Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hey FCC--Don't Mess with 24 or Jack Bauer Will Shoot You in the Thigh

I didn't like the sound of this story when I heard it on the radio earlier in the week:
Congress could regulate violence on cable, satellite and broadcast television without violating the First Amendment, the Federal Communications Commission said in a report released Wednesday.
The report, which had been requested by Congress, contains suggestions for action by lawmakers, but it stops short of making specific recommendations.
A correlation exists between bloodshed on television and violence in real life, the commission said.
Concluding that "exposure to violent programming can be harmful to children," FCC Chairman Kevin Martin wrote in a statement accompanying the report that, "Congress could provide parents more tools to limit their children's exposure to violent programming in a constitutional way."
Funny--I thought that parents already had a wonderful tool to limit their kids' exposure to violent programming; it's called an off switch. (That's very constitutional, by the way.)

I've said before that I'm only a fan of government when it's as small and limited as possible. Protect our shores and our borders, tweak a few things to help the proverbial trains run on time, and otherwise, just leave us alone...and stop reaching into our pockets every thirty seconds. You want more money? Go earn it in an honest fashion like I did.

Whew, there, I feel better. But seriously, the government doesn't need to be in the censorship business, save for extreme things like keeping porn off the broadcast airwaves. And they don't need to be messing with cable at all, because that's a choice made by the consumer. Yes, some kids see some things that they probably shouldn't see because parents aren't doing their jobs...but that's not for the government to step in and dictate either. And as a member of the "creative element," it alarms me to see them wanting to step in and regulate such things, because who says that music won't be next?

(Incidentally, the title of this post came from a line in the radio story that specificially cited 24 as an example of the type of programming the government might want to regulate.)

Weird hobbies that can pay well, part 1: A 64-year-old New Hampshire man just earned the chance to win $50,000 playing rock, paper, scissors.

Weird hobbies that can pay well, part 2: Meanwhile, a Pennsylvania teenager just won $25,000 in a text-messaging contest.

This hobby is just weird: Citizens of Arkansas are being asked to help the natural heritage commission count the number of box turtles in the state.

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