Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Journalism is NOT a Crime!

Post-holiday greetings, all.

While looking for something on tv, there was a special on Al Jazeera America on the hazards facing journalists today, with a special focus on three of their journalists now held in jail in Egypt for more than a year.  "Journalism is not a crime" is their phrase used to rally support for their colleagues.

They also had a segment on the subject of the new film, Rosewater, Maziar Bahari, and the film's director, Jon Stewart.  Mr. Bahari, a journalist and filmmaker, was jailed in Iran, interrogated daily, and was also tortured.  He was finally released after 118 days.  His family memoir formed the basis for the film.

There was also a segment on some of the statistics on jailed journalists kept by the Committee to Protect Journalists. There is a great summary of the data at their website.  They count 220 jailed journalists worldwide, the second worst total since they've been keeping the statistics.  Reporters Without Borders also has some data on their homepage, which is worth viewing.

All of us should be concerned that Freedom of the Press is observed worldwide.  That includes our own country.  We should take note of how journalists were treated in Ferguson, and how the government is fighting almost all efforts to be transparent and accountable.  Mr. Bahari's book was originally titled:  Then They Came for Me.  That is, of course, a reference to a "golden oldie" quote, whose message we should definitely heed. (and you might like to visit my take on it - here  ).

UPDATE: 

Developments in case of Al-Jazeera journalists held in Egypt

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

This Must be Stopped

It was hard to come up with a title for this post. How can you rationally talk about torturers and apologists dominating the media?  How can you rationally talk about torturers, those who developed the programs, those who authorized these depraved acts, tried to rationalize them, and still defend them, NOT yet being held in any way accountable?

For starters, why has the media so obediently allowed torture apologists to dominate coverage?   And that article was even before Cheney was his despicable self on NBC's Meet the Press.  I have called ABC's World News Tonight and e-mailed the NPR News ombudsman about this.  Oh yes, and NPR as well as the Washington Post don't use the word torture here.  Shame on them for using euphemisms!  I told the receptionist at WNT that I objected to them having Brennan on to "defend the indefensible."

There is a new article up at The Intercept looking at the CIA officer in charge of one of the black sites operated by the CIA and the man who died there - frozen to death.  The death of Mr. Rahman is one of the worst cases uncoverd so far in investigations of CIA torture.

So let's get this straight:
  • Detainees get tortured, with lasting effects I would imagine, and Mr. Rahman dies... but this CIA officer does well for himself
  • Torturers, program architects and authorizers, and apologists for depraved acts walk around with impunity while John Kiriakou, the whistleblower, is the only one so far even prosecuted
  • The msm, main source of news for many citizens gives plenty voice to torture defenders
While I'm left wondering...WHERE'S THE OUTRAGE?

I have been somewhat heartened by the diverse spectrum of citizens protesting police violence following the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford III, and Tamir Rice.  We desperately need some of this adrenaline to spur some protests and action against torture.  We must fight to see that it never happens again. We must fight to see all those involved brought to justice.  We must fight to not let there be any argument about "if it works."  We must oppose it on absolute moral grounds.  We must fight the media who are by default, siding with torturers while they want to claim "objectivity."

So I do hope that you readers (if there are any!) will lift your voices against torture.  The FAIR article at the above link has some contact info for some major media outlets.  I also posted a list of phone numbers in the comments.  I'm also going to post that link here.  Let them know we are watching, listening, and oppose torture and its defenders.

media phone contact list

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Guess What Day It Is...

Well, those reading this blog for some time or attuned to such issues will know that today is Human Rights Day.

But it is with a sickening feeling of outrage that I have to post today.  The Senate committee's torture report (executive summary, really)  was released yesterday.  Here is a link to the executive summary, still heavily redacted.

My feeling, anyway, is that torture is one of the most egregious human rights violations.  Let's remember that the U. S. is a signatory of the U. N. Convention Against Torture, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.  Read through this discussion at Human Rights Watch and it should be pretty clear that torture is to be condemned and not to be permitted.  Ever.

At The Intercept there are so far three articles that are report related: I'll just give a link to the first one, an overview article by Glenn Greenwald, et al..  Please also check out the other two articles by Murtazza Hussein and Ryan Tate.

I have not read the report.  But just the pieces I've read in the articles covering it sicken me.  And this is the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  I really don't know how, with any sense of humanity, these acts of torture can be justified or condoned.

