Saturday, November 17, 2007

GLBT DIGEST November 17, 2007

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


Marriage is about love, not gender

By William Butte
November 16, 2007

Like most politicians, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sayswhat he thinks people will buy.

When Romney ran against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate in 1994, he toldMassachusetts' gay Republicans he'd be a stronger advocate for gay rightsthan the senator, and a voice in the Republican Party to fosteranti-discrimination efforts.

Now that he's running to become president, Romney is saying what he thinkswill attract his party's core Christian conservative "values voters."Cultivating his conservative bona fides to distract from his previouslygay-friendly position, the candidate who once said he'd be a voice for gaysto foster anti-discrimination efforts now says he favors amending the U.S.Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

To that end, while at Nova Southeastern University during a recent campaignstop in Fort Lauderdale, Romney reiterated his support for such aconstitutional amendment by claiming same-sex marriages threaten "thefamily."

But is that true?

An anti-gay organization is seeking enough valid signatures in Florida toplace a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages - alreadyforbidden by state law - on Florida's ballots next November. So Romney'sreason for his disapproval of gays marrying prompts two relevant questions:Do same-sex marriages threaten "the family"? Or, would same-sex marriagesand equal rights for gays actually strengthen all families, gay and straightalike?

To answer the first question, one need only look at Romney's home state ofMassachusetts, where the number of married same-sex couples continues togrow while the state continues to have the lowest divorce rate in thenation.

Yet with nearly 10,000 married same-sex couples as neighbors, Romney stillhasn't explained exactly how his own marriage is threatened.

Instead, those opposed to gays marrying have said that marriage is importantto the welfare of children.

This reply disregards more than 415,000 children under the age of 18 wholive with same-sex couples, as estimated from 2000 Census figures (thoughthe figure could be much higher, as data from the American Community Surveyof 2005 found 30 percent more same-sex couples than identified in 2000).

So, if the main opposition to gays marrying centers on the welfare ofchildren, what about the welfare of several hundred thousand children livingwith gay parents who are denied the right to marry?

About half of all marriages end up in divorce court for myriad reasons, suchas money, infidelity, poor communication, lack of commitment, sexualproblems, and emotional, physical or sexual abuse. But has anyone heard of astraight couple ending their marriage because the gay couple next door ismarried?

There is something else, though, that helps to destabilize marriage andfamilies: the "I am not gay" spouse.

Though not limited to Republicans and social conservatives, "I am not gay"spouses include those who've preached and/or voted against gay rights, suchas ex-minister Ted Haggard, Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, and Rep. Bob Allen ofFlorida.

Perhaps desiring to escape what these men and others have helped perpetuate,from employment discrimination to social bias against gays, an estimated 20percent of gay men and 40 percent of lesbians marry a straight spouse,according to the Family Equality Council, a national advocacy group.Meanwhile, The Straight Spouse Network, an organization for straight spousesin mixed orientation marriages, estimates there are more than 2 million (andpossibly as many as 4 million) mixed orientation marriages, and only 7percent of such marriages survive long-term once the gay spouse has comeout.

Undoubtedly far fewer gays would feel the need to appear straight bymarrying a straight spouse if they didn't fear job loss and other forms ofdiscrimination. So, equal rights for gays including the right to marry wouldalso benefit millions of heterosexuals in their effort to find suitablespouses and have stable families.

Marriage should be about love. Yet Romney and Florida's social conservativesopposed to gays marrying are instead selling fear. Don't buy it.

William Butte is a commentator on issues affecting the GLBT community. Hiscolumn appears the third Friday of each month. E-mail him


GLAAD's "The Best and Worst of National News" November 2007

The Best

1) San Francisco Chronicle Emphasizes the Diverse Backgrounds of Gay andLesbian Families

The media often neglects to showcase the different backgrounds of same-sexfamilies. But San Francisco Chronicle reporter Tyche Hendricks educatedreaders about the economic and racial diversity of these families in theOct. 31 article "Same-Sex Couples Raising Children Less Likely to be White,Wealthy." Hendricks' article challenged the misconception that most gay andlesbian parents are affluent and white. Referencing new findings by Bay AreaLGBT organizations, Hendricks revealed that in California couples of colorare more likely to be raising children than white couples and that same-sexparents' median household income is 17 percent lower than that ofheterosexual married couples with children. Beyond providing thisthought-provoking information, Hendricks included the moving stories ofAfrican-American and Palestinian parents struggling against anti-gayattitudes and public policies while overall finding increasing acceptance inthe Bay Area.

Same-sex couples raising children less likely to be white, wealthy

GLAAD strongly encourages you to contact Tyche Hendricks and the SanFrancisco Chronicle to thank them for spotlighting the rich diversity ofLGBT families.


2) Good Morning America Highlights Transgender Actress Candis Cayne

Media coverage of the transgender community can often be marred bysensationalism and misunderstanding. Refreshingly, ABC's Good MorningAmerica presented an exceptionally rich and sensitive story abouttransgender actress Candis Cayne on Nov. 13. Cayne, who plays a transgendercharacter on the ABC series Dirty Sexy Money, spoke with anchor RobinRoberts and explained the unconditional love of her family and the struggleto succeed as an actress. Additionally, the story featured touchinginterviews with Cayne's supportive twin brother and with her fiancé. "I amliving breathing testament to the fact that nothing, and I mean nothing, isimpossible," said Cayne.


GLAAD strongly encourages you to contact Good Morning America and thank itsstaff for their moving story about Candis Cayne.


3) The New York Times Sheds Needed Light on Lives of Gay Muslims in America

Because it is all too rare to learn about the lives of gay MuslimsAmericans, it is essential to read the instructive and troubling Nov. 7 NewYork Times story "Gay Muslims Find Freedom, Of a Sort, in the U.S."Engagingly written by Neil MacFarquhar, the article discussed the problem ofentrenched homophobia in the Muslim faith as well as the efforts of gayMuslim Americans to reread Koranic verses in a more accepting light.MacFarquhar educated readers about the history of the Koran's text regardingsexual orientation and about the ongoing violent repression of LGBT peoplein many Muslim nations. The article closes with the ambivalent story of aMuslim American man still trying to reconcile his faith and his sexualorientation. "...I don't want to live in a double standard, I don't want togo through life unhappy," the man said.

Gay Muslims Find Freedom, of a Sort, in the U.S.

GLAAD encourages you to contact The New York Times and thank NeilMacFarquhar for shedding light on the struggles faced by gay Muslims inAmerica.


The Worst:

1) Bill O'Reilly Supports Inequality for LGBT Youth

Many young gay people struggle with themselves and with their loved ones asthey come to accept their sexual orientation. Their struggles are only mademore difficult by media messages that tell them to accept a double standardin which the relationships of heterosexual couples are celebrated andhighlighted while those of same-sex couples are frowned on and hidden. BillO'Reilly voiced this harmful sentiment on the Nov. 7 edition of Fox News'The O'Reilly Factor. During the show, O'Reilly criticized the decision of anIllinois high school to allow a lesbian couple to be named the "cutestcouple" in their yearbook. Debating with Dr. Laura Berman about theappropriateness of the couple's inclusion, O'Reilly supported this doublestandard. When Dr. Berman asked O'Reilly if he would be okay with aheterosexual couple being named "cutest couple," he replied, "I would be,because that is the norm of society." While O'Reilly later said that hedoesn't support the bullying of gay students, his support for inequality inschools contributes to the climate of intolerance that LGBT youth continueto face.

READ TRANSCRIPT:,2933,309578,00.html

GLAAD strongly encourages you to let Bill O'Reilly know your views about hissupport of prejudice against LGBT youth.


2) The New York Post Continues to Defame the Transgender Community

On Oct. 5, New York Post Page Six editor Richard Johnson apologized in printafter GLAAD condemned his column for cruelly referring to transgenderreality show star Miriam of There's Something About Miriam as a "she-male."Despite Johnson's recognition of the harm caused by his words, Page Sixagain used degrading language to describe the transgender community. On Oct.29, the Post published a Page Six item about the legal troubles facingbillionaire Jeffrey Epstein. The item offensively referred to a transgenderwoman who is suing Epstein as a "he/she." The Post's unabashed ongoingdefamation reveals that dehumanizing slurs against the LGBT community remaina deeply ingrained part of the tabloid's culture.


GLAAD strongly encourages you to write the New York Post with your viewsabout its defamatory coverage of the LGBT community.


The Guardian - UK

'Try not to act gay'

Sally Howard
November 16, 2007 8:00 AM

In an asylum system based on institutionalised stonewalling, there's littlehope for human rights - regardless of what the law says.

Eight years ago, a landmark ruling by the House of Lords in two appeal cases(Regina v Shah and Islam v Secretary of State for the Home Department)signalled an important change in Britain's interpretation of asylum law.

Not that you'd have been aware of it. Even those members of the press whonormally swoop on any apparent softening of the asylum system failed toscent its import. The ruling allowed that women fleeing domestic violence inPakistan could be granted asylum on the basis of belonging to a "particularsocial group" for the purposes of asylum law. By extension, members of otherpersecuted "social groups" could theoretically now pursue asylum in the UK.

In practice, ignorance of the implications of this ruling amongst asylumseekers (and the solicitors representing them) conspired to deaden theruling's impact ... with one notable exception. The UK's gay human rightsmovement picked up on its potential to help gay men and lesbians fleeingpersecution in Africa, Jamaica, the Middle East and elsewhere.

In the course of an investigation for GT magazine (my report is in theDecember issue), I spent an afternoon in London with a group of gay andlesbian asylum seekers. The forum was hosted by the UK Gay and LesbianImmigration Group (UKLGIG), a small organisation that works for access togay and lesbian asylum seekers in detention centres and - for the few itsucceeds in reaching before the two-week fast-track processing system spitsthem out undigested - tries to secure effective legal representation.

more . . . . .


From Gays Without Borders

Milan, November 16, 2007

President Ahmadinejad and the Iranian judges have granted a pardon tothe young homosexual Makvan Mouloodzadeh

The petition for the life of Makvan and the "Flowers for Life inIran Campaign" - promoted by Gruppo EveryOne and backed by Irqo, theInternational Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and AmnestyInternational - have obtained a memorable result. "A sensationalvictory for human rights", say Malini Pegoraro, Picciau (GruppoEveryOne) and Paula Ettelbrick of the International Gay and LesbianHuman Rights Commission. The Iranian judge who annulled the deathsentence defined the previous sentence "a violation of Islamicprecepts and human ethics".

On November 2nd, 2007, Gruppo EveryOne promoted throughout the world,through websites, networks and the printed press the "Flowers forLife in Iran" campaign": . .It entailed a petition for the life of Makvan Mouloodzadeh, a 21-year-old gay Iranian boy accused of the crime known as "Lavat" (sodomy) byIslamic criminal law and sentenced to death. The boy is alleged tohave committed the "crime" when he was only 13 years old.With the collaboration of Arsham Parsi - a member both of GruppoEveryOne and the IRQO association for GLBT rights in Iran - theactivists of Gruppo EveryOne, Roberto Malini, Matteo Pegoraro, DarioPicciau, Glenys Robinson and Ahmad Rafat prepared a dossier on thecase of the young man condemned to death. A campaign was initiated tosave Makvan's life and protest against the executions in Iran. A newform of protest already experimented successfully in the campaignagainst the deportation to Iran of the lesbian woman Pegah Emambakhsh.

