Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Read-In at West Bend Community Memorial Library

A Read-In is planned at the West Bend Library on Friday, May 29, 2009 from 3:30pm-8:30pm. Details from the Facebook event page:

Come join us in supporting the library, the library board members who were forced from the board, and banned books in general. On May 29th at 3 o'clock we will be meeting on the corner of Oak and 5th Ave, (Badger Middle School) and will be leaving at 3 sharp to walk peacefully down 5th Ave to Poplar where we will enter to library. Once in the library we will check out books on the so-called "banned books" list. We will then precede to sit in the library and read said books. At 6 o'clock the library closes, at which time you are encouraged to check out the book you have been reading (if you haven't finished it already. Afterwards plans are loosely set but the hope is to walk or bike or drive to Regner Park to participate in a pot-luck style dinner and book conversation concluding around 8:30. Tell all your friends and bring your favorite book.

Additional details at Opening Books Opening Minds blog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

City Council Members Fail to Serve the Community

Last night the city council voted against rescinding their earlier removal of 4 library board members.

While I think that is a boneheaded move, what really bothers me is the utter failure of some council members to properly represent and serve the community. Last night's (in)action reveals and utter lack of personal responsibility or transparency in some members' representation of the citizens of West Bend.

First, Alderman Richard Lindbeck abstained from the reconsideration, citing "being out of town the last month" and for "personal reasons." WTF? If he was out of town the whole month, what is he doing sitting on the Common Council in the first place? Did he abstain from every vote taken last night? Nope. Just this one. What does being out of town have to do with anything? Does he not have e-mail? Can he not read news online? This makes no sense.

And what are these "personal reasons" that would suddenly compel someone to not confirm/rescind a vote that he felt perfectly fine casting a month ago? Citizens in his district should demand an explanation for his silence (no matter which way he would have voted).

Second, Alderman Michael Schlofeldt changed his vote from originally supporting the reappointment of the board members, to voting against the rescind consideration. His reason? Well, apparently this alderman doesn't think his votes need to be publicly discussed: "Schlofeldt offered no public comment to the audience members for changing his mind, except to say that he phoned Dobberstein with his decision and didn’t want to discuss the conversation publicly."

The citizens of West Bend deserve better than to have Council Members first cite "ideology" for removing library board members, and then make sophomoric excuses and end-arounds to avoid going on record with their thoughts & decisions on this matter.

The city's Code of Ethics states (1.66):
Public officials and employees are agents of public purpose and hold office for the benefit of the public. They are bound to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of this State and carry out impartially the laws of the nation, State and the City and to observe in their official acts the highest standards of morality and to discharge faithfully the duties of their office regardless of personal considerations, recognizing that the public interest must be their prime concern. Their conduct in both their official and private affairs should be above reproach so as to foster respect for all government.
Regardless of what you think of last night's outcome, the Common Council failed in this responsibility to the community.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

V is for Vendetta - Ginny Maziarka's crusade

[A parody of this]

West Bend has it's own illogical thinker... and she is given a small corner of the blogosphere to wring her hands over the beautiful city we live in.

Ginny Maziarka's blog is filled, everyday, with the same stale rant of her distaste for those who oppose her viewpoint. Since WISSUP does not suffice, she takes advantage of Crosstalk America and Safelibraries to take a hatchet to the very community that she claims to care about.

And I am sad to say that my own Internet gives one iota of space to someone who so vehemently would sacrifice the innocent minds of children to further her own agenda.

// It seems Ginny finally understood that she was sowing her "stale rant of distaste" with her original blog post attacking Peterson. She's now revised the post I was parodying above. Good thing I took a screenshot of the original, so everyone can see what she originally stated:

Friday, May 8, 2009

NetNanny Blocks WISSUP as Porn

This is rich.

Motley Cow points us to The Other Side of My Mouth, who discovered that the Internet filtering software NetNanny is blocking access to Ginny Maziarka's blog WISSUP.

Seems all those tags about sexually explicit, sex, etc are coming back to haunt poor Ginny.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ginny Maziarka: Tag Spammer

Ginny Maziarka likes to write about a variety of things on her blog. Of course, we have her petition to remove GLBTQ "reclassify" "sexually explicit" books at West Bend Library, and related topics. But then she also shares things like "Loyalty Day" and the local production of "Our Town", as well as some kind of commentary about having kids sing in political ads, and even complaints about whether the President is holding a public prayer session in the White House.

Fine. Whatever.

But WTF with Ginny tagging each and every post on her blog (since April 23) with these tags: ala american library association west bend wisconsin maziarka tyree gay lesbian sexually explicit sex books office intellectual freedom safelibraries.

Whether the post is about her library vendetta, Prayer Day, Loyalty Day, or a local play, these are the tags she uses.

This, my friends, is called tag spam: using non-related keywords as tags for content to mislead and attract viewers. You see, every time Ginny tags a post with these words, it increases the chance someone will find her blog when they search for these terms.

