July 31, 2009

The FOOD that fights FAT

The Food That Fights Fat
Fiber fills you up then slims you down. Here are 30 ways to make your diet more fiber-friendly

We all know our bodies need calcium for bones, vitamin C to fend off colds, and chocolate to save relationships. But when it comes to losing weight, the nutritional information is a little more confusing. The mighty trilogy of nutrients — protein, carbohydrates, and fat — garners most of the diet industry's attention, but it's becoming much more clear that fiber needs to be the fourth leg of the dietary table. Study after study shows that not only does fiber help lower your risk of cancer, heart attack, and high blood pressure, but it also keeps you full and helps you decrease the total amount of calories you consume every day. Trouble is, most of us think that getting the recommended 30 grams of fiber a day means eating cereal that tastes like the box it comes in. But that's not the case; you can sneak fiber into your diet anywhere. Use these 28 fiber-friendly tactics to eat more — and weigh less.
At Breakfast

Spice up your eggs. One-third of a cup of chopped onion and one clove of garlic will add 1 g of fiber to scrambled eggs. Or fold the eggs omelette-style over 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli for an additional 2 g.
Drop a whole orange into the blender to flavor your morning smoothie. One peeled orange has nearly 3 g more fiber than even the pulpiest orange juice.
Fill your juice glass with nectar instead of a watery juice from concentrate. Nectar is apricot, peach, pear, or papaya juice, mixed with fiber-rich pulp. It packs more than 1 g of fiber per 8-ounce glass.
Heat up a bowl of oat bran instead of oatmeal; it has nearly 2 g more fiber. Add even more flavor and fiber by stirring in 1/4 cup of raisins or chopped dates before nuking it.
Sprinkle ground flaxseed over your favorite cold cereal, or stir a few spoonfuls into a cup of yogurt. Two tablespoons equals close to an extra 2 g fiber.
Grab an Asian pear. Similar in taste to other pears, the red-colored Asian variety has an apple-like crispness and shape, and it delivers significantly more fiber — 4 g per pear.
Buy spreadable fiber, like almond butter, for your whole-wheat toast. Two tablespoons adds 2 g of fiber, along with a healthy dose of heart-protecting fats and vitamins like E.
Whip up a pack of hot-chocolate mix instead of that second cup of coffee. Most instant-cocoa mixes have as much as 3 g of fiber per cup.
At Lunch

Don't like whole wheat? Make your sandwiches with rye bread. One slice has almost 2 g fiber — twice the amount found in white bread.
Opt for burritos instead of tacos. Flour tortillas have more fiber than taco shells. Even better, make the burrito whole wheat for still more fiber per serving. Now, order that burrito with meat and beans instead of meat alone. Half a cup of beans adds 6 g of fiber to your meal.
Stow some microwavable soup in your desk for when you need to work through lunch. Lentil, chili with beans, ham and bean, and black bean each have between 6 and 10 g of fiber per cup.
Shower your pizza with oregano or basil. A teaspoon of either spice adds 1 g of fiber. Order it with mushrooms and you'll get 1 g more.
Build your burger with a sesame-seed bun instead of the plain variety. Sesame seeds add 1/2 g of fiber per burger.
Order your dog with sauerkraut. Every 1/4 cup you pile on adds close to 1 g of fiber to your frank.
In the Afternoon

Drink bottled chocolate milk, not white. The combination of the chocolate and the compounds needed to keep it suspended in the milk provides 1.5 g of fiber in every 8 ounces.
Pop a pack of light popcorn instead of popping open a bag of potato chips. There's 8 g of fiber in every bag of popcorn.
Have a low-sodium V8 and its 2 g of fiber. The V8 that comes spiked with salt has half that amount.
Graze on trail mix instead of a granola bar. Most granola bars have only 1 g of fiber, while trail mix with dried fruit has nearly 3 g.
At Dinner

Toss 1/2 cup of chickpeas into a pot of your favorite soup. They'll absorb the flavor of the soup and tack 6 g of fiber onto your bottom line.
Swap a sweet potato for your standard spud. Sweet potatoes have 2 g more fiber per tuber than the typical Idaho variety. Not a fan? At least eat the skin of the regular potato — it alone has 1 g of fiber.
Go wild when you make rice. Cup for cup, wild rice has three times the fiber of white.
Add some green to your red sauce. Doctor your favorite jarred pasta sauce with 1/2 cup of frozen chopped spinach. The spinach will take on the flavor of the sauce and pad your fiber count by more than 2 g.
Prepare whole-wheat or spinach pasta instead of the regular semolina kind. A cup of either has 5 g of fiber.
Cook broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, and you'll take in 3 to 5 g of fiber per serving, as much as twice what you'll get if you eat them raw. (Heat makes fiber more available.)
Use uncooked oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs in your next meat loaf. Add 3/4 cup of oats per pound of ground meat, and you'll boost the total fiber count to more than 8 g.
At Dessert

Say nuts to candy bars. Bars with almonds, like Almond Joy and Alpine white chocolate with almonds, have about 2 g of fiber — almost twice the fiber content of bars without.
Top a bowl of ice cream with sliced fresh berries in lieu of syrup. One-half cup of raspberries provides 4 g of fiber; strawberries and blueberries pack half that amount.
Introduce your pie hole to a slice of apple, cherry, or berry pie, and you'll add an extra 3 to 5 g of fiber.

July 29, 2009

NYC Exporting the Homeless

NYC Exporting the Homeless
By Scott Ross
updated 16 minutes ago
In an effort to keep his promise to address the homeless problem in New York City, the Mayor Bloomberg's administration has hit on a novel approach: shipping them out of town.

Since 2007, the city has picked up the tab on travel expenses for more than 550 families to go stay with relatives in other cities, which turns out to be a huge saving compared to the $36,000 it costs annually to house each family, reports The New York Times.

The program costs just $500,000 a year, employing Austin Travel for domestic trips and the Department of Homeless Services handling international travel.

Story continues below ↓
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Gotham's homeless have found family in such far-flung places as Paris, Johannesburg and San Juan who were willing to take them in. For one family, the "ticket" out of town was little more than $400 in gas cards to drive home to Michigan.

The stuff of dreams for millions, New York is, for some, a city of nightmares.

"I didn't expect the city to be the way it is," Hector Correa, who was shipped home to Puerto Rico on Tuesday, told the Times. "I was expecting something different, something better."



Rep. Alcee Hastings withdrew a defense spending bill amendment that would have forbidden the use of funds to carry out gay military discharges under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy (thus effectively halting them) "under pressure from the White House and colleagues," according to the Miami Herald.

Said Hastings: "Due to pressure from some of my congressional colleagues and from the White House, I have withdrawn my amendment. I would, however, like to note that it is most unfortunate that we are not addressing `don’t ask, don’t tell’ at this time. I realize that this issue is considered controversial, but it shouldn’t be. The vast majority of Americans not only support the inclusion of gay service members in the military, but also the repeal of `don’t ask, don’t tell.’’’

He added: "What is the holdup, then? Last month, 76 of my colleagues and I sent a letter to President Obama urging him to take leadership on this issue and to work together with Congress to repeal this law. More than a month later, I have yet to receive an official response."

Rachel Maddow wonders the same thing, AFTER THE JUMP...
This is from Towelroad

July 27, 2009

The Swiss reported this before but now it is reported on new models: Low viral load/undect.means it is very hard to transmit to sex partners.

Antiretrovirals Can Be Used To Prevent Spread Of HIV/AIDS, Model Shows

Main Category: HIV / AIDS
Also Included In: Preventive Medicine
Article Date: 22 Jul 2009
In addition to acting as life-saving therapy to people living with HIV/AIDS, WHO researchers say antiretrovirals (ARVs) may also be able to prevent the spread of HIV, Health-e/allAfrica.com reports. Reuben Granich, of the WHO, used a model to estimate the use of ARVs for the prevention of HIV transmission, and presented his findings to delegates gathered at the 5th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention meeting in Cape Town, South Africa (Thom, 7/20).

"Granich argued that, because antiretrovirals can lower an HIV-positive person's viral load to undetectable levels, the drugs could be used to make HIV-positive people virtually non-infectious - which could slash HIV transmission rates to levels at which it could eventually be eliminated," the Times reports. "WHO researchers first raised the concept in a paper published in the journal Lancet medical journal late last year. The Cape Town gathering is the first big conference to debate it" (Keeton, 7/21).

The idea of using "treatment as prevention" has long been supported by Julio Montaner, president of the IAS, the Globe and Mail reports in a piece that examines how the Canadian scientist's "once-ridiculed idea" has come to win the support of international health experts (York, 7/21).

Health-e/allAfrica.com: "Granich said universal voluntary counseling and HIV testing coupled with immediate initiation on ARVs, combined with other prevention methods would see a 95 percent reduction in new HIV cases in 10 years, incidence would reduce from around 20,000 per million to around 1,000 per million people and the number of people living with HIV would become less than 1 percent by 2050" (7/20).

"Immediate treatment is a bold concept that deserves serious consideration," Tony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said of the new model, the Times reports. "We will be doing research to determine the feasibility of several assumptions underlying it" (7/21).

Study Shows Earlier Treatment For HIV-Positive Patients In South Africa Would Saves Lives, Be Cost-Effective

Also during the conference, researchers presented data that showed "[e]arlier treatment for HIV infection in South Africa could prevent nearly 76,000 deaths and avert 66,000 opportunistic infections over the next five years," Reuters reports. The findings, based on a mathematical model, revealed "starting treatment earlier would not only save lives but would be more cost-effective than delaying treatment, saving $1,200 for every year of life saved" (Steenhuysen, 7/20).

