Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Courts Government Censorship The Media United States News Your Rights Online

Supreme Court To Rule On TV Censorship 426

Posted by timothy
from the bunch-of-thespians dept.
Khashishi writes "The LA times and the Associated Press report that the FCC v. Fox Television Stations case is being heard in the Supreme Court. The FCC policy would impose a heavy fine on use of 'indecent' words on broadcast television, which Fox and others are claiming is a violation of free speech. The case was appealed after being ruled in Fox's favor in a federal appeals court in New York. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Antonin Scalia support the FCC policy of censorship." Here's a transcript (PDF) of the oral arguments.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Supreme Court To Rule On TV Censorship

Comments Filter:
  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:17PM (#25647293)
    Just what kind of topsy-turvy world is this new Obama era producing?!?!
    • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) * on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:33PM (#25647607) Homepage Journal
      You're forgetting that Fox made famous The Simpsons, Family Guy, Married...with Children, and many other shows which wouldn't have been given chances on other networks.

      Incidentally most consumers of Fox News are too narrow-minded to realize this...or maybe being bad is okay only when it applies to them!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by kachakaach (1336273) *

        You're forgetting that Fox made famous The Simpsons, Family Guy, Married...with Children, and many other shows which wouldn't have been given chances on other networks.

        Those shows aren't really bad, they're just drawn that way.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by theaveng (1243528)

          "the Supreme Court's leading conservatives made clear they would like to uphold an official crackdown on the use of expletives during daytime and early evening hours."

          Reading this brought to mine Thomas Jefferson's warning:

          "To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men and not more so. They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem [good justice is broad jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.

          "The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots. It has more wisely made all the departments co-equal and co-sovereign within themselves."

          Clearly the conservatives on the court are NOT acting as judges interpreting law, but as private citizens trying to push their own agenda, and using their power to superimpose their religious views onto all 300,000,000 residents ("They have with others the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps"). This is just wrong.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by theaveng (1243528)

          Here's another Jefferson quote that I like, mainly because he must have been peering into a crystal ball, because he so accurately predicted the future:

          "This member of the Government was at first considered as the most harmless and helpless of all its organs. But the Supreme Court has proved that the power of declaring what the law is, ad libitum, by sapping and mining slyly and without alarm the foundations of the Constitution, can do what open force would not dare to attempt." --Thomas Jefferson to Ed

      • Or... (Score:5, Informative)

        by crmarvin42 (652893) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:53PM (#25647965)
        1. The entertainment and news divisions are run an operated separately, as they should be.

        or

        2. People that believe in social and/or financial conservativism (like me) can also appreciate off color humor (I own every season of Family Guy that's available on DVD).

        or

        3. Fox news and Fox entertainment division cater to different markets that they thought were being under served by their competitors

        or

        4. Some combination of the above 3.
      • by Captain Spam (66120) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:01PM (#25648131) Homepage

        I think Lewis Black put it best on one of his Back In Black segments on The Daily Show. People tune in to Fox (News) to seethe in outrage over what they saw on Fox (broadcast) the night before. It's a self-perpetuating business!

      • by timothy (36799) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:45PM (#25648885) Homepage Journal

        "Incidentally most consumers of Fox News are too narrow-minded to realize this..."

        On the other hand, lots of the criticism I've seen aimed at the Fox network has been pretty narrow-minded, too. There are plenty of broad brushes to go around, it seems.

        timothy

      • by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @04:01PM (#25649251)

        You have a point, Fox is not "conservative", they are just trying to be either entertaining or shocking and their kind of conservatism is deliberately trying to be outrageous and offending because that means people are watching.

        Or pandering to people who actually believe it.

    • by Kamokazi (1080091) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:06PM (#25648215)
      Many conservatives don't like Fox any more than the rest of the liberal media. They consider them a shil for the 'neo-Republicans' like Bush and pals, and are no better than CNN, MSNBC, etc.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shaitand (626655)

        'Many conservatives don't like Fox any more than the rest of the liberal media.'

