Suzuki is a piece of shit…

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Somehow I always picture the scene below taking place
in Springfield Elementary School 🙂


First day in an elementary school somewhere in Midwestern USA…


The teacher introduces a new pupil, Suzuki from Japan. A history lesson begins and the teacher decides to quiz the kids:


Who said »Give me liberty or give me death«
Silence befalls the classroom. Suzuki raises his hand: »Patrick Henry in 1775 in Philadelphia!
Teacher: Very good, Suzuki


Now, who said »Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth«?
Suzuki stands up solemnly: Abraham Lincoln, 1863, Washington
The teacher scorns the rest of the classroom: You should be ashamed of yourselves. A Japanese kid knows more Amercan history than you do!


A quiet vioce from the back of the classroom: »Fuck off, you Jap sons of bitches«
Teacher yells: WHO SAID THAT?!?!
Suzuki raises his hand: General Douglas McArthur, 1942 just before the battle of Guadacanal and Lee Iacocca in 1982 during Chrysler’s shareholder meeting in Detroit.


The class falls silent, but a single voice that whispers: »Blow me!«
Suzuki: Bill Clinton to Monica Lewinsky, 1997 in Oval Office, Washington


Another kid yells: »Suzuki is a piece of shit!«
Suzuki: Valentino Rossi, 2002, during a MotoGP Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix


All the other kids freak out and start a rampage, the teacher blacks out and then the headmaster enters the classroom: »WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING AROUND HERE?«
Suzuki: Prime Minister of Slovenia Janez Janša, Ambrus, November 2006

2006 in review

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End of the world as depicted by The Economist


As this is probably my last sober weekend this year I might just as well use it and do a rundown on 2006 as seen by Pengovsky.


POLITICS:
Political life in 2006 was dominated both by Janez Janša’s government consolidating its power in every aspect possible. The consolidation started late in the year as the first half of the year was dominated by the resignation of minister in charge of reforms Jože P. Damijan. Janša however bounced back from this blow and set about prepairing terrain for the hoped-for victory in municipal elections. The victory more or less materialised, but not in Ljubljana, where Zoran Janković won with a landslide and pretty much upset the murky political pond of Slovenia. Whether it was for better or for worse remains to be seen

On a global scale of things it does feel nice that the people in the USA finally realised what the rest of the world (save Tony Blair) was telling them all along.


SOCIETY:
When looking back on 2006 one cannot ignore the rise of racism and the dissolution of the rule of law, both of which were paintfully manifested during Ambrus crisis. I’ve posted at lenght on this issue, so let it just be said that the matter is far from resolved. For the time being it seems that single-digit temperatures have cooled down the racist rage of the Ambrus population, but when the ice will have thawed time will be up for the government which will want to provide some sort of viable approach to ensuring that Slovenia will become a country of and for all of its people, regardless of ethnicity – which includes the Roma.

On that note: People seem to want simple and fast solutions these days, which is probably one of the reasons Janković got elected. Someone should be brave enough to tell them that simple and fast solutions often create just more of the same problems.


PROFESSION:
The Firm™ survived yet another year, which I’m very proud of. The media market in Slovenia is a true dog-eat-dog world and just having survived for four years is good, but having finally picked up the pace in increasing number of visitors/users/listeners proves, that we were right all along and that our programming and other services perform their respective functions. Just a quick example. In January 06 the Firm’s website recorded 9690 visits, while in November (last full month as of this writing) the number of unique visitors jumped to 83.500 visits.

I continued writing for SBR, which can sometimes be time consuming, especially when I don’t have the foggiest what the fuck I’m writing about. It happened when I was given medicine as a subject of my article and I virtually pissed blood for a month (much like on the two projects I’m finishing now). But in the end it turned out to be an excellent article and I was even commended for it by dr. Vinko V. Dolenc, the world renowned neuro-surgeon, which was kind of nice.

I also returned to Cutty Sark Pub as a DJ after becoming single again (see below) as I quit the year befoe in the name of love. I missed the place, and although it can be a bit frustrating at times when people don’t respond to music, I still love working there. The staff are great, they know how to pour a Guinness and when people start really partying it trully is a sight to see.


PERSONAL:
Well, I became single again this year. As of February Pengovsky is on the market 😀 I met a couple of really fine women since then (one in particular) but it never came to developing a deeper relationship. I got used to being single, but there are two things about it I don’t like: 1) even if you solve your own problems, you still need someone intimate to talk to – and there is noone, and 2) you don’t get laid as much as you’d like to. True, I also fucked up this year at one point but I’ve only myself to blame for that one, so I hope she forgave me.

