Saturday, December 19, 2009

Who wrote the works of Shakespeare?

Actor Keir Cutler, Ph.D., tells what changed his mind about Shakespeare’s authorship, and why he signed the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt About the Identity of William Shakespeare (

The “Declaration of Reasonable Doubt” provides a brief, but definitive overview of the evidence and arguments for and against William Shakespeare of Stratford as the author. Nearly three dozen Shakespeare scholars helped write it, and even some well-known supporters of the traditional attribution of the works have praised it. The Declaration is needed because most Shakespeare scholars say there’s no doubt who wrote the works.

Among the many prominent people who have signed the Declaration are actors Sir Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons, Michael York and Mark Rylance, founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, and former U.S. Supreme Court Justices John Paul Stevens and Sandra Day O’Connor. More than 660 people with advanced degrees, and over 330 current or former college and university faculty members, have also signed.

The Declaration can be read and signed online at the website of the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition (SAC) at: Please read and consider it, and if you agree, go to the signing page and add your name. Then, help spread the word!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dating While HIV-Positive: Should I Date Only Others With HIV?
Elisabeth Pernicone

HIV-positive individuals face two options regarding dating: date another individual who is infected with the virus, or date an individual who is HIV-negative.

A greater understanding of the infection, and the use of condoms, has reduced the likelihood of an HIV-negative individual acquiring the virus, if they are in a romantic relationship with someone who is HIV-positive.

These couples are known as serodiscordant partners.

However, dating while infected with the virus poses many questions.

Should infected individuals date only others who are also infected? If they begin dating someone who is HIV-negative, when should they disclose their status – before the first date? Or once a mutual interest in each other has been established?

Internet users are split on these issues.

“Ask Mona Lisa,” an advice column on, has offered guidance to people writing in on this topic.

“Give [the person] a chance to get to know you as a person and not you as your status. Go out on a few dates and see how things develop,” Mona Lisa replied.

In an article published in Survival news, author David Salyer said it is most important to disclose one’s status before engaging in any sexual activity.

However, others feel that it is best to be upfront about being HIV-positive before the first date. This way there are no surprises and the individual is being honest with a potential romantic interest.

By practicing safe sex, the risk of transmitting HIV to a non-infected partner can be greatly reduced.

A study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine followed 415 mixed-status couples in Uganda for 30 months.

By the end of the study, 22 percent of HIV-negative individuals acquired HIV. Of those who acquired HIV, 56 percent were female.

Male to female transmission of the virus is more frequent during vaginal sex for several reasons.

First, the volume of semen secretions is greater than cervical secretions, according to Dr. Maria Patterson, who treats HIV positive children at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Michigan.

Also, abrasions to the vaginal wall during traumatic intercourse make it easier for the virus to enter a female.

Patterson stated that is it hard to measure the transmission rate for HIV, versus other infections such as gonorrhea. It is believed that female to male transmission in serodiscordant couples is less than 1 in 1000, according to Patterson.

The authors in the study on serodiscordant couples noted that there was a low instance of condom use in the study, due to the region of the world in which it was conducted.

The study also analyzed the role of viral loads, or amount of virus in the blood, in acquiring HIV.

It was concluded that viral load is the main indicator of whether a HIV-negative partner will acquire the virus. The study said that transmission is rare in individuals with viral loads of less than 1,500 copies per milliliter of blood.

Sexual Activity With Other HIV-Positive Individuals
Two people already infected with HIV may believe no harm can occur from having unprotected sex.

However, this is not the case. A superinfection can occur. This is when a person already infected with HIV is later infected with a different strain of the virus.

Research has indicated that there is a time period when an infected individual is most likely to be re-infected with a second strain. This is most likely to occur within the first three years of infection.

A study published in PLoS One states that being infected with more than one strain of the virus could potentially lead to resistance against certain types of antiretroviral medications.

While much remains unknown about a superinfection, researchers believe that its occurrence is more prevalent than previously thought.

The study indicated that prior research has shown that superinfections existed in four to eight percent of HIV infected women studied in Kenya. This rate may be as high as 19 percent in the high-risk areas of Tanzania.

