Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twista Tuesday, Me & U

Onward and upward as March takes flight! It's the last day of month and the whole process starts anew. You know the drill. New month means the bills roll in, living expenses are due, car note and insurance, food, wardrobe, misc. and perhaps there's little left for some fun. Despite the usual, this forum continues to march on with what's really going on in Central City, statewide and in the Mid-South. Are you ready, then let's roll with it...

Funding HIV/ AIDS: I know that there are many "official" organizations and groups that are HIV/AIDS oriented, but I often ponder just how well informed the average person is about this crisis and it's inner workings. As a former AAF board member I never felt that end users or stakeholders were not totally in the information loop. I realize that there are everyday issues and complexities involved which could trump some more intense fact gathering. However, I was slightly caught by surprise when I read some of the final report discoveries offered from the Arkansas HIV/AIDS Task Force submitted to Gov. Bebee. I don't know about you, but it sounded like a scratched record, replaying the same phrase over and over. I thought to my self, it took 19 people about 12 months to come to these conclusions:

"In the report, task force members said the money is needed to create counseling
services and 15 HIV testing sites in black, Hispanic and other high-risk
communities around the state. The report proposed an annual budget of $150,000
to hire two staff members to manage the services and to pay for overhead costs,
such as office space, supplies and travel reimbursement. The task force said the
testing and counseling sites would cost $975,000 annually. They also budgeted
$225,000 annually for an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign."
Excuse me, but doesn't this sound like same script, different cast? Well as usual, I got a few questions and so should you as a taxpayer. Are you trying to tell me that from that series of meetings held statewide and to my understanding not exactly SRO (standing room only)basically revealed that "counseling services and additional testing site were needed?" Has testing not been a focus of those statewide Consortiacare outfits, other clinics or those AIDS this or that mash ups promoted througout the year? Can one not get a counseling reference from a Consortiacare case worker? Hey committee members, what happened to all that fancy two (2) person office equipment, computers, and God knows what when Positive Voices imploded a few years back? As far as awareness campaigns, certainly I'm all for getting messages out to the public, but to be honest this forum did many post about such campaigns but came to conclusion that many folks had no clue or showed no interest after being polled. Case in fact, how many people remember that Billboard campaign or saw any of those Youtube spots? O.K. Task Force members you've accessed the situation yet again and sounds like to me, I've heard this report before, this time it's just going be more pricier. What do you say Mr. & Mrs. Taxpayer? I'm all ears and then some...the floor is open.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Manic Monday

Here we go again, as 2009 slip streams us all along into the next month. It's the final days of March and there's still news, updates, commentary, links and yes, plain old stuff that will be making the cut. The weekend is done and it's back to the Big Chair with more of what you should be looking for! Come and get it!!!!

Dangerous Radio: The mike is open as Under the Rainbow, the GLBTQ community radio show is being prepared for it's debut on KABF 88.3 in late April. I attended the first organizing meeting, 3.28.09 at the studios and the vibe was positive among those in attendance. Harold H. and Ari C. offered an agenda which demonstrated the need for such programming and it's impact on the community statewide. KABF is a 100,000 watt community formatted station reaching to most points in the state, which will also allow UTR to be streamed over the Internet and podcasting archives for download. It was tenatively decided that the first show would highlight Rodeo in Rock activities sponsored by the Diamond State Rodeo as well as other TBA segments. "In case you haven't realized it, you are getting ready to do "dangerous" radio, said Chagoya. " it's dangerous because you are accessing media from a different perception and diversity that is missing from the airwaves." I concurred that the GLBTQ community has created a self imposed lock out of the media. There has been a severe lack of any real media or succinct efforts that have had measurable results. I reiterated that COP:24/7 has been putting it down for the last 3 years and in it's present form evolving as the only daily updating GLBTQ outlet in the state. Hughes stated that he was encouraged with the interest and wanted the venture to touch on as many topics as possible. Ranging from health issues to labor issues. The next strategy meeting will take place 3.31.09, 7-9 p.m., 2101 South Main. The show is scheduled to began airing tentatively April 26, 2009. COP:24/7 will be a segment producer and will be soliciting your support. If you've got show ideas, funding streams, possible guest or comments, share it with us today. So what are you waiting for?? Let's go Pride Radio Arkansas!!

Changing Gears: As I produce this forum, I'm simply amazed at the changes that have occurred during it's existence. Initially, I started this medium as The Body Politic with not much fanfare or experience in this new type of expression. At that time, most folks didn't even know what a "blog" was or why anyone wanted to do such a thing. However, I did it and join a legion of other "bloggers" that were covering every topic imaginable. Consequently, there has been a shift with online publishing and I am shifting as well. Included in our bridging to the airwaves, I will be exploring doing some "live blogging," adding presence on other social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and others. Come grow with us as this forum continues to "open our minds in 09!" Stay tune, stay locked in and will maintain our Onpoint mission to bring you the latest.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday March Madness

Now let's get one thing straight. If you live in Arkansas, then get use to the weather because it's gonna do what it do, whether you like it or not. Yeah, it's suppose to be spring, but I was able to sport just a little more leather for that last bit of cold weather affect. I happen to love the briskness of a cool weather that will allow me to make a fashion statement, but like many of you, I'm ready do a spring fashion fling. O.K. In the meantime, COP:24/7 continues pumping it out each and every day in our own fabu way. So, let's not fool around, let's fly with the latest....!!!

Capitol Shutdown: Rep. Bryan King's attempt to dismantle Eurekas DPR( Domestic Partner Registry) was shutout by committee members who did a resounding vote of "NO" then reverted to a truly "diva" attitude and left the room without question. Oh the politics, Oh the drama, and Oh what's going on here? Supporters of the HB 2176 were not amused, stating that this political grandstanding and antics will not go unchallenged. Mr. Jerry Cox of Family Council fame couldn't wait to tell mainstream media (KARK) that this registry was in violation of that dastardly marriage amendment spearheaded by his group and passed a few years ago. I suspect that this may not be over as far they are concerned. You must remember, there's much to Arkansas politics that we may or may not understand. So far, I've found the entire mash up almost jaw dropping as these legislators made a quick exit similar to my last quick change in a tight dressing room. Then, there's the matter of that sour circulated e-blast purportedly from the editor of GNB which caused quite a few to grumble with two snaps in a circle. Apparently that e-mail was long in the tooth on facts and incrediably curt too boot. Even more so with all this behind the scenes wrangling taking place, I couldn't believe that none of these elected officials were prepared to speak to any press. Don't most lawmaker love mugging for the cameras? This action or should I say lack of action set in motion the charges that these legislators did a voice vote so that none of their records will reflect their actual vote on this matter. Whew, the games these folks play as the session wraps up. A big High Five salute to all who shared their opinions with Rep. King, also the Rep. K. Webb (pictured) for being on the scene as well as all allies or supporters. It still takes a village to stop these silly anti-people measure. Until next time....

Is their a Doctor in the House?: Dr. Phil McGraw will be in the house, Monday, April 27, 2009 at 6:00 p.m. in Sturgis Hall of the Clinton Presidential Complex. Dr. Phil McGraw is the host of "Dr. Phil," the second highest rated daytime talk show in America. The show has been making headlines and breaking records since its September 2002 launch, when it garnered the highest ratings of any new syndicated show since the launch of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" 17 years prior. McGraw has become an pop icon appearing in everything from TV commericals to movies. Did you see his word play with Tyler Perry's alter ego Madea, in Madea Goes to Jail? I expect this event to be SRO (standing room only) and early reservations will be the order of the day. I've been to some of the Clinton programming and they fill up fast and I mean fast. I'm not a huge fan of McGraw but I do subcribe to his "Get Real " approach to life's daily interactions. However, I was keeping it real long before the good doctor landed and this forum has always been about openess
To reserve your seats you can do so by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or calling 501.683.5239. I just might see your face in the place.

