Wednesday, January 16, 2008

FLORIDA DIGEST January 16, 2008

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Fort Lauderdale: Foes of gay-marriage ban set training for supporters

January 16, 2008

Opponents of the proposed state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriageare training allies today in Fort Lauderdale.

The training starts at 6:30 p.m. at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., in FortLauderdale. It is open to anyone interested in fighting the amendment, saidTrevor Thomas of the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights grouphelping with the training.

The event was scheduled before the Secretary of State's Office startledproponents and opponents of the amendment on Monday with the news that itwas well short of the signatures required with little time remaining beforethe Feb. 1 deadline.

Read more about the training and the proposed amendment on the BrowardPolitics blog at


Miami Herald

Michigan vote puts Florida in prime spot as Republican field is scrambled

Posted on Wed, Jan. 16, 2008

Mitt Romney's victory in Michigan scrambled the Republican field Tuesday andguaranteed a mad dash for the Florida primary, with the top four contenderslocked in a dead heat in the state that could determine the GOP presidentialnominee.

After back-to-back losses in Iowa and New Hampshire, Romney badly needed towin his boyhood home state before Saturday's vote in South Carolina, wherehe is trailing. He and John McCain, runner-up in Michigan, are jockeyingwith Mike Huckabee, who came in third, in the Southern state known for itsdeep vein of evangelical voters. And then there's Rudy Giuliani, who haswritten off South Carolina and staked his bid for the presidency on winningFlorida.

''There's going to be a bare-knuckles scramble to the finish in Florida,''predicted former Florida Republican Party chairman Al Cárdenas, celebratingRomney's win at campaign headquarters in Tallahassee.

Hillary Clinton won the Michigan Democratic primary, though leading rivalsBarack Obama and John Edwards did not appear on the ballot because of adispute between the national and state parties.

After Nevada's caucuses and South Carolina's GOP primary Saturday, theRepublican contest becomes a 10-day sprint in Florida, which is holding theearliest and possibly most influential primary in the state's history onJan. 29.

more . . . . .


GLCC Announces 2008 "Stars of the Rainbow"

The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida (GLCC) is proud toannounce the Stars of the Rainbow Crystal Ball Gala & Celebration. Thisannual and much anticipated Stars of the Rainbow event, formally recognizesremarkable individuals and organizations who contribute to the Greater FortLauderdale LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community. Stars ofthe Rainbow will be held at the Marriott Harbor Beach Resort, 3030 HolidayDrive in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, February 17, 2008. The event issignificant, as 2008 marks the GLCC's 15th anniversary of providing criticalprograms and services to the LGBT community. The "Crystal Ball Gala &Celebration" theme recognizes the GLCC's 15-year anniversary.

Tickets are available for $195 at the VIP level, or $125 at the Gala level.Underwriting and Sponsorship opportunities are available for businesses andindividuals who are interested in supporting this cornerstone event and itshonorees. For information about ticket sales or underwriting and sponsorshipopportunities please contact Robert Boo, Development Director at954.463.9005 or by email at Additional information can beobtained by visiting or

The magic and purpose of the event is to recognize and celebrateindividuals, businesses, and agencies that make significant contributions tothe LGBT community through their tireless and passionate efforts. Honoreeswere selected by an overwhelming response to a call for nominations. Theyexemplify the spirit of volunteerism and activism, represent the LGBTcommunity in a positive light, and have supported the interests of the GLCCand the LGBT community. The GLCC is proud to announce the following list ofcategories and corresponding 2008 Stars of the Rainbow honorees:

Individual: Michael Greenspan, Judy Shepherd, Tony Timiraos, Larry Wald
Fundraising GLCC Board Member: Ilene Berliner
Organization: Stonewall Library & Archives
Community Group: Sunshine Athletic Association
Volunteer: Marc Hansen
Business: MACK Power Group
Media: Howard Finkelstein, Dale Madison
Activist: Jacqui Charvet; Marsha Ellison; Michael Rajner
Government: Suzanne Boisvenue; Nicki Grossman
Alan Schubert Humanitarian Award: Paul Alpert
Honorary Chairperson: Craig Stevens

The schedule for the evening will be:

5:00 - 6:00 PM: VIP Reception & Honoree Recognition event at the MarriottHarbor Beach Resort Dunes Coconut Terrace offering gorgeous views of thewhite- sand beach and ocean. Complimentary valet parking will be offered atthe main entrance of the Marriott.

