Tag Archives: politics

In which I touch on matters vaguely political

3 Dec

I generally don’t get into my politics here, but that’s something that may change. Lately it’s become increasingly obvious to me that any attempt to separate one’s politics from the rest of one’s life is completely artificial. I try to maintain that artificiality here for a number of reasons, but recently three issues have hit a bit close to home, or at least to this blog’s purview.

First off, this story from the Huffington Post about the FCC Chair’s pathetic and transparent acquiescence to corporate interests on net neutrality. I confess to knowing little about the issues surrounding net neutrality prior to writing an issue brief on the topic for library school, but suffice it to say that the profound effect that net neutrality policies will have on the future of information access and dissemination cannot be overestimated. The fact that promises to set policies that would preserve net neutrality are being disregarded in favor of providing corporations with exactly what they want is reprehensible.

Second, as more and more libraries face budget and staffing cuts, and as more and more people find themselves without work, everyone in America should be calling their representatives in Congress and demanding the extension of unemployment benefits. Seriously, whether it’s out of empathy for your fellow citizens, concern for yourself, or just wanting to see the economy improve, this one is a no-brainer.

Finally, there have been reports that the Library of Congress has cut off access to Wikileaks for its staff and for the wireless network available to its patrons. I’m hoping this is an error, but betting it’s not. My take on Wikileaks’ actions is that they are neither treasonous attacks on the lives of our troops and public servants, nor a lethal blow against American imperial hegemony. Rather, I think they strike at two elements of American political culture desperately in need of change: the pernicious culture of secrecy that pervades far too many government offices and agencies, and the reprehensible culture of servility that saturates our media where the government is concerned. We shouldn’t be shocked that Wikileaks has revealed these things: we should be stunned that our government spends so much effort keeping such things secret, and horrified that our media isn’t trying to reveal them.

As someone who wrote his entrance essay for library school on the dangers of asymmetric information, and who believes strongly that libraries — and governments — need to be investing more in people, these stories just pissed me off. And I decided to share.

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Don’t get caught in a bad hotel

13 May

I’m posting this here for three reasons:

  1. It’s an awesome protest against in support of more than 9,000 hotel workers in the SF area who have been working without a contract for nine months. (Details here.)
  2. Despite its obvious relevance to the work we do at Catherwood, it’s probably not something that’d be considered appropriate content for the official library blog.
  3. The song is now stuck in my head, and I must share the glorious pain.

Enjoy!

The politics of Wordle

29 Aug

Last month, I posted about Wordle, a neat little tool that builds word clouds out of any block of text you enter. Well, that neat little tool made the jump into the political blog scene during this week’s Democratic National Convention, as a poster over at Daily Kos used it to build clouds based on the speeches of Joe Biden, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton.

And, of course, a number of folks have thrown together clouds like this one based on Barack Obama’s acceptance speech:

Which is, frankly, pretty cool. It’s an interesting way to view political speeches, though it may well be more pretty than insightful.