Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Sound of Silence: Another Rape in Another Library Bathroom, This Time in Enid, OK, and the Library is Mum

Another rape in another public library bathroom, this time in the Public Library of Enid and Garfield County, Enid, OK.  See: "24-Year-Old Enid Man Arrested for Having Sex with 14-Year-Old Girl in Local Library," by Cass Rains, Enid News and Eagle, 28 May 2010.

And the sound of silence?  It's from the library. "Library Director Michelle Mears said the library did not have a comment about the incident and referred inquires to Enid Police Department or the city attorney’s office."

Art Garfunkel talked about the "inability of people to communicate with each other.  [W]hat you see around you is people who are unable to love each other." And he named a song "The Sound of Silence."

Now that silence has come to Enid, OK, but it is not that the library director is unable to communicate, rather she refuses to communicate. Who or what is she protecting?  I have a hint:

I was involved in another matter in this community five years ago when there was a problem with "registered sex offenders ... using library computers to contact minors."  I spoke with law enforcement there and learned American Library Association [ALA] policy was being applied to block law enforcement efforts to apprehend registered sex offenders!  For my involvement in the matter I was incorrectly labeled by the ALA as "antipornography," an obvious attempt to deflect attention from the real issue.  The ALA wrote the article to make it appear I opposed allowing patrons to read email, when I actually opposed the library blocking law enforcement efforts, something the ALA regularly encourages.  For all I know, the library is still blocking law enforcement to this very day.

Now a child is raped in the library's bathroom.  Is it any wonder we hear the sound of silence from Library Director Michelle Mears?



May 28, 2010


By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — Enid Police Department detectives arrested a 24-year-old Enid man Thursday on complaints of having sexual contact with a 14-year-old girl in April at Public Library of Enid and Garfield County.

Detective Sgt. Dustin Albright said the girl reported to police Tuesday she had been sexually assaulted by Joseph Hoff on April 19. The girl also told police there was another incident involving Hoff but she did not recall the specific date it occurred.

Albright said the girl had told detectives she had known Hoff for about a year.

Detectives arrested Hoff, 318 E. Ash, Thursday afternoon on complaints of sodomy, lewd molestation and second-degree rape.

During an interview with detectives, Hoff admitted to some of the allegations the girl made but denied others, Albright said.

Library Director Michelle Mears said the library did not have a comment about the incident and referred inquires to Enid Police Department or the city attorney’s office.

Charges had not been filed against Hoff Friday afternoon, online court records show.

.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Gay Cruising in Public Library Bathrooms

Personally, I like happy boat trips, but this being the SafeLibraries blog, the following regarding the Pickens County Library System in South Carolina may be of interest:


Call me jaded but I’m really not shocked by this.  I’d be more shocked if you could find a men’s room in a library where there weren’t guys rubbing one out.

Libraries aren’t safe places for children to be alone, and sex in the bathroom is just the tip of the iceberg as to why.  The blog Safe Libraries should be required reading for every parent.


If you're planning on using the mens room at the Easley, South Carolina public library you may want to take some hand sanitizer with you as it seems to be a popular attraction for the craigslist cruisers.

Police there arrested one 46-year-old James Michael Stewart after he allegedly posted an ad seeking anonymous sex in the library's rest room.


EASLEY, S.C. -- Easley police arrested a man Wednesday who they said was using Craigslist to request sex acts at the local library.

Easley Police Chief Danny Traber said that a library patron saw the ad on Craigslist and called the library director Allison Anderson to report it.

Police said the patron then said, “By the way, I responded to the ad and the guy is already there.”

Click for more public library bathroom crimes, for those interested.

The above Craigslist crime occurred at the Captain Kimberly Hampton Memorial Library, Easley, SC, named after Captain Kimberly Hampton.  "Captain Kimberly Hampton, a native of Easley, SC, was killed on January 2, 2004 when her OH-58 Kiowa Warrior observation helicopter was attacked near the Iraqi town of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. ....  Captain Kimberly Hampton is the first female combat pilot killed by enemy fire in United States history."

On this Memorial Day 2010 weekend, I thought it appropriate to honor the memory of Captain Kimberly Hampton.  And thank you, Easley, SC, for naming a public library after a real heroine.  Everyone please visit U.S. Department of Defense Community Relations on how to help troops and their families.


NOTE ADDED 10 APRIL 2012:

To my many readers visiting this blog post from all over the world and making it one of my more popular pages by searching for "gay cruising" or by directly linking from other sites, I have a special treat for you.  Gay cruising in public school libraries!!!  Hey, if the school's library director has no comment, and the student Attorney General says who cares, why not, right?  Here's a map to the UNC Davis Library.  Have fun:


.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Kansas City Library Riddled with Crime: No Internet Filters is Why, and Acceptable Use Policies Do Not Work

The Kansas City Public Library is riddled with crime.  Just look at this graphic to the right of "Library Security Numbers" showing 102 incidents in the past two years of "Public display of explicit sexual material or child pornography."