6:00 - 10:00 PM: Gala & Silent Auction will take place in the beautifulCaribbean Ballroom. Silent Auction and Entertainment will be featured in theBallroom Lobby amid a magnificent ice sculpture Martini Luge. Exquisite foodand cocktails will be served during the entire evening while guests dance orenjoy the elegant music and ambience of celebration.

Philanthropist and gay pioneer, Alan Schubert, founded the Gay and LesbianCommunity Center of South Florida in 1993. Alan Schubert recognized the needfor a comprehensive program of services to support the gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender community, primarily in Broward County. The GLCCSF,a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization was established and now serves as asource for information, education, advocacy and support. It provides apositive environment that fosters personal development and quality of lifefor those within the community it serves.

For more information about GLCC programs and services, or for interviews andinformation about the GLCC of South Florida or the "Stars of the RainbowCrystal Ball Gala & Celebration" please contact Paul Hyman, ExecutiveDirector, GLCC, at 954- 463-9005 or


Ft. Lauderdale

New Additions to GLCC Events and Programs

Submitted January 12, 2008

WomenNet Buffet and Spa Day (Thursday, January 24, 2008, 6-8 p.m., OceanSands Hotel, 1350 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach)
Women and Ladies (you know who you are!) this is one event you will not wantto miss! Ocean Sands, located at 1350 N Ocean Blvd., in Pompano Beach, isbeginning your experience with a tour of the spa and a relaxing hand andchair massage for everyone who attends. If that wasn’t enough, you willthen enjoy a complimentary, lavish buffet and drink bar. Now what womanwouldn’t love this? Let Ocean Sands pamper you in style!

To continue to serve the women of our community, WomenNet will be asking foryour input. Such questions as: “Where do you want to meet in February andgoing forward?; What is a good time to meet? Weekdays or Weekends?Breakfast, lunch or happy hour?” In any case, mark your calendars and bepampered while you mix and mingle! That’s WomenNet, January 24th,6:00-8:00PM. Call Ocean Sands for directions 954-590-1000.
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA) (Thursday, January 24th and ThursdayJanuary 31, 2008, 7:30-8:30 p.m., GLCC, room 1)
Are you a Child of an Alcoholic? Are you just not sure, but wonder whatimpact you may have had from parents or family members who abused alcohol ordrugs? Then, please consider attending this newly formed addition to theGLCC calendar. Each and every Thursday now, the Adult Children ofAlcoholics (ACOA) group will be meeting at the GLCC from 7:30-8:30 PM inRoom 1. This is a support group to bring together people who are goingthrough issues related to being raised in an alcohol or drug household, andare seeking support from others with a similar background. Join this greatgroup for support and understanding.
GLCC Founders Circle Event (Thursday, January 31, 2008, 6-8:00 p.m. atNorthern Trust Bank)
The next GLCC Founder’s Circle will be hosted by The GLCC Board of Directorsand GLCC Staff at Northern Trust Bank on Las Olas, Thursday January 31stfrom 6-8 p.m. Approximately once each month this cornerstone event isenjoyed by many as a place to meet, mingle, and learn about GLCC events andnews, while the GLCC recognizes and thanks those who have made financialcommitments to support the programs and services. For more information onthe GLCC or how you could become either a Founder or Business Founder,please contact Robert Boo, Development Director, GLCC, at 954-463-9005
Would You Like to Be Updated About GLCC Events and Services?
The GLCC of South Florida sends out regular EVoice email newsletters thatwill keep you current and ‘up to the minute’ on events, services and helpingyou Connect With Your Community! If you do not currently receive the GLCC’sEVoice and you would like to learn more about everything from travelservices and events, to how to get help with your health or emotional wellbeing, please visit the GLCC website, and sign-up to receivethe EVoice. It’s easy to do!
Would You Like to Learn More About TERI?
For those of you who have heard or read the word TERI and wondered what itmeans, it could be a very meaningful thing for you to learn so you arebetter prepared to help those around you. “TERI” is the Transgender EqualRights Initiative, and provides the LGBT community with opportunities toincrease their knowledge on issues affecting the transgender community, andhelp us rally and empower transgender persons to show we value theirpresence and their participation in our community.

