Sarah Palin

The Roots of Sarah Palin

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Last month I wrote that I'd like to see more reporting on the rumor that Sarah Palin had tried to ban books at the local public library while she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Since then we've learned a lot more about the story. In mid-September, The New York Times reported that as a councilwoman, Palin inquired about removing Daddy's Roommate, a children's book about homosexuality, from library shelves. There is also scuttlebutt that the future mayor targetted a book called Pastor, I Am Gay.

Palin's old allies continue to deny the charges. David Chappel, Palin's deputy mayor, told The Boston Globe that his boss "never had any intention to ban books" and attributed the accusations to Palin's political enemies: "There were some vocal people in the minority, and it looks like they're still out there." Small-town politics can be an impenetrable thicket, and I know a lot of the critics emerging from Palin's past have axes to grind. That said, one of the Times' sources for the Daddy's Roommate story is Laura Chase, who now says the candidate "scares the bejeebus" out of her but in 1996 served as Palin's campaign manager.

If you're going to be skeptical, your best argument is the fact that there's no record that Palin actually attempted to remove the books once she was in a position to do so. But she may have simply changed her mind about the issue. It's also possible that at that point a ban would have been unnecessary: The Times reports that some social conservatives in town frequently vandalized library books that displeased them. (Both books are in the library now, though—and there are people working hard to ensure they stay there. After these stories started to come out, a San Francisco man donated not just Daddy's Roommate but Heather Has Two Mommies to the Wasilla library, a DIY answer to the vandals' DIY censorship.)

In other Palin news: Dave Weigel already linked to it last week, but if you missed it, you really should read Sean Scallon's sharp take on the candidate. For Scallon, Palin "represents a wing of the Republican Party that was once close to Buchanan but has slid into the neoconservatives' grasp since 9/11"—the "Jacksonian" populists who used to oppose figures like McCain but changed their priorities after Bin Laden's attacks. Not that Palin was a populist from the get-go: Noam Scheiber's account of her Wasilla days reveals that she actually got her start selling a business-backed tax to fund new government programs:

In the early '90s, [Nick] Carney and a group of local business leaders decided the city needed a sales tax to fund public services–such as a police force–it could no longer live without. To advance this position in an area not exactly teeming with Great Society liberals, they'd formed a group called "Watch on Wasilla" and persuaded John Stein, then the mayor, to embrace their cause. Carney won his seat on the city council in 1992 on the back of these efforts.

Heading into that election, Carney and Stein realized their program would go nowhere if they couldn't connect with what you might call Wal-Mart moms–that great mass of voters too busy earning a living and raising their families to follow local politics….Carney's daughter had gone to high school with Palin; Stein and his wife knew her from an aerobics class they attended. She seemed bright and energetic and had a winning way about her–the same qualities McCain would notice 15 years later. They invited her to attend a "Watch on Wasilla" meeting and, after a brief interview, asked her to run on their moderate plank. Carney introduced her to local business leaders and campaigned alongside her. "I took her around … and said, 'This is a person who supports our points of view. She'll do what she can to make the police force run.' And she did it."

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  1. your best argument is that fact that there’s no record that Palin actually attempted to remove the books once she was in a position to do so

    But those damn facts spoil the narrative!

  2. Why should I get worked up about those books again? Wake me up if they want to ban something I might actually want to read.

  3. I think it’s being quite generous to assign any particular doctrine to Palin. I think she’s somewhat of a tool who’s grasp of the republican platform is weak at best.

    Does anyone have any evidence that she had any strongly held beliefs on standard platform issues before running for office? Obviously, as stated above, it wasn’t ideology that got her into politics in the first place, but her ability to smile while talking.

    See her answer to the magazine ‘gotcha’ question for more proof – she doesn’t read political magazines, and probably doesn’t spend much, if any, time thinking about ideological issues.

  4. I’m going to donate a copy of “The Turner Diaries.”
    We’ll see how the libs react.

  5. jasno,

    That’s why most people like her. She may not be an idiot but she seems to have no real appreciation for what is considered “ideological issues”.

  6. But those damn facts spoil the narrative!

    The fact that she tried to get a book removed as a City Councilor, or the fact that she asked the librarian if she’d remove books, was told no, then had her fired?

    Are those the facts you mean, SIV? Or do just mean the fact that you finally got a laminated picture of her for easier clean up?

  7. Can even libertarians be upset by a tax used to fund a police force? I mean, stolen snow machines don’t just recover themselves.

  8. Yeah Jamie, I’ve never read a news story in which raiding cops claimed to have “seized” a copy of Daddy’s Roommate. If we’re really lucky,under the Obama Regime, the Reason foundation will be named an anti-government hate group. Ah, 90s nostalgia. I’m sending an anonymous tip to Morris Dees right now.

  9. Yeah Jamie, I’ve never read a news story in which raiding cops claimed to have “seized” a copy of Daddy’s Roommate.

  10. The fact that she tried to get a book removed as a City Councilor, or the fact that she asked the librarian if she’d remove books, was told no, then had her fired?

    I thinks the “facts” are that she demanded the librarian’s resignation, and then re-hired her the next day.

  11. joe,

    Rape Kits ! Shooting wolves from helicopters!
    Speaking in tongues! Alaska Independence Party!
    Satan’s Lizards man, she is not one of us!

  12. And after all of the bombings and murders carried out by gay rights groups. You know, the ones that Heather’s two mommies carry out at the end of the book.

    Oh, wait…none of that is true. But it’s only cuzza the libruls that the two books are viewed diffferently.

  13. joe,
    why do you hate free speech?

  14. Abdul,

    Thanks for the link… So she DID fire the librarian and only hired her back after public outcry.

    I also found this interesting:
    Palin initially requested Emmons’ resignation, along with those of Wasilla’s other department heads, in October 1996. Palin described the requests as a loyalty test and allowed all of them (except one, whose department she was eliminating) to retain their positions.

    Um… doesn’t that strike you as a bit… odd?

  15. Abdul,

    Rehired the next day, after a public outcry.

    So, like Roosevelt’s court-stacking plan, she didn’t get what she wanted. Ergo, no problem putting her in an position of greater power.

    SIV,

    Rape Kits ! Shooting wolves from helicopters!
    Speaking in tongues! Alaska Independence Party!
    Yup. All of that.

    Satan’s Lizards man, she is not one of us! Hmm. Who exactly is the “them” that lines up behind making women pay for the hospital to do a rape kit that “us” is opposed to? Who is this population whose group identity is being insulted when you take exception to secessionism and MAKING RAPE VICTIMS PAY FOR THE GATHERING OF EVIDENCE?

    I never thought of any of those issues in terms of identity politics. I think they speak pretty loudly all by themselves, on their own merits.

