Thursday, March 31, 2005

What I Need Is A Good Defense...

Haven't blogged in a while, for obvious reasons. But I'm sure that Dad would want me to go on writing, so here goes. This one's for you, Dad - as is all the rest of the crap I put up here. If only it were worthy...

Anyway, I'm back in North Carolina for a couple of days - long enough to learn that I am a dangerous criminal. Why? I'm living with someone I'm not married to. (Being engaged doesn't count.) That's illegal in North Carolina, and a Pender County woman lost her job with the sheriff's department because of it. (Incidentally, the Triangle stopped caring about this law a long time ago.) The woman is suing to have the law taken off the books.

Still in the endless circus of NC politics, there's a bill before the General Assembly that would make it illegal for colleges to discriminate against someone for their political beliefs. This is one of conservatism's sacred cows - apparently, there's some huge liberal conspiracy to keep conservatives out of academia. Conservatives still believe this despite the fact that there is no evidence of someone being denied a job at a university because of their political beliefs. Nor is there evidence of systematic discrimination against conservative students. At UNC, when a student was castigated by a professor for making homophobic statements in class, the professor was swiftly (and rightly) punished by the administration. To my knowledge, no conservative has ever demonstrated that they got lower grades for speaking their mind - indeed, in my experience, professors like students who disagree with them in class. If there's a lack of conservative viewpoints being heard in the classroom, it's because conservative students are too chickenshit to speak up. Yes, professors are overwhelmingly liberal - but that can be described by conservatives' reluctance to enter academia, rather than by some invented liberal malice.

And in the department of Democrats Behaving Badly, House Speaker Jim Black attempted to sell a state-owned building to a private developer for $1. I wish I could get that kind of deal. This kind of giveaway is shameful whatever your view on publicly owned land; developers should have to pay to acquire property just like everyone else. Fortunately for us part-owners, Governor Easley did something right for a change and challenged Black on this giveaway.

Into national politics, where I want to touch on the so-called "pharmacists' rights" movement. Seems pharmacists want the green light to deny treatment to patients who request it, especially where it concerns birth control. Their own organization refuses to permit such denials, so they want government to require licensing boards to license pharmacists who, for whatever reason, don't want to do their job. In this case, I trust the pharmacists to set ethical standards for their own profession. If they want to require that their members abide by the Hippocratic Oath and not deny treatment to those in need, so be it.

One last thing, which is of little import to non-newspaper-geeks out there. The Associated Press has decided to offer an alternative lead to all of their stories. They will continue to offer the straight lead giving the reader the basic information of the article, but will allow papers to choose another lead that attempts to snazz the article up a little. It's scary that newspapers have to snazz up issues of national importance in order to distract people from the Michael Jackson case. And I'm not sure that I like an alternative that gives journalists and papers another opportunity to let personal opinion seep into their stories.


Mike said...

Wow. A Fiona Apple quote. Hadn't thought about that song in years.

I think it's hilarious that the "cohabitation" law is still on the NC books. I would be interested in reading the text of it. Would it be possible to evict a daughter from her home as soon as she is born because she is not married to her father? Does the law even differentiate between genders when it bans cohabitation? Unbelievable.

Liberal academia again? Ugh. Well, maybe if conservatives weren't so obsessed with big business... There is definitely an apparent reluctance by conservatives to be academics. I wonder what it stems from.

The pharmacists thing, on the other hand, is just ridiculous. As I've heard it put, the freedom to swing your fist only lasts until you hit someone else's nose. Similarly, a pharmacist's personal objections to a patient's medication cannot and should not be a hindrance to the patient acquiring them.

As always, you do your dad proud. Hope everything is going okay.

Anonymous said...

N.C. General Statutes section 14-184...... "If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor: Provided that the admissions or confessions of one shall not be received in evidence against the other."

The statute has been interpreted to mean habitual sexual one-night stands don't count. Neither do male-female roomates who don't have sex. And if this statute were to apply to a father and daughter...chances are that relationship has bigger problems.

I believe if I actually told you whether the law covers you, I'd be giving you legal advice. But you can figure that out for yourself.

Yeah, so this law requires investigation specifically into the consensual sex life of adults....might just be a little violation of Privacy!

- Ben

Anonymous said...

Here's the text of the statute, N.C. Gen. Statutes section 14-184: "If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor: Provided, that the admissions or confessions of one shall not be received in evidence against the other."

The courts have interpreted this to mean habitual sexual intercourse. So one-night stands don't count. Neither do non-sexual male-female roomates. From the language of the statute-I would guess that same-sex relationships aren't covered either. order to prosecute this crime, the State of North Carolina would have to investigate whether an opposite-sex couple living together engage in sex habitually. Can we say "privacy violation?"

I echo do your Dad proud, Jeff.

- Ben

Anonymous said... one time when I look at your website it says my comment wasn't I write it again. The next time I look...both comments are published.

Technology likes to beat me up and mock me.

- Ben

Internet Street Philosopher said...

That is an asinie rule, no two ways about it.