December 1, 2005

Air America Radio Ended in Philadelphia Today

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 6:40 pm
Filed under: Media Watch

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Al Franken and Randi Rhodes are getting the boot from Philadelphia airwaves, as WHAT-AM (1340) is pulling off programming from Air America, the liberal talk-radio network.

Today is the last day. A new WHAT lineup will begin Monday, said general manager Kernie Anderson, who said “things were not working out” with Air America after about a year.

In a hybrid of local and national programming, WHAT aired Air America from noon to 7 p.m. weekdays. Air America, heard on about 70 stations nationwide, also is streamed on XM satellite radio and carried at

WHAT, which bills itself as the voice of Philadelphia’s African American community, will add a 1-to-5 p.m. call-in show from Philadelphia Daily News columnist Elmer Smith. Mary Mason will continue from 6 to 9 a.m. Her producer, Albert Butler, will get his own show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thera Martin-Connelly will host from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; Tavis Smiley’s syndicated show will air from 5 to 7 p.m. Fridays. Bev Smith will do 7 to 10 p.m. weekdays, followed by Reggie Bryant from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Progressive “Air America” does better in some markets than others. Stations also add and drop right-wing shows, like Rush Limbaugh’s.

Indecency Inschmecency

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 30, 2005 @ 12:39 pm
Filed under: Indecency

Here’s where we sit.

The Justice Department has just rallied its troops behind a “war on obscenity” (because the “war on terror” — well, we all know how that’s coming along).

Congress is looking to increase indecency fines to $500,000 — from $32,500 — via the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act.

Howard Stern is abandoning FM radio for satellite broadcasts because, as of now anyway, satellite is exempt from FCC indecency regulations.

And those indecency complaints? Well, they’re way down. Why they’re down is a nebulous question with only one real answer: Complaints are down because the Parents Television Council’s complaint machine has been quiet lately….

…At least in terms of broadcast TV.

The PTC has been concentrating its efforts on video games, and on the programming of cable networks like F/X and MTV. In other words — in a sign of things to come — they’re branching out, claiming new turf.

The effects of increased indecency “enforcement” and jacked-up fines would/will be complex. Here’s one example. Indie radio stations — which are already fighting for elbow room in a market crowded with Clear Channels — could cease to exist.

Will broadcast television dump the CSIs in favor of shows Touched by Angels?

Will Emmy darling HBO be forced to tone down its wildly popular original shows?

And while we ponder those questions, let’s think about this one: Where, o where, has the First Amendment gone?

1 Comment

Raise a Question, Be Forced to Resign

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 9:45 am
Filed under: Free Speech, Government

The New York Fire Department’s Muslim chaplain, Imam Intikab Habib, has been forced to resign over his remarks to the newspaper New York Newsday:

Habib told Newsday that he was skeptical of the official version of the attack on the World Trade Center, which killed 343 members of the Fire Department of New York. The newspaper published the interview hours before the swearing-in ceremony Friday.

“It takes two or three weeks to demolish a building like that. But it was pulled down in a couple of hours,” Habib told the newspaper. “Was it 19 hijackers who brought it down, or was it a conspiracy?”

I believe that it was the jet fuel alone which brought down the World Trade Center, but I’m not offended by the remarks above.

Based on the information in the AP article, forcing Habib to resign seems like too harsh a penalty. Why not explain to him that most fires don’t have jet fuel feeding them, and see how that conversation goes?


About the Bill Bennett Controversy

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 9:00 am
Filed under: Right Watch, Media Watch

Bill Bennet’s comments on his September 28 radio show are controversial.

Responding to a caller who said that if there were no abortions, then unaborted fetuses would be born and reach adulthood and contribute to Social Security, Bennett indicated that he doesn’t buy that type of argument:

But I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky.

“The Daily Show” last night ended with Jon Stewart saying “and now your moment of Zen” and playing an audio clip of Bill Bennett’s remarks which excluded the “morally reprehensible” part.

