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Archive for April, 2010

Well until today, the only state on my boycott list was Utah (for obvious reasons). I’ve now added Arizona.

I cannot believe the extremists were able to get an immigration law passed that allows  police to enforce immigration laws and stop people, using “reasonable suspicion,” for being illegal. Now, I was a cop and have a criminolgy degree and I cannot define what characteristics would describe someone being illegal, and allow a stop, can you? This is racial profiling at its worst.

I am glad I am not dark skinned.

Further, the Constitution does not allow states to enforce federal laws. Does not matter if the feds have failed at their duties, states cannot enforce immigration. Period.

Lastly, it is well known that most illegals are already afraid of the police. This will be the nail in the coffin of the chances that illegals will call or cooperate with police in any way ever again. In Arizona and get robbed in front of an illegal? Don’t expect help. You will not get it. Police and prosecutors looking and needing witnesses to convict a murderer? Forget it.

We have soldiers fighting for us overseas that were born here, and are therefore citizens. However, they have family members that are not. Should we arrest and deport Mom and Dad while Son or Daughter is in Iraq or Afghanistan. That is a subject for another day, but it has happened.

What happens when the state arrests people for being illegal and the feds refuse to take them? It will happen as this country does not have the means to arrest, jail, process and deport every illegal. It is simply not possible with current fiscal constraints and infrastructure.

Oh, get this. This law just passed today. Type in “boycott” in google and the first suggestion that apears before you hit the enter key is “boycott Arizona.”

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Washington Post
By Sir Elton John
Sunday, April 25, 2010; B01

Dear Ryan,

Twenty years ago this month, you died of AIDS. I would gladly give my fame and fortune if only I could have one more conversation with you, the friend who changed my life as well as the lives of millions living with HIV. Instead, I have written you this letter.

I remember so well when we first met. A young boy with a terrible disease, you were the epitome of grace. You never blamed anyone for the illness that ravaged your body or the torment and stigma you endured.

When students, parents and teachers in your community shunned you, threatened you and expelled you from school, you responded not with words of hate but with understanding beyond your years. You said they were simply afraid of what they did not know.

When the media heralded you as an “innocent victim” because you had contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, you rejected that label and stood in solidarity with thousands of HIV-positive women and men. You reminded America that all victims of AIDS are innocent.

When you became a celebrity, you embraced the opportunity to educate the nation about the AIDS epidemic, even though your only wish was to live an ordinary life.

Ryan, I wish you could know how much the world has changed since 1990, and how much you changed it.

Young boys and girls with HIV attend school and take medicine that allows them to lead normal lives. Children in America are seldom born with the virus, and they no longer contract it through transfusions. The insults and injustices you suffered are not tolerated by society.

Most important, Ryan, you inspired awareness, which helped lead to lifesaving treatments. In 1990, four months after you died, Congress passed the Ryan White Care Act, which now provides more than $2 billion each year for AIDS medicine and treatment for half a million Americans. Today, countless people with HIV live long, productive lives.

It breaks my heart that you are not one of them. You were 18 when you died, and you would be 38 this year, if only the current treatments existed when you were sick. I think about this every day, because America needs your message of compassion as never before.

Ryan, when you were alive, your story sparked a national conversation about AIDS. But despite all the progress in the past 20 years, the dialogue has waned. I know you would be trying to revive it if you were here today, when the epidemic continues to strike nearly every demographic group, with more than 50,000 new infections in the United States each year. I know you would be loudly calling for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy that was promised by President Obama but has not yet been delivered. I know you would reach out to young people. I know you would work tirelessly to help everyone suffering from HIV, including those who live on the margins of society.

It would sadden you that today, in certain parts of the United States, some poor people with AIDS are still placed on waiting lists to receive treatment. It would anger you that your government is still not doing enough to help vulnerable people with HIV and populations that are at high risk of contracting the virus, including sexually active teenagers. It would upset you that AIDS is a leading cause of death among African Americans.

It would frustrate you that even though hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive Americans are receiving treatment in your name, more than 200,000 don’t know their HIV-positive status, largely because of a lingering stigma surrounding the disease that prevents them from being tested. It would disappoint you that many teenagers do not have access to science-based HIV-prevention programs in school, at a time when half of new infections are believed to be among people under 25.

I miss you so very much, Ryan. I was by your side when you died at Riley Hospital. You’ve been with me every day since. You inspired me to change my life and carry on your work. Because of you, I’m still in the struggle against AIDS, 20 years later. I pledge to not rest until we achieve the compassion for which you so bravely and beautifully fought.

Your friend,

Elton

Sir Elton John, a Grammy- and Academy Award-winning artist, is the founder and chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

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Trike Mike

My friend from high school, Michael, scored a sweet gig over the next several months. He has been chosen as a contractor to ride a photographing tricycle for google street maps. Below is video with him and a google spokeswoman explaining what he does. Here’s to having the courage to step out and try a new adventure!

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One more step, albeit small, towards equality.

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post staff writer
Thursday, April 15, 2010; 8:08 PM

President Obama on Thursday signed a memorandum requiring hospitals to allow gays and lesbians to have non-family visitors and to grant their partners medical power of attorney.

The president ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to prohibit discrimination in hospital visitation. The memo is scheduled to be made public Friday morning, according to an administration official and another source familiar with the White House decision.

An official said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

The decision injects the president squarely into the debate over gay marriage by attempting to end the common practice by many hospitals of insisting that only family members by blood or marriage be allowed to visit patients.

Gay activists have argued for years that recognizing gay marriages would ease the emotional pain associated with not being able to visit their partners during a health crisis.

By contrast, opponents of gay marriage have said the visitation issue is a red herring, and have argued that advocates want to provide special rights for gays and lesbians that others do not have.

The memorandum from Obama to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, made public late Thursday night, orders new rules that would ensure hospitals “respect the rights of patients to designate visitors.”

Obama says the new rules should require that hospitals not deny visitation privileges on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Every day, all across America, patients are denied the kindnesses and caring of a loved one at their sides whether in a sudden medical emergency or a prolonged hospital stay,” Obama says in the memo.

Affected, he said, are “gay and lesbian American who are often barred from the bedsides of the partners with whom they may have spent decades of their lives — unable to be there for the person they love, and unable to act as a legal surrogate if their partner is incapacitated.”

Obama’s actions are the latest attempt by his administration to slowly advance the agenda of a constituency that strongly supported his presidential campaign.

In his first 15 months in office, Obama has hailed the passage of hate crime legislation and hosted the first gay pride day celebration at the White House. Last month, Obama’s top military and defense officials testified before Congress in favor of getting rid of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy for gays in the military.

But the moves have been too slow for some in the gay community, who have urged the president to champion their causes head-on. One prominent gay blogger, John Aravosis, wrote last October that Obama’s “track record on keeping his gay promises has been fairly abominable.”

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