Thursday, June 30, 2011

Til Debt Do Us Part




So do you understand the Debt Ceiling issue? Could you have imagined such monetary terms as "Billion or Trillion" being bounced around as if they were nothing. Is it possible that we've spent ourselves silly and now we've got to really do something about it. Well, the answer to some of this as well as trying to make some sense of it all comes this CBS news video.  Even though most may find this subject boring, it's imperative that "we" the voters need to be aware of "what's really going on with these dilemmas." So do you really know what it's all about? Share your thoughts and observations, we loved to hear your take on it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Leaning forward in a rainbow haze

Beebe Speaks Volumes

Earlier this week, Arkansas' Governor Mike Beebe candidly addressed supporters and allies of the Stonewall Democrats. Unfortunately this forum wasn't able to attend this event due to circumstances beyond our control. However, our friends at KUAR was in the house and posted the remarks on it's web page at www.kuar.org  I listened to what Mr. Beebe said juxtaposed to other postings that have popped out on the Stonewall Facebook page and otherwise. In this world of sound bites, speaking points and political jargon, I felt that his remarks were direct, frank and honest from his vantage point both as an elected official and a private citizen. His was open about his evolution on ACT 1 and decided that after heated discussions including citing such a debate with Democratic stalwart Joyce Elliot, that he withdrew his support for the then measure which now has been struck down by the Arkansas Supreme Court. "Hateful" was how he characterize remarks from legislator Rep. Donna Hutchinson who quipped about recent budget cuts to foster parents in lieu of what she stated as "wasteful programs that help gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals feel better about themselves." Of which Beebe pronounced that no such programs even exist or ever have for that matter. As a individual who has lobbied the Legislature, it continues to amaze me at the amount of ignorance and insufferable incompetence that some of these elected officials embody. If you haven't had the pleasure, I highly suggest that you become engaged with the process to do so.  I have to agree with Beebe when he made the point that we must learn to respectfully disagree, being professional and cognizant in our various social justice approaches as he said Rep. Kathy Webb had done as Budget Chair last term. Also, he talked about tolerance and in his opinion the lack of effectiveness of marches and protest to which I have to disagree because this country was founded utilizing such tactics and have been instrumental to make bold political statements. Remember the 1963 civil rights march on Washington, Mr. Beebe? How about the 1979 and 1993 Gay rights marches in the same city? Probably you were unaware of those latter marches but it seem that Mr. Beebe is not totally up to speed on much of anything gay, except his stance that he doesn't believe that civil unions nor marriage will occur during his administration and he believes it's not gonna happen in this neck of the woods. Although his appearance is commendable, the Gov. hasn't done much for Arkansas GLBTQ community either because no one asked or taken the position that since no one asked then I guess they don't need to get no signals from his office. For instance in 2008, he supported the creation of the HIV/AIDS Task Force and appointed folks but this entity is about as useless as they come. These are the folks who have put many innovative ideas on paper with basically not much else. Where's the Consumer Office within the Arkansas Department of Health? What about the mobile health van or that "one stop" clinic? How about restructuring of the surveillance of HIV/AIDS? What ever happen to that proposed 3 Million dollar budget to implement a structure to do any of the recommendations that this troupe has authored. As I sum up his chit chat with the lavender set, the good governor came, spoke truth to where he stands and basically promised nor offered not much except the knowledge that the LGBTQ community has a lot of work to do in this city and state.

A 2nd Quarter 2011 Wrap

Defending Against HIV Criminalization: Reality Check 2011

Did you know that being HIV positive could and has been used a means to imprisoned individuals for decades, and in many cases some have to register as sex offenders, as a consequence of exaggerated fears about HIV. Did you know that most of these cases involve consensual sex or conduct such as spitting and biting that has only a remote possibility of HIV exposure. For example, a number of states have laws that make it a felony for someone who has had a positive HIV test to spit on or touch another person with blood or saliva. Did you know that Arkansas was one of 34 such states with laws on the books which have been used to prosecuted persons often based on misinformation and often times just plain old ignorance. Well believe it because it's all true as chronicled in the The Center for HIV Law and Policy first comprehensive analysis of HIV-specific criminal laws and prosecutions in the United States. The publication, Ending and Defending Against HIV Criminalization: State and Federal Laws and Prosecutions, covers policies and cases in all fifty states, the military, federal prisons and U.S. territories was released in November 2010. This groundbreaking document offer a bold analysis of the issue of HIV criminalization in all 50 states. It discerns on a case by case outline on how many of these laws have become "weapons of mass destruction" in the lives of an array of both men and women. This report is vital in regards to the recent mash up of  a local man who has been ensnared in the criminal and mental health systems of this state which continues to cause him angst and uncertainty. His case was a "spitting" episode that resulted in false statement, sketchy jurist prudence and possible civil rights if not human rights violations. As I've reviewed the case, it's the damnest thing I've seen in awhile.  Let me be clear, these laws carry both a class A Misdemeanor or Felony charge which can affect a persons lively hood for the rest of their lives. Just so you would know and this forum wants everyone to know that these laws are in effect and you need to be aware of it. We've actually posted them for your education and empowering purposes. The entire PDF can be downloaded at http://www.hivlawandpolicy.org/. It may be a bit heady reading, but take your time, it's worth it. Your life might depend on it.  The effort was a  Positive Justice Project funded by CHLP, MAC AIDS Fund and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. COP24/7 credits their site with some contributing content. For more information contact any of our local agencies, community based organizations or service providers. Here are the laws:

Ark. Code Ann. § 5-14-123Class A FelonyIt is a class A felony for a person who knows that he or she has tested positive for HIV to expose another to HIV (1) through the transfer of blood or blood products or (2) by engaging in sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body, without first having informed the other person of the presence of HIV. The emission of semen is not a required element of the crime.
Ark. Code Ann. § 20-15-903Class A MisdemeanorA person who is HIV positive must, prior to receiving any health care services of a physician or dentist, advise such physician or dentist that the person has HIV. Failure to do so is a class A misdemeanor.

Little Rock Finding Shelter for Homeless

After much wrangling, site visits and vigorous back and forth of community residents and other interested parties. The City of Little Rock has struck a deal with the Union Rescue Mission to jointly work on offering a a day center for the homeless. Wow, was it just this easy, since the URM has been in this business since 1957 and that was before I was born.  So, all it took was a letter from Rev. William Tollett citing that URM was willing to work with the city on a lease/purchase effort and viola it appears that it's a done deal. Maybe. Of course in this city, nothing ever seems to be just a done deal. This entire effort has been kicked down the road, debated to death and some of everybody taking the "NIMBY" (not in my back yard) stance over the years. In case you don't know where URM is located, the reason that their is no apparent citizens opposition to this decision is because the facility sits literally isolated on Confederate Blvd adjacent to railroad tracks. Is this the out of mind, out of sight attitude that individuals want to take when dealing with this particular problem. If we don't see it, then perhaps it doesn't exist, problem solved. Hopefully, this day center will be designed to be effective and actually have tangible outcomes with the available funding. According to Arkansas Democrats reports, the building is appraised at $210,000. Mayor Stodola said Gov. Mike Beebe has committed $137,000 in stimulus money for the building’s renovation; Little Rock has $477,000 in federal block grant money and North Little Rock has committed and appropriated up to $200,000 for the acquisition of property.
The two cities currently spend a combined $300,000 a year on the day resource center at River City Ministry. A one-night count of the region’s homeless population in January found 1,276 people spending the night in shelters or on the streets in Pulaski, Saline, Lonoke and Prairie counties.
Nationwide, a federal government report released this month showed that the country’s homeless population increased 1.1 percent last year from 643,067 people in 2009 to 649,917 in 2010.

