Mayor of Batman sues Batman filmmakers

Variety reports, Mayor of Batman sues WB, Nolan: “The mayor of an oil-producing city in southeastern Turkey, which has the same name as the Caped Crusader, is suing helmer Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. for royalties from mega-grosser ‘The Dark Knight.’ Huseyin Kalkan, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party mayor of Batman, has accused ‘The Dark Knight’ producers of using the city’s name without permission. ‘There is only one Batman in the world,’ Kalkan said. ‘The American producers used the name of our city without informing us.’”

Fake New York Times

In a large scale operation, a 14 page “July 4, 2009″ edition of “The New York Times” was distributed around New York this morning. Is this parodic?
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
Fake New York Times
There’s also an Online version (which is not loading for me).
The Times reports on the spoof, Liberal Pranksters Hand Out Times Spoof: “In an elaborate hoax, pranksters distributed thousands of free copies of a spoof edition of The New York Times on Wednesday morning at busy subway stations around the city, including Grand Central Terminal, Washington and Union Squares, the 14th and 23rd Street stations along Eighth Avenue, and Pacific Street in Brooklyn, among others.
Romanesko posted a press release from the people behind the distribution, “In an elaborate operation six months in the planning, 1.2 million papers were printed at six different presses and driven to prearranged pickup locations, where thousands of volunteers stood ready to pass them out on the street.”
Gawker links this to the Yes Men, “The email address that sent out this message was linked to the site of The Yes Men, longtime liberal prank group that has been doing things just as complex and finely tuned as this for years. The Yes Men run the Because We Want It site, through which they set up this prank. They wanted to be anonymous for a while allegedly, but too late.” (The Yes Men site is not loading now.)
In addition to articles like “Bush Resumes Golf Game” and “High Speed Internet Hits Fast Track to Appalachia,” this edition of “All the News We Hope to Print” includes “ads” for Monsanto, KBR, ExxonMobil, DeBeers, GM, McDonalds, and New York subway advertising icon Dr. Zizmor.
Daniel Radosh, Obama’s first unforgivable act, “After eight years of the Onion and the Daily Show and Colbert and too many books and blogs to name, the old saw that liberals had no sense of humor had finally been banished. And then today, in the first big humor statement of the Obama era, the Yes Men produce a New York Times parody that actually parodies nothing but — quite unintentionally — dreary socialist agitprop.”

FCC v. Fox Oral Arguments Today

It’s hard to think about things non-electoral today, but today also happens to be the oral arguments in the Supreme Court for FCC v. Fox. The Court will be reviewing the FCC “fleeting expletive” standard for broadcast indecency.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled “the FCC’s new policy sanctioning ‘fleeting expletives’ is arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act for failing to articulate a reasoned basis for its change in policy.” Fox v. FCC
Transcript of the Oral Arguments for Fox v. FCC in the Supreme Court.
ScotusWiki has links to all of the briefs filed along with a preview of the case
Dahlia Lithwick reported on the oral arguments for Slate.com, The Supreme Court’s 100 percent dirt-free exploration of potty words, “Well, shit. There was supposed to be swearing. They swore like sailors when this case was argued in the 2nd Circuit. Judges and lawyers both! Those same judges swore themselves silly in the appellate opinion. Advocates swore (a lot) in the merits briefs. Promises were made. But today, in a case about how and when the FCC can regulate so-called ‘fleeting utterances’ of words like fuck and shit, the saltiest language comes when Solicitor General Gregory Garre, arguing for the FCC, warns that the agency had an obligation to guard against the possibility of ‘Big Bird dropping the F-bomb on Sesame Street.’”
The Progress and Freedom Foundation’s Adam Thierer attended the oral arguments and posted some thoughts, Supreme Court oral arguments in FCC v. Fox (General Thoughts): “Overall, however, I am concerned for the First Amendment after this morning’s arguments in the Supreme Court. We could get a close decision in favor of the FCC and the agency’s ongoing effort to expand content controls.”
Some more previews in the press:
David Savage, Los Angeles Times, On the Supreme Court docket: bleeeeeep, “At issue is the future indecency standard for television and radio. Will these broadcasts remain under strict federal regulation because a mass audience that includes children may be watching? Or will a looser standard prevail, giving broadcasters and audiences more choice in what they see and hear?”
William Triplett, Variety, Fox v. FCC heads to Supreme Court: “A decision in the so-called fleeting expletives case of Fox v. FCC, skedded for oral arguments Tuesday morning, could sharply cut back — maybe even eliminate — the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to police the airwaves for indecent content, experts say.”
Adak Liptak, The New York Times, Ideas and Trends – Must It Always Be About Sex?: “The Oxford English Dictionary’s three core entries on the word — noun, verb and interjection — are about six times as long as this article. That doesn’t count about 30 derivations and compounds, all colorful and many recent. The nimble word, the dictionary tells us, can help express that a person is incompetent; that another is not be meddled with; that a situation has been botched; that one does not have the slightest clue; and, in a recent addition, that someone has enough money to be able to quit an unpleasant job.”

Voting Machines

Here are a couple of video links vaguely related to the mechanics of voting, without getting into the question of how well our elections are enabling democracy.
Mr. Rogers uses a mechanical lever voting machine:

In New York, we still use the lever machines. There is something especially satisfying about casting a vote by pulling the lever to record a vote using a system of gears. It’s a more tactile experience than using some touchscreen or optical scan systems.
And one from The Onion:
Voting Machines Elect One Of Their Own As President

This is very Weird

MTV requested that Weird Al censor the name of P2P file sharing sites Morpheus, Grokster, Limewire and Kazaa from his 2006 video. The New York Times reports, Censorship, or What Really Weirds Out Weird Al – NYTimes.com: “In an e-mail message on Sunday, Mr. Yankovic wrote that he had bleeped out the names to the file-sharing sites in his song two years ago, after MTV ‘told me that they would refuse to air my video’ otherwise. ‘Instead of subtly removing or obscuring the words in the track,’ he wrote, ‘I made the creative decision to bleep them out as obnoxiously as possible, so that there would be no mistake I was being censored.’”

Weird Al Yankovic |MTV Music