The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Rare rebuff of incursion into freedom

HERMOSA 22 JANUARY 2010 TESTPRESS REAL NEWS AFO*--This morning, So. Dak. Rep. Noel Hamiel (R-Mitchell) and Sen. Nancy Turbak-Berry (D-Watertown), emissaries for The Controllers, led a reconnaissance patrol through territory controlled by the unpredictably-but-nearly-universally hostile clan called the House State Affairs Committee. The Committee had made arrangements with them to pass, so that they could probe the defenses of that part of the Unwashed Territory not yet totally controlled by any division of The Controllers.

The purpose was to test-market a proposal that had no practical effect. In fact they tried to sell it as just that, saying they needed to “have the conversation.” They brought forth HB1277 and HB1278, which, as we’ve discussed in earlier posts, would have had no effect in law beyond that which already exists.

Their only proponents brought forth only issues that already have a remedy in law, which remedy would not have changed as a result of the passage of 1277 or 1278. Their opponents; Pat Powers--a respected blogger, Dave Bordewyk--So. Dak. Newspaper Assn., Jack Somebody--Motion Picture Assn. of America, et. al., talked a little about the chilling effect of the proposals, but mainly that they added nothing to the protections against and remedies for libelous blog posts.

Thus informed, Rep. Hamiel and Sen. Turbak-Berry withdrew gracefully from the field of potential battle. The masses had told them that they were not ready to accept another layer of meaningless forced data collection. They understood that an attack at this time would be unwise; they hadn’t enough partisan support, and some serious organized opposition.

It was, according to a long-time observer of The Controllers, a combination of two things. “First,” he said, “They send out patrols like this a hundred times a year, checkin’ to see where folks’ll let The Controllers have a little more presence in their lives in return for protection from people who look at them cross-eyed. When a group invites ‘em in, they never leave. When a group doesn't want 'em around, they come back after a while with a bigger bag full of trinkets.

“And,” he continued, “it’s about The Controllers being really thin-skinned. It hurts their feelings to see themselves talked about uncomplimentarily on comment boards where people can say pretty much anything they want to under a pseudonym. No tellin’ how crazy they’d get if they actually find out who doesn’t love them."

A source close to Rep. Hamiel said, “It’s nothing. Rep. Hamiel and Sen. Turbak-Berry can lead these patrols with their eyes closed. We probe; then we either advance or back off. But we’ve never had to give up territory we took. Not even slavery (he grinned a weird grin here).”

Rep. Bob Faehn (R-Watertown), clan-leader of the House State Affairs Committee, said he was not impressed by what the opponents said, but he said he thought the proposals were unenforceable. Which was what the opponents had said.

A background source at The Controllers HQ said that even he had no idea in what part of the Unwashed Territories patrols would be doing reconnaissance in the next few weeks.

*AFO stands for "A Fictitious Organization"


Anonymous said...

Hamiel & Turbak_Berry should forfeit their journalism and law degrees, in addition to being recalled. Their proposal was indefensible and a waste of the peoples' time.

Billy Bob said...

I'm glad Noel Hamiel decided to leave the Legislature. He already did enough damage to credible journalism as an editor and publisher.