The campaign, in fact, invited people from all over the world to signthe petition, and at the same time send President Ahmadinejad, a redrose and a white rose through international floral delivery serviceswith a message attached to them: "The white rose symbolises therespect for the human rights of the young homosexual Makvan, and allthe dissidents, women, free thinkers and homosexuals sentenced todeath as "enemies of Allah"; the red rose is to say no to the bloodof innocent victims shed on the scaffolds prepared for capitalpunishment". The Flowers Campaign has obtained considerable favour inall the countries of the free world.



From Gays Without Borders


Hi everyone!

Great news from Nicaragua - the Legislative Assembly just passed anew version of the penal code without the sodomy prohibition; in otherwords, they've just decriminalized sodomy in Nicaragua!! The newpenal code should come into effect in March next year. Here's onereport in English about the reform:

So well-done to everyone who organized protests, visited theNicaraguan ambassadors and sent letters over these last two years.We'll never know how much effect all these campaigns actually had, butat least the final result is what we wanted; another domino down inthe long campaign to decriminalize sodomy around the world.

This also means that Latin America is now pretty much free of sodomylaws, although it seems there are still some dormant sodomy laws onthe books in a couple of Latin American countries as far as we cantell.

The one disappointing element in all this is that, despite the victoryfor LGBT rights, the new Nicaraguan Penal Code maintains a total banon abortion.

Well, it's a great joy to deliver good news for once! Congratulationsagain to everyone for a sustained, timely and ultimately effectivecampaign. I think champagne could be in order!

Tony Pitman
Amnesty International Mexico


The New York Times

Army Desertion Rate Up 80 Pct. Since '03

November 17, 2007
Filed at 5:33 a.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting theirposts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters thisyear showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in2003.

While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War,when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past fouryears and a 42 percent jump since last year.

''We're asking a lot of soldiers these days,'' said Roy Wallace, director ofplans and resources for Army personnel. ''They're humans. They have allsorts of issues back home and other places like that. So, I'm sure it has todo with the stress of being a soldier.''

The Army defines a deserter as someone who has been absent without leave forlonger than 30 days. The soldier is then discharged as a deserter.

According to the Army, about nine in every 1,000 soldiers deserted in fiscalyear 2007, which ended Sept. 30, compared to nearly seven per 1,000 a yearearlier. Overall, 4,698 soldiers deserted this year, compared to 3,301 lastyear.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Atty: Woman Wasn't Told Donor Was a Risk

November 16, 2007
Filed at 7:55 p.m. ET

CHICAGO (AP) -- A woman in her 30s who is one of the four organ transplantpatients infected with HIV and hepatitis was not told that the infecteddonor was high risk, and had previously rejected another donor ''because ofhis lifestyle,'' her attorney said.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio filed a petition Thursday in Cook County CircuitCourt on behalf of the woman, asking officials to keep a hospital and anorgan procurement center from destroying or altering any records involvingthe donation.

''She's really a mess right now,'' Demetrio said of the Chicago-area woman.''She's still in shock.''

The patient, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, received a kidneytransplant at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Jan. 9, Demetriosaid.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network in Elmhurst and the University ofChicago both knew the kidney donor was high-risk and did not inform thepatient, Demetrio said.

more . . . . .


Federal Gay Hate Crime Bill Reportedly In Trouble

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) How to proceed with the Matthew Shepard Act, which would addsexuality to the list of categories covered under federal hate crime law, isroiling Democrats and could end up dying at the end of the session inJanuary.

The legislation passed the House in May and the White House threatened toveto it. (story)

In an effort to get around a veto the Senate version tied the measure to the2008 defense authorization bill. It passed in September (story) and thenwent to conference where the two versions of the bill needed to beharmonized for a final vote.

Since then the bill has been tied up with House fears that Democrats couldnot muster enough votes to pass the military bill with the Shepard Actattached to it.

The Congressional newspaper The Hill reported Friday that the negotiationswill likely drag on into December.

One of the possibilities would be to separate the Shepard Act from theDefense bill, leaving it as a standalone measure.

"This is a strategic question, not a tactical question," Rep. NeilAbercrombie (D-Hawaii) one of the conferees tells The Hill.



Pennsylvania Court Tosses Gay Hate Law

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell has urged thelegislature to immediately approve "appropriate legislation" reinstating thestate's hate crime protections for gays after the Commonwealth Court in asplit decision ruled the measure illegal on a technicality.

In a 4-1 ruling the court said that the law, passed in 2002, was invalidbecause it had been tacked onto another nonrelated bill.

"It's important to note that the Commonwealth Court's decision was based ona procedural issue and not on the substance of the amendment," Rendell said."It's also important to note that this legal challenge was mounted byindividuals who themselves may benefit from the law's protections forreligious minorities."

The challenge to the law had come from a conservative Christian group,Repent America.

In 2004, 11 members of the organization where arrested during a protest atthe city's gay pride celebration.

more . . . . .


Singapore Lifts Ban On Xbox Game With Lesbian Scene

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 3:00 pm ET

(Singapore) Singapore's Censor Board on Friday reversed itself and said itwould allow the sale of a new Xbox video game that contains a scene showinga woman and a female alien kissing.

Thursday the board issued a ban on the sale of Microsoft's "Mass Effect", afuturistic space adventure due for worldwide release later this month,calling the scene "immoral." (story)

Late Friday The Straits Times newspaper reported that the board had decidedto allow the sale while it completes work on a new rating system for videogames. The new system is to be unveiled in January.

In one scene in the game the two female characters kiss and caress. Thesequence ends with the alien character saying, "By the gods, that wasincredible, commander."

The reversal of the ban has done little to allay the concerns of the citystate's LGBT community. Spokespersons say they are waiting to see detailsof the new rating system.

The community is wary of board and the government in general following aseries of incidents this year.

Last month Parliament maintained the criminalization of sodomy between twopeople of the same-sex while repealing a similar law for opposite-sex sexualcontact. (story)

Under the law anyone engaging in same-sex sodomy could face two years inprison, although police say no one has been charged in recent times.

In August Singapore banned gay events held in public parks. The move came asgays were attempting to celebrate LGBT pride. (story)

Police lifted a permit to hold a picnic and fun run at a park sayingpolitics were not welcome in green spaces.



No Jail Time For Fla. Republican Caught In Bathroom Gay Sex Sting

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 1:00 pm ET

(Tampa, Florida) State Rep. Bob Allen (R) convicted of offering anundercover male police officer cash for sex was spared a jail sentenceFriday but must pay a fine, fees take an HIV-safe sex course, and stay outof the park where he was busted.

Allen was convicted last week of lewd conduct and soliciting. (story)

He could have been sentenced to 60 days in the county jail and a $500. fine.

In court Friday Allen pleaded for clemency.

"Over the last 120 days, you have been aware of the degree of publichumiliation this charge has brought ... As I stand before you, I can saythe totality of it all has been tremendous," Allen told Brevard County CourtJudge Oscar Hotusing.

Hotusing sentenced Allen to serve six months of probation. He must pay a$250 fine, court costs and $245 restitution to Titusville Police Department.

Allen also was ordered to undergo testing for HIV and other STDs, complete aclass in HIV awareness class and to stay away from the park where he wasarrested.

By avoiding jail time Allen, if he completes the requirements laid down byHotusing, could have his criminal record expunged.

Allen's troubles are not over yet though. Republicans in the statelegislature said they move forward with plans to remove Allen from office.

Allen was busted in July during a sting at a men's washroom at Veteran'sMemorial Park in Titusville, Florida.

In taped statements made by Allen to police following his arrest andreleased by the force Allen admits to soliciting the male officer but claimsthat it was the result of being nervous by the high number of black men inthe park.

"I certainly wasn't there to have sex with anybody and certainly wasn'tthere to exchange money for it," Allen told officers.

Of the arresting officer Allen said in the tape, "This was a pretty stockyblack guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park."

He claimed he feared he "was about to be a statistic" would have saidanything just to get away.

But on the tape Allen also admits warning the undercover cop that"undercover cops" were in the area and the man should be careful.

"I said they're around here, you ought to know about that."

He only realized he was talking to an officer when he flashed his badge.

The arresting officer's handwritten report on the arrest also was releasedby the force.

Titusville Officer Danny Kavanaugh who was on plainclothes duty says heobserved Allen entering the washroom twice. Kavanaugh said he was drying hishands in a stall when Allen peered over the stall door.

The officer's report said that after peering over the stall a second time,Allen pushed open the door and joined Kavanaugh inside. Allen muttered"'hi,'v" and then said, "'this is kind of a public place, isn't it,'" thereport said.

Kavanaugh wrote that he asked Allen about going somewhere else and Allensuggested going "across the bridge, it's quieter over there."

"Well look, man, I'm trying to make some money; you think you can hook me upwith 20 bucks?" Kavanaugh wrote in the report that he had asked Allen.

The Republican lawmaker, the report said, replied, "Sure, I can do that, butthis place is too public."

According to Kavanaugh's statement, the officer said, "do you want just(oral sex)?" and Allen replied, "I was thinking you would want one."

It was at that point Allen was arrested.

Ironically, Allen was the Police Union's 2007 Lawmaker of the Year.

In the last session of the Florida legislature he sponsored a failed billthat would have tightened the state's prohibition on public sex. He also hasbeen a supporter of amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriageand has opposed a bill to curb bullying of gay students.

Allen's arrest came only weeks before news came out of US Sen. Larry Craig'sarrest in a gay sex sting at the Minneapolis airport. Craig has insisted heis not gay, entered a guilty plea under duress and is attempting to get hisplea quashed.


Federal Suit Accuses Police Of Brutality Against Gay Chicago Area Man

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) A 47-year old gay man has filed a federal civil rightslawsuit against the Markham, Illinois Police Force alleging officers burstinto his home, physically abused him and made repeated gay slurs againsthim.

Armed with a search warrant for drugs police smashed through the door ofFrankie Brown's home in suburban Markham on May 31, handcuffed Brown tochair in the front doorway and in full view of neighbors, and continuallyberated him for being gay, the lawsuit claims.

Police also told neighbors that Brown is HIV-positive, something that Brownhad wanted to keep quiet.

"All my neighbors were standing around," Brown told CBS News in Chicago."They kept asking, 'why you all doin' him like this?"

The lawsuit alleges that police told neighbors that they needed to know whothey were living next to.

As the search warrant was being executed police called Brown a number ofhomophobic names. When a teenage male nephew who lives with Brown and isBrown's legal ward, arrived at the home police accused Brown of having sexwith the youth.

Brown sat handcuffed to the chair for more than two hours as policeransacked his home looking for drugs. No drugs were ever found and Brownhas no prior record for drugs.

Still, according to the lawsuit, he was taken to jail and held for 17 hourseven though no charges were ever laid.

"I'll sleep better tonight knowing there is one less fag on the street," onepolice officer allegedly said as Brown was led away.

