.
January 14th, 2011
03:45 PM ET
January 14th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Letters to the President: #725 'A unified State of the Union'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: Following his big speech in Arizona, President Obama is preparing for his upcoming State of the Union address. For the record, he has not asked for my help, but since he has all these letters, I can’t help but think he will consult them in my absence. Ha!

Dear Mr. President,

I have been following this discussion among your congressional pals about a new seating arrangement for your State of the Union address - the idea that members of the two major parties should mix and mingle instead of camping on either side of the aisle like the warring armies that they are.

This is an excellent idea.

The long growing trend with these speeches has been toward a kind of Bad Congressional Dinner Theater; a Melodrama on the Potomac complete with heroes, villains, and a hissing and hooting peanut gallery. Members of the party that holds the White House beam and cheer too often. Those from the opposition sulk and sit on their hands. It’s kind of funny in that both sides seem to think they can shape the public’s views of policy this way. I mean, we’re not all that bright out here, but give us a little more credit than that…
FULL POST

January 14th, 2011
01:30 PM ET

Wilson: Can we keep up our progress on AIDS?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/OPINION/01/14/wilson.aids.anniversary/tzleft_wilson_courtesy.jpg caption="Phill Wilson is the president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, a national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on black people." width=300 height=169]

Phill Wilson
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Watch "Hope Survives: 30 Years of AIDS," an AC360° special, at 9 p.m. ET Friday. Phill Wilson is the president and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute, a national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on black people. Follow him on Twitter.

(CNN) - I was infected with HIV in 1981, the year the disease was discovered.

Back then, most people died in six to 12 months from horrible diseases like Kaposi's sarcoma, a skin cancer normally found in older men of Semitic descent; pneunocystis carinii pneumonia, a fungal infection in the lungs; cryptococcal meningitis, which causes the lining of your brain to swell; or toxoplasmosis: You got that from cat feces, and it turned your brain to Swiss cheese.

There were no treatments, really. A "long-time survivor" was someone who lived 18 months.

I was 24 then. In April, I will celebrate my 54th birthday.

I almost didn't make it. In 1996, my doctor at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles called my mother in Chicago to tell her that if she wanted to see me alive again, she should fly to Los Angeles immediately. They had given me less than 24 hours to live. I was in a coma in the ICU.

I eventually came out of that crisis, and my doctor prescribed something brand new: a three-drug regimen, commonly referred to as "the cocktail." I recovered from that crisis and went on to found the Black AIDS Institute, an organization I still lead.

What a difference three decades can make. We have gone from no drugs to a few very toxic drugs that didn't really work to more than 25 antiretroviral drugs used to treat HIV. The new drugs are highly effective, and the side effects are much reduced.

Read more from Wilson on CNN.com's Opinion Page

Editor's note:
Greater Than AIDS – a new national movement to respond to AIDS in America– is asking Americans to share their “Deciding Moments," personal experiences that changed how they think about the disease and inspired them to get involved. For many it is someone close to them who was infected. For some it was their own diagnosis. For others it was a realization that we all have a role to play. Tell us about your “Deciding Moment” by visiting: www.greaterthan.org/moment.

Related: Visit Greater Than AIDS for answers to frequently asked questions about HIV/AIDS, as well as information about local testing centers.


Filed under: 360° Radar • AIDS • Opinion • Phill Wilson
January 14th, 2011
12:13 PM ET

Kramer: AIDS is a plague allowed to happen

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/OPINION/01/14/larry.kramer.aids/tzleft.kramer_larry.jpg caption="Larry Kramer co-founded Gay Men's Health Crisis and founded ACT UP, an activist organization that has campaigned for treatments for HIV/AIDS." width=300 height=169]

Larry Kramer
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Watch "Hope Survives: 30 Years of AIDS," an AC360° special, at 9pm ET Friday. Larry Kramer co-founded Gay Men's Health Crisis and founded ACT UP, an activist organization that has campaigned for treatments for HIV/AIDS. His play, "The Normal Heart," about the early years of AIDS and directed by Joel Grey, will be produced on Broadway by Daryl Roth and will star Joe Mantello; it will also be filmed next summer starring Mark Ruffalo and directed by Ryan Murphy. "The American People," his novel about the history of homosexuals in America, will be published by Farrar Straus and Giroux. Kramer, whose partner is David Webster, is HIV+ and the recipient of a liver transplant.

