Monday, February 06, 2012

Blogging the Frontier

Monday, Monday! The day after the Super Bowl Sunday and how. It's all over and I'm ready to move on to the next whatever big thing that coming down the pike. Of course February is filled with days to celebrate from Valentines Day to Mardi Gras mash ups. What's a guy to do? Well, in our case, its keep on bringing you our special brand of news, views and so much more. Its COP 24/7 alive and well in 2012!

From Ribbon to Ribbon: Not so Pretty in Pink

The Susan G. Koeman folks tried to roll over its stakeholders with a bunch of tomfoolery got bitch slapped through a fire storm of push back from everyday women and supporters. Resoundingly those voices demanded that SGK keep their hands off their breast screening efforts provided by the embattled Planned Parenthood. Last Friday SGK penned a mea culpa and reversed their decision not to fund Planned Parenthood. The whole matter had a "smell factor" from the jump as SGK issued a statement that newly placed internal policies cited that any grantee that was under investigation would not be receiving any funding. While the initial explanation was being floated, other explanations came flowing from the mouth of its CEO Nancy Brinker who continued to state that the groups move was not politically based. Also a the center of the controversy is the newly hired Senior VP Karen Handel who has openly expressed her opposition to funding for Planned Parenthood plus the impeding "investigation" of Rep. Cliff Stearns R-FL who is on a tangent to see if any federal dollars are being used for abortions which federal law prohibits. Even though many of players involved kept stating that none of this was about politics, it just wasn't really' true. We must face the fact that much of what is happening in our country including Arkansas is all about politics from A-Z. Case in point, The Living Affected Corporation has been requested to offer testimony before the Legislative Budget committee this Thursday concerning its impending selection as a HIV/AIDS prevention grantee of the Arkansas Department of Health. It appears that the committee chaired by Rep. Kathy Webb, seeks further understanding of the organization, its mission and subsequent programming utilizing the funding. Similar to the Planned Parenthood meltdown, this organization also has its own Legislative "investigator" in the guise of politico Rep. Donna Hutchinson ( District 98), who has beset the organization with legislative barriers and nonfactual pompous innuendo. Local journalist Max Brantley couldn't have said any better in a June 2011 Blue Arkansas Blog item:

"Meet the dumbest, most hateful, and most down right dishonest legislator in the Arkansas General Assembly. (And with a legislature full of Jon Hubbards and Loy Mauchs that’s saying a lot.) Donna Hutchinson has long had a serious issue with gay people, being one of the “Pro-Aids Three” back in 2010 for instance. LGBT people aren’t her only whipping boys either. She goes after all minority groups with a vengeance and has a nasty habit of hiding behind the line “I’m Native American” as if it makes it okay."

Even as Arkansas has no line item slated for state funding for HIV/AIDS prevention and has basically refused to address the issue, the record shows that Hutchinson also voted to eliminate funding for the school for the deaf. So what's politics got to do with it we may ask? Much more than you might think!! Trust me. Hopefully the testimony offered by LA Corp will be embraced as a teachable moment for all who unaware how this health dilemma continues to ebb and flow throughout the state. Therefore resulting in positive outcomes for the organization and the target populations for which it wants to serve. COP 24/7 plans to attend the budget session to witness the proceedings and will share what we learn in a later posting.

What's really amazing about this entire episode of human reaction is the fact that again, the power of social media in its immediacy and swiftness unleashed a hammer of opinion, comments, outrage in many forms of "call to action." This medium is proving to be a noticeable force in the public arena and once harnessed can be used for making change. In Arkansas, local LGBTQ groups and organizations have used the "Net" and social networking to alert citizens as well as call them to action with marginal results. This forum certainly has been at the forefront of using the information superhighway to stimulate, educate, empower and entertain our readers and visitors. However, no matter how many messages or press releases that are forwarded, if folks don't respond, react or robustly make any efforts to "do something" then what will it matter. The lesson learned from this latest "foot in mouth" step from a national organization is that if its stakeholders, end users or consumers get pissed off about its maneuvers, then they better ready for the backlash. Note to LGBTQ Arkansas, speaking up does matter. If not, you won't matter. Think about it.     

Democratic Party of Arkansas Holds Statewide Meeting on 2012 Delegate Selection Process
The Democratic Party of Arkansas will host a state committee meeting on Saturday, February 11 at 10:30 a.m. at the Clarion Resort on the Lake in Hot Springs. The event is open to the press and the public. This is an opportunity for those seeking to be delegates to the National Convention in Charlotte, NC.  As a former individual who attempted to navigate this course, I high suggest that LGBQT citizens who want to be apart of the political process check this out and get involved. Even though the DNC has an official plank that cites that a percent of each delegation be from the LGBTQ community, unfortunately I learned that Arkansas has decided not to follow that mandate but "encourages" participation. Being apart of the process is vital as well as your volunteer or monetary support to those who share your interest.
Who: Arkansas Democrats
What: How to become a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention
When: Saturday, February 11, 2012 at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Clarion Resort on the Lake, 4813 Central Avenue, Hot Springs
Striving for a Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Community
In a circulated e-mail I was curious about the Future Builders organization seeking to spread the word about their LGBTQ Tobacco Survey and what impact this survey really will have or what outcomes will result. I ask this question due to the fact that in case you have noticed and most likely you haven't, it seems that there are lot of organizations, individuals, entities and what have you "studying" the LGBTQ community for their own purposes without any significant results benefiting the LGBTQ community. There are assessments, surveys and all manner of dissertations on this and that are created, submitted and yet many of the same problem persist that are suppose to addressed in these mechanism. Why do they continue to poll, focus group or interview folks for their funded projects then somehow nothing is released to state what was actually discerned or no real plan to follow through is developed. In the last few weeks COP 24/7 has reviewed several assessments that were done on numerous aspects of the LGBTQ community, but has unable to discover a further paper trail on how any of this busy work has actually done anything. So the $64,000 question is, "why the hell do these piece keep being commissioned if no one is really going to do anything with them. How much more paper needs to be generated to full fill yet another grant or funding opportunity for groups that have no significant intention of making a societal difference in the LGBTQ community. In my opinion the "incentive" approach needs some serious review. Possible participants have zeroed in on the gig of giving these researchers "just what they want" for a possible $5 Wal Mart or Best Buy card resulting in not a "buy in" but rather a meager bribe to full fill project "A" or "B." Resulting in yet another report to which will have a limited impact or any really life changing aspects.  Where are these social scientist when we need them to speak up, write letters, testify or stand with us in a time of need?  If any of this "studying" brings forth some tangible results then so be it. Otherwise it appears to be a exercise in using funding in an attempt to justify an lackluster mission. So with all that said, If you would like to take a moment of your time and fill out this quick survey. You can access it on your phone!! Just scan the QR code provided. We'll wait an see if there's any results released or any reports on just what they found.
BLACK HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY FEBRAURY 7, 2012. Share a message, show some support and become your "Brother's and Sister's Keeper. Share your thoughts with COP 24/7 here or online at Facebook!

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