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back to article Pennsylvania woman in legal doo-doo for lav profanities

While swearing at work is apparently good for you, swearing in your bathroom isn't. Pennsylvania housewife Dawn Herb is preparing to fight charges of disorderly conduct brought against her after she swore at her unruly loo, and shortly afterwards a law enforcement officer. Herb, a resident of West Scranton*, was tackling her …

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90 days' imprisonment or a $300 fine if convicted

Wow! At $3.33 that's some cheap imprisonment. Just goes to show how fair justice can be if you've got the cash.

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Happy

Well

the shit will hit the fan if she goes down the crapper.

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Anonymous Coward

Land of the free?

'Nuff said...

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Happy

Hilarious

"Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right".

Well that says it all. It always struck me that in the US 'freedom of speech' only applies to words and phrases that have been vetoed by government.

"You have the freedom to say what we tell you to say".

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and the moral of the story is...

Cops are assholes. On both sides of the pond.

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Black Helicopters

Worrying...

"Scranton's director of public safety Ray Hayes disagreed, saying that these things are not always 'as cut and dry as they originally appear. Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right'. "

Um... Okay, I guess I'm possibly a little behind the times here, but I was under the impression that, in the US of A, freedom of speech _was_ an unfettered right.

When did that get appealed, then? Didn't anyone complain? Or were the complainers arrested and duly punished?

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Alien

am i mistaken?

quote:

Scranton's director of public safety Ray Hayes disagreed, saying that these things are not always "as cut and dry as they originally appear. Freedom of speech is not an unfettered right"

now call me stupid, but isn't America usually making a point that freedom of speech *is* an unfettered right?

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Paris Hilton

my cup runneth over

So, you've got a leaky, overflowing bog and you're none too happy with it. Faced with trying to contain a leak that is getting in to the kitchen you express your displeasure.

Then some twat comes and doesn't offer to help but has a pop at you for slagging off your own sewage.

Maybe an offer of help would have improved matters.

Paris and IT angles:

New 'recording' from Paris - how much like a semi-polished turd will it be.

How much processing is required to get a Paris tune finished.

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It's her own fault

American WCs are generally of the single-trap syphonic design; as opposed to the washdown pattern preferred in the UK, Europe and Australia where blockages are almost unheard-of.

The washdown closet relies on the descending flushwater to force the contents of the basin over the weir of the U-bend, which generally exits horizontally -- either through the wall to a sewer pipe outside, or through the floor via a separate 90 degree adaptor. The waste pipe can maintain its full 100mm. bore all the way. Anything too big for the pipe will remain in the basin (which is sized to accommodate more than a full cistern-load of water).

The syphonic closet relies on a constriction in the waste pipe, followed by a wider section, to create a partial vacuum and draw out the basin contents. The complicated curves of the waste pipe are generally concealed within the pedestal, exiting downward. It is thus inherently unreliable, and has no noticeable advantage over the washdown closet.

Why our friends across the pond persist in using it is a mystery.

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Lee
Coat

well well...

...It looks like she's in the shit now.

thanks mate, its the long brown one at the back

...Can you call me a cab?

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Grades?

Would this be a graded system, or is saying 'fish mitten' as bad as saying 'cunt'? Do the natives of Scrotum have to wander round with comedy horns to honk when they trip over paving slabs or catch their fingers in doors?

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Joke

Re: Worrying...

"Um... Okay, I guess I'm possibly a little behind the times here, but I was under the impression that, in the US of A, freedom of speech _was_ an unfettered right."

Um it is - up to a point. For example one can not yell 'fire' in a theater - causing mass panic (unless there is a fire) nor may one lie about someone else (slander/libel). However, this little item should get tossed. It is clear that the cop is an A%% and that he is/was abusing his position. I would not be surprised he he has been written up on this sort of thing before. Should be fun to watch the lawyers get at his file. Note that the fact that I called the cop an a%% and my guess about his file are fine - they are my opinion and a guess based on what I see. Note that I did not claim that he beats his kids - I don't know if he even has kids. Then there is the Groucho Marx question: "When did you stop beating your wife?" It'll be fin to see this playout.