Read the story and watch the news broadcast video here:  "Library, Police Work To Improve Safety," KCTV5 Kansas City, MO, 19 May 2010:

Libraries have always been considered a safe place for families, but statistics just released might change all that.
Officials with the Kansas City Public Library are concerned because they have seen certain security violations double over the past year.
....
A look at the numbers shows offensive language and the use of controlled substances, including alcohol, doubled between 2008 and 2009.  Public displays of sexual material, including child pornography, went up from 41 to 61.  A total of 20 different violations went from 466 in 2008 to 740 in 2009.


Lucky

Kansas City Public Library CEO Crosby Kemper III admits, "We've been lucky that we haven't had a really major incident."  See "Crosby Kemper III: Library 'Lucky' Not To Be Even Less Safe Than It Feels," by Scott Wilson, The Pitch, 19 May 2010.  And when the really major incident does occur, that statement could be used as evidence the library knew or should have known there was a problem, and treble damages might be awarded.


Media Missed the Reason for the Crime Statistics

The media outlets completely missed the reason for the high crime statistics.  Can anyone hazard a guess what this might be, other than the "homeless" the library blamed for the crime wave?  Hint: the American Library Association [ALA] opposes the use of these in public libraries despite losing in US v. ALA, and it strongly leans on libraries not to use these.  That's right, "The Library does not monitor or control information accessible through the Internet...." 


Acceptable Use Policies Do Not Work

Notice also how acceptable use policies fail to have any effect: "Customers may not use Library computers to commit any illegal acts.  Such acts may include, but are not limited to ... public display of material from sites that may be deemed unlawful under federal or state statutes."  Yet in the past two years there have been 102 incidents of "public display of explicit sexual material or child pornography."  Obviously no one is deterred by an acceptable use policy.  The ALA recommends using acceptable use policies instead of Internet filters.  So it recommends a solution that does not work.


Who Controls the Library—the Citizens or the ALA?

Will the citizens of Kansas City, MO, do anything about this, or will they continue to allow the library to follow ALA directives until that "really major incident" finally occurs?  Whose kid will it be?  Please comment below.

.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

ALA Double Standard on Accuracy in Texas State Board of Education Proposal on School Book Content; ALA President Plagiarizes to Promote Matter Outside ALA Purview

The American Library Association [ALA], which "provide[s] leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship," has decided to weigh in on something outside its mission, namely, what children are to be taught in Texas public schools.  ALA President Camila A. Alire has written to the Texas State Board of Education [Texas SBOE] expressing "deep concern regarding the new social studies and history curriculum standards being considered by the Texas [SBOE]."  Why?  A lack of accuracy: "These changes appear to emphasize particular viewpoints while de-emphasizing or deleting competing viewpoints, at the expense of balance and accuracy."


The ALA Has No Standing in the Educational Arena

First of all, the ALA has no standing to interfere in this matter.  Promoting library services and librarianship has nothing to do with "the quality of history and social studies education in Texas and many other states."  Yet the ALA president states conclusively, after providing no facts while promoting the ALA and school libraries generally:

If the changes proposed by the Texas [SBOE] are adopted, ALA fears that the new standards will not only impair the quality of history and social studies education in Texas and many other states but will also have a chilling effect on school libraries' ability to provide access to in-depth and diverse materials that promote free inquiry, critical thinking, and essential information literacy skills.
What a thinly-veiled excuse to imply standing.  Even an ALA Council member acknowledges the ALA may be acting outside its purview, emphasis mine:

On Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 12:47 PM, Carrie Gardner wrote:

Hello,

I just returned from the Spring meeting of the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee.

We had a very heated discussion regarding what Texas is considering as far as school curriculum

If one checks this website: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/

It seems as if the vote was preliminary and that a comment period will be held in the near future.

Make no mistake about it, I personally disagree with the proposed direction of the Texas curriculum.  However I question if the ALA or ALA IFC should send a critical statement to the Texas folks.

*They are not censoring information.  They are selecting to highlight information that many find objectionable. 
*Most state department of educations have created state standards and curriculum documents that hightlight (emphasis) some information over others.  My example of this comes from the state of Virginia.  A few years ago I trained educators to work in this state.  I used the official Virginia documents in my classes.   They teach about famous Virginians that I felt had less impact on American history than others from other states. Virginia, like Texas has the right to do that.

[Yes I am aware that in the last two months the Obama administration has started to discuss a national curriculum. Those issues are preliminary.]

I feel that ALA has a long standing tradition of fighting for all speech and opinions including those that many members would not entertain as facts in their own minds.

Carrie Gardner
At large

The ALA Double Standard on Accuracy

More seriously, however, is the double standard the ALA uses on the issue of "accuracy."  In Texas, the ALA is complaining that the Texas SBOE is tossing aside "balance and accuracy."  The ALA is opposing the Board's decision by feigning interest in the laudable goal of improving "accuracy."  But that's in Texas.  In Florida, it's the total opposite.  In Florida, it's a double standard.  You see, in Florida, the ALA opposes accuracy in public schools!

