Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday Countdown to 2014!!

Doing a COP 24/7 Yearly 360

What a hell of a year 2013 has been and continues to bang out breaking news and such until its final bow at 11:59 tonight. Where has all the time gone and just how can this forum really recall all the lowlights and highlights that may have made the cut on our platforms. However, as tradition would have it, COP 24/7 will do a "360" in its effort to pick a few headlines that signified "what was really going on."

The Vote: President Barrack Obama was re-elected to a second term to continue to build on his
legacy to guide the nation to being a better union. However, this long and winding road has been wrought with defying obstruction from Republican opponents to "anything favored" by Obama. Yet through the morass of a do nothing Congress, the President has been ardent force since his first term with the National HIV AIDS Strategy, appointing LGBTQ members to administration post and now his signature legislation the Affordable Care Act. As of 12/24/13 up to 1 Million people have signed up for coverage. Just so you know it is reported that at least 48 Million people do not have healthcare insurance. Its not been perfect, but his vision has been laser focused on increasing social justice for all.

Marriage Equality:
Commonly mentioned as "gay marriage," this issue morphed into "Marriage Equality" which found itself surging among the masses with surprising outcomes. The vote heard around the world was the Supreme Courts striking of the Defense of Marriage Act that set in motion a flurry of legal actions across the nation.

Including a recent move by Kendall and Julia Wright of White County whom filed a July 2013 lawsuit challenging Arkansas' own ban on such marriages. Cheryl Maples, attorney for Kendall and Julia Wright, has said she filed the lawsuit in circuit court, rather than federal court, because she think it stands a better chance of being successful there.

Currently the motion is under consideration of Judge Piazza. Meanwhile there were also other actions from groups Arkansans for Equality seeking a ballot repeal and Arkansas Initiative for Marriage Equality that would amend the states constitution.

To date 19 states have moved forward with the matter with Massachusetts in 2003 which among the first and most recently Utah that have either affirmed the issue or awaiting court decisions.

Community Wide: This category is a full one which will not catch all that happened but certainly note some highlights. In June Gay Pride activities entitled Our Diversity 2013 took to downtown with a day long festival like event featuring local organizations such as The Living Affected Corporation (www.livingaffected.com) , entertainers and supporters. Unfortunately Mother Nature had her way with a torrential rain storm that sent organizers into a "plan B" mode while securing participants safety and determining how to move forward with planned activities.

The city also hosted its first Annual Gay Pride Parade that snaked it's way into the River Market area to awaiting crowds. Numerous other community based organizations such as Center for Artistic
Revolution (www.artisticrevoltion.org ) provided exciting programming ranging from its Summit on LGBTQ Health to a gala celebration of Bayard Rustin held at the Mosaic Templars Museum in November.

And of course their was pageantry galore with all manner of crowns and sashes being passed out to the best of the both female and male impersonators plus lots of award winning Renegades for a Cause fundraising that served many entities.

Congrats to all who competed and their sponsor/supporters who shelled out some big bucks to make it so. Also big shout out to the emerging Arkansas Leather Alliance as it plans to host the first ever Mr. Leather Arkansas contest, June 20-22,2014 as culmination of Gay Pride Week. The event will also hosted by Mr. Michael Kaplan,  Mr. Heartland Leather 2014 and Team Friendly promoter.(pictured right)

HIV/AIDS: The Arkansas HIV Planning Group continued its collaboration with the Arkansas
Department of Health's HIV/ Hep C section in an effort to move forward with Arkansas' Jurisdictional Plan.
 At the group's helm is this forum's Executive Producer, Cornelius Mabin whom was elected in 2012 and reaffirmed in the leadership capacity through 2014. Other changes departmental changes for 2013 was the arrival of new Section Chief, Ralph Wilmoth. Since taking the position in June he has moved to garner a greater understanding of issues and challenges that have plagued ADH's effectiveness and credibility in addressing HIV and AIDS in Arkansas. HIV Arkansas also continued to serve its membership base in Northwest Arkansas and Jefferson

Kicking It in the City: On the bar scene, even though the there was a revolving door of managers at Miss Kitty's, the venue broke new ground with dinner theatre, comedians, assorted shows and a dizzying array of promotions. A nerve was struck with the departure of former manager L. Henley as he and crew staged a munity of sorts as they "walked," in support of allegations that are still raw in come circles. COP 24/7 alluded to this "kitty cat" fight in an earlier post and has learned additional details that we will muse on about later this week.

The 7th street area also saw additional changes late 2013 with the "re-launch" of The New 610, in an effort to revive the venue to its past luster. Now managed by a syndicate of owners, the bar added short order food items and beer on tap, which they cited as demanded by its clientele. Reviews have been stellar from those who have decided to make this haunt a destination stop for the socializing

On the north shore, TRAX's continued as a staple for die heart supporters although amidst catcalls and ballyhoo's of constant personnel changes, inventory shortfalls and assorted missteps that keeps supporters wondering out loud, WTF! and then some.

Late 2013 ushered in a "soft opening" of CHAPS ( 2619 Pike Avenue) as another alternative venue for local seeking  what's been haphazardly described as a"muscular" vibe joint. However, other sources have described the place as a "dive," it appears to COP 24/7 as a place that could get some traction with the right attractions. Currently this venture as well as its sister entities are now under the management of Mr. Brandon Allen. Stay tuned for more updates on this outpost and other developments on the nightlife scene in 2014.

And there you have it, but not all of it as 2013 becomes a faded memory. COP 24/7 has done its best in covering the community highs and lows, not to mention staying on point with updates, observations, links, video and so much more. With 2014 just hours away, I hope that each of you will find peace, prosperity and maybe even a partner in 2014.

 If you have not subscribed, then do so and please tell your friends. You can catch us on your mobile devices, RSS feeds, email or either by bookmarking the site. Don't forget to check out our advertisers and affiliate partners. Plus if you want to contribute the production of this site, let us know and we can make that connection.  Got some creative talent to share?, hit us up in our comment section to let us know how we can make that take off. And by all means, come on back because we know that we are giving you more of what you are looking for!

Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Rolling Away to the New Year.

How to Survive a Plague

COP 24/7 has been firmly committed in sharing the latest news, updates and interconnected issues and challenges around the HIV/ AIDS health dilemma. Even more relevant is that fact that I personally
experienced the hate rhetoric, misinformation, lack of government intervention and much personal loss.

I will never forget a wheelchair bound young man who came into a store of which I was working in San Francisco at the time. He was visually arresting with his lesions from Kaposi Sarcoma, however as I asked, "may I help you?" He confronted me with the reply," I don't want no nigger's help."

Yet today as a long term survivor of the madness that engulfed my world then, I am profusely proud to know that those who died, did not die in vain, because I lived to tell the tale. Even for that nameless customer who didn't want my assistance.

