URLs du Jour


  • Harry Belafonte: vile or ludicrous? Rich Galen makes the case for vile. Don't miss the Secret Decoder Ring.

  • I think I'm beginning to love Cathy Seipp. This article manages to be hilarious about the serious topic of journalistic ethics. As I've always kind of suspected, New York Times reporter David Cay Johnston really is a self-important humorless weenie. Cathy's World added to the linklist at right, and what took me so long?

  • One Step Forward, Two Steps Back Department: According to an AP report:

    Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country's free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet's fastest growing market.

    This, after admirably resisting a subpoena from the US DOJ for disclosing search requests. Why is the Google more obsequious to Commie dictators than its own government?

  • Continuing in the censorship topic: a great article with a great title ("Shut Up, They Explained: The left's regulatory war against free speech") from Brian C. Anderson at Opinion Journal (reprinted from City Journal, where Anderson is an editor). This is an up-to-date examination of the efforts to regulate political speech on the Internet and elsewhere. McCain-Feingold is the usual whipping boy, but Anderson also details efforts to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

    The ultimate pipe dream of the reformers is a rigidly egalitarian society, where government makes sure that every individual's influence over politics is exactly the same, regardless of his wealth. Scrutinize the pronouncements of campaign-finance reform groups like the Pew-backed Democracy 21, and you'll see how the meaning of "corruption" morphs into "inequality of influence" in this sense. This notion of corruption--really a Marxoid opposition to inequality of wealth--would have horrified the Founding Fathers, who believed in private property with its attendant inequalities, and who trusted to the clash of factions to ensure that none oppressed the others. The Founders would have seen in the reformers' utopian schemes, in which the power of government makes all equally weak, the embodiment of tyranny.

    Bottom line: "equality" is often the enemy of liberty. And the purveyors of "equality" never seem to worry overmuch about the inequality of power necessary to enforce "equality." Gee, wonder why that is?

    Many blogospherians are way too copacetic about this stuff; as long as the FEC deigns to hand out "exceptions" and "exemptions" to certain kinds of web content (i.e., theirs), they seem to be happy. As long as my ox isn't being gored … let's all deplore the dreadful eavesdropping on the phone conversations of suspected terrorists! I hope that Anderson's article gets wide play, and causes some real debate on the regulation of political speech.

  • And still continuing with the censorship topic, we have a new effort from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and others to sue Viacom and Kellogg for daring to advertise food products for children on TV. Jacob Sullum examines the lawsuit and finds it wanting.

    This lawsuit, which CSPI and its allies plan to file under a Massachusetts consumer protection statute prohibiting "unfair or deceptive acts or practices," is really about censorship. By threatening onerous damages, CSPI aims to achieve through the courts what it has unsuccessfully demanded from legislators and regulators for decades: a ban on food advertising aimed at children.

    And over at TCS, John Luik looks at the alleged science behind the lawsuit and finds it wanting.

    Arise and resist the nanny-statists, comrades! They'll be coming for our beer commercials next!