It had to happen, sooner or later.
Thanks, Jean in Missouri, for this one…
Under the parental oversight of public libraries bill, which has been proposed by Missouri Republican Ben Baker, panels of parents would be elected to evaluate whether books are appropriate for children. Public hearings would then be held by the boards to ask for suggestions of potentially inappropriate books, with public libraries that allow minors access to such titles to have their funding stripped. Librarians who refuse to comply could be fined and imprisoned for up to one year.
Titles including Sherman Alexie’s award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five and Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, a young adult novel about the rape of a teenager, have all come under fire in Missouri over the last decade.
PEN America’s deputy director of free expression research and policy, James Tager, called Baker’s bill a “shockingly transparent attempt to legalise book banning in the state of Missouri”…
No one’s trying to keep parents from interacting with librarians, right now, over guiding children through the public library system. And that’s properly a two-way street.
When I was 8, I’d read everything of interest to me in the children’s section of our public library branch. When the head librarian questioned my request for an adult card, it took my mother interceding to get permission. No extra burden on her – since she’d started the reading habit in both me and my kid sister by walking us to the library and back every Saturday morning to pick out books for the week.
Best habit she ever gave me.
❝ Missouri’s top health official testified at a state hearing that his department used a spreadsheet to track the periods of women who visited Planned Parenthood.
Missouri state health director Dr. Randall Williams testified Tuesday at a hearing that will help decide whether the state’s lone Planned Parenthood clinic can continue to perform abortions. Williams said that his office created the spreadsheet to identify women who underwent failed abortions…The Kansas City Star reported…
❝ The head of the St. Louis Planned Parenthood, Yamelsie Rodriguez, told The Star that Williams’ testimony was “deeply disturbing.”
“This is government overreach at its worst,” she said. “This is outrageous and disgusting.”
Someone mail me a penny postcard when Missouri decides to join the 21st Century. Even the 20th would be an improvement.
❝ In early 2017, President Donald Trump met with executives from Harley-Davidson who he thanked for “building things in America”…
❝ Last week, the EU imposed retaliatory tariffs on US goods, including bourbon, orange juice and motorcycles. The measures are a response to new US duties on steel and aluminium imports…
❝ While Harley-Davidson had been struggling financially well before the EU’s retaliatory tariffs went into effect, the import duties of 25% certainly didn’t help matters.
❝ “To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for EU destinations from the US to its international facilities to avoid the tariff burden…”
❝ The move is one of the most visible consequences of the trade disputes triggered by US President Donald Trump’s decision to levy tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
Give our Fake President time. He’ll figure out how to make this even worse!
❝ A deepening slump in U.S. motorcycle demand is spurring more job cuts and a plant closure at Harley-Davidson Inc., a company President Donald Trump has cast as a model American manufacturer.
The Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker will close its factory in Kansas City, Missouri, and consolidate production in York, Pennsylvania…The restructuring will eliminate about 260 U.S. jobs, Chief Executive Officer Matt Levatich said on a conference call. Trump praised the company last year as a “great example” of a business creating jobs and building factories in the country.
In closing the Kansas City plant, Harley will eliminate about 800 jobs; it will add 450 in York, a mix of full-time, part-time and contract positions.
❝ “They didn’t even give us a call ahead of time,” Joe Capra, directing business agent for Local 778 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers…“It is real devastation for these people who work here and work hard in the Kansas City area.”
Dunno if their problems are intrinsic to quality control or not. Since one of their biggest competitors in the Hog market – Polaris’ Victory – is shutting down, too, I expect their design team is simply as out of date as Trump.
❝ Jasper County sheriff’s Det. Tim Williams said a 55-year-old Larry Webster and 40-year-old Tanya Hopper admitted that they rode the lawn mower home naked after their clothing was stolen while they skinny dipped in a creek northwest of Joplin.
❝ Authorities arrested the pair Tuesday morning on suspicion of stealing after finding them at a house with the riding mower parked in the front yard.
Williams says an investigation determined that the lawn mower didn’t belong to either of them.
I suppose they should have returned the mower right after they got home and dressed. Or something like that.
A Missouri family said their homeowners association is threatening them with jail time after they refused to take down their purple playground equipment.
Marla Stout of Lee’s Summit said her family put up a playset for their young daughters about two years ago and she painted the equipment purple to comply with requirements of the Raintree Lake Neighborhood Homeowner’s Association.
“There’s nothing in the rules about color,” Stout told WDAF-TV. “What it says is it has to be harmonious with the community and with nature and there is nothing that dictates the color of the swing set.”
Stout said she considered the purple color to be “harmonious” because it matches the color of the trees in the fall, but the homeowner’s association disagreed.
Stout said she received a notice from the HOA last year saying they were being fined for not having the playground equipment and its color pre-approved, but they successfully appealed and had the fine thrown out…
However, the HOA sent further letters demanding the purple playground’s removal.
