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in the news-3

Volume 15/Issue 26

U.S. to Count Millions of Businesses
in the 1997 Economic Census

More than five million American businesses will receive 1997 Economic Census questionnaires from the U.S. Census Bureau in December. Completed forms are due February 12, 1998. Businesses receiving a form are required to respond.

Taken every five years, the Economic Census identifies national and local business trends that are essential to measuring and encouraging economic growth. Census figures help update such widely used figures as the gross domestic product (GDP) and monthly retail sales.

"The Economic Census is indispensable to understanding America's economy," said Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors."It assures the accuracy of the statistics we rely on for sound economic policy and for successful business planning."

This is the most ambitious Economic Census ever. It will be the first published entirely on the Internet. Early in 1999, a new "advance" report will present totals for the total economy. All data will be available on CD-ROMS, with highlights in printed reports.

This also will be the first major statistical report based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Developed cooperatively by the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, NAICS replaces the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system to provide greater comparability with international statistics. NAICS more accurately portrays the way our economy is now structured.The new system reflects the profound changes in technology and the growth of services that have marked recent decades.

Business people receiving forms should realize that the Economic Census helps them, too. The results provide vital information for strategic planning and many of the official statistics that investors expect in a business plan.

"Businesses make decisions about where they locate and how much to produce based on what they learn in the census," said Maureen Haver, former President of the National Association of Business Economists. "We rely on the census to understand market trends, monitor trade, keep our surveys accurate, and keep our members informed," added Herman Cain, President of the National Restaurant Association.

State and local governments, chambers of commerce, and others concerned with economic development also rely on Economic Census data.

"We need to understand our business climate...and how it has changed over time...before we can effectively work toward new business growth," said J. R.Wilhite, President, Kentucky Industrial Development Foundation.

Information collected in the Economic Census includes the number of employees, payroll, and the types and value of goods and services provided during 1997. Most businesses can complete their form in about an hour. In fact, many very small businesses will not even get a form.

"To simplify reporting, we have tailored each of our forms to a business's primary activities," said Thomas L. Mesenbourg, the Census Bureau's Assistant Director for Economic Programs. "We have designed over 500 versions of the basic form."

The census is absolutely confidential. By law, only sworn Census Bureau employees may see individual responses. Business responses are exempt from the Freedom of Information Act, and no business competitors can obtain the data.

Business people can use the get more information, to preview sample census forms online, and to review key results from the last Economic Census.

NAMES Project Launches Donor Hotline

The NAMES Project Foundation - sponsors of the AIDS Memorial Quilt-have established a "1 900" number which allows dialers to donate directly to the Quilt and have the charge reflected on their monthly phone bill. The number is 1.900.454.AIDS. The cost of the call is free until the caller indicates his or her desire to make a contribution. At that time, an automatic $25 donation is added to their monthly phone bill. Instructions for the phone donation are recorded in English and Spanish.

Comprised of more than 45,000 3 x 6 foot cloth panels, bearing the names of more than 75,000 people who have died from AIDS-a fraction of the total number of AIDS deaths-The NAMES Project Foundation AIDS Memorial Quilt is the most internationally-recognized symbol of the AIDS pandemic. Throughout the year, sections of the Quilt are sent out around the country as part of the "High School Quilt Program," serving as a backdrop to those schools' HIV/AIDS education efforts. Recently, 1998 Miss America Kate Shindle visited the NAMES Project to launch the "1 900" number, and the "online Quilt," which allows viewing of individual Quilt panels on the Internet at

On the Road Between Euphoria and Failure

Nearing the end of the second year of the "protease inhibitor era" patients, physicians and treatment activists are anxiously looking for clearer answers about the use of these new drugs. Thanks largely to the media, public expectations have been driven so high that no therapy could live up to the promises made for these drugs.

On the one hand, such optimism has brought a welcome renewal of hope. Carried to an extreme, however, it also contributes to a disturbing new carelessness about prevention, safer sex and the all too real risks still posed by HIV. It is disappointing indeed to realize that the improvements in AIDS therapy could so quickly lead to increased risk behavior and purportedly serious philosophical debates about such topics as "bare-backing." In contrast to the optimism, however, are reports of high levels of treatment failure, leading pessimistic voices to renew their belief that all people with HIV remain doomed to an early death. From this perspective, it's only a matter of time before all drugs fail everyone. Neither point of view serves as a useful basis for constructing effective long-term strategies against AIDS.

Those with the most optimistic views must come to recognize that even the best currently available therapies offer no cure and that they are not the ultimate solution to this disease. HIV-infected people should not assume that the current generation of drugs will work for the rest of their normal lifetimes, nor that these drugs can be used for decades without serious side effects, some of which we may not discover for years to come. The original hope of a few scientists that the drugs would result in eradication of HIV now seems unlikely, leaving only the option of life-time maintenance therapy-and no currently available drug or combination is good enough for that. In a broad sense, the present drugs will almost certainly fail over time. But this doesn't mean that therapy, overall, is doomed to failure. Cheaper, less toxic and easier-to-use therapies must be developed before we can talk realistically about life-time management of HIV disease. Fortunately, such therapies will continue to be developed, at least as long as the pharmaceutical industry sees AIDS as a profitable market. Whatever their limitations, the current generation of drugs represents a major advance over anything we've had before, and the full extent of their benefits has not yet been measured. In the optimal circumstances of controlled clinical studies and with careful adherence, the success of these drugs is surprisingly strong at two years out. Once people achieve truly 'undetectable' levels of virus on the newer ultra-sensitive viral load assays, the development of drug resistance is dramatically delayed. We don't know how long this can be sustained, but the duration is already being measured in years rather than months. Another unknown is the accumulation of long-term side effects. Recent findings about diabetes and other metabolic changes, such as redistribution of body fat, must be watched very carefully.

However, despite widespread belief that these recently reported effects are associated with protease inhibitors, careful data collection is beginning to question this assumption. Preliminary analysis of several case studies suggests that the phenomena are not associated with any particular protease inhibitor, nor even with the class of drugs itself. Rather, it appears that these conditions may exist across the entire population of HIV-infected people.

Part of the dilemma for patients and physicians is that both sets of facts-the optimistic and the pessimistic-are true to varying degrees with different groups of people. But there is no way to predict how the matter is going to play out for any single individual. [from Project Inform's PI Perspective]

Marine Corps Barracks Proceeds
Against Five Marines
Accused of Anti-Gay Hate Crime

Remington's, a country-western bar with a largely gay clientele in Washington, D.C., was the target of a tear gas attack on July 12, 1997. The Washington Post recently reported that the Marine Barracks in Southeast Washington, D.C. officially asked the Corps to convene an Article 32 hearing against five Marines stationed in the barracks who are suspected of participating in the attack. An Article 32 hearing is the military equivalent of a grand jury.

The attack occurred at about 1:50am when a tear gas canister was lobbed into the bar. The establishment filled with fumes and smoke and was evacuated. While several patrons were treated for nausea, no serious injuries were reported. According to the Washington Blade, some patrons reported seeing men with "military haircuts" outside immediately after the attack. No arrests were made when police searched the Marine Barracks for suspects later that morning.

According to the Post, a spokesman for the Marine Barracks, Captain Richard Luehrs, announced that the Article 32 request is the result of a four-and-a-half month investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). Capt. Luehrs declined to give the names of those suspected of participating.

Said Sharen Shaw Johnson, Executive Director of Gay Men & Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV), "Whoever is charged, this incident should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible-and as a hate crime. It clearly meets the criteria for being one, in that Remington's is known widely in its neighborhood as catering to a gay clientele."

Ms. Johnson joined Michelle Benecke, Co-Executive Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), in commending Col. Dennis Hejlik, the Marine Barracks Commandant, for conducting the investigation and requesting the Article 32 hearing. "It indicates a welcome new direction in Marine Corps attitudes," Ms. Johnson said. "Still, the Article 32 inquiry officer can neither try nor convict," she continued. "He or she can only decide if grounds exist to proceed against specific defendants. So this is an excellent beginning, but only a beginning. That's why GLOV will continue to monitor this situation closely."

