Schwarzenegger slashes AIDS funding in California budget crisis

lgbt, politics No Comments »

Gov. Arnold SchwarzeneggerAs many had feared, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made dramatic cuts to AIDS-related services in an effort to make up for a $489 million shortfall in the final California budget.

Calling the revised budget “kind of like the good, the bad, and the ugly,” Schwarzenegger used line-item veto power to make steep cuts in child welfare, child healthcare, and programs for the elderly, in addition to HIV/AIDS services. Though the governor’s office cited an overall $52 million in cuts to HIV programs, the California Department of Public Health’s Office of AIDS estimated the total figure will likely climb as high as $80 to $85 million.

“There are no general funds remaining for care and support [this year],” Michelle Roland, chief of the Office of AIDS, said in a Tuesday conference call with care providers. Some care programs will receive only one-fifth the funding compared to the last year, she said.

Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation responded to the cuts.

“With a single stroke of his blue pencil, Governor Schwarzenegger has terminated the state’s AIDS programs and, along with it, the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens. The Governor’s heartless act is not only deadly, but guaranteed to cost California taxpayers millions more in the future. With HIV testing programs sidelined and the state’s ability to prevent new infections stymied, new infections in California will increase—each new infection can mean up to $600,000 dollars in lifetime health care costs. A 100% cut to the Therapeutic Monitoring Program is the definition of penny-wise and pound-foolish—with the ability to monitor the effectiveness of lifesaving AIDS drugs hampered, the state’s already cash-strapped AIDS Drug Assistance Program will only end up spending more for drugs.”

It’s a sad day in California. Thanks to cuts like these and other draconian measures taken in this economic free fall, California seems well on its way to becoming a third world country.

Captain Kirk does Sarah Palin

humor, politics, video 1 Comment »

Captain Kirk does PalinAs in poetry. Conan O’Brien brings William Shatner on the Tonight Show to read part of Palin’s farewell speech as the bad poetry it was meant to be. Priceless…

And more vocal stylings from the master thespian/poet in a great mashup featuring the Star Trek animated series and his track “Common People” from the album Has Been.

Senate panel approves Sotomayor as Franken slams activist Supreme Court

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Judge Sony SotomayorIn a largely partisan vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the nomination of Judge Sonya Sotomayor to the Supreme Court by a margin of 13 to 6. From the NY Times:

As expected, all 12 Democrats on the judiciary panel voted for Judge Sotomayor, after praising her intellect, character and inspiring personal history. But among the seven Republicans on the committee, only Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina voted in favor.

The committee action sends the nomination to the full Senate, where her confirmation by a comfortable margin seems to be assured. setting the stage for a full Senate vote next week.

Republican critics of the judge expressed displeasure with her rulings as a member of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, as well as with some of her public comments. The rulings and comments show that she is a judge who is too “activist” and liberal and has too little commitment to the rights of gun owners, the critics complained.

Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the committee’s leading Republican, said just before the vote that he was compelled to oppose the nomination because in some important cases the judge’s decisions were “unacceptably short” and showed a “liberal, pro-government ideology against the individuals asserting their constitutional rights.”

Pior to the vote, freshman Senator Al Franken (D-MN) pledged his support to Sotomayor, hoping her presence would counter the judicial activism of the Supreme Court.

Bill Maher on CNN calls U.S. a stupid country, getting “dumber by the day”

politics, video 3 Comments »

Bill MaherBill Maher has a politically incorrect visit on CNN today with Wolf Blitzer. Even the police and their “bad attitude” aren’t safe.

Note his play on word’s with “Stupid Country” when discussing Sarah Palin. He’s gonna catch some flack for this…