Patterico's Pontifications

12/1/2011

RJ Reynolds v. FDA and the Hidden Danger of Denying Free Speech Protection to Corporations (Update: Althouselanche!)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:32 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing. Follow me by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: Althouse links, writing: “Aaron Worthing has an excellent post about the litigation over the FDA rules requiring new warning labels on cigarettes.”  Thank you for that high praise.

Every now and then I see a case or an issue, that I intend to look into but then for one reason or another, I can’t find the time when the issue is still fresh.  That was definitely the case in the recent litigation entitled RJ Renyolds et al v. the FDA et al., so today when I saw that the Federal Government was appealing this decision, I thought this was a good excuse to finally read the decision and see if I had something interesting to say about it.  And what do you know, there is something interesting there…

Here’s what is going on in the case.  Congress passed a law demanding that the FDA come up with new graphic warning labels for cigarettes—graphic, as in using pictures.  They would be required to cover at least 50% of the front and back of every cigarette package and 20% of all advertisements.  And here is what the FDA came up with:

And this too:

That comes from a New York Times story whose headline succinctly captures the goal of the new warnings: U.S. Releases Graphic Images to Deter Smokers.  They understood intuitively that the purpose of these images was not to inform people but to persuade them.  Isn’t that obvious to you?  For instance, taking the 8 images, look at the second from the left on the top, showing a crying woman.  This conveys no information about the effects of cigarette smoke, it just makes you imagine how horrible the people you love would feel if you died.  Similarly with the baby on the bottom left, it’s not information, it’s a guilt trip.  And the one right next to it, is simply a guy announcing he is quitting (or turning into the lamest superhero ever).

And guess what?  That is sort of a problem, under the First Amendment, which is what led the Reynolds court to grant the tobacco companies an injunction preventing enforcement of this new labeling rule.  Judge Leon’s decision is well written and I believe lay people will get what he is saying if you decide to read it, but let me sum it up.  Generally most instances of coerced speech is subject to the strict scrutiny standard requiring that the rule be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling governmental interest.  But there is a limited exception to that rule in relation to so-called “commercial speech” where the government can compel people and companies selling products to provide truthful and uncontroversial information about those products.  That is how, for instance, the FDA is allowed to force food companies to put nutrition labels on your food packages.

(more…)

5/13/2011

Back from the Memory Hole: The Full Record of Google’s Shabby Treatment of Ann Althouse

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:54 pm



As we explained here earlier this evening in a couple of posts, a “support” tech at Google calling himself “nitecruzr” was rude to Ann Althouse in this Google “support” thread. However, he kept taunting Ann, and then removing (memory-holing) his own taunts, but leaving her responses — making the thread an unreadable mess. At a Facebook site there is a collection of screenshots, but it’s tough to understand the flow from a collection of random screenshots. When I e-mailed Ann about it, she said she was receiving the responses in e-mails. I asked her to forward those to me. Now can you see Google representative nitecruzr’s abusive conduct towards Ann, in all its original glory and splendor.

The full conversation is available at this link, which I created by cutting and pasting from Ann’s e-mail. Before we go to the full conversation, though, let me just highlight nitecruzr’s rude responses so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

He starts out by snidely putting the burden on Ann to read all the guidelines, rather than looking at her blog himself and explaining how Google justifies labeling a well-known political blog as spam:

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

This is not an automatic response. I will suggest that you read the articles, so you understand what the problems are. The fact that you include the detail “This is not a blog that should be taken down, and it’s important that it be restored quickly.” belies that possibility.

I’ll work with you on this – but you have to work with me, not against me.

Many interlopers enter, either criticizing Google for their behavior in deleting a well-known blog without reading it, or saying the same thing has happened to them — and that they get error messages when they try to start their own thread. nitecruzr, showing his deep respect for their plight, patiently explains how they can start their own thread and offers his help bitches at them for interceding in Ann’s thread and deletes their plaintive cries for help.

Somewhere in here, nitecruzr says he has escalated the issue for review — but, just to keep things rude, warns her that she gets only one appeal, and risks losing her other blogs if she exercises that right to appeal:

OK, this is escalated to Blogger Support on your behalf.

We are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience which we are causing. Please be patient, while you wait for your blog to be reviewed – and only post in this question. When you reply in other questions, or ask duplicate / multiple questions, it just makes more work for everybody – and delays resolution of everybody’s problems, including yours.

And, please be aware that this is the final review, and the decision of the umpires cannot be appealed.

(Emphasis added by me throughout.) He then drops this steaming pile of rudeness on Ann:

I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.

