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Prevailing Against Michigan Censorship 201

mcneight writes: "In yet another battle for our rights online, the ACLU and 9 other plaintiffs have recently won a permanent injunction against enforcement of Michigan Public Act 33 of 1999 (The Child Online Protection Act). As the name suggests, it is net censorship with a pro-child happy face plastered on the front of it. Fortunately, the courts found it violated both the First and Fourteenth Amendments (protection of interstate commerce, in case you were wondering). Much greater detail is offered by the lead plaintiff in this case, Cyberspace Communications, Inc."
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Prevailing Against Michigan Censorship

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    God: Space Chump, did you fail to notice Matthew 22:21 in which I commanded you to honor the government's legitimate power to levy taxes? "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's," and all that?

    Bobo: Umm, no...

    God: Well then, did you fail to realize that in a representative democracy each person is free to exercise his right to vote to influence policy? That there's a bit of Caesar in each citizen?

    Bobo: Umm, I'm not quite sure what to say to that.

    God: Except in you, of course, there seems to a bit more Torquemada than Caesar. Did you use my name to justify a silly political viewpoint inappropriately? Was it effective, or was in, say, in vain?

    Bobo: Wait!

    God: Ass. Next!

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually you're only partially right.

    He was indeed given a sleeping dose, declared dead by CIA doctor operative and received plastic surgery. He is not, however, living a wealthy life in South America. Instead, he was hired by an organization called CURE to fight the crime outside the Constitution. He was turned into a formidable killing machine by Chiun, the Master of Sinanju.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    First off, what are your 3 year old and 5 year old doing surfing the Internet? Aren't they a little young for that?
    Secondly, what are they doing surfing the Internet unsupervised?

    Come on! In the "land of the free", you want to censor the Internet, but leave the gory bits of the Bible alone? (There's a lot of sex and violence in the bible, but that's not the point.) In both cases, either an adult should provide some guidance (interpretation or rules). There's no excuse for you to abandon your parental responsibilities, and expect the rest of us, or the 'state' in general to perform them for you.

    Get with the program, and take some personal responsibility.

  • What's this, the book of objectivists? ;)

    Put down that chisel! There is _not_ either an eleventh commandment that sayeth, "Sucks to be you"! ;)

  • Ham on wry, if I'm any judge ;)
  • "And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they're subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way."

    This is so stupid it practically drools. First of all, the guy is talking about protecting children from pornography, not protecting children from *appearing* in pornography. But I guess pressing that old child-porn button never hurts, does it?

    Second, the child-porn boogeyman is just that - an ill-defined spectre used to scare a gullible, uninformed populace. There's never been evidence of child-porn existing on any 'massive' scale, and it seems to me that our various police organizations have been looking for it pretty hard.

    God, Bob Goodlatte is going to out-right-wing-wacko Ashcroft himself if he's not careful...
  • Seems like a continuation of the disturbing trend in which legislators can make lots of impressive noise about insignificant issues and pass unconstitutional laws knowing full well that it'll be knocked out by the first judge it faces.

    It's cheap, irresponsible politics and gets more dangerous with every far-right just Dubya appoints to the Supreme Court.
  • by Stephan Schulz ( 948 ) <> on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:55AM (#160942) Homepage
    To quote from the verdict:
    The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet.
    I find it very refreshing for a court to recognize this fact and even to put it into its written opinion. It's your responsibility to safeguard your children, not mine or the state's.

    Moreover, I strongly believe that most childrens can stand a lot more than their parents believe.

  • I mean, if it's such a bad word, why couldn't you just decide that it isn't. Poof, one less evil in the world

    You could decide that some words have different meanings. The problem, however, is not the action itself, but the impression it leaves on the individual that says the word, and those who hear it.

    The impression on the one who says it, is the feeling of freedom to do as one wishes. Although the irreligious may say this is the greatest thing -- freedom -- the religious will argue by either saying that full freedom is immoral or that true freedom is having control. Either way is is up to the indivdual to do as they please, and at the same time, to recognize and respect others' (rights to have other) beliefs and rights as well.

    There are also those who hear it. Generally, one does not know the relgious and moral beliefs of others, and as such, one needs to be very careful with what they force others to hear. Thus, the Michigan law upholds individual feeedom.

    We cannot outlaw everything that might offend somebody. But the when a belief is widely held, the legislature may put force behind liberty with laws. Offensive language is such a thing. It offends a good deal of people.

    Why the law only protects women and children I do not know. Personally, I think it discriminates against those of the masculine gender.

    ticks = jiffies;
    while (ticks == jiffies);
    ticks = jiffies;
  • It comes from an low german (I forget which one) language, in which "fikken" meant "to insert." It picked up the present form in english some hundreds of years ago--but wihout the vulgar connotations. It was used in mainstream poetry at one time . . .

    And for those suggesting that we strip the offfensive connotations from the word--that particular word is chosen *because of*, not in spite of, it's connotations. Something else would take its place.


  • >unwholesome talk come out of your mouths
    > the Monica Lewinsky fiasco,

    err, here problem wasn't what was coming *out* of her mouth . . .



  • Compared to the typical lowend ambulance chaser, the ACLU is nothing. This notion that the ACLU is "sue happy" is just slander perpetuated by those that don't seem to understand that respect for the law should mean ALL OF IT, not just the parts you prefer to pay attention to.

    Also, courts of law are there to be used not to sit idle just because you can't stomach the idea of people actually standing up for themselves.
  • I sure wish I had moderation points right now.

    I've been saying the same thing for years - if the net isn't appropriate for children, don't let the children on the net. Public libraries don't keep only books suitable for children available, so why should the net have to be different?
  • The idea that the three branches of government consist of the Executive, Legislative, and Judiciary is a common misconception. It was propagated by a bunch of textbooks written in the early 70's, and it just isn't correct.

    The checks and balances built into our Constitution say nothing about "judicial review" or the Supreme Court striking down laws. In fact, the three branches that were meant to be checked and balanced were the Executive, Senate, and House of Representatives. This situation where both Houses act as a single unit is an aberration of bicameralism.

    The whole principle of "judicial review" was invented out of whole cloth in 1803. In Marbury v. Madison the Court declared a law passed by Congress to be unconstitutional. The reasoning went like this (from the person of Chief Justice John Marshall):

    • I took an oath of office in which I swore to uphold and defend the Constitution.
    • This law conflicts with the provisions of the Constitution.
    • I cannot uphold both this law and my personal oath of office.
    • This law is an act of man; my oath was sworn before God.
    • Therefore, I find that this law cannot be upheld.
    Sort of a nice bit of logic used to expand the powers of the court. If memory serves, I think all of our military officers also swear to uphold and defend the Constitution against all threats foreign or domestic. You don't see them going about striking down laws. (Or if they do, nobody else takes that as authority!)


  • Either I'm not sure what you mean, or I totally missed some sarcasm here. Can you clarify for me?

  • I'm pretty sure that was a jab at the censhorship types who seem to argue that our children will be forced to listen to any bad words in music if we don't censor the music, not a suggestion that we actually force them to.
  • by Chris Burke ( 6130 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:58AM (#160951) Homepage
    "Fuck" has the connotation it has because of our culture. Yes, I know culture is a very ambiguous word, and one us in the West may have a hard time grasping, but that's why. You were raised to think it was bad as was I, and, well, that's simplisticly what culture is.

    Not that this means that there's a good reason for "fuck" to be somehow worse than any of the other fifty thousand expressions that mean the same thing.

    As far as religion, there is nothing in my religion that says that "fuck" is bad. Taking God's name in vain isn't good, but that makes sense if you believe in the bloke, doesn't it?
  • So are you saying you're against all taxation? As a previous reply to your post pointed out, the Bible also says taxation is okay. And if you look at it from a secular pov, everyone here pays taxes because it's part of the social contract. We obey many laws that require us to sacrifice something for the greater good; social security is one of them.

    No one is "forced" to pay social security.. You can always leave the country, reject the social contract of this country.

  • What I REALLY don't grok is why "shit" is worse than the millions of words that mean exactly the same thing. It seems to me that if it were ever okay for these words to be spoken, society would find a new set of words to label as swear words.. It seems to me that the whole point of swear words is to label them as bad so you can work out aggression by saying them. I mean, if no one wanted to say them, they would no longer be bad.... the whole point is that we want some "bad" words.
  • Well...

