Sunday, December 26, 2004

Dear Friends:

Veteran respected muckraker Doug Ireland has uncovered major problems with the leadership at AIDS Action, a DC-based lobbying organization for AIDS service organizations, as you can read below.

After reading Ireland's column from his blog,, about the latest stupidity from AIDS Action, I did some research on the group's tax return and its leader, Marsha A. Martin.

The latest IRS 990 tax return for AIDS Action shows the group had revenue of $565,285 in FY 2002 and that Ms. Martin, the executive director, earned $116,667. (

I'd be most interested to learn what Martin is earning this year for her services to AIDS Action.

As a donor to candidates and PACs, she's not a big giver, according to records with the PoliticalMoneyLine web site,

Only a single donation turned up for her, back when she worked for the federal government, to Al Gore's 2000 run for the White House:

Martin, Marsha A. Ms.
7/21/1999 $250.00
Washington, DC 20003
US Dept. Hlth. & Human Serv. -[Contribution]

I think Martin has a lot of explaining to do to the AIDS community and people with AIDS about her sucking up to the Bush Administration.

Michael Petrelis

For the latest from DIRELAND--on how the executive director of AIDS
Action, D.C.'s largest and wealthiest AIDS lobby, is sponsoring and
helping to organize a banquet celebrating the re-election of George Bush
and a strengthened Republican Congress, with the banquet's proceeds
going to a front group for drug company multinationals--click on

December 24, 2004

By Doug Ireland

It's mind-boggling: Marsha Martin, the executive director of AIDS
Action--the AIDS community's largest, most visible, and wealthiest
Washington lobby, with a multi-million dollar budget--has jumped into
with the Bush-Rove Republicans with both feet. In a perfectly
scandalous act
of betrayal of the AIDS community, Martin is one of a small committee
sponsoring a pricey celebration of Bush's November victory, and that of
Republicans in Congress. And guess who gets the money from this orgy of
felicitations to the GOP? A front group for Big Pharma that crusades
giving cheap, generic AIDS-fighting meds to the world's poorest victims
the AIDS pandemic.

The invitation, on which Martin's name prominently appears as part of a
small "host committee", is to an expensive, upcoming January 20 event at
Washington's J.W. Marriott on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a few blocks
the White House. The event is billed as a "Salute a Second Term:
Freedom, Honoring Service--an Inaugural Dinner Invitation." And the
invitation to this deluxe, black-tie banquet ($125 a plate, with
sponsorships" going for $5000) goes on to say, "You are cordially
to join in celebrating the Presidential Inauguration and Republican
electoral success."

This event, which as a member of the "host committee" Martin is helping
organize, is for the benefit of something called the Aids Responsibility
Project (ARP). And just what, you may ask, is the ARP? As the Center for
Media and Democracy has carefully documented, ARP is pharmaceutical
front group--it even boasts of its "partnership" with the Big Pharma
the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), as
well as
with Pfizer and other drug multinationals. ARP's primary function has
to crusade against the manufacture and use of effective but generic
AIDS-fighting drugs produced by Third World companies like India's Cipla
(whose tripartite AIDS-fighting "cocktail" costs 20 times less than the
U.S.-manufactured version). ARP wants thus to insure that only the
infinitely more expensive AIDS meds manufactured by Big Pharma
companies are
used to prolong the lives of the HIV-infected.

As a result, Bush administration policies allow U.S. monies for Bush's
Global AIDS Initiative to be used only for buying Big Pharma drugs--a
made even easier when Bush appointed to head his AIDS initiative someone
with no experience with AIDS and none with diseases in developing
Randall L. Tobias, the former chairman of the pharmaceutical giant Eli
& Co. Tobias was chosen as Big Pharma's enforcer, to ensure that
getting U.S. help can't themselves buy generic AIDS drugs at the lowest
possible prices — meaning the Bush initiative's money won’t go nearly
as far
as it should.

ARP's founder and executive director, Abner Mason, is a Republican hack
had no previous AIDS experience when George Bush named him to the
President's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS, which Bush has stacked with
opponents of science-based sex education and anti-condom crusaders.
had previously worked for two Republican Massachusetts Governors -- Paul
Cellucci and Jane Swift -- as chief policy adviser, and served them as
Massachusetts Undersecretary of Transportation, and as Deputy General
Manager of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.)

During the the 15th International AIDS Conference, held in Bangkok in
2004, Mason's ARP took out a full-page ad in the Bangkok Post which
generic AIDS drugs and lied about their effectiveness. This caused Asia
Russell, of the AIDS-fighting group Health GAP Coalition, to say, "It is
hard to gauge whether the global AIDS treatment community is more
shocked to
learn that a drug industry stooge is at the highest advisory level of
policy in the United States, or to learn the lengths to which he and his
paymasters would go to falsely undermine confidence in proven and
treatment options."

AIDS Action bills itself as the "national voice" for the some 3200 AIDS
service organizations (ASOs) around the country which make up its
membership. Thus, it is in their name that Martin, as AIDS Action's
executive director, is calling for a "celebration" of an administration
has promulgated regulations demanding that any ASO getting federal money
teach that condoms don't work to prevent AIDS; perverted the use of
tax-payer dollars intended to help fight AIDS by funneling them into
political patronage for the Christian Right disguised as "faith-based
initiatives"; gutted the Centers for Disease Control's AIDS work by
censoring and banishing any educational material that recognizes sexual
practices the Bushies don't like (homosexuality foremost among them);
at the same time, Martin wishes us to hail a Republican Congress that
virtually flat-lined domestic AIDS spending. Moreover, Martin wants us
shout for joy at the GOP's "electoral success" which just elevated to
Senate a phalanx of anti-condom religious primitives-- like Coburn of
Oklahoma (the AIDS community's number one enemy when he was in the
DeMint of South Carolina, Burr of North Carolina, Vitter of Louisiana,
Martinez of Florida.

When Martin was named AIDS Action's executive director in February
2002, she
told the Washington Blade that "We are going to be on AIDS what [the
Rights Campaign] is on gay rights issues." But Martin exceeded even the
Republican-endorsing HRC's collaborationist policies by her constant
effusive praise for Bush's sorry record on AIDS. When Bush made an
election-year campaign speech on AIDS in Philadelphia this past
speech whose phony hypocrisy I exposed for The Nation--Martin gushed to
Today that Bush had given "unprecedented leadership" on AIDS. And she
praised Bush's Global AIDS Initiative as "absolutely exceptional" to
despite its tilt to the religious right's condom opponents. That
ass-kissing doesn't strike most people in the AIDS community as
to the frightening reality they know all too well.

But Martin has now allied herself firmly with a Republican president
and a
Republican Congress who have been hurting the very community she claims
serve, and who have done everything possible to destroy science-based,
life-saving HIV prevention methods. Moreover, she has done so as a
shill for
a banquet to benefit a lobbying group that wants to deny poor people
AIDS around the world cheap meds that can keep them alive.

Sean Strub, the founder of the award-winning magazine POZ (which serves
HIV-positive community) and one of the AIDS community's most respected
activists, has just sent a letter to AIDS leaders in which he says of
Martin's latest and most stomach-turning sellout, "Why don't we just
dissolve AIDS Action, spend the money on cyanide pills, and speed the
thing up? Martin is responsible for protecting the interests of people
AIDS--and yet she celebrates those who have supported Bush's campaign to
control and criminalize us, to deny us treatment and care, to guarantee
further spread of the disease by teaching young people that condoms
work. She might as well go to work for HRC for all the good she's doing
We cannot let this stand."

So, Strub tells AIDS leaders in his e-mailed letter, "we must demand
AIDS Action board members, and the executive directors of the agencies
fund AIDS Action, fire Marsha Martin and find an executive director
celebratory priorities are more appropriate to a constituency
struggling to
survive, to keep from becoming totally invisible, totally ignored,

Strub is, of course, right-- the kapo Martin should be fired. And there
should a firestorm of outrage at her actions from the AIDS community to
insure her eviction.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

December 22, 2004
c/o Dr Damian C. Crowther
The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Hills Road
Cambridge, UK, CB2 2XY

Dear Dr. Crowther:

I see your web site has again changed its listing for the nonexistent "gay bowel syndrome."

The site now refers to this "syndrome" as "obsolete, and potentially offensive."
>>This is an obsolete, and potentially offensive term, used to refer to a collection of sexually-transmitted enteric infections in HIV infected homosexuals (1, 2).

>>The infective organisms included in this "syndrome" included Shigella, Giardia, Campylobacter-like organisms, Entamoeba, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis. (Source:

Since you're now acknowledging it's obsolete, why not simply remove all references to "gay bowel syndrome" from the GP Notebook?