Bill Bennett’s remarks are distasteful even with the “morally reprehensible” part, but I encourage people to read the remarks in context and not take outrage too far.

As an example of going too far, Steve Gillard’s comments: “See, Bill, even thinking such a racist thought makes you a stone racist. I won’t even bother to point out all the racist assumptions here.”

There are so many legitimate reasons to be against conservatives — for example, Bush’s claim that he can label any of us an “enemy combatant” and lock us up for the rest of our lives without trial — that liberals don’t need to exaggerate.


Yahoo! Helps Chinese Prosecute Journalist for Free Speech

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 7:02 am
Filed under: CensorWorld, Government, Free Press

From an editorial in the Washington Post:

IN THIS COUNTRY it is not a crime for a journalist to complain — even to complain loudly — about the government’s attempts to manipulate the media. But it is a crime in China, as Shi Tao, a journalist in Hunan, recently discovered. At a meeting in April 2004, a local communist party boss gave Shi Tao and his colleagues verbal orders on how they were to cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Shi Tao took notes at the meeting and, using his private e-mail account, sent off a description of what he’d been told to a pro-democracy Web site run by a Chinese emigre in New York. A few weeks ago, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for doing so.

Though Shi Tao’s “crime” would not have been considered illegal in America, an American company was directly responsible for his conviction. Unfortunately, Shi Tao had a Yahoo e-mail address, and when the Chinese government asked, Yahoo Inc. complied with its request to hunt him down.

…Over the past two decades, many have argued — ourselves included — that despite China’s authoritarian and sometimes openly hostile government, it is nevertheless right to encourage American companies to work there. Their very presence has been thought to make the society more open, if not necessarily more democratic.

If that is no longer the case — if, in fact, American companies are helping China become more authoritarian, more hostile and more of an obstacle to U.S. goals of democracy promotion around the world — then it is time to rethink the rules under which they operate.


Rush Limbaugh Implies Hillary Clinton Had Vince Foster Murdered

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 6:32 am
Filed under: Right Watch, Media Watch

How low can Rush Limbaugh sink?

From his radio show on September 20, 2005:

So, The New York Times today: “In an anti-war speech by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of an American soldier killed in Iraq, was cut short yesterday after the organizer of the event was arrested and police officers confiscated his audio equipment.

“Mrs. Sheehan has not shied away from controversy, opening her New York visit on Sunday night in Brooklyn, by accusing Senator Hillary Rodham [sic] of failing to challenge the Bush administration’s policies in Iraq. Ms. Sheehan, who did not mention Ms. Clinton yesterday…”

Da, da, da, da, da, da, da and she will not mention her again, ladies and gentlemen, unless she wants to end up in Fort Marcy Park. Mark my words on it.

Fort Marcy Park is where the body of Clinton attorney Vince Foster was found after an apparent suicide.

Via Media Matters for America. They are helping people who don’t listen to “The Rush Limbaugh Show” on the radio to realize what a shameless source of lies Limbaugh is.


Do Big Protest Marches Have an Effect?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 6:18 am
Filed under: Media Watch

Kos of the the popular blog “The Daily Kos” writes about the march against the Iraq War in Washington, DC, last Saturday:

My biggest problem with anti-war protests is that they’re obsolete. What do they accomplish? Historians still argue about the role Vietnam-era protests had on ending the war (shortened it versus prolonged it). But today, they mean nothing.

We are a media-saturated world, bombarded on all angles by information. A bunch of people marching in the street no longer have any serious emotional effect on media consumers. One picture on a front page and CNN of flag-drapped coffins would likely have a greater effect on war opinions than 1,000 marches like the one we had last weekend.

…Media savvy will carry a movement much further than any march, regardless if it had 100,000 or 500,000 or a million people. Cindy Sheehan had the right idea with the Crawford protest — there was a story line and drama which the media could use to create a narrative, hence a long-running story. People marching on the street? Boring. Unless you 1) have violence, or 2) crazy people making crazy speeches. It’s a lose-lose situation, and at best a single news cycle story.