For people living with HIV in developing countries, "[t]he WHO recommends starting HIV treatment when a patient's CD4 cells - the infection-fighting cells the virus attacks - drop below 200 per cubic millimeter of blood, to delay the costs and side-effects associated with the drugs," Bloomberg writes. However, HIV-positive patients in developed countries begin HIV treatments when CD4 counts fall below 350 (Bennett, 7/20).

"While those standards accommodate the limited resources and short supply of medications in many settings, the greater prevalence of tuberculosis and other opportunistic infections in places like South Africa argue for earlier treatment initiation," study author Rochelle Walensky of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said in a written statement, according to Reuters. "Nearly 3 million people in the developing world now get HIV drugs -- about 70 percent of those who need them, according to the United Nations," Reuters reports (7/20).

Bloomberg writes, "Raising the threshold to 350 for patients in developing nations would be 'more appropriate and clinically sound,' said Julio Montaner… in a speech at the group's conference in Cape Town yesterday" (7/20).

Study Finds Blood Tests For Africans On ARVs Unnecessary

"Hundreds of thousands more Africans with HIV could be treated without extra spending if blood tests for monitoring side effects are abandoned, the biggest trial of HIV therapy in the continent has found," the Times reports. The findings, based on a six-year clinical trial involving over 3,300 participants, revealed that patients who received regular laboratory tests in addition to ARVs had similar survival rates to those who received ARVs without routine testing. The data were presented during the IAS Conference (Henderson, 7/21).

BBC writes: "British International Development Minister Mike Foster said that while [ARV] treatment saves lives, the cost of the accompanying laboratory tests 'significantly reduces the number of people that this treatment can reach.' 'Crucially, the money saved from paying for these tests could enable more people to safely receive treatment, including those who for whatever reason are unable to travel to the laboratories,'" he said (BBC, 7/21).

Reuters Examines How Global Economic Crisis Will Impact Global Fund

Reuters examines how the "global economic downturn and recession in the U.S. and other G8 countries, coupled with demand that has 'quadrupled'," will impact the goal of the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria to receive $30 billion next year. "My concern is about our ability to scale up because the [AIDS] epidemic spreads faster than our ability to scale up with the funding," Michel Kazatchkine, executive director of the Global Fund said. "I have no signal that donors would take back or would not honour to what they have committed (to 2010). The fact is that the demand is much higher" - which he estimated would cause a funding gap of about $3 billion for programs in 2010 (7/20).

UNAIDS Head Talks To Health-e/allAfrica.com

Michel Sidibe, executive director of UNAIDS, discussed the importance of universal access to ARVs with Health-e/allAfrica.com. Sidibe has been on a "fact finding trip to southern Africa" and believes "AIDS needs to removed from isolation and become an entry point to transforming society, attaining the Millennium Development Goals, uplifting health systems and ultimately making better health and development outcomes a reality," according to Health-e/allAfrica.com (Thom, 7/20).

The International AIDS Society is providing regular updates on the latest conference developments and resources along with featured guest posts on the IAS 2009 Live blog.

This information was reprinted from globalhealth.kff.org with kind permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Global Health Policy Report, search the archives and sign up for email delivery at globalhealth.kff.org.

© Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

Original article posted on Medical News Today.
Articles not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today
Medical News Today publishes the latest health news and health videos for consumers and health professionals. It has a searchable archive of over 100,000 health news articles.

Apple double standard for gays on iphone apps

Apple using double-standard for gay iPhone apps?

Apple is maintaining a double-standard when it comes to gay-themed iPhone apps, a developer claims. Attempting to draw publicity, Terry Ray claims that his iGaydar title was rejected from the App Store on the same day as Bruno -- an app based on the Sacha Baron Cohen movie -- was approved. iGaydar was rejected for "objectionable content," despite being considerably less graphic than the Bruno app, according to Ray.
iGaydar pretends to detect a person's sexuality, first displaying a random percentage and then announcing a tongue-in-cheek statement, such as "Honey, not even your priorities are straight." By contrast the Bruno app lets users undress Cohen's character, and touch various body parts which can elicit potentially offensive responses. Bruno is only on the App Store as a result of major studio backing and publicity, Ray charges.

Apple has rejected a number of apps with sex-related themes in the past, even when the titles did not show anything explicit. Naughty Loaded Dice was briefly blocked earlier in July, while an e-book reader, Eucalyptus, was temporarily blocked in May. Though only meant as general-purpose reading software, one of the books available for Eucalyptus is the Kama Sutra, a centuries-old Indian religious text that Apple deemed "inappropriate sexual content."

Scientologists threatening Travolta to expose him if he leaves


The Daily Mail reports that John Travolta has been in a state of crisis since the death of his son Jett:

Say neighbors: "We often see John driving himself around at night. It's sad to see. You rarely catch sight of him during the day. We used to see him driving around on a buggy with his son. Now it's just John by himself. He's always been a night owl, but now even more so."

According to the paper, Travolta's faith in Scientology has been broken by Jett's death and the religion's inability to help his son, but the cult is threatening to expose him if he tries to kiss it good-bye:

"But if rumours buzzing around Hollywood this week are to be believed, it's not just the death of his beloved son that has been torturing Travolta of late. His distress, say sources close to him, has been compounded by the first cracks in his 34-year relationship with the Church of Scientology, the cult-like religion of which Travolta is a prominent and generous benefactor. And there are dark mutterings that if he carries out private threats to leave, the organisation will go public with embarrassing details of his private life, including, it is claimed, allegations of past homosexual relationships.
(from Towleroad)

July 26, 2009

Marc seigal @ Walter cronkite

The Washington Post has published an interesting piece about activist Mark Segal and how his protest during a December 1973 broadcast of the CBS Evening News with the late Walter Cronkite changed both Cronkite's mind about reporting on gay rights and forever shifted network news approach to it.

Segal, who interrupted Cronkite's broadcast with a sign reading "Gays protest CBS prejudice" and was subsequently wrestled to the floor and taken away, later subpoenaed Cronkite to testify in the court case over his trespassing charges.

The WaPo notes:
When the trial began in April 1974, Cronkite took the stand, but CBS lawyers objected each time Segal's lawyer posed a question. During a recess, Segal felt a tap on his shoulder. "Why did you do that?" Cronkite asked about the incident in the studio.

"You're news censors," Segal responded. The anchorman was appalled. "If I can prove it," Segal then asked, "would you do something to change it?" He cited three examples, including a CBS report on the second rejection of a gay rights bill by the New York City Council. "Yes, I believe I wrote that story myself," Cronkite said.

"Well, why haven't you reported on the 23 other cities that have passed gay rights bills?" Segal asked. "Why do you cover 5,000 women walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City when they proclaim International Women's Year on the network news, and you do not cover 50,000 gays and lesbians walking down that same avenue proclaiming Gay Pride Day? That's censorship." Genuinely moved, Cronkite shook Segal's hand and thanked him.

Said Segal of Cronkite: "He was the kind of man who believed in human rights for everyone. I am amazed and humbled by his willingness to reach out to me. He was a bridge between the gay movement and major media. We remained friends, and it was a privilege knowing him."

I've posted 365gay's report on the broadcast moment, AFTER THE JUMP...

Is “Heteroflexible” the New Gay?

Is “Heteroflexible” the New Gay?
by Brent Hartinger
July 21, 2009
What does it mean that there are three new entertainment projects where straight men are sexually involved with other men?

The three projects: Torchwood, Humpday and the Adam/Rafe storyline on The Young and the Restless.

Torchwood's Jack (John Barrowman) and Ianto (Gareth David-Lloyd)

Britain’s Torchwood first broke gay ground with its leading bisexual character (in a genre show, no less). Now with the show’s third season (a five-part miniseries) running on BBC America for five days starting last night, that leading character, Captain Jack Harkness, is still involved with his male co-worker Ianto.

But this time around, we learn that Ianto is not gay or bisexual; he’s actually straight, but just happens to respond emotionally and sexually to Jack. Confusing? It shouldn’t be. Such emotions and relationships have always been part of the human spectrum. It’s just that, until very recently, we haven’t had the words to describe them.

The situation is very different in the indie film Humpday that opened in limited release two weeks ago, about two very straight men who, to prove something to both their more adventurous friends and themselves, decide to make a gay adult film art project. It’s “beyond gay,” they say.

But things turn out more complicated than they expected – especially since both men naturally assume that they’re going to be the, uh, active partner.

And the storyline is more different still on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless. Last month, to distract Rafe, a gay man on the verge of discovering evidence of a crime, the long-running character of Adam had sex with him, despite being heterosexual.

Afterward, Adam quickly took a shower, and then went over to see his girlfriend to kiss her, as if to prove to himself that he’s still heterosexual. But it’s clear that he was able to perform sexually with Rafe and that his subterfuge was not discovered.

The Young and the Restless' Adam (Michael Muhney)
and Rafe (Yani Gellman)

They say you need three examples to make something a “trend,” and now we’ve got them. This idea of straight men fooling around with other men is officially a full-fledged media trend!

But it might also actually mean something – namely that America is finally growing up somewhat when it comes to the topic of guy-guy sexual behavior, and might even be taking a major step forward on the general understanding of the fluid nature of human sexuality.

This isn’t the first time popular entertainment has dealt with such sexuality: indie films like Chasing Amy (1997) and The Party Monster (1998) even took it on back in the 90s.