    This is everyone's favorite argument, and of course like most of the popular ones it's mostly bullshit.

    You should have the right to shout "FIRE" at the top of your lungs in a crowded theatre. That's a free speech issue.

    You also have to bear up to the consequences of your actions, IE taking responsibility (and punishment if necessary) of the resulting paniced crowd rushing blindly towards the exit. This is a civil liability issue. NOT a speech one.

    We don't have to make it illegal to shout "FIRE" in order to solve that kind of problem. It's like inciting to riot. Your speech for that is protected, your ability to do so is most definitely not.

    It's a fine line, but that's what these examples that open the floodgates are all about... courting that fine line to the point of absurdity.

    Racial hate speech is the same sort of thing. We can't forbid it, we can only punish those who act on it, because we punish the ACT, not the speech that caused it or led to it. One can talk about murder without reservation (unless in high school it seems) however one cannot actually commit murder without bearing the consequences.

    I agree, there can be no middle ground... all or nothing. Give an inch, they take a mile... just because those first few inches were more reasonable than the rest doesn't justify it.

    People are stupid. It's a fact of life. /shrug If anyone has a solution to that problem, well... I'll vote you into office and you're welcome to take a stab at the matter. Good luck, you'll need it.
  • Ding! We have a winner!

    I'm sick of Republicrats anyway.

    I like Libertarians.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:43AM (#160956)
    Many Americans get seduced by the mythology which surrounds their particular political bias. One such is that [republicans/democracts] support more free speech than [democrats/republicans], that [liberal/conservatives] uphold basic freedoms while [conservatives/liberals] are actively attacking every freedom except [one that isn't important to you].

    The truth is that both parties are actively attacking virtually every freedom, whether it is the Republicans' War on Drugs virtually destroying the fourth amendment (but it's for our children!) or the Democrats destroying our freedom of speech (you can't say the n-word!). Or, for that matter, the Democrats destroying the fourth amendment (raiding and seizing the property of white supremescists because of the racists' asinine political beliefs) or the Republicans decimating our basic freedom of speech (the obscenity laws and laws restricting speech on the internet).

    Both parties, and people of both liberal and conservative stripes, are equally guilty of trying to, and often succeeding in, abridging the constitution for the advancement of their own political and/or social agenda. The same BTW is true of the Libertarians, who would have the constitution stop at the borders of anyone's private property.

    Until we couch our arguments firmly in the domain of freedom vs. restriction and constitutionality vs. unconstitutionality we will all be missing the point, and will continue to elect people to political office who trample all over the constitution whenever it suits them. This is unacceptable, and it is time we as voters began making that clear to candidates of all parties, conservative, moderate, and liberal alike.
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:20AM (#160957) Homepage
    Why do we have to have "net" laws???
    there are countless laws already on the books that cover most any crime.. (Pedophillia? got laws for that.... let's use em!) all the supposed "problems" that we have with the internet already have laws, and can be enforced if they tried. The problem is shutting down the lawbreakers. You can raid a business and shove the trashbag in jail.. you cant do that to a russian narcophillia website... Unless you hire a internet police force that has a nice group of leet hackers that take the site down... (Oh gawd, lawlessness, evil and all that other jazz.)

    Face it, do you as a citizen have the right to break down your neighbors door, ransack the house, and take what you think is bad? well the police do, so let's use that same analogy/tool to the net... Hackercops.... DDOS'ing the bad guys into submission...

    Ok it sounds funny..... but something has to be done to give the current laws that work some bite in cyberspace..... (minuteman launches that target IP addresses???)

    Dont censor, but give law enforcement the tools they need to uphold the law, otherwise we'll start having countries "unplug" from the net to protect the citizens. (Now we open more cans of worms... where does Country's law X override what is a protected freedom in Country Y?)

    I say allow anything on the net.... cracking is legal, and DOS attacks are expected... It'll all sort out in the end or and up like the CB band.

  • "Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom."

    I suppose slander or yelling "fire" in a crowded theater is covered under this freedom? It's free speech, right?

    NO! Just as much as the Pro-Censorship movement spends time miring it's followers in propaganda, so, too, do the free speech advocates. Not all speech is free. Get used to it. Suck it up and deal with it. You may have the right to say what you want in the US, but don't assume it's always protected as free speech.

    I'm sick of this polarization of us vs. them in my society. Call me a realist, but everything has it's limits.

    Bad Mojo []

  • No. It's called haveus corpus (have the body, presumably dead) which means in order for you to be prosecuted of a felony charge those prosecuting you need to not only have intent but the actual evidense of your illegal action. A murder case without a body is not a murder case. Because your volumes have specific names doesn't mean crap in court. However if you're running around trading said encrypted volumes with other people and you're suspected of commiting a crime you can be arrested and the encryption keys may be subpoenaed in order for the prosecutors to see if you're guilty of the crime they're charging you with. This itself in unlikely because authorities need a warrant to monitor your communications and make anything they find admisible in court. If all they have is an encrypted volume named kiddie porn with no other evidense to show a judge they're most likely not going to be able to get a warrant. Getting charges to stick when dealing with evidence collected in secret is very tricky for any group of law enforcement. Thats why you always hire an attourney with a good pre-trial record. A good one can get a majority of evidense thrown out of court which destroys the prosecution's case.
  • First off, I don't see why the culture of the 'net shouldn't belong to those who were there first. In any other sort of society, cultural parameters are defined by the first people on the scene. I venture to say that never has a influx of newcomers so quickly wrenched a society away from its original norms of behavior.

    Second, I don't mind sharing the 'net, but I mind when people move in and think they can take it over. The early-adopter scientific community was always happy to share with newcomers and explain how things are done, but the new folks didn't want any part of the existing culture, and they are now trying to force the old guard to submit to their new narrow-minded mold. The 'net wasn't for kids, it still mostly isn't, and adults are the people getting hurt in this attempt to rewrite the rules.

    Gentrification's OK sometimes, until they tell you that you can't park your truck on the street any more. At that point it's not sharing any more; it's a land grab.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • But filtering software for adults isn't needed, and even where and when filtering software might be a good idea, it shouldn't be done by the state and it shouldn't be implemented in a way that makes the 'net kid-friendly even for adults.. Making things kid-friendly for kids is a parent's job.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • by ethereal ( 13958 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:39AM (#160962) Journal

    This isn't directed at you personally, but more as a general question: when did the Internet become expected to be a big kid-friendly space, full of rounded corners, cushiony floor mats, easy-to-grip building blocks, and nonthreatening ideas? The 'net was originally a batchelor pad for scientists - they did work over it, and they had fun over it, often fairly adult fun. Almost from the start the biggest electronic business on the 'net has been pornography and other adult-themed content that you can't get as easily in Real Life.

    I'm always a little surprised that the newer, more easily-offended netizens react in this way. You've essentially moved into someone else's neighborhood, and now you're going to make the clean it up whether they like it like that or not? It seems like there's a strong streak of moral superiority and just plain yuppiehood involved here, one that residents of San Francisco, or any other area where the cheap historic districts are attracting new money at a record rate, will recognize.

    Put plainly: where did you get the idea that the 'net was kid-friendly, that it was somehow going to become kid-friendly once you got on board, or that it was ever kid-friendly to begin with? Maybe you got online thinking that it was like the town square, but the 'net is really a bunch of twisty little passages (all alike) through the world's biggest library - you never know what you'll find in there. I'm sorry if AOL or Earthlink fooled you on that one, but you should really take that up with them, and leave the rest of us to our porn.

    Caution: contents may be quarrelsome and meticulous!

  • Words do not carry with them an inherent moral or ethical value. Words are words are words (ad infinitum).

    Well, what I really want to know, is if the word fuck is considered so bad, isn't it easier to just drop the connotations of the word from your brain than to try to make everyone else stop saying it? I mean, if it's such a bad word, why couldn't you just decide that it isn't. Poof, one less evil in the world. Of course, it isn't that easy, and I guess some people are lazy enough to try to make everyone else change, rather than changing themselves. I wonder if it's a genuine laziness, or that egocentric view that makes people believe that they themselves are the right ones, and everyone else is wrong.

