Politics

Watch the Net Neutrality FCC Hearings Thursday Night

Note from Senator Al Franken of MN:

A few weeks ago, Google and Verizon announced a proposed policy framework that they claimed would protect net neutrality, but it does not apply to wireless Internet services. It does not protect net neutrality -- it undermines it.

We've set up a special link so you can watch the hearing, courtesy of the UpTake -- it starts at 6:00 Central Time (7:00 Eastern) tonight.

Please invite your friends to watch by Tweeting and posting to Facebook. This is a big opportunity for us to stand up for net neutrality -- and stand up to big corporations who want to own the flow of information in America.

New York's Mayor Suggests To a Reporter That He Visit the Library

...to read the Bill of Rights.

New York Times Cityroom Blog: On a campaign blitz on Tuesday, NYC's Mayor Michael Bloomberg was dogged by questions about the Islamic Community Center project near Ground Zero.

In Philadelphia, where he endorsed the Democratic candidate for Senate, Joe Sestak, he tersely told off a critic. “Look, I would suggest you go from here directly to the library. Get a copy of the Bill of Rights and you’ll realize that everybody has a right to say what they want to say.”

Mr. Bloomberg also fielded questions about the Islamic center, known as Park51, in Washington, where he traveled to back the re-election campaign of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty. He ended the day with an appearance at a fund-raiser for Michael N. Castle, the Delaware Republican vying for a Senate seat.

The Islamic center is a thorny issue for national politicians, with recent polls showing that most Americans oppose its construction. [ed- I like what one commenter says about it - "As someone who lives and works in lower Manhattan, I’ve noticed that one’s hysteria over Park51 seems to be inversely proportional to one’s proximity to it."]

According to their website, the Park51 facility will include a library.

Accused School Librarian Still on the Job

A Redding (CA) School District librarian accused of embezzling and stealing from a school and parent club has not been placed on leave, an administration official said Wednesday.

Wanell Stolz is still working as an information specialist at Juniper Elementary and Cypress Elementary schools, district Superintendent Diane Kempley said before a special board meeting called to discuss “various employee evaluations” in closed session Wednesday.

Two parents who arrived at the meeting late and did not address the board said while the board was in closed session that they are concerned about having Stolz, who was arrested last week, working around their children.

“With everything that is going on with her case, I really don’t think she should be working with kids,” said Alisha Woodruff, who has two children who will be attending Juniper School when classes begin next week. The accused librarian is the wife of Redding School District Board of Trustees President Rein Stolz. Redding.com.

A Look Back: Watergate Exhibit Becomes a Point of Contention at Nixon Library

Now that the Nixon Library is controlled by the National Archives, some library supporters have firmly objected to how the incident that caused Nixon to leave the presidency is presented there.

The National Archives put together searing recollection of the Watergate scandal, based on videotaped interviews with 150 associates of Richard M. Nixon, an interactive exhibition that was supposed to have opened on July 1. But the Nixon Foundation — a group of Nixon loyalists who controlled this museum until the National Archives took it over three years ago — described it as unfair and distorted. The Foundation does not have veto power and by law serves only in an advisory role. The final ruling will be made by officials of the National Archives within the next few weeks.

The foundation’s objection has left the exhibition in shadows, both figuratively and literally. The sign says “Please excuse our dust: We are currently building a new Watergate gallery.” New York Times reports.

Why Do Librarians Hate Conservatives?

Why do librarians hate conservatives? That is the question that Will Manley has put to his blog readers. It has touched off a vigorous debate. Check it out at http://willmanley.com/2010/08/04/will-unwound-193-why-do-librarians-hate-conservatives-by-wi....

Topic: 

House Moves to Make Funded Research Public

Moves to Make Funded Research Public
The U.S. House of Representatives has announced a public hearing to explore making publicly-funded research open to the public. Legislators in both the House and the Senate have already introduced bills calling for this. If they pass, the implications could be significant and might result in an economic jump.
Meanwhile... BP Launches Effort To Control Scientific Research Of Oil Disaster : The lucrative $250-an-hour deal “buys silence,” said Robert Wiygul, an Ocean Springs environmental lawyer who analyzed the contract. “It makes me feel like they were more interested in making sure we couldn’t testify against them than in having us testify for them,” said George Crozier, head of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who was approached by BP.

Textual Miscellany

A June Miscellany
By Stephen Michael Kellat, MSLS
Head Writer, Erie Looking Productions

The Search For Studio Space

With the main move out of the way, we are kinda lacking in studio space. This is why the hiatus is running as long as it is. We are attempting to raise money and are looking at real estate. Three possible partners have been contacted but it is too soon to have heard back from them. There is a building previously used by a Charismatic Episcopal Church for sale that costs roughly ten thousand dollars in the Ashtabula Harbor Historical District. While the building is quite tempting and would make for a lovely base of operations, it is not yet economically feasible to purchase. The local real estate market is in fairly bad shape where there are an infinitesimal amount of properties for rent/lease compared to properties up for sale.

The World Radio Network

A private company based in England, World Radio Network provides transmission services for quite a number of content providers. Considering that some of the content they air is geekier and appeals to a narrower niche compared to LISNews Netcast Network programming, they've been contacted to see what cooperation is possible. We have not heard back yet if there are any opinions positive or negative about the programming we produce.

Voting & Intentional Self-Destruction

Over a year into the presidency of Barack Obama, the economy of the United States is hardly recovered. A meme on conservative websites for a while was to plot against the unemployment change projections of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act what the actual unemployment rate happened to be. That such diverged was mocked. When the divergence was significantly out of line from the projections used to sell what was popularly known as “stimulus”, the laughter turned to grimacing.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was sold as a panacea. There were some fundamental kernels of nastiness deep within the bill that continue to produce unintended consequences. This has been clearly seen in New Jersey where Andy Woodworth has assumed a role akin to a minor prophet of the Old Testament documenting not the decline of ancient Israel but rather the decline of libraries.

It is without doubt that the Recovery Act disbursed money to put people back to work. A trip west from Conneaut to Ashtabula on Interstate Route 90 here shows in fairly graphic detail the impact of money as new lanes are added to the highway. The disbursement of money from the United States Treasury came with strings attached. As there are no free gifts from the federal government to grant recipients, it bears consideration as to the consequences of those strings.

The term “maintenance of effort” sounds more like a euphemism for benign accounting issues. That term is hardly benign. A key condition for quite a bit of education funding and funding for road works was that the states had to agree to sustain funding for those areas at or above a minimum benchmark. Failure to comply with funding above that benchmark would disqualify the state from receiving federal funding in that area for a set number of years. Maintenance of Effort, which a term of bureaucracy, would perhaps more appropriately be termed “Advance Commitment To Spend Certain Funds Without Regard To Changing Circumstances For A Fixed Period Of Years”.

Considering the proportions of state budgets spent on education, road works, and the like it is hardly surprising that governors like New Jersey's Chris Christie have done what they have after their predecessors signed up for stimulus dollars that had strings attached. No powerful lobby acted to get provisions included in the Recovery Act to exempt entities like public libraries, parks, mental health care services, and the like from possibly being cut. With the top-down imposition of spending priorities with draconian penalties attached if a state made cuts, public libraries were among the targets set up with very attractive targets painted on them.

Until the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act expires, libraries are in a bind. Libraries are deemed from the top down to not necessarily be a funding priority. As education matters and road works gobble up quite a bit of state budgets, any growth in their funding consumption will threaten libraries. The Recovery Act insures education and road works will never be cut unless a state had almost a death wish to lose access to federal funding. There are no financial consequences if libraries are dealt budget cuts, though.

In the end, elections have consequences.

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NJ Librarians Are Mad as Hell And They're Not Going to Take It Anymore

WAYNE NJ — Hundreds gathered at the State House Annex in Trenton recently to oppose Gov. Chris Christie's proposal to cut 74 percent of funding for the state library system, an action many believe will be nothing less than devastating.

Library patrons from across New Jersey voiced their concerns over the proposed cuts via 60,000 orange postcards hand delivered the day of the rally including 5,000 from the Wayne Public Library and its Preakness branch. Employees from the Valley Road location joined forces with over 650 people who filled the annex courtyard to help spread the message that "libraries matter."

"I feel we needed to do our part because these cuts being proposed would be disastrous," said Doreen Shoba, head of the reference department at the Wayne Public Library.

Included in the cuts would be the elimination of all statewide library programs and services. New Jersey stands to lose roughly $4.5 million in federal funding leaving clientele severely impacted. Amongst the biggest losses will be access to electronic databases such as RefUSA and EBSCO, as well as the statewide interlibrary loan and delivery service. Many libraries including Wayne could also lose access to the Internet as well.

Would Kagan Ban Books?

The NY Sun's air tight legal analysis says books no, but, pamphlets yes... "Let us just say that these columns have been covering the courts since 1933, and it’s hard to recall an exchange before the high bench more unsettling in respect of our basic liberty to conduct a free and robust election debate."

Librarians Protest Budget Cuts, Crowding Hollywood Intersection During Rush Hour

About 50 librarians and book supporters gathered on all four corners of a busy Hollywood intersection last Friday evening during rush hour, earning honks in support of saving L.A.'s dwindling library system. This year, it has already faced major cuts--for one, libraries are no longer open seven days a week--and now faces even heavier ones in Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed budget, which will take affect July 1st when libraries could go from six to five days of open doors.

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