Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Talking Out Loud Rewind...& More

If you've been listening to the news lately, it's stark, bleak at times and down right scary often. Yet, I'm a firm believer that in that despite the darkness that befalls us, there will be another beautiful day on the upswing. Certainly during this holiday season, depression and strained nerves abound, but discovering your inner strength, supportive networks and embracing a life must go on attitude can keep you motivated to a positive place. Keep you head to the sky people and stay in the loop with COP:24/7!

Easy Street/ Easy Over: The last tuned played for Easy Street a few months ago and I have posted various scenarios possibly fueling it's demise, eventually resulting in it's subsequent ceasing of operations. Even though 2009 waits in the wings for it's entrance, economic uncertainty all around, and folks wondering what's really going on, there will be a fresh influx of "rainbow dollars" bringing life back to the 7th street area after ongoing renovations. The new incarnation as I've learned will be christened, "Off Center," slated to open January 14, 2009. It's scheduled to have a live entertainment format of some sort, coordinated by Buddy Habig, former main pianist for ES and Emcee Cody Belew will be in the house to keep things moving on weekends. Adding to the mix is also a proposed "martini" concept being mashed up around the corner in the former Lam Garden spot, which will be called "614 Center," which will step off on the same date. This info is the latest update that I received and of course anything can happen between now and that allegedly opening. With that said, now let's take a moment to try to understand these maneuvers, if we can. I've been to the Backstreet complex on several occasions and the house had an echo effect as I walked to the various outlets. Although probably vibrant on some evenings, I sensed that the multi club's patronage was often waning. Despite special events such as pageants and such, crowds seemed to have defected to other sources of entertainment. Down the lane at Discovery which has evolved, morphed or whatever you want to call it, into a everything goes entity. The party continues despite some perplexing perceptions from locals and visitors alike. Actually in the big picture, Discovery is mirroring the national trend in bars from coast to coast. All over the country, exclusively "gay" bars are either closing or upending their formats in droves for a variety of reasons. I've read in numerous trade magazines that some gay bar owners have even made public statements that they are not seeking to be known as such or expanding that "mindset," with marketing terms like "alternative or gender neutral." The central Arkansas market is not exempt from a bit of contempt from both present and former owners whom have expressed that the uneven ebbing and flowing of the local SGL community drastically affects not only their bottom line, but how they will continue to offer the nightlife experience. As the pendulum swings, gay bars are dealing with many elements that will ultimately impact their very existence. Ranging from serious economic issues, lackluster attendance from customers who have opted out for other choices and the advent of the Internet which continues to change how society interacts. The cachet of being among your own kind and a possible "hook up" has undoubtedly changed with the times. Remember I've mentioned those "KKF's"( knock, knock fucks) spurred by the convenience of technology which has streamed much of the activity once found in "bars" right to your doorstep. It's very apparent that the GLBTQ community has decided that the enclave spirit has seemingly lost it's glitter or afterglow. The mantra that I keep hearing is "the Bars have nothing too offer..." Meanwhile the venerable Disco has become a place where everybody is still being somebody, nobody or anybody out for a night of merry making. I suspect that the steady door traffic is in part due to that late night closing that's not too plentiful around town. Little Rock has had it's share of bars that have come and gone. How can we forget those outlets of yesteryear such as the Gar Hole, French Quarter, Palladium, Garbo's, Variations, Lil's Pub, Chaps, Afterdark, Preston's, Fifth Gear, Filling Station, Code Blue, Our House, Maggie Mae's and The Factory. Furthermore it's so ironic that one of my favorites of all times, was the free wheeling Little Rock Inn. I spent many hours in that trio of bars that featured wonderful pool side afternoons,(yes my pretties boys in speedo's) out of town caravans, chartered Christmas Light Tour's and quirky unabashed camaraderie that has all but evaporated. Those of you who missed out on that fun, truly missed the last era when we actually did things together with enjoyment minus the attitudes. It's specialness also resutled in me meeting my long time companion of 14 years who also shares fond memories of that venue. Even though it was not a fancy high tech mash up, bartenders included Sidetracks' Co-Owner, Phillip P. who help set the tone for the place to be a club house for all. Unfortunately that often overlooked and under rated destination is now a parking lot across the street from the next set of night spots on a continuing mission to fill a niche for the SGL community and beyond. It seems that we are coming full circle as the lavender nightlife returns to the core of the city. I'm melancholy about the past but certainly look forward to another future breathe of fresh air. I've seen much come and go, often with a been there done that attitude however, I actually had many favorites over the years, most notably Maggie Mae's which opened a whole new chapter in my life which caused me both pleasure and pain but made a stronger person for it all. In closing, look for me, because I'll be around waiting for you! Got thoughts, recollections, stories, favorites, oversights, let's hear it!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dashing through the City

Whew! O.K. I got started late and thought I had only a few gifts to pick up. Yeah, Yeah, it turns out that just when I thought I was done, I had to do a last minute dash for a forgotten individual. I did get the holiday cards out and I thank those who sent me greetings from all over the place. I really appreciate it and hope that we all make it too the other side, December 26. In the meantime, here's my Dash post as I prepare to sign off for this week. I'll return funky fresh next week with surprises and much more. Come on back and stay on point. Happy Holidays to ya!!

Winter Stepping: The first Annual Winter Ball, held 12.20.08 at the Metroplex didn't quite step off as the organizers perhaps had hoped. I had so hoped to attend this event, but that damn schedule just keeps me hog tied and bound sometimes. However, I asked for those attending to report in and they did so. Most felt that essence of the event was right on the money. There was a DJ, live band, atmosphere, food, live entertainment all nicely presented in a great venue. However, it was missing something important: People! Unfortunately, the turnout was low especially in relation to a cavernous hall such as the Metroplex. I gathered from observers that there is a segment of the community which is hungering for this level of gathering but I believe that if there had been "more" advance notice and additional priming of the info pump, this could have been a tremendous success. The info that I saw and posted here, failed to mention those important selling factors that are needed to "power sell" an event to the folks in this city. It's those vital questions of What's in it for me and Why should I attend. I was also dismayed at the divisive tactics of Angie, Club Good Times owner whom had a counter event on the same evening for no real apparent reason, except to be what I feel is just "messy." I'm just damned at the "us vs. them" attitude that continues to divide this city. It's all just silly and ridiculous to boot. Just imagine if everyone could have come together for this event in a beautiful space, dressed in our finest, making a statement that "yes we can" party with a purpose. I'm not deterred by the low turnout. I plan to contact organizers and offer my expertise on future events for 2009. We can't afford to let groups who want to have a civilized, non fighting, upscale event just slip through our fingers because of a those who pander to the alley way of doing business. Stay tuned and let me know what you think. We are always listening for your point of view.

