Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lest We Forget: The Shameful History of Ronald Reagan and the Republican Party in Their Refusal to Acknowledge and Deal With Aids

It's World Pride 2014 week, which, this year will be hosted by my neighbour city, Toronto.

Therefore, I thought it would be a good time to remind ourselves of the shameful behaviour of all of us, with respect to AIDS, led by President Ronald Reagan and his immoral majority.

On January 20, 1981, Ronal Reagan became the 40th president of the United States.

 On June 5, 1981, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a report describing cases of a rare lung infection in five young, previously healthy gay men in Los Angeles. A month later, on July 3, 1981, the New York Times reported similar symptoms in 41 gay men in New York and California. By the end of 1981, a total of 270 reported cases of severe immune deficiency among gay men, and 121 of those individuals had died.

By the end of 1981, has the Reagan Administration said ONE WORD about this burgeoning epidemic. NO.

No official word was heard from Washington until April 13, 1982 when U.S. Representative Henry Waxmen (D- California), convened the first congressional hearing on HIV/AIDS, which, by this time, it was estimated that tens of thousands of people might be affected by the disease. The results of these hearing were the allocation of $10 million for AIDS research (as it became known), and $5 million to CDC for surveillance.

By December of that year, the CDC was reporting cases of AIDS in infants who had received blood transfusions.

By the end of 1982, has the Reagan Administration said ONE WORD about this burgeoning epidemic. NO.

Meanwhile, things deteriorate in 1983 to the point where on December 6, 1983, a congressional subcommittee releases The Federal Response to AIDS, a report criticizing the U.S. Government for failure to invest sufficient funding in AIDS surveillance and research. As at the end of 1983, there were 2,807 reported cases of AIDS in the U.S., and 2,118 deaths.

By the end of 1983, has the Reagan Administration said ONE WORD about this burgeoning epidemic. NO.

1984 continued to be a difficult year for the gay community, however, one bright light was on April 23, 1984, when Dr. Robert Gallo and his colleagues reported that they had found the cause of AIDS.

By the end of 1984, has the Reagan Administration said ONE WORD about this burgeoning epidemic. NO.

In 1985, the U.S. Congress allocated $70 million for AIDS research. By the end of that year, at least one HIV case had been reported in every region of the world.

By the end of 1985, has the Reagan Administration said ONE WORD about this burgeoning epidemic. NO.

On September 17, 1986, President Ronald Reagan mentions AIDS publicly for the first time, vowing in a letter to Congress to make ADS a priority. That's five years and 28,712 cases resulting in 24,559 deaths already recorded in the U.S. alone.

On August 18, 1987 the FDA sanctions the first testing of a candidate vaccine against HIV. By the end of 1987, there were 50,378 cases of AIDS reported with 40,849 deaths.

The year 1988 concluded with the FDA allowing the importation of unapproved drugs for persons with life-threatening illnesses, including HIV/AIDS and after numerous protests, introducing new regulations to speed up drug approval.

1989 showed little progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS with the end of year statistics reaching 117,508 reported cases, and 89,343 deaths.

GOODBYE President Reagan, and SHAME ON YOU.

On  November 7, 1991, Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced that he was HIV positive.

By 1992, AIDS became the number one cause of death for U.S. men ages 25 to 44.

By 1996, with worldwide education in place, new AIDS cases in the U.S. declines for the first time since the beginning of the epidemic.

By 2011, a landmark research study shows that putting healthy people living with HIV on antiretrovirals can limit their transmission of the virus by 1996.

Also, by 2011, more that 1.1. million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and more than 33 million people are living with HIV/AIDS around the world.

Here is a graph of the growth of the disease from 1981 until 1999.

Now, just imagine if President Reagan had put the might of the U.S. behind AIDS research when the epidemic first showed its ugly head in 1981 instead of ignoring it for 5 years. That would mean that it would be 5 years earlier that solutions started to kick in, and, in those 5 years, let's say, 1995-1999, that's 3,157,575 fewer HIV cases contracted in the U.S., and 1,913,190 deaths. That's more U.S. casualties then the total number of U.S. soldiers who died in all the wars fought in the 20th century.



Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Brooklyn? One of the most popular baby names? Sounds like an Abbot and Costello dialogue to me

According to the Associated Press, Brooklyn is one of the most popular baby names in the U.S. More than 6,600 girls born in the U.S. in 2013 were named Brooklyn.

