Friday, February 23, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
By MARIA CHENG
(AP) Scientists say conclusive data shows there is no question circumcision reduces men's chances of...
LONDON (AP) - Scientists say conclusive data shows there is no question circumcision reduces men's chances of catching HIV by up to 60 percent - a finding experts are hailing as a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. Now, the question is how to put that fact to work to combat AIDS across Africa.
The findings first were announced in December, when initial results from two major trials - in Kenya and Uganda - showed promising links between circumcision and HIV transmission. However, those trials were deemed so definitive that the tests were halted early.
The full data from the trials, carried out by the United States' National Institutes of Health, were published Friday in The Lancet.
"This is an extraordinary development," said Dr. Kevin de Cock, director of the World Health Organization's AIDS department. "Circumcision is the most potent intervention in HIV prevention that has been described."
Circumcision has long been suspected of reducing men's susceptibility to HIV infection because the cells in the foreskin of the penis are especially vulnerable to the virus.
A modeling study done last year projected that in the next decade, male circumcision could prevent 2 million AIDS infections and 300,000 deaths. Last year, 2.8 million people in sub-Saharan Africa became infected with HIV, and 2.1 million people died.
Experts say the breakthrough is a significant one on par with the identification of the virus and the use of lifesaving combination drug therapy.
The two U.S. studies confirm similar results from an earlier trial in South Africa. Given the recent failure of a microbicide trial in Africa and India, and the ongoing difficulties in developing an AIDS vaccine, the potential of circumcision as a new weapon against HIV has become even more significant.
But they caution solid evidence is not justification for mass circumcisions.
African health systems are already overburdened. Circumcision requires much more planning than, for example, an immunization campaign.
"It's a tricky one, but it's something we're going to have to move on," said Dr. Catherine Hankins, a scientific adviser at UNAIDS.
"Male circumcision is such a sensitive religious and cultural issue that we need to be careful," she said.
Several African countries have already met with U.N. agencies to explore new strategies for increasing circumcision services. Swaziland, for instance, recently experimented with a series of "Circumcision Saturdays," where existing health care facilities, normally closed on weekends, were opened by local doctors to circumcise approximately 40 men a day on certain Saturdays.
Providing circumcisions across Africa would not be the first time surgical procedures have been adopted by public health campaigns.
"Cataract surgeries have been carried out extremely efficiently to prevent blindness worldwide," said Dr. Richard Hayes, an AIDS expert at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. In some places, the cataract surgeries are performed by trained paramedics.
In recent years, the fight against the AIDS pandemic has focused on the provision of lifesaving drugs. The circumcision data gives prevention, rather than treatment, renewed emphasis.
"Treating people with antiretrovirals is completely unsustainable unless we can turn off the tap of infection," said Hayes.
While circumcision may offer new hope, it is not a cure for the epidemic.
"This is an additional tool, and it must not replace other interventions," said de Cock, who added that there will be no push for universal circumcision. "There is no one size fits all solution for AIDS."
Together with the United Nations AIDS agency, WHO is convening a meeting in Switzerland in early March to evaluate the circumcision data, and to decide on the next steps in slowing the AIDS pandemic.
In the Kenyan study, 1,391 circumcised men were compared to 1,393 who were not. And in Uganda, 2,474 circumcised men were compared to 2,522 men who were not. After tracking the men for two years, scientists found that circumcised men were 51 to 60 percent less likely to contract HIV than their uncircumcised counterparts. Since the studies were stopped, all the men have been offered the opportunity to be circumcised. And all the men were warned not to lapse into sexually risky behavior, such as abandoning condom use.
Scientists theorize that women would benefit indirectly from lower HIV prevalence in men, and a study is currently ongoing in Uganda to determine this.
In areas where HIV is spread primarily through heterosexual sex, such as sub-Saharan Africa, male circumcision could theoretically slash the infection rate in half.
It is unknown whether circumcision would be equally effective in concentrated AIDS epidemics, as in Asia and eastern Europe, where AIDS primarily strikes gay men and drug users.