But those movies, and most of the others like them, dealt with fluid sexuality among women. This is key: very few entertainment projects have previously dealt with

July 24, 2009

A FAT Calorie Violator

New Fast-Food Calorie Violators:

Check out this CRAZY-HIGH-CALORIE new fast food we found. Hungry Girl WARNING: Avoid these fatty foes at all costs!

Burger King - Steakhouse Burger
950 calories, 59g fat, and 55g carbs!

More Smoking on LGTB

I wish it wasn't so...but I can understand why. The pressures on us placed by a society that can not understand a groom with groom...bride with bride.
Everything for us is a big deal. if we are dating and hug in public we are in the circus..never mind kissing. We do and we should; But look forward to the day in which it would be as natural as it is for heterosexuals.
On that year our smoking would be less than any other group, because we've made it and we have the instinct of putting the pass away and join the future.

Gays Disproportionately Light Up  | News | Advocate.com

Gays Disproportionately Light Up  | News | Advocate.com

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July 23, 2009

OBama Flops on gay rights

Obama flops on gay marriage
Written by Ben Fisher
Thursday, 23 July 2009

In an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow during the 2008 presidential campaign, President Barack Obama declared himself a “fierce advocate” for the rights of the lesbian, gay, and transgender community. But in light of recent events at the national level, the LGBT community would certainly disagree with this characterization.

The Obama administration again infuriated gay rights organizations on Thursday, June 11 when the Justice Department filed a court motion to uphold the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The legislation declares that same-sex marriages should not be recognized in states where gay marriage is prohibited and explicitly defines legal marriage as between “one man and one woman.”

The Obama administration has proven slow to keep the president’s campaign promise to reverse the United States Military’s much-maligned “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which prohibits openly gay and lesbian Americans from serving in the armed forces. According to Huffington Post, the president began consulting members of the Department of Defense in March on how to lift the policy; yet, the administration has taken no further action since these sessions.

The president quickly tried to atone for his lack of support for gay marriage. On Wednesday, June 17, the president signed a memorandum that, according to CNN, will award “health care and other benefits” to the “same-sex partners of federal employees.” But an overview of his political career will reveal that President Obama flip-flopped in his support of marriage equality. In a 1996 article in Chicago’s Outlines (which merged with Windy City Times in 2000), Illinois state Senate candidate Obama stated that he favored “legalizing same-sex marriages” and declared that he would “fight efforts to prohibit same-sex marriages.” But 2008 presidential candidate Obama reversed his opinion on gay marriage – in a 2008 interview on Hardball with Chris Matthews, he opposed gay marriage but supported “strong civil unions” that would provide the “same legal rights” as legal marriage.

The ugly truth is that President Obama is not the only high-profile Democrat to revoke support for gay marriage. According to the Huffington Post, former presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, John Edwards, and Christopher Dodd all rescinded their support of gay marriage during their respective bids for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination – Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel were the only candidates who supported its legalization.

But President Obama’s impassioned speech to the NAACP on Thursday, July 16 renewed hope that LGBT rights remain a priority for this administration. Obama highlighted the discrimination still felt by “our gay brothers and sisters” who are “still taunted, still attacked, still denied their rights.”

These setbacks at the federal level have added insult to injury among the LGBT community in South Carolina. Gay rights activists are still reeling from the passage of the 2009 Dating Violence Bill in the South Carolina House of Representatives.

The bill originated as a legitimate attempt to protect teenagers in the event of “physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse” from “his or her dating partner.”

The legislation never mentioned gays or lesbians until Republican Greg Delleney called for an amendment to the bill, saying that he did not want the “Department of Education or the school districts to teach children in grades six through 12 about [same-sex] relationships.”

Per Delleney’s suggestion, the May 2009 version of the bill explicitly defines “dating partner” as “a person involved in a heterosexual dating relationship with another” and systematically eliminates LGBT teenagers from protection from domestic violence. The South Carolina legislature officially banned gay marriage back in 2007.

The mayor, the rabbi and the lawmakers sellin g body parts!

NBC News and news services
updated 2 hours ago
NEWARK, N.J. - Three New Jersey mayors, two state lawmakers, a deputy mayor and five rabbis were among 44 people charged Thursday in a two-track corruption and international money-laundering probe, the U.S. Attorney's Office for New Jersey announced.

The investigation began as a probe into a money-laundering ring that allegedly trafficked in goods as diverse as human organs and fake designer handbags. Based on information from a cooperating witness, the probe then widened to government corruption when the witness approached public officials about bribes, the attorney's office said in a statement.

FBI and IRS agents arrested most of the suspects Thursday morning in what is being described as one of the biggest investigations of its kind in New Jersey history.

BODY PARTS $$$$FOR SALE...just call?

Over 20 NJ high officials just got arrested this am for being connected to a ring of of body parts. The person in need of the part would make a contribution to a politician or Gov't official and BINGO: The body part would some how appear. It is not publicly known how this magic happen or where did the body part would come from.

July 22, 2009

Valla con dog dios

The precious, but big eye doggie chi-hu=hua that was made a billionaire by pepsico, owners of Taco bell and KFC died today. It is reported they tried to bring him back with a chimichanga, but it seems he would rather have the crawlers where the chimi's were made on his time on 6thAve/w 4 St W. village, NYC.
The poor thing, when he was no longer poor was adviced by Lehman Bros. to put his money on tacobell stock; Left all his money on stock to taco bell....which he lost. So the poor putch died peniless.

The Heterosexual Questionnaire

The Heterosexual Questionnaire

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July 21, 2009

The ban on same sex marriage the residue of centuries of gay bashing

David Boies’ WSJ Gay Marriage Triumph
by DAVID BADASH on JULY 20, 2009 · COMMENTS (0)

The big news today is David Boies’ Op-Ed, “Gay Marriage and the Constitution,” in The Wall Street Journal. Boies is the lawyer who represented presidential candidate Al Gore in Bush v. Gore, and is now, along with former U.S. Solicitor General Ted Olson, whom he faced in Bush v. Gore, suing the State of California to overturn Prop 8.

Boise makes some eloquent and sound observations, which I’ll share, but I also thought it would be interesting to share with you a few of the almost 300 comments readers made on the Op-Ed.

It’s important to note that The Wall Street Journal is, perhaps, if not the last bastion, certainly the largest mass media representative, of America’s conservative financial elites. For such a “liberal” attorney to appear in the Journal’s hallowed pages is itself a triumph for us, and for his words to be so clear and inarguable, and read by millions of American conservatives who actually has the ability to make change in the fabric of this nation’s thinking is, perhaps for us, the greatest triumph.

That said, I give you a few selections from Boies’, “Gay Marriage and the Constitution”:

“…this is not a Republican or Democratic issue, not a liberal or conservative issue, but an issue of enforcing our Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection and due process to all citizens.”

“The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the right to marry the person you love is so fundamental that states cannot abridge it.”

“The occasional suggestion that marriages between people of different sexes may somehow be threatened by marriages of people of the same sex does not withstand discussion. It is difficult to the point of impossibility to envision two love-struck heterosexuals contemplating marriage to decide against it because gays and lesbians also have the right to marry; it is equally hard to envision a couple whose marriage is troubled basing the decision of whether to divorce on whether their gay neighbors are married or living in a domestic partnership.”

“The ban on same-sex marriages written into the California Constitution by a 52% vote in favor of Proposition 8 is the residue of centuries of figurative and literal gay-bashing.”

“…the ban on permitting gay and lesbian couples to actually marry is simply an attempt by the state to stigmatize a segment of its population that commits no offense other than falling in love with a disapproved partner, and asks no more of the state than to be treated equally with all other citizens.”

A Memo from RNC: defeat health's care proposal by delay

(This story was reported by the Huff report today)
A private memo distributed by the Republican National Committee calls for like-minded advocates to help defeat President Barack Obama's health care proposals by delaying its consideration.

The memo, which was obtained by the Huffington Post from a Democratic source, provides the clearest illustration to date of the political playbook being used to stop Democratic attempts at a health care overhaul. Much of the material mirrors the speeches and presentations made by conservatives both inside and out of elected office to date. Obama's plan for health care is deemed an "experiment" and a "risk" that could bankrupt the country and dangerously change the doctor-patient relationship.

In particular, the 12-page memo makes the case that it is a Republican priority to slow down the consideration of health care reform before it can become codified.

"The Republican National Committee will engage in every activity we can to slow down this mad rush while promoting sensible alternatives that address health care costs and preserve quality," the memo affirmatively declares.

In an effort to buttress its claims, the RNC highlights internal polling it conducted from June 15 to 17, in which 56 percent of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for a congressional candidate who was a "check and balance" on the president's agenda. Thirty-five percent said they preferred a candidate who would help Obama.

"Every Republican should stand up for health care reform that controls cost, preserves quality and provides the health care that Americans deserve," the memo reads. "This means standing up against President Obama's health care plan. The Obama administration is acting with extreme haste, hoping to push through their health care experiment as fast as they can. Make no mistake -- their timeline is based on what works for them politically, not on what will result in the best health care policy for Americans. The reckless speed with which they are attempting to jam through this experiment is a grave threat to America's health care, and America's health."

In an effort to slow down reform, the RNC advises its advocates to use a whole host of political tools, from organizing town halls, to writing letters to the editor, to booking surrogates on radio and television, to engaging in "Street Theater" protests outside Democratic events. And in a bit of irony, the memo's authors encourage readers to frame the president as the one acting out of political motivations.

