aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Red states are more obese than blue states
Is it about the South?
Yesterday Chris Bowers looked at the same numbers through a different lens:
[T]he almost perfect correlation between obesity and red states vs. blue states is very surprising. Check it out, with the states Bush won twice in bold:
Obesity Rankings Of Non-Mountain West States
2. West Virginia
5. South Carolina
17. North Carolina
19. North Dakota
20. South Dakota
37. New York
41. New Jersey
46. Rhode Island
That is an almost perfect, correlation, with only Michigan, Kansas and Virginia breaking the pattern (although I guess the Supreme Court and Katherine Harris did award Florida to Bush twice). For some reason, more conservative states are also more obese. It isn’t age, since Florida and Pennsylvania, the two oldest states, are not particularly obese. It isn’t income, since red states tend to have lower average incomes than blue states. There might be a regional connection, since liberal New Englanders tend to be quite svelte, and more conservative southerners tend to be more obese. The truth is, I don’t really understand why there is a connection here, but I thought it was strange enough to be worthy of pointing out.
Nathan Ybanez files for new trial
Ybanez has filed court papers asking for a new trial. The Denver Post:
Attorneys for Nathan Ybanez, convicted of killing his mother a decade ago, have made their bid for a new trial, claiming in Douglas County District Court that his trial counsel was poor and revealing additional evidence that the then-16-year-old Ybanez was abused.
The 35-page court filing also raises questions about why Department of Human Services officials did not investigate what his attorneys called an “ultra-abusive” home.
Prior to the homicide and after running away from his Highlands Ranch apartment once, Nathan revealed that his dad “tried to strangle him” and that “he was afraid to go home,” social-services records show.
Yet no government inquiry ensued, and jurors never knew about it.
His initial lawyer, Craig Truman, should have obtained that file, according to his new Denver legal team, Davis Graham & Stubbs.
“To prepare for trial, Nathan’s attorney did virtually nothing,” reads the motion, which was filed Friday.
Pop the question. Report the answer
Earlier I quoted Chris Crane’s very reasonable question about whether or not Larry Craig is truly guilty of a lewd act. I’m reminded that Crane has also written about reporters’ deliberately avoiding reporting on the sexual orientation of public figures by neglecting to ask the very same questions they’d ask a straight person:
Homosexuality has gone from the love that dare not speak its name, to the sex that dare not be asked about. It’s telling that a reporter who wouldn’t hesitate to ask a straight celebrity about who he’s dating would consider asking the same question to a closeted celebrity as prying into his sex life.
In reality, asking a female celeb if she has a girlfriend is no more and no less intruding into her bedroom than asking if she has a boyfriend. And simply asking “the question” and reporting the answer is not the equivalent of “outing,” as many in the mainstream press seem to believe.
Outing involves reporting that someone is gay despite their refusal to answer the question or their insistence that they are straight. It’s understandably controversial, and involves weighing the supposed hypocrisy of the closeted public figure against how private the evidence is of the person’s homosexuality.
The double standard popped to mind when reading David Kurtz’s In Denial post at TPM:
After a blog purported to out Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) last October, the leading newspaper in Craig’s home state did an exhaustive investigation of the rumors that Craig was a closeted gay man. “During its investigation, the Statesman interviewed 300 people, visited the ranch where Craig grew up, and made two trips to Washington, D.C.,” the paper reports today. The investigation culminated with a May interview of Craig, with his wife present, during which Craig denied the allegations.
Kynn Bartlett writes to Romenesko:
Newspaper editors swore they’d get to the bottom of it [...]
But did either [the Idaho Statesman or Post Register] actually get around to writing the “Is Larry Craig Gay?” story?
Until Monday, the Statesman had declined to run a story about Craig’s sex life, because the paper didn’t have enough corroborating evidence and because of the senator’s steadfast denial.
In the hourlong May 14 interview, Craig was accompanied by his wife, Suzanne. He specifically and generally denied ever engaging in any homosexual conduct.
During that interview, the Statesman played Craig an audiotape of the man claiming that he and Craig had sex in the Union Station restroom. Like the Minnesota airport restroom, the Union Station restroom is known as a place where men can find anonymous sex.
Craig denied the man’s account and said, “I am not gay and I have never been in a restroom in Union Station having sex with anybody.
“There’s a very clear bottom line here,” Craig said. “I don’t do that kind of thing. I am not gay, and I never have been.” [...]
The Statesman followed dozens of leads about alleged sexual partners. Two prevalent rumors swirl around two men who are dead. The Statesman has found no written record of sexual intimacy between those men and Craig. Relatives of those men are dead, unaware of proof to substantiate the rumors, or unreachable.
Two other alleged partners unequivocally denied having been intimate with Craig. Other accounts are simply unfounded. Some were inconclusive.
There are, however, the two men who told the Statesman Craig made passes at them. Craig denied those accounts in his May 14 interview.
Best blonde joke ever
Remember the best blonde joke ever? This tops it…
More crack reporting from the traditional media
MSNBC, in a story on how the Vick case divides African-American leaders, quoted from Al Sharpton’s personal blog, “If the police caught Brett Favre (a white quarterback for the Green Bay Packers) running a dolphin-fighting unit out of his pool, where dolphins with spears attached to their foreheads fought each other, would they bust him? Of course not.”
Just one problem. The “personal blog” was in reality a parody site.
How did the reporter figure it out? Digby:
The editor of the site, terribly impressed with MSNBC’s investigative skills as you might imagine, wonders which one of these clues finally tipped them off:
1. The words “fake parody blogs” in the titlebar of every page of our site
2. Our logo
3. Al Sharpton blogging on the same site as Lindsay Lohan, George Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
4. Our about page http://www.newsgroper.com/about/
5. Al Sharpton referring to himself in his bio as an “Emancipation Proclamation enthusiast”
LATER: Joe Gandelman points out that the MSNBC correction was wrong; they were carelessly taken in by parody, not duped by a hoax:
rather than admit “we put that on the site without really checking the website source as a whole - sorry!” or “we made a mistake in not looking at the post a bit more carefully but mistakes do happen!” MSNBC’s website writer called it “hoax” which implies Newsgroper set up to trick people.
Vint Cerf predicts the end of TV as we know it
The “godfather of the net” in a Guardian profile, predicts the end of TV as we know it:
The 64-year-old, who is now a vice-president of the web giant Google and chairman of the organisation that administrates the internet, told an audience of media moguls that TV was rapidly approaching the same kind of crunch moment that the music industry faced with the arrival of the MP3 player.
“85% of all video we watch is pre-recorded, so you can set your system to download it all the time,” he said. “You’re still going to need live television for certain things - like news, sporting events and emergencies - but increasingly it is going to be almost like the iPod, where you download content to look at later.”
Dr Cerf, who helped build the internet while working as a researcher at Stanford University in California, used the festival’s Alternative McTaggart Lecture to explain to television executives how the internet’s influence was radically altering their businesses and how it was imperative for them to view this as a golden opportunity to be exploited instead of a threat to their survival. [...]
Dr Cerf predicted that these developments would continue, and that we would soon be watching the majority of our television through the internet - a revolution that could herald the death of the traditional broadcast TV channel in favour of new interactive services.
Was Craig really guilty of lewd conduct?
Chris Crain notes that “the gay and leftie blogosphere is, of course, gleeful, as is practically every gay person I’ve talked to” and wonders why we “cheer on the politics of personal destruction.”
Crain quotes from the arrest report to tell the tale told by the officer seated in the airport restroom stall next to the fidgeting, crack-peaking, foot-tapping, hand-swiping Senator, to wonder, was Craig really guilty of lewd conduct?
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that Craig was somehow crudely indicating his sexual interest in Karsnia. The Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Lawrence vs. Texas decision that sex between consenting adults is constitutionally protected. Many states have correctly concluded that, as a result, solicitation of sodomy or other forms of sex, even when the conversation takes place in public, is also constitutionally protected. If conduct is constitutionally protected, then we have a First Amendment right to discuss it.
That protection falls by the wayside, as well it should, if Craig was not just soliciting a private sex act in a public place but actually intended for the sex itself to take place in public. Nowhere does the arrest report explain to us how Sgt. Krasnia made that leap of logic based on Craig’s foot-tapping and hand-swiping.
The arrest report does indicate that Craig was late for a flight, so it may well have been some odd form of quickie was what was on his mind. But it also reported that Craig identified himself as a regular commuter through the airport, so another explanation might be that he wanted to set up some later rendezvous.
Yes, I know that Craig pled guilty to the charge, and it’s on that point where he most clearly hoisted himself on his own petard. He was so afraid of how things would look that he lacked the nerve to defend himself and his rights - just as over the course of his life he lacked the nerve to accept his sexual orientation (whether bisexual or homosexual) and defend the rights of those who share those orientations.
The saddest part of the Larry Craig scandal to me is that it will only encourage and energize those who troll the sex lives of politicians in search of juicy slime to spread - as if that somehow makes the case for our equality. As for me, I don’t favor arguing I have a right to privacy in my choice of sexual partners by invading that right in others, even if they are our opponents, and even if they are hypocrites.
We should take no joy in the ruin of Larry Craig’s marriage and reputation - even if it is well deserved and a long time in coming. The man has known for two years now he was under intense scrutiny for rumors that he’s gay and has sex in public toilets. Not since Bill Clinton have we been treated to a public figure so compulsively unable to control the little head with the big one.