Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sarah Palin Outed by Library on Rhetorical Question About Censorship; An Investigation of Library's Action May Be Warranted

Sarah Palin is the presumptive Vice Presidential candidate for the Republicans and former Mayor of Wasilla, AK. I wondered how long it would take for the American Library Association to have something bad to say about her. The jury's still out on that, but it didn't take long for Mary Ellen Emmons, Past President of the Alaska Library Association, and Wasilla Public Library director to strike the first blow.

According to Politico:
Other nuggets Democrats hope reporters will mine over the next two months:
....
And, maybe, censorship. According to the Frontiersman newspaper, Wasilla’s library director, Mary Ellen Emmons, said that Palin asked her outright if she "could live with censorship of library books.” Palin later dismissed the conversation as a “rhetorical” exercise.

"Dems Armed with Palin Opposition," by Glenn Thrush, Politico, 29 August 2008.

At this point I could find little else to report on this matter, such as the context of the conversation, but I wonder how this "nugget" came to the attention of the Democrats "Palin Opposition" in the first place. Can anyone explain these things? Let me add that in 1997, Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin fired Wasilla Public Library Director Mary Ellen Emmons without warning. Ms. Emmons thinks she was "fired for politics." Coincidence?

Glenn Thrush, given librarians acting on the public's behalf are not supposed to be providing opposition research on one candidate or another, might an investigation of Mary Ellen Emmons's actions be warranted? Consider that the library that Ms. Emmon's directs has confidentiality and privacy policies that would make the provision of opposition research quite hypocritical, to say the least, particularly where the policies specify the library will "resist[] the issuance or enforcement of any ... process, order or subpoena":
Confidentiality: Any information that identifies Internet users with specific materials or subject matter is considered confidential. Such records shall not be made available to any agency of local, state or federal government except pursuant to such process, order or subpoena as may be authorized under the authority of federal, state or local law relating to criminal, civil or administrative discovery procedures or legislative investigatory power. Wasilla Public Library resists the issuance or enforcement of any such process, order or subpoena until such time as proper showing of good cause has been made in court of competent jurisdiction.

Privacy: While the library is sensitive to patrons’ need for privacy while using all library resources including the Internet, no guarantee is possible. Patrons are expected to respect the privacy of Internet users in the library.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Child Molester is Library Board Member Who Mocked Parents Complaining About Internet P-rn in Gwinnett County Public Library

In Gwinnett County Public Library, another library scandal is underway. Apparently, a library board member who mocked parents complaining about Internet p-rn (based on personal information) has been molesting many children (16 at last count), and the police are looking for more victims. "[Brett] Taylor resigned from his post on the Gwinnett County Public Library Board days after his July 24 arrest on four counts of child molestation and one count of sexual battery." Here are more Brett Taylor Gwinnett County Public Library Scandal stories.

In the library scandal hall of shame, Taylor now joins Charles Rust-Tierney, the former president of the Virginia ACLU who argued in the case leading up to US v. ALA against Internet filters, then went on to be convicted for "sadistic kiddie p-rn." One judge described it as "'the most perverted and nauseating and sickening type of child p-rnography' she has seen in 10 years on the bench."

Why do these people get to oppose legal means for protecting children then use illegal means for violating them? Why do people oppose legal means for protecting children? Is American Library Association [ALA] misinformation that widespread and effective? Is your community library guided by the ALA's anything goes policy?

For educational purposes under Fair Use Section 107 of the US Copyright Act, here is one of the articles on this scandal:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Man, 44, arrested in child sex case
Suspect is member of the library board


By Alex P. Joyner
Staff Writer

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


LAWRENCEVILLE - A member of the Gwinnett County Public Library Board was arrested last week on felony child molestation charges involving two children, police records show.

Lawrenceville resident Harry Brett Taylor, 44, was appointed to the board by the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and began his term in January 2006, according to a county library spokeswoman. His term expires in December.

He faces four counts of child molestation and one count of sexual battery, Gwinnett police spokesman Cpl. David Schiralli said.

Taylor remained in the Gwinnett jail Monday without bond, jail records show.

Authorities began investigating Taylor following a July 14 complaint from the mother of a child who slept over at the Taylor residence, authorities said. There, police say, Taylor touched the boy's genital area and photographed him while he was drying off and undressing after exiting their swimming pool. Schiralli said the alleged incident occurred about two months ago.

The woman, who did not return a message for comment Monday, informed police that her child told her Taylor had the children wear only T-shirts to bed during a sleep over because "we all are the same," according to an incident report.

During the investigation, authorities learned Taylor had been molesting a family member for "an extended amount of time," Schiralli said.

Taylor's arrest warrant, signed Thursday, states those alleged acts occurred in February 2006 and in July. Taylor is accused of touching the child's private area and buttocks.

Taylor - a local Cub Scout leader, according to the incident report - is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

A phone message left at Taylor's residence was not returned Monday.

The library system was mum Monday about Taylor's future with the board. According to the library system's Web site, library administration receives its policy direction from the five-member board.

"The library was saddened by the news but will continue to provide services to the community without interruption as the legal process moves forward with this unfortunate turn of events," according to a statement issued to the Post. "As always, the library appreciates the support of our community."

Gwinnett County Commissioner Lorraine Green, who nominated Taylor, said she was unaware of Taylor's charges when reached by phone Monday afternoon. She said she nominated Taylor by way of community organization ties and was not a personal friend.



Content © 2008
Software © 1998-2008 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Crying Censorship and the ALA; Don't Let the ALA Redefine Censorship

Stanley Fish has written an excellent article on censorship in The New York Times called "Crying Censorship." He points out that much of what people call "censorship" is really "judgment" that "has nothing to with freedom of expression," and is "not [a] blow[] against the First Amendment."

Specifically addressing libraries, Mr. Fish says, "Nor is it censorship when a library decides not to purchase a book or to withdraw a book from the shelves. You can still get it from Amazon.com. or buy it in Borders."