        Pray tell where is this liberal media? There is no shortage of bias on the major media outlets but its hardly biased toward liberal or conservative.

        If you want to hope to see real news you have to read foreign reporting.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:19PM (#25647329)

    You know, Fox turned into a hardcore sex channel so gradually, I didn't even notice!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:20PM (#25647335)
    I liked my submission's headline [slashdot.org] more. :(
  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@nospAm.carpanet.net> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:21PM (#25647353) Homepage

    Ginsberg said that there is an elephant in the room: The First Ammendment.

    As I read it, I see another one:

    The solicitor general was unswayed. When "celebrities use particularly graphic, vulgar, explicit, indecent language as part of the comedic routine," he said, there is "potentially greater harmful impact on children."

    Potential Harmful impact? Ok... PROVE HARM.

    Thats all, prove harm. Even prove potential for harm. Whats the scope of this supposed "harm"? How does this "harm" happen? How do we even know its real?

    -Steve

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      He doesn't believe in his own bullshit. He's just trying to win court battles to further his own career.

      • by fyngyrz (762201) * on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @05:42PM (#25651949) Homepage Journal

        It's not an elephant. It's a dead horse. The SCOTUS has been ignoring the constitution in favor of direct violations of it for many years.

        The constitution is 100% clear on this matter: Congress shall make no law... ...abridging the freedom of speech. Anyone who is even nominally literate knows exactly what "abridge" means today; a few minutes research will turn up that it meant the same thing in 1788. The bottom line is simple — there is no constitutional authority available (to anyone at the federal level, including the judiciary) to abridge (curtail, shorten) the freedom to speak in any form or fashion* by law, directly or indirectly (as per legislative surrogates like the FCC.)

        Further, as this is an element of the bill of rights, the states don't have this authority either as per the 14th amendment, and as cities, towns, counties etc. all must comply with the same things that states have to comply with, this authority devolves to the people, as per the 10th amendment.

        The fact that this is not the analysis of the SCOTUS is a direct indicator of the justices violating their oaths.

        Not that it's going to change. When Bush said the constitution is "just a piece of paper", he was speaking a truth no one wants to admit. The feds, because they want you to think you live in a constitutional republic, the people, because they want to think they have a reasonable government. But the fact is, the only remaining effective elements of the bill of rights are amendments three and seven. Sadly, this is not because they are well written or somehow better than the others; it is simply that the government has had no need to make exception to them.

        (*) Yes, that means that libel and slander laws are unconstitutional, that yelling "fire" in a crowded theater should be perfectly OK (and by the way, it makes sense that it should be OK), and that the seven "dirty" words should be just as OK to say on the air as "kitten" and "politician." The founders knew what they were doing when they wrote the first amendment. They didn't mean "unless the government says otherwise", they were explicitly limiting federal power because they knew it would be abused. And they have turned out to be 100% correct. Unfortunately, the constitution isn't up to the task of stopping our political apparatus from doing whatever they want to. Welcome to the machine.

    • by computational super (740265) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:34PM (#25647615)
      Ok... PROVE HARM.

      Not that I agree with them - but they'll point to a recent study that "links" teen pregnancy with sex on TV shows.

      • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@nospAm.carpanet.net> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:41PM (#25647757) Homepage

        I hope they would... it would be utterly tangential in a case about the banning of specific words in any context they might be used in.

        Prove that the word "fuck", in all contexts, can actually cause harm to a person. Prove that for each of the words in question.

        Prove harm, show the scope of harm. Isn't it up to those claiming harm to prove harm? So prove it, how can it be so much to ask to just prove that your not making stuff up and talking out your ass?

        I mean, my mother believed that sitting too close to the TV was bad for kids eyes. Any eye doctor will tell you that its an old wives tale and kids sit so close really cuz their eyes are perfectly capable of focusing comfortably at that distance.

        So... I would argue my mothers old wives tale belief doesn't prove harm, even in absence eye doctors professional opinions. Why? because its not based on data, its based on conjecture.

        These arguments used by the FCCs supporters sound no more concrete to me.

        Urban legends have no place in public policy.

        -Steve

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lilomar (1072448)

        But the issue isn't sex in this instance. It's "offensive language" particularly, the use of the words "fuck" and "shit".

        So... PROVE HARM.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by DrLang21 (900992)
          It's not so much that it isn't about sex. The arguments in the pdf continually pointed out that FUCK is a vulgar explicit word for sexual intercourse. So in this case about the word FUCK, sex is an issue. What I want to know is, why is a vulgar expression considered harmful over a non-vulgar expression.
          • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:09PM (#25648263) Homepage

            Only if you can demonstrate that the kids alleged to be harmed actually know what fuck means. If it's just "a word you can't say in church", then there's no significant connection with sex.

            In general usage, it's definition seems to be "a generic expletive stronger than damn but not as funny as mongolian cluster fuck". A person who actually means to logically connect slamming their finger in the door with a sex act has deeper problems.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by DrLang21 (900992)

              Only if you can demonstrate that the kids alleged to be harmed actually know what fuck means. If it's just "a word you can't say in church", then there's no significant connection with sex.

              A similar point is brought up in that transcript. Personally, I would like to know why any word is considered vulgar. Context is the only thing that gives meaning to the human language. You can say the same thing in two different contexts, and one way will really hurt someone's feelings, and the other hurts no one. I partially blame this way of looking at words for the lack of tact in much of society.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by mattack2 (1165421)

                How can you blame that "way of looking at words" for the "lack of tact", when that way of looking at words is itself part of what society considers tactful?

                I'm not trying to make a circular argument.

                from m-w.com
                tact
                1 : sensitive mental or aesthetic perception
                2 : a keen sense of what to do or say in order to maintain good relations with others or avoid offense

              • by sjames (1099) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @07:33PM (#25653983) Homepage

                Personally, I would like to know why any word is considered vulgar. Context is the only thing that gives meaning to the human language. You can say the same thing in two different contexts, and one way will really hurt someone's feelings, and the other hurts no one. I partially blame this way of looking at words for the lack of tact in much of society.

                I know some of the reasons that some words were originally problematic, but since their subtly shaded meanings have been lost in time, even in those cases it no longer makes any sort of sense.

                Even the meta words have lost all shade of meaning, curse word, vulgarity, and expletive are different things (or were at one time).

                For example, to say that someone was damned was to say they were literally so horrible that even God could never forgive them. That's a strong statement in a pious Christian society. Naturally, that makes the phrase "God damn you" a curse. Literally (amongst believers) a hope that God will find your immortal soul irredeemable and that you will spend eternity in hell.

                To not give a damn was quite a different thing. Tinkers in the day had the same stereotype of emitting a constant stream of curses, expletives, and vulgarities that a sailor has today. Thus their curses were exceedingly common and of little value. So to not give a tinker's damn was just saying you felt the situation didn't have even that minimal value to you. It wasn't a curse. The willingness to utter a vulgar word to make the point did convey additional strength to the statement.

                Mere vulgarities were simply less imaginative word choices that said more about the speaker than the person spoken to, implying poor breeding. However, in the right context, you could be implying that the person you're speaking to hasn't the breeding to understand a better word choice or that they simply do not warrant more refined language. Naturally, in some social circles that's quite offensive. Either way, you wouldn't want your children to say those words as it would reflect poorly on them and their parents.

                Oddly enough, when people show great offense at words without even knowing why their use would be offensive they reveal mostly their own ignorance and "lack of breeding".

                At the same time, constant use of expletives really weakens them. If you drop the F bomb every other sentence, how can you express a more extreme displeasure?

                Personally, I think expletives in general tend to be over-used but at the same time I can't agree with censorship or claiming some special harm to children. Censure and watching something else are much more appropriate.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by Chris Burke (6130)

              In general usage, it's definition seems to be "a generic expletive stronger than damn but not as funny as mongolian cluster fuck".

