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August 27, 2007

Comments

he "handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?”"
The cop probably thought, "you're gonna be in more trouble than me, jerk!"

I completely agree with your opinion. Politicians, despite many corruptions, should be elected based on their merit. Voters elected Craig based on who they thought he was, and if he is gay, so be it. However, his hypocritical nature makes him a liar to himself, and also his constituents. He deserves getting caught.. liars should , even though they have had, have no place in American government!!

Craig, an opponent of gay rights, is another one of these pathetic closet cases, who because of his own self elected misery, wants to punish the proud women and men who come out and our genuine with what they feel.

Pray excuse an off-topic comment: eclipse! eclipse!

Anyone else up for the eclipse? (Europeans excluded, obviously.)

I guess not. More eclipse for me!

I want to say the same thing here which I said in the comments of the TPM-piece Dan has linked to above:

Leaving aside all the political fallout of this incident, all the Republican/Democrat bickering that is sure to follow - am I the only one concerned abou the fact that the actions as described by this officer are sufficient reason to ARREST someone?

I find this deeply troubling and disturbing. If someone tries playing footsie in the bathroom to indicate his interest in maybe going further... well, as peculiar as I might find this, the only thing REPULSIVE about this is that this should constitute a criminal offense.

Now, it's different if an officer catches someone "in flagrante delicto" in a public bathroom - of course he would then have to make an arrest (still, I'd be curious as to whether a hetero couple would face the same recriminationas as a gay couple).
But, again, what this officer describes in the TPM piece should NEVER, in any sane society, be sufficient reason to f%#&ing ARREST someone!!

am I the only one concerned abou the fact that the actions as described by this officer are sufficient reason to ARREST someone?

nope.

i'm assuming there's more to the story and/or Idaho's laws are insane.

Reading the account, it certainly sounds like Craig's actions were probably those of a man cruising for sex. But I agree: it would be insane if he could be convicted without any direct evidence that he did in fact intend to solicit.

In fact, reading the account, I've a lot more sympathy than I expected for him producing his card and saying "I'm a US Senator" than I expected. Reading between the lines, it appears that the local police are pushing up their arrests by targeting men at a local cruising ground*, and that the cop who arrested him was assuming he had a nice easy target, a businessman who probably wouldn't even pay a lawyer to defend him, just plead guilty and hope his wife never found out.

*Not that I wish to defend the practice of men having sex in public toilets. But the best way to stop it is to fit a camera in the toilet, and post a sign. Paying a policeman to hang out there and arrest men who he thinks he can claim solicited him is just a way of getting arrest numbers up.

i'm assuming there's more to the story and/or Idaho's laws are insane.

Minnesota's.

it appears that the local police are pushing up their arrests by targeting men at a local cruising ground

The arrest report says that the bathroom was in "the NorthStar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal". That's after the security checkpoint; you'd need a boarding pass to cruise there. It's not a "local cruising ground" in the sense that Minneapolitans would be frequenting it. (Being an ex-Minneapolitan, I think that place is on the bank of the Mississippi, about half a mile south of where the bridge collapsed. Rumor, of course.)

The officer is from the airport police, not the Minneapolis PD. I'd guess that piling up the arrest count isn't a particular goal of the airport police such that they'd boost the potty patrol to reach it, though I don't have any particular evidence for my guess.

The arrest does seem a little weird; I’m guessing that there is more to it.

Hilzoy: But my sympathy vanishes when it comes to people who support amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage, as Craig did.

Can you expand on that a little? In my view a Senator is there to represent his constituents first and foremost. Shouldn’t we applaud a politician who is willing to vote against their personal interests when it represents the position of the people who elected him? Should he engage in identity politics over the wishes of his constituents? Does he represent himself and an identity group or the voters of Idaho (who approved a state amendment banning it by 63% in 2006)?

I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other on the issue itself. However, I find this (the entire concept, site, and people involved) to be completely reprehensible.

Jes: yes; my guess -- and it's a pure guess -- is that he was, in fact, cruising for sex, that he did nothing illegal, that the police officer picked him up either for the reasons you suggest or because it was obvious that he was cruising for sex and the police officer thought that was enough, that he then pled guilty to a non-sex-related offense in the hopes of making it go away (and note that the story does seem to have been successfully suppressed for a while), and that now, oops, it has gone public.

I hope the officer gets in trouble, or has already, for arresting people for waving their hands under a toilet stall and moving their feet around. I also hope that this is one too many coincidences for Idaho voters to swallow. Most of all, I hope Craig manages to figure out who he is and how to live with it honestly. -- Well, maybe most most of all, I hope that that happens to gay Republicans generally, if not because honesty is best, then because the risks of living in the closet get too high.

Why just gay Republicans, you ask? Because I think it would change their party and their voters, and thus the whole debate, if all the gay Republicans who are now in the closet came out and owned up to who they are and who they love and what it means to them.

OT: Gary, my girlfriend and I got up at 4:40 to see it. The occultation came right down over the top--although the sliver just before complete occultation was a little longer on the left. Unfortunately, the haze rose and the sun not much later, so the last we saw of the moon was its blood-dimm'd-looking completely eclipsed version.

on-topic: I have a very high regard for privacy (inasmuch as I like it for myself), so I've always been conflicted about outing. But I'll admit I would like to see it in the case of creatures like the Honorable Mr. Craig. (Although no doubt he would be immediately reheterosexualized a la Ted Haggard.)

The first sentence of the Roll Call article says the officer was investigating complaints, so it could just have been ordinary airport users wanting to use the restroom for its intended purpose who sparked the investigation, not a crackdown trying to boost arrest statistics.

OCSteve: actually, the question whether, when a Representative disagrees with his or her (well, since I'm talking about Craig, make it his) constituents, he should vote his views or theirs is thorny and has been the subject of a lot of debate. Did the constituents vote for him as a proxy for their views, or did they vote for _him_ as a person? Did they send him to Washington to think about the issues there and come to a reasonable judgment, knowing that they themselves would probably not have the time to study all the issues in depth and thinking that he would be a good person to do it for them, or just to mirror what they thought?

