Though the law that originally sentenced Genarlow Wilson to prison for ten years for a consensual blow job has been ameliorated, most teens remain ignorant of the laws that govern the sexual activity of teenagers. Indeed, many parents are likewise unaware of the laws that cover consensual teen sex.
But the fact remains that even though the law that sent Wilson to prison has been ameliorated, milder laws still remain on the book that classify even consensual sex between teens close in age as crimes that still have the possibility of jail time. Thought it's relatively rare that boyfriend/girlfriend cases are prosecuted, Wilson's case shows that it still can happen.
Laws vary in different states, as do the ages of consent which range from 14 to 18. Some states have moved in recent months to add so-called Romeo and Juliet exceptions to prevent sexually active teenagers from being lumped together with child molesters. "I think there is a view now that 'hey, maybe we overdid it on the sex offender registry,'" said Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council.
Other states, however still insist on categorizing boyfriend/girlfriend sex in with pedophiles and rapists, obliging those convicted to likewise register as dangerous sex offenders.
"We do a disgraceful job of educating kids about the very real consequences that they face," said J. Tom Morgan, a former DeKalb County district attorney.
"If society is going to punish them as adults," said Morgan, "then society ought to educate them."
In an interview with the Associated Press, Genarlow Wilson said that he believes that sex education classes are lacking.
"Most of the time they just tell kids, 'Use condoms,'" Wilson said. "That's not the only thing they need to know about sex. They need to know that they can actually go to jail."
Wilson intends appear on behalf of an organization set up by his lawyer to help teens learn their rights.
It would be easy and understandable for Wilson to want to forget about his time in jail and to put it behind him, but I find it commendable that he wants to help others avoid what happened to him.
I've not got anything in particular to write about today, so I'll just let my fingers wander on the keyboard and see what comes out of my mind's junk drawer.
It seems as if fall has finally arrived in my neck of the woods. It's official -- I had to wear a jacket for the first time today when I went out to do my thing. It wasn't frigid -- in the mid 40s -- but it was enough for me to pull my leather jacket out of the closet. I knew it was cold even before I got out of bed as I awakened feeling fully rested -- I always sleep better when it's cold.
As I drove through town, the trees matched the season: deep russet reds, bright yellow, and warm oranges adorned trees all over town. I have two maple trees out front that are half-turned, tending to a reddish orange hue. The colorful foliage made me wish I had a camera to capture it all.
Along with the trees, many yards in town have creative Halloween decorations, some as elaborate and detailed as those commonly seen at Christmas. There are life-size ghosts, black cats, witches, pumpkins, fake cobwebs, along with houses outlined in orange lights.
I enjoy seeing such decorations, especially considering that I live in the buckle of the Bible belt. It was all the thing ten years or so ago for fundamentalists to preach against the "evils" of Halloween and to promote alternative "harvest festivals", but judging by the growing ubiquity of Halloween decorations, this is one battle they've definitely lost and given up as a bad job.
After making a stop to pay a bill, I visited one lover for a lunchtime quickie, then hit the library to stock up on reading matter, then stopped at Arby's to try their new roast turkey sub (and they didn't try to pull the "sorry we're closed" crap on me this time). My last stop was to go to the mall to buy a new bathrobe, as my old one had gotten ratty and threadbare. I ended up having to order it because they didn't have a green one in the store in the style I'd chosen.
It's supposed to drop down into the 30s tonight, so we should get our first hard frost of the year. I hope so -- I hope it kills the grass so that the lawn mower can finally go into the shed for the winter.
It's been a perfect fall day: I've been well-rested, well-fucked, well-fed, and well-read. I can't ask for more than that.
Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison for getting a consensual blowjob from a 15 year old girl when he was 17, and would have been listed on a sex offender registry for life, was released from prison on Friday. He had already served two years of the original 10 year sentence.
The Georgia Supreme Court ordered that he be released, ruling 4-3 that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment. The court noted that this kind of decision is unusual: "The majority opinion points out that this court rarely overturns a sentence on cruel and unusual grounds. But twice before, it did so following a legislative change."
The judge reduced the sentence to one year and said Wilson should not be put on Georgia's sex offender registry, as the old law required. Genarlow had earlier rejected a plea offer that would have left this requirement in place in exchange for his release. "I'm glad I stayed down for my cause," Wilson said. "I accepted the situation that I got myself into, but I never accepted that label."
After spending some time with his friends and family, Wilson intends to enroll in college to study sociology. "You will not be disappointed," he said after his release. "I plan on succeeding in life."
For once, the justice system gets it right and corrects an earlier injustice.
I wish him every success in life as he gets on with his life as a free man.
As those of you who read this blog regularly know, I have a woman whom I consider to be my primary lover. That is, she's the one I see most often and there's more of an emotional component with her than with the others. I've been seeing her a few years now.
On a recent visit, several days ago, I could tell she had something on her mind the minute I came through the door. I asked her what it was, and she told me that she'd had a few dates with a guy, a fellow teacher. This wasn't a big deal to me, as she is just as free to see others as I am. However, I was surprised to know that she'd seen someone more than once; I'd not known her to do that since I'd been seeing her.
She went on to tell me that this guy was acting like he wanted to get serious; that he'd actually told her that he'd like to have an exclusive relationship, wanting her to give up seeing others in order to concentrate on their relationship.
When she told me this, I told her to do whatever she felt she needed to do; that I'd not stand in her way. I've always known that our relationship was of a limited nature and that this day would eventually come.
Her problem was that she didn't know what she wanted; she liked him, but she loved me. I reminded her that our relationship would never be any more than what it currentlly is; that if she wanted to have children, she'd need to find someone else to have them with.
I left shortly after that, to give her time to think. Later that day, she called me back and told me that she'd told him that she wasn't ready for an exclusive relationship yet; that he wasn't happy about it, but seemed to accept it, for now.
I suppose if I were a less selfish man, I'd shove her out of the nest so she could move on, but I won't. She'll have to make that move on her own.
Faces or names? When you see someone after an extended period of time, are you more likely to remember their face or their name first? Or are you one of those gifted people who almost always unites the right name with the right face?
I'd say that in most instances, I'm more apt to remember a name, especially if it was unusual, or if their appearance is average and mundane. I'll have people coming up to me in public who don't seem familiar, who then act as if I should know them. I don't have much of a poker face and the blank expression on my face almost always alerts them that I don't have a clue who they are, so they usually supply their name at that point, which helps my powers of recall in about half the instances. But if they've got a name like "Mary Brown", then the probably is fairly high that I'll remain clueless.
There are other times, however, where I'll recognize a person by their appearance, but the name will escape me. This happens frequently when I meet a person I see often, but not where I expect to see them; like if I see the woman who works at the gas station when I'm at the mall, for instance. It also happens frequently if I happen to run into a woman whom I've had a one-night stand with some time well after the fact. After so many years, all the women tend to run together and blur. And, of course, with many of them, I never knew their name in the first place.
Of course, there are the times, I remember neither name nor face, but I manage not to give it away during the brief conversation. I nod and smile at whatever the "shared" memory is they are reliving, then manage to excuse myself before they realize I haven't a fucking clue who the hell they are.
Then I walk off scratching my head trying to figure them out.
Feel free to share similar experiences in the comment box.
Not feeling particularly inspired tonight, so this will be an odds and ends entry.
I've been feeling under the weather for the last few days, not feeling quite up to par. The other day I woke up feeling vaguely nauseated. I didn't stay up long, as I had no energy. I slept all day long, getting up just long enough to run to the bathroom to run at both ends. I alternated between shivering and burning up -- yep, I was sick, all right.
I think I ended up sleeping about 18 hours straight, save for the bathroom runs.
I had a lunch date the next day, which I managed to keep, but I had to beg off on the afternoon in bed that was originally to follow lunch. With my not-quite-settled stomach, I didn't dare hazard it.
I'm still not quite 100%, though I'm better. I guess it will take awhile to completely get over it ________________________________________
Though it's the end of October, you'd never know it around here by looking at the thermometer. The temps today were up in the 80s, accompanied by full summertime humidity.
To top the day off, we had a storm front run through here tonight that generated two tornado warnings, though the worst of the weather passed about 25 miles to the north of me, fortunately.
I have the air-conditioning running even as I type this entry.
Looks like another endless summer again this year.
Well, I'm still feeling a bit "off", so I think I'll give up on writing an interesting entry and head off for bed.
The billboard above, which appears in Los Angeles, has drawn protest from those who say that it promotes immoral behavior.
This billboard is an advertisement for AshleyMadison.com, a website which helps people to meet new lovers. A motto on the site asserts: "When monogamy becomes monotony."
"We feel in our hearts, minds and pocketbooks that people who are going to stray are going to do it anyway, no matter what, with or without us," said Darren Morgenstern, founder of AshleyMadison.com.
"For someone to create a venue to just make it so easy for someone to just log online and be so cavalier about it, is just very destructive to me," said Tamara Feldstein, a protester, who wants the billboard taken down.
"You can't possibly convince somebody to act outside their moral code if that's just not what they are looking for," countered Morgenstern.
My opinion is that this billboard and site will not make someone suddenly decide to seek extramarital sex if it was not already in their minds. Rather, it provides an alternative to the dating and bar scene; for those who just want a hookup and not a relationship, which is quicker, safer, and leaves no room for hurt feelings because of misunderstood intentions. It would also be an excellent place for married swingers to seek additional partners together as well.
For those who find the billboard and the site immoral, the solution is quite simple. Don't do business with them. But don't think you should be able to make that decision for others.
A pacifist ignores Army recruiting billboards all the time -- those against extramarital sex can do the same with these billboards. Just drive on by and keep your eyes on the road.
When I get off work, it's usually rather late at night. Most of the time I'm hungry, but I'm in no mood for driving out of my way, then walking through the supermarket. Nor am I often in a mood where I want to wait for something to cook.
And on the times I do stop in at the market, I'm not the type who loads up the cart as if I'm stocking up for an Arctic expedition. I usually only get a few things that are necessary such as cat food, toilet paper, and so on. Because I've never had much interest in "real" cooking and never got around to learning much, what I get is largely limited to what doesn't need cooking or what can be nuked in the microwave. And even if I was into cooking, it's not something I'd be keen on doing in the middle of the night, anyway.
So, more often than not, if I'm hungry when I 'm on the way home from work, I'll get something from a fast-food drive-through. I'm fortunate to live on the north end of town, where most of the fast food joints and other types of restaurants are clustered.
My son would be happy to go nowhere but McDonald's, but I have to vary it, as I get sick of the same ol' thing all the time. Last night, I thought I'd go by Arby's and pick up something; maybe a club sandwich. This is a fast food place, but I consider it a cut above the fare at McD's and Burger King. I pulled into their drive-through about fifteen minutes before they were to close, but no sooner than I'd done so, than a message popped up on their screen advising me that they were closed for the night. Fifteen minutes early. And this isn't the first time these slackers have pulled this shit on me.
Pissed off, but knowing there wasn't anything I could do about it, I backed out of their drive-through and sped off to my second choice, Wendy's. Wanting to avoid the mayo miasma soggy bun nightmare, I decided to get one of their turkey frescata sandwiches on ciabatta bread. I like the ciabatta, as it does better at avoiding the sogginess factor than do kaiser rolls.
But when I ordered, I was informed that they were "out" of ciabatta rolls and would I like that on a kaiser roll? No, I don't want a fucking kaiser roll -- I ordered this particular sandwich precisely to avoid nasty soggy kaiser shit.
What really pisses me off is that they're ALWAYS out of ciabatta bread -- at least the last five times I've been there over the space of a month or two. What the hell is up with that? What's the point in offering a sandwich, then never stocking the key ingredient that makes it unique? I've ordered this sandwich at the other Wendy's locations in town and they're always "out" of ciabatta, too. As far as I'm concerned, if they're not prepared to make me the sandwich as advertised, then they ought to take a damned thing off the menu. Being out of it once I can understand, but they've been "out" of it for months now.