Marketing COP:24/7: I'm gearing up for a marketing push for 2009 including a refreshed look. Also, I'm assessing our needs and how to gather more readership, interaction and usefulness of this forum. It's all about getting the word out and taking it to the next level of exposure. So get ready to see COP:24/7 in full form for 09. I appreciate every one's support and encourage you to share this site with everyone you know!! If you've got ideas, feel free to hit me up at: nealix101@comcast.net

Have a great Holiday Season...we are pausing for Christmas, but will be back in the hot seat next week.!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Free Fall Friday in the Last Quarter

I'm out and about scouring the city for bargins, so I'm glad to share this offering from one of my favorite sites, Queercents. I highly recommend that you check them out for some of their sage advice on living, loving and of course, saving for rainy day. This article is unedited and is the viewpoint of it's writer. Don't worry, I'll be back before I take a holiday break. Happy Holidays....

NEEDS VS. WANTS... Having money to throw around
by Nina

Recently, Lauren at Feministe, one of the oldest feminist blogs, mentioned us in her weekend roundup. She writes:
SINCE I’M BROKE and the economy has been tanking I’ve been perusing a lot of economics blogs. One of my new favorites is Queer Cents, a blog that talks money management with a focus on and around the queer community. Pros: posts on topics such as how to buy dresses when you look like a man, ways to avoid medical bankruptcy, and how to write letters to fix your credit report. Cons: many of the writers assume you have money to throw around in the first place. Still, great advice and worthy of the blogroll.
First, we blow big queer kisses to her for linking to us. The subscribers to our RSS feed jumped because of it. Apparently, feminists like their Google Reader. Mwah!
Second, let’s talk about what she doesn’t like and how we can fix that. (Hint: this is a nice opportunity for our readers to weigh in with their thoughts about how we can make Queercents better!) “Cons: many of the writers assume you have money to throw around in the first place.”
I think this brings up a really interesting point. I recently listened to a free podcast from iTunes U (downloads from iTunes U are my favorite things to listen to on my morning run). It was a lecture at Griffith University by Cathy McGuane called Money: It is not what you make, but how you manage it that counts. Her topic was the typical women & money pitch, but she said something that I thought was really interesting:
Perceived needs change with income.
I got to thinking about it and yes, my perceived needs are different than Elizabeth’s or Melissa’s needs. Elizabeth is in college and Melissa is in her first job and budgeting for student loan payments. Another example: Paula and I are both Gen X, our experiences are very different at the moment – she made the jump last year from a corporate job to business owner. I’m still schlepping for a paycheck and have a kid on the way. Or consider Roland. He appears loaded! And after trying retirement for about two minutes, he went back to work for what sounds like something to do and not to necessarily make money.
We are different ages and income levels, but we all have money to “throw around” because we’re living within our means. Or at least trying to wind up with more money at the end of the month than we had at the beginning. And not less.
Achieving this objective comes in various forms – depending on the perceived needs of the contributing writer. So while, John and Aundi, might be taking a break from their careers to go back to school, their needs are completely different than the needs of Jennifer and Ashley. We have a bunch of unique writers… all with distinct money voices.
That said, Trent at The Simple Dollar has a fantastic post about needs vs. wants because even our perception of needs sometimes could use a refresh. In a nutshell:
What do I actually need in life?
I need a roof over my head.I need food and water.I need clothing.I need a means to earn a living to pay for the needs.My wife needs a means to earn a living.I need basic hygiene and health, as does my family.I need to protect my family against my demise.
Everything else is a want.
It’s worth clicking over to get the skinny on each of his points. After dividing all his spending into needs and wants; his conclusion:
When I did this, I realized that the majority of our spending was on things that were merely things I wanted. Looking at those wants with a more critical eye - eliminating some and putting a bit more focus on the things most important to me - led me to making some cuts in my spending that I might have otherwise just assumed as a given. That’s made a big change in my spending choices - and has put some cash right back in my pocket.
And at Queercents, we all earn different amounts in our jobs or entrepreneurial pursuits but hopefully, our posts reflect that having money to “throw around” – whatever that amount might be – is really based on spending less than you make.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jingle Jingle and all that Jazz

Progressive Politics UPDATE: PROJECT POSTCARD IS WORKING! As the nation closes in on the the installation of our new head of state, President Elect Obama this January 20,2009, the bar has been set high and mighty by various factions of the electorate. Even as the cabinet choices are are almost complete and the agenda forming, groups across the country are in overdrive to let the future president know just what they think. I got a e-blast from JoinTheImpact which alerted members that Obama's transition office has announced that they are no longer accepting postcards and will now only accept #10 envelopes with wish list and other suggestions on how to take back our country. They state in the e-mail, "we won't go away that easily! Put your postcard in a #10 envelope and send it along to him anyway." If you would like to participate in getting jiggy with the incoming administration, you can get the suggested message and transition office mailing address here, then post a photo of you and your card in the JoinThe Impact photo gallery. If you decide to do so, don't forget to tell them COP:24/7 sent ya and then leave us a comment about your experience.

