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Archive for September 8th, 2011

Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?   –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Usually when I report on a number of short news stories in a column, I have some sort of commentary on them; these stories, however, largely speak for themselves so I present them with only minimal comment.

Well, At Least They’re Consistent

Florida is well-known for its legislative and judicial excesses, but back in the Social Purity Era its legislators apparently decided that fornication should be illegal whether money changed hands or not.  The law has rarely been enforced, but a legislator now wants to get rid of it and other outdated laws; as you might expect, none of his colleagues are interested.  From the August 31st Sun-Sentinel:

…”Cohabitation” of unmarried people is currently a second-degree misdemeanor, punishable by $500 or up to 60 days in jail.  The same penalty applies to cheating husbands and wives — though only to opposite-sex couples.  The laws have been on the books since the late 1800s, but are rarely enforced.  In 2006, though, a Jacksonville woman did take advantage of the law and have her husband arrested for cheating, according to a news report.  (It’s not clear how the case came out.)  Now, Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, is on a mission to repeal the statutes penalizing adultery and cohabitation, as well as other laws he finds outdated, like a requirement that all bicycle riders keep one hand on the handle bars.  He filed…the bill last week — it’s HB 4021 — though he hasn’t returned phone calls about it for the past two days.

Nobody else much wants to talk about it either.  Asked how Gov. Rick Scott felt about the measure, spokeswoman Amy Graham replied simply, “This isn’t an issue the governor is focused on.”  The bill has no Senate counterpart.  And given the almost-certain opposition of social conservatives who lobby hard on “family values” issues, it’ll face tough sledding in an election year.  Consider the response of State Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, who previously headed the Florida chapter of the Christian Coalition:  “I’m not ready to give up on monogamy and a cultural statement that marriage still matters,” he said.

I guess Workman hasn’t yet learned that most politicians never want to limit the number of ways they can harass, threaten and persecute people.

Somehow, I Doubt He Thought This Through

Posted September 1st on The Smoking Gun:

A Kansas man who called police yesterday to claim that he was robbed by two female escorts hired via an online service later admitted that he just “wanted a refund” from the women.  Ahmed Hasnain, 26, was arrested on a misdemeanor charge in connection with the bizarre incident at a Motel 6 in Wichita, according to a Wichita Police Department report.  Hasnain…told cops that he had expected only one hooker to show up and “didn’t like that there were two women.”  After paying the pair $160, Hasnain decided that he wanted his money back…So…[he] called 911 at around 5 AM to lodge his complaint. Based on his own statements, Hasnain was charged with patronizing a prostitute. Perhaps he will consider calling the Better Business Bureau the next time he wants to register a consumer complaint.

And perhaps in the future he’ll also reserve 911 for real emergencies, like McDonald’s running out of Chicken McNuggets.

The British Policy on Sex Rays

In the United States, teachers who are discovered to have done sex work in the past are removed from the classroom lest their bodies emit invisible “sex rays” which might contaminate the tender little asexual innocents who discover them by watching porn.  In England, sex-ray phobia is just as prevalent, but apparently bureaucratic inertia protects sex-working teachers despite their being officially condemned.  According to a BBC story from September 1st:

Benedict Garrett, 31…was found guilty of unacceptable professional conduct but left free to continue teaching.  A disciplinary hearing was told pupils at Beal High School in Ilford had seen him in a trailer for a porn film.  Mr Garrett said:  “What is wrong about it?  I can’t see anything…I don’t think I’ve done anything that goes against my values and I worked incredibly hard as a teacher.  What a teacher chooses to do in their life outside that work is up to them.”

…Mr Garrett…whose [stage name] is Johnny Anglais, said he had no plans to return to teaching…He admitted it “might be slightly embarrassing” if students had seen his porn films, but “no more than me starring as a monkey in the school musical”.  He said students should not have seen his pornography work, as it was intended for over-18s, but added:  “It’s perfectly natural.  Get over it.”  He added he did not see himself as a role model, asking:  “If teachers are role models, why do we tolerate teachers who smoke, when smoking is linked to thousands of deaths?  Do we look at teachers who are fat and say you shouldn’t be teaching?  Obesity is linked to thousands of deaths,” he added.  “However, I’ve heard from students who have told me they believe I’m a role model because I’m standing up for what I’ve believe in.”

Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, which campaigns against pornography and supports policies which promote marriage, said:  “Benedict Garrett is being naive if he imagines that performing as a stripper and appearing in porn films is compatible with teaching responsible attitudes towards sex and relationships as a teacher of personal, social and health education.  The vast majority of parents would be uncomfortable, to say the least, to have their children taught by someone involved in the sleazy world of the sex industry.”

Presumably, the sleazy world of politics is OK with Mr. Wells.  Maybe Melissa Petro and Tera Myers should move to the U.K.

Michael Weinstein Isn’t Happy About This

More news about the porn performer mentioned in my column of September 1st, from the Huffington Post of two days later:

An adult film performer who tested positive for HIV and caused the porn industry to shut down production as a precaution has been retested and…does not have the virus…production can now resume, said Free Speech Coalition executive director Diane Duke.  “The industry will be abundantly cautious as we try to nail down the reasons for what now appears to have been a false positive result on a previous test,” Duke said.  The actor, who was in Florida, had been slated to work on a shoot for Mofos.com, but production was halted last week when the test came back positive for HIV.  Duke declined to release the performer’s name, age or gender, citing the person’s right to medical privacy.  She also declined to say how her group learned of the case…which…was found at an out-of-state clinic that does not report to California health officials, Duke said.

The porn industry was similarly shuttered in late 2010, after porn actor Derrick Burts was diagnosed as HIV-positive.  His case was confirmed, and he has since left the industry to become an advocate for the use of condoms in pornography.  The Free Speech Coalition is working on a database to track sexually transmitted disease testing among porn actors, a task formerly handled by the Adult Industry Medical Healthcare Foundation before it closed in December 2010.  Known as AIM, the San Fernando Valley clinic had catered to porn stars since it opened in 1998.  It was forced to close because of inadequate licensing.

The last line is incorrect; the clinic was actually forced to shut down by an illegal “cease and desist” order from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health, as reported in my column of March 7th.

One Year Ago Today

All Shapes and Sizes” discusses the huge morphological variety of human genitalia, and addresses (among other things) the oft-asked question, “what is the average penis size, really?”

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