Thursday, October 18, 2012

More Wheels Spinning at COP24/7

Is your head about to pop off yet? Well its winding down to be damn near barn burner as we get ready for the thunder dome of US politics to occur Nov 6. Everyone is on countdown from political wonder babe, Rachel Maddow to steely eyed Bill Moyers who is ringing the bell loud and clear that the "plutocrats are trying to buy a President!" Meanwhile the Romney and Ryan camp is running rampant in the land with so many "pants on fire" tall tales and "Obama bogeyman" mantra being gobbled up by those CEO types ( you know those supposedly job creators) living behind gated communities, enjoying privileged entitlements while being totally out of touch with the average American. Yet threatening their employees with making the right choice or else the job creator may just decide to cease and desist as an employer.  But  President Obama will not be outdone as his surrogates, supporters and flame throwers are circling the waggons in preparation for a scorched earth outcome with verbiage and soaring rhetoric igniting their base. Ladies and Gentlemen and all who haven't decided, fasten your seat beats because there's more to come as early voting starts and we get ready to see who will be leading the free world come this November 6.

Condom Lady Recognized as Top Seller

Connie "Condom Lady" Roebuck was recognized Friday October 12 during the Arkansas Community Planning Group monthly meeting. Roebuck was featured in the periodical, "Our Lives, Our Stories, The Untold Stories of Women with AIDS," and also was cited as top salesperson of the project. Published by The Living Affected Corporation from support from Tibotec Pharmaceuticals, the groundbreaking book was a first of its type in Arkansas."I am so proud to have been apart of the book and did my best to sell as many copies to family, friends, and anyone who I could get to buy one." said Roebuck. "This award came as a total surprise and it means so much to me." she concluded. Roebucks story is chronicled among the stories of four women whom formed the "Plus Club," as means to addressing the issue of isolation and stigma that many women endure as their health crisis unfolds. According to investigative work executed by The Living and Affected Corporation, the lack of support groups and opportunities to meet with other women dealing with HIV and AIDS is not a social norm, but rather allows many women to languish in the shadows.

The first meeting took place on Valentine's Day 2011, which incidentally marked Roebucks 15th anniversary of being HIV positive. Once a month the ladies would agree to meet in a local hotel suite instead of a conventional office setting. As a social venue, the evening included playing board games and sharing a catered meal while detailing incidents from their various walks of life that intersected at HIV and AIDS. During each session participants journaled their experiences from a proposed "question of the evening," on life changes, reactions and overviews of navigating the health care system during both their pre and post diagnosis. As the project developed, each participant was offered a chance to "profit share" in selling copies of the book both independently or as a group effort which also included a multi-city book tour that visited Forest City, Jonesboro, Little Rock and Pine Bluff. The Arkansas Community Planning Group supported the production of the book by purchasing a bulk supply to offer complimentary to its networks of providers, stakeholders and clients. Other participants of the project were Ann Dixion, Dianna Guy, Vera Santiago and Samantha Thomas served as Program Manager. Final copies of the book are available on this site, Pyramid Gallery in Little Rock or call 501.379.8203.

Voter Identification Laws – Know Yours and Vote!
This election season, Americans have certainly seen their share of inflammatory rhetoric, polarizing discussion and heated debate – all about a myriad of issues that will be dramatically affected by the outcome on November 6. And, as most of these issues are impacted BY the outcome of the election, one contentious issue has been a flashpoint FOR the outcome of the election – voter identification laws.
While voter identification laws are, on the surface, designed to prevent voter fraud, the reality is that the degree of strictness of the laws may suppress eligible voters from going to the polls because of the confusion those laws create for voters about their eligibility. And it is more important than ever that all eligible Americans – especially people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS – get out and vote! Knowing your state’s voter identification laws NOW will ensure that you will be able to cast your vote in the 2012 election.

The Current Climate of Voter Identification
Confusion is understandable. Thirty-three states have enacted voter ID laws and the laws in 30 of those are in effect for in the 2012 election. Recently, several states have had some high-profile volleying between lawmakers and the courts about their respective laws. For instance, on October 10, a federal court ruled that South Carolina’s new voter ID law strictly requiring voters to present a valid photo ID at the polls could not be enforced for the upcoming election because it did not allow for enough time to properly educate voters and election officials about the change. However, this law could be enacted in 2013 and be enforced in future elections. Similarly, on October 2, a Pennsylvania judge blocked a law that would require voters in Pennsylvania to present a photo ID in order to vote on November 6, claiming that the necessary information and documents would not adequately be provided in time for the election. Despite this ruling, election officials in Pennsylvania may still ask voters for valid forms of identification on November 6th; however, voters do not need to present a valid ID in order to vote on a normal voting machine.

Varying Law Strictness and Identification Type Requirements
While voter identification laws are in effect in 30 states, the type of identification required and the strictness of the law varies from state to state. In some states, voters without an ID can simply sign an affidavit affirming their identity or have an election official vouch for their identity prior to voting, and are then eligible to vote using standard voting machines. In other states, voters who cannot produce a valid photo ID are eligible to vote using a provisional ballot, which requires them to return to election officials with a valid photo ID within a certain amount of time from the election in order for their ballot to be counted.

History, Evolution, and Implementation of Voter Identification
IDs were not always required in order to vote. In fact, no state required voters to produce valid forms of identification until 2006, when Indiana passed a strict photo ID law. However, the past few months have seen a substantial increase in the number of states attempting to pass stricter voter identification laws requiring voters to present a government issued photo ID. Proponents of these laws, the majority of whom are Republicans, believe it will reduce voter fraud. Those who oppose these laws argue that individual voter fraud is very rare and that ID laws are an attempt to reduce voter turnout among those groups that do not possess identification -- and who also tend to vote Democrat -- including student, poor, urban and minority voters. Even in states where obtaining a valid photo ID is free, the process often requires people to pay for a copy of their birth certificate or travel long distances.

Know your State’s Voter ID Laws! Get out and Vote!
These voter ID laws could have a significant impact on voter turnout; as lawmakers and judges spar over their validity, voters are left confused about their eligibility and therefore may be less inclined to vote on November 6. And for people living with HIV/AIDS, the outcomes of this election will affect implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and the Affordable Care Act, as well as funding for critical federal HIV research, prevention, care and treatment programs. In what is sure to be a close election, every vote counts! To find out what YOUR state requires, visit
If you haven’t yet registered, check out your state’s voter registration deadlines and, if you are within the deadline, register TODAY at .
For more information on the history of voter identification laws and current discourse on the topic, visit

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