Thursday, April 30, 2009
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Here's to Your Health:
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses has been documented. See General Information about Swine Flu.
From December 2005 through February 2009, a total of 12 human infections with swine influenza were reported from 10 states in the United States. Since March 2009, a number of confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in the U.S. and internationally have been identified. An investigation into these cases is ongoing. For more information see Human Swine Flu Investigation.
General Information about Swine FluQuestions and answers and guidance for treatment and infection control
Human Swine Flu Investigation April 26, 2009 11:30 ETInformation about the investigation of human swine flu in the U.S.
CDC Health Advisory April 25, 2009, 3:00 EST (03:00 PM EDT)Investigation and Interim Recommendations: Swine Influenza (H1N1)Distributed via Health Alert Network
Swine Flu website last updated Sunday, April 26, 2009 01:00 ET
Links to non-federal organizations are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the federal government, and none should be inferred. CDC is not responsible for the content of the individual organization Web pages found at these links.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.
Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Is this a re-run? Have I seen this show before?Am I doing a double take? In case you didn't know, this forum has a internal search engine that is quite a nifty gadget. Not to mean an effective way to access the archives of this forum. After a easy brief search, it seems that I, yes me, posted back in 2.21.07 that Dominque Sanchez had ascended to this same title in 2007. The first Alternate on that outing was Whitney Paige. (pictured left). If memory serves me correct and I don't claim to be a drag historian but this was the 07 mash up. Miss Sanchez served ever so briefly, sought a fist full of dollars for nationals, then unceremoniously had a "change of heart," consequently going MIA (missing in action) from the system. Did you get that? O.K. there's a bit more. Furthermore from my recollection, that move didn't result in her name being in the "banned" section of the US of A pageant website, unlike others who do a no show or violate those coveted rules that these outfits contend are universal. Well, maybe. But I think it's more like when pigs fly they will be. Just for the record, COP:24/7 outreached to DS for comment after our 2007 posting to get his side of the story. Yet, as usual we got "crickets," not even a "no comment." Gee Whiz, can you imagine no words from the Saturday night show M.C., whom doesn't seem lost for words? Let's be clear, I'm all about the "congratulate" and not the hate. It just appears that"special circumstances" as well as a round of "Tea & Sympathy" didn't preclude Miss S from competing without question. Come to think of it, why should it when the immediate goals are: a field of contestants, paying audience and profits! After all isn't it just the price of doing business. As as parting shot, everyone despite talent or excellence isn't always afforded these accommodations as cited in the post, Crowns Revisited( 7.24.06.) Oh well, It's another day in the pageantry Big Wheel of Chance, where anything is possible or not possible depending whom making the rules. Go Figure.
Dominique At her Finest!
Thursday, April 23, 2009
The necessity of legislation to enhance criminal penalties for crimes committed against gays and lesbians based on whether or not they were motivated by hate is at the center of the debate. Gay-rights groups argue they are only asking for the same federal protections already enjoyed by people of faith, while conservative Christian organizations claim the legislation will infringe on their religious liberties.“Hate crime laws that include sexual orientation are a bad idea, because they elevate homosexuality to the same status as race and do nothing to prevent violent crimes,” said Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. “All crimes are motivated by hate. Hate crimes laws will not be used to punish the perpetrators but will be used to silence people of faith, religious groups, clergy and those who support traditional moral values.”Many Christian activists are concerned the hate crimes bill would penalize speech — specifically speech from the pulpit condemning homosexual behavior. This has led many conservatives to conclude the bill is a backdoor attempt to infringe upon the First Amendment rights of Christians who oppose gay rights.“The idea of being prosecuted for reading Scripture may seem delirious, but it is just as crazy to think it couldn’t happen,” said Catholic League President Bill Donohue. “The problem in general with hate crimes legislation is that it invites the government to probe way beyond motive. And in instances like this, it trespasses on free speech and religious liberty. This is a road no defender of liberty should ever want to go down.”Gay-rights advocates, however, say conservatives are using fear tactics to deny equal protections to a class of people that has historically been targeted by hate groups. They also argue Christian conservatives are being hypocritical because they publicly oppose hate crimes legislation, but presently benefit from a national hate crimes law that protects religion.A 1969 civil rights law “prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person because of race, color, religion or national origin” because that person is engaged in activities that include, but are not limited to, admission to public schools, application for employment or receiving any government benefits.U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., dismisses claims the bill would be used to silence Christians and argues the bill respects the First Amendment while, at the same time, protecting gays and lesbians.