…My question, then, becomes whether the money and effort people expended getting to DC to march might’ve been better spent in other forms of activism — letters to the editor, contributions to anti-war candidates, politicians, and organizations, calls and letters to their elected officials, creating anti-war media (e.g. Flash animations, documentaries), and so on.

It’s a valid question whether today’s protest marches affect public opinion and/or government policy.

But it’s also a valid question whether the activism Kos approves of above ("letters to the editor, contributions to anti-war candidates", etc.) affect public opinion and/or government policy.

Another valid question: Do blogs like this one affect public opinion and/or government policy?

People with an opinion can express it by marching, sending letters to the editor, blogging, etc.; who knows what effect it has?


How Republican Talking Points are Distributed

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 30, 2005 @ 6:01 am
Filed under: Right Watch, Government, Media Watch

From an article written before yesterday’s Senate vote making John G. Roberts the Chief Justice:

When John G. Roberts is approved as chief justice of the United States, as expected, he can thank President Bush ’s “Friends & Allies” program, which went to work on him immediately after he was nominated. The project, started by the Republican National Committee in the 2004 re-election campaign, is simple and effective: Give opinion makers, media friends, and even cocktail party hosts insider info on the topic of the day. How?

Through E-mailed talking points, called D.C. Talkers, and conference calls. For Roberts, it worked this way: A daily conference call to about 80 pundits, GOP-leaning radio and TV hosts, and newsmakers was made around 9 a.m. On the other end were the main Roberts gunslingers like Steve Schmidt at the White House and Ken Mehlman and Brian Jones at the RNC. D.C. Talkers would then be distributed to an even larger list filled with positive info about Roberts and lines of attack on his critics. “The idea,” said one of those involved, “is to feed them information and have them invested in us.” It has even created addicts, he added. “Now they come to us before going on TV.”

Of course, if the Republicans didn’t have a big lead in US Senate seats, this strategy would have meant less.

More on “Talking Points” in a Jon Stewart bit from July 15, 2004.


Upload “Star Wars,” Get Three Years in Prison?

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 29, 2005 @ 1:31 pm
Filed under: Government

Our federal tax dollars at work, protecting Big Business:

Eight people have been slapped with various charges of illegal distribution of “Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of The Sith” even before it was released at theatres in May this year.

According to sources, documents filed by the Los Angeles district attorney say that a copy of the movie was taken from an unknown post production office where one of the employees was working.

The 28-year-old employee, Albert Valente, pleaded guilty to stealing the movie from his workplace and six others have been charged with illegal distribution of the film.

The eighth defendant has been charged with making the film available online and could face a prison term of three years if found guilty.

Copyright infringement should be a civil matter, not a criminal matter. A man shouldn’t go to prison for uploading a movie.

More on the case here.

1 Comment

San Diego City Code Codifies “Traditional Family Values”; Mayor Wakes Up, Lobbies for Change

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 1:19 pm
Filed under: Government

For the past 15 years, the San Diego city code has provided cut-rate land buys for churches that teach “traditional family values.”

Mayor Steve Padilla has asked the city attorney to examine the issue and move forward with changes to the language.

“I’m uncomfortable with that type of language,” Padilla said. “I think the language is a little dangerous.”

The ordinance was designed to designate sites for churches and other community uses – such as small parks, social services and day care centers – as new neighborhoods were built in east Chula Vista. The purpose was to keep land affordable for these groups.

Padilla has asked for a report on how the sites have been developed. He also has asked the city attorney, Anne Moore, to review the ordinance.

Moore said her office is working with the city’s planning department to revise that section of the city code. They will propose amendments to the Planning Commission, and then to the City Council for final approval.

Moore said she has already identified language, such as “traditional family values,” that needs to be removed.

“From my looking at it, there are things that would be changed,” she said.

From the San Diego Union Tribune.


AlterNet on Gay Book Bans

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 1:11 pm
Filed under: Ban It!

Readers of this site don’t need to be told that the bannination of “gay” books is on the rise.

