Thursday, June 05, 2003

I'm sure everyone in hell is asking for a blanket today. Or, they would be if hell existed. I find myself in an odd position. Not only do I agree with a decision made by the FCC, but I feel the need to write in moral defense of its action, too. Who would have guessed that'd happen?

In any case, plenty of politicians have been denouncing the FCC for its decision.

"Why wasn't the public paid more attention to?" Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, D-N.J., asked. "The FCC spent a lot of personal time with the people they are supposed to regulate."


Copps said the FCC heard from more than 750,000 people, and 99.9 percent opposed changing the media ownership rules.

In other words, the FCC members didn't do something that they thought was wrong in order to appease the public. That is their complaint, and what a wonderful one it is, too. Moral integrity is looked down on as a bad thi- waaaait, these are politicians. Silly me.

Also, 750,000 people interviewed says relatively little about the public's opinion. Apparently, less than 1/250th of the population counts as a majority of people, and the "public" that was ignored.

Thinking about it, doesn't it seem odd that a "majority" of people are so worried about their minority viewpoints being restricted?

Commerce Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Congress ultimately may decide how much media ownership concentration is too much.

Since when? I'd like Senator McCain to point out when the members of congress became the moral authority on how many things someone can buy with their own, legitimately-earned money. Since businessmen are clearly believed to be incompetent to judge what media outlets they're allowed to purchase, surely the members of congress would be able to do so!

McCain said he's concerned that the FCC's deregulation in 1996 led to San Antonio-based Clear Channel Communication's dominance in the radio industry, and that the same might now happen in the TV industry.

Clear Channel isn't forcing anyone to refrain from entering the market. Clear Channel dominates because it offers people what they want. In other words, Clear Channel's on top because it's just too good, and congress needs to keep people from becoming too good. After all, we need to protect the stagnation of those that suck.

But Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., disagreed. He commended the FCC for doing a good job of throwing out the cross ownership rules. In Chicago, the Tribune Co. owns WGN television and the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and it endorsed Bush during the last election even though 80 percent of the city's voters are Democrats.

Minority opinions seem to be doing well enough.

"The people of the country have spoken out so eloquently on this issue," Boxer said. "The commission should have learned from your history on the radio industry, which is a disaster to free speech."

Of course, we don't get to see how letting radio owners play what they want on their own stations is a violation of free speech.

"Just because you sit behind a microphone does not make you smarter than other people," Boxer said. "You dismissed the people. You have every right to disagree with the people but you do not have the right to dismiss them."

The last time I checked, people behind microphones were still people, and were free to dismiss totally irrational positions. I can't help but wonder if Mr. Boxer thinks we should give hearings to church officials who propose that molesting children is alright. Or terrorists who want to legalize suicide bombings. People are free to dismiss them because their arguments are so obviously flawed that they warrant no further discussion.

Besides, just because a big gang of people tells you to do something, it doesn't mean you should do it. Unless you're just trying to make sure you get re-elected. I forgot again.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

Have you heard of LifeLog? I'm not sure whether I'm just behind, or if it is actually fresh news, but this freaked me out while I was reading the paper earlier. Just read:

Known as LifeLog, the project aims to capture and analyze a multimedia record of everywhere a subject goes and everything he or she sees, hears, reads, says and touches.


Rather, the agency calls it a tool to capture "one person's experience in and interactions with the world" through a camera, microphone and sensors worn by the user.

More importantly, LifeLog's goal is to create breakthrough software that "will be able to find meaningful patterns in the timetable, to infer the user's routines, habits and relationships with other people, organizations, places and objects," according to Pentagon documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

It definitely has me worried. Of course, we're being assured that we shouldn't be.

DARPA rejects any notion LifeLog will be used for spying.

Pft, sure. Something that tracks you, your habits, you relationships, and records them all, isn't going to be used for spying? Maybe DARPA just means that it won't be using it for spying, because you know that's what plenty of people would use it for. After all, what else could it possibly be used for?

DARPA's Jan Walker said LifeLog is intended for those who agree to be monitored. It could enhance the memory of military commanders and improve computerized military training by chronicling how users learn and then tailoring training accordingly, officials said.

