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AVN – All Charges Dismissed Against Stagliano and Companies

Posted: July 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

In the case of John "Buttman" Stagliano vs. The United States of America, all 7 8 counts of obscenity charged against Stagliano (a pornographer, husband, and father) have been dismissed under Rule 29 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. Judge Richard J. Leon described the prosecution's evidence as "woefully inadequate" after the federal government's star witness made a liar out of prosecutor Pamela Satterfield, the judge, or himself.

Plainly, this means the government never met the burden of proof, they never had a case, and they wasted American taxpayer's money on a 2-year investigation and a trial catering to misguided anti-porn activists' wet dreams. But if you think they'll stop their crusade, remember they're still getting bills passed through the back door. (Pun intended.)

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The Louis CK Interview That Got ‘Fresh Air’ Banned from Mississippi

Posted: July 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Louis CK Interview That Got ‘Fresh Air’ Banned from Mississippi

"Fresh Air" is a nationally syndicated NPR talk show that we occasionally listen to. We like it—a lot—and now it's yet another reason why we don't think we'd enjoy living in Mississippi. NPR affiliate Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB) recently dropped the show citing "recurring inappropriate content" but, as is so often the case, the root cause may be a vocal minority of sex-phobic zealots.

Fresh Air has been dropped by MPB before. Under some pressure to explain themselves, MPB released a statement citing interviews of an "explicit sexual nature" caused listener complaints. That complaint was sparked by comedian Louis CK talking about having sex with his shirt on. Yup, that’s clearly offensive.

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French National Assembly approves ban on face veils – latimes.com

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on French National Assembly approves ban on face veils – latimes.com

In what I hope will be judged by history as one France's most idiotic moves ever, "The French lower house of Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing face-covering veils in a public place," Alison Culliford reports. "[T]he ban would affect only an estimated 1,900 of the millions of Muslim women in France," like Kenza Drider, an outspoken critic who said, "The government can accept my decision or not, I am not an outlaw. If I’m fined by the police, I will take it to human rights in the name of my freedom."

French politicians are calling the ban a victory for "values of freedom against all the oppressions which try to humiliate individuals." Y'know, like the freedom to choose one's own clothing. If the new ban survives a test of constitutionality, wearing a veil (a niqab) and "covering one's face in a public place will be subject to a fine of about $185 or community service."

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Stereotype: Debunked. Latinos Are MORE Progressive on Gender – COLORLINES

Posted: July 14th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Stereotype: Debunked. Latinos Are MORE Progressive on Gender – COLORLINES

Moral panics often seem to go along with Republican xenophobia. As Michelle Chen writes, "the country's changing racial and ethnic landscape alarms conservative elites for deeper reasons than only skin color. It's what the browning of America represents: the gradual displacement of a homogeneous status quo with pluralism by necessity."

To wit, surveys by the Center for American Progress reveal facts challenging media stereotypes: "Latinos overwhelmingly view the rise of women in the workforce as good for society." (87% of Latino women, 82% of men, 7-10 points higher than men and women overall) Also, "Latinos express some of the highest levels of support for changes to governmental…policies" like increased paid medical leave. "Maybe when it comes to some social issues, including gender," Chen opines, "hardship has a way of pushing people to embrace new ideas."

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Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Groups Sue Mass. Over Newly Expanded Obscenity Law : NPR

Won't somebody please think of the children? That's the reasoning behind a hastily-drafted, newly passed Massachusetts law at the center of a lawsuit filed by the "ACLU, The Association of American Publishers, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and other groups," according to the Associated Press. After a "ruling in a case in February…found that the state's obscenity law didn't apply to instant messages," this new law "added instant messages, text messages, e-mail and other electronic communications to the old law," criminalizing any such communiqué that may be "harmful to minors."

The lawsuit "argues that the changes amount to 'a broad censorship law that imposes severe content-based restrictions' on the dissemination of constitutionally protected speech," including "information about contraception, pregnancy, sexual health, literature and art." Haven't we seen this before?

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Closed Court, Miller Time, and Joey Silvera’s Solidarity – Reason Magazine

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Closed Court, Miller Time, and Joey Silvera’s Solidarity – Reason Magazine

An important trial is pitting a politically outspoken pornographer, John Stagliano, against a gauntlet of questionable legal ethics. "The case against Stagliano concerns the selling of movies performed by consenting adults to entertain adult DVD viewers who have chosen to watch these films," Richard Abowitz reports. Using taxpayer money to get obscenity convictions for consensual erotic labor is bad enough, but Judge Richard Leon "is putting great effort into limiting public access to how justice is being administered in this case. […T]he strategic placement of monitors outside public sightlines reeks of the abandonment of the presumption of innocence." The case is being prosecuted with familiar anti-porn activist rhetoric. If Stagliano's relatively tame productions can earn years in prison, don't think you're safe from such anti-porn zealots.

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FCC indecency rule struck down by appeals court – latimes.com

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on FCC indecency rule struck down by appeals court – latimes.com

"In a sharp rebuke of the Bush-era crackdown on foul language on broadcast television and radio, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down the government's near-zero-tolerance indecency policy as a violation of the 1st Amendment protection of free speech," Jim Puzzanghera and Meg James report. The NY State 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals "reversed the aggressive stance the [FCC] took starting in 2004 that found even a slip of the tongue that got by network censors was a violation" and "said that policy on so-called fleeting expletives was 'unconstitutionally vague' and created a 'chilling effect' on the programming that broadcasters chose to air."

Even Fox Broadcasting Co., the lead plaintiff against the government, praised the decision, while Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps said the ruling was "an anti-family decision." The case may wind up at the Supreme Court, but experts are unsure of the ultimate outcome. Personally, I say fuck all that censorship shit. Period.

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Update: As the FCC isn’t happy with the ruling, they’ve asked the court to reconsider, according to a report in the New York Times. We hoped the current administration was less anti-First Amendment. Perhaps that hope was misplaced.


End of gay teen Web site sparks privacy concerns | Privacy Inc. – CNET News

Posted: July 12th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on End of gay teen Web site sparks privacy concerns | Privacy Inc. – CNET News

User profiles from the now-defunct XY magazine, which catered to gay teens, are at the center of a serious privacy controversy. Declan McCullagh reports, "In February 2010, XY founding editor Peter Ian Cummings filed a personal bankruptcy petition in federal court[…]. The only significant asset Cummings listed is the 'customer list, personal data, and editorial and back issue files of XY Mag and XY.com.' Cummings says he believes that giving the information to his creditors violates California privacy law and the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive business practices."

Nevertheless, creditors want this information collected, potentially violating the privacy of up to 1 million gay or questioning teens who subscribed to XY.com. Revealing their information could out them to parents or others. While the question of what to do with a bankrupt Internet company is not new, this is the first time data as sensitive as identifiable details of GLBTQ youth is up for grabs to the highest bidder.

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