Despite those type of incidents, I believe that all of that crazy energized me as advocate to continue to lead the charge in demanding this now chronic disease continue to be addressed. Tonight at 10 pm the Academy Award nominated film, How to Survive a Plague, directed by David France will be the featured presentation on Independent Lens on PBS ( check your local listings). In Arkansas, AETN will show the film at 9 pm in high definition. (www.aetn.org )

The PBS website offers this synopsis. In the dark days of 1987, America was six years into the AIDS epidemic, a crisis that was still largely being ignored both by government officials and health organizations — until the sudden emergence of the activist group ACT UP in Greenwich Village, New York, largely made up of HIV-positive participants who refused to die without a fight. Along with TAG (Treatment Action Group), and emboldened by the power of rebellion, they took on the challenges that public officials had ignored, raising awareness of the disease through a series of dramatic protests. More remarkably, they became recognized experts in virology, biology, and pharmaceutical chemistry.

Their efforts would see them seize the reins of federal policy from the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) and NIH (National Institutes of Health), force the AIDS conversation into the 1992 presidential election, and guide the way to the discovery of effective AIDS drugs that turned an HIV diagnosis from a death sentence into a chance to live long and healthy lives.

First-time director David France culls from a huge amount of never-before-seen archival footage — most of it shot by the protesters themselves (31 videographers are credited) — to create not just an historical document, but an intimate and visceral recreation of the period through the very personal stories of some of ACT UP and TAG’s leading participants. How to Survive a Plague captures both the joy and terror of those days, and the epic day-by-day battles that finally made AIDS survival possible. 

France has received the National Headliner Award and the GLAAD Media Award, and has seen his work inspire several films, most recently the Emmy-nominated Showtime film Our Fathers. He is at work on a major history of AIDS, due out soon from Alfred A. Knopf.

Duck Quackery

Alright so Daddy Duck, Phil Robertson has been restored to the reality based show, Duck Dynasty. In full disclosure, I have not seen this show nor do I have any reason to watch it or any of these
mindless offerings as programming cited as "must see TV." By now everyone has weigh in on this hot mess ranging from Sarah "I can't keep my mouth shut about anything" Palin to some rambunctious conversation in the LGBTQ community.

In all the noise about this lame duck issue is a firm "consider the source." Obviously I abhor the comments from Robertson concerning his take on "them beasty gays and "happy go luck coloreds," I understand the 1st Amendment position taken by supporters. People of his ilk always believe that there personal thoughts are wrapped in religious beliefs as he know or purport to know.

 But what I don't understand is the fact that why is anybody interested in these jokers in the first place and why folks keep buying products with their mugs featured on them to the help them amass a 400 Million Dollar empire! I get it that they are an American success story building their brand via Duck Commander outpost in West Monroe, Louisiana but again, so what's so thrilling to see or hear and that making duck calls could make one that rich?

As for A&E whom I use to watch for "Art & Entertainment" before they decided to rush to the bottom of the programming barrel. I have to assume that executives had to find some suitable ridiculousness to get some ratings and make some cash for the bottom line. You know investors ain't happy if there's no dividends. Furthermore, I had noticed that this channel seemed to be pivoting to producing "reality" fluff that has never had an appeal to myself.

That's right, no housewives or Honey Boo-Boo will be seen on my flat screen any time soon or in the near future. I believe in the thought of "garbage in...garbage out," is the byproduct of what one decides to make their viewing pleasure. With that said, enough already about the Duck Dynasty folk because if there's enough money involved most likely almost anything goes. In the meantime, I'll stay with the ALFAC duck instead.

Gay Republicans Outraged

Once again COP 24/7 was on the money with its posting of an Ad produced by Out2Enroll
concerning marketing to the LGBTQ community about the Affordable Care Act. No matter how you look at it, whomever dreamed up this campy parody certainly gets high marks for creativity but as haters would have it, some folks are not amused especially Log Cabin Republicans.

Although this forum posted the video, for some reasons we have yet to determine what's up with the sound issues on You Tube. Another interesting question to this mix is the fact the Arkansas Insurance Department actually awarded a local community based organization a contract on providing direct outreach and education in the LGBTQ community. But beside the fact of a massive media campaign, not one part of the campaign contained any gay specific material designed for the purposes of reaching that community.

Even more interesting is the company, Mangan Holcomb engaged to do the materials had several issues with their cultural appropriateness or sensitive materials. I'm almost sure that certainly nothing with this tone would have ever made the cut not to mention that much of the advertising budget was not renewed. However, none of this mattered to some gay republicans who were having none of it with the following statement:

“This cynical ad betrays the depths Obamacare advocates will sink to in order to pad their pathetic enrollment numbers,” Log Cabin Republicans Executive Director Gregory T. Angelo declared. “As a self-proclaimed ‘fierce advocate’ of gay equality, President Obama would do well to distance himself from this nonsense and denounce it immediately. This ad is also an example of the left promoting harmful stereotypes that gay men are nothing more than sex-crazed lechers. If anyone on the right made such a comparison, liberals would be apoplectic. At a time when left-wing propagandists are decrying Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson for equating homosexuality with promiscuity and deviance, Out2Enroll and others should take a look in the mirror and ask if the truth is that they are the ones responsible for promoting such harmful stereotypes.”

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/see-the-obamacare-ad-that-has-gay-republicans-hot-under-the-collar.html#ixzz2oo2NkRVC

The Queen Pardons Alan Turing
Queen Elizabeth pardoned genius mathematician Alan Turing for his conviction in 1952 on charges of homosexuality, which was then a crime.  Turing's sentence required that he undergo chemical castration. In 1954, he took his life after experiencing physical, emotional and intellectual effects of the chemical treatment.

A 2006 LGBT History Month Icon, Turing headed a top secret WWII British Team that developed the machines and algorithms that unscrambled the German military codes. This effort helped assure defeat of the Nazis and shortened the war by two years.

Turing is the father of the computer. He wrote the first scientific articles on artificial intelligence and computer software. His algorithm continues to be the basis for computing.

In 2009, Prime Minister Gordon Brown issued a formal apology to Turing.

To learn more about Alan Turing, click here.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Weekend Roll to 2014

Kwanzaa Principles versus Black on Black Crime 2013

Ironically prior too as well as on Christmas Eve more violence was perpetrated within Little Rock's Black Community with another yet unsolved murder. From this vantage point, it seems that the Black community continues to be overtly paralyzed in addressing the continuation and rampant nature of this senseless killing. This also comes amidst our ever growing gun culture framed by numerous mass killing from Denver's movie theatre mayhem to the more recent mall shooting.  Although a few local ministers and assorted others ranging from local activist Benny Johnson to the Black on Black Coalition comprising many note worth citizens with hopes of producing programming and prevention initiatives that obviously have had mixed outcomes.

