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News :: [none]

Actually, Canada has 1st legal same-sex marriage

The AP, and in fact many other media outlets, have it wrong.

Though Holland legalized same-sex marriage on April 1, 2001, the first legal same-sex marriages in the world had already occurred -- in Canada, back in January of the same year.

It took the Divisional Court of Ontario (Canada) until July of 2002 to recognize that the marriages had indeed been legal. Canada's federal government appealed, and the Court of Appeal for Ontario upheld the original ruling in June of 2003. Soon afterward, the federal government reversed its opposition to same-sex marriage and declined to appeal.

Same-sex marriages are now performed routinely in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Three separate court cases in three separate provinces (Quebec being the other province -- but note that the ruling in Quebec did not require immediate performance of same-sex marriages) leave no doubt that same-sex couples are entitled to the same marriage-related benefits, and subject to the same marriage-related responsibilities, as opposite-sex couples.

I grew up in Toronto, and when the appeals court decision was announced last summer, my partner and I went to be married. We have in our hands a regular marriage certificate, issued by the Province of Ontario.

All that remains to be done in Canada is for the federal government to pass national legislation on the issue. In hopes of crafting a law that will withstand challenges from religious and conservative groups, the federal government has asked the Supreme Court of Canada for advisory rulings on several key points.

For example, the law will probably allow churches that oppose same-sex marriage not to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.

The appeals court based its decision on Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a sweeping civil rights law authored by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in the early 1980's. Though Trudeau probably didn't anticipate same-sex marriage, he was a champion of individual rights. In the late 1960's, as Justice Minister, he remarked that "the state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation". Canada de-criminalized homosexuality 35 years before the U.S. did. Let us hope the U.S. catches up on same-sex marriage.

Paul Marcelin-Sampson,
Santa Cruz
rpms [at] baymoon.com

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Caracas Journal: Pirate Radio as Public Radio, in the President’s Corner

CARACAS JOURNAL

Pirate Radio as Public Radio, in the President's Corner

By JUAN FORERO

Published: March 8, 2004

ARACAS, Venezuela, March 7 — The sound room of Radio Perola, a small community station on the poor edge of this city, is papered with posters celebrating Latin American revolutionaries like Fidel Castro and offering a stern warning to the behemoth to the north: "Death to the Yankee Invader."

The setting seems fitting for José Ovalles's politically charged Saturday radio program. Gripping a microphone and waving reports from a government news agency, the white-haired retired computer teacher charges that a far-flung opposition movement arrayed against President Hugo Chávez is part of an American-led conspiracy. He ridicules the president's foes as criminals with scant backing.

He urges listeners to defend what Mr. Chávez calls his Bolivarian Revolution, which is under international pressure to allow a recall vote on the president's tumultuous five-year rule. "We have to fight for a free country," he said recently, "one with no international interference."

The message, beamed from a 13-kilowatt station in what was once the storeroom of a housing project, reaches at most a few hundred homes. But Radio Perola is part of a mushrooming chain of small government-supported radio and television stations that are central to Mr. Chávez's efforts to counter the four big private television networks, which paint him as an unstable dictator.

With Venezuela on edge, stations like Radio Perola are poised to play an even bigger role in this oil-rich nation's political battle.

Instead of shutting down his news media tormenters, Mr. Chávez's tactic appears to be to ignore them as much as possible while relying on former ham radio operators and low-budget television stations to get the government's message across.

Although the stations say they are independent and autonomous, Mr. Chávez has announced that $2.6 million would be funneled to them this year. They also will receive technical assistance and advertising from state-owned companies.

"This year, we will not only legalize and enable approximately 200 more communitarian radios and televisions with equipment, but we will also promote them," the communication and information minister, Jesse Chacón, said in an interview posted on a pro-Chávez Web site.

The stations have been important to Mr. Chavez's government during the current turmoil, in which the opposition has accused the government of fraudulently disqualifying hundreds of thousands of signatures for a recall referendum.

