TPRJones' Last 100 Shared Items

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Acquisitions Incorporated PAX Prime 2014
Originally Published November 26th, 2014, 11:12 AM
Acquisitions Incorporated PAX Prime 2014

Watch in awe and amusement as Jerry Holkins, Mike Krahulik, Scott Kurtz, and Morgan Webb of Acquisitions Inc. wade once more into almost certain doom, courte...
From: Dungeons & Dragons Views: 194769 2770 ratings
Time: 02:27:31 More in Gaming


Still one of the best Spaceplane guides I have seen. (i.imgur.com)
Originally Published November 22nd, 2014, 12:52 PM

Submitted by Xenocide321 to KerbalSpaceProgram.

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DB8 - FrumpCat Matt with Necomimi ears
Originally Published November 16th, 2014, 01:18 AM
DB8 - FrumpCat Matt with Necomimi ears

https://www.desertbus.org/ FrumpCat Matt with Necomimi ears Uploaded by the Desert Bus Video Strike Team.
From: DesertBusForHope Views: 0 0 ratings
Time: 01:25 More in Comedy


DB8 - Kristin explains where the Child's Play money goes, chat gets "feels"y
Originally Published November 15th, 2014, 02:49 PM
DB8 - Kristin explains where the Child's Play money goes, chat gets "feels"y

https://www.desertbus.org/ Kristin explains where the Child's Play money goes, chat gets "feels"y Uploaded by the Desert Bus Video Strike Team.
From: DesertBusForHope Views: 1 0 ratings
Time: 05:11 More in Comedy


DB8 - RebelliousUno teaches James how to play Jenga and the crew start playing
Originally Published November 15th, 2014, 11:23 AM
Note from TPRJones: Ridiculous and amazing things start happening a bit after the two-thirds mark.
DB8 - RebelliousUno teaches James how to play Jenga and the crew start playing

https://www.desertbus.org/ RebelliousUno teaches James how to play Jenga and the crew start playing Uploaded by the Desert Bus Video Strike Team.
From: DesertBusForHope Views: 2 0 ratings
Time: 27:48 More in Comedy


DB8 - Dave Sketch: "What's Goin' On in My Desert Bus"
Originally Published November 15th, 2014, 06:01 AM
DB8 - Dave Sketch: "What's Goin' On in My Desert Bus"

https://www.desertbus.org/ Dave Sketch: "What's Goin' On in My Desert Bus" Uploaded by the Desert Bus Video Strike Team.
From: DesertBusForHope Views: 2 0 ratings
Time: 02:35 More in Comedy


1st Squad, 3rd Platoon
Originally Published November 11th, 2014, 08:58 AM
1st Squad, 3rd Platoon

In August 2005, Marine Lance Cpl. Travis Williams and his squad were sent on a rescue mission in Barwanah, Iraq. En route, their vehicle was hit by a roadsid...
From: storycorps Views: 188064 0 ratings
Time: 03:46 More in Film & Animation


The Last Viewing
Originally Published November 10th, 2014, 05:00 PM
The Last Viewing

Allen Hoe served as a combat medic during the Vietnam War, and his two sons continued his legacy of service. His oldest son, Nainoa, eventually became a firs...
From: storycorps Views: 101708 0 ratings
Time: 03:22 More in Film & Animation


The Nature of War
Originally Published November 10th, 2014, 09:00 AM
The Nature of War

In 2005, Specialist Justin Cliburn deployed to Iraq with the Oklahoma Army National Guard. While serving in Baghdad, Justin formed an unlikely friendship wit...
From: storycorps Views: 89384 0 ratings
Time: 03:34 More in Film & Animation


Prepare your face for smiling.  NASA Marshall Space Flight...
Originally Published November 6th, 2014, 04:42 PM




Prepare your face for smiling.  NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (here in my hometown!) just uploaded a video on YouTube of Astronauts Steve Swanson and Reid Wiseman creating a huge ball of water and submerging a GoPro in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZEdApyi9Vw



BREAKING: Existence of U. of Oregon Student Senator Miles Sisk Confirms Failure Of American Experiment
Originally Published November 5th, 2014, 06:51 PM

[AP] EUGENE, OR:Leading scientists across the globe announced yesterday that they have confirmed the irreversible failure of the American experiment in liberty and self-rule based upon their observations of University of Oregon Student Senate Vice President Miles Sisk.

