Est. 1995

Tag: Texas

Christofascist Book Fairs

If 2021 and 2022 were about banning books to get attention for right-wing causes, then 2023 can be dubbed the beginning of the push to dismantle book fairs by these same groups and individuals. They’re still banning books, of course, but now, more time and attention–and indeed, money–are at the heart of demands to end school and library book fairs through traditional outlets like Scholastic. Censorship attempts at school book fairs have been on the rise, and in September, we rang the alarm.

An "extensive report" on the dangers of Scholastic, previously offered by Brave Books, is now being distributed by SkyTree Book Fairs.

An “extensive report” on the dangers of Scholastic, previously offered by Brave Books, is now being distributed by SkyTree Book Fairs.

Earlier this month, a mysterious woman appeared before a school board in Texas and claimed that, when she was 11, she READ A SCHOLASTIC BOOK THAT SPARKED A DEBILITATING PORN ADDICTION.

The book, she says, featured “one kiss.”

We investigated.

And it’s ABSOLUTELY WILD what is happening.

The woman, Lanah Burkhardt, failed to disclose that she is the “public relations coordinator” for a right-wing book publisher, Brave Books, seeking to replace Scholastic in public schools.

Burkhardt went further, arguing that Conroe should remove all Scholastic books from schools and stop hosting Scholastic book fairs. These steps were necessary, Burkhardt argued, to protect children from “sexual obscenity.” According to Burkhardt, “getting rid of Scholastic books and their book fairs will inevitably protect kids.”

Burkhardt’s appearance was promoted by SkyTree Book Fairs, a newly formed organization marketing itself as “an alternative to the sexually explicit content distributed in Scholastic’s book fairs.”

Many of the titles published by Brave Books are set in an imaginary world based on the United States called Freedom Island. According to Politico, each book based on Freedom Island contains a “fold-out map marked with villages and mountain ranges,” with the southwestern corner of the map being called the “Car-a-Lago Coast.” The books also include “an afterword for parents” that is “filled with suggested games and discussion questions to drive home political concepts.”

While SkyTree Book Fairs presents itself as an independent non-profit organization, it appears to be a hastily assembled offshoot of Brave Books, which publishes children’s books by right-wing pundits and pseudo-celebrities.


Mysterious woman tells school board that Scholastic book sparked porn addiction

National State of Emergency for LGBTQ+ Americans

The Human Rights Campaign declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. on Tuesday and released a guidebook pointing to laws it deems discriminatory in each state, along with “know your rights” information and resources to help people relocate to states with stronger LGBTQ+ protections.

We have officially declared a state of emergency for LGBTQ+ people in the United States for the first time following an unprecedented and dangerous spike in anti-LGBTQ+ legislative assaults sweeping state houses this year. More than 75 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year alone, more than doubling last year’s number, which was previously the worst year on record.

Sounding the alarm about the current political climate, the nation’s largest organization devoted to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Americans said travel advisories aren’t enough to help people already living in states where lawmakers have targeted LGBTQ+ people.

The HRC guidebook provides information about filing complaints for civil rights violations and points to resources for financing moves and finding employment, particularly in the 17 states with a trifecta of Democratic leadership in both legislative chambers and the governor’s office.

Texas is trying out new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online.

Online abortion resources can pose risks to privacy. But there are lots of ways to access them more safely. Here are some resources we recommend.

There’s been a quiet shift in the abortion fight in the US. Since the reversal of Roe v. Wade last June, laws that make most abortions illegal have passed in 13 states. Efforts to restrict abortion care have, so far, focused mostly on criminalizing medical providers. But increasingly, the battleground is moving online.

Texas is currently in the process of trying to limit access to abortion pills by cracking down on internet service providers and credit card processing companies. Earlier this month, Republicans in the state legislature introduced two bills to that effect.

These tactics reflect the reality that, post-Roe, the internet is a critical channel for people seeking information about abortion or trying to buy pills to terminate a pregnancy—especially in states where they can no longer access these things in physical pharmacies or medical centers.

Texas is trying out new tactics to restrict access to abortion pills online

Skip to Content Proposed laws would punish ISPs, online publishers, and credit card companies for providing information about or direct access to pills. This article is from The Technocrat, MIT Technology Review’s weekly tech policy newsletter about power, politics, and Silicon Valley. To receive it in your inbox every Friday, sign up here .

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