Posts from May 2, 2005

Blog to Bill

Blog to Bill

: Engadget snags an interview with Bill Gates. The humility is a bit overpowering: The piece starts telling us what we won’t read (somebody buy Pete a course in Calacanis hype!). But it covers lots of territory, starting with games, in two parts.

>This is the guy who wants to tell us how to parent?

This is the guy who wants to tell us how to parent?

: Max Blumenthal reports that James Dobson — the scary guy who wants to censor what you watch and tell you how to parent — ran ads on ABC while a church could not:

During [Sunday's] season finale of ABC’s schlocky reality show, “Supernanny,” James Dobson’s Focus on the Family will be running ads promoting its “Focus on Your Child” program, which advises parents on how to implement the parenting principles outlined in his best-seller, “Dare to Discipline.” These include spanking with “sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely.” Children have to be taught respect for authority at an early age, Dobson preaches, or they’ll never develop respect for governmental authority or God.

Dobson’s theory on corporal punishment reveals the political underside of his self-help work….

Once parents bite Focus’s bait and join up, they may learn some valuable techniques for improving their relationship with their children. At the same time, they will become immersed in the subculture of the Christian right, where they will meet Macho Jesus and the gay/pedophile deviants who are out to destroy the very fabric of their marriage. Family counseling is merely the net Dobson casts to bring folks on board with his political agenda.

Focus’s ad buy is its first in prime time TV. It has ostensibly purchased the ads through its 501 c-3, the self-help component of its organization, so it can claim legally that the ads are not political. But they are, and it’s absurd to say they’re not. On his radio show, Dobson shamelessly begs for money for his 501 c-4, Focus on the Family Action, his organization’s political arm. FOF Action is the entity which collaborated with the Family Research Council to bring us the memorable event known as “Justice Sunday,” where Dobson blamed the Supreme Court for “the worst Holocaust in human history.” Given that the political and family components of Dobson’s empire are so indistinguishable, I think it would be appropriate and necessary to file a complaint with the FCC over Focus’s insidious ad buy.

Furthermore, ABC’s accomodation of Focus smacks of hypocrisy. Last winter, ABC’s broadcast network refused to an ad by the United Church of Christ promoting its inclusive policy to gays and other groups explicity forbidden from belonging to churches under the ideological sway of Dobson and his ilk.

Stacking the FCC deck

Stacking the FCC deck

: Last week, I linked to a report that Sen. Ted Stevens, the bozo who’s trying to expand FCC censorship to cable and satellite, is trying to install his aide on the FCC.

Now comes word at Broadcasing & Cable that Sen. Sam Brownback, the scary guy who’s pushing for censorship harder than anyone in the Senate, is now trying to get a former aide of his on the FCC.

Anybody want to nominate Howard Stern? Opie? Me?

Desperate censors

Desperate censors

: I have to believe that in the Bozell and Dobson households and in the homes of church ladies across the land, an angry and disappointed groan was heard when Laura Bush said she watches Desperate Housewives. In my house, you could hear a gratified cackle.

: LATER: Sure enough, the Washington Times frets.

Presses rust, too

Presses rust, too

: A few posts ago, Jay Rosen wrote a provocative essay about newspaper management laying newspapers gently down to die. Last week, Ad Age had a guest column (not online, damn them) about General Motors as caretaker management that is essentially doing the same thing by not investing in the future. And today, Jenny DeMonte blogs and brings this together, seeing parallels among GM, journalism, and education.

A wi-fi in every pot

A wi-fi in every pot

: Micah Sifry, who’s helping out in Andrew Rasiej’s campaign for NYC’s Public Advocate, sent me text of a speech Andrew gave today at City Hall criticizing a Bloomberg report on communications and drawing a line in the sand at universal and inexpensive wi-fi for all. Hell, if Philadelphia can have it, why can’t we? I’ll be this will become an issue in every city — and then suburb — in the nation. No more letting Korea lead. No more letting telecom companies keep us back. We need to be connected to this connected world. Anything less is like not having indoor plumbing.

: Just to make clear, since some commenters didn’t get it, I’m not advocating government-run ISPs. I’m advocating government freeing up the means for industry to provide this service: Give the city ubiquitious and decently priced service and you get on our poles. Everybody benefits… except the old telecom dinosaur.

: See also Smartmobs reporting that Dell is opposing bills that back by telecom dinosaurs that would prevent local governments from encouraging ubiquitous broadband. The dinos are afraid they’d be put out of business by decent competition. Dell is afraid that the telecoms will succeed only in holding back the adoption of technology that will expand everyone’s business, including Dell’s. Dell is right.

Runaway (bride) story

Runaway (bride) story

: Aw, come on: The runaway bride story is great entertainment, to be sure. The pictures of that deer caught in the headlights are mesmerizing. The tale of a wedding from hell gone to hell is amusing. But, come on Today et al, is this really the top news story in the country?

: UPDATE ON THE STORY WITH NO UPDATES: Just saw on MSNBC a press gang the size of Michael Jackson’s staking out the cops now wondering whether to charge bright-eyes with anything.

: NEIGHBOR BLOGS: From the comments: Kingdom2000 happens to be a neighbor wide-eyes in Duluth and blogs about the invasion of the press and about the town.

Pod(cast) people

Pod(cast) people

: It had to kill podcast pioneer Adam Curry and Sirius that Viacom and its YOURadio beat them to the punch with an announcement, but it’s still big and good news that Curry is going to host four hours of podcast programming — citizens’ radio — on Sirius.