In Which I Dare Connecticut To Come Get Me. COME AT ME, BRO.

Law, Politics & Current Events

Dear Members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary of the General Assembly of the State of Connecticut:

My specific intent in writing this post is to annoy and alarm you.

I am posting this communication to you because of the traits and characteristics that I perceive in each of you, and which I firmly believe you possess. I specifically refer to your venality, your sub-normal intelligence, your poor hygiene, your regrettable oafishness, your indifference to your oath of office under your state's constitution ["You do solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be) that you will support the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the state of Connecticut, so long as you continue a citizen thereof; and that you will faithfully discharge, according to law, the duties of the office of...........to the best of your abilities. So help you God."], and your civil, legal, and constitutional illiteracy. It's not clear to me whether these personal traits and characteristics are the result of poor upbringing, bad pruning on the sad Charlie-Brown-Christmas tree that is your genetic lineage, or the quality identified by philosophers and various Omen sequels as Pure Evil. At any rate, your traits and characteristics inspire me to write about you, and are the subject of my discussion, and I spit upon them like so, ptui.

You have no reason to be in physical fear of me, a blogger on the other side of the country. I am not violent and do not believe in visiting violence upon people like you just because you are oathbreaking censorious twunts. Moral and legal issues aside, there are simply too many of you — including other state legislators like you around the country — and it would be exhausting. I prefer to stay on my couch.

However, it is my sincere hope that by writing to you I will achieve the following:

1. That my message will have a substantial and detrimental effect on your mental health, in that I will help you to realize what an embarrassment to the very notion of responsible self-governance you are, and that you have clawed and bit and scrambled and fought to become dim, petty tyrants; and

2. That my message will have the effect of substantially interfering with your participation in, and ability to benefit from, (a) the academic performance of those of you admirably engaged in remedial math or English classes, (b) with the employment in the Assembly of each of you, and (c) with other community activities or responsibilities (giving speeches, opening strip malls, asking your LAs to write your pro-traditional-marriage speeches while you meet your catamites at the Ramada Inn, collecting your Teamster bribes, etc.). I hope that my message will have that effect because it will show you, and your constituents, that you are worthy of only contempt.

3. Most especially, I hope that this message has the impact of causing you substantial embarrassment and humiliation within the professional community, including the legislative community, the legal community, the political community, the business community, the community of functional illiterates who speechify about education, the community of people who work "liberty" and "freedom" into every speech whilst they find new ways to regulate ever aspect of human existence, and the community of people typically viewed by the general public as slightly more palatable than child molesters but definitely less palatable than car thieves, wife beaters, or lawyers.

Why, you ask?

Well, it's because of Connecticut Senate Bill 456. As the Student Press Law Center reports, you — the members of the Connecticut Joint Committee on Judiciary — have referred Bill No. 456, which expands Connecticut's harassment laws in a stupendously ridiculous and unconstitutional way. How stupendous and unconstitutional? Well, so stupendous and unconstitutional that this blog post could be a crime in Connecticut if the rest of the droolers in your General Assembly approve this turd. Under the current version, it would be a crime to do the following:

(a) A person commits electronic harassment when such person, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another person, transmits, posts, displays or disseminates, by or through an electronic communication device, radio, computer, Internet web site or similar means, to any person, a communication, image or information, which is based on the actual or perceived traits or characteristics of that person, which:
(1) Places that person in reasonable fear of harm to his or her person or property;
(2) Has a substantial and detrimental effect on that person's physical or mental health;
(3) Has the effect of substantially interfering with that person's academic performance, employment or other community activities or
responsibilities;
(4) Has the effect of substantially interfering with that person's ability to participate in or benefit from any academic, professional or community-based services, activities or privileges; or
(5) Has the effect of causing substantial embarrassment or humiliation to that person within an academic or professional community.

The statute helpfully provides that the crime is committed where the communication is sent or where it is received, apparently meaning that you might assert that I have committed a crime in Connecticut by this post even though I write it in California.