Hathaway Goes Judy!: Academy Award Nominee, Anne Hathaway will stretch her acting chops as she takes on the gayest Icon ever, the immortal Judy Garland. Hathaway will star as Judy Garland in the film and stage adaptations of Gerald Clarke's biography "Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland," for which The Weinstein Company (TWC) has optioned the film and stage rights. The announcement was made earlier this month by Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of TWC."Get Happy," based on hundreds of interviews plus Garland's own unfinished and unpublished autobiography, portrays the dramatic highs and lows of the cultural icon's life-- from her tumultuous early years as a child performer to her tragic last days. According to press releases ,"We are thrilled to have the brilliantly talented Anne Hathaway portray stage and screen legend Judy Garland. I have worked with Anne on projects in the past and have known her for many years. She will be a true class act in this challenging role," said Harvey Weinstein. "Gerald Clarke's biography is a fascinating and comprehensive look at Garland's life and is particularly outstanding because of its exclusive details from her own writings. Her story is incredible subject matter for both theatre and film and we look forward to bringing it to audiences." I'm sure that Judy fans are alrady buzzing with anticipation and giddiness as this production gets underway. I've already read a few snippets from Judy Watchers and their are legions of them, who are either happy with the choice of the Prada star or ambivilent. Well, what would you expect. It's so Judy. She said imfamously, that "I never could get over that damn rainbow." "Get Happy: The Life of Judy Garland" was first published by Delta in March 2001.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

X marks the Spot!!

Even as Spring 2009 continues to reveal itself to us, I realized that this also means doing some spring cleaning as well. Where do you start? Well, first up, yourself. A few years ago I made the concerted effort to alter some of the old bad habits and renew my interest in being the best person I could be. I underwent a serious round of surgery, a little cosmetic touch, backed it up from the table and this year I'm checking under the mental hood to make sure that I'm firing on all pistons. Come on folks, as we age and we are doing that each and everyday, we must "Keep it real" that letting it all go is no fun and certainly doesn't look when gazing into the mirror. Just as this forum has done makeovers so should we all. From our midweek point until our Friday bow out, we will take up the quest of spring cleaning your body, mind and soul. And on yeah, some of those dusty closets that need purging. Are you ready, then let's get busy...

Food Police: I'm not all about being the food police but, I do take a gander at all those articles relating to what I may or may not be putting in my face. It's imperative that we start paying more attention to everything about what we are consuming on a daily basis. For instance, the recent Peanut salmonella outbreak was just the latest in a long running secession of food alarms that we as consumers have dealt with. I've taken a food safety course from our local extension office and believe me I'm so glad that I did. I've been terribly concerned with the explosion of curbside eateries, barrels, rolling shops and otherwise possibly unregulated ptomaine outlets that are spreaded throughout the city. Have you seen them? As I drove around in the last week, I was surprise to see individuals bellying up to sites selling everything from smoked turkey legs, burritos, ice cream to hot dogs on numerous corners. I'm all for the entrepreneurial spirit especially in these hard fought eco times, but with many mirco organism, antibiotic resistant diseases and other food borne illness abounding, I'm casting a weary eye on all these food outlets offering their products to a unknowing public. I've shared some of my concern with city officials but was sorta passed along to a bureaucrat who showed a low level of interest. My concerns involve seeing some outlets sharing utilities, seeing set ups in abandon parking lots, activities using ice chest and other stops with no visible hand washing means to just name a few. Sounds iffy to me? How about you? I'm not sounding the alarm, but rather a heighten concern that if an serious outbreak took hold, I would hope that the powers that be would be ready to deal with it. Hey folks, remember that adage, "buyer beware" and that goes to where you choose to chow down next time.

Spring Cash Dash: SAVING, has become a new old buzz word that is capturing attention everywhere and I'm not about being left out. Say What? I've been a "saver" all my life, even when I making next to nothing. Somehow, I've learned how to stretch a dime into several dollars whether force too or not. One of my favorite money gurus is family member, Suze O. who hits you right smack in the money belt. Here latest mash up includes, http://www.saveyourself.com/ a site for women to get good advice on dealing with money. I must confess, I've bought some Ms. O's products and been a long time fan of her PBS specials. I've learned much about my money habits and traps. As you continue your spring cleaning, take a look at her offering so you don't clean out your savings. She's got good stuff that's just plane and simple common sense for your wallet. It's all at http://www.suzeorman/. com

Belly Spring Shedding: I get e-blast from Men's Health magazine and they have some good food for thought items for consideration. If you need to work on those abs or that troublesome mid section, heres a few suggestions from an online article.

You sweat buckets and burn major calories when you go to the gym. But wouldn't it be great if you could burn fat simply by sitting down, or even better—while you're sleeping? If you think it sounds too good to be true, guess again: Research has found there are a couple of things you can do to boost your metabolic rate so your body is a more efficient fat-burning machine. 1. Eat breakfast. Waking up to a couple of eggs or whole-grain cereal with skim milk will jump start your metabolism: Giving your mind clarity and your body the energy it needs to burn fat all day.2. Build muscle mass. Strength training builds lean muscle tissue, which burns more calories at work or at rest. Use your own body weight with the Belly Off! No-Gym Workout, or hit the weight racks with Belly Off! Fully Loaded and you'll see a boost in your metabolism after just one week.3. Eat more meat. A British study found those who increased the percentage of
the percentage of protein-based calories in their diets burned 71 more calories a day than those on low-protein diets. On the Belly Off! eating plan, you'll eat a steak every Tuesday to keep your muscles revving all week.

4. Get more sleep! Researchers found that sleep deprivation increases levels of a hunger hormone and decreases levels of a hormone that makes you feel full. The effects may lead to overeating and weight gain, so hit the sack instead of the fridge and feel the benefits in the morning.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Spin Cycles & Caravans...Add water & More

He's here! He's there! He's the President everywhere! It's Obama time from coast to coast, front and center and in living color. It's the Bouncing "O" Universal Media Blitz as President Obama tells the world or anybody listening about what he's gonna do about the constipated U.S. economy. It's 60 days and counting since his inaugural and the honeymoon is shutting down with a fury. Since the beginning of his administration the ride has gotten extremely bumpy to say the least and the natives are getting restless on just about almost anything you can imagine. Jobs, Taxes, budgets, deficits health care, dueling wars and bailouts are icebergs that may sink the USS USA ocean liner that Mr. O referenced . Thus far, the uncharted course of the economy and all that funny money business from those Wall Street masters of the universe has the ire of main street Americans unilaterally. Meanwhile, those bailout bustas who engineered those massive internal payouts are scattering like roaches, including the infamous AIG actually removing it's name from it conclave. Are they really serious about hiding in plain sight? Every day Mr. Obama is being broadsided from every turn it seems as he tries to straddle outrage and his maintain his level headed exterior in an attempt to be the "persistent" Commander in Chief. The President's insistence in each of his news conferences that not only did he inherit this mash up, but it will take patience to guide the economy back to better times. I never thought in my lifetime that I would be trying to figure out exactly how many zero's represents a Trillion dollars. Yet, the talking heads and murder's row press are pressing Obama and crew with none other than a full tilt assault and we all need some sound answers. In other words what we seek are "just the facts sir, just the facts." Even though I was outraged as the next tax payer, I applaud the Obama administration for it's tenacity, but there's a lot of hate out their and there's lots of work ahead him. Obviously it doesn't matter what side of isle you are own, the waggons are circling for a fight on all fronts. I suspect their will be blood on the floor before it's all said and done. I just hope that he can amass a winning team to snap this nation back into prosperity as swiftly as possible. Good Luck, Mr. President. You're gonna need it. Call me if you want to share, otherwise I'll leave the light on...

Capital Watch: Since I've opened a political vein, let's keep it flowing with a e-blast from a Arkansas Democrat Stonewallers action alert regarding Rep. Bryan King's, anti-gay measure HB 2176, concerning Eureka Springs' Domestic Partner Registry. This week I've found out that he's got company as I alluded too in that post. Joining him are those extremely well organized Family Council folks who are ready to pounce without hesitation on anything Gay. Last week as I outlined the national outrage about Busta Bailouts, this matter was a noted blip on my radar. I had hoped to have at least one comment, blip, chirp, tweet, burp or shout out on that issue or this one. Yet, again, my readers, nothing but "crickets." What's the problem with your voices, cat's got your tongues?" I encouraged readers to send letters to Rep King via his E-addy or land line. I don't know if he got any response and I suspect if he did, it was most likely not noteworthy. The ASD has also requested your vocal action. Please call and/or send your message to the Committee on CITY, COUNTY & LOCAL AFFAIRS - HOUSE members, especially if you are from their districts.
Please send polite, to the point, and varied, messages expressing your OPPOSITION TO HB 2176.
To find the members of the Committee go to http://www.arkansas.gov/house/committee_membership.html

To find your Arkansas Representative go to http://www.arkansas.gov/house/reps.php

Here's my polite, to the point message...