On the one hand, presumably you don't want members of Congress to arrive in DC and just utterly disregard the views of their constituents, saying 'ha ha! you elected me, and me is what you're going to get!' (Though the fact that he will have to stand for reelection again matters here: it's not as though he can ust do this with complete impunity. It also matters whether he misrepresented those views in the campaign.)

On the other, there are a lot of issues where it would be a really bad idea to just mirror the views of one's constituents. Here I'm thinking especially of arcane and technical issues on which (a) one's constituents might not have developed views to start with, and (b) it really might matter that the Senator had (suppose he had) thought the questions through. Possibly also (c): the question involved might not be that important to them. So imagine some completely arcane provision of, oh, patent law, which sounds bad at first blush, but actually has a very sound economic rationale behind it. Poll the good people of Idaho and you might find them against it, but if the Senator knows about the sound economic rationale, I would say he should vote for it regardless.

The Constitutional amendment is half and half: the banning gay marriages part is the sort of great big obvious issue on which the case for a Senator disregarding the views of his constituents is weakest, but the part about writing it into the Constitution brings in questions about what the Constitution is and whether this would be an OK thing to do with it, that is much more debatable, especially if you think that one of the reasons people favor a Constitutional, rather than a statutory, ban is just as a way of saying: we don't just oppose gay marriage, we really really oppose it.

I tend to think that Senators should vote as they think right and try to explain what they're doing to their constituents, and then face the electoral consequences. I would feel very differently if the electoral consequences weren't available for voters to use to express their will. But the 'explaining' part is key: being open and honest with your constituents even when this involves explaining your disagreements with them allows those disagreements to come up straightforwardly in the next election, and keeps you honest. It's a way of keeping things democratic. Lying to your constituents, or pretending to have agreed with them when you haven't, makes it much more like just substituting your view for theirs, period.

Steve, no, there are a lot of cases where a congressman shouldn't be carrying out the will of his constituents: If their wishes violate the rights of others, to spend money on a pork-barrel project, etc. Though obviously you can debate where those lines should be drawn (and just as obviously, if congress carried out the will of its constituents, we'd be making plans to leave Iraq).
In this particular case, it's not simply a matter of doing his constituents' wishes: Craig wasn't announcing "I'm gay but I'll vote against gay marriage because Idaho wants me to," he was hiding his sex life while pushing anti-gay legislation. It's the difference between a representative supporting Jim Crow (which would be bad enough) because his constituents do and that representative turning out to be a light-skinned black who's been passing for white (I think this is a valid analogy regardless of whether anyone thinks the measures Craig was pushing were morally equivalent to segregation or not).

dbomp: The arrest report says that the bathroom was in "the NorthStar Crossing in the Lindbergh Terminal". That's after the security checkpoint; you'd need a boarding pass to cruise there.

Doesn't necessarily mean people don't (in fact, given the presence of an undercover policeman who was determined to make an arrest, I'd guess people do) but yeah: I missed that bit.

I'd guess that piling up the arrest count isn't a particular goal of the airport police such that they'd boost the potty patrol to reach it, though I don't have any particular evidence for my guess.

I'd be slightly surprised if they did, but not terribly surprised. Certainly the behavior of the policeman, self-described, suggests that the point of hanging out there is to make arrests, not to stop people having sex.

OCSteve: In my view a Senator is there to represent his constituents first and foremost. Shouldn’t we applaud a politician who is willing to vote against their personal interests when it represents the position of the people who elected him?

Do you think he'd have been elected by Republican voters if he'd been openly gay and living with a man? Hell, do you suppose he could have got selected? If the people who voted for him were one and all homophobes whose key interest was discriminating against gay people (which is the presumption your argument rests on), hell, no.

Really, the only interesting thing about this story to me, is that it brings up a sore point with me: I've got a cell phone that can take 50 minutes of quality video, and it's not even new! AV recording equipment is cheap, small, and getting cheaper and smaller.

Why, in light of this, do we consider it remotely reasonable that the police testify as to what they saw, instead of being required to produce a recording? Because the legal system thinks it's convenient to allow the police to lie about what happened occasionally? Really, that's the only reason I can see.

The officer says there wasn't a piece of paper on the floor. Craig says there was. Why should this be a he said/he said situation? It should have been trivially simple to collect objective evidence.

Hilzoy: Thanks for the thoughtful response. I think your point about the issue itself vs. amending the Constitution is your strongest. I’m less certain about the need for a politician “being open and honest” in terms of their personal life. I’m not even sure that charges of hypocrisy are warranted. That is, a Senator can be gay (or bi) and still oppose gay marriage. We don’t know his personal views on the issue; we just know how he voted. His vote may have reflected his personal views as well as his constituents’. I would say that if he is for gay marriage personally and it is an issue of vast importance to him he should have switched parties (and likely states). But at some point he made the decision that being a Republican Senator from Idaho was the more important issue in his life. That should be respected as much as any other personal decision any politician makes.

Fraser: Your point on Iraq is a good one. If 63% of his constituents want immediate withdrawal but after carefully considering the issue he decides to vote for funding to continue the war etc., is he faithfully serving his constituents?

OCSteve: But at some point he made the decision that being a Republican Senator from Idaho was the more important issue in his life. That should be respected as much as any other personal decision any politician makes.

So if an extremely light-skinned black man makes a personal decision to pass for white in order to be able to run as a Republican candidate, because he knows that if he was open about being black, he'd never be selected or elected, you'd feel that's just his personal decision that should be respected?

OCSteve - yes, that's why this isn't a democracy, but a republic where we elect representatives to represent ourselves. It is also why the House is up for election every 2 years, they were originally designed to support the will of the people.

