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Posts Tagged ‘libraries’

It is difficult to imagine a situation in which parents would demand to see the driver’s licenses of neighbors handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.  –  Jacob Sullum

Crime Against Society (#609)

Courts are finally curtailing the worst of Louisiana’s nasty “sex offender” game:

The U.S. Supreme Court…declined to hear Louisiana’s appeal of a decision against its 2006 law requiring that people [condemned to] the state’s sex offender registry carry IDs or driver’s licenses that say “SEX OFFENDER” in orange capital letters.  A year ago, the Louisiana Supreme Court concluded that the requirement amounted to compelled speech and could not be justified by the state’s legitimate interest in protecting public safety…registries…are primarily punitive, exposing registrants to ostracism, harassment, and violence while impeding their rehabilitation by making it difficult to find employment and housing…Louisiana’s experiment in ritual humiliation, which branded registrants with orange letters they had to display in every transaction that required producing a government-issued ID, compounded those costs without offering any plausible benefits…

Louisiana even condemned sex workers to this “registry”; at one time, fully half of New Orleans’ victims of this monstrous punishment were sex workers.

To Molest and Rape

Prosecutors care more about magical clown costumes than about rape:

An off-duty cop has been charged with raping his girlfriend inside their Queens home…[on] Sept. 7…The girlfriend appears to have contacted police [last] week, with [rapist cop] Gilberto Salazar-Giraldo…arrested [on October 4th and]…suspended without pay…

Property of the State (#942) 

A rare rollback of state control of pregnant women:

[The Ohio Supreme] Court found that a woman can’t be charged with possession of drugs…just because she and her newborn had drugs in their systems…Kelly Foreman appealed her conviction on felony drug possession charges, which he was charged with after giving birth in March 2018…she was not “in actual or constructive control of any drugs”…and…the high court found that tests proving the presence of cocaine were “insufficient to prove that she possessed cocaine in Seneca County”…The court opinion said the argument that possession could be established through urine or umbilical cord testing leads to the possibility that a person could be charged with possession anywhere they test positive in the state, no matter where the drugs were when they were taken…

The Cop Myth (#1075)

Sleeping with a cop is one of the most dangerous things a woman can do:

…Matthew Kinne…a…[typical and representative cop] in…Oxford [Mississippi, knew that his mistress]…Dominique [Clayton] was home alone th[e]…night [of 18 May 2019], as her children were spending the weekend with a relative.  At the end of his shift, Kinne went…to a barn where the police horses were kept and left his mobile phone there…so that his movements could not be traced.  He…park[ed his pigmobile] around the corner [from]…he[r] home…[entered her bedroom] at around 2.05am…[and] shot her…in the head…Kinne [then] drove back to the barn to collect his phone and texted her at 2.20am as though nothing had happened…

Tissue of Lies (#1087)

The latest pig fad: collecting a bunch of unrelated raids, arrests & record updates and calling the resulting dog’s breakfast a “human trafficking sting”:

Ten…[legal minors officially missing in]…Ohio [records were located when] authorities conducted [a record review similar to one last year, bizarrely referring to it as an] anti-human-trafficking operation…[and linking it with] the [unrelated] arrests of 161 people [in typical prostitution stings.  Cops also abducted one sex worker’s]…2-year-old [child]…The weeklong [pogrom] involved over 90 [pigs and spooks, oinking, grunting, and rooting in people’s private business, ruining lives to get about 50] misdemeanor [charges.  Among those arrested were] 51 [legal minors, some of whom were accused of selling sex to survive]…

Ohio is especially invested in this kind of swine theater in order to call attention away from the rapes, molestation, robbery, extortion, and murders practiced by Columbus’ “vice” gang for decades.

Winding Down (#1133)

Is it too much to ask Seattle politicians to actually ban these arrests instead of merely “urging” cops not to violate people’s rights?

Seattle just became the largest city in the country with a hands-off policy for…natural psychedelics…[after] the city council unanimously approved a resolution that says “the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest enforcement priorities”…[but does not impose] that…as [SPD] policy…The new policy…[only] applies to…”living, fresh, dried, or processed plant or fungal material”…[but not lab-made substances such as LSD or MDMA]…Seattle joins several other U.S. cities in urging [cops to] tolera[te] psychedelic use.  In 2019, Denver voters approved a[n]…initiative that made adult possession of psilocybin the city’s lowest law enforcement priority and prohibited the use of public money to pursue such cases.  Last year, the city councils of Ann Arbor, MichiganOakland, California; and Santa Cruz, California, enacted similar measures…An…Oregon ballot initiative approved in November decriminalized low-level possession of drugs, including psilocybin and other psychedelics…

Seattle’s resolution, unlike Denver’s, does not deny cops funds to persecute drug users, which renders it dependent upon voluntary cop cooperation.