Still, read this article at AlterNet to find out how widespread the practice really is.


Timeline of Book Banning

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 1:01 pm
Filed under: Book Bans

In honor of Banned Books Week, the Book Standard provides us with a handy history of book banning in the U S of A.

Thomas Paine — who was tried for treason as a result of his writings — starts us off. Jon Stewart — whose hilarious America: The Book has never seen the inside of a WalMart — rounds out the list.

Read about it at The Book Standard.


Online Restaurant Guide Too Racy for Northwestern University

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 12:53 pm
Filed under: Free Speech?

The student government of Northwestern University is taking heat for the university’s online restaurant guide.

The online guide provides starving students with menus and gustatory commentary from their peers.

However, during a recent hearing on local liquor licensing, Evanston aldermen expressed contempt for the student-run website. Their complaints centered on [gasp!] foul language expressed by the site’s college-aged users and [gasp!] occasional discussions of underaged drinking.

In other words, the aldermen think college kids ought not be college kids (or at least shouldn’t talk about being college kids on the Internet).

Facing criticism from the aldermen, the technology director of the Associated Student Government says he has no choice but to begin moderating posts made to the site.

Here’s another idea: Why don’t the esteemed elected officials of Evanston, IL, steer clear of the students’ site and try Zagat’s instead?


Paris Mayor Condemns Censorship of Transit Ads

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 12:28 pm
Filed under: Ban It!

The mayor of Paris (France, that is) has sent a verbal dope-slap to the operator of the city’s bus and metro service.

The transit company banned a series of ads for a “gay trade show” that depicted a chaste kiss between a gay couple. The transit authority feared the ads would “risk shocking the public.”

Mayor Bertrand Delanoe issued a statement saying “The images, which simply depict a kiss between two members of the same sex, in no way justify this act of censorship.”

From the Advocate.

1 Comment

This look is temporary.

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 12:16 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak

Comments enabled for real this time.


Arkansas Mom Attempts to Rid Libraries of Unsavory Books

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 29, 2005 @ 12:15 pm
Filed under: Schools

Mother knows best.

At least, one Arkansas mother knows best.

Fayetteville mom Laurie Taylor thinks she knows which books other people’s kids should and shouldn’t read, and she’s taken her fight to the local school board.

“I’m not a bigot,” Laurie Taylor tells a crowd that seems to believe otherwise. “I’m not a homophobe. I’m a conscientious parent.”

On this warm September night, 300 people have filled the Fayetteville High School auditorium and most of them are anti-Taylor, or at least anti-Taylor’s side in a dispute over certain books in Fayetteville school libraries. She wants these books removed, or access to them restricted. The Fayetteville School Board, seated on the front row of the auditorium, is sponsoring what it calls a town hall meeting to hear from those who agree with Taylor and those who don’t. Taylor is the first speaker, appropriately, since she touched off the controversy with her public objections to what she considers dirty books.

Small and scrappy, she is unintimidated by this mostly hostile audience. It, in turn, is unpersuaded by her, and barely polite. There might have been some booing had not the school board president, Steve Percival, pointedly asked in advance for kind treatment of all speakers.

“I’m totally shocked at how controversial this has become,” Taylor says, perhaps exaggerating just a bit. She seems too bright not to have anticipated a strong reaction to her efforts. “I don’t want to ban anything. I just want to have a say in what books my children can have access to.” According to Fayetteville school superintendent Bobby New, Taylor’s original complaint did ask for removal of books that she found objectionable. She has since fallen back to a more defensible position, proposing notification, to parents who want it, when children attempt to check out books that have been placed on a restricted list by a yet-to-be appointed committee. The student couldn’t get the book without parental approval. Children of parents who don’t want to be notified would still be allowed to read anything they want under her proposal, Taylor says, and their parents would not be bothered. In objecting to her plan, she tells the crowd, “You’re doing to me what you say I’m doing to you” — that is, deciding what’s best for someone else’s children. At the end, she is almost pleading. We have to live together, she says; we need to get along. “We’re a whole. Let’s come up with a decision that fits us all.” The Taylor partisans in the crowd cheer, drawing attention to how badly outnumbered they are.

