Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Go read a (banned) book today...

Just a reminder...it's Banned Books Week.

I'm going to give you all an assignment. Go to your local library. Get a library card if you don't already have one (and shame on you if you don't). Check out a book that some person or group has tried, at one time or another, to ban from school or public libraries. This is, after all, where most challenges to books come from.

It doesn't have to be a work of great literature, although people have tried to ban many of those. It can be a children's novel or series of novels...In some years in the recent past, the Harry Potter series, by J. K. Rowling, was one of the most challenged books, collectively in the year. It can be a fantasy book or series...J. R. R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series has not only been banned, according to information on the American Library Association's website, but was actually burned here in the United States in the not-so-distant past.

Speaking of burning books, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, about a future culture where firemen don't put out fires, they go into people's homes and collect all the books they find and burn them. Good book, and one well worth reading or re-reading.

Anyway, go read a book. Go read a banned or challenged book. And talk about it. Let people know that you will not stand for disappearing a book from library or bookstore shelves just because someone else doesn't like what that books says. It's a First Amendment issue.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Utah gets mooned...well, almost

I see on Yahoo! News that about 3,000 people in Salt Lake City stripped down to their underwear on Saturday and ran from downtown to the state Capitol, where they circled the Capitol building, protesting what they characterized as the "uptight" laws of Utah.

Apparently, the organizers of the run said people couldn't run in the nude, but panties and bras, nightgowns, and boxer shorts were perfectly acceptable garb for the protest as the runners showed their frustration over and disapproval of conservative policies in the state.

I like this as a form of protest. It's non-violent. It grabs attention. And, maybe best of all, it was a creative way of making the protesters' point. And, yes, it was underwear, and some people might have been offended, but from the photos I saw no one was wearing anything more revealing that might be worn at a public swimming pool. In other words, nothing any more revealing than might be seen on a typical broadcast of "Dancing With the Stars"

The only thing that would have made it better, as far as I'm concerned, would have been if they'd also run a circuit around Temple Square. Oh, I know. Church security would have had a fit and started detaining people. Still, considering the influence that the Mormons have on Utah politics, it would have been relevant. And with the numbers the protesters had, some might have gotten away with it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And those WTF moments just keep on coming...

I've been sitting on this for nearly a week.

Can't do it any longer, because I'm still angry about it.

I'm talking writing, of course, about the idiots who cheered and laughed and yelled out "Yes!" when the question of possibily letting an uninsured coma patient die for the lack of health insurance came up at a Republican presidential candidates' debate at the beginning of the week. I'm also writing about the huge, yawning, nearly universal silence regarding the incident from the candidates participating in the debate, the rest of the Republican party, politicians otherwise affiliated, and the media.

Oh, there were a few who mildly criticized the audience members who apparently believe that anyone who lacks health insurance should just die, but as far as I was able to find, there really wasn't much comment at all about the incident. If there was any, I'd love it if you all, dear readers, would point me to the coverage of those comments.

Mostly, the reaction of those people in the debate audience made me sick. But it also brought up some questions.

Aren't those the same Tea Party types who were incensed about so-called "death panels" they said would be instituted if President Obama's health care legislation passed? And how many of the people appearing to think that people without insurance being left to die is something to be celebrated are the same ones who characterize themselves as "pro-life" and would outlaw abortion, even in the case of rape or incest? My question for them is, do they really mean to say that the right to life ends at birth?

Oh, well. I suppose they're just being consistent. They are probably the same people who congregate outside of prisons where executions are being carried out, laughing and celebrating. Certainly, there were also cheers that night when the number of executions presided over by candidate and Texas Governor Rick Perry was mentioned.

Except for one problem. The only "crime" committed by the ininsured is being too poor to afford insurance. And that isn't even always the case. Some follks are without insurance because their employers have dropped their coverage to save the business money. And many people are denied insurance coverage that they are able and willing to pay for simply becuase they have a "preexisting condition". So, I guess, what those cheering people in that audience were really saying is that if you're poor, or if you work for a cheap company (or a company that simply can no longer afford to pay outrageous insurance premiums), or even if you've just been sick before, you deserve to die. It isn't a simple case of people not "taking responsibility", as candidate Ron Paul seemed to imply in his comments during the debate.

I thought writing about this would help diffuse my anger about this. Get it out of my system.

Yeah. Not so much.