Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Freedom of Speech*

*As long as you are a liberal.

Its rather interesting to see the reaction that blogging is having in political circles. Notable politicians have begun calling for regulation of blogs. To that end, the city of San Fancisco is considering new laws regulating blogs.

Just when you thought the Federal Election Commission had it out for the blogosphere, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors took it up a notch and announced yesterday that it will soon vote on a city ordinance that would require local bloggers to register with the city Ethics Commission and report all blog-related costs that exceed $1,000 in the aggregate.

Blogs that mention candidates for local office that receive more than 500 hits will be forced to pay a registration fee and will be subject to website traffic audits, according to Chad Jacobs, a San Francisco City Attorney.

Ok, I want to see how that one works. If you live in SF but your blog is hosted outside the city, do you have to pay? What about if you live outside SF and your blog is hosted in the city? How the heck do they plan on tracking down SF resident bloggers? This has to be one of the frickin dumbest ideas I have heard. It just shows how the politicians have no freaking clue.

Next story, the Canadian courts ordered a media blackout (publication ban) of a current government investigation of government corruption.

A political scandal involving the Public Works Ministry, a government effort called the Sponsorship Program, and allegations of corruption in the ruling Liberal Party has Canada abuzz with rumors of payoffs, Mob ties, and snap elections. For the last two years, Canadian politics has been gripped by the so-called “sponsorship scandal” – tens of millions of dollars in government contracts which were funneled into advertising firms closely connected with the Liberal government for little or no work, but with shadowy rumours that much of the money found its way back into Liberal coffers. Prime Minister Paul Martin, himself a Liberal, appointed the Gomery Commission to investigate these charges and determine whether to bring charges against government officials for corruption and malfeasance.

So what happens? A U.S. blog, Captain's Quarters (now in the links list) publishes it.

OTTAWA -- A U.S. website has breached the publication ban protecting a Montreal ad executive's explosive and damning testimony at the federal sponsorship inquiry. The U.S. blogger riled the Gomery commission during the weekend by posting extracts of testimony given in secret Thursday by Jean Brault.

So what is the deal? What is wrong with free speech? Hustler magazine can publish pictures of naked chicks (not that there is anything wrong with that, if you're over eighteen) but bloggers can't discuss our opinions about Dan Rather and his forged document collection? I guess rights are a good thing as long as its their rights, and not ours.

Update: Oops forgot my Hat Tips to Ace (who is playing teasing us that he is retiring. I think he is just mad he didn't sell enough t-shirts. Dude how many bloggers are under XL?) and Chirs Muir.