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News » Hits & Misses

Read Banned Books

Also: Boy Scout found, tax hacks



Go Read Banned Books
There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned book banning to drive avid readers to their local library shelves. The Albemarle County (Virginia) School District recently took Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet off its sixth-graders’ reading lists. For those who love mysteries, this is the one where Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes and, yes, portrays the Mormons as frighteningly steamy polygamists. Egad, polygamy was church-approved in 1887 when the book was released and, as notes, it shouldn’t be surprising “because the genre is focused on the dark side of every culture and character.” The Mormons aren’t the only ones who’ve been depicted badly in literature. Fu Manchu was not your mother’s Chinese buddy. And The Adventures of Tin Tin—a favorite sixth-grade read—depicts just about every culture and religion in a bad and erroneous light. So, go read.

Scout’s Honor

Yay! We found another lost Boy Scout. Twelve-year-old Jared Ropelato seemed to know what he was doing, what with building a shelter, digging in and hanging tough. And he was lucky someone came by. The Associated Press went the extra mile to talk to Daggett County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Karen Peterson, who said, oops, the Scoutmaster earlier found Jared going the wrong way to camp and told him to find a buddy. Maybe the Scouts need to go one step further to make the buddy system work. The Cub Scout Outdoor Program Guidelines state: “Explain the buddy system and tell what to do if lost. Explain the importance of cooperation.” How about making sure the Scouts actually stay with their buddies?

Tax Hacks

How is it OK for cities and counties to raise taxes, but not the federal government? Must be because you can touch and feel the pain of local service cuts, while federal cuts would be a lot more distant. So in this down economy, where no government can seem to balance a budget, 35 local Utah governments chose to hike property taxes rather than hack their services. We’re talking Republicans here—like those in West Valley City, which raised property taxes 18 percent, although Mayor Mike Winder wanted to see 5.8 percent cuts instead. The problem with cuts is priority: Do you cut salaries or leave the potholes? The West Valley Website lets you click on a tax receipt to see a pie chart telling you where your property taxes are going. The federal government ought to have the same feature.

Twitter: @KathyBiele