And of course, I started writing this very blog. 😀


OVERALL:
It was a year to remember, no doubt. But so much happened that I have the feeling I’ve been living it on fast-forward. Of course I’m tired accordingly. Both physically and emotionally. And there’s no indication that 2007 will be a lot different. Whether it was a good year or a bad one, remains to be seen, but my gut instinct teels me that this year was not one of the brightest. I just hope were not headed for a political, economic, military and social trainwreck. Globaly, I mean.

Drle-groove

It’s been a long time since an email made me laugh out loud. But ths one just cracked me up. Our beloved president spreading peace on Earth and goodwill toward mankind. Now all I need is a semi-competent musician and we can make a video 🙂

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Just some thoughts on Janez Drnovšek, a.k.a. “Drle”:

I’m glad he’s our president. Not because of his Movement, which (full disclosure) I am a member of, but because he does present a certain degree of uncertainty in Slovene politics, which breeds fresh and unconventional thinking, necesary for society as a whole to move forward. When Drnovšek is gone (I still mantain that we are about to have Slovenia’s first state funeral some time soon), this country will fall into the abbys of carefully staged public and press events, with the tendency to amass power in a single pair of hands going on in the background.

Right now Janez D. and the Constitutional Court are the only two instances which help maintain a democratic division of power. With Drle gone, the Constitutional Court will find it hard to maintain independence on its own as its members are proposed by the President and elected by the Parliament. So we might just as well enjoy Drnovšek as long as we have him.

Oh and one final note: I definitely don’t like the way he mixes his movement with his presidency. He should keep the two separate and if he can’t, then he must choose between leading the Movement and leading Slovenia. The way things stand now, he’s loosing credibitily on both counts.

Požar is out!

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Obviously a fake front-page of today’s Direkt (by Pengovsky)


As of yesterday the notorious Bojan Požar is no longer Editor-in-Chief of Direkt tabloid newspaper. One might argue why spend a single keystroke on an editor of a tabloid, since their kind are a dozen a dime. But Bojan Požar is the embodiement of the “Dark side of the Force” of Slovene journalism. He is roumoured to have files on every VIP, wannabe and has-been in Slovenia. Much like Sid Hudgens, the murky journalistic character played by Danny DeVito in L.A. Confidential (off the record, on the QT and very hush-hush).


The official reason for Požar’s dismissal is the failure to reach an agreement on his contract for 2007. Direkt is published by Dnevnik media corporation, whose flagship newspaper Dnevnik took somewhat of a beating when the latest circulation numbers were published. The real reason might be both financial and political. Direkt is roumored to fare quite badly at the newsstands, well below the expected sales. On the political scale of things, however, Bojan Požar might have become to much of a liability for Dnevnik media house.


Namely: Dnevnik newspaper is trying very hard to become the leading newspaper in Slovenia, dully spending ludicrous amounts of money for star journalists like Ervin Hladnik Milharčič, Ali H. Žerdin, Uroš Škerl, Rok Praprotnik, Bojan Veselinovič, et cetera. Adding them to other influential journalists like Vesna Vukovič, Meta Roglič, Sonja Vogrič and Vito Avguštin, Dnevnik became a star-studded newspaper. These people cost money, as do all the other journalists whose star has yet to shine – although I’m sure none of them will become rich just writing for Dnevnik. But it is imperative that Dnevnik cleans up its act and slowly gets rid of a dirt-mongering scandal-rag. It is also possible that getting rid of Požar was a price to pay for non-interference by the government, which must be getting increasingly annoyed by Dnevnik’s ever-sharper articles, especially in its Saturday edition.


Anyways, Požar is no more. Personally I won’t miss him. I never much cared for tabloid journalism, especially of Požar’s type, because I constantly got the impression that he was in somebody’s service. I mean, I know people can be just mean, but with several of Požar’s articles (even while still with Slovenske novice), Slovene journalism hit rock-bottom. And again. And again.


But being gone from Direkt doesn’t mean that Požar is gone for good. I’m sure that he will resurface somewhere else. He might try to convice Rupert Murdoch to invest in Slovenia. Who knows. With his files and expertise in collecting information while still in the Central Committee of the Communist Party (I’m told he was in charge of following German media) I’m sure he still hasn’t outlived his usefulness to the Dark Side. Be it left- or right-oriented.


I wonder what Jonas would say 🙂

Censorship?

