oddly enough, USA

Strafmaß als Indikator relativer Bekanntheit?

Spiegel Online informiert uns darüber, daß auch Nicole Richie, die vermeintlich ehemals beste Freundin und „Simple Life“ Kollegin von Paris Hilton, wegen Fahrens unter Drogeneinfluß eine Haftstrafe abbüßen muß – allerdings keine 23 Tage sondern nur 90 Stunden.

Angesichts der Tatsache, daß die Haftstrafe Hiltons nach Auskunft von Rechtsexperten wohl aufgrund ihrer Bekanntheit nicht schon früher zur Bewährung ausgesetzt wurde, stellt sich daher die Frage, ob sich Nicole Richie über die Bestrafung mit „nur“ 90 Stunden wirklich gefreut hat. Denn irgendwie zeigt das ja auch, daß ihre Bedeutung für das Rechtssystem Amerikas deutlich geringer ist als die von Paris Hilton. Und eine Stunde bei Larry King nach der Entlassung wird sie wohl auch nicht bekommen. Auch wenn ich ja nicht spekulieren möchte, daß auch Verurteilungen jetzt schon auf der Liste der Dienstleistungen von PR Agenturen stehen – irgendwie klingt die Geschichte zu kopiert…

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US Politics, USA

McCain fries Barbara Ann.

And he not only owes an apology to the Beach Boys for his musical stunt – „Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran“ (video on youtube). Did John McCain suddenly decide that American Idol is the more promising competition? Although I suppose most contenders there have understood that doing electoral math usually has a very early victim in the US: one’s very own self respect. American Presidential campaigns are just no fun anymore. Now candidates are making jokes so they can decide after the public reaction if they were serious or not.

Looking forward to John Stewart’s take on this.

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media, USA

Something’s going on in America…

and I think we can call it „slow Europeanization“.

Think about it for a moment, Rumsfeld fired, Cheney on the verge of being impeached by GQ magazine, President Bush can’t make up his mind about dropping some bombs on Iran, and now this: Reuters reports that the FCC (the organization regulating American tv) is considering to regulate the depiction of violence on the screen.

The Federal Communications Commission is considering a report to Congress claiming that the agency can regulate TV violence the same way it regulates indecency if lawmakers give it the authority, sources said Thursday.

What’s next? No public uproar in the case of another Janet Jackson bra-accident? Or a general display of decency on tv? No more Britney Spears jokes? (link to a youtube.com video of CBS‘ Craig Ferguson’s already famous recent monologue about helping, not exploiting someone who needs help).

Will the rest of the world have to reconsider their mental image of America for the second time in five years?

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compulsory reading, oddly enough, USA

Pornopixel absurd.

Angesichts der Ubiquität von Nacktheit in westlichen Gesellschaften finde ich es überaus erstaunlich, welche Kontroversen Pornographie immer noch hervorrufen kann, und wie sehr man sie immer noch zur politischen und sonstigen Provokation heranziehen kann.

Gestern informierte die Süddeutsche Zeitung darüber, daß die Jungen Liberalen Niedersachsen in Person ihres Vorsitzenden Christopher Vorwerk ihr Organisationsestablishment und die Parteiobrigkeit mit einer politisch unbequemen Version von „make love not war“ konfrontierten. Ein Unding sei es nämlich, daß

„[d]er Gesetzgeber den Geschlechtsakt zwischen 16-Jährigen [legitimiere, es ihnen aber] bis zur Vollendung des 18. Lebensjahres [untersage,] dabei zuzusehen.“

Auch sollten Fernsehsender ab 24 Uhr Pornografie ausstrahlen dürfen. Denn

„[e]s geht darum, dass in den Medien mit zweierlei Maß gemessen wird. Gewalt und Leichen, aber kein Akt der Liebe.“

Auch wenn diese Forderung, den Jugendschutz zu lockern, politisch trotz des offensichtlichen Koalitionsangebots an das Privatfernsehen zur Zeit zweifelsohne chancenlos ist, rechtssystematisch ist sie meines Erachtens nicht a priori von der Hand zu weisen, wenngleich ich die Behauptung des jungliberalen Vorstands Florian Bernschneider –