In a August 2003 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece, coalition member Mr. Michael Steele was quoted as saying, "We have a problem here in Arkansas...greater than the AIDS epidemic. The problem is Black on Black Crime. We need to create an environment where it is not tolerated." Since then there has been a constant uptick of such crime throughout the central Arkansas area despite city wide funding and a recovering economy. Nationwide, blacks were six times more likely to be murdered and seven times more likely to commit homicide than whites, according to 2000 statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice. In 2010 a total of 45 homicides were committed in Pulaski County, 54% of which were committed by blacks against blacks according to the Center for Healing Hearts website (www.hhscenter.org ).
Although limited in scope locally, the commemoration of Kwanzaa and its tenants should be emphasized at the intersection of dealing with many of the ongoing roots of social determinants that have a "cause - affect" impact among Black males 15-24. The holiday was created to introduce and reinforce the Nguzo Saba (the Seven Principles.) These seven communitarian African values are: Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). This stress on the Nguzo Saba was at the same time an emphasis on the importance of African communitarian values in general, which stress family, community and culture and speak to the best of what it means to be African and human in the fullest sense. And Kwanzaa was conceived as a fundamental and important way to introduce and reinforce these values and cultivate appreciation for them.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor of Africana Studies at California State University, Long Beach, author and scholar-activist who stresses the indispensable need to preserve, continually revitalize and promote African American culture.

One suggestion could be as Black History Month 2014 scales up, maybe the emphasis should be on "Black and Black Crime" month instead. This could be a follow up to the 2004 version that COP 24/7 desperately believes needs to be repeated.

Ringing in the New Year

When this post arrives, there will be approximately 5 days left in 2013. Where did the year go and why do they seem to be slipping away so quickly or am I just so damn busy that I don't have time to notice? Any way, local venues are sending out their notices and we will try to get as many up for your FYI. COP 24/7 does its best to stay on top of breaking news, updates, trending buzz and more of what we think you are looking for! Keep it locked and loaded to the leader in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Got info to share, let us hear about it first. Hit us up in the comment section today!

Error Codes to COP 24/7

I have noticed that a few of video post seemed to have had issues. COP24/7 has troubled shoot and double trouble shot on all levels but there seems to be other gremlins at play. Be mindful that all efforts are put into play to ensure privacy of our subscriber and visitors. Note that you can translate COP 24/7 into numerous languages and we check out our links, allies, and affiliates to make sure that they are functioning correctly. If you notice anything or receive any notices that may warrant our attention, please don't hesitate to reach out!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Holiday Afterglow and More

Opening the COP 24/7 Big Box

Even though the big day is "o-v-a," its not actually over as the holiday afterglow continues with more discounted the after X-mas shopping opportunities, possible pesky returns, and unfortunately folks shopped til they dropped online to the point that both United Parcel Service and FEDEX service
personnel probably had a collective WTF!  All I can say is "holy package drop!," as these delivery drivers go in overdrive trying to get all those late parcels to their destination.

In full disclosure, I actually had a chance many years ago to do some package traffic temporary work for UPS. At that time, it was not even the holiday rush, but I was aghast at the amount of packages that were actually manually "off loaded" by a legion of men and women whom were required to just get it done as fast they humanly could. You have to see it to really believe it.

Even though I was afforded the chance to walk the dizzying array of conveyor belts in my work to randomly survey package point to point destination. I realized that working in that massive distribution center was not for the faint of heart or somebody who did not have a good back bone. Trust me, all of these package handlers work hard for the money and my experience was "pre-Internet," shopping.

Jut so you know, UPS has garnered a past 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, which UPS boasts on its own website. However, HRC adjusted its criteria this past year and UPS now has a 90 percent rating because it does not offer transition-related care for transgender employees. This recent "oops" also comes on the aftermath that the freight giant had given $167,000 in foundation funding to the Boys Scout of America despite UPS's commitment to LGBTQ inclusive workplace policies.

Therefore what I saw is now probably dwarfed by the now legendary amount of stuff being sent to US households. So as I watched news media coverage of their systems overload dilemma, I can't even imagine  how many more delivery trucks were rolled up to the unload bay being serviced by a waiting off loader. Even if you didn't get your package, can I suggest that you take a moment to reflect on the real "reason for the season," while perhaps appreciating the fact that a fellow American was busting his or her butt in trying to get it to you.

Clinton foundation spends $226 million on programs in ’12

Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation spent $226 million in 2012 on programs with such aims as providing medicine to AIDS patients in Africa and curbing childhood obesity in the U.S., according to financial information released by the organization.

The foundation released tax documents for 2012 to The Associated Press that show the organization finished the most recent year with a $7 million surplus across its various entities.

Comparatively little of the organization’s money goes toward drawing in more cash. The foundation devoted $7.8 million to fundraising, or 3.5 percent of its budget. Nearly 90 percent of foundation money went into its programs, while 6.5 percent went toward management and general expenses.
The documents and annual reports show the foundation’s Clinton Health Access Initiative commanded the most money in 2012, spending $136.4 million.

The initiative works with governments to make affordable drugs and diagnostics available for treatment of HIV and AIDS and to generally improve health-care infrastructure. The program also provides vaccines and treatments of diseases including malaria, tuberculosis and diarrhea, which the foundation says kill 700,000 children annually.

Getting In the Insurance Rush

Well alright, COP 24/7 reported that 12/23/13 was the deadline for getting a profile set up on the Affordable Care Act website, www.healthcare.gov  Then we got a notice of a "not so fast" with an extension that slid onto Tuesday, 12/24/13 due some more technical shigity that has plagued the
website since its initial October 1 launch.

Now we learn a "hold on, wait a minute," reprieve posted to the website stating that if you could not get set up due more shigity from the site, then you perhaps still could get in underwire by...are you ready...January 1, 2014! So I guess that of that 2 Million hits on Monday there's going to be some busy processing folk!

With that said, it now appears and who knows what update we will get as we update this site, as to any further changes. What we think we know is the fact that your payment has to be in by January 10, 2014 with some begrudging retro coverage that is suppose to start on New Years Day. I'm sure that insurance companies are chopping at the bit on all these moving parts. Especially after learning from a source at Blue Cross-Blue Shield that a truck load of applicant information showed up at the company after several missed deadlines. Not to mention, the phones were ringing off the wall with future or returning customers trying to pay premiums by Tuesday.

Through it all, what really astounded COP 24/7 was the fact that BC/BS did not set up a system to take any debit or credit card payments over the phone? I thought to myself, in this plastic crazed world, who didn't think that perhaps we need to have a system that would allow this option. Although the company would take "e-checks," customers were instructed to use options of Western Union, snail mail or pay in person.
In the meantime, if you missed any of this or whatever deadline, don't forget that open enrollment continues to March 31, 2014. Also please don't misunderstand that the penalty is at the low end $95 but up to 1 percent of your family income depending on which is greater. If you just can't do it, you can ask for a "hardship" wavier, but full realize that you will have to come with it as proof." Need more information or navigation points, call 349-7777 for assistance!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Reason for the Season 2013

COP 24/7 wishes you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas as we celebrate with family and friends, while remembering those who have left us.
Always know that this platform is a year round community "gift" of information, empowerment and commitment to addressing issues and health dilemmas that impact the LGBTQ community and beyond.
Stay with us into 2104 as we celebrate our 10 year odyssey as a leader in giving you more of what we hope you are look for! 
 COP 24/7: Staying on the scene in 2014!!!

