kmccook's blog

G.W.Bush-Shoeshine and a Smile

George McEvoy, Palm Beach Post Columnist, on George Bush as Willy Loman:

George W., with his family's money, bought himself a million-dollar education at the finest schools. But what did he learn? I wonder.
Harry Truman never went to college, but academicians have described him as one of the finest historians ever to occupy the Oval Office. He did it by reading incessantly.
I don't mean that a president has to be a bibliophile, but to not show the slightest interest in books that analyze your own administration just seems deliberately anti-intellectual.....

I have tried to think what character in literature most reminds me of our current president, and I finally came up with the answer.
Willy Loman. Yep, George W. is like the title character in Arthur Miller's masterpiece play, Death of a Salesman.
After he dies, Willy is described as a guy who got by most of his life on a shoeshine and a smile.
That's our leader, folks. He's got the smile, the strut, the shiny boots.
But he won't read the books because that would be like looking in a mirror, and that's scary.

Václav Havel Arrives!

Václav Havel arrived at Columbia University October 26th 2006 for a seven-week residency featuring lectures, interviews, conversations, classes, performances, and panels centered on his life and ideas.

Bush's family profits from 'No Child' act

Ignite--A company headed by President Bush's brother and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act.

With investments from his parents, George H.W. and Barbara Bush, and other backers, Neil Bush's company, Ignite! Learning, has placed its products in 40 U.S. school districts and now plans to market internationally....
Most of Ignite's business has been obtained through sole-source contracts without competitive bidding. Neil Bush has been directly involved in marketing the product.

For more on the Bush family exploitation of reading and education not only in the U.S. but world-wide through Bush family connections see:

National Papers Uncover Bush exploitation of "No Child Left Behind."

Presidential Libraries in Public Historian

"Presidential Libraries" at The Public Historian.

See Librarian for TOC.

A Place to Read

In an essay at Inside Higher Ed--"A Place to Read,"-- Terry Caesar observes: "Lately, however, it's seemed to me that the place of reading has become harder to establish. The ubiquitous video screens - in our dentist's offices and our airplanes as well as our homes- represent the problem. Why read when you can look?"

The comments are all interestting, especially this one:

"I wish I could say that a public library can still be a place to go to read, but in my second job at a library (I'm an adjunct at a community college) I find the place just as noisy as, say, the hallway of a middle school between classes.

And the designated "quiet reading" spots aren't much better. E.g., when did people think that cellphone conversations weren't audible? Whatever happened to parents teaching their children that the library is a place to consider others' needs for quiet?"

Bush Gives Green Light to Torture

George Bush just signed the Military Commissions Act, the bookend to the Patriot Act on the shelf marked "Assault on Democracy." writes Matthew Rothchild in The Progressive on October 17, 2006.

Sexy Librarian, Brokeback Party, & the Fart Machine

Maureen Dowd has hacked into the OVAL1600 chat room! AND prepared a transcript.Here are a few highlights. Warning: politically explicit language, reader discretion advised.
Decider: hey
Rover08: ya
Decider: Dick, u here? Don?
DarthV: ya, potus
Rumstud74: ditto, boss
Decider: I called denny to tell him I just can't quit him ...brokeback party ... did we decide right?
Rover08: ya ... even if we're now the party of gays & a weak military, let's not let the Dems paint us that way
DarthV: obvi
Rover08: btw, denny's toll-free tip # was pretty lame ... 1-800-HORNDOG or whatev ... reporters r joking the spkr's IM name is fatfallguy06 or CapitolRotunda
Decider: lol
Rumstud74: golly, dont care who gets voted off island, long as it's not me :)
DarthV: dont worry, rummy, u know we're BFFs
Decider: wait! I thought I was ur BFF ...
sexylibrarian: hon, sorry to interrupt, but I think denny & rummy should BOTH go ... they're off the heez. women are hating on Foley & Iraq & it could ruin your admin
Rumstud74: ur a bigger pain than condi, laura ... why dont you go rd a book? read wdwrd's book ... you sure helped him write it, litl ms tattletale
Decider: haha
sexylibrarian: george!
Decider: u know u r my First Babe ... as that ad goes, u must know karate, cause your body's kickin'
Rumstud74: denny & I both wrestlers ... you think he'd know how to handle some man-on-man grappling w/o all this Henny Penny nonsense. lay the smackdown on nancy pelosi & pin the puny press on the mat
DarthV: you've still got the muscles & the moves, Big Guy
Rumstud74: OMG, di ck, we gotta shut up Warner on getting outta Iraq & shut up Frist about getting in bed w/the Taliban ... & we gotta yank those pesky videos of snipers shooting at American soldiers off YouTube ...let's fire up the old censorship machine
DarthV: that's hot ... censorship is hot ... torture is waaay hot
Rover08: knock it off, you 2 ... back to biz ... this man-boy lovefest on the Hill is def messing up my mojo with evangelicals ... after all my hard work demonizing gays, my God-gap is shrinking
Decider: if the dems win the house, will they start investigating me?
Rover08: oh ya, that's why we gotta get back on the offensive with our own agenda: pretending to keep the country safe
Decider: totes!
sexylibrarian: u coming to bed, Bushie?
Decider: do I have to read more shakespeares ... promised boy genius we'd play w/ the fart machine for a few min ... c u l8r ...
Rover08: whoopeeee!
Maureen Dowd: "Death By Instant Message"

