Censorship

Tennessee Probably Doesn't Want You Watching Human Centipede II Either

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As Jesse Walker noted in today's morning links, Tennessee recently passed a law banning the transmission or display of images that might, under a "reasonable expectation," "frighten, intimidate or cause emotional distress" to anyone who comes across it. It's not just Internet communications either. The law defines "electronic communications service" as "any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature  transmitted  in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic,  photoelectronic  or photooptical system." Violators face up to a year in jail or a $2,500 fine. 

If you think this sounds illegal, you're not alone: Eugene Volokh looks at the details and says it's "pretty clearly unconstitutional." He lists four potential actions, all fairly common in online communication, that would likely be criminalized under the law:

  • If you're posting a picture of someone in an embarrassing situation — not at all limited to, say, sexually themed pictures or illegally taken pictures — you're likely a criminal unless the prosecutor, judge, or jury concludes that you had a "legitimate purpose."
  • Likewise, if you post an image intended to distress some religious, political, ethnic, racial, etc. group, you too can be sent to jail if governments decisionmaker thinks your purpose wasn't "legitimate." Nothing in the law requires that the picture be of the "victim," only that it be distressing to the "victim."
  • The same is true even if you didn't intend to distress those people, but reasonably should have known that the material — say, pictures of Mohammed, or blasphemous jokes about Jesus Christ, or harsh cartoon insults of some political group — would "cause emotional distress to a similarly situated person of reasonable sensibilities."
  • And of course the same would apply if a newspaper or TV station posts embarrassing pictures or blasphemous images on its site.

Judging by the text of the statute, it seems entirely possible that lots of mainstream fare could be potentially illegal under the law too: Think of particularly violent TV shows or raunchy talk radio shows, all of which could at least theoretically be said to frighten or cause distress to some individuals. With a standard this vague, the path toward official censorship of just about any electronic broadcast medium is more than clear. Needless to say, I'm fairly certain that transmitting a copy of the recently banned-in-Britain Human Centipede II would also be illegal under the law. 

NEXT: Cicada Ice Cream: Crunchy, Delicious, and Banned

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  1. Didn’t they pass some anti-sharia bill earlier this year? Man, Tennessee is really on a roll.

    I’m curious how they think this is going to pass constitutional muster? Assuming there’s anyone in that state who cares to challenge it.

    1. Oh yeah, well all know how Islamic law is totally compatible with libertarian principles.

      I swear I’ll never understand the pro-Islamofascist appeasement contingent on this blog.

      1. I swear I’ll never understand the pro-Islamofascist appeasement contingent on this blog.

        I swear I’ll never understand the moozlim under every bed bogeymen contingent in the public at large.

  2. Running out of states to move to. Anything wrong with…let’s see…Idaho?

    1. New Hampshire isn’t too bad.

      1. Too close to Vermont. And Massachusetts. And Maine.

        1. I’m from Maine. How dare you compare us to Assachusetts.

          1. Maine isn’t anywhere NEAR as bad as Massachusetts, but it’s still on the “screwed up as hell” list — actually, that’s a pretty redundant thing to say, since that probably applies to every place in this country

            1. I live in Mass and about the only thing good I get to say is at least we’re not California.

              1. I lived in New York for a while, and I was pretty embarrassed about being the resident of a repressive state. 🙁

                *Tumbleweed*

    2. Honestly, Idaho is great. There are still areas that can be improved (eminent domain, asset forfeiture, state control of liquor, some religious reactionism), but mostly people here are free to do as they please. It is very refreshing. We also have great skiing, hunting, camping, etc.

  3. I would watch Human Centipede II if it featured the United States Congress in the title role.

    1. Does Waxman get to be the head?

      1. I think Boehner would have to be the head. Hard to be the Speaker otherwise.

      2. I would think with seniority it would have to go to Harry Reid, hopefully with Nancy Pelosi’s mouth being surgically grafted to his ass.

  4. Yeah, no way that passes constitutional muster. Really, we need some consequences for legislators and executives that enact facially unconstitutional laws.

    1. we need some consequences for legislators and executives that enact facially unconstitutional laws.

      Normally, we would call it “the next election”. Unfortunately, Democracy is not really a foil against unconstitutional laws.