Please inform your readers that their harassment is useless. This forum is here to help people with blog problems, where blogs are small or large. We don’t like coyote attacks, and we don’t stand for them.

Wow. It’s “harassment” to stand up for someone who just watched a big company whisk years of their work right off the Internet for a patently implausible reason?

Remember that “courtesy and patience” line. It’s going to sound mighty ironic real soon.

nitecruzr then becomes simply obsessed with the number of people who rate his answers unhelpful, to the point where he spends his time whining about it rather than helping Ann.

When only “2 of 95″ people find that last answer I quoted “helpful,” nitecruzr professionally ignores them and works on helping Ann snarks at Ann further:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Come on, you can do better than that. How about 100 at least? Surely you have more than 100 readers.

Behold the “courtesy and patience”!

nitecruzr then comments twice more about the number of people hitting the “unhelpful” button.

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:45 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 99

And then:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 100

Note well: these are messages from “Google Help”!! Good lord. How about, you know . . . helping?

Ann responds:

“2 of 100″

Yes, I have readers, nitcruzr, and they are unhappy with the way Blogger is treating me.

That causes nitecruzr to realize he is being abusive, and he finally starts helping Ann nitecruzr then waits until the number hits 114 people, and says:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

2 of 114 people found this answer helpful.Shoot – can’t you find at least 200 faithful readers?

Courtesy and patience! To which Ann responds:

So… it’s just a joke to you? You mock my predicament. Everyone is telling me to get off Blogger. I have defended Blogger, on line, for so many years to people who’ve told me to leave.

This is when nitecruzr starts deleting his abusive responses, because he now dishonestly pretends that Ann is getting upset at a previous comment he made:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

Believe it or not, the above “OK, this is escalated to Blogger Support on your behalf.” is a standard escalation advice. It’s been in Blogger Support’s queue for 4 hours now.

Oh, she was complaining about your helpful statement that you escalated your complaint to Blogger Support for her? Is that it, nitecruzr? Uh, sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s just that, now that he has deleted all the abusive comments, that’s the last comment of his left standing. He soon repeats the comment and adds:

It’s been a long 3 days, and the harassment from your readers doesn’t make it any easier.

Nice try, but people were on the thread and saw his little jokes. Even before nitecruzr repeats his lie, Hoystory is already on him:

Nitecruzer, having second thoughts about the abject unprofessionalism of your snark? When trying to disappear comments down the memory hole, you need to delete the ones that reference the flushed content. May I suggest contemplation of Wheaton’s Law?

Soon thereafter, a guy named Dead Dog Bounce says:

Nitecruzer, thanks for deleting the joke at Ann’s expense. Always important to hide the evidence after the deed is done. However, it’s a sad fact that a coverup always looks really bad.

I have to say that I’m deeply shocked at the abject lack of any sign of real world feeling. The Althouse blog represents something close to Ann’s life’s work. It must be in the top 1% of blogspot blogs. If this is the kind of response that Blogger staff have, I’m going to have to downgrade my already low view of humanity.

Looks to me like Google just jumped the shark.

And AC245 says:

Are you now pretending that all the obnoxious comments you made throughout this thread (and then later deleted) never happened, nitecruzr?

Or is your contribution of petty, snide, and insulting commentary also part of the “standard escalation” procedure in threads you participate in?

For what it’s worth, I reported each of your (now-deleted) comments as abusive, and encourage other readers to do the same for any similar ones you post. You are not the type of person that a reputable corporation would want to have dealing with their customers, and Google/Blogger should be made aware of that fact.

Damn straight.

With the comments deleted, Ann’s responses were left hanging, looking like she was raging against nothing:

Finally, a guy named Brett aka electrobutter intervenes, compliments Ann, and says that they are working to get the blog back online.

But not before a Google employee has been revealed to be a complete prick and dishonest weasel.

As I noted earlier, I have posted the entire thing at this link, so you can see it all in context. Simply unbelievable.

The Full Transcript of the Abuse of Althouse by Nitecruzr from Google

Filed under: — Patterico @ 9:11 pm



Forwarded conversation
Subject: Re: [Blogger Help] Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.
————————

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:09 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Spam Appeal Guidelines – April 2011

Given
the fact that automated spam detection is not yet a perfect science, the
Blogger Team is happy to investigate any reports of false positive spam
reviews, posted here in the forum. That being said, before you request
an appeal, it’s worth describing a few examples of what Blogger
regularly removes, as part of its zero tolerance policy to abusive /
inappropriate content:

– Affiliate marketing.
– Content created with scripts and programs, rather than by hand.
– Content or links referencing GPT, PTC, PTS, ‘Make money from home’, ‘Make money fast’, or other referral-based activities.
– Content scraped from other sources.
– Copyright Infringement.
– Large blogs with multiple, unfocused / unrelated subjects.
– Links to Illegal Downloads / Streaming / Torrents.

