pink & grey. originally uploaded by underbunny from Flickr.com

The Freedom to Read Statement

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” — Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. in Texas v. Johnson 


* all graphics from alastore.ala.org

In honour of this past week, National Library Week, let me share with you something from the American Library Association:

  The Freedom to Read Statement

The freedom to read is essential to our democracy. It is continuously under attack. Private groups and public authorities in various parts of the country are working to remove or limit access to reading materials, to censor content in schools, to label “controversial” views, to distribute lists of “objectionable” books or authors, and to purge libraries. These actions apparently rise from a view that our national tradition of free expression is no longer valid; that censorship and suppression are needed to counter threats to safety or national security, as well as to avoid the subversion of politics and the corruption of morals. We, as individuals devoted to reading and as librarians and publishers responsible for disseminating ideas, wish to assert the public interest in the preservation of the freedom to read.

Most attempts at suppression rest on a denial of the fundamental premise of democracy: that the ordinary individual, by exercising critical judgment, will select the good and reject the bad. We trust Americans to recognize propaganda and misinformation, and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe. We do not believe they are prepared to sacrifice their heritage of a free press in order to be “protected” against what others think may be bad for them. We believe they still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression.

These efforts at suppression are related to a larger pattern of pressures being brought against education, the press, art and images, films, broadcast media, and the Internet. The problem is not only one of actual censorship. The shadow of fear cast by these pressures leads, we suspect, to an even larger voluntary curtailment of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy or unwelcome scrutiny by government officials.

Such pressure toward conformity is perhaps natural to a time of accelerated change. And yet suppression is never more dangerous than in such a time of social tension. Freedom has given the United States the elasticity to endure strain. Freedom keeps open the path of novel and creative solutions, and enables change to come by choice. Every silencing of a heresy, every enforcement of an orthodoxy, diminishes the toughness and resilience of our society and leaves it the less able to deal with controversy and difference.

Now as always in our history, reading is among our greatest freedoms. The freedom to read and write is almost the only means for making generally available ideas or manners of expression that can initially command only a small audience. The written word is the natural medium for the new idea and the untried voice from which come the original contributions to social growth. It is essential to the extended discussion that serious thought requires, and to the accumulation of knowledge and ideas into organized collections.

We believe that free communication is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture. We believe that these pressures toward conformity present the danger of limiting the range and variety of inquiry and expression on which our democracy and our culture depend. We believe that every American community must jealously guard the freedom to publish and to circulate, in order to preserve its own freedom to read. We believe that publishers and librarians have a profound responsibility to give validity to that freedom to read by making it possible for the readers to choose freely from a variety of offerings.

The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.

We therefore affirm these propositions:

  1. It is in the public interest for publishers and librarians to make available the widest diversity of views and expressions, including those that are unorthodox, unpopular, or considered dangerous by the majority.Creative thought is by definition new, and what is new is different. The bearer of every new thought is a rebel until that idea is refined and tested. Totalitarian systems attempt to maintain themselves in power by the ruthless suppression of any concept that challenges the established orthodoxy. The power of a democratic system to adapt to change is vastly strengthened by the freedom of its citizens to choose widely from among conflicting opinions offered freely to them. To stifle every nonconformist idea at birth would mark the end of the democratic process. Furthermore, only through the constant activity of weighing and selecting can the democratic mind attain the strength demanded by times like these. We need to know not only what we believe but why we believe it.
  2. Publishers, librarians, and booksellers do not need to endorse every idea or presentation they make available. It would conflict with the public interest for them to establish their own political, moral, or aesthetic views as a standard for determining what should be published or circulated.Publishers and librarians serve the educational process by helping to make available knowledge and ideas required for the growth of the mind and the increase of learning. They do not foster education by imposing as mentors the patterns of their own thought. The people should have the freedom to read and consider a broader range of ideas than those that may be held by any single librarian or publisher or government or church. It is wrong that what one can read should be confined to what another thinks proper.
  3. It is contrary to the public interest for publishers or librarians to bar access to writings on the basis of the personal history or political affiliations of the author.No art or literature can flourish if it is to be measured by the political views or private lives of its creators. No society of free people can flourish that draws up lists of writers to whom it will not listen, whatever they may have to say.
  4. There is no place in our society for efforts to coerce the taste of others, to confine adults to the reading matter deemed suitable for adolescents, or to inhibit the efforts of writers to achieve artistic expression.To some, much of modern expression is shocking. But is not much of life itself shocking? We cut off literature at the source if we prevent writers from dealing with the stuff of life. Parents and teachers have a responsibility to prepare the young to meet the diversity of experiences in life to which they will be exposed, as they have a responsibility to help them learn to think critically for themselves. These are affirmative responsibilities, not to be discharged simply by preventing them from reading works for which they are not yet prepared. In these matters values differ, and values cannot be legislated; nor can machinery be devised that will suit the demands of one group without limiting the freedom of others.
  5. It is not in the public interest to force a reader to accept the prejudgment of a label characterizing any expression or its author as subversive or dangerous.The ideal of labeling presupposes the existence of individuals or groups with wisdom to determine by authority what is good or bad for others. It presupposes that individuals must be directed in making up their minds about the ideas they examine. But Americans do not need others to do their thinking for them.
  6. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians, as guardians of the people’s freedom to read, to contest encroachments upon that freedom by individuals or groups seeking to impose their own standards or tastes upon the community at large; and by the government whenever it seeks to reduce or deny public access to public information.It is inevitable in the give and take of the democratic process that the political, the moral, or the aesthetic concepts of an individual or group will occasionally collide with those of another individual or group. In a free society individuals are free to determine for themselves what they wish to read, and each group is free to determine what it will recommend to its freely associated members. But no group has the right to take the law into its own hands, and to impose its own concept of politics or morality upon other members of a democratic society. Freedom is no freedom if it is accorded only to the accepted and the inoffensive. Further, democratic societies are more safe, free, and creative when the free flow of public information is not restricted by governmental prerogative or self-censorship.
  7. It is the responsibility of publishers and librarians to give full meaning to the freedom to read by providing books that enrich the quality and diversity of thought and expression. By the exercise of this affirmative responsibility, they can demonstrate that the answer to a “bad” book is a good one, the answer to a “bad” idea is a good one.The freedom to read is of little consequence when the reader cannot obtain matter fit for that reader’s purpose. What is needed is not only the absence of restraint, but the positive provision of opportunity for the people to read the best that has been thought and said. Books are the major channel by which the intellectual inheritance is handed down, and the principal means of its testing and growth. The defense of the freedom to read requires of all publishers and librarians the utmost of their faculties, and deserves of all Americans the fullest of their support.

We state these propositions neither lightly nor as easy generalizations. We here stake out a lofty claim for the value of the written word. We do so because we believe that it is possessed of enormous variety and usefulness, worthy of cherishing and keeping free. We realize that the application of these propositions may mean the dissemination of ideas and manners of expression that are repugnant to many persons. We do not state these propositions in the comfortable belief that what people read is unimportant. We believe rather that what people read is deeply important; that ideas can be dangerous; but that the suppression of ideas is fatal to a democratic society. Freedom itself is a dangerous way of life, but it is ours.

This statement was originally issued in May of 1953 by the Westchester Conference of the American Library Association and the American Book Publishers Council, which in 1970 consolidated with the American Educational Publishers Institute to become the Association of American Publishers.Adopted June 25, 1953, by the ALA Council and the AAP Freedom to Read Committee; amended January 28, 1972; January 16, 1991; July 12, 2000; June 30, 2004.


from the Times(London)Online

Dennis Lim, [of] the Los Angeles Times, describes Grindhouse as “a full-blooded attempt to summon up a bygone age of cinematic sleaze. The filmmakers are not just celebrating an idealized notion of movie trash; they mean to simulate the experience of spending a night in a decrepit, sticky-floored movie palace. “

Well, heck yeah.  I think that is a compliment.  Those twins were kinda hot, too.


Pour un parachutage, l’atterrissage est réussi.

(As far as parachuting goes, the landing was a success)

-Ségolène Royal, presidential contender (RF)

I know its not Airborne, but kinda funny if you are.

‘Abstinence Only’ Sex Ed Ineffective

Congressionally Funded Study Shows Programs Do Not Keep Teens From Having Sex

From ABCnews.com 

April 17, 2007— – Just saying no may not be an effective strategy in keeping kids from having sex, a newly released study reports.

The research could have major implications for the $176 million in government funds that abstinence-only sex-education programs receive annually — funding that is set to expire on June 30 unless Congress takes some action to extend it.

The evaluation, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examined the impact of the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs funded under the 1996 federal welfare reform law.

