Sunday, November 30, 2008

Meticulous plan for Mumbai attack...

From Levine Breaking News:


Ten terrorists dedicated to fighting for an independent Kashmir were selected for an operation from which they were likely never to return. The tactics were relatively simple: to strike at multiple targets while simultaneously slaughtering as many civilians as possible before going "static" in three of the locations within the city.

But such a plan would require a year of planning, reconnaissance, the covert acquisition of ships and speed boats as well as the forward basing of weapons and ammunition secretly hidden inside at least one hotel. Nothing would be left to chance. Even the times of the tides were checked and rechecked to ensure that the terrorists would be able to arrive when their first target, the Caf Leopold, was full of unsuspecting tourists enjoying the balmy Bombay (Mumbai) evening.


Friday, November 28, 2008

For 2009 & 2010..Films and Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


23-year-old New Zealander and Iowa MFA student Eleanor Catton's debut THE REHEARSAL, to Reagan Arthur at Reagan Arthur Books, in a pre-empt, reportedly in a six-figure deal, by Granta.

Emily Gray Tedrowe's COMMUTERS, which explores the complex intertwining of love, family and class through its depiction of the shock waves caused by the marriage of one middle-class family's 78-year-old matriarch to a wealthy 81-year-old outsider, to Claire Wachtel at Harper, by Alice Tasman at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency (NA).


Gyles Brandreth's next three untitled Oscar Wilde Mysteries, featuring Oscar Wilde as the sleuth aided by his real-life friend Arthur Conan Doyle, to Trish Lande Grader at Touchstone Fireside, for publication in 2010, by Ed Victor (NA).


Sam Eastland's THE EYE OF THE RED TSAR, for a series featuring a Finnish agent, once Chief Inspector, confident and 'eye' of Tsar Nicholas II; set in 1929 and the agent is released from Gulag under mysterious circumstances to complete a special assignment for the new red Tsar, Stalin, to Kate Miciak at Bantam Dell, by Jason Cooper at Faber and Faber (US).


Bestselling author of THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER Kathleen Kent's THE GIANT OF EDGEHILL, a dramatic love story set during the English civil war and early colonial America, again to Reagan Arthur at Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown, in a significant deal, by Julie Barer at Barer Literary (NA).


Film rights to Nicholas Sparks' THE LUCKY ONE, to Warner Bros., reportedly for seven-figures, for producer Denise Di Novi (who also produced Nights in Rodanthe, A Walk to Remember and Message in a Bottle).

Amy Kathleen Ryan's YA novel VIBES, to MGM, with Lynda Obst and Marc Rosen of Rosen-Obst producing, and Tiffany Paulsen ("Nancy Drew") adapting, by Kathleen Anderson at Anderson Literary Management.

Marcus Sakey's AT THE CITY'S EDGE, optioned to Hollywood Gang and Film 360 for Ric Waugh (FELON) to direct and Gianni Nunnari (THE DEPARTED, SE7EN) to produce, by Sarah Self at The Gersh Agency, on behalf of Scott Miller at Trident Media Group.



Boston Globe reporter Sally Jacobs's THE OTHER BARACK, an account of Barack Obama's father, Barack Obama Sr., who was part of the pioneering post-colonial African generation that came to the US on its own terms, excelled in its colleges and universities, and then returned to run and reshape their home countries; examining the forces that propelled the elder Obama throughout his life and probing the elements that bred within him and his son an ambition far beyond their humble beginnings, to Clive Priddle at Public Affairs, by Jill Kneerim at Kneerim & Williams (world).


NBCC award-winner (WAR IS A FORCE THAT GIVES US MEANING) and former NYT correspondent Chris Hedges' THE END OF NEWS, examining the decline of the newspaper industry; its impact on American journalism and the very real consequences to democracy, to Jonathan Segal at Knopf, by Lisa Bankoff at ICM (World).

NYT art critic Benjamin Genocchio's THE CUPCAKE: FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT AND THE CREATION OF THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, a behind-the-scenes account of how the architect Frank Lloyd Wright staked his reputation on a radically creative vision for New York's Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and waged innumerable battles over seventeen years to complete the museum on his own terms, in the process reinventing the idea of the museum itself, to Paul Golob at Times Books, by David Forrer of Inkwell Management (world).

