Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Post OUT

Op-ed: Here Are the 31 Icons of 2015's Gay History Month

The founder of LGBT History Month fills us in on this year's "Icons" and explains why he sometimes honors those who lived in the closet.


This is the 10th Anniversary of LGBT History Month. While the October event was started in the mid-1990s, no one took responsibility for defining or organizing an annual celebration.

In 2006, Equality Forum, a national and international organization with an educational focus, took on that responsibility. The goals were to teach history, provide role models, and highlight our impressive national and international contributions. LGBT people are the only minority worldwide who are not taught their history at home, in public schools, or in religious institutions. Without these resources, self-esteem and community pride are undermined.

To achieve our goals and enhance impact, our board decided to select 31 Icons, one for each day in October, and to provide free and online a video, biography, bibliography, and downloadable images for each Icon. We outreached to local, state, and national educational, nonprofit, and corporate organizations to disseminate these resources and prioritized high school gay-straight alliances and higher education. In 2011, with a grant from the MAC AIDS Fund, we created a cloud with about 150 tags for the then-186 (six years x 31) Icons. As we celebrate the 10th anniversary, there are 310 Icons with their videos, bios, bibliographies, and downloadable images archived in the cloud.

How are the 31 Icons selected? An Icon must be an L, G, B or T person, living or deceased, national or international, who has distinguished him/herself in their field of endeavor, become a national hero, or made an important contribution to LGBT civil rights.

We annually solicit nominations from organizations and the public on the site’s home page. These nominees are reviewed by two prominent academics, who make Icon recommendations to Equality Forum’s board.

At the project’s inception, our board addressed whether a nominee was required to be out. Since being out was rare prior to the 1990s, it was not a requirement for those who were deceased.  For living nominees, whether they were out was a consideration. In 2013 a nominee who was living but not out was eliminated. Anderson Cooper was selected in 2013 and Tim Cook in 2014, after each came out.

When Equality Forum launched LGBT History Month virtually no one knew what it was. Ten years later, LGBT History Month is celebrated in North America and First World nations. It encourages interest by local communities, states, and nations in exploring their histories. LGBT History Month highlights those who paved the way and inspired, and provides narratives that empower our civil rights movement.
See the list of this year's Icons below.

MALCOLM LAZIN is the executive director of Equality Forum and founder of LGBT History Month. Lazin was a federal prosecutor who received the U.S. Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award. He served as a commissioner and then the chair of the Pennsylvania Crime Commission.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Throwback Thursday:Best of COP 24/7

Editors Note: This piece was originally posted December 10, 2014. Since then, despite additional gun violence, police shootings and other social unrest including the Ferguson anniversary, their continues to be issues around community policing and social justice issues of poverty, homelessness, racism, homophobia and mass incarceration. Meanwhile, there's been little to no movement from the Community Planning for Justice in Arkansas group on any of these issues. Also after numerous meet ups, called meetings, and a set of demands presented to the LRPD, it is the opinion of COP 24/7 although the effort raised awareness, there is no clear indication that any of those efforts resulted in making much difference that can be determined.

Little Rock Adds Protest Voices As the protest continue across the country and government official seek to create blue ribbon panels and summits on how to address the civil unrest, a local group quickly mobilized as Little Rock Direct
Action Planning Group which has now morphed or been enveloped into Community Planning for Justice in Arkansas. 

According to the group's Facebook page, this group has been developed in order for community members in Arkansas to plan and execute proactive participation in our communities against injustice - specifically pertaining to racial justice, economic justice, police brutality, and other issues related to these. We want to address our concerns together.
Protestors during a peaceful but vocal protest last Sunday at Park Plaza Mall in Little Rock, staged a "die in" in response to a non indictment of the Police Officer who,using a choke hold, killed Eric Garner during an arrest on staten island New York.
The protest was also intended to draw more attention to the use of deadly force on African Americans throughout the U.S. Chants... of  "No justice no peace no racist police", "I can't breath", and "Hands up don't shoot" were repeated by the protestors. Many protestors held signs and formed a circle around those who chose to lay down to symbolically represent those who have been shot and killed by Law Enforcement around the country.

 Little Rock Police officers had a presence around the protest but did not engage with the protestors instead allowing the protest carry on to it's own conclusion. COP 24/7 applauds these citizens on their act to address this critical issue and demanding that law enforcement and governmental officials respond wit positive outcomes. The group is also in the planning stages of another public protest. Watch COP 24/7 for updates, links and coverage on our Facebook page.( )
Arkansas RAPPS is a new program seeking to engage the positive MSM community in assessing linkage to care issues or challenges, outreach opportunities and peer to peer empowerment sessions. Want to know more you can call us at 501-349-7777

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fast Track Hump Day

SF records all-time low in HIV infections, deaths

San Francisco resident Randy Silva, 51, is one of many people in The City who has maintained an active lifestyle after being diagnosed with HIV. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Natasha Dangond)
Fourteen years after his death sentence, Randy Silva is in the best shape of his life.
Silva, 51, was diagnosed with HIV in September 2001. In 2007, after suffering a heart attack while hospitalized at San Francisco General Hospital with AIDS-related pneumocystis pneumonia, he was told he had 48 hours to live.
“I expected to die,” he said recently.

San Francisco resident Randy Silva, 51, is one of many people in The City who has maintained an active lifestyle after being diagnosed with HIV. (Special to S.F. Examiner/Natasha Dangond)But he didn’t. He finished a doctorate in clinical psychology last year. He has an active romantic relationship with his partner, who is 24 — and HIV negative.

 And throughout San Francisco, there are more and more people like him.
New HIV infections and deaths of HIV-infected people in The City dropped more than 17 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to the Department of Public Health.
There were 302 new HIV diagnoses last year, and 177 deaths of HIV-infected people, according to the department. That’s down from 371 and 209, respectively, the year before.
Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic began in the 1980s, those numbers are the lowest ever recorded in San Francisco.

The most telling statistic may be this: Since 2012, when the drug Truvada was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an HIV/AIDS prevention drug, new infections have dropped by 30 percent in The City.

The success of Truvada-centered PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, is also proof positive for some public health officials that their goal of getting to zero new infections is realistic and achievable.
In addition to increasing awareness and access to PreP as a prevention tool, public health officials tout the wide availability of HIV/AIDS testing and rapid access to antiretroviral treatment via UC San Francisco as key to the significant drop in new infections.

“We are on our way to zero,” said Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of the health department’s HIV prevention unit. “But we still have a lot to do.”
Specifically, black people have a lower survival rate than other ethnicities, and vulnerable populations like the poor or homeless have a tougher time entering and staying in treatment.
There has also been an increase in new transmissions among youths, “specifically young men of color,” Buchbinder said.

Still, the numbers present a strong message: the overall strategy is working.
“For a while, our infection rates were pretty stubborn,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener, who is openly gay and last year publicly announced he takes Truvada as an HIV-prevention measure. “But we’ve made significant advances in getting people tested and quickly into treatment. All of that together creates a very strong atmosphere for reducing new infections.”

Globally, about 7,000 people are infected with HIV every day, according to the United Nations.
For more information on San Francisco’s goal of zero new HIV infections, visit the SF Department of Public Health’s website.  For information on Arkansas go to

Save the Date:

For ticket information call 855-787-4548 on how you can show your support.
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased online, in-person, delivered and sponsored tables of $500 for your agency or firm.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Toss Up Tuesday

African American HIV University

The African American HIV University (AAHU) was developed in 1999 as a structural intervention program intended to change cultural norms and perceptions in the Black community around access to and utilization of HIV prevention services and strengthen Black organization and individual capacity
to address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in their communities. Arkansas had five individuals to complete the courses and COP 24/7 congratulates Ms. Carleisha "Kai" Murray  and Mr. Lee Brown as the next set of Fellows who will acquire knowledge from the Science and Treatment College portion of the program. Each individuals stated that the opportunity to engage the extensive curriculum would serve as another tool in their abilities to gain better understanding about the medical aspects of HIV that would compliment their current knowledge base.

Murray currently works for Jefferson Comprehensive Health Care Systems in case management. Brown is the founder and CEO of LinQ for Life Corporation and works for UAMS and Chicot Memorial in Emergency Medical Sciences. Brown cited that he was drawn to the
course work as another added level to his degree in Emergency Medical Sciences. "I believe that access these graduate styled courses would be beneficial to my further studies around this health dilemma. Its vitally important that we have young gay Black men equipped with a firm science based acumen in order to deal with continuing infection rates of young gay Black men 13-24 in Arkansas."

LinQ for Life ( ) was founded to serve as peer centered entity that would seek to highlight "links," to a better quality of life," said Brown. "Since our inception in November 2014, we've been aggressive about getting our "house in order," to be able to be prepared to be of service to the community. It's been tough but as they say, "no pain , no gain."
 Currently LinQ for Life's two programs, Arkansas RAPPS and Mobilizing Arkansas Brothers, are contractors of the Community Connectors Initiative which seeks to offer innovative approaches to linkage and retention in care.

Research shows that lack of scientific literacy, stigma within the population, conspiracy beliefs and misperceptions of the disease have presented considerable barriers to HIV prevention strategies among African Americans.

The Black AIDS Institute launched multiple programs to address these challenges including the Community Mobilization College, the Science and Treatment College, the Black Treatment Advocates Network and individual technical assistance. The Community Mobilization College (CMC) utilizes the Community Mobilization Model to detail the cultural barriers to and regional opportunities for combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Black communities. The chief objective of CMC is to develop a cadre of Black social change community leaders with the knowledge and skills to mobilize key influential people, constituents and traditional Black institutions to end the AIDS epidemic in their communities.

Save the Date...
Check out for more information and tickets!


Monday, August 17, 2015

The Week Start UP and OUT

Young Gay Republicans Are Trying to Change Their Party’s View on LGBT Rights

It’s no secret that millennials are more vocal and frank about what they want than past generations have been. Once they were publicly branded as the “me” generation, they decided to run with it and own that label.
Now, in the midst of campaign season for the 2016 presidential election, and after a year of historic advancements for gay rights, young Republicans have their work cut out for them when it comes to presenting an overall positive voice for their party. Vanity Fair spoke with some of the fresh faces trying to elasticize the rigid beliefs and views that the upper and elder echelons of the Republican Party have, especially when it comes to gay rights and the right to marry.
“This is an issue of mass and manners,” says S.E. Cupp, a self-described Log Cabin Republican who became a viral sensation when she grew emotional in a CNN interview following the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage. (“Those people . . . are patriots,” a teary-eyed Cupp said of gay-marriage advocates.) “On the mass side, the country just doesn’t agree with you anymore and I don’t think that’s going to [change]. So, just from the math you have to understand: you’re an outlier.
“And then on the manners, you have to understand that people like me, people who are supportive of gay rights and conservative or [who are] gay themselves, they’re fighting doubly hard to advance conservative values,” Cupp says. “We shouldn’t be kicked out of the party, or castigated, or called anti-conservative because we hold these views.”
But small divisions of the party aren’t the only ones pushing for an image overhaul.  A Senate candidate from Maryland, Chrysovalantis Kefalas (pictured above) could become the first openly gay Republican congressman to be elected, and he said, “The context in which I view individual liberty is that it comes down to: How do we provide an environment and climate when people can do their best work?” A fair question, especially considering Barack Obama has relied heavily on younger voters in both of his campaigns, and all the current GOP frontrunners seem to be doing is alienating a huge portion of that voting bloc.
But after all is said and done, the younger Republicans who will be the face of their party in the next election all agree that same-sex marriage will be old news — and no longer a sticking point.
Read Vanity Fair’s article here

Transgender Woman to Be Real Housewives of Atlanta's First Trans Cast Member

Popular socialite and trans woman Amiyah Scott is reportedly Atlanta's newest reality TV housewife.
Ever since the premiere of I Am Cait, the reality television landscape has become much more Housewives franchise has joined the fray.
inclusive and representative of trans people, and now Bravo’s
The Real Housewives of Atlanta has cast its first transgender cast member, social media personality Amiyah Scott, making her the show's first ever trans star and the first ever trans woman to be featured in all of Bravo’s seven Housewives franchises, reports Vibe Magazine.

Although she has yet to officially comment, reports say Scott has already been seen filming scenes for the show’s upcoming eighth season. Scott fills a casting void left behind when original Atlanta Housewife and vocal LGBT supporter NeNe Leakes announced she was leaving the show earlier this year.
Scott is best known for being an Atlanta socialite, and she has more than 800,000 combined followers from both her Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Need Free HIV Testing call or care navigation? 877-293-6416 to get your appointment


Friday, August 14, 2015

Firecracker Friday

New “Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood” Season Stars New Gay Couple Milan Christopher & Sir Brock

Despite boasting its most well-known music industry names within its franchise, the “Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood” cast could not hold viewers’ attention as the franchise’s Atlanta and New York
casts for several seasons.

The show’s new, and the franchise’s first gay male, couple, model/singer Milan Christopher (pictured) and rapper Sir Brock, are the very people I expect to give the show the interest that it needs.  Obviously, the show will reach more viewers from the LGBT community, which is a smartly strategic move.  More importantly, if these men truly have been engaged in a coupled-up relationship, they will undoubtedly serve the emotions and drama that viewers clamor to watch this series.

Deciding which cast members to keep for the next season and which to replace is always a risky gamble for any reality-TV series who hopes to recharge the momentum of a show that did not exceed ratings expectations.  With this newly announced cast of the second “Love & Hip-Hop: Hollywood” season, the executive producers, which include Mona Scott-Young, may have struck gold for a ratings boost.  I definitely hope so.

The returning cast members include very memorable personalities including Ray-J, Teairra Mari, Omarion, Soulja Boy, Moniece Slaughter (Lil’ Fizz’s former flame) and Nikki Mudaris (Mally Mal’s former flame).  Bringing back Hazel E, Mia and Princess, the show’s most boring characters, over the firecracking vixen Masika Kalysha will most likely not spice up the new season.

“Love & Hip-Hop: New York” bad boy Rich Dollaz joined the Hollywood cast to stir the pot as Moniece’s love interest, and I believe that he will do just that.  A relentless bad boy coupled up with a feisty beauty with great vocal talent may elevate themselves to be the stars of the Hollywood cast.
However, Rich and Moniece may have to rival against a gay couple that has been added to the cast for the viewers’ attention. (source: Waddie G glists society )

10 Toxic Thoughts Gays & Lesbians Should Avoid About Their Single Relationship Status

1. “I am lonely.”
Loneliness tends to relate a state of mind rather than of physical presence for those who declare such feeling.  That statement suggests that a person needs a particular individual to be in his/her life in
order to feel complete.
Unfortunately, that kind of thought speaks more into one’s self-worth because that kind of self-esteem will not wither away when he/she meets a new love interest.  Instead, another kind of dissatisfaction’s occurrence is imminent.

2. “I am not attractive enough.”
As long as you are trying to meet the physical standards of others on your appearance, you will more than likely engage with someone who will point a flaw or more for you to worry about perfecting.  When you meet such people, at what length would you go to be accepted by everyone who criticizes you? Remember that beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and your level of confidence is usually the activator that attracts one to your physical appearance.  Set your own standard of beauty.  Do not give anyone permission to deem you less than beautiful.

3. “I am not a great catch.”
If you feel like that you are not a great catch within a dating pool because you are not living up to a possible potential, then you must fulfill the work you are not doing to be that potential.  Otherwise, your definition of being a great catch could be self-induced flaws that may not be noticeable or a problem by others.

4. “[Name of God] is punishing me for being a gay/lesbian.”
If you are a person of a particular religion, do you believe that your Creator made a mistake on you when you were born to be a likeness of His image?  Remember that your Creator loves all His children, which includes His gays and lesbians.  Being a gay or lesbian is not a moral sin.  Being gay or lesbian is a sexual identification.  How you choose to live out your sexuality could determine when you are committing sins of immorality.

5. “I will never find the right one.”
I am firm believer that your thoughts will manifest into your reality.  If you want to meet Mr./Ms. Right, you must open your mind and heart to attract that future loved one.

6. “I don’t need a man/woman anyway.”
Some people proclaim this thought as an extreme means of opposing loneliness.  Needing a lover does not necessarily mean one is lonely instead of being dissatisfied. However, such thought, especially when seen in your physical expression, could scare off potential suitors from wanting to be your new love.
7. “I need a man/woman.”
Much like loneliness, needing a lover in your life demonstrates a void of self-dissatisfaction rather than a void of a lover.  Also, your need for a man/woman may attract someone who plans to take advantage of your desperation or a suitor who was never meant to be your forever love.

8. “I am unloved.”
In the words of the legendary drag queen RuPaul, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell are you going to love somebody else?”  Being loved starts with you loving yourself.  Once you embrace who you are, you will attract others to love you.

9. “If [insert name of a couple] can enjoy a great, long-lasting relationship, then why can’t I?”
I often share this pearl of wisdom to those who judge his/her fortunes to others: “Never covet what another person has.  Because what that person has looks good to you, you do not know – and may not willfully handle – what he/she/they endured to get what you found desirable.”  My wisdom is synonymous with the oft used phrase “all that glitters is not gold.”  Be content with what you currently have and be open to more and greater things to come.

10. “If [name of ex-lover] can move on with a new lover, then why can’t I?”
The reasoning for the previous point applies to this toxic thought.  Also, putting your energy on keeping tabs on your ex-lover prevents you from putting your energy into a potential suitor to give you the love you desire.

Save the Date!
LA Corp getting Jazzy with Fundraiser

October 17th inside the Pulaski County Rotunda their will be sounds of hot jazz, possibly fedoras and sweet smells of spiced tea as The Living Affected Corporation ( ) celebrates its 5th Anniversary as a fundraiser for its Holistic Health Initiative which ensures that all families have access to health care.

The agency has provided a myriad of services and community based activities ranging from HIV intervention and prevention outreaches to currently offering Affordable Care Act enrollment services as a contractor of the Arkansas Insurance Department. According to organizers the fundraiser was designed to recognize that much of it's work also can be symbolized as a being apart of the pathway to the recent marriage equality victory in which Arkansas gay couples were married in the Rotunda for the first time before and after the Supreme Court ruling. Due to the nation of funding sources, the group has assessed that this fundraiser is vital to not only offering any services but could will be essential in keeping its doors open.

Currently event planning includes Live Entertainment, Etiquette Training and assorted baked goods, Hors De Oeuvres and beverage services to include tea options. The agency has launched a Eventbrite page where you can purchase tickets at

Saturday, October 17th, 2015
5pm until 9pm
The Pulaski County Courthouse Rotunda
401 W. Markham
Little Rock, AR 72202

For more information call – 855.787.4548
$50 per person
Live Entertainment...
Etiquette Training
Hors De Oeuvres

$100 to $499
Cats in the Hat
$500 to $999
Mad Hatters
$1000 to $4999
Jazz Masters
$5000 or More
Sultry Steeper's
Need Linkage to care navigation? Got questions about PRep? Need Free HIV testing and counseling services? Get the Facts not foolishness..." Call 877-293-6416 to make your appointment


Thursday, August 13, 2015

Turnaround Thursday

Originally posted April 22, 2013 on The Living Affected Spirit blog
Marriage Equality Discussed on Minority Matters
Earlier this week, LA Corp Chief Operating Officer, Cornelius Mabin  was asked to participate in a round table discussion on AETN's Minority Matters talk show hosted by Sylvester Smith.

