from the funny-for-the-win dept
Well, this week goes to the comedians, hands down. Funny votes soared past Insightful votes, and several of the top funny comments are ranked highly on the insightful side despite having far fewer votes there, since competition was apparently thin. But the insight we got was still good, and so we open with our most insightful comment, in which Gothenem looked at a recent gag order and called the law out on its double standard regarding the definition of a journalist:
"No person covered by this order shall make any statement to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, internet (including, but not limited to, bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than matters of public record, that could interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice Defendant, the Government, or the administration of justice.... "This is a court statement that Television, Radio, Newspaper, Magazine, AND Internet (including, but not limited to bloggers) are all media (by the words or other media, suggesting that all the previous are part of media). Maybe this will finally put to rest statements like "Bloggers are not journalists". Since this is an official court stance, it can be called into other court cases as being "on the record". Perhaps Senator Feinstein needs to expand her Shield law (https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130807/13153224102/sen-feinstein-during-shield-law-debate-real-journalists-draw-salaries.shtml) to include all of the above. Otherwise, the courts need to drop Internet (including but not limited to bloggers) from their order.
You can't have it both ways. Either bloggers are journalists or they are not. You can't have them be journalists when it suits your purpose, but when it doesn't suit your purpose, suddenly they aren't.
In second place, we've got sorrykb with a comment that scored even more funny votes than insightful, but not enough to crack the top spot on that side. The comment expresses some confusion over the defamation claim against a parody cable ad on YouTube:
From the dslreports.com link:In the film, a fake cable industry representative (Nick Smith) promises poor service, underwhelming broadband speeds, and a "plethora of hidden fees," before educating viewers on the finer points of what being an oligopoly really means.I thought truth was an absolute defense to defamation.
Of course, this was a Canadian defamation claim, and our libel laws are much closer to those of everyone's favourite libel tourism destination, the UK (and in some ways even worse) so the fight would not be a fun one, even if victory was ultimately likely.
Speaking of which, while the US government rejects foreign libel rulings on the basis that they violate the Constitution, it doesn't seem so intent on enforcing the document internally. Coogan pointed out as much in our first Editor's Choice comment, responding to the feds' insistence that there are "checks and balances" in place to prevent misuse of surveillance and spying technology:
I was under the impression we already had checks and balances in place against government abuses of power: the fucking United States Constitution
And, last up on the insightful side, we've got Beta pointing out a big danger in the TSA's program of selling the right to bypass certain airport screening procedures for a fee: it makes it way harder to ever scale back the security theatre or the agency's authority:
If we let them become a revenue source, we will never, ever be rid if them.
Now, on to the funny side, where the winner is... me! But rather than give myself the spotlight, and I'm moving on to second place, where justok defied his modest username and suggested a great strategy for encrypting your online activities to hide them from the government:
I'm going to use the Constitution as my private key. They'll never think of using that.
In third place, we've got a comment from all the way back on last week's winners post, where there was some confusion (that led to contention) over our First Word/Last Word program. When one commenter objected to those feature spots being "paid" rather than a reflection of votes or editor's choices, an anonymous responder was driven to sarcasm by the myopia of that complaint:
If only there was a list of top-rated posts plus posts selected by Techdirt's editors. Maybe this list could be posted weekly and then we could comment on it.
For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with another great observation on the TSA's moneymaking plan. HappyBlogFriend makes me think it's time to stop saying "security theatre" and start saying "security mass":
Ah, so the TSA is selling indulgences. $85 and your soul will be absolved of terrorism.
After all, 3.4oz of sacramental wine just isn't enough.
Finally, we've got a response to the NSA's troubling use of the wildcard "...and others" in its list of people it needs to keep an eye on. DCX2 ran with the inspiration and offered the agency a catchy new slogan:
You can't spell Big Brother without "other".
That's all for this week, folks!