aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, November 23, 2007
Conservatives LOVE reading about gay stuff. Or do they?
Except this makes no sense. While the “Homosexuality” page itself might be highly ranked, the “Homosexuality and Hepatitis” page is short and has been in existence only since October 17. There’s no way something like that would a legitimate third-most popular page, even for raving homophobes.
And the top ten doesn’t have
“Bible"? Or “Jesus Christ”?[update - better: any other controversial topic?]. Those are supposedly less popular than “Gay Bowel Syndrome”?? That’s ridiculous (I know, I know ...). Either a spider has run amok or someone is deliberately inflating the pageviews.
Tucker Carlson: Mr. Right Now
MSNBC has been accused by many rightist pundits of adopting a liberal editorial policy. The sole basis of this charge appears to be the existence of Keith Olbermann’s Countdown. In an interview with NPR, MSNBC Sr VP Phil Griffin denies the charge saying that it is the host’s personalities, not their positions that make them popular. So Tucker’s already starting at a disadvantage. Griffin acknowledges that the network is trading on the audience identifying with the program’s anchors.“Keith Olbermann is our brand; Chris Matthews is our brand. These are smart, well-informed people who have a real sense of history and can put things in context.”
That is an unequivocal expression of the faith Griffin has in Olbermann and Matthews. But when he is specifically asked whether Tucker Carlson is also their brand, he pauses and says…
“He is right now.”
Not exactly a vote of confidence. Griffin seems to be hinting that his answer might be different if you ask him again in a week or two. Looks like the only thing Tucker has to be thankful for is his well-connected family and a contract for an upcoming TV game show pilot. I still can’t get over this project - a remake of “Who Do You Trust?”
Sex-offender residency restrictions don’t work!
More on Wednesday’s GA Supreme Court ruling striking down residency restrictions for sex-offenders:
“It is apparent that there is no place in Georgia where a registered sex offender can live without continually being at risk of being ejected,” the ruling said.
The Georgia law had been considered one of the most comprehensive in the nation, not only for the breadth of its residency limits but also because it covered even the mildest types of sex offender, such as those convicted of having consensual sex acts as high school students. [...]
In finding the residency restrictions unconstitutional, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that, by forcing a sex offender from his home, the law violated his Fifth Amendment right to be safe from the government “taking” his property.
While the argument for these laws is always about protecting children, experience tells us they don’t work:
You can find a very good discussion of issues presented by the residency restrictions on sex offenders by Lior Strahilevitz and many commentors at PrawfsBlawg’s “Sex Offender Residency Restrictions and the Right to Live Where You Want,” Aug. 3, 2005, and Michael Cernovich reviews many of the relevant legal issues at Crime & Federalsim, in his posting Doe v. Miller: The Legal Theories. Residency restrictions have been in the news a lot recently, and have been covered well by Corey Rayburn Yung at Sex Crimes (e.g., here), and by Prof. Douglas A. Berman, at Sentencing Law and Policy weblog. Last year, Prof. Berman pointed to “A potent and important prosecutorial statement against sex offender residency restrictions” (Feb. 9, 2006). The document was released by the Iowa County Attorneys Association, an organization of county prosecutors seeking “to promote the uniform and efficient administration of the criminal justice system.” In its five-page statement ICAA explains that Iowa’s broad sex offender residency restriction “does not provide the protection that was originally intended and that the cost of enforcing the requirement and the unintended effects on families of offenders warrant replacing the restriction with more effective protective measure.”
In Boston, nearly two-thirds of 136 high-risk sex offenders lack permanent addresses. In New York City, more than 100 registered at two homeless shelters. In Miami last month, 22 reported living under the Julia Tuttle Causeway that links the city to Miami Beach.
“People should be concerned about this,” says Jill Levenson, sex-crimes policy analyst at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. She says homeless sex offenders are more likely to commit another crime.
“Being homeless is also demoralizing,” Levenson says.
Sex offenders are likely to behave better if they have a stake in their community and “something to live for,” says psychiatrist Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic. Sex offenders are increasingly being shunned and isolated. “They are the modern-day lepers,” he says.
Here I propose the death penalty for all of them. It is very clear to me that this is not about safety or prevention. It is naive and dangerous caving to the retributive proclivities in all of us.