Through it all, the private television and radio stations and the nation's largest newspapers have stepped up their pressure, presenting a parade of antigovernment analysts and opposition figures.

Mr. Ovalles, though, calls the opposition "gangsters" and accuses private news organizations of faking the sizes of antigovernment marches.

At first glance, the community stations and their largely volunteer staffs hardly seem political, nor do they offer the wallop of the big news organizations. Programming often deals with mundane matters like trash pickups or road conditions. The stations are staffed by volunteers, from teenagers eager for the chance to play Venezuelan hip-hop or salsa to homemakers who want to tell listeners how to stretch earnings in tough times.

The main objective, say those who work at the stations, is to show there is another side to neighborhoods that, in the popular press, are presented as crime-ridden ghettos.

"The image of the barrios is one of criminals, violence, prostitution, where kids are abandoned," said Gabriel Gil, a producer at Catia TV, a three-year-old station that recently moved into a vast building belonging to the Ministry of Justice. "We say we are television of the poor."

Radio Un Nuevo Día, in a poor neighborhood, is much like the rest. Its small transmitter has been set up in the corner of a bedroom in a two-room cinder block house belonging to a cleaning woman, Zulay Zerpa.

Bedsheets separate the bare-bones operation from the cots where her two children sleep.

"I cook, I clean, I watch the kids, and they do what they have to do," Ms. Zerpa said. "I do my part by giving up a bit of my house."

Music is a big part of the broadcast fare. Disk jockeys arrive with stacks of CD's, playing for hours on end. "I like to talk, and I like to play the music," said Rosa Amarista, 26. "Private radio is so grandiose. Here you can say what you want, tell people what you feel."

Nuevo Día, with just 5 kilowatts, does not have much of a signal, reaching only a few miles around Ms. Zerpa's house on a crowded street. It is still waiting for a $31,000 government grant. Its 15 staff members are unpaid. But the people who broadcast are committed to Mr. Chávez.

While the station is small, it is just one in a string of outlets that have been popping up in neighborhoods, one after another, covering a broad expanse of urban Venezuela. The number of community radio and television stations, both licensed and unlicensed, has grown to about 300 from 50 in three years, said Alfredo Flores, who helps stations nationwide set up operations.

Although Nuevo Día has modest means, it also clearly demonstrates its close ties to the government. When its reporters are sent downtown, they have easy access to governing party officials and government functionaries. The station broadcasts the president's garrulous speeches.

This week, the health minister, Roger Capella, is expected at Ms. Zerpa's house for an interview.

"This is a counterbalance," said one of Nuevo Día's operators, Armando Farias, 37, referring to the new dynamic with the private stations. "Right now, it is balanced one way. Our idea is to counterbalance the other way."

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News :: [none]

This article has been moved to the "other press"

This article has been moved from the 'newswire' to the 'other press.'

- - -

Unfortunately, the comments did not transfer, but here they are:

Re: Leftwing Fascism in Santa Cruz
by SCRUZ Progressives
(No verified email address)
12 Mar 2004

Bravo!

- - -

Re: Leftwing Fascism in Santa Cruz
by Steve Argue
(No verified email address)
12 Mar 2004

"Do you want the university to use your money to promulgate a narrow, partisan view and to indoctrinate your children?"

First: University students are not children.

Second: A more troubling question is do you want your tax dollars to be spent in the billions to prop up the racist and murderous Zionist state of Israel.

People of similar views to the Zionists like the KKK (who mainly hate Blacks instead of mainly hating Arabs) are not promoted on campus, why should the Zionists be. We hear enough pro-Zionist propaganda in the corporate media. I for one am not uncomfortable with UCSC's lack of balance when it comes to racist extremists.

- - -

Re: Leftwing Fascism in Santa Cruz
by michael
(No verified email address)
12 Mar 2004

well we get enough pro-isreal commentary in the mainstream dont we?
besides isnt supporting isreal supporting a violent regime that ignores humna rights?

