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May 23, 2012

Holy Sockpuppets, Batman!

Sacre bleu! Say it isn't so:

Did you hear the one about the New York state lawmakers who forgot about the First Amendment in the name of combating cyberbullying and “baseless political attacks”?

Proposed legislation in both chambers would require New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers, to “remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.”

No votes on the measures have been taken. But unless the First Amendment is repealed, they stand no chance of surviving any constitutional scrutiny even if they were approved.

We are guessing Princess Leia in a Cheese Danish Bikini, Knut the Adorably Psychotic Gay Teen Bear, and a host of similarly regrettable monikers would not approve. Be that as it may, we humbly offer a stuffed marmoset by parcel post to the first commenter to spot the problem with the excerpted passage.

Posted by Cassandra at May 23, 2012 12:10 PM

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Comments

When reached for comment, Sparticus merely laughed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at May 23, 2012 12:44 PM

“remove any comments posted on his or her website by an anonymous poster unless such anonymous poster agrees to attach his or her name to the post.

Posted by: Silence Dogood aka anony-mous at May 23, 2012 12:47 PM

I may be anonymous now, but that's only because some dipwad in New York passed a law saying I had to "give" my name to some pajama clad blogger.

He kept muttering something about my fair share of names...

Posted by: The Horse with No Name at May 23, 2012 12:56 PM

My real name is Lance Uppercut. Honest.

Posted by: MikeD at May 23, 2012 12:56 PM

"some dipwad in New York passed a law saying I had to "give" my name"

How revolting. The more things change...

Posted by: Publius Valerius Publicola at May 23, 2012 01:16 PM

Actually, for now they're free... instantly generate a fake name, address, phone number, occupation, with name sets from countries around the world.

So how does the blogger run down whether your name is real?

Posted by: Fake Names for Sale at May 23, 2012 01:21 PM

Now that's funny.

What's your real name?
Mark Twain.
It can't be, that's someone else's name, plus he's dead.
So? My parents also considered Tom Sawyer.
Wait a minute, Mark Twain wasn't even his real name, it was Samuel Clemmons.
If it makes you fell better I also answer to Sam.

Posted by: Allen at May 23, 2012 01:53 PM

I notice that random name generated has a "Hobbit" and a "Ninja" setting, as well as the ordinary languages.

Posted by: Grim at May 23, 2012 02:24 PM

I notice that random name generated has a "Hobbit" and a "Ninja" setting....

But not Greek. I guess they no longer can pay the vig for aliases.

On the other hand, a Vietnamese alias with a Swiss address is a good disguise.

Yeah. I'll go with that.

New York-based websites, such as blogs and newspapers... answers your challenge. I'm not sure newspapers are Web sites.

Alternatively, “baseless political attacks”. This would shut down the entire Progressive campaign machine.

Or the whole excerpt for its assault on that old, hard to understand thingie that's not binding on anything anyway.

Can I have a crate of Ding-Dongs, instead? Send the stuffed...to John of Argghhh!.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at May 23, 2012 02:47 PM

I am confused. The First Amendment protects anonymous speech. Got that. But when?

It common practice for a "his or her website" to require that a person identify himself (i.e., by signing in) prior to submitting a comment, or that "his or her website" will not publish the comment. No First Amendment issue there. Although the "Internet" may be a "public forum" "his or her's" is a private website. Either tell "his or her website" who you are, or go make your comments about Obama's birth certificate somewhere else.
Now, if the Government demands that "his or her website" turn over to it the real names of the persons making comment on the website, that's a different story, and one with true First Amendment ramifications.
But that doesn't appear to be the aim of the New York legislation here. Granted, the legislation is so clumsily drafted that even New Jersey doing a face-palm. I mean, fortheloveofpete, if a post is truly "anonymous," then how is "his or her website" even going to find the unknown poster, much less make them "agree" to attach "his or her name" to the anonymous post? And if "his or her website" does somehow manage to track down the unknown poster, whose responsibility is it to ensure that "his or her name" is valid? I mean, think about it, there are really no "anonymous" people, only "anonymous posters" and "anonymous posts." So if the poster gives "his or her name" as "Feldon D. Stairs" or "Lotta Luck", does that render the post un-anonymous? If not, what's the enforcement mechanism? Is the NY Attorney General going to subpoena the records of every New York-based "his or her website" and investigate every comment made by a "Al B. Goin," "Mairsy Dotes" or "Heywood Jablome" as case of identity theft? Good luck getting that genius plan past the judge (and the First Amendment).

