It’s not just OK

28 08 2008

This story reminds me of our, Oklahoma’s, own Sally Kern.  Not so much Sally’s homophobic tyraid, but her efforts to get certain children’s books banned from the Tulsa City-County Library.  Some of the more hilarious titles she had on her list dealt with going to the doctor/dentist & adoption.  This new contender, JoAn Karkos, has chosen the book, “It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health” to wage war against.  Let us take this book, “It’s Perfectly Normal…” and compare the harm it has done to that of another book, say, The Bible.  There is hard proof that this book has been responsible for many bad things.  A few of these are war, genocide & slavery.  There is no proof that giving a citizenry the option to access knowledge produces violence, war, genocide, slavery, etc.  It seems to be the opposite actually.  As the public has become more informed, slavery (The Bible was used to justify) has been outlawed, women have been given the right to vote (those who opposed women’s suffrage used The Bible to defend this position) and other societal injustices have been ended, often in spite of religious efforts and rhetoric.  Think of gay rights today, think of an organized group that is opposed to this, would they use The Bible to back up their positions?  I bet they would.  They certainly wouldn’t use “It’s Perfectly Normal…”

I know out technological evolution has far outpaced our ethical evolution but, it still isn’t fun to be reminded of just how   W     I     D     E   the gap is.  So, this story is disheartening but, it also makes me feel good, schadenfreude, that Oklahoma isn’t the only state plagued by the narrow of mind and small of intellect.

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Dead at last, dead at last. Thank god almighty he’s dead at last.

10 07 2008

  What is the deal with the press coverage/reports about Sen Jesse Helms?  Did everyone forget he was a racist, bigoted bully?  Below are a few quotes, taken in context, from the 90’s.  There are others, a multitude of others, from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s but, I kept it recent to show Helms’s unrepentant, unapologetic bigotry. 

  ‘And the man ABC News now describes as a “conservative icon” (8/22/01) in 1993 sang “Dixie” in an elevator to Carol Moseley-Braun, the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, bragging, “I’m going to make her cry. I’m going to sing Dixie until she cries.” (Chicago Sun-Times, 8/5/93)’

    ‘More recently, when a caller to CNN’s Larry King Live show praised guest Jesse Helms for  “everything you’ve done to help keep down the niggers,” Helms’ response was to salute the camera and say, “Well, thank you, I think.” (Wilmington Star-News, 9/16/95)’

  Click here for the full article in which these quotes appear (w/ retro, bonus hate from pre 1990!).  Helms’s homophobic predjudices are also seen in the article.  It seems a tad odd that Barack Obama is accused of being un & anti American and a terrorist and John Kerry was accused of being anti-American but Helms is reffered to as a posterboy for attack dog politics and unabashed and bold.





Lists of Evil Books

20 05 2008

I found a list of Books That Screwed Up The World, by some guy. It is decent, fun to compare with my own. I don’t think the Communist Manifesto by Marx & Engels belongs on the list. I also disagree with The Prince by Machiavelli. Missing from this guy’s list but present on mine are, The Bible – old testament & new -(I know it’s a collection of books), The Qur’an and The Bell Curve by Hernstein & Murray.
The bible has been used as a justification for the Crusades, the Inquisition, witch hunts, slavery, homophobic hatred, etc. The Qu’ran has been used to justify female circumcision, many a fatwa, the 9-11 attacks, suicide bombings, etc. One may make the arguement that these religious texts are responsible for much good as well. It is my contention that there are many books which do the same, with little or no negative influence, Shakespeare, Rousseau, Emerson, Thoreau, Bonhoeffer… Even ‘militant’ books like On War by Clausewitz or Autobiography of X by Malcolm X have not brought about as much harm as they have good. In fact, one may get the same morality lessons from many other sources. Religious texts certainly do not have a monopoly on morality lessons. They do, on the other hand, have a near monopoly on genocidal inspiration.
The Bell Curve uses pseudoscience and weakly supported (read one-sided) analysis to legitimate racial and class disparity. The authors start with the assumption that minorities and the underclass are less intelligent than the majority and the rich. They then set out to back up their assertion. Rather than taking the data and drawing a conclusion, they start with the conclusion and select the data they use. They do not discuss at all differences in the education recieved by the two groups as having an effect on this. They do not discuss the difference in opportunity possessed by the two groups. Their assertion reads like this- poor people and minorities are not as smart as the majority and rich people. Both groups had the opportunity to go to a free public school. Both groups do not perform the same at the schools, therefore one group must be genetically better than the other. It is a very juvenile train of logic. Are Quakers genetically inferior because they can not operate a microwave? Is it logical to blame the abused for the abuse? The Bell Curve gives these questions a resounding “YES!” So this book is one of the very few books to come out in the late 20th century that the usual suspects can appeal to and cite when making racial arguements vs the huge amount of literature one may point to when backing the idea that race has no statistical value in determining one’s cognative ability, Jonathan Kozol comes to mind.





