Happy Friday from Bellingham, WA. This is Ace Nelson, back again with the "Current Events" for the week of June 4 - June 10, 2011.
This edition of the CE is looking to be rather short on content this week, considering that the majority of the news cycle has been taken over by the recent scandal plaguing Congressman Anthony Weiner (NY-09). I don't think I can stress enough that there are far bigger stories out there and the fact that the voyeuristic national media here in the US is focused on this and drawing false equivalences to their similar scandals is quite disappointing.
So, to make up for the lack of content, here, is some pretty big news that has not just national but worldwide implications as recent big time breakthroughs have come in the search for a cure to HIV. Can you dig that?
In addition, we've got a rather nice human interest pice on the part of our own JusticePutnam. Plus, some of my own reporting backed up by another Kossack with some invaluable linkage and additional info.
For those who missed last week's Current Events, there was quite a bit going on from the week before which definitely merits catching up on.
On that note, let's get right down to it with this week's Current Events.
The start of the real news week, IMO, comes from this incredible breakthrough in medical treatment. Known in many circles as "The Berlin Patient," Timothy Ray Brown has lived with AIDS since 1995. Well, that is, until just recently. The ever-so-lovely shantysue brought this to attention and in the brief conversation in this diary came some well-met cautious optimism from another Kossack, FogCityJohn, who is closer to the research and pretty well versed in conditions on the ground, as he is part of a study into cure research at UCSF.
Brown's immunity gene came from receiving stem cells from a donor whom (like 1% of Caucasians, statistics show) was actually immune to HIV. Brown, himself, could be considered the "tempest in a teapot" as far as AIDS treatment cases go, considering that a number of factors ranging from his leukemia diagnosis and treatment may very well play into this whole situation.
The good news, though, is that Bay Area research has already begun, based on Brown's case and clinical trials for a treatment based on The Berlin Patient are set to begin next year. Further details can be found in the article posted courtesy of CBS San Francisco, which can be found HERE.
Looks to me like doctors are looking to harness this tempest. If successful, there could be some big-time implications not just in the world of medicine, but in the world at large.
The Amazon Rain Forest, one of the last great unexplored frontiers on this planet. The Amazon is also responsible, by and large, for the vast majority of the air we breath, and at this very moment one of the most biologically diverse ecosystems this world has ever known is being cut down. Not only is the forest being cut down, so are the environmental activists fiercely vying to defend our Earth from knocking down the first domino that may lead to the extinction of the human species.
The Tree of Liberty, no of Life itself, is being watered with the blood of global patriots. Patriots like Jose Claudio Ribeiro da Silva and his wife Maria. Both of them were gunned down in Brazil this past week as they stood to defend the Amazon. All I can really say is that after looking at the info provided in the exception diary posted by beach babe in fl, it really hammers home just what kind of stakes are at play here.
A little something closer to home, this time around as the battle for LGBT equality continues in the Big Apple. As Ruben Diaz ratchets up his homophobic rhetoric and continues spewing his poisonous, bigoted drivel to the masses of NYC, the ramifications of his pontificating come back to bite him in the form of possibly alienating his own family. In particular, his lesbian granddaughter, Erica.
Just recently in a powerful op-ed in the New York Post, Erica speaks out against her granddad's disgusting use of her and her sexual orientation to paint himself as something other than the raging homophobic sleazeball he really is.
More details and snippets from the op-ed are provided in Chrislove's diary, linked above. In the comments there are videos of other, more sensible and INFINITELY more honorable NY state Senators than Diaz giving impassioned speeches on the floor of the MY Senate as they signify their support for marriage equality in New York.
First we have Sen. Eric Adams:
Then another speech, flavored with some excellent anecdotal seasoning, from Sen. Diane Savino:
Hopefully, THIS will be the tone that New York sets. Not the tone offered up by the likes of bigots like Ruben Diaz.
Coming from right here on Daily Kos, a little lighthearted story was shared with us by JusticePutnam. Isaiah Putnam, an 11-year-old Oregon youth has done something truly extraordinary. Training since the age of 7 in Japanese Karate and earning only intermediate-level distinction as a purple belt, this young boy is becoming something of a rising star, already securing a State Championship victory and setting his sights on the Nationals.
JusticePutnam is Isaiah's grandfather, and quite proud of the young champ, at that. Continuing a noted tradition of academic success as well as success in martial arts, Isaiah also plays for his school's orchestra and is even representing his class in a district-wide writing festival. Dedication to sharpening mind and body, yet I'm sure he still manages to find time to just be a regular 11-year-old kid, playing with friends and sharing joyous times with family.
An example of the potential that can be found not just in America's youth, but humanity as a whole. So, congratulations again to Isaiah as well as to his rightfully proud and supportive family.
Statewide elections are coming down the pike and the announcement has been made that Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna is planning to run for Governor of this fair state. Does the name sound familiar?
This is the same Rob McKenna who is dragging our state into the fight against Health Care Reform by attacking it with subpoenas and other such nonsense in an attempt to saddle the sweeping (though watered-down) reforms as unconstitutional. Here's where the problem lies, though. McKenna, in my honest opinion, has zero interest in what's really good for this state. In fact, if you match him up with other TeaPublican's across the country, and take the following links into account, one'll be hard pressed not to look at this goon as another cardboard cut-out of Scott Walker, Paul Ryan, Rick Snyder, et al:
His battle against Health Care Reform:
Taking money from Big Pharma:
Pandering to the Tea Party:
Fighting to block increases in minimum wage:
Speech to the University of Washington College Republicans on April 20, 2011:
In my diary linked above, I also have posted a video summing up the info in the block and exposing McKenna for what he really stands for. The real downside to this?
He's being endorsed by the freaking Seattle Times!
Shantysue comes through once again by providing Current Events with the link to what can only be described as full-throated endorsement of McKenna on the part of one of the lead editors at the Times. From what I can see, there are quite a few that are not pleased with efforts on the part of the editor and others to paint McKenna as merely a "moderate" Republican instead of a Tea Bagger.
Can't express enough how major this is. We've always talked about how change really has to come from the bottom up. Local politics is our best chance to do our homework, get active and get out the vote. If progressive candidates are voted into office, then real progressive change can be put into action statewide. After that, we keep going. We work our way up from local, to state, then on to national.
That's all for this week's "Current Events." Thanks for joining me once again, everyone. Peace.