      1. Not good enough.

        1. I’ll try to do better.

          1. Not you, the voting option. It doesn’t work for things like this. Which is why we need something else in our system to allow us to zap things that need zapping.

            1. Oh, ok. ‘Cause for a minute, I felt like I was married again.

      2. Democracy is a foil against unpopular laws. Its actually a wellspring of unconstitutional laws.

        Which is why this wasn’t set up as a democracy.

      3. Unfortunately, Democracy is not really a foil against unconstitutional laws.

        Well of course it isn’t. A constitution is a foil against democracy. Seems unwise to trust the majority to protect rights from being infringed by a majority (or, same thing, a legislature elected by the majority).

    2. Really, we need some consequences for legislators and executives that enact facially unconstitutional laws.

      If still in office: Automatically booted. No pension. Forbidden to run for state office again.

      If out of office: Cut off pension. Clawback of pension previously “earned.” Forbidden to run for state office again.

  5. This is another argument for part time legislators. Once the big items are taken care of (I’m thinking of criminal laws against killing and stealing and so on), a full time legistlature just get’s into mischief.

    1. Here in Texas they do the assine things first, then do what they are supposed to do in a special session at $37,500 a day.

      http://weareaustin.com/fulltext/?nxd_id=148817

      1. Speaking of the Texas legislature, I now feel that every woman in it needs to be recalled. Look at this idiocy:

        http://feministing.com/2011/05…..ve-sexism/

        Step right up and see the circus that is the Texas legislature.

        Watch as Rep. Thompson hollers and breaks her jewelry, raging against two fliers, one featuring a nursing baby and one featuing a pacifier, which she claims “encourages violence against women”.

        Marvel as she then threatens to bloody the noses of those who created the fliers.

        Stare in astonishment as all the women in the Texas legislature then walk to stand behind her in solidarity.

  6. Other laws pretty much cover what TN is trying to do. Intimidation by phone, internet, or otherwise can be covered by stalking, harassment, or threatening crimes.

    Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress is a tort, but it’s rarely substantiated without being connected to some sort of other action that is already criminal.

    1. Not defending TN (i live there) at all here. Our state gov’ment IS doing some wacky and dangerous things. But, I read the TN code on this one (3-17-308. Harassment.) The first section (a.) basically makes this law only applicable in obvious harrassment cases.

      To quote: “Threatens, by telephone, in writing or by electronic communication (…) KNOWINGLY annoys or alarms the recipient;”

      Proving intent is a little difficult and would have to substaniated by other evidence.

      Still… I am quite pissed at TN governemnt atm. One more stupid law by ppl too stupid to know what they are doing. Since idiots seem to be the only ones running for political office these days… what do we intellegent ppl have to do to get useful laws on the books?

      Run. For. Office.

  7. This is nonsense; no way it will hold up to any challenge. It’s so far beyond rational thought that I’m not even pissed about it.

  8. A TV show of an animal killing another can cause distress. Hell a shelter PSA featuring a homeless puppy can bring people unbearable sadness.

    1. No sarcasm, I change the channel as soon as I hear Sarah McLachlan singing “In the Arms of an Angel” because that poor neglected one-eyed dog just breaks my heart.

      So, yeah….

      1. Same here.

        A lot of my charity money goes to animal shelters and the like. And me, a libertarian! Oh, the cognitive dissonance!

        1. No cog diss there, is there? You are voluntarily choosing to give your money to a cause that you feel worthy, to encourage their activities.

          Makes sense to me. And I congratulate you for giving to animal causes.

          1. Recalibrate your humormeter, BSR.

            I was merely yanking the chain of those who think libertarianism prohibits people from acting charitably, or caring about animals.

  9. Human Centepede II sounds so stupid. Gtanted it would be painful, but stitches a easily ripped out. Had my hand stitched up a few years ago and within twenty-four hours I’d managed to rip half of them out. It’s hard not using one’s hands.

    1. It doesn’t sound at all believable.

    2. Sure it would be possible, if painful, to forcibly remove the stitches that are connecting your lips to someone’s asshole. It probably wouldn’t be any more painful than jerking off with some sandpaper or wrapping barbed wire around your dick and raping someone. The worst part of this reality is the fact that someone thought of making a movie about someone doing all of these things.

