July 31, 2009

"Urbane New Jersey."

A funny expression I didn't expect to see in mainstream media:
President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has quietly agreed to move a pornography prosecution out of socially conservative Montana to more urbane New Jersey – fueling perceptions by some attorneys that the new administration is stepping back from the aggressive approach the Bush administration took to prosecuting obscenity.
"Urbane New Jersey" was deemed apt — apparently — in the enterprise of contrasting the much-maligned mid-Atlantic state with Montana — that state full of — oh, the unsophistication of it all! — social conservatives.

Actually, the dictionary definition of "urbane" is "notably polite or polished in manner."

What's as polite and polished as porn? Or is it that polite, polished people quietly tolerate things?
“This is a substantial change of position,” said Louis Sirkin, an attorney who has represented many in the pornography industry, including Hustler publisher Larry Flynt.
Isn't that's what you want in porn — a substantial change of position?
“The new administration has come in there and made a new determination….It certainly is different than what we have seen in the past.”

“I think it has a lot to do with the change in administration,” said a former federal prosecutor, Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School. “It makes you wonder how far they were pushing the envelope before…..These cases are fraught with problems and are not a high priority.”
Blah blah blah... why are they not dropping this prosecution altogether?
Since Obama’s inauguration, prosecutors have pressed on with pending obscenity cases and accepted guilty pleas in one high-profile prosecution brought in Pittsburgh. However, there have been no announcements of new adult obscenity indictments, a trend that Justice Department officials declined to discuss....
Presumably, they want to end it all quietly, so shhhh....
Obscenity cases are politically sensitive for the Obama Justice Department because the deputy attorney general, David Ogden, was criticized by Republicans during his confirmation for his past legal work for Playboy and other purveyors of sexually explicit material.
Shhhh....

28 comments:

LarsPorsena said...

Since half of New Jersey is currently under indictment, it's going to be hard to impanel a jury.

Jim said...

For all of the complaints about supposed politicization of the DOJ under Bush, Obama is determined to show just what a rank amateur Bush was at getting the job done.

He's flooring the accelerator and trying to break some kind of land speed record with his blatant abuse.

rhhardin said...

Urbane means among people who actually meet up daily with lots of other people, with expectations adjusted by it, in the way they use it.

Not holed up in shacks with guns.

Dictionaries are not great sources except of amusement.

Jim said...

rhhardin -

"Urbane means among people who actually meet up daily with lots of other people, with expectations adjusted by it, in the way they use it."

Which, in New Jersey, means that there's an expectation of graft and corruption with a side of Mafia-family crime.

You're right. A dictionary could not begin to capture what a cesspool the state of New Jersey is.

campy said...

Speaking of dictionaries:

urbane (adj.) Polite, refined, and often elegant in manner.

Yeah, that's the Garden State fer sure.

Ralph L said...

I hate to think what you have to do to warrant an obscenity prosecution these days.

Lem said...

Isn't that's what you want in porn — a substantial change of position?

Carpal tunnel is an insidious scourge ;)

Paddy O. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paddy O. said...

"What's as polite and polished as porn?"

That's why those who gather in celebration of it meet together at Gentlemen's clubs.

Lem said...

Isn't that's what you want in porn — a substantial change of position?

This administration’s back and forth, up and down approach to the application of the laws is perplexing.

tim maguire said...

I somteimes wonder what kind of president Obama would make if he were actually the person he wants everyone to think he is.

Lem said...

You're right. A dictionary could not begin to capture what a cesspool the state of New Jersey is.

Hey buddy.. watch the obscenity.

Bissage said...

In New Jersey’s defense, its turnpike does have some fairly decent rest stops.

Joyce Kilmer ROCKS!!1!!!!!!!

I think that I shall never see
a better place where I did pee.

I chose a stall down at the end
And there I met a brand new friend.

He said he liked to hang around
In case some pleasant times be found.

He told me that his name was Joe
And that my penis he would blow.

I told him that’s not why I’m here;
He said, “So what, if your not queer.”

