Social Decline and the GOP

Oh, there is a whole lotta wailing still goin’ on.

Post election finger pointing is tiresome after a second week of the rehash, rehashed.   Many party wonks and hand wringing “conservatives” think the Republican Party must capitulate on the social issues (Natural marriage, abortion, euthanasia)  in order to appeal to the handful of independents and the Hispanic block.

Balderdash!  The social issues won the day for the Democrats.  Democratic blogs and PACs, media pundits and such clearly crow that their social issues, not the economy, won the day.

Those “moderate” Republicans who think that  the GOP had better adopt  same-sex unions, euthanasia and abortion while they retain a fiscally conservative platform, need to rethink their game-plan.  Such a move simply creates two Democrat parties: Democrat Light and Democrat.  Trouble is, once  the Republicans travel that path, they can kiss all hope  of election good-bye.  There are simply  too many hard ideological Democrats who worship at the altar of State.  The rest are receiving a major portion of their sustenance from the government– they are not interested in fiscal sobriety.  They have no use for Democrat Light (formerly the GOP)

Here’s the real problem  that few in office are willing to acknowledge:You cannot have a healthy economy in a nation where natural families are in decline.

Consider this statistic: Entrepreneurship  and innovation is  predominant among 25-45 year -old citizens.  We have fewer 25-45  year -old people entering the workforce, sufficient to alarm the Bureau of Labor   New ideas and risk taking do not generate in retirement communities.  Some have put the estimate of economic loss from abortion at $45 TRILLION !

Nations in decline cannot repair an ailing economy.

Marxists and Socialists –our enemies–know this. Hence their agenda to destroy the moral codes that protect marriage and family, including sufficient births to people the nation generation after generation.  When a people are “freed” from  natural marriage and family, debt increases.  A debauched culture pursues pleasure and immediate material excess rather than invest for the future (with far fewer babies born) to the detriment of the next generation, because–bluntly–they won’t have to pay the tab–your kids will be hung with the bill.  Those who have no faith in the ideals of family, patriotism and the Judeo -Christian moral code that built Western Civilization, have zero scruples about saddling your children as their beast of burden.  They frankly do not care what happens after their own death–it means nothing to them if the nation dies.

“But,” you may object, “there are plenty of Democrats with families who surely must care.”   Maybe.  We’ve all met those looney parents who teach their youngsters that baby seals are entitled to protection but baby humans are not.  I do not doubt that some Democrat parents care for their children’s future in theory, as long as that future includes  Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi’s moral code: birth control pills and abortions for 12 year olds.  For many on the left, the ideals of permissive sex, same-sex unions, abortion and euthanasia are more important than the chaotic decline such tenets bring  to the coming generation. In short, these parents will offer up the future of their own children, fully confident that –some how — the coming age will be tolerant and peaceful–or else.

Else?   Yes, Virginia, they will use the force of government to coerce this chaos on all–so much for tolerance.  The intolerance  of “progressives” toward Christians and others of  traditional moral wisdom is gathering speed. Catholics and all citizens of good will and a stiff spine must jab right  back against the growing claim that the GOP can only survive if it capitulates on the social issues.

What can you do? Contact your Republican elected officials-– state and national– and tell them the social issues matter to the base–Just say NO to  Democrat Light.

Who Should Catholics Vote for On November 6th?

In the coming weeks there will be posts of interest  to those who want to make an honest appraisal of the candidates and the party platforms.

It is no secret that both campaigns have identified Catholics as the key to their success.  But the candidates view Catholics very differently.  The Democratic campaign is certain that Catholic women are not disturbed by the Democratic platform’s  commitment to abortion, free contraceptives  and sterilizations(paid for by the taxpayers under Obama’s Affordable Health Care Act). The Republican  campaign views Catholics as a block that is–or should be–very alarmed by the HHS mandate’s assault on Religious Liberty, a pillar of the Constitution.    Please visit often to read how each side seeks to secure the crucial Catholic vote.

