I'm from Missouri

This site is named for the famous statement of US Congressman Willard Duncan Vandiver from Missouri : "I`m from Missouri -- you'll have to show me." This site is dedicated to skepticism of official dogma in all subjects. Just-so stories are not accepted here. This is a site where controversial subjects such as evolution theory and the Holocaust may be freely debated.

Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

My biggest motivation for creating my own blogs was to avoid the arbitrary censorship practiced by other blogs and various other Internet forums. Censorship will be avoided in my blogs -- there will be no deletion of comments, no closing of comment threads, no holding up of comments for moderation, and no commenter registration hassles. Comments containing nothing but insults and/or ad hominem attacks are discouraged. My non-response to a particular comment should not be interpreted as agreement, approval, or inability to answer.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Federal legislative roundup

This is a summary of the current Congress's bills that I have been discussing on this blog. It doesn't look like any of these bills are going anywhere.

Description: Bans awards of plaintiffs' attorney fees in establishment clause cases.
Bill numbers: S 415, HR 725
Current status: stalled in committees, no hearings held
Post label on this blog: Attorney fee awards
My position: I think that the bills are bad in their current form but that they are good starts, and changes could be made later. I would prefer a bill that would cap plaintiffs' attorney awards in both establishment clause cases and free-exercise clause cases. Threat of exorbitant attorney fee awards discourages governments from doing things that courts might find to be constitutional. Also, exorbitant attorney fee awards in establishment clause cases are a fundraising gimmick for the ACLU and the Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Description: Prohibits Federal Communications Commission from restoring the broadcasting Fairness Doctrine
Bill numbers: S 1748 (redundant S 1742), HR 2905
Current status: stalled in committees, no hearings held. Petition to bring House bill to floor needs 218 signatures but has only 202 and is unlikely to get enough.
Post label on this blog: Fairness Doctrine
My position: Opposed. I oppose a general broadcasting Fairness Doctrine but I feel that the FCC should have some flexibility in imposing fairness rules on broadcasters, e.g., (1) restoration of the corollary "political editorial" and "personal attack" rules, which gave individuals and organizations free air time to respond to direct attacks against them, and (2) a rule banning pre-screening on all or some call-ins to talk shows.

Description: Creates federal "shield law" ("reporters' privilege") for reporters
Bill numbers: S 2035, HR 2102
Current status: HR 2102 passed House 398-21. Senate bill marked up in committee, reported favorably, placed on Senate legislative calendar, motion to proceed to consideration of measure withdrawn in Senate.
Post label on this blog: No specific post label
My position: Opposed. Bills would give reporters' privilege to all or some BVD-clad bloggers. Gives BVD-clad bloggers privileges without responsibilities -- BVD-clad bloggers would be free to continue unethical practices like arbitrary censorship of visitors' comments. Also, IMO exceptions to reporters' privilege are so broad that privilege would not be of much use to reporters.

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