I'm also sickened by media pundits, politcos, and intelligence community members and apologists who are justifying such acts.  And the Exec. Director of the ACLU called for pardoning the torturers!  Honestly, how could he or anyone advocate that?  These evil acts need accountability if we're serious about really stopping such practices.  I sent them an e-mail decrying that proposal.

I don't know how torturers and their apologists live with themselves.  Maybe their consciences have been surgically removed or something.  But the rest of us must not let this issue (and others) go away.  More of us must say "Not in my name."  More of us must scream for the perpetrators of these despicable actions to face justice for what they have done.  More of us must not forget.  I'm sure the intelligence community (and most of the msm) would love for this to all go away.  So we must make sure our attention lasts more than a few seconds.  That it lasts past the next celebrity scandal.  This and other issues need us to be aware and for us to cry and push for action.  We must insist that America turn from its dark path.  We must drag it if we must, into light.





Sunday, December 7, 2014

Protest Poem

I came across a site and one of the prompts it had was to list ways a person could protest an injustice (feel free to list some ways in comments :-)  ).  In pondering that, I thought of protest songs.  I don't have a formal melody for this, but I just might try singing it - even if just for my cat to hear!  But for right now, it's a "protest poem."  - at least I hope it's in the protest tradition. Here goes:


What Matters


All our lives matter
Yes, every one
Brothers and Sisters
Under the Sun

We must use lenses
That do not distort
To better envision
Collective support

Let’s stand for justice
And help to repair
A system that’s broken
To make it more fair

For all our lives matter
Yes, every one
And working together
Our task’s just begun

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

No Justice Until ALL Lives Matter

Hello all:

It is so sad that we again have to decry the sad state of our justice system.  The grand jury in the Eric Garner case has declined to indict.  Here is a pretty good article about the response of some NYC Congresspeople.

I saw part of their news conference. Rep. Jeffries was also excellent, I thought, as was one of the last to speak, but I can't call his name right now.

It should be clear that we certainly have a race problem still in America. Just read some of the articles online which describe problems ---- and some of the intolerant comments you'lll find in comments to some articles about these issues if you don't believe we still have institutional racism. We also have another problem which should be evident in the aftermath of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown,and Tamir Rice (and please see the latest update in post about his case).  That is "Blue Privilege."  Despite it supposedly being easy to obtain a grand jury indictment, the probability of a police officer being indicted is very low. Let's not forget the increasingly militaristic tone to policing; the original response to Ferguson protests showed laid that bare.  However, this is likely to continue, seeing as the Pres. has declined to reign in, scale back, or otherwise curtail the 1033 program which 'gives' military stuff to local police forces (and which Congress failed to put any brakes on as well).  Here's a good read on this.

There is also a very good article by Steven Thrasher which is definitely worth reading.

So, in wake of slogans such as "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace", I'm proposing this:

"No Justice until ALL lives matter!"


Updates: 

A Cleveland man's experience is told as report is released.

The Phoenix, AZ case.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Memo to Law Enforcement - Updated

I'm so heartbroken about this:  12 year old killed by policeMore here. Rest in Peace, Tamir Rice.

Memo to Law Enforcement:

Stop being trigger happy and killing innocents; don't use lethal force as a first alternative.
Be trained in how NOT to escalate situations.
Remember you are there to SERVE AND PROTECT. 

UPDATE 1:

After I read the article at the link below, I barely had words.  How can a human, a child be treated like this?

More info on Tamir Rice investigation

UPDATE 2:

This is unbelievable.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Women's Voices 2 - Another Outrage

Right now I'm steaming.  I'm steaming at a Mr. John Berman who let Mark O'Mara and another fellow talk all over the other guest in the segment (on possible mishandling of evidence in the Michael Brown case), a lady, a CNN legal analyst herself, Sunni (?) Hostin.  If you didn't see it, it may be available on demand or online - it was during the 8 p.m hour of Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN.  I immediately got online and sent CNN an e-mail and followed also with a voice message (yeah, just TRY getting a human with these voice messaging systems).  It anyone reading this is on Twitter and also feels outrage, I hope you send out a tweet or two!

This is NOT the first time I've witnessed such cavalier attitudes toward female commentators.  Ted Koppel was guilty of letting another MP talk all over a female MP on a segment of Nightline some years ago.  Yes, I was outraged then, but e-mail was probably just getting going around that time and I probably didn't think to do a phone call. 