Michael Petrelis

San Francisco, CA, USA

Ph: 1-415-621-6267

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

December 20, 2004
c/o Dr Damian C. Crowther
The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Hills Road
Cambridge, UK, CB2 2XY

Dear Dr. Crowther:
I see that you've posted the following note on your web site about "gay bowel syndrome:"

>>This was a term that was previously used to refer to a collection of sexually transmitted enteric infections in HIV infected homosexuals (1)

>>The infective organisms included in this "syndrome": Shigella, Giardia, Campylobacter-like organisms, Entamoeba, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

>>Note however that although that "...Through analysis of biomedical discourse and popular media, it is apparent that Gay Bowel Syndrome is an essentialized category of difference that is neither gay-specific, confined to the bowel, nor a syndrome.." (2). Thus its inclusion as a term in GPnotebook is really as a means of pointing out that the syndrome is not a valid clinical or diagnostic entity. (Source:

While the note is a step in the right direction, I still question why the GP Notebook includes any reference to what you yourselves acknowledge is not specific to gay men, confined to the bowel and not a syndrome.

Since this alleged syndrome is not a valid medical condition, why mention it at all?

Again, I ask you to remove "gay bowel syndrome" from the GP Notebook.


Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA, USA
Ph: 415-621-6267

Saturday, December 18, 2004

December 18, 2004
c/o Dr Damian C. Crowther
The Cambridge Institute for Medical Research
Hills Road
Cambridge, UK, CB2 2XY

Dear Dr. Crowther:

Your advice to general practioners in the United Kingdom regarding the fictious "gay bowel syndrome" must not be allowed to stand unchallenged.

To the point, this supposed medical syndrome was debunked decades ago and unfortunately still shows up in otherwise respectable medical journals, including your GP Notebook.

I ask that you forthwith remove the listing in the GP Notebook for "gay bowel syndrome." Frankly, anything less smacks of homophobic quackery.

An apology to the gay male community would also be most welcomed and appreciated.

Below are the link to the offensive GP Notebook listing, the text of the listing, and a story from 2001 about a Canadian medical society correcting its textbook regarding "gay bowel syndrome."

I look forward to prompt action on your part to remove "gay bowel syndrome" from your GP Notebook and issue an apology over its inclusion in your textbook.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
Ph: 1-415-621-6267


‘Gay Bowel Syndrome’ Struck from Textbook
by Jon Garbo

Monday, April 16th 2001

A gay activist scored a victory against the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG), which last month deleted any reference to "gay bowel syndrome" from its medical textbook, the Southern Voice reported on April 12. The authors used the syndrome to describe a parasitic infection of the intestines that is prevalent among gay men who engage in anal-oral contact (rimming). However, the infection is by no means exclusive to gay men.

It is very much a defamation to say ‘gay bowel syndrome,’ when what they’re really talking about is parasites," said activist Michael Petrelis, who discovered the textbook entry. "It just seems so wacky and outrageous that in 2001 these educated medical people are still believing that ‘gay bowel syndrome’ exists."

"Gay bowel syndrome" is an outdated term from the 1980’s that appeared accidentally in the textbook, First Principles of Gastroenterology: The Basis of Disease and An Approach to Management,according to a CAG official. "It slipped into this [edition] purely by accident," said Dr. Eldon Shaffer, head of the Department of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the textbook’s co-author. "I didn’t even know it was still in there; I had to find it… It’s gone."

While gay men may be more at risk than heterosexual men for the parasites, it’s still harmful to label the condition as a gay one, agreed Gay Men’s Health Crisis’ communications manager, Marty Algaze. "Sickle cell anemia is primarily seen in African Americans, but would you call it African American anemia? People would never accept that," he said.



gay bowel syndrome

This term refers to a collection of sexually transmitted enteric infections in HIV infected homosexuals.

The infective organisms include: Shigella, Giardia, Campylobacter-like organisms, Entamoeba, Chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.

(The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical practitioner should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Copyright 2003 Oxbridge Solutions Ltd®. Any distribution or duplication of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Oxbridge Solutions Ltd® is an independent company owned by the authors which does not receive income from any other organisation or individual.)

Monday, December 13, 2004

The New York Times
Dec. 13, 2004


A front-page article on July 1, 2000, about an increase in H.I.V. infections among gay men in San Francisco misstated the given name of the of the city's public health director. He is Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, not Michael. (A reader noted the error recently in an e-mail message.)


Subj: Re: Error in July 1, 2000, NYT story
Date: 12/3/2004 8:07:38 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: David Corcoran
To: (by way of NYT News )

holy guacamole. you'd think there'd be a statute of limitations. however,
if we got it wrong we're obliged to correct it, even at this ridiculously
late date. let me know. thanx dc


Subj: Fwd: Re: Error in July 1, 2000, NYT story
Date: 12/3/2004 8:09:41 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: David Corcoran

Dear Mr. Petrelis:

I inadvertently sent you the e-mail I intended to send our reporter. My
apologies. As I said to him, if we got this wrong we'll correct it. May I
ask how you picked up an error in a four-year-old article?


David Corcoran

>At 12:34 AM 12/1/2004, you wrote:
>>Corrections Editor
>>The New York Times
>>New York, NY
>>Dear Editor:
>>In your July 1, 2000, article about HIV rates in San Francisco by
>>Lawrence K. Altman, the first name of the health chief here is reported
>>The story, which is at
>>mistakenly reported the following:
>>"Dr. Michael H. Katz, the director of the San Francisco Department of
>>Public Health, said his was the first city to make such a link directly."
>>Dr. Katz's first name is Mitchell.
>>You can verify this fact by calling the public affairs office of the San
>>Francisco Department of Public Health at 415-554-2507.
>>I look forward to reading a correction in the next few days about Dr.
>>Katz's correct name in the New York Times.
>>Michael Petrelis
>>San Francisco, CA
>>Ph: 415-621-6267
>David Corcoran
>Assistant Science Editor
>New York Times
>(212) 556-1826


Mr. Corcoran:

Ever since that article appeared on July 1, 2000, full of factual and statistical errors, in my opinion, related to HIV infections in San Francisco, I've tried to persuade the New York Times to run corrections about the story.

Alas, despite mounting evidence over the years that the San Francisco Department of Public Health manipulated HIV numbers, and predictions of skyrocketing transmissions, simply not borne out in the intervening years in the department's HIV data, no correction about mistruths in the Times piece made it into print.

For years, whenever new data emerged from our health department proving the Times' claims wrong, I sent the studies and surveillance reports to Lawrence K. Altman and his superiors, and never heard back from the paper.

In early November, the latest annual HIV epidemiology report for San Francisco was posted to the web, detailing a flat infection rate since 1999. Again, I sent off a letter about the new report, along with a link to it, to the Times and didn't get a reply.

As December 1, World AIDS Day, grew closer I decided it was time to ask the paper to correct its mistake about our health director's first name in the 2000 article. It's Mitchell, not Michael.

And it appears from your emails, that a correction may soon appear in the Times.

Now, if you'll only assign a reporter to revisit the story and its message of alarm and doom, that would be a welcome development in my campaign to have the Times finally report this fact: HIV in San Francisco is stable and has been for years.

Here are links to the latest HIV data for San Francisco:,

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
Ph: 415-621-6267

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

December 1, 2004

Marin Independent Journal
Marin, CA

Dear Editor:

I applaud your Dec. 1 story about an AIDS patient battling to stay healthy and alive in Marin and current HIV and AIDS statistics.

Of particular interest to me were the following statements from a San Francisco health official, Randy Allgaier.

He said, "The number of people being diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in San Francisco and Marin has decreased over recent years . . . [b]ut increases in sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, cast an ominous shadow over the future . . . [t]hat is because such increases usually coincide with increases in HIV infection."

The 2003 HIV epidemiology report from San Francisco not only clearly backs up Allgaier on the decreases, it spells out a stable rate: "New data suggest HIV incidence has leveled off in the past few years. Application of the Serological Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion (STARHS) to specimens collected at the anonymous and the STD clinic testing sites finds that recent infection peaked in 1999. From 1999 to 2003, HIV incidence has stabilized." (Source: DPH HIV report, Page 11.)

However, Allgaier's contention that rising syphilis rates equals surging HIV infections is not borne out by a large-scale study on this supposed connection between the infections.

A study published in August 2004 in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that in two epicenters of the AIDS crisis in the United States, San Francisco and Los Angeles, there was no increase in HIV incidence at several testing sites, over a four-year period.

"Despite the high HIV incidence in men with P&S [primary and secondary] syphilis, HIV incidence rates among MSM [men who have sex with men] tested at large public sites in San Francisco and Los Angeles did not increase during 1999-2002." (Source: JAMA HIV Syphilis Study.)

Let's hope the stable HIV transmission rate in San Francisco and Marin remains steady and soon decreases, while doing everything to promote safer sex practices to bring about declines.

Michael Petrelis
2215-R Market Street, #413
San Francisco, CA 94114
Ph: 415-621-6267

Marin Independent Journal

Dec. 1, 2004

The fight goes on for survivors

Improved drugs help San Rafael woman outlive prognosis

By Richard Halstead, IJ reporter

Three times a day, Julie Dowling swallows about a dozen pills that keep her alive.
The San Rafael resident is one of 603 Marin residents living with AIDS or an HIV diagnosis. Many of them will march in a candlelight vigil through San Rafael's Canal Area tonight to commemorate World AIDS Day.

They're the lucky ones - of the 1,018 Marin residents who have contracted AIDS over the years, 649 are dead, county health officials say.

Improved medicines have allowed Dowling and thousands like her to cheat death so far. Dowling worries that the general public may assume the war has been won and forget how tenuous the lifeline is for AIDS survivors. Federal and state funding for AIDS programs in Marin decreased this year.

Dowling, 41, subsists on government disability payments. She doesn't feel well enough to work. She has learned to live with the constant pain in her feet, caused by her medicine, the protease inhibitors.

"It's better than the alternative," Dowling said.

She stopped taking the drugs recently to give her body a rest. She lost weight immediately. She often has flu-like symptoms, feeling nauseous and tired. Due to a condition brought on by AIDS she will never bear children.

Nonetheless, Dowling smiles as she tells her story. She wants people to know that AIDS is no one's fault. Anyone can catch it. That includes middle-class people, who aren't gay and don't use intravenous drugs - people like her.

Dowling was working as a public health nurse in San Diego when she was diagnosed in 1991. She was tested after she accidentally stuck herself with a needle while drawing blood from a patient. The test revealed that she already had advanced AIDS. She would later learn that a former lover slept with men without telling her. He has since died of AIDS.

"I was 28 years old," Dowling said. "Most people were starting their lives. I was ending mine."

Treatments for AIDS then were far less effective. Her doctors told Dowling she could expect to live another four years.

The first few years, Dowling was plagued by opportunistic viruses and bacteria to which her depressed immune system left her vulnerable. She contracted cytomegalovirus, which usually causes blindness and death. It disappeared without treatment.

"That's the grace of God," Dowling said. "I believe I was healed by a miracle."

The AIDS remained, however. She returned to San Rafael, where her parents live, in 1994. Soon after, she moved into a residential home in Santa Rosa, which she shared with five gay men.

"They told me I was Snow White and they were the dwarfs," Dowling said.

During the more than two years she lived there, dozens of men died and were replaced by other AIDS sufferers. Dowling nursed them the best she could, even though she herself was wasting away.

"It was like a dress rehearsal for me," Dowling said. "I'm watching these people die - when is it going to be my turn?"

Then in 1997, Dowling began taking protease inhibitors.

"Within days -it was like this cloud had lifted," Dowling said.

Dowling has been taking the protease inhibitors for eight years now. She lives with the knowledge that her body could develop a tolerance to the drug at any time.

"When is it going to stop working?" she asks herself. "How much longer do I have?"

For Dowling and others like her, nonprofits, such as the Marin AIDS Project and Community Action Marin, are nearly as essential as her medicine.

The Marin AIDS Project advises Dowling on how to apply for government assistance and serves as her advocate. It has also matched her with a volunteer, who gives her emotional support. Community Action Marin operates the HIV Pantry, which supplies food to people living with HIV and AIDS.

Government funding for such services in Marin declined this year. The amount of federal money was cut 15 percent to about $1 million, said Sparkie Spaeth, a manager in the county's Health and Human Services Department. State funding for AIDS prevention was reduced by about 33,000 to $131,645.

The legislation that authorized federal outlays to care for AIDS sufferers is up for renewal next year, said Randy Allgaier, a San Francisco official in charge of allocating Marin its share of the funds. There is concern that Congress will alter the Ryan White CARE Act so that federal money can no longer be spent on ancillary services such as case management, mental health and transportation, Allgaier said.

The number of people being diagnosed with HIV and AIDS in San Francisco and Marin has decreased over recent years, Allgaier said. But increases in sexually transmitted diseases, such as syphilis, cast a ominous shadow over the future, Allgaier said. That is because such increases usually coincide with increases in HIV infection, he said.

And the while the numbers are encouraging in Marin, the disease continues to rage throughout the rest of the world.

According to the United Nations, there were 35.7 million adults and 2.1 million children living with HIV at the end of 2003. During 2003, 4.8 million new people became infected with the virus. By the end of October, AIDS had killed 78,000 Californians.

Contact Richard Halstead via e-mail at RHalstead@MarinIJ .com

Monday, November 22, 2004

The 2003 HIV/AIDS epidemiology report from the San Francisco Department of Public Health was recently released, showing a dramatic leveling of new HIV infections, and once and for all proving a July 1, 2000, front-page story in the New York Times about HIV rates here was wrong.

The executive summary of the new report states the "HIV/AIDS epidemic has taken another turn in San Francisco. Previously, we reported that HIV transmission was resurgent among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the late 1990s. Our conclusion was based on rising trends in sexual risk behavior, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and, in several studies, HIV incidence itself. We now detect a more complex pattern in the HIV epidemic.

"New data suggest HIV incidence has leveled off in the past few years. Application of the Serological Testing Algorithm for Recent HIV Seroconversion (STARHS) to specimens collected at the anonymous and the STD clinic testing sites finds that recent infection peaked in 1999. From 1999 to 2003, HIV incidence has stabilized."

Here's what the Times' chief medical correspondent, Lawrence K. Altman, reported back in 2000.

"A small but sharp rise in new infections with the virus that causes AIDS has been detected among gay men in San Francisco over the last three years, San Francisco health officials said yesterday . . . [and that the] rise is deeply troubling because it was seen in San Francisco, one of the principal centers of the AIDS epidemic that was first detected in 1981. Thus, the rise could signal a new wave of infections there and elsewhere, San Francisco health officials said."

To drive a scary point home, Altman noted that "Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri, an AIDS expert at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, said his agency had not reviewed the San Francisco findings. But, if confirmed, the findings 'are very serious and important,' Dr. Valdiserri said in an interview."

But, if the findings are not confirmed four years later, will the Times do the journalistically honorable thing and revisit and update the story, reflecting new data?

One of the reasons why HIV has stabilized among gay men in San Francisco, according to the new report, is because the "widespread use of [anti-AIDS drug cocktails] may also dampen HIV incidence as lower viral loads translate into lower risk of transmission."

So the drugs many of us AIDS patients are taking not only help keep us alive, prevent opportunistic infections, boost T-cell counts, reduce HIV viral loads, but they also appear to play a significant role in stopping new HIV transmissions. This is good news that simply has not been reported in the Times, other mainstream media and the gay and AIDS press.

This new HIV data comes at a time when the San Francisco health department has been waging social marketing campaigns about supposed increases in other STDs for gay men.

First, the 2003 report says the "data on male gonococcal proctitis suggest some of the increase in reported male rectal gonorrhea may be due to increased screening." In other words, more tests for STDs is probably a strong factor in why there are more cases being detected.

Second, even with a climb in the STD infection rates, it is not equaling an increase in HIV infections.

In my opinion, it says much about what is wrong with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, HIV prevention groups here, and the press.

When flimsy evidence was produced in 2000 to herald an alleged skyrocketing of HIV infections, those entities seized upon the questionable evidence for more government funding and bogus, alarming news accounts.

Now, new research is released documenting a stable HIV transmission rate, and public health officials along with their counterparts in the private sector, remain silent, while reporters ignore the latest findings.

Do yourself a favor and read the 2003 HIV report for San Francisco. It's at You might also read check out Altman's July 1, 2000, article at

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Out of simple curiosity, and owning a single share of stock in the New York Times Company, I checked out the paper's Neediest Cases IRS 990 tax return. I want to know about every publicly available document related to the corporation that owns the nation's most influential publication.

One of the most laudable aspects of the Neediest Cases Fund is that all of the administrative costs are borne by the New York Times. None of the money donated to it goes to overhead, salaries, capacity building or other expenses. All contributions are passed along to other social welfare charities in the New York City area.

The FY 2003 IRS 990 return for the Neediest Cases Fund revealed startling information about the salaries of the top six executive officers of the company, who also comprise the board of directors of the fund. The return clearly explains the compensation listed is for service to the company, not the charity.

My hunch is that in the newspaper world, these pay levels are not out of line, but I will leave it to other media watchdogs to compare the New York Times' executives' compensation with other daily publications.

But I find it enormously ironic that I learned of the compensation by reading the tax return for the paper's Neediest Cases Fund (emphasis mine).