A superinfection can also result in increased viral loads, according to AIDSMap, a non-profit organization in the United Kingdom.

Higher viral loads can weaken the immune system, meaning the virus is reproducing more copies in the body.

The best way to prevent a superinfection from occurring is to always use a condom with any type of sexual activity. Minimizing the number of sexual partners with HIV also decreases the likelihood.

Online Dating Web Sites

Several online-dating Web sites exist for HIV positive individuals.

Positive Dating is an online service that aims to help HIV positive individuals “make new friends, form romantic relationships, meet life partners, or even receive helpful guidance and advice from others in the HIV-positive community.”

HIV Passions is another online Web site that helps connect people looking for romance, friendship, or emotional support.

Membership is free and members also have access to HIV discussion boards.

Copyright © 2011 The AIDS Beacon

HIV superinfection: it's real. (Treatment News).: An article from: HIV Treatment: ALERTS!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Edward Woodward (1930-2009)
by Michael Burgess for

Edward Woodward’s career impressed three generations throughout the English-speaking world. Of course, he was best known to American audiences as Robert McCall in “The Equalizer,” but he was so much more than that.

He distinguished himself as a singer (12 albums), as an actor on the Shakespearean stage (“Hamlet”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Pericles”, “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Measure for Measure”) and on the Broadway stage in “High Spirits” (1964).

His name was mocked by many. Sir Noel Coward said it sounded like farting in the bath. One newspaper journalist called him, “Edward Woodward, would-be winner of the wooden words award.” It was a jingle. It was a schoolyard game.

What about the soaps: “EastEnders” (2009)? What about the sitcoms: “Common as Muck” (1994-1997)?

What about the feature films? Horror buffs revere him as the virgin policeman sacrificed by Sir Christopher Lee’s witches in the original The Wicker Man (1973). Fans of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost remember Woodward as Tom Weaver, a different kind of cop in the comedy Hot Fuzz (2007).

In between was Breaker Morant (1980), a historical drama in which a squad of Australian soldiers serving in the Boer War unjustly face a death sentence at the hands of a corrupt British high command. During its theater release, Australians leaving the cinema at the end of the film seemed so stirred up with righteous anger, they shot daggers looks at my friend and me when they heard our English accents.

Such was the extraordinary ability of Woodward (an Associate Member of RADA) to play the stoical warrior downtrodden by circumstances and betrayed by his bosses. And, of his more than 2,000 television performances, his portrayal of the ex-SIS undercover man Callan created an icon, if not a genre.

Callan was the ultimate outsider called upon by unscrupulous civil servants to carry out the dirtiest jobs. His digs were squalid and his only sidekick, a disgusting snitch known as “Lonely,” had a body-odor problem: a running joke throughout the series, which ran from 1967 to 1972.

Aside from his tendency to beat people up and to be beaten, the coolest thing about the Callan series was the opening credit sequence in which a naked light bulb swung slowly to and fro until shattered by a pistol shot. And no baby boomer will forget the show’s chillingly simple bass guitar and piano theme tune.

Life seemed almost to imitate art when the inept mercenary Costas Georgiou (ultimately executed in Luanda in 1976 for war crimes during the Angolan War of Independence) adopted the nom de guerre “Colonel Callan.”

For my generation, it’s Callan who died of pneumonia on Nov. 16, 2009. And, for us, the sweetest thing about “The Equalizer” (87 episodes, 1985-1989) was the way Woodward’s Robert McCall, appeared to be an older Callan living out a long and prosperous retirement in a swanky Manhattan apartment, making wistful references to the terrible things the agency used to make him do when he was an undercover operative.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Converge on US Southern Command
Take action in solidarity with the people of Honduras

Gather on Sat., July 25 at 10:30 am at NW 87th Ave & NW 36th St in Miami

As you are surely aware, on June 28, SOA-trained Honduran generals overthrew the democratically-elected government of President Manuel Zelaya in a military coup. The Honduran social movements are resisting the coup regime and engage in daily pro-democracy protests, strikes and civil disobedience.