Our punishment judgments are rooted in outrage - deterrence is secondary - and it would be better for all of us if we’d understand that. Maybe then we could start to come up with some measures to honestly and effectively address the very real problems of sexual dysfunction, abuse and deviance.
Sinking ship & an ordeal at sea
All passengers and crew aboard a ship touring the Antarctic were safe Friday after the vessel apparently hit an iceberg and started sinking, officials said. No injuries were reported.
The Norwegian cruise ship MS Nord Norge took the stranded passengers and crew on board, a spokesman for Gap Adventures, which owns the sinking vessel, said.
A happy outcome. But I’m not eager to go cruising in polar waters. A couple years ago a friend was teaching in a Semester at Sea program. While cruising in icy waters in the North Pacific the ship was hit by a rogue wave.
Her first-hand account of the ordeal gives a real flavor of what it’s like to be in an accident at sea:
At about 1:30 am I was awoken by the violence of the ship’s movement Ã¢â‚¬” though it may have been going on for a little while before I noticed it. Once again (like previous nights with bad seas), my drawers were slamming open and shut very violently, my bed was sliding around (with the other furniture), and I was struggling to stay in the bed and out of the melee. This went on for a long time and seemed to get worse and worse as the hours crept by. Virtually everything in my room except the permanently attached things (like walls and shelves) was moved or thrown about. The beds slid around, the nightstands were knocked off their supports and fell over (previously I had not been able to budge these even when I tried), the heavy, round glass table kept falling (I righted it a few times) and rolling about. The chairs (2) were sliding and tipping all over. The metal, round garbage can and its lid rolled madly, and the drawers and refrigerator never stopping slamming open and shut. Every time it seemed a bit calmer, I would get up and try to right things, push the beds back into place and jam things together so they might not fall again. But this was futile and dangerous because I was being thrown about too, and banged myself up a couple of times on furniture (never seriously). So then I tried to stay in my bed, with the light on, and just held on to the ledge/half wall in front of my window. Sometimes I had to hold with all my might to keep from getting thrown from my bed or with my bed. Even holding tight with both hands, I was once or twice pulled away and slid with my bed across the room, being jammed up under the attached desk faster than I knew it was happening. The scariest thing was when the TV - normally on a high shelf across from the beds - came flying off its stand toward me. Luckily the second bed had already slid into the center of the room and made a perfect landing place for the TV, which then bounced from there to the floor and was one more thing rolling around. I tried to secure it too, but without much success. [...]
About 5 or 5:30 am we seemed to finally be slightly more stable. We were told to clean up our rooms and stay put. The crew and some staff then came around to every room to check to see if anyone was injured or overly traumatized. I think I must have dozed until they knocked on my door about 6:15 am. I straightened up my room yet again - we were still rocking, but not quite so violently and I was hoping this meant the storm had abated. A little before 7 am the captain again came on the PA system to tell us we were going to turn back into the wind to stay on course for Japan. He talked us calmly through the turn and assured us that from then on we’d be okay, and it would not be so bad, that the ship could take it. But it was still rocking pretty crazily in my room. Although I had straightened up most of it, the TV was still on the floor. I was trying to hold that while we continued rocking and rolling. Then I thought I smelled smoke (I later learned this was probably the exhaust from our turn), and about that time the foghorn sounded, and didn’t stop. That’s when I started feeling concerned. So I began to get dressed, NOT an easy task in the again violently rolling condition of the ship. In fact as I was trying to get dressed, I was thrown pretty violently all the way across the cabin. My shin got bruised on the bed corner, but the bed kind of broke my fall and I landed on it. I later learned that at about the time the foghorn blew is when the wave hit that smashed in the bridge window and shorted out the equipment that controls the engines. Without engines in those still violent seas, we were being tossed about... [READ ON]
LATER: The WaPo has passenger accounts of the M/S Explorer ordeal.
Standing on the sidewalk not a crime
Hanging out on the sidewalk isn’t a crime, the state’s top court has ruled, even if you and your friends are blocking people’s paths through bustling Times Square.
The New York Court of Appeals decided Tuesday to overturn the conviction of Matthew Jones, who was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest on June 12, 2004. Police said other people “had to walk around” him, he wouldn’t move when asked and he flailed his arms.