Here's the link to the most current IRS 990 for the fund, along with the salary information:

Russell T. Lewis, President

Solomon B. Watson IV, VP

Stuart P. Stoller, VP

James Lessersohn, Sr. VP

Rhonda L. Brauer, Secretary

R. Anthony Benten, Treasurer

Kind of odd that publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr is not a member of the fund's board, considering his father served in that capacity up until his retirement in 1997.

The IRS 990 return for the fund for that year shows what Arthur "Punch" Sulzberger took home in pay for his last year as publisher.

Here's the link and information:

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Chairman of the Board

By the way, my last dividend check from the New York Times was for a whopping $0.16! Good thing I purchased the stock for political, not monetary, reasons.

The oddest thing about the money trail I followed for President Bush's Attorney General nominee, Alberto R. Gonzales, was that he apparently made a donation to a Democrat, former Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen. I couldn't find any record at showing a donation to Bentsen, but $25 was returned to Gonzeles from Bentsen's campaign.

No surprise Gonzales contributed to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-TX, back in 1993. His $500 donation to her is no reason for her to recuse herself from voting to confirm him to be the new Attorney General, according to Kenyon Brown of the Senate Ethics Committee who spoke with me on the phone about the donation yesterday.

This link,, should take you directly to Gonzales' filings as a candidate for and justice on the Texas Supreme Court. If that link does not work, go to and look for the contributions search function.

You can find which individuals and corporations gave Gonzales money, and how he spent the money raised at the Texas ethics commission web site.

2/16/1993 $500.00
VINSON & ELKINS -[Contribution]
[Senate Image Not Available from FEC]

7/11/1994 $200.00
VINSON & ELKINS -[Contribution]

2/26/1993 -$25.00
-[contribution refunded to individual]
[Senate Image Not Available from FEC]

10/23/1991 $200.00
VINSON & ELKINS -[Contribution]

7/7/1992 $200.00
VINSON & ELKINS -[Contribution]

10/5/1992 $200.00
VINSON & ELKINS -[Contribution]

Monday, November 15, 2004

Knut Royce, of Newsday's Washington bureau, wrote yesterday that heads are rolling at the Central Intelligence Agency for political reasons.

>"The agency is being purged on instructions from the White House," said a former senior CIA official who maintains close ties to both the agency and to the White House. "Goss was given instructions ... to get rid of those soft leakers and liberal Democrats. The CIA is looked on by the White House as a hotbed of liberals and people who have been obstructing the president's agenda."<

( Source:,0,4055608,print.story?coll=ny-top-headlines)

Checking the Federal Election Commission records available at, using the Central Intelligence Agency or CIA as the search terms, I discovered six CIA employees made contributions to Bush/Cheney or the RNC, and gave a total of $6,701.

On the other hand, only four CIA employees donated to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. Their contributions came to $1,750.

Donations to either Bush/Cheney or the RNC:

4/1/2004 $1,000.00

4/28/2004 $1,000.00

Albrecht, Paula S Ms.
6/24/2004 $1,000.00
Herndon, VA 20170
Central Intelligence Agency/Analyst -[Contribution]

Albrecht, Paula S Ms.
8/23/2004 $500.00
Herndon, VA 20170
Central Intelligence Agency/Analyst -[Contribution]

Bates, Daniel B Mr.
2/6/2004 $201.00
Falls Church, VA 22043
C.I.A./Programmer -[Contribution]

Gunther, Richard M Mr.
2/19/2004 $250.00
Reston, VA 20195
C.I.A./Analyst -[Contribution]

Mungle, Henry Mr.
3/26/2003 $500.00
Alexandria, VA 22315
C.I.A./Polygraph Examiner/Security -[Contribution]

11/5/2003 $500.00
C.I.A./ENGINEER -[Contribution]

3/31/2004 $1,500.00
C.I.A./ENGINEER -[Contribution]

Payne, David P Mr.
7/28/2004 $250.00
Warrenton, VA 20186
C.I.A./Special Agent -[Contribution]

Donations to Kerry:

Byrne, Catherine
6/28/2004 $500.00
Arlington, VA 22204
CIA/ANALYST -[Contribution]

Loftus, Robert
3/4/2004 $250.00
Alexandria, VA 22305
CIA/analyst -[Contribution]

Soderholm, Randy
7/25/2004 $250.00
Reston, VA 20191
CIA/ENGINEER -[Contribution]

Voss, Lyn A Ms
7/21/2004 $250.00
Falls Church, VA 22046
cia/analyst -[Contribution]

Voss, Lyn A Ms
6/4/2004 $250.00
Falls Church, VA 22046
cia/analyst -[Contribution]

Voss, Lyn A Ms
6/30/2004 $250.00
Falls Church, VA 22046
cia/analyst -[Contribution]

Needless to say, it will be interesting to see if the purge of CIA employees deemed disloyal to Bush and his agenda includes the four people listed above who sent checks to Kerry.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Unlike other media outlets that are blatantly commercial and profit-driven, National Public Radio is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit. As such, NPR must annually file an IRS 990 report, which is available on the web at

The latest IRS 990 for NPR for FY 2003 shows it had $120,017,283 in revenue, of which only $204,508 was in the form of government grants.

One of the most fascinating things about any nonprofit's IRS 990 return is the information provided for pay levels of the top employees and directors.

Here are the highest salaries listed for journalists at NPR:

Robert Siegel, Senior Host
Compensation: $259,777
Benefits: $22,971
Total: $282,748

Robert Edwards, Senior Host
Compensation: $256,942
Benefits: $31,150
Total: $288,092

Scott Simon, Senior Host
Compensation: $214,950
Benefits: $25,947
Total: $240,897

Michele Norris, Host
Compensation: $199,039
Benefits: $3,207
Total: $202,246

Steve Inskeep, Correspondent
Compensation: $175,551
Benefits: $26,827
Total: $202,378

These are the figures listed for the NPR executives and officers:

Kevin Klose, CEO
Compensation: $309,080
Benefits: $62,962
Expenses: $5,957
Total: $377,999

Kenneth Stern, Executive VP
Compensation: $195,395
Benefits: $58,722
Total: $254,117

Bruce Drake, VP
Compensation: $162,011
Benefits: $30,347
Total: $192,358

Jeffrey Dvorkin, Ombudsman
Compensation: $148,837
Benefits: $25,611
Total: $174,448

This is the direct link to the latest IRS 990 return for National Public Radio:

Frankly, I don't think there's anything wrong with these salary and benefit levels, but I do think NPR should inform its audience, especially on its web site, that it is a nonprofit and their IRS 990 return is posted at the GuideStar site.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Don't forget to visit my other blog for information about my effort to obtain the F.B.I. file on President George W. Bush:

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Forwarded Message:
Subj: RE: Does NPR giving to Dems violate ethical policies?
Date: 11/10/2004 1:46:08 PM Central Standard Time
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Dear Mr. Petrelis,

In my opinion, NPR employees are citizens too and as such are able to
participate in the civic life. They may not use their positions at NPR to advocate
for candidates or for matters of public controversy. I see no problem with any
NPR employee exercising his or her rights as citizens. NPR management
may have another view on this.


Jeffrey Dvorkin
November 10, 2004

Jeffrey A. Dvorkin
National Public Radio
Washington, DC

Dear Mr. Dvorkin:

After reading your column today about the ethical quandaries facing a National Public Reporter, Michele Norris, whose husband was an advisor to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, I followed the link you provided to NPR's ethical guidelines.

The guidelines seem quite clear about barring political donations from NPR journalists:


IX. Politics, Community and Outside Activities

1. NPR journalists may not run for office, endorse candidates or otherwise engage in politics. Since contributions to candidates are part of the public record, NPR journalists may not contribute to political campaigns, as doing so would call into question a journalist's impartiality in coverage.


