The votes are in. With a commanding lead of 10.2% over the nearest challenger, Ohio Judge Tim Grendell is Popehat's Censorious Asshat of 2015. Congrats, Judge Grendell. Honestly Grendell wasn't my choice. But I can see how he won: he's emblematic of the vapid pettiness of power. Grendell abused his contempt power in a fit […]
Jessica Valenti of The Guardian thinks that, just as we jailed people who protested and criticized the draft during World War I, we should be able to jail people who release unflattering videos about Planned Parenthood. Both, she believes, are justifiable. Well, she doesn't say that explicitly. But that's the necessary implication of column today […]
You may recall Roca Labs, the "no surgery" weight-loss food supplement company that really hates being criticized — so much so that they entice their consumers to agree to a clause that prohibits them from saying anything negative about the company. Roca Labs is serious about this clause, using it as a basis to sue (or threaten to […]
Secure Channels is a startup cryptographic company that's off to a rough start — so much so that it's been reduced to using anonymous Twitter accounts to accuse a critic of criminal copyright infringement.
Imagine a controversial feminist, much maligned for incendiary rhetoric about gender relations. Scheduled to make a speech to like-minded people in some bastion of conservatism, she is approached by male critics, doused with several drinks, and pursued down the street by an angry, shouting crowd, quite plausibly out to do her physical harm. This scenario […]
Spanish-language network Univision has cancelled its telecast of the Miss America pageant in the wake of Donald Trump's characterization of Mexicans, and Trump has now sued Univision in response. The lawsuit, filed in state court in New York, is here. I won't opine on Trump's contract-related claims without reading his agreement with Univision. But Trump […]
Last summer I wrote about Ares Rights, a nominal "anti-piracy" firm that acts as a small-time legbreaker for various South American governments. When we encountered Ares they were trying to scrub discussions of Ecuador's spying practices through bogus DMCA notices. More recently Ares Rights abused the DMCA to suppress reporting on Ecuadoran corruption. Now — […]
Pity the spammers: they are past their prime. Email spam, now decades old, is hopelessly archaic. To keep up, the modern spammer must adjust to new platform after platform, each more limited and ephemeral than the last. So of course there is Twitter spam.
Last week some writers at Jezebel made a public complaint about its parent, Gawker Media: For months, an individual or individuals has been using anonymous, untraceable burner accounts to post gifs of violent pornography in the discussion section of stories on Jezebel. The images arrive in a barrage, and the only way to get rid […]
Why do bad things happen to good people? I can't tell you that. But I can tell you that bad things happen eventually to bad people. For instance: 1. Perhaps you remember David Bell, chief fraudster of the U.S. Telecom fraud ring discussed in my "Anatomy of a Scam" series. He's had criminal charges pending […]