Posts from April 5, 2004

The trouble in Iraq

The trouble in Iraq
: Glenn Reynolds says that Zeyad has a scoop reporting a “coup” in Iraq. That may be a bit strong. But s*** continues to hit fan. The U.S. plans to arrest Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite “cleric” who’s stirring up that s***. Zeyad reports:

A coup d’etat is taking place in Iraq a the moment. Al-Shu’la, Al-Hurria, Thawra (Sadr city), and Kadhimiya (all Shi’ite neighbourhoods in Baghdad) have been declared liberated from occupation. Looting has already started at some places downtown, a friend of mine just returned from Sadun street and he says Al-Mahdi militiamen are breaking stores and clinics open and also at Tahrir square just across the river from the Green Zone. News from other cities in the south indicate that Sadr followers (tens of thousands of them) have taken over IP stations and governorate buildings in Kufa, Nassiriya, Ammara, Kut, and Basrah. Al-Jazeera says that policemen in these cities have sided with the Shia insurgents, which doesn’t come as a surprise to me since a large portion of the police forces in these areas were recruited from Shi’ite militias and we have talked about that ages ago. And it looks like this move has been planned a long time ago….

I have to admit that until now I have never longed for the days of Saddam, but now I’m not so sure. If we need a person like Saddam to keep those rabid dogs at bay then be it. Put Saddam back in power and after he fills a couple hundred more mass graves with those criminals they can start wailing and crying again for liberation. What a laugh we will have then. Then they can shove their filthy Hawza and marji’iya up somewhere else. I am so dissapointed in Iraqis and I hate myself for thinking this way. We are not worth your trouble, take back your billions of dollars and give us Saddam again. We truly ‘deserve’ leaders like Saddam.

And that is the state of the art

And that is the state of the art
: Rick Bruner does a great job pulling together all known stats on the size of blogging: “Millions of bloggers can’t be wrong.”

Lugar on Iraq: More troops, delay

Lugar on Iraq: More troops, delay
: Sen. Richard Lugar says we need to send more troops to Iraq and delay handover. I agree. Handing Iraq over to terrorists and thugs gets Iraq and us nowhere.

The Daily Stern: The Code

The Daily Stern: The Code

sealnab3b.gif: SEAL OF GOOD CENSORSHIP: Since broadcasters — under pressure from government — are considering reinstating a code of decency, I thought I’d reexamine the Code of Practices that was rescinded — under pressure from government, namely the Reagan administration — in the ’80s. Or in our parlance, I’m fisking The Code.

As irrelevant as The Code became, it’s quite relevant today, for it will necessarily be the starting point, the touchstone for any new Code they create. Where’s the line? Well, that’s just the problem, isn’t it? Where’s the line? And who says where that is?

Some excerpts and comments:

Profanity, obscenity, smut and vulgarity are forbidden, even when likely to be understood only by part of the audience. From time to time, words which have been acceptable acquire undesirable meanings, and telecasters should be alert to eliminate such words.

No boobs, you boobs.

Attacks on religion and religous faiths are not allowed.

Reverence is to mark any mention of the name of God, His attributes and powers…. [Clergy] portrayed in their callings are vested with the dignity of their office and under no circumstances are to be held up to ridicule.

So The Code is explicitly trying to proselytize the nation. And it won’t allow us to make fun of, oh, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, or hundreds of kiddie-diddling priests.

Respect is to be maintained for the sanctity of marriage and the value of the home. Divorce is not treated casually nor justified as a solution for marital problems.

So much for “The Burning Bed.”

Illicit sex relatoins are not treated as commendable.

So much for prime time.

Drunkenness and narcotic addiction are never presented as desirable or prevalent.

The administration of illegal drugs will not be displayed.

Just ignore them and they’re not there.

Exhibitions of fortune-telling, astrology, phrenology, palm-reading, and numerology are acceptable only when required by a plot…

So much for Crossing Over with John Edward.

Televised drama shall not simulate news or special events in such a way as to mislead or alarm.

So much for every storyline “ripped from the headlines.”