              I thought that sounded odd so I looked it up in my Unabridged Oxford English Dictionary, and fuck me running, that's definition #3.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Omestes (471991)

            Yes, everytime you say "fuck", 10 million teens get pregnant.

            On the other hand I don't see whats so bad about sex. Yes, it can be overdone on the media, but I find it a little more tasteful than trying to raise our children as little Rambos.

            As for "shit", not even my parents got mad at me for using that one, when I was growing up.

            They're just words, words don't hurt, only our perceptions of them hurt us.

      • by compro01 (777531)

        How about a study that adjusts for the effect of abstinence-only sex "education"?

  • Words (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:21PM (#25647363)

    Shit, piss, cunt, fuck, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:22PM (#25647379) Homepage

    I remember listening to an interview with an artist who had been commissioned to create a monument to free speech. This is what he came up with: A giant outdoor blackboard. Free chalk and erasers provided.

    In response to the question "Won't people write obscenities? Draw porn? Offend people?", he said "Of course they will. And that's part of what free speech does."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:23PM (#25647411)

    In the 80's, the Rhenquist Court time and time again decided that federal agencies did not have the power to create meaningful rules (i.e. agency rules and agency "law" could not carry the weight of, never mind trump, Federal law).

    That was the "true" Conservative position. Funny how we've come full circle, deciding that now a federal agency is free to engage in prior restraint. Instead of, you know, just doing what they're supposed to do, which is to make sure people are using the right frequencies that they're supposed to use.

  • Fuck the FCC (Score:5, Interesting)

    by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:28PM (#25647507) Homepage Journal

    The FCC has authority to regulate speech on broadcast radio and television stations, but not the Internet, cable and satellite TV.

    How?

    The first amendment seems pretty clear that congress can't make any laws restricting speech, so how could it make a law delegating authority on speech either?

    The FCC should ONLY be responsible for regulating who can use specific airwaves, not what can be sent over the airwaves. (And ideally the "who can use the airwaves" would be based on highest bidder to prevent any "you allow 'shit' and 'fuck' to be used on your program, you can't renew your license")

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by shentino (1139071)

      I think that these licenses should always be reauctioned every year.

      Winning the bid means you get to use the airwaves for the next year.

      Proceeds should be parcelled out to towns and counties for the development of internet infrastructure.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by e9th (652576)
      Do you think the "fairness doctrine" is an attempt to regulate free speech?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by husker_man (473297)

        Do you think the "fairness doctrine" is an attempt to regulate free speech?

        Personally, I believe that it is - free speech on talk radio, that is. All of the proposals revolve around re-regulating the AM band of the radio so that it is "evenly" balanced - like it was in the 1970's. The problem with that is that talk radio (which is heavily weighted towards conservative viewpoints) does compete with other forms of communication (like TV) that tends to more liberal viewpoints.

        If the "Fairness Doctrine"

    • they can say whatever they want, just do it in a different medium.

      These are public airwaves, and the public (through our representative government) has every right to restrict how they can be used. Saying you can't broadcast porno over the public airwaves doesn't limit free speech, it just means you have to find somewhere else to do it.

      Limiting what content licensed broadcasters can send over the public airwaves is no more censorship than the fact that I'm not allowed to broadcast my speech on any frequen
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by compro01 (777531)

        Explain how that is different from the current "free speech zone" nonsense.

        Both strike me as a clear and obvious violation.

      • by corsec67 (627446) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:07PM (#25648241) Homepage Journal

        Ok, you claim that the airwaves are "public" and that means that censorship there is ok?

        I would say the opposite is true:
        Since they ARE public airwaves, censorship there shouldn't be tolerated at all. Would public (through our representative government) has every right to restrict how they can be used being applied to a public place also be acceptable?

        Limiting what content licensed broadcasters can send over the public airwaves is no more censorship

        What the fuck? That IS ABSOLUTELY censorship. You are LIMITING what they can say. THAT IS CENSORSHIP.
        It is just censorship that you agree with.