  16. I find it ironic that the Mat-Su Valley (Wasilla) newspaper to which Walker links his article is titled “The Frontiersman.” The right-wing rag which is a sub-plot of Watchmen is “The New Frontiersman.”

    Jamie, as one of the more liberally inclined posters I admire your donation offer and look forward to your posting a link to a news article in “The Frontiersman” announcing your gift. People should be exposed to all points of view.

  17. “Thoughtfully contrarian joe” has left the building.

    “Crazy ass partisan joe” is in da house…

  18. Jamie Kelly,

    Why do you equate homosexuality with the murder of people for being black?

    I love free speech. I think librarians should be able to carry and reject books based on their merit, without politicians bringing pressure on them. Why do want politicians to make libraries to censor books based on political viewpoints, Jamie? Why can’t the librarians make up their own minds based on literary merit, practical utility, and social value, without political interference?

  19. The only fact that concerns me is if the book is on the shelf or not. And if not, who removed it and why. All the rest is innuendo.

    Secondarily (and most importantly), if there weren’t tax supported libraries it wouldn’t be an issue. Since the books are bought with tax money, who says one group of taxpayers gets to have more say so over what is on the library shelves than any other group of taxpayers?

    Thirdly, I’m betting Daddy’s Roommate is available at Amazon or Barnes and Nobel. Any Alaskan who wants to, can simply buy a copy for junior to peruse at his leisure.

    I keep getting that email about how Palin banned books, and when I point the senders to SNOPES, they invariably write back and say something to the effect:

    Well, maybe she didn’t actually ban the books, but she wanted to, and she will if she’s elected vice-president, and she scares me to death.

  20. Don’t Presidents sometimes do that at the beginning of a term?

  21. joe and jsaon,

    Fired, several years after the frigging rhetorical question about banning books.

    Fired, along with several other city department heads who have nothing to do with books.

    Re-hired in one day.

    Never mentioned Daddy’s Roomate, Heather’s Two Mommies, or Clifford the Big Red Bi-Curious Couch Humper.

    Give it up. Stop turning this election into a referendum on Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin, whatever her faults, did not try to ban books. There’s no evidence of it.

    This is weaker than the Ayers stuff. Hell, this is weaker than “teh secret Muslim” stuff.

  22. Wouldnt’ a crazy partisan get something wrong once in a while?

  23. Why do you equate homosexuality with the murder of people for being black?

    I don’t. I’m pro-gay-marriage all the way.
    But I’m also a libertarian, which means I believe that free speech issues get clouded and thorny when it comes to interests and opinions in the public sphere.
    In other words, the existence of “public” schools creates this mess.

  24. “Crazy ass partisan joe” is in da house…

    Palin mind rays.She grew up in the same clandestine government laboratory as Rove only she is one of the later improved models.

  25. Hell, this is weaker than “teh secret Muslim” stuff.

    Hell, it’s weaker than Obama in the back seat of a taxi at the airport with a fag boy hooker.

  26. See, here’s a crazy partisan getting something wrong.

    Fired, several years after the frigging rhetorical question about banning books.

    Nope. Fired, very shortly after MAYOR Palin – not CITY COUNCILLOR Palin, who had no power to hire and fire, but MAYOR Palin, who did – asked about banning books.

    Sarah Palin, whatever her faults, did not try to ban books. There’s no evidence of it. You’re simply in denial. There is the testimony of the people who worked with her to refute you, including the librarian who was fired.

  27. FWIW, I agree with you, joe, that in the realm of “public” libraries, we best leave the judgment of what is allowable material in the hands of librarians.

  28. Hell, it’s weaker than Obama in the back seat of a taxi at the airport with a fag boy hooker.

    See what happens when you grow up reading Bi-Curious George and the Short Pantsed Firemen? Sarah Palin warned us about this!

  29. I don’t want my daughter walking into a “public” library and learning how much KY Jelly to apply for an anal fist-fuck.

  30. the existence of “public” schools creates this mess.

    Amen. And by extension, to repeat myself, the existence of “public” libraries is why this is an issue at all.

  31. Jamie Kelly,

    I don’t. You most certainly do. You responded to a story about the attempt to ban a book about a family with gay parents by asking whether a library would carry a book exhorting the murder of black people and Jews.

    If you don’t want to equate the two, then don’t equate the two.

    But I’m also a libertarian, which means I believe that free speech issues get clouded and thorny when it comes to interests and opinions in the public sphere. And also because you’re libertarian, you have difficulty perceiving differences in actions carried out by anyone serving in a public position.

    If the fire chief tells his men to put out the bigger fire, and the mayor redirects them to put out a smaller fire in the mayor’s buddy’s house, one way to look at that is to say that both situations involve “the government” making a decision about which fire to put out. A better way to look at it is to say that a politician in interfering with a public official’s job, and imposing a political agenda on what should be a professional judgement.

  32. FWIW, I agree with you, joe, that in the realm of “public” libraries, we best leave the judgment of what is allowable material in the hands of librarians.

    Well, fine, then. Why did you accuse me of hating free speech for making the same point?

  33. fwiw Jamie, she already knows.

    i keed i keed

  34. Jamie Kelly | October 7, 2008, 3:23pm | #

    I don’t want my daughter walking into a “public” library and learning how much KY Jelly to apply for an anal fist-fuck.

    My copy of Heather Has Two Mommies doesn’t have that page. Is that before or after the sweaty pillow fight scene?

  35. All libraries select some books, and exclude others. What is important is who gets to do the selecting.

    At a private library, the owners do the selecting, or hire somebody to be their agent. The inevitable, unavoidable upshot of government owning libraries is that a government employee will be doing the selecting and excluding. There is no way that those running a government library can’t be censors.

    What the public-employee-librarians’ lobby (American Library Association) want is the power to bind or to loose to be left to their professional clerisy. Meanwhile the Dobson-style fundies have the extraordinary notion that since the people of a community own the library, and pay for it through taxes, the librarians should do the bidding of the majority, however temporary.

    I don’t see any way to split that Gordian knot, and would much prefer we privatize all libraries in the hands of the state.

    Kevin

  36. I don’t want my daughter walking into a “public” library and learning how much KY Jelly to apply for an anal fist-fuck.

    OK, Jamie, there’s a great difference between HHTM and The Joy of Fisting. You’re engaging in the same sort of hysterics which I normally associate with Joe at his off-his-meds worst.

    BTW, still waiting for proof of your donation.

  37. Yeah? Well fuck off, you! Fuck off I say.

  38. Why did you accuse me of hating free speech for making the same point?

    See brotherben’s comment above.

  39. And by extension, to repeat myself, the existence of “public” libraries is why this is an issue at all.

    Yes, making books available to people means that someone has to decide which books.

    In the name of free speech, we should make it harder for people to read books.

