....LMB: "Safety First"....

February 19, 2003

Perhaps you've heard about the new Ready.gov website, where the Department of Homeland Security tells you how to prepare for a terrorist attack. It has the potential to be this millenium's answer to Duck and Cover, the kitchy 1950s film that instructed schoolchildren to protect themselves from nuclear attack by hiding under their desks.

I looked over Ready.gov's advice for terrorist attacks, and for nearly every scenario (biological attack, chemical attack, radiation attack, nuclear attack), the advice is pretty much the same: Get Out of There!

They also advise you to make up an emergency kit, like the one you'd have in case of earthquake, or tornado. Or a nuclear attack from the Russians.

Of course, this is one of those clever "Panic! Don't Panic!" sort of things. Tom Ridge gets on the television and calmly tells you that the threat of terrorism is so real that you should pack a fucking "In Case of Terrorism" kit to keep in your kitchen, while at the same time acting like you should feel safer because now you're informed and prepared.

Should we mention that having such a kit would not have saved a single life on 9-11? Of course we shouldn't.

Should we mention that most Americans who don't live in highly populated cities or near highly symbolic landmarks will probably never, ever have to worry about a terrorist attack? Maybe.

Should we mention that in the most terrorism-laden year in the United States that around 3000 people died, while in nearly every year more than 40,000 people die in car accidents? Only if we want to be crucified.

Posted by Jake at 10:25 PM
Comments

I agree with your general sentiments but have to comment on this part:

Should we mention that most Americans who don't live in highly populated cities or near highly symbolic landmarks will probably never, ever have to worry about a terrorist attack? Maybe.

That might not be true if it comes to posioning water supplies and the like. Still the idea that people in rural areas need to have the same fear of terrorism as people around urban centers is laughable.

Posted by: micah holmquist at February 20, 2003 06:36 AM

"I can no longer sit back and allow terrorist infiltration, terrorist indoctrination, terrorist subversion, and the international terrorist conspiracy to sap and impurify...all of our precious bodily fluids."

Personally, I have my anti-fluoridation kit handy, complete with grain alcohol and rain water.

Posted by: Eric at February 20, 2003 05:05 PM

I'm not sure if this is nation-wide or in only some states, but in Georgia, before each major holiday weekend, the State Patrol of Georgia estimates the number of people who will die due to car-related accidents. It is an odd, morbid game, that one.
Also, Jake, I wanted to send you an interesting publication, but Juno said that it could not use the address (given in the right-hand column of you site) to send you the document. Do you have a scerver name missing from the given address?
Thanks.

Posted by: Shawn at February 20, 2003 06:10 PM

That should have read "server."

Posted by: Shawn at February 20, 2003 06:11 PM

I dunno Shawn. Just replace the "+at+" with "@". I'd have my real address as a link, but spammers pick up on that sort of thing and soon the email box would be useless.

If that doesn't work, I don't know what to tell you.

Posted by: Jake at February 20, 2003 11:50 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:

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