To the barricades!
Mark Twain and I have something in common besides the fact that we have mustaches. We've both suffered the ignominy of having our works banned.
Twain's issue has gotten slightly more publicity than mine. Twain's masterpiece, Huckleberry Finn, features as one of its characters Nigger Jim. Although the book was published in 1884, this became A Thing in the 1990's, and with some degree of legitimacy. At any rate, before you could say -- well, Huckleberry Finn -- the books came flying off the shelves of public libraries across the land, lest some racist Beavis and Butthead .duo wind up in the stacks, chortling as they plow through Twain's opus, "Heh-heh, he said 'nigger.'"
But that's got nothing on me. I've been banned by the State of Ohio.
Well, not me, exactly. But effective a very short time ago, employees of the State of Ohio can no longer access The Briefcase on their office computers.
I know the fire of indignation burns bright within you, dear reader, as it does within me. Did my analysis of the mess that the Supreme Court has made of allied offense law prompt action at the highest levels of the government? Did I perhaps offend an appellate judge with my barbed criticism of his opinion, and he spoke to a friend who spoke to a friend who spoke to someone who had the juice to send the employees of the great State of Ohio into the pits of despair by not allowing their workday to be filled with the enjoyment of reading my witty and incisive prose?
While I'd like to think that the banning is the fascist reaction to my willingness to speak truth to power, the actual story is a bit more mundane.
Let's say you run the intranet computer system for all state governmental employees. You don't want them doing certain things with their computers on government time: downloading pornography, spending time on gambling sites, shopping, that sort of thing. Rather than you scouring the twenty-eleven gazillion web sites out there to determine what falls on the wrong side of your criteria, you subscribe to a filtering service, which categorizes all the websites out there. You get to decide which ones you want to let in.
Apparently, I was kicked off because one of these filtering sites, Blue Coat, decided that my blog fell into two categories: Phishing, and Political/Social Activity. The former is defined by Wikipedia as "the attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and money), often for malicious reasons, by disguising as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication." Well, if you'd like to send me all the information I'd need to use your credit cards, that's fine, but I'll be damned if I can figure out how you'd do it on the blog.
In describing the "Political/Social Activity" category, Blue Coat uses as examples the NRA, Greenpeace, the Democratic National Committee, and the like. Not sure how I play into that. I've been doing this for twelve years, and my number one rule has been "no politics." I'm obviously a liberal, and you can pretty much guess my opinion of Donald Trump, but that's what you'll have to do: guess. Because you won't find anything I've said about that here.
I think. Maybe, just once, it got to be too much.
In any event, this afternoon I misspent a couple hours of my remaining life, the upshot being my sending Blue Coat an objection to my review. I hope it proves successful, and can only imagine the transcendent joy on the faces of the state employees once they regain access to my blog.
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No 8th District Roundup this week, because there was nothing to round up: other than a .smackdown of a 26(B) applicant, the 8th issued no opinions. But tomorrow we'll talk about something else, something actually (1) law related, and (2) that doesn't involve me. Tall order, I know, but I'll do my best.