  40. (In reference to public libraries)

  41. What the public-employee-librarians’ lobby (American Library Association) want is the power to bind or to loose to be left to their professional clerisy.

    What the Firefighter’s Mafia wants is for the power to decide which houses burn down to be left to the professional firefighting clerisy.

    I guess you could phrase it that way.

  42. I don’t want my daughter walking into a “public” library and learning how much KY Jelly to apply for an anal fist-fuck.

    All of it sounds about right.

  43. joe,
    Art of hyperbole.
    You purposely use the most extreme example to test the premises of a position.
    It’s effective.

  44. Kevin makes some good points, but seems oblivious to the pitfalls of a tyranny of the majority which ignore the rights and needs of those not in the majority, however temporarily.

    Both Kevin and TWC ignore the fact that many books in public libraries are donations from citizens, organizations, etc.

  45. Why can’t the librarians make up their own minds based on literary merit, practical utility, and social value, without political interference?

    joe just unwittingly made the case for private, not public, libraries. Next!

  46. The solution is easy. We tax the richest 5% and just give the money to the other 95% so they can buy any book they want on Amazon.com. And then we tax the Internet.

  47. Tonio,

    OK, Jamie, there’s a great difference between HHTM and The Joy of Fisting. You’re engaging in the same sort of hysterics which I normally associate with Joe at his off-his-meds worst.

    Jamie ALWAYS gets a bye on that kind of stuff because it’s absurdly hilarious and you know exactly what he means.

    It’s in the H&R drinking rules. Something like an earmark. You could look it up. ;_)

  48. Sarah Palin was smart enough to know that once the culture goes so does the nation. I can see the America will collapse into anarchy and poverty because we have allowed the influx of immigrants to take over the country. I can only hope Sarah Palin can fix this.

  49. What the Parking Garage Mafia wants is for the power to decide who gets to park in the garage and who doesn’t to be left in the hands of the professional card-taking clerisy.

    While the SUV Association of America wants that SUV-driving public to be able to vote on which types of automobiles are allowed to park in the municipal garage.

    Really, the problem here is the government. Who can possibly untie this Gordian knot?

  50. Jamie Kelly: Where’s that donation which you promised at 2:58 PM?

  51. hotsauce,

    In normal, non-Palin-run communities, librarians at public libraries decide on what to stock based on literary merit, practical utility, and social value every day.

    Sorry, but no, none of this has fuck-all to do with the case for private libraries. Who could possibly be against letting people open private libraries?

  52. Both Kevin and TWC ignore the fact that many books in public libraries are donations from citizens, organizations, etc.

    Yes, in fact I just sent a check off to a library in Moses Lake to buy some books but I’m missing the point.

  53. “Clifford the Big Red Bi-Curious Couch Humper.”

    I LOVED that book!

  54. Jamie Kelly: Where’s that donation which you promised at 2:58 PM?

    It’s in my sac. Where should I deposit it?

  55. “Hell, it’s weaker than Obama in the back seat of a taxi at the airport with a fag boy hooker.”

    The real story is how poorly he tips.

  56. The only fact that concerns me is if the book is on the shelf or not. And if not, who removed it and why. All the rest is innuendo.

    Well that’s just stupid.

    If someone has decided to try and get something banned or removed, and only failed because a public stink was made and they had to back away from their actions, only a drooling moron would think “well she didn’t get what she wanted — no harm no foul”.

    She didn’t get what she wanted not for lack of trying. The fact that she tried to get a book banned at all is what’s telling, not how effective she was at getting what she wanted.

    I don’t want my daughter walking into a “public” library and learning ….

    Then maybe the solution is to spend time with your daughter and supervise her reading habits rather to demand the library censor it’s content to suit your parenting whims

  57. TWC:

    Jamie ALWAYS gets a bye on that kind of stuff because it’s absurdly hilarious and you know exactly what he means.

    “No” on all counts.

    It’s in the H&R drinking rules. Something like an earmark. You could look it up.

    My thoughts on the H&R drinking game are well known, and not charitable.

  58. Tom, are you referring to me as a drooling moron?

    If so, I shall have to ask you to step outside and handle this man to man.

  59. You’re simply in denial. There is the testimony of the people who worked with her to refute you, including the librarian who was fired.

    “The librarian has said Palin asked a “What if?” question, but the librarian continued in her job through most of Palin’s first term. … The librarian never claimed that Palin threatened outright to fire her for refusing to ban books.”

    “Both Stambaugh and Emmons (the librarian) publicly supported Palin’s opponent, long-time mayor John Stein during the campaign last fall.”

  60. librarians government employees at public government-run libraries decide on what to stock based on literary merit, practical utility, and social value every day stock anything they can get their fucking hands on to justify their existence, and mop up bum piss on slow days.

  61. SARAH PALIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    *body spasms while trying to type a response*

  62. Yes, in fact I just sent a check off to a library in Moses Lake to buy some books but I’m missing the point.

    Thanks for contributing to (what is presumably) your local library.

    The point I was making by stating that a significant percentage of books in the collections of public libraries are privately donated is that it’s not quite as simple as you made it out to be.

  63. I can see the America will collapse into anarchy and poverty

    That’s what I’ve been saying all along, ever since many U.S. Americans were first unable to afford maps, and our education such as the Iraq and South Africa, everywhere such as, and I believe our education over here should help the US, help South Africa so we can help build up our future….for the children

  64. Three points:

    1) The vast majority of people you meet who work at a public library are not librarians, but rather people who work at the library. It’s the equivilent of calling a public works landscaper a city engineer, or a paralegal an attorney.

    2) Credentialed librarians, mostly women, are almost uniformly super-liberal as a rule and have a tenuous grasp of business and economics to the point of being rather embarrassing. But…

    3) Librarians are the most committed people to the notion of free speech that you will ever meet. It’s actually part of the training, a drumbeat so incessant that if you weren’t completely on board, you’d leave the program out of complete irritation.

    Librarians have really only one book prejudice. They hate mass-market paperbacks and poorly bound books from small publishers. The fact that The Turner Diaries is not on the shelf at your local public library has more to do with the binding than any politics on the librarians’ part.

  65. Librarians are the most committed people to the notion of free speech that you will ever meet.

    But what about the young, hot ones in heat? With the horn-rimmed glasses? Where can I meet/fuck those?

  66. Jamie Kelly @ 2:58 PM: I’m going to donate a copy of “The Turner Diaries.”

  67. Joe, I’m not making a case for private libraries, that would be a libertarian given on a libertarian web site.

    I am making a case against tax supported libraries. Guilty or not, if it hadn’t been a tax supported public library there would never have been an issue of a politician putting the arm on a librarian to pull a book from the shelf.