On Saturday, July 25, you can join human rights activists in Florida taking action in solidarity with the people of Honduras by converging on the headquarters of the US Southern Command (US SouthCom) in Miami.

SouthCom coordinates all US military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean — and is in charge of the SOA/ WHINSEC (School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation).

This notorious military school trained some of the worst human rights abusers, death squad and coup leaders in the Western Hemisphere, including General Romeo Orlando Vásquez Velásquez, who attended the SOA twice before ordering the kidnapping and forced deportation of President Zelaya on June 28.

When Your Only Tool is a Hammer, Every Problem Looks Like a Nail

SOA/ WHINSEC & SouthCom’s military-solutions-mindset is sowing the seeds for further repression of Latin American social movements with their rhetoric about “radical populism” overtaking the hemisphere. Over the last few years, military aid to Latin America has skyrocketed, and SouthCom definitions of terrorist threats expanded from “traditional terrorists” like gangs, paramilitaries and guerrilla groups to include “radical populists” whose only crimes include listening to their people and challenging the failed neoliberal model of development.

Evidently President Zelaya’s social reforms have put him in league with the “emerging terrorist” threat that is defined by SouthCom as radical populists. Following that logic, the Honduran army (which is still led by an SOA graduate and still being trained at the SOA/ WHINSEC) removed him from power. But the people of Honduras continue resisting, and are calling for you to join them in solidarity!

Obama’s military policy in Latin America is not an improvement after the Bush Era — though the US air base in Manta, Ecuador will close this year, the US will replace it with five new bases in Colombia with expanded missions. You have an important chance to join our brothers and sisters resisting militarization throughout the Americas. Please join us this Saturday at SouthCom!

The protest is sponsored by SOA Watch South Florida, Miami for Peace, and CODEPINK Miami. For more information call Ray Del Papa at 754-423-0051 or Linda at 305-801-0245. If your group would like to endorse the action, please email Ray at

Yours in struggle,
Linda and Ray

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Aung San Suu Kyi Framed

Posted by: Burmanews (Translation by Myo Thein (BDC)

According to the taxi driver who picked John William Yettaw up at the airport on May 2nd “John did not swim to Aung San Suu Kyi’s home”, John was dropped off at the gate of Suu Kyi’s home. Then the cabbie witnessed as John showed the guards a red document then was allowed to enter the compound where he donned flippers, got wet and pretended to swim across the lake and lied to Suu Kyi’s caretakers. According to John Yettaw’s wife, John was incapable of swimming since he suffered asthma and diabetes. He was also a very timid and fearful man according to his wife. The whole accounting is a fabrication from Naypyidaw to find an excuse to keep Aung Suu Kyi in jail.

With the level of security around Suu Kyi’s home it was all but impossible for anyone to enter her compound or even swim in the vicinity. But if you had permission from the junta you could move around with no restrictions. Either John was extorted somehow or he got a handsome financial reward for working with the junta. It’s a far cry from being a student of psychology. As we speak absolutely everything about John Yettaw is being dissected and his finances will surely be most reveling if there is any intercessions or unusual activity.

If the cabbies accounting is correct, John W. Yettaw will have to answer to US and International authorities on numerous charges including perpetrating fraud, conspiracy, human rights violations and violating US Government sanctions by working with the junta. He will also earn the honor of being one of the most hated men on every continent on the planet.

The desperate Gen. Than Shwe just keeps digging himself a deeper hole as he acts like a man possessed as the 2010 elections draw closer. But it is to no avail since the world has already determined this election to be a sham and a hoax. The only people Than Shwe will convince are his ardent followers who’ve cashed in their morality for the hard currency they enjoy under his regime. Many of them are international corporations and now more than ever it is time to revel all the players who finance Than Shwe’s bloody military junta. It is time to expose the individuals around the world who are lining their pockets with Than Shwe’s blood money. Some of them are affluent, wealthy society people.

