Politics

U.S. Starts Global Internet Freedom Task Force

The Search Guy writes "At a news conference, Josette Shiner, a top State Department trade expert, called the Internet the greatest purveyor of news and information in history" but said too often the flow is blocked by government censors. Shiner announced the formation of a task force that will consider, among other issues, the foreign policy aspects of Internet freedom, including the use of technology to restrict access to political content. She said it is a top U.S. government priority "to do all we can to ensure maximum access to information over the Internet. ABC News Has More"

US "mock attack" to shut down blogs

Babylon Sister sent over News From The AP on the conclusion of "Cyber Storm" wargame Friday, its biggest-ever exercise to test how it would respond to devastating attacks over the Internet from anti-globalization activists, underground hackers and bloggers.
Participants confirmed parts of the worldwide simulation challenged government officials and industry executives to respond to deliberate misinformation campaigns and activist calls by Internet bloggers, online diarists whose "Web logs" include political rantings and musings about current events.

Bush Budget Axes EPA Libraries

Kathleen writes "Under G.Bush Jr.'s proposed budget, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is slated to shut down its network of libraries that serve its own scientists as well as the public, according to internal agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In addition to the libraries, the agency will pull the plug on its electronic catalog which tracks tens of thousands of unique documents and research studies that are available nowhere else."

The other side of the budget-coin has Good News For the IMLS. The budget would boost funding for library programs at the Institute of Museum and Library Services to $220.9 million, an increase of nearly $10.3 million over FY 2006.

Cuban journo on hunger strike for rights

mdoneil writes "A Cuban independent journalist is on the verge of death after a ten day hunger strike in an attempt to force the repressive Castro regime to allow a right to free expression and the right to Internet access.

Guillermo Farinas has been on a hunger strike since the end of January according to Reporters without Borders. He was rushed to the hospital upon losing consciousness. However after regaining his strength he ripped the IV from his arm.
Cuba as you will recall is one of the dictatorships that prevents independent librarians from distributing books. The ALA fails to grasp the importance of these independent librarians in their quest to bring freedom to the island nation. Michael Gorman who as head of the ALA holds Cuban librarians in such contempt by calling them 'not real librarians' must also hold Farinas in contempt as well for being an independent journals - would Gorman call him not a real journalist? Would he call him that on his deathbed?
One of the prohibited documents in Cuba is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Article 19 of the UDHR requires that everyone - independent Cuban journalists and librarians - have the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
RSF knows that information can bring freedom, IFLA - the international body of which the ALA is the US representative knows it. They know that independent librarians and journalists must be free to share their views and opinions. When will the ALA get it?"

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PA Governor to Restore Library Funding

Babylon Sister sent over some Good News for libraries in PA. Gov. Rendell today proposed a $25.4 billion state budget for fiscal 2006-07 calling for no new taxes, dips in business levies, and increased spending on libraries, education and children's health-care programs.
Overall, the budget would boost state spending by $924 million, or about 3.8 percent. Two-thirds of the new dollars are earmarked for education.
"What I have proposed today is bold and far-reaching," Rendell told a joint session of the House and Senate this morning. "It is necessary and vital for our future. And the good news is that it is affordable."

Yahoo info release to China results in prison

search-engines-web.com & mdoneil both sent in articles on Yahoo who appear to have one-upped Google in China. mdoneil writes "Yahoo provided information to Chinese authorities that resulted in the imprisonment of a Chinese writer.
I can cross Yahoo of my sites to ever use again. Profit does not trump freedom. The web shrinks daily.
Reuters covers the story here."

School libraries in trouble?

Texas academic librarian writes to share this story from the Houston Chronicle, "Choosing sports over libraries is only one battle brewing under Gov. Perry's 65% spending directive"

"Standard & Poor's school evaluation services is nonpartisan and designed to help policymakers, educators and parents understand relationships between achievement and investment. In addition to Texas, the study looked at Minnesota, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida, Kansas, Arizona and Colorado, among a number of states considering a 65 percent rule. The study concluded that while the data do not support mandating a minimum instructional spending threshold, monitoring the percentage districts allocate to instruction can be a useful benchmark."

A New U.S. Supreme Court Justice is Sworn in

Our helpful pal search-engines-web.com writes "Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate in one of the most partisan victories in modern history."

WikiPedia Blocks U.S. Congress IP Addresses - RFC

Search-Engines writes "I am opening this RFC in order to centralise discussion concerning actions to be taken against US Congressional staffers who repeatedly revert wars, blank content, engage in slanderous and libelous behaviour, violate WP:NPOV, WP:CIV. The editors from this IP are rude and abrasive, immature, and show no understanding of Wikipedia policy. The editors also frequently try to whitewash the actions of frequent politicians. They treat Wikipedia articles about politicians as though they own it, replacing articles with their sanctioned biographies and engaging in revert wars when other users dispute this sudden change. They also violate Wikipedia:Verifiability, by deleting verified reports, while adding flattering things about members of Congress that are unverified.The editors are currently blocked, but only for a week, so I feel this RFC is needed for the community to comment. I feel that a 1 week block is not enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_fo r_comment/United_States_Congress"

U.S. Congress Votes Database

Jay writes "The U.S. Congress Votes Database now offers an RSS feed for every current member of Congress, so you can get notified each time your elected officials vote. Each member-specific feed includes the member's position in the latest 10 votes. To reach a member's feed, navigate to his or her page and look for the "RSS" link."

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