Wednesday, February 29, 2012

COP 24/7 Leaps Onward

Little Rock Being Considered for National Diversity Convention?

It appears that Little Rock has gotten a bit more buzz from that "gay city" ranking that made the rounds in January. Word comes now that The National Association of Black and White Men Together has approached local organizers to bid on hosting their national convention to be held July 18-22, 2013. The bid was submitted and has been recognized by the organizations leadership. The matter will appear as an agenda item during a weekend conference call and the local host committee will be notified just shortly thereafter. The host committee will consist of a cadre of local community based organizations led by the emerging group People of Unity. Under the banner theme "Uniting Bridges to Diversity," the convention will include empowerment sessions, guest speakers, receptions, networking opportunities and interacting with local activities and venues.If you are interested in being apart of the host committee shout out to nealix101@comcast.net . As details are released or updated this forum will post across our platforms. (http://www.nabwmt.org/ )


The Eyes of Google: Chasing Cornelius

They're here! The algorithms of Google are lurking here, there and just about everywhere that I've gone or possibly ever been on the Internet. Am I amazed, not hardly, because I began to notice much of this "tracking" over the last few years and watched it get it more sophisticated as we've moved along. However, many of those "in the know" folks believe that much of our privacy is being eroded while being stored in the endless annals of the Google empire. When I've made hotel reservations, I get AD's from that firm and its many locations. Airline reservations? They know where I've been, when and viola, I get either the airlines that I using or a competitor in my sidebar. I've done much online shopping, since its my preference to doing the mall or dealing with zombie sales people who could care less that I'm in the store or what I may be looking for. With customer service at a severe low level, my Internet choices gets me a boat load of e-mail offers, discounts coupons and those "only online" offers that have a time limit attached. The explosion of the power of the Internet causes me to be a mindful about not only where I'm surfing but if any of those searches could be configured into thing nefarious. I realize that Google feels that its delivering me services and products to make may Internet experience better, but at any time that I feel uncomfortable with their antics, I will take action. In the big picture everyone needs to realize that "we all" are being tracked in one way or another. When they ask for your "zip code" its tracking. Phone numbers, social security number or date of birth you are being watched, observed or marketed too from those folks with stuff to sell. And yes this forum has it tracking element also. It allows me to know who's stopping by, reading what and what day's are popular not to mention what day of the hour. I guess I feel that if you can't beat em, join em, sort of. Please know that "Big Brother" is not coming, he's already here and he's not leaving anytime soon. Be aware,very aware.... 

Missing in Action: Arkansas HIV Community Advocates

In response to the SHARP ( State Healthcare Access Research Project) report a local group comprising of various community based entities was to be assembled to facilitate additional discussion on the direction, challenges and opportunities for improving healthcare in Arkansas. Especially the realm of HIV and  AIDS services through out the state which has been described as a "patchwork" system of care. However, after a energetic start, initial meetings, enthusiastic dialogue and folks coming to the table to move the ball forward, it seems that after a few meetings, the effort lost its mojo, steam or interest. Take your pick. So what you ask? Well, this scenario is just another on the "group meeting trash heap" that is more than a mile high in this city when it comes to items dealing with the LGBTQ community. Although everyone involved was not necessarily LGBTQ centric, its the fact that issues directly based within the LGBTQ frame often get "looked at" but usually get the "retreat" attitude after a period of time. Of course, "meeting fatigue" can also be a culprit in this mix, however we can't ignore that this state has no funded entity that is designed to strictly deal with issues that may arise or now exist for the LGBTQ community. We've had Arkasas Gay Rights, Arkansas Gay and Lesbian Task Force and coaliton this and that, but they are shuttered to memory with no outcry from the local gay community. Today we have a few local community based organizations devoted to a myriad of causes from homeless gay youth to sporting events. Each has a primary focus that can't be diluted with too many other factors less their inability to sustain their existence. Especially when attempting to garner a steady stream of financial or otherwise support from within. The AHCA was most likely doomed from the onset, since it had no actual funding stream, no plan to acquire one, loose to non- existent structure because of lack of interest and populated by a lot of busy folks with good intentions whom lost sight of why they were involved in the first place. The hiatus of this group is another reminder that as there is much work to be done on the front of LGBTQ human rights, there is only a "tea cup" of mover and shakers trying to make a difference. All the while working with low or no budgets plus facing challenging issues that many will not or chose not to concerned about. May I suggest that if you know some one working in this arena of humanity, tell them that you appreciate their efforts and if you can write a check, volunteer,or make a donation. Make it your random act of kindness for the day. Try it, you just might like it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Keeping it 365 Black

As another Black History Month rolls away, there's been some debate as to the signifcance or revelance of having a designated  period to commemorate the historical evolution of a people. On Monday UALR hosted the film "More than a Month," produced by S.H. Tilghman who went cross country on an quest to engage the proverbial premise that "Black History is American History." Ultimately Tilghman wanted to float the idea that having a such a month is not productive. I tend to fall in the camp that although the month has been around since 1925 it still has a place in today's culture despite its overly commericalized bent. No matter where you reside in the discussion or thought process, Black history has distinct threads that are apart of the fabric of America's history. There's no doubt that the accomplishments that have taken place since our arrival to these shores continues to thrust us into the 21st Century. In case you missed the local presentation or the actual PBS showing, COP 24/7 has embedded a version for your consideration.



Monday Rewind

In case you didn't know or don't remember, this forum uses all the latest whiz bang gizmos or techie things it can to stay on point. Fortunately, this platform allows myself to pre-post, re-edit and schedule some future posting as I try to stay sane during my hectic schedule.Therefore, if you check in and it seems that this forum is updating rather quickly, its because COP 24/7 can and often is produced from anywhere in the world! Yes my readers this forum could be done live on the West Coast or pre proudced from a hotel room in Clovis, New Mexico. Corneliusonpoint is here, there or damn near everywhere in 2012. So bookmark, RSS feed, opt-in e-mail or come follow us as we keep banging it out because if you are thinking it, then most likely we're talking about it. With that said, let's get talking.

Our Lives, Our Stories on the Road

Big high five and congrats to The Living Affected Corporation on taking its latest publication, "Our Lives, Our Story, The Untold Stors of Women with AIDS" to book signings in Forest City and Jonesboro respectively after a Little Rock launch at the Pyramid Gallery earalier in February. The book features the stories of four local women who confront their realities of living with HIV while subsequently dealing with an AIDS diagnosis. "We are proud of the ladies and how they have shared their stories with those who have attended the signings," said D. Levi, LA Corp CEO.  "If we secure additional funding, we would like to continue this project as it has become a successful program for our organization." As apart of the groups The Plus Club project, the program was designed to address socialization issues, stigma while creating a safe zone for the participants. NARAN, (Northeast Arkansas Regional AIDS Network) hosted the Jonesboro stop as the authors mingled and networked during a pre-reception for the event and answered questions from audience members as panelist. "I'm so to see the support and folks turning out to for this," said Connnie Roebuck, on of the participants. "Although I didn't have the response I'd like to have had in Forrest City, myself and the ladies will continue to travel the state to promote this book. I've been working hard to get as many copies out as possible." she concluded. On March 25, another signing is tenatively scheduled for Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. As details continue to unfold this forum will post. All proceeds from the book will be reinvested into the organization as it continues its mission to promote holistic, positive sexual and reproductive health in marginalized Arkansas communities. Copies of Our Lives, Our Story," can be purchased on line at www.livingaffectedspirit.blogspot.com  Get your copy today while they last!!!


Campaigns A-Go-GO: The "Know Now" Launch

Advertising campaigns are front and center in our daily lives, especially during those big public events such as the Super Bowl or more recently the Academy Awards where the new "JCP" rolled out its new high production value Ellen commericals.  Of course in that league, we're talking about Millions of dollars being spent to craft a message that is suppose to "stick and stay" with the public. Got that?  This forum has mentioned numerous times about the impending Arkansas Department of Health's stealth advertising campaign that was incubating over at Advantage Communications and exactly what does one get for $150,000. Well apparently you get the phrase...wait for it...are you ready?  Here we go... "Know Now."  What ya think?  Is it moving you in any way? Do you know what you are suppose to "know." Do ya?  No.?   When I got this preview of the "know Now" campaign, I was unphased and most certainly unamused that all the secrecy and tight lipped folks involved went to great lengths to keep basically" two words" under wraps. With this reveal, I now hope that their is significant advertising strategy planned to support this message such as where will this be placed. How will it be deployed and in what manner will the outcomes be calculated. Furthermore, who will be amassing this information and will it be made available for review. And surely whatever more there is to this campaign, it better be a damn good  considering that the CDC spent those "millions I mentioned" to put together a well vetted and culturally compentent advertisng campaign that could have been tailored for this state. The "Testing Makes us Stonger," (pictured) moniker speaks volumes and the images associated as well as the possible marketing of the message could have been a home run for Arkansas. Plus that offering was get this,"free" for the taking with whatever modifications that were needed. Everyone seemed excited about using that campaign except the folks here in Arkansas. Is anybody wondeirng why?  If "know Now" is going to work, someone of at Advantage Communications better bust a move to demonstrate how these two words are going to resonate with the target audience of Black men having sex with men. Especially those from 13-24 who are tuned out into Lil Wanye, Rhianna and all things hip hop. Will any of these folks see or hear this message? Hello. Alright ADH, bring it and let's see if it flies.  If you've got any back talk, comments, observations or opinion, let's hear from you today!!!!!

Tech Geeks Wanted

COP 24/7 has been on the hunt for tech geeks, whiz kids and gizmo guru's to come share their wisdom and expertise on taking this fourm to another level. What's up? So far, I've got nothing but "crickets." Am I to believe that their are no super smart wonder kids out an about that are interested in volunteering a few hours a month with this forum in its effort to create a better on line experience for our visitiors and readers. I am not looking from persons from MIT or Harvard, but rather a smart, creative visionary that could offer this platform a unique path to greatness. If this is you or if you know of some one who has the "chops" to do so, then by all means let's hear from them. If not, then we will solider on and keep bringing our audience more of what they've come to expect from us! Let's hear from you today!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Digitally Yours

Did you know that there was a complete Gay oriented sports magazine and podcast featuring a talk format on "all things sports?" I certainly didn't and was pleasantly surprised to discover this interesting concept that keeps COP 24/7 knowing that all things are possible. The print version of the magazine, "Compete" is now going live as Compete Radio which joined QTalk Arizona and will be a part of its network of podcasts and live call-in shows. Previously, QTalk Arizona had syndicated portions of Compete Radio’s programs as ‘SportsCast’. But now, the full episodes will be available here and on QTalk Arizona’s podcast feeds and streaming audio. QTalk Arizona also becomes the production team for our weekly shows. CorneliusonPoint was the first LGBTQ podcast experiment in Arkansas that produced regular episodes. Unfortunately a later 2008 boradcasting venture using citizen radio station KABF became embroiled in controversey and cantankerous wrangling that cause the show to never get produced.  Using the Audacity platform for podcasting efforts this fourm covered Pride events, pageantry results and offered a wide array of community announcements.  In 2012 COP 24/7 will continue to explore further topics covering local color and who knows maybe some of the SideKicks kickball games. Sound interesting??? Anybody intersted in producing the show?

Compete Radio’s third season launched Saturday, January 28th, 2012 with co-hosts Eric Carlyle and Connie Wardman from Compete Sports Media and Joe Dugandzic from QTalk Arizona. The first featured guest will be Jack Mackenroth – gay and HIV+ swimmer, model, LGBT rights advocate and fashion designer who competed on the fourth season of Project Runway.

First launched in October 2010, Compete Radio brings together gay sports and athlete interviews with a bit of news and pop culture mixed in. The weekly Compete Radio show is the only LGBT sports radio program in the country.

QTalk Arizona was created in June 2010 by podcaster Joe Dugandzic as a way to fill the void in LGBT talk radio programming in Arizona. QTalk Arizona’s mission is to inform, inspire, connect and entertain the LGBT community and its allies, both in Arizona and beyond. Today, QTalk Arizona has nine distinct talk shows covering a wide variety of topics, and it is the largest LGBT podcast network in the country. Instead of simply aggregating content and podcasts, QTalk Arizona produces the majority of its content in- house. Three of the podcasts are also broadcast live on the Internet in a call-in/online chat format. The other six range from covering local nightlife and cultural events, technology news and reviews, gay sports news and athletes, food and wine lifestyle programming and more. These programs are produced and hosted by individuals representing a diverse cross-section of the LGBT and allied communities.

Find out more about QTalk Arizona’s programming, download episodes and listen to live netcasts at www.qtalkaz.com, or subscribe to the podcasts on iTunes. Like QTalk Arizona on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and join us on Google+. QTalk Arizona is “Many Voices. One Network.”

 
March Speakers at the Clinton School
*Reserve your seats by emailing publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu, or calling 501-683-5239.


"Acquiring, Managing and Protecting Credit," author Mitch Weiss
Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Weiss helped develop a popular course on personal finance for the University of Hartford and is the author of the new e-book "Life Happens: A Practical Guide to Personal Finance from College to Career."

"Mississippi Innocence," Tucker Carrington, director of the Mississippi Innocence Project
Friday, March 2, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Carrington joined the faculty of the University of Mississippi School of Law as the first director of the Mississippi Innocence Project, which is committed to providing the highest quality legal representation to its clients: Mississippi state prisoners serving significant periods of incarceration who have cognizable claims of wrongful conviction.

Stan Greenberg, chairman and CEO, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research
Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Greenberg has served as a polling advisor to former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former South African President Nelson Mandela and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner specializes in political polling and campaign strategy, helping political candidates, parties and ballot initiatives succeed across the country and around the world

"Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities," professor Rich Demillo
Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- The Director of the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Institute of Technology, Demillo will discuss his book "Abelard to Apple: The Fate of American Colleges and Universities," in which he argues that the vast majority of American colleges are clinging to a centuries-old model of higher education and must adapt to new technologies to survive in the modern world.

Luma Mufleh, founder of The Fugees Family
Friday, March 9, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- In 2005, Mufleh started a soccer team called the Fugees, which included players from 28 war-torn countries, to provide refugee boys with free access to organized soccer. The Fugees Family is a non-profit devoted to working with child survivors of war by using soccer to provide support and structure.

"Intelligent Cities," architect Susan Piedmont-Palladino
Tuesday, March 13, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Part of the Art of Architecture lecture series
- Piedmont-Palladino is a professor of architecture at Virginia Tech’s Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center and a curator at the National Building Museum. She will give a lecture titled "Intelligent Cities," which investigates the intersection of information technology and urban life and design.

"Judicial Election Reform," Tom Phillips, retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas
Wednesday, March 14, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Phillips is a graduate of Harvard Law School and is currently a partner with Baker Botts in Austin, Texas. In 1988, he became the first Republican elected as chief justice in Texas history. Since his retirement from the court he has been active in discussions about the problems with and methods of selection of state court judges.

"Ledgers of History: William Faulkner, an Almost Forgetten Friendship, and Antebellum Plantation Diary," professor Sally Wolff-King
Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- A scholar of Southern literature at Emory University, Wolff-King will discuss her book "Ledgers of History," which details the future Nobel laureate through childhood recollections of Dr. Edgar Francisco whose father was a close friend of Faulkner.

Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro League Baseball Museum
Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) - Kendrick has served as president of the Negro League Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo., since March of 2011. Previously, he served for a year as executive director of the National Sports Center for the Disabled, also in Kansas City. He was vice president of marketing at the NLBM from 1998 to 2010.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Turn Up the Volume

COP 24/7 Special

Making History: Eliminating Viral Hepatitis Disparities in the African American Community

Dr. J. Nadine Gracia

During February’s observance of African American History Month, please join us in working to end the unfortunate history of viral hepatitis’ disproportionate impact on the African American community. This Administration is working hard to reduce and eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.
Unfortunately, viral hepatitis is a health problem that is often overlooked by the public as well as healthcare providers. This, despite the fact that viral hepatitis is a leading infectious cause of death, claiming the lives of 12,000–15,000 Americans each year. As many as 5.3 million Americans are living with viral hepatitis, though most do not know that they are infected. This places them at greater risk for severe, even fatal, complications from the disease and increases the likelihood that they will spread the virus to others.
What Is Hepatitis?
“Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver. It is most often caused by a virus. In the U.S., the most common types are hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. All of these viruses cause acute, or short-term, viral hepatitis. But the hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV and HCV) can also cause chronic hepatitis, in which the infection is prolonged, sometimes lifelong. Chronic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis, liver failure, and liver cancer. In fact, viral hepatitis is the leading cause of liver cancer and the most common reason for liver transplantation.
Viral Hepatitis Disparities
Within the African American community, significant hepatitis-related health disparities exist. For example:
Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis B can be prevented by a vaccine; however, African American children have lower HBV vaccination rates than non-Hispanic white children.
  • Since 2004, rates of hepatitis B have remained steady among all racial/ethnic populations. However, new infections of hepatitis B remain the highest among African Americans, with 2.3 cases per 100,000 people.
Hepatitis C
  • African Americans are twice as likely to be infected with hepatitis C when compared with the general U.S. population and chronic liver disease, often hepatitis C-related, is a leading cause of death among African Americans ages 45-64.
  • While African Americans represent only 12% of the U.S. population, they make up about 22% of the chronic hepatitis C cases. In fact, African Americans have a substantially higher rate of chronic hepatitis C infection than do Caucasians and other ethnic groups.
Viral Hepatitis Action Plan
My Federal colleagues and I are committed to ensuring that new cases of viral hepatitis are prevented and that persons who are already infected are tested; informed about their infection; and provided with counseling, care, and treatment. In fact, last year we issued Combating the Silent Epidemic of Viral Hepatitis: Action Plan for the Prevention, Care & Treatment of Viral Hepatitis (PDF 672KB), which outlined robust and dynamic steps that are now underway across the government to increase viral hepatitis awareness and knowledge among health care providers and communities, and improve access to quality prevention, care, and treatment services for viral hepatitis. (Read more about the Action Plan.)
In addition, the Viral Hepatitis Action Plan is both supported by and complements several other initiatives unfolding within HHS and across the Federal government, including the:
Your Help Is Essential
These are all part of our response to the silent epidemic of viral hepatitis. But we need your help, too. So, during African American History Month, please help by learning more about viral hepatitis, educating family and friends about this silent killer in the African American community, and encouraging conversations with healthcare providers about vaccinations for hepatitis A and B and screening for hepatitis C for those who may have been exposed.
Together, we can make viral hepatitis history.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

American History in Black

The following item appears in reference to the impending planning of a local celebration of Bayard Rustin's centennial birth and his unsung contributions within the civil rights era. Also to highlight the many Black gay heroes and sheroes that have been apart of the fabric of our history. I believe that it vitally important to know who helped paved the way and what prices they paid for many of us to live openly and free today.  I was grateful to have met Rustin during a National Association of Black and White Men Together convention in Los Angeles in the early 80's. His accomplishments and tenacity to be a social justice force was often times overshadowed by his homosexuality. Yet despite it all, he continued to lend his voice and organizing talents to many causes. Stay tuned to this forum for more updates on local activities.

COP 24/7 Special

Black History Month 101: Bayard Rustin, A Forgotten Gay Civil Rights Leader by Edward Williams

PolicyMicThis month, schoolchildren around the nation will celebrate Black History Month along with lots of civic organizations and Americans in general, but few will hear the name of one of the most influential civil rights leaders of the 20th century, Bayard Rustin. Some may ask, if he was so influential, why is he not discussed, and the answer to this question is simple: He was openly gay. Due to his sexuality, Bayard Rustin has been largely written out of Black History or simply ignored.
One of the most influential moments in Black history is most certainly Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington in 1963, but few Americans know that the March on Washington was organized by Bayard Rustin. It was Rustin who in the summer of 1963 coordinated activities to attain the license for the Lincoln Memorial, mobilized buses from various cities around the United States, and collaborated with African-American civic organizations to present a united effort.
Many Americans view Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the leader of the non-violent protests leading to significant changes in rights for African-American citizens, but few know that Bayard Rustin practiced non-violent protesting prior to Dr. King and introduced him to the ideals of non-violent protest, which Dr. King eventually studied and adopted. In the mid-1940’s, Bayard Rustin was arrested for refusing to participate in the draft, along with other pacifists, and integrated the Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary dining hall from within.
Immediately after being released from prison, Rustin organized one of the first “freedom rides,” called the Journey of Reconciliation through the South to test a recent Supreme Court decision barring discrimination in interstate bus travel. Rustin and his colleagues were opposed by the NAACP and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall for their direct action.
After Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery Bus, spawning the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it was Bayard Rustin who became Dr. King’s primary adviser and assisted him in organizing the influential Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which led the boycott and similar protests throughout the southern United States.
Eventually, influential members of the Civil Rights Movement would ask for Dr. King to dismiss Bayard Rustin from being involved with the movement due to his sexuality, to which Dr. King refused to bend. Nevertheless, believing the good of the movement was much larger than himself, Bayard Rustin eventually separated himself from the movement.
Rustin died on August 24, 1987 in New York City. Without Rustin, Dr. King may have never adopted a non-violent protest strategy, the Montgomery Bus Boycott may have been a violent activity, the SCLC may have never formed, the March on Washington may have never occurred, and Black History Month may have much less to celebrate. If history is to accurately portray and celebrate how African-Americans went from then to now, it would be appropriate to have a statute of Bayard Rustin standing next to Dr. King on the National Mall whispering into his ear.
For more information on Bayard Rustin, see John D'Emilio's The Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat COP 24/7 Tuesday

AH! Fat Tuesday 2012! It's that time again for another round of frolic and fun as some of us prepare for Ash Wednesday and the coming of Leap year Lent. If you haven't gotten your bead action going on yet, then its high time that you get busy because the fat lady's going to sing later on tonight. In the meantime, COP 24/7 soliders on with our whiz bang, bead tossing and ball busting latest spin on "what's really going on!" Let the good times roll and we will see on the other side!

BEARRACUDA is coming to Arkansas for a big debut on Saturday, March 10th!

What is a "Berracuda?" Well it seems that its a "bear den in a circut party frenzy," according to a few of the reports that I've read over. However, how it plays in Little Rock may be a bit different. Anway, the good folks at Miss Kittty's and company are rolling out the "red" bear rug for this event including flying in guest DJ  Matt Consola from San Francisco for his Little Rock Debut!  It seems that for over the last 20+ years, Matt has had an exciting career playing memorable events across the country and across the world. He had the honor of opening for The Pet Shop Boys at The Warfield for their Pandemonium World Tour September 22nd & 23rd 2009. http://www.MattConsola.com/   In the meantime, I'm not sure what your $7.00 cover get's you besides music, but its a try it you might like it kinda thing. Sponsored by Scruff for iPhone + Android (http://www.scruffapp.com/) Inz & Outz (http://www.inzoutz.net/) and Gay Boys with Beards.
BEARRACUDA is the largest attended bear dance party in the U.S. - now in 25 cities across the world, w/regular parties in San Francisco, Seattle & Portland + one-offs in NYC, Amsterdam, Austin, Atlanta & Sydney. Voted "Best club for queer men" in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 by the San Francisco Bay Guardian. check out Bearracuda.com for more info!!



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Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day 2012

Today is Presidents Day and for many years I've never  paid much attention to this "holiday" as I was busy about doing all that I do. However this year the day has jumped out at me as to say "hey political junkie, over here!"  With that thought I also considered the fact that since we are also in a Presidential political cycle, it makes perfect sense that I would get a refresher on those who have been leaders of the free world. Especially since the day is primarily celebrated as a tribute to Washington's and Lincoln's birthday. Washington's birthday is actually officially Wednesday but moved to Monday to create another three day holiday for some luck folks. Even though the following item offers a snapshot into the history of the day, to really get to know more about these two commanders in chief, I advise that you "go deep" and check out other periodicals about these leaders. In my research and causual reading, I've discovered that much of what I was taught in school had missing elements and facts that I've now learned. After discovering such info, I have a much clearer and focused understanding about many of our American Presidents. It never hurts to get a refresh on all American history to make sure that you a reality check to what was really going on. In the meantime, COP 24/7  will keep putting it out their in our own special way from all angles or perspectives. Thanks for checking in and following our vibe. We've got lot's to talk about this week so bookmark us for the latest. Happy Presidents Day!!

Presidents Day: What's the 411??

Presidents' Day is intended (for some) to honor all the American presidents, but most significantly George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. According to the Gregorian or "New Style" calendar that is most commonly used today, George Washington was born on February 22, 1732. But according to the Julian or "Old Style" calendar that was used in England until 1752, his birth date was February 11th. Back in the 1790s, Americans were split - some celebrated his birthday on February 11th and some on February 22nd.
When Abraham Lincoln became president and helped reshape our country, it was believed he, too, should have a special day of recognition. Tricky thing was that Lincoln’s birthday fell on February 12th. Prior to 1968, having two presidential birthdays so close together didn't seem to bother anyone. February 22nd was observed as a federal public holiday to honor the birthday of George Washington and February 12th was observed as a public holiday to honor Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
In 1968, things changed when the 90th Congress was determined to create a uniform system of federal Monday holidays. They voted to shift three existing holidays (including Washington's Birthday) to Mondays. The law took effect in 1971, and as a result, Washington's Birthday holiday was changed to the third Monday in February. But not all Americans were happy with the new law. There was some concern that Washington's identity would be lost since the third Monday in February would never fall on his actual birthday. There was also an attempt to rename the public holiday "Presidents' Day", but the idea didn't go anywhere since some believed not all presidents deserved a special recognition.
Even though Congress had created a uniform federal holiday law, there was not a uniform holiday title agreement among the individual states. Some states, like California, Idaho, Tennessee and Texas chose not to retain the federal holiday title and renamed their state holiday "President's Day." From that point forward, the term “Presidents' Day” became a marketing phenomenon, as advertisers sought to capitalize on the opportunity for three-day or week-long sales.
In 1999, bills were introduced in both the U.S. House (HR-1363) and Senate (S-978) to specify that the legal public holiday once referred to as Washington's Birthday be "officially" called by that name once again. Both bills died in committees.
Today, President’s Day is well accepted and celebrated. Some communities still observe the original holidays of Washington and Lincoln, and many parks actually stage reenactments and pageants in their honor. The National Park Service also features a number of historic sites and memorials to honor the lives of these two presidents, as well as other important leaders. Content courtsey of www.about.com.
   

Friday, February 17, 2012

Freestyling a TGIF

Another long weekend is upon us with President's Day and Mardi Gras celebrations in the wings, plus the funeral of legendary singer Whitney Houston. As I continue to hear reports about her death and subsequent home going, it just seems so unreal for numerous reasons. Each time I hear her music, see a video or watch another promo for a "life and times" special, I keep thinking is this real. Unfortunately it is. In this outing there's much to cover and yes, I will share some more of my thoughts about Whitney. Until then, let's see what else is really going on....

DSRA: Opinions and Observations

For good part of this week I've posted about some internal wrangling that has beset the Diamond State Rodeo Association causing a "mass exodus"of members, officers, royalty team and supporters. Of course there are always two sides to any situation, however, in my opinion this situation appears to severe enough to perhaps send the long standing group into the organizational trash heap. As an individual who has been apart of that organization as well as numerous others, I've been through enough team building meeting and capacity assessment to know when a group is in a free fall into the abyss. No group can continue to prosper or will retain any credibility with constant in-fighting, disregard for other's feelings, lack of direction, "power grabs" or down right bullying. Groups are made up of people who are attracted to the organization because they believe in the "mission" that the group has decided to accomplish. When they join or become "stakeholders" in the mission they are stating that they are making a personal investment in what it takes to keep the organization functioning while trying to bring the mission in to fruition. Every group comprises of different personalities, work habits, approaches, temperaments and levels of "buy in." It is up to the leadership to determined how they will cultivate its members, assess their talents and provide a organizational culture that will nurture growth resulting in achieving the said mission. If a group lacks certain necessary components then there's plenty of capacity building guides, workbooks, consultants or what have you to assist. Since apparently DSRA members attended their own IGRA University which is designed as a "capacity building" platform it would seem that much of what's transpiring shouldn't be. However, just because you attend anything doesn't mean that you embrace what you've been taught. Therefore from my prospective, then why waste time attending something if you don't put into practice any of the information you received. All organizations need people power to make them work in some notable fashion. No one person or a tea cup of few will really make a group effective without burning out at some point. Although core groups are vital to organizations, ultimately the core should began to spin out into some future growth while sharing their sense of mission to the greater community. Historically DSRA began with a great "core" group that sought to be different yet like minded as individuals who wanted to "celebrate the country lifestyle" from a LGBT angle. Over the years it has meander many paths that some times served it in a positive manner and few times opened it to negative perceptions that were marginally resolved. Yet with the current mash up, the group again finds itself embroiled in confusion, angst and more dissent that is ripe for the LGBTQ grist mill. I would hope that all factions involved would take a long look at what's happened, why it has taken place and not who is at fault but take a truthful assessment of is it worth possibly loosing it all. Think about it.

Self  Evident Truth Project Arrives in Little Rock

In 2010 iO Tillett Wright began a project called Self Evident Truths, photographing anyone that felt like they qualified to fall on some part of the LGBTQ spectrum, from bisexual, to transgender. Shot in simple black and white, in natural light, with no makeup or styling, the photos were intended to humanize the very varied face of gays in America today. “Guess what, we look just like you, your mother, your brother, or the coworker sitting right next to you.” Around fifty portraits were shot in the two weeks that she had, and were presented in stacks in a gallery in Los Angeles, to be taken away by viewers, for free.
The tour stops in Little Rock February 27th. If you’d like to participate and have your picture added please email: selfevident2011@gmail.com  COP 24/7 suggest that you check it out, who knows we just might be one of the subjects.
To learn more about the tour http://selfevidentproject.com/about/


Homecoming for Whitney

What a week it's been as we've learned the news of the songstress Whitney Houston's death. As expected "all things Whitney" has been pouring out of every news or gossip portal known to man. Eveywhere and everyday there are hourly updates, sightings, "close sources saying things" and all manner of reporting. I've just been amazed at the amount of coverage and discovery that has taken place within just a few days. Nancy Grace's blow up of her take on the autopsy and the subsequet investigation cause some ire from other talking head attorneys and talkshow folk who felt that her assertions were just unnecessary for public consumption. Even New Jersey's Gov. Christie was caught up in this fast breaking event with his prounouncement of lowering the states flags to half mast in honor of the cultural icon. Citizens literally took sides on whether this motion should happen while openly debating if she was "worthy" of such an honor. Who knew that Houston's death would become a lightning rod on so many fronts with so many angles all the while the investigations looms in the background. Yet through it all, its the tragedy of the whole matter that bothers me most even as it unfolds daily. I'm still asking "why," not only about Houston but for all things connected to her death. Why hasn't America decided to acknowledge that doctor shopping is problematic among those with the resources to do so. Why do people continue to abuse prescription drugs despite glaring examples to the possible danger or impariments. Why do we continue to have senseless deaths from those who can't overcome their substance addictions. Even though I never knew Houston, its the countless folks that I have known and now know who are dealing with such abuses with hopes of surviving. Her passing is a firm remider that life is fragile, not to mention fleeting as we move through our daily routines. We must be vigilant in embracing each moment in "love" and sharing our talents to empower, educate and elevate fellow brothers and sisters. The legacy I want to leave in life will be saervice centered and trying to make a difference in someone's life. If I can help one peson believe that they are loved and that life is worth living, I will feel accomplished. If each of us reaches out to one person who is less fortunate, isolated or unconnected, we can make the world a better place. I hope that despite all the twist and turns that Whitney endured, that she truly knew that her voice and music made a difference in many people lives around the world. As her family, colleagues and friends celebrate her home going, so will all of us who also loved her for her god given talent that he has now called home. RIP and thanks for always being just, Whitney. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rainbow Periscopes Up and Away

Didn't February just start about a week ago? It seems that days are whistling away in a fast and furious fashion that causes me to wonder what the heck is going on. As we've witnessed this week time is really of the essence and making the best of each and everyday is vital. Because you don't get to do a repeat. Its for this reason the COP 24/7 keep rolling along while pumping out the our unique take on what's really going on locally, nationally and globally. If you are not following us, opt-in email enabled or bookmarking this site, then may we suggest that you should. If you are thinking it, most likely we are talking about it! Keep it locked and loaded to COP 24/7 for the latest updates, breaking news and so much more!!!!

Flipping and Floppin at DSRA 2.0

Yesterday this forum posted about a couple of items that appeared on Facebook in regards to movements involving the Diamond State Rodeo Association. In full disclosure, I am a former Royalty Team member of the group and while I don't really have a dog in this hunt, I believed that those items warranted posting on this platform. As far as I was concerned, the comments were publicly placed therefore making them open to be used as a source of information or even insights to matters taking place within the organization. As promised, COP 24/7 outreached to the poster (Justin Case) and was met with not only that individuals but was approached by others who wanted to share their observations. As I've learned, the current Miss DSRA, C. Lynn, both membership and social chair and others have all exited the organization for various reasons yet uncovered. In my earlier post, I alluded that the group was "embattled" as well as embroiled in "strained relationships," for which I can personally attest to as this was the case during my involvement. It was my goal as their reigning figurehead to bring a sense of unity, compromise, outreach and forward momentum that the organization has never quite achieved. I was literally pursued to be apart of the then Royalty competition despite some reservations. However, I believed that I was up to the challenge even  though I knew some background on problematic occurrences which were embodied in their troubled history. I would have never done the competition had it not been for lots of support and encouragement from those who have known me for some time. I dealt with a variety of attitudes and insinuations for two consecutive years as I tried to rise above petty bickering and disrespectfulness. I had made up my mind that as the first Black Miss DSRA it was necessary to stay the course as well as honor those who believed in me. This is why the Community Service Award given to me by Mr.  J. Lum in honor of his partner Mr.Rodey Brown was so special and endearing. It was a testament that I could always know that my legacy will be "service centered" framed by my passion for human rights for all. Therefore, the news of the current resignations don't come as a surprise to me at all but do sadden me to know that lessons are still not being learned from teachable moments. If the atmosphere or culture of an organization is"toxic" then that toxicity will permeate at all levels resulting in an dysfunctional entity. Organizations are and should be about the "mission" that each member embraces not about single mindedness, egos or abrasive attitudes that serve no one. It's the "MISSION" which should be front and center as directed by its leadership and supported by its members, supporters or allies. I tried to stay focused with this in mind and through my participation attempted to full fill the mission of "positively promoting the country and western life in the LGBTQ community."  Folks are ready to weigh in and we will be updating with the latest. Stay tuned....



"Our Lives, Our Stories" Raises Profile

Congratulations to the The Living Affected Corporation on both the publishing and sales of its second periodical featruing the stories of women living with AIDS in Arkansas. "Sales have been good," said Deidra Levi, CEO of the organization. "The response has been positive and we are looking to do some additional book signings to alert the public to the importance of this book." she concluded. The group has annouced that a signing has been tenatively scheduled for Jonesboro,  February 24 and in Little Rock, March 25. Additional details are being completed and will be announced through this medium and social networking platforms. The book has been reviewed on Reviews by Amos Lassen.com reaching a spike of over 700 views acccording Lassen who reveal the news during a recent book signing. Also the book has been a featured item on the organizations new blog site (www.livingaffected.blogspot.com ) and can be purchased through their  secured PayPal portal.

Live Streaming: White House LGBT Conference

In case you missed it and most likely you did. COP 24/7 is sharing the link to the White House LGBT Conference that was held today in Philadelphia. This White House LGBT Conference on Health features remarks by Secretary of Health & Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) John Berry, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Obama administration officials. The Conference is hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and Mazzoni Center. The event took place on the campus of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

When I was in Philadelphia a couple of years ago I had the chance to meet the Mayor's LGBTQ Liasion who welcomed our group The National Association of Black and White Men Together to the city during our convention. She spent time networking with each of us as well as informing us about her duties and accomplishments since being appointed. I was thrilled to have met her as I kept thinking "why doesn't my city have a LGBTQ Liasion." Meanwhile, she invited me to tour city hall and visit her office while I was in town which I took her up on. Mayor Nutter has been a true champion for strong LGBT protections in that region as well as providing top notch health care centers including a new transgendered health center devoted to health issues of such individual. What would my city look like if Mayor Stoddla took a open position of dealing with LGBTQ issues that have rarely been addressed by the city, not to mention even an invite to meet with him about any of it. Maybe nobody has ask and its high time that we do.  In meantime, COP 24/7 is always on the cutting edge of bringing you vital links, video, podcast and informational updates. Please listen up and share your thoughts on this stream. Check out www.whitehouse.gov/live for the latest great streams.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spining the Wednesday Big Wheel

Welcome to COP 24/7's turn at spining our big wheel of "what's really going on" as we take a 365 at the world around us. And what a world it is as far I am concerned! Let's not waste a moment with this posting because it just won't wait! Bring it!

Flip Flopping at DSRA

Where do we start with this item is anybody's guess. Just when you thought these folks would be doing some boot scooting it seems that there's lots of "flip flopping" over the rainbow. Case in point, last evening as I was preparing for my posting ritual, I saw several notices that I found interesting at that time. And today, I'm even more intrigued as to the going's on with the Diamond State Rodeo Association. Around 9pm it was posted by J. Germany their "Social Coordinator" that the groups Over the Rainbow Prom event had been cancelled. However there was no further information offered or any reference to any possible explanation that may be posted otherwise. The groups website still had the annnouncement posted and I saw further Facebook chatter that despite what had been previously stated the event was still on. According to the poster there is suppose to be discounted items available, some type of "King and Queen" contest and other activities. Yet with the event only a few days away, not to mention some of the confusion, there are no listings as to how or where to get the discounted items. At our post time, COP 24/7 was trying to sort out more details and will update, if we can,  as they become available. Also within the additional postings on the event page many cited that they would not be attending the event for numerous reasons. None appear to be related to the cancel announcement. Furthermore, I've never considered FB as a true barometer about anything local. Especially since "locals" are so "wishy washy" with their intentions. They will tell you to your face that they will be attending but often find "things that come up," as a reason to "null and void" their word. I've seen it all to many times and this behavoir impacts planning and outcomes across the board. Unfortunatley area groups continue to believe that "if they post it, folks will really show up,' and its a crap shoot at best. If that wasn't enough just moments later there was another public posting from Justin Case currently Mista DSRA with this statement:


Effective today, I have resigned from the Board of Directors of DSRA and as royalty. My membership is due up this month, I will not be renewing it. Thank you all for your support and I wish the best for DSRA.
It appears that after 6 months of Royalty Team duties, Case has made the decision to call it quits. At least this was the case 10 hours ago. Apparently from what we've further learned, there appears to be continuing strained relationships, nebulous explanations and internal embattlement that are ripe for furthering questions from anyone who is willing to speak to the issues. Its no secret that this group has been beset with a colorful reputation that has been its Achilles heel.  We'll try to get it but we're not going to waste lots of time on it. Stay tuned....


Pride in the City 2012

If you don't know it and you should, COP 24/7 has been both cheerleader and ball buster on how Gay Pride activities are developed or produced. Back in 2009 this forum stepped to the plate and collaborated with a determined group of folks trying to "make it happen." We've criticized, cajoled and in our true nature, "called folks out" about past outings that were either boon or bust. Its 2012 and we're ready to start talking about this all over again. Currently there is no entity or group that is designated to take on this effort. The local watering holes have filled the void with pub crawls, autograph parites, pillow fights and all manner of mayhem. Now with all that said, there has been some speculation and "out of the box" thinking that would require prior planning, proper execution and a total "buy in" from the entire community. Here's the possible big idea. A weekend festival climaxing with a "street party" concept utilizing the 7th street cooridor bars and adjacent parking lots. This would be complete with vendors, community based organizations booths, stages, contest, or whatever the budget would allow. NOW with that said, none of this "big ass idea" can happen without a commited core group that is prepared to be in it for the long haul. Big talkers, Egocentric, Wacky, or Bull Shitters need not apply as far as I'm concerned. At this point the whole idea is a pipe dream but anything is possible with or without a damn parade. Being of the cerebral set, I would love it if the early part of week could be outfitted with some great cultural evenings that would balance the week for those in search of more meaning to the week. The LGBTQ is more than "buns and boxes," and proving that should be a central point of any Gay Pride Week. Alright folks we've put it out there and will be ready to keep talking about this or any plausible alternative plan presented. If you've got a comment, ideas or observation, let's hear from you.  


CAR Hosts Rainbow Game and Potluck Night Feb. 25

The Center for Artistic Revolution will be hosting a community event centered on potlucking and games Feb. 25 from 6:00pm - until, 800 Scott St. (inside First Presbyterian) in downtown Little Rock. And guess what it's FREE! According to organizers they request that you bring someone with you, come and visit with old friends, make new friends!  What a novel idea? And its an idea that COP 24/7 thought could be a launching pad as a means to bring other local organizations together as a braintrust collective to further address local issues and other decisive matters that has fragmented the community. If not this venue then lets decide on another or at least start the conversation.

So,Bring your favorite dish to share and a game you'd like to play. We will have Apples to Apples, Jenga, Cranium, cards, dominoes, etc.
CAR will provide all ice, paper products and utensils. Adult beverages will be allowed however the group encourages responsible behavior during this event

Need more info, hit em up at artchngesU@yahoo.com or 501.244.9690 Come get your community groove on. And tell COP 24/7 sent ya!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The "V" Day Speceial

Weather in Arkansas never leaves one wanting for change, because no matter what time of year it may be, it will change and sometimes all in a day. Yesterday's AM snowfall briskly gave way to ice pellets that as more warmth arrived offered up a cold wintry rain that almost put this writer in a "do nothing" mindset. But as duty called, I went about my daily duties as I prepared for "doing that thing that I do" throughout the week. Of course this being a day to celebrate love, its appropriate that we divert our spirited arrows toward matters of the heart and those of the lovelorn set. However on tomorrow this forum will return to the fray with updates on Gay Pride in the City, pageant news, gray gays and so much more. If you are not following us, may we suggest that you do. Because you don't want to be out of the info loop.

The Marriage Equality Mash Up

New Jersey and Washington state have come on board the marriage equality train that has left the station with destinations unknown. Unfortunately there appears that there no planned stop in the Natural State anytime soon. Last week (2.9.12)  The Stonewall Democrats in conjunction with the UALR Federalist Society, ACLU and Bowen Lambda at the Bown Law School offered a interesting "debate" on the issue.
The two participants were Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and President of the Ruth Institute who testified in favor of the law banning cohabitation couples from adopting or fostering children, presented arguments against same-sex marriage and lawyer Christine Sun, formerly of the ACLU LBGT Project and now with the Southern Poverty Law Center, presented arguments for same-sex marriage. Sun was counsel to the state challenge to Act 1, which banned cohabiting couples from adopting or fostering children. I didn't know what to expect from this exercise but from the jump by all appearances, Dr. Morse was extremely well prepared and up to the challenge of asserting her position on the topic. Out the gate she created a premise that such marriages don't serve an "essential public purpose" do to the fact that she believes that the social construct of "marriage" was created as public institution to support the presumption of paternity. She went on to state that if this institution was to be "redefined" it is possible that there are a plethora of societal issues that may result. I couldn't help but be engaged with her ticking off evidence and stats to which she felt fully supported her position against such marriages. She she was wearing a great poker face, I wasn't totally assured that she really supported civil unions or domestic partnerships but she did muse on that such tools were now available. As for Ms. Sun, who came out the box by stating that she was not "in it to win it" from the onset gave me pause as she didn't seem as thoroughly prepared as her opponent. In my opinion Ms. Sun rambled, repeated and didn't firmly substantiate her course of rebuttal but rather offer some statements that often didn't rise to the occasion. She spoke about her personal situation in which she cited that same sex couples are not interested in obtaining a "civil union" because according to her it doesn't mean as much as the term "married." Sun referenced some talking points from the Arkansas Supreme Courts which she said had supported her stance of a lack of difference or uniqueness of same sex couples. Unfortunately for myself,  I just couldn't get with Ms. Sun's approach nor actually follow her argument as presented. Even in my notes I found it hard to get the bullet points that she was trying to make as a retort to Dr.Morse whom handled her issues with plenty of ammo and then some. As for me, I believe that if we are going to be a nation that speaks to other countries concerning their human rights violations or lack thereof, then our governing bodies need to make sure that our "house" is in order. Since being in a long term relationship for more almost two decades, we've talked about the "marriage" question but haven't felt compelled that our relationship needed such a designation. For those who need it, then by all means make it so. But I would rather have a solid long endearing relationship than some splashy ceremony that may or may not last. Now hear this, being in a long term commitment takes work and more give and take that you might ever imagined. Each of you go through stages of your relationship and if you survive to navigate the twist and turns, then you're doing damn good. I've been to many commitment services, civil unions and domestic recognition celebrations that were beautifully executed. However, many of these ended in torment and much pain for all parties involved. This subject will be debated to death, yet there are many other human right issues that are more paramount to myself and I believe many others as well. If you're looking for love, try starting with yourself before you try loving some one else. Think about it.  Happy Valentines Day!!

From our Food Files

You just never know what you will discover here at the COP 24/7 Forum and we like it like that. Especially when we uncover new blogs, news sources and other great content that I think will be of interest to our readers. Not to mention, I'm also a "foodie" person who is intrigued by new ingrediants or methods to prepare a diffrent dish. Recently I found a recipie for a "Turnip Casserole." Yes I said  Turnip which I thought "who knew" that turnips could be used in a casserole. But after reviewing the recipie and buying some of the extras needed, I set about making this dish. To my suprise, it was quite good and hearty as well. It could be served along side any pork, fish or beef dish and certainly would be a suprising side dish for guest. This is why I'm posting the following item from a nother great platform entitled "What's Cooking." Take a gander and get in the kitchen to make that special dish for your special someone. Hit us up if you come across something you would like to share or an experience that you may want us to try. Let's hear from you....

Palachinka

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Palatschinken are light, thin pancakes much like crêpes, hailing from Austrian and Bavarian traditions. They are scrumptious alone or filled with decadent sweets and fruit, perfect for brunch or a light dinner. And what makes them so important? Their influence over the name of our featured WWBR blog this week, Palachinka!

As you enter the blog, flashes of tempting dishes scroll in a slideshow across the top of the page. The lovely mixture of sweet and savory in the Strawberry, Caramelized Pear & Bleu Cheese Salad and the wholesome, warming Thick Carrot Soup were enough to draw us in to really find out what this blog is all about: “Everyday food made decadent, and decadence made easy.”
The blog is full of recipes for every occasion and from all corners of the world, plus it is incredibly easy to navigate. One click on the Categories tab and you have everything you need for any upcoming meal listed right in front of you. You can browse by Course when searching for just the right appetizer for guests or by Regional Cuisine when you get an itch to try something from afar without leaving your own kitchen. The main focus of the blog is recipes with an Eastern European twist, taking you from Austria to Macedonia and many more.

Some of our favorites are the Persian Roasted Chicken with Dried Cherry-Saffron Rice- an ideal winter weeknight meal, the beautiful Esterhasy Torte- a traditional Austrian dessert, and the Pain Perdu .
And if you are feeling particulary ambitious, try whipping up homemade Avjar or bright and zesty Preserved Lemons!

No matter what you end up doing this weekend, be sure and check out Palachinka and let us know below what quenches your thirst for decadence!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Requiem for the Songstress


Divine. Duchess.Delightful. Diva! The accolades and admissions of Whitney Houston's talent have flowed like a mighty river ever since the news of her untimely death last Saturday. As with all striking deaths, it was another one of those "remember where you were" moments that have become all to familiar to myself. Whether it was Princess Diana, Michael Jackson and now Whitney, remembering such markers are constant reminders that each of us is just passing through and we should live life to the fullest because we don't know when the final curtain call will come. When she burst on the music scene some two decades ago, I took notice that her silky yet powerful vocals would be something to watch. The song that sealed the deal for me was her rendition of "The Greatest Love of All" which had already been a favorite of mine since I first heard it sang by George Benson from the soundtrack of the Muhammad Ali bio. I was totally inspired by Benson's version, but Houston took the lyrics to new heights and meaning for me personally. At that time I didn't realize that there was so much more to come from this artist that I could have ever imagined. Her artistry and god given talent were true gifts that no one can doubt. Who would have thought that Houston singing the Star Spangle Banner could have been sung as to ignite a nation into a frenzy of pride. Or that she could take a country laden Ballard written by Dolly Parton and craft it into one of her signature tour de force pieces that she will always be remembered for. It is her trailblazing of being a cultural crossover, record sales, successful tours and mentor ship to younger artist that should be the centerpiece of her narrative. But as we prepare for all aspects of her life to be dissected, examined and evaluated by all who do that for a living and otherwise. Ultimately at the basic core of this individual is the fact that she was a human being whom had frailties which bedeviled her to the end. "Being Whitney" had pitfalls and pressures that although often played out publicly. No matter the madness I believe that her public was always wishing the best for her. As I reflect over her catalog of music, some of it seem almost prophetic to some degree. The song "Didn't we Almost Have it all," come to my mind as I pondered, "didn't she have it all?" However despite her public persona she alluded to the fact that she didn't always have it all as I had perceived. In her interviews she didn't blink at the fact that she had addiction issues and barriers that had caused her problems. I know all too well about how getting that monkey off your back and keeping it off your back can be challenging. I've never had to be in treatment facility, but sought professionals to assess my personal situation thusly creating a corrective course of action. I had such high hopes that Houston would fulfill the anthem she sang in 2009, "know the strength, even though she had stumbled, but did not crumble." Secretary of State Clinton was chided for her statement that "America has a drug problem." Folks said that she shouldn't have said that about the country even as the nation continues to face prescription drug over use, illicit drugs have created micro war zones in cities and the prisons are overcrowded from offenders. When will we own up to the fact that we do have drug dilemma and acknowledge that the war on drugs has been a colossal failure to say the least. While I mourn with the rest of global village on Miss Houston's passing, it is the musical legacy she has left that will allow her to always live in my heart and soul. Maybe now you will discover the light of serenity and afterglow of peace that you so deserved while with us. Our condolences to her daughter and extended family. She will truly be missed... 

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Best of COP 24/7

Everybody has a best of this or that relating to whatever they do "best." Singers have their "greatest hits" catalog. Talk shows don't mind sharing reruns of their best shows produced and writers often compile their best works into new best works for redistribution. So why shouldn't COP 24/7 not have a best of CorneliusOnpoint series like everybody else. Surely within the over 100,000 words of the 792 post that I've produced their has to have been at least a few good ones that needs to be revisited. Therefore in the next few weeks, we will roll with that idea, as we present some of the blast from the past and more! See if you remember any of "what was really going on back then."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Diversity Mix-Down: As many of you know I get mucho e-mail and I do mean "MUCHO!" However, I make every attempt to read all of this info but often much of it goes to my File 13 bucket. Yet my attention was certainly grabbed by an invitation that was bounced via the Stonewall Democrats citing a "Peacemaker" forum 12.11.09 Dunbar Community Center, 5-7 p.m. facilitated by the United States Department of Justice. The forum is being billed as an "opportunity to share your issues, concerns, and interests to enhance race relations and improve access to services in our community." Even more eyeopening was that this was being coordinated by City Director Erma "Fingers" Hendrix (pictured) whom if you may recall was embroiled in a brouhaha earlier this year based on a statement that she allegedly quipped during the ill fated Day Center debate. It was reported, but not totally substantiated to my satisfaction that she implied that the center considered for the the old Job Corp building would attract those type of people namely "homosexuals." Of course, Mrs. Hendrix vehemently denied such a statement was uttered nor is she of that state of mind or a person of that pedigree. As she continued to deny it, the reports kept swirling in the media and the GLBTQ construct went viral with social network postings. According to Mrs. H. her phone went ringing off the wall and in the final analysis, the whole matter became a non-issue. And in typical "erruption fashion," everyone moved on as usual. No apologies issued, no resignations announced, no detectable resolution. So what are we to make of this outing from Hendrix? It's anyone's guess and most likely no one will really care in my estimation. I predict that there will be minimal attendence from the GLBTQ community, but I'd love to be proved wrong. I'm always glad when the community makes a showing. However, it's all so surreal that this event would be taking place as this state has barred it's GLBTQ citizens from marrying or adopting. Ultimately, the forum perhaps should be about,"where's the justice in that peacemaking?" Hey Mrs. Hendrix, since it appears that you are all about mending fences, how about a forum on "Community Homophobia" coordinated with some of our local activist and advocates? Or better yet, could we count on you to be a guest speaker at next years PRIDE 2010 event? It's just something to think about. Here's a quick reacap: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE/Community Relations Services: The Departments “Peacemaker” for community conflict and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. 5:00 P.M. – 7:00 P.M. FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2009


DUNBAR COMMUNITY CENTER 1101 W. 16TH STREET, Little Rock, Light hors d’oeuvres will be served. If you find you face in the place, I'd love to hear your observations or opinions.