Representative Bryan King,

As our nation has entered an era of change as well as embracing diversity, measures such as your HB 2176 continues to cultivate unnecessary and additional barriers for everyday citizens. I can not agree nor do I believe your assertion that the DPR or any sexual issues have become a focal point within the context of tourism of Eureka Springs. To date I have seen no evidence to support this claim and my visits to the city although connected to Diversity activities are based on the natural beauty of the area as well as the generous hospitality extended from all sectors of the population.

I sense that HB 2176 is being used as another tool at the behest of those wrapped in demagoguery based on religious prejudice bordering on moral fascism and misinformation that ignites ignorance across the board.

Mr. King, I would hope that you would caucus or outreach to those who may be affected by the passage of such a measure in an effort to discover a "teachable moment." I would be willing to help facilitate this or any rational conversation to cease and desist with this legislative move.

In closing, Mr. King, please be advised that your actions will result in a reaction from those who do not subscribe to intolerable and intrusive political pontificating. Thanks for listening.

Cornelius M.

Little Rock, AR

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Relationship 101: Doing a 360

I'm always talking about relationships and what it takes to make them work or not work. I've chronicled some of my personal ongoing trials and tribulations, as well as, asked many of you for your thoughts. In these crazy eco times, GLBTQ couples are dealing with a myraid of issues especially those may involve MONEY. The issue finances often causes a great deal of strain and disolving of realtionships. As a frequent reader of QueerCents, an online resource GLBTQ blog, I discoverd this item posted by Alex who lays it all out there for your understanding. I found it inspirational and hopefully you will also. If you got relationship items, stories, dilemma or implosions feel free to share them with us.

My Financial Implosion: Better Support by Alex

“Here is the basic rule for winning success. Let’s mark it in the mind and remember it. The rule is: Success depends on the support of other people. The only hurdle between you and what you want to be in is the support of other people.” – David Joseph Schwartz

Although it would make for a much happier story if I could say my life suddenly and dramatically improved for the better after my partner moved in, the truth wasn’t nearly as nice. When she moved in, we were very optimistic about finances. We figured that with our low overhead living in the trailer and two professional incomes, we’d be quickly out of debt and on our way to financial bliss.
It didn’t work out that way. Just three months after my sweetie moved in, I lost my job. Had it not been for her employment and support, I may well have starved. I didn’t have much in the way of savings, nor could I count on help from my parents.
I spent the entire summer looking for a new position. Since my partner was employed, I was able to be a bit pickier in selecting my next job. I turned down one offer because the interviewer was verbally abusive, and offered me nearly $10,000 less than my previous position. I turned down another because everyone seemed just a little too happy, to the point of being creepy. Three months after being laid off, I felt like I couldn’t wait any longer, and took a 32-hour/week position that paid 10% less than my previous job.
Even though I ended up working far more than 32 hours per week, it was fortunate I accepted the position. Shortly after I was hired, my partner lost her new job.
In both cases, our layoffs seemed a little suspicious. Things got weird at my job after I came out, and things at my wife’s job got weird after her company hired a new Chief Operating Officer who was fresh out of the military and ex-special forces. We thought about filing discrimination complaints, but decided that long, drawn-out legal battles wouldn’t solve our immediate financial need. We both needed to have jobs that offered health insurance coverage.
We managed to squeak by during the six months when only one of us was working. It seemed like it should have been easy, since our living expenses were so low. It turned out to be quite difficult, because we didn’t want to let our health insurance lapse. As unmarried partners in a time where domestic partner benefits weren’t widely available, we had to pay enormous COBRA premiums to keep our coverage.
Finally, my partner found a position at the company where I was working. For a while, it was ideal. We were able to commute together, and later we were able to work at home together. We both had a decent salary, health insurance, and vacation. We started to make real progress on our debts, but of course it didn’t last. Shortly after the company’s December holiday party, nearly everyone was laid off.
We were included in the layoffs, but since we were working from home, nobody bothered to notify us of the dismissal until nearly a week later. After considerable embarrassment, and realizing that our projects weren’t quite finished, our manager extended our employment for a few more weeks. We quickly made last-minute doctor and dentist appointments, and found ourselves unemployed the first week of January, 2001. It was the second time, within an 18-month period, we’d found ourselves unemployed.
Although we expected to be out of work for quite some time, we were hit by a sudden stroke of luck. One of our employer’s former clients contacted us and asked if we’d continue working on one of his projects. Our ex-employer gave us the ok, since they no longer had any interest in this particular line of business, so we suddenly found ourselves navigating the waters of self-employment. I was rather reluctant to start another business, having my last one fail so terribly, but since we didn’t any better options, I agreed.
Self-employment definitely wasn’t easy. We were trying to operate a business in a 22-foot travel trailer where we had to eat, sleep and work. There wasn’t much in the way of space, and we had to move laptops and computer equipment on and off the dinette table every time we wanted to work or eat. It was stressful, especially since our new client managed, due to a banking problem, to bounce his first check to us. Fortunately, we didn’t bounce any checks as a result, as I refused to spend any money until I knew the check had cleared.
Lessons learned:
1. During periods of financial instability, it takes a lot of dedication and communication to keep the relationship going. When money is tight, it’s easy to blame your partner (or for your partner to blame you) for the financial squeeze. It’s important to support one another, and to communicate clearly about money and the emotional toll it takes.
2. Emergency funds are indispensable. Every financial planner will repeat this bit of wisdom over and over. Once again, had we had more of an emergency fund, the transitions from employment, to unemployment, to employment and ultimately to self-employment would have been easier.
3. Don’t spend money unless the check has cleared. It’s very tempting, especially during times of economic crisis, to spend money before you know your deposits have cleared. In our case, our client bounced a $28,000 check, and it would have been disastrous if we’d spent the money right away.
4. Make health insurance a priority. Less than six months after becoming self-employed, my partner needed emergency surgery. Had we not kept our COBRA insurance, we would have incurred nearly $30,000 in uninsured medical expenses.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Spring Flinging

I welcomed Spring last Friday at 6:44 am, just as the weather people cited. It didn't really cause me discomfort since I'm an early riser anyway. When was the last time your alarm clock went off at 4:30 am? As I've grown in maturity, I've totally embraced that "early to bed, early to rise" mantra that the old folks use to talk about when I was still wet behind the years. The silence of the early morning, especailly when using my outdoor office can be quite inspiring as well as energizing. In case you didn't realize it, keeping this forum alive and ticking takes some ass kicking time management. It's for this reason, I'm always shamelessly plugging that we are Arkansas' only daily updating online destination for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Now let's do some flinging...

Rainbow Down Under: A few weeks back, I mentioned that there was a local radio show in the works entitled, Under the Rainbow on 88.3 FM. I got the heads up from Harold Hughes who is spearheading this effort as a community media activist vehicle. During our conversation, he foresaw this venture as a means to further "reconnect" the various factions in this city. I shared with him my enthusiasm and possible participation in programming. I also related that COP:24/7 then known as The Body Politic broke into producing podcast almost three years ago with our premiere, 10.13.06 during Gay History Month. It was a self styled exploration and extension that I posted to this forum with hopes that it would offer more audience appeal. All of our podcast are archived with our online partner EVOCA. Take a listen at http://www.evoca.com/bodypolitic to feel our vibe. While putting those together, I sought local collaborators and partners but literally found little to no interest. It didn't matter because I'm not deterred at the lack of joiners on any of my efforts. I just keep putting it out in the market place regardless. Furthermore, I'm excited that Hughes will be offering access to 100,000 watts of FM power with the capabilities of Online streaming. According to released information the first meetings will be held Saturday, March 28, 2009 3-5 PM Tuesday, March 31, 2009 7-9PM 2101 South Main St. Upstairs 2nd Floor. These are scheduled to be need assessments and programming overviews. I was point blank in my assertion that if this venture is to be successful, it will take Benjamin's to make it so. Furthermore, I would love to bridge this forum into that medium and I'm throwing down the gauntlet in search of supporters. If you want to help COP:24/7 produce on Under the Rainbow, I need to hear from you!! O.K. what you waiting for... click the comment icon to share or send us a direct e-mail at Nealix101@comcast.net For more UTR information contact producer – Harold Hughes: rainbowharold@yahoo.com(501)-612-0902 Let's get busy on our media arrival!!!

Fat Flinging: Every day last week, the rhetoric was rampted up to a pitch that was piercing to say the least. I joined the chorus, but tried to keep it real as I wanted to know why this nation keeps shooting itself in the foot with slip shod legislation and down right foolish reactions that seem to keep us embroiled in stifle mode. I was further amazed that everything that I thought I knew seems to keep getting spinned into something that I don't know or made to feel that I will never understand. Enough with the high flying explanations. I got it fellas. Let me take it from here and see how I do...