Censorship Ascendant

Censors are now pretending ideas they don’t like constitute a “crime”:

Local busybodies in Campbell County, Wyoming, are trying to brand children’s or young adult books about getting pregnant, sex education, and being gay as illegal obscenity…books reported to [the cops] include How Do You Make a Baby? by Anna FiskeDating and Sex: A Guide for the 21st Century Teen Boy…the teen sex-education book Doing It by Hannah WittonThis Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson, and Sex Is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg.  The latter—an award-winning children’s comic book on the American Library Association’s 2016 Reading List—discusses concepts such as sex, gender identity, “privacy, safety, and respect,” “protecting yourself against unwanted sexual touch and abuse,” and “boundaries regarding nudity”…The…disturbing element here is…that [rather than leaving these matters to actual experts]…prosecutors are [actually] reviewing the case…

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Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  –  “The Convergence of Censors

The last week of September is “Banned Books Week“; over the 11 years I’ve been writing this blog, my columns on the topic have changed as threats to intellectual freedom have dramatically increased worldwide.  As I said last year,

When I was a librarian, [this] Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech…the censor-morons…are…multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power…

The links are all there for your perusal, but just in case you’ve been asleep for the past three or four years, here are a few stories from the past six months so you can see for yourself that I’m not exaggerating.  There’s still plenty of old-fashioned, bluenosed, school-based censorship conducted in the name of THE CHIIIIIIIIILDREEEEEEN!!!™, but now they’ve learned to pretend ideas they don’t like constitute a “crime” so as to threaten their enemies with police violence.  Furthermore, institutions writers could once count on to defend them, including libraries and publishers, now race to see who can kowtow most obsequiously to the censor-morons, sometimes even volunteering to act as censors themselves, and institutions which need free speech the most are lobotomizing themselves by peddling pro-censorship sophistry and even conducting literal book burnings.  Governments are increasingly claiming the “right” to declare which facts are “correct” and to suppress ideas they declare “disinformation” or “fake news”, and in our increasingly-connected world governments are increasingly able to cause trouble for people who say things they dislike far beyond their own borders (China is the worst offender, but is far from alone).  Soon, ideas the mob, the government, or other violent simian gangs dislike may become impossible to acquire outside of caches of virtual samizdat, at which point the censor-morons will pivot to criminalizing avenues of access to such caches while “intellectuals” cheer and pen screeds about how obedience and conformity are far better for “society” than imagination and critical thinking.

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Please don’t kill me. Please don’t kill me.  –  Angelo Quinto, last words

Some weeks I find a video worth sharing in the same way as I find other links, and some weeks I have to turn one up by myself.  Most weeks the videos are fairly substantial, but occasionally they’re just little moments like this very funny one contributed by Emma Evans, who also provided “what they are”.  The other links above the video are from Cop Crisis, Radley Balko (x2), Popehat, and Mark Bennett, in that order.

From the Archives

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The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet.  –  “The Return of the Censor

Censorship, once condemned by all ethical people, has now become almost universally popular.  From the most totalitarian of governments down to the youngest of adults, it seems everybody without a functional moral compass (which is to say, the great majority) wants to impose their ideas of “right” thinking and “correct” speech on everyone else.  China, of course, is leading the way, with a new Maoist-type campaign to purge schools and libraries of books deemed insufficiently pure, but the West isn’t far behind.  In the UK, cops are knocking on doors to intimidate people who made statements online that the cops didn’t like, and early this month a woman in Melbourne was actually arrested for posting on Facebook about a protest against totalitarian “lockdown” orders imposed by the Victorian government.  In the US, the pandemic is only one of many popular excuses for censorship; others include “hate speech”, criticizing the police, and (for social media platforms) either engaging in censorship on their own or not censoring often enough for the tastes of censors.  I know that last is confusing, so let me state it a different way:  Some politicians and other control freaks want to censor Facebook, Twitter, et al for engaging in censorship themselves, while others want to censor the same entities for not censoring enough.  Yes, it’s complete lunacy, and it isn’t limited to the internet; culture warriors in academia, Hollywood, and even corporate America are firing,expelling, or otherwise ostracizing people for engaging in wrongthink, or even for failing to chant approved party slogans with sufficient enthusiasm.