You've joined the moronic headlong rush towards "cyberbullying" legislation that tramples of our heritage of free expression in exchange for a few local news headlines. You've drafted a bill that is stupendously overbroad and chilling of all sorts of protected expression. Frankly, it is not even a credible gesture towards complying with the United States or Connecticut Constitutions. If your lawyers wrote it for you, you need to stop hiring lawyers from gas-station bathrooms and the alleys behind methadone clinics. If you had even a minimal grasp of the power you wield — or if you cared — you would recognize that this statute purports to criminalize all sorts of criticism, argument, and satire based not on any objectively threatening nature, but on the whiny subjective butthurt of the disagreed-with. I'm guessing you'd say you're thinking of the children. But our children are not helped by teaching them to be bad citizens, by teaching them they should look to government for redress when people hurt their feelings, or by steadily weakening their Constitutional heritage in the name of fashionable concerns.

In summary: you are ignorant censorious tools. If your Joint Committee on the Judiciary passes this bill along in anything close to this form, its members should consider this post directed to them all. If the entire General Assembly approves it, it is directed to them as well. If the Governor signs it, he's on the list as well. I will republish the post when the law becomes effective.

Perhaps some of you, members of the Joint Committee on Judiciary, spoke up about this bill. However, so far as I can tell, there's no record of it, and your state does not see fit to attribute the bill to any particular member. At any rate, if your reaction to this bill was anything but immediate denunciation, consider this directed at you as well.

In closing, snort my taint,

Ken

Edited 3/30: Or, sure, you could discuss this in a polite manner like First Amendment demigod Eugene Volokh. I mean, if that's your thing. He's a busy professor, he probably doesn't have time to be extradited to Connecticut.

Last 5 posts by Ken White

48 Comments

45 Comments

  1. Kasey  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:01 am

    Snort my Taint is never going to get old.

  2. Andy  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:16 am

    Ladies and gentlemen, Ken's commencement speech for UConn is now ready for review.

  3. Dan  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:38 am

    Can I get a definition on "twunt"? I think I can guess…

  4. Scott Jacobs  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:44 am

    Excuse me… I have to e-mail this link (or perhaps just cut and paste the whole thing) to every member of the legislature I can find an e-mail address for…

  5. Ken  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:45 am

    There's like 40 members of the committee. I was going to enter their email addresses one by one, but that seemed suspiciously like work.

  6. Paul  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:47 am

    Why didn't they merely repeal the First Amendment? Snort my taint, indeed.

  7. Free-range Oyster  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:57 am

    I managed to keep my composure all the way through, with nothing more than the occasional grin, until I got to the sign off. Then I burst into uncontrollable guffaws of joy and appreciation. That was some of the most delicious snark I have seen. Thank you.

  8. Jay  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:03 am

    Fantastic letter. I particularly enjoy the entirety of the second paragraph. No, wait, I like all of it. Go get 'em, tiger!

  9. Gideon  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:08 am

    Thanks for this post. I will bookmark it for later reference when I write my own post.

  10. mojo  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:16 am

    You forgot the "Yours Respectfully"…

  11. Joe  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:17 am

    Well Ken, under their current version as you’ve outlined it
    (a) oh crap I’m in trouble – I annoy people on a regular basis. Regarding:
    (1) this would appear to be covered by most local laws to begin with –call the police and file a freaking restraining order already.
    (2-5) if it is truly libel or slander then existing laws and a lawsuit against the offender should take care of it.

    If however someone chooses to conduct themselves as an asshat in public, then the public should be free to ridicule them without fear of reprisal. These jokers are trying to use the First Amendment as their personal toilet paper.

  12. Dustin  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:24 am

    This post was written with the intent to alarm me about speech rights, and because this blog does so often and entertainingly, but kinda loquaciously to be honest, it's likely to interfere with my academic performance and propensity to enjoy community privileges I am ENTITLED to.

    do I get money now?

  13. Jordan Rushie  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:48 am

    This post made my day.

  14. Scott Jacobs  •  Mar 29, 2012 @11:51 am

    Ken – I guess cut and paste doesn't work on your computer? :)

  15. Agburanar  •  Mar 29, 2012 @12:37 pm

    I'm torn between "Well, there goes 90% of the places I visit on the internet" and "Needs Moar Ponies".

    Joe – it is funny (and sad) how so many bad laws get proposed or passed because of examples that are already illegal, but, in doing so making more things illegal.

