Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Ashcroftian Socialization of Virtue

"Gonzales Seeks to Reinstate Obscenity Case," by Mark Sherman, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=544&u=/ap/20050216/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obscenity_appeal&printer=1, 16 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground).

South Dakota isn't the only place where the government knows what is best.

The Bush administration said Wednesday it would seek to reinstate an indictment against a California pornography company that was charged with violating federal obscenity laws. It was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' first public decision on a legal matter.

Billed as the government's first big obscenity case in a decade, the 10-count indictment against Extreme Associates Inc. and its owners, Robert Zicari, and his wife, Janet Romano, both of Northridge, Calif., was dismissed last month by U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster of Pittsburgh.


Iran and Europe don't have secular irreligious populations by accident. Both places socialized religion and virtue, which let people to forget both. "No one ever washes a rented car," and no one ever cares for virtue, once it is public.

I'm with the judge in this one

If allowed to stand, Lancaster's ruling would undermine obscenity laws as well as other statutes based on shared views of public morality, including laws against prostitution, bestiality and bigamy, the department said in a statement.

...

In his opinion, Lancaster said the company can market and distribute its materials because people have a right to view them in the privacy of their own homes.

Lancaster relied in part on the Supreme Court's June 2003 ruling that struck down Texas' ban on gay sex, which it called an unconstitutional violation of privacy.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ashcroftian Socialization of Virtue

"Gonzales Seeks to Reinstate Obscenity Case," by Mark Sherman, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=544&u=/ap/20050216/ap_on_go_pr_wh/obscenity_appeal&printer=1, 16 February 2005 (from Democratic Underground).

South Dakota isn't the only place where the government knows what is best.

The Bush administration said Wednesday it would seek to reinstate an indictment against a California pornography company that was charged with violating federal obscenity laws. It was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' first public decision on a legal matter.

Billed as the government's first big obscenity case in a decade, the 10-count indictment against Extreme Associates Inc. and its owners, Robert Zicari, and his wife, Janet Romano, both of Northridge, Calif., was dismissed last month by U.S. District Judge Gary Lancaster of Pittsburgh.


Iran and Europe don't have secular irreligious populations by accident. Both places socialized religion and virtue, which let people to forget both. "No one ever washes a rented car," and no one ever cares for virtue, once it is public.

I'm with the judge in this one

If allowed to stand, Lancaster's ruling would undermine obscenity laws as well as other statutes based on shared views of public morality, including laws against prostitution, bestiality and bigamy, the department said in a statement.

...

In his opinion, Lancaster said the company can market and distribute its materials because people have a right to view them in the privacy of their own homes.

Lancaster relied in part on the Supreme Court's June 2003 ruling that struck down Texas' ban on gay sex, which it called an unconstitutional violation of privacy.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Free Egyptian Media

"48% of households in Cairo use the Internet and 46% have Satellite TV," MENAFN Press, 26 January 2005 (from Collounsbury).

More fallout from my Free Arab Media article -- Collounsbury linked to a "Arab Advisors Group report showing great news in Egypt

48% of households in Cairo use the Internet and 46% have Satellite TV

The Arab Advisors Group conducted a major comprehensive survey of the media and telecom usage habits of the population of Greater Cairo between November 2004 and Jan 2005. On the TV front, despite the relatively wide adoption of Sat TV, terrestrial TV is still alive and kicking with a full 91% of households in Cairo tuning in to Egypt's terrestrial TV channels. Of the Sat TV viewers, 68.3% tune in to news channels. Al Jazeera news channels is the most widely watched (88.4% of households with Sat TV watched it), followed by Al Arabiya (35.1%), Nile News (8.9%), CNN (6.6%), Al Hurra (4.6%), Al Ekhbaryia (3.9%), BBC (3.1%), ANN, Euronews and Manar (each with 0.4%). The survey also probed the channels the households watched in the categories of: Music Channels, Entertainment Channels, Sport Channels and Religion Channels. On the GSM front, the survey revealed that some 71% of households in Cairo have a GSM line.

...

The "Cairo Households Media Survey 2005" reveals that 46% of Cairo households have a Sat TV dish, and a full 91% still also watch terrestrial TV broadcasting. TV viewing peak time is 9 PM - mid night, with close to 80% of households watching TV during this time.


This is eye-opening. Almost half of Cairo residents are hooked into the outside world. While satellite TV shows unfortunate state interference with Al Jazeera, Al Hurrah, and the BBC in the top 10 (though Collounsbury bete noire Al Hurra is more popular than the BBC). More happily, even more Cairoans (Cairis?) have internet access. The Economist reported that Egypt is one of three Arab states with no internet controls, the others being Iraq and Libya. This means that nearly half of citizens of the greatest city in a great Arab state have free worldwide information.

Western blogs are becoming increasingly influential. Hopefully, Egyptian blogs will be one day too.

Let's keep the ball rolling. Don't let up pressure on Arab states to liberalize and don't let up pressure on the state behemoths -- the BBC or al Jazeera.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Korean Anti-American Music Video

"Fucking USA," by Rob Pongi, Rob Pongi, http://www.robpongi.com/pages/comboFUCKINGUSAHI.html, 9 February 2005 (from One Good Move).

Rob's description

This is a very shocking anti-American propoganda video made by North Koreans and previously broadcast on South Korean and Japanese Television. English translation titles by Rob Pongi.

Note: This video does not reflect the views of Rob Pongi nor those of anyone else associated with RobPongi.com. War is not the answer. Peace! Used by legal permission.


There are some Chinese characters, so it is not meant for DPRK internal consumption. Note the very low quality of koreanimation. If South Korea can give us the Simpsons, and Japan InuYasha, then this is inexcusable. Perhaps OFK can shed some light on the matter?

The lyrics, as supplied by the translator

Bush Evil
Bush Evil
Bush Evil

Fuckn' USA

We clearly remember
the blood and tears we shed
And you were the cause
of our country's division.

Fucking USA!

And we won't forget all
of the horrible massacres

You are a country of murderers.

Fucking USA!

But if America is such a righteous country,
then why can't we say what we want to say?

Have you made use into slaves
of our own precious land?

So now we are yelling
We are against America!

You stole the Olympic
Gold model from us
[??? -- tdaxp]

You are a dastardly thief

Fucking USA!
You are a dastardly thief

You have the ability to steal everything
and go on a rampage

You are a monstrous thief

Fucking USA!

Do you hear Bush's violent threats

Such an audacious country!

Fucking USA!

You threaten war in North Korea
and intrude in our internal affairs

You are a country of gangs

Fucking USA!

But if America is such a righteous country,
then why can't we say what we want to say?
And we're worried about what kind of damage
we could get from America

So Now we are Yelling
Yankee Go Home


Hmmm. Doesn't seem too pro-Yankee, that's for sure.

But as my House left the northeast well nigh two centuries ago, I can't say I'm too pro-New-England myself.

Best Prime Minister, Ever

"Photo Album," Yulia Timoshenko - personal web site, http://www.tymoshenko.com.ua/eng/photo/ (from South Dakota Politics).

medium_tymoshenko-desk2.jpg
The peacefully rising of the Ukrainian people, especially those in the Catholic west, called the "Orange Revolution" was important. The Clinton-McCain Statement was important. That Ukraine is now on the border of the future is important. Partially for democracy in that land. Partially for democracy throughout the former Soviet reich. And partially to bring the world Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko.

This photo, and more, available from Madame Prime Minister's gallery. Is it possible for any human being to be more like the ideal Dagny Taggart?

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Cigarettes Bother Me Like Women"

"Link as text," by Douglas Wiken, Clean Cut Kid, http://www.cleancutkid.com/archive/smoking-189-2.html, 26 January 2005.

"Views of a Shari'ah Theocracy," by "Jennifer," Republican Jen, http://journals.aol.com/republicanjen/RepublicanJen/entries/1317, 8 February 2005 (from Roth Report)


The line may be paraphrased from Lawrence of Arabia, but the puritanism behind it is all too real. In Pakistan, a vice mullah condemns females in advertising

"A new attempt is underway to reinforce Islamic fundamentalism at the expense of religious freedom and religious minorities. Mian Nadir Shah, a Member of the North-Western Frontier (NWFP) Provincial Assembly, tabled two private bills that would ban music and dancing in public places and educational institutions and using photographs of women in advertising. In both cases, the offences would be punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to 5, 000 and 10, 000 rupees respectively. The accused would have no right to bail."

...

