Is the new FCC Chairman bucking for a Cable ACE Award?

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"It is the Congress that tries to determine whether or not the rules should be applied to cable."

That's new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin signaling that cable producers may have to clean up the sailor talk if they want things to happen in a "deregulatory and not in a regulatory fashion."

Speaking to the Bohemian Grove-style bacchanal known as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association's annual convention, Martin suggested the cable industry provide new tools to help parents with the extraordinarily difficult task of finding decent family entertainment on their televisions. If not, well, Martin's the reasonable one here; it's the Congress that's breathing down his neck.

"I think this is an opportunity for the cable industry to try to address it, not just speak to me but to speak to the consumers and parents," Martin said. Sound advice! Since not paying attention to their customers has only gotten cable providers 86 percent of the TV market, imagine what might happen if they actually gave people what they wanted. They might even find the average American willing to spend, say $255.18 per year on cable.

One question: If this FC&CC idea gets any more steam (I'm guessing it won't, but if), what will be the clause in the Commission's regulating-the-airwaves mandate that allows it to cover cable? Or will that not matter, since by then all the cable providers will be in jail anyway?

NEXT: Americanized Wine Wars

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  1. Fall in line with regulations that don’t apply to you or they will.

    It’s too bad the (non-premium) cable networks will probably back down from Mr. Martin and his PTC supporters. We could use an interesting fight.

  2. My fear is that The Sopranos will soon bear resemblance to a sketch from Mr. Show, in which a Goodfellas-style movie was edited down to the point of meaninglessness for suitable daytime viewing.

    Get used to hearing overdubbed phrases like “you mother[father] [Chinese dentist]!” coming out of Tony Soprano’s mouth.

  3. So, you believe that the cable companies are so successful because they heed the market? My cable company sucks but it is my only option if i want more than big 4. I tried satellite but reception sucked and the efficiency of the market precluded me from being worth the effort of that provider. I’m as libertarian as anyone, but sometimes the market fails and being unable or unwilling to acknowledge it for reasons of dogma make you look full of shit.

  4. SPD,

    Could you imagine what Deadwood would be like?

  5. Regulate an industry to death because of the pet objections of a minority activist group? Isn’t that the American way?

    Majoritarian rule is bad enough…minoritarian special interest rule is even worse. Fucking scum.

  6. I have become seriously disillusioned with John McCain. What happened to that bright, engaging presidential candidate from 2000? The one who wasn’t afraid to challenge the party mainstream and criticize frontrunner Bush?

    Alas, he is now yet another Big Government Republican, peering into MLB lockers for needles (at Canseco’s request, no less) and supporting Sen. Stevens in his moral crusade to clean up the airwaves for which Americans pay extra.

    And I thought it was bad enough that “Dead Like Me” was cancelled.

  7. “So, you believe that the cable companies are so successful because they heed the market? My cable company sucks but it is my only option if i want more than big 4. I tried satellite but reception sucked and the efficiency of the market precluded me from being worth the effort of that provider. I’m as libertarian as anyone, but sometimes the market fails and being unable or unwilling to acknowledge it for reasons of dogma make you look full of shit.”

    Jack,

    Somehow I doubt you’re as libertarian as “anyone” 😉

    Anyway, I hear what you’re saying, but this is not as much a failure of “the market” as it is a conflict of personal property rights/pragmatic delivery costs with libertarian philosophies. Given the high delivery costs (running cable here and there), and the conflict that arises from property rights trumping the ability of cable companies to run their own line straight to your house, this is one instance, along with things like roads, where, for pragmatic reasons, the government should take ownership of a public cable TV delivery structure, and allow different companies to compete for customers within that structure.

    The problem stems from the fact that the current cable TV delivery structures were constructed using government force to get around private property rights obstacles, but then handed back over to certain private providers. In other words, force was used to create a monopoly, then that monopoly was handed over to certain private parties to take advantage of. This is why I pay $110/mo for Adelphia (and why it goes up every other month, with no recourse). I hate to say it, but this is definitely a situation where, since the monopoly was created, essentially, using government force, then government force is the only way to fairly uphold it.