KUDOS to KUAR

KUAR, the local affiliate of National Public Radio is to be commended and saluted as they ended their Gay in Arkansas series. It's this type of programming that assist with breaking barriers while offering "teachable moments" for those who need such a education. Producers Kelly M. and Eric F. through the grant from the Darragh Foundation presented a well rounded snapshot of those living the life in Arkansas. As I checked into the website, I didn't notice a lot of comments being posted, even though I have heard from many of you who heard my segment. In order for us to continue to get this support, I want to encourage all of this forum's readership to share your thoughts with KUAR. Listen up, it's all about the numbers and backtalk that translate to those who green light projects. If producers can't produce an engaged audience then it's presumed that no one wants to listen to this type of programming.  Also you can hear coverage of Gov. Beebe's talk with the Stonewall Democrat's (6/28/11). This first for a sitting Arkansas Governor is a testament that we must seek to speak to power and put a face on the issues that fuel the community. Unfortunately I was unable to attend due to some very odd circumstances but I believe that the Gov was in good company. In the meantime don't forget to tell KUAR that your heard the series, share your appreciation of the project and let them know that COP/24/7 sent ya! Here's the link: http://www.kuar.org/


Swirl: Diversity in Motion Returns, October 14, 2011. What to know more? Then stay tuned to this forum as we bring you all the latest updates, links, videos and even some free stuff! Subscribe, E-mail us and Follow Us. We are your only daily updating portal for the GLBTQ community and beyond!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Moving Angles and Frames

The heat is on and the week is off to a rip roaring start. So we don't have to start our engines because the 24/7 news cycle keeps this forum in full throttle mode and then some. Why wait, let's go for it.

Marriage Equality and Shape Shifting Cultural Wars

New York done done it. They went and passed a Marriage Equality measure that sent GLBTQ New Yorkers into a rainbow frenzy on to the streets during their Gay Pride celebrations. Since that action last week, it's been Topic A on cable talk shows and radio airwaves. It seems that everybody got something to say about it and this forum need to have our say as well.  One of my contacts in the city was literally sitting on the edge of his seat as they awaited the final outcome. He actually works in state government and was hoping for a win.  As this continues to be analyze, what worked for this measure was leadership, focus, scripted messaging, commitment and ultimate an infusion of Big Gay Dollars from Wall Street to help not only change minds but shore up those who felt they would need some political "cover" in case they faced future challengers. Detractors have already come to the forefront such as prop 8 supporter Dr. Jim Garlow on last evening's In the Arena with Eliot Spitzer program. He all but decried that the Albany legislators sold out their political souls for "30 pieces of silver." He was alluding to the Million Dollar cash stash that was raised to sweeten and seal the deed. It's no secret that money can make a difference and even the Supreme Court has weighed in on political contributions and from all indications I think they are not done with the issue. Meanwhile as the glitter dust settles, some state Senators described the situation as the "perfect gay storm" that allowed them to pass the bill. Also many of those business minded types were salivating at the fact that passage of this bill could be a "marriage tourism bonanza."  But ultimately what really went down was a crafty campaign from savvy and some well connected gays who worked their networks incessantly plus a energized community mobilized in the effort.  Ladies and Gents, this is American politics 101 and some times you come up a winner or a loser.  This time, it was win for that community and another testament to having a bonafide working apparatus that can be a force to be reckoned with while having assets to utilize. On the flip side, there are still 31 states that ain't having no part of this even if polls show that times may be a changing. Congrats to all who made it happen and let's see where we go from here.

Obituary Omission 2.0

Since this matter sort of had legs, that's a story that continues to evolve over a period of days, this situation kept drawing me in further to try to get a better picture of what's really going on. From all appearances there seems to be many moving parts that are just interesting to say the least. First up I was updated and clarified on the position of the Center for Artistic Revolution from it's ED, R. Romo. She commented that Terence James approached the organization with this dilemma and they (she) set forth to assist him with what she framed as a homophobic episode and a lack of respect from the Batesville Daily Guard. Got that. Meanwhile, I wanted to read the alleged fire bomb lobbed in an Editorial that added more fuel to this flame in order to get the newspaper's prospective. I read the Editorial twice including a copy version forwarded in CAR's alert e-mail just to make sure that each was in sync. Got that, too.  Now, this is where things get a bit more interesting because the paper outlined every detail complete with their specifics about what James was told, when he was told and what was formally communicated during the entire transaction. I have no doubt that Mr. James was distressed at the lost of his love one. I too have had to bury a partner and your emotions are on a roller coaster. But if their account is correct and we all know that there's two sides to every story, in my opinion if Mr. James was emphatic that "he didn't want to be out of the expense of the obituary," and the policy of the free ad were fully explained, didn't he need to come to the conclusion that he may would have to pay to solve the problem. So, if I'm getting this and surely I have, he was not going to be listed in the free ad due to the "unmarried" internal policy but had an option to pay $85 bucks to be listed but opted to not do so. Therefore if he insisted on the "free" ad, he wasn't  actually "erased" from the ad because he was never listed from the jump because the "ad" wasn't marked "paid" which had purportedly been explained by the funeral home. Would paying have solve the problem? Or is the Batesville Guard out of the cultural competency loop with the inferred "agenda" swipe? Why did the newspaper give that two faced reply if they felt that the policy was sound? Is this a big misunderstanding? Could there have been of over reaction when the story went "viral" and took on a life of it's own as GLADD chimed in, HRC bought ad space, The Huffington Report got in on it and KARK was johnny on the spot with yet another "breaking news story." What no Maddow or Andy Coop? Where's Don Lemon when you need him! All of this seems so unfortunate, especially now that it's reported that Mr.James has been hospitalized during this ordeal suffering from the same ailment as his partner. Our prayers go out to him and his family. The paper is not and most likely will not change its position due it'self appointed mindset. I would suggest to them to consider some diveristy and cultural sensitivity training similar to the efforts being made by UAMS. I recently sat in as an observer of the training and was pleased to know that there was top down leadership supporting such modules for their employees. As for the big organizations, well since they want to be of assistance, GLAAD or HRC could always send this forum a grant check anytime since we are "media" reaching out to the GLBTQ community including Batesville. So what's next? Probably some more contact campaign and maybe even a visit to the city may come about. Yet what we have learned is the fact that we face an ongoing dilemma that more understanding, compassion, humanity and cultural competency platforms are the order of the day. Not to mention as much clarity and reasonable assessment that can be mustered when dealing with the next blip on the social justice radar. Note to community: there's still work to be done in the GLBTQ house and it requires a little bit from us all. If there's more developments, we'll bring it...

Dont Forget that Gov. BeBe will be in the house 6pm,  July 28, 800 Scott Street inside First Presbyterian church. Should be interesting. Come on out to see what the good Gov has to say to the rainbow crowd.


Monday, June 27, 2011

Speaking Voumes 2011

Today is National HIV Testing Day 2011. Another opportunity for those who don't know your status to access free testing sites to become empowered with the knowledge about HIV/AIDS and it's impact in our lives. As a continuing public service, we offer a link to a testing site locator that will find the nearest outlet to your location. Click to http://locator.aids.gov/    To further call attention to this health issue, we would like to share a letter from Mr. Mike H. who wanted to share his insights, observations and opinion concerning AIDS in Arkansas.  The words are his own, with a small edit by request .

I have not over the past couple of years given voice to my opinions as to how things are handled by ADH, or the CDC, other than make suggestions as to identifying issues, and possible ways to address issues and concerns of those of us that are living in the State of Arkansas with HIV disease. But, after submitting my application to the CPG and fully disclosing by choice and much thought, I know that now is the time to express not only my opinion, but hopefully give direction to the formation of a beneficial group for the State of Arkansas.
I've been reading and thinking on all that is going on with the CPG regarding offensive questions, bylaws, and meetings, I need to bring something to light.
While not trying to discount anyone, there is something more important than bylaws, and what the CDC requires, and that is the people of the State of Arkansas that are currently living with HIV/AIDS and know it, those that have it and DON'T know they have it and are farther spreading it, and those that will be exposed
I have lived with HIV disease for 26 years now, and know what it is like to live in fear, to be attacked by the press as part of a group of people, community at large, and by family members as well strictly based on two(2) points of contention. 1. My being openly Gay. 2. Having HIV Disease.
In the past I have held the hands of those that were thrown away like dirty diapers by their families, medical communities, and dismissed as being part of the disposable people by the Federal Government at large. I have made the phone calls to families of those that have passed and been told by a father " I'm glad that the little son of a bitch is dead, he got what he deserved."
I have sat in hospital emergency rooms with someone in distress, and been told that "You and your kind are not welcomed here and to leave or face arrest for trespassing.", and driven 4 hours to a hospital that would take "one of those people". While later having to physically defend myself from people that wanted me dead for assisting and caring for "one of those people".
I have seen others condition's worsen while someone was more interested in getting a form filled out for the CDC to collect information as to whom that person had sex with over the past 10 years.
I'm aware of circumstances where a "special" bathroom was used that had only cold running water, groceries and food was delivered and sat on the front porch, with the person looking through a window because their relative was standing in the front yard with a shotgun willing to shoot - if they came out of the house. These types of situations, as much as I would like to believe are a thing of the past, are still happening.