      Obviously this movie shouldn’t be banned but I can’t imagine why anyone would WANT to see this. Whenever you wonder at the absurdity of some new rule or law just remember you live in a world where someone thought this shit up, convinced a bunch of other people to film it, then put it out for other people to see. Humans are some pretty sick fuckers.

      1. Tell me about it.

      2. Tell me about it.

      3. Meh.

  10. So if TN had this law in 2001, they would have blocked the footage of 9/11?

    What’s the requirement for being a lawmaker in TN, 50% of your teeth remaining?

    1. Nah, it’s consanguinity within the third degree of affinity to the gov. Even when a new gov is elected, since they’re all releated anyway, most of the leg. remains qualified.

    2. something about tractor pulls

  11. To tell the truth, I don’t want to watch human centipede II. In fact no one should watch it. We need to send a message that such filth does not belong in front of human retinas. I urge other states to follow the courageous example of Tenessee and Great Britain and stop such monstrous degenerate filth from being blasted into your movie theaters and televisions.

    1. I really need to stop spoofing myself.

    2. You still have the right to stab out your own eyes. You might try that.

      1. If I stab my eyes out how will I direct my snuff films? My artistic vision will not be compromised. I just want to eliminate the competition so my snuff gets a bigger share of that black market lucre, dig?

        Ah, that’s the SNUFF!

        1. Oh, as long as its just rent seeking…

          1. Well if the government wouldn’t ban profit from crime then we could have free market snuff. Until that day I’m just protecting my investment.

            1. You just can’t stop can you? I know why you took those sporks from taco bell last night. Don’t you dare do what I know you’re thinking of doing with them. I trusted you.

              1. I’ll try to do better.
                Marriage ain’t kindergarten

                1. leave epi alone!

                  1. stay away from my man, little boy little boy/girl

  12. In this day and age, I honestly couldn’t predict whether this was a conservative initiative, or a liberal one.

    1. Bipartisan!

  13. I don’t support this law by any means.

    But has anyone else here ever been in a forum when some anti-abortion activist showed up and suddenly filled the thread with photographs of late term abortions?

    All hacked up babies and stuff?

    You can’t unsee that!

    I don’t support this law, but there are some real jackholes out there. It’s like the religious nuts that picket military funerals–I may support their rights to free speech, but that doesn’t mean the people we’re protecting aren’t a bunch of sorry freakin’ jackholes.

    I should add too that I don’t need to feel enamored of the innocent people who may get caught up in this stupid law either.

    Really, even if this law only infringed on the free speech rights of jackhole dirtbags, I’d still be against this law for infringing on the rights of jackhole dirtbags too.

    1. With broad civil freedoms, one is expected to suffer jackholes. That’s what freedom is.

      1. Yes, but there’s nothing to gain by pretending it’s any better than it is.

        And a lot to lose.

        I think it’s important to emphasize our stances. It’s like arguing that we should treat prisoners humanely–because some of them may be innocent.

        If we never emphasize that prisoners should be treated humanely–even if they’re guilty of crimes? Then people get the idea that we think it’s okay to treat the guilty inhumanely.

        Torture was like that for me too. I don’t want the government torturing people in my name. I question whether it’s effective. I question whether some of the people being tortured were really terrorists or had any useful information…

        But even if they were terrorists, even if they had useful information, even if torture really were effective, I still don’t want the government torturing people in my name.

        I’m like a grown-up now. I don’t need a big-eyed, innocent bunny to make me compassionate. I don’t have to pretend that this law would ensnare big-eyed bunnies–certainly not when I’m making my case to the general public.

        Hateful, criminal beaters of the defenseless and innocent have rights too.

        1. “But even if they were terrorists, even if they had useful information, even if torture really were effective, I still don’t want the government torturing people in my name.”

          I can assure you that your name never came up.

          1. this is for Ken Shultz! *slap!* Now confess!

          2. They said they were doing it to help keep the American people safe…

            I’m an American. I’m people.

            No thanks.

        2. Eh, to a point. But part of imprisonment is the removal of some rights.

          1. “Eh, to a point. But part of imprisonment is the removal of some rights.”

