US Censorship News

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30th September  Nutters in Dickhead Costumes...
 

 
National Coalition for the protection of children & familes logo Store indicted for novelty fancy dress costumes

Based on an article from The Kansas City Channel

A grand jury has indicted a Johnson County store for displaying supposedly obscene costumes.

According to the indictment, Spirit Halloween is accused of promoting obscenity that is harmful to minors. The store, which caters to both children and adults, is facing four misdemeanor counts.

KMBC's Maria Antonia reported that some of the costumes available at the store include a well-developed woman in a wet T-shirt contest, a giant version of the male organ, a snake charmer with a snake coming out of a man's pants, and one called Country Lovin', which shows a man with a sheep on his front side and what looks like an exposed rear end.

Two other businesses in Johnson County were also indicted this week for promoting obscenity: Hollywood at Home for possessing and intending to sell supposedly obscene videos; and Priscilla’s for possessing and intending to sell an supposedly obscene video claiming to involve teens and sex toys.

The grand jury was called after an anti-pornography group, the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, successfully petitioned and requested a grand jury to investigate local businesses.

Update: Babysitter 18

7th October 2007

Gringo Loco, a convenience store in Olathe, was charged with a misdemeanor of promoting obscenity by selling one "obscene" DVD. Gringo Loco co-owner Alex Huynh told XBIZ that the DVD named in the indictment was Babysitter 18. Surely an innocuous standard hardcore title

 

29th September  Verizon Censorship Aborted...
 

   
Verizon logoVerizon censored pro choice text message subscription service

From New York Post see full article
See also legal analysis

Admitting it made a mistake, Verizon Wireless has opted not to block pro-choice text messages from an abortion rights group.

The cellphone company blamed the ban - which made headlines in several newspapers yesterday on "a dusty internal policy."

The issue arose after Verizon Wireless got a request from Naral Pro-Choice America to distribute text messages that cellphone customers could subscribe to.

But Verizon rejected the request on the grounds that it had the right to block text messages that may be considered controversial or unsavory to any of our users.

Soon after word of the ban became known, consumers started flooding Verizon Wireless with complaints.

Top executives quickly got together to consider the controversy and issued a statement yesterday saying the messages would be permitted.

Naral rep Ted Miller noted that Verizon has approved text-messaging programs using short codes for many other vendors and organizations: The bottom line is they got caught in the act. What Verizon did reflects how a corporation can unilaterally try to censor messages from people who have asked to receive them.

John Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, which handles telecommunications issues, said, I am particularly concerned by its ability and apparent willingness to interfere when customers choose to receive legitimate and legal communications from an organization.

 

26th September  Broad Brush Censorship...
 

   
Ohio state sealOhio internet restriction law struck down

From Whiotv.com

A federal judge in Dayton has rejected a state law that restricts the dissemination of sexually oriented material over the Internet.

The law bars people from sending communications harmful to minors if the sender knows or should know that the recipient is under age.

In his ruling, Judge Walter Rice said the law violates the First Amendment because it was too broadly written and could have ensnared adults having sexually frank discussions in chat rooms.

He said there's no way to ensure that minors aren't part of the conversation. The law was challenged by bookstores, publishers, music and video retailers and newspapers.

A spokesman for Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann said the state is considering its options.

 

26th September  Rapping Committee...
 

   
Capitol HillUS Congress committee discusses 'degrading images' in the music industry

From Google News

Former gangsta rapper Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller, told a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing that he is now committed to producing clean lyrics. The angry music of his past, he said, came from seeing relatives and friends shot and killed.

But he said now that he doesn't want his own children to listen to his music, so if I can do anything to change this, I'm going to take a stand and do that. I want to apologize to all the women out there. I was honestly wrong.

But rapper and record producer Levell Crump, known as David Banner, was defiant as lawmakers pressed him on his use of offensive language. I'm like Stephen King: horror music is what I do, he said in testimony laced with swear words. Change the situation in my neighborhood and maybe I'll get better, he told one member of Congress.

The two rappers were joined by music industry executives and scholars. They disagreed over who was to blame for sexist and degrading language in hip-hop music but were united in opposing government censorship as a solution.

If by some stroke of the pen hip-hop was silenced, the issues would still be present in our communities, Crump said.

At the hearing, music videos showing scantily clad women were played; music executives in dark suits testified on the uses of the "bitch","ho" and "nigger", and black civil rights leaders talked of corporate exploitation.

From Imus to Industry: The business of stereotypes and degrading images was the title of the hearing, referring to former radio host Don Imus, who lost his job after making derogatory comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team.

Record company executives defended the parental guidance labels and edited versions they said keep the more controversial material away from children and stressed that uniform standards or censorship won't work.

We have a responsibility to speak authentically to our viewers, said Philippe Dauman, president & CEO of Viacom Inc. He said his company takes an active role in editing obscenities out of music videos and excising gang symbols or portrayals of violence, but we also believe that it is not our role to censor the creative expression of artists.

 

24th September  Nuisance...
 

 
Halo 3Jack Thompson tries to get Halo 3 blocked as a nuisance

From Game Politics
See more about Halo 3

Nutter Jack Thompson is seeking to have Halo 3 declared  a public nuisance in Florida.

With the video game event of the year - the Halo 3 launch on 25th September, game-hating attorney Jack Thompson is apparently seeking to re-create one of his greatest non-triumphs.

Although he failed miserably with a similar bid against Rockstar’s Bully in 2006, Thompson hopes to have a Florida court declare Halo 3 a public nuisance and block its sale.

Once again, Thompson is basing his claim on a Florida statute which defines public nuisances as that which: …tend[s] to annoy the community, injure the health of the citizens in general, or corrupt the public morals

As with Bully, Thompson clearly hopes the court will grant him a hearing. Although after last year’s well-publicized Bully performance, which earned Thompson a Bar complaint from presiding Judge Ronald Friedman, that seems unlikely.

 

23rd September  Comcast Carnivores...
 

 
Alicia Silverstone in GoVeg advertUS cable company blocks Alicia Silverstone advert

From Digital Spy see full article

A new advert for animal rights group PETA that shows Alicia Silverstone partially naked has been pulled by a cable TV company to avoid 'offending' viewers.

In the ad the actress is seen walking out of a swimming pool and gives a message about living a vegetarian lifestyle.

It was scheduled to air for the first time last Wednesday, but Texas-based company Comcast Cable has stopped the commercial from being transmitted.

A spokesperson for the organisation claimed that 'nudity' was the reason for the decision to scrap the campaign.

 

20th September  Snitch at AT&T...
 

 
at&t logoAT&T agree to block internet content as requested by MPAA

From Slashdot see full article

Ars Technica is reporting that the MPAA is trying to convince major ISPs to do content filtering.

Now, merely wanting it is one thing, but the more important point is that 'AT&T has agreed to start filtering content at some mysterious point in the future.'

Given that AT&T already has the ability to wiretap everything for the NSA, it was only a matter of time before they found a way to profit from it, too.

 

19th September  Grand Theft Blame Game...
 

