Grant Park, Yesterday & Tonight

Tonight, the world’s eyes turn to Grant Park once again. Many of us who have lived in the Chicago area pass through or near Grant Park without much thought. As host of The Taste of Chicago, Blues Fest, 4th of July, Lollapalooza and many other festivals, Grant Park has become a regional (national?) gathering spot where we mix and mingle with others (mostly in warmer months). Tonight, Grant Park plays host to the Barack Obama rally which brings the city’s native son home after a very long campaign. At this writing, we do not know if this will be a victory party or not.

For the first part of its existence, Grant Park housed squatters, refuse, and railroad lines (see Grant Park from the Encyclopedia of Chicago). Up until tonight, it may be most remembered as the site of the protests and eventual riots in 1968 (see Protesters Gather in Grant Park in 1968). Now, after 40 years, we have to have some pride in the fact that we nominated the first African-American to head a major party presidential ticket. There is something fitting that Grant Park, which hosted riots in 1968, will play host to celebration tonight. (We should celebrate victory or loss.)

This article from Bloomberg news outlines of the issues facing tonight’s rally and contrasts them with 1968: Chicago Girds for Obama’s Rally, Amid Memories of Violent 1968.

We’ll miss you Studs Terkel

It was with great sadness that I saw the headlines relating the passing of Chicago (American) literary icon, Studs Terkel. Mr. Terkel was a storyteller like no other. His chronicles of the lives of average Americans captured the untold stories of the 20th century, and for his work, he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and a National Humanities Medal. Studs Terkel has visited the Moraine Valley campus in the past, and he is one of the true, great literary icons from Illinois. He will be missed.We have a number of Studs Terkel’s books in the MVCC Library.You may also want to take a peak at Richard Stern’s 1995 interview with Studs Terkel published in the Antioch Review (MVCC ID required to view).Here is a remembrance from NPR: So Long, Studs Terkel, and ThanksHere is a short clip from the Associated Press about Terkel:

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio of France has been awarded the 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature. The Nobel Committee in their annoucement stated that the “author of new departures, poetic adventure and sensual ecstasy, explorer of a humanity beyond and below the reigning civilization.” We are trying not to let the negative statements about Americans made by Horace Engdahl of the Swedish Academy (which selects the recipient of the prize each year) tarnish our view of Clezio, who has had an amazing career.  Enghal commented on why an American has not won the prize since Toni Morrison in 1993.  He said,

The U.S. is too isolated, too insular. They don’t translate enough and don’t really participate in the big dialogue of literature. That ignorance is restraining. (read more about these comments here.)

So, the Swedish Academy is giving us restrained and ignorant Americans a chance to learn more about a great French novelist. If you’d like to read more about Le Clezio, you may want to visit his author page in our LION database (click on the criticism link for articles and reference link for biographical info, a MVCC ID is required to access this from off campus).

Fragile Reef, Boiling Point, Blue Vinyl, Rachel Carson

Four new DVDs on Green-related topics that have just been added to the library collection. We hope that you’ll drop by to check them out.

  • The Fragile Reef: This program travels to Chumbe Island Coral Park, Zanzibar ; Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania ; and Ras Mohammed National Park, Egypt, to study the fragile ecology and amazing biodiversity of coral reefs and the impacts of tourism, pollution, overfishing, sedimentation, and climate change. Commentary provided by Mark Spalding and Ed Green, coauthors of the World atlas of coral reefs, and experts from the World Wildlife Fund, the Zoological Society of London, and Zanzibar’s Institute of Marine Sciences
  • Rachel Carson: Natures Guardian: In this program, Bill Moyers pays tribute to environmental crusader Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring. Grim footage of ecological degradation from the pre-Carson era is combined with generous excerpts from actress Kaiulani Lee’s one-woman play about Carson’s life called A Sense of Wonder to honor the legacy of an individual who, heedless of personal cost, sounded the alarm that launched the environmental movement. Moyers also talks with photographic artist Chris Jordan, who turns the statistics of consumerism into indelible images of consumption and waste–Container
  • Boiling Point: This program spotlights three trouble spots that epitomize the intensifying competition for freshwater and efforts being made to manage it: the Okavango River which flows through Angola, Namibia and Botswana, the Rio Grande, a source of agricultural irrigation for both the U.S. and Mexico and rainwater reservoirs in the West Bank
  • Blue Vinyl: With humor, chutzpah, and a piece of vinyl siding in hand, Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Judith Helfand and co-director and award-winning cinematographer Daniel B. Gold travel to America’s vinyl manufacturing capital and beyond in search of the truth about vinyl.

Topic Shopping to Get Speech and Paper Ideas

I just finished working with a Speech class (COM 103) this afternoon. We were working on finding current, interesting, & exciting speech topics. I wanted to share some of the resources that we used. (Note: you must have a valid MVCC Student ID that is in the library’s system to view these from off campus.)

  1. Opposing Viewpoints: This link will take you a keyword search in our Library’s online catalog. The Opposing Viewpoints series of books offers short essays on current topics from differing points of view.
  2. CQ Researcher Pro/Con: This is a list of CQ researcher’s pro/con articles covering a range of current topics.
  3. SIRS Researcher: When you visit SIRS, you will see a “leading issues” section in the center of the page. These provide summaries of the topic and then a list of published articles on these topics.
  4. NewsBank Hot Topics: When you visit this page, you will notice a link that says “hot topics” on the left navigation of the page. This lists keywords that you can use to get information on topics in these news sources.

Pro/Con on Major Issues from CQ Researcher

The library subscribes to the CQ Researcher database. It is an excellent source for broad views on new topics. So, if you are working on a paper or speech about a new topic, visit CQ to get grounded in the current debate on that topic. One of the new features that CQ offers is a Pro/Con on Major Issues. This is really useful for recognizing the multiple sides to a debate.

GreenFile Database Added to the Library Web site

We are happy to announce that the library has added the GreenFILE database to our online information resources. This can be accessed at our online database page (look under G on the list). You need to enter your name and barcode found on your student ID to access this from home.This database provides a range of new resources that focus on sustainability and environmental issues. For instance, here is a link to a review from BioCycle magazine of Garbage Land: NAVIGATING THE HOUSEHOLD WASTE STREAM.Here is the official description of this database from EBSCO:EBSCO proudly offers GreenFILE, a freely accessible research database focusing on the relationship between human beings and the environment, with well-researched but accessible information on topics ranging from global warming to recycling to alternate fuel sources and beyond. Comprised of scholarly and general interest titles, as well as government documents and reports, GreenFILE offers a unique perspective on the positive and negative ways humans affect the ecology.

Obama vs McCain on Health Care from the NEJM

The New England Journal of Medicine is one of our country’s most prestigious medical publications, and in the August 21st, 2008, issue, the NEJM published Jonathan Oberlander’s article, The Partisan Divide — The McCain and Obama Plans for U.S. Health Care Reform, which is available in print in the library or by following the link to the NEJM’s Web site. This article is a useful review of the differences between these two candidates and to the underlying philosophical differences between our two major political parties.From my reading of the article, the McCain plan emphasizes the need to support market forces and use them to impact our health care system, while the Obama plan starts with the understanding of shared responsibility to cover individuals. But, don’t take my word for it. Read the article for yourself.