"Pack it in, we're done here," snapped University of California Professor Emeritus James Clyden, who helped announce the scientists' findings at a grim press conference. "It's all on Canada's shoulders now," added Clyden, shuddering.

Sisk, recently appointed to his position, is nominally heir to an American tradition that includes the 1781 Siege of Yorktown, the bloody 1965 Selma to Montgomery March, and the moon landing. Recently, on October 22, Sisk warned mean bloggers on the internet that he would have them silenced disciplined by authorities if they kept making fun of student government:

"What is happening on these blogs is cyber-bullying and I believe that this is a crime. The people running these blogs are criminals,” Sisk said. “Frankly, I’m done with it.”

Sisk went on to announce that he will be taking firm action to ensure that the blogs are terminated.

“In response to this, I have communicated with a friend of mine. He has acquired the IP addresses of those blogs. If these blogs are not shut down within the next 48 hours I am turning these in to the administration. They are able to connect these IP addresses to the people running them.”

Image Courtesy of Daily Emerald:  Sisk, whose existence renders vain and hollow our grandfathers' sacrifices at Iwo Jima and Utah Beach.

Image Courtesy of Daily Emerald: Sisk, whose existence renders vain and hollow our grandfathers' sacrifices at Iwo Jima and Utah Beach.

Sisk has not provided any evidence that the mean bloggers have made threats of harm as opposed to trite gifs and memes about banal student politics. "If a privileged kid who is a student leader at a good university feels he has to demand that the state protect him from criticism, what possible hope do most Americans have of governing themselves?" asked Yale historian Margaret Scott. "Freedom is hard. Self-governance is hard. Living together without resorting to tyranny is hard. Our founders pledged to each other 'our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor' to achieve those goals. This kid won't pledge to put up with someone mocking student government with a Parks & Recreation screencap."

Scientists agreed that Sisk's lack of fortitude — which was described as "pusillanimous," "snivellingly serfish," "contemptibly spineless," and "typical for a sophomore" — marked the rise of an American citizen unable to carry the burdens of representative government, individual rights, or unregulated daily interactions with other humans. "It's not just his craven thirst for totalitarian rule," agreed Duke professor Wil Trent. "It's also the abject ignorance. Running a society together requires a baseline of civic literacy. When even a student leader at a good university is ignorant of the most basic rights of other citizens — game over, man. Game over."

In addition to some basic civil knowledge one might reasonably expect mainstreamed fifth-graders to possess, liberty also requires at least primitive-hominid-level common sense, confirmed Trent. "This guy says critics are criminals, gets no result because of the rule of law and a hundred years of unbroken constitutional tradition, and then whines because of the bad publicity," Trent said, his voice cracking. "I renounce my citizenship," he continued, rending a dog-eared pamphlet copy of the Declaration of Independence.

As Trent suggested, Sisk has expressed what scientists called a "hamster-like befuddlement over cause and effect" when his threats did not produce the desired results:

“The student government has such a negative image already that the existence of these blogs makes it even worse, and it’s hurt and they are saying hurtful things about people,” Sisk said. “And the fact that they are now being reported on, it’s apparently going over to other organizations, the news about these is really the exact opposite of what I wanted to do, which was just make them stop. Now everybody knows about them.”

"People can't govern themselves if they're that stupid," shrieked Trent.

At press time, a spokesman from the Foundation for Individual Rights In Education was screaming and slamming his head repeatedly in an elevator door.

"Patrick Henry said 'give me liberty or give me death,'" said Princeton University professor Wayne Jacobs. "Nathan Hale said 'I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.' This guy is saying 'I'm going to hold my breath until police use the criminal justice system to protect me from satirical Pokemon GIFs.' And this is the future of America?"

"We're so fucked," concluded Jacobs glumly.

