Ebola is the New Black

October 20, 2014

There is a 75% chance that this man has Ebola.  He is wearing sunglasses for your protection, because making eye contact with black people is scary as fuck, and will kill you because Ebola.

There is a 75% chance that this man has Ebola. He is wearing sunglasses for your protection, because making eye contact with black people is scary as fuck, and will kill you because Ebola.

Ok, not really, but I figured it was a catchier title than “Ebola is the new paranoia for the stupid genetic refuse that proves that Idiocracy was not just a movie, but a prophecy.”

That would just not do as a headline. But, I suppose it is a clumsy, but effective lede.

Remember “give up ANY rights, as long as it keeps us safe from Beardsley McTurbanhead, who is going to kill us all if he can?”

How could you forget? That fad isn’t over yet.

But, just in time for the new fall idiot fashion season, we have Ebola!

And, while there’s been plenty of stupidity surrounding ebola so far, I think that the stupidity has finally become self-aware, and is now firmly in control of SkyNet.

A nurse at the Howard Yocum School in Maple Shade Township, New Jersey sent a letter to staff members informing them that two new students from Rwanda, Africa would be arriving at the school on Monday.
“This is not an area identified as a country with an Ebola outbreak, however l am taking precautions as per the health guidelines of the Burlington County Health Department,” the nurse wrote.  “I will be taking the students’ temperature three times a day for 21 days.” (source)

I’d like to introduce people to this new thing called A FUCKING MAP. Its like a picture with just a few words, so you don’t even need to read too good to understand it.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 7.57.01 AM

Getting from Monrovia to Kigali is pretty easy. You can either drive for about 90 hours, or take two planes and 17 hours to get there. Then, its just a hop, skip, and a jump into The Homeland.

Terrorist

Terrorist

But, you can never be too safe.

We need one of those “Real Men of Genius” ads for the Howard Yocum School Nurse.

Thank you for making us all a little dumber, while protecting us from the same disease that killed less than 3,000 people worldwide until the most recent outbreak. But, lets not discount the danger. This one looks like its gonna be pretty bad — with about 5,000 dead so far. The vast majority of those deaths in places like Liberia and Sierra Leone. You know, unsanitary shit holes where lots of diseases fester, and kill people who would just shrug it off in a cleaner country with a decent medical infrastructure.

But, you know. Africa. Ebola. Same thing. Africa might as well be The United States of Ebola.

Ebola carrier using secret jungle-disease-gun to try and kill an unidentified random innocent caucasian woman, presumed to be Natalee Holloway.  He is assisted by an apparent Muslim.

Ebola carrier using secret jungle-disease-gun to try and kill an unidentified random innocent caucasian woman, presumed to be Natalee Holloway. He is assisted by an apparent Muslim.

You see, when you have a disease that is transmitted through bodily fluids, and those bodily fluids tend to be dumped in public places, and you have a virtually nonexistent public health system, then you have a good breeding ground for communicable diseases.

But why let facts get in the way of a good ghost story? We have a communicable disease with a 50% fatality rate. That’s good fodder for TV news that gives you all the information you need to make informed decisions in all of a 120 second spot. Right? Ok, but how can we really make this spooky? Hmmm…

The Super Secret Project officially declared that Ice Cube is no longer scary. (source) Despite that scientific finding, Americans are still scared shitless of black people.

And, fear is what brings the eyeballs.

But fear is also why America sucks.

If you haven’t seen this clip yet, watch it. (Direct link here)

I can’t think of any more brilliant writing. I am not even going to try and match it.

But, that video, fictional as it is, tells you that we are not the greatest country in the world anymore, and why. Because when we were, “we aspired to intelligence,” and “we didn’t scare so easy.”

And we don’t do that anymore. And scare easily is exactly what we do. We are a bunch of superstitious idiots, scared to death, of any simple narrative. (And I recognize that I am illustrating that that with a 4 minute video clip).

Beardy McTurbanhead is coming to blow you up, scary negroes who you can only see in the night with bloodshot eyes and white teeth gleaming at you, as they spit ebola in your face. We can’t be too tough on crime. It would be easy to blame this on simple old fashioned racism, but I won’t. More planes and bombers, please!

