Saturday, February 04, 2006

AIDS Ain't Over

No one seems to talk much about AIDS anymore, at least outside the gay community. But it's still there, wrecking whole communities, like the black and Latino community in New York City.

In the decade since effective drug treatments for AIDS have slashed death rates across the country, black New Yorkers continue to fall ill and die at startling rates, according to new data from the city health department.

Today, one in five black men in New York City between 40 and 49 has H.I.V. or AIDS. Black women, meanwhile, account for 34 percent of new AIDS cases, up from 12 percent 20 years ago.


There are few financial barriers to getting care for H.I.V. and AIDS, however. Through an elaborate network of programs financed by the city, the state and the federal government, help is available and drug treatments for even the poorest patients are fully subsidized.

But the latest statistics from the Health Department show that many people who most need care fail to get it.

When AIDS largely affected gay white men, those men tended to take charge of their own care, health officials said. That has not happened among black and Latino men and women, in large part, health officials say, because many patients would rather die than risk having family or friends find out they are sick.

It's not that gay blacks and Latinos are more likely to contract the virus than white gays, it's that they are less likely to seek treatment, primarily over the stigma. How tragic is that?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

You Didn't Think He Was Serious, Did You?

In the State of the Union speech, Mr. Bush promised a 22% increase in funding for research in renewable energy sources as part of his plan to end America's oil addiction.

Wouldn't you know it? It turns out that the government had just cut funding for renewable energy research by a similar amount, at least at this particular facility:

The Energy Department will begin laying off researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the next week or two because of cuts to its budget.

A veteran researcher said the staff had been told that the cuts would be concentrated among researchers in wind and biomass, which includes ethanol. Those are two of the technologies that Mr. Bush cited on Tuesday night as holding the promise to replace part of the nation's oil imports.

The budget for the laboratory, which is just west of Denver, was cut by nearly 15 percent, to $174 million from $202 million, requiring the layoff of about 40 staff members out of a total of 930, said a spokesman, George Douglas. The cut is for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.

So actually, there will be very little in the way of increase for renewable energy research. Just like his oilman buddies want it.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You: the Republican Party

Protecting their system of open bribery and sticking it to the needy. Just what the GOP does best.

In a tense, 3 1/2 -hour closed-door session, many Republicans challenged virtually every element of the leadership's proposal, from a blanket ban on privately funded travel to stricter limits on gifts to an end to gym privileges for lawmakers-turned-lobbyists. Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), a veteran conservative who is seeking a top leadership post, scoffed that Congress knows how to do just two things well -- nothing and overreact, according to witnesses.
The House yesterday narrowly approved a contentious budget-cutting package that would save nearly $40 billion over five years by imposing substantial changes on programs including Medicaid, welfare, child support and student lending.

Will you rise to the occasion this November to turn these vampires out of office?

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Maybe Blacks Do Like George Bush

I'm not a sophisticated politician, so I'm having trouble understanding why so many African-American Democrats worked so hard to be seen shaking the hand of, embracing, kissing, and just being in the general proximity of George W. Bush las night.

Human-Animal Hybrids

Unquestionably, the wierdest thing Bush referenced in last night's State of the Union speech was his opposition to "human-animal hybrids." That one left me scratching my head for a while, so I did some research on the internet.

Here's what I found:

He's right. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Other than that, I'm trying to figure out this whole new science trip he went on last night. More research for alternative fuels, more funding for math and science education, no more Manimals. What, am I to believe that the man who doesn't believe global warming exists, who is against stem cell research, has suddenly transformed into Mr. Wizard? I was born at night, but it wasn't last night, Chimpy.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Another Step Back From Peace

Israel has the right not to be psyched about Hamas winning the Palestinian election, but refusing to turn over to them their own money does not seem to be an appropriate response.

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel expects to freeze monthly tax payments to the Palestinian Authority during a review that follows the election victory of Hamas Islamists, a government spokesman said on Tuesday.

Israel collects customs revenue on behalf of the Palestinians and the next automatic payment falls due on Wednesday, February 1.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Republicans Are Anti-Black?

Everybody who's shocked by this, raise your hands.

Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.

That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

The GOP has based its electoral strategy heavily on this fact for the last four decades. The only remarkable thing here is that someone attempted some scientific research to prove what has been widely known all along.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Another Bush Foreign Policy Disaster

This very thorough article in the Times fairly well spells out how the Bush crew deliberately undermined the democratically-elected leader of Haiti for the simple reason that he is not the democratically-elected leader they wanted to see. Add it to Venezuela and Iraq on the list of countries whose leaders Bush has disasterously tried to choose:

The Bush administration has said that while Mr. Aristide was deeply flawed, its policy was always to work with him as Haiti's democratically elected leader. But the administration's actions in Haiti did not always match its words. Interviews and a review of government documents show that a democracy-building group close to the White House, and financed by American taxpayers, undercut the official United States policy and the ambassador assigned to carry it out.


Mr. Curran accused the democracy-building group, the International Republican Institute, of trying to undermine the reconciliation process after disputed 2000 Senate elections threw Haiti into a violent political crisis. The group's leader in Haiti, Stanley Lucas, an avowed Aristide opponent from the Haitian elite, counseled the opposition to stand firm, and not work with Mr. Aristide, as a way to cripple his government and drive him from power, said Mr. Curran, whose account is supported in crucial parts by other diplomats and opposition figures. Many of these people spoke publicly about the events for the first time.

Mr. Curran, a 30-year Foreign Service veteran and a Clinton appointee retained by President Bush, also accused Mr. Lucas of telling the opposition that he, not the ambassador, represented the Bush administration's true intentions.


Jean-Max Bellerive, an official in three Haitian administrations, including Mr. Aristide's, added, "He said there was a big plan for Haiti that came from Washington, that Aristide would not finish his mandate."


With Washington's approval, Mr. Lucas used taxpayer money to fly hundreds of opposition members — but no one from Mr. Aristide's Lavalas party — to a hotel in the Dominican Republic for political training that began in late 2002. Two leaders of the armed rebellion told The Times that they were in the same hotel during some of those meetings, but did not attend.


Several months later, the rebels marched on Port-au-Prince and Mr. Aristide left Haiti on a plane provided by the American government. Since then, Haiti has become even more chaotic, said Marc L. Bazin, an elder statesman of Haitian politics.

One last thing: when those rebels who just happened to be in the same Dominican Republic hotel as the Bush-sponsored anti-Aristide political group marched on Haiti, they did so carrying American M-16 military rifles. This despite the fact that the Pentagon does not offically sell arms to Haiti...