Never before has the plight of Burma come into focus as has today. Than Shwe is making blunder after blunder as he tries to rally support for his bogus election. Now he has to do some major damage control since this latest antic has gotten the attention of the world and on all levels. Already many generals are completely at a loss for words as they find themselves in the fish bowl of world opinion. They are coming to realize that the game is all over in Burma. With words like defection, coup and assassination on their lips these days it’s only a matter of time before a consortium of generals make a move. Making deals and pining for immunity is also on their lips and when the rats abandon ship there will be plenty of witnesses to the inner workings of Than Shwe’s crime regime.

It just did not make sense that someone could simply swim to Aung San Suu Kyi’s home anyway.
©BNN-BurmaNews Network

Monday, May 04, 2009


40 years ago today!
The Healing of Suffering 
Punta de Vacas, Mendoza, Argentina, May 4, 1969
If you have come to listen to a man who it is thought transmits wisdom, you have mistaken your way, for true wisdom is not communicated through books or speeches—true wisdom is found in the depths of your consciousness, just as true love is found in the depths of your heart. If you have come at the urging of slanderers and hypocrites to listen to this man so that what you hear today may later be used against him, you have mistaken your way, because this man has not come here to ask anything of you or to use you, because he does not need you.
You are listening to a man who does not know the laws that rule the Universe, who is not privy to the laws of History, who is ignorant of the relationships that govern the peoples of the world. High in these mountains, far from the cities and their sick ambitions, this man addresses himself to your conscience. Over the cities, where each day is a struggle—a hope cut short by death—where love is followed by hate, where forgiveness is followed by revenge; over the cities of the people rich and poor; over the immense fields of humanity, a mantle of suffering and sorrow has fallen. You suffer when pain bites your body. You suffer when hunger seizes your body. But you suffer not only from your body’s immediate pain and hunger, you also suffer from the consequences of the diseases that afflict it.
We must distinguish between two types of suffering. There is the suffering that occurs during illness, which recedes with the advance of science, just as hunger can recede if the empire of justice advances. There is also the suffering that does not depend on the sickness of your body but yet derives from that sickness: If you are disabled, if you cannot see, if you cannot hear, you suffer. But though such suffering derives from your body, or from the diseases of your body, that suffering is of your mind.
There is yet another kind of suffering that does not recede even with the advance of science or with the advance of justice. This type of suffering, which belongs strictly to your mind, retreats before faith, before joy in life, before love. You must understand that this suffering is always rooted in the violence that exists in your own consciousness. You suffer because you fear losing what you have, or because of what you have already lost, or because of what you desperately long to reach. You suffer because of what you lack, or because you fear in general.
These, then, are the great enemies of humanity: fear of sickness, fear of poverty, fear of death, fear of loneliness. All these forms of suffering pertain to your mind, and all of them reveal your inner violence, the violence that is in your mind. Notice how that violence always stems from desire. The more violent a person is, the more gross are that person’s desires.
I would like to tell you a story that took place long ago.
There was once a traveler who had to undertake a long journey. He yoked his animal to a cart and began the journey to his faraway destination, a journey he had to complete within a certain length of time. He called the animal Necessity and the cart Desire; one wheel of the cart he called Pleasure, and the other he called Pain. Our traveler turned his cart sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left, yet he never ceased moving toward his destiny. The faster the cart traveled, the faster turned the wheels of Pleasure and Pain, carrying as they did the cart of Desire and connected as they were by the same axle.
But the journey was very long, and after a time our traveler grew bored. So he decided to decorate his cart, and he began to adorn it with all manner of beautiful things. But the more he embellished the cart of Desire with these ornaments, the heavier became the load for Necessity to pull. On the curves and steep hills of the road, the poor animal grew too exhausted to pull the cart of Desire. And where the road was soft, the wheels of Pleasure and Suffering became mired in the earth.
One day, because the road was long and he was still very far from his destination, our traveler grew desperate. That night he decided to meditate on the problem, and in the midst of his meditation he heard the neighing of his old friend, Necessity. Comprehending the message, he arose very early the next morning and began to lighten the cart of its burden, stripping it of all its fine adornments. Then he set off once more toward his destination, with the animal Necessity pulling the cart at a brisk trot. Still, our traveler had already lost much time—time that was now irrecoverable. The next night he sat down again to meditate, and he realized, thanks to another message from his old friend, that now he had to undertake a task that was doubly difficult because it involved his letting go. At daybreak he sacrificed the cart of Desire. It is true that when he did so he lost the wheel of Pleasure, but then he also lost the wheel of Suffering. And so, abandoning the cart of Desire, he mounted the animal called Necessity and galloped on its back across the green fields until he reached his destiny.
See how desire can trap you. But notice that there are desires of different qualities. There are cruder desires, and there are more elevated desires. Elevate desire, purify desire, surpass desire! In doing so, surely you will have to sacrifice the wheel of Pleasure—but you will also become free of the wheel of Suffering.

