Misc Commentary For April 9, 2004

— Back on March 5th I said the following about the new, iron-fisted, indecency rules that are being put in place for radio…

“When you raise fines to that level and threaten to revoke licenses you are in effect engaging in “stealth censorship”. By that, I mean that since what is considered to be “indecency” on the radio is very subjective and since the fines are so high, no radio stations are going to be able to afford to continue to carry “shock jocks” once this goes into effect.”

The new penalties haven’t even taken effect yet, but what I talked about in that post has already started happening

“Federal regulators Thursday proposed $495,000 in indecency fines against Clear Channel Communications for broadcasts by Howard Stern, prompting the nation’s largest radio chain to drop the country’s best-known shock jock.

…”Mr. Stern’s show has created a great liability for us and other broadcasters who air it,” said John Hogan, president of Clear Channel Radio. “The Congress and the FCC are even beginning to look at revoking station licenses. That’s a risk we’re just not willing to take.”

As I’ve said before, I would not be troubled in the least by Clear Channel dropping Stern for business reasons, but when the government in effect makes the penalties for carrying Stern so high that no company can afford to do so, I get concerned, very concerned about what is obviously censorship by another name….

— I think it’s quite ironic that many of the people claiming that President Bush didn’t do enough to fight terrorism before 9/11 seem to have little interest in fighting terrorism TODAY. Many of these same people who criticize Bush claim the Patriot Act somehow mysteriously strips us of our freedoms (rarely do they have specifics), they bitterly complain about no-fly lists, rabidly oppose going after rogue states that support terrorism, etc, etc, etc. If you’re not serious about fighting terrorism after 9/11 and everything we’ve learned since then, how can anyone take you seriously when you complain about what was done before 9/11?

— Despite all the mainstream media hype of Richard Clarke’s testimony and their snarky put downs of Condi, the public isn’t buying the spin. According to Rasmussen Reports

“…Following the Rice testimony, President Bush recorded his best single night of polling in over a week.

Seventy-one percent (71%) of Americans said they followed news stories of the Rice testimony somewhat or very closely.

Among those who were following the story closely, Rice was viewed favorably by 56% and unfavorably by 28%.

Rice’s numbers are far better than those for Richard Clarke, the former Clinton and Bush official whose testimony two weeks ago kicked off a media frenzy. Following yesterday’s testimony, Clarke is viewed favorably by just 27% of voters and unfavorably by 42%.

An earlier survey found that half of all Americans thought Clarke made his accusations against President Bush to help sell books or help the Kerry campaign.”

— I caught “Hellboy” tonight and was pleasantly surprised. As far as I’m concerned, only “Spider-Man” was a better adaptation of a comic book to the big screen. The main character — Hellboy — was a compelling character. Cocky yet quirky & funny, nearly invulnerable yet all too human, you couldn’t help but root for him. Although the storyline was a touch convoluted — and that’s usually the case when you try to convert comics that have been running for years into a 2 hour long movie — the secondary characters were intriguing and the villains were competent, ruthless, & brutal. Unfortunately, not everyone liked this movie as much as I did — it’s on pace to lose a bundle. So alas, it looks as if I’ll be denied the pleasure of seeing “Hellboy 2″…

— While I’m no fan of “Ken “Red Ken” Livingstone, the grating mayor of London, I fully agree with his latest comments about Saudi Arabia….

“I just long for the day I wake up and find that the Saudi royal family are swinging from lampposts and they’ve got a proper government that represents the people of Saudi Arabia.”

Personally, I always imagined the Royal family being lined up against a wall and machine gunned, but otherwise well said Ken, well said!

— Because the Shiite al-Arbaeen celebration, US forces aren’t going to go into Najaf to put a bullet in al-Sadr this week-end, nor are they going be on hand to try to stop terrorist attacks. It could be a very bloody week-end in Iraq and next week, when I expect us to start going after al-Sadr and company in earnest, probably isn’t going to be much better. Probably by Friday of next week or so we should have a much better idea of how long the fighting is going to last…

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