Wednesday, April 06, 2005

(No) Common Sensenbrenner

For those of you confused by the obscure title of this post, you won't be for long. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WIS) is the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. He says that flagrant violators of indecency regulations should face criminal prosecution, since in his estimation, the regulatory process is not working.

The people who are trying to do the right thing end up being penalized the same
way the people who are doing the wrong thing.

OK, so he thinks that some people are being punished too much. Some broadcasters who are, as he says, legitimately making an effort to do the right thing. But where in his proposal is leniency for these people mentioned? Where is it proposed that these "decent" broadcasters should have their fines mitigated?

It's not. All I see there is the need to up the punishment for "flagrant" violators not just in dollar values, but to the next level. Up to the majors from the minors, it seems.

But isn't this all just another example of trying to push punishment for perceived thought crime? If the committee examines and finds that your intentions were good and that you are pure of heart and retain the ability to see unicorns, then you'll just get saddled with a massive fine. But if it's legislatively determined that your intentions were bad, then look out. Boy, I remember getting reamed out in English class for proposing that I had an idea what Shakespeare's intention was in a certain scene of Hamlet.

Maybe I should get Mrs. Bachiochi to talk to Mr. Sensenbrenner.