        Free speech means that I can say whatever the fuck I want to, with no restrictions. Add restrictions, and you no longer have free speech.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      This is one of the fundamental flaws in our democracy today. If the constitution said "Congress shall make no law against wearing blue clothing" then congress would merely create the Federal Clothing Commission, who would then make a rule banning blue clothing. And somehow, that would not violate the constitution.

  • by Dracos (107777) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:29PM (#25647527)

    Roberts is W's appointment, and Scalia is insane.

  • This is bunk (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShooterNeo (555040) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:32PM (#25647577)

    "Think of the children."

    Precisely how does the use of expletives ever harm children? Arguments against sex and violence do hold a small amount of water. After all, many people who watch scenes of sex will feel various biological cues to engage in it. There are links between sex on TV and teen pregnancy. Of course, given the existence of the internet and cable television, access to contraceptives would probably be a more effective strategy to prevent teen pregnancy...

    The same, to a less extent, with violence. The reason television violence is not as harmful is that it is difficult for the 'children' watching it to actually engage in violence, even if watching it on TV makes them want to. While almost anyone can have sex, assuming they find a partner, it takes training and practice to hit someone and cause real damage. Firearms are usually not just lying around, either, and also take practice before they can be used effectively.

    So there isn't a neurological pattern in your brain that lets a person go from the couch to doing whatever violence that person sees on TV.

    But course language? It never was the word that was offensive, it was the meaning...and there are plenty of messages to get the meaning out without using the words.

    Heck, the F word is so over-used that it really isn't that offensive. "We fucked" can mean "we had sex in a lustful, vigorous manner". "fuck you, I'm quitting" can mean "this job does not compensate me at what I consider market value for my services, good day sir".

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Heck, the F word is so over-used that it really isn't that offensive. "We fucked" can mean "we had sex in a lustful, vigorous manner". "fuck you, I'm quitting" can mean "this job does not compensate me at what I consider market value for my services, good day sir".

      And, my all time favorite ... "fuck you, you fucking fuck." :-P

      Of course, the trick is to see how many times (and for how many parts of speech) you can use fuck in a single sentence, and still have it be (essentially) grammatically correct and con

  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:34PM (#25647619)

    The words in question begin with the letters "F" and "S." The Associated Press typically does not use them. "The reason these words shock is because of their association with a literal meaning," Chief Justice John Roberts said, suggesting his support for the policy

    Then why are we allowed to say copulation and feces on TV?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by billius (1188143)

      The words in question begin with the letters "F" and "S." The Associated Press typically does not use them. "The reason these words shock is because of their association with a literal meaning," Chief Justice John Roberts said, suggesting his support for the policy

      Then why are we allowed to say copulation and feces on TV?

      Indeed. The literal meaning of "rape" is a million times worse than the literal meaning of "fuck," and yet we unfortunately hear the former quite often during news broadcasts.

    • by Yvan256 (722131)

      We can say it on TV but not on the intarwebs! Come on! Children might be reading!

    • by tnk1 (899206)

      Then why are we allowed to say copulation and feces on TV?

      Because they're boring and nobody cares.

      Welcome to Democracy. Have a nice stay!

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      And then, as Mr Carlin pointed out so brilliantly, there are words that are perfectly fine to say in some contexts and completely indecent in others: "Nomar Garciaparra has 2 balls on him!" is fine if you're talking about baseball, but not if you're talking about anatomy.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hackstraw (262471)

      Then why are we allowed to say copulation and feces on TV?

      Because those words are latin derived, and they have specific meanings.

      "Vulgar" words in English are typically old english derived, where vulgar means from the mob, or common people.

      Basically, this all boils down to a social status thing.

      A judge does not say "Fuck you, I'm going to send you to the ass slamming prison, and that will teach you!", he says, "I sentence you to a sentence of no less than X years and no more than Y years in prison, blah bla

  • V-Chip (Score:4, Funny)

    by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:38PM (#25647695)

    Thanks to mandating the V-Chip in every television set and tuner over 10 years ago there really isn't any excuse that people can receive "offensive" or "inappropriate" content. Parents and those who agree to tap into the airwaves (people who buy the TV) have to configure it: plain and simple. I mean, we trust them to configure their equipment already to tune to specific channels, right?

