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Award-Winning English Teacher In Connecticut Forced To Resign For Reading Allen Ginsberg Poem To Class

Intellectual and academic freedom are dead and buried. Or at least that certainly seems to be the message coming from a school system in Connecticut which forced an award-winning Advanced Placement English teacher who had been an educator for 19 years to resign or be fired. His crime? He read a graphic poem by Allen Ginsberg to his class.

David Olio was pushed into resigning by the South Windsor School District after parents learned that the Ginsberg poem “Please Master”  had been read in his class. The poem is an examination of homosexual affection that Ginsberg wrote in 1968.

A student brought the controversial poem to class for a reading and discussion of the work by the AP English students and instructor. But when school officials discovered that Olio had allowed the poem into the class, they sent him a letter of discipline which said, in part:

“Reading the poem in class showed egregiously poor professional judgment. You violated the trust placed by the Board of Education in you as a teacher, you brought discredit upon the South Windsor Public Schools, you undermined public confidence and parent trust in you as a teacher, and you put the emotional health of some students at risk.”

Put the emotional health of some students at risk? Are you kidding me?! With a freaking poem?!

But not all parents are as open-minded as I am, and one complained to a local TV station:

“I don’t feel that the content was appropriate whether it was a senior class or an honors class. It was a little bit much. I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind reading that particular poem.”

Oilo’s colleagues, friends, and students rushed to his defense. One former student said:

“There has been a definite tonal change since I grew up here. It makes me think of Mrs. Flanders from The Simpsons: ‘Will no one think of the children??’ I mean, if there are parents in town who think their teenagers don’t know what a blow job is, they are sorely mistaken.”

Oh, but high school students don’t know anything about sex, do they? Don’t make me laugh!

On a personal note, I had an English teacher in 10th grade who encouraged the class to read Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs as a way of showing us that even things we thought might be off limits to writers were grist for the creative mill. I promptly went to the public library, checked out Naked Lunch, and read it. And it is one many books that helped me realize I wanted to be a writer. Another teacher urged me to read Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” which quite literally helped me better understand myself and the world around me.

As Kafka himself wrote:

“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound or stab us. If the book we’re reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow to the head, what are we reading for? So that it will make us happy, as you write? Good Lord, we would be happy precisely if we had no books, and the kind of books that make us happy are the kind we could write ourselves if we had to. But we need books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us. That is my belief.”

It is also mine. And I find it shameful that this fine educator of future minds has been banished into the intellectual forest by the ignorance of adults who think they can protect their children from the real world.

Read The Ginsberg Poem For Yourself

http://hellopoetry.com/poem/73/please-master/

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

 

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Wife-Beating, Bush-Appointed Federal Judge Finally Resigns In Disgrace

A wife-beating, philandering federal judge who was appointed by George W. Bush has finally been forced to resign in disgrace.

Judge Mark E. Fuller of Alabama was accused of domestic abuse for the beating of his ex-wife in 2014. And this piece of human excrement has finally figured out that it was way past time for him to leave the court. On Friday, he sent a letter of resignation to President Obama in which he wrote it had been “an honor and a privilege to serve.”

Fuller was arrested in August of 2014 when his then-wife Kelli Fuller called Atlanta police and reported that Judge Fuller was assaulting her at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Atlanta. On the 911 call she made to the police, Ms. Fuller can be heard remarking:

“Please help me. He’s beating on me.”

And yet this scumbag dared cling to his judicial robes for another nine months before he finally came to realize that he would never be able to regain the respect he had lost when he dared to strike a woman and place himself in the ranks of lowlifes who abuse their spouse. His first wife, who divorced him in 2012, also claimed Fuller had abused her.

Rather than facing the kind of justice he deserved for his actions, Fuller entered a pre-trial “diversion” program and all charges against him were dropped. One wonders if he would have shown the same leniency to a defendant who appeared in the court which he so ceremoniously dishonored. Another federal judge remarked on Fuller’s avoiding charges:

“(It’s) a sweet deal…that will allow him to erase his criminal conviction for beating the crap out of his wife in a fancy hotel room while reeking with booze.”

Fuller remains under investigation from a panel of five judges for his actions in 2014, and at least this sorry excuse for a judge will now be replaced by an Obama appointee.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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Islamophobic Much? United Airlines Refuses To Serve Diet Coke To Muslim Scholar

On a United Airlines flight earlier this week, something happened that should never, ever happen: A Muslim scholar wearing a headscarf was denied the right to be served an unopened can of Diet Coke. Yes, you read that right. Tahera Ahmad was denied an unopened can soda because she was told she might use it as a weapon!

You cannot have a Diet Coke because it can be used as a weapon. WTF?!

Here is what Ms. Ahmad wrote on Facebook shortly after the incident:

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So who is Tahera Ahmad? Oh, she’s only the Director of Interfaith Engagement and Associate Chaplain at Northwestern University! She’s a scholar who just got denied a soda because she looks like a “terrorist.”