There’s a simple solution to Taylor’s problem: She can set limits with her own kids. Surely she has enough to worry about without also feeling responsible for other people’s children.

More of the story in the Arkansas Times.


‘Air America Radio’ Asks for Donations

Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 28, 2005 @ 9:00 pm
Filed under: Media Watch

Air America Radio
starting asking for donations about a week ago.

People who donate will receive an email with news about the liberal radio network about once a month. They can also receive bumper stickers and tote bags.

While the headquarters asking for donations from the general public is new, their affiliates have been doing it for some time.

Air Ameirca Minnesota, which plays some of the shows of “Air America Radio” including Al Franken’s and Janeane Garofalo’s, has been asking for donations since around the time they started (the Minnesota station started as the same time as Air America itself, March 31, 2004.)

Air America CEO Danny Goldberg defends the headquarters’ asking for donations:

Many of our listeners also listen to NPR stations and Pacifica and are used to supporting radio programming they like. I got the idea from the Nation Magazine’s program “The Nation Associates” which helps them fund investigative journalism. Like Air America Radio, The Nation is a for-profit company.

But the conservative propagandists have tried to make it seem like there is something unseemly because Air America Radio is both commercial—and a radio network, as O’Reilly said last night, “I have never seen a commercial enterprise ask their listeners for money—ever” This is also false. The modern model of the broadcasting business involves numerous revenue streams. If anything, Air America has been late in fully building such an infrastructure which the “Associates” is a part of.

For example, Rush Limbaugh’s Web-site offers his fans the “Limbaugh Letter” for $34.95 a year and a totally separate service called Rush 24/7 which includes access to archived programs at the cost of $49.95 a year. The Limbaugh site also features the “EIB Store” which sells such items as $19.95 polo shirt which amusingly says, “My Mullah went to G’itmo and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

Personally, I made my first donation to Air America Minnesota a long time ago, and I recently donated to Air America Radio at the main website.

I don’t care if they should be able to support themselves entirely from ads. We don’t live in an ideal world.

AAR is a service I use often and I want to help them expand.

The Air America Associates Program.


Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 3:41 pm
Filed under: Ban It!

Two labor unions representing flight attendants have called for a boycott of the Jodie Foster flick “Flight Plan.” The movie, it would, seem, portrays the airborne waitrons in a negative light.

In the Jodie Foster thriller about a mother looking for her missing daughter aboard a plane, a flight attendant colludes with an air marshal as part of a plot to extort a ransom from the airline.

Other flight attendants are shown treating passengers rudely and being unsympathetic to Foster’s character, whom they think might be delusional.

The groups contend that the Disney film could breed distrust of their members among real airline passengers.

“Should there be another 9/11, it would be critical for the cabin crew to have the support of their passengers, not the distrust that this movie may engender,” said Tommie Hutto-Blake, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants. “Our fellow crew members who perished in the line of duty deserve more respect.”

If nothing else, the union gets points for its clever invoking of 9/11.


1 Comment

Joan Baez Says Dirty Word on TV!

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 3:36 pm
Filed under: Obscene!

Stop the presses!

During a broadcast of the American Masters episode regaling Bob Dylan, folk singer Joan Baez dropped an F-Bob.

Oops, make that an F-Bomb.

PBS says that it sent edited and unedited versions of the broadcast to its affiliates, and it appears that only New York’s WNET aired the f***.

Story in the SF Chronicle.

1 Comment

Indecency Complaints Down — Way Down

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 2:30 pm
Filed under: Indecency

Billboard and Broadasting & Cable are reporting that the number of indecency complaints filed with the FCC has reached a 2-year low.

From Billboard:

The total number of indecency complaints filed in the second quarter was 6,161, down from a fourth-quarter 2004 total of 157,016. No breakout for radio vs. TV was provided in the release.

