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THE SECRET-Minty-Fresh Snake Oil

Oprah's ugly secret
By continuing to hawk "The Secret," a mishmash of offensive self-help cliches, Oprah Winfrey is squandering her goodwill and influence, and preaching to the world that mammon is queen.

By Peter Birkenhead

Bush Used Education for Crony's Gain-Once More.

Blogged 3/2/07 at Librarian.

Feb. 28, 2007. The New Standard reports: – A government audit has found that a federally funded literacy initiative has been run more like a sales pitch for private interests than an education-reform effort.

ALA Supports Employee Free Choice Act

The ALA-APA reports:

The ALA Washinfton Office prepared a statement of ALA-APA Support for the Employee Free Choice Act

The U.S. House of Representatives will be voting on H.R. 800, which protects employees' right to form unions. In June, 2006, the ALA Annual Conference, the ALA-APA Council voted in favor of a resolution supporting the Employee Free Choice Act -

Emily Sheketoff, Executive Director, ALA Washington Office
The American Library Association-Allied Professional Association (ALA- APA) would like to take this opportunity to announce its support of H.R. 800, the Employee Free Choice Act.
Formed for the purpose of promoting "the mutual professional interests of librarians and other
library workers," the ALA-APA is a strong advocate of workers' rights, and protecting the right to form unions is a cause we strongly support.
By being part of a union, library workers gain local allies who can help to achieve pay equity and better salaries. This is especially important in public libraries where the union brings greater power to win budget increases from local governments. Unions are one of many ways library workers may improve salaries. The Employee Free Choice Act goes a long way toward protecting library employees who form unions: it levels the playing field by strengthening penalties against offending employers, requiring mediation and arbitration to help employers and employees reach a first contract in a reasonable period of time, and permitting workers to form a union through "majority sign-up," a process in which workers present signed authorization cards as demonstration of their choice to belong to a union. Librarians are the gateways to our country's information and an essential resource for education and literacy. The ALA-APA thanks you for introducing the Employee Free Choice
Act, which will protect those library employees who wish to form unions, and we join you in hoping for its success.

1615 New Hampshire Ave, NW
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Press Contact: Andy Bridges

NEA International Literature Awards

The National Endowment for the Arts offers the NEA International Literature Awards to provide American readers with greater access to quality foreign literary work in translation. The NEA conducts this initiative together with partner governments, with the first awards focusing on the literature of Greece and Spain. The NEA announces today that the 2007 award recipients are three nonprofit literary presses that will translate and publish a work from these countries and promote the book to American readers.

Bush EO limits access to Presidential Records Says SMU Fac.

Southern Methodist University's faculty senate went on record Wednesday as opposing an executive order that could limit access to presidential records-- a concern since the George W. Bush Presidential Library is probably headed to SMU.
Presidential Order 13233 and the purpose of Presidential Libraries.

Posted: 2/8/07
As historians at SMU we have no collective position about bringing the Bush Presidential Library, Museum and Institute to this campus. Some of us favor it; others do not. We do believe, however, that there is one related issue on which we can speak. This is the matter of Presidential Order 13233, which gives current and former presidents the power to withhold records in presidential libraries virtually at their discretion. Like many historians elsewhere, we are worried about several provisions of the order. In our opinion, these go against Congress's purpose when it passed the Presidential Libraries Act. First, the order grants power to incumbent presidents to overrule determinations by former presidents that records in "their" presidential libraries may be released. We are very concerned that an incumbent president might exert this power to block the release of a former administration's material merely because it would be politically detrimental. That could happen in either direction, a Democratic incumbent blocking the access to the records of a Republican predecessor, or a Republican blocking access to those of a Democrat. Second, the order empowers former presidents to designate representatives who can act for them, including in cases of the former president's death or disability. If in such a case there is no designated representative, the former president's family may appoint one. These representatives will act with the full power of the former president, "including with respect to . . . constitutionally based privileges." In our opinion, these provisions create real possibilities for stifling legitimate and necessary public discussion. We accept that a former president may enjoy some continuation of the executive privilege that obtained during that person's time in office. But "designated representatives" exercising legal privileges on matters of public interest without public accountability are unknown to the Constitution. Moreover, until Executive Order 13233, membership in an American presidential family has never led to extraordinary political rights, beyond the rights we all share as citizens. Our two primary professional organizations, the American Historical Association and the Organization of American Historians, are on record as opposing Executive Order 13233. They have sought in court to have the order overturned. In their opinion, which they seek to have tested in the courts, the order contravenes the spirit and intent of the Presidential Records Act. As the act makes plain, presidential papers from Reagan onward are the property of the United States, not of any individual or family. The clear purpose of the Presidential Records Act is to permit and encourage the fullest possible discussion of presidents and their policies at an early point following a presidency's end. Under the Act, release of materials is intended to begin 12 years after a president leaves office. The act already establishes conditions and procedures for withholding certain records. Mere choice by a former or incumbent president, by a "designated representative," or by a former president's family should not be enough to do so, beyond the
provisions of the act. We believe that the greatest benefit to SMU of having a presidential library will be to make the university a center of serious research on matters of the highest public import. We recognize that the records of this Administration will be of immense historical and civic interest. We believe that like its counterparts, the proposed George W. Bush Presidential Library should be a place of serious study and discussion, to the fullest extent and at the earliest time possible as mandated by the statute that makes the library possible. We are making this statement in regard to the Presidential Order, not in regard to the proposed Bush Library, Museum, and Institute. We do not expect that our opposition to the order could lead to its being rescinded. That will require a decision by the Supreme Court, or an act of Congress, or an executive order by a subsequent president. But we do believe that all material in all presidential libraries, including the Bush Library, should be open to full access in accord with the letter and the spirit of the Presidential Records Act.

Signed by SMU History Department

"I'm Alright, Jack"-M. C. Rosenzweig on Bush Budget & Libs

Mark C. Rosenzweig, of the Progressive Librarians Guild has sent a statement to various librarian lists including the Council of the American Library Association. The statement is posted at Librarian
and titled:
"I'm Alright, Jack."

Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair

"Preis der Leipziger Buchmesse" ["Prize of the Leipzig Book Fair"].

See the shortlists.


Banned in Akron

During a fateful conflict with another inmate, Jimmy was shaken by the voices of Neruda and Lorca, and made a choice that would alter his destiny.

Jimmy Santiago Baca, once in prison, became a poet. His book, A Place to Stand: The Making of a Poet, was a finalist to be taught to freshmen at the University of Akron. Inside Higher Education reports:

'The book tells the story of how Baca was illiterate until he started educating himself in jail, where he had been sent after a drug conviction and a childhood of poverty and abuse. In jail, he turned to writing, and when he got out of jail, he earned a college degree and turned his life around. But despite his life story and literary acclaim, university administrators banned his book from consideration because they didn't want him to visit the campus (as the authors of books selected are invited to do).'

Karla Mugler, associate provost at Akron, was presented with the finalists for the freshmen to read and she sent an e-mail message to the committee ruling out Baca.

In an e-mail interview Mr. Baca said:

"It's very sad the students at Akron, Ohio, are dumbed down in such a way, especially by educators... That dark-age mentality has led us blindly over the cliffs, one following the other into more and more violence, racism, and plain stupidity. Students deserve respect for their intelligence: Treat them like adults, with integrity, eyeing them as leaders of tomorrow, not timid little minions, slaves to ignorance. It's a dangerous time to nurture ignorance when we need, now more than ever, understanding and open-mindedness."

Cargo of Imagery and Simile

My family is from rural New Mexico and I thought this bookmobile story did a fine job in a few spare words of evoking the land.

Times Select has a feature, "Taking Books Far and Wide, on the Road Less Traveled By," about the bookmobile route of Cimmaron City Librarians Betty Palmer and Leroy Chavez in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. (Colfax County, NM).

Dan Barry writes:

The List for America's Readers

The Notable Books Council has selected its 2007 list of outstanding books for the general reader. These titles have been selected for their significant contribution to the expansion of knowledge and for the pleasure they can provide to adult readers. This is "The List for America's Readers."

Included are Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean; The Road by Cormac McCarthy; and Breach of Faith: Hurricane Katrina and the Near Death of a Great American City by Jed Horne.

Stephen KING: " Try Bush for crimes against humanity"



Asked what he'd like to do with the rest of his life by Newsweek,
Stephen King responded:
To live to see George W. Bush tried for crimes against humanity.

Transient Servitude: Exploiting Mexican and Central American

Despite the clamor in Congress from both conservatives and liberals for a national guest worker program, it is a reactionary policy with dire economic, social, and political ramifications. The working people of the United States must respond to the pending program of transient servitude with the same answer we have given to all forms of human servitude in the past--a resounding NO!

We are facing the fight of our lives.

Going Down Jericho Road

GOING DOWN JERICHO ROAD: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King's Last Campaign,
--by Michael K. Honey.Norton, 2007.

Washington Post reviewer, Kevin Boyle, writes:

Bush Library Will Be Ideological

"So it's a center run by Bush and his associates without regulation--an ideological center to burnish a president's reputation-- does that fit with the academic mission of SMU?"--Benjamin Hufbauer.

In "History vs. Hagiography," Inside Higher Ed observes:

SUNY Librarians Launch Pay Equity Campaign

SUNY Librarians Launch Campaign for Pay Equity.

Librarians in the State University of New York (SUNY) system have begun a campaign to win pay equity with classroom faculty on campuses throughout the state, unanimously passing a resolution and issuing a six-page report written by an ad hoc committee of the SUNY Librarians Association (SUNYLA).

Librarian Protests Reagan over King in Statuary Hall

Under a joint resolution passed with little fanfare in the waning hours of California's 2006 legislative session, the statue of the man who helped preserve California's statehood during the Civil War will be uprooted from its home in the nation's Capitol.

Reagan is undeserving of place in statuary hall.

Vigil for 3000 U.S. Troops-Not One Death More

"Not One More Death, Not One More Dollar"
The American Friends Service Committee is joining with local peace and justice groups worldwide to commemorate the lives lost in Iraq on the occasion of the 3,000th U.S. military fatality in Iraq. On the day after the 3,000th death is announced, we will hold local events in communities worldwide, mourning all the lives lost in this war and calling for U.S. troops to come home.


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