Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

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Malaysia Plane Crash Victims Included About 100 AIDS Conference Attendees, Report Suggests

Many of the passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight that crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday were World Health Organization staffers heading to a conference on AIDS research in Australia, the Guardian reported.

Approximately 100 of the passengers on board were heading to Melbourne for the conference, The Sydney Morning Herald reports, citing conference attendees.

To read full story CLICK HERE

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Pope Francis has signalled that he could see the Catholic church tolerating some forms of same-sex civil unions — though not marriage — when it comes to situations such as medical care and property for gay couples.

In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, the pope said that “matrimony is between a man and a woman,” but moves to “regulate diverse situations of cohabitation (are) driven by the need to regulate economic aspects among persons, as for instance to assure medical care,” according to a translation by Catholic News Service.

“It is necessary to look at the diverse cases and evaluate them in their variety,” Francis said.
To read full article CLICK HERE

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Tommy Morrison’s career reached its pinnacle on a hot June night in Las Vegas, when he stepped into the ring and beat George Foreman to become heavyweight champion.

It reached its nadir when he tested positive for HIV three years later.

Tommy Morrison was briefly heavyweight champ after he defeated George Foreman in 1993. (AP Photo)

The last 20 years of the brash boxer’s life would be defined by extensive legal troubles, erratic behavior and mounting health problems. Morrison would later claim that he never tested positive for the virus that causes AIDs, even as he was hospitalized during the last days of his life.

Morrison died Sunday night at a Nebraska hospital. He was 44.

His longtime promoter and close friend, Tony Holden, confirmed that “the Duke” had died, but his family would not disclose the cause of death. Morrison and his wife, Trisha, continued to deny that the former champion ever had HIV during the final years of his life.

To read full article CLICK HERE

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17 and HIV+

The all-American girl — who happens to be HIV positive.

Paige Rawl is 17 and HIV positive, but while her life has been shaped by HIV it isn’t ruled by it.

When Paige Rawl starts her senior year at Indianapolis’s Herron High School next month, she’ll be cheer captain and a member of the student government and prom committee. This summer, the 17-year-old held down a part-time job at Hollister, hawking the popular Southern California-inspired clothing brand.

Paige was infected unknowingly at birth by her mother, who wasn’t aware of her own HIV status. Paige’s mother got the virus from Paige’s father, who she says passed away in 2001 due to an AIDS-related illness.

Between 100 and 200 American children are born HIV positive each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 35,000 people under age 24 live with HIV/AIDS in the United States today.

In addition to teens like Rawl who were born with HIV, a significant and worrisome population of kids have been infected through sex. Starting with middle-schoolers at age 13, teenagers and young adults account for almost 40 percent of all new annual HIV infections in the United States. Every hour, two young people between age 13 to 24 are infected, according to the White House Office of National AIDS Policy.

Her mother never told her she should be ashamed or secretive, so in sixth grade Rawl says she confided to her best friend at the time.

“I still didn’t really understand what HIV was yet,” she recalls. “To me it was like telling her that I had asthma. I didn’t see the big deal.

Within two weeks, the entire school knew, Rawl says. People called her “PAIDS.” Some students threatened to beat her up.

“That’s when I started realizing that not everyone’s going to be completely fine with me being positive.” Rawl says none of her middle school peers received more than a verbal warning for their bullying and threats.

Students weren’t the only perpetrators of ignorance and HIV stigma. Early in Rawl’s eighth grade year, she says a soccer coach asked her during a game while they sat on the bench, ” ‘By the way, I’ve heard that you have AIDS. Is that true?’ ”

Rawl told her no. “She didn’t ask me if I was positive. She asked me if I had AIDS, and I didn’t. I felt like I didn’t really owe her an explanation.”

Rawl’s mother confronted the coach, who Rawl says responded this way: “ ‘We can use her HIV status to our advantage because players from the other team will be afraid to touch her and she can score a goal.’ ”  Completely aghast, Rawl, her mom, and her doctor met with the school administration to halt the abuse. Instead, Rawl says the principal told her, “I wish you could go here but I can’t promise to protect you.” Rawl was home-schooled the rest of eighth grade.

At Herron High School, the public charter school she entered in ninth grade, Paige says the administration has been extremely supportive.