    Somehow, I doubt the cable TV delivery structure would have ever been created in the first place if cable companies had gone around, door to door, politely asking property owners if they could dig a bigass trench through their property free of charge. And since it was not created naturally, it cannot survive naturally. Everywhere I go, there is a cable monopoly; the only thing keeping them from charging $600/mo for basic cable is the satellite providers.

    I say, centrally own the [centrally-created] delivery system, and allow free market competition to thrive within.

  8. McCain was a big-government Republican in 2000.

  9. Evan,

    The trick here is that the minority purports itself to be the majority, and the majority never call them on it. Who wants to stand up for smut, and against children? No politician, that much is certain. Hence, these people get to dictate policy in the same way the Religious Right does, through the assertion that huge numbers of people agree with them through poll stats, and census data. The casually ignore the numbers of people who watch the programs they object.

    Worse, it’s an all or nothing mentality with these people. 100 percent of programming must be acceptable for children of all ages. 24hrs of Davey on Goliath on every station is about all that would sate them!

  10. jack, did the market really fail you or was it ever freed to act in the first place? In my area, for instance, only one cable company is allowed access to my home. I cannot choose between competing cable interests for my programming. Therefore, I have 1 cable company, the broadcast networds, and a satellite company competing for my viewing dollars. Perhaps the internet will eventually open that up further, but that is a promise on the horizon as of yet.

    The internet, in fact, offers a better model. I can choose between many ISPs IF I want DSL. However, once again, if I choose cable, I’m locked into a monopoly for an ISP. It seems to me that the market is not allowed to flourish for cable whereas it is allowed to flourish a bit more for DSL.

  11. Should have read Davey and Goliath. Davey on Goliath would only make the problem worse.

  12. I like how apparatchiks think they should pressure the cable industry to provide more bland, boring, inoffensive entertainment to Americans who already park their asses in front of the tube for about 1600 hours per year.

  13. If this FC&CC idea gets any more steam (I’m guessing it won’t, but if), what will be the clause in the Commission’s regulating-the-airwaves mandate that allows it to cover cable?

    I thought government agencies limiting themselves to what they were mandated to do went out of style 70 years ago.

  14. In my area, for instance, only one cable company is allowed access to my home. I cannot choose between competing cable interests for my programming.

    Same here. This happens because a private entity was given control of the monopolic delivery structure. It is pragmatically (and legally, without gov’t intervention) impossible for every upstart competitor to attempt to run their own line to your house. Just like it would be pragmatically impossible for each owner of a private road to build their own road through your property.

    The way I see it is this: IF the market had been allowed to work in the first place, sans gov’t force, then the initial creation of the cable delivery structure might have gone something like this: the individual providers realize that it is both pragmatically prohibitive, and ideologically not a good a idea, to have each provider try to build their own private delivery network. So, the industry forms its own conglomeration, which would do 2 things: 1) take care of ideological objections on the grounds of fair competition, and 2) allow the pooling of resources to form a common delivery structure, within which each provider (who would, naturally be required to pay a fee to the conglomeration) could compete for customers. Then, since we’d no longer have singular monopolies on delivery structures, competition would thrive; customers and providers (at least, those providers who don’t currently hold monopolies) alike would benefit.

    However, since the original structure was, for the most part, created with the aid of government force, this was not the case, and now we see ourselves in this bind.

  15. “Who wants to stand up for smut…?”

    I would. It’s about time someone took on the sexual phobias that the braindead Abrahamic religions have imposed on us. It’s also time that those of us on this side of the “culture war” stop letting the Fawells/Robertsons/Buchannans/Bozells from defining the debate, while we sit by trying to defend ourselves. I say put THEM on the defensive. Make THEM try to defend their moronic, backward notions of sexuality and morality. Spill their blood. Shoot them in the belly… etc, etc, cue theme from “Patton.”

  16. Akira,

    I would too, but nobody would listen. We’d be painted as child corrupting perverts. Like Spongebob and that purple Teletubbie.

  17. Evan Williams,

    IIRC, cable companies, like other utilities, generally have to get approval for rate increases from the govt which granted them monopoly power in the first place. Of course, that’s usually just a rubber-stamp process, but they don’t have a totally unregulated monopoly.

    Also, if I might add, though I believe that a lot of the stuff on cable is harmful to adults as well as minors, I also believe that people must be given the choice to watch or not to watch it, for two reasons.

    First, virtue is not virtue till it’s been tested by vice. Why else would God allow us to live in a world full of temptation?

    Second, since the dawn of humanity, people have found ways to satisfy the same sinful desires that TV and cable are sometimes used to satisfy — and some of those ways have been far more harmful.

    If we wish to make America a more virtuous nation, we need to eliminate the root cause of so much pornography etc being available, which is that people want to see it. We need to make people realize that pornography is harmful and choose not to watch it. But I suppose that’s too much work for some people, who prefer to substitute the violent, treacherous, and ineffective power of government for the gentle power of persuasion the Lord himself relied upon.

  18. Evan wrote: “Everywhere I go, there is a cable monopoly; the only thing keeping them from charging $600/mo for basic cable is the satellite providers.”

    This is incorrect. Even in a monopoly, there are still market limits on prices. If a cable company with no satellite competition tried to charge $600/mo for basic cable, they’d quickly go bankrupt, as people decided to do without. Even a monopoly can’t really charge “whatever they want”. If 100 people are willing to pay $600/mo for basic cable, but 10,000 people are willing to pay $30/mo, the cable company is not going to charge $600.

    Not that I’m defending government enforced monopolies, mind you. Most likely areas with true competition for cable service see lower prices than areas without.
    I’m a good libertarian, market forces good, government bad. =)

  19. We need to make people realize that pornography is harmful and choose not to watch it.

    In order to do that you would actually need to produce some evidence that pornography is harmful. Since there is no such evidence, these clowns want to dispense with any pretense at persuasion; coercion is their only option.

    I’m glad you’ve rejected coercion, but you have a tough job ahead trying to persuade anybody with such a lack of evidence.

    Well except of course for the fact that some porno is so tasteless that watching it could dull the senses to anything actually artistically pleasing: but now the argument is over aesthetics, not morality. 🙂

  20. Why else would God allow us to live in a world full of temptation?

    So you think he lets us live in a world of temptation so we can prove our virtue by spending a life of torment feeling guilty and asking forgiveness for very the nature you think he gave us? What kind of sick twisted god is he? Makes me glad I’m an atheist and therefore have no guilt about such earthly desires; makes life much more interesting and enjoyable.

    However, I am at least heartened that you seem willing to forgo the use of state compulsion for your mythological views; would that others who thought like you did the same.

    …people have found ways to satisfy the same sinful desires…

    Akira, hmmm, what do you think?

    the root cause of so much pornography… is that people want to see it.

    Amen! 😉 Which is why pornography is a good thing – people like it and are willing to pay to see it. We don’t need to waste time trying to stop consenting adults from enjoying themselves and creating a wealthier society while they’re at it.

    We need to make people realize that pornography is harmful…

    To whom?

    the violent, treacherous, and ineffective power of government

    Well, two out of three anyway – all too effective for me! But at least we agree on that much, Thank God for that! 🙂

  21. Lenny Bruce (I think it was him) once said, “I’d rather watch a movie of two people making love than two people trying to kill each other.”

    Pornography may not be virtuous, but it sure is fun!

