US Censorship News

 2010: April-June

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29th June   

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Pressure on Rolling Stone Magazine about The Runaway General story
Link Here

rolling stone The author of the Rolling Stone magazine profile that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he was pressured not to print some of the damning statements made by the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and his top aides about the Obama administration.

Now embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Kabul-based freelance writer Michael Hastings told the Today show that he had a number of discussions with members of McChrystal's team about the contents of his now famous story, The Runaway General.

They tried to pressure me not to write about some things that were on the record, and I told them I can't really play that game, Hastings said. One of the things that happens in journalism is that -- especially with powerful figures -- they give journalists access in exchange for favorable coverage and future access. That dynamic didn't apply to me and the story I was writing, or just my general style of journalism.

Hastings said he did not expect his story -- in which McChrystal mocks Vice President Joe Biden and his aides slam President Barack Obama -- would cause the stir it has, leading the general to be relieved of his command by the president.

 

26th June   

Updated: Emergency Legislation...

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US bill provides president with internet off switch
Link Here
emergency stop

  To be used only in the case of a
presidential blow job

A new US bill (Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA) sponsored by Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman would give the president a kill switch and force broadband providers, search engines and other web-based companies to comply with orders to shut down services. Those that do not comply under this new bill would be fined.

Under PCNAA, the Federal Government would have the power to force private companies to comply with emergency decrees. These companies would be on a list that is to be compiled by Homeland Security based on their reliance on the internet, the telephone system or any other component of the US information infrastructure. These companies would be under the command by a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) that would be created inside Homeland Security.

Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe think Lieberman's new bill is the bees' knees - both senators have pushed for similar far-reaching bills related to the internet in the past that failed to garner any support. The feeling among those that follow cyber security is that Lieberman's bill will suffer a similar fate.

Update: Off Switch Switched On in Committee

26th June 2010. Based on article from prisonplanet.com
See also article from fortliberty.org

US SenatePresident Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet kill switch bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee and now moves to the floor.

The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency.

Despite the Center for Democracy and Technology and 23 other privacy and technology organizations sending letters to Lieberman and other backers of the bill expressing concerns that the legislation could be used to stifle free speech, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed in the bill in advance of a vote on the Senate floor.

In response to widespread criticism of the bill, language was added that would force the government to seek congressional approval to extend emergency measures beyond 120 days. Still, this would hand Obama the authority to shut down the Internet on a whim without Congressional oversight or approval for a period of no less than four months.

 

25th June   

Texas Extremists...

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Republican policy set out to ban adult businesses, all porn, anything gay, and all sex bar the missionary position
Link Here

republican party of texas logoThe Texas Republican Party have turned extremist..

The party has voted on a platform that would ban oral and anal sex. It also would give jail sentences to anyone who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple (even though such licenses are already invalid in the state).

We oppose the legalization of sodomy, the platform says. We demand that Congress exercise its authority granted by the U.S. Constitution to withhold jurisdiction from the federal courts from cases involving sodomy.

In addition, the platform says that homosexuality tears at the fabric of society, contributes to the breakdown of the family unit and leads to the spread of dangerous communicable diseases. It also states that homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle in public schools and family should not be redefined to include homosexual couples.

The 25-page proposal, presented last week as a guide for the state party over the next two years, includes other measures including outlawing sexually oriented businesses like strip clubs and banning all pornography.

 

19th June   

Building Blocks of Censorship...

Statue winds up the nutters in Michigan
Link Here

sculpture by mark chatterlyKrasl Art Center officials have agreed to move indoors a 7-foot-tall clay statue that supposedly depicts a sex act after several people complained about its placement in front of the art center in St Joseph City, Michigan.

The clay sculpture, Building Blocks , by Mark Chatterley depicts two indistinct figures lifting a third upward. The face of the second figure is in the crotch of the uppermost figure, sparking the controversy. None of the figures has genitalia.

Deb Ward, a lifelong St. Joseph resident, said she saw the statue in front of the Krasl on Sunday when she was taking a drive with her husband, Keith. She said the sculpture is obscene and complained to city officials. Her mother complained to Krasl officials: I object to the public display of nudity, Ward said Monday. I just don't think (the figures) are formless. I think they're very formed, and that's the problem. If (Krasl officials) choose to do whatever they want inside their building, that's fine, but once they put it on public display I feel the city should have some type of guidelines as to what is allowed.

Krasl Executive Director Donna Metz said the statue was placed June 8 as part of the art center's eighth Biennial Sculpture Invitational, which formally starts Friday. She said the art center has received a handful of complaints about the sculpture, but more comments from people simply curious about it.

