Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Leap Year Unfolding

The keyboards are always smoking here at COP 24/7 and today's no different. There's so much news, updates and break out stuff coming our way that we have to dodge a few of them. In the meantime, as the in box keeps filling up, I plan to keep pumping it out as Arkansas only daily updating blog for the LGBTQ community and beyond. Now let's get to work...

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis

Academy Award-winning actor Geena Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004. The Institute and its programming arm, See Jane, are at the forefront of changing female portrayals and gender stereotypes in children’s media and entertainment.
The institute is the only research-based organization working within the media and entertainment industry to engage, educate and influence the need for gender balance, reducing stereotyping and creating a wide variety of female characters for entertainment targeting children 11 and under. Davis won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in "The Accidental Tourist" in 1988. This lecture is hosted in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

When: Tuesday, February 7, 2012
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. – Lecture

Where: Clinton Presidential Center
Great Hall *Location changed due to large crowd.

*Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu, or calling 501-683-5239.

Gospel A-Go-Go Again

The Arkansas Department of Health Presents will recognize Black HIV Awareness Day 2012 with a  gospel concert featuring Le Andria Johnson, Tuesday February 7, 7 pm at First Baptist Church S.A. Jones in North Little Rock. She was the winner of 2010 Sunday's Best competition as seen on BET and also was nominated for a Grammy for her debut gospel single. Her journey to stardom is inspirational as cited by her Amazon.com bio which highlighted that as a twice divorce mother pursuing her passion and dream. All of her music is available on the site for download or purchase. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, can we now go on to speculate as to why this type of programming keeps being the centerpiece of AIDS related programming for the Black community? Let's not forget that World AIDS Day spawned a "gospel concert." There's been concerts in Pine Bluff and now comes yet another concert showcase with only feel good outcomes and no real impact on addressing those who are living with the disease. Let me be clear that I'm not hating on spirituality or some good gospel singing. No one likes hearing praises that can shake the heavens but I take exception that it seems that this approach has been tirelessly overused, limited in scope and in the world of "evidence based this or that," can only be measured marginally. Furthermore, why don't we hear more from these houses of worship in the form of monthly educational opportunities, how about Sunday Free Testing led by the minister? Or better yet, why don't some of these congregations share some bucks from the collection plate for local community based organizations. It's been knocked around that church vans should be considered as an answer to the lack of any prudent plan dealing with consumer transportation issues. So welcome to 2012 with another AIDS centric event featuring an artist exclusively chosen by our local health concert promoters. Go forth and be blessed.

BACKTALK:  Community Voices

COP 24/7 is always open to opinions, observations, rants and whatever version of communication that you wish to share you message. If you've got something to say, then let's hear it. And now the floor is open.....

Twice last week, I was challenged as to what was I doing, since I wasn't even a "member" of the Arkansas Community Planning Group (CPG).

This is part of what we do to each other when we require a membership card to get inside.

Interestingly, I got my membership via an unknown person stamping my membership card by passing along HIV.

I certainly don't need to fill out a form to become a member of HIV advocacy and interventions.

As an American, I hold the birth certificate to be a member of that group, I have served my country, and took an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Though more than all of that, I am a concerned citizen, that still wonders WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY, AND HOW...we Arkansans have to address the issue of 4,617 HIV positive Arkansans living without being IN CARE.

(In Care = not having at least basic HIV labs done within the past 12 month period)... Without labs, doctors can't tell what viral load, and cd4 (T-cell/helper cells) counts are. Hence, they certainly can't prescribe a medication regime to reduce viral load and increase cd4.

Who do we need to address this many Arkansans not in care? The Arkansas Department of Health? Been there done that. Center for Disease Control (CDC)? They have been included in the emails.

What do we have to do to get these Arkansans into CARE? The Arkansas Department of Health knows to a person who these individuals are!

When are those who can do something to get these Arkansans IN CARE, going to take ACTION? We have been highlighting this issue since at least May 2011. To date, I am unaware of any ACTION.

Where do I, and others, truly concerned about having only 37 percent of the identified Arkansans living with HIV in care, have to go to get the over 4,000 Arkansans living with HIV NOT IN CARE...into treatment? Is this something that Governor Beebe, or our US Representatives need to address through Health and Human Services channels?

Why hasn't immediate ACTION been taken to get these Arkansans into care? Is staffing failure an Arkansas Department of Health issue? Is it a failure by the State Legislature to adequately fund health programs in Arkansas? Is this one of those federal mandates that really isn't willing to improve HIV treatment to ensure health and prevention...but they talk about it?

How do individuals "paid" to deal with this virus, continue to seemingly ignore the facts above, and not work to meet...at a minimum, the 85 percent in care standard set in national policy? Additionally, when will someone step forward to ensure they don't cash their checks until efforts are made to correct this health crisis.

Treatment is prevention. Hence, to have this many folks outside of treatment is to ignore this prevention priority.

Who, what, when, where, why, how do I have the right to speak out about this?

I am an HIV positive advocate that believes now is too late to not be providing adequate available treatment to Arkansans so that they don't pass along HIV to others.

Maybe...just maybe...the folks who get paid to deal with HIV...should have their membership challenged?

Best, be safe, have fun, stay healthy and stress-free...God bless

Bob C

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Trending Zip Line

Germ Free via Handwashing

If you would like to participate in The Global Handwashing Day survey, its due on Tuesday, January 31. They will be reviewing all of the feedback and produce a short report on Global Handwashing Day 2011. That feedback will also be used in planning for this year's celebrations. The link to the survey is below. You can find further links to the Spanish and French versions on the survey through the below link. https://docs.google.com/a/fhi360.org/spreadsheet/viewformhl=en_US&formkey=dHlaX1JFb0dLd0NvenlxMjhDdnRfZnc6MA#gid=0

If you haven't thought it about it and take it from me you should, basic hand washing is the best remedy to many ailments and infections. Its no secret that much of our environment is germ infested and its vital that each person wash their hands as often as possible. Yes its really true that a good old "soap and water" treatment goes a long way. Personal hygiene plays an important factor on numerous fronts from food safety to disease. It is for this reason that I'm always curious about local food trucks and the ability of those entrepreneurs to do some good hand washing while servicing the public. Food borne diseases can be accelerated or enhanced due to the lack of folks not adequately washing their hands. Believe it or not, COP 24/7 has shared thoughts with the City concerning policies and procedures for these outlets. They responded that some one would look into the matter with a quaint "thank you, the city." I take the position that being an empowered consumer is key across all spectrum's whether its financial instruments or what one is putting in their mouth!

In addition, they will be offering free Global Hand washing Day and hand washing behavior change hard copy materials on a first come, first served basis. Below is a list of the hard copy materials available. If you would like to receive these materials, please send them:

1. Your name

2. Organization and how the materials will be used

3. Mailing Address

4. Which materials you would like and how many copies of each you need

We will try our best to accommodate your request depending on total level of demand.

Materials available

- Handwashing Handbook (English, Spanish, French, and Swahili): This document contains great guidance and tools for creating and managing a handwashing behavior change program
- Global Handwashing Day Planner's Guide (English) ( http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/Tools.asp )
- GHD Monitoring Guide (English) ( http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/Tools.asp )
- 100 School Survey (English) ( http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/Tools.asp )
- Project WET student workbooks and posters (English-Sub-Saharan African target audience): http://store.projectwet.org/index.php/water-sanitation-hygiene-kids-activity-booklet.html (limited supply)
The final take away is nothing more than "wash those hands every chance you get, because its worth it."

AIDS 2012 Plenary Speakers Announced

Gregorio Millett
Gregorio MillettToday’s announcement Exit Disclaimer (PDF 215KB) of plenary speakers is a clear indication of how AIDS 2012 is shaping up to be one of the strongest International AIDS Conferences yet, with 15 world-renowned experts tapped to speak on a range of key issues related to the global and U.S. response to AIDS. Under the plenary theme of Ending the Epidemic: Turning the Tide, Monday’s panel will feature a presentation by NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci entitled, “Ending the HIV Epidemic: From Scientific Advances to Public Health Implementation.” On the same panel, Black AIDS Institute Executive Director and Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS member Phill Wilson Exit Disclaimer will deliver remarks entitled, “The U.S. Epidemic”, and Dr. Sheila Tlou Exit Disclaimer, Director of UNAIDS’ Regional Support Team for East and Southern Africa will speak to “Turning the Tide in Affected Countries: Leadership, Accountability and Targets.”
Complete details regarding all 15 plenary speakers and daily conference themes is available on the conference website at www.aids2012.org Exit Disclaimer. Please visit their site for more information about what to expect at this biennial event that is expected to bring over 25,000 participants to Washington, DC from July 22-27th. Stay tuned to this blog for additional details about the USG’s role in AIDS 2012.

The Name Game
A new LGBTQ health magazine is being developed and produced by LA Corp highlighting health dilemmas and issues beyond HIV and AIDS. Funded through a Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project grant, the scope of the project will include collaborating with physicians, clinicians, non traditional advocates and other stakeholders on policies as well as social determinants that impact sexual minorities. The organization is launching a naming contest to discover a title for the new venture which is open statewide. All submissions must be original and will be used in the advertisement of the project which include both billboards and Facebook ads. A prize of $100 will be awarded to the winning submission. Deadline is March 1, 2012 Forward your entries marked "The Name Game" to info@lacorponline.org

COP 24/7 Seeks Geeks

This forum is seeking to engage some tech heads or computer geeks who would like to share some of their expertise to take this platform to new heights. We are always in search of volunteers who have some spare time to investigate the latest gadgets, gizmos or breaking new technology that will keep COP 24/7 on the cutting the edge of offering our unique visitiors as interactive experience. So, if you know anyone who may interested or can offer some leads, then share it with us here. Come share your knowledge base as we continue to provide a community service to our ever changing world!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Forward Rush

COP 24/7 every now and then finds its self backlogged with more info than it can handle, sort, read or flip through. Believe it or not, this forum actually reads most of the mail it receives and all of your comments, back talks, rants and what have you don't get tossed becasuse we're busy with other matters. Of course everything doesn't make the cut, but for the most part if it reaches out and grabs our attention enough, you will see it posted at some time throughout our weekly cycle. With all that said, if you have items, updates, links or obseravations that you want to share, feel free to give us the scope at nealix101@comcast.net  We love hearing from each everyone one of you!!! Let's hear from you today.

Airlines Bemoan Recent Changes

For the life of me I can't understand why the Airlines seem to always believe that somehow they are being singled out or picked on. The recent changes concerning fares that do not include those pesky fees of Airport Transfer, 911 Tax, Federal Taxes, etc seems to me to be a no brainer. Especially since I've never thought of the "ticket" without those additives as being the actual fare. It was  the total when I included all the excess that I personally considered my purchase price. I don't know how anyone could think that any fare is actually "$59," "$99," or any other of those other low cost come on's that are bold advertised by the discount carriers. Those carreirs, Spirit, Allegence and Southwest are not amused at the changes citing that advertising the "real" price of their tickets versus those core prices that they state are being infringed upon, seems rather silly to me and should be to most of the flying public. This is most evident since each individual has now become their own ticket agent with almost the entire ticketing process being done by the consumer. In case you haven't flown recently, litterally you can create your travel plans from seat assignment, view the aircraft on which you will be traveling, search your fares, compare fares, choose the time of day of travel, and print out your boarding passess for the entire trip. Not to mention you can be alerted to early check-in and flight cancelations through text, cell phone or e-mail. Just think when I wanted a job as a ticket agent, I couldn't get an interview and now I'm doing the job without any damn training whatsoever. Amazing. In the meanitime, I think that those airlines who feel that the flying public is so short sighted to think that a "$39" fare is really the actual fare, then surely they are mistaken. Note to airlines, "forget about it and get on with it."

The OWN Network: Year Two

I don't know about you, but I'm still tyring to figure out exactly what's up with the Oprah Winfrey Network's programming. Have you seen it? Well in case you haven't actually you haven't missed much since its much talked about and widely hearlded coming in 2011. This multi-Billion dollar mash up of the Discovery Channel and all things "O" has sorted meandered and shuffled along with stuff that I'm not sure a lot of her base viewers really would gravitate toward. Since that big send off, Ms. Winfrey dismissed former chief executive Chris Norman while announcing that she would now be guiding the embattled OWN mothership herself. The big dollar venture has been losing money as those all important Ad sales dipped. Also viewership is not growing but rather diminishing as the cable competition up ticks with more channels that I personally think are needed.  For myself only a few notables have stood out and had me to come back to the show. Lisa Ling's, Our America, offers distinct glimpses into her subject matters lives from numerous aspects. Her interview style is personal, intimitate and presented from a sort of "observer" position of human nature. Her subjects have ranged from drug abusers to those dealing with gender identity issues. Its a good show among the line up. Another keeper is the Oprah Masterclass series which feature the "life experiences and lessons" from those in her power roledex. Recently I saw Morgan Freeeman's entry which was enlightening and gave me a boost in the morale department. He talked about watching movies in the dark of the theatre as he visualized himself as an actor and his long and winding trek to becoming an overnight sensation at 50 years old. I'm not so much a fan of all the re-run of old movies that have been seen so many times, on a channel some where else on the dial. Also, I 've never seen so many cooking shows featuring peppy white women. Who at OWN thought that filling the schedule with all these ladies who live in beautiful spaces and shop endlessly for products that the average viewer has either never heard of or most likely will never use. A bright spot in the cooking set was Sweetie Pies which gives a realtiy treatment to the daily operations of runing a restaurnat. It's appeal is based in the all american "boot strap" story of a person with a dream and bringing the family along for the ride. I took aliking to it and watched a marathon wrap-up as the season ended. Hopefully they will be picked up for another season.   Then there's The Rosie Show do over featuring gal pal Rosie O Donnell rolling out more of what she's already done. More singing, silly gags, guest star small talk and her engaging monolouges. I've seen this on two occasions and felt that I could take it or leave it, and so I left it where I found it. To sum matter up, Lady O will try to resucitate the situation with breaking out with Oprahs's Next Chapter series with the tag line "we're not that studio and sitting those chairs anymore." So far she has troutted out Steven Tyler and a two part with movie mogul Georgre Lucas. The Lucas interview was extremely candid and eye opening in which the producer talked about his childern, love interest Melody Hobson and his vast entertainment empire. It was vintage Oprah with her actually sitting in another set of chairs for the session. Hopefully as 2012 unfolds, there will be more stimulating programming in the networks future. Let's hope that OW hasn't called in all her markers for this big budget behemoth that will either fly or come crashing down all around her. Good Luck Ms. O, I'll be watching.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A COP 24/7 Tipping Point