Nicole Martin
Operations Manager
Gay and Lesbian Community Center of South Florida
1717 North Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311
Phone: 954-463-9005
Cell: 954-812-0822
Fax: 954-764-6522



On Thursday, January 24, 2008, at 7:00 pm, at Stonewall Library & Archives,author/historian Michael Sherry will present a lecture and will discuss andsign his new book "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An ImaginedConspiracy."

Today it is widely recognized that gay men played a prominent role indefining the culture of mid-twentieth-century America, with such icons asTennessee Williams, Edward Albee, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber, MontgomeryClift, and Rock Hudson defining much of what seemed distinctly "American" onthe stage and screen. Even though few gay artists were "out," theirsexuality caused significant anxiety during a time of rampant antihomosexualattitudes. In "Gay Artists in Modern American Culture: An ImaginedConspiracy," Sherry offers a sophisticated analysis of the tension betweenthe nation's simultaneous dependence on and fear of the cultural influenceof gay artists.

These developments were expressed in the notion that American culture wasbeing taken over by an international homosexual conspiracy, or, as anti-gayobservers called it, a "homintern" in the arts. Especially under theinfluence of Americanized psychoanalytic thinking, many contemporaryobservers, in print venues as diverse as intellectual commentary and scandalmagazines, deplored the allegedly malign and growing influence of gay men inthe arts. Discourse about the "homintern" was thus another of many strandsof conspiracy thinking, like anti-communism, anti-Semitism, and racism, buta strand, Sherry argues, largely unexamined, in part because it elicited solittle resistance at the time.

Sherry's political history of cultural conflict and change both emphasizespublic discourses and addresses aesthetic matters, providing a history ofgay men's creativity and highlighting the contributions of key figures whoplayed a large role in forging a lyrical, and often nationalist, Americanmodernism. Their success was what made these figures at once highly valuablein America's cultural empire and dangerously exposed to expanding anti-gaysentiments.

Michael S. Sherry is professor of history at Northwestern University andauthor of three books, including the Bancroft Prize-winning "The Rise ofAmerican Air Power: The Creation of Armageddon."

The event will include light refreshments and is free and open to thepublic.

The mission of Stonewall Library & Archives is to collect, preserve,organize for use and display materials related to gay, lesbian, bisexual andtransgender culture and history; support related research and sponsorcultural and educational programs.

Funding for this organization is provided in part by the Broward CountyBoard of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward CulturalCouncil.

For further information, please contact:
Jack Rutland, Executive Director
Stonewall Library & Archives
1717 North Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311


News Alert from the Human Rights Council of North Central Florida

Gainesville (Fla.) City Commission Votes to Approve Gender IdentityOrdinance at first Public Hearing: Final Vote Expected at Monday,January 28, Commission Meeting.

At the first of two public hearings, on January 14 the GainesvilleCity Commission voted to approve the Gender IdentityAntidiscrimination Ordinance. One more majority vote ofcommissioners in favor of the ordinance is required for it to becomelaw. The next and final public hearing is expected to be scheduledfor the evening portion of the Commission's Monday, January 28,regular meeting.

The City Commission voted 5-2 in support of the Ordinance. Votingin support of the Ordinance were Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan andCommissioners Craig Lowe, Jack Donovan, Jeanna Mastrodicasa andScherwin Henry. The hour-long public hearing included comments fromordinance supporters as well as from opponents. A websteam video ofthe hearing is available at the city's website:

Please consider sending an email to the City Commission at thanking them for their support ofthe Gender Identity ordinance.

A brief summary of the Gender Identity ordinance and some backgroundresearch is presented below for your information.

1. Without "gender identity" protections, it is now legal inGainesville to discriminate against transgender individuals in theworkplace as well as in access to housing and public accommodations.

