Friday, August 27, 2010

Signs that the economy is bad, August 27th edition

Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. Sure, anyone can look at the usual indicators such as unemployment, housing markets, etc. The Itinerant Librarian goes out, uses his information systems mastery and his knowledge of information resources to seek out and find those oh-so-subtle clues that the economy is bad. So, sit back and let's have a look at this week's signs that the economy is bad:

  • You know things are bad when you can't even afford your prescriptions,  have to cut pills, or do other stunts just to stay afloat.  According to Consumer Reports blog, "Overall, 27 percent failed to take a drug as prescribed, for example, by not getting a prescription filled (16 percent), taking an expired medication (12 percent), or sharing a prescription with someone else to save money (4 percent)." Oh, and consumers also think that doctors are way too cozy with Big Pharma, but I think that's pretty much a given. (A hat tip to Americablog).
  • Things are so bad that call centers are now returning to the U.S. Remember the days when companies outsourced their call centers to someplace in India? Remember when you could not get someone on the phone who could speak clearly? OK, that may still be happening even with the locals here, but you get the idea. Things are down the crapper when it is cheaper to have your call center here in the U.S. after years of following the mantra of the labor is cheaper overseas. Here is the deal according to the NPR story, "High inflation and double-digit annual raises in some sectors are pushing up the cost of labor in India. At the same time wages in the U.S. are falling and companies are rethinking the trade-offs associated with outsourcing." So do not get too excited. It's not that companies here are suddenly feeling like they have to employ Americans out of some patriotic duty or sense of loyalty to their nation. It's that the Indians and Filipinos are actually asking for higher salaries while the salaries here are dropping. It's once again company greed dictating that it pay the lowest possible wage, as close to slave wage as possible. Let's be honest, there is no altruism here. 
  • Another sign: Jezebel says that "Stripping Pays Off Better Than a Liberal Arts Degree." Unfortunately, I do not have the "bella figura," so please refrain from the obvious joke at the expense of the librarian. The Jezebel piece draws on an article out of The Independent (UK) that says "One in four lap dancers has a degree, study finds."   Apparently the cliche of a woman stripping to pay for her college degree is not just a cliche. What the study the article reports on finds is that "rather than being uneducated young women who have been coerced into the industry, one in four dancers has a degree and has been attracted by the money." Take the study as it comes.
  • Meanwhile, in Cuba, the elderly are losing their subsidized cigarettes. They are not actually losing cigarettes,just the very reduced price they get by virtue of being elderly. According to the BBC, "All Cubans 55 or older are allocated four packs of cigarettes a month for about 25% the normal price, but this privilege is being ended in September." 
  • What's another sign that the economy is bad? When you have to get creative with your political campaign funding. If you think Americans are the experts in political fundraising shenanigans, they have nothing on Venezuelans. According to Reuters, here is a politician who is raffling breast implants to raise money.
  • And speaking of getting creative, Mexico is working to attract more tourists with new "alternative tours." Again, according to Reuters, "innovative tourist agencies offer trips to remote mountain areas home to leftist Zapatista rebels and to the most crime-ridden neighborhoods of Mexico City."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Here we go again: Another instance of censorship in Texas

When I first saw the title of this post at Bookshelves of Doom-- "There is BIG trouble a'brewing in Humble, Texas"-- I knew I had to look it over. I pretty much had the reaction of "now what are the locals making a fuss about?" When I went over, and I read some of the links provided, I was able to say, "no big surprise." This is Texas, known for its intolerance when it comes to literacy and reading. The Bookninja, who mentioned the story simply had this comment to say: "People, it’s Texas… Why do you think?" I think that little snarky remark says it all. Now some Texans may want to say that not all their brethren behave that way, but overall the state is developing quite the reputation for being anti-education and anti-reading among other things. That a school librarian was instrumental in mobilizing three or four parents who think their will has to be imposed on everybody else did not surprise me that much either. I've had to deal with librarians who are, to put it politely, less than enlightened. The point I am trying to make is that when something like what is happening in Humble, TX comes out, I am not really surprised anymore. If anything, it does make me just a bit more ashamed that I live in Texas, a state that supposedly prides itself on its hospitality, friendliness, the fact that people are independent and self-reliant, not to mention its scenery. That the state has become yet another right wing sanctuary does create some concern.

So, what is the issue? According to School Library Journal, which is linked in BoD above, "A handful of YA authors who were scheduled to attend the Humble ISD Libraries' Teen Lit Festival in Texas this January won't be going after all. Organizers uninvited writer Ellen Hopkins--and most of her fellow presenters withdrew to protest the censorship." To put it in plain English, a school librarian who did not like Hopkins' books (and that is her prerogative) decided to take it upon herself to get her removed from the YA Book Fest in Humble.  In the fine tradition of public schools everywhere, she found a few busybody parents to gripe to the school. Naturally the school district folded like a cheap suit wanting to avoid the appearance that they were somehow coddling an author who writes about issues that are relevant to teens: issues like teen sexuality, substance abuse, and mental health. Things that teens probably need to consider and develop awareness for at some point. I call those parents busybodies for a simple reason: they want to prevent their kids from reading Hopkins' books or seeing her presentation, that is their right as parents. What is not their right is to dictate to the rest of the community what it may or not read. It is arrogant on their part that they think they can decide what our children read or view. That's the job of the other parents, and I am willing to bet there are a few parents who would be more than willing to welcome an author like Hopkins (actually they have done just that since Hopkins has been to Humble on two previous school visits that went along fine).

The situation gets more interesting because other YA authors have chosen to stay away from the festival to express solidarity with Hopkins as well as to protest censorship. Now, I am sure some of the local busybodies will argue this is not censorship, that no one is removing the books from the local libraries. Make no mistake. This is censorship at its worst, and I am willing to bet that this forced removal of Ms. Hopkins is a preemptive strike to have her books pulled from the local school libraries. Pete Hautman, one of the authors who chose to withdraw, responds to one of those "this is not censorship" detractors on why this is indeed censorship. "Nate" is a commenter on Mr. Hautman's blog. His words are very appropriate:

"To 'Nate': You are technically correct about my misuse of the term “censorship.” My use of the term is deliberate. We all know that the “uninviting” of Ellen H. was not literally censorship. It would be more accurate to say it was “the active suppression of an author to discourage teens from reading her books.” (Can we find an acronym in that? Wait a sec…okay, how about Activist School Suppression of Hopkins’ Access to Teens. I’m sure there’s an acronym in there someplace!) In any case, elephant or mastodon, it’s still a pachyderm. We all know what we're talking about. They may not have literally “censored” Ellen Hopkins, but their actions point to a similar intent." 

 To try to spin it and say this situation is not censorship is just plain hypocrisy. You can try to spin the truth, but you cannot hide behind a technicality.

So why am I writing about this? I write because someone has to say something. Sure, the conservatives will play the victim and say something along the lines of "we did not like the writer's books" or "we are standing up for our values" or my personal favorite, "we are protecting our children." What they are really doing is expressing their intolerance for any diverse or differing viewpoints, then playing martyr when they get called on their intolerance. I write because I want to express support for the authors and for the freedom to write and express ideas freely in a nation where, supposedly, one of the cherished values is freedom of expression. I believe it is enshrined in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, a document that conservatives love to call upon. What those busybodies are doing is saying, "we know better. We think this way, and so should you." I write because I have to ask, "who do they think they are? Who died and made them king or queen?" When someone says, no matter what their political stripe, "I know better. This you cannot read" that is just a step down to the road of tyranny. Whether you like or dislike Hopkins' work, whether you think your child should read it or not, the books should be made available to everyone so they can read and decide on their own. It is how you build critical thinking; it is how you make an informed citizenry that safeguards democracy.

Now if calling out those censors earns me the label of "intolerant" (talk about missing the irony), then yes, I will wear that label proudly. I will go so far as to say it clearly: I do not tolerate censors nor tyrants, and those people in Humble, TX who are keeping Ms. Hopkins out for the sake of an ideological and moralistic agenda are just petty tyrants. As such, you deserve to be denounced. As such, you deserve to have the light of scorn from the rest of the rational people upon you.

I don't like picking on this state, but I do get tired of seeing stories like this one coming out of this state. I do get tired of other states pointing at Texas as if it was some retrograde backwater. Those people in Humble are not doing the state any favors. They are not doing themselves any favors. Because in the end, in addition to looking like retrograde folks fearful of a few books, their actions will just inspire other youths to seek out and read the books. Whether they check them out from another library or go out and buy them, all these people do, as many censors usually do, is stimulate curiosity. I am betting a good number of people will go out and find the books just to see what the "big deal" is all about. Sounds like a good outcome to me. Heck, I may have to see if I can order some copies of her books for our library's YA collection.

