Monday, May 26, 2008


There were more instructions, but I'm gonna keep this simple. Bold the books you have read. Italicize the books you've started.

Jonathan Strange & M. Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One hundred years of solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi: a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
A Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler's Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A heartbreaking work of staggering genius
Atlas shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked: The life and times of the wicked Witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian
A portrait of the artist as a young man
Love in the time of cholera
Brave new world
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
A clockwork orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible
Angels & Demons
The Inferno
The Satanic Verses
Sense and sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One flew over the cuckoo’s nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist

Gulliver’s Travels
Les misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The curious incident of the dog in the nightime

The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes
The God of Small Things
A people’s history of the United States : 1492-present
A confederacy of dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The unbearable lightness of being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves (what? That's not a book!)
The mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Aeneid
Watership Down
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood
White teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

(from: )

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Several weeks ago some 400 plus children,. plus their mothers, were forcibly removed from Longing for Zion compound in Texas by Child Protective Services. The situation is not easy to deal with--if you stand up for Constitutional rights, it seems that you don't care about the welfare of a bunch of young women (usually called girls by the media) who are being forced to have sex (ie raped) by men old enough to be their fathers or grandfathers. If you stand up against child abuse, it sounds like you don't care about religious liberty and the right to be left alone by the government.

I have wavered and gone back and forth on this--wow, it's really bad how much control those guys have over the women and children, but then wow, it's really bad that the government took all those kids away from their parents without any proof of individual wrong-doing.

Just now it dawned on me what is wrong with what happened: look at who was taken away--the victims. The women and the children. Presumably these are the very ones whom the state is trying to protect. Look who was left in their own homes: the men. If a crime was committed (or many crimes), who should be arrested and taken away? The men. The ones accused of rape. Not the victims. If the crime is having sex with underage girls, why take the girls into custody? Oh sure, I know the answer: to protect them. But if the perpetrators were arrested, the girls would be even safer, not being placed in foster care, where sexual abuse is a well-known possibility.

Why were the men not arrested? Obviously, because you need to have some sort of evidence, some proof, some accusation at least, that this specific man had sex with this specific underage girl. That's what they didn't have.

This is of a piece with the loss of civil liberties since 9/11. Instead of the government having the burden of proof that this specific individual committed this crime, whole classes of people are picked up based on their membership in the class, and assumed to be guilty, with no probable cause, no evidence, and no opportunity for the accused to hear the evidence against them.

Clearly, in Texas, there was no urgency to remove those kids from those homes. This lifestyle has been practiced by these people for 100 years. It would not have hurt to wait long enough to pinpoint an accuser, and have her named the man whom she claimed abused her, and then arrested him and charged him with a crime. And let the girl remain in her own home. Let him be taken away and placed with strangers. Let him do the perp walk in front of cameras while everyone looks at how he dresses and how he wears his hair.

I will never forget a woman telling me about how back in the 1950s, she reported to her teacher that her father was raping her. And how the police car came to her house and took....her. That feeling of guilt and shame never left her. She was the bad girl who had to be taken away.

If a crime has been committed, let's arrest the rapists, the pedophiles, the polygamists. Not the girls.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ya know what I really like?

I really like the idea of Obama's 2 little girls living in the White House. How amazing will it be for a black woman and 2 black girls to be the First Family? Obama is kind of post-racial, but Michelle is a southside Chicago black girl and so are her kids. To have that as the image of America's First Family will really be Change with a capital C.