Archive for December, 2007

Druids Routed In School Board Election

Happy Solstice Everyone

In what could produce ripples through the national educational system, voters in Maine have ousted over 2,000 years of educational doctrine. In a vote of no-confidence, locals have voted out the Druid majority from local school boards. In an overwhelming vote, the communities of Samhain and Cuithe have decided that the time has come to end the Druidian stronghold over their communities.

These communities as well as others scattered across the northeastern seaboard have seen a rapid decrease in Druidian representation. Starting with the defeat of 237 time elected mayor Gaelen the Round of Bath, the Druidian influence has taken a dramatic downturn. “We were simply looking for a different, more enlightened approach to education” said Pierre DeMarco, head of the Samhain Parent Teacher Association.

Under the Druidian school system, students were forced to learn topics like metallurgy, herpetology, stonemasonry and astrology. Senior Douglas Young believed the Druid curriculum was a valuable addition to his core classes. “I don’t see what the big deal is. It’s not like we killed dogs or anything.” The use of canines for incantations was replaced by felines in the late 1720’s.

The news could not have come at a worse time for the Druid community. “We’re all pretty tired from the Solstice Ceremony and concert and then we get this news. Everyone is a bit disoriented by these turn of events”, said Nigel Tufnel, founder of the band Spinal Tap and Northern 35th Level Druid. When asked about the future for the Druids in Maine education, Tufnel added, “We’ll just have to see how the bones fall but we are not ruling out litigation.”

Getting paid is the name of the game

I know this isn’t a local issue, but I miss fresh content on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report so much.

YouTube Video

And for some yuks:
http://xkcd.com/360

Lubbock Art Censorship: ACLU Takes Action

According to the Avalanche-Journal, the ACLU of Texas is taking action in the Buddy Holly Center censorship issue:

The ACLU wants to know:

• Why were artist Lahib Jaddo’s drawings banned?

• What are the Buddy Holly Center’s sources of funding?

• What are the center’s policies for selecting, displaying and removing works of art in its gallery?

“Censoring a work of art simply because it doesn’t match a city official’s tastes violates the First Amendment,” said Lisa Graybill, legal director for the ACLU of Texas.

Scott Snider, an assistant city manager, said in a prepared statement that he is the city official who refused to allow Jaddo’s drawings of a nude pregnant woman and a semi-nude nursing mother to be shown during December’s First Friday Art Trail at the Buddy Holly Center.

As a card-carrying member of the ACLU, I am very pleased to see the initiative of the Lubbock Chapter in bringing the statewide organization to city hall. I hope this will result in a clear and fair policy regarding art in civic spaces as well as an apology from the assistant city manager who is responsible for this mess.

Lubbock Art Censorship: The Nurse-In Cometh

Well, today the A-J reports that a nurse-in may be in the works:

Drawings by local artist Lahib Jaddo that were banned Dec. 7 from being shown at the city-financed Buddy Holly Center included one of a woman nursing an infant.

That decision has sparked controversy that extends beyond the art world.

Nursing mothers have been treated like second-class citizens in Lubbock restaurants and other public places, according to Vince Gonzales, president of the Lubbock chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

He stated Wednesday that a “nurse-in,” a gathering of nursing mothers at a public place, is being planned for a date in the near future “mostly as a way of supporting Lahib Jaddo and her artwork.

“On the other hand, I think it also is a response to how breast-feeding mothers are treated in Lubbock. They have to put up with thinly veiled comments from people seated at the next table at a restaurant, and rude and inappropriate remarks from people walking by them at the mall.”

Annie Harrison, who served as Jaddo’s model for the banned artwork, said, “To think a bunch of people might get together in Lubbock, Texas, of all places, to breast-feed in public is just a wonderful statement.

“If the City Council thinks a painting of a breast-feeding mom is a problem, then this (a nurse-in) is something they needed to see up close a long time ago.”

(permalink unavailable, so I’m quoting most of the article for now)

Also, Fade had a wonderful post in response to the censorship yesterday:
http://houserisingsons.blogspot.com/2007/12/improper-breast-depictions.html

Texas Tech Law School Alumnus Wins State Rep Seat

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Democrat Dan Barrett won the runoff election for Texas House District 97, a mostly suburban district which covers southwest Fort Worth, Benbroook, and Edgecliff Village. This victory closes the gap to 5 seats for a Democratic majority in the Texas House.

The folks over at Lone Star Project say it best:

Dan Barrett won 52.2% of the vote yesterday in a special election runoff for Texas State Rep. District 97. District 97 was a Republican stronghold that gave George W. Bush 63.9% of the vote in 2004.

Anyone who met Dan Barrett and observed his campaign immediately recognized his talents as a candidate and was impressed by the discipline and efficiency of his campaign. No observer outside of Tarrant County, however, including the Lone Star Project, was willing to predict that Barrett could pull off a win in the special election. Dan Barrett’s smart campaign combined with outstanding support from organized labor, teachers and local activists resulted in an important victory for Texas Democrats and a sound rejection of the failed leadership of Texas Republicans Tom Craddick, Rick Perry and others.

