More interesting things in the Blend mailbag to take a peek at…

From Sonda: South Africa to have gay weddings. Let’s see, and the U.S. is the leader in freedom and democracy…

South Africa’s highest court has ruled in favour of same-sex marriages, which are banned under current legislation. The Constitutional Court ordered that parliament amend marriage laws to allow gay weddings within a year.

The constitution outlaws discrimination against gays and lesbians, but social attitudes remain more conservative. The court ordered that the definition of marriage be changed from a “union between a man and a woman” to a “union between two persons”.

You should check out some of the reader reactions.


From Holly: Neo-Nazis get OK for Dec. 10 rally in Toledo.. Let’s hope this event doesn’t result in a riot — like the last one did.

The Ohio Building Authority has granted a request for members of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement to hold a rally Dec. 10 in front of Government Center in downtown Toledo.

The Nov. 23 letter indicates the rally will be held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and that access will not be permitted inside the building, which is located on Jackson Street between Erie and Huron streets. Participants cannot block the entrances and exits to the building by authorized personnel or emergency services, the letter states.

…Representatives from Toledo police, the OHP and the neo-Nazi group met last week to discuss arrangements for the Dec. 10 rally. Local and state authorities have been planning for the movement’s return since a riot erupted after the group’s Oct. 15 rally in North Toledo was canceled.

Several police officers, two city firefighters, and some members of the media were injured during the October rioting, which resulted in more than 120 arrests.


HRC gives out grades for U.S. on World AIDS Day. Guess what? Bush’s America is flunking Big Time.

Prevention: F

As AIDS ravages minority communities, government programs are failing to adequately respond to the epidemic among vulnerable populations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that approximately 46 percent of African-American men who have sex with men in five major U.S. cities are HIV positive and almost two-thirds of those infected do not know their status. Infections among gay and bisexual men rose eight percent and still comprise the largest percentage of new HIV cases.

Care and Treatment: F

This year has seen significant cuts to federal HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs. After consistently flat-funding most of the Ryan White CARE Act for five years and passing billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid, a CDC study determined that 211,000 Americans are not receiving antiretroviral treatments they need.

Research: D

The most recent version of the Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill contained a less than 1 percent increase to the National Institute of Health, the smallest percentage increase since 1970.

Global AIDS: C

The highest mark on the report card goes to Global AIDS as Congress passed and the President signed the Assistance for Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act this year. However, this year the U.S. will not fully meet its funding commitment to the Global Fund and the U.S. government has mandated that at least one-third of contributions to international programs must be devoted to abstinence-only programs that are seriously flawed and leave little control to local experts.


4700 Houston Janitors Choose to Form Union with SEIU. From the SEIU: The janitors who clean Houston’s office buildings, nearly of whom are Latino immigrants, have the lowest wages and benefits of janitors in any big city in America. The janitors do not receive health insurance or other benefits and nearly the entire workforce is part-time. Janitors are paid an average of $106 a week. Meanwhile, according to the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, average expenses for a Houston-area family with two parents and two children are nearly $500 a week. “We work hard, but we don’t make enough to support our families and we can’t afford health care for our children,” said janitor Maria Luisa Berlanga. “If we can do this, then all workers in Houston can unite for a better life. Every worker wants to achieve the American Dream.”


More on Diebold and its weasely ways in NC from The Boston Progressive, including comment on the legislative requirement that is vexing the company, Senate Bill 223:Public Confidence in Elections.


Randy Cunningham Limericks; Ode to Bob Woodward: more fun from MadKane.


Surf over to Kevin at The American Street, for the Top Ten Facets of Bush’s New Iraq Plan. Hilarious.



* Stacey Tallitsch is a Dem running for Congress. Tallitsch, from Metairie, LA, was displaced by Katrina, his home was flooded and destroyed. He’s now working out of a coffee house in Dennis Hastert’s district to unseat freshman Congressman Bobby Jindal in the First District of Louisiana. Stacey’s appeared on NPR; you can listen here. He’s also an author of two books — Bare Naked Truth: on the Religious Right, and The New American Compact: Restoring the People’s House to America. His blog is here.

* John Hall, a founding member of the band Orleans, and co-author of the hits “Still the One” and “Dance With Me,” is running for Congress (19th District seat in NY). You might recall the flack he and the rest of his band gave the GOP for the use of “Still the One,” during the 2004 election. He’s stepping up to the plate.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding