11 25 2015
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  • BIG BUDGET FILMS Creed (PG-13 for violence, profanity and sensuality) Seventh installment in the Rocky series revives the franchise with this spin-off which finds Apollo Creed's son (Michael B. Jordan) being trained for a title fight by his late father's legendary adversary (Sly Stallone). With Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Wood Harris. The Good Dinosaur (PG for peril, action and mature themes) Animated adventure about an anthropomorphic apatosaurus (Raymond Ochoa) that is befriended by a caveboy (Jack Bright) after falling into a river and being swept far away from home. Voice cast includes Sam Elliott, Jeffrey Wright, Anna Paquin and Frances McDormand. Victor Frankenstein (PG-13 for violence, macabre images and a scene of destruction) James McAvoy plays the title character in this variation on Mary Shelley's classic tale about a mad scientist whose experiment in reviving the dead goes horribly wrong. Cast includes Daniel Radcliffe, Jessica Brown Findlay and Bronson Webb. INDEPENDENT & FOREIGN FILMS Bolshoi Babylon (Unrated) Russian gone postal documentary deconstructing the 2013 acid attack on Sergei Filin, the artistic director of Moscow's most-prestigious ballet company, by a disgruntled employee. The Danish Girl (R for sexuality and full-frontal nudity) Transgender biopic, set in Copenhagen in the Twenties, recounting the pioneering procedure undergone by Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne), one of the first recipients of a sex-change operation. With Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard and Matthias Schoenaerts. Iraqi Odyseey (Unrated) Middle East documentary, directed by Samir Jamal al Din, finds the Iraqi expatriate tracing the migration of his people over the past half century in the wake of wars, dictatorship and foreign occupation. (In Arabic, English, German and Russian with subtitles) Janis: Little Girl Blue (Unrated) Reverential retrospective chronicling the meteoric rise and untimely demise of Janis Joplin (1943-1970). Featuring interviews with record exec Clive Davis, filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker and singer/songwriter Kris Kristofferson. Karski & the Lords of Humanity (Unrated) Holocaust documentary recounting the exploits of Polish resistance leader Jan Karski (1914-2000) posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2012 and credited with saving 200,000 Jews from the Nazis during World War II. Stink! (Unrated) Eco-expose' about many dangerous chemicals politicians knowingly allow avaricious corporations to manufacture and disseminate in consumer products. Submerged (Unrated) Harrowing thriller about a group of young party animals held for ransom when their stretch limo plunges into a canal after being forced off the road by kidnappers. Ensemble cast includes Mario Van Peebles, Rosa Salazar, Talulah Riley, Denzel Whitaker, Jonathan Bennett and Tim Daly.
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  • City considering an ordinance that would postpone questions about criminal history
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  • Event to focus on self-care for Black women, girls and non-binary people
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  • A video of the shooting was released after pressure from community activists 
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Scientific denialists have been around since, well… the beginning of recorded science. One group of denialists refused to believe that the earth was round. Another group insisted that the sun revolved around the earth until long after scientific evidence had proved it works the other way around. A group of denialists wants us to believe that President Obama is Muslim, while another group, called "birthers," continues to challenge his presidency because they refuse to believe he was born in the United States.
It should come as no surprise that there are AIDS denialists as well. Typically they either reject the fact that AIDS exists, disagree that HIV causes AIDS, claim that AIDS is caused by the very medications designed to treat it, or try to dissuade people from getting HIV tested.
Given the magnitude of the AIDS epidemic in Black America, we cannot allow ourselves to be either distracted or bamboozled by these types of dubious claims. In fact, we should consider AIDS denialists not only dangerous, but even enemies of our community. I completely understand how some of us might be nervous about getting tested.
Nearly 500,000 of the 1.2 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS are Black. Nearly 40 percent of Black Americans have a family member or close family friend who is living with or has died from HIV/AIDS. I have been living with HIV for nearly 30 years. Those of us living with HIV/AIDS or who have lost family and friends to it know painfully well that the connection between HIV and AIDS is not theoretical.
I also know first hand the benefits of getting HIV-tested early, receiving love and support from family and friends, and having access to appropriate care. I thank God that no denialist was by my bedside in 1996, when my doctors thought I had less than 24 hours to live and insisted I start new medical therapies. I am alive today and am living proof of the benefits of medical treatment.
Whether we're talking about their blood pressure, blood glucose, blood cholesterol or HIV status, every person needs as much information as possible to make informed decisions about their health. An HIV test tells us whether we have the virus that causes AIDS. When people who are HIV-positive know it, they can obtain the same kinds of life-extending and life-saving care and treatment that has helped me, including medications that can delay or even prevent some life-threatening conditions.
People who know their HIV status are also more likely to take precautions to prevent their partners from becoming infected than people who don't know they are positive. That's why I believe that all of us need to take responsibility for knowing our own and our partners' HIV status, and everyone should have access to HIV testing regardless of their ability to pay. Knowledge also empowers us with choices, including the option of whether to have unprotected sex or even to have sex at all. Knowing is greater than doubt.
Can the results of an HIV test be incorrect? Yes, but rarely. Similar to other screening tests—for various cancers, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. —the test yields a very low number of inaccurate results. This is why positive HIV-test results are always confirmed by an additional test and why sexually active individuals are encouraged to get tested at least once a year even if they have tested negative in the past.
Acknowledging and confronting our risk of HIV/AIDS can be scary. Sometimes it seems easier to allow myths and misinformation to paralyze us and prevent us from taking action. But it would be tragic if we were to allow urban legends, conspiracy theories and fear-mongering about HIV/AIDS and HIV testing to drag us backwards so that we relive the suffering and death that existed during the 1980s.
There is a drastic difference between the healing and self-empowerment that happens in communities that confront HIV/AIDS directly and the death and devastation that takes place in communities that do not. Black Americans represent nearly half of the nation's new HIV/AIDS cases and nearly half of the AIDS-related deaths because for far too long, we either pretended that AIDS was not real or that it was somebody else's problem. Fortunately, in recent years Black leaders, institutions and community members have started to mobilize to confront HIV directly and honestly.
Ask anyone infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS, and they will tell you that AIDS is no joke. Knowing is greater than doubt.

Phill Wilson is the President and CEO of the Black AIDS Institute.

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