Friday, June 25, 2010

HIV Study in Houston Show Many Have Disease and Don't Know It

Something many in the medical community long suspected has been proven out by an empirical test.  In Houston, the emergency rooms at two inner-loop clinics tried testing all patients for HIV as a routine part of their care.  They found one out of every one hundred people tested positive and many of those had no idea prior to the emergency room visit. 

Epidemiologists and HIV researchers have long believed that the general population has a higher infection rate than previously reported.  They believe almost 200,000 Americans are living with HIV and don't know it.

The routine testing removed any stigma that might have cased some people to opt out of testing and gives a much truer sample of how widespread the virus really is.  The long term goal of this pilot program is to make testing for HIV far more widespread to make sure people who are infected can get treatment early and avoid spreading the disease to others.  More from the Houston Chronicle.

Catholic Coloring Book Warns of Pedophile Priests

The Catholic Church with all its emphasis of orthodoxy and tradition has certainly strayed outside the lines with their latest educational initiative.  It's a coloring book for kids that warns them of the dangers of pedophile priests!  Well, not exactly, but the subtext is far from subtle.

The book comes from the New York Archdiocese and is entitled, "Being Friends, Being Safe, Being Catholic".  The book features among other interesting images, an angel cluing a child in to the safety tip,  make sure they're never alone in a room with a priest.  I would have thought this was a joke had I not seen it in Newsweek.

This will either become a valuable tool for protection of children, or the greatest camp joke of all time.  Only time will tell!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

LGBT Youth - Alarming Number are Homeless and on the Streets

The figures are staggering. Between 1.6 million to 2.8 million homeless youth in our country! More staggering still is the data that shows up to 40% of those homeless are LGBT youth.

For some reason I never considered homelessness as an LGBT issue but the figures speak clearly, it is. The reasons for these kids ending up on the street are myriad, but they share some disturbing similarities.

A report from the Center for American Progress shows 58% of them are victims of sexual assault. This is much higher than their straight counterparts. Additionally, 62% suffer discrimination from their families because of their sexual orientation. I would imagine that is a big cause of the problem.

The report is eye opening and worth your time to read. Beyond understanding the problem is doing something about it. That will take both our community and our local state and federal governments getting involved and working to change this.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raining Oil? Strange Video

OK, I am not at all convinced that this is real or at least really what the guys filming it believe, but it is interesting.  I personally suspect that the heavy rain pulled up oil from the streets.  The whole water cycle would have to be really messed up to rain oil.  What do you think?

President Pledges to Sign DADT

In the first White House Gay Pride event, President Obama made a great speech and this part stood out:
And finally, we’re going to end “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. (Applause.) That is a promise I made as a candidate. It is a promise that I reiterated as President. It’s one that this administration is going to keep. Now, the only way to lock this in -– the only way to get the votes in Congress to roll back this policy -- is if we work with the Pentagon, who are in the midst of two wars.
And that’s why we were gratified to see, for the first time ever, the Secretary of Defense, Bob Gates, testify in favor of repeal. And the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, has repeatedly and passionately argued for allowing gay men and women to serve honestly in the military. (Applause.) We know that forcing gay and lesbian soldiers to live a lie or to leave the military, that doesn’t contribute to our security -- it harms our security.
And thanks to Patrick Murphy and others, for the first time in history, the House has passed a repeal that would allow gay men and women to openly serve in our armed forces. And this repeal is authored so that the Pentagon can complete its review of the policy -- which is critical, by the way, not only to passage, but it’s also critical to making sure that the change is accepted and implemented effectively. In the Senate, the Armed Services Committee has approved repeal for the first time, and the full body is poised to vote soon.
So here’s the bottom line: We have never been closer to ending this discriminatory policy. And I’m going to keep on fighting until that bill is on my desk and I can sign it. (Applause.)

Rand Paul - Fake Doctor? His Board Certification is a Hoax

Rand Paul is the gift that keeps on giving.  The Kentucky ophthalmologist states in his bio that he is board certified by the National Board of Ophthalmology.  That would be no big deal, except that it's a bogus organization Dr. Paul actually owns and heads!

Who else is on this "board"?  Well, his wife and father-in-law for starters.   He says he formed the non-profit after a dispute with the American Board of Ophthalmology, the only group recognized as actually being capable of issuing officially recognized certifications.

I would expect to hear more on this in coming days since the election is getting closer.  Wonder where his degree came from?  Though he may not be a fake doctor, bolting from the only organization that can certify a doctor in his field and setting up his own group to "certify" himself is really suspicious.

Remembering Leonard Matlovich - 22 Years Later

Leonard Matlovich is a name a lot of younger LGBT people don't recognize today.  Sgt. Matlovich was an early advocate for LGBT rights and he was discharged after a stellar career in the Air Force for coming out.  His forthright announcement that he was gay, shocked a nation into realization that there were thousands of LGBT people serving in the military.

Yesterday, on the 22nd anniversary of his death, his friend and roommate Michael Bedwell released this YouTube video.  atch it and if you never knew who he was, remember his name.  Leonard was a brave pioneer in the fight for LGBT rights.

I had the pleasure and privileged of knowing Sgt. Matlovich.  He came to Dallas to help us promote the National March on Washington for Gay Rights in 1979.  I spent a couple of days with him shuttling him from press event to press event.  We finished with an appearance on the Charlie Rose Show.  Charlie was a local talk show host then and shortly afterward his career took off on the national stage. Leonard was an unassuming man, yet he was fierce in his activism and belief in equality.

Leonard, unfortunately, was an early victim of AIDS and though his life was cut short, his achievements and spirit continue to inspire me and many other LGBT people.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

McChrystal Resigns - A Day of Changes!

It's been a day of big changes.  The most significant one for LGBT Americans was the addition of family leave for LGBT families.  This means the same leave granted new mothers and fathers will be offered to new LGBT citizens as well.  Bravo President Obama!

The other change is still in the works, but it looks like General Stanley McChrystal is submitting his resignation.  Seems he just couldn't get beyond the outrageous things he said in a Rolling Stone interview.  Dissing the Commander in Chief is not a road map for career advancement!

Wonder what else will happen today?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dismal Forecast for Texas Education - A State Full of "Idjits"

Sad state of affairs here in the Lone Star State.  According to a recent demographic forecast, we will have 3 of every 10 workers with no high school diploma by 2040.  Add that to the rising levels of poverty and you have whats called a "feedback loop".  Poor kids can't get an education and they raise more poor kids who can't afford an education....well you get the idea.

So far our state lawmakers have failed to step up to the plate and do anything about rising poverty and falling education except insist on testing and bellyache about welfare.  That won't cut it anymore.  It's time to actually do something.  Like support preschool education, fund more scholarships for higher education and make "learning" a priority, not "testing".

Yea, like that will happen.  Meanwhile as we slide into becoming a 3rd world country in this state maybe we could build a few assembly plants that require unskilled and uneducated workers cause the Burger Kings can only employ so many folks!

Oil Spill From Space

Here is what BP has left our country with.  This photo from space shows the extent of the spill in graphic detail.  They have turned the Gulf of Mexico into a cesspool and Joe Barton (R-TX) apologizes to them?

My guess is the $20 Billion will be a drop in the bucket when it comes to cleaning this up.  Now estimates of the leak range from 50,000 to 100,000 barrels a day.  Nice job BP!

NASA updates this image regularly here.