Inaugural Shut OUT: Yes, it's the ticket that everybody is clamoring for and trying to obtain them by any means possible, but if you tried to get those freebies from your Capitol Hill Representative, don't bother because they are so gone. As soon as I heard that that the coveted tickets would be available, I rushed a shout out to my Reps for a long shot consideration. Wishful thinking on my part, due to the fact that so did about 3,999 other folks wanting to attend the "New Birth of Freedom" themed event. In case you don't get it Team O has wrapped this event from the bosom of Lincoln, including Obama taking the oath on the same bible as the famed Lincoln who also hailed from Illinois. Furthermore, adding to this whole historical bent, earlier this year I got a chance to see the actual Emancipation Proclamation which was a featured exhibit at the Clinton Library. Adding to my consternation, I was sorta amazed at the fact that somehow tickets materialized for the Little Rock Nine, despite that some of them didn't even want to attend. Hello, are any of those tickets available? Meanwhile, as I ponder that thought, I'm posting the unedited letter that was e-blasted to me( and most likely alot of others) that I was not among the chosen few. In previous post, I've mentioned that during this political cycle, I've learned some valuable lessons about how the system works. First up, It's Who you know. Second, How much you contribute, even though the event tickets are suppose to be FREE. Third, if you write, they will respond. Ladies and gentlemen, it's just my latest political dance in 2008. Read it and tell me what you think. Graphic courtesy of the official Presidential Inauguration Committee website.

Dated: December 18, 2008

Thank you for your recent request for tickets to the swearing-in ceremony of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20th, 2009. I am sorry to inform you that Congressman Snyder is unable to provide you with tickets to the event.

Although Congressman Snyder received requests from constituents for nearly 4,000 tickets, the Joint Congressional Inaugural Committee allotted our office only 198 tickets. Even the vast majority of these tickets are for standing areas only.

The national mall will be open to the public on Inauguration Day for people who were unable to get tickets for the swearing-in ceremony. Authorities estimate that 1.5 – 2 million people will be able to witness the event from the unticketed area. We have been told that several high definition television screens will be set up along the mall so that people will be able to watch the event even if they are unable to actually see the participants in person.

For information regarding other events associated with the inauguration, please reference the President elect’s Inaugural Committee website at http://inaugural.senate.gov/. As more information becomes available regarding the official inaugural balls and the inaugural parade, it will be posted at that web address.

Also, I am aware of one event for Arkansans hosted by the Arkansas State Society of Washington DC on Monday, January 19th 2009. Here are the details:

Arkansas State Society Inaugural Party for RazorbacksThe National Press Club529 14th St. NWhttp://www.arkansas-state-society.org/Information: 202-329-6711

Finally, there have been media reports about people selling inauguration tickets over the internet. Any tickets to the swearing-in ceremony are free and only distributed by congressional offices and no tickets have actually been issued yet. So anyone who claims to have tickets to the swearing-in for sale is being untruthful.

Please feel free to contact me with any question regarding inauguration activities.


Toby Watkins

Toby Watkins
Rep. Vic Snyder (AR-02)
2210 Rayburn HOB

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Seasonal Wednesday 4 U

The holiday's are in full swing, even as the economy continues to tank. Tough times are suppose to be among us, but as I move through the city, it seems that many of you are still making your way to the stores to take care of your Christmas business. In the words of Linda Ellerbee," and so it goes...,"and so do we at COP:24/7.

Winter Stepping: Get your groove on at the 08 Winter Gay Ball , 12.20.08 at the metroplex on Colonel Glenn road kicking off at 9 p.m. - until. According to event planner," Ms. P", of A Day in the Life Productions, the event will be at the beginning of big things to come. Parks states on her Myspace page that her business is seeking partners and same minded individuals who want to put Little Rock front and center in the paty circuit. She believe that the SGL community has the capabilities and creativity to make this a reality. She has courted area retailers for discounts on evening wear, hotel rooms and amenities to assist all those who may attend. Tickets can be obtained locally at Ugly Mikes, Dime One Lifestyles or on the web at, http://www.ticketsalternative.com/ General Admit is $35.00 with VIP seating at $50.00. I'm checking my schedule to see if I can get my face in the place. This is the type of event planning that this community deserves and should expect. But this level of event doesn't keep taking place without the full support across the board. So if we want it, then let's step to the place dressed for success.

Monday, December 15, 2008

COP 24/7 Special: Politically Speaking

This article was forwarded to me from the National Stonewall Democrat network and I found it quite interesting. It's another empowering "teachable moment" that I love sharing with readers. This item was originally written, November 13, 2008

