Life, Entertainment, Media


There is a most excellent point by Vanishing American called “Squandering our riches”. Upon observing that some literary classics no longer appear on library shelves, they also address how the rules in many libraries are ignored and those who would have followed them ultimately move away from the library itself. It begins a cycle where the library no longer preserves the best, but is reduced to a place to hang out.

A piece from the post:

It’s another example of the broken windows theory: the idea that when a broken window is ignored and left unrepaired, the whole building and then the neighborhood falls to decay. So when a broken rule or two or three are ignored, pretty soon everybody has it figured out: the rules are not taken seriously, nobody will enforce them, and thus anything goes. Soon the rulebreakers are in control, while the rule-abiding people have to go elsewhere to escape the chaos, or resign themselves to it. Another obvious illustration of this theory is the abandonment of our borders.
But standards, rules, borders, they’re all so elitist, so yesterday, so Eurocentric.

It’s all a manifestation of the prevailing liberalism of our time: it’s deemed unfair and elitist to demand conformance to rules. Only legalistic prudes want rules enforced, and besides, who are we to judge others’ behavior? After all, homeless people have to bathe somewhere, and why not in the library? And who are we to judge those who want to view graphic porn openly on the library computers? Or read trashy ‘fotonovelas’ in the library? Or turn the library into a hangout and free sidewalk cafe?

The dumbing-down of libraries is just a part of the dumbing-down of our society, part of the leftist war against all standards, against excellence and achievement and civilization, really. Excellence, high achievement, such things are too exclusive, too hierarchical, and to leftists this is intolerable. Anything which does not ‘include’ everybody, which is not demotic and egalitarian, cannot be allowed.

Definitely read the whole thing!

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Yesterday I saw that the blog Alabama Liberation Front (formerly located at freealabamastan.blogspot.com) had been hijacked by a porn site. At first I wondered if Ali Bubba had been victim of a malicious attack (or worse yet, if the Associated Press had sent someone after him for calling them out on the Jamil Hussein fakery).

But it seems to be much worse, as Snapped Shot is reporting that Ali-Bubba is taking a forced leave from blogging.

I’m sad to have to say “farewell” to blogger-friend Ali Bubba (of the Alabama Liberation Front). Ali wrote today to say that due to potential issues with his company’s anti-blogging policy, he needed to hang up the hat for now. I wish you the best, Ali, and a Merry Christmas! Hopefully, you’ll be able to grace us with your eloquent prose again very soon!

Friends:

Two nights in a row, I’ve had nightmares in which the Alabama Liberation Front blog led to my being “dooced.” So I deleted it.

It’s Christmas, and my family needs my nights and weekends anyway.

The employment policies which currently prevent me from blogging in my own name are, in my opinion, stupid. But these are the terms of
my employment, and until those policies change, I risk too much by blogging anonymously.

When I return to the blogosphere — as I am sure I eventually will — I intend to do so under my own name. I hope I can count on your
assistance then.

Until then, once more: FREE ALABAMASTAN!

– ALI-BUBBA

So sad to see him go. Hopefully he’ll be back again soon!

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An old piece that’s still very relevant:

I am thankful for . . .
. . . . . the mess to clean after a party, because it means I have been surrounded by friends;
. . . . . the taxes I pay, because it means I have resources;
. . . . . the clothes that fit a little too snugly, because it means I have enough to eat;
. . . . . a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing, because it means I have a home;
. . . . . my shadow who watches me work, because it means I am out in the sunshine;
. . . . . the spot I find at the far end of the parking lot, because it means I am capable of walking;
. . . . . all the complaining about our government, because it means we have freedom of speech;
. . . . . my large heating bill, because it means I am warm;
. . . . . the person behind me in worship who sings off key, because it means I can hear;
. . . . . the alarm that goes off early in the morning, because it means I am alive;
. . . . . the piles of laundry and ironing, because it means my loved ones are near;
. . . . . weariness and aching muscles at the end of the day, because it means I have been productive.

As we take time to count our blessings today, don’t forget that sometimes there are many blessings in disguise.

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Peace be with you, BJ.

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I had always heard the story about money being one of the dirtiest thing that we handle. And it makes a certain amount of sense.

Others seem to disagree, like this New Zealand report which says that at least bacteria levels are far lower than is commonly believed.

But this has to take the cake! Currency in Germany seems to be falling apart:

A mystery substance that caused some euro banknotes in Germany to fall to pieces may be linked to the party drug crystal speed, Der Spiegel magazine reported on Saturday, quoting regional police. Users of crystal speed inhale it through the nose using rolled-up banknotes and chemists think impurities such as sulphates, mingled with sweat, could have created an acid that ate away at the notes, the magazine quoted police as saying.

Around 1,500 banknotes worth between 5 euros and 100 euros ($6.44-$129) crumbled shortly after being withdrawn from cash machines, the Bundesbank said earlier this month.