Neighbor Jeffrey Nowden who went to the front of Brown's home when he heardthe commotion backs up Brown's allegations against the police.

"They was making all kinds of homosexual innuendoes and jokes about him,"Nowden told CBS.

"They had a picture of his family up there and they were making all kind ofremarks. It was just sad."


Groups: Proposed Rule Changes Would Restrict Travel For PWAs

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 7:30 am ET

(Washington) New regulations that the Department of Homeland Security sayswill make it easier for people with HIV/AIDS to enter the country wouldactually make it more difficult two groups that advocate for PWAs say.

Under current immigration law, any foreign national who tests positive forHIV is "inadmissible," meaning he is barred from permanent residence andeven short term travel in the United States. There are waivers available tothis rule, but obtaining them has always been difficult.

On World AIDS Day last year, President Bush announced his intention tocreate a streamlined process for foreign travelers with HIV to enter theUnited States more easily.

Currently the United States is one of only 13 countries in the world,including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, which ban travel for individualswho are HIV-positive.

Now, almost a year later, DHS has proposed "streamlined" regulations whichwould make it even harder to get a short-term waiver, Immigration Equalityand the Gay Men's Health Crisis say in a joint statement.

"Unfortunately, despite using the terms 'streamlined' and 'categorical,' inreality these regulations are neither," said Victoria Neilson, LegalDirector of Immigration Equality.

Under the new rules, a visitor would need to travel with all the medicationhe would need during his stay in the U.S., prove that he has medicalinsurance that is accepted in the U.S. and would cover any medicalcontingency, and prove that he won't engage in behavior that might put theAmerican public at risk. The maximum term of the waiver would be 30 days.

"More than two decades into this epidemic, the United States continues tostigmatize people with HIV and treat this illness unlike any other virus,"said Neilson.

"Creating insurmountable hurdles to travel does nothing to protect theAmerican public from HIV."

The new regulations purport to speed up the waiver application processbecause consular officers would be empowered to make decisions on waiverapplications without seeking DHS sign off.

But the two advocacy groups say that by using this "streamlined" applicationprocess, waiver applicants would have to agree to give up the ability toapply for any change in status while in the U.S., including applying forlegal permanent residence.

"As written, the rule could leave individuals with HIV who obtain asylum inthe U.S. in a permanent limbo; forever barred from obtaining legal permanentresidence, and therefore cut-off from services, benefits, and employmentopportunities," said Nancy Ordover, Assistant Director of Research andFederal Affairs for Gay Men's Health Crisis.

"It seems very disingenuous that the government is claiming to make thingseasier for people with HIV, but it's really compelling them to forfeit theirrights."

The proposed regulations are subject to a 30 day comment period endingDecember 6, 2007 before DHS will issue a final rule.


Feds Enter HIV Transplant Probe

by The Associated Press
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 9:00 am ET

(Chicago, Illinois) Federal officials are investigating what three hospitalsknew and told four organ transplant patients about a high-risk donor whoinfected them with HIV and hepatitis.

The investigation's new phase involves the federal Centers for Medicare andMedicaid Services, which oversees organ procurement programs and hospitalsnationwide.

The stakes are high: If the agency finds any mishandling and the hospitalsdon't comply with any demands for corrective action, the hospitals couldface penalties. The worst would be being ousted from Medicare participation,meaning a loss of crucial federal revenue.

The case disclosed this week is the first known instance of HIV transmissionthrough organ transplants since 1986, and the first time HIV and hepatitishave been spread simultaneously from one donor to transplant recipients,public health officials say.



Another Actor, Another Gay Slur, Another Apology

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 16, 2007 - 11:00 am ET

(Los Angeles, California) Ocean's Eleven star Scott Caan has issued anapology after video of him lashing out at paparazzi with a gay slur wasposted on a celebrity gossip site.

A bevy of photographers had converged on the actor as he ate at a LosAngeles restaurant. On leaving the restaurant, Caan was video tapedexchanging words with the photographers, saying he would give them money tofight him. As Caan got into his car to leave he shouted, "Get a real job,you faggot."

The tape was posted to the celebrity website The remarks wereimmediately denounced by the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

"While Caan's anger at being harassed is understandable, responding withthat kind of vulgar, anti-gay slur is simply unacceptable," said GLAADPresident Neil G. Giuliano.

"I am sorry for using such a derogatory word. I was being harassed by apaparazzi and, unfortunately, the word slipped out. I don't ever condone theuse of that word and I deeply apologize to anyone whom I may have offended,"Caan said in a statement from his publicist to TMZ.



Dems Reportedly May Use Tactic To Thwart Bush Recess Appointment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Senate Democrats are reportedly considering a proceduralmaneuver to prevent President Bush from using using Congress's recess toskirt a vote on James Holsinger to be Surgeon General.

Bush has used recesses appointments in the past to put nominees in placewhen they faced opposition in the Senate. Most notable was that of JudgeWilliam H. Pryor to the eleventh Circuit in 2005.

Democrats who were in the minority at the time balked at Pryor overhomophobic and racist rulings and had tied up a vote on his nomination.

Holsinger's nomination also has been tied up also over homophobic writings.Now in the majority Democrats fear the President could use the Thanksgivingrecess to bypass the Senate and appoint Holsigner.

Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isconsidering technically cancelling the recess.

According to the report Reid is mulling a "pro forma" session.

In essence it would mean several members of the Senate would show up on thefloor every three days keeping the Senate session alive.

With no recess Bush would not be able to make a recess appointment.

During Senate health committee hearings on Holsinger's nomination committeechair Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), said he was worried that if confirmed,Holsinger would let his own ideological beliefs cloud his scientificjudgment. He referred to the paper that Holsinger wrote on homosexuality fora study committee of the United Methodist Church. (story)

Holsinger, an MD and professor at the University of Kentucky, is a formerhead of Health and Family Services in Kentucky. In addition to his medicaldegree he holds an MA in biblical studies from Asbury Theological Seminaryand is one of nine members of the United Methodist Church Judicial Council.

As a member of the council he opposed a decision to allow a lesbian to be anassociate pastor, and supported a pastor who would not permit an openly gayman to join the church.

In a document titled "Pathophysiology of Male Homosexuality," Holsingerstated that in his capacity as a physician biology and anatomy precludedconsidering LGBT equality in the United Methodist Church. In the document hetook lengths to say that his opinion was his scientific view and that histheological views are separate.

Holsinger and his wife were founders of Hope Springs Community Church, inLexington, which operates a so-called "ex-gay" ministry.

Both the American Psychiatric Association and the American PsychologicalAssociation have condemned so-called conversion therapy.

Holsinger this week resigned from the board of the Asbury TheologicalSeminary.

His appointment is opposed by the Human Rights Campaign, Truth Wins Out andother LGBT rights groups.

Bush also is said to be considering a number of other recess appointments.I

Reid has declined to comment on the Roll Call report.


College Students Rally After Homophobic Attack

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Amherst, Massachusetts) Amherst College students are rallying in support ofa group of students from nearby Hampshire College who were verbally andphysically assaulted as they tried to leave a party at Amherst last weekend.

The two schools are part of a consortium of five area schools that allowstudents to use each other's facilities.

Carrying signs proclaiming "We're Sorry Hampshire" the students collectedsignatures on a banner that said "Please Come Back".

The demonstration of support was organized by Amherst Pride Alliance.

Among those joining the students was Amherst College Dean of StudentsBenjamin Lieber.

Lieber said he was "expressing my own personal anger at what's said to havehappened."



Dems Reportedly May Use Tactic To Thwart Bush Recess Appointment

by Newscenter Staff
Posted: November 15, 2007 - 5:00 pm ET

(Washington) Senate Democrats are reportedly considering a proceduralmaneuver to prevent President Bush from using using Congress's recess toskirt a vote on James Holsinger to be Surgeon General.

Bush has used recesses appointments in the past to put nominees in placewhen they faced opposition in the Senate. Most notable was that of JudgeWilliam H. Pryor to the eleventh Circuit in 2005.

Democrats who were in the minority at the time balked at Pryor overhomophobic and racist rulings and had tied up a vote on his nomination.

Holsinger's nomination also has been tied up also over homophobic writings.Now in the majority Democrats fear the President could use the Thanksgivingrecess to bypass the Senate and appoint Holsigner.

Roll Call reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) isconsidering technically cancelling the recess.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Iowa Poll: Tight Democratic Race, Huckabee Gains Among GOP


The latest Iowa poll for Democrats shows a continued three-way race for thestate's January 3 precinct caucuses. Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have beenbunched together at the top of most Iowa polls for the past six months.Richardson was the only other Democratic candidate to receive more than 5%support.

The Republican race indicates Romney remains in the lead, ahead of Huckabeeand Giuliani. Huckabee's standing is far stronger than in polls from thesummer, which showed him with about 2% support.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 27%
Barack Obama, 25%
John Edwards, 21%
Bill Richardson, 10%

Mitt Romney, 27%
Mike Huckabee, 18%
Rudy Giuliani, 16%
Fred Thompson, 10%
John McCain, 6%
Ron Paul, 5%

The Research 2000 Iowa Poll was conducted for KCCI-TV in Des Moines November12-14. The telephone poll of 400 Democrats and 400 Republicans who willlikely participate in the caucuses has a margin of sampling error of plus orminus five percentage points. (AP)


The Advocate

Going the Distance

The Advocate's new resident marathoner shares the intricacies and the joysof training for the Los Angeles Marathon (his fourth!) as an HIV positiveman.

By Shawnn Slaughter
An exclusive posted November 16, 2007
November 16, 2007

People ask me why I train for and run in marathons. My reply is, "Because Ican."

I'm Shawnn Slaughter, a 43-year-old single man and native Las Vegasresident. I am a 22 year survivor of HIV. This marathon is a testament to mysurvival and ability to bring awareness of and assistance to people livingwith HIV. That's why I do it. Because I can.

I'm a substitute teacher working mostly with emotionally challenged andautistic children -- it's a great challenge but I love my job. I am also aversatile artist. Among other talents, I have produced and recorded a soloalbum, appeared in numerous community theater and professional productions,and appeared in two long-running Las Vegas comedy reviews. Most recently Idabbled in narrative stand-up comedy in the Un-Cab Lab Show at the M-Bar inHollywood.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Boy, Interrupted

It can happen wordlessly, as in a women's restroom, where I sometimes catcha fellow patron's gaze tracking from my face to my breasts and back again,her attitude one of idle curiosity or confusion, occasionally disgust orhostility.

By Teresa Morrison
November 06, 2007
An exclusive posted November 6, 2007

For days, sometimes weeks at a time, I bask in a cozy headspace where I don't think about my gender and, more important, no one points it out to me. Whenthe reverie is broken, it is almost invariably by a stranger. It can happenwordlessly, as in a women's restroom, where I sometimes catch a fellowpatron's gaze tracking from my face to my breasts and back again, herattitude one of idle curiosity or confusion, occasionally disgust orhostility.

It can happen indirectly, as when I was once within earshot of a (gay) manwho, indicating me, hissed, "What is that supposed to be?" He happened to bespeaking to a friend of mine, who heroically replied, "She's whatever youneed her to be."