 
Grand Theft AutoMurder appeal blaming Grand Theft Auto

From Game Politics

A man who brutally murdered two police officers and a police dispatcher in 2003 will appear in court later today to appeal his conviction.

Devin Moore currently sits on death row in Alabama. His attorneys will argue before the state’s Court of Criminal Appeals that chilhood abuse and video games led him to commit the rampage killing inside the Fayette police station.

Moore, now 22, claimed the video game Grand Theft Auto and childhood abuse influenced his decision-making. His theory was rejected and the video game defence was disallowed during trial…

Moore’s attorney, James Standridge… argued that when Moore was in a “dissociative state” he automatically reverted to scripted behavior influenced by his repetitive video game exposure and childhood abuse.

 

18th September  Unconstitutional Games Law...
 

 
Manhunt 2 game coverPermanent injunction against Oklahoma law

From Game Politics

A federal court judge has issued a permanent injunction against Oklahoma’s 2006 video game law.

Judge Cauthron’s opinion makes abundantly clear that the Oklahoma legislature overreached in attempting to restrict the distribution of video games containing fantasy violence to minors, in part because there was no evidence that the games are harmful to anyone. The judge also noted that there is no way for an ordinary person to determine which games were covered by the Oklahoma law and which were not.

From Tech Liberation

Adam Thierer writes about Prof. Lawrence Tribe’s recent speech to Progress and Freedom Foundation’s Apsen Summit.

Tribe is a renowned legal scholar who spoke about a number of issues related to the First Amendment and technology. His comments on the regulation of violence are particularly relevant to the current efforts to legislate video games in California, New York and elsewhere.

Prof. Tribe… argued that the recent push by the FCC and some in Congress to regulate “excessive violence” on broadcast or cable television is doomed to fail if tested in the courts. Depictions of violence are already considered protected in other contexts…

And because there is almost certainly no way to define a strict category of objectionable violence, the regulations would likely be held to be overly broad or excessively vague by the courts. And such regulation would create a “chilling effect” on many reasonable forms of speech and artistic expression.

Tribe also pointed out that the growing supply of parental control tools and methods makes it even less likely that such regulation would pass constitutional muster. [Parental controls] represent a “less restrictive means” of dealing with underage access to objectionable material…

The malleability of children’s minds is not a defense [for regulation], Tribe noted. Many pro-censorship laws and regulations are premised on the idea that government action can be justified in the name of protecting children from objectionable content or communications.

But Tribe argued that the exact opposite is the case. Precisely because children’s minds are malleable, we should not empower government officials to have greater say over how they think or develop. In a free society that task should be left to families…

 

18th September  Goddam Censors...
 

 
Sally Fields award speechFox censor Sally fields speech at the Emmys

From Marty Feldmanize Me
See also acceptance speech video

Actress Sally Fields gave a hurried but heartfelt thank you to her producers, costars, and writers, but most of all to mothers, especially those waiting for children to return home from war. Then the orchestra kicks in and for 20 uncomfortable seconds she stutters and is lost for words. Then in one glorious burst of lucidity she collects herself and announces: Let's face it: If mothers ruled the world, there'd be no goddam wars in the first place, for which she receives loud applause from the audience.

If you were watching US television you didn't see this moment because it was censored by FOX. Did FOX censor her for political reasons? Some bloggers seem to feel so, but it could have simply been down to her use of the term "goddam"

 

13th September   Censorship Malfunction...
 

   
Janet Jackson's boob
CBS challenge FCC over the Janet Jackson fine

From iF Magazine

That whole mess about Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” in 2004 is in the news again because CBS is contesting the fine they were told to pay for the incident.

In federal court on Tuesday, CBS argued that the $550,000 fine that the FCC levied against it for the half a second flash of nearly naked breast of Jackson was an unjustified departure from established practice and a violation of due process. Their reasoning stems from the fact that similar fines, including those levied against Fox for expletives used on two different live broadcasts, had been overturned by the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, on the grounds that the FCC had not adequately explained or justified the fines. They also argued that, if the edict should remain in effect, it constitutes unreasonable censorship.

The FCC, for their part, claimed that the entire act between Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake was of a “highly sexual nature” and that the network should have been prepared for something of this sort to happen. Even though the act had been rehearsed twice (sans flash) and even though CBS did not know it was coming. Yeah – even the judges weren’t impressed by that reasoning.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals will decide the case in coming months, but commentators have noted the judges’ skepticism when it came to the FCC’s case.

Update: Petitioning the Supreme Court

28th September 2007

Solicitor General Paul D. Clement has authorized an FCC petition for the Supreme Court to review an appeals court decision invalidating the FCC policy on profanity. Clement, who represents federal agencies in Supreme Court cases, confirmed his support of the petition in his request for a deadline extension.

The Supreme Court will still need to make a decision on whether to actually hear the case. According to the Associated Press, if the high court decides to go forward with it, the case will be its first review of broadcast speech in three decades.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York found earlier this year that the FCC failed to justify its crackdown on profanity and “fleeting expletives” following the commission's uproar over language heard during the Fox Billboard Music Awards.

 

9th September   Listing Liabilities...
 

   
Craigslist logoTV discussion about escort adverts on CraigsList

It would be interesting to know how user-post sites such as pornoTube stand with respect to the 2257 record keeping law.

From XBiz

Adult industry attorney Lawrence Walters appeared on the CNBC TV show Power Lunch  to discuss the question of whether user-post websites are liable for illegal speech and conduct of site users.

Appearing with former federal prosecutor Jay Fahy and Power Lunch contributor Herb Greenberg, Walters and the panel discussed the question of whether CraigsList can be held legally liable for advertisements posted to the site by escorts and prostitutes seeking out clients.

Host Sue Herara opened the discussion by asking Fahy how the advertisements posted to CraigsList.com by escorts differed from similar ads that such people might take out in newspapers. Fahy responded that the ads on CraigsList are “a lot more specific.”

[The] ads in the newspapers are not super-explicit, you can kind of subtly read through the lines, Fahy said. On CraigsList, it’s very specific. They use acronyms to describe different types of sex acts; they even have costs in there, they say ‘this half hour will cost you 160 roses, an hour will cost you 200 roses.’ I mean, any idiot knows they aren't talking about roses, they’re talking about dollars.

Seizing on Fahy’s point about the explicit nature of some CraigsList postings, Herera asked Some people say it's almost like visiting a pornographic site in and of itself, which brings us to the liability question. Do you think that CraigsList should be held liable, or should even be permitted to construct the sites the way they are?

There’s nothing illegal about visiting a pornographic site, or operating a pornographic site, Walters said: As far as CraigsList and websites like it, they’re in a fairly good legal position. They are protected by certain federal laws, the Communications Decency Act being one, and it’s very difficult … for the government to hold a media outlet responsible for the content or conduct of advertisers or people responding to advertisements.

Walters added that CraigsList’s legal position was aided by the fact that you have hundreds of thousands if not millions of advertisements being posted to the website at any given time, and it would be very difficult to show any kind of level of knowledge that would be required to impose criminal liability, for example, on CL under aiding and abetting statutes or conspiracy.

