Monday, April 18, 2011

Republicans and the Social Compact

Is the Republican Party trying to repeal the New Deal? An editorial in today's New York Times:

Six months after voters sent Republicans in large numbers to Congress and many statehouses, it is possible to see the full landscape of destruction that their policies would cause — much of which has already begun. If it was not clear before, it is obvious now that the party is fully engaged in a project to dismantle the foundations of the New Deal and the Great Society, and to liberate business and the rich from the inconveniences of oversight and taxes.

"The New Republican Landscape," New York Times, 18 April 2011.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fracking PA

Governor Tom Corbett wants Pennsylvania to be the Texas of the next oil and gas boom, based on the exploitation of the natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation under Pennsylvania. He has said he will veto any attempt to tax the industry, which is alleged to be responsible for toxifying underground water reserves, and for breaking up roads all over Pennsylvania. He is also attempting to evade environmental regulations that might identify and prevent damage to the environment.

Now a new Congressional study on the environmental dangers of fracking -- the hydraulic fracturing system used to extract gas from underground shale.

WASHINGTON — Oil and gas companies injected hundreds of millions of gallons of hazardous or carcinogenic chemicals into wells in more than 13 states from 2005 to 2009, according to an investigation by Congressional Democrats.

Ian Urbina, "Chemicals Were Injected into Wells, Report Says," New York Times, 17 April 2011.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Penn State Logo

New search function unlocks Libraries' resources

The University Libraries will test a powerful new search function on March 21 that will allow users to find all library resources -- books, articles, newspapers, databases and more -- from a single search box. Called LionSearch, the new service is designed to mimic open Web search methods. Entering a search term in LionSearch will return, nearly instantaneously, a list of relevant physical and digital materials from the Libraries’ collections. LionSearch can be accessed from the Libraries’ homepage,, and will debut initially in beta mode. Students, faculty and other users are encouraged to test the functionality of the service and leave feedback.

Penn State is one of a handful of universities around the world pioneering this service for their library collections. This simple and fast way of retrieving information will enhance the research process for students and unlock the wealth of resources available at Penn State.

"New search function unlocks Libraries' resources"

Friday, April 8, 2011

Net Neutrality -- Once There Was an Internet

The House of Representatives has voted to end Net Neutrality --

WASHINGTON — The House of Representatives approved a measure on Friday that would prohibit the Federal Communications Commission from regulating how Internet service providers manage their broadband networks, potentially overturning a central initiative of the F.C.C. chairman, Julius Genachowski. . . .

Edward Wyatt, "House Votes against 'Net Neutrality,'" New York Times, 8 April 2011.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% Society:

Joseph Stiglitz, "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%," Vanity Fair, May 2011

. . . a modern economy requires “collective action”—it needs government to invest in infrastructure, education, and technology. The United States and the world have benefited greatly from government-sponsored research that led to the Internet, to advances in public health, and so on. But America has long suffered from an under-investment in infrastructure (look at the condition of our highways and bridges, our railroads and airports), in basic research, and in education at all levels. Further cutbacks in these areas lie ahead. . . . <more>

Of the 1&#37;, by the 1&#37;, for the 1&#37; Society:

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Academic Research and State Propaganda in Britain

D. D. Guttenplan reports in the New York Times on how British research funding for humanist scholars is being used to force them into doing the political work of the current government.
"Two historians have accused the British government of pressuring researchers to study Prime Minister David Cameron's 'Big Society' or lose their funding."
D. D. Guttenplan, "Academic Freedom, With Strings Attached?" New York Times, 3 April 2011.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Memory Purge in Maine

Peter Catapano on the memory purge in Maine:

Last weekend, on the order of Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, a 36-foot-wide, 11-panel mural, pictured in part below, was removed from the lobby of the state’s Department of Labor building in Augusta. The mural, which depicts scenes from Maine’s labor history, was completed with a $60,000 federal arts grant. (The artist, Judy Taylor, has expressed her dismay at the removal, but should probably send a thank-you note to the governor for the exposure.) LePage, who has been in office for about two months, claimed he removed the mural because of complaints from “some business owners” that it was too pro-union. (A spokesperson for the governor said it was “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.”) . . . [more]

Peter Catapano, "The Mural Vanishes," New York Times, 1 April 2011.

image from Reuters, via New York Times

see also
"Buddhas of Bamiyan," Wikipedia