The American Library Association [ALA], on the other hand, pins almost its entire raison d'ĂȘtre on claiming to defend against "censorship" and First Amendment violations. For example, the so-called "Library Bill of Rights" includes, "Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment."

What is "censorship"? Stanley Fish defines censorship this way:

It is censorship when Germany and other countries criminalize the professing or publication of Holocaust denial. (I am not saying whether this is a good or a bad idea.) It is censorship when in some countries those who criticize the government are prosecuted and jailed. It was censorship when the United States Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1798, stipulating that anyone who writes with the intent to bring the president or Congress or the government “into contempt or disrepute” shall be “punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.” Key to these instances is the fact that (1) it is the government that is criminalizing expression and (2) that the restrictions are blanket ones. That is, they are not the time, manner, place restrictions that First Amendment doctrine traditionally allows; they apply across the board. You shall not speak or write about this, ever. That’s censorship.


The ALA defines censorship in a totally different way, likely using a Saul Alinsky technique of redefining the language for political gain, and notice how people are now called "censors" repeatedly:

What Is Censorship?

Censorship is the suppression of ideas and information that certain persons—individuals, groups or government officials—find objectionable or dangerous. It is no more complicated than someone saying, “Don’t let anyone read this book, or buy that magazine, or view that film, because I object to it! ” Censors try to use the power of the state to impose their view of what is truthful and appropriate, or offensive and objectionable, on everyone else. Censors pressure public institutions, like libraries, to suppress and remove from public access information they judge inappropriate or dangerous, so that no one else has the chance to read or view the material and make up their own minds about it. The censor wants to prejudge materials for everyone.


Source: "Intellectual Freedom and Censorship Q & A," American Library Association, 29 May 2007.

The Stanley Fish and ALA definitions are almost diametrically opposed. Everyone knows the Stanley Fish one is correct. The question is, when will people expose the ALA definition as being false?

"The ... elites have convinced themselves that they are taking a stand against cultural tyranny. .... [T]he reality is that it is those who cry 'Censorship!' the loudest who are the ones trying to stifle speech and force their moral world-view on others." That is from Dan Gerstein, an independent consultant and former communications director and senior strategist for Senator Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign. Stanley Fish would likely agree.

The take away from this is that when the ALA's false cries of censorship or First Amendment violations are being made in your town, do not let the ALA redefine the true definition of censorship. Do what the community knows is right and legal, not what the ALA wants or browbeats the community into. As former U.S. Department of Justice official Pat Trueman just said, "That's a ruse that the American Library Association, which is very pro-pornography and always files lawsuits against the federal government to try to keep pornography widely available, ...put[s] forward to scare libraries...."

Here is Stanley Fish's article reprinted for educational purposes:

"Crying Censorship", by Stanley Fish, The New York Times, 24 August 2008.

Salman Rushdie, self-appointed poster boy for the First Amendment, is at it again. This time he’s not standing up for free expression on his own behalf, but on behalf of another author, Sherry Jones, whose debut novel about the prophet Muhammad’s child bride had been withdrawn by Random House after consultants warned that its publication “could incite racial conflict.”

Random House is also Rushdie’s publisher, and his response to the news was to send an e-mail to The Associated Press. (I never thought of that; maybe I’ll try it myself.) It read, “I am very disappointed to hear that my publishers, Random House, have canceled another author’s novel because of their concerns about possible Islamic reprisals. This is censorship by fear and it sets a very bad precedent indeed.”

This little brouhaha has been widely reported and commentators have tended to endow it with large philosophical and political implications (the Danish cartoon controversy of 2005 and the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh are often referenced). A story in The Times of London online edition describes it “the latest showdown between Islam and the Western tradition of free speech.” One respondent declared bravely, “I will never buy another book published by Random House,” and added, in a frenzy of patriotism, “We are Americans. We are free to choose what we want to read.”

Well, I guess we are, although that wouldn’t be my definition of what it means to be an American. It is also true, however, that Random House is free to publish or decline to publish whatever it likes, and its decision to do either has nothing whatsoever to do with the Western tradition of free speech or any other high-sounding abstraction.

Rushdie and the pious pundits think otherwise because they don’t quite understand what censorship is. Or, rather, they conflate the colloquial sense of the word with the sense it has in philosophical and legal contexts. In the colloquial sense, censorship occurs whenever we don’t say or write something because we fear adverse consequences, or because we feel that what we would like to say is inappropriate in the circumstances, or because we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. (This is often called self-censorship. I call it civilized behavior.)

From the other direction, many think it censorship when an employee is disciplined or not promoted because of something he or she has said, when people are ejected from a public event because they are judged to be disrupting the proceedings, or when a newspaper declines to accept an advertisement, rejects an op-ed or a letter, or fails to report on something others think important. But if censorship is the proper name for all these actions, then censorship is what is being practiced most of the time and is in fact the norm rather than the (always suspect) exception.

But censorship is not the proper name; a better one would be judgment. We go through life adjusting our behavior to the protocols and imperatives of different situations, and often the adjustments involve deciding to refrain from saying something. It’s a calculation, a judgment call. It might be wise or unwise, prudent or overly cautious, but it has nothing to with freedom of expression.

Judgment is also what employers exercise when they determine that something an employee has said or written so undermines the enterprise that it warrants dismissal. To the objection that such an action would amount to a curtailing of the employee’s First Amendment rights, the Supreme Court has answered (in Connick v. Myers, 1983) only if the speech in question were directed at a matter of public concern; otherwise, wrote Justice Byron White, “when close working relationships are essential to fulfilling… responsibilities, a wide degree of deference to the employer’s judgment is appropriate.”

Many thought it was censorship in 2004 when ABC refused to air an ad critical of President Bush during the Super Bowl, or when affiliates of the same network refused to show “Saving Private Ryan” out of a fear that under new regulations they would be subject to fines for presenting material containing profanity and graphic violence. Again, these decisions may have been ill-advised or pusillanimous, but they were not blows against the First Amendment and they were not censorship. No doubt the ad played on some other day, and no one is interdicting the showing of the movie, which is readily available in any number of venues. Nor is it censorship when a library decides not to purchase a book or to withdraw a book from the shelves. You can still get it from Amazon.com. or buy it in Borders.