In the meanwhile, to this post will be added  new snips and clips from news features and  Church issues to address the issue of  the “Catholic vote.” Please scroll down to read each day’s entry.

October 16th

Women  want more than “pelvic politics”.  Newest Gallup poll indicates women in swing  states are taking a new look at the Romney/ Ryan positions.   It is important that Catholics make their voices heard–too many women, even Catholics, have the impression that a Romney victory means the end of access to birth control.  Not so. The Republican platform says nothing about contraceptive access. Rather it defends religious freedom–the right of people of conscience to not be coerced into paying for an immoral act. Contraception will be just as available as it is now– it simply protects Catholics from coercion.

 

October 8th

“In the words of “Faithful Citizenship,” how we should respond is clear. The document says, “Our focus is not on party affiliation, ideology, economics, or even competence and capacity to perform duties, as important as such issues are. Rather, we focus on what protects or threatens human life and dignity.” As you consider these concerns, I will be praying for you in Rome that the humble, joyful Poverello of Assisi intercede for us, and that Mary Immaculate, patroness of the United States and Star of the New Evangelization, will inspire in us wisdom, prudence, and courage.”

————–Timothy, Cardinal Dolan, president of the USCCB

October 1st

September 30th

Want Peace? Vote for Religious Liberty

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2011 World Day of Peace message called religious freedom the “path to peace.” Since “religious freedom is at the origin of moral freedom,” the Pope taught it should be understood “not merely as immunity from coercion, but even more fundamentally as an ability to order one’s own choices in accordance with truth… When religious freedom is acknowledged, the dignity of the human person is respected at its root, and the ethos and institutions of peoples are strengthened. On the other hand, whenever religious freedom is denied, and attempts are made to hinder people from professing their religion or faith and living accordingly, human dignity is offended, with a resulting threat to justice and peace….” ( More here)

It’s a fundamental break with reality to think that peace on earth can begin with nations that abort their own children. Such nations demonstrate their domination over the most vulnerable. A domination ethos never leads to peace.  A government that then attempts to force people of faith to live at the margins of society by means of coercive power simply provokes  rebellion.

Want peace?  Vote to protect religious liberty.

—–MJA

 

September 29th, Feast of the Archangels

Novena for Religious Liberty Begins Today!

Please join millions today for the Novena to the Mother of God for the Nation.

During the Novena, leading bishops from across the nation will be celebrating the televised Mass from Our Lady of the Angels Chapel in Irondale, Alabama at 8 a.m. ET each day. Each bishop will deliver a homily highlighting the importance of prayer in the fight for religious liberty and will lead the novena prayers for that day. Celebrants will include Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop-designate of Lincoln (Neb.), who will open the novena; Kansas City Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann; Mobile (Ala.) Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi; Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput; and Birmingham (Ala.) Bishop Robert J. Baker, who will close the novena.

“Catholics have always turned instinctively for help to the Mother of God in times of need,” says Fr. Miller, “And so, in 2012, we turn to Our Lady for help. Many of the values that have shaped our country from the beginning seem to be at risk. Pope Benedict XVI and the American Bishops have noted the erosion of religious freedom, the first value guaranteed by the Constitution. This novena challenges all of us to a deeper conversion to Christ and a more generous life of charity. The proximity of this novena to the 2012 Presidential Election also offers an opportunity to pray for all of our government officials and to seek Divine assistance in the election.”

Novena may be downloaded here.

—-MJA

September 28th

The Poor and Me. And you.

 

“In voting, consideration must be given to the poor and measures to help them. Though direct government assistance is sometimes necessary, it is not the only solution in assisting the poor and needy. Society should never fail in its fundamental task of creating an environment in which the poor and needy can prosper and reach a sense of security and freedom for themselves and for their families. This necessitates that all join in helping the poor and needy and the government must respect the freedom of institutions involved in this work.”

—- Frank J.Dewane,  Bishop of Venice Florida

One of the more sobering consequences of  increased government assistance to the poor is that it makes too many of us–Christians– complacent about the plight of the poor.  “I’m sure there is a government program for that,”   is a refrain we frequently hear. It’s a polite way to say, ” I need not trouble myself over this man’s circumstance.”