It can happen more directly, as when a clerk quite innocently calls me sir,then, noting his gaffe, showers me in pardons and sorrys, not realizing thathis apologies make me far more uncomfortable than any mistaken appellation.Confusion I can take, even hostility, but I resent this notion that howothers perceive my gender should -- or does -- matter to me.

Why are we so hysterical about this social construct called gender anyway?

more . . . . .


National Gay News

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

Gov. Spitzer said at a private fund-raiser that he wants aDemocratic-controlled state Senate to legalize gay marriage - a highlydivisive and controversial issue - as one of its first priorities in 2009, awitness to the remarks told The Post.

North Carolina: After receiving a disciplinary referral for kissing a female classmate at a football game, SouthWest Edgecombe High School student FaithSchwebel said she was singled out because of her sexual orientation.Anopenly bisexual sophomore, Schwebel acknowledged she violated EdgecombeCounty Public Schools' peer relations policy, which prohibits behavior thatis immoral, indecent, overly affectionate or of a sexual nature.

For the past seven years Thom Hubert, a.ka. Glamazonia, has served as thedrag hostess of Gay Bingo, a fundraiser for Lifelong AIDS Alliance. Seattle's Gay Bingo-the first gay bingo event in the world-has always had a draghostess.But at a meeting at Lifelong's offices today, Dave Richart, Lifelong's new ED, fired Hubert. Considering the reasons for Hubert's firing, it seemsthat drag isn't welcome at Gay Bingo anymore.

A fingerprint and DNA on two wads of chewing gum helped capture a mansuspected of murdering two gay men shot dead in 1998, six days and sixblocks apart, Miami police said Wednesday. Guillermo Valencia, 32, pictured,is charged with two counts of first-degree murder.


[Send your comments about articles to]

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST November 17, 2007

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



The most recent FISA bill being considered by the Senate has a long way togo before it upholds the Constitution and the rule of law. There has neverbeen a more important time for your senators to hear from you on two crucialprinciples regarding warrantless spying on Americans that will be consideredby the Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

Here are the two crucial principles the Senate will be considering:

a.. Telecomm immunity: The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet to discussletting phone companies that broke the law off the hook when theycapitulated to the NSA and handed over your phone and email records. Phonecompanies must be held accountable for their actions.

b.. Individual "warrants": The Senate must reject sweeping up the private information of Americans in a broad net of surveillance. Unconstitutionalsurveillance tactics, such as basket "warrants," or completely warrentlessspying, allow the government to obtain huge amounts of phone and emailrecords, potentially sweeping in huge numbers of innocent Americans who haveno connection to terrorism.

Senators must act now to ensure that any FISA bill that reaches the Senatefloor requires individual warrants when Americans are spied on, and does notlet phone companies that broke the law off the hook.

Tell your senators two things: Don't let telecom companies off the hook andinsist on individual warrants.

There is a group of Senators, led by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that havemade it clear that they are willing to stand up for the Constitution byfilibustering any bill that grants immunity to phone companies. We need yourhelp to make sure more senators join them in standing up for your privacyand the rule of law.

There will be more action coming on FISA tomorrow. Will the Senate stand onprinciple? One thing is for sure: it won't happen if they run theirproposals by the NSA like some senators are doing.

Tell your senators: Don't let telecom companies off the hook, insist onindividual warrants and filibuster any bill that doesn't measure up.

Events will be moving quickly in the days ahead. Please act now to make sureyour senators know how strongly you feel.



The New York Times

Republican Race in Iowa Still Unsettled

November 17, 2007
Filed at 5:24 a.m. ET

OSKALOOSA, Iowa (AP) -- Iowa Republicans have a recent track record ofembracing the GOP's establishment presidential candidate in their leadoffcaucuses. They've searched far and wide for a such a nominee for 2008 -- buthaven't yet found him. Less than seven weeks before the voting, theRepublican race here is unsettled.

Mitt Romney had held a double-digit lead in polls for months, but his marginis narrowing as voters begin to home in on their choices ahead of January'scontest.

''I haven't picked a candidate. I'm leaning toward Romney. I like FredThompson, too,'' Keith Campbell, 81 and a GOP loyalist, said, chewing overpolitics this week with his fellow retirees during their daily gab sessionat the Smokey Row cafe in this central Iowa town.

Across the table, Chuck Russell, 85, a former Oskaloosa mayor and a Democratpiped up as the debate turned to the pros and cons of Rudy Giuliani'scandidacy. Then he said: ''I hear Mike Huckabee's coming on.''

Chuck Barnhouse, 80 and a Republican, added another name to the mix: ''I'mprobably a John McCain supporter. But I'm very ambivalent about my politicalchoices this year.''

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Giuliani Says He'd Appoint Conservative Judges

November 16, 2007
Filed at 6:07 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani, viewedwith suspicion by some in his party for his support of abortion and gayrights, vowed on Friday to put conservatives on the Supreme Court ifelected.

Speaking to the Federalist Society, a conservative group that places a heavyemphasis on states' rights, the former New York mayor said he would modelhis nominations after Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and AntoninScalia, two of the most conservative judges on the highest U.S. court.

"We're seeking to find judges who understand the very, very importantconcept that judges exist to interpret the law, not amend the law," he toldthe group. "We believe in the rule of the law, not in the rule of judges."

"Our constitutional principles instruct us that we have to recognize thelimitations on power as a way protecting our liberty," said Giuliani, whoserved as a senior official in the Reagan administration's JusticeDepartment.

He emphasized that the next president would likely appoint some 200 judgesto federal courts. He said he would try to convince the U.S. Congress tochange its long-standing rules that allow a single U.S. senator to blockconfirmation of a judicial nominee, a practice that has been used to stymiesome of President George W. Bush's nominees.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Atty: Woman Wasn't Told Donor Was a Risk

November 16, 2007
Filed at 7:55 p.m. ET

CHICAGO (AP) -- A woman in her 30s who is one of the four organ transplantpatients infected with HIV and hepatitis was not told that the infecteddonor was high risk, and had previously rejected another donor ''because ofhis lifestyle,'' her attorney said.

Attorney Thomas Demetrio filed a petition Thursday in Cook County CircuitCourt on behalf of the woman, asking officials to keep a hospital and anorgan procurement center from destroying or altering any records involvingthe donation.

''She's really a mess right now,'' Demetrio said of the Chicago-area woman.''She's still in shock.''

The patient, identified in court documents as Jane Doe, received a kidneytransplant at the University of Chicago Medical Center on Jan. 9, Demetriosaid.

Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network in Elmhurst and the University ofChicago both knew the kidney donor was high-risk and did not inform thepatient, Demetrio said.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Election Watchdog Group Cancels Russia Mission

November 17, 2007

MOSCOW, Nov. 16 - Western election observers on Friday pulled out of amission to monitor Russia's Dec. 2 parliamentary vote, citing restrictionsimposed by the Kremlin on their work.

The cancellation by the election-monitoring arm of the 56-memberOrganization for Security and Cooperation in Europe means the electionsbeing held by President Vladimir V. Putin's government may not be seen aslegitimate by Western Europe and the United States.

The group's decision to withdraw from the monitoring mission was the firstsuch occurrence in Russia since the country undertook to hold free and fairelections and to allow access for observers to monitor them in 1990, as theSoviet Union was disintegrating. It will probably be seen as another breachbetween the government of Mr. Putin and the West.

The group, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, orO.D.I.H.R., cited what it called unacceptable Russian demands to limit themission's size, making it impossible to determine whether the elections aremarred by fraud. It also noted the failure on the part of the Russianauthorities to issue visas for its advance team, with only two weeks to gobefore the vote. The Warsaw-based group said in a statement that Russia hadso curtailed its work that it would be "unable to deliver its mandate underthese circumstances."

The observers evaluate opposition groups' freedom to assemble, campaign andgain access to news media throughout the former Soviet Union. In Russia, theOrganization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E., concludedin a statement that "the authorities of the Russian Federation remainunwilling to receive O.D.I.H.R. observers in a timely and cooperativemanner."

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Merrill to Pay Chief $50 Million, More if Stock Rises

November 17, 2007

Call him Wall Street's richest mop-up man, at least for now.

John A. Thain, the new chief executive of Merrill Lynch, can expect nearly$50 million a year as he tries to restore the firm's reputation and risk-management practices as it grapples with the subprime mortgage problems.

The pay package, largely made up of stock and options, could be worth morethan $120 million if Merrill stock rises more than $40 a share in the nexttwo years.

The compensation, detailed in a regulatory filing yesterday, will make Mr.Thain one of Wall Street's highest-paid chief executives as he steps in forE. Stanley O'Neal, who was ousted about three weeks ago.

Mr. Thain's compensation is three times what he earned over his first threeyears running the New York Stock Exchange, and it could approach the paylevel of hedge fund traders and top executives at Goldman Sachs, which Mr.Thain previously helped run.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Democrats Find Their Voice

November 17, 2007

It has been two long months since Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander inIraq, owed Congressional Democrats into silence, championing President Bush's misguided course on the war. We're pleased to see that the effects of hisbriefing are finally wearing off. The bad news, as ever, is that Mr. Bushand his Republican allies continue to resist reason.

House Democrats distinguished themselves this week when they stood up to theWhite House's latest military funding steamroller: approving only $50million of the additional $196 million the president requested for the warsin Iraq and Afghanistan. They also set conditions on the funding, includingdemands that troops start coming home from Iraq within 30 days and that thewithdrawal be completed by mid-December 2008.

Senate Democrats quickly brought the House plan to the floor. But, ever thespoilers, Republicans blocked it, as they have other attempts to rein in Mr.Bush's war-without-end in Iraq.

Predictably, the White House - which always prefers fear-mongering toserious debate - accused Democrats of undermining the troops. Even DefenseSecretary Robert Gates got into the act, threatening to direct the Army andMarine Corps to begin developing plans to lay off employees and terminatecontracts next year unless Congress approves new funding within days.

Lawmakers, regardless of party, and the American people will always standbehind the brave men and women in the armed forces. Congress has alreadyapproved some $800 billion in funding since Sept. 11, 2001, for the wars inIraq and Afghanistan. But that hardly measures the full cost in blood andtreasure. More than 800 troops have been killed in Iraq in 2007 alone,making it the deadliest year yet for the American military there.

There have been some advances since President Bush sought to salvage hismisadventure by sending even more troops into Iraq. Violence has declinedand Al Qaeda in Iraq is said to be weaker. But Mr. Bush's main argument forhis escalation - that it would create political space for Iraqis to worktogether and achieve national reconciliation - has proved wrong.

Even Mr. Bush's generals know that these gains are unlikely to last. TheWashington Post's Thomas Ricks reported this week that senior Americancommanders now see the intransigence of Iraq's Shiite-dominated governmentas the key threat facing the American effort in Iraq - rather than Al Qaedaterrorists, Sunni insurgents or Iranian-backed militias. America can't wantpeace and democracy for Iraq more than the Iraqis.

Democrats say they will continue to push the president and his Republicanallies to concede their failed war policy and change course. They must keepat it. It's far past time to begin a swift and orderly withdrawal of forcesfrom Iraq's civil war and to refocus on Afghanistan, where America's winover the Taliban and Al Qaeda is in danger of being reversed.


