Short Takes: News From All Over: February 10, 2005

A U.S. Library vs. Fidel: A Library Defies Castro and the American Library Association on Freedom to Read
By Nat Hentoff, The Village Voice
A story of the little library that could. In an effort show solidarity with, and raise awareness of, the 10 independent librarians that Cuba imprisoned in its sweep of 75 dissenters two years ago, the public library in Vermillion, South Dakota has been sending books to its sister independent library in Havana, Cuba. It’s a move the American Library Association declined to make after that body’s governing council overwhelmingly defeated an amendment last year that called for the librarians’ immediate release. — Hannah Lobel,hentoff,60822,6.html

Holy Grail Found: Absolute, Definitive Proof that Responsible Companies Perform Better Financially
By Marjorie Kelly, Business Ethics
How do you sell corporate responsibility to businesses preoccupied with the bottom line? Prove that being environmentally and socially conscious makes money. Two recent ‘meta-studies’ — studies that analyze and tally the results of several studies — do just that. — Hannah Lobel

Thaksin Shinawatra: The Man who Turned Disaster into Victory
By Staff, The Independent
Disasters make for good politics. At least for incumbents vying for re-election. George W. Bush had his Florida hurricanes. Gerhard Schroeder had his Saxon floods. Now, there’s Thailand’s Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra — a CEO-style ruler and Berlusconi-esque tycoon. The tsunami didn’t just get him over the hump in a tight election. It removed the opposition’s viability. — Hannah Lobel

Mirror that Reflects Your Future Self
By Will Knight,
Would you still eat what you’re eating or smoke what you’re smoking if you saw exactly how it would affect your looks in five years? Scientists are developing a sophisticated mirror that will reflect your future-self based on the findings of web cams that record every lifestyle choice one makes at any given moment. A separate software program has been developed to simulate the visual effects of indulgence. The Wilde-esque prototype is scheduled for completion by mid-year. — Marca Bradt

Romantic Myths and Muses: The Spiritual Ecology of Romantic Love
By Rev. Rebecca Armstrong,
Rev. Rebecca Armstrong believes it is time to teach a lesson on what she has dubbed the ‘spiritual ecology of romantic love.’ She not only marries couples, she also deftly guides them through a ritual of divorce. In this essay, Armstrong delves into the maintenance of interpersonal relationships and the need to view them as an ecological system requiring care for the psychic good of the collective conscience. Romantic love, she proclaims, is essentially spiritual insight that can either be the most powerful thing in the world or the most dangerous. — Marca Bradt

The Results are in for the First Annual Ballie Awards
By Staff, Ballot Initiative Strategy Center
Despite dismal national election results, many states passed progressive ballot measures last year, including a minimum wage hike for Floridians and the defeat of a decades old anti-gay law in Cincinnati.’s Ballie Awards recognize the accomplishments of the politicians, activists, and citizens who worked to pass these initiatives. — Martin Brown

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