If, as the owner of the blog(s) in question, you are confident that your content doesn’t fall into any of the above
categories, and you have already requested a manual review using the
dashboard link – then you can appeal the spam review
decision, and Blogger will again review your blog. If you started this
discussion, just reply here, saying that you’ve read these Guidelines –
and we’ll pass
your appeal to Blogger.

Please
note that the Blogger Team may look at other blogs in your account, as
part of their review. If you request an appeal, and Blogger discovers
other abusive / inappropriate content during the investigation, you risk
having all of your content permanently removed. Please consider this
when requesting an appeal.

If you want to know why any of this is necessary, read here:

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2009/01/blame-it-on-fuzz.html

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/04/blogger-blogs-and-make-money-fast-and.html

http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=42577

Please read about the volumes of blogs that are involved in the removal / review process:

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=19b164b9d64cda06&hl=en

View this question at the Google Help Forum
Unsubscribe from answers to this question
———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:19 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

My blog is not in any of these forbidden categories. Look at my Site Meter statistics — http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s17althouse — and you will see that this is one of the most popular blogs in the Blogger system. I am a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my blog is frequently quoted in mainstream media. This is not a blog that should be taken down, and it’s important that it be restored quickly.

Instapundit is blogging about the disappearance of this blog — http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/120665/ — as many people are asking about the problem.

I can’t request a manual review using the dashboard link because attempts to get to my dashboard produce an error: bX-fgcocb

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

I have read the Guidelines. Please pass my appeal to Blogger.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:31 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

This is not an automatic response. I will suggest that you read the articles, so you understand what the problems are. The fact that you include the detail “This is not a blog that should be taken down, and it’s important that it be restored quickly.” belies that possibility.

I’ll work with you on this – but you have to work with me, not against me.

Are you still getting a bX error when trying to access your dashboard?

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:31 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

It may also help to know that when I am in my profile and I try to “show my blogs” and click “select blogs to display,” I get the error:

bX-xdegux

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Yes, I am still getting the error.

I have read those articles. This is not a spam blog, but a very popular blog written by a law professor, a blog that has been updated daily since 2004.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:36 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

CarolEPWhitaker has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I’ve having the same issue as Ann with my blog.

I’ve re-read all the terms and conditions, content policy etc and can’t for the life of me figure out what rule I’ve broken that would cause you to nuke my blog. Can you at least be specific as to the reason for the removal, then I know if I need to reformat to fit the rules or go elsewhere. Thanks. The blog in question was www.thefireinsidecelticband.blogspot.com.

Thank you.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:39 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

hrobar has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I am having the exact same problem as Ann. My blog has been removed, and I have not violated any of the terms.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:48 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I’m closing this discussion, and deleting all hijacks. Ann can reopen this, at her convenience. Everybody else needs to ask their own questions, not hijack here.

References:
[1] [FAQ] Getting Help With Spam Review Needs (Web)

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:51 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

This is not a personal attack against anybody here – just a plea to help us to help you.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 1:02 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I do want to keep this open, because this problem isn’t resolved and I am not able to figure out any other path to resolution.

By the way, my minor blogs

http://althouse2.blogspot.com/
http://aalthouse.blogspot.com/

were always displaying and are now working, but I still get an error when I got to my profile and when I try to “select blogs to display.”

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 1:10 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

hrobar has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I POSTED HERE BECAUSE I AM GETTING AN ERROR MESSAGE WHEN I TRY TO START MY OWN THREAD!

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 1:13 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

queen_becka has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I can’t post a thread either…

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 1:14 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

shahadakarim has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

My new blog address (adventuresinmakeup.com), which I PAID FOR, now does not exist. In the blogger disruption I lost my new blog address. My old address comes up, but several blog posts have been deleted.

Blog: shahadakarim.blogspot.com or adventuresinmakeup.com
Browser: Internet Explorer, Firefox
Geographical Location: Los Angeles, CA

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 1:46 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

I’m getting this message:

The blog you were looking for was not found. If you are the owner of this blog, please sign in.

When I sign in, it takes me to my old blog address… which now looks like it’s missing 3 posts.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:50 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I was finally able to get to the review request and have submitted it.

