Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know. Does Arizona know how to pass any bills that aren't facepalm stupid? But here we go, once again, as the 2013 session gets underway with another low-watt nugget of Looney Tunes legislation that'll waste everyone's time and accomplish nothing. And the whole thing is driven by revenge.
It seems Scottsdale Republican Michelle Ugenti, representing District 8, isn't too keen on a Twitter account that's a parody of her low-brow comment during a committee hearing last year:
As the Legislative cameras rolled, Ugenti bantered with male colleagues about how long the hearing might go on and whether there would be a break for dinner.Before you could say "But I'm left-handed," someone set up a Michelle@RubbingUGently Twitter account that, shall we say, isn't really Michelle, although most of the comments aren't too dissimilar from her caught-on-tape legislative prattle. Are they crude? You bet. Funny? Sometimes. Popular? Well no, until the ultra-conservative Ugenti threw a hissy fit and introduced a piece of legislation that makes it illegal for anyone to assume another person's identity online:
One of them informed Ugenti: "Michelle, I have a hot date tonight."
"No you don't, stop it," she shot back. "Your right hand doesn't count."
It could become a crime punishable by prison time in Arizona to create a Facebook or Twitter account in someone else’s name if it’s done without permission and for malicious reasons.Whether the Michelle@RubbingUGently Twitter account was indeed created for "malicious reasons" is anyone's guess, since one person's maliciousness is another's tacky humor. So who's to say? Rep. Ugenti says HB 2004 will not apply to well-known parody sites, like The Onion I suppose, because her bill "has a high standard," by which she means ... I don't know what. The concept of "high standards" and "Arizona legislation" is not one with which we are familiar. I'm not sure the fake AZ Guvna' Jan Brewer Twitter account rises to the level of anyone's standards, but I also don't think its creators are felons.
Rep. Michelle Ugenti, R-Scottsdale, is proposing legislation to make online impersonation a crime.
House Bill 2004, if it becomes law, would make it a felony to use another person’s name without permission to create a Web page intended to “harm, defraud, intimidate or threaten.” It would be a misdemeanor to send an e-mail or text message that appears to come from another person and is intended to harm or defraud.
Beyond the fuzzy legal boundaries that are difficult if not impossible to determine, from a practical point of view, how does Rep. Ugenti expect to police this? What are the consequences for a blogger in Minnesota who sets up a UgentiHandJob website? (In case HB 2004 passes: Let it be known that I am not posing as Michelle Ugenti, nor am I suggesting the distinguished Representative knows anything about whippin' the one-eyed trouser snake.) And does she realize there are more than a half billion Tweets per day? Who is monitoring them for fake identities? And who, pray tell, determines whether the fake sites are of "high standards" and who's just slinging crude dick jokes?
These, ladies and gentlemen, are the important issues that Arizona legislators spend their time debating, while tens of thousands of people are kicked off the healthcare rolls and our already struggling education system has been cut more than any other state.
Arizona's cuts to education are more severe than any other state, according to a new report. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports spending per-student plunged nearly 21% over the last four years in Arizona. azfamily.comPoor Michelle supported those cuts, but she doesn't like online boob and blowjob jokes made at her expense. Well boo-fucking-hoo. Remember, hers is the party of "small government"—the same small government Arizona dickheads who, last session, passed HB 2036, which banned abortions after 18 weeks, and mandated ultrasounds for all abortions. Rep. Ugenti voted for that bill.
So, you don't like people pretending to be you and saying stupid shit online? Well, welcome to the party. Quit saying stupid shit yourself, quit traveling with tea party pinheads, and quit talking about limited government except when you want to enforce your moralistic claptrap.