aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Tucker a homo homophobe? Take action!
It’s straight-identified men that are having sex in public restrooms. Major Darryl Tolleson of the Atlanta Police Department:
The majority of these men, they have families...You would think that it would be a gay issue but overhwhelmingly more and more, we’re seeing that these are people with families.
Tucker’s changing story is as pathetic as Larry Craig’s [audiotape]. What was the teen-aged Tucker doing in that park bathroom in the first place?
In tests conducted by Prof. Henry E Adams of the University of Georgia, homophobic men who said they were exclusively heterosexual were shown gay sex videos. Four out of five became sexually aroused by the homoerotic imagery, as recorded by a penile circumference measuring device - a plethysmograph. Prof. Adams says his research shows that most homophobes “demonstrate significant sexual arousal to homosexual erotic stimuli”, suggesting that homophobia is a form of “latent homosexuality where persons are either unaware of or deny their homosexual urges.
Homo, homophobe, or neither, MSNBC should address his actions:
This past spring, during the controversy surrounding Don Imus’ racist and sexist comments, Steve Capus, president of NBC News, acknowledged “that there have been any number of other comments that have been enormously hurtful to far too many people. And my feeling is that ... there should not be a place for that on MSNBC.” He also stated: “This is about trust. It’s about reputation. It’s about doing what’s right,” later adding, “I hope we don’t squander this remarkable opportunity that we have to continue this dialogue that has taken place, to continue the dialogue about what is appropriate conduct and speech, to continue the dialogue about what is happening in America. I think we have, as broadcasters, a responsibility to address those matters.”
He’s right: This is about “trust” and “doing what’s right.” It’s time for MSNBC to repudiate Carlson’s comments or risk being seen as endorsing them.
Please contact MSNBC, Dan Abrams, and Joe Scarborough today and ask that they publicly address Carlson’s comments. It’s time for them to show they don’t find humor in or condone the violence Carlson described.
One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, N.J. 07094
Media Matters Reminds us: “When contacting the media, please be polite and professional. Express your specific concerns regarding that particular news report or commentary, and be sure to indicate exactly what you would like the media outlet to do differently in the future.”
Iowa judge strikes down gay marriage ban
A Polk County judge on Thursday struck down Iowa’s law banning gay marriage.
The ruling by Judge Robert Hanson concluded that the state’s prohibition on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and he ordered the Polk County recorder to issue marriage licenses to six gay couples.
This will be appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court, and who knows where it’ll go from there. But this is Iowa. Just a bit over four months from the caucuses.
This is now an issue in the presidential campaign.
As Todd over at MyDD says, the GOP will trip over itself blasting “activist judges” blah blah blah. But on our side, how will they react?
Our candidates should embrace it. They’ll be too chickenshit to do so, but they should. Without reservation.
LATER: John Nichols in The Nation:
Hanson’s decision accepted the argument of Iowa attorney Dennis Johnson, who represented six same-sex couples who filed suit after they were denied marriage licenses.
Johnson, a veteran civil rights lawyer, made the case that Iowa’s nine-year-old Defense of Marriage Act—which is similar to those on the books in other states and at the federal level—is at odds with the state constitution’s equal protection and due-process clauses.
Johnson’s point is a vital one that is not talked about enough in discussions of same-sex marriage that tend to focus more on personal morality than the rule of law. And it will frame a discussion that, particularly for Democratic candidates who have tended to support gay rights while shying away from embracing same-sex marriage, could take the whole debate to a new and much more serious place.
Tucker’s “gay panic defense”
Tucker Carlson says he was “bothered” in a public restroom so he got a friend, went back and “hit him against the stall with his head, then the cops came and arrested him.”
Let me be among the first to say, I don’t believe him. Is someone looking for the arrest record?
Let me be clear about an incident I referred to on MSNBC last night: In the mid-1980s, while I was a high school student, a man physically grabbed me in a men’s room in Washington, DC. I yelled, pulled away from him and ran out of the room. Twenty-five minutes later, a friend of mine and I returned to the men’s room. The man was still there, presumably waiting to do to someone else what he had done to me. My friend and I seized the man and held him until a security guard arrived.
Several bloggers have characterized this is a sort of gay bashing. That’s absurd, and an insult to anybody who has fought back against an unsolicited sexual attack. I wasn’t angry with the man because he was gay. I was angry because he assaulted me.
Now let me be clear, I don’t want anyone having sex in bathrooms but it vigilante justice is no way to address the issue.
Further, it is obvious to me and should be obvious to everyone that a society that pushes gays underground - 45 out 50 states have passed laws preventing legal recognition of same-sex relationships - can’t then complain that they then seek furtive sex. I’m not alone in believing that public lewdness laws are the de facto means by which the anti-gay marriage crowd has effectively criminalized homosexuality.
Four years of RIAA vs P2P
EFF has published the latest installment in its annual RIAA v. The People, “Four Years Later,” which is a comprehensive, exhaustively researched and cited white-paper on the RIAA’s campaign against music downloaders. The paper starts with the earliest days, when the record companies went after companies manufacturing portable music players, and continues up to the present day, with these companies suing tens of thousands of individual music fans (including people who don’t own computers, small children, military servicepeople, dead people, etc), often for sums that end up bankrupting them. EFF describes other RIAA initiatives, such as a deceptive “amnesty” campaign, advising a MIT student to drop out of school in order to pay her fines, and using universities and Congress to try to shake down students for thousands of dollars.
Then the paper moves into a section on empirical studies of P2P activity during the four year campaign—and shows that the “educational campaign” has been a total failure, with more Americans sharing files than ever, and downloading from P2P at forty times the rate that they use authorized download services like iTunes.
EFF closes by proposing a sensible solution—stop suing fans and figure out how to make money off of their preferred means of acquiring music. To do this, EFF argues that the labels should offer a “blanket license” to fans or ISPs, a flat fee that legalizes downloading music, the proceeds from which can be paid to artists and other rightsholders. This is basically the same system used by radio stations and live venues to legalize their use of music and while it’s not without its problems (the collection societies have a history of screwing indie artists and labels, and aggressively expanding their scope to include things like kindergarten classrooms), it sure beats the alternative—sue, harass and alienate customers.
like piranha on a bleeding cow
Richard A. Jewell, a very ordinary man put in an extraordinary circumstance, died yesterday:
The heavy-set Mr. Jewell, with a country drawl and a deferential manner, became an instant celebrity after a bomb exploded in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in the early hours of July 27, 1996, at the midpoint of the Summer Games. The explosion, which propelled hundreds of nails through the darkness, killed one woman, injured 111 people and changed the mood of the Olympiad.
Only minutes earlier, Mr. Jewell, who was working a temporary job as a guard, had spotted the abandoned green knapsack that contained the bomb, called it to the attention of the police, and started moving visitors away from the area. He was praised for the quick thinking that presumably saved lives.
But three days later, he found himself identified in an article in The Atlanta Journal as the focus of police attention, leading to several searches of his apartment and surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and by reporters who set upon him, he would later say, “like piranha on a bleeding cow.”
The investigation by local, state and federal law enforcement officers lasted until late October 1996 and included a number of bungled tactics, including an F.B.I. agent’s effort to question Mr. Jewell on camera under the pretense of making a training film.
In October 1996, when it became obvious that Mr. Jewell had not been involved in the bombing, the Justice Department formally cleared him.
The man’s become a symbol of the excesses of law enforcement and the news media. You might think there have been lessons learned. I wonder, though, what’s changed?