now with more cowbell
it's a crazy, crazy, mixed-up world
Posted: 2003-04-07 11:05
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Author: Phil Gengler
Section: Stuff

Nope, still nothing regarding my request to testify, I assume this means I won't be going.

On Friday, Democracy Now! did an interview with CNN's Aaron Brown. The interview starts off with Steve Rendall of Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) asking about the (lack of) coverage of the anti-war movement, and CNN's pro-war bias. This topic becomes a rather heated argument between Brown and Rendall, and eventually changes to the question, should we be asked questions about the war? It's Aaron Brown's position that no, we shouldn't be asked people like military generals about the legality of the war. Concluding the interview is probing about the possibility that all CNN scripts have to be approved and/or edited before they can be aired. If this is true, which I don't have a hard time believing, than it practically invalidates all of CNN's claims about being unbiased and objective about reporting the war. This subject is brought up several times throughout the interview, which can be streamed as a RealAudio stream.

PBS is running an overview of proposed changes to the FCC regulations regarding ownership of media outlets. The changes would ease the restrictions on owning multiple media sources, and has the potential to create a virtual monopoly in all telecommunications, much like already exists in the radio world as a result of FCC deregulation.

An interesting discussion over at GNN mentions a CNN poll reporting that 68% of Americans surveyed support war even if no weapons of mass destruction are ever found. As I'm sure you're all aware, I'm wary to trust CNN data, but at the same time I have a hard time they could or would make something like this up, or skew something they already had to this effect. Unless the questions were loaded to seek this sort of response, which is not something I would put past CNN to do.

Larry Lessig has a new new blog entry about the Pennsylvania censorship blacklists. The quick background is that, a PA court ruled that all ISPs serving residents of PA would be given a list of sites (ostensibly containing child pornography, the subject matter of the case) that they would have to prevent access to. The problem is that the list is kept a secret, and with the exception of a few government officials and the necessary employees of the ISP, no one has access to the list. Meaning it's significantly harder to determine when a site is being blocked without cause. The Attorney General of PA stands behind the idea, saying that allowing public access to the list would be a dissemination of child pornography, which is illegal. The fact that the list is secret, and not subject to judicial review, means that there's virtually no accountability for any inaccuracy of the list. Site owners who feel they've been blocked unfairly have to start by proving that they're being blocked, and once they get past that, they're assumed to be hosting child porn. This clearly isn't 'innocent until proven guilty', it's quite the opposite, a phenomenon that's been manifesting itself more and more in today's society.

Speaking of 'guilty until proven innocent', the NY Times has a story about the detention of Maher Hawash, a 38-year old Intel engineer. He has been held for nearly 3 weeks in solitary confinement, without being charged with anything. The government has said nothing except that he is a 'material witness' in an ongoing investigation. This case sounds quite similar to that of Jose Padilla, another American citizen who was held for months without being given access to an attorney, which is a Constitutional guarantee.

Yahoo News is running what amounts to a major correction to a an earlier story. The first story reported that US troops had found the 'smoking gun' in the form of a weapons plant containing sarin gas. As it turns out, the plant was producing pesticides, not chemical weapons. In a somewhat related story, appended to the first Yahoo story, some US troops have been ordered to discard their chemical protection suits, since it's believed they won't be needed.

The title for this update, to give credit, is paraphrased from the lyrics of the song Rattlesnake by Live.


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