I would like to end with some words by author Tera Lynn Childs, another writer who chose to withdraw from the event. She wrote a letter to that school superintendent, which she posted to her blog. The part I want to quote and leave for my two readers is the following:

"The books Ms. Hopkins writes are not the kinds of books I write, there are no mermaids or goddesses or other elements of teenage fantasy. Her books reveal a truth about the lives of modern teens and the world in which they live, no matter how much we wish the truth were otherwise. To exclude her from an event because the topics of her books might trouble some attendees (or, more likely, their parents) does not make our world any more ideal. Covering teens' eyes and ears does not remove them from the realities of their world. And to suggest that you could do so is the epitome of conceit and naivety."

 An update note (same day): It seems I cannot go very far without yet another story about Texas and education (or rather the many ways in which Texas comes across as retrograde). This story out of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram is worth a look. In brief, the situation, according to the article: "Last month, Sagal learned that his play, about a confrontation at an executive boot camp, would be included in a test given to students in Texas schools. But a problem arose when the state wanted to edit out 'for God's sake' and Sagal objected." In the end, the play was not used, and the TEA official interviewed claimed that the testing agency was being overcautious. Anyhow, Sagal had the best line at the end: "Sagal complained on his blog that the request was irrational and indicative of Texas' reputation as 'the state that's leading the charge back into the middle ages in terms of educational standards.'" It is becoming a well-earned reputation for Texas.

Update note (8/27/10): The festival has been cancelled. And even then, the author still graciously says she will come, paying her own way, if invited. Hopkins has more class than those busybodies in Humble will ever have. 

Booknote: It's Called Work for a Reason!

This is the review as I wrote it for my GoodReads profile. I really think it is a book that more librarians should read because it does address things we see in our libraries. Just because it is a "business" book, it does not mean it does not have lessons for us--both for individuals and for our libraries. I did not give the 4 out of 5 stars out of any particular dislike. Four stars means I really liked it, which I did. However, five stars means the book is amazing, according to the GR scale, and as much as I liked it, it's not amazing for the reason that a lot of  what Mr. Winget writes is common sense; as I like to say, it is not rocket science. He just expresses it in his unique style, and by the way, if you read it, notice the parts on the importance of finding your uniqueness when it comes to your work. Overall, I definitely recommend it.

It's Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn FaultIt's Called Work for a Reason!: Your Success Is Your Own Damn Fault by Larry Winget

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just finished it, and I know there are parts I may want to read again. There were a few things I could identify with personally. There were also a lot of coworkers that I identified right away as the lazy bums they are that, if they worked for Larry, would have been long gone by now. A lot of this book is common sense, or at least readers may think it is common sense until they start reading. I say the readers may think it is common sense because if everybody actually embraced at least some of the ideas Mr. Winget is presenting the workplace would be a much better place-- we would have better customer service; we would have workplaces where workers put forth their best work; we would have bosses that would not micromanage and would know to get out of the way so those of us who actually work can get on with work.

Mr. Winget has a very blunt and straight style. To some it may seem like yelling on the page, but tell it like it is he does. There is no reason to accept poor customer service. There is no real reason to tolerate shoddy work in the workplace. The fact is these things would go away if more people would stop tolerating them. It's like I say: you support what you tolerate. Now, Winget does not say you have to be rude in order to demand change, but you do have to stand up and demand change--change in yourself and change in others. If you tolerate the mediocrity, you are just supporting it, and in the end, you would be as bad as those mediocre people. It's a pretty simple idea. Another simple idea: you should do the work you get paid for. It's a simple concept. You take the job, and you agree to do it for the pay the boss agrees to give you. Anything else--liking your coworkers, whether the environment is pleasant, so on-- is extra. Do your job. Don't like it, leave, but it does help if you do like the job.

Winget covers leadership and management, the workplace, advice for workers and for bosses, how sell better (and it is not just selling a product. You sell yourself every day), and customer service. Some of his stories will make you smile, and others will make you cringe. I do think that readers, whether they agree or disagree, whether they like his somewhat abrasive style or not, will gain something from this book. The sad thing is that I know many managers and workers will not read this book. I am not a big reader of "business" or "self-help" books, but this is definitely one to read and to reread when you need a little more inspiration. In some cases, you may want to grab the book and smack a certain someone over the head with it, then tell him to read it.

On an additional note, even though Mr. Winget's work is focused mostly on the business world, and a big part of it deals with sales (probably because Mr. Winget does have ample sales experience), there are lessons here for librarians and librarianship. True, we do not exist to generate a profit, but we still deal with things like customer service, our reputations and work ethic, and for those of us in the trenches, we do have to deal with the occasional less than ideal boss or coworker. And in times when libraries are suffering cutbacks, we need more than ever to be selling our products if we are to prove our value and survive. That is not just the business world. That is something we can learn and act upon as well. Overall, this is a book I would like to place in more people's hands, and it is a book I think will provide benefit to librarians who read it, discuss it, then act on it.

View all my reviews >>

Friday, August 13, 2010

Brief thoughts on civility and college

The video presented in this article from Inside Higher Ed, entitled "Rude Democracy," made me cringe. I hate incivility, especially in politics. Politicians who use rudeness, fear, hysteria, and bullying tactics to advance their agendas are pretty much thugs and should be run out of office. Those who support them should be run out of town too. If you can't behave like a grown adult, then go sit at the kiddie table until you learn some common manners and courtesy. The article makes a good point: civility has to be taught, and college, haven for the marketplace of ideas, is a good place to do it. As Susan Herbst writes, "thinking citizens would rather see real debate and a measure of respect among those who disagree." I would say that a lack of thinking citizens is a serious problem as well, but that may be for another post.

Herbst makes another point: you have to practice civility. Provide opportunities for debate and expression of ideas and model civil behavior as well. A civility code, which many colleges have, should not just be a document in some binder or a handout a student gets during freshman year at orientation. And while we are discussing orientation, and its cousin the first-year experience, we need to have programs and events for more than just the freshmen. It seems that in higher education, campuses lavish all sorts of educational programs on freshmen, and those are good programs, but they seem to forget their upper classmen and especially tend to forget non-traditional and/or transfer students. Teaching things like civility has to include all student and be integrated at all levels. After all, students will often really start campus involvement after the freshman year (once they get some experience and settle in).

In addition, Herbst suggests not overloading student leaders. She writes, "work on civility will need to be done in dormitories (not just in special "learning communities"), libraries, and cafeterias, with the mass of students." Hey, she mentioned libraries. Yes folks, we librarians can and should engage in this labor as well.

The comments posted to the story are worth reading over as well. Some raise good points about communication and giving students a voice. Others just let the anger of the writer show (whatever the reason for the anger). Then again, a lot of the comments (if not most), as in many Internet forums, are anonymous or pseudonymous. This means that a lot of folks go on to disregard civility since they feel free from personal responsibility for their words. Stuff like that is a big reason why I never comment in major forums; I hate trolls and cowards who throw flames in a forum. Discussing that issue could be a whole other discussion. For now, we could look at some of the comments as a teachable moment.

For reference and/or for those interested, here a link to the video in question (goes to YouTube).

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Excellent article on the BP Oil Spill, but why am I reading it in a "music" magazine?

Now that the BP spill is mostly under control ("mostly" being the keyword) it seems that the news cycle is moving on to other things. However, the problems are just beginning, and I am not referring just to the environmental disaster or the fact that BP is going to be paying damage claims for a long time, even as there are problems with the claims process and seems to be trying to weasel out. It is in the context that I finally managed to read this article, "The Spill, The Scandal, and The President," out of Rolling Stone that came into my feed reader a while back. The article is a bit lengthy, so I had to take the time to read it in full. I finally managed to get it read, and it is worth it. This is the kind of investigative reporting that should be happening at the major news outlets. So, I am asking, why am I reading it in the "music" magazine?

It may be popular for the current administration in Washington D.C. to blame the previous one. The previous administration does have a lot to answer for, and the article points it out. However, the current administration also has a lot to answer for, and they are continuing a pattern of inertia, negligence, and just plain incompetence that could lead to other catastrophes.

Here are some choice lines:

  • "Like the attacks by Al Qaeda, the disaster in the Gulf was preceded by ample warnings – yet the administration had ignored them. Instead of cracking down on MMS, as he had vowed to do even before taking office, Obama left in place many of the top officials who oversaw the agency's culture of corruption. He permitted it to rubber-stamp dangerous drilling operations by BP – a firm with the worst safety record of any oil company – with virtually no environmental safeguards, using industry-friendly regulations drafted during the Bush years." 
  • "It's tempting to believe that the Gulf spill, like so many disasters inherited by Obama, was the fault of the Texas oilman who preceded him in office. But, though George W. Bush paved the way for the catastrophe, it was Obama who gave BP the green light to drill." 
  • "In reality, MMS had little way to assess the risk to wildlife, since a new policy instituted under Bush scrapped environmental analysis and fast-tracked permits. Declaring that oil companies themselves were "in the best position to determine the environmental effects" of drilling, the new rules pre-qualified deep-sea drillers to receive a "categorical exclusion" – an exemption from environmental review that was originally intended to prevent minor projects, like outhouses on hiking trails, from being tied up in red tape." Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house.
The article looks at the federal government and at BP. It gives a good overview of the MMS and the many ways it failed, placing the blame on Ken Salazar, the Interior Secretary who pretty much allowed business as usual in the MMS, namely staying in bed with companies like BP. In the end, this is the result: "The failure of the Obama administration to crack down on BP – and to tackle the crisis with the full force of the federal government – is likely to haunt the Gulf Coast for decades to come." The other bummer is that a lot of people will not read articles like this, get more informed, and then demand substantial reform and accountability from the government and the companies who caused the disaster.

And therein lies the real problem.The politicians will do their best to do damage control so they can go on with business as usual. BP may have lost some reputation and money, but as long as agencies like MMS remain an incompetent clusterfuck mostly in bed with corporations it is supposed to regulate, BP and others will move on as well with their corner cutting and other criminal behavior. Then again, I leave my two readers with the question I posed when I began writing: why am I reading this in a "music" magazine? Clearly the news media is failing miserably in its job to investigate, demand answers, educate the public, and hold the powers that be accountable.

A hat tip to Radical Vixen. (Warning: some content in RV can be little risque for some readers).

    Friday, August 06, 2010

    Signs the economy is bad, August 6 edition

    Welcome to another edition of "Signs that the economy is bad" here at The Itinerant Librarian. This is the semi-regular (as in when I feel like it or have time to do it) where I scour the Web, so you don't have to, looking for those oh so subtle hints that the economy is bad. Any pundit on TV or radio can tell you the usual: unemployment blah blah, consumers spending less yadda yadda, housing market tanking ya ya, you get the idea. Here we go for the stories that seem to slip past the "experts." So, let's see what we have this week: 

    • Robbers complain that places they rob did not yield enough money.  Yes, a robber actually called back the place he held up to complain that he did not get enough loot when he stopped by to rob it earlier. 
    • People are still drinking, which is good for the liquor industry. That's not the problem. The problem, well for some people, is that folks now are doing most if not all of their drinking at home. As if downgrading their beer selections was not bad enough. Personally, I do prefer to drink at home with the better half, or at the home of other family members. Let's be honest, buying some bottles of decent booze and making your own cocktails at home is a lot cheaper in the long run, and you don't have to tip the bartender (of course, if the better half is moved to tip her "bartender," that is certainly appreciated). Also, in this day and age finding good recipes for cocktails is not too hard. We have a couple of good books at home, and there is always the Internet. Thus there is no reason to be going out to barhop and spend an inflated price on a drink when you can make it at home. That is, unless barhopping is your thing.
    • Armed services recruiting tends to go up in bad economic times. I usually don't point it out because it is a pretty obvious sign that the economy is bad.  Here in the U.S. recruitment is going up. However, it does not work like that around the world. In some cases, a lot of new recruits is a bad thing, and it qualifies as a sign that the economy is bad. When you run out of money to pay those recruits, like the Dutch and their army, that's a problem. 
    • You pretend a dead relative is still alive in order to keep collecting his pension. Now, I will admit this was a bit of a stretch, since it seems the guy died 30 years ago, but I think it counts. It turns that the "oldest man" alive died 30 years ago in Japan. 

      Wednesday, August 04, 2010

      Booknote: The Photographer

      My small review as I posted it in my GoodReads profile.

