Rick Snell, the editor of Freedom of Information Review and lecturer in law at the University of Tasmania, notes the contrast between Australia and New Zealand's experience of freedom of information legislation, which both enacted in 1983. In New Zealand, Snell writes, "it was greeted with hails of dismay by public service unions, lawyers and academics." In Australia, the then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, extolled access to government information as "a public right".
Many of CMD's staff will be in Memphis, Tennessee, January 11-14, at the National Conference for Media Reform. Check out the extensive program featuring journalists, activists, FCC Commissioners, media watchdogs, national elected officials, and entertainers. The scores of notables include Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman and Helen Thomas.
Concerned at the implications of Google's attempt to build an online digital library, a splinter group called the Open Content Alliance has launched a not-for-profit effort to scan the collections of major libraries and make them available online. "You are talking about the fruits of our civilization and culture.
I spoke with author J.R. Norton in June of this year about his book, Saving General Washington: The Right Wing Assault on America's Founding Principles. The following excerpts are from an interview on "A Public Affair" on WORT (89.9 FM), community radio in Madison, WI, and from a follow up in-person interview.
J.R. Norton: Well, it's a bit of metaphor. It's in part aimed at rehabilitating and reintroducing these founding figures of American history, but on a broader level, on a more important level, it's about reintroducing the values that these guys stood for. Certainly over the last five or six years, I think we've really lost sight of those virtues.
Guest blogger: Tim Malacarne
With the 2006 midterm elections just a month behind us, many political observers have already turned their attention to the 2008 presidential election. For the first time since 1952, neither the incumbent president or vice-president will be seeking his party’s nomination for the presidency. With such an open field, many politicians on both sides of the spectrum are considering bids. However, rather than run down the same list of likely candidates that everyone else on the web is doing, Congresspedia is going to be keeping track of which definite steps members of Congress and other candidates have taken to run for president. We'll be updating our page on the 2008 presidential election, but here's the current breakdown:
Three weeks ago, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that neither Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) nor Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) would be the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in the 110th Congress. The elephant in the room during the weeks of intense speculation before the announcement was Hastings' controversial past.
To properly address the controversy surrounding Hastings, we must go all the way back to 1981; the year Jimmy Carter left the White House and Sandra Day O’Connor was nominated to the Supreme Court. In that year, Hastings, serving as a federal judge in the Southern District of Florida (he was first appointed in 1979), was indicted for soliciting a bribe from two defendants convicted of robbery in his court. Specifically, the alleged briber promised Hastings $150,000 if he kept the defendants out of prison and returned to them the funds they stole. The prosecution’s key piece of evidence was a transcript from a phone conversation (obtained through a wiretap) between Hastings and his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders. Hastings is heard saying:
"I've drafted all those ah, ah, letters, ah, for him, and everything's okay. The only thing I was concerned with was, did you hear if, ah, hear from him after we talked?"