It’s worth noting that…

…TX-97 was gerrymandered to be a Republican stronghold district, but Dan Barrett won anyway.

…Gov. Perry moved the runoff election date to a week before Christmas in an effort to help the Republican candidate, but Dan Barrett won anyway.

…the prevailing opinion around the state was that Dan Barrett would lose, but Dan Barrett won anyway.

Congratulations, Dan! Make us proud.

www.danbarrett.com

More about Lubbock Art Censorship

I spoke with a Texas Tech Professor Emeritus of Art at a Christmas party last night, and naturally our conversation found its way to the recent censorship debacle. He told me that this was not the first instance of censorship at the Buddy Holly Center, and that sometime in 2006 several staff members of the Buddy Holly Center were fired. I wonder if someone was cleaning house at the BHC in order to micromanage the facility from City Hall.

Also, in my recap post I neglected Bill Kerns’ excellent coverage of the matter at the Center Stage blog:
http://www.lubbockonline.net/blogs/centerstage/index.php?entry=entry071213-095142

And the artist’s own website:
www.lahibjaddo.com/

A White House Christmas Poem

Freda over at A Liberal Lubbockian wrote a pretty hilarious poem yesterday. Here’s the first bit:

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the White House
no creature was stirring, not even some louse.

The Congress was nestled all snug in their beds
while visions of pages danced in their heads.

I promise you the whole thing is even more hilarious!

Democracy for Texas Poll Results

Democracy for Texas conducted a presidential candidate poll of its members, and the results are in: Obama wins, with Edwards close behind.

Some of the survey participants left their reasons for selecting Obama:

“Obama is the one who puts principle above winning, whose style is that of a statesman and who can unite the country and rise above partisanship.”

“Obama has the unique experience, vision, and character to unite our divided nation, restore America’s standing in the world, and inspire a new generation of community activists, organizers, and leaders.”

“I find the same kind of optimism in Barack that I did many years ago in our beloved John Kennedy. We need a change and to greet the future with energy and hope.”

“Obama inspires me and gives me hope that the status quo in D.C. will really change.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Thanks to DFT for conducting this poll!

Lubbock Art Censorship Recap

One of my readers emailed me and asked me to make a post highlighting an important happening last week in Lubbock: the City of Lubbock removed two works of art from display at the Buddy Holly Center for the increasingly popular First Friday Art Trail event. The two works by local artist Lahib Jaddo were of a breastfeeding woman, shown below (click the thumbnails to see full-size pictures):

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

The reason I didn’t blog about it last week is because it has been very well covered in the Lubbock media and internet community. For my readers around the State (or living under a rock in Lubbock), here’s more than enough to get you up to speed:

AP Wire story:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5373554.html

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal article:
http://www.lubbockonline.com/stories/121307/loc_121307034.shtml

Shelly Gonzales’ Woman-to-Woman blog:
http://www.lubbockonline.net/blogs/shelly/index.php?entry=entry071217-143948
http://www.lubbockonline.net/blogs/shelly/index.php?entry=entry071214-123959
http://www.lubbockonline.net/blogs/shelly/index.php?entry=entry071213-144103

Chad Hasty Show blog:
http://chadhasty.wordpress.com/2007/12/12/city-of-lubbock-censors-art/

Tex Slim’s blog:
http://lubbockcountyregister.blogspot.com/2007/12/rightwing-gets-art-banned-at-lubbock.html

Discussion thread at LubbockOnline.com forums:
http://forums.lubbockonline.com/cgi-bin/bb/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=2;t=000745

What’s particularly galling about this censorship is that one of the works depicts breast feeding, which is an activity protected by State law. Furthermore, accounts of the censorship indicate that it was done by an assistant city manager over the phone without even seeing the works in question.

Reassuringly, I am seeing outrage over this censorship from all over the political spectrum in Lubbock. Sometimes people just recognize a bad decision when they see one. The problem, of course, is that it happened in the first place.

War On Christmas Escalates

Warning: More Satire from Helmut

A sudden spark in hostilities as thrown the world into conflict this week. A Declaration of War was delivered to St. Nicholas by the Foreign Minister of Nunavut laying out the intentions of several hostile Inuet tribes to war against Christmas. Inuet tribes are accusing the jolly elf of over aggressive border movements by reindeer in the area. It is unknown whether or not these movements are tantamount to war by the international community but violence has erupted along a 2,000 mile border between the state of Nunavut and the North Pole.

St. Nicholas, Prime Minister of the North Pole has asked for the United Nations to send in peace keeping forces to the region but it is doubtful that the Security Council will make a decision before the the New Year. Most ambassadors have been implicated in a scandal involving the promises to be good and bribing of cookies and milk for presents from Santa. With the UN in an uneasy situation and most ambassadors already out of New York for the Christmas holiday, it is unlikely they will be able to return before the upcoming deadline for hostilities.

The United States is debating the possibility of unilaterally intervening in the conflict. Members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations met in a closed door meeting on Tuesday to discuss it’s options. Ranking members were rumored to be discussing the use US veterans from the Iraqi war to save Christmas. With continued pressure mounting by business leaders and religious interests in certain swing states, it is likely that a joint resolution to use military force will be announced by the end of the week.


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