  22. I said, “Everywhere I go, there is a cable monopoly; the only thing keeping them from charging $600/mo for basic cable is the satellite providers.”

    tsiroth replies,

    “This is incorrect. Even in a monopoly, there are still market limits on prices. If a cable company with no satellite competition tried to charge $600/mo for basic cable, they’d quickly go bankrupt, as people decided to do without. Even a monopoly can’t really charge “whatever they want”. If 100 people are willing to pay $600/mo for basic cable, but 10,000 people are willing to pay $30/mo, the cable company is not going to charge $600.”

    Given that I am not economically retarded, the $600 number was a tongue-in-cheek exaggeration, of course. The only way a monopoly can truly charge “whatever it wants” is if the product/service they are providing can’t be lived without—and even then, only if the consumer base has unlimited funds.

    $600 might be too much for most people to live with, but the question is, in a vacuum, where a monopolistic cable company reigns over a community, and every house in that community happens to have their southern view of the sky blocked (no satellite), what do you think would be the “breaking point”? People love their teevee…like I said, I pay over $100/mo for digital/hbo/internet. Even if I did away with the internet and hbo, it would still be expensive as hell.

    The point is not that there is absolutely “no” cap on prices—the point is that there is no natural market cap on prices (via competition). Don’t take my sarcastic comments so seriously.

  23. Most likely areas with true competition for cable service see lower prices than areas without.

    Most likely? Hell, just give me one extra provider in this area, and cable prices would, without a doubt, plummet—especially given how inflated they are as it is. The whiny pukes at Adelphia always bitch about having to raise prices “to keep up with network costs”. This is also known as a “big old load a shit”. About a year ago, they set up this new system of “advantage paks”, where they grouped services into packages (bronze, silver, gold, platinum, etc.). The brochure touted the ease and convenience of being able to pick an “advantage pak”, like it was somehow a new business concept to create package deals. The only problem was, dispite all the back-patting the brochure did, the only things that truly changed were the prices. My “pak” cost $24 more per month than the same exact items did when not packaged together. I called up and yelled at them, they whined about the channel subsription costs. I called them on their bullshit and questioned how direcTV isn’t subject to the same constant price increases. She couldn’t respond.

    I have no sympathy for cable. We close on a house in a month, and that day will be, hopefully, the last time I pay a dime to cable companies.

  24. Evan, I apologize if you feel insulted, as that was absolutely not my intent.

    What is or is not tongue in cheek, particularly in a written discussion among strangers, is not always obvious. I frequently encounter people who really believe that a monopoly business can charge whatever it wants. I don’t assume they are dumb, they usually just haven’t thought the issue through. A lot of otherwise intelligent people have unexamined beliefs about markets and economics.

  25. Cable is not a scarce resource, unless, perhaps it operates as a government-granted monopoly. Cable is not a common resource, as is “the air,” through which broadcast signals travel. Cable facilities and signals can travel across state lines, but the Federal government needs to step in only in cases of interstate disputes over regulation or terms of trade. The FCC’s authority to impose Federal oversight of cable makes as much sense as federal oversight of book publishers who do business nationally. That is to say: none whatsoever.

    When will the government admit that the electronic press is a reality, as eligible for 1st Amendment protection and as immune to government oversight as any newspaper or magazine? They can pretend that broadcast media are “different” because they depend upon the “common and scarce resource” of the “people’s airwaves.” But cable and the internet make electronic publication as privately financed and operated an enterprise as any newspaper or magazine. The FCC has no point, and for congress to talk about extending the agency’s authority to cover either cable or the internet, is to engage in open conspiracy to violate the Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and free press. On many levels, they are talking about a naked power grab. The people need to slap them down hard on this one. And when that’s over, they need to think carefully about what kind of federal oversight — if any — is still appropriate in broadcasting.

  26. Evan, by “most likely”, I was just thinking that there might be some areas where satellite competition has already driven prices down more or less as far as they’ll go. I have no idea whether that’s the case. Where I live (small town, BIG university), there are so many people in apartments (including myself) where mounting a dish isn’t feasible that the local cable company is probably somewhat insulated from sattelite competition. But maybe suburbs made up primarily of single family housing see better prices.