Blue-Zoo Xmas 2013 from Blue Zoo on Vimeo.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Grab Bag

Caravan to the Holiday Rescue

Volunteers from the Arkansas Homeless Coalition hosted the 8th Annual Christmas Caravan and
Outreach event on Sunday. Hundreds of homeless and low income families received a little bit of Christmas cheer. "This was really just a blessing," said participant Arcadia Jackson.

Homeless and near homeless families were able to enjoy hearty meals and friendly camaraderie from fellow Arkansans. Jackson said she was overwhelmed by all the love and friendly people she met on Sunday.

Volunteers organized hours of activities and assistance. Rows of cars brought gifts and clothing. Nearly 100 volunteers from churches and local organizations showed up to help out.
"Families collect all year long sometimes and come out here to give gifts and clothing," said Carolyn Turturro, co-chair of the Arkansas Homeless Coalition.

People weren't looking for the typical glittery Christmas gifts; they sought much more useful things like hats, gloves and blankets.
"This time we've got workforce development; we've got services going on with ACA sign up and flu shots," said event organizer Sandra Wilson.

Little Rock Workforce Development even brought computers to help the unemployed look for jobs.
"When they go down and try to apply for jobs, a lot of times people won't even take their applications or even give them the opportunity to fill one out," Wilson said.

She said many of the homeless weren't looking for handouts; they were looking for an opportunity to make their lives better for their families. COP 24/7 applauds the work done by organizers and the cavalry of volunteers as well as contributors to this huge community service. Pictures were provided by Georgia Lopez with source content from KTHV.com

Telling it All to FACEBOOK

In this era of NSA, Edward Snowden, Target's recent data bomb, the Affordable Care Act's hiccup website that caused a collective WTF across the nation, lest we forget that behemoth FACEBOOK where its almost anything goes as far a post are concern. Yes, I've just been damn near amazed to what length or depth that individual will put all their "business" in the digital streets and then some. I never know what will come flying across the news feed at any given time from some poster who wants to check someone, click left and certainly go ham with tantrums ranging from "how the world done them wrong," hey look at my body part A, B or C, to airing whatever dirty laundry they feel needs to globally known.

For example this past week I noticed a Slap-a-Bitch rant going on between some of the Our Gang folks both past and present or otherwise. The level of disdain, name calling, insults and queer phoo that was flung was almost epic. In case you are unaware and most likely you are, there's been no love lost among a few of  these individuals for some time.

There are just too many names, former this or that to even began trying to sort it all out. However what COP 24/7 has determined is that at its core are charges of "two face lies," allegations of theft, lots of finger pointing and can you imagine, "queens with much attitude!" Sounds like Madea needs to bust up in here and start back handing some boys.

Meanwhile, as I read through the thread, I kept thinking "what are these folks thinking" to take this to a medium where it live on famously forever and perhaps regrettably if any of these individual decide to take on a serious career move when they eventually grow up if ever.

Hello and FYI my Facebook people, in case you didn't know many firms both small and large have now added social media to their means of potentially excluding you from the workplace. I'm astounded at persons whom I actually know who are entering the prime of their possible earning power whom take to FB with all manner of exhibition, insipid verbiage and down right stupidity for all the world and any possible employers to consider in their decision to hire or fire your ass.

Just the other day Ms. Justine Sacco, whom "tweeted" an obnoxious statement that "Going to Africa, Hope I don't get AIDS. Just Kidding. I'm White!" was fired so quick by her employer before she ever landed in the country. Another case of "foot and mouth disease" that is all to rampant in the land with no end in sight. May I suggest that you think it through before you take to social media with your rants, tirades, needy candor and or charge that the world is not revolving around you. Think about it and don't forget you have been warned...

Don't forget to share with us your news, tips, clarifications and comments in our comment section. Let us hear from you today!!!

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Monday Yule Tide Log Roll OUT

Get Enroll in to Healthcare for the Holidays!

In musings from last week, COP 24/7 mentioned a widely circulated video being used as a "smear" vehicle decrying the education efforts of local community based organization, The Living Affected Corporation, due to a segment which showed a bag of condoms being heaped upon a table at the conclusion of the information session. This was another attempt by right wing opponents of the Affordable Care Act to undermined the new law with demonizing rhetoric alluding to the fact that perhaps some federal dollars were being used in some nefarious manner such as purchasing "condoms" or other gay agenda items! Even though that video's 15 minutes of fame has since subsided, I'm sure there some other shoe being prepared to drop somewhere.

Ultimately, none of this was ever proven or substantiated, yet there appears to be still some lingering repercussions that still may give some wayward politico some gay bait for fodder. Not mention others who quiver at the thought that someone might come asking questions that needs nothing more than the unmitigated truth. How about, "nothing but the facts mam..."

In the meantime, I was made aware of the above video of which for the life of me has not put some anti-Obamacare wingnut's hair on fire. And not to mention they used a Christmas favorite, "Let it Snow," to new lyrics to boot. May I ask, just where's the outrage on this one?

Want to know who is at the center of this video treat?  Enter Out2Enroll (www.out2enroll.com) which is a collaborative effort from the Sellers Dorsey Foundation, The Center for American Progress and the Federal Agencies Project to educate the LGBTQ community as to coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Sound familiar? Isn't that what that local agency was up to as well? Anyway, these folks have pushed out a nifty website, YouTube video channel, and a social media campaign complete with tag line, "Be Out. Be Healthy. Get Covered."  Who knew? According to their website all they want to do is" to get LGBT community members enrolled in health insurance coverage that works for them?" What a novel idea since they cite that "1 in 3 or at least 34% of the LGBTQ community is insured and many are in the low income bracket of $16,000 or less.

No surprise to this forum that the group purports that at least 48% live in the South. No matter the factoids, what's at stake is the fact the each person should get a firm understanding of the ACA in regards to their Adjusted Gross Income. For some the coverage may not seem affordable, but at least take the time to research and be an empowered consumer in your health decision. If you need assistance or information hit us up to get the facts.

Last Minute Shopping?

Need that naughty item for that long stocking? Check out our affiliate partner Gay Universe Video
for that special something to make your holiday's even more bright. The site has a wide assortment to videos, toys, lubes and gear that could keep you in the holiday spirit all year long.