Disgusted now, having been thwarted twice on my quest for a midnight meal, I told them what I thought of their constantly being out of ciabatta, then roared off. I ended up having to drive all the way to the interstate and getting a burger from Hardee's. We've only got two of those in town, one way down on the southern side of town and totally out of my way, and the other on the north end by the interstate. That one involved overshooting the turn to go home, but it was closer than doubling back to the other one. They had what I wanted, and I finally got to go home, satisfied at last.
I just came straight home from work tonight -- there was food in the pantry and I wasn't all that hungry to begin with.
I made a run to the library the other day and stocked up on some books I'd been looking to read:
Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison
This book, what I call "bookclub fiction", had been recommended to me by a friend, because it takes place in a town near to where I live now.
The Castle in the Forest: A Novel by Norman Mailer
This is a fictionalized account of Hitler's childhood, with psychological speculations as to why Hitler turned out the way he did.
11 Days in December: Christmas at the Bulge, 1944 by Stanley Weintraub
This book is about the Battle of Bastogne.
Night by Elie Wiesel
A classic I'd never gotten around to reading.
Following below are some books that I want to read that I have yet to find either at the library or the bookstore. All of these books are about politics.
The Conscience of a Liberal by Paul Krugman
The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing by Greg Anrig.
Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotaling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists, and other Boneheaded Bureaucrats are Turning America into a Nation of Children by David Harsanyi ____________________________
In the last month or so, I've done two posts that have been inspired by quotes from George Carlin. The other night when I was bored, I went googling for Carlin quotes, the results of which you see below. Some of these quotes may be elaborated into full length entries in the future. _____________________
Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.
If it’s true that our species is alone in the universe, then I’d have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.
Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man…living in the sky, who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer and burn and scream until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you and he needs money.
Weather forecast for tonight: Dark. Continued dark overnight, with widely scattered light by morning.
I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.
I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a man nailed to two pieces of wood.
Have you ever wondered why Republicans are so interested in encouraging people to volunteer in their communities? It’s because volunteers work for no pay. Republicans have been trying to get people to work for no pay for a long time.
Once you leave the womb, conservatives don’t care about you until you reach military age. Then you’re just what they’re looking for. Conservatives want live babies so they can raise them to be dead soldiers.
The real reason that we can’t have the Ten Commandments in a courthouse: You cannot post “Thou shalt not steal,” “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” and “Thou shalt not lie” in a building full of lawyers, judges, and politicians. It creates a hostile work environment.
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish, and he will sit in a boat and drink beer all day.
"I am" is reportedly the shortest sentence in the English language. Could it be that "I do" is the longest sentence?
Men are from Earth, women are from Earth. Deal with it.
Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part to us, do they?
This is a lttle prayer dedicated to the separation of church and state. I guess if they are going to force those kids to pray in schools they might as well have a nice prayer like this: Our Father who art in heaven, and to the republic for which it stands, thy kingdom come, one nation indivisible as in heaven, give us this day as we forgive those who so proudly we hail. Crown thy good into temptation but deliver us from the twilight's last gleaming. Amen and Awomen.
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity
I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where's the self-help section?" She said if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
The main reason Santa is so jolly is because he knows where all the bad girls live.
Let a smile be your umbrella, and you'll end up with a face full of rain.
I've begun worshipping the Sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the Sun. It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to God are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate.
If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else.
How come when it’s us, it’s an abortion, and when it’s a chicken, it’s an omelette?
Quite some time ago, I wrote about reading some of the romance novels one lover had lying around. I criticized their predictability; that they always ended, without exception, in a monogamous marriage, no matter how unlikely a candidate for marriage the main male character seemed in the beginning.
Now, I'll elaborate a bit -- romance novels are most definitely not the only culprit here. In mystery/crime/thriller novels, you know from the very beginning that the good guys will always win in the end and that the main character will not die, no matter how dire their circumstances become during the course of the novel. This also holds true for movies in both genres.
You also know that if they do something really stupid while looking for clues to solve the mystery, they'll nearly always get caught and temporarily captured by the bad guys, though they'll be rescued in the end. And they WILL do something foolhardy, never choosing to take the safer paths. Said bad guys will usually take the time to gloat, to confess to the good guy what they've done bad so far and what mayhem they have planned for the good guy, in order to waste time so that the cavalry can come save the day just in the nick of time.
As romances are always told from the female point of view, mysteries/thrillers are always told from the good guys' point of view, in the same way that history is nearly always recounted by the winners.
Where's the "thrill" in thriller if you know how it's going to end before you even read the first page? Why must the good guys always win? Mystery/thriller fiction is supposed to be just that; fiction, a make-believe tale of "what if". There shouldn't always be a morality, "crime doesn't pay" lesson in fiction, as fiction is mainly about entertainment, not a prescription of what "should" be.
I'd like to see some fiction told from atypical points of view -- romance from a male perspective that doesn't always end in a monogamous marriage and mystery/thrillers told from the "bad guy's" point of view. Indeed, I'd like to see more novels where the dividing line between good guys and bad guys is blurred; where the characters on both sides of an issue are multifaceted and each have points of views and agendas that make sense to them.
What would you like to see different in the types of fiction you read that you currently see very little of? And if you know of any authors who write less predictable plots, feel free to list them in the comment box.
"Religion is like a pair of shoes.....Find one that fits for you, but don't make me wear your shoes." --George Carlin
Christianity is unique among the world's major religions in that many of its denominations place a strong emphasis on evangelism. That is, actively trying to "sell" their religion to non-believers and those of other religions, attempting to get them to convert and believe likewise. The more conservative the denomination, the stronger the focus is on evangelism. It is particularly strong among Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons, both of which are considered by some to be offshoot derivatives of Christianity and not part of mainstream Christendom.
Other major religions do not actively seek to gain converts, for the most part. Converts are accepted and welcomed, but it is always the convert who seeks out knowledge and initiates the process of conversion. The attitude is "We're here, this is what we believe, ask questions, then decide for yourself". However, you'll never see a Jew or a Buddhist, going from door to door aggressively trying to sell their religion to others. They are apparently content to allow others to determine their own religious paths, if any.
In the Bible Jesus said, "'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me."
In other words, Jesus is waiting for people to come to him; he doesn't say, "Behold, I come to the door and break it down and come in". One doesn't need to "sell" Christianity, Christ's words are there for anyone to study and should stand on their own merits -- that's the "knock" part. Whether or not to "open the door" (study and/or convert) should be initiated by the would-be convert.
For myself, the only religion I need is expressed in the Golden Rule; to treat others as we would wish to be treated. I find it highly relevant that this sentiment is expressed in nearly every religion and ethical system on the planet. So, I think it matters little which religious tradition one chooses to practice, if any, as the essential ethics are universal. All roads lead to Rome and all that, you know.
Once again, I'm posting a blog entry inspired by something I heard on the radio. This time, a listener called in to dedicate a song to her brother, who had Down's Syndrome. The caller went on about what a dear brother he was, about how everyone loved him just the way he was. All well and good. But then she said that she'd "not have him any other way"; that his disability had taught all those around him valuable lessons about life.
This didn't sit quite right with me.
To say that she and the rest of the family loved him just the way he was was appropriate, proper, and commendable. But to say that you wouldn't have him be any other way is quite another thing entirely. The first statement accepts and loves him the way he is, but still regrets that he'll never have an independent life of his own. The second, however, is more than a little thoughtless and presumptuous, in my opinion.
For one thing, he doesn't exist for his family's benefit; to provide life lessons for them. To not want him to be any other way is not to fully respect his humanity -- would they care to trade their lives for his? I think not. Nor do any parents expecting a baby hope that the child is born mentally or physically challenged.
Every parent wants the best for their children, even when circumstances don't make it possible. Love him just the way he is and accept reality, yes, but still think of what might have been.
While I can appreciate all the work that went into creating these bodies, the idea of having sex with one of these women just doesn't put the lead in my pencil. I'm afraid one of them would go into "'roid rage" and flatten me.
Despite the fact that I'm a confirmed boob man, this photo shows that there can definitely be too much of a good thing. I think if I squeezed this pair too hard, they'd explode.
And this one is just plain ridiculous. This is a photo from a fashion show, not from a Halloween store catalog, if you can believe it.
While listening to the radio in the car the other night, the deejay played a song for a man whose wife had left him with their two children and had willingly given up custody of them.
The radio host couldn't keep from injecting her two cents into the matter saying that she couldn't understand how any woman could give up custody of her own children and that a woman just had to be either mentally ill or on drugs to do so.
Oh, where to begin.
Let's start with the obvious sexism. Men walk away from their kids without a backward glance all the time and while many people will agree that this is an unfortunate situation and that the guy is a bastard, no one would ever assume that he was necessarily mentally ill or on drugs. Nor does anyone wring their hands at the thought of a father relinquishing custody of his children, be it willingly, reluctantly, or compelled by the courts to do so.
The implication is that men either can't or don't care about their offspring as much as a mother can or should.
Bullshit. Both women and men give up custody for a variety of reasons, some of them selfish and shitty, and in other situations, with it being better for the children's welfare. Every situation is different and what's best for the child isn't always, without exception, having the mother being granted custody.
Sometimes, it's better for the children if the mother has custody; but in other instances, the father would make a better custodial parent. For many families, joint custody is what's best. It's ludicrous to have a "one size fits all" custody model that is deemed right for everyone and it's unfair to automatically make negative assumptions about those who don't follow the the most common pattern.
One must look at each situation individually on a case by case basis, and not give in to the temptation to make sweeping, sexist, moralistic judgements like this radio host did.
I speak from experience. My ex ran off and left me alone with our son who was less than a year old at the time.
Was it a shitty thing for her to do? Hell, yes. Would my son been better off with her? I would have to say no.
But I can state without hesitation that she was neither mentally ill, nor on drugs. In fact, other than her internal plumbing, she was little different than many of the men who abandon their families each year.
My son turned out fine and I'm guessing that the children of the guy on the radio have a good chance of doing so as well.
A few weeks ago, I was watching TV in a search for new shows to follow. One night, I tuned into "Bones", which I've seen a few more times since. This is a medical/crime show that features a forensic anthropologist who works with an FBI agent in identifying murder victims whose bodies are in sufficiently poor condition as to be hard to identify by ordinary means.
Unlike similar shows in years past, very little is left to the imagination. I've seen the show less than a handful of times, but I've seen several graphic and grisly scenes of death. In one episode, a woman is killed when the minivan she is driving explodes from a planted bomb. When the two main characters arrive at the crime scene, the viewer sees a close-up scene of blackened hands attached to charred, jagged forearm bones, still holding the wheel. There is another scene at the lab where the title character cuts the victim's blackened finger off, then holds it up, before immersing it in a solution that will make it possible to get a fingerprint from the finger. In another episode, there is a scene where a child discovers a decomposing body, complete with a closeup of worms and other insects crawling out of the mouth and empty eye-sockets of the victim. I have no problem with the realism, and this is a show I'll likely keep watching, and I might even read the books it's based on as well.
The show comes on at 8 pm on Tuesday nights in my viewing area and after seeing several grisly scenes like those mentioned above, I thought that a lot of kids must be watching this show, considering what time it comes on. And while teens and adults should have no problem with the graphic nature of some of the scenes, I knew that these scenes would likely inspire nightmares for pre-teen children watching.
And I wondered where were all the fundamentalist censorship advocates who are so keen on protecting the innocence of children? These people, who raised so much hell over the brief appearance of Janet Jackson's nipple at the 2004 Superbowl and anything more sexual than a peck on the cheek, are strangely silent when it comes to shows with explicitly grisly or violent scenes.