1. What is the BlogSpot URL or the lockedBlogID?
althouse.blogspot.com

2. When did you submit the review request?
I’m not sure whether I have done this. I’ve never been able to find a form that is called a “review request.” I found the “appeal request.” As I’ve said above, I have been getting error messages at various points. Please help me if I am missing something. I realize these steps are important to you, but the pages are not working normally for me.

3. When did you submit the appeal request?
3:38 Central Time, May 13, 2011

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:52 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

If I understand this correctly, there is a dashboard link for the review request, but I am unable to get to my dashboard. I get the error bX-fgcocb

I hope you can help me nonetheless.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 3:57 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

OK,
this
is escalated
to Blogger Support on your behalf.

We are sincerely sorry for any
inconvenience which we are causing. Please be patient, while you wait for your
blog to be reviewed – and only post in this question. When you reply in
other questions, or ask duplicate / multiple questions, it just makes
more work for everybody – and delays resolution of everybody’s problems,
including yours.

And, please be aware that this is the final
review, and the decision of the umpires cannot be appealed. If you request another review, and the Blogger Team
finds similar blogs in your Blogger account, you
may lose access to all of your blogs.

http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2010/02/three-strikes-and-youre-out.html

Please, read the FAQ about spam review requests scheduling!

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=139e590bf0a8aeba&hl=en

To anybody here who needs assistance, and who is not “Ann Althouse”:

This
discussion
is
only about the review of
“althouse.blogspot.com”. If you
have another blog to report, you cannot get support in this
discussion.
Please ask a new question, or stick to your existing discussion.
When you reply in spam review discussions started by other people, it
just makes more work for everybody, and delays resolution
of everybody’s problems, including yours. If you’re a confirmed
spammer, you’re just coming closer to having your account purged.

Please,
read
the
FAQ about using one discussion for multiple spam review requests!

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=3c8720bf43455b96&hl=en

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:06 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Hoystory has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I’m glad I abandoned Blogger a long time ago. Hey Google, don’t be evil.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:38 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

jpr9954 has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I can’t believe Google and the Blogger Team are being such idiots about this. Semi-porn sites are back online and Ann Althouse isn’t? And you are calling her a spammer. Dudes!

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:38 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nextbigfuture has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann – Did you ever export out your blog ?

It was in Settings – Basic

Export blog

It export your blog into the Blogger Atom export format.

I also use blogger and fortunately my blog has been mostly restored. I had exported out about once every two months but now I will try to do it on a daily basis.

when you get back you can use the export to move your blog and contents elsewhere.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:42 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

TickedOffAboutBuzz has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Seriously, if you guys don’t reinstate her blog, and quickly, you’ve made a huge mistake. There is no credible way you could have come to the conclusion that the Althouse blog is a spam blog. The longer this absence goes on, the more and more plausible seems the theory that this is a politically-motivated attack on Ann.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:45 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

LevBronstein has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

When those with pull determine it is spam it is spam. I am sure that the thousands of complaints from certain individuals that are affiliated with certain employee groups argued that it was indeed spam and their complaints lend legitimacy to the action.
Rules, 2,3,6,12 at work.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:46 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Lulu28 has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Nitecruzr, this is exactly what happened to my blog, which was brand new with only one post as of the system crash. Can you help me please?

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:56 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

ElectLauraDrexler has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

http://electlauradrexler.blogspot.com/ is still not up… please help.

This is my election site and this exact address/ website needs to be restored

All the campaign info lists
http://electlauradrexler.blogspot.com/ as my website,

YOU HAVEN”T fixed the problem yet and give me NO WAY to contact you but the help forums

so how can we get our blogs back

You have not restored everything !!!

if anyone can help electlauradrexler@gmail.com

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Lulu and kitecruzr PLEASE HELP

http://electlauradrexler.blogspot.com/

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 4:58 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Yes, but not as recently as I now wish I had.

I can’t believe they are not speaking to me in a more respectful way. Instapundit is blogging about my problem. You’d think the bad publicity alone would be motivating here.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:05 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

angelatc has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Welcome to our world, Ann.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:08 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

DannyVice has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

I’d never heard of Ann’s blog, but I just pulled up Google’s cache of her blog, and there is no spam on that blog. Just regular posts. Almost eight years of work…..

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:09 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

LilacSunday has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Nitecruzr said: “I will suggest that you read the articles, so you understand what the problems are.”