BREAKING: Existence of U. of Oregon Student Senator Miles Sisk Confirms Failure Of American Experiment © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

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A clever way to show how ancient ruins looked like (i.imgur.com)
Originally Published November 3rd, 2014, 04:46 AM

Submitted by ThunderKant to pics.

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WEREWOLVES Starring Kate Micucci, Felicia Day, and Jeff Lewis - HALLOWEEK
Originally Published October 31st, 2014, 12:00 PM
Note from TPRJones: I love Kate Micucci so much. She's so dreamy!
WEREWOLVES Starring Kate Micucci, Felicia Day, and Jeff Lewis - HALLOWEEK

After a seer gets brutally murdered, the search for the town werewolf gets more dire. Will the real werewolf be found out? Based on the game, Ultimate Werewo...
From: Geek & Sundry Views: 465980 25735 ratings
Time: 05:38 More in Entertainment


ミ☆ミ☆無!・61!ミ☆ミ☆
Originally Published October 31st, 2014, 05:23 AM
ミ☆ミ☆無!・61!ミ☆ミ☆

Happy Halloween v(._.;)
From: Magibon Views: 24433 751 ratings
Time: 00:30 More in People & Blogs


Fight Club Analysis – Earthling Cinema (NEW SHOW!)
Originally Published October 30th, 2014, 08:30 AM
Fight Club Analysis – Earthling Cinema (NEW SHOW!)

The first rule of Fight Club is: You must hit the SUBSCRIBE button. CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE: http://goo.gl/N4Fse9 Welcome to Earthling Cinema, where we examine th...
From: Wisecrack Views: 63513 3476 ratings
Time: 04:00 More in Education


Things to do in Minecraft - Natural Selection
Originally Published October 29th, 2014, 05:47 PM
Things to do in Minecraft - Natural Selection

Lindsay, Kdin, and Matt follow their animal instincts in this week's Things to do in Minecraft! RT Store: http://bit.ly/1vduQ60 Rooster Teeth: http://rooster...
From: Rooster Teeth Views: 451640 11917 ratings
Time: 02:09 More in Gaming


Things to do in Minecraft - Natural Selection
Originally Published October 29th, 2014, 05:47 PM
Things to do in Minecraft - Natural Selection

Lindsay, Kdin, and Matt follow their animal instincts in this week's Things to do in Minecraft! RT Store: http://bit.ly/1vduQ60 Rooster Teeth: http://rooster...
From: Rooster Teeth Views: 451640 11917 ratings
Time: 02:09 More in Gaming


Chris' Doot-Doot, Blaine's Duster - Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures 4K
Originally Published October 29th, 2014, 05:00 PM
Chris' Doot-Doot, Blaine's Duster - Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures 4K

Chris talks about his bathroom habits, and Blaine tries to look cool during an apocalypse. Audio from RT Podcast #287: http://bit.ly/1xEqo1g and #236: http:/...
From: Rooster Teeth Views: 625916 14974 ratings
Time: 01:31 More in Gaming


Geese
Originally Published October 28th, 2014, 07:00 PM
Anyway, that's a common misconception. Geese live for a long time; all the ones we can see will probably keep flying around for billions of years before they explode.


Ariana Grande Wants Grande Boobs? 5 Things You Missed This Week!
Originally Published October 25th, 2014, 01:00 PM
Note from TPRJones: I'm sharing this one just because Joe was so good in it. The man knows how to commit to a bit.
Ariana Grande Wants Grande Boobs? 5 Things You Missed This Week!

Ariana Grande wants bigger boobs, shirtless work selfies, & Harry Potter stuff. Buy some awesomeness for yourself! http://www.forhumanpeoples.com/collections...
From: SourceFed Views: 184853 7142 ratings
Time: 02:58 More in News & Politics


Powerful cartoon from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald (i.imgur.com)
Originally Published October 23rd, 2014, 12:40 PM

Submitted by Spawnacus to pics.

