Saturday, March 21, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 21, 2009

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Washington Post
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-Winning By Losing On Prop. 8
By Jeff Amestoy
The California Supreme Court will uphold Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage passed by the state's voters in November. It is a decision that progressives ought to welcome.

-What the Mayor Won't Tell You About D.C.
By Colbert I. King
This week ended with Mayor Adrian Fenty delivering a 2009 State of the District address that was most notable for what was left out. The speech did not report on the condition of the nation's capital. It did not contain a word about the dramatic event with which Fenty started the week: his release of a report that our city has the country's highest rates of HIV infection and AIDS -- even "higher than West Africa," said the city's HIV/AIDS administrator, Shannon Hader. (A small quibble: "West Africa" is not a country. And while several nations in that region have HIV prevalence rates below the District's, rates in Nigeria, Togo and Ivory Coast are higher, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.)

-Thank God America Isn't Like Europe -- Yet
By Charles Murray
Do we want the United States to be like Europe? The European model has worked in many ways. I am delighted whenever I get a chance to go to Stockholm or Amsterdam, not to mention Rome or Paris. There's a lot to like -- a lot to love -- about day-to-day life in Europe. But I argue that the answer to this question is "no." Not for economic reasons. I want to focus on another problem with the European model: namely, that it drains too much of the life from life.

-Britten's Prime 'Grimes' Stokes Fear and Loathing
By Anne Midgette
Opera is theater. Sometimes that seems to be forgotten. When a Eugene O'Neill play is revived, it's welcomed as a classic. When an opera by Benjamin Britten from the same period is revived, people still worry about its "modern music."

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-Gay seminar stirs outrage in Morocco
Outrage swept across Morocco following a gay association's announcement of a planned seminar on sexual problems. The seminar entitled "Gender and Sexuality," is set to be held in April and will tackle sensitive issues that people are too shy to discuss for religious and social reasons, said Mariam Benebodallah, media spokesperson for the Moroccan homosexual association Kif Kif. "The seminar will host experts and lecturers who will present their points of view about how Moroccans can develop their sex life," she told"We will tackle the issues at the seminar with extreme caution, and we are not trying to provoke anyone."

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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--Jamaican guilty in gay murder; Grim pics of tranny attacked by mob
Some small justice was delivered this week for a murdered gay man in Jamaica, I've located pics of a brutal attack on a transgender person in 2007, and did you know there was a "Gay Eradication Day" in East Kingston?:

-Study looks at poor among gays, lesbians
By Andrea Stone, USA TODAY
Lesbian couples are more likely to be poor than married heterosexuals, and children of same-sex parents are twice as likely to live in poverty as those of traditional married couples, a new report shows. UCLA's Williams Institute, which studies gay issues, says its report out today is the first to analyze poverty among gay and lesbian couples. The report is an analysis of the most recent data on same-sex unmarried partners from the 2000 Census and two smaller surveys that include questions on sexual orientation. Together, it argues, they debunk "a popular stereotype (that) paints lesbians and gay men as an affluent elite." Unlike the upper-middle-class gay characters on TV's The L Word and Will and Grace, "There are clearly many poor lesbian, gay and bisexual people," says co-author Lee Badgett, an economist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "That alone is an important finding," Badgett says.

-Sager Symposium breaks off ties with Genderfuck
While the Sager Symposium and the Genderfuck Party have never officially been associated with one another, the party is generally publicized as the culminating event of the Symposium. This year, however, the Symposium Planning Committee has formally terminated its unofficial affiliation with the party, on the grounds that the party's atmosphere is antithetical to the "safe space" that the Symposium strives to cultivate. Sager Symposoum Committee Co-Chair Maria Kelly '10, alluded to the heightened incidence of sexual misconduct and harassment at last year's party as one factor motivating the decision. "After last year, with the occurrence of homophobic events, even from people within the campus, we were getting so disheartened about the party," Kelly said. Kelly emphasized the extreme divergence between the party and the events that precede it. "The goals of the Symposium and the party are becoming separate. We talked about it and concluded that it wouldn't be associated with us. The party has been detrimental to the Symposium," Kelly said.

-Task Force Action Fund
Count Our Marriages
Census Bureau officials announced that they would waste time and money to remove any same-sex couple from being listed as married in the 2010 census survey. They plan to go line by line erasing our relationships - even our legally recognized marriages in California, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Make sure our relationships are counted! Fill out the fields below and we'll add your name to our petition to the Census Bureau:

-Should Call Girls (and Boys) Kiss and Tell?
As public trainwrecks go, Spitzergate was a doozy. This week, we observe the one-year anniversary of the resignation of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer, who, after a successful career busting escort agencies, was himself felled by revelations that he was a high-paying john. Ashley Dupre, one of the escorts he was seeing, feels he's been "punished enough." The real casualties of his downfall, however, are people whose sin was trying to earn a living in one of New York's more durable service industries -- among them Kristin Davis, who is reported to have played matchmaker for the governor and spent three months in Rikers Island for operating an escort business. (Until one of her escorts spotted Spitzer in a local newspaper, Davis says she had no idea who she was dealing with.)

Wrestler won't apologize for gay porn photos
Last year, All-American wrestler Paul Donahoe (University of Nebraska) was booted from the University's team after the University learned that Donahoe and a teammate posed nude for a gay website. Paul had been on his own as a young man since high school, and did the shoot for the $4K that he earned. He says he is straight (no reason to doubt him and it's really quite irrelevant), and that he didn't tell anyone about the shoot because he didn't want the attention - just needed the money. ell, the University found out and took away his scholarship and booted him off the team. Paul sat out a semester, until getting a chance to transfer to Edinboro University in PA, where he is doing fantastically well. Paul refuses to ask for forgiveness or apologize for anything he did. And why in the hell should he? The NCAA claimed - and the University claimed - he broke rules of benefiting commercially from his image as a wrestler. So, he gave the money to a charity. And that should have been the end of it. There was zero reason to kick him off the team, and therefore zero reason for him to apologize.

-Gay grads of West Point come out
"We're publicly announcing our sexuality... we are standing to be counted." A new organization is taking a different path to help end the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy by offering to partner with the nation's oldest military academy, West Point. Their goal is to "support thousands of LGBT soldiers currently serving in the armed forces, and to educate the current military leadership on the importance of accepting and honoring the sacrifices and selfless service of their LGBT soldiers and officers." Knights Out, a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) West Point Alumni group, issued a statement pledging "to serve as a critical support and advocacy group for the full acceptance of gay service members, particularly at West Point." By publicly outing themselves, the group is striving to take ownership of their contributions to the institution and the military in general.

Steve Rothaus
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-Ros-Lehtinen meets with AIDS activists
From Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:
Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen met in Washington, DC with Brandon Macsata of the ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+) to discuss the Early Treatment of HIV Act (ETHA )which was introduced this week in the House by Representatives Eliot Engel, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. ETHA would allow states to extend Medicaid coverage to low income individuals with the HIV virus before it advances to full blown AIDS. Currently, lower income persons must first become disabled by AIDS before receiving Medicaid provided care and treatment, which could have prevented them from becoming seriously ill, and at which point treatment is far more expensive.

South Florida Blade
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-Anti-gay smear in Dania
Hankerson considers pressing charges against creator of illegal flyer
It might have seemed strange in the weeks leading up to the March 10 run-off election for Dania Beach City Commission that no anti-gay mud had been slung at openly gay candidate Derrick Hankerson. Then a nasty anonymous flyer, that portrayed Hankerson as a radical gay drug-dealing felon, an accusation that is not true, began circulating in the community four days before voters went to polls to elect three new commissioners.

-'Silly Faggot' t-shirt dampens AIDS Walk spirit
RoadSafe Employee terminated after act
Participants in last Sunday's Florida AIDS Walk received an ugly reception by a worker employed by Road Safe, the company contracted to erect and dismantle the barricades along the walk route. Shortly after the participants left Huizenga Plaza in downtown Fort Lauderdale, an unidentified employee of RoadSafe prominently faced the crowd wearing a t-shirt saying, "Silly Faggots, Dix are for Chix".

-Winfrey offers DeGeneres spot on O magazine cover
Only other person to share cover was Michelle Obama
Oprah Winfrey offered to share the cover of O magazine with Ellen DeGeneres, and DeGeneres - who's been campaigning for the spot - has accepted. Winfrey surprised DeGeneres with a video telephone call on Friday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She told a shocked DeGeneres that she was "calling to officially invite you on the cover of O."

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-Frank Discussion on the New Gay Agenda in Washington
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
Congressman Barney Frank talks to our Ross Palombo about his hopes for the Obama presidency and the issues facing our nation. Read more...

-Murder trial for pair accused of incinerating gay man
A suburban London woman broke down in tears as she described seeing her neighbor engulfed in a "big ball of fire."

-Anti-gay group accused of 'intimidating' lawmakers
A conservative Christian group opposing an LGBT equality bill and pressing for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage has been accused of trying to intimidate two West Virginia lawmakers

Pink News - UK
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-One-third of HIV sufferers 'face discrimination'
A survey has suggested that one-third of people living with HIV experienced discrimination relating to their status in the last year. It also found that discrimination was compounded by homophobia, racism or asylum and immigration-related prejudice.

-Northen Ireland MP Iris Robinson will not face prosecution for comparing homosexuality to paedophillia
A Northern Ireland MP who said gay people could be 'turned around' and compared homosexuality to paedophilia will not be prosecuted. Iris Robinson, the MP for Strangford, was investigated by police after complaints.

-Australian government to 'block' gay websites
A blacklist of banned websites drawn up by the Australian government includes gay sites. The government is proposing a law that requires internet service providers to filter and block inappropriate content, such as that related to terrorism and abusive images of children. It has drawn up a list of sites to be blacklisted.

-Vermont senate committee approves gay marriage bill
A Vermont senate committee has unanimously approved a bill to allow gay marriage in the state. The news comes after a week of hearings on the issue, including a public debate on Wednesday.

-Orange County school sued over homophobic and sexist threats
Corona del Mar high school has been accused of failing to protect a female student who was targeted with gay slurs and threatened with rape and murder.

