Republicans complain that NPR and PBS need fairness or balance to their liberal bias in public broadcasting. Social conservatives don't feel they should fund television programs that don't project their right-wing political world view. Whining about political bias in PBS television programming is about as lame an excuse to slash funding as can be imagined. The fact is that from 6am to 6pm, PBS broadcasts children's programming.
[snark] Maybe I missed the episodes of Sesame Street that outraged the socially conservative right-wing nutbags in America where Bert and Ernie must have revealed their homosexuality and promoted gay marriage, or when Miss Piggy got knocked up by living in sin with Kermit the Frog and promoted abortion, or when the Cookie Monster or Oscar the Grouch promoted drug use to toddlers. [/snark]
I must have might have missed those controversial Sesame Street episodes that surely must be behind the "not with my tax dollars!" mantra of these compassionate conservative nutbags. I admit I haven't watched daytime PBS television shows since Kimba and Speed Racer were new cartoons. I'm an adult now. I thought I'd check out what the right-wing nutbags want to abolish. I use the term abolish because $100 million cut is just the start of their funding cuts, if they get their way with it. The "not with my tax dollars!" mantra does not mean "not with some of my tax dollars."
Switching over to my local PBS station in Central Florida (WMFE) as I write this, I realize why I don't watch daytime PBS programming. Children's television programming is like some over the crib auditory and visual stimulation for infants that can only be enjoyed by adults who still drop hits of acid. To the murbled objections of my cat -- I had to turn it off -- after only ten minutes of perusal. I don't feel I have any need to stimulate a psychodelic flash back by watching Teletubbies, today -- thank you very much. Besides, everyone knows that Tinky Winky is an agent of the vast gay agenda. I wouldn't want to be brainwashed and I certainly don't need to deal with a brainwashed gay cat.
PBS television shows that I do enjoy in the evening are things like Nova, Frontline, and the News Hour. Perhaps it is the professional investigative news journalism or science programming that somehow offends right-wing social conservatives. Go figure. Nutbags wouldn't want to help fund anything that disagrees with their political or pulpit propaganda, I guess.
At the end of the day, however, my Libertarian medulla oblongata makes me think it might be a great idea to slowly wean the federal funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the non-profit corporation that then helps fund PBS and NPR. Despite my fondness for Mister Roger's Neighborhood, I think CPB will find other sources of funding.
But, fair is fair. If the government cuts the funding for PBS and NPR by 25% -- something that all people enjoy -- I think we should cut other federal budgets by the same amount. For example: let's take a broad budget axe to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and other useless federal law enforcement and social engineering bureaucracies, whose annual federal budgets suck down billions (not millions) of tax payer dollars faster than a cop on crack.
If you were in charge, what program or agency would you eliminate in your government?
My first Digi-Chix entry included two truly digital chicks -- Hunter, a real bitchy bot from the video game Quake 3 Arena and sexy Six of One from the animated Sci-fi TV show Tripping the Rift. Mainly, I was just having some fun. I had cleaned up and digitally manipulated images of these two characters and thought I'd play with the mouse over animation possibilities of them. It was just something to do on a rainy day. More accurately speaking, it was something to do when I was totally unable to walk and leave the house on my own, regardless of the weather. My second Digi-Chix entry, about six months later, was not so literal. I thought it might be fun to highlight some of the woman on the web or in the media that I thought were cool. Media is increasingly becoming digital anyway, so I figured I could keep the name. This time, I decided to write about two interesting author/journalists -- Annalee Newitz and Mari Marcel Thekaekara -- both of whom do some great writing with 'tude.
This is my third Digi-Chix entry, which makes me think that I should make Digi-Chix a topic about which I should write more often than twice a year. This time around, I decided to highlight two Digi-Chix in the radio business. I listen to both of them on streaming net radio all of the time, and you can too.
Kim Komando does have the offical title of America's Digital Goddess. Every computer geek in North America has probably heard her computer tech help call-in radio show at one time or another. She is also quite the hottie.
However, Kim has more than just a pretty face and pleasant voice.
