The Daily Agenda for Thursday, June 5
June 5th, 2014
Pride Celebrations This Weekend: Albany, NY; Athens, Greece; Bergen, Norway; Boston, MA; Birmingham, AL; Cambridge/Kitchener/Waterloo, ON; Charleston, WV; Cheyenne, WY; Davenport, IA; Dayton, OH; Detroit, MI; Des Moines, IA; Edmonton, AB; El Paso, TX; Hannover, Germany; Honolulu, HI; Indianapolis, IN; Innsbruck, Austria; Lille, France; Los Angeles, CA; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Maplewood/South Orange, NJ; Milwaukee, WI; Oxford, UK; Philadelphia, PA; Plano, TX; Rome, Italy; Salt Lake City, UT; Seoul, South Korea; Söderhamn, Sweden; Spencer, IN; Split, Croatia; Tulsa, OK; Washington, DC; Youngstown, OH.
Other Events This Weekend: Razzle Dazzle Dallas, Dallas, TX; Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, Hartford, CT; AIDS Walk, London, UK; Cinépride LGBT Film Festival, Nantes, France; Gay Days Disney, Orlando, FL; AIDS Life Cycle, San Francisco to Los Angeles, CA; Seoul LGBT Film Festival, Seoul, South Korea; Tel Aviv LGBT International Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel.
TODAY’S AGENDA is brought to you by:
When this ad appeared in 1985, it had been well established among medical professionals that AIDS was caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and that the virus was transmitted via the blood or semen and not by “a hug, holding hands, having a good talk, fixing dinner, or going for a drive.” But fear persisted, both inside the gay community and outside, and it would still be many years before that message would take hold.
TODAY IN HISTORY:
► Pneumocystis Pneumonia — Los Angeles: 1981. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published this notice in the June 5, 1981 edition of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The CDC was skittish about how to handle the report, knowing that if it’s gay angle was too provocative or prominent, it might bring about adverse political consequences. The CDC’s concerns about a rising political backlash against the gay community would soon be confirmed when the religious right seized found the new disease to be a handy cudgel. And so this report, the first clinical description of a new disease which we would later know as AIDS, appeared tucked inside on page two, with all references to homosexuality dropped from its title:
Pneumocystis Pneumonia — Los Angeles
In the period October 1980-May 1981, 5 young men, all active homosexuals, were treated for biopsy-confirmed Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia at 3 different hospitals in Los Angeles, California. Two of the patients died. All 5 patients had laboratory-confirmed previous or current cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection and candidal mucosal infection. Case reports of these patients follow.
Patient 1: A previously healthy 33-year-old man developed P. carinii pneumonia and oral mucosal candidiasis in March 1981 after a 2-month history of fever associated with elevated liver enzymes, leukopenia, and CMV viruria. The serum complement-fixation CMV titer in October 1980 was 256; in may 1981 it was 32.* The patient’s condition deteriorated despite courses of treatment with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP/SMX), pentamidine, and acyclovir. He died May 3, and postmortem examination showed residual P. carinii and CMV pneumonia, but no evidence of neoplasia.
Patient 2: A previously healthy 30-year-old man developed p. carinii pneumonia in April 1981 after a 5-month history of fever each day and of elevated liver-function tests, CMV viruria, and documented seroconversion to CMV, i.e., an acute-phase titer of 16 and a convalescent-phase titer of 28* in anticomplement immunofluorescence tests. Other features of his illness included leukopenia and mucosal candidiasis. His pneumonia responded to a course of intravenous TMP/.SMX, but, as of the latest reports, he continues to have a fever each day.
Patient 3: A 30-year-old man was well until January 1981 when he developed esophageal and oral candidiasis that responded to Amphotericin B treatment. He was hospitalized in February 1981 for P. carinii pneumonia that responded to TMP/SMX. His esophageal candidiasis recurred after the pneumonia was diagnosed, and he was again given Amphotericin B. The CMV complement-fixation titer in March 1981 was 8. Material from an esophageal biopsy was positive for CMV.
Patient 4: A 29-year-old man developed P. carinii pneumonia in February 1981. He had had Hodgkins disease 3 years earlier, but had been successfully treated with radiation therapy alone. He did not improve after being given intravenous TMP/SMX and corticosteroids and died in March. Postmortem examination showed no evidence of Hodgkins disease, but P. carinii and CMV were found in lung tissue.
Patient 5: A previously healthy 36-year-old man with clinically diagnosed CMV infection in September 1980 was seen in April 1981 because of a 4-month history of fever, dyspnea, and cough. On admission he was found to have P. carinii pneumonia, oral candidiasis, and CMV retinitis. A complement-fixation CMV titer in April 1981 was 128. The patient has been treated with 2 short courses of TMP/SMX that have been limited because of a sulfa-induced neutropenia. He is being treated for candidiasis with topical nystatin.
The diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia was confirmed for all 5 patients antemortem by closed or open lung biopsy. The patients did not know each other and had no known common contacts or knowledge of sexual partners who had had similar illnesses. Two of the 5 reported having frequent homosexual contacts with various partners. All 5 reported using inhalant drugs, and 1 reported parenteral drug abuse. Three patients had profoundly depressed in vitro proliferative responses to mitogens and antigens. Lymphocyte studies were not performed on the other 2 patients.
Reported by MS Gottlieb, MD, HM Schanker, MD, PT Fan, MD, A Saxon, MD, JD Weisman, DO, Div of Clinical Immunology-Allergy; Dept of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine; I Pozalski, MD, Cedars-Mt. Siani Hospital, Los Angeles; Field services Div, Epidemiology Program Office, CDC.
Editorial Note: Pneumocystis pneumonia in the United States is almost exclusively limited to severely immunosuppressed patients (1). The occurrence of pneumocystosis in these 5 previously healthy individuals without a clinically apparent underlying immunodeficiency is unusual. The fact that these patients were all homosexuals suggests an association between some aspect of a homosexual lifestyle or disease acquired through sexual contact and Pneumocystis pneumonia in this population. All 5 patients described in this report had laboratory-confirmed CMV disease or virus shedding within 5 months of the diagnosis of Pneumocystis pneumonia. CMV infection has been shown to induce transient abnormalities of in vitro cellular-immune function in otherwise healthy human hosts (2,3). Although all 3 patients tested had abnormal cellular-immune function, no definitive conclusion regarding the role of CMV infection in these 5 cases can be reached because of the lack of published data on cellular-immune function in healthy homosexual males with and without CMV antibody. In 1 report, 7 (3.6%) of 194 patients with pneumocystosis also had CMV infection’ 40 (21%) of the same group had at least 1 other major concurrent infection (1). A high prevalence of CMV infections among homosexual males was recently reported: 179 (94%) had CMV viruria; rates for 101 controls of similar age who were reported to be exclusively heterosexual were 54% for seropositivity and zero fro viruria (4). In another study of 64 males, 4 (6.3%) had positive tests for CMV in semen, but none had CMV recovered from urine. Two of the 4 reported recent homosexual contacts. These findings suggest not only that virus shedding may be more readily detected in seminal fluid than urine, but also that seminal fluid may be an important vehicle of CMV transmission (5).
All the above observations suggest the possibility of a cellular-immune dysfunction related to a common exposure that predisposes individuals to opportunistic infections such as pneumocystosis and candidiasis. Although the role of CMV infection in the pathogenesis of pneumocystosis remains unknown, the possibility of P. carinii infection must be carefully considered in a differential diagnosis for previously healthy homosexual males with dyspnea and pneumonia.
- Walzer PD, Perl DP, Krogstad DJ, Rawson G, Schultz MG. Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in the United States. Epidemiologic, diagnostic, and clinical features. Ann Intern Med 1974;80:83-93.
- Rinaldo CR, Jr, Black PH, Hirsh MS. Interaction of cytomegalovirus with leukocytes from patients with mononucleosis due to cytomegalovirus. J Infect Dis 1977;136:667-78.
- Rinaldo CR, Jr, Carney WP, Richter BS, Black PH, Hirsh MS. Mechanisms of immunosuppression in cytomegaloviral mononucleosis. J Infect Dis 1980;141:488-95.
- Drew WL, Mintz L, Miner RC, Sands M, Ketterer B. Prevalence of cytomegalovirus infection in homosexual men. J Infect Dis 1981;143:188-92.
- Lang DJ, Kummer JF. Cytomegalovirus in semen: observations in selected populations,. J Infect Dis 1975; 132:472-3.
The MMWR went out to thousands of doctors across the country, and to dozens of science and health reporters at the major newspapers. The Los Angeles Times quickly reported on the local story of five gay men who had died in L.A. hospitals, and speculated that the unusual pneumonia was somehow “related to gay life style.” The San Francisco Chronicle’s David Perlman did some digging and determined that the “mysterious outbreak of a sometimes fatal pneumonia” was also occurring in San Francisco and New York. So far, the new disease had only one name: Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, or PCP, but it would quickly become apparent that PCP would be merely a symptom of a much more serious underlying immune deficiency.