However, she still has occasional unfortunate reminders that prejudice against HIV/AIDS is alive and well. Outside of a McDonald’s, the older sister of her supposed best friend from sixth grade “drove by and ended up throwing a drink at me,”

Even among her friends and schoolmates, she says, pregnancy, not HIV, is the main concern. Friends tell her, “Well, I’m not gay and I’m not black,” to which she responds, “Well, I’m not gay and I’m not black.” When they retort, “Yeah, but you were born with it,” she tells them, “But there are other people out there that have it and they might not even know, or might not tell you. There could be someone who looks like me who was born with it who’s out there not telling you guys. And you can’t always trust what someone says.’

“People are always saying, ‘He didn’t tell me,’ or ‘She didn’t tell me.’ And it’s like, well, you have to protect yourself. It’s not only about protecting the other person. You have to protect yourself as well.”

The risky attitude Rawl sees among her peers is verified by the CDC. The National Youth Risk Behavior Survey from 1991 to 2011 found that the percent of high school students who used condoms “at most recent sexual intercourse” has been stuck at 60 percent since 2003.

From her position on the front line, Rawl says a frank discussion about sex is necessary.

“At my school and other schools they offer pregnancy tests, but they don’t offer condoms,” she says. Often, when she speaks at a school, administrators will ask her not to talk about sex or how to use a condom. “I understand that you might not want me to get up there and talk about sex, but I get asked questions,” she says. “They’re teenagers — it’s going to come up.”

In addition, she says, too many parents either refuse to see the problem of youth HIV/AIDS, or just aren’t aware of it. “They don’t realize that [HIV] is out there, and that it’s better to give kids condoms and have them be safe than not,” she says.

To read full article CLICK HERE


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Rosh Hashanah is the Hebrew or Jewish New Year.

The Hebrew or Jewish calendar is a lunisolar calendar or fixed lunar year, based on twelve lunar months of twenty-nine or thirty days.  The Old Testament in Numbers 28:14 implies that we should count the year by months and not by days.    

The Julian calendar’s solar year exceeds the Jewish calendar’s lunar year by approximately 11 days. Therefore, whenever this excess accumulates to about 30 days, one month is added and the particular year is made to consist of 13 months.  This happens about 7 times every 19 years.   Each Jewish lunar month starts with the new moon.

The Jewish calendar’s epoch (instance in time chosen as the origin of a particular era) has been Anno Mundi, abbreviated AM (Latin for “in the year of the world”), which is based on Biblical genealogies from the date of Creation.   This translates to approximately 3761 BCE in the Julian calendar.     

The Jewish year 5771 AM began on September 9, 2010, and since it is a 13-month year, ends on September 28, 2011.

So we wish our Jewish friends; Happy Rosh Hashanah 5772

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Elizabeth Taylor died Wednesday March 23, 2011

Mark S. King: “It’s impossible to overstate the impact Elizabeth Taylor has had on HIV/AIDS awareness and funding since the earliest days of the epidemic (Ms. Taylor died earlier today).

Since the early 1980’s, when people were still wearing masks and gloves around AIDS patients, Ms. Taylor (Elizabeth to her friends, never Liz) has been at the forefront. She organized the very first “commitment to Life” event in 1984 for AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) — and while doing so, learned her friend Rock Hudson was dying of the disease. She co-founded the American Foundation for AIDS Research (AmFAR) in 1985, and her own Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation in 1993.”

Oh yeah. And she was an Oscar winning movie star, the likes of which we may never see again.

Full obituary

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So What’s Next

The Republicans blocked a vote on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in the Senate (the House has already repealed DADT) because Democrats failed to extend the Bush tax cuts to the rich. With the Republicans taking control of the House next year maybe if we eliminate taxes on the rich the Republicans will grant equality, as in we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal.

But as much as we want to blame Republicans, Democrats need to show some leadership, especially Obama. DADT was ruled unconstitutional in federal court. Stop fighting it. Isuue an executive order. You are Commander-in-Chief. Act like it.

A large majority of Americans want this repealed and 70% of service men have said they already have served with gay men and women.

Stop playing games. Just do it.


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Today is the time to vote and make your voice heard. This is the day when we are all equals. Every vote counts the same whether you are a billionaire or bankrupt. It’s important to take part in this process.

