Posts from December 17, 2004

The real Christmas shortages

The real Christmas shortages

: The Wall Street Journal and then the rest of the world reported dire iPod shortages this week. My wife went to the local Apple store and found plenty in all colors.

However, there are two other dire shortages I’ve seen:

First, American Girl dolls, clothes, and furniture and backordered well into next spring and even into next year. The eBay market is going wild. Could be because of the recent American Girl TV movie or because of bad planning.

Second, I’ve seen Sirius essentially sold out at all our local electronics stores.

The latest FCC FOIAs

The latest FCC FOIAs

: I just filed more Freedom of Information Act requests with the FCC (one of the latest filed with Air America’s Morning Sedition). Now I have four in the works:

: I’m asking for any evidence the FCC has that any Viacom companies and executives knew of Janet Jackson’s breast-baring before it happend. That is, if they were fined and Jackson was not and if the breast-baring was the only crime, then I want to see the evidence that ties Viacom directly to the crime. Due process, you know.

: I asked to see “any documents relating to how the FCC determines the ‘community standards’ it uses as its guideline in determining indecency and profanity complaints against broadcast media — including, but not limited to any surveys, focus group results, research, reports, data or other material.” The FCC says it enforces “community standards.” OK, then how does it know what the community’s standards are?

: I asked to see the nine complaints that triggered the indecency investigation of NBC’s coverage of the Olympics. This was Air America’s suggestion.

: I asked to see any correspondence between Brent Bozell and the Parents Television Council and any of the FCC Commissioners (other than any of the thousands of replies to their thousands of manufactured complaints).

You’ll be the first to know what happens. And if you have any more ideas, let me know.

Take that, Prof. Pondscum

Take that, Prof. Pondscum

: Ali at IraqTheModel refutes Juan Cole and his fellow travelers point by point:

As for polls, we never said that the vast majority of Iraqis love America, as I don’t believe it’s true and it’s not true that the majority of Iraqis hate America also. However, the same polls that Dr. Cole rely on keep telling us that the majority of Iraqis favor elections and want them without delay, which should mean that the majority of Iraqis want democracy and that is what we say and want. So how can we be outside the main public opinion!? However, this is a highly subjective issue and we can wait for the upcoming elections and see how many Iraqis will vote and what they are going to vote for.

He ends with this eloquent takedown:

When are both sides going to realize that it’s not only about them! That there are millions of Iraqis, Afghanis, Iranians..Etc who are suffering daily and who are trying to find a solution and a way to achieve their dreams (with the help they are getting from America) and who do not have the slightest interest in supporting any party in America. The world is bigger than you and your partisan conflicts and frankly I’m getting sick of it. Take this crap somewhere else and leave us alone! We have enough problems to deal with and we are not interested in supporting any party anwhere, as simply we cannot afford the time or the effort.

Amen, Ali. All the snarkers and snipers here keep forgetting that this is about the people of Iraq, about helping fellow citizens of this earth have the same rights to freedom, free speech, and self determination that we are blessed to have in this country. It’s about the people.

The real revolution

The real revolution

: Dan Henninger, deputy editorial-page editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, spent last Saturday at the Harvard Internet conference soaking in words about the work of people bringing citizens’ media to the world and today he writes a wonderful column about the real revolution brewing:

“American influence” is the great white whale of the 21st century, and Jacques Chirac is the Ahab chasing her with a three-masted schooner. Along for the ride is a crew that includes Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Vladimir Putin, North Korea’s Kim Jong-Il, Kofi Annan, the Saudi royal family, Robert Mugabe, the state committee of Communist China and various others who have ordained themselves leaders for life. At night, seated around the rum keg, they talk about how they have to stop American political power, the Marines or Hollywood.

The world is lucky these despots and demagogues are breaking their harpoons on this hopeless quest. Because all around them their own populations are grabbing the one American export no one can stop: raw technology. Communications technologies, most of them developed in American laboratories (often by engineers who voted for John Kerry), have finally begun to affect an historic shift in the relationship between governments and the governed. The governed are starting to win.

Not that long ago, in 1989, the world watched demonstrators sit passively in Tiananmen Square and fight the authorities with little more than a papier-m

Does God have a sense of humor?

Does God have a sense of humor?

: The LA Times writes that the so-called Parents Television Council released a “study” purporting to show that TV and heathen Hollywood are hostile to religion.

I talked to the reporter and said: First, Brent Bozell’s group does not speak for America. Second, so what if there are shows with negative views of religion? There’s no rule against that. That’s what we call free speech. Those points were quoted in the article. I also said that it is ludicrous to think that entertainment should be created by quota; writers do not and cannot sit down and say that they have to have something nice to say about religion (or whatever your cause is) today; it’s their job to entertain, not to preach the PTC gospel.

I’m glad the LA Times reporter, Lynne Smith, took the time to call two critics of the PTC to get another perspective. Others did not. And so, once again, media is swallowing the PTC’s nonstory without questioning it. Thus, an impression is created that, first, TV is anti-religion and, second, that there’s some movement out there determined to do something about it.

Even PTC’s own numbers don’t tell the story they want to tell: Of references to religion they found, “22.1 percent were positive, 24.4 percent negative.” I wouldn’t call that a heathen conspiracy. And what PTC calls negative is often laughable.

Let’s look at what the PTC thinks are negative references to religion on TV. The real finding of this study is that the PTC has no sense of humor or irony:

On the 31st American Music Awards, November 16, host Jimmy Kimmel gives his audience a brief list of rules, which concludes,