    • Not right. (Score:2, Informative)

      This case is largely about "incidental profanity" such as what comes out of the mouths of celebrities at awards shows or miked athletes in a football game. The networks have no way of preventing these sorts of occasional, often one-time outbursts from occurring. Blocking all live broadcasts with a V-chip or any other method is not a very practical solution.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Applekid (993327)

        The networks have no way of preventing these sorts of occasional, often one-time outbursts from occurring.

        Sure they do: it's called a delay. It's standard practice for radio. If they're anticipating a bunch of potty-mouths at a live broadcast of a comedy show, hey, just block the time as TVAO and turn the delay off. If it's a live broadcast of The Lion King on Ice, block it as TVG and turn the delay on in case a naked streaker runs across the ice shouting "Ba ba booey."

      • This case is largely about "incidental profanity" such as what comes out of the mouths of celebrities at awards shows or miked athletes in a football game. The networks have no way of preventing these sorts of occasional, often one-time outbursts from occurring. Blocking all live broadcasts with a V-chip or any other method is not a very practical solution.

        By that logic children can't go out in public either. The other day at a restaurant I had to tell the college kids in the next booth to cut out the Carl

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Utini420 (444935)

      Hush.
      You'd make them feel stupid if they realized they could just change the damned channel.

  • saveusobama? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I assume the "saveusobama" tag is a joke, since that's referring to the guy who's about to bring back the Fairness Doctrine.

  • by spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:41PM (#25647771)

    Why not do what everybody else does? If it's on at a time when kids are likely to be watching, take it easy on the profanity. If it's on later, when kids should be in bed anyway, don't worry about it.

    This works fine in other countries. Why doesn't the U.S. do it?

    ...laura

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by B5_geek (638928)

      Define "should be".

      I think it's all Nanny-state crap anyway. Let people have a CHOICE, naked and naughty vs clean and sober.
      If the majority don't want to watch it, it will die a natural death.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by peter_gzowski (465076)

      This is exactly what the US does, and what the FCC is advocating. Fox is arguing for the right to use "fleeting expletives" (isolated use of "fuck" and "shit", usually during live broadcasts) during a pre-10pm window that the FCC says is off limits. Post-10pm, broadcast television can say anything it wants, although it generally steers clear of "fuck" and "shit" at all times of the day.

      For the record, I think the FCC's guidelines on when you can use expletives is arbitrary and capricious ("Saving Private

  • Fun little fact... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:49PM (#25647885) Homepage

    The Bible says that it's your own responsibility to avoid temptation (2 Timothy 2:22). It doesn't tell you to lobby Congress to legislate away your temptations, it says to flee all lusts and temptations.

    God's big into that "personal responsibility" thing that's out of fashion these days.

    • by soulsteal (104635)

      You know what else fell out of fashion? Stoning. Man, I miss a good stoning.

      All of society's ills could be fixed with a few proper stonings, including but not limited to:

      Cursing
      Blasphemy
      Adultery (including rape victims who don't protest loudly enough)
      Disobeying your parents
      Touching Mt. Sinai
      Not being a virgin on your wedding night (Ladies only!)

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/stoning.html [skepticsan...dbible.com]

  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Yvan256 (722131) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:49PM (#25647907) Homepage Journal

    Freakin' FCC was sung by Peter, Brian, and Stewie in FG417 "PTV":
    Peter: They will clean up all your talking in a manner such as this
    Brian: They will make you take a tinkle when you want to take a piss
    Stewie: And they'll make you call fellatio a trouser-friendly kiss
    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: It's the plain situation! There's no negotiation!
    Peter: With the fellows at the freakin FCC!
    Brian: They're as stuffy as the stuffiest of the special interest groups...
    Peter: Make a joke about your bowels and they order in the troops
    Stewie: Any baby with a brain could tell them everybody poops!
    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: Take a tip, take a lesson! You'll never win by messin'
    Peter: With the fellas at the freakin' FCC And if you find yourself with some young sexy thing
    You're gonna have to do her with your ding-a-ling, Cause you can't say penis!
    So they sent this little warning they're prepared to do their worst
    Brian: And they stuck it in your mailbox hoping you could be coerced
    Stewie: I can think of quite another place they should have stuck it first!
    Peter, Brian, & Stewie: They may just be neurotic Or possibly psychotic They're the fellas at the freakin FCC!