Asked to respond to Walters’ point, Fahy said that it was “basically accurate,” and added that CraigsList’s international nature meant that the question was not something that U.S. law is going to end up controlling at the end of the day.

In a postshow interview, Walters told XBIZ that the legal question at hand — whether CraigsList could be held liable for the content of advertisements posted by users — was very much relevant to the adult industry, and particularly salient for people who operate message boards and blog sites that allow users to reply.

Anybody who operates a user-submission site should be interested, because the legal issues are identical, Walters said.


11th September   Entrapment on CraigsList...
 

   
Craigslist logoPolice scouring small ads for small offences

From The Independent see full article

Craigslist, the utilitarian and highly-trafficked website that long ago captured the online market for classified advertising in the United States and around the world, has now replaced red-light districts as the new battleground between prostitutes who are trying to reel in new punters – and undercover cops whose job it is to stop them.

Police departments are reporting new success in penetrating the electronic version of street-walking, in particular by scouring the postings on Craigslist, which they describe as a new hub of sex-for-sale activity.

Police in Nassau County, New York, for instance, report having arrested more than 70 "professional" women for posting their services on Craigslist since last year when they first grasped it had burgeoned into a cyber-bazaar for more than just jobs and second-hand boats. Most recently, eight women were taken into custody for working the posh resort towns of Long Island during the busy summer holiday season.

Vice-squad agents now spend hours surfing Craigslist looking for postings that seem to offer sex for money. With thousands of new ads appearing on its "erotic services" section each hour, it can be an eye-boggling task. Even more effective, however, have been the phoney ads placed by agents to entrap customers.

The development is a potential source of embarrassment for the company. However, under existing US law, it does not appear the list can be found liable for whatever content users choose to post on its pages.

Increasingly, the police are focusing on concocting and posting their phoney ads, which means it is the potential customers they catch. A single ad placed on the Seattle page of Craigslist recently snagged 71 eager respondents, including a bank officer, a construction worker and a surgeon.

In Jacksonville, Florida, another single ad posted by police for three days in August trawled in 33 men, among them a teacher. We got hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hits in emails and phone calls, confirmed John Hartley, an assistant chief sheriff.

 

8th September   Off Duty Propriety...
 

   
Department of Justice sealAppeal court allows policeman to be fired for operating adult website

From SF Gate see full article

A police department had the right to fire an officer for operating a Web site that featured sexually explicit photos and videos of his wife, a federal appeals court ruled.

Although Ronald Dible's conduct may have been unrelated to his job as a police officer in Chandler, Arizona, his actions hurt the department in the eyes of the public and were not protected by freedom of speech, said the Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

His activities were simply vulgar and indecent, said Judge Ferdinand Fernandez. They did not contribute speech on a matter of public concern.

But one member of the three-judge panel said the court's rationale might apply equally to an off-duty officer who angered some members of the public by marching in a gay pride parade.

Dible and his wife, Megan, started the Web site in September 2000 and charged users a fee for watching nude videos. The department did not learn about the site until January 2002 and questioned Ronald Dible, who initially denied he had anything to do with the site, the court said.

Dible was fired in April 2002. His suit, filed in 2003, claimed that the department had violated his right of free speech.

Upholding a lower-court ruling in the city's favor, the appeals court cited a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2004 that allowed San Diego to fire a police officer who had made and sold sexually explicit videos of himself, stripping out of a police uniform. The court said the officer's activities had harmed the police department and were not constitutionally protected.

Unlike that officer, Dible did not tell his porn customers that he was a police officer. But the court said the harm caused by his conduct, once disclosed, far outweighed any legal protection it deserved.

The public expects officers to behave with a high level of propriety, and, unsurprisingly, is outraged when they do not do so, said Fernandez, joined by Chief Judge Mary Schroeder. The law and their own safety demands that they be given a degree of respect, and the sleazy activities of Ronald and Megan Dible could not help but undermine that respect.

Judge William Canby, in a separate opinion, said Dible's lies to police investigators were the only valid grounds for his dismissal. He said police officers, like other public employees, have a right to free expression outside the workplace that is unrelated to their job, even if some find it objectionable.

 

7th September   Blacklisted Words...
 

   
The N Word DVD cover
Black comedian silenced in Miami

From the Guardian see full article

When the black comedian and movie star Eddie Griffin, headlining an evening of stand-up routines, asked his 1,000-strong audience: Why are some black leaders telling us to stop using the n-word, he could not have expected what happened next. The microphone went dead.

Griffin, of Date Movie and Undercover Brother fame, was 10 minutes into his act in Miami last Friday night, having liberally peppered his jokes with the word. But the organisers of the event, the magazine Black Enterprise, had had enough.

Minutes after the stage fell silent, the magazine's publisher, Earl Graves, announced to a standing ovation that we will not allow our culture to go backwards. Black Enterprise stands for decency, black culture and dignity. He added that Griffin would be paid his full fee but would not be allowed to finish his act.

The movement, spearheaded by the website abolishthenword.com and the New York-based campaigner Al Sharpton, has grown rapidly since the controversy surrounding the use of the n-word onstage by ex-Seinfeld actor Michael Richards and Don Imus's removal from his radio show for describing black players from a basketball team as "nappy-headed hos".

 

6th September   US Senate Talk Hip Hop...
 

   
Get Rich posterHearing to focus on misogyny & degradation

From Hip Hop DX see full article

It was only a matter of time before Capitol Hill weighed in on matters hip hop.

In a move reminiscent of the congressional hearings of the 90's surrounding "gangsta rap," Illinois Senator Bobby Rush is calling for a special hearing that will focus on misogyny and degradation, with a special focus on the degradation of black women in the industry.

The hearing will focus primarily on Hip Hop lyrics, but Rush says he is not targeting any particular genre, medium or artist. In addition to artists, Rush wants to talk to the individuals at the top.

I want to talk to executives at these conglomerates who've never taken a public position on what they produce, Rush said: But it's been surprisingly very difficult to get them to commit to appearing.

The hearing, titled From Imus to Industry: The Business of Stereotypes and Degradation is tentatively set for Sept. 25. The witness list is still being compiled and as of press time, Master P is the only artist slated to attend.

Others on the list are said to include Philippe Dauman of Viacom and Doug Morris of Universal Music Group.

Members of African American women's interest groups have also been invited to attend and speak.

For Hip Hop fans who fear that new censorship laws may surface from the hearing, Rush says that he supports the First Amendment entitling artists to freedom of speech, but also supports artistic responsibility.

 

6th September   Porn Thieves...
 

   
San Rafael Police badge San Rafael police sued for unlawful porn seizure

From AVN

A man has filed suit against the San Rafael police department to retrieve his large porn collection. Dennis Saunders was convicted of secretly videotaping two women in the apartment complex where he worked, and Marin County police seized the XXX collection of 500 adult titles and 250 magazines during the investigation.

There's absolutely no legal foundation for them withholding perfectly legal, adult-oriented material, Saunders' attorney, Jon Rankin, told the Associated Press.