Daily Queer News
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-$357K DC HIV Execuative Gets $25,000 Bonus
Michael Petelis | Petrelis Files
A little bird in Washington sang an anger-inducing song to me this morning, all about Craig Shniderman, the executive director of the hot meals Food and Friends AIDS service organization, receiving a $25,000 bonus since he faced brutal criticism last year over his $357, 447 salary. Here's the scoop. The Washington Blade, which has extensively covered Schniderman's pay and the cuts in services at Food and Friends with accuracy and balance, will report on its front-page tomorrow that this avaricious AIDS leader got a nice five-figure bonus recently. The story will also be on the paper's web site. Given the extreme reactions of donors, clients and accountability activists upon learning of his $357,447 pay last summer, how the heck could the board of Shniderman's agency even think of giving the man a bonus, and in this economy too, not to mention the American public's anger over bonuses to corrupt Big Banking executives? What the eff was going through the minds of Food and Friends' board members when they decided to fork over $25,000 on top of his salary? Read more

-My Frustrations with 'Christians'
Earlier this month, I presented a lecture on my best-selling book "What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality" to students at the University of West Georgia, where I teach. Probably 150 people were there. Lambda at UWG, the campus gay-straight alliance, sponsored the event. It was fine until the Q&A segment; then all hell broke loose. As is their style, the Bible-toting "Christians" attended in force, teams of them strategically located in different corners of the hall. Initial interventions were restrained, but the intensity escalated until people were shouting at one another, cheering and arguing. The lecture officially ended as scheduled at 9 p.m. Many wanted to continue the "discussion," and in foolish good will, I agreed to stay. About 50 people remained, some leaving and then returning, until 10:30 p.m. when, emotionally drained, headachy, and absolutely frustrated, I declared I was going home, and I shut down the hall. Read more

-Gay Republicans Seek New Home
Southern Voice
Some gay Republicans are considering organizing outside of the Log Cabin Republicans, raising questions about whether a new group will form to compete with the organization. Chris Barron, a former Log Cabin political director, said he's involved with activities such as "talking to gay Republicans and kind of getting a sense for what the priorities of gay Republicans are right now." "A lot of folks who care a lot about the direction that this party is headed in . are seriously concerned about the lack of a voice for gay Republicans in the party right now," he said. Jimmy LaSalvia, a former Log Cabin policy director, said he's had discussions with gay Republicans at GOP events and concluded that Log Cabin is "missing a lot of opportunities to provide a voice for gay conservatives." Read more

-Tax Dollars for Tyrants
Richard J. Rosendall | Independent Gay Forum
First published in Bay Windows, March 19, 2009
I recently excerpted the HIV/AIDS-related items from the State Department's Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2008 (online at The grim survey ranges from Russia (where Moscow officials undermine prevention efforts by accusing foreign HIV/AIDS organizations of encouraging pedophilia, prostitution and drug use) to Burma and Cambodia (where sex trafficking victims are at risk for HIV/AIDS as well as physical and mental abuse). In Africa, AIDS orphans from Kenya to Swaziland resort to prostitution for survival, while adults from Burundi to Malawi rape children out of a belief that sex with virgins will cleanse them of HIV. These heartbreaking practices occur even in South Africa despite its modern economy. One program to combat the global AIDS pandemic is the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). It was reauthorized last year at $48 billion, which pays for a lot of effective prevention and treatment - at least to the extent that the funds are not being channeled to anti-science and anti-gay religious zealots. James Kirchick of The New Republic wrote on March 10, "The problems with PEPFAR were inherent in the 2003 legislation establishing the program." For example, a third of PEPFAR prevention funds were reserved for pushing abstinence until marriage. Kirchick writes, "Many organizations combating HIV - whether groups that worked with prostitutes, gays, or intravenous drug users - have been either neglected or explicitly prohibited from receiving U.S. money, while evangelical Christian organizations have had little problem accessing funds. In this way, while PEPFAR distributed drugs to millions of people living with the disease, the program undermined the global fight against HIV transmission." Read more

William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Columnist
A man looks at a cross set up for a soldier killed in Iraq. The cross is set up every Sunday at the beach in Santa Monica by Veterans for Peace as part of what they call "Arlington West." Six years ago, the United States of America began the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since then, 4,259 American soldiers have been killed and tens of thousands more have been wounded. There is no accurate accounting of Iraqi dead and wounded, because as we were told, we do not do body counts. Because the Bush administration left its Iraq expenditures off the budget, and because of the tremendous amount of war-profiteering, graft and theft that has been involved, we do not know exactly how much we have spent. For the record, 2,192 days later, this is how we got here: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction." Read more

-Kerry Urges Holder to Reunite Gay Couple
Ethan Jacobs | Bay Windows | EDGE Boston
Haverhill resident Tim Coco tried in vain to petition the Bush administration to allow his husband, Genesio Oliveira, Jr., to return from his native Brazil to the United States, but now Coco and Sen. John Kerry hope that they will have more success under the Obama administration. Coco and Oliveira married in 2005, but two years ago Oliveira was forced to return to Brazil after his immigration status expired. Had the couple's marriage been recognized at the federal level Oliveira would have been allowed to stay in the country. Oliveria applied for asylum in the United States in 2002, claiming he was sexually assaulted by government officials in his home country, but his application was rejected. Today Kerry sent Attorney General Eric Holder a letter asking him to review Oliveira's asylum case and overturn the immigration court's earlier ruling. Here is the text of Kerry's letter: Read more

-Unbridled Stupidity Still Plagues Republicans
HotSpots! Magazine | EDGE Boston
The image that was sent from Mayor Dean Grose's personal e-mail account. Given their disastrous showing in the 2006 and 2008 elections, conventional wisdom suggests the GOP needs to broaden its appeal. But in the past few weeks, there has been an epidemic of Republicans saying and doing some rather obnoxious things. Some Republican politicians and party leaders seem determined to alienate, rather than attract, as many voters as possible. Hopes were high for the new chairman of the Republican National Committee, Michael Steele, when he started sounding more centrist on Fox News at the beginning of February. He told Chris Wallace that, yes, the GOP needs to do a better job of reaching out to people who favor abortion rights and gay rights. After that interview, the party's right-wing forces must have heavily chastised Steele for sounding too moderate. Three weeks later, Steele's attitude showed a marked change. Appearing on Mike Gallagher's radio show on February 23rd, Gallagher asked chairman Steele whether there was room for compromise on the issue of gay marriage, and if he would consider supporting civil unions. "No, no, no. What should we do that for? What are you, crazy? No. Why would we backslide on a core, founding value of this country?" Steele's emphatic "no" was a clear indication that the Taliban wing of the Republican Party is still very much in charge. Read more


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NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - March 21, 2009

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New York Times
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-Rage Redux: Changing Channels
Let's discuss the George W. Bush presidential library. I am doing this as a public service. Our howling about government bailouts has sent Congress into a panic attack that's getting out of hand. The White House economic team may not be all we hoped for, but let them work in peace for a few days without having to worry that some legislator in search of outrage creds is going to crash through the window and bite Tim Geithner on the ankle.

-While Mr. Perry and Mr. Jindal Fiddle
Bobby Jindal | Rick Perry
Republican governors who have been threatening to refuse federal aid rather than sensibly expand state unemployment insurance programs are putting ideology ahead of the needs of their constituents.

-Iran's Supreme Leader Dismisses Obama Overtures
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's supreme leader rebuffed President Barack Obama's latest outreach on Saturday, saying Tehran was still waiting to see concrete changes in U.S. policy. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was responding to a video message Obama released Friday in which he reached out to Iran on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian new year, and expressed hopes for an improvement in nearly 30 years of strained relations.

Washington Post
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-Bankers Press Case Against Punitive Tax
Executives Cite Health of Industry, Economy
By Binyamin Appelbaum
An alarmed banking industry looked for friends in Washington yesterday as it tried to head off severe congressional restrictions on compensation, fearful that a wave of popular anger about vast paydays will result in permanent damage to the industry.

-AIG Suing To Recover Taxes in IRS Dispute
Firm Says It Has Duty To Press On
By David S. Hilzenrath
As AIG takes billions of dollars from the federal government to stay afloat, it is suing the government for millions more. The big insurer is trying to recover $306.1 million of taxes, interest and penalties from the Internal Revenue Service. Among other things, AIG is contesting an IRS determination last year that the company improperly claimed $61.9 million of tax credits associated with complex international transactions.

-Locked Out of Refinancing
As Rates Dip, Some Find They Don't Qualify
By Dina ElBoghdady and Renae Merle
The Federal Reserve's huge gesture this week to keep already-low mortgage rates down seems to be working.

-Hungary's PM to quit amid tumbling popularity
BUDAPEST -- Hungary's Prime Minister announced Saturday that he is stepping down because of his government's low popularity amid a worsening financial crisis.

-Vatican Official Defends Child's Abortion
By Francis X. Rocca
Religion News Service
The Vatican's top bioethics official said the two Brazilian doctors who performed an abortion on a 9-year-old rape victim do not merit excommunication, because they acted to save her life.

-Crunch Time for Fixing Health Care
By Ruth Marcus
You wouldn't know it from the headlines, but it's crunch time on health-care reform. In a series of high-level meetings at the White House and on Capitol Hill, critical decisions are being made that will help decide whether the comprehensive health reform that has eluded policymakers for decades finally comes to fruition -- and what the system will look like for decades.

Wall Street Journal

-U.S. Sets Plan for Toxic Assets
The federal government will announce as soon as Monday a three-pronged plan to rid the financial system of toxic assets, betting that investors will be attracted to the combination of discount prices and government assistance.

-Why Foreign Aid Is Hurting Africa
Money from rich countries has trapped many African nations in a cycle of corruption, slower economic growth and poverty. Cutting off the flow would be far more beneficial, says Dambisa Moyo.
A month ago I visited Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. This suburb of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, is home to more than one million people, who eke out a living in an area of about one square mile -- roughly 75% the size of New York's Central Park. It is a sea of aluminum and cardboard shacks that forgotten families call home. The idea of a slum conjures up an image of children playing amidst piles of garbage, with no running water and the rank, rife stench of sewage. Kibera does not disappoint.

