbing history of the firstvibrators as well as a glimpse into the real-life consequences of laws stillon the books in four states that ban the sale of them.

The film is based on Rachel P. Maines's 1998 book The Technology of Orgasm:"Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction (Johns HopkinsUniversity Press), updated to include the tale of Burleson, Texas, residentJoanne Webb, who was arrested for peddling dildos and vibrators in 2005under a state law that prohibits the sale of any "device including a dildoor artificial vagina, designed or marketed as useful primarily for thestimulation of human genital organs." This despite the fact that she was onthe board of her local Chamber of Commerce and got a license to peddle herwares when she started selling for Passion Parties.

Under the Texas law, ownership of six or more "obscene devices" is alsoillegal, based on the assumption that one intends to sell them. There is aloophole: the exception for "a bona fide medical, psychiatric, judicial,legislative or law enforcement purpose." In other words, getting off is notsomething the state of Texas wants to encourage in and of itself, unless youdo so with your hand. A few other states such as Georgia, Mississippi andAlabama have similar laws (the Supreme Court recently declined to hear achallenge to Alabama's law).

Policing women's sex toy use isn't new, but the meaning of the vibrator haschanged dramatically over time. The Technology of Orgasm shows how women'ssexuality, pleasure and masturbation have been regarded alternately as tabooand important, flip-flopping back and forth between being in vogue andcloaked in secrecy and shame.

Introduced in the late 19th century, the vibrator was originally intended asa cure for so-called hysteria -- a disease manufactured by doctors duringthe time of Hippocrates -- and soon became a medical staple. Doctorsbelieved that using massage to bring women to orgasm would make them lessemotional, but that process took too much time, limiting the number ofpatients a physician could see in one day. Enter the vibrator. With helpfrom the mechanical friend, women could have orgasms more efficiently -- andon their own time.

The perceived medical need for vibrators evaporated after only a couple ofdecades. By the early '20s, women were purchasing them for pleasure, with nofear of being ridiculed -- let alone arrested.

more . . . . .


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Putin's grab for power spells trouble for gay rights groups

3rd October 16:45
Ian Dunt

Russian president Vladimir Putin's admission that he would stand for thepost of prime minister is a worrying sign for gay rights groups in thecountry, human rights activists have warned.

Mr Putin is prevented from seeking a third term as president by the Russianconstitution, but if he undertakes a four year period as prime minister hewould again be eligible for the post in 2012.

The move, announced last Monday, is being condemned by human rights groups,who have been horrified by the attacks on free speech and gay rights in thecountry during Mr Putin's time in office.

An Amnesty International spokesman told "AmnestyInternational has serious concerns about the Russian government's treatmentof LGBT rights.

"We've had numerous homophobic attacks in Russia, some of them fatal.

more . . . . .


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Tatchell slams Gibraltar over gay rights

3rd October 12:50
Ian Dunt

Outspoken human rights activist Peter Tatchell has slammed the Gibraltargovernment over its failure to ensure equal rights for the LGBT community onthe Rock.

Speaking at the end of a local fact-finding mission yesterday, Mr Tatchellsaid: "The people of Gibraltar are wonderful, but the government appearstobe drifting towards autocracy.

"It is failing to respect the human rights of its own citizens, especiallygay people, the disabled and immigrants," he said.

Mr Tatchell, who was invited to conduct the assessment by local equalityrights movement GGR, said people were afraid to report discrimination andharassment due to fear of state officials.

"After having met with a wide cross-section of Gibraltarian society, it isapparent that Gibraltar fails a number of UK and EU human rights standards,"he said.

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Daily Queer News

Between The Lines Newspaper

From issue number 1539
Editorial: Montgomery's transition
Originally printed 09/27/2007

Jeffrey Montgomery has announced he is resigning after 16 years at the helmof The Triangle Foundation. We wish him well, and hope that he is able torelax and enjoy a much-deserved chunk of time off.