When I was a librarian, Banned Books Week was little more than an academic exercise; censorship was an intermittent and generally impotent threat proceeding from small numbers of narrow-minded busybodies, which was easily defeated by librarians and other guardians of our shared cultural heritage.  But that was a generation ago, and would-be censors have become numerous, aggressive, well-organized and (most concerningly) popular.  Few of those under 30 even understand what free speech is or why it’s important, and the majority or those over that age imagine all sorts of exceptions that they believe should be reasons to violently suppress speech, ranging from “it hurt my feelings”, to “it was said or written by a dead person who did things considered normal then, but which are now mortal sins”, to “it contains ‘bad’ words”, to the ever-popular “But SEX!”  As I wrote last year, the censor-morons (a term coined by D.H. Lawrence, one of many writers now considered “problematic”) are loose; furthermore, they are multiplying like bacteria and have already infested all the centers of power.  For now, the courts are mostly still defending the rights of those with enough money, resources, and patience to fight “cancellation” through official channels.  But if you will take the time to read all of my essays for this occasion starting in 2012, and working your way up a year at a time to the present, I think you’ll see a very frightening trend.  We are watching the advent of a new dark age, and in such times no light is entirely safe from being snuffed out by zealots, speech-cops and bureaucrats whose ideal model for human society is the anthill.

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One of the things Twitter users sometimes do is post old pictures with the hashtag #ThrowbackThursday (on Thursdays, natch).  Well, I recently discovered some old photos, and picked a few to share with you.  I hope you enjoy them!  This first is the oldest; it’ a picture of my kitty Sheena from about September 1984, when she was only a few months old:

This is from my very first professional photo shoot (on actual film), April 2000:

Here’s another from the same shoot; my boob job was only about three months in the past, so they were still very hard & shiny:

Here’s a promo shot from a year later, Easter 2001:

Here’s one taken by my wasband Matt on a hike in the Cleveland National Forest, probably summer of 2002:

This was from an experiment in black on black, I believe sometime in 2001:

And here’s another from my very first shoot; as you can see I was already playing up the librarian thing:

And finally, another shot of my pussy; this was immediately after moving into a new apartment, I believe July 1988:

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I don’t have any money!  –  Jose Villalobos, to disguised cops

The great singer-songwriter Bill Withers died late last week at the age of 81; this seemed like the most appropriate of his songs with which to honor his passing.  The news and video came courtesy of Scott Greenfield; the links above it were provided by Kevin Wilson, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Jesse Walker, Tim Cushing, Liz Brown again, and Mike Siegel, in that order.

From the Archives

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Diary #510

Another week full of improvements at Sunset!  I finally finished the laborious process of going through every damned box in the garage to figure out what was in it, who it belonged to, and what to do with it; since our garage is huge (the previous owner used it as storage space for a small-scale lumber mill) it held a lot of stuff.  But all that has now been properly dealt with, so we can use the space as we please (such as parking in it or receiving deliveries of large items such as construction supplies).  I did find a few treasures, though, including a stash of old photos which have been sealed up in a box since 2002; I’ll share a few good selections with y’all as soon as I get time to go through them.  I also finished reorganizing my CD collection on the top level of the bookshelves, helped Grace design the movie shelving, and built it; since Jae finished staining the shelving for DVDs of TV series, I was able to move my collection there from the closet space it has resided in for two years.  As you can see, the shelves on the left were still open when I took this picture on Sunday night; it’ll house the tail end of our combined movie collections.  And speaking of combined collections, the resolution on this pic is high enough for you to read most of the titles; it may amuse you to guess which are mine and which Grace’s.

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Diary #509

Jae finished staining my bookcases on Thursday, and said they’d be dry enough for books on Saturday.  So about 11:30 Saturday morning I started shifting my books from where they were stored in three cupboards, and by the time I stopped for dinner at 6:30 I had them all divided into 25 groups by author name (or title if there was no clear author).  The reason it took so long was that at the same time, I was also shifting Chekov’s books from the boxes in my hall into the now-vacant cupboards, where they’ll remain until we get his cottage built this summer (he ordered a kit Saturday).  Soon after dinner I started alphabetizing the shelves, and got done about 1:30 AM; then on Sunday morning I shifted them to basically even out the shelves, as you can see below (the bottom shelves, for oversize books, are not visible in this picture).  In the initial process it became pretty clear that I wouldn’t need the shorter shelves at the top of each case, so I left them empty and moved my CD collection to them on Sunday evening after spending the afternoon rearranging the utility room shelves to make better use of the space and thereby clear the rest of the boxes out the hall.  Then yesterday, we started building shelving for my TV series DVDs, and later in the week we’ll be doing another unit for movies.  That will free up the area where they now live to build a bar, which will get the liquor and glasses off of my kitchen counters.  Oh, and I’m also working on getting the clutter out of the garage.  It’s rather like one of those number puzzles where you need to slide the numbered tiles around to get them into numerical order, but I’m getting closer and closer to a solution.  I don’t particularly like everything being closed and everybody panicking, but at least I’m using the downtime constructively!