OCSteve: Oh, I didn't mean that candidates owe us openness and honesty about their personal lives (though they shouldn't lie about them either, as Craig seems to have done.) What I meant was: it's one thing for a candidate to say: I think X, Y, and Z, and have the voters vote him into office even though they oppose X, Y, and Z, and have him then vote for X, Y, and Z; and quite another for him to pretend to oppose X, Y, and Z, get voted in, and then decide to vote his conscience.

Poor OCSSteve.

I think it does make a difference whether a legislator campaigns for or against certain laws/bills with the argument that his/her constituents gave him/her a mandate for it or justifying it with personal worldview/philosophy/faith/etc.
If one runs on "homosexuality is unnatural and immoral" then one's private activities would matter, if they run counter to that. If it is "my constituents believe that homosexual acts should be outlawed" then one could ask why someone homosexual would want to represent that but the claim of hypocrisy would be inappropriate.

From what I read at Greenwald's there is an interesting 180° turn by the usual suspects from before the election and now. Then there was much foaming at the mouth that someone would try to discredit Craig by shamelessly invading his privacy (e.g. by presenting statements of people that claimed to have had sex with Craig in similar locations), something noone honest would ever do (except if it is aimed at Clinton of course). Now the same people again foam at he mouth and demand Craig's head.

The odd thing is that Brett is right, the conduct described in the police report does not amount to disorderly conduct. The intereference with privacy seems about right.

They might have charged him with prostitution loitering, after all all the officer need do is get up and say "in my training and experence his actions were consistant with someone seeking to hire a prostitute"

I'd be concerned for Sen Craig's privacy if he was. The magic word is "motel".

If someone tries playing footsie in the bathroom to indicate his interest in maybe going further... well, as peculiar as I might find this, the only thing REPULSIVE about this is that this should constitute a criminal offense.

I don't know why people keep missing the fact that the guy kept repeatedly looking at the policeman through the crack in the stall, for several minutes. Uh, I really don't mind that the law prohibits someone from checking me out while I'm sitting on the can.

Not that I wish to defend the practice of men having sex in public toilets. But the best way to stop it is to fit a camera in the toilet, and post a sign.

I'm not exactly cool with cameras in that scenario, either!

Yeah, Jes, I realize y'all over there are cool with cameras all over your streets (something I'm having to adjust to), but I'm surprised you don't draw the line at restrooms.

Steve: I'm not exactly cool with cameras in that scenario, either!

Not IN the toilet cubicle, Steve - in the main part of the room, so that it can pick up if two or more men go into one cubicle. (And some rework to make it impossible to peek into one cubicle from another cubicle, too.)

I realize y'all over there are cool with cameras all over your streets (something I'm having to adjust to), but I'm surprised you don't draw the line at restrooms.

People tend to find a camera in a restroom - positioned so that it doesn't actually get a shot of anyone's dinky bits - less intrusive than a plainclothes policeman hanging around in a restroom arresting people to justify his spending time there, and it's certainly more effective (especially when it's made clear the camera is there) in stopping people using the toilets to have sex.

Which would you rather, KC: a camera which would film you entering the room, or a policeman who'd arrest you for tapping your foot?

Which would you rather, KC: a camera which would film you entering the room, or a policeman who'd arrest you for tapping your foot?

Not KC, but I know I want neither. Fortunately, that's usually the case.

No way a straight, non-cruising U.S. Senator decided to cop a plea here. Not even remotely plausible.

Anderson, I don't think anyone's arguing he wasn't cruising. They're just wondering what specific actions described might be illegal.

Jes, I think the ability to peek is an intentional part of the design, specifically to discourage sex, drug use, assault, and other things that might happen in more fully enclosed stalls. And what HSH said.

Since all the activity described in the complaint took place in adjacent stalls (with one person per stall), I'm not sure how a camera would have helped in this case without a massive invasion of privacy.

Well, I feel sorry for Larry Craig's predicament, regardless of his views and votes on the issues, so I have no further comment about him directly.

But, Hugh Hewitt mentions today that Craig should resign because a man of his poor judgement should not be serving IN A TIME OF WAR.

So, I wonder if Craig will change his mind about U.S. involvement in the war so that, technically speaking, we can return to peace and cruising airport bathrooms can once again be okey-dokey for Hewitt.

Maybe we'll find out Craig was actually tapping out "No New Taxes" in morse code on the other guy's shoe. Maybe he thought the other guy was Grover Norquist collecting pledges. Maybe ... oh never mind.

Craig's choice of venue does bring new meaning to the term "airport layover".

Good Lord, we already have an estimated 4 million CCTV cameras in this country (the newest trend are models that talk to you - yikes) and Jes wants to outfit every public restroom with a camera - where is it going to end? Can a man not even do a peaceful line of coke in a public restroom anymore?

Btw, as it happens the new episode of UK series The IT crowd (available on the Channel 4 website as a free download and elsewhere) is quite hilarious and touches on weighty topics such as closeted homosexuality and bathroom anxieties in a lighthearted way.

Brett: I don't think making a digital camera record necessary for police testimony is wise, because:

If the policeman is trying to film things, he doesn't have a hand free for his gun. and other apparatus, and he's distracted. Remember that he doesn't necessarily know what will be relevant, he'd be trying to film everything.

So you kind of have to attach the camera to the uniform -- chest or hat -- and order them NOT to try to aim it. But then it's going to miss a lot that the eyes see, especially in poor lighting.

Also, sometimes it will just break down or run down, and that's a lousy reason to lose an arrest.

Also, if you make that rule, the first thing any crook will do is try to break the camera. (The more sophisticated career crooks will carry a little squirt paintgun for the lens). This will increase the risk of physical escalation and add to the danger of the job.

Finally, a camera recording everything the cop sees is even more a record of the cop than of the criminals. And while that would make IA's job a lot easier, the officer shouldn't have to give up all his personal privacy in order to do his job.

Good points, trilobite, but a related matter I still don't understand is why there aren't video recordings of police interrogations always and everywhere.

I still don't understand is why there aren't video recordings of police interrogations always and everywhere.

Because that would make it more difficult for the police to get a conviction.

There are videotapes for interrogation, it's just that the machine is oftened turned on only after the suspect has agreed to confess (in some cases after hours of badgering and lies told by police officers).

As always, Roy Edroso covers the right-wing response.

Actually, in the UK, they are going to start using helmet cameras. There was a report on CNN about the pilot program and the cops noted that the main advantage was that they had to spend less time on paperwork and more time on the beat.

"But the best way to stop it is to fit a camera in the toilet"

I take it as something of a statement about contemporary British attitudes towards public cameras, and privacy, that even a quite leftist Briton is comfortable casually suggesting police cameras in public bathrooms.

And to think people were worried about the slippery slope implications of public spy cameras on the streets: obviously such worries were completely unfounded.

Good god.

"Not IN the toilet cubicle, Steve - in the main part of the room, so that it can pick up if two or more men go into one cubicle."

Horrifying. Big Brother has been truly embraced.

Next: 24/7 cameras in every home. After all, what do you have to hide, any more than what you do in a public bathroom?

"Which would you rather, KC: a camera which would film you entering the room, or a policeman who'd arrest you for tapping your foot?"

We should also execute six-year-olds, because, after all, it's preferable to executing 1-year-olds. Sound reasoning. Which should be the next set of freedoms you prefer to give up over another? Since, of course, those are the only choices possible.

Right to privacy? Never heard of it.

We should also execute six-year-olds, because, after all, it's preferable to executing 1-year-olds.

What a minute, Gary. Why would we allow a kid five additional years of resource consumption if we were only going to execute him anyway? You should really think these through a little more before you post them.

"Also, if you make that rule, the first thing any crook will do is try to break the camera."

As opposed to breaking the cop? Sounds like an improvement to me.

"There are videotapes for interrogation, it's just that the machine is oftened turned on only after the suspect has agreed to confess (in some cases after hours of badgering and lies told by police officers)."

If everyone doesn't know about the law Barack Obama got passed in Illinois, they should:

[...] Gibbs noted Obama's leadership on legislation requiring police to videotape interrogations in murder cases. It started out as a controversial idea but ended up passing the Senate unanimously.
"And while that would make IA's job a lot easier, the officer shouldn't have to give up all his personal privacy in order to do his job."

Police, who work for the government, have no right to "privacy" in uniform. That doesn't mean they should be filmed in the toilet, but it does mean that if they're on official business anywhere, they have absolutely no right to conduct "private" public business.

They're about as clear a case for the non-existence of private publicness that I can imagine. The entire concept of private public business is an inherent contradiction.

Wired police will be an inevitability in the near future, if civil liberties are protected. If not, not.

If so, though, recordings will be turned off when the cop is on a break, or off-duty, giving them all normal privacy rights. But not when they're engaged in performing their duty. Not a problem.

The fact that recordings are imperfect is irrelevant. So is everything else people do.

Jeebus, did I type "oftened"? Oof.

the sooner we all get used to the idea that civil liberties are detrimental to the survival of the Republic, the better off we'll all be. in the long run, wide-eyed idealists are no match for the pants-wetting fear and grunting apathy of the masses.

"in the long run, wide-eyed idealists are no match for the pants-wetting fear and grunting apathy of the masses."

Perhaps we should just give up our notions of "democracy" and "representative government" entirely, and simply go straight to the logical solution.

I want to live in a survelleince state. I want a hundred thousand cameras streaming live feed to public servers, 24/7.

The only difference is I want them pointed solely at public officials doing their duties.

Police first and foremost, since they have governmental sanction on domestic violence. On duty only, of course.

novakant: Jes wants to outfit every public restroom with a camera - where is it going to end?

Look: I don't understand why men want to have sex in cold dark parks, in public restrooms, in street doorways, with unconscious people, with unwilling people, with people they have to pay to pretend to be willing/eager. Further, though I have discussed the first three with guys who are close friends who have done all three, I'm no closer to understanding it: and though I've discussed the last three with guys who are not close friends who have been very passionate in defending the "male need" to do all three, I'm no closer to understanding that.

However: there exist guys who want to have sex in public restrooms. There exist guys who do not want to see guys having sex with other guys in public restrooms. There exist guys who are made deeply uncomfortable by any public evidence that guys have sex with guys at all. In a sane, sane world my feeling is that there would be public restrooms for guys marked with cute little stylized crossed dicks indicating that men have sex there and if you don't like it, pee somewhere else, and public restrooms marked with a red bar across the crossed dicks indicating that sex isn't allowed there. But even in that kind of world there would probably be guys insane enough to go into the crossed-dicks restrooms to complain about men having sex, and guys insane enough to go into the red-circle restrooms to have sex just for the thrill of it and because all the gay Republicans hang out there in case anyone figures out what they're after if they go into the crossed-dicks restrooms.

Since these little symbols do not exist, any public restroom may be a male cruising ground, and men who do not like being in restrooms with men having sex need to figure out whether they (a) grin and bear it (b) put up with security measures designed to discourage men having sex (c) put up with the threat of getting arrested by bored policemen who have to justify their hanging out in restrooms for hours with some arrests. There are no alternative solutions. (Trying to fix men not to be insane about sex is a long-term project and one I personally think has no chance of success, but hey: I'm in no way involved with that.)

Judging by the discussion on this thread, neither (a) (b) nor (c) are acceptable solutions: are you then in the market for "fixing men not to be insane about sex"?

(This comment should not be taken as altogether serious.)

I have to admit Jes – I’m curious. If I support any expansion of executive powers, you are the first and last to accuse me of wanting to live in a “police state”. I have to admit to piling on here – but WTF? You are the same Jes right?