      The Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without BordersThe Photographer: Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert

      My rating: 5 of 5 stars

      This is definitely one of the best books I have read this year. Like Robert speaking of the Afghans he lived and worked among, for reading this book, I feel a bit less dumb than I would've been. This book is not only a travelogue, but it is a piece of history as well. The story takes place during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and it is in that country that MSF is doing their work. Didier the photographer goes into the country not knowing a whole lot to be perfectly honest, and he grows personally in the process. While doing so and documenting the work of the MSF, he gives us a glimpse of a country that is at times beautiful and ruthless. We meet a cast of characters that let us see both the good and the bad in the people and the country.

      The strength of this book lies in the wonderful combination of photos and the art by Guibert and Lefevre. This is a moving story. It is a gripping story; once you pick it up, you may find it hard to put it down. The photos are just great. I do have to warn readers that some of the photos may be a bit gruesome, but that is just part of the story. This books definitely deserves to get more attention and have more people read it. Overall, the book is a great reading experience.

      In terms of appeal factors, readers who read this may also enjoy books like Three Cups of Tea, which I read and reviewed here.

      View all my reviews >>

      Monday, August 02, 2010

      Booknote: Columbine

      This is my review of the book as I wrote it over in my GoodReads profile. It reads like a thriller story; Cullen does an excellent job in terms of narrative style. This could have been a very dry and technical book, but Cullen brings humanity to it. It is a book that must be read for what it can teach us as well.

      ColumbineColumbine by Dave Cullen

      My rating: 5 of 5 stars

      This book is definitely a must-read. The only pity, in a manner of speaking, is that it took as long as it did to come out and reveal the truth about the events at Columbine High School. The author does an excellent job of digging deeply into the various sources-- subjects interviewed, police and other expert reports, press coverage, etc.-- to give an accurate and very chilling picture of what really happened at Columbine and how it happened. The book also provides the answer that eluded people for a long time: why did Harris and Klebold do what they did.

      This book will move you at times. It may make you angry at times, and it will engage you as a reader. The book is not only a look at the events and an analysis, but it is also a very well written narrative that can be read a bit like a thriller. It is very well researched, and readers will find extensive endnotes as well as good bibliography at the end of the book for those wanting to do further reading or verify some of the arguments and ideas presented in the book. The book also presents a very dramatic human story. There is tragedy, but there is also deceit. For example, the local police engaged in serious efforts to cover up various items and facts, and a certain memoir embraced by evangelicals is pretty much based on a myth (and they knew it but chose to go to press anyways). There is neglect in various stages that may lead readers to consider (I would say fairly accurately) that the tragedy could have been stopped; Harris and Klebold had previous contacts with law enforcement that were not paid serious attention for instance.

      Overall, this may well become a definitive book on the topic, and it should be required reading in schools of education. It does illustrate the idea that it can indeed happen anywhere, and it shatters the usual stereotypes (some goth kid going on a spree, revenge on jocks, etc.). This is a book I highly recommend but be prepared to be challenged. Be ready to learn a new thing or two, and be prepared to reflect and consider how such events can be prevented in the future.

      View all my reviews >>

      * * *

      Other details and thoughts that caught my attention as I was reading, that I did not include in the review for GR but jotted down in the updates: 

      • The press to a large measure failed. Much like today, they would speculate when they lacked facts, often more worried in breaking the news than actually getting things right. Some things never seem to change. 
      • From page 125, this is something not many think about, assuming they even knew about the bombs Harris and Klebold made and deployed, which failed to explode. The event was not really a shooting; it was a bombing that failed.
      • Things that made me angry as I read: cops covering up facts and reports in order to preserve an image or being more concerned about how they would be seen than doing what was right. Many detectives put in excellent work only to have their superiors hide it for various reasons of self-interest. A significant number of evangelicals used the tragedy more to proselytize aggressively instead of comforting their communities when they most needed (this even disturbed other mainline protestants in the area). That they embraced the Bernall myth so easily angered me too because it was about keeping a certain image rather than seeking truth. 
      • Harris and Klebold had left signs all over the place. For instance, Harris had a website with various specific, detailed threats on it. This was mostly ignored or buried at the time. 

      Update note (10/19/10): Liz B. at A Chair, A Fireplace, &a Tea Cozy read the book and provides an excellent and well-written review that is worth reading.