"Despite the president's increasingly skeptical reviews, it should also be noted that the Obama administration is fantastic at the PR game," the memo reads. "In some cases, they are even a little too good at it, selling things that are demonstrably untrue."

July 19, 2009

Stable Families...not straight...just stable..just a comment

Name: Laurent
Date posted: 2009-07-17 7:08 PM
Hometown: Ottawa

"Defining family is a difficult task", yes to the church a successful family is one where the children are considered possessions, subject to the emotional abuse of the parents or physical abuse by the church. In jurisdictions where gays are allowed to form partnerships and adopt children, those children are raised in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. They are taught that discrimination is wrong and what is good behaviour and bad behaviour. Me and my partner have raised 3 sons and a daughter, our house was always a welcoming place for all their friends. Many of their friends came to us to discuss their problems and we could only hope that the guidance we provided was helpful. As our children left home, it was an amazing thing that a lot of their friends still sought us out for advice. It wasn't that we were so enlightened, but the fact was that we were more stable than their home situations.These are the things that the church refuses to acknowledge, more the pity.

Polis Named to Air Force Board  | News | Advocate.com

Polis Named to Air Force Board  | News | Advocate.com

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Organic Vs. Natural Foods which one is better for you?

Organic Vs Natural

Now I don’t know about you, but to me they sound pretty much the same don’t they? I mean, shouldn’t organic foods be natural and vice versa?

The truth is they aren’t the same and actually have some major differences...

To make the answer to this question as simple as possible I broke down how organic foods differ from natural foods.

Organic Foods:

Certified organic label from USDA or other
Grown and produced organically - no synthetic pesticides
40-60% more antioxidants
Create sustainable ecosystems for farming
Can still use chemicals and processing
Most products can now be grown organic
5% of organic product can still use and contain non-organic products (which as of June 9th include 19 food colorings!)
More expensive than non-organic foods (10 - 40%)
Food may spoil faster due to less preservatives
Organic food sales grew by 17% last year

Natural Foods:

Often referred to as "health food"
No certifying agency to monitor labeling
Minimally synthesized, if at all
Minimal processing or chemicals, if at all
Typically found with produce and meats
Highest possible antioxidant and nutrient density in natural state
More expensive than non-natural foods (10 - 40%)
Best when bought locally and in-season
Food spoils faster due to no preservatives
Natural foods do not include ingredients such as refined sugars, refined flours, milled grains, hydrogenated oils, sweeteners, food colors, or flavorings.
Beginning to gain popularity

Personally, I choose to eat as many locally grown, organic, and natural foods as possible and when it comes to choosing meats and eggs I go for the ones that say they come from "vegetarian/grass-fed" naturally raised animals.

If you’ve ever read any of the reports on how they use massive amounts of hormones to fatten up animals in a period of just a few months, you know how scary this is...

And I definitely don’t want to be eating all the antibiotics and hormones that those animals were injected with - remember, "You are what you eat."

Due to price, though, you most likely will have to pick and choose where you want to go organic, or natural... all I can say is that the closer you can get to local, in-season, and all-natural foods the better.

You and your family’s health will certainly improve from eating less refined, processed products - I have NO doubt about that.

You will also find it much easier to maintain a healthy weight and sustain long-lasting energy throughout the day. Food truly is medicine, and your food choices either make you healthier or push you towards illness.

There is no in between.

Stephen Cabral is a national health correspondent with over 10 years of credentials. He holds national and international certifications in strength & conditioning, personal training, yoga and nutrition. For more information go to www.StephenCabral.com

July 18, 2009

The Blob in Alaska identified today!

There is this blob in Alaska that was just identified today. All the test show, including thruthfulness test and poligraphs and Dicsovery chanel past episodes. There were all put together and the results came in: "Palin's ego. It was just left there , while she recoup to run as the republican candidate for the nomination of the Presidency on the ticket."

July 17, 2009

Los sabios cambian de opinión, los tontos nunca. Es de sabios cambiar de opinión, mas NO de valores.(Por CAMBIO)
The savy changes his mind often, the dumb ones never do. It is for the savy to change his mind, but not his values of who he is.

July 15, 2009

When a Kiss is not a kiss but a citation

A police report has been released regarding the Mormon Temple gay kiss arrest that inspired a kiss-in last weekend in Salt Lake City.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports: "Aune and Jones said they have seen heterosexual couples holding hands and kissing without incident on the However, the police report does not indicate the men were given the option to stay if they stopped kissing or hugging. It states only that the guard told the men that 'they need to leave [church] property for the behavior and that [it] is unwanted,' and that the men were detained when Jones said he would not leave. plaza. Church spokeswoman Kim Farah has said the Aune and Jones were not singled out for being gay and that they were 'politely asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior.'"

July 14, 2009

Rachel Maddow and the house on "C" Street

Jason Linkins
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Rachel Maddow Draws Fire From GOP Rep. For Reporting On 'The Family' (VIDEO)
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First Posted: 07-14-09 12:07 PM | Updated: 07-14-09 02:05 PM

Apparently, "The Rachel Maddow Show" has drawn fire from the office of Congressman Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.) over a segment aired last week on The Family, an organization that's best known for organizing the National Prayer Breakfast but becoming better known for "C Street." C Street is a house where several members of Congress reside, and through which Mark Sanford and John Ensign are receiving some sort of undefined "counseling" for their extramarital affairs.

Apparently, the fooferaw between Wamp, who lives at "C Street," and Maddow stems from a segment she did last Friday, in which she quoted a Knoxville News Sentinel article titled, "Wamp, housemates hurt by links to scandals." I'll quote the entire section. The bolded portion is what Maddow read on the air last Friday:

"These are trying times, and, obviously, with Sen. Ensign and Gov. Sanford, everybody is disappointed," Wamp said. "There is no doubt about that."

Ensign, of Nevada, and Sanford were both rising stars in the Republican Party, and Wamp said their transgressions have hurt the GOP and the conservative movement.

"There's no question that the blows to the party and the conservative movement are painful," he said. "But that just goes to show that no group of people is exempt from these kinds of problems."

Beyond that, Wamp declines to offer any insight into how his housemates are grappling with the scandal. The C Street residents have all agreed they won't talk about their private living arrangements, Wamp said, and he intends to honor that pact.

"I hate it that John Ensign lives in the house and this happened because it opens up all of these kinds of questions," Wamp said. But, he said, "I'm not going to be the guy who goes out and talks."

Since then, Wamp's office has complained to MSNBC, in a note that read: "This statement made by Ms. Maddow Friday night is false: 'Today he told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the members of Congress who live there are sworn to secrecy.' Congressman Wamp never said people who live or meet at C Street are sworn to secrecy because that is in no way true."

Maddow, last night, stood by her reporting, saying: "The on-the-record quotation from Mr. Wamp was that C Street residents have all agreed they won't talk about their private living arrangements. The News Sentinel characterized the agreement as a "pact." We called the News Sentinel today to see if they got that wrong, to see if Mr. Wamp's office had at least also called them to say the quote was wrong -- to demand a retraction or correction. They said they never heard of this individual.

COMMENT from Adamfoxie blog: "It seems that all these Congressman that have sinned by doing what they were preaching against, go to the house on "C" street. You figure out what the C stands for."

FEDEX changes mind on Transgender employees

FedEx Now Offers Transgender Workplace Protections
FedEx a mega logistics and delivery company has made a positive step forward by offering protections to transgender employees. The official policy of the company will be altered to be inclusive of gender identity.

This gesture by the company is applauded, especially after the company invoked the Defense of Marriage Act to deny benefits to its LGBT employees back in February.

Use the FedEx customer service form to applaud their decision to allow transgender protections, and urge them to continue on this progressive path by lifting the ban on providing benefits to same-sex couples.

Fedex changes mind..Now offers benefits to Transgenders

FedEx Now Offers Transgender Workplace Protections
FedEx a mega logistics and delivery company has made a positive step forward by offering protections to transgender employees. The official policy of the company will be altered to be inclusive of gender identity.

This gesture by the company is applauded, especially after the company invoked the Defense of Marriage Act to deny benefits to its LGBT employees back in February.

Use the FedEx customer service form to applaud their decision to allow transgender protections, and urge them to continue on this progressive path by lifting the ban on providing benefits to same-sex couples.

Gay actor exposed, no matter to him..he likes the closet

Gay Actor? Stay Closeted
By Michelle Garcia

Gay male actors should stay in the closet -- at least according to Todd Holland, an Emmy-winning, openly gay director, who said as much to a small group at Los Angeles's Outfest gay and lesbian film festival on Sunday.

According to LA Weekly, Holland said that the choice is necessary for those who want to succeed in Hollywood.

Holland shared the panel with straight filmmaker Kirby Dick, who made the documentary Outrage, which is about politicians who promote antigay policies while leading closeted gay lives. "I know where you're coming from," Dick said to Holland, "but it's a regressive argument."

Holland countered that he was simply being realistic.

July 13, 2009

A kiss is only a kiss/part 2/KIss in held in protest of the LDS church

July 13, 2009
Kiss In Held to Protest LDS Church
By Julie Bolcer

Dozens of gay couples held a kiss in at Temple Square in Salt Lake City on Sunday to protest the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for detaining a gay couple who kissed on church property, reports KTSU-TV in the following video.

During the incident, first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, Matt Aune and Derek Jones say that LDS church security detained them on Thursday and Salt Lake City police cited them for trespassing after they kissed on the check on Main Street Plaza. The property was sold to the Church by the city in the late 90s, although many couples continue to pose affectionately for photos on the space.