Do fundamentalist censorship advocates really think that the sight of a bare nipple, a naked breast, or a naked couple in bed where the covers aren't pulled up tight to the armpits will cause children psychological harm, but seeing graphic violence and grisly scenes of burned, mangled, and/or decomposing bodies of people who died violent deaths will not?
I think they've got it ass backwards. As I said above, it's quite likely that young children seeing the more grisly scenes on "Bones" and other similar shows and movies will have nightmares -- but I'm absolutely certain that no kid would ever have a nightmare after seeing a naked boob.
My beef isn't with shows like "Bones" or the networks, other than recommending that such shows be shown later in the evening when fewer young children will be up to view them.
Rather, my ire is directed at the hypocrisy of censorship advocates with their misguided focus on what is most inappropriate for children to watch.
The city council for a town in my area has shown some common sense, which is becoming increasingly rare these days. Members of this council have proposed a city ordinance that would make public urination a misdemeanor, instead of being classified as indecent exposure. If the measure passes, public pee-ers will be charged with something similar to public disorderly conduct, which is an umbrella charge covering offenses such as public drunkenness and other types of relatively minor, obnoxious public behavior.
Currently, under state law, anyone caught urinating in public is charged with indecent exposure, which is a sex crime. Once convicted of that crime, that person would be required to register as a sex offender. At least 13 states require registration for public urination; of those, two limit registration to those who committed the act in view of a minor.
In at least one state that considers public urination as indecent exposure, a single conviction means the offender's name, and possibly his or her photograph, will be placed on the state's registry of sex offenders. But under a new federal law passed in an overzealous effort to protect children from sex offenders, states are required to include anyone convicted of indecent exposure twice within three years in the registry.
As one might imagine, being listed on a sex offender registry ruins lives, sometimes permanently. Many lose their jobs, and, in a growing number of cities, offenders have to move away from schools, parks and day-care centers, either uprooting their families or living apart from them.
I think it's a pretty harsh penalty for taking a leak outside. How many of us haven't taken a leak in an alley on the way home from a night of drinking when in college? And who hasn't answered the call of nature -- or whose kids have done so -- shielded between two open car doors on the side of the road, when the need is urgent and the "Next Exit" is 67 miles down the road?
People, especially as they get older, can have medical conditions and take medications that result in a frequent need to go, accompanied by an decreasing ability to "hold it" for any extended length of time. In many areas, public facilities are few and far between and many businesses permit restroom use by customers only. Indeed, I remember my father one time slipping behind a fence at the back of a convenience store because he simply couldn't wait until he got home or to drive somewhere where they'd let him use the restroom.
To be sure, public urination can be offensive, especially if the person makes insufficient effort to shield what they're doing, but it's totally ludicrous to group such people with pedophiles and other true sex offenders on a registry.
Let's face it -- just because I use the same equipment to fuck with as pee with doesn't make public urination a sex offense. What's next -- will mothers nursing their babies on a bench at the mall be charged with indecent exposure and have to register, too, because their breasts serve a dual purpose?
The enactment and enforcement of laws pertaining to sex offenses has often taken on a tone of near-hysteria in recent years. Instead of narrowly defining sex offenses to include violent rapists and those who prey on young children, for example, the "sex offender" umbrella has gotten absurdly wider to include teens having consensual sex, public pee-ers, and the like.
I can only see the actions of this city council and similar ones in cities across the nation as a good sign, as a return to the common sense of having punishments that actually fit the crimes.
I'm not feeling inspired to write about any topic in particular today, though I do feel inspired to write. So, this will be another rambling monologue about whatever crosses my mind as I compose this entry.
After about a week of near-fall temperatures that teased those of us living in my area into thinking we would have an on-time arrival of fall this year, summer has returned in full force. Yesterday, the temperatures reached a humid 90 degrees that necessitated the wearing of shorts. Though the leaves showed early signs of color change weeks ago, the level of color change has stalled, with most trees still remaining 90% dressed out in green leaves. The stores are showing Halloween and even Christmas decorations, yet the weather would seem to indicate Fourth of July sales, instead. I'm just hoping that summer will not obdurately remain until the middle of December as it did last year.
Though I live in the foothills of the Appalachians, the weather screams "Florida!" It makes me wondering what Florida's weather is now screaming -- "Amazon rainforest!", perhaps?
The temperatures are supposed to drop like a rock tonight, but I'll believe it when I see it. _____________________________________________________
Alternet had another article yesterday that got me into rebuttal mode and I ended up leaving two novel-length comments over there. I'm guessing I'd be very happy if I were a columnist full-time for Alternet.
I would have made the comments the subject of today's entry, but the first comment was a rehash of my Domestic Partnership entry of a few days ago, and the second was a rehash of a post I did about a year ago, so I didn't want to do another rerun over here. For those interested in what I had to say anyway, click here to read the article and comments. _____________________________________________________
Vegetarians, you might want to look away from the screen now. If you read on, don't say I didn't warn you.
I admit it; I grab a lot of meals on the run at fast food joints. Some places are decidedly better than others, but I usually end up visiting them all on a rotating basis eventually.
One change that I've noticed in most of the fast food chains -- and it's not for the better -- is that they've gradually increased the amount of mayonnaise used on a burger. Don't get me wrong; I like mayonnaise, but, for me, a little bit goes a long way. I just want a little taste of it -- I don't want the sandwich drowning in it.
The two biggest offenders in this regard are Burger King and Wendy's, and Hardee's is beginning to catch up. They put on so much mayonnaise that it drips out the bottom when you pick up the burger.
And what's worse is that all this mayo makes the bun soggy and slimy, and the bun rapidly disintegrates after you take the first squishy bite. Feel free to barf now.
The other day, my son came over to the house with the DVD "We Are Marshall" and a bag full of Burger King small burgers. I opened the first one and saw the mayonnaise miasma all over the top bun. The lettuce, onions, etc on the bun had been totally drowned in mayo and had decomposed into a limp, slimy mess. But I was hungry, so I scraped everything off the bun, then tried to eat it.
But I couldn't. For one thing, the bun was still soggy, and the cheap, greasy mayo they'd used had contaminated the taste of the meat. I just put it aside, disgusted.
Let's just put it this way -- I've had prepackaged cardboard burgers out of vending machines that were more appetizing than this mess.
I know McDonald's gets a bad rap, but the one saving grace of their Quarter Pounder is that NO MAYO is used on them. For the rest of the fast food joints, I make sure to specify "no mayo" whenever I order from them. Saves my stomach and saves them money.
Many people cannot abide silence, for whatever reason. They cannot drive their cars without the radio or some other noise...err...music device operating at all times. Similarly, there are those who have the TV on all the time, even if they are not sitting down actively watching it.
I've found that the older I get, the more I can tolerate silence and even appreciate it at times. Like most teenagers, I used to listen to music nearly all the time, the louder, the better, and I'd do my homework by it. I still like cranking up the music from time to time, but I find myself listening to talk radio more and more, and sometimes, even driving down the road in silence, alone with my thoughts. If I have a passenger in the car, I usually turn the radio off, as I usually prefer to engage in conversation.
But I've never been one who had to have a TV going all the time. I only turn the TV on if I'm going to sit down and actually watch. Otherwise, it stays off, saving me some electricity. I'm baffled by those who don't turn off the TV when they have guests, especially when the purpose of the visit isn't to watch TV together.
Sometimes, I will sit still, close my eyes, and empty my mind of busy thought, and be conscious of the silence. But it's not really silence, as in the total absence of sound, but rather, it's the small daily-life sounds no one notices in the usual cacophony of their typical days. It's the hum of a refrigerator, the whirring of a fan, the whoosh of cars passing in the street, the chirping of birds and crickets, the moan of a train's horn, the roar of a lawn mower, and so on.
I've found that engaging in this periodically will many times inspire me to write, and will even sometimes bring on a feeling of contentment that I can't quite explain.
James Dobson, head of the ultraconservative religious/political group, Focus on the Family, recently announced that if Rudy Guiliani won the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential election, that he would sit out the election entirely, and would urge his followers (sheep) to do likewise. Dobson based his disapproval of Guiliani on the fact that the former New York mayor is pro-choice, pro-gay rights, is not overtly devout, and is twice-divorced, thrice married.
Likewise, Dobson has publicly stated that he could not support Fred Thompson or John McCain. About Thompson, he said, "Isn't Thompson the candidate who is opposed to a constitutional amendment to protect marriage, believes there should be 50 different definitions of marriage in the U.S.?" Dobson also questions whether that Thompson is actually a Christian (as he defines it, of course), as Thompson is not known to be a regular church-goer. McCain ended up on Dobson's shit list because of the Arizona senator's opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Dobson and other extreme social conservatives have talked of encouraging Republican voters to either sit out the election entirely or to promote a third party candidate. I say, fine, go ahead and do it. Either road they take will mean a guaranteed win for the Democrats, if the fundamentalist rank and file heed Dobson's advice in large numbers.
It would also be good news for the Republican party, if the fundamentalists picked up their toys and went home, even if it means a loss for them in the 2008 election. Dobson and the other social conservatives have become increasingly out of step with what issues mean the most to Americans these days. While he and his ilk are obsessed with regulating the sex lives of Americans, the majority of American voters, Republican and Democrat, want a president who will address our health care system, the growing threat of Islamic terrorism, the economy/job market, immigration reform, the war in Iraq, global warming, the deficit, taxes, and so on.
The declining influence of the fundamentalists in the Republican party is obvious, considering the candidates for the Republican nomination, most of whom who are seemingly no longer are willing to adhere to the fundamentalist version of political correctness. Guiliani has taken a dismissive attitude to the concerns of Dobson and other fundamentalists:
"I'm working on one party right now — the Republican Party," Giuliani said. "I believe we are reaching out very, very well to Republicans. The emphasis is on fiscal conservatism, which brings Republicans together."
In the same vein, Thompson said, "I don't particularly care to have a conversation with him[Dobson]. If he wants to call up and apologize, that's ok with me. But I'm not going to dance to anybody's tune."
This is in sharp contrast to the 1980 election, where both Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr., both formerly pro-choice, flip flopped on this issue to appease the fundies, as they apparently felt they could not be elected otherwise. I find it an increasingly good sign that Guiliani and Thompson have not felt the need to do likewise.
Since 1980, the religious right has had an unhealthy stranglehold on the Republican party, bringing it closer and closer to the tinfoil hat brigade. It's time to bring the Republican party back to the sensible center; to be once again the party of Eisenhower, of Ford, and of Lincoln.
Why should I, a Democrat, care about the health of the Republican party? It's simple -- I believe America needs both parties, each to provide a different approach, and to provide balance in politics. We also need those in both parties to be able to work together, and actually get things done, instead of engaging in increasingly polarized politics.
While listening to the radio the other night, "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival came on:
Some folks are born made to wave the flag, Ooh, they're red, white and blue. And when the band plays hail to the chief, Ooh, they point the cannon at you, lord,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no senators son, son. It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no,
Yeah! Some folks are born silver spoon in hand, Lord, don't they help themselves, oh. But when the taxman comes to the door, Lord, the house looks like a rummage sale, yes,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no millionaires son, no. It ain't me, it ain't me; I ain't no fortunate one, no.
Some folks inherit star spangled eyes, Ooh, they send you down to war, lord, And when you ask them, how much should we give? Ooh, they only answer more! more! more! yo,
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no military son, son. It aint me, it aint me; I aint no fortunate one, one.