Drug, sweat, and acid covered currency coming from the ATM. What will we have to worry about next?

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Don’t you know? The economy is terrible! Stock Market is up, consumer prices down, unemployment lower, oil prices far reduced over the summer. Isn’t that awful?

Monday the Associated Press released a story which ran in papers under a number of fairly depressing headlines:

  • Democrats Favored When Economy Uncertain [Editor’s Note: can someone please explain exactly when the economy is ever ‘certain’?]
  • Economic uncertainties give Democrats a boost
  • Democrats can handle economy better, poll suggests
  • Voters favor Democrats in handling uncertain economy
  • Democrats Favored Amid Uncertain Economy
  • Economic jitters benefit Dems.

I know that the writers are not the same people who write the headlines. But these don’t even seem to connect fully to the story. Anyway, once more, this is a story primarily reporting the results of an opinion poll. Regardless of the topic of the poll, this is something that immediately rubs me the wrong way. I don’t particularly care what a majority of 300 Americans care about on any topic, and I especially resent it being reported as “news”. I can see why it’s a favorite of reporters, however. You neither have to dig for facts nor do research. The whole “story” is about what some people “feel”. So you can throw in whatever other collection of loosely related thoughts you’d like along with the poll results. It’s not like anyone can correlate the information anyway.

In this case, the central theme of the article by Jeannine Aversa: “With the Nov. 7 elections looming, 59 percent of voters believe Democrats would do a better job handling the economy, while 39 percent prefer Republicans _ the party that controls Congress and the White House.”

The data from this poll are not yet available, so we can really not see much more about the poll questions or responses other than what was reported in this article. Despite what the headline writers seem to be suggesting, it doesn’t seem that the respondants necessarily thought the economy was “uncertain”. But just that Democrats would do a better job. Somehow.

“Wait a second!” you say. “Didn’t the Dow cross 12,000 just today?” Well, there’s an easy answer to the fact that times are good. Just look for bad stuff to come in the future!

Never mind that gasoline prices have started dropping, that the value of their 401(k)s rises with each new Dow Jones industrial average record, and that the interest rates on their credit cards and adjustable mortgages have leveled off for now.

“Even though the economy is doing well by some indicators, voters are still nervous about the economy,” said Costas Panagopoulos, a political science professor at Fordham University.

“They watched gas prices come down but watched them go up just as precipitously not too long ago. The stock market is doing well but that doesn’t mean it can’t come crashing down in days. Voters are reluctant to be overly confident about economic trends,” he said.

We’re left to wonder how Dr. Panagopoulos is able to know about the nervous nature of the American voter. It’s a wonder they aren’t more nervous after hearing his “glass-half-empty” worries: the stock market might crash and gas prices might shoot up again. He forgot to mention that fear, famine, plague, and pestilence might become pervasive throughout the Midwest just before Christmas.

I sure don’t know how these 741 voters came to answer the questions about the economy in this way. Maybe a better story would be to find out exactly why people feel this way in light of all of the positive economic conditions.

But the general population shouldn’t be concerned that economic pessimism and wealth-envy is spread by Democratic leadership:

“The Dow is up, but people’s retirements are less secure than ever. This economy is making the super rich richer, and leaving middle-class American families further behind,” countered House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Democrats: Rooting for economic problems… and shouting “the sky is falling” (or maybe it will be someday soon).

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I caught a few minutes of the Mike Gallagher show today, and he opened saying he just couldn’t undestand the bloggers and other radio hosts who condemned his giving one hour of his show’s air time to the Westboro “Baptist” crazies in exchange for their promise not to picket at the funerals of the slain Amish girls in Pennsylvania.

His contention seemed to be that it was worth whatever price it took to spare the innocent families from having to be exposed to this group’s filty message as they attempted to gin up some exposure for themselves. But I stand by what I said yesterday. It might have been impossible to completely shield those families from the presence of the Phelps crew and their hate-filled message, but, as indecent as their appearance would have been at the funerals, that place would have been the extent of the reach of their message. Putting them on a national radio show just gave them a platform larger than they ever could have hoped. And how can anyone think this has done anything except enbolden them to aim high when they plan their next publicity stunt. What will the cost of the bribe be that time? As Independent Conservative put it, “It sets a terrible precedent for any band of nuts that wants to blackmail their way into getting their trash message a broader audience without interruption.”

He did admit that he was not thinking beyond this specific instance. And he seemed quite proud of the fact that it was his actions that kept the families from being burdened with this. (He also seemed to be quite proud of the favorable write-up on page A-14 of the New York Times as well).

I know that he heart was in the right place, but I’m afraid that monster that’s been created is only going to be getting larger and larger for the next time.

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Today, the Georgia State Board of Education will hold a hearing to consider a request to ban Harry Potter books from school libraries. We get to have more national press attention at the ‘intolerant’ people of Georgia.