  • Unreliable Scalia (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan...stine@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @02:51PM (#25647929) Homepage

    Scalia, who happens to be one of my favorite SCOTUS justices, is very reliable to uphold the originalist meaning of the Constitution. That is, unless he doesn't like the behavior that the law criminalizes.

    See Gonzales v. Raich [wikipedia.org] for a specific case where he throws his philosophy out the window because he doesn't like the idea of people getting high.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Valdrax (32670)

      Also look at DC v. Heller (2008), where he effectively writes the "well-regulated" portion of militia clause out of the Second Amendment, ruling that that only refers to all male citizens capable of common defense and reads self-defense against criminals (and not just defense of state or country) into the Second Amendment. He also goes to considerable lengths to pull in additional interpretive documents, like parallel state constitutional clauses, to interpret the text instead of sticking to the textualism

  • by WombatDeath (681651) on Wednesday November 05, 2008 @03:42PM (#25648847)

    Two of them, anyway. From the article (emphasis mine):

    GENERAL GARRE: It can be -- it certainly can be used in a non-literal way. It can be used in a metaphorical way, as Cher used it here, to say "F them" to her critics. But the -- the non-literal/literal distinction is not unique to the isolated expletives versus the repeated effort -- expletives.

    JUSTICE STEVENS: You think it's equally --it's equally subject to being treated as indecent within the meaning of the statute regardless of which meaning was actually apparent to everybody who listened to it?

    GENERAL GARRE: I wouldn't say equally, Justice Stevens, but what we would say is that it can qualify as indecent under the -- under the Commission's definition, because even the non-literal use of a word like the F-Word, because of the core meaning of that word as one of the most vulgar, graphic, and explicit words for sexual activity in the English language, it inevitably conjures up a core sexual image.

    JUSTICE SCALIA: Which is, indeed, why it's used.

    GENERAL GARRE: Which is, indeed, why it's used as an intensifier or as an insult

    So who read the title of this posting and endured a "sexual image" of the Supreme Court justices? Anyone?

    It's a bit worrying that they're ruling on language which some of them don't understand.

  • Conservative Supreme Court judges want to uphold an FCC crackdown on the use of salty language during daytime and early evening hours. [today.com]

    U.S. Solicitor General Gregory G. Goatse said the strict regulation of broadcast TV preserved it as a "safety zone" for families with children. "They'll never hear the foul shit they'd hear on the Internet, on cable or, God fucking perish, the schoolyard."

    The Federal Communication Commission imposes heavy fines on broadcasters who broadcast any of "shit," "piss", "fuck," "cunt," "cocksucker," "motherfucker" or "tits," though saying them in sequence functions as a First Amendment "cheat code" and is allowed as artistic expression. Broadcasters can be fined more than $325,000 for a single utterance of the F-word, even some fuckhead blurting it out on a live broadcast.

    Chief Justice John G. Lemonparty Jr. and Justice Antonin Stilea dominated Tuesday's argument and strongly supported the FCC.

    Stilea said he understood that foul words would be heard at a football or baseball game. "Those assholes ain't fit for polite company. But TV's a different fucking one cup of two girls. TV coarsens the public debate, not like that fucking Internet thing. I'm not persuaded by the argument that people are more accustomed to hearing this shit than they were in the past."

    During Tuesday's argument, only Justice Ruth Bader Tubgirl, waving her naked hairy butt at the courtroom, suggested the court delve into the 1st Amendment issues that underlay this dispute. It is "the fucking huge pile of elephant dung in the room," she said. "I can't believe this fucking retarded goddamn bullshit."

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard

Working...