  16. Josh  •  Mar 29, 2012 @1:37 pm

    *PPPPFFFTTTT!!*
    *wipes coffee off monitor*

    God…God DAMMIT, CT! WHAT THE FUCKING FUCKSTICKS! I thought you were BETTER THAN THIS! Jumping Jesus H. Christfuck, I'm ashamed of my state of birth. It might actually be dangerous for me to go home if this bullshit passes!

  17. Josh  •  Mar 29, 2012 @1:39 pm

    Clarification: By "home" I mean "to visit family," seeing as I don't live in the Blue Law State anymore.

    Man, is that name ever appropriate in this case…and just when they were doing so well with getting ready to legalize liquor sales on Sundays, too…

  18. Scott Jacobs  •  Mar 29, 2012 @1:41 pm

    I think Josh is trying to muscle in on my racket…

  19. Jb  •  Mar 29, 2012 @1:52 pm

    Dan,
    It's a portmanteau of Twit or Twat and Cunt.

  20. Josh  •  Mar 29, 2012 @2:00 pm

    Scott: Definitely not trying to muscle in on your racket. There are a few things that get absolutely livid about, and measures that curtail free speech are at the top of the list.

    I've gotten past the "frothing at the mouth stage" at this point. Now I'm at the "rolling boil/dull roar" stage. I'm definitely going to be letting friends and family back home know that they need to make some phone calls to people. This shit is unacceptable.

  21. Landru  •  Mar 29, 2012 @2:23 pm

    Applause.

  22. Jim Armstrong  •  Mar 29, 2012 @2:34 pm

    This is the best thing I've read this week.
    And "snort my taint" is my new catchphrase!

  23. Jess  •  Mar 29, 2012 @2:48 pm

    I am suddenly overcome with a desire to yell nanner nanner ppffttthhh and stick my tongue out at these dolts. God must love stupid politicians. He made SO many.

  24. C. S. P. Schofield  •  Mar 29, 2012 @3:15 pm

    Not quite in the class of "J'accuse" (you would not BELIEVE how much trouble I had to go through to get my hands on a decent english translation of that memorable essay.), but certainly a classic. It should be (to quote Mr. Kipling in another context) "written in letters of brass, for instruction…" of future generations.

    I doff my hat to you, sir.

  25. David  •  Mar 29, 2012 @3:54 pm

    But Ken… tell us what you really think.

    (Seriously though, this approaches The Ultimate Flame– http://www.ultimateflame.com/ –from a more elevated level, primarily in addressing specific real world issues. *applause*)

  26. Laura K  •  Mar 29, 2012 @6:29 pm

    Honestly, reading this I am remembering what it was like to be 13, cursed at every day, hit, stolen from, beaten up, trying to stop other kids torturing animals in science classrooms, etc…and I'm absolutely sure that this law won't do anything for my counterparts in CT today. Some kid will come to the point where they've had enough and say or post something to or about the wonderbitch or asshat who is making their life a living hell, and the bully will twist the law back on them. Too damned many bullies–and their parents–are good enough at manipulating weak minds (like the public school system); so it is only a matter of time. This resolution will be one more thing the actual bullies will find a way to hide behind. I don't know how, but I know they damn well will.
    …Ken, all things considered, I think you overlooked one possibility; these cumpustules are so stupid they might actually TRY to oblige and snort your taint…

  27. Jeff  •  Mar 29, 2012 @8:14 pm

    "If your lawyers wrote it for you, you need to stop hiring lawyers from gas-station bathrooms and the alleys behind methadone clinics."

    Well done!

  28. G Thompson  •  Mar 29, 2012 @8:48 pm

    and I spit upon them like so, ptui.

    The Monty Python is strong in you my son.

    Now is there anyway a humble Australian could in any way embarrass these fools to the point where they try to extradite me to their foul fart filled chambers filled with other empty-headed animal food-trough wipers where I am positive their Mothers were hamsters, and their fathers smelt of elderberries.

    Though this stupidity has nothing on one an Australian State's latest request by its Police force to force all newborn babies to have DNA collected so that they can solve future crimes.

