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Oyarsa's Observances

This blog is created for my random thoughts and opinions. Conflicting opinions are always welcome, but comments or remarks left in a disrespectful or distasteful manner (to be determined by myself) will be either ignored or deleted. This blog has a zero-tolerance policy for spammers. Don't waste your time, spammers, go elsewhere.


"Oyarsa" for those who don't know, is the name of an archangel (or "god" with a little 'g') in C. S. Lewis's Space Trilogy. I liked the character, so I stole the name. Who am I? I am a library science student in Illinois who has a variety of interests--too many to list! I have worked in libraries for five years and counting.

Are you a good person?

Monday, October 31, 2005

How to Reach a Human Being

Ever call a company and then go nuts trying to get hold of a human being? So has this guy. But unlike you or me, he's done something about it. He's compiled a list of companies and how to get a human when calling each one. When you get to the page, click the "all records" link to get an idea of what he's got.

Bug Me Not!

No, I'm not asking people to stop bugging me. I'm just spreading the word of this cool new site I found.

Bug Me Not is a site designed to bypass compulsory web registration on various URLs. For instance, if you're attempting to read an online news article and getting a page demanding you to log in or register, you can use their login information and be on your way.

How does it work? You go to Bug Me Not's website and type in the URL of the site that demands you to register. Assuming the site has a username & password combo at Bug Me Not, you will receive login details for that website.

Cool, huh? Check it out. Play with it.


I'm moving on up!

Did a search for "oyarsa" in Google. My blog is hit #4! (And the two LISnews.com links--hits #2 & 3 are me as well, btw. Oyarsa.com is not me.)

"Ask a Librarian" Pumpkin

Well, kiddies, I'm running to the store after this to pick up my own pumpkin! I wanna try this!


(Oh, yeah, here's where I first saw the pic.)

Honey I shrank the e-Indictments pic.

If you want to see the larger image, just click on the thing. What matters is that now you don't have to scroll down to read my latest thoughts.

Methinks the ALA should follow its own advice....

Quoting the Conservator...

ONE OF THE SUPPORTING CLAUSES OF THE ALA COUNCIL'S "Resolution on Disinformation, Media Manipulation & the Destruction of Information" of last summer states, "the removal [...] of information from the public domain" is "anathema to the ethos of librarianship and to the functioning of a healthy democracy."

Anyone tried recently to access the ALA Handbook of Organization 2004-2005 on the ALA Web site?

Good point. Why is the handbook of organization kept on the member's only page? Isn't it possible that a non-member might wish to access and use it as well?


An excellent post on Norma's blog.

For those who don't know, Norma is a retired librarian who comments on a variety of topics within her personal blog. Fascinating woman.

Here, she quotes from the opinions of "Dr. Sanity" (guest appearing on the Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred blog) on the topic of how our over-emphasis of installing self esteem in children is detrimental to their well-being.

Given your experience in a university setting, in your opinion, do lowered academic standards impact campus life and social development?

What worries me more than the low college academic standards is the “dumbing down” of the K-12 curriculum Having a daughter in school has made me all too aware of the extent to which the “self-esteem” gurus and the priests of multiculturalism and political correctness have infiltrated even the hallowed halls of kindergarten! Students are propagandized from age 5 on these days (OK, so I’m exaggerating a little bit) and this is the place where the primary aspects of social –and intellectual—development should begin to flourish. By the time these kids get to college, they have learned that their self-esteem is everyone else’s concern; that their feelings are primary; and that thinking is for suckers. Such an outlook on life is bound to have an impact on campus life and any further social development. Sadly, for most college students, lowered academic standards are what they feel entitled to, and most university professors aren’t highly motivated to take on the consequences of challenging the system. Besides, many of them like the system; particularly since they can have much more of an influence on students who have been properly discouraged from independent thinking."

Unfortunately, this goes back quite a ways. I remember going to an awards banquet over 20 years ago when my daughter was in junior high. I sat through interminable presentations and realized that my daughter wasn't really being honored--every kid got something, not for excellence or skill, but for effort and showing up. She was already pretty and smart, but I guess they wanted her to be an athlete too.

Google Adds Interviews to Its TV Archive

Google announced in their blog that they've added a bunch of interviews from the Archive of American Television -- over 450, as a matter of fact. You can get to 'em at http://video.google.com/.

You can read the rest here: Research Buzz.com's article.

Through Bloglines, I am now subscribed to google's official blog. If you are in the information science field, you might want to subscribe as well. Your choice.


Why You Should Rewrite Your URLs on Your Webpage

Ironically, the About.com page where this article is posted uses a rather perplexing URL. Seems About.com needs to take their own advice, eh?

Seriously, looks like a lot of good, sound information in this article. Enjoy.



"It's funny how important URLs are to a Web page. You might be thinking that they really don't matter, because they are just used as links, but the reality is that people look at URLs all the time...."

Rewrite Your URLs

Heretical Librarian is at it again!

He may never win an award for "Most Popular Librarian", but he certainly makes one think.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Worldvision Rant

I gave Worldvision one or two donations while in high school. They just sent letters requesting money, I knew nothing faulty about the company, so I donated. Hopefully the vast majority of it went to the right people.

But, over the past several months, it seems that Worldvision has given in to 'guilt' mailings. I call them guilt mailings because that is what they are designed to do: arouse guilt in the sender if a donation isn't mailed back. Evidently, it's an effective tool, because I keep getting them.

Here's what's been happening the last couple of months: Worldvision sends me an envelope with a letter, a donation envelope, and a packet of seeds. Why the packet of seeds? Because some starving families who have been through a horrendous drought lost their crops. Fine. I don't mind giving money to a good cause, once I have money to give again (College & Grad school tend to be money drainers). I *do* mind that seeds which could have been planted and growing if they had been given DIRECTLY to those in need are sitting in a package on my end table.

And it makes me wonder, if I give "x" amount of dollars to worldvision, how much of MY money will be wasted on this type of guilt mailing?

So, sorry Worldvision.

Knock it off with the seeds, and I will return to donating to your charity.

Continue with the seeds, and I will continue to pitch your letters and give the seeds to the local needy, where they will be used.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Best Blog Search Engines

The best blog search engines, according to Mr. Dube, are

Check out what Dube says about each one.



Saw this on a website and I *had* to copy this over here. Isn't it hilarious? I guess I self-indicted myself. Oh well. Click on the image to make it larger.


By Red Square

E-indictments are sweeping the nation! Read testimonials from some of the satisfied customers:

I used E-indictment on my Republican neighbor because I didn't like his dog growling every time I entered his property, or the fence he put up to stop sharing his stuff with me. Now that he's been indicted I can use his barbecue grill anytime and I don't have to clean it too!

My abusive wife hated my political activism and one night even slapped me when I just asked her to say she's my sister to those Code Pink activists I brought home from a street protest. I slapped her back with an E-indictment! Thanks Thelma and Louise for the link!

My co-worker refused to cover my extended lunches and never laughed at the jokes that I cracked every five minutes about Bush and the Neo-cons. I logged on to E-indictments.com and soon he was making license plates while I took his position. Who's laughing now?

My boss refused to give me a promotion during the long six weeks that I worked for him. He even made a snide comment about my "liberal" work ethics. I used E-indictments.com and I never saw him again. The company closed down and that's good because I now qualify for unemployment benefits!

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Added the following blog to my links list:

The Window in the Garden Wall--A C.S. Lewis Blog C.S. Lewis quote of the day (Monday-Friday) blog.

Hope you enjoy reading it.

If you haven't, go to Bloglines.com and begin subscribing to the blogs you read often. Good timesaver.

Sorry about the sporaidic posting

I hit "save draft" on some of my posts because I was having issues with Blogger and just now had the time to publish them. Sorry for any inconvenience.


All About Daylight Savings Time!

Don't forget to adjust your clocks back one hour this Sunday, folks!

learn more than you ever wanted to know here.



I just signed up for a myspace account. Check out my page!

Sign up for your own myspace accounts and add me to your friends list. (There isn't an 'enemies list' so you can't add me to that one. Ha!)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Where has October gone???

Not even a week left in the month. Arrgh! There ought to be a law agianst this happening; if October is nearly over, then November is close, and December means the end of another semester.

I need a hug.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Lewis Quote of the Day

I liked today's excerpt from the C.S. Lewis Quotes blog.

And do this quiz. That's an order.

  • My top result for the SelectSmart.com selector, Which Narnian are you?, is Lucy

  • Wednesday, October 19, 2005


    Arrgh! I have midterms this week. Waah! Pray for me, those so inclined. I will let you know how I do.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Movie Night!

    Finding Nemo. I know it's a cliche, but that movie is an instant classic.

    And no, I don't buy into the arguments of some people that the parent in the movie was deliberately warped to be dysfunctional by Disney. No parent is normal, and Marlin is portrayed as a good Father (though he does make mistakes). Frankly, it's one of the best father portrayals to come through disney in recent movies, in my honest opinion.

    So, pop it in your player at your place, watch it, and watch those Dory jokes....

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Google Clarifies Privacy Policy

    Thought my librarian readers would appreciate this.

    The company described in more understandable terms how it uses user data, but remains mum on how long it hangs onto the information.

    Google Clarifies Privacy Policy

    Will you be the next Terri?

    "I can't imagine that there couldn't," said Karmen Hanson, an end-of-life policy analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures. "It all depends on how the laws are interpreted."

    More at the link

    There will likely be THOUSANDS of MILLIONS of people whose quality of life is deemed insufficient to be kept alive, as more and more medical professionals are taught to measure the 'quality of life' over the actuality of life.

    Never forget that a judge ordered the death of a handicapped woman. Never forget that she was starved and dehydrated.


    Sunday, October 16, 2005

    The Abolishment of the USA--It's happening before our Eyes

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    In five years, the foundations for the removal of the three soverign nations of Mexico, Canada, and the US will be in place if certain officials in those three nations have their way. I cannot, in good conscience, permit them to create our three seperate nations into one continental nation. I am an American citizen, and I will remain so until my death.

    I begin to agree with those who say we are facing the beginning of the end; it may be that this single country of "North America" may be one of the 10 kingdoms prophesied during the end times.

    As a Christian, I counsel my fellow believers to be diligent and bold. Eventually, a one world government will come to pass, but we have an obligation to warn those around us. If you know anyone in the media, please, have them get on the air and talk about it.

    If you are reading this and are not a Christian, or are a Christian and are not familiar with the Bible, the establishment of a one world government is a precursor to the end of the world. Those who lead the one world government will do everything in their power to destroy any who believe in the One True God, and they will deceive many.

    I counsel you, read the Bible now, cover to cover; memorize as much as possible. Then be good Bereans and test it to discern the truth; if I am lying or deceiving, then what I warn you about will not come to pass, and if it does come to pass, the government will be benevolent.

    But I am not lying, nor deceiving any of you; I merely attempt to get a warning out to the public before it is too late.

    Thank you for your consideration.


    Click here to read the article "Abolishing the USA"


    Let me get this straight....newscasters reading from teleprompters, sitting in a certain way, and speaking with a practiced air is acceptablej; politicians being fed easy questions is acceptable, while soldiers who are advised how to sit, where to look, and what they will be asked is unacceptable?

    Hello!?!? Of course it was staged, just as the 6 o'clock news is staged! Mary Katherine Ham put it best in her article, so I won't try to repeat it. Check it out.


    Saturday, October 15, 2005

    Time to do away with the campaign finance law

    3 democrats and 1 left wing judge appear to be doing their darndest to censor blogs. Details below:

    The Federal Election Commission is beginning the process of extending its controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet, potentially threatening political blogging and online punditry, a member of the panel warns.

    The Internet was exempted from the McCain-Feingold regulations in a 4-2 vote by the FEC in 2002, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly overturned the decision last fall, reports CNET News.com.....

    The panel's three Republican members, including Smith, voted to appeal the Internet-related part of the judge's decision, but they needed four votes and were unable to convince one of the Democrat members to join them.

    The article continues....

    I guess free speech is only free if you're with an "official" news agency in the eyes of the Dems.

    Time to exercise our rights and put pressure on the Feds while there's still time.

    Friday, October 14, 2005

    100th Post

    I have officially made it to 100 posts in my blog. Considering this landmark, I believe it to be appropriate to state the direction I intend for the blog to go in:

    I. More of my personal interests.
    II. Continued postings of current events and news items that are or might be of interests.
    III. Increase in library related material.
    IV. More links.
    V. Website

    Since I am using so many tags to describe the blog and since so few of my posts cover all the content in the tags, I will make a more concentrated effort to cover as many of the relevant tags as possible.

    Of course, I will continue to comment and link to articles about current events.

    As my knowledge of librarianship increases, expect a greater number (exponentially greater) of librarianship related posts. I'll try to keep the jargon to a minimum, perhaps even provide a glossary for the non-librarians who read this.

    Next, I will be adding more links, very likely at my website, as I will run out of space here on the blog, I fear...

    To accomodate my growing blog, I will be creating a personal website that can go a bit more in depth about me and my interests.

    Thank you for reading, and please, if there is any way I can improve on this, please, let me know either in the comments section, by email, over IM, or in person. I can't improve if I don't know what needs fixin'!


    Thursday, October 13, 2005

    Adding RSS Feed to my Blog.

    I'm looking at some free RSS feeds to add to my blog. I'll let you know when I have something set up. For now, my blog is tagged under at Technorati.

    Google and Librarians

    I just got back from a conference of librarians. Learned some new and interesting things, particularly in the sphere of technology and libraries. Rolled my eyes at a few parts. In some ways, librarians are two political; I don't care what part of the political spectrum you're on, but please, it's not the place of a library association to make judgments on non-library related events). If a librarian has an opinion on the War on Iraq or what have you, fine and good. Voice it. Just keep the organization out of it. We have enough challenges without dipping our fingers into realms unconnected to librarianship.

    Enough of that rant. What bothered me today was the remark of a fellow library science student:

    "I am finding Google to be almost ruthless. They stop at nothing to dominate. I refuse to be a Googlarian!"

    My response is as follows:

    Google is no more evil or benevolent than any company; like other businesses, they give customers what they want and build a reputation accordingly, sometimes good, sometimes bad. Currently, they have the good opinion of the general public, for better or worse.

    I personally wonder if by establishing one's self as an anti-Googlarian won't hurt libraries more than it helps them. Yes, we want patrons to know about the many wonderful services libraries offer, yes, we want to make sure they know 'good' sources from 'bad' ones. But is it necessary to cement the stereotype that librarians are hostile to the googlization trend?

    I teach users that Google is a wonderful tool, but it is just that, a tool. It is excellent for some things, and terrible than others, just like a hammer is wonderful for hammering a nail, while a hacksaw simply won't gain you anything other than multiple gashes in the wall (and possibly scratches and cuts on the nail). Does this mean we should discourage the use of hacksaws? Of course not!

    What we need to do is teach users how to use search engines more effectively. Your average bright six year old can use google, but your average sixteen year old might not be aware of all the ways you can phrase something so that the exact information needed is found.

    At least, that's my two cents. Sorry for the rant, all.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    Remember the U.S.S. Cole

    Today marks the 5th anniversary of the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.


    I think Michelle Malkin sums up what needs to be said, though you should check out the BBC article as well.

    Most importantly, take a look at Stars and Stripes tribute.

    My sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones on this fateful day.

    Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    In the pursuit of safety, teeter-totters and swings are disappearing from playgrounds

    This stuff is just ridiculous. How do you expect kids to stay fit and active if you keep taking down equipment because of the fear that some parent might hurl a lawsuit at you.

    So Johnny jumped from the slide and broke his leg, guess what? Johnny learned how gravity works and why slides aren't meant to be jumped from. Now Johnny has a cast that all his buddies can sign. Not to mention EVERYONE will want to try out the crutches.

    Geesh. We need to outlaw lawyers, or at least fine laywers 250,000 each time they accept to take on a junk lawsuit like this.

    Yet another reason for homeschooling my kids...I can at least purchase some playground equipment for my backyard if the local park takes down their equipment.

    Find out what I'm ranting about here

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Who Ya Gonna Call?


    Click on the image to view the article.

    Bands Meme!

    Stole this over from a friend at LiveJournal.

    The rules:
    1. Open a music player.
    2. Go to 'all music'/'library'.
    3. Hit shuffle.
    4. Find photos of the first 10 artists/bands that come up [no repeats and no cheating].
    5. Have people guess who the artists/bands are... don't cheat!













    If you guess all ten of these, and I know you in real life, next time we meet, I will treat you to the restaurant of your choice. Or give you a gift certificate to your favorite store.

    Science Links Added to Link List

    As always, feel free to suggest (or even challenge) links. I'll be adding more links shortly.

    Stay tuned.

    Katrina House Tax

    If the phone tax after the Spanish-American war is any indication, this one will be around after it's purpose is resolved...

    Will homeowners in 2112 still be paying fees on their mortgages to cover the clean up costs of Hurricane Katrina as telephone users are still paying the "temporary tax" to pay for the Spanish-American War?

    Link continues here

    Saturday, October 08, 2005

    Future of Libraries

    I was reading a discussion over at LISNews by Blake. AN excerpt of his article is below:

    "For years I've been on the fence when it comes to our digital future. I've always bought into the assumption that books are here to stay. That libraries will always have a place. That 100 years from now we'll still want to browse the stacks to see what's related. I think I've fallen off that fence, and landed on the side with the digitalists. I've chosen sides based on things I've read from both the crumugednons like Gorman, and the many techno-freaks on the other side. I don't know what this means for the millions of books we hold currently. I don't know what this means for the future of libraries & librarians, nor do I know what, if anything, we can do to ensure we're still around in 20 years, but below I'll share with you why I've moved from fence sitter, to digitalist."