That said, We are now 30+ years into this disease, and the patterns the past are re-presenting themselves in the form of bureaucratic red tape and what to do if someone steps "out of line" in a meeting or says something off color, or thinks out of the cookie cutter model that officially "works" but in reality doesn't do anything but generate paperwork that is beneficial to no one other than the ones passing the paperwork. 
I received notice last night that 1 out of 5 Americans is HIV positive and has no knowledge of their status, with the main reason for not getting tested is FEAR and STIGMA. At this time WE have the tools needed to educate the public at large as to testing, medical treatment, and how to live with this disease, yet are limited to "traditional" avenues of education and outreach.
This is the time for a Group to be formed that can allow itself to think outside the norm, and work toward getting rates of exposure under control as it is generally thought to be "under control" when it obviously is not the case.
Being that we are all adults and know how to act in a respectable manner, to waste time fretting over the finer points of what is to be considered proper points of rule, a stated mission of purpose should be the FIRST task accomplished as without this, there is not a goal that can be achieved in structuring any type of effective organization.

When rules and regulations, demographics, and paper shuffling take precedence over human lives, then I have to question the validity of any organization whether it be a local, state, or federal entity.
One final thought about the questionnaire with the disclosure questions attached. Granted that to be able to have a true cross section of the population represented, disclosure is a must, but being asked to disclose should be separated from the membership process, and done in such a way that no one knows who has been contacted.
It is my opinion that anyone and everyone that is involved with the CPG, or any other organization that is Govt. funded be tested to better understand what the process from testing, the waiting to get results, getting the results and post testing counseling is like for the person getting tested. As testing, I assume will become one of the priorities of this group.
I'll step down off my soapbox now, and let someone else have a chance.

God Bless each and everyone,
Mark Hollis

Friday, June 24, 2011

Taking it to the Weekend


LGBT-Inclusive Immigration Bill Reintroduced


Earlier this week, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) joined by Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), John Kerry (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2011, which includes the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). UAFA allows United States citizens and permanent residents to sponsor their same-sex partners for family-based immigration.
UAFA would provide lesbian and gay individuals the same opportunity as different-sex, married couples to sponsor their partners and spouses for marriage-based immigration. The United States lags behind over 25 countries that recognize same-sex couples for immigration purposes, including Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
UAFA, as a standalone bill, was introduced in the 112th Congress by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) in the Senate and by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) in the House. This is the second time Senator Menedez has championed LGBT-inclusive immigration reform in the Senate. Representative Mike Honda (D-CA) also included UAFA in the Reuniting Families Act of 2011 introduced in the House.

ATT and GLAAD Mash-up's result in resignations

AT&T denies that its $50,000 donation to the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation was meant to help win the endorsement of its proposed T-Mobile merger by the national activist group, an eyebrow-raising move that culminated in the resignation of GLAAD President and former Massachusetts state senator Jarrett Barrios. Barrios, who could not be reached, resigned on Saturday amid growing criticism over his letter of support to the Federal Communications Commission for AT&T’s proposed $39 billion acquisition of T-Mobile. The endorsement, following a $50,000 donation from AT&T’s charity arm to GLAAD, was a rare move by an organization that has no history of weighing in on issues that lack an obvious link to gay rights. Does this action pass the smell test? Obviously not, since the whole deal came to light another 6 board members have tendered their notices and the entire agency is being scrutinized by bloggers as well as onlookers.Who knew that GLAAD was such a shot caller among the Fortune 500! But when you look at their board of directors of 23, there are some top tier people at the table. If we only had 7 of their 23 that could get their deep pocketed friends to send us some cash here at COP!  In case you missed it, these are the same folks who added their two cents to "double O" event in Batesville this week. Seems like they got some issues on the home front that may muddy their own credibility. Meanwhile, even as HRC entered the fray with a full page ad, they were met toe-to toe by the paper with a counter "bitch slap" advertisement that boldy proclaimed that they didn't owe nobody nothing and they ain't mad about it. And so it's on, I guess. We'll bring the latest as soon as someone blinks! Until then, stay locked and loaded to COP24/7!

GOT NEWS, TIDBITS, OBSERVATIONS? share them or either write them, we encourage our readers to get in on the action. If you ain't scared, then you now we are not. Let's hear from you TODAY! send to nealix101@comcast.net

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Livewire Thursday

The Internet has a vital tool in the communication fast tracks. It's allowed everyday folks to become everything from muck rakers to town criers in the blink of an eye. At the beginning of this effort, I didn't make much of it nor did I believe that it would be something that I would continue to produce. Not to mention if anyone would be interested in my musings or the eventual topics that I would address, but I've been pleasantly surprised on many levels to the reaction and acceptance of COP 24/7. If you check out our traffic gadget you can see that this forum is being viewed from much of the U.S. and even globally at some points. Who knew that someone in the Ukraine, Far East or down under in Australia would drop by this site searching for what's up in this neck of the woods. It's amazing to say the least, but of course none of this would be remotely possible without all the latest tech gadgets and gizmo's that allow me to keep it coming. And as long as there are interesting topics, issues and just plain old stuff to talk about, we will do our best to stay on point. Thanks for your support, readership and suggestions to this forum. In the meantime, let's get busy shall we.

Obituary Omission Makes the Rounds

The Obituary omission in Batesville, Arkansas is making the rounds of news agencies from Reuters to the Big Gay News website which made it a prominent blurb. The article stated, that the small newspaper in north central Arkansas was to consider changing its policy on obituaries after a local man complained to local group Center for Artistic Revolution that the Batesville Daily Guard discriminated against him for being gay. Terrence James said that through a funeral home, he submitted an obituary to the Daily Guard for his partner, John Millican, who died on June 11 of spinal meningitis. James listed himself as Millican’s partner on the obituary form. When the free obituary was printed, James’ name was omitted. “I was already in shock and grieving over John’s death,” James told Reuters. “It never even occurred to me I would find my last slap in the face after his death at my local newspaper. The newspaper's owner Oscar Jones stated that the policy cites "unmarried" partners, no matter the sexual orientation would not be listed in the free ads but compensated ads are available for $85. Jones, perhaps because of the phone calls and other expressions of disapproval from HRC, GLAAD, among others, offered that the policy might need a look over since that had not been done in some time. Wow, all this firepower from the big girl organizations ove this mini-tempest in the tea pot. Will all this "contact" make any difference or change anything? Well, we'll take a wait and see attitude on this one. Hold on, there's another shoe to drop and we'll let you know when it does.

Organizations Seeks Board Members

The Living Affected Corporation is seeking interested individuals for it's Board of Directors as the organization continues to assess it strategic development, fundraising and agenda for 2011-2012. According to CEO, Diedra Levi, the organization will be receiving additional capacity building and structural assistance from it's partnership's with Arkansas Department of Health as well as national entities. Board members will be instrumental in formulating the following:
  1. Determine mission and purpose. It is the board's responsibility to create and review a statement of mission and purpose that articulates the organization's goals, means, and primary constituents served.
  2. Select the chief executive. Boards must reach consensus on the chief executive's responsibilities and undertake a careful search to find the most qualified individual for the position.
  3. Support and evaluate the chief executive. The board should ensure that the chief executive has the moral and professional support he or she needs to further the goals of the organization.
  4. Ensure effective planning. Boards must actively participate in an overall planning process and assist in implementing and monitoring the plan's goals.
  5. Monitor, and strengthen programs and services. The board's responsibility is to determine which programs are consistent with the organization's mission and monitor their effectiveness.
  6. Ensure adequate financial resources. One of the board's foremost responsibilities is to secure adequate resources for the organization to fulfill its mission.
  7. Protect assets and provide proper financial oversight. The board must assist in developing the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place.
  8. Build a competent board. All boards have a responsibility to articulate prerequisites for candidates, orient new members, and periodically and comprehensively evaluate their own performance.
  9. Ensure legal and ethical integrity. The board is ultimately responsible for adherence to legal standards and ethical norms.
  10. Enhance the organization's public standing. The board should clearly articulate the organization's mission, accomplishments, and goals to the public and garner support from the community.
 For immediate consideration please contact, 1.877.902.7HIV or www.livingaffected.org  The Living Affected Corporation is a 501c entity committed to promoting empowerment and inclusion while decreasing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS through education and advocacy. It's the organizations mission to promote positive sexual and reproductive health in marginalized communities.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer 2011 Raging Machine

And way we go to Summer 2011!! Are you ready for the heat? Got your sunblock? Snorkel? Thong? Whatever. Get your gear, stay cool, but don't you for a second forget about CorneliusOnpoint as we keep it the "sizzle" in our updates, videos, podcast and so much more. We're back, fast and furious as Arkansas' only daily updating blog site for the GLBTQ community and beyond! Now everybody into the COP pool...