Aune, 28, and Jones, 25, told the newspaper that they were walking back to their nearby home in the evening when they crossed the plaza holding hands, then stopped to kiss on the cheek. Several security guards arrived and told the couple that public displays of affection are not allowed on church property.

When Aune and Jones protested, they were handcuffed, and police were called. Aune and Jones were banned from LDS Church headquarters campus for six months.

Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for the LDS Church, provided a written statement to the Salt Lake Tribune saying that the detainment had nothing to do with Aune and Jones being gay.

Aune and Jones were "asked to stop engaging in inappropriate behavior just as any other couple would have been. They became argumentative and used profanity and refused to leave the property. They were arrested and then given a citation for criminal trespass by SLPD,” said the LDS Church.

Having an ugly boyfriend

The Economics of an Ugly Boyfriend
Naked self-promotion: the third edition of my book, Economics Is Everywhere (Worth Publishers), has just appeared. It contains little articles like those I have included on this blog (and, no doubt, some of the posts from this blog will be included in the fourth edition). I love many of the stories, but my all-time favorite from among the 700 that have been in the book’s various editions combines several basic economic ideas:

One of the students came up with what is perhaps the most amusing negative externality example that I have heard in my teaching career.

Her roommate is beautiful, but her roommate’s boyfriend, so she says, is very, very ugly. No problem, except that the roommate has a poster-sized photograph of the boyfriend on the wall on her side of the room, a poster that my student has to view whenever she is on her own side of the room.

I ask my student why, if the guy is so ugly, her roommate goes out with him, and she answers, “He goes to Harvard."

It was only a kiss

"About 100 people picketed in front of the Chico's on Montwood, where they hoisted signs that read, 'El Paso is Diversity,' 'What About Our 1st Amendment Rights?' and '...With Liberty and Justice For All.' Protesters lined both sides of the street outside the restaurant, chanted and urged motorists to honk in support. Carlos Diaz de Leon, one of the five men and a leader in the protest, claims that about 12:30 a.m. June 29 he and four others were at Chico's when two of his friends kissed, prompting a private security guard to use an anti-gay slur in Spanish and to call police, who cited a statute on homosexual conduct declared unconstitutional six years ago. The five men are taking steps in possibly mounting a legal challenge against the restaurant, All American International Security and the city of El Paso."

July 12, 2009

Collecting on SS and Disability payments by Banks and coll agencies.


A bipartisan group of legislators is pressing the Treasury Department to close a loophole that has allowed banks to seize Social Security and disability benefits from customers' accounts despite federal rules intended to protect these benefits from creditors.

The loophole also has enabled some banks to seize from customers their recent $250 Economic Recovery Payments, payments to disabled veterans, and supplemental benefits to impoverished individuals from the Social Security Administration.

Federal law says creditors can't take Social Security, disability, veterans' and children's survivor benefits to pay a debt. But the federal law doesn't say how money deposited directly into bank accounts is to be protected -- a gap that has given banks the ability to seize such funds.


Read about the $250 Economic Recovery Payments.
Read the letters from Sens. Herb Kohl and Claire McCaskill and from four House members to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
See the bill proposed to withhold funding to promote banks' direct-deposit program until the Treasury takes steps to protect Social Security benefits.
Protecting Your Social Security and Pension from Creditors
And when banks receive garnishment orders from debt collectors, they freeze customers' accounts and collect fees, including a charge to freeze the account, as well as overdraft and other charges -- all of which can be taken from Social Security benefits.

The Treasury and Social Security Administration, along with banking regulators, developed proposed regulations early this year that close the loophole. But the regulations are in limbo.

In separate letters in May to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, members of the Senate Special Committee on Aging as well as House members including Barney Frank urged that the Treasury issue regulations to stop banks from freezing benefits and seizing fees.

In a recent hearing before being confirmed as the Treasury's assistant secretary for financial institutions, Michael Barr said one of his first priorities will be to issue "a joint regulation to solve the problem of account freezes and garnishment of exempt funds." Mr. Geithner wasn't immediately available for comment.

Closing a Loophole

View Slideshow

Andrew Geiger for The Wall Street Journal
The children of Nicole Murphy, above, had their Social Security survivor benefits seized when a creditor garnished the account for the children's unpaid medical bills.

Some customers whose accounts are frozen often don't know their benefit money isn't supposed to be snatched.

Bank of America Corp. froze the accounts of Ellistine and Roosevelt Thompson, a disabled couple in their 60s in Macon, Ga., whose only source of income is from Social Security.

Because the Thompsons had no access to their money, they couldn't retain a lawyer. Bank of America turned over all the benefits, some of which they set aside for their burial, to a debt collector pursuing a debt from the mid-1990s.

The couple learned from a TV news program that creditors can't take Social Security benefits. They contacted Georgia Legal Services Program, which last year sued the bank seeking the return of the couples' money.

A Bank of America spokeswoman declined to comment on the case, saying the court had placed a confidentiality order on it, adding: "Banks are required by law to honor garnishment orders or risk being held in contempt. We freeze accounts because the law says we must when we receive an order to do so."

Closing the Loop

Steps to protect your Social Security, disability, veteran's or pension benefits:

Don't commingle Social Security and exempt benefits with nonexempt funds.
Don't get a loan or credit card from the bank where your Social Security or pension is deposited.
If sued, go to court and demand proof of the debt.
If your bank account is frozen, file an exemption claim within 10 days.
In a related matter involving Bank of America, the California Supreme Court was expected to rule as early as Monday on a case involving whether banks can take Social Security benefits to pay overdraft and other fees, not related to garnishments. The case, filed on behalf of elderly and disabled Californians receiving direct deposit of Social Security, accuses the bank of violating a state law that bars banks from tapping Social Security benefits; the bank argued that federal law pre-empts the state law.

Bank fees for handling garnishment orders and freezing accounts can total hundreds of dollars, leaving the person in debt to the bank.

In April, for instance, U.S. Bancorp seized the Social Security survivor benefits of two children in Kalispell, Mont., when a creditor garnished the account for the children's unpaid medical bills (the family has no health insurance). The benefits are the family's primary source of income, following the death of the children's father in 2007.

Unaware that the account was frozen, the children's mother, Nicole Murphy, 32, used a debit card to pay for gas and groceries for Easter. Each purchase triggered an insufficient-fund fee of $37.50. When the children's account fell below zero, the bank debited a negative balance fee of $8 a day.

A lawyer with Montana Legal Services Association helped Mrs. Murphy unfreeze her account. But the bank again froze the account. On May 7, the U.S. Treasury deposited into the account a $250 Economic Stimulus payment, which the government sent to low-income households. But the payment was unavailable to the family because the account was frozen, and because the bank's fees had created a negative balance.

A U.S. Bancorp spokeswoman says the bank is legally required to honor garnishment orders; it's up to the customer to work it out with the creditor and the court. If money is determined to be exempt, the bank releases it and refunds overdraft fees, she says. After being contacted by The Wall Street Journal, U.S. Bancorp credited $674 in overdraft charges back into the Murphys' account.

Under the proposed Treasury regulations, banks would be forbidden from freezing accounts that contain direct deposits of exempt funds, and couldn't take fees from exempt funds if the fees are a result of a garnishment, according to a person familiar with the matter. If the funds are commingled with nonexempt funds, the banks would have to apply a formula to exclude the protected amounts. The rules would protect banks from lawsuits from debt collectors and account holders.

But the Treasury hasn't released the proposals. Now, legal-aid lawyers say Social Security recipients are bailing out of the direct-deposit program to protect their benefits from the banks.

Allene Bellendier, a disabled 70-year-old widow, used to have her Social Security benefit deposited directly into her SunTrust Banks Inc. account.

But she closed her account last year after the bank froze it twice. Though she was able each time to get the account released with the help of a legal-aid lawyer, the process took weeks, leaving her without money for food, medicine or mortgage payments. When her food ran out, she says, she searched the house for loose change and found a few dollars in a piggy bank she was saving for Christmas presents.

She had a heart attack and says she lost nearly $600 in penalties and fees to companies where she had bounced checks as a result of the hold. Mrs. Bellendier now has her granddaughter cash the check at Wal-Mart; Mrs. Bellendier buys money orders to pay her monthly bills.

SunTrust declined comment.

In May, legislators introduced a bill to withhold funding to promote banks' direct-deposit program until the Treasury takes steps to protect Social Security benefits.

"Until adequate protections are in place, the Treasury should not be promoting a payout system that puts seniors' and veterans' benefits at risk," says Sen. Herb Kohl (D., Wis.), one of the bill's sponsors.

Write to Ellen E. Schultz at ellen.schultz@wsj.com

Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page C1
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Kids Recant Abuse Claims After Dad Jailed 20 Years

Kids Recant Abuse Claims After Dad Jailed 20 Years
After 24 years, children of Vancouver, Wash., ex-police officer recant stories of sexual abuse
VANCOUVER, Wash. July 12, 2009 (AP) The Associated Press
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Former Vancouver police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children say it never happened.

Matthew Spencer and Kathryn Tetz, who live in Sacramento, Calif., each took the stand Friday in Clark County Superior Court to clear their father's name, The Columbian newspaper reported.

Matthew, now 33, was 9 years old at the time. He told a judge he made the allegation after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff's detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.

Tetz, 30, said she doesn't remember what she told Krause back in 1985, but she remembers Krause buying her ice cream. She said that when she finally read the police reports she was "absolutely sure" the abuse never happened.

"I would have remembered something that graphic, that violent," Tetz said.