    I currently pay Mediacom $110/mo for extended basic and broadband.

  27. tsiroth: I know what you mean. I live in a university town (big university, smallish town—charlottesville, VA & UVa), and cable prices are very high. When I went to school (Blacksburg, VA, Virginia Tech), I was in the same situation as you. Very small town, very big university. And rates kept creeping up, nonstop, because of the very reason you described.

    Hell, they spent a year and a half installing fiber optic line, and our cable was out all the time. Did they offer any refunds? Ha, no, they just raised prices.

    On Sept. 11th, 2001, I got home from the gym around 9:30am. Turned on the tv, nothing but static. I got a text message from my fiancee, “are U seeing this? NYC is in ruins!”. Yes, that’s right, because of incompetent Adelphia, I found out about 9/11 via a text message. Refund? Course not. Cable’s out 1/2 the time? Just jack the price up!

  28. tsiroth: oh, I wasn’t offended in the least. I’m a big boy, I don’t shed no tears over a bloody blog comment section.

  29. James Merritt says, “They can pretend that broadcast media are “different” because they depend upon the “common and scarce resource” of the “people’s airwaves.” But cable and the internet make electronic publication as privately financed and operated an enterprise as any newspaper or magazine.”

    Well, you’ll be pleased to hear the latest excuse from the morality cops on capital hill: “these days, people are too stupid to know the difference between cable and network channels, so we need to regulate them all.”

    No, I’m not making this. Oh, god, I wish I was…

  30. “First, virtue is not virtue till it’s been tested by vice. Why else would God allow us to live in a world full of temptation?”

    Let me see…

    A) “God” is a tyrannical, capricious, asshole who delights in our “damnation” by giving us sexual desires but making it “sinful” to act upon them.

    B) There is no god and superstitious or power-hungry humans use the threat of Hell as a truncheon to goad their fellow humans into submission.

    “Second, since the dawn of humanity, people have found ways to satisfy the same sinful desires that TV and cable are sometimes used to satisfy — and some of those ways have been far more harmful.”

    Sinful? Why the hell does anyone need cosmic approval for a basic biological function?

    “If we wish to make America a more virtuous nation, we need to eliminate the root cause of so much pornography etc being available, which is that people want to see it.”

    You still haven’t showed me why erotica is a “vice” much less shown to me there is “sin” or even a “God.”

    Of course, even if you did prove to me there is a God, you’d still have to show me why I would have to obey the heavenly mother-fucker. If the Biblical depiction of a supreme being is correct, then “God” is a creature humanity should rebel against, not worship.

    “We need to make people realize that pornography is harmful and choose not to watch it.”

    To whom, and just how are you going to make people “choose” not to watch it? Why do I think the solution involves a government thug (a good, church-going, Christian, government thug, of course) with a badge and a gun?

    “But I suppose that’s too much work for some people, who prefer to substitute the violent, treacherous, and ineffective power of government for the gentle power of persuasion the Lord himself relied upon.”

    Gentle power of persuasion??? I’m sorry, but after reading the Bible it seems to me that your nonexistent Lord’s persuasion is anything but “gentle”: Plagues, earthquakes, fires, turning women into pillars of salt, slaying men who don’t impregnate their dead-brothers widows, avenging angles killing the first born of Egypt, and hoards of armed “chosen people” ready to slaughter neighboring unbelievers at a whim. Some “loving” God you got there.

    You’re demanding that we organize our government and society around THAT?

    And people wonder why I’m an atheist.

  31. “Pornography may not be virtuous, but it sure is fun!”