"Minister Sirajul Haq told reporters that the proposed ban on music and dancing would apply only to public places—including bus terminals, commuter vehicles, hotels and other places—where they can bother people or sites—like educational institutions—which were meant to spread culture."


Jennifer thinks this sounds like health mullahism in our own country

It reads like somebody from New York making the case against cigarettes or cell phones or even strip joints.


While over at Clean Cut Kid, Douglas Wiken defends anti-secondhand-smoke laws by saying

I don't know if anybody is saying "second-hand" smoke "is deadly". But, just aggravating is sufficient for me to think it should be eliminated. I remember going to meetings where the air was blue with smoke and leaving with a splitting headache and my clothes and hair smelling like an ashtray. I don't miss that one bit.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Juan Cole's Marxist "Late Capitalism"

"The Republicans' Iraq and the Islamic Republic of Iraq," by Juan Cole, Informed Consent, http://www.juancole.com/2005/02/republicans-iraq-and-islamic-republic.html, 7 February 2005.

In the midst of an anti-Republican anti-Cheney rant

Although George Orwell/ Eric Blair wrote 1984 as an anarcho-syndicalist socialist critique of Stalinism, it is becoming increasingly clear that it was also prophetic about the direction of Late Capitalist societies characterized by corporate media consolidation. In such a society, Cheney can substitute himself for Sistani and speak for Sistani, erasing the real Sistani just as the Republican pundits have erased the real Iraq. "Ignorance is strength."


What the heck? Is Juan Cole a Marxist? Does this explain his conspiracy theories? Should his writings be taken in the context of 19th century sociological pseudo-economics?

01:55 Posted in Iraq, Juan Cole, Media | Permalink | Comments (0) | Tags: marxism, capitalism

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Suicide Circle

"Internet kills nine in Japan," by Gaijinbiker, Riding Sun, http://ridingsun.blogspot.com/2005/02/internet-kills-nine-in-japan.html, 6 February 2005.

Suicide Circle is most notable for toping Battle Royale's horror and bodycount in the first minute. Cliches about sadness aside, Japan is in the business of processing despair

The AFP reports on the latest in a string of group suicides in Japan:

Nine people were found dead in two cars outside Tokyo today in what were believed to be the latest in a series of macabre suicide pacts involving charcoal burners that have swept Japan.

...Nearly 50 people have died in similar suicides since early October.


Gaijinbiker, after exonerating the internet from blame, analyzes

Instead of blaming technology, we should be looking at why these folks are so depressed in the first place:

Suicide rates rose after the economy began to slump in the 1990s.


So, to get suicides down, Japan needs to get economic growth up. And while there are plenty of structural problems in Japan's economy that need to be addressed, one thing that will help pull Japan out of its slump is the Internet.


Japan's anemic economy is a moral crises. Nations can happily grow quickly or slowly, but when they stagnate they breed misery. Japan's Prime Minister is a reformer, and his privatization and anti-agriwelfare reforms are promising. Let's hope he can get Japan moving again before they have 1930s-level unemployment like their former ally.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The Greatest Magazine, Ever

"In terminal decline?" The Economist, http://www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3536178&subjectid=348873, 6

Comments like this make London-based The Economist the greatest magazine, ever. It is found in the print edition on page 14. For greatest effect, read outloud with a stuffy British accent.

Pedants will complain that we have ignored dollars sitting in bank accounts, but after a couple of free in-flight gin-and-tonics, most frequent fliers care little about the difference between M0 (the narrowest measure of the supply of... money) and M3.


And there's always the swimsuit issue.

03:45 Posted in Media | Permalink | Comments (1)

Al Jazeera's Future

"Israel's welfare system feels the pinch," by Khalid Amayreh, al Jazeera, http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EE6EA66D-B6A4-4897-BD51-AC966AC83C9A.htm, 3 February 2005.

About the same time al Jazeera runs a story mentioning "hunger" in Israel

Meanwhile, hunger continues to win more territory in Israel as a result of rising unemployment and budget cuts affecting social and welfare services.


Zen Pundit picks up on a discussion between Collounsbury and I on possible al Jazeera privitization.

This discussion aside, Collounsbury is worth checking out. I'm still not sure what to make of him, but he writes very well, gets to the point quickly, and comes highly recommended.

02:40 Posted in Israel, Media | Permalink | Comments (1) | Tags: aljazeera