Saturday, September 30, 2006

NYRB: Has Bolivian Veep Had Gay Relations? "Not Yet."

In the course of the 2004 American vice presidential candidates' debate, the subject of equality for gays and lesbians was broached by moderator Gwen Ifill and John Edwards stated a simple fact in his comments -- Mary Cheney is, gasp!, an out lesbian and her parents love her.

From the transcripts, as posted on the White House site:

MODERATOR: Next question goes to you, Mr. Vice President. I want to read something you said four years ago at this very setting: Freedom means freedom for everybody. You said it again recently when you were asked about legalizing same-sex unions and you used your family as an experience, your family experience as a context for your remarks. Can you describe, then, your administration's support for a constitutional ban on same-sex unions? [...]

SENATOR EDWARDS: [...] Let me say first that I think the Vice President and his wife love their daughter. I think they love her very much. And you can't have anything but respect for the fact that they're willing to talk about the fact that they have a gay daughter, the fact that they embrace her. It's a wonderful thing. And there are millions of parents like that who love their children, who want their children to be happy. And I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, and so does John Kerry.

I also believe there should be partnership benefits for gay and lesbian couples in long-term, committed relationships. But we should not use the Constitution to divide this country. No state for the last 200 years has ever had to recognize another state's marriage. This is using the Constitution as a political tool, and it's wrong. [...]

VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Well, Gwen, let me simply thank the Senator for the kind words he said about my family and our daughter. I appreciate that, very much. [...]

You'll recall Mary's mom got all bent out of shape about this and the GOP propaganda machine geared up to use Edwards' statement as some sort of horrible remark, generating controversy for a number of days. All that sturm und drang, just because a female family member of one of the candidates happens to have sexual relations with another woman.

Well, let's fast forward to 2005 and one of Bolivia's vice presidential debates during which a gay-related matter was raised and controversy erupted.

From an illuminating essay in the Sept 21 edition of the New York Review of Books on Evo Morales and Bolivian politics, penned by Alma Guillermoprieto, which is available on the review's web site, for a $3 charge:

Even in an interview in the national palace at seven in the morning, the dapper, slender [Vice President Alvaro] Garcia Linera, forty-three, gives the air of a boulevardier holding forth at a cafe table. But even though he is lily-white, and, and he puts it, a member of the same social class as that sector of Bolivian society which in general despises Evo Morales, he was, for a few years, a militant in a fundamentalist Indian-rights guerrilla organization. Accused of bombing power lines, he served five years in jail before returning to his books and his life as a university professor. Nothing about him betrays his difficult and dogmatic past: unlike his boss, he is smiling and relaxed even in the face of hostile questioning.

In last year's vice-presidential debates he was asked by the moderators -- one suspects that this was not a neutral question -- whether he had ever engaged in "homosexual relations."

"Not yet," he answered nonchalantly.

The nation gasped.

I'm sure it did and reading about a national candidate, in any country, got me thinking. What if Gwen Ifill had asked Cheney or Edwards if they have ever experienced gay sexual activities, or same-sex attractions or emotions. Do you think America, not to mention the rest of the world, would gasp at such audacious questioning? Never mind that for a moment, and think about the reaction if such questions were posed and the candidate replied with cool demeanor, like Garcia Linera, or, gasp!, admitted he or she had engaged in same-sex relations.

Anyway, two snaps up to Garcia Lineria for not taking offense at the question last year and also leaving open the possibility that he may have homosexual relations in the future.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Foley Page's Boss Fired Aide for Writing to Scott Peterson

I really don't wish to cast aspersions on all of Congressman Alexander's staffers and former pages, but it strikes me as odd and ironic that before his ex-young adult male page precipitated Mark Foley's resignation from the House, an aide to the congressman was canned for corresponding with Scott Peterson and I wonder if anyone now working for Alexander is sending letters or emails that could get them fired or force another politician to retire.

From the A.P. wire story today on Foley's early, forced retirement:

The page worked for Rep. Rodney Alexander, R-La., who said Friday that when he learned of the e-mail exchanges 10 to 11 months ago, he called the teen's parents. Alexander told the Ruston Daily Leader, "We also notified the House leadership that there might be a potential problem," a reference to the House's Republican leaders. [...]

And this is excerpted from a September 6 A.P. dispatch:

An aide to U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander was fired for reportedly corresponding with convicted killer Scott Peterson while on the job, the congressman's office said Wednesday.

The Louisiana Republican fired Theresa Mares in mid-August, said spokesman Adam Terry. Mares had worked for Alexander since he first took office in 2003 and was a caseworker in the congressman's Alexandria office in central Louisiana.

Terry said Alexander learned of Mares' letters to Peterson from a National Enquirer reporter. In August, the tabloid reported that Mares sent at least 18 letters to Peterson professing her love for the man convicted of killing his pregnant wife.

Terry said Alexander decided to fire Mares because she was "using government resources to personally communicate with Scott Peterson."

"Ms. Mares' actions have been embarrassing to our office and demonstrate that her views are politically incompatible with those of the congressman," Terry said. [...]

What qualifications must someone posess to get a job with Rep. Alexander or work for him as a page? Willingness to correspond with killers or closeted gay politicians?

St. Petersburg Times: 36-pages of Foley Emails, IMs?

From today's Buzz blog at the St. Petersburg Times web site:

Florida Republicans had an emergency meeting about the Foley resignation at the U.S. Capitol late Friday afternoon, with Gov. Jeb Bush taking part by speakerphone.

Rep. C.W. Bill Young said the delegation agreed that House Republican leadership had done the right thing "by moving quickly and basically telling him, 'resign or you're out.'"

The conversation turned to the difficult question of how to get a Republican replacement, Young said. Foley's name will remain on the ballot, but the party will choose a replacement nominee. The difficult spot for Republicans is that they will still have to tell voters to vote for Foley. [...]

Young said the governor "was basically explaining state law and mentioning what the options would be. He was just as upset as we all are."

Someone at the meeting said there are 36 pages of incriminating emails, according to Young.

Young said the meeting ended and, "We concluded by all walking out of the room, shaking our heads."

Hmmm, thirty-six pages of online exchanges may exist between the openly-closeted Foley and the former congressional page? Very interesting, if true.