Spencer's sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2004 after questions arose about his conviction. Among other problems, prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, even though Krause claimed the abuse was repeated and violent.

Despite the commutation, Spencer remains a convicted sex offender. He is hoping to have the convictions overturned.

Krause declined an interview request from The Columbian in 2005 and could not be reached Friday, the newspaper reported.

Both children said that while growing up in California they were told by their mother, who divorced Spencer before he was charged, that they were blocking out the memory of the abuse.

They said they realized as adults the abuse never happened, and they came forward because it was the right thing to do.

Prosecutors aren't yet conceding that Spencer was wrongly convicted. Senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr grilled the children about why they are so certain they weren't abused, and chief criminal deputy prosecutor Dennis Hunter said that if the convictions are tossed, his office might appeal to the state Supreme Court.

July 11, 2009

The Republican multibillionaire that orchestraded the coup for power in Albany

updated 1:19 p.m. ET, Sat., July 11, 2009

The billionaire behind the Albany meltdown, Tom Golisano, has no regrets about his behind-the-scenes butcher job on the New York Senate. In fact, he’d do it again. "You bet I would," Golisano told The New York Daily News. Golisano, who owns the Buffalo Sabres, engineered the coup that saw Sen. Pedro Espada Jr. of the Bronx and Hiram Monserrate of Queens buck their party and join a coalition of Republicans that tipped the scales in favor of the NY GOP. The billionaire began plotting the coup after an April meeting with then-Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith because Golisano watched him play with his phone the whole time. Neither Espada nor Monserrate changed party affiliation, but their defection led to a month long stalemate in the Senate. Espada has since rejoined the Democratic coalition and assumed the role of majority leader. Mosserate returned to the Dems three weeks ago. But the failed coup doesn’t bother Golisano, who is moving to Florida. "[Espada] has never said he is going to be a Republican," Golisano said. "All he said was he wants the change.

July 10, 2009

Put your money where your tip of your tongue have been!

Read the Never-Before-Published Letter From LSD-Inventor Albert Hofmann to Apple CEO Steve Jobs
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The following post is adapted from the new book "This Is Your Country On Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America." The letter is published with the permission of the estate of LSD-inventor Albert Hofmann. For more on events related to the book, see the Facebook page or follow Ryan Grim on Twitter.

* * * * *

Steve Jobs has never been shy about his use of psychedelics, famously calling his LSD experience "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." So, toward the end of his life, LSD inventor Albert Hofmann decided to write to the iPhone creator to see if he'd be interested in putting some money where the tip of his tongue had been.

Hofmann penned a never-before-disclosed letter in 2007 to Jobs at the behest of his friend Rick Doblin, who runs an organization dedicated to studying the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs. Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, died in April 2008 at the age of 102.

See the letter here.

Written just after his 101st birthday, the letter's penmanship is impressive for a man of his years. I showed it to my grandmother, Ruth Grim, who was 8 years Hofmann's junior and did amateur handwriting analysis as long as Hofmann had been tripping. Without knowing who he was, she said in an e-mail that "something happened early in his life that made him twisted about things. Maybe he felt threatened. Also--creative with his hands, hard on himself, thinks a lot, stubborn, careful with the way he expresses himself, not influenced by other's thinking."

Doblin says Hofmann often said he had a happy childhood and wouldn't characterize him as twisted. Hofmann, for his own part, often referred to LSD as his own "problem child" and in his letter he asks Jobs to "help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonderchild."

He specifically asks Jobs to fund research being proposed by Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser and directs Jobs to Doblin's Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.
Doblin and Hofmann were close; Doblin gave the doctor his first tab of ecstasy in the '80s when it was still legal, he says, and Hofmann loved it, saying that finally he'd found a drug he could enjoy with his wife, no fan of LSD.

Doblin provided a copy of the letter to me; Hofmann's son, Andreas Hofmann, executor of his father's estate, authorized its publication.

The letter led to a roughly 30-minute conversation between Doblin and Jobs, says Doblin, but no contribution to the cause. "He was still thinking, 'Let's put it in the water supply and turn everybody on,'" recalls a disappointed Doblin, who says he still hasn't given up hope that Jobs will come around and contribute.

That Jobs used LSD and values the contribution it made to his thinking is far from unusual in the world of computer technology. Psychedelic drugs have influenced some of America's foremost computer scientists. The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff.

Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple's Jobs has said that Microsoft's Bill Gates, would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn't deny having dosed as a young man.

Thinking differently--or learning to Think Different, as a Jobs slogan has it--is a hallmark of the acid experience. "When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing," Kevin Herbert told Wired magazine at a symposium commemorating Hofmann's one hundredth birthday. Herbert, an early employee of Cisco Systems who successfully banned drug testing of technologists at the company, reportedly "solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead."

"It must be changing something about the internal communication in my brain," said Herbert. "Whatever my inner process is that lets me solve problems, it works differently, or maybe different parts of my brain are used."

Burning Man, founded in 1986 by San Francisco techies, has always been an attempt to make a large number of people use different parts of their brains toward some nonspecific but ostensibly enlightening and communally beneficial end. The event was quickly moved to the desert of Nevada as it became too big for the city. Today, it's more likely to be attended by a software engineer than a dropped-out hippie. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, are longtime Burners, and the influence of San Francisco and Seattle tech culture is everywhere in the camps and exhibits built for the eight-day festival. Its Web site suggests, in fluent acidese, that "[t]rying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind."

At the 2007 event, I set up my tent at Camp Shift--as in "Shift your consciousness"--next to four RVs rented by Alexander and Ann Shulgin and their septu- and octagenarian friends from northern California. The honored elders, the spiritual mothers and fathers of Burning Man, they spent the nights sitting on plastic chairs and giggling until sunrise. Near us, a guy I knew from the Eastern Shore--an elected county official, actually--had set up a nine-and-half-hole miniature golf course. Why nine and a half? "Because it's Burning Man," he explained. Our camp featured lectures on psychedelics and a "ride" called "Dance, Dance, Immolation." Players would don a flame-retardant suit and try to dance to the flashing lights. Make a mistake, and you would be engulfed in flames. The first entry on the FAQ sign read, "Is this safe? A: Probably not."

John Gilmore was the fifth employee at Sun Microsystems and registered the domain name Toad.com in 1987. A Burner and well-known psychonaut, he's certainly one of the mind-blown rich. Today a civil-liberties activist, he's perhaps best known for Gilmore's Law, his observation that "[t]he Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it." He told me that most of his colleagues in the sixties and seventies used psychedelic drugs. "What psychedelics taught me is that life is not rational. IBM was a very rational company," he said, explaining why the corporate behemoth was overtaken by upstarts such as Apple. Mark Pesce, the coinventor of virtual reality's coding language, VRML, and a dedicated Burner, agreed that there's some relationship between chemical mind expansion and advances in computer technology: "To a man and a woman, the people behind [virtual reality] were acidheads," he said.

Gilmore doubts, however, that a strict cause-and-effect relationship between drugs and the Internet can be proved. The type of person who's inspired by the possibility of creating new ways of storing and sharing knowledge, he said, is often the same kind interested in consciousness exploration. At a basic level, both endeavors are a search for something outside of everyday reality--but so are many creative and spiritual undertakings, many of them strictly drug-free. But it's true, Gilmore noted, that people do come to conclusions and experience revelations while tripping. Perhaps some of those revelations have turned up in programming code.

And perhaps in other scientific areas, too. According to Gilmore, the maverick surfer/chemist Kary Mullis, a well-known LSD enthusiast, told him that acid helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction, a crucial breakthrough for biochemistry. The advance won him the Nobel Prize in 1993. And according to reporter Alun Reese, Francis Crick, who discovered DNA along with James Watson, told friends that he first saw the double-helix structure while tripping on LSD.

It's no secret that Crick took acid; he also publicly advocated the legalization of marijuana. Reese, who reported the story for a British wire service after Crick's death, said that when he spoke with Crick about what he'd heard from the scientist's friends, he "listened with rapt, amused attention" and "gave no intimation of surprise. When I had finished, he said, 'Print a word of it and I'll sue.'"

The letter from Hofmann to Jobs, transcribed below if you have difficulty viewing:

DearSteve -

Dear Mr. Steve Jobs,

Hello from Albert Hofmann. I understand from media accounts that you feel LSD helped you creatively in your development of Apple computers and your personal spiritual quest. I'm interested in learning more about how LSD was useful to you.

I'm writing now, shortly after my 101st birthday, to request that you support Swiss psychiatrist Dr. Peter Gasser's proposed study of LSD-assisted psychotherapy in subjects with anxiety associated with life-threatening illness. This will become the first LSD-assisted psychotherapy study in over 35 years.

I hope you will help in the transformation of my problem child into a wonder child.


A. Hofmann

* * * * *
Dear Rick,

Thank you for all you do for my problem child. I am pleased to add whatever I can do from my part.

I learned much from your great letter, to do things after waiting for the right moment, how clever and careful you organize and do your work.

I do hope that my letter to Steve Jobs corresponds to your expectation, especially what regards the choice of the writing paper. [Doblin had asked Hofmann to use his personal letterhead. It's not what you're thinking.] I believe that I followed your prescription.

Hopefully Dr. Gasser will be successful with his request.

Cordially -


A man of the people: Alec B. or Cafferty

This story is from the Heff. post
I was sorry to watch, live on CNN, Edward R. Murrow and Emmy Award-winning broadcaster and all around "Man of the People" Jack Cafferty spit on me on his broadcast today.

