Category Archives: Politics


Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

Written by Kevin Smith, Editor-in-Chief, International Railway Journal
September 14, 2021

From article…

Biden has been a vocal supporter of the federally owned passenger operator for almost the entirety of its existence: from his days as a U.S senator when he would regularly ride the train from Wilmington, Del., to Washington D.C.; to his time as the U.S. Vice President, when he presented the Obama Administration’s plans for several short-lived high-speed passenger projects as part of a 2009 economic stimulus package.

Now as the 46th President, Biden has made rebuilding and reviving the country’s infrastructure, including its passenger rail operator, the signature policy of his first term. The American Jobs Plan was announced by Biden on March 31 and has since moved to Congress for debate and negotiation.

From article…

The Administration hopes the legislation that emerges will satisfy Biden’s objectives so he can sign it into law this autumn. Inevitably, given the variety of views on the scale and ambition of the proposal on both sides of the political spectrum, there have been several compromises.

From a $2.3 trillion plan when Biden presented it, the Senate scaled it back to a $1 trillion initiative, including $550 billion of new spending.

However, the legislation took a significant step forward on Aug.10 when 19 Republican senators joined with their 50 Democratic colleagues to pass a bi-partisan Infrastructure bill, a move praised by Biden.

As it stands, the bill includes $66 billion for intercity passenger rail, with $22 billion of this figure set to go directly to Amtrak. This includes $6 billion for the Northeast Corridor, and $16 billion for the national network, including state-supported services.

Source: Amtrak’s Plan to Connect the U.S. – Railway Age

Reflections: NewsLib and News Librarians on 9/11.. Archives at Internet Archive

By Michael McCulley aka DrWeb, Retired Librarian

Screenshot, Archive #1

The above screenshot shows the “September 11th Resources” page, archived on the Internet Archive at the Source 1 link below. “This page is a collection of resources related to the events of September 11, 2001, as complied by Jessica Baumgart, Jennifer Jack, and other contributors. Links will open in new windows.” It was last updated 06/19/06 by Amy Disch. Some of the links may be broken or not archived separately, but the citations should be enough for researchers to find the materials.

It includes this information:

The Buildings and Rebuilding
Changes in America since 9/11
Charities and Organizations Established for 9/11
Economic Information
Graphics, Images, and Maps
News Packages
Reports and Evaluations
Web Sites with More Sources

Source 1:

Screenshot, Archive #2

The above screenshot shows the “The Park Library” page, archived on the Internet Archive at the Source 2 link below.

Sept. 11, 2001: NewsLib research queries following
World Trade Center & Pentagon Attacks

The table shows a breakdown of the various queries by topic as researched by NewsLib librarians and members on 9/11/2001.

Likely, not updated since 2003. Some of the links may be broken or not archived separately, but the citations should be enough for researchers to find the materials. You can see the wide of range of information being sought, and the Query/Response portion shows the actual information provided. These query and responses were processed via the email list for the News Division of Special Libraries Association (SLA); though the list still exists, the News Division sadly is no longer a part of SLA.

There are a total of 60 queries and often multiple responses.

Editor’s Notes: Just days before 9/11, I had just been hired by San Diego Public Library to a position as Librarian II, and would start as Training Librarian. I was not working yet, still doing paperwork and processing by the City of San Diego Human Resources: badge, fingerprints, photographed (so I could be identified in an emergency).

I was living in San Diego at the time, and had my laptop computer, and Internet connectivity that morning/day on 9/11. You’ll see me responding in the responses, along with many others, over 20 times. My library colleagues, Shirley Kennedy and Gary Price, were also prominent in the responses.

Total NewsLib members, 2001: 1,352
Total International NewsLib members, 2001: 147

Source 2:

Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

From a Pentagon rescuer’s uniform to a Flight 93 crew log, these objects commemorate the 20th anniversary of a national tragedy

By Meilan Solly, SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | Sept. 8, 2021, 8:43 a.m.


Following the tragedies that took place on September 11, 2001, curators at the Smithsonian Institution recognized the urgency of documenting this unprecedented moment in American history.

After Congress designated the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History as the official repository for all related objects, photographs and documents, staff focused their attention on three areas: the attacks themselves, first responders and recovery efforts.