It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate one, no no no, It ain't me, it ain't me, I ain't no fortunate son, no no no,
As I listened to this familiar tune from the late 60s, which implies a young man who evaded service in Vietnam because of his father's influence, I was reminded of a persistent Urban Legend associated with this song. Since Al Gore's rise to national prominence, the rumor going around has been that Gore, a Senator's son at the time this song was written, was the inspiration for songwriter John Fogerty to write this song. I can't say for sure, but I'd guess that the rumor was started by Republicans.
Indeed, George W. Bush was also a Senator's son at the time this song was released and the words fit him just as well, if not better.
In reality, however, neither man inspired Fogerty to write the song. The true inspiration was David Eisenhower, a President's grandson who ended up marrying one of Richard Nixon's daughters and who served three years in the Navy during the Vietnam years, yet never saw any action.
Yesterday's entry inspired several comments on my EFXblog, some of which indicated that I need to clarify some points. Responding as simply another comment was turning into a novel, hence this follow-up entry.
...the point of marital benefits is to support the formation, and stability, of family (whatever that family makeup is) ... and the family is the cornerstone of society, in my opinion.
The point is that not all those benefits restricted to marriage have to do with marriage, per se, but rather to the practical considerations of sharing a household. And I don't believe in THE family -- one type of family being "proper" one -- but rather in FAMILIES, that come in all sorts of configurations. Surely, single parent siblings sharing a home, grandparents raising grandchildren, and so on, are every bit of a family worth supporting as a married couple is. Except that I'm not religious, in the least, so where does that leave me?
If I were to have married my wife in a religious ceremony, I would be a hypocrite.
So who would you have carry out the union between my wife and I, if not the gov't?
The private part of a marriage, doesn't have to be a religious ceremony -- or any ceremony at all, if those involved so choose. If you want a public recognition of what you and your wife have already decided together privately, then any sort of ceremony that is meaningful to you would do; it need not involve religion.
Who would carry out the union between your wife and you? You've already done so yourselves once you decided to make that commitment. Your commitment existed from the moment you decided that it did and you don't have to have the government to tell you what you've already decided in your hearts. You can't just leave it up to the individual to decide amongst themselves where the rules/benefits apply, and where they don't.
The rules and benefits part isn't the marriage -- it's the domestic partnership. The marriage is the commitment that you and your wife have decided among yourselves. One is about practical realities that apply to several different living situations, the other is about a romantic commitment. They are two separate things than can, but don't always have to, go together.
That would be anarchy, and the system would be bloated with people running scams.
Scams are not entirely unknown with marriage as it currently exists. A prime example is foreigners entering into sham marriages with American citizens with the sole purpose of getting green cards so they can remain in this country. Anything that involves government bureaucracy is going to be prone of scams of one sort or another.
I suppose maybe what you're saying is to not call what my wife and I did a "marriage" ? But that's just semantics, isn't it.
No, you missed my point completely. What I propose is to separate out the legal benefits that are relevant to matters pertaining to maintaining a household that are currently reserved for married couples only and extend them to those in other sorts of familial relationships that could benefit from such rights and to put them under the umbrella of domestic partnerships. The emotional commitment part of marriage would be something else entirely that would exist alongside your domestic partnership, but it would be a personal, private matter, not a legal one. The DP wouldn't replace your marriage; it would only exist beside it. And not to beat a dead horse, but I still stand by my opinion that my legal marriage had/has nothing to with sex.... especially so as it was a civil marriage, and not a religious one....The fact is, my marriage was not based upon a sexual relationship between my wife and I. Your concern is with the gov't's role in marriage, and I say that the gov't is not concerned with the sexual relations between the two partners involved.
What I mean by marriage being "based on a sexual relationship" is not that you (or anyone else) gets married primarily to have a sexual partner. I'm sure that you got married mainly because you loved one another and wanted to spend the rest of your lives together. My point was that the practical household-related benefits are only available in marriage, where a sexual relationship exists or the possibility of one is there.
Obviously, for those in other types of familial relationships who could benefit from some of these practical benefits, there is not a sexual relationship or the potential for one. They are denied the domestic benefits that come with marriage because their relationship cannot be marriage because, marriage, by definition, includes a sexual relationship or the potential for one. In parts of California that offer domestic partnerships, these are available to homosexual couples and heterosexuals in marriage-clone relationships -- again, they are limited to those in relationships that presumably include sex. The point is simply that domestic household benefits should not be limited to marriage or marriage-clone relationships.
I knew I was going to want to have kids and I wanted them to know their dad and I loved each other enough to sign that piece of paper.
And they could not know their dad without it? I don't get it. You and he made the commitment together and that would include being involved parents whether or not you got that piece of paper. Indeed, if you've been together that long and raised a family together, you would have been just as married de facto, whether or not you'd ever informed the government of the commitment you'd already made. And I'm guessing that it's not the piece of paper that's been keeping him by your side all these years.
I too was married by the court and not in a church so if there was no government involved in marriage were would I go to get married? I didn't believe God needed to be a part of my marriage, it was just between me and my husband.
Your last phrase said it all -- it was just between you and your husband. The real marriage occurred the moment you decided to spend your lives together. You married each other -- you didn't need the government to approve of something you already felt in your hearts.
Something else that occurred to me is that a marriage is basically a 'promise' between two people who would otherwise be unobligated toward each other.
If you made the promise to one another -- do you really need the government to enforce it? I would say your obligation would exist because you committed to that. It would just be a personal obligation and not a legal one.
However...other than a cohabiting couple, what reason would you have as siblings or family members who live together to have a marriage-like contract?
See Kinnigurl's comment -- she illustrated it much better than I could.
But I tell you this: to suggest that marriage is something to be looked down on or to be disparaged crosses a big line with me. The intensity of emotions that surround my love and passion and commitment to my wife is profound and it the marriage ceremony was a public statement of that, one which I am entirely glad I took.
Whoa, hold on. To say that other kinds of relationships are as deserving of recognition and rights and marriage is not to look down on marriage. It may be a leveling, a removal of marriage from a lofty pedestal, but it doesn't look down on marriage, per se.