Metro Weekly
by Sean Bugg

Elections are natural emotional rollercoasters, plunging from heady heights to profound lows.
For the GBLT community, 2008 was particularly high -- and painfully low.
Even as Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected to the presidency -- and with more the two-thirds of gays and lesbians voting for him -- Florida and Arizona voters approved amendments banning same-sex marriage and Arkansas took the retrograde step of effectively barring adoption and foster-parenting by gays and lesbians.
But the lowest moment had to be the passage of California's Proposition 8, a measure to end marriage equality for gays and lesbians in the state. As a result, thousands of gay and lesbian couples find the legality of their marriages no longer certain.
While demoralizing, the passage of Proposition 8 has also proved galvanizing, with protests sprouting across the country, including D.C. And as President-elect Obama begins his transition into the White House, the GLBT community faces a time of great opportunity on the federal level.
We asked the leaders of a number of national GLBT and HIV/AIDS organizations their thoughts on the new administration, what the community can achieve, and what the victory of anti-gay campaigns across the country means for the GLBT movement.
METRO WEEKLY: From your perspective, what is the most immediate effect of the presidential election on the GLBT community?
REA CAREY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE TASK FORCE: The most immediate effect is that for the first time in eight years there is a possibility for the enactment of pro-LGBT policies. It is now possible for us to move forward without fear of immediate veto threat or administrative ideology obstructing our efforts. We have an opportunity to see our work result in real change and tangible improvement in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in America.
JON HOADLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL STONEWALL DEMOCRATS: From before day one, Obama has had a fully inclusive approach to our community. Even his transition team serves as a model for things to come. Not only did he immediately put into a place a non-discrimination policy for the transition team that was inclusive of both sexual orientation and gender identity, but also he isn't pigeonholing his LGBT staff into LGBT roles. This sends a message that our issues will be addressed and we will be treated as full people.
PAUL KAWATA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL MINORITY AIDS COUNCIL: For me, the election of Obama, and a Democratic Congress, means that Americans are ready for change on so many levels. Though Proposition 8 passed in California, it did not win by the margin that it probably would have even four years ago. We must take heart that our courts are starting to look favorably on gay rights, and that gay marriage was legal in California, even if for a short time. We are on the cusp of a new day. It is up to us as community organizers and LGBT leaders to continue the fight for our rights.
MARA KEISLING, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR TRANSGENDER EQUALITY: Clearly we are excited that we are likely to see fewer proactive attacks against all LGBT people from an Obama administration. We have all spent the last eight years fending off very hurtful and unproductive policies, and knowing that meaningful advances in federal policy required difficult uphill battles. We are hopeful for the next four years.
H. ALEXANDER ROBINSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NATIONAL BLACK JUSTICE COALITION: The election of Barack Obama has important symbolic, political and policy implications. It reaffirms the promise of equality for all Americans. Sen. Obama campaigned on a platform of progressive change where the old political divides of race, gender, sexual orientation and abilities gave way to a movement of the people, for the people. Of utmost importance to our constituency, he has promised to develop and implement a comprehensive HIV/AIDS plan.
PATRICK SAMMON, PRESIDENT, LOG CABIN REPUBLICANS: I think out of the ashes of what is now the Republican Party there is a real opportunity to help rebuild the party in a way that makes it a party of the future rather than a party of the past. What remains to be seen is what President-elect Obama and the Democrats actually deliver on in terms of promises they've made.
AUBREY SARVIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SERVICEMEMBERS LEGAL DEFENSE NETWORK: The Obama presidency will bring an exponentially greater level of support for LGBT issues and a greater awareness and understanding of our community. Sen. Obama ran opposing ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' (DADT) and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) while openly supporting ENDA and expanded hate-crimes protections. Without shying away from those positions and while mentioning gays and lesbians in his rallies, Obama carried conservative states, including North Carolina, Virginia, Indiana and Florida. This -- along with the election of an African American to the presidency -- shows how far we have come.
MW: Since the 1990s, a small number of GLBT issues have consistently emerged at the federal legislative level: ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'', ENDA, partner immigration, hate crimes and marriage equality. With a Democratic Congress and president, which of those issues do you believe should be prioritized?
CAREY: The Task Force Action Fund has a number of legislative priorities...but our top legislative priority will continue to be passage of an inclusive ENDA. Leadership will likely move other legislation first, such as the hate crimes bill, and we look forward to working with them on those efforts as well. However, a key focus of our energy and expertise will be on creating federal employment protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
HOADLEY: It's hard to say that only one should be a priority because we as a movement should be far enough long that we can walk and chew gum at the same time. While we're continuing on the work of building support for a comprehensive ENDA that is inclusive of both sexual orientation and gender identity, we can also be working on passing hate-crimes legislation.
We've learned a lesson from the Clinton administration: Even when we have friends in Congress and the White House, it doesn't necessarily mean passing legislation will be smooth sailing. We still have a lot of groundwork that needs to be done. So let's hold Democrats accountable to their campaign promises, but let's also be willing to put some sweat equity into supporting a pro-equality legislative agenda.
KEISLING: Most see the federal hate-crimes bill as being maybe the ripest of the bills we are working on. During the past 18 months it has passed through both the Senate and the House of Representatives, held up only by a veto threat from the White House. We are very unlikely to see such a threat from the incoming president, so most of us are hopeful that the hate-crimes bill can pass. Beyond that, I think that we'll wait and see what ripens when, but internally at NCTE priorities include ENDA and ending unfair federal documentation requirements for transgender people, as well as stopping a Social Security Administration practice called ''gender no-match letters'' that needlessly outs transgender people at their jobs.
ROBINSON: Because HIV/AIDS continues to heavily impact the lives of black, gay men, and thereby our ability to organize and secure our future, access to health care and real reforms in our HIV-prevention efforts is a major priority. Certainly, employment is a high priority for African-American communities as a whole, and LGBT people face the threat of discrimination -- passage of ENDA would be a significant move in the right direction. Anti-gay bias crimes are a plague that must end and a federal bill would not only provide the resources to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of these cases, but it would send an important message about the equality of LGBT people.
Finally, black gay and lesbian families suffer the most when we face discrimination. Consequently, we believe that our movement must build the grassroots support needed to repeal DOMA.
SAMMON: Obviously, we're not going to be the ones setting the strategy here, we're going to be trying to get Republican support on whatever is put forward. My advice is throw out the old playbook -- let's stop looking through the prism of ENDA, hate crimes and ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'' Maybe immigration equality will move forward, maybe domestic-partner benefits for federal employees. My concern is that the Democrats are going to treat the gays likes a constituency, that we're going to get one bone thrown our way, one little reward, and then they expect us to be quiet. I hope that reward isn't hate crimes. While that's good legislation, I don't think anyone believes that passing the hate-crimes bill as it's currently written is going to have this transformative effect on the lives of gay and lesbian people.
SARVIS: While we at SLDN are of course focused on ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'' there is a very full agenda for President-elect Obama, and we know we will not be first in line. To be successful in eliminating the ''Don't Ask, Don't Tell'' law, we need a partnership between the White House, Congress and our military leaders. We will work for more hearings on the Military Readiness Enhancement Act. It is important that it be done right this time.
MW: Will Congress be able to pass a trans-inclusive ENDA?
CAREY: We believe that with the existing support for the bill built in past years, additional changes that have occurred in Congress, the support of the administration and the continued efforts by the Task Force Action Fund and others on Capitol Hill and at the grassroots, it is possible to pass a fully inclusive ENDA.
HOADLEY: Yes, if we keep doing the work that needs to be done. The incoming Democrats and the returning sophomore Democrats support equality. Over the last year people have been working on increasing grassroots support. Congressman [Barney] Frank and other congressional Democrats held critical hearings on gender-identity discrimination in the work place. Congresswoman [Tammy] Baldwin and Congressman Frank created the Equality Caucus. These are all signs that the work is happening that needs to be done and we're thinking smarter about doing the ground work that needs to be done to pass legislation.