After decrying the notion of "actors and comedians" running for public office, Cafferty stated, "Baldwin's credentials are questionable... but Franken is no slouch. He's Harvard educated."

So Franken fits the mold for Cafferty because he went to Harvard? What other schools does Cafferty approve of as breeding grounds for office holders in America? What other professions does Cafferty believe should be excluded from holding office?

The material I received from a contingent in Ohio was back in 1996, but Playboy omitted that fact in editing the piece. As for running for office in the future, who knows? I always felt that doing so was a way to serve one's country. But, now that I think about what Cafferty has on his mind, maybe it's a lousy idea. Heck, I only have a BFA in drama from NYU. Perhaps New York University should print on its undergraduate drama degrees "Warning: the bestowing of this degree precludes you from seeking any public office per Jack Cafferty of CNN."

I would like to make a deal with Cafferty. Jack, you don't tell people that a career in the performing arts disqualifies them from seeking elected office, and I won't say publicly that your being convicted of leaving the scene of an accident in which you struck a cyclist and then ran two red lights while you were pursued by the police and were subsequently ordered to serve 70 hours of community service back in May of 2003 disqualifies you from posing as a "Man of the People" on a major cable news network.
The GOP's Young Hatemonger
by John Avlon

From the Huff. Post

Audra Shay, accused of endorsing racism on Facebook, is favored to become the head of the Young Republicans tomorrow. John Avlon uncovers new details about her disturbing online comments.
Thirty-eight-year-old Audra Shay’s campaign to become the next chairman of the Young Republicans went from obscure to infamous over the past week, after The Daily Beast revealed details of posts of her Facebook account. Specifically, a thread where one of her friends posts that ““Obama Bin Lauden [sic] is the new terrorist… Muslim is on there side [sic]… need to take this country back from all of these mad coons… and illegals,” and Shay responds eight minutes later with: “You tell em Eric! lol.”
“This is an outrage and I CAN NOT believe this nation has him as our leader! It makes me sick!” She posted a few minutes later: “My disdain for Obama is directly proportionate for his disdain of this country.”
Following those revelations, several Young Republican colleagues urged Shay to remove herself from tomorrow’s election at the group’s convention in Indianapolis—a request Shay, the favorite going in to the vote, has pointedly refused. Instead, she said that she was responding to an earlier post from her friend, and labeled criticism against her “political attacks” which “proves that my opponents will stoop to the lowest levels to steal this election from the jaws of victory.”
Now, The Daily Beast has obtained more troubling details about her online musings—despite clear attempts by Shay to scrub her social-networking pages clean. Specifically:
* In October 2008, in the wake of news that an effigy of Sarah Palin was being hung outside an affluent Hollywood home as an offensive Halloween decoration, Shay replied, returning to the “LOL” style that she employed after the “coons” comment: “What no ‘Obama in a noose? Come on now, its just freedome [sic] of speech, no one in Atlanta would take that wrong! Lol.”
She picked up the thread again the next morning with a clarification and a new insight. “Apparently I could not spell last night. I am wondering if the guys with the Palin noose would care if we had a bunch of homosexuals in a noose.”
* Posting and endorsing a conspiracy-theory video that attempts to prove that Obama believes he can only “ensure his own salvation” and “fate” if he helps African Americans above whites, complete with Barnum-esque captions (“LISTEN AS HE ATTACKS WHITE PEOPLE”).
* Numerous posts in which Shay says that President Obama is “anti-American” and has “disdain of this country.”
Collectively her comments are products of an increasingly common GOP mind-set I call Obama Derangement Syndrome, the right-wingers’ version of a virulent strain of obsessive presidential hatred that many liberals exhibited during the Bush years. Symptoms include comparing the president to Hitler and ascribing to him every evil and unconstitutional intention imaginable. It is accompanied by the belief that such a partisan fever is patriotic.

July 9, 2009

The 4 amigos and NYker and gays get it in the bud!

Ruben Dias Sr....pastor homophobe, Hiram Monserrate, Espada who could be convicted of a felony by beating up his girlfriend and the other one you can name, but he is fat, short, bold, fat and represent Bklyn..
These Democrats got together by making a deal with Espada to be the chair of the majority in Albany.
There is is no hope for us now, except to make sure we work hard to get this people out of power on the next elections.
At the end they got together like clowns and sang "Happy birthday" to one of their own. Way too comical and tragic at the same time.

Daily Pain Palin quotes of wisdom

Use my daughter Bristol as a teaching tool for others. (Oct 2008)
Constitution does offer an inherent right to privacy. (Oct 2008)
Abortion should be states’ issue, not federal mandate. (Oct 2008)
While mayor, Wasilla charged rape victims for rape kits. (Sep 2008)
Rejected sympathy for Down’s Syndrome son, as gift from God. (Aug 2008)
Opposes embryonic stem cell research. (Aug 2008)
Every baby is created with a future and potential. (Aug 2008)
Safe Haven bill: allow surrendering newborns without penalty. (Feb 2008)
Adoption is best plan for permanency for foster care kids. (Oct 2007)
Pro-life. (Nov 2006)
Choose life, even if her own daughter were raped. (Nov 2006)
If Roe v. Wade got overturned, let people decide what’s next. (Oct 2006)
Opposes use of public funds for abortions. (Oct 2006)
Pro-contraception, pro-woman, pro-life. (Aug 2006)
Only exception for abortion is if mother’s life would end. (Jul 2006)



The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Servicemembers United announced today a national "Voices of Honor" Tour to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), a former West Point professor and Iraq War vet, is the lead sponsor of legislation to repeal the unpopular policy that bars LGBT people from serving openly in the United States armed services.

Murphy said, in part:

"Our president, President Barack Obama, has stated that If Congress can get a bill to his desk repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, he will sign it into law. It is now our job, and my job specifically, to quarterback this through the Congress of the United States to do just that. I can not tell you today how long it's gonna take. All I can tell ya is that paratroopers don't quit, and paratroopers get the job done. To remove honorable, talented and committed Americans from serving in our military is contrary to the values that our military holds dear."

Video of Murphy's speech after the jump.

"Voices of Honor" will make stops in Philadelphia; Trenton; Virginia Beach; Phoenix; Kansas City, MO; Orlando and Tampa and will feature former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva, the first American soldier injured in Iraq, among others. CNN points out that some of those involved were chosen because they're straight, as outreach to other straight soldiers.

July 8, 2009

Ex DC Mayor& Homephobe kicks out women out of his room/no oral..and I don't mean Oral Roberts!

Sweet sassy molassey! Mike DeBonis of the Washington City Paper has WON THE AFTERNOON with this epic slice of awesomeness, in which he reveals many lengthy voicemails that former D.C. Mayor/current D.C. Councilmember Marion Barry left for his paramour-slash-Independence Day stalking victim, and they are a magical delight in these troubled times.

If you missed this story, over the holiday weekend, Barry was picked up by the U.S. Park Police, who are tasked with protecting residents and guests of the District of Columbia from Barry at all times. Barry was cited for misdemeanor stalking, after the police were called to the scene by his stalkee, political consultant and Barry ex-girlfriend Donna Watts-Brighthaupt. According to reports, Barry had hoped to "cross the sex line" with Watts-Brighthaupt on a trip to Rehoboth Beach, which is Washington, DC's version of Argentina.

DeBonis has fantastic details of the Barry/Watts-Brighthaupt relationship, and the ebbs and flows of their zany passions for one another:

Throughout, the telenovela dynamic was constant, with the two regularly fighting, only to make up within days or hours, sometimes minutes. The tussles happened in private and in public -- in an incident recounted to LL by an independent source, a verbal scuffle between the two in Vegas erupted into blows, right in the lobby of the Paris hotel. "She told me she put a shellacking on him," [ex-husband Delonta] Brighthaupt says.
Go here, with all deliberate haste, to enjoy these vocal samples that will all hopefully find their way onto Wale's next mixtape. DeBonis thoughtfully provides transcripts, which, I'm sure you will agree, force all of us to revisit the soulful and poetic love-notes of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, who clearly should be respected for the relative restraint he showed while deploying his stimulus package. While they are all sublime, this clip is going to be everyone's personal favorite:

Recorded argument between Watts-Brighthaupt and Barry: Watts-Brighthaupt: Why you saying he fuck me like you did?...Why you sayin' he has my credit fucked up, and you know. I think you telling your friends, sayin' I want a man who fucked me up, fucked my credit up, got me to lose my house and she keep goin' back to that man...You want me to think I'm crazy...All I'm trying to saying is I forgive. You put me out in Denver cause I wouldn't suck your dick. You put me out in Denver! You made me have to fuck your ass up in the middle of a [unintelligible]. We were like fuckin' Tina and Ike Turner. And I forgive. Alright you just wastin my damn time?...I can't believe this....you always... you don't think about other people's time. You're inconsiderate...
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An Iraq vet picks up DADT( HUff. Post)

So, look back at the presidential campaign when President Barack Obama promised to do away with the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" regulation, which forces everyone in the armed service to pretend that there are no gays and lesbians serving our nation with distinction. From time to time, the regulation even requires the military to discharge perfectly capable soldiers from their duties. Since the campaign, however, Obama has been tenacious in his passivity, opting to not take direct action to end the regulation, preferring to let Congress decide the matter. I wonder what James Pietrangelo II, who was discharged from the Army under DADT, thinks about all of this?

"He's a coward, a bigot and a pathological liar...This is a guy who spent more time picking out his dog, Bo, and playing with him on the White House lawn than he has working for equality for gay people...If there were millions of black people as second-class citizens, or millions of Jews or Irish, he would have acted immediately."

