....LMB: "Random News"....

May 19, 2004

Keep Off the Grass- NYC refuses to grant permission for activists to protest the Republican National Convention in Central Park. Because that many people (an estimated 250,000) would "ruin the lawn." Awfully convenient time to come down with a case of environmentalism...

Brown v. Board Fifty Years Out- fifty years after the monumental court case, America's schools are all totally de-segregated. Kinda. Not really.

Pathological Power of Prisons: Parallel Paths at Stanford and Abu Ghraib- the Iraq prison abuse scandal reminded me of the Stanford prison experiment from the start. In the experiment, a handful of college students were assigned to be either guards or inmates in a mock prison for two weeks. Things got so bad so quickly that they had to pull the plug after only 6 days. After designing one of the least ethical experiments in academic history, psychologist Phil Zimbardo went on to relative fame and fortune, and even has his own line of educational psychology videos. Here is an essay by Zimbardo comparing Abu Ghraib and his own notorious experiment. I hate Phil Zimbardo.

The Jesus Landing Pad- you might have heard about this one already. Apparently, the Bush administration regularly meets with apocalyptic Christian fundamentalists to assure them that current US foreign policy does not contradict Biblical prophecy about The Rapture/Armageddon. Good to know that our government will go out of its way to appease a constituency who's main goal is to see the destruction of mankind.

Can ‘Star Wars: Episode III’ be saved?- okay, not news, just a column bashing George Lucas and his Star Wars neo-trilogy. I'll get my GenX membership card revoked for saying so, but even the first trilogy was pretty bad. For the most part, the movies are acted and directed horribly. Lucas is a fucking hack.

Conservative Legislators Sue Gay Couple Who Sought Marriage License- a gay couple in Pennsylvania is planning to challenge the state's ban on gay marriage. To stop them, some conservative assholes are planning to sue the couple themselves.

Patriot Act Suppresses News Of Challenge To Patriot Act- yes, according to the Patriot Act, it is against the law to announce that you are filing a lawsuit challenging the Patriot Act. Just wait till Patriot Act 2, when the entire city of Washington DC will be draped in a big black cloth so that no one can see what's going on inside. Y'know, for national security.

Posted by Jake at 09:21 AM | TrackBack (0)

Re George Lucas, it's nice to hear people refer to the Star Wars stuff as the overblown hype it is. I was already 23 when the original Star Wars appeared -- I saw it without paying at a multiplex in Berkeley in 77 and it was too obviously derived and childish to interest me then -- and I have regarded the continuing worship of this softheaded scifi as another example of the dumbing-down of the American psyche. But I don't regard Lucas as a hack really. I especially enjoy THX-1138, and other than the typically sexist almost all male vision (not unlike the Lord of the Rings actually), I have a great fondness for American Graffiti. Plus there are some purely kinetic examples of cool filmmaking in the second and third portions of the original trilogy. Phantom Menace was a waste, I'll admit, and the geekness of the fanbase continues to be a drag.

Now the Jesus Landing, which is based on Christian fantasies that are even further out than Star Wars, gives me the creeps! I recently talked to my 80 year old father on his birthday, and he has become a fundamentalist in the last ten years, and for him, simply because Bush calls himself a Christian, that makes him the best and only possible president "in these times." While my dad prays for my soul, I am reminded that in almost every poll I've ever seen, some 90% of Americans call themselves Christians -- even if they don't go to church or consider themselves religious. But as Vonnegut wrote recently, Where are the Christians who talk about the Beatitudes? Where are the Peacemakers? It is that teeming mass who will likely give Bush a demonic second term.

If we're going to "hand" Iraq over to the Iraqis, isn't it interesting to see a permanent Army base setting up there?

Posted by: bennett at May 21, 2004 09:01 AM
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Lying Media Bastards is both a radio show and website. The show airs Mondays 2-4pm PST on KillRadio.org, and couples excellent music with angry news commentary. And the website, well, you're looking at it.

Both projects focus on our media-marinated world, political lies, corporate tyranny, and the folks fighting the good fight against these monsters.

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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.

Posted by Jake at 04:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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