Racism is not a disease. It is a symptom. It is a symptom of our national commitment to ignorance and stupidity (which replaced our profound national commitment to wide open and robust debate).

And the school nurse at Howard Yocum probably had no idea when she made this asinine pronouncement that she was putting another nail in the coffin of what this country used to be, and likely never will be again. Nevertheless, there she was, hammer in hand, pounding on the lid.

But she can’t do it alone.

Her stupidity flows down a river of it, that emanates from every American household (statistically speaking anyhow). Like an open sewer in West Point (Liberia, look it up), it shits out of every one of us. And if you just decline to shit in the river, you’re still part of the problem. If you’re not actively part of the clean up, then you’re part of the filth.

So, we have to pelt this “well-meaning” person with rotten tomatoes. Why? Because she is why this is no longer the greatest country in the world. Fear is a parasite that can only live in the sweaty fat rolls of ignorance. And that parasite is now in control of the entire host body.

You want to “cure ebola?” Cure your own, and everyone else’s stupidity about it. Or about anything. Today. Now.


Your Kids’ Facebook Activities Can Subject You to Liability (But See 47 U.S.C. § 230?)

October 16, 2014

As a general rule, parents are not liable for their childrens’ actions simply by virtue of the fact that they are the kid’s parents. (I wish it were different, as that might put a leash on our idiocracy devolution, but sigh).

That all aside, the Georgia Court of Appeals just held that parents can be liable for their children’s activities online, most specifically on Facebook. See Boston v. Athearn (Ga. Ct. App. 2014).

The facts are pretty standard fare. Some kids decided to bully another kid. They set up a fake Facebook account dedicated to that mission. The Facebook page was apparently racist and defamatory. (Op. at 3).

During the 11 months the unauthorized profile and page could be viewed, the Athearns [the Parents] made no attempt to view the unauthorized page, and they took no action to determine the content of the false, profane, and ethnically offensive information that Dustin [their son] was charged with electronically distributing. They did not attempt to learn to whom Dustin had distributed the false and offensive information or whether the distribution was ongoing. They did not tell Dustin to delete the page. Furthermore, they made no attempt to determine whether the false and offensive information Dustin was charged with distributing could be corrected, deleted, or retracted. (Op. at 5).

Georgia follows the general rule that parents are not automatically liable for the sins of their children. But, they “may be held directly liable, however, for their own negligence in failing to supervise or control their child with regard to conduct which poses an unreasonable risk of harming others. (Op. at 6-7).

The Georgia court found that the child used a computer and access to an Internet account “improperly, in a way likely to cause harm, and with malicious intent.” (Op. at 11). The parents argued that they could not have anticipated the child’s actions until after the child’s school brought it to their attention. But, the Georgia court brushed this off, stating “The Ahearns’ argument does not take into account that, as Dustin’s parents, they continued to be responsible for supervising Dustin’s use of the computer and Internet after learning that he had created the unauthorized Facebook profile.” (Op. at 11).

Logically, this all makes sense. Parents have a duty to control their kid. They breach the duty. The breach causes harm. They pay. Classic negligence theory.

But, it seems that nobody raised the issue of 47 U.S.C. § 230, which provides immunity from such claims.(1)

The Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” 47 U.S.C. § 230(c)(1). The CDA goes on, “No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any State or local law that is inconsistent with this section.” Id. § 230(e)(3).

This decision holds the parents accountable as it would a publisher or speaker of the information in question, thus the claim should be barred by 47 U.S.C. § 230.

CDA immunity requires that “(1) the defendant be a provider or user of an interactive computer service; (2) the cause of action treat the defendant as a publisher or speaker of information; and (3) the information at issue be provided by another information content provider.” Gentry v. eBay, Inc., 99 Cal. App. 4th 816, 830 (2002)

This claim attempts to treat the parents as a liable participants in the tortious conduct. The CDA provides immunity when a plaintiff seeks to hold a defendant liable for tortious conduct based on the fact that the defendant provided the Internet instrumentalities used to commit the tort. See, e.g., Almeida v. Amazon, 456 F.3d 327 (11th Cir. 2006).

In Delfino v. Agilent Techns. Inc., 145 Cal. App. 4th 790, 806 (2006), the California court of appeals found that when an employee used the employer’s computer network to send threatening messages, the employer was not liable. In that case, the court held that although the defendant-employer merely acted as the provider of the computer system, the plaintiff’s tort claims in essence sought to hold the employer liable for the publication of the threatening messages. Id. Therefore, the employer was immune under § 230.

The Georgia Court of Appeals had its first § 230 case this summer. Internet Brands, Inc. v. Jape, 328 Ga. App. 272 (Ga. Ct. App.2014). “The CDA “precludes plaintiffs from holding interactive computer service providers liable for the publication of information created and developed by others.” Id. at 274-75. And, in that case, it recognized (like all other courts before it) that § 230 protection is broad. “[C]ourts have consistently … held that § 230 provides a ‘robust’ immunity, and that all doubts must be resolved in favor of immunity.” Id. at 276 (citations and quote marks omitted).

In this case, the plaintiff does not bring a direct claim of defamation against the parents for creating the content. But, the claims appear to have the same effect as treating them as the publisher of the information based solely upon their role as the provider of the account and hardware for the tortious communications. It is without dispute that the content was provided by another person, namely the son. The son, therefore, is the liable party – not the parents – and under the CDA, any claim to the contrary appears to be barred.

UPDATE: If CDA immunity applied, it would certainly be the first time it applied in precisely this kind of scenario. But see footnote 1, below.

________________________________
(1) I oughta know. A few years back, I raised the theory that if you provide an open wifi connection, you should be liable for torts committed over that open wifi. Since I raised it in a copyright context, the courts I raised it before dismissed it on a pre-emption claim. But, other courts have since ruled that even if that theory was not pre-empted, it would be barred by Section 230. See AF Holdings, LLC v. Doe, 104 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1182, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125306, 2012 WL 3835102 (N.D. Cal.Sept. 4, 2012); AF Hodlings, LLC v. Doe, 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 143484, 2012 WL 4747170 (N.D. Cal.Oct. 3, 2012).


Flori-duh. Thank you, again.

October 16, 2014

Governor Rick Scott refused to debate Charlie Crist (at least for a while) because Crist had a fan in the podium.

Depending on who you believe, Scott cited a rule that prohibited “electronics” in the podium, or there was a rule that was much more specific, which referred specifically to “fans.”

Just speculating here, but I would imagine that debate rules would prohibit “electronics,” as I could see a candidate getting an unfair advantage with an iPad or cell phone in front of him. To have a rule prohibiting “fans,” just doesn’t make much sense.

If anyone finds a copy of the rules, I would love to see them. In the meantime, feast your eyes on this. One of the worst political blunders I’ve ever seen.

But, this being Flori-duh, I’d imagine that Scott is the one who scored more points with it. Rational people would say that Scott looks petty and stupid. His base in Flori-duh? I’m sure that Larry the Cable Guy and his clones were hollerin’ “Yew stand yer ground, Ricky!


I am Sarkeesian

October 15, 2014

I don’t imagine that I would agree with much Anita Sarkeesian has to say.

I admit that don’t know much of what she has to say, because I don’t give a shit. The Guardian describes her as “best known for her YouTube series ‘Tropes v Women in Video Games’, assessing various anti-feminist trends in gaming.”

In other words, she’s a perfect storm of subjects that I give no fucks about. Video games and post-modern academic feminism. Both seem like a complete waste of time to me. I got bored with video games back when “Missile Command” was still a thing. And, I think that post-modern academic feminism is a bigger waste of time than playing Missile Command every day for 10 years. But, hey, if either one is your thing – enjoy it.

I watched one of Sarkeesian’s videos. As soon as she used the term “weaponized pornography,” I realized that there wasn’t much that could follow that statement, which could be of any real value to my day. Click.

Despite all that, consider me to be an Anita Skarkeesian-ista. If for no other reason than NOW I want to hear what she has to say. NOW, I want everyone to hear what she has to say.

Y’see, she was supposed to speak at Utah State University. But, someone didn’t like her perspective, so they wrote this:

“I have at my disposal a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs,” the letter said. “This will be the deadliest school shooting in American history and I’m giving you a chance to stop it.”