A month later, the CDC, in another issue of MMWR, would add more information about additional PCP cases, and add an unusual skin cancer, Kaposi’s sarcoma, as another condition that gay men were dying of (see Jul 3). That report spawned talk of a “gay cancer,” which many in the gay community took to be a separate disease from PCP. The new underlying disease wouldn’t get a semi-official name for almost another year, when it was mistakenly called GIRD, or Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, despite the fact that others who weren’t gay were also coming down with the illness: Haitians, Africans, hemophiliac, intravenous drug users. It wasn’t until mid-1982 when the CDC, which had refused to use GRID to describe the illness, coined the designation of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS.
► 25 YEARS AGO: Republicans Conduct Whisper Campaign Against House Speaker: 1989. Just as Rep. Tom Foley (D-WA) was about to take the gavel from recently-disgraced former Speaker Jim Wright (D-TX), the Republican National Committee’s communications director Mark Goodin began circulating a memo among state party chairmen and GOP Congressmen titled “Tom Foley: Out of the Liberal Closet.” The memo compared Foley’s voting record with that of Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-MA), who had come out of the gay closet only two years earlier (see May 29). GOP Chairman Lee Atwater, who had made his reputation smearing reputations left and right, stood by Goodin’s memo, calling it “no big deal” and “factually accurate,” and professed astonishment that anyone could interpret the memo as a slur. The memo didn’t come right out and accuse Foley of being gay (labeling someone as gay in 1989 would have been taken as an accusation rather than a mere description), but the subtext was unmistakable. And while Atwater was protesting the memo’s innocence, other Republicans cheered the memo and sought more personal assaults on Democratic leaders.
Republican minority Whip Newt Gingrich (R-GA) even spent several days calling dozens of reporters trying to get the rumor into print. one of those reporters, Lars-Erik Nelson of the New York Daily News, finally went public on June 5, saying that one of Gingrich’s top aides called him saying The Washington Post was going to run the story, saying “we hear it’s little boys.” The Post confirmed that they had been contacted but refused to run it. When Rep. Frank learned of the memo, he blasted GOP leaders for circulating it and threatened to expose closeted Republicans.
Soon, other Republicans began disassociating themselves from the memo, including President George Bush, whose White House Chief John Sununu told reporters that both he and Bush had reprimanded Atwater. “The President was very upset,” Sununu said. “I was upset. It went too far. It was wrong. The innuendo was wrong. It’s wrong not because it damages our relationship with the Democrats. It’s wrong because it’s wrong. It’s a terrible thing to happen at this time. It was not appropriate or fair.” Sen. Bob Dole (R-KS) called the memorandum “garbage” and House Minority Leader robert Michel (R-IL) also denounced it.
Goodin took the fall, resigning on the same day that Bush rebuked Atwater. Atwater also tried to remove his fingerprints. “I think it was bad taste and bad judgment,” Atwater said. “I told Mark that. I play hardball politics, but I don’t cross the line. This memo crossed the line.” With Goodin’s departure, Bush stood behind the GOP chairman. “Lee Atwater is doing a great job,” he said during a meeting with state party chairmen a week later. Dole quickly fell in line: “The president has spoken and Lee Atwater is staying.”
Atwater didn’t stay GOP chairman for long. The following year, he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, and died a year later in 1991. During that interval, he converted to Catholicism and personally apologized to many of the politicians who he had personally attacked over the years. One of those receiving an apology was Tom Turnipseed, who Atwater mercilessly attacked during a 1980 Congressional campaign in South Carolina. Atwatter planted a story that Turnipseed “has had psychotic treatment.” When Turnipseed’s campaign demanded an apology, Atwater said he wouldn’t respond to someone who had “got hooked up to jumper cables.” A decade later as Atwater was confronting his own mortality, he wrote to Turnipseed. “It is very important to me that I let you know that out of everything that has happened in my career, one of the low points remains the so-called ‘jumper cable’ episode,” he wrote. “My illness has taught me something about the nature of humanity, love, brotherhood and relationships that I never understood, and probably never would have. So, from that standpoint, there is some truth and good in everything.”
► John Maynard Keynes: 1883-1946. The British economist has had a profound influence on macroeconomics and government economic policy. His ideas now carry his name — Keynesian economics — which argued that free markets didn’t always provide the best solutions in times of economic turmoil. He argued that counter cyclic spending during economic downturns could provide vital demand to keep businesses and industries afloat in times of lower employment levels. He advocated economic stimulus policies to keep people employed. “With men and plants unemployed, it is ridiculous to say that we cannot afford these new developments,” he wrote in 1928 of the need for spending on public works. “It is precisely with these plants and these men that we shall afford them.”