    I guess this solution doesn't account for perhaps a religious belief that that exact permutation of letters is morally wrong, but I'm not prepared to argue against that. I speak from the point of view of agnosticism.


  • Don't slander the religeons with saying that they are all out to steal your rights away.

    The problem is the organizations that they support do act in that way. Most of the individual religious people that I meet are slightly more decent than average. I don't think that it's religion that does it, I think that it's a selection process. But by the same mark, most of the religious leaders that I have encountered are more skilled than average in manipulating people, esp. via the use of guilt. And they tend, on the average, to be more power hungry and controlling than the members of their congregations. And more conservative. (Also older.) And more likely to be choosen as spokesman.

    Now from this selection of ministers, the ones most likely to rise in the church organization are the ones that are most interested in power. The others devote more of their time to other pursuits.

    So when the spokesman of a hierarchy speaks, you are getting a viewpoint much more "conservative" than is the average for that organization. You are also getting speech from someone who has practiced for many years with using the pulpit to control how people act and think (remember, he's more interested in power than average). And he has influence over a block of votes, so politicians will be more likely to say things and preform actions to please him.


    I distrust all hierarchies. The more power they have, and the longer they have existed, the more I distrust them. (This is a default. It can be varied up and down by the actions of the group. But if I haven't been paying attention, this is my default belief, and the above are the reasons why.)

    The churches have periodically acted to lower my degree of trust in them. They have rarely acted to raise it. And they are supported by the religious individuals, that we both agree are well intentioned.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Yeah. They're against censorship, and in favor of protecting the rights of those without enough money to hire lawyers.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • I dislike all censorship based laws. Without noteable exception. Laws should be based on measurable damage or benefit, and should be so formed that it is possible to determine whether they are performing their function. If they aren't, then they should be repealled. Period.

    Pre-existance doesn't give them any more basis for existance than non-existance. What it should provide is a track record, and that is what should be used to justify them. When a law is so written that a track record in terms of benefit and damage is impossible to determine, then that law is automatically a bad law. And the damage must be quantifiable. No hand waving allowed. If seeing sex is bad (the postulate), then the postulate must be demonstrated. If you claim it as an axiom, then you must say so, explicitly, e.g.:
    No possible evidence exists that permits me to derive this in either the positive or negative dimensions, but I assert that:

    Unfortunately our legal practices derive from the rhetoric tricks taught by Cicero and the rules of the Trial by Combat. These don't have much to do with reason, truth, justice, or any of that.
    But if I can't justify a law to myself, then I think it a bad law. Censorship laws that I have examined have all been bad laws. And I don't generally accept their proposed postulates (to the extent that I can determine them).

    Sometimes I seriously consider that the main reason for such laws is to allow the authorities to "crack down on" violations that are likely to be taking place among people that they disapprove of for other reasons. It seems more believable than most justifications.

    Then I remember that the Emperor Agustus forbade anyone but the imperial family to dress in purple, except that Senators were allowed to wear a toga with a one inch stripe of purple around the bottom. And I attribute it to a self-decieving desire to assert authority. (Augustus proclaimed this as a part of his attempts to restore traditional Roman respect for authority and family values. Look it up.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • It would be very nice to charge them with malfeasance. Unfortunately, I don't think that it would be legal, but a state DA should be able to charge a Federal Legislator with malfeasance if a law that he passed was ruled unconstitutional.

    OTOH, the delay between the passage and the final ruling is usually so long that the author is probably already dead.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • I once ran across a quote "Hard cases make bad law."

    I don't have the foggiest idea how I would respond to that mess.

    On the one hand, I feel that they are being overly sensitive, since the computers aren't aimed at them.
    OTOH, a library should be able to choose what it carries. Libraries don't generally carry much erotic literature, I don't see why they should be coerced into carrying erotic web pages.
    OTOH, people should not be forced to choose between their job and sexual harassment. (Though I do dispute that sexual harassment has been argued.)

    Hopefully the details will clear up the situation. Otherwise it's a matter of what to do about rude customers.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Good arguments. Never seem to carry much weight, but still good arguments.

    The interesting thing is that until around the 1930's most kids were raised on a farm, and if they were interested they say sex, between animals, anyway. Until around the 1830's most families all slept in one room. The kids and the parents. The kids saw sex whether they were interested or not. So sex isn't the problem.

    Take it from the top. The net is kid friendly. It just isn't moralist friendly. The only thing about the net that isn't kid friendly is that it interferes with proper exercise. Otherwise it's a lot more kid friendly than most city streets. (A kid is quite unlikely to get run over, beaten up, etc.) But that isn't what moralists worry about. They almost approve of people getting into car accidents, beaten up, even killed, though they don't say so. It give's them another excuse to rant and rave. And plot to take power. (If they weren't about getting power, I wouldn't care if they wanted to rant and rave.)

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • No, gender is social, sex is biological.

    However, your point about s/sex/gender/g being bad is correct.

  • by Badgerman ( 19207 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:36AM (#160971)
    Check out: dren/index.html []

    Salon takes a look at the "protecting the children" mantra in the age of censorship. Very informative.

  • Even here in Ann Arbor, we recently had to act up and kick some censor butt. It was a two-pronged attack: the school system tried to slip some kind of cyber-nanny onto the local school computers at the same time the local public cable access people tried to switch the "voluntary self-censorship" system (a rather unsatisfactory compromise reached two years earlier) to mandatory. Fortunately, certain people [] were awake and rallied a few other of us, and we nipped it in the bud by, on one hand, showing up at the Cable Commission meeting (which was televised -- heh) and defining "government censorship" for the Commissioners, and, on the other, by a flurry of pointed articles in the local print media, suprising the local superintendant who was steaming full-speed ahead in a "Save the Children!" phase. But it could have been different -- and worse.

    My point? A few people stopped it. "Eternal vigilance *is* the price of liberty", folks. Sometimes there's just no substitute for showing up and raising hell.(You'll be happily suprised at the amount of covert support you'll find.)

    P.S. Hooray for GREX []: community-built, community-supported, and community-utilized computing resources!!!

  • A thorough investigation of the Bible will reveal that there is no prohibition against these words, especially in English.

    You're right - but the (mis?)conception that the "Seven Dirty Words" are bad doesn't come from the bible - it comes from Queen Victoria..

    You remember her, right? The Ultra-Prude that decided that dogs had to wear skirts, and that piano legs had to be covered because they were too suggestive?

    Since most North American was founded by the British, they're saddled with this legacy.. the problem is that they're so far away from the rest of Europe (who generally isn't saddled with such backwards concepts) that they aren't influenced by the more free societies.. (unlike in Britain, where the concept of sex being "dirty" has softened since Vickie's rule.)

    Disclaimer: I am a British Citizen, and I fully support the Monarchy (and I even like some of them!)
  • Let me tell yo a story, friend, and you tell me what you think. When I was 5, I had a sister who was 7, almost 8, when she was raped multiple times and then killed by this psycho who was executed in 1996. You know what I asked myself when I was a kid, and never got an answer to? "Why did God take away my sister?" I didn't care about the guy who did it, I just wanted my sister back. She hadn't done anything to anyone. She was just a kid. But God didn't stop her from being brutally raped and murdered. Where was He?

    The usual line is "God works in mysterious ways", or "It's all a part of God's grand plan," or (the one I hate(d) the most) "She's in heaven now." Well, m'friend, that is simply not good enough. *Nothing* can justify the brutality visited upon my sister. Nothing. God just stood passively by while my sister was raped for over THREE HOURS and you are going to try and tell me a) He exists, and b) is a loving God? BULLSHIT!

    Nothing can justify a supposedly omnipotent being standing idly by during such a horrific event. Nothing. Not an eternal plan, not the return of Jesus to put forward the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, not anything. The *only* right thing to do in such a situation is to put a stop to it. No Bible verse will ever convince me otherwise. *Nothing will ever convince me that it was ok for God to let that happen.* I even heard this line in "Pitch Black" (of all things) that resonated: "Of course I believe in God. And I absolutely hate the fucker." Know why? Because He doesn't do jack shit.