This is probably a tactic she learned from during her training with the American Majority, and offshoot of the Sam Adams Alliance, who is dedicated to "training, inspiring, and empowering people to utilize new media tools (blogging, twitter, wikis) to advance economic freedom and individual liberty." (Of course, Ginny's version of individual liberty seems to include having a couple of Christians dictate what books are available to whom in the public library).

And for all the times Ginny likes to repeat that her agenda "is not about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgenders at ALL!", just remember that she's wrapping each one of her blog posts in a "gay" and "lesbian" ribbon.

// Looks like Ginny is learning. Her latest post about some ACORN protest doesn't have any tags at all. Go figure.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Think of the Children!

Ginny wants to start a "good old-fashioned conversation" by posting this video that tries to equate the use of singing children in Nazi and North Korean propaganda with their use in an Obama ad:

Not sure what kind of "conversation" she wants to have related to this drivel, but using kids in political ads or events is nothing new. Heck, even John McCain bussed in 4,000 kids to fill the seats at a campaign rally.


Ok, Ginny, here are my two responses for our "conversation":

Think of the Children (Gay Marriage now available in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont)

And, for good measure:

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Ginny Maziarka: Proud Supporter of Gay Theater

Who knew?

West Bend's own Ginny Maziarka, the good Christian behind the movement to remove GLBTQ "reclassify" "sexually explicit" books at West Bend Library is a supporter of gay theater.

You see, Ginny was kind enough to promote the coming production of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" by area home school kids. She's quite enthusiastic in her support of the play.

And, I'm sure Ginny knows that Thornton Wilder was gay. Yep, the playwright of one of America's most beloved plays, performed in nearly every high school, was homosexual. Really.

And Ginny's right, everyone should "take the family." It is a beautiful play written by a beautiful person.

I'm thrilled that Ginny is supporting gay arts in our community. I just hope that she puts as much energy into this support as she has into getting GLBTQ books out of the reach of young adults.

Ridiculous Lawsuit Demands Destruction of "Baby Be-Bop", $120K, Resignation of Mayor

The Milwaukee branch of the Christian Civil Liberties Union has filed a legal claim against the the city of West Bend, Mayor Kristine Deiss, the West Bend Library Board and Library Director Michael Tyree, arguing that the young adult book Baby Be-Bop includes words that "are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people" and that "can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike". The claim demands the destruction of the book, the resignation of the mayor, and $30,000 for each of the 4 plaintiffs.

I'll give you a moment to stop laughing and/or clean up that coffee you just sprayed out of your mouth...

Where do we start?

First off, who the hell is the Christian Civil Liberties Union? A Google search doesn't reveal much. The only relevant hit is a random business directory listing for a similarly named org based in Kansas. It is impressive that they've been able to expand to establish a "Milwaukee branch" without any Web presence whatsoever.

Now, who are the plaintiffs? Robert C. Braun of West Allis, Joseph Kogelmann of Milwaukee, Robert Brough of West Bend and the Rev. Cleveland Eden of Milwaukee. Hmmm....only one of them lives in the city of West Bend. The rest are all in Milwaukee County. Not sure what kind of standing they have to file such a claim, or why they are using the West Bend Library for their young adult reading in the first place, especially when the same book is available in the young adult collection of numerous branches of the Milwaueke Public Library. Wait a minute, didn't the article say each of the plaintiffs are "elderly". Yep. Huh, wonder why they're reading young adult fiction in the first place?

I mean, I'm sure they actually drove to West Bend and read it. Good Christians wouldn't be deceitful and just file a lawsuit claiming "their mental and emotional well-being were damaged by the book at the Library" if that weren't the case. Surely....

But what of the accusations against the book itself? Generally, they seem to be concerned about books that are "obscene or racial in content and promote violence." Hmm.... In particular to Baby Be-Bop, they describe the book as being “explicitly vulgar, racial (sic) and anti-Christian.” They continue to claim that "specific words used in the book are derogatory and slanderous to all males, and dangerously offensive and disrespectful to all people" and that the "words can permeate violence, and puts one's life in possible jeopardy, adults and children alike."

Words...damn WORDS! They always take the fun out of life. If we could only black out those "specific words" that are "slanderous to all males" (whatever the f**k that means), we could get on with our good Christian lives.

So, what remedies to these good Christians seek? An community reading group to try to gain a better understanding the book? An invitation to have the author come and discuss it? Convene a panel of young adult readers to tell us what they think about the book?

Nah. Says the plaintiffs: "we want it out or destroyed". With any luck, we'll be able to witness its burning in a pyre suitable for St. Joan of Arc.

And more than just destroying the offending words, they want the mayor to resign (because, as we all know, it is the mayor who decides what books are in the library). They also want a grand jury convened to investigate whether the book should be declared obscene (an excellent use of taxpayers money; glad 3 non-residents suggested it).

And to top it all off, about $30,000 per plaintiff will make all the "mental and emotional well-being [that] were damaged by the book" all better. I'm sure the good folks in West Bend will be happy to provide $120K to put their minds at ease.

This really is hilarious.

And, this really is frightening, as it shows how quickly we can tumble down the slippery slope of threats to intellectual freedom.