Freshly Doug Monday

One Cardinal who won’t be flying to Rome. Photographer Patrick Ashley says “Hard to shoot this bird, very skittish.”

The story of the UKs “Bigot of the Year”, Cardinal O’Brien, is the gift that keep on giving. This arch-opponent of gay equality at first denied behaving inappropriately with young seminarians. Pope Benedict, in a final act to protect his own legacy, however, told him to resign immediately, instead of later, as previously planned. Then in an astonishing turnaround, the Cardinal admitted the accusations were true. But that still isn’t the end of it.

Now comes the cherry on the cake. It transpires that the Vatican has known all about this for five months, but in typical Roman fashion, tried to keep the lid on the scandal. The Scotsman reports:

Reports said a priest lodged a complaint in October about “inappropriate behaviour” by the former Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh in 2001.

The priest is said to have written directly to Rome because he did not think he could trust the church hierarchy in Scotland to handle the matter.

His claim is said to have been taken seriously and led to the Vatican contacting Cardinal O’Brien and a “deal” being brokered by Cardinal Marc Ouellet of Montreal for the departure of the leader of Scotland’s Catholics.

No such rumours swirling around our beloved Cardinal, who is very much a man’s man. A keen soccer and AFL player and coach in his youth, he’s currently Vice Patron of Richmond Football Club, a long term supporter and member there since he signed to play with them in 1959. Here’s a sneak peek at what he can look forward to in the conclave

We really do have much to be grateful for, living in Australia. Take, for example, the Scouts. In Oz they are probably as diverse as you could wish: they don’t discriminate against women or gays, for example. Unlike the US, where the scouts remain an an outpost of 19th century values. You have to be straight, and you have to be Christian, and if the Americans had a Queen, they’d still be pledging allegiance to her too.

Right now they’re caught in a dilemma: major corporate sponsors will withdraw support if they don’t let us in, but the churches, who host a great many scout troops, will withdraw if they do.

And so a compromise is on the cards. They will consider letting in the gays, but not atheist gays. Like all compromises, this idea pleases no-one. The  atheists are on the rampage.

A cure for AIDS remains elusive, but we’re creeping closer all the time. Scientists have now discovered how to wake at least some of the virus that lies dormant and unreachable during anti-retroviral treatment, raising the possiibility that it could be removed from a patient entirely.

Hepatitis C also appears to be close to having a cure, but there’s a catch. It involves the use of two drugs in combination – and they’re owned by two different companies. And one of them doesn’t want to play.

Gilead, poised on the brink of a worldwide bonanza since it’s combination treatment Truvada was recommended as the worldwide  pill of choice for pre-exposure prophylaxis (taking a pill to stop the virus infecting you in the first place), refuses to play ball with Bristol-Myer-Squibb. There’s a petition here, and another one for US residents on the White House site, to try to shift the impasse.

 Dr. Paul Thuluvath – Wall Street Journal:

“We had never, ever imagined—even in our wildest dreams—we could treat” hepatitis C so quickly, effectively and without serious side effects, said Paul Thuluvath, a doctor at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore who had six patients test the new treatment. “I think the pharmaceutical companies have a moral responsibility to work together and bring it to market instead of [following] their own vested interests.”

Greens leader Christine Milne continues to impress. Originally overshadowed by her predecessor, Bob Brown, she is now coming into focus as a person and leader in her own right. Here she makes her pitch for the ‘mother of the nation’ (especially the rainbow nation) vote, on

And finally, for those who are interested in the evolution of corporate law, recent changes make it easier for employees and creditors to claim against a company whose assets are transferred to a new and similarly-named entity prior to its closure, whilst its debts are left behind, a procedure known as ‘pheonixing.’. Details here. Great that the government listened to the community voice and acted to constrict this particular loophole for corporate shonks.


About the author

Veteran gay writer and speaker, Doug was one of the founders of the UKs pioneering GLBTI newspaper Gay News (1972) , and of the second, Gay Week, and is a former Features Editor of Him International. He presented news and current affairs on JOY 94.9 FM Melbourne for more than ten years. "Doug is revered, feared and reviled in equal quantities, at times dividing people with his journalistic wrath. Yet there is no doubt this grandpa-esque bear keeps everyone abreast of anything and everything LGBT across the globe." (Daniel Witthaus, "Beyond Priscilla", Clouds of Magellan, Melbourne, 2014)