Re: the bill to remove Howard Zinn books from school libraries: When "alternative" books are removed from school libraries and class curriculums, it is the beginning of broader suppression of education and civilian participation in politics, not the end of it. Our grade-school books are traditionally skewed —ostensibly to protect impressionable youth. But the education police are growing bolder now because Zinn's work is higher-education, college-level political science material. A major part of the topic itself is the study of radical political thought and action. "Radical" to those who have not been poor, oppressed, colonized, marginalized, brutalized or outspoken about it — and to those who care not about people with such past experiences or current conditions. This routine political science knowledge seems truly radical only to those without any feeling of responsibility for or compassion toward these "others." Radical political theories are uncomfortable, terrible — even horrifying to those who greatly fear becoming like any of these "losers" — should their realities become commonly known among the young.
Regarding the two Arkansas bills that would gut the state law giving taxpayers access to public records:
Bills like these are part of a systematic effort to strip the people of any power they hold over an established bureaucracy. It's a strategy of incremental legislation, year after year, meant to entrench the system in such a way that ordinary people no longer have a say in their own government.
This strategy was laid out in the Powell Memorandum in 1971.
Add to these bills another one in the current assembly that criminalizes protests and peaceful assemblies, and yet another voter I.D. law that places more hurdles between the voter and the vote, and you get the picture.
I've read that similar bills criminalizing protests have popped up in many state legislatures this year. I suspect that ALEC, the corporate right-wing think-tank and bill mill, is the culprit. People like Bart Hester, Jason Rapert and Bobby Ballinger are frankly too stupid and venal to have cooked up these bills on their own.
Ask yourself: Who really benefits from these laws? Certainly not ordinary Arkansans.
This isn't democracy. This is totalitarianism.
From the web
In response to the March 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Anti-transgender bill would prevent amending birth certificates":
The party of concentrating on how to be most cruel to the most vulnerable, how to accomplish this in as perverted a manner as possible, and ignoring the most important issues to concentrate on the totally irrelevant — or, I should say relevant only to those whose lives they are trying to make even worse, intentionally.
Betty J Rousey
My, my. We should expect a 5-year-old to make what could be a drastic life-changing decision, huh? As a 5-year-old, I remember wanting to wear a pair of red corduroy pants to church, a definite no-no for a little girl back then — and probably now. Sponsor Rep. Mickey Gates thinks I should have made a decision about my gender at that age, too?
I have to admit I did decide I didn't much want to be a woman when I learned the facts of life a few years later. But I don't think I wanted to be a man either. Of course, in a few years that issue started sorting itself out.
Gates needs to back up, grow up and live his own life. And butt out of the lives of others.
This is a direct act of legalizing discrimination against the transgender community who were born here in Arkansas. And there is no reason for this bill to make it out of committee. Those who vote for it will be seen as openly discriminating against a segment of Arkansans that is equivalent to the population of Maumelle.
In response to the filing of the so-called "bathroom bill" by Sens. Greg Standridge of Russellville and Gary Stubblefield of Branch:
Wait until a trans woman walks into the "men's room" in the Capitol and stands next to a male legislator at a urinal and starts talking to him about legislation. Or a trans man walks into a "ladies' room," scaring the hell out of a woman. Would the legislators feel uncomfortable? Please, tell us, dear senators, how you will react and, better yet, how you will enforce this? As to the former you won't. As to the latter, you can't. Therefore, you are passing unenforceable, yet mean-spirited, legislation. Time for you to go home. Between that and your BS voter I.D. law, you guys are worthless to everybody except your "base": bigots.
In response to the Feb. 23 "Downtown Dancing" cover story:
Great issue. The people of Arkansas are amazing at nurturing their communities and developing equality in neighborhoods and businesses. If the Arkansas government would get out of the way, people can make downtown more tourist friendly, which generates revenue and develops community pride.
In response to a March 6 blog post about the bill before the state legislature to make same-sex marriage illegal in Arkansas:
It has become obvious the only way to stop these idiots from wasting the taxpayers' money is to hold them personally responsible. We need to draft an initiated amendment to the state Constitution that legislators that vote for a law that has been previously ruled unconstitutional by the federal courts or the Arkansas courts shall be personally responsible for any damages awarded against the State of Arkansas, and said legislators can not void said responsibility by claiming bankruptcy or sovereign immunity. Take the money out of their wallets, not ours.
Fort Smith Observer
In response to the March 2 Arkansas Blog post, "Local control? Depends with Bart Hester. Not on gays, OK on medical marijuana":
The level of hypocrisy that exists within these people is almost making me puke. They know exactly what they are doing. Plausibly denying that anything about cannabis is beneficial, even ignoring the mountain of facts, which are in this country's records, is just tantamount to lying to our faces. I hope this stuff can be brought before the state Supreme Court, because any judge would have to be dimmer than a 3-watt bulb not to think these laws are being corrupted. Even after the [Drug Enforcement Agency's] own judge said it was the safest therapeutic substance known to man, they are still being hypocrites and liars. It must be they are being paid off, and they are using their religion to beat everything down that they do not agree with. This is not the working of the United States I gave my time in the Armed Forces for. I am truly angry at, and ashamed of, these legislators.