Toxic Assest: These are items or stuff that was worth something at one time, even though no one seems to know how much, but is now worthless on some one's balance sheet.

Bailout Bustas: Companies that have wrapped themselves in TARP funds, meanwhile continuing to put the screws to their customers across the board. Recently these banks, etc also got another round of funding from the Recovery Act to help stimulate the economy, but apparently no one is quite sure how they are doing it.

Congressional Ourtage Rhetoric: This is the blowback bluster from all those Capitol Hill talking heads who pass legislation without actually reading or understanding the "real " nuts & bolt" of how this crap works or won't work.
Economic Mess: A grand description for the lack of oversight, regulations, controls and just plain old common sense that was recklessly abandoned by those masters of the universe on Wall Street.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Tipping Point

Has it been a hell of a week or what? Whew? I'm moving into my next level of outrage mode on top of the rest of the outrage that I've felt earlier this week. I don't know about you but this outrage thing can be all consuming and at times fills me with a rush of satisfaction. However, I still think that the Americans are not stepping to the plate unlike French citizens whom have literally taken it to the streets with flames in tow. Even Mother Earth spewed some ash and smoke outrage in the far east oceans. Obviously, around the world there's a lot of rage that swirling just beneath our collective consciousness that may pushing us all slowly over the tipping point. As as all this madness continues to reveal itself, this forum will push ahead with the latest updates, commentary, links and yes, more outrage for your reading pleasure. Let's Go...

Under the Crown: Spring has delivered another pageant season and the dress borrowing is in full affect! Saturday, 3.22.09, at Jester's in Hot Springs, the Miss US of A system goes to spa city in search of it's next prelim winner as Miss Hot Springs US of A. In case you've been left out of the loop, the USA promoters have been busy with mashing up prelims like mushrooms. I spoke to owner Lance P. who let me know that he's been in overdrive with all things pageant." I'm almost exhausted with a full time 8-5 and doing weekend drag numbers!." he quipped. "We got at least three contestants for the state competition and it should be a good show." he concluded. From my understanding, apparently one of those contestants will be former MGA, Dominique Sanchez, who has com The Hot Springs show will feature some power stars such as Miss Gay Arkansas US of A, Lexi DeMornay, Michael Lanning, Mr. US of A at Large 2008, Whitney Paige, Miss US of A 2007 and Brittney Paige.
I just might make the trek to see who's wearing the latest fashions of some one else. Stay tuned...

Boot Scooting 2009: Rodeo in the Rock is a month away according press from, the Diamond State Rodeo Assn. which will be hosting the Rodeo April 17, 18, 19Th. The blurb that I got stated that the Rodeo will be held at Little Rock's Barton Coliseum. But after a "fact check" I discoverd that it's actually the Equestrian Center, 2600 Howard Street on the fair grounds. This was not the first misinformation that I've been privy too concerning the event. I noticed earlier that more bad info circulated about hotel accomodations which was later updated and corrected. As I've said before, putting together these productions can be taxing and time consuming. Hats off to those organizers who are rising to the occasion for the effort. For more info click it to http://www.dsra.org for details and advance ticket availability. Local entertainers can volunteer to perfrom as the organization expects folks from the Mid-South, Oklahoma and other areas. I've been to this event and it's a nice change of pace even though I have not met many single cowpokes who are working the circut. However, Spread the word and lets get our community out for this event.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Which Way is Up?...In search of truthiness

Holy Begeus! Well, let's face it, burning the candle at both ends can be a bit daunting but I'm rising to the occasion. For goodness sake, I wanted to make sure that everyone remembered that I can "speak as well as I can write." Yes, I've heard it again. It goes something like this," Gosh Cornelius, I didn't know you could write in that way, and hey, it made sense too..?" Now really. Of course, I can. Newsflash, I can walk and chew gum too, if I decided. Do you think that I've spent all my life just wearing dresses or something? With all that said, here's some more writing that "makes sense." Gear up, fasten you seat belts and let's go....

Mixed Signals: I've mentioned numerous times about the importance of keeping the content of your site current and timely. I should know, since this forum is Arkansas only daily updating portal for information and this does not happen without some serious effort. Earlier this week I mentioned that AAF spokesperson Yolanda West did a spot on Comcast's local PR program talking about an upcoming event. During the spotlight she mentioned the organizations website as a source of info and outreach. I surfed to the site which does have a blurb about the prayer fundraiser on the front page, but there's many dusty, long past items prominently posted. If West is promoting the site as a reference point, then I suggest that the webmaster get busy and update it. For the record, as a former board member I was an ardent supporter of using the website as a marketing tool and branding mechanism. I'm glad to see the fancy bells and whistles, but the lack of freshness simply send out mixed signals about the organization. If you are going to take to the airwaves to tout your credibility, then make it a total package message.

BailOut Bustas: If you are keeping score, it's Contracted Stupidy: 156 Million, Taxpayers: Screwed. The news cycles have been in overdrive about those mind blowing bonuses that were passed out like hard candy. Unfortunately, the explanations are still wrought with outlandish unbelieveble balderdash. Stop it already! Enter Keith Olbermann, who makes no bones nor minces words about just how he feels about the situation. His passionate commentary about the banking industry was a "in your face" moment that I couldn't stop listening to. His rant among the many ranting about the situation should make you want to keep tabs on what's really going on. If you don't, then you should.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Which Way is Up Wednesday 2.0

That's it. Even Sesame Street is now affected by the economic downturn and the new word on the block is: OUTRAGE. Yes, my readers everyone is outraged at how the world is turning and this forum is not exception. However, even as we post, what's still missing is your voices, comments, concerns, observations and rants. Hello? I know you are out their reading and watching what's being said, but does the cat's have your tongues? As I have stated it's "voices" and reaction that drive issues and change. If you are silent, then those who are most vocal will use there bully pulpit to dominate the platform. Our voices can't become animated when there is a rally call from a few blessed organizers or another march to step too. A few years ago, I remember the slogan, "Silence = Death," that had a direct impact on my senses then and still does today. Ladies and Gentlemen, there's plenty of outrage to go around, but let's not wait until some other legislation or motivated group starts making decision on our lives. Speak up! Speak Out! Now! I'm ready whenever you are...

Capital Watch: And speaking of folks with agendas, here we go again with State Rep. Bryan King (district 91), (pictured) who has had a brainstorm that Eureka Springs DPR( Domestic Partner Registry) needs to be done away with. He's proposed an anti measure in the House, 3.9.09 and it's now headed for committee. Arkansas State Rep. Kathy Webb, a Democrat, opposes the ban and has said it may be killed at the committee level. Arkansas Speaker of the House Robbie Wills is also on record as opposing the bill. As the only Domestic Partnership Registry in Arkansas and one of the few in the Mid-South, the registry reports that 256 unmarried couples from 55 Arkansas communities and 14 other states have registered as domestic partners in Eureka Springs.
At least 28 of those couples came from neighboring Oklahoma and another 32 from Missouri, says Michael Walsh, who wrote the domestic partnership law that went into effect in June 2007.
DPR advocates say it is hypocritical for any state lawmaker to condemn municipal domestic partnership laws while accepting campaign contributions from Kraft Foods, Wal-Mart, FedEx and Cox Communications are companies that have domestic partner policies. Does Mr. King have a clue or is this grandstanding for his next political move? Is King pandering to those other hate groups that may support his mindset? According to GNB (Gay News Bureau), Eureka Springs city officials are not taking any chances. In a statement signed by the entire Eureka Springs City Council, Mayor Dani Joy strongly defended the DPR and condemned King's intrusion into city affairs.
«I will not stand silent any longer and allow a demographic of our citizens to be humiliated and degraded,» she said. «Prejudice or bigotry have no place in our city. The gay and lesbian community are our friends, neighbors and family.»
The editor of the town's weekly newspaper, The Lovely County Citizen, characterized King's anti-DPR bill as a «regressive, faith-based, discriminatory, venal . . . and cynical act.»
It is, said editor Don Lee in a editorial, «demagoguery based on religious prejudice bordering on moral fascism . . .»
The Carroll County (AR) News reported King «felt the bill (to ban DPRs) was needed because tourism in Eureka Springs has become identified too strongly with issues of sexuality.»
Given the town's long-standing reputation as a major wedding destination, King's rationale is fraudulent, says Walsh.
«What the hell does he think goes on in all those heart shaped hot tubs and honeymoon cabins,» Walsh said. «King's real aim is to impose his extremist religious and political views on our town and at the expense gay residents, business owners and tourists.
«Playing the gay card is a way for cheap politicians in Arkansas to fan the fires of hate and fatten up their campaign coffers.»
But, on the brink of what may be a precarious tourist season, King's bill could also deprive the town of a critical revenue stream.
According to city records, the DPR has generated almost $10,000 for the city in less than two years. Registration costs $35 per couple.
Walsh puts the figure at closer to $250,000 to $500,000 when DPR-related expenditures on hotels, motels, B &Bs, restaurants, bars, caterers, ministers, florists, gift shops, photographers and spending by friends and families are included.
«Precisely when the state needs all the tax revenue it can it, King's bill is exceedingly short-sighted,» he said.
O.K. Friends, ready to share some outrage on the home front? Get out your weapons, the mighty pen and get busy expressing your outrage to Arkansas State Rep. Bryan King at: kingb@arkleg.state.ar.us If you do, forward us your comments or his comments. I'll be posting my own outrage letter to King later this week! You will not want to miss it!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Pots of Gold and Glitter