“You still can loose your golden spray,
Please send a forceful stream my way.”

There was a hole off to my right
I got it through though it was tight.

A stinky pour I soon revealed;
he laughed with joy and then he kneeled.

Comments are left by fools like me,
But only Joe could help me pee.

Bissage said...

Urbane enough?

Big Mike said...

If "urbane" means highly tolerant of criminal activity, then they've picked the right state.

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought obscenity cases were decided on the basis of community standards. If that is so, how can you change the venue to a different community?

Freeman Hunt said...

Haha, I love that by "urbane" they mean "possibly more tolerant of a websit called 'Torture Portal.'" Yes, how very "urbane."

Ralph L said...

I got it through though it was tight.
braggart

Bruce Hayden said...

For all of the complaints about supposed politicization of the DOJ under Bush, Obama is determined to show just what a rank amateur Bush was at getting the job done.

Hey, wasn't Obama's AG the same guy who put together some of those cash for pardons deals for the Clintons right before Bill left office? In particular, didn't he approve and expedite the Marc Rich pardon? Apparently, Rich's ex-wife contributed $450k to the WJC library, $1.1 million to the Democratic party, and $109k to Hillary's first Senate race (whatever happened to McCain-Feingold?), and got her ex pardoned.

Revenant said...

I thought obscenity cases were decided on the basis of community standards. If that is so, how can you change the venue to a different community?

For most federal obscenity cases the "community" used for prosecution is not the community the accused lives in. Pornographers tend to live in places like Los Angeles, New York, or San Francisco, none of which are much interested in prosecuting porn. So the feds venue shop for a place with lots of socially conservative citizens and mail order (or, these days, browse/download) the "obscene" material from there.

This is, no pun intended, a perversion of the idea of community standards, especially in the Internet era when providers have no way of determining the physical location of the purchaser or the local standards of their community.

AlgonquinS said...

Theme for the day:

Underwear stains.

Hector Owen said...

Bruce Hayden, yes, that's the guy. He's also the guy whose Justice Dept has decided that it's fine to remove the Special Administrative Measures on Richard Reid, the "shoe bomber," and that if you're a Black Panther Party member, brandishing a nightstick while poll-watching is just fine.

traditionalguy said...

The Obama guys are trying to push us around until we react badley and make the Innocent One seem a victim under attack from crazy Fundamentalists who actually believe that there is such a thing as immoral Sex. Well it wont work, and they can wear themselves out trying.

Revenant said...

The Obama guys are trying to push us around until we react badley and make the Innocent One seem a victim under attack from crazy Fundamentalists who actually believe that there is such a thing as immoral Sex.

I wouldn't venture a guess as to whether or not the folks behind the Bush administration's anti-obscenity campaign were crazy.

But I do know that, at a time when the United States was fighting not one but two wars against hostile Islamists who ostensibly threatened American civilians, the Bush Administration ordered our primary domestic anti-terrorism agency (the FBI) to expend additional resources to prosecute people who sold films of consensual adult sexual activity to consenting buyers.

Which leaves us with three possibilities:

(1): The Bush Administration was lying to us about the threat posed by terrorism, and it wasn't nearly as serious as they claimed.

(2): The Bush Administration was deeply stupid.

(3): The Bush Administration was acting "crazy", i.e. irrationally, in prosecuting porn.

Dishonesty, stupidity, or irrationality. Those are the three options. Pick one or more. :)

Nichevo said...

Rev, maybe he was deeply dissatisfied with the FBI's performance, and wanted either to punish them with a crap detail, like being sent to count trees in Siberia under the Czars, or wanted them out of the way so the real operators could act unobstructed, or thought that this was "more their speed" and moved someone else into their CT role.

Or maybe one or more of the twenty-zillion other self-selected FBI priorities had to be deprecated to support counterterrorism. Maybe he cut down on cross-dressing at the Hoover Ranch, or burning alive dissidents in their homes.

Or maybe he though that sexual exploitation was a grave crime underresourced by his cigar-wielding predecessor.