Fear. Adrenaline. Wheeee! The Geico Piggee says it all and I just love it. Its exactly how COP 24/7 gets produced every day and then some. Thinks this mash up drops without any effort, think again my readers. This exercise in citizen journalism actually does take place over a "24/7" time period as I check in on various news cycles, updates, breaking news and that all important e-box that brims with your tidbits, tales and tattling that keeps the local information funky fresh. Who knew that I would be persuaded to reignite this flame in an effort to be a beacon of what's really going on in this city and state. Stay tuned as we ramp up this forum with more video, links, interactivity and chances to access our prize stash. As I sit here in the Big Chair staring out from by glass cube location, I keep bring it and I hope that you'll keep lovin it! Now let's go get em...

What's the Plan Stan? 2.0

In an earlier post, COP 24/7 answered a readers call to "recall" our posting on a as yet unannounced Prevention campaign coming from the brain trust of the Arkansas Department of Health's HIV-Hep C Section. I acknowledge that COP 24/7 was invited to the late fall 2011 meeting in which this forum engaged section chief Tina Long on details concerning the impeding campaign. Unfortunately, her then answers were extremely nebulous, if not down right vague except to the fact that a contract had been awarded to Advantage Communications to the tune of $150,000 with a possible target release date of maybe February or March. Also she stated that there had been a focus group but had no formal comment documentation or any other substantial report as to the nuts and bolts of how the campaign was developing has been made available. After an e-mail from a concerned individual from the Arkansas Community Planning  Group was circulated, there were "bullet points" offered from Long as answers to that inquiry that still left room for yet more questions. Including my burning question of why does ARCPG have a "marketing" committee and what are they suppose to be marketing? Also, if such a committee exist, wouldn't it have been prudent to at least give members a framework of the illusive campaign that was under construction?  Got that?

Ultimately COP 24/7 would like to know "what's the big secret?" And furthermore, why does it seem that there continues to be those policy wonks, bureaucrats or paper pushers who are hell bent on thwarting any detailed communication. Instead the meetings and responses are filled with piles of "talking points", spinned explanations and mucho speeches but saying nothing verbiage.  Its prevalent all over the system, at all levels and across many agencies. By golly none of this doublespeak or talking out both sides of one's mouth does anyone any damn good. Especially those 4,617 folks apart of the Arkansas unmet need, individuals trying to navigate our admitted patch work system or those individuals who attend monthly meetings or teleconferences whom seem be apart of strategy of  a "checked box" to be CDC compliant.  Actually as I see it, this is not about the actual "campaign" but a systemic problem of a "strained relationship" that has persist over the years between ADH, HIV-Hep C Section, other entities and those living infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. Not to mention local community based organizations that have been subjected to quasi management steeped in ever changing policies and procedures. Apparently engulf in a departmental culture of what appears to be dysfunction at its worst. Let me be clear, I'm not all about ranting about problems without offering some possible solutions. So let's think about these...

1. I suggest that the Community Planning Group Guidance Handbook be offered to all members of the group and that at each meeting some part of it is reviewed. I've read much of this guide and it has distinct direction, protocols and problem solving scenarios that would be helpful. I would be interested in if any member of this group has seen or heard of it? If not, why not? Here's a link: www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/hiv-cp.pdf   How easy was that one...

2. Communication is obviously problematic. May I suggest that an E-zine, newsletter or some form of a mass communication tool be created immediately. Not on a drawing board, conceptually or needing any reviews. NOW!  Sent weekly to an appointed data base with updates, links, timelines and basic information from the HIV-Hep C Section. Anybody heard of Constant Contact or seen the Office of Minority Healths piece?  Need a contractor? Another easy one...

3. I'm over the Consultants A-go-go. These high priced echo chambers have come in and out of the loop sucking up big dollars that have garnered "Zero." After several rounds of these "talking heads" have we not learned anything? How many times do we have some indivdiual swoop down into our midst to tell us stuff that we should have already deciphered. Such as you have an unmet need? Know that already. You have brought many stakeholders to the table? Really?  Enough already with the consultants. In the proverbial words that is a ADH mantra, "when we know better, we do better..." then surely all the smart folks in the room need to be held accountable if we don't. Time as wastin, let's get on with it!

Stonewall Democratic's First Annual Valentine's Day "GAYLA"

412 Louisiana St.
Little Rock, AR 72201

Driving Directions

Friday February 10, 2012 from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM CST
Add to my calendar

Come celebrate Valentine's Day with Stonewall Democrats!

$10 cover charge at the door
(Must be 21+ to attend)

Parking: "Best Parking" lot - 4th and Louisiana
(Free for this event)

Cash bar, light hors d'oeuvres, and plenty of dancing!
Open to the LGBT community and our allies!

