Friday, June 08, 2007

The myth of Congressional Democrats' helplessness

The Democratic presidential candidates had a big debate last week but I didn't watch it. I mean, Who cares? I knew that they would try to weasel out of their shitty vote on the war funding, and that most of them would say what they did in fact say: "Hey, we tried to end the war, but Bush vetoed it, and now we're stuck."

What a bunch of tripe. This shit isn't rocket science, Gentle Readers. This here vid from YouTube lays it out pretty simply.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

FCC loses in indecency ruling

"A federal appeals court tossed out an indecency ruling against Rupert Murdoch's Fox television network yesterday and broadly questioned whether the Federal Communications Commission has the right to police the airwaves for offensive language." - Washington Post

News media Information 202 / 418-0500
Fax-On-Demand 202 / 418-2830 TTY 202/418-2555
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D. C. 20554

This is an unofficial announcement of Commission action. Release of the full text of a Commission order constitutes official action. See MCI v. FCC. 515 F 2d 385 (D.C. Circ 1974).

June 4, 2007 David Fiske 202-418-0513

[Before proceeding, I think it is only fair warning to our Gentle Readers that an agent of the Federal government is about to use some choice and probably offensive words right out loud here in a public document, one, by the way, which is easily accessible to any computer-literate 10 year-old. OK, fair warning, here we go....the Mgt]

Today, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said the use of the words “fuck” and “shit” by Cher and Nicole Richie was not indecent.

[Damn! First paragraph, and they said TWO bad bad words already, and NO PARENTAL WARNING LABEL. Shame on them.]

I completely disagree with the Court’s ruling and am disappointed for American families. I find it hard to believe that the New York court would tell American families that “shit” and “fuck” are fine to say on broadcast television during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience.

[Actually, fucktard, the New York court said no such thing. They said that you couldn't "FINE" them for allowing those bad words to go out over the airwaves. Big difference, you cretin.]

The court even says the Commission is “divorced from reality.” It is the New York court, not the Commission, that is divorced from reality in concluding that the word “fuck” does not invoke a sexual connotation.

 [When I was serving in the reality-based military, we said “fuck” a lot, and it almost never had a sexual connotation. For military folks on active duty, fuck is a versatile word, manifesting itself as a verb, an adverb and an adjective, oftentimes in the same sentence and frequently referring to the same fucked-up situation.]

These words were used in prime time, when children were watching.

[Whose children? Yours? I sure don't let my kids watch that crap at any time of day.]

Ironically, the court implies that the existence of blocking technologies is one reason the FCC shouldn’t be so concerned. But even a vigilant parent using current blocking technologies such as the V-Chip couldn’t have avoided this language, because they rely on the program’s rating, and in this case the programs were rated appropriate for family viewing.

If ever there was an appropriate time for Commission action, this was it. If we can’t restrict the use of the words “fuck” and “shit” during prime time, Hollywood will be able to say anything they want, whenever they want.

[Right for once there, dickbreath. It's called “freedom of speech.” It's like a First Amendment kind of thing. But you wouldn't know about shit like that.]

The Court Decision

As part of its March 15, 2006 Omnibus Indecency Order, the FCC determined that the 2002 and 2003 Billboard Music Awards broadcasts were indecent and profane.

During the 2002 Billboard Music Awards, the entertainer Cher made the following comment:

“I’ve had unbelievable support in my life, and I’ve worked really hard. I’ve had great people to work with. Oh, yeah, you know what? I’ve also had critics for the last 40 years saying that I was on my way out every year. Right. So fuck ‘em. I still have a job and they don’t.”

[And fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, I say.]

During the 2003 Billboard Music Awards, Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie took part in the following exchange:

Paris Hilton: “Now, Nicole, remember, this is a live show, watch the bad language.”

Nicole Richie: “Okay, God.”

Paris Hilton: “It feels so good to be standing here tonight.”

Nicole Richie: “Yeah, instead of standing in mud and [audio blocked]. Why do they even call it ‘The Simple Life?’ Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It’s not so fucking simple.”

[Good point there, Nicole. Maybe you aren't as fucked up in the head as you pretend to be. Although it does beg the question as to why there was cowshit in your Prada purse in the first place. Just saying.]

Fundamentally, the Commission acted in accordance with its Congressional mandate to prohibit indecency and profanity on the airwaves, and in keeping with previous court decisions regarding indecency.

[I wouldn't be putting much stock in Congressional mandates, Bub. Most of those assholes can't tell their pieholes from their asscracks.]