2. Transgender individuals face particular discrimination in theworkplace, where job applications often require the applicant toreport all current and past legal names (of any gender) used by thejob applicant. Being open and honest about who you are should notbe an obstacle to otherwise-qualified individuals for the attainmentof employment.

3. If passed, the Gender Identity Ordinance would add "genderidentity" to the list of protected categories against whomdiscrimination in employment, public accommodations, housingpractices, and credit opportunities is prohibited. The last time aprotected category was added to Gainesville's antidiscriminationcode was when "sexual orientation" was approved in 1998.

4. The definition of "gender identity" includes both one's internalgender identity as well as one's gender expression.

5. Like sexual orientation, the ordinance provides an exception toprohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity in thecase of employment, public accommodations, or housing practices ofreligious institutions.

As of July 2007, according to a National Gay & Lesbian Task Force(NGLTF) report, 13 states and the District of Columbia havetransgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. Also, 91 cities andcounties have laws that prohibit gender identity discrimination.

NGLTF estimates that 37 percent of the US population is now coveredby transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws. Last year the U.S.House of Representatives passed a federal hate crimes bill that forthe first time included gender identity protections.

According to a Human Rights Campaign State of the Workplace 2006-2007 report, the number of Fortune 500 companies that now prohibitdiscrimination based on gender identity has risen dramatically inthe past six years: For example, from only 8 companies in 2001 to125 companies in 2007 (out of 500 total).

This message is sent by the Human Rights Council of North CentralFlorida. If you do not wish to receive further emails, please replyto this message.

Human Rights Council of North Central Florida
PO Box 2112
Gainesville FL 32602


Broward County - Renew your Dolphin Democrats Membership Now!

We need your renewal now, more than ever.

In 2008 we are facing a Florida Anti-Gay Marriage Amendment and must takeback the White House.

If you havn't already, please click here to renew your Membership online:


Orlando Sentinel

Democrats Win Opening Day in Florida

posted by John Kennedy on Jan 15, 2008 4:47:13 PM

Florida Democrats say that more of their party supporters went to the pollsin Monday's first day of early voting than did Florida Republicans, whilethe party also looks poised to make gains in absentee balloting.

Florida Democratic Party Chair Karen Thurman sounds like she's ready to callthe election now.

"To be neck-and-neck with Republican turnout at this early point isfantastic," Thurman said. "It's a sign that the incredible enthusiasm we sawamong Democratic voters in Iowa and New Hampshire is also here in Florida."

With more than 20,000 Floridians voting yesterday, registered Democratsoutnumbered Republicans by 3,000 votes, party officials said. Democratstrail Republicans by 6,000 absentee ballots already returned, but given theGOP's long dominance in such balloting, Democrats are hailing that as ahorseshoes-and-handgrenades victory.


St. Petersburg Times

Obama stirs fight with Florida memo
The Clinton campaign criticizes her rival's insistence that the state'svotes won't count.

By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published January 16, 2008

Barack Obama doesn't care what Florida Democrats say on Jan. 29.

In a memo released Tuesday, he reiterated his long-standing view that theirprimary votes will be worthless. And he vaguely charged that Hillary RodhamClinton may violate her pledge not to campaign in Florida by holding eventshere later this month.

"We signed a pledge not to campaign in Florida before Feb. 5, and we're notgoing to campaign in Florida," Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said. "But itis disappointing that the Obama campaign continues to tell people that theirvoices don't count, that they continue to disenfranchise people. HillaryClinton wants to be president of all 50 states."

The Illinois senator's memo stressed that the Democratic primaries inMichigan and Florida are meaningless because the states defied nationalparty rules forbidding all but a handful of states from holding primaryelections earlier than Feb. 5.

Because Florida set its primary for Jan. 29, and Michigan for Jan. 15, theDemocratic National Committee stripped away all the delegates those stateswould have awarded toward the Democratic nomination.

more . . . . .


Tallahassee Democrat

McNeil named head of prisons

By Jim Ash and Stephen Price
Article published Jan 16, 2008

In a rapid rise from relative obscurity, former Tallahassee Police ChiefWalt McNeil was named Tuesday as the prison boss of the fourth largest statein the nation.

"I know that Chief McNeil, as I am still used to calling him, will do agreat job," Gov. Charlie Crist said.

McNeil replaces James McDonough, a no-nonsense retired Army colonel who wasbrought in to clean up a scandal-plagued system. A holdover from the formeradministration of Gov. Jeb Bush, McDonough stayed longer than he planned inhis position at Crist's urging.

McNeil will head the state's largest department, overseeing a $2.2 billionbudget and about 28,000 department workers who in turn manage 98,000prisoners and about 150,000 probationers.

The post pays $126,000 a year.

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Miami Herald

Giuliani's big bet: Florida

Posted on Wed, Jan. 16, 2008

Florida and Rudy Giuliani? He thinks they go together like rum and coke,arroz con pollo, corned beef on rye. Rudy sees the Sunshine State as NewYork's sixth borough. And to paraphrase that overplayed anthem about hishometown: If he can't make it here, he can't make it anywhere.

That's why America's mayor is betting it all on Florida to make him theGOP's nominee. Betting money, time and campaign staff, some of whom went offthe payroll to bolster his faltering and financially strapped campaign.

Echoes of Bush

Giuliani was sixth in Iowa, fourth in New Hampshire, vying for fifth inMichigan and not expected to do any better in Nevada or South Carolina.Pretty dismal for a candidate who weeks ago was touted as the one Republicanwho could beat Hillary Clinton or any other Democrat. He plummeted to fourthnationally in The Washington Post-ABC poll released Monday and dropped tosecond in Florida behind John McCain after running first here for months.

What's gone so wrong with the Giuliani campaign? I suspect the main problemis that if you listen carefully to what he says -- and voters in Iowa andNew Hampshire did -- you hear strong echoes of President Bush, bothphilosophically and personally. Giuliani essentially says that as presidenthe'd be everything W promised to be, only better at it. Sort of Bush heavy.
And competent to boot.

What constitutes victory?

Voters in Florida, however, and everywhere else are over Bush and anyone whoresembles him. That's why candidates who embrace ''change'' have done sowell. Witness the spectacular rise of Mike Huckabee, who blasted Bush'sforeign policy as ''arrogant,'' identifies with working folks and dissesWall Street. Giuliani embraces all those hedge fund managers, emphasizesexperience over change and talks about ''winning the war in Iraq,'' althoughhe fails to define what would constitute victory.

more . . . . .


Houston Chronicle

Fla. denied access to Foley computers

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON Associated Press Writer
© 2008 The Associated Press
Jan. 15, 2008, 10:37PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state's top law enforcement official was deniedagain Tuesday in his quest for access to former Rep. Mark Foley's computersin his probe of electronic messages to congressional pages.

Gerald Bailey, commissioner of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement,wrote to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last month seeking help afterHouse lawyers said the agency couldn't examine the computers.

Pelosi referred the letter back to the House Office of General Counsel,which in July told the department that constitutional issues prevented itfrom allowing access to the computers. Deputy General Counsel Kerry Kircherrepeated the argument in the new letter, which the department receivedTuesday.

Foley, a Republican, resigned in September 2006 after reports that he sentlurid messages to boys serving as pages. Republican Dennis Hastert, theformer House Speaker, asked Florida to investigate whether Foley committedany state crimes.

Kircher suggested in his new letter — "without trying to tell you how toconduct your investigation" — that the state investigators contact theDepartment of Justice and Foley's lawyers about material the House hasprovided them.

more . . . . .


St. Petersburg Times

Bush takes plan national

By RON MATUS, Times Staff Writer
Published January 16, 2008

The former governor has created a foundation that will push his brand ofeducation reform.

Jeb Bush is taking his brand of education reform nationwide.

The former Florida governor announced a new education foundation Tuesdaythat will give him a new vehicle for protecting his political legacy andaims in part to push some of Florida's accountability programs onto anational stage.

