Saturday, June 19, 2010

Tony Hayward Attends Yacht Race While the Gulf Drowns in Oil!

Well my bad.  I assumed that Tony Hayward, beleaguered CEO of BP was off the case, but instead he was only attending a yacht race and eating buttered scones for tea., Perhaps he even had time to play the grand piano while he considered the plight of the "small people" back in the coastal communities of the "colonies".

It sounds like a plot form a Monty Python sketch but it is true.  Hayward, in an effort to get his life back, is still in charge of the Gulf situation, he was just taking a break to attend the race.  Now I understand everyone needs a break, but could he PR of this situation be worse?  I hardly think so.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Tony Hayward Out! Carl-Henric Svanberg In! BP Switches Hitters.

Tony Hayward will now have his life back! The CEO of BP whose lackluster showing in front of Congress this week made both him and BP look like they were asleep at the wheel has been unceremoniously removed from day to day operations at the spill site.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg announced today that Hayward was out and in his words,  "this has now turned into a reputation matter, a financial squeeze for BP and a political matter and that is why you will now see more of me."

Let's hope he knows more than Hayward about the whole drilling business.

FOX & Other Wing-Nuts Defend Smokey Joe Barton

Apparently the talking points went out prior to Barton apologizing.  This is absolutely insane how these clones can defend Joe Barton for his apology to BP  This will not play well with the GOP base.

Rush Limbaugh Suggests Hungry Kids Dumpster Dive! Further Proof He Is A PIG.

Further proof that Rush Limbaugh is a total PIG.  He manages to take a story about child hunger into a political diatribe.  He seems to think everyone's house has food in it.  Again he shows he lives in an insulated world of the privileged.  Suggests that hungry kids go dumpster diving!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

GM Says - No Summer Shutdown!

Well I guess I wasn't the only American ready to buy a new car this year.  General Motors has decided to forgo its usual summer furlough and keep the plants open.  This is great news for the auto giant that was on the brink of bankruptcy last year until Obama and the Democrats bailed them out.  Good move!

I would like to think I helped.  I bought a brand new Chevy ( I will not use Cheverolet) Equinox and it's a dandy car.  Incredible warranty and it gets an average of over 25 miles to the gallon.  Not a hybrid either.  I was tempted to get a hybrid, but the cost to savings was just not there for an SUV.  Still much better mileage than my old Dodge Durango....12mpg on a good day.  Of course it was 10 years old, too.

Smokey Joe Changing His Tune, Now Trying To Distance Himself From His Own Words!

"Smokey" Joe Barton (R-TX), is backpedaling as fast as he can after apologizing to BP for the White House forcing them to set up a $20 billion escrow fund to repay for damages they caused.  I have the video in a previous post and he absolutely does this.  Now, he has drastically changed his tune.

In his own words this afternoon after his little grandstand play didn't go over so well with the American public Joe says:
"I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident, should be held responsible, and should in every way do everything possible to make good on the consequences that have resulted from this accident. And if anything I said this morning has been misconstrued in an opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction."
Oh yea?  Well Mr. Barton here is a transcript of what you said, and let me know how it was "misconstructed"?  He was speaking to Tony Hayward CEO of BP.
"I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday, I think it is a tragedy in the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown -- in this case a $20 billion shakedown -- with the attorney general of the United States, who is legitimately conducting a criminal investigation and has every right to do so to protect the American people, participating in what amounts to a $20 billion slush fund that's unprecedented in our nation's history, which has no legal standing, which I think sets a terrible precedent for our nation's future. I'm only speaking for myself. I'm not speaking for anyone else, but I apologize...."

"Smokey" Joe Barton, Oil Company Pawn? Oh Yes!

Well, if there was ever a clear message that Smoky Joe Barton was deeply in the pockets of the oil companies here it is.  He actually apologizes to BP for forcing them to pay for their mess!  He called the escrow account to clean up the spill a "shakedown"!

How does he keep getting elected?  Watch this video and try not to let your jaw hit the desk.

Prop 8 Decision Expected Today

After spending the afternoon multi-tasking, working while following the transcript of the Prop 8 trial, I really believe that the Judge in this case is first, of all a really astute jurist and second, will rule against Prop 8.  His questions of the defense (those defending Proposition 8) were brutal.  He didn't buy the argument that marriage is strictly for procreation and the good of children.  He also took issue with the fact that the defense brought only one witness.  Seemed like a poorly prepared case to me.  Expect a decision today.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pride Reception Planned at White House

Rumours are bubbling through Washington that the White House is planning a Pride Reception for June 22. This would be historic!

The Advocate has more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"Touchdown Jesus" Gets Fried By Lightning Bolt From Above

The giant 6 store statue of Jesus with his arms raised that sits aside Interstate 75 has been nicknamed "Touchdown Jesus" from the pose with his arms extended.  The statue was had it's critics many of whom think it's a gimmick for the Monroe, Ohio, Solid Rock Church.

Well, Mother Nature made her own critical statement when the statue was hit by lightening and caught fire.  It is constructed of foam and fiberglass and burst into flame during a thunderstorm last night.  Personally, I think it was a sign that the stature was in direct violation of the commandment against making graven images.

The Jackass Effect - Teens More Reckless Than Ever On YouTube

This article in the New York Times confirms something I have long suspected.  It's what I called the "Jackass Effect" and doctors are seeing lots more injuries by teenagers trying to become famous for their stupidity on YouTube.

Youth First Texas Needs Your Help NOW!

The board of Youth First Texas, an organization supporting LGBT youth in Texas needs hep now.  Here is a statement from their board:

Board of Directors Statement

Like many other nonprofits in the community, Youth First Texas (YFT) has experienced a greater need for services, and unfortunately a decreased level of financial resources.

YFT’s move in January 2010 to a new location provided an opportunity to meet the increasing number of youth served which is surpassing even the Board of Director’s projections. YFT has seen 1,700 unique visits by youth to the YFT Dallas Center since January, an increase from the same period last year. New initiatives offered this year include a stable and individual counseling program staffed by graduate interns, survivor’s group, coming out group and HIV testing (in partnership with the Resource Center Dallas). An exponential growth of transgendered youth attending YFT is requiring an increase in the level of services provided through YFT’s Gender Identity program. The Collin County YFT group is experiencing increased numbers of youth attending programs also at the center in Plano.

While the YFT Board of Directors is encouraged by this growth, there has been an impact from the reduction of revenue available. Many donors have continued their extremely generous support through YFT’s sustained giving program for which there is great gratitude. Unfortunately, a decline in the number of one-time contributions from individuals and corporations is being experienced this year.

YFT has worked to manage these reductions to limit the effect on services and programs during the busy start to the year, and have sought access to a number of grants available. The grants are not expected to be awarded until the latter part of 2010, or early 2011. This has left YFT with the decision to address the shortfall to ensure that YFT continues to serve the ongoing needs of many youth. While the board works diligently to not reduce services during annual peak periods, summer has provided the opportunity for the board to address the financial shortfalls that have affected YFT.

The board is announcing the immediate plan to reduce expenses by limiting the number of days the YFT Center is open during the summer, which will limit some services currently provided. While the board is fully committed to preserving the programs and services to the youth that have come to depend upon them, the difficult decision had to be made to cut back YFT hours of operation for the summer due to lack of available funds. In cooperation with YFT staff, the board has also made fiscally responsible cuts and continues to look for ways to increase revenue.

Even with these decisions, the financial situation for YFT is not good. During these next few months, as YFT carefully navigates through this financial squeeze, your help is needed. Please consider making a donation today. Any amount will help YFT continue to provide a safe space for our LGBTQA youth.

There are several ways to contribute to YFT as indicated on the YFT donation page. The Board of Directors stand committed to demonstrating good stewardship of your gifts and sincerely appreciate your loyalty and shared belief in YFT’s mission to reach the LGBTQA youth of our community that have called Youth First Texas home for the past 10 years.

Questions related to this may be directed to our board co-chairs, Cathy Gonzales and T.J. Wilson.

Thank you for your support.
 So here is the link again if you didn't get the message!

PrEP - New Treatment or Drug Company Hype?

If you haven't heard of PrEP you are probably not gay or scientifically curious. No matter, you will no doubt hear of it soon..

PrEP stands for pre-exposure prophylaxis and it is the subject of quite a bit of research in the HIV/AIDS field. The theory goes that if you take antiretroviral drugs even though you are HIV negative, you will reduce your chance of getting the disease. Animal testing is promising, but the sticky problem goes far beyond anything that can be tested in lab rats.

Research has found that gay men, when given the chance to take a drug regimen that might be 80% effective, indicate they would be much more likely to stop using condoms. This means riskier behavior and unprotected sex.

Furthermore many of the men who were surveyed are regular users of "club drugs", and we all know how rational decisions work when you are high! The backlash of PrEP is something researchers call "risk compensation". In other words men taking the antiretrovirals feel riskier behavior is less of a problem and so they do it.

At a time when the infection rates of HIV are rising among gay men because of unprotected sex, this really raises a red flag for me. I understand that is intended to save lives, but I have a nagging feeling in the back of my head it could lead to a whole range of unintended consequences.

The first one is drug resistant strains of HIV. Just as prophylactic use of antibiotics has lead to drug resistant infections like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) this kind of widespread use of antiretrovirals could lead to still more virulent HIV strains.

Second, and something I suspect is really driving these tests is profit. The drug companies realize that marketing their drugs to HIV+ individuals limits the market, and since even though life expectancies have increased, AIDS is still deadly no matter what the marketing hype says. Faced with a shrinking or limited market, they want to sell more drugs, so why not sell them to everybody whether you need them or not? Now you have a huge market and what once was a niche drug is now the hottest thing since Viagra.

Call me cynical? Yes I am. I have watched the pharmaceutical companies glamorize HIV/AIDS and try to position it as a "manageable condition" much like Diabetes. Bullshit! You can manage it until the drugs stop working or you run out of money, which ever comes first. Then you disappear from their radar and begin the process of succumbing to the disease. David Webb spoke of this in last weeks Dallas Voice and he was speaking the cold hard ugly truth. HIV/AIDS is a life threatening disease. It isn't pretty or sexy or cheap. It changes your life from carefree to a carefully controlled regimen of drugs and tests and jumping through insurance company hoops. So I am a bit skeptical when something like this comes along.

Will PrEP be a blessing or a curse? Well I think finding a cure for HIV would be more valuable than finding a way for people to have riskier sex. I sincerely believe the drug companies concentrate on treatments instead of possible cures simply from the economics of it. Cure the disease, your product becomes obsolete. Treat the disease; you can milk your market forever.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rand Paul Advocates Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining. No Seriously He Does!

Rand Paul is becoming an endless font of delightful quotes. The latest from this joker was found by the website Crooks and Liars. Appropriately, Paul who is running in Kentucky for US Senate was asked about the destructive process of "mountaintop removal" hat is used in coal mining. This process causes a host of ecological problems as well as just plan raping the landscape.

Paul's comment...(Drum roll please)
I think whoever owns the property can do with the property as they wish, and if the coal company buys it from a private property owner and they want to do it, fine. The other thing I think is that I think coal gets a bad name, because I think a lot of the land apparently is quite desirable once it’s been flattened out. As I came over here from Harlan, you’ve got quite a few hills. I don’t think anybody’s going to be missing a hill or two here and there.