miércoles, 18 de enero de 2017

MercatorNet: Bootlegging ring responsible for boys’ death

MercatorNet: Bootlegging ring responsible for boys’ death

Bootlegging ring responsible for boys’ death

Bootlegging ring responsible for boys’ death

Riveting novels set in the roaring 1920's
Jennifer Minicus | Jan 18 2017 | comment 
Frozen/Ice-Outby Mary Casanova
written for ages 13-16 | recommended with reservations
published in 2016 | University of Minnesota Press

Mary Casanova captures the challenges of life in northern Minnesota in these two riveting novels set in the roaring 1920’s.
In Frozen, readers are introduced to Rainy Lake and Sadie Rose, a young girl orphaned after her prostitute mother’s suspicious death. Traumatized by the ordeal, Sadie Rose loses her power to speak and spends eleven years in the care of Senator and Mrs. Worthington. Now sixteen, she remembers little of her early childhood until she happens upon some photos of her mother. As her memory returns, so does her speech- and her ability to ask questions about her past.
Sadie Rose first confides her story to a small group of friends, including Owen Jensen. Owen helps support his family by delivering milk by boat to inhabitants of the islands in the lake. The author develops their relationship in Ice-Out. Sadie goes off to university while Owen stays behind, determined to earn a living worthy of a senator’s daughter. His humble, hard-working father’s untimely demise throws a wrench in his plans, however. Seduced by a desire to make some fast money and troubled by Sadie’s apparent friendship with a young man from school, Owen allows himself to be drawn into a bootlegging ring. Too late Owen realizes that his father’s simple integrity was worth emulating.
Fans of historical fiction and mystery will enjoy this burgeoning series about the early 20th century. Women’s Suffrage, Prohibition and even concern for the environment play key roles in the backdrop of the stories. Sadie Rose is resourceful and courageous in her love for her mother and friends, earning the loyalty of readers. Owen, meanwhile, evokes the sympathy of anyone who has loved both another person and a dream.
While the publisher recommends these books for early to mid-teens, some sensuality, attempted suicide, attempted rape and heavy use of alcohol make it appropriate for more mature readers.
A former teacher, Jennifer Minicus is currently a full-time wife and mother.


A Presidential commutation for Bradley/Chelsea Manning has created a storm of controversy. From a political point of view, it’s a complicated case. Manning pleaded guilty and accepted full responsibility for his/her actions. The documents endangered American lives – so he/she is a traitor. But they also revealed abuses of prisoners, showed a helicopter gunship killing innocent civilians in Bagdad and gave information on Guantanamo detainees – so he/she is a whistleblower.
In prison Manning tried to transition to a woman. Only after years of legal battles and two suicide attempts did authorities permit it. So pardoning him/her is smart transgender politics. But his/her 35-year sentence was far more severe than other whistleblowers received – so there is a case for mercy.
The shortened sentence sends two clear messages to the public. It trivialises the oath of secrecy and the importance of protecting national security. And it is a big fillip for the cause of transgenderism. Instead of languishing in prison as a traitor, Chelsea/Bradley will become a transgender celebrity.
But nearly all presidential pardons and commutations have been controversial and they always will be. The lucky recipients are, by definition, criminals. Releasing them from jail always risks trivialising the offence.
Richard Nixon pardoned the notorious gangster Jimmy Hoffa and William Calley, who had been convicted of murdering 22 unarmed Vietnamese civilians in cold blood. And then Gerald Ford pardoned President Nixon – which was probably the most controversial pardon of all.
And Bill Clinton pardoned his own brother, who had been jailed for possession of cocaine – sending a terrific message about the war on drugs.
So, while it’s tempting to wag the finger at President Obama for being soft on espionage and military discipline and coddling transgenders, it’s all part of American politics. The only Presidents who took a hard line on crime and pardoned no one were William Henry Harrison and James Garfield, both of whom died soon after their inauguration. Under the Constitution, the President almost has to pardon someone. And that someone will always be controversial.

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