            I was talking about this in another thread, but…

            “Criminal intent” should mean that armed robbers give up their rights willingly when they purposely infringe on someone else’s rights. That’s a huge part of what trials are for–to determine whether through “criminal intent” the accused willingly forgoes his right to liberty.

            Every freedom has an inverse responsibility attached–if only the responsibility to respect the freedom of others. When an armed robber violates someone else’s freedom, it means he’s willingly shirked his responsibility–he willingly forgoes his liberty.

            It works that way with free speech and the government too. When the government violates people’s right to free speech, it frees them from the inverse responsibility of respecting other people’s freedom of speech, etc.

            Whether you’re talking about respecting the rights of correctly convicted felons or douche bags who make horrible and disgusting movies, though, I don’t have to feel sympathy for the victims in order to stand up for my own rights–and come out against the government voiding other people’s responsibility to respect my rights.

            Just because I’m a libertarian doesn’t mean I have to pretend that making a flick about somebody suturing a daisy chain of people together–ass to mouth–is a really cool thing to do.

            There are whole crowds of shitty people out there, and when I’m standing up for my rights–nobody should confuse me standing up for myself with standing up for them.

            1. “There are whole crowds of shitty people out there, and when I’m standing up for my rights–nobody should confuse me standing up for myself with standing up for them.”

              And I think that’s one of the reasons we libertarians don’t get more traction with the general public.

              Just because I want to legalize marijuana doesn’t mean I think people who squander their lives stoned and playing video games aren’t a bunch of…

              No, I’m not a Republican who still wants to get high.

              1. Excellent argument, beginning to end.

      2. ^^^^this

  14. Supposedly, New Hampshire is by far the freest state in the Union, but from everything I can gather, it’s still pretty fucked up to constitutional/libertarian standards, let alone Jeffersonian absolutism and minarchism.

    South Dakota is supposed to be pretty great, too, and South Carolina isn’t bad, apparently.

    What do you guys thing is/are the freest state(s) in this country (overall, mostly by judging through the Bill of Rights)? Utah is supposed to be very good on guns, for example, but not much else.

    1. Texas is pretty good, in my experience. No income tax, no state-owned liquor stores, gun laws are reasonable, unions aren’t too out of control. In Houston, there’s no zoning. There was even a ballot measure a few months ago, which passed, which forced the removal of all red-light cameras in the city.

      1. It’s alright. I don’t much care for being forced to pay money and take the class for concealed carry, when there is no open carry option.

        We’re pretty bad on drugs and sentencing for minor crimes. Like I said, here in Plano, there was a judge running for reelection who actually ran on a platform of sending the most people to death row, or some such nonsense. And he won.

        Economically, we’re a lot better than a lot of other places. It’s in the criminal area that I still have some complaints.

        1. I wonder what answer you’d get if you asked a New Yorker.

          1. My wife lived in NYC for a while after leaving Hong Kong, and most of her family is still there (Queens = all Chinese folks now). It’s stupid and I hate visiting them, because the cops randomly fucking shake people down, everything is overpriced, and the people are rude as fuck. And not hilariously rude, like here at H&R, like, actually rude.

            1. I’ve encountered that breed of asshole in San Francisco many, many times, although my experience with New York isn’t extensive enough at all to jump to any conclusions.

              Either way, Jim, consider that the progressive titans (California and New York among them) are what make up/define the image of America in general in the outside world to most people — and that’s pretty terrible. :

            2. Yep. I visited New York City once, and was absolutely shocked at how rude people were. I finally understood what people meant by southern hospitality.

              1. After originally migrating to the United States through New York, my family branched out over the next generation, and I’ve got family in South Carolina.

                When we were visiting them a few years ago, most people we’d meet (from convenience store employees to bus drivers) welcomed us, wishes us a good stay, and were friendlily chatty, and just warm in general.

                My cousin’s neighbors (suburbia) would intermittently approach us and offer to show us around, ask if we needed to know anything, welcomed us, if we would like a party/get-together to “welcome the guests”, and the like. The politeness alone kind of mind-fucked me.

                It took a while for me to get used to that sort of atmosphere, but OH how I wish the liberal bastions would change to be similar to that.