    Oh, and in case you're wondering, yes we did go to church every Sunday. A Baptist church. We were both baptized. That didn't seem to matter, either.

    - Rev.
  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:10AM (#160978) Journal

    I found this writeup over at E2 amusing: Jesus doesn't care if you say the word "fuck" [].


    Many Christians seem to believe that saying four letter words is a sin that makes the baby Jesus cry. It is surreptitiously implied that the Third Commandment, which prohibits taking the Lord's name in vain, is the source of this.

    When it is spelled out like this, it is easy to see the fallacy. The Lord's name is not "fuck", even in Hebrew. Nor is the Lord's name "shit" or any other of the so-called 'bad words' that are frowned upon by so many. A thorough investigation of the Bible will reveal that there is no prohibition against these words, especially in English.

    Ephesians 4:29 says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." This seems to apply to things such as gossip, the Monica Lewinsky fiasco, and most of the Southern Baptist Convention, but more weight is given to cuss words than these others.

    This leads one to believe that the Christian aversion to four letter words is based more on a desire to be sanctimonious rather than truly Christ-like. Jesus loves people who say "fuck" just as much as those who do not.


    Ok, full disclosure. I wrote it.

    - Rev.
  • The ACLU is hardly a main stream liberal orginisation. It gains lots of liberal support when it fight for civil rights, but it looses lots of liberal support when it fights for free speach. There are even some well known higher ups at the ACLU who are descidedly conservative. I think there is a book writen by one of them.

    Anyway, the main stream Liberal philosophy has quite a lot of Marx which is totally orthogonal / irrelevent to the ACLU.

    OTOH, many concervative ellected officials depend on the religious right soo much that they are pretty much required to hate the ACLU, so you might as well call the ACLU a Liberal orginisation in many states.
  • I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it. -- Commonly attributed to Voltaire, never proven When you want to say the very best, say it with Voltaire :). Can't think of a better way to say it.
    Remove the rocks to send email
  • by Ears ( 71799 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:58AM (#160986) Homepage

    I found something interesting in the preliminary injunction []. The judge is drawing his conclusions:

    1. The Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on their claims that:

    [a--e skipped]
    (f) The Act violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution because it prevents people from communicating and accessing information anonymously.

    Wow! There's a federal judge that seems to think the Constitution says that we should all be able to surf and e-mail anonymously! I'd like the Constitution to say that, but I don't think it does.

  • by Speare ( 84249 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @08:28AM (#160989) Homepage Journal

    Here's what I would love to see:

    A full listing of every legislator and executive who passed a law that was subsequently shot down as unconstitutional.

    The US Government put in place certain 'checks and balances.' Between each branch of government, an interaction takes place to ensure that the original standards of the government are kept in force.

    The President may Veto unsavory bills.

    The Congress may block Presidential appointments.

    The President may appoint Judges.

    The Congress may amend the Constitution.

    The Judiciary may strike down laws that do not pass the Constitution's guarantees.

    Surely it is the job of the Judiciary to perform this very important task, but why do we have to rely on them so much? Is it too much to ask for legislators who know what is constitutional or not? Most of them are lawyers by practice, they should understand the issues.

    I'd love to see a roster listing the authors of legislation, and the executive who signed them into law, next to each law that has been struck down.

    • Sen. Doodah (R-TX) and Sen. Blofeld (D-HI) authored Think of the Children Act 2001, signed by Pres. Yeehaw. Found UNCONSTITUTIONAL 6-3 in 2002.

    Start with the federal laws, and then get down to state laws for each state. Put lawmakers on notice: you have taken an oath to defend the Constitution from enemies abroad and at home. We demand an end to the erosion of basic rights well-established by our nation's founders.

  • In a forum such as this where everyone likes to rabbit on endlessly about their Constitutional rights, what the Constitution says, how much they wish their legislators/executives/judges would read the Constitution for a change, et cetera ad nauseam, it would behoove the Slashdot editors to do some basic fact checking on submitted stories.

    The story asserted, "Fortunately, the courts found it violated both the First and Fourteenth Amendments (protection of interstate commerce, in case you were wondering). No direct reference was given. But on the page referenced by the single link supplied, one may arrive here [], where one can read, "Tarnow also agreed with the ACLU that Public Act 33 violates the Commerce clause of the Constitution because it would unjustly regulate interstate commerce and regulate conduct that occurs outside of Michigan."

    So what's the problem? It's that the 14th Amendment has nothing whatsoever to to with interstate commerce! I think some Americans occasionally forget that there was an original document [] to which the Amendments [] applied, and that is where the "Commerce Clause" is to be found. Article 1, Section 8 explicitly grants the Congress the power "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes..." The 14th Amendment has mostly to do with mopping up after the Civil War, but the clause most applicable today enforces the equal protection of the laws to all citizens. It's an immensely important Amendment -- but it has nothing to do with this case.

    No American who thinks this a minor or unimportant matter has any business prattling on about his "rights", when he plainly has either not read the document that protects them, has not understood it, or both.

  • Random idea - state sets up a secure site where people enter their drivers license number or whatnot and get a "I can have porn" cookie put on their hard drive. State site is set up not to keep records of which license numbers it was looking up. Porn sites, which of course NEVER try to get accidental visitors or mislead anyone about their content, set it up so that anyone without the cookie who tries to enter their site gets dumped into the authorization site. Parents have to decide if they want to veiw porn and risk their kids seeing it or remove it from their house (just like the decision a parent can make about books or magazines.)

    Great. Now I have the choice of getting adult pop-up spam EVERYWHERE I go because I identify myself to EVERYONE as over 18, or I don't sign up and I suddenly can't read reviews of video games that are rated M.

    On a slightly different subject, why do they keep trying to place the law on the net side? Why don't they place it on the user side? Make it illegal for anyone under 18 to use the net? The only thing out there is porn anyway, right? And we like arresting children, right?

    Okay, maybe I'm being a bit silly, but think about it. If it's too dangerous for ME to drive before I'm sixteen, laws are made restricing ME from driving -- a federal 5mph law isn't passed. If it's too dangerous for ME to base jump from a skyscraper, laws are made restricting ME from jumping off buildings -- laws requiring airbags around all buildings over 50 feet aren't passed.

    But when it comes to 'net law, suddenly it's reversed! If it's dangerous for someone to use the net, there are laws applied to providers of net access, not to the users. Instead of restricting US net users under 18, (which is a minority compared to the rest of the 'net) they attempt to restrict/filter/whatever literally the rest of the world.

    Just seems backwards.


  • Heaven forbid you actually have to BE a parent to your children and protect them yourself!
  • I live in MA, and its quite easy to buy a beer on sundays. Well, for some definition of beer, you have to go to a bar. Ive yet to find a bar that serves much other than piss water. (not that I have been to many bars around here)

    When the closest thing to a real beer you can find is guiness... I supose your right, it is at least hard to find beer on sundays here...

  • But certainly I don't want my kids whipping it out in front of their teacher and saying "suck my fat one" or something... that seems a bit over the line, since I don't want myself to do it either. But my kids should be able to say anything that I can say.

    What can you say and what do you want to say? These are two separate issues, and you're obviously pro-censorship on children since you want to apply it on your own offspring. So you're really ambigous here. You can't be against censorship in one moment, and stamp down "unapproved" speech in the next.

    - Steeltoe
  • "To renounce liberty is to renounce being a man." The greater liberal (as in liberal of the 18th and 19th centuries) argument: you have no right to restrain YOUR liberty with law because the law will affect future generations which may not want such restrictions and may not be able to repeal it while your generation is alive. Of course I guess when we allow populist idiots and demagogues to roam free Roussea's opening line in the social contract will be very much alive here in the US: "Man is born free and everywhere he is in chains."
  • The Michigan law may have been defeated but the Federal Attorney General, John Ashcroft has vowed to jail porn site owners for violating obscenity laws []. He and a couple of republicans are trying to resurrect the Communications Decency Act, here's a quote from from the Wired article.
    A number of Republicans asked Ashcroft to pledge to prosecute raunch and ribaldry, but Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia -- who also, unbelievably, is co-chair of the Internet Caucus -- was the most persistent.