If you don’t know who to vote for, check out the Voter Guide from Florida Equality.

In late news, Charlie Christ has stated that he will caucus with Democrats if he wins.

So go vote.

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Sunday is my day for spirituality, a time to reflect and work on my inner peace. But upon arriving at MCC this morning, my friends made me aware of new allegations coming out of the Catholic Church. This time it’s the Catholic Church in Belgium.

The last year has not been kind to the Catholic Church in Belgium. There has been widespread anger that Belgium’s bishops have failed to apologise and begged for more time to deal with an independent report that uncovered sex abuse over the last four decades, committed by at least 91 priests, other clergy or church workers in every congregation in Belgium. Let me repeat that, EVERY congregation. This is not some anomaly. At least 475 victims have been found, 13 of whom committed suicide. This in a country much smaller than Florida. The senior cleric responsible for rooting out these sex abusers, has further inflamed outrage by confessing that financial concerns over litigation stopped an official apology.

But that’s not what my friends were talking about. The newly appointed Archbishop of Brussels, Andre-Joseph Leonard has declared that people afflicted with AIDS are receiving “a sort of immanent justice” for their sexual practices. Leonard’s spokesman has tried to clear this up; “Let’s be clear, Leonard is here speaking about victims who got AIDS as the result of a promiscuous lifestyle. He is not speaking, for example, about babies who are born with the virus”.

Well, that cleared it up for me. I can just see Jesus sorting out the lepers into naughty and nice lists. Or was that Santa Claus? Children are innocent victims and everyone else needs to take responsibilty for their deeds. Everyone that is, except the Catholic Church. When these innocent children become victims of sexual abuse by church clergy, the church shuns responsibility. For the church, material possessions trump responsibility. The church cannot apologise, because it might cost them money. Does that sound Christ-like to you? And those 91 priests were not the only criminals involved in this situation. Everyone who covered up these sexual abuses over the last four decades was an accomplice. I might even argue that covering it up was worse than the actual crime because it perpetuated it and allowed more children to become victoms of this corrupt misguided institution. Everyone, without exception, and that goes all the way to the top.

Leonard seems to not live in the 21st century. He seems to have even missed the 20th century too. He seems to live an exalted life which exempts the church and church members from responsibility. That just doesn’t work when your congregation is literate. Catholics through out Europe are becoming increasingly indifferent to their religion. I see that in our group too and its not limitied to the Catholic church. I see it in most organized religions. They’ve marginalized their own people with rules they never even lived by.

Leonard has drawn fire for earlier comments on homosexuality, which he described as “abnormal” behavior resulting from “an imperfecty developed stage of human sexuality which contradicts its inner logic. Homosexuals have encountered a blockage in their normal psychological development, rendering them abnormal”. And yet as a member of the church hierarchy, he supports celibacy.

Lenny, let me explain something. I was born homosexual. Loving someone of the same sex isn’t abnormal. Trying to live my life with a woman I have no desire for would be abnormal. Trying to change me into something I’m not would be abnormal. And trying to be celibate is abnormal. Celibacy contradicts one’s inner logic and blocks normal psychological development. Supressing human sexuality is abnormal. Suppressing desires as strong as sexuality causes people to do abnormal things, like abuse innocent children instead of having normal relationships with other adults.

If you’re trying to make a point that promiscuity spreads AIDS, then promote monogamy and allow us to get married. No, don’t just “allow us to get married”, encourage us to get married, and marry the person of our dreams and desires so they we can build loving relations instead of trying to turn us into something different than the person God created.

I’ve heard your cries before. From a Republican Senator from Idaho who got caught tap dancing in a Men’s room. From a Religious leader in Colorado who got caught buying crystal meth from a male prostitute. From a conservative anti-Gay crusader here in Florida who got caught traveling through Europe with a young rent-boy. Me thinks thou dost protest too much.

The sad part about all this is how this turns people away from spirituality. The LIFE program has identified spirituality as a cofactor in HIV survival rates. There is a difference between spirituality and religion. The difficulty is finding a religion that supports your spiritual needs and not letting people like this discourage and mislead you. There are organizations out there that don’t believe or practice these hate-filled messages. If you need spirituality, I encourage you to take the time to find one that meets your needs.

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