That about sums it up! Luckily for Pietrangelo, someone has decided to take lead on this issue: Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Penn.). Brandon Friedman, over at VetVoice, has an email that Murphy sent out to supporters this morning:

In less than an hour [10:00 AM], we will officially announce that I am taking over as the chief sponsor for The Military Readiness Enhancement Act -- the bill that will finally repeal the policy known as "Don't Ask,Don't Tell." I have been speaking out against for many years against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" -- first as an ROTC cadet, then as a professor at West Point, and later as a candidate and a congressman. To now take the lead on such an important piece of legislation is an honor and a privilege beyond words.
This is going to be a busy day full of meetings and interviews. We'll even be launching a new website dedicated to this issue: LetThemServe.com. But before it all got started I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to stand up and fight for the values we all believe in. I couldn't do this without you, and I'll never forget that.

MASS. sues the feds over definition of marriage

Mass. sues feds over definition of marriage

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AP – Attorney Theodore Olson, center, shakes hands with Prop. 8 opponents after a news conference at the Federal …
Slideshow:Same-Sex Marriage Issues
By DENISE LAVOIE, AP Legal Affairs Writer – 15 mins ago
BOSTON – Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, sued the U.S. government Wednesday over a federal law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The federal Defense of Marriage Act interferes with the right of Massachusetts to define and regulate marriage as it sees fit, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said. The 1996 law denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, argues the act "constitutes an overreaching and discriminatory federal law."
Specifically, the lawsuit challenges the section of the law that creates a federal definition of marriage as limited to a union between one man and one woman.
Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the "exclusive prerogative of the states." Now, because of the U.S. law's definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments.
"In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states' efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people," the lawsuit states.
The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriages and opponents worried that other states would be forced to recognize them. It defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife" and defines "spouse" as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
President Barack Obama has pledged to work to repeal the law, although gay rights activists criticized the administration last month after Justice Department lawyers defended it in a court brief. White House aides said they were doing their jobs to support a law that is on the books.
Besides Massachusetts, five other states — Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Iowa — have legalized gay marriage.
This is the second lawsuit filed in Massachusetts challenging the law.
In March, the Boston-based Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders claimed the law discriminates against gay couples and is unconstitutional because it denies them access to federal benefits that other married couples receive, such as health insurance and pensions.
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Tatchell says Bruno will make both bigots and gays squirm!

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has said that Sacha Baron-Cohen's latest film Bruno is likely to cause discomfort to both straight homophobes and gay men.

Writing in Attitude magazine, he said: "While the film scores plenty of laughs by mercilessly exposing dim-witted homophobes, Bruno's persona also embodies some really lazy, crude gay stereotypes. A sex-obsessed "cockaholic," he is a shallow bitchy queen who uses and abuses everyone around him. Not nice.

"On the plus side, ultra gay Bruno will make many bigoted straight people feel uncomfortable, which is a delicious prospect. But quite a few gay men watching this movie may also squirm with discomfort.

"Does Bruno reinforce or undermine homophobia? I am not sure. If Cohen's intention was to mock prejudice, this film doesn't always pull off the money shot. Compared to Borat, it is more hit and miss."

Tatchell went on to list some of the more outrageous segments in the film, including one where Bruno openly flirts with a an ex-gay Christian therapist, causing palpable alarm in the man.

He concluded: "The movie rolls back the boundaries, with its in-your-face raw portrayals of gay sexuality. Some might argue that this honesty and debunking of taboos is refreshing and ground-breaking. But do these no-holds-barred erotic depictions advance or reverse public acceptance of queer life?

Towleroad:Hildebrand Openly gay ex deputy Obama's Campaing Director


Rex Wockner turns in a must-read interview with Steve Hildebrand, who was Barack Obama's openly gay deputy national campaign director.

In it, Hildebrand says the president did not read the offensive DOJ brief before it came out, but "he expects much better from his administration" and "he subsequently has read the brief and was not happy at all with both the direction as well as the language that was used."

Hildebrand has communicated directly with the president on the uproar over that document.

"I told him very clearly that many in the gay community across the country are getting very anxious and that folks have felt very hurt by the Justice Department brief—the language that was used in it. He reassured me that he will not disappoint the gay community during his time as president, that the promises he made during the campaign are promises he will fulfill, and he was very forthright about his commitment to equality."

Hildebrand also blew off the possibility of a rumored deal between HRC and the administration to put Don't Ask, Don't Tell on the back burner:

"...I think that's pretty crazy. Anybody who followed Barack Obama during the campaign and anybody that really knows the guy—he's not exactly one who's out cutting deals with special-interest groups on the left or the right for the timing of various legislative initiatives. Barack Obama as president and commander-in-chief is, and will continue to go through, a process, methodically, to get the ducks in a row in order to get the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell done in a successful way that isn't just going to happen overnight. He has to move the minds of the public, he has to move the minds of Congress and he has to move the minds of military leaders. And once that happens, and the ducks are in a row, I believe he can successfully move forward for repeal, something that he feels very strongly about and something that the spoke very passionately about."
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July 7, 2009

Legal Memo Outlines Pentagon Options on Gay Ban

Legal Memo Outlines Pentagon Options On Gay Ban
The Palm Center today released a legal memo that outlines what steps the Secretary of Defense can take to modify the enforcement of "don't ask, don't tell" while the President works with Congress to repeal the law. The document serves as a follow-up to the Palm Center's heavily debated May study explaining options for executive action that could halt all discharges even without an act of Congress. Previous to its release, most analysts had assumed that only Congressional action could end the firings, which President Obama has vowed to do since early in his campaign.
The Palm Center issued its memo today in response to an announcement by Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, last week saying he had directed his general counsel to study the flexibility contained in the law and to find "a more humane way to apply the law" while awaiting legislative repeal. The memo explains the legal authority and details several options for the Defense Secretary in modifying its enforcement. These range from retaining all service members targeted under "don't ask, don't tell" for a limited period of time in the interests of national security, to requiring that any investigation of a service member for homosexual conduct be conducted only with prior approval of the Defense Secretary.

Saddam's rule 'better' for gay Iraqis

Saddam's rule 'better' for gay Iraqis

Investigating reports of the murder and torture of gay men in Iraq, Ashley Byrne found that some gays found Saddam Hussein's dictatorship preferable to the threat of violence they face today.Some readers will find parts of his report disturbing.
There has been so much news of death and destruction from Iraq that the position of sexual minorities is rarely touched on in the mainstream media.
But stories of torture and murder of gay Iraqis, particularly men, have been emerging in the gay press for several years.

Gay Iraqis have revealed they felt safer before Saddam was toppled
Investigating these stories for a BBC Radio 5 Live documentary, Gay Life After Saddam, I've heard a range of views about the deteriorating conditions for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people.
Some say the violence has intensified in the past few months. Others say killings run into the hundreds and have been going on since 2003.
What is clear, and confirmed by separate evidence from various human rights groups, is that some gay men have been subjected to appalling violent abuse.
One young Iraqi, Amil (not his real name) recalled the death of a friend: "They found out he was gay and they killed him and they chopped him like a lamb, it was awful."
Another man (who wished to remain anonymous) revealed to Scott Long from the New York-based Human Rights Watch, how his partner was kidnapped and killed.
"It was late one night when four armed men came to take my boyfriend from his parents' house.
They found out he was gay and they killed him and they chopped him like a lamb
Amil, a gay Iraqi
"They were masked and dressed in black.
"We found his body the next day dumped in the garbage, his throat cut out, his genitals cut off."
Of all the shocking testimony we heard, a form of torture involving glue has to be the most awful revelation to emerge from our investigations.
Human Rights Watch researcher Rasha Moumneh told us: "We've heard stories of gay-specific torture where men have glue in their anuses and they force-feed them laxatives."
Gay men inside Iraq have been able to seek sanctuary in safe houses, thanks to the UK-based Iraqi Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) group, which manages them from London.
The documentary team were granted exclusive access to one of the homes on the outskirts of Baghdad, where we found a 31-year-old transsexual man called Qasim (not his real name).

Homosexual and transgender Iraqis say they are police targets
Qasim said: "I'm scared all the time. I often think people are going to come in the night and take me because I am particularly known as gay."
All the LGBT Iraqis interviewed for Gay Life After Saddam maintained that life was easier for them when Saddam Hussein was in power, from 1979 to 2003.
Some spoke fondly of an underground gay culture that flourished before the war in Baghdad.
But it was unclear exactly what Saddam's view on homosexuality was, and there has been some evidence to suggest that the former dictator was acting to clamp down on sexual minorities in the latter years of his reign.
So who is to blame for the violence against LGBT people in Iraq?
Some blame militia, while others accuse religious leaders of stoking up hatred of homosexuals, though some clerics have also recently condemned the attacks on gays.
The Iraqi government and police also deny that there have been any state-sanctioned killings or torture of homosexuals in Iraq.
What is clear however is that gay people in Iraq have not been crushed.
He may be holed up in a safe house but Qasim is hopeful: "I find the Iraqi prime minister quite good.
"I hope he can talk with religious leaders, change the constitution and punish and imprison the murderers."
Meanwhile, the refugee who runs the safe houses from London, Ali Hilli, lives in constant fear of his life after being sent two fatwas, or Islamic religious rulings.
But he has insisted he will not give up trying to help gay people in Iraq.
"If I think too much that someone is going to get me and kill me then I know I'd stop what I'm doing.

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