aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, December 14, 2007
I mentioned earlier this week the exoneration of John White after he was shown by DNA evidence to be innocent of a 1979 rape. As previously reported, there was a “cold hit” from the DNA to another person in Georgia’s database. Turns out it was to James Parham, who was in the same lineup that White was picked out of nearly 30 years ago. It’s an amazing coincidence, since White was the suspect police had their eye on and Parham was used only because he was already in the local jail. Worse, the description the victim gave didn’t even fit Parham. (She wasn’t wearing her glasses. Cliche, but true.)
This information surfaces on the final day of hearings for the House Study Committee on Eyewitness Identification Procedures. Hearings started back in September and they’ve heard from those falsely identified as well as those who made false identifications. White himself was brought to today’s hearing. Law enforcement has argued against regulations. I am very very hopeful that we can take some strong steps forward. Very few states have ventured into this territory and there’s a lot of information out there that needs to be disseminated to the public and the legislatures. A proposed draft of legislation was put out at today’s hearing.
RELATED - Justice is the victim.
Needed: Regulation to Prevent Journalists-Turned-Professors from Embarrassing Themselves
The Center for Citizen Media’s Dan Gillmor on David Hazinski’s ‘citizen journalism’ too risky:
It is false, of course, that anyone who’s serious about this field argues that it’s entirely accurate or reliable (though it is often independent, and often covers what traditional media can’t or won’t spend time on). In fact, as many of us have been noting for years, accuracy ane reliability are key areas for improvement.
Then, having kindly allowed that this new media “has its place” - use the servant’s entrance, please - Hazinski removes it entirely from the realm of journalism, which is literally absurd.
And then, with the kind of hubris that sounds like a lampoon of a Big Media guy turned professor, he demands that the news industry regulate it all. (Could they first turn some of that regulatory sternness on themselves? More on that in a minute.)
Let’s note the one sound point in his generally bizarre piece: To the extent that traditional media organizations are going to bring their audiences into their journalism processes, they should insist doing things in an honorable and journalistically sound way. If he’d left it at that, Hazinski would have had a reasonable argument. But with dismaying lapses in fact and logic, he goes much further. [READ ON]
Good for Jodie!
Gay internet gossip sites were abuzz last week after Jodie Foster appeared to make a tacit coming out speech at an awards banquet.
Foster, long suspected by some of being a lesbian, concluded her speech at the Women in Entertainment Power 100 breakfast on Dec. 4 in Los Angeles by thanking “my beautiful Cydney, who sticks with me through all the rotten and the bliss.” The Cydney in question was largely believed to be Cydney Bernard, a film producer thought to be Foster’s partner of 14 years.
Adding to the melee was another rumor about a potentially lesbian star: Queen Latifah. Some sites claimed the singer-turned-actress was about to wed her female personal trainer after a blind item in the New York Post’s Page Six gossip column implied it first.
Publicists for both stars did not respond to requests for comment for this article, but Latifah did respond to the rumors with a reporter from the Chicago-Sun Times.
“When you’re famous these days, it’s just part of the deal - unfortunately,” Latifah told the paper. “People will make up all sorts of things that are not true. There ain’t going to be no wedding.”
From the quotes that appeared in the Sun-Times, Latifah didn’t appear to deny or affirm whether she is dating her trainer. [...]
WRITER DAVID EHRENSTEIN, who wrote “Open Secret: Gay Hollywood 1928-1998,” denies that the closet even really exists in Hollywood anymore.
“Nobody can pull this closet crap anymore, even Jodie [Foster] has realized and finally come to her senses after eons of closetiness and [her former publicist] Pat Kingsley making reporters sign contracts before interviewing her to make sure they didn’t ask anything about topic A,” Ehrenstein says.
He, too, points to Harris and Burtka as Hollywood’s hot new couple gracing the red carpet.
“The major leaders in what’s coming down the pipe now is the lovely Neil Patrick Harris and his lovely boyfriend David Burtka - who were never in the closet anyway,” Ehrenstein says. “The two of them have just been out and about everywhere, not that they weren’t before. But now even more so, and they’re gracing red carpets. This makes everybody else’s reticence look terribly silly.”
Nonetheless, not everyone who’s gay is out in Hollywood, a phenomenon Ehrenstein says is shifting.
“It’s habit, and it’s also I would say, publicists who are behind the times on things,” Ehrenstein says. “But this is something that I think is really rapidly changing. It used to be a lot more rigid and when somebody was coming out it used to be a huge deal, but there’s less and less of that now. It’s because of the decline of the studio system - the decline of the kind of control that Hollywood used to have over the culture, certainly the movies.”