Running any non-profit agency is a struggle, with constant financialpressures, the challenge of managing a board of directors and staff, and theever-present public role as its primary spokesperson. There is little or noreal "down time." Montgomery has committed himself to the task for a longtime and has built an organization that is recognized as one of the leadersof the LGBT community in Michigan and across the country. We commend him.

The next executive director of The Triangle Foundation will need to take thegroup to its next level of organizational maturity. With a staff of 11 and adaunting mission, the new executive director must be capable of thoughtful,disciplined and creative leadership to focus Triangle. Michigan needsTriangle to be a statewide organization that works well in collaborationwith other groups (both LGBT and outside our community), that is fiscallysound and that can prioritize its activities to make the most of what willalways be too-scarce resources.

The organization that Montgomery leaves is one that should be able toattract such a remarkable leader. The board, with Montgomery in a consultingrole, has already taken the first steps toward a national search for a newexecutive director. We encourage the board to be picky - to seek out thebest possible candidates. Michigan is uniquely situated to be a major playerin national politics and in the struggle for LGBT equality. In the 2008elections, Michigan will be a key state in the presidential election, andLGBT voters will cast critical votes for state representatives, judges andlocal leadership positions. Michigan remains at the epicenter of thenational debate over affirmative action, and Michigan's horrendousanti-marriage constitutional amendment must be overturned eventually. Ourcommunity's best and the brightest leaders ought to consider Triangle ifthey truly want to make an important contribution to our movement.

Executive searches can be difficult and time consuming, but ultimately it isthe most important function of the board of directors. Triangle Foundation'sboard has a real challenge in identifying and hiring Montgomery's successor.We wish them the best in this important job that will have such a profoundimpact on the future of Michigan's LGBT community and our struggle forequality.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Vt. Bishop voices support for same-sex unions

MARK E. RONDEAU, Staff Writer
Bennington Banner
Article Launched:10/02/2007 03:07:18 AM EDT
Tuesday, October 2

BENNINGTON - The leader of Episcopalians in Vermont stands by his church'sprogressive treament of gay and lesbian couples in Vermont, despiteopposition from conservatives in his denomination and an ambiguous nationalpolicy on the blessing of same-sex unions.

Thomas C. Ely, the Episcopal bishop of Vermont, played an active role in therecent meeting of the Episcopal House of Bishops that answered a communiqu├ęby the Anglican Communion objecting to policies regarding gays and lesbiansin the American church.

"Our church, the Episcopal Church, has continually spoken out and been anadvocate for the civil rights of gay and lesbian persons in our culture, andcertainly here in Vermont that's key to our mission and ministry," Ely saidSunday, during an interview at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Bennington,where he took part in the Cornerstone Centennial Celebration.

The Episcopal Church in the U.S. is part of the worldwide AnglicanCommunion, a fellowship of churches that trace their roots back to theChurch of England. Over the past several decades, homosexuality has become adivisive issue, particularly with the election in 2003 of Eugene Robinson, agay man in a relationship, to become bishop of New Hampshire. In addition,some Episcopal dioceses - including the Diocese of Vermont - permit theblessing of same-sex couples as a pastoral decision by clergy.

For their part, the U.S. bishops object to the recent practice of foreignbishops interefering in their jurisdiction by ordaining conservativeAmericans to minister to conservative U.S. congregations that have brokenaway from the Episcopal Church.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Librarians Weigh in on a Book Dealing with Same-Sex Marriage

Joan Oleck -- School Library Journal, 10/2/2007 12:33:00 PM

A question about whether a book dealing with same-sex marriages should beavailable to children may have gotten mixed responses from presidentialhopefuls-but most librarians say these kinds of titles are essential tolearning.

"Librarians are able to broach many sensitive topics through books," saysJudy Zuckerman, assistant director of neighborhood services for the BrooklynPublic Library in New York "It can open up discussion, and it's a good thingto discuss topics that children may already be thinking about, throughliterature."

The question posed to Democratic front-runners Hilary Clinton, John Edwards,and Barack Obama during an MSNBC debate on Sept 26, was whether they werecomfortable with second-graders having access to or being read thechildren's book King & King (Ten Speed, 2002), in which a prince finds amale partner. The picture book, by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, endswith a kiss.