Saunders was arrested in 2002 and released a month ago.

The city is seeking direction from the judge regarding the confiscated porn: If the court orders us to give it back to him, we will give it back to him, city lawyer Thomas Bertrand told the AP.

 

5th September   Nutters Victorious over Military...
 

   
Playboy MagazineAdult magazines banned from sale on military bases

Based on an article from XBiz

A Pentagon panel has determined that magazines that previously had been sold on military bases, including Wet and Blonde and Beyond, should no longer be sold on U.S. bases.

However some softcore adult magazines, such as Playboy, can continue on U.S. military bases, ruling that the magazines are not “sexually explicit.”

Leslye Arsht, the deputy under secretary of defense for military community and family policy, wrote in a letter last week that following a careful review of the materials, a Pentagon committee has determined that there is nothing sexually explicit about publications like Nude Playmates, Celebrity Skin and other adult publications.

The Pentagon’s latest review of on-base adult materials resulted from a letter sent by antipornography nutters in May, in which the activist groups called for stronger enforcement of the Military Honor and Decency Act signed into law in 1996. The law prohibits the sale or rental of sexually explicit material on property under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense.

As defined in the law, the term “sexually explicit material” means an an audio recording, a film or video recording, or a periodical with visual depictions, produced in any medium, the dominant theme of which depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs, in a lascivious way.

While conservative groups and some military pastors also have called on the Pentagon to enforce the law with regards to sexually explicit materials that soldiers obtain online, the statute itself does not provide for such regulation, as the law pertains only to “officially provided” materials.

The law states that a member of the armed forces or a civilian officer or employee of the Department of Defense acting in an official capacity may not provide for sale, remuneration, or rental sexually explicit material to another person, but the statute does not address the question of soldiers obtaining such material through other means.

Arsht said that the Pentagon panel soon would conduct an “expeditious review” of other adult publications, including Playboy’s Vixen and XXX to determine if those magazines qualify as sexually explicit.

 

5th September   Obscene Decision...
 

   
Department of Justice sealProsecution of text stories continues

From XBiz

US District Judge Joy Flowers Conti has refused to dismiss the federal obscenity charges pending against Karen Fletcher, aka Red Rose.

Fletcher’s website contained free excerpts of text only stories featuring child sex, murder and torture, with the full-length stories available to users for a fee. Fletcher was charged with one count for each of six stories that involved the kidnapping, torture, sexual molestation and murder of children nine years and younger.

Fletcher was indicted last year on six counts of transmission of obscene material in connection with short stories that she posted on the Internet for a $10 monthly fee. Fletcher’s website had 29 subscribers, according to evidence submitted in the case.

Jerome Mooney, one of Fletcher’s attorneys,  attempted to distinguish Fletcher’s work from graphic visual depictions involving real people and real sex, like the materials involved in the Extreme Associates case: Textual material is different than other kinds of visual depictions. Text is as close to the process of thought as we can get.

In response to that point, Conti asked Mooney if the problem in the case wasn’t that Fletcher had written the stories, but that she had sold them for profit. Mooney countered that the only way Fletcher could disseminate the stories online, and at the same time keep children from reading them, was to require the subscription fee, payable by credit card.

The 1st Amendment doesn’t mean much if one is only allowed to write down their own thoughts for their own perusal, Mooney said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman responded that the government is not trying to control Fletcher’s thoughts: There’s no legal prohibition with Ms. Fletcher sharing these stories with next-door neighbors or friends, Kaufman said, adding that the law does prohibit distributing such stories through the mail or online.

Mooney said that he was disappointed by the ruling, however, that Conti declined to make a pretrial determination of whether the stories are obscene. Mooney noted that Fletcher has been kept from publishing her stories due to the charges pending against her, even though there has been no finding that the stories are legally obscene: It has a chilling effect. We try very hard to keep speech free.

 

1st September   Closet Gay...
 

   
Larry Craig - rightAnti-Gay spouting Senator caught being not so anti in airport toilets

From AFP

The US Republican Senator Larry Craig, caught in an undercover sting soliciting sex in an airport bathroom, will resign on Saturday, Republican Party officials told the Idaho Statesman newspaper.

Craig, 62, was arrested June 11 in a men's bathroom at Minneapolis-St Paul airport by an undercover police officer investigating complaints of homosexual activity. The officer said that Craig solicited him for sex.

Craig pleaded guilty on August 8 to a misdemeanor misconduct charge, paid more than 500 dollars in fines and fees and received a 10-day suspended sentence over the affair.

Craig, who represented Idaho on Capitol Hill for 27 years, has said he did nothing wrong, repeatedly insisted that he is not gay, and said that he only entered a plea deal in a bid to cover up an embarrassing incident. He reversed course Tuesday, saying he regretted his plea.

Revelations about the Idaho senator, an opponent of gay marriage, spelt more bad news for a party which has paid a heavy price at the polls for the clouding of its moral message to social and Christian conservative voters.

From Evangelical Right

And to confirm his hypocrisy here is a selection from Larry Craig's voting record:

* Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. (Jun 2006)
* Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
* Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
* Voted YES on prohibiting same-sex marriage. (Sep 1996)
* Voted NO on prohibiting job discrimination by sexual orientation. (Sep 1996)

Update: Resigned

2nd September

Senator Larry Craig, who started the week as a revered stalwart of the conservative wing of the Republican Party, ended it with his career in ruins as he announced his resignation yesterday.

Craig bowed to the inevitable yesterday and finally said the hardest words. I apologise for what I have caused. I am deeply sorry, he told a crowd of reporters in the city of Boise, Idaho. He did not repeat his declaration that he was not gay but said: I have little control over what people choose to believe.

 

31st August  Update: Blame Game Over...
 

   
Oldboy DD coverFinal report into Virginia Tech killings

From Game Politics
See also final report

The final report of Governor Tim Kaine’s Virginia Tech Review Panel has been made public, and video games are NOT identified as a factor in the massacre.

Quite the opposite, in fact. The only game cited as being played by Cho is Sonic the Hedgehog. An overall non-involvement with games is detailed by his college roommates.

From Chapter IV, Mental Health History of Seung Hui Cho:

...Sun and her parents recall that Cho seemed to be doing better. He was enrolled in a Tae Kwon Do program for awhile, watched TV, and played video games like Sonic the Hedgehog. None of the video games were war games or had violent themes.

...Years later when he was in high school, Cho was asked to write about his hobbies and interests. He wrote: I like to listen to talk shows and alternative stations, and I like action movies…My favorite movie is X-Men, favorite actor is Nicolas Cage, favorite book is Night Over Water, favorite band is U2.

...
Cho’s roommate never saw him play video games. He would get movies from the library and watch them on his laptop. The roommate never saw what they were, but they always seemed dark. Cho would listen to and download
heavy metal music.

...Cho went to bed early and got up early, so his roommate just left him alone and gave him his space. The only activities Cho engaged in were studying, sleeping, and downloading music. He never saw him play a video game, which he thought strange since he and most other students play them.