KEISLING: Absolutely. We were so close last fall. Now, there are a lot of people doing a lot of work around ENDA and I am confident that if we all get the grassroots and D.C. work done that has to be done, we will have sufficient votes to pass ENDA and even overcome any possible parliamentary maneuver from our opponents. That being said, most of us do not expect ENDA to come up right away in this Congress, though I wouldn't want to venture a guess more specific than that.
MW: How do you believe the landscape will change for GLBT federal workers under the new administration? Will Obama's pledge to extend domestic-partner benefits to federal workers come through?
HOADLEY: The landscape is changing because we have an administration that believes that all people are entitled to equal protection under the Constitution. I expect that President-elect Obama's transition team's policies will be models for inclusion moving forward. And with President-elect Obama as a Democrat who has championed the need for equal pay for equal work, I believe the extension of domestic-partner benefits for federal workers is likely in the first term.
KAWATA: We believe that Obama's pledge to ensuring an America for all Americans extends to LGBT people, in the workplace and in terms of domestic-partner benefits. It may not happen tomorrow, but I believe he will do all in his power to make this happen - we have to be sure that we are at the table to continue to educate his administrators and our representatives on these issues, and help push the necessary legislation through both houses. And we cannot neglect to make our opinions as LGBT leaders and community organizers known when it comes time to appoint Supreme Court justices. Legislation impacts everyday life; a Supreme Court decision can shape our way of life.
MW: The Bush administration has been lauded for its work in Africa on HIV/AIDS. How do you think an Obama administration will influence HIV/AIDS policy in the U.S.?
CAREY: We hope to work with the administration on a number of HIV/AIDS issues including, but not limited to, implementation of a national AIDS strategy and a greater focus on people of color, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We'll also advocate for more funding for domestic HIV prevention and a complete elimination of funding for abstinence-only education, which has been proved to be ineffective.
KAWATA: Obama's administration will need to focus on health disparities in the United States. These are directly related to socio-economic inequalities in this country, such as lack of access to health care, poverty, homeless, etc. These conditions have helped fuel HIV/AIDS infection rates in communities hardest hit by these problems - most of which, unfortunately, are communities of color.
NMAC is part of a coalition of national AIDS organizations of color that put together a document called ''Fighting AIDS in Communities of Color: An Action Agenda for the Next President,'' which calls for a multifaceted and comprehensive approach to HIV/AIDS issues domestically. In it, we called on the next president to implement seven points:
Rapidly put in place a National AIDS Strategy, as we require all recipients of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) funding to do.
Collect better data on HIV/AIDS in communities of color, so that we have a better understanding of the epidemic in this country.
Strengthen HIV-prevention efforts in the U.S., which have been under-funded during the Bush administration. Prevention interventions are much less expensive than HIV treatment and care.
Make knowledge of HIV status the norm in communities of color to ensure people know they are at risk.
Ensure universal access to high-quality HIV treatment and care, especially in communities that historically have had limited access to treatment and care.
Address the social determinants of HIV risk and vulnerability.
Help communities mobilize to fight HIV/AIDS.
ROBINSON: President-elect Obama has pledged to develop and implement a national AIDS plan. I believe that this plan will include a serious effort to address HIV prevention among gay men and undo the current abstinence-only efforts in favor of science-based interventions.
MW: What does the loss on same-sex marriage in California -- as well as Arizona and Florida -- plus the barring of adoption rights in Arkansas, say about the state of GLBT issues in America?
CAREY: With so many other bright spots and celebrations coming out of this election -- especially the history-changing election of President-elect Obama, which promises to be the most LGBT-friendly administration ever -- it is particularly painful to have these ballot-measure losses. The anger of many in our community is intense and palpable, but somehow we will all need to dig deep and channel our anger and sadness into fulfilling the promise of marriage equality across the country. Despite this setback in California, we have seen an unprecedented positive shift in public attitudes toward the freedom to marry in California - from 38 percent in our favor during the 2000 vote to 48 percent this election. In the other ballot measures, public opinion is steadily moving in our favor, and in time, with continued work and renewed investment, fairness and equality will ultimately prevail. We will get there.
HOADLEY: We need to do things differently if we expect different results. As someone who has run these types of campaigns before, I know the heartache that is felt after the campaign. However, we also need to hold people accountable for the results. Let's find out what worked and what did not work.
But let's also not delude ourselves. The majority of people in America don't support marriage equality yet. If we think they do, we're lying to ourselves.
KEISLING: I think all of us can be so proud of all of the education that we have done with the American public. The results were much more favorable to us than the last time -- and that is progress. Still, it is obvious that we haven't yet finished that job. Consider Congress: While clearly education of Congress around transgender issues and especially gay issues has been strong, there are still quite a few closeted, gay members of Congress. There may even be closeted trans members of Congress, though we are not aware of any or even any rumors.
ROBINSON: As a political matter these losses should be viewed as setbacks on our march toward justice. However, for LGBT people living in those states, for the children in Arkansas who need a home and a family now, and for the couples in Florida whose families are at risk, these are significant blows. The American dream has not come easy for women, people of color, the poor and the disabled. However, I am more hopeful than ever that we will continue to make progress.
SAMMON: It was incredibly disappointing. Particularly from my perspective, I was hoping that California was going to be the silver lining of the election. But it's certainly a wake-up call to the community that we need to keep working one person at a time to move people in the right direction. We made a lot of effort and investment to help defeat Proposition 8 with our Republicans Against 8 campaign. But there was this complacency that somehow victory was assured in California. I don't think enough gay and lesbian people understood the threat from this and I don't think enough people did all that they could to defeat Proposition 8.
MW: A number of rationales have emerged for the California loss -- minority voters supporting both Obama and Proposition 8, low turnout in some areas such as San Francisco, ''No on 8'' messages that avoided being too ''gay,'' etc. What do you think needs to be addressed among those in order to move forward in that state?
CAREY: The close vote was heartbreaking. In the end, the scare tactics and lies of the other side won out this time. We need to look at all the circumstances that led to the resulting loss. It will take time and careful analysis to understand all the variables that led to this outcome. That careful analysis has to happen so that rather than pointing fingers at any specific group or groups we can focus our energies on the development of winning strategies in the future. This unjust and disappointing outcome for tens of thousands of loving, committed couples and their families will now have to wait longer to be treated fairly under the law.
HOADLEY: Let's look at the data and find out what worked and what didn't work instead of all trying to be arm-chair pundits. It's easy to criticize in retrospect -- and we all love to do it -- but that's not fair to the campaigns. That said, clearly something didn't work right or we would have won. It doesn't do our movement any good moving forward if we pretend we won when the voters said we didn't.
KAWATA: Many people are still uninformed abut LBGT issues in this country out of ignorance. It is up to us as community organizers and LGBT leaders to educate the public and bring LBGT legislative concerns to the public consciousness. We should take to heart that Proposition 8 did not pass by the margin it probably would have four years ago.
KEISLING: We need to continue doing the public education that has taken us this far. I am very optimistic that we are winning and will ultimately prevail, but it means LGBT people and allies everywhere need to step out and step up even more.
ROBINSON: Our message must be clear, our team must be diverse and our resolve unwavering. We cannot win with an arm's length campaign. We must take our campaign in to the neighborhoods, homes, churches, synagogues and clubhouses throughout the state. In the end, we must win hearts and minds and never underestimate the power of fear.
SAMMON: It doesn't mean we're pointing fingers at anyone, but you have to acknowledge the numbers. The fact is Sen. Obama's presence on the ballot increased turnout -- four years ago, African Americans were 6 percent of the electorate in California, this year they were 10 percent and they voted in huge margins [for Proposition 8]. So let's figure out as a community how we can do better to engage people of color and really have a comprehensive strategy to gain allies for equality among African Americans.
SARVIS: Our community needs to work together to assess how we move forward now. There were heartbreaks and setbacks, but we start again. It's one vote at a time. We rebuild and we come back when we are ready

