Via Walter Olson
Can websites be forced to change to accommodate the disabled — by using “simpler language” to appeal to the “intellectually disabled or by making them accessible to the blind and deaf at considerable expense?
Apparently, the White House is gearing up to force costly changes on websites in the name of ADA compliance. The implications could be staggering, and in certain scenarios would basically force me to certainly close down this site, and likely close down many of my business sites.
Generally, the First Amendment gives you the right to choose who to talk to and how, without government interference. There is no obligation to make your message accessible to the whole world, and the government can’t force you to make your speech accessible to everyone, much less appealing to them. The government couldn’t require you to give speeches in English rather than Spanish …
But now, the Obama administration appears to be planning to use the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to force many web sites to either accommodate the disabled, or shut down.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio has a web site where he encourages the public to poke fun at the ugliest or most odd-looking mug shots taken by his officers. He has a mug shot of the day contest, where citizens can vote for their favorite.
What do all the people pictured in these photos have in common? The are all innocent -- by definition, since they have not plead in any court or gone to trial.
Sorry, I know he has added the reminder that these folks are innocent on that page, but this kind of public shaming and ridicule for un-convicted arrestees (part and parcel with other favorites like the perp walk) are absolutely inappropriate for the police to engage in. It is absurd to see our Sheriff running his only little TMZ.
(Yes, I know there are private sites that engage in this, as the photos are public information. I have always wondered why arrest records are not confidential, but that is another post. There is a big difference between a private entity engaging in such a behavior and a law enforcement officer doing so.)
I can 't decide if the last question asked of Congressman Weiner today is a new low in journalism or a step in the right direction of treating Congress with exactly the dignity it deserves. Maybe we can just merge Cspan and TMZ. In either case, it has to be the first time these words were ever uttered in a press conference:
Were you fully erect, Congressman?