Kim Komando is friggin' smart and talented. She graduated high school earlier, moved out, and started college earlier than most kids. One of the things Kim attributes her drive and love for computers on is the fact that her mom worked on a UNIX dev team at Bell labs in New Jersey. She would go with her mom to work on occasion. On Kim's bio page, she remembers playing "Hunt the Wumpus" on UNIX.
Now, when I finished reading about her early years, I was freaked out about some of the similarities between Kim and myself. I graduated high school earlier, moved out, and started college early, too. I remember I had to take a day off of work in order to go to the graduation ceremonies of my class. Another similarity was her childhood experience with her mom's work place. My mom worked in the fish bowl at Ford's Product Development center. I remember playing a logic game called Cows and Bulls on a yellow paper teletype terminal to their system. Cows and Bulls was just a game where you tried to deduce a random 4-digit number.
Another game that the programmers hid from their bosses was like "Asteroids" and played at a CAD workstation on a monochrome green $500,000 cathode ray tube. This was back in the day when they actually saved programming in data library boxes of IBM cards or on disc packs the size of truck tires. I'm not certain about the storage capacity of those disc packs, but I imagine they were about the same as a floppy, or two. You're sitting in front of more computing power right now than Ford likely had in their fishbowl at that time. I do remember sitting on the print arm and riding the full scale drafting printer as it inked out car prints on mylar. That was fun, but enough about my happy childhood.
Kim Komando is not only the creator and host of a top ten rated radio show, but also a syndicated columinst and author of many books. Check out her very cool web site at http://www.komando.com where you can find a live net radio stream to hear her show.
Randi Rhodes is one of the jewels of the airwaves on Air America radio. She is political wonk, like me. And she can be sincere, yet sarcastic and funny. It's a rare gift. Sometimes, when the issues of the day are very serious, the best possible tone in which to communicate those issues is humor. When humor fails, only outrage is left. If you can temper the message of the outrages by the current state of monopolistic political affairs in the U.S. with a little humor, you get sarcasm.
Since I am a political blogdriver, I won't go into the Randi Rhodes Show very deeply here, but rest assured I will be tossing links to her website into my future entries for your perusal and entertainment. Entertainment belongs to those who follow my off-blog links. Remember that.
I just watched a scooped news item Randi Rhodes is breaking about the Patriot Act. Despite Dubya's staged speeches in front of bleachers of law enforcement, there are sections of the Patriot Act which need some scrutiny, not permanent status as law and practice. From the time I listened to it on the show to the time I wrote up this entry, Randi Rhodes' website congealed it into an understandable topic and issue. Previously, I had gone through ten searches to the Florida Rep's site to find it.
Naked before your knowing gaze I kneel
Eyes cast down in respect
Head high with pride of serving you
I plead to you with my moans
That I might be allowed to serve you
To please you, to touch you
In the way that you deserve
I long to tell you so much
To thank you for granting me this
To offer my utter devotion to you
Your reply comes swiftly, unerringly accurate
Driving into my core -- the Truth
That nothing fulfills me as you do
That life was lacking before you
And would be endless without you
I yield to these truths
Knowing it was you I seek
These lessons don't come easily
But they are teaching me thoroughly
That I belong to you completely
And just how much I've needed you
I will prove my truths to you
Lying in your arms where I belong
Oblivious of anything but my desire for you
Venturing affection, I lick your chest
Embracing you with my tongue
You harden, swelling with your lust
Offering to me the needed worship of you
Undulating slowly in passion, I do
Moving smoothly to please you
Yet with enough intensity to thrill you
My lips wrap around you
As I accept your stiffening flesh
Swallowing deeply, it moves in and out
Taking ownership of its warm dark hole
Entering and withdrawing from wet caress
Releasing your ambrosia to me
One of the interesting C-SPAN features is the morning discussion and telephone call-in shows called "Washington Journal." It's a morning show. Unlike MSM morning shows like "Fox and Friends," Washington Journal's broadcasted segments are not hosted by band of giggling millionaire pseudo celebrities, not interupted every 12 minutes with advertising or flashing graphical bumpers, or operated under the presumption that its audience has the attention span of tree squirrels on crack.