Also don't forget the advertisers whom also support our platform via our Google Ads within the body of the site. You year end charitable donation could also go a long way in supporting our long standing commitment to educating, empowering and making this platform open source for dialog and understanding. For donation information hit us up at nealix101@comcast.net

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kickstarting the Weekend

More Down Low TV Cometh with Season 4

Let me just say that as I continue to move through life, I'm uplifted and inspired by talented folks who keep doing what they do in often cutting edge methods. Often time taking a basic premise and moving forward with it while giving it their special touch. Enter the folks at No More Down Low TV who just never seems to run out of items to present or cover for that matter.

Its always an interesting mix of culture and factoids that one may never had thought about or ever knew anyone cared. With that said, it is ideas such as this that I often wonder why someone isn't doing the same thing on a local front. I know that there numerous talented brothers and sisters who are in the video mash up who could produce some interesting content. The main number one issue is "money," which is needed to supply and support projects.

With no cash infusions or limited sources of this cash, then most of these efforts, no mater how good, will fall by the way side. Then what I've sense is also a lack of encouragement or foundational support for out of the box works or perhaps those that might venture into the controversial. Gosh If I could just win that lotto, then I could be a power house in creating a true artist retreat. Well until then I'll just have to dream on.

I have been on the hunt and will be showcasing some of these talents. Ultimately, if these folk come forth and promote what they are up to, then how the hell is anyone going to help them blow up? Just saying...In the meantime, stay tuned to COP 24/7 as we present many of our local producers who are also making it happen.

She Wired: Bringing it for what Women want to Read

Teri Polo and Sherri Saum Are Back as the Best Lesbian TV
Moms Ever!

Who Knew? Not only is there going to be a breakthrough program featuring two Lesbian moms on the show The Fosters's but that there is also another great web source for women as well called, She Wired.

The show The Fosters is coming! ABC Family’s little show with the big heart about lesbian moms raising biological, adopted, and foster kids begins its winter season on January 13, and some of the first images of the season are out! 

As usual in the Fosters’ household it looks like there’s plenty of love, drama, and family processing for everyone. Plus, Rosie O’Donnell appears as a social worker in a transitional home where Callie (Maia Mitchell) lands for a while.

Here are Stef (Teri Polo) and Lena (Sherri Saum) and Rosie from the Jan. 20, episode entitled "House and Home." (pictured above)  To learn more about this website go to www.shewired.com

Don't forget to check out our supportive ads in both the body and margins of COP 24/7. We value your readership and financial support to keep us bringing you more of what you are looking for. You can contribute by email at nealix101@comcast.net Can we count on you today???

Thursday, December 19, 2013

COP 24/7 In a Full Sleigh Ahead

As many of you know, COP 24/7 is always on the look out for talented writers, contributors and
persons on the move. I have made the acquaintance of Mr. Wyatt O Brian whom shares my passion for expressing himself and his lived experiences. I hope to one day follow his lead in producing my own "great novel" to leave as apart of my legacy.

Currently, Wyatt O’Brian Evans is CEO and President of Nair’Bo Universal, a publishing and production house based in the metropolitan Washington area. Founded in 2010, the company published popular and groundbreaking “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series (gay/ethnic).
Wyatt had made me aware of this book some time ago as well as the vital issue of intimate partner violence in the LGBTQ community.

Its that violence that often time we know is happening no matter whether it is mental or physical abuse that is inflicted upon your partner. At several points in my own life, I encountered men whom felt that this type of behavior was to fill our relationship. However, you learn to know that whomever is welcomed into your space should not want to defile that presence with violence of any type. It was valuable lesson that I still share to this very day. I live and trust by it.

In January 2014, Nair’Bo releases “RAGE!,” the thrilling, provocative and mind-bending/blowing sequel to “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart-Uncensored.” “RAGE!” follows the continuing saga of Wesley and Antonio, two openly gay, masculine, men of color (African-American, Latino) who must confront daunting and challenging obstacles and struggles that threaten to rip apart their monogamous relationship! And thrown in the mix is a duplicitous, devious and deadly individual who has a MAJOR axe to grind and score to settle with Wesley.

The “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” series shines a bright light on relevant issues impacting the LGBTQ community, including intimate partner violence/abuse, tensions between Blacks and Latinos, and the “down-low.” Be you male, female, gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or/and transgendered, you can relate to Wesley and Antonio because these are two persons fighting against the odds to preserve and nurture their profound and unique love and bond. Their story resonates with both LGBTQ and heterosexual audiences.

Already, the year 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for Nair’Bo Universal. Beginning in the spring, the company will produce national seminars and workshops on Intimate Partner Violence/Abuse (domestic violence/abuse), and a “Nothing Can Tear Us Apart” book tour. Look for more information on this site about his personal appearances and other releases. Need that special Christmas gift? Go to www.wyattevans.com to get your copy today. Then get prepared to get your copy of RAGE in 2014.

COP 24/7
Fast Trending Buzz
In our effort to share as much information as possible, COP 24/7 will be offering a series of "fast
trending" buzz items for that "come and go" set that need to hit it and quit it. Let us know if this works for you as we experiment how to capsulize our pieces as means to keep you engaged.

Volunteer for NIAID HIV Studies

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) investigators are seeking volunteers to help improve their understanding of HIV and how it causes disease, find new tools to prevent HIV infection, and develop new and more effective treatments.

Read about volunteer opportunities for NIAID HIV studies on the NIH campus in Bethesda, Maryland.

Learn More About the ACA with HIV Health Reform's Webinars!

HIV Health Reform's Webinar series titled, "We Can Do It", is designed to help individuals better understand how the Affordable Care Act works for individuals with HIV/AIDS. 

To view a schedule of planned webinars, click here.
Families USA Announces new Affordable Care Act Resource Center!
Families USA is pleased to announce new resources for enrollment assisters, located on their online Navigator and Assister Resource Center. These resources have been developed as part of a larger project that Families USA - a national, not-for-profit health coverage advocay organization - is launching to support the work of Affordable Care Act navigators and enrollment assisters. The consumer-friendly materials can be found here. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Holiday Mid Week Delivery

NASEM Conference Announces Orlando
The 2014 Conference Planning Committee and Conference Sponsors: Viiv Healthcare, amfAR, Edge Media Networks, Janssen Therapeutics, Gilead Sciences and The HIV Prevention Trials Network 
announces the 2014 National AAMSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities, will be held January 16 – January 19, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. 
Late Registration is currently open at the cost of $495.00 [checks only]; 3-4% fee for credit cards until January 14, 2014 all checks must be postmarked by January, 10 2014 in order to receive the late registration rate. Our Website has been updated with the 2014 Conference Packet with information on registration, becoming a sponsor and much more. For more information or other questions you may have, please feel free to give our office a call at (404) 691-8880 respond to this email or download the mobile app from the app store for iOS devices or from the Google app store for Adroid Devices. For more info please click on the links below or visit our Website at www.naesm.org.

