March 17, 2006

LinkNews Digest [03/17/2006]

New Bill Makes it Illegal to Report Illegal Wire Taps

WASHINGTON -- Reporters who write about government surveillance could be prosecuted under proposed legislation that would solidify the administration's eavesdropping authority, according to some legal analysts who are concerned about dramatic changes in U.S. law.

The Associated Press obtained a copy of the draft of the legislation, which could be introduced as soon as next week. The draft would add to the criminal penalties for anyone who "intentionally discloses information identifying or describing" the Bush administration's terrorist surveillance program or any other eavesdropping program conducted under a 1978 surveillance law.

Under the boosted penalties, those found guilty could face fines of up to $1 million, 15 years in jail or both.

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the measure is broader than any existing laws. She said, for example, the language does not specify that the information has to be harmful to national security or classified.

Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said the language would allow anyone _ "if you read a story in the paper and pass it along to your brother-in-law" _ to be prosecuted.

"As a practical matter, would they use this to try to punish any newspaper or any broadcast? It essentially makes coverage of any of these surveillance programs illegal," she said. "I'm sorry, that's just not constitutional. (LINK via WashingtonPost )

A REAL Mexican Standoff

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A Mexican couple were recovering separately after a marital spat got out of control and saw them firing guns, throwing knives and hurling homemade bombs, Mexican daily Milenio said on Monday.

Juan Espinosa and Irma Contreras fought until their house blew up in a homemade gasoline bomb explosion, Milenio said. Police called to the home in the indigenous Mayan Indian town of Oxkutzcab in the southeastern state of Yucatan arrested Espinosa. Contreras was taken to hospital with third-degree burns.

A local police official confirmed the report but declined to provide further information. Espinosa told reporters he was glad his wife had suffered burns, while Contreras said she was only sorry she had not "hacked off his manhood" during the fight. (LINK )

Issac Hayes Leaves South Park Over Scientology Joke

[From the Onion A.V. Club]
Isaac Hayes quit South Park... citing an impatience with the show's "intolerance" (but not mentioning a Scientology-themed episode from last season. Here's what he said in a written statement:
There is a place in this world for satire, but there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry toward religious beliefs ... begins."

And here's what he said in an A.V. Club interview conducted in December shortly after the episode aired:
AVC: They did just do an episode that made fun of your religion, Scientology. Did that bother you?
IH: Well, I talked to Matt and Trey about that. They didn't let me know until it was done. I said, "Guys, you have it all wrong. We're not like that. I know that's your thing, but get your information correct, because somebody might believe that shit, you know?" But I understand what they're doing. I told them to take a couple of Scientology courses, and understand what we do. [Laughs.]

So what changed between now and then? (LINK )
Most likely the Supreme Alien P.R. Masters willed it to be so. They do not take kindly to criticism of their Scam.

RELIGION. I meant "religion." Sorry.

Dallas, Houston Compete for Gay Tourism

Houston hosts one of the biggest and best gay pride parades in the county, while Dallas' parade pales in comparison. Yet, Big D recently made headlines by creating a direct link to gay travel on the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site.

"Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travelers spend $65 billion a year on travel and we want to make sure Dallas positions itself to take advantage of that," said Dallas CVB chief executive officer Phillip Jones.

When viewers visit Dallas' Web site and click on the Diverse Dallas button, the site shows pictured icon groups that spotlight segmented communities of the city's population, including the African-American, Asian and Hispanic communities. The Web site now includes a link to the GLBT community.

The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau Web site doesn't have anything similar. "I don't think Dallas has anything to be proud of. They're definitely not doing as well as Houston is right now," GHCVB president Jordy Tollet said. "We're not bragging about putting one picture up with no real information."

Houston's latest advertising campaign focuses on sports, the rodeo, arts and museums. (LINK via Fark.com)
Wow, I can't think of ANY reason why they aren't just FLOCKING to Texas, often called "The Tolerance State".

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