                I didn’t see a single neo-Confederate, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, racist, hateful, dumb-as-shit moron drooling all over himself, which, according to what I’ve been told all my life in New York, is the only thing I’d see in “redneck country”.

                Even though it used to be home, fuck New York.

                1. For the record, everybody noticed I was a Yankee because my accent was pretty obvious.

      2. Texas is OK on some of the big stuff, but it still has this weird authoritarian streak coexisting with its MYOB streak.

        1. I like Texas. I just hope it pulls itself out of the authoritarian abyss without falling into the same league of shit-for-brainism as New Jersey and California, for instance.

          1. Yep. We have some crossover between the Republic of Texas group and our state LP. I have a copper coin minted by them for the Republic of Texas (FYI Dunphy, it’s marked as “2 Units”, not as dollars, so they’re not breaking any laws).

            The problems we have appears on the coin, however. It states, “One Nation Under One God”.

            And when you talk to them, you get the distinct impression that it’s a very specific god.

            1. Zeus?

            2. Don’t those secessionists have their own provisional congress?

              The shitty part of it is that there are so many valid and rage-inducing facets of modern American culture and law you could rightly protest by facetiously (or even seriously) supporting a secessionist movement, or the like, but instead we get religious fundamentalists trying to secede because that there Ay-rab shouldn’t be allowed to live here!!!!!111

              Is that the sort of group those Republic of Texas dudes are?

              1. First, +1 to sarcastic LH.

                As to RPA, yes, unfortunately because we’re part of the Bible Belt, that’s the majority of secessionists you get around here.

                The RoT has several splinter factions, and some of them are more secular than others, but the large main group is extremely religious (they also insist that we get back the eastern half of New Mexico, the Oklahoma panhandle, and part of Colorado, which were all originally part of Tejas).

                They don’t say so outright, but they hedge towards wanting to create some kind of mild protestant-flavored quasi-theocracy. No witch burnings or anything like that, but certainly no mosques being built.

                We get along because we’re fellow travelers, for right now. There’s plenty of time for that bloodbath after Texas has gained it’s freedom.

                1. It’d be great if a really powerful, facetiously secessionist movement of libertarians/constitutionalists arose in Texas — and whipped the statists out of office everywhere. How cool is THAT pipe dream?

            3. Beavis: hu hu hu huh you said UNITS

        2. does Texas still criminalize misprision of a felony? if so, that is pretty whack… and pretty unusual.

          1. A quick online search looks like it’s still a Class A Mis. here, though I didn’t do a lot of digging (at work).

            1. thanks. it’s unusual to criminalize that offense, and i always found it quirky that texas did so

              1. How do you tend to interact with people as a cop? Do you talk very formally and rigidly, or are you friendlily chatty with people? Just curious.

                1. always friendly unless situation demands otherwise. in 20 yrs of law enforcement, and that includes hundreds of arrest, shooting incidents, force, etc. i have received exactly ONE complaint for rudeness (actually failing to be sufficiently “empathatic” to a person who was reporting a non-crime and continually wouldn’t answer simple questions etc.) …. apparently, i got (god forbid) impatient.

                  ime, the vast majority of police “issues” probably never would have escalated to that point if the officer(s) involved had good communications skills. there is NO more important skill for an officer to have than basic people skills.

                  good officers have it . you have to know how to talk to people and in addition to knowing HOW, you have to man the fuck up and not be a dick. even if you just dealt witha totally fucked up detail (like a dead baby) you can’t be an asshole to the next person you meet. simple human respect and empathy is key

                  imnsho

  15. Does this apply to members of Congressmen?

    1. Yeah, I’m offended and emotionally distressed every time I see a politician’s lips moving. And intimidated whenever I surf my TV and come across cop shows.

      1. if you’re that easily intimidated you are a fucking pussy ass beyotch.

        hth

        1. Yep Dunph ya nailed it, no question I’m a fucking pussy ass beyotch when it comes to TV cops… but not internet commenter cops, and not cops in real life.

          I suppose a more accurate word than intimidated would have been I’m often offended by cop shows, and often disgusted… which could be interpreted as emotional distress, so this stupid new Tennessee law would have protected me. (However, luckily, like you I live in WA.)