Friday, December 12, 2008

Podcast Rewind

Yeah, it's another TGIF, and I didn't call in gay but took that day off anyway in solidarity to those felt so inclined. In the meantime, I wanted to make sure that if you missed our latest podcasting production, you would have another chance to check out our special brand of what's really going on. It's COP:24/7, live and in living color for all to hear from our downtown studio's in Mablevale. This forum has the only locally produced rainbow dedicated Podcast serving the Arkansas market. Can you believe it,... believe it! All of this brought to your from our online partner, EVOCA! Just click the icon, adjust your speakers and listen in. What you waitin for...!!

In the meantime, I'm still sitting tall in the Big Chair preparing a fresh batch of news, commentary, updates, links and just plain old stuff for the SGL community and beyond. Stay tuned, you will not want to miss what we will be talking about as the year goes bye-bye! We are always looking for contributors, comments and great ideas, so send them our way via our comment section or e-mail. Let's hear from you today!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thoughts from the Universe

A Secret Scrolls message from Rhonda ByrneCreator of The Secret

The greatest thief of human happiness and abundance is ungratefulness. Any lack in our lives - whether in money, health, or relationships - is simply the evidence of a lack of gratitude. If you focus on lack you are not being grateful, and that will bring more lack into your life. Yet the simple state of radiating gratitude summons everything to you.
No matter who you are or where you are, you can change your life with gratitude, but you must feel it with your whole heart and radiate it from every cell. Gratitude is not a mental exercise, and in fact, if you simply use your mind for gratitude it will have little or no power. True gratitude comes from your heart! You must think gratitude through your heart, speak gratitude through your heart, and feel it intensely in your heart.
Then practice gratitude relentlessly. As you practice gratitude you will attract more thoughts and feelings of gratitude. In a short time your entire being will be saturated with it, and you will experience a happiness that is beyond what you can imagine. This is what is ahead for you when you choose gratitude as your way of life. And if you can really live in this highest state of gratitude, you will never have to ask for anything. Everything you want will be given to you before you even ask, because gratitude is the magnetic substance that opens every single door in the Universe.
This Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States. To celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to share an excerpt with you from The Secret Daily Teachings, which is being released in the US, Canada, the UK, and Australia on December 9th. This excerpt presents an easy way to start using gratitude and integrate it into your life by making every Thursday "Thank You Thursday." As you "Thank your way through every Thursday" you will open the most powerful receiving channel within you.

From The Secret Daily Teachings - Thank You Thursday
"Today is Thank You Thursday. Today and every Thursday is your day to say and feel "Thank you" in as many ways as you can.Write a list of all the people and events you want to give thanks for. Return thanks today to those who have done things for you. As you walk say "Thank you" in your mind with each step you take. As you drive, make each time you stop your cue to say "Thank you." At various times in the day, think and feel "Thank you" inside you seven times in a row. Look for every opportunity to say "Thank you" to other people, and say it with so much meaning that the person looks right at you. Thank your way through every Thursday, and make "Thank you" your predominant thought, feeling, and words of the day."Thank you" - two words, inconceivable potential power, and all they need is you to put the power into them by expressing them.Thank you!"Excerpt from The Secret Daily Teachings
. . .
May the joy of gratitude be in your heart,
Rhonda ByrneThe Secret... bringing joy to billions

Visit The Secret site World Languages Latest News
Watch the trailer Watch The Secret Own The Secret
Link to The Secret Contact Us

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tis the Season...2008

All this week I've been hearing from individuals that they just don't seem to have the X-mas spirit. Somehow, the nightly news feed of "the world's going to hell in a hand basket, if project whatever doesnt' get a bailout," has begun to take it toll. In case you are seeing "red" and not in a Christmas way, you are probably not alone. Especially here in this fourm, which is always red hot with the latest updates, links, commentaries, video and content for the SGL community and beyond.