In Florida, the Miami-Dade School Board decided to remove a book about Cuba because the book was factually inaccurate.  The matter ended up in federal court where a district judge decided against the school but the appellate court reversed that decision and the US Supreme Court denied certiorori.  The appellate decision ruled the Board had "the right to apply accuracy as a criteria for educational purposes."

The "right to apply accuracy."  That is what the ALA claims to be seeking in Texas.  But, in Florida, the ALA opposed that right!  The ALA decided to submit a brief to the US Supreme Court to have it overturn the appellate court and the "right to apply accuracy."  So, regarding Texas's efforts to improve education for its children, the ALA demands accuracy as its means to prevent any changes it opposes; but when it comes to efforts to propagandize children about Cuba, suddenly the ALA opposes the right to apply accuracy and opposes local control of the public school library.  The ALA, by the way, loves Cuba.

The ALA said in the Florida matter:  "It is difficult to image a more blatant exercise of a school board's political motivations than this case."  The 11th Circuit US Court of Appeals apparently disagreed and ruled against the ALA/ACLU's position.  I predict the ALA is about to see another community reject its similarly false message.

See my previous blog posts on the Miami-Dade School Board matter to find the factual support for the statements I have made above:

The ALA's Unclean Hands:  Plagiarism by the ALA President

Let alone the ALA has no standing in the educational arena, let alone the ALA has a double standard in requiring accuracy, the ALA, President Camila A. Alire herself, has signed a letter to the Texas Education Agency that is nearly 100% plagiarized.  That's theft.

Shocking as this statement of the ALA's wholesale copying may be, I am just the messenger, not the plagiarizer.  The ALA president's letter is over her signature and is dated 13 May 2010.  It is a near complete copy of a letter dated 11 May 2010 by Martin Garnar, Chair of the ALA's Intellectual Freedom Committee:

On Tue, May 11, 2010 at 3:45 PM, Garnar, Martin wrote:

Greetings Councilors.  After much discussion and deliberation, the Intellectual Freedom Committee has developed the attached statement as a response to the proposed curriculum standards in Texas.  Our strategy was to focus on the benefits of having the widest range of viewpoints available to students and to highlight the crucial role played by school librarians and libraries in providing access to "complete and full information and diverse points of view."

I would like to thank the IFC members and liaisons for their careful consideration of this issue, as well as the OIF staff for their invaluable support and assistance during this process.

Martin Garnar
Chair, Intellectual Freedom Committee
---
Martin Garnar
Trustee Emeritus, LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund -- www.merrittfund.org
Reference Services Librarian and Associate Professor of Library Science
Dayton Memorial Library, Regis University -- www.regis.edu/library
[Attachment reprinted below.] ....

Camila A. Alire is not on the Intellectual Freedom Committee.  She has clearly plagiarized.  Both Alire's letter and Garnar's letter are reprinted below.  Go ahead, compare them.  See for yourself.  It's truly disgraceful and I predict there will be no consequences whatsoever.

Note that the ALA's Executive Director Keith Michael Fiels did not predict or expect this wholesale plagiarism.  Instead, he expected Garnar's letter would be sent with a separate letter from Alire.  In a 11 May 2010 email to many ALA members, he said, "The Board has been waiting to hear from the Intellectual Freedom Committee.  President Camila Alire will be sending a letter including the statement to the Texas DOE this week.  We'll share with Councilors and the membership as soon as it goes out."

But later, on 17 May 2010, Mr. Fiels did not complain about the plagiarism: "Attached is the letter which ALA President Camila Alire sent to the Texas State Board of Education with regard to the proposed changes to the social studies curriculum there.  The letter reflects the statement developed by the ALA Intellectual Freedom Committee."  It does more than "reflect," Mr. Fiels.  You see?  No consequences.  Plagiarism is a-okay with the ALA.

By the way, plagiarism is not new to the ALA.  See "Plagiarism by ALA Executive Board Member Diane Chen," 6 July 2009.  Admittedly, Diane Chen's plagiarism was far less serious.


Even Camila Alire's Signature is Plagiarized

Oh my.  I went looking for a graphic of Camila Alire and I found a postcard sent to Renewing MembersThe handwritten signature of Camila A. Alire on the postcard is the exact same signature on the plagiarized letter sent to the Texas SBOE!  What a fraud!  Camila A Liar!  I know people use autopens and that's perfectly legal, but on a plagiarized letter evidencing intellectual theft from the intellectual freedom experts?  Well I don't know for sure due to the picture quality but it sure looks like the same signature to me.  How about you?



Conclusion: The ALA is Not Authoritative on Education Standards for Multiple Reasons

The ALA wishes to be considered authoritative on the proposal before the Texas SBOE. Yet it has no standing, it uses double standards on accuracy in school books, and it plagiarizes and condones plagiarism and fakes signatures.  I'll venture a guess some of these observations apply to a number of other parties opposing the proposal.  Further, the ALA has lost on similar issues in other communities.

Good luck to the Texas SBOE navigating the political shoals.  Its members will need luck with statements such as those from the ALA.  But the goal of presenting school children with accurate information makes the effort worth all the trouble.