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News :: [none]

Re: Kerry Committed War Crimes, \'Burned Villages\' in Viet Nam

Come the fuck on! I am against war as a solution. However, I have doubts about there actually being such things as "war crimes". As the saying goes, "war is hell" and it is certainly difficult to create rules that individuals must live by when they are in what looks, feels, and smells like hell.

I for one cannot pass judgement on a man who has been to war - I can only imagine the difficulties one would face when surrounded by the stench of death. What might be my reaction as I picked up the leg, arm, or torso of a fallen comrade who once had saved my life. It might go something like, "Someone is going to pay for this. Let' burn that fucking village down." I would guess it gets angrier than this?

Anyhow, for those of us have never experienced first hand the brutality of war I believe it is counterproductive to point fingers and yell murderer! For Kerry to step forward and announce to the world that he was part of the extreme ugliness in Vietnam took courage.

To pretend that war can be fought in a way that doesn't destroy innoncent people and villages is to believe in the rhetoric of the "smart bomb" that tells us that we are only killing the "bad" people.

Wake the hell up! We ask our men to commit war crimes when we ask them to go to war. We are partially responsible for what goes on during war - the scapegoating doesn't serve anyone. The soildier we send into battle are victims of a system that preaches power over - we ALL are part of that system. Yeah, we may not agree with it, we may protest against it, but until it changes we are a part of it.

Support should be flowing Kerry's way for making the stand as a young man against this war. He reported to the American public what they didn't want to hear - that we just don't kill the bad guys in war. Kerry is a hero for going over to Vietnam and even more of a hero for coming back and rallying against the system that put him over there - let us here more of the ugliness it is the only way we will come to realize war is never the answer!

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News :: [none]

Ride em Cowboy

Thanks Cowboy, well said and very true.

You are totally on the target Cowboy.
I totally agree.

This initial post fits right in to the GOP attack machine. They will continually try to change the subject. George W. Bush and his insane band of neoconservative lying, imperialistic bandits want to try to confuse the American public by elevating small and non issues, distortions and such to confuse and derail the real issue. The real issue is that this administration has repeatedly, relentlessly, fed the American people a series of carefully calibrated LIES to manipulate them into fear and submissiveness to their reactionary war and conquest agenda.

As far as comparing the "shadow side" (if you will) or the apparant inconsistancies of Scrub versus Kerry, it is NOT like comparing oranges to apples. It is like comparing raisons to watermelons.

Bushco. has a proven, documented agenda to decieve and manipulate the American people and the entire world by any means necessary to impliment their neo fascist agenda for world domination.

9-11 was a staged psychological operation to implement the Project for a New America agenda through a series of preemtive military operations to step by step solidify American dominance and control of the planet, what to say of U.S. citizens. I wonder if people were debating in Nazi Germany if Hitler was really "that" bad.

Folks, there is NO comparison between Shrub face and Kerry. I totally agree, wholeheartedly with Cowboy's response. Look a little deeper.

We are living in the rise of the 4th Reich, and if you are not convinced yet, if you still think they are compassionate conservatives, you need to wake the fuck up.

Kerry is a war hero. War sucks. He was brave to come out and speak the truth, absolutely.

Please do NOT be distracted by the GOP mind control machine.

This is our LAST chance to take this county back!

We need YOU to stand up and speak out NO! Get involved, wake people up from their slumber. We have six months to create a landslide for an outspoken, highly intelligent, and very sincere war hero named John Kerry. Shit, many of us were little children when Mr. Kerry was speaking out against the Vietnam war. He is bright, strong, credible, and although is not perfect (who the fuck is? are you? is this about perfection or reality???) he is our ONLY chance of derailing the most dangerous evil that has ever walked the face of this earth. NO FUCKING LESS.

bush (it) MUST Be taken out in 2004 or you can kiss your sweet happy dream of a good life and peace on earth goodbye.

