The Daily Agenda for Satuday, August 13

Jim Burroway

August 13th, 2011

Ames Straw Poll:
Ames, IA.
GOP Candidates will trek to Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State University today for the crucial Ames Straw Poll. The Straw Poll is part of a day-long event filled with speeches, barbecues, and fundraising for the Iowa Republican Party, which is why only those candidates who purchased space from the party, at a minimum price of $15,000, will be allowed to speak. For many candidates, this is the first test of their organizational strength and name recognition among Iowa voters. But other than that, the poll is utterly meaningless. As Politico’s Roger Simon puts it: “The Ames Straw Poll is a delightful fraud, an amiable hoax, that most people in Iowa don’t care about, but the national media eat up because the event seems so charmingly ‘Iowan.’ … It is organized bribery on a grand scale.” Today’s schedule goes like this:

Noon: Program begins

12:40: Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum

1:15: Texas Rep. Ron Paul

1:50: Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty

2:20: Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann

3:15: Godfather Pizza Magnate Herman Cain

4:00: Straw poll voting closes

Also scheduled to speak are Iowa Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham, and Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Rick Perry Announces Presidential Run: Charleston, SC. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been scheduled for quite some time to deliver a speech at the Gathering taking place this weekend in Charleston. Aides say that speech will be Perry’s official announcement that he is running for the GOP nomination for President. Following his speech tomorrow he will head off to New Hampshire for a fundraiser, and then tomorrow he will speak at the Black Hawk GOP’s Lincoln Day Dinner Fundraiser in Waterloo, Iowa.  Rep. Michele Bachmann, the Waterloo native who is seen as Perry’s chief rival for the social conservative vote, will also speak at the dinner. Perry’s “I’m Not A Mormon” Christians-only prayer event last weekend in Houston was seen by many as a prelude to today’s kick-off.

Perry’s entry into the race rounds out a thoroughly anti-gay lineup for the GOP nomination. When Texas voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 2005 banning same-sex marriage, Perry took the extraordinary step of convening a special signing ceremony in a Fort Worth megachurch — even though the Texas Constitution has no provision whatsoever for a governor’s signing of a constitutional amendment.

HRC’s Equality Bus Tour Launches: Salt Lake City, UT. The Human Rights Campaign has launched a twelve-week nationwide bus tour to spread the message of equality. Dubbed the “On the Road to Equality”, the bus tour will cover twelve cities in twelve weekends, with the first stop this weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah as guests of the Utah Pride Center. The event kicked off yesterday with a press conference. Today, HRC and UPC will host a a panel discussion featuring Dr. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project titled, Pathway to Acceptance: Supportive Families, Healthy Communities at the Salt Lake City Library (210 E 400) in Conference Room 4, from 2:00 to 4:00. HRC will also host a presentation and Open House at the Paris Ballroom at the Hotel Monaco, beginning at 4:00 p.m. Tomorrow there will be a 5K Fun Run at Liberty Park beginning at 10:00 a.m.

Australians Rally for Marriage Equality This Weekend: Adelaide, SA; Brisbane, QLD; Canberra, ACT; Melbourne, VIC; Perth, WA and Sydney, NWS.

Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Brighton, UK; Charleston, SC; Eugene, OR; Fargo, ND; Indianapolis, IN (Black Pride); Irvine, CA; Mannheim, Germany; Montréal, QC; New York, NY (Black Pride); Palouse/Moscow ID; Prague, Czech Rep.; Sligo, Ireland; and Wakefield, UK.

AIDS Walk This Weekend: Denver, CO.

Also This Weekend: Northalstead Market Days, Chicago, IL and Provincetown Carnival, MA.

Good news for a change

“No Obits”: 1996. For the first time in more than seventeen years, the San Fransisco weekly Bay Area Reporter made the news because of a lack of news: there were no obituaries of AIDS victims in the August 13, 1996 edition. The rate of obituaries had been declining for the previous two years following the introduction of the so-called “AIDS cocktail, which surprised scientists and AIDS advocates alike for its effectiveness in halting and even reversing the health declines of those on medications. According to an AP article at the time, “The few days leading up to Monday’s deadline for submitting obits were tense at the newspaper. In the previous two weeks, none had been delivered until the last minute. ‘It was like watching a no-hitter in baseball unfolding,’ (news editor Mike) Salinas said. “We didn’t really want to discuss it until it became obvious that it was going to happen. We held our breath waiting.'” But the obit never came by the time the deadline arrived, and the paper celebrated with a front-page headline proclaiming “No Obits.”

Australia Amends Marriage Law Banning Same-Sex Marriage: 2004. The opposition Labor party joined the governing right-of-center Liberal Party to pass an amendment to Australia’s marriage law to ban same-sex marriage. Critics of the law challenged the government’s priorities, asking why there was a such a rush to ban same-sex marriage when the proposed anti-terrorism law hadn’t been voted on yet. Government and Labor responded by switching the schedule for the two bills and passed the anti-terrorism law first. Then both parties joined to cut off debate in the Senate. Democrat leader Sen. Andrew Bartlett condemned the move: “This is just an absolute disgrace … (you are saying) we have to do it now, otherwise society will crumble and the world will end. You are saying, ‘It is urgent that we take away as many freedoms and rights from people as possible and do it really quickly before they notice and get a chance to be upset about it’.” But that is exactly what they did, and the measure passed the Senate by a vote of 38-6.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. PLEASE, don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).


August 13th, 2011

That BAR report is really amazing. We forget how hellish it was in the late 80s and early 90s. I was working for a healthcare consulting firm in the mid-90s and several of our clients were working on the new protease inhibitors. We had to keep a very tight seal on all the information we were getting about their clinical efficacy, because it was so striking (quite frankly, having seen some fraudulent claims by pharma companies in the past – in one case that even initially fooled the FDA – many of my colleagues didn’t believe the data).

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