In the Attic Toys

This is interesting. Meet Carl Malamud, whom BoingBoing calls a “rogue archivist.” Carl is the only person I’ve ever known with his own zip code – but enough about me, what’s Carl on about?

This is a bit unconventional, but I have launched a front-port campaign to be nominated Public Printer of the United States. I’m inspired by Gus Geigengack, a working printer who convinced FDR to name him to the post.

I am thrilled to have such a distinguished committee backing my efforts, including the Honorable Cory Doctorow and the Honorable Mark Frauenfelder from Boing Boing.

To endorse my nomination, simply comment on any blog post (like this one!), tweet me, or send me email. The endorsements will be harvested, set into a book, and released as a free PDF file with paper copies dispatched to the White House Office of Personnel.

Thank you for your support.

The occasion of my acquaintance with Carl was that I was business manager of a radio comedy show and Carl was creating internet radio. Yeah, that guy. We were the first comedy show on internet radio and Carl was a stickler for deadlines. Ever manage a comedy troupe? Herding cats would be easier, so Carl’s attention was kind of a double-edged sword for us. In particular, Mr. Wintle, who found this story, and I tore out our hair getting DAT to the post office. Thus, I was really interested to see at Yes We Scan where Carl was turning his pointy pointy attentions now.

Please allow me to highlight a few of the items that I think we all need to pay attention to, and I invite you to contact me so we can continue to talk about these issues.

I’m skeert! And I’m fresh out of hot pink wigs!

1. America’s Operating System. The Government Printing Office serves all 3 branches of government and prints the Official Journals of Government. GPO should lead the effort to make all primary legal materials produced by the U.S. readily available. [more]

2. Librarians. Librarians are the bedrock of the public domain and the defenders of our fundamental right to access knowledge. GPO should work even more closely with our libraries and reform the Federal Depository Library Program to support them better. [more]

3. Jobs. As commodity printing goes the way of the PDF file and the copy machine, GPO must retrain and refocus its workforce, working with the unions and the employees so we may face the challenges of the future. If nominated and confirmed, I would work to establish a United States Publishing Academy, reviving the grand tradition of GPO being in the lead for workforce development, vocational training for students, and educating the rest of the U.S. government on how to print and publish effectively. [more]

4. Security. GPO produces passports and other secure documents. The current design for passports uses an RFID chip, which means that an American can be picked out of a crowd merely by having a passport in their pocket. If nominated and confirmed, I would ask security expert Bruce Schneier to form a Blue-Ribbon Commission to reexamine the design of passports and other secure documents so we can better protect the privacy and security of all Americans.

The seals of approval are a nice touch. Seems Carl’s on the side of the angels after all. The RFID chips should have been a giant red DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! flag but instead – what? Sensible people who should’ve known better got passports and RFID-chipped in the name of freaking safety.

Carl’s manifesto is indeed interesting. I’m willing to put aside my feelings about that year he made life a glamorous living hell because I’ve watched what the GPO has been doing for the last eight years and know it must change. You have no such impediment, but you’re probably looking forward to improved government transparency. Will you endorse Carl?

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