-Russia's Rule of Lawlessness
Muckraking Attorney Is Murdered Despite Reform Pledge
MOSCOW -- Just minutes before his murder, Stanislav Markelov was at his most defiant. Protesting the release of a war criminal he had helped convict, he declared: "The person who decided to free him ... should be held criminally responsible."

Miami Herald
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-Computer attacks prompt call for national cyber-security czar
After computers were tapped, U.S. senators decided to recommend creating the post of a cyber-security czar.
Cyber-hackers believed to be based in China have tapped three times into the computer network in U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson's office, the Florida Democrat said Friday.

Fort Report
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-The 100 People Who Are Changing America
It would be a luxury if the function of the list we present here were simply to shake ourselves out of complacency. But, unfortunately, we are far beyond that. With the election of Barack Obama and the deep hole that his predecessor left for him to dig his way out of, change is no longer a dreamy notion but a reality - and a responsibility. We've ranked 100 artists and leaders, policymakers, writers, thinkers, scientists and provocateurs who are fighting every day to show us what is possible - whether it's engineering a new electrical grid, reinventing the way movies are made or challenging us to let go of our illusions and face the brave new world that stands before us. This list is not necessarily about power in the old-fashioned sense but about the power of ideas, the power of innovation, the power of making people think and making them move.

-Which Side Are You On? 100 Days
By Christopher Hayes
Legislative fights in Washington rarely break down neatly along class lines. Often, the coalitions on either side of an issue are unwieldy and eclectic, with one sector or industry battling another. The notable exception is the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would reform a broken labor elections system, making it easier (one might say possible) for workers to unionize.

-Welcome to double-standard America
The AIG scandal has made it apparent that we are ruled by a government of men, not laws.
By David Sirota
United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard likes to say that Washington policymakers "treat the people who take a shower after work much differently than they treat the people who shower before they go to work." In the 21st century Gilded Age, the blue-collar shower-after-work crowd is given the tough, while the white-collar shower-before-work gang gets the love, and never before this week was that doctrine made so clear.

-End water giveaway
Bottled water companies have quite the deal. They pump about 5.4 million gallons of water a day from state springs and aquifers, bottle it and sell it - and Florida does not collect a dime on those sales. Gov. Charlie Crist would not end the giveaway outright. But his proposal for a 6-cents-per-gallon tax is a reasonable starting point the Legislature should embrace.

-Was Eliot Spitzer Taken Out Because He Was Going to Bust AIG?
Posted by Melina Ripcoco
Eliot Spitzer is back and he's talking. The thought of this, no doubt, brings a small shiver to the boardrooms of some of the perps walking around trying to figure out how to hide the money this week. Today Edward Liddy testified that there have been death threats made to or about executives who received bonuses, so no names will be put on the record, but these anonymous players must know that the jig is up in the land of easy-money. Isn't what to do a no-brainer for these great Americans?


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FLORIDA DIGEST - March 21, 2009

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Pridefest Fort Lauderdale is This Weekend


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-Ad for Islam on Broward bus may lead to a ban
By Scott Wyman
In the wake of controversial bus ads saying Jesus followed the principles of Islam, Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports commissioners are considering a ban on advertising religious messages on public transportation and all other government property. The new policy would still permit churches and other religious organizations to place general ads promoting activities such as services or fairs. An ad saying "Jesus Saves" would be prohibited, but one publicizing the annual festival at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Fort Lauderdale Is your Fort Lauderdale restaurant clean? - Click Here. would be allowed.,0,4723493.story

-Miramar woman jailed after aborting daughter's baby
By Juan Ortega and Rafael A. Olmeda
Outraged, the Broward judge called it tantamount to murder. Allegations against a Miramar woman charged with illegally aborting her teenage daughter's baby so troubled Judge John Hurley on Friday that he raised her bail by more than $170,000.,0,66355.story

Miami Herald
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-University of Miami unveils high-tech heart labs
Like grown-up kids in a candy store, University of Miami heart doctors rushed from machine to cutting-edge machine Friday, showing off a new suite of heart-repair labs they say is one of the most advanced in the country.

Fort Report
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-Crist to hold back 15 percent in state spending
Buys lawmakers more time to balance state budget
By Brandon Larrabee

-Inmate programs may get the axe
Lawmakers are considering cutting education and substance abuse programs for rehabilitating prisoners. Lawmakers are considering cutting education and substance abuse programs for rehabilitating prisoners.
By Joe Follick

-Miami-Dade school district puts off raid on school-group coffers
Miami-Dade's cash-strapped school district will let schools keep money raised by students and parents for extracurricular activities -- for now. The students held bake sales, raising a few hundred dollars for the marching band. Car washes brought in money for the chess club.


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Friday, March 20, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 20, 2009

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New York Times
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-Benefits for Gay Couples
To the Editor:
Re "Obama on Spot Over a Benefit to Gay Couples" (front page, March 13):
The Defense of Marriage Act does indeed harm gay federal employees who cannot get health and other benefits for their spouses as their straight co-workers can. But the damage of the act extends far beyond that.
In Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et al., our lawsuit filed on March 3, we represent federal employees and retirees and others in Massachusetts harmed by the Defense of Marriage Act, including widowers whose grief the federal government compounded by denying them all Social Security benefits intended to ease the loss of a spouse.
We also represent married couples with young children who are unable to file their federal tax returns jointly - and thus pay thousands more in taxes.
The federal government acknowledges that there are 1,138 laws in which one's marital status is relevant. The path of destruction of the Defense of Marriage Act is wide. It must be removed from our laws, whether by litigation or legislation.
Gary Buseck
Legal Director, Gay and Lesbian
Advocates and Defenders
Boston, March 13, 2009

-To the Editor:
I believe that extending health benefits to spouses of gay federal employees is a matter of fundamental fairness.
I am a 20-year federal government employee. I have been with my partner for 11 years. We have two children - neglected children we adopted. I pay taxes, I own a home, and I support my kids' school. But how does the government treat my family?
When I enter my federal workplace, my partner becomes an absolute stranger to me. I cannot provide him with benefits. We constantly worry that he might lose his job and, with it, the only chance for him to have benefits.
In my office, spouses of straight couples receive benefits and can choose to stay home and watch the kids. That is not an option for us.
We do not ask for a handout. We do not ask for special favors. And we gladly and lovingly accept taking care of children cast away by others. All we ask is to be treated like everyone else.
I hope that before people reflexively criticize extending benefits to us, they listen to the stories of real-life families like mine. We are no threat to anyone; indeed, we are constructive - dare I say conservative? - members of society.
Thomas Dahdouh
San Francisco, March 13, 2009

Wall Street Journal

-How Can Greens Make Themselves Less White
A few days after Barack Obama's inauguration, the newly appointed head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, gave an interview to Essence magazine. Ms. Jackson explained that she planned to "elevate the issue" of "environmental justice" during her tenure. For those who are unfamiliar with the term, environmental justice is the sweet spot where the green movement meets the racial grievance industry. As the Essence interviewer put it: "The practice of locating polluting industries in minority communities -- and the consequent health impacts -- is well documented. African Americans are almost 80 percent more likely than White Americans to live in neighborhoods near hazardous industrial pollution sites."

Steve Rothaus
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-Disgraced pastor Ted Haggard, wife to appear on TV's 'Divorce Court'
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Former evangelical pastor Ted Haggard and his wife are planning another TV appearance, this time to talk about their marriage. The two are in Los Angeles taping an appearance on the syndicated Twentieth Television show "Divorce Court," to be broadcast nationally April 1. The show's presiding judge, Lynn Toler, is interviewing the couple about how their marriage survived after a male prostitute from Denver alleged a cash-for-sex relationship with Ted Haggard in November 2006, executive producer Mark Koberg said.

The Advocate
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-Bishop Denounces College for OK'ing Gay Speaker
By Michelle Garcia
Scranton, Pa.'s bishop said Wednesday that he will not set foot on a local Catholic university's campus because it invited a gay speaker to talk about LGBT issues and rights. Author and speaker Keith Boykin visited Misericordia University in February for a program held by the school's Diversity Institute, according to the Scranton Times Leader. The day before he appeared, Bishop Joseph Martino of the Diocese of Scranton issued a statement, saying that Boykin's stance on marriage equality is "disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching."

-Gay Dads Must Appear on Birth Certificate, Judge Rules
By Julie Bolcer
A federal judge has given Louisiana 15 days to add the names of two out-of-state fathers to the birth certificate of the Shreveport-born son they adopted. U.S. District Judge Jay Zainey maintains that because the adoption by Oren Adar and Mickey Ray Smith became formal in New York, the adoption law of that state applies. Gay couples can list both names on their child's birth certificate in New York.

-With Love, Yoko
Yoko Ono speaks out on behalf of gay rights, has had four dance mixes reach number 1 in the past decade.and she Twitters. Now, how many septuagenarians can you say that about?
By Graham Kolbeins
You wouldn't think it'd be this way, but the seemingly simple concepts of peace, love, and equality have often been viewed as ridiculous, radical, even dangerous ideas. It hasn't always made her popular, but Yoko Ono has been championing these causes for more than five decades, interweaving her convictions into groundbreaking conceptual art and an awe-inspiring body of music. Ranging from enigmatic free-jazz abstraction to deeply personal pop music about feminism, loss, and cultural identity, Ono's music is widely varied -- never safe or conventional.

-Florida Says No to Bestiality
Gays and lesbians can't adopt in the state of Florida. Transgender people are being branded as sexual deviants and will likely soon be barred from using bathrooms appropriate to the sex they identify with. And now, Florida's state senate agriculture committee has finally taken a small step into the 21st century and voted unanimously to charge anyone who has sex with animals with a third-degree felony, according to the Miami Herald. Florida was one of 16 states with no official law on the books banning bestiality. "There's a tremendous correlation between sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and crimes against animals," Sen. Nan Rich, a Democrat from Sunrise, told the Miami Herald. "This is long overdue. These are heinous crimes. And people belong in jail." The bill is likely to pass later this year.