    For the rest of the article, click here

    I also found Greg's rebuttal interesting:

    "As for libraries? I'm starting to get peeved with my profession. For the last 100 years we've let ourselves become trivia kings but aside from just offering a wide selection of reading material, fiction and nonfiction, our primary goal should be offering local information both current and historical. Its not the most glamorous part of the job but it is the most challenging and time consuming. Because of that I think we constantly put it on the backburner. Regardless, it has nothing to do with Google unless we put it up there for Google to search. If libraries disappear it won't be because of the Internet it will because we lost sight of our own purpose."

    (Read the rest of the rebuttal.)

    It gives one some food for thought. How relevant will libraries continue to be in 20, even 10 years? Something we all need to be mindful of. As the major library organizations and librarians themselves become more political in their activism (more on that later), I fear that the public at large will begin to turn away from the local library.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    Science Smogasboard

    I can now officially take over the world with my new scientfic knowledge. Only after much torture and interrogation was I able to force a young scientist to reveal the super-secret science websites only "they" know about and don't want YOU to know about...don't worry. The scientist will live...if the scientist agrees to be my lackey. So, how about it?


    NASA For all you space geeks.

    Unwise Microwave Oven Experiments The best way to describe this site is by its own disclaimer: Disclaimer: This information is presented for your information only. Anyone who tries to duplicate these demonstrations does so entirely at their own risk. There is a chance that you will damage your microwave oven. There is a chance that you will cause a fire. There is a chance that a heated object will explode. Heated water can unexpectedly burst into violent boiling. Messing with a microwave oven is stupid if you don't know what you're doing.

    The Complete Guide to Physics An About.com site. Has articles and a physics glossary, answers to physics problems, etc.

    Savings & Clone I'm probably going to take some heat for this. This is a creepy company that clones pets.

    Biology Directory "The Sciences Directory aims to cover a broad base of scientific sites that are related to the content of Biology Online and could prove useful for your informational needs in the sciences."

    The Biology Project "an online interactive resource for learning biology"

    About.com's Biology All kinds of biology and science fair resources.

    WebElements Online Version of Periodic Table.

    About.com's Chemistry Encyclopedia, glossary, finished problems and more.

    Snowflake and Snowcrystal photos Pretty pictures and everything you'd ever want to know about snowflakes.

    DNA Interactive Interactive modules and other fun stuff that help you learn about DNA.

    That's all for now. I'll add the links to my links list.

    Friday Humor

    ...from a friend...

    "If one woman can have a baby in nine months, can nine women have a baby in one month?"


    Are You Willing To Have United Nations "Control" Your Internet Access?

    Breaking America's grip on the net
    After troubled negotiations in Geneva, the US may be forced to relinquish control of the internet to a coalition of governments

    Kieren McCarthy
    Thursday October 6, 2005


    You would expect an announcement that would forever change the face of the internet to be a grand affair - a big stage, spotlights, media scrums and a charismatic frontman working the crowd.
    But unless you knew where he was sitting, all you got was David Hendon's slightly apprehensive voice through a beige plastic earbox. The words were calm, measured and unexciting, but their implications will be felt for generations to come.

    story continues here...

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    Verse of the Day

    Isaiah 26:4 (New American Standard Bible)

    4"(A)Trust in the LORD forever,
    For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting (B)Rock.

    Cross references:

    A. Isaiah 26:4 : Is 12:2 ; 50:10 ; 51:5

    B. Isaiah 26:4 : Is 17:10 ; 30:29 ; 44:8

    EnviroSpin Watch

    "A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient."

    This is going on the links list. *grin*

    EnviroSpin Watch

    Calling All veterans of the U. S. Armed Forces!

    I got a tip from Political Dogs about an armed forces website. So, I decided to pass it on so that anyone reading this who knows (or is) a veteran can know of the website and check it out.

    The website is I Served America, a web site developed to collect, preserve and publish veteran's stories, is seeking contributors. If you're a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, and have a story to tell, send it in.

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    Bible Verse of the Day (10/5)

    6 (A) Seek the LORD while He may be found; (B) Call upon Him while He is near.

    Cross references

    A. Isaiah 55:6 : Ps 32:6 ; Is 45:19, 22 ; 49:8 ; Amos 5:6

    B. Isaiah 55:6 : Is 58:9 ; 65:24

    Yet More Updates

    Stumbled across a fun site today: LIS News ("LIS" stands for Library & Information Science News).

    I'll be adding it to the link list shortly.

    Again, if you're a librarian and want me to add your webpage/blog to my list of links, let me know. I'd be more than happy to do so.

    Crime: The Open Borders Lobby's Dirty Little Secret

    My solution to prevent further illegal immigration: Build a 20 foot high 30 foot thick wall that extends fifty feet underground. Post minutemen and guards with no prior criminal record who are U.S. Citizens. Post signs in English, Spanish and Portugese along the Southern border, announcing that those entering the country illegally will be shot on sight, no questions asked. --Oyarsa


    Crime: The Open Borders Lobby's Dirty Little Secret

    By FrontPage Magazine

    FrontPageMagazine.com | October 4, 2005

    On August 26, 2005, the Center for the Study of Popular Culture, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the Coalition for Immigration Reform of California co-sponsored a "conference on illegal immigration" at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. Below are the transcripts of speeches given by three of the participants in that conference: Heather MacDonald, a John M. Olin fellow at the Manhattan Institute; Dr. James Edwards, an Adjunct Fellow at theHudson Institute; and Dr. Glynn Custred, a Professor of Anthropology at California State University, the East Bay. All three touch on the interrelated nature of illegal immigration and crime in American society.-- The Editors.

    Heather MacDonald: Thank you. I’m honored to be here at this beautiful spot with such an extraordinary group of thinkers. I think I detected in Mr. Hayworth’s presentation this morning a slight note of irony towards the mainstream media. I want to continue that a little bit on their treatment of illegal immigration, and take as my text for this morning a Washington Post editorial from August 10th called, “The Reality of Gangs.” Now, the title was misleading. It would have more appropriately been called, “The Unreality of Media Coverage of the Illegal Alien Crime Wave.”

    The editorial describes the unending series of maimings, stabbings, killings, that have been unleashed recently in the Northern Virginia area by Mara Salvatrucha – usually shortened in the media to “M13” – a gang predominantly of Salvadoran descent that has spread from its home in Los Angeles across the country.

    And predictably the Washington Post called for more social programs to try to dissuade ever-younger Hispanics from joining the gangster life they’re starting at ages 8-12 now. I’ve seen a picture of a class of kids from Shenandoah standing in front of the Washington Memorial in D.C. flashing gang signals.

    View the rest of the article here

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Yahoo! May Monetize Library Archives

    What do you guys think? How long will it take before libraries across America are primarily (or mostly) digitized?


    Yahoo! May Monetize Library Archives
    by Gavin O'Malley, Tuesday, Oct 4, 2005 6:00 AM EST

    WHILE GOOGLE STRUGGLES TO DEFEND its own book archival project against copyright infringement charges, rival Yahoo! on Monday said it had embarked on its own initiative to make the archives of various libraries searchable by any search engine.

    For the rest of the article, click here.

    What the heck was the babysitter thinking?

    Babysitting a child is NOT the time to be sitting on a computer. Sorry. That's an off-job activity. When you are in charge of a kid, especially in a public place you better watch your kids like a hawk. This WON'T be a one time occurence. She's lucky that they were able to stop the child molestor this time.

    To parents: please take this as a warning. What happened to this unfortunate little girl could happen to your own children in any public place. Watch them closely. Never assume a library is a safe place.

    To my fellow librarians: I think this illustrates very clearly WHY parents freak out when indigents flock in libraries. This is a parent's worst nightmare nearly-come-true. We as a profession need to stop dismissing their fears. As a profession, we need to discuss what we can do to discourage child molestors from using the library as a place to stalk, kidnap, or abuse children.

    Police arrest homeless sex offender in library

    DES MOINES, Iowa Des Moines police say a homeless man who's a registered sex offender sexually assaulted a toddler at the downtown public library.

    For the rest of the article, click here

    New Wheaton College acquisitions

    Spelling changes mine & are included in brackets. Should you do a search for the source, please take note of the misspelling--Oyarsa

    W[h]eaton College has Lewis' Desk, Wardrobe on Display
    04 Oct 2005 by Paul Martin

    Contributing sources: W[h]eaton.edu

    From TheOneLion: I thought you'd be interested in a six week seminar taking place on Wheaton College campus in Wheaton, Illinois. It includes a visit to the Wade Center where CS Lewis' desk and wardrobe are on display and JRR Tolkein's desk is on display. You can even touch them and kids can step into the wardrobe where fur coats are a'hanging. The Wade Center is an amazing little library/museum full of fantastic British authors works and some very interesting Tolkein original writings and other items related to The Lord of the Rings. The seminar is as follows and meets in the Rolland Center cafe - lower level. An as-of-now unscheduled trip to see the anticipated movie that we are all anticipating.

