aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, May 18, 2007
Global Warming correlation or causation?
The bluest continent on the planet has the highest resistance to believing global warming is real. Meanwhile, this is The Hottest Year on Record so far.
Google to buy Feedburner?
“I have just heard from a VERY trusted source that Google is buying Feedburner in order to get into the rapidly evolving RSS Ad market. The delay in announcing the deal, I am told is solely due to the delay in closing out the DoubleClick deal.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
Considering the recent revelation by Google CEO Eric Schmidt to eWeek that “Google buys a start-up once every few days, or around one a week,” this deal would be about par for the course.
Via Duncan Rawlson.
I’d heard of the charge of felony murder prior to viewing the Frontline documentary When Kids Get Life, but I never really knew what it was. An abomination:
KATHLEEN BYRNE: Felony murder is one form of first degree murder in Colorado. There are various types of first degree murder. The most common, or the most well known, is after deliberation and with intent to cause a death, you cause a death. Felony murder is different in that it is what we call a strict liability crime. So long as you have committed certain acts, it doesn’t matter what your intent was.
In the case of felony murder, if you’ve committed, for example, the crime of robbery, and during that robbery, or immediately thereafter or while you’re fleeing from the robbery, the death of a person is caused because of the defendant’s conduct, because of the robbery, it doesn’t matter who causes that conduct. So long as it is caused in the context of that robbery or the flight from the robbery, then the defendant is responsible for that death.
NARRATOR: Kathleen Byrne is an independent appellate attorney who often works for the state. She represented the state in Trevor’s case, defending the conviction of felony murder in his appeal.
KATHLEEN BYRNE: He committed the robbery, which is two to six years, so far as I read the statute. He committed conspiracy to commit robbery, which I think is one to three years. And he committed reckless manslaughter, which I think is two to six years. A trial court could sentence them to run one after another or all at the same time. His sentence could have been between two and fifteen years, the way I calculate it. But because of the felony murder rule, he was convicted of first degree murder, and that’s automatic life without parole.
OFRA BIKEL: You mean life without parole, instead of 12 to 15 years at the most, that he could have gotten?
KATHLEEN BYRNE: And that is very- that is just the facts. There’s not a shred of opinion in there, that is the fact.
OFRA BIKEL: Do you have an opinion?
KATHLEEN BYRNE: No, I have no opinion. [laughs] It’s a very harsh rule. It’s a very harsh rule, and I think a lot of people question whether it’s an appropriate rule to maintain. It may be time for it to go.
NARRATOR: The felony murder statute has its roots in 12th century English law. It was abolished in England 50 years ago, in part because of public outcry over the unfairness of the punishment.
A touch too far: Public lewdness laws
Let’s remember that the real agenda of the leadership of the anti-gay marriage crowd is to criminalize homosexuality, which they see as a crime against God, man and nature. They believe a homosexual proclivity to be resistible and therefore a choice that should be penalized, analogous to the way we penalize the choice to rape, murder or steal from a store.
The problem those gay marriage opponents face is that if they make their criminal claim straight out they will lose. Social norms have clearly come to accept those of us with a lesbian or gay identity as a perfectly natural part of the human condition. So what we get instead is de facto criminalization.
45 out of 50 states have passed laws prohibiting legal recognition of gay relationships, a purposeful disincentive to long-term coupling and commitment that deprives our relationships of the support of family, friends, neighbors and, significantly, the laws that helps hold heterosexual relationships together.
In the face of such disincentives, I think it amazing how well our relationships work. But for those gay people still trapped in the culture that wants to deny our legitimate existence and keep us invisibly steeped in shame, I think it a predictable behavioral adaptation that they may engage in brief anonymous encounters.
Here we arrive at the topic of public lewdness laws. Now you may think it reasonable to prohibit such behavior - I’d prefer, too, that we encourage gay relationships and count myself among those working to make that happen - but I urge you to please look a bit closer at those lewdness laws.
From a report on a measure intended to strengthen those laws in New York:
[G]ay groups have long asserted, and arrest data tends to confirm, that the public lewdness law is most often used to arrest and prosecute gay and bisexual men who have sex in public places such as parks, rest stops, and public toilets. Heterosexuals having sex in so-called lovers’ lanes are rarely arrested.
“One of the concerns that we’ve always had about public lewdness laws is not so much the laws themselves, but the way they are implemented,” said Clarence Patton, executive director of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP). “We still to this day go through cycles of unequal enforcement of the law as well as some entrapment… That for us presents an issue.”
The brother of a friend brags that he’s had sex in the restroom of every restaurant in town. With women. He’s heterosexual. Objectionable? Maybe. Loathsome? Maybe. Criminal? The problem is, it clearly would be if he were gay.