 

25th August   M for Modified...
 

   
Manhunt 2 game cover
Manhunt 2 now rated M and set for US release

From Take 2 Games

Rockstar Games today announced it will release Manhunt 2 in North America on October 31 2007.

This announcement follows the submission of a modified version of Manhunt 2 to the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), who has now rated the title "M" for Mature for ages 17 and older.

In June, Take-Two was compelled to suspend the release of the horror title when the ESRB issued an AO (Adults Only) rating.

Manhunt 2 is important to us, and we're glad it can finally be appreciated as a gaming experience, said Sam Houser, founder and executive producer of Rockstar Games: We love the horror genre. Manhunt 2 is a powerful piece of interactive story telling that is a unique video game experience. We think horror fans will love it.

Along with the Mature rating, the ESRB also assigned the following content descriptors to Manhunt 2: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content and Use of Drugs.


28th August  Update: Manhunt for an Explanation...
 

   
Manhunt 2 game cover
The mystery of the rapid re-rating

From Game Politics

The Manhunt 2 fallout continues as California State Senator Leland Yee (D) issues a call for the ESRB to explain its about-face on Manhunt 2 and backs an earlier demand for a federal investigation into the matter.

Yee, of course, is the architect of California’s 2005 video game law, which was recently declared unconstitutional by a federal judge.

Yee said: Parents can’t trust a rating system that doesn’t even disclose how they come to a particular rating. The ESRB and Rockstar should end this game of secrecy by immediately unveiling what content has been changed to grant the new rating and what correspondence occurred between the ESRB and Rockstar to come to this conclusion. Unfortunately, history shows that we must be quite skeptical of these two entities.

Clearly the ESRB has a conflict of interest in rating these games. I join the [Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood] in urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the process by which Manhunt 2’s rating was downgraded from AO to M.

From Game Politics

Plenty of theories in the blogosphere such as:

Theory 1: The whole things a scam!  Manhunt 2’s content hasn’t changed at all.  Take-Two and the ESRB are in cahoots to placate the industry’s critics.  

Theory 2: Rockstar did something simple but drastic like fading to black during the killings.
 
Theory 3: There was only one kill or sexual situation that earned the game an AO in the first place.  Maybe all Rockstar had to do was remove the testicle trauma or put some underwear on a bordello girl.
 
Theory 4:  Rockstar intentionally put in some truly over the top and obnoxious sex and/or violence that they never intended to have in the game.  It was included solely to have something to cut out when the ESRB balked.


31st August  Update: Being Adult about AO...
 

   
Manhunt 2 game cover
Is the commercial ban on adult games doing more harm than good?

All the US achieves by commercially banning adult ratings is that violent content gets forced into M rated games or R rated films.

From Game Politics

The game industry finds itself under a microscope. The issue of sales to children is a big one for critics like Leland Yee and the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. And for the Federal Trade Commission, which studies the industry’s marketing practices in relation to kids.

For their part, the console makers don’t want to be accused of licensing porn on a machine that’s sold at Toys’R'Us. The major game publishers are largely public corporations that don’t want to be seen as being in the porn creation business, either.

And it’s not just the Big Three console makers. Even if Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft were willing to license the AO version of Manhunt 2 to run on their systems, major retailers would not stock an adults only game.

The dilemma is steeped in culture, politics, finance and technology but it’s time to start the dialogue.

Surprisingly, State Senator Leland Yee, a frequent critic of the video game industry, agrees with many of these points. Adam Keigwin, one of Yee’s top aides said:

Senator Yee would agree with [Georgia Tech Professor] Ian Bogost that the consoles should allow play of AO rated games.  The parental controls are necessary however. Dr. Yee has always said that the industry has a right to make extremely violent games and to sell them to adults.

His issue has consistently been about protecting children and eliminating their access to the most violent games without their parents’ knowledge.

Another problem with this whole ratings mess is that the ESRB just refuses to use the AO rating for violence despite the descriptor calling for such a rating when there are “graphic depictions of violence.”  If Manhunt doesn’t qualify, what would? 

 

30th August   The Many Orifices of George Bush...
 


Yeo's porn collage of BushCollage made from porn pictures

From Metro

When a British artist was denied US backing to paint a portrait of President George Bush he decided to make an 'alternative' version - from images of porn.

Now Jonathan Yeo has caued a stir in the US, where Republicans have attacked the work for being in poor taste.

A Republican spokesman said: This picture is very distasteful. Why would anyone want to make a picture of our President from pornographic material?

But Jonathan, son of former Tory backbencher Tim Yeo, told Metro: I did it for fun. I was mildly irritated after the commission was cancelled and just went with this idea which initially I thought would not end up in a gallery.

I suppose it was a bit of amusement for myself, poking fun at this unpopular man and for the majority of those who have seen it it has struck a chord. Essentially it makes people smile and it's an interesting new medium for me.


Although it hasn't gone down too well with some sections of America, Jonathan's work has caught the attention of the art fraternity this side of the Pond.

It has been unveiled at the Lazarides Gallery in London's Soho and is set to be a star attraction.

 

29th August

  A New Fad for Self Censorship...

 

   
Cartoon: Fashion fad for radical islamOpus cartoon missing from US newspapers

From Spero News

The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday's installment of Berkeley Breathed's "Opus," in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.

At least two dozen newspapers refused to run a cartoon last Sunday (the first of a two-part series) because it might offend Muslims; more newspapers are expected to censor the September 2 instalment. The cartoon strip that was slated to run on August 26, Berkeley Breathed's "Opus," contained a sexually suggestive panel and poked fun at radical Islam. "Opus" is syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, which is led by Alan Shearer.

Shearer explained that Whenever something lands close to the edge, we give editors enough notice in case they choose to run something else. He checked with Islamic experts to see if the "Opus" strips might be a problem, and even though they said they weren't, they were nixed anyway. Muslim staffers at the Washington Post were also asked for their input.

The installment did not appear in the Post's print version, but it ran on WashingtonPost.com and Salon.com. The same will hold true for the upcoming Sept. 2 strip, which is a continuation of the plotline.

 

28th August

  Gone Gonzales...

 

   
Alberto Gonzales
US anti porn Attorney General resigns

With his promises to prosecute porn producers etc, I don't suppose that many in the adult industry will be unhappy to see him go. His big idea to prosecute porn for being addictive like drugs didn't seem to come to fruition.

From AVN

Alberto Gonzales has resigned his position as Attorney General in the wake of political controversy over corruption in the U.S. Department of Justice.

Gonzales' misleading testimony before Congress about the politically-motivated dismissal of nine U.S. attorneys and the wiretapping of suspected terrorists was a main factor leading up to his resignation. Despite the unwavering support of President Bush, Gonzales faced heated criticism from both Republicans and Democrats over abuses of power in the DOJ.

DOJ documents revealed that the firings of attorneys Paul Charlton and Dan Bogden were related to the Bush Administration's anti-porn agenda. AVN's Mark Kernes reported earlier this year, federal obscenity task force leader Brent Ward had expressed dissatisfaction with the attorneys' alleged lack of cooperation in pursuing obscenity cases.