          And like some others from a thread yesterday, I have never had an asshole cop experience (shall I say “yet”?) nor an intimidating one.

          And FYI I dunno what ‘hth’ means. I’m kind of an old fart and am not up on internet abbreviations and acronyms. I went to http://www.acronymfinder.com/HTH.html and there were many choices.

          I’m going to assume you didn’t mean “Hj?lper Torr Hud.” or “Heart to heart.” or “Hell this hurts.” or “Hang them high.”

          I did discover on another site, HTH = Hope This Helps. Often used sarcastically.

          I think I’ll go with that latter one from you in this instance.

          HTH

          1. try the elvis costello/nick lowe approach

            “i used to be disgusted, now i try to be amused”

            hth (hope that helps)

  16. “And of course the same would apply if a newspaper or TV station posts embarrassing pictures or blasphemous images on its site”

    Bud Adams is now on The Watch List.

    1. Tosh.0 is now proper fucked!

  17. H&R banned in Tennessee?

  18. this is the PERFECT example of blatantly unconstitutional legislation, the kind we see written all the time by legislators (necessarily a majority thereof) and neceessarily signed by governors (since they pass).

    your average first year law student or cop out of police academy could recognize the law is UNCONSTITUTIONAL but an entire cadre of elected officials can’t?

    just like the WOD is the result of awful policy passed by LAWMAKERS, this is yet another example of the harms we see when kneejerk grandstanding legislators pass laws to please sally soccer mom w/o regard for whether it’s even LEGAL

    fucking incompetent fucksticks!

    1. Genuinely curious, dunphy:

      Would you consider a cop who made an arrest under this statute to be a good cop?

      1. good is a little bit vague. if you mean a custodial arrest (iow he deprived somebody of his liberty) i would say no.

        if my sgt. ordered me to do so, i would decline , since it’s blatantly unconstitutional. that’s really the only option

        i once had a sgt. demand i charge somebody (via investigation – iow sign a citation) after they read my case report and believed that the “suspect” committed a crime

        i told him no,because it wasn’t a crime and one cannot sign a citation – under the penalties of perjury theoretically- saying that a person committed a crime- when you believe they didn’t. unlike defense attorneys, cops and prosecutors cannot do that stuff when they believe otherwise (defense attorneys can claim a guy is innocent even if they believe him guilty as fuck, contrarily).

        my sgt. (it was a DV unit sgt. who ordered me to cite the guy) backed me up. as did, later, the prosecutor.

        fwiw, WA’s RCW for cyberstalking is also unconstitutional. (overly broad). there ARE constitutional violations of same, but there are also potential acts that would violate the statute but are 1st amendment protected and should not be acted upon by LEO’s

      2. You’ve probably talked about this elsewhere, but what you say sounds an awful lot like what the Oathkeepers say.

        I guess the difficulty arises in trying to draw the line between blatantly unconstitutional statutes, which a “good” cop won’t enforce, and statutes that look pretty damn unconstitutional to you, but which aren’t so blatant, or on which the courts have a different opinion.

        1. yes, and also remember the primary issue is when you actually are expected to custodially arrest somebody- iow restrain their liberty significantly for an unconstitional reason. granted, i wouldn’t even sign a criminal cite when i thought there was no crime (which was not a liberty issue, but an ethical issue – since i would be lying when i signed the citation – ) but the real issue is when you take somebody’s liberty – take them to jail iow.

          we’ve all had cases where we determine “no crime” but we still send it to the prosecutor for review as a CYA thing. especially true in sex assault and other type cases that are more sensitive. let THEM be the “decider”. they have the civil immunity, and they have the law degree.

          the ONLY type of crimes that mandate custodial arrest are certain domestic violence offenses in my jurisdiction. there , it’s not an issue of the law being unconstitutional as much as – is there in fact bona fide PC (they are usually he said/she said, but like it or not that;s usually enough for PC).

          they are also the ONLY crimes that cops in my state enjoy good faith IMMUNITY from lawsuits if they DO arrest. iow, the law says – when in doubt – arrest. that’s a little troubling, but as long as there is PC, it’s not unconstitutional.

    2. It would be nice if SCOTUS could, on a 9-0 decision and agreement that the law was not only unconstitutional but blatantly and egregiously so, fire everyone involved in passing and signing it and force new elections to be held.