    When it’s a tax supported library, whoever has the best political connections is going to have some say so over what is on the shelves. And from the way Palin and her town are portrayed, as some sort of transplanted Bible Belt throwback, the chances are that most of the taxpayers would be happy to see that book tossed.

  68. Jamie,

    Move to a town with a library school. It’s hard to get a job right out of school, so they are often a bit desperate.

    It would be best if you had a taste for chubbies. The skinny librarians get snapped up pretty quick. [cough, cough]

  69. David Chappel, Palin’s deputy mayor,

    Wow, talk about ‘when keepin’ it real goes bad.’

  70. Jamie Kelly @ 2:58 PM: I’m going to donate a copy of “The Turner Diaries.”

    I changed my mind. Now, kindly spread your ass cheeks.

  71. It would be best if you had a taste for chubbies. The skinny librarians get snapped up pretty quick.

    Isn’t there a copy of Clifford, The Big Red Chubby Chaser in the Wasilia Library? What about Dora the Explorer of BBW sexuality?

    Or did that fascist have it removed?

    Or grafittid upon?

    Or ask someone to draw a mustache on it?

  72. joe,

    The only way to avoid these Sarah Palin types of situations (censorship!) is to eliminate public libraries. You hit a home run, even though you thought you were golfing.

  73. Tom, are you referring to me as a drooling moron?

    If so, I shall have to ask you to step outside and handle this man to man.

    Not you specifically, TWC, just anyone who espouses that particular line of thinking 🙂

  74. “People should be exposed to all points of view.”

    Whether they want to or not?

    Yes, I’m being a hard-ass. But my point is that to require that people be exposed to all points of view as a way to make sure that no point of view is discriminated against is in itself discriminatory when forced upon those who don’t care to see another point of view.

    People should have the opportunity, but not be required to take it, whether that makes them less informed or not.

  75. Fired, along with several other city department heads who have nothing to do with books.

    You’re conflating two events. The first was the mass-firing then re-hiring of most of the heads as a test of loyalty. The second was the permanent firing that was reversed as a result of public outrcy. And, given her actions with regards to the head of the Alaska State Troopers later on, I don’t have a hard time believing that Palin was waiting for enough time to pass for it to be not immediately obvious that she was firing the Librarian for her responses. Now, I don’t know if the answers ran afoul because of ideological differences or because Palin didn’t feel that the librarian had the proper amount of loyalty, but regardless, it wasn’t linked to the librarian’s work, otherwise Palin wouldn’t have folded.

  76. Like I said, Jamie, being a libertarian, you have trouble grasping distinctions between different roles in the government, and different ways of making decisions.

    Damn government employee put out the fire at the condo complex instead of my barn. It’s all politics I tell ya!

    Tell you what – you have a heart attack in one of those horrible Indian neighborhoods full of Bad Guys, and either the municipal EMTs or the head of the neighborhood group will decide if you get CPR.

    Meh. Six of one…

  77. Dammit. My tag was apparently broken.

  78. Last month I wrote that I’d like to see more reporting on the rumor that Sarah Palin had tried to ban books at the local public library while she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska.

    Translation: The media dropped this story because it has as much substance as Paris Hilton’s hymen, but Jesse still wants to vindicate his cosmotarian stereotype of small town Republicans so he’s bringing it up again.

    “Oh look, she sunk like a stone. Drag her back up and throw here back in the pond. She’s bound to float eventually, and then that will be proof that she’s a witch!”

  79. TWC, hotsauce,

    When it’s a tax supported library, whoever has the best political connections is going to have some say so over what is on the shelves.

    The only way to avoid these Sarah Palin types of situations (censorship!) is to eliminate public libraries.

    You’re simply wrong. In normal, functional municipalities – that is, the overwhelming majority of them – the political leadership does nothing to determine what is on the shelves. You keep saying this is inevitable, but it’s not. Has your City Council ever taken up the question of whether to have a book removed? Mine hasn’t.

    This story about Wasilla is a big deal specifically because normal politicians don’t do that.

  80. OK, just so we’re clear Bradybuck: the media dropping this story proves that there’s no there there, but the media not covering the Barack Obama/William Ayers story as much as some would like JUST SHOWS HOW HIGH THIS THING GOES, MAN!

  81. you have trouble grasping distinctions between different roles in the government

    And you have trouble grasping the proper functions of government under our Constitution. Then again, you’ve sucked so much milk out of the public tits over your career, they’re nothing but wrinkled, flabby bags lined with smelly cheese.

  82. Have you ever seen your City Council debate whether or not to order a librarian to remove a book from the shelves?

    Those of you answering “Yes,” please indicate if you live in Wasilla, Alaska.

  83. The fact that she tried to get a book removed as a City Councilor,

    No, she didn’t, joe. There is no evidence whatsoever that she tried to remove a single book.

    or the fact that she asked the librarian if she’d remove books,

    No, she didn’t, joe. She asked the librarian how she would respond to a request to remove books.

    was told no, then had her fired?

    No, she didn’t, joe. The librarian was rehired the day after filing a pro forma resignation letter, and resigned years later.

    Trying a little fact-check next time, big fella.

  84. And you have trouble grasping the proper functions of government under our Constitution.

    The Constitution discusses municipal government?

    I must have missed that part, like the fisting instructions in “Pastor I’m Gay.”

  85. “the political leadership does nothing to determine what is on the shelves.”

    In my city, Library Board Trustees are either elected or politically appointed positions:

    6 members are elected; 1 member is appointed by the Mayor and 1 member is appointed by the City Council, using the City’s open appointment process.

    http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/boards-and-commissions/Library-Bd-of-Trustees.asp

    Of course the Mayor and City Council’s appointees are just picked from the phonebook with water drops from an eyedropper, so there’s no political influence whatsoever.

  86. No, she didn’t, joe. There is no evidence whatsoever that she tried to remove a single book.

    Except for the reports of people who were at the meeting. Bucha liberals. Probably want to blow up the Pentagon.

    No, she didn’t, joe. She asked the librarian how she would respond to a request to remove books. That IS asking someone if she’d remove books, Captain Contrarian. I don’t even know what your complaint is here.

    Would you remove a book the shelves if I asked you?

    How would you respond if I asked you to remove a book from the shelves?

    There is such a meaningful difference that you need to correct me about, what, exactly?

    The librarian was rehired the day after filing a pro forma resignation letter So, she was “allowed to resign,” but it wasn’t a firing, even though she didn’t want to resign, and took her job back when the person who had the power to fire her, and had allowed her to resign, was compelled to change her mind. Nice weasel words, too bad you don’t have a point.

  87. Sambo,

    And?

    Does the Library Board in Minneapolis order books removed from the shelves, or do they leave it to the librarian?