    From W[h]eaton.edu: The Marion E. Wade Center of Wheaton College, Illinois, houses a major research collection of the books and papers of seven British authors: Owen Barfield, G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, George MacDonald, Dorothy L. Sayers, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. These writers are well known for their impact on contemporary literature and Christian thought. Together they produced over four hundred books including novels, drama, poetry, fantasy, children's books, and Christian treatises. Overall, the Wade Center has more than 11,000 volumes including first editions and critical works. Other holdings on the seven authors include letters, manuscripts, audio and video tapes, artwork, dissertations, periodicals, photographs, and related materials. Any of these resources may be studied in the quiet surroundings of the Kilby Reading Room.

    In addition, the Wade Center has a museum where such pieces as C.S. Lewis's family wardrobe and writing desk, Charles Williams's bookcases, J.R.R. Tolkien's desk, Pauline Baynes's original map of Narnia, and a tapestry from Dorothy L. Sayers's home can be viewed. Photographs, rare books and manuscripts, and other small items of memorabilia round off the displays. A current exhibit, entitled "The Craft of Detective Fiction", details the contributions made by G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy L. Sayers to the genre of detective fiction.


    Detectors are Evil!

    I have no problem with the detectors placed at the entrances to stores, libraries, et al. They have a problem with me.

    Let me illustrate. A week ago I walk into Borders. I am carrying no merchandise from other stores, just my personal effects. The detector goes off! One of the clerks say, brightly, "It must be your cell phone." Perhaps, but why have I gone into that particular Borders, that particular entrance multiple times with my cell phone on my person, and never had this happen? Answer: Detectors are evil.

    Today, while walking out of Walmart with my purchases, the sensor goes off. Sure, the official excuse is "something must be wrong with the desensitization unit at the checkout register". I know the truth! Detectors are evil!

    Am I right? Who else seems to attract that annoying detector beep no matter where they go?

    Verse of the Day (October 4th 2005)

    Proverbs 27:1 (New American Standard Bible)

    1(A)Do not boast about tomorrow, For you (B)do not know what a day may bring forth.

    Cross references:

    A: Proverbs 27:1 : James 4:13-16
    B: Proverbs 27:1 : Luke 12:19, 20 ; James 4:14

    Template & Link Updates

    As you can see, there have been updates to the links section and the general template. Comments, suggestions and questions can either be directed here or emailed to me.

    I've also decided to start creating indexes for each month of post, that way, if you know what a post was about but can't remember where to find it, you should be able to located my content more quickly.

    The Cost of Free Speech

    From the October 3, 2005 issue: In the universities it's almost as high as the tuition.
    by Harvey Mansfield
    10/03/2005, Volume 011, Issue 03

    Restoring Free Speech and Liberty on Campus
    by Donald Alexander Downs
    Independent Institute/Cambridge, 295 pp., $28.99

    SENSITIVITY HAS TAKEN OVER OUR society, and nowhere more securely than in our universities.

    To see what has happened, consider this small fact. Half a century ago, a liberal Harvard psychologist, Gordon W. Allport, published a book, The Nature of Prejudice, that began the social science study of stereotypes. Though of course hostile to stereotypes, he allowed they might have a kernel of truth. For example, he said, fewer Jews are drunks than Irish.

    A remark like that could not be made at a university today except in private to trusted friends. And if you made it, you would be testing your trust. Jews and Irish, to be sure, are not protected groups, but to speak so frankly even about them would betray a very troubling levity in your attitude toward groups that are protected.

    Sensitivity is today's version of the soft despotism that Alexis de Tocqueville worried about in democracies, and it would not have surprised him that the worst of it would be found in the halls of the intellect. Only in American universities, some 300 of them, from 1987 to 1992, did the movement for sensitivity go so far as to enact semi-legal speech codes proscribing offensive speech. These codes provoked the ire of a few free speech heroes on the campuses and, more important, prompted them to mobilize opposition to the codes and to attempts by university administrators to enforce them.

    One of these heroes, Donald Downs, a professor at the University of Wisconsin, has written an account of his own successful coup there, together with accounts of a comparable victory at Pennsylvania and failures at Berkeley and Columbia. He accompanies his narratives with reflections, which are those of an old-fashioned free speech liberal. At first a supporter of speech codes, Downs changed his mind when he saw them in operation. Readers get a chance to judge the virtues and defects of the free speech position in trying circumstances when many liberals abandoned it for sensitivity.

    During most of the 20th century, Downs says, threats to free speech came from the right and from outside the universities. But in the late 1960s they began to come from the left, and from within. At that time, Herbert Marcuse set forth his notion of "repressive tolerance," an attack on the liberal free speech doctrine which claimed that, while pretending to tolerate free speech, liberals actually repressed it. This was because liberals frowned on radicals like Marcuse. Real dissent would have to challenge the whole of liberalism; in fact, the only true dissent is challenging liberalism. Conformist speech defending liberalism is worthless; in fact, so worthless that it can safely be repressed. No, safety demands that it be repressed, and in making a demand, safety is transformed into morality. Morality requires repressing liberalism. Downs calls this "progressive censorship," and says it is just as detrimental to free universities as traditional censorship from the right.

    Thus, "repressive tolerance" has quite a punch in two words. By the late 1980s Marcuse's thinking had infused liberals and deflected many of them from liberalism into postmodernism, one feature of which is a soft therapeutic notion of sensitivity. Instead of repressing liberalism, let's make it sensitive. Between the late '60s and the late '80s feminism came on the scene and embraced sensitivity as the peaceable, womanly way to victory over liberalism.

    Downs's first case is Columbia, which enacted a "sexual misconduct policy" in 2000 to assuage feminist protest there. Many more rape victims were being treated at Columbia's hospital than rapists convicted in the university judicial system. Columbia's solution was to make things easier for the accuser and harder for the accused. This policy related to conduct, and was not professedly a speech code.

    At Berkeley, home of the Free Speech Movement of the late '60s, "progressive social censorship" was applied against opponents of affirmative action (outlawed in California in 1996 by Proposition 209). A series of incidents arising over cartoons in the student newspaper, law school admissions, and protests against visiting speakers created an atmosphere of intimidation, even though it was not formalized in a speech code.

    At both universities, intimidation was directed at conservatives. As one Columbia student said, "You can't be conservative. If you are, you automatically get notoriety and infamy." Conservatives were not altogether silenced, but they were made to suffer when they spoke up.

    At Penn, a harassment code initiated by President Sheldon Hackney was passed in 1987, allegedly covering conduct, not speech. But harassment included stigmatizing speech, as Eden Jacobowitz, a Penn student, found out. In a famous incident in 1993, he shouted "water buffalo" at a group of black sorority women who were disturbing his study, and was then called to account and punished by the university. The conservative Penn historian Alan Kors took up Jacobowitz's cause and succeeded, after much travail, in exonerating him and getting the code abolished.

    In the chapter on Wisconsin, Downs tells the story of his own exploits. In 1989, President Donna Shalala (like Hackney, later a figure in the Clinton administration) established codes for students and faculty that explicitly punished demeaning speech, later called "hate speech." The student code was abandoned two years later, but the faculty code remained until Downs, a First Amendment liberal, organized its abolition in the faculty senate in 2001. His book tells a harrowing tale featuring a few heroes like himself and Kors (plus William Van Alstyne of Duke, Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice, Dorothy Rabinowitz of the Wall Street Journal, and civil rights lawyer Harvey Silverglate), a few villains such as Hackney and Shalala, their politically correct administrators, and many easily confused or intimidated faculty liberals.

    Downs ends on a note of optimism, urging others to learn from what he and his friends accomplished. One can imagine his dismay at the recent spectacle at Harvard this spring, when progressive social censorship was enforced on President Lawrence Summers by the Harvard faculty. Not only was Summers's speech on why more women do not enter science rejected in substance, but his mere choice of topic and call for inquiry into the matter were declared insensitive. In a secret ballot, he was branded as lacking the confidence of Harvard's bold faculty. Summers, with his apologies for raising the issue, did not, to say the least, react as did Donald Downs. Summers is no Hackney and no Shalala; but still, he was overcome by the forces of sensitivity. Perhaps Downs would not be so hopeful if he were writing with this incident in view.

    Let us honor the conscience of free speech liberalism and the passion to defend free speech that it inspires. But let's also take a look at two problems--balance and truth--arising as liberalism faces the demand for sensitivity.

