Journalist Writes Story, Ruins All The Fun

Matt Smith of the SF Weekly recently discovered that California was providing state-subsidized training to the 100 employees of Cybernet Entertainment LLC.  The subsidy is from the California Employment Training Panel (ETP), "an agency set up to make state businesses more competitive with foreign and out-of-state ones by paying contractors who train in-state workers."

So, what's Cybernet's competitive business? Exactly. High-quality, fetish porn videos. During his sleuthing, Mr. Smith submitted a public records request to the state of California, which–upon discovering what kind of stimulus it was providing–cut the funding for Cybernet.

The ensuing back-and-forth makes for decent copy:

The stripping of Kink.com's funding raises an intriguing question: Does the state's refusal to train porn-makers violate constitutional free-speech guarantees?...

Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, says the government might be straying into a legal gray area. "I think a fair reading of Supreme Court decisions in this area would support the view that government can't deny all funding to companies while allowing it to others, because the discrimination is based on the expressive content that the companies produce," he said....

Ashutosh Bhagwat, professor of constitutional law at UC Hastings College of the Law, was less certain. "The true answer is: The law in this area is a mess," he said....

Calvin Massey, also a Hastings professor of constitutional law, says that's wrong: Constitutionally speaking, the government may refuse training for pornographers if it so pleases. "My reaction is that there's nothing unconstitutional about refusing to provide governmental subsidies in the pornography industry," he said. "They're still permitted to engage in that expression. They just don't get a governmental subsidy. The government is free to make choices about how it spends its money. Simply because it chooses not to subsidize expression, or training for expression, doesn't mean [government officials have] done anything that's not within their rights."

Indeed, in 1998's National Endowment for the Arts v. Finley, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress enjoys wide latitude when setting spending priorities that may affect certain forms of expression. And in 1990's Rust v. Sullivan..."The court said, 'The government is free to subsidize speech it likes, and free to refuse to subsidize speech with which it disagrees,'" Massey said.

Whole thing here.

Daniel Riedel of Kink.com said the company plans to fight to keep its subsidy. Perhaps the issue will go to court and the L.A. Times will have to recycle the headline "Upcoming trial will see hours of hard-core fetish pornography."

Reason Foundation analyst Shikha Dalmia interviewed controversial California Judge Alex Kozinski here. Contributing Editor Greg Beato explained Washington's new crackdown on porn. For the May edition, Beato takes the National Endowment for the Arts to task for its government stimulation and wonders: "Wouldn't it have been more provocative, inspiring, and educational if they'd simply said, ‘No, thanks'?"

High Five: OpenMarkets.org

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  • High Every Body||

    The stripping of Kink.com's funding

    Gotta love this guy's writing style!

    Do people actually still buy pr0n? I still get all of mine free.

  • ||

    Aw shit.

  • Cabeza De Vaca||

    Kink.com is the company that does those odd wrestling videos.

  • Kolohe||

    It should be noted in case it wasn't obvious that Winkler's 1st link is NSFW.

    These guys had a tussle with the city of San Francisco when they wanted to buy an old natl Guard armory, which I 100% supported the company's position.

    Can't say I can get behind this though.

  • Paul||

    Does the state's refusal to train porn-makers violate constitutional free-speech guarantees?...
    [...]
    "I think a fair reading of Supreme Court decisions in this area would support the view that government can't deny all funding to companies while allowing it to others, because the discrimination is based on the expressive content that the companies produce,"



    There's a simple answer to this. But I'll bet it'll never cross any California politician's mind.

  • High Every Body||

    These guys had a tussle with the city of San Francisco when they wanted to buy an old natl Guard armory, which I 100% supported the company's position.

    Didn't Reason cover that too?

    Can't say I can get behind this though.

    SF, looks like someone is ready to bend over for you :)

  • TXLimey||

    I find this stimulus less offensive than the NEA grants insofar as it's supporting companies that might actually have a business model that in normal times could generate wealth.

    My head still feels like it's going to explode every time someone makes the claim that refusal to fund something constitutes censorship.

  • High Every Body||

    There's a simple answer to this. But I'll bet it'll never cross any California politician's mind.

    Something like not spending State funds on any businesses?

  • ||

    "The government is free to make choices about how it spends its money."

    This was the most disturbing sentence in the whole post. IT'S money? The government has it's own money?! Fuck! This is why we are doomed.

  • ||

    'The government is free to subsidize speech it likes, and free to refuse to subsidize speech with which it disagrees,'

    This made sense back when only a tiny percentage of the economy went through the state's hands. Now that about half of the economy is filtered through the state and federal governments, I'm not so sure that discriminatory subsidy doesn't amount to govt coercion.

    Thought experiment: If the government did as the SCOTUS has ruled it may and raised the income tax to 100%, it would be impossible to do anything that costs money without govt subsidy. could the state still discriminate in which viewpoints it will subsidize in that case? We're halfway there, mind you.

  • ||

    What country do you guys recommend a move to if crimethink's comment came true?

  • GunNut||

    What country do you guys recommend a move to if crimethink's comment came true?



    The nearest swamp, heavily wooded spread or badlands...

  • High Every Body||

    What country do you guys recommend a move to if crimethink's comment came true?

    Just move to a county where the sheriff drinks and sleeps alot.

  • hotsauce||

    First Amendment lawyers will be on top of this, but I'm afraid I can't get behind them. If you're looking for a reach around the law, move to Plan B -- preventing the financial ovulation that is government subsidies. Not that there's anything wrong with ass-istance per se. But when it come with strings, or beads, attached, caveat emptor.