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Diary #496

During the holidays I was seized with a powerful urge to nest, which took the form of redoing the kitchen cupboards (they’ve never been properly done, in other words done by me, since we moved in) and then launching into the bookcase project.  By Wednesday we had all this done; there are three full units on the right and space for two more on the other wall (you can see the backboard already on the wall).  I did most of the physical labor because Grace is in poor health and is easily exhausted these days, but she did the brain work like design and engineering.  When Chekhov comes back next week he and Grace can finish the two remaining, then there’s the top facade and some nice trim, then staining, and the next time I come out I may be able to act out my nesting impulses on getting my library into proper order for the first time in 17 years.

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Though lily-livered fools have been demanding they be “protected” from ideas they don’t like for several years now, it’s terrifying how quickly this terrible idea has moved from the lunatic fringe to the mainstream.  –  “Suppression

For one educated in the Seventies and Eighties, and trained as a librarian in the early Nineties, the landscape of intellectual freedom has become almost unrecognizeable.  For the majority of my life, and the majority of time for which “Banned Books Week” has existed, top-down censorship attempts in the Western world were rare; attempts to ban books, censor websites and suppress speech generally came from non-government authoritarian groups and the majority of educated people could be counted on to oppose and ridicule them.  But in this century, the sick need to control others’ thoughts grew as the internet made it easier for those thoughts to be shared, and early last year top-down government censorship returned with a vengeance thanks to the Great Unwashed eagerly swallowing racist claims about “human trafficking” and magically baneful effects of anything to do with sex.  The US enacted FOSTA, leading to a wave of internet censorship; the UK is trying to build a massive firewall comparable to China’s; the EU has enacted law after law allowing greedy corporations and finger-pointing Prunellas alike power over others’ web-browsing; and every two-bit dictatorship has recognized that all it needs to do to justify thought control is parrot Western “hate speech” idiocy.  Free speech (derided by “progressive”-flavored authoritarians as “freeze peach”) has noticeably declined all over the world:

…First, ruling parties in many countries have found new tools for suppressing awkward facts and ideas.  Second, they feel emboldened to use such tools, partly because global support for free speech has faltered.  Neither of the world’s superpowers is likely to stand up for it. China ruthlessly censors dissent at home and exports the technology to censor it abroad.  The United States, once a champion of free expression, is now led by a man who says things like…“free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad”…Censorious authoritarians elsewhere often cite Mr Trump’s catchphrases, calling critical reporting “fake news” and critical journalists “enemies of the people”.  The notion that certain views should be silenced is popular on the left, too.  In Britain and America students shout down speakers they [disagree with]…and Twitter mobs demand the sacking of anyone who violates an expanding list of taboos.  Many western radicals contend that if they think something is offensive, no one should be allowed to say it.  Authoritarians elsewhere agree.  What counts as offensive is subjective, so “hate speech” laws can be elastic tools for criminalising dissent…

That article has a lot of good examples of the rise of (often violent) censorship, but beware; even the authors of this ostensibly pro-free-thought piece have been infected by the need to choose a “side” and skew information accordingly.  As I wrote four years ago, Ray Bradbury’s view of future censorship practices was prescient; where else but in “a culture which values feelings above thought” could a video display service ban an historically-important anti-Nazi diocumentary from 1938 for violating its policy against “hate speech”?  Or perhaps Google is just feeling a bit self-conscious, given that it’s currently in a fascist collaboration to develop a censorship-enabled search engine for China.  Meanwhile, the US is trying to silence Edward Snowden by seizing the profits from his new book; I suggest you buy a paper copy to preclude Amazon’s stealing electronic copies from your Kindle at the behest of its pals in Washington.  The censor-morons are loose, and they’re attacking the small targets so their totalitarian masters can expend their energy on big ones like the internet, the publishing industry and what little is left of the independent press.

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