Edwards and Obama strongly supported the idea, while Clinton was morecautious, calling the issue one for "parental discretion." But the next day,in a press statement, Republican candidate Mitt Romney blasted theDemocratic candidates for being "out of touch.with the American people."

Librarians interviewed by SLJ responded quite differently.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Is The Closet Ever OK?

by Scott Stiffler
EDGE San Francisco Contributor
Sunday Sep 30, 2007

I don't normally traffic in moral absolutes; but is the closet ever OK? Issecretly going though your day as something more than exclusively hetero andless than proudly homo defensible? If we draw a line in the sand that somerefuse to cross, should we give a little push because an out & proud lifewould be better for them (and, more importantly, for us)?

In a world where everyone gets off knowing your business (and has the blogentries to prove it), the golden age of being able to keep a secret hasbegun to wane. Still, we're momentarily left to wrestle with the pros, consand justifiable scenarios that allow our fellow LGBT citizens to remainpublicly undeclared. Shakespeare famously advised "This above all: to thineown self be true." - flowery words that were easy for him to say, since hewasn't a big old homo (although rumor has it the Bard liked to dip his quillin more than one kind of ink well). The sound you hear is that of PerezHilton jotting down a bitchy Internet missive that just might compelShakespeare to out more than his damn spot ...

The Closet, Privacy & Private Lives

Larry Gross, Professor and Director of the USC School of Communications, isauthor of Contested Closets: The Politics and Ethics of Outing and Up fromInvisibility: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Media in America. Responding to thetitular question of EVER, Gross points out that "The closet is sometimesnecessary for survival. There are parts of the world where being known ashomosexual is a very risky business, with prison or worse fates. In thiscountry, certain jobs or the military require the closet if you're going toremain. . .It's defensible for citizens who have no particular reason ornecessity to be public with their private lives."

As for those who seek the spotlight and profit from, they're on shaky groundwhen declaring anything off limits. Gross points out that notoriety changesthe equation for celebrities and politicians: "If their public role involvesrepresentations or the expression of views about sexual issues, then thecloset becomes potentially indefensible on grounds of hypocrisy."

more . . . . .


The New York Times

U.S. Prosecutor Held in a Child Sex Sting Kills Himself

October 6, 2007

MIAMI, Oct. 5 - A federal prosecutor charged with traveling from Florida toMichigan to have sex with a 5-year-old girl committed suicide on Friday inprison, his lawyer said.

The prosecutor, J. D. Roy Atchison, 53, was arrested on Sept. 16 leaving aplane in Detroit as part of an Internet sting operation led by the sheriff'sdepartment in Macomb County, Mich.

The authorities said he had been chatting online for two weeks with anundercover detective who posed as a mother offering to let men have sex withher young daughter.

At the time of his arrest, the authorities said, Mr. Atchison, of GulfBreeze, Fla., was carrying a Dora the Explorer doll, hoop earrings andpetroleum jelly.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Prisons said Mr. Atchison was foundunresponsive on Friday morning in the special housing unit of the federalprison in Milan, Mich. He had been transferred there after trying to hanghimself in the Sanilac County Jail days after his arrest.



The Miami Herald

Democrats making some strange choices

Posted on Sat, Oct. 06, 2007

The ever-spiraling conflict over Florida's Democratic presidential primaryhas come to this:
When 3,000 Democratic activists from the Hispanic-rich state gather inOrlando later this month, Bill Richardson -- the only Hispanic contender --will be about 955 miles away in Michigan. Talking to Arab Americans.

Richardson is going to the Arab American Institute's annual leadershipconference. That wouldn't be news -- except for the fact that most of theDemocratic candidates signed a pledge to boycott Michigan and Florida forrunning roughshod over the national party's carefully staged primarycalendar.

The big-state jockeying so infuriated four smaller states anointed to havethe earliest primaries -- Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada --that they goaded candidates into the boycott.