Despite this policy, several NPR journalists made donations in the most recent national elections, according to files at the PoliticalMoneyLines' web site,

Here are the NPR donations listed on that site:

Hilton, Robin D
6/25/2004 $595.00
Hyattsville, MD 20781
NPR/Producer -[Contribution]

Abid, Rod
3/5/2004 $250.00
Chicago, IL 60657
National Public Radio/Radio Produce -[Contribution]

Abid, Rod
6/1/2004 $250.00
Chicago, IL 60657

Abid, Rod
4/5/2004 $250.00
Chicago, IL 60657
National Public Radio/Radio Produce -[Contribution]

Andrews, Jan
3/31/2004 $250.00
Alexandria, VA 22312
National Public Radio/Audio Enginee -[Contribution]

Andrews, Jan
3/31/2004 $250.00
Alexandria, VA 22312
National Public Radio/Audio Enginee -[Contribution]

Andrews, Jan
5/24/2004 $500.00
Alexandria, VA 22312
National Public Radio/Audio Enginee -[Contribution]

Brace, Diane
7/24/2004 $250.00
Washington, DC 20008
National Public Radio/development/f -[Contribution]

Danforth, Michael
3/9/2004 $250.00
Chicago, IL 60615
National Public Radio/Producer -[Contribution]

Flintoff, Corey
12/9/2003 $538.00
Cheverly, MD 20785
National Public Radio/Newscaster -[Contribution]

Trudeau, Michelle
5/19/2004 $500.00
Irvine, CA 92612
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO/reporter -[Contribution]

Trudeau, Michelle
9/4/2003 $250.00
Irvine, CA 92612

Trudeau, Michelle
9/30/2003 $250.00
Irvine, CA 92612

As you can see, all of the giving by NPR journalists went to Democratic candidates or the Democratic National Committee, which may give listeners the impression NPR and its political coverage was slanted in favor of Democrats.

While I believe it's laudable NPR has policies in place prohibiting such donations, the public record shows NPR journalists violated NPR ethical guidelines.

So what is NPR management doing about the donations? Is management aware of the donations? Will NPR ask that the contributions be returned? Should NPR post the donations on its web site or include the information in an on-air story? If it's determined the giving broke NPR policy, will the journalists be reprimanded?

A prompt reply is respectfully requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA
Ph: 415-621-6267

Thursday, November 04, 2004



I appreciate your concern, but Ross and I live together. We have been partners for five years. I have not written about his campaign nor about the District 5 race. My bosses let me come to San Francisco Tuesday to be with him.Thanks.

Evelyn Nieves


Dear Ms. Nieves:

Thanks for replying so quickly. While I understand you're not writing about Mirkarimi or his campaign in the Haight Ashbury district, I do wonder if your $500 donation to his campaign violated any Wash Post ethical guidelines. I am under the impression that the paper prohibits reporters from political donations, even if the reporter is not writing about a given candidate. Has the post adapted its rules about this since Kurtz wrote about them back in January?

Michael Petrelis
San Francisco, CA


Dear Mr. Petrelis:

The standard for reporters is not to donate to any campaign because it compromises objectivity.

In my case, I was already compromised because Ross Mirkarimi is my domestic partner and of course I was rooting for him. So donating to his campaign does not further compromise me.

The rule is; I stay out of writing about the particular race and/or any of the candidates in that race.

I hope this answers your questions once and for all.

Evelyn Nieves

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

If you read Howard Kurtz's Washington Post front-page January 17 article about reporters donating to politicians and the policies news media outlets maintain about such giving, you know that the paper prohibits its reporters from making donations.

Kurtz reported that "Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. said he would discuss the matter with the reporters' editors. 'You can't make political contributions at all,' he said, citing the paper's policy." (Source:

If that's the policy, then what the heck is Post reporter Evelyn Nieves doing giving $500 to Ross Mirkarimi, Green Party candidate for San Francisco's Board of Supervisors for District 8, the Haight Ashbury neighborhood?

According to public records at the San Francisco Ethics Commission, Nieves made her contribution back in June and listed her employer as the Post.

Here's the data from commission:

Transaction Type: RCPT (Contribution)
Name of Filer: Ross Mirkarimi For Supervisor
ID Number : 1265795

Committee Treasurer Candidate Name
Regina Dick-Endrizzi N/A

Contributor's Name
Evelyn Nieves
San Francisco , CA
94117 0000

Contributor's Occupation/Employer
Washington Post
Self employed

Type of Receipt Report Filed on
Monetary Contribution
Form 460 Schedule A
Semi-annual - 06/30/2004

Date Received


As you can imagine, the Mirkarimi campaign is quite proud of Nieves's support for him, which is why his web site lists her as an endorser. (Source:

Nieves may want to familiarize herself with the Post's policies about political giving, or at least read about those policies in Kurtz's article in January.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

It appears as though two Washington Post journalists made donations to GOP election efforts, according to Federal Election Commission files available at the PoliticalMoneyLine site.

I say appears because I wonder if the journalists paid either the National Republican Congressional Committee or the GOP of Virginia for access to a media facilities room while covering an event.

On the other hand, if these donations were indeed contributions, then I believe the Washington Post has a duty to inform readers of the donations, both in print and on the paper's web site.

Hsu, Spencer Mr.
8/4/2004 $1,031.00
Washington, DC 20071
Washington Post/Reporter -[Contribution]

Hunter, Stephen C Mr.
6/1/2004 $250.00
Baltimore, MD 21224
Washington Post/Writer -[Contribution]

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

October 13, 2004

Daily Cal
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA

Dear Editor:

Since April of this year I've been tracking on my blog,, political donations from journalists and media personalities to candidates running for president and the Democratic and Republican parties, so I am quite familiar with who's funding this year's national races.

Thanks to Google's search engine, I came across your October 8 story on the web about contributions from UC employees and professors in this year's race for the White House.

The article reported one UC Berkeley professor, Mr. Donald A. Glaser, coughed up $25,000 for the Democratic National Committee, but he's not the only campus professor to give so much to the Democrats.

Federal Election Commission files reveal professor Edward E. Penhoet, dean of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, also gave $25,000 to the Democratic National Committee. Penhoet made his hefty contribution on July 28.

If professors can make such hefty gifts to major political parties, it may be because they are very well compensated by the University of California, and have vast sums of cash to throw into the political arena. Or perhaps the professors possess family money or have made wise investments, allowing them to participate in the political process at a level many Americans can only dream about.

In any case, I hope the Daily Cal will investigate further and report on other large contributions from UC Berkeley professors.

Michael Petrelis
2215-R Market Street, #413
San Francisco, CA 94114
PH: 415-621-6267

- - -

Penhoet, Edward E Dean
7/28/2004 $25,000.00
Berkeley, CA 94705
UC Berkley/Dean -[Contribution]

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Bush campaign's vilification of supposed flip-flops by Kerry is like the kettle calling the post black, when the issue of importing lower-priced drugs from Canada is broached.

Comparing what Bush said four years ago in his third debate with Al Gore about the issue with his comments during his second debate with Kerry last Friday, the record, in my opinion, is abundantly clear -- Bush engaged in flip-flopping.

Four years ago, Bush said nothing about the safety of drugs imported from other countries, but, now he's expressing concerns the drugs from Canada or "a third world [sic]" might not be

If the drugs taken by Canadians or people in the third world were unsafe and harming or killing citizens abroad, I think the press would have reported on this. Seems to me Bush and his handlers have more explaining to do about the president's nuanced changed position on imported drugs.

Below are excerpted transcripts from the respective debates, showing Kerry was correct in Friday's debate in pointing out Bush's position has changed.

October 17, 2000

The Third Gore-Bush Presidential Debate

MODERATOR: All right. Another -- the next question also on health issue is from -- it will be asked by Marie Payne Kloep, and it goes to Governor Bush.

MEMBER OF AUDIENCE: Are either of you concerned with -- are either of you concerned with finding some feasible way to lower the price of pharmaceutical drugs such as education on minimizing intake, revamp of the FDA process or streamlining the drug companies' procedures instead of just finding more money to pay for them?

BUSH: Well, that's a great question. I think one of the problems we have, particularly for seniors, is there is no prescription drug coverage in Medicare. And therefore, when they have to try to purchase drugs they do so on their own, there's no kind of collective bargaining, no power of purchasing among seniors. So I think step one to make sure prescription drugs is more affordable for seniors, and those are the folks who really rely upon prescription drugs a lot these days, is to reform the Medicare system, is to have precipitation drugs as an integral part of Medicare once and for all. The problem we have today is like the patient's bill of rights, particularly with health care, there's a lot of bickering in Washington, D.C. It's kind of like a political issue as opposed to a people issue. So what I want to do is I want to call upon Republicans and Democrats to forget all the arguing and finger pointing, and come together and take care of our seniors' prescription drug program, that says we'll pay for the poor seniors, we'll help all seniors with prescription drugs. In the meantime, I think it's important to have what's called Immediate Helping Hand, which is direct money to states so that seniors, poor seniors, don't have to choose between food and medicine. That's part of an overall overhaul. The purchasing powers. And I'm against price controls. I think price controls would hurt our ability to continue important research and development. Drug therapies are replacing a lot of medicines as we used to know it. One of the most important things is to continue the research and development component. And so I'm against price controls. Expediting drugs through the FDA makes sense, of course. Allowing the new bill that was passed in the Congress made sense to allow for, you know, drugs that were sold overseas to come back and other countries to come back into the United States. That makes sense. But the best thing to do is to reform Medicare.

- - -

October 8, 2004

The Second Bush-Kerry Presidential Debate

GIBSON: Mr. President, we're going to turn to questions now on domestic policy. And we're going to start with health issues.

