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June 12, 2009

Christian group sues Wisconsin library for right to burn gay teen novel

Christian group sues for right to burn gay teen novel | Books | guardian.co.uk

These men filed a lawsuit to ban books from the library they found offensive. The courts threw it out. Now they are suing to be allowed to burn the library book and also for $120,000 in damages for reading about gay kids. They also are claiming that a book about a gay kid getting bashed is somehow a "hate crime."

I honestly don't understand people who wage this regressive culture war against libraries. It is so unamerican.

In a scene which appears to have been lifted straight out of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, a group of Christians in Wisconsin has launched a legal claim demanding the right to publicly burn a copy of a book for teenagers which they deem to be "explicitly vulgar, racial [sic], and anti-Christian". The offending book is Francesca Lia Block's Baby Be-Bop, a young adult novel in which a boy, struggling with his homosexuality, is beaten up by a homophobic gang. The complaint, which according to the American Library Association also demands $120,000 in compensatory damages for being exposed to the book in a display at West Bend Community Memorial Library, was lodged by four men from the Christian Civil Liberties Union. Their suit says that "the plaintiffs, all of whom are elderly, claim their mental and emotional well-being was damaged by this book at the library," and that it contains derogatory language that could "put one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike."

June 08, 2009

Rachel Maddow: Frank Schaeffer Exposes 'Pro-Life' Movement's Domestic Terror Role

Rachel Maddow: Frank Schaeffer Exposes 'Pro-Life' Movement's Domestic Terror Role

Leo Laporte loses it

In a nutshell: Leo Laporte loses his shit when Mike Arrington from TechCrunch implies that receiving free technology might influence Leo's opinion.

The schadenfreude is strong today.

June 02, 2009

The great River Crab of censorship in China

RConversation: Eating "River Crab" at the Harmonious Forum - 吃河蟹开和谐会

In China these days, if your website gets blocked, your blog-hosting service takes down a politically edgy post you wrote, or your ISP deletes your site completely, you say: "I've been harmonized." The word for harmony, harmonized, or harmonious (all the same word in Chinese) is pronounced "he xie" in Chinese and is written like this: 和谐.

However, there's a slight problem, which is that since this phrase is so often used sarcastically on Chinese blogs and forums, it has been flagged as a sensitive keyword by many of the blog and forum hosting platforms, increasing the chances that a post using this phrase could itself get "harmonized." So bloggers and chatroom denizens have switched the characters to another phrase, 河蟹, also pronounced "he xie" (with slightly different tonation) which means "river crab."

Thus, when bloggers seem to be writing nonsensically about "river crab," they're actually talking about censorship.

June 01, 2009

Christian Anti-Defamation League complains of "bashing"

Christian Anti-Defamation League: 'Bashing'

This is what I call a rebuttal.

Oklahoma cops pull over ambulance on way to hospital, choke EMT

Oklahoma Highway Patrol fight with EMT

Here is some context.

May 29, 2009

Wikipedia bans Scientology

Scientology No Longer Welcome on Wikipedia | NBC Bay Area

In a move to crack down on self-serving edits, Wikipedia is banning contributions from the Church of Scientology. An exclusive report on The Register details how no IP addresses owned or operated by the so-called church or its associates will be allowed to post or edit info on the site because they seem to be pushing their own agenda.

While blocking individual contributors is not unusual for the San Francisco-based site, this decision marks the first time an entire organization with such a high profile has been banned. It's part Wikipedia's effort to protect their reputation as a reliable source for information.

Wikipedia police tried to keep their eyes on edits from Scientology machines but because individual IP addresses changed so frequenty, the site resorted to the all-out ban.