Let's have a GAY ole time!
Click the Register Now link below to RSVP.
Register Now!
I can't make it

Eric McDaniel
Stonewall Democratic Caucus of Arkansas


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Lavender Lenses

The Graying of HIV: Strategies in Survival

COP 24/7 in its ongoing effort to address issues and dilemmas involving HIV/AIDS in Arkansas. This forum wanted to expand the scope of this health crisis and as a result will be doing a multi part series on the the impact of the Affordable Health Care Act as well as the lack of preparedness of service providers to deal with patients, clients and consumers who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS 50 and older. This forum will also explore how this next frontier is being examined by our local health department and the strategies being developed to assist this population. In a webinar presented by the Administration on Agency (www.aoa.gov) offered a wide range of presenters whom cited their perspectives on what the landscape looks like presently while forecasting how the health care system will be utilized as more individuals who have been previously or recently diagnosis. Representative from around the country shared their experiences of how they are developing more best practices which include whether seniors had differing clinical needs and how to deliver those needs as it appears that those over 50 are becoming a fast growing infected population. Over 100 people tuned into this webinar, which by far was one of the best organized and executed that I've been apart of. Using the CISCO WebEX platform, presenters consistently moved through the presentations offering factoids, graphs and links to substantiate their premise that among  the new challenges of an aging HIV/AIDS populous training would be scaled up among providers, care givers, community based organizations and case management workers. One of the stark realities revealed was the fact that in 2015, over half of people living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S. will be over the age of 50. As we began to unfold our research on this next horizon of this crisis, COP 24/7 would like to share this informational video and links. (www.nhaaad.org and www.lgbtagingcenter.org )

The Name Game: New LGBT Health Journal Arrives in 2012
A new LGBTQ health magazine is being developed and produced by The Living Affected Corporation highlighting health dilemmas and issues beyond HIV and AIDS. Funded through a Healthy People 2020 Community Innovations Project grant, the scope of the project will include collaborating with physicians, clinicians, non traditional advocates and other stakeholders on policies as well as social determinants that impact sexual minorities. Content submissions are also being sought for review by the Editorial Board which will make final selections March 15, 2012. Authors or researchers if chosen will be entitled to a $125 compensation per submission. The organization is also launching a naming contest to discover a title for the new venture which is open statewide. All submissions must be original and will be used in the advertisement of the project which include both billboards, circulated print and Facebook ads. A prize of $100 will be awarded to the winning submission. Deadline is March 1, 2012 Forward your entries marked "The Name Game" to info@lacorponline.org Stay tuned to COP 24/7 as we will announce all the winners!

Lucie's Place Fundraises for 2012

The Board of Directors of Lucie's Place have announced March 9, 7-9 pm as an evening of fabulous art at St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, 12415 Cantrell Road in West Little Rock. According to board chair  Penolope P., all proceeds of the benefit will go toward the development of Lucie's Place, which is slated to be a shelter resource designed for displaced LGBTQ young adults.

The art show will feature regional artists from Arkansas and also artists from Tennessee, Mississippi, and Florida will provide pieces for a silent auction. HorsD’oeuvres and beer, wine and soft beverages will be available. Tickets are $25 per person and $45 per couple and can be obtained by calling 501-764-0237 or e-mailing LuciesPlaceAR@gmail.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tuesday Take OUT

The days are clicking away at a steady pace and this forum is staying the course with tapping out the latest updates, send ups, mash up and so forth and so on. Its COP 24/7 on the move in our efforts as Arkansas only daily updating LGBTQ blog to keep you informed, empowered and entertained in 2012. We know that if you are thinking about it, then most likely we're talking about it. Lets get busy...

Obama Speaks: The State of the Union 2012

President Obama will come before the nation tonight in his third State of the Union speech as he prepares for election 2012. Mr. Obama has had a tough run while attempting to govern amidst partisan politics, congressional gridlock, and a grumpy electorate. During his administration, he has been in nothing but a slug fest with his detractors as he has pushed through numerous policies and initiatives including a first ever National AIDS Strategy, repealing Don't Ask-Don't Tell, Wall Street reforms and many other notable items to his credit. Of course he failed to close Guantanamo, many federal nominees unappointed all the while trying to compromise with his Capitol Hill opponents. However, with a stubborn economy that is on the upswing, its the feisty and volatile public especially those in a Occupy state of mind that have also been on Mr. Obama's radar and most likely will be addressed in tonight's speech. Reports state that Mr. Obama will laser in on the topic of "fairness" and I believe that he must contrast how the lack of fairness has impacted both middle and lower income persons in this nation. Despite a 48% percent approval rating, he has continued to amplify this position with anthems of "We Can't Wait" and "its a make or break time" in America. Truly it is a make a or break time as the American people have tired of Wall Street greed, a complicated tax code, jobs being out sources or down sized resulting in substantial unemployment and policies that favor the one percent controlling much of the countries wealth. In my opinion, President Obama has done the best that could be done with a much of deck stacked against him. He has demonstrated courage under fire as the task of being President of The United States is probably one if not the hardest job on the face of the earth. Now lets get ready to go get em in November 2012.

No Rainbow Announcements in NWA Newspaper

KARK and other news outlets are reporting concerning the most recent incident of a newspaper citing policy in regards to its insertion of engagement announcements. COP 24/7 monitored the situation as the news broke on the Yahoo platform citing Cody Renegar, 35, of Elkins, Ark. whom asked the Arkansas Democrat Gazette to publish an engagement announcement for his June wedding commitment ceremony, something Renegar said happens for other couples who would like to announce their impending nuptials.
"I called the newspaper and asked how I can submit our announcement for publication," Renegar told Yahoo! News. "I was told that they won't publish them until it's legal."

Renegar said the newspaper declined to run the announcement because of long-standing policy.
According to newspaper representatives, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette charges a minimal fee and has content length requirements, but does run announcements on a regular basis for heterosexual couples, including mixed race couples. They do not run same-sex announcements because the state of Arkansas does not legally recognize those unions.

Gazette publisher Rusty Turner told Yahoo! News on Monday that he was not familiar with Renegar's request, but said it would not be published because of long-standing editorial policies.
"We run announcements for marriages that are legally recognized in Arkansas," Turner said."It is a long-established policy of the newspaper."
Turner said he was personally unaware of any similar requests from same-sex couples.
Renegar and his fiance, 28-year old Thomas Staed, plan to conduct a public commitment ceremony at their northwest Arkansas home this summer. Same-sex marriage is not currently recognized under Arkansas state law, although other states and the District of Columbia do recognize same-sex marriage or civil unions.
"We don't need a license to prove our love," Renegar said. "We'll get married in front of our family and friends...we know we're in love."
On Saturday, the engagement story was published on Yahoo! and immediately drew the attention of friends and family on social media sites such as Facebook, as well as KNWA, a local television news outlet.
"My friends are just amazing," Renegar said. "They started calling and texting me and asking when it would be in the newspaper."
Local activist Jay Phillips was one of the people to join Renegar's cause. Through his contacts at GetEqual.com and Change.org, Phillips initiated an online petition drive to apply pressure on the newspaper to change its policies.
"I contacted (publisher Rusty Turner) to give him an advanced notice of our intent to build public awareness of their discriminatory policy," Phillips told Yahoo! News. "It's my opinion that he's willing to progress on the issue, but he is reasonably worried about blow-back from his conservative readers."
Turner said there was no plans currently under way to examine the policy or grant an exception for Renegar.
Phillips said some apprehension on the newspaper's part was understandable.
"This is a very progressive area in a red state," Phillips said. "Mr. Turner is very justified to be cautious, but it is wrong."
Renegar said he thought the newspaper's policy was outdated and simply needed to be changed to keep up with the times. "Maybe they just need to take another look at their policies and change them," he said. "It is the right of any couple to be able to share their love and happiness...it's validating (source: Yahoo News)

AoA Hosts Webinar on HIV/AIDS and Aging on January 25th

In the last 30 years since the first diagnosed cases of HIV/AIDS, the epidemic has changed and older adults are at greater risk than ever. On Wednesday, January 25th, the Administration on Aging (AoA) will hold a webinar on HIV/AIDS and aging to explore community programs and resources associated with positive aging and prevention. The Graying of HIV/AIDS: Community Resources for the Aging Services Network will offer a webinar Wednesday, January 25, 2:00–3:00 pm Eastern. Presentations will last 60 minutes with a question and answer session to follow.

The misconception that older adults do not have sex and cannot get HIV has led to a lack of HIV testing among this population. HIV risk doesn’t stop at 50. In fact, men and women over age 50 account for 17% of all new HIV and AIDS diagnoses. In 2009, people aged 50 and older accounted for 23% of AIDS diagnoses in the United States. Yet older adults are often overlooked in the ongoing HIV/AIDS conversation. Lack of public education about HIV/AIDS targeted at older people means this demographic is less knowledgeable about how to protect themselves against infection. Join us for the Graying of HIV/AIDS, because together we can: educate, empower, prevent.
To Register for the Online Event
  1. Go to https://aoa-events.webex.com/aoa-events/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=668855062 External Web Site Policy
  2. Click “Register”.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Up Periscope 2012

January has been percolating with so much new year news that often some items that need follow ups sometimes get left unvisited. However, as time would have it such matters just can't be left undone as if they were not interesting in the first place. Therefore, COP 24/7 makes every effort to update or recheck any outcomes that make the cut, not to mention when you our valued readers call it to our attention. I have openly encourage all supporters, allies, and visitors to interact with this platform sharing your opinion's, observations, outrage and outlooks on our content or what ever is pushing your hot button. COP 24/7 is all about offering this space as a global town square. Let's hear from you today!!!

Message in a Bottle: Where's the Plan Stan?

As I stated above, this blog often gets "poked" by our readers whom have either read a post or recall something that I've said that needed more clarity or an update. Recently I got a e-mail recalling a tidbit that I spilled in this forum concerning a meeting that I was fortunate to sit in on at the Arkansas Department of Health. Now as many of you know, I get the privileged to be asked to attend many planning meetings and all manner of "meeting A,B, or C" with local folks on a mission. The item in question that arose during that 2011 meeting was ADH's HIV/ Hep C Section's decision to pursue an advertising campaign purportedly although not confirmed involving sexual health prevention messages. So what's the problem? First up during this meeting, COP 24/7  asked pointed questions about this campaign but to date none of those have been fully answered, but there were some nibblers tossed for us to ponder, as the powers that be mull over whatever has been produced. Yet I still have these questions:

1. What's the title of the campaign? Bet everyone can name the company with the jovial pig on the zip line?  Can you say, Geico.

2. Where will it be deployed? Print, Internet? Radio? TV? Goodyear Blimp?

3. What is the timeline of the entire project? There was a focus group in late fall 2010 but no formal report or participant comments have been shared or offered.

4. If this campaign is prevention centered will it be culturally competent to its target audience, which was not and has not been totally designated.

5. So just what does one get for $150,000 from a local ad agency that had to scour the city in search of "gay folk" to include in its focus group effort. In full disclosure these participants were paid to offer their opinions and insights about prevention messages that they were either aware of or had seen. How were they selected was a mash-up in itself as the agency did a spin the big wheel and see what we get approach.

Just for the record COP 24/7 not only asked these questions but inquired about what approach would be used, who is the actual point person and by way did anyone check out that multi-million dollar "Testing Makes Us Stronger," (notice the title) campaign vetted, tested and tagged by none other than the Center for Disease Control which was released to much fan fare last September. Hey and get this, that campaign (pictured) could be "customized" for any state that would like to use it for the tidy sum of FREE. No way! Did you say FREE? Yes, Miss Girl,FREE!!  In the meantime, Advantage Communications and ADH have been in what appears to be a stealth crouch to craft some supposedly nifty forthcoming "prevention" campaign that exist in some form or another. I guess we are to assume that the company that didn't quite know where to find "gay people" is suppose to be able to craft a message that will resonate across the board. All of this flying in the face of the fact that the CDC did the heavy lifting needed for such a project but apparently ADH believes that others can do better. Just as we were about to post, some back talk concerning the campaign came busting through on the e-mail line. ADH's Tina Long, bullet pointed a couple of updates with minimal detail. She stated that:

1. There is a campaign that is being finalized at this time and is pending final agency approval. We have plans to roll the campaign in February/early March.

2. The contract with Advantage Communications is not tied to the efforts of the ARCPG Marketing Committee. This contract is for the Section’s Ryan White Services, STD Prevention, and HIV efforts. The ARCPG Marketing Committee’s role is to do PR and Marketing for ARCPG.

3. The monies are portioned from each of the grants.

4. I am not sure what $50,000 shortfall you are referring to in the email. I am not aware of a shortfall.

Alrighty then...we're waiting with baited breath to see just what they've been up too. As soon its steps off or doesn't step off, you'll hear about it here first. I'm sure that there will be more back and forth on this one. Stay tuned...

Little Rock on the Gayest City list Still Debated

The debates continue about Little Rock making that "gayest city" list found in the January  issue of The Advocate. Of course it was Topic A while I was in Los Angeles last weekend and they acted as if I had some explaining to do. Basically its not secret that such list are not based on any real science but rather some writer or editors loose barometer of what makes a gayest city. For instance, I'd like to know where all that "nude" yoga is going on. Especially since we don't even have a bath house or spa to even possibly enjoy such activity. Furthermore, as far as all those houses of worship, certainly there are places that are welcoming and there are some of the clergy who are affirming but there's still a way to go in that arena as well. For instance there's been little to no outcry about bullying and in the Black community the clergy response to the impact of HIV/AIDS has been marginal.  I told my colleagues that Little Rock has it qualities, to which many who attended the 2011 Fall Midland witnessed and experienced. The list most likely could be justified to our current growth as well as overall improvement in the last three decades.

We must admit that there have been some general improvements considering the lack of gay infrastructure such as "gayborhoods, chamber of commerces, media outlets and a large bastion of upwardly mobile citizens" that exist in larger metro areas. Unfortunately, this city continues to fall short in its advocacy efforts and organizing abilities due to laundry list of factors ranging from education to complacency. Over the years I've noticed small changes that have occurred as a result of some tireless advocates and activist who have stayed in the fight. However, I recognize that many individuals have tired, burned out, flamed out or became frustrated with the slow ebb of progress. But we must realize that if we continue to loose these men and women who stand for our human rights because of the lack of both financial and personal support. Unbelievable as it may seem, there may be no one left to defend what's been accomplished if challenged and we never know when challenges will eventually appear.

In the meantime despite that ranking or perhaps in spite of it, The National Association of Black and White Men Together, Inc has forward a letter of interest concerning Little Rock hosting its 33rd national convention in 2013. The organization's mission is to address racism, sexism, homophobia and HIV/AIDS in local communities and partner with local community based groups whom support that vision. COP 24/7 was bemused by the inquiry since it only took thirty two years for our fair city to come on their radar. Yet I guess its better late than never. At post time, there have been some conversations but no firm decision confirmed. Such an undertaking can be daunting but last fall a small band of locals proved that much is possible in Little Rock. If you are interested in the discussions, then share your thoughts at nealix101@comcast.net .

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day ( February 7, 2012) was founded by five national organizations funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 1999 to provide capacity building assistance to Black communities and organizations. The initiative begin in 2000 with these five key organizations: Concerned Black Men, Inc. of Philadelphia; Health Watch Information and Promotion Services, Inc.; Jackson State University - Mississippi Urban Research Center; National Black Alcoholism and Addictions Council; and National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day has been and always will be a grass roots effort, that is shaped around the needs of those communities that work hard each and every year to make it a success. Including The Living Affected Corporation of Litle Rock which will participate with an on line prevention shout out and other local activities.  Each year, almost 20,000 Blacks in the United States test positive for HIV, that is an alarming amount if you multiply it times the last five years alone - that's 100,000 Blacks who are now living with HIV or may have died from AIDS related complications. It's time for us to do something different that inspires young and old, gay and straight, religious and non-religious, etc. to get on board with realizing the value and worth of Black life and acting accordingly.

February 7, 2012 marks the 12th year for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a national HIV testing and treatment community mobilization initiative targeted at Blacks in the United States and the Diaspora. There are four specific focal points: education, testing, involvement, and treatment. Educationally, the focus is to get Blacks educated about the basics of HIV/AIDS in their local communities. Testing is at the core of this initiative, as it is hoped that Blacks will mark February 7th of every year as their annual or biannual day to get tested for HIV. This is vital for those who are sexually active and those at high risk of contracting HIV. When it comes to community and organization leadership, getting Blacks involved to serve is another key focus. We need Black People from all walks of life, economic classes, literacy levels, shades and tones as well as communities (large and small) to get connected to the work happening on the ground in their local areas. And lastly, for those living with HIV or newly testing positive for the virus, getting them connected to treatment and care services becomes paramount. We have learned that you can't lead Black people towards HIV/AIDS education, prevention, testing, leadership or treatment unless you love them. And, we can't save Black people from an epidemic unless we serve Black people.
Regardless of where we stand on sexual orientation, religious beliefs/values, age, income, education or otherwise; Black Life is worth saving and working for the betterment of our survival has to become our paramount objective and goal. "I believe the things that are wrong with Black communities, can be fixed by those things that are right with Black communities." says, LaMont "Montee" Evans, NBHAAD Annual Chairperson.

For 2012, the structure and dynamics of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was shattered as the support and resources dwindled causing many organizations to reconsider their commitment and ability to manage and direct the initiative as in the past. So, Healthy Black Communities, Inc. with its experience in overseeing the initiative and serving as the lead opted to incorporate it into its organization structure and continue mobilizing Black communities around HIV/AIDS. In addition, the organization is rebuilding the structure to develop a national planning body, regional planning bodies and local planning groups to assist with reigniting the fire within Black community stakeholders to make it a success.

Healthy Black Communities (HBC) will continue to serve as the lead organization, responsible for overseeing the initiative and coordinating communication via email, and regular mail; HBC develops the imagery of the initiative annually; designs and maintains the website; and ensures that orders and registrations are received and processed accordingly. HBC has been in this role since 2006 and CEO Evans led the initiative while serving as Executive Director of Concerned Black Men, Inc. of Philadelphia. February 7, 2012 will make the ninth year CEO Evans has overseen NBHAAD either overall or through national partnership.

This initiative has had an array of national spokespersons: congressional leaders, faith based leaders, entertainers, actors, actresses, authors, radio personalities, and the list goes on and on. Some of the most notable spokespersons have been: President Barack Obama during his term in the Illinois Senate, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, Bishop TD Jakes, Radio Personality Tom Joyner, former NAACP President and CEO Kwesi Mfume, Congressman Elijah Cummings, Actor/Author Harper Hill, Screenwriter Patrik Ian Polk, and the list goes on.
We are now asking those who are concerned about HIV/AIDS in the Black community to step up and become a leader, a spokesperson, a local community organizer and help us raise the awareness of HIV/AIDS in Black communities, both domestically and internationally. Together, we can ensure that future generations will not have to bury as many or watch as many struggle with this epidemic. For assistance on how you can become an National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Spokesperson, please click HERE. For more local information contact: info@lacorponline.org or call 877.902.7HIV

Thursday, January 19, 2012

COP:24/7 : Blackout Free and on the Move

Never let it be said that this forum doesn't keep its ear to ground on all the issue breaking news and beyond. No matter how hard I attempt keep up, there's always something that I miss, get late notice or for some reasons may not resonate with me on the first notice. Nevertheless, COP 24/7 keeps coming out of the box while kicking it up dust when needed. This forum was front and center during yesterday's showdown concerning the SOPA and PIPA measures that were being winked and nodded through Congress. The furor over these twin headed interlopers was swift and bold as those embracing the Net as  a zone that already has sufficient regulations, darkened their websites and protested otherwise. I am always proud to know when this platform can be used to show our solidarity on numerous issues that I believe should get my attention in full. As that eclipse rolls away, COP 24/7 goes back to the mat to share with each of you,"what's really going on..."

Ground breaking LA Corp Book Released

Congrats are in order for The Living Affected Corporation's publishing arm with the mid -January release of "Our Lives, Our Stories, The Untold of Stories of Women with AIDS."
According to CEO Diedra Levi, "the book became a labor of love as the we worked through the entire spectrum of the program." She continued, " the ladies shared their stories and experiences openly and honestly while discovering commonalities in their individuality." The book features four participants from the organizations, The Plus Club program which allowed women dealing with HIV and AIDS to engage socially in a safe zone designed to meet their needs. The organization concluded that many women either living affected or infected by the disease often languish in isolation as well as lacked exposure to socialization opportunities. It was the vision of the program to create a monthly social activity that included the journaling process, assorted board games, a catered meal and a environment that encouraged further bonding. Indexed within the book are also local resources and providers that serve the HIV/.AIDS community. Arkansas' Community Planning Group voted in December 2011 to make a bulk purchase of the book via its association to the Arkansas Department of Health to offer to other community based organizations involved in sexual health programming.  The program began February 14, 2011 and will end with a book release event tentatively scheduled for February 3, 2012, at Pyramid Gallery and a after party at Miss Kitty's Saloon both in Little Rock. Copies of the book are available for purchase for $20. For more information contact: info@lacorponline.org or call 877.902.7HIV 

Can You Hear Me Now? Part One

Every now and then there's just some situations that cause me to sit and wonder, "WTF!" Case in point was a round of recent e-mails concerning the aforementioned ACPG in its efforts to be inclusive while extending it reach using some of today's snazzy new conference call technology. Actually their are two issues involved but lets go with the first that I'm acutely aware of and have pondered as to why wasn't their a tested method utilized to facilitate a conference call platform that allowed user to actually feel as if they were apart of the proceedings. The current system being used is good if all those on the call are using actual "phones" to which they would be using as individual "microphones" to speak. Yet this system doesn't work when used in a room or auditorium where others are speaking but not directly into any mechanism that will amply their voices to the those on the conference call. So what to do yo ask? Well, it would seem that any agency with an internal IT department would have sought the expertise of those individuals as to how to either address or at some point fix the problem. Unfortunately COP 24/7 is not quite sure exactly what equipment is being used but it obvious that either its not adequate enough to solve the problem or maybe there's other options that haven't been considered. Therefore being enamored by all things tech, COP 24/7 decided to suggest some great gadgets to consider to make these calls more user friendly. After all why have a call if its an unpleasant or better yet agonizing exercise in listening and hearing very little. And now lets window shop shall we...

The Yamaha PJP-50USB is a web conferencer microphone speaker with an adaptive high performance echo canceller. When connected your PC with a USB or audio cable, it provides a multi-person web conferencing experience that’s as smooth as video conferencing.

The PJP-50USB also features a noise reduction function that reduces or eliminates unwanted sounds such as from projectors and air conditioners, plus a wide band microphone speaker that delivers high definition audio. With the PJP-50USB, listeners hear only clear voices and nothing more.

8 high sensitivity microphones — achieve equivalent or better audio pickup than twice the number of conventional microphones. And with audio gain control, distant or quiet voices are picked up better than ever. Designed for large conference rooms allowing for high voice quality!

Advanced features ensure smooth conferencing for both listeners and talkers! Listed at $1,099.00 (www.hellodirect.com)  Not to mention it just looks cool.

Also at Hello Direct comes this sweet, bad ass piece of equipment cited as Polycom's best tabletop conferencer! The Polycom SoundStation VTX 1000™ is the world's first conference phone that automatically adapts to each meeting environment, providing high fidelity voice clarity for all participants. Just look at the features! And its marked down from $1,749.00 to a mere $1,549.00.

Wideband audio technology — Delivers voice quality so rich, it sounds like you're meeting face to face. WOW!!!

Dynamic noise reduction — Eliminates distracting background noise for professional sound quality.

Full-duplex sound — Eliminates voice cut-outs so there's no clipped conversation or breakup during your conference calls.

Upgradeable software — Protects your investment by allowing you to remotely download new software features and applications.

Large LCD — Offers many functions right at your fingertips and is easy to use.

99-Number phone book — Provides plenty of room to store all your important contacts. Search by name, number, or company name. Speed-dial is built in, too.

Plus: mute, redial, 3-way conferencing, speaker volume control, ringer volume adjust, and 10 ring tones.

Bonus Pack — Includes VTX 1000 conferencing unit, subwoofer, 2 extension microphones and cables.
Of course these are just wide eyed possibles among the wide array of possibles. Ultimately, something must be done to get these teleconferences up to speed and boldly offering users an listening experience that is worth their time commitment to joining these calls. Just sayin....

Crowns A-Go-GO

Frank Sinatra used to speak of being the chairman of the board and much of his then "rat pack" were hand picked board members that pack rowdy and raucous to boot. However that well heeled Board of Directors didn't have any problems meeting any obligations asked of them and its been my experience as a current board member of The National Association of Black and White Men Together that its takes time and treasure to do so. A few weeks back I learned that the Board of Directores of MGA pageant system seemed to have "Houston we have a problem" moment as numerous board members were broadsided by a directive that would have them forking over a more substantial cash contribution to the pageantry cause. From what we've learned and the story seems to be "ebbing and flowing" by the moment, that it was decided by at least two senior board members prior to the announced meeting to assess an "upgraded' financial commitment that would be instituted immediately without discussion. Once the members arrived they were dealt the news with a resounding "thud." Tongues are wagging that none of those present were ready for the information and it didn't set well as allegedly most took a walk from the meeting in full dramatic effect. You know the verbiage, "I'm going to call L & T Entertainment about this" or "you bitches haven't heard the last of this blah, blah, blah..." which I wonder will result in exactly what?  Furthermore what's more puzzling to me is all of this strife over a couple of Benjamin's to support their favorite sorority mission to promote"symbols of excellence." I've said this before and I'll say it again, as a board member you are charged with the vitality and financial soundness of your chosen organization.

If you didn't know this, then now know that if the business model of presenting a pageant is not working or making the dollars needed to sustain it, then its up to those who "choose" to believe in the mission to make the damn work. This means if you've got a bad business model that's in the red, it's the board of directors who assume the responsibility for either garnering more participants, raising entry fees, securing bigger sponsors or either pony up before the enterprise goes belly up. It's just that simple. As for myself, I've given both in-kind, travel, direct and sponsorship to NABWMT surpassing the $5,000.00 mark. Why you ask?, because as a board member I fully understood my charge to support the organizations purpose to address racism, sexism, homophobia and HIV/AIDS while acting as a steward otherwise. Unfortunately, the pageant system has been battered and mangled over a course of time. Although I assume that it still has relevance and in some quarters usefulness. But as a true "business model" it is rife with loosing possibilities for both contestants, sponsors and promoters.