 

27th August

 Update: Fighting over Cockfighting...

 

   
Gamecock magazineHumane Society takes Amazon to court

From the New York Times see full article

The Humane Society has filed suit against Amazon over sales of The Gamecock magazine.

The online bookstore sells subscriptions to two cockfighting magazines, The Feathered Warrior and The Gamecock, even though cockfighting has been declared illegal in all states (until Louisiana’s ban takes effect next summer, the activity remains legal in parts of the state).

After trying in vain to persuade Amazon to stop selling the publications, the Humane Society filed a civil lawsuit in District of Columbia Superior Court asserting that the Web company violates animal cruelty laws and that the magazines, which run advertisements for blades that attach to birds’ legs, are effectively catalogs for illegal goods.

But Amazon says the suit amounts to censorship. These materials are legal to sell, and we do not believe we should act as a censor because their message is objectionable to some people, said Patty Smith, a spokeswoman for Amazon, adding that her company sells subscriptions to more than 90,000 magazines. With our incredible selection of titles, we’re bound to sell something that someone will find objectionable.

Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, said his organization would never hinder free speech. We think that Amazon should have the right to sell magazines with pro-cockfighting editorial, ...BUT... they cross the line when they advertise the sale of contraband.

Mark Pollot, a lawyer based in Boise, Idaho who represents Verna A. Dowd, publisher of The Feathered Warrior, said that while federal law prohibited promoting cockfighting or shipping birds or gear across state lines, the advertisements themselves were aboveboard. The Humane Society itself laments that because of loopholes, possessing cockfighting paraphernalia is legal in 39 states, while possessing fighting birds is legal in 17.

The bottom line is as long as its legal someplace, you’re not advertising an illegal activity, Pollot said.

 

27th August  Lust for an NC-17 Rating
 

   
Lust Caution poster
Ang Lee's Lust, Caution rated NC-17

Based on an article from Rope of Silicon

Variety is reporting that Ang Lee's Lust, Caution has earned an NC-17 rating, and Focus Features has accepted it!

This is not normal. Not by a long shot considering they can't promote the film using TV spots, some newspapers restrict the advertising and some theaters explicitly say they won't play any NC-17 rated films.

What is the highest grossing NC-17 rated film of all-time? That would be Showgirls at a mere $20.3 million, but this doesn't seem like it could possibly be a play for box-office glory considering the film is also 100% spoken in Mandarin and isn't the $128 million action fare Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was.

Why is it rated NC-17? We will have to wait until next week, but Variety says the production notes compare it to the sexually implicit Last Tango in Paris.

Update: Cut Version gets Chinese Release

30th August

Ang Lee's Lust, Caution, will be aired in Chinese theaters from September 26.

Ren Zhonglun, the president of the Shanghai Film Group and a film collaborator, said that he had watched the demo version of Lust, Caution but didn't find any outrageous scenes. He did admit that Chinese censors had voiced some opinions for revisions that Ang Lee has accepted.

In particular sex scenes will be cut.

 

16th August  Jerry! Jerry!
 

   
Jerry Springer: The opera DVD coverJerry Springer: The Opera in the US

Based on an article from XBiz

After landing the first nonexclusive American license to stage the hit British musical Jerry Springer -- The Opera last year, the creative team at Playhouse on the Square began to wonder if they could actually pull it off in Memphis.

Did they have the talent pool, the financial resources, and an audience jaded enough to handle an operatic score that, by some counts, contains more than 3,000 voicings of the f-word (or 96 instances in the script multiplied by the number of chorus members)?

Critics of the original 2003 London production raved about the show. Fans made it a West End hit for more than two years. It even won the Olivier Award for best musical.

Both Playhouse's executive producer Jackie Nichols and director Bob Hetherington pursued the script, wondering if, by taking it on, they'd be the first victims of the "curse."

Broadway, along with other major regional theaters, had already passed on "Springer." The content was just too hot for conservative theatergoers. Its English tour had been hampered by protests from Christian organizations.

Jerry Springer -- The Opera plays until Sept. 9 at Playhouse on the Square. The creators of the show will give an audience talk-back on Sunday after the performance.

 

15th August  Nutters Can't Find Obscenity, Only Offence
 

   
Morality in MediaUS Government funds nutters to report obscenity

Based on an article from XBiz

A Justice Department program to fight supposed obscenity on the Internet, funded by a $150,000-a-year earmark in a spending bill and operated by antiporn nutters, has resulted in no prosecutions for obscenity.

The Justice Department website routes citizen complaints about obscenity to ObscenityCrimes.org, a website run by antiporn group Morality in Media, which receives the grant money.

Two retired law enforcement officers check the reported sites for legally definable obscenity. A reported 67,000 complaints have been forwarded to the Justice Department and federal prosecutors through this program.

None has been prosecuted.

Any program that fields public complaints on a matter as complex as obscenity can never be expected to play a meaningful role in the decisions of what is to be prosecuted and where, 1st Amendment attorney Jeffrey Douglas told XBIZ. Lay people will simply call in about something that they are offended by. Individuals' offense could hardly be less relevant to the criteria for obscenity as defined by the Miller opinion.

It's even worse when the entity requesting such calls is an ideologically extreme entity, Morality in Media, which is attempting to alter the definition of obscenity into one in which if they can see genital penetration, somebody ought to go to prison. Expecting that the calls that they stimulate will be meaningful is ludicrous.


The fact that we're spending money on this program is, in fact, simply welfare to extreme political organizations that some ideologues in the White House want to subsidize.

The president of Morality in Media, Robert W. Peters, is disappointed with the Justice Department’s failure inaction on any of his group’s complaints.

Stephen G. Bates, a Harvard-trained lawyer and journalism professor at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, discovered the ObscenityCrimes.org program through a Freedom of Information Act inquiry. He said he was appalled when he discovered that the Justice Department was outsourcing a search for obscenity.

 

9th August  AT&T Corporate Censors...
 

   
Pearl Jam CDPearl Jam censored singing: George Bush, leave this world alone

From The Wall Street Journal

When rock band Pearl Jam sung the lyrics George Bush, leave this world alone at a music festival over the weekend, fans following along online didn't hear the message chanted from a Chicago stage.

AT&T Inc., which broadcast the performance on its Blue Room Web site edited the lyrics from its live Webcast of the Sunday performance at Lollapalooza, leaving the musicians to cry censorship.

AT&T blames a contract agency that it hires to use a two-minute delay to edit out profanity between songs and "questionable actions" such as on-stage nudity for its all-ages Web site. AT&T said an employee of the agency mistakenly removed the lyrics that included, George Bush find yourself another home, that were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall.

It was a mistake, says Michael Coe, an AT&T spokesman. It should not have been edited out.

A spokeswoman for the band referred comments to the fan Web site. AT&T's actions strike at the heart of the public's concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media, the band said on the Web site.


14th August  Update: ATT Political Censors...
 