According to Billboard Radio Monitor’s own research, that 6,161 total is the lowest quarterly result since the second quarter of 2003, when the total number of indecency complaints was 351.

Quarterly totals during 2002 also numbered in the hundreds, rather than the thousands, on a quarterly basis.

As reported earlier by Billboard Radio Monitor, the FCC will rule on 40-50 indecency complaints within the next few weeks. Rulings on an equal number of TV complaints are also expected within the same time frame. New chairman Kevin Martin has made clearing a backlog in the commission’s indecency docket a top priority. After writing a record-setting number of fines last year, the FCC hasn’t written a single Notice of Apparent Liability for indecency this year.

Quoth Broadcasting & Cable: “Looks like broadcasters’ self regulation on the indecency front may be paying off, at least in terms of complaints.”


This look is temporary.

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 12:25 pm
Filed under: SpeakSpeak

Comments enabled for real this time.


During Banned Books Week, Conservatives Jockey for Victimhood

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 11:21 am
Filed under: Right Watch

Welcome to Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week is an effort by the American Library Association to draw public attention to widespread local censorship in the form of book challenges or bans. Perennial favorites on the banned books list include Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War (”for sexual content, offensive language, religious viewpoint, being unsuited to age group and violence”); Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (”for racism, homosexuality, sexual content, offensive language and unsuited to age group”); and Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men (”for racism, offensive language and violence”).

Readers to this site don’t need a lecture on the particular idiocy of book challenges, or on why banned books ought to be read and celebrated.

So, let’s take a moment to talk about the Right, who feel left out during Banned Books Week.

Right-wing mouthpiece Agape Press complains that Banned Books Week is actually just an excuse to bash and exclude the Right.

As part of their Banned Books Week observance, libraries and bookstores across the U.S. are highlighting various books they claim have been restricted or banned in the previous year. But Mitch Muncy, executive vice president and editor in chief of Spence Publishing Company, believes Banned Books Week is actually more about making money and silencing others than it is about celebrating free speech.

Muncy says many of the libraries and bookstores touting the so-called “banned books” have their own methods of censorship. “Our experience has shown that when they don’t like your book, they do not hesitate to make sure that that book never makes it to their library or bookstore,” he asserts, “only they don’t call that banning books. They refer to that as ’selection criteria.’”

The editor notes that a representative of one of the major independent bookstores in the U.S. once stated that, even if it could sell 100,000 copies of Spence Books titles, it still would not stock them. “So, in fact, the very sponsors of this event have no hesitation about doing the very thing that they accuse others of doing,” Muncy contends.

Another bookstore manager once asked Spence Publishing to remove him from its mailing list, stating, “We do not sell fascist publications.” Such exchanges have led the conservative publishing executive to conclude that “Banned Books Week” is just another way for bookstores, libraries, and “self-styled free-speech advocates” to make money and censor people whose worldviews they find offensive.

For all their high-minded claims, Muncy asserts, many of these libraries and book vendors employ a free-speech double standard. “What is ridiculous is to refuse to stock books for ideological reasons,” he says, “and then to turn around and try to shame parents … because they object to a particular book being displayed prominently in their child’s school library.”

Notice that Muncy can’t name any specific “banned” books published by his company? Clever, eh?

For the record, here’s a handful of titles from Spence’s catalog.

The 7 Myths of Working Mothers: “Dispelling our most cherished myths about working mothers, Suzanne Venker argues that women can never be successful in the workplace and at home simultaneously. Women can achieve the balance they so desperately seek only by planning their careers around motherhood, rather than planning motherhood around their careers.”

All Shook Up: “In the fifteen years since Tipper Gore and Frank Zappa feuded over raunchy lyrics, a furious but confused debate has raged over popular music’s effect on character. In a book that shatters the assumptions of pop music’s critics and defenders alike, Carson Holloway shows that music is both more dangerous and more beneficial than we think.”