-New Charges Filed Against Mormon Church
The California group that in November charged the Mormon Church with failing to report the full extent of its financial involvement in Proposition 8 added to its complaint on Thursday. Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate filed charges with the California Fair Political Practices Commission accusing the church of creating the National Organization for Marriage as a front group for its efforts in the state, and failing to report the costs as required by law.

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-Leadership, at last
By Lisa Neff
Thanks to Obama, America is ready to join the rest of the West in condemning the killing, torture and arbitrary arrest of GLBT people. Read more...

-Getting rid of the "fourth gender"
By Emma Ruby-Sachs
The United Arab Emirates has launched a public campaign to rid the country of "manly women." Read more...

Pink News - UK
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-God Hates Fags preachers target London primary school
Preachers from the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church have said they plan to picket a London primary school which ran lessons about gay relationships. A picket schedule on their website announces they will be at the George Tomlinson School in Leytonstone next Friday.

-Rowan Atkinson attacks gay hate law
Comedian Rowan Atkinson has criticised hate speech legislation, saying that the House of Lords must vote against a government attempt to remove a free speech clause in a homophobic hatred offence.

-Orange County school sued over homophobic and sexist threats
Corona del Mar high school has been accused of failing to protect a female student who was targeted with gay slurs and threatened with rape and murder.

-Critics slate Lesbian Vampire Killers film
Lesbian Vampire Killers, the comedy-horror film by Gavin and Stacey stars James Corden and Matthew Horne, has been almost universally panned. The movie, which features the duo as a pair of friends trapped in a village and surrounded by lesbian vampires, has been slated for its lads mag humour and "moronic" script.

-Gay man de-baptises himself
A man has asked to be 'de-baptised', saying that he was too young to decide his religion at the age of five months. John Hunt, 56, says that he wants his 1953 baptism at the St Jude and St Aidan parish church in the Southwark diocese, south London, cancelled because he was not consulted and does not believe in God.

-LGBT advice centre chief admits to looking at child porn
The boss of a centre offering advice to young LGBT people has blamed his sex addiction for trawling the internet looking for porn. James Rennie, 38, chief executive of the Leith-based LGBT Youth Scotland admitted he had looked at child porn.

-Dictionary redefines marriage to include gays
US dictionary-maker Merriam-Webster has redefined the word 'marriage' to include gays and lesbians. It added that the term also applies to "the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage".

-Court told gay man was burnt to death by ex-boyfriend
Kingston Crown Court has been told the final moments of a gay man who was doused in petrol and set alight outside his home. Charlie Davies, 23, was attacked on June 14th last year. He died 12 days later in hospital.

-Hundreds gather to debate gay marriage in Vermont
More than 500 people flocked to the house chamber in Montpelier, Vermont, last night to testify on same-sex marriage in the state. Amidst a week of hearings, the public debate last three hours and saw 115 people testify in favour of gay marriage and 85 against it.

-Lesbian continues fight to be Presbyterian minister
A lesbian in San Francisco who has been a candidate for the Presbyterian ministry for 22 years is to have her case heard in church court this week. Lisa Larges' candidacy for ordination has twice been approved by her regional church authorities.

Daily Queer News
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-More Signs that Times are Changing in DC for LGBT Americans
Bilerico Project
Editor's Note: Guest bloggers Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications in Washington, and Wes Combs, President of Witeck-Combs Communications, advise Fortune 100 companies and nonprofit organizations on gay business and market research issues. Together they wrote the first business book on marketing to the GLBT market entitled "Business Inside Out: Capturing Millions of Brand-Loyal Gay Consumers" (Kaplan Publishing, September 2006). The impact of diversity and full inclusion in any organization is strengthened when its leader "walks the walk" while "talking the talk." As business owners and residents of the Washington area, we are witnessing how the early actions of our current President are sending tangible signals to those in the nation's capital and around the world about the true meaning of diversity and its importance to successfully defining and promoting its policies. This week, we witnessed first hand how the Obama administration is renewing its early commitment to diversity and equal participation. We were fortunate to be among seven LGBT small business owners invited to attend a White House briefing when President Obama announced his administration's small business initiative. The President, joined by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, announced that the Treasury Department will purchase up to $15 billion in securities backed by Small Business Administration loans in an effort to unfreeze the secondary market for SBA loans. What this means to us and the other small business owners like us is that it should free up capital to make new loans to assist with business growth - and in this shattered economy, for many fragile businesses to ensure their survival too. Read more

-Over 1000 Gather as the Battle Over Prop 8 Continues
Kimmie Osborne | Somona State Star
It was only a fifty-two percent majority that banned marriage between same-sex couples and challenged civil rights for many Californians. That slight majority allowed Proposition 8 to pass in Nov. 2008. Although the proposition passed, the two sides are at it again. Each presented their case in front of seven justices at the Supreme Court hearings on Thurs., March 5. Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community joined forces with people from many walks of life to strike down Prop. 8 in November of last year. Their efforts fell just short of a victory, with a 52 to 48 percent vote in favor of Prop. 8. "My family actively participated in the protests against Prop. 8 once it passed last November," said Don Romesburg, professor in the Women's and Gender Studies department. Since the proposition was put on the ballot last year, relentless protests, demonstrations, rallies and even lectures have taken place spreading the word about the inequality of Prop. 8. Read more

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-UN: Act Now to Support LGBT Rights Worldwide
Sign the petition urging the United Nations to call for an end to criminalizing people because of who they are or whom they love.

-KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. Mar. 17, 2009: A 25-year-old man was yesterday found guilty of manslaughter in the murder of former Jamaica trade ambassador, Peter King. Sheldon Pusey was found guilty by a 12-member jury who arrived at a manslaughter verdict. Pusey, of St. Mary, was charged in 2007 with the March 20, 2006 murder of King. King was found with 32 stab wounds at his home in Waterloo, St. Andrew. During the trial, the court heard tapes of alleged homosexual acts at the victim's home and testimony as to the slain ambassador's sexual lifestyle. Pusey is set to be sentenced on April 1. He admitted to stabbing King because the former ambassador, he said, tried to drug him and then have sex with him.

-Radicals distribute anti-gay posters in parliament
BELGRADE -- Serb Radical Party officials have been handing out offensive posters in parliament depicting the president of the Queeria NGO, Boban Stojanovic. The poster has a picture of Stojanovic in underwear and black leather trousers, carrying a whip and a nun's habit. The poster states that the anti-discrimination law is "poofy" and states that Queeria received EUR 2,725 of funding from the Serbian budget. "While Serbs are being made redundant, look who Boris Tadic and the Serbian government are financing," is the slogan on one of the posters. SRS official Aleksandar Martinovic told journalists that the party had received the posters from the Nasi association from Arandelovac and the 1389 Movement. "These photographs prove that this is not about evil and corrupt fundamentalists persecuting poor, unfortunate homosexuals, but an open war against the Serbian Orthodox Church (SPC) and against all traditional moral values," Martinovic said. He said that the law was a "persecution of Christians," and that this type of behavior should be dealt with by the state institutions because it "imperils the rights of all religious citizens in Serbia that not only belong to the SPC, but to other churches as well."

-Since 2006 over eight million Europeans have exercised their right to reside in another EU Member State. However, the Member States have erected many obstacles to the free movement of the EU's citizens, according to the EP Civil Liberties Committee. The public still has little awareness of its rights, including the right to vote in local and European elections in the country where they live, say MEPs in two reports.

-End "Corrective" Rape of Lesbians in South Africa
Target: South African Presidnet Kgalema Motlanthe
A new ActionAid report describes the shocking rise of "corrective" rape in South Africa - in which South African lesbians are being raped in an effort to "cure" them of their sexual orientation. Support groups in Cape Town say they see 10 new cases of "corrective" rape every week. And it's even more widespread around the rest of the country.

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-Chicago Frat Boys Protest Antigay Bigots!
Hey check out this video! Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (the same folks who run the god hates fags website and protest soldiers funerals because they say they died defending the Homosexual agenda of the USA) came to the University of Chicago and were met by gay rights protesters. They were also met by protesters of an unexpected sort. Frat boys in solidarity with the gay rights protesters rallied in front of thier frat house and danced, dressed in their underwear only when the bigots marched past. They also dropped a banner from the frat house that read "NO Tolerance for INtolerance". F*****g awesome!

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-Soulforce Spring 2009 Catholic Action
This April we are making evident the critical nature our demand to the Vatican that the Roman Catholic Church support the safety and well being of LGBT people. Our requests to Archbishop Celestino Migliore, Permanent Observer to the United Nations, are two-fold. First, we ask that the Archbishop take a personal stand against harmful language and attacks against LGBT people from leaders in the Roman Catholic Church, including Pope Benedict XVI. Second, we ask that the Archbishop work in open and good faith to push the Vatican to sign on to the United Nations Declaration on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. You are invited to join in solidarity actions this April with Soulforce. Click here to learn more, begin your participation and register to join the New York City solidarity actions.


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NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS - March 20, 2009

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New York Times
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-Obama and Israeli Leader Make Video Appeals to Iran
Invoking art, history and "the common humanity that binds us," President Obama offered a "new day" in America's relationship with Iran, using a videotaped message to make an unusual appeal directly to Iranians for a shift away from decades of confrontation.

-A Leader Beyond Reproach Limits the Possibilities for Political Change
TRIPOLI, Libya - Step one block off almost any main road and the streets here are badly damaged or completely unpaved. There are problems with the schools, the health care system and the government bureaucracy, which is plagued by corruption and inefficiency. Untreated sewage is dumped right into the Mediterranean.

-Scorn Trails A.I.G. Executives, Even in Their Driveways
The A.I.G. executive who was nicknamed "Jackpot Jimmy" by a New York tabloid walked up the driveway toward his bay-windowed house in Fairfield, Conn., on Thursday afternoon. "How do I feel?" said the executive, James Haas, repeating the question he had just been asked. "I feel horrible. This has been a complete invasion of privacy."

-Giving and Taxes
Evidently, the rich still carry influence in Washington. President Obama's plan to cap itemized deductions for high-income taxpayers at a 28 percent rate flew like a lead balloon in Congress, reportedly sending the White House in search for other sources of revenue.

