Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Drug stops Alzheimer's!!!

From Levine Breaking News:


The new drug reverses symptoms in 81% of patients.

A new drug halts the devastating progress of Alzheimer's disease, say British scientists. It is said to be more than twice as effective as current treatments.

A daily capsule of Rember, as the drug is known, stops Alzheimer's disease progressing by as much as 81 per cent, according to trial results. Patients with the brain disorder had no significant decline in their mental function over a 19-month period.

'We appear to be bringing the worst affected parts of the brain functionally back to life,' said Dr Claude Wischik, who led the research.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

$$$$$ and the Vice Presidency....

From The Independent UK via

Johann Hari
The Hard Cash That Wins the Vice Presidency

Johann Hari, of The Independent UK: "We can't solve challenges until we have broken the lock the super-rich have on US politics. Now we are poised for their next move: the unveiling of the Veeps.

In the next fortnight, John McCain and Obama will pick their number two, the man or woman who will take the keys if they take a bullet. While the debate has mostly been a personality-obsessed tide of tedium, if we blow off the froth we can find hints about the future of US politics - and the world."

*Use link above to continue reading...


So you want to write a book....

From Ken Kuhlken :


The big news this time isn't about any of my books. It's about Perelandra College, which Pam and I founded six years ago. After lots of work and struggles, the college has at last become accredited. Since the value of the degree and the transferability of coursework is largely dependent upon accreditation, this is a tremendous victory.

Our online graduate programs in Creative Writing and Counseling offer highest academic quality at about half the cost of comparable programs. Please take a look, at And consider helping us by passing the word along to others. .

About my author side: I'm mostly done with The Vagabond Virgin touring and am turning some attention to my web site and blog. On the Articles page of my web site are a new review of Stephen L. Carter's Palace Council, an extraordinarily worthy thriller and other articles you may have missed. On the blog (linked to my web site), I've been ranting about writer and reader stuff, and I include a pitch for Carter's first novel, Emperor of Ocean Park, which I found to be a source of inspiration.

When I mentioned Stephen Carter to my cousin Tim, he said he would check out one of the books at the library. Since times have gotten tougher financially, he confessed, he's been using the library more and the bookstore less. I'm a big fan of booksellers, especially independents. But I'm also a fan of libraries. And, having accepted the fact that I'll probably never get rich, I've begun to care little about whether people buy my books. What I care about is that people read them.

Next time you visit a library, please check out one of my Hickey family novels, take it home, read a page or two and see if it grabs you. If a library doesn't have the one you want, ask them to get one. If they refuse, let me know. I'll send some muscle to deal with them.

The Hickey family novels are: The Venus Deal (set in 1942, San Diego, Mt. Shasta, and Denver), The Loud Adios (set in1943, San Diego and Tijuana), The Angel Gang (set in 1950, Lake Tahoe and San Diego), The Do-Re-Mi (set in 1971, at a rural Northern California folk festival), and The Vagabond Virgins (set in 1979, San Diego and rural Baja). For more about them and my other books go to:

On August 30, Steve Saint, who teaches non-fiction writing for Perelandra College, is coming to San Diego from his home in Colorado Springs to lead a valuable workshop for writers. Here's the scoop on that:Freelance Writers Boot Camp Saturday, August 30, 2008 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Perelandra College 8250 La Mesa Blvd., La MesaVeteran journalists and book authors Ken Kuhlken and Steven Saint (go ahead, Google us!) will lead a most-of-the-day boot camp to inspire and invigorate your nonfiction career.

Be prepared to plug into the local writing community and pick up lots of practical tools of the trade, including: * Query-writing * Fiction Techniques in Nonfiction* Article Basics * On-the-spot feedback of queries, article outlines and other work submitted by interested students.

Students can bring bag lunches or go to one of the nearby restaurants before the afternoon sessions.

The college is on the trolley line. Cost is $40 (this is a special advance discount price being offered by email). General admission will be $45. To receive a registration form, email Steven Saint at Happy writing!

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THE FREELANCE WRITERS BOOT CAMP: "Your class is very practical and I haven't seen anything like it offered at any of the colleges." - Larry Clouse

"Your strength is your REAL-LIFE stories - that answer questions for fiction and non-fiction. Just plain listening to someone else's observations and experiences is what keeps my light bulb on." -Jeannette DeVane

"I think that there are many out here who are writers who can benefit greatly from the your knowledge and expertise. The area I received the most personal benefit from was How to Write a Query. I had no idea about that part of the article process." - Tad Wilson

"I really enjoyed the workshop. Not only good information, but just being around all that writing energy is motivating." - Lucy Bell

"I have been letting my stupid job get in the way of doing what I want and need to do. Your class was just the shot in the arm I've needed for quite a while." - Vic Cruikshank

"You are a very informative and experienced teacher and that helps me believe in myself because you believe in yourself and what you want to do." - Susan Dougherty

Please consider joining us and/or sending writer friends. For those who live far away, think about making a weekend of it. The college is located across the street from the trolley line.

Fly to Lindberg Field, shuttle to Old Town, visit the historic park, watch a play, eat the world's best Mexican food. Saturday morning jump on the trolley at the Old Town station. Jump off in La Mesa and learn how to write for publication. Sunday, trolley to the harbor, Seaport Village, or Tijuana.

We only have room for about thirty people, so a quick decision and response is probably best..

Over the past couple years, Pam and I (assisted by poet Darlene Fitzgerald and graphic artist Jean Shen) have edited, typeset and sent to the printer the poetry of our beloved Olga Savitsky. The proof has come from the printer and we are making final corrections. When the book is ready, I'll send out a special edition of my infrequent newsletter to announce that Olga's unique and wonderful poems are available.

Your amigo or whatever,


Blackwater Worldwide...a small business?

From Buzz Flash:

Blackwater Misrepresents Itself as Mom and Pop Inc. to get Government Contracts
Submitted by meg on Mon, 07/28/2008 - 4:13pm.

by Meg White

Pop quiz: Which multi-billion dollar defense contractor is actually classified as a small business? Here's a hint: It's facing a war crimes inquiry and its got "Worldwide" in its name.

After prompting from Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), who chairs the House Oversight Committee, the inspector general from the Small Business Administration (SBA) concluded in a report released Monday that the security company Blackwater Worldwide may have gotten as much as 39 contracts by misleadingly claiming they are a small business.

Though Blackwater is highly involved in the minutia of everyday operations of its employees (scheduling, etc.) the company tried to claim that the people working security were merely independent contractors, which brought the supposed number of employees down to small business size.

*Use link above to continue reading...


Monday, July 28, 2008

Bush cutting next Prez's options in Iraq...

From Information Clearing House:

U.S.-Iraq memo opens door to future turmoil:

The United States is moving into legal no-man's land because the president refuses to ask the U.N. Security Council to renew the annual resolution that provides the legal foundation for the presence of our troops in Iraq.

If this resolution is allowed to expire Dec. 31, it would create a legal vacuum — a vacuum that can't be filled by a presidential memo.

*Use link above to continue reading...


Here a pardon, there a pardon...Bush pardons everywhere...

From Information Clearing House:

Bush Will Issue a Mass Pardon

By Brent Budowsky

Before leaving office George W. Bush will issue a mass pardon, the largest collection of presidential pardons in American history.

Bush will pardon himself, Vice President Cheney, and a long list of officials involved in torture, eavesdropping, destruction of evidence, the CIA leak case and a range of potential crimes.

*Use link above to continue reading...


Making sure voters CAN'T vote...

From Raw :

Obama Doesn't Sweat. He should.
by Greg Palast

In swing-state Colorado, the Republican Secretary of State conducted the biggest purge of voters in history, dumping a fifth of all registrations. Guess their color.

In swing-state Florida, the state is refusing to accept about 85,000 new registrations from voter drives – overwhelming Black voters.

In swing state New Mexico, HALF of the Democrats of Mora, a dirt poor and overwhelmingly Hispanic county, found their registrations disappeared this year, courtesy of a Republican voting contractor.

In swing states Ohio and Nevada, new federal law is knocking out tens of thousands of voters who lost their homes to foreclosure.

My investigations partner spoke directly to Barack Obama about it. (When your partner is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., candidates take your phone call.) The cool, cool Senator Obama told Kennedy he was “concerned” about the integrity of the vote in the Southwest in particular.

He’s concerned. I’m sweating

*Use link above to continue reading...


Breaking: Novak has brain tumor...

From The New York Times:

*Use link to read article...


Comic-Con 2008 wrap up...all the details....

*Note: There's a tree in a pot sitting on the restaurant patio where I have breakfast during the week...and there, clipped to one of its branches was a Comic-Con 2008 badge, for Sunday only, that belonged to one Arturo Gandarilla. I'll add it to my box of special souveniers.

From KPBS :

If you'd like to read wonderful coverage of Comic-Con 2008, plus pics and videos, to sort of recapture the spirit of that wonderful event, go to:

The staff there has done a terrific job!


Saturday, July 26, 2008

No pics of Marine deaths...No proof...

From New York Times via

Over 4,000 US Combat Deaths, Just a Handful of Images

Michael Kamber and Tim Arango report for The New York Times in Baghdad: "The case of a freelance photographer in Iraq who was barred from covering the Marines after he posted photos on the internet of several of them dead has underscored what some journalists say is a growing effort by the American military to control graphic images from the war.

Zoriah Miller, the photographer who took images of marines killed in a June 26 suicide attack and posted them on his web site, was subsequently forbidden to work in Marine Corps-controlled areas of the country.

Maj. Gen. John Kelly, the Marine commander in Iraq, is now seeking to have Mr. Miller barred from all United States military facilities throughout the world. Mr. Miller has since left Iraq.

* Use link above to continue reading...


Friday, July 25, 2008

What? A GOOD Congresswoman!!!

From :

Matt Renner

McCaskill Takes On Military Industrial Complex

Matt Renner reports for Truthout: "A scathing report accusing government auditors of corruption, issued by the government's top investigative body, prompted a freshman senator to call for firings 'by nightfall' on Thursday."


Thursday, July 24, 2008

From Repubs lose new-media war to Bush on the Senate walls....

From American Progress:

Think Fast...

Conservatives are losing the new-media war, the Politico notes. As the 2008 campaign progresses, "it’s becoming increasingly clear that the absence of any websites on the right devoted to reporting -- as opposed to just commenting on the news -- is proving politically costly to Republicans."

Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S. warns that al-Qaeda's foreign fighters "are increasingly going to Afghanistan to fight." Ambassador Samir Sumaida'ie said "al-Qaeda is finding it now increasingly difficult to operate in Iraq, beginning with the rebellion of the largely Sunni tribes in Anbar Province."

Pentagon auditors "were pressured by supervisors to skew their reports on major defense contractors to make them look more favorable instead of exposing wrongdoing and charges of overbilling," a new Government Accountability Office report found. Supervisors at the auditing agency "attempted to intimidate auditors, prevented them from speaking with GAO investigators and created a ‘generally abusive work environment,' the report said."

"About 2 million Americans get a raise Thursday as the federal minimum wage rises 70 cents. ... The increase, from $5.85 to $6.55 per hour, is the second of three annual increases required by a 2007 law." Higher gas and food prices, however, "are swallowing it up."

FEMA "asked a federal judge yesterday for immunity from lawsuits over potentially dangerous fumes in government-issued trailers that have housed tens of thousands of Gulf Coast hurricane victims." A government lawyer argued that "FEMA's decisions in responding to a disaster, including its use of travel trailers after Katrina, are legally protected from 'judicial second-guessing.'"

And finally: Some senators are still proud to associate themselves with President Bush. In "an examination of the wall decorations of all 100 Senate offices," Politico recently found that "more than a quarter” of the public waiting rooms, 27 in total, feature a picture of Bush. In all, 22 Republicans, four Democrats and one independent display their fondness for Bush on their walls.


Comic-Con rolls in San Diego...

Want to take a look? Watch this video:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Iran: He never said that!!!!

From Information Clearing House:

Why is Gordon Brown Repeating a Mistranslation ?

By The Editor

The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's never called for Israel "to be wiped off the map". This has been confirmed by many Iranian language experts. That the mainstream media have repeated and echoed the original mistranslation from 2005 attests to their bias and hidden agenda.


Bush's final revenge: Poison the citizens...

From The Washington Post via :

Bush Administration Rushes to Change Workplace Toxin Rules

In The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig reports: "Political appointees at the Department of Labor are moving with unusual speed to push through in the final months of the Bush administration a rule making it tougher to regulate workers' on-the-job exposure to chemicals and toxins.

The agency did not disclose the proposal, as required, in public notices of regulatory plans that it filed in December and May. Instead, Labor Secretary Elaine L. Chao's intention to push for the rule first surfaced on July 7, when the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) posted on its Web site that it was reviewing the proposal, identified only by its nine-word title."

*Use link above to continue reading.


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Mix of Terrific Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Writer and sculptor Jane Borodale's debut novel THE BOOK OF FIRES, set in eighteenth century England, a tale of fire, fortune and redemption, in which an impoverished seventeen-year-old girl with an unwanted secret runs away from home and becomes an apprentice to a secretive, brooding London fireworks maker, to Pamela Dorman in her first acquistion for Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, in a pre-empt, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Pat Kavanagh at United Agents (NA).UK/Commonwealth rights to Clare Smith at Harper Press, by Pat Kavanagh, in a two-book deal. Translation rights:

Rachel Keener's debut, THE KILLING TREE, about forbidden love, murder, and small town secrets, to Christina Boys at Center Street, by Andrea Somberg of Harvey Klinger (world).


Zoe Ferraris's PILGRIMAGE, a sequel to the recently published literary mystery FINDING NOUF, following a Muslim detective into the Saudi desert as he helps an American woman find her missing husband, and continues to manage the conflict between his religious beliefs and his desire for a family, to Anjali Singh at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by Julie Barer at Barer Literary (NA).


Booksense pick and Pen/Hemmingway finalist Michael Parker's CAN'T FIND MY WAY HOME, about a love affair with devastating consequences, set across Texas, North Carolina and Mexico, again to Kathy Pories at Algonquin, in a nice deal, by Peter Steinberg at The Steinberg Agency (world).

Longtime correspondent for the Washington Post and writer for the NYT Marilyn Berger's THIS IS A SOUL, about an American doctor in Ethiopia who has devoted his life to treating some of the world's sickest children, has adopted five of them and taken in some 20 others who might otherwise have to fend for themselves in the streets, to Henry Ferris at William Morrow, in a pre-empt, by Laura Yorke and Carol Mann at the Carol Mann Agency (NA).


Professor Gerald Martin's GABRIEL GARCIA MARQUEZ: A LIFE, the first authorized English language biography of the celebrated author, drawing on privileged access to Marquez, himself, as well as interviews conducted with over three hundred people (including Fidel Castro, four presidents of Colombia, Marquez's family and friends, and writers such as Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Lllosa), painting a portrait of the author in the context of the last century, and exploring the tensions in his life between celebrity and literary quality, politics and writing, and among power, solitude and love, to Sonny Mehta at Knopf, at auction, by Elizabeth Sheinkman at Curtis Brown UK (US).Canadian rights to David Davidar at Penguin Canada.


Founder of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Isadore Sharp's autobiography THE STORY OF FOUR SEASONS, to David Davidar at Penguin Canada and Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio (with Zackheim editing, for publication in April 2009 (also launching the Penguin Business imprint in Canada, under the direction of Andrea Magyar), by Michael Levine at Goodmans (NA).

Harvard Medical School professor and eminent kidney disease specialist Julian Seifter, M.D.'s AFTER THE DIAGNOSIS: Transcending Chronic Illness, offering strategies for holding on to one's identity, finding meaning, and living a full, rich, rewarding life even when mind and body are under assault from illness, to Sydny Miner at Simon & Schuster, by Paul Bresnick at Paul Bresnick Agency (NA).


NYT bestselling author Ron Kessler's IN THE PRESIDENT'S SECRET SERVICE, which takes readers behind the scenes of the elite corps that protects presidents, first families, and presidential candidates, again to Jed Donahue at Crown Forum, by Robert Gottlieb and Scott Miller at Trident Media Group.

Editors of LIFE Books' illustrated biography of Barack Obama, including essays from top historians and rare photos from his childhood, his time at Harvard Law School, and the campaign trail, to Michael Sand at Little, Brown, for publication in fall 2008, by Richard Fraiman at Time Inc. Home Entertainment.

Larry King's autobiography WHAT AM I DOING HERE?, including personal details such as his early radio days, the loss of his father at age nine, his seven marriages to six different women, and discovering at age 65 that he had a fully grown son he never knew about, and promising to "speak candidly about his time spent with major political and cultural figures of the 20th and 21st century" including his "uncensored feelings towards George W. Bush and George Bush, Sr., Bill Clinton, Ronald Regan, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon," written with Cal Fussman, to Judy Hottensen at Weinstein Books, for publication in spring 2009, by David Vigliano at Vigliano Associates, in association with Michael Viner at Phoenix Books.


Former writer and editor for Discover magazine Alex Stone's FOOLING HOUDINI, an exploration of the strange and colorful underground world of magic, the people who practice it, and its underlying connection to science, psychology, cognition, physics, and even crime, to Tim Duggan at Harper, by Elyse Cheney at Elyse Cheney Agency.


Vote for Obama had better be overwhelming...

From Federal Computer Week via :

House Defeats Paper Ballot Funding

Michael Hardy reports for Federal Computer Week: "The House rejected a bill last week that would have funded the purchase of paper ballots as a backup to electronic voting systems for the upcoming election."

Use link above to continue reading.


Stolen elections in the Land of the Free....

From Scoop News via

Michael Collins
Election Fraud and Tyranny: Part 1

Michael Collins, in a Scoop News column: "Mark Crispin Miller's new book, 'Loser Take All,' identifies and analyzes election fraud, the foundation of extremist power in the United States since 2000.

Manipulated elections have enabled everything we've experienced from the Iraq war to the current economic meltdown. None of that would have been possible without the ongoing series of 'surprise' wins for extremists and their enablers following the outright theft of the 2000 presidential election."

[Use link above to continue reading]


McCain's VP pick is....

From Levine Breaking News:

***Sources close to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign are suggesting he will reveal the name of his vice presidential selection this week while Sen. Barack Obama is getting the headlines on his foreign trip.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Obama can write...McCain? Forget it!

From Levine Breaking News:


An editorial written by Republican presidential hopeful McCain has been rejected by the NEW YORK TIMES -- less than a week after the paper published an essay written by Obama.

The paper's decision to refuse McCain's direct rebuttal to Obama's 'My Plan for Iraq' has ignited explosive charges of media bias in top Republican circles.

'It would be terrific to have an article from Senator McCain that mirrors Senator Obama's piece,' NYT Op-Ed editor David Shipley explained in an email late Friday to McCain's staff. 'I'm not going to be able to accept this piece as currently written.'


Supremes should say No Way!!!

From The International Herald Tribune:

The White House wins a disturbing legal victory
Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Bush administration has been a waging a fierce battle for the power to lock people up indefinitely simply on the president's say-so. It scored a disturbing victory last week when a federal appeals court ruled that it could continue to detain Ali al-Marri, who has been held for more than five years as an enemy combatant.

The decision gives the president sweeping power to deprive anyone - citizens as well as noncitizens - of their freedom. The Supreme Court should reverse this terrible ruling.

Al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar legally residing in the United States, was initially arrested in his home in Peoria, Illinois, on ordinary criminal charges, then imprisoned by military authorities.

The government, which says he has ties to Al Qaeda, designated him an enemy combatant, even though it never alleged that he was in an army or carried arms on a battlefield. He was held on the basis of extremely thin hearsay evidence.

Last year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, based in Richmond, Virginia, declared that the government could not hold al-Marri, or any other civilian, simply on the president's orders. If it wanted to prosecute him, the court ruled, it could do so in the civilian court system.

That was the right answer. Unfortunately, last week the full 4th Circuit reversed the decision...

Use link above to continue reading..

Saturday, July 19, 2008

ComicCon tickets sold out for all 4 days...except...

From the San Diego Union-Tribune:

Comic-Con tickets gone except for two contests
By Wendy FryJuly 19, 2008

Scoring tickets to the sold-out Comic-Con International 2008 may be little more than a sci-fi fantasy for those who have not yet purchased theirs.

For the first year since the annual event began in 1970, on-site registration will not be available.

“We sold out of tickets last year during the event, but this will be the first year we ran out before the event actually started,” said David Glanzer, a public relations representative for Comic-Con.
Tickets sold out this week for the last day of the July 24-27 event at the San Diego Convention Center.

Desperate fans have few options left.

Use link above to continue reading.


Friday, July 18, 2008

This Senator can kiss my.....

From Sen Dianne Feinstein (D-CA):

Thank you for your letter concerning impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush. I appreciate the time you took to write and welcome the opportunity to respond.

In our last national election, voters expressed clear disapproval with the path this country is on. They are tired of partisan politics and of an Administration that pays little heed to the wishes of the American people. They want-and deserve-a Congress that holds the Administration accountable and fulfills its Constitutional responsibility to check and balance the Executive branch. I share this sentiment and am determined to work hard in the United States Senate to promote issues that are of real concern to most Americans, including the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, homeland security, global warming, and the current state of our economy.

At this time, however, I believe that impeachment proceedings against President Bush will only divide the country even further, frustrating our hopes for a meaningful change in direction, while having little chance of success.

I have been deeply disappointed by many of this Administration's actions and have been outspoken in those instances. Nevertheless, given the challenges our country faces I believe that we need to focus on constructive and cooperative steps that would lead us in the right direction. It is my hope that the next Presidential Administration's actions will more accurately reflect the will of the people.

Again, thank you for your letter. If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact my office in Washington, D.C. at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Further information about my position on issues of concern to California and the Nation are available at my website You can also receive electronic e-mail updates by subscribing to my e-mail list at


Plastic bags are safer and better than paper ones..and can be recycled!!!


Surprise! Plastic bags are better than paper bags for the environment:

Did you know?

*Banning recyclable plastic bags will not reduce our dependence on oil. In the USA, nearly 80 percent of polyethylene, the type of plastic used to make plastic bags, is produced from domestic natural gas not foreign oil.

*In 2006, 812 million pounds of plastic bag and film were recycled. That's enough material to make 1.5 million house decks, or 40 billion new plastic bags.

*Plastic bags are recycled into things like deck materials, garden furniture and playground equipment.

So. Check out the site at the link above and find out all about it. The Julian News newspaper is the only paper I've seen that has printed a full page ad notifying people about this situation. And I must ask where the hell are the other MSM? Talk about a veil of silence!!!


Obama visit to Israel...Very dangerous....

From Levine Breaking News:


Obama 's planned trip to Israel and the West Bank has raised security concerns to levels not seen since the Illinois senator began his presidential bid, officials tell the DRUDGE REPORT.

Coming just weeks after shots were fired at Israel's TLV airport during a farewell ceremony for France's Sarkozy, from an apparent suicide of a security guard, Obama's trek to the region has become a serious logistical and safety challenge.

"I would prefer if he did not make the trip to Ramallah," a concerned government official explained Thursday night from Washington. "And he must use extreme caution throughout Israel at this time, in my opinion, especially Jerusalem."

A planned foot tour of Jerusalem's Old City has been called off, a senior source reveals. [Obama's specific itinerary is not being made public.] The six-day foreign adventure is set to begin. Campaign officials have announced stops in Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and England.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Writers... have 3 days to write a book...


Click on the link above to read all about it. This is a great site if you're a writer or a reader who gets a kick out of writers talking among themselves.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

On Their Way...A Selection of New Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Chloe Palov's STONES OF FIRE, a thriller in which a museum photographer witnesses a brutal murder and the theft of an ancient Hebrew artifact, and she must team up with an ex-MI5 agent to stop a mercenary army from obtaining the ultimate weapon of destruction, to Natalee Rosenstein at Berkley, plus a sequel, by Steve Kasdin at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency (NA).


William Styron's short fiction collection, including the first part of an unfinished novel found in his papers and prepared for publication by Styron biographer James West, again to Bob Loomis at Random House, by Michael Carlisle at Inkwell Management.

Jonathan Ames' THE DOUBLE LIFE IS TWICE AS GOOD, a humorous, risque, and lovable collection of articles, essays, and the novella Bored to Death, which originally appeared in McSweeney's and has just been green lit by HBO for a pilot episode starring Jason Schwartzman, to Brant Rumble at Scribner, by Rosalie Siegel (NA).

Author of The Wind Done Gone and Pushkin and the Queen of Spades Alice Randall's REBEL YELL, investigating this unique political moment as the ex-wife of the black Counsel General of the Army under George W. Bush comes to a richer understanding of the man she once loved after he collapses (with his white second wife at his side), to Anton Mueller at Bloomsbury, for publication in Fall 2009, by Amy Williams at McCormick & Williams Literary Agency (world English).


Author of JOHN JAY: Founding Father Walter Stahr's NOBLE PURPOSES: The Life of William Henry Seward, a biography of Lincoln's most trusted advisor, considered among the most significant Secretaries of State in American history and responsible for the acquisition of Alaska, drawing on long-neglected sources, to Roger Labrie at Simon & Schuster, at auction, by Scott Waxman at Waxman Literary Agency.


Investigative journalist Tom Bower's OIL, a comprehensive, narrative look at the politics, economics, and science of oil, including an examination of the world's biggest mega-oil corporations, the science and technology of oil exploration, extraction, and refinement, and the factors behind the increase of oil prices over the last 20 years, to Mitch Hoffman at Grand Central, for publication in fall 2009, by Jonathon Lloyd at Curtis Brown UK.Journalist and magazine editor Richard L. Brandt's INSIDE LARRY'S AND SERGEY'S BRAINS, a look at the rise of Google with a focus on the its founders' unique business philosophy and methods, to Jeffrey Krames at Portfolio, by Al Zuckerman at Writers House (world).


LA Times journalist Jill Leovy's THE HOMICIDE REPORT: Black Men, Murder and America's Unseen Catastrophe - based in part on her groundbreaking "Homicide Report" project, reporting all 845 LA County murders last year - weavig together a kaleidoscopic narrative about a murder-wracked community in South Los Angeles with a new theory about race and America's homicide epidemic, to Chris Jackson at Spiegel & Grau, at auction, by Farley Chase at the Waxman Literary Agency.


Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Charles Dutton's memoir about growing up in the East Baltimore projects, spending much of his young life incarcerated, and turning his life around through the transformative power of the theater, to Rachel Klayman at Crown, by Lydia Wills at Paradigm and Sherry Marsh at Marsh Entertainment.Actress Isabel Gillies' HAPPENS EVERY DAY: AN ALL-TOO-TRUE STORY OF LOVE, MARRIAGE, FAMILY and BREATHTAKING ABANDONMENT, a memoir about how she left New York to follow her first husband to a small Midwestern college town, only to see her "perfect" marriage suddenly crumble before her eyes, to Nan Graham at Scribner, by Bill Clegg at the William Morris Agency (NA).


National Geographic and Science magazine correspondent Virginia Morell's HOW WE KNOW ANIMALS THINK: Adventures with Smart Animals and the Scientists Who Study Them, a tour of what we know about animal cognition and how we know it, in which we learn that moths remember, dolphins are self-aware, rats love to be tickled, chimps grieve, voles love, and more, to Rachel Klayman at Crown, at auction, by Gillian MacKenzie of the Gillian MacKenzie Agency (world).


Philip Carlo's GRAVESEND: ANATOMY OF A MAFIA PSYCHOPATH, a fly-on-the-wall perspective of the DEA's four-year hunt to bring down Tommy "Karate" Pitera, alleged to be a drug-dealing, murderous capo in the Bonanno crime family who dismembered his victims with amazing expertise (known within La Cosa Nostra as "Dahmer"), to Sarah Durand at William Morrow, by Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (NA).


Conrad on T. Boone Pickens' energy plan...

From Conrad's Comments...

T. Boone Pickens is an oil geologist who became a multi-billionaire. He is concerned about the enormous amount of money that the United States spends on importing oil, about $700 billion this year, and the Peak Oil crisis, the world demand for oil is still increasing and the supply of oil production has reached a maximum. He has an interesting proposal to deal with the oil crisis.