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Coat

@Lee

You're a cab

Athankyou

Can we share? Not going south of the river this time of night though

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Law
Boffin

RE: It's her own fault

You're my hero.... I always wondered why their bowls were wierd... now I know. Mr Stiles, I doth my cap to you sir! :)

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Stop

unfettered rights

The general idea is that you can say what you want, but that there can be restrictions on where and when (and sometimes how) you can say it. In that sense, freedom of speech is a right, but it is fettered with the responsibility of making the statements at the proper time and place, and with consideration for your audience. Also, like in most countries, defamation is not protected speech.

Oh, and Mitch, I think you meant "vetted by the government" -- and still your statement makes precious little sense. If the US government locked up anyone who said something they didn't like, the entire country would be in prison.

The human eye can perceive over 16 million colors -- it only goes into black-and-white mode when it's in the dark -- and even then it can see shades of gray. The same should be said of the human mind.

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Coat

Hmmmm

"intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm"

Is that because she has no private convenience as its blocked up?

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Anonymous Coward

@AJ Stiles

Hey, that was extremely informative, my hat's off to you, O master of loo technology.

This'll end up getting tossed, hopefully. I mean, otherwise, anyone know anything about the immigration laws in Blighty? I already speak (colonial) English!

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@A J Stiles

I never knew about the significant difference between US and UK toilets, thanks for the enlightening and educating comment. Personally I quite like the type of toilet you get in Germany where you poop onto a sort of inspection plate so you can have a good poke and prod to see how well your digestive system is running. When you flush the offending article is swept off the plate and down the pan as usual. It also helps to reduce splash-back (ugh) as there is less distance between the arse and the water!

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Joke

@A.J. Stiles

So what you're saying is that US toilets are shit flushers because they have a shit flushing function, and UK toilets are not shit flushers because they have a proper shit flushing function?

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Re: Re: Worrying

"nor may one lie about someone else (slander/libel)"

That's not precisely true either. Both slander and libel are *civil* offenses, not criminal offenses. The government can't stop you from saying those things nor can they punish you for it (which is why elected officials are unable to sue for slander or libel). However an individual CAN sue you for damages for something you said or wrote.

Plus it is sometimes really hard to prove slander or libel. The offending statements must be heard (or read) by a third party, they must be *plausible*, and they must be untrue.

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IT Angle

director of public safety?

And what, exactly, did the opinion of a director of public safety bring

to that discussion? Was the toliet overflowing *that* badly? If so a

few 4-letter words would seem to be the least of his problems...

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Myth of Freedon of Speech

"Um... Okay, I guess I'm possibly a little behind the times here, but I was under the impression that, in the US of A, freedom of speech _was_ an unfettered right."

Although a great many Americans believe this, in fact the U.S. is a place where speech and other liberties are greatly constrained, either by law or by self-censorship. This is especially the case since 9/11.

One need only look at the moralistic madness that passes as broadcast regulation by the FCC to understand how fettered Americans are, yet the same people who will do backflips to avoid playing a song on the radio containing the word "fuck" (or even Allen Ginsburg's "Howl") will also tell you quite earnestly about how Freedom of Speech is guaranteed by the Constitution.

What you need to understand is that the vast majority of Americans don't see the contradiction, are able to simultaneously hold these conflicting ideas in their heads and believe both.

Hmmm... that sounds vaguely familiar....

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Unhappy

Oh shit, no pun intended

I expect the RIAA will be after me now for quoting a few words, maybe a title even. Guess so.

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Happy

In memory of Harry Chapin

Have they eaten all the bananas yet?

30,000 lbs of the f***ers if i remember correctly.

I'm a Brit but its not much better over here if at all.

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Most states

Most states here in have down away with the specific charge of swearing at an officer. If you swear at them and they get pissed,you usually go down for disturbing the piece or disorderly conduct.

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people with guns

The officer obviously has mental problems possibly she was lucky to get off with just arrest. People yell obscenities at dysfunctional plumbing all the time no one goes to jail it's normal.

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Paris Hilton

@Keith Turner

Thank you for providing a Paris Hilton angle. It seems these "Journos" just can't keep up the pace....

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She should sue the cop....

...on the basis that he must be a pervert to be hanging around outside her bathroom window and invading her privacy in the first place. Was he just listening or was he trying to cop an eyeful? :-)

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Once again

America:

Richest third world nation on the planet.