But Jesus said, “Feed them yourselves.” (Matthew 14:13-17) Simply stated, we’ve have sub-contracted out  to the government a direct command that Christ gave us to fulfill.    We are flaccid. We lack virtue when we fail to engage the “least of our brothers” ourselves. The context of the Feeding of the Multitude is interesting–Jesus is with His disciples in a large crowd.  “The people” are engaged directly with Jesus and his followers.  There is no government-run hamburger stand. The crowd is listening and watching: “Who is this Teacher who speaks as no other has spoken?”   Is it such a stretch for third millennium Christians to see that our own direct hands-on service is a far more compelling voice for what we profess than a grinding government bureaucracy?

In the clip above Bp. Dewane points out that direct government assistance is not the only solution to care of the poor. I would suggest it is the least effective method ; too much overhead, too much fraud, too much waste. Ah, but, it affords complacent American Christians  a measure of comfort –I care for the poor!–without the human element, that is, without ever having to interact with the poor.  We may tickle our “compassion” button with that claim, but it is false. True compassion comes alongside the one who suffers. Compassion is personal.

The Catholic Church provides more social services for the poor  than any other entity in the nation–except the US government.  If the HHS mandate is not overturned, those services to the poor will be shuttered. Who then will the poor have?  A  faceless leviathan with a monopoly on “the poor.”  We may ignore Christ’s  command to “feed them yourselves” but there will be consequences for the poor –and for those of us impoverished of virtue.

—-MJA

September 27th

Here is a snip from a U.S. News and World Report article:

“With most of the national polls showing the race to be one or two points either way, the fight over the Catholic vote is heating up. In Cleveland, Ohio, the local chapter of Right to Life has issued a formal letter to Bishop Richard Lennon asking him to suspend the Diocese’s “Faithful Citizenship” meetings because of their disregard for pro-life issues.

“As a pro-life woman and a Catholic, I am appalled,” Cleveland Right to Life President Molly Smith said in a release. “Our Church is under attack by the most liberal, pro-abortion leadership in history. The Cleveland Catholic Diocese is missing a great teaching and unifying opportunity by responding in this manner.”

According to Smith’s group, “Faithful Citizenship meetings were organized by the Diocese of Cleveland with the goal of aiding Catholics in preparing themselves to vote this November. The forums, led in part by open Obama-supporter Karen Leith, downplay abortion and religious freedom, issues of irreducible importance to Catholic voters.”  Read more here

More on the CATHOLIC VOTE here.

Keep the faith!

MJA

Cardinal Dolan, Prayer of a Righteous Man

In the months ahead, Cardinal Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops,  must have the wisdom of Solomon.  The Church in America faces severe trials over the HHS mandate  which assaults our constitutional right to religious liberty.

Please pray for our shepherds.

Archbishop Charles Chaput and other US bishops have called for a rosary novena to begin on the Feast of the Archangels, September 29- October 7, Feast of the Rosary and the Victory of the Battle of Lepanto.

Book of Hours

Few people keep Easter as the octave that it is.  Simply, we should celebrate for the full eight days, from Easter Sunday through the Sunday we now celebrate as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Some years ago one of my sisters sent me a lovely small book published by the British publisher, Phaidon Press Limited. Its title is Descent. It is described as “An intimate survey of images of the Descent from the Cross.”  The book is perhaps 5″ by 6″ and thus fits in one’s hands easily. There are two others in the series, Annunciation, and Crucifixion.

I mention this set of books because for me they offer a very personal means of meditation and –somehow–a sense of the whole Christian community that has “kept Easter” for 201o years.  These volumes are reminders of the imagery that our forebears in the faith found compelling.