I wonder if there are criminal consequences for submitting plagiarized material with faked signatures to Texas state agencies.

I have reprinted certain relevant sources below.  And please add your comments to this blog post of my opinion.

(Double standards graphic creditPlagiarism graphic credit.) 



NOTE ADDED 16 MARCH 2011:

To date the ALA has taken no action vis-├á-vis the ALA President's plagiarism.  The ALA clearly condones such plagiarism.  In the real world, plagiarism is not condoned.  See "Washington Post: We 'Borrowed' Material," by Burgess Everett, Politico, 16 March 2011.

Hey ALA, this is how your response to the plagiarism might appear: "Editor's Note:  An Apology," by Editor, The Washington Post, 16 March 2011.



Letter from ALA President Camila A. Alire to Texas Education Agency

Texas Education Agency
Texas State Board of Education
1701 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701

May 13, 2010

Dear Board Members:

I am writing on behalf of the American Library Association to express our deep concern regarding the new social studies and history curriculum standards being considered by the Texas State Board of Education. Throughout the process of developing the new curriculum standards, State Board members have proposed changes to the standards that had been submitted by trained, professional educators. These changes appear to emphasize particular viewpoints while de-emphasizing or deleting competing viewpoints, at the expense of balance and accuracy.

Because schools and school libraries need to prepare young persons to address the diversity of ideas and experiences they will encounter and to think
critically for themselves, students have a right to accurate, balanced, comprehensive, and objective educational materials. The American Library Association (ALA) therefore joins with the Texas Library Association and REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking) in urging the Texas State Board of Education to adopt balanced history and social studies curriculum standards that are drafted by educational professionals and scholars and that reflect the diversity of people and ideas in our society.

ALA affirms that intellectual freedom is a fundamental human right. In fulfillment of this principle, it defends the right of individuals to read, seek information, speak freely, and to hold any belief on any subject, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Libraries of all types foster the right to intellectual freedom by providing library services that assure free access to all ideas through which any and all sides of a question, controversy, cause, or philosophy may be explored. By making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions, and ideas, libraries ensure that each person has the opportunity to become an informed and literate person capable of self-government and self-education.

The school library plays a unique role in promoting intellectual freedom by serving as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas and as a learning laboratory for students as they acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed in a pluralistic society. School librarians provide resources and services that create and sustain an atmosphere of free inquiry and educate students in the use of critical thinking skills to empower them to pursue free inquiry responsibly and independently.

School libraries support the mission of the school district by developing collections that are consistent with its philosophy, goals, and objectives. Resources in the school library are an integral component of the curriculum and provide access to complete and full information and diverse points of view on both current and historical issues not always available through textbooks or classroom instruction.

The ability to access library resources and services free of constraints resulting from personal, partisan, or doctrinal disapproval is critical to the school library's mission of fostering intellectual freedom and of preparing students to be active civic participants who are information literate and able to find, evaluate, and use information for both personal and academic pursuits. These educational goals are best achieved when scholars, educators and librarians with specialized knowledge of their field develop standards and curricula without reference to their personal, political, social, or religious views.

If the changes proposed by the Texas State Board of Education are adopted, ALA fears that the new standards will not only impair the quality of history and social studies education in Texas and many other states but will also have a chilling effect on school libraries' ability to provide access to in-depth and diverse materials that promote free inquiry, critical thinking, and essential information literacy skills.

For these reasons, we urge the Texas State Board of Education to approve the social study standards as originally recommended by the expert reviewers. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

/s/

Camila A. Alire
President
American Library Association


Statement by the American Library Association's Intellectual Freedom Committee on the Proposed Social Studies and History Curriculum Standards Being Considered by the Texas State Board of Education

by Martin Garnar
11 May 2010

The American Library Association is deeply concerned about the new social studies and history curriculum standards being considered by the Texas State Board of Education.  Throughout the process of developing the new curriculum standards, State Board members have proposed changes to the standards that had been submitted by trained, professional educators. These changes appear to emphasize particular viewpoints while de-emphasizing or deleting competing viewpoints, at the expense of balance and accuracy. 
ALA affirms that intellectual freedom is a fundamental human right.  In fulfillment of this principle, it defends the right of individuals to read, seek information, speak freely, and to hold any belief on any subject, as guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Libraries of all types foster the right to intellectual freedom by providing library services that assure free access to all ideas through which any and all sides of a question, controversy, cause, or philosophy may be explored.  By making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions and ideas, libraries ensure that each person has the opportunity to become an informed and literate person capable of self-government and self-education.

The school library plays a unique role in promoting intellectual freedom by serving as a point of voluntary access to information and ideas and as a learning laboratory for students as they acquire critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed in a pluralistic society.  School librarians provide resources and services that create and sustain an atmosphere of free inquiry and educate students in the use of critical thinking skills to empower them to pursue free inquiry responsibly and independently. 

School libraries support the mission of the school district by developing collections that are consistent with its philosophy, goals, and objectives.  Resources in the school library are an integral component of the curriculum and provide access to complete and full information and diverse points of view on both current and historical issues not always available through textbooks or classroom instruction. 

The ability to access library resources and services free of constraints resulting from personal, partisan, or doctrinal disapproval is critical to the school library's mission of fostering intellectual freedom and of preparing students to be active civic participants who are information literate and able to find, evaluate, and use information for both personal and academic pursuits.  These educational goals are best achieved when scholars, educators and librarians with specialized knowledge of their field develop standards and curricula without reference to their personal, political, social, or religious views. 

If the changes proposed by the Texas State Board of Education are adopted, ALA fears that the new standards will not only impair the quality of history and social studies education in Texas and many other states, but will also have a chilling effect on school libraries' ability to provide access to in-depth and diverse materials that promote free inquiry, critical thinking, and essential information literacy skills.

Because schools and school libraries need to prepare young persons to address the diversity of ideas and experiences they will encounter and to think critically for themselves, students have a right to accurate, balanced, comprehensive, and objective educational materials.  The American Library Association therefore joins with the Texas Library Association and REFORMA in urging the Texas State Board of Education to adopt balanced history and social studies curriculum standards that are drafted by educational professionals and scholars and reflect the diversity of people and ideas in our society.

Texas Library Association
Resolution on State Curriculum Standards

Whereas, The Texas State Board of Education recently gave initial approval for the state’s new social studies curriculum, and the Board approved a document that contained several changes from the proposal submitted by educators; and

Whereas, The changes proposed by Board members have garnered national attention, and many educator groups believe that the proposed changes (some of which have been incorporated) degrade the quality of historical balance and accuracy; and

Whereas, Texas is one of the two largest markets for textbooks (and the largest currently adopting new standards), and the decisions finalized on the social studies curriculum will affect other markets, as publishers determine what editions they will produce; and

Whereas, The full curriculum standards will be posted on the Texas Education Agency (TEA) website for review by mid-April, and the public will then have a 30-day window to comment on the proposed standards; and

Whereas, The TEA can revise those standards based on public comment and then send revised rules back to the Texas State Board of Education for a final vote; and

Whereas, The Texas Library Association (TLA) believes strongly that education is best achieved by a broad and balanced approach and that few things are more fundamental to a child’s perception and understanding of history and life than the views reflected in primary textbook materials; and

Whereas, For this reason, curriculum standards must be the product of a deliberative and rigorous process that relies on the best trained professionals – educators and those with specialized knowledge of the field—and the input of the public; and

Whereas, The Texas Library Association maintains that such curriculum standards should promote the most comprehensive, accurate, and balanced assessment of the topical area under question; and

Whereas, State Board members nominated educators and others to advise on the creation of standards, with an extended review process that occurred during the drafting stage of the proposed social studies curriculum to insure balance; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Texas Library Association urges educators and interested members of the public to respond during the comment period of the newly approved draft of social studies standards and to contact the State Board of Education members and elected officials; and, be it further

Resolved, That the Texas Library Association urges the State Board of Education to approve the social studies curriculum standards drafted by educational professionals and knowledgeable parties and to rely on the collective judgment of educators when determining specific content areas; and, be it further

Resolved, That the Texas Library Association urges the State Board of Education to assure that the children of Texas benefit from professionally-crafted and balanced textbooks free of any influence outside of the educational arena.

Adopted by the Texas Library Association Executive Board


Education Board Seeking Objectivity in Standards
By ROBERT C. KOONS
HOUSTON CHRONICLE
May 13, 2010, 8:34PM

The State Board of Education's proposed revisions for K-12 social studies curricula have come under fire from the radical left.  Contrary to what an irresponsible media campaign would lead you to believe, the board has taken a few small steps in the direction of promoting objectivity in our educational standards, and it is their critics who are seeking to perpetuate a biased and one-sided treatment of our nation's history.


Studies have revealed how unbalanced America's humanities departments are.  Democrats outnumber Republicans by a large margin.  In the history department at the University of Texas at Austin, out of 50 registered voters, only one is a Republican.  Moderate and conservative Democrats are also rare.  This political slant is reinforced by the economics of scholarship: Academic historians have been trained and have invested their careers in a profession that counts as legitimate only those subfields that support the leftist orthodoxy.  Military history, for example, has almost entirely died off; not a single professor of history at UT-Austin lists military history as a primary specialty, while dozens list sexuality, ethnicity and anti-colonialism.  This bias expresses itself in the selection of events, persons and movements by textbook authors, who tell a simplistic narrative in which an ever more powerful federal government is the sole engine of progress and equality.  Thus, robber barons, the New Deal and the civil rights movement are in, but the contributions of inventors and entrepreneurs, the decline of the family and the failures of welfare programs and public education are out.  The new standards represent real progress.  They don't go far enough in challenging orthodoxy, but they are a step in the right direction.

The board has strengthened the curriculum standards in ways that any scholar should recognize, adding the following:
  • Greater attention to the importance of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Inclusion of neglected Founders, including Jay, Carroll, Muhlenberg, Witherspoon, and Trumbull, representing the religious diversity of early America.
  • Inclusion of the fine arts and culture, and the contributions of scientists and inventors.
  • Emphasis on our common-law tradition, epitomized by the Commentaries of William Blackstone, the most widely used law textbook in our country for more than a century (used by everyone from Hamilton to Lincoln).
The opposition is relying on the big lie, offering example after example of misinformation.  This cynical effort will fail to influence the vast majority of Texans for one simple reason: the Internet.  Texans can go to the Texas Education Agency web site and read the new standards for themselves. 

Opponents claim that the new standards neglect the contributions of women and ethnic minorities.  In fact, the opposite is true: in every subject and at every level, the new standards increase their prominence.  Just a few examples of the names added include Crispus Attucks, Jose Bernardo Guillermo de Lara, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, Wentworth Cheswell, Francisco Coronado, Bernardo de Galvez, Juan de Onate, W.E.B. DuBois, Carmen Lomas Garza, Henry B. Gonzalez, Raul A. Gonzalez, Maria Mitchell, Ellen Ochoa, Jose Antonio Navaro, Irma Rangel, Juan Seguin, Phillis Wheatley, Lulu Belle White, Diane Gonzales Bertrand, Simon Bolivar, Bessie Coleman, Tomie de Paola, Marcus Garvey, Lydia Mendoza, Kadir Nelson, Danny Olivas, and Raymond Telles. 

The opposition has claimed, most preposterously of all, that the new standards eliminate Thomas Jefferson.  To the contrary, the new standards place greater emphasis than ever on Jefferson's drafting of the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, Jefferson's political philosophy is now covered in U.S. government instead of world history. This was a sensible change that critics have distorted for cheap political gain.

Much has been made of the board's substitution of “free enterprise system” for “capitalism” and of “representative” or “constitutional republic” for “democracy.”  The board's language is more precise in both cases.  The term capitalism was introduced by Karl Marx, referring to a system in which the owners of capital control absolutely both the government and culture.  Whether America is or ever has been capitalist in that sense should be an open question — the Marxist answer shouldn't be imposed on students by the uncritical use of the word.

Similarly, scholars on both the right and left will agree that the Founders did not intend to create a democratic system, defined as a system in which the government always and immediately reflects the will of the majority.  Our constitution includes many counterdemocratic institutions, including the Senate (in which unequal states receive equal representation) and federal judges, appointed for life.  Students should be encouraged to reflect on whether, and to what extent, this republic has evolved in the direction of greater democracy.

This artificially inflated controversy points to a larger issue: The people must not develop the habit of blind deference to so-called academic experts.  Listen to the experts, yes, but only when the experts employ their knowledge to develop persuasive arguments grounded in facts.  Just as war is too important to be left entirely to the generals, so history education is too important to be left to the historians.  It is through our conception of our history that we define ourselves as a country.  The fundamental question is this: Shall we continue to have a government ruled by the people, or shall we instead yield to a self-perpetuating caste of quasi-official experts?

Koons is a professor of philosophy at the University of Texas.  This article was written in his capacity as a private citizen and not as a representative of the university.


NOTE ADDED 13 FEBRUARY 2013:

I just found this blog post cited/linked by author Daniel Dagan as a perfect example of plagiarism saying, "Safe Libraries:  THIS IS IT!":


.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Librarian May Lose Job for Stopping Child from Viewing Porn in Salinas Public Library

You can't make this stuff up.  A librarian in the Salinas Public Library may lose her job for stopping a 10 year old boy from viewing pornography on the library's unfiltered computers.  See "10-Year-Old Caught Surfing Porn At Library; Librarian Reprimanded For Reaction," by Action News 8, KSBW-TV, 14 May 2010.

Notice the library director spouting the usual misleading statements:

Library director Elizabeth Martinez said patrons have right to information and the filters would block out more than just the bad stuff.

"That's part of the complexity of the issue.  (If) you want to do research on a certain body part you might not get those sites because it blocks the whole thing.  A computer can't think," Martinez said.

How misleading.  The US Supreme Court already asked and answered that overblocking concern in US v. American Library Association.  All you do is ask for the filter to be temporarily disabled.  Yet the library director misleads the community by reraising the issue as if it were new and as if no solution were available.

However, notice people are starting to get wise to library propaganda.  Most encouragingly, it was the threatened librarian herself who spoke up:

But [librarian Elizabeth] McKeighen said filters have advanced in recent years.

"This is an issue.  It happens all the time, every day.  And while the solution is very challenging, to ignore the problem is only going to exacerbate it and make it worse," she said.

Indeed, filters have advanced so much even the ACLU now argues filters are 95% effective and no longer block health-related information.  The library director's not mentioning this is another way she is misleading the community.

I hereby request librarian Elizabeth McKeighen be publicly recognized for her common sense, and the community should consider using Internet filters, especially where library director Elizabeth Martinez misleads the public so seriously, leaving children open to harm.  If the library director continues to obfuscate, remove her.

Hat tip: "Librarian Reprimanded For Reaction," by Bibliofuture, LISNews, 14 May 2010.

Let me add that this story reminds me of the

This is directly relevant:

"On First Amendment grounds, library officials refused to intervene when patrons used library Internet stations to display sexually explicit material."  "[T]he administration's laissez-faire attitude led to overt acts of harassment, such as catcalls, masturbation, physical threats and stalking by patrons."  "[T]he issue of whether a library can put restrictions on its patrons' choice of Internet material has largely been rendered moot by the U.S. Supreme Court's June decision in U.S. v. [ALA:]  A library's need to exercise judgment in making collection decisions depends on its traditional role in identifying suitable and worthwhile material; it is no less entitled to play that role when it collects material from the Internet than when it collects material from any other source."  "[T]he administration was so loath to interfere with the viewing choices of its patrons that it chastised a security guard for telling a 6-year-old boy that he shouldn't be looking at pornography."  "[T]he library fell under occupation by about 25 'sex addicts' who came in every day to use the terminals, deliberately tried to embarrass and intimidate the staff, lured children into viewing pornography and made violent threats. "[Librarians were] chastise[d] by the administration 'for daring to think that they had rights in this area.'"  "The pornography that came into the librarians' workplace via the internet created a hostile environment for their work because they were women. This is sex-based abuse, not protected freedom."

Source: "No Smut At Work, Please," by Gary Young and Staff Reporter, The National Law Journal, 15 September 2003.

Elizabeth McKeighen was daring to think.  Elizabeth Martinez is misleading the community so it doesn't think.  See the difference?  Is that acceptable to Salinas, CA, residents?  Please comment below.

.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Court Rules No Porn in Library; Washington State Supreme Court Rules Public Library Internet Filters are Constitutional; Local Control Trumps ALA; ACLU Threats to Sue are Empty

The American Library Association [ALA] opposes public library Internet filtering despite losing big in US v. ALA.  It attempts to mislead local communities into choosing not to use legal and effective means to protect children.  Often library leadership and the media are ALA acolytes who care little for community concerns.  But the ALA has just experienced a dramatic crash for all the world to see and emulate.  Read on.


Library Director Opposes ALA Position and Proclaims Common Sense

The North Central Regional Library District in Washington state has a library director, Dean Marney, who has stood up to the ALA and its propaganda.  I wrote about him in the past.  See "Library Director Extols Internet Filtering;  Porn Should Be Excluded From Libraries; Dynamite Reading For Library Directors, Trustees and Patrons."  "He knocks the ALA's instigation of a lawsuit against the library—another example of the ALA attempting to usurp local control."  (As an aside, the ALA recently claimed I "dictate" to communities when it is obviously exactly the opposite.)

Now, having been proven correct by the Washington state Supreme Court in Bradburn vs. North Central Regional Library District, he says it all: "North Central Regional Library District director Dean Marney called the decision 'an affirmation for libraries, common sense, civility, and the appropriate use of public funds,'" emphasis mine.  See "Updated: Washington Supreme Court, 6-3, Backs Library System's Full Filtering Policy; No Disabling But Willingness to Unblock Sites; Case Still in Federal Court," by Norman Oder, Library Journal, 6 May 2010. 

Also see, "Washington State Supreme Court Opinion," by Dean Marney, NCRL News and Events, 6 May 2010:  "We are gratified to know that the highest Court in our State understands the context in which NCRL operates and the discretion we must exercise to perform our essential functions."

So the ALA's attempt to control yet another community has fallen flat on its face for all the world to see.  The ALA's propaganda machine has failed.  Its empty rhetoric is proven false.  Local communities need not fear the ALA or its local acolytes.

As I see it, it's Library Director/Local Control 1, ALA 0.


Media Opposes ALA Position; Exposes ACLU Threats to Sue as Empty

Even the media is not fooled.  Elizabeth Hovde, for example, is a columnist who has not and will not buy the ALA line.  She didn't in the past, see "Sensible Censorship: Surfing for Porn Shouldn't Be a Public Library Service" (where in the comments self-arrogated freedom of speech advocates attempted to remove her writing), and she's not now, see "Library Needn't Supply Pornography, Court Rules," by Elizabeth Hovde, The Oregonian, 7 May 2010.  I have reprinted it below to inspire all who think the ALA is some kind of authority on what goes on in local libraries.

I have highlighted below the particularly outstanding concepts rarely heard in the media.  Common sense, library filters are not censorship, it's all in there.  Get the digitalis, "Libraries aren't required to help people access pornography."  Can you believe it?  Might the ALA and your local library policy written or inspired by the ALA be wrong?

The ACLU gets put it its place as well.  "Some have been hesitant to deny patrons unfiltered Internet searches because of the ACLU's threat to sue."  I know this personally to be the case.  I've been told so by governmental leaders in communities nationwide.  It is time communities stop being fooled by empty ACLU law suit threats.

Further, if the ACLU does sue for things that have already been decided by the courts, then countersue for treble damages for vexatious litigation.  For example, in Nampa, ID, the ACLU threatened to sue because adults asking for books kept from children might be embarrassed.  The town caved in, but it should not have because the ACLU had already lost on that very issue of embarrassment five years previously in the US Supreme Court.

