Issue 91, Fall 2003

  • Admiral John Poindexter is gone from the Pentagon, along with his Orwellian proposals, including the Total Information Awareness Program (Censorship News 89) and the terror futures market scheme—intended to prevent terrorism through traders—predictions! Oregon Senator Ron Wyden—who led the opposition—said: “From a standpoint of civil liberties, this is a huge victory.”
  • Attorney General John Ashcroft is on a 16-state tour to defend the Patriot Act against mounting opposition. Reportedly, he is skipping jurisdictions with active Bill of Rights Defense Committees, where resolutions condemning the Act have been passed by many localities and three state legislatures: Alaska, Hawaii and Vermont. The ACLU is challenging the Patriot Act in court; Congress rejected the administration-proposed “sneak and peek” searches; and bills are pending to amend other sections. The Administration still seeks to expand the Act to deny bail to terrorist suspects, broaden the death penalty, and relax standards for subpoenas.
  • Holt, Rinehart and Winston, publishers of a biology textbook under consideration by the Texas Department of Education, has revised the text under pressure from those who claim that Darwinism “is a theory in crisis.” The publisher has added a suggestion to “study hypotheses for the origin of life that are alternatives” to evolution. A HRW spokesperson calls the changes “minor,” and denies that they undermine the theory of evolution.
  • The new Federal Communications Commission rules to allow media conglomerates to expand have been stayed by a federal appeals court in Philadelphia. Congressional majorities are opposed to the new rules but will need enough votes to override President Bush’s expected veto.
  • A Pilot, TX gallery owner covered the breasts of a classical image of Eve with a yellow police line sticker to avoid arrest on “harmful to minors” grounds. The mural is also garnished with a “temporarily censored” notice.
  • Nevada County, CA has dismantled an entire art exhibit by 65 artists organized by the local arts council. The county initially requested removal of five works containing nudity, but, after protests that this violated the First Amendment, canceled the entire exhibit.
  • New and Noteworthy: Nat Hentoff’s latest book, The War on the Bill of Rights and the Gathering Resistance, (Seven Stories Press) documents the erosion of civil liberties since 9/11.
  • Shop for the holidays online and benefit the First Amendment. The NCAC store is bursting with gifts ranging from T-shirts, books and buttons, to holiday greeting cards. Click here to see our selection.