“The letters said that if we didn’t remove the swing set from the subdivision in a couple of weeks, we go to jail…”…Another letter pledged the HOA’s lawsuit would cost the family “greater than any principle you are trying to prove.”
She said the HOA ignored a petition signed by more than a dozen neighbors saying they were not bothered by the equipment.
Mrs. Stout said her family has hired an attorney and will continue to fight.
Keep on rocking in the Free World.
In the city of Ferguson, nearly everyone is a wanted criminal.
That may seem like hyperbole, but it is a literal fact. In Ferguson — a city with a population of 21,000 — 16,000 people have outstanding arrest warrants, meaning that they are currently actively wanted by the police. In other words, if you were to take four people at random, the Ferguson police would consider three of them fugitives.
That statistic should be truly shocking. Yet in the wake of the Department of Justice’s withering report on the city’s policing practices, it has gone almost entirely unmentioned. News reports and analysis have focused on the racism discovered in departmental emails, and the gangsterish financial “shakedown” methods deployed against African Americans. In doing so, they have missed the full picture of Ferguson’s operation, which reveals a totalizing police regime beyond any of Kafka’s ghastliest nightmares…
It turns out that nearly everyone in the city is wanted for something. Even internal police department communications found the number of arrest warrants to be “staggering”. By December of 2014, “over 16,000 people had outstanding arrest warrants that had been issued by the court.” The report makes clear that this refers to individual people, rather than cases – people with many cases are not being counted multiple times…
This complete penetration of policing into everyday life establishes a world of unceasing terror and violence. When everyone is a criminal by default, police are handed an extraordinary amount of discretionary power. “Discretion” may sound like an innocuous or even positive policy, but its effect is to make every single person’s freedom dependent on the mercy of individual officers. There are no more laws, there are only police…
And this is precisely what occurs in Ferguson. As others have noted, the Ferguson courts appear to work as an orchestrated racket to extract money from the poor. The thousands upon thousands of warrants that are issued, according to the DOJ, are “not to protect public safety but rather to facilitate fine collection.” Residents are routinely charged with minor administrative infractions. Most of the arrest warrants stem from traffic violations, but nearly every conceivable human behavior is criminalized. An offense can be found anywhere, including citations for “Manner of Walking in Roadway,” “High Grass and Weeds,” and 14 kinds of parking violation. The dystopian absurdity reaches its apotheosis in the deliciously Orwellian transgression “failure to obey.” (Obey what? Simply to obey.) In fact, even if one does obey to the letter, solutions can be found. After Henry Davis was brutally beaten by four Ferguson officers, he found himself charged with “destruction of official property” for bleeding on their uniforms.
I agree with the authors. The odds that Ferguson is the worst example of institutionalized racism in America is unlikely. The town certainly is representative of the process, though. Whether you take a close look at small town America or urban clusters like Los Angeles or Atlanta, Chicago or New York, the same racist opportunism is at play.
That carries forward to the final conclusion in this piece. Eventually, police departments consider all human beings to be nothing more than a resource for funding. We are objectified into an underclass, nothing more than lumpen targets for scorn, to be harvested like sheep. To be slaughtered like sheep.
Time to grow some horns.
The NewYorker has long had the courage to take sides against bigotry and racism. Especially important in a nation that rationalizes away lynching-by-cop with sophistry about “two sides to every question”.
Vox has a short note about the magazine and Bob Stake who did this cover for next week’s edition.
In the wake of the news that Ferguson, Missouri, police Darren Wilson will not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, you’ve probably seen lots of reports of destruction and anger, and far fewer about the despair of black men as they contemplate the message the grand jury’s decision sends about the value of their lives.
Here’s a great corrective. BuzzFeed’s Joel Anderson captured this image, and Twitter user @HeyMyNameIsWill contrasted it with the images of the protests offered by cable TV.
Rest assured white Republican America. If you live in a state where it’s perfectly legal for coppers to shoot an unarmed suspect fleeing the scene of a crime [or suspected of fleeing a crime – or suspected of anything] – you already know you or your kids aren’t likely to be the victims of murder-by-cop. if you’re Black or Brown or some other non-white tint of human being, that’s different. But, you also know that doesn’t matter.
The city of Albuquerque, down the road from here, has a police force that is just coming out from under a Department of Justice investigation, new rules, new oversight – because of the number of civilians killed by coppers. Watching the local news on any day, we call it “watching the local murders”. And like most Americans, we don’t mind a whole lot if it’s one drug gang killing members of another drug gang – or cops killing crooks with a lifetime record of violence and theft.
Albuquerque got in trouble because their cops killed too many white guys, too many veterans.
Ferguson, St. Louis, Middle America ain’t going to change anything if cops stick to killing Black men or Hispanics. The despair in this photo is only a reflection of that fact. And the politicians charged with aiding oversight, peace and prosperity couldn’t care less. Which is a much better reason to throw them out of office than Keynesian fiscal policy or not strictly adhering to orders received directly from your God and your bible.