All of this puts me in mind of the Book of Hours.  According to the Frick Fine Arts Library,

“From the large number still surviving, we know that the Book of Hours was the most popular book of the Middle Ages. Books of Hours were produced throughout Europe, but were especially popular in France and Flanders. These manuscripts were modelled on the Breviary used by the clergy, but in a shortened form and were used by the laity for their daily devotions. The core of the Book of Hours is the Hours of the Virgin divided into eight parts to be said at different times or hours of the day. The eight “hours” of prayer are matins, lauds, prime, terce, sext, vespers and compline. Several other prayers and texts accompany the Hours of the Virgin.”

The illuminations from some of the more famous Book of Hours are breathtaking in their beauty, content and sense of Divine Order.  And the  colors! How exquisite– particularly the intense blue derived from ground lapis lazuli.

Of course, in a book of hours, the  illuminations are not limited to Easter themes, but depict the lives of the saints, the liturgical seasons, great feast days and even local life including the harvest or a wedding–again underscoring the Medieval worldview that all human endeavors can and should be sanctified.

Here is an endearing image of St. Francis and St. Clare preaching to creatures. Notice the stigmata on his foot.

St Francis

As Easter draws to a close and we journey toward Pentecost, I put away the eggs and images of new life. But I leave out the small books of  illuminations that remind me that each hour of the day was once passed in “ordinary” work and life by the Blessed Virgin and her son, who is both Man and God. Because Christ did not shrink from “ordinary” human activities, He sanctified those same daily chores, those same family gatherings, the same passing of the seasons.  One might say that Jesus “saved”  us from ordinary work, renewing  human acts  as worthy of our time. As Easter people we too can sanctify our daily lives by offering every moment to Christ our Savior.

A blessed Easter Octave to all!

United Nations Treaty Rears It’s Ugly Head –Again

The United Nations’  Convention on the Rights of the Child has been rejected by the US Congress for 20 years.  Now this pernicious treaty for “Rights of the Child” is  back. The Obama administration has promised to seek ratifcation of the treaty.

Susan Rice is the new US ambassador to the U.N. On  Monday,June 22, Ambassador Rice told students in a Harlem school that the Obama administration was actively working to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Ambassador Rice,  however, admitted to Senator Barbara Boxer in February that she was concerned about ” the challenge of domestic implementation.”

The CRC is a direct threat to every American parent, as well as to national sovereignty.  It makes a global institution the daddy–parents could easily be overruled when a child exercises her new global rights to a “review” of parental decisions about his / her choices in friends, religion and–of course! –“health care,” which is U.N. code-speak for contraception and abortion.

For more information on this direct threat to your rights as a parent and the sovereignty of America, please see my article http://www.wf-f.org/0901MJA-UN.html

To protest contact:

White House comment line: 202-456-1111
http://www.whitehouse.gov/CONTACT/

http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
(enter zip code for contact information for your senator and congressmen)

Book Burning? Censorship under the radar?

The New Book Banning
Children’s books burn, courtesy of the federal government.
12 February 2009

It’s hard to believe, but true: under a law Congress passed last year aimed at regulating hazards in children’s products, the federal government has now advised that children’s books published before 1985 should not be considered safe and may in many cases be unlawful to sell or distribute.

dick-jane1

The balance of the article is below–but as you read, consider how this “safety” law effectively bans books of patriotism and American culture  written before liberal revisionists controlled the NEA and  textbook publishing. Many of these books for children3-6 th grades describe a nation that believed in God, that prayed i school, a nation that went to church, where the church was a pillar of the  community life….  Books of American heroes and pioneers with liberty in their veins….already many public schools have neglected George Washington as “irrelevant” to the modern life of American students.

Banning such books also erases an image of a wholesome America–where children lived in families with married mothers and fathers, not “Heather has Two Mommies.”   It washes away an image of America where families lived in harmony with each other and responsibility was the other side of liberty.

It erases an America where children wore modest clothing, spoke correct English and believed in God.  It erases the America where 12 year olds were not having aortions and worried about Daddy’s boyfriend.  And, of course, it would ban children’s books  pre-1985 about the lives of the saints.