    Downs ends his book remarking that maintaining free speech in universities is a "delicate balancing act," but he also says that its defenders need to have the "requisite passion." The trouble is that passion for free speech cools off in the act of balancing. Passionate defense of free speech is attracted to extremes that test the bounds of the First Amendment and require a valiant effort by the defender to tolerate speech he loathes, as in the promise never quite kept by Voltaire to defend to the death the right of a speaker he disapproves of. This is drama rather than balance. Downs himself had written a book in 1985 on the Nazis in Skokie, concluding that, on balance, racial vilification does not deserve First Amendment protection. He changed his mind, he says, because he came to doubt the ability of university administrators to strike a fair balance.

    This was a reasonable doubt of administrators infused with the idea of enforcing sensitivity. But the speech codes that gave the alarm to Downs were not the worst danger to free speech in the universities, nor are they today. Those codes prohibited racial slurs and unwelcome lewd overtures--unpleasant, to be sure, to blacks and women, but hardly posing grave risks. They were interpreted, however, in a spirit of political correctness so as to produce a numbing homogeneity of opinion at our universities, and that spirit has proved very harmful. The idea of sensitivity behind the speech codes also led to political correctness, because it was necessary to decide to whom to be sensitive. Being sensitive to blacks and women gave them the right to be offended when they pleased and to talk back offensively to their tormentors. They did not have to be sensitive except to the insensitivity they were subject to, and they were encouraged to react with indignation whenever they felt they were put upon.

    Thus, the notion of sensitivity led to less toleration rather than more. Those not tolerated were, of course, conservatives. The victims Downs tells of were not conservatives (they were mostly naive and nonpolitical) and some of his faculty and student heroes were conservatives. Conservatives were silenced not so much by speech codes as by not being hired for the faculty and not being invited to give talks or lectures on campus. Some conservative speakers were intimidated by protests; but for the most part, conservatives were simply not there and not invited. First Amendment liberals prefer the cause of the embattled and give little thought to the need for a balance of reasonable or respectable opinion in universities. To exaggerate: They will defend you only if they hate you, or if you are being persecuted. The near-total exclusion of conservatives from the faculties of America's elite universities does not alarm them. The fact that partisan debate outside the universities is freer and livelier than within may be deplorable, but it does not strike them as a free speech issue. They take for granted the willingness of citizens to speak up. They become indignant at the suppression of speech, but worry much less about speech that it never occurs to anyone to express.

    A society of free speech needs lively exchange between the parties and not just loud voices from its eccentric fringe--and this is true, too, for universities. For lively exchange you need balance, as it is easy for a dominant majority to be unruffled by dissent when it is only from a token few. One could seek balance by declaring partisan opinion to be academically irrelevant, as when President Robert Sproul at Berkeley in the 1930s (Downs notes) banned the use of university buildings for partisan purposes. Many social scientists in universities follow a similar logic when they adopt the fact/value distinction: "My science is over here and my values are over there; there's no connection!" The fact that most all of us are liberals, and hardly any conservative, is therefore irrelevant. Science is what matters, and that is impartial.

    This attitude coexists at universities today with the opposite, postmodern view that science is only a mask of impartiality to conceal the partisan exercise of power. True impartiality being impossible, in this view, we should embrace partiality and politicize the university. Either way, whether from positivism or postmodernism, conservatives lose out. They are not necessary to be heard, and if they are heard, they do harm to progressive causes.

    Mention of progress brings up the second problem for free speech liberals, the problem of truth. Liberals stand for progress and, for self-protection, sometimes call themselves progressives. They also stand for diversity and speak of it constantly. Yet progress is hostile to diversity, especially to the diversity that conservatives represent. Progress is progress in truth, in the overcoming of prejudice such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. By identifying and refuting prejudice, progress establishes the reign of truth and narrows the range of acceptable opinions. What, then, is to be done about conservatives who hold these prejudices? Today, conservatives do not, or no longer, hold to racial prejudice, and anyone who does has been banished from responsible discussion. But is it the same for sexism and homophobia? Has debate on these matters been foreclosed, and does it deserve to be?

    If liberals agree that one can still believe in sex differences and in the superiority of heterosexual life, they then consent to diversity and admit that conservatism in these respects is respectable. If they do, however, they set limits to progress in truth, or in the spread of truth. They justify a society balanced between liberals and conservatives, the party of progress and the party of order, as John Stuart Mill called them. But this seems to be a society of truth and untruth, permanently divided, which prevents the triumph of truth, of liberalism.

    How can liberals accept that? Or respect it? Mill says that truth will become dead dogma if it is not challenged by opposing views, which is his reason for tolerating conservatives. But the problem is that if truth is systematically challenged, it will not be paramount. Diversity will replace truth.

    This problem is more acute in universities as opposed to society in general, because universities are dedicated to the pursuit of truth. Downs notes that the difference between free speech and academic freedom is that the latter, unlike the former, relates to truth. A society can have free speech, pace the ACLU, if it does not challenge its own basic presuppositions, like those in the Declaration of Independence. But a university must, in pursuit of truth, hold those presuppositions open to inquiry. To carry out such inquiry, a university would seem to have greater need of diversity than a society. A university would not want to foreclose questions that a society might consider settled.

    Conservatism is therefore closer to the mission of the university than liberalism is. Liberals, insofar as they are progressives, believe that it is possible to eliminate prejudice from society. When prejudice is gone, truth prevails, and there is no need to reconsider the errors of the past. Progress is irrevocable, and inquiry shrinks to whatever questions remain unsettled. Conservatives, believing that it is not possible to eliminate prejudice, are more tolerant than liberals; they expect society to be, and remain, a mixture of truth and untruth. Conservatives may be prejudiced themselves, or they may be just tolerant of prejudice in others. If society will always be a mixture of truth and untruth, it may be necessary to see what sort of untruth is politically compatible with truth, and what sort is not.

    This is the problem we face in judging the civil rights of terrorists, a problem Downs alludes to but does not discuss. We surely do not need speech codes to hobble conservatives--they should be listened to!--but we may well need measures to suppress the preaching of Islamic terrorists. There we have true hate speech composed of hateful ideas, and as a conservative once said, ideas have consequences.

    But Downs points out that the idea of sensitivity erodes the difference between speaking and doing. The function of speech comes to be preserving the self-esteem of those spoken to, rather than addressing them; and sexual harassment, a certain behavior, comes to include words found offensive.

    Harvey Mansfield is professor of government at Harvard.

    Come Again? Is this Partisanship or Neutrality that we Librarians are supposed to advocate?

    Stole this from Conservator

    WHAT TO MAKE OF LIBRARY JOURNAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF John N. Berry III's October 1 outing for his "Blatant Berry" series of occasional columns, "The Librarian's New Role"?

    At an immediate level, it is curious to see Berry describing a "new, complex role" for librarians centered on a responsibility to "find and deliver accurate information," just one month after his editorial on the role of public libraries in America ("Reposition Public Libraries") appeared under the subtitle, "It is time to rethink the primary focus on information."

    No less confusing in the present piece is Berry's requirement that librarians be "nonpartisan," just one day after a "news" item in Library Journal ("Litwin Out of 'Library Juice'") quoted without comment Library Juice publisher Rory Litwin's interest in "publishing more extended, and I hope somewhat deep, reflections on questions of progressive librarianship."

    Or is it the case that "progressive librarianship" is "nonpartisan"?

    Librarian John Buschman of the Progressive Librarians Guild (PLG) asserts, in an article posted yesterday to New York's Newsday.com ("Today's librarians challenging stereotypes"), that there is "something inherently progressive in collecting and preserving information for people[.]"

    Weren't there policial regimes back in the last century that insisted on drafting entire professions to one political movement or another?

    Can't get much plainer than that.


    Let's hope Miers is a traditionalist when it comes to interpretting the constitution--and stays that way. The judicial activism is bad enough, in my honest opinion, and I know I'm not alone....


    ABA Journal Survey Results Surprise Some Legal Experts

    More than half of Americans are angry and disappointed with the nation’s judiciary, a new survey done for the ABA Journal eReport shows.

    A majority of the survey respondents agreed with statements that "judicial activism" has reached the crisis stage, and that judges who ignore voters’ values should be impeached. Nearly half agreed with a congressman who said judges are "arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable."

    The survey results surprised some legal experts with the extent of dissatisfaction shown toward the judiciary. "These are surprisingly large numbers," says Mark V. Tushnet, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C.

    "These results are simply scary," adds Charles G. Geyh, a constitutional law professor at Indiana University School of Law in Bloomington.

    The Opinion Research Corp. conducted the survey, calling 1,016 adults throughout the country in early September. Participants included 505 men and 511 women aged 18 or older. Due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina, residents of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi were not polled.

    Calls were made to a random sample of American households. Those surveyed were asked questions about their age and education levels, and were asked to give one of six answers—strongly agree, somewhat agree, neither agree nor disagree, somewhat disagree, strongly disagree or don’t know—in response to public statements criticizing the judiciary.

    Fifty-six percent of the respondents strongly or somewhat agreed with the opinions expressed in each of two survey statements:

    A U.S. congressman has said, "Judicial activism … seems to have reached a crisis. Judges routinely overrule the will of the people, invent new rights and ignore traditional morality." (Twenty-nine percent strongly agreed and 27 percent somewhat agreed.)
    A state governor has said that court opinions should be in line with voters’ values, and judges who repeatedly ignore those values should be impeached. (Twenty-eight percent strongly agreed and 28 percent somewhat agreed.)
    Forty-six percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the opinion expressed in a third statement:

    A U.S. congressman has called judges arrogant, out-of-control and unaccountable. (Twenty-one percent strongly agreed and 25 percent somewhat agreed.)
    Among the respondents, younger adults were less likely than older adults to agree with all three statements. Those with a college education were more likely to disagree with the statements than high school graduates.

    Only 30 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly disagreed with the first statement and 32 percent felt the same way about the second statement. The most disagreement was reflected in the responses to the third statement, with which 38 percent took issue.

    Two percent to 3 percent responded "don’t know," and the remainder of the respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the statements.

    The margin of error for the survey is plus or minus 3 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level. Opinion Research Corp. says survey results were "weighted by age, sex, geographic region and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population."

    The congressman referenced in the first question is Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who made the comment at an April 2005 rally in Washington, D.C. The governor in the second question is Matt Blunt, a Missouri Republican, who reportedly made the comment during an interview with a religious publication in May 2005. The congressman in the third question is House Majority Leader Tom DeLay of Texas, who made the comment in March 2005.

    Several legal scholars responding to the survey results were startled by the numbers.

    Georgetown’s Tushnet says he didn’t realize the level of dissatisfaction was so high. "What I had thought was the case was that there was a significantly higher residue of general respect for the courts," he says. "And these numbers suggest that that’s not true."

    Geyh of Indiana University says the survey suggests "a trajectory" upward in the number of people unhappy with the American judiciary—apparently simply because these critics disagree with the law that judges have a duty to apply.

    The idea that judges should "somehow follow the voters’ views really reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of what judges are supposed to do," he continues. "They should only be criticized when they ignore the law and start infusing their own values into the law regardless of the law."

    But one legal scholar with an alternative viewpoint is not surprised. The survey results reflect the reality that "there is a lot of judicial activism under any definition," says John O. McGinnis, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law in Chicago.

    "This problem has been coming for a very long time," he says. "I think, for most of [the past] century, the idea of the Constitution as a document that should be interpreted formally and without regard to the judge’s own values has been under attack." Judges today also do not give due deference to legislative decisions, and too frequently strike down statutory law, he adds.

    Part of the problem, too, McGinnis believes, is that legislators on both sides of the aisle are conducting judicial confirmation hearings as though the candidates’ personal political views are relevant to their role on the bench. "Everyone thinks that’s what [judges] do, and they just want their own values" to be reflected by the judiciary, McGinnis says.

    In a written statement, Rep. Smith said judges today "seem to be promoters of a partisan agenda, not wise teachers relying on established law." As a co-equal branch of the federal government, however, the judiciary is subject to congressional oversight as part of our system of checks and balances, he continued. So "Congress is right to evaluate judges when they behave like unelected superlegislators who want to implement their own social agenda."

    Spokespersons for Blunt and DeLay did not respond to requests for comment.

    The survey figures did not catch ABA President Michael S. Greco by surprise, either. Instead, he views the results as further confirmation of the need for new ABA programs now under way to educate the public about how American government works, and the role played by judges in a democratic society. Judicial independence is also the subject of three feature articles in the October issue of the ABA Journal.

    One of Greco’s first actions after taking office in August was to appoint a Commission on Civic Education and the Separation of Powers. In his President’s Message in the October Journal, Greco said the commission was created to address what he terms an "alarming increase in rhetorical and physical attacks on the judiciary." The bipartisan commission is intended to educate Americans about the role of an independent judiciary in U.S. government.

    A poll commissioned by the ABA in July from Harris Interactive showed a "shocking" 40 percent of respondents could not correctly identify the three branches of government, Greco wrote.

    The commission will help rectify this situation, Greco says, in two ways: First, it will "find out why it is that half the people polled don’t know how their government works." Second, it will work with teachers’ groups to address "this sorry state of civic education."

    Greco hopes to bring lawyers throughout the country into the nation’s schools on Law Day as part of a larger program of civic education about the separation of powers and the role of the judiciary. "This is in the preliminary stages, but the thought is, around Law Day, have a program that is carried on C-Span and perhaps beamed into every school in the country."

    Held on May 1 each year, Law Day is recognized as a time to focus on how the rule of law makes democracy possible.

    Robert H. Rawson Jr., a Cleveland lawyer who chairs the commission, emphasizes that these educational efforts will be nonpartisan. "Our objective is not to get into the politics of judicial selection, but rather to fill what appears to be a gap in general public understanding of the fundamental role of a judge," he says, and "restore what needs restoring—the confidence and trust of the American public in the judiciary."

    The commission has two honorary co-chairs: retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley of New Jersey.

    The October ABA Journal includes three features on judicial independence:

    A roundtable discussion by legal experts on recent attacks on the judicial branch.
    A look at hot-button cases that are raising the hackles of the American public.
    A report on how Serbia is addressing issues of judicial independence and the rule of law in its effort to enter the European Union.
    ©2005 ABA Journal

    Original Source

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Thanks to You....

    Thank you to those who encouraged me IRL on Friday, and to those who encouraged me without realizing it. You know who you are. :-)

    Geoff Moore put it best, so I'll let his words speak for how I feel...

    I've been picked when I was low
    And I never have been left alone
    I know it's true
    Thanks to you

    I have had my burdens shared
    There've been valleys
    That I've been carried through
    Thanks to you

    So I won't let another moment slip away
    Right here, right now
    I've got to stop and say

    Thanks to you
    I've learned to laugh a little bit harder
    Thanks to you
    I never cry alone
    Thanks to you
    I know what it means to have a friend that's true
    Thanks to you

    I remember all the walks
    And all the crazy things that I got talked into
    Thanks to you

    And even now I'm amazed
    When I think of all the ways God's voice came through
    Thanks to you

    Through all the thick and thin
    And places in between
    We have been side by side
    And that is why you hear me singing

    Thanks to you
    I've learned to laugh a little bit harder
    Thanks to you
    I never cry alone
    Thanks to you
    I know what it means to have a friend that's true
    Thanks to you
    For never giving up
    Thanks to you
    For sometimes giving in
    Thank you for always listening

    (Listen to a clip.)

    I have a very bad feeling about this....

    Disney Adventures' interviews Andrew Adamson
    26 Sep 2005 by Paul Martin

    Direct from the director, a sneak peek into the winter wonderland of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. By Stephen Timblin

    C. S. Lewis' novel [CON: LWW], which debuted in 1950, follows the Pevensie children as they discover a land ruled by the evil White Witch and a place where it's "always winter and never Christmas." In December, the classic adventure hits the big screen for the first time - so we tracked down director Andrew Adamson to get you the scoop on the winter release.

    Disney Adventures: How does the movie differ from the book?

    Andrew Adamson: The main difference is in the fleshing-out of the characters. I found upon rereading the book that the children were written in a way that was typical of children’s books of the time, a little too perfect and not entirely three-dimensional. The film also has a more epic feel. This is mainly because C.S. Lewis expanded the world as he added to the Chronicles, and I wanted the world of Narnia to reflect what I remembered from reading the books.

    Oyarsa's Comments: "Oh, Great, and exactly how were they "fleshed out"? The book's a classic, you didn't NEED to flesh out the characters

    Disney Adv.: Of all the creatures in Narnia, which is your favourite?

    Andrew Adamson: That’s a tough question. Minotaurs make great bad guys, and the Gryphon is a pretty cool good guy – like a flying eagle/lion. I love Centaurs too, for how magnificent they can be in battle.

    Disney Adv.: Is there anything used by the White Witch in the movie that wasn’t in the book?

    Andrew Adamson: The most notable item was the White Witch’s polar bear-drawn chariot. C.S. Lewis didn’t go into a lot of detail about how the witch engaged in battle. I couldn’t imagine her just walking into it. I wanted something that was reflective of her sleigh and her frozen world, but was impressive and practical on the battlefield.

    Polar bear drawn chariot? I can live with this, if this is only used during the battle. Let's hope the director remembers the sledge was driven by reindeer, and that the fact that both Father Christmas and the White Witch used reindeer to get about is what frightens the children so before the children meet Aslan.

    Disney Adv.: How about for any of the kids?

    Andrew Adamson: Although Father Christmas gave gifts to three of the children, he didn’t fully equip them for the battle. We had designers come up with armor and weaponry for the Pevensies for the final battle. Edmund also needed something, so we had the Centaurs make weaponry for him. It’s all pretty cool stuff.

    Look for more interviews from the film in their December issue!

    I can't wait....

    Seriously, I really hope the Lion With and the Wardrobe will be true to the book, but when one of the previews I saw makes it look like the Pevensie's stay at the Professor's prior to entering Narnia was miserable, among other changes, my cynicism takes over.

    However, it appears that Aslan, at least, has not been tampered with, so with that hope, I will be going to see the movie when it comes out in December.

    Edit: This is one of those days when I hate it when I'm right... HELLO? does the director remember the tension in the book that comes from Lucy and Susan being afraid that the White Witch had found Mr. Beaver?

    Cheney tells Limbaugh: Miers a 'Conservative'

    We'll see how conservative Miers is. I'm not holding my breath.


    Cheney tells Limbaugh: Miers a 'Conservative'
    NewsMax.com Wires
    Monday, Oct. 3, 2005
    Despite misgivings among some Republicans over the nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, Vice President Dick Cheney promises that her "judicial philosophy" is in line with conservative beliefs.

    "I've worked closely with her for years," Cheney told radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh Monday. Limbaugh has expressed his own concerns about the nomination.

    "She believes very deeply in the importance of interpreting the Constitution and the laws as written. She won't legislate from the federal bench.

    "I'm confident that she has a conservative judicial philosophy that you will be comfortable with, Rush.

    "And the President has great confidence in her judicial philosophy."

    Asked why the president didn't select a nominee with "known quantities," Cheney responded:

    "The president sat down and looked at all the options and all the alternatives and spent a great deal of time on this himself. He's convinced Harriet will do a great job on the Court, as am I.

    "And I think you'll find when you look back 10 years from now that it will have been a great appointment."

    Rush countered by asking "why we need to wait 10 years, when Bush could have nominated someone we would know about right now?" He suggested that the White House might have wanted to avoid a fight with Democrats at this time.

    Cheney answered: "We've never backed off a fight, with this Congress or any other Congress."

    Pointing to Miers' legal resume, Cheney said the charge that her nomination smacks of "cronyism," due to her long association with Bush, "makes no sense at all."

    Cheney was also asked about remarks by Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), who said President Bush is the "Bull Connor of this generation" to the American black population, and that Cheney might be too sick to do his job.

    Said Cheney: "It struck me that Charlie was having some problems. Charlie's losing it."

    Today's Bible Verse: John 15:10

    John 15:10 (New American Standard Bible)

    10"(A)If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as (B)I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.

    Cross references:

    A. John 15:10 : John 14:15
    B. John 15:10 : John 8:29


    I am another victim of the Suduko craze.

    The object of the game: Fill in the grid so that every row, every column, and every 3x3 box contains the digits 1 through 9.


    · Number can appear only once on each row

    · Number can appear only once on each column

    · Number can appear only once on each area (3*3 slots)

    The bottom line : the number should appear only once on row, column or area.

    However – above all the ultimate challenge behind it is doing it fast!

    Apparently there are 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 possible games, so the first one is just a beginning of intruding fun game – you are just warming up!

    You want to click this, don't you?

    Toddlers looked after by mothers 'develop better'

    Toddlers looked after by mothers 'develop better'
    By Richard Garner
    Published: 03 October 2005
    Toddlers who are looked after by their mothers do significantly better in developmental tests than those cared for by nurseries, childminders or relatives, according to a study to be published today.

    The findings will show that those given nursery care fared worst. They exhibited higher levels of aggression and were inclined to become more compliant, withdrawn or sad.

    Those looked after by grandparents and other relatives fared a little better.

    Youngsters looked after by childminders and nannies came second in terms of their development to those who stayed at home with mother.

    The research, involving 1,200 children and their families in north London and Oxfordshire, is based on a study of the development of children over a four-year period. They were first studied when they were three months old and then at regular periods until they reached the age of 51 months.

    It was due to be presented to a conference in London today by one of its co-authors, Penelope Leach, president of the National Childminders' Association.

    The report will reignite the debate over the best way to bring up young children, but Ms Leach is at pains to point out that it does not mean that "every child in a large nursery becomes a monster" - or that all those looked after by mothers were better off. Children of mothers suffering depression did better with childminders or nurseries. What the research stressed, she will argue, is a need for high-quality developmental care for nought to three-year-olds.

    For instance, a ratio of one adult to three children in a nursery could often mean that one adult was taking a break while a second was preparing lunch - leaving one to cope with nine toddlers on their own. By contrast, childminders had a maximum of three children under the age of five in their care.

    Pope Benedict whacks `hypocritical` secularists

    This is a WorldNetDaily printer-friendly version of the article which follows.
    To view this item online, visit http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=46618

    Sunday, October 2, 2005

    Pope Benedict whacks `hypocritical` secularists
    Calls those who want to exclude God from public life intolerant
    © 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

    In a message to over 250 Catholic bishops at the Vatican today, Pope Benedict XVI said it was hypocritical to exclude God and religion from public life.

    "A tolerance which allows God as a private opinion but which excludes him from public life, from the reality of the world and our lives, is not tolerance but hypocrisy," the pope said in the homily he gave at a three-week-long synod's opening mass in St Peter's Basilica. "When man makes himself the only master of the world and master of himself, justice cannot exist. Then, arbitrariness, power and interests rule."

    Today marked the beginning of the pope's first synod since his April 19 election, Agence France-Presse reported. The conference will focus on theological issues linked to Holy Communion, as well as abortion and divorce.

    People who ignore God pose a threat to "the Church in Europe, Europe itself and the West," the pontiff said.

    Bishops will debate how to address falling church attendance in Europe, the U.S. and Oceania, where the number of faithful attending Sunday mass has dropped well below that of Africa and Asia.

    The synod was expected to deal with various issues surrounding abortion, including how to address Catholic politicians who support the practice, especially when those politicians seek to take Communion.

    The news service quoted a working Vatican document that said Catholics who "publicly supported immoral choices such as abortion" were committing mortal sins.

    The document also condemned those backing politicians who "openly supported abortion or other terrible crimes against human life, justice or peace" or who succumbed to "temptation or corruption," saying all were acting against the church's teachings.

    "Some receive communion while denying the teachings of the Church or publicly supporting immoral choices in life, such as abortion, without thinking that they are committing an act of grave personal dishonesty and causing scandal," the document said.

    The event got under way without four bishops from China who were prevented from traveling to the Vatican by Beijing's Communist government. According to AFP, three of the bishops were part of China's state-approved church and one was from the underground Catholic church.

    Reasons Why Peter Jackson Should Never Have touched the Lord of the Rings

    10. Galadriel is now set into the minds of many as "the evil freakout queen".

    9. Aragorn wasn't a pouter unwilling to accept his place, dang it!

    8. Faramir became a clone of his brother, not his opposite.

    7. Right, Jackson, Frodo would have walked right up to a nazgul and the nazgul would have grabbed at him in slow motion.

    6. He gave Frodo three expressions: sad, wide-eyed, and delighted.

    5. Elves at Helms Deep. No, no no no NO! There was ONE elf there: Legolas. The point of the battle was that the MEN ALONE defeated their enemy against overwhelming odds. Besides, if the elves were there, all the men would have fallen before the elves did.

    4. Elf ears.

    3. He ripped out essential plot points that he "didn't like" and put in his own material. Hello? If you don't like how the book goes, don't make a freaking movie out of it!

    2. Gimli comic relief.

    1. Making Denethor a copy of Theoden.

    Things Peter Jackson did RIGHT

    1. Good job with the nazgul costumes.

    2. Good job with most of the nazgul/character interaction.

    3. Good job with most of the costuming.

    4. Hobbit feet.

    5. Bilbo's Going Away Party

    6. Gollum.

    7. Nazgul are intimidating.

    8. Orcs are ugly and vile.

    9. Sauron = the bad guy, not a "misunderstood villain"

    10. Elfish languages accurate.

    Can you tell I was stretching? Sorry for the rant. I was just upset by an Amazon.com Review that suggested that Peter Jackson should make the Binding of the Blade Series into movies. No thank you, Fantasy Addict, some of us are praying that he never touches this series.

    Balance Ball Fitness

    by Monica Neave

    Fitness balls are one of the most inexpensive and versatile pieces of equipment that you can buy. They were first used by physical therapist but have fast become an effective and fun fitness tool for personal trainers and exercise buffs alike. One of the big advantages of working with a fitness ball is that it targets your core muscles (back and abs) improving your posture, balance, and core strength. According to Michele Olson, Ph.D., administrator of the Human Performance Lab at Auburn University in Montgomery, focusing on core strength improves functional strength, making you more able to handle every day tasks such as carrying groceries and picking up your kids. A strong core also enhances performance of all fitness activities and decreases low back pain and injuries. The big bonus is that working your core makes you appear taller and whittles your waste a lot faster than other ab exercises. To get started choose the right size ball then check out 6 easy workouts moves below.

    How To Choose A Fitness Ball
    Sit on a fitness ball so that your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle and your feet are flat on the floor. Roll down into a lying position and see if it’s still comfortable. The following guidelines give you a general idea of what size ball to buy but keep in mind that it’s your comfort that matters most. You can be 5’4” tall and find that a 65 cm ball works better for you.
    42 cm. ball (16 in.) 4 ft. 10in. tall
    53 or 55 cm. ball (22 in.) 4 ft. 11 in. to 5 ft. 6 in. tall
    65 cm. ball (25 in.) 5 ft. 7 in. to 6 ft. 2 in. tall
    75 cm. ball (29 in.) 6 ft. 0 in. tall

    Highly Recommended:I have one and it's the best fitness product I own!

    30 Minute Fitness Ball Workout

    Plank to Knee Tucks: Work back, abs, and hip flexors. Perform 2 sets 10-12 reps each. Kneel in front of a fitness ball resting your abs on the ball and roll into a push up position so that your arms are directly under your shoulders and your lower legs are propped up on the ball. Contract your abs and keep your back flat then roll the ball forward by curling your knees toward your chest. Roll back to starting position. Tip: The further down on your legs that you position the ball the harder the exercise becomes.

    Crunches: Work abs and lower back. Perform 2-3 sets 15-20 reps each. Lie face-up on a fitness ball and place your hands behind your head. Slowly curl your ribcage towards your hips then lower back to starting position. Tip: Be sure the ball supports your back comfortably. Move back and forth on the ball until you find a spot that feels good for you.

    Plank Push Ups: Work chest and triceps. Perform 2 sets, 12 reps each. Kneel in front of a fitness ball resting your abs on the ball and roll into a push up position so that your arms are directly under your shoulders and your lower legs are propped up on the ball. Contract your abs, keep your back flat, and bend your elbows to lower your upper body towards the floor. Slowly push back up to starting position. Tip: Keep your abs contracted for better balance.

    Back Extensions: Work lower back and glutes. Perform 2 sets, 12-15 reps each. Stand facing away from a wall in front of an exercise ball. Lie facedown over the ball, extend legs back, prop feet against the wall, and place your hands behind your head. Slowly raise your torso to a comfortable position then lower back to starting position. Tip: If you have trouble with this move, you can do this exercise lying face down on the floor then move up to the ball.

    Hip Extension Bridges: Work glutes, hamstrings, abs, and lower back. Perform 2 sets 15-20 reps each. Lie on your back with arms at your sides and feet propped up on fitness ball. Slowly raise your hips and glutes toward the ceiling so that only your upper back, shoulders, and arms are in contact with the floor. Lower back to starting position. Tip: Keep your abs contracted and arms on the floor for balance.

    Stationary Lunges: Work quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Perform 2 sets, 15 reps each. Stand 3-4 feet in front of a fitness ball, extend one leg back and prop your foot on the ball. Place your hands on your hips for balance and slowly bend both knees until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Squeeze back up to starting position. Tip: Be sure your front knee never extends beyond your toe and keep your back straight and abs contracted for balance. You can also hold weights at your sides to increase difficulty.

    Original Source

    How to Get Poor People into Libraries

    How to get poor people into libraries

    Tuesday January 20, @10:23PM [ #223 ]
    Or something like that. Libraries do too much for the middle class. Yawn. Librarians are middle class and only know that clientele. Yawn. I think it was a Gorman article that I just read on Library Link. I heard the same stuff in library school in the 1960s. Not that I'm against libraries serving everyone. But it is a type of snobbery.
    Take my husband, for instance. He is married to a librarian, and for 34 years lived 3 blocks from the public library--a lovely place, filled with wonderful things, and terrific staff. He'd been there maybe 5 times. I asked him tonight (after reading the Gorman pep talk for librarians to pull the world up by its boot straps) if he had a library card. He flashed his handsome multi-color card, almost new. Mine is over 30 years old, has no picture and is cracked and bent. Why is yours so pretty, I asked. Well, he explained, if you don't use the library you have to get a new card every so often to reestablish yourself.

    My adult children also never use a library--they probably don't even have cards. So before we middle class folks wring our hands asking why people who don't pay taxes or vote for bond issues aren't using the library, maybe we should ask why our neighbors or husbands or children don't.

    I'll save you the research. Libraries aren't for everyone. Sounds heretical, doesn't it? Some people actually manage to live a fulfilled, useful, cultured and information filled life without ever stepping foot inside a library. Fortunately, they are rubbing shoulders everyday with library patrons who are becoming the best they can be and making the world a better place with the help of the library!

    Original Source

    What Age Do You Act?

    You Are 27 Years Old

    Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

    13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

    20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

    30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

    40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

    A Timeless Argument About Creation

    A timeless argument about creation
    By Jeff Jacoby

    Oct 3, 2005

    Columnist, The Boston Globe

    Have you heard about Flying Spaghetti Monsterism? FSM is a four-month-old "religion" founded on the belief that the universe was created by an invisible flying clump of spaghetti and meatballs. This blob of pasta, FSM's "followers" say, uses its "noodly appendage" to play an ongoing role in human affairs. For example, it tampers with carbon-dating tests to make the planet seem older than it is, so that any evidence of evolution is actually the work of the spaghetti monster.

    FSM was concocted in June by Bobby Henderson, a recent college graduate with a degree in physics. When the Kansas Board of Education took up the question of teaching intelligent design as an alternative to Darwinian evolution, Henderson wrote an open letter (posted at www.venganza.org) demanding equal classroom time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism as well.

    As religious spoofs go, it wasn't exactly Monty Python's "Life of Brian," but it was good for a chuckle or two. No doubt that was all the reaction that Henderson was expecting. If so, he underestimated the eagerness of many Darwinists to paint supporters of intelligent design as either moronic Bible Belters or conniving religious fanatics. Henderson's "religion" became a cult hit, promoted on other websites and covered with relish in the press. The Washington Post reprinted Henderson's letter verbatim. A New York Times story was headlined, "But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?"

    At least Henderson couched his disdain for intelligent design in humor. Other Darwinists, many steeped in ideological antipathy to religion, resort to insult and invective.

    "It is absolutely safe to say," the Oxford zoologist Richard Dawkins, a leading Darwinist, has written, "that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane." Liz Craig, a member of the board of Kansas Citizens for Science, summarized her public-relations strategy in February: "Portray them" -- intelligent design advocates -- "in the harshest light possible, as political opportunists, evangelical activists, ignoramuses, breakers of rules, unprincipled bullies, etc."

    Ironically, Charles Darwin himself acknowledged that there could be reasonable challenges to his theory of natural selection -- including challenges from religious quarters. According to the sociologist and historian Rodney Stark, when "The Origin of Species" first appeared in 1859, the Bishop of Oxford published a review in which he acknowledged that natural selection was the source of variations *within* species, but rejected Darwin's claim that evolution could account for the appearance of different species in the first place. Darwin read the review with interest, acknowledging in a letter to a friend that "the bishop makes a very telling case against me."

    How things have changed. When John Scopes went on trial in Tennessee in 1925, religious fundamentalists fought to keep evolution out of the classroom because it was at odds with a literal reading of the Biblical creation story. Today, Darwinian fundamentalists fight to keep the evidence of intelligent design in the diversity of life on earth out of the classroom, because that would be at odds with a strictly materialist view of the world. Eighty years ago, the thought controllers wanted no Darwin; today's thought controllers want only Darwin. In both cases, the dominant attitude is authoritarian and closed-minded -- the opposite of the liberal spirit of inquiry on which good science depends.

    As always, those who challenge the reigning orthodoxy face repercussions. In April, the science journal Nature interviewed Caroline Crocker, a molecular microbiologist at George Mason University. Because "she mentioned intelligent design while teaching her second-year cell-biology course . . . she has been barred by her department from teaching both evolution and intelligent design." Other skeptics of Darwinism choose to keep silent. When Nature approached another researcher, he refused to speak for fear of hurting his chance to get tenure.

    If intelligent design proponents were peddling Biblical creationism, the hostility aimed at them would make sense. But they aren't. Unlike creationism, which denied the earth's ancient age or that biological forms could evolve over time, intelligent design makes use of generally accepted scientific data and agrees that falsification, not revelation, is the acid test of scientific validity.

    In truth, intelligent design isn't a scientific theory but a restatement of a timeless argument: that the regularity and laws of the natural world imply a higher intelligence -- God, most people would say -- responsible for its design. Intelligent design doesn't argue that evidence of design ends all questions or disproves Darwin. It doesn't make a religious claim. It does say that when such evidence appears, researchers should take it into account, and that the weaknesses in Darwinian theory should be acknowledged as forthrightly as the strengths. That isn't primitivism or Bible-thumping or flying spaghetti. It's science.