    "The failure of the (Clinton) administration to enforce those laws has led to a proliferation of obscenity, both online and off," Goodlatte said. "And I am particularly concerned about the safety of our children on the Internet, where they're subjected to child pornography and solicitation in a massive way."

    Asked Goodlatte: "I'd like to know to what extent the Justice Department will use its resources to assist state and local enforcement in combating this cyberattack on our nation's children."

  • Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom. At the risk of sounding like I'm making a false either/or proposition, either speech is free -- whether or not we like what is said -- or it's not.

    Well, if you think "the promise we made to ourselves" is a positive "freedom of speech", you're wrong. For the first 81 years of the republic, the 1st amendment prohibited only Federal abridgement of speech. States could, and did, pass such laws. In 1868, the 14th amendment was passed, and then the Bill of Rights applied to the States as well. The funny thing is, nobody knew that until 1925 when SCOTUS told New York they couldn't make Gitlow shut up because the 14th amendment incorporates all the other amendments. Now, this reasoning is faulty, because unlike the 2nd amendment which asserts a positive "right to bear arms", the 1st amendment still doesn't. An incorporation would mean that a State can't force Congress to create a speech-abridging law, but of course, that is absurd.

    Those of us who are truly interested in our rights, online or otherwise, don't like this kind of legal hocus pocus. If the Constitution can be made to mean anything, then it means nothing. The question of whether or not there should be a right of free speech, or privacy, or protecting the children, or almost anything else, is a policy question, not a legal one. These issues are properly decided by legislators, not judges.

    And don't get me started on the Commerce Clause. []
  • I thought most of those porn sites already had a "you must be 18" agreement. Damn kids, already messing with the DCMA....

    Do they enforce it? Do they even try?

    Convenience stores put up little signs that say "you must be 18 or older to buy cigarrettes". But if they just count on the sign to do the whole job and take everyone's word for it that they are complying, they still get in trouble. I would guess, under this law (which I actually went and read) that such a "click through" shield might form part of a legitamate good faith effort, but would not be sufficent, especially if the site had never made any effort to enforce the warning.

    Random idea - state sets up a secure site where people enter their drivers license number or whatnot and get a "I can have porn" cookie put on their hard drive. State site is set up not to keep records of which license numbers it was looking up. Porn sites, which of course NEVER try to get accidental visitors or mislead anyone about their content, set it up so that anyone without the cookie who tries to enter their site gets dumped into the authorization site. Parents have to decide if they want to veiw porn and risk their kids seeing it or remove it from their house (just like the decision a parent can make about books or magazines.)

    Kahuna Burger

  • Computers today are not always "dad's computer" and "mom's computer" and "the kids' computer." If this cookie is on "the family computer" there's no point in using the scheme, because the kids will still have access.

    Just for the record, if you read my entire post, I already said that:

    Parents have to decide if they want to veiw porn and risk their kids seeing it or remove it from their house (just like the decision a parent can make about books or magazines.)

    A responsible parent can already make the decision of whether to have porn in the house and potentially avalible to their children - except in the case of the internet/computer. People talk about "responisble parenting" as if any parent on the planet sits over a childs shoulder every minute to see if the books in the family room suddenly turned into Hustler, or the videos in the den suddenly and unexpectedly include Dilbert Does Denver. But when they try to assert the same ballance of control and independance on the computer that they give their children in every other learning/entertainment venue, suddenly they are bad, lazy parents.

    Anyway, yeah, if dad wants to go to a porn site on the family computer, he may be risking little bobby seeing porn too - just like if dad brings home a penthouse and reads it in the den, he risks little bobby picking it up and reading it. But a suprising number of mature adult parents get by in life without looking at porn all the time, and I think dad can be counted on to make an adult decision - if you are willing to let it be a decision.

    Kahuna Burger

  • by KahunaBurger ( 123991 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:57AM (#161015)
    The Child Online Protection Act. As the name suggests, it is net censorship with a pro-child happy face plastered on the front of it.

    So with that endorsement and knowing the general /. sense of perspective, I went and read the whole damn law (not that it was that long.) And it looked pretty good. There were specific exceptions carved out for the internet that seemd to aknowlege the lesser control site proprietors have over their traffic. For instance, while simple nudity is included in the original prohibitions, to get in trouble an internet server would have to provide obcinity (sp?) as defined (and presumedly legally upheld since its over 15 years old) in the MI laws. The overall law also does not penalize exposure to minors unless it was knowing, or if the proprietor showed reckless disregard in allowing minors access. Exceptions are made for health workers, schools AND LIBRARIANS.

    As someone who is neither a puritan nor a libertarian, the law just looks like a reasonable attempt to bring internet providers into the same playing field as brick and mortar on this issue. If you oppose all those orriginal laws, just say so. But don't try to make this out as some evil and nefarious new thing.

    Kahuna Burger

  • Now THERE's an interesting argument. We can't say things because other people are being forced to listen to us. You should write some law.

    First of all, people (even children) being "forced" to listen to something (I don't remember any chains or other restraining devices) shouldn't constitute reason to curb free speech. And more importantly, you haven't answered the more pressing question of what exactly is so wrong with these words that they must be silenced.
  • Words only carry the power we give them. I've always thought it would be better to choose not to be shocked and/or offended by any word. Let the word stand on its own merit as a descriptor or component of a sentence.

    If people would quit worrying about how a simple 4-letter word causes imagined pain, the words would succeed or fail based on their merit. As a result, you'd probably hear a lot less use of the word "fuck" since it's used mostly as an attention-getting device, but you'd probably hear "shit" used a lot more because it's easy to say and expresses the concept quite well.

    Of course, people will always feel compelled to be offended by something. I just wish that the people who choose to dedicate their time and money to eliminating words would spend a little more time eliminating the dead cars from out in front of their trailers.

  • Now my kids will be exposed to all of the filth the Internet has to offer.

    Yes. And you will undoubtedly allow them to play unsupervised in traffic, too.
  • It was both a genuine attempt at legislation and a blatantly unconstititutional action in an attempt to appear productive. The two do not cancel themselves out.

    We'll throw a whole bunch at the wall. I don't expect any of it to stick, but my constituents see me doing something, and if any of it sticks, then so much the better because hey, what do I care about the constitution and citizen rights?

  • Which leads to the question: Was this a genuine (misguided) attempt to introduce legislation or a deliberate blatantly unconstitutional bill introduced by people who wanted to be seen to be acting, without actually have to deal with the moral and legal grey areas?
  • You're surprised that all the AOLers, WebTVers, owners of computers with automatc coffee cup holders, and such similar whining latecomers are complaining about the Net? Pilots saw this coming years ago. These are the same kind of people who move next to an airport that's been around 60 years because the house/land/development is cheap, then complain about the noise and try to shut down the airfield. The sick thing is that they often succeed -- do not underestimate these kinds of people.

    (I'm afraid of losing Montgomery Airpark --Gaithersburg/GAI -- to the people who will move into the new development currently being built right under the runway flight path)

    What kíd ever said, "When I grow up, I wanna be the guy who sits next to the pilot?"


  • Am I the only one who read the list of Amici? Didn't anyone notice our bestest buddy's name as a signatory? RIAA is the richest and most powerful of the signatories of that Amicus brief, and you know they probably had the most influence in writing it.


  • From what I've heard, and someone can correct me if I'm wrong, fuck is an acronym that used by English polic officers a century ago when arresting prostitutes. They apparently thought it uncouth to write down what was actually going on and thus noted that they were being arrested For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge.

  • Massachusetts is very liberal and progressive, for example: they just legalized tatoos. And they may start a discussion on allowing you to buy beer on Sundays soon.

  • God: And on top of all that some of you missed the part about "you shall not take my name in vain, etc". Now to be honest with you I've got a sense of humor about it so I don't really mind *per se*, and after all that someone else seems to think that I can be proven or disproven.

    Oy. After all these years, whether I exist or not you'd think I'd have taught some of you something...

  • Ah, For The Kids. Argumentum ad Fragmentum -- make your point by throwing emotional grenades. At least it failed this time around.

    It never fails, though. When all else is failing to go your way, say you're doing it for the good of the children. Everyone wants to protect their children, right?

    I wonder how much of the Republican party has crypto-fascist tendencies myself (see, I can do it too!). There is a definite coercive trend in daily life these days, and I can only hope a mainstream backlash is in the offing.

  • by markbark ( 174009 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:17AM (#161037) Homepage
    Am I to understand that you allow a three and five year old to surf the net unsupervised?
    Here's a concept for you.... it's called PARENTING. Why not do a little?
    Surf WITH your kids. (I do about 8 hours a week with mine)
    Don't get the legislature to stomp on the 1st amendment just because you won't spend time with the kiddles.

    Congress shall make no law...abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press...

    It doesn't say "unless someone says 'cunt' in a rap song or 'nigger' on a college campus or to prevent the access of [] by five-year olds.

    Take risks! Accept Responsibility! Help put a lawyer out of work!


  • by Sir_Real ( 179104 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @07:25AM (#161038)
    Words do not carry with them an inherent moral or ethical value. Words are words are words (ad infinitum). Context is everything. What is considered appropriate or not is solely based on social mores and folkways. To many the word "girl" is as demeaning and deragotory as the word "cunt." Legislating the use of language outside of context is intractable and stupid. But it makes the conservative (well, puritan maybe) voters happy. Since they vote, they get what they want.

    Our obsession with politically correct speech has led to things like the cessation of correct use of the word "sex." We now (incorrectly) use "gender" to discern sex. Nouns have gender, people have sex. (Except for the afformentioned puritans.)
  • by gscott ( 187733 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:10AM (#161039)
    I can't get to the information becuase of &**%^%&^% filtering software (Bess, that b---!)
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:26AM (#161041) Homepage
    The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet.

    Dear Judge,

    I wish to turn myself in. I am in possession of a circumvention device which is in violation of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. As a human being, I was born with fingers. These devices, also known in some circles as digits, are capable of circumventing the Power Switch Content Protection measures that are installed on most computational devices, allowing me to gain access to information which I am not supposed to have.

    I can no longer live with the guilt of knowing that I may someday break the law. Please, for the love of God, lock me up somewhere so that I won't hurt anyone or myself.


    Junior J. Junior III

  • The socialists are good too for an opposing view :) Actually, it would be sort of funny if American politics turned into socialists vs/ libertarians (sort of like Slashdot:). At least then it would be a little more clear cut where the differences are.
  • I knew someone named Phuc once, which he insisted was pronounced "folk", but after 18 years of dealing with the problems related to being named Phuc, he decided to "americanize" his name and begin going by Trent.
  • I find this doubly amusing becasue the most anticipated web launch of voyeruistic porn in the history of the internet was not the fake virgins who were going to deflower each other on camera, but Ken Starr's detailed report on Bill Clinton's sex life. It was published on the internet the moment it was available after a party line vote, republicans in favor of publishing it, democrats against. It may be just ascii, but it's potent- I certainly learned a thing or two about Altoids and cigars!

    I'll be at least over the hypocrisy issue once the folks who voted to publish the Starr report on the internet turn themselves in to the authorities. Then I'll start fighting to get them out on the grounds that they unconstitutionally imprisoned themselves :)

  • What I'm wondering is, with the morality taching in public schools that Bush (and many Christians) wants to enforce. I mean, doesn't the bible say that what separates man from the beasts is the ability to think; to decide. But, if we are brainwashed and told what is right and wrong, what to think, to be like Bush wants us to be, then we really have lost that ability. We become animals. True morality comes from a moral choice between good and evil.

    Ahh, Clockwork Orange.

    Father, can I ask you a question in private?

    Certainly, my son, certainly. Is there something troubling you my son? Don't be shy to speak up, remember, I know all the urges that can trouble young men deprived of the society of women.

    It's nothing like that, father. It's about this new thing they're all talking about, father, about this new treatment. It gets you out of prison in no time at all. Makes sure you never get back in again.

    Where did you hear about this? Who's been talking about these things?

    These things get around, father. Two warders talk as it might be. Somebody can't help overhearing what they say, then somebody picks up a scrap of newspaper in the work shops, and the newspaper tells all about it. How 'bout putting me in for this new treatment, father?

    I take it you are referring to the Ludavico technique.

    I don't know what it's called, father. All I know is that it gets you out quickly, and makes sure that you never get back in again.

    That's not proven, six double-five three two one. In fact it's only in the experimental stage at this moment.

    It has been used, hasn't it father?

    It has not been used in this prison, yet. The governor has grave doubts about it, and I have heard that there are very serious dangers involved.

    I don't care about the dangers, father. I just want to be good. I want for the rest of my life to be one act of goodness.

    Question is, weather or not this technique really makes a man good. Goodness comes from within. Goodness is chosen, when a man cannot chose, he ceases to be a man.

    I don't understand about the whys and wherefores, I only know I want to be good.

    Be patient, my son. Put your trust in the lord.

    Instruct thy son and he shall refresh thee and shall give delight to thy soul.



  • This is the american way. let legislators posture all they want and help their trial lawyer buddies pump up outragous fees arguing legitimate cases, but ones that should never have had to come before a judge. Legislators need to get it through their collective heads that takind action in and of itself is not an appripriate solution. It generaly helps if the action taken is in the best interests of the citizenry, or at the vary least, constitutional.

    It's times like this that I wish I had gone to law school. Given the state of the high tech economy, I'd say that throughout the whgole dot com shake-out, the people who made the msot money were the Civil Rights and Intelectual Property lawyers.


  • I remember discussing sex with my playmates (no pun intended) as early as five years old. By the time I was six, it was a raging discussion. The concept that children are traumatized by the very idea of sex is just bizarre to me. Do we suddenly become qualified to deal with it at age 13 years, 3 months and 6 days? I think that as children, the kids in our neighborhood were especially inclined to discuss sex with each other, because they knew they couldn't discuss it with their parents.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @08:15AM (#161061)
    that being said, not all people believe in free speech. those who don't probably shouldn't join...

    George Bush is on record as saying 'There should be limits to freedom'.

    The case in Michigan is the purest example of this, and the reason why it's important to fight for the rights of individual speech, even if those rights are held by someone who is a raving nutbar.

    The Michigan COPA pretty firmly tried to put the kibosh on the internet sex thing. A national version, such as what John Ashcroft, that judgemental prick, is harping about would face the same fight. "Put internet sex-peddlers in prison, for the sake of the children".

    Okay, so they outlaw internet porn or make it so difficult to get to that it might as well have been outlawed. What's next? Outlawing internet literature? How about all that nasty 'slash' fanfiction out there. That's pornographic, right? How about the vast amount of R and X rated Anime fanfiction? (Guilty!: []) We can use the first law as a precident to set the second to outlaw explicit text on the internet. Then, how about any kind of webpage that could even vaguely be construed as 'obscene'? That's a pretty broad category, which just about anyone could put any thought, image, or speech they didn't like into. It's also one we're allowing our congress to try to outlaw over and over again.

    Personally, I'd rather deal with racism, sexism, and/or religious intolerance than lose my freedom of speech to speak out against them.
  • by Bonker ( 243350 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:31AM (#161062)
    Join the ACLU: in.shtml []

    Lawyers may grow on trees, but it costs at least $100 a day to go to the orchard.
  • by sacremon ( 244448 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:32AM (#161063)
    "Plaintiffs offered the testimony, at a prior hearing, of an expert who testified that other, less-intrusive means to filter the reception of obscene materials exist. A parent may utilize filters or child-friendly software to accomplish similar restrictions. The Court previously took judicial notice that every computer is manufactured with an on/off switch, that parents may utilize, in the end, to control the information which comes into their home via the Internet."

    Looks like the judge had a good grasp of the practicalities of the situation, and a sense of humor as well.

  • Sorry to re-iterate a point made elsewhere - YOU LET YOUR THREE AND FIVE YEAR OLD KIDS SURF THE INTERNET!?!?