His plan has two parts:

1. Encourage private enterprise to build enough wind turbines along the Mid-Western corridor, from Texas to North Dakota, to supply 22% of the US electricity generation needs. That should cost about $1 trillion. Also, allow the businesses to build the power lines to supply the electricity to other parts of the country. That should cost about $200 billion. The time frame is about a decade. However, in that decade America will spend $10 trillion dollars in imported oil.

2. As the wind farms are built, the natural gas now used to generate electricity can be used for transportation. There are already several million natural gas vehicles (NGVs), but not many are on American roads. If enough Americans drove NGVs, about 38% of American oil consumption can be reduced by substitution.

I believe the USA should develop wind power. NGVs are less polluting than internal combustion engine cars, and natural gas is cheaper than gasoline. I do not mind that Pickens will increase his forturne because of the economic and political problems we will face from the end of the cheap oil era. Let him sell his electricity and his natural gas.

Of course, it may be better for Americans to switch to battery electric vehicles (BEVs). It cost $0.75 for a gallon equivalent for a BEV versus the $1.59 for a NGV. The Royal Dutch Shell company has developed a technology to turn natural gas into gasoline.

What do you think about the Pickens Plan?

His plan on his website:

An interview with Katie Couric who also asks about his support of the Swift Boat Veterans:


Global Catastrophic Risks assessed....

From Levine Breaking News:


A group of experts from around the world will hold a first of its kind conference Thursday on global catastrophic risks.They will discuss what should be done to prevent these risks from becoming realities that could lead to the end of human life on Earth as we know it.

Speakers at the four-day event at Oxford University in Britain will talk about topics including nuclear terrorism and what to do if a large asteroid were to be on a collision course with our planet.

On the final day of the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference, experts will focus on what could be the unintended consequences of new technologies, such as superintelligent machines that, if ill-conceived, might cause the demise of Homo sapiens.

Note: Anne McCaffery has already written a book, "The Ship That Sang", about the mix of machine and human brain.


Bush will veto Intel Bill....

From Secrecy News:


The White House expressed strong opposition to the Fiscal Year 2009 Intelligence Authorization Act that is pending before the House of Representatives today, in part because it includes provisions for increased disclosure of classified information to the congressional intelligence oversight committees.

One of the provisions, the White House complained, "would withhold 75 percent of requested funding for covert action programs until the Administration provides much greater access to highly sensitive national security information to all members of the congressional intelligence committees."

"Such a provision is inconsistent with the statute that expressly authorizes limited notice to Congress in exceptional cases and would undermine the fundamental compact between the Congress and the President on reporting highly sensitive intelligence matters -- an arrangement that for decades has balanced congressional oversight responsibility with the need to protect intelligence information," theWhite House said.

The President's advisors would recommend a veto if "any" of the objectionable provisions were adopted, today's statement said.

See "Statement of Administration Policy on Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2009," July 16:


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ouch! Terror list grabs Justice Dept Asst Atty Gen...

From Levine Breaking News:


The name of the Justice Department's former top criminal prosecutor turned up on the government's terror watch list. This terrorism-era roster, which likely has caused thousands of innocent Americans to be questioned or searched, popped up with the name of former Assistant Attorney General Jim Robinson.

Robinson joined another mistaken-identity American and the American Civil Liberties Union Monday in calling for elimination of the list, which is designed to identify suspected terrorists.

The ACLU estimates that 1 million records will have been added to the list by the end of July.

Chad Kolton, a spokesman for the Terrorist Screening Center that maintains the list, says that number includes aliases. Kolton said about 400,000 individuals are on the list, nearly all of whom are foreigners.


At Denver Dem Conv: Could Clinton end up the Dem Nominee for Prez?

From CQ Politics via Political Wire:

July 13, 2008 – 12:13 p.m.

Clinton Diehards Want Convention Vote

She may have given up, but a few of Hillary Rodham Clinton ’s people haven’t.

The senator from New York is said to be negotiating a respectful presence followed by a graceful exit from next month’s Democratic convention, and last week the party announced that Barack Obama would formally accept the party’s nomination in the stadium built for the Denver Broncos. But there are Clinton supporters clinging to the hope that if her name is placed in nomination and the roll call of the states is conducted, she might — might — still win

Heidi Li Feldman, a Georgetown University law professor, insists there’s still “no way of predicting” the outcome should there be a fair vote. That’s because Obama has not secured enough pledged delegates to ensure the magic number of 2,118 needed to claim victory; the Illinois senator has gone past that benchmark only with the pledges of about 390 superdelegates — and they can change their minds at any time up to the moment they cast their ballots.

“If they had a meaningful vote, I have no idea who would win,” Feldman says. “But I know that if Sen. Obama were sure he would win, there wouldn’t be a negotiation” about Clinton’s role at the convention.

So Feldman, who says she has raised about $100,000 for Clinton, has turned her prowess to raising money for advertising demanding a convention vote, and she has teamed with a fellow pro-Clinton blogger, Marc Rubin, to form the Denver Group to lobby the Democratic National Committee, much of the staff of which has already moved from Washington to Chicago to work for Obama.

Feldman says she won’t vote for Obama if Clinton doesn’t get a convention vote. Rubin says he might not. Both say they aren’t worried that their efforts will continue to divide Democrats at a time when they should be uniting to take on Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona. In fact, they argue, many Democrats might stay home if they feel Clinton gets short shrift.

“What they have to do is make it possible for people to say to themselves that there was a fair and correct process,” Feldman says.


Monday, July 14, 2008

No. Can't have Los Alamos computing history...

From Secrecy News:


Last week, in response to a request from Secrecy News for a copy of a thirty year old history of computer development at Los Alamos in the1940s and 1950s, a reference librarian at Los Alamos National Laboratory apologetically explained that she could not release the requested document.

"We are sorry but due to a mandate from NNSA to the Laboratory and Research Library policies, we are unable to provide technical reports until further notice," the librarian wrote.

You want information from the Library? Don't be silly! Fortunately, a copy of the document, which was not otherwise available online, was obtained independently and it has been added to our Los Alamos document collection.

Among other curiosities, the report describes work on an early chess-playing program for the MANIAC computer in the 1950s. "Because of the slow speed of MANIAC (about 10,000 instructions per second) we had to restrict play to a 6 by 6 board, removing the bishops and their pawns. Even then, moves averaged about 10 minutes for a two-move look-ahead strategy."

See "Computing at LASL in the 1940s and 1950s" by Roger B. Lazarus, etal, report number LA-6943-H, May 1978:


Genes: Do we really want to know?....

From Levine Breaking News:


Researchers plan to create a library of human genetics, with entries on the workings of individual genes, and make it available for anyone in Wikipedia rather than in an obscure academic format.

Authors of the "gene wiki" say they have created 7,500 Wikipedia entries on different genes and are editing another 650 already existing entries.The group outlined its aims this week in a paper published on the Public Library of Science's online journal, PLoS Biology.

The eight authors are from the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation in San Diego, San Diego State University and Washington University in St. Louis.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sirhan Sirhan in Sunday School....

From Levine Breaking News:

MAY, 1991:

We missed him. Our chance to change things came and passed and we did not know it was there. A dark-skinned little boy sat through Sunday School classes for three years at a great Baptist Church (First Church, San Antonio) but someone missed him. His name was Sirhan Sirhan, and at age 24 he shot and killed Senator Robert Kennedy. In a welter of words and the shudder of grief throughout our nation, the persistent thought keeps recurring...someone missed him.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Killing in Iraq...Memories that will live forever...