Metz said the statue isn't intended to titillate, but Krasl officials decided to move the piece inside the art center nonetheless: It's meant to symbolize ... people supporting one another, holding each other up, she said. People are seeing that (sexual) connotation to the piece, and we're sensitive to that. We empathize with their read on it, although we don't agreed with that read.

City Manager Frank Walsh said he's received 10-15 complaints about the sculpture: We don't need any images of what many would say is a sexual act on Lake Boulevard . It clearly is inappropriate. They can talk artistic merit, but it's clear the residents the majority would appreciate a little more common sense and decency. The view of the city is that it can't come down fast enough.

 

18th June   

Update: Box Office Takes a Snip...

I Spit on Your Grave set for an MPAA unrated theatrical release
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remakeThe 2010 remake of the infamous 1978 exploitation classic I Spit On Your Grave is currently slated for an MPAA unrated theatrical release.

We're done with the MPAA, says director Steven R Monroe, which stars actress Sarah Butler as a woman who seeks revenge on a quartet of men following their sexual brutalization of her.

Monroe said: After seven rounds with the MPAA, the last two rounds were just to get an actual 'R' rating so that when the DVD comes out and some chain says, 'We're not stocking your movie,' there will be a 'R' rated version so that the distributors and producers can make their money back.

Monroe continued of his dialogue with the distributor, Why not try for once, and use it as your marketing, to give the fans what they want and not piss them off on opening weekend by showing a chopped-down version?' Because you'll get a bunch of butts in the seats the first weekend, and the third and fourth weekends they won't be there. But if you give them what they want, you are going to have longevity, and God bless Anchor Bay, that is there mind-set right now.

 

3rd June   

Update: Game Over for Chicago Buses...

Chicago Transit Authority ban on mature games adverts found to be unconstitutional
Link Here  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Chicago bus with GTA advertThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) won a partial victory earlier this year by obtaining a temporary injunction against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) over an ordinance that attempted to prohibit Mature (M)-rated game advertisements

A Judge has now permanently banned the CTA from enforcing or directing enforcement of the ordinance. In a ruling handed down on May 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered judgment against the CTA.  It was also ruled that the ESA was entitled to recoup reasonable attorneys' fees and costs related to the lawsuit.

Ordinance 008-147 took effect in January of 2009 and prohibited any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated 'Mature 17+' (M) or 'Adults Only 18+' (AO). The ESA had argued that such a ban was unconstitutional.

 

31st May   

The Mayor Sucks!...

US small town mayor enacts local law to censor critical website
Link Here

New Jersey state sealFed up with supposedly defamatory content found on one website on the Internet, Bordentown Mayor James E. Lynch Jr. convinced City Council members to pass a law forcing the hosting service of that website to take down its pages.

The website BordentownMayorReallySucks.com greets visitors with a raunchy dose of criticism against city's mayor.

According to an article in The Trentonian the mayor was cited as saying: This website has to be removed [] I'm not going to go down the freedom of speech road. But some of the stuff that's on there is fraudulent. You want to put information out? Fine. Say you don't like me? Fine. But attacks on my wife, my daughter? I won't stand for that.

While the website currently doesn't contain any remarks about the mayor's wife or daughter, no technical records at this moment prove that the website did or didn't host them in the past.

Even before the decision was approved, many Freedom of Speech agencies rose against it, accusing the town's Council of breaking the US Constitution's First Amendment. Nevertheless, the Council's decision passed by two votes against one.

At this moment, the website is still active, but BlueHost received a take down notice from Bordentown officials to dismantle [the website] on grounds the domain violates New Jersey's consumer affairs law and possibly other state and federal laws.

 

31st May   

Update: Squeeze on Crush Videos Constricted...

US considers narrower replacement for the depictions of animal cruelty law thrown out by the courts
Link Here  full story: Animal Cruelty in US Media...Legal challenge to censorship of animal cruelty

US SenateA wide ranging law banning depictions of animal cruelty failed in court recently and so politicians are considering narrower regulations targeting the supposed threat of 'crush' videos.

During a hearing on the Supreme Court's ruling in U.S. v. Stevens, witnesses said the Court left the door ajar in April when, with one dissenting vote, it struck down a federal ban on so-called crush videos. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the 1999 federal law could have been read to allow prosecution of producers of hunting films.

The videos appeal to a certain sexual fetish by showing women crushing to death small animals with their bare feet or high-heeled shoes.

Representatives. Gary Peters and Elton Gallegly explained that separate bills they introduced would narrowly confine the illegal act to making or selling crush videos.