“The law already increases penalties for crimes motivated by hatred in several categories, so the absence of protection for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people is particularly egregious,” Mr. Frank said. “This bill remedies that gap in a responsible way, fully respectful of constitutional rights and I look forward to it being passed and signed by a president who is committed to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”The bill also contains language supporters say would prevent it from being construed to infringe upon First Amendment liberties. “Nothing in this act, or the amendments made by this act, shall be construed to prohibit any expressive conduct protected from legal prohibition by, or any activities protected by the free speech or free exercise clauses of, the First Amendment to the Constitution,” the bill reads.The 2007 bill ultimately failed, but with a supportive president in the White House and solid majorities in both Houses of Congress, supporters are optimistic the bill will become law.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
A clean energy title that promotes renewable sources of energy, carbon capture and sequestration technologies, low-carbon fuels, clean electric vehicles, and the smart grid and electricity transmission;
An energy efficiency title that increases energy efficiency across all sectors of the economy, including buildings, appliances, transportation, and industry;
A global warming title that places limits on emissions of heat-trapping pollutants; and
A transitioning title that protects U.S. consumers and industry and promotes green jobs during the transition to a clean energy economy.
The Energy and Commerce Committee will complete consideration of the legislation by Memorial Day.
Call your member of Congress through the Capitol switchboard 202-224-3121 on Earth Day and ask them to support the Markey - Waxman climate bill.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Rodeo Rockin: Well, they did it again and pulled off Rodeo in the Rock 2009, which has become known on the circuit as, "the best little rodeo," of the IGRA. Lou Rushing, D. Scott and the entire DSRA Team rallied and brought the rodeo stage into the station with a weekend filled with great competition and loads of fun. I took in the opening hoedown at Sidetracks (4.17.09) which was almost at capacity with visitors and locals. Throughout the evening I met cowboys from Arizona, Illinois, Oklahoma and Tennessee respectively. I was pleasantly please to know that many had a favorable impression of Little Rock and acknowledged the DSRA as great stop on the rodeo circuit. Despite some rainy skies, the competition as well as other activities went as planned including another hootenanny Saturday night (4.18.09) which featured area performers and boot scooting music for the attendees. President Lou stated that beverage sales were extremely brisk and estimated that at least $2500 was grossed not including entrance cover. The DSRA had move to a biannual rodeo due to production cost and revenue streams. "Unfortunately, our rodeo doesn't have the sponsorship that other larger rodeos get."said Lou. "It takes all we've got to do this in the best possible way. My phone rang off the hook trying." she concluded. In this forum I've made every attempt to be objective in my observations about DSRA and posted views from those who have their perceptions of the organization. In full disclosure, I've made appearances at the clubhouse in fundraising efforts. I am not a member but have supported and been welcomed by the membership. As a past event organizer, I can firmly state that it's simply damn hard to please everyone all the time. Especially in the GLBTQ community where ego's are plentiful, attitudes in full supply and critics, cynics and curmudgeons galore. I've been around for some time and trying to find common ground based on the theme "working together" is a concept that still hasn't been fully realized. The success of the rodeo can be measured by the effort of those who stepped to the plate and did the work to make it so. Are there Shortcomings? Sure. Oversights? probably. Personality clashes? You betcha. Overall, there's no event that is picture perfect but with proper assessment, reflection and transparency everything can be improved. But those improvements come from creative positive people who get committed early and stay the course to the end. In other words, don't come with big ideas and then decide to take your marbles and leave the game. Congrats DSRA on being the best little rodeo on the circuit and showing some state pride to boot.
Friday, April 17, 2009
When: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. – Reception *$20 donation suggested at the door to benefit LRFF
Where: Clinton School of Public Service Sturgis Hall *Reserve your seats by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 501.683.5239.