I am really tired of seeing women's voices being treated so offhandedly.  This needs to stop!  Not to mention, I feel that letting one guest talk over another is quite bad form.  The host should see that all voices are treated more respectfully.

Raise your voices, sisters!!!

UPDATES:

I just remembered another, semi-recent  incident related to this topic.  Jill Abramson (former NYT Exec. Ed.) and Janine Gibson (a former Guardian editor were on a panel about journalism post-Snowden with two fellows (Cass Sunstein and someone I can't remember now). At one point, Ms. Abramson reminded the moderator that the gentlemen had gotten a lot of time in the discussion and the ladies needed some time to balance this out (can't quote her exact words, but that was the gist of it).  And the moderator was a woman!

And :-) to SH.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Women's Voices

I suppose if I posted on every issue or noteworthy news item, I'd never even have time to eat!  

One thing that has been hitting home recently in the wake of the accusations against Bill Cosby and in the events taking place at Univ. of VA., is that women's voices are too often doubted or ignored.  Many women columnists have raised the point that it was only after a male comedian talked of allegations against Cosby that the story gained notice. In the U. VA case, the woman who told her story to Rolling Stone has indicated she met with little encouragement to come forward. 

Many, many working women have told, and still tell, stories of their contribution to a discussion being ignored until being brought up again by a male co-worker.  And if you haven't seen it, there's a famous commercial which calls attention to the different way women leaders are labelled.  In fact, isn't there a "campaign" to eliminate the label "bossy" from the vernacular?

However, we women have been and continue to be strong and resilient.  We have found ways to voice our concerns.  From Abigail Adams exhorting John to "Remember the Ladies" to the suffragists to Eleanor Roosevelt, who found her unique voice in being useful and in speaking up for those who needed a voice, we have fought to make ourselves heard.  We must not stop now!

And speaking of women who found a voice, we cannot forget Sojourner Truth!  Here is a video of a modern actress, Kerry Washington, doing a recreation of one of her most famous speeches.

Keep speaking up, Sisters;  and Brothers, stand with us!

UPDATE 12/6:

It has come out that there are real inconsistencies in the Rolling Stone story mentioned above.  I just hope this doesn't deter other women from coming forward and from being believed.


Friday, November 14, 2014

Surveillance Art

There's a new article up at The Intercept, this one by Peter Maass on art and surveillance.  I did find it interesting, though I think some of the projects themselves are downright creepy.

But hey -  it got me inspired to try to do something artistically and that certainly can't be bad.  If you read the article and check out the links he provides you'll notice that in addition to the visual arts, there was also a musical project and a book of poetry (why didn't I know about that before?).

I would like to do something visual as that would be something different (keep watching this space; although my artistic ability is quite limited I might come up with something). I guess I'm more language oriented, so first out is a poem! 

The Gaze 



All seeing eyes

But who gets the prize

When peek-a-boo is not a game

And prying queries have no shame



All seeing eyes

Classify and categorize

But this arbitrary gaze

Can fracture the ordinariness of days



All seeing eyes

Sifting through social ties

Never taking the time to blink

Recording, then storing in digital ink



All seeing eyes, though you can patterns perceive

Humanity’s essence you cannot digitally retrieve.






Monday, November 10, 2014

Response to Ms. Vargas-Cooper



This is written in response to an article by Natasha Vargas-Cooper published here at The Intercept.

Dear Ms. Vargas-Cooper:

The more I think about it, the more I have found your article to be less than satisfactory. 

First of all there was this:  “We should disabuse ourselves of old ideas, especially this hold-over notion from the baby-boomer generation that somehow social institutions can be jammed, subverted, reformed, or overthrown through buying stuff.”  Aside from boomer-bashing, you offered not one reference to support your contention or put it into context.  Was this somehow a resolution passed in a Boomer Congress I wasn’t aware of?

Does ‘buying stuff’ matter?  Another way to reframe the question is to ask: ‘Does the way we spend our money make a difference?’  Throughout history, consumer activists have answered “yes.”  A scholarly book by Lawrence Glickman, published in 2009 explores such activism, and is reviewed here .