  • SpongePaul||

    "Upcoming trial will see hours of hard-core fetish pornography."

    Now thats a Jury i would love to be a part of. porn in the court, and orgie in the deliberation room, from watching all that porn of course, lol. yeah right knowing my luck i would get stuck with 6 men a biclops and a few largw women, lol

  • ||

    California was providing state-subsidized training to the 100 employees of Cybernet Entertainment LLC

    California is helping to create Skynet!?! Oh wait, Cybernet, not Cyberdine. Whew.

  • ||

    the reason I keep cuming back - all the stimulation and good porn links. not to mention phrasing like "The stripping of Kink.com's funding raises an intriguing question..."
    Makes me think of ideas for Kink to use:
    Not so innocent porn starlets, dressed as cheerleaders, are probed by lawmakers.

  • ||

    Some of this stems from the mistaken notion that the government, itself, has free speech rights. I know that the Supreme Court says that the state has such rights....but such pronouncements are real life actual examples of judicial activism.

  • Brett Stevens||

    I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing entertainment for dateless losers.

  • DADIODADDY||

    hmmmmm...stimulus package....hmmmmmmm

  • StatistiNazi||

    Anyone else wondering exactly what they were training pornographers to do that they didn't know how to do before? How does one apply to be a trainer for one of those positions? I'm willing to be flexible. :P

    Ditto on everyone stressed over the phrase "government's money".

  • Yes, actually...||

    Not so innocent porn starlets, dressed as cheerleaders, are probed by lawmakers.

    ...they have something like this in their archives. They don't do the costume thing so much anymore, though.

  • Mad Max||

    "Thank you for calling Cyberdial-a-Porn. Here is today's fantasy:

    "I'm a California taxpayer with really large assets. I feel so scared and helpless . . . I sure hope I don't meet any government officials. . . . Oh, no! Please, Mr. Legislator, take whatever you want, just get it over with . . . oh, it hurts so much . . ."

  • vinny gates||

    Anyone else wondering exactly what they were training pornographers to do that they didn't know how to do before?

    I'm sure the state police know plenty of fine techniques for beating/restraining/humiliating people that they'd be willing to share.

  • ||

    Do people actually still buy pr0n? I still get all of mine free.

    ha i love some of their porn! (some is just not my style - they have a bunch of sites)... anyway, good enough to shell out some $$ for it IMHO! Also, cool logo. Gotta get one of their t-shirts asap, been meaning to do that. probably won't order it from the office though.

  • wingnutx||

  • Vague Memory||

    Isnt this the same kink.com that was being prosecuted for indecency, noted in H&R a while back?

    e.g. Porn Funds Terror?

    http://reason.com/blog/show/131374.html

    If so, is irony not being noted?

  • wingnutx||

    That was insex.com, an inferior competitor of kink.com

  • ||

    Do people actually still buy pr0n? I still get all of mine free.

    Are you talking about amateur stuff or pirated stuff? If it's the former, there's a serious difference in quality between that and professionally made stuff.

    If you're stealing it via a hacked password or such, that's nothing to be proud of. You're killing the goose with the golden eggs.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    Kink.com does produce good stuff. It's not too slick (slick BDSM stuff tends to be too tame) and the girls are realistic next-door types without being nasty. I've downloaded a lot of their free clips but have never paid for the full-length ones.

    I will also say some of the amateur stuff is pretty good, especially if you're interested in women that don't look like Jenna Jameson but don't look like malnourished cokewhores either. Problem is you have to sift through a lot of bad stuff to find the good.

  • PIRS||

    I would rather have my stolen money used for porn than used to enforce new laws that screw people in a metaphorical sense.

  • PIRS||

    Not that I like to have money stolen period

  • Mad Max||

    I once said that marijuana comes in second to guns on H&R for the number of *Good Housekeeping* style comments about brands, proper usage and other handy household tips.

    Now I think that marijuana and porn may be competing for second place.

  • Xmas||

    It may just be me, but I find their Ultimate Surrender stuff really effin' hot.

  • ||

    StatistiNazi: The article says they were training people in things like video editing and Photoshop, which is strange in itself, given that people who know those things aren't exactly scarce in SF. I suspect it was a way of getting free money to train various friends and hangers-on and as an extra inducement to some of the models ("And we'll train you in a non-embarrassing skill!").

  • ||

    Please investigate andrew ackner who goes by ASD4EVAselfspeaking on you tube and net. He's a vicious college student who has a blog where he pretends to be this loving, caring sweet aspergers guy, but he is one sick puppy. Do the research and you'll find a great story on teh fakes and frauds of aspegers. Google andrew ackner and then google his other name; ASD4EVAselfspeaking and see how many people this guy attacks, it's unreal when you compare it to his sweet lilttle blog

  • Andrew Ackner||

    Carrie, you're stupid. I would say something more intelligent about you, but I can only work with what you give me, which is nothing. I attacked two people on my youtube account. One of them is an abusive father and a despicable human being. And the other I will not address because I don't have the knowledge or the qualifications to diagnose that nutzndoltz.

    Just because I am harsh, does not mean I am wrong. My message is positive and uplifting, but I have to be pragmatic with the pleasntries at those who try to damage and destroy the ASD Community that I love and am a member and fighter in defense for.

    Quote the Autie, "Nevermore."

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