The New York Times

Hillary Fries the Waffle

November 17, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

It's remotely possible that some of you missed the very important and verylengthy Democratic debate this week. Perhaps you started watching it but hadto switch off during the section on trade relations when you discovered yourchildren had grown up and wanted to say goodbye before they left forcollege.

We feel your pain. For your convenience, a Democratic debate cheat sheet:

MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT "My health care policy is bigger than your health carepolicy."

Right out of the box, Wafflegate reared its ugly head. Prompted by moderatorWolf Blitzer, Barack Obama complained that Hillary Clinton refuses to give"straight answers to tough questions" and listed her now-infamouswishy-washy positions on Iran, immigration and Social Security.

What was Hillary going to say in response? Provide a new explanation for theIran vote? A paean to the virtues of political nuance? No, she whippedaround and told Obama that his health care plan "would leave 15 millionAmericans out. That's about the population of Nevada, Iowa, South Carolinaand New Hampshire."

more . . . . .


The New York Times

Being Adopted, and Being Me

By Adam Wolfington
November 16, 2007, 9:31 pm

Being adopted is different. It can be confusing to the adopted kid and toother people (especially if you are a transracial adoptee, because they spotthe difference and then want answers). So, adoption to me is black - and myfamily is white.

How is being adopted different? Well, I don't know who my birth parents are.I wonder about that. Not because it makes me sad, but because I just wonder.Well, maybe it makes me a little sad. It's kind of like a missing piece ofme. My mom told me my birth parents were not married and were very young, soif I ever wanted to track someone down it would be her - my birth mom. I'mnot sure if I want to do that or not. She was white. He was black. How muchdoes all that matter? I don't know now.

Maybe not all adoptive parents are great, but mine are - pretty much. Morethan anything else, I love to play music and my parents support me in thatall the way. I have an older brother and sister. My mom calls them"home-mades" because she and my dad are their birth parents. I am the"gourmet take-out," in her words. When people ask if she is my "real mother," she asks, "What do I look like, a hologram?" I just don't like itwhen my parents make me study and I get grounded for not doing what I amsupposed to. But I guess that's what parents who care do. Anyhow, that'swhat they tell me.

I get into trouble sometimes because too often I don't do my schoolwork.Right now I am grounded for ten days! This is a hard lesson and punishment.I am allowed to do my music and community service and go to school. And that'sall. I hate this. But I know it is my fault. And I know my parents are nothappy about it either. They say they care enough to make me do what isright. Grrrrr. It still stinks.

My first memory of realizing "I was different" was when I was inkindergarten. People looked at us (my mom, dad, sister and me) funny. Someasked questions. Some said nothing at all and just stared. I finallyunderstood they were trying to figure out our family. And I think that'swhen I began to wonder, too.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

McCain-Feingold Slipping Away?

Campaign finance reform advocates were cringing today as the FederalElection Commission released draft versions of new ground rules for anypolitical ads paid for with corporate or union money.

The commission offered two competing proposals for how this a televisioncommercial must be written if it's underwritten by corporate or unionsmoney. They are scheduled to vote on the drafts at a meeting next week.

Under either version, the ads would be permitted if they focus on a "publicpolicy issue" and don't mention the election or specifics about thecampaign, according to Loyola Law Professor Rick Hasen.

One version of the proposed FEC rule changes, Hasen said, will reopen thedoor to so-called "sham issue ads," which are essentially political attackads dressed-up to look like they were about a specific policy question. Thesecond version will do that, plus eliminate a requirement that the groupthat sponsors such an ad disclose the source of the money that funded it.

"This is very troubling," said Paul Ryan of the advocacy group the CampaignLegal Center.



The Washington Post

Pakistan's One-Man Calamity

By Nawaz Sharif
Saturday, November 17, 2007; A17

JIDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- My country is in flames. There is no constitution.Judges have been sacked on a whim and arrested, political leaders locked up,television stations taken off the air. Human rights activists, lawyers andother members of civil society are bearing the brunt of a crackdown by abrutal regime. Extremism has assumed enormous and grave proportions.

All of this is the doing of one man: Pervez Musharraf. He first struck atthe core of democracy on Oct. 12, 1999, when he dismissed my government atgunpoint. My government was chosen by the people of Pakistan in free andfair elections. But Musharraf so feared my popularity that he banished mefrom the country and won't allow me to return. After Pakistan's SupremeCourt declared this year that I have a right to return, I flew intoIslamabad in September. But Musharraf brazenly refused me admittance to myown country.

On Nov. 3, Musharraf struck again at democracy. He abrogated theconstitution and declared a state of emergency. For Musharraf, theconstitution is nothing but a piece of paper that can be crumpled anddiscarded. After the Supreme Court stood up to him early this year andattempted to restore the fundamental rights of the people, he dismissedChief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. Stung by the successful civilsociety movement that led to Chaudhry's reinstatement, Musharraf actedquickly after suspending the rule of law. The Supreme Court was consideringMusharraf's eligibility to be elected president despite being the armychief, but before the court could rule, Musharraf dismissed the entirejudiciary.

These are the wages of dictatorship. Democracy holds the key to resolvingPakistan's problems. Musharraf hopes that other nations will prefer hisdespotism to the anarchy he claims would erupt were he to leave office. Thisis a lie that America and other Western nations should not accept. Tyrannyis never a substitute for freedom, and there is no substitute for democracy.

Musharraf's self-serving contention that a free vote would result inextremists coming to power is utterly flawed and intended to frighten theWest. First, the people of

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Iraqis With Ties to U.S. Cross Border Into Despair
Contractor Employees Wait, Hope for Visas

By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, November 17, 2007; A01

AMMAN, Jordan -- At every opportunity, the Iraqis pull out photos ofthemselves side by side with U.S. soldiers, photos they feared to shareinside their country. They offer up laminated notes of appreciation fromAmerican commanders. They flash expired U.S. Embassy badges they still keepin their wallets.

Thousands of Iraqi employees of U.S. contractors, forced to flee to thiscapital out of fear, are desperately trying to leverage their American tiesinto entry to the United States. But most languish for months in abureaucratic and psychological limbo, their status as uncertain as theirfuture.

"We are here only because of our work with the Americans," said IntisarIbrahim, 53, a tall, solemn engineer who left Iraq two years ago. "They havean obligation to help us, but until now we have not seen any help."

More than four years after the U.S.-led invasion, the number of Iraqis beingresettled in the United States is expanding, although the numbers areminuscule and the pace is glacial. Only those who have worked directly forthe U.S. government or military -- a tiny percentage of the refugees -- areeligible for fast-track immigration processing. An estimated 100,000 Iraqisemployed by U.S. contractors -- from office cleaners to managers to highlyskilled professionals -- have much lower priority, although they facedsimilar dangers and underwent rigorous background checks.

In Iraq, these workers paid a price for being America's allies. They leddouble lives sheathed in lies and secrecy. Many were killed. Those fortunateenough to make it to Jordan have found that life as a refugee is precarious.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

With Strong Debate, Clinton Quiets Talk of a Slide
Spotlight Moves to Whether Rivals Can Slow Her Momentum Toward Nomination

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2007; A05

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 16 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's strong performance inThursday's Democratic debate here will blunt talk that she is on a downwardslide and shift the focus to whether Sen. Barack Obama or former senatorJohn Edwards can stop her march to the nomination, party strategists saidFriday.

"In some ways the hiccup of two weeks ago, or the misstep of two weeks ago,was good for the Clinton campaign, in that it brought the Clinton campaignback to earth and back to reality," said Democratic pollster Geoffrey Garin,referring to her rocky outing in a debate in Philadelphia late last month."It was a campaign that probably started looking to the general election alittle too early, that didn't take the voters' questions about HillaryClinton to heart enough."

Steve Elmendorf, who ran the presidential campaign in 2004 for then-Rep.Richard A. Gephardt, said Clinton's aggressiveness Thursday was a reminderto her rivals that she would not allow them to attack her indefinitelywithout responding. "She sent a very strong signal to the other candidatesthat there are no free shots here," he said. "She is ahead, and if theyattack her, she'll hit back. Everybody has vulnerabilities."

Clinton (N.Y.) won the battle of Las Vegas by aggressively turning thetables on her rivals, challenging them where they are vulnerable and forcingthem to answer questions they weren't ready to answer. She once againdemonstrated her skill as a debater -- and Obama (Ill.) showed that he isnot as strong in debates as he is in other forums.

The reactions from inside the Clinton and Obama campaigns signaled thatbetween now and Iowa, there will be an intensifying debate over who shouldlead the party. Clinton advisers were ecstatic about the performance, whichthey felt successfully shifted the story line away from the candidate'searlier problems. Gone was talk about "piling on," which had marked theirresponse to the Philadelphia debate, even though her rivals were as criticalof her Thursday night as they had been earlier.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Court Rejects Early Michigan Primary

The Associated Press
Friday, November 16, 2007; 11:40 PM

LANSING, Mich. -- A state appeals court on Friday dealt a blow to Michiganpolitical leaders' hopes of holding a presidential primary on Jan. 15.

In a 2-1 ruling, Judges Patrick Meter and Donald Owens objected that a lawrecently passed by the Legislature setting up the primary would let thestate political parties keep track of voters' names and whether they tookDemocratic or GOP primary ballots but give no public access to thatinformation.

Michigan had at one time tentatively scheduled Democratic caucuses for Feb.9, but state officials and Gov. Jennifer Granholm have tried to push up thedate to Jan. 15. If no primary is held, Republicans will make their choicesat a Jan. 25-26 party convention. Democrats also could move up theircaucuses, although no date has been set.

The weeks-long logjam involving the courts has delayed scheduling of thenation's first primary. New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner sayshe won't set the date of his state's primary until it's clear what's goingto happen with Michigan. New Hampshire law says it must go first in thenation.

A spokesman for Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox said no decision had beenreached on whether to take the case to the state Supreme Court.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Inconvenient Truth: Gore Won a Nobel, and Bush Will Host the Winners

By Peter Baker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, November 17, 2007; A03

Maybe he'll bring the slide show.

Former vice president Al Gore plans to return to the White House afterThanksgiving, apparently for the first time since leaving office, to behonored by the man who beat him seven years ago.

President Bush will host five American winners of this year's Nobel Prizesin the Oval Office on Nov. 26, including the winner of the Peace Prize, whofell 538 votes short of hosting the event himself. No word on whether theSupreme Court will be on hand to mediate in case of trouble.

The president regularly invites Nobel laureates for a handshake andphotograph and decided this year would be no different, even if they includehis vanquished rival from 2000. The Gore camp said the White House went outof its way to accommodate the former vice president's schedule, even movingthe event when there was a conflict with the first proposed date. Bushpersonally telephoned Gore yesterday to finalize the arrangements.

"The president wanted to call him and lock that in and make sure he's goingto be able to come," said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. "He alsooffered his congratulations and said he looked forward to having him here."

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Thousands Rally Against Perceived Bias in Prosecutions
Response to Hate Crimes Is Decried

By Michael E. Ruane and Hamil R. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, November 17, 2007; B03

Thousands of African American demonstrators from across the country marchedon the Justice Department yesterday in a large and emotional protest overwhat they termed the inequality of the nation's justice system.

Chanting "No Justice, No Peace!" and "No More Nooses!" the throng was largeenough to fill several blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue while simultaneouslyringing the department's fortress-like Robert F. Kennedy Justice Building at10th Street and Pennsylvania.

The demonstration was headed by the Rev. Al Sharpton, president of theNational Action Network; Martin Luther King III, son of the slain civilrights leader; and Charles Steele Jr., president of the Southern ChristianLeadership Conference.

The trio marched with arms locked, surrounded by legions of demonstratorscarrying red-green-and-black flags that whipped in the cold wind under theday's clear blue sky.

While the march was aimed at what organizers said was the department'sfailure to vigorously prosecute hate crimes, many participants expressedanger at what they perceived as widespread inequality in the administrationof justice.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

Clinton Goes After "the Boys" in Democratic Debate


Hillary Rodham Clinton showed she knows how to use the roughhouse tactics ofthe political boys club.

Two weeks after a rocky presidential debate performance where she appearedat times both defensive and evasive, the New York senator came intoThursday's Democratic forum poised, confident, and ready to rumble.

For the first time, she directly challenged the records of her top rivals,Barack Obama and John Edwards. She even chided Edwards, her fiercest criticin this debate and others, for ''throwing mud'' Republican-style.

Spectators inside the debate hall appeared to echo that criticism,repeatedly booing Edwards and occasionally Obama when they criticizedClinton.

And after days of torturous contortions on whether she supported grantingdriver's licenses for illegal immigrants, Clinton was able to stand by andwatch as Obama was tripped up on the issue this time.

more . . . . .


The Advocate

I Heart Al Gore

While listening to the former vice president discuss climate change in thebackyard of a Los Angeles estate on a chilly Friday night, Advocate deputyeditor Rachel Dowd suddenly realizes why the world is better off without AlGore as president of the United States.

By Rachel Dowd
November 09, 2007

An exclusive posted November 9, 2007

The evening of October 5, 2007, was unseasonably cold in Los Angeles,forcing the well-heeled crowd gathering in the backyard of Michael and JenaKing's Pacific Palisades home to huddle under heat lamps. Paper lanternsswung wildly from the tree branches with every gust of ocean breeze; thelights of downtown twinkled in the distance like a Christmas village inSweden. From time to time some brave soul would duck her head out from underthe fiery halo to snatch a full glass of champagne or a crab cake. That afund-raiser to benefit Oceana -- an organization dedicated to protecting theworld's oceans and marine life from, among other things, overfishing --would choose seafood as an appetizer is a discussion for another time.Nourishment staves off hypothermia.

Inside, clearly the smarter place to be, the flat-screen television abovethe mantle showed the Boston Red Sox in the early innings of their eventualwin against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- a win which would propelthe Sox to the American League Championship Series and, ultimately, to theirsecond World Series title. Stick with me here: After an 86-year dry spellthat had marked the team as "cursed" (or for those of us who grew up in theNation, "godforsaken losers that'll break your heart year after year"), theRed Sox have finally unleashed the potential we always suspected they had.Much the same can be said about Al Gore, who two weeks after accepting thePartners Award at Oceana's chilly soiree would be awarded the Nobel PeacePrize in Stockholm.

Let me start by saying that I never really knew what to make of Al Gore. Thevice president is by definition something of an afterthought, but VP to BillClinton? You may as well be the wallpaper. And then there was the 2000election, which was punctuated with Gore's strange claims to have inventedthe Internet, a painfully bad makeup job during at least one debate, and anawkward attempt at a passionate kiss with Tipper. Even so, I voted for him.I threw my fists in the air when the White House was handed over to a dimwitin his place. I've imagined -- innumerable times -- what this country mighthave been under his leadership. But seeing Al Gore take the microphone sevenyears later confirmed that he has hit his stride outside of politics, andthat's no mistake.

more . . . . .


Detroit News

Decision 2008
Evangelicals turning from politics to faith

Religious right shifting as unease of mixing politics with faith grows inChristian community.
Stephanie Simon and Mark Z. Barabak / Los Angeles Times
Friday, November 16, 2007

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A fundamental shift is taking place within thereligious right, long a force in presidential politics, as aging evangelicalleaders split on the 2008 race and a new generation of pastors turns awayfrom politics altogether.

The result, in the short term, could be a boost for the centrist candidacyof former New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, whose messy personal lifeand support for gay and abortion rights have not produced the unifiedopposition from Christian conservatives that many expected.

Over the longer term, the distancing of religious leaders from politicscould prove even more consequential, denying the GOP one of the essentialbuilding blocks the party has used to capture the White House in five of thepast seven presidential races.

The shift is evident in this community at the heart of the evangelicalmovement.

"As far as me standing in the pulpit holding a voter guide, that's not goingto happen," said Pastor Brady Boyd, 40, who leads a congregation of 10,000at New Life Church. He will use his position to teach the Bible toworshipers. "I won't use it to influence their vote," he said.

more . . . . .


Los Angeles Times,0,3508319.column?coll=la-util-opinion-commentary

Divided Over Uniting

By Ronald Brownstein,
© National Journal Group Inc.
Friday, Nov. 16, 2007

It says something about modern politics that Sen. Barack Obama has facedsome of his sharpest attacks over the charge that he's too conciliatory.

Liberal activists who consider Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton suspiciouslycentrist complain that Obama hasn't "taken off the gloves" against her inthe Democratic presidential race. From another angle, former Sen. JohnEdwards ridicules Obama's pledge to reduce the influence of insurance anddrug companies but still provide them a voice in negotiations on health carereform. There's no negotiating with these business interests, Edwardsinsists: The only way to achieve universal coverage is to beat them.

Obama has given a nod to the first critics by sharpening his differenceswith Clinton. But he is holding his ground against Edwards and like-mindedliberals who maintain that major change won't come unless the next presidentrallies Democrats for a crusade against the economic and ideological forcesthat they believe stand in the party's way. Obama argues the reverse: Bigchange won't come unless the next president builds a broad coalition thatattracts voters and constituencies beyond the party's base. "No party has amonopoly on wisdom or virtue," Obama said in an interview. And realprogress, he insists, isn't possible with just "a 50-plus-one majority."

Those are not easy arguments to sell today. Two terms of bruising combatwith President Bush have left many Democrats dubious about any compromisewith Republicans and their allies. And anyone counseling more cooperationamid such unremitting conflict between the parties can strike many partisansas dreamy and naive.

Those sentiments have compelled Obama to walk a thin line as he promotesreconciliation. One telling example is his intensifying attempt to wooblue-collar voters, who have been cool to his candidacy. Although nationalpolls don't report improvement for Obama with those voters, the latest NewHampshire surveys show some gains, and his aides say that their privatepolling indicates greater progress in Iowa.

more . . . . .


The Washington Post

Pelosi: War, Immigration Hurt Public Approval of Congress
Speaker Says Clinton Can 'Hold Her Own'

By David S. Broder and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 15, 2007; 4:31 PM

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today blamed Congress' failure to bring an end tothe war in Iraq and deal effectively with the reform of immigration laws asthe primary causes of the institution's near-record low approval ratings.

In an interview at the U.S. Capitol, Pelosi said the Democratic takeover ofCongress had raised expectations on action to end the conflict in Iraq, andthat the Senate's initial willingness to tackle immigration reform followedby its failure to do so left the American public disappointed in Congress.

The House on Wednesday night passed spending legislation that sought to tiefunding for the Iraq war to hard deadlines for beginning troop withdrawals,a proposal that has little hope of passage in the Senate.

"People thought it was a problem that could be solved and when it didn'thappen I think it was a big disappointment," she said. "Usually those lownumbers relate to expectations and there were high expectations" on bothIraq and immigration.

Pelosi made her comments in an interview for's "PostTalk"program, just hours before seven of her party's presidential candidates arescheduled to gather in Las Vegas for a televised debate.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Crackdown shows true face of Musharraf regime

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

LAHORE, Pakistan -- It was close to midnight last Saturday when Gen. PervezMusharraf finally appeared on state-run television. That's when police vanssurrounded my house. I was warned not to leave, and hours later I learned Iwould be detained for 90 days.

At least I have the luxury of staying at home, though I cannot see anyone.But I can only watch, helpless, as this horror unfolds.

The Musharraf government has declared martial law to settle scores withlawyers and judges. Hundreds of innocent Pakistanis have been rounded up.Human-rights activists, including women and senior citizens, have beenbeaten by police. Judges have been arrested, and lawyers battered in theiroffices and the streets.

These citizens are our true assets: young, progressive and full of spirit.Many of them were trained to uphold the rule of law. They are beingbrutalized for seeking justice.

Musharraf justified his Draconian measures by saying he needed to be able touse all his might to fight the terrorists infecting our country. Yet the dayafter he declared an emergency, the Dawn newspaper reported that scores ofterrorists were released by the government.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Bangladesh cyclone toll rises to 1,723

Posted on Sat, Nov. 17, 2007

The official death toll from a savage cyclone that wreaked havoc onsouthwest Bangladesh reached 1,723 Saturday - the deadliest storm to hit thecountry in a decade.

Military helicopters and ships joined rescue and relief operations and aidworkers on the ground struggled to reach victims. Tropical Cyclone Sidr toreapart villages, severely disrupted power lines and forced more than amillion coastal villagers to evacuate to government shelters.

The latest death figure tallied to 1,723, with 474 deaths reported fromworst-hit Barguna district and 385 from neighboring Patuakhali, a militaryspokesman, Lt. Col. Moyeenullah Chowdhury, told reporters in the capital,Dhaka.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information.AP's earlier story is below.

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) - The official death toll from a cyclone that wreakedhavoc on southwest Bangladesh reached 1,070 Saturday, while militaryhelicopters and ships joined rescue and relief operations and aid workers onthe ground struggled to reach victims.

more . . . . .


[Send your comments about articles to]

FLORIDA DIGEST November 17, 2007

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


The New York Times

U.S. Acts to Bolster Supply of Water for Atlanta

November 17, 2007

ATLANTA, Nov. 16 - With only a few months of readily available drinkingwater remaining for Atlanta, federal biologists on Friday allowed Georgia tokeep more water in a reservoir that supplies the city and elsewhere in thenorthern part of the state, a decision that reduces flows to Florida.

The action, by officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service, will allow newrainfall to pool in Lake Lanier, northeast of Atlanta, a body of water thathas been rapidly shrinking in the worst drought to hit the Southeast in 100years.

Georgia, Alabama and Florida have been fighting for the water in Lake Lanierfor more than 17 years, jockeying for the right to use it for drinking,power, recreation and wildlife preservation.

Now, with the lake shriveling to historically low levels, that fight hasintensified, and experts predict that without significant rain, Lanier couldnot only be dry within a year but also reach the end of its readilyavailable storage of water in as little as 66 days.

Facing the real prospect of running out of drinking water for four millionpeople in the Atlanta region, Georgia officials had been pressuring the ArmyCorps of Engineers, which built Lake Lanier and manages the lake and itsdam, to reduce the water it sends downstream. But the corps is required bylaw to release flows that are adequate to safeguard two species of federallyprotected mussels and an endangered sturgeon.

more . . . . .