The powers-that-be in the four states made one exception: for the ArabAmerican Institute. And in an only-in-Florida coincidence, the AAI gatheringis the same weekend as the Democrats' annual convention in the nation'sbiggest battleground state.

''We believe that the Arab-American community is an importantconstituency,'' reads a letter from the Democratic leaders in the fourstates. ``For this specific, one prescheduled national event in Michigan,this request will be acceptable.''

Richardson is the only candidate who has agreed to attend so far, but othersare expected. The candidates seem so panicked about upsetting the fourleadoff states that they're even balking at sending their spouses toOrlando.



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The New York Times

Bush Defends Interrogations, Saying Methods Aren't Torture

October 6, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 - President Bush, reacting to a Congressional uproar overthe disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions permitting theharsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, defended the methods on Friday,declaring, "This government does not torture people."

The remarks, Mr. Bush's first public comments on the memorandums, came at ahastily arranged Oval Office appearance before reporters. It was billed as atalk on the economy, but after heralding new job statistics, Mr. Bushshifted course to a subject he does not often publicly discuss: aonce-secret Central Intelligence Agency program to detain and interrogatehigh-profile terror suspects.

"I have put this program in place for a reason, and that is to betterprotect the American people," the president said, without mentioning theC.I.A. by name. "And when we find somebody who may have informationregarding a potential attack on America, you bet we're going to detain them,and you bet we're going to question them, because the American people expectus to find out information - actionable intelligence so we can help protectthem. That's our job."



The New York Times

October 6, 2007

Out of Prison and Deep in Debt

With the nation's incarcerated population at 2.1 million and growing - andcorrections costs topping $60 billion a year - states are rightly lookingfor ways to keep people from coming back to prison once they get out.Programs that help ex-offenders find jobs, housing, mental health care anddrug treatment are part of the solution. States must also end the Dickensianpractice of saddling ex-offenders with crushing debt that they can neverhope to pay off and that drives many of them right back to prison.

The scope of the ex-offender debt problem is outlined in a new studycommissioned by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance andproduced by the Council of State Governments' Justice Center. The study,"Repaying Debts," describes cases of newly released inmates who have beengreeted with as much as $25,000 in debt the moment they step outside theprison gate. That's a lot to owe for most people, but it can beinsurmountable for ex-offenders who often have no assets and whose pooreducations and criminal records prevent them from landing well-paying jobs.



The New York Times

October 5, 2007

Misleading Spin on Children's Health

Trying to justify his ideologically driven veto of a bill to expand theState Children's Health Insurance Program, President Bush and his staff havefired a barrage of misinformation about this valuable program. Before theHouse votes on whether to override the veto, all members - especially thosefrom Mr. Bush's party who say they are concerned about millions of uninsuredchildren - must look behind the rhetoric.

Mr. Bush stretched the truth considerably when he told an audience inLancaster, Pa., that he has long been a strong supporter of the S-chipprogram. "I supported it as governor, and I support it as president of theUnited States," he said. As governor of Texas, Mr. Bush fought -unsuccessfully - to restrict the state's program to children with familyincomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, well below the 200 percentallowed by federal law. As president, he is again trying to shrink theprogram for the entire country. His proposed five-year budget does notprovide enough to continue enrollments at current levels, let alone covermillions of the uninsured.



The Washington Post

North Korean Mystery

By Jim Hoagland
Sunday, October 7, 2007; B07

Two big questions hang over the new agreement to contain North Korea'snuclear weapons program at its current level -- whatever that level is.

Why has a secretive government addicted to power politics and flexing itsmilitary muscles abruptly turned to negotiations and peaceful compromise?

And why is North Korea doing the same?

The Bush administration, of course, cannot match Kim Jong Il's regime inparanoia, bellicosity and information control, although this White Houseseems at times to have been tempted to try. Other countries know next tonothing about Pyongyang's motivations, intentions or even its ability tocarry out any agreement it makes.