“You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”

Sarkeesian initially didn’t let it bother her, but after she figured out that USU would not ban guns at the event, she cancelled her speech. (source) I don’t necessarily applaud this. She seems to be blaming the venue for its unwillingness to violate the Second Amendment. But, I’m not the one getting death threats, so I won’t pretend to be an authority on what she should do.

You know what I am an authority on? Fucking asshats.

Fucking asshats who think that silencing the other side through intimidation or interruption is how you debate.

I want to stand next to her and yell “I AM SPARTACUS!” I’m sure that she would think that is totally weird. I’m also sure that she wouldn’t really care if “the likes of me” wanted to support her. But I don’t need to agree with her to want to stand with her — because she has a RIGHT to speak. And some cowardly little nitwit made an anonymous threat, and now MY marketplace of ideas loses Sarkeesian’s wares?

Some little douchebag was so threatened by feminist theory in the context of video games that he threatened to kill people if she got to speak?

First of all, dude, if you’re gonna commit – commit over something that actually matters.

Second of all, you now turned it into something that actually matters.

Sarkeesian has a right to participate in the marketplace of ideas, and the marketplace has a right to have her.

And lest anyone start with the trope “this is what happens when women speak out,” go fuck yourself in advance. This is not a feminist issue. A men’s rights conference in Detroit suffered the same kind of threats. (source). You know how many feminists spoke up against that?

Exactly.

Why is that a problem?

Because we need to realize that no matter whose ox is being gored, all of our oxes are being ass-raped when someone gets to shut down debate.

The more you disagree with Sarkeesian, the more you should stand up to support her today. Maybe, just maybe, that will start a cycle of respect for expression, even expression that you disagree with.

And before any idiot says “well, what about the free speech of the guy who threatened her” … threats and extortion are not free speech. Look it up.

Will those who disagree with Sarkeesian see that there is something greater at stake here? Is what Sarkeesian has to say so threatening to anyone that everyone won’t stand up to support her? You can criticize her in the next breath. Call her the dumbest waste of space and breath since Jack Thompson, if you like.

But not today.

Today, I want to speak directly to her detractors. The greater principle here is that she has a right to speak, and some asshole took that away from her. Further, we have a right to hear her, and that asshole took that away from us.

I don’t care if you despise her. What happened here is wrong. Even if you disagree with her, stand up and say “I am Sarkeesian.”

And to the little shit who issued the threat: If you want to threaten her, you threaten all of us. And I guarantee you, she could probably kick your ass just fine, as the rest of us stand around and laugh. But, if she’d rather not get her hands dirty, I’ll volunteer to do it for her. (Although, I’d rather have a girl beat you up).

And if Sarkeesian wants to give her speech in Las Vegas, I will personally pay for a security detail to ensure her safety.

I am Sarkeesian.

I’ve never tried to coin a hashtag, but I’m going to today. Show Sarkeesian and those who would try to silence her that there are more of us than they could have imagined. #iamsarkeesian


Stay away from the fat kid!

October 14, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 10.58.57 AM

Wow…. seriously?

I only have five and a half years of experience as a parent, but I can honestly say that I’ve never considered the body mass index of another kid as a metric of, well, anything. I most certainly would not bring it up when trying to decide who my kids should play with.

On the other hand, I might avoid having my kids hang out with kids whose parents are vapid, vacuous, total fucking assholes.


The Ellora’s Cave case

October 12, 2014

I don’t want to write a blog post about this case (yet), since I’m counsel for the defendant. But, here’s a pretty good article on it that someone else wrote.

And another good one here, from Techdirt.


How to cite to Walter Sobchak

October 11, 2014

If you don’t know what the deal is with prior restraint, here, watch:

There. Simple. Right?

THE SUPREME COURT HAS ROUNDLY REJECTED PRIOR RESTRAINT!

I wish I could just submit that clip to the next judge who even considers granting one. Just hold up a chromebook with that on it, play it, drop it on the floor, and walk out.

Dudeists have known this since 1998, and even most Dudeists were a bit late to the party.

I suppose that should not complain about misguided souls trying to get prior restraints.

