Politics

Cuban journo on hunger strike for rights

mdoneil writes "A Cuban independent journalist is on the verge of death after a ten day hunger strike in an attempt to force the repressive Castro regime to allow a right to free expression and the right to Internet access.

Guillermo Farinas has been on a hunger strike since the end of January according to Reporters without Borders. He was rushed to the hospital upon losing consciousness. However after regaining his strength he ripped the IV from his arm.
Cuba as you will recall is one of the dictatorships that prevents independent librarians from distributing books. The ALA fails to grasp the importance of these independent librarians in their quest to bring freedom to the island nation. Michael Gorman who as head of the ALA holds Cuban librarians in such contempt by calling them 'not real librarians' must also hold Farinas in contempt as well for being an independent journals - would Gorman call him not a real journalist? Would he call him that on his deathbed?
One of the prohibited documents in Cuba is the Universal Declaration on Human Rights. Article 19 of the UDHR requires that everyone - independent Cuban journalists and librarians - have the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
RSF knows that information can bring freedom, IFLA - the international body of which the ALA is the US representative knows it. They know that independent librarians and journalists must be free to share their views and opinions. When will the ALA get it?"

PA Governor to Restore Library Funding

Babylon Sister sent over some Good News for libraries in PA. Gov. Rendell today proposed a $25.4 billion state budget for fiscal 2006-07 calling for no new taxes, dips in business levies, and increased spending on libraries, education and children's health-care programs.
Overall, the budget would boost state spending by $924 million, or about 3.8 percent. Two-thirds of the new dollars are earmarked for education.
"What I have proposed today is bold and far-reaching," Rendell told a joint session of the House and Senate this morning. "It is necessary and vital for our future. And the good news is that it is affordable."

Yahoo info release to China results in prison

search-engines-web.com & mdoneil both sent in articles on Yahoo who appear to have one-upped Google in China. mdoneil writes "Yahoo provided information to Chinese authorities that resulted in the imprisonment of a Chinese writer.
I can cross Yahoo of my sites to ever use again. Profit does not trump freedom. The web shrinks daily.
Reuters covers the story here."

School libraries in trouble?

Texas academic librarian writes to share this story from the Houston Chronicle, "Choosing sports over libraries is only one battle brewing under Gov. Perry's 65% spending directive"

"Standard & Poor's school evaluation services is nonpartisan and designed to help policymakers, educators and parents understand relationships between achievement and investment. In addition to Texas, the study looked at Minnesota, Ohio, Louisiana, Kentucky, Florida, Kansas, Arizona and Colorado, among a number of states considering a 65 percent rule. The study concluded that while the data do not support mandating a minimum instructional spending threshold, monitoring the percentage districts allocate to instruction can be a useful benchmark."

A New U.S. Supreme Court Justice is Sworn in

Our helpful pal search-engines-web.com writes "Samuel Anthony Alito Jr. was sworn in as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice on Tuesday after being confirmed by the Senate in one of the most partisan victories in modern history."

WikiPedia Blocks U.S. Congress IP Addresses - RFC

Search-Engines writes "I am opening this RFC in order to centralise discussion concerning actions to be taken against US Congressional staffers who repeatedly revert wars, blank content, engage in slanderous and libelous behaviour, violate WP:NPOV, WP:CIV. The editors from this IP are rude and abrasive, immature, and show no understanding of Wikipedia policy. The editors also frequently try to whitewash the actions of frequent politicians. They treat Wikipedia articles about politicians as though they own it, replacing articles with their sanctioned biographies and engaging in revert wars when other users dispute this sudden change. They also violate Wikipedia:Verifiability, by deleting verified reports, while adding flattering things about members of Congress that are unverified.The editors are currently blocked, but only for a week, so I feel this RFC is needed for the community to comment. I feel that a 1 week block is not enough. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Requests_fo r_comment/United_States_Congress"

U.S. Congress Votes Database

Jay writes "The U.S. Congress Votes Database now offers an RSS feed for every current member of Congress, so you can get notified each time your elected officials vote. Each member-specific feed includes the member's position in the latest 10 votes. To reach a member's feed, navigate to his or her page and look for the "RSS" link."

Disinfo: Rumsfeld's Information Operations Roadmap

Kathleen writes "From influencing public opinion through new media to designing "computer network attack" weapons, the US military is learning to fight an electronic war. The Information Operations Roadmap,a secret Pentagon "roadmap" on war propaganda, personally approved by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in October 2003, calls for "boundaries" between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not "targeted," any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter.

Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University and posted on the web Jan.26,2006, the 74-page "Information Operations Roadmap" admits that "information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP, increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa," but argues that "the distinction between foreign and domestic audiences becomes more a question of USG [U.S. government] intent rather than information dissemination practices.""

Politics Thursday: The Case for Open Borders

Daniel writes "I wrote this post before I heard about World Migration Day, or Pope Benedict XVI's remarks in commemoration of this day. But it seems in keeping with it's spirit, so I'm offering it today instead of something on Iraq, Iran or our motion towards an elected monarchy. For what it's worth, I'm officially endorsing an open border policy for the United States. What I mean by an "open border" is that everyone entering this country would be required to register with the federal government. Their names would be run against a database of aliens who were convicted of crimes against life or property in the United States. If the alien doesn't appear on this list, they're waived through. If they are flagged, they are arrested and if they can't prove a case of mistaken identity are jailed for a year and deported to their home country. I believe this system will strengthen US security, lower crime, improve wages and working conditions and ultimately lower the number of permanent aliens. I also think there is a moral case for an open border. Why do I think that? Let's start with the pragmatic considerations: -- Read More

Fox News Science Writer Paid by Philip Morris

kathleen de la pena mccook writes "The New Republic article, "Pundit for Hire," reports Steven Milloy,of FoxNews. has taken money from Philip Morris. On March 9, 2001, he wrote a column "secondhand smokescreen" attacking a study by Stephen Hecht, who found that women living with smokers had higher levels of chemicals associated with risk of lung cancer. "If spin were science, Hecht would win a Nobel Prize," Milloy wrote. For good measure, he heaped scorn on a 1993 Environmental Protection Agency report that also linked health risks and secondhand smoke. All the while, he was on the payroll of big tobacco. Reminds me of Hudson Institute Fellow Michael Fumento in the pay of Monsanto. Reminds me of Cato Institute Fellow, Doug Bandow, who told BusinessWeek Online that he had accepted money from Abramoff for writing between 12 and 24 articles."

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