Clark's Farewell To Popehat

A few years ago Ken and Patrick invited me to write at Popehat because we shared a commitment to defending free speech and other virtues of the Enlightenment. While that's still true, it's become clear that our tactics and audiences differ and it makes sense for me to excuse myself from Ken's living room and write elsewhere.

I'll be at a new group blog formed by several e-friends called Status 451.

Meredith L Patterson jokingly pitched it as "He's a conservative Catholic ancap. She's a bisexual, polyamorous Euronerd anarcho-game-theorist. They write blogs!". This is true as far as it goes, but we've also got a politics / law / chess guy, some programmers, a pretend-economist, and more.

Topics will be an eclectic mix of math, politics, architecture (maybe buildings if I'm the one writing the post, maybe software if it's Meredith), tax policy, and so forth. The guiding principles of the blog, to the extent that it has any, are that no topics are beyond the pale, and we aim to discuss things at a systems level instead of object level. E.g. more "here is a thousand year history of the culture war behind gamergate" and less "These are the five people ruining games. Hate them. Now."

A few posts I've got in mind are

  • Disaggregation is next to Godliness
  • Science doesn't work
  • Chain of custody / chain of block
  • The book "Games People Play" and the social justice movement
  • Hunter S Thompson discovers neoreaction (welcome to crab country)

I'd like to thank Patrick and Ken once again for the opportunity to write here, and I hope to see many of you over at Status 451.

Popehat 2015 Year In Review

As the year ends, here's a small collection of the 2015 posts that got the most traffic, notice, abuse, or idiosyncratic fondness from me:

Reason commenters still haven't forgiven me: Our series on the Department of Justice's abuse of a grand jury subpoena to uncover commenters engaged in political hyperbole drew a lot of attention, as did the follow-ups.

Millennials are all our fault. They learned it by watching us.

Stubby golf pencils are hilarious in the right circumstances. Also, you can feel better.

How can I make my old-man cantankerousness about free speech idiocy more hip and "with it"? I know, a listicle! In which I attempt taxonomy of media blather about free speech issues.

Trollin' ain't easy. When a target of your satirical column shows up to emphasize that it's a satirical column, that counts as a win.

There are not enough fucks around here. How can we generate more fucks? I know! Let's invite Marc Randazza to join us! Here he is on the "Man in the High Castle" advertisements, the first of many First Amendment posts.

Also, how can I get us sued? That would be awesome. Adam Steinbaugh joins the 'hat and continues his tradition of savaging censors.

Entirely unsporting: Censors put down by Patrick stay down for good.

Old Faithful: Prenda Law will always be there for us.

The Popehat Week In Review: December 11, 2015

This week:

Sarah McLaughlin offered a guest post about a new reason that Gollum needs therapy.

Marc Randazza joined Popehat. I'm not sure how many fucks will be given, but clearly many will be said.

Marc immediately got busy giving certain commenters aneurysms by suggesting armed resistance to a modern government is impractical.

Ken Kensplained why we talk past each other about guns.

Marc praised Boston (the city and the band) at length in describing a good opinion vs. fact decision.

Marc lawsplained what claims Jeb! might have against Trump for cybersquatting.

Marc described what happens to a modern college student who writes something unpopular.

Marc mounted a vigorous attack on the tabloid no-privacy approach to modern politics.

Ken ridiculed the sentiment that calling Trump a bigot somehow impedes his First Amendment rights.

The Road to Popehat, as always, reflected bad life choices.

Marc will tell you who the REAL offensive one is, man, in the case of Man in the High Castle advertisements being removed from public transit.

Working On The First Popehat Podcast

So: We've decided to do a podcast. At least Patrick and I will contribute; other Popehat authors may as well. It will be infrequent — certainly no more than once per month.

There will be a few common themes familiar to Popehat readers: free speech issues, criminal justice issues, and lawsplainers, as well as the intersection of law and culture. We're open to suggestions and requests.