The intensity of your emotions and commitment to your wife is an intensely personal and private thing. A public marriage ceremony is statement to your friends and family that should be equally personal that I think is not enhanced by governmental bureaucracy in "one size fits all" marriage laws. You and she were married the moment you decided to make that commitment, and your ceremony was a public announcement of that fact. None of which required governmental regulations. You married each other -- the government didn't marry you.
In other words, I respect people's private decisions, even it it's not for me -- it's the government that I take a dim view of. I just think the way you portray marriage neglects to recognize the intensity of bond that leads to it when it's Right.
No -- I think it's the government regulations that neglects to recognize the intensity of the many individual bonds with its one size fits all approach. Law is an impersonal and sometimes a dehumanizing business that I think has no business meddling in such intensely personal bonds.
My daughter and I live in a domestic relationship, which is a perfect example of what you are trying to get at. There is no sexual relationship obviously, but we are what I would consider a legal unit or household. We share all expenses and all assets and debts are split according to our percentage of the household income. However, we do not have any of the other benefits that a married couple have such as medical, dental,etc. We cannot file our taxes together and unless we have POA we have no legal rights with regards to banking etc., even though we have joint accounts. A domestic partnership would be beneficial to people that are in the same kind of situation as ours. Kinnigurl -- thank you. You got exactly what I was driving at.
Some people believe that legal marriage should be reserved for heterosexual couples, with civil unions being reserved for homosexuals. Others believe that all legally recognized unions should be for heterosexuals only. And many people believe that marriage is for both straights and gays.
And there are those who acknowledge the dual nature of marriage, civil and religious. They believe that the government should only be involved in the civil part and should be available to both hetero and homosexuals. A civil union would have no religious significance and a marriage would have no legal standing. Most couples would have both a legal union and a marriage, but both could exist without the other.
Anyone who has been reading this blog for any length of time knows that I take a dim view of legal marriage. The main reason is because I believe that it's not the government's place to define, legislate, or promote what a "legitimate" personal relationship is and what it is not between consenting adults.
Many people have agreed with me in principle, but point out that legal marriage bestows many legal rights and benefits currently unavailable to those in non-legal relationships of various forms, so they enter into legal marriages, for lack of a better alternative. Such rights are those that mainly involve practical benefits for those sharing a household in a longterm relationship, such as filing joint taxes, eligibility to be carried on the other's health insurance, and so on..
I understand this concern, which is a valid one.
What I can't understand is why such rights and benefits must be based on a sexual relationship, rather than being based on the practical logistics of sharing a household on a longterm basis, regardless of the nature of the personal relationship.
Instead of marriage or civil union, both predicated on a sexual relationship, the government could legalize domestic partnerships that would focus solely on the practical rights and benefits now limited to legal marriage that are related to sharing a household. Any sexual relationships that might exist, would be entirely irrelevant to the terms of the Domestic Partnership.
In addition to those in long term sexually-based partnerships, gay and straight, Domestic Partnerships could include adult siblings sharing a household, an adult child and elderly parent(s)sharing a home, two platonic friends living together, and so on. Just as with marriage, such relationships could be legally dissolved if those involved ceased sharing a household.
For those who object to this idea because of the concerns of any children born into a relationship, I would say that family law would be based on how a child relates to each of their parents, not on how the parents relate to each other. Indeed, domestic partnerships might provide stronger legal relationships between a child and other key family members -- a grandparent or an aunt/uncle could put a child in their household on their medical insurance, for example.
Marriage would still exist as a private, optional relationship of a religious or spiritual nature, but the government would play no part in it. Domestic partnerships and marriage would be two entirely different entities that might or might not co-exist in the same relationship. One would be a legal relationship; the other would be a strictly personal one.
I've noticed that some liberals have taken to calling themselves "progressives" rather than liberals.
I'm sure there are many reasons for this, but one is the incessant conservative demonization of this word, particularly on talk radio and in books. They constantly use the word "liberal" as an epithet; as a shorthand buzzword for everything that is wrong with this country. They've largely succeeded in obscuring the true meaning of the word liberal and turned it into a dirty word among many mainstream Americans.
It's Josef Goebbels' "Big Lie" propaganda technique in action -- repeat a lie often enough and loudly enough and, eventually, people will begin to believe it.
Some liberals have thrown up their hands in defeat and having started calling themselves "progressives", rather than liberal.
Not me. I'm not going to let conservatives define the terms of political discourse for me. I'm a liberal and I'm damn proud of it. I wear the label, "liberal", without apology or excuse.
Just what does "liberal" mean, anyway? Let's go to the dictionary:
Liberal –adjective 1. favorable to progress or reform, as in political or religious affairs. 2. (often initial capital letter) noting or pertaining to a political party advocating measures of progressive political reform. 3. of, pertaining to, based on, or advocating liberalism. 4. favorable to or in accord with concepts of maximum individual freedom possible, esp. as guaranteed by law and secured by governmental protection of civil liberties. 5. favoring or permitting freedom of action, esp. with respect to matters of personal belief or expression: a liberal policy toward dissident artists and writers. 6. of or pertaining to representational forms of government rather than aristocracies and monarchies. 7. free from prejudice or bigotry; tolerant: a liberal attitude toward foreigners. 8. open-minded or tolerant, esp. free of or not bound by traditional or conventional ideas, values, etc. 9. characterized by generosity and willingness to give in large amounts: a liberal donor. 10. given freely or abundantly; generous: a liberal donation. 11. not strict or rigorous; free; not literal: a liberal interpretation of a rule. 12. of, pertaining to, or based on the liberal arts. 13. of, pertaining to, or befitting a free man. –noun 14. a person of liberal principles or views, esp. in politics or religion. 15. (often initial capital letter) a member of a liberal party in politics, esp. of the Liberal party in Great Britain.
There's nothing in that definition that should prompt anyone to believe they need to hide such beliefs under a euphemism.
I'll start using "progressive", instead of liberal, when conservatives start calling themselves "regressives".
You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.