I wonder what Abbott and Costello would say about that.

Abbott: So, I heard you’re going on a long weekend with your new girlfriend
Costello: True
Abbott: So, what’s her name?
Costello: Brooklyn
Abbott: I want to know her name, not where you’re going.
Costello: Brooklyn
Abbott: O.K., so you’re going to Brooklyn?
Costello: Virginia
Abbott: I see, you’re going to Brooklyn with Virginia. Why didn’t you just say her name was Virginia in the first place. And where are you going specifically.
Costello: Puritan Virginia.
Abbott: Yikes Costello, first of all, that’s very rude. Secondly, it’s none of my business. Please answer my question.
Costello: I’m telling you, Puritan Virginia. Have you never heard the expression Virginia is for lovers.
Abbott:  Are you and Virginia in love?
Costello: I don’t know, never been there.
Abbott: So, you’re taking someone for a long weekend whom you’ve never met?
Costello: Of course I met her.
Abbott: Who?
Costello: Brooklyn
Abbot: Nevermind
Costello: That's her dog.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ontario Election Post-Mortem, Rating the Pollsters

The Ontario 2014 election is now history, and, every pollster predicted a Minority Liberal government. There was also a general consensus that the voters were not engaged and it could be a disastrous turn out. They were wrong on both counts. The results were a Majority Liberal government and a 3% increase in turnout from the 2011 election.

So, let's see how the pollsters actual did now that we know the results. To refresh your memory here are the results.

Now, let's see what the pollsters said was going to happen.

Abacus Data:
Their last poll was June 9. They showed Liberal support trending
down (WRONG), Conservative support trending up (WRONG), and
NDP support trending up around 30% (WRONG).

EKOS Research :                
Their last poll was June 11, and they got it mostly right. They had Liberal support on the rise towards 39% (RIGHT), Conservative support on the decline at around 31% (RIGHT), and NDP support on the rise at around 23% (CLOSE ENOUGH).

Forum Research:    
Their last poll was June 10, and, it showed Liberal support on the rise and above 40% (CLOSE ENOUGH), Conservative support on the decline at around 33% (CLOSE ENOUGH), and NDP support on the rise at 19% (CLOSE ENOUGH).

Their last poll was June 11. They showed an almost 3 way dead heat. They had Liberal support on the decline at 33% (WRONG), Conservative support on the rise at 31% (WRONG), and NDP support on the rise at 30% (WRONG).

So, if RIGHT is an A, CLOSE ENOUGH a B, and WRONG an F, here is the grade for each of the four poll takers.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Comparison of the Big 4 : Spoiler Alert, a Minority Liberal Government

Here's what we're all projecting, a Minority Liberal Government:

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Ontraio Election By The Numbers: FINAL Predictions

updated June 11 6:15pm after release of Ipsos Reid final poll

Polling may still be on going, however, the day before election day ban on publication means that we know everything we're going to know from the pollsters.

The final two polls, one released by Ekos Research on June 11th, and one released by Forum Research on June 10th, show the Liberals pulling out front at the expense of the Conservatives (as per Ekos), or at the expense of the NDP (Forum Research)

Prior to tomorrow's election, we thought it would be interesting to have a look at what each pollster predicted, from their first poll of the campaign, to their last poll. Maybe that will give us some insight into the minds and hearts of the voters.

First, there's Abacus Data. Their first poll was published on May 20 and their last poll was published on June 9. What the four polls showed was a slight increase in Liberal support, a slight decrease in Conservative support, and, a slight increase in NDP support. Graphically, it looks like this

Ekos Research didn't quite see it the same way. They began the campaign with a significant Liberal lead, and, they ended the campaign with the Liberal about where they were at the beginning of the campaign, but with Conservatives slightly lower, ane with the NDP slightly higher in support.

Next comes Forum Research. Their initial poll, published May 3rd, showed the Conservatives with a lead in support, but, by June 610th, their last poll, the Liberals were on the rise gaining 3% from the Conservatives, while the NDP barely moved (up 0.5%).