The Bouncing O 2012

As campaign 2012 roars into our lives by this time next year, it seems that President Obama can not catch a break for any damn body. On the left he's got Hispanics wanting some immigration reform, blacks murmuring, progressives steamed about the war footing and various factions of the GLBTQ mash-up mad, bad and dangerous to know that only Don't Ask, Don't Tell of the holy trinity of DOMA and ENDA has come through the Congressional chop shop. Let's be clear, President Obama has been the most progressive occupier of the oval office in the last two decades. In case you don't know, and most likely you don't, Mr. Obama has made significant strides to address the GLBTQ community. He's name openly gay people to his staff such as Jeremy Bernard, Social Secretary and Special Assistant to the President and Amanda Simpson to the Commerce department as the first transgendered person appointed. The National Strategy on HIV & AIDS, Gay pride proclamations, dedicated website,(www.whitehouse.gov/lgbt) and addressing activist and advocates in numerous forums. All of this while dealing with the rest of the world and Michelle and two kids.  I for one, don't know where some GLBTQ folks get off thinking that somehow Mr. O was going to be able to accomplish "all things gay" in one term. I know that his evolving thoughts on marriage equality has many howling foul, but Obama has stated " we've got a lot of hard work that we still have to do, but we can already point to extraordinary progress that we have made.." and he has openly stated his struggles with the issue just as many other fair minded Americans have as well. Is Obama playing possum politics with the issue of marriage equality. Well sure. It's inevitable that he will have to ebb and flow in the toxic pool of U.S. politics, not matter how many lavender dollars flow into his cash stash. He's in the ultimate survival game where if you  play it smartly you get all the blue chips.  Meanwhile, the issue cauldron boils over from debt ceiling needs, major natural disasters, 3 yes count em 3 wars raging and a economy swirling like a top. I thought I had to multi-task to get all that must be done in a month! Lighten up people. I bet none of you get all that needs to be done in your personal lives as quickly as you would like or even should have. I hear often that I couldn't make that meeting because I have to much to do. Yeah, and you got to much to do. Try being the leader of the free world and being beholding to 300 Million plus people with issues. Both Mr. Obama and I are the same age, I think I'll let him stay in his big chair and I'll stay in my own. Bring it on, Obama 2012!  

From the We Stand Corrected File

We love hearing from you. Really we do. Especially when our savvy readers set us straight when this forum doesn't quite get it right. Case in point, in our Monday post,"AIDS in Arkansas" we cited that Dr. Kevin Fenton was in town during a recent meeting. Wrong-o! It seems that the info share with us incorrectly named Dr. Fenton, but who was actually present was Damon Humes of the National Minority AIDS Council leading the capacity building activities for the ADH. NMAC is an official contractor for  the CDC ( Center for Disease Control). Now that we've got that one out of the way, we were also corrected about two projects which share a common individual but are two separate efforts. The L.M Hamilton Youth Center which opens, July 1, 2011 is a distinct project of the Center for Artistic Revolution and a first of it's type for Arkansas. According to e-blast, the center is designed to allow youth a destination to hang out and safely congregate. Eventually the center will offer computer services, homework assistance and a GLBTQ library. If you need more info contact: http://www.artisticrevolution.org/  The other entity in question is Lucie's Place(also named for Lucille Marie Hamilton) which is a project of The Living Affected Corporation which is in its conceptual phase and fundraising drive to bring a GLBTQ homeless shelter to fruition in Little Rock. The targeted population for the home is 18-24 and will offer residents stable housing while receiving life skills, employment assistance and access to health care. Bi-weekly meetings are being planned to further map out its development amidst  a $20,000 summer fundraising drive. Contact organizers at luciesPlaceAR@gmail.com or http://www.livingaffected.org/  CorneliusOnpoint encourages community members to engage these organizations or your favroite group in creating supportive environments for all in the GLBTQ community and beyond.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Breakout Monday

It's O-V-A! Pride 2011 swept through the city and washed away yesterday with the annual turnabout show held at Triniti, formerly known as Backstreet and the dire hearts of the week finished with a cookout at Sidetracks. Courageously I made the week from last Sunday's Mr. & Miss pageant while meeting up with pub crawl on Monday, Tuesday nights smart underwear party, more under gear on Thursday, Fridays Cowboys send up and Saturdays Leather mash up. Done. Now, what have we learned from that week that was pride 2011. It seems that very little has changed over the years. There is a surge at the beginning and it slowly fizzles to the end. Monday nights pub crawl folks were mostly MIA the rest of the week. I saw people who unfortunately I don't see until the next pride. What's up with that? Then, they say no one ever tells them about what's going on? Really? The what the hell have I been doing for the last 5 years as well as, others who have begged, cajoled, yelled and almost screamed to the world about what's happening in this city. I know that we stepped from the scene for the last year, but this has nothing to do with the personal responsibility to engage, get involved, and be informed about what's going on around you. I would hate for the haters to come for you and you didn't know they were in route to take you away to some God forsaken dump. Wake up people, get your head out or off it and take notice. Not to just the next pride schedule but to all that's taking place that could ultimately affect you life and who you are choosing to love. Consider yourself warned.

AIDS In Arkansas: Long Chosen as HIV/AIDS Section Chief

After what has seemed to be the longest search for someone who wants to tackle the job of being the HIV/AIDS Section Chief of the Arkansas Department of Health, finally someone has said yes to the position. It's Tina Long, the recent Health Promotions Specialist at the University of Florida and former Education Director of Planned Parenthood of East Tennessee. According to our research, Ms.Long has a Bachelor's Degree in Health Education/Community Health from UALR and Master's Degree in Health Education & Promotion from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She's also as Certified Health Education Specialist and received the Uof F Superior Accomplishment Award in 2004. While at Planned Parenthood she conducted HIV/AIDS prevention training during her tenure from August 1998 to August 2000. Ms. Long arrives after the long departed Kevin Dedner whom briefly served in the post and subsequently if not abruptly departed for other opportunities. After his departure, the department suffered other comings and goings that sent mixed signals to CBO's, consumers and advocates pondering the direction of the department and its mission. Local groups such as Arkansas HIV/AIDS Community Advocates forwarded a letter to Dr. James Phillips inquiring to be somewhat apart of the hiring process through meeting with finalist and offered supportive information that the final candidate could address. Despite the effort, the request was basically ignored, consequently dismissed and this action alerts this forum to conclude that it's business as usual at the ADH. The attitudinal position of we choose them and you have to live with that choice and no one gets to second guess that choice nor be apart of the process. Its not that Ms. Long's credentials are in question nor are we concerned that she wasn't properly vetted. However, what's at stake here is the overwhelming need for dynamic leadership to grapple with the "care paradox," of testing and treatment access for marginalized communities. Its a  fact that the person selected for this challenging position will be slapped in the face with the reality that the HIV/AIDS section has had a legacy of problems ranging from policy miscues, political sideshows, possible morale issues and smoke and mirror statistical reporting. All of this and most likely much more awaits Ms. Long on her first day come July 5th. It's totally unfortunate that the HIV/AIDS community didn't demand to at least get a list of the finalist to be aware of who was being considered. Although not quite the same, it's similar to the City Board passing a June 7th resolution selecting the Arkansas AIDS Foundation as the HOPWA designate without anyone knowing what other choices were being considered. How much longer will the HIV/AIDS community continue to stand idly by and not engage the powers who make choices for you without you. In the meantime, it's too bad she just missed CDC (Center for Disease Control) shot caller Dr. Kevin Fenton who was back in town about a week ago to tell ADH what they suppose to be doing and probably questioning why its not been done. From the money angle, the Arkansas State Jobs portal (http://www.ark.org/)  reports a salary range of $43,200 to $69,734.00 for positions of this type. Pretty good living if you ask me.  Final note to Long:  check out The State of AIDS in Black America from the Black Aids Institute.(http://www.blackaidsinstitute.org/) It's sobering reading, in case you missed it.    

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can We talk!...A 2011 Throwdown Thursday

It's almost just to much. The 24 hour news cycle is in overdrive and this forum is taking our tag line as "Arkansas' only daily updating blog site for the GLBTQ community and beyond," totally serious. Even though many of this week's postings have been pride filled, there's so much on the table that just can't be left out of this information loop. Are you ready, then let's go get em...

Wienergate Implodes

It had to happen. Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-HY)  had to go after his revelations of deceit, lies and sexting that has sent his once promising career into the "weren't you somebody at one time" tank. The hoots and hollar's from his colleagues and then the ultimate shot caller, President Obama, weighed in and it was all over except today's resignation announcement. Personally, with all the tisk-tisk behavior that has gone on in Congress and let's not think it not still ongoing, why is Mr. W's exploits more explosive than anyone else. David Vitter's sex escapades with the oldest profession was dismissed and he was re-elected and John Ensign stuck around until he couldn't explain that $90,000 gift that his mom and dad bestowed on his adultery partner. Is this a double-standard? Well, Yes and NO. It's all about the timing, how the political stars have aligned and who will fit comfortable under the bus. Meanwhile,Weiner had to go because his colleagues are so busy with the people's work and didn't need additional distractions. Yeah Right, until the next little distraction comes along...and trust me, it will. Note to Mr. Weiner: there is life after Congress and most likely you will do just fine with a book deal, cable show or commentator. Everyting is possible in the land of the freee. But at this point just know that now you've really been punked. Game over.

Retail Gay Therapy skips Arkansas

In the last few weeks, there's been much talk and backtalk about Old Navy's partnership with the It Gets Better Project on offeirng Pride 2011 T-shirts from their "Love Proudly" campaign. The shirts are designed to celebrate the annual June event and the project's efforts to call  attention to gay bullying in schools and communities. Sounds like a good idea doesn't it. Well it is, except it was revealed that only 26 of the more than 1000 plus Old Navy stores would have the item. However, as all good intentions somehow go awry, Old Navy got some tongue lashing from some "power queers" and decided not to have a public relations flare up. So, you can go to your local store and request a "charge-send" from another store to obtain the shirt. And NO, the shirts were not available in Arkansas. Whew! With all that said, It was unfortunate that there was no actual Pride 2011 shirt designed locally for purchase or maybe for gratis through a sponsorship. Is there no talent capable to come up with a great design and equally capable individuals to produce it?  This has taken place in the past but its more than apparent that everything connected to this event has been abdicated to the local venues. Not surprisingly because as this forum has reported previously, producing a pride this or that or anything GLBTQ focused takes Money, People and Leadership. It doesn't just happen for the sake of happening...you  have to make it happen. At this posting the shirts are a sellout in those participating stores and their facebook page is busting open with over demands for more shirts. They are available until June 30.   

GLBTQ Organizing in the City

Most of you just don't know how many meetings that I either I attend, suppose to attend, want to attend  and often miss attending because of various reasons. Earlier this week, I was attending a informational meeting for the Lucie's Place project which had gotten a good response from a well placed story in the Arkansas Times. As Q & A's begin to pop up, I heard numerous questions that caught my ear and senses but didn't get the best response I thought. Since this wasn't my spotlight, I didn't want to prolong the meeting (actually sometimes I hate meetings, but..) with a long explanation. But I felt that I could use my bully pulpit here to have my say. First up, "Why doesn't Little Rock have a GLBTQ organization?"  They are various entities in this city taking on many of the dilemmas that effect the GLBTQ community, even if they don't have the word "gay" in  their title they do exist. Here's a few: The Living Affected Corp, Center for Artistic Revolution, Arkansas HIV Community Advocates or Diamond State Rodeo Association.  Second question: "Why is there no gay newspaper or magazine in this city? It's been tried numerous times but one more time, here's your COP 24/7 economics lesson for the day: Idea (newspaper) needs advertisers, plus readership plus sponsors equal revenue to continue to produce idea. To sum that up, we live in a market based economy, if there's not a strong demonstrated need, then there's no investment "just because" its a good idea. This forum has realized this and made bold strides to fill the niche for the last 5 years while addressing the cost factor. During that time, no advertisers, groups, individuals or anyone has come forth to support this effort. Our posted Chip-In tip jar campaign went totally ignored and was suspended due to a lack of interest from the very community which pondered why there was no outlet. Only recently have we been supported by a benefactor whom believed that this forum was a worthy project and cajoled us back to the boards to keep bringing our brand of news, views and updates on what's really going on in this city and the world around us. Note to community: If you want this city to have "anything" you've got to put your money where it makes a difference. Not just lip service to complain about something that you don't plan to support or do anything about it. So what you gonna do...

From the we're not perfect file:
Our posting on the new office space for The LACorp group was missing the acutal physical address and we were updated on the facilities name as well. We stand corrected. You can discover their services in 1st Presbyterian of Agrenta at 401 North Maple in North Little Rock. For more info hit em up at:1.877.902-HIV or http://www.livingaffected.org/  Tell em you heard about it on COP 24/7!!



Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Pride Bounce Wednesday



Let the pride week roll on!! If you haven't had a chance to check out any of the merry making and silliness, then you still have time. But as that keeps moving and shaking, COP 24/7 is always seeking an opportunity to infotain and educate the community. Enter this video from Wet Platinum Man, Antonio Martinez and Glen Baker, former Mr. Australia. I assume that's "Mr. Gay Australia," but that doesn't matter, its all about the demonstration that these two lookers perform. I found it quite interesting and just knew that many of you would too. Especially since many of you didn't mind dropping trousers last evening at a local venue's Underwear party. I didn't catch the winner's name, but notice that he made sure that his package was as prominent as possible in those tight blue briefs. Almost everyone got into the act and few others offered up a bit of ass slapping to add to the mix of naughtiness. In a slight awkward moment, I noticed that  a crew of same gender loving women showed up, only to be rather off put at the sight of so many butts and boxes gyrating in the room. They promptly left. However, the antics went none stop as it seems that not only do boys want to be boys, but they really like doing it their undies. Onward and upward...

LA Corp Acquires Space

Local HIV/AIDS entity, The Living Affected Corp has secured office space in the First Presbyterian Church on the north shore in North Little Rock. According to CEO, D. Levi, the space was seriously needed as the group needed a more centralized area to continue it's mission to promoting positive sexual and reproductive health in marginalized communities.The organization currently has The Plus Club which provides a safe space for HIV positive women, LACorp Publishing featured the novel, "The Set Up" by Carl J. addressing the stigma associated with being HIV positive, Gay and Black while dealing with both criminal and health care systems, and the group is acting as facilitator for Lucies Place, an ongoing project to secure shelter for homeless LGBT youth. This project is currently seeking contributions during its summer fund drive with a goal of $20,000. For more information on contact http://www.lucieplace.org/  LACorp is a 501c3 organization seeking tax deductible donations, in-kind gifts or grants. To learn more about their response to prevention from a holistic approach, check out their website at: http://www.livingaffected.org/  Stay locked and loaded to this forum for the latest on this organization and other area groups affecting change in our community and world.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rainbow 2011 A-GO-GO

Its day 3 of Pride in the city and what a week it's been so far. Let's hope that I survive the tomfoolery to come and all that's taken place at this posting. As many of you know, this forum was designed to cover the good, bad and ugly of the GLBTQ community and beyond. I firmly take the position that the who, what, when and where of events or activities posted here are offered as a community service for those who want to be in the loop of what's really going on. So heads up friend, COP24/7 is all about bringing it to you in living color.

