Archive for the ‘AIDS’ Category

>Ronald Reagan – 100 years of shame

February 7, 2011

>I’m tired of celebrating Ronald Reagan.

If he were still alive, he would be turning 100 years old. That’s 100 years of shame.

During his term as president the rich got richer, and the poor got poorer.

From Mother Jones


As the rich get richer, the rest of us didn’t fare too well, and the poor actually got poorer.

But here is what really gets me.

The first case of AIDS was reported June 5, 1981, in Los Angeles. A year and a half later, the White House was asked about the epidemic, and in a press conference, the mention of people dying of AIDS brought laughter.

In 2004 Larry Kramer wrote an article for the Advocate, and it was republished this week.

Our murderer is dead. The man who murdered more gay people than anyone in the entire history of the world, is dead. More people than Hitler even. In all the tributes to his passing, as I write this two days after his death, not one that I have seen has mentioned this. The hateful New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print”) of course said nothing about this. We still are not fit to write about with total honesty in their pages. Not really. Just as we were not fit for Ronald Reagan to talk about us. What kind of president is that?

His article ends this way.

Just as Jews are asked to never forget their Holocaust, I implore all gay people never to forget our holocaust and who caused it and why. Ronald Reagan did not even say the word “AIDS” out loud for the first seven years of his reign. Because of this, some 70 million people, so far, have become infected with HIV/AIDS. I wonder what it feels like to be the son and the wife of a man responsible for over 70 million people so far becoming infected with a virus that has killed over half of us so far. I wonder what it felt like while he was alive to ponder this. For surely he must have thought about it. How could he not? He has been called the consummate actor who came to believe all his lines. Does this not make his legacy even more grotesque? It should.

Hitler knew what he was doing. How could Ronald Reagan not have known what he was doing?

But of course, no one is writing about this. Reagan too is one of history’s gods.

So far he has gotten away with murder.

Here is a short video, made by the son of a 1980’s lesbian activist.

I don’t know how anyone could celebrate his 100th birthday. Or why he is held up as an American hero.

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>Seis de Mayo and District 19 Forum Report

May 6, 2009

>Updates at the end of this post.

Los Sombreros es un buen lugar para celebrar Cinco de Mayo.

Pardon my Spanish, but Los Sombreros in Bessemer is a good place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo because the management comes around and pours extra tequila into your frozen margarita.

Yet still, I am up early and able to function at full capacity.

At the forum for Democratic Senate district 19 candidates last night all of the candidates except for Madilyn Southern showed up to spar for votes. Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield arrived late and only had 2 minutes to present his case. The others gave opening statements and then answered questions from the audience.

I asked a question about the budget passed by the senate yesterday. The budget included $2.8 million for AIDS funding, but $5 million is required to receive matching federal funds under the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act of 2006 formerly (and still commonly) known as the Ryan White Care Act.

Without the $5 million from the state, we stand to lose millions in money that pays for treatment and saves countless lives. In short, people will die.

I mentioned that the House had passed the same budget, as far as AIDS funding goes.

Both Priscilla Dunn and Merika Coleman were surprised. They indicated that they were not aware, and agreed to the importance of the match. They were surprised that Rep. Patricia Todd had not made them (and other legislators) aware of the urgency regarding this. Other candidates jumped on this, saying the current legislators should have been more informed and they they would have read the legislation and known.

Not necessarily. You might read “2.8 million” but the legislation is not going to say (“this does not meet federal matching standards”).

Anyway, my multiple attempts to get a response from Rep. Todd about this have not been successful. When she does, I will post an update.

In the end, Dunn and Coleman believe that the budget can be adjusted in committee and the funding will be there. All of the candidates stressed the importance of getting matching funds when possible (I could have mentioned the lack of securing matching funds for public transportation by our Jefferson county delegation and local elected officials for years…decades, but we won’t go there).

The Birmingham News reported this

(Eric)Major said he tried to introduce legislation while a representative to stop the
bond swaps, measures he said Coleman and Rep. Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer
opposed.
Coleman fired back by asking the voters to “Google” her record on
the issue.

I guess what she wanted the voters to be reminded of is Major’s domestic violence charge and his trip to the Supreme Court of Alabama which threw out his $500,000 award for his claim that his civil rights were violated when he was arrested ( here and here).

Back to the AIDS funding.

There is still a final step left to finalize the General Fund budget. A committee of members from the House (Representatives Knight, Page, and Gaston) has to vote to reconcile the Senate’s version of the budget.

Please take a moment to call and email Representative John Knight, Representative Victor Gaston, and Representative Jack Page and let them know that the $2.8 million for AIDS funding needs to be upped to $5 million, and while you are at it, tell them the $700,000 for AIDS Service Organizations needs to be added back as well.

Representative John Knight (334) 242-7660 John.knight@alhouse.org

Representative Victor Gaston (334) 242-7675 Victor.gaston@alhouse.org

Representative Jack Page (334) 242-7742 reppage@bellsouth.net.