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

An historic event for librarianship. Now: October 11-15, 2006.

Joint Conference of Librarians of Color

Kiran Desai- "The Inheritance of Loss"-Man Booker 2006-Today

Man Booker was announced today. Kiran Desai wins for "The Inheritance of Loss."
The six shortlisted books were chosen from a longlist of 19 and are:

Desai, Kiran. The Inheritance of Loss - Hamish Hamilton
Grenville, Kate. The Secret River - Canongate
Hyland, M.J. Carry Me Down - Canongate
Matar, Hisham. In the Country of Men - Viking
St Aubyn, Edward. Mother's Milk - Picador
Waters, Sarah. The Night Watch - Virago

Disgrace Best in Past 25 Years-Observer Poll

A recent poll in the New York Times named Toni Morrison's Beloved as the greatest work of American fiction in the past 25 years.
The Observer decided to ask the same question about British fiction, for the same generation, 1980-2005, with one difference. The definition of 'British', following Booker, included Ireland and the literary traditions of the Commonwealth.

Accordingly, a few weeks ago a letter was sent to about 150 writers and 'literary sages' inviting them confidentially to nominate 'the best novel (in English, excluding America) for the years 1980-2005.'

First place

Disgrace (1999)
JM Coetzee.
Second place

Money (1984)
Martin Amis

Joint third place

Earthly Powers (1980)
Anthony Burgess

Atonement (2001)
Ian McEwan

The Blue Flower (1995)
Penelope Fitzgerald

The Unconsoled (1995)
Kazuo Ishiguro

Midnight's Children (1981)
Salman Rushdie

Joint eighth place

The Remains of the Day (1989)
Kazuo Ishiguro

Amongst Women (1990)
John McGahern
That They May Face the Rising Sun (2001)
John McGahern

Disinformation Rules in Miami

"You're either the voice of the free press, or you're the voice of the government," Hiaasen says. "You aren't the voice of both."

The publisher who fired three journalists at a major Spanish-language newspaper in Miami for conflicts of interest lost his own job Tuesday after acknowledging the scope of the scandal was greater than previously disclosed.Until Tuesday, Jesus Diaz Jr. was the publisher of El Nuevo Herald and its sister paper, The Miami Herald. Diaz fired the reporters last month for accepting payments from Radio Marti or TV Marti. Both are U.S. government broadcasters with the mission of undermining Cuban leader Fidel Castro's rule.Diaz revealed Tuesday that a total of nine Nuevo Herald journalists had been involved, and that he was quitting as publisher after just 14 months....The fired reporters were given their jobs back because, Diaz wrote, ethical standards were not clearly articulated within the El Nuevo Herald newsroom. Columnist Hiaasen says journalists at The Miami Herald would never have been allowed to accept money from the government -- but that reporters at El Nuevo Herald were operating in a different world.

"You're either the voice of the free press, or you're the voice of the government," Hiaasen says. "You aren't the voice of both."

2006 Lettre Ulysses Prize

Linda Grant has won the $50,000 Lettre Ulysses prize for the art of reportage for her book, The People on the Street: a Writer's View of Israel.

See Librarian for additional finalists.

Indo-German Writers in Residence project.

The word AKSHAR in Sanskrit not only means the letter or the alphabet but also describes the smallest unit that cannot be destroyed. Thus AKSHAR is a wonderful symbol of faith in language and its elementary power, and is an appropriate name for the Indo-German Writers in Residence project.

The entries of the following authors are now online:

Georg Martin Oswald (Bangalore, 27.05. – 18.06.2006)

Guy Helminger (Hyderabad, 11.06. – 15.07.2006)

Angela Krauß (Chennai, 23.06. – 01.08.2006)

Sandra Hoffmann (Mumbai, 24.07. – 21.08.2006)

Kristof Magnusson (Pune, 16.08. – 08.09.2006)

Martin Mosebach (New Delhi, 07.09. – 27.09.2006)

Adyasha Das (Frankfurt, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Josef Winkler (Kolkata, 01.09. – 24.09.2006)

Mahesh Dattani (Stuttgart, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Rajula Shah (Hamburg, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Bhupinder Aziz Parihar (Cologne, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Mogalli Ganesh (Munich, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Swapnamoy Chakraborti (Berlin, 14.09. – 09.10.2006)

Nice Cover for the Killing

"It's just a nice cover for the killing." observe RUSSELL MOKHIBER and ROBERT WEISSMAN at Counterpunch in an essay about the National Book Festival.

Mokhiber and Weissman ask:

Will Dr. Helen Caldicott appear to read from her new book -- Nuclear Power is Not the Answer?

Will Noam Chomsky appear to read from his bestseller -- Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Domination?


Will Amy and David Goodman appear to read from their new book -- Static: Government Liars, Media Cheerleaders, and the People Who Fight Back?

Find out who else won't be there.

[Thanks K.M.}

Bet on the Nobel Prize

Taking odds on the Nobel Prize for Literature

..will it be Orhan Pamuk, Joyce Carol Oates, Ko Un, Ryszard Kapuscinski or Bob Dylan?

Dirtbags & Party Crashers: Unconnected at DOE

Is your publishing company unconnected to big-time Bush supporters like McGraw-Hill?
If so, here's how you get treated at the U.S. Department of Education if you apply to participate.

"Beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in a way that will stand up to any level of legal and [whole language] apologist scrutiny. Hit them over and over with definitive evidence that they are not SBRR, never have been and never will be. They are trying to crash our party and we need to beat the [expletive deleted] out of them in front of all the other would-be party crashers who are standing on the front lawn waiting to see how we welcome these dirtbags."-- [p.24]. Chris Doherty, White House Reading Czar.
See "Bush Reading Program Rife with Fraud."

Bush Tries To Usurp Public's Good Will Toward Libraries

Library Juice has a post about the IMLS and the naming of Library fellowships after Laura Bush as an "appropriation of the good will of the public toward librarians."

Les Bienveillantes Among Finalists for Prix Goncourt

Premiere Selection du Prix Goncourt 2006 announced. Les Bienveillantes, a 900-page novel about the Holocaust, written in French by an American, Jonathan Littell, is among the finalists.
[I cannot figure out how to include diacritics in LIS News and apologize for this.]

see Librarian.

Patrick Grace-Library Photo Archivist for Burgert Brothers

A historical treasure worth millions is being saved with help from the Hillsborough-Tampa Public Library.The collection of thousands of Bay Area photos dating back to the late 1800's was purchased with money from the Friends of the Library.

Library Photo Archivist Patrick Grace, interviewed by Tampa Bay's 10 News discusses the Living History found in the Burgert Brothers Photographic Collection. The collection presents a unique pictorial record of the commercial, residential and social growth of Tampa Bay and Florida's West coast from the late 1800s to the early 1960s.

Lynn Edwards Angell, Librarian who Died on 9-11

Librarian, Lynn Edwards Angell, who died on American flight 11 will be honored by Hannah of The Olson Files as part of 2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11. Those to be memorialized were randomly assigned to volunteering bloggers.

The 2,996 Project: idea is simple, but powerful: have a special tribute for each victim of 9/11, with each tribute being created by a different blogger.

LIBRARIAN bloggers honoring others who died:

Martin DeMeo- Librarian
Lt. Cmdr. Robert Randolph Elseth - Shhh! Librarian-in-Training!
Howard Lee Kane-Impromptu Librarian

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