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Darrent Williams was entombed in the long conversion. His shifting of his socioeconomics left him entwined with the old and new. Transitioning from a have not to a have; the inability of doing—and the ability of making a difference had a young Darren Williams, full of personality, wanting to please everybody, was beginning to find his niche.
But the leaving behind his core reality which shaped him, left him in a quarry, often chastised for choosing friends poorly—and sometimes making poor choices. He, Darrent William, placed himself, in the varying positions of danger, until his fate besmirched his potential and destiny. His public image of being the fan’s favorite; and, bit of “cheerleader” and “class clown” warmed the public hearts. His associations, however, with gang-banger hip-hoppers, only reveals an aspect of Darrent Williams personality. He was trying to move from a “cred” capital world to a “cultural” capital (Bourgois 1995) world to convert his life. The difference of the two: “cred” is the proving of oneself through “acts” often tinged with violence versus the “proper,” “civil,”
“lawful” acts in providing one’s skill and knowledge.
These cultural worlds are overlapping and are and was spoon-fed to us—as it was to Darrent Williams. In William’s youth, choices made by were susceptible by the lack of leadership and parentage of a father being present. One of the decision (according to hegemony) is the having children out of wedlock at the early age of sixteen. This is where one of his most vocal critics comes into play—Steve Seidenfeld, of
He, Seidenfeld, believes that the “over the top” lionizing was unworthy of Darrent Williams. Since he, Williams, association of neighborhood friends, which were in gangs, were still around, and that he “rapped” gang-banger hip-hop music, was vilified by Seidenfeld as being a “thug.” He, Seidenfeld, and his audience castigated aspersion against Williams for having children out of wedlock. Saying that he was not “smart enough” not get someone pregnant and to wear a condom. Fair enough.However, Darrent Williams, was not trying to aspire to be an angel, but was trying to be best person possible. These sling-shots and negativity that spun outward from the radio host show, where his audience attacked Williams as “scum” and deadbeat, was also in the extreme and overstatement. The very radio host himself, who did not finish college—actually expelled—nor has gone back to finish his degree is not virtuous himself, and has made bad choices.
Whereas, Darrent Williams finished school, became one of the 1650 athletes employed in the National Football League, and started after three games into his rookie season, and was willing to learn and listen to veterans on his team, had a bright future ahead, but Williams intermittent lack of judgment cost him life—and he paid the price. In comparison to a talk radio host (granted an enviable positions as well), the radio host locked into mediocrity shrouded in bitterness, envy, and jealousy dies a thousand deaths each time he looks himself in the mirror. Darrent died brightly and furious, where insidiousness of the radio talk show host drones on instilling negativity and dearth on his audience—seemingly tearing down the possibility of good that might come out of the tragic death. Yes, Darrent Williams’ minor celebrity brought focus to gang violence and culture, and it is unfair that our own failure does not notice until someone of status is killed—but sometimes it takes a clarion call to shake up the hegemonic society to see the truth.
(End part three)
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Two days after Darrent Williams death, a Denver Bronco, an American football player, was shot and killed, Denver Radio talk show hosts bombarded the airways, trying to figure out what happened. Two individual in particular stuck out: Peter Boyles of
Peter Boyles claims that his “sources” know who killed Darrent Williams, and the police were trying to connect the dots. He also, through the follow weeks, actually the very next day began to be critical of the politicos: city and state of their silent voices in regards to the killing. And then later, speculated the reason for this was the possibility of the upcoming announcement of the Democratic Party National Convention for the 2008 presidential race. It was the Tale of Two Cities:
Boyles further speculated on the deviant behavior of gang-banger hip-hop culture. How this culture’s music, attitudes, socioeconomics, and unlawfulness recapitulated the violence against citizenry. He moreover stated the Denver Police was performing poorly due to the fact of the city politico’s silence, of the neighborhood tolerance, and the decried minority leaders that lack the nerve to speak out. And, by implication their silence was due to the fact that, gangs intimidated city official and witnesses.