This deepens the Washington end of this great strategic mystery: Why isPresident Bush accepting the promises of a regime he has regularlyexcoriated -- at a time when officials in his administration make a crediblecase that North Korea has just been caught helping Syria with nucleartechnology?

North Korea's desperation as its economy implodes and its people starve isclearly part of the answer. Pyongyang's plight has helped U.S. negotiatorChristopher Hill get an agreement that he believes can be verified andenforced. Timing is also everything for Bush, who is reaching for diplomaticsuccesses before his presidency ends.



Forwarded from Pew Research Center

Go to the website, above, for the following articles

World Publics Welcome Global Trade -- But Not Immigration
The publics of the world broadly embrace key tenets of economicglobalization but fear the disruptions and downsides of participating in theglobal economy. In rich countries as well as poor ones, most people endorsefree trade, multinational corporations and free markets. However, the latestPew Global Attitudes survey of more than 45,000 people in 47 countries findsthey are concerned about inequality, threats to their culture, threats tothe environment and the threats posed by immigration. Read more

Religion and Politics
Young White Evangelicals: Less Republican, Still Conservative
An analysis of Pew Research Center surveys conducted between 2001 and 2007suggests that young white evangelicals have become increasingly dissatisfiedwith President Bush and are moving away from the GOP. How will these changesaffect the vote in 2008 and beyond? Read more


Boston Herald

Slain soldier told kin to investigate if she died

By Mike Underwood | Wednesday, October 3, 2007 |

The Quincy soldier mysteriously slain by a bullet to the head on a secureAfghanistan airbase feared something might happen to her after discovering"something she didn't like," her devastated family revealed.

Massachusetts National Guard Spc. Ciara Durkin, 30, was found with a singlegunshot wound to her head behind a building at Bagram Airbase on Sept. 27.

"The last time she was home she said she had seen things that she didn'tlike and she had raised concerns that had annoyed some people," said Durkin's sister Fiona Canavan, 44, of Quincy.

"She said, and I thought she was joking, that if anything happened to her wehad to investigate."

Canavan said she did not know what her baby sister had seen or whom she hadtold, and she rejected the notion that Durkin committed suicide. Themilitary has not answered the family's questions about her death, she added.

Publicly, the military will only say her death is under investigation.

Canavan said Durkin was openly gay, but she did not believe that hadanything to do with her death.

Bay State political leaders are also demanding answers from the U.S.military's top brass.



Israel's Toy Soldiers

Posted on Oct 1, 2007
By Chris Hedges

If you are a young Muslim American and head off to the Middle East for aspell in a fundamentalist "madrassa," or religious school, Homeland Securitywill probably greet you at the airport when you return. But if you are anAmerican Jew and you join hundreds of teenagers from Europe and Mexico foran eight-week training course run by the Israel Defense Forces, you can postyour picture wearing an Israeli army uniform and holding an automatic weaponon MySpace.

The Marva program, part summer camp part indoctrination, was launched inIsrael in 1981. It allows participants, who must be Jewish and between theages of 18 and 28, to fire weapons, live in military barracks in the Negevdesert and saunter around in an Israeli military uniform saluting and takinglong hikes with military packs. The Youth and Education Corps of the IsraelDefense Forces run four 120-strong training sessions a year.

"Upon arrival, the participants experience an abrupt change into army life:wearing uniforms, accepting army discipline, and learning the programs andlessons integral to the program," the Let Israelis Show You Israel Web sitereads. "The program includes military content such as: navigation, fieldtraining, weapons training, shooting ranges, marches and more, as well aseducational content such as: Zionism, Jewish Identity, history and knowledgeof the land of Israel. All of this is taught in Hebrew in an intensiveeight weeks."



Catholic Neocons on the run?

Neocon Catholic leaders nurtured by GOP and Conservative Philanthropyon their heels

In the 2004 presidential election cycle, Catholics, whose vote wasconsidered open to both parties, were carefully courted by the Republicans.GOP organizers -- accompanied by their neoconservative Catholic brethren --brought the "traditional family values" mantra to the table, highlightingsupposed agreement between Catholics and conservative evangelical Christianson two major issues -- abortion and same-sex marriage.