-Perverse Cosmic Myopia
You'd think if some tiger were lunging at your neck, your attention would be riveted on the tiger. But that's apparently not how it works in the age of global A.D.D. As a tiger sinks its teeth into the world's neck, we focus on the dust bunnies under the bed and the floorboards that need replacing on the deck. We live in the world of Perverse Cosmic Myopia, an inability to focus attention on the most perilous matter at hand.

-Fragile Signs of Hope Emerging in the Gloom of Mugabe's Rule
HARARE, Zimbabwe - On his first day as education minister in a government so broke that most schools were closed and millions of children idle, David Coltart said he got a startling invitation.

-Soldiers' Accounts of Gaza Killings Raise Furor in Israel
JERUSALEM - In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing in that operation, but the Israeli military has said it followed high ethical standards and took great care to avoid civilian casualties.

-Israel Arrests 10 Hamas Leaders
JERUSALEM - Israel arrested 10 Hamas leaders in the West Bank late Wednesday and early Thursday, including four legislators, in what Hamas said was an attempt to put pressure on the organization after the collapse of negotiations for the release of a captive Israeli soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

-House Approves 90% Tax on Bonuses After Bailouts
The House overwhelmingly approved on Thursday a near total tax on bonuses paid this year to employees of the American International Group and other firms that have accepted large amounts of federal bailout funds, rattling Wall Street as lawmakers rushed to respond to populist anger.

Washington Post
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-Main Street Is Speaking Out. But Will Obama Listen?
By William Greider
The president is getting what he asked for, but perhaps not what he had in mind. During the campaign, Barack Obama beckoned Americans to put aside their cynicism about politics and re-engage as active citizens. They are now doing so with red-hot anger. They are outraged by events and forcing their way into congressional affairs and behind closed doors where policy wonks discuss issues with cerebral civility. The president is now trapped between these two realms -- the governing elites who decide things and the people who are governed. Which side is he on? If he does not choose wisely, the popular anger could devour his presidency.

-Does Geithner Get It?
By Eugene Robinson
President Obama's claim that Timothy Geithner faces a more daunting set of challenges than any Treasury secretary since Alexander Hamilton may be an exaggeration, but not by much. Geithner may indeed be the hardest-working man in Washington. But to survive, let alone succeed, he's going to have to make a more convincing case that he's part of the solution and not part of the problem.

-Bonfire of the Trivialities
By Charles Krauthammer
A $14 trillion economy hangs by a thread composed of (a) a comically cynical, pitchfork-wielding Congress, (b) a hopelessly understaffed, stumbling Obama administration, and (c) $165 million.

-Health Reform's Moment
By Thomas A. Daschle
When I withdrew from consideration to be secretary of health and human services, some pundits said health reform had received a devastating blow. While it would be flattering for me to believe that, it would also be completely wrong.

-Church faces challenges in Africa amid pope visit
LUANDA, Angola -- In Africa, some Roman Catholic priests have children and nuns counsel patients to use condoms against the scourge of AIDS. Faithful consult medicine men even though the church condemns that as witchcraft. As Pope Benedict XVI makes his first pilgrimage this week to the continent that has the world's fastest-growing congregation of Catholics, the church faces enormous challenges despite its growing presence here.

-Israeli Coalition Appears Fated to Clash With U.S.
By Howard Schneider
JERUSALEM, March 19 -- The foreign minister of Israel's incoming government lives in a West Bank settlement and will begin life as a diplomat battling the perception that he is anti-Arab.

Pew Research center
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-From the Polling Archive
Reluctant Suffragettes: When Women Questioned Their Right to Vote
An 86-year-old polling analysis sheds light on why female Americans were slow to appreciate the fruits of the suffragettes' hard-fought 70-year battle for access to the ballot box. Read more

-Community Climate
Most Like It Hot
Given a choice, most Americans would opt for a sun-kissed climate -- but not necessarily for a warm-weather city. Read more

-Moral Majorities
Public Has Split Verdict on Increased Level of Unmarried Motherhood
A new report shows out-of-wedlock births rose to record levels in 2007. A Pew Research survey that year found wide concern about the social costs, but only a minority saw such births as morally wrong. Read more

-More Medicine
Most Support Health Care Overhaul -- But it's Not 1993
While the public still favors government-guaranteed health insurance for all citizens, there is currently less support for rebuilding the system than there was at the beginning of the Clinton administration. Opinion about stem-cell research remains stable after lifting of the ban on federal funding. Read more

-Financial Fight Covered but not Watched
Media Match: Cramer v. Stewart
Including heavy coverage of the Daily Show-CNBC face-off, media focus turned to the hunt for villains embodying the excess that contributed to the financial system's unraveling. Read more

-Stewart-Cramer Registers Less than Rihanna-Chris Brown
As the economy remains story No. 1 for Americans, an increasing number are hearing a mix of good and bad news, not just bad news. Still, even with their attention focused on economic news, fewer Americans heard about the Cramer-Stewart interview than about Rihanna and Chris Brown. Read more

-Religion and Homosexuals
Most Mainline Protestants Say Society Should Accept Homosexuality
Among mainline Protestants overall, 56% say homosexuality should be accepted, compared with only about one-in-four evangelical Protestants. Read more

-Daily Number
51% - The Dark Side
A small majority says torture is rarely (20%) or never (31%) justified, but more than four-in-ten say torture is often (16%) or sometimes (28%) justified. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Check back every weekday for another number in the news. Read more

Fort Report
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-Palin Rejects Some Stimulus Funds
It's up to the Alaska Legislature to request hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funds from the federal government. Gov. Sarah Palin said Thursday that she would accept only 69 percent of the estimated $930 million dollars that could flow to the state, including $514 million for capital projects and $128 million for a hike in Medicaid reimbursement.

-Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut
By Andrew Miga
Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown. As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.


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FLORIDA DIGEST - March 20, 2009

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Miami Herald
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-Lift Florida's gay adoption ban
OUR OPINION: Bill allows judges to decide based solely on child's best interests
The fundamental unfairness and illogic of Florida's ban on gay adoptions gets more obvious with every new legal assault on it. The ban has been found unconstitutional in two state court circuits and is the target of two new bills in the Legislature. Whether the Florida Supreme Court will agree that the ban is unconstitutional, or lawmakers will come to their senses this year and end the ban isn't clear. But when momentum for a just cause reaches this point, it is only a matter of time until fairness prevails. We wish that day would come sooner rather than later. The ban hurts Florida's foster children most. Florida is the only state with a complete ban on gay and lesbian adoptions of foster children. But the state thinks it's fine for them to be foster parents. This hypocritical policy means the state considers a gay couple's home perfectly fit for foster kids but not good enough for giving that child a permanent, stable, loving life. Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, has introduced two bills that, in separate ways, would overturn the ban approved by the Legislature in 1977. The first bill would repeal the law. The second would require judges to determine adoptions based solely on what is in the best interest of the child. This is so reasonable that it should be impossible for any lawmaker to reject it. Unfortunately, politics still trumps common sense when it comes to issues involving homosexuality in Florida. While the private sector has kept up with changing times by offering partner benefits, for example, the public sector is still hampered by political expediency. It is time for lawmakers to put Florida's foster children before politics.

2009 PrideFest - Ft. Lauderdale
12-7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 21 & Sunday, March 22
Holiday Park / War Memorial Auditorium - 730 North Federal Hwy
$8 per person per day
$5 per Student per day (w/valid ID)
Great DJ's! Dance Tent with Dance Floor
Food Court and Cocktails
Outside Stage - Indoor Stage
Florida's Largest AIDS Memorial Quilt Display

Sunshine Community Foundation
Bravissimo Charity Musical Gala March 28
Sunshine Community Foundation hosts a musical extravaganza with trained operatic voices from the Lyric Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Franco Bertacci and exceptional vocal talent from South Florida, singing Broadway favorites under the direction of acclaimed tenor, Kurt Litzenberger. Mark your calendars for BRAVISSIMO 2009! The highly anticipated performance, showcasing 26 volunteer performers, new and seasoned talent from the Lyric Orchestra of Fort Lauderdale and local Broadway voices, will be on March 28th, in the spectacular newly renovated Walt Lawrence & Stephen Lewis Center for Worship and the Arts, 1480 SW 9th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale. The performance begins at 8:00 pm. BRAVISSIMO! benefits the Sunshine Community Foundation, Inc., which owns the Sunshine Cathedral campus. The Sunshine Cathedral campus is home to more than 25 other organizations and groups that support a broad spectrum of needs and activities in the GLBT community. Tickets for the concert are now on sale. For more information, please click or contact

ArtsUnited Presents POP! - Ft. Lauderdale
Pop Art - Reception - Monday, April 6 at - 6:30-8pm
Stonewall Library & Archives
Beautiful New Location - 1300 East Sunrise Blvd.
ArtServe Building - Across from Publix


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-South Florida mortgage rates tumble after Fed action
By Mary Ellen Podmolik
How long can they stay this low? Less than a day after the Federal Reserve said it would double its purchases of mortgage debt, fixed rates on conforming 30-year mortgages dropped as much as half a percentage point, to well under 5 percent, and there's belief that rates aren't headed back up anytime soon.,0,4364745.story

-South Florida schools debate volume of homework
'I hold them to a higher standard. Math is like ... a sport. You have to practice.'
By Akilah Johnson
Ask a class full of eighth-graders at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School how many hours of homework they receive each night and hear as many responses as there are students. One thing they agree on is which teacher gives them the most.,0,4484382.story

-South Florida population exodus slowing, census reveals
Poor economy may force more people to stay in Broward County
By Georgia East and John Maines
People aren't leaving Broward and Palm Beach counties at the rapid rate they were just two years ago, according to census data released today. In fact, the overall population is slightly up. The census report looks at net domestic migration, which takes into account the number of people who moved in from elsewhere in the United States, less those who moved out.,0,3162113.story

Fort Report
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-Crist freezes $800 million in state spending
By Steve Bousquet
As Florida's finances continue to unravel, Gov. Charlie Crist froze 15 percent of state spending on Thursday for the rest of this budget year. The effect is to hold back about $800 million that already cash-strapped agencies were expecting to pay their bills for the rest of the budget year ending June 30. State Education Commissioner Eric Smith told school districts that they will continue to get all of their money through early May.