The New York Times

In Florida, Addicts Find an Oasis of Sobriety

November 16, 2007

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Whitney Tower, 56, a scion of the Whitney, Vanderbiltand Drexel fortunes, squandered his trust fund and sold family treasures tosupport a $1,000-a-day heroin habit before landing in a tough-love facilitynear here seven years ago and never leaving. "If I went back to New York I'dbe dead in two weeks," he said.

In some ways Mr. Tower, who spent three decades in and out of treatment,remains a creature of his pedigree. He favors foppish linen suits and dropsnames of the fast crowd he once ran with.

But his social life these days is dinner at home with sober friends who havesettled here in what experts consider the recovery capital of America. He isstudying addiction counseling, and he works as an unpaid intern at a localdrug treatment center.

Delray Beach, a funky outpost of sobriety between Fort Lauderdale and WestPalm Beach, is the epicenter of the country's largest and most vibrantrecovery community, with scores of halfway houses, more than 5,000 people at12-step meetings each week, recovery radio shows, a recovery motorcycle cluband a coffeehouse that boasts its own therapy group.

Recovery communities are springing up outside the walls of rehab centers foralumni seeking the safety in numbers.

more . . . . .


Jenne's journey: from pinnacle of power to jail

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

Ken Jenne, once a celebrated politician with hopes of being governor, willspend his first night behind bars at the Federal Detention Center in Miamiafter being sentenced on Friday to one year and one day on corruptioncharges.

The former Broward County sheriff surrendered immediately to federalmarshals after U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas rejected Jenne's bidfor probation following his guilty plea in September to fraud andtax-evasion offenses.

''I know that my actions are at fault here . . . and I take responsibility.What I did was wrong,'' Jenne, 60, said, standing stiffly in a dark blue,pinstriped suit before the judge. ``I hope now I will be forgiven by thiscommunity and by my family.''

Dimitrouleas may have been swayed by the dozen political heavyweights andfamily friends who urged him for compassion.

''I think he could have been governor one day,'' the judge said of Jenne.``But I don't think the book is closed on Mr. Jenne. I think we'll see Mr.Jenne come back and continue his good work.''

His last words to the fallen political figure: ``Good luck to you, Mr.Jenne.''

Thanks to the way the judge sentenced him, Jenne may be eligible for releaseafter 10 months in prison. But that was little solace for a man who devotedmore than three decades to public service: His once-stellar reputation wasforever sullied when investigators undercovered evidence proving he hadexploited his position as sheriff for personal gain.

Jenne's wife, Caroline, wept throughout much of the sentencing hearing inthe federal courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale, where a who's who ofBroward Democratic politicians sought mercy for their friend. Outside thecourtroom, Jenne's wife appeared relieved as the mood seemed to lighten forher and dozens of her husband's supporters. Several were backslapping eachother.

Prosecutors in the case would not comment. But the U.S. attorney's officeexpressed disappointment with the sentence because it was seeking harsherpunishment -- two years in prison.

U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta issued a statement Friday: ``We believethat a higher sentence would have been more appropriate. . . . If as acommunity, we believe that public corruption and white collar crimes causeas much harm as violent crime, we must insist on significant terms ofimprisonment for public and corporate criminals.

``That said, today Ken Jenne, the former Broward County Sheriff, is injail.''

After a temporary stay in the detention center in Miami, Jenne will servehis term of one year and one day in a minimum-security facility. The judgerecommended the Federal Bureau of Prisons assign him to a prison camp ineither southwest Miami-Dade County or upstate in Marianna.

The judge acted at the request of one of Jenne's lawyers, who said outsidecourt that he had hoped to steer Jenne to one of those facilities to assurehis safety.

In addition to prison time, Jenne received one year of probation and a$3,000 fine.

Because his sentence is more than a year, Jenne qualifies for automatic gaintime worth 15 percent of his sentence, his lawyer said. Under federal prisonrules, he could shave up to 55 days off his term, meaning his sentence wouldactually be 10 months. Had he been sentenced to a year, Jenne would have hadto serve the full year.

''The judge did a very kind thing to send him to prison for a year and a dayas opposed to just a year,'' said Jenne's attorney, David Bogenschutz.

Indeed, in the end, Jenne received a relatively lenient sentence for awhite-collar criminal ensnared in a corruption scheme. The judge imposed theminimum sentence under sentencing guidelines recommended by the court'sprobation office, which ranged from 12 to 18 months.

Had Jenne not cut his plea deal in September, prosecutors would haveindicted him on 26 to 28 counts of fraud, tax evasion and other corruptionoffenses, Bogenschutz told The Herald. And had he been convicted at trial,Jenne could have spent years in prison.

A former powerhouse legislator, Jenne resigned as sheriff in September afteradmitting he took tens of thousands from BSO vendors, lied on his taxreturns and abused the public trust.

Jenne's mixing of his professional and personal life first came under thescrutiny of state and federal authorities in 2005. Ultimately, theydiscovered Jenne received about $84,000 in unlawful payments from BSOcontractors and others.

As part of his plea deal, Jenne agreed to pay ''in the neighborhood of$46,000'' in back taxes, interest and penalties to the Internal RevenueService, court records show.

Friday's sentencing hearing, lasting more than three hours, includedtestimony from people ranging from some of Broward's most politicallyinfluential to a rehabilitated crack addict.

They crowded into the federal courtroom to seek leniency for the formersheriff.

One of the first witnesses was Kelly Patrick, who said she was a formercrack addict Jenne had helped save by getting her into a treatment program.She showed pictures of how she looked when she was addicted, saying that shenow helps counsel other drug addicts at the jail.

Former Broward sheriff and Florida attorney general Bob Butterworth said thejob of sheriff is a ''24/7'' post. He said the cost to Jenne's personal lifewas heavy.

''He literally almost gave his life doing it. My hat is off to him,'' saidButterworth, who today heads Florida's Department of Children and Families.

Jenne's son, state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Davie, also weighed in for his father.

''I beg you, judge the man on his whole life,'' Evan Jenne said. ``There areso many people who have spoken about the good things he's done and his yearsof public service.''

Dr. Mack King Carter, pastor of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, brought up ananecdote about his mother. Years ago, she watched San Francisco Giantsslugger Willie Mays on TV. He stepped up to bat and struck out four times.

''My mom said that he shouldn't be playing baseball, that he wasn't anygood,'' Carter said. ``But a few months later, in July 1961, Willie hit fourhome runs. How do we balance a life of four strikes and four home runs?''

Carter also spoke about several baseball Hall of Famers and how they oftenstruck out when they went to bat. Yet over a lifetime, they had a goodbatting average, some as high as .400.

''Judge, I'm asking for a little hall of fame justice in this case,'' Cartersaid.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matt Axelrod, who prosecuted the high-profile casewith Pat Sullivan, stood before the judge and dismissed the analogy.

''This is no ballgame, judge,'' Axelrod said. ``And .400 isn't a good numberfor public officials. That number should be 100 percent.''

Axelrod again urged Dimitrouleas to sentence Jenne to the maximum term underthe sentencing guidelines -- 24 months.

''Jenne betrayed the public trust,'' Axelrod said. ``He has two sides tohim, the dedicated public servant and the man who abused his power andbetrayed the public trust.''

Late Friday afternoon, Evan Jenne said his father ''was in good spirits''when he talked to him by phone.

The younger Jenne said he plans to ship his father a stack of books to helphim pass the time. First up: The Histories, the 5th Century B.C. account ofthe Greco-Persian wars by Herodotus, the so-called ``Father of History.''

''That's a couple of weeks,'' Evan Jenne said. ``I'm not worried about him.He'll get through it.''


Tallahassee Democrat

Poll: Not enough voter support to pass tax relief

By Jim Ash
Article published Nov 16, 2007

Most voters support a $12 billion property tax relief proposal that willappear on the Jan. 29 ballot, but not enough to enshrine it in the stateconstitution.

A Mason-Dixon poll released Thursday showed 56 percent of likely voterswould support the measure, just 4 points shy of the required 60 percentmargin required by law.

The survey showed 22 percent of voters are opposed and 22 percent undecided.

"If it were a simple majority vote, I think it would pass today," saidpollster Brad Coker. "Getting it over 60 is going to take some work."

Mason-Dixon surveyed 700 likely voters from Nov. 12-14. With the margin oferror at 3.8 percent, the measure still falls just shy of the mark necessaryfor passage.

more . . . . .


Florida Times Union

Florida primary may benefit from shaky caucuses in Iowa

The Times-Union
November 16, 2007

It's a pollster's worst nightmare.

This year's Republican and Democratic Iowa caucuses have been forced to takeplace so early that not only will the Jan. 3 caucuses conclude the holidayseason, but they will also happen on the same day that one of the top BowlChampionship Series college football games airs on national TV.

Instead of the usual screening question of, "Are you likely to vote?"pollsters and politicians may be asking, "Are you likely to be in town?" or,"Given the choice, do you plan to go out in the freezing cold to the localcommunity center and choose between candidates, or would you rather stayinside your warm house and watch the Orange Bowl on TV?"

Wow, what a mess.

This is why the polling of the Iowa caucuses is of little importance so far.Although it's still relevant for serious discussion, even hardcore politicalobservers like Iowa talk-radio pundit Republican Jamie Johnson see theirstate's two caucuses as more of "a winnowing out" of weaker candidates thana crowning of a sure-thing nominee.

Of course, Iowa hasn't always been the dead-on indicator of eventualpresidential nominees, anyway. In fact, until the years of the Bush-Clintondynasties, Iowa often proved to be a poor predictor.

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

State's gaming deal a winner, experts say
The Seminole pact may deliver over time.

By STEVE HUETTEL, Times Staff Writer
Published November 16, 2007

Is the state's deal to expand gambling at casinos owned by the SeminoleTribe of Florida a jackpot or bust for taxpayers?

The initial payoff looks like a pittance compared with revenues in bigIndian gaming states like California and Connecticut. Florida parimutuelsscoff that the $100-million minimum the first year won't even offset thestate's tax losses as tribal casinos cut into their business.

But Indian gaming experts say that considering their weak bargainingposition, state officials cut a fair deal this week that should pay off ifthe tribe aggressively expands its casinos to leverage new slot machines andcard games like blackjack.

The 25-year deal puts Florida "in the same league as the biggest states,"said Steven Light, co-founder of the Institute for the Study of IndianGaming Law and Policy at the University of North Dakota. "You can't justlook at the immediate future. It's a very lucrative deal for the state inthe next few years."

Florida would get at least $100-million for the first year, half of whichwould come when the Interior Department approves the agreement, called a"compact." The state would receive minimum payments of $125-million in yeartwo and $150-million the following year.

more . . . . .


Daytona Beach News Journal

Allstate under fire about rates

Tallahassee Bureau Chief
November 16, 2007

TALLAHASSEE -- Pointing to a new law designed to cut property-insurancerates, state regulators Thursday grilled Allstate officials about proposalsthat would lead to major rate hikes for many homeowners.

Four Allstate companies are seeking statewide increases ranging from 27.4percent to 43.4 percent, arguing they need higher rates to make sure theycan remain solvent in the hurricane-threatened state.

