In “You Are Being Watched” [Newsfront, Feb. 20], Shawn Stone
incorrectly identified the INS; the N stands for “naturalization,”
Call me unparanoid, but I don’t see anything sinister in the
government wanting to verify that people coming to this country
on student visas are students. Colleges and universities already
keep track of student attendance and course load. It’s also
necessary for colleges and universities to know a student’s
address. What’s wrong with that?
How is any of this “racial profiling?” The RPI memo stating
that “a student cannot just be a student anymore”—why, because
he or she has to be enrolled in classes and give his or her
Agenda Is This?
article by Travis Durfee, “It Could Be Worse” [Newsfront,
Feb. 13], which looked at cuts to lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender
and HIV/AIDS programs in Governor Pataki’s executive budget,
stumbled badly on so many levels that I feel a response is
For starters, I found it very disturbing that Durfee would
take out of context our reaction—“it could be worse”—to a
cut in a single budget line for a non-HIV/AIDS LGBT program
and then write an article as if it were our view on the much
larger budget for HIV/AIDS. As the Empire State Pride Agenda
is not a lead player on HIV/AIDS funding, I advised Durfee
to contact those that are if he needed an informed voice to
draw conclusions about the governor’s 2003-2004 budget.
I did talk with Durfee about a non-HIV/AIDS program that has
distributed about $10.8 million in state funds over five years
to over 40 LGBT service providers across the state. Its primary
champion is Assembly Speaker Silver, who has provided $7.3
million of the total from his discretionary account, with
the rest coming from the governor. While this year’s $1 million
in the executive budget is a cut from last year’s $2.5 million,
it is better than the fate of other small health- related
programs that were “zeroed” out as a result of the state’s
Unfortunately, even here the information gets mangled. In
providing an example of why these services are important,
I told Durfee we knew of instances where counselors in mainstream
substance-abuse programs had advised LGBT individuals that
their being LGBT was the root cause of their alcoholism and
the solution to overcoming their problem was to stop being
who they are. Much to my amazement, I read that I said, “.
. . for some members of the LGBT community, the reason they
drink is because they are LGBT . . .” [see Corrections on
My main complaint with this article, however, is that much
of it seems part of an effort to position the Pride Agenda,
who endorsed the governor for reelection, as an apologist
for those areas of the budget deemed to be “gay-related,”
even if they have little relationship to what it is we do
in Albany. If Durfee acquainted himself with our goals and
used that as a gauge of success, he would see that we have
a good record of delivering for our community.
Over the years, support for our fight to win equal rights
has always come disproportionately from Democrats and our
endorsements have always reflected this. But when the two
chambers of the Legislature are split between the Democrats
and the Republicans, support from one party is not enough
to win on the big issues.
Gov. Pataki’s support resulted in breaking the Senate logjam
to enact the Hate Crimes Law (2000), repealing the 150-year-old
Consensual Sodomy statute (2000), and, most recently breaking
the Senate logjam again to enact the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination
Act (2002). He also supported six administrative and statutory
changes giving equal benefits to same-sex partners of 9/11
Of course, more needs to be done. But the governor’s role
in these advances supports our endorsement of him. Durfee’s
attempt to tar the Pride Agenda with real or perceived slights
to the gay community in the governor’s 2003-2004 budget ignores
the larger reality of social progress that has finally occurred
on the state level with the help of the governor after years
Metroland is entitled to its opinion and I welcome your criticism.
However, an argument based upon some semblance of fact and
a reasonably good understanding of our issues would be a nice
Empire State Pride Agenda
Peace Had Its Chance
antiwar movement, and those nations opposing the U.S. regarding
Iraq, are behaving shamefully [Newsfront, Feb. 20]. U.N. Security
Council Resolution 1441 said Iraq must disarm or face “serious
consequences.” Now, supercilious nations like France and Germany
are making a meaningless mockery of that resolution. The only
“serious consequences” they seem able to contemplate are more
inspections. But as Colin Powell stated, this is not about
inspections. It is about Iraq disarming. And it is obvious
that Iraq is not disarming.
Certainly Iraq’s ostensible cooperation with inspections is
nothing but pretence and deception. Iraq has been jerking
around the U.N., and its inspectors, for over 11 years, making
fools of the United Nations, and France and Germany and the
antiwar movement are collaborating. This will destroy the
U.N. as a credible, useful agent for world peace.
For 11 years the Iraqi regime has been willing to withstand
a crippling sanctions regime, costing it billions and billions
of dollars, to avoid disarming. Why has Iraq been doing this?
Mere self-defense? Surely it must be that Saddam Hussein has
serious intentions for use of the arsenal he has been building—and
hiding—at such enormous cost. Anyone who thinks Iraq’s weapons
cannot harm the U.S. (or its vital interests) has little imagination.
Some people say we should not be the world’s policeman. Well,
we have policemen in civilized society for good reasons—to
uphold law and order. We would not want to live in a society
without that, nor should we wish to live in a world with no
policeman. If no other nation can do the job, then it is noble
for America to do it.
The humanitarian basis for American action is compelling.
In 1999 we waged humanitarian war to stop Milosevic’s crimes
against Kosovo. It was the right thing to do. Now, Saddam
Hussein is a far nastier dictator than Milosevic, a killer
on an even bigger scale. If we invade Iraq, there will be
deaths, but I believe this will prove to be a price worth
paying for the enormous benefit of liberating Iraq’s populace
from a murderous dictatorship. After World War II, the U.S.
occupation of Japan and Germany transformed them from nasty
militaristic tyrannies into democratic, responsible members
of the world community, whose people could now lead happy
and rewarding lives. We did a good thing. I would like to
see us do the same for Iraq.
Some people blame U.N. sanctions for the Iraqis’ suffering.
Of course, the blame lies with Saddam, since at any time he
could have had the sanctions lifted by disarming. Since he
won’t do that, the only way to end sanctions is regime change.
The antiwar protestors offer no solution to the suffering
of the Iraqi people. They seem to have no conception of the
true awfulness of living under a regime that rules by terror.
Their disregard for this aspect of the matter is simply inhumane.
The protestors also chant, “no war for oil.” This war will
be about disarming Iraq, enforcing U.N. edicts, protecting
world security, liberating the Iraqi people from a vile tyranny,
and—yes—about keeping Saddam from getting a stranglehold on
world oil supplies, which he has attempted before. That is
a totally proper aim of U.S. policy. Oil is vital to the functioning
of this nation and the world economy. Those chanting “no war
for oil” could not continue to live the comfortable lives
they now enjoy if the oil is cut off.
a recent story on the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Advisory Committee
[Newsfront, Jan. 30], Rodney Davis was misidentified as an
Arbor Hill resident. He does not live in Arbor Hill, but works
there as a member of the Arbor Hill Environmental Justice
In a recent story on the governor’s proposed budget cuts in
funding for HIV/AIDS and gay and lesbian health and human
service programs [Newsfront, Feb. 3], Joe Tarver, a spokesman
for the Empire State Pride Agenda, was quoted incorrectly
as having said, “. . . for some members of the LGBT community,
the reason they drink is because they are LGBT.” His quote
should have read, “Some mainstream service providers . . .
tell gay men, lesbians and transgender people it’s because
they’re gay or lesbian that they are alcoholic.”
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