In the case before the court today, the Commission was restricting only the use of two of those seven words. But as a result of this ruling, the New York court may have prohibited the Commission from enforcing any restrictions on language.
[Lord, I hope so.]

Potential Solution

Today’s decision by the Court increases the importance of Congress considering content-neutral solutions to give parents more tools and consumers generally more control and choice over programming coming into their homes. By allowing them to choose the channels that come into their homes, Congress could deliver real power to American families.

[This is a really fucking brilliant idea! We could call it Content Labeling, or better yet, a fucking remote control!]

Permitting parents to have more choice in the channels they receive may prove to be the best solution to content concerns. All of the potential versions of a la carte would avoid government regulation of content while enabling consumers, including parents, to receive only the programming they want and believe to be appropriate for their families. Providing consumers more choice would avoid the First Amendment concerns of content regulation, while providing real options for Americans.

[Nope. Doesn't work. I've already had the experience of cable, then satellite TV. Fifty-seven channels and not a god-damned thing worth watching on a single one.]

- FCC -

There you have it Gentle Readers. Kevin Martin, Official Asshat of the Federal Government, on paper and for the record, used the patently offensive words “shit” and “fuck” in a public document 9 times.

Seems kind of gratuitous, if you ask me. Maybe the FCC is shooting for higher ratings.

Global warming starts in your driveway

Credit: iamtherevolution[dot]org

I have lived in the greater Los Angeles area for most of my life. Like the good native Southern Californian that I am, I almost always have had a car, sometimes a fast motorcycle or two, not to mention the old but reliable Ford F150 pickup truck for pulling the vacation trailer and/or the funky dune buggy.

My personal tastes run to Austin-Healey 3000s, Pontiac GTOs, custom-built Mustang GTs, Nissan 300Zs and the like; brutally fast and not necessarily fuel-efficient. But as I have gotten older, I have reduced my use of privately-owned self-propelled motor vehicles to zero.

I didn't get religion or anything, it's just that - using the bus and rail system almost exclusively - my insurance bill dropped to zero; I have no bank loan to pay off; I couldn't care less about how much premium costs for gas-guzzling SUVs; and I don't fume and fret in traffic, stuck on the five-way flyover anymore. My annual Metro pass costs about $550, and it's good 24/7. I do splurge on a cab on the rare occasions that I get stuck late in the evening far from home and the bus might be inconvenient, but that's not often.

I read in the papers that the average atmospheric temperature is going up inexorably as we continue to pour premium into our monster cars. Consider this: the California state budget calls for spending almost as much on <>prisons<> as we do for education, while leaving our infrastructure (read streets & highways) to crumble a little bit more with the passing of each and every two-ton Cadillac Escalade or Suburban.

So here's what the powers-that-be propose as a solution: shafting the little guy one more time. The Los Angeles Metro system board is proposing a fare increase of about 15%, to take effect at the beginning of the Metro's fiscal year in October, to be followed by a series of increases over the next two years, for a total fare increase of 72% over the next four years.

This in the face of angry calls to get the jammed freeways unstuck, not to mention global warming, or oil depletion concerns.

Mass transit is supposed to be part of a solution for global warming and urban crowding, but we are making it twice as expensive for someone like me who would prefer to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. (Not to mention those ten million Mexican illegals driving clapped-out Camaros because it is literally cheaper in LA to drive an uninsured, unsmogged beater than to take public transportation).

"No one wanted to see a fare increase and it's probably true that we'll probably will lose some riders," said [LA County] County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who co-authored the plan with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. "But I think in the long run, we owe to this community a stable organization." - Long Beach Press-Telegram

What a crock. We don't need a "stable" organization; we need an affordable way to get to work. Neither Supervisor Yaroslavsky or Molina take the bus to work; they ride in private automobiles, and park their cars in city-owned municipal parking garages. Haven't these people heard that it's "Volume, volume, volume!"? Lower the damn fare, more people pile on the buses and trains, and the cost/mile goes down and everybody's happy.

The Metro is not a private enterprise; exactly like the freeways it is a tax-payer funded (public) utility, for crying out loud. Get the commuters off the jammed Harbor Freeway and to work in a reasonable amount of time on either the bus or the light rail. Maybe if there were MORE potholes commuters would get so fed up with the lousey paving that they'd be glad for a cushy, smooth ride on the bus or train. And, while they're at it, raise the damn gasoline taxes. Gas is too cheap by half and it's the gas taxes that pay for our highways and bus systems in the first place.

Hell, they do it in Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, New York, and Paris and London and Berlin and Prague. Los Angeles should have a commuter system at least as good as Prague's, and as cheap.