O.K. Who the hell is at the switch, wheel, minding the store or whatever needs tending too in this Country? Yeah, I know it's President Obama and crew, but somehow things are still rocking and rolling in a funky fashion and the guy in the Big Chair is not amused. How about you? I'm beyond miffed and now, I'm down right pissed at more of these claims from the Bailout Bustas. It's those performance, retention bonuses that has me just reeling, especially since my portfolio contains, you guess it, some AIG in my mutual fund! Yikes! But to add insult to this morbid situation is the fact that I'm just like many of you, a tax payer as well. Oh Joy. Meanwhile, President Obama, is attempting to channel our outrage, and I'm down with that, but Mr. & Mrs. America has just about had it with these fools. At this point, we are ready for some heads to roll, and the funny money madness to come to a screeching halt. I'm not buying it. Nothing is iron clad in this land and contracts can be renegotiated and redone. It's all tomfoolery if you ask me and perhaps we should do like the French, storm the AIG HQ and remind them of how Marie Antoinette and company met their demise. If we are all about transparency, then we need to see the listing of who is getting a bonus, amounts and what they did to deserve it since the company is now trading at a whopping .83 cent a share!. If Bernie Maddoff's $65,000 silverware is up's for grabs, we deserve to view these culprits front and center. Need to vent, then share it. We've got plenty of room...

Politicallly Eating: Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Arkansas will host a legislative luncheon this Thursday, March 19th from 11:30- 1:00 at Capitol Hill Lounge (1524 West 4th- next to Capitol and AEA bldgs). This is a great opportunity to meet with our lawmakers and put a face on GLBT issues. You don't need to have any experience with lobbying as this will be an informal setting where we will chat with legislators while they eat. Personal stories and intereactions are often the most powerful. We are also looking for two volunteers who can arrive at 11 am to help set-up and serve tea/lemonade/water. Please email jalafount@sbcglobal.net if you can be a server. We look forward to seeing everyone at the lunch

Native Ameicans & HIV: HIV is affecting thousands of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). AI/AN have the third highest rate of AIDS diagnosis in the United States, despite having the smallest population. March 20 is National NativeAmerican HIV/ AIDS Day. AI/AN people with AIDS are likely to be younger than non-AI/AN people with AIDS. AI/ANs also have the shortest time between AIDS diagnosis and death. Anthony Fauci, head of NIH'S National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ahead of the awareness day said, "Lack of access to basic health care services, stigma associated with homosexuality and HIV/AIDS, barriers to effective mental health care, and high rates of substance abuse, sexually transmitted infections and poverty all increase the risk of HIV/AIDS in native communities and create obstacles to HIV prevention and treatment." He added, "Consequently, as a proportion of their population, more American Indians and Alaska Natives became infected with HIV than whites in 2006. American Indians and Alaska Natives acquired new HIV infections at a rate of 14.6 cases per 100,000 people, while whites became newly infected at a rate of 11.5 cases per 100,000. Moreover, American Indian and Alaska Native women became infected with HIV at more than three times the rate of white women in 2006" (NIAID release, 3/13).

Monday, March 16, 2009

A New Week in Cyberspace

Gosh Dern it! March is stampeding through like a bull in a china cabinet! I'm in the big chair and twirling round and round with all the latest news, updates, links, commentary, video and just plain old stuff. It's fast and furious during this wacky economic times, so let's dive in head first!....

Darth Cheney Speaks: "Stuff Happens...?" was the words of uber fear monger, former VP Dick Cheney during his interview with John King on his CNN show, State of the Union. Arrrgggh! As I sat through this re-hash revisionist BS from this neocon talking head all I could think was thank goodness we are so done with your troupe. Haven't we heard enough of those bombastic terrorist mash up from this guy. Actually what Cheney was referring too during this interview was the economic turds that were left as the Bush administration made an exit last January. In his best estimates very little of what's going on in today's financial circles can be laid at there doorstep. Oh really now? According to Cheney the Bush White House did all it could do for the economy, but "stuff happens..."which calls for the question, yeah "stuff happens" but a better response should have been "I'm with stupid."

AIDS Arkansas: I know you've seen the Comcast event spotlights that feature organizations that need some PR for their fundraiser or community event. AAF's Yolanda West cut a spot in reference to The 2nd Annual Prayer Luncheon to be held on Thursday, March 26, 2009 from 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. at the Little Rock Club (Regions Bank Building - 30th Floor), which is located at 400 W. Capitol Avenue in Little Rock, AR. Tickets can be obtained on their website, http://www.araidsfoundation.org/ This event is in conjunction with National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Month, based on the theme “The Power of Praying Women: Bridging the Gap with Education of HIV/AIDS in Women and Girls.” Last year this event took place at the Gov's Mansion and seems to be a outcrop of the 1st Annual HIV/ AIDS banquet that took place a few years ago which celebrated Black HIV/AIDS Awareness. I attended that banquet with great anticipation that it would truly be an inclusive annual event, yet as it always seems to go, stealth organizers get it done once, then somehow it doesn't happen again. Even though statistically, the African American community is being impacted across the board there is still more outreach and prevention messages that are simply being unheard or embraced. Apparently the Black POZ community, seems to be cloaked in apathy and single mindedness despite efforts to assist. Every one may not agree, but I applaud Ms. West for her continuing pursuit of delivering current information and programming. Of course, if you don't like what's she's up too, then get busy and put something else together. The floor is always open for discussion or rebuttal. I'll continue to leave the light on...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Mini Roll Out

It's one week until Spring and I'm ready. It's time to turn off the Amana and open some windows for the natural sources to breeze through. Yet, we will wait it out and start planning for those impending outdoor activities even as I continue to keep bringing you the latest updates, links, video and mash up here at COP:24/7. Now let's get started...

Affiliate That: In this economic times, ever body is reassessing their marketing, viability and operational expenses. This forum is not exempt from that thought process, even though it's not being a major element of our existence. Yet, as we continue to produce this forum, we must explore means to monetize our efforts. To help facilitate this, I've enlisted the affiliation of Adult Video Universe which has a a complete catalog of items from safe sex toys to erotic video. This company offers an easy click & buy website complete with VOD(video on demand) online options. You can access the site for purchases directly from this site using the button Icon in the margin. Shop it today and often. Also a few of you have inquired about some of my wardrobe and where do I obtain these fashions. Well, thanks for asking because I will be adding my source, Undergear as another affiliate for the fashionista in you. I appreciate your support and look forward to getting more for what you are looking for from CorneliusOnpoint.

Black Pride in the City: I do my best to check in with as many groups around town to discover what they are up to. Little Rock Black Pride has sorta announced through there sorta updated website about this years version of Southern Comfort/Black Pride 2009. This impending post card using the same graphics from last year states that the dates are July 24-26, 2009. But apparently activities haven't been finalized, however, the host hotel has been chosen, The La Quinta Medical Center on Fair Park. I made attempts to participate in this mash up last year, but was dismayed at the quasi organization, lack luster structure and no-nonsense communication. Not to mention activities that were scheduled that were simply abandoned without notice such as the "pool party" and Hotel activities that just didn't happen. Including individuals not booking rooms at the host hotel the Downtown La Quinta Inn. This group has stated that last year was a learning curve, but from my vantage point this was barely out of the gate, not on a curve. Hopefully, this year maybe organizers will be better prepared. I will keep my ear to the ground to keep you updated. If we dare...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Thursday 24/7 Catch Up

Are you ever in a "catch up" mode? Perhaps catching up on sleep, projects, chores or gossip? Well, any way, even though I some times fall into that trap, it's not a bad thing. Basically because I can put a lot of eggs in the basket and deliver them in one fell swoop! This posting is such an effort, where there is so much to cover that I go into over drive to get it all out there and directly to you. So, hold on for the Thursday 24/7 Catch up. Let's go...

