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Gus Van Horn blog

Reblogged:And They Think We're Idiots...

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One does not grow up in the southern United States and spend much time in the Northeast without becoming well aware that many northerners are prejudiced against southerners. All it takes for some of them to write you off as a moron is for them to hear much of a southern accent. (Mine is weak and urban, and I got (a usually curious), "Where are you from?" all the time.) There are plenty of fine people up there who do make it past that particular jerk filter, but I always find the bigotry ironic: There is this undertone of guilt by association ... for bigotry. (Suspicion is understandable, but judging others takes more than a second or two of sensory data.)

Separated at Birth, United in Folly: The statehouses of Rhode Island (l) and South Carolina (r). (Images from Wikimedia Commons, sourced at links.)
So it is that a legislator "up North" has reminded me of this irony by falling off a political pons asinorum with a truly foolish proposal. Just like Bill Chumley of South Carolina a couple of years ago, Frank Ciccone of Rhode Island wants to sneak in censorship in order to raise taxes for the alleged purpose of fighting human trafficking:
A bill introduced by Sen. Frank Ciccone, D-Providence, and Sen. Hanna Gallo, D-Cranston, on Thursday would require Internet providers to digitally block "sexual content and patently offensive material." But, consumers could deactivate that block for a fee of $20.

Each quarter the internet providers would give the money made from the deactivation fees to the state's general treasurer, who would forward the money to the attorney general to fund the operations of the Council on Human Trafficking, according to the bill's language.
Except for the specific location of the choke point, these proposals are nearly identical. And both are encroachments, however slight, on freedom of speech.

In a better political climate, that should be enough to make this proposal dead on arrival, but today? One wonders if an appeal to northern snobbishness might be needed as a holding action.

-- CAV

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