May 28, 2007
In case anyone was wondering, I’m out of town at the moment and thus have not been posting. However, I saw the headline for the following story and nearly had a fit, so I thought I’d blog about it. So, here it is: Mo. man burns books as act of protest (random thought: is it really so hard to spell out “Missouri”?)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Tom Wayne has amassed thousands of books in a warehouse during the 10 years he has run his used book store, Prospero’s Books.
His collection ranges from best sellers, such as Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October” and Tom Wolfe’s “Bonfire of the Vanities,” to obscure titles, like a bound report from the Fourth Pan-American Conference held in Buenos Aires in 1910. But when he wanted to thin out the collection, he found he couldn’t even give away books to libraries or thrift shops; they said they were full.
So on Sunday, Wayne began burning his books in protest of what he sees as society’s diminishing support for the printed word.
“This is the funeral pyre for thought in America today,” Wayne told spectators outside his bookstore as he lit the first batch of books.
The fire blazed for about 50 minutes before the Kansas City Fire Department put it out because Wayne didn’t have a permit for burning.
Wayne said next time he will get a permit. He said he envisions monthly bonfires until his supply — estimated at 20,000 books — is exhausted.
…hence my shrieking. What is he thinking?? If nothing else, there could be rare books in there! I used to work in a major university library’s acquisitions department, and I have to say that if he couldn’t find a library to take at least some of his books, he didn’t try very hard. Also, what about online used booksellers, like Alibris or Abebooks? I suspect he might have been able to find good homes for a good chunk of the titles that way.
More from the article after the fold. Read the rest of this entry »
May 23, 2007
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Washington Redskins players Clinton Portis and Chris Samuels defended Michael Vick on Monday by ridiculing the notion that dog fighting is considered a crime.
In an interview with WAVY-TV, Portis said that if the Atlanta Falcons quarterback is charged and convicted of being involved in a dog fighting operation, then authorities would be “putting him behind bars for no reason.”
“I don’t know if he was fighting dogs or not,” Portis said. “But it’s his property; it’s his dogs. If that’s what he wants to do, do it.”
Portis said dog fighting is a “prevalent” part of life.
Why can’t we as a society get past the notion that an animal is property, no different from a person’s furniture, DVD collection, or other inanimate household objects? “Lots of people do it” is not a valid excuse for treating animals cruelly. Read the rest of this entry »
May 22, 2007
Apparently I’m a “dedicated reader.” Makes sense.
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The new U.S. Embassy in Baghdad will be the world’s largest and most expensive foreign mission, though it may not be large enough or secure enough to cope with the chaos in Iraq.
The Bush administration designed the 104-acre compound — set to open in September in what today is a war zone — to be an ultra-secure enclave. Yet it also hoped that downtown Baghdad would cease being a battleground when diplomats moved in. . . .
The $592 million embassy occupies a chunk of prime real estate two-thirds the size of Washington’s National Mall, with desk space for about 1,000 people behind high, blast-resistant walls. The compound is a symbol both of how much the United States has invested in Iraq and how the circumstances of its involvement are changing.
The embassy is one of the few major projects the administration has undertaken in Iraq that is on schedule and within budget. Still, not all has gone according to plan.
The 21-building complex on the Tigris River was envisioned three years ago partly as a headquarters for the democratic expansion in the Middle East that President Bush identified as the organizing principle for foreign policy in his second term.
How’s that working out for you, Mr. Bush?
An exaggeration, perhaps. Still, I found this editorial quite moving. It’s about a man who, together with his wife, adopted a six-year-old autistic boy. Other people question the choice, saying amazingly insensitive (not to mention classist, racist, and/or ableist) things like “God knows what that kid’s parents were doing when they conceived him;” “You two have such good genes. . . Why waste them?” and “Healthy white infants must be tough to get.” The whole thing is worth reading, but these paragraphs nearly had me in tears:
The boy who was still in diapers and said to be retarded when he came to live with us is now a straight-A student at our local middle school. He’s literally rewriting the common scripts of autism and “attachment disorder” (the broad diagnosis for the problems of abandoned and traumatized kids). These are hopeless scripts, unforgiving scripts in which the child can’t give back.