Ms. Johnson called for military/civilian cooperation to ensure that the bombing be prosecuted in the jurisdiction providing the most serious penalties for hate crimes against gays and lesbians. "This was no juvenile prank," she said. "It was an act of bias violence targeted specifically against the gay community. It endangered and disrupted lives-and it should be prosecuted and sentenced as such."

GLOV provided advocacy and professional counseling for victims of the July 12 incident. "We will be available to transport and accompany victims and witnesses to judicial proceedings and provide whatever additional services and advocacy may be appropriate," Ms. Johnson said.

Michelle Benecke of SLDN further stated, "We are pleased that the Marine Corps appears to be following recent Defense Department guidance by investigating and taking action against those who engage in antigay violence. We hope that the Article 32 Investigating Officer will thoroughly review the evidence and will watch closely to see that any and all Marines who were part of the attack against Remington's are held accountable."

GLOV is an agency which provides crisis counseling, advocacy and other services to victims of anti-GLBT bias and bias violence.

SLDN is an independent organization providing legal assistance to men and women hurt by the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Pursue" policy. [GLAAD]

"Seven Habits" Author Needs To
Apologize To Community

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), a lesbian and gay political organization, issued a call for Dr. Stephen Covey, author of the book The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, to retract his endorsement of an anti-gay organization in Hawaii and to apologize publicly to the lesbian and gay community.

Covey appeared at a fundraiser in Honolulu on November 20, held to raise money for an anti-same sex marriage group. At the event, Covey is reported to have said, "I believe it takes a mother and a father to produce a child and there's never been an exception. To me, that is a kind of natural principle for a natural law. And that's why I'm behind this kind of movement."

David M. Smith, senior strategist for HRC, said that Covey's speech "came within hours after [he] personally told me that he was not aware of this group's agenda, and that he would not endorse its mission." [GLAAD]

Florida Anti-Gay Crusader On Trial

A central Florida media preacher who campaigned against civil rights protections for gays and lesbians is currently on trial for soliciting the murder of his paramour's husband. Locally well-known TV and radio minister George Crossley had publicly admitted his adulterous affair with the wife of another ordained minister, "Butch" Waldo, which sent Waldo on a campaign of vengeful harassment that at one point resulted in Waldo's own jailing for six months. But when Waldo made a phone call to Crossley's own wife, Crossley began to make vengeful plans of his own, asking his friend William Klinger to firebomb Waldo's house.

Klinger, whose police record includes convictions for theft, credit card fraud, and sex with minors, and who is currently on probation, made a deal with police to set up Crossley for arrest. [PlanetOut]

Should Media Respect Orientation
of Closeted Gays?

In the December 4 Miami Herald's "Outlooks" column, staffer Steve Rothaus examines the evolving challenges for media outlets in covering closeted lesbian and gay community leaders. "When heterosexual community leaders are profiled in newspapers and on television, it is routinely reported whom they are dating or married to," Rothaus begins. "But this information is seldom revealed about prominent gays and lesbians, making them seem two-dimensional. Few issues are more sensitive than whether the news media should respect the privacy of gay people in the closet. Many are still horrified at the suggestion of outing public people who spend their personal lives in complete privacy." Rothaus interviews local editors and journalists, who seem to feel that while each instance should be considered case by case, "'If you have a person who has devoted a significant portion of his life to gay and lesbian issues, you would want to reflect on that,"' said Herald managing editor Larry Olmstead. The journalists "agree, though, that sexual orientation plays a major role in who a person is, regardless of how open (or closeted) the individual," Rothaus writes. "Thus the quandary: Whether to mention sexual orientation in detailed profiles, news stories and obituaries of gay men and women." He adds that among lesbian and gay activists, there is hardly a consensus. And that the issue becomes particularly complex when dealing with closeted members of the media itself, such as "one gay South Florida newsman, who says he keeps his personal and professional lives apart. The broadcasters, who often contributes to network news stories, said he would 'prefer not to take the chance' that coming out would destroy his career."

Please let the Miami Herald know that as this important and controversial debate continues to evolve, Rothaus contributes a valuable article to the mix. Contact: Larry Olmstead, Managing Editor, Miami Herald, One Herald Plaza, Miami, FL 33132-1693, fax: 305.376.8950, e-mail:

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