kmccook's blog

Gerald R. Ford Has Passed Away. "Let It Be."

Gerald R. Ford has passed away.

The Gerald R. Ford Library collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public a rich body of archival materials on U.S. domestic issues, foreign relations, and political affairs during the Cold War era. Current holdings include 21 million pages of memos, letters, meeting notes, reports, and other historical documents. Also there are one-half million audiovisual items, including photographs, videotapes of news broadcasts, audiotapes of speeches and press briefings, film of public events, and televised campaign commercials.

The 1974-77 presidential papers of Gerald Ford and his White House staff form the core collection. These are supplemented by the pre- and post-presidential papers of Gerald Ford, the papers of Betty Ford, collections of Federal records, and more. Former government officials have donated personal papers, researchers in the period have given copies of research interviews, and private individuals associated with the issues and events of the time have given their materials.

President Ford with George Harrison and Billy Preston in the Oval Office. December 13, 1974.

All gone now.

Buffoon Connection: Bush Library at SMU

The article "Scholarly Archive or Ideological Center?" was sent out as the Library Link of the Day for today [12/26/06]. A discussion at LIS news had taken place about this on December 18 (ff), and the "Library Link" prompted me back to the original where I found this interesting comment:
As a graduate of SMU, I must say that the person who posted and suggested that this letter does not represent the views of the SMU faculty and students is at least half wrong. While it has been a few years since I was on the hilltop, I must say that I found the faculty to be quite diverse and found very few to be hard core right wingers who might fit with the stereotype that all to often accompanies the mention of SMU.

As for the students, well, I guess stereotypes have to come from somewhere. But like many stereotypes, while there may be grains of truth than form their basis, they often to more injustice to their subject that justice. At least in the humanities and social sciences-- I was a double major in political science and economics with a minor in philosophy-- there were significant numbers of students from wealthy backgrounds, but they were not uniformly, nor even necessarily even majority conservative. The business school might be different, students in the areas where I studies were from all walks of life and of all political stripes.

But frankly, I doubt very few conservatives even want their university to be associated with such a buffoon. His abandonment of conservative causes should infuriate them almost as much as his high handed disregard of the Constitution infuriates progressives. I would have no objection to a library. However, an ideologically driven think tank is another matter. Particularly when the entire thrust of the presidency in question is so at war with the progressive message of the religious affiliation of the university in question. Baylor is a Baptist university and Baptists, at least in their modern configuration, are a conservative lot. But the religion of John Wesley-- and I am a practicing Methodist, too-- is supposed to be a religion of love, humility, inclusion, and service to those less fortunate than we. None of this in anyway consistent with the presidency of George Bush.

Literate Lives: A Human Right.

"Literacy is not an end in itself. It is a fundamental human right." (UNESCO, 1975). It is linked to other fundamental rights--rights that are universal, indivisible, interconnected and interdependent.
Becoming literate involves much more than language use and singular routes to language acquisition. It calls literate beings to recognize socio-political contexts of teaching and learning, image multiple possibilities for literate activity, and act as agents of change. As educators we have the responsibility to make visible the complexities of becoming literate in the new millennium. This year's National Council of Teachers of English summer institute will focus on literacy as a human right.
--See A Librarian at the Kitchen Table.

[Thanks, TK].

Bush Library Questioned by SMU Professors

MR has sent out a post by MLDB at Daily Kos that provides a link to "The George W. Bush Library:Asset or Albatross for SMU?"

Professors William K. McElvaney and Suzanne Johnson write in the United Methodist NeXus:

What does it mean ethically for SMU to say a war violating international law makes no difference? That a pre-emptive war based on false premises, misleading the American public, and destined to cost more American lives in Iraq than the 9-11 terrorist attack, makes no difference? That the death of thousands of innocent Iraqis by our "shock and awe" bombing in the name of democracy, verified by international organizations and Iraqi doctors, is of no consequence?

These realities are not about partisan politics. Rather we are concerned with deep ethical issues that transcend politics. Do we want SMU to benefit financially from a legacy of massive violence, destruction and death brought about by the Bush presidency in dismissal of broad international opinion?

Librarians have been used as cover by the Bushes and some have protested.

