aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, January 12, 2007
Bush’s Georgia reception
Media Matters looks into AP’s reporting of Bush’s visit to Fort Benning, GA yesterday:
In its article on President Bush’s visit to Fort Benning to promote his plan to increase troops in Iraq, the Associated Press claimed that Bush was “surrounded ... by cheering soldiers.” Other media outlets, such as The Washington Post, however, reported that soldiers “saluted smartly and applauded politely”—“hardly the boisterous, rock-star reception Bush typically gets at military bases.”
Media Matters credits TPM Muckraker for first noticing. Macon’s paper carried the AP account. Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get the skinny on Georgia pols.
Wonkette ferreted out “the only US Senator in support of Bush’s Iraq plan,” our own Johnny Isakson mentioned in the WaPo. Yesterday we saw Macon’s Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall headlined on MSNBC.com as praising Bush. I didn’t see it that way; still don’t.
I do see them all holding their purple fingers to the wind. And it’s not blowing Bush’s way. Even here in Georgia.
An Atlanta police narcotics officer has told federal investigators at least one member of his unit lied about making a drug buy at the home of an elderly woman killed in a subsequent raid, according to a person close to the investigation.
In an affidavit to get a search warrant at the home Nov. 21, narcotics officer Jason R. Smith told a magistrate he and Officer Arthur Tesler had a confidential informant buy $50 worth of crack at 933 Neal St. from a man named “Sam.”
But narcotics officer Gregg Junnier, who was wounded in the shootout, has since told federal investigators that did not happen, according to the person close to the investigation. Police got a no-knock warrant after claiming that “Sam” had surveillance cameras outside the Neal Street residence and they needed the element of surprise to capture him and the drugs.
The resident at the home, Kathryn Johnston, who is reported to be either 88 or 92, was startled by the sound of her burglar-bar door being battered in, and she fired her revolver at the officers. She was killed and three officers were wounded by gunfire or shrapnel.
It’s bad enough if they lied, but then there’s this:
Alex White came forward to authorities a day after the shooting, saying narcotics officers were trying to tell him to lie and say he bought drugs at the house. White came to light after he jumped out of an Atlanta squad car Nov. 22 and called 911.
On a 911 tape, an insistent and anxious-sounding man identifying himself as White told an operator, “I have two cops chasing me. They’re on the dirty side, two undercover officers.”
Later, White, who acknowledged having worked as a confidential informant, told WAGA the cops told him “you need to cover our [rear]. . . . It’s all on you man. . . . You need to tell them about this Sam dude.” According to the WAGA report, the informant said Sam didn’t exist and he never went to the house.
Radley also points to the cops’ side of the jaywalking story and concludes, “Even if everything the officer says is true, it appears the roughing up and arrest were for little more than failing to give the cop the respect he thought he was due.”
AquaDom: the world’s largest cylinder aquarium
Placed at the lobby of the Radisson SAS Hotel in Berlin, the 25 meters high AquaDom is the largest cylindrical aquarium ever built. Filled with about 900,000 liters of seawater, it contains some 2600 fish of 56 species… Guests and visitors are able to travel through the aquarium in a glass-enclosed elevator to reach a sightseeing point and restaurant under the glass roof. Two full-time divers are responsible for the care and feeding of the fish and maintenance of the aquarium.
Here’s a Lucite press release that describes how it was made.
The Bickersons, a kitchen wall and a patio fountain
We had a wall removed from the kitchen this week and were gifted a fountain we’ll be installing by the patio. We added a bathroom last spring and the portico and patio this summer. Today the times has a big Home and Garden feature, Irreconcilable Interiors: When Mates Don’t Match:
Like moving, childbirth and death, renovation is one of the biggies: a huge stressor in a relationship. How a couple handles it tends to mirror or even amplify what’s going on between them, particularly the problems, blowing up slights to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon.
Third parties are frequently entangled. Contractors, architects and decorators become skilled at listening and conflict resolution. [...]
Symbolically, of course, a home is as potent as money in a relationship. “Home is all about security, safety, expression and belonging,” said Margaret Shapiro, an assistant director at the Council for Relationships, the oldest association of marriage counselors in the country, based in Philadelphia. “That’s the inside part, and the outside part is what you present to the world. It represents a lot of dreams and hopes and how you’re going to nurture your family. And where people get tangled up is, they can have very different ideas about what that means.”
Based on how few squabbles we’ve had in the process of our renovations, it looks like Doug and I are in good shape!
GSA updates: White County settles, Okeechobee fights on
Remember the Georgia school district that banned all “noncurricular clubs” in order to keep a gay-straight alliance from meeting on school grounds? We won, a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the school in July 2006. This week, the school district settled:
White County High School students fighting to start a gay-straight alliance reached a settlement agreement with White County, Ga., school officials Wednesday, the latest chapter in what has been an ongoing national battle over the legal right for such clubs to exist in public schools.
The American Civil Liberties Union represented the students in a yearlong court battle for the club’s right to exist and for the students’ right to go to school free of harassment. Terms of the settlement include policies for students in grades nine through 12 that specifically state anti-gay harassment is prohibited on school grounds and annual training sessions for faculty on dealing with and preventing anti-gay harassment.
Meanwhile, yesterday in Okeechobee, FL, the ACLU asked a federal court to order school officials to allow a Gay-Straight Alliance to start meeting:
The ACLU also told the court that claims by the school district that it is only following state law are unfounded and the district’s motion to dismiss the case should be rejected.
But school district attorney David Gibbs says that the Equal Access Act can’t be used in the case of a GSA and furthermore Florida law requires schools to teach abstinence, “while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.”
Uh, gay & lesbian students can practice abstinence just as well as anyone else (and are more likely to do so if they can be open about their orientation). And is it really law to teach the benefits of heterosesxual marriage in Florida?
Among the 20 percent of kids that took a virginity pledge, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying or prior to 2002 interviews. Almost 7 percent of the students who did not make a pledge were diagnosed with an STD, compared with 6.4 percent of the “inconsistent pledgersÃ¢â‚¬Â� and 4.6 percent of the “consistent pledgers.”
For some years now conservatives have been winning by using liberal strategies and laws (notably, in the area of affirmative action); I find it particularly poetic that these GSA cases are being won in part by citing the 1984 Equal Access Act, which was itself established to protect the rights of religious clubs in public schools.
Here’s the ACLU Press Release.