Simply RED: The hastily produced Simply Red fundraiser held 12.5.08 for AAF wasn't SRO but was reported as an evening of chatter and charity hosted by KATV's Renee Shapiro. In the past this event was a ballyhooed kinda event ala "circuit party" attempt, with big plans and big noise. Yet, this year's event hosted at the Discovery Complex, was more modest with an even more modest attendance of less than a 100 people. In true AFF benefit fashion and not to my surprise this group goes "benefit A-Go-Go" each year with several efforts too many on the same weekend. During a 48 hour cycle, AAF rolled out the Simply Red event Friday night(6-8p.m), then at 7 p.m across town, something called the Snow Flake Fall dance. Now really folks, I don't know what this was all about, who was suppose to attend or even why? and ended up the weekend with a Bachelor Auction, (12.6.08) held at Sidetracks. Also in true AAF fashion, thus far there's been no published revenue reporting with all this holiday fundraising. In my opinion, this seems like a lot of work for a possible marginal ROI. Kudos to those who delegate themselves to this activity because it's not easy to do. But let's face it people, try re-evaluating spinning your wheels so hard without really getting anywhere.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rocking and Rolling Tuesday

With each posting, I often find myself either in reflection, deflection and sometimes in a rejection mode of various viewpoints. From the onset, this forum has positioned itself as an open source for discussion and debate. Even though the interaction hasn't been as robust as I would prefer, I continue to throw open our digital pages for those so inclined. I've been aware of the recent groundswell of local activism and the varying positions that some have taken on exactly how to react to culture war issues that directly affect this community. No matter where you may stand on the methods, I challenge each of you to at least take the time to share your concerns either here in this format or where ever you feel it will count most.

Civil vs Gay Rights: I've been tossing this one around for more than a decade, and no to my surprise here it is again. Are Gay Rights in the same ball field with Civil Rights issues? In the December 16 issue of the Advocate, the discussion is on full blast, not to mention the blogger across the board are on fire. I could I resist being in the fire, after all, isn't that what this forum is all about. Of course much of this discussion has derived from the Prop 8 debacle in which some White Gay's went left meanwhile showing their true "racist" colors, including using the proverbial "N" word to boot. Oh really? Throughout my tenure in the "rights" trenches I have reconciled that the "Gay Rights" platform is problematic within the Civil rights camp. Especially in lieu of the fact that those in the Prop 8 fight did a knee jerk reaction in accusing the mere 10% of California's black electorate for causing the measures defeat. Furthermore, many of those protesters even inflamed the situation by with some reported race baiting, extreme rhetoric and other over the top reactions that for the most part has illuminated the once "down low" riff within the SGL community. Did you know that such a devide existed, well has for some time and now it's gaping wide open for all to see. Yes, my readers this issue is wide and deep and we will continue to explore it more later this week. I hope you will come on back for this one and bring a friend.

Friday, December 05, 2008

It's Another TGIF and More

Surely you're not done with that holiday shopping are you? If you need a break, then you've come to the right place for a holiday diversion sort of. It's another TGIF as we rapidly close out 2008 and look forward to 2009. So without further rambling, let's get this madness pumped...

Noah's Arc Landing: At this posting, there's still no theatrical showing planned in Arkansas for Noah's Arc: Jumpin the Broom. The feature film wrap up of the LOGO network show of the same title with the entire cast intact. This film which is one of the most talked about movies that seems to be getting the short end of the stick of press is scheduled to be available on DVD mid December, as well as apart of the Netflix catalog in Feb. 2009. Unlike, MILK, the Harvey Milk bio, starring Sean Penn, which has been getting glowing reviews and press coverage across the board, Noah's Arc was distributed in limited release from LOGO films. What's the tea you ask? Well, once again, it's all about the Benjamin's people. Those all important bean counters only want to follow the money in those big metro areas or at least where they think it may be coming from. MILK which was screened earlier this week in Little Rock, will get a wider distribution and a robust marketing campaign than Noah's Arc. Despite the proposed boycott of Cinnemark theatres involving it's CEO who donated cash to California's Prop 8 issue,which is still boiling over on many fronts. Consequently, it's the star power from Penn which will propel the film, but that coveted Oscar buzz that filmmakers wish for is the bigger prize that will send this film over the top. It's no doubt that Sean Penn is certainly probably one of the best actors today. I'm always mesmerized by his performances and how he literally disappears into the character he's portraying. As for Noah's Arc which has a credible cast featuring actors Daryl Stephens, Jensen Atwood(pictured above), Christan Vincent, Doug Spearman and Rodney Chester (pictured left). Directed by Patrik Ian Polk, the film steps off two years later with "Noah" and "Wade" getting ready to "jump the broom" in Martha's Vineyard with the crew in tow. The comedic timing and scene stealing Rodney Chester as the wedding planner seems like worth the price of the ticket. I've only seen some previews and read some reviews thus far, but I'm looking forward to a ASAP in-home movie night. Overall most have stated that it's a warm hearted closure to the TV show, but other's have call into question the "realness" of the characters in the everyday life of SGL people. I saw every episode of the TV show and I could argue on both sides of the equation, yet I still find it refreshing that this show existed and now this movie will allow us to perhaps find some solace in knowing that Noah finally landed his dream man.

Ladies and Gentlemen... Grace Jones: The ultra performance artist with the showstopping face, Grace Jones has pulled up to the bumper with a new CD entitled, HURRICANE. The disk which dropped in October is her first production in 19 years. Finding it locally will probably be chore, however the Net always comes through. I found copies on Amazon for around $20.00. Jones has re teamed with former collaborators to stir the music pot with yet another provocative mash up of songs that are vintage, Grace. First out the box is her erry, "acid like trip", Corporate Cannibal, just in time for all those pesky Wall Street crap shooters who were playing fast and loose with the some else's purse. The video was directed by Nick Hooker, demonstrating that Grace is still on the cutting edge of life's razor.Then's there the title track, Hurricane, where she swirls and churns just like a ocean tempest citing the phrase, "here I come, just like a hurricane, tearing up trees..." Oh Yeah Grace is certainly back ready to unleash her music prowess on the masses. For those of you whom missed GJ from her foray during the Disco ear and beyond, are in for a ear bend that you may not be prepared for. I've been a fan of Jones' from the first time I heard her sensual deep throated version of "Do or Die," "I need a Man," or "Warm Leatherette" which I still listen too. Her over the top persona has ranged from uber Dominatrix, Jamaican fashion icon to some folks she's just plain scary. No matter how you take Grace, either you love her or she just isn't you cup of tea.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Which Way is Up Wednesday

Did you catch the podcast? Say what? Well if you have not had the chance you still can. It's still available in our 12.1.08 posting. So click the EVOCA icon, adjust your speakers and viola! You will be tuned into radio COP:24/7! So what are you waiting for, click it while reading our latest posting.