OCSteve: You are the same Jes right?

Believe me, if you were arguing that George W. Bush ought to have the right to put cameras into every public restroom in the US so he could measure everyone else's dick and surgically expand his own so that he could claim to have the Biggest Dick In America (perhaps this has already happened and that's where the Vice President came from) I would argue that you wanted to live in a police state.

The ideal of what the police do is make people safer. Men having consensual sex in public restrooms aren't actually doing anyone any harm, so I'd be okay with just letting this happen as and when - but then, I'm not using those restrooms, so my "willingness to put up with it" is kind of moot.

Your choices are (a) (b) (c) (d), above. Let me know which you prefer.

There's a cruising ground in Scotland, Calton Hill, where there is documentary evidence that men have been going there to have sex with other men for at least 104 years. In 2003, so I am told, the Chief Constable of the area noted that this was the centenary anniversary of the first arrests of men on Calton Hill for "public indecency" or whatever it was called then, and apparently notified his staff that since they'd been trying to discourage men from going there to have sex for 100 years and it hadn't worked, maybe they should devote police resources to doing something else...

My impression:
1. Haggard is a closeted homo.
2. Craig is MSM (men who have sex with men). Basically he's a hetero guy that fags around perhaps for some forbidden thrill. I know a few hetero guys that if you give a couple beers the slide right up the kinsey scale. That doesn't make em gay IMO.

OCSteve - "I hope the officer gets in trouble, or has already, for arresting people for waving their hands under a toilet stall and moving their feet around."

The Senator wasn't arrested for waving his hands and moving his feet around. He was arrested for Interference with Privacy (staring into another person's restroom stall - which is a more serious offense) and Disorderly Conduct (less serious). The court dismissed the Privacy charge in order to get a guilty plea from Craig (a common tactic with courts around the country). If they hadn't dropped that, it probably would have gone to trial.

This airport must get enough complaints if they're spending resources on undercover officers sitting in restrooms.

I, personally, would like my children to be able to use a restroom without worrying if some pervert is going to be staring in at them.

I also did a search on Minneapolis' craigslist (ironic, huh) for airport under the Personals section. Seems there's no shortage of guys who want to meet up for a quick tryst. That, in and of itself, is not illegal. The manner with which they attempt to locate partners is.

TheTruth: I, personally, would like my children to be able to use a restroom without worrying if some pervert is going to be staring in at them.

Have daughters.

Everywhere else they'll be more at risk for having some pervert staring at them, but if your primary concern is restrooms, they'll certainly be less at risk there...

I don't understand why men want to have sex in cold dark parks, in public restrooms, in street doorways, with unconscious people, with unwilling people, with people they have to pay to pretend to be willing/eager.

I'm a man and none of these things are true of me, nor, I suspect, of any male who regularly posts here. Perhaps the problem is with what you imagine is true of men generally?

Phil: Perhaps the problem is with what you imagine is true of men generally?

Perhaps the "problem" is your refusal to accept that the human beings who want to have sex in cold dark parks, in public restrooms, in street doorways, with unconscious people, with unwilling people, with people they have to pay to pretend to be willing/eager - are (almost exclusively) all male human beings?

19 out of 20 men don't commit rape. But, virtually all people who do commit rape are male. The problem is not that "all men are rapists" - that strawfeminist approach: but the problem is certainly with men, because, virtually all rapists are men.

In summary, the root of the problem is the patriarchal belief that men are entitled to sex. Men who argue earnestly that they have to have sex in public restrooms because... are, really, expressing the view that they're entitled to sex far less damagingly than men who hire prostitutes or commit sexual harassment or rape.

Honestly, though, I've got involved in arguments with non-feminists before and they never go well once you need to start mentioning the concept that we live in a patriarchy, or the concepts of male privilege or the belief that men are entitled to sex (the root, heh, of the justifications for prostitution, sexual harassment, and rape, as well as the justifications for public sex and/or sex in toilet cubicles)... they just don't.

Nor do discussions with Phil ever go well, in past experience, once he's determined to get hostile his hostility index goes up and stays there for quite a while.

So let me walk out of this thread leaving only a link to Feminism 101 behind.

The Truth: While I’m flattered that you could attribute anything hilzoy wrote to me – for the record that comment was hers and not mine.

"Honestly, though, I've got involved in arguments with non-feminists before and they never go well once you need to start mentioning the concept that we live in a patriarchy, or the concepts of male privilege or the belief that men are entitled to sex (the root, heh, of the justifications for prostitution, sexual harassment, and rape, as well as the justifications for public sex and/or sex in toilet cubicles)... they just don't."

Well, the thing about 'non-feminists' is that 'feminists' are quite free with that term, a term that seems to be different for everyone using it.
The issue of men cruising men in public restrooms has, I submit, a lot less to do with the U.S. being (debateably) a patriarchy, or a concept of overarching male privilege, and a lot more to this being a society where (typically) male homosexuality is villified and suppressed so hookups take place more clandestinely than heterosexual meetings, along with some men getting off on the thrill of it.
Guys meeting other guys in public places like this are hardly revelling in their position as society's dominant sex; as we see, when they're revealed, they deny, deny, deny, and are usually publicly ruined.
As a guy, I don't, and don't know any other guys who think that they're 'entitled' to sex, any more than I think I'm entitled to a sports car or a recording contract or a pro sports career. All these things are put forward by the media, often as achievable by Joe Sixpack, but by the end of high school I expect most of us have these entitlements clubbed out of us.
The prostitution thing, for instance, has less to do with entitlement, more with a simple desire for sex, combined with a willingness of some women, and some men, to provide that sex for money. Bla-dow.
Re Mr. Craig, you bow to anti-homosexual groupthink to get and stay elected, you get outed, it's only right that same groupthink turns on you. I don't think Craig will miss any meals, I have a lot more sympathy for the non-politician gays in his district who bore/bear the brunt of his political decisions.