Gay Men's Health 2009: A few weeks ago, I posted mucho info concerning this years GMHA(Gay Mens Health Agenda) which consisted of detail documents that outlined specific issues that involved the overall well being of SGL men. Unfortunately, after posting that information, I hoped to get some response from readers and supporters, but I wasn't surprised when I got "crickets." No response, no noise, no nothing. Furthermore, as I reviewed the listing of organizations that had signed on to the petition demonstrating their support. I again, wasn't surprise to see that no Arkansas AIDS service organization was listed, not to mention I had not seen any recognition locally or statewide. Even though support for this effort is voluntary, the lack of interest in the effort or promoting the info except from this site was non-existent. Despite the fact that I keep reading that theirs a need for a more vocal POZ chorus. In the meantime, even though AIDS is at the forefront of health concerns, It's the entire body and soul of gay men that should gain more attention. Especially since many POZ individuals are living longer and interacting with many other health dilemmas. What's up health community? What's up end users and stakeholders? There's plenty information for the taking, understanding and using in creating a better quality of life. It's all about getting involved and getting educated, now! The question is, if you don't speak out or up, then no ones going to hear you.

Gay Community Dying?: Are Gay Communities Dying or Just in Transition, was a thought provoking headline that got my attention recently and I felt it warranted my attention. The article posted to the NIH ( National Institutes of Health) website and authored by B. R. Simon Rosser, William West, and Richard Weinmeyer was the end results of a study that used key individuals attending the 8th Annual AIDS Impact Conference held in Marseille, France. The item covered an array of topics that intersect with AIDS prevention messages, urban access, legal ramifications such as civil unions and other structural elements that have caused considerable changes in gay communities world wide. Little Rock can be counted in this transition or paradigm shift where "gay life" as it was once known has morphed into a new generation of social interaction. One conclusive statement that I felt summed up much of article stated, "Societal oppression, lack of rights and the HIV epidemic were noted as powerful reason why gay men came together as a community. With societal acceptance, equal rights and effective HIV treatments, participants questioned whether a gay community would exist, or exist as strongly, in the future. “ This is a powerful outlook and one that may be more apparent than we think. Other items that the article discuss is how many gay people feel isolated, unconnected or removed from the scene. Gay couples that have"integrated" their lives into mainstream living often functioning outside of the "gay community." Ultimately, the immense impact of the "virtual" world that has created a means to gratify their same sex sexual needs vs needing a physical "community." It all seems a bit heady, but it's worth the read as we all try to make sense of what's really going on with this states gay communities now and in the future. Here's the link for your convenience. http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2562784

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Just Over the Hump

I'm just about over the head cold thing. I've had it folks. I can only sneeze, hack or cough a bit more before I'm calling in the big guns, the physician. Hopefully, I'm on the down side and I can get back into full form and on point. Daylight savings time is now in full affect and I can smell a spring fling 0n the horizon. It's coming, warm weather, sun worshipers and sunglasses! Oh joy! In the meantime, we will keep it flowing like a waterfall....let it flow!

Busta Bailouts: Are you at a boiling point yet with all the bailout BS that's happening in this nation. I've just about had it with the flawed splanin, " see what had happen was?" and I don't know what happened drivel that those smartest folks in the room keep serving up. Also, I've tired of being reminded by the Obama spin machine that "this was inherited." We all know that and now we want to get this party started right. However, just as the stimulus train pulls out of the station, it seems that their are some extra earmark cabooses attached.
Arkansas is waiting with baited breathe for every stimulus morsel that will fall from the heavens and we all should be watching as the purportedly 2.1 Billion rolls home. The Governor's office is poised to set up a website for transparency and oversight due out this week. Once it's up and running, you can bet we will have a link posted.

Gayinthe Rock Mates: To my surprise as I was running my update thought process, I noticed that "GAY In The Rock" has mated, merged, sub-leased, partnered or what have you with another online source, http://www.EliteMate.com/ The site is sorta under-reconstruction with the mission of bringing you the best dating around and finding you the love you need. So What's Love got to do with it? It appears to me that most are in search of some quick relief or unattached boot knocking.
Otherwise it seems that everyone is looking for someone inside a gigabyte of information. Whatever happen to putting on your best jeans, looking good and feeling gorgeous and saying, HELLO, I'm Mr. Right. The owners of GITR are certainly welcomed to find their best business fit, but goodness sake is the art of finding someone without a keyboard simply lost forever. No wonder the bars are not doing a lot of business because it seems that the patrons are at home crying in the beer into computer screen. Never mind me. If it works for you then so be it. But, If I need to find another Mr. Right, I certainly hope that I can master it the old fashion way with conversation and chemistry. Well, it looks like we are still the only daily updating portal for news and current affairs. Everyone else wants to hook you up some how or some way. Be careful out their people, remember, "buyer beware." Otherwise, happy hunting.

Noah's Arc Broom: Finally, I got to see the Noah's Arc movie after hearing so much about it last year and from others who got DVD's and such. My source, NEXTFLIX dropped a copy in my mailbox, just in time for some much needed R&R. I had read many reviews, snippets and watched a few trailers, but I laid in wait for the final cut. My verdict, well, it was good. All the notable characters returned from the LOGO show and the production provided a vehicle for a tidy ending to the saga of long suffering screenwriter, Noah(Daryl Stephens) and his mysterious beau, Wade(Jensen Atwood) who decide to take it to the next level by getting married on Martha's Vineyard. The film sorta plodded along a bit, but step it up with some comic relief from Alex( Rodney Chester) who I bet would make a dead ringer for Hattie McDaniel in drag. There are all kinds of sub-plots, lots of bed hopping, shagging, flesh shots and other assorted going's on the carry you through all the melodramatic moments. Consequently we arrive at the ultimate wedding scene, with those well written, but rather lengthy wedding vows. O.K. it's over. I've seen it and actually I'm done with it. Noah's Arc was a great blip on the television radar that had a loyal audience and following. However, it's all about the numbers and the film grossed only $532,878 domestically with a release in only 9 , yes count em, NINE theaters. What's up with that? How could this film find an audience when it was being choked hold and cut off at the knees. MILK from Focus films could be seen in over 882 theaters with a gross so far of 31 Million. Then, there's the Tyler Perry/ Madea franchise trouncing the competition with a staggering 41 Million domestic haul in wide release and still counting.
I'm glad that Creator & Director Patrik Polk was able to see this to fruition, but the naysayers will opt to state that this type of material is not mass marketable. It doesn't make the Brokeback means test, because most folks can't imagine two Black SGL men in a romantic comedy. It's so unfortunate because this film gave everything it could to set that mindset a drift. Yet, it's simply not to be. If you haven't had a chance to see Noah's Arc,( it's theatrical run only lasted 8 weeks) It's available on DVD from NETFLIXS or purchase everywhere. It was great afternoon to see a movie that was about complex loving relationships and not body counts. See it, you'll like it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tuesday Marching Orders

