James Madison’s birth on March 16, 1751, gets no attention as a federal or state holiday. Journalists usually mark the date with a week of festivities around the date, honoring Madison’s deep dedication to the principles of free press and open government, including his authoring and passing the First Amendment.
Madison’s chief notoriety comes from his work organizing the Philadelphia convention and working to ratify the U.S. Constitution — sometimes he’s called the Father of the Constitution. He also served as Secretary of State in Thomas Jefferson’s administration, and served two terms as President, including the War of 1812.
My first thought was, “Do they have a 2nd Amendment area?” My second thought was, if we put up signs saying “2nd Amendment Area” will cops enforce it?
It’s probably a violation of prior restraint law, of course. The sign is an indication of just how bizarre and sick things are in Ferguson, Missouri, at the moment. It’s also an indication of how bizarre things were at Bundy Ranch.
Tip of the old scrub brush to Randy Creath.
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
Since the death of Radio Free Texas, banned books take on even more importance in the history of freedom and free thought, in Texas.
This is the state where, still, even the governor and the State Board of Education carry on unholy crusades against books and ideas, like evolution, racial equality, and voting rights. Moyers knows what he’s talking about.
We’re celebrating this week from September 30 to October 6 — you’ve got two more days.
Can you identify each of these banned books?
Courtesy of Bookman’s, a book store in Arizona.
A two-minute video produced by Bookmans, an Arizona bookstore, is helping launch a national read-out from banned and challenged books that is being held on YouTube in conjunction with Banned Books Week, the national celebration of the freedom to read (Sept. 30-Oct. 6). The video presents Bookmans’ customers and staff urging people “to turn on the light” by celebrating freedom of expression. With light bulbs burning brightly above their heads, each of them reads a single line from a banned or challenged book that testifies to the importance of reading, books and freedom of speech. “It is a wonderfully creative and inspiring video,” said American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression President Chris Finan. “We hope all supporters of Banned Books Week will use social media to share it with their friends and the rest of the world, giving a big boost to this year’s read-out.” More than 800 people posted videos on YouTube during Banned Books Week last year. More information about the read-out, including updated criteria and submission information, is available here.
But as part of a wider reform programme introduced by President Thein Sein, the old media rules have gradually been relaxed. For several months many editors have no longer been required to submit articles for prepublication censorship on such subjects as the economy. The latest announcement removes the need to submit articles on more sensitive topics, such as politics or Myanmar’s ethnic conflicts.
The country’s journalists welcome the news, but they also give warning that this by no means ends restrictions on press freedom. These remain numerous and burdensome. In particular, two bits of repressive legislation remain: the Printers and Publishers Registration Act, dating from the start of military rule in 1962, and the 2004 Electronic Transactions Law. Under the first, publications can lose their licences if they supposedly harm the reputation of a government department, threaten peace and security, and much else. Under the second, a person can be imprisoned for up to 15 years for distributing via the internet information that the courts deem harmful to the state. Meanwhile, the censor board itself seems likely to remain in business, ready to punish reporters or editors who overstep the mark.
Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
Here’s another example of where historians show their value in science debates.
Naomi Oreskes delivered this lecture a few years ago on denialism in climate science. Among other targets of her criticism-by-history is my old friend Robert Jastrow. I think her history is correct, and her views on the Marshall Institute and denial of climate change informative in the minimum, and correct on the judgment of the facts.
You’ll recognize some of the names: Jastrow, Frederick Seitz, S. Fred Singer, and William Nierenberg.
Oreskes details the intentional political skewing of science by critics of the serious study of climate warming. It’s just under an hour long, but well worth watching. Dr. Oreskes is Professor of History in the Science Studies Program at the University of California at San Diego. The speech is titled “The American Denial of Global Warming.”
If Oreskes is right — and I invite you to check her references thoroughly, to discover for yourself that her history and science are both solid — Lord Monckton is a hoaxster. Notice especially the references after the 54 minute mark to the tactic of claiming that scientists are trying to get Americans to give up our sovereignty.
Nothing new under the sun.
“Global warming is here, and there are almost no communists left,” Oreskes said.
Nudge your neighbor:
Spread the word; friends don't allow friends to repeat history.
We've been soaking in the Bathtub for several months, long enough that some of the links we've used have gone to the Great Internet in the Sky.
If you find a dead link, please leave a comment to that post, and tell us what link has expired.