„Jugendliche sind mit 16 Jahren alt genug, um selbst zu entscheiden, was sie ansehen“ –

für eher abenteuerlich halte. Allerdings sind auch die meisten Erwachsenen damit deutlich überfordert, so daß das Argument sowohl für die eine als auch für die andere Seite unbrauchbar ist. Ein Schelm übrigens, wer den beiden im Artikel zitierten Jungen Liberalen unterstellt, sie verfolgten ein spezifisches Eigeninteresse: Herr Vorwerck ist laut der Webseite der JuLis Niedersachsen 23 Jahre alt und somit sicher mehr Li als Ju, und auch Herr Bernschneider darf die Früchte der Volljährigkeit bereits seit einem Jahr genießen.

Ganz andere, deutlich gravierende Probleme mit Pornographie hat übrigens eine Lehrerin aus Norwich in Connecticut, wie Spiegel Online unter dem literarisch wertvollen Titel „Porno-Pop-Ups“ berichtet:

Die Aushilfslehrerin in einer Mittelschule von Norwich (US-Bundesstaat Conneticut) habe die Elf- und Zwölfjährigen absichtlich oder – vielleicht – fahrlässig mit Pornographie statt mit Englischunterricht behelligt, so der Vorwurf von Behörden. Jetzt hat der Norwich Superior Court die Lehrerin für schuldig befunden – weil sie den Kindern Pornographie gezeigt habe und diese somit seelischen Schaden erlitten haben könnten. Am 2. März soll über das Strafmaß entschieden werden – Amero drohen bis zu 40 Jahre Haft.

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German Politics, Germany, US Politics, USA

Bush in Bild

For those of you, gentle readers, who do not engange in in-depth analysis of Germany’s tabloid newspapers, here’s a transcript of the US President George W. Bush’s interview with Kai Diekmann of BILD here’s the edited German version published by BILD. They met in the Oval office and discussed, among other issues, the rug-choosing dilemma every leader of the free world is facing. At least this one knows how to delegate.

Oh, and there’s a chance the US forces on German soil will have to do more than singing Karaoke in local Irish Pubs soon: Via SFGate, I noticed, that the President is not entirely sure about the state of democracy in Germany…

Zeroing in on the United States‘ ties to Germany and recalling that German troops did not help attack Iraq, Bush admits: „I’ve come to realize that the nature of the German people are such that war is very abhorrent, that Germany is a country now that is — no matter where they sit on the political spectrum, Germans are — just don’t like war…. The point now is how do we work together to achieve important goals. And one such goal is a democracy in Germany [sic].“ (The White House published its transcript with Bush’s glaring error and called attention to it.)

A part of the American blogosphere, on the other hand, was most excited to finally learn hrough the interview that President Bush’s best moment of all was

„when [he] caught a seven and a half pound perch in [his] lake.“

A little fishy, indeed.

I’m starting to wonder if we’re gonna miss him, after January 2009…

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USA

Why Blogs matter (especially in the US).

Mediamatters.org tells us to which extent the American so-called mainstream media has mentioned the CBS 60 minutes story I reported below –

On CBS‘ 60 Minutes, former high-ranking CIA official Tyler Drumheller proved that the Bush administration dismissed clear-cut evidence undermining President Bush’s central case for war — that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. …

The 60 Minutes report is the latest in a string of explosive disclosures concerning the Bush administration’s apparent cherry-picking of prewar intelligence. But as with previous damaging disclosures regarding the White House’s actions in the buildup to the war, major news outlets largely ignored it.