A 9-year-old’s view of the $100 laptop
A BBC reporter tells the tale of bringing his son, Rufus, an XO from One Laptop per Child:
Rufus is using his laptop to write, paint, make music, explore the internet, and talk to children from other countries.
Because it looks rather like a simple plastic toy, I had thought it might suffer the same fate as the radio-controlled dinosaur or the roller-skates he got last Christmas - enjoyed for a day or two, then ignored.
Instead, it seems to provide enduring fascination.
The XO is a magnificent marvel of engineering. It is pretty much everything Nicholas Negroponte set out for it to be.
Here (and in video above) David Pogue sings its praises. Here a must-see story from the week before last from 60 Minutes. And here the Wall Street Journal’s Steve Stecklow says competition from companies like Intel and Microsoft may one day achieve Negroponte’s larger goal, even as they have hurt the XO’s chances of success:
BOB GARFIELD: So let me ask you this, Steve. Negroponte’s goal was to make laptops available to the poorest schoolchildren in the most disadvantaged countries of the world.
But if it turns out that private corporations see those places as potentially lucrative marketplaces and themselves find a way to get their laptops and software into the hands of the poorest schoolchildren in the most disadvantaged countries of the world, does it really matter whether Negroponte’s laptop project itself succeeds? Hasn’t he still achieved his goal?
STEVE STECKLOW: Well, I would say yes. When I interviewed him and asked him this very question, he did say he would consider it a success if something like 150 million schoolchildren in 2008 receive Intel Classmates and not his machine.
But the fact is, is Intel and Microsoft both told me that they look at a 15-year timeframe, so it’s going to take a lot longer.
And I think he should consider it a success, but if you spent more than two years developing a unique machine from scratch and actually built the thing, which has gotten rave reviews, you would hope that it would become much more than just a niche player in this market.
So I sense definite disappointment. I think the guy deserves a lot of credit for making this happen, because, in fact, it is beginning to happen.
To me it’s a demonstration of entrenched market forces acting to slow innovation and harm a global public good. The XO is a
significant remarkable technological achievement done wholly outside of the market. Negroponte’s efforts attracted those companies in and the impact of their entry is that they will delay the effort to get computers into the hands of the world’s needy children.
Negroponte was exactly right when he said in a recent lecture at MIT that Intel is going to the same governments he’s trying to sell and dumping below cost computers to kill the XO, “Intel should be ashamed of itself. It’s just shameless.”
I have two weeks and 4 days until my blog hosting expires. In October I contracted with E.Webscapes to do the move and, with it, some design work. Everything seemed to be on schedule until recently. It’s three weeks now since I’ve heard from them and so I’ve begun to worry!
It was with my design in mind that I took special note of Poytner’s redesign effort. They have set up Poynterevolution blog to inform readers about the process and gather feedback:
I hope you’ll help us with a fundamental challenge we’re facing in building the new site: the best way of highlighting new content as it’s posted throughout the day. A new edition of Al’s Morning Meeting is posted just after midnight, Jim Romenesko begins updating his page shortly after 7 a.m., and new content from elsewhere on the site is linked from the New on Poynter stack in the right rail. But there’s no easy way to track everything added to the site as the day unfolds.
My design challenge variant on that theme is that my site is such a hodgepodge of stuff that it may be an obstacle to growing readership. If you read me for my gay perspective, for example, there’s too much tech talk. And if you read me for tech insights, you may be bugged by the politics.
Then again, that’s the nature of the individual blog. And much as I may crave readership, a large audience is not the driving force of my blogging. So for the moment I’m not sure how I might handle that challenge, or whether to address it at all.
Meanwhile, Poynter’s challenge is hardly unique among large sites, and the other day Jeff Jarvis pointed to a solution that may just be an emerging trend:
We’ve heard news sites preach the gospel of making “every page a home page” since readers more and more are coming into content directly from search and links and not from a packaged home page. This presents the challenge of how to promote and lure readers to more content.
Well, Aftonbladet [link] seems to have taken the every-page-a-home-page strategy quite literally: As I clicked around from story to story, the bottom half of each page was filled with the content from the home page. The home page followed me around, trying to tempt me to try something else they’d packaged and recommended.
How that might work for me is that my content areas could follow individual stories, e.g. if you are reading a gay story, the gay content flows to you. It you’re reading a tech story, the tech content flows to you.
E.Webscapes, are you listening??? If not, I may be spending the holidays rebuilding this site on my own!!!