‘No Condom as Evidence’ Legislation Up for Debate in Albany
It’s the first Thursday of the month, and as per tradition, a cadre of affable, semirowdy hos have filled every seat in the Lower East Side’s Happy Ending Lounge.
Shivering from the residual cold, the crowd—pretty, riot grrrl types in Daria bangs and Doc Martens—lets out a collective giggle as Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” floats through the loudspeakers. “Tonight, we’re playing ho anthems,” the host explains, drowning out Fiona’s molasses admission that she’s been a bad, baaad girl.
The evening’s theme is “Pretty Woman Redux,” part of a monthly storytelling series from the sex-workers’ rights group, the Red Umbrella Project. For two hours, a handful of New York’s most articulate “hos” (as they endearingly call themselves), share intimate, industry tales.
As in past sessions, donations from the event will benefit a cause vital to every sex worker in the city: banning the New York Police Department’s well-documented practice of using condom possession as evidence of prostitution.
It’s a battle health rights advocates have fought for years. In every legislative session since 1999, proponents of a “No Condoms as Evidence” bill have asked state lawmakers to squelch the practice, citing evidence that it’s forced sex workers to stop carrying and using condoms all together. In every session, the bill has died on the committee floor.
In recent months, however, efforts to engage lawmakers have accelerated, thanks to studies released in 2012 by the Pros Network and Human Rights Watch—two Manhattan-based organizations that say the policy has led to a serious public-health crisis.
In the Human Rights study, among a slew of other anecdotes, a sex worker named Anastasia L., claims she had unprotected sex “many times” to avoid the risk of arrest.
Prisons Punish Families Too
When I read articles like this one in the New York Times about how prison makes people poor and destroys families, I have mixed emotions. I think it’s admirable that this high-and-mighty mainstream paper is examining the effects of the nation’s prison population explosion over the past 40 years. The author, John Tierney, tells the story of Carl Harris, a guy from DC who used to sell crack until he beat up some of his customers who robbed him and got 20 years on a trumped-up charge because the cops thought he was some big-time drug dealer. Sounds like Carl is doing better now, and I’m real happy he’s gotten to the point where he can enjoy life. Sadly, I ain’t exactly there yet—the drug statutes of New York State are continuing to butt pump my unlucky rump, even though I’m out of prison.
I could repeatedly point out injustices I believe I’ve incurred over the past eight years, however, I’m trying to stop that train of thought and get back to basics. I’ve been beating off to my old Susan Powter videos like it’s ’94 again and thanking whatever there is to thank up there that I didn’t get 20 years for beating up crackheads. As that Times article demonstrates through Carl and his family’s story, some prison terms are WAY too long, and excessive sentences unnecessarily handicap communities already in dire straits. Basically, prison is responsible for more chaos than anything else. But if it took the Times writing about it for you to get that, you’re probably a simpleton who needs some help eating solid food.
I didn’t go to Harvard or Yale and by many peoples’ accounts I’m dumber than dookie-dipped dewdrops drying on a dildo, yet I know prisons better than the front of my dick. While the clink-clink blows balls on a number of levels, the one aspect of doing time that, at least in my experience, isn’t that bad is the one the media plays up the most, and that’s the actual physical doing-time part. Movies and shows depict prisons as full of bloody dicks and shivs, and no doubt, dirt gets done in prison. But actually, most motherfuzzies in jail deal with a lot iller shit in the streets. The prisons I’ve been to were all pretty much chillin’. It’s basically summer camp minus the baby beavers. Lots of us bitch and moan, but we play cards and sports, watch TV, eat free food, have people clean up after us, lift weights, listen to music all day, take profucive naps, read and write a lot, and get money (masturbate) till the cows come home. The best part is you taxpayers pay for it all!
It’s not a problem of a few bad apples, as some people suggest, but instead a matter of irresponsible leadership, a pathological law enforcement culture, and a public ready and willing to sacrifice notions of justice, fairness and humanity for … what exactly?
Are Canadians About to Be Prosecuted for File Sharing?
As of late, a company named Canipre has been drumming up a lot of shadily defined fear mongering against“one million Canadians” who they insist are illegally downloading copyrighted material. If you have never heard of Canipre, they’re a new company that’s looking for record label and film studio clients they can work with to suck the cash out of Canadian citizens. Canipre has teamed up with two god-awful movie studios to begin their noble journey. The first is Voltage Pictures, who has released a ton of movies that are barely bargain bin worthy, plus a film you may know called The Hurt Locker. Canipre’s other companion in this shakedown mission is NGN Productions, who has released such gems as Paparazzi Princess: The Paris Hilton Story, a made-for-TV program, and Recoil, an action movie with Stone Cold Steve Austin.
Not only is it bullshit that Stone Cold Steve Austin has been dragged into this mess, the tactics behind Canipre’s lawsuits seem to be bullshit as well. On Canipre’s website, they proudly advertise to potential clients that “when asked, 95%” of accused file-sharers “stop” downloading entirely. Evidently, they like to brag about their bullying tactics. Their front page also has a randomly generating slogan that spouts out wisdom like, “it’s an arms race, and your bottom line is the target,” “your audience isn’t rational,” and “if they keep thinking it’s free, when do you go out of business?”
A screenshot from Canipre’s friendly website.
As for Canada’s copyright laws, a close reading of the penalties detailed in our new amendment to the copyright act, C-11, leads to some uncertainties. For example, if you are found guilty of “circumventing” a “technological protection measure” you can be fined up to $25,000 or sentenced to a maximum of sixth months in jail. Would that include breaking the iTunes DRM off an album that someone purchased, then sending that newly “unprotected” digital copy to a friend?
A Complete Dipshit’s Guide to the Roger Clemens Verdict
Roger “Rocket” Clemens, maybe the greatest right-handed pitcher in baseball history, is a little fat in the face and also a free man, having been declared innocent/not guilty of six counts of obstructing Congress, committing perjury, and making false statements. (The statements were about whether he used steroids to ostensibly become better at baseball, which is pretty much why we care in the first place.) The trial may be the biggest waste of baseball-related tax dollars since a couple of brain surgeons posing as lawyers in California found Barry Bonds guilty of a teeny weeny count of obstructing justice, which carried a sentence of 30 days house arrest in a palatial abode that is bigger than the grocery store I go to.
We realize this whole thing is all still a bit confusing, so we’re here to answer all of your idiotic questions about what exactly went down.
Dipshit: So, I remember you telling me that the CFL guy Pinhead Clemons is still wanted for murder and Rockin’ Roget Clemens, the pitcher, is on trial, right?
VICE: Right. Well, was on trial.
Oh. So was he found innocent or was he found not guilty?
Well if you’re innocent you don’t have to pay in the civil suit, but if you’re not guilty it’s just a technicality. That’s what I read in a pamphlet.
No, that’s absolutely not correct. They are exactly the same thing.
So he got off?
Yeah, all counts.
How about his lawyer?
Rusty Hardin? What about him?
No, I’m saying, “how about his lawyer.” He’s real cool. He made some good arguments, huh?
You know, he didn’t do a bad job. He helped establish that Clemens was a super workout fiend and his former personal trainer was a sicko.
The USA Can Kill Whoever it Wants (According to the USA)
The War on Terror has always been antagonistic to law. There was no time to build or follow a coherent legal framework when everybody could die at any moment all the time. Hell, securing a warrant can take upwards often minutes. In ten minutes, everybody could be dead, everywhere, perhaps forever. So we invaded countries on fabricated evidence and we tried suspects in kangaroo courts on evidence elicited by torture. We had to because we were afraid.
History is full of overreactions and bad judgments that are corrected with time, or at least condemned in hindsight. But the US government doubled down on the secrecy and the extra-judicial violence. And now the Obama administration wants to legalize murder.
Let’s back up. On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a speech at Northwestern Law School to formally defend the War on Terror, arguing that we can, should, and will follow these practices in the future. Of course, Holder is silent on the issue of torture. Apparently, that page has turned.
Instead, Holder focused first on the recent killing of the American citizens Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, by CIA-operated drones in Yemen. Holder offered these killings as a model for future US policy. His justification is simple: We are at war with al Qaeda and those we deem members of al Qaeda are soldiers. And we fight these soldiers on a global battlefield, so we have the right to kill them anywhere. Holder assured his audience that this policy follows the letter of international law—a claim that’s arguable at best.