    SPD:

    Don’t play into crimethink’s game by being ashamed–even jokingly–of sex. Be proud of your libido. Shout out your love of sex, nudity, and orgasms. Publically declare you’re desire to screw your lover –or lovers! Who cares what the small-minded morality mongers think? (Provided they are capable of thought, that is.) Nothing says “fuck you” (not in the nice way) to the Robertsons/Fawells/Bushs/crimethinks of the world than enjoying yourself without the guilt they want to impose on you.

  32. I LOVE SEX, NUDITY AND ORGASMS!!!

    Whew! You’re right, AM. I feel a lot better!

    (“Lovers”? Jeez, I just got one after a looooooong drought. I’ll worry about the plural form once Salma Hayek starts answering my letters.)

    In gratitude, Akira, allow me to share this quote from The Devil’s Advocate:

    “Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He’s a prankster. Think about it. He gives man instincts. He gives you this extraordinary gift, and then what does He do, I swear for His own amusement, his own private, cosmic gag reel, He sets the rules in opposition. It’s the goof of all time. Look but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, don’t swallow. Ahaha. And while you’re jumpin’ from one foot to the next, what is he doing? He’s laughin’ His sick, fuckin’ ass off. He’s a tight-ass. He’s a sadist. He’s an absentee landlord. Worship that? Never.”

  33. SPD, yeah I loved that quote 🙂 That’s pretty much what you’d have to believe… how so many people can buy into that I’ll never understand.

    And excellent posts, as soon as I read crimethink’s post I thought this has Akira written all over it (and GG too, but alas… )! 😉

  34. Oh, the second line was directed at Akira,by the way, which is probably obvious, but it has been a long day and I left that out somehow…

  35. Heh heh, I assure you that Gary and I are two different people.

    If crimethink and his ilk truly think that sexuality is “dirty,” that’s fine by me. We can’t lead a man to think, so let them live with their self-inflicted neurosis if it makes them happy. I’ll keep my big mouth shut as long as they keep their prying eyes out of my bedroom or DVD shelf.

    However, when they imply that the rest of humanity share in their guilt-trip or should face punishment by law for not meeting their spirtual expectations, that’s when the gloves should come off, “tolerance” be put aside, and the religionists receive the proper thrashing they richly deserve at that point. Keep your faith in your church or home and out of my government, thank you. Once everyone learns that little lesson, then we’ll all be happier.

  36. It really is a life-hating attitude, this idea that the ONE thing (historically) which can create new human life is vile and disgusting, but watching life be taken away through violence is perfectly acceptable. Even my misanthropic, childless self is horrified by the implications.

  37. “It really is a life-hating attitude, this idea that the ONE thing (historically) which can create new human life is vile and disgusting, but watching life be taken away through violence is perfectly acceptable. Even my misanthropic, childless self is horrified by the implications.”

    Well, the fundies/arch-Catholics are fond of dredging up that whole “be fruitful and multiply” mandate from their cration myth. However, that view reduces the joyful and pleasurable act of sex a dry, mechanical process that serves the sole purpose of creating more believers.

    Sorry, we don’t have to play that game and, thanks to birth control, we don’t have to.

  38. I don’t understand why you guys are jumping on crimethink, but he is an ally. Look he believes in his God, Akira and others believe in no god and a bunch of people are somewhere along the gradient. However, we all agree that it’s not the job of the government to censor media and regulate speech. Let him preach that porn and extramarital sex is sinful, it’s his free speech right. Some will agree with him, others won’t. If we can get people like crimethink to agree with us, then it gives us more power and frees us of some of the libertine label that is one of the reasons our beliefs are marginalized.

    I hate to say it, it sounds so damn Dear Abbyish, but we’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It is in our interests to get people on our side in freedom issues without insulting their beliefs. Look I could care less if my neighbor worships a desert god, a sun god, a squat Asian man or all of the above, as long as he lets me be. Heck, crimethink’s agreeing with us and he’s being ganged up on, that makes no sense. At least there’s a reason when issues of the beginning of life crop up, but cable regulation isn’t the place for it.

