Today's Blogs

Moonwalking Away

Bloggers weigh in on Michael Jackson’s not-guilty verdict; they also discuss international debt relief and Microsoft’s decision to block words like “freedom” and “democracy” from some sections of the Chinese version of its MSN Spaces site.

Moonwalking away: After a jury pronounced Michael Jackson not guilty of molesting a teenage cancer patient, bloggers rushed to deliver their own verdicts yesterday.

Detractors are bitter. “Well, I guess it’s not a huge surprise that once again the legal system in the United States has proven that if you’re famous and rich enough, you won’t go to prison,” grumblesTheMartian Anthropologist. Some parents express outrage. “[I]f he loves ‘children’, why is it always BOYS? After all, if it isn’t sexual wouldn’t a GIRL do?” asksScarletdemon, an angry mom. “Michael Jackson is guilty,” believesPiquant’s Lee. “I’ve way too much experience with sexual predators to overlook the evidence.”

Die-hard defenders are overjoyed. “Yes, he’s a bit weird - does that mean he’s done anything wrong? No. Do you, as some random person who’s watched the events unfold on TV know better than those jurors sat in the courtroom? NO YOU DO NOT,” admonishesFruitless Labour’s British blogger Sameyeam.

Others have a more equivocal response. Claiming that, “[H]e would have starved himself to death, or just died of a broken heart” in prison, Californian Siennastarr exhorts Jackson to act like an adult and writes, “I for one, am relieved they found him innocent of all charges. I just pray that he truly is.” Still others quibble with parts of the verdict. Hawk’s Perch’s Missourian Jeff Hawk doesn’t think Jackson is a pedophile but points out, “I find it hard to believe that MJ did NOT administer alcohol to the child in question. From everything I’ve heard (which is much more than the jury did) he was guilty of this offense without doubt.”

Do you really want to read more about the verdict? Blogcritics has a roundup of bloggers; TV Squad live-blogged the verdict.

An end to debt?: Prompted by Britain, the G8 countries agreed over the weekend to relieve 18 of the world’s poorest countries of $40 billion in debts owed to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the African Development Bank.

Some bloggers praise George Bush and Tony Blair and demand accountability from the debtor nations. “If countries are to have their debt abolished then those countries should have to show some sort of change, entailing political, financial & legal reform,” writesA Plague of Opinion’s Thersites, a Brit. “God forbid that the New York Times even hint at the obvious connections among Bush, Wolfowitz, Tony Blair and the world capital funds, and (a) the spreading of democracy and (b) the eradication of world poverty,” blazes conservative Scylla and Charybdis, pointing out that the NYT buried the news on Page 12. But Moonage’s Political Webdream credits U2’s Bono for the development and writes, “Hopefully Bono will put as much pressure on those African leaders to make sure that money goes to the people as he did the politicians to forgive that debt.”

Some left-leaning bloggers are skeptical. Cryptogon’s Kevin F. links to this press release from Jubilee South, a group that wants “100% unconditional” debt forgiveness. It claims that some G8 finance ministers “admitted that the agreement had more to do with the needs of the international financial institutions (IFIs) themselves to salvage their credibility and initiate a new cycle of indebtedness.” And Christian blog Purple Pew exhorts, “If the rich countries truly love their neighbor, Africa, as they love themselves, then they should immediately spend anothor $40 billion and feed Africa’s starving children, women, elderly, weak, mamed, and poor. And for God’s sake! do something about the genicide!”

Read more about debt relief.

Microsoft banning “freedom”: Bloggers are shaking their heads over news that Microsoft has blocked users from entering words like “freedom” and “democracy” on some parts of the MSN Spaces site in China “in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing’s political censors.”

At lefty group blog New Patriot, Mark Desrosiers laments, “[I]t underscores how unfettered markets have no concern whatsoever with spreading democracy. A major American company will eagerly kowtow even to the most repressive crypto-communist nationalist regimes – and broadcast its own humiliation in the blogosphere – so long as there is profit to be extracted.” Beau Monday disagrees: “Microsoft’s stance on this issue leave the Chinese people with a communication channel (MSN Spaces) that can still be used to further their cause.  Even if they have to use the word ‘cabbage’ when they mean ‘democracy’.  No democratic movement in the history of mankind has ever stalled just because the word ‘democracy’ could not be uttered.”  Blogit’s Journal’s Dex2177, who points out that Google participates in a similar agreement, quips, “Chinese citizens, having tried MSN’s new censored search and blog service in China, have exclaimed what everyone else who’s tried a search on MSN have exclaimed, ‘This really sucks!’ ”

Read more about MSN Spaces in China.

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