Slight dissent Cat Brother. Not all prostitution is voluntary. Even several thousand years ago (originally sacred) temple prostitution turned into an exploitation scheme occasionally. Today a significant part of that "trade" is in the hands of people coercing women (and underage boys and girls) to do it. This is not 100% but enough to taint the argument.
There are not enough modern matriarchies around to make a comparision.

What about sex in the kitchen?

I think, for some folks, sex is like a successful real estate investment .... it's location, location, location.

And speaking of location, William Butler Yeats wrote: " .... love has pitched its (his?) (hers?) mansion in the place of excrement."

The entire subject is mysterious.

Further, as Bob Dylan sang, "Dogs run free, what not we, across the swamp of time".

Which sheds no light and certainly is no excuse.

Uptight Republican: We must purge all sinners from the Republican Party, toute suite, if you'll pardon my French.

Uptight Republican Strategist: I couldn't agree more. Trouble is, the Bible says we all are sinners, so the question becomes, if we purge all sinners from our ranks, we can kiss (a platonic, close-mouthed kiss) our election hopes goodbye, because everyone, including you and me, are sinners and therefore, ahem, Democrats.

Maybe we should check and see how safe their seats are.

Uptight Republican (quickly sitting down): Seats!? Oh, those seats, I thought you meant ...... (stands again, on principle, regardless of what his or her their constituents think) O.K. maybe we can widen our stance on this.

Log Cabin Republican: That's right, we need only get rid of the Airport Bathroom Republicans. The important thing is that taxes get eliminated. However, as Ronald Reagan pointed out, if you want less of something, tax it. So maybe we could institute public tax toilets, which would essentially work like pay toilets, without the incentives to work and save.

Uptight Republican and Uptight Republican Strategist, in unison: Come again? Would this be for heterosexual toilets, too, which seems a little extreme?

Log Cabin Republican: Of course. What's good for the gander is that everyone is prevented from goosing.

Grover Norquist, tapping his foot furiously: Absolutely not. A tax increase is a tax increase, and as Larry Kudlow will tell you, better a good rogering in a public toilet than a good rogering by the gol'durned grasping Federal Government.

Larry Craig, beginning his statement: Thank you all for coming out today.


I break radio silence to offer three thoughts:

First, congrats to Hilzoy -- you're making a fine fill-in for Andrew Sullivan.

Second, why is everyone -- including, it seems, Hilzoy -- assuming that Craig is a closeted homosexual, as though sexuality is a binary either/or? Couldn't he be bisexual? Indeed, doesn't history strongly suggest that very few people are 100% gay (or 100% straight), but fall somewhere in between?

The primary enforcers of a gay/straight divide tend to be those who -- like Hilzoy and Andrew Sullivan -- favor gay rights. They may recognize a continuum (as I think Hilzoy does) but tend to try to fit public events/persons into one camp or the other. I suspect that the reason for this is that acknowledging a continuum puts more emphasis on an individual's choice to engage in homosexual acts rather than any biological predisposition to homosexuality, which, in turns, feeds into an anti-gay agenda to punish "acts." I frankly share this concern -- as I hope long-time blog-readers know, I'm quite pro-gay rights -- but don't know that it trumps all other concerns.

Third, and for Gary Farber: Yes, I woke up for the eclipse and saw the beginning. Pretty neat. Unfortunately, the bed was too enticing and I fell back asleep before totality.

von,
I actually believe that there is some linkage to the notion of 'one drop of blood' that still underlies many folk theories of race. When confronted with that kind of thinking, it seems that to defend homosexuality as a binary choice is more effective than to try and argue that the majority of people are pulled in both directions because such argumentation flies in the face of 'what they know', regardless of whether it is true or not. Imagine trying to present civil rights in the South as a notion that because of convoluted bloodlines, everyone partook of some African heritage.

I see that Drydock made a similar point to the one I made, although I wouldn't necessarily endorse coming to conclusions either way regarding Haggard and/or Craig -- other than to say that these guys seem quite clearly to be conflicted, and to need to try to examine themselves a little further.

Regarding Jes:

In summary, the root of the problem is the patriarchal belief that men are entitled to sex. Men who argue earnestly that they have to have sex in public restrooms because... are, really, expressing the view that they're entitled to sex far less damagingly than men who hire prostitutes or commit sexual harassment or rape.

First, I think that the "patriarchal belief that men are entitled to sex" is almost entirely -- if not entirely -- dead.

Second, and more pertinent, the fact that men are more likely to commit sex crimes, hire prostitutes, engage in unsafe sex practices, cruise, etc. is probably due to the fact that men, by and large, have higher testosterone levels than women. IIRC, there's a fairly linear correlation between testosterone and sex drive (in both men and women).

This is certainly not to say that you need one to have the other, but I think it's foolish to rail against a patriarchial view that has been virtually abandoned when there's sound evidence that men behave as men do because, well, they're men. IOW, the primary explanation for the disparity between men and women on these subjects is biological, not sociological.

Note that explanation is not the same as excuse -- not by a very, very long shot. And, of course, sociological changes can help men be, well, better men (in this regard and all others).

I actually believe that there is some linkage to the notion of 'one drop of blood' that still underlies many folk theories of race. When confronted with that kind of thinking, it seems that to defend homosexuality as a binary choice is more effective than to try and argue that the majority of people are pulled in both directions because such argumentation flies in the face of 'what they know', regardless of whether it is true or not. Imagine trying to present civil rights in the South as a notion that because of convoluted bloodlines, everyone partook of some African heritage.

I don't know if I agree with your premise that the alternative is to make the argument that everyone is "pulled in both directions." Everyone isn't pulled in both directions: Most folks really don't secretly have both same-sex and opposite sex attractions. But some do, and some substantially larger number are (to pick a number) 90% straight or gay but will behave contrary to their orientation in some circumstances.