AIDS CZAR NAMED by Obama Administration

It's been no secret that President Obama has been in a hiring mode since his election, even if other industries have been laying off folk. I know that good help is often hard to find and you look for the brightest and best, but I had mixed feelings at the recent news of an Obama Administration's announcement. It was the appointment of longtime HIV/AIDS health care advocate Jeff Crowley to head the long-vacant Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), which is charged with developing the National AIDS Strategy.
Crowley, M.P.H., is a Senior Research Scholar at Georgetown University's Health Policy Institute and a Senior Scholar at the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center. I wondered what did the short list of names consisted of and ultimately the final choice. There's no dobut that credentials are not the issue, but since the AIDS dilemma is so squarely in the Afro American community, personally I would have hoped for a person from this community. According to other sources they cite,
"This is brilliant," was the reaction of David Munar, who chairs the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), where Crowley worked from 1994-2000. "The Administration made a strategic choice about someone who knows health care above all else, so they got a two-fer: he is passionate about HIV, and he knows health care systems. This means the office will be relevant. He will champion us and our needs in the health care reform process."
Advocates note that ONAP had already gained relevance in the eyes of the Administration due to the AIDS community's work to secure $1.4 million for the development of the National AIDS Strategy (NAS) in the upcoming omnibus budget bill, which is poised go into effect on March 6 when the continuing resolution ends.
The Domestic Policy Council, where ONAP is based, had been eviscerated during the Bush years, and those who have spoken with Council staff have said that they are appreciative of the resources and are committed to the NAS process.
Advocates anticipate that the funding, which has to be obligated (committed to specific spending if not literally spent) by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, could pay for a six or seven staff members for ONAP. It could also go towards the additional costs of establishing a cross-government/community panel, which is the structure that the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy (of which I am a member) has recommended to develop and monitor the NAS.
"Clearly, health care will be a cornerstone of a successful NAS," noted Chris Collins, "Jeff's appointment is great news and I look forward to working with him to create a NAS that brings more accountability, coordination and an orientation to outcomes in our response to HIV in the United States."
Collins was one of the other candidates interviewed for the ONAP post. For the past week, those involved in Federal AIDS policy had heard that the appointment was imminent, and that a small number of people had been interviewed for the position, including Collins and Jesse Milan, chair of the board of Black AIDS Institute. But many advocates expressed surprise at Crowley's appointment, as there had been no buzz that he was a candidate or they had assumed he would be appointed at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS).
The White House release cites Crowley's primary areas of expertise as "Medicaid policy, including Medicaid prescription drug policies; Medicare policy; and consumer education and training."
And indeed, those who have worked with him on these issues were clearly excited, even gushing, about the appointment, including Robert Greenwald, Director of the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP).
"I think it's amazing," said Greenwald. "He is one of the most hardworking, diligent, non-ego-involved people I've ever worked with, just a good person. I can't even believe it. He's incredibly plugged into the community."
While Crowley helped to develop the National HIV Testing Day Campaign during his tenure at NAPWA, those who have worked closely with him in recent years do note that prevention is not his main area of expertise.
But Munar, calling Crowley an "instrumental team player," says he expects that, far from having a deaf ear towards prevention, Crowley recognizes its importance, will bring in those who know it well and will talk about it from a health care perspective, emphasizing a cost-savings paradigm that he believes will resonate well.

Monday, March 09, 2009

They Went That-a-way!?

Ouch! Whew! Oh my goodness...Arkansas' weather can be exotic and warm, then blue and cold and usually always changing. So you just do, what you have to do to survive. This past week not only did the weather do a number on me, so did a flu bug that took some steam out my sails. Yet, never fear, I've bounced back to keep bringing you the most current updates, links, breaking news and the kitchen sink if needed, here at COP:24/7! I'm ready, so let's get cracking.....

Lion in Winter: A few readers stated that they missed the story on Norman Jones featured in the Style section,(3.1.09) of the Arkansas Democrat. If you are a newspaper subscriber you can access that story through the online archives. If not, you can go to the ArkDem's morgue and check it. Another possible alternative is your local public Library which may archive some editions for a limited time. This forum can't actually print the actual article due to those pesky legal matters and permissions. Therefore, if you want to read it, you may have to hunt for it.

Writing 101: Those of you who read this forum are always inspiring me in one way or another. Just when I think that I've heard it all, then comes another wave of interesting suggestions or opinions about either something I should do, cover, observe, speak out on or write about. One such reader told me that if NK has an interesting life to write about, what about my own memoir. I thought, "have I lived a life that be interesting enough for someone to read about?" Why certainly, they said. Wow, I thought. Come to think of it, I've seen my share of the landscape that's been filled with laughter and tragedy. Perhaps what I could offer would be a "self help" mash up dealing with "keeping it real" issues that we often decide to ignore. It's a thought anyway. I'll open this up to more of you. What type of book do you think that I could write and what should be it's topic. One reader suggested that I do a Kitty Kelly with an unauthorized bio of maybe NK herself. Well, that's certainly interesting too... I'll look to hearing from you!

Bottomless Bears: I've seen the notices and it's coming around again. The DSB ( Diamond State Bears) are promoting their "underwear" party, 3.14.2009. It is slated as a "private" affair but with lots of public notice if you ask me. This is same event that has stirred some conversation, caused contention, fractured friendships and raised a few eyebrows as well. In full disclosure, I've attended this event previously and have posted about the event as well. Yet, there seems to be more intriguing circumstances surrounding this event that have me pondering and speculating. Exactly who and what is the DSB? According to their website they state,"... The Diamond State Bears (DSB) is a gay social group composed of those individuals, and their admirers, who identify with the Bear community. Based in Little Rock Arkansas, the DSB welcomes all Bears from across the state to our membership. Our purpose is to provide an outlet for social interaction for the Bear community in Arkansas. Our established goals are to promote a positive attitude toward the Bear community and establish a social network for fellowship within our state." As I recall on my last visit apparently their are many individuals who identify with this group or either are wannabee bear/cubs in search of a Den of Fun. As I drilled down a bit, there doesn't appear to be a formal structure to speak of. Just a web presence, yahoo group space with a reported 144 members and simple membership requirements of being 21 or over, e-mail addy and a profile on any bear site. Their was only a "contact name" link and nothing much else. Of course anyone can form anyting they want, whether it be a glee club or like minded men socializing in their under gear, but does this full fill the mission of "promoting a positive attitude toward the bear community," or does this fall in the social network fellowship vein? Pounding my head, I kept drilling looking for exactly what does this outfit do and for whom? I can't tell and so far I haven't found anyone else who seems to know or will speak on the record. I saw pictures of a float trip and other assorted pictures that did not really spell out anything except more "fun." So what do we know? They contract for facility use of the DSRA Clubhouse, promote through Bear.net, word of mouth, execute, someone collects a nice purse and they stealth off until the next time. Well, when you get right down to it, DSB is another strange cog in the gay construct wheel that helps keep things turning until it usefulness runs it's course. We'll keep our ear to the ground, I'm sure there's more to come.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Talking Out Loud Rewind, Remix, Re-Do...

What's really going on? A tisky tasket another Billion in the Basket has become so common place that the "T" word as in Trillon doesn't really seem to matter anymore. I don't know about you but many of the people that I keep running into remind me of the Stedford wives. Remember those glazed eyed beauties who walked and talked as if everything was alway alrighty. However I was snapped back into reality when I opened the recent round of monthly bills and taxes that let me know that everything is not quite as tidy as their lives. But neverthless, I came back to the big chair to keep pumping it out directly to you, with updates, links, and so much more...! Here we go!!!

Lion in Winter: In case you missed it and I'm sure most of you didn't, especially after your phone keep ringing to let you know that NK himself was a Style feature in the Sunday's DemGaz(3.2.09). Yes, folk, that NK,(Norma Kristie, pictured left)) the ringmaster of Central City nightlife, Norman Jones. The article penned by Kyle Brazzel, another self style media person who ebbs and flows from charity events to night place haunts peeks just underneath the surface of this long time shot caller. I've seen Mr. B around town and read many of his pieces that have entertained me and this frothy piece cause me to go, "Hmmmmmm." Of course, as a writer your source material certainly dictates the direction of your item. In my estimates, you couldn't find a richer nor ripe source material than the unsinkable Kristie who has led a life that would be perfect content for a Lifetime movie of the week or even reality TV. From the onset, I knew that this article would require me to brace myself, beginning with the opening paragraph which leads with the description of "Jones sits at a cool ivory bar strewn with hundreds of dollar bills stacked and secured with rubber bands." Moving inward for the rest of this item, there are interesting tidbits about "Being Norman," such as his love for equine, recollections of early struggles with purveyors, dealing with Little Rock's finest, competitors and his therapy pursuits. I can't imagine dealing with this lavender life without one either. Also Jones' muses about his impending memoirs, entitled, My Pageant, My Crown," and his contempt for what impersonation has evolved or should I say devolved into. Since I am of the generation whom was privy to a much different type of drag, I agree with NK's assertion that the art form has suffered since those "good ole days." In the article he speaks of an glittering Astronaut outfit, unfortunately I never saw this getup. But do recall NK's swan song, the Connie Francis hit, "Where the Boys Are," which I've seen numerous times. Believe it or not, some of the best impersonators such Donna Day, Lady Shawn, Naomi Sims,(featured in video)Sweet Savage, and Divine of John Waters fame, have all made their way through this neck the woods either in Hot Springs or Little Rock. Just for the record, I took to the spotlight on various occasion ultimately discovering that all that glitters wasn't gold. My efforts to harken back to some of those "good ole" days that are mentioned was met with colorful observations and uneven support otherwise. To be honest, I didn't know that the audience appreciated my presentations and to this moment still inquire about how to see more. However, as he continued to recount "those days," with a delicious glee. He retorts that he will name names in his future book. However, even though it may be a somewhat sweet revenge, actually most of those "names" will mean very little to most and nothing to others.Especially since many notables both nationally and locally are no longer with us and I would certainly hope that he wouldnt speak ill of the dead. Overall most may not be so titilated because they never saw these individuals perform or dealt with their persona's either out of drag or personally. Not to trump this effort, but let's name drop to make the point. Who was Michael Michelle and why is he significant? Billy McBride was a state titleholder who can be seen in the local newspaper regularly and why? Who was the iconic Latin impersonator who hailed from The Isle of Enchantment? Only the die hearts will know who these folk were at the height of their popularity and game. If you missed the article, do your best to go check it out. It's worth a few moments to gaze into the parallel universe of the queen of the night. Even though this forum doesn't claim to be pageant central, we do our best to keep you informed on the latest crowning and de-crowning as they occur. Stay tune....