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News :: [none]

Santa Cruz mayor apologizes to homeless activist

March 17, 2004

Santa Cruz mayor apologizes to homeless activist

By DAN WHITE
Sentinel staff writer

It’s never easy to say you’re sorry — especially if the person in question has called you "Mayor Squawkbox."

But Mayor Scott Kennedy has apologized for telling a UC Santa Cruz student newspaper that longtime activist Robert Norse was "successfully prosecuted" after doing a Nazi salute in the City Council chamber in March of 2002.

In fact, Norse was arrested that night and jailed briefly, but no charges were filed.

In the 2002 incident, Councilman Tim Fitzmaurice ordered Norse to leave the chamber after Norse directed a Nazi salute at then-Mayor Christopher Krohn. Krohn had told a woman who had stepped to the microphone that the time for oral communications was over.

Krohn said he was trying to move the meeting along, but Norse alleged Krohn wasted time chatting with other speakers and should have extended public comment.

At the time Norse stated that his "silent salute to the Fuhrer" was a protest against an "autocratic process."

Norse and his lawyer, Kate Wells, say they considered libel proceedings unless Kennedy retracted the recent statement made to the Fish Rap Live! newspaper.

Kennedy said his apology had nothing to do with any libel suit threat.

"When a mistake is brought to my attention, I correct it," Kennedy said.

Kennedy said he forwarded the apology on city letterhead to Wells, the City Council, the city attorney, and six newspapers "because I figured (Norse) would make a big deal out of it."

While apologizing, Kennedy added that Norse’s subsequent civil rights action against the city — claiming rules of conduct, as enforced at council meetings, are unconstitutional — was dismissed. Norse has since appealed and the city awaits the Ninth Circuit Court’s decision.

Wells said it would have been sufficient if Kennedy offered a retraction in Fish Rap Live!, though she also said Kennedy was wrong to write that Norse had been "previously warned by the council for making such a gesture while others are speaking."

Norse alleges the post-salute arrest — and the fact that charges were not filed — is part of a pattern Kennedy and previous mayors use to harass and exclude him at meetings.

"My concern is that people won’t be able to participate in meetings without being smeared," said Norse, who was also arrested earlier this year after being accused of being disruptive and refusing to leave the chamber. No charges were filed.

While Norse alleges the council creates an atmosphere of harassment and intimidation that puts a chilling effect on discourse, his council critics — Kennedy, in particular — have long argued Norse and his backers cause a chilling effect, and discourage participation with their disruptions.

"Libel" is a false statement about a person that damages their reputation. If the person claiming to have been libeled is a "public figure," such as a government official, celebrity or well-known individual, actual malice must also be proven, according to the nonprofit Libel Defense Resource Center.

Norse, a widely known homeless activist in Santa Cruz, has a radio program on a pirate station and writes a newsletter.

City Attorney John Barisone said he’s not sure if Norse is a public figure though he believes Norse is "pretty close" to being one.

Contact Dan White at dwhite@santacruzsentinel.com

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News :: [none]

Re: Leftwing Fascism in Santa Cruz

First: In response to Steve Argue, many university students are children - still supported by their parents - many having still not yet left the politically naive world of academia.

Second: To equate the State of Israel with the KKK is simply obscene.

Israel is a lone bastion of freedom in the Middle-East with many Arabs living peacefully - as equals - with Jews. Surrounded by those that hate them -- they are blamed for defending themselves? They are blamed while Palestinians squander opportunity after opportunity for their own state.

Just as a minority - African-Americans - feared the KKK because the KKK despised and tormented them; Israel - a Jewish minority in the Middle-East - fears the Arab majority that despises and torments them. In actuality, terrorists such as the PLO have far more in common with the KKK.

Third: Its great to hear some balance from an insider - thank you, Leila Beckwith.

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News :: [none]

Re: Leftwing Fascism in Santa Cruz

UCSC supports anti-Israel/anti-Zionist speakers?

well, even a broken watch is right twice a day!

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