Happy St. Patrick’s Day, to those of Irish descent and those of Irish spirit.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day, to those of Irish descent and those of Irish spirit.
Last January, feeling nostalgic for the kind of in-depth reading I did as a kid before the Internet intervened to make me a scanner of text, I decided to set of a goal of reading 100 books in 2012. I just finished—and thought I would mention the books that I either enjoyed the most or got the most satisfaction from this year. Other than The Winter of Our Discontent, I deliberately left out books that I re-read this, because Discontent was a very different read now than when was 19.
Honorable Mentions: The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and Demian by Herman Hesse.
The Worst Choices
I disliked three of the books I read this year enough to mention them here. My debate research led me to read a radical environmental text called Deep Green Resistance and a libertarian transportation tract called The Best Laid-Plans. Each was terrible.
The worst fiction title I read was Chris Cleave’s Incendiary. I’m not sure I can remember a book I’ve hated more, despite my admiration for Cleave’s Little Bee.
For 2013, I think I’m going to abandon the goal of 100 books and pursue some weighty classics I haven’t read or haven’t read for years, starting off with East of Eden and Les Miserables, two books I loved in high school. Feel free to send recommendations my way for other excellent reads.
A library is an equalizer for the whole community, it’s a place, where anyone, regardless of anything, can get information and educate themselves. A foundation to a strong democracy is a strong library. In Montana, we have strong library systems, most of which are funded at the local level, with a smaller amount coming from the state, and is controlled by appointed library trustees, whom have sole budgetary authority — in order to keep the politics out.
Just today, in Helena, the Lewis & Clark Library held a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new bookmobile. What a blast from the past, right? This is an old trend coming back; Missoula, Great Falls, and Billings all have bookmobiles, and now, so does Lewis and Clark County. It’s going to be a boon for those in remote areas, such as Wolf Creek, Lakeside, the North valley area, Birds Eye, and Canyon Creek. So too, state workers will be able to grab a book on their lunch break once a week, and those who physically cannot leave a nursing home are going to have books carted into their lobby. The residents of the Hutterite colony near Wolf Creek will have their first access to the internet via the on-board computers connected via 4G technology, and anyone can find out exactly what the bookmobile is up to by following its twitter handle, @LCLBookmobile, or of course, its webiste or facebook page. It’s a book mobile, but it’s so much more. It is place for people to gather, learn, and recreate. Having a mobile branch bringing library services to people who otherwise wouldn’t, is a huge success and deserves a huge applause for those resident tax payers.
I love libraries and every legislative session worries me. Once a cut is made, it usually never comes back, and while it’s great to see these big libraries doing wonderful things, it’s the small libraries, like those in Glasgow, that I worry about for funding issues, because a small cut is a huge percentage of their overall budget, which means huge services that could be destroyed. I am so glad Montana still has a goalie in the Governor’s office, otherwise, 2013 could have gotten really, really ugly. So we’ll see what this session brings and we’ll fight for what fair and just.
At this point, I should really know better than to expect something different from a bunch of anonymous online message board posters postulating on rape. Especially with the ongoing problems with the media and public’s handling of the UM rape scandal. But the people writing on eGriz.com’s thread “No Way JJ Can Be Convicted” have managed to surprise me. I’m going to skip over the predictable Monica Lewinsky and victim blaming rabble and focus on a comment that made this writer want to vomit up her Wheaties.
montanaguy posted on August 10th:
All I can say is: Dads – teach your daughters well…. love them and teach them what true love and respect/self-respect is so that they don’t fall into this godawful situation. Same with your sons, actually.
What the f***, montanaguy? This is a felony trial in a court of justice, not a juicy piece of gossip free for your perusal. Back off. Blaming the survivor’s lack of self respect (which he notes is the result of a poor upbringing) smacks of sexism, classism, and a complete ignorance of the factors that go into rape and sexual assault. I would argue that it is the survivor’s incredible self-respect that leads her to press charges in an environment that clearly is not receptive to her right for justice.
Just to clear the record, rapists and the survivors of rape come from every social strata, educational background, and family situation. It is never EVER the survivor’s fault when she or he is raped.
montanaguy’s belated address to the fathers of sons at the end of his post reads as an afterthought, as if mostly the problem is with women who clearly have no self-respect and are just asking to be raped. Oh right, talk to your sons so they don’t become rapists. Which would be a “godawful situation” for them to fall into. Poor dears.
The last sentence of montanaguy’s comment with its casual “Same with your sons” seems to also say that the same factors (namely, the lack of a male parent to teach them love and respect) that go into making rape survivors also churn out rapists. While I do agree that no self-respecting person would commit rape, your comment ignores the complex power dynamics and symptoms of male privilege that are behind so many rapes.
I’d also like to mention that montanaguy’s comment (unsurprisingly) is highly heteronormative and fails to recognize that rapists and survivors can be of any gender.
Despite the ignorance and wrong-mindedness behind montanaguy’s comment, I think there’s a good message there: talk to your kids. Yes, by all means, teach your kids not to be rapists. But also teach them to recognize and reject rhetoric that builds a culture of sexual violence.
From the Annals of Those Who Just Don’t Get It:
Neale, 33, says he surpassed the $100,000 mark last year but says that between mortgage payments, the high price of heating fuel, gas, food and everyday items in life, his salary doesn’t go as far as he thought it would. Neale is married with three children and says that his extracurricular real estate and investment activities help them buy the extras in life.
“Now that I’ve made (a $100,000 salary), it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. We make sacrifices. It’s not like I tell my kids we’re going to have to eat peanut butter and jelly every night. We live well, but I wouldn’t consider it anything extravagant,” says Neale.
Many now consider $250,000 the new $100,000 income. Adam says that level of income is typically required to provide what many have before expected of a six-figure salary. Adam also points to other expenses that are not necessities but are considered part of a middle class lifestyle — things like cellphones, high-speed internet access, vacations, karate lessons, iPods, laptops and digital cameras.
At a time when millions of Americans are still struggling to find work, when the number of people on food stamps has doubled in the past five years, and when the per capita income in the United States is around $41,000, it’s hard to feel terribly sympathetic for the plight of those who are struggling to pay for karate lessons.
In Romney-Rehberg world, perhaps, a $100,000 income does not make one wealthy, but in the real world of most Americans, that kind of income provides remarkable comfort and privilege. Wouldn’t it be nice if the media spent more time covering the impact of real poverty instead of lifestyle pieces for the upper middle-class?