KUAR FM98 Interview

Thank you KUAR/NPR community listeners who expressed you affirmation for our interview contained with their, Gays in Arkansas series. My involvement in these projects always come at strange intersections but usually garner great results. What continues to surprise to myself and I thought I had surpassed this, but its  the reaction I get from many of you. Even though I'm no stranger to media, it seems that some of you were amazed at my ability to discuss the topic of gays and race in such a affirming manner. Also, a few stated that they didn't know that I would be so open and direct publicly. Really?  Well, just for the record I've been involved both directly and indirectly with social justice issues from a human rights prospective for almost 25 years. I framed our condition as human rights all those years ago when I realized that ultimately our disparities are all encompassing ranging from the workplace to the home front. Since that time, its become even more evident that there are not bits and pieces of our humanity being affected but all our life can be impacted by societal attitudes and governmental legislation. I've addressed it many ways including speaking before the Arkansas Legislature, lobbying our peeps on Capitol Hill in D.C. and traveling to national conferences and symposiums in search of information and funding for this state. I've honed my skills from trial and error but always staying keenly engaged on important issues meanwhile being focused that "none of us are free until all of us are free." Free to live, love and be the people we are destined to be despite those who spew hateful rhetoric and dogma to support their viewpoint. Why have I done this work for basically little remittance and sometimes not much thanks? Is because its not only my civic duty, but my belief that its our personal responsibility to respond, react and rebut those who trounce those who feel they are powerless as well as voiceless. It's for this reason I can firmly ask, "what have you done today to be proud.?" (check out the series on http://www.kuar.org/)

AETN Update

COP 24/7 recieved a listing from AETN of interesting programming including last evenings Stonewall Uprising on American Experience and "Anyone and Everyone," which aired June 12 on one of the new AETN Plus ( comcast channel  203). Also their will be a community screening of Two Spirits, this sunday June 19.at 10:30 p.m., repeats Monday, June 20 at 1:30 a.m. Fred Martinez was one of the youngest hate-crime victims in modern history when he was brutally murdered at 16. Two Spirits explores the life and
death of a boy who was also a girl, and the essentially spiritual natureof gender. "Two Spirits" interweaves the tragic story of a mother’s loss  of her son with a revealing look at the largely unknown history of a time
when the world wasn’t simply divided into male and female and many NativeAmerican cultures held places of honor for people of integrated genders.
*AETN's Community Cinema is screening "Two Spirits" on Thursday, June 23at the Faulkner County Library in Conway, and Tuesday, June 27 at Roosevelt Thompson Library in Little Rock. The Little Rock screening is co-hosted by KUAR. Both screenings start at 6 p.m., followed by a community discussion. Please share your thoughts with AETN about this programming at infor@aetn.org.

Tripping the Rainbow Fantastic

Congrats to the 2011 Miss Pride- Liyah Alezee and Braxton as Mr. Pride 2011. It was an interesting mix at Sunday evenings contest held at Pulse. This contest which I thought was to represent the week, actually has what appears to be another "Miss/Mr." mash-up slathed for Wednesday evening that I'm not totally clear about. However, each contestant did their best before a spirited little crowd that voiced their support for their favorite. One such favorite was Sidetrack's bartender Matt, who sang a heartfelt Melissa Etheridge tune aceplla. During his own stage interview he stated that he "wanted folks to just show up" which on  the surface is a simple message of unity and I heard many re-stating this phrase during the Monday night Bar Crawl. Even though I didn't make all the watering hole stops, by the time the Pride Week royalty and rest of crew rolled into Sidetracks, seems like all had enjoyed the trek despite a couple of hiccups. Apparently the crawl veered off course when it came to Club Good Times scheduled to be a 8p.m. stop. It was a no go when I checked the venue, which also seems to be embroiled in a few other sketchy matters that we are trying to sort out at post time. Then, there was a report that the crawl folks were left standing streetside when trying to access Main Streets's Pleasurzes night spot. Supposedly, there was an issue on entering the club which we are trying to verify and to understand what's up with that. In the meantime, both 610 and Pulse offered particpants a chance to get their drink on. I was extremely glad to see the diversity of the crowd, with hopes that this outpouring will continue not only this week but extend it self in our everyday interaction.   

Pageantry MIA 2.0 and counting...

Just as I thought this year's pride would serve up enough vividness for my usage that I learn that there's more technicolor madness just over the rainbow. Saturday night, June 11, the Miss Arkansas America show found it way into Hot Springs Jesters night club. This review revue features past titleholders in an effort to shore up support for the umpcoming preliminaries and state pageant in August. All the faces were painted and in place except one, the current titleholder, Shawn Tyler Andrews, who did a "call in sick" number that has stirred up the ire of board members. Apparently, Tyler- Andrews has had issues during his reign that has some saying under their breathes, that all of "it" is "unbecoming of a title holder." And what is "it"? As best can I can discern, it's that wide "symbol of excellence" berth ranging from attitude to performance appearances that is seriously assessed by this self policing body. Supposedly, it's rubbed the these sisters so raw that there's even defrocking chatter in the air. Say it ain't so! Meanwhile, backstage at last Saturday's show there was a party all unto itself taking place with those past "symbols of excellence" throwing back many snoot fulls of libations and such.  All of which resulted in some colorful performances according to onlookers.  I would bet that probably some of this could fall under some guideline in the Big Book of Drag Regulations that's whipped out at moments notice for use on those out of line entertainers. Stay tuned if you dare...

The Video that was posted to this site was from the social networking site, Gay Black America. Check it out at http://www.gayblackamerica.com/



Monday, June 13, 2011

Pride Week 2011




Pride 2011 takes flight this week with a host of activities ranging from contest to turnabout throw downs featuring area bar personnel. It's that time of the year when rainbow flags wave boldly and the latest anthem such as Lady GaGa's, "I was born this way" sound off from sound systems everywhere. However, as the merry making and frivolity takes center stage, this forum will continue to call to your attention vital issues and thought provoking dilemmas that will not be apart of the pride parade that will play out before our very eyes. Today KUAR FM.98 continued it's series, "Gay in Arkansas" featuring myself in a interview segment on the intersection of being black and gay. This issue has been debated and hotly contested in numerous platforms across the board. The producer wanted me to discuss the subject from my personal experience as well as my interaction within the community. I have had a colorful array of encounters and confrontations in dealing with race in the GLBTQ community ranging from my choice of partner, internalized racial perceptions that have raised questions as to my "Blackness" in the African American community and ultimately those who still embrace some racist attitudes that need adjusting. I've seen and heard it all, and much of it directly from the mouth's of gay people. As painful as some of it was, I've persevered and stayed steadfast from off color jokes and cartoons, racist statements and even mean spirited verbiage steeped in the word "nigger." It's all been a part of my "living the life," and it's created a stronger individual who still stands tall despite it all. Consequently, for many African-Americans the lavender life takes many turns and twist that makes each of us have unique coming out stories, relationships mixes, and engagements within what we call community. I felt that the above video is my contribution to bringing more substance to not only this week, but weeks to come. Celebrate as you may, but I urge each of you to take time to think a little deeper on how you can make a difference in some one's life not to mention your own.

AIDS in Arkansas: Which way is UP?

COP 24/7 has reported and probed numerous issues around the subject of HIV/AIDS in Arkansas. As we have monitored meetings, seminars and programming, every now and then we find ourselves stumped at orchestrated maneuvers from policy makers to operatives. What set off our radar this outing is the recent awarding of $50,000 to the Black AIDS Institute of Los Angeles, California. Did you say LA as in "it doesn't rain in southern California" fame. Bingo!  It appears that the Arkansas Department of Health not the California Department of Health, has decided to engage BAI to promote a statewide AIDS Prevention & Testing Tour similar to a 2010 effort. That tour was apart of the Greater Than AIDS campaign, a national media and mobilization initiative managed by the Black AIDS Institute and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Its purpose was suppose to engage Black individuals and institutions in a community wide effort to end the AIDS epidemic. BAI describes its position in this matter as a founding partner providing leadership and technical assistance. That's all well and fine. But there are several local agencies that have received a ton of technical assistance from far and near not to mention have developed their own home grown leadership. In my opinion, these are "the boots on the ground" in this state, not The Black AIDS Institute. Why can't agencies such as The Living Affected Corp, Arkansas AIDS Foundation, Northwest Arkansas Positive Links or other state oriented groups take the lead instead of playing second fiddle to folks who trotted out D-Lister entertainers for last years basically forgettable Arkansas tour. Although 50K is not a huge sum in the grand scheme of advocacy work, but what exactly did we achieve with that chuck of change?  And speaking of tours let's not forget the 6 month Magic Johnson testing tour which stopped through the city in 2010 and the AIDS Health Foundation's Testing America Mobile Clinic speedometer reached 10,000 miles while leaving the state after testing in April of last year. So we got some testing going on, which again is all fine and dandy, yet it seems that all of this continues to fuel the "care paradox" that looms large as the nexus of many issues. Through all this testing, when positive individuals are discovered, will there be sufficient dollars and some common sense to get them into treatment? Where's the plan Stan? There appears to be many meetings, planning group A, B, C and D, and yet Arkansas still has no line item in its budget for HIV/AIDS, possibly flawed statistical reporting,  STD rates are spiking, transportation issues exist, and meanwhile an out of state entity scoops up another $50,000 smackerooes for more testing. Ladies and Gentlemen this is a "WTF" moment if any. Listen up end users, consumers and all dealing with living with HIV, each of you need to come to the table to demand some accountability from policy makers and state officials. Not to incite a riot but, bringing some pitch forks and torches might not be a bad idea. Is there more? You damn right, so come on back as we call em out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Purple Lenses in View