WAD 2008: All across the state there were World AIDS Day commemerations that reaffirmed the fact that this health crisis is still with us after two decades. Unfortunately, my schedule precluded me from attending many of these activites, I certainly applaud all those who participated and shared their concerns, stories and support. The HAAP Coalition reports that their Capitol Rotunda event was a success, including messages from Joyce Elliot, the newly elected Senate Majoirty Leader. Their e-blast also included links to footage for the event. I'm including those links for your viewing pleasure.
Part 1: Welcome
Part 2: Brief Comments
Part 3: Comments & Task Force Findings
Part 4: Elegies for Angles, Punks & Raging Queens
Part 5: Song and Dedication Ceremony
Part 6: Closing Remarks

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tuesday Twisting and Turning

There's no time to waste in this outing of COP 24/7. The news is fast and furious as usual so, Let's roll with it...

Changing of the Guard: The Stonewall Democrats have announced that come January 2009 a new slate of officers will be elected. They are seeking possible candidates to lead the organization in lieu of recent political initiatives as well as the upcoming legislative session. If you are ready to take the lead, then contact them at http://www.stonewallarkansas.com/

Giving in the City: As the holidays descend upon us during this strained economic time, there are agencies that will go the distance to assist those in need. Such groups as the Watershed, Compassion Center and the Union Rescue Mission will be available. If you need or know of someone in need of assistance, feel free to e-mail us for more contact info.

It's all in the Closet: This forum has survived for the last 4 years without any substantial ad revenue or actual product promos. However, I believe that it's high time that this be revisited and reconsidered. Therefore, I'm looking the affiliate programs of several online products producers. Even though we've covered some racy and perhaps controversial topics, I've never seen this forum as too explicit or overly sexual in nature. But some of you have mentioned that you would like to have more info on products that could enhance your passion or lack of it. I've become increasingly aware of you who like spending your hard earned currency on DVD's, Toys, and those KKF's that I keep hearing about. Therefore, I've heard you loud and clear and will take it all under consideration. Stay tune and we'll find the best items that match our temperament. If you've got suggestions, of course dear readers, I'm always open to hearing from you. Hit me up with your two cents.

Plain Brown Wrapping: Speaking of products and the use of them here, I found this interesting article from one of my favs, Queercents which has a "Queer Stimulus" package of it's own for your consideration. Ladies and Gentlemen, Moorea's, Economic plan: Buy Sex Toys.

Here’s more of my Super-Gay Economic Stimulus Plan. The economy sucks, the days are getting darker; but don’t get depressed, get randy! My friend Katie said, “When this is election is over, we either celebrate with beer or drown our sorrows in it.” I’m not a beer girl, so all I could think about was sex. I’ll use sex to celebrate! Here are four great reasons to “stimulate” the economy (and other things!)
1. It’s a relatively cheap way to spoil yourself and while improving your health. If you have more sex/get off more, you will fill the psychological contentment void which otherwise causes you to over-eat ($$) and spend more of your precious cash on bigger frivolous items. (I’m all about getting you to have a more sex, as a life coach and as a musician. Listen to my new song Sex Begets Sex on Myspace.)
2. If you stay home and have sex by yourself or with a sweetie, you are less likely to blow $100 or more per night on dinner and wine, night clubs, drinks, (prostitutes?). A really nice vibrator or dildo at $80 can provide hours and hours…and hours of enjoyment…
3. Buying sex toys, especially ones made in the USA (or made locally) supports the kind of sex and sexuality-positive small businesses we as queers must not allow to perish in an economic crash. We must support businesses which cater to queers, queer up the sidewalks of our cities, and help straight people explore their sexuality. The feminist-owned sex stores I know help support other local queer arts and social justice organizations.
4. Because people are less likely to buy sex toys or other non-essential items, you are more likely to get them on sale! (Its true, sex toys hardly ever go on sale). Cool things on sale at Babeland right now and DVDs and Rabit Habit currently 15% off at GoodVibes.com. So get your buns to your local woman or queer-owned sex store like Good Vibrations (The Rabit Habit, all vibratex products and DVDs are 15% off!) or Babeland (great sale page!) and buy something to cheer you up on a rainy day.
Have you found sex toys on sale recently? Why are quality sex toys so expensive? Does sexy time with yourself or a partner enhance your mood when the weather gets icky? Are you a sex toy “big spender”?…

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS DAY 2008

Today is World AIDS Day 2008 and the fight continues worldwide with the rallying cry of "Leadership," soundly affirming this year's theme,"Stop AIDS. Keep the Promise." From various points throughout the state, their will be commemorations and tributes to the over 1800 individuals whom have succumb to this health crisis. COP:24/7 has been committed since our inception with offering current data as well as ground breaking research in the field of AIDS medicines and treatments. We vow to stay engaged across the board with providing links, video, commentary, updates and podcasting, which is included in this posting. Our online partners at EVOCA have archived all of our podcast, allowing us to create a catalog that ultimately will be available on I-Tunes. When you are ready to tune in, simply just click the EVOCA icon, adjust your speakers, sit back and feel the COP:24/7 vibe, locally produced from our downtown Mablevale studios. Meanwhile, the work that goes into this forum can be taxing, not to mention time consuming. But it's our contribution to the SGL community and beyond. Everyone has a part to play in addressing the issues that affect us. I implore you to find your niche, get connected, then get involved, TODAY!

It's live and in living color, another Podcast from COP:24/7 If you are interested in submitting content, got comments, or sponsorship possibilites, feel free to contact us! We love hearing from you! Hit us up directly at Nealix101@comcast.net