To book a room for the 2014 Leadership Conference for only $129.00 please click on the link below, as this rate is only available until January 1, 2014. If you are going or know of someone that will be in attendance, COP 24/7 is always looking for roaming reporters or persons on the scene coverage at any and all events in the LGBTQ community and beyond. Hit us up with your idea, links, video or other social media platforms we COP 24/7 can expand its reach!
Levi Leather in the Heartland
Local watering hole TraX North Little Rock will be the spot for their monthly Leather and Levi's Night, hosted by YOUR Mr. Heartland Leather 2014, Michael Kaplan! Wear your Levi jeans or your best leathers and come on out for a great night! COP 24/7 has attended this event in the past and has always had a good time with the boys of the leather set.
Usually they are more approachable than their attire often leads one to believe and can be quite the good time, if you know what I mean. Mr. Andy Cross, is the current Mr. International Leather 2013. No word if he will be in the house but no matter, a good time can still be had by all!

Mike will have "Drunken Gummies" - gummy bears that have been swimming in tasty vodka for a few days - available for a donation to the Mr. Heartland Leather in his quest to participate in the Mr. International Leather Contest, May 23-26, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. For more info click it to www.imrl.com
Kaiser Family Foundation Launches Web Portal to Explain the ACA For People With HIV

The Kaiser Family Foundation has produced a new consumer web portal to help people living with HIV navigate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Specifically designed to address the needs of people with HIV, the Obamacare & You portal, funded by Gilead Sciences, Inc., is presented as part of Greater Than AIDS, a leading national public information initiative developed by the Kaiser Family Foundation together with the Black AIDS Institute.

To find out more about this portal, click here.
Got Tips, Quips, Breaking news or just gossip? Then share it with COP 24/7, where we are talking about what you wish you could. Hit us up today!!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Telling like it Is Tuesday

Watching Over Me Then and Now

As the rush of Christmas comes rolling around again, I don't usually get to caught up in the hype scurry to get something that I really don't particular need or simply have to have it because
"everyone" else has one. No by golly, I'm no Grinch but rather I shop strategically with a keen eye for that ultimate pricing as I make a final choice.

Alright I know that Pope Francis went to the left about consumerism and capitalism running amuck, but let's face it most folks just ain't hearing none of that when it comes to getting that next electronic gadget or that 46 inch flat screen of their dreams. I fully understand the "reason for season" and have always been thoughtful that of my blessings. Over the years me and my partner have celebrated the holidays ranging from participating in those Christmas Tree Drives to food drives.

How can we ever forget driving in an unusual December thunderstorm in search of a Black Barbie and accessories because that was one of the items that the child had on the list that we were given. As neither of us have sired children, I kept thinking to myself, so this is apart of that parenting experience that I was wondering about. In hindsight, it did have a kind of magical feel that we would provide gifts that some child, we would never know would enjoy on Christmas morning.

Although I have enjoyed my fair share of "window shopping," with the advent of the Internet I now troll the digital isles in search of items that most likely I will not find my size in the brick and mortar stores or a unique piece offered by the dizzying array of niche online purveyors.

However,  as the headlines scream about our privacy and "who's watching who," I am well aware that all my online strolling is not only being tracked but to the point that I've discovered that the algorithms used by these retailers have gotten to know me extremely well.

 For instance almost any item that I have taken a look at for any period of time on a website, apparently doesn't want me to forget that I didn't make that purchase and finds it way into the margins of any other searches that I may have moved on to. In full disclosure COP 24/7 also allows roaming ads that we encourage our readers to check out for special offers and don't forget our margin links to our affiliates that support our production.

From Macy's to my favorite online stop Paul Frederick's and onto Payless. I can't help but notice that
Amazon.com which not only knows what I've bought previously but all that goes with that purchased. That behemoth tracks a brother while asking for product reviews, spinning out similar items with compatible pricing and sale flashes of their latest and greatest item that you don't have!

Just for the record, these foxy folks also know when to get personal with those "reminder" ticklers of "we miss you," and "have heard from you lately and wanted to share our latest this or that." Let's hear it for those "Digital Daddy's" who just want me to come on back to what they've got in their goody bags. Looks like you got about 8 days and counting to shop till you drop! Don't forget to consider sharing your treasure with a local community based group or service agency serving in the LGBTQ community and beyond.

Let The Conference Season Begin

COP 24/7  is a big booster of  individuals getting access to the latest information, updates on trends, networking and making the connection with other advocates or experts in their respective fields. If you don't know, perhaps you should go to a conference to find out. Don't know about one, then check the following video concerning The 26th National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change  coming to Houston, Texas and the Hilton of the Americas–Houston, January 29–February 2, 2014.

What's Creating Change? Only the premier annual organizing and skills-building event for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and their allies.

The conference is run by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, and attracts more than 3,500 people from all over the country every year. Presenters and participants come from all walks of life and include members of the business community, elected officials, students, faith leaders and staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations.

Our five-day program features over 350 workshops and training sessions, four plenary sessions, and tons of networking opportunities, and really fun events, all in the welcoming space of the Hilton of the Americas–Houston. Are you going or know someone that is? COP 24/7 is seeking roving reporters for that one the scene updates, tweets and video updates. Hit us up if you want to share your experience on this platform!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The See What Had Happen: 2.0

Smoking in the City

In case you haven't noticed and most likely you have not, even as the ACA mandate ramps up to be the law of the land, before this roll out there has been some significant cash spread around with sites on "stamping out smoking." According to the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office website, since its inception in 2002, the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office has been at the forefront of the fight to eliminate the negative effects of tobacco consumption on minorities in Arkansas.

To date, the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office has funded more than 50 Arkansas organizations and more than $7 million has been placed in minority communities. The purpose of the Minority Initiative Sub-Recipient Grant Office is to change society's norms regarding tobacco consumption and continue educating Arkansans about the dangers of tobacco products.

 Part of the Solutions was among those awarded funding to launch its "40 Days to Freedom" curriculum that is designed to assist with kicking butt when it comes to smoking. In the meantime, all of this comes about as more individuals are making noticeable moves to those new fangled "E-cigs" that have become the next trendy accessory in local gay bars.

This is of notice due to the fact that as the LGBT Health Initiative was organizing to "assess" the issue of smoking in the LGBTQ community, most members seemed unaware to actually what was really going in the very community that they were seeking to assess. Most members didn't "do bars" or even know how many or where they were really located. Furthermore, most had no significant knowledge to as if there was "smoking" going in them nor did they factually know if cigarettes were being sold as well. And surely most had no clue as to just how the usage of E-Cigs including the even more fancy vapor gadgets are being favored as the flavored nicotine delivery system.

To help with gathering this "big data" the group enlisted the consult of Gustavo Torrez, Program Manager of The Network of LGBT Health Equity in concert with our own Tobacco  Prevention and Control Program. It was his job to fly in from Boston to assist the local folk in understanding just how they were to "get to know" the LGBT community. After all it seems that the good TPCP personnel smoked through quite a bit of tobacco dollars because they had been "looking for the gays," for up to 2 or perhaps 3 years!!  Listen up my readers, "you just can't make this stuff up," and yes this requires a collective "LOL" moment.