A concerned mother, Laura Mallory, previously requested that her children’s school, Magill Elementary School, and the Gwinnett County School system remove the books. They refused. So now she is approaching the state board.

I applaud any parent who cares enough about what their children are reading and seeing to make it their business to get involved. She can certainly let her children know that she does not approve of their reading Harry Potter, whatever the reason. But her quest is about more than that - she wants to make sure that other children are also denied access of these books. Reports of her previous attempts to remove the books, however, give more cause for concern.

“I think the anti-Christian bias — it’s just got to stop.”

Whoa… you lost me! I agree that much of society today, for all of the talk about ‘tolerance’, instead tolerates bashing Christians and many times focuses on anti-Christian attitudes. But the Harry Potter books are just not an example of those things. The books are fantasy about the struggle between good versus evil. There are no references to organized religion, and certainly not an “anti-Christian bias”.

So where does the religious tie-in take place? She goes on:

Mallory wrote on her appeal forms that she was objecting to the books because of their “evil themes, witchcraft, demonic activity, murder, evil blood sacrifice, spells and teaching children all of this.”
The mother of four said she was opposed to the messages of the books, which describe a young wizard’s adventures in a school of magic. She said she had done much of her research online, reading a variety of Christian message boards and Harry Potter fan sites.
“Their thinking has changed. They’re designed to think that witches and witchcraft and wizards and all this is just normal. And that it’s OK. And that it’s even good. I strongly disagree with that. I don’t think it’s OK, and I don’t think it’s good at all,” Mallory said.

Yes, it’s true that the heroes of the Harry Potter books are young wizards and witches. Magic is used as a plot device. But this is a fantasy. This is not a glorification of demonic activity or blood sacrifice or any such thing. Any child who aspires to become a wiccan after reading these books would surely soon become disappointed. Are all books that contain characters who are wizards or witches to be removed because their very presence could be corruptable? Should Macbeth be pulled from shelves as well?

And what of the talk about reading and researching on the internet to learn about Harry Potter books. Surely Mrs. Malloy has actually read at least something from them before leveling the charge that they corrupt youth! Maybe not:

Mallory said she has been contacted by other Christian parents who were concerned about the content of the books. On her complaint form, she suggested they be replaced by C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia” series or Tim LaHaye’s “Left Behind: the Kids” series.
She admitted that she has not read the book series partially because “they’re really very long and I have four kids.”
“I’ve put a lot of work into what I’ve studied and read. I think it would be hypocritical for me to read all the books, honestly. I don’t agree with what’s in them. I don’t have to read an entire pornographic magazine to know it’s obscene,” Mallory said.

First, it’s not “hypocritical” to read the material that you seek to have banned in schools across an entire state. You should at least have an understanding of what it is. Reading from a message board on a web site is not enough. The analogy with a pornographic magazine is ridiculous. It would take but a few seconds to confirm that Playboy Magazine does, in fact, publish material that is not age-appropriate for an elementary school library. At least read one of the books.

Second, although I am a Christian, I would certainly want to council my children more before they read the Left Behind books, rather than Harry Potter. The treatment of the rapture and some of the ideas expressed there, do not sit well with me. But Harry Potter and Left Behind are not means to reach different ends… they are different kinds of stories.

Third, we must always be careful about letting our feelings overwhelm us. I’m sure this is more true when considering “banning” books and the free flow of ideas. When thinking of our kids, it’s never easy to know when to stop. I’m sure that Mrs. Mallory is sincere in her conviction, and she believes that Harry Potter contains inappropriate content. But what if the next person who comes to the Libary Board is an atheist and demands that the C.S. Lewis book that Mrs. Mallory loves be banned because it contains symbolism influenced by Christianity, and they find it somehow inappropriate for their children. Where do we stop then?

Finally, each parent has the responsibility to do their best to raise their own children. I do not believe that “anything goes”. But if you believe that having Harry Potter books in the school library is too scandalous for your children, then I would suggest that perhaps you should consider finding some other place for your children to be schooled rather than rely on the public school system. You need some place where you can exercise greater control of your own.

I think that Mrs. Mallory’s heart is in the right place. This is just the wrong battle to be fighting.

UPDATE: Another interview available this afternoon adds more from Mallory:

“It’s appalling that we want our children in the post-Columbine era where we’ve seen repeats this week of school shootings that we don’t want to remove evil from our schools. You would think that we would want to do everything we can to get any form of evil out of our schools,” argued Mallory.

True enough… but Harry Potter is not the evil that has brought Columbine or incidents in Bailey, Co, Cazenovia, WI, or Lancaster, PA.

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Just in case the other topics today were too heavy, here’s a link for your general enjoyment: Men Who Look Like Kenny Rogers.com

Enjoy!

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For your weekend viewing pleasure, what happens when you have 101 2-liter bottles of Diet Coke and 523 Mentos, and way too much time on your hands? Watch.


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