Politics

Preparatory Compliance Statement -- 7 November 2009

Preparatory to 1 December 2009 when new scrutiny will be paid by the Federal Trade Commission to new media outlets, it is necessary and proper to discuss where the promotional ads and other such material airing presently on LISTen originate. This relates to anti-payola measures that the federal government is taking. As the program is produced within the territory of the United States of America, Federal Trade Commission jurisdiction is certain.

As a matter of habit the first promotional item aired each week is a segment from Profile America. Profile America is an audio segment produced by the United States Department of Commerce through its Census Bureau. Profile America highlights facts from American history and is distributed without cost or payment to radio stations across the United States. Not only does Erie Looking Productions receive no compensation for airing Profile America as part of LISTen, the LISNews Netcast Network and LISHost additionally receive no compensation. Pieces from Profile America are aired as they highlight matters of national pride and national history from the United States of America where the primary air staff holds citizenship.

From time to time, a promotional piece from the Linux Outlaws is also aired. As with Profile America, nobody within any of the applicable chains of command receives compensation for airing that piece. The promotional piece by Dan Lynch and Fabian Scherschel, citizens of European Union member states, is aired by choice of the air staff to highlight a new media production that they think does good work that the audience of LISTen might also be interested in.

Other promotional materials from agencies and instrumentalities of the United States Government are also aired from time to time without compensation or cost. Such pieces are chosen typically based upon either current events or to highlight bad examples of public relations that should not be emulated by librarians. Many of these are presented as continuing examples so that librarians can have models from which to build their own public service announcements.

Questions or comments in regards to this can be directed to the Head of Business & Finance at Erie Looking Productions at erielookingproductions@gmail.com.

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Preparatory Compliance Statement -- 7 November 2009 by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at erielookingproductions.info.

And Dancing in the Streets...

Following up on our story last month, today's New York Times features a photo of Chile's President Michelle Bachelet dancing with the librarian who invited her to join him in La Cueca.

President Bachelet is a pediatrician and a single mother. Her unorthodox style has left a mark on the country’s political culture. During her state of the nation address in May, she joked about losing a shoe while kicking a soccer ball at a stadium inauguration, saying investment in four new stadiums would include money for “the flying shoe.” In the recent interview, she joked that her gender parity plan for the cabinet was intended to ensure that everyone had a dance partner.

New Zealand Gets Local Libraries Focus From Local Governments Minister

Sean Murgatroyd wrote at The Room of Infinite Diligence that the local governments minister has directed local councils to regard libraries as core services as well as a few other functional areas. Murgatroyd pointed out that this came from a postcard campaign launched by LIANZA.

(h/t The Room of Infinite Diligence...you ARE subscribed to their RSS feed, aren't you?)

Intermingling Issues

The American Library Association's President issued a statement on the new FCC net neutrality proceeding. The text is available from the FCC web site in PDF form relative to what the Commission is proposing.

School Library Journal ran a piece in the matter. The story included extraneous issues that are not being dealt with in the net neutrality proceeding by the FCC but in other dockets. For those participating in FCC proceedings, the Commission normally rebukes commenters who raise extraneous issues outside a particular docket's scope unless there is good cause for the matter to come up. The hub for speed issues but not net neutrality issues is at Broadband.gov.

LISTen, one of the LISNews podcasts, talked about the net neutrality proceeding in its most recent episode. While the discussion is brief it does discuss what was not an FCC decision but rather the start of a process.

All Aboard!

14 October 2009

The Ashtabula Star Beacon carried a report from the Associated Press today noting the number of jobs saved or created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in Ohio. That number was only thirteen thousand. More than that has been lost since the Recovery Act's passage into law as the state's unemployment rate climbed from 9.5% in the month of passage to a preliminary number of 10.8% for August. September's data will be released later this month.

A ton of money has been spent. It is uncertain what there is to show for it. In lieu of just criticizing something, alternatives should be presented.

Rather than spending federal dollars on preserving jobs directly, infrastructure development might have helped better. The concept of the "bedroom community" is growing where people commute long distances from their home to their workplace. Ashtabula and Lake counties in northeast Ohio are prime examples of that in providing bedroom communities to the Cleveland metro area. Previously when our western engineer lived in Ashtabula County he routinely did round-trips to work on Cleveland's west side in excess of one hundred miles per day. He was not alone in doing this.

Along the way between Ohio's geographically largest county and its closest urban metro there is already one AMTRAK route that runs in the wee hours of the night. I myself have ridden those rails to and from conferences in Detroit as well as returning home for Thanksgiving from undergraduate studies. There is no station any more in Ashtabula County and the next closest stations are in Cleveland and then over the state line in Pennsylvania on Peach Street in Erie. A mass transit infrastructure is there and with some small modifications could be linked into the Greater Cleveland Rapid Transit Authority's network which itself already links to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Something better that funds could have been directed to that would have helped promote fuel conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, and more would have been to instead build up commuter service on the rail. Auto insurance costs alone from the hazards of winter driving in northeast Ohio would go down if those commuting from bedroom communities to Cleveland instead were on a train. The amount of fuel expended in commuting is greater in the winter as more parts of the vehicle have to operate compared to the summer months. The rock salt mix used on icy roads also causes enough corrosion on vehicles that the average life of an automobile before requiring replacement runs about three to five years. Between the hazards of driving in snow and the chance of deer strike, the potential for calamity would go down if a mass transit option for commuting were in play. Such would also create positions through creating rail stations and perhaps park & ride facilities to serve commuters. Conditions elsewhere along the rails could potentially also allow for such to be tried in other communities.

Why does this matter in the library setting? By and large, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 does nothing to directly help libraries. Libraries exist through the ability of patrons to be able to pay taxes for the upkeep of the libraries. In bedroom communities, the labor expended for wages does not happen locally but those wages are brought back to the community. Making it possible to have an economic base for a community to exist remains a prerequisite for a library to even be possible.

While scattered reports indicated that most of the jobs saved by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were in K-12 education, there is more to life than the classroom. A tax base made up of mostly teachers is not a stable economic setting for trying to keep a library open. Since teacher pay comes out of taxes too, the question then becomes who was shaken down to get that money. Simple infrastructure upgrades, whether in improving mass transit or otherwise reducing a community's cost of living, might have the greater potential to lift economic baselines that make keeping library doors open possible.



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All Aboard! by Stephen Michael Kellat is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

It Takes A Librarian

Chile's President Michelle Bachelet has celebrated her 58th birthday by dancing a traditional Chilean cueca — with a library worker who plucked up the courage to ask.

Bachelet was inaugurating a library in the Santiago district of Cerrillos on Tuesday when she was surprised by a group of musicians who played a "cueca brava" — a popular version of Chile's folkloric dance — for her birthday. While the musicians sang, a library worker asked Chile's president to dance — and she accepted. LA Times.

At Nixon Library, Mao Statue Rankles Some

A statue of deceased Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong at the Nixon Presidential Library &Museum is the subject of a protest planned for Thursday, on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.

The statue has been in the Hall of World Leaders since the Nixon Presidential Library opened. Kai Chen – a Chinese-American organizing the protest – is the first person to launch a complaint about it, said Sandy Quinn, assistant director of the Nixon Library &Birthplace Foundation.

"To even mention Mao with democratic leaders such as Churchill and Golda Meir in the same breath is truly an insult to human intelligence and offensive to all the freedom-loving people in the world," said Chen, who emigrated from China in 1981 and lives in Los Angeles.

"Having several figures in the world leaders' (section) doesn't mean we endorse their policies," assistant library director Sandy Quinn said. OC Register.

Another article from the LA Times points out that the library,
once privately run, is making a transition to government operation..."and that has turned statues of Mao Tse-tung and Chou En-lai into political footballs".

Digital age and devices

In continuation of my blog entry last Friday, I have thought about the implication of digital device use in educational and other forums. As more and more information is made available in a digital format, I believe that equations about no cell phone, laptops, etc. during class (or other forums) is going to have to evolve even more than it has. It is interesting that some people expressed a reaction to Representative Cantor's use of a Blackberry during President' Obama's speech as similar to a student goofing off during a lecture or perhaps cheating during an exam, instead of possibly reading supporting documentation and taking notes (I do so with my Blackberry for important topics at meetings so I don't then have to fumble through various notebooks trying to find what I wrote). I wonder what kind of rules of conduct the Senate and House of Representatives have on digital device usage?

Filing documents on time

I rarely, if ever, get to write about government documents. This is one of those times.

I intended to have a reading of the President's proclamation for Patriot Day (that is to say, 9-11) for release via the podcast feed. In the past the White House of Bush The Younger had such proclamations released in the Federal Register before the day of the holiday with the exception of 2004-2006. The press office did release the 2004 text before the holiday, though, as can be seen here. For President Obama's first Patriot Day proclamation, I can only find such this morning in the Federal Register although the website was found to have such after one heckuva non-obvious route searching.

Even though the Federal Register is in fact the official source for proclamations, sometimes the White House web site is a useful unofficial source. Unfortunately that is not the case in this instance. There is a page for proclamations and executive orders but as I write it has not been updated since June 23, 2009.

The Office of the Federal Register is helpful in providing time stamps for when documents are filed. Typically in the text-only view online such is found at the end of the file. The past few years of proclamations, for your reading enjoyment, include:

Obama 2009
Bush 2008
Bush 2007
Bush 2006
Bush 2005
Bush 2004
Bush 2003
Bush 2002

If a proclamation is signed but nobody knows about it, does it really matter?

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