Category Archives: People in the News

Facebrick Banned in Realm of Bricklyn

by Eric Tiler Corman, Bricklyn Eagle political news correspondent

Summary of article ➤ In an unexpected ruling, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn has banned Facebrick from the Realm due to monopolistic practices & abuse of privacy. Reactions to the ruling and next steps.

Federal Council President Hilma Plater-Zybrick at her home.

In an unexpected action, the Federal Council of the Realm of Bricklyn (FCRB)🌀 has just issued a ruling (by a 5-2 vote) mandating the termination of Facebrick’s🌀 services within the Tripartite Realm of Bricklyn.

The Council’s decision only applies to Facebrick, not to Facebook (the parent company). Facebrick has been operating a Bricklyn-only network since 2016, as Bricklyn has long restricted access to Outland networks. But unanswered questions remain over whether the Council’s ruling also applies to Bricklyn citizens trying to connect to the global Facebook social network at The Exchange.📍

📍For some background about The Exchange, see “When Bricklyn Pulled the Plug.”

Council Finds Monopoly and Privacy Violations

According to Council President Hilma Plater-Zybrick, “the ruling centers not just on violations of Bricklyn anti-trust laws, but also on concerns over infractions of Bricklyn’s privacy regulations.”

One of the examples of anti-competitive behavior cited by the Council was Facebrick’s 2020 acquisition of the fledgling social media app WeBricks, “snuffing out a potential competitor,” the Council’s ruling said.

Editor’s Note: While the Council’s ruling dealt with the monopolistic practices of Facebrick, have we given any thought to just what Bricklyn’s youth are learning when they play this board game and need to accumulate the most money & wealth in order to win? The Junior Version of this popular board game is designed for 5 year olds and up!

As to privacy, the Council found Facebrick repeatedly failed to tell customers of its sharing of personal data with third parties, and also engaged in other “systematic privacy breaches.”

The Council cited Facebrick’s failure to address these issues, despite repeated warnings from Bricklyn regulators.

Facebrick supporters claim that the company is being unduly tarred with accusations being made in some Outland countries against Facebook, and that Facebrick is a good corporate citizen, providing valued social media services to Bricklynites.

Replying to these critics, Council President Plater-Zybrick said that: “Regardless of Facebook’s practices in the Outland🌀 world, the Council’s ruling was solely based on Facebrick’s practices within the Realm of Bricklyn.”

Plater-Zybrick has been considered a long-time “skeptic” of Facebrick, but that she could convince four other Council members to join her in ruling against Facebrick remains a surprise. When asked, Plater-Zybrick would only say, “What became clear to most of us was the egregious nature of Facebrick’s violations. What’s more, we received a statement of support for the actions we were considering from the Chief Prognosticator🌀, always an important consideration in major rulings by the Council.”📍

📍 By long standing Bricklyn tradition, the Chief Prognosticator of the Realm can be called in for an in camera meeting with the Federal Council when the Council is considering taking actions that may have “high significance for the future of The Realm of Bricklyn.” The decision to call for the Chief Prognosticator can be made by either the Council President, or by vote of a majority of Council members. The current Chief Prognosticator is David Bricks.

Facebrick Supporters Attack Council Decision

Bill B. Butler, Federal Council Member
Federal Council Member Bill B. Butler, aka “3B”. Besides serving on the Council, Butler is an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad.

Bill B. Butler, who represents South Bricklyn, was one of the two dissenters on the Federal Council. When asked about the ruling, Butler said: “Facebrick is a great resource for Bricklyn. It gives people what they want, which is why virtually everyone who wants to be socially networked uses it. What’s more, most folks don’t give a hoot about their so-called privacy, as long as they can easily network with their family and friends.”

As Butler added, “if Facebrick did happen to violate our laws, what that means is we need to re-examine and change our laws so that Facebrick can quickly resume operations here in Bricklyn. I’m sure that’s what most Bricklynites would want.”

Representatives of Facebrick could not be reached for comment. An appeal of the decision to the Chief Magistrate’s Court, along with a request for a Stay of the mandate, are possible. However, given the fact that the ruling received the endorsement of Chief Prognosticator Bricks, most legal analysts view it as unlikely that the Court would hear an appeal (the Court has discretion on whether to accept appeals of Federal Council decisions).

Public to be Polled

There has been little opinion polling on the Facebrick question, but Bricklyn Eagle Editor Whitman, along with TV 3 Managing Editor Frank Smallbrick, have just announced they will be teaming up on a poll in the coming weeks to gauge public reaction to the ruling.✥

➤ Note from Bricklyn Eagle Editor Walt Brickman: Unfortunately, as Editor, I must offer an apology. As you may know, The Bricklyn Eagle just recently launched a Facebook page for Outlanders. In fact, some of you have already “liked” it. We are seeking clarification from officials at the FCRB if this page must be taken down in light of the ruling, or whether it can remain available to our Outland readers. All I can say right now is, stay tuned! But rest assured, we at The Bricklyn Eagle will continue to provide you with unbiased news reporting, despite our having used Facebrick and Facebook for our business.

