Two studies published this week examine the politics of HIV in the United States and Europe and question the impact of personal responsibility. United States, HIV associated with race: "HIV is a biological phenomena and it is a behavioral phenomena, but in this day and age it is a social and structural phenomena," Perry Halkitis on a longitudinal study of MSM. The study claims Black and Hispanic men "do not appear to engage in more or riskier sexual behaviors compared with their white peers." (Reuters coverage of the study.) Europe, HIV associated with national homophobia: "Our findings suggest that rather than primarily being the result of personal failure, HIV risk is largely determined by national laws, policies, and attitudes toward homosexuality. This study shows that gay and bisexual men in homophobic countries are denied the resources, including psychological resources like open self-expression, that are necessary to stay healthy." (University Daily News coverage. ) [more inside]
The FDA has announced it is lifting the lifetime ban on blood donation by men who have sex with men (Reuters), and will allow donation by men who have not had sex with other men in the previous twelve months (NYT). [more inside]
[Eleven] days ago, The New Yorker’s Daily Comment blog published an essay by Michael Specter titled “What Young Gay Men Don’t Know About Aids,” in which Specter points to the increase of “unprotected anal intercourse among gay men,” claims that “the rates of HIV infection will surely follow,” and then identifies the cause of this shift as the ignorance of my generation, who weren’t around to see the AIDS epidemic for themselves. The piece is a call to arms of sort, stating the need for increased public funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, and concludes by quoting Larry Kramer’s famous 1983 warning, “1,112 and Counting.” It’s a familiar argument—one that, in my lifetime, I have heard repeated ad nauseam and, I fear, largely misses what AIDS means to me and many other young gay men.
Senators Mike Quigley, Tammy Baldwin, Mike Enzi, Elizabeth Warren, Barbara Lee, along with thirteen other senators and 64 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter last Thursday asking the Department of Health and Human Services asking for an end to the ban on blood donation of all gay men who have had sex with other men since 1977. [more inside]
"Especially with the country in great need of donation, science should speak louder than stigma in determining who can help."
Tainted: Why Gay Men Still Can't Donate Blood - "Since 1983, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines have disqualified men who have ever had sex with men (MSM) from donating blood... Uneven application of exclusion to at-risk individuals suggests that risk aversion disproportionately impacts MSMs. For example, a non-MSM individual who has had sexual contact with a commercial sex worker or HIV-positive partner is deferred for only twelve months... The fact that the U.S. upholds a lifetime ban on MSM donation while Australian policy allows MSM individuals to donate a year or less after contact reveals a glaring discrepancy. Both ethics and science point to a flaw in FDA policy. That I could have had sex with 365 partners this year and be a perfectly fine candidate for donating blood, while the MSM next to me wouldn't qualify, betrays a faulty line of logic." [more inside]
"I want to encourage mainstream journalists to speak up when they discover their companies are misleading the people, doing PR for corporations and governments and disguising it as journalism."
Former CNN journalist Amber Lyon is speaking out against the network after it decided for "editorial reasons" not to air its documentary iRevolution on CNN International. Lyon worked on a 13-minute segment interviewing democratic activists in Bahrain, who risked their own safety to be heard. Glenn Greenwald reveals that at the same time, CNN was being paid by the Bahrain Economic Development Board to produce pro-state coverage as part of its "Eye On" series. A senior producer complained to Lyon about the nature of her coverage: "We are dealing with blowback from Bahrain govt on how we violated our mission, etc."
Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now. And what we should do about it. (one-page link)
The NYT reports that GE has brokered a deal between MSNBC and Fox News to "reconcile" Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly, preventing further criticism of each other or GE. The deal went into effect June 1, the very same day Olbermann declared he was "quarantining" Fox, avoiding discussion of the channel in the future. Mr. Olbermann, who is on vacation, said by e-mail message, “I am party to no deal.” Glenn Greenwald breaks down the political consequences of the deal.
Launched with much fanfare in 2005, Pajamas Media planned to harness the distributed power of dedicated bloggers to challenge the traditional news media. On March 31st, their blogging network will shut down, along with the ad revenues it channeled to conservative commentators. With the collapse of the blog advertising market, they've decided to focus their energy on the PajamasTV video network and its exclusive correspondents.
"Guantanamo hunger strike staged," reads the BBC. Reports vary from the US military claiming only 76 of the 500 prisoners there are involved in a hunger strike to claims of more than 200 of the prison population by others. There's widespread divergence for the reasons for the strike ranging from the prisoner's demands to be tried or set free to "rumors of a violent interrogation session and two rough extractions of detainees from their cells, as well as a new incident of alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book." Some of them are reported to be undergoing force feeding now. The detainees are apparently attempting to embarass the U.S. government into action. The government needn't worry since most of the U.S. main stream media isn't reporting it anyway.
The experiment has ended. Roughly 8 months ago, the Star Tribune joined forces with blogger Twins Geek. The hope: a productive union of traditional journalism and online weblogs. The verdict: an unholy marriage, apparently. And this was just a baseball blog.
Ted Turner is mad as hell and not going to take it anymore: "the government [is] not doing its job. The role of the government ought to be like the role of a referee in boxing, keeping the big guys from killing the little guys."