Republican Convention 2008

Did Sarah Palin Try To Ban Books? And Keep Bars Open?


Via Andrew Murphy of Libertarian Republican comes a link to a Time mag story on GOP VP candidate Sarah Palin's tenure as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. A snippet:

[Former Mayor John] Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

[Longtime resident Chas] St. George [a Stein supporter], however, points out that Palin couldn't have seen everything through an Evangelical lens. She did, he says, notably resist calls to restrict operating hours for the bars in town. And even if faith did play an unusually large role in her decision-making as mayor, it may have only reflected the continued rise of Evangelicalism in the valley, a growth that continues to this day.

More here.

Banning books while keeping the bars open? Not sure how much faith to put in any of this. Early reports of Palin pushing religion into the publicly funded square—that she was for teaching creationism in public school, for instance—seem to be erroneous. That's comforting, to say the least, though it doesn't necessarily mean she's all good, either.

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  1. ALA Top Challenged Books For 2007

    1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

    2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

    3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

    4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

    5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
    Reasons: Racism

    6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

    7) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

    8) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: Sexually Explicit

    9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
    Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

    10) “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

  2. I have a solution. Put the “banned” books in the bars. Especially when bars are probably important to the plot of the banned books anyway. You know “She walked into the bar”, “I was face down in a bar”, “I found my wife in the best/worst place, a bar and she was on her knees”, you get the point.

  3. Apparently she didn’t ban any books.

    Innocuous scenario:

    Constituent:How can we ban dirty books from the library?

    Elected Official: I don’t know I’ll ask the librarian.

    Elected Official:How can we ban dirty books from the library?

    Librarian: You can’t

    Elected Official: OK I was asking for a constituent. I’ll let her know.

  4. Preferred scenario:

    Constituent: How can we ban dirty books from the library?

    Elected Official: You can’t.

  5. Yeah, I was thinking the same scenario. Nothing necessarily nefarious about asking what past practice/procedures were.

  6. I’m particularly interested that the source of the complaint is a “former mayor.” Sounds like standard-issue “Things were better when I was in charge” boilerplate.

  7. And the Palin-obsession train keeps on rolling.

  8. Read the piece on the same subject in the NYT. You will … a different feel on whether her religiosity was ambiguous.

  9. Apparently, SIV and Brian24 missed this part “news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving ‘full support’ to the mayor.”

  10. She’s lost the pro-book, anti-bar vote.

  11. though it doesn’t necessarily mean she’s all good, either.

    Politician found not to be perfect. News at Eleven.

  12. I don’t know, I think Libertarians should support this type of thing. By banning books from public libraries, she’s shrinking the public sector. That’s one less book that requires my tax dollars to shelve, sort, etc.

  13. but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving “full support” to the mayor.

    I didn’t realize that part of a librarian’s duty was to give full support to the mayor. You’d think that would be the job of a mayor’s assistant or something. I would have thought the librarian’s job was to, ya know, run the library.

    And SIV’s continued willful ignorance about this stuff is really hilarious.

  14. And the Palin-obsession train keeps on rolling.

    When you pick your vice president purely for her effect on the media cycle, the media is going to play along.

    I don’t see how McCane had much of a choice on Friday – he could very well have been buried after Obama’s speech and he needed to throw them something to distract them – but now we’re seeing the other shoe drop.

    McCain is running a campaign based around his opponent, around making Obama look scary and unacceptable, and two days into the convention that was supposed to scare us all, all the press want to talk about is Mooseburger.

    I heard that Tony Rezko is a secret Muslim who bribed Barack Obama to oppose the surge by making donations to fund terrorist attacks by a cell made up of Michelle Obama, Bill Ayers, and Reverend Wright! Initially, Obama didn’t want to go along, because the surge was so obviously working wonders – woot USAUSA woot – but then he threatened to show the world Obama’s real birth certificate while he was giving a speech in front of an immodest number of supporters in front of greek columns.

    Hello? Anyone?

    Pay attention to me!

  15. “Kristallnacht” Anyone ? Does this frighten anyone as much as it does me? What ever happened to separation of church and state ???

  16. So what books were banned?

  17. See the list posted on:

    (scroll down in the blog)

  18. Fiona, the source of your linked list appears to be here.

    If you scroll down further you’l find the list has zero to do with SP.

    For Christsakes there’s oodles of legitimate things to go after her with, including the library story. Just quit making shit up.

  19. More specifically the list is an attempt to list all books that have been banned in the US. Although I’m not sure that not having them in libraries qualifies as banning.

    Many of those on the list weren’t even published when the SP story happened.

    Try again.

  20. I understand the whole live and let live thing, but why are people so soft on these conservatives as long as they don’t advocate teaching it to the exclusion of evolution? Evolution is true, accept it or not. But I prefer my elected officials to be smart. Believing in creationism, even “just personally”, disqualifies her from being smart.

