Buffalo BEAST - Buffalo's New Best Fiend

August 10 - 24, 2005
Issue #81

  ..Buffalo's Best Fiend
The BEAST 25 Most Loathsome Buffalonians
Queen City Loathing

Legislative Juice
Palmiero Charged for War Crimes
Matt Taibbi

Here Comes the Sun
But it's Not All Right
Alexander Zaitchik
A Mighty Wind
Green Power Threatens Corporations
Kit Smith

Tough All Over
Upstate Sucks; No One Cares

Shawn Ewald


Ohio Player
An Interview with Rep. Sherrod Brown
Matt Taibbi


Bush Names New Planet "Little Arbusto"
N Sorrentl


God Hates Boy Scouts
Scott Wagner

The BEAST Blog
Buffalo in Briefs
The Sports Blotter
The Week in Sports Crime
Page 3
Separated at Birth?
Kino Korner: Movies
[sic] - Letters
 Cover Page

Idiot Box
Perry Bible Fellowship
Bob the Angry Flower

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Last Issue: (80)

Read ‘em and Weep

It was not all that long ago when the closing of public parks and libraries would have been seen by many as sure sign of the coming of the apocalypse, or at least as a time to clean house politically. These days the rhetoric of privatization makes such ideas, if not entirely palatable, at least politically doable.

So as Erie County Parks reopen, it’s time to finally start closing down libraries. Almost half of all of the public libraries in Erie County were slated to be axed, but that number has backed down in recent weeks. The real resistance to this budget slashing maneuver may grow more urgent in the upcoming back-to-school season, when parents begin to realize that an important educational asset, their local library, is being taken away from them for good.

Advocates of library closings point to the large number of libraries serving Erie County compared to other places, and also to the belief that young children can become better readers through computer training. These seem to be the best arguments that have been mustered thus far.

In reality, many of the libraries about to be closed were at one point in time, the physical manifestation of the very concept of the public square in American life. Does the fact that they no longer serve that function prove that they are a superfluous waste of money or are we as a society are in the process of sacrificing that physical and psychological space?

At the present many of the libraries set for closure are in wealthy suburban communities. If we employ library usage as the main criteria for closure, we may see more inner city facilities put on the list. What type of society is it that we wish to create? Why, one with lower taxes, of course! In fact, if we follow the libertarian logic of the tax revolters, the very existence of libraries serves as an unfair tax burden on non-readers, and a disincentive for the poor to earn enough money to buy their own damn books!

More Buffalo in Briefs:
1. Reganomics
: Ned Regan's Control Board
2. Plan P: Pataki Positions for Pres
4. Informatic Underload: Bioinformatics Keeps its Distance
5. Death Disco Dead: Continental Closes
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