Monthly Archives: May 2014

Protecting Free Speech from FCC Regulation

The First Amendment won big at the end of February. Due to an avalanche of public opposition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) cancelled the so-called Critical Information Needs study. Americans across the political spectrum joined ranks to make two things clear. First, the government has no place in the newsroom. And second, the American people—not the FCC—should decide what information is important.

Fortunately, the good news for free speech on our nation’s airwaves did not stop there. In another defining moment for the First Amendment, the FCC stood firm earlier this month and rejected a demand to shut down two Wisconsin radio stations. The stations’ alleged crimes? Their hosts and guests made too many favorable comments about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker during his 2012 recall campaign and didn’t say enough nice things about his Democratic opponent. That’s right; for this reason and this reason alone, petitioners urged the FCC to banish these stations from the airwaves.

In making this request, the stations’ opponents invoked an obscure FCC policy called the Zapple Doctrine. My initial reaction was probably similar to yours: “What the heck is the Zapple Doctrine?” Perhaps one reason was that the FCC last endorsed this doctrine back in the 1980s, when I was in middle school.

The Zapple Doctrine is named after Nicholas Zapple, one-time counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. It’s an outgrowth of the now-infamous “Fairness Doctrine,” which was an antiquated set of rules that required broadcast stations expressing views favoring one side of a controversial issue to give equal time to the other side’s views. In 1970, Mr. Zapple asked the FCC whether the Fairness Doctrine extended to spokesmen for or supporters of political candidates who voiced their opinions on air (as opposed to the candidates themselves). A few weeks later, the FCC said it did.

The Commission used the following theory to justify the government’s policing of broadcasters’ editorial decisions under the Fairness Doctrine. Because the medium used by broadcasters to reach the public—known as spectrum—was scarce, the FCC claimed it had the power to regulate the viewpoints expressed over this scarce resource in the “public interest.” The U.S. Supreme Court bought this argument and upheld the Fairness Doctrine in 1969.

Almost twenty years later, however, the FCC unanimously—and rightly—repudiated the Fairness Doctrine. It recognized that this intrusive regulation unnecessarily chilled free speech. Moreover, treating broadcasters differently from other types of media didn’t make sense given the evolution …read more    

Dear God: please make Hispanic-basher Alan Webber Susana Martinez’s opponent. Amen.

That would be, like, absolutely perfect, thanks.

“So I’m asking you for your help, we need to make Susana Martinez a one-term governor. We need to send her back to wherever she really came from,” says [Alan] Webber in a video obtained by The Weekly Standard.

Now, Alan Webber – who, as the Washington Free Beacon notes, has links to the infamous domestic terrorist group Weather Underground – is undoubtedly going to use the same line that every other white Democratic racist uses when called out on suggesting that a minority Republican ‘go back where she came from:’ to wit, a very pious Oh, I meant her home town* coupled with an exaggerated wink to all the other white Democratic racists in the crowd. South Carolina’s Dick Harpootlian was a past master at that sort of racialist audience-stroking; but I can’t say that I was unhappy when Dick eventually had to retire from the fast-paced world of deniable racism. You don’t want to think that such people still exist and have important political jobs.

But they do, alas. And Alan Webber – arguably the front-runner in the New Mexico gubernatorial Democratic primary – wants to be one of them. The fact that he’s using Dick Harpootlian’s basic handbook on that is particularly obnoxious…

Via Hot Air Headlines.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Indeed, Webber’s next breath was used to do the aforementioned pious ink-squirting and wink-wink, say no more, say no more.

The post Dear God: please make Hispanic-basher Alan Webber Susana Martinez’s opponent. Amen. appeared first on RedState.

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University of Wisconsin Gets $5 Million to Create Enviro “Science Fiction”

Illustration of "Student Youth Movement" in Yahara 2070

The University of Wisconsin Madison has received nearly $5 million from the federal government to create a “science fiction” project modeling environmental scenarios for the Yahara Watershed in Wisconsin. The project assumes that climate change will create a serious crisis for the watershed, which includes the City of Madison and surrounding suburbs, and in four scenarios researchers game out what could happen by the year 2070.

Using a grant from the National Science Foundation, a federal government entity, UW experts and scientists have created a multimedia presentation that combines social theories, imagined scenarios, and predictions of future scientific data to contemplate the effects of climate change on central Wisconsin and the Midwest.

News of the Yahara 2070 project was reported earlier this week by the Free Beacon. The University of Wisconsin-housed Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, a left-leaning outfit, conveniently promoted and explained the project in a story published by the Appleton Post-Crescent.

In that piece, Chris Kucharik, the leader of the Yahara 2070 project, explained that the aim of the effort was to produce “science fiction.” Another researcher, Steve Carpenter, praised the scenarios for being “the edge of plausibility.”

To produce this “science fiction” from “the edge of plausibility,” taxpayers are on the hook for precisely $4,911,961.00 according to a grant award listed on the website.

While each scenario assumes an eventual solution to a climate change crisis, all of them involve either the total destruction of society as it currently is, or a massive uptick in governmental regulation of life.

The “Abandonment and Renewal” scenario is perhaps the most doomsday prediction of them all. It predicts that in 2035 a hypothetical species of algae will bloom in the lakes of the Yahara Watershed, particularly lakes Mendota and Monona. This algae will emit toxic fumes that will kill thousands of people who, as a group, refused to take action earlier to prevent a climate catastrophe.

“Buildup of nutrient pollution in the lakes enables the emergence of a new species of cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, which emits a toxic fume. In the summer of 2035, a massive bloom of the cyanobacteria erupts in the lakes. Its fumes kill thousands of people and force thousands more to evacuate the area forever.”

But never fear, eventually resourceful humans will retreat to the area, according to UW researchers, from the federally created “Great Lakes Climate Change Refuge” to begin a new life. …read more