I don't know. What I do know, Revenant, is the day I let you pick my premises for me, it had better be the afternoon, because the morning I will have been busy dismembering myself with a spork.

Revenant said...

Rev, maybe he was deeply dissatisfied with the FBI's performance

That would explain why he replaced the head of the FBI after 9/11. Oh wait... he didn't. In fact, nobody at the FBI was punished or reprimanded by the Bush Administration for their failures in fighting terrorism.

Or maybe he though that sexual exploitation was a grave crime underresourced by his cigar-wielding predecessor.

That would fall under the category of "deeply stupid", since the sexual "exploitation" of adults is not illegal.

The crime he actually decided to prioritize prosecution of was "obscenity" -- production of material that offends people who haven't the brains to simply refrain from looking at it, or who cannot abide the thought that there is stuff in this world that would offend them if they DID look at it. This is, according to the actions of the Bush Administration, a graver threat to Americans than terrorism, because they assigned people to combat it even while complaining that they didn't have enough resources to deal with terrorists.

Nope, I'm right. Anyone who thinks the FBI should waste time jailing purveyors of adult pornography either is crazy, thinks the Islamic terror threat is over, or is a fuckin' moron.

What I do know, Revenant, is the day I let you pick my premises for me [snip]

Yes, yes. Who are you, again?

Nichevo said...

Revenant, I have no particular interest in the business of pornography pro or con. Porn has always been a relevant law enforcement subject and pornographers will always be interesting people to the police. Always has been.

I don't know the details of the porn-hunting you decry, and maybe it was excessive, maybe not. Maybe porn is a useful way to track Islamofascists in some data-mining Able Danger-type conceptual way we don't yet understand. Maybe porn leads to other crimes of interest like smuggling, drug traffic, people traffic, other contraband.

Maybe TSA works too hard right now and as long as we keep those cockpit doors locked, and as long as everybody's got a blunt instrument at hand, say their shoes, any future Mohammed Amins will never win. So maybe we could all keep our shoes on for now, and do less there?

How about BATF, ATF now? How well is their time being used? Any better than in the last oh seven decades? Should the DEA do more or less on drugs and on which drugs?

Some cost-benefit calculation, somewhere within either DHS or elsewhere in the Administration, may have led to a conclusion that, at that time, the FBI should catch more or less of this particular chore, and allocate such-and-such resources to it.

So it may not be a punishment detail, though vice is apparently a difficult, demanding, stressful area for people to work in. And it may not be a waste of time/foolish/crazy.

There will always be something else you think you can cut. And there's always something you don't know. Really, neither of us are in a position to judge, unless you claim some authority.

Nonetheless, if you agree with me (do you?) that the FBI had performed poorly and needed measures taken, I'll go so far as to say that the rolling of heads (throwing under the bus, today) was so entirely absent in the Bush Administration that it pleased me not at all. I can't see how you fire Rumsfeld later and not Tenet et al, as you mention, first.
If I were Bush I would have chopped right and left.

But then I would have ripped the EP-3 out of the hands of the Chinese on Hainan Island, risking a war if necessary. Apparently wiser heads prevailed. Do you think we should have run in commandos and taken back the crew, seized or blown up the airplane, bombed it out of existence? Should we have shot down the EP-3 before it could be forced down? Should the crew have ditched it at sea? Think we should quit sniffing packets over the Chinese coast and the PacRim as we see fit?



I hear you making a big noise about some porn hunt which could be about something or nothing. You haven't made your case, Rev, I don't see what the big deal is. Waste-fraud-and-abuse, even? Good heavens. We don't know the wheels within wheels. The FBI may have been near mutiny - perhaps GWB had advice in this matter (whether it was good or not), which at least implies a rational if fallible process.


I do believe I misidentified you earlier, in other words TF are you, lol. I ask your pardon, I don't think I meant to harsh on you in quite this way.

And I await more facts of the case. Which you have not provided. But so far as you tell it I smell a rat.

Nichevo said...

IOW, anything sounds stupid if you only explain one side of it.