TGIF! Or so to speak. Perhaps that should read, "Thank God for another Friday," with all the breaking news, updates, views, observations and opinions that have burst forth from this forum. No need to yield, just put the metal the peddle and keep pressing on. Come with me..

Gay Pride Week Arrives

Next week the local watering holes have stepped to the plate to offer their vision or interpretation of Gay Pride Week activities for patrons and visitors alike. In case you were unaware or for reason didn't know that next week is pride week, I want to make the connection that their is much more to this celebration than boxer, boots and beer. Enter The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture. Yes there is such a website and it offers a wealth of knowledge including, that's right Gay History in this state. I highly suggest that you take a gander at www.encylopediaofarkansas.net  to get a refresher or maybe a clue on what this pride stuff is all about and why its annually celebrated. Now, if you have tuned into this forum, you get a sense that there is a "cerebral" bent to my existence even though I've been known to like to have bawdy good old time. I'm not always the life of the party but I do like being somewhere near folks throwing down. But then there's the side of me that also enjoys a little heady stuff, therefore at this posting the pride week appears to null and void for us needing more serious fare. I remember years ago being told by GPW committee folks that "we just want to have fun and not think about anything serious." Apparently, that mindset still prevails today as "girls just want to have fun," and not be too serious about what's going on around them. I realize that the "serious"stuff such the fact that there's no actual functioning Pride organization or that many of other GLBTQ focused entities have wish list including volunteers, in-kind gifts and ultimately, cash. I know that none of that is as sexy as standing around signing ugly boxers or playing cowboys and Indians, however, when is it time to get serious and start trying to making societal a difference. For myself, I try to make it a daily pursuit either by outreaching to you in this forum, networking among activist and advocates, empowering someone with information or staying engaged with subjects and topics that not only effect myself, but my community. Ted Danson said in a recent NPR interview concerning his save the ocean campaign, "take 10 minutes out of your day to make a difference." Is it that simple, believe it or not it is. What can you do in ten minutes? You can make donation to one of the local entities such as The Living Affected Corp in their efforts to offer more HIV/AIDS services, call an old friend who you haven't heard from in a while, sign an online petition or share your thoughts with us.  As we celebrate another Pride, can I ask you to take a moment to really ponder the thought "what have I done today to be really proud of?" Be safe, Be merry and Be Thoughtful. 

Pageantry MIA

With pride week getting ready to step off with its Pride Mr & Miss contest June 12 at Pulse, Miss Arkansas Review show slated for June 11 in Hot Springs and later the Miss & Mr. Red Ribbon contest June 18, I've noticed that the local pageant circuit has begun its four decades old season by being thumped with a lack of contestants and what appears to be an even less than enthusiastic public from the quips and comebacks that I'm hearing. What's driving this situation? Is prize package, don't think so, according to the MGA website its valued at over $3,000 including some designer jewelry. Is it lack of sponsors, well it's every guy for himself on this one and there's still folks out there willing to help out. Is the economy, could be but that's a hard one to really call except for the fact that being a "diva with a crown" will set you back a few Benjamin's and then some. So what is it? If I had to finger it, maybe this business model is slowly running out of steam due to many factors. Those who participate discover that "all that glitter isn't gold" once they assume these titles and responsibilities, especially when it comes to scheduling, rehearsing, traveling, costuming and all the associated cash outlay that it takes to make being "Miss or Mr." whatever. One former contestant who has participated in at least two outings told me that he had coughed up almost $3,000 for the experience only to placed marginally. He stated," although I like and appreciate the art form, I can not continue to afford putting out that kind of money." Another former hopeful stated, "I tried it and may try again, but putting together the type of package that you need is almost too much. Its a lot of work to get it all together and not win." In hindsight it's been about 10 months since the last Miss Arkansas America pageant and I don't recall seeing the current title holder out and about. I know that its a late night show game for the most part, but you would think that at some point in my own travels I would've run across him. Nevertheless, the system will roll out it's 40th year of preliminaries with hopes, high hopes I'm sure for entry fee paying participants and a waiting audience. We'll keep you posted.  Go get em, boys and good luck!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Switching Channels

What a week so far and it ain't ova! My keyboards have been smoking like a freight train blowing through town. I've tapped out so much copy for this forum while working on other matters that it seemed that I would have to get out the Bengay while throwing back couple of Celebrex. But what's blogger to do when there's so much fresh meat to be grilled and folks waiting to see just what will we say about it all? Well, let's not keep them waiting...

Local GLBTQ community Featured on KUAR

KUAR's "Gay in Arkansas" series began May 23 and will run through June 27 featuring area advocates, activist, educators, clergy and other members from the GLBTQ community including myself addressing the multi-racial, multi-cultural aspect of living in Arkansas.
The series was made possible by a grant from the Darragh Foundation, which supports social justice initiatives in honor of the late businessman Fred Darragh.
The grant enabled KUAR to give the subject an in-depth treatment, speaking to many different gay and lesbian people in the state about the challenges they face and how their lives have changed over the years.
Issues like gay marriage continue to be hot-button issues, but KUAR is seeking to give more context to those stories.
"I think that all Arkansas residents, no matter what their opinion of homosexuality, will benefit from hearing the stories of gay Arkansans and the people close to them," says KUAR assignment editor Kelly MacNeil, who applied for the grant.
This series is a far cry from the response from AETN which when approached about programming the "Out In America" gay documentary stated that it was not utilizing "new PBS programming" for its pledge week but rather using previously aired content. But in a programming twist, AETN and KUAR will partner together to show "Two Spirits," as part of Community Cinema Monday, June 27, at 6 p.m. at Roosevelt Thompson Library in Little Rock.

The Roosevelt Thompson Library is at 38 Rahling Circle off Chenal Parkway. A community discussion will be held following the screening, led by Sarah Beth Estes, a Professor of Sociology and Coordinator of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Admission is Free. You can watch the trailer on this forum in an earlier post.   KUAR is the local affiliate for National Public Radio which is among my favorite listening outfits with its progressive show such as the Diane Rheem Show, Talk of the Nation and Fresh Air which host a variety of topics from today's news makers to the best selling authors. If you haven't had a chance to check out this bastion of news and infotainment then you should at FM89.  In another one of those degrees of separation thoughts, my father was a 30 year employee and retired from the Darragh Company. I have fond memories of being on the plant grounds, the guys who loaded and unloaded the trucks and being amazed at the toughness of the delivery vehicles as he made drops both locally and statewide. On occasion I actually met Mr. Darragh when visiting the office and who knew that decades later I would be apart of a social justice project as a result of his generosity. The Fred K. Darragh Foundation threw its substantial funds against 2008's ACT 1 the co-habiting and adoption mash-up that has been derided by Arkansas' Supreme Court.  
The series is produced by reporter Eric Francis, a freelance reporter from North Little Rock's Argenta neighborhood. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as The North Little Rock Times, Arkansas Times, Arkansas Business, Spectrum Weekly, Talk Business Quarterly, and Arkansas Life.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Mid-Week Cyber Stream

This week in the non-stop news cycle has almost left me breathless. It's only Wednesday and everything that could be reported by mainstream media was reported, and reported and damn it reported again. I am usually sitting in my own ground zero blasting out my daily chores as either MSNBC, CNN or NPR rolls with the latest mash-ups, melt downs, mess-ups or thumps of folks rolling under the latest bus that they've been thrown under. Let's face it, we are not spared any detail or sorted affair of whatever is the next big news story. Even though this forum knows who it's core audience is, we always state that we go "beyond" those limits because what effects some of us, at sometime will ultimately touch all of us. I can't be left out of the national mayhem while keeping all things local on our radar. Let's go in....