Nevertheless, even what appears to be just another piece of dopey legislation drawn up in a half-assed manner by somebody's summer intern as a favor for some half-wit's half-wit constituent can have serious Constitutional repercussions if enacted (see, e.g., the "Affordable Health Care Act"; the "Dodd-Frank Act"; the "McCain-Feingold Act"; the "Clinton-Lewinski Act").

So, here's how I would clear up that sentence in the bill:
“remove any anonymous comments posted on his or her website unless such are not, in which case don't.”

Posted by: spd rdr at May 23, 2012 03:12 PM

... fortheloveofpete, if a post is truly "anonymous," then how is "his or her website" even going to find the unknown poster, much less make them "agree" to attach "his or her name" to the anonymous post?

Magic!

Seriously, you and Silence Dogood nailed it. Check your mailboxes.

Posted by: Bush Ate My Soul at May 23, 2012 03:33 PM

The post has to be removed from the anonymous poster's ("his or her") website -- but it's not there to be removed, it's on the other website!

Posted by: htom at May 23, 2012 06:26 PM

"Seriously, you and Silence Dogood nailed it. Check your mailboxes."

*Silence has been watching the mailbox all afternoon, now Silence wonders if this notion of a postal service is such a good idea after all... Seriously, just how long does it take to teleport a stuffed marmoset these days?*

Posted by: Silence Dogood aka anony-mous at May 23, 2012 08:26 PM

Patience Silent One. As the proud (yet humble) prior recipient of VC's highest honor, it has been my experience that the physical embodiment of Cass' lofty recognition frequently becomes lodged in one of the many interchanges on the Intertube. Fortunately, the blockage usually does not persist overly long. The pressure of important news alerts signalling the hourly scientific breakthroughs in the area of all natural male-enhancement products rapidly builds up behind the stuffed marmoset until Intertube Inertia is overcome and then -BAM!- that little sucker will blast it's way straight into your mailbox at the speed of light. A word of caution, however: Although the prized marmoset is not stuffed with recycled pork leavings,* under-educated mail servers occasionally become confused and relegate the coveted marmoset to the system's "spam" folder where, after a few days, it begins to molder in a manner aromatically displeasing. So, best to empty your litter box on a regular basis.

Hope this helps.


*VC's actual stuffing recipe is a closely guard trade secret, but is known to contain great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, and imitation Maryland crab.

Posted by: spd rdr at May 24, 2012 09:58 AM

"*VC's actual stuffing recipe is a closely guard trade secret, but is known to contain great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, and imitation Maryland crab."

*Silence is relieved to know that said stuffing does not contain dog parts as mention of the male enhancement necessities immediately made a mom-jean and bicycle helmet clad, limp-wrist, baseball lobbing individual come to mind, quite...

UNEXPECTEDLY!*

Posted by: Silence Dogood aka anony-mous at May 24, 2012 12:32 PM

Silence has been watching the mailbox all afternoon, now Silence wonders if this notion of a postal service is such a good idea after all... Seriously, just how long does it take to teleport a stuffed marmoset these days?

I'm wiggling my nose as fast as I can!


VC's actual stuffing recipe is a closely guard trade secret, but is known to contain great big gobs of greasy grimy gopher guts, mutilated monkey meat, and imitation Maryland crab.

Ewwwwwwww!!!

Posted by: Cassandra at May 24, 2012 12:51 PM

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