New York State Senators Jeff Klein, Diane Savino, David Carlucci and David Valesky apparently missed civics class, because they think the First Amendment grants the "privilege" of free speech, not the right, and that this "refined" view of free speech should be implemented in order to stop people from saying stupid things on the Internet.
Their report suggests that a "refined" First Amendment could be used to stop "happy slapping" (a short-lived violent craze from 2005), trolling, "flaming," and "INTENTIONALLY AND CRUELLY EXCLUDING SOMEONE FROM AN ONLINE GROUP" (the caps are theirs).
Seriously? If we don't let you into the club, it's now a form of cyberbullying? It makes you wonder what happened to these particular Senators when they were kids.
The paper also attacks "anonymity," again ignoring how anonymity can often be extremely helpful to kids who wish to discuss things and ask questions without revealing who they are.
As for where they're going with this? Well, you guessed it: they're planning to introduce new laws to deal with cyberbullying (even though NY already has such a law). The plan is to extend two existing areas of law: "stalking in the third degree" will now include cyberbullying, and "manslaughter in the second degree" will be expanded to "include the emerging problem of bullycide."
(Image: The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike (2.0) image from brentdpayne's photostream)
This video, labelled as being recorded "moments after" NYPD DI Anthony Bologna's now-infamous unprovoked mace assault on four women at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration, shows the same office in another mace attack. How many before we can call it a rampage? How many before the NYPD admits that it's wrong and unacceptable?
On the cover of today's NYT
, a 8,000+ word feature on Justin Canha, an autistic high school student who has been participating in an intensive program that aims to integrate people with autism (and not just the "high-functioning" kind) into the community. Justin is a talented artist, and is often sweet and charming, but he is also extremely confused by many everyday social interactions. His teacher, Kate Stanton-Paule, has been accompanying him through a multi-year program of daily community routines (shopping, working at part-time jobs), and Amy Harmon's long, well-written piece chronicles the triumphs and failures of the new approach that aims to replace segregation and institutionalization with integration and participation.
Some advocates of “neurodiversity” call this the next civil rights frontier: society, they say, stands to benefit from accepting people whose brains work differently. Opening the workplace to people with autism could harness their sometimes-unusual talents, advocates say, while decreasing costs to families and taxpayers for daytime aides and health care and housing subsidies, estimated at more than $1 million over an adult lifetime.
Autistic and Seeking a Place in an Adult World - NYTimes.com
But such efforts carry their own costs. In this New York City suburb, the school district considered scrapping Ms. Stanton-Paule’s program almost as soon as it began, to save money on the extra teaching assistants who accompanied students to internships, the bank, the gym, the grocery store. Businesses weighed the risks of hiring autistic students who might not automatically grasp standard rules of workplace behavior.
Oblivious to such debates, many autistic high school students are facing the adult world with elevated expectations of their own. Justin, who relied on a one-on-one aide in school, had by age 17 declared his intention to be a “famous animator-illustrator.” He also dreamed of living in his own apartment, a goal he seemed especially devoted to when, say, his mother asked him to walk the dog.
(Image: A job at a bakery, Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times, used with permission)