   
Pearl Jam CDRepeated censorship of musicians making political statements

From ZDNet Asia

Wired.com have reported that it had received an e-mail stating that Webcasts from the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June had also been edited by AT&T.

Specifically, comments made during the John Butler Trio show when a band member remarked on the government's lack of response during Hurricane Katrina were deleted, as were comments from the group Flaming Lips about George Bush screwing up.

MTV.com also reported Monday that Pearl Jam's publicist was notified that a fan watching the Bonnaroo concert also claims that comments made by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine had also been edited.

AT&T originally said that it only edits Blue Room Webcasts for profanity since the site is available to all age groups. But a group calling itself the Future of Music Coalition, counted 20 instances of curse words being used during the Pearl Jam Webcast that were not censored by the content monitor.

It's clear AT&T has not made a mistake. They or the companies they've hired to monitor Webcasts have engaged in a clear and consistent pattern of silencing free speech, Jenny Toomey, executive director of the Future of Music Coalition, said in a statement.

 

4th August  Super V Chip...
 

   
VChipA censorship monster is born

From Slashdot see full article

The Senate Commerce Committee has stepped in and approved a legislation asking the Federal Communications Commission to 'oversee the development of a super V-chip that could screen content on everything from cell phones to the Internet.'

Since the content viewed by children is no longer restricted to TV or radio Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., the sponsor of the Child Safe Viewing Act, feels that the new law is necessary.

The Child Safe Viewing Act of 2007 (S.602) was passed by the Senate Commerce Committee and requires the FCC to do a study of internet filtering technologies.

The research will include the "existence and availability" of filtering technologies for audio and video content transmitted over "wired, wireless, and internet" platforms, as well as other devices.

A statement from the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) said it did not oppose a purely fact-finding study, but maintained that a neutral, non-regulatory body such as the National Academy of Sciences would be better suited to the project.

More importantly, CDT is concerned that this legislation may represent a step toward expanding the FCC's censorship authority to include internet content, the CDT statement said.

 

29th July  Hype Foresaw...
 

   
Saw 4 posterFirst cut of Saw IV is NC-17 rated

From First Showing see full article

Producer Mark Burg, director Darren Lynn Bousman, and star Tobin Bell were on hand Comic-Con to discuss the latest details on Saw IV. The juciest detail of them all: they submitted to the MPAA and (as expected) got an NC-17 on their very first attempt.

Mark Burg and Darren Lynn Bousman announced that they had just got an NC-17 rating on the very first cut of the film. When asked if they would just leave it that way (and the audience cheered), Mark Burg stated about the MPAA that one day we'd love to have the guts to leave it as is and tell them to… where he cut himself off before saying too much.

Update: Saw Cut

2nd September

Predictably a cut version of Saw obtained am R Rating and equally predictably there well now be an unrated Director's Cut available in a few months.

 

27th July  United States of AmericaIran...
 

   
Capitol HillNutters senators look to filtering the internet

From Press Esc

US senators today made a bipartisan call for the universal implementation of filtering and monitoring technologies on the Internet in order to protect children at the end of a Senate hearing for which civil liberties groups were not invited.

Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel K. Inouye and Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Vice Chairman Ted Stevens both argued that Internet was a dangerous place where parents alone will not be able to protect their children.

While filtering and monitoring technologies help parents to screen out offensive content and to monitor their child’s online activities, the use of these technologies is far from universal and may not be fool-proof in keeping kids away from adult material, Sen. Inouye said. In that context, we must evaluate our current efforts to combat child pornography and consider what further measures may be needed to stop the spread of such illegal material over high-speed broadband connections.

The measures they are calling for include directing the Federal Trade Commission to form a working group to identify blocking and filtering technologies in use and identify, what, if anything could be done to improve the process and better enable parents to proactively protect their children online.

 

25th July  Censorship Condemned...
 

   
character from Condemned 2Condemned 2 game self censored

Based on an article from Kotaku

In an interview with Condemned: Bloodshot producer, Constantine Hantzopoulos, Hantzopoulos admits that the ESRB 'AO' rating on Manhunt 2 has caused Sega to censor their content:

I worked on [Indigo Prophecy] and had to cut the sex scenes out of the game for the US...It sucked because I don't believe in that, right. But you've got to do what you've got to do. We're working closely with the ESRB to make sure everything goes through okay but there's stuff we've cut already. There were things we were doing that even I couldn't believe we were going to those places....An example of what we cut would be putting someone's head in a vice. That was too much, you know.

 

20th July  Romney Rants...
 

   
Mitt RomneyPresidential candidate rants about porn

Based on an article from AVN

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has called for the Department of Justice to prosecute producers and distributors of the worst-of-the-worst obscene materials as part of a campaign promise to supposedly protect America's children from internet predators and pornography.

Like many politicians seeking the conservative vote, Romney proceeded to lump in legal, consensual adult entertainment with kiddie porn and internet crimes.

Even though the interstate trafficking of obscenity is illegal, federal obscenity laws have not been adequately enforced, Romney said. To protect our children, we need to enforce our current laws.

Romney failed to explain how he would enforce those laws, or how he would distinguish "the worst-of-the-worst" of "obscene materials." He did, however, vow to punish and fine retailers selling violent and sexually explicit video games to minors.

The candidate's speech echoed his latest campaign commercial, in which he states: I'd like to see us clean up the water in which our kids are swimming...I'd like to keep pornography from coming up on their computers. I'd like to keep drugs off the streets. I'd like to see less violence and sex on TV and in video games and in movies.

 

18th July  Unfair to the Christian Right...
 

   
Capitol HillConcerns about the Fairness Doctrine

Based on an article from The Conservative Voice

Republican Mike Pence has introduced the Broadcaster Freedom Act, a bill that would prevent the restoration of the Fairness Doctrine by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

There has been growing speculation on Capitol Hill that Democrats will seek to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine under the guise that conservative talk radio is disproportionately dominating American radio.

Pence’s bill places a one-year moratorium that prohibits any funding to the FCC for the enforcement of the Fairness Doctrine.

The fairness doctrine, overturned by the FCC in 1987, was part of a 1949 FCC regulation requiring broadcasters to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views of public importance.

Democrats would like to level the playing field of the radio airwaves through government action, largely because liberals have been unsuccessful in challenging conservative and conservative-leaning radio icons such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz and several others.

The return of the Fairness Doctrine would also affect Christian radio. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice is concerned about an effort to codify speech on the national airwaves, especially for Christian broadcasters. In a recent commentary, he said that: 30 minutes of religious or conservative broadcasting would have to be balanced with 30 minutes of the opposing viewpoint, even if it aired on Christian radio.

Writing on WorldNetDaily.com, Ron Strom quoted NRB president Frank Wright as saying that giving equal time to the opponents of Christianity by Fairness Doctrine legislation could mean the end of Christian broadcasting as we know it. Christians need to be prepared to go to battle to guard against any future efforts aimed at silencing or diluting conservative and Christian radio broadcasts. The Bible tells us clearly in Mark 16:15 … Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

 

14th July  Reviving Bullshit Powers...
 

   
FCC logo
Attempting to restore FCC divinity over profanity

From AVN

Conservative senator Sam Brownback will offer two amendments to a general government appropriation bill, in hopes of giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) back the power to enforce hefty fines over what it considers profane.

According to a recent report by Broadcasting and Cable, one of Brownback's amendments would, in his words, continue support for the FCC to fine broadcasters who air indecent, profane, or obscene content, and another that would fine broadcasters for airing excessively violent content during the hours when children are most likely to be in the audience.

A recent FCC policy penalizing accidentally aired expletives was struck down last month by a federal court, calling the FCC's proposal "arbitrary and capricious." Brownback's profanity amendment would attempt to essentially render that decision irrelevant.


21st July  The Bullshit Continues...
 

   
FCC logo
Committee approves of FCC pedantry

From AVN

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation has approved the Protecting Children from Indecent Programming Act (S. 1780), a piece of legislation that would allow the FCC to levy fines against broadcasters based on the broadcasts of a single "indecent" word or image.

I am pleased to see the Commerce Committee swiftly approve this bill, said Senator Stevens. It is important to give the FCC the tools it needs to continue to protect the American public from indecency on radio and broadcast television.

The committee's website states, This legislation would specifically allow the FCC to establish that a single word or image in a given context may be considered indecent and levy fines against the broadcaster. It does not address or change the law regarding whether a word or image in a particular context is actually indecent.

 

15th July  Fighting for Cockfighting...
 

   
Cockfighter DVD coverLegal in Puerto Rico but not in the USA

From Sun-Sentinel

The founder of a Hollywood company that webcasts cockfights from Puerto Rico wants to make sure a federal law banning broadcasts of animal cruelty doesn't get in the way of his fledgling business.

Jason Atkins sued the U.S. Justice Department on in Miami federal court, arguing the ban should not apply to his firm's Web site because cockfights are an accepted and legal part of Puerto Rican culture.

Federal law makes it a felony to create, sell or possess photographs, videos or other images depicting the intentional wounding or killing of any animal. Violators face possible fines and up to five years in prison.

There is an exemption for material that has "serious religious, political, scientific, educational, journalistic, historical or artistic value."

David O. Markus, a Miami attorney who represents Atkins, said his client wants a declaration from the court that he is not committing a crime by airing the cockfights.

Markus said the law passed in 1999 was meant to crack down on videos catering to sexual fetishists and should not include cockfighting, which has a rich cultural and historical tradition in many parts of the world.

Though cockfighting remains legal in Puerto Rico, it is banned in every U.S. state except Louisiana, where legislation criminalizing the sport will take effect in August 2008.

The federal law prohibiting depictions of animal cruelty applies to activities that violate state or federal law, even if such acts are legal in the place where the acts occurred. For that reason, it would not be illegal to broadcast a cockfight in Puerto Rico but might be in Florida, where the sport has long been outlawed.

In addition to cockfights, the three-week-old Web site, www.toughsportslive.com, features extreme fighting matches from Brazil and footage of bikini-clad women competing in machine gun contests.

 

13th July  Is HBO showing full-on sex?...
 

 
HBO logoEr...No, Hyping Tell Me That You Love Me

From TV Scoop

There is a report over on the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that says one of HBO's new shows, Tell Me That You Love Me, features scenes of extreme sauciness – full penetration, masturbation and oral sex.

The series, which tells the story of couples in various states of counselling has already left critics open mouthed during press screenings.

...probably just admiring the pixellation...

Update: Viewer Comments Say It All

14th September

"is that what I thought I saw?, is that real?, are they really naked?"

 

12th July  Boyds Mills Prude Press...
 

 
Rotraut Susanne Berner cartoonUS publishers baulk at cartoon nude

From Spiegel see full article

A US publisher has decided not to publish a series by children's book author Rotraut Susanne Berner. The problem? Cartoon breasts and a half-millimeter-long willy.

It is rare that a German book generates any interest in the United States. The delight was thus all the greater when a query came in from the American children's book purveyor Boyds Mills Press for a series by Rotraut Susanne Berner.

It was really a sensation, Berner told SPIEGEL ONLINE. At first. As it turned out, there were a couple of changes that had to be made before the books could be unleashed on the America public. First off, smokers had to be removed from the illustrations. But that wasn't all. One image shows a scene from an art gallery -- and for realism's sake, there is a cartoonish nude hanging on the wall along with a tiny, seven-millimeter-tall statue of a naked man on a pedestal. The US publisher, somewhat awkwardly, asked if they could be removed.

The US publisher, says Berner, was embarrassed to ask for the changes, but they were even more afraid of how American mommies and daddies might react if junior were exposed to such pornography.

For the author, any kind of self-censorship was completely out of the question. She said she could maybe have lived with putting black bars in front of the problem spots, but "invisible censorship" was out. If you're going to censor something, then the reader should be aware of it, she told SPIEGEL ONLINE.

But the US publisher would have none of it.

So far, no other country has been overly concerned about the cartoon boobies and mini-penis, Berner said.

 

6th July  Pay Per Rant...
 

 
CCV logoUS nutters rant at hotel room porn services

Based on an article from AVN

Right-wing presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been drawing cries of hypocrisy from fellow nutters for espousing a "family" ideology despite failing to block pay-per-view pornography from Marriott hotels during his nearly 10 years on the chain's board of directors.

Ohio nutters of Citizens for Community Values (CCV), the Family Research Council and other anti-porn groups have called carpeted Romney for not using his influence as a Marriott board member to halt the offering of hardcore movies in the company's rooms, something they feel contradicts the "family man" image he's cottoned to in his campaign.

Romney served on the Marriott board from 1992 to 2001, and has told the AP that he has no recollection of pornography being brought up for discussion during that time, nor any knowledge of how much revenue was being generated for the chain by porn, despite sitting at the head of the board's audit committee.

Based on an article from Citizen Link

LodgeNet Entertainment Corp, a company that supplies pay-per-view movies to America's hotels, is under fire for making most of its profits off hardcore pornography.

In August, nutters will ask the Department of Justice to investigate and bring charges against the company.

Phil Burress, president and executive director of Ohio's Citizens for Community Values (CCV), said much of the content in question is prosecutable under the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Miller v. California: Why is LodgeNet permitted to deal in hard-core, sexually explicit, clearly prosecutable material?. The U.S. Supreme Court set down guidelines for what is prosecutable.

Burress said more than 60% of the LodgeNet's profit is gained from pornography.

Daniel Weiss, senior nutter for Focus on the Family Action, said not only did Miller v. California determine that states could ban hardcore pornography, federal law prohibits obscene material from being distributed across state lines: That is what happens with both Internet and satellite distribution, such as is used by LodgeNet.

Obscene material, as determined by the high court, is defined as patently offensive representations or descriptions of sexual acts either actual or simulated as determined by community standards.

It will take a jury trial to determine whether the material in question actually violates community standards, Weiss said: but we believe the content is clear enough to warrant an investigation at the very least.

 

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