He, Boyles, at times, addressed the fact of how the gang-banger hip-hop culture sees those who talk to the police, “tattlers,” or “snitches.” He had plenty of empirical data to make his case. For example, three witnesses ready to testify were killed on the eve of their testimonies just this past year. In fact, in the last year, the number of police officers, witnesses deaths has been on the rise, at the least since 2001. Denver Police lack of protection of witnesses can be attributed to the failure of their oversight, and failure to anticipate, or even take seriously the death threats of the gang-bangers.
This lack of foresight has made the city a dangerous place for witnesses. Public, very public drive bys-yet “no proof” or witnesses are invisible. The crips, the bloods, the ms13, to some extent, have quietly ruled the roost of Denver Metropolitan streets. However, let me not leave you with the impression that
Arguments were made by Boyles that the intimidation by the gangs was keeping silent the witnesses, he also asserts that “music” of gang-banger hip-hop was some how encouraging children, minority children, to embrace the violence. In essence, the music instills the disrespect, the “villainizing” of authority, and the emboldening of cultural power through violence. In that, the only way to gain respect is through one’s violent acts—to gain “props.” Essentially, to prove one’s manhood is to either withstand perpetrated acts against oneself, or to perpetrated an act themselves. But there is darker side, a greater illusion, is that, gang culture believes that, through fear and intimidation that they can usurp authority. The second illusion gang culture tries to foster is a sense of family. The gang will take care of you. We will be the parent, the disciplinarian, the trust your own parent/s never gave you. As Boyles puts it, “don’t bet on it…”
Peter Boyles probing statement throughout the cadre of shows,” It is what, what it is”; or his other profound statement, “What does this mean?” Well, those are certainly statement and inquiries. He later parlays this tragedy into debate regarding illegal immigration. This is certainly an interesting perspective.
(End part two).
Photo credits of Darrent Williams is from his Myspace.com page and image of the limousine is from AP photo from a written article by Foxnews.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Let me begin this way, by way of an admission, when I first heard about Darrent Williams, a Denver Bronco, an American footbal player, being shot, the farthest thought from my mind was that, his death was gang involved. In fact, I chastised a fellow blogger for bringing it up; and, for the record, I still would. I chastised them for it, because speculations were made before the facts were in.
No Darrent Williams walked, no ran, into the piety of self-righteousness, arrogance of an attitude that believes that they are untouchable. And now, he is dead, because of a mistake by him. His own inability to say “no,” his youth, lead to his death—and always to wanting to please other had him cultivating a culture he should have walked away from. Nonetheless, I will not demonize him for it… (end part one).
photo credit by AP
Sunday, January 07, 2007
The city, state, and the airport, Denver International Airport, which is 30 miles outside city limits, were brought to a stand still. The snow fell from the sky, growing higher, like a steady stream of water, ready to overflow. The wind blew, cars slipped, buses skewered sideways, down the streets as the day grew late. Our state planners, our city planners, and mayors, statewide, urgently, valiantly (ahem) tried to illustrate (and implement), that they had a plan. It (the plan) and they failed.
Not as costly as Bush-Rumsfeld-Iraq stay the course plan—in fact—not even close, but it failed. The storm cyclone its way across the mountains first, obviously, then backed up into the valley of Denver, and then across the eastern plains of Colorado. The radar screens of the hyper-excited weatherpersons looked like a hurricane on land. Inch by inch the overjoyed, seemingly, weather generals, the sexiest of them Kathy Sabine, had command, albeit short lived of the news and newscast.
The storm’s intensity gave the brave at heart pause; and, the foolish the moments for their stupidity, while the dedicated made their way to work—by any means necessary.
By mid-afternoon of the second day, cars went abandoned, bus service halted, even Denver’s “heralded” light rail choked, puttered to a stop. City and a state plows raced to the cities—and roads of the state. Their attempts were futile. Airport runways, taxi ways, exit ramps, the equivalent of a city, laid dormant.
Mere days following after the storm, critics began to pick on the carcasses of the politicos failure. It was as if they, the critics, took glee from the “state emergency” by giving them permission to cascade all their pent up venomous vitriol at the leaders of the cities and state. This whipped the public into whine and what about me mode. They decried the inconvenience and how the plows failed to come down their streets during the storm.
Passengers, at the airport, from all stripes, family with children, individuals curled in corners, asleep, waited to join their anxious family members and friends across the country.
Of course, no one had seen such a storm since the “blizzard of 1982”, or the abruptness of the storm “spring of 2003.” No, this storm was different; it left cars scattered—and adrift in snow. People in shelters trying to find warmth—and comfort as the Red Cross did its duty. The spirit of community and togetherness lasted as long as the clouds and blue sky were obscured.
Slush filled streets, which refroze nightly, greeted vehicles and pedestrians alike in the daily melt down. Cars splashed. Pedestrians stumbled, staggered, and slipped along side streets, main roads, and thoroughfares. Stepping over high drifts, falling in indiscernible sink holes as locals tried to return to the daily grind.
No, this storm was different yet the same. It reminded us, how vulnerable we are; how spoiled we are; how powerless we are in the face of nature; and, how we take things for granted as Mother Nature—yet again reminded us, like little children, who have forgotten their manners that she has command over us and always will.
All photos are by Site Administrator, except the United Airlines terminal which is done by George Kochaniec, Jr. © Rocky Mountain News, and stock photo of airport by Photovault Aviation Museum
Monday, January 01, 2007
It is a new way of doing business. A new a type of currency, a new energy to be resourced, and it relies on an old tradition called the barter system. Essentially, I will do “X” for you, if you will “X” for me. Renamed, “Connectory,” allows businesses and individuals with something to sell or market, to exchange services in the forms of credits to have access to “local resources.”
In essence, to keep the local dollar with neighborhood, city, or state, it is a network of businesses, which embolden the philosophical idea of the local community first. Instead of “outsourcing” the dollar out f the sphere of local influence, it brings together, the talents within the community at a commodifed price in for the form of bartered price credits.
It also sets the “Connectory” and “customers” along the same path. As the purveyors of products, the consumption of doing business and doing the customers requires the necessity of talents—and adaptation of the “green consumer market.” This formula requires innovation as well; as this new form business seems to be taking hold in sweeping ethics in how the environment is treated.
This is what I mean, in the “green integral politics,” is having businesses adapt the practice/s of the how they use resources such as energy. For instance, Belgium Brewing Co., a local
By Belgium Brewing using windmills, to power their plants, it has contributed to the reallocation of resources—and energy transmissions. Essentially, they are not overtaxing, or overusing the energy from the power grid to make, or market their product.
But to return to the subject at hand, “green integral politics on small business is beginning to pave the way, at the least, the grassroots, to find support at the market place for the post-modernist environmentalist searching for a new way to be responsible. These companies try to establish themselves as leaders of conscious. They try to “integrate” all four quadrants in the political dynamic model: Upper left (individual emotion) and Upper right (individual behavior) as the lower left (social peer group that establishes cultural mores) and the lower right (which establish the rule of law and governmental systems) and evolving a global citizen.
By the combing of resources, such as sharing office space, networking with other business through the bartering for services on an alternate currency known as credits give power plants to redistribute energy transmissions elsewhere making for a more efficient use of the plants power.
In addition, referred to earlier as “Connectory,” a repackaged name for networking, part of this is an organization called MDB. They will help you, for a small membership fee, services to enhance cash flow, increase sales, reach new customers, and help reduce cash expenses. The Micro Business Development (MDB) group does this as way to keep local dollars in the community as well as offering lines of credits, merchants, and other global green integral corporations.
Nevertheless, the competition of green individual and/or corporation will be at the suffrage of globalization politics. This brand of diversity, innovation, and creativity will be a small subset of the globalized world—but as these companies compete and contribute to the betterment of—and for the environment, they will realize the inevitable conclusion that no matter how much one tries to localize community—one is still part of the global citizenry.
Finally, as for the feeling like fish out of water, out of place, and the impression of being at an Amway meeting, this emotion will soon pass; however, I doubt the Amway feeling will though.