Weiner gets no Oscar

The scene was set on Monday afternoon with a called press conference that was being announced as I was working from no less than two computers. I wasn't particularly paying attention until I heard the voice of Anthony Weiner (D-NY) began his foray into the mea culpa club. Cue the violins. An obviously remorseful because I've been caught Weiner unveiled his guarded secret that he got caught up in a tech frenzy by "sexting" and texting his phallic thoughts galore. There he was, solemn, tearful, shaken and determined to do some "splanin" about how stupid he was to think that his escapades were just going go away quietly into the night. Not so Weiner. I was glued to the TV to watch this latest car crash, no rubbernecking, no sir, it was must see TV as this policy maker took a licking like an Egyptian slave but kept on ticking out the list of folks who was on the "I'm sorry list." Was I surprised, not hardly because from the onset of the story of the "hacked" social media account story sounded a bit fishy. Especially when asked he spewed kooky verbiage using lots of doublespeak and empty sentences that made me wonder what's going here? Now we all know that the good representative was  a freshly married "hot boy" who thought he could get his digital jollies without being found out. Amazing. Even more amazing is the cat calls for his resignation from the pious who sit in judgement while looking the other way on the behavior of others who have come this way. Note to Weiner: Enough already with the apology tour. Make an appointment with a therapist. Deal with the ethics investigation that's been called for. Prepare for that ass kicking from the new wife and your father-in-law. And finally, focus on the work you were sent to Congress to do instead of trying to be a babe magnet. In the meantime, someone check the Capitol Hill grill, this weiner may be cooked. Ouch.

Obama-Rama Oh My!

Can President Obama catch a break on anything? It doesn't look like it this week or any week for that matter. A few weeks ago, Princeton Professor Cornel West took the President to task by outright calling him no less than  a " Black mascot of the Wall Street Oligarchs and black puppet of corporate plutocrats," If that firebomb wasn't enough, he continued his verbal assault or in his words critique of the lack of progressive policies that don't uplift the poor and squarely blamed Obama as in simple words talking the talk but not walking the walk. To add to the pile on, there's Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney who in his bid announcement said that the administration was a complete failure. Apparently according to Romney, Obama has been sleep at the wheel for the last two years and the country has gone to hell in a hand basket. I beg to differ Mr. Romney, I believe that President Obama has given it a go despite all that was waiting for him when he arrived to the office. Can we say  three wars, Wall Street shake downs and businesses hoarding cash but not hiring. It's been a hell of a two years tryin to pull this country out the economic ditch and I'm not sure anyone else would have done better. Then we have all the "talking heads" from the Morning Joe wrecking crew to those talk radio pundits who have heaped every ailment known to man on Obama. Unfortunately it seems that the President is responsible for everything including those Sun Spots that supposedly disrupted GPS signals and phone service. Who knew that one man had such immense power! In my opinion surely there's lots of blame to go around on all of this. Hey how about that partisan politics that's going on, what about those monied lobbyist who wrangle bills for the interest of their clients and not to mention other politicos that work the system. In my estimation, there's a whole lot of BS that's taking place and its not all about the big "O."  

Gay Pride in the City

I got a text message from a concerned community individual who wanted to know, "what's happen to Little Rock's Gay Pride events and why is there no parade?" Thanks for asking. As a former Pride chairperson, this city has had "hate/love" relationship with this event over the years. It's taken place in area parks including Kanis and Allsopp, parking lot of the Discovery Complex and of course within the various bars. Committees and Organizations have come and gone who took the helm to produce a week of activities, however, through it all it's always been about funding, funding and funding. Yes it takes money to produce anything and groups around the country have been suffering from deficits when trying to keep putting on anything gay pride related. If you have the money and that's a big "if," then there's the necessary structure, solid leadership, and die heart volunteers who will be there from start till the endgame. Each year was a marginal success, but never built the momentum to create a designated organization that would be capable of sustaining over the years. Therefore, as time passed  we've had a hodge podge of outings with some being more produced more than others such as the Rivermarket event to 2009's Pride in the Park supported by this forum and arranged by a mix of local groups and individuals. As for parades, there have been caravans during bar crawls, no substitute for an actual parade but it has been done. Also, there was a mini-parade through the Discovery parking lot one year that attempted to meet the need. Ultimately, it's up to people to determine if we truly have a "community" which is willing to put their dollars in play and make it happen without attitude extremes and personality conflicts. What say you "community,?" What you gonna do? It's either step up or stay on the porch of dreams.  Share your thoughts with us here, if you dare... 

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Is this thing on...A Tuesday Edition

Oh those hot summer days, oh I meant, still spring days since we've not officially crossed the summer threshold according to the calendar. But, none of that really matters as we experience a heatwave preview with soaring temps toward the century mark. So take a breather, get hydrated and sit up and take notice to the latest from CorneliusOnpoint.

AETN Responds to Out in America not in Arkansas

Ask and you shall receive. We got the word from Arkansas Educational Television Network concerning our request for comment on the decision to not broadcast the "Out in America" documentary in Arkansas. It came via e-mail from Darbi Blencowe, Viewer Services Coordinator. But first if you are not up to speed on the situation let's review shall we. COP 24/7 posted a link to the documentary on Facebook citing it being shown during Gay Pride Month. As this forum began getting inquires about the exact date of broadcast, I went into research mode to discover the date only to uncover from a GLADD report that the program was being premiered in "selected major markets" but not Arkansas. Here's their response unedited or filtered:

Hi Cornelius,

Thank you for contacting AETN and bringing this program to our attention.
We are not conducting live fundraising events in June with any of the new
programs offered by PBS. The programs airing this week are from previous
pledge drives. If "Out in America" is scheduled for future fundraising
drives, we will be glad to notify you at this e-mail address.

We hope you continue to find television worth watching on AETN!
Sincerely,
Darbi Blencowe
AETN Viewer Services Coordinator



Alright that's what the good folks at AETN had to say. Are you satisfied with this answer? Do you think that this is the "tippy toed" response that would be offered? Should this forum ask some more questions? You Palin Betcha!  According to the PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, each station is independent and can run whatever programming they wish, aside from programming distributed by PBS. Therefore AETN can choose to program Out in America anytime, not just during a pledge drive or Gay Pride Month. PBS provides member stations with over 100 hours of pledge programming to "choose" to air per paying dues to do so. Also there are other content sources from which they can select programming such as American Public Television or Executive Program Service.  It appears that this response is the old polite "thank you for bringing this to our attention," brush off. 
If you are regular viewer, you've seen those pledge drives with heavy hitters such as Suzy Orman who just happens to be gay, light up those phones with contributions. Ms.Orman has been reported to be one of the biggest fundraiser for PBS while pitching her personal finance products. While watching her, I've bought products and most likely many of you have as well. Seems there was no problem bring Ms. Suzy front and center to pitch for pledges. Meanwhile following the money, AETN is membership driven but primarily funded from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In fiscal year 2011 that federal appropriations is $430 Million Benjamin's of which about $215.2 Million gets sifted to member stations. All local donations are retained in their entirety by the local stations. Wouldn't it be bold of AETN to use this program to affirm their commitment to diversity and cultural competency, while asking for contributions.
Thank you my online source intellecutaltakeout.com for breaking it down for me as well as allowing me to drill even deeper on the subject. Believe it or not, the history of public broadcasting is quite interesting when you think about the amount of cash that flows within it's realm to serve the public. No wonder there's lots of noise about ceasing it's taxpayer funding. So, where does that federal funding derive from, well viola, that's me and YOU, from  those tax dollars that are not apart of your net pay. So in short order, "we" are the "public" that are to be served by these airwaves because we fund them. Is this a much ado about nothing, not hardly if you take time to really think about it.  Let me hear from you and don't hesitate to share your thoughts with AETN. Here's the links: info@aetn.org  or call them (501) 682-4198  Tell Executive Director, Allen Weatherly what you think about it at: aweatherly@aetn.org