  29. gclason  •  Mar 29, 2012 @10:09 pm

    FYI: Judiciary Committee

    Dist. – Name Position Email Web Party
    S02 – Coleman, Eric D. Co-Chair D
    146 – Fox, Gerald M. Co-Chair D
    S09 – Doyle, Paul R. Vice Chair D
    094 – Holder-Winfield, Gary A. Vice Chair D
    S07 – Kissel, John A. Ranking Member R
    125 – Hetherington, John W. Ranking Member R
    103 – Adinolfi, Al Member R
    099 – Albis, James M. Member D
    015 – Baram, David A. Member D
    073 – Berger, Jeffrey J. Member D
    S05 – Bye, Beth Member D
    032 – Carpino, Christie M. Member R
    124 – Clemons, Charles D. Member D
    092 – Dillon, Patricia A. Member D
    044 – Flexer, Mae M. Member D
    090 – Fritz, Mary G. Member D
    S06 – Gerratana, Terry B. Member D
    110 – Godfrey, Bob Member D
    S23 – Gomes, Edwin A. Member D
    003 – Gonzalez, Minnie Member D
    129 – Grogins, Auden Member D
    039 – Hewett, Ernest Member D
    112 – Hovey, DebraLee Member R
    114 – Klarides, Themis Member R
    131 – Labriola, David K. Member R
    024 – Lopes, Rick Member D
    S24 – McLachlan, Michael A. Member R
    S12 – Meyer, Edward Member D
    140 – Morris, Bruce V. Member D
    046 – Olson-Riley, Melissa M. Member D
    069 – O'Neill, Arthur J. Member R
    004 – Roldan, Kelvin Member D
    S30 – Roraback, Andrew W. Member R
    123 – Rowe, T.R. Member R
    080 – Sampson, Robert C. Member R
    033 – Serra, Joseph C. Member D
    135 – Shaban, John Member R
    062 – Simanski, Bill Member R
    108 – Smith, Richard A. Member R
    109 – Taborsak, Joseph J. Member D
    147 – Tong, William Member D
    020 – Verrengia, Joe Member D
    093 – Walker, Toni E. Member D
    S31 – Welch, Jason C. Member R
    041 – Wright, Elissa T. Member D

  30. anarchic teapot  •  Mar 30, 2012 @3:08 am

    Read, mark, and inwardly digest, my lovelies, for that is one magistral flame.

  31. Goober  •  Mar 30, 2012 @8:09 am

    "Come at me, BRO!"

    Ken, when you have me laughing before I even finish the title of the post, you've managed to make my day. Take the morning off. Well done!

  32. Mercury  •  Mar 30, 2012 @8:19 am

    In other words:

    Let us be perfectly clear here: The state and only the state shall have the power and legal authority to arbitrarily bully a private citizen. You have been warned.

  33. dfbaskwill  •  Mar 30, 2012 @1:09 pm

    I must thank Nadia for alerting me to this blog. I like the way you articulate. Henceforth, you shall be on my limited blog reading list. Congrats and good work. hee hee hee

  34. Mario Cerame  •  Mar 30, 2012 @2:18 pm

    Hey, so I very much doubt this bill will pass this session. I talked with the legal director of the ACLU-CT, who attended the public hearing yesterday. One of the chairmen wanted some of the supporters to hash out language with the ACLU-CT to make sure whatever language would be used passed constitutional muster. And the ACLU-CT is exceptionally good on speech rights.

    Ken, if you want some more info, don't hesitate to email me.

    FYI, I believe the language comes from section 6 of a proposed Alabama law, which is discussed here:
    http://thefire.org/article/14265.html

  35. Joe  •  Mar 30, 2012 @5:06 pm

    Ah – good ole Alabama – why am I not surprised. Makes me wonder what Texas would do. Oh that's right – nothing. Being the State that had a well justified hissy fit over the TSA porno scanners and pat downs and then after attempting to pass a bill against same, folded like a cheap suit when threatened by the FAA that all commercial flights in and out of Texas would be banned. Still it does make me wonder since this is a law proposed at the State level what if you, as Ken stated, reside in another State – and that State did not agree with this kerfuffle. State against State. Hmmmm

  36. Christoph  •  Mar 30, 2012 @10:51 pm

    Oh, that's hilarious. I can't decide what part was the funniest. But the last line and then the post script about being extradited to CT (as if they would every dare) were both especially awesome.

  37. piperTom  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:03 am

    Dustin: "do I get money now?" Civil suits, already you can put (however forlorn).
    This (proposed) law is about criminal sanctions. Yes, sarcasm. But misplaced. No jail for Ken.