  88. My guess is none of you people have ever lived in a small town or been a small town mayor. Getting a police department and basic public services to a small town is a pretty big deal. My father was the mayor a small town for several years. Basically politics in these places boils down to the assholes versus everyone else.

    When the jackass who lives across the street won’t mow his lawn, parks his 18 wheeler in the street in violation of the ordinance, won’t turn his music down and lets his kids run wild, you really want a police department and a city that enforces its ordinances. That is mostly what the small town mayor does. He or she enforces the law so that the assholes and the crazy rednecks don’t run things and can’t take advantage of the decent people in the town.

    In the town my father was the mayor of, there were a lot of elderly people. What does the old lady do when her crazy redneck neighbor parks in her driveway every day? Get in a fight with him? It is not like the country cares or will do anything. It is up to the city to do something.

    I am just guessing, but I bet Wasilla has more than its share of Yahoos and the local business people wanted a police department to deal with them. Unless you are an anarchist, that is not big government. That is effective government and government at the level where it is supposed to happen.

  89. Anybody happen to read the article linked with the word scuttlebutt? I recommend it. Then get back to us John

  90. “No, she didn’t, joe. She asked the librarian how she would respond to a request to remove books. That IS asking someone if she’d remove books, Captain Contrarian. I don’t even know what your complaint is here.”

    And if Billy asks the Chief of Police, “How would you respond to a request to kill cops?” would that make Billy a cop killer?

  91. The media dropped this story because it has as much substance as Paris Hilton’s hymen, but Jesse still wants to vindicate his cosmotarian stereotype of small town Republicans so he’s bringing it up again.

    This is 100% accurate, except for two minor matters:

    1. My original post, which I linked to but Brandybuck apparently didn’t bother to read, was skeptical about the story at a time when much of the media assumed it was true. The post also debunked a similar Palin rumor and suggested it wouldn’t have taken hold if it weren’t for “prejudices about those scary backwoods Christians.” So Brandybuck’s theory about my motives owes more to his own stereotypes about those fictional “cosmotarians” than it does to anything real.

    2. The media didn’t “drop this story.” They did additional reporting, and they uncovered enough new data that I felt a follow-up post was warranted. So Brandybuck’s account of what happened after my first post is also wrong.

    But he’s right about one thing: I’m “bringing it up again.” Good call!

  92. “And after she became mayor of Wasilla, according to Bess, Sarah Palin tried to get rid of his book from the local library. Palin now denies that she wanted to censor library books, but Bess insists that his book was on a “hit list” targeted by Palin. “I’m as certain of that as I am that I’m sitting here. This is a small town, we all know each other. People in city government have confirmed to me what Sarah was trying to do.” ”

    Yeah brotherben that is some real strong evidence. I hear the crazy old lady at the laundry mat says that Palin once charged her for a rape kit to.

  93. joe,

    This story about Wasilla is a big deal specifically because normal politicians don’t do that.

    Not quite accurate, but it’s a quiet process so it rarely makes the national news like it has now.

    There are two basic ways to fund a public library. The direct funding model allows for the library to receive a dedicated tax on the city or county they serve. They are overseen by a director who answers (usually) to a Library Board of directors made-up of non-elected community members. Sometimes, one Board member is a censorship zealot and the director will struggle against their influence. The majority of banning requests go directly to director, whether made to the board or city/county government. The director takes care of them, usually by ignoring them.

    The indirect funding model is where the library is funded from property or income taxes collected by the city/county. In this, the library is merely an arm of the city government and is easily influenced (i.e. threatened with loss of funding) by local mores and politics. Directors not ready to play ball (usually by simply not purchasing anything controversial) usually don’t last long.

    Unfortunately, more of the second type exist than anyone wants to admit. If you manage to get a shit city, a shit library board, and a shit director, censorship and book banning become a matter of course.

    None of this is to say that Palin wasn’t in the wrong.

    There were 420 formal book challenges in 2007. Guess where formal book challenges come from? Not the public, but through the city council, the library board, or the city government. A letter from the public to the director usually just goes in the trash.

    A city council member asking how to go about banning books is trying to intimidate a librarian. Intimidating librarians is pretty low, somewhere down around kicking puppies and pushing past a little kid to catch a foul ball.

  94. Can someone explain to me how a private library is less likely to have books pulled?

    I would imagine that a private library would be more likely to have books pulled. Majority rule would dictate which books are stocked and which aren’t. A private entity would have no duty to respect the views of a minority of patrons, and wouldn’t be beholden to the 1st amendment the way a public one is.

    So please someone explain to me how this problem would be avoided by a private library. It seems to me that exactly the opposite would be true, or that a private library would just not stock any books that might be considered controversial as to avoid upsetting anyone.

    But in that case it wont be called “censorship” it will be called “catering to the needs of our customers”

  95. “Does the Library Board in Minneapolis order books removed from the shelves, or do they leave it to the librarian?”

    Of course not. The eyedropper method acts as a firewall.

    But yes, books are permanently removed everyday. They are then replaced with other books. And the Board makes those decisions.

    And for a while, there was dissatisfaction with the Board tossing out classics to make room for more pulp fiction. That is a form of censorship.

  96. “That is a form of censorship.”

    I forgot to add that the LIBRARIANS were pissed.

  97. Honest question:

    If a Mayor inquired with the police chief on how she would hypothetically go about registering and collecting all hand guns, would that be a-ok as long as she didn’t actually do it?

  98. That is a very good point Tom. At some point to, don’t tax payers have a right to say “why the hell is my money going to supply this or that book I think is vile?” The whole underlying assumption of this debate is that a public library getting rid of this or that book is “banning that book”. Bullshit. Banning a book is preventing people from owning it, not failing to provide it at the tax payer expense.

  99. And if Billy asks the Chief of Police, “How would you respond to a request to kill cops?” would that make Billy a cop killer?

    And when the government asks business to self regulate, there is no implied threat of force them being the government and all, right?

    It’s funny to see some “libertarians” on this board contort themselves into knots. When the government proposes “voluntary” regulations for business they scream bloody murder about how the government implied threat of force really means it isn’t voluntary, but a veiled threat.

    Yet when the mayor “innocently inquires” about removing books and tries to get a librarian removed over it, there’s no veiled threat of force of the government at play at all.

    Interesting double standards some people have.

  100. You would have a point if Palin came out against public libraries. That would be an intellectually honest position.

    But, AFAIK, she favors taxpayer funded libraries.

  101. John, in that scenario, who decides what is “vile”

  102. “Why can’t the librarians make up their own minds based on literary merit, practical utility, and social value, without political interference?”

    Because they won’t. They’ll make them for roughly the same reasons a mayor or councilman would. With politics being a huge factor regardless of who chooses.

    Maybe it won’t be HHTM gone from the shelves, but will be the Bell Curve or books on Intelligent Design. As someone else mentioned, with limited shelf space censorship by _somebody_ is inevitable.