Runway coach and America's Next Top Model judge J. Alexander's FOLLOW THE MODEL: Miss J's Guide to Unleashing Presence, Poise, and Power, offering inspiring advice, life lessons, and self-esteem coaching for all women, backed with his own colorful anecdotes, to Patrick Price at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, for publication in Fall 2009, by Mel Berger at William Morris Agency (World English).


Author and editor-in-chief of women's magazines (including Mademoiselle and Cosmopolitan UK) Mandi Norwood's untitled Michelle Obama Style Guide, including design sketches and tips on how to achieve Obama's iconic style, to Carrie Feron at Avon A, for publication in spring 2009 as a four-color trade paperback.


Peter Von Ziegesar's untitled family memoir of the author's early years, lived in the wealthy and privileged enclaves of the northeast, and his adulthood, lived in connection with his half-brother - also named "Peter" - a homeless schizophrenic man who was a violin prodigy as a child, to Michael Flamini at St. Martin's, at auction, by David Kuhn at Kuhn Projects (world).


THE GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO PREGNANCY author Vicki Iovine's THE GIRLFRIENDS' GUIDE TO TEENAGERS, to Kathy Sagan at Pocket, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group.

Actor/comedian George Wendt's celebration of beer, an ode to his favorite drink, to Tricia Boczkowski at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, for publication in fall 2009, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group (world).


Billy, the Kid's Grave....

From The New York Times Review of Books:

'Lucky Billy'

A fictionalized account of the short life and squalid death of Henry McCarty, a k a Billy the Kid.
Vernon cleverly ends with a real newspaper clipping from the Santa Fe Weekly Democrat, the sort of overheated nonsense that helped propel McCarty into myth: “Billy the Kid . . . will no more take aim at his fellow man and kill him, just to keep himself in practice.”


Driving across country from northern Illinois to San Diego, I made a detour in a rather desolate part of New Mexico to an even more desolate place...Billy, The Kid's grave.

Drove down a gravel road, lined on one side by a row of scraggly cottonwood trees. And after a bit, passed a weathered building. Then came a barbed wire fence, knocked down in some areas, that surrounded a very very old western cemetery. Tumbleweeds rolled over the old graves, sort of leapt over the fallen down fence and road. Parked the car, got out, stepped over the fence and walked past leaning wooden crosses, some stone markers, and to the center of the cemetery.

There, three gravestones sat side-by-side, covered by a cement blanket. In the center lay Billy, the Kid's final resting place. The men on each side of him were, it's said, friends of his. Billy lived a short, lonely life and in death, he could not have lain in a more lonely, forgotten location.

And there he lays still. I wonder if, sometimes, others ever visit him.


Revenge or greed...both kill...

Good gawd! Nobody in San Diego should try to get anywhere near Fashion Valley today. I had to drive Fashion Valley Rd to get to Friars Rd after lunch today. Now consider that it's a short drive to Friars Rd using that route. And shouldn't take so long to pass the three entrances to Fashion Valley shopping mall that are on Friars Rd. 45 minutes! Jam packed. People coming from the opposite direction made left turns in the mall, and the entrance was so full that at least three or four cars had to wait...which left them completely blocking Friars Rd traffic at every one of the 3 lights. So don't go there.

And in a Toys R Us store in Palm Desert, two young guys started firing guns. Turned out to be a murder-suicide...and just scared the hell out of everybody inside the store. Add that to the Wall Mart disaster on Long Island, NY where the waiting 5AM!!!...tore the door down which smashed the poor young Wal Mart employee to death, trampled a pregnant woman who then had a miscarriage. Just inexcusable. And I'm not about to try and analyze that kind of crowd behavior other than to say it was totally wrong. The whole damned mess of them should go straight to jail for their selfishness and lack of consideration for others. Toxic people. The whole mess of them.

But a good thing today too. Had lunch with a writer friend. Acapulco Restaurant, where I breakfast during the week, didn't open today until 11AM. So the chef took pity on me and fixed my usual eggs and toast, bless his heart. This is a dinner chef, mind you, and he is definitely not a breakfast cook. He can't scramble eggs to save his soul. Oh, he thinks he's scrambling them, but the real breakfast cook sends them out ever so fluffy, cheese melted on top. The poor chef does his best every Friday, but they come out looking like tiny pieces of popcorn with the cheese just sprinkled on top..and not much of it either. Not melted. He is forgiven because he cooked mine when breakfast wasn't being served.

