Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Temporary suspension of blog updates

We are temporarily suspending updates to this blog as of November 1, 2011.

To see new titles in the SFPL collection, go to Reader’s Corner, the BayReads blog or setup a preferred search and have results emailed to you

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Green is the new red : an insider's account of a social movement under siege by Will Potter.

In his second book on the environment (after The Next Eco-Warriors), Potter warns that the U.S. government is using post-9/11 anti-terrorism resources to target environmentalists and animal right activists (in some cases for doing nothing but speaking up). After being threatened with a domestic terrorist label for leafleting, Potter turned to uncovering the "Green Scare" and details here the story of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and controversial protests that resulted in severe jail sentences for participants. Tracing funds from animal-exploiting corporations to Congress and the passing of the big business-friendly Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, Potter reports on an increased usage of the terrorism enhancement in court cases. Citing Freedom of Information Act sources, he reveals that the U.S. government has constructed secret prisons, or Communication Management Units (CMUs), to house suspected terrorists in conditions even more extreme than those of Supermax facilities (which house Zacarias Moussaoui and Eric Rudolph, among others). Potter warns of the crumbling of "the legal wall separating `terrorist' from `dissident' or `undesirable,'" and concludes his account with a call to action and a decry of the injustice that results in the "terrorist" label being put on those who threaten American corporate interests. Alarming.
(Apr. 16) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

The declaration of independents : how libertarian politics can fix what's wrong with America by Nick Gillespie & Matt Welch

Everywhere in America, the forces of digitization, innovation, and personalization are expanding our options and bettering the way we live. Everywhere, that is, except in our politics. There we are held hostage to an eighteenth century system, dominated by two political parties whose ever-more-polarized rhetorical positions mask a mutual interest in maintaining a stranglehold on power. The Declaration of Independents is a compelling and extremely entertaining manifesto on behalf of a system better suited to the future--one structured by the essential libertarian principles of free minds and free markets. Gillespie and Welch profile libertarian innovators, identify the villains propping up the ancien regime, and take aim at do-something government policies that hurt most of those they claim to protect. Their vision will resonate with a wide swath of frustrated citizens and young voters, born after the Cold War's end, to whom old tribal allegiances, prejudices, and hang-ups about everything from hearing a foreign language on the street to gay marriage to drug use simply do not make sense. (Publisher's description)

Why conservatives tell stories and liberals don't : rhetoric, faith, and vision on the American right by David M. Ricci.

Ricci (political science and American studies, Hebrew U., Jerusalem) teases out the script that political conservatives in the US have used to get or remain in power despite the devastation their actions have caused across the country and the world. He is particularly interested in how the pieces fit together into a seamless whole. He covers rhetorical ploys: rejections, irrefutables, and promotions; articles of faith: enemies, enchantments, and stories; and the reality check of a tale against tales. Liberals cannot construct an alternative, he says, because they think too much, but can counter the conservative tale.
Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Friday, July 15, 2011

Third-party matters : politics, presidents, and third parties in American history by Donald J. Green.

Green (history, Hillsborough Community College) presents a historical review of third party politics in the United States, profiling third party presidential campaigns that have met at least one of three criteria: their presence changed the outcome of an election, their major platform proposals later got adopted, or they attracted 10 percent or more of the popular vote. Chapters chronologically cover the abolitionist Liberty Party; the anti-immigrant American Party (aka the Know-Nothings); the pro-slavery, but anti-secession, Constitutional Union Party; the "revolt of the farmers" in the form of the Greenback Party and the People's Party (aka the Populists); Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose Progressives and the Progressives of 1924; George Wallace and the American Independent Party; Texas millionaire Ross Perot; and Ralph Nader and the Green Party. The final chapter provides brief sketches of a broad spectrum of other third party or independent candidates who failed to meet the criteria above but are interesting for a variety of other political reasons. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

The state of the parties : the changing role of contemporary American parties, edited by John C. Green and Daniel J. Coffey


Introduction: The state of the parties: change and continuity in 2008 / Daniel J. Coffey and John C. Green -- Was 2008 a watershed election? Observing the state of the parties in the election results / John R. Petrocik -- Party factions in 2008 / Howard L. Reiter -- The state of party elites: national convention delegates, 1992-2008 / John S. Jackson and John C. Green -- Electoral politics as team sport: advantage to the Democrats / David B. Magleby -- Party on the periphery: the 2008 presidential election in Mahoning County / Melanie J. Blumberg ... [et al.] -- The party's still going: local party strength and activity in 2008 / Melody Crowder-Meyer -- The Obama netroots campaign, young voters, and the future of local party organizations / Daniel M. Shea -- The Internetilization of American parties: the implications of the Unity08 effort / Kira C. Allmann ... [et al.] -- Organizing for America / Barbara Trish -- The need for an integrated vision of parties and candidates: national political party finances, 1999-2008 / Michael J. Malbin ... [et al.] -- Back to the future? Campaign-finance reform and the declining importance of the national party organization / Raymond J. La Raja -- Flush with cash: individual campaign contributors in the 2008 elections / Costas Panagopoulos and John C. Green -- Fallen elephant: examining the Grand Old Party's fall from grace / Daniel J. Coffey -- Unintended consequences: Republican strategy and winning and losing voters / Rebekah E. Liscio, Jeffrey M. Stonecash, and Mark D. Brewer -- The campaign context for partisanship stability / J. Quin Monson, Kelly D. Patterson, and Jeremy C. Pope -- A political theory of partisanship and independence / Nancy L. Rosenblum -- Barack Obama and the partisan presidency / Richard M. Skinner -- Party governance under Speaker Nancy Pelosi / R. Lawrence Butler -- Party, constituency, and representation in Congress / Walter J. Stone and Matthew T. Pietryka.

Rethinking American electoral democracy by Matthew J. Streb

While frustration with various aspects of American democracy abound in the United States, there is little agreement over - or even understanding of  - what kinds of changes would make the system more effective and increase political participation. Matthew J. Streb sheds much needed light on all the major concerns of the electoral process in this timely book on improving American electoral democracy. This critical examination of the rules and institutional arrangements that shape the American electoral process analyzes the major debates that embroil scholars and reformers on subjects ranging from the number of elections we hold and the use of nonpartisan elections, to the presidential nominating process and campaign finance laws. Ultimately, Streb argues for a less burdensome democracy, a democracy in which citizens can participate more easily in transparent, competitive elections. This book is designed to get students of elections and American political institutions to think critically about what it means to be democratic and how democratic the United States really is. Part of the Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representationseries, edited by Matthew J. Streb. (Publisher's Description)