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Random Acts of Thinking

I attended the Congressinal Sportsmen Foundation banquet and auction last night in D.C.

It was my first exposure to the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, which includes some Republicans familiar to media policy watchers. They include Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK), Senator John McCain (what is he doing these days, I wonder) and Reps. Joe Barton (R-Tex.), Greg Walden (R-CO), and John Shimkus (R-IL). But there are also plenty of Democrats from huntin and fishin states, like Gene Greene (TX), Mike Doyle (PA), and Jay Rockefeller (WVA)

But I was not there to hunt up present or former Commerce Committee members, but rather as an observer and guest of the Outdoor Channel, which targets the $125 billion industry.

Eleanor Homes Norton is apparently not a member of the caucus, which doesn’t surprise me, particularly given the first item auctioned off at the dinner.

It was a pair of ,38 caliber pistols. They were described in the program as "Smith & Wesson 2nd Amendment Dueling Guns" and bore an engraving of the scales of Justice with "D.C." on one side and the balance tipped in the favor of the other, on which rested the name "Heller." That would be the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case overturning D.C.’s handgun ban.

In table conversation, I did pick up one bit of news that had escaped me last week and that made the FCC’s heavy hand on content seem a little lighter–though not much.

According to an AP story, the Saudi Arabian equivalent of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has issued a fatwa against satellite TV progrmmers who put on "immoral" programming, suggesting it was permissible to kill them as seditious corrupters.. 

"I want to advise the owners of these channels, who broadcast calls for such indecency and impudence … and I warn them of the consequences," the AP reported the Islamic cleric as saying, not sounding so unlike an FCC official now that I think of it, all except for the killing part that went along with that observation.

Talk about your indecency penalities…

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.