Keynes’s economic policies weren’t the only thing revolutionary about him in the early twentieth century. He was also very open about his sexuality. Between 1901 and 1915, he kept separate diaries where he tabulated his sexual encounters in a kind of a code that has baffled historians and biographers since then. He was a member of the Bloomsbury Group, a group of English writers, artists and philosophers which included E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Lytton Stratchy, and the artist Duncan Grant, who is said to have been Keynes’s great love. Stratchy was also a lover, but he must have gotten a glimpse at Keynes’s diary: Stratchy was put off by Keynes’s manner of “treat[ing] his love affairs statistically.” Keynes eventually married the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova, and their marriage did appear to have been a satisfactory one.
► Federico García Lorca: 1898-1936. Born in a small town to the west of Granada, García Lorca abandoned law studies at the University of Grenada to pursue literature and theater. When he staged his first play, El Maleficio de la Mariposa (The Butterfly’s Evil Spell, 1920, about an impossible love between a cockroach and a butterfly), it was laughed off the stage, which encouraged García Lorca to instead turn his energies to poetry and fiction. His poetry collections included Impresiones y Paisajes (Impressions and Landscapes, 1918), Libro de Poemas (Book of Poems, 1921), Canciones (Songs, 1927) and Romancero Gitano (Gypsy Ballads, 1928). García Lorca became a fixture in Spain’s avant-guarde as a member of Generación del 27, an influential group of authors and poets who came of age between 1923 and 1927. Others influenced by García Lorca (and who, in turn, influenced him) included the surreal painters Salvador Dali and Óscar Domínguez, and filmmaker Luis Buñuel.
In 1929, García Lorca traveled to New York to study English at Columbia University, but he spent his time writing instead of studying. The result was another poetry collection, Poeta en Nueva York (A poet in New York), was published posthumously in 1942). Influenced by the Wall Street crash of 1929 which García Lorca had witnessed while there, Poeta en Nueva York condemned materialistic values and explored alienation, isolation, and the oppression of the African-American community he encountered there. When he returned to Spain in 1930, his iconoclastic art and left-leaning politics found instant favor in the newly established Spanish Republic. He was appointed director of a university student theatre company and was paid by the Ministry of Education to bring modern performances to remote rural areas free of charge. “The theatre is a school of weeping and of laughter,” he wrote, “a free forum, where men can question norms that are outmoded or mistaken and explain with living example the eternal norms of the human heart.”
When civil war broke out in 1936 between the Republic and rebellious Nationalists led by General Francisco Franco, García Lorca’s habit of “questioning norms” may have marked him as the Nationalists’ enemy, although contemporaries note that he maintained friendships on both sides of the battle lines. García Lorca’s sexual orientation, also, wouldn’t help matters. On August 18, 1936, his brother-in-law, mayor Manuel Fernández-Montesinos, was shot, and García Lorca was arrested that same afternoon. Controversy still surrounds the details of García Lorca death — who shot him and why — but it is believed that he was shot with three others outside of Granada on August 19. One executioner is reputed to have said, “I fired two bullets into his ass for being a queer.” A year later, an article appeared in a Nationalist newspaper lionizing García Lorca, calling him “the finest poet of Imperial Spain,” but Franco placed a general ban on his work until 1953 when a censored Obras Completas (Complete Works) was published.
► Suze Orman: 1951. She started out with a B.A. in social work and worked as a waitress in Berkeley before becoming a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch. In 1983, she moved to Prudential Bache Securities, where she became vice-president of investments. Four years later, she quit to found her own financial firm. Not bad for someone without an MBA. In 2007, she began appearing on television. After she gave away a million copies of her e-book, Women and Money, following an appearance on Oprah, she began hosting her own financial advice program, The Suze Orman Show, which airs on weekends on CNBC. She is also a regular columnist for Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine, and she continues to appear occasionally on Oprah’s OWN network. In 2010, Orman married Kathy Travis, a co-producer of on The Suze Orman Show.
► 40 YEARS AGO: Chad Allen: 1974. I didn’t know this until I was reading up for this write-up: one of Chad’s early major roles was on the television series St. Elsewhere, where he played the autistic son of Dr. Westphall from 1983, to 1988. He also appeared in Our House and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. In 1996, he was outed by the supermarket tabloid The Globe, which published photos of him kissing another man in a hot tub. When he was cast to play the role of real-life Christian missionary Nate Saint in the 2006 docudrama End of the Spear, conservative Christians were outraged over an openly gay man in the role. The real Steve Saint, Nate’s son, however put aside his own reservations. After seeing the film, he felt that God was pleased with Chad playing his father. End of the Spear became one of the few independently released Christian films to earn more than a million dollars in its first three weekends of release. In 2007, Allen took on Christian themes again when he starred in Save Me, about a drug-addicted man who entered an ex-gay program. In 2011, he co-produced and appeared in Hollywood to Dollywood, a documentary about twin brothers who travel across country in an RV named “Joline” to meet their idol, Dolly Parton.
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And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?