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CapitolTV's DISTRICT VOICES - District 5: Electric Sparks From Falling Water
Originally Published October 22nd, 2014, 07:05 PM
CapitolTV's DISTRICT VOICES - District 5: Electric Sparks From Falling Water

Panem finds power in the radiance of the sun, and the water which rains down upon us! District 5's Chief Energy Researcher Derek Muller takes CapitolTV on a ...
From: Veritasium Views: 411093 14208 ratings
Time: 03:20 More in Education


Politics in the Animal Kingdom: Single Transferable Vote
Originally Published October 22nd, 2014, 07:21 AM
Politics in the Animal Kingdom: Single Transferable Vote

The 2014 Midterm Elections are coming up in the United States so it's time for another installment of 'Politics of the Animal Kingdom'. Make sure to start at...
From: CGP Grey Views: 563278 24325 ratings
Time: 07:11 More in Education


BAH Fest East 2014
Originally Published October 19th, 2014, 08:15 PM
BAH Fest East 2014

Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses Web: http://bahfest.com/ Twitter: @BAHFest.
From: BAHFest Views: 9605 144 ratings
Time: 02:12:28 More in Comedy


I am Ted Mosby
Originally Published October 16th, 2014, 02:21 AM

I’m usurping today’s blog post from Michael! Bwahaha! Somehow, I don’t think he’ll mind, and I for once have something to talk about!

Something like a year ago, the final episode of How I Met Your Mother aired and the internets became an uproar over the final episode. My Facebook wall was awash for nearly a week of people proclaiming it an awful ending. One that practically ruined the rest of what is an amazing and funny show. Somehow I managed to avoid spoilers. I know not how. But I did. And recently season 9 of How I Met Your Mother came to Netflix, which is about the only way I watch TV anymore. I powered through the final season while coloring up some comic pages. TV shows like that make for good background material.

Season 9 was an amazing farewell and wrap up to a show that delighted me for nearly a decade. But it was with trepidation that I let the finale play out, remembering how much everyone said it sucked.

I now know to never listen to them when it comes to story telling. Cuz they’ve got zero taste.

I know it’s been a year, and I think I’ve safely reached the statute of limitations on spoilers, but still. In case this is a concern for you: SPOILERS, SWEETIE.

Sure, the finale left me sad and conflicted, and there were parts that I didn’t like. But as I reflect on my feelings, I didn’t like these parts not because they made for a shitty story, but because they made me sad. Going into season 9, I felt confident that Robin and Barney would get hitched, Ted would meet Tracy and the long winding tale of their meeting would end and that would be it. I could see why people would be upset by not seeing more of Ted and Tracy’s courtship and life together, but after all that’s not what the story was about. So I was confused by how they finally met in the first 10 minutes of the final hour long finale. I wondered, what more story could there be? Where are you going from here guys? And then I found out.

Yes, after the extremely convoluted redemption arc of the man-child Barney, I was sad to see Robin and Barney’s marriage fall apart and Barney drift back to his old ways. I really did have hopes for them. They were a great, fun couple, and it is a tragedy that they didn’t make it work after all. Barney in general went from being a wonderful character with his own intense arc of growth all his own to being… well… kind of a sad let down. Yet, while it was sad, it was within his character. The fact that so much of Barney’s character growth was effectively thrown out almost immediately after it happened hurt, though

Yes, I was sad to see the gang fall apart as the years wore on, especially the disappearance of Robin. It was sad to see people grow up and move down different paths. But that is friendship. Sometimes friends last forever. Sometimes they grow apart. Hell, my friends from college, whom feature very heavily in a decently popular webcomic I drew, barely manage to meet up once a month for lunch. And we all live within a 1 hour radius. To lose friends, to watch a tight knit group drift apart, hurts.

Yes, I was sad to learn that all this time that this yarn has been spinning, Tracy has been dead for six years. I was concerned that Tracy could never live up to the role she’d been dealt, but it turns out she was a really awesome person. Someone who truly would be great with Ted. I had always been a big fan of Robin and Ted, yeah I was on Marshall’s side of that particular bet, but I have to say, Tracy and Ted really were a pretty unbeatable pair. And her loss hurt, even though I’d only really just met her.

Is it the ending I wanted? No. I suppose it’s not. I wanted the ending where Lilly and Marshall, and Robin and Barney, and Tracy and Ted grew old together as three happy couples. A perfect sextet of friends, with a small horde of children between them, having goofy adventures together until they died. That’s the perfect ending. That’s the fairy tale ending. That’s the dream.