Gallegly said that while all 50 states have laws against animal cruelty, state prosecutors have told him that prosecutions are almost impossible because crush videos don't show faces, dates or locations of the acts. He said his bill, H.R. 5092, provides a tool in order to prosecute, by banning the sale of the crush videos.

Peters' legislation, H.R. 5337,states that the act of crushing the animals would be illegal if done specifically to create the videos.

Three legal experts said it may be possible to craft a constitutional law by creating exceptions to free-speech protections exceptions like those banning pornography and obscenity. Nathaniel Persily, professor at Columbia Law School, testified that a new law would need to make clear that hunting and agricultural videos are not covered.

 

30th May   

Obituary: Don't you fuckin' look at me!...

Dennis Hopper dies aged 74
Link Here

dennis hopper blue velvetDennis Hopper, the hard-living Hollywood star with acclaimed roles in films including Apocalypse Now and Easy Rider , died yesterday of prostate cancer. He passed away at his home in Venice, California, at the age of 74.

He was surrounded by his family and friends and died peacefully at around 9am local time.

His private life was as variable as his professional one. He married five times and fathered four children. One of his marriages, to his second wife, Michelle Phillips, a singer in the group The Mamas and the Papas, lasted just eight days in 1970. Of the experience Hopper famously quipped: Seven of those days were pretty good. The eighth day was the bad one. His final marriage, to actress Victoria Duffy took place in 1996. The pair were undergoing a bitter divorce when he died. So bitter, in fact, that a dreadfully ill Hopper sought a restraining order against his spouse even though he was dying and virtually bedridden.

Hopper's private life was often blighted by tales of hard-drinking and drug-taking. He confessed that he used cocaine in order to sober himself up so he could binge on more alcohol. His problems and lifestyle became the stuff of Hollywood legend or nightmare. He once spent time on a New Mexico commune drinking spirits, taking drugs and firing machine guns. He was committed to a psychiatric ward in 1984 after experiencing violent hallucinations.

Nothing in Hopper's personal life could overshadow a handful of truly great screen performances. In 1969's Easy Rider , which he directed, co-wrote and co-starred in, Hopper explored the hippy counter-culture and the reaction to the Vietnam war. He dubbed the film his state of the union message and it was a roaring critical success, paving the way for the New Hollywood of the 1970s and directors such as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. Then in Apocalypse Now Hopper seemed to blend reality and fiction with his portrayal of a burned-out and insane war photographer. Finally, Hopper's portrayal of a sadistic brute, Frank Booth, in David Lynch's surreal Blue Velvet introduced the actor to an entirely new generation of fans.

Dennis Hopper graced the Melon Farmers with an excellent banned chainsaw duel in Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 .

His appearance in The Trip was banned by James Ferman who was quoted as saying In the wrong hands, a tremendous advertisement for LSD. In the film Dennis Hopper educates Peter Fonda in the pleasures of mind expansion.

And of course there was the unforgettable scene in True Romance where little guy Hopper so eloquently taunts the sophisticated Mafiosi Christopher Walken, with 'your mom was fucked by niggers'.

A great melon farming contribution to the movies.

 

27th May   

God Controls all Creative Thought...

Yippy nutters buy out Clusty search engine
Link Here

yippy logoClusty used to be a pretty good search engine. Now it has fallen into the hands of nutters.

How many people will read the small print and realise their searches are randomly being censored on political / religious / moral grounds? It doesn't leave much, does it?

About the Buy Out

Based on article from pandia.com

The metasearch engines search engines that combine data from several search engines are not as popular as they used to be in the 1990's. But they can still add something new to your search experience, especially as regards user interface and the way they present results.

One of our favorite metasearch engines have been Clusty, owned and developed by Vivisimo. As the name implies, Clusty has been especially good at clustering search results in meaningful groups or topics of result listings. Vivisimo has now sold Clusty to a Florida based company named Yippy for US$5.6 million. The name change has already taken place. Clusty is no more. Yippy has taken its place.

Clusty.com attracts approximately 100,000 unique visitors and supports millions of search queries per month.

About Yippy

Previous Clusty users may be shocked at the new Yippy approach to searches. Yippy explain their philosphy:

Based on article from clusty.com

Censorship

Yippy.com may censor search results, web domains and IP addresses. That is, Yippy may remove from its output, in an ad-hoc manner, all but not limited to the following:

  • Politically-oriented propaganda or agendas
  • Pornographic Material
  • Gambling content
  • Sexual products or sites that sell same
  • Anti-Semitic views or opinions
  • Anti-Christian views or opinions
  • Anti-Conservative views or opinions
  • Anti-Sovereign USA views or opinions
  • Sites deemed inappropriate for children

Oh, we should say that we are a very far-out group of people. Everyone is a certified genius here and we work together for our goals for the love of it all. Good vs. Don't be Evil ... We are too smart to sell out to Porn, Gambling and other things that infect our society for profit. Good always wins, and conservative values will bring us our victory in the market place.

Summing it up !!!

God controls all creative thought it's what you do with it that defines who you are.

Are you Good or Evil?

 

26th May   

Shear Revenge...

I Spit on Your Grave returns to the news
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remakeSome news coming out of the Creation Weekend of Horrors concerning Steven R. Munroe's remake of I Spit on Your Grave .

Producer Lisa Hansen and director Steven R. Monroe let curious convention-goers know that they've been battling it out with the MPAA for quite some time now and are in the fourth round of dealing with the ratings board. Apparently they've been asked to make more than one hundred cuts to the movie due to its tone, realism, and grisly violence.

As a result all those involved promised that when fans finally do get to see the controversial little film, it will be in an unrated form as they all agreed, It's the only way to do it to properly revere the original work.

Meanwhile DarkAngel reports that the original I Spit on Your Grave has been resubmitted to the BBFC in its uncut format. No news of a decision yet though.

 

23rd May   

Rated R for Rumour...

Who's to be the next US film censor?
Link Here

MPAA logoFormer senator Bob Kerrey is in line to be the next head of the MPAA.

According to the Wrap, Kerry has been given the nod of approval from the heads of Hollywood's major movie companies. He hasn't yet signed a deal to take the gig, but it's apparently his to lose.

 

20th May   

Updated: Creepy...

The Human Centipede sounds fun
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipedeThe horror film The Human Centipede is opening in a handful of US theaters this weekend. It was not submitted to the MPAA for a rating.

The Chicago Sun-Times' s Roger Ebert is awarding it no stars as well. In his review, he writes I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film.

The movie deals with a mad doctor, a surgeon who once separated conjoined twins and now goes about capturing victims and perform reverse surgery, bonding them end to end so that they have a common digestive system.

No horror film I've seen inflicts more terrible things on its victims than The Human Centipede , Ebert writes. Nevertheless, he says that within Dutch director Tom Six, there stirs the soul of a dark artist. Likewise, Mark Olsen wrote earlier this week in the Los Angeles Times . Centipede is at once arduously rough to sit through and compelling. There's a real film hidden beneath the hooky idea.

And in an interview with New York's Village Voice, Six himself acknowledged that during test screenings, Some people walk out of the cinemas, others can't stop laughing, and if people are eating during the movie, they are vomiting their food out because they didn't expect this to happen. It has a lot of influence on people's emotions.

Update: The Sun Supports the hype for The Human Centipede

20th May 2010. Based on article from thesun.co.uk , thanks to DoodleBug

the sun logoIt's being hailed as one of the most twisted, stomach-churning movies of all time which has sent American cinemagoers reaching for the sick bags.

The Human Centipede features a depraved storyline about a psychopathic German surgeon who drugs his victims before surgically joining them together, mouth to backside, in order to create a human centipede.

The horror is said to be so gross that cinemagoers have been racing out of US screenings to be sick - and reviewers are warning audiences not to eat before seeing the film.

Clips from the film have been a YouTube sensation, with the trailer alone racking up 1.4million views. Screenings in Los Angeles have also sold out.

In a few months time, the movie is set for release in Britain - so long as it doesn't get banned first.

The buzz surrounding the film has led to several UK companies competing for the rights to release it later this year.

The twisted flick looks set to become a lucrative new horror franchise with The Human Centipede 2 already in production.

 

13th May   

Updated: Encyclopedia of the Politically Correct...

Removalists, deletists and censorists get their way over Wikipedia images
Link Here

Wikipedia logoFounder Jimmy Wales has poured fuel on the Wikimedia pornography row, by encouraging admins to delete images that appeal solely to prurient interests .

The comments come Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sagner reported the Wikimedia Foundation to the FBI for serving up depictions of child sexual molestation on its servers.

The report brought a scathing response from the Foundation, which claimed we don't have material we would deem to be illegal. If we did, we would remove it. The organisation denied hearing from the authorities.