Two thoughts come to mind. First, when will Brian Ross and ABC News release all of the pages, assuming they've got them? Second, the young adult male page claims to have been freaked out by Foley's sexy emails, yet he seems to have carried on quite a lengthy cyber relationship with the former congressman.

Does not sound to me like the page was too upset to keep corresponding with Foley.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

NYT to Condi: We've "Kept Some of Your Secrets"

Earlier this week Condi Rice met with the editorial board of the New York Times and since it was an on-the-record chat, the State Department has made a transcript of the talk available for the public to read on the web.

I found the most compelling part of her chat to be when an unidentified person from the Times said the paper has not divulged some of her secrets, which seems a rather odd thing to admit to a high-ranking government official.

Of course, I would like the Times to eventually print some of those secrets, and the sooner the better, if the paper is ever going to make the secrets public.

Revealing the secrets may do much to affect change not just in the Middle East, but indeed, for America's entire approach right now to foreign politics.

From the State Department:

Interview With the New York Times Editorial Board
Secretary Condoleezza Rice
New York City
September 25, 2006


QUESTION: Hamdan is one reason you’re having this debate now, which – it sort of provides a healthy conversation. The other reason you’re having it is because a bunch of newspapers have laid some of these things out for – public discussion, the eavesdropping, the CIA detentions and so on.

At the risk of being too self-referential, I’m curious to know whether you genuinely think that those stories have, in any significant way, weakened the Administration’s ability to fight the war on terror.

SECRETARY RICE: I think that it has made other countries and, in some cases, other entities which have dealt with us, wonder about our reliability in keeping information confidential. I do. You know, it’s fine to say we ought to have an open debate about these things. You know, there are things that you keep confidential at the New York Times. There are.

QUESTION: There are?

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, I would hope so. I would --

QUESTION: We try. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY RICE: I would assume – no, I assume so.

QUESTION: What are they? Our ability to keep a secret is considerably --

SECRETARY RICE: Yeah, but I assume in your board rooms that there are things that you keep confidential, right?

QUESTION: I don’t get to go to the board room.

SECRETARY RICE: I assume that there are – there is information that corporations keep confidential; it’s in their boardrooms. But somehow, when it’s the United States Government that is dealing with life and death, war and peace matters, allies who are putting their lives on the line, allies who have different political structures than we do and different obligations than we do, we’re not supposed to keep anything confidential. And so I --

QUESTION: Well, that’s taking it to extremes.


QUESTION: And we – this paper has kept some of your secrets for you, too.

SECRETARY RICE: I understand that and I appreciate that. But I think that when it comes to – you know, I’m speaking to the leaks problem. I know this is a major, major issue in the journalistic community. But I can tell you from the point of view of somebody who has to (inaudible) security (inaudible), it’s a problem.

I can’t tell you how many times people will say to me, my counterparts or, you know, other counterparts, "Well, you know, I really don’t know if we should have this conversation because I don’t know when it’s going to be exposed." That’s a problem. So you asked me if it was a problem and yeah, it’s a problem.

QUESTION: But I asked you if it has tangibly diminished your ability to fight the war on terror.

SECRETARY RICE: I think it has tangibly made it harder to have full-scale cooperation and I think the jury is still not out about how willing others will be to cooperate with us on sensitive and difficult issues. I do think that the jury’s still out on that and in some cases, I think it’s made it more difficult.


You can read the full transcript by clicking here.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Important news from our brothers and sisters across the pond:

Uganda Protest: Stop persecuting gays!

Ugandan High Commission in London picketed

Protest against outings and harassment of Ugandan LGBTs

London, 22 September 2006 - Thirty protesters picketed the Ugandan High Commission in London today (22 September 2006), in protest at the persecution gay and lesbian
Ugandans. They were from the National Union of Students LGBT campaign and from the queer rights direct action group OutRage!.

The protest was prompted by Uganda’s latest homophobic outrage: the outing of 58 alleged lesbians and gay men.

The protesters chanted: “Uganda! Stop persecuting queers! Human rights for all!”

They handed in a letter to the Ugandan High Commissioner, urging respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Ugandans.

“Uganda is the new Zimbabwe. President Yoweri Museveni is the Robert Mugabe of Uganda – a homophobic tyrant who tramples on democracy and human rights,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!, who attended the protest.

“Uganda's anti-gay laws were imposed by the British colonialists who occupied the country, stole its wealth and abused its people. The time has come to ditch this oppressive, divisive, imperialist legislation. The Ugandan government should accept the diversity of humanity, including the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“One of the hallmarks of an enlightened, democratic society is live-and-let-live. Majorities should respect minorities, even if they don't always agree with them.

“Ugandans should be judged by the quality of their character, not by their sexual orientation,” said Mr Tatchell.

The main organiser of the protest, Claire Anderson of the NUS LGBT campaign, added:

“We call on individuals and groups, LGBT or otherwise, to protest against the intimidation, arrest and torture of LGBT people in Uganda. You can email a protest to:

"We handed a letter of protest to the Ugandan High Commisioner calling on his government to respect the provisions enshrined in the Ugandan constitution giving citizens rights to equality and freedom, and to respect the clauses of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) monitored by the UN, which allow the right to privacy, free from discrimination,” said Ms Anderson.

Uganda outlaws male homosexuality, under laws originally imposed by the British colonisers in the nineteenth century. Offenders can face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Lesbians and gays are subjected to vigilante violence by homophobic mobs, especially in rural areas where most of the population live. They get little or no police protection.

The government has banned same-sex marriage. In 2004 Radio Simba was fined for airing a debate on gay issues. State-funded HIV campaigns stress abstinence and ignore gay and bisexual men. The government refuses to promote safer sex and condoms to same-sex partners. The director of the UN AIDS agency was expelled from the country for having discussions with gay rights campaigners.

In July 2005, the home of lesbian activist, Victor Juliet Mukasa, was raided and searched illegally by local government officials. They confiscated gay rights documents, and arrested a friend who was staying in the house. Earlier the same year, the play Vagina Monologues was banned on the grounds that it promoted “unnatural sex acts, homosexuality and prostitution.”

The latest outrage is an outing campaign by the Ugandan tabloid newspaper, Red Pepper, which is reportedly owned by the half brother of the homophobic President, Yoweri Museveni. President Museveni has urged the police to hunt down and arrest gays and lesbians.