If you're not confused yet, here comes Ipsos Reid. Like Forum Research, their early polling showed the Conservatives with a substantial lead, but with the Liberals and NDP almost neck and neck. In their last minute internet poll, they are showing continued decline for the Conservatives, a plateauing for the Liberals, but a surprise rise in popularity for the NDP. You will notice that they saw this spike in NDP support on May 22, with a dramatic decline a week later. Nevertheless, let's say the spike is real and there is a 28% support for the NDP, how does this change things? Not much. What the Conservatives gains from the NDP taking votes away from hotly contested Liberal / NDP ridings, they give back in hotly contested Conservative / Liberal ridings with their 4% drop since June 6. (updated 6pm June 11)

Depending on who you believe, it appears that we will have another Liberal minority government. However, if Abacus is correct, and the NDP really do have 28% support, or as Ipsos Reid is now saying, 31%, then, could the Conservatives split the left leaning vote enough to take control of the Ontario Government? Not according to my math. (updated 6pm June 11)

Despite the uncertainty, this pollster will stick with the summary math and predict a Liberal minority as follows:

We will know for sure tomorrow night. Remember to vote! It's your province and your opinion counts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Ontario Election By The Numbers June June 9, 10 Polls (Ekos, Abacus)

As the election heads into its last few days, we continue to see discrepancies in the polling numbers. However, all pollsters, excluding Ipsos Reid, have had the Liberals in front since the start. The June 9 poll released by Abacus Data and the June 10 poll released by Ekos Research look as follows:

If we average the two, this is very good news for the NDP. It suggests that they will most likely be able to hold 20 seats, not be reduced to 14 as some analysts have suggested. Nevertheless, it's probably very bad news for their leader. Ms. Horwath, following election day, will have no choice but to resign. What's her alternative? Support a Liberal minority government that she overthrew?

If the voting patterns are equivalent to the party support, AND THAT'S A BIG IF, then, the final seat count will look like:

However, if Ipsos Reid is correct, and the voters most likely to head to the polls heavily favour the Conservative Party, it's a very different seat map come election day. In my opinion, that is why we are seeing so many Liberal adds warning of the dangers of Tim Hudak, they are not aimed at picking up new support, but in getting the vote out.

People have been dying for years for the privilege to vote, we all need to get to the polls and exercise our responsibility.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ontario Election By The Numbers First Polls After June 3 Debate

Three polls have now come out querying voters after the Tuesday debate. They continue to show difference of opinions. However, perhaps more importantly, they each continue to be consistent within themselves, and perhaps the most discouraging for the Tories, the one poll that has shown them in the lead since the beginning of the campaign, the CP24/CTV/Ipsos Reid poll has the Tories down 1% from the last poll, May 29.


Here are the numbers...

 and here is how the ElliotSchillerBlog Black Box, after weighting the 3 new polls predicts the outcome if the election were held today.

You might ask, how is it possible that even with the predicted likely to vote numbers heavily favouring the Conservatives, that the Liberals still look like they will garner the most seats in the election.

That is because, urban areas, with the BIG population densities lean left, and the rural areas lean right, and seats are apportioned based on population. If you look at the current house map, it's blue (Conservative) all over, but still the Liberals (red) run the government. That's because the population resides in the urban, not the rural areas. That's why the Conservatives can be ahead in likely to vote, but not ridings.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Ontario Election By The Numbers May 29 Poll (CP24/ CTV/ Ipsos Reid)

Throughout the election campaign, the CP24/ CTV/ Ipsos Reid poll has continued to show the Tories in the lead based upon committed voters. This week, they decided to ask the party support question like every other polling organization, but, to continue to ask the committed voter question, only now, to ask it as "motivated to vote". While Tory support has firmed up one point, on the motivated question, the Liberals have dropped one point. Not good news for the Liberals, if they can't somehow motivate their supporters to go to the polls.
On the party support question, the standard one asked by every organization, CP24 falls in line with other recent polls. Here are the numbers.

Rather than put a blended number based on some formulated weighted average, into my black box program, I decided to put in both numbers as is, and see what the seat count would look like based on party support, and, based on most motivated to vote. Here are the results.

Bottom line, if the Liberals can get out the vote, they form a minority government. However, if the Liberals cannot motivate their base to get out and vote, and CP24 et. al. are correct about who is motivated to vote, it's a decent Conservative minority, and I suspect, the NDP would have no choice but to support them.

So, who do you want for your next government, the current Liberals who can't stop spending your money foolishly, or the One Million Man plus or minus Nine Hundred Thousand Men "Job" Creator Conservatives who don't understand the difference between a year and a man year, or as my fifth grade teacher would have said, you can't add can you?

I think Rob Ford might have a point, politics does look better when you're on crack.