However, Wales has now waded into the argument by encouraging immediate deletion of pornographic content, calling for a large-scale cleanup project of the site: Wikimedia Commons admins who wish to remove from the project all images that are of little or no educational value but which appeal solely to prurient interests have my full support . I am stating here my public support for admins who are prepared to enforce quality standards and get rid of a large quantity of what can only be characterised as 'trolling' images of people's personal pornography collections. .

In a separate post he claimed Wikimedia would be making a formal statement on the issue in the next few days.

Update: Jimmy Wales prevented from vandalising his own website

13th May 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Wikipedia co-founder, Jimmy Wales, has given up some of his site privileges following protests by contributors angered that he deleted images without consultation.

Wales had previously urged the removal of pornographic content from the user-generated site. This followed a complaint about child pornography to the FBI from another Wikipedia co-founder and the subsequent haranguing from the nutters of Fox News.

In early April, the estranged co-founder, Larry Sanger, reported Wikimedia Commons to the FBI, alleging that the organisation was knowingly distributing child pornography .

Last week, administrators of Wikimedia Commons, a media file store widely used for Wikipedia articles, deleted hundreds of images. Some images deemed by the Wikipedia community to have educational merit have since been reinstated.

Pressure on the organisation had increased after Fox News reported the story, contacting a number of high-profile corporate donors to the Wikimedia Foundation, which owns Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons and related sites. Continue reading the main story

Wales has faced criticism from the band of volunteers who help to maintain the site, some of whom argued that the decision to delete was undemocratic and taken too quickly. They also expressed concerns that valid material might be deleted accidentally.

 

7th May   

Pinhead...

US state politician censors state seal
Link Here

virginia state seal coveredVirginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli risked more national ridicule when he gave his staff a censored version of the commonwealth seal recently.

The seal features the Roman goddess Virtus. Her blue tunic is draped over one shoulder, leaving her left breast exposed.

When Cuccinelli gave his staffers lapel pins of the seal, it was a rendition modified for modesty with Virtus wearing an armoured breastplate over both breasts.

A Cuccinelli spokesman said the attorney general's lapel pins are designed after an older, not-so-blue version of the seal.

Later Cuccinelli released a statement:

virginia state seal uncensoredThe seal on my pin is one of many seal variations that were used before a uniform version was created in 1930. I felt it was historic and would be something unique for my staff. My joke about Virtue being a little more virtuous in her more modest clothing was intended to get laughs from my employees -- which it did! Just because we've always done something a certain way doesn't mean we always have to continue doing it that way. Now seriously, can we get on with real news?

On Monday, Cuccinelli said he'd stop using the lapel pin. This is simply a media-made issue that has become distracting to the work of my office.

I am going to end this distraction by discontinuing future use of the pin, he fumed.

 

7th May   

Freedom of Fucking Speech...

Fun in the US Supreme Court in obscene language case
Link Here
kanawha players logo

  Courting Disaster
Music by: Mark Scarpelli
Book and Lyrics by: Jeremy Eisler
Directed by: Kelly Strom

This is a musical comedy that makes fun of judges,
lawyers, and litigants without fear or favor.

In a decisive and vulgar 7-2 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court once again upheld the constitution's First Amendment this week, calling the freedom of expression among the most inalienable and important rights that a motherfucker can have.

It is the opinion of this court that the right to speak without censorship or fear of intimidation is fundamental to a healthy democracy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. Furthermore, the court finds that the right to say whatever the hell you want, whenever the hell you want, is not only a founding tenet, but remains essential to the continued success of this nation.

Added Ginsburg, In short, freedom of speech means the freedom of fucking speech, you ignorant cocksuckers.

The decision came Monday in response to the case of a City of Charleston v. The Kanawha Players, the WV theater troupe that had been sued by city officials for staging a sexually explicit play with public funds.

Reversing the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the theater, an outcome free-speech advocates are calling a victory and Justice Ginsburg called a bitch-slap in the face of all those uptight limp-dicks.

During oral arguments, Charleston's chief counsel Dan Roy said his clients could restrict any public speech they deemed offensive, an argument quickly dismissed by Justice John Paul Stevens, 90, who turned to his colleagues and made a repeated up-and-down hand motion intended to simulate masturbation.

I'm beginning to wonder if you really understand what 'abridging the freedom of speech' means at all, said Stevens, a 34-year veteran of the court known for his often-nuanced interpretations of the First Amendment. I'm also wondering whether you and your fat-faced plaintiffs over there need to have some respect for constitutionally protected expression fucked into your empty thick skulls.

...If only

 

3rd May   

Update: Fears of a Link...

Police investigate whether New York bomb attempt was related to South Park
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

viacom logoPolice in New York are investigating whether a car bomb in Times Square was targeted at the makers of South Park , the animated television series, because of a controversial depiction of Muhammad.