The presentation of cruelty, greed and selfishness as worthy motivations is to be avoided.

So much for reality TV.

Unfair exploitation of others for personal gain shall not be presented as praiseworthy.

Donald Trump: You’re fired!

The presentation of techniques of crime in such detail as to invite imitation shall be avoided.

CSI: You’re canceled.

The use of horror for its own sake will be eliminated; the use of vusual or aural effects which would shock or alarm the viewer, and the detailed presentation of brutality or physical agony by sight or by sound are not permissible.

Well, I guess you won’t be seeing Mel Gibson’s The Passion on TV.

Law enforcement shall be upheld, and the officers of the law are to be portrayed with respect and dignity.

Unless they rob, steal, or beat up people for no reason. OK, destroy the Rodney King tape.

The presentation of murder or revenge as a motive for murder shall not be presented as justifiable.While you’re at it, destroy those “Murder, She Wrote” tapes.

The costuming of all performers shall be within the bounds of propriety, and shall avoid such exposure or such emphasis on anatomical detail as would embarrass or offend home viewers.

The movements of dancers, actors, or other performers shall be kept within the bounds of decency, and lewdness and impropriety shall not be suggested in the positions assumed by the performers.

Camera angles shall avoid such views of performers as to emphasize anatomical details indecently.

Henceforth to be known as the Janet Jackson Clause.

News reporting should be factual, fair, and without bias.

Commentary and analysis should be clearly identified as such.

Good taste should prevail in the selection and handling of news.

Insert punchline of choice here.

It is the responsibility of a television broadcaster to make available to the community as part of a well-balanced program schedule adequate opportunity for religious presentations….

A charge for television time to churches and religous bodies is not recommended.

‘Nuff said.

What’s most frightening, of course, is that some people reading all this today would be nodding their heads, eager for the return of The Code. That’s where they would draw The Line. In fact, under the heat of government pressure, that’s where many stations are starting to draw The Line. But it’s not government’s job to draw lines or force others to. We, the market, the citizens, are capable of doing that.

If the marketplace truly demanded this kind of TV, it’s the TV you’d end up with because that would be the way for broadcasters to make money. But the marketplace listens to Howard Stern … and watches sitcoms with sex and divorce … and dramas with crime and more sex … and the marketplace doesn’t watch religion…

It’s the government that’s pushing for The Code, the government that’s drawing The Line, the government that’s trying to control what we say and hear and watch.

The Reagan Administration got rid of The Code for a reason. There’s no good reason to bring it back.

: UPDATE: Ernie Miller highlights yet more frightening lines in the old Code.

The Daily Stern: Updates

The Daily Stern: Updates
:

: FINES: Broadcasting & Cable says more FCC fines are on the way:

Howard Stern is about to get fined again, and possibly again and again.

Infinity Radio will be socked in the next week by the FCC with a six-figure fine for raunchy programming by top shock-jock Howard Stern. But that’s not all. Tthe government’s indecency police are moving to punish more shows by the self-proclaimed “King of All Media.”

The FCC is putting finishing touches on a proposed sanction that, for the first time, will fine a station for each indecent “utterance” during a single program. Previously, the FCC levied just one fine no matter how many times a program crossed the line.

: PUTTING WORDS IN POWELL’S MOUTH: Ernie Miller rewrites FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s speech before the National Association of Broadcasters:

While the broadcast medium does not today enjoy the full breadth of the First Amendment privilege, we should never be comfortable with content intrusion by the government.

Ernie even has Powell suggest a solution.

: VACATION: Howard’s on vacation.

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The Daily Stern: Sayings of Chairman Powell

The Daily Stern: Sayings of Chairman Powell
: Researching a possible magazine story on the FCC, free speech, and Howard Stern, I came upon magnificent testimony before the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet by Robert Corn-Revere, the attorney who, among many other things, got New York Gov. George Pataki to wipe the slate on Lenny Bruce. Mr. Corn-Revere goes through the record to find what FCC Chairman Michael Powell has said about regulating broadcast content:

:Accordingly, Chairman Powell has said that he tries to answer a series of questions before taking regulatory actions in order to