Good God. I will suggest that Google start reading some of the blogs it is deleting before it deletes them. If Facebook hired a PR firm to orchestrate this stunt, they couldn’t have made Google look more idiotic.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:17 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

hawks5999 has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

“This is a blog that was just written about in the New York Times as one of the most important blogs by professors:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/education/edlife/edl-17blog-t.html”

Yeah, but it says you defended Glenn Beck. Google has a well known liberal bias. I fear you may be toast.
Although, Mankiw is back up. So maybe there is hope. Might be time for WordPress.com

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 5:19 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.

Please inform your readers that their harassment is useless. This forum is here to help people with blog problems, where blogs are small or large. We don’t like coyote attacks, and we don’t stand for them.

References:
[1] Don’t Attack Here (Web)

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:34 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 95 people found this answer helpful.

http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?fid=7d484a48559b3e5c0004a32e8d49b82d&hl=en

Come on, you can do better than that. How about 100 at least? Surely you have more than 100 readers.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Come on, you can do better than that. How about 100 at least? Surely you have more than 100 loyal readers.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:45 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 99

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 100

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:48 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

“2 of 100″

Yes, I have readers, nitcruzr, and they are unhappy with the way Blogger is treating me.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

2 of 114 people found this answer helpful.Shoot – can’t you find at least 200 faithful readers?

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:49 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

So… it’s just a joke to you? You mock my predicament. Everyone is telling me to get off Blogger. I have defended Blogger, on line, for so many years to people who’ve told me to leave.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

Believe it or not, the above “OK,
this
is escalated
to Blogger Support on your behalf.” is a standard escalation advice. It’s been in Blogger Support’s queue for 4 hours now.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:58 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Hoystory has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Nitecruzer, having second thoughts about the abject unprofessionalism of your snark? When trying to disappear comments down the memory hole, you need to delete the ones that reference the flushed content. May I suggest contemplation of Wheaton’s Law?

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:58 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

to Blogger Support on your behalf.” is a standard escalation advice. It’s been in Blogger Support’s action queue for 4 hours now.

It’s been a long 3 days, and the harassment from your readers doesn’t make it any easier.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

B Hollis has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

nitecruzer, if you’re rude and obnoxious to Ann, what do you expect her readers to do? Thank for for it?

Look, it’s simple. Admit a mistake on someone’s part, apologize for your own rude behavior, and I’m betting almost everyone here will let bygones be bygones and leave you alone. But you started it by being totally obnoxious, so it’s up to you to man up and take some responsibility for that.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:04 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Dead Dog Bounce has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Nitecruzer, thanks for deleting the joke at Ann’s expense. Always important to hide the evidence after the deed is done. However, it’s a sad fact that a coverup always looks really bad.

I have to say that I’m deeply shocked at the abject lack of any sign of real world feeling. The Althouse blog represents something close to Ann’s life’s work. It must be in the top 1% of blogspot blogs. If this is the kind of response that Blogger staff have, I’m going to have to downgrade my already low view of humanity.

Looks to me like Google just jumped the shark.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:06 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Brett from blogger has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann Althouse,

We’re very sorry about the disruption. We’re looking into this right now and want to get your blog restored as soon as possible. You can bug me on Twitter if you like if things come up in the meantime.

Appreciate your patience, and btw love your blog.

-brett
twitter.com/electrobutter

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:07 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

AC245 has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Are
you now pretending that all the obnoxious comments you made throughout
this thread (and then later deleted) never happened, nitecruzr?

Or
is your contribution of petty, snide, and insulting commentary also
part of the “standard escalation” procedure in threads you participate
in?

For what it’s worth, I reported each of your (now-deleted)
comments as abusive, and encourage other readers to do the same for any
similar ones you post. You are not the type of person that a reputable
corporation would want to have dealing with their customers, and
Google/Blogger should be made aware of that fact.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:09 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Ann Althouse has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Thank you, Brett!

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:10 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

littlebeartoe has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Prof. Althouse, leave Blogger. This is ridiculous. Blogger has been largely up for hours now; althouse.blogspot.com is still down. Your corner 7-11 would give better and quicker service, and only a foolish organization would fail to recognize your stature in their community.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Edmd5.20.10 has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

nitecruzr

Ann Althouse’s blog is not like spam on any level. This blockage is ridiculous. She is a regular political blogger who has done great work. I have written over at Patterico’s that she deserved a pulitzer for what she did during the wisconsin protests. http://patterico.com/2011/03/18/%e2%80%9cnow-you-are-a-target%e2%80%9d-the-new-civility-targets-ann-althouse/

She has not and never will spam. Your algorithms are wrong and really, I can’t believe that no one at google knows of her blog and knows that this is a ridiculous block.

