The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Friday, March 05, 2004

Free speech has (almost) no friends in the US House, it seems

HR 3717, The Jackson Right Tit Unveiling Memorial Act of 2004 [1], has been reported out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee by the small margin of 49 to 1.

And the lone dissent? Salute Rep Janice Schakowsky of Illinois. And the rest of the Democrats? Henry Waxman was absent, but is against. The rest had turned into Kyle's Mom.

The guilty men - and one or two women - can be divined from the membership list. These are the same folks that the nice liberals over at Kos and Atrios, who were whooping and hollering about Mayor Gandhi of San Francisco's matrimonial Homo Promo, are crazy about making the majority party.

I'm familiar with the concept of populism; and the end justifying the means. All yellow dogs - however rabid - are welcome to the Dem delegation, so long as they raise their paws for Nancy Pelosi next January.

Perhaps the speed and ferocity with which the Dem denizens of the Commerce Committee kennels - love that bipartisanship! - have launched themselves on the nation's broadcasters since the wardrobe malfunction is merely a measure of their enthusiasm for the campaign ahead - and not a genuine indication of their final position on the bill. Or on issues of free speech generally.

I get the feeling, however, that Bush will be getting something to sign PDQ (the Senate are discussing their version on Tuesday, it seems). And any sore consciences will be assuaged by the thought - as Waxman suggests - that the FCC fining mechanism was no practical threat (three fines for indecency in 2003, apparently, though 240,000 indecency complaints were received).

And Clear Channel Communications were going to fire Bubba the Love Sponge all along...

  1. Strictly speaking, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act.

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