And the first question is for President Bush and it's from John Horstman.

HORSTMAN: Mr. President, why did you block the reimportation of safer and inexpensive drugs from Canada which would have cut 40 to 60 percent off of the cost?

BUSH: I haven't yet. Just want to make sure they're safe. When a drug comes in from Canada, I want to make sure it cures you and doesn't kill you.

And that's why the FDA and that's why the surgeon general are looking very carefully to make sure it can be done in a safe way. I've got an obligation to make sure our government does everything we can to protect you.

And what my worry is is that, you know, it looks like it's from Canada, and it might be from a third world.

And we've just got to make sure, before somebody thinks they're buying a product, that it works. And that's why we're doing what we're doing.

Now, it may very well be here in December you'll hear me say, I think there's a safe way to do it.

There are other ways to make sure drugs are cheaper. One is to speed up generic drugs to the marketplace, quicker. Pharmaceuticals were using loopholes to keep brand -- brand drugs in place, and generics are much less expensive than brand drugs. And we're doing just that.

Another is to pass -- to get our seniors to sign up to these drug discount cards, and they're working.

Wanda Blackmore I met here from Missouri, the first time she bought drugs with her drug discount card, she paid $1.14, I think it was, for about $10 worth of drugs.

These cards make sense.

And, you know, in 2006 seniors are going to get prescription drug coverage for the first time in Medicare. Because I went to Washington to fix problems.

Medicare -- the issue of Medicare used to be called "Mediscare." People didn't want to touch it for fear of getting hurt politically.

I wanted to get something done. I think our seniors deserve a modern medical system. And in 2006, our seniors will get prescription drug coverage.

Thank you for asking.

GIBSON: Senator, a minute and a half.

KERRY: John, you heard the president just say that he thought he might try to be for it.

Four years ago, right here in this forum, he was asked the same question: Can't people be able to import drugs from Canada? You know what he said? "I think that makes sense. I think that's a good idea" -- four years ago.

Now, the president said, "I'm not blocking that." Ladies and gentlemen, the president just didn't level with you right now again.

He did block it, because we passed it in the United States Senate. We sent it over to the House, that you could import drugs. We took care of the safety issues.

We're not talking about third-world drugs. We're talking about drugs made right here in the United States of America that have American brand names on them and American bottles. And we're asking to be able to allow you to get them.

The president blocked it. The president also took Medicare, which belongs to you. And he could have lowered the cost of Medicare and lowered your taxes and lowered the costs to seniors.

You know what he did? He made it illegal, illegal for Medicare to do what the V.A. does, which is bulk purchase drugs so that you can lower the price and get them out to you lower.

He put $139 billion of windfall profit into the pockets of the drug companies right out of your pockets. That's the difference between us. The president sides with the power companies, the oil companies, the drug companies. And I'm fighting to let you get those drugs from Canada, and I'm fighting to let Medicare survive.

I'm fighting for the middle class. That is the difference.

BUSH: If they're safe, they're coming. I want to remind you that it wasn't just my administration that made the decision on safety. President Clinton did the same thing, because we have an obligation to protect you.

Now, he talks about Medicare. He's been in the United States Senate 20 years. Show me one accomplishment toward Medicare that he accomplished.

I've been in Washington, D.C., three and a half years and led the Congress to reform Medicare so our seniors have got a modern health care system. That's what leadership is all about.

KERRY: Actually, Mr. President, in 1997 we fixed Medicare, and I was one of the people involved in it.

We not only fixed Medicare and took it way out into the future, we did something that you don't know how to do: We balanced the budget. And we paid down the debt of our nation for two years in a row, and we created 23 million new jobs at the same time.

And it's the president's fiscal policies that have driven up the biggest deficits in American history. He's added more debt to the debt of the United States in four years than all the way from George Washington to Ronald Reagan put together. Go figure.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

The chief executive officer of the Time Warner media empire, Mr. Richard D. Parsons, in 2003 donated the maximum allowed by law for a primary election, $2,000, to the Bush/Cheney reelection campaign, according to records from the Federal Election Commission.

Parsons is not the only Time Warner executive who gave to Bush and Cheney's primary race last year. At least nine other high-level people from the conglomerate contributed $2,000 to Bush/Cheney last year.

Time Warner's political action committee also tilts toward the GOP, judging by the PAC's records. During the current election cycle, the Time Warner PAC doled out $53,000 to GOP committees; while $35,000 went to Democratic election committees.

Donations to congressional candidates from Time Warner's PAC for the same election cycle are similarly biased. Republican Senate and House candidates took in $200,229, and $123,245 to Democratic candidates.

Since the donations come from Time Warner executives and their PAC, I don't believe the giving in any way compromises the political reporting of the corporations media outlets, such as Time magazine and CNN.

However, the contributions reveal something about the political leanings of the top people running Time Warner, which should be disclosed on Time Warner's web site.

Below are listings of donations by the executives and the PAC. All information comes from

Case, Stephen M. Mr.
6/19/2003 $2,000.00
Washington, DC 20036
AOL Time Warner/board member -[Contribution]

Barry, Lisa B. Mrs.
6/19/2003 $2,000.00
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
A.O.L. Time Warner/Senior Vice Pres -[Contribution]

Bentley, Shawn Marion Mr.
6/17/2003 $2,000.00
Fairfax, VA 22032
A.O.L. Time Warner/Lawyer/Lobbyist -[Contribution]

Buckley, John Mr.
6/16/2003 $2,000.00
Washington, DC 20016
A.O.L./Executive Vice President -[Contribution]

Kimmitt, Robert M. Mr.
6/17/2003 $2,000.00
Arlington, VA 22207
A.O.L. Time Warner/Executive -[Contribution]

Lane, Laura Ms.
6/17/2003 $2,000.00
Dunn Loring, VA 22027
A.O.L. Time Warner/Vice President -[Contribution]

7/28/2003 $2,000.00
OAKTON, VA 22124
A.O.L. INC./INVESTOR -[Contribution]

3/17/2004 $1,000.00
MC LEAN, VA 22101

Nelson, Lisa B. Mrs.
6/17/2003 $1,000.00
Mc Lean, VA 22101
A.O.L. Time Warner/Government Relat -[Contribution]

Parsons, Richard D. Mr.
6/17/2003 $2,000.00
New York, NY 10019
A.O.L. Time & Warner/Chairman & C.E -[Contribution]

7/21/2003 $2,000.00
A.O.L. TIME WARNER/ADVISOR -[Contribution]

- - -


P114 political organizations - pro democrat

P114 political organizations - pro democrat

P113 political organizations - pro republican

P113 political organizations - pro republican

- - -

FEC Filing Status: MONTHLY
FEC ID: C00339291
To DEM Cands: $123,245
To REP Cands: $200,229
To OTH Cands: $0
The Associated Press put out a story yesterday about a small drop of syphilis cases in the Palm Springs area, which is in Riverside County.

Year-to-date syphilis cases for that California county dropped from 78 last year to 73 in 2004, a modest decline, but one worthy of an AP wire story.

Similar good news about syphilis dropping in San Francisco is contained in the latest monthly STD report from the local department of public health.

Through the end of August 2003, San Francisco recorded 465 syphilis cases, while 450 cases have been reported for the same period in 2004.

By my estimation, this is a 3.3 percent decline, yet it hasn't been noted in any media reports thus far.

Falling syphilis rates in two California counties, both with high concentrations of gay male residents, should be reported on, if only to keep the public informed about syphilis rates and to encourage the safe-sex practices contributing to the declines.

For a copy of the latest monthly STD report for San Francisco, go to

Wednesday, October 6, 2004
Riverside County cases of syphilis decline slightly

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. (AP) - The number of syphilis cases reported in Riverside County has declined slightly but health officials warn that the epidemic is far from over.

Seventy-three cases of syphilis were reported in the county through August compared with 78 cases during the same period in 2003.

The yearly total for 2003 was 105.

Health officials began issuing warnings in 2002 after the number of cases rose to 94 from 25 a year earlier.

While easily treatable, syphilis can cause serious illness and death if left unchecked, and infected people can go years without knowing they have it.

Most cases continue to involve homosexual men and are centered in the Palm Springs area, a popular desert resort for gays.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I've been tuning in Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart because it's funny, satirizes politicians of all parties, and has tremendous influence over younger voters, many of whom are either slackers or stoners, maybe both.

While Stewart has steadfastly refused to say whether he or his show lean favorably toward Democrats or Republicans, public records from the Federal Election Commission available on the site reveal a different story.

Three writers for the Daily Show have donated a total of $1,500 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, and other contributions have been made to Howard Dean's campaign and a Democratic PAC.