Btw, if you want to get a sense of what kinds of things appeared on her blog before you blocked it, use this address to search the site I am guest blogging at.

http://patterico.com/index.php?s=althouse&submit=Search

I have liked and recommended blogger for years. I have recommended it to others. We are all talking about this, and so far google is looking really bad.

http://patterico.com/2011/05/13/psa-how-to-find-althouse%e2%80%99s-blog/

There is no need for an appeal. She is innocent. Unblock her site, NOW.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Enigmaticore has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Thank you for stepping in, Brett from Blogger. Some of the risks of turning over too much authority to a volunteer.

———-
From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 8:14 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

littlebeartoe has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Aha. Althouse.blogspot.com is back. Brett must be effective! Good going there. But the lesson is still stark. Leave Blogger, Professor.

How Are Google and Its Related Services and Products Looking After the Company’s Rank Mistreatment of Ann Althouse?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 pm



When I was having all those outages a while back, a friend suggested I return to Blogspot (which is where I started). He actually cited Ann Althouse’s experience as a positive. And until today, that seemed like good advice.

Now that they have shown that they can simply mark your blog as “spam” and whisk it away from you without notice . . . I don’t think I’ll be going back.

I think I know how Ann feels. I had my domain stolen once by 1&1. The level of corporate “fuck you” attitude from 1&1 was very similar to what Ann is experiencing today. By the way, this is about the level of service I have gotten when I have submitted a request to join Google Ads. I simply get a rejection — and when I ask for an explanation, I get nothing.

Twisting the knife, the “support” person called “nitecruzr” apparently said:

“I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.”

In spite of? What?

Not only has that quote been deleted from the support thread . . . they’re already trying to wipe evidence of this off Google.

Moments ago I searched the phrase:

“Ann, I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.”

The search showed the quote in a number of places, including at this link (Ann’s support thread) from which it has been removed, but also at the Save Althouse’s Blog Facebook page and elsewhere. I followed the link to the Facebook page, and when I hit the back button . . . all the links were gone.

Gone.

Now the only result I see is my blog.

I’m not going to lie. I find that creepy.

[UPDATE: I think I figured it out. The problem was that one search started with the word “Ann” and the other didn’t. I note that the search without “Ann” still shows that the phrase was used in the support thread, and has been removed. So I still wouldn’t put it past Google to cover their mistakes . . . but I can’t prove it’s happened. Sorry for the false alarm.]

One comment I still see at the support thread, but can’t find any context for:

Shoot – can’t you find at least 200 faithful readers?

I’m not sure what that means, but it is dripping with hostility. Plus he keeps talking about how she can appeal it, ONCE! — but after that she has zero recourse and can basically go to hell.

If all this has nothing to do with her union coverage I’ll eat my hat.

Someone needs to find out who “nitecruzr” is. I suggest using a different search engine than Google. They (or he) may have wiped that information clean.

In unrelated (not really!) news, Google has introduced a new gadget today, which Aaron discussed earlier: the Google Chromebook. It’s like an iPad — only without the hard drive! What a great idea that seems like today! You simply access all your stuff through the cloud. Unless . . . the cloud goes down. Like Blogger did. Or the Playstation Network did. Or . . . they decide that all your data is spam, perhaps because they don’t like the political content of your data, and tell you that it has all been removed without notice and there is one appeal which you will lose and that’s it.

Yeah, no thanks to that either.

Google is not helping itself today. If nitecruzr still has a job tomorrow, that company is doing something very wrong.

UPDATE: Someone finally came on the thread and told Ann they’re working on getting it back. OK, fine — I sort of expected that would happen. But they still need to address the incredible rudeness of this nitecruzr guy. They deleted his comment about the 200 readers — but not before I got this screenshot:

If so, that is good reason to get the hell off of Blogspot.

UPDATE x3: Dustin found the Bing cache for that comment nitecruzr made. Screenshot:

That “don’t attack here” link goes here, to a post where nitecruzr explains that “Justice Is For The Poor And The Weak – And Blogger Justice Is For The Owners Of Small Blogs.” Well, yeah. It’s also for the owners of larger blogs, too.

I get the impression that nitecruzr got upset that Ann pointed out that she has a blog with a large readership — and treated her worse as a result. In other words, his veneration for the right of small blogs leads him, not to improve service for those blogs, but to equalize matters by giving equally shitty service to the larger blogs.

Well done, Google. Well done indeed. Where can I buy my Chromebook now? Yes, I’m kidding.

UPDATE x4: Apparently the Amazon Affiliates program is not the issue, since Blogger is specifically integrated with Amazon Associates. Thanks to Dustin.

UPDATE x5: I have the full story including all deleted bits of the Google employee’s abuse towards Ann, here.

PSA: How to Find Althouse’s Blog (Update: SHE’S BACK!) (Further Update: Her Archives Are NOT Back)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:21 pm



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Big Update: It looks like she is back!  Yay!

Big Update/Correction: It turns out I spoke a little soon. Yes, she can post new stuff, but even though you can clearly see on the sidebar that archives know she posted a lot, you can’t see her old posts. Like you see this listing “April (360)” indicating that there are 360 posts listed in April of this year, but if you click on the link it claims there were no posts in that archive.

Update: And now we have a Facebook protest page: Save Ann Althouse’s Blog.  Of course I had my own issues with Facebook, but that’s another story…

As some of you noticed, Blogger has been having some trouble today.  That is Google’s excellent free blogging service.  And seriously on any other day I recommend using it.  The fact I created two blogs of my own on that site testifies that it isn’t hard to use…

But one person in particular has been getting it worse than most.  Ann Althouse’s blog has literally disappeared.

For now, you can go to her backup and get her continued wit and wisdom.  As for what is going on there, Insty writes:

THE FOLKS AT GOOGLE don’t quite seem to understand the Althouse blog. Hey, guys, it’s not a spam blog. It’s been in the New York Times and everything. You should put it back up.

Seriously, for their own self-interest given the lost ad revenue, if not on principle.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Some very important new information here.

UPDATE BY AARON: Well, lookie here.  I posted this complaint on their site:

And look now…  its disappeared.

UPDATE BY AARON: Below the fold is a screencap of a yahoo cache of one of the insults directed at Ann mentioned in Patrick’s post.  I suggest you right click on it, and open it in a new tab to view it.

(more…)

3/18/2011

“now YOU are a target;” The New Civility Targets Ann Althouse (Update: Possible Pulitzer and Interview with Shankman)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 6:04 am



[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Update: I got morbidly curious and looked up the rules on entries for the Pulitzer Prize and, judging by this page and this one, I think maybe Ann would qualify. And she certainly would deserve it.

Update (II): Deroy Murdock has more on the threats made in Wisconsin and notices the similarity to Islamofascist language.

Update (III): Over at Big Government, an interview with Jim Shankman. My favorite part: “Shankman believes reports of thuggery and other misbehavior by Leftist protesters in Wisconsin are ‘all over-blown.'” He reminds me of the Islamofascists who threaten to murder anyone who claims Islam is a violent religion. His irony detector is broken.

Update (IV): Ann gets philosophical about internet threats and other silliness.

Well, you had to wonder how long it would be before the deranged left decided Ann Althouse was the enemy.  Althouse has two posts as of now from a Jim Shankman (here and here).  My only peeve is that it’s not obvious how she received these threatening documents and I wish she would fill that in a little more.

Of course Althouse’s sin has been to make the protesters in Wisconsin look bad.  How has she done that?  Mostly by picking up a video camera and letting them be themselves.

The creepy thing, reading the screed sent to Althouse is its familiarity.  As many here know, I participated in the Everyone Draw Mohammed protests last year and I didn’t mention it much but yeah, now and then I got death threats.  Generally my reaction was to delete it and let them know they have been reported to the FBI.  But here you can see a recent example that I haven’t gotten around to deleting yet.  I don’t want to make too much of it.  I’m not trying to make myself out to be courageous or anything.  Seriously, I believe what this really is, is impotent rage.  I am fully convinced that these guys are just idiots in their pajamas, in their mother’s basement, who think they can intimidate us this way but are in reality incapable of performing.

But this Anti-Althouse screed has a certain “American Taliban” kind of feel, especially in the notion that somehow because she had the temerity to show the world how these idiots really behave she has to leave town.  If the man was serious, he is proposing a very real totalitarianism on American soil.  Hopefully he has the same performance issues as the idiots who threaten me.

On the other hand, as pointed out in the “The Greatest Blog Post Ever Written” and this handy compilation of Wisconsin threats, violence and other bad behavior, there is a context there that would justify some actual fear and concern on Althouse’s part.

We all know that in the wake of the Gabby Giffords shooting the left tried to tar the entire right as “uncivil” in its dialogue which somehow led a communist to attack Giffords (I think the logic of the argument goes something like the business plan of the infamous Underwear Gnomes on South Park).  Indeed I threw up in my mouth a little when I read that the University of Arizona was creating a National Institute for Civil Discourse in honor of Ms. Giffords.  By comparison, Judge Roll will get a much more fitting tribute: a courthouse named after him.