From Information Clearing House:

Marine Describes Killing Prisoners In Iraq

By Tony Perry

Nelson said that he watched in shock as Nazario shot a kneeling prisoner at point-blank range: "He hit the dude in the forehead, the dude went down and there was blood . . . all over his [Nazario's] boots."


Sens. Obama & Hagel off to Iraq...

From The Wall Street Journal via :

Hagel to Join Obama on Iraq Trip

Susan Davis, for The Wall Street Journal, says, "The buzz this week that Republican Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is planning to join Senator Barack Obama on an up-coming visit to Iraq is correct, two sources with knowledge of the trip confirmed Friday."

Note: An excellent idea. Sen Hagel is much respected.


What are our lives worth?...Less...

From Levine Breaking News:


It's not just the American dollar that's losing value. A government agency has decided that an American life isn't worth what it used to be.The "value of a statistical life" is $6.9 million in today's dollars, the Environmental Protection Agency reckoned in May _ a drop of nearly $1 million from just five years ago.The Associated Press discovered the change after a review of cost-benefit analyses over more than a dozen years.

Note: How to save insurance companies $$$, huh?


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Constitution abused....

From Secrecy News:


"The history of the Intelligence Community is replete with instances of abuse of civil liberties," observed Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper last year in the course of his confirmation as Under Secretary of Defense forIntelligence.

That is not news, of course, though it is useful to have it acknowledged by the Pentagon's senior intelligence policy official. Also useful is Gen. Clapper's proposed remedy: "The requisite elements of a program to prevent such abuse are: (1) clearly articulated and widely publicized policies; (2) training, both basic and refresher; and (3) a mechanism to verify compliance independently," he wrote in reply to a question from Sen. Carl Levin.

By these standards, the pending amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that is being considered by the Senate today leaves much to be desired. Far from being "clearly articulated," the legislation leaves even experts uncertain as to what its provisions mean. And by granting retroactive immunity to telephone companies for unspecified illegal acts that they may have committed, the legislation compromises the most important mechanism for independent verification of legal compliance, namely the judicial process.

"Does the new FISA bill authorize wholesale interception of all communications to and from the US," asked James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology, "or does it only authorize the interception of the communications of particular individuals?"

Incredibly, the answer is not reliably known.

"Both national security and civil liberties interests weigh in favor of clarity on this question," Mr. Dempsey wrote last month.

Meanwhile, the congressional grant of immunity to telephone companies that are being sued for suspected acts of illegal surveillance under the President's warrantless surveillance program "is a naked intrusion into ongoing litigation," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) on the Senate floor yesterday.

"I am aware of no precedent for the Congress of the United States stepping into ongoing litigation, choosing a winner and a loser, allowing no alternative remedy," he said."I believe it will be determined by a court that ultimately this section of the legislation is unconstitutional, in violation of the separation of powers, because we may not, as a Congress, take away the access of the people of this country to constitutional determinations heard by the courts of this country."

"If I were a litigant, I would challenge the constitutionality of the immunity provisions of this statute, and I would expect a good chance of winning," Sen. Whitehouse said.


Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Herein a selection of very interesting books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Richard Martin's MIXED ANIMAL, a tale of hillbilly magical realism about the unlikely friendship that develops between a grumpy fix-it man and Reader's Digest connoisseur and the strange animal that fate (and a mad scientist uncle) drops into his lap, to David Adams at MacAdam/Cage, by Michelle Brower at Wendy Sherman Associates (World).


Mark Chadbourn's THE SWORD OF ALBION, a devilish plot to assassinate the Queen, a Cold War enemy hell-bent on destroying the nation, incredible gadgets, a race against time around the world to stop the ultimate doomsday device: all in a day's work for Elizabethan England's greatest spy, to Lou Anders at Pyr, and UK rights to Simon Taylor at Transworld, in a very nice deal, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2009, by Ian Drury at Sheil Land Associates.

Anne McCaffrey and Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's BARQUE CATS, like sailing ships of old, spaceships have cats but in space they are rare and valuable; what humans do not know is that the cats are plotting to take over the universe, to Sue Moe at Del Rey, in a two-book deal, by Donald Maass at Donald Maass Literary Agency, in association with Diana Tyler at MBA Literary Agents in London (NA).

Note: Anne McCaffrey is one fine writer!


Robert Girardi's GORGEOUS EAST, going inside the modern-day brotherhood that is the French Foreign Legion, a relic of the 19th century, and the last place on earth a man can go for redemption, to Lindsay Sagnette in her first buy at St. Martin's, for publication in Fall 2009, by Emilie Stewart (World English).kerry.nordling@stmartins.comRights:


Editor of RED magazine, Sam Baker's THE STEPMOTHER'S SUPPORT GROUP, about women's friendship and the support a group of women lend each other when they come together - however reluctantly - through being stepmothers, to Lynne Drew at Harper UK, in a pre-empt, for two books, for publication in September 2009, by Jonny Geller at Curtis Brown.


David Snider and Chris Howard's THE MONEY TRACK: An Insider's Guide to the People, Firms and Industries Guiding the Modern Market, exploring the histories, firms, people and mechanics of private equity, hedge funds, management consulting, investment banking, and venture capital; based on dozens of interviews with industry leaders - from Seth Klarman, head of the $6 billion hedge fund Baupost, Julian Robertson, founder of Tiger Management, and Rick Wagoner, CEO of General Motors, to Ron Daniel, former head of McKinsey & Company, to Airie Stuart at Palgrave, by Lisa DiMona at Lark Productions (World English).

Associate Professor of Law at University of Connecticut and The New York Times' "Deal Professor" Steven Davidoff's GODS AT WAR: Game Changing M&A in the New Millenium, an in-depth analysis of the game-changing corporate deals in the new millennium and an exploration of the deals that have changed the way deal-makers negotiate and complete takeovers, to Bill Falloon at Wiley, by Pilar Queen at McCormick & Williams Literary Agency (World).


Harry Bernstein's THE GOLDEN WILLOW: Life, Love, and Loss in My Nineties, closing the trilogy the author began at age 95 with THE INVISIBLE WALL and THE DREAM, weaving memories of his 40-year marriage and the last half of the twentieth century with perspectives on life after his wife's death, to Jill Schwartzman at Random House, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House (NA).


You want to join writers talking?


Note: scwc stands for Southern California Writers of the best in the nation for writers...both beginning and accomplished. Their motto is "A writer is a writer whether published or not." Truer words never spoken.

So use the link above to go read...


Kudzu vine to fuel...Told you so!!!

From :

TN man: Turning kudzu into fuel

It grows fast and it seems to be everywhere. A man in Cleveland, TN says he converts kudzu into fuel and he's ready to go into production across the eastern half of our state:

"In the basement of a Cleveland, Tennessee home, Doug Mizell's experiment in energy appears to be taking off. He's found a way to turn kudzu into fuel. Mizell says "if it blows a good blue flame like that, that means there's purity there."


More on Obama & McCain at La Raza conv in San Diego...

Note: The Secret Service folks have been here, checking out the San Diego Convention Center on Harbor Drive, for several days now. I would expect that they're a bit nervous since this event is "Open To The Public", and protesters are expected. We'll see how it all shakes out.

From San Diego Downtown News:

The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, has announced that presumptive presidential nominees Sens. Barak Obama and John McCain will speak at the this year’s NCLR conference, scheduled July 12 to 15 at the San Diego Convention Center.

Obama (D., Ill.) and McCain (R., Ariz.) will address the single largest gathering of its kind in the Latino community. More than 20,000 corporate and community organization leaders, elected and appointed officials, academicians, students and youth are expected to participate in workshops centered on education, workforce development, wealth-building, voting, juvenile justice, children’s health, immigration policy and nonprofit management.

Other speakers will include San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and motivational speaker Samuel Betances.

“NCLR is excited to be in San Diego as we celebrate 40 years of strengthening America by promoting the advancement of Latino families,” NCLR President Janet Murguia said in a statement. “The presumptive presidential nominees and other government and business leaders speaking at NCLR’s annual conference will address a Latino community that is strengthening its political voice and engaging in campaigns, voter registration and citizenship drives as never before.”


Monday, July 07, 2008

Barak & McCain in San Diego...This doesn't bode well...

From Voice of San

Angry Over La Raza

San Diego City Hall has been inundated in recent days with hundreds of e-mails and scores of phone calls protesting a proposed City Council resolution to declare tomorrow "National Council of La Raza Day."National Council of La Raza, the nation's largest Latino advocacy organization, is holding its annual convention in San Diego July 12-15. Featured speakers include presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, as well as Mayor Jerry Sanders.

The resolution, sponsored by Sanders and council members Ben Hueso and Tony Young, will be voted on tomorrow morning. The e-mails and calls, which have been generated at least in part by local right-wing bloggers and radio talk show hosts, are largely angry and anti-immigrant in nature.Here is an excerpt from what Sanders spokesman Fred Sainz described as a typical e-mail:

Anyone supporting the open degradation of America through the continued invasion of people who come here wantonly illegally is incredible to me.

Sainz said Sanders is "more than happy" to welcome La Raza to San Diego and speak at the convention."This is an important organization that represents an important perspective in the San Diego community," Sainz said. "They are no different than the NAACP or a lot of other groups dedicated pursuing their role in American society."



FBI can't have classified intelligence....

From Secrecy News:


The Federal Bureau of Investigation, which is part of the U.S. intelligence community, has the lead responsibility for domestic surveillance of foreign intelligence and suspected terrorist targets. So it seems like a rather crippling defect that the J. Edgar HooverBuilding, the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, cannot satisfy government standards for storage and use of classified intelligence documents.

"The Hoover Building does not meet the Interagency Security Committee's criteria for a secure Federal facility capable of handling intelligence and other sensitive information," the Senate Appropriations Committee observed in a new report on the 2009 Commerce, Justice and State Appropriations bill.

"The Committee finds these conditions unacceptable and directs the Government Accountability Office [GAO] to review the Hoover Building and associated off-site locations, and provide a analysis of the FBI's ability to fulfill its mission and security requirements under the present circumstances," the report said.

The FBI is in the process of constructing a Central Records Complex outside of Washington, DC. When completed, it will provide secure, centralized storage for classified intelligence, consistent with the security requirements of Director of Central Intelligence Directive (DCID) 6/9 and related guidelines.


Sunday, July 06, 2008

These writers' books....

From Mike Sirota, Author and Writers' workshop leader:

Had another writer of mine land a book deal the other day, but he's superstitious and I can't announce it till he has the contract signed and sealed.

I never did hear from that agent on my writer with the Iraq war book, THE OLD GUYS. My writer, Mike Ryan, did a POD with it, and he recently received recognition in an Indie book contest. Details are below, from a recent signing he did in Del Mar. If you think another agent would be interested, by all means let him/her know.

Also, if he/she is into war stories, I'm just finishing up a non-fiction book with a former Swift Boat commander in Vietnam. Powerful story.

AWARD - The 2008 Indie Book Awards, a nationwide contest for the thousands of new independent publications printed each year, just announced that Mike Ryan’s first novel, The Old Guys - Back to Baghdad, is a national top ten “Finalist.” The book wraps major problems facing America today (Islam versus Christianity, baby boomers forced into early retirement due to age discrimination and disappearing traditions that define our culture and heritage as a nation) into an action-packed, heartwarming novel. It pits three disenfranchised baby boomers and a retired Marine Sergeant against terrorist kidnappers in the Middle East. Three of the characters reflect a growing problem of the old being replaced by the young and put out to pasture before they are financially prepared. These unlikely heroes went to extremes to solve their problem by accepting the risk of driving trucks in Iraq to again earn a six-figure income. The novel is fact-filled, but the story itself is entirely fictitious.

According to Ryan, “It’s exciting to know that literary critics like my work in addition to the favorable feedback from friends.” Positive comments include: “Best book I have read in years.” “Excitement and suspense from beginning to end.” “Great story. I learned a lot about the Middle East.” “The ending choked me up, that's never happened before.”

Mike Ryan - Entire career spent in the financial community as a stockbroker, founding officer of a life insurance company, and president of a marketing firm. He graduated from Cal State Long Beach and the Naval Officer Candidate School, serving aboard an aircraft carrier during Vietnam. Similar to his characters, Ryan’s company forced him out before he wanted to retire. Part of this novel is his story.

Contact Sirota:


I knew that...Thank you BushCo, you.....

From Levine Breaking News:


OPEC president Chakib Khelil warned Sunday that oil prices will continue to rise because of the falling dollar, in an interview in the Algeria-News. "The price of oil will rise again in the coming weeks. We have to follow the evolution of the dollar, because a one percent fall in the dollar means four dollars more on the price of oil," Khelil, who is Algeria's minister of energy and mines, told the independent daily.


Saturday, July 05, 2008

Nothing like being "Moonstruck"....

From Levine Breaking News:


Police in Wales were called to investigate a mysterious flying saucer, only to discover it was the moon.


Friday, July 04, 2008


From Levine Breaking News:

LBN-VIDEO LINK.......... Ray Charles - America, The Beautiful: For a nice, long July 4th weekend, we invite you to discover what America means to you through the great music it has inspired. One of the all-time greats, "America, the Beautiful" by the late, great Ray Charles has been dubbed our "unofficial" national anthem. Running Time: 3:53

Note: Personally, this is my national anthem, my favorite singer doing it.


Thursday, July 03, 2008

It's bad in Zimbabwe....

From Letter from Zimbabwe sent in by John Winter

I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn. We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next........I mean they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one white family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when100 riot police came in with AK47's and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house - 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings - because it was 'too close to the airport', so we are feeling extremely insecure right now.

You know - I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night, but if you do not know - how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us - that is a help - butI feel so cut off from you all knowing I cannot tell you what's going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable.

There is no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes... that's all. You can't just be in denial and pretend/believe it's not going on.

To be frank with you, it's genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are - IN level 7 - (level 8 is after it's happened and everyone is in denial). If you don't want me to tell you these things-how bad it is-then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say - oh well, that's what happens in Africa .