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Anonymous Coward

American contradictions

You mean like insisting on a strict separation of church & state (remember the 10 commandments at the courthouse fuss) and then putting "In God we trust" on every banknote?

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Coat

@Lee

"its the long brown one at the back"

So it was you who caused the blockage in the first place?!!

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@ JohnG

Not clear. he could have been trying to enjoy a nice quiet Nixon in the crapper of his next-door apartment/condo/duplex when she started in. With the genuine CheapShit Brand(tm) construction of a lot of apartments here in the States, there's noreason to think that he was at her window.

He's still a dick, though, and I wonder if he identified himself to the dispatcher when he called and whether the on-duty officers would have responded so quickly if he wasn't one of them?

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Bah!

I say fuck that shit, America is going down the drain!

How twisted is that?! HE is trying to limit her freedom of expression and SHE goes to jail?! What?!

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Coat

Copper causes public health risk

I think the judge should be very stern in his judgement against the copper instead, in a land where health care is even more up the creek than the UK they need all the help they can get..

Arguments:

(1) he interferes with her efforts to clear up a health hazard, and thus ends up liable for any illness the family may befall in the aftermath of this affair (with aftermath being a bit close to events as a pun, but I digress).

(2) we have seen recent articles that swearing is good for you, and he thus prevents her from achieving a health improvement. I think immediate remedial action must be taken by letting her swear at the cop for, umm, don't know, two hours or so? You know, give him some.. ah. OK

Coat..

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Unhappy

No idea our toilets were different, however the 1.6 gallon per flush rule does blow

So anyone who has a recent toilet in the states knows they restrict them to 1.6 gallons per flush. These new water saving toilets usually clog up if you look at them wrong, requiring multiple flushes, plunging, etc. wasting, of course, more water.

I'd be curious if you have a 1.6 gallon per flush limit as well? I know Canada doesn't and there have actually been busts at the borders as people try to smuggle working toilets into the US.

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at home?

So she was in her own home, dealing with a truly shitty problem, and this asshole decides to have her charged for swearing? In her own home? This is the land of "Freedom"???? Damn.

Oh, and anonymous coward: it's only the American designed low-flush toilets that clog up if you look at them sideways. I know, I've dealt with a few. My Japanese designed one works just fine, thank you. Try buying something from a company whose executives and designers are used to not wasting water.

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Smuggling... TOILETS? Talk to a plumber first

"I'd be curious if you have a 1.6 gallon per flush limit as well? I know Canada doesn't and there have actually been busts at the borders as people try to smuggle working toilets into the US."

The 1.6 gallon flush limit is gross overreaction to a limited problem (much of the US does not have a water shortage), but this is ridiculous! For the cost and risk of trying to smuggle toilets (TOILETS!) over the border, you can buy 1.6 gallon toilets that work. They're expensive little flushers, but if you can afford it, well worth it. My favorite are the ones with the pressurized tanks that flush like a store toilet. They even have them where they look like normal toilets, but when you lift the tank lid, all you can see is a couple of pressure tanks inside. I've never seen one of those clog under normal household use, unlike the run of the mill 1.6 units, which are crap.

As a side note, conversations like this always make me feel old. Just when did I start gushing about plumbing fixtures?

-daniel

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Stop

there has got to be more to it than this

If the cop, off duty or not, was white, then it's his job to be shat upon, according to the judges, media and the criminal element. No way would anyone prosecute. In CA, obscene blasphemic language is mandatory as long as it avoids "offending" self-defined minorities. Unless these minorities are Police, Military, Christian, or conservative/Republican-in which case they're required to endure and praise such behavior.

Methinks there's something missing, especially if the ACLU is involved. Even with no criminal record (which simply means nothing prosecutable has stuck) the "victim" here could easily have been involved in all sorts of nefarious shadiness. Or has nice misunderstood gentleman gang member callers at various late hours. Something more than swearing had to be involved.

Maybe she encroached on an Amazon patent, or had a cybersquatting website.

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This post has been deleted by its author

freedom of speech

i think the thing most ppl are hung up on the swearing, witch is only part of the problem. the main thing was, one of her neighbors could hear her. i dont remember if it said what time this happened, but most location do have noise ordinaces, meaning if i blast my stereo for my neighbors to hear at 3 am. they cops will show up. the fact she swearing onlymeans she was pissed off and likly sweared at the cops...something guarenteed not to help your situation.

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Flame

Hey, septic tanks, try harder you faggots!!!

Bridish people have insulted your plumbing! You agree? You milquetoast pantywaists!

The world knows that there are no proper showers in Limeyland. They're just dribbling feeble apologies.

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Don't know the whole story, but...

Let's assume for a moment that she *was* doing what she is being accused of (because if she wasn't this is a moot point):

As a private citizen, not a member of the police force or anything, I for one would not enjoy having to sit through my neighbour's long list of expletives, whether they were directed at me or not. If, when asking that neighbour to either stop or tone it down so I con't hear them, I am then attacked *personally* by said person (with expletives), then I for one would call the cops.

I don't care *who* you are, there is a point beyond which "free speech" is no longer enough to cover your lack of social graces. The concept of "free speech" only covers the *content* of the speech, not its wording - she wants to express her dislike of the toilet and its flushing system, fine. She wants to do it in a loud voice and using unnecessary expletives, not fine.

Put simply: Why should her rights (to so-called "free speech") be greater than my rights (not to be verbally harrassed by what is essentially noise polution)? If you want to rant and rave at the top of your lungs, sound-proof your house!

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@And the Moral of the Story is:

Yes, cops are assholes... in fact on the job application under references, I think you have to list three sources that can vouch that you're an asshole to get the job. And they check.

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Intent?

Seriously - *intent* to cause a public nuisance? So the cop is saying she intentionally plugged the bog just so she could swear at it and annoy the neighbors.

Excellent, well done that man. Give him a kick in the backside.

Just goes to show how stupid American cops are.

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Thank God its not Texas

she'd be on death row - especially if shes not white...

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Olymic-size bogs

Since we're talking US kiddy-size gallons (3.7854 litres or 1.5 sheep bladders in El Reg units), a 1.6 gal flush == 6 litres.

But since the US bogs are long , wide and shallow vs British/Australian/NZ narrower but deeper ones, 6l does not build up much pressure and thus is less likely to force blocking material.

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@Jason LoCascio (6 liter = 1.6 U.S. gallons)

Actually, 6 liters is just a hair shy of 1.6 U.S. gallons; close enough to be considered equivalent. This would, of course, make the 4 liter variety two thirds, not one third, of the U.S. size.

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"Slough" ? </More Bottom Feeding>

Yet another fine example of Da-Reg slumping to the bottom of the wit-pile again. "Slough" ?

As self-mindful of the authors and commentors here are of their position within the IT community, I'm somewhat amazed at the continued bashing of us Yanks.

I keep forgetting that this last-bastion of intelligence crowd of Ameri-Bashers invented Unix -- no wait. You didn't.

Oh, you've got the claim to fame of having invented and developed the PC -- oops, my bad. Wrong on that one too.

But, thankfully, you've invented any of the world's most used operating systems ... No, wait -- that doesn't apply here either.

Hide behind the "dot.uk" URL if it makes you feel pompous ... Well, no wait, we gave that to you too. Everyone knows where the web came from.

Wow ... all of this Yank bashing going on here lately from some poor-orphaned step-child pissing in his/her warm beer about how wonderfully intelligent they are ...mocking the hand that fed them (and continues to feed them).

Heck, I've been in this business for over 20 years and I can't possibly name a single computer, operating system or program worth anything that has the "Made in the UK" label on it.

Sorry, I'm just sayin.

Laugh all you want. I'm a little busy replacing your "arses" to listen to your sophomoric name-calling right now.

(Oh gee, which Emoticon to choose ? I'm sure you invented that concept too) ... what ? No animated burning American-Flag. Geese, this site is just getting sad.

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Go

More to it than this?

A another anonymous coward, defending the undefendable, with nothing more than

an uneducated guess and pathetic innuendo. I suspect this is all there is to it, America is probably what is blocking the toilet in the first place. What a f%ck wit. Pathetic attempt to blame the victim, poor ms Herb .

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Paris Hilton

Two rules

Rule 1 - Swearing (loudly and ranting) is required while working on any plumbing problem.

Rule 2 - As you get "East of the Rockies" and to the East Coast people (in general) are fucked-up and up-tight.

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