Another American Library Association (ALA) conference comes, and along with it another opening keynoter who does little more than give us the standard, �Gee, I really, really like you� speech. It�s a syrupy blend of admiration for all things library, patronization of the causes ALA attendees support, and vitriol for those, mostly politicians and policies, we oppose.

Having survived the 2004 Orlando conference where Farenheit 911 and E.L. Doctorow combined for some good old administration bashing, I left Barack Obama�s opening keynote wondering when ALA will develop some backbone and seek out a keynoter who will challenge, anger, or confront us. We are always being professionally encouraged to step out of our comfort zones, yet ALA provides a steady diet of keynote speakers all too willing to keep us in a safe and warm groupthink cocoon.

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