Spurred by desire, the violence in a person does not simply remain like a sickness in the consciousness of that person—it acts in the world of other people and is exercised upon them. And do not think that when I talk of violence I am speaking only about the armed act of war, where some men destroy others. That is only one form of physical violence.
There is also economic violence. Economic violence is the violence through which you exploit other people; economic violence occurs when you steal from another, when you are no longer a brother or sister to others but a bird of prey feeding upon them.
There is also racial violence. Or do you think that you are not being violent when you persecute someone because that person is not of your own race? Do you think that you are not engaging in violence when you malign that person for being of a race different from your own?
And there is religious violence: Do you think that you are not engaging in violence when you refuse work to, close your doors to, or dismiss a person, because that person does not share your religious beliefs? Do you believe that it is not violence when you use words of hate to build walls around other people, excluding them from your society, because they do not share your religious beliefs—isolating them within their families, segregating them and their loved ones, because they do not share your religion?
There are other forms of violence that are imposed by the Philistine morality. You wish to impose your way of life upon another; you wish to impose your vocation upon another. But who has told you that you are an example that must be followed? Who has told you that you can impose a way of life because it pleases you? What makes your way of life a model, a pattern that you have the right to impose on others? This, then, is another form of violence.
Only inner faith and inner meditation can end the violence in you, in others, and in the world around you. All the other doors are false and do not lead away from this violence. This world is on the verge of exploding with no way to end the violence! Do not choose false doors. There are no politics that can solve this mad urge for violence. There is no political party or movement on the planet that can end the violence. Do not choose false doors that promise to lead away from the violence in the world… I have heard that all over the world young people are turning to false doors to try to escape the violence and inner suffering. They turn to drugs as a solution. Do not choose false doors to try to end the violence.
My brother, my sister, keep these simple commandments, as simple as these rocks, this snow, and this sun that bless us. Carry peace within you, and carry it to others. My brother, my sister—if you look back in history, you will see the human being bearing the face of suffering. Remember, even as you gaze at that suffering face, that it is necessary to move forward, and it is necessary to learn to laugh, and it is necessary to learn to love.
To you, my brother and sister, I cast this hope—this hope of joy, this hope of love—so that you elevate your heart and elevate your spirit, and so that you do not forget to elevate your body.
1. At the time Silo gave this speech in 1969, the military dictatorship then in power in Argentina had banned all public gatherings in urban areas. Consequently, a bleak spot known as Punta de Vacas, high in the Andes on the border between Argentina and Chile, was chosen as the location for the speech. Early in the morning of May 4, the authorities placed roadblocks on all roads leading to the site. Machine-gun posts, military vehicles, and armed soldiers were stationed along the roads, and everyone was required to show identification papers to pass through the checkpoints, which led to disputes with some members of the international press. Against the magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped Andes, Silo began to speak to an audience of some two hundred people. The day was cold and bright, and by noon the event was over.
2. This is Silo’s first public expression of his ideas. In poetic language, he explains that the most important knowledge for living (“true wisdom”) is not the same as the knowledge found in books—knowledge of universal laws or things of that type—but is a question of inner experience. The most important knowledge for living is related to comprehending suffering and how to surpass it.
In this speech, Silo presents a very simple thesis, which is divided into several parts: (1) It begins by distinguishing between physical pain and its derivations, on the one hand, maintaining that they can be made to recede through progress in science and justice, and mental suffering, on the other, which cannot be eliminated by such means. (2) Suffering comes through three pathways: the pathway of perception, the pathway of memory, and the pathway of imagination. (3) Suffering reveals a state of violence. (4) Violence is rooted in desire. (5) There are various degrees and forms of desire. By attending to these factors (“through inner meditation”), one may advance. Thus: (6) Desire gives rise to violence (“the more gross the desires”), which does not remain inside people but spreads to others, contaminating the space of relationships. (7) Violence can be seen in various forms besides its primary form of physical violence. (8) We need simple forms of conduct by which to orient our lives (“keep simple commandments”): Learn to be a bearer of peace, joy, and, above all, hope. Conclusion: To conquer physical pain, science and justice are necessary; to conquer mental suffering, it is indispensable to surpass primitive desires.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Support the vigil for Ian Tomlinson