Update: The house today unanimously rejected the Senate version of the budget for various reasons. Maybe they will fix this problem.

Also, today, a senate committee approved adding sexual orientation to the hate crimes bill. Now to the full senate.

Update: Rep. Todd told me she that Rep. Laura Hall is the primary advocate in the house for AIDS related issues. That makes sense, Hall had a son that died from AIDS and has been an outspoken advocate for AIDS issues over the years. One would think that Dunn and Coleman would have recognized this.

BNA Web Site, and ACLU Stands Up for Toddler

July 17, 2007

The Bessemer Neighborhood Association has a new web site: Bessemerneighbors.com.

There we will post news regarding meetings, goals, accomplishments, etc.

The ACLU of Alabama has issued a press release regarding the banning of the HIV positive toddler from a pool in south Alabama. This is an example of how people need to educate themselves if they are going to be serving the public. Here is part of that release:

MONTGOMERY, AL – The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the owner of the Wales West RV park in Silverhill, Alabama today demanding that it stop discriminating against people with HIV by barring people with the disease from using the swimming pool, showers and other common areas of the park without a letter from a doctor.

“This kind of ignorance and prejudice is unacceptable at this point in the HIV epidemic,” said Olivia Turner, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama. “After more than two decades of studying the disease, we know that you can’t catch HIV by swimming next to someone with the disease or using a public shower.”

According to media reports, Dick and Silvia Glover’s two-year-old foster son Caleb was banned from the pool and other common areas of the RV park by its owner Ken Zadnichek after Silvia mentioned to a desk clerk that the boy had HIV. Although Caleb had been looking forward to taking a ride on the park’s two train rides, the couple had no choice but to leave the park.

“Mr. Zadnichek should be ashamed of himself for picking on a defenseless two-year old,” said Christine Sun, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s AIDS Project. “Mr. Zadnichek claims that he was merely trying to protect other campers, but he had nothing to protect other campers against. Ignorance about the disease is no excuse for prejudice.”

The letter sent by the ACLU explains that discrimination against people with HIV is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and demands that the park owner send written assurances to the ACLU that the park will no longer discriminate against people with HIV. The letter also notes that the ADA prohibits businesses from imposing eligibility requirements, such as requiring a doctor’s note, that screen out people with disabilities. The letter quotes information from the Alabama Department of Public Health making it clear that, “[y]ou do not get HIV from an HIV-infected person by working together, playing sports, shaking hands, hugging, closed-mouth kissing, sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils or towels, using the same wash water or toilet, swimming in the same pool, or coming in contact with their sneezes, coughs, tears or sweat.”

“Basic Facts About HIV and AIDS,” available at www.adph.org/aids/assets/HIVAIDSfactSheet.pdf.

>BNA Web Site, and ACLU Stands Up for Toddler

July 17, 2007

>The Bessemer Neighborhood Association has a new web site: Bessemerneighbors.com.

There we will post news regarding meetings, goals, accomplishments, etc.

The ACLU of Alabama has issued a press release regarding the banning of the HIV positive toddler from a pool in south Alabama. This is an example of how people need to educate themselves if they are going to be serving the public. Here is part of that release:

MONTGOMERY, AL – The American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter to the owner of the Wales West RV park in Silverhill, Alabama today demanding that it stop discriminating against people with HIV by barring people with the disease from using the swimming pool, showers and other common areas of the park without a letter from a doctor.

“This kind of ignorance and prejudice is unacceptable at this point in the HIV epidemic,” said Olivia Turner, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alabama. “After more than two decades of studying the disease, we know that you can’t catch HIV by swimming next to someone with the disease or using a public shower.”

According to media reports, Dick and Silvia Glover’s two-year-old foster son Caleb was banned from the pool and other common areas of the RV park by its owner Ken Zadnichek after Silvia mentioned to a desk clerk that the boy had HIV. Although Caleb had been looking forward to taking a ride on the park’s two train rides, the couple had no choice but to leave the park.

“Mr. Zadnichek should be ashamed of himself for picking on a defenseless two-year old,” said Christine Sun, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s AIDS Project. “Mr. Zadnichek claims that he was merely trying to protect other campers, but he had nothing to protect other campers against. Ignorance about the disease is no excuse for prejudice.”

The letter sent by the ACLU explains that discrimination against people with HIV is illegal under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and demands that the park owner send written assurances to the ACLU that the park will no longer discriminate against people with HIV. The letter also notes that the ADA prohibits businesses from imposing eligibility requirements, such as requiring a doctor’s note, that screen out people with disabilities. The letter quotes information from the Alabama Department of Public Health making it clear that, “[y]ou do not get HIV from an HIV-infected person by working together, playing sports, shaking hands, hugging, closed-mouth kissing, sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils or towels, using the same wash water or toilet, swimming in the same pool, or coming in contact with their sneezes, coughs, tears or sweat.”

“Basic Facts About HIV and AIDS,” available at www.adph.org/aids/assets/HIVAIDSfactSheet.pdf.