Perhaps the only good thing to come out of this egregious example of racial profiling is the fact that a social media has now begun urging people to boycott United Airlines. The reaction online has been swift and not to United’s benefit. Here are a few posts that have shown up:

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Islamophobia in the United States, especially on media outlets such as Fox News, has now begun to poison the minds of people. How would we feel if we were on an overseas airline and told we could not order a can of soda because we are from a nation that has waged war over the past 200 years around the world? How much would we be offended? Tremendously, I’m willing to bet, and we would have every right to be.

We all have the right to be judged by who we are, not by the group we belong to, whatever particular group that may be.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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Meet The Christian Fundamentalist Group That Forces Children To Give Birth To Rape Babies

There is nothing wrong with a person or group being religious, so long as that religious belief doesn’t infringe on the rights of another person. Far too often, however, that is exactly what happens among those of extreme faith.

Allow me to introduce you to a group called Choices4Life, which operates in the name of Christianity and forces its adherents to give birth to babies who have been conceived as a result of rape. And that same requirement applies to children as young as ten who have been raped.

When I first read about Choices4Life, my initial reaction was shock and outrage? How can anyone believe it is in the best interest of a woman who has been victimized to be compelled to bring the result of that victimization into the world if she doesn’t wish to? Even worse, what kind of anti-choice group would force such torture on a child?

If you go to the Choices4Life website, you’ll see them proudly proclaim that their mission is:

“Restoring Honor & Dignity to Women & Children of Rape Conception.”

Sound innocuous enough, doesn’t it? But if you look further, you soon find that Choices4Life is even involved in assuring that children in Paraguay who have been raped carry and give birth to unwanted babies. These so-called “gifts from God” are heralded on their Facebook page:

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What about the health of the child who has to endure pregnancy and delivery? Well, the Choices4Life folks know better than any doctor, and they even brag about it:

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Why, I wondered as I read their noxious online claptrap, would they do such things? Why?! Well, because it’s all God’s will, you see. If only the non-believers could comprehend that fact:

Choices-shot-3

I consider myself to be a Christian, and have been a member of the Methodist denomination my entire life. But I cannot understand why anyone who claims to believe in the love and compassion shown by Jesus Christ throughout his life can ever justify the actions of fundamentalist jerks like the morons who run Choices4Life.

They are, in my humble opinion, so far from what is right and good that they have forfeited the privilege of calling themselves followers of the Jesus that I believe in.

h/t Shannon Barber, Addicting Info

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

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Just Like Dubya: Jeb Bush To Meet Next Week With Coal Barons For Discussion Of Energy Policy

As much as he may try to say that he’s his “own man,” Jeb Bush is looking more and more like big brother George by the day.

Example: Next week Jeb will be meeting in private with several coal industry executives who are no doubt pissed off by the EPA’s recent rule change which lessens the allowable pollution emanating from power plants around the nation. This is especially galling to those who mine and sell coal, the dirtiest of all fuels for power production. Some have even bemoaned the Obama Administration’s “war on coal.”

The former Florida governor meet with a virtual Who’s Who of the coal industry: Joe Craft III of Alliance Resource Partners, Kevin Crutchfield of Alpha Natural Resources, Nick DeIuliis of Consol Energy, Garry Drummond of Drummond Company, John Eaves of Arch Coal, and Jim McGlothlin of United Coal Company.

But they’ll probably be talking about immigration and how to fight ISIS, don’t you imagine?

The six companies that will be represented in the room when Bush shows up for a $7,500 per plate luncheon have given more than $17.4 million to various political campaigns and lobbying efforts  since the 2012 election. No wonder Bush agreed to break bread with them.

The Coal & Investment Leadership Forum will take place at the members-only Olde Farm club in Bristol, Virginia, and is not open to the public. Also, a Bush spokesperson says many issues will be on the table. Kristy Campbell remarked:

“It is a great opportunity to meet with stakeholders in the state. He will be talking about a variety of topics.”

And they will also be discussing how the coal industry reps can best buy a larger stake in the man they perceive to be the frontrunner for the 2016 GOP nomination. Bush is more than willing, one would imagine, to sell whatever they wish to buy, including his soul, if it gets him to the White House.

Meeting with energy industry executives in private is exactly the same behavior exhibited during the Administration of George W. Bush, when Dick Cheney convened a secret conclave with oil and gas bigwigs to set national energy policy. Truly the very definition of the fox guarding the proverbial hen house.

As Nick Surgey of the Center for Public Integrity noted:

“I think the major question is what promises is Jeb Bush making to the coal chief executives in that room. We assume Bush is there to raise money for his campaign … it is pretty clear why Jeb Bush was invited there. If Jeb Bush is elected they want him to protect their industry.”

Scratch, scratch, scratch is the prevailing sound that will be coming from the forum: the sound of Jeb Bush and the coal industry scratching each other’s backs.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.