April 13th, 2010


"Innocent Until Proven Guilty" -- What A Concept!

The Government Accountability Office just released a study on piracy.  As you are aware, Big Media managed to get Congress to pass the DMCA, which has no safeguards against being abused and has been used mostly in YouTube wars and by politicians looking to get incriminating videos gone.  Fair Use and personal liberty have taken a backseat as the Content Mafia tries to force us to buy their crap.  They treat us like criminals with no evidence of wrongdoing (how long did it take for them to get rid of DRM for MP3's?)  Part of the reason I will not buy a Zune is because part of the money is a royalty to the Content Mafia -- the head of the RIAA said MP3 players were just "repositories of stolen music".  Buying blank media, part of that money is also paid to the Content Mafia for shows you may or may not keep that will cost them sales.  I have over 1,000 CD's.  They should be thanking me for my business, not lumping me with the channers.

The GAO report mentions that piracy is a blight and all that stuff.  However, it also points out that the figures and statistics supplied by the RIAA and MPAA are seriously flawed in their processes.  They are questioning the estimated costs, the estimated participation, and so on, and questions if the recommended measures are truly the best response.

Whoa!  The government is actually paying attention?!?  How'd that happen?!?

The Jefferson Muzzle Awards Are Out!

Today is April 13.  That is the birthday of Thomas Jefferson, one of the smartest sumbitches to ever walk the face of the planet.  In tribute to this, the Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection Of Free Expression gives out on this day the Muzzle Awards, dedicated to idiots who seek to deprive us of our Constitutonal rights.  So, whatever your feelings on us pesky Libertarians, I hope you will join us with the drink of your choice as we examine people who Just Don't Get It.

PEDICENTUR QUOS NON PLACET LUDUS -- My personal favorite is US Representative Alan Grayson, a D from Florida.  Grayson's official website is congressmanwithguts.com.  Well, voter unrest has hit, and Angie Langley started a web site in late 2009 to raise funds for and campaign for candidates to get Grayson out of office, called mycongressmanisnuts.com.  On Dec 15, Grayson filed a four page complaint with AG Eric Holder.  He claims that the web site violates federal law, as Langley doesn't live in Grayson's district, therefore she has no right to bitch.  He also objects that the site targets him and not other candidates, even though it is supposed to oppose or support multiple candidates.  He isn't asking the site be shut down.  But he is asking for 5 years in the stir for Langley and everyone behind the site fined.  His case is weak at best, but he's pressing on.  I don't know about you, but I think that's reason enough to vote against him already.

DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ART, BUT I KNOW WHAT I LIKE -- Hey, local talent!  Chicago 11th Ward Alderman James A. Balcer got an award.  Chicago's south central Bridgeport neighborhood asked artist Gabriel Villa to paint a mural.  Like lots of angry artists, he went for provocative.  The mural depicted three crime cameras with the CPD logo, and each camera had an extra touch -- a crucified Christ, a deer head, and a human skull.  As soon as it was finished, Balcer had it painted over, claiming Villa never got a permit to paint the mural.  However, the mural was on private property, which requires no permit.  Balcer changed his tune, saying the mural was a threat.

OOOOOOOH-KLAHOMA! -- Keith Kimmel of Norman, OK, applied for a vanity license plate that read, "IM GAY".  It was rejected as offensive.  Kimmel pointed out that the license plate "STR8SEXI" had been approved, why wasn't that offensive?  The Commission upheld the rejection.  It is unknown how this would have worked out -- Kimmel was found dead March 31, investigation pending.

WHORES, GAMBLING, THE MOB -- WE GOTTA DRAW THE LINE SOMEWHERE! -- The Las Vegas Police have been hassling people who do street performances (or "busking", as it is known in the parlance) outside of strip hotels and casinos for over ten years now.  Last year, they busted two street performers on the grounds that they were disturbing the peace (well, one of them WAS an Elvis impersonator....).  They were also hit with begging and public nuisance.  A settlement is being reached, but it's unknown if it will bring the crackdowns to an end.

THEY REALLY ARE TEACHING THE KIDS ABOUT A CAREER IN JOURNALISM -- The Wells Fargo, ND student newspaper the Packer saw its teacher advisor relieved of his position in the project because the student reporters were asking tough questions of politicians.  The principal of the school helped lead the charge.  The principal of Orange High School in California seized all 300 copies of Pulp, a magazine created as a project by the school's advanced journalism class, claiming it glamorized gangsta life.

SHOULDA ASKED FOR KE$HA INSTEAD -- An inmate in Virginia asked for a CD of sermons to listen to in his cell.  He was told he could only listen to music CD's, making this a double-header of First Amendment violations, speech and religion.

DON'T NEED STATEHOOD TO VIOLATE THE CONSTITUTION -- The Puerto Rico Department Of Education banned five books from its curriculum, including works by their celebrated contemporary authors, while letting far more provocative Spanish literature on the shelves.

OLD WHINE IN NEW BOTTLES -- In 1895, Cycles Gladiator, a French bicycle company, commissioned a poster for an ad campaign featuring a nude nymph on a winged bicycle flying through the air.  The impressionistic image is considered a legend.  California's Hahn Family Wines used the image on their labels, starting in 2006.  The Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board denied a re-application to sell the wine in 2008 for the "inappropriate" image, and a few months later in 2009, spelled it out -- they didn't like that the chick was nude.

ANY CHANCE OF DENYING LICENSES TO MOVIES WITH THE CYRUS KIDS?  -- The Texas State Lege is denying tax breaks to film production companies that portray Texas or Texans in a negative light.  Apparently, they don't like the competition.  First film to get it was a production examining the Waco massacre.

IT'S NOT LIKE THERE'S THAT MANY FIRST AMENDMENT FANS ANYWAY, RIGHT? -- Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA, wants to make sure free speech isn't disruptive.  They have designated a "free speech patio" in the center of the campus.  When students were trying to hold a rally, one said, "Let's go where they can hear us," and they started marching across the campus.  Campus cops stopped them, saying school policy is the free speech patio or nothing.  The students peacefully complied, but remember when protesting on campus was expected and encouraged?