The article continues:

Merchants, thrift stores, and booksellers may be at risk if they sell older volumes, or even give them away, without first subjecting them to testing—at prohibitive expense. Many used-book sellers, consignment stores, Goodwill outlets, and the like have accordingly begun to refuse new donations of pre-1985 volumes, yank existing ones off their shelves, and in some cases discard them en masse.

The problem is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA), passed by Congress last summer after the panic over lead paint on toys from China. Among its other provisions, CPSIA imposed tough new limits on lead in any products intended for use by children aged 12 or under, and made those limits retroactive: that is, goods manufactured before the law passed cannot be sold on the used market (even in garage sales or on eBay) if they don’t conform. The law has hit thrift stores particularly hard, since many children’s products have long included lead-containing (if harmless) components: zippers, snaps, and clasps on garments and backpacks; skateboards, bicycles, and countless other products containing metal alloy; rhinestones and beads in decorations; and so forth. Combine this measure with a new ban (also retroactive) on playthings and child-care articles that contain plastic-softening chemicals known as phthalates, and suddenly tens of millions of commonly encountered children’s items have become unlawful to resell, presumably destined for landfills when their owners discard them. Penalties under the law are strict and can include $100,000 fines and prison time, regardless of whether any child is harmed.

Not until 1985 did it become unlawful to use lead pigments in the inks, dyes, and paints used in children’s books. Before then—and perhaps particularly in the great age of children’s-book illustration that lasted through the early twentieth century—the use of such pigments was not uncommon, and testing can still detect lead residues in books today. This doesn’t mean that the books pose any hazard to children. While lead poisoning from other sources, such as paint in old houses, remains a serious public health problem in some communities, no one seems to have been able to produce a single instance in which an American child has been made ill by the lead in old book illustrations—not surprisingly, since unlike poorly maintained wall paint, book pigments do not tend to flake off in large lead-laden chips for toddlers to put into their mouths.

At any rate, CPSIA’s major provisions went into effect on February 10. The day before, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) published guidelines telling thrift stores, as well as other resellers and distributors of used goods, what they could safely keep selling and what they should consider rejecting or subjecting to (expensive) lead testing. Confirming earlier reports, the document advised that only “ordinary” children’s books (that is, made entirely of paper, with no toylike plastic or metal elements) printed after 1985 could be placed in the safe category. Older books were pointedly left off the safe list; the commission did allow an exception for vintage collectibles whose age, price, or rarity suggested that they would most likely be used by adult collectors, rather than given to children.

Since the law became effective the very next day, there was no time to waste in putting this advice into practice. A commenter at Etsy, the large handicrafts and vintage-goods site, observed how things worked at one store:

I just came back from my local thrift store with tears in my eyes! I watched as boxes and boxes of children’s books were thrown into the garbage! Today was the deadline and I just can’t believe it! Every book they had on the shelves prior to 1985 was destroyed! I managed to grab a 1967 edition of “The Outsiders” from the top of the box, but so many!

People who deal in children’s books for a livelihood now face unpleasant choices. Valorie Jacobsen of Clinton, Wisconsin, who owns a small used-book store and has sold over the Internet since 1995, commented at my blog, Overlawyered: “Our bookstore is the sole means of income for our family, and we currently have over 7,000 books catalogued. In our children’s department, 35 percent of our picture books and 65 percent of our chapter books were printed before 1985.” Jacobsen has contacted the CPSC and her congressional representatives for guidance, but to no avail. “We cannot simply discard a wealth of our culture’s nineteenth and twentieth children’s literature over this,” she writes. She remains defiant, if wary: “I was willing to resist the censorship of 1984 and the Fire Department of Fahrenheit 451 long before I became a bookseller, so I’d love to run a black market in quality children’s books—but at the same time it’s not like the CPSC has never destroyed a small, harmless company before.”

Jacobsen also worries that any temporary forbearance on the part of the CPSC, which has said that it does not plan a reseller crackdown any time soon in the absence of evidence of risk, could be abrogated without notice in the future. For one thing, new commissioners appointed by the Obama administration are expected to show less sympathy in regulating business than the current commission. In addition, the 50 state attorneys general have been empowered to enforce the law on their own, and frequently take much more aggressive legal positions than those of the federal government, sometimes teaming with private lawyers who capture a share of fines imposed.

Seizing on the “collectible” loophole, commenter Carol Baicker-McGee declared: “If nothing happens to change this law soon, I promise I will spend whatever money and devote whatever space I can to buying up these older books. I’ll be happy to label myself a collector (and I’m subversive enough to leave the books lying around where kids might ‘accidentally’ read them).” But this strategy, aside from its overtones of furtive evasion, will provide limited legal help to sellers. Under the law, they’re liable if their products will commonly be understood as intended for children’s use, even if not labeled as such.

A further question is what to do about public libraries, which daily expose children under 12 to pre-1985 editions of Anne of Green Gables, Beatrix Potter, Baden-Powell’s scouting guides, and other deadly hazards. The blogger Design Loft carefully examines some of the costs of CPSIA-proofing pre-1985 library holdings; they are, not surprisingly, utterly prohibitive. The American Library Association spent months warning about the law’s implications, but its concerns fell on deaf ears in Congress (which, in this week’s stimulus bill, refused to consider an amendment by Republican senator Jim DeMint to reform CPSIA). The ALA now apparently intends to take the position that the law does not apply to libraries unless it hears otherwise. One can hardly blame it for this stance, but it’s far from clear that it will prevail. For one thing, the law bans the “distribution” of forbidden items, whether or not for profit. In addition, most libraries regularly raise money through book sales, and will now need to consider excluding older children’s titles from those sales. One CPSC commissioner, Thomas Moore, has already called for libraries to “sequester” some undefinedly large fraction of pre-1985 books until more is known about their risks.

The threat to old books has surfaced so quickly in recent weeks that the elite press still seems unaware of it. The wider pattern of CPSIA’s disruptive irrationality and threat to small businesses has been covered reasonably well by the local press around the country. Some papers have investigated particular aspects of the law—the Los Angeles Times has tracked its menace to the garment industry, and the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal the general plight of thrift stores—but almost no one has cared to consider the law’s broad array of unintended consequences, let alone ask what went wrong in the near-unanimous rush to passage of this feel-good law.

The New York Times, which last year vigorously cheered the passage of CPSIA in both its news and editorial columns, occupies a class by itself in almost completely ignoring the law’s wrenching effects as its effective date has arrived. The Times used to cover the book business, as well as apparel, retailing, and product design, to name a few of the sectors hit hard by CPSIA. Yet the paper has remained entirely silent on the law in recent weeks, aside from one brief wire-service item and a post on the paper’s automotive blog, Wheels, about the law’s effect on children’s dirt bikes (now forced off the market). On Wednesday, the Times ran an editorial solemnly condemning “book banning”; on inspection, the editorial turned out to praise an ACLU lawsuit against a school district that had removed a library book from the shelves because of its allegedly over-favorable view of Castro’s Cuba. In any wider and more systematic prospect of book banning, the paper has shown no interest.

Whatever the future of new media may hold, ours will be a poorer world if we begin to lose (or “sequester” from children) the millions of books published before our own era. They serve as a path into history, literature, and imagination for kids everywhere. They link the generations by enabling parents to pass on the stories and discoveries in which they delighted as children. Their illustrations open up worlds far removed from what kids are likely to see on the video or TV screen. Could we really be on the verge of losing all of this? And if this is what government protection of our kids means, shouldn’t we be thinking instead about protecting our kids from the government?

Walter Olson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and has covered CPSIA in depth at his blog, Overlawyered.

………may I suggest that we buy these books and share them with children and grandchildren so that the American Founding will be taught as it was , not as the  anti-liberty revisionists  have portrayed America’s early years.

If we do not preserve these books, generations ahead will not know what kind of people we were before the nation stumbled into public apostasy.

Our Lady of the Americas, pray for us.