Red Pepper has outed 58 alleged lesbian and gay people in the last two months; and has urged readers to send more names, so they too can be outed. The paper also published a list of underground gay venues, exposing them to the risk of homophobic attack.

Recently, Red Pepper carried an article with the headline 'Jinja Cops Hunt For Gays,' in which they reported a police manhunt to arrest homosexuals in the city Jinga.

Letters of protest should be addressed to:

The Ugandan High Commissioner
Uganda House
58-59 Trafalgar Square
London WC2N 5DX.
Fax: 020 7839 8925.

Click here for photos of the protest (available for use without charge).

Further information:

Brett Lock, OutRage! 0770 843 5917

Claire Anderson, NUS LGBT Campaign 078 45 605 152

Sunday, September 24, 2006

NYT Omission: Iraq Study Group Met w/NYT's Friedman

The New York Times on September 20 printed a story about the Iraq Study Group's recommendations on security issues in the war-torn country and some attention was given to the people who met with and advised the group:

The group, formed at the request of Congress and with the approval of the Bush administration, visited Iraq for four days this month. Members said they had met with more than three dozen Iraqi officials, including Mr. Maliki. The group has also met with Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Panel members expect to meet soon with an Iranian official, whom they did not identify, with the Saudi ambassador to the United States and with the foreign minister of Syria.

What the Times failed to report was that the Iraq Study Group also consulted with New York Times foreign affairs columnist Thomas L. Friedman and he wasn't the only journalist who met with the group.

The Iraq Study Group has posted a document listing all of the people they spoke with, including American and Iraqi politicians, generals, charity executives and writers.

What fascinated me about the list of names was the fact that in addition to Friedman, the group also sought advice from other journalists, including Thomas Ricks and George F. Will of the Washington Post, George Packer of the New Yorker magazine, Mark Danner of the New York Review of Books, and William Kristol from the Weekly Standard.

While there may be nothing ethically wrong with journalists consulting with U.S. advisory panels, I firmly believe the Times has a journalistic responsibility to inform readers when reporting on such panels that a Times columnist, and other journalists, gave advice to the panel that is offering suggestions about Iraq to President Bush and Congress.

At the same time, I wish media ethicists would weigh in on whether it is ethical for columnists and journalists to give advice to any government advisory panel, and what duty the journalists and their employers have to inform readers when such advice is offered to such panels, even if the journalists don't write about their talks with the panels.

Bottom line for me? Better for the Times and other publications to err on the side of full transparency and disclosure regarding who's giving advice to the Iraq Study Group.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Clinton's DOMA Turns 10; Gay Marriage Leaders Silent

This week marked a sad, but important anniversary in the effort to secure equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples, but none of the major national gay groups called attention to it. Thursday, September 21 was the tenth anniversary of President Bill Clinton signing the Defense of Marriage Act into law. If memory serves, I believe he signed DOMA late at night, without any photographers or members of the public present.

One might think gay advocacy groups would mark a decade of this hateful antigay law, but a survey of such groups' web sites shows complete silence on this anniversary.

The Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Freedom to Marry organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, the Marriage Equality group -- all were silent as the tenth anniversary of Clinton signing DOMA came and went.

A few questions need asking. Why didn't the gay groups use the anniversary date to educate the American public about the marriage discrimination gays and lesbians face? Would it have been so terrible for the advocates to hold town hall meetings or organizing a political lobbying day on DOMA? Do we gays not know how to use important anniversaries to advance our vital issues?

And finally, I believe the gay and lesbian community must learn to take full advantage of things like the tenth anniversary of Clinton shamefully signing DOMA, if only because we can use the anniversary as a natural hook for reporters to write stories and remind people that the battle to win marriage equality is far from over.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

SF Sunshine Czar: NIH HIV CAB Complaint Hearing Set

This message from the director of the city's sunshine task force came my way this morning, and, you should pardon the metaphor, is a great ray of sunlight that may help open up the NIH's HIV vaccine trials CAB in San Francisco:

Re: SOTF Complaint Confirmation: 06017 _ Michael Petrelis vs DPH-CAB

Thank you for contacting the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force. This E-mail is to confirm that your complaint against the Department of Public Health-Community Advisory Board for alleged failure to post meeting notices and agendas on the web and local publications, and failure to post agendas and minutes of its meetings, have been received.

Please refer to complaint number 06017 when submitting any new information and/or
supporting documents pertaining to your complaint. A hearing is scheduled as follows:

Date: Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Location: City Hall, Room 406
Time: 4:00 p.m.

Your attendance is required at this meeting/hearing.

Any additional support documents to be considered by Committee Members, prior to the meeting, must be submitted by 4:00 PM Monday, October 4, 2006.

Attached for your information is the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force's complaint process.

If you have questions please feel free to contact me at the number below.

Frank Darby, Administrator
Sunshine Ordinance Task Force
1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
City Hall, Room 244
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
OFC: (415) 554-7724
FAX: (415) 554-7854

Needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to this hearing in a few weeks.
BAR: NIH's HIV Vaccine Panel Needs Sunshine

This is the real adversary...

...not Hank Wilson.
(Photo credit: Jane Philomen Cleland)

The Bay Area Reporter deserves much praise from the gay and AIDS communities today for the paper's news story and editorial on a federally-funded HIV community advisory board that is terrified of sunshine and public participation and scrutiny.

The balanced and informative story, written by reporter Matthew S. Bajko, and the fantastic "time to hold the CAB accountable to sunshine ethics" editorial, penned by editor Cynthia Laird, delve into the efforts of longtime AIDS activist Hank Wilson and myself to attend the CAB's meeting this week, and to also get copies of the CAB's minutes, and the responses from HIV vaccine expert and government employee, Dr. Susan Buchbinder.

It says a lot about what is wrong with San Francisco's AIDS Office and HIV researchers, who receive millions in taxpayer dollars to conduct vaccine trials, that the affected communities are not granted the privilege of observing the CAB's work and that researchers are putting tremendous energy into keeping the public away.

Someone needs to remind the CAB members that the adversary we all must fight is HIV, not activists who wish to learn more about the CAB's inner workings.

