Sunday, May 13, 2012

So this is what passes for a librarian in Florida?

Over the years we've praised librarians for standing up to censorship. The American Library Association has an entire office, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.   You probably also know that the ALA sponsors Banned Books Week the first week of October to celebrate the freedom to read and the value of the First Amendment.

So what happens when it's a librarian censoring the reading made available to the public?

That's what's happening in Florida.The Brevard County Library chose recently to close the book on British author E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades.” Cathy Schweinsberg, library services director, decided after reading the novel to pull from circulation the system’s 19 copies of “Fifty Shades,” the first installment in a trilogy.

Why? Because it's about sex.

This is not because people don't want to read it. In the Volusia County system, right next door to Brevard, there are hundreds of people on the waiting list for the book, and here in Vermont you can reserve it at Listen Up Vermont, but you'll be waiting behind at least seventy-four other readers.

Library users and taxpayers in Brevard County are challenging this decision, and not just because they want to read about sex. Rather, they have the same concerns that the rest of us, and the ALA have: if the censors win here, and get to ban one book, then there is no limit to the books they are allowed to ban.

Here's hoping the readers win and the censors lose.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Imagine that! A religious group defending child molesters

Only this time it's not the Catholic Church.

The Times is reporting that ultra-Orthodox sects, centered mainly in Brooklyn, are actually defending abusers and harassing their accusers.

As my brother Dan says, religion can be such a comfort.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

No difference?

Just wondering what those people who have been saying there is no difference between President Obama and a potential President Romney, or President Obama and President Bush are thinking now.

Monday, May 07, 2012

2012, but what has changed?

Some have tried to argue that the election of Barack Obama has ushered in a post-racial society. Others have angrily disputed charges of racism on the part of President Obama's opponents.

 This might be a good time to let the facts speak for themselves, eh?

 Take a look at this post from Mother Jones, and look closely at the two pictures. One of them is an actual photograph of President Obama. The other is the same photo as published by a right-wing anti-Obama group called Vets for a Strong America.

Do you notice any difference?

 Now tell me you think racism has nothing to do with the opposition to President Obama.