So that's Media 1, ALA/ACLU 0.


Your Library Director and Media Could Also Oppose the ALA

In your own communities do you have a library director who supports you instead of the ALA?  Does your media investigate and report accurately?  Is the ACLU (or the NCAC) threatening your community?  Let the above serve as an example for communities nationwide.  Go into your libraries and find out what are the policies and practices (they can be different), look at the laws that created your libraries, then act accordingly.  I will help if requested.

By the way, to head off at the pass the oft-repeated, false claim that filters do not work such as by blocking breast cancer searches, know that even the ACLU now admits filters are 95% effective and no longer block health-related searches, and the ACLU was a losing party in US v. ALA were it attempted to have the Court find filters to be unconstitutional in part claiming they were ineffective.  And filters may even prevent libraries from aiding and abetting pedophiles.


Libraries Nationwide Will Soon Have Improved Filtering Policies

As the Library Journal correctly predicts, the Washington case "may lead some libraries to adopt more stringent Internet filtering policies."  Anything is more stringent than "anything goes."

"The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree."  US v. ALA.

"We conclude that a library can, subject to the limitations set forth in this opinion, filter Internet access for all patrons, including adults, without violating article I, section 5 of the Washington State Constitution."  Bradburn vs. North Central Regional Library District.


Library Needn't Supply Pornography, Court Rules

May 07, 2010, 11:00AM

Imagine that.  Libraries aren't required to help people access pornography or other controversial material on taxpayer-funded library computers.  Just as libraries pick and choose what books to put on the shelves, they can help guide what people view on public computers.

The Washington state Supreme Court delivered that dose of common sense this week, ruling that libraries that install filtering software on computers aren't required to turn the filters off at a patron's request.  While filters can limit people's Internet searches -- the reason the ACLU sued a library system in Wenatchee -- the ruling rightly recognizes that creating safe learning environments for patrons of all ages is more important than being a supplier of pornography or other controversial material.  And the ruling rebuts the ridiculous assertion that library Internet filters amount to censorship.  Pornography is widely available regardless of filtering software on public computers.  No one is stopping the presses.

The state Supreme Court ruling is great news for Washington state libraries and possibly those beyond the state's borders, as it could influence a pending federal case.  With the backing of courts, more libraries might adopt responsible library Internet policies.  Some have been hesitant to deny patrons unfiltered Internet searches because of the ACLU's threat to sue.

With so many incidents of inappropriate behavior or predation in libraries around the nation, including some in Washington and Oregon, this ruling is extremely good news.  Whatever communities can do to keep libraries as safe as possible for children and librarians, the better.

Read the Washington state Supreme Court opinion here.
The 28-branch North Central Regional Library system has a press release regarding the ruling available here.

Elizabeth Hovde writes a Sunday column and posts blog entries on The Stump throughout the week.  Reach her at ehovde@earthlink.net.

.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Child Porn Arrest in London Public Library That Had Internet Filters But Quietly Removed Them After Empty Legal Threats

This is unbelievable.  In a nutshell, London Ontario's Central Library had a patron arrested for viewing child pornography.  As a result it applied Internet filters.  But empty legal threats were made, so the library "quietly removed" the filters.  Result?  Another patron arrested for the exact same reason.

See, "Man Faces Child Porn Charge," by Joe Belanger, The London Free Press, 30 April 2010:

Two years ago, the library installed filter [sic] on the computers to prevent patrons from accessing pornography.

However, the filters were quietly removed when the board was advised it could face stiff legal action and public opposition.

In 2006, the library held public meetings and the library board voted in favour of putting filters on 54 of 60 computers on the second floor.

A freedom of expression group threatened to sue, and after seeking legal opinion, the board reversed its decision.

Part of the criticism was that it violated the public's right to freedom of expression and the filters often prevented people from accessing information on certain topics, such as sex education and related issues.

First off, blocking child pornography does not "violate[] the public's right to freedom of expression."  I don't need to source that—it's obvious.  Second, even the ACLU now admits Internet filters are 95% effective and no longer block health-related web sites, and the ACLU was a losing party in US v. ALA where the ACLU sought to squelch Internet filters.

As an aside, the American Library Association [ALA] just accused me of "dictating" to communities and "blow[ing things] up into a major conflagration."  See, "Libraries Fight Challenges to Graphic Novels; Libraries Fight to Keep Graphic Novels On the Shelves," by Brigid Alverson, Publishers Weekly, 28 April 2010.  (See also LISNew's "Libraries Fight Challenges to Graphic Novels" and its comments.)  Here is the type of dictating and blowing up that's okay with the ALA—it will never complain about this type of blow up:  "A freedom of expression group threatened to sue, and after seeking legal opinion, the board reversed its decision."

What is the lesson to be learned from caving to empty legal threats?  Why do you think the Internet filters were "quietly removed"?  Who's defending the children?  Please comment below.

.