FRC Blog

When “Fairness” is Unfair

by Robert Morrison

February 25, 2009

Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are eager to bring back the so-called Fairness Doctrine (FD). That was a rule laid down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that was used to squelch broadcast criticism of the (mostly liberal) administrations in Washington. The FD was the 20th century equivalent of the Alien and Sedition Acts. The FD reigned for several decades and had the effect of suppressing debate on the airwaves. Until the boneheaded McCain-Feingold law was passed, FD was the worst infringement on free speech going. It was repealed under Ronald Reagan in 1987. That was the year he called for the Berlin Wall to come down. As a result of Reagan’s liberating efforts, we saw freedom rise at home and abroad.

Conservative radio talkers are calling the threat of a reconstituted FD a “Hush Rush” bill. We need to be aware, however, that liberals may achieve their ends without passing legislation, or even without a new FCC “fairness” rule. They could do it by requiring a fixed amount of local content for radio. The idea there is that our mostly liberal major metropolitan areas would produce the local content and squeeze out the conservatives-like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Bill Bennett—who tend to be nationally syndicated.  

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 25, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Been in D.C. Too Long?

by Chris Gacek

February 24, 2009

How do you know that you know way too much about Washington bureaucracies and how they “work”? Here’s how. When you hear CNBC’s Rick Santelli calling for a Chicago Tea Party tax protest this summer, you immediately start to wonder whether he’ll need to get permits from some government entity like the Environmental Protection Agency. And then you wonder whether Illinois permits will be needed also. Well, I plead guilty to having had such thoughts last Thursday.

Fortunately, I am not alone and not nearly as bad off as Scott Ott of the D.C. Examiner appears to be. Ott has written a brilliant, hilarious piece entitled, EPA Arrests Rick Santelli, ‘Chicago Tea Party’ Cancelled.” (See Feb. 24, 2009 ed., p. 14.) The satirical article contains the following slam from President Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, commenting on Santelli’s arrest for threatening to pollute Lake Michigan: “I don’t know where Mr. Santelli lives, but apparently, like most conservative critics, he has a callous disregard for the lives of the waterfowl, sturgeon and fresh-water mollusks that inhabit the Lake Michigan watershed.”

That’s funny, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Santelli really could be arrested for dumping tea or “derivative securities” (paper) into the Great Lakes. Well done, Mr. Ott.

Andie Coller of The Politico observed today that Gibbs “dismissed [Santelli] as a know-nothing derivatives trader out of touch with Main Street.” Coller then noted that “[a] Rasmussen poll released Monday found that 55 percent of those surveyed thought federal mortgage subsidies to those most at risk of losing their homes would be ‘rewarding bad behavior.’” If I were the White House I would be very careful about trying to roll out a campaign of intimidation and bullying against journalists, in general, and a journalist, in particular, who is very much attuned to public sentiment, is an expert in the numerous cross-cutting markets traded in Chicago, and is the most popular figure on America’s #1 financial news network.

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All human beings are persons

by Bill Saunders

February 24, 2009

Earlier this week North Dakota passed a bill to recognize the “personhood” of the unborn embryo or fetus. Several other states are considering similar measures.

Such laws, among other things, seek to correct a philosophical mistake. That is, they seek to correct the dis-unity between “person” and “human being” that philosophers such as Peter Singer make. There is no difference. All human beings are persons. Creating a distinction between some human beings, who are persons, and some who are not is a dangerous game.

It is the powerful, after all, who will decide which human beings are persons, and you can bet your last dollar they won’t leave themselves out. But, as history proves, they will leave others out - the weak, the voiceless, the outsiders. The whole history of our United States may be understood as a struggle to recognize, and to guarantee in law, that all human beings are equal. State “personhood” laws are well within this tradition.

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Blogosphere Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 24, 2009

Here’s some of the buzz from the blogosphere today.

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When can we end the Experiment?

by Robert Morrison

February 24, 2009

Our Navy chaplain told us last Sunday about a most interesting psych experiment from his college days. Student volunteers were given special goggles. These goggles blocked out the students’ peripheral vision and turned everything they saw upside down—a full 180o. At first, of course, the students stumbled around, as if hopelessly uncoordinated and incapable of movement. Gradually, however, they began to accommodate themselves to the new view. In a surprisingly short time, the students, their upside-down goggles firmly attached and without peeking, found they could negotiate with ease. Apparently, some volunteers for this upside-down experiment have become so proficient they can actually pilot airplanes.

I feel like those student volunteers. I remember when the world was right side up. In the 1960s, I did not take psychology in college, but biology. In that class, we dissected a fetal pig. I can still smell that formaldehyde and see the odd smile on my fetal pig. You can imagine, then, how strange, how upside down it seemed to me when I heard people in that era begin to talk of the unborn child as a fetus.

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Change Watch Backgrounder: Peter Orszag

by David Prentice

February 24, 2009

POSITION: DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT and BUDGET

 

NOMINEE: Peter R. Orszag

BIRTH DATE: December 16, 1968 in Boston, MA

EDUCATION:

A.B. summa cum laude in Economics 1991, Princeton University

M.Sc. in Economics 1992, London School of Economics

Ph.D, in Economics 1997, London School of Economics

FAMILY: Divorced, lives with his two children, Leila and Joshua

 

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Daily Buzz

by Krystle Gabele

February 24, 2009

Here’s what we are reading today.

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Hurray for Gollyvood!

by Robert Morrison

February 23, 2009

You Commie homo-loving sons of guns! I did not expect this, but I - and I want to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me. Often. But I - I am touched by the appreciation and I hoped for it enough that I scribbled down - so I have the names in case you were Commie homo-loving sons of guns.”

In case you were trapped in an elevator during the Academy Awards, or landing in a USAir Jet on the Hudson River, you doubtless know by now that the above quote was part of Sean Penn’s acceptance speech for his Oscar in the film, Milk.

For once, let’s not focus on homosexuals. Or even on guns. Let’s consider instead that toss-away line about Commies. The Hollywood glitterati cheered and laughed to have themselves so described by one of their favorite bad boys. And maybe, with Penn’s blessing, we can use the Russian pronunciation-Gollyvood.

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