Washington Journal has an initial segment where the calm-speaking host goes through some of the headlines of newspapers of the day. As with every segment, telephone call-in comments are encouraged. The only editorial control or screening placed on viewer participation is the seperation of the call-in numbers and rotation of taking the calls, usually segregated into Democratic, Republican, Others or International.
It's quite amazing that this balanced, in-depth, and totally uncensored programming even exists in today's commercial and social conservative atmosphere. Many callers start their comments with the appreciative phrase that embodies this freedom of expression by saying, "Thank you for C-SPAN ..."
After newspaper headlines of the Pentagon's own report of abuses and respect for the Quran in G-block were discussed, C-SPAN had three interesting guest segments Saturday morning. First, they had two bloggers discussing and taking questions about the "Downing Street Memo", about which I have previously blogged here, but just called it the "Blair memo."
The last segment was also about a fairly controversial topic: sex education for kids. There is this battle between the social conservative policy makers whose BushWorld faith-based funded programs teach abstinence and try to subtract the efficacy of condoms to the outrage of world AIDS groups. Also, it's a given that the ruling and funded evangelical bible-thumpers want all sexuality education removed, post haste.
The overall message of publicly funded sex education is an important morality topic to Christian Fundies, once removed from gay marriage disapproval, once removed from the pinnacle abortion topic. In the ruling monopolistic political, legislative, and funding environment in DC, social conservatives can reach down the priority list and have effect.
As adrenaline-raising as G-town prison abuse, Bush lies about Iraq, and sex education to kids might be -- the middle of the Washington Journal show was very interesting to me. Unlike the other segments, it only had one guest, John Gizzi, political editor of Human Events.
The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Freidrich Engels, 1848
Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, 1925-1926
Quotations from Chairman Mao by Mao Zedong, 1966
The Kinsey Report by Alfred Kinsey, 1948
Democracy and Education by John Dewey, 1916
Das Kapital by Karl Marx, 1867-1894
The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan, 1963
The Course of Positive Philosophy, by Auguste Comte, 1830-1842
Beyond Good and Evil, by Freidrich Nietzsche, 1886
General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money by John Maynard Keynes, 1936
Human Events is a conservative magazine. So, this list shouldn't be a surprise. The L.A. Times published one opinion piece about it by Jonathon Chait. However, the list pushed hundreds of comments on Reason and Plastic. As cordial as John Gizzi was in this C-SPAN segment, I agree with one point in the Chait opinion article, "The Right's Wrong Books," in which Chait said:
Possibly even more amusing are the explanations for each book's inclusion. They read like 10th-grade book reports from some right-wing, bizarro world high school.
However, I think he cited the wrong quote from the Human Events article. I found more humor in the write-up about Das Kapital by Karl Marx in which it was said, "[Marx was] portraying capitalism as an ugly phase in the development of human society in which capitalists inevitably and amorally exploit labor by paying the cheapest possible wages to earn the greatest possible profits."
[snark] Yeah ... that's not happening now, is it? [/snark]
While I find that one thing hypocritical, ridiculous, or delusional in defense of the Democrusader by this conservative publication, I must say one thing about the list. I think it's very telling and sad that conservatives in the U.S. have dribbled down the drain of socially conservative judgementalism. Two years ago, Human Events published a related article conversely entitled, "Ten Books Every Student Should Read in College."
This basic switch from the positive promotion of reading books by Plato and Aristotle to some negative idea of Tom Delay's Fahrenheit 451 is a style of journalism or government that is just pathetic. I would fully endorse John Gizzi's advice. Go out and read these books for yourself. I have to give him credit for that advice. He seems like an honorable guy, even if I think he is working for the wrong people.
I would only add that you read the books in their 2003 'good' list as well as their 2005 'evil' list. I don't think the popular bible is evil, I think there are evil men in positions of power in the U.S who hide behind it and exploit it. And, I don't think the Quran is evil, I think there are evil men men in positions of power who also hide behind it and exploit it.
Last week, Australian Schapelle Corby was sentenced to 20 years by an Indonesian court following her October 2004 arrest on drug smuggling charges. Corby went to Bali to vacation, as many Australians do, but customs officials found a four kilo brick of weed in her luggage and her life as she knew it, changed forever. It should be noted that the 20 year sentence is considered lenient under Indonesian law, as the government prosecutors in this case pushed for the death penalty.