Through the study, more than 2,000 children were randomly assigned to groups that received abstinence-only counseling and those who received no counseling. Over the next four to six years, numerous surveys were done to determine the impact of these programs on the behavior of the kids.

Researchers found no evidence that these abstinence-only programs increased rates of sexual abstinence.

The study also showed that the students participating in these abstinence-only programs had a similar number of sexual partners as their peers not in the programs, and that the age of first sex was similar for both groups too.

“The basic takeaway message is that there are no differences between the two groups on any behavioral outcomes,” says lead study author Christopher Trenholm, a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research.

Debate Continues Over Effectiveness

Rather than calming the disagreements over how the federal government should approach teen sex as a public health issue, the report has, if anything, added fuel to the debate

Some sexuality experts say the study only confirms what most sexuality researchers have already known — that abstinence-only programs simply do not work.

“The data coming forth now is simple proof — solid, unassailable evidence to back up what many of us have known from the get-go,” says Joy Davidson, a certified sex therapist in New York City who is on the board of directors of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapist.

“There have been studies that have been done over the last few years at least that have made it quite clear that abstinence-only education is not only a waste of money, but it is a danger to young adults as well.”

“This is a social agenda masquerading as teen pregnancy prevention,” says Martha Kempner, vice president for information and communications at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. “This administration has allowed ideology to trump science at every possible opportunity.

“I hope that Congress will look at this and see that there is a lot of money that is not working, and say ‘hey, we need that money elsewhere.'”

On the other side of the argument, proponents of abstinence-only programs say the results of the study only show that more effort must be poured into the programs to reap true dividends.

“The Mathematica report does not support a conclusion that abstinence-only education programs should no longer be funded,” said Dr. Gary Rose, president and CEO of the Medical Institute, in a statement released Friday. “To the contrary, the report specifically indicates that programs should continue with changes where necessary to make them more effective, particularly promoting support for abstinence among peer networks as an important feature.”

“Many of the programs were in a stage of early development when the evaluation occurred,” wrote Robert Rector, senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, in a critique of the report. He added that the fact that participants in the programs were quite young, and follow-up education was lacking could have contributed to the failure.

“The main lesson that should be taken from this study is that interventions at a very early age require significant follow-up, or they’ll be less likely to alter teen risk behaviors,” he wrote.

Some critics have also maintained that the lack of high school programs in the study shows that the study is not representative of the overall impact of this funding. Indeed, two of the programs focused on upper elementary school students and the other two, on middle school students. None of the four included a high school component.

Trenholm says these criticisms overlook the fact that most of the money earmarked for these programs does not go to high school programs anyway.

“We went where the funding went,” Trenholm says. “Virtually every program taking funding was at the middle school and elementary levels, and not at the high school level.”

Is ‘Comprehensive’ Any Better?

Proponents of abstinence-only sex education programs maintain that “comprehensive” sex-education programs — those that introduce ideas of safe sex in addition to abstinence — are untested and may not yield any better results.

“I don’t think that this is quite true,” Kempner says, adding that programs that go beyond abstinence have yet to receive the same federal funding and support enjoyed by their abstinence-only counterparts.

“We don’t have any money,” she says. “We need some money and some time like the abstinence-only people got.”

Kempner adds that promising research backs up comprehensive programs.

“We have some good research suggesting that comprehensive programs are effective,” she says. “I think that we will have much more support on comprehensive sex education, and I think this study will be a part of it.”

Davidson argues that such programs could put more responsibility in the hands of the teens themselves, allowing them “make much better decisions” when it comes to sex.

“Abstinence-only education treats smart, thoughtful teens as if they are incapable of absorbing information or understanding themselves,” she says.

“If government officials finally understand how important it is that young people receive complete and accurate sex information, whatever the cost of this study, it will have been worth it. It’s time that people wake up.”

Peer Relationships May Be Most Important

The report also included a hint of good news about teen sex in the United States.

“On the other side, we also did not see any increase in unprotected sex,” Trenholm says, adding that many researchers had expected to see a spike in unsafe sex due to the fact that existing programs do not cover the proper use of birth control.

This, as well as other evidence uncovered in the study, suggests that peer relationships are particularly important when it comes to predicting abstinence — an area for future study, Trenholm says.

“The idea is that future programs may want to seek out, build and maintain peer relations through clubs and other groups,” Trenholm says. “In this way, I think it’s suggestive of a good direction for the field to go in.”

Zohar Lindenbaum

Caliente VIII from JPGmag.com

چهار رویش / Four Springs, a poem of womanhood.