      And really, what exactly is stopping them? They pretty much make up their own powers; the trouble is getting other people to go along.

      1. everybody always wanks about police and prosecutorial immunity, but let’s not forget legislatorial immunity.

        they can pass the most blatantly unconstitutional law they want (and often do) and the only redress is they can get voted out. there’s no disincentive to pass shit unconstitutional legislation, especially when it ends up getting overturned by the courts, they can just blame “activist judges” and gain sympathy from their constituents (assuming those constituents also support unconstitutional restraints on liberty)

  19. “cause emotional distress”.

    If I look up and see one of those overhead highway signs that says “Three lanes closed. Expect delays” and that causes me emotional distress (which it usually does), does that mean a State DoT worker could be put in jail for a year?

    CB

  20. Does this include those “scream videos” where there’s a compelling sequence that ends with a zombie jumping up and screaming?

    If so, I might be persuaded to defend a ban on those.

    1. a rickroll could certainly violate this as well. or a goatse type link

  21. let’s consider something here. a MAJORITY of legislators in both the state house and state senate voted to pass this blatanly unconstitional law. THEN, the governor signed it.

    these decisions weren’t made in the heat of battle w./o opportunity for reflection, research, solicitation of legal advice etc. – like a soldier or cop would have to make.

    this decision was made by representatives of the people with ample time and resources to reflect, research and vet their options.

    yet STILL, they decided to do it.

    think about how disgusting that is. imo, far worse than the average misconduct by a soldier, cop or firefighter made in the heat of the moment.

    there was no exigency here, no lives at stake, no immediacy whatsoever to make a quick decision.

    instead, there was an elected body of representatives who decided to violate the constitution with ample time to reconsider

    disgusting.

  22. Well this should neatly cover all those pics of Anthony Wiener and his junk.

  23. That’s okay, I really don’t want to see Human Centipede II, either. The first one was too much to begin with (although I did like the reference in South Park when they created the Human CentiPad).

  24. i’ll tell you why laws like this get passed.

    i’ve personally responded to AT LEAST 1/2 dozen type cases where sally soccer mom/dad wants police help because little sally has posted stuff on sally’s facebook/myspace page calling their precious daughter a slut or other such horridness.

    “that’s harassment”. “that’s cyberbullying”

    officer response: no, that’s freedom of speech. did you try contacting facebook/myspace, advising them of the egregious offense? since they are a private company they don’t have to respect freedom of speech and are free to delete the page?

    sally soccer mom: no, i never thought of that. that’s not really satisfying. i want the police to ARREST her, i want somethingDONE. this is an OUTRAGE

    police officer: sorry ma’am. it’s not a crime

    (sally soccer moms en masse complain and call their legislators)

    legislator response … well, it’s probably blatantly unconstitutional, but i can’t afford ot lose the support of the soccer moms etc. so i’ll pass this piece of shit, let the cops enforce it, then let it get struck down by the courts. it will waste scores of thousands of dollars before it’s all over, but gotta be responsive to my electorate

    and thus, such crap gets passed

    1. In my lobbying days, I was appalled at the number of bills that can trace their origin back to a single (unverified) complaint by a single constituent.

      1. yes, in legislation as well as law enforcement, it’s AMAZING how much we operate by “squeaky wheel” theory. no matter how piddly yer bullshit is – if you complain enough, the admin comes down on patrol and detectives and says “DO SOMETHING”.

  25. I found Seinfeld to be emotionally distressing sometimes with the awkward situations that would come up. Same goes for Frasier. I think that some folks would find American Idol with Simon Cowell emotionally distressing, especially contestants that were mercilessly berated.

  26. Oh, I forgot to mention that I’m pretty sure that horror movies in general are designed to scare people, so those must be out as well.

  27. O/T sort of… but not if we’re talking about stupid lawmakers (but I repeat myself).

    Senate considers Lip Syncing law. http://www.foxnews.com/scitech…..hind-bars/

  28. If I recall correctly, some commenters would agree that this law could be made perfectly Constitutional simply by adding the words “by a corporation” to it.

  29. I find TV shots of the crowd at Tennessee football games disturbing.

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