Here are choice excerpts from the BAR story, followed by passages from the paper's editorial:

A policy by an advisory panel on HIV research made up of community members not to allow the public into its meetings has prompted a complaint with the city's sunshine task force.

The health department's HIV Research Section Community Advisory Board last week posted the time and location of its latest meeting (Tuesday, September 19) on its Web site after AIDS activist Michael Petrelis had inquired about where and when the CAB met. But a day after posting the information, research section staff deleted it and posted a note saying that the CAB meetings "are private and open only to members." [...]

"Maybe it's time for the C in CAB to no longer stand for 'community,' but instead 'closed.' Let's be honest this CAB is a Closed Advisory Board," said Petrelis in an e-mail.

Dr. Susan Buchbinder, director of the research section, initially had informed Petrelis he would receive the information he had requested by Tuesday. But by last Friday, she sent him an e-mail saying she would in fact not be producing the records and that CAB meetings were only open to members. She also said federal guidelines do not require the CAB to hold open meetings.

In a phone interview this week, Buchbinder defended the closed-door meeting policy, saying it is needed in order to protect both the private health information of CAB members as well as proprietary information about the companies involved in the research that is shared with the CAB. The department currently has two research projects under way, one an HIV vaccine trial and the other an efficacy trial on a potential new HIV prevention tool.

"We are allowed to do that. It is a closed meeting with a small group of community members who have gone through an extensive training program so that allows us to delve into deeper issues in our research," said Buchbinder. "In exchange the companies that make the vaccines we test allow us to discuss with our CAB information that would otherwise not be publicly disclosed." [...]

The complaint committee of the city's Sunshine Ordinance Task Force is set to hear Petrelis' complaint on October 10. Frank Darby, the task force's administrator, said he was unsure if the CAB falls under the purview of the city's open meeting laws. He said it depends on if the CAB is deemed a policy body or a passive body if it must allow the public to attend its meetings.

"Right offhand I don't know myself what the status of that body is," said Darby. "If it is a passive body it may not be open to the public." [...]

Buchbinder declined a request from the Bay Area Reporter to attend Tuesday's meeting, saying only CAB members could extend an invitation. She did agree to ask the CAB if a reporter could attend its next meeting to discuss the closed-door policy. [...]

Longtime AIDS activist Hank Wilson, who also attempted to attend a CAB meeting, said the meetings should be public.

"They should have as a given a public comment period and anyone from the community is welcome to come and make a statement or ask for feedback. It shouldn't be a controversy at all. To me it is shocking to find out that this isn't in place," said Wilson, who was threatened with arrest for trying to speak at a CAB meeting several years ago. "We have a right and certainly a responsibility to monitor what is happening to us." [...]

And here are sections from the Bay Area Reporter's terrific editorial about sunshine ethics and the HIV vaccine trials CAB:

San Francisco is one of the most progressive cities in the country – supposedly open to every opinion, and having a public commission or advisory board for just about every agency – but you wouldn't know it from the way the folks over at the Department of Public Health are shutting out citizens from their community advisory board meetings. The health department's HIV Research Section Community Advisory Board has been up and running for several years, but when local gay activists Hank Wilson and Michael Petrelis starting asking about the body, it was revealed that Dr. Susan Buchbinder, who runs the CAB, doesn't want the general public to attend its meetings.

Buchbinder, in an e-mail to Petrelis, said it's the health department's view that the CAB "is a private volunteer group of community members. It is not open to the public." Never mind that the CAB was established as part of a federal National Institutes of Health grant. And never mind that Buchbinder sits on not one but two NIH-related AIDS advisory committees. And never mind that the Web site has listings by city (under the heading "Get Involved") for those seeking to participate in AIDS vaccine efforts, including joining a CAB in San Francisco. [...]

Now, Buchbinder maintains that the CAB isn't public. We disagree. And while we haven't heard a definitive answer yet from staff of the city's Sunshine Task Force, it's just good public policy that the CABs should be open to all, whether its required by the city's administrative code or not. By its very name, a CAB implies "community."

This lack of transparency, however, is nothing new at the health department. Back in 1998, the B.A.R. filed a complaint with the city attorney's office about the HIV Prevention Planning Council after the paper alleged that the HPPC violated the state's Brown Act. After two months of legal research and discussion, the council finally voted to abide by the state's open meeting law. The city attorney's office said at the time that because of the unique way the HPPC was established – as part of a grant requirement by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – it did not legally have to follow the Brown Act. So, while there does seem to be murky legal ground with respect to committees run by DPH, we think the input the research section CAB receives from the community would be beneficial. But that's not happening right now.

Thanks so much, Matthew S. Bajko and Cynthia Laird, for letting the BAR's pages serve as a small dose of disinfectant sunshine over the musty and secretive CAB.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Oakland's Dellums, Like SF HIV Panel, Hates Sunshine Laws

When the issue is public advisory panels organized to make suggestions to politicians and set health care or HIV policy, I think there should be no fear of sunshine and full openness. After all, the panels are ostensibly set up to bring about transparency, and hopefully, better understanding by the public into the workings of government and research. Just try telling this to former U.S. Congressman and Oakland's mayor-elect Ron Dellums.

Today's Chip Johnson opinion column in the San Francisco Chronicle takes Dellums to task for his advisory panels' rather vampire-like operations:

Depending on whom you ask, as many as 800 Oakland citizens applied for more than four dozen committees that Mayor-elect Ron Dellums established to create a blueprint for his administration-to-be -- the centerpiece of which he said would be a completely open government process.

But the people serving on those committees since Dellums' election have not been announced. And while some of their meetings have been held on the third floor of Oakland City Hall, very little information has been released to the public -- or to the media.

Meetings held in public buildings are open to anyone who wishes to attend them. But these gatherings, unlike City Council meetings, for example, do not have to be publicly announced under state open meetings laws, because Dellums, who created the citizen groups, won't take the oath of office until Jan. 8.

As with the fraternal order of Masons, you apparently have to be a member to know what's going on. [...]

If I didn't know any better, I'd say Dellums and his panels were advised by San Francisco's HIV vaccine trials CAB, community advisory board, which is doing a fabulous job of keeping the gay community and the public in the dark. Count Dracula couldn't do a better job of keeping the sunshine away.