And then there's the situation in Mombai. I'm comparing them with those Wal Mart shoppers...and what would the difference be if the shoppers had had guns? Just how far would they have gone, I wonder, to get to those sales items? Revenge or greed. Both lead to seriously bad behavior. Joy to the world, indeed.


Thursday, November 27, 2008

T-Day Dinner in the Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego...

Sounds as tho it's been a super Thanksgiving Day for my fellow writers. Well, almost. One had a pretty lousy morning what with a son suddenly sick..on this day of all days...and who threw up twice on his bed. And a new puppy that used the living room as his commode. Good thing there weren't more than nine people coming for dinner.

Then there's my brother back in Illinois who, a few years ago, told his wife, "Enough with you spending the day in the kitchen while everyone else is having a great time in the living room." He meant it too. From then on, as they did today, they went to a favorite cafe for dinner.

Here, three of us met downtown in San Diego in the Gaslamp Quarter on Fifth Ave to eat Italian at Chianti's. So the first thing was the special of the day...a full turkey dinner! No matter, we all chose to eat Italian anyway. Well, almost Italian. I topped my meal off with pumpkin pie. Which they drizzled with chocolate! And since I'm a smoker, we sat, as always, at their sidewalk cafe where the people watching is superb.

And here came a rather hefty woman down the sidewalk who tucked her thumbs in her armpits and moved her arms up and down like wings, all the while saying, "Gobble, gobble, gobble! Can you spare any money?" Passed by three times, she did.

I do love the sidewalk cafes in the Gaslamp Quarter downtown.

Also this weekend, at the San Diego Convention Center, will be National Geographic...their annual sale. 30 to 90% off on books, gifts, and apparel. That sale is HUGE. No idea how many halls they take up but it can take a couple of hours at least for a fast look at everything. And no admittance. It's free and open to the public. Talk about early Christmas shopping!

All in all, a really good Thanksgiving. Hope all had the same.


Monday, November 24, 2008

And the Readers Digest We Know Bites the Dust...

From Levine Breaking News:


Mary Berner hates the musical chimes that have played for decades in the Readers Digest Association headquarters. She asked about replacing the 1950s elevator music, she says, with rock n roll, but she settled for updating the tunes, and the next step is we get rid of the chimes.

Ms. Berner has been a jolt to the system for this stodgiest of media companies since she became chief executive in a private equity takeover 20 months ago. She has replaced executives, sold unprofitable businesses and even set out to change the companys name, shaking it up any way she can. Most important, the company is taking risks, starting dozens of new magazines at a time when its peers are contracting.

One of the biggest new ventures, to be announced Monday, is a multimedia partnership with Rick Warren, the renowned minister and author, hoping to tap into the vast audience for his book The Purpose Driven Life. Together, they are creating a Christian membership organization, The Purpose Driven Connection, built on Mr. Warrens call to faith and charitable work. Paying members will receive a quarterly magazine edited by Mr. Warren, with DVDs and pull-out study guides in each issue, and access to a social networking Web site.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bush leaving scientific wreckage behind...

From The Washington Post via

Top Scientist Rails Against Bush Hirings

Juliet Eilperin and Carol D. Leonnig, The Washington Post: "The president of the nation's largest general science organization yesterday sharply criticized recent cases of Bush administration political appointees gaining permanent federal jobs with responsibility for making or administering scientific policies, saying the result would be 'to leave wreckage behind.'"

[Use link above to continue reading]


Obama making changes before he's in office...

From The LA Times via

Obama Taking Action Before Taking Office

Peter Wallsten, The Los Angeles Times: "With a series of forceful actions in recent days, amid an almost unprecedented set of challenges, Barack Obama has taken an unusual step for a president-elect: attempting to alter the country's perilous course even before he takes office."

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Peruvians want Bush to get outta their country....

From Information Clearing House:

Bush out': APEC protesters blame Bush for global crisis:

Protesters have demanded that US President George W Bush get out of Peru where he is attending an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, blaming him for the world economic crisis.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Atty General Mukasey goes down...

From Levine Breaking News:


Attorney General Michael Mukasey collapsed during a speech Thursday night and was being taken to a hospital. Associate Attorney General Kevin O'Connor said Mukasey began shaking while addressing the Federalist Society at a Washington hotel.

