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To Be Porn-Free Is to Be Second Class?

Back in 1996 the good people of Longview, Texas, decided they’d had enough of the sleazy SOBs menacing their town. So they rounded up a posse and hunted them down. Within a year their town’s three SOBs were laid to rest: the XTC Tanning Salon (a nude salon), East Texas Chicken Ranch (a nude steak house), and the Executive Club (a strip club). Now all SOBs (sex-oriented businesses) know to steer clear of Longview and its posse, Citizens Against Pornography in Texas.

Well, it looks like it’s high time for the rest of us to rally posses. Yer ole neighborhood podnuh is actin’ like a real SOB these days. We’re talkin’ ’bout yer local public library.

The American Library Association (ALA), in cahoots with the ACLU, has filed a lawsuit to block the Children’s Internet Protection Act, a law passed by Congress in December 2000 which requires libraries to install filters in their computers to block access to pornographic Web sites or lose federal funds.

Linda M. Wood, Alameda (Calif.) County Librarian, who manages 10 local branches, claims in the March 20 Oakland Tribune that obeying the law would “amount to a government agency taking action to prohibit access by adults to constitutionally protected free speech on the Internet….” The ACLU’s Emily Whitfield, also quoted in the Tribune, alleges that adults who only have access to filtered library computers will be “getting a different Web experience than people who are not using library computers. You’re really turning them into second-class citizens.” And in a March 23 editorial, the San Francisco Chronicle shills for the cause: “Because library computers are primarily used by low-income people who don’t have them at home, the law severely limits Internet access to the communities needing it the most.”

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