The Chronicle's Chip Johnson points out how a lesbian is involved in the Oakland panels, but isn't doing much to provide information:

Peggy Moore, a onetime City Council candidate who worked for Dellums' campaign, heads a committee that is expected to identify the issues, concerns and desires that are unique to Oakland's substantial gay, lesbian and transgender community.

But Moore is being mum. On Monday, she declined to be interviewed and deferred all questions about the task force's work to Dellums' campaign staff. And calls to two other committee members were not returned.

Why are Dellums and SF HIV vaccine researcher Dr. Susan Buchbinder so committed to avoiding sunshine? Between Dellums and Buchbinder, the Bush administration could learn much about government secrecy and lack of accountability and transparency, something that is a mark of shame for the mayor-elect and the community researcher.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

WBAI Radio: Gays & Iran Debate, 9/18 @ 11 AM ET

This alert came my way tonight from the good folks at Gay City News, New York's premier gay weekly and a paper that has provided a much-needed forum not only about gays in Iran and the hanging of two gay teens in 2005, but also a must-read publication that breaks many stories on gays around the world, thanks to the writings of Doug Ireland.

Scott Long, who directs the LGBT rights effort at Human Rights Watch, Paul Schindler, editor in chief of Gay City News, and others discuss and debate the situation facing gays in Iran, and how Western activists can best be helpful in a one-hour live program on WBAI radio, which is the New York City affiliate of Pacifica Radio. Brad Taylor hosts the program.

Tune in: 11 A.M., EASTERN DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, Monday, September 18

The program can be heard in NYC at 99.5 FM and is also streamed live on, and the live streaming option is at the upper right hand side of the WBAI home page. The program will also be available for some number of days afterward on the WBAI archives, which can also be accessed from the station's home page.

New SF HIV Report: No Increases in 5 Years

The new HIV report for the city of San Francisco represents a truly remarkable development in the effort to control and prevent new infections:

"The current HIV/AIDS epidemic is characterized by no apparent increases in HIV infection rates over the past five years, and with considerable decreases in some populations. A number of factors may account for these trends. San Francisco's community-based prevention and treatment responses deserve some credit, bringing our per capita rate of AIDS incidence down from the highest in America to its present rank as number seven." (From the executive summary of the report, page 12.)

When I read this passage, my initial reaction was pride in my gay community for contributing to the decline and stabilization of HIV stats. But when I put the report aside and cruised the web looking for any publicity from the DPH on the new stats, or an acknowledgement from any of the vast array of AIDS groups on the stats, I experienced deep cynicism at the overwhelming silence from DPH and AIDS Inc.

I think when you have a five-year period with flat or dropping HIV, in a city that was allegedly experiencing sub-Saharan levels of new infections, it is something the press should report on and the affected community show know about, if only to keep things stable or decreasing. Also, if we assume for a moment that the sub-Saharan claim was indeed true, it's then incumbent on the DPH to explain how we so quickly went from sub-Saharan levels of infections, to a five-year period of stable rates.

Five years equals a fifth of the entire span of the AIDS epidemic, it also equals a twentieth of a century. Really, it's a significant amount of time no matter how you slice it, yet, AIDS Inc may be ignoring the new report because it could affect federal funding levels for the city. With Congress still grappling with reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act for another five years, I can somewhat understand why bureaucrats here are hesitant to promote any HIV stats document that could potentially lead to a reduction in federal grants.

However, the fears of losing funds should not prevent AIDS Inc and DPH officials from keeping the community up to date on HIV infections and sharing proof that prevention messages and sero-sorting are helping to reduce rates. I can think of no legitimate reason why the new HIV report should not be in the news and under debate in the gay community.

If any American city, and perhaps any region in hard-hit Africa or Asia, put out an epidemiology report showing a five-year stretch of time in which HIV is flat or falling considerably for certain populations, it is cause for discussion for many reasons.

First, if San Francisco is seeing stable rates, are there other cities with similar stats? I suspect AIDS experts will say no, because they only like to see this city used as an example that applies to other cities only when infections are climbing, not dropping. Second, after a quarter-century of AIDS in the gay community, our advocates have a profound responsibility to share all data with us, especially when it reveals control of HIV. Informing the gay community of any sustained flat infection rates, I believe, will offer positive strokes to sexually active gay men for their safe sex behaviors and also encourage them to continue practicing sex that doesn't spread infections.

Little more than six years ago, with millions of dollars at stake as Congress considered reauthorizing the Ryan White CARE Act, HIV experts in San Francisco alleged that there were around 900 new infections in 2000 and one expert, Dr. Willi McFarland, told the SF Chronicle, "These are sub-Saharan African levels of transmission."

As is their habit when HIV or STD rates are supposedly rising, San Francisco AIDS officials used the local stats to sow alarm in gay communities across the nation.

Who can forget this quote from UCSF's Tom Coates in the same Chronicle story? "This is a harbinger of what is going to happen all over the country. What happens in the HIV epidemic usually happens here first."

As if to validate the alarm reported in the Chronicle, the New York Times ran a page-one story on the subject the next day. Neither the Chronicle nor the Times stories in 2000 raised any doubts about what the experts claimed, and, of course, no skeptics of the scary HIV stats were quoted by either paper.

Now six years on, comes the latest HIV/AIDS epidemiology report for San Francisco, published on the DPH web site in late August, but not yet reported on by any news outlet nor touted by a single HIV organization. Silence is not golden when the topic is new HIV infections.

Friday, September 15, 2006

SF HIV Vaccine "Community" Panel: Citizens Barred, Minutes Withheld

No, it doesn't surprise me in the least that the head of HIV vaccine trials research in San Francisco is keeping citizens out of the supposed "Community" Advisory Board meetings and won't be sharing with the public any of her minutes or agendas in the near future.

What shocks me is that Dr. Susan Buchbinder, who has received millions in federal grants for her HIV research and expert advice, has been running her CAB without any real transparency for its entire existence. I believe the CAB came into existence 4-5 years ago, and not once has any of its meetings been publicized or open to the general public.

Not only that, apparently no one at the dozens of well-funded AIDS advocacy groups in town has yet to ask, on behalf of the community they claim to represent, for the CAB to allow community scrutiny and input into its activities.

