Official votes to "Screw Constitutional Rights"


An Anonymous Patron writes "An intrepid citizen has posted a video to YouTube that catches Sacramento City Councilwoman Bonnie Pannell saying "screw constitutional rights" and then voting to do just that by imposing an unconstitutional filtering policy in the Sacramento Public Library.

See: Can A Public Library Screw Your Constitutional Rights?"

Update: 04/17 21:14 GMT by B :The Councilwoman regrets her commentary but still supports blocking porn...CBS story and video


Not true, Chuck (and you know this thanks to me). Filtering, perhaps "deselecting" a better term, can be granular to individual sites.

Find yourself a IT fella/gal around your place, buy them a cup of coffee and let them explain how this is done. Easily BTW.

But let's stop with this hyperbole re indiscriminate scorched earth with all filters.

It's just terrible and unprofessional.

Nothing of the sort Chuck. In fact, I argue that homegrown arbitrary and artificial definitions of what should and should not be considered under the purview of a library/librarian as terrible and unprofessional. Is your library's CD policy medium specific?

But don't think for a minute that Internet filtering, even if applied site by site, can block enough material to satisfy pro-filter people or still permit enough necessary content to come through to satisfy the anti-filtering people.

Now hear my admonition. Don't you think for a minute that the perfect library collection has ever been developed, or any librarian given to bias, or that any library has made available enough material to satisfy all their constituents.

Why hold my belief in CD via the deselection of Internet sites to a Utopian standard? Certainly the thought of all those books passed over in LJ and Choice doesn't cause you as much angst?

""Porn" is the last refuge of a scoundrel who won't admit to what's actually happening"

Hysterically screaming "porn" is the first refuge of the simple-minded fool who can't be bothered to differentiate between protected speech and what can be ruled proscribable in the courts of the land. Not to mention that said simple-minded fools cannot even define what constitutes "pornography" much less come up with an objective method by which it can identified.

Filtering was started as an ultra-right wing nut politico-religious movement which, at its inception, had the goal of filtering anything the Christo-fanatics of Amerika didn't want people to look at. It has not recovered from and will not recover from the flaws built into the system to promote that end until people acknowledge that point.

But don't think for a minute that Internet filtering, even if applied site by site, can block enough material to satisfy pro-filter people or still permit enough necessary content to come through to satisfy the anti-filtering people.

If the staff of a library decide that their patrons want to have filters of whatever kind and that's ok with them professionally then fine. The ALA's Library Bill of Rights and the Freedom to Read also places the primacy of the local voters and residents foremost; jokes about librarians being all totalitarian-loving Leninists notwithstanding.

I think it's a terrible and unprofessional solution to a minor problem. But it's not my business if one person, library, board, etc. filters (badly.)

It's just terrible and unprofessional.

I'm sure I would, its filtered afterall. I don't expect it to be the same experience.

Filters are indeed granular.

Good we've established this....again.

Now working from this premise (beach metaphors notwithstanding), am I correct in presuming that you do not believe the local library should have the autonomy to make such decisions re "deselecting" Internet sites as with any other accessible resource?

Simple thumbs up or down will do.

Have you ever tried the NatNanny hobbled machine yourself? Spend an hour or two using it like you would for work or goofing off. I think you'll find it's a difference experience.


Actually, I am also a computer science professor.

Filters are indeed granular. The root of that metaphor is the beach, and it's apt.

Say you wanted only light-colored sand on your beach. And a guy tries to sell you a machine that filters out the dark grains.

You think "Great!" all you have to do is just let this machine do the work.

Now imagine that you have to tap each grain of sand with the machine for it to work.

Does granularity sound like a practical solution? Sound like you could get the whole beach done and be home in time for Corn Flakes?

We have NetNanny on our children's stations. I can set it to a by-site list or a by-word list or both. If filters are covering more then they should then that's a problem with the settings, the company, or the library or school monitoring it. Its not a problem with the actual filter.

To take off the gun slogan: filters don't filter badly, people filter badly.

Parsing the councilmember's speech does not lend credence to the poster's argument. Perhaps the council woman was saying ...We don't want to ...pardon my language...screw people's constitutional rights, but I don't see a right to look at porn in the library in the Constitution"

However this Constitutional scholar won't let us hear the whole thing.

Does anyone know where this porn in the library Right is in the Constitution? The 69th amendment?

This guy needs a life. Quit looking at porn in the library you perverts. This guy had a nice suit; he can probably afford DSL or cable modem.

That is my opinion on this nonsense. If library's feel that the majority of the community wants filters, then filter no matter how many Chicken Little -end of the world- Right to look at porn whackos get their shorts in a wad.

What you don't see is what Anon describes. Vast swaths of the web censored by filters. They really are that bad they cover gay and lesbian sites, not the sex ones, political groups, anti-TV violence groups, articles that mention same, perfe4ctly fine sites that link to more questionable sites, health information of all kinds.

All in secret, as filters do not have to release their tech. specs.

Filtering isn't collection development. Filtering is hiring an Inquisition priest to do it for you.

""Porn" is the last refuge of a scoundrel who won't admit to what's actually happening"

I work in a library, I see every day what is "actually happening".

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that pornography is protected speech. Get over it.

If people don't like seeing things others might be viewing, then those people should stop looking over the other people's shoulders.

Why is it so hard to understand that monitors can be situated and surrounded so as to provide a measure of privacy to both the viewer and the snoop?

Is that all she said, was it excerpted inappropriately? Perhaps she was saying we don't want to......

YouTube is not a bastion of truth and fairness.

Jezus W. Khrist people, the internet is seldom authoratative. You people are (mostly) librarians get a fecking clue.

Rather than speculating without facts about the motives and activities of the YouTube poster, I'd rather see a reasonable discussion about the fitness of an elected official, sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution, who subsequently states in a public meeting "screw people's Constitutional rights."

The library is a government agency. It can't legally operate in violation of the Constitution.

Find a website that's been declared obscene under the law, fine, block it. Cite the opinion, go for it.

But too many perfectly legal, Constitutionally protected sites about gay and lesbian concerns, sex education, sex information, and even sites that do nothing more than objectify the sexually attractive, like the web pages containing the Sports Illustrated swimsuit photos, are condemned as "obscene."

"Porn" is the last refuge of a scoundrel who won't admit to what's actually happening - the unthinking censorship of all kinds of web sites that are protected expression but offend someone's sensibilities about violence, sex, homosexuality, or religion. Go look at the categories censored by Bess or other filters. They don't censor "obscenity." They censor "politics" "auction sites" "gay and lesbian organizations" "gun advocates" "Cults" and the dreaded "anti-filtering advocate" sites.

Filtering is the farthest thing from selection.

neither does posting a quote and ignoring the words in it...

"sexual expression which is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment"

By all means feel free to try and defend the multitude of obscene websites on the internet. It would be interesting to hear that pictures of men ejaculating on women's faces are only indecent.

From the Supreme Court:

"In evaluating the free speech rights of adults, we have made it perfectly clear that "[s]exual expression which is indecent but not obscene is protected by the First Amendment." Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. FCC, 492 U. S. 115, at 126 (1989). See also Carey v. Population Services Int'l, 431 U.S. 678, 701 (1977) ("[W]here obscenity is not involved, we have consistently held that the fact that protected speech may be offensive to some does not justify its suppression"). Indeed, Pacifica (FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978) itself admonished that "the fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it." 438 U. S., at 745.
~~ Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844 (1997)>

Personal attacks without facts to back them up do not make a valid argument.