The Foundation for Excellence in Education has already scheduled a nationaleducation summit for June in Orlando, and it is putting together a newprogram to reward Florida teachers whose students make big gains in readingand math.

It is also backed by a handful of powerful corporations and staffed by someof Bush's closest political advisers, including Patricia Levesque, whohelped guide education policy while Bush was governor.

Bush could not be reached for comment, but a press release said thefoundation would "create and manage programs to improve the quality ofeducation in classrooms across Florida and the nation."

more . . . . .


Orlando Sentinel,0,3596578.story

Group organizes in Orlando against proposed ban on same-sex marriage

Willoughby Mariano
Sentinel Staff Writer
January 16, 2008

A national gay-rights group came to Orlando on Tuesday to launch a statewideeffort against a proposed ban on same-sex marriage.

The Human Rights Campaign held the first of a series of training sessionsfor gay-rights volunteers at a Thornton Park eatery, despite word from thestate that a proposed constitutional amendment backed by Orlando'sFlorida4Marriage was more than 20,000 signatures short of making theNovember ballot.

"The last thing we should do in this moment is change our campaign in anyway," said Joe Solmonese, president of the Washington-based group, whichbills itself as the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendercivil-rights organization.

Florida4Marriage initially announced it had enough signatures to get on theballot, but Division of Election authorities said Monday that 27,000signatures from Miami-Dade County had been reported to the state twice.

The measure has 589,020 confirmed signatures statewide.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Absentee ballot requests exceed expectations

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2008

More than 31,000 people have already requested absentee ballots in PalmBeach County - three times more than during the 2004 presidential primary,according to totals released Tuesday.

Since Thursday alone, the number of absentee ballot requests nearly doubled.

The spike surprised Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson, who had predictedbetween 20,000 and 30,000 would be requested.

Anderson attributed the increase in absentee ballot totals to interest inthe presidential primary as well as the proposed constitutional amendment onproperty taxes.

But he also noted the totals follow a national increase in the use ofabsentee ballots during elections.

"Nationwide, we've seen an increase usage of absentee ballot in the processas one controversy over the voting machines security continues of whetherone's vote is going to count," he said.

People wanting to vote by absentee must request a ballot by Jan. 23 for thiselection.

Meanwhile, 12 sites throughout Palm Beach County remain open for earlyvoting, which started Monday. The sites will be open between 10 a.m. and 6p.m. on weekdays and between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekends through Jan. 27.



Democrats uncommitted on participating in debates at Florida AtlanticUniversity

January 16, 2008

ISSUE: Democrats noncommittalon FAU debate.

Not even a debate?

Florida Atlantic University is scheduled to host a pair of nationallytelevised debates with the Republican and Democratic candidates just daysbefore the Florida primary on Jan. 29. The GOP contenders have said they'llshow up. The Democrats haven't committed.

The candidates, and the Democratic National Committee, must come to asensible agreement and let the rivals for the nomination come to Florida forthe debate. This pledge to not campaign in Florida, but to come and use thestate as a fundraising ATM, has gone far enough.

The Republicans have been much more realistic and smart about things.They've penalized the state half its delegation for jumping the primaryline-up. Fair enough.

The Democrats continue going to ridiculous extremes. They banned candidatesfrom appearing at rallies, and from engaging in general campaigning. And nowthe pledge may keep them from debating at FAU.

more . . . . .


Palm Beach Post

Let investigators check Mark Foley's computers

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Any American suspected of committing a crime has constitutional rights. Butany American who also happens to be a member of Congress has extraconstitutional rights. That fact should not prevent Florida investigatorsfrom having a look at former Rep. Mark Foley's congressional computers.

Last summer, attorneys for the House of Representatives denied the FloridaDepartment of Law Enforcement's request to see Foley's computers.

Investigators want to determine whether the computers contain evidence thatFoley broke Florida laws against using the Internet to "seduce, lure orentice" a minor. Foley resigned in September 2006 after revelations that heexchanged many sexually explicit e-mails with underage boys.

So, Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Gerald Bailey askedHouse Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to grant access and, failing that, toexplain why she won't grant it. On Tuesday, Rep. Pelosi announced that shehas rejected FDLE's request because of constitutional issues.