I believe these donations show a Democratic tilt on the part of individual writers, even though the Daily Show poke fun equally at Democrats and the GOP.

The Daily Show's viewers may not give a hoot about these donations, but it behooves Stewart and his producers to disclose the donations to the audience.

Let's hope that between now and election day that Stewart informs his audience about his writers donating to Kerry.

Javerbaum, David
6/30/2004 $750.00
New York, NY 10011
Daily Show with Jon Stewart/head wr -[Contribution]

Jacobson, Scott
4/1/2004 $250.00
Brooklyn, NY 11232
The Daily Show/Writer -[Contribution]

Regan, Chris
5/8/2004 $500.00
New York, NY 10036
The Daily Show/Writer -[Contribution]

Regan, Chris
6/25/2003 $250.00
New York, NY 10036
The Daily Show/Comedy Writer -[Contribution]

9/16/1999 $250.00
NEW YORK, NY 10128
DAILY SHOW -[Contribution]

I've been tuning in Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart because it's funny, satirizes politicians of all parties, and has tremendous influence over younger voters, many of whom are either slackers or stoners, maybe both.

While Stewart has steadfastly refused to say whether he or his show lean favorably toward Democrats or Republicans, public records from the Federal Election Commission available on the site reveal a different story.

Three writers for the Daily Show have donated a total of $1,500 to Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, and other contributions have been made to Howard Dean's campaign and a Democratic PAC.

I believe these donations show a Democratic tilt on the part of individual writers, even though the Daily Show poke fun equally at Democrats and the GOP.

The Daily Show's viewers may not give a hoot about these donations, but it behooves Stewart and his producers to disclose the donations to the audience.

Let's hope that between now and election day that Stewart informs his audience about his writers donating to Kerry.

Javerbaum, David
6/30/2004 $750.00
New York, NY 10011
Daily Show with Jon Stewart/head wr -[Contribution]

Jacobson, Scott
4/1/2004 $250.00
Brooklyn, NY 11232
The Daily Show/Writer -[Contribution]

Regan, Chris
5/8/2004 $500.00
New York, NY 10036
The Daily Show/Writer -[Contribution]

Regan, Chris
6/25/2003 $250.00
New York, NY 10036
The Daily Show/Comedy Writer -[Contribution]

9/16/1999 $250.00
NEW YORK, NY 10128
DAILY SHOW -[Contribution]

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Rolling Stone magazine this week published an interview with Bruce Springsteen in which he discusses his political views and the reasons why he's leading a concert tour in swing states to try and sway the presidential election.

Springsteen made the following comment about his political beliefs.

"But still, basically, I wanted to remain an independent voice for the audience that came to my shows. We've tried to build up a lot of credibility over the years, so that if we took a stand on something, people would receive it with an open mind. Part of not being particularly partisan was just an effort to remain a very thoughtful voice in my fans' lives," Springsteen said.

He said something similar in his August 5 essay for the op-ed page of the New York Times. "Personally, for the last 25 years I have always stayed one step away from partisan politics," wrote Springsteen.

While The Boss may think he's maintained an independent approach to politics, his Federal Election Commission files reveal another story.

Since 1984 he's donated $12,000 to Democrat Bill Bradley's senatorial and presidential campaign, and to Democratic political action committees.

Springsteen's wife, singer Patti Scialfa, also gave $1,000 to Bradley's presidential effort in 2000.

In my opinion, these donations show Springsteen to be a Democratic supporter, not that there's anything wrong with that, but The Boss should be more forthcoming about his contributions in the past to Democrats.

And both the New York Times and Rolling Stone have a duty to inform readers of his political donations, which neither publication saw fit to do in giving Springsteen space in their pages.

The following donations come from, and Springsteen's interview with Rolling Stone follows the donations.

Springsteen, Bruce Mr.
2/23/2000 $1,000.00
Rumson, NJ 07760
Self-Employed/Entertainer -[Contribution]

11/2/1992 $5,000.00

9/27/1986 $5,000.00
NEW YORK, NY 10022

10/13/1984 $1,000.00
SELF-EMPLOYED -[Contribution]

Springsteen, Patti Ms.
2/23/2000 $1,000.00
Rumson, NJ 07760

"We've Been Misled"

Springsteen talks about his conscience, and the nature of an artist and his audience


Q: Do you see these Vote for Change concerts reaching undecided voters, or are they more to rally the energy of people who have made up their minds?

A: I always felt that the musician's job, as I experienced it growing up, was to provide an alternative source of information, a spiritual and social rallying place, somewhere you went to have a communal experience.

I don't know if someone is going to run to the front of the stage and shout, "I'm saved" or "I'm switching," but I'm going to try. I will be calling anyone in a bow tie to come to the front of the stage, and I'll see what I can do.

Q: In a practical sense, what are you accomplishing?

A: First of all, we have a large group of musicians -- Dave Matthews, the Dixie Chicks, Pearl Jam, R.E.M., John Fogerty, James Taylor and many others -- who are coming together as a rallying point for change. I think the concerts are going to be an energizing experience for all who come. Of course, I've met a few people who, in a very friendly way, said they are not coming.

Basically, the concerts are raising money specifically for America Coming Together to do very practical things: voter education, to go out and mobilize voters, to go door-to-door, to assist voters getting to the polls. They're the real foot soldiers who are going to get out the progressive vote. That's probably the concerts' most important result.

Q: Why did you stay away from being actively involved in partisan politics for so long?

A: I didn't grow up in a very political household. The only politics I heard was from my mother. I came home from grade school, where someone asked me if I was Republican or Democrat, and I asked my mom, "Well, what are we?" She said, "We're Democrats, 'cause Democrats are for the working people." I was politicized by the Sixties, like most of the other people of that generation at that time. I can remember doing a concert when I was probably in my very late teens, helping to bus people down to Washington for an anti-war demonstration.

But still, basically, I wanted to remain an independent voice for the audience that came to my shows. We've tried to build up a lot of credibility over the years, so that if we took a stand on something, people would receive it with an open mind. Part of not being particularly partisan was just an effort to remain a very thoughtful voice in my fans' lives.

I always liked being involved actively more at a grass-roots level, to act as a partisan for a set of ideals: civil rights, economic justice, a sane foreign policy, democracy. That was the position I felt comfortable coming from.

Q: Did it make you more credible if you avoided endorsing an individual?

A: It makes people less likely to marginalize you or pigeonhole you. Taking a definite stand on this election has probably provided some extra definition to the work I've been doing over the years. Our band is in pretty much what I think of as the center. So if I wrote, say, "American Skin," which was controversial, it couldn't easily be dismissed, because people had faith that I was a measured voice. That's been worth something, and it's something I don't want to lose. But we have drifted far from that center, and this is a time to be very specific about where I stand.

Q: Because you scrupulously avoided commercial use of your music, you built a reputation for integrity and conscience. You must be aware of the potency of that.

A: I tried to build a reputation for thoughtfulness -- that was the main thing I was aiming for. I took the songs, the issues and the people I was writing about seriously. I wanted it to be an entertaining but thoughtful presentation. If there was a goal, it was as simple as that.

Q: Now you're asking your audience to think even more about and explore what else you're saying in your songs.

A: There are a portion of your fans who do quite a bit of selective listening. That's the way that people use pop music, and that's part of the way it rolls. The upside is that there has been an increased definition about the things I've written about and where I stand on certain issues. That's been a good thing.

I think that a more complicated picture of who you are as an artist and who they are as an audience emerges. The example I've been giving is that I've been an enormous fan of John Wayne all my life, although not a fan of his politics. I've made a place for all those different parts of who he was. I find deep inspiration and soulfulness in his work.

Your audience invests a lot in you, a very personal investment. There is nothing more personal, in some ways, than the music people listen to. I know from my own experience how you identify and relate to the person singing. You have put your fingerprints on their imagination. That is very, very intimate. When something cracks the mirror, it can be hard for the fan who you have asked to identify with you.

Pop musicians live in the world of symbology. You live and die by the symbol in many ways. You serve at the behest of your audience's imagination. It's a complicated relationship. So you're asking people to welcome the complexity in the interest of fuller and more honest communication.

The audience and the artist are valuable to one another as long as you can look out there and see yourself, and they look back and see themselves. That's asking quite a bit, but that is what happens. When that bond is broken, by your own individual beliefs, personal thoughts or personal actions, it can make people angry. As simple as that. You're asking for a broader, more complicated relationship with the members of your audience than possibly you've had in the past.

Q: What do you stand to lose or gain from this as an artist?

A: As an artist and a citizen, you're gaining a chance to take part in moving the country in the direction of its deepest ideals. Artists are always speaking to people's freedoms. The shout for freedom and its implications was implicit in rock & roll from its inception. Freedom can only find its deepest meaning within a community of purpose. So as an individual I'm getting to take a small part in that process.