The device, which failed to detonate, was left near the offices of Viacom, which broadcasts the provocative cartoon on its Comedy Central network.

Last month, a posting on the U.S.-based Revolution Muslim website warned the creators of South Par k, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, that they could face violent reprisals after an episode featured Mohammed in a bear suit.

Detectives were understood to be investigating similarities between the New York bomb and two car bombs planted by Islamic terrorists outside the Tiger Tiger nightclub in London in 2007. In both cases, the devices comprised cylinders of propane gas and cans full of gasoline intended to be ignited by electronic detonators.

 

2nd May   

Offsite: Fear of Teddy Bears...

America's disappointing reaction to South Park censorship
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced
Gosh International Bart 37 5cm Simpson

  South Park
We'd stand beside you...
if we weren't so scared."

The trouble with terror is that it can be terrifying. Just ask Molly Norris, a cartoonist from Seattle.

As far as we know, she hasn't been explicitly threatened by Islamic extremists, but evidently she feared she might be.

Her error was to post on her website an illustration with many different household objects with speech bubbles all claiming to be the likeness of Mohammed, including a tea cup, a domino and a box of pasta. It was part of a mock campaign to dedicate May 20 as Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!

Ms Norris pinged her cartoon to a few bloggers and talked to local radio, saying she it was a cartoonist's job to be non-PC.

Norris was therefore inspired to let her own genie out of the bottle. Within a few days there were 8,000 members of a Draw Mohammed Day! group on Facebook. A counter group, Ban Draw Mohammed Day, started up. Bloggers picked up the campaign.

Thoroughly overwhelmed by the response, and realising that the ideological battleground was no place for coffee-guzzling Seattleite, Ms Norris removed the cartoon and its campaign .

Revealing something of her reasons, her newest cartoon is a mock advertisement: Try the New Diet of Fear! ... All you have to do is tick off a few million Muslims and you'll be too afraid to eat!

Editorial Comment: A Narrow Perspective

QuetzalcoatlClearly people are a little afraid to poke fun at islam but this is a minor matter. Why should people take risks when there is a better way.

It wasn't so many years ago that society as a whole was very tolerant of religion. Even disbelievers chose not to rock the boat, feeling perhaps that belief is at least benign, but probably good for society even if it's all nonsense.

But things changed as the West came up against islam. Here was a religion that was totally unacceptable in many (but not all) of its social mores. And the tolerance bubble seems to have burst. Now society is no longer giving religion an easy ride.

It is not just about mockery, it is about reasoned debate along the lines of Dawkins, it is about criticising church leaders for covering up child abuse, it is about not standing for homophobic attitudes, it is about not standing for nonsense arguments against condoms.

Society is rapidly withdrawing its support for the very fundamentals of all religion. And really, belief in nonsense requires an awful lot of community support.

As Reverend Ian Gregory said: People are fed up with religion. The bar-room talk is that it causes too much trouble in the world

 

28th April   

Update: Legal Games...

California's violent game restrictions currently on hold to be considered in Supreme Court
Link Here

California state sealA free speech dispute over a California law banning sale of violent video games to children will go to the Supreme Court for review.

The justices accepted the state's appeal and will decide whether the law is too restrictive in denying access by minors to often-graphic material. Video-game makers say the ban goes too far. They say the existing nationwide, industry-imposed, voluntary ratings system is an adequate screen for parents to judge the appropriateness of computer games.

The state says it has a legal obligation to protect children when the industry has failed to do so.

At issue is how far constitutional protections of free speech and expression, as well as due process, can be applied to youngsters. Critics of the law say the government would in effect be engaged in the censorship business, using community standards to evaluate artistic and commercial content.

Oral arguments will be held in the fall.

A federal appeals court in San Francisco, California, tossed out the law before it took effect, after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it in 2005. He applauded the high court's decision to intervene. We have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to protect against the effects of games that depict ultraviolent actions, just as we already do with movies, the governor said.

The legislation would have placed an outright ban on the sale or rental to those under 18 of games deemed excessively violent. As defined by California, such interactive games are those in which the player is given the choice of killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being in offensive ways. Retailers could be fined up to $1,000 for any violation.

The gaming industry sued in federal court and won an injunction halting enforcement of the law until the courts sort out the constitutional questions.

 

26th April   

Embassy Advice...