COP 24/7 was made aware that their was "mandate" to move boldly forward with education and such in the LGBT community. However, "what had happen was" that it seems that Mr. Toney Bailey who appeared to be a driving force behind this matter seems to have found greener pastures elsewhere in the ADH health care system, thus leaving the entire issues somewhat questionable as to its final destiny.

Recently COP 24/7 spotted a media piece citing the need for folks to use their smart phones to unleash  a survey from the cute "QR" code on the front of the placard. As an incentive, you could be in the running for an I-Pad if you name happens to be chosen from those who complete the process. So I guess that this will require some follow up and additional digging to determine who is really getting smoked. Stay tuned....if you dare.

ACA Implementation: Progress and Problems

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released data showing that nearly 365,000 people have enrolled in health insurance plans offered in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance marketplaces. The enrollment number was included in an issue brief highlighting cumulative national and state-level enrollment information for Oct. 1 – Nov. 30, 2013. For local enrollment information you can call The Living Affected Corporation at 501-379-8203.

The data was from the 36 states whose enrollment is through the federally run website, healthcare.gov, and the 14 states and Washington, D.C. that operate their own health insurance marketplace under the ACA. The figures from some of the state-run marketplaces were partial. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius noted the enrollment numbers in a House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee hearing that also was held Wednesday of last week.

In addition to the number of people enrolled in private insurance plans, the issue brief reported that 803,000 were determined or assessed to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), bringing the total number of people enrolled in an insurance plan or eligible for Medicaid/CHIP to 1.2 million. An additional 1.9 million people were determined to be eligible for an insurance plan but had not yet selected a plan by Nov. 30.

A state-by-state breakdown (including the District of Columbia) of the enrollment figures can be found by clicking here.
While the problems related to the health insurance marketplaces’ websites, most notably healthcare.gov, continue to get resolved and the sites’ enrollment operations improve, some more fundamental problems and issues of ACA rollout and implementation are getting much needed attention.

 Many HIV advocates have been foreseeing the problems for months and are actively engaged and now the mainstream media  is beginning to take notice. A number of the problems and issues cluster around the concern that health insurers are discouraging people with chronic illnesses, including HIV disease, from enrolling in their plans by offering drug coverage that either is not adequate for people with chronic disease or too expensive in terms of co-pays or co-insurance.

Instances of particular HIV drugs not being covered under a marketplace plan, including some single tablet regimens, prior authorization requirements, and placing needed drugs in high pricing tiers are among the issues causing concern. Such policies and practices can be seen as violating the anti-discrimination provisions of the ACA.

 Limitations on the choice of providers in a plan’s network is also a concern as well as the limited number of plans that may be available in areas within a state, notably rural areas. Compounding these problems is the difficulty many consumers, advocates, and case managers are experiencing in getting clear information on the coverage offered under a plan and clear information on the amount of co-pays for prescription drugs.

HIV and other healthcare advocates, many of whom have been strong supporters of the ACA, are focusing advocacy on the problems emerging as the ACA is implemented. This includes advocacy focused on ensuring clearer and stronger federal rules and regulations consistent with the letter and spirit of the ACA and vigorous oversight by the federal government and, when appropriate, state governments. And most certainly, we must continue to advocate Medicaid expansion in the states that so far have opted out. No surprise, the ACA is not a panacea but a work in progress and our advocacy on behalf of people living with HIV and other chronic diseases is very much a part of the work.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Spinning it Forward Friday

Editors Note: This forum has had an ongoing commitment to spotlighting the various layers of the HIV/AIDS health dilemma which includes decriminalizing this chronic disease which we believe adds stigma and continues policies that have not been updated in lieu of the current known science around this infection. This piece appears from Fusion.net as means to continue educating and informing Arkansas' LGBTQ community that such a law is in place in this state and why this issues should be apart of the overall equality pursuit. 

COP 24/7 Special
32 States Have HIV/AIDS Criminalizing Laws Based on 'Outdated Fears'

This June a man in LaFayette, Georgia was charged with “criminal exposure to HIV” because he spat at another man.  Georgia is one of 13 states that have HIV-specific laws making spitting or biting a felony, even though it has been years since the Center for Disease Control declared it;s not possible to transmit HIV via saliva.  There are currently 32 states and two U.S. territories that have similar criminal statutes based on outdated ideas of how HIV is actually transmitted from one person to another. The “Repeal HIV Discrimination Act” scheduled to be introduced on Monday by Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) would encourage state governments to review and analyze laws that the bill’s supporters says are based on outdated fears. The legislation is the same bill that representative Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) introduced last May.  “Rather than recognizing that HIV/AIDS is a treatable medical condition, these laws perpetuate the idea that HIV is a deadly weapon and people with HIV/AIDS are dangerous criminals," Coons said in a statement. "Our laws need to catch up to our science, and this bill would take an important step in that direction,” Senator Coons said.  A United Nations report states HIV criminalization is justified under one condition only: “where individuals maliciously and intentionally transmit or expose others with the express purpose of causing harm.”  The bill being introduced Monday starts by calling for an analysis of the laws that are in the books in order to identify which ones are outdated, but it does not go so far as to state when HIV criminalization is justified.  In 1987, the United States was the first country to implement laws criminalizing HIV transmission and exposure. Since then, dozens of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe followed suit. According to a 2010 report by the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), at least 600 people living with HIV in 24 countries have been convicted under HIV-specific or general criminal laws, with the greatest numbers reported in North America.       The Center for HIV Law and Policy analyzed a large number of cases that involved prosecutions for HIV exposure in the U.S., and found that from 2008 to 2013, “the outcomes that are known often involve draconian penalties, including prison sentences that reach 25 years or more, even when no transmission of HIV occurred.”  In the U.S., HIV disproportionately affects men who have sex with men and people of color. As a result, in some states, HIV-specific criminal laws also disproportionately affect people of color. In Michigan, many of those convicted of HIV related offenses are African-American men with female partners, a 2012 University of Michigan study found. “Slightly less than half of all defendants were white (48 percent), 37 percent were black and 11 percent were Latino. The majority of defendants (85 percent) were men,” the study said.  H.R. 1843 currently has 34 sponsors with more than 150 organizations endorsing the bill, including the ACLU, Human Rights Campaign and the American Psychological Association.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Rocking the COP 24/7 Machine into High Gear

Survey Says!: Gay Community Needs to Be Studied More?I don't know about you, but have you noticed that their seem to be inordinate amount of "researchers, social scientist, cultural critics and all those nerdy types who want to capture data to secure some evidenced based this or that.

In 2012 I posted about the “the largest single study of the distribution of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) population in the U.S. on record,” which asked 121,290 Americans if they personally identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Ultimately the released results caused those who unpack these stats into a frenzy to understand exactly what they meant.