In the actual election, Republican George W. Bush wound up receiving52 percent of the Catholic vote, up from 47 percent in 2000, to John Kerry's47 percent.

In 2006, however, Catholics, who compose a 67 million-person slice ofthe electorate, favored Democrats by 55 percent to 45 percent, according toNational Election Pool exit polls.

It was clear that some Catholic voters had migrated back to theDemocratic Party. Was it a temporary move or were they heading home for thelong term?

GOP builds Catholic leaders and institutions
Jeff Diamant of Religion News Service reported that "Catholic votingpatterns varied by state, but the overall shift helped Democrats in severalbig states like Pennsylvania and Ohio, according to John Green, a seniorfellow at Washington's Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life."



Are Clinton, Obama, Edwards All The Same?

The Nation: Despite What Fans Say, Differences Between Top Three Dems Aren'tClear

(The Nation) This column was written by Katha Pollitt.

The other night I got an irate e-mail from an old acquaintance on the left.He was furious because I'd quipped in an interview that if people didn'tstop making sexist comments about Hillary Clinton, I might just have to votefor her. Maybe he missed the ironic conditional: He thought I supported her.He went on to excoriate Clinton: she is militaristic and ultranationalistic;she would carry on Bush's policy of a long-term occupation of Iraq, defineforeign policy around the "war on terror," support the hard-liners in Israeland promote the centrist-Democratic, left-smashing ideology of the DLC. Weneed to rebuild the left, he concluded, and that's why he wassupporting...Barack Obama.

If you get your news from the progressive media, especially the Web, youwould think large fields of ideological difference separate Clinton, Obamaand Edwards. I haven't decided who I'm voting for. I would love to see aDemocratic woman president; I'm not ashamed to say that. I'd love to see aDemocratic black president too. But obviously - I shouldn't have to saythis - what matters is what the candidates stand for and to whom they'll bebeholden if elected. My problem is the three don't look so far apart to me -certainly not enough to justify demonizing one and canonizing another, as myleft-wing correspondent does.



Romney increases overtures to disenchanted evangelicals

By Michael Kranish, Globe Staff | October 5, 2007

WASHINGTON - Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has stepped up hisefforts to woo evangelicals in response to the threat by some Christianconservative leaders to back a third-party candidate.

The third-party threat grew yesterday after a key evangelical leader, JamesDobson, said that he and other social conservatives had agreed to support a"minor party" candidate if the Republicans choose a presidential nominee whois not conservative enough.

Dobson's statement is viewed as significant in the Romney campaign becauseDobson has ruled out supporting GOP candidates John McCain, Rudy Giuliani,and Fred Thompson, but has left open the possibility of supporting Romney.

"Dr. Dobson is keeping an open mind on Mitt Romney, and I think that isbecause they do share in common so many values," Romney spokesman EricFehrnstrom said yesterday.

Dobson, the leader of the high-profile Focus on the Family, whose radioprogram has 1.5 million listeners, did not respond to a request for commentyesterday.

Romney has sought for more than a year to convince evangelicals that theyshould support him despite their concerns about his Mormon faith, which manyevan gelicals see as a non-Christian religion, and his past support forabortion rights and some forms of gay rights.


The New York Times

October 6, 2007
News Analysis

A Battle Foreshadowing a Larger Health Care War


WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 - The debate now raging here over the children's healthinsurance program offers a cautionary lesson to Democrats running forpresident. It shows how hard it will be to persuade many Republicans to signon to their vision of universal coverage.

If Democrats and Republicans had so much difficulty agreeing on a plan tocover 10 million children, most of them from low-income families, how canthey ever agree on legislation to guarantee insurance for 250 million or 300million people?

Many of the questions that provoked fierce argument in the battle over thechild health bill would be even more divisive in a debate over universalcoverage: Should the government subsidize insurance for middle-incomepeople? How much government involvement is too much? How much should thegovernment spend, and who should foot the bill?



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