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This country never ceases to amaze… Thanks to nymphee the Gušti Affair caught my attention.

To summarise: Disctric Court in Ljubljana ordered Gušti and SiOL to take down a post where Gušti shared his impression and encouters with Ana Jud. She was rather displeased with the contents of the post and filed a suit against Gušti and SiOL. A part of the suit was also a motion to temporarily take down the post until the issue has been resolved. In Slovene legal terminology this is called začasna odredba, something like a temporary order

A temporary orded is a legal instrument which can be filed by the plaintiff in order to prevent any (further) damage that might occur in the period between his/her filing of the suit and the final rulling of the court. In this case Ana Jud apparently claims that the contents of the post amounted to slandering and sued the man.

While Pengovsky is not a lawyer he is rather familiar with the Law on media and the judicial practice on slander-cases. Now, Ana Jud’s motives are questionable at best and the contents the post in question are in my opinion quite harmless, but the case raises several interesting questions:

1.) Is there a difference between a blog post and one’s private personal opinion?
2.) Can a blog be treated as a media?
3.) Is the owner of a blog responsible for its contents?
4.) Is the owner of the server (or blogging service) responsible for any and all blog contents is services?
5.) Does this temporary order amout to censorship?

The Law on Media does indeed regulate web publications or web media. While inherently different fromy “traditional” media, the web media must conform to the same rules and procedures as any other media. I.e.: They must be registered with Ministry of Culture, which includes an appointed Editor-in-Chief. But what about a blog? Is blog a mass-media?

In a way – yes. It is intended to be read by other people. It is in fact no different than a book, a newspaper, a magazine, a radio or television.

But in a way – no. It is not a mass-media product as such. It is not distributed, it does not have an editor-in-chief as the owner is ussually (but not always) the sole writer, it does not necesarily publish regurarly, the author’s identity is not necesarily known, et cetera… From this perspective a blog is much more like a book than a newspaper. The closest analogy is of course some sort of public “personal diary” – which is also a book. And some diaries even get published.

Thus, we’ve shown that a blog (singular) is exempt from the Law on Media, because it lacks features that media in Slovenia must have to call themselves media – the most notable of all being that a blog is not registered with the Ministry of Culture.

The story is somewhat different for the blogging service provider (in this case SiOL). This particular provider runs a variety of other services as well and IS registered with Ministry of Culture. As far as I know, SiOL blogging service even has an editor-in-chief which means that Marko Crnkovič is in not-so-shallow doo-doo as he is legally responsible for any and all content of SiOL blogs.

Thus we have answerd items number 1, 2 and 4. A blog post is not strictly one’s private opinion, but one’s private opinion which has been made public. But while a blogging service must conform to Law on Media, an individual blog needn’t.

Now: is the owner of the blog responsible for its contents? In short: yes. Everyone is (except under-aged persons) is fully responsible for opinions they make public. If I were to go to a park, take a lung-full of air and started yelling that Ana Jud is a pompous bitch who doesn’t know her mouth from her cunt it would be the same as if I posted that very same sentence. Either way I made my opinion public and must take responsibility for it. It can be considered slander unless I can prove otherwise in a court of law, should she make the mistake of sueing me. Item number 3 is thus dully aswered

But the real question is: does this amount to censorship? No. Not from a legal point of view, at least. This is a classic case of one person’s freedom of speech clashing with another person’s right to personal integrity. Again – I’m not saying that Ana Jud actually has a case. But neither is the court saying that. What the court did was just temporarily suspend the publishing of this particular blog entry until the matter has been resolved. And should it emerge that Ana Jud acted in bad faith, Gušti and SiOL will definitely have a case agains her.

Censorship is by definition imposed by the same entity which feels threatned by a certain content. Thus – were Ana Jud by any chance SiOL’s editor in chief and had she forced Gušti to take down the post, that would be censorship. But the court’s decision is (again) temporary and was delivered (presumably) upon due consideration. One must know that in a civil suit the burden of proof lies with the defendant (and not with the accuser) so in court’s view Ana Jud’s claims have merit thusfar.

And one more thing: One of the earliest issues of Direkt ran a story about Dora Plestenjak supposedly molesting her grandchild. The Plestenjak family did exactly the same as Ana Jud did – they filed a motion for a temporary order, preventing most copies of that particular issue ever reaching the stands, and then filed suit against Bojan Požar and Direkt.

The lesson: While blogs are created by private citizens, they can have public consequences and are not exempt from the law. It is just sickening that an excellent musician ends up at the wrong end of stick held by a below average would-be reporter.