-New Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler: His ideas, his backers
Broward Politics is going to take a look at each of Fort Lauderdale's election winners. Who did you elect, and what are their ideas? Let's start with the mayor, Jack Seiler. He raised $266,705 to win the post, but didn't spend it all. Here's a link to the contribution reports, where you can find out who backed him, and how he spent his money as of mid-February.

-Court hearing leads to no conclusion for Palm Beach mayoral runoff challenge
In a case that could influence the way absentee ballots are handled statewide, attorneys and witnesses spent hours today trying to reconstruct what happened to nine ballots that arrived too late to be counted in a Palm Beach mayor's race that was decided by a single vote. Testimony is scheduled to continue next week.

-Tourist industry pitches Florida to the locals as recession puts brakes on travel
By Steve Huettel
With nervous consumers looking for bargains, local tourist businesses are setting their sights on Florida residents this summer. "People want to travel, but with less expense," Gregg Laskowski, a spokesman for AAA Auto Club South, told representatives from local hotels and attractions Thursday. "They want to stay closer to home."

-For schools, the buck stops in Legislature
OUR OPINION: State lawmakers can't shirk education funding responsibility For too long the Florida Legislature has been reducing its general-revenue contribution to the state's public-education budget and making up the difference by raising a school-board tax called the Local Required Effort. Though school boards had no control over this, it looked as though they were responsible for increasing property taxes when it was really done by state lawmakers.\

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-Miami-Dade Passes Anti-Tethering Law
Pet Owners Can't Leave Animals Chained
Miami-Dade County has passed a law that makes it illegal for pet owners to leave their animals chained while they are not home. In a news release Thursday, county officials said the law, which is an amendment to Chapter V of the Miami-Dade County Code, will go into effect in April. The law says that owners cannot chain their pets unless they are present. Pet owners will be warned at the first violation. If they don't fix the problem, county officials said, the owners will face civil penalties of $100 for cruelty and $500 for additional offenses.


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

GLBT DIGEST - March 19, 2009

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

New York Times
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-A.C.L.U. Sues School Involved in 'Rent' Tussle
By PATRICK HEALY; Compiled by Dave Itzkoff
The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a lawsuit on
Wednesday in state Superior Court contending that an Orange County high school allowed a hostile environment to develop against gay and female students there, citing the brief cancellation of a school production of the musical "Rent" as one piece of evidence. The lawsuit, which argues that state and federal equal protection laws were violated, was filed on behalf of a female student at Corona del Mar High School who was said to be a target of rape and death threats by male students. It contends that sexist and homophobic comments are common at the school and that school officials have done little in response. The school drama teacher, Ron Martin, said last month that the school's principal, Fal Asrani, had canceled the "Rent" production; Ms. Asrani said that was not true, and later she approved the production. A spokeswoman for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District said that she had no immediate comment, but that one would be forthcoming.

-First Chapter: 'Unfriendly Fire'
Brain Drain: Arabic Linguists: On September 10th, 2001, the United States government intercepted two phone calls placed from Afghanistan between Al Qaeda operatives. "Tomorrow is zero hour," said one of the voices. "The match is about to begin," came another ominous line. The National Security Agency intercepts millions of messages every hour, but these calls came from sources deemed to be high priority. They were, of course, spoken in Arabic, so they made their way to a translator's queue, waiting to be interpreted. Unfortunately, in the fall of 2001 our government did not have enough Arabic linguists to translate the messages quickly. The phone calls were not translated until two days later, on September 12, 2001. It was two days too late.

-Prostate Test Found to Save Few Lives
The PSA blood test, used to screen for prostate cancer, saves few lives and leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two large studies have found.

-Obama Administration to Stop Raids on Medical Marijuana Dispensers
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday outlined a shift in the enforcement of federal drug laws, saying the administration would effectively end the Bush administration's frequent raids on distributors of medical marijuana.

-Suriname to Provide Free Circumcision
Suriname is offering free circumcisions to young boys and men ages 4 to 21 in an effort to curb sexually transmitted diseases, including H.I.V./AIDS, Agence France-Presse reports. Some 2 percent of the Suriname population is infected with H.I.V.

Washington Post
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-Dwyer Doesn't Want to Caucus, Nor Does He Wish To Talk About It
Del. Donald H. Dwyer Jr. (R-Anne Arundel), one of the House of Delegates' most conservative members, has told fellow party members that he no longer plans to caucus with the group. Dwyer sent colleagues an e-mail last week announcing his intentions, indicating he did not wish to discuss his decision or explain his reasoning. A member of the caucus confirmed the e-mail for The Washington Post. Dwyer has been busy: Last week, committees heard testimony about his constitutional proposals to ban gay marriage and to assert "personhood" rights starting at conception, an antiabortion measure. Annapolis blogger Judd Legum, who first reported the defection, wrote that it was the caucus's failure to take a position in support of the latter amendment that pushed Dwyer out. The Republican caucus member, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said Dwyer sent a second e-mail reiterating his desire to keep his reasoning private but indicating the personhood amendment was not his motivation. Dwyer also emphasized that he remains a member of the party but will not attend caucus meetings. "I wouldn't expect Don to abandon conservative principles one iota," the caucus member said. As for Dwyer, he's not talking. "I'm not discussing this issue with anybody, at any time," he said last week.

-Mexico sees rare, openly gay mayoral candidate
The Associated Press
MEXICO CITY -- A small Mexican political party has made an unusual choice in tapping an openly gay candidate to run for mayor of the conservative city of Guadalajara. The Social Democratic Party is nominating 31-year-old helicopter pilot Miguel Antonio Galan for the July 5 election.

-Teenage Birthrate Increases For Second Consecutive Year
By Rob Stein and Donna St. George
The rate at which teenage girls in the United States are having babies has risen for a second year in a row, government statistics show, putting one of the nation's most successful social and public health campaigns in jeopardy.

-Condom Sense
Pope Benedict XVI is wrong.
THE LATE New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, "Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts." This holds true even for the pope.

Wall Street Journal
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-Will Gay Couples' Marriage Vows Survive California Court Review?
The California Supreme Court is weighing an incendiary question: Should it recognize the gay couples who married last year, when same-sex marriage was briefly legal? Within the next 10 weeks, the court is expected to rule on a petition to overturn the state's voter-mandated gay marriage ban, called Proposition 8. Legal scholars and even many gay-marriage advocates say the justices' questions during a March 5 hearing leave little doubt that the court will allow the ban to stay, partly out of respect for California's voter initiative process.

Miami Herald
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-Lift Florida's gay adoption ban
OUR OPINION: Bill allows judges to decide based solely on child's best interests
The fundamental unfairness and illogic of Florida's ban on gay adoptions gets more obvious with every new legal assault on it. The ban has been found unconstitutional in two state court circuits and is the target of two new bills in the Legislature. Whether the Florida Supreme Court will agree that the ban is unconstitutional, or lawmakers will come to their senses this year and end the ban isn't clear. But when momentum for a just cause reaches this point, it is only a matter of time until fairness prevails. We wish that day would come sooner rather than later. The ban hurts Florida's foster children most. Florida is the only state with a complete ban on gay and lesbian adoptions of foster children. But the state thinks it's fine for them to be foster parents. This hypocritical policy means the state considers a gay couple's home perfectly fit for foster kids but not good enough for giving that child a permanent, stable, loving life. Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston, has introduced two bills that, in separate ways, would overturn the ban approved by the Legislature in 1977. The first bill would repeal the law. The second would require judges to determine adoptions based solely on what is in the best interest of the child. This is so reasonable that it should be impossible for any lawmaker to reject it. Unfortunately, politics still trumps common sense when it comes to issues involving homosexuality in Florida. While the private sector has kept up with changing times by offering partner benefits, for example, the public sector is still hampered by political expediency. It is time for lawmakers to put Florida's foster children before politics.

Forwarded from Gays Without Borders
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-It's mighty unusual, to say the least, that an individual representing a foreign government, and one that is so homo-hating as the political leaders in Jamaica, has been allowed to conduct consular affairs on San Francisco property. Last week, I filed a Sunshine Act request with Ms. Eileen Shields, public information officer for the Department of Public Health, for all contracts and leases between the DPH and the honorary consul of Jamaica. This was her first reply: My initial information is that a while back a UCSF oral surgeon from Jamaica inadvisably used his work address at SFGH as the contact point for an "honorary consulate." It does not appear there was any formalized agreement, it was more a Jamaican resident who wanted to be available to other Jamaicans in the Bay Area. Still, the information managed to work its way onto the web.

Forwarded from Euro-Queer
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-"Members of the European Parliament ask Germany to properly apply EU legislation for a gay asylum seeker from Iran."
On 18 March Members of the European Parliament's Intergroup on Gay and Lesbian Rights sent a letter to the German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries and Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble asking them to find a proper solution for an Iranian gay asylum seeker who has seen his asylum application being rejected in Germany. "We would like to remind you that Member States of the European Union cannot apply European and national laws and procedures in a way resulting in the expulsion of persons to a third country where they would risk persecution, torture and death, as this would amount to a violation of European and international human rights obligations," states the letter to the German ministers.

-Colombia: Protest the Murder of LGBT Human Rights Defender
The rights violated in this case include: The right to life, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to equality. On March 6, 2009, unknown men killed the human rights defender Álvaro Miguel Rivera in the city of Cali, Colombia. Álvaro was the representative of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) organization, Tínku. He was also a member of Planeta Paz, a national peace network, and of the Polo Rosa, the LGBTI section of a left wing political party. Álvaro was far and foremost a committed activist who worked for the rights of the LGBTI community and people living with HIV. In the past, threats against his life had already made Álvaro flee Villavicencio, a city in Eastern Colombia.