For some reason, the idea that they're doing this solely for the purpose of enhancing the memory of military commanders seems really implausible.

Even if this is being created with the best of intentions, it's still a fairly bad idea because of what it can quite easily be used for: governmental invasion of privacy. The government continues to encroach on civil liberties more and more every day it seems. With things like the Patriot Act, and attempts to keep two consenting adults from having sex being instituted, this technology could greatly aid the government in its effort to control what people do, even in the privacy of their own homes when it's not anyone else's business.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Tony Blair is considered to be a better world leader than Bush? According to this article he is. As Drizz pointed out, it's great that he supported us regarding the war, but we can't forget that he's a socialist. While Bush is far from perfect, or even great, he still generally takes steps in the right direction, such as the recent tax cut. I don't trust Tony Blair, because he wants to extort money from me so he can give it to other people, in the name of the "public" good. (Apparently, I'm not part of the public, since I earned that money myself.) Bush at least does it on a much smaller scale, and doesn't explicitly endorse it, either.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Well, it happened. That's right- the media deregulation measure was approved. Of course, I'd be much happier if there were no governmental media regulation, and the FCC wasn't around in the first place, but I'm happy that they're at least moving in the right direction. Unfortunately, not everyone's happy.

"The FCC's action today means that Americans will see more of the worst the media has to offer, and less of the best," said Cheryl Leanza, deputy director of the Media Access Project, a public interest law firm.

They're only seeing the worst of what the media has to offer because they're settling for it. No one forces Americans to sit on their lazy asses in front of the TV and actually watch mediocre, and even abysmal programming. It's a choice they make because they feel like stagnating there on their couch, which is their problem, not the media's.

Sunday, June 01, 2003

I know what you'd say if you knew what I was about to talk about. It'd be something along the lines of "Not another post about that smoking ban." But you can never complain too much about something this bad.

Here's a letter written in to the paper today:

I had to laugh at the letter "Ban alcohol, bingo, too" (May 24).

Diabetes is a disease, and you can have it without eating sweets. You can be born with heart problems. Fast food may contribute to these problems, but do not cause them. Bingo does not lead to hard-line gambling.

As for taking away the rights of smokers, our rights as nonsmokers have been taken away for years. I cannot take my child to restaurants because she has asthma. "Smoking sections" are a joke because the smoke goes everywhere.

If you ask smokers to please put out their cigarettes because they are causing your child to have an asthma attack, they literally blow smoke in your face.

So I now only go places that do not allow smoking. I do not go to Spurs games, concerts and other activities because of people smoking until the air is blue. Where is my freedom? I applaud and patronize the businesses that have the guts to ban smoking. I would rather pay a bit more to be able to breathe.

"Blowing smoke" means placing blame on other things to distract the accuser from the original complaint. I feel it is appropriate in this case.

Charlotte Massey

The particularly amusing aspect of this letter is the fact that the woman thinks she has a right to dine at a restaurant. I'll explain restaurant "rights" the same way I explained education "rights." Restaurant dining is a service. It must be provided by someone. A true right is inalienable, assuming you've respected the rights of others. The only person with a right to a restaurant is the owner of the restaurant. If you can't take your child to a restaurant, then it's just too damn bad. The restaurant owner chooses to allow certain conditions in his restaurant, and you either accept those conditions or refrain from dining there. I don't see her complaining that she can't take her child to Chippendale's because of the mostly-naked men there.

Notice in the second-to-last paragraph, she mentions that she doesn't go to places that allow smoking. She even says that she doesn't mind paying more to eat places that don't allow smoking. So what's her problem? She clearly seems willing to eat at particular places based on their smoking policy, and obviously doesn't have trouble finding them. Which, of course, contradicts her statement about not being able to go to restaurants, in which she seemed to imply restaurants, period.

She seems to grasp the principle of "If you don't like their policy, don't deal with them" to a certain extent, but fails to understand it on the whole. That's really a shame, because I'm sure that a lot of people are the same way, and will continue to push for right-violating bans.

Something tells me that my post about pickup lines probably cost me some credibility. By some, I mean a lot. I'll rebound one of these days, and that'll show you.