US winds up Pakistan by suggesting that TV programme linking assassination of Benazir Bhutto to the US should be censored
Link Here

us embassy logoIn a statement issued in Pakistan, a US Embassy Spokesperson said the United States rejects the allegations made by Gen (Retd) Hamid Gul that the United States Government was involved in the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto: The United States rejects and other false allegations regularly made by Lt Gen (Retd) Gul about its policies and activities. At the time of Ms Bhutto's murder, the US swiftly and publicly condemned the act and called for an independent investigation.

The Spokesperson advised Pakistani anchors to present a balanced story. The Spokesperson complained despite the fact that Gul gave no proof for his allegations against the United States, his statements were not challenged by any of the TV anchors who invited him to their programmes. TV stations and the anchors have the same obligations as other journalists and they should present the public with balanced views, question unsubstantiated allegations by guests and reject incitement, the spokesman added.

The Pakistanis have reacted harshly to the US advice to the media on how to behave and what to say. In a TV program several prominent personalities confirmed the statements of Benazir Bhutto supporting General Hamid Gul.

The US Embassy would do better to teach the American media ethics and norms rather than putting pressure on Pakistani media, said senior journalists. The pakistanledger.com commented:

The US Embassy is present in Pakistan to help diplomatic channels, not to tell Pakistani media channels what content they can or cannot show. The US Ambassador is not the Viceroy of Pakistan, and cannot dictate the terms to news anchors or try to put pressure on them. This is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and the norms of diplomacy.

The Pakistani government has less control over Pakistani news channels than the US government has over CNN. The days of official censorship are a relic of the historical past. Even President Musharraf could not control the media of Pakistan. There are 80 channels and hundreds of newspapers and thousands of magazines–the US cannot control every one of them, even though it is trying very hard by bribing GEO with VOA money, and supporting channels like Dunya and Express. Aaaj is the most popular channel and the US cannot seem to control the content of The Nation

 

22nd April   

Update: Case against Author Crushed...

Depictions of animal cruelty retain constitutional free speech protection
Link Here  full story: Animal Cruelty in US Media...Legal challenge to censorship of animal cruelty

Dogs of Velvet and Steel bookIn an 8-1 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that banned videos depicting animal cruelty. The justices ruled that the measure violated constitutional free-speech rights.

Congress had adopted the law in question in1999 as an attempt to prevent people from profiting from videos depicting animal killing and torture. The bill was primarily aimed at crush videos in which women in high-heeled shoes step on small animals as a type of sexual fetish, reports Reuters.

Opponents argued the bill was too broad and vague, making videos of such things as bullfights or hunting and even some documentaries illegal. They argued the bill was a form of government censorship.

The case presented to the high court involved Robert Stevens of Virginia, who made and sold three videos of pit bulls fighting each other and attacking hogs and wild boars. His 2005 conviction was the first under the 1999 law, Reuters reports. Stevens was received 37 months in prison, but had not served time as his case was on appeal.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion, citing the law as too broad and therefore invalid under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment free-speech protections.

 

18th April   

Update: Potentially Harmful eMails...

Ohio law governing communications directed to minors found to be constitutional
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Ohio state sealA federal appeals court has ruled that a 2002 Ohio law that attempts to shield minors from obscene material on the Internet is constitutional as interpreted by the state Supreme Court.

A three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on reversed a lower court ruling and found that O.R.C. ง 2907.31 does not violate free speech and other rights.

The law, titled Disseminating Matter Harmful to Juveniles, was later amended, and the state Supreme Court interpreted it to apply to personally directed communications and not public websites and chat rooms.

Ohio has an interest in preventing minors from potentially harmful materials and, as the statute applies only to personally directed communication between an adult and a person that the adult knows or should know is a minor, the statute is the least restrictive means of promoting this interest, the 6th Circuit panel ruled.

First Amendment attorney Michael A. Bamberger — who represents American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression — argued that the law, meant to shield children from online pornography and predators, violates free speech and is vague.

 

17th April   

Recommended Books...

Top 5 most whinged about books in US libraries
Link Here

Bff Girlfriend Book Write Together Once again sex is the biggest bugbear for US readers, according to the American Library Association, which tracks public complaints made to individual libraries and releases an annual list of the most challenged titles.

In 2009 the list was headed by a series of instant message novels for young adults by Lauren Myracle, which take the form of text messages passed among a group of teenaged girls. Complaints about sexually explicit language, nudity and references to drugs made it the most challenged title of the year.

Last year the office documented 460 such challenges resulting in 81 instances where books were removed or restricted. But documented cases reported to the ALA represent only a part of the total number of efforts to censor books.