    The internet was never a place for kids. It was a place for sharing information between academics. Then we geeks (and in some cases soon to be acadmemics) saw how cool it could be to share other kinds of information - music, views, news and inforation on unusual topics - things you wouldn't find elsewhere like technical info on various bits of computer hardware, satalites etc. Then it became this "hip" trendy new thing. AOL was created and found that the only way that they could market it successfully was to dupe people into thinking that it was a family centric area. Now what do we have? Thousands of terabytes of dross - you know what I mean - the thousands of web site devoted to Brittany Spears et al and gigabytes of duplicate and mundane information.

    What makes this harder to swallow are the hoards of concerned citizens who signed up AOL and now think that they should have a say on how things are run. We also have armies of politicians who have heard that the net is a hot issue and therefore want to jump on the latest bandwagon to gain votes from the moral majority. Most of these politicians wouldn't know how to use a computer if the outcome of world war III depended on it.

    If you don't want your children to come to harm on the internet then either don't let them use it (it's not a god-given right y'know)or else take it upon yourself to protect them - install a netnanny or surf with them. It is simply not fair (or right) to barge into a new place and decide that YOU want to start changing the rules to suit you.

    Remember: Jesus was killed by the moral majority!

  • by DaBB ( 247418 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:25AM (#161066)
    I'm so sick of the idea that everything in the world should be safe enough for a child to stumble over. Isn't that what supervision is for? to steer them around or away from things which aren't suitable. I don't let mine watch 18 rated films, read Clive Barker books or drink alcohol - doesn't mean that I shouldn't be able to do it.

    The problem of filtering in libraries is huge - why must the subject matter that can be accessed via the pc be suitable for all ages? do they only stock books that 5 year olds can read as well? why don't they just hook up a few pc's with DK software for the kiddies and leave the other machines alone for us.
  • Now my kids will be exposed to all of the filth the Internet has to offer.

    As a parent of a 5-year-old and a 3-year-old, I am very upset with this ruling.

    I didn't father your children. I didn't encourage you to have them. So why should my library's Internet access be crippled? Don't want your kids seeing porn on the net? Then supervise them.

    The Internet is not TV. If you children are seeing porn, it's almost certainly because they chose to see it. If you can't trust your little smut-hounds to stay away from the porn sites, don't let them on the net.

    Or, better yet, grow up. There is no evidence whatsoever that seeing nudity will damage children. All over Europe, children see nudity on television, on billboards, and even at some beaches. They aren't truamatized by it. They don't need years of counseling. Your brand of puritanical censorship is probably much more harmful by making sex into something forbidden and "dirty."

  • This is off-topic, but I believe relavent. Your post reminded me of the idea.

    Lets say I use a good encryption program, say E4M on a windows box, and make several encrypted volumes. Now, if I name the first volume "pedophilia", the second "drug deals", the third one "playstation 2 warez", etc, can the name alone be used to try to convict me of some crime?

    This random thought brought to you by a 8 random hours of work with nothing to do.

  • I think that statement pretty much ruined your argument. You had me right up until that point. You don't force children to hear something that they probably should not. It is a matter of maturity. A parent should be prepared to explain such things, but not to the point of forcing it upon a child. That's just plain stupid.

  • by Kibo ( 256105 ) <naw#gmail,com> on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:29AM (#161074) Homepage
    I don't think culture is ambigious, certainly not more so than "fuck" or "dude". Why look at catcher in the rye, the irony of using "fuck" as a pro-establishment plot device, knowing it would be contriversial in the establishment. Proof that those who can read books, do, and those who can't burn them.

    Elementaly, social constraints on unacceptable speach are really pathetic Orwellian attempts to control ideas. As if there were no bad words there would be no bad thoughts, and without bad thoughts there are no bad deeds. The original poster of this thread must be commended on his choice of words. "Bleating", that perfects describes that actions of panicked sheep. He simplified the problem to one word. Telling too. But there are all manner of forbiden words, some of these conventions I even abide by. But when you look at a word and its origins the truth is almost too mundane to bother. But its the impact a word has in the moment we live we judge it by. A quick examination of racial slurs would show the truth in this. Does anyone take offence to the Spanish word for black? Or a corrupted for the latin word for black? Don't say those words around the wrong people. To some extent, theres good reason for that. Those words have an odd emotional componant which will color them for quite a while. One certainly cannot make the case that the emotional componant isn't at least somewhat justified, regaurdless of what real connection it has with the word. Is fukk more acceptable than fuck? What about the Vietnamise guy I know named Phuc? Does he have to change his name? For a long time I called him "Ummm...dude." (Turns out it's pronounced foo'k). It's all good, we're all big boys and girls. Of course our parents let us grow up to be something other than super-sized children....

  • Bobo: So you're just another super-thug, eh?

    God: What?

    Bobo: You heard me. You create an inferior universe where it's possible for people to hurt each other, and for what purpose?

    God: To teach them to be good, sort the wheat from the chaff.

    Bobo: And what do you do with these filtered good?

    God: Umm, put them in a heavenly forever afterlife...

    Bobo: ...where their "good" skills are absolutely useless?

    God: Ummm....

    Bobo: And you hold us morally responsible to help others, at very definite effort and cost, all the while sitting on your infinitely fat ass? ("God's Infinitely Fat Ass) (c) 2001 Bobo the Space Chimp)

    God: Umm, well I'm still in charge here.

    Bobo: Sorry, there is no largest infinity, no largest transfinite number. A god is nothing other than something that can do an infinite number of things in 0 time. Therefore there is no most powerful god.

    God: Umm...

    Bobo: Fortunately, the Aleph-12 Brothers have loaned me a transfinite entity containment unit that is guaranteed to inhale all gods of aleph-8 level and below...

    God: Umm....

    Bobo: ...which I believe is enough to cover your aleph-5 ass.

    God: Umm.....



    Bobo: The light is green, the trap is clean.

    Sorry, all religions are fucked up and false, as demonstrated. Give it up.

  • by Bobo the Space Chimp ( 304349 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:04AM (#161083) Homepage
    > The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    God: So you liked Social Security?

    Person: Uhh, yeah. I voted with that in mind.

    God: Please tell me where I told you to take money from one person, evil or otherwise, and give it to others, evil, poor, lazy, down on their luck, or otherwise.

    Person: Uhhh....

    God: Did I say to give of your own will from your own effort?

    Person: Uhh, yeah.

    God: Where did I rescind the eighth commandment, "Thou shalt not steal?" Do I not even use the parable of a rich man and his money is his to do with as he wishes?

    Person: Uhh, yeah.

    God: So, what's your excuse?

    Person: ...

    God: I'm waiting...

    Person: Uhh, everyone else was doing it.

    God: Express elevator to Hell. Next!

    Angel: Person #63,456,239,921 step forward! Sheesh, another "voter".

  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:34AM (#161084)
    this is a state where swearing in front of children is not only illegal -- it's occasionally enforced.

    You know, when I first heard of this case, I honestly thought it was a joke. Like an April fools thing. Maybe I've grown up in a more enlightened setting, or maybe I'm just an ignorant crude redneck, but I honestly don't get it. Why do otherwise intelligent adults (yes, this is often debatable :) get so worked up over a couple of words? Think the TBS version of The Breakfast Club. They must say 'flip you' a hundred times. I know what they mean, 8-year old kids know what they mean, hell.. my 92-year old Grandmother knows what they mean. And yet... putting the letters F U C K together as a word would do ... what exactly?

    I've never in my life found a compelling argument over why 'we' label some words as 'bad', and not others. Beyond 'I was raised to think the f-word is bad', or religious reasons, I've never once heard of why.

    Let's face it - we eventually realize that our parents aren't the supreme authority on the universe, and most people beyond the staunchest zealot tend to question at least some of the established religious dogma. Why precisely do we still have this fixation with our language?

  • If these 'newbies' you moan about are yuppies who move into your neighborhood and immediately start a campaign to gentrify the area, you are are a spoiled 2-year-old brat who refuses to share his toys.

    That analogy doesn't work at all... maybe the 2-year-old who refuses to *give up* his toys. Or maybe the kid who lend out his favorite toy and when he got it back out half the parts were missing.
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • exactly.. it sounds pretty good.

    this is what's bad and unconstitutional:

    with regards to performance....

    "...Sexually explicit performance" means a motion picture, exhibition, show, representation, or other presentation that, in whole or in part, depicts nudity, sexual excitement, erotic fondling, sexual intercourse, or sadomasochistic abuse. Sexually explicit performance includes, but is not limited to , any performance described in this subdivision..."

    i believe the term is 'overly broad'. laws that limit free speech exist, but must meet extremely stringent requirements.

    also, the law doesn't apply only to "obscene" material, but in fact extends to it. the law also covers "sexually explicit material".

    in their defense, this law is meant to apply only to brick&mortar and online porn retailers... but good intent doesn't count for much. they still have to be very careful with the wording of the law...
  • would it help if they selectively picked and chose only fuzzy happy cases??

    guess what! that nativity scene was unconstitutional (build it off public property, then), and the nazis and kkk have a right to march where ever the hell they want (if they have a permit, which under constitutional protection they have a right to obtain...)

    just because these cases leave a bitter tast in you mouth doesn't mean the ACLU is wrong. they have always worked on the principle that no one is going to pass a law saying "section 1a. everyone hereby loses their right to free speech" - free speech is eroded gradually. all cases that abridge freedom of expression are going to be targeted with equal energy.

    i would actually think that this would be comforting, that they aren't subjective about what cases they take on...

    that being said, not all people believe in free speech. those who don't probably shouldn't join...
  • by glyph42 ( 315631 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @06:04AM (#161092) Homepage Journal

    The concept of swearing being "bad" is just so, so arbitrary that it pisses me off. It's as if someone, a long time ago, thought "Hey, people are feeling too good about themselves... I think we need more rules to place on people's lives... what haven't we restricted yet? Hmm... Oh, I've got an idea: let's pretend that some words that you can form with our alphabet are bad and tell people that it's immoral to utter them! Hehe. Yeah, that oughta get 'em going for a while! Quick! Spread the word! In the name of morality!"

    Stupid, stupid control freaks, controlling for the sake of it.

    But certainly I don't want my kids whipping it out in front of their teacher and saying "suck my fat one" or something... that seems a bit over the line, since I don't want myself to do it either. But my kids should be able to say anything that I can say.

  • by gmz ( 320638 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @07:25AM (#161099)

    Now my kids will be exposed to all of the filth the Internet has to offer.

    Better that than "unrestricted censorship" in the future! Or, as Mike Godwin put it:

    "I worry about my child and the Internet all the time, even though she's too young to have logged on yet. Here's what I worry about. I worry that 10 or 15 years from now, she will come to me and say 'Daddy, where were you when they took freedom of the press away from the Internet?'" --Mike Godwin, Electronic Frontier Foundation (from the FreeNet-Project's web page) []

  • Sorry, but I don't want any part of the "freedom" that groups like NAMBLA represent.

    So steer clear of them. That's your right. But don't think for a minute that you have the right to shut them up simply because they make you uncomfortable.

    I'm not defending murder and rape here. But there is an immesurable gulf between speech, no matter how hateful or incendiary, and an action like murder. Conflating the two is a manipulative move, and one that often works since most folks can't be bothered enough to realize that nobody who isn't seriously unhinged is going to go on a rape and murder spree simply because of some article they read in a NAMBLA magazine. Even if the article has pictures.

    Your argument is a straw man that plays to people's fears and prejudices rather than tackling the substance of the freedom issue (specifically, it's a scare piece which preys on the prejudice that there are tons of big, bad, slavering queers out there who just can't wait to get their hands on some supple boy flesh to rape and kill). That's dangerous stuff there, bullshit to boot (since most child molesters are hetero, proportionally), and certainly not a rigorous enough approach to so vital a discussion.

    I support NAMBLA's right to publish their magazine. I even support their right to advocate pedophilia. Let's go one up: I support some nutball's right to publish a site or magazine calling for the extermination of blacks and homosexuals. That doesn't make me a pedophile, racist, or homophobe. I have support these people, so that at the end of the day I know that I can speak my mind. Freedom of speech only really exists when we feel the urge to clamp down on what someone says, and we successfully resist that urge. It's far too easy to trumpet our love for liberty when we're not offended or scared.

  • by 137 ( 325909 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @05:25AM (#161103)
    It's nice to see that all the shrill bleating about our poor, poor children is finally starting to lose its emotional stranglehold on censorship discourse in Michigan. Not a minute too soon, either. After all, this is a state where swearing in front of children is not only illegal -- it's occasionally enforced [].

    It always struck me as strange that we Americans can justify neatly overthrowing one of our basic tenets of freedom simply by waving our hands and muttering something vauge about "protecting the children." Of all the tests of free speech, why do we fixate on one of the most pointless? Real free speech would demand that, should a neo-Nazi demagogue come along, we grit our teeth and support their right to talk. But let's ignore that thorny issue for awhile and focus on our children, who will surely be hellbound if they hear any cussin'.

    Seems to me that there's no such thing as a conditional freedom. At the risk of sounding like I'm making a false either/or proposition, either speech is free -- whether or not we like what is said -- or it's not. Freedom is one of those places where there is no middle ground. Any restriction on freedom does it in.

    That said, I think it's time that we Americans either live up to the promise we made ourselves, or we set aside our smug claims to freedom as just so much outdated, naive dreaming. I know which I prefer, even though it will mean protecting hate speech, corporate advertising (as long as we buy into the myth of corporate personhood), and yes, even forcing our children to listen to words we don't like.

  • And the Norwegians too. The lot that emigrated to U.S. in the 1800's were poor folk with a lot of respect for their protestant gods. Generations after, based in the midwest, they're the foundation of all the hyper-conservative super-christian daftness in U.S. today.

    In the meantime, the people they left behind, has evolved into a freedom-loving country, where hardly anyone cares about the gods anymore.

  • by blang ( 450736 ) on Monday June 11, 2001 @07:09AM (#161112)
    The clip about the guy who fell out of the canoe is hilarious.

    But on a serious note though, I wonder if the judge ever contemplated what scenario would scare children the most:
    1) Hearing a man swearing like a champ after falling into the water, or
    2) Seeing a man being forcefully dragged away by the holy police.

    Wonder if children in Michigan lie awake at night wondering if they'll be thrown in jail because of something they said the day before?

    Scarier though, is how easy it is to manipulate children. Both in communist Soviet Union and nazi Germany, children were encouraged to rat on their own parents, and the kids did so with abandon. So parents in Michican, beware of the kid.

  • I am a Michigan resident. This law has been debated many times over in my state by the papers, politicians, and families. In the end I am happy that the law has been overturned.

    This however does not mean much will change. In the Grand Rapids Public Library System (Grand Rapids is the second largest city in Michigan on the opposite side of the state to Detroit) the software blocking software was never installed. The library system said that it was censorship that they did not support.

    What they did do is restrict anyone under 16 to use computers that were in view of a librarian or have a parent sign out the time.

    In the end this overturned law is not going to help my life. The law itself had done nothing to change how I lived or surf in the library at all.

  • You want freedom? You think you want freedom? Okay, sure, everybody's in favor of all the freedoms in the constitution, in theory. But welcome of step two of the divorce of theory from practice.

    Step one was when some misguided fuck thought it was okay to outlaw assault weapons. Like it or not, every american citizen should own one. ". . . a necessity to the security of a free state . . . " refers to security from oppression by the government. So first thing we do is, let's take all the weapons. (Sorry, Shakespeare.)

    Step two, now that they can't shoot back, we start taking away their rights to talk about it. Just like with guns, we start with taking away the things the fewest people will miss. That gets the rest of 'em used to it. And when we come for you, there'll be nobody left.

    Alright, FUCK THE CHILDREN. (Sorry, George Carlin.) Okay, sure, some parents are too stupid, ignorant, uncaring, or whatever to teach their children how to use the Internet safely. Sure, those kids are suffering because of that, in ways that I'd start taking people apart with a butterknife and a blowtorch if they tried it on my children. But dammit, DON'T TAKE AWAY MY RIGHTS BECAUSE SOMEONE ELSE IS STUPID!


    Okay, I think in principle I agree with the person to whom I'm replying on this particular issue. On the other hand, I think its passage was probably a good enough excuse for people in Michigan to march on Lansing with pitchforks and torches. Americans are just way too complacent about losing their inalienable [sic] constitutional rights.

BLISS is ignorance.