  21. Apparently I forgot the word creationism in the beginning of my post. I guess I shouldn’t reproduce.

  22. FYI: I am not ‘making shit up’… it was already written out there on blogs, as well as a Times article published yesterday. I provided a link to a blog with a list of books, not a validation or assertion as to whether any of this is true or not.

    Submitted respectfully.

  23. Not sure how much faith to put in any of this.

    I’d say none.

    So no books were banned. The only source that says Palin inquired about book banning in the Time article is a defeated political opponenet. A supporter of the defeated mayor says politely:

    St. George worked on Stein’s campaign at the time, and while he says he has no reason to dispute Stein’s recollection of events, he doesn’t remember Palin’s conduct being beyond the pale. “Our tax coffers were starting to grow,” he says. “John was for expanding services, and Sarah wasn’t. That’s what the race was about.”

    And Fiona is godwinning the hell out of it with “Kristallnacht” yet when pressed says she is not making an assertion as to whether any of this is true or not.

  24. Don’t you people get it? Can’t you see? Sarah Palin is the antichrist! She’s evil! She’s a down’s-syndrome-child-not-aborting, pregnant-daughter-allowing, mooseburger-eating, book-banning, bar-not-banning, seceding-from-the-country veritable horror! She must be stopped! I’m talking wooden stakes, beheadings and buryings at intersections here! She’s…

    Oh, wait. I’m not a Democrat.

    Never mind.

  25. Correction: I meant the book burning….’S?uberung’: a literary purge or “cleansing” (S?uberung) by fire. (Germany, May 10, 1933, presaging an era of state censorship and control of culture.)

    While books burned as part of Kristalalnacht, that was Nov 1938, the main book burning night was much earlier in 1933

  26. McCain is running a campaign based around his opponent, around making Obama look scary and unacceptable, and two days into the convention that was supposed to scare us all, all the press want to talk about is Mooseburger.

    Is this a joke? If so, I apologise for not having a sense of humor, but if not, wtf? McCain would be rightly crucified if he made the first black guy nominated by a major party for president out to be scary, like the voters should cross the street before Obama picks their pocket.

    Of course he had to go with the zany mooseburger thing. I’m guessing he thinks there are more americans with families like the Palins (could be a sitcom, fer crissakes) than like the Obamas.

  27. Did Sarah Palin Try To Ban Books?

    So far the answer is no.

  28. The intellectually alert will be able to discriminate between banning the use of taxpayer money to buy certain books for the public library, and totalitarian government banning books from being read or sold in a country. The former is reasonable public policy, the latter is an infringement of liberties.

    Let us observe:

    1) Palin never banned any books.
    2) The article states the motive for her inquiry as “some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them”
    3) Despite the above two facts, TIME leads by stating that: Mrs. Palin inserted her religious beliefs into policy in this case.

    The tactic used in the above paragraph is something called Poisoning the Well. A logical fallacy. A false one as well.

  29. Believing in creationism, even “just personally”, disqualifies her from being smart.

    Sadly, Ron Paul goes into that category.

  30. [i]Sadly, Ron Paul goes into that category.[/i]

    yeah, almost as bad as being an atheist.

  31. Matthew, thank you for finally making sense. I think Libertarians and bible-thumpers can form a coalition on this issue. Just keep banning books from public libraries until people stop going to public libraries are empty, then close the library! Problem solved; everyone wins.

  32. Interesting that e is a link to and they support Palin when just a few months ago, Palin told her church memebers about the war in Iraq

    “Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,”

  33. ABC, since when did support Palin? Let’s see your link.

  34. Your last response sure sounded like an endorsement

  35. This woman is a typical republican with a hypocritical twist!
    Her plan did not work with her daughter did it?
    If the democratic party would have backed the right candidate,( Hillary)They’re party would have nothing to fear, Hillary would be so far ahead of mCcain.
    The fact is that MCcain is going to bring out all he can on Obama, and expose him for the liar he is! The DNC made a huge mistake backing Obama instead of Hillary, so they will get what they deserve. Either one of these candidates will be a disaster for this country.

  36. “FYI: I am not ‘making shit up’… it was already written out there on blogs, as well as a Times article published yesterday. I provided a link to a blog with a list of books, not a validation or assertion as to whether any of this is true or not.”

    The implication in your post was that the link you provided was to the list of books that SP wanted to have banned.

    Otherwise, I can’t see your point in making it.

    Didn’t have one, eh? Reckon it’s safe to ignore anything you post from now on then.

  37. bristol, willow, track, the first dude complete with a dui, a knocked-up daughter, etc…sounds like a white trash family to me, all dressed up and spit-shined for public consumption. really sad what the repubs have resorted to. just sad.

  38. sounds like a white trash family to me, all dressed up and spit-shined for public consumption.

    Yeah. What Republicans have resorted to. Uh-huh.

  39. You people are hilarious! Good grief are you all so scared of Palin that much that you are resorting to slinging books? oh my gosh! Get a grip please. You know the best one always wins, and it makes no difference how hard the books are thrown.Someone will always get hurt in the end . I suggest everyone take a deep breath and enjoy the show. 🙂 I am.


