Posts Tagged ‘law’

Burning Books

Snurched from the LiveJournal of Keith R.A. DeCandido, who snicked it from Neil Gaiman’s blog.

Christian group sues for right to burn gay teen novel

Rather than get into a big lather over the symbolism of book-burning, I’ll simply say that while I object to the group’s decision to sue for the right to burn a book from a public library, I would whole-heartedly support their right to buy as many copies of the book as possible and burn those.

Basically, I see it as the difference between destroying public property (a library book) and applying for a fire permit to burn one’s own property.

In fact, I support their right so fervently that I’d like to invite the suit’s plaintiffs, the Christian Civil Liberties Union, to place a massive bulk order for my upcoming original novel, The Calling, which I’m sure will have something in it to offend them. Bad language and violence for certain; perhaps heresy or blasphemy will get their dander up.

To produce a really bright, tall bonfire that will make a statement, I think they should preorder 10,416 copies of my book, and then hold a press conference before they burn them in front of TV news crews and other members of the press.

C’mon, guys. I’m begging you. Please purchase and burn 10,416 copies of my novel. That kind of publicity will really teach me a lesson.

Bulk orders (which are eligible for discount prices) of The Calling can be placed by calling Simon & Schuster’s special sales division at 1-800-456-6798, or via e-mail to — remember to request it using its ISBN-13 Number: 978-1416579922.

WTF, California?

I am gravely disappointed in the California State Supreme Court for upholding the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in that state.

When considered in tandem with last week’s special election results, in which Californians voted down measures that could have substantially eased the financial crisis in their state, it becomes clear that Bill Maher was absolutely right when he argued that the tendency of  California’s citizens to rule themselves by ballot initiative has made their state impossible to govern. Left to their own devices, Californians will probably try to outlaw earthquakes, eliminate all taxes while guaranteeing everyone free college educations paid for with farts, and declare the state flower is a “blowjob tree.”

It’s all just so nonsensical. Try to follow along:

  1. The California State Supreme Court decides that same-sex marriage is protected under its state constitution’s equal-protection clause. So far, so good.
  2. A bunch of religious nutjobs appeal to a bunch of secular bigots to pass Prop 8, a Mormon-backed citizens’ ballot initiative that bans same-sex marriage in California. By a small margin, the measure passes. Appalling.
  3. The California State Supreme Court is asked to overturn the new law on the grounds that the court’s previous ruling established as precedent a constitutional protection for same-sex marriage; ergo, a law against it violates that state’s constitution. Driven by fear of a voter backlash (or perhaps its own prejudice), the court declines to overturn Prop 8.

So much for “liberal” California, folks. All I have to say at this point is that I’m proud to be a native New Englander.

The Muddy Realm of Online Privacy

Apparently, while many members of the United States’ liberal blogosphere were focused on the illegal secret warrantless wiretapping being carried out by the NSA, only a few of its keener legal eagles were paying attention to the possibly illegal public wiretapping of electronic communications being conducted by Facebook.

From the article on —

When The Pirate Bay released new Facebook features last month, the popular social networking site took evasive action, blocking its members from distributing file-sharing links through its service.

Now legal experts say Facebook may have gone too far, blocking not only links to torrents published publicly on member profile pages, but also examining private messages that might contain them, and blocking those as well.

It’s a fascinating article; it touches upon the fact that the law regarding these activities is maddeningly vague and difficult to apply in this case.

Part of Facebook’s defense will likely hinge on how it screens users’ private messages. If the messages are reviewed and blocked in-transit, they might be in violation of U.S. laws on wiretapping; if it happens as part of the client-side preparation of data packets for transmission, then it’s possible that it might not qualify as actual signal-interception.

The article’s authors make a good case for the need to pressure Congress to draft new legislation that deals with these increasingly thorny legal technicalities.