Monday, January 28, 2013

Libraries and the First Amendment

"Libraries need to be more strict about who we borrow books and other media to."

Have you ever been to a bad Library?  By that I mean one that would not allow you to check out any items?  They exist, I can assure you.  They intend for their qualification process to exclude 'the undocumented', those who lack photo ID's or other identification paperwork.  Some even require call references, and forced annual patronage under the threat of losing access to some media.  I've personally seen policies in public libraries that bar anyone from under 21 from checking out movies.

These actions do not embody the best of Public Libraries are or could be.  

Information is THE thing that lifts people up, affords actual equality, and provides a path to a better life.  Public Libraries are literally the gateway into our society.  Therein you can learn our language, stories, and sciences or almost anything else you can imagine.  This portal is open to EVERYONE because therein lie the tools of inclusion, understanding, and assimilation into what who we are.  Requiring anything more than a name and a written promise to return the material in a timely manner is creating a barrier to speech, a clear violation of the First Amendment. Enacting 'paperwork policies' including requiring bills or even a picture ID keeps some people from 'qualifying'.  Like the laws requiring a picture ID to vote, along with your voter's registration card, this amounts to a poll tax. We know it's wrong to charge someone for something that is supposed to be 'free' to everyone.  

Now imagine an 11 year old child, who is VERY sheltered by overbearing restrictive parents.  They are only allowed to read the Bible...over and over again, no TV, music, or literature of any kind.  He/she has no ID, no bills with his/her name on it, and no guardians who would provide such documentation.  As a Public Library, OUR JOB is to offer unrestricted access to any information he/she might request, in a completely private manner, period.  By refusing information to a child seeking without their parent's permission...we keep them locked in an intellectual prison, utterly denied the only keys available to their liberation.  

Information is more than's mental liberation...the thing that brings awareness of individual freedom and spurs further insight and ability.  We can not and should not run Public Libraries like impenetrable fortresses or shrinkage proof storehouses, but rather as open welcoming free flowing avenues of free information.  The better more informed more people are, the better and more informed society might be.  

Library Rights are something I am very passionate about.  If you see them abridged or denied, I urge you to fight to change it.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

No One Wants Your Guns

"President Obama is coming for our guns!"

What I personally want is for the United States to realize that we need to stop the crazy, not follow the guns.  This is really what 'they' have in mind.  Under the guise of Universal background checks, they intend to end the person to person private sale or transfer of firearms, the "gun show loophole"...

A lot of the people I know claim that if this ever happened, they would suddenly lose their guns in a lake somewhere.  Their fear is that by creating a database of who has the guns, they government could one day attempt to confiscate them.  This was or is in fact the way about one-third of all gun transactions occur, maybe more, there's literally no way to know...there are no records.

In fact, the law required that registered dealers destroy their records and only do 'yearly' inventory checks.  Moreover, that they were under no legal obligation to not sell to 'crazy' or 'disturbed' people, but that they could if they felt it necessary.  These are recommendations that come directly from the ATF, which even now operates sans a full time Director.  So, we've never really been all that interested in knowing who has guns, or who they are selling and trading them to.

I have bought guns both through the background check system and sold or traded them on and off the market to friends and family.  I am guessing that such actions now, would be considered criminal, including the inherited arms?

I do not see this as having much affect keeping guns out of the hands of criminal and the mentally deranged.  MOST of those people are likely not going to take the time to inquire as to what are the full background check requirements within his specific state before he steals one.  So I really see these as half measures.

What we really need is a health care system capable of identifying and treating sociopaths...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fiscal Cliff, Averted

"Democrats are being unreasonable..."

Is it really unreasonable to raise taxes enough to pay for current expenditures?  Right now, we spend more than we take in, by over a trillion dollars, even with spending overall cut by almost 7%, and revenues increasing by 6%, last year.  We still NEED to raise taxes and begin to pay down the debt.

The markets responded positively when news of a deal was announced.  It is the uncertainty that is stifling growth, not any fundamental marketplace flaw.  Set the tax rates to balance the budget and pay down the debt.  The market will reconfigure and go forward.

That a solid year long rate wasn't affixed, and this debt ceiling was just prolonged for another few months is completely moronic.  We've got to stop this non-sense and offer better, faster, more responsive government.  The days of do-nothing stalemate congresses and senates has to end.

What we know now is that even with known tax increases coming, the market responded positively, simply out of the certainty offered.  From this we can conclude that markets want for stability and certainty, rates are irrelevant.