Politics

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #199

This week's episode is varied as it is released during a holiday weekend in the United States.

Direct Download: Ogg Vorbis Audio

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Dvorak on the Twitter book
Free Speech Radio News seeks further funding to bridge a shortfall
Google asked to yank a million search results per month

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Occupy Wall Street sues NYC over confiscated books

Occupy Wall Street filed a federal lawsuit Thursday against New York City, claiming authorities destroyed $47,000 worth of books, computers and other equipment confiscated from the protesters' encampment in lower Manhattan last fall.

WV State paid $22K each for Internet routers in small libraries

State paid $22K each for Internet routers
The state of West Virginia is using $24 million in federal economic stimulus money to put high-powered Internet computer routers in small libraries, elementary schools and health clinics, even though the pricey equipment is designed to serve major research universities, medical centers and large corporations, a Gazette-Mail investigation has found.

The state purchased 1,064 routers two years ago, after receiving a $126 million federal stimulus grant to expand high-speed Internet across West Virginia.

Disastrous Plan for Philadelphia's Library for the Blind

From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

The Philadelphia Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the nation's oldest book collection serving the visually impaired and one of only two in the commonwealth, is slated to be dramatically diminished this week, as services and the collection are slashed.

The plan calls for moving most reading materials to the smaller, less-used Pittsburgh branch; foolishly dumping half a million recorded cassettes; and halving the caring, veteran staff that helps disabled patrons in 29 counties. [ed: I heard about this plan while at PLA in Philadelphia in March; word has it that its the plan of Governor Tom Corbett, a native of Pittsburgh].

The merger makes absolutely no sense and will not save the commonwealth a cent, while providing slower, less efficient service to an already underserved population. Indeed, critics believe the merger will cost more money in unanticipated operating costs.

Conservatives defend cuts to Archives Canada

Conservatives defend cuts to Archives Canada
Responding to criticism that budget cuts are undermining the ability of Library and Archives Canada to preserve Canada's documentary heritage, a spokesman for Heritage Minister James Moore said Thursday that efforts to digitize the collection will give Canadian taxpayers greater access while saving them money.

Inside Washington's high risk mission to beat web censors

Inside Washington's high risk mission to beat web censors
For more than a year, the intelligence services of various authoritarian regimes have shown an intense desire to know more about what goes on in an office building on L Street in Washington DC, six blocks away from the White House.

The office is the HQ of a US government-funded technology project aimed at undermining internet censorship in countries such as Iran and Syria. And so every week – sometimes every day – email inquiries arrive there that purport to be from pro-democracy activists in those places, but which, the recipients are confident, actually come from spies.

Complaint: Library of Congress biased

Complaint: Library of Congress biased

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could issue an opinion soon on an ex-Library of Congress worker's discrimination allegation because he's gay.

Mayor asks library board why it allowed Occupy Bangor to break citys after-hours park rule

Mayor asks library board why it allowed Occupy Bangor to break city’s after-hours park rule
Five months after the Occupy Bangor movement occupied Peirce Park and the Bangor Public Library grounds for almost a month, the library’s administration and board faced some tough questions during a City Council budget session.

The next cyber security bill is even worse than SOPA

The next cyber security bill is even worse than SOPA
Just when you thought it was safe to go out on the InterWebs comes a new effort by Congress to put a snoop on every cellphone and two spies in every cable modem. Contrary to what you may have read, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is not SOPA II. But in many ways, it's worse.

The US Should Not Be Burning Books

Commentary from Allison Stanger, the Chair of the Political Science Department at Middlebury College on the situation in Afghanistan that arose after American servicemen were found to have burned Qurans.

Book burning is not something typically associated with freedom-of-speech-loving America. When books are burned in a country desperately in need of more books, where only 43% of men and 12% of women are literate, it should prompt questions.

I want to believe that the burning of Qurans was an unintended mistake. But surely any soldier based in Afghanistan after a decade-long American intervention knows that the desecration of the Koran is an inflammatory and offensive act in a Muslim country.

President Obama’s apology has done little to contain the mounting rage in Afghanistan that led to a march on the presidential palace after Friday prayers, the Saturday killings of two U.S. officers on the job in Afghan ministries and the subsequent withdrawal of NATO advisors from Afghanistan. But this latest incident provides further evidence that our armed forces have begun to lose touch with why we are fighting in the first place.

Their frustration is understandable, but we should never implicitly condone American soldiers burning books as a means to defending freedom. We should not attack those who apologize for such an act. The cost of losing what we are fighting to uphold is far too high. Thankfully, President Obama understands that.

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