    As to the Joy of Fisting, wouldn’t removing that book from the shelves be absolutely no different in terms of censorship issues than removing Heather Has Two Mommies or the Oxford English Dictionary?

  103. You know that if a liberal Mayor inquired about banning the Bible because she thought it was “vile”, Fox News would have a Special Report on Liberal Fascism.

  104. *inquired about banning the Bible from the library.

  105. So Tom,

    The library runs at public expense and is in no way responsible to the tax payer? The librarian could decide that the entire library should be dedicated to gay porn and if the Mayor or anyone said “hey, I think we need less gay porn here”, that would be censorship? Not every book can be in the library. Who makes the decision on which ones if not the tax payers in the form of elected officials?

  106. Why do public libraries even exist in the age of the Internet? Shut ’em down, eliminate the cost to taxpayers, and end the bitchfest.

  107. You’re simply wrong. In normal, functional municipalities – that is, the overwhelming majority of them – the political leadership does nothing to determine what is on the shelves. You keep saying this is inevitable, but it’s not. Has your City Council ever taken up the question of whether to have a book removed? Mine hasn’t.

    You hack. I never said it was inevitable. I said, “The only way to avoid these Sarah Palin types of situations (censorship!) is to eliminate public libraries.” This follows logically from the premise that only the government can censor (as properly defined but often misused). Even if this situation doesn’t arise in “normal, functional municipalities,” you haven’t disproved my statement. Hack.

  108. John, can the Mayor ban the Bible then?

    How about Jerome Corsi’s book?

    How about banning Christmas decorations?

  109. BDB, that’s not the question she asked. She asked how the Librarian would respond to being asked, NOT how SHE, the mayor, would go go about getting it done. There’s a difference. Big difference.

  110. Banning a book is preventing people from owning it, not failing to provide it at the tax payer expense.

    John, you’re a fucking lawyer, allegedly. Public forum, content-neutral: does any of this ring a bell?

  111. John, in that scenario, who decides what is “vile”

    Whoever pays the bills. How about this idea. You can own whatever book you want as long as you don’t expect to use my tax money to pay for it. If you do, then you are going to have to listen to mine and every other tax payers’ opinion about what is vile.

  112. At some point to, don’t tax payers have a right to say “why the hell is my money going to supply this or that book I think is vile?”

    No much sympathy around here for the tyranny of the majority, John.

    That said, if 51% of the taxpayers wanted the book out of the library it’d be gone. But one or two cranks get to kick a book out? There’d be nothing left but a couple of cookbooks and blacked-out National Geographics.

  113. “And when the government asks business to self regulate, there is no implied threat of force them being the government and all, right?”

    Apples to oranges. A public Library isn’t a business.

    “Banning a book is preventing people from owning it, not failing to provide it at the tax payer expense.”

    Hard to argue with that.

  114. So is Palin against the very existence of public libraries?

  115. At some point to, don’t tax payers have a right to say “why the hell is my money going to supply this or that book I think is vile?”

    There are lots of things that taxpayers pay for that we don’t get a say in. There are lots of expenses that taxpayers aren’t given a say in. That’s the system we live in.

    But again I have to wonder — is your position that majority rule should be in effect? Only books that a majority of people want should be in a library?

    Someone has to make decisions about what to stock and what no to stock since you can’t stock everything. I am much more comfortable with it being librarians, who tend to have a more favorable and expansive view of the 1st amendment than most elected officials, rather than someone who is trying to get elected every X years.

  116. “John, you’re a fucking lawyer, allegedly. Public forum, content-neutral: does any of this ring a bell?”

    Yeah it rings a big bell and I am well aware of the doctrine and it is a load of horseshit. If the tax payers are stuck paying the bill they ought to have a say in what goes in it. As far as I am concerned the city council or the mayor should be able to get rid of any book in the library they want. If I don’t like it, I will vote them out of office and put the books back or (gasp) buy my own damn books. As it is, some totally unaccountable bureaucrat gets to decide what goes in the library and can scream “censorship” everytime one of the bill payers objects to something.

  117. So John is it OK when they ban a Christmas tree from public spaces because some atheist councilman is offended?

  118. “That said, if 51% of the taxpayers wanted the book out of the library it’d be gone. But one or two cranks get to kick a book out? There’d be nothing left but a couple of cookbooks and blacked-out National Geographics”

    So what? They are the ones paying the bills, they should be able to have some say on how their money is spent. I will fight to the death to ensure you can own and buy any book you want. But I will be damned if I will sit here and say I have an obligation to spend my tax dollars to ensure that you can read any book you please. Bullshit.

  119. Apples to oranges. A public Library isn’t a business.

    I don’t think it’s apples to oranges.

    In both cases someone with authority over the other is making an innocent request. Someone with the ability to punish the person who refuses the request.

  120. Can someone explain to me how a private library is less likely to have books pulled?

    It’s less likely to become a political issue (censorship!), which is what this is. Private libraries, like other private entities, cannot “censor” (again, as properly defined but commonly misused). Elminiate private libraries and eliminate the political issues.

  121. “So John is it OK when they ban a Christmas tree from public spaces because some atheist councilman is offended?”

    One? no. but the majority sure. If one guy is offended, the city has a right to tell him to go to hell or out vote him in the council. If he doesn’t like it, take it up at the next election.

  122. If the tax payers are stuck paying the bill they ought to have a say in what goes in it. As far as I am concerned the city council or the mayor should be able to get rid of any book in the library they want

    the only way this is even remotely a “fair” solution is if 100% of the taxpayers want a book removed.

    Otherwise it’s basically either mob rule or one or two cranks get disproportionate power.

  123. Eliminate *public* libraries.

  124. Well, John, you’re consistent. You’re against all public libraries and don’t get upset about the “War on Christmas” stuff. But something tells Palin probably isn’t anti-public library.

  125. And something tells me if the Chicago City Council voted to ban the Bible (or Sean Hannity’s books) it would be proof, PROOF of Liberal Fascism.

  126. I look forward to the day, John, that a majority of taxpayers are pro-theocracy. Then the rule of law can be consistent with the Bible without all the wishy washy secularist situational ethics b.s. And we know what book will be in the public libraries.

  127. ChicagoTom,

    Are there any rules to what goes in a library? What if the librarian has a real taste for 18th and 19th bondage porn novels. In the lit section instead of the Count of Monte Cristo, you get The Man With a Maid. If the mayor says “I don’t want our shelves being taken up by this stuff, I want it out of here”, would that be wrong? Does the city have any power at all get a book out of the library?

    If the answer is yes, then how is Palin asking how would she go about exercising that legitimate power so bad?