➤ Note from Reporter Corman: As mentioned in our article, Outland policies and laws were apparently not taken into consideration by the Bricklyn Federal Council in its Facebrick ruling. Having said that, readers may find it of interest that U.S. President Joe Biden, in remarks given today (coincidentally the same day as the Council’s ruling), said that: “We are now 40 years into the experiment of letting giant corporations accumulate more and more power … and what have we gotten from it? Less growth, weakened investment, fewer small businesses. … I believe the experiment failed.” As Biden observed, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism, it’s exploitation.” See “Biden launches assault on monopolies,” POLITICO (July 9, 2021).

photo of DPW Director Chulpin Spancer

Chulpin B. Spancer, Bricklyn DPW Director

by Gloria Vanderbrick, The Bricklyn Eagle’s People In the News correspondent

Summary of Article ➤ Bricklyn Dept. of Public Works Director Chulpin B. Spancer has moved Bricklyn to the forefront in getting new infrastructure built, as well as in dealing with improvements to aging water and sewer systems.

photo of DPW Director Chulpin Spancer
Spancer standing on the bike/ped bridge over the southern end of Bricklyn Bay — part of Phase 1 of the City’s ambitious bike/ped improvements.

➤ Editor’s Note: This is the first in an ongoing series of posts The Bricklyn Eagle will be running on the BricklynVT.com site. Reporter Gloria Vanderbrick, in her “People in the News” column will be introducing you to the people who make Bricklyn tick. Today, she’ll be highlighting Chulpin B. Spancer, Director of Bricklyn’s Department of Public Works (DPW).

Chulpin Spancer seems a fixture in Bricklyn Vermont. With his white hard hat on, and sporting his DPW orange & blue attire, he’s regularly spotted walking or biking through town. But surprisingly, Spancer’s only lived here since 1991, so he’s still — in the eyes of many — a flatbricker.🌀 His family traces its roots back to the Town of Billund, Denmark, home of many of Bricklyn’s founders.

Street scene in Billund, Denmark (Legoland). Photo by Bobby Hidy, Flickr Creative Commons License.

But in 1969, instead of emigrating to Bricklyn, the Spancers and a small group of other Billunders settled in Brickville, New Hampshire.

Their decision reflected a “philosophical” split among LEGO peoples, between those advocating the SNOT philosophy and those NOT.📍

📍While many readers will find the SNOT debate difficult to assess, respected Lego analyst Holger Matthes has written: “But what is the miracle behind SNOT? SNOT stands for Studs Not OTop and doesn’t mean the green stuff produced in your nose. It’s more like a ‘philosophy’ to use LEGO bricks slightly different. The well known studs are not used in the normal top position. The bricks will be fixed in another way, let’s say ‘not on top’ … “

Fortunately partisan sniping has faded in recent years as Lego communities have embraced the motto of “Fred og Enhead” — Peace & Unity.

Spancer Moves to Bricklyn & Finds His Calling

In what was undoubtedly a difficult decision, Spancer left his family in Brickville at the age of 18 after embracing SNOTism, and moved to Bricklyn, enrolling in the University of Bricklyn VT (UBVT) where he received a B.S. in Recreational Theoretics. After graduating the young man quickly became involved in local politics, and ended up winning election to the Bricklyn City Council.

Spancer also found his calling as an early bike, pedestrian, and transit advocate, becoming director of the powerful nonprofit, Vocal Brickmotion.🌀 In looking back, most of us now realize that there was much that needed to be done to move us out of our beloved automobiles — and Spancer and Brickmotion were leaders in this effort!

Taking the Helm at the Department of Public Works

Spancer surprised some — including this reporter — by leaving Vocal Brickmotion several years ago to become Director of the Bricklyn DPW, appointed to the post by YMK Spiro Brickburger. Editor’s Note: Much more on YMK Brickburger’s reign in future posts.

Spancer and DPW Customer Service Manager Mary Tiler Fleur on part of the recently completed bike/ped network. Note the free city bikes behind them, one of three such locations now in place.

Spancer has focused on getting new bike and pedestrian infrastructure built, while also stressing the need to rebuild the city’s aging sewer and water systems.

As many Bricklyn Eagle readers are aware, Spancer pushed forward an ambitious plan for a greatly expanded bike and ped network. Voters rewarded these efforts by passing the huge $1.2 million 🅱️ bond issue📍 last March to pay for Phase 1 of the Bike & Ped network, and then an additional $900,000 🅱️ for Phase 2 last November. Incidentally, Phase 2 included the quite spectacular Railyard Overpass which we’ll be highlighting in a future post. Both Phases 1 and 2 are now complete, having come in on time and right on budget — in the true Bricklyn Builds Better spirit!

📍 Note that dollar amounts are given in Bricklyn currency, the Brickmark 🅱️. While Bricklyn is, indeed, a municipality in the State of Vermont, when it was incorporated into the State in 1988 by an Act of the U.S. Congress, it received the right to continue using its Brickmark monetary system. Of course, U.S. currency is also honored in Bricklyn to make it easier for visitors. We’ll ask our business & economics reporter, Paul B. Macro, to discuss the financial implications of using the Brickmark in a future post.

As Spancer recently remarked in the pages of The Bricklyn Eagle:

“Bricklyn has taken the lead in re-orienting its transportation system away from heavy reliance on the automobile, and towards alternative forms of transportation, including rail, bus, biking, and walking. We’re proud to be doing our part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and hope to be a model for other communities.” (From, “New Transportation Plans Taking Shape in Bricklyn,” The Bricklyn Eagle, May 14, 2021). ❖