Archive for August, 2008

Good on you, Maine!

Lewiston, Maine Woman Facing Jail Over Book

Years ago, I used to work at a public library. I loved it. I love books and libraries. I bought massive quantities of stuff at every library sale and check out 10 or 15 books a week.

While I worked at the library, we had a group of religious nuts complain about one of these very same books, “It’s Perfectly Normal”. I looked the book over one time when I got a chance, and I can see why an uptight religious twit would hate it and everything it stands for. The book is educational in the extreme, valuing the passing along of knowledge above any bullshit pseudo-morality. The only kids that could get off on reading that book are the kids that had already been thoroughly warped by a religious upbringing. No healthy child is going to do anything with that book other than learn the things he or she needs to know to be a sexually responsible adult. Things that his or her church, school, and, sadly, probably even parents, are too uptight and afraid to pass along.

So now, this hateful crone has decided that she is to be the judge of what other people’s children read. Shame on you, JoAn Karkos. You have no moral authority over other people’s children. Back when I worked at the library, we had a lot of different kinds of people come through our doors. We had a lot of people who wouldn’t have objected to their children learning a healthy view of sexuality before reaching adulthood. All the better to plant a healthy view in their psyches than to let shame and guilt and fear spread their usual decay through such territory.

One thing that I remember clearly is that we had a very religious family who came to our library. They homeschooled their many children, as well as those of other like-minded people. I disagree with their religious views, as I did then. But this family was always polite, respectful, and treated our facility the way they would have treated their own home. Even the smallest of their children had been instilled with manners that would shame most adults in comparison. I often witnessed the mother (who usually brought the family in, but not always) going through the childrens’ book selections before they checked out. That is the only justifable place (if any exists at all) for moral policing. JoAn Karkos has no right to decide what those kids can and cannot read.

It’s up to the parents of all children to take the responsiblity to watch what goes into their children’s minds. These days, all too few parents take that responsibility seriously, if they take up the burden at all. To do less is reckless, irresponsible, and invites churchstate interference with the most basic right of all citizens, child and adult alike, to choose for themselves. Without that right, who can call themselves free?


Legos just keep getting more cool

A photographer is using Legos to re-create classic photos. The Lego minifig is one of those true icons of my childhood and it’s always fun to see them used in such creative ways. The one of the Vietcong soldier being shot in the head is pretty creepy, though.

Some good (no, FUCKING AWESOME) news for a change

Scientists (not faith-healers, new age quacks or politicians – scientists) at MIT are hard at work, apparently saving our collective asses from ourselves.

One problem with wind and solar power is that for either to be able to provide a round-the-clock source of reliable power, you need some sort of back up power source. Or you need to have some way of storing the excess energy produced during the day for use at night or when the wind isn’t blowing. Well, though it’s a long way from being commercially deployed, a new development by MIT chemist Daniel Nocera may bring the holy grail of renewable energy storage a bit closer to hand.

That’s right kids. Here’s the way it could (I hope) pan out: the new improvements in solar cells lead to everybody putting them on their roofs with an in-home hydrogen fuel cell to efficiently store the excess power. At night, the house is powered off the fuel cell. The house would no longer need to remain on the grid and the home improvements could pay for themselves in engery savings after a short period of time. New homes could include the technology and older homes could be retrofitted for it. If we manufacture the technology ourselves, think of the number of jobs that could be created. Not just in manufacture, but in installation. At the same time we could slash and then eliminate our dependence on foreign energy sources and stop killing brown people who have stuff we want. Instead, we could use our new technological prowess to sell everybody else in the world our new awesomeness and then fluffy kitties will burst from the rainbows and we’ll ride away with them on our new bio-engineered unicorns!

Okay, I think I should stop before I get carried away.

Michael Savage can kiss my autistic ass

Michael Savage has decided to weigh in on the subject of autism, and has done so with his usual panache, grace and careful attention to the facts.

“Now, you want me to tell you my opinion on autism, since I’m not talking about autism? A fraud, a racket…I’ll tell you what autism is. In 99 percent of the cases, it’s a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out. That’s what autism is. What do you mean they scream and they’re silent? They don’t have a father around to tell them, ‘Don’t act like a moron. You’ll get nowhere in life. Stop acting like a putz. Straighten up. Act like a man. Don’t sit there crying and screaming, idiot.”

I sincerely do believe in free speech, and it’s people like this who push my conviction to the breaking point. But, happily, I find myself still firmly resolved to my principles. I do not believe somebody should summarily be yanked off the air for saying something that a group of people may find offensive, a la Don Imus. That being said, if Michale Savage lost all his sponsors, I wouldn’t shed a tear. For some mysterious reason, the article includes contact information for all of Michael Savage’s sponsors, and his network. Weird.