The American Myth of Religious Freedom: “There’s no such thing as true religious freedom under the American Constitution, argues Kenneth Craycraft. In a liberal regime, “toleration” never puts religion and irreligion on an equal footing. The Enlightenment political theory underlying the First Amendment unavoidably subordinates religion to politics, Dr. Craycraft argues. The framers’ purpose, then, was not to protect religion but to make it a tool of the regime.”

The Church Impotent: “The current preoccupation with the role of women in the church obscures the more serious problem of the perennial absence of men. This provocative book argues that Western churches have become “women’s clubs,” that the emasculation of Christianity is dangerous for the church and society, and that a masculine presence can and must be restored…the only book to confront the lopsidedly feminine cast of modern Christianity with a profound analysis of its historical and sociological roots.”

Hating Whitey: “The anti-white racism of the Left remains one of the few taboo subjects in America. A former confidant of the Black Panthers and author of Radical Son, David Horowitz delivers a powerful blow to contemporary race thinking.”

Should these books be available to interested library patrons? Of course. Do they suffer the same fate and ignominy as challenged American classics like Of Mice and Men and Huckleberry Finn?

Absolutely not.

Attempting to put them is the same category is a pathetic poor-us attempt, and it only undermines the Right’s argument.

Now. Go read a banned book.


Big Brother Alert: FBI Wants to Tell You What Software You Can, Can’t Use

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 10:56 am
Filed under: Government, Free Speech?

Hoping to make their wiretapping power even greater in this “Patriot” act era, the FBI is considering rules that would ban home consumers from using certain software — software that isn’t conducive to government eavesdropping.

The Federal Communications Commission thinks you have the right to use software on your computer only if the FBI approves.

No, really. In an obscure “policy” document released around 9 p.m. ET last Friday, the FCC announced this remarkable decision.

According to the three-page document, to preserve the openness that characterizes today’s Internet, “consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.” Read the last seven words again.

The FCC didn’t offer much in the way of clarification. But the clearest reading of the pronouncement is that some unelected bureaucrats at the commission have decreeed that Americans don’t have the right to use software such as Skype or PGPfone if it doesn’t support mandatory backdoors for wiretapping. (That interpretation was confirmed by an FCC spokesman on Monday, who asked not to be identified by name. Also, the announcement came at the same time as the FCC posted its wiretapping rules for Internet telephony.)

CNet’s Declan McCullough goes on to point out that the policy document cleverly ignored any examination of the First Amendment.

Read more at CNet.


Broadcasters to Sports Fans: New Rules Mean You’re Screwed

Posted by Amanda Toering
September 28, 2005 @ 10:45 am
Filed under: TV

Broadcasters are warning that soon-to-be implemented rules regarding children’s programming may affect viewers’ access to sporting events.

Here’s the scoop from USA Today:

The nation’s broadcasters have issued a blunt message: Tough new requirements to air children’s programming might mean sports fans won’t get to watch some college football games on free TV.

The broadcasters are fighting new FCC rules that will take effect Jan. 1, saying the rules would stifle the development of new channels and hobble existing ones. They say they’d have to either move Saturday morning kids’ shows to another time or shift that day’s college football lineup to cable TV.

In a petition that was to be filed as early as Monday night, the parent companies of CBS, NBC and ABC planned to ask the Federal Communications Commission for a delay until the agency rules on their bid to repeal the new requirements.

Currently, TV broadcasters must air three hours of children’s shows per week on each of their channels. Under rules the FCC passed a year ago, the stations must show a similar amount of children’s programming on their new digital channels.

Many stations air shows in crystal-clear high-definition. But several hundred use their extra digital bandwidth to “multicast,” or air several new standard-definition channels. NBC, for example, in addition to its main channel, is broadcasting an all-weather station.

Broadcasters say they might abandon their already unprofitable multicasting plans if they must develop new children’s shows.

“The cost of children’s programming is a further loss,” says CBS Executive Vice President Martin Franks.

Broadcasters have asked the FCC to delay the proposed January 1 implementation of the rule until potential kinks can be unkinked.



Posted by Eric Jaffa
September 27, 2005 @ 6:42 pm
Filed under: General



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