Mrs. Bush has had grants named for her that existed befoe her husband became president. Some librarians have noted this. Some of us have been so angry at being used by the Bush family that we have made personal protests.

Let us hope SMU does not become part of the choir of Bush family Sycophants.

Mayme Agnew Clayton Collection

The New York Times reports on one of the country's most important collections of artifacts devoted to the history of African-Americans.

Painstakingly collected over a lifetime by Mayme Agnew Clayton- a retired university librarian who died in October at 83 and whose interest in African-American history consumed her for most of her adult life-- the massive collection of books, films, documents and other precious pieces of America's past has remained essentially hidden for decades, most of it piled from floor to ceiling in a ramshackle garage behind Ms. Clayton's home in the West Adams district of Los Angeles.

Only now is her son Avery Clayton close to forming a museum and research institute that would bring her collection out of the garage and into public view. Just days before Ms. Clayton died, he rented a former courthouse in nearby Culver City for $1 a year to become the treasures' home, leaving him to scrape together $565,000 to move the thousands of items and put them on display for the first year.

The Mayme E. Clayton Library and Cultural Center
is part of theWestern States Black Research and Educational Center. The goal is establish the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Cultural Center in Los Angeles as a world-class, library-based, cultural institution dedicated to African American intelligence, creativity and nobility.

The Clayton Cultural Center is designed to function as a full service, world-class, library-based cultural center. At the Center's core will be the Clayton Collection of rare and historically significant books, documents, manuscripts, films, photographs, music and memorabilia. Future plans for the collection call for the inclusion of materials related to the worldwide black Diaspora.

How Will Librarians Help Swift Meat Workers' Families?

How will Librarians Help Workers at Swift?

The Immigration Debate Who is the Public the Library Meant to Serve?"

How do librarians connect our idealistic resource development--"Becoming American-- New Immigration Stories" to human rights crises, like this?

New York Times reports: More than 1,000 agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement appeared at 6 a.m. at Swift plants with warrants to search for illegal immigrants.The immigration agency raided plants in Hyrum, Utah; Greeley, Colo.; Cactus, Tex.; Grand Island, Neb.; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Worthington, Minn.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is seeking an immediate injunction in federal court, today, on behalf of workers employed by Swift and Company packing operations in Texas, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, and Minnesota.

The workers were subjected to a wholesale round up, including detention, by Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents."Essentially, the agents stormed the plants, many of them in riot gear, in an effort designed to terrorize the workforce," said Mark Lauritsen, director of the UFCW Food Processing, Packing and Manufacturing division.The UFCW represents workers at the Swift and Company plants, as well as other major packers around the country."This kind of action is totally uncalled for," said Lauritsen. "It's designed to punish workers for working hard everyday, contributing to the success of their companies and communities. They are innocent victims in an immigration system that has been hijacked by corporations for the purpose of importing an exploitable workforce." For years, the UFCW has called for comprehensive immigration reform--reform that provides an orderly immigration process that protects worker rights, ensures good wages and benefits for all workers, and recognizes the contributions immigrants make to our society."We are advising all the detained workers to exercise their right to an attorney and remain silent until they confer with counsel. These actions today by ICE are an affront to decency."

Today is Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day is observed by the international community every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day in 1948 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Union members pay special attention to Human Rights Day each year. Stuart Acuff writes about 2006:

The AFL-CIO and its affiliates are commemmorating Human Rights Day renewed vigor, resolve, and hope that we can restore fundamental workers' rights in America.

For three years now the AFL-CIO has maintained that restoring American workers' freedom to form unions and bargain collectively is the Federation's top political and legislative priority.

This election season was no different. The Federation believes that politics and organizing must be linked and that the nexus is legislation to restore workers' rights. Federation political director Karen Ackerman said repeatedly that political activity must generate organizing. President John Sweeney asked state federations and central labor councils to make sure endorsed candidates were either already co-sponsors of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) or pledged to co-sponsor it if elected. The Employee Free Choice Act is the federation's legislative vehicle to make the first major step to restore workers' rights. EFCA would amend the National Labor Relations Act to allow private sector workers to form unions by simply signing a card or petition, impose real penalties on employers who violate the law, and allow for arbitration to settle first contract disputes.

