Friday, May 26, 2006

On the Importance of Vetting School Board Candidates

Illinois is a solid "blue" state. Over the past 14 years we have seen an African-American woman and man elected to the United States senate. However, it is important to remember that under that progressive facade there lurks a seamy and scummy underbelly of right-wingnut fascism just waiting to be unleashed. In 2004, it reared its ugly head in the candidacy of the carpetbagger Alan Keyes, who received a solid 25% of the vote. Now, we have Leslie Pinney, an ELECTED school board member for Township H.S. District 214, which serves students in several northwest suburbs. She waited a whole year before showing her jackboots and pith helmet to the teachers and administrators of the high schools. Her outing came when she suggested that the school board ban several "subversive" books.

This is an area of special interest to me, as I am a professional educator and a librarian. My experience with book banning parents, "concerned citizens," and administrators is not nearly as vast as other American Library Association members I know, but I have dealt with a few. None has EVER read the books that they wish to ban "for the sake of the kids." In fact, they tend to revel in their ignorance, relying instead on the counsel of those with agendas ranging from right-wingnut or religiously repressive to misguidedly politically correct. I felt compelled to write an open letter/email to Ms. Pinney - the contents of said letter are below...

Ms. Pinney,

In the interest of full disclosure, I want you to know that I do not live in your high school district. However, I am an educator, a librarian and a taxpayer in this state, and in those capacities, I take intense offense at your insistence in calling for the all-out ban of books recognized by critics, educators, librarians, and historians as works of literature and timeless reflections on themes very dear to thoughtful people everywhere. I suppose that had your call been based on some critical analysis of the content or the literary merits of the selections I might have been interested in hearing your arguments. Instead, as I do often find in these cases, you hide behind pointing out the odd offensive word and then trot out the tired old chestnut, "I haven't read it, but I know it's no good for our children" apologia.
At this point, under normal circumstances, I'd write a long and detailed defense of each of the works that you want to burn symbolically for the "sake of the children." However, I know that I'd be practicing mere mental masturbation, as you can judge a book without reading it, or by reading only a single page, paragraph, sentence, or WORD out of context. I am VERY glad that you have gone public, because you have exposed yourself for what you are: a sad and self-important, frustrated, self-loathing middle-aged woman who saw the opportunity to throw around her considerable weight. The good news is that the student body and parents have told you in OVERWHELMING numbers that you're wrong and that they won't be bullied by a shrill harpy. The better news is that you've made yourself UNELECTABLE in 2009. The best news is that you're only a couple of years away from being able to play "nazi" only in your own home.

::::::BLOGGER'S UPDATE::::::

According to the Chicago Tribune, the high school curriculum in Chicago's northwest suburbs will continue to be a safe haven for the subversive, pornographic, and/or graphically objectional books of such second-rate hacks as Kurt Vonnegut and Toni Morrison. The vote was a nail-biting 6-1... I wonder whether or not the good taxpayers in District 214 can recall their resident fascist before the 2009 school board elections...

Look what I found!

Well, well, look what congressional Republicans found:

It was strange that they couldn't find it with regard to the equal protection clause and presidental elections, warmaking, domestic spying, torture, the right to counsel, speedy trials, the establishment of religion and all those other little inconveniences. It was just nowhere in sight, then all of a sudden, it just turns up! Now just WHERE pray tell do you think they found it?

Why, RIGHT OUTSIDE THEIR OFFICE DOORS of course! Hold on there, that ol' piece of paper means you can't search MY office!

To borrow a tired old chestnut from right-wing talk shows. `Why worry if you don't have something to hide'...right???


The morning news shows were gushing over how "candid" the president was last night. Please, spare me.

He was "candid" because he acknowledged that stupid things he said that everyone knew were stupd were in fact--STUPID? He is "candid" because he FINALLY acknowledged the atrocities that shocked the conscience of the world ages ago?

How about some "candor" about why we went down this misbegotten path? How about "candidly" explaining how he screwed up every single aspect of this nightmarish operation? Perhaps the president could "candidly explain" how we get out of this mess without our country's utter moral and fiscal bankruptcy and throwing the entire Middle East into a fratricidal horror show?

No, that would be asking for too much "candor."

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Guilty as charged. I hope these miserable bastards go away for a very long time.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Now I'm a civil libertarian but...

this one is a doozy. Here is a festive young prom-goer:

named KEVIN.

(link) The prom ticket was in hand: $85. The fuschia, slinky prom dress and strappy heels were ready. The whole week of giddy anticipation and pampering — more than $200 worth of a manicure, pedicure and hair set — was set to culminate with the grand walk into the glam ball.
But when Kevin Logan, a transgender and gay student at Gary’s West Side High School, arrived last Friday at Avalon Manor in Hobart for his prom, he was banned by Principal Diane Rouse.

The state civil liberties union is getting involved, citing First Amendment concerns.

I think I'm with the school on this one.

Molly Ivins agrees with us...

"I hate to raise such an ugly possibility, but have you considered lunacy as an explanation?"

Here's the rest.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

To every thing, turn, turn, turn...

Turning Point (n)-The point at which a very significant change occurs; a decisive moment.

"Yet we have now reached a turning point in the struggle between freedom and terror."

Another "turning point?" Spare us. This "turning point," the naming of a government, involved a desperate last-minute attempt to avoid a "Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $300 Billion" moment. Without a government, under the Iraqi "constitution," the "prime minister" would have disappeared into the mist. So now we have a "government" without key portfolios that can't govern, and only seems to skim oil profits and construction deals off the top.

Fearless leader cites this as the 4th "turning point." Here's your homework. Stand in the center of the room. Walk forward a few steps and turn left (or right, if you care) four times. Where do you end up?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Where in the world is...

No, not Carmen San Diego--my wife, Peggy (notice no "what's wrong with this picture" grousing like I did when she was in Paris a couple of weeks ago.)

This is a geography quiz. No prizes (and Rabble, as I recall, I mentioned to you where she was going, so you're not eligible) but you will receive a hearty e-handshake and my warmest congratulations.

She's here:

Where in the world is she?