From the Not list: The 3rd Annual Queer Conference scheduled for this weekend is a no go as announced by e-blast from Jann Soriano of UCA's PRISM. Organizers cited " a lack of resources and time," in their decision to cancel. However, they have hopes for the conference later this year. Due to scheduling conflicts, I've not attended one these conferences but have supported them through announcements on this site. Yet, for the record, although never acknowledged or basically "thanked," I've never seen any results for all the effort put into it to make it happen. I've inquired in the past with no response. Therefore, as far as I'm concerned and most likely many of you, are thinking what's the purpose of this event. Furthermore what measurable outcomes does it achieve in producing it and if there's such a need why are there a lack of resources from year to year? Gosh dern it, there I go again, asking those hard questions from the sidelines. Oh well, I guess some body's got to do it and it might as well be me. Look for updates as they are announced.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
"As was the case with Carl, you do not have to identify as gay to be attacked with anti-LGBT language," Byard said. "From their earliest years on the school playground, students learn to use anti-LGBT language as the ultimate weapon to degrade their peers. In many cases, schools and teachers either ignore the behavior or don't know how to intervene."
Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (86.2%) reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation, nearly half (44.1%) reported being physically harassed and about a quarter (22.1%) reported being physically assaulted, according to GLSENï¿½s 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 LGBT students.
In most cases, the harassment is unreported. Nearly two-thirds of LGBT students (60.8%) who experience harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school. The most common reason given was that they did not believe anything would be done to address the situation. Of those who did report the incident, nearly a third (31.1%) said the school staff did nothing in response. While LGBT youth face extreme victimization, bullying in general is also a widespread problem. More than a third of middle and high school students (37%) said that bullying, name-calling or harassment is a somewhat or very serious problem at their school, according to From Teasing to Torment. Bullying is even more severe in middle school. Two-thirds of middle school students (65%) reported being assaulted or harassed in the previous year and only 41% said they felt very safe at school.
Carl's suicide comes about a year after eighth-grader Lawrence King was shot and killed by a fellow student in a California classroom, allegedly because he was gay.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Like much of the American way of life, the tax code was set up assuming that a family = two adults + 1.5 children + a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. It further assumes that one of those adults stays home while the other goes out to bring home the bacon.
Fast forward 150 years, and only about half of Americans fit this scenario. Today, a couple of professionals each with $120,000 in taxable income would pay a total of $55,158 if they file as two singles. The same couple would owe $57,989 if they file as a married couple — a “marriage penalty” of $2831. It also bumps them into the next tax bracket, changing their marginal rate from 28% to 33%.
Let’s say the couple has a newborn infant. If they invest the tax difference, $2831, every year for 18 years at 5%, they will have $79,642 — a tidy sum to help pay for college expenses.
So, if you live in a state where you can’t file as a couple, and you fall into this scenario, enjoy your “gay savings.” Isn’t it nice that Uncle Sam charges us less in tax? You might consider donating some of this hidden windfall to HRC or Lambda Legal as a thank you for all the work they do on our behalf.
Of course, not all of us fall into the “two professional incomes” category. For families where one spouse stays home to care for kin and hearth or where one spouse has a particularly low income, they would benefit by being able to count their spouse as a dependent.
Tax rates can be found on p. 80 of the IRS 1040 instructions.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
A COP:24/7 Special
Social Security: LGBT people pay the same Social Security taxes, but do not have access to the spousal protections Social Security provides to heterosexual people, including the lump sum survivor benefit generally used for funeral expenses and access to a deceased spouse’s higher monthly benefit. I experience this first hand with the death of my LTC. I was not entitled to his death benefit for use in his burial nor any of his social security which he didn't have a chance to collect despite his lifetime payments into the system. For more info see Herb Burtis' story at http://www.glad.org/doma/plaintiffs/
Inheritance Rights: Current tax law allows a spouse to inherit an unlimited amount without incurring an estate tax. Same-sex couples are denied this right, as well as Tenancy by the Entirety, which ensures that debt inherited cannot be enforced against the couple’s jointly owned property. Do you and your partner have investment property or a business?