People in Jail and Faith Based Services. Librarians could make a difference in human rights by helping to overcome religion's lock on so many prison services.

2006 Cervantes Prize to Antonio Gamoneda

Antonio Gamoneda has won the 2006 Cervantes Prize, the Spanish literary world's equivalent of the Nobel Prize. See Librarian for details.

Progressive Librarians Guild Condemns UCLA Tasering

The Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) condemns the violent treatment of Iranian-American student Mostafa Tabatabainejad at the Powell Library of the University of California (UCLA) on November 14, 2006.

Caught on video, and viewed by witnesses, the police assault on Mr. Tabatabainejad is a violation of Mr. Tabatabainejad's constitutional rights under U.S. law, and the U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).

PLG believes there are no circumstances under which such police behavior can be sanctioned or rationalized given eyewitness accounts, video documentation, and the statements of parties to the event. No university security
policy can legitimately sanction or condone this type of police assault with a potentially deadly weapon.

PLG, a group of librarians and library workers, is particularly appalled that this incident occurred during a random security check of ID cards at the Powell Library. The abusive and violent intimidation that occurred against Mr. Tabatabainejad compromises the security that libraries traditionally have offered their users.

We condemn the violent actions against Mr. Tabatabainejad. We call for the UCLA and Powell Library administration to immediately convene a nonpartisan, public investigation into campus security policies.

--approved by PLG coordinating committee 11/27/2006.

Progressive Librarians Guild
c/o Rider University Library
2083 Lawrenceville Road
Lawrenceville NJ 08648

Bush Jr. Seeks MegaBucks to Shape History

It really is hard to believe that Bush insiders are THIS blatant about their plans to hire people to make the Civil War in Iraq look like the cakewalk it hasn't been.

Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.

Think Progress reports that the Bush Library Courts "Wealthy Heiresses, Arab Nations, Captains of Industry" To Polish History.

Bush is attempting to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush fund-raisers hope to get approximately $250 million from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million each. Among the candidates for "megadonations," whose names will remain anonymous:

Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential "mega" donors and are pressing for a formal site announcement - now expected early in the new year.

Bush allies feel they need enormous funds to shape how history views Bush's legacy. A Bush insider said,"The more [money] you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert." Much of the money will be used to build a "legacy-polishing" institute:

The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.

Bush had earlier indicated his desire to create a think tank "to talk about freedom and liberty and the DeTocqueville model of what [French political philosopher Alexis] DeTocqueville saw in America."

Cuban Disinfo Paid for by U.S. Tax-Payers

Foreign Assistance: U.S. Democracy Assistance for Cuba Needs Better Management and Oversight, GAO-07-147, November 15, 2006.

Nearly all of the $74 million a federal agency has spent on contracts to promote democracy in Cuba over the past decade has been distributed without competitive bidding or oversight in a program that opened the door to waste and fraud, according to a report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office.

In one of the more extreme cases of apparent abuse, the GAO said a Miami-based group used government money to purchase "a gas chainsaw, computer gaming equipment and software (including Nintendo Game Boys and Sony PlayStations), a mountain bike, leather coats, cashmere sweaters, crab meat, and Godiva chocolates."

And here is Mel Martinez asking Donald Rumsfield for TV money.

Full report is here.

National Book Awards-Tonight!

National Book Awards.

2006 Finalists


Mark Z. Danielewski, Only Revolutions (Pantheon)
Ken Kalfus, A Disorder Peculiar to the Country (Ecco/HarperCollins)
Richard Powers, The Echo Maker (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)
Jess Walter, The Zero (Judith Regan Books/HarperCollins)


Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68 (Simon & Schuster)
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone (Alfred A. Knopf)
Timothy Egan, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Houghton Mifflin)
Peter Hessler, Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present (HarperCollins)
Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (Alfred A. Knopf)


Louise Glück, Averno (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
H.L. Hix, Chromatic (Etruscan Press)
Ben Lerner, Angle of Yaw (Copper Canyon Press)
Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem (New Directions)
James McMichael, Capacity (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)


M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party (Candlewick Press)
Martine Leavitt, Keturah and Lord Death (Front Street Books/Boyds Mills Press)
Patricia McCormick, Sold (Hyperion Books for Children)
Nancy Werlin, The Rules of Survival (Dial/Penguin)
Gene Luen Yang, American Born Chinese (First Second/Roaring Brook Press/Holtzbrinck)

Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library

Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library:
How Postmodern Consumer Capitalism Threatens Democracy, Civil Education and the Public Good

By Ed D'Angelo
November 2006.
Library Juice Press, LLC
ISBN 978-0-9778617-1-2

Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library is a philosophical and historical analysis of how the rise of consumerism has led to the decline of the original mission of public libraries to sustain and promote democracy through civic education. Through a reading of historical figures such as Plato, Helvetius, Rousseau, and John Stuart Mill, the book shows how democracy and even capitalism were originally believed to depend upon the moral and political education that public libraries (and other institutions of rational public discourse) could provide. But as capitalism developed in the 20th century it evolved into a postmodern consumerism that replaced democracy with consumerism and education with entertainment. Public libraries have mistakenly tried to remain relevant by shadowing the rise of consumerism, but have instead contributed to the rise of a new barbarism and the decline of democracy.

Praise from Henry Giroux:

"We live in dangerous times as a relentless war is being waged by market fundamentalists, political extremists, and religious zealots against all those public spheres guided by democratic values and ideals. Ed D'Angelo's book is a brilliant recounting of public memory and a spirited defense of one of the nation's most important public goods, the public library. Barbarians at the Gates of the Public Library is a riveting example of the language of critique and recovery, critical engagement and possibility. It is a must read for anyone who takes democracy seriously, is willing to fight for one of the country's most important democratic public spheres, and at the same time learn something about the history and importance of the democratic function of public libraries in America. Everyone should read this book."

"Operation Timbuktu"

TIMBUKTU, Mali (Reuters) - Researchers in Timbuktu are fighting to preserve tens of thousands of ancient texts which they say prove Africa had a written history at least as old as the European Renaissance.

Private and public libraries in the fabled Saharan town in Mali have already collected 150,000 brittle manuscripts, some of them from the 13th century, and local historians believe many more lie buried under the sand.

The texts were stashed under mud homes and in desert caves by proud Malian families whose successive generations feared they would be stolen by Moroccan invaders, European explorers and then French colonialists.
--"These manuscripts are about all the fields of human knowledge: law, the sciences, medicine," said Galla Dicko, director of the Ahmed Baba Institute, a library housing 25,000 of the texts.

See Libraries of Timbuktu.

IMPAC Longlist Announced for 2007

The IMPAC is a special award as it is comprised of nominations from libraries and is overseen by the Dublic City Public Libraries.

The 2007 IMPAC Longlist has been announced.

The International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award is the largest and most international prize of its kind.It involves libraries from all corners of the globe, and is open to books written in any language.

I'm voting with the Milwaukee Public Library for Veronica by Mary Gaitskill.

Vincent Lam has won the Giller Prize

Toronto-based author Vincent Lam has won the Giller Prize, Canada's richest and most prestigious literary award, for his book of linked short stories, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures.

Giller Prize Announced Tonight

The best of Canadian literature will be delivered to the world via broadband when CTV streams a live broadcast feed of The 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize on its Broadband Network at

See Librarian for more details.

Pastor Ted Haggard's Reading List

This may be purged from the website of the New Life Church now that Pastor Ted has showed that he is a hypocrite of the first order preaching against gay marriage while involved with a gay prostitute and buying drugs.

Pastor Ted's Recommended Reading



How Christianity Changed the World

The World Is Flat

The Wisdom Of Crowds

The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

Winning With People

Joy At Work



Laura Bush on Michael J. Fox

In an interview on C-Span, First Lady Laura Bush was asked about Michael J Fox's advocacy for candidates who support embryonic stem cell research. Mrs. Bush responded that it was wrong for Fox and others to suggest that increased support for embryonic stem cell research could lead to cures for Alzheimer's and other diseases.

She concluded with a thinly veiled critique of Fox: "It's always easy to manipulate people's feelings, especially when you are talking about diseases that are so difficult." Watch it:

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