  38. Jess  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:49 am

    Politicians in Connecticut must be so relieved that they no longer hold first place ranking as censorious asshats in the public eye this week. Why you may ask? Well, the New York City Department of Education has decided to step up to the plate and take this to a new level of absurdity by telling anyone interested in writing their tests to avoid the use of certain words or phrases on standardized tests lest they appear biased or evoke unpleasant emotions in students. They want to avoid the use of certain words or phrases on standardized tests if "the topic is controversial among the adult population and might not be acceptable in a state-mandated testing situation; the topic has been overused in standardized tests or textbooks and is thus overly familiar and/or boring to students; the topic appears biased against (or toward) some group of people." The list of the words and phrases is below.
    Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological), Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs, Birthday celebrations (and birthdays), Bodily functions, Cancer (and other diseases), Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes), Celebrities, Children dealing with serious issues, Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia), Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting), Crime, Death and disease, Divorce, Evolution, Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes, Gambling involving money, Halloween, Homelessness, Homes with swimming pools, Hunting, Junk food, In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge, Loss of employment, Nuclear weapons, Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling), Parapsychology, Politics, Pornography, Poverty, Rap Music, Religion, Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan), Rock-and-Roll music, Running away, Sex, Slavery, Terrorism, Television and video games (excessive use), Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters), Vermin (rats and roaches), Violence, War and bloodshed, Weapons (guns, knives, etc.), Witchcraft, sorcery, etc. ]
    I would love for Ken to blog about this one!!

  39. Joe  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:13 am

    RE: NYC Dept. of Educations – makes you wonder how they expect the students to learn anything. Oh wait, that's right, they don't.

  40. Scott Jacobs  •  Mar 31, 2012 @1:51 pm

    RE: NYC Dept. of Educations – makes you wonder how they expect the students to learn anything.

    Eh. Why start now?

  41. Chris  •  Mar 31, 2012 @6:43 pm
  42. NLP  •  Mar 31, 2012 @7:00 pm

    Apparently under this bill it's illegal to call someone and say, "I saw you run that man over last night, and I'm on my way to tell the cops, and thought I'd let you know so you can turn yourself in." Because that would be a very upsetting phone call. Particularly if the accusation is true.

  43. IGotBupkis, Three Time Winner of the Silver Sow Award  •  Mar 31, 2012 @8:58 pm

    Bullard is the Vice-Chair of the Agricultural Committee and a former teacher. That makes this even more awesome.

    Indeed. HOWEVER, the followup comments failed to note that this idiotic bimbo came from MIAMI, which is where she was elected.

    Y'all do realize that Miami rivals Tampa for the biggest freaking idiots in the state? They both were among the ones who voted themselves an additional penny sales tax, voluntarily.

    And before you rag on FL too much, realize — We don't have a state income tax. We're about the only state LEFT that doesn't have one, and we aren't going to GET one, either. Know why? Because the creators of our Constitution were bright enough to reject it as an explicit part of the Constitution. So in order to pass one, it would require a Constitutional amendment. And, thanks to another bit of enlightened (spelled more accurately as "clueless") electoral folderol (see "Pig Amerndment") it's now much tougher to change the Constitution.

    I'm not saying FL doesn't have its own fair share of libtard morons to compete with newspaper space with the redneck dimbulbs, I'm just saying it's got a lot of smarter stuff going on, too. The proportion of significant lackwits in this state is no higher than average, I'd say.

  44. IGotBupkis, Three Time Winner of the Silver Sow Award  •  Apr 1, 2012 @8:14 am

    This is all being done as …. wait for it…. a mechanism to "protect the children" — you see, children are being raised to believe that It's All About Them. And that means that none of them should ever actually experience any sort of bullying or abuse that our ancestors grasped was a significant part of learning to deal with the Real World. No, no, no, say modern leftists — we MUST protect our wee ones!!! At all costs! Damn the Constitution, Shut Down Free Speech!!

    We can't have **any** kind of bullying going on!!

    This little bit of hysteria is, of course, going to go the same way as all the "child molestation" that was going on in the early 1990s, as people realize that most of the stuff is either lied about or blown far out of proportion by sensationalists with something to sell.

  45. bustera  •  Apr 1, 2012 @7:36 pm

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