William Aspray, Barbara M. Hayes (eds.): Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America (2011)

13 February 2012, dusan

All day, every day, Americans seek information. We research major purchases. We check news and sports. We visit government Web sites for public information and turn to friends for advice about our everyday lives. Although the Internet influences our information-seeking behavior, we gather information from many sources: family and friends, television and radio, books and magazines, experts and community leaders. Patterns of information seeking have evolved throughout American history and are shaped by a number of forces, including war, modern media, the state of the economy, and government regulation. This book examines the evolution of information seeking in nine areas of everyday American life.

Chapters offer an information perspective on car buying, from the days of the Model T to the present; philanthropic and charitable activities; airline travel and the complex layers of information available to passengers; genealogy, from the family Bible to Ancestry.com; sports statistics, as well as fantasy sports leagues and their fans’ obsession with them; the multimedia universe of gourmet cooking; governmental and publicly available information; reading, sharing, and creating comics; and text messaging among young people as a way to exchange information and manage relationships. Taken together, these case studies provide a fascinating window on the importance of information in the past century of American life.

Publisher MIT Press, 2011
ISBN 026251561X, 9780262515610
359 pages

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PDF (updated on 2012-9-11)

Lawrence Lessig: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It (2011)

30 January 2012, dusan

In an era when special interests funnel huge amounts of money into our government—driven by shifts in campaign-finance rules and brought to new levels by the Supreme Court in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission—trust in our government has reached an all-time low. More than ever before, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress, and that business interests wield control over our legislature.

With heartfelt urgency and a keen desire for righting wrongs, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig takes a clear-eyed look at how we arrived at this crisis: how fundamentally good people, with good intentions, have allowed our democracy to be co-opted by outside interests, and how this exploitation has become entrenched in the system. Rejecting simple labels and reductive logic—and instead using examples that resonate as powerfully on the Right as on the Left—Lessig seeks out the root causes of our situation. He plumbs the issues of campaign financing and corporate lobbying, revealing the human faces and follies that have allowed corruption to take such a foothold in our system. He puts the issues in terms that nonwonks can understand, using real-world analogies and real human stories. And ultimately he calls for widespread mobilization and a new Constitutional Convention, presenting achievable solutions for regaining control of our corrupted—but redeemable—representational system. In this way, Lessig plots a roadmap for returning our republic to its intended greatness.

While America may be divided, Lessig vividly champions the idea that we can succeed if we accept that corruption is our common enemy and that we must find a way to fight against it. In REPUBLIC, LOST, he not only makes this need palpable and clear—he gives us the practical and intellectual tools to do something about it.

Publisher Twelve, New York/Boston, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing, October 2011
ISBN 0446576425, 9780446576420
384 pages

CallAConvention.org, a movement to organize the call for a convention.
Convention.idea.informer.com website allows anyone to propose and vote on constitutional amendments.
video archive of the Conference on the Constitutional Convention (September 2011)
RootStrikers activist network

interview with the author (video, DemocracyNow!, January 2012), passage about a Constitutional Convention
commentary (Alesh Houdek, TheAtlantic.com, November 2011)
review (Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times, December 2011)

author’s book presentation (video)
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Matt Taibbi: Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History (2010)

13 December 2011, dusan

An illuminating and darkly comic tale of the ongoing financial and political crisis in America.

The financial crisis that exploded in 2008 isn’t past but prologue. The grifter class—made up of the largest players in the financial industry and the politicians who do their bidding—has been growing in power, and the crisis was only one terrifying manifestation of how they’ve hijacked America’s political and economic life.

Matt Taibbi has combined deep sources, trailblazing reportage, and provocative analysis to create the most lucid, emotionally galvanizing account yet written of this ongoing American crisis. He offers fresh reporting on the backroom deals of the bailout; tells the story of Goldman Sachs, the “vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; and uncovers the hidden commodities bubble that transferred billions of dollars to Wall Street while creating food shortages around the world.

Publisher Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House, New York, 2010
ISBN 0385529953, 9780385529952
252 pages

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EPUB (updated on 2014-9-14)