Monday, March 02, 2009

Are we there yet?

Are we there yet? Of course where in the hell is "there?" Well "there" is actually "here," I hope it's all about COP:24/7 and our continuing pursuit of bringing you the latest updates, links, video, and breaking news for the GLBTQ community. Ladies and Gentlemen, let's go get em....

Holy Collection Plate: Thank goodness that those Senate panel folks in the Arkansas Legislature decided not to be arm twisted into allowing concealed gun packing on Sunday morning. That weird as well as off centered bill sponsored by Rep. Beverly Pyle (R) Cedarville was soundly rejected. Even though I believe that she will rally the troops for a reprisal. I was simply stumped at the logic and the gospel that proponents stated the whole issue is about "religious freedom," not guns. Whatever. Hopefully, reasonable mindsets will prevail. We'll see. Meanwhile, go ahead an worship as usual, but keep that bullet proof jacket on hand just in case.

Singing the Blues: Call it “the blues,” “a funk,” or “waking up on the wrong side of the bed,” we've all felt it at one time or another: For no particular reason, you feel sad or anxious for a day, a week, maybe even several weeks. Muddled thoughts and low energy slow your productivity and wreak havoc on your days. You scour your brain to try to pinpoint what's bothering you, but come up empty.
Americans today fill more than 232 million prescriptions annually for antidepressants — up fourfold from a decade ago. But as rates of both clinical depression and more transient day-to-day mood problems climb, some mental health experts say evaluating diet, lifestyle choices, and your attitude could be key in kicking a persistent bad mood. “Consider your symptoms a wake-up call,” says psychiatrist James Gordon, MD, author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression (Penguin, 2008). “Something in your life is out of balance.”
It isn't just a hunch that these factors play a role: For decades scientists have believed that depression arises from deficiencies (some of them genetic) in brain chemicals like serotonin. But researchers now realize that blue moods can also be a product of an unhealthy brain structure made up of withering brain cells that, consequently, have trouble communicating. One primary factor that contributes to cell atrophy? A poor diet, says Alan C. Logan, ND, author of The Brain Diet (Cumberland, 2007). Here are five dietary factors and other lifestyle habits that can mess with your mood.
Skipping breakfast. Do you start your day by scarfing down a bagel in the car — or with no breakfast at all? Not fueling your body in the morning will only backfire, Logan says. Blood sugar dips, sending your body into fight-or-flight mode. This drenches your system in stress hormones — such as cortisol and adrenaline — that interfere with mood and thinking. If you have simple carbs, like a white bagel, you get a fleeting lift but then crash even harder than if you'd eaten nothing. A study published in Appetite divided teens into four groups, with two groups eating a high-fiber cereal, one slugging a pure-sugar drink, and another skipping breakfast. When tested later, those who ate no breakfast saw their scores for “contentment and alertness” drop precipitously throughout the morning. Those who had the sugary drink saw their scores spike and then crash 90 minutes later, with mood plunging by morning's end.
Mood Building BlocksClick here for a full list of vitamins and supplements to help banish your bad moods.
What you can do≫ Always eat an ample breakfast of complex carbohydrates and protein, such as whole-grain toast with poached eggs or low-fat yogurt and granola. Wholesome carbs provide fuel for the brain and have a mood-stabilizing effect. Protein provides the building blocks (amino acids) for feel-good chemical messengers, such as serotonin.
Eating the wrong fats. When it comes to promoting a healthy mood, getting the right ratio of omegas is critical. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, found in cold-water fish, walnuts, flaxseed oil, olive oil, and green leafy veggies, make up the scaffolding of the brain. If you get plenty of omega-3s, you end up with a well-oiled machine, but most of us get too many omega-6 fatty acids (found in corn, sun-flower, safflower, and peanut oils) instead. The result: rigid brain-cell membranes and poor cell communication. Researchers say the omega-6 to omega-3 intake ratio should be no more than 4:1, but the typical American diet puts it closer to 20:1. Experts recommend a 650-mg combo of the omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day, but the average American gets about 130 mg. One recent study found 1,000 mg of EPA taken daily for eight weeks as effective in treating depression as fluoxetine (Prozac).
What you can do≫ Read ingredient labels to avoid overconsuming omega-6 oils. Eat at least two helpings of oily fish per week, and for backup take a fish-oil supplement (up to 1,000 mg per day of EPA-DHA combination). Vegetarians and vegans take note: Fish oil is the best source of omega-3s, says Logan, because it contains DHA, which influences the shape and structure of brain cell membranes, and EPA, which expedites communication between cells. Vegetarian sources of omega-3s, such as flaxseed oil, contain alpha-linolenic acid, only some of which is converted to DHA and EPA by your body. Look for vegetarian DHA supplements derived from marine algae (after all, it's where cold-water fish get their DHA). Loading up on dark green leafy vegetables, walnuts, flaxseed, or omega-3-enriched eggs can't hurt, either.
Low folate and B12 intake. These key B vitamins play a multifaceted role in regulating mood. They serve as building blocks for pleasure-promoting neurotransmitters, such as dopamine; foster nerve health; and flush the body of the mood-compromising amino acid homocysteine. An affinity for refined grains (such as white flour, in which the folate has been stripped out during processing) and a distaste for fresh vegetables (high in folate) has left as many as one-third of Americans low in this nutrient. Adults lacking enough B12 — found in lean red meat, eggs, and milk — are 70 percent more likely to suffer depression. Research shows that people with low B12 or folate levels have a harder time pulling out of the blues — even when they take medication or see a therapist.
What you can do≫ Eat whole grains and green leafy vegetables, and take 800 mcg folic acid and 1 mg of B12 daily.
An erratic exercise routine. Fewer than half of Americans exercise regularly, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, and research shows that regular aerobic exercise — such as running, cycling, or brisk walking — boosts mood. “People who exercise on a regular basis tend to report less depression and anxiety,” says Benson Hoffman, PhD, an assistant clinical professor at Duke. Evidence suggests that exercise may regulate neurotransmitter function (similar to antidepressant medications) or neuroendocrine stress-response systems, and may even result in the growth of new brain cells, says Hoffman. Some animal studies have shown that exercise enhances neuropeptide Y, a brain chemical associated with stress resilience, and dampens the influence of another brain chemical called CCK-4, which is responsible for inciting feelings of panic.
What you can do≫ After a 10-minute warm-up, get your heart rate up to between 70 percent and 85 percent of your recommended maximum heart rate (220 minus your age). Sustain it for at least 30 minutes, three to four times per week. (For instance, the maximum heart rate for a 40-year-old woman in relatively good health is 180, making her target heart rate between 126 and 153.) Hoffman's research found that a similar 16-week program proved just as effective as a daily dose of the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft), but he stresses that you have to exercise often to see a difference. “When you get down to two days a week, you may not see a difference at all.”
Succumbing to negativity. Ed Diener, PhD, a psychology professor at the University of Illinois and coauthor of Happiness (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), says the way you view your world can have a direct impact on mood. You might hold grudges, see the glass as half empty, remember the bad times rather than the good, and forget to pencil in time to do what you love. Seeing happiness as an endpoint — a place you reach when you have the right spouse, right car, right job — can leave you feeling stuck when you get all that, or don't.What you can do≫ Forgive an adversary. Look back on good memories. Pencil something joyful — whether it's a warm bath or a short conversation with a friend — into each day. And keep looking forward: “Happiness has to evolve with new goals, fresh projects, and interesting activities,” says Diener. “It's a process, not a destination.”