aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Sunday, March 25, 2007
Wolfgang Puck steps up to the animal welfare plate
The NYTimes has an editorial supporting Wolfgang Puck’s decision to use products only from animals raised under strict humane standards in all of his culinary businesses:
Mr. Puck is not the first chef and restaurateur to decide to forgo factory-farmed meat and eggs. You can find a few restaurants upholding these standards in nearly every major American city. But Mr. Puck runs an empire, not a restaurant. His outreach is enormous, and so is his potential educational impact. In fact, he has come late to this decision, perhaps because it affects a corporation, not the menu of a single restaurant.
For one thing, Mr. Puck’s new standard will help correct a misimpression. Many diners assume that most of the cruelty in factory farming lies in producing foie gras and veal. But Americans consume vastly more chicken, turkey, pork and beef than foie gras and veal, and most of the creatures those meats come from are raised in ways that are ethically and environmentally unsound. Until recently, most Americans have been appallingly ignorant of how their food is produced. That is changing. And Mr. Puck’s gift for showmanship will help advance Americans’ knowledge that they can eat well and do right all at the same time.
Fired for sex change. Update.
I’d rather if he had been able to keep his job. But in our modern world, his best option is to write a book. And sue.
LARGO - The door closed Friday night for Steve Stanton.
Largo’s city commission voted 5-2 to uphold its Feb. 27 decision to begin the firing process for its city manager. After listening to six hours of presentations and public comment during Stanton’s appeal, all seven commissioners repeated their earlier votes.
Stanton said he was fired because he revealed his plans to become a transgendered woman named Susan.
He would not say, though, whether he planned to file a lawsuit against the city. Stanton was asked if he was disappointed.
“I am,” he said. “But it shows the difficulty of evaluating this type of situation. I was optimistic, but realistic that it would be hard to slow down the train. It is closure. And it was an opportunity to inform and educate people. They listened to information they did not have the first time.”
He had served well for 14 years. This is modern bigotry pure and simple. It’s tragic and sad.
Incremental progress against don’t ask, don’t tell
In a March 13 press briefing, in response to a question about what gay servicemembers serving in Iraq should take from General Pace’s comments on gays and morality, Dan Bartlett said, “ the President appreciates the sacrifice and service of every service member.”
The Bay Area Reporter now tells us that:
Steve Ralls was stunned. The spokesman for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, the leading group working to repeal DADT, said, “As far as I’m aware, this is the first time the Bush White House has said they appreciate the sacrifice of gay troops.”
“In late February, after Congressman [Marty] Meehan re-introduced his repeal legislation, Tony Snow said, ‘We’ll wait and see what Congress comes up with,’ when asked if the president would support the bill. That wasn’t a flat no, and I had to read that transcript twice, too!” Ralls added.
SLDN also released the latest of its annual reports on DADT. It showed that 612 service members were kicked out of the military under the policy during fiscal year 2006. That is down from 742 in 2005. The total number has ebbed each year since the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington, when it was more than twice as large as today.
“The Pentagon’s data shines a bright light on the hypocrisy of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” said SLDN Executive Director C. Dixon Osburn. “When military leaders need the talent, skills, and qualifications of gay personnel, dismissals decline. The Pentagon’s own data shows that, during times of war, when unit cohesion is most important, fewer gay troops are dismissed. The ban on their service, and not their service itself, is what erodes cohesion most.”
RELATED: Pam’s House Blend blogged last night’s SLDN 15th Annual National Dinner and Clarence Page’s Don’t ask, don’t tell—and don’t leave column from yesterday.
Waiting for news of Julie Amero
Rick Green has a piece in The Hartford Courant telling the whole sad story of the Connecticut substitute teacher convicted and awaiting sentencing for exposing children to porn on a classroom computer. She’s scheduled to be sentenced this week:
The school district and police department are not talking. Returning a call Friday morning, Chief State’s Attorney Kevin Kane declined to comment about the case.
But Kane, [assistant state’s attorney David] Smith and others connected to the case have been deluged - and widely ridiculed - by computer security experts who say critical evidence was not considered and officials are now searching for ways to avoid Thursday’s sentencing. The state’s attorney’s office in Norwich is reconsidering its aggressive prosecution of Amero, sources close to the case say.
Smith, whose persuasive arguments convinced the jury of Amero’s guilt, would say only that before next Thursday, things “could very well change.”
Amero will ultimately be vindicated. Whether or not she can recover her reputation, the money spent, her emotional health or the two years and two months of her life eaten up by this is another question. But my concern is greater. My concern is this: Amero is not the only one.
Green notes that, “Before blogs, instant e-mail and the omnipresent Internet knitted the world together, Julie Amero might have merely faded away. Her trial generated little publicity beyond the local Norwich Bulletin newspaper, which has accepted Amero’s guilt with little questioning.”
This case shows that when overaggressive law enforcement is combined with limited computer forensics expertise, technophobia and sex panic combine in a toxic mixture to find innocent people guilty. For all the others who have not gotten our attention, this is the plea I’ve appended to all of my Amero posts:
WE NEED A COMPUTER FORENSICS INNOCENCE PROJECT; a Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld of the computer forensics world. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. This is hardly the first case of its kind and, unfortunately, it’s not likely be the last. Prosecutors who look for - and presume - guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to pay computer forensics experts to counter that selective evidence.
Amero’s innocence is obvious to most of us on its face. Imagine if there were even just a bit more ambiguity. It wouldn’t make her guilty, but it would leave her a convicted felon and sex offender.
UPDATE: Sentencing has been delayed again, this time until April 26.