New provisions in the Patriot Act, which are about to become law, will make it a felony crime for protestors to step foot outside official "protest zones" designated by the U.S. Secret Service. This is how President Bush expands the freedom of Americans -- by giving them all the freedom they want, as long as they stay in their little fenced cages. These free speech zones, by the way, will be drawn in chalk on the sidewalk, and will be slightly smaller than a pair of size six sneakers.
Apparently Bush doesn't like protestors. It's not because he doesn't agree with what they're shouting, it's simply because he doesn't understand the words they're using. Words like "Constitution" or "tyranny." We should not expect presidents to be linguists, should we?
Protesters need to just chill out. Don't they know how many U.S. troops and reporters are getting blown to bits over in Iraq just to protect their freedom? Freedom isn't free, you know. It takes bombs. And bullets. And depleted uranium. And a fair amount of torture and propaganda, too. It just blows my mind that these pacifists don't get the fact that you can't have freedom unless you also torture people and limit their disruptive speech. Geesh. You can't have uncontrolled freedom, you know. There have to be limits on freedom if you truly want freedom. And the Iraqis hate us for our freedom, didn't you know? Which is why we are shoving freedom down their throats at gunpoint.
(Tip: In all speeches by President Bush, just replace the word "freedom" with "imperialism" and the whole thing suddenly makes sense.)
World newspapers slam Google for promoting them
Newspapers around the world are growing tired of Google News promoting their stories with headlines and traffic-generating links. "We don't want to be promoted on the web," said one French newspaper. "Just let us die in peace like the dinosaurs we truly are."
If there's one thing that old-school media people don't understand, it's the internet. First, they thought the internet was a giant billboard where consumers would devour endless banner advertisements as long as they were framed around lousy content. When that didn't work, newspapers came up with the bright idea of charging readers three bucks to read each archived news article.
With that idea buried deeper than a John Deere tractor in a Mississippi swamp, newspapers have now decided they can commit financial suicide by suing search engines to stop linking to their stories. Apparently, none of them have figured out they can simply email Google and asked to be removed from the Google News database. Last time I checked, that was a lot easier than filing a lawsuit.
Consider this: While most of the content producers in the world are lining up and begging for Google to index their news sites, old school newspapers (who print all the same recycled Associated Press and Reuters news anyway) can't wait to opt out so they can get back to the more reliable business of inventing fraudulent circulation statistics to con advertisers. As far as they're concerned, they would have preferred the internet was never invented in the first place. Freedom of information is a dangerous thing, you know. Maybe we'll soon have "free speech information zones" on the web, too.
Meet your new Big Brother, Mayor Daley
I'm always impressed when elected politicians have the backbone to endure the uproarious laughter that almost always follows their "save our city" proposals. The latest such entertainment is offered by Chicago Mayor Daley, who is now supporting a plan that would require more than 12,000 Chicago businesses to install video cameras in an effort to reduce street crime. Since the new rules only apply to businesses open more than twelve hours a day, savvy business owners have figured all they have to do is close early to avoid the mandate.
Businesses closing earlier, of course, will reduce the number of jobs needed to operate those businesses, which will create more unemployment and, ultimately, more street crime. It's just another one of those unintended consequences of overzealous government meddling, of which Chicago has plenty.
This is not to say that video cameras can't be amusing to voters, but that's only true if they're installed in the offices of public officials. If we really want to reduce crime in this country, we should be installing cameras in the places where the highest crimes are committed, right? And that would start in the White House, the FDA, and the offices of lawmakers all across the country.
Heck, we not only elected these politicians, we also pay their salaries! Shouldn't we have the right to pry into their daily activities? Turn the cameras around on Big Brother, I say, and let the people monitor what's really happening in government. We should pass a new law that says the offices of all public officials must install live webcams. It's not called PUBLIC office for no reason, after all. Let's make it really public.