The topic was concerning the marriage equality question with Rev. Wendell Griffin of New Millennium Church and myself representing the favorable position with
Family Council President and lobbyist, Jerry Cox and Rev. Aaron Agnew of the Word of Outreach Christan Center who are opposed to the measure.

Now let me be clear, I'm not exactly sure if I was the best choice to discuss the matter but nevertheless I got the opportunity to at least try to share my concept of the issue. The week prior to the appearance I was a bit torn as to what will I say and what will they say that I may need to have a response to. Although I had done media appearance previously, I wasn't spooked about that aspect but rather being prepared to discuss marriage equality as a single issues as opposed to my view that as a people we are not "single silo" dedicated bur rather a wide berth of issues ranging from economic parity to food justice.

Yet marriage equality has become the "hot button" topic that is being discussed all over the place. As usual and as I had suspected, Mr. Cox and Agnew took positions rooted in their evangelical background. Especially the "slippery slope" tactic that marriage equality will cause marriage to suddenly go into decline. Then Agnew rolled out the tale of "Sodom and Gomorrah" which is a favorite diatribe of those whom oppose anything LGBTQ. Rev. Griffin cited that religion has been used as a means to deride everything from Galileo to marginalizing communities.

My distinct points were that if we are a nation that chides other nations on their human rights abuses and the lack of civil rights being extended then how can we as a country continue to deny a segment of its citizens the fundamental right to choose who they love and how that love is to be celebrated. Cox retorted that we are tyring to "redefined marriage," of which I don't agree. Marriage for many years has been redefined by heterosexuals in many ways including those who are not formally "married" with no papers or ceremony. Ultimately everyone will be awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court in its ruling concerning DOMA ( Defense of Marriage Act) and California's Prop 8 which was recognized the one man/ one women recognition.

Furthermore, there are long distance marriages, loveless marriages, and those who have had multiple marriages. Of course there was no way to sum this complex issue up in about 27 minutes. However, I felt good to at least have had the chance to chime in on the discussion while keeping a positive image in the public eye. To help further the discussion and your awareness of the issue I'm posting some key points for your consideration. If you got observations, comments or viewpoints to share, let's hear them!!

And our video pick for the week...first aired in December 2014

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Middle of the Week Post UP

The Medicaid Verification Melt Down Arkansas Style

Just in case you've missed the coverage or was to busy with other life matter to get an update or perhaps you may have been directly impacted, there's been a hot mess on the insurance front across the state. Unfortunately there are so many moving parts to this that COP 24/7 will have to "jump" you in to get it all in.

First up, I was a licensed In-person assister which is what Arkansas decided to tag those employed to assist with outreach and enrolling folks in the first wave of the Affordable Care Act circa 2013. I worked with The Living Affected Corporation which secured the contract designated to serve the
LGBTQ community specifically. During that first year, the organization's intrepid troupe drilled down into all things "ACA" to discover early on that this deployment would be a bumpy road for everyone involved.  From the onset, there were training snafus, chaotic updates and then came the website short circuit and pesky paper applications that most of us had never seen. Yet through it all, we preserved to slog through changes, awkward communications, internal struggles and a wary public that we were determined to assist.

I was totally broadsided as we learned that our legislator were in backrooms wheeling and dealing while surgically slicing and dicing the measure that resulted in shutting off the public advertising campaign and later putting the kibosh on allowing AID( Arkansas Insurance Department) to even apply for additional funding to support what we believed was the lifeline of the program through offering direct services to those seeking them.

We learned through our daily debriefings and assessing that health literacy was critical, we recognized that skill level and or training of DHS staff and other supportive staff was seriously lacking, the call center staff was inefficient as well as poorly trained.

 Long ago we found out that folks were just not answering the phones and when they did answer it was frustrating to say the least.

We identified that vital response information was being sent in envelopes marked with "HP" logos which most recipients were tossing in the trash as if it was junk mail. What genius thought to send this type of information in such an envelope without more proper notice on the front. Again this same type of mistake is taking place with verification notices from the "Access Arkansas Processing Center." Surely consumers are probably wondering who are they and why are they sending me a letter!

We also determined that as the funding to support our work with these clients was drying up, who would be available to assist in subsequent enrollment years especially with the added level of madness called the Indy Card, which was thrown in the mix without much notice or understanding.

And now we've bounced through year two wrought with taxes, premium increases and plan changes with open enrollment year three coming this November. In hindsight, we sounded some alarms in the early years that we were heading for a what has resulted in the recent Medicaid verification melt down we are now facing resulting in some 50,000 folks who may have or already have lost their coverage.  This situation has taken more twist and turns as Gov. Hutchinson made a decision that matters should be done in 10 days although DHS has waffled that there's "wiggle room" included. Other talking heads are stating that Arkansas is not alone in this debacle, yet no one was ready to deal with this in an efficient manner without grid lock.

Not to mention that all those enlisted to enroll folks have all be but abandoned ship because there's no money source to support this time consuming work. In other words," don 't call us because we don't get paid to take care of your cancellation."

The core team can attest that this ten day window period without adequate staffing and certainly staff that have a clue, can't be emphasized enough.  And so the great crazy of verifying folks who already are "verifiable" because they've had no changes or very little are now trying to verify that they have nothing to really verify except that this is hiccup is not needed as the next wave of enrollment is set to roll later this year. And let's be clear, there's no plan as yet as to who will actually be in place to take care of anybody...holy insurance!

Join us on our social media platform, for more updates, links, videos and breaking news.
Open enrollment coming November 2015!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Update Dish and Dash

Live it! Be it! Taking Ownership of Our Own Health!

Registration for the 13th Annual National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities

 The 2016 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities conference will take place January 21-24th at the Hilton LAX Hotel. This year they are expecting an even bigger turnout of healthcare providers, government officials, PLWHA, researchers, community members and more. Registration for this year’s conference can be found on our website at under the Leadership Conference tab, which includes forms for scholarship and/or abstract submission.     
This year’s conference theme is “Live it! Be it! Taking Ownership of Our Own Health.” With HIV prevention rapidly changing through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), social impediments will continue to impact our communities’ abilities to access housing, employment, education, public safety, and even access to health care. For years, in the realm of public health, there has been a divide between those who are primarily focused on medical care and those who are focused on both public health and community health. Interventions are critical to black gay men, and advocates for both should be on the same team, given a shared interest in keeping individuals healthy. With a primary focus on ensuring the national capacity to conduct community health and HIV prevention work, the 2016 National African American MSM Leadership Conference on HIV/AIDS and other Health Disparities is allocating to double the number of scholarships awarded to applicants’ ages 19 to 25 years of age.  