I'll be responding to Dr. Buchbinder's efforts to bar the public from her CAB by contacting the appropriate people in the U.S. Senate and at the National Institutes of Health first thing Monday morning. Yes, complaints must be lodged in order to bring transparency and community involvement to San Francisco's full participation in HIV vaccine research.

Click here to read about the "private" CAB.

My recent exchange of emails with Dr. Buchbinder:

August 25, 2006

Dr. Susan Buchbinder
Director, HIV Vaccine Trials
San Francisco Department of Public Health AIDS Office

Dear Dr. Buchbinder:

Pursuant to the full provisions of the federal Freedom of Information Act, the state Brown Act and the local Sunshine Ordinance, I hereby formally request copies of the following documents:

1. Minutes of all meetings of the HIV vaccine trials Community Advisory Board;
2. All documents handed out to members of the CAB at the meetings.

I am seeking these records for the time period from January 1, 2004, through the date of this request.

As you may know, FOIA, the Brown Act and the Sunshine Ordinance require you to provide me with the requested documents within ten to fourteen days.

Furthermore, as a journalist reporting on HIV/AIDS issues for my blog, The Petrelis Files, which is at, I also ask for a fee waiver of all search and copying costs.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 415-xxx-xxxx.

A prompt response is respectfully requested and appreciated.

Michael Petrelis

Sept 11

Dear Mr. Petrelis,

We are working towards meeting your public records request of August 25th. On behalf of the Department of Public Health, I am hereby notifying you of our need for a 14-day extension of time under Government code section §6253 c. The reason for the extension, as provided in section §6253 c: (b)Search for, collect, and appropriately examine a voluminous amount ofseparate and distinct records included in a single request and; 3. Consult with another component of the agency or with another agency that has a substantial interest in the response to the request.

You will receive your information on a rolling basis as it is collected and all of it will be available by close of business day, September 19, 2006.

Susan Buchbinder

Sept 12

Dear Dr. Buchbinder:

I have checked your CAB web site for HIV vaccine trials and there is no information posted there about where and when the CAB meets. Can you please tell where and when the September CAB meeting will take place?

Michael Petrelis

Sept 13


It is my understanding that our Director of Community Education, Matthew Florence, had already responded to your request about the time and location of the CAB meeting. In case you did not receive that information, the next CAB meeting will be held on Sept 19 at 6pm in room 330A at 25 Van Ness Avenue.


Sept 13

Matthew Florence
CAB Administrator

Dear Mr. Florence,

I have published your note on my blog regarding next week's CAB meeting. Thanks for sharing that public info with me. However, I notice on your site, , that despite federal sunshine laws, there is no information available about the CAB meeting next week and the agenda.

Can you please tell me why the HIV trials vaccine CAB in San Francisco is in apparent violation of federal open meeting statutes? Also, what is the reason why the CAB's agendas and minutes are not posted on your site?


Sept 15

Mr. Petrelis,

Upon closer review of the status of our Community Advisory Board, it is the San Francisco Health Department's position that this is not a public meeting body as defined by Section 67.3 of the San Francisco Administrative Code. Therefore, I will not be producing the records you requested. Please note that CAB meetings are only open to CAB members.

Susan Buchbinder

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Uganda Drafts Law to Execute HIV Infectors

Last week a story circulated on the Reuters wire from India about an HIV positive woman forced to abort her fetus and a man with AIDS stoned to death. Now comes this story out of Africa and I sadly expect USA HIV/AIDS groups, of which there are hundreds, maybe thousands, to remain utterly mute.


In 1999, an HIV-infected 30-year-old man named Fred Mwanga shocked the country when he raped a three-month-old baby in a Kampala suburb.

Even more upsetting, Mwanga's action was not an isolated incident. The rate of HIV-infected adults sexually abusing the nation's most vulnerable citizens is rising. As these ill men prey on the minors, they spread the deadly HIV virus. Already one in 10 Ugandans is HIV-positive or has full-blown AIDS.

Now, however, the Ugandan government is drafting a bill to execute offenders who knowingly infect minors with HIV.

If passed, any HIV-infected person who performs a sexual act with another person who is below the age of 18 years commits a felony called 'aggravated defilement' and, if convicted by the high court, will be executed, Elioda Tumwesigye, the chairman of the parliamentary committee on HIV/AIDS said in August. Defilement refers to the act of sex with a child 18 years or younger, with or without consent.

People like Mwanga could face death if Parliament passes this legislation.

Human rights groups in Uganda believe the bill is off target. Instead of putting unnecessary emphasis on death sentences, more effort should go to fighting HIV/AIDS and in AIDS awareness campaigns, they say. [...]

What will it take for USA HIV advocates to realize that silence = death for many people with HIV or AIDS around the world and for the well-paid advocate to loudly call attention to and condemn the abuses faced by PWAs beyond our borders?
An Act of Congress Opens S.F. HIV Panel

It took invoking an Act of Congress, the Federal Advisory Committee Act or FACA, which was enacted in 1972, to force the San Francisco health department to tell me where and when the Community Advisory Board meeting for the HIV vaccine trials is taking place next week. Needless to say, I am very happy the board is starting to meet all requirements of FACA.

Dr. Susan Buchbinder, the HIV researcher conducting the trials and is also, I believe, the head of the advisory board, sent me an email yesterday stating that the board will meet on Tuesday, September 19 at the AIDS Office at 25 Van Ness Avenue, in conference room 330A.

While receiving this public information is a step forward in persuading Buchbinder and the health department to adhere to the federal statutes contained in FACA requiring them to easily make the advisory board's meeting times and dates available, along with advance copies of the agendas, not to mention minutes of previous meetings, it is not enough.

I believe this HIV advisory board is in flagrant violation of FACA, has been for a few years too, and I'm not sure why San Francisco's health department is having trouble keeping the gay and AIDS communities here informed about the board's required public monthly meetings.

Other federal HIV advisory panels administered by the health department, including the HIV Prevention Planning Council and the Ryan White CARE Act Council, do an excellent job of meeting all the requirements of FACA, examples that the vaccine trials advisory board should emulate.

If the vaccine trials board members, or you, want to see how easy it is to follow FACA statutes, click here for the prevention council's site, and click here for our local CARE Act council's informative web site.

And to view how the vaccine trials board is not up to snuff, click here and see what is missing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

S.F.'s Secretive HIV/AIDS Advisory Panels?

The lack of basic meeting information for the HIV vaccines trials CAB, community advisory board, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health but locally administered by the San Francisco Department of Public Health's AIDS Office, may be in violation of federal, state and municipal sunshine ordinances and open meetings' statutes.

Click here to see how the CAB does not post any details about where and when it meets, nor is there an archive of agendas and minutes. All that's available for SF's vaccine trials' advisory panel is a short, upbeat pitch in support of the panel.

The CAB proudly says:

The purpose of the CAB is to include community members at all levels of the research process: study design, gaining informed consent, community education, recruitment efforts, results dissemination and the protection of study volunteers.

Apparently one level where the community is excluded is at the CAB level! Too bad the great rhetoric is not matched by reality.

Why is the CAB not sharing anything about its meetings and what has been on the agenda for the last few years, especially when government regulations clearly mandate keeping the public and affected communities fully informed?

I sense a velvet rope mentality at work here and like the hottest nite-spots only letting in the most fabulous people, or pals of the bouncers manning the velvet ropes, this CAB and its members probably think they can pick and choose who has access to the minutes or can attend their general public meetings.

No one is helped by keeping the community ignorant about the workings of the CAB and what's happening with recruitment for SF's arm of the vaccine trials. I've filed complaints with the appropriate authorities regarding sunshine law violations, as one way of trying to rectify the problem with the CAB.

At the same time, the vaccine trials CAB is not the only branch of the health department's HIV programs not doing all it can to engage and inform people with AIDS or HIV and the gay community.

This summer the Board of Supervisors mandated the DPH create an advisory panel on housing issues affecting people living with AIDS, and that monthly public meetings were to take place. Click here for the meeting schedule.

The first such meeting actually happened last week, but not many PWAs knew about it. Click here to read last week's agenda and notice that no information is provided about who's in charge of the panel or is a member, not to mention how to get an item on the agenda at future meetings.

There's been a longstanding problem in this town, really, ever since the dawn of the HIV crisis, and that is the active hoarding by AIDS Inc and the DPH of legally-required basic information about government-created advisory boards and the problem certainly is not diminishing this year.

Okay, while there's a degree of secretiveness over the vaccine CAB and the HIV housing panel, it wouldn't take much effort or time on the DPH's part to post and publicize advance agendas, meeting times and minutes for the panels.

NY Post: ABC's Iger Gave More to Dems Than Republicans

This appears in Page 6 today in the NY Post:


THE way Democrats complained about how the Clinton administration was portrayed in ABC's "The Path to 9/11," one would think the network was part of the "vast right-wing conspiracy." On the contrary, Disney chairman Robert Iger is a big supporter of Democrats. Blogger Michael Petrelis reports that Iger, since 1992, has donated $74,000 to Democrats and $19,500 to Republicans. No wonder ABC, which is owned by Disney, bowed to Clinton's pressure and deleted scenes showing him as distracted on fighting terrorism.

Iran's Ex President Defends Killing Gays in Harvard Talk

I am sending a big thank you to Doug Ireland for sharing the text of Khatami's answer to a question about gays on his blog, to New York-based journalist Duncan Osborne for transcribing Khatami's reply, and to the student at Harvard who posed the gay-specific question.

From Ireland's blog today:

As Harvard students demonstrated against him, Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s president from 1997 to 2005, spoke through a translator at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government on September 10, 2006. His remarks on homosexuality in response to a question, which follow, were transcribed by journalist Duncan Osborne from C-SPAN's videotape of Khatami's presentation. The ellipses are where Khatami paused for translation.

Khatami on execution of gays in Iran:

"We’re at a university, the cradle of science, so we can speak of it scientifically...In all schools of thought and in all religions there is punishment and punishment is not a form of violence...Punishment is seen as a response to violence or deviance in society and if there is no punishment in a society a society cannot run effectively...

"In regards to the fact that is capital punishment a fair reaction to crime this is an issue that has been debated extensively in legal circles and even some states in the United States still maintain capital punishment and even some other countries in the world so the issue of capital punishment is still being largely debated...

"As an expert of Islamic sciences I tell you that capital punishment is accepted in Islam, but it has conditions that are so stringent that executions should almost never happen. If in fact they are happening in Islamic countries it is because, if it happens excessively in Islamic countries it is a problem of bringing those religious rulings into practice...

"In regards to the issue of gay people as well as the issue of adultery, the conditions that are required for capital punishment are so strict that it is virtually impossible to meet...Of course this is my opinion and a lot of people don’t accept my opinion, but I was asked for my opinion so this is what I believe...

"In many Islamic countries homosexual relationships as well as non-consensual heterosexual relationships have been punishable...There are also others, there are others in the world that have similar views namely important sects of Christianity...So yes you are correct homosexual activity is a crime in Islam...And crimes are punishable...The fact that could crimes be punished by execution is debatable...And that we must differentiate between punishment and violence."

More from Doug Ireland:

Khatami's answer, of course, begs the question of the many homosexual Iranians who have been framed for, or forced under torture to confess to, other crimes, like rape -- and then executed for them. And the Iranian gay group Homan has reported over 4,000 executions of homosexuals in Iran since Ayatollah Khomeini made homosexuality a capital crime upon taking power in 1979. So to say, as Khatami did, that, in Iran, executions of gays "almost never happen" is, not to make a pun, a bit of a stretch....Or, to be more precise, a clever bit of sophistry.

Let's hope gay and mainstream journalists become interested in all this and report on the ex-president's comments at Harvard over the weekend.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Grim Iraq Milestone: 2,900 US/UK/Coalition Deaths

With such statistics as these for American, United Kingdom and other countries' forces in the Iraq war climbing every day, not to mention the always-rising estimated number of Iraqi civilian deaths, I so much believe now is the best time for the U.S. to contemplate changing our course of action over there.

The Iraq Casualties web site and the Pentagon, and, have updated their numbers with new statistics the White House probably prefers not receive much attention from the media and general public.

For number of deaths of coalition forces from the U.S., the U.K. and our partner countries, the figure is now at 2,901.

And the new number for Iraqi civilians deaths is at 12,616, and that is a very conservative estimate, while the figure for number of Iraqi police casualties is 5,361.

The Defense Department's latest number of American troops "WIA not RTD," which stands for wounded in action and not returned to duty, reached a grim milestone.