N O T E:

Some have pointed out that Snopes.com debunks the “book banning” scare.   In this case Snopes  offers  insufficient analysis.  Please read the following snips from the American Library Association and the website of an attorney who has advised on this bill :

From American Library Association:

* * snip * *

However, the advisory opinion from the CPSC says that not only must the testing be done by one of their certified labs but that this legislation also is retroactive, and every book must be tested. This situation will become even more complicated because the CPSC has not certified any labs to administer the lead testing.
In an effort to solve this problem, ALA has been in discussion with attorneys, other associations and the sponsors of the original bill.  One of those groups, the AAP, has received a response to a letter from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that does not fully satisfy our concern. Our analysis is that neither the law nor the legislative history indicates any Congressional intention to include books and even textbooks in the law. ( they hope!)

The ALA Washington Office has submitted a letter to Congress informing them that,

“The publishing community has supplied the Commission with evidentiary support (can be viewed at www.rrd.com/cpsia) that books and other non-book, paper-based printed materials should not be subject to the lead, phthalate, and applicable ASTM standards that are referenced in CPSIA because they do not present any of the health or safety risks to children that the law intended to address. But the General Counsel rejected the Publisher’s request to be excluded.
If the CPSIA is applied to books and paper-based materials, as indicated by the Commission’s General Counsel, public, school and museum libraries will have to either remove all their books or ban all children under 12 from visiting. This cannot be what the Congress intended…. They should enforce this important legislation where the dangers are, not with books, which are not playthings, and should remain unregulated.”
(if the ALA writes this ” cannot be what Congress intended,” then we know the ALA is very concerned.)
* * snip * *

First, a bit of background. In a February 4 post, “The Blame Game“, Rick Woldenberg has laid out the “noose-like” tightness with which the drafters of the CPSIA sought to prevent the CPSC from granting exemptions from the standards; they also provided that liability under the law would not be suspended just because a request for exemption was under consideration. In short, the CPSIA is purposely drafted to place many advantages in the hands of consumer groups or other litigants who might wish to challenge an exemption in court. Since the CPSC cannot be sure of having the last word — its attempt to carve out an exemption for pre-Feb. 10 phthalate inventories was just struck down — it would be incautious for producers or retailers to rely overmuch on its policy pronouncements, especially since, while it obviously has some discretion over its own enforcement efforts, it cannot prevent others (like state attorneys general) from bringing their own actions. One of those state AGs, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, just issued a press release crowing over the consumer groups’ phthalate victory and warning retailers, thrift stores presumably included, that “My office will take whatever steps are necessary [emphasis added] to ensure this phthalate ban is enforced.” (Note that while the phthalate ban was often argued for on the basis of the “precautionary principle” — even if no actual harm to humans has been proved, shouldn’t we alter the formulas for making the items to be safe rather than sorry? — Blumenthal & co. now seek to redefine millions of existing playthings in American homes as “toxic toys”.) It should be noted that private activist and lawyer groups often shop potential cases to state AGs’ offices, and in turn are made monetary beneficiaries of resulting fines and settlements (more on California’s CEH here).

Finally, “ordinary” children’s books (it is not clear whether books with staples qualify) will be presumptively lawful if published since 1985.

Published since when?

That’s right, since 1985. It seems before that year some books were printed with lead-containing inks. None of the discussion I’ve seen of the issue seems to report that any American child has ever been injured by eating the ink in books. But the implication is pretty clear for books published before 1985: unless you’d care to put them through testing, title by title and edition by edition, it’s now legally safer to throw ‘em out. One might propose vast bonfires in public squares, if not for the fear of violating air quality regulations.

Epiphany

My  yearly irritation has been renewed–neighbors whose tree and symbols of  Christmas are on the trash heap by

6 a.m. December 26th.

magi

The twelve days of Christmas are lost to modernity, apparently.  Like most of you, I am at warp speed visiting with relatives and students home for Christmas break and this may be fortunate for it means I have too little time to rant at length on this topic. But please, lovely Christian people, please “keep Christmas” all the way to the Epiphany.

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