My son does, and others can as well. Recently, in response to my hip replacement, he typed on his computer, “I’m nervous because Dad has not brought me braces [his word for crutches].” I was just home from the hospital — wobbly, a bit depressed, in pain. To my question, “Why do you need crutches?” he responded endearingly, “You know how I like to be just like you.” My son was trying to make me feel better, taking on my impairment, limping with me.
Again, the whole thing is worth reading. [h/t to Jill at Feministe]
May 21, 2007
Echidne of the Snakes pointed me in the direction of this editorial, written by Richard Schickel, who “is a film critic for Time magazine and a frequent book reviewer for The [Los Angeles] Times.” He begins by mentioning a New York Times article that discussed the recent trend in which book reviews are moving away from print publications and onto the internet, specifically blogs. Here’s what Schickel has to say about that:
“Some publishers and literary bloggers,” the article said, viewed this development contentedly, “as an inevitable transition toward a new, more democratic literary landscape where anyone can comment on books.” Read the rest of this entry »
The news item floating around about people trying to get the Bible banned in Hong Kong because of its sexual and violent content inspired the Dark Wraith to extract and make “sardonic commentary” on over 100 verses and passages from both the Old and New Testaments. As you can probably imagine, much of what goes on therein doesn’t exactly hold up well under contemporary scrutiny. A sampling:
Genesis 25:1-6 | Keeping mistresses is not adultery.
•• Maybe not, but it might be suicide when your wife finds out, Sparky. ••
Genesis 39:1-23 | The wife of the master wants to ride the “handsome and well-built” but trustworthy slave, he turns her down over and over again, so she says he tried to rape her, yada-yada-yada.
•• This story is so lame it wouldn’t even make it onto the Jerry Springer show these days. ••
Judges 8:30 | Gideon had seventy sons by a whole bunch of wives and (at least) one by a concubine.
•• Gideon had an expensive hobby, that’s what Gideon had (and Gideon could have used a prescription for anti-Viagra, too) ••
And there’s so much more, with links to each of the verses/passages. Read the rest of this entry »
May 19, 2007
Good stuff from the blogs over the past few days. I’ve posted excerpts; follow the link for the whole thing. Enjoy!
Echidne of the Snakes: On The Immigration Bill
First, because the immigration is almost totally from the south of the border the debate often becomes mixed with racism and a certain kind of classism, given that it is mostly the poor who immigrate. Second, the debate about illegal immigrants tends to be about immigration and racism and similar issues, as much as it is about the illegal status of certain immigrants.
Shakesville: Rape is Not Only Hilarious; It’s No Big Deal
Rape is a big deal, and the very least we can do for those who have suffered its excruciating indignity is talk about it with the honesty and gravity it deserves.
Sciencewoman: Scientiae #6
Welcome to the 6th edition of Scientiae, the carnival by, for, and about women in science, engineering, technology, and math! I arbitrarily picked a theme of “mothers and others, those who influenced us along the way” and I got some great posts on the theme topic. But I also saw a ton of great posts on other topics as well, so read all the way through this carnival.
TerranceDC on Pam’s House Blend: Abstaining from Reality
“Uganda was once an HIV prevention success story, where an ambitious government-sponsored prevention campaign, including massive condom distribution and messages about delaying sex and reducing numbers of partners, pushed HIV rates down from 15 percent in the early 1990s to 5 percent in 2001. But conservative evangelicals rewrote this history–with the full-throated cooperation of Uganda’s evangelical first family, the Musevenis.” [Quoted from this article]
Gina Spadafori on the Pet Connection Blog: Pet-food recall: Tainted foods tested in bee colony deaths
“Federal scientists are researching whether the same industrial chemicals blamed for sickening and killing thousands of pets are responsible for decimating the honeybee population. . . . Honeybees in the United States began dying off in unprecedented numbers late last year, threatening the nation’s human food supply, a third of which is dependent on bee pollination. A quarter of the nation’s 2.4 million honeybee colonies died from what scientists dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder.” [Quoted from this article]
Punkass Marc of Punkassblog: Being a sinner is so 12th century, y’all
If you think about it, this kind of self-denial helps explain why so many conservatives continue to refute the existence and consequences of global warming. If all of it were true, then they’d be personally guilty of crimes against humanity, and they simply can’t own such a thing.
May 18, 2007
Echidne of the Snakes: “Blogging really is like doing the dishes and wiping the counters every day, just to wake up to the same chores. And the only time anybody notices is when the dishes pile up and the counters get grubby.”