As of September 8, 2006, there have been 9,062 of our service men and women wounded so severely they could no longer perform their duties. And 10,883 were wounded in action and returned to duty.

Staying on this course is not a serious option for this American voter.

Friday, September 08, 2006

ABC's Iger: $5K to Hillary, $74K to Dems, $19K to GOP

The controversy over Disney/ABC's September 11 miniseries, "The Path to 9/11," has prompted the Democratic National Committee to launch an online petition campaign to the head honcho at Disney/ABC, Robert A. Iger, and I say the Democrats, and everyone concerned with the truth of that tragic day five years ago, should be demanding an accurate and factual depiction from the miniseries.

At the same time, Iger's Federal Election Commission file, going back to 1992, shows he's been a generous donor to Democrats and the GOP, donating $131,600 over all, and that figure breaks down thusly:

$74,000 to Democrats,
$19,500 to Republicans,
$38,000 to special interests.

Yet, the Democratic Party and individual candidates who've accepted checks from Iger are not returning any of his donations and I think they should, to send him, and other corporate media executives, a strong message or two.

By giving Iger back his contributions, the DNC and its candidates would say they're not interested in and don't need his money, especially if his TV empire is to be used for pro-GOP propaganda. Returning Iger's money also loudly tells the electorate, a sizeable portion of which is fed up with business as usual, there's a more feisty and demanding Democratic Party at work here.

Two months before the general election, why not have the Dems really stand up for the principle at stake here, truth from corporate news outlets despite political giving from media moguls, and that this is one more reason to vote Democratic in November?

One prominent Democrat who should quickly return Iger's giving is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since 2000 she's accepted $5,200 from him, and I do believe I have read a few stories lately about her husband and his former advisors none-too-pleased with how they're portrayed, some might say betrayed, in ABC's 9/11 miniseries.

Dear Dr. Dean and Sen. Clinton, give Iger back his dollars!

Iger's FEC file, from NewsMeat:












































































Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Reuters: HIV+ Woman Forced to Abort Fetus; AIDS Patient Stoned to Death

This depressing Reuters story was sent to me by my friend and longtime San Francisco AIDS advocate Hank Wilson. I've Googled the story all morning and, so far, haven't found a single link to any US media outlets picking up on these tragic events involving people with AIDS in India. Do US editors and reporters (mistakenly) believe American news consumers are not concerned about the terrible plight faced by PWAs not just in India, but indeed, in too many part of the world?

From the Reuters wire:

A pregnant HIV-positive woman was forced to abort her own fetus after staff in a hospital in eastern India refused to help her, officials said on Monday.

In a separate incident in the region, an infected man was stoned by people who feared he might spread the virus. He later died of his injuries.

Investigations in both cases are under way but authorities and activists said such incidents underlined how much stigma and even paranoia was attached to the disease in India. [...]

The 23-year-old woman, who recently tested HIV positive, was shunned last month by doctors and nurses in a state-run Kolkata hospital who told her they would not help her undergo an abortion.

"The hospital had no sympathy for me as I had to pull out the fetus with my hands and clean myself as health workers guided me from a distance," Roshni Mulani, a mother of a two-year-old child, told Reuters.

"They read about my HIV status from medical reports ... and threw medicines from a distance," said Mulani, who is recuperating at the house of anti-AIDS activist Ramen Pandey. [...]

In the neighboring state of Orissa, a 35-year-old man with full-blown AIDS died after he was pelted with stones inside a hospital compound.

"He was strolling in the vicinity when some people threw stones at him last week," Alexander Pahi, a senior police official said over the phone from the coastal town of Puri.

Loknath Mishra tested positive two years ago and was ostracized by his neighbors who feared that he may spread the virus in Puri, a holy town for Hindus.

The victim's brother told police that some people had threatened Mishra after they found out he had AIDS, Pahi said. [...]

In July 2003, an Indian woman was reported to have been stoned to death by panicky relatives and neighbors in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

An HIV positive women forced to abort her fetus and the stoning of a man with AIDS should be news in the American press.

Friday, September 01, 2006

NY Post: First-ever Dog Protection Order Issued Against Gay Man

They say gays are always the first to start trends or break new legal ground, and this story from Friday's New York Post illustrates how gays are at the forefront of the implementation of New York's new law protecting pooches. By the way, the order protecting the dog was issued, where else?, in the borough of Queens!

Excerpts from the article:

I'll get you - you and your little dog, Bibi, too!

A jilted gay man turned into the wicked bitch of the west and beat up his ex-boyfriend's tiny bichon frise, prompting the city's first-ever order of protection for a dog.

Fredrick Fontanez, 20, now must stay 100 yards away from the pooch Bibi and have no contact with the dog, Judge Alex Zigman ordered in Queens Criminal Court yesterday. [...]

Lopez allegedly told Fontanez, who lives in The Bronx, to be out of his house by the time he got home from work.

Sometime later, neighbors report hearing blood-curdling yelps and howls from the apartment where Fontanez, who is 5-foot-10 and 180 pounds, was alone with 5-year-old Bibi, a cute, 15-pound, white powder puff of a dog. [...]

Fontanez left when Lopez got home - and Colon told him what he had heard. Lopez was shocked when he saw the pup.

"A few minutes later, he knocks on my door and says, 'Yo, look at this,' He's got the welts, he's got black and blues," said Colon, an animal lover. "It was black and blue over his spine, maybe four inches from his tail. You could see he was shivering, see it in his face.

"You know that's not cool - that's not cool. Because that dog can't defend itself," he said. "The guy should go pick on some of the pit bulls or Rottweilers around here."

After an investigation by the ASPCA, Fontanez was arrested Wednesday. He was arraigned early yesterday and released with no bail on orders to stay away from Lopez and his canine best friend.

The extension of orders of protection to animals was signed into law just late last month by Gov. Pataki. [...]

"We also see that people who abuse other people also abuse pets. This is the first time the ASPCA has seen an order of protection issued for an animal."

"This is really terrifying. I hope the dog recovers," Rosenthal said.

Lopez could not be reached for comment, but officials said Bibi is doing OK. Fontanez declined to comment.

Hey, Mr. Dog-Beater! Friends of Dorothy love their little dogs, they don't beat them up.