Sunday, April 25, 2004
Washington's new crackdown on pornography
Reason: Xtreme Measures: "God has yet to render judgment on that particular blasphemy, but others are showing less patience. Decorating the Extreme Associates booth at the Adult Expo is a poster of Janet Zicari posing inside a boxing ring, ready to battle in fishnet stockings, a skimpy, cut-off T-shirt, and fists swathed in Everlast hand-wraps. 'Fight for your right to watch porn,' the poster urges in bold red print. In smaller print, on a ring card announcing the next bout in the never-ending Culture Wars, the text reads 'Lizzy Borden vs. Mary Beth.'

'Mary Beth' is Mary Beth Buchanan, U.S. attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania. On August 7, 2003, Buchanan announced that a Pittsburgh federal grand jury had indicted the Zicaris on 10 counts of violating federal obscenity laws. Social conservatives hope and civil libertarians fear that this case marks a new stage in Washington�s crackdown on pornography, a sign that Ashcroft's Department of Justice is -- take your pick -- a champion of traditional values or a threat to free expression.

The Zicaris face a more concrete threat: They each face maximum sentences of 50 years in prison and $2.5 million fines. By comparison, the maximum sentence for actual rape in Pennsylvania is 20 years."

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