SunShine Cathedral - Ft. Lauderdale
The leadership of Sunshine Cathedral (MCC) applauds DignityUSA's, New Ways Ministry's, and Call to Action's prompt and clear response to Pope Benedict's outrageous, misleading, and dangerous suggestion that condom use might increase HIV infections in Africa. Sunshine Cathedral unequivocally supports the use of condoms to reduce the risk of HIV infection. We are appreciative of the resistance being offered by faithful Roman Catholics to the out-dated, irresponsible teaching against safer-sex practices. We share with you the following statement by Dignity/New Ways/CTA:
March 18, 2000
Media Contact:
Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA, C: 617-669-7810
Nicole Sotelo, Call To Action, O: 773.404.0004 x285; C: 857.928.4112 Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry, O: 301.277.5674; C: 240.432.2489 Gay Catholic Groups Condemn Pope's Statements in Africa on Condom Use Leade s of DignityUSA, New Ways Ministry and Call To Action-three groups that support gay rights in the Catholic Church-spoke out to condemn the Pope's comments that implied that using condoms could increase the incidents of HIV/AIDS. Marianne Duddy-Burke, DignityUSA's Executive Director, said, "The Pope's statement that '...the distribution of condoms...aggravates the problems' is amazingly insensitive to all the people living with HIV/AIDS in Africa. A 2006 United Nations report confirms that, 'Sub-Saharan Africa remains the worst-affected region in the world. In 2005, there were 24.5 million in sub-Saharan Africa living with HIV. Globally, 64% of all people living with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.' This UN study goes on to cite Zimbabwe as a country that had a 2% decrease in HIV/AIDS due to condom use and deferral of sex by young people. "Numerous medical studies prove that proper use of condoms greatly reduces the spread of HIV/AIDS. This includes the wives and partners of HIV positive men who have relations with their husbands or partners infected by HIV/AIDS-whether by choice or coercion. DignityUSA has long called on the Vatican to acknowledge the importance of educating people on the proper use of condoms, and to support making them widely available as a way of saving lives of vulnerable people around the world." Nicole Sotelo, Communications Director of Call To Action, said, "Catholics throughout the world understand that condoms save lives. We must stop making orphans of children throughout the world because of misinformation. To this day, the Vatican bans the use of condoms by Catholics. This is just morally wrong." Francis DeBernardo, Executive Director of New Ways Ministry, added, "Once again, the Pope's use of discredited beliefs endangers people across the globe. This is a violation of the deepest values of the Catholic faith. We urge Catholics to express their concern about the Pope's stance on condoms directly to the Vatican, and to support organizations providing medically appropriate information and resources to people with or at risk of becoming infected with HIV."
Call To Action (CTA) is a Catholic movement working for equality and justice in the Church and society. An independent national organization of over 25,000 people and 53 local chapters, CTA believes that the Spirit of God is at work in the whole church, not just its appointed leaders. Visit our website at DignityUSA is the nation's foremost organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, as well as their families, friends, and supporters. Founded in 1969, the group has members and Chapters throughout the United States. New Ways Ministry is a 32-year-old Roman Catholic bridge-building ministry of justice, education, and reconciliation for lesbian/gay Catholics and the wider church community.

From GLCCSF - Ft. Lauderdale
Olivia All-Inclusive Island Paradise Retreat - May 2-9, 2009
For Two - Including Airfare
A $6,700 Value
Tickets $50 - Only 100 Tickets Will be Sold
If you're looking for a private oasis with all the amenities, then welcome to heaven! In fact, you'll be pampered at this all-inclusive island retreat where food, most drinks (yes, even cocktails) and most activities are yours to enjoy at no additional cost! You and 500 women will take over the beautiful Columbus Isle Paradise Resort, the centerpiece of this exclusive island. Don't miss this amazing opportunity to meet the sun-drenched shores and smile-studded nights of Columbus Isle. Best of all, at this all-inclusive, all-indulgent resort, you can leave your credit card in your room-just grab your sarong and your flip-flops. Tickets available at the GLCC and New Moon Bar - Drawing will be held on March 28, 2009 For more information, please call Linda Jain at the GLCC, 954-463-9005 or

-"OUTlet: Plugging Young Women in the Arts"
A First Ever Conference in South Floirda for and by Young Lesbians, Bi, Trans, Queer, Questioning Women and our Allies For the first time ever South Florida's young lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning young women and their allies ages 15 to young adult have a place to expand minds, experience creativity and meet other young people like themselves. Through the generous support of Aqua Foundation for Women and under the leadership of Safe Schools South Florida, "OUTlet: Plugging Young Women into the Arts - A Conference for and by Young Lesbian, Bi, Trans, Queer and Questioning Women and our Allies" will take place on Saturday, April 18th at Sunserve in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, 1480 South West 9th Avenue, 33315. The electric OUTlet: Plugging Young Women into the Arts First Ever Conference" is absolutely free to all participants in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties. In order to attend you must register on line at:

South Florida Blade
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-Father of SoCal teen in slaying case found dead
William McInerney's death will delay preliminary hearing
The father of a 15-year-old boy accused of killing a gay classmate has been found dead at his Southern California home. Ventura County Senior Deputy Medical Examiner Craig Stevens says 45-year-old William McInerney was found dead about 7:30 a.m. Wednesday by a friend who was going to take him to a court hearing involving McInerney's son. Stevens says there was no indication of foul play. An autopsy is planned. McInerney's son, Brandon, has been charged as an adult in the February 2008 shooting of 15-year-old Larry King in a classroom at their junior high school in Oxnard. He has pleaded not guilty. The preliminary hearing was delayed once word came that Brandon's father was found dead.

-US endorses UN gay rights statement
Declaration, rejected by Bush administration, aims to decriminalize homosexuality
The Obama administration on Wednesday formally endorsed a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to sign. The move was the administration's latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.

The Advocate
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-Spain Counters Pope, Sends Condoms to Africa
Spain announced that it will send a million condoms to Africa to fight the rampant spread of HIV/AIDS in the continent. The announcement comes a day after Pope Benedict XVI said that condoms conversely "increase the problem." On his way to Cameroon, Benedict told reporters, "You can't resolve [AIDS] with the distribution of condoms." The disbursement of the condoms are to fight HIV with a proven method, the Spanish health ministry said in a statement today. "Condoms have been demonstrated to be a necessary element in prevention policies and an efficient barrier against the virus." The Pope's statements on Tuesday were the first time he had addressed the use of condoms since taking over as the head of the Catholic Church in 2005, according to the New York Times. The Vatican is strongly against contraception including birth control pills and condoms, and Spain's government, headed by Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, has been clashing with Vatican sentiments since 2004 when he entered office.

-Lawsuit Greets School That Cancelled Rent
By Julie Bolcer
The American Civil Liberties Union sued officials of Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, C.A. on Wednesday, charging that administrators fostered a "sexist" and "homophobic" environment, according to the Los Angeles Times .

-Gay Marriage Hearing Draws Crowds in Vermont
By Julie Bolcer
Nearly 1,000 people crowded into the house chamber in Montpelier, V.T. on Wednesday evening to testify about a gay marriage bill before the house and senate judiciary committees. Legislators heard three hours of passionate testimony on questions such as the purpose of marriage and the meaning of family.

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-Pope beefs up his anti-science cred
By Jenna Lowenstein
During a visit to Africa on Tuesday, Pope Benedict reiterated the Catholic Church's controversial anti-condom stance, and went as far as to claim that the use of condoms contribute to the spread of the AIDS epidemic. "[AIDS] cannot be overcome by the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."

-New era begins in Ft. Lauderdale
By 365gay Newscenter Staff
Jack Seiler began his first full day as Fort Lauderdale mayor Wednesday, putting an official end to the 18-year, polarizing term of Jim Naugle. During his term in the mayor's chair Naugle had been blamed for divisive anti-gay rhetoric. Naugle, who was prevented from running last month by term limits. Although he backed Seiler it is unknown much it helped. A former state legislator, Seiler had a huge war chest and spent heavily, defeating two openly gay candidates.

-Gay marriage gets recognition - in the dictionary
By The Associated Press
Same-sex marriage might not be recognized in most states, but it is in the dictionary. Merriam-Webster included a secondary definition of marriage to recognize same-sex relationships several years before gay couples were allowed to tie the knot anywhere in the United States, but the change had gone largely unnoticed until the conservative World Net Daily news site reported it Tuesday.

-Is Uncle Sam over-charging gay couples?
By Matt Simonette
Early last year, Chicagoan Victoria Stagg Elliott was relieved to put her spouse, Karen Shoffner, on her employer's health coverage. But there was a catch. Stagg Elliott found out she would be taxed on the portion of Shoffner's coverage paid for by the employer. She estimated that the coverage represents about $100 worth of monthly income, meaning she has to declare about $1,200 more in income each year than a straight married colleague with an equivalent insurance package.

Pink News - UK
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-Amnesty asks Pope to defend gay rights
Amnesty International has urged Pope Benedict XVI to condemn the criminalisation of homosexuality when he meets with African bishops today in Cameroon, which criminalises same-sex relations.

-Gay hotel: Sewage 'was actually sand'
It has been claimed that Club Tucanes, the gay hotel in Gran Canaria which evacuated guests due to a 'sewage leak', was actually evicted for non-payment of rent.

-Scottish hate crimes law to be extended to cover anti-gay crimes
Scottish justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has said that extending hate crime laws to protect LGBT people and the disabled will send out a "clear message" that such crimes cannot be tolerated.