Media Matters for America examined cable and network news coverage on April 24 (from 6 a.m. ET to midnight) and April 25 (from 6 a.m. to midnight) and also looked at newspaper and wire coverage for mentions of the 60 Minutes report. Following are the results of this survey:

  • None of the three major networks reported on the story on either their morning shows or evening news broadcasts. (Remarkably, this included CBS, the network that originally aired Drumheller’s disclosure.)
  • While CNN.com ran an April 23 article on the 60 Minutes interview, CNN and Fox News have yet to mention the story on the air. The April 24 edition of Countdown with Keith Olbermann included MSNBC’s only report on the story. Drumheller, however, is scheduled to appear on the April 25 edition of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.
  • The New York Times published an April 22 article on the Drumheller interview, based on partial transcripts released by CBS. But no major newspaper — on either April 23, 24, or 25 — printed an additional article on the story.
  • Both the Associated Press and United Press International published brief April 23 articles on Drumheller’s revelations before his 60 Minutes interview aired on CBS. UPI ran a subsequent article on April 24. These represent the only wire reports on Drumheller’s disclosure.

If the news organisations actually did their job, their existence would not be endangered by the googles, myspaces, dailykoses and redstates of this world.

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USA

The Daily Show with George W. Bush!

Once upon a time, Comedy Central’s Daily Show host Jon Stewart was asked whether the end of President Bush’s administration would make his life as a comedian harder. His reply was that, yes, his life as a comedian would be more difficult to the extent that the following administration was less absurd than the current one, which, by and large, is the consensus prediction for the next presidential election in the US.

Still, Jon might have a bigger problem than the decline of governmental absurdity from 2009 on.

Think about it: the more videos featuring the US President in non-scripted situations are available on the internet, the more it becomes apparent: the guy has clearly missed his calling. Ladies and gentlemen, George W. Bush really is a gifted comedian. He’s not a great politician, or a great actor for that matter – the White House scripts clearly force him to play a character he has some difficultiy to grasp. But watch him in unguarded moments and you can witness the appearance of an unpolished comedic diamond. I assume all he needs is some career counseling, and we might get a Daily Show with George Bush on Fox News from 2009 on.

Of course, it’s not gonna happen. But wouldn’t it be great if it did? Oh, before I forget it: here’s your daily Dubya-fix – The One With The Ipod.

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Iraq, US Politics, USA

I’m having a déjà vu.

reading the NYT’s report about the updated US national security strategy.

An updated version of the Bush administration’s national security strategy, the first since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, includes a vigorous defense of striking pre-emptively against countries seen to threaten the United States.
The document declares for the first time that diplomacy to halt Iran’s nuclear program „must succeed if confrontation is to be avoided.“

The Tehran government is given new prominence in the latest document, which declares that „we may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.“

Administration officials cautioned that the reference to confrontation with Iran did not necessarily mean military attack, though both the United States and Israel have extensively examined what kind of surgical strikes could be aimed at Iranian facilities should diplomatic efforts fail to persuade Tehran to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

The warning to Iran also stands in stark contrast to the wording about North Korea, a nation that, as the strategy document notes, now boasts that it already possesses nuclear weapons. The North Korean regime „needs to change these policies, open up its political system and afford freedom to its people,“ it says.

„In the interim, we will continue to take all necessary measures to protect our national and economic security against the adverse effects of their bad conduct.“

Missing, however, is the threat of any military action, perhaps because, in the words of a senior administration official, North Korea is „already considered a lost cause“ that already has weapons, while Iran is still considered 5 to 10 years away from having them. „

Somehow, this makes me think of Bob Dylan… „…when will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.“

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USA

The weirdness that rules our days.

A death row inmate’s execution is stayed because the use of a lethal injection during his execution (sic!) might constitute a cased of cruel punishment, which is banned under the US constitution. Using the drugs, not the execution itself, don’t get this wrong.

But it doesn’t stop here – two doctors are called to make sure the inmate is not „cruelly punished“ during his execution, but they decide they cannot go through with their attempt to ensure the humane execution of the execution, because if the inmate appeared to sense anything – again, while being executed – they would have to step in to help him in order not to break the hippocratic oath (or something to that effect).

Here’s the thing: if subset a (lethal injection to execute a person) of the set b (the execution as a whole) is sufficient to make the process cruel and then rule it out by law, how come there are still 640 people on the death row in California?

2 U.S. doctors balk at killer’s execution – Americas – International Herald Tribune

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