Get to Know Your Community Health Center!

National Health Center Week is August 9-15

Celebrating 50 years!

Community health centers  (CHCs) provide high quality comprehensive health care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.  For millions of Americans, community health centers offer services that include physical examinations, preventive services, behavioral health care, dental/oral health care, substance abuse counseling, nutrition education and sometimes more!  

The quality of care at community health centers equals and can surpass the care provided by other primary care providers.  Through their broad menu of primary and preventives services, they can offer a one-stop -shopping experience for families and individuals.   

CHC’s welcome Medicaid and Medicare patients, and also accept Marketplace insurance plans and other forms of private insurance.  CHC’s were created to serve medically underserved populations and provide appropriate and necessary services with fees adjusted on a patient’s ability to pay.

So find a CHC near you and connect to services in your community!


We admit that there's no magic pill, but getting linked and retained in care is vital in the effort to address all HIV infections.

Need assistance in getting into to care, navigating the care you may already have or knowing your HIV status? Call 877-293-6416 for more information.

Arkansas RAPPS, a Community Connector Initiative contractor is available to assist in Pulaski, Saline, Lonoke, Garland and Faulkner counties.


Check out our Facebook page at
Arkansas RAPPS
( Reaching, Affirming, Positive, Progressive Systems )





Monday, August 10, 2015

The Sizziling Hot of COP 24/7

The dog days of August in this last week has been a barn burning wave of heat and humidity that no whore in church joke can match. Of course its just Arkansas, where each summer season we must be ready to deal with Mother Nature's swelling and sizzling temperature that just drive folks almost to the brink of sheer madness. In the mean time, its always hot in the CP 24/7 kitchen and this next week the heat turns up as we blaze our way toward our final postings come this September. So without further delay, let's dive in....

Coalition begins to form to address LGBT Atlanta divisiveness and Arkansas

"Activists and other leaders have begun to meet to address issues of division within Atlanta's LGBT community and figure out what steps to take moving forward," was the lead in this item in the Georgia Voice written Patrick Saunders and posted 8/6/2015. However as we were preparing our COP 24/7 surmised how eerily this statement mirrored some of what's emerging in our own city.
daily post,

In case you haven't a clue about "what had happened" in Atlanta let us bring you up to speed on their situation before we tackle what's being proposed locally. Now stay we go.

Their ATL meeting was sparked by a July 9 incident in which popular Atlanta gay bar Blake's On The Park posted a controversial new dress code which many in the community felt targeted African-Americans. Now let's not get this confused with similar such signs posted at Little Rock venues such as Kahlil's Pub and at one time our own gay venues. Now that we've established that let's move on with the rest of the ATL matter in a nut shell. A contentious debate broke out, with one side saying the sign was racist and the other saying they saw nothing wrong with it. Blake's eventually removed the sign, but the conversation continued.

Enter  Mr.Gee Session-Smalls, co-founder of The Gentlemen's Foundation, who was at Blake's the night of the dress code incident and posted to social media the picture that led to the debate. He has met with Branden Mattox, director of LGBT rights group Love Under Fire, and Jeff Graham, executive director of LGBT advocacy group Georgia Equality, to discuss what's been done about such issues in the past and what to do next.

Mr. Small cited several issues to GV such as, "There's lots of segregation within the community." "It's not just black and white although black and white is probably the most apparent. From feminine to masculine to trans to the gays there is a lot of segregation and I think what happened at Blake's has started a larger conversation."

He says the next step is inviting key community leaders to another meeting, including representatives from Atlanta Pride, Lambda Legal and AID Atlanta. Mattox has been spearheading the meetings, but so far there is no official hierarchy.

HIV/AIDS activist Greg Smith created a logic model to help the group identify the problems, potential strategies and desired outcomes around the issue. "In the LGBT community, race is the 800-pound elephant in the room, and if it's not facilitated in a healthy manner, it creates even more division," Smith says. "This is about finding out what commonalities we have right now. It enhances the opportunities for us to collaborate on stuff so it lessens the chance of peoples' triggers coming up, whether it's around race, gender or sexual orientation."

Now that we've got that understood, here's the similarities that are either being talked about or not talked about in our own backyard depending on who you are talking too. What's in play is a supposedly follow up to a "Real Talk," meeting held during Black Gay Pride week 2015 featuring a roundtable of "real talk" about the post traumatic affects of the AIDS epidemic, the lack of or maybe even the sharing of local infrastructure, "do Black lives really matter,?" and violence that occurred the night before the Saturday meet up. (please see next posted item)

Although there was much talk about outreach, next steps, community engagement and other activities, to date as of this posting there has been nothing confirmed nor any plans further discussed. So what does this mean? Well, from a COP 24/7 standpoint, it means more of the same. Lot's of "lip service and basically low to no action or outcomes." Why keep having such sessions if the participants have no real interest in doing, contributing or making any commitments to anything. If anything changes, we'll update at

Added to this "community mash up," is the formation of the Equality Coalition which met a few weeks back and will be having a teleconference Aug 18. In full disclosure COP 24/7 was invited to the initial meeting and has been sought as a possible information portal. The group comprises of local like minded entities ranging from Pride Corp to Just Communities whom share some aspects making a difference in the community and their particular constituencies. This is the local mirror answer similar to the ATL decision to bringing key folks together.

Idealistically this body is to network among itself to create a "centralized event calendar" while possibly supporting a variety of agendas. As this evolves, we hope that we will be able to get as much in about this group before we throw in the towel later. Are you still with us...?

If that wasn't enough "community capacity building," then there's the impending Equality Summit, ( ) September 19 which is being touted as, "HRC Arkansas' first statewide Equality Summit, a one-day community-building and advocacy training for HRC Arkansas members and supporters, and other LGBTQ and allied advocates. At this summit we will continue building our base and empowering volunteer leadership across the state through strong relationships and training." One would assume that this is the space where Arkansas will create their "logic model," as to how to address possible triggers, what's in the agenda lens and identify which "800 pound Elephant" will be as prioritized. Amazing as it seems, ATL may be a mecca, but seems like we got much in common after all.