In an otherwise divided Congress, members show bipartisan support forprotection of their papers and computers. In 2006, Republicans who ranCongress went ballistic when the FBI raided the offices of Rep. WilliamJefferson, D-La. He was hiding cash in his freezer. Now, Democrats in chargecould protect Foley, a Republican.

Lawmakers have special protection under the Constitution's "speech ordebate" clause, intended to prevent the executive branch from intimidatingthe legislative branch or snooping into its business through bogus criminalor civil proceedings. Courts have ruled that the clause blocks investigatorsfrom seizing legislative work materials, which include computer files.

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Broward County: More than 3,000 turn out for first day of early voting

January 16, 2008

In what an elections office spokeswoman called a "decent showing," more than3,300 Broward residents voted Monday, the first day of early voting for theJan. 29 primary.

The number of people who voted became available Tuesday after results weretallied by the Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office, saidspokeswoman Mary Cooney. Each day's results are tallied and made availablethe following day.

Early voting continues through Jan. 27, and the number of voters castingballots each day is expected to "be bigger and bigger," Cooney said.

Up for vote are the presidential primaries, a property tax amendment andelected positions in six Broward cities, towns and villages.


Miami Herald

Allstate frustrates state regulators

Posted on Wed, Jan. 16, 2008

There was some sizzle, but Florida insurance regulators cut short a two-daypublic grilling of Allstate company officials when they failed to providespecific documents and answers.

Frustration was high for the regulators since Allstate Floridian and severalsister companies had three months to comply with subpoenas for documents andprepare for Tuesday's hearing.

''To say we have come with a contrite heart and say some day in the futurewe'll negotiate simply isn't satisfactory,'' said Insurance CommissionerKevin McCarty, who called off the hearing after just two hours.

McCarty noted the insurer did have time to file a 51-page objection to thesubpoena issued by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Steve Parton, OIR's general counsel, said Allstate's objection asserted thatmost of the 59 areas where the agency sought documents and information wereconsidered trade secrets by the company and thus couldn't be turned over toregulators.

more . . . . .


Daytona Beach News Journal

Report suggests ways to improve life for black males

Staff Writer
January 16, 2008

With a year of study under its belt, The Council on the Social Status ofBlack Men and Boys issued a list of recommendations Tuesday to improve lifefor black males in Florida, including ending zero tolerance in schools andhelping black-owned firms get more government contracts.

And "the man in the mirror" must take action to overcome the plight thatblack males face, said Levi Williams, the council's chairman.

Williams hopes for support and money from the governor and statelegislators, but he said success of his panel's recommendations depends moreimportantly on action by the black men and youths who were the focus of theeffort.

"What are you going to do as the man in the mirror to move forward?" saidWilliams, a Fort Lauderdale attorney. "The most important thing this reportcan do is allow individuals to be educated and take on their own advocacyfor their home, neighborhood and community."

The council's report presents a grim challenge for black males. They're morelikely to be poor, fail in school, be unemployed, lack access to health careand wind up in jail.

more . . . . .


Orlando Sentinel,0,2616925.story

Florida warns of wildfire threat as drought persists
State tells homeowners, officials they should be ready for worst

Kevin Spear
Sentinel Staff Writer
January 16, 2008

A harsh drought has put Florida on track for yet another explosive outbreakof wildfires in the coming months, state officials warned Tuesday.

The dire pronouncement was meant to put everyone from homeowners to firedepartments on alert. Already, managers of conservation lands and forestrangers who specialize in the gritty art of beating back wildfires have beenpreparing for the worst.

Recent global-weather patterns are compounding the already record-settingdry spell of the past two years with the formation of a La Ni�a, whichtypically dries out the Southeast during winter and spring.

The phenomenon, characterized by cooling waters in the equatorial Pacific,often doesn't relent until the state's annual rainy season kicks in to dousetinder-dry vegetation.

"We put a little red pin on June the 15th, a date that historically has beenpretty good to us," said Ira Jolly, chief of firefighting at the stateDivision of Forestry. "That's when it's rainy in South Florida and the rainsare moving north."

more . . . . .


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