Update on Oklahoma’s *latest* Xenophobic (read racist) Push.

5 05 2008

  Oh dear internets, my embarrassment grows. This article informed me that the English only bill has passed the OK House. It is now going to the OK Senate. In this new draft, the bill’s authors added exemptions for Oklahoma’s American Indian languages, Brail and sign language.  I guess the hypocracy of disallowing Native American languages was to much even for them.  But this only serves to further expose the racist anti-hispanic/latino sentiments behind the bill. 

  America is one of a very few (the only as far as I know) developed countries who’s citizens do not have to interact with people who speak other languages regularly.  Even so, putting other languages on signage, what is so horrible about that?  Shouldn’t the government want people to read what it feels is important enough to say?  What, dear internets, besides a (scary) Nationalism could be the motivating factor behind this bill? 

    What I find humourous is this, think of the idea of ‘the ugly American’ and of American tourists in general.  When these people go oversees they benefit from English being on signage throughout.  Statistics have shown, for many decades, that Americans speak only one language.  Most other developed countries have citizens that speak two languages as a matter of course and three and up on the average.  English is on street signs, retail signage, mass transit systems, etc.  Now, I know that Enland is our favourite colony, but it isn’t even continental.  Why then should English be written on signage of countries that do not speak English?  What have they learned that Oklahoman’s do not know?  Could it be a ‘build it and they will come’ thing?  Like, if we make it easy to be a tourist here, maybe they’ll come.  Shouldn’t Oklahoma be interested in this as well?  It certainly stands a better chance of bringing in tourist dollars than a new convention center.  That convention center idea was old when I studied urban decay and revitalization in the late 90s.  Since nearly every metropolitan city in America had that idea 18 or so years ago, is Tulsa really going to pull in the tourist bucks?  Seems HIGHLY unlikely.  Will Oklahoma bring in tourist bucks if our signage is in their language?  Probably not, but it is far less expensive than a convention center or those dumb promotional commercials the state makes to show in other states. 

  I guess what I am left with is that there seem to be no reasons to pass an English only law in Oklahoma except for the racist anti-hispanic/latino ones.  But, if we are going to do the English only thing, shouldn’t get more specific?  Like, the Queen’s English only, or proper English only?  Shouldn’t we punish abusers of the language?  I mean, isn’t txt msg technically English? 

 





Relative, Close Kin – Not Adolph Eisenstein, of ‘This Makes Me Angry’

28 04 2008

  Remember that time, dear internets, I told you about Wisconsin residents being all xenophobic and how I was all proud and stuff that it was not Oklahoma (Native America) that went wacky?  Boy is my face red.  I’m going to feel this in the morning.

  I discovered that my beloved state, Oklahoma (Native America), has attempted, at least once before now as well, to legislate English as the one and only official state language.  If I take a second, and that is as much time as is needed, I can see the ignorance, the irony and be embarassed by such an attempt.  If I take a second, again that is all that is needed, I can guess which political party is responsible for authoring, petitioning for and championing this bill.  It isn’t the Greens or the Libertarians.  The person(s) responisble for this bill belong to the same party as Sally Kern, the nogoodnik. 

  This article, or plea, has some detail about the proceedings where this bill was voted on, http://www.ahalenia.com/iws/alert.html.  Very tellingly, an American Indian (Native American) was present and not allowed to speak, in fact no one (private citizen) was allowed to speak. 

  This attempt is ludacris.  Oklahoma (Native America) is home to several American Indian (Native Americans) tribes.  Tribes the federal govenment forced here, with violence.  Oklahoma (Native America) is home to a large German population, a Jewish population and a sizable Itallian population.  But I think it is safe to assume the real population this legislation is targeted at is the same population that was recently ostracized/expelled -> hispanics/latinos/chicanos. 

  The following is all personal testimony and heresay but, I’ve never heard anyone complain about computer terminals or signage being in German or Cherokee (Native Americans).  I guess it really bothers some people when they look at a sign and have to read it in English then they are forced to see that below that is a Spanish translation or that some storefront signage is in Spanish.  Why does it bother these people so?  I am unable to anwer this.  While I hesitate to throw the following word around, granted I used to use it frequently in my formative years, I feel this legislation borders on fascist.  It is definitly elitist.  Barring the free, open and equal access to public knowledge/speech from a specific group or groups of the public has no legitimate defense, at least in a republic.

Here is the bill that came before committee in Jan ’08 http://webserver1.lsb.state.ok.us/2007-08HB/HB1423_int.rtf

” ” in Feb ’03 http://www2.lsb.state.ok.us/2003-04HB/HB1020_cs.rtf

’02 article that makes reference to ’97 bill http://www.lsb.state.ok.us/HOUSE/news6048.htm

  PS, thanks are due to Timmy for telling me about the trouble down at the ol’ ravine.