As for myself, even though that sampling was suppose to be sufficient, I ponder the thought as to where are these samples done and to some extent how? Especially the point that "younger people were more likely to answer affirmatively than older ones, young black men (those between 18 and 29 years old) were 56 percent
more likely than young white men to answer yes." Really?

Not be outdone or whatever, the latest survey is now being circulated by The LGBTQ Health Initiative which was formed under the auspices of the Big Tobacco dollars that were initially being harvested in the name of the LGBTQ community by folks who really don't seem to know the LGBTQ community either. Imagine that? In full disclosure, COP 24/7 attended a couple sessions but found came away perplexed and dumbfounded to this date.

Say what? Even more strange to this mash up is the fact that in 2012 there was a first ever LGBTQ health journal that was published that got little to no traction among this set enthralled with learning about gay health issues but most notably smoking.

Just so you know, this is not the first rodeo of this type of activity including a 2010 HIV/ LGBTQ Tobacco survey spearheaded by Dathan Johnson released in February 2011. This was developed and executed via the Arkansas Department of Health's Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Program which also has ties to the current survey.

As I continue to move about this community, I've found it unsettling that when attempting to engage people of color in participating in forums focus groups, social justice activities or step up for any kind of initiatives that they are far and few in this city who will take the time or effort. I've heard excuses and explanations from A to Z as to why gay Black folks and for the most part many gay people period are reluctant to be apart of the movement for change.

I've heard it all from "I don't want my business in the street" to the effects of stigma have been offered as barriers to interaction. However, it appears that much of this mindset evaporates if there's an "incentive" or some form of payment involved that apparently makes it easier for these folks to participate. Of course you got to make sure that whoever is funding this measure has the same interpretation as you do because this kind of recruitment  can be tricky.

Scratching my head I'm pondering am I to concluded that same gender loving individuals place no real "value" on these activities unless there are only meager dollars extended to the activity or information.

Are we to assume that that "self worth or preservation" can only be leveraged by dollar signs instead of being concerned about their overall well being or any body's else for that matter. Yes it is understood that their are socio-economic barriers that exist and often these challenges are not conducive to being immerse in any activity, but coming out to a meeting, focus group or capacity building exercises designed to empower one's life should be sought instead of being seen as a opportunistic time to grab a fist of chump change that will most likely not do much to change your circumstances.

In case you did not know and most likely you didn't, there have been "community assessments" on top of assessments concerning life in Arkansas' LGBTQ community. And it appears there's no end in sight for those in search of data trying to find out "who, what, why and where" in the hell is the gay community and what they're up too. If only someone would just tell them most folks just can be bothered with all this advocacy and efficacy stuff. "Ain't no body got time for that!"

 However, just in time for this updated posting comes another set of Maine researchers stating the premise that the "gay and lesbian" population is vastly understudied and they are going to do something about that by offering links to Survey Monkeys in order to gather more data on this understudied community. Just what would researchers do without that awesome Survey Monkey tool to find out something about the LGBTQ community.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

COP 24/7 Does a Double Take

Condoms A Go-Go
The Great Condom Caper 2.0

Amazing as it seems, this forum often finds itself in a "didn't we cover that" mindset and then on to a "deja vu "attitude when it seems that matters just get blown out of proportion than necessary. Case in point is the fact that local community based organization, The Living Affected Corporation was
subjected to a hastily arranged "internal audit" to determine if the agency was negligent in its fiduciary duties concerning possibly using "state" dollars to purchase condoms. Condoms you say? Yes by golly condoms!

This forum began to wonder what's all the brouhaha about and started trolling around the Internet as well as our internal archives as to any news about such matters.

Low and behold, COP 24/7 as usual was Johnny on the spot in 2012 with a post about the rubbery subject entitled "Local Condom Nation Steps Off." And get this, we got pictures!! Check out the pictures throughout this post from our coverage of the event.

If you thought that this tale was going to be simple, well think again. Recently the local community development agency and multi year ADH grantee was at the center of a misunderstood ACA presentation that was twisted and contorted into a slight smear shank that was forwarded to numerous online outlets that had their way with a snippet of the recorded presentation.

Of course as promoters of that video excerpt did their best to damage the organizations reputation, there was a pile on affect that sling shot and boomeranged to points unknown. Including pinging across figure heads to low level adjudicators who went scurrying about as if there was mass misuse of public funds to purchase the notorious condoms.

Nobody worried about lighting the State Capitol this year for $50,000 or painting buildings on the U of A campus for a mere $150,000. But buying condoms, there needs to be an investigation or and audit damn it!

What's more surprising in this is the fact that according to our very own 10/22/12  post we cited that Governor Beebe's spokesperson Matt De Cample stated in 2011, " the governor feels that disturbing condoms in bars is not a proper use of taxpayer dollars and that the practice should not be apart of
future outreach efforts."

So if this was an edict then, why would their be a need for a "internal audit" of an organization that was fully aware that state dollars couldn't be used to do so. And more importantly had apparently not done so in this funding cycle.

And if you think that is curious, then there's the statement from" then" ADH spokesperson Ed Barham who commented on the situation stating, "..we are asking grantees to look for other sources of funding for this part of their outreach."

Are you getting this? All grantees were told that they should seek other sources to acquire those pesky but possibly life saving condoms. Ladies and Gentle it doesn't stop there! Enter Condom Nation under the direction of Mr. James Vellequette and staff whom rolled into the Little Rock area on May 12, 2012 with none other than a semi-truck filled with "FREE" condoms for the taking as an answer to the condom conundrum.

Receiving an initial donation of 12,000 was community based organization The Living Affected Corporation which needed the product to support its condom distribution efforts with arrangements to receive additional future drops. Ultimately a goal was set culminating in grossing 1 Million condoms for distribution around the state. Did we say FREE?

Sponsored by the AIDS Health Care Foundation, all of these prophylactics were donated and shipped FREE of charge to recipients.

"Condom Nation is a serious, yet somewhat whimsical and creative effort by AIDS Healthcare Foundation to help promote increased condom use and to help make condoms more accessible and affordable,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

“Condoms are an essential part of preventing HIV and STDs. Not only are they extremely effective at preventing transmission, they are cheaper and easier to use than many other prevention tools. Our hope is that Condom Nation raises awareness and sparks conversations along the way—both on the coasts and in the heartland—about the importance condoms and the crucial role they play in disease prevention and safer sex.” Currently, there are approximately 48,000 new HIV infections and 19 million new STD infections every year in the United States.

Also in the condom mix was the Arkansas Department of Health which received upwards of 52,000 condoms largely due to the fact that the agency allegedly had no funding that was allowed to purchase the product even though infections persist in the state.

Not to mention that in 2012 they had HIV prevention intervention programming that promoted...wait for it...Condom usage! So what exactly did this "audit" uncover is yet to be determined but one thing that we do know is "you just can't make this stuff up!" Just saying...stay locked and loaded, because there's more hot mess crazy that you, you and yes you too should know about.