Ohio Mayor Warns That Ice Fishing Will Lead to Prostitution

Plus: Election laws and voter turnout, New York questions Spotify, and more…


Ice fishing promotes prostitution about as much as the Super Bowl does. Hudson, Ohio, is considering opening up the town's Hudson Springs Lake to ice fishing. Mayor Craig Shubert has an unusual reason for being opposed. Opening up the lake to ice fishing would lead to prostitution, Shubert says.

In a city council video that reads like sketch comedy—Shubert's comic delivery would be perfect, if this were comedy—the mayor warns that if you open up the lake to ice fishing, ice shantytowns will follow, and the​​n commercial sex. (Doesn't everyone know that ice shanties are irresistible to sex workers? Nothing like the feeling of fish guts and freezing water to get someone in the mood!)

"If you open this up to ice fishing, while on the surface it sounds good, then what happens next year—does someone come back and say I want an ice shanty?" asked Shubert. "And if you then allow ice fishing with shanties, then that leads to another problem: prostitution."

"Just data points to consider," he added. (Apparently, Shubert doesn't understand what "data points" means.)

That the mayor's comments come this week—Super Bowl week—is pretty perfect. Maybe this isn't reality or comedy but brilliant commentary on another prostitution narrative: the idea that big sporting events, and especially the Super Bowl, are magnets for sex trafficking.

Every year, the idea that the Super Bowl leads to sex trafficking gets spouted by law enforcement and picked up uncritically by some media. This, despite the dearth of evidence for such a claim and that it's been debunked again and again, all over the place. (Check out our list from 2020 of all the times it's been debunked.)

Cops seem to like the Super Bowl sex-trafficking myth because it gives them a good excuse for stings that target adult sex workers and consensual commercial sex. (And the feds like it because it gives them a good pretense for more surveillance and security theater.) But if you follow up on any Super Bowl "sex trafficking stings," you'll see that they just lead to the arrest of a lot of sex workers and their customers.


Research on election laws suggests some fears about them may be overblown. The research, from political science professor Alan I. Abramowitz and the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, suggests limited impact from voting procedural rules of the sort being targeted for change in statehouses around the country:

In the aftermath of the high-turnout 2020 election, many Republican-controlled state governments have passed legislation that Democrats believe will harm their party's voter turnout.

However, voting rules did not appear to have much impact on turnout and had no measurable impact on vote margins at the state level in the 2020 presidential election.

Both voter turnout and voting decisions in 2020 were driven by the strong preferences held by the large majority of voters between the major party candidates.


New York state comptroller sends threatening letter to Spotify. "As we have seen with other technology and media companies who host or publish content, the failure to successfully moderate content on a company's platforms can lead to various reputational, regulatory, legal, and financial risks," Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli wrote in a February 2 letter to the company. He is seeking more information from Spotify about its content rules.

"Last month, amid a wave of artist boycotts, Spotify added content warnings to its COVID-19 content to quell anger at vaccine misinformation hosted on the platform," notes Pitchfork. But "the tweak did little to satisfy critics" like New York's state comptroller. Reuters points out that "DiNapoli has been among a group of influential activists that have successfully pushed for more content oversight at other social media companies."


• The cost of protectionist policies:

• U.S. senators have reauthorized Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) programs, but with a controversial new gun provision known as the "boyfriend loophole" removed. (More about the VAWA and President Joe Biden's role in it here; more about the so-called boyfriend loophole here.)

• Wearing a "fuck the police" shirt isn't cause for arrest, rules the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit.

• Facebook's monopoly was always doomed.

• "At the beginning of the pandemic, we were too slow to adapt to changing circumstances. Now we are once again in danger of prolonging the status quo more than is justifiable. It is time to open everything," writes Yascha Mounk at The Atlantic.

• How "machine learning is making fruits and vegetables more delicious."

• Georgia's election investigation has failed, once again to find massive voter fraud.

• Sigh: