FREEDOM!

As good a time as any.
As good a time as any.
It amazes me how life seeks a balance. On the one hand we have people who are gleefully willing to toss away their freedoms, and those of a lot of people they’ve never met. On the other hand we have those who go above and beyond any call of duty to make sure that doesn’t happen. To quote Rap Master Tommy J., “Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.” And nature shows us that’s true every day. Some things just demand freedom.

For example, UPI reports about the baby who demanded to be set free while mommy was taking the bar exam.

An Illinois woman who went into labor during the second day of her two-day bar exam said she gave birth only two hours after finishing the test.

Elana Nightingale Dawson, 29, a graduate of Northwestern Law School in Evanston, Ill., said she had just started on the 3-hour final portion of the test at the school Wednesday when labor pains began, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

“I thought if I put my head in my hands and breathe deeply and do what I learned in (birthing) class, I would get through it,” Dawson said. “My goal was to get through the exam as fast as I could and leave, barring anything happening that made me think there was something more imminent going on.”

Dawson said she finished the test early and received permission to leave at 4 p.m., when a proctor walked her a block to Northwestern’s Prentice Women’s Hospital.

Dawson said her husband soon arrived and she gave birth to a boy, Wilson, via Caesarean section at 5:58 p.m., less than two hours after she left the exam room.

The new mother said she will learn the results of the exam in October.

“The last hours of the exam were not my strongest moments in terms of focus,” she said, “so I am perfectly content with what happens.”

Here’s hoping she does. Anyone with that kind of focus and self discipline should be rewarded.

Other people earn their freedom in new, and wildly unusual, ways. For example, when was the last time you heard of a family being freed from a herd of rampaging pigs?

Police in northern Germany say they rescued a woman and her 2-year-old child whose car was swarmed — by a herd of pigs.

Police said the woman called them Friday afternoon from outside the tiny village of Wanderup, near the Danish border.

She said “20 relatively large hip-high pigs” had surrounded her VW Golf after she had driven off the road into a field.

She told them they had formed such a tight circle and were behaving so aggressively that she couldn’t flee the car.

Police say they were able to free the woman and her child without incident.

Neun Eins Eins, wie kann ich dir helfen?

Seriously, how would that 911 call go?

Okay, never mind, she’s fine and that’s all that matters.

But what do you do when confronted by morons who want to take away your right to read a book? Call a library.

Up to 150 students at a Missouri high school that ordered “Slaughterhouse-Five” pulled from its library shelves can get a free copy of the novel, courtesy of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, library officials said on Thursday.

The offer for students at Republic High School comes on the heels of the Republic School Board’s decision to remove Vonnegut’s novel and Sarah Ockler’s “Twenty Boy Summer” from the curriculum and the school library shelves.

“All of these students will be eligible to vote and some may be protecting our country through military service in the next year or two,” Julia Whitehead, the executive director of the Vonnegut library in Indianapolis, said in a statement.

“It is shocking and unfortunate that those young adults and citizens would not be considered mature enough to handle the important topics raised by Kurt Vonnegut, a decorated war veteran. Everyone can learn something from his book.”

Slaughterhouse-Five, considered Vonnegut’s most influential and popular work, is a satirical novel centered around the bombing of the German city of Dresden during World War Two.

The Republic School District took the move at its April 18 meeting following a complaint lodged by local resident Wesley Scroggins in the spring of 2010.

In his complaint, the Missouri State University associate business professor called on district officials to stop using textbooks and other materials “that create false conceptions of American history and government or that teach principles contrary to Biblical morality and truth.”

Neither Scroggins nor Republic School Superintendent Vern Minor were immediately available for comment.

I’m thinking that the world would be a better place if we banned Scroggins and Minor instead. The former for being a nothing better than bully and the latter for being a wimp.

Your beliefs are yours, and I think they’re wonderful, but that never will make them mine.

But what if your freedom is completely out of your hands? Who do you call then? Lauren Kyper strongly suggest your local Buddhist monks.

Especially if you’re a lobster.

Instead of plunging headfirst to their death in a pot of boiling water, 534 live lobsters escaped the dinner plate and belly flopped to freedom into the dark waters of the Atlantic Ocean.

A group of Tibetan Buddhists flanked the sides of a whale-watching boat at dusk on Wednesday, sprayed the lobsters with blessed water, clipped the bands binding their dangerous claws and released them one by one into the deep water below.

The 30 Buddhists of all ages trekked to this northern Massachusetts fishing hub to buy 600 pounds of lobster from a seafood wholesaler and save the critters from imminent death.

The lobster liberation was scheduled for August 3, which is Wheel Turning Day on this year’s Tibetan lunar calendar, the anniversary of the first sermon Buddha taught. On this holiday, the merit for positive actions is multiplied many times.

“Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,” said Wendy Cook, former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, north of Boston.

Buddhists from the center typically liberate masses of the expensive seafood a couple times each year.

Cook, a yoga instructor, led a ceremony that included prayers, mantras and walking boxes of the lobsters in a circle around blessed objects. This develops a karmic connection for the animals’ future lifetimes and help ease future suffering, she said.

Monk Geshe Tenley, Kurukulla Center’s resident teacher, who was wearing a saffron robe, released the first lobster.

In India, Geshe Tenley said, cows, sheep and even goats are purchased and saved from slaughter. But here in New England, saving the lobsters and extending their lives — even if just for an hour — is most practical and a real way the group can make a difference in the lobsters’ existence and their own.

“It’s rethinking the way you normally see these creatures,” said Victoria Fan, a graduate student who participated in the ceremony steps away from a sign for $15.99 lobster dinners.

“You’re supposed to view them equally. Their happiness is as important as your happiness, their suffering is as important as your suffering,” Fan said.

You know what? I like this idea. They didn’t steal the lobsters, they didn’t commit eco-terrorism and they managed to get their message across to a group of people who might not be first in line to listen normally.

Intelligent disagreement without violence. Who knew that could happen?

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG AM 1280, every Thursday morning around 9:10!

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