The only point I'm making is that we need to be a lot more grown up when we talk about behavior vs. orientation -- that the former does not always indicate the latter, or presents an incomplete view of the latter.

Von: "Indeed, doesn't history strongly suggest that very few people are 100% gay (or 100% straight), but fall somewhere in between?"

One of the quotes on the sidebar of my blog speaks to this; the one by -- big surprise! -- Gore Vidal.

"Third, and for Gary Farber: Yes, I woke up for the eclipse and saw the beginning. Pretty neat. Unfortunately, the bed was too enticing and I fell back asleep before totality."

It's an hour later for you; also, you have more time-schedule constraints than I presently do; all understandable. I went to bed after totality finished, but before the partial had finished leaving us, myself (bed at around 5:45 a.m. my time).

Good to know that at least two other people around here found it worthwhile. I didn't see anyone at all up in my own neighborhood, other than a few cars with unknown business.

It did make me miss my childhood low-power kid's telescope, though, or even the pair of binocs I once had (stolen by the firemen when they were fighting the fire in my apartment building in 1991 that burned up half my apartment, along with all of several others).

But still lovely, and awesome, nonetheless.

"Imagine trying to present civil rights in the South as a notion that because of convoluted bloodlines, everyone partook of some African heritage."

I'm not clear that's somehow obviously or inherently objectionable; it has the virtue of being perfectly true, and of refuting the utter lack of factual basis of racism (that there are, in fact, specifically definable human "races," and that 18th-century racial theories accurately describe them, or are correct to say they exist).

That such arguments wouldn't have met with universal acceptance in the past seems no more a reason to find them lacking than any other argument that doesn't automatically render helpless all who don't agree.

Von, good point, I think.

It could be that Craig, by stating "I am not gay" is merely admitting without saying it (hoping for loopholes, yes, I mean loopholes you little minxs) that he is bi-curious.

Fine by me. I consult "Savage Love" for explanations for all of this. The signal variety of sexual behaviors never fails to astound me. Not that I'm curious, but I am astounded.

I can kind of understand why some folks become creationism-curious. It's very simple, as Newt Gingrich might say. Which gets their feet a-tapping like Tommy Tune dancing in a variety show sans the variety.

Trouble is, Craig's his wife was standing there with him and maybe he was trying to avoid making her curious about his curiosity.
I'm curious to know how it is that she hasn't been curious by now.

("Honey, you go get the car and I'll pick up the luggage and meet you in a half hour in the pants-free parking zone")

Maybe he lives in his own private Idaho.

Plus, Craig remembers when George Bush Senior became tax-curious and look what happened to him. He was accused of being a big-government chimpanzee.

Democrats have their own problems, of course. Joe Lieberman is surge-curious, but it takes all kinds.


;)

I realize that these two statements of mine may seem inconsistent:

"Everyone isn't pulled in both directions: Most folks really don't secretly have both same-sex and opposite sex attractions"

vs.

"Indeed, doesn't history strongly suggest that very few people are 100% gay (or 100% straight), but fall somewhere in between?"

For clarity, I think that the second statement, although perhaps -- perhaps -- technically accurate in some very technical way, is practically overbroad. I mean, for all I know, no one is more than 99.44% gay or straight (call it the "Ivory Soap" rule of human sexuality). You might be able to dream up some circumstance under would such a person act on the .66%, but, for all practical purposes, this person is "gay" or "straight".

Or, put more clearly and in non-lawyerese, my statement #2 trumps my statement #1.

Erm, I mean the opposite: my statement #1 trumps my statement #2.

I'm not gay!
I'm not gay!
I'm not gay!

Whattaya got to do to get a little traffic? Cripes.

I have been sitting by my phone and email waiting for a response to my resume and batshit crazy cover letter.

I feel like a wallflower on Friday night.

I'm not clear that's somehow obviously or inherently objectionable

Gary, I'm not sure where I said that this wasn't true, my point was that something that could have been presented as a fact was not presented, because of the assumptions made by most americans would have led to it being rejected. I go on to suggest that this same network of assumptions contributes to a similar approach in dealing with gay rights. Of course, part of it is that gay rights follows the same template as the fight for civil rights, which also partakes of that assumption.


That such arguments wouldn't have met with universal acceptance in the past seems no more a reason to find them lacking than any other argument that doesn't automatically render helpless all who don't agree

Which would be the case if heterosexual men in today's society had no problems admitting to homosexual experimentation or even bi-curiousity, or if the down low phenomenon were actually a myth. Just because something is evidently true does not necessarily mean that it is a likely way of creating social change. If that were the case, we wouldn't have presidential candidates raising their hands to say they don't believe in evolution.

OCSteve: your point way up there about separation of public and private lives is a good one. But there's still something that irks me about this. I'm trying to put my finger on it, and I realized that here's what I'm presuming:

1. There are no remotely defensible reasons for banning gay marriage, let alone a Constitutional ban on gay marriage. (That's just sort of plain to me)

2. Among the people best equipped to recognize this (that gay people are not out to destroy American families, etc.) are gay people, closeted or otherwise.

These are obviously contentious, but I think this is what frames the outrage. If it were any less extreme an issue (say, tax policy), I doubt it would be as much a problem. I honestly think that people who oppose gay marriage are either delusionally paranoid or dishonest opportunists. If 1 and 2 are right, then that puts Craig in the second camp.

If someone here can find an openly gay person who supports a ban on gay marriage, then that's all the disconfirmation 1 and 2 need.

I think this situation might be somewhat different if Craig admitted to being gay and yet supported the preposterous ban because that's what his constituents wanted. But that is not what he has done. Rather, he goes along with, votes along with, or keeps mum on it, and benefits from the hateful, paranoid, and senseless rhetoric that helps keep him in his job at the expense of the civil rights of others.