Currently on the MGA website( www.missgayarkansas.com)  there's at least 5 such pageants "for sale," across the state. Only Miss Gay Little Rock has even been scheduled at this post. Does this seem like a business model that anyone wants? Meanwhile promoters have literally gone begging for contestants including lowering entry fees, residence restrictions and all manner of enticements that have all but been ignored. Also we can't ignore recent incidents with big promises made to unsusupecting contestants who later found themselves without certain parts of their prize packages. Not to mention promoters whom after pageant expenses offer little to no support and have packages that are marginal. Let's not forget any entity that can't support its figurehead or "icon" in a financial manner can't expect or should expect much from that individual. Hello, can we say Miss Gay Pride or any of the other pageant send-ups. Many have stated to COP 24/7 that attempts at keeping up with escalating cost and performance demands have become barriers. Others have just lost interest with some quipping that the "sisterhood isn't as sisterly as they once thought." For the record and in full disclosure I have been a pageant winner and have no dog in this fight. I'm speaking as a one who has seen the hey day of this "art form" and I'm now witness to its slow descent to being only important to those who desire what it brings to their lives personally or professionally. As more develops, if it does, we'll bring it...stay tuned. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012



Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The COP Catch Up

The Big Chair felt just as comfortable as I left it this past weekend as I parachuted into "La-La Land" better known as Los Angeles, California. I was there for the winter board meeting of The National Association of Black and White Men Together and enjoying the company of the local chapter, BWMT-Southern California. I realized that it had been many years since being in that city and boy it was an eye opener to see that this city has become a behemoth of urban growth, expansion and blight. I had heard about the traffic mayhem, but to witness it first hand as we whizzed down the I-405 during Friday night rush hour was amazing. I'll take Little Rock's stop and go traffic mash-up any day compared to the 6 lane speed bowl of any Los Angeles expressway. In the meantime, there was much going on in the city just short of my weekend romp and even though COP 24/7 travels with me on all my excursions, often I just don't have time to post but I certainly make lots of notes to remind me just where we left off. The in-box was stuffed full and it took me some time to sift through and filter everything that came through. Whew! What an avalanche of mail, offers, updates and spam to look over and make any sense of. However, it comes with the territory and what would I do if I didn't stay connected to the info loop. With that said, lets not waste another moment in doing a COP 24/7 Catch Up...

The Internet Interlopers Rise

Since we live in a capitalistic society, it inevitable that almost everything that comes around finds itself being under the pressure to be "capitalized" by some one or something. The "war of the world" of the Internet has been brewing since its inception and now we find forces that are in motion to do what they can to do a power grab with proposed congressional legislation in which they can bridle or better yet garner castrating leverage over who, what and how the Internet will exist in regards to content and offending websites. COP 24/7 has a vested interest in this dog fight due to the fact that I use content from various sources including images, video, and attributed copy to which I could find myself in a cease and desist situation depending on who's looking. Also as a content creator, my own original content could become a flash point if for some reason my content ended up on another site that may involved in some questionable circumstances . When I access content I usually make sure to cite its author, aggregated, link or source as to inform my readers to its origins. Who's kicking up the dust this time out? Its' those entertainment industry folks who are attempting to substantiate their revenue streams with the premise that much of their content is being pirated although copyrighted. I agree that their is some nefarious activity going on, "hello, you guys in the convenience store parking lot who have the latest DVD hot off the press." Its' illegal guys for you to selling content that doesn't belong to you. I don't think that this heavy handed legislation is necessary especially since much of it sounds like governmental legalese, and nebulous gobbly gook that I don't think anybody really has clear understanding of. In other words, it's more bad policy and law making that could cause us more problems than we already have with the Internet. COP 24/7 will sign on to the protest that SOPA and PIPA are twin headed gargoyles that will take end users onto the slippery slope of outright censorship from those who want to put the Internet in box for their own purposes. We are posting the following information for your consideration. We do not want this new medium to become decapitated and gutted for the profits of a few. This information can be found at: www.sopablackout.org

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.


What is SOPA?

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261) is on the surface a bill that attempts to curb online piracy. Sadly, the proposed way it goes about doing this would devastate the online economy and the overall freedom of the web. It would particularly affect sites with heavy user generated content. Sites like Youtube, Reddit, Twitter, and others may cease to exist in their current form if this bill is passed.

What is PIPA?

The Protect IP Act (PIPA, S. 968) is SOPA's twin in the Senate. Under current DMCA law, if a user uploads a copyrighted movie to sites like Youtube, the site isn't held accountable so long as they provide a way to report user infringement. The user who uploaded the movie is held accountable for their actions, not the site. PIPA would change that - it would place the blame on the site itself, and would also provide a way for copyright holders to seize the site's domain in extreme circumstances.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation laid out four excellent points as to why the bills are not only dangerous, but are also not effective for what they are trying to accomplish:
  • The blacklist bills are expensive. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that PIPA alone would cost the taxpayers at least $47 million over 5 years, and could cost the private sector many times more. Those costs would be carried mostly by the tech industry, hampering growth and innovation.
  • The blacklist bills silence legitimate speech. Rightsholders, ISPs, or the government could shut down sites with accusations of infringement, and without real due process.
  • The blacklist bills are bad for the architecture of the Internet. But don't take our word for it: see the open letters that dozens of the Internet's concerned creators have submitted to Congress about the impact the bills would have on the security of the web.
  • The blacklist bills won't stop online piracy. The tools these bills would grant rightsholders are like chainsaws in an operating room: they do a lot of damage, and they aren't very effective in the first place. The filtering methods might dissuade casual users, but they would be trivial for dedicated and technically savvy users to circumvent.
  • COP 24/7 will be dark on Wednesday(1/18/12) in support of rejecting this legislation and all attempts to over regulate the Internet.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Remembering The King

Living in the Dream

Every time I hear Dr. Kings iconic speech "I Have A Dream" it continues to remind me that even though it was given some five decades ago, it still resonates, vibrates and illuminates the importance of his work then and certainly now. As an advocate and activist, I have always taking the position that the "civil rights" he demanded was pivotal to the "human rights" angle that I have used in my pursuit to address sexual health issues in Arkansas' marginalized communities.
King constantly reminded the populous of the importance of being mindful of the poor, downtrodden and those who may have not accessed versions of the American dream. He stood with garbage workers in Memphis, disenfranchised voters throughout the south and energized individuals into flexing their economic power through sacrifice as they collapsed Birmingham's local bus transportation system.
Today I have found that despite distinct and bold changes that have occurred, there continues to be disparities resulting in socio-economic barriers and roadblocks that impede those who are either living or affected by HIV and AIDS. Local community based organizations have cited that those living on the cusp of the Federal poverty level or below the FPL are often impacted when polices and procedures began to fluctuate. The HEFTE 4000 paradigm which includes "housing, education, food, transportation and employment have been assessed as critical intersections in regards to those linking to care or adhering to life extending drug regimens.
During King's life he illuminated that our country's plentiful bounty and substantial resources should be and could be utilized to raise citizens out of poverty. He spoke extensively about the economic gaps and extreme societal gulfs that were prevalent then, have all but widened even further today. Protesters around the nation and globally have been demanding that our systems of government recognize these conditions with more positive outcomes. Although HIV/AIDS funding has been flat lined and due to budgetary battles there have been realignments, shifts and cutbacks, it's imperative that we as activist, advocate and consumers stay diligent in our asking law makers and policy influencers to be vigilant in securing HIV/AIDS funding. Dr. King expressed that health of a nation is paramount and as we celebrate his legacy, birthday and empowering spirit, we must stay the course in keeping this health crisis front and center with the power, dignity and forward looking vision which King embodied. Happy birthday Dr. King, your contributions to our lives will never be forgotten!