“To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places - and there are so many - where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don’t have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.”—Howard Zinn (via heoro)
A New Jersey school district has pulled two novels from its required reading list after parents complained about the works. Haruki Murakami‘s Norwegian Wood and Nic Sheff‘s Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines were both pulled from the list after parents complained about their gay sex scenes.
Fox News has more: “The books were on a required summer reading list for middle school and high school students. The district decided to pull the books off the list, with the start of school just days away. ‘There were some words and language that seemed to be inappropriate as far as the parents and some of the kids were concerned,’ said Chuck Earling, superintendent of Monroe Township Schools in Williamstown, N.J.”.
In other censorship news, last week a Sir Arthur Conan Doyle book was banned from a Virginia school district for its depiction of Mormons. In response, we provided you the link to the free download of the banned book A Study in Scarlet.
To fight against book censorship, Banned Books Week, which is happening September 24 to October 1 this year, encourages readers to pick up banned books. Check out our Haruki Murakami playlist on Spotify when you pick up a copy of his books…
Florida’s new drug-tests-for-welfare-applicants program just yielded its first batch of results: 98 percent passed. It’ll only cost the state $178 million.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who rode his own fortune and the tea party’s adoration to office last year, has stated publicly several times that people on welfare use drugs at a higher rate than the general population. So at Scott’s urging earlier this year, the legislature implemented a policy requiring all temporary cash assistance applicants pass a drug test before getting any help.
The Department of Children and Families says about 2 percent of applicants are failing the test; another 2 percent are not completing the application process, for reasons unspecified, according to the Tampa Tribune.
In other words, wasting far more money than you were losing to begin with.