SMITING INTERNET SMUT

The American Library Association and the ACLU are mounting a legal challenge to the Children’s Internet Protection Act, which requires public libraries and schools to install filtering software on computers or forfeit federal funds–supposedly to protect tender minds from porn on the Internet. But Nancy Kranich, president of the ALA, writes that filtering software is flawed, blocking legitimate information. The programs, pushed by the religious right, let through 25 percent of the porn sites while blindly stopping 20 percent of the “benign” sites with double entendre names like Super Bowl XXX, the Mars Exploration site (MARSEXPL)–and Mother Jones! Since there are an estimated 3 billion benign sites, this means that more than 600 million of them are unavailable to library patrons of all ages.

NEWS OF THE WEAK IN REVIEW

We’ve learned that Jennifer Berkshire’s report on the White House serving of GE food, quoted here last week, was a joke. We weren’t the only ones fooled. Alternet, where the story appeared, reports that “a number of environmental leaders and scores of readers called and emailed…outraged about the ‘inaccuracies'” in the article. In the May 22 Alternet, satirist Berkshire is at it again, reporting on the White House’s new energy plan, which will conserve electricity by giving schoolkids cold breakfasts and tapping into the “power of prayer.”