  39. Crimethink,

    I really have to ask… What attracts you to Hit & Run? You don’t sound like much of an individualist.

  40. Mo,

    Speaking for myself only, I’m really not looking to harsh crimethink, I’m just trying to figure out what he thinks about the government’s role in enforcing morality.

    He gave some info regarding TV content, which I appreciate. But I’m not sure what he meant about reducing the number of people wanting to see adult programming. What, exactly, is the best way to help people not want to see that? State involvement, or just prayer?

    If it’s just prayer, I’m on-board with that.

  41. Mo,

    You are quite correct. I debased myself in a name-calling contest with BillyRay a few days ago, and I realized that I had completely forgotten about the nature of these board: to exchange ideas, and not to put others down no matter how much you disagree with them.

    BillyRay, if you’re reading this, I apologize and have no hard feelings. I still strongly disagree with your opinions, but I will try to counter them with rational arguments instead, as the name of this site obliges its readers to do.

    crimethink, I respectfully disagree with your opinion on this particular matter, but I’m not about to launch any further ad hominem attacks. Nobody wins when such tactics are used.

    That’s pretty much it.

  42. It is in our interests to get people on our side in freedom issues without insulting their beliefs.

    When someone tells you your desires are sinful what is that if not a little insulting? Look, I don’t care what anyone believes either, and I wasn’t really insulted, but when someone chooses to espouse a certain belief, why should I have to refrain from simply replying with where I think those beliefs are wrong? Tolerance for other’s beliefs is indeed a virtue – but remaining silent to avoid giving offense when others speak out is not. And I did mention that I recognized crimethink was not advocating using government force to achieve his view of what’s good, so I agree that he/she is an ally in that regard.

    Overall, Mo, I think your point is a valid one. It’s just that lately I have been irritated with those that defend to the end of the earth the religious person’s right to preach their world view while saying politeness requires that atheists should refrain from arguing our views just as forcefully for fear insulting their beliefs.

    Having said that, I certainly don’t want to kick anyone willing help limit the power of government out of the tent regardless of religous or any other beliefs.

  43. Ugh, who stole my prepositions… insert ‘to’ and ‘of’ as necessary above… it really has been too long OF a day – I’m going home now. 🙂

  44. Here’s something that knocked me for a loop. I’m not making it up. From the pages of “Radio” Magazine’s online IBOC (US digital radio) update:

    ============================================
    FCC: IBOC Experimental Authority Requests Require Drug Certification
    Broadcasters asking for permission to transmit multiple program streams must “just say no” before the FCC will say yes, according to sources at National Public Radio (NPR). In a memo dated March 24, NPR advised all of its member stations that an Anti-Drug Abuse Certification statement must be included with all Tomorrow Radio Experimental Authorization requests, contradicting advice previously offered by the FCC’s Media Bureau staff.

    The experimental authorization requests were stipulated by the FCC as a requirement for any station wishing to add Secondary Program Services (SPS) to its IBOC digital transmissions. Public Notice DA 05-609, issued by the FCC on March 8, allowed that simply simply tendering a letter asking for experimental authorization on an informal basis was sufficient, but further inquiries by NPR legal staff indicate that the Commission is requesting that an Anti-Drug Abuse Certification statement, required in many other formal filings, accompany the request for experimental authorization.

    To address the issue, NPR has made a revised application template available for use by its member stations seeking SPS experimental authority.

    Furthermore, NPR advises that any station that has already submitted a request for experimental authorization without an Anti-Drug Abuse Certification declaration must submit a revised request that includes the declaration, and that Media Bureau staff will attempt to expedite the revised requests.

    Source: URL http://beradio.com/iboc_update/iboc_update_040605/#fcc
    ==============================================

    Existing stations that merely want to experiment with a new program service must tug their forelocks in the direction of the Drug Czar? WHO THE HELL CARES whether the engineers or program producers are higher than kites? What compelling interest in public safety or security authorizes the government to make experimentation with new program modes dependent on a “drug-free” pledge?