We knew at the time that the party of the Teamsters were just blowing smoke when they pretended to be committed to civility.  The events of the last month only verify that.

————————-

Also you can witness Ann Althouse talking to Megyn Kelly about a video she shot recently:

Rule 5 is in effect, ya’ll.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

11/4/2010

Althouse Confused by Coming Ninth Circuit Smackdown

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:03 am



Regular readers know by now that if a decision is appealed to the Supreme Court from the Ninth Circuit, especially if Judge Reinhardt voted with the majority below, you can assume 90% of the time that the Supreme Court is hearing the case because the Ninth Circuit got something wrong and Supreme Court needs to correct it.  For some reason, however,Ann Althouse thinks that Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization v. Winn is a tough question.  In that case, taxpayers were allowed to get a tax credit of up to $500 if they donate to a School Tuition Organization (STO).  The STO was then free to spend the money however it sees fit, with the limitation that it must go to scholarships for students.

(Look close at the word "public.")

Ann Althouse thinks “this case has a substantive Establishment Clause issue — whether government is subsidizing religion — and a threshold issue about standing” asking in the headline to her post, “[i]f the government gives tax credits for donations that may go to religion, is that essentially the same as government spending on religion?”

Well, I respect Professor Althouse a lot, but this case is not even close.  Even if you pretend that receiving a tax credit for a donation to a religious institution is the same as the government handing money directly to a religious institution, the Supreme Court has pretty much already decided the issue.

I mean more than a few of you probably already noticed that this sounds a lot like vouchers.  And the Supreme Court has declared that a voucher scheme is constitutional, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002), saying:

(more…)

6/4/2010

Althouse Poll

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 2:59 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Ann Althouse is polling your reaction to President Obama singing “Hey, Jude” with Paul McCartney:

Love it? Hate it? Don’t care? All the choices are at the link.

— DRJ

2/6/2010

Ann Althouse on Palin

Filed under: Media Bias,Politics — DRJ @ 9:51 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

Like commenter Dana in the Tea Party Nation post below, the equally clever Ann Althouse notices a shift in the way the New York Times looks at Sarah Palin:

“Sarah Palin was a blithering idiot until she became a devious genius.”

Althouse concludes Palin’s political career is “so not toast.”

— DRJ

6/15/2007

Althouse Vivisects Greenwald

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:02 pm



I’m still having a spirited discussion with Ann Althouse in the comments section to one of her AutoAdmit posts, and I’m laying into her a little bit. But just to show I’m not a completely hostile guy, I want to recognize the smashing job she did taking apart Glenn Greenwald in this post, one portion of which made me laugh out loud:

[N]obody really seems to find it odd or disturbing or objectionable at all — that day after day, Salon features a blogger who goes on and on in the most tedious way. . . .

During the last week, when I was traveling, I spent substantial time driving in a rental car…

Glenn G can’t say “last week.” It’s got to be “during the last week.” He can’t say “a long time,” he has to say “substantial time.”

…and thus had the opportunity to listen for large chunks of time to The Rush Limbaugh Show…

You know, Glenn G can’t just “listen” to the radio, he has to have “the opportunity to listen” to the radio. So you listened to the radio? Who cares if it was last week and the car was a rental car and you were not only driving you were also traveling? It’s like his little heart leaps every time he sees the opportunity to lard in a few more words, like a schoolboy assigned to write a 500-word essay.

More like a 10,000 word essay — but still: heh. That’s good stuff.

Althouse’s post has its faults, too. The Greenwald post that Althouse is criticizing contains one of the few passages in recent memory in which I have wholeheartedly agreed with Greenwald: a criticism of the inanity of Chris Matthews. Althouse says Greenwald is “tone deaf” to Matthews’s humor, whereas I agree with Greenwald that Matthews is just a buffoon who exemplifies the worst aspects of our terrible, trivial, herd-mentality, shameful excuse for a news media.

Also, Althouse reads something sinister into a Greenwald missing link that turns out simply to be misspelled, as one of her commenters points out to her (not that she bothers to correct it in the post).

But I can easily overlook these faults, because the criticism of Greenwald’s deadly and overwrought prose is just so well done. In fact, it was so much fun to read, I’m tempted to start making fun of his prose on a daily basis myself. The only thing holding me back is the realization that somebody could probably do it to me too . . .

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