Shaking, Sneekin and Geekin at La Changes

Promoters Juiced Entertainment will be hosting regularly scheduled Friday night "Make it Shake," shows at La Changes, 3315 West Roosevelt according to items posted to the Arkansas CAN Facebook page. ( )
Ironically this is the same outfit that was a promoter of a Black Gay Pride event titled "Nite in the lights," that resulted in various incidents of violence.

In the aforementioned post, we made mention of the "Real Talk" session which was a part of the Black Gay Pride Week 2015 using the theme, "Unity in Community," sponsored in part by Arkansas CAN and acronym for "Creating Awareness Now."

In that recall, COP 24/7 cited that there was discussion as to "violent incidents" that occurred including gun fire, internal altercations, tempers flaring and parking lot exploits that could have been fatal. The overall description by those who were in attendance of the evening was "dangerous," which speaks volumes in itself. Also this forums finds it perplexing as to exactly where does Arkansas CAN stand on the matter. Where was there statement concerning the violent incidents? Why wasn't all advertising removed from their Facebook page as a further renouncement and why is their current advertising in place?

The subsequent day, promoters, Juiced Entertainment, Taurus Brothers and Heart Throb productions messaged that their Saturday night, "Hollywood Red Carpet Affair" event would be policed both in the yard and inside the former Club Good Times. This action was to offset the previous evenings crazy behavior and perhaps bolster $20 ticket sales. Only one of the actual promoters attended the "Real Talk," session to attempt to offer some explanations about the incidents even though this wasn't a scheduled topic to be discussed.

COP 24/7 is steadfast in raising the question as to why do such incidents happen during these events and what does this type of behavior signal about our community. There was a robust discussion yet no viable solutions determined including one participant stating that "maybe its not for us to understand and just accept it." This is why COP 24/7 speculates as if the management of La Changes is aware of past incidents and what would be their response?  Although the management can do whatever the hell they want to do with their facility, however perhaps maybe these folks are down with it all and this could be an opening for other activities. We'll keep our ears and eyes open on this one...

Friday, August 07, 2015

Friday Follies and Fall OUT

The GOP Debate That Was...and is O-V-A

Alright folks, in case you missed it, you shouldn't have. It was full on blast spectacle of dogma, rhetoric, catcalls, GOP dog whistle's tinted with some moments that made sense amidst the ballyhoo.

I watched with intensity on my trusty smart phone from my secret location over the past week. As I recall the nights high point and low points, there were actually some good debate moments that made we wonder, if the Republican party could just par away the shrill voices and over the top bravado, they might could come away with some plausible candidate. Who would ever thought there would have to be a Pre-debate team at 5 p.m. and then the prime timers later on. Only in America can we make this stuff up.

Anyway despite the dramatics of it all, former Ohio Governor John Kasich made statements that got my attention as a man that warrants listening too. Not because I really agree with him totally but I am open to listening too because he's not caught up in the "big top" of the event itself, but rather someone who has a viewpoint that could be taken seriously. All through the evening the hot white spotlight was being focused on none other than Donald Trump via questions from the moderators whom didn't gang up on Trump but rather engaged him in some rough and tumble questioning to his policy insights and perspectives. As I watched in a delish glee, I kept thinking who would have ever thought this guy would get any traction is beyond me, the I again reference the "only in America can we make this stuff up," mantra.

I also wanted to hear more from Dr. Ben Carson who has stumbled and mumbled both on script and off script that sometimes made me ponder is he serious about running for public office. Somewhere back in my head I kept hearing the ghost of Herman Caine chanting "9-9-9!" This was his ill-fated economic plan that got almost as much laughter as Mitt Romney's assertion that "corporations were people too!" Nonetheless I did feel that Carson sort of got lost in the shuffle among the candidates. However, he did leave a great one liner that had me howling, was when asked about something special or unique about each person, Carson rolled with, "I'm the only one to separate Siamese twins." Take that you bama's...

The rest of the crew, Bush, Rubio, Cruz, Walker and Christie whom all have numbers within margins of each other, seemed to try to establish themselves or should we say distinguish themselves as serious candidates. Well we've got one down and the real thunder dome of the political season hasn't even begun, or at least we would like to think so....stay tuned.

And now for our Friday Video...

It behooves COP 24/7 that this determined and forward looking platform has struggled and flailed along for now 10 years, yet have not amassed the following of these video personalities such as Quaadir Howard whom has 112,951 subscribers.

He is among the many who are ranting and raving their way across the digital landscape talking about all manner of current topics. Here in Arkansas we have a few others such a John B, J. Kelley other's who have taken to the airwaves with content. Yet COP 24/7 with its constant out put and daily updates, links, video and podcasting only broke through in some areas but came up short in others.

Nevertheless, with our final days rapidly approaching, we want to highlight and showcase those who will continue to carry the torch...and now you can hear from him....


Check out LinQ for Life, Inc. for updates on our current programming and activities coming in Fall 2015 Go to

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Throwback Thursday at COP 24/7

Its another "throwback Thursday," as we await tonight's highly anticipated GOP Debate Roustabout featuring folks whom all believe that have what it takes to be the leader of the free world. Just thinking about that get's a "God help us all!"

All this week the news bluster has been about the latest big mouth, off the cuff and script and I say what I think from Donald Trump, not to mention the scurrying around of everyone else trying to be as outrageous as think they can be.

Mike Hucakabee is not budging nor walking back his holocaust reference or Ted Cruz's blood curdling cry that "I would do anything and I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare." I think you get the picture. COP 24/7 will be again asking those living with HIV to understand the importance of their voices in regards to House Bill 1586, The Repeal HIV Criminalization measure here in 2015 and making sure that they are damn on their toes about election cycle 2016. Even as we bow out of the space coming in September, we will be rolling information across numerous digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram plus participating in some local community engagement activities.

As all that political mayhem plays out, plus we got a Southern heat wave, some falling gas prices, an upcoming equality summit, new groups emerging such as the LGBTQ Chamber of Commerce and Hot Springs County LGBTQ Equality, there's plenty of stuff to get to in the present. but as it has become a hot spot. Let's take a look back at what really going on as COP 24/7 reported it....

Originally posted November 23, 2009
Teachable Moments: The Center for Artistic Revolution will be sponsoring a workshop entitled, "Butch/Femme in Arkansas & Ourselves" on Monday, November 30 at 6:00 pm, 1st Presbyterian Church. The seesion will explore the words "butch and femme" which can bring a lot of images and thoughts to mind. Some say these are lesbian identities of the past. Others purport butch/femme identities are expanding to include various gender presentations and identities including transfolk, studs, AGs, and more. There will be a lively discussion and workshop on the history of butch/femme, the significance of these identities and roles today, and our own views on what butch/femme means in our lives and in our rural/southern queer movement. ALL are welcome to attend this workshop, including but not limited to butches, femmes, questioning, curious, and allies of ALL AGES. This event is FREE and will be followed by a social with a Potluck social at 8PM. The workshop will be facilitated by Amanda Harris. Amanda is a queer-southern-feminist-femme living in Brooklyn. Amanda organizes with Femme Family NYC, is a board member of Center for Artistic Revolution, and works with homeless queer youth in New York.

Benefits A-G-GO: As World AIDS Day approaches there are many activities churing aobut including an AIDS Benefit @ Club Pulse December 1st, hosted by the U.A.L.R. Alliance, 8:00PM-2:00AM. The door cover AND donations goes to the Arkansas AIDS Foundation, which is an endangered organization in our community that needs our help! So come out and support your community while enjoying great entertainment!The Go-Go Revolution Girls will be appearing! HOTT HOTT HOTT GIRLS! LIVE MUSIC (in Offcenter room) starring...JILL STRINGHAM's band ANGELYN JOLLEY's band

DRAG SHOW (in Pulse room) starring...Brittney Paige- MCBreeanna Braxton Paige Mshay Foster, Tionne Iman ,Diedra Winsor Walker, Blair Paige, Gino Murano, Valentino Rios, Johnny DeMarco, Marco Delgatto and SIMONE: Slam Poet

Originally posted December 7, 2009

DSRA Royalty Night: Let me began that this is going to be a biased post because I'm simply over the moon for the support that I was afforded to witness this weekend. THANK YOU my rainbow family for your outpouring during the Belles & Boots: An Evening of Royalty show featuring the 2010-11 DSRA Royalty Team, Mr. DSRA Jerry Lum and 1st Alternate Marvella. The benefit cast was a who's who of local entertainers including Champagne, Miranda M. Cherity, Crystal Love, Lana, Marco Delgato, Diva Denery and former Mr. DSRA Dan Scott. Even though we promoted the show with a vengeance, I was overwhelmed especially as friends whom I've not seen in years, answered the "call" to come join us in our fundraising effort for Rodeo in the Rock tentatively slated for April 30 - May 2, 2011. The evening which included a Silent Auction netted a impressive $2100.00 which will be utilized by the charitable organization for the impending rodeo and selected charity donation. Last year DSRA selected St. Judes Hospital as it's designated charity recipient.

Also during the evening toys were collected for redistribution via another local entity. During competition I stated that my platform was all about refreshing DSRA within the community and outreaching to the diverse cultures that make up the "people Mosaic" of our area. This is just beginning of a journey that will be open to everyone and anyone. No matter how small the donation or talent. Our entire 2010 calendar will be announced shortly and I hope to see you all in the New Year. Good Work community!!!

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook at

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

COP 24/7 Posting 1419

Yes my friends with this post, we have now hit post 1419!! As in "One Thousand Four Hundred and Nineteen micro items culled from the vast information portals, links, video's and what have you over the past decade. All I can say is "wow!" Who would have ever thought that this little blog would go for so long without any of the trappings of ad revenue, banner ads, foundation or corporate support, no grants, no fundraisers and not much else.

Added to this mix was also the attempt to utilize this platform as a prototype of a platform that might could have been somewhat funded through a Arkansas Department of Health social media initiative. Unfortunately that "big idea" that was an outgrowth of the many capacity building sessions provided by whomever needed to use Arkansas in their grant fulfillment but actually really didn't give a real damn if anything really happened. Alright I digressed into some bitterness for a moment, but back to the up side of COP 24/7.

I am totally proud of what we've done in this space. Whether we get a huge amount of praise or notice about it is not the end all that be all. What has been created here is a time capsule of what we heard, saw, envisioned, were enraged about and at the most part was proud about. Let it not be said that COP 24/7 didn't try to bring as much as we could into our digital town square.  From the beginning we were not sure what was to become of it all, and now as we face our inevitable end, we now know that we used this medium for all it could provide and then some. And now for today's post...

Another Missouri Man Sentenced 30 Years for HIV Crimes
David Lee Mangum of Dexter, Missouri, was sentenced to 30 years for "reckless exposure to HIV infection," reports KFVS news.

Mangum had pleaded guilty to the charges last month and also told police he had had more than 300 sexual partners since he was diagnosed HIV positive in 2003. Reports do not address whether Mangum has been on HIV treatment or whether he is virally suppressed.

The charges against Mangum arose after his former live-in partner tested positive for the virus. The two had lived together off and on from November 2012 to June 2013. The former partner told police he ended the relationship once he found out Mangum was unfaithful. But at the beginning of the relationship, the partner said, Mangum had told him he was HIV negative.

According to KFVS, when police asked Mangum why he didn't disclose his HIV status, he said "fear of rejection."

Health experts in Stoddard County are recommending anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to get tested.

Mangum's sentencing is the latest in a string of HIV criminalization cases in Missouri to make headlines. Earlier this month, former college wrestler Michael Johnson was sentenced to 30 years for infecting a partner with HIV, and Robert Smith was arrested on charges of attempting to expose another person to the virus by seeking sex on social media. Both cases are in the St. Louis area.
COP 24/7 Special
I Was Wrong About Bernie Sanders, And So Is Barney Frank and His Fellow Clintonistas by Miles  Mongulescu ( Huff Post)
I was critical of Bernie Sanders because I feared his campaign would be ineffective. Barney Frank and his fellow Clintonistas are critical of Sanders because his campaign is being too effective. We're both wrong.

In my initial disappointment at Elizabeth Warren's refusal to challenge Hillary Clinton's coronation as the nominee in the Democratic primary, I was too quick, writing in these pages, to dismiss Sanders' campaign as marginal. I was mistaken.
So let's forget about Donald Trump and the Republican debate clown show for a minute and focus on
the Democrats.

Bernie Sanders has garnered crowds of 10,000 supporters plus, raised over $15 million in small donor contributions, attracted over 100,000 people to organizing house parties, and is polling within 10 points of Hillary Clinton in the key early battleground states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
It's enough to put a good scare into the Clinton campaign and Democratic insiders like Barney Frank who think Hillary should get a free pass to the nomination.

And whether or not Bernie ultimately wins the Democratic nomination, he is accomplishing two important goals.

First, he is putting some key progressive policies front and center in the debate in contrast to the "moderate" policies of mainstream Democrats, the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton.
• Medicare-For-All vs. the weak tea of the Affordable Care Act.
• Increasing Social Security, and paying for it by lifting the regressive cap on income which is currently subject to Social Security tax vs. cutting a grand bargain with Republicans to cut Social Security and Medicare
• Free higher education at a public university for everyone who's academically qualified paid for by a tax on Wall Street, not just lower interest rates on student loans.
• Breaking up the big banks that tanked the economy in 2008, not just regulating them with revolving door regulators as they grow even bigger and more powerful.
• Reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act which separated government insured commercial banking from speculative investment banking, not just putting limited regulations on these practices as under Dodd-Frank.
• A carbon tax, which is a simple way to limit greenhouse gases, while pricing the cost into their production, rather than complicated "market-based" compromises like cap and trade advocated by so many Democrats.

These and other proposals from the Sanders campaign are supported by large numbers of Americans but they are a bridge too for most corporate Democrats and have been largely absent from debate in the Democratic Party.

For better or worse, Presidential campaigns are one of the few events in which major policy proposals get a certain amount of coverage in the mainstream media. So if Sanders' does nothing but heighten public awareness these kind of policies, then his campaign will have been a good thing.
Even if these policies are not immediately passed, progressive change often takes time from the first moment ideas are proposed until ultimately enacted. This was true in the early 20th Century for the minimum wage and child labor protections, during the depression for unemployment and social security, and during the '60s with Medicare, Medicaid, and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts.
And often these progressive reforms are first proposed by the socialist left before ultimately being accepted by the mainstream.

The second reason that the Sanders campaign is a good thing for America is that it's restoring "socialism" to a respectable place in American politics.

For half a century, liberals and progressives were terrified of being tarred with the term "socialist" because it was associated with America's Cold War enemies and political repression in countries like the Soviet Union and China. As a result, the word "socialist" became verboten in American politics.
Although discussions of democratic socialism have been virtually unheard for decades, Americans are increasingly open to the idea .

A recent Gallup poll found that 47% of Americans would vote for a socialist for President if their party nominated one, while 50% said they would not. Compare that to Hillary Clinton's most recent polling of 37% Favorable to 48% Unfavorable (-11%); Jeb Bush's 26% Favorable to 40% Unfavorable; or Donald Trump's 26% Favorable to 56% Unfavorable (-30%). Of Millennials--who lived through the 2008 crash but not the Cold War--36% view socialism favorably and 39% view capitalism favorably, a near tie.

So if a national Presidential candidate advocates democratic socialism, the campaign catalyzes popular democratic movements, and opinion makers increasingly treat democratic socialism as a legitimate viewpoint, support for democratic socialism is likely to increase.
Even though an avowed socialist has never been President (unlike in Western Europe where socialist Presidents and Prime Ministers are common), socialists (and even, despite their blind spot to political repression, those who've passed through communism) have had a profound impact on the policies that have made America a better place.

Socialists Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas ran for President as independents, garnering millions of votes, and their ideas influenced progressives like Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and FDR. Socialist W.E.B. DuBois founded the NAACP and made a profound impact on the growth of the civil rights movement. Socialist Walter Reuther helped form and lead the United Auto Workers. Socialist Michael Harrington wrote the book "The Other America" about poverty in America in the '60s which influenced JFK and LBJ to commence a War on Poverty and pass Medicare and Medicaid. Socialist Martin Luther King spent the last years before his assassination advocating for greater economic justice.

When I'm wrong, I have no trouble owning up to it. And I was wrong to dismiss Bernie Sanders' Presidential campaign. By raising key policy proposals that no mainstream Democrat will raise, and by restoring socialism to a respected place in the political debate, he is doing the nation a great service. And as his numbers in the polls keep rising, he may even give Hillary a good run for her money.

Barney Frank is also wrong to dismiss Sanders' campaign but for opposite reasons. Writing in Politico, expresses fear that Hillary Clinton's candidacy is so fragile that any serious primary challenge to her coronation as the Democratic nominee could lead to her being defeated by whomever the Republicans throw up against her in the general election.

Frank's argument typify everything that's wrong with mainstream Democrats. First, they think they're entitled to their way without the annoyance of having to deal with actual voters or the activist base of the party. But there's a gap between the views of the Warren/Sanders wing and the Clinton/Obama/Wall Street wing and where better than in the primaries to air those views? It's the attitude that Hillary Clinton is somehow entitled to the nomination unchallenged that diminishes the enthusiasm of the base, who are the people who volunteer for campaigns and are the heart of small-dollar donors.

Second, if Hillary is so vulnerable that a primary challenge could lead to her defeat in the general election, there's something seriously wrong with Clinton as a candidate, and Democrats should be profoundly worried about anointing her.

Third, Frank is just wrong that Hillary is an authentic progressive. He writes, "A prolonged prenomination debate about the authenticity of Clinton's support for progressive policy stances will do us more harm than good... Without any substance, some argue that she has been insufficiently committed to economic and social reform--for example, that she is too close to Wall Street, and consequently soft on financial regulation...This is wholly without basis."

Wrong!! It has plenty of basis. The major achievements of the Clinton administration in the area of financial reform was to repeal Glass-Steagall and to ban the government from regulating derivatives. Since leaving office, the Clintons have earned over $100 million dollars in speaking fees, at $200,000-$500,000 per hour, largely to financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Though the press is generally barred from these events, I doubt that the Clintons convey hundreds of thousands of dollars an hour of wisdom to these Wall Street behemoths. More realistically, they're paying them for services rendered and to be rendered. And who can forget Hilary's vote for the Iraq war?

The Presidential primaries are exactly the place to openly debate these issues. Barney Frank is wrong to try to shut down the debate. If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, I'll reluctantly vote for her over any conceivable Republican nominee. But the choice to support the "lesser of two evils" is for the general election, not the primaries.

I admit I was wrong to dismiss Bernie Sanders' candidacy. Barney Frank should admit he was wrong, too. Run, Bernie, Run.

Arkansas RAPPS joins with our fellow Community Connector contractors in offering FREE HIV Testing, Counseling and linkage to care opportunities.
If you need FREE testing or questions as to not only get into care but stay in care,
call 877-298-6416 for more information.