The location of the vigil for Ian Tomlinson is inspiring and beautiful with candles and flowers arranged around the fountain by the Royal Exchange in the passage off Cornhill. It is a bridgehead in the city of London.

Activists plan to keep it going as long as possible. The site is fully respected by the police and even the City of London corporation roadworks have been held up out of respect.

Those who stayed over last night need a rest. Chris Knight is 66 he can't stay out every night. Two or three people are urgently needed to stay overnight. All you need is a bed roll, sleeping bag, a little food and water. Further support will arrive early in the morning.

If you can visit, take along extra candles, tea lights, flowers, bottles, vases, and if you could make it through the night there are nice comfortable doorways to spread a bed roll and sleeping bag.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

R.I.P. Jim Lane, Feb. 21, 2009

On his way home from a bike ride, Wednesday Feb. 18, 2009, Jim Lane stopped at Kensington coffee on Adams Avenue, San Diego. He had hardly spoken the words “It sure is cold out there today,” when he collapsed on the floor.

Paramedics had to defibrillate him eight times before rushing him to Scripps Mercy hospital ICU where he had another heart attack. He came round from the sedatives long enough for him to shake his head in response to being asked if he was in pain and then went into a deep sleep for two more days until he finally died of kidney failure.

It could very well have been that he forgot to take his daily meds; but he had done that before without problems. He was at his goal weight of 205 lbs. He was on an upswing with new work coming up for him at the university, and he had just acquired two used doors to replace on his car, which he planned to repaint.

Family and friends will gather to celebrate his life on Sunday March 22, 2009 from 2 till 6 p.m. Details available.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Never mind Valentine, remember

Padoh Mahn Sha Lah Phan

The Phan Foundation, set up by the four children of Padoh Mahn Sha, is asking people from Burma and supporters around the world to hold memorial services for Padoh Mahn Sha on or around 14th February, the first anniversary of his assassination.

On Feb. 14, 2008 Padoh Mahn Sha was assassinated by two gunmen at his home in Mae Sot, Thailand. The gunmen were acting on behalf of the Burmese regime. No-one has been arrested for the murder.

Padoh Mahn Sha was General Secretary of the Karen National Union, and dedicated his life to the struggle for freedom, democracy and human rights in Burma. He was a respected and unifying figure who refused to surrender to the regime, which is why Burma’s generals were so afraid of him.

The Phan Foundation was set up in memory of Padoh Mahn Sha and his wife, Nant Kyin Shwe, by their children. It aims to fight poverty and promote education for Karen people, and preserve Karen culture. The Phan Foundation is asking for collections for the Foundation to be made at the memorial services.

“We ask that people remember our father on the first anniversary of his assassination”, said Zoya Phan, daughter of Padoh Mahn Sha. “We must keep his memory and what he stood for alive, and pay tribute to a brave leader. Funds raised will also help carry on his work promoting education and fighting poverty.”

For more information contact

Friday, January 09, 2009

Israel's misuse of US weapons is illegal

Wednesday, January 07, 2009