But I don’t think it’s the honest ending.

It’s too neat, too tidy. Friendship isn’t neat and tidy. Life isn’t neat and tidy. It’s messy and full of ups and downs, grief and disappointments as often as joy and surprises. Friendship is like that too. Social bonds are weird tangled webs, and they take tending to remain strong. But I’ll be damned if they aren’t tough sonsofbitches to kill. I’ve made a lot of friends over the years, really good friends. I don’t see many of them anymore. Our lives are different, we’re different, we move apart, gain new friends and circles and have our own adventures. We’re the heroes of our own stories, and aren’t always included in each other’s. And while we’re not necessarily the inseparable companions we once were, no matter how long it’s been, when ever we get back together… we’re still friends. And that’s the ending that’s honest.

Also, Ted’s kids are totally right about calling their old man out on his bullshit. How I Met Your Mother isn’t really about how Ted met Tracy; never was when you look back at it. It’s always been about how good friends Ted, Marshall, Lilly, Barney, and Robin were, and how very very much Robin meant to Ted. That blue french horn really brings the story back full circle and makes it complete.

But even if all that didn’t make up for the sad hurtful parts of the ending, the ending to How I Met Your Mother got one thing very right: After all his talk and bluster and drama about finding “the one,” Ted Mosby finally learned the truth: there’s always “another one.” And that felt honest.



Nose Grows Some
Originally Published October 6th, 2014, 08:41 PM







Ads by Project Wonderful! Your ad could be here, right now.


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:o


24-Hour Comic 2014
Originally Published October 6th, 2014, 08:40 AM

Welcome to 24-Hour Comic Day 2014, wherein Katie realizes she spends way too much time thinking about kittens.



Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO)
Originally Published October 6th, 2014, 01:30 AM
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO)

Did you know police can just take your stuff if they suspect it's involved in a crime? They can! It's a shady process called “civil asset forfeiture,” and it...
From: LastWeekTonight Views: 4024546 41292 ratings
Time: 16:30 More in Film & Animation


ROBOT HEART, TCS: She Wolf/Mario Bros/Booty MASHUP (covered by Kawehi) for KYLE from Kawehi
Originally Published October 5th, 2014, 07:33 PM
ROBOT HEART, TCS: She Wolf/Mario Bros/Booty MASHUP (covered by Kawehi) for KYLE from Kawehi

7 Days left to be a part of EVOLUTION: http://kickstarter.com/projects/kawehi/evolution-2 Happy Sunday Funday...again! And so the cover series continues this...
From: I Am Kawehi Views: 65053 1912 ratings
Time: 04:32 More in Music


Texas Court Makes Upskirts Mandatory, Outlaws Kittens, Hates Your Mother
Originally Published September 21st, 2014, 06:28 PM

Surely you've heard about this. A Texas court — full of old men, reeking of misogyny — has ruled that taking upskirt photos of unwilling women is free speech protected by the First Amendment!

How ridiculous! How despicable!

I mean, at least — that's what I think happened, based on how the story has been reported and talked about.

Consider, say — the Mary Sue, a really very good blog that deals with how pop culture treats women. Here's how they headlined and wrote about it:

Kansas City, Missouri May Soon Outlaw Catcalling; Texas Lifts Proposed Ban on Upskirt Photos

. . .

Just this week, Texas’ highest criminal court threw out a state law banning “improper photography” like upskirts and other invasive images taken without consent —in a decision ostensibly meant to protect “free speech” that will just protect perpetrators instead.

You think a blog is a bad example? OK, take The Guardian:

Texas court upholds right to take 'upskirt' pictures

A court has upheld the constitutional right of Texans to photograph strangers as an essential component of freedom of speech – even if those images should happen to be surreptitious “upskirt” pictures of women taken for the purposes of sexual gratification.

It's not all progressives. Look at Breitbart:

Texas Court: Ban on 'Upskirt' Photos Violates First Amendment Rights

HOUSTON, Texas — Texas' highest criminal court threw out a law on Wednesday banning "improper photography in public." Banning such photography, which includes "upskirting" or "downblousing" for the purpose of sexual gratification, would be considered a violation of free speech.

Or, on the other side, Salon:

Texas court throws out “upskirt” photo law, because banning creepshots is “paternalistic”

Texas’ highest criminal court struck down part of a law banning “upskirt” photos on Wednesday, arguing that photos taken without permission in public are entitled to First Amendment protections. Outlawing “improper photography or visual recording,” the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals panel ruled, would be a violation of federal free-speech rights and a “paternalistic” effort to regulate the photographers’ thoughts.

If you read those articles — if you read most of the coverage of this decision — you would conclude that (1) Texas had a law banning upskirt photos, and (2) a Texas court struck down the law because upskirt photos are protected by the First Amendment and can't be banned.

Or, you could, you know, read the actual court decision to see what the court said. Mike Masnick at Techdirt did so, and found that the decision didn't much resemble its coverage.

First, take the statute that was at issue. It's Texas Penal Code section 21.15(b)(1).

(b) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means records, broadcasts, or transmits a visual image of another at a location that is not a bathroom or private dressing room:

(A) without the other person's consent; and

(B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

That odd "not a bathroom" clause, by the way, is there because there's a separate part of the statute that deals with filming in bathrooms and dressing rooms — which the Texas court did not strike down.

So. Let's consider this a minute. Taking a picture of someone in public with the intent to gratify anyone sexually is a felony under this statute.

Is this picture a felony?

Vancouver-riot-kiss-coupl-001

That depends on whether a jury thinks that the photographer took it for anyone's sexual gratification. Could you get arrested for taking the picture? That would depend on whether a cop thinks that you are taking the picture for sexual gratification. The picture is iconic; it depends upon apparent juxtaposition of a heavily-policed riot and a passionate embrace. I'm sure the cops will have a nuanced view of it when you're standing there taking pictures. No doubt someone finds the picture sexually stimulating. If you take the picture, with the intent to put it on the internet, and you know what the internet is like, are you committing a felony? Does it depend on whether you intended that people would be stimulated by it, or merely knew that they would?

How about this picture?

Jyllenhaali

Various people find Jake and/or Maggie Gyllenhaal to be sexually stimulating. Many of these people probably read the papers and magazines that print pictures of them at the beach. The photographers know this, which is why they take the pictures, so they can sell them to the papers and magazines. Has the photographer committed a felony? Does it depend on how "hot" the picture is? Does whether it is a felony depend on whether Jake is wearing a rash guard?

Perhaps you think that's a ridiculous question, that I'm making up stupid slippery slopes. The Texas court doesn't think so.

This statute could easily be applied to an entertainment reporter who takes a photograph of an attractive celebrity on a public street.

How do we know it won't? We don't. We're supposed to rely on the discretion of cops and prosecutors. We're supposed to believe that when a statute allows the government to arrest and prosecute you for a wide range of conduct based on its subjective evaluation of your mental state, that they won't abuse it to go after people they don't like. But experience teaches that cops will, in fact, harass photographers given a chance.

But wait, you say. The Texas court didn't just say that! They said that upskirts are protected by the First Amendment!

No. They didn't. In fact, they explicitly said they weren't saying that.

Here's what the court did. Faced with a challenge to the statute, it first addressed whether photography in general is protected by the First Amendment. The answer — which I hope you will be happy to hear — is yes.

The second question is a bit trickier. Is photography an inherently expressive act that triggers the First Amendment, or does it depend on whether any given photograph has a "particularized message?" The Texas court weighed the precedents — parades are inherently expressive, flag-burning may or may not be expressive depending on the circumstances — and decided that photography is inherently expressive. The court quoted Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Group of Boston, which pointed out that demanding an individualized show of "particularized message" tends to chill and suppress speech:

As some of these examples show, a narrow, succinctly articulable message is not a condition of constitutional protection, which if confined to expressions conveying a "particularized message," cf. Spence v. Washington, 418 U.S. 405, 411 (1974) (per curiam), would never reach the unquestionably shielded painting of Jackson Pollock, music of Arnold Schönberg, or Jabberwocky verse of Lewis Carroll.