You have not mentioned political activities which have impacted women’s rights, which in an election year might seem an obvious thing to do.  Of course there are varying viewpoints, even among feminists, so I’ll just suggest a few starting points for further reading and investigation.  My own state of NJ has elected its first African-American woman to serve in Congress!  Here’s a roundup of some critical issues that were up for votes across the country.  I confess I don’t know how all of them fared, but those curious can do a search, I’m sure.  Here’s a look back at the mid-term elections.   And here’s an alternative view.

I think almost everyone would agree that grassroots, people-by-people activism has declined.  But I truly believe it’s way too simplistic to “blame the boomers.”  What about examining societal forces that have fractured such efforts?  For example, there was the throttling of the Occupy Movement.  What about the way protests are greeted?  The Intercept and other outlets have detailed the sometimes overly harsh reaction to protests in Ferguson, MO.  Fast food protesters were often met with riot police – and not a whole lot of media coverage.  And what of the ramifications of the rise of digital communications which has enabled “connections” online?  How has this affected face-to-face organizing?  And then there’s a big question: with the economy as it is, is it any wonder that so many are just too tired or stressed from making a living to be activists?  Many posters at The Intercept and also The Guardian have made that observation.  Here are some articles related to the number of hours worked by Americans:  ABC News article, detailing Gallup poll results, and this one, comparing us to a few other countries.  It seems as though there is some evidence which might support those posters’ suppositions.

Then there’s the matter of toys.  Do the toys we buy our children (girls, specifically) make a difference or not? Your argument is that they do not.  But not everyone sees it that way. Here’s one researcher  that does not.  Now this leads me to conclude that whatever side one might favor, the issue is worthy of thoughtful consideration – and debate.  Certainly not a “Shut up.”

That leads me to my final problem with your article.  I found that ending by telling your readers to “Shut up.” was both rude and condescending.  Not to mention it was no way to encourage me, at least, to your viewpoint.  I would think that as a journalist, you would encourage readers to be vocal on the issues. 

All in all, I felt the article fell far short of the quality I would have hoped for.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

That Sickening Feeling

I read the election headlines - the GOP getting control of the Senate and gaining in the House.  Those headlines really made me feel - well - sick.  I had to put on some classical music to calm my nervous system down a bit.  Then I just had to post something to my blog.  Had to.

I want to shout, scream at people - "What are you thinking?"  Now, I've come to see that both parties are way too similar now - too beholden to corporate interests primarily.  But I still find the brand of conservatism, neo-conservatism, libertarianism, whatever pushed by so many GOP'ers to be distasteful for this Liberal.  I think that close inspection reveals their policies mostly benefit the well-off and corporate interests, and are socially repressive, especially toward women and minorities.  Not that Democrats are all that great now, but I think they do have to pay some attention, however small and superficial to the concerns of the traditionally underrepresented and disenfranchised.  Of course, I wish they'd do more.  After all, Eleanor Roosevelt had to continually press FDR.  Civil rights leaders had to press Kennedy and other leaders. 

Some things related here concern me.  One is apathy.  Too many of our citizens either feel that nothing can be done or are just too busy trying to make a living to be activist at any level.  This applies to economic issues as well as issues around mass surveillance.  We somehow must break through this and come together to press for some real reforms.  

The other is the attitude displayed toward some fellow Americans.  I've mentioned this before.  Just read the comments on Yahoo or at The Guardian when the story concerns those who are economically challenged. There are not a few that will maintain it's all "their fault."  Ok, there is something to be said for personal responsibility, but that doesn't mean the social contract should be thrown out on its head or the safety net dismantled.  What about such a thing as a living wage?  I happened to see a discussion on one of the c-spans with Marianne Cooper, author of Cut Adrift: Families in Insecure Times.  One thing she said was that if you're working full-time, you shouldn't be living in poverty.  Well, Amen to that! (It would also be a good idea for businesses to give more people full-time hours!)

 One more thing:  The U. S. had a pretty decent economy in say, the 50's and 60; policies and programs designed to strengthen and expand the middle class helped drive that.  I think we have somehow lost track of that.  Of course not everyone shared in that economy equally, but if we look back on some of the programs that were successful - like the G. I. Bill - maybe we could design some programs to work on today's challenges.

Well, I think I'm about ranted out.  Looks like a bitter morning after...


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Let's Just Hack Everybody, Shall We?

Dear folks, here's something we REALLY need to be aware of: FBI proposal

Let's get this straight.  If the rule change is granted, the FBI can be warranted to hack, yes, hack as insert malware into any computer computing device, anywhere for surveillance purposes  Does anyone else find this extremely alarming?  This is certainly an attack on anonymity online and a real threat to privacy of probably many innocent individuals!  The ACLU has a 29 page (!) response to this - which you can find here.

A hearing is set for next week, Nov. 5.  The public is able to comment on this and other proposed rule changes!  Comments will be accepted until Feb. 7, 2015.  You can comment, electonically only, by going here - and scrolling way down to link for "review or comment on proposed amendments to federal rules of criminal procedure" (or something very close to that wording!).  I think it would be an excellent idea to let this group know how we feel on this issue.  I intend to comment, after I read just a bit more and work up my statement!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Birthday, John Adams - though a bit late...


Time for our annual birthday greeting to John Adams - yes, our second president (not the composer).  So Happy Birthday, Mr. President - dare we count (number 279!)?  Hope somehow you're celebrating - and of course looking in on us, praying for us, and sending "down" some wisdom; we really could use some!


In celebration, here are some mini-thoughts about our birthday boy - one for each letter of the alphabet:

antislavery though not abolitionist, bibliophile, "Colossus of Independence", defense counsel at Boston Massacre trial, extemporaneous speaker, Federalist, graduate of Harvard, honest, independent minded, jurist and political theorist, keen of mind, letter writer, Mr. President, negotiator, outspoken, patriot, Quincy born, revolutionary, state constitution author, talker, unyielding, volatile, White House prayer composer, XYZ Affair  president, Yankee, zealous

I think if I could describe him in a few words, I'd probably say he was an American original.

In preparing this, I saw a suggestion that history/social science teachers show clips of the musical 1776 to stimulate discussion of and learning about  John Adams and his times.  So---- enjoy:

For God's sake John, sit down

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Have You Noticed

I tend to notice "strange" things sometimes.  Here are a few...

It's nearing the end of a campaign season (thankfully). You've undoubtedly seen in tv ads a candidate interacting with "real" people (usually to a narrated background).  Have you noticed that the candidate is the one most often running off at the mouth?  Aren't these politicians supposed to LISTEN - to - US?

Another "Have you noticed?": does is seem like Antiques Roadshow ALWAYS has on Civil War memorabilia that is confederate?  I have seen a few Union artifacts on it but more often than not such things are from the confederacy (and I REFUSE to capitalize that!).  A map once owned by Gen. Lee was just on, and the appraiser was gushing at how this was an important piece of U. S. History.  Spare me.  Is it a part of "our history"? Maybe, but I can't bring myself to be enthusiastic about it!

This was quite a few years ago: 1996 - 1997.  NASA had the Pathfinder mission to Mars, with the rover which landed on its surface and performed successfully for 12 times longer than its designed time.  The rover was named 'Sojourner', after the famed abolitionist and civil rights activist Sojourner Truth. This name was suggested by Valerie Ambroise, then 12, of Bridgeport, CT; I believe she won a contest.  What I noticed was that in all the news reports about this I heard, I don't believe one reporter or anchor referred to the rover by its NAME.  I don't think there was much tv coverage at all about the gal naming the rover (I can't remember where I read about it; either in some magazine or just maybe online...) - which would have been a nice boost for girls!  BTW, I also believe the leader of the Sojourner team was a woman - who did get a mention, though I wish she'd received a bit more notice!

Here's another one from some years back.  The Today show ran a competition for an all expenses-paid wedding to be planned by the show and viewers and held on air (or at least parts of it to be...)  The winners that year were an African-American couple; the groom was a veterinarian, I believe.  As the wedding party made their way down the aisle I remember the hosts announcing the names and and things like so and so graduated from University so and so with honors...  I found those announcements quite interesting.  Did they think their viewers would be surprised by so many African-American degree holders?  I was always curious if they got any feedback from viewers expressing amazement at seeing so many highly-educated African Americans.

Any other things we should take notice of?






Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dialogue

I'm baaaaaak - and with another bit of fiction for ya -

Dialogue/That's Just the Way It Is

...Oh, that's just the way it is.
And you never question why it can't be different?
Why bother? What does questioning get you?
Questioning can be stimulating.  Maybe someone comes along and asks why things are "always this way."  Then maybe someone else comes along and asks why not "do things this other way."   Who knows? Some new solutions may pop up.
Sounds pretty ivory tower to me.
But it isn't really. Have you ever thought of how to do something better on your job?
Come to think of it, I did put in a suggestion just last month.
It's like that,  just on a bigger scale. 
Bigger scale?  I have all I can handle on my plate already!
Of course, we're all busy these days. But even a small action can sometimes help fuel a big change. Can you really tell me you're satisfied with the way things are now? 
I wouldn't say satisfied...
Then, can you imagine say, just one policy or program you'd like to see changed or implemented?
Whoa, I'm not political!
All you have to be is concerned about an issue. Then be willing to learn about it and to work toward change.
Oh sure, I can see my friends now.  the moment I start talking about it, they will roll their eyes at my bringing up 'the cause' again.
Well, you don't have to be obsessive; it doesn't need to take over your life. But by the same token, the last thing we need now is silence!
You mean my voice really does matter?
Absolutely.  Democracy is supposed to be a noisy bazaar.  There is a boisterous discourse  happening.  Your voice can only add to its richness. 
So what's my first step?
You might try telling folks that the way it "is" isn't the way it always has to be. 
Gotchya!
 

 

 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Requiem for Mike Brown

I use NPR News page as my home page (I know it may be suspect, but it does often has stories not always seen elsewhere...), so when I logged on and saw the headline about a protest for justice for Mike Brown at a St. Louis Symphony concert, I was very intrigued.

It was certainly was worth reading about and viewing the video.  A group of about 50, at the end of intermission, one by one rose and sang.   How stimulating to see a wonderful example of creative and peaceful protest, done by a divergent group united in purpose. They found a means, as Rep. Lewis says, to "Get in the way."  It was also interesting to see the reaction of those not involved with the protest.  The reactions ran from seemingly wondering what is going on, to bemusement, to support, to even annoyance (the one lady in the black gown next to the fellow in glasses who mugged for the camera).  The conductor looked on with patience, which I feel was to his credit.

Here's a more comprehensive article, though.  It has a a report featuring the Symphony's publicist and has two videos accompanying it.  The first is a news report, and the second is the same youtube video I described watching on the NPR News site.

I am so glad that people are continuing to keep the issue alive.   We need to all, in some way, keep up the fight for justice and truth.


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Read Any Good Banned Books Lately?

Nothing like being right on top of things.  I just saw that this has been "Banned Books Week", which has many sponsors and endorsers, including the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association.  Well, there's still today to go!

There have been read-outs of selections from banned or challenged works, and people can even submit videos for a "virtual read-out." 

There are two lists you may wish to peruse: one of frequently banned classics and another of frequently challenged books (21st Century list).

Full disclosure:  I haven't read many of these.  Very few actually.  I did read Animal Farm in high school; wasn't all that impressed with it and remember very little.  I did start reading 1984 but never read the whole thing.  I also started Catch-22 but didn't get very far as I found it made little sense to me.  As far as what's on the challenge list: I started My Sister's Keeper as it was one of our One Book, One College selections one year, and I didn't like it one bit.  Didn't make it to the end, which I think must be a pretty bad one.  I also have I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings which I'm sure is quite good (I really should read it one day...).  However I also did start reading The Glass Castle  by Jeannette Walls (it was also a One Book, One College selection).  I found it very intriguing.  For some reason I haven't finished it - and I was curious as to "what happens next..." - so I think someday I will pick it up again.  And I must shout out to Ms. Walls, who was so very gracious when she signed my copy.

The lists also give reasons for challenges.  One of the most prevalent is "not appropriate to age group."  While I don't agree with censorship, we probably should be somewhat sensitive to content given to say, below high school level students.  Giving alternate reading assignments or holding off on some books until the students are a bit older might be some alternatives.

For older students and of course, adults: have you read any good banned books lately?


Sunday, September 21, 2014

International Day of Peace - Today!





In honor of the International Day of Peace, here is my peace poem:
What Peace Does

Peace prunes olive branches
Hands them to messenger doves
Hopes that the budding deliveries will take root in new locations



Peace whispers prayers
Sends out quiet vibrations expressing yearning
Trusts that echoes will amplify the intentions and circle the world



Peace dares to dream
Imagines harmony in action instead of violent discord
Believes that day by day, the world is turning toward that dream.