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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Prince George's County Libraries, SOPA and PIPA - it's about information and power

               Access to information is the path to life with quality, to health, to wealth, to bare necessities and ultimately to power. Prince George's County libraries are on the forefront of the battle to provide access to information to all people regardless of the size of their bank accounts. Libraries today are in trouble, even national libraries such as the National Agricultural Library here in Prince George's County; and the Prince George's County Memorial Library System is no different. Funding is flat or declining  and access to media is shrinking. Some publishers have decided not to sell electronic books to libraries further diminishing access to information. The greed of the few outweighs the need  of the many.[1]

               The powerful few say that we do not need books anymore, and then try to restrict on-line access through proposed national laws that benefit the few today leaving the many to fend for themselves  outside the information highway tomorrow.  So on top of not having money to by library materials, and publishers unwilling to sell to libraries even if there were funds we now have SOPA and PIPA;  "two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.") In short, these bills are efforts to stop copyright infringement committed by foreign web sites, but, in our opinion, they do so in a way that actually infringes free expression while harming the Internet. Detailed information about these bills can be found in the Stop Online Piracy Act and PROTECT IP Act articles on Wikipedia, which are available during the blackout. GovTrack lets you follow both bills through the legislative process: SOPA on this page, and PIPA on this one. The EFF has summarized why these bills are simply unacceptable in a world that values an open, secure, and free Internet."[2]  

               Make no mistake, it is not in the interest of wealth to provide free access to information. Business are set up to make a profit not give away the store. Only large groups of people working together can ameliorate the drive to exclusion by regulating through the instrument of the people known as government. You cannot boycott information as you might boycott tennis shoes. But the sword of government has to edges and today we are seeing special profit interests try to restrict the flow and access of information to the benefit of a few now at the exspense of the good of the many later.

[1] Christian Davenport. As demand for e-books soars, libraries struggle to stock their virtual shelves. January 14, 2012. [accessed January 18, 2012]

"...among librarians trying to stock their virtual shelves and working with limited budgets and little cooperation from some publishers; and among publishers who are fearful of piracy and wading into a digital future that could further destabilize their industry. In many cases, the publishers are limiting the number of e-books made available to libraries."

[2] Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization. [accessed January 18, 2012]

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