"The bottom line is, we're talking about financial solvency and havingenough money in the bank to meet the promise we made to customers to paytheir claims," Allstate spokesman Adam Shores said.

But a panel of regulators was openly skeptical of company officials'arguments during a nearly three-hour public hearing.

Deputy Insurance Commissioner Belinda Miller said she expected a quickdecision on the proposed increases and was "not satisfied" with some of theAllstate explanations.

more . . . . .


Miami Herald

Florida schools collecting data on bullying

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

On the TV show The Simpsons, schoolyard bully Nelson is known as thebiggest, Burliest kid in the fourth grade, with a trademark laugh of triumphover his prey.But in real life, students are getting harassed in much subtler ways:through text messages, e-mail and MySpace pages and vicious social circles.

In response to growing alarm about new types of bullying and how easily itcan be hidden, Florida school districts for the first time are collectingdata on bullying.

In Broward, 871 incidents were recorded of students victimized by classmateslast school year. And though that may sound like a large number, the figureprobably doesn't tell a complete story.

''First of all, we know that the numbers probably don't reflect the realproblem,'' said Amalio Nieves, who works in Broward's office of preventionprograms. ``That's part of our whole program: recognizing when our kids arebeing bullied.''

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

Another coal-to-gas plant canceled

November 15, 2007

Southern Power, a subsidiary of Atlanta-based Southern Company, and theOrlando Utilities Commission pulled the plug Wednesday on their jointventure to build a 285 megawatt coal gasification plant slated for theStanton Energy Center near Orlando. Uncertainty over carbon regulationprompted its withdrawal, said a release from the company.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle, know as IGCC, produces less smogand acid rain pollutants, but it produces just as much carbon dioxide, agreenhouse gas, as a traditional coal plant. Experts say that IGCC, whichturns coal into a compressed gas before combustion, is the best platform forcapturing carbon. But capturing the carbon and storing it, perhaps in salineaquifers deep underground, remains unproven in Florida.

Tampa Electric canceled its plans for a second IGCC plant at its Polk PowerStation in October. If Gov. Charlie Crist or Congress puts a price oncarbon, IGCC could become prohibitively expensive, utility executives worry.

-Asjylyn Loder, Times staff writer


Miami Herald

'Yuck factor' aside, Dade wastewater plan a model

Posted on Fri, Nov. 16, 2007

Miami-Dade's new water deal was hailed Thursday as a milestone and a model.Water managers signed off on a complex agreement to keep the county's tapsflowing over the next two decades, thanks largely to an infusion of recycledwastewater.

Eric Buermann, chairman of the South Florida Water Management District'sgoverning board, said the deal -- which could turn the state's biggest wateruser into its biggest wastewater recycler -- will benefit a regionstruggling to deal with its second serious water shortage in a decade.

''This is probably the largest permit, and because of that, probably themost important thing we will ever do,'' said Buermann, a Miami lawyer.``This represents a major investment by Dade.''

The 20-year permit, which includes unprecedented provisions linking futuredevelopment to construction of $1.6 billion in wastewater treatment systemsand deep wells, also sets reuse and compliance standards that water managershope will be adopted by utilities across the region.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Killer, slain boy's family wait as courts say yes, no to execution

Palm Beach Post Capital Bureau
Friday, November 16, 2007

RAIFORD - When a federal judge decided Wednesday to stop the execution ofthe man who raped and killed 11-year-old Junny Rios-Martinez Jr. 16 yearsago, "it was a kick in our butt," Junny's sister Kellie Goldacker said.

Thursday didn't go any better for her family, even though the day startedwith a federal appellate court ruling that the execution of Mark Dean Schwabcould go forward that night.

"My mom was so emotional this morning, she couldn't make a decision aboutwhat to do," Goldacker said Thursday.

The family knew there was a good chance the U.S. Supreme Court would staythe execution again, as it had in a case in Mississippi while it considersappeals of two death-penalty cases in Kentucky. All of the appeals involvethe constitutionality of the method of execution, lethal injection.

Even so, about 50 relatives of Junny's, including the 15 scheduled towitness Schwab's execution, headed to Florida State Prison in Raiford, wherethe state's Death Row inmates are housed and executed.

more . . . . .



Former Broward County sheriff jailed a year and a day
Former Broward sheriff jailed year and a day, fined $3,000

By Paula McMahon
November 17, 2007

In what could be the hardest fall from grace in Broward County's politicalhistory, Ken Jenne, the former sheriff and once the most powerful man in thecounty, will spend the next 10 months in federal prison.

The 60-year-old Democrat was sentenced Friday to a year and a day in prison,ending a two-year public corruption investigation. With time off for goodbehavior, he could be free by September. He must pay a $3,000 fine and willbe on supervised release, similar to probation, for another year after he isfreed.

Jenne wept at times during the three-hour sentencing hearing, apologized forhis actions and said he hoped that he could one day regain some of hisonce-stellar reputation. He said he wished he could turn back time and makedifferent decisions.

"In all of these apologies I feel inadequate, I feel hollow. Whatever I saywill always be insufficient," Jenne told U.S. District Judge William P.Dimitrouleas before he was sentenced.

"I know that my actions are at fault here," Jenne said. "I hope that somedayI will be forgiven by this community and my family."

more . . . . .



Justice for former Broward Sheriff Ken Jenne leaves a bitter taste

Michael Mayo
News Columnist
November 17, 2007

He disappeared through a wood-paneled door along the side of the courtroom,escorted by two federal marshals. Ken Jenne was off to prison. Not nextyear, next month or next week. Immediately.

"Good luck to you, Mr. Jenne," U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleassaid.

It was stunning and sad, seeing Broward County's former top cop led awayFriday.

But it was also a little enraging to see the way justice plays out for thepowerful and connected.

Sitting through the show that was Jenne's sentencing hearing, with itsparade of power brokers testifying on his behalf, I had the distinctimpression that if this were you or I, we might not have gotten the samecourtesies.

more . . . . .



Fall from power to prison hurts, former inmate says
Former inmate tells of prison regimen

By Paula McMahon
November 17, 2007

Going from being the boss to being a prisoner isn't easy.

But for people like former Sheriff Ken Jenne, who are accustomed to being incharge and managing people, the adjustment can be particularly challenging.Jenne, who was convicted on federal corruption charges, was sentenced Fridayto a year and a day and will now likely serve his time at a minimum securityfacility.

"They put those leg irons and handcuffs on you, and they don't treat youlike you are a nice person," said Jesse Briggs, the wealthy, colorful ownerof the Yellow Strawberry beauty salon on Las Olas Boulevard.

Briggs, now 65, served about three years in federal prison for giving agun-silencer to a Broward hit man. He did most of his time in the federalprison near Coleman in Central Florida.

Jenne's defense lawyers suggested he serve his time in a minimum-securitycamp in Miami or Marianna. U.S. District Judge William Dimitrouleas agreedto recommend placement in one of the two prisons. However, the federalBureau of Prisons will make the final determination after a review.

more . . . . .



Airport expansion deserves study, but don't drag it out like Broward did

November 16, 2007

ISSUE: FAA proposes plans to expand Palm Beach International Airport.

As the Federal Aviation Administration and Palm Beach County dig into thedebate on whether and how to expand the Palm Beach International Airport,important lessons can be learned from a similar battle waged to the south.

Broward County took no less than 20 years to settle the future of FortLauderdale-Hollywood International Airport's growth plan. And even with theBroward County Commission's summer decision to lengthen the southern runway,opponents are still screaming in protest.

Palm Beach County can expect its own monster fight. Already, theneighborhoods closest to PBIA are lining up against any plan to expand therunways, arguing that the noise is already too much to bear and an expansionwould hurt their home sales.

It's hard to feel much sympathy for people who knowingly move next to anairport, then complain about noise and home value. But to be fair, many ofPBIA's neighbors moved in long before the airport became the high-volumetravel hub it is today, and FAA officials have an obligation to hear out allthe critics' concerns and mitigate them as much as possible.

more . . . . .



More bad news on AIDS

November 15, 2007

ISSUE: Health officials release new statistics on an old problem.

Call it a new statistic on a sadly familiar story: 1in 22 bisexual and gaymen in Florida have the AIDS virus, an infection rate that dwarfs any othergroup. The rate is even higher in South Florida. Unfortunately, that's nosurprise.

High HIV/AIDS rates are nothing new in South Florida. Gay or straight,black, brown or white - it really doesn't matter. The persistent presence ofthe AIDS virus gives this region an unwanted distinction as one of thenation's epicenters for the disease.

Credit the Florida Department of Health with crunching the numbers in areport that is the first of its type to try to quantify the impact of thedisease on gay men. The estimates paint a particularly disturbing trend inthe black community statewide, where the infection rate among black bisexualand gay men is a startling 1in 12 rate.

Some AIDS activists already have quibbled with the state's estimates,insisting that the study may have underestimated the amount of HIV/AIDSamong gays. The figures may not be perfect, but they are alarming,nevertheless.

Unfortunately, they also point out a deadly disconnect: not enough gay menpractice safe sex. The excuses are many - whether it's the abuse of partydrugs to the cavalier attitude that new medications have made HIV moremanageable - but they simply don't make sense given the risks associatedwith unprotected sex.

more . . . . .


The Miami Herald

The Ken Jenne Case - Timeline


From National Center for Lesbian Rights

With the holidays fast approaching, NCLR is wrapping up the 2007 calendarwith a few more events. We remain committed to fighting for our basicrights-through the ongoing fight for marriage equality, or through ourunwavering commitment to ensuring justice for LGBTQ youth. These events areevidence that while we have accomplished a great deal this past year, thereis still a lot of work to be done. We sincerely hope you have theopportunity to join us and give thanks that NCLR is still fighting the goodfight!

Warm regards,
Eleanor Palacios
Events Manager

Miami, FL
SAVE Dade's 2nd Annual Champions of Equality Reception
Wednesday, November 28, 2007 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

SAVE Dade will be hosting a reception in honor of the historic actions ofthe Mayor and Commissioners of the City of Miami Beach who approvedLGBT-friendly legislation.
Northern Trust Bank of Florida

In Downtown Miami


Miami Herald

Moving to equality for gays

Posted on Sat, Nov. 17, 2007

The U.S. House recently passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA),a historic milestone in the long march to full equality in this country.

In Florida, gay people and our allies have had our own long history leadingto this day. We've made advances, but seen some of that stripped awaybecause of dishonest, inflammatory attacks.

Everyone who took part in these campaigns for equality should recognize therole that they played in the victory. Every time we campaigned for fairnessand stood up for the right to live without discrimination and unequalprotection of the laws, we added a stone to the path of full equality. Thispaved the way to ENDA's passage.

Of course, the journey is not yet completed. The sense of pride andaccomplishment that came with ENDA's passage was bittersweet. The House'sversion did not include the protections based on gender identity for whichPeople for the American Way has fought. This is a painful reality groundedin political calculation and strategy.

We must use our influence and momentum to continue working for equalopportunity and protection from discrimination for all. There's more work tobe done.

JORGE MURSULI, Florida director,

People For the American Way, Miami


[Send your comments about articles to]