We Don’t Need No Steekin’ Purification

This is scary and I don’t even live in China. Not suprising, but scary.

Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao has vowed to “purify” the Internet, state media reported on Wednesday, describing a top-level meeting that discussed ways to master the country’s sprawling, unruly online population.

Hu made the comments as the ruling party’s Politburo — its24-member leading council — was studying China’s Internet, whichclaimed 137 million registered users at the end of 2006.

Hu, a straitlaced communist with little sympathy for cultural relaxation, did not directly mention censorship.

Buthe made it clear that the Communist Party was looking to ensure itkeeps control of China’s Internet users, often more interested insalacious pictures, bloodthirsty games and political scandal than Marxist lessons.

China official vows to ‘purify’ Web – CNN.com

Not that Marxist lessons couldn’t include both bloodthirty games and political scandal. Oh wait, is that the kind of thing that needs to be purified.

I heard today that China has 600 traffic deaths a day. 600. Deaths. A Day. 2% of the world’s drivers and 15% of the world’s traffic fatalities. But the internet’s a problem.

Guillermo Arriaga And Interesting Characters

Guillermo Arriaga was nominated this morning for his screenplay for Babel – a film I haven’t seen yet and didn’t know he wrote until this morning. But I remembered his name because he wrote The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada, a film I’ve mentioned before and really liked a lot. I found an interesting interview with Arriaga where he discusses his work as a writer of screenplays and novels.

My basic themes and concerns are the human substances. Other people are more into style, or more into the structures, but I’m trying always to write everything into the service of trying to understand humanity, especially contradictions in human conditions. My teachers told me in literature and cinema that I must create loveable characters and I am against that. I must create interesting characters. And the way for me to create interesting characters is to portray the contradictions of humanity.

Twitch – The Night Buffalo—Interview With Guillermo Arriaga

More Scary Signing Statement Stuff

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for National Security Studies noted in a press release that the statement was “attached to a statute that expressly prohibits opening First Class mail without a warrant,” and said that the president was claiming “unprecedented authority.”

“No president has the authority to decide on his own what the law is,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU said in a press release sent to RAW STORY. “From Pentagon and FBI surveillance of peace activists to unchecked NSA wiretapping, the executive branch is trampling on the privacy and free speech rights of Americans. The public needs to know if the president is undermining the democratic process by abusing his power and violating the Constitution.”

The Raw Story | Groups seek records on warrantless mail surveillance that Bush authorized through ‘signing statment’

Got that? Bush attached a ‘signing statement’ that says just the opposite of what the law he was signing actually says. The law that congress passed said you can’t open mail without a warrant but Bush says he can…by just saying he can.

The whole signing statement thing is one of the most frightening things this administration does. We’re not hearing nearly enough about it.

Richard Carslon, RIP

I’m a fan of Richard Carlon’s books. I recently finished his Easier Than You Think and blogged about it. I’ve been thinking about one of his suggestion in the book and I was about to blog about it on my Media blog, when I came across this.

Richard Carlson, best selling author, beloved husband, cherished father, and loving son died suddenly on December 13 of a pulmonary embolism resulting in cardiac arrest while enroute to New York. He was 45.

Obituary

I didn’t know Carlson except through his work, but this is upsetting to me. He was only a couple of years older than I am and is an expect on stress reduction, so his dying of cardiac arrest reminds of the shock when my friend Paul Montgomery died of a heart attack seven years ago or the near loss of a another close friend of mine a couple of years ago.  Obviously, I can’t help but feel for the family left behind, either.

Here’s a little section from the L.A. Times article about his passing.

A motivational speaker and author of a syndicated column, Carlson said he tried not to let minor things rankle him, such as a bad review or being gently rear-ended while driving.”

I try to walk my talk as much as I can,” he said. “We’re here for this little tiny millisecond in eternity, and you can make of your life what you will. You can look for what’s right and what’s good and try to be kind instead of rude. If you live that way, it makes your ordinary life sort of extraordinary.”

Richard Carlson – Los Angeles Times

At a few different points in my life in the past few years, Carlson’s book were exactly what I needed to hear. His work will live on, but this is a shock…