TikTok getting tough!

TikTok is toughening its stance against the QAnon conspiracy theory, expanding its ban to all content or accounts that promote videos advancing baseless ideas from the far-right online movement.

The action hardens the video-sharing app’s previous enforcement against QAnon that targeted specific hashtags on the app that QAnon supporters have used to spread unfounded theories. Now, users that share QAnon-related content on TikTok will have their accounts deleted from the app.

TikTok’s sweeping action against QAnon comes just as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other technology giants have announced bans on content from the Trump-supporting conspiracy theory. QAnon started in October 2017 and has amassed an enormous following online thanks largely to social media companies.

Obliterating easy publicity for bigotry, fascist ideology, absurdist superstition feeding the worst of an uneducated or poorly educated society shouldn’t disturb the censorship genes of any history-conscious American. There are more than enough examples of death and dictatorship coming to power through disinformation and lies.

An alphabetical guide to things communities ban for no good reason

A is for Artichokes: In 1935, New York City mayor Fiorella LaGuardia banned the sale, possession and display” of artichokes. But only small ones. It was an offensive move against Ciro Terranova, “the artichoke king.” “In the past and until Thursday,” one article said, “produce men, it was said, either bought artichokes from him or they didn’t have artichokes for sale.” The ban lasted three days…

D is for Dying: The mayor of Le Lavandou, a town in France, banned dying in 2000 after the local cemetery filled up and he was denied permission to build a new one. He told the BBC the day after the announcement, “No one has died since then and I hope it stays that way…”

E is for Emergencies: When Colorado passed a law that prohibited towns from hiring part-time police officers, the town of Hotchkiss responded by banning crime, emergencies, accidents and death on Mondays and Tuesdays — the town marshal’s days off…

K is for Kissing: In 1969, the “tiny farming town” of Swedensboro, New Jersey banned kissing and hugging “in all public parks, lakes and places.” The penalty was a $200 fine…

N is for Noisy things: In the 1960s, the town of Eveaux-les-Bains in France was very anti-noise. They went so far as to partially ban the use of cars. Other measures included banning “the crowing of cocks, the barking of dogs and the braying of donkeys,” as well as “assemblies, noises and gatherings and any acts calculated to disturb public tranquility…”

U is for Unwrapped ukuleles: It was illegal to carry an unwrapped ukulele around the streets of Salt Lake City as of 1976…

There are lots more letters in the article. Even some more silliness for the letters already illustrated above.

You deserve a chuckle.

See your doctor for a prescription for cigarettes

In the global war against smoking, Europe remains a difficult battlefront. Despite ad campaigns featuring grisly images of rotting lungs and crumbling teeth, “the beautiful continent” continues to have the highest smoking rate in the world.

So forgive Iceland for considering something truly radical — prescription-only cigarettes. Under proposed legislation, only those with valid medical certificates would be permitted to buy cigarettes from pharmacies.

“I think Iceland can be a test tube to try out progressive things because we are a small country and we don’t have a massive lobby for tobacco,” said Thorarinn Gudnason, a cardiologist at Landspitali University Hospital in Rejkyavik. ”We are taking care of people who are dying of this disease in their 40s and we’re fed up with it.”

Iceland’s smoking rate is already one of the lowest in Europe. Just 15 per cent of the population lights up compared to an average of 31 per cent across the continent. However, the story among young Icelanders is more worrisome: 20 per cent of children and teenagers smoke. Dr. Gudnason hopes the new plan will dramatically reduce that figure and cut overall smoking rates to less than 10 per cent…

Tobacco and nicotine would be classified as addictive drugs and second-hand smoke would be treated and controlled like other carcinogenic substances. Lighting up in public places such as parks and in cars with children would be outlawed.

Eventually, smokers who are unable to kick the habit through treatment and various addiction programs — or those smokers who simply refuse to quit — may get a prescription for tobacco from their doctors. Once cigarettes become available only through physicians, the price will go down again — as it would be unfair to tax those unable to quit supporters of the plan say.

“Tobacco is very addictive and we would recognize them as addicts,” said Ms. Fridleifsdottir.

Bravo! Once again the political side of Iceland is willing to experiment with a daring approach to a disgusting problem. It would force a lot of people with lazy personal ethics to confront a personal problem. They can still maintain their addiction if they wish.

Saving their lives is a side effect.

Michigan GOP cancels event with Utah’s Republican governor


Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. and a “pure” Republican
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

A Michigan Republican says she canceled an event set to be attended by Utah’s moderate GOP governor because it would have betrayed the party’s values.

Kent County, Mich., Republican Chairwoman Joanne Voorhees canceled the party fundraiser scheduled for Saturday, which was to be attended by Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr…

The voters want and expect us to stand on principle and return to our roots,” Voorhees was quoted by the Grand Rapids Press as saying in an e-mail. “Unfortunately, by holding an event with Governor Huntsman, we would be doing the exact opposite.”

Voorhees didn’t specify in the e-mail why the fundraiser was canceled, and she didn’t return calls to the Tribune. However, the group Campaign for Michigan Families praised the cancellation, saying it was because of Huntsman’s support of civil unions for same-sex couples.

“Presumably he is testing the waters (for a U.S. presidential run) and we hope he realizes now the waters in Michigan will be hazardous to someone who endorses the homosexual activist political agenda,” said campaign director Gary Glenn.

Phew! As Lenny Bruce used to say, “When do they start passing out the armbands?”

Texas says, “We don’t need no stinking Vista!”

hinojosa

The Texas Senate has overwhelmingly passed a budget that includes a provision that bans Vista being used by the Texas government.

The Texas Senate voted 26-5 to pass the two-year $182.2 billion budget, which included a rider that would ban government agencies from upgrading to Vista unless the agencies get written consent from the legislature.

According to Computerworld, the rider was tacked on by Senator Juan Hinojosa, a Democrat from Allen, who proposed it because “of the many problems reported with Vista.” Computerworld quotes him as adding: “We are not in any way, shape or form trying to pick on Microsoft, but the problems with this particular [operating] system are known nationwide.”

Hinojosa apparently hasn’t even used Vista, according to PC World, but that didn’t stop him from managing to get the rider into the budget. Ignorance, after all, is no hindrance to political fortune — given recent past experience with a certain well-known former Texas governor, it may even be an asset.

If the rider stays – and this becomes Texas law – Microsoft probably isn’t too worried. After all, they’re already working feverishly to replace Vista on the computers of the world on their own. Windows 7.

Spain bans political party supporting Basque separatists

Spain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday outlawed a leftist political party for its links to the Basque separatist group ETA, and ordered its immediate dissolution.

The court outlawed the Basque Nationalist Action party, or ANV, as it is known locally. It has about 100 elected town councilors in Basque city halls, and they are expected to lose their seats under the ruling, an analyst told CNN.

A lower court judge suspended the party’s activities last February, preventing it from running candidates in Spain’s national elections last March, due to suspicions about its ties to ETA…
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