    On the other hand, it is nice to see the government being consistent for a change. Now, our own radio licensees are being treated just like foreign governments. Must make them feel special, huh?

  45. Mo,

    Ok, good stuff. I guess I missed that line about “the gentle power of persuasion.”

    Sorry crimethink, I had you mistaken for a theocrat. Your faith must be stronger than most.

    (It seems to me that if people of faith think I’m going to hell, why shouldn’t I be allowed to enjoy my fleeting moments of pleasure before eternal torment.)

  46. “…but he’s proposing non-coercive methods.”

    Like Hell he is! It’s typical theocon bait-and-switch: Claim that you oppose government action and promote private means toward evangelization, decide that the heathens aren’t being converted fast enough, then sic Government-In-The-Name-Of-God on us to make everyone “virteous” at gunpoint.

    We,ve seen this bullshit before. (We have an example of it in Tim’s original post, for cripes sake.) I don’t believe it for a second and I neither should you.

  47. Mo,

    You are correct, but no matter what anyone here says I’m in the tent to stay. Not that I’m inviting more Gunnels-isms, but….

    kmw,

    I’m here for probably the same reason you are. While I have an opinion as to what the right way to live is, I also believe that what matters is that people choose to live that way. Nothing good is accomplished when someone is forced to lead a good (or at least visibly good) life.

    Brian Courts,

    I don’t have enough appendages to count the number of times on this forum I’ve been called an ignorant theist or an irrational bozo or some such, and my faith has been disparaged and insulted in no uncertain terms. The trick is just to consider the source and recognize that their POV is likely very different from yours.

    But at the risk of stirring up a hornet’s nest, I’m curious as to why you care what I think is sinful, if Christianity is so obviously false. Why should it concern you any more than the rantings of a raving lunatic?

    Akira Mackenzie,

    Regarding your alternative reasons for temptation:

    The reason I believe what I do about the necessity of choice is that without it, original sin makes no sense. For the sake of argument, assume God exists and is both omnipotent and benevolent; he could easily have made the world perfect in every way, and made humans perfectly moral creatures.

    But of course, we know that’s not the way the world is or we are. So the world that actually exists must have something that the “perfect” world lacks, and the only possible thing that could be is the ability to choose freely, without which love is impossible.

    Regarding your fears of a “theocon bait and switch”:

    Well, since I have no actual power beyond my silver tongue 😉 , I don’t think you’d have to worry about me forcing virtue at gunpoint. But it may comfort you to know that I opposed Bush’s faith-based initiatives, as did many religious organizations, who feared rightly that govt money would mean govt rules.

    At the same time, it’s pretty unfair that at least 1/3 of the economy in this country passes through govt, and thus religious organizations can’t touch it. Rather than mixing church and state — historically more dangerous for the church than for the state — the answer is to minimize the portion of the economy off-limits to religious orgs because it passes through govt.

  48. I’m curious as to why you care what I think is sinful, if Christianity is so obviously false.

    crimethink,

    Actually I don’t care what you think is sinful – that is why I stated that I wasn’t really insulted. I was merely using that as an example of something that could reasonably be considered insulting by some, in reference to Mo’s post that we shouldn’t be insulting other’s beliefs. The main point I was trying to make is that it is not a one-way street with us atheists needing to worry about your feelings any more than you worry about ours when you say something is sinful. That is not to say that we should just throw ad hominems around for the sake of insulting each other (I don’t think either of us did). But, if it’s fair for you to say that you think some things are sinful, then it’s certainly fair for those of us who think that is bunk to say so in no uncertain terms. Either both are insulting or neither one is.

    At any rate, I am not going to lose sleep over being considered a sinner and you are not going to lose sleep if I think your religion is mythology, right? So, at least as far as I’m concerned, I took no offense and I hope you did not either.

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