Family Health Care: Some employers extend health insurance benefits to same-sex couples, but this trend is undermined by the federal government’s refusal to recognize legal partners for Medicaid and other social services. Adding insult to injury, domestic partner benefits are taxed as additional compensation. See Mary & Dorene Bowe-Shulman's story at http://www.glad.org/doma/plaintiffs/
Employment Discrimination: In most states, you can be fired from a job simply for being gay, bi or trans. This is not just some abstract concept, it really happens. In these difficult economic times, LGBT people need a fair chance at keeping their employment. See http://www.unitedenda.org/ Don't forget that Arkansas is a Right to Work state, your employment can be considered at will. That's the "at will" of the employer.
Right to Travel: Most people in America can move and travel between states knowing that their legal rights will come with them. LGBT people cannot make that assumption. Is a better job worth losing family health insurance? If there's an accident during a family vacation will one partner be denied hospital visitation?
Immigration Equality: If a US citizen marries an opposite-sex person from a different country that person can sponsor their spouse for immigration purposes. That right is not available to same sex couples, where all too often LGBT people find themselves in heart wrenching dilemmas, forced to choose between their country and the person they love. See http://www.immigrationequality.org/
Open Military Service: The current Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy deprives LGBT Americans of their right to serve their country openly. A marine who has been loyal to her squadron for years can be dishonorably discharged after she is seen kissing her girlfriend goodbye. See http://www.sldn.org/
Monday, April 13, 2009
They Shoot Books Don't They?: I love books. Always have and most likely always will. Long before Oprah's book club or my knowledge of any so called Gay book club, I was the kid in the library in search of the latest read. All of this early reading unlocked the vault that held the holy grail of information that I so desperately wanted to understand. I've always voted for any millage that would build additional libraries or support them. I valued these book bastions because they not only comforted me but provided with access to worlds that have not only enriched me, but raised my level of consciousness. The public library was the first place where I got Internet access and the hunger to pursue it in my home. That's why I was so bemused by Amazon's quirky move to de-list any books of "adult" content from their rankings. Yet, even more surprising was much of this material dealt with "gay" content including titles such as Giovanni's Room from legendary literary giant James Baldwin or "Ruby Fruit Jungle" by Rita Mae Brown. Are you kidding me Amazon? For the record, I've purchased items from Amazon, including books and I'm not amused at this censorship tactic wrapped in marketing policy. The Internet has been buzzing with comments galore as end users are lashing out at the Internet behemoth. There's much talk about doing an economic embargo resulting in not spending those allegedly disposable greenbacks with them. At this post, it seems that Amazon's ill fated attempt to put such "adult" content on the back shelf will not happen. The company has announced that their was some sort of "glitch" in their system that caused the de-listing. Maybe it was the conficker worm that caused the hiccup but I believe that those bean counters decided that the flow of those rainbow dollars trumped the policy. I'll be watching these guys closely, but I encourage you to patronize your local independent book stores or consider our online partner, http://www.blackgaybooks.com/ . No matter how you do it, books can take you their!
We're about 50 days out from GPW 09 and so far I've heard next to nothing about the Little Rock festival except a business card that was left for me announcing Sunday June 7, 2009. 12 noon, Rivermarket. That's it. There were elections last year, some rounds of fundraisers and promises of info from their website (http://www.littlerockcapitalpride.org/) or Twitter. However to date, apparently there's nothing to report or confirmed plans outlined. Not even a mention of this years national theme: Pride 2009: Your Rights, Our Rights, Human Rights. It's not mandatory that it be used but, if you don't have anything at all, then it's a "insert theme" here move. Meanwhile, there is a slate of officers and assigned committees which are all the makings of an organization. Including a "diversity committee" as a fresh approach to previous ethnic insensitivity's of organizers. Yet names and lackluster action does nothing to produce anything. I checked their Official My Space page, (last login 2.12.09) which post that LRCP is preparing for the "biggest pride Little Rock has ever seen. Own It." Oh really and exactly what would that be? In the past I've been soundly and roundly criticized for saying what other folks think but dare to speak. It's still a free country people. Don't get up in arms with lawmakers and then don't call out your own for their mediocrity or bullshit. I was labeled a "hater, dream killer, airing the community's dirty laundry and naysayer, all without any real proof or substantial illustrations. I had at least one reader demand that they be removed from my mailing list in protest of my views on asking the hard questions and seeking transparency. Well, here we are again and from where I stand, it's business as usual. Of course, there will be the question, "O.K. COP 24:7 what have you done to help the situation?" The answer: nothing because no one asked. It's just that simple. However, as I scanned the net on surrounding cities such as Memphis, Tulsa or Kansas City, MO, I noticed that they have their activities in play and advertised complete with updated websites filled with information. As for Central City the jury is out. I'll keeping searching for answers( the link to contact LRCP officers was Missing In Action) and when I find some, you'll be the first to know! If you find out, then share it with the rest of us...