 چهار رویش

پرتو نوری علا

۱ –  بلوغ

بال وُ پَرِ پَروانگان وُ
پیله های زرد ابریشم۰
آشفته موی وُ برهنه پا، دخترک،
سر در پی نسیم می گذارد؛
بال وُ پَرِِ کودکان وُ
بازی های گمشده در غبار نور۰
کجاست دوازده سالگی
با عروسک ها وُ طنابِ بازی وُ
خانه ی مقوّایی ام
و یک لکّه خون؛
حجابِ کودکی وُ آفتابِ بلوغ۰

-۲ عشق

خو کرده به کودکی اش با شرم،
پستان های نورسیده اش را
در شبنم می شوید۰
بهاری شکفته را مانَد
در باغ نو ظهور
نگاه را از خواسته اش می دُزدد،
اما کوبشِِ قلب
حتی در توفان، شنیدنی است۰
شکوفه ی بادام
شانزده سالگی را نوازش کرده است
و بوسه ی بیدار عشق
زُلالِ پوستم را۰

-۳ زایمان

چه سوزشی دارد درد؛
تیزی گَزلیک وُ خار خارِِ پوست۰
بر استخوان ها می کوبند
هزار مُشت؛
نیمه ی جان وُ بند بندِ شکافته ی تن۰
فشار، فشار، فشار۰۰۰
ملافه ها را چنگ می زَنَد
 پرده ی نقره ای ابر تکان می خورَد؛
وهمِ سپیدِِ آب وُ زبانِ خشک
که به سَق می چسبد۰
فشار، درد، هلاکت۰۰۰
کودکی عجول
از تنگنای زُهدان می گریزد؛
هیجده سالگی ام را فریادم خط می اندازد۰
در دَمی نا غافل
مخلوقم دَردش را به جانم ریخته است۰

-۴ یائسگی

چهل وُ نُه سالگی را
پروای پچپچه ی پیر آدمیانِِِِِِِِِِِِِ
ترسخورده نیست۰
زمان سر گیجه می گیرد
از شیدایی افشانِِ گرته ها،
و پرتوِ نوری که می تابد از آینه ی روح
رهایم می کند
از فَربهی خرافه و خشم۰
با شوقِ سبزِ شکفتن
تا دانشِ زلال محبّت
 یائسگی، تلاش بی ٹمری دارد
 زیرا که بوته ی قدیمی قلبم
هرگز این چنین سرخ نروییده است

Four Springs

Partow Nooriala


Yellow silk cocoon,
Butterfly flaps fluttering
Disheveled hair bare feet
The little girl
Sets out in the breeze.
Children flittering
And lost games linger in afternoon haze.
Where is that twelve-year-old girl?
With my dolls and jump ropes
And cardboard house.
And a drop of blood
A veil between childhood and puberty’s dawn.


Bashful, clinging to childhood,
She bathes her breast-buds In morning dew.
She is a budding spring
A sudden pageantry of green.
She averts her eyes from her beloved
But the thumping of her heart Is audible even through a storm.
The almond blossom
Brushes the sixteen-year-old girl
As does the here and now of love
My lustrous skin.


How it burns
Dagger gouging, skin pins and needles
A thousand
Blows on the bones
Half-conscious and torn asunder.
Push, push, push
She claws at the sheets,
Those mercurial clouds shift.
Bright wet hallucinations and dry
Tongue stuck to palate.
Pressure, pain, perishing…
An impatient child
Escapes the uterine strait.
My howls drown my nineteenth year.
In one instant
My creation assigns its pain to me.


Forty nine-year-old
Is not wary of phobic
Fuddy-duddy chitter-chatter.
Time spins In a frenzy of repollination
And the ray of light
Emanating from my soul
Releases me from
Decadent superstition
And wrath.
Ecstatic in yet-springing-anew
Finally wise to seasoned love
Menopause*, this Change of Life
Fights an uphill battle
For this old shrub of a heart
Has never before blossomed so red.

* In Persian, the word for Menopause also means annulment and/or despair.

From The Translation Project

the politics of bicycles 2

from  londonrihla

“On the basis of a fatwa issued by the supreme religious guide [Ayatollah Khamenei], women cycling in public is prohibited. Disobeying such a fatwa within the Islamic Republic of Iran could lead to penalties such as imprisonment and flogging.”

(Food) Porn Star

Nigella.  Yum.

 She is hot in ways I can’t even explain.  Just watching her show, I feel soooo naughty.

  Celebrity Chef Match

Midwifery Heroes

Ina May Gaskin Ina May Gaskin, CPM

Michael Odent, MD Michel Odent, MD

Marsden Wagner, MD Marsden Wagner, MD

* Above photos from Orgasmic Birth,

a documentary that examines the sexual and intimate nature of birth and the powerful role it plays in women’s lives when they are permitted to experience it. This documentary asks viewers to reexamine everything they thought they knew about giving birth and the potential it holds.

Viewers will feel the passion and power that childbirth holds as they visit women, their partners, families, midwives, and physicians in Mexico, New Zealand, Austria, England, Netherlands, Brazil, and the United States. Couples share their birth experiences, talking about their fears and how they found the support, nurturing, images and ultimately the power and strength within themselves to labor and birth their babies in a beautiful, loving and ecstatic way.

They are in need of fundage to complete “the final editing stages of this important documentary”.  To make a donation, please click here.


Sikh Art

1.  Sikhs: Legacy of the Punjab @ The Smithsonian, Washington, DC

Be sure to see it at the Natural History Museum when you are in town!  I am hoping that it will still be open in June when I go up.  http://sikhs.tulwar.com/smithsonian/

2. The Singh Twins: http://www.singhtwins.co.uk

I was able to see an exibition of theirs at an art museum in SoCal, back a few years ago, though I missed meeting the artists themselves.  Their art is certainly a pleasure to look at up close.  They describe their art as “Past-Modern”, and that is exactly what it is too.  Moderno-classic Indian art.  A fusion of the classical past blended with the  ‘pop culture’ of today.

Cupping: Black: India: Darjeeling:Risheehat SFTGFOP1


Risheehat SFTGFOP1: SP Darjeeling
From Uptonproduct image

Tasting Notes

Done with a glass sench pot 3.5m (1st infusion) and ceramic gaiwan 3m (2nd).

  • Opening the bag:  sweet fermenting hay scent
  • Dry observation:  not so uniform in size, but certainly in colour.  most small to medium leaves, with a few big ones.  Nice medium brown colour, w/ some (not a lot) golden tips interspursed.
    Observation in pot: medium carmel
  • Scent in cup: not unlike the bag, but less intense, weak.
  • Wet leaf observation: more greenish-brown, more towards the greener side, too many stems.
  • Flavour, taken neat: [sp]: oversteeped at 3.5m [gw]:better, less piney-tannicity, slightly nutty a bit vegital. weak.
  • Flavour, taken with 1 soymilk and 1 raw sugar (*):
  • Aftertaste: [sp]: not so nice, [gw] not as bad, sort of like kombu.
  • First Impression: I bought how much of this?
  • (*)Second Impression

*Maps © Tea & Coffee Trade Journal *Tea pic from Uptontea.com

Research confirmed : Tea is a healthier drink than water « BioLife for Healthy Indulgence


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting 

My Culinary Heroes

Auguste Escoffier

From top to bottom, left to right: Julia Child, Georges Auguste Escoffier, Alice Waters, and MFK Fisher,

Q&A: Massage Therapy: Breast Implants

Mizz B. asks: I just got breast implants, please explain to me how to massage them.

Massagewallah answers:

Thanks for asking! This is very important thing to do!

There are a few different methods of massage used to prevent incapsulation (Capsular Contracture) of the implant. First, this type of preventative massage need not be done on texured implants, only smooth (general massage is ok for texured implants, though). Also if the impants are submuscular (rather then subglandular) these exercises dont need to be done.

Massage is generally contraindicated for the first 24-72hrs post op.

The main two techniques, as you mentioned are 1.Pocket Quadrant Exercises (PCE) and 2. Compression work.

PCE involves manual displacement of the impant to the outermost corners of the implant pocket: Up, down, side to side, holding each for a few seconds. To start off with do this every 2-3 hours, for the first couple weeks postop, then 2-3 times a day for a few weeks after that, and then once a day for the life of the implants.

Compression work is using a flat palm pressed with light-to-medium pressure against the implant flattening it and keep the pocket open. This can also be done by laying on the floor. Do this about 30m a day for the first few months and then try to keep it up as you go on.

Another thing to do is to actually squeeze the implants, feeling your fingers meeting in the middle

Aristide M. LaVey, LMT subspecializing in post op breast implant massage therapy.

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