OCSteve - My mistake. I misread the headers and footers. I apologize.

Wow, I think Jesurgislac may have set a new record in that last comment for attributing to me beliefs that I do not hold, not least among them my "refusal to accept" something that I barely commented on, and that I am a "non-feminist."

Perhaps its this tendentiousness of yours that details conversations with me, rather than something I'm doing? Aside from refusing to submit to your framing of my statements or allowing you to attribute thoughts I don't hold, that is?

Perhaps also you should not attribute to "men" a set of characteristics which accrue to a small subset of men? For accuracy if for no other reason?

As an aside, I've known a fair number of women who enjoy public sex. None of them were, to my recollection, men. Or rapists.

Phil, clearly, "your problem is your refusal to accept" the usefulness of making sweeping generalizations, based on extrapolation and theory, and then applying those generalizations so rigorously and insistently to most specific issues, situations, and examples as to insist that the results provide far more accurate analysis, descriptions, and conclusions, than do mere specific and accurate observations and descriptions of mere reality from those unwilling to so use generalizations, theory, and extrapolation.

Really, if you'd just get over this confusion, you'd have so much less of a problem in certain conversational circumstances.

McCain, Coleman call on Craig to resign, but not Vitter. I'm not a big fan of Craig but he's at worst guilty of being a jerk to a cop under trying circumstances.

Heh. I was just reading von's comments about many people not being 100% gay or straight, and I noticed that I had a new email message, so I clicked in to see what it was, and it had the header:

NO MORE BEING SHY OF YOUR MANHOOD!

Heh.

I imagine any person of any gender can, if the desire is their's, collect as many hoods of men as they like, after all. Like scalps.

Interpret "hood" as you like.

And I suppose there'd be no reason to be shy about one's collection of men's hoods, no matter if one possessed only one or many.

von, I just want to say I quite appreciate your comments on this thread, and had to give myself a whack upside the head for forgetting to keep in mind the behavior vs. orientation distinction you point out.

Ara: Good points. I just think that a good politician can represent his constituents at the cost of his personal beliefs; I think that is their job by definition. So it doesn’t seem unusual to me that a closet gay can vote for a ban on gay marriage when 63% of his constituents feel that way. I’m trying to think of a good analogy but failing so far, mostly because any examples I can think of pale in comparison to one’s sexuality.
So should I think that he is a good politician, or some kind of repressed… what?

The Truth: No problem. I am honored that a comment of mine could be mistaken for something Hilzoy wrote. ;)

"I just think that a good politician can represent his constituents at the cost of his personal beliefs"

I suspect you mean that you think that a good politician can represent their constituents without paying the cost of giving up their personal beliefs?

"So it doesn’t seem unusual to me that a closet gay can vote for a ban on gay marriage when 63% of his constituents feel that way."

The difference here between that issue and most issues is that this is a human rights issue, as seen by its supporters.

In this case, gay politicians who might, in a better world, be free to desire to be married to someone that politician is sexually atttracted to, are forced by part of society, and how they wish to be seen and treated, to vote against their own, utterly personal, interests.
("Interests" here meaning the sense of "what civil rights opportunities would be available to them," and not what they are literally immediately or ever personally desirous of taking advantage of.)

It's unusual to find that degree of personal harm being available in other issues. Being a wheat farmer, but voting against wheat price supports, for instance, doesn't come close. Neither do any mere economic issues.

"I’m trying to think of a good analogy but failing so far"

I think that's why. As you say, "any examples I can think of pale in comparison to one’s sexuality."

Try to imagine how unusual an experience you might find it, if you were in a legislature, and a vote came up on a bill that would change the present situation of all of us only being legally able to enter into homosexual marriages. It wouldn't be like voting your constituents' interest in a tax bill, no matter how passionate they or you are about taxes. (You've read Joe Haldeman's Forever War, I'm sure?)

Yes, I woke up for the eclipse and saw the beginning.

I saw it on the way into work. That time of day, there's not much in the way of traffic, so I actually got to enjoy it a little.

Honestly, though, I've gotten involved in arguments with non-engineers before and they never go well once you need point out that we live in a society ruled by alpha-victims who just can't resist the temptation to resort to faux-scientific-ish attempts at make-wrong.

I'd hang out and thrash this out some more, but I'm expecting some sex here in a bit. Ta.

What do you do to signal for sex, Slart?

I'm thinking take out the trash and mow the lawn.

I mean, hopefully I won't have to have sex with an unconscious person, but if that's what it takes...after all: this is who we are; this is what we do.

My signal of choice is a lightish tap with a blackjack, just behind the ear. We engineers aren't all that adept, socially, so we adapt, and improvise.

OCSteve: But doesn't good imply honest? Here's what I am getting at:

Very few politician's publically represent their reasons for a vote as being anything other than their personal convictions.

But your image of a good politician might often vote for reasons other than conviction.

Is a good politician still good despite being dishonest about his or her motivations? I would like to think not.

And since nobody I can think of falls into the category of being "honest when he or she doesn't vote on conviction", I'd tend to think we just happen not to have any good politicians (including Sen. Craig) in the sense described.

Slarti: My signal of choice is a lightish tap with a blackjack, just behind the ear.

...and jokes about assault and rape are exactly why I left the thread: and why I wish I hadn't come back.

Feminism 101: Rape Jokes Aren't Funny.

...and jokes about assault and rape are exactly why I left the thread: and why I wish I hadn't come back.

Yep, that's what I was doing, all right. As far as you're concerned, that is.

Possibly, sarcasm tags should be visible, for the sarcasm impaired.

Vitter, Craig, Haggard, Foley, Tobias, Gingrich ....

G.O.P. = Grody Ol' Perverts

y'all wish you knew how to party like we do

Vitter, Craig, Haggard, Foley, Tobias, Gingrich ....

G.O.P. = Grody Ol' Perverts

y'all wish you knew how to party like we do

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