Even the implication of a homosexual relationship between two penguins in a zoo was enough to keep a pre-reader's picture book, And Tango Makes Three , near the top of the list in second place.

The third most-campaigned-against book, a young-adult novel called The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, also made the list because of sexual content. But it retains the honour of having the longest list of different reasons people find for opposing it.  Angela Maycock of the ALA said: There's lots of stuff going on in there, from sexual content to a homosexual character to language and drugs and even a consideration of suicide.

No 4 was Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird , a perennial favourite of censors

No 5 was Stephenie Meyer's best-selling Twilight series, which is making its first appearance on the list due to a heady combination of sexual excitement and the supernatural.

 

14th April   

Update: PG-13 Rated Advertising...

FTC calls for more self censorship of adverts of interest to kids
Link Here  full story: FTC Advert Censor...FTC considers ads for age restricted movies

FTC logoThe US Federal Trade Commission has not called for more regulation of the broadcast and cable industries to protect kids in the digital age, but it pointed to what it saw as some self-regulation issues with TV ads for music and movies.

The FTC said : a study due out next year will help it determine whether media companies took its recommendations about expanding self-regulations to cover all forms of ads and promotions and the extent to which they had limited their use of character licensing to healthier foods and beverages.

While the FTC said it favored self-regulation in violent content, it pointed to its 2009 violence report and its ongoing concern that marketers can do much more to restrict the promotion of mature-rated or -labeled products to children. It pointed to the marketing of music and movies, saying that a lack of limits on ads for explicit content has resulted in ads on television shows that disproportionately attract young teenagers. It also points out that movie studios directly and pervasively market PG-13 movies to children under 13 on television, in print, and on the Internet, even though the rating is supposed to represent a strong caution to parents that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

The FTC said in its comments that it would continue to monitor this area. It also said that mobile applications are changing the way children access entertainment and that, at least in the near term, the industry needs to help parents deal with that flood by providing information and effective parental controls.

 

13th April   

Debbie Does Florida Agricultural and Mechanical...

College gets touchy about porn video
Link Here

famu logoA porn video was promoted as having been filmed at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University with students acting in explicit sex scenes.

But Florida A&M University was not amused when the name of its teams — the Rattlers — the FAMU logo and the school colors appeared in a RK Netmedia video featuring what appeared to be eight students having an orgy.

RK Netmedia operates daredorm.com, which promises the hottest real college girls having wild sex parties in their dorm rooms.

FAMU officials investigated and contacted RK Netmedia which admitted that the video titled BigRattler77 was not filmed at FAMU. Plus, FAMU students did not act in the film.

So FAMU sued. As a result of the litigation, RK Netmedia agreed to pay $120,000 in scholarships and attorney fees to FAMU over the course of the next year as part of the settlement.

The apology says: RK Netmedia greatly respects the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and is pleased to fully fund two scholarships for two deserving Florida residents.

 

12th April   

Collateral Murder...

Wikileaks publishes video of helicopter killing Reuters cameramen in Baghdad
Link Here

collateral murder video Wikileak's published a helicpter video revealing the shocking spree of killings by the US military force in Iraq 2007, leaving twelve dead including two Reuter's journalists.

One account of this horrifying attack that showed people running for their life in the streets was highlighted in the video , internet guru Clay Shirky cited, Wikileaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30. The latest and perhaps the most famous (or infamous) is the graphic video Wikileaks unveiled this week of a US Army attack in Iraq in 2007 that left 12 people dead, including two employees of Reuters.

IThis initiative was taken by WikiLeaks to reflect their commitment to their work, unhindered by the fact of extreme criticism from the opposition: We never censor.

More to Come

Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

Wikileaks, the whistle-blower website, is now reportedly preparing to release another secret video of a notorious US air strike said to have killed scores of Afghan civilians.

The video apparently shows previously classified footage from US warplanes called in to bomb Taliban fighters during a fire fight in Farah province last year.

The Afghan government said at the time that the strikes by F-18 and B1 planes near Granai killed 147 civilians. An independent Afghan inquiry later put the toll at 86.

Video footage of the strike could prove highly damaging to the Nato-led coalition if it showed pilots failing to safeguard civilian lives. The jets repeatedly dropped 500lb and 2,000lb bombs to support US and Afghan forces at they battled Taliban fighters and tried to evacuate wounded soldiers.

The inability to discern the presence of civilians and avoid and/or minimise accompanying collateral damage resulted in the unintended consequence of civilian casualties, the US inquiry found.

Employees of Wikileaks have said they are facing intimidation and attempts by intelligence services to shut them down after releasing a series of sensitive documents.

 

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