As time passed, curators expanded their purview to include the nation’s response to the tragedy, recording 9/11’s reverberations across the country. “This effectively put a net over the story, covering what happened on that day, then plus one month, plus one year,” says Cedric Yeh, curator of the museum’s National September 11 Collection.

“But [this net] had a lot of holes. I don’t mean holes in the curators’ work, but [rather], there were areas not covered because it was impossible to cover the entirety of the story.”

Source: Smithsonian Artifacts That Tell the Story of 9/11 | At the Smithsonian | Smithsonian Magazine

3 Books — And 3 Lessons — 20 Years After 9/11 | BPR

By Greg Myre, Sep 8, 2021

These three books provide a detailed accounting of events that have largely defined the U.S. role in the world in the first part of the 21st century.
Emily Bogle / NPR

So what have we learned in the 20 years since 9/11?

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan encapsulated much of the past two decades. A war that began remarkably well for the U.S. had long since turned messy, frustrating and complicated, expanding to include a sprawling mix of goals and aspirations that never really went according to plan.

The global war on terror. The invasion of Iraq. Nation building. Black site prisons and Guantanamo Bay. Drone strikes across the Islamic world. Feuds over domestic surveillance and privacy. The rise of bitter partisan politics in the United States.

Many books have documented these developments, and more are on the way. Here we point to three strong new offerings that provide a detailed accounting of events that have largely defined the U.S. role in the world in the first part of the 21st century: The Rise and Fall of Osama bin Laden by Peter Bergen, The Afghanistan Papers: A Secret History of the War by Craig Whitlock, and The Recruiter: Spying and the Lost Art of American Intelligence by Douglas London.

None makes for cheery reading, but all offer sobering lessons.

Source: 3 Books — And 3 Lessons — 20 Years After 9/11 | BPR

The Books Briefing: Language Can Build Community—Or Sow Division | The Atlantic

Unique ways of communicating help families grow closer; they’re also a powerful tool for cults: Your weekly guide to the best in books

By Kate Cray, September 3, 2021

Getty; The Atlantic

In the media reporter Brian Stelter’s book Hoax, he shares an anecdote that neatly sums up so much about Fox News and its influence on how its viewers communicate.

A staffer who described a restaurant chain’s decision to offer a vegan burger as an improvement to the menu said they were castigated and corrected: The new option was actually proof of the “war on meat,” a network superior said. Thus, the story was quickly reframed in the channel’s familiar vernacular.

My colleague Megan Garber argued last year that Fox had become a language, one in which a new reality had been manufactured. This dangerous linguistic manipulation extends well beyond TV news.

In fact, language is exactly what cults—and cult-like brands—use to lure in new members, the scholar Amanda Montell writes in her book Cultish.

Attend any class offered by a popular fitness brand like Peloton, CrossFit, or SoulCycle, and the enticing power of their insider-y mantras becomes apparent. On the HBO docuseries The Vow, which is about the cult NXIVM, viewers see how a strange new way of speaking drew people in.

Source: The Books Briefing: Brian Stelter, Amanda Montell, Noah Webster – The Atlantic

‘9/11: One Day in America’ Team on the ‘Best and Worst of Humanity’ – Variety

By Danielle Turchiano

Courtesy of Beck Media

Twenty years after the tragic events of 9/11, it’s hard to imagine anyone doesn’t have the images of the Twin Towers, whether on fire or collapsing, permanently etched in their brains.

But there were other events of the day — from the crash at the Pentagon, to the hole United Airlines Flight 93 created in a field in Somerset County, Penn., to individual stories of escape and survival and bravery — that may have receded to the backs of memories.

And for Gen Z, those stories are just stories — not memories at all. The filmmakers behind “9/11: One Day in America,” a new six-part docuseries that premiered at Tribeca Film Festival but is launching just ahead of the milestone anniversary (on Aug. 29) on National Geographic, knew they therefore had to be “unflinching but respectful,” as producer Caroline Marsden puts it, in the archival footage they selected to include, as well as the tales they chose to have recounted.

Source: ‘9/11: One Day in America’ Team on the ‘Best and Worst of Humanity’ – Variety