As an artist, I'd like to have a broader understanding with all the different segments of my audience and have a deeper experience when we come out and play for people. I think that's something that could be gained, and that's something worth doing. I tend to think a relatively small amount of people might get turned off by it, 'cause I've tried to do this as thoughtfully as possible, and because any relationship worth something can take some rough-and-tumble. We'll see.

Q: This has obviously been on your mind for a while. How did you come to this decision?

A: I knew after we invaded Iraq that I was going to be involved in the election. It made me angry. We started to talk about it onstage. I take my three minutes a night for what I call my public-service announcement. We talked about it almost every night on our summer tour.

I felt we had been misled. I felt they had been fundamentally dishonest and had frightened and manipulated the American people into war. And as the saying goes, "The first casualty of war is truth." I felt that the Bush doctrine of pre-emption was dangerous foreign policy. I don't think it has made America safer.

Look at what is going on now: We are quickly closing in on what looks an awful lot like the Vietnamization of the Iraq war. John McCain is saying we could be there for ten or twenty years, and John Kerry says four years. How many of our best young people are going to die between now and that time, and what exactly for? Initially I thought I was going to take my acoustic guitar and play in some theaters, find some organizations to work for and do what I could. I was going to lend my voice for a change in the administration and a change in the direction of the country.

Sitting on the sidelines would be a betrayal of the ideas I'd written about for a long time. Not getting involved, just sort of maintaining my silence or being coy about it in some way, just wasn't going to work this time out. I felt that it was a very clear historical moment.

Q: So there wasn't a moment of doubt in your mind about what the right thing to do was?

A: It was something that gestated over a period of time, and as events unfolded and the election got closer, it became clearer. I don't want to watch the country devolve into an oligarchy, watch the division of wealth increase and see another million people beneath the poverty line this year. These are all things that have been the subtext of so much of my music, and to see the country move so quickly to the right, so much further to the right than what the president campaigned on -- these are the things that removed whatever doubt I may have had about getting involved.

Q: Are you expecting to have your motives severely criticized?

A: That's just a part of what happens. You understand you're going to be attacked in different ways. That just comes with it. That wasn't any concern.

Q: Do you think there is a climate of trying to intimidate artists and creative people?

A: People are always trying to shut up the people they don't agree with -- through any means necessary, usually. There certainly was an attempt to intimidate the Dixie Chicks. What happened to them was a result of war fever - simple as that, war fever. They've handled it incredibly. They are very smart, tough women, and they did not back down. But it's one of those sad paradoxes that in theory we're fighting for freedom, and the first thing people are willing to throw out is freedom of speech at home and castigate anybody who is coming from a different point of view.

Q: A lot of people think that you have no right as an artist to comment on this or play a role in politics.

A: I don't know if a lot of people think that. It is something that is said. It's sort of part of the "Punch and Judy" show that goes on when people disagree with what you're saying.

Q: How much do you follow this election?

A: I think that Senator Kerry has long played it close to the vest, and that's his style. However, the presidency is like the heavyweight championship: They don't give it to you, you have to take it. He has a slow, deliberate style that may not make for an electrifying campaigner, but it may make for a very good president. But, of course, you have to get there.

One of the most disturbing aspects of this election is that the machinery for taking something that is a lie and making it feel true, or taking something that is true and making it feel like a lie -- the selling machinery has become very powerful. Senator Kerry has to make people pay attention to the man behind the curtain. He has to take the risk and rip the veil off the administration's deceptions. They are a hall of mirrors and a house of cards.

For Senator Kerry, the good news is he has the facts on his side. The bad news is that often in the current climate it can feel like that doesn't matter, and he has to make it matter.

Q: What do you think of how the election is being covered and conducted through the press?

A: The press has let the country down. It's taken a very amoral stand, in that essential issues are often portrayed as simply one side says this and the other side says that. I think that Fox News and the Republican right have intimidated the press into an incredible self-consciousness about appearing objective and backed them into a corner of sorts where they have ceded some of their responsibility and righteous power.

The Washington Post and New York Times apologies about their initial reporting about Iraq not being critical enough were very revealing. I am a dedicated Times reader, and I've found enormous sustenance from Paul Krugman and Maureen Dowd on the op-ed page. There has been great reporting, but there has also been some self-consciousness in some of the reporting about the policy differences in this election.

This is going to be an issue after the election. I don't know if it began with the Iraq War, but shortly thereafter there was an enormous amount of Fox impersonators among what you previously thought were relatively sane media outlets across the cable channels. It was very disheartening. The job of the press is to tell the truth without fear or favor. We have to get back to that standard.

The free press is supposed to be the lifeline and the blood of democracy. That is the position of responsibility that those institutions have. Those things are distorted by ratings and by money to where you're getting one hour of the political conventions. No matter how staged they are, I think they're a little more important than people eating bugs. I think that for those few nights, the political life of the nation should take priority, and the fact that it so casually does not means something is wrong. If you want to watch people eating bugs, that's fine, I can understand that, too, but let's do it on another night.

Real news is the news we need to protect our freedoms. You get tabloid news, you get blood-and-guts news, you get news shot through with a self-glorifying facade of patriotism, but people have to sift too much for the news that we need to protect our freedoms. It should be gloriously presented to the people on a nightly basis. The loss of some of the soberness and seriousness of those institutions has had a devastating effect upon people's ability to respond to the events of the day.

Q: Do you think the press is leading us away from a fair and objective reading of this election?

A: It's gotten very complicated, and I think it's blurred the truth. Whether you like the Michael Moore film or not, a big part of its value was that it showed how sanitized the war that we received on television at night is. The fact that the administration refused to allow photographs of the flag-draped coffins of returning dead, that the president hasn't shown up at a single military funeral for the young people who gave their lives for his policies, is disgraceful. You have the Swift-boat guys who have been pretty much discredited, but there is an atmosphere that is created by so much willing media exposure that it imparts them credibility.

Q: What do you think the responsibility of the artist is in society?

A: There is a long tradition of the artist being involved in the life of the nation. For me, it goes back to Woody Guthrie, James Brown, Curtis Mayfield and Bob Dylan. These were all people who were alternative sources of information. When Dylan hit in the mid-Sixties, he brought with him as true a reading of what was going on as was out there.

People have the choice to not listen, but you have these business lobbyists who affect the direction of public policy. For example, what is going on with the assault-rifle ban is disgusting. The labor unions try to affect policy in their fashion. Artists do it by talking and singing and addressing the life of the mind.

I don't think the audience are lemmings. They get their various points of view from a lot of places. I try to come in and be that alternative source of information. I try to speak my case as directly as I can. If that makes you angry, that's fine. The artist is there to open up discourse, to get people thinking about American identity: Who are we? What do we fight for? What do we stand for? I view these things as a fundamental part of my job, and they have been for the past thirty years.

Q: You've tried to think long and hard about what it means to be an American and about our distinctive identity and position in the world. What is that great thing about America that appeals to you that you are fighting for?

A: I felt I lived the prototypical American life - the way I grew up, the town I grew up in, my family life. Things that I cared about, things that I aspired to, they were just something that naturally came to me when I wrote. I think that this particular election is, at the core, a debate about the soul of the nation. I think we can move toward greater economic justice for all of our citizens, or we cannot. I think we can move toward a sane, responsible foreign policy, or we cannot. For me, these are issues that go right to the heart of the spiritual life of the nation. That is something I have written about. It cannot be abandoned and is worth fighting and fighting and fighting for.

When you embark on a creative life, it has a dynamic of its own. You are partially directing it, and you are partially riding the wave. If your work is threaded into people's lives and into the life of your town, your family, your country, then you're like everybody else -- you're at the mercy of events, you're borne along on the currents of time and history.

It's sort of "Gee, I came from this place, I wrote songs about these things that mattered to me." I was serious about them. I was serious about taking what I had written and having some practical impact, which we started to do in the early Eighties. Nothing fancy. I can play my guitar, I can make a few bucks, I can bring some attention to some folks doing the real work and have some small impact in the towns we visit. You move down the road and it just sort of . . . happens.

Q: Did you feel the call of your nation or the call of your community?

A: I don't know. Personally, I wouldn't view myself as that kind of valuable.

Q: So you feel the call from your heart?

A: Yeah, I can hear the bells chiming. I've had a long life with my audience. I always tell the story about the guy with The Rising: "Hey, Bruce, we need you!" he yelled at me through the car window. That's about the size of it: You get a few letters that say, "Hey, man, we need you." You bump into some people at a club and you say, "Hey, man, what's going on?" And they go, "Hey, we need you." Yeah, they don't really need me, but I'm proud if they need what I do. That's what my band is. That's what we were built for.