The Corby case was just a small blip on the radar screens of the U.S. public. Our media only had small mention of it when she was sentenced. We were treated to about a minute of video showing the post sentencing outrage in the Indonesian court by friends, family and supporters.
In Australia and Indonesia however, this case has had the media attention of our own Michael Jackson trial. The Indonesian court sentencing was broadcast live in Australia and New Zealand. There are blogs, jokes and petitions. There is Aussie outrage and Indonesian outrage about the outrage. Heads of state of both countries are weighing in on it and trying to cool the emotions.
One of those emotions is the adroit and troubling comparison between the sentences given the Muslim terrorist involved in the Bali hotel bombing that incinerated over 200 people, many of them foreign tourists, and the so-called lenient sentence imposed by this same court to Schappelle Corby. The terrorist got 30 months and the hair dresser got 20 years.
This outrage was met by Indonesian and Australian protest. Embassies were closed. The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia is off and on, but Abu Sayyaf is continually giving that consulate reason to be cautious, anyway. It seems the only hope for Corby might be in a prisoner transfer between these nations.
Before you decide to help tsunami victims personally by visiting or go on that lifetime rad surfing trip to Bali, you might want to simply read the succinct scenario described by Fuzzy Math on the High Times site:
Imagine the follwing scenario:
You, your wife and your parents take a holiday to Bali, Indonesia. You check into the hotel, two separate rooms, but for convenience you also get keys for your parents room and vice versa...so each of you has a key to both rooms.
As it turns out, the previous occupant forgot a chunk of hashish under the mattress and housekeeping did not find it when that occupant checked out.
Then on the third day of your visit, while you're at the beach, housekeeping finds the chunk of hashish and calls the police. The police greet you, your wife and your parents upon returning to the hotel and because you all have keys to the room you are all arrested.
Under Indonesian Law, all four of you would be charged with possession and face a minimum of ten years in prison.
Your only defense would be to produce the previous occupant in court and prove that the hashish was his/hers. But that occupant is back in his/her home country by now, assuming you could even find his/her name.
So, you would certainly be convicted as the Indonesian courts have a nearly 100% conviction rate in drug cases.
Then you and your familiy would rot in a dank vermin infested prison lousy with diseases from the old testament where they don't even provide toilet paper.
Or you could BOYCOTT INDONESIA. Go someplace friendlier.
I agree with Fuzzy Math. Despite many countries adopting a common sense attitude toward marijuana, one need only to watch movies like "Return to Paradise" (1998 - starring Anne Heche, Joaquin Phoenix, Vince Vaughn), or "Brokedown Palace" (1999 - starring Claire Danes, Kate Beckinsale, and Bill Pullman), or the infamous 1978 Oliver Stone movie adaption of the Billy Hayes story "Midnight Express" to get a clue that some countries around the world are very harsh with their drug laws. Many even prefer to avoid the cost of maintaining a decent prison system by simply executing their drug offenders. Guilty or innocent, you're screwed if you find yourself in Schappelle Corby's situation.
Current estimates reveal we are spending about 7 billion dollars a year. Multiply that by the last 20 years to understand the generational compounded waste of money on a substance with which one third (95 million people) in the U.S. population has used and has no problem.
Clearly, this is simply one of those things that falls under the irrationality clause of governance, like the Bush stem cell research policy - protecting a Snowflake embryo while killing 100,000 grown-up and walking embryos in Iraq. Indonesia is no different, so don't presume I'm just bashing one religion or just Islam. It just is. If the most populous muslim country wants to execute western tourists by bombs or corruption in their legal system, that's their sovereign right as a new democracy to do so.
At the same time, it's my sovereign right as a tourist consumer to decide to vacation (or holiday) someplace else, rather than in the little slice surrealistic paradise on the planet, called Indonesia. Seriously, I don't care if Bali loses all its tourism and eventually becomes an island of industrial pollution and child labor factories. I grew up in Detroit, so if their Sharia-based drug policy kills their local economy, Indonesian defenders of it can talk to my hand.