  128. Voros,

    They’ll make them for roughly the same reasons a mayor or councilman would. With politics being a huge factor regardless of who chooses.

    I trust fire fighters to decide which fire to go to more than city councillors. They have both the expertise, the professional judgement, and the apolitical ethic. Ditto with which streets need paving, ditto with which books should be stocked.

    hotsauce, you can write the word “Hack” all you want. Simply by demonstrating that, yes Virginia, a municipality can have a library and leave the decisions about stocking books to the librarians, I have diproven your point that the only – ONLY! your word – way to avoid censorshhip is to get rid of public libraries.

    I never said it was inevitable. You wrote closing public librarieswas THE ONLY WAY to avoid this censorship, but this censorship is not inevitable if the libraries stay open? You aren’t making any sense. I think you’ve become a bit emotional.

    No, hotsauce, that is not the only way. An alternative way is for the politicians to stop sticking their damn noses where they don’t belong, and let people who know how to run a library run the library.

    John,

    The library runs at public expense and is in no way responsible to the tax payer? The librarian could decide that the entire library should be dedicated to gay porn and if the Mayor or anyone said “hey, I think we need less gay porn here”, that would be censorship? Not every book can be in the library. Who makes the decision on which ones if not the tax payers in the form of elected officials? How would you like it if a member of Congress brought up a bill directing Major Johnson of the 101st Air Assault division to take Hill 303 by storm instead of by encirclement and reduction? What? Are you saying the military shouldn’t be answerable to the public in a democracy? Of course you’re not. You understand how independent judgement and accountability are in tension for government employees just fine. You just need to apply that reasoning here.

  129. “I look forward to the day, John, that a majority of taxpayers are pro-theocracy. Then the rule of law can be consistent with the Bible without all the wishy washy secularist situational ethics b.s. And we know what book will be in the public libraries.”

    Since I buy my own books and don’t suck off the public tit, I am not too concerned. Further, I think the left will ban a hell of a lot more books than the right ever will. But they really will ban them as opposed to just not subsidizing them.

  130. By the way, despite my obvious conflict of interest… getting rid of the library is down around getting rid of roads and stoplights in my libertarian hit-list. They don’t really cost that much (read a couple brand new hardback a year rather than buy it and you have probably made your money back), have pretty high positives for quality of life and few negatives.

    They wouldn’t exist in my Libertopia, but in light of every other bullshit expense of government they are small potatoes hand-waving; much like feminists parading around the fact they kept their name when they got married while a couple of hundred girls a day get their clitoris scraped off by a piece of broken glass.

    As for you, John… No one who is happy spending my tax money on a meat-grinder in Iraq for American troops to further the ever lowered conditions of “victory” has much of a complaint to lodge toward a public library. How’s this. Give me back everything I spent on your little war and I’ll refund the whole amount you’ve been taxed for public libraries for your entire life. Deal?

  131. “You understand how independent judgement and accountability are in tension for government employees just fine.”

    So Joe when you build a library you can have no say in what goes in it. You hire this person and they decide, not the people of the community or the taxpayers what goes in it? What about the reverse. What if the mayor wants the library to have a copy of some book and the librarian says that is trash, can the mayor demand the book be included? Or is that over stepping our bounds?

  132. “I’m going to donate a copy of “The Turner Diaries.”
    We’ll see how the libs react.”

    Ha! That’s actually stocked at my local library, per their catalog search.

  133. Shove it up your ass surgerfree. Is there any arguement that doesn’t come back to Iraq for you? The war is fucking over. What are you going to do when the final people come home? What will you have to talk about? Stop highjacking the thread. If you want to argue about Iraq go to an Iraq thread.

  134. “There’d be nothing left but a couple of cookbooks and blacked-out National Geographics”

    Blacked-out National Geographics?

    Racist.

  135. Show of hands: how many taxpayers are okay with unsweetness bringin up Iraq?

  136. Apples to oranges. A public Library isn’t a business.

    Right, but not in the way you mean. An employee from a public library has even more to fear from a politician whose bidding she won’t do than an employee or owner of a private business. So a politician making an implied threat is bringing even more pressure to bear on her.

    John,

    Yeah it rings a big bell and I am well aware of the doctrine and it is a load of horseshit. If the tax payers are stuck paying the bill they ought to have a say in what goes in it. Well. All right, then. That’s a remarkable statement, but I have to give you props for consistency. I disagree, I think the government does have a responsibility to be content-neutral when it provides a forum, but I can’t fault you for inconsistency here.

    hotsauce, missing the point:

    It’s less likely to become a political issue (censorship!), which is what this is. Sure, there won’t be an issue. The “offending” book gets pulled without even a fight. Yay, problem solved! Unless denying people the chance to read the book is the problem. As far as majoritarianism goes, the majority in just about every municipality in America supports having libraries.

  137. “You know that if a liberal Mayor inquired about banning the Bible because she thought it was “vile”, Fox News would have a Special Report on Liberal Fascism.”

    But turning this into your standard “teamred versus team blue” argument misses the point. I believe the more interesting argument revolves around what actually constitutes ‘book banning’. If removing a book from the shelves of a public library for being ‘objectionable’ (for whatever reason) counts, then book banning goes on all the time by all sorts of people with influence on those decisions.

    Yes her inquiry into it probably doesn’t reflect well on Palin, but since she’s only a VP candidate and McCain likely isn’t going to win, I don’t really care. And I also don’t have to look very far at any of the four candidates to find things every bit as bad if not worse.

    Public libraries, public schools, publicly broadcast television; the problem is that limited space basically guarantees some sort of censorship on the part of somebody. Dealing with that issue seems to me a better discussion than Sarah Palin.

  138. If the answer is yes, then how is Palin asking how would she go about exercising that legitimate power so bad?

    John, if any of the extreme example you keep writing about were happening, then it wouldn’t be so bad. But they weren’t. That’s why this is so bad.

    It’s not like libraries don’t have any vetting process and that libraries are all stocked with nothing but objectionable material. I am sure there are guidelines and judgement calls to be made, and librarians who are trained at this sort of thing are much more qualified to make those decisions than someone who is a purely political animal.

    Please stop pretending like the Wasilla library was stocked with porn, and poor Sarah just had to do something about it.

    No, it is not acceptable to let politicians remove books they find politically displeasing or somewhat controversial or to score political points with their base.

  139. So Joe when you build a library you can have no say in what goes in it.

    I take it back, John. You clearly don’t understand the tension between independent judgement and accountability. Could I beg you to back and consider by Captain Johnson example?

  140. “How would you like it if a member of Congress brought up a bill directing Major Johnson of the 101st Air Assault division to take Hill 303 by storm instead of by encirclement and reduction? What? Are you saying the military shouldn’t be answerable to the public in a democracy? Of course you’re not. You understand how independent judgement and accountability are in tension for government employees just fine. You just need to apply that reasoning here.”

    We don’t live in a democracy, Joe. I’ve always admired you committment to facts, but you’re really off your game today. No offense, just disappointed.

  141. “”How would you like it if a member of Congress brought up a bill directing Major Johnson of the 101st Air Assault division to take Hill 303 by storm instead of by encirclement and reduction?”

    I’d shit my pants with joy!!!

  142. I took “Mein Kampf” out of the library, so don’t give me this “how the libs would react” crap.

    Public libraries, public schools, publicly broadcast television; the problem is that limited space basically guarantees some sort of censorship on the part of somebody. There are just so many fire trucks. Let the firemen decide, and have his contract up for review every few years.

  143. “An employee from a public library has even more to fear from a politician whose bidding she won’t do than an employee or owner of a private business.”

    How so? Please compare and contrast.

  144. Matilda,

    You seem to have let my point go over your head.

    Not only do I realize that we don’t live in a democracy, but rather, a republic where the accountability of officials to the majority is mediated, often purposely mediated to allow them to have indepdendence of judgement; this was, in fact, my point.

  145. How so? Please compare and contrast.

    An employee of a public library can be fired, denied promotion, demoted, and reassigned at the whim of public officials. Imagine all the pressure your boss can bring to bear on you. Now imagine all the pressue your local government can bring to bear on you.

    X + Y > X.

  146. I’m just glad I’m rich. Haven’t been to a library in more than twenty years. I just buy book I want (always hardcover when available), read it, and then give it away. Sometimes I replace it, but I usually give that on away too. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many copies of Charles A Eastman’s “The Soul of an Indian” (published in 1906, if I recall correctly) that I’ve purchased.

    America would be an even greater country if more of its citizens were rich.

    http://www.amazon.com/Soul-Indian-Ed-Writings-Alexander/dp/1577312007/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223414522&sr=1-2&tag=reasonmagazinea-20

  147. “An employee of a public library can be fired, denied promotion, demoted, and reassigned at the whim of public officials. Imagine all the pressure your boss can bring to bear on you. Now imagine all the pressue your local government can bring to bear on you.”

    That’s just silly. Public employees are union.

  148. You think the librarian in Wasilla was union?

    You think department heads can’t be fired? Actually, that’s easy one – Sarah Palin made them all resign when she took office.

  149. “That’s just silly. Public employees are union.”

    Thats a scream. Here, they are barely paid. city Police Officer-$19,000/year IIRC. The library (town of 13,500 residents) is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers. One full time employee.

  150. John,

    Yes, the war over. The lives wasted and the money spent are but a distant memory… It’s almost like it never happened.

  151. Palin was an inspired choice – American voters don’t want to vote for serious politicians, they want to vote for people who will amuse and entertain them. Obama and Biden have no chance of winning – how can they compete against a couple of Grade-A clowns like McCain and Palin?

  152. “Thats a scream. Here, they are barely paid. city Police Officer-$19,000/year IIRC. The library (town of 13,500 residents) is staffed almost exclusively by volunteers. One full time employee.”

    I live in a very big city. It distorts my perspective. Sorry.

  153. joe, hotsauce seems to be referring to the definition of the word “censor”. Not agreeing, just saying.

    Cobbled together from Dictionary.com:

    to delete … in one’s capacity as a censor.

    an official who examines books, plays, news reports, motion pictures, radio and television programs, letters, cablegrams, etc., for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds.

    Note that “censorship” is accomplished through official channels, and not by private citizens; therefore “censorship” can ONLY be performed by someone acting in their official (public) capacity; therefore a private library could not be subject to “censorship” by its staff, administrators or owners by virtue of the fact that it is not a “public” institution.


  154. If a Mayor inquired with the police chief on how she would hypothetically go about registering and collecting all hand guns, would that be a-ok as long as she didn’t actually do it?

    BDB, you asked this before and I didn’t answer so here:

    If the guns in question were only rentals/loaners at the city shooting range
    that would be fine.

    The very first post on the Wasilla library I offered this approximate comment for a likely scenario.

    Constituent: How can we get gay sex education books pulled from the library?

    Politician: (being diplomatic) I don’t know, I’ll ask the librarian.

    Librarian: You can’t.

    Politician to constituent:I asked the librarian, she says you can’t. Have you seen the plans for the city’s new sports complex?

  155. Palin Magazine

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    We also have some lovely articles about Sarah Palin.

  156. Other magazines Palin comparison!

    Ok, ok, I’ll stop now.

  157. Unless you’re the Library of Congress, you can’t have every book ever published on your shelves. You have to pick and choose. So, the issue is, is a given librarian picking a selection of books that is not relevant to the needs of the community served by the library, or is downright offensive?

    I can see a mayor of a small rural town in, say, Utah, justifiably firing a librarian if most of the books ordered were pornography, screeds by NAMBLA, and books arguing for abortion rights, since they would be pushing their agenda and ignoring the needs of the taxpayers financing the library.

    I would have a bigger problem if that librarian was fired for ordering a wide variety of books encompassing all sorts of philosophies so that every patron of the library had books tailored to their interests that they could check out.

    So, it boils to a nuanced argument over why the librarian was fired, and if so, whether the librarian’s actions were or were not serving the needs of the patrons of the library.

    But, that makes for a less contentious thread, and requires acquaintance with actual facts. So — bad!

  158. prolefeed, that’s true, but you also would have to take into account who ordered the book initially, and how long the book was in the library, which would make the question – was the librarian fired for acquiring the book, or for refusing to dispose of it?

  159. But he’s right about one thing: I’m “bringing it up again.” Good call!

    So why did you bring it up again? Why are you bringing up this “scuttlebutt” (your word)? This is a non-story just like Obama’s birth certificate is a non-story. It’s titillating the first time you read it, but it gets old quick. Reporting on other people reporting on it is just as uninterested.

  160. So, it boils to a nuanced argument over why the librarian was fired, and if so, whether the librarian’s actions were or were not serving the needs of the patrons of the library.

    Uh, no. Was she ordering NAMBLA publications? No. A librarian should-and usually does-have wide discretion to select what books he or she thinks the community will value. Elected officials should not be permitted to meddle in that process when books are selected that are unpopular with a vocal minority in the community. To do otherwise is the suppression of free thought and speech (however minor), two things which I thought were valued by readers of this blog.

  161. So why did you bring it up again?

    Didn’t I just explain this? In the month since my earlier post on the subject, new information and allegations came out. My first post, which received a fair amount of attention around the blogosphere, was out of date. So I wrote a follow-up. Seems like basic responsible behavior to me.

  162. Sorry Jesse, I guess I misread the tone and tenor of your post. It seemed at first as if you just wanted to keep the issue alive.

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