Politics

LISTen: An LISNews.org Podcast -- Episode #98

This week's podcast looks forward into the past with a replay of archival audio of President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressing the US Congress after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The dateline for this episode is the 78th anniversary of the event.

Also presented in the podcast was a brief discussion of the late-breaking story of Comcast's attempt to acquire a controlling interest in NBC Universal. There was originally going to be discussion of remarks by Rupert Murdoch concerning why news online should never have been free in the first place. The Comcast-NBC matter took precedence.

Related links:
FDR's speech at Archive.org
This installment of Profile America
MSNBC reporting on the Comcast-NBC matter
Greg Sandoval at CNET discussing the Comcast-NBC matter
One Reuters story on the Comcast-NBC matter
Another Reuters story in the matter
Discussion at the Erie Looking Productions blog of the recent coverage of remarks by Rupert Murdoch
MSNBC relaying an AP report on Google's new attempt to restrict how users can reach news sites
Linux Outlaws, a show produced by Sixgun Productions

17:12 minutes (6.9 MB)
mp3
[audio-player]

Alaskan Libraries Shelve Former Governor's New Title

Sarah Palin, once at the center of book-banning controversy while mayor of Wasilla, is causing a bit of a headache for libraries this week as they decide how much shelf space and budget to devote to her new book – as well as the multiple other titles being released about her.

AK's Homer Tribune reports: Deciding how many books about Palin to stock on their shelves turns out to be a tricky question. On one hand, libraries have limited budgets for ordering new materials and limited space to shelve them. On the other hand, they want to meet readers’ demands. Terri Burdick, director of the Joyce K Carver Memorial Library in Soldotna, said "it’s difficult to order books on hot topics, like Palin. There tends to be demand for them when they first come out, but it fizzles quickly."

Burdick said she plans to order “Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar,” by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, and The Persecution of Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star by Matthew Continetti. She said she’s also considering ordering a copy of Going Rouge: An American Nightmare. The book is a response to Palin’s book from the editors of The Nation magazine, published by OR Books. It’s a collection of essays about Palin, including from two Alaska writers.

A Librarian Makes Economic Case Against Homosexuality

Librarian Bert Chapman makes An Economic Case Against Homosexuality: "As a Christian, I agree with the biblical condemnation of the homosexual lifestyle. However, we are living in a nation and world that increasingly rejects biblical norms. To defend traditional sexual morality against the encroaching threat of homosexuality and other aberrant forms of sexual expression, we need to be able to do more than cite Bible verses. Fortunately, there are plenty of economic reasons for being against this lifestyle and I think as conservatives we need to be able to articulate why our nation cannot afford the extremely high financial costs of this lifestyle at a time when we are confronting dangerously high budget deficits, national debt, and personal debt."

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.

Creative Commons License
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.



Creative Commons License
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.

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