-Minnesota gay marriage ban 'will prevent world from ending'
The Minnesota Family Council has introduced an amendment to ban gay marriage, which it claims will stop the world from ending. Webslice

Daily Queer News
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-Remembering Queer History
Elizabeth Rubin | Daily Pennsylvanian
Could "gay shame" ever take the place of "gay pride?" It did in the past. Professor Heather Love appeared at the Penn Bookstore last night to discuss her book, Feeling Backward: Loss and the Politics of Queer History, which highlights the importance of remembering the dark and lonely past of the gay and lesbian community . "Gay pride" is a ubiquitous term that represents the great strides that the gay community has made in political rights and social acceptance. Love, however, presented an alternate view of this assimilation and acceptance. In her discussion she said, "I am happy about clear advances, but troubled by gay normalization." Seeing shows like "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" as "sell-outs," Love argues that the history of social exclusion resulted in a unique community. By commercializing the gay community and promoting assimilation to social norms, Love feels that the unique personailities of her friends are at risk of being lost. Read more

-In Anticipation of Prop 8 D-Day, Activists to March to Sacramento this Month
LGBTQ people and allies eagerly await the California Supreme Court decision that will either reject or affirm anti-gay Proposition 8. Marriage equality activists say that if the court rules to only uphold the existing same sex marriages, but allows the rest of Prop 8 to stand, it will not be a victory. Many are calling for a return to the streets with direct action and civil disobedience if discrimination is written back into the California Constitution. The California Supreme Court must rule within 90 days of March 5, 2009, when they heard the case, meaning a decision is expected at the latest by June 3. In anticipation of an earlier decision, lesbian/gay/bi/trans activists and allies will leave Berkeley, California for a 100-mile walk to the state Capitol in Sacramento on March 25. The event will begin with a rally on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall at Noon on Tuesday, March 24 with speakers, including a representative from Supervisor Tom Ammiano's office and inspirational music by the Raging Grannies and Brass Liberation Orchestra, followed by a symbolic march to the State Supreme Court building. Marchers hope to build bridges with local communities along the way and enlist former antagonists to help repeal the ban on same-sex marriages. The march is initiated by the direct action group One Struggle One Fight, and supported by a range of organizations including the LGBT labor alliance Pride At Work and the group And Marriage For All, which coordinated No On 8 outreach among LGBT people of color. More than 50 people from 10 cities and towns are already signed up to participate in the peaceful event, including 78-year-old Dolores Huerta, the co-founder and First Vice President Emeritus of the United Farm Workers of America, and Robert Moore, a 28-year-old gay Mormon who said, "I encourage everyone that wants to see equal rights for ALL to join us in this march and show that we will not be divided." The group will walk through both large and small cities on the way to the capital, entering bustling suburbs like Pleasant Hill and small Delta towns such as Locke. Marchers are inviting local communities to join in evening discussions. The march will culminate in a day of action in Sacramento on Monday, March 30, to demand the repeal of Proposition 8 and spotlight the need for better health care and immigration rights for all people.

-Legion to White House: Don't Bill Our Heroes
Our Voice
Our National Headquarters phones and email boxes in Indianapolis and Washington, DC have been flooded with calls concerning the President's proposal to bill private insurance companies for VA treatment of wounded heroes' injuries and disabilities. Our mail boxes are jammed full with hundreds of messages and we are responding as quickly as possible. If your message is not returned, please understand that we are simply overwhelmed by your good thoughts and wishes and we appreciate each and every one. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.!

-Just How Bad Off is the Republican Party (Part 2)
As of press time, Tuesday evening, March 17, Michael Steele is still running the Republican National Committee. But tomorrow is another day, as Katon Dawson, I mean Scarlett O'Hara, once said. Perhaps Steele will be ushered offstage soon - if, say, the GOP fails to win back Kirsten Gillibrand's old seat in New York's traditionally Republican 20th Congressional District on March 31. Perhaps Michael Steele will survive till 2010, and lead his party in a miraculous comeback in the midterms. But as the nation waits to learn Steele's fate, we thought we'd take a ground-level look at the state of his party after two consecutive electoral drubbings. The following list examines the trends in each of the 50 states over the past three election cycles, assessing demographic shifts, voting patterns, rising and falling political stars and organizational strengths and weaknesses. The picture it paints is not pretty, but it is not hopeless either. We have (roughly) ordered the list by the relative love that each state has for its Grand Old Party. While there are some places where love is not for sale, there are others where love is all around, and even some spots where hearts are growing fonder. Each entry also includes the cold, hard numeric facts about the electoral strength of the party in 2005 versus its strength today. (Most data on state legislatures is from the National Conference of State Legislatures. State legislature numbers list majority party first, minority party second and independents third; figures below may not account for all special election results, party switches and vacancies.) Read more

-Gay Rights are Civil Rights; Cafeteria Christians
Andoni | Citizen Crain
NAACP Board Chair Julian Bond addressed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Dinner in Los Angeles last Saturday night and made one of the clearest and most compelling cases for gay rights ever. It is definitely worth your time to hear what this dynamic African American leader has to say on gay rights. In his speech, he makes innumerable good points, including: 1. Gay rights indeed are civil rights. 2. Like race, our sexuality isn't a preference. It is immutable; it is unchangeable. And the constitution protects us against prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences. 3. Too many Christians are cafeteria Christians. They choose item A from the Bible, then go on to ignore items B through Z (minute 14:30 of the speech). Read more

-AIG and Congressional Blowhards
Andoni | Citizen Crain
It's amazing to see the tirade in Congress over the $165 million in bonuses that have been paid to employees of A.I.G.'s credit swap derivatives division in London. That's the division that took the company to insolvency and the world to the brink of financial disaster. Am I happy about these bonuses? Absolutely not. I'm very angry about it. In fact I'm sick over the whole A.I.G. mess. But what I suggest is that what we see going on in Washington over A.I.G. is 535 adults acting like children.
Consider the following:
1. these A.I.G. employees are based in London. Unless any are U.S. citizens, all the proposals to claw back 99% of the money by raising the income tax on them won't apply. These people are British citizens. You would have to get the British government to go along and pass similar laws. This is a feel good solution that won't work. Read more

Forwarded from Kenneth Sherrill - Ken's List
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-LGBT Equality Caucus Briefing
Not a rosy picture: poverty among lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans
Friday, March 20, 2009 - 10:00am - 11:00am - HC-8
On behalf of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, we would like to invite you and your staff to attend an upcoming briefing on The Williams Institute's newest report, Poverty In The Lesbian, Gay, and BisexualCommunity. Two authors of this groundbreaking report, M. V. Lee Badgett and Randy Albelda, will present their findings and discuss the prevalence of poverty among lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and families. The briefing will take place on Friday, March 20, 2009 at 10:00am in HC-8. In 2007, the United States Census counted 12.5% of Americans as officially poor. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are largely invisible in these poverty statistics, but this report - the first analysis of its kind - finds that poverty rates for lesbian, gay, and bisexual adults and families are as high as, or higher than, those of heterosexuals. Other key findings that will be discussed in more depth at the briefing:
* In general, lesbian couples have much higher poverty rates than either different-sex couples or gay male couples;
* African-Americans in same-sex couples have poverty rates that are significantly higher than black people in different-sex married couples; and
* Employment discrimination, lack of access to marriage, and a greater likelihood of being uninsured exacerbate poverty among lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.
The Williams Institute study focuses on sexual orientation as no nationally or locally representative data exist for transgender Americans. Although the researchers were unfortunately unable to specifically analyze poverty in this part of the LGBT community in their report, transgender people who are also lesbian, gay, or bisexual may be included in the analysis by virtue of their sexual orientation. Further, the study reports findings from a prior Williams Institute study showing that many transgender people are living at or below the poverty level.

-Obama, U.N. elevating homosexuality to new heights

-Chicago Frat Boys Protest Antigay Bigots!
Hey check out this video! Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church (the same folks who run the god hates fags website and protest soldiers funerals because they say they died defending the Homosexual agenda of the USA) came to the University of Chicago and were met by gay rights protesters. They were also met by protesters of an unexpected sort. Frat boys in solidarity with the gay rights protesters rallied in front of thier frat house and danced, dressed in their underwear only when the bigots marched past. They also dropped a banner from the frat house that read "NO Tolerance for INtolerance". F*****g awesome!

-My name is Nick Teich, and I am the founder and president of Camp Aranu'tiq, a weeklong summer camp for transgender and gender-variant youth in the New England area. Our program will begin in summer 2010, but we would like to get the word out now to agencies or other entitites that deal with transgender and gender-variant individuals. Our age range is 8 through 15. We are on the web at:

-Dramatic spike in gay hate crimes in Calif.

-A Gay-Marriage Solution: End Marriage?
By Michael A. Lindenberger
When a Jewish boy turns 13, he heads to a temple for a deeply meaningful rite of passage, his bar mitzvah. When a Catholic girl reaches about the same age, she stands in front of the local bishop, who touches her forehead with holy oil as she is confirmed into a 2,000-year-old faith tradition. But missing in each of those cases - and in countless others of equal religious importance - is any role for government. There is no baptism certificate issued by the local courthouse and no federal tax benefit attached to the confessional booth, the into-the-water-and-out born-again ceremony or any of the other sacraments that believers hold sacred.,8599,1885190,00.html

-Win for Anti-Bias Rules
A federal appeals court on Tuesday gave a major win to public universities and advocates for gay rights who have wanted to preserve in full the institutional anti-bias policies that bar discrimination based on sexual orientation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled -- in a two-sentence decision -- that the Hastings College of Law of the University of California was within its rights to deny recognition to a branch of the Christian Legal Society. Hastings said that the student group's ban on members who engage in "unrepentant homosexual conduct" violated the law school's anti-bias policies. In turn, the Christian Legal Society argued that its First Amendment rights were being violated by the law school in that it was forcing the law students in the society to abandon their religious beliefs in return for recognition.

-Censoring sexual orientation "equally"
Consumerist reports that Microsoft will ban anyone who mentions their sexual orientation on the XBox Live site. Microsoft's official policy is to prohibit anything suggesting "content of a potentially sexual nature," and to them that includes "expression of any type of orientation, be that hetero or other." Thus, Microsoft has it that its policy is non-discriminatory: straight and queer people alike are forbidden from mentioning their sexual orientation. (H/t feministing.)

-"Freedom of speech is not absolute."
by Dan Savage
That's an interesting argument for a law professor to advance-I mean, we all know that you're not allowed to scream "fire" in the proverbial crowded theater (unless your proverb is actually on fire), and libel is a no-no, butmost Americans regard freedom of speech as absolutely absolute otherwise, particularly where newspapers are concerned, seeing as... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.... But a sex column in a student newspaper at the the University of Montana has two law professors arguing against freedom of speech and in favor of censorship.


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