The third question is also tricky. Even if photography is generally protected, is this statute limited at only specifically unprotected types of photography? That's what the state argued — that because the statute only applied to photography intended to cause sexual gratification, it only applied to unprotected photography. Not so, said the court. Not everything designed for sexual gratification is unprotected. In fact, a large amount of sexual expression is protected. Here, the law bans both protected expression — say, taking a photograph of an attractive celebrity on the street — and unprotected expression, like child pornography or obscenity. The fact that something is designed to cause sexual arousal doesn't take it outside the protections of the First Amendment:

Banning otherwise protected expression on the basis that it produces sexual arousal or gratification is the regulation of protected thought, and such a regulation is outside the government’s power . . . .

But what about the "without consent" clause? Can the government ban non-consensual photographs? The state thought so — they argued that the lack of consent makes the ban constitutional, even though it would still apply to the hypothetical celebrity on the street. But, as the Texas court points out, the state is vague on the details. The state conceded in this case that we all effectively consent to being photographed when we go out in public to some extent, but argues there are some circumstances — which it can't define — in which that consent is no longer implied. But the First Amendment doesn't permit such ambiguity. Here the Texas court found that the state's definition of consent was so vague that it wasn't clear whether or not the defendant's conduct (taking pictures of women and children in bathing suits at a water park) would be illegal or not.

So, does that resolve the issue? No, it does not. That merely means that the statute bans some protected conduct. The next question is whether the state has a sufficiently compelling reason to ban that conduct. Here's where the coverage was the most woefully misleading. The court explicitly suggests that a law banning upskirts may survive First Amendment analysis:

We agree with the State that substantial privacy interests are invaded in an intolerable manner when a person is photographed without consent in a private place, such as the home, or with respect to an area of the person that is not exposed to the general public, such as up a skirt.

But this statute doesn't do that. This statute bans non-consensual photography (with a definition of consent that is not clear even to the state prosecuting under the statute) if someone has sexual intent. As the court points out, the state is perfectly capable of drafting a narrower statute, and does so in the next subsection by banning nonconsensual photography in bathrooms and private dressing rooms.

So — shouldn't the court just uphold convictions when they are for clearly unprotected conduct (say, a photo of a child that qualifies as child pornography, or a picture that qualifies as obscenity, or an unquestionable invasion of privacy like an upskirt), and strike down the ones that are for protected conduct? That's not how First Amendment analysis works. Under the overbreadth doctrine, if a statute poses a "realistic" risk of banning a "substantial" amount of protected speech, the whole thing fails. Here, the court found that the statute's reach was "breathtaking." Therefore, even though there might be some constitutional applications, the statute is unconstitutional.

But wait. What about that extremely douchey part where the Texas court said that banning non-consensual pervy photography was "paternalistic" to the women it sought to protect? What assholes!

Well, actually, that's not what they said at all.

Protecting someone who appears in public from being the object of sexual thoughts seems to be the sort of “paternalistic interest in regulating the defendant’s mind” that the First Amendment was designed to guard against. [emphasis added by irritable blogger]

The court was talking about being paternalistic to defendants by regulating sexual thoughts, not paternalistic to victims of creepshots.

So, to sum up, allow me to mainsplain:

Zoidberg

Sometimes the rule of law — due process, application of established rules, procedures, and rights — result in nasty people getting away with bad things. That makes us angry. But it's not about how we feel.

The Texas court didn't say upskirts are protected by the First Amendment. Texas could probably ban upskirts, if it did a halfway-competent job of drafting a sufficiently narrow statute.

But who's going to get outraged about that?

If you're wondering why I give a shit, consider this: our freedoms are recognized or denied based on court rulings. Our understanding of those court rulings often derives from media coverage of them. When we do a lousy job of covering law, or when we put up with journalists doing so, we're doing a lousy job as citizens.

Texas Court Makes Upskirts Mandatory, Outlaws Kittens, Hates Your Mother © 2007-2014 by the authors of Popehat. This feed is for personal, non-commercial use only. Using this feed on any other site is a copyright violation. No scraping.

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