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🇺🇸 Burgeoning Books Bans

Plus, a preteen joyride.

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Thursday. An adorable ‘graduation’ was held for a pair of twins born at just 22 weeks who beat the odds and would finally get to go home.

Plus, a 10-year-old Florida boy and his 11-year-old sister who were running away to California made it 200 miles in their mother’s car before they were stopped by sheriff’s deputies on the highway.

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TRENDING

Right: Why Trump's Message Works Byron York, Washington Examiner

Right: Dems Have Become the Party of Authoritarianism John Daniel Davidson, The Federalist

Left: MAGA Extremists Have Hijacked the House Rep. Katherine Clark, MSNBC

QUICK CLICKS

FTC Eyes Amazon, Travis King Back in Custody, US Weaker Now Than 2011

US: Amazon used market power to warp prices of goods across the internet, FTC alleges (NBC)

World: Travis King, U.S. soldier who ran into North Korea, is back in U.S. custody (NPR)

US: Target to close nine stores across four states because of theft and crime (StarTribune)

US: Some Republican donors now eye Haley as best hope against Trump (Reuters)

US: Fox slashes ad prices for second debate as primary turns into ‘snoozer’ (Semafor)

US: Sitting all day increases dementia risk — even if you exercise (Washingon Post)

US: The U.S. is weaker now than when we downgraded in 2011, former S&P ratings chairman says (CNBC)

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EDUCATION

Burgeoning Book Bans

PEN America, a literary nonprofit, "recorded 3,362 instances of books banned" in 2023, "an increase of 33 percent from the 2021–22 school year," according to its latest report. The American Library Association's (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom says there were 695 attempts to censor library materials and services in the first eight months of 2023, compared to 681 during the same period last year.

Reporting from the Right: American Library Association report on 'book bans' blasted by conservative scholar (Washington Examiner)

Reporting from the Left: Attempts to ban books at public libraries surge at record levels (Axios)

From The Flag: Attempts to ban certain books from U.S. classrooms and libraries are on the rise. Is it an attack on free speech or a move to protect kids? Some see the book bans as righteous, whereas others see it as silencing the voices of those challenging the status quo. Here’s what both sides are saying.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Left’s Outrage is Disingenuous

  • The left has latched onto the narrative of “book bans” as a way to characterize the right and Republicans as anti-democratic fascists.

  • Some on the left are aware of the sexually explicit material presented in certain books but still assert these books should be accessible.

  • Congressional Democrats “have begun to prepare a resolution aimed at blocking local ‘book bans’ by parents who believe gender identity, social agendas and explicit sexual content should be removed…”

About those ‘book bans’ Madeline Fry Schultz, Washington Examiner: “Like the lines about supposed attacks on voting rights and women’s autonomy , the argument that books are being banned is greatly exaggerated. It has been repeated ad nauseam by Democratic politicians and their allies. And yet, it actually isn’t true. … The idea that books are being banned now more than ever before has been used by Democrats to paint those scary Republican politicians and parents as fascists who want children to grow up right-wing and illiterate. … Not only are the statistics about banned books being greatly inflated by sexually explicit titles, but they also seem just to be made up. … So no, Oprah, there is no book-banning epidemic. But there is an epidemic of experts who are supposed to be in charge of guiding the impressionable minds of children instead pushing wildly inappropriate materials in their libraries.”

Leftist Witness In Senate Hearing On Book Bans Admits Sex Scenes Are ‘Disturbing,’ But Children Should Still Have Access Tom Jones, The Federalist: “While in a sane world it might be expected that such graphic imagery would be censored, in this situation it really is astounding. Our librarians and lawmakers claim these images are perfectly safe for kids in schools, but then they are censored on social media. We can’t help asking, which one is it? Are these books perfectly safe, even for children, or are they too explicit for the public square? What is especially astounding is that in this context, children are less protected from inappropriate sexual imagery than adults. It’s completely upside down. We are living in a world where Twitter is a safer place for children than the classroom. It is also ironic that this comes as the left claims they are fighting ‘banned books.’ They don’t seem to have a problem with these books being ‘banned’ from social media. Their ‘outrage’ is strangely limited to when they are removed from kids’ public libraries and classrooms.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Dems Plan Resolution To Keep Explicit Books In Schools Bronson Winslow, Daily Caller

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Growing Book Bans Are Very Concerning

  • Public libraries are essential to our democracy, and it’s not a surprise they’ve now become the right’s latest target.

  • These are dire consequences for a younger generation faced with book bans, including limited academic exposure as well as psychological and emotional damage.

  • One author explains the value of books and makes an impassioned plea for others to join the fight against “book-ban zealots” who are casting a wider net of the books they’re targeting.

The right’s censorship campaign is growing more ambitious — and threatening Zeeshan Aleem, MSNBC: “...right-wing censorship is growing more sweeping and becoming more systematic. It becomes clearer by the day that this is a political movement that doesn’t just shun intellectual freedom but fears it. … Banning books at public libraries affects not just children but also adults… And removing books from public libraries is a much more radical act of suppression than removing books from school libraries. Setting aside for a moment the merits (or lack thereof) of right-wing censorship requests at school libraries, it’s fair to say school libraries warrant some degree of special scrutiny because they’re tied to state-sponsored pedagogy for children. But public libraries, while sponsored by state funding, should be institutions of expansive intellectual freedom. … Public libraries are the sole means by which some communities can access books, periodicals and research resources. Libraries should curate their selections based not on popularity of ideas but on the principle of allowing people access to a wide spectrum of ideas.”

School book bans and challenges, at record highs, are rising again Hannah Natanson, The Washington Post: “Both Jonathan Friedman, director of free expression and education programs at PEN America, and Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director of the ALA’s office for intellectual freedom, warned of dire consequences for the current generation of students — even in the cases where attempted book bans fail and texts are returned to shelves, or where students find ways to access books on their own outside of school. ‘When you dictate what people can read, what people can choose from, that’s the mark of an authoritarian society, not a democratic society,’ said Caldwell-Stone. ‘We really have to question what we intend for the education of our young people,’ she said. Friedman argued that children can learn to feel ashamed of certain identities when books featuring them become banned. ‘That stigma can have psychological impacts on young people and their sense of belonging,’ he said, ‘and the imagination they have about the stories they themselves could eventually write.’”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Authors Like Me Are Fighting the Book-Ban Zealots. We Need Help. Dashiki Slater, Mother Jones

FLAG THIS

Book Bans Are Unpopular

A recent poll conducted with the nonpartisan research firm Embold Research found that 75% of Americans oppose book banning (EveryLibrary Institute).

Another poll from NPR/IPSOS found that a slim majority (51%) of Republicans oppose state lawmakers passing laws to ban certain books and remove them from classrooms and libraries. Additionally, 45% of Republicans said they oppose individual school boards banning books (The Hill).

In general, do you support book bans?

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FLAG FINDS

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WATERCOOLER

Pompey the Great, Climate Havens, Debt-Free Nation

On This Day in 48 BC: Upon landing in Egypt, Roman general and politician Pompey is murdered on the orders of King Ptolemy of Egypt. During his long career, Pompey the Great displayed exceptional military talents on the battlefield. He fought in Africa and Spain, quelled the slave revolt of Spartacus, cleared the Mediterranean of pirates, and conquered Armenia, Syria and Palestine.

Today I learned that Liechtenstein has virtually no debt with its debt-to-GDO ratio being 0.5%.

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