New York City (CNN) - I want this article to break your heart. But it deals with a subject that has had a tough time of it in the break-everyone's-heart department. I'll bet that a number of you will be more angry at me than sympathetic by the time you finish reading it. If indeed you finish reading it.

From its very beginning, most people have not wanted to know the truths about AIDS. This is an indisputable fact that continues until this very minute. I have been on the front lines since Day 1, so I know what I'm talking about.

Here are 10 realities about AIDS, and I've learned them the hard way:

1. AIDS is a plague - numerically, statistically and by any definition known to modern public health - though no one in authority has the guts to will call it one.

2. Too many people hate the people that AIDS most affects, gay people and people of color. I do not mean dislike, or feel uncomfortable with. I mean hate. Downright hate. Down and dirty hate.

3. Likewise, both people who don't have sex the way they do (if they have it at all) and people who take drugs in order to feel better in a world that they find wretched are considered two highly expendable populations by the powerful forces that control this world.

4. AIDS was allowed to happen. It is a plague that need not have happened. It is a plague that could have been contained from the very beginning.

5. It is a plague that is not going to go away. It is only going to get worse.

Read more from Kramer on CNN.com's Opinion page

Editor's note:
Greater Than AIDS – a new national movement to respond to AIDS in America– is asking Americans to share their “Deciding Moments," personal experiences that changed how they think about the disease and inspired them to get involved. For many it is someone close to them who was infected. For some it was their own diagnosis. For others it was a realization that we all have a role to play. Tell us about your “Deciding Moment” by visiting: www.greaterthan.org/moment.

Related: Visit Greater Than AIDS for answers to frequently asked questions about HIV/AIDS, as well as information about local testing centers.


Filed under: 360° Radar • AIDS • Larry Kramer • Opinion
January 14th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Emanuel: Giffords should not be exploited

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2011/images/01/13/t1larg.rahm-emanuel-concert.t1larg.jpg caption="When he was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emanuel recruited Gabrielle Giffords to run for Congress. Emanuel also started the 'Congress on Your Corner' events." width=300 height=169]

Gabriella Schwarz
CNN

(CNN) – At a press conference Tuesday, Chicago mayoral candidate Rahm Emanuel said his 2008 comment that politicians should "never let a good crisis go to waste" does not apply to the Arizona shootings.

"What I said was never let a good crisis go to waste when it's an opportunity to do things you had never considered or you didn't think were possible," Emanuel said. "That's not intended for this moment; it doesn't apply for this moment."

The statement has been cited as an example of inflated political rhetoric that politicians and pundits are now warning against.

Full story on the CNN Political Ticker


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow
January 14th, 2011
11:45 AM ET
January 14th, 2011
11:30 AM ET
January 14th, 2011
11:15 AM ET
January 14th, 2011
11:00 AM ET
January 14th, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Tucson: Heroes amidst the horror

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Editor's note: In an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ron Barber describes in chilling detail how he was shot alongside his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Gupta also spoke to Giffords' husband, U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. For more from them, other victims and the medical team caring for them, tune in to a special "SGMD," Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET

(CNN) - At University Medical Center in Tucson, four patients remain in the hospital. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is now the only one in critical condition.

Outside, there is a constantly busy makeshift memorial, even in the middle of the night. Television and newspaper reporters are buzzing around, trying to satisfy the appetite of a curious public. There is so much attention on these four patients, that it was somewhat surprising that they hardly know it. Most of them have cut themselves off and barely watched any news reports, or even visited with other victims down the hall.

I was allowed to meet with the patients at UMC, as they decided to speak for the very first time. It became clear within moments that as much as I wanted to record their stories, they needed – they wanted to talk even more.

Ron Barber was the first patient I met. Kindly, softspoken, he welcomed me in with a smile and introduced me to his wife, Nancy. For 40 years, Ron had worked as an advocate for those with developmental disabilities, and he had retired before coming to work as a staff member for Congresswoman Giffords.

It was jarring when he started to describe the horrible scene that unfolded. He heard the noise and saw Giffords take a bullet in the head. As he spun around toward the shooter, he also was shot, first in the face and then in the leg.

He slumped to the ground and found himself lying right next to Giffords, who had her back to him. As he struggled to make sense of it all, suddenly their colleague, Gabe Zimmerman, fell face-first right between them. “He was so still,” he told me. “I knew he was dead.”

Full story on The Chart blog


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Sanjay Gupta
« older posts
newer posts »