  41. yep dian and staghelm are part of the ignorant middle class. they want small govt, unless of course, their personal circumstances dictate govt intervention. then they’re outraged that the govt isn’t there for them. the classic selfish, ego-centric view of life. pathetic.

  42. then they’re outraged that the govt isn’t there for them.

    Considering they’re posting at a magazine called reason, I would err on the assumption that what you said isn’t true. Of course, that doesn’t fulfil whatever narrative you’re trying to push.

    This round’s on the house.

  43. The Anchorage Daily News confirms she asked the librarian to pull books from the library and, when rebuffed, fired the librarian (an unpopular move fought by the community). This is based on local press from the time.

    “In December 1996, Emmons [the librarian] told her hometown newspaper, the Frontiersman, that Palin three times asked her — starting before she was sworn in — about possibly removing objectionable books from the library if the need arose.

    Emmons told the Frontiersman she flatly refused to consider any kind of censorship. Emmons, now Mary Ellen Baker, is on vacation from her current job in Fairbanks and did not return e-mail or telephone messages left for her Wednesday.

    When the matter came up for the second time in October 1996, during a City Council meeting, Anne Kilkenny, a Wasilla housewife who often attends council meetings, was there.

    Like many Alaskans, Kilkenny calls the governor by her first name.

    “Sarah said to Mary Ellen, ‘What would your response be if I asked you to remove some books from the collection?” Kilkenny said.

    “I was shocked. Mary Ellen sat up straight and said something along the line of, ‘The books in the Wasilla Library collection were selected on the basis of national selection criteria for libraries of this size, and I would absolutely resist all efforts to ban books.'”

    Palin didn’t mention specific books at that meeting, Kilkenny said.”

    There is more to the article.

    The email referenced can be found all over the net. Here is one location:

    As for Stahelm’s argument… Palin’s speech rang hollow, more than other politician’s generally do (at least to me). The more that is dragged up about her, the less I like the idea of her one heartbeat from the presidency.

    First, the tax plans for Obama and McCain are both horrible. Neither really do much to resolve underlying issues with the tax system (nor the spending issue either). But if you’re curious, you can see how much you’ll save in your next tax bill.
    But a tax deferred today is a tax tomorrow. We’ll all end up paying the piper some day.

    Palin attacked Obama with lines like “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities.” but then didn’t follow up to say what her responsibilities as mayor were. Zingers, yes. Substance, no. It seems Palin provided very good fodder for Obama since community organizers actually work hard for peanuts. Not sure about you, but that’s better than the first job I had. I can imagine his message now about how she insulted all the people who donate to charities that are run and operated by community organizers.

  44. If anyone cares I have the whole list of 89 books here on my web site:

    Much is being made of the fact that there are books published after 1996? however, Palin’s executive experience as mayor continued through 2002. None of the books postdate 2002 (aside from “The New Teenage Body Book” which was updated in 2008? but presumably she would have been banning the 1999 edition.)

  45. You guys don’t get it. The librarian was a public employee and this was a public library. We all pay taxes to support public institution such as the library system. If you and I disagree on whether or not a book should be on the shelf, who gets to be the arbiter? The reason we have the Constitution and the First Ammendment is to safeguard against precisely what Sarah Palin attempted to do. By attempting to ban books and fire the librarian she declared her rights were more important than anyone else. Thank goodness the community rallied around the librarian and forced Palin to rescind the termination. Censorship and book banning has no place in a democracy. If she had been successful think of the precedent that would have been set. Would every incoming mayor have the right to decide what was on the library shelf based on their preferences? If so, can you guarantee that every incoming mayor will agree with YOUR definition of what is offensive? The Constitution is there to protect all of us, because whether you want to believe it or not, your side could be the losing side in an election. Think about it.

  46. the librarian was a political appointee from the previous administration. politics as usual requires that you request their resignations. nothing like having people in your own camp trying to stab you in the back.

    just remember which one of our candidates regularly attended a church where racism was routinely preached…

  47. When the relevant incident took place (Sarah Palin inquiring about banning books and firing the uncooperative librarian in 1996), none of the four Harry Potter books had even been published. There is the outside possibility that her deep connection with God may have given her soothsaying powers and the Harry Potter names were leaked to her from above much in the manner Moses received his top ten list. Yet as Moses was hardly the soccer Dad type, I doubt this was the case.The list was concocted by Democratic operatives smarting from the Swift Boat campaign or maybe drunk college kids with no classes on Monday. In any case, who ever did the list were just yellow belts in the fine art of the smear jitsu.

    But it all begs the question: if it is true to live like a Republican one should vote Democrat, but to get a Democrat in office, need one act like a Republican?

  48. My question is what happened to the seperatio of church and state. We are here in this country, that we stole from it’s native people, because we didn’t want the government telling us what religion we had to be or what to believe, and now here we are almost full circle, with our own government trying to control through religion. It is a very sad day.

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