Friday, April 10, 2009
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Let's Talk about SEX
As April reveals itself, everything starts blooming, buzzing and human hormones began rushing about, it's always a good time to mention that subject that no one, but everyone really want to talk about, SEX. What not a better time during, National STD Month! Yes, in case you didn't know and of course I feel privileged to share with you all the campaigns designed for the sexually inclined. Is that you? Why certainly. The above video clip is from the It's Your Sex Life campaign in cooperation with Kaiser Family Foundation, MTV and Planned Parenthood. I reviewed the mash up, finding it quite informative as well as frank about STD's in the era of HIV/AIDS. Believe it or not, many cases of STD's have also included diagnosis of HIV. Each of these are sexually transmitted diseases involving blood, "cum" and bodily fluids. I have not been tested in years, bascially because I've been in a committed relationship for a length of time, but this does not preclude STD's from being the "other partner" if you're significant other can't resist the itch to tip. So, if you've been sowing your oats or plan to do so, don't forget to Get Yourself Tested. The local chapter of PP are offering testing with prices ranging from $6.00 for Syphilis to $55 for Herpes. Make your M-F appointment at 501.801.0001 It's a small price to pay for your sexual health. Think about it.
Where's The Party: The 4th Annual Anniversary party for the north shores Sidetracks stepped off 4.4.09. First of all, I had to think has this place been here that long and the answer was, yeah. It's been four years and counting since the former Maggie Mae's morphed into Sidetracks, as an extended mature alternative. Affectionately, Sidetracks also has been referred to as the "wrinkle room," "bone yard," "bear den," old folks home," and "the Has-Been Exit." Yet, despite it all, the owners have stayed committed to offering an outlet as a community gathering spot for all. From my observations, it doesn't matter what age, life choice, ethnicity or preferences. As long as you've bring some respect, you'll get some. I've attended past parties, usually with with great anticipation as well as expectations. The venue was semi-busy with regulars and visitors, featuring some additional decorations accompanying the already busy decor of the bar. But to my surprise and perhaps a few others something was seriously missing. Where's the party? In the past this event has been a bit more celebratory complete with interesting buffet choices, erotic sheet cakes and merry making. Now, I know that we are in an economic downturn and perhaps there's some logical explanation, but this affair was about as exciting as a "rained out well digging." What's going on here? As an hospitality expert, I know that that putting on an event is time consuming, needs some Benjamin's to make it happen and a "HQIC" ( Head Queer in Charge). All this seemed to be sorta missing last evening, resulting in celebrating this milestone with non other than a (OMG) warm Champagne fountain! I don't know exactly what's happened or why, except that party force of "JD" has ceased and those special touches that set a ST event apart is noticeable. Attitudes aside and you can't have a den of rainbow hens and not have attitudes, the party is still suppose to go on! I pondered a few questions to see if I could sort some of it out. Is morale down? Well, not exactly. Has keeping the momentum become ho-hum in a everyday aspect? Perhaps. Customer service? Well, good help can be hard to find. O.K. Sidetracks, congrats on sticking it out for 4 years. It takes a lot to stay in business, meanwhile serving the finicky GLBTQ community that often doesn't share their appreciation. For the record, this forum has made an concerted effort to showcase all area venues and "keep it real" about what's really going on in these outlets. I've often stated that, "if we don't support them, perhaps they may not be around to support us."