If they stopped, I might actually have to find a less enjoyable way to make a living than being able to stand there with my arm around the Constitution, channelling Walter Sobchak. There is not much more career-choice-affirming than that.

Nevertheless, one after the other, they keep on coming — defamation plaintiffs who think that they’ve found the magic bullet that gets them a prior restraint. Hell, sometimes they even convince judges to grant them – which is even more awesome, because it then gets me a chance to get an appellate decision slapping it down.

In fact, I secretly hope that I will lose every prior restraint argument before the trial court. In 99% of those cases, the judge should look at the plaintiff and say “are you out of your fucking mind? Your motion is denied. THE SUPREME COURT HAS ROUNDLY REJECTED PRIOR RESTRAINT!”

Well what fun is that? I guess it would be fun as all hell if the judge actually did that.

But, when they get slapped down for being dumb, it helps get the word around to other judges who haven’t heard about this new thing called The First Amendment. I Each time a judge gets reversed for granting a prior restraint – which is exactly every fucking time unless the speech is about secret troop movements, it could help the next dumbass who managed to get elected to the bench. It could also help lawyers with this other new thing called “client control.”

I, myself, represent an occasional defamation plaintiff or two. Plaintiff’s side cases can be fun. But, they always start with the discussion about prior restraint.

The conversation that goes sorta like this:

Client: “I want a preliminary injunction in my defamation case.”

Me: “Wrong country, dude.”

Client: “Come on, at least try

Me: “FOR YOUR INFORMATION, THE SUPREME COURT HAS ROUNDLY REJECTED PRIOR RESTRAINT! So, no. No. No. No. I’m not even gonna fucking try. You know why? Because it is stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I may not be the smartest lawyer in the world, but I’m not stupid enough to seek a prior restraint. You want an injunction, go hire another lawyer who is willing to look like an idiot and waste your money. After he gets his ass handed to him, come back and I’ll handle your case competently, not like the fuckwit that you finally arrive at after you get to the bottom of the barrel, and then dig your way through the wood to the other fucking side of the barrel, now shut the fuck up about an injunction or get out of my fucking office and take your retainer check with you!

MARK IT ZERO!”

Client: “Ok, ok… just take it easy, man.”

Me: “I’m perfectly calm, dude.”

Client: “Just take it easy.”

Me: “Calmer than you are.”

Now on the other hand, when I get a defense case where there is a prior restraint? Then I get all happy. The first draft of my opposition inevitably has the Walter Sobchak quote in it. But, it always gets taken out. Citing to a fictional character just doesn’t seem like the right call when you’re making a serious point.

The Big Lehrmann

The Big Lehrmann

Not anymore.

Friends, Americans, Dudeists: We have arrived. Justice Debra H. Lehrmann of the Texas Supreme Court gave footnote 7 in Kinney v. Barnes, 57 Tex. Sup. J. 1428 (Tex. 2014).

The U.S. Supreme Court has long recognized that “prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights.” … This cornerstone of First Amendment protections has been reaffirmed time and again by the Supreme Court, this Court, Texas courts of appeals, legal treatises, and even popular culture(7). (citations and other footnotes omitted)

And that “7” brings us to this… get a handkerchief, because you’re gonna weep.

The Big Lebowski (PolyGram Filmed Entertainment & Working Title Films 1998) (“For your information, the Supreme Court has roundly rejected prior restraint.”).

Now, of course, The Big Lehrmann (as she shall now be known) can get away with citing it that way. But, I can’t see a trial court in Muskegon, Des Moines, or even Los Angeleez going for that. But, The Big Lehrmann now gives us the respectability and acceptance that Constantine once gave to the early Christians.

So now, I’ll tell you how to cite this. And before you trot out the bluebook, fuck the bluebook.

The next time you are arguing against a prior restraint, this is how you cite to the wisdom of Sobchak:

Kinney v. Barnes, 57 Tex. Sup. J. 1428 at n.7, (Tex. 2014) (citing SOBCHAK, W., THE BIG LEBOWSKI, 1998).

This affects all of us man.

Our basic freedoms!

—-

UPDATE: I personally use the “small caps” option when citing. But, wordpress does not seem to have that option.

Related: The post that inspired this one, How to cite to Buzz Lightyear.


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