But if none of these actions fits the definition of censorship, what does?

It is censorship when Germany and other countries criminalize the professing or publication of Holocaust denial. (I am not saying whether this is a good or a bad idea.) It is censorship when in some countries those who criticize the government are prosecuted and jailed. It was censorship when the United States Congress passed the Sedition Act of 1798, stipulating that anyone who writes with the intent to bring the president or Congress or the government “into contempt or disrepute” shall be “punished by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars and by imprisonment not exceeding two years.” Key to these instances is the fact that (1) it is the government that is criminalizing expression and (2) that the restrictions are blanket ones. That is, they are not the time, manner, place restrictions that First Amendment doctrine traditionally allows; they apply across the board. You shall not speak or write about this, ever. That’s censorship.

So what Random House did was not censorship. (Some other press is perfectly free to publish Jones’s book, and one probably will.) It may have been cowardly or alarmist, or it may have been good business, or it may have been an attempt to avoid trouble that ended up buying trouble. But whatever it was, it doesn’t rise to the level of constitutional or philosophical concern. And it is certainly not an episode in some “showdown between Islam and the Western tradition of free speech.” Formulations like that at once inflate a minor business decision and trivialize something too important and complex to be reduced to a high-school civics lesson about the glories of the First Amendment.

*****

(Note: The original version of this essay inadvertently omitted the words “by fear” in the quoted e-mail. This has since been corrected.)

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


NOTE ADDED 20 JULY 2013:

Three links were updated to provided archived versions of those documents no longer at their original links.

Monday, August 25, 2008

ALA Ruse Keeping Porn Widely Available and Media Inaccuracies Force Council Bluffs, Iowa, Citizens to Endure Public Library Porn

The Council Bluffs Public Library in Iowa choose to use "protective hoods" instead of Internet filters claiming the filters do not work. Result? Children are still seeing porn on other people's computers. Pat Trueman, former chief obscenity prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice, came out swinging against the American Library Association [ALA]:

"That's a ruse that the American Library Association, which is very pro-pornography and always files lawsuits against the federal government to try to keep pornography widely available, ...put[s] forward to scare libraries out of having filters," states Trueman.


A ruse! Very pro-pornography! Scaring libraries out of having filters!! Trueman doesn't stop there. He goes after the media for misleading the public:

The station also reported that there is no law banning porn in public libraries -- another inaccurate aspect of the KMTV news report, says Trueman.

''There's a federal Children's Internet Protection Act that says if you want federal funds, you must keep pornography off the screens of your computers in the library and public school," the attorney explains.


Pat Trueman is yet another person confirming what SafeLibraries has been saying. The ALA misleads people to get them to do as the ALA wants, the media are sometimes part of the misinformation problem, and children continue to be harmed needlessly as a result. It does me good to see someone else so unafraid of the ALA as to speak out truthfully and forcefully about the negative effects of ALA policy on local communities.

Legal porn is constitutionally protected, but that does not mean a public library must provide access to it--see US v. ALA. And even the ACLU nows says filters are over 95% effective and no longer block health-related web sites. I wonder what your own library laws say and whether the library is acting outside the bounds of that law, thereby allowing the government to ensure compliance.

Council Bluffs, IA, make no mistake. You are now yet another community where local control of the public library is being thwarted by the ALA, and media inaccuracies do not help.

Pat Trueman, please contact me.

Here is a link to the original article (with an embedded link to a news video) about which Pat Trueman is speaking: "Porn at the Public Library," by Molli Graham, KMTV Action 3 News, August 2008.

Pat Trueman's responses, some of which are quoted above, are a direct response to the Molli Graham story and appear in "Library Porn Report Inaccurate, Says Attorney," by Jeff Johnson, OneNewsNow, 13 August 2008, reprinted here for educational purposes:

Library Porn Report Inaccurate, Says Attorney
Jeff Johnson - OneNewsNow - 8/13/2008 10:00:00 AM

laptop on fireA pro-family attorney is decrying a bad decision by the Council Bluffs, Iowa, library board and inaccurate reporting by a local television station -- both related to pornography in a local public library.

After a local mother complained about her 14-year-old daughter being exposed to pornography at the Council Bluffs public library, Omaha TV station KMTV sent its Action News reporter, Molli Graham, to investigate.

"That's right, a trip to the Council Bluffs public library landed Patty Lyon's daughter next to a man surfing porn," Graham reported. "Turns out in Council Bluffs, there are no protective filters. Some of those filters end up blocking out health and other useful sites, so the library board voted no."

But Pat Trueman, special counsel to the Alliance Defense Fund and former chief obscenity prosecutor for the Justice Department, says that is not accurate.

"That's a ruse that the American Library Association, which is very pro-pornography and always files lawsuits against the federal government to try to keep pornography widely available, ...put[s] forward to scare libraries out of having filters," states Trueman.

"Reality today, as people who have filters on their home computers know, is that most filters are virtually 100-percent accurate. They keep the porn out. They allow you to get to regular websites...."

The station also reported that there is no law banning porn in public libraries -- another inaccurate aspect of the KMTV news report, says Trueman.

''There's a federal Children's Internet Protection Act that says if you want federal funds, you must keep pornography off the screens of your computers in the library and public school," the attorney explains. "Council Bluffs apparently thought pornography is more important than the money."

But Trueman wonders if the taxpayers or library patrons in Council Bluffs would agree that allowing porn to be accessible is more important than having money to fund the public library system.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Library Control Denied by ALA Acolytes for Over a Decade and Counting in Gilroy, CA

What? Gilroy, CA, is still fighting for local control over public libraries after all these years? Is the American Library Association's [ALA] anything goes policy that hard to shake? Apparently. Would anyone suggest what should be done?

