My problem with Banned Books Week

Some of my colleagues in the Progressive Librarians Guild used to complain that Banned Books Week was an unfortunate distraction from the greater problem of a propagandistic media system. I shared that view and still do, but it is not the objection that I want to explain today. My problem with Banned Books Week is … Read more My problem with Banned Books Week

Suppression of science has continued, despite Obama’s Scientific Integrity Initiative

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility is coming to the defense of biologist Charles Monnett, who is being hounded by the Interior Department because of a 2006 publication that communicated alarming news about the effects of global warming on a polar bear population. Since the publication was in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and the investigators have … Read more Suppression of science has continued, despite Obama’s Scientific Integrity Initiative

Petition to support NARA’s investigation into CIA destruction of records pertaining to torture sites

Recently, the Department of Justice (DOJ) decided to not bring criminal charges against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for the destruction of federal records: videotapes of the torture of detainees at CIA black sites. The destruction of these records is a clear violation of the Federal Records Act, which DOJ should have pursued. The decision … Read more Petition to support NARA’s investigation into CIA destruction of records pertaining to torture sites

Terrorists meeting at the Capitol Building today? Government information and alternative media

I was discussing the free press with a Russian friend once, and she told me that the main difference between Soviet Russia and the contemporary USA was that Russians knew they were being lied to, while Americans have naively believed that what the news says is the truth. Amusingly, right wing skeptics are presently doubting … Read more Terrorists meeting at the Capitol Building today? Government information and alternative media

Americans largely mistaken about Obama’s record… librarians included?

I don’t read a lot of blogs so I don’t know, but I would guess this story is being blogged like crazy: Yesterday the Washington Post reported a Bloomberg National Poll: “Poll shows Americans don’t know economy expanded with tax cuts.” The story starts: The Obama administration cut taxes for middle-class Americans, expects to make … Read more Americans largely mistaken about Obama’s record… librarians included?

The underlying reason that the American Right will always be irrational, and a couple of ideas as to why the problem is presently so acute

As the more civic-minded among us have observed, the American Right has mostly rejected rational discourse in favor of strategic communication. There is a reason for it that has to do with more than a calculation of what will be most effective, or a fear that rational discourse will “prove them wrong,” though that is … Read more The underlying reason that the American Right will always be irrational, and a couple of ideas as to why the problem is presently so acute

Christine O’Donnell is just what I’ve been talking about

Recently I have rubbed some people the wrong way by speaking frankly about the problem of ignorance in civic life and people’s lack of concern and lack of shame regarding it. I argued that we should not be trying to increase voter turnout when Americans feel so little responsibility in the way of self-education on … Read more Christine O’Donnell is just what I’ve been talking about

Inaccuracy in Adbusters article

I am not going to spend a lot of time on this, but I want to point out an inaccuracy in an article on the Adbuster’s website (and maybe in the magazine as well, I can’t tell) titled, “Google’s Flaw,” written by Micah White. I’m not unsympathetic with White’s point about Google, but I have … Read more Inaccuracy in Adbusters article

Seeking an author with strengths in statistics and skepticism

There’s a book idea we’ve been kicking around here at Litwin Books, and we need an author. I don’t want to completely disclose the idea for this book, but I want to say enough to potentially find the right author. It will be a reference book that takes a skeptical view of commonly-encountered statistics and … Read more Seeking an author with strengths in statistics and skepticism

Professionalism and attitudes toward change

Just a brief note on a topic I will return to later… I find that librarians think of change in one of two ways: Change is happening to the profession; or Change is happening in the environment (social, cultural, economic, political) and the profession determines how it will change in response. These two ways of … Read more Professionalism and attitudes toward change

Attempted Censorship by U.S. Attorney

Attempted Censorship by U.S. Attorney — A Book to Watch! By Ann Sparanese On June 16, the paperback edition of Triple Cross: How Bin Laden’s Master Spy Penetrated the CIA, the Green Berets and the FBI by Peter Lance will be released by HarperCollins. This is happening despite a prominent U.S. Attorney’s best efforts to … Read more Attempted Censorship by U.S. Attorney

The Other Crisis of Trust (and a question about what it means for Info Lit)

Since the second half of last year I’ve been reading a lot of financial news, where the major theme of the financial crisis is the “crisis of trust” – banks not wanting to take the risk of extending credit to counterparties. But we’ve been living through a worsening crisis of trust in another sense for … Read more The Other Crisis of Trust (and a question about what it means for Info Lit)

The Minerva Controversy (Saad Eskander, Iraq National Library)

Minerva Research Initiative: Searching for the Truth or Denying the Iraqis the Rights to Know the Truth? by Saad Eskander, Iraq National Library and Archives “What has prompted me to write this paper is the continuing refusal of the U.S. to pay serious attention to Iraqi calls for the repatriation of the Iraqi records illegally … Read more The Minerva Controversy (Saad Eskander, Iraq National Library)

MediaLens on journalism’s filtering system in action

MediaLens is a UK organization dedicated to raising awareness of the way the media system distorts reality as a result of the forces of free-market capitalism. Their analysis of things is along the lines of Chomsky and Herman’s propaganda model of media filtering. This month they have published a three-part analysis of current goings on … Read more MediaLens on journalism’s filtering system in action