This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight---or how can we be rescued? It's a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality.

Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener's wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water. How can I take on another family of 4 -----and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?

I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here - I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don't just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how. Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD..The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don't ignore or deny what's happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? 'If only we knew how bad it really was we could have helped in some way'.

[I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what's coming to us]

For now,--- we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal - but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can't fight for my rights.

Censorship!----We no longer have SW radio [which told us everything that was happening] because the Government jammed it out of existence - we don't have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be 'illegal' but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.

Please! - do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done. 'I am one. I cannot do everything, ---but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, Iwill do.'

Edward Everett Hale


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Selection of Interesting Books...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Reif Larsen's debut novel THE SELECTED WORKS OF T.S. SPIVET, the story of a 12-year old genius mapmaker from Montana, to Ann Godoff at Penguin Press, at auction, for publication in summer 2009, by Denise Shannon at the Denise Shannon Literary Agency (US).

Screenwriter Attica Locke's debut novel BAYOU CITY, about a former civil rights attorney who becomes the target of murder investigation after saving the life of a drowning woman, to Dawn Davis at Amistad, for two books, in a pre-empt, by Richard Abate at Endeavor (world English).


David Ellis's THE HIDDEN MAN, about a man hired by a sinister stranger to defend his boyhood friend against a murder charge -- and acquittal is the only acceptable outcome, to Rachel Holtzman and Ivan Held for Putnam and Berkley, for two books, for publication in Summer 2009, by Susanna Einstein at LJK Literary Management (NA)

Colin McAdam's FALL, the story of two male roommates at a co-ed boarding school -- one cool and confident, one cerebral and frustrated -- and what happens when the girlfriend of the former goes missing during their final year of school, to Sarah McGrath at Riverhead, by Doug Stewart atSterling Lord Literistic.

Author of TUNA FISH: A LOVE STORY Richard Ellis's THE POLAR BEAR, the story of an extraordinary animal and its struggle to survive in an increasingly dangered habitat, to Ashbel Green at Knopf, for publication in 2009, by Steve Wasserman at Kneerim & Williams (NA)


Janice Hardy's debut fantasy trilogy beginning with THE PAIN MERCHANTS, about a teen war orphan who becomes a pawn in a bigger political game when her uncanny ability to heal by drawing pain turns out to be the only weapon she has to save her sister, to Donna Bray at Balzer &Bray/HarperCollins for their launch list, in a pre-empt, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (world English).
Translation rights:


Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program Tina Seelig's WHAT I WISH I KNEW WHEN I WAS 20, ten provocative concepts that challenge readers to see themselves and the world in a fresh light, to Gideon Weil at Harper One, for publication in Summer 2009.


NYT bestselling historian (APRIL 1865 & THE GREAT UPHEAVAL) Jay Winik's FATEFUL DECISIONS, an examination of presidential leadership in times of war, to Dominick Anfuso at Free Press, at auction, for publication in 2011, by Michael Carlisle at Inkwell Management (world).

OBAMA: THE HISTORIC CAMPAIGN IN PHOTOS, for publication on October 28, 2008, covering Obama's campaign from its nascent stages through June, in over 150 photographs selected and edited by MacArthur Fellow Deb Willis and an introductory essay by Kevin Merida of the Washington Post, to Dawn Davis at Amistad, by Deb Willis (with Andrew Blauner, at Blauner Books Literary Agency representing Merida).


Actress and comedienne Elizabeth Beckwith's HOW TO RAISE THE PERFECT CHILD THROUGH GUILT AND MANIPULATION, a humorous and irreverent spoof on a parenting guide that bridges the gap between funny childhood memoirs and edgy self-help manuals, in a very nice deal, to Mary Ellen O'Neillat Collins, by Frank Weimann of The Literary Group.


Singer-songwriter Shawn Colvin's A FEW SMALL REPAIRS, to Mary EllenO'Neill at Collins, for publication in fall 2009, by Kirsten Neuhaus atVigliano Associates.


SPRING AWAKENING: In the Flesh, the official companion to the Broadway musical, with photographs, handwritten drafts of hit songs, original sketches of costumes and sets, and an annotated, unabridged libretto to Jennifer Bergstrom at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, with Cara Bedick editing, for publication in September 2008, to tie into the launch of the national tour, by Holly Rothman at Melcher Media (NA),


Ben Thompson's BADASS, an onslaught of warlords, vikings, samurai,pirates, and military commanders, based on his website which gives the warriors of history a pulpfiction-style makeover, to Matthew Benjamin at Collins, by Farley Chase at the Waxman Literary Agency (NA).


If US is no longer a Republic, what are we?....

From Information Clearing House:

'The US is Not a Republic Anymore'

An interview with Gore Vidal by Afshin Rattansi

The president and little Mr. Gonzales who for a few minutes was his Attorney General. They managed to get rid of all of the constitutional links that made us literally a republic.

[Use link above to continue reading]


War..Gone from killing to murder...

From Tom Dispatch:

Collateral DamageWhat It Really Means When America Goes to War
By Chris Hedges

Troops, when they battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in "atrocity producing situations." Being surrounded by a hostile population makes simple acts, such as going to a store to buy a can of Coke, dangerous. The fear and stress push troops to view everyone around them as the enemy. The hostility is compounded when the enemy, as in Iraq, is elusive, shadowy and hard to find. The rage soldiers feel after a roadside bomb explodes, killing or maiming their comrades, is one that is easily directed, over time, to innocent civilians who are seen to support the insurgents.

Civilians and combatants, in the eyes of the beleaguered troops, merge into one entity. These civilians, who rarely interact with soldiers or Marines, are to most of the occupation troops in Iraq nameless, faceless, and easily turned into abstractions of hate. They are dismissed as less than human. It is a short psychological leap, but a massive moral leap. It is a leap from killing -- the shooting of someone who has the capacity to do you harm -- to murder -- the deadly assault against someone who cannot harm you.

The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder...

[Use link above to continue reading]


Security clearance investigations...

From Secrecy News:


The Director of National Intelligence will oversee security clearance investigations and related policies on access to classified information for all federal agencies, according to an executive order issued yesterday by President Bush.

The move appears to significantly augment the authority of the DNI since it extends his reach to personnel policies and security clearances that are unrelated to intelligence information.

"The Director of National Intelligence ... shall direct the oversight of investigations and determinations of eligibility for access to classified information or eligibility to hold a sensitive position made by any agency," the order stated. (A "sensitive position," as defined in a 1953 executive order, is one whose "occupant ... could bring about, by virtue of the nature of the position, a material adverse effect on the national security.")

The DNI was made "responsible for developing uniform and consistent policies and procedures" for security clearance investigations and adjudications government-wide.

The new executive order also reiterates the familiar requirement of security clearance "reciprocity," i.e. that "background investigations and adjudications shall be mutually and reciprocally accepted by allagencies."

Illustrating why this requirement has never been satisfactorily implemented, the new order firmly prohibits agencies from imposing their own additional security requirements but then, in the very same sentence, allows exceptions for polygraph testing or, more generally,"to protect national security."

See "Reforming Processes Related to Suitability for GovernmentEmployment, Fitness for Contractor Employees, and Eligibility for Access to Classified National Security Information," Executive Order13467, June 30, 2008: