Monday, June 29, 2009
See "Therapy: Part 2," by Lauren, The Barnes Family, 27 June 2009. See also "Romance Novels Pornography for Women," by Adrienne, Adrienne Bone, 27 June 2009. I have added these links to "Thomas Sowell on Banned Books Week - BBW is 'Shameless Propaganda ... Now Institutionalized With a Week of Its Own" because the American Library Association's false censorship claims are strikingly similar.
Censorship! Victims of real censorship would laugh about this, then cry that censorship has become so diluted that moving porn back to the shelves is considered the equivalent of, say, jailed Cuban librarians.
Citizens across the nation are beginning to ask public libraries to move material inappropriate for children to the adult section. St. Louis citizens just did this successfully. The false claim that it is "censorship" is made in every case. Children, they claim, have First Amendment rights to inappropriate material. They don't, but that's what they claim.
Along comes Brigham Young University [BYU]. This time the target of the false "censorship" claims is college-age women. So even without the presence of children, the same false "censorship" claims are being made. Result? The BYU Library keeps the porn collection front and center, library patrons continue to be harmed, and it may be a direct result of the library's policy. Potentially, the school may be directly liable for the harm caused to the women after the library refused to move the books using false censorship claims.
When will people stop being intimidated by those claiming moving books is censorship? It is BYU's library, not the library director's library. Get the library director to do what the university community wants, not what the library director wants. If he or she refuses to budge, take appropriate action and move on.
The blog posts discuss the many efforts of students and therapists trying to stop this injustice. The library and school administration has turned them away each time or broken promises. I won't. I hereby offer to assist anyone regarding this matter.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
And look at this—libraries actively thwart child pornography investigations:
3. In July 2007 a Colorado Internet crimes against children investigator reported that Denver Public Libraries destroy data after each patron logs off of the libraries computers. Investigators are unable to obtain any information about library computer users. In the past year, three child pornography cases have been unresolved due to lack of information. Arizona investigators report the same situation at Phoenix Public Libraries. Child pornography incidents that have been traced to public libraries are often unresolved because libraries do not enable simple logging features that retain basic information about computer users.
Source: "Ongoing Survey of Law Enforcement re: ISP's Responses to Subpoena and Search Warrant Requests," by Frank Kardasz, Ed.D., Dr. Frank Kardasz (Ed.D.), 12 February 2008.
Did you get that? "Child pornography incidents that have been traced to public libraries are often unresolved because libraries do not enable simple logging features that retain basic information about computer users."
What might be the reason libraries do that?
Here's how the American Library Association [ALA] guides libraries—basically telling them to avoid creating or to destroy the very records Dr. Kardasz described above:
Avoid creating unnecessary records. Only record a user’s personally identifiable information when necessary for the efficient operation of the library.
Avoid retaining records that are not needed for efficient operation of the library. Check with your local governing body to learn if there are laws or policies addressing record retention and in conformity with these laws or policies, develop policies on the length of time necessary to retain a record. Ensure that all kinds and types of records are covered by the policy, including data-related logs, digital records, and system backups.
Once record retention policies are in place, ensure that records are destroyed or archived on schedule. A library cannot destroy records after it receives notice from law enforcement agents that the records may be subject to judicial process.
Be aware of library practices and procedures that place information on public view; for example, the use of postcards for overdue notices or requested materials, staff terminals placed so that the screens can be read by the public, sign-in sheets to use computers or other devices, and the provision of titles of reserve requests or interlibrary loans provided over the telephone to users’ family members or answering machines.
Remember that there is no affirmative duty to collect or retain information about library patrons on behalf of law enforcement.
Source: "Confidentiality and Coping with Law Enforcement Inquiries: Guidelines for the Library and its Staff," by ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association, April 2004.
Given the above, it seems unavoidable to conclude that libraries actively thwart child porn investigations.
And it seems this is motivated by the ALA's negative reaction to Bush Administration initiatives to keep Americans safe from terrorists!
Increased visits to libraries by law enforcement agents, including FBI agents and officers of state, county, and municipal police departments, are raising considerable concern among the public and the library community. These visits are not only a result of the increased surveillance and investigation prompted by the events of September 11, 2001, and the subsequent passage of the USA Patriot Act, but also as a result of law enforcement officers investigating computer crimes, including e-mail threats and possible violations of the laws addressing online obscenity and child pornography.
Don't communities want officers investigating online obscenity and child pornography? Or terrorism? Who is the ALA that it decides to oppose that, then guide local libraries on how to oppose it? Exactly why do people think ALA policy should control local libraries?
One more for good measure: "Ten Year Sentence for Phoenix Library Child Pornography Trafficker," by Frank Kardasz, Ed.D., Dr. Frank Kardasz (Ed.D.), 3 February 2008.
Apparently, we have the ALA to thank for this: "The library did not require users to provide any proof of identity in order to use the computers and investigators later learned that the computers have software set to eliminate evidence shortly after a patron departs."
I wonder who set the software like that and why? Shouldn't the ALA be at least partly responsible for the consequences? For the child victims? Is there no one willing to sue the ALA for the consequences of the radical policies it forces into local communities? I think thwarting law enforcement to spite the Bush administration and in a manner that endangers children and citizens generally is radical, don't you? See my other blog posts about libraries and child pornography.
Does your local community public library have a similar policy, and is that what the community really wants?
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
From "Court Rules Against Contra Costa County on Use of Library Room for Religion," by John Simerman, Contra Costa Times, 22 June 2009:
The meeting room at the county library branch in Antioch has been booked for Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, American Idol auditions, gospel play rehearsals, even a party to celebrate National Hot Dog Month.
Now, religious groups are free to worship there, too.
A federal district court judge on Friday barred Contra Costa County from enforcing a ban on religious services in the room, nearly five years after Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries sued after being shut out of the room.
The issue for Judge Jeffrey White was not the ban on worship. A federal appeals court panel in 2006 ruled that the county could exclude certain categories of speech in the room, including religious services, without running afoul of First Amendment rights.
But the devil is in the details: The county, White wrote, cannot figure out how to enforce the ban — how to distinguish worship from speech with a religious viewpoint — without excessively delving into religion.
The American Library Association [ALA] weighed in on the matter that led to this, and once again, I'll have to give credit to the ALA. From "Battles over Meeting Rooms," by Doug Archer, OIF Blog [ALA], 15 June 2009:
Libraries are about providing a place where people can read, listen to, view and otherwise access whatever they wish — from serious research to recreation. In collections of books, videos and CDs this is pretty obvious. What's so different about meeting rooms? If a community group wants to gather in a public room for a legal purpose, why should we care what their point of view is? As long as no single group or view point is allowed to monopolize a limited resource like a public meeting space what difference should it make to us as keepers of the space?
What should we do? Simple, set up a set of content neutral rules that mandate appropriate behavior and apply them to all community groups — dog lovers, cat fanciers, lepidopterists, gun collectors, philatelists, cooks, political parties, advocacy groups, the Klan, even church groups!
The ALA called it right. Bravo!
See also, "Meeting Rooms: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights," by ALA Council, American Library Association, 2 July 1991, ISBN 8389-7550-X.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Library Delays Child Porn Incident Report; Holyoke Public Library Director Maria G Pagan Lies to Hide the Truth From the Public
See, "Holyoke Police Chief Anthony Scott Criticizes Library Staff for Waiting 3 Days to Report Child Pornography Viewing," by Ken Ross, The Republican, 15 June 2009, and "Library Faulted in Internet Case," by Ken Ross, The Republican, 16 June 2009.
Library Director Maria G. Pagan claims pornography viewing has not previously occurred. When she is told it has happened numerous times, she continues to deny it. "'There are going to be certain times in the day the computer room is not going to be staffed,' she said. As a result, 'It's the parents' responsibility to keep an eye on the kids.'"
Hey! Ever hear of CIPA-complaint Internet filters? Obviously, your optional filters DO NOT WORK!
- "The Holyoke library does not allow patrons to view Internet pornographic material of any kind on its computers, [library director] Pagan said. 'If you're caught and it's offensive to somebody, you can't view it,' she said."
- "Waiting three days before reporting evidence of someone viewing child pornography on a library computer."
- "Should have been reported immediately."
- "Several incidents prior to that, and they were not reported."
- "If you're caught."
- "Certain times ... the computer room is not going to be staffed."
- "Adult library users are responsible for determining whether their access is 'filtered' or 'unfiltered'; parents are responsible for determining their children's access types."
- "A female library patron checking her e-mail on a library computer found child pornography still visible on the computer screen"
Remember, "The Holyoke library does not allow patrons to view Internet pornographic material of any kind on its computers, [library director] Pagan said." If it does not allow it but it turns a blind eye then fails to report it to the police, that essentially makes what the library director said a lie, does it not?
This is obviously not a safe library.
Citizens of Holyoke need to ask whether the library director is violating the public trust by looking the other way at criminal activity in the public library. That seems to be the case, at least as I understand what was reported. Contact your City of Holyoke government—it's a public library, not a child pornography library where anything goes because the American Library Association is dead set against Internet filters.
UPDATE 21 July 2009: Holyoke 1, ALA 0: "Holyoke Library Installs Anti-Porn Software in Wake of Michael Houle's Recent Arrest," by Mike Plaisance, The Republican Newsroom, 20 July 2009. Notice the story of the librarian's outing of the library director's actions to protect the child porn viewer is further expanded.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Investigators with the Library's Office of the Inspector General have raised a string of objections after Congress stripped them of their ability to buy and carry firearms in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill. They could get their wish.
By Judson Berger
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Don't try to swipe a book from the Library of Congress -- library investigators might soon be getting their guns back.
Investigators with the Library's Office of the Inspector General have raised a string of objections after Congress stripped them of their ability to buy and carry firearms.
Though the office has carried firearms in the course of its duties for the past 15 years, and inspector general agents at other federal agencies do the same, lawmakers inserted language into the fiscal year 2009 omnibus spending bill, which was signed into law in March, that prohibited the library's officers from using federal funds to "purchase, maintain or carry" firearms.
They cited an apparent "separation of powers" concern -- the library's investigators are deputized by the U.S. Marshals, which falls under the executive branch, but they investigate abuses in the Library of Congress, which falls under the legislative branch.
Inspector General Karl Schornagel cried foul.
"It's never been questioned until just recently," he told FOXNews.com. "Consider that we've been doing this for 15 years, we're very successful."
The office wrote in its semiannual report to Congress in March that the decision would "impede" investigations. It also received an opinion in April from the Government Accountability Office that there is no legitimate "separation of powers" concern.
Schornagel said the IG's agents just want to be "made whole again."
Crimes against the Library of Congress take many forms. The IG's office investigated child pornography, embezzlement, identity theft and credit card fraud in the last fiscal year, according to its own accounting. It executed 13 search warrants and served 19 subpoenas, while winning one guilty plea and conviction.
While investigating crimes in and against the Library of Congress might not sound like the most dangerous job, another official in the inspector general's office said most of their investigations take them off site, into some dangerous neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia and other states.
Though no agent with the Library's IG office has ever fired a gun in the course of duty, Schornagel said much of his agents' work "requires a firearm." He said there's always the chance a suspect could get violent -- plus the guns can be a deterrent to violence during searches and arrests.
"It's a big safety issue," he said.
The agents, while not historically trigger-happy, nevertheless brandish their guns on raids.
"We unholster our weapons whenever we enter a property," the other official said. "It's mostly for defense purposes -- most of these people are felons anyway."
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chairwoman of a House appropriations subcommittee, originally inserted the firearms language into the omnibus -- but aide Jonathan Beeton told FOXNews.com that she only did so at the request of another member on the panel, and that no such requests have been made this year for the fiscal 2010 appropriations bill.
Calling the debate "moot," he wrote in an e-mail that the fiscal year 2010 budget should allow the IG agents to again carry firearms, as early as the beginning of the fiscal year on Oct. 1.
It won't come soon enough for Schornagel, and won't necessarily satisfy all his grievances. His office wants the ability restored immediately as well as some kind of legislative assurance that this won't happen again.
Aside from the concern about his agents' safety on the job, he said the lack of firearms has "crippled" investigations.
Not having firearms means the agents can't execute searches or arrests, he said -- and that means they have to seek outside help when it comes time to get a warrant. That's problematic for a couple of reasons, Schornagel said. First, outside agencies like the FBI are a little too busy to help in Library of Congress investigations; second, outside officers would have to take time to retrace the steps of the original investigative team because they have to swear to the credibility of evidence when they seek a warrant.
He said one identity theft case has been put on hold for these reasons.
"This person has committed a crime against the Library of Congress and he is not being arrested," Schornagel said.
"We are the only ones who can conduct, really, effective investigations at the Library of Congress," he said.
The IG office's latest semiannual report detailed one other peculiar investigation in which an individual allegedly swiped two 1920s reference books from a Library reading room.
The other IG official, who wished not to be identified, said the objection over the firearms could be connected with ongoing friction between the Librarian of Congress, James Billington, and the IG's office.
Billington's office recently chided the IG's office for the tone of its investigations. The official said that objections over the agents' use of firearms also originated in Billington's office. "We connected the dots," the source said.
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, addressed the friction between the two offices in a letter last week to Billington, in which he said he is "increasingly alarmed" by apparent attempts to "obstruct" the IG's office. He cited an instance in which the Library of Congress' chief operating officer complained to the inspector general's office about the tone of a press release announcing the 10-year prison sentence of a former Library employee for possession of child pornography.
Jo Ann Jenkins, in an August 2008 e-mail attached to Grassley's complaint, scolded the IG's office for what she called the "outrageous" press release headline.
"Why does the IG feel it necessary to get publicity on this," she wrote, according to the e-mail.
She apparently didn't realize the press release came out of the Department of Justice, not the IG's office -- which the IG's office pointed out to her.
In his letter, Grassley urged Billington to "refrain from interfering either directly or indirectly" with the inspector general's operation.
Though Grassley did not address the firearms controversy, a Grassley aide suggested the senator does support Schornagel on that issue.
A representative for Billington could not be reached for comment. But he also came under pressure recently from the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association to change his position on the firearms issue.
Jon Adler, president of the association, urged Billington to reconsider in an April 29 letter.
In the letter Adler wrote that his organization was "deeply concerned" by the "disarming" of the Library's IG agents. He said their duties are not "interchangeable" with other law enforcement agencies and that the situation would lead to a "less secure environment" at the Library of Congress.
Reprinted under US Copyright §107 Fair Use.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
There is the significant issue of whether or not a materials reconsideration request was dropped by the complainant or by the library. The complainant says it was not and the library says it was because of various public statements made by the complainant. Four library board members were not reappointed precisely because they failed to respond to the request, so the question of whether the request was dropped and by whom is important. The complainant has not dropped her request that was accepted and already under review by the library. After many months, she still awaits an answer.
The library was able to use the School Library Journal to tell a different story:
"These were four very qualified people who collectively have a lot of experience on these issues," says library director Michael Tyree about the board members who were up for reappointment. "They were doing what they were supposed to do—wait for the Maziarkas to resubmit their reconsideration for library materials."....
The couple ... is also asking the library to place warning labels on the books, as well as install Internet filters.
As a result of that change, Tyree says the library was advised by the city attorney to have the Maziarkas re-file their complaint. They have yet to do so—and instead, they’ve launched an online petition outlining their new demands.
Now in a perfect example of projection, listen to what the library says next:
"They’re very skillful at playing the political game," says Tyree, referring to the fact that the book challenge has ended up pitting city council members against library supporters—and has gained nationwide attention, with the American Library Association, the American Bookseller Foundation for Free Expression, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee weighing in their support for the library board members.
Source: "West Bend City Council Fails to Reinstate Library Board Members," by Debra Lau Whelan, School Library Journal, 20 May 2009.
Regarding playing the political game, Tryee attempts to claim the complainant dropped the request, as shown above. But Beverly Goldberg of the ALA gets it right:
Ironically, four of the trustees were denied reappointment in April by the city council because they did not comply with the Maziarkas’ reconsideration requests and are serving until their successors are appointed.
"[T]hey did not comply with the Maziarkas’ reconsideration requests...." Exactly. The ALA gets it right.
Do you see what else makes the Beverly Goldberg article accurate? It does not raise the LGBT issues dropped long ago but raised again and again to distract people from the actual issues involved. What a breath of fresh air. I look forward to reading more of Beverly Goldberg's articles.
Having been critical of American Libraries whitewashing rape in the past, I am today giving credit where credit is due. Congratulations to the ALA for getting the West Bend story straight. The library dropped the matter, the complainant did not, and the ALA says so.
I just congratulated Deborah Caldwell-Stone of the ALA, and now I'm congratulating Beverly Goldberg. This is starting to become a pattern.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Deborah Caldwell-Stone does something praiseworthy that I have to congratulate her on—she is responding online to various library advocates, something the previous OIF director never did, so far as I know. Deborah Caldwell-Stone, well done.
The first time I noticed she responded online was in the eighth comment to "Tomorrow's Show - Banning Books and Sacking Library Board Members in West Bend," by Queery, Queery, 28 April 2009.
The second time she responded online was in the fourth comment to "West Bend Library Board - Lies, Anger, and Vengeance," by West Bend Citizen Advocate, WISSUP = Wisconsin Speaks Up, 2 June 2009.
Ironically, her OIF's own blog does not allow comments. I have written about this before in "New OIF Blog Deletes Free Speech," SafeLibraries, SafeLibraries, 10 January 2009. I noted that while the blog allowed comments for a few days, it stopped that and deleted the existing comments. Censorship? "Free People Read Freely," the blog says. Apparently free people don't write freely.
However, given Deborah Caldwell-Stone's willingness to engage online, I hope she will exert her influence to finally allow the OIF blog to allow comments.
Once again, great job Deborah Caldwell-Stone. Great job, ALA.
West Bend Official Attacked for Suggesting Public Library Books May Be Pornographic; Free Speech Advocate Uses Ethics Complaint to Silence Official
I learned about this shocking tactic here: "Vrana Accused of Ethics Violation," by Owen, Boots & Sabers, 2 June 2009. He linked to "Alderman May Face Probe of his Ethics; Terry Vrana Said Some Books in Library are Pornographic," by Dave Rank, West Bend Daily News, 2 June 2009, p.A1.
As Dan Gerstein said, "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." Can anyone argue the ethics complaint by city resident Kristina Smithers is not an effort to stifle speech and force an "anything goes" world-view on others, including children?
People who say the library material for children is not pornographic are trying to shut up those who say it might be. Shutting up an elected governmental official means shutting up all the people who voted for him. A possible free speech violation (as a frivolous or vexatious ethics complaint might be) is being used to oppose claimed free speech violations. Based on that injustice alone, it is easy to see who represents whom and which position is more credible.
Publication: APD - West Bend Daily News;
Date: Jun 2, 2009;
Section: Front Page;
Page Number: A1
Terry Vrana Said Some Books in Library are Pornographic
The West Bend Ethics Committee will decide if a complaint filed against city Alderman Terry Vrana over comments he made about the city’s library and the Library Board is serious enough to hold a hearing.
City resident Kristina Smithers filed a complaint against Vrana Friday afternoon.
Monday night, Vrana said he had no comment about Smithers’ complaint, adding that anyone can look at the video of the Common Council session in question and make up their own minds.
“There was no ethics violation,” said Alderman Michael Schlotfeldt, who sits next to Vrana, volunteering a statement.
City attorney Mary Schanning said she had a chance to look at the complaint Monday.
“Basically, what we do is give it to the Ethics Committee,” Schanning said of the procedure to deal with a complaint about the actions of a city official.
The five-member Ethics Committee first decides if the allegation would constitute a violation of the city’s ethics code if proven to be true, Schanning said.
If the committee members decide the allegation reaches that level, then the committee would schedule a hearing to determine the truth of the allegations, the city attorney said.
The Ethics Committee does not meet on a regular basis, she said, and no meeting is yet arranged to discuss Smithers’ allegation. Smithers alleges statements Vrana made during an April 21 Common Council meeting during debate over the reappointment of four Library Board members demonstrated unethical behavior because: He did not act in an independent, impartial manner; His “conduct did not reenforce the public’s confidence in the integrity of the city government;” “(H)e used his aldermanic position to purport his personal philosophy not that of the city as a whole.” Vrana had expressed an opinion that pornographic books were in the library’s young adult section.
What do you think?
Should an ethics hearing be held over Alderman Terry Vrana’s comment that some books in the city library are pornographic? Why? Give your opinions to the Daily News via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by fax at 338-1984 or write to 100 S. Sixth Ave., West Bend, WI 53095. Limit your opinions, which will be considered for publication as a letter to the editor, to 300 words and include your name, municipality of residence and phone number.