The regular features are still in development, but will likely include the following:

  • On The Case:  a look at the legal, social, and historical context of a well-known Supreme Court case, usually in the free speech realm.  In the first episode:  fighting words, and why Chaplinksy v. New Hampshire isn't really about them.
  • Lawsplaining:  you ask us to explain something about free speech law or criminal justice, and we bicker over it.
  • Who Are You And Why Are You Here?  Interviews with people we hope you'll find interesting.
  • . . . . and more about games, books, movies, and culture.

I've found the Lawyerist's guide to launching a podcast to be helpful, but I'd appreciate other suggestions for podcasting resources, especially in the area of finding open-source music & audio and integrating it. Suggestions, requests, and questions for Lawsplaining will also be welcome.

My goal is to launch early in January.

Welcome to the redesigned Popehat

We've fixed the place up some. Hope you like it. If anything isn't working right, feel free to leave a comment or else send me an email.

As you can see, the most recent post will always display at the top. Below that you'll see whatever relatively new post and old post we've chosen to sticky this week. The rest of the posts are below. You can also navigate some of our most popular tags and categories above, or navigate by author, date, or category on the right-hand menu down the page a bit.

We've removed the link to the forums while we renovate them.

You'll notice we've added Google ads. That's not so we can buy cocaine. All income from the Amazon Associates links and the Google ads will first go to pay out-of-pocket expenses like hosting. We're going to start featuring a monthly charity, and we'll give the excess to them.

Edited to add: Some people have been having problems with the front page not serving them the most recent posts. That's been an issue for a while. We think it's a problem with Cloudflare caching, and we're going to address it.

Adam Steinbaugh

We are pleased to announce that longtime Popehat friend Adam Steinbaugh is joining us as a contributing blogger. We are especially pleased because "Steinbaugh," the color after which Adam is named, is an especially rare one, having been described only in the fevered dreams of the damned Arabian scholar Abdul Alhazred, in his accursed and blasphemous Necronomicon.

For this and other obscenities, Alhazred was later devoured by demons in the now lost city of Irem, She of the 28 Pillars.

ADAM STEINBAUGH is not for everyone.

Adam Steinbaugh is a man of the people, but most especially a man for serious people, who think about serious things. Like Noam Chomsky, Adam Steinbaugh has arrived just in time, for this sorry age surely needs a man like Adam Steinbaugh.

When Adam Steinbaugh has finally been heeded by everyone, and everyone understands the serious things that Adam Steinbaugh is telling us, Adam Steinbaugh will be loved and admired by everyone.

You are on notice.

You will now follow Adam Steinbaugh on Twitter. You will hear what Adam Steinbaugh has to say, and you will be glad. This is not optional.

You are on notice.

Odds and Ends

Welcome back! The site is now available over http, as you can see. Supporting https will take a few days– a timeline defined not by me, but by our reverse-proxy/CDN service, which also handles TLS for us.

During the interim, don't worry about SSL errors; just skirt them by approaching us through http. Likewise, there may be small anomalies such as mixed content or the occasional missing piece of flair. Thanks for your patience. Once all the small pieces fall into place, we'll be good to go. Or to stay. Or whatever it is we do here.

Vote For Popehat's 2014 Censorious Asshat Of the Year!

Having skipped a year, Popehat will now continue its tradition of polling you, gentle readers, to elect our Censorious Asshat of 2014.

Only people or entities that we've written about in 2014 are eligible. I've culled the many asshats down to a few, based on volume and vigor of censoriousness, ridiculousness, hubris, and an X factor that I know when I see. Noted censorious asshat Brett Kimberlin has ascended to our Censorious Asshat Hall of Fame and is no longer eligible. Don't be greedy, Brett.

Vote early and often! Here are the candidates:

Carl David Cedar, a Texas attorney who threatened blogger Scott Greenfield with violence and lawsuits when Scott criticized Carl for swiping someone else's blog content. In Aggravation: A rare example of threats that are longer than my analysis of them. In Mitigation: ultimately pathetic, like a college sports star gone to seed.

Crystal Cox, blogger and litigant, who won an important free speech victory even as she engaged in a deranged nationwide blitz of frivolous litigation against her critics. In Aggravation: Sued people, including yours truly, in 10 different federal courts for criticizing her. In Mitigation: batshit crazy.

Michiko Shiota Gingery, Koichi Mera, and GAHT-US Corporation, litigants against the City of Glendale, who filed a patently offensive and frivolous lawsuit on behalf of reactionary Japanese factions seeking to suppress a Comfort Women memorial in Glendale because history hurts their fee-fees. In Aggravation: revisionists and atrocity apologists. In Mitigation: none.

Professor Thane Rosenbaum, who tried to do for censorship what John Yoo did for torture: make a legal case for it. Rosenbaum put logic and First Amendment doctrine in stress positions in an effort to justify broad and unprincipled "hate speech" laws. In Aggravation: "Fire in a crowded theater." In Mitigation: As an academic, has had no exposure to adversarial testing of his awful legal theories.

Jim Ardis, Mayor of Peoria, who abused the power of the state to get search warrants to identify and raid someone who authored a clearly satirical Twitter account about him. In Aggravation: Lack of remorse, open use of lap-dog cops and judges. In Mitigation: Streisanded into the stone age.

Bergen Community College, which forced a professor on leave and required him to visit a psychiatrist because he posted a picture of his young daughter in a Game of Thrones t-shirt. In Aggravation: Went straight for the "OMG Virginia Tech think of the children!" excuse. In Mitigation: As modern college administrators, deprived of role models displaying common sense, proportion, or shame.

Dale D. Berkley, Senior Attorney with the United States Department of Health and Human Services, who sent a threatening letter to a blogger over a patently satirical post on government letterhead. In Aggravation: Your tax dollars paid for that. In Mitigation: what else is he going to do all day?

"Crisis Manager" Xavier Hermosillo, who was hired to help repair the reputation of the California town of Murrieta after its residents screamed at buses full of kids, and shrewdly elected to threaten a cartoonist with . . . we're still not sure exactly what. In Aggravation: YOU HAD ONE JOB. In Mitigation: To be fair, threatening cartoonists is a step back from screaming obscenities at kids on buses.

Miles Sisk, who sought to bring the mighty power of the University of Oregon government to bear against mean students who used memes to make fun of student senators. In Aggravation: Betokens doom of our civilization. In Mitigation: where's he gonna learn better?

Ares Rights, a shadowy firm that continues to abuse the DMCA in an effort to suppress reporting on and criticism of clients including the Ecuadorian government. In Aggravation: Persistent, utterly amoral. In Mitigation: managed to shut up Adam Steinbaugh for several minutes.

Roca Labs, which sells pink slime you eat to stop feeling so empty inside, and which is intent on one-upping Prenda Law by suing EVERYONE FOR ALL THE SPEECH. In Aggravation: Preposterously litigious and shamefully intolerant of criticism. In Mitigation: High potential for long-term entertainment and eventual cinematic flame-out.

Ken and Patrick of Popehat, who used Popehat's comments and Twitter feed as their own living room and ejected people who annoyed them when the mood struck. In Aggravation: Remorseless, rude, absent-minded, foul-mouthed, generally douchey. In Mitigation: Only idiots think that's censorship.

Voting closes at 5:00 Pacific Time on January 2, 2015.

This poll is closed!
Poll activity:
Start date 2014-12-29 12:40:09
End date 2015-01-04 11:22:00

Poll Results:

Who shall be Popehat's Censorious Asshat of 2014?

New Theme: Comments

We're customizing a new theme. Feel free to add your constructive feedback, positive or negative, to the comments below!

In case you're interested, the theme I'm tweaking is Hueman by Alexander Agnarson, and he has released it (in exchange for acts of kindness) under the commendable WTF Public License.

Old:

In the coming days, we'll be revisiting our venerable logo to make it larger and jauntier in the new theme. We'll also be making minor refinements and major changes as we discover things not to our liking. Feel free to add your thoughts by commenting!