The Free Speech Problem

November 17, 2014 In The News, Politics / Religion Comments (0) 736

Most everyone agrees that online harassment is a major problem in need of an immediate solution, but in the hunt for trolls, some are too quick to dismiss legitimate concerns about free speech.

(Cross-posted at Medium)

In the wake of the GamerGate blowup, most of America is aware of our epidemic of online harassment. Unrepentant trolls on Twitter, Facebook, and similar services exploit anonymity and the ease of creating sockpuppet accounts to stalk, threaten, dox, and torment victims, even driving some to the point of suicide. But while activists rightly raise alarms about the problem, their proposed solutions often carry the risk of limiting the free speech and expression that make the Internet so powerful.

Writing at Boing Boing, for example, Glenn Fleishman explores Twitter’s problem with serial offenders, known trolls who have been banned but then return thanks to Twitter’s failure to enforce their own policy against serial accounts. Roughly two-thirds through the piece, Fleishman leaps abruptly to a rather dramatic conclusion: “the fight for anonymous speech ends when promotion of it is inexorably and demonstrably linked to enabling harassers.” Continue Reading

Continue Reading

First Amendment Friday: Nov 14 2014

November 14, 2014 First Amendment Fridays Comments (1) 7264

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but if Europe can land a robot on a comet then by God I can read my Google alerts and present my little Constitutional digest. As we end a week in which TIME magazine suggests banning the word “feminist” and a celebrated emerging sci-fi author is revealed as one of the Internet’s most nefarious trolls, it seems appropriate to take a look at what’s happening worldwide with the rights to speech, assembly, and expression:

Continue Reading

Comfy Cat Photo

November 12, 2014 Animals, Personal Comments (0) 570

Comfortable Cat

Max seems to be adjusting well to the new apartment. Also , cats really are the best at looking comfortable.

Continue Reading

Tsar Bomb First Page (Fall First Page Blog Hop)

November 12, 2014 Writing Comments (9) 987

This is a bit unusual for me, folks, but Michelle Hauck is hosting a critique blog hop at her site. It’s a neat idea (thanks, Michelle!) and I’ve decided to participate–so here’s the first page of the book I’m pitching, Tsar Bomb, an adult paranormal thriller.

If you’ve happened here from somewhere other than the blog hop, please feel free to post your review in the comments!

Preston reached for his toes and tried to ignore the pain in his back. He stood and pulled his right foot up toward his bottom, squeezing his white running shoe in one hand. The bulge of his belly peeked out beneath his tee-shirt, and Preston looked to make sure he was alone. He stretched the other leg, shook them both, and then bounced on his feet.

The day was going to be a scorcher, just like yesterday and the day before. The morning air still smelled like rain, though the sun had burned away the clouds and now pressed his skin like a hot iron. The street was a fresh asphalt ribbon. Preston lurched forward into a run.

His back flared immediately. Ignore it, he thought. The doctors said you can do this. His stomach was next to complain, and it was more persuasive, sending up a warning shot of morning coffee and stale beer. He’d run through hangovers. Once upon a time, he’d run through anything. But that was before.

He told himself to stop thinking, that it hadn’t been that long ago. A stitch settled in his left side like a dagger. His calves were tight as fists. He hadn’t made it three blocks yet.

Then again, how could anyone tell? There weren’t actual blocks in Florida, just street and trees and grassand the canal, of course. Preston wondered if there were alligators that morning, and whether an alligator would eat a jogger.

Continue Reading

Halloween photo, belated

November 11, 2014 Personal, Pop Culture, Science Fiction & Fantasy Comments (0) 1004

White Walker Texas Ranger Chandelier Halloween

Low-key Halloween this year, what with moving just a few days earlier. Still, pretty proud of our costume choices: White Walker, Texas Ranger and Sia’s unnamed avatar.

Continue Reading

Ten Things I Learned from the Genesis Documentary, “Sum of the Parts.”

November 5, 2014 Pop Culture Comments (0) 362

  1. Tony Banks says “The Lamb Lies Down on Broaday” was his least favorite thing the band ever did. His favorite is “Duchess,” from the album Duke.
  2. Please read #1 again.
  3. “Duchess” is, ironically enough, about a washed-up former music star reflecting back on her glory days.
  4.  Tony Banks did not like Peter Gabriel wearing costumes on stage, and would not have allowed it to happen if he’d known about it in advance. He is clearly still quite salty about it.
  5. Tony Banks very openly resents Phil Collins solo success, and makes a point of letting everyone know that Phil “never played ‘In the Air Tonight’ for the band” before putting it on his solo record–Phil claims otherwise.
  6. Oh hey, please go back and read #1 again.
  7. The band apparently performed “Whodunnit” live in concert in the 1980s. So there’s that.
  8. Peter Gabriel says “The Lamb” is about “letting go of one’s self in order to make room for a new self.”
  9. Tony Banks feels that “Land of Confusion” was a powerful political statement.
  10. Mike Rutherford just seems happy that people remember he was in the band too.

Continue Reading