October 3, 2008

October 3, 2008
Thanks for stopping by and checking out another day in my life. Today is Friday and I have made it through another week.

I'm sure most of us were watching the Vice-Presidential debate last night. I even had a cup of coffee, which I hate, so I could stay up and watch the whole event. Now I will give it to Governor Pallin who has obviously had a ton of coaching before the debate. Her coaches did a decent job of updating her on several good spins and enough names of foreign enemies to make her seem almost credible. She is also very good at name dropping. Joe Biden, in my opinion, did a good job with one excellent jab at the "bridge to nowhere". But I do not think either of them got in a good kill shot. Now if you listen to the experts who reviewed the debate, they say Biden came out the winner but both candidates had done well.

Well friends, I am sad to announce the death of another AIDS Service Organization in the country. Atlanta ASO Closes Due to Idea AIDS Is Under Control. Atlanta’s nonprofit group AIDS Survival Project (ASP) will shut down most of its operations by the end of this year because of increased competition for grants and the prevailing notion that HIV/AIDS is no longer a crisis in the United States, the Atlanta Journal–Constitution reports. The advocacy group specializes in testing and training HIV-positive people to counsel peers, lobby politicians and educate the public. According to the article, ASP had a $1 million budget this year, but fund raising difficulties led to the decision to close rather than face a budget crunch. Advocacy groups like ASP link their financial woes to the public perception of the epidemic. “Most of the funding is going to medical care, substance abuse, to [counseling] agencies with licensed professionals,” said Melanie Sovine, executive director of ASP. Lobbying and peer counseling were a major focus for ASP. Tracy Elliott, executive director of AID Atlanta, another service agency in the city, said that advocacy groups face challenges raising money when the public believes that HIV/AIDS is under control in the United States. “We don’t see AIDS as a problem in our society anymore,” Elliott said.

I have personally spoken recently with people in HIV and AIDS health care and ASOs in the Atlanta area. I had known since March of this year that funding was a major issue to the point that Georgia might have to start an ADAP (AIDS Drug Assistance Program) waiting list. So while I was not surprised to hear about the closing of Atlanta Survival Project who have done wonderful work over the years, I was very saddened. It is just one more example of why HIV and AIDS programs need more funding here at home.

Also this afternoon, the $700 billion dollar bailout was passed. With the economy on the brink and elections looming, Congress approved an unprecedented $700 billion government bailout of the battered financial industry on Friday and sent it to President Bush who quickly signed it. The final vote, 263-171 in the House, capped two weeks of tumult in Congress and on Wall Street, punctuated by daily warnings that the country confronted the gravest economic crisis since the Great Depression if lawmakers failed to act. There were 58 more votes for the measure than an earlier version that failed on Monday. So now they have burden the taxpayer with a $700 billion dollar debt, I hope and pray they did not just throw all of our futures away with it since they are not sure it would cure the problem. Heaven help us all.

I also heard from the women who are helping me co-chair this year's Jacksonville Teddy Bear Touchdown. Plans are coming along. We do have a fixed date of Thursday, December 4th at 6pm and will be located at the downtown branch of the Duval county library. I also received noticed that at least one of the two choruses will be able to perform at the event. They are a new group so I am not only excited to hear them perform but to help spread the word about the group. A couple of the members are old friends of mine which makes it even more special to me. So I hope if you are in the area, you will be able to attend. We can also use some more volunteers so feel free to drop me a line if you are interested @ daddydab@dabtheaidsbearproject.com

I hope you have a safe and great weekend. Make a special memory for yourself along the way.

Wishing you health, hope and happiness.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab