It’s only fitting that on the day when Gov. Phil Scott basically gave in on emergency housing for the homeless, ending a pointless months-long policy debate, we’ve got a fresh crop of stupidity and/or obtuseness in the public sphere to honor. Today’s honorees include a publisher of anti=vax nonsense suing a U.S. Senator… a restaurant telling employees to show up for work if they’re sick… another failure of the law enforcement system to take action against hate speech… and a real-life lesson in How To Do It Right, sent to the attention of the Vermont Principals’ Association.
First up, the Desperate Times Call for Ludicrous Lawsuits Award, which goes to Chelsea Green Publishing and its cofounder Margo Baldwin. The Vermont publisher, once best known for top-quality environmental and DIY books, is now deep into the Covid conspiracy shit. Now, CG has filed suit against Sen. Elizabeth Warren for allegedly trying to suppress its free speech rights.
Warren’s offense? She wrote to Amazon.com urging them to review its search algorithms so that conspiratorialist nonsense wouldn’t get so many hits. This, per Baldwin, amounts to “the government… trying to censor speech and ban books.”
Well. First, a Senator is influential, but Warren cannot act on behalf of the government and she has no authority over Amazon’s internal policies. The suit itself is its own evidence for a Veepie; it admits that plaintiffs have no proof that Warren had any effect on Amazon’s search algorithms. Quite the contrary, one of CG’s books is the No. 1 bestseller in one Amazon category. If Amazon has rejiggered its algorithms, there’s no sign it’s had any effect on Chelsea Green’s sales.Continue reading