On 21 August 2008, out comes "No Library Bond Money Until Internet Porn Issue Solved," by Cynthia Walker, The Gilroy Dispatch, 21 August 2008. It is sad to see how long this library has been able to drag its feet on protecting children from harm. "By Dec. 1996, we saw our first incidents of obvious minors accessing pornography in libraries. We were stunned when our trusted friends, the librarians, told us that it was a child's right to look at anything he wanted. 'Please respect the privacy of the child.'"

Alas, "the libraries responded, citing ALA Policy, that all library resources must be available to all library patrons, regardless of age." Years and years of meetings and media, all to no avail.

Local control over public libraries is impossible when the ALA and its local acolytes dig in their heels. This is precisely why state CIPA legislation is needed.

Consider the following familiar refrain from "Vote No on Prop. 81," Editorial, The Gilroy Dispatch, 19 May 2006:

"Speaking of local control ... even after six years, it still rankles that our librarians refused and continue to refuse to adopt a policy prohibiting access to pornography by minors on library Internet terminals. When every day new incidents reveal the ease with which sexual predators solicit children online, any claims that the library is a safe place for kids ring hollow. The values espoused by the American Library Association are so divorced from the values of our community that we would seriously consider withdrawing from the Joint Powers Authority and going back to the days of a city library under local control, rather than giving one thin dime to an institution controlled by an organization that believes in 'all materials for all patrons regardless of age.'"

The Gilroy story is long and sad and neverending. Local library control has been denied by ALA acolytes for over a decade and counting in Gilroy. Apparently, the words of the US Supreme Court in US v. ALA (2003) mean nothing to the ALA and the Gilroy librarians: "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." Something stinks in Gilroy, and it's not garlic.

I urge everyone to read "No Library Bond Money Until Internet Porn Issue Solved," by Cynthia Walker, The Gilroy Dispatch, 21 August 2008:

No Library Bond Money Until Internet Porn Issue Solved
Aug 21, 2008
By Cynthia Walker

[FOR REASONS OF COPYRIGHT CREDITED TO THE GILROY DISPATCH, I ONLY SHOW SOME PARTS OF THE ARTICLE. BUT PLEASE GO TO THE LINK FOR THE WHOLE THING -- IT'S WORTH IT.]

....

In Nov. 1996, the Internet was installed in county libraries. My friend Matthew expressed some uneasiness to me. "There's pornography on the Internet," he told me. "What if children get into it?" I scoffed, "Oh, Matthew, the librarians would never let that happen."

By Dec. 1996, we saw our first incidents of obvious minors accessing pornography in libraries. We were stunned when our trusted friends, the librarians, told us that it was a child's right to look at anything he wanted. "Please respect the privacy of the child."

.... In March, the libraries responded, citing ALA Policy, that all library resources must be available to all library patrons, regardless of age.

.... We responded to the library's letter. On May 18, 1997, we took a police officer to Gilroy Library to demonstrate that illegal material is available on children's terminals. The officer was shocked; he, like most other sane individuals, assumed that the library was using some sort of filtering technology. He took a report. Assistant District Attorney Karyn Sinunu verified that material was illegal (obscene), but said: no victim, no crime. The library did nothing....

.... And in June 1999, the Board approved existing guidelines as "policy." Librarians will not monitor. Parental consent for minors is not required. Open access to all patrons, regardless of age. Consequently, if a patron complains that a child is viewing pornography, a librarian, at her discretion, may move the porn-surfing patron to another terminal or tell the offended patron that the porn-surfer has a right to privacy.

....



Cynthia Walker
Cynthia Anne Walker is a homeschooling mother of three and former engineer. She is a published independent author. Her column is published in The Dispatch every Friday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Speaking With Jason Rich, Author of Growing Up Gay in America

I had a fascinating talk with Jason R. Rich, author of Growing Up Gay in America (free version). Jason's book is one of those involved in a controversy in St. Louis where the public library is making s-xually inappropriate material available to children. A newspaper story said, "None of those examples, which dealt explicitly with s[-]xual subjects, could be reprinted in this newspaper." Jason called the newspaper and learned the paper had not actual read his book. Therefore it could not possibly have made that determination!! To his credit, he responded online and said so, in so many words. He concluded, "There is nothing p[-]rnographic within the content of 'Growing Up Gay In America.' I should know...I wrote the book!" I like his style (and I only today requested a copy of his book at the free link).

Then I told him that I too wrote an article on the controversy, and my article also named his book, but just as a passing fact upon which the controversy is partly based, e.g., "According to Mrs. Kostial, many of the books contained 'explicit instructions on how to engage in heteros[-]xual, homos[-]xual, and monos[-]xual activities.' .... Another title, Growing Up Gay in America, provides children with step-by-step instructions for engaging in homos[-]xual s[-]x acts and how to surf the web for homos[-]xual p[-]rnography among other things."

We came to an interesting observation one rarely hears -- both sides may be overstating the case. Lumping all those books together and saying they are all inappropriate is itself inappropriate if they have not first been read. (I know from the author the newspaper did not read them all, but I think "Citizens Against P-rnography" did, as a group.) On the other hand, lumping all those people together who oppose libraries for s-xualizing children is equally inappropriate if their reasoning is not first understood. Knee jerk either way is not good, in other words.

For example, SafeLibraries sometimes gets lumped in with groups who oppose homos-xuality. I don't. What I oppose is inappropriately s-xualized material making it to children because the American Library Association [ALA] misleads people into doing so. If parents want their 12 year olds to read oral s-x-containing books knowing they contain that, go ahead. But if the ALA gives that book the top award of the year for 12 year olds and up and provides no warning to the parents regarding the content, that is entirely inappropriate. Parents should know that is happening. I was opposed to the ALA saying parents were racist for wanting to keep a book by a minority author away from children when the issue about which the parents complained was the bestiality, among other things. Does that make me racist? Well, as those parents found out, being called racist will suffice if the ALA can use it to misdirect people from the real issue.

Speaking of misdirection, that's why I wrote the article I did--to point out a public admission by the ALA of how it uses media manipulation to prevent local control of public libraries. My issue is not with the books. My issue is that the director of the St. Louis County Library sought help from the ALA on how to put down "Citizens Against P-rnography," and someone in the ALA responded to just mislead and misdirect the media. (Someone else hinted he should respond privately next time, likely to prevent such statements from becoming public. Too late!) That's how he overcame SafeLibraries's efforts to keep kids from getting Playboy magazine in Oak Lawn, IL, among other things. To this day, the magazine is still available to children via photocopy despite the town survey and even the direction from the government itself. The ALA's triumph over the Village of Oak Lawn, an issue started by SafeLibraries, was the example he used to encourage the St. Louis library director to similarly mislead and misdirect the St. Louis media. "The storm will die down when the media becomes bored and moves on to other issues." You see, local communities often have no control over their public libraries. Oak Lawn is an example, and that example is being recommended for St. Louis County. Media manipulation is one way it's done.

Anyway, one can tell from the author's comment how opposed he was to "Citizens Against P-rnography" initially. But when I explained that they were on the right track with some of the books and that the library itself had already moved some of them to the adult section, he began to see the reason and perhaps even agree (except regarding his own book, of course). When I told him the goals of SafeLibraries have to do with the ALA and local communities and not with the contents of books, he understood that too. Frankly, he was a perfect gentleman.

So I had an enjoyable talk with Jason Rich. We agreed people should not jump to conclusions, and they should first read the material they are about to criticize. Not everything is black and white. This is an excellent example to show how authors like him and their works can be unfairly cast in a negative light. It is also an excellent example to show that those who oppose certain library policies are also unfairly cast in a similar negative light. Perhaps the ALA can learn from this.

By the way, while I am writing, the ALA says moving a book from the teen section to the adult section is censorship, and it also says it is not censorship. Which way is it? We all know it is not censorship, but with Charles Pace of the St. Louis County Library claiming it is, even while we himself had some books moved to the adult section, we can see that is clearly false. The ALA taking both sides of the matter is only icing on the cake. St. Louis, feel free to move any books you wish to the adult section -- it is not censorship. Rather, it is local control, not ALA control through admitted media manipulation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Library Bathroom Crime Info Sought - Please Help and Comment

Please help me uncover cases of child rape or child molestation in public library bathrooms. I would like to write a scholarly work on this issue, and I would like it to be as informative and accurate as possible. Please comment below with any information you may know. Please include specific URLs or specific citations. If any written works already exist on the subject, I would like to know about them too (example).

Note, I am a member of the American Library Association [ALA]. This work will not be a vehicle for any undue criticism of the ALA. I seek assistance from anyone and everyone, including ALA members, including those ALA leaders about whom I have been critical. It is my intention that this work be as factual and therefore as useful as possible. People may disagree with my conclusions, but my facts should be spot on.

I am currently aware of relevant incidents in Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Des Moines, IA, and the recent one in St. Paul, MN. Are there others? (Might this query help, or this one?)

Please help all you can, and please provide the information in the comments section below so everyone may benefit.

Thank you.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

P-rn Viewer Molests Child in St Paul Public Library

Another library. Another p-rn viewer. Another molested child in another library bathroom. Like Philadelphia. Like Des Moines. Like on and on and on. This time in the Saint Paul Public Library. The trail of molested/raped children never ends, does it.

Safe Libraries reports on this again and again and again and the American Library Association [ALA] only cares that such stories may start getting people to think--the ALA's anything-goes policies are wrong and people should see if the ALA has effective control over their own local public library. The ALA goes out of its way to downplay these stories, effectively removing them from the library community radar screen, but that's something I may take the time to prove in the future.

That said, the Saint Paul Public Library does filter the Internet in accordance with CIPA, although that is a conclusion I reached merely by reading the news, watching a news video, and reviewing the linked policy. So if the p-rn viewer asked for the filters to be removed, there might be other issues at play that are not yet presented by the media reports. For example, was the library aware that his granted request was being used to view p-rn, and what resulted.

Here is one story on the issue (and here are more), and it contains a video for you to watch, so please click on the link then find and watch the video:

St. Paul PD Release Sketch of Riverview Library S[-]xual Assault Suspect
8-year-old girl s[-]xaully assaulted at library in St. Paul

ST. PAUL -- St. Paul police released a sketch Thursday of a man suspected of the s[-]xual assault of an 8-year-old girl Wednesday at Riverview Library.

Witnesses tell police the man was using the computers at the library on 1 E. George St., and may have been looking at p[-]rnography.

After approaching two other girls, police say the man followed the alleged victim to a basement restroom where he touched her in a s[-]xual manner.

VIDEO: Library Safety Concerns Addressed

Police say the man left without being noticed.


Scouring computers

For now, the six computer stations are out of order while investigators look at the usage history with hopes of tracing the suspect.

It’s unknown exactly what the man was looking at on the computer, but access is logged through library cards and available websites are filtered.

Library security

While there are no surveillance cameras at the library, there were already plans in place to have them installed.

19 s[-]x offenders in area

Police are checking in with 19 known s[-]x offenders in the area, but no one is in custody.

Suspect description

The suspect is a white or Hispanic male in his 20s, approximately 5’7 tall, with stubble or a slight beard and a pot belly. He was last seen wearing a gray shirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information is asked to call the St. Paul Police S[-]x Crimes unit at 651-291-1111 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), all calls are anonymous.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Librarian Fired for Authoring Book Set in Public Library; Fiction Includes Known Sex Offenders Using Library Computers to View P-rn Near Children

Here is a librarian exposing the big secret: "She specifically cited instances of known sex offenders using library computers to view pornography – 'Sometimes in close proximity to children,' the report said."

Here is what happens when a librarian exposes the big secret:

"Librarian Writes Tell-All Book, Gets Fired; 'The Absolute Irony is that the Public Library is a Pillar of Free Speech,'" WorldNetDaily, 12 August 2008:

A librarian who wrote a fictional account of library patrons in a made-up town has been fired from her position at the Mason County, Mich., District Library and is appealing the termination.
"The absolute irony is that the public library is a pillar of free speech and leads me to wonder why the administration is so upset. It's fiction," Sally Stern-Hamilton told the Ludington Daily News. [Note: "Ex-Library Employee Awaits Appeals Decision," by Lisa Enos, Ludington Daily News, 9 August 2008. "'In some ways I feel like my privacy was invaded since, after all, I did use a pen name,' Stern-Hamilton said of the brouhaha. 'This is not Russia, this is not China. Apparently we’re not as protected as I thought.'" This article is reprinted below.]

Over the course of three years, she wrote "The Library Diaries" under the pen name Ann Miketa. According to the newspaper report, the book is written as a series of vignettes about "mostly unsavory" characters in a library in a fictitious "Denialville."
However, the book publisher used a small photograph of the Ludington Library on the cover, and in the book's introduction, "Ann Miketa" said, "After working at a public library in a small, rural Midwestern town (which I will refer to as Denialville, Michigan, thoughout this book) for 15 years, I have encountered strains and variations of crazy I didn't know existed in such significant portions of our population."
She was notified of her dismissal in a letter from District Library Director Robert Dickson, when he referred to a prior "Suspension Pending Investigation" letter he wrote.
In that, he stated, "The cover of your book includes a picture of the Ludington Library. Each chapter is devoted to a specific library patron or patrons. Your book portrays these people in a very unflattering manner. You describe individual patrons as mentally ill, mentally incompetent, unintelligent, and unattractive. You label several as 'perverts.' While you stop short of naming the individuals you targeted in your book, your detailed descriptions of their unique characteristics and mannerisms make them easily identifiable in our small community."
Stern-Hamilton told the newspaper the book draws on her personal experiences but remains fiction.
"Most writers, anyone who writes something, some of it's going to come from, be rooted in, your personal experience. I don't think I could have come up with (the characters) on my own. They're bizarre, idiosyncratic, so they are based on some real experiences, but of course there are embellishments," she told the newspaper.
The library picture was just "a great picture," she said. "It epitomizes the American idea of a library."
She doesn't know how Dickson became aware of the book but said she wrote it because of "what goes on in public libraries everywhere."
She specifically cited instances of known sex offenders using library computers to view pornography – "Sometimes in close proximity to children," the report said.
The publisher, Publish America, is a grassroots group that publishes "people who are unknown, without charging the person thousands of dollars some self publishers charge," Stern-Hamilton said.
On the Ludington Daily News comment page, a reader wrote, "Instead of taking pride in a local author, we are criticizing her work of FICTION? What happened to free speech?"


Ex-library employee awaits appeals decision

http://ludingtondailynews.com/news.php?story_id=41013
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Sometimes a pen name isn’t cover enough, Sally Stern-Hamilton has learned.
The publication of her controversial book, “The Library Diaries,” written under the pen name Ann Miketa, resulted in her termination as a Mason County District Library employee after 15 years on the job. She is appealing that firing.
Written in the first person and set in what she calls a fictitious Lake Michigan town of Denialville, “The Libraries Dairies” is a series of vignettes about mostly unsavory characters encountered daily at the library.
The Ludington Library is not the purported setting, however a small picture of the Ludington Library is on the cover. “After working at a public library in a small, rural Midwestern town (which I will refer to as Denialville, Michigan, throughout this book) for fifteen years, I have encountered strains and variations of crazy I didn’t know existed in such significant portions of our population,” “Ann Miketa” wrote in the book’s introduction.
Stern-Hamilton was notified of her termination in a formal letter from District Library Director Robert Dickson July 25. In that letter Dickson refers to a prior letter of “Suspension Pending Investigation” that he wrote to Stern-Hamilton July 15 in which he stated:
“The cover of your book includes a picture of the Ludington Library. Each chapter is devoted to a specific library patron or patrons. Your book portrays these people in a very unflattering manner. You describe individual patrons as mentally ill, mentally incompetent, unintelligent, and unattractive. You label several as ‘perverts.’ While you stop short of naming the individuals you targeted in your book, your detailed descriptions of their unique characteristics and mannerisms make them easily identifiable in our small community.”
See THE LIBRARY DIARIES, A3
The Library Diaries
From page A1
Despite the picture in the cover collage, Stern-Hamilton is adamant that “The Library Diaries” — though it draws on her personal experiences as a library employee — is fiction.
“Most writers, anyone who writes something, some of it’s going to come from, be rooted in, your personal experience. I don’t think I could have come up with (the characters) on my own. They’re bizarre, idiosyncratic, so they are based on some real experiences, but of course there are embellishments,” said Stern-Hamilton.
She said she chose to use a picture of the Ludington Library because, “It’s a great picture. It looks just like a library. It epitomizes the American idea of a library. It’s a Carnegie library,” said Stern-Hamilton referring to more than 2,500 libraries built worldwide with money donated by businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1883 and 1929.
Stern-Hamilton said she is unaware how Dickson came to learn about the 150-page book, which took three years to write. She said she decided to write “The Library Diaries” because, “I’m concerned about what goes on in public libraries everywhere.” She said she is particularly concerned that known sex offenders are given library privileges which allow them access to computers where they routinely view pornography— sometimes in close proximity to children.
“I don’t think they should be allowed in (the library) — these sexual predators,” said Stern-Hamilton, who claims that she had no intention of “pursue this as a commercial endeavor in Ludington.”
“Out of a town of 8,000, not many people were meant to know about the book. Publish America, my publisher, asked for addresses of people, and sent out announcements to people giving them a chance to purchase it. Publish America is a grassroots organization, and willing to publish people who are unknown, without charging the person thousands of dollars some self publishers charge.”
Publish America uses a business model known as publishing on demand which keeps costs to a minimum since books are only printed when ordered.
However, people in Ludington did learn of the book.
“I went for a hearing where I was able to respond to the letter of suspension that Bob sent me. I went to that meeting and spoke my piece and got a termination letter two days letter. I haven’t heard from any of my co-workers since.”
“The absolute irony is that the public library is a pillar of free speech, and leads me to wonder why the administration is so upset. It’s fiction,” she said. “If It hadn’t gone in the paper only a handful of people announcements were sent to in this area would have known about the book.”
Stern-Hamilton had contacted the Daily News asking for a review of the book, but before that happened, Dickson contacted the paper to report she had been suspended.

In his July 15 e-mail to Managing Editor Steve Begnoche, Dickson wrote, “As she is actively promoting the book I’m assuming that she has or will be contacting the Daily News to request help in promoting this book. The book is now in the hands of our attorney and we have undertaken steps to see what action we might take, including suspension and/or termination of her employment. While we recognize the difficulty for a library to undertake these actions against an employee who writes a book — the content of the book is such that we feel we have no option.”
The purpose of the e-mail, he said, was to request the library “be given an opportunity to provide a different picture, a more balanced view of ‘life in the library,’ than is offered in this book.”
That story ran July 18.
In the past week Dickson twice said he did not wish to comment at this time.
A call to the library board’s president went unreturned.
“In some ways I feel like my privacy was invaded since, after all, I did use a pen name,” Stern-Hamilton said of the brouhaha. “This is not Russia, this is not China. Apparently we’re not as protected as I thought.”
The surname Miketa is Stern-Hamilton’s maiden name, which may sound familiar to some because her father, Andrew Miketa, according to Stern-Hamilton, was a first string center with the Detroit Lions circa 1952. But Stern-Hamilton does not consider herself a Michigan native, as she spent most of her formative years in Chapel Hill, N.C., where she grew up and subsequently went on to study art history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She met her husband, Keith Hamilton — a Ludington area native— in North Carolina and moved to Ludington with him.
“My pen name, Ann Miketa, was chosen because my acquaintances on the East and West coasts would recognize the name Miketa,” she said. “Now that the cat’s out of the bag, the book’s available at Book Mark, Blu Moon and Maude’s Gallery.”
Stern-Hamilton has submitted a letter of appeal. According to grievance provisions contained within the Personnel Policies of the District Library, the library director and board have 10 days to review that letter.
lenos@ludingtondailynews.com
(231) 843-1122 x328


NOTE ADDED 1 AUGUST 2011:

The librarian is now suing.  See, for example, "Librarian Tells It As She Sees It, is Fired, and Sues," where I added the following comment:

"Fiction" Includes Using Computers to View Porn Near Children

I wrote about this matter previously.  See "Librarian Fired for Authoring Book Set in Public Library; Fiction Includes Known Sex Offenders Using Library Computers to View P-rn Near Children," 13 August 2008.

"Once the library learned that Stern-Hamilton wrote the book, it suspended her.  She was then fired."  Wait a minute.  Don't libraries bend over backwards to not find out about the personal lives of its patrons?  Didn't the ALA leader Judith Krug decry the Florida librarian who turned in a 9/11 terrorist to the police instead of respecting Florida state library confidentially law?

So exactly how did a library set aside the overprotectiveness for terrorists to investigate one of its own for disclosing such things as known sex offenders using library computers to view p-rn near children?  I suppose this is part of the continuing pattern of the ALA ignoring librarians who speak out against libraries forcing p-rn on communities despite the law, etc.

I hereby offer my services as an expert on ALA practices and behavior as that may be relevant in this matter, particularly as ALA diktat is applied by local acolytes.  Expect the usual people to attack me here for pointing out what I did, but it won't make the real issues go away, and I will be happy to assist any legal eagle involved.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Student Decries School P-rn Pushing Policy and Calls for Book Ratings

What follows is an outstanding article coincidentally illustrating why so many American Library Association [ALA] claims of censorship are false, why so many arguments the ALA makes for allowing children access to sexually inappropriate material do not ring true. Various arguments are set out as examples. And it describes why sexually inappropriate material should not be pushed on children, from the viewpoint of eighteen year old student Dia Darcey, no less.

SafeLibraries has been saying that the ALA recommends sexually inappropriate material for children without providing any warning as to the nature of the contents. See, for example, "P-rn Pushers -The ALA and Looking For Alaska -One Example of How the ALA Pushes P-rn On Children." And that is exactly what this student argues: "But in lieu of that, I need some form of warning, a label, a rating or even hint on the outside of literature to let me know the extent of objectionable content therein, no matter how highly the talk shows recommend it or how 'enlightening' it may be.."

This student has written a truly outstanding article. She is an example for all. Therefore, I am reprinting her letter and urge you to read it, keep it in mind, and bookmark this page.

"An Argument for Book Banning . . . Or At Least a Forewarning of Content," by Dia Darcey, Tulsa World, 11 August 2008 (emphasis added and hyphen added to p-rn).

My advanced literature class has introduced some truly enlightening literature this semester.

"Yay! More black-and-white p-rnography!" I exclaimed as we students were assigned the latest required reading by our English teacher.

In Advanced Placement, we are offered both timeless classics and newer, popular titles to challenge and advance our thought processes. Still, at times, I feel that I'm being subjected to more detail than may be found in an X-rated movie. This kind of p-rnographic content should be banned, or at least censored.

Heck, I'd even appreciate a warning scribbled on a Post-It note inside the front cover.

Personally, I would prefer that my primary sex education NOT occur accidentally during English class. When teachers require this material, they condone the content, whether they like it or not. How can administrators sleep at night when they're promoting this double standard?

"Here, read about this and this and this. Aren't we learning a lot? Whoa, hey! Stop that! Where ever did you ever get that idea?!"

'Monkey see, monkey do' goes doubly for teenagers, and as much as we teens try to prove our maturity, the facts still stand firm: Raging hormones, developing frontal lobes and social stresses combined with ever-widening freedoms create more judgment problems for teenagers than any other age group.

How can intelligent parents block cable, V-chip MTV, ban HALO III and punish us for dirty language, but not bat an eyelash as we pull out our homework assignment to annotate the (at least) R-rated "Beloved" or "Catch-22"?

What, you think it won't affect us because it's on a page? Because it's not a series of moving pictures or graphics? Because it's in print, it requires an advanced vocabulary and increases our comprehension? Some of the most influential mediums in the world were and are books. Anyone ever heard of the Bible? "Mein Kampf"?

What we listen to, what we watch and, believe it or not, what we read, affects us.

When faced with my resistance, my English teacher does her best to give me a few reasons that we, as high school seniors, are exposed to these kinds of books:

Art is art, and those who would define, refine or confine it lose its very essence.

Who is to say what is acceptable and what is not, and how long will it be until the tyranny of politically correct editing creates a real "1984" state?

The truth is only truth when it flows without barrier or constraint, letting loose the human soul to spring unfettered across the wide expanses of creativity!

Only illiterate, ignorant zealots want to censor books — we fear what we cannot understand!

Truly discerning readers are able to appreciate the author's purpose in including any language, events or descriptions.

Personally, and as an AP literature student with a kick-butt ACT reading score, I'm a bit skeptical of the generalizations that all censorship is the product of ignorance and can be placed on the same level as cannibalism, deforestation and Hitler. It seems to this ignorant National Merit Scholar (not to drop titles or anything) that everyone is anti-censorship because none of us wants to be labeled a philistine.

Book-banning is bad, of course — it's censorship. It is simply un-American to chain the creative tendencies of our budding authors because of fogey old ideals.

I am not advocating censorship. I'm asking the schools and publishers alike to consider my point of view. Even as an 18-year-old "adult," I would like a choice in my exposure to gratuitous sex, violence and language, even in the name of learning, literature or art.

I would prefer compelling literature without the public-pleasing passages that "elevate" the book to best-selling status. But in lieu of that, I need some form of warning, a label, a rating or even hint on the outside of literature to let me know the extent of objectionable content therein, no matter how highly the talk shows recommend it or how "enlightening" it may be.

In every other entertainment industry, producers are required to rate their product so the public can make an informed decision. Which is the greater travesty? Depriving the reader of information, judgment and free choice and calling it freedom of speech, or risking the buzzword "censorship" to facilitate knowledge and choice?

Voltaire is credited with the remark: "Though I may not agree with what you say, I will defend to the death your right to say it." It's a truism of freedom of speech and indeed, of all American liberties.

I would not like to contradict, but rather augment, this passage with another phrase: However, I do not have the obligation to read, listen to or analyze whatever garbage you have randomly passed off as "art" this afternoon.

Dia Darcey (918) 581-8336
Jenks graduate and rising Brigham Young University freshman satellite@tulsaworld.com

By Dia Darcey, Satellite Correspondent
Copyright © 2008 , World Publishing Co. All rights reserved.
CREDIT: The Tulsa World

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Spear Phishing for Child Safety Advocates Nets SafeLibraries

Spearing phishing for child safety advocates is now occurring, and SafeLibraries is included in the net. I'm honored! Interestingly, I wrote to the first spear phisher and got an actual response!

Phishing is spamming people in an attempt to deceive them to reveal information that can or will be used in a criminal act. Spear phishing is when the phisher targets specific individuals.

Child safety advocates are being spear phished with an appeal to what the criminals believe are the anti-pronography interests of the advocates. A long message is sent that sounds legitimate about the alleged concerns about child pronography and a request to stop certain web sites from spreading child pronography, then a long list of various URLs at a few domain names are given as examples. I won't give full information but naughty, beauties and adultlounge have something to do with the links being promoted.

One paragraph of the spear phisher's message says:
Our aim is to raise public awareness of the damage pornography does and the dimensions of the problem, while encouraging and enabling women to voice their protest and organize against this dangerous trade. That is why, we can start a fight against pornography by spreading this e-mail and submit links/websites that contains pornography until it reaches the proper authority that has the ability to block or close these sites.

Thirty six links to three different web sites are then listed.

The email first appeared from bernadettefrancisco@ymail.com. It was addressed to me (1), Gannett newspapers (6), Asheville's Citizen-Times (1), the Polly Klaas Foundation (1), AMECO (3), Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit (2), NoPornNorthampton (1), the FCC (1), the Lighted Candle Society (1), Dr. Laura (1), the Fairfield County [OH] District Library (1), the Zeeland [MI] Public Library (1), the Hennepin County Library (1), the Institute for Media Education (1), Techweb (25), and various individual emails addresses (3). Total = 50 victims.

So I responded to all warning them as to the potential for spam activity and asking if anyone knew "her." I received a response from the original spammer! "She" said, evasively:
This is a valid e-mail, i am not asking you to open the links because it contains pornography, all I'm asking is that for you to resend the e-mail until it reaches the proper authority who has the ability to block the website or the links attached to this e-mail. It doesn't matter who i am or where i come from, this letter is an information if you have to read again the whole e-mail and understand its content. I am just a concerned internet user because i believe that there should never have porn sites in the first place. I just wish that you could help, although this is a very impossible fight for all of us. But who knows, in due time we will be able to eliminate pornography on the internet. we've started this fight because we too have been receiving spam emails, invitation to view porn sites and everything, and some site have been using children as their subject to pornography and we don't like that. Poor little children if we couldn't help them.

That first spam was received July 11, 2008. Since this time I have received and am still receiving the same message or a substantially similar one from hundreds of other spammers. Sometimes I get a dozen a day. Many are addressed to the same 50 emails being spammed. Sometimes, the same or substantially similar explanation letter is also sent around.

Sometimes the fraudulent claim is dropped completely and the message contains pure pronographic spam with a link to the same web site:
I am a young girl from Manila city I'm here to give you some erotic sex and fun. I am a young sluts that needs financial support I also accept people who are willing to help me in exchange of sex and fun. I am willing to do anything just to sustain our needs.

By the way, Google's Gmail does an excellent job of dumping them all in the spam folder.

As to my efforts regarding public libraries and children, this blog post is not directly related. However, I felt it was interesting enough from a computer security point of view to post this anyway.

Any technical experts wish to shed light on this?