"He just started shaking and he collapsed," O'Connor said. "They're very concerned." O'Connor said he did not know whether Mukasey, 67, had regained consciousness."


Former SEAL Lt Com. Mike Lumpkin ....

Really wanted to see Mike elected to the US Senate to take retiring Sen Duncan Hunter, Sr, but it was not to be. Noticed Mike has a Facebook page, and was honored to see I was listed as one of his friends.

Think that may be because I co-authored "Men In Green Faces". Be great to speak with him. My email is on this site, so perhaps he'll see this post and email me and I can thank him personally.


A Real Mish-Mash of Upcoming Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Tea Obreht's THE TIGER'S WIFE, set in war-torn Yugoslavia, where a youngdoctor strives to unravel the mystery of her grandfather's death, and tounderstand why, in his last days, he went looking for a mythical figurecalled "the Deathless Man," to Noah Eaker at Dial Press, at auction, bySeth Fishman at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).

Craig Larsen's MANIA, examining the nature of memory, wherein a youngphotographer begins to lose his grip on reality after witnessing thebrutal and seemingly random murder of his brother, to Michaela Hamiltonat Kensington, in a very nice deal, in a two-book deal, by Frank Weimannat The Literary Group.


NYT bestselling author Angela Knight's sixth MAGEVERSE novel, in whichKing Arthur and his immortal vampire Knights of the Round Table try tosave modern humanity from self-destruction, to Cindy Hwang at Berkley, in a three-book deal, by Roberta Brown of the Brown Literary Agency.


Ron Rash's THE INNOCENTS, set during World War I about a deserter taken in by a young Appalachian woman who knows nothing of his past, and NIGHTHAWKS AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of stories, to Lee Boudreaux at Ecco, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

Jennifer Archer's CLICK, the story of a sixteen-year-old girl who, aftera brutal beating by classmates and subsequent stint in a psychiatricward, escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems shefinds hidden in a cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and worldof a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier, toSarah Sevier at Harper, in a two-book deal, by Jenny Bent at TridentMedia Group (NA).



Louise Knight's JANE ADDAMS: A LIFE, the life story (1860-1935) of oneof America's most admired and effective reform leaders whose classicTWENTY YEARS AT HULL HOUSE has been in print for 100 years, to AmyCherry at Norton, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2010 on the150th anniversary of her birth, by Tracy Brown at Tracy Brown LiteraryAgency (NA).Foreign:


NYT bestselling author of The Trillion Dollar Meltdown Charles Morris'sTHE SAGES: Warren Buffett, George Soros, Paul Volcker, and the Maelstromof Markets, examining the perspectives and principles of three pillarsof the financial community -- those who forecast the current crisis andwhose judgments will help shape the recovery, to Lindsay Jones at PublicAffairs, by Tim Seldes at Russell & Volkening (world).

CNN chief business correspondent Ali Velshi's GIMME MY MONEY BACK: TheFinancial Crisis and What YOU Can Do About It, a useable action plan fordetermining your position in the economic mess, regaining what you'velost, and ensuring you're not vulnerable going forward, to RachelTrusheim at Sterling & Ross, for publication December 2008 (World).


Statistician and founder Nate Silver's two books,one said to be pitched as "a Freakonomics-style guide to the mechanicsof electoral politics" and the other on the art of prediction, toPenguin Group, at auction, by Sydelle Kramer at the Susan Rabiner Literary Agency.

NBC News political director Chuck Todd and Sheldon Gawiser's HOW BARACKOBAMA WON: A State-by-State Guide to the Historic 2008 PresidentialElection, to Erroll McDonald at Pantheon, for publication as a Vintagepaperback before Inauguration Day 2009, by Matthew Carnicelli atCarnicelli Literary Management (world).


Actress and comedian Susie Essman's WHAT WOULD SUSIE SAY?, drawn from alifetime of dispensing advice (solicited or not) as Susie Essman andSusie Green, her alter ego from the HBO comedy series Curb YourEnthusiasm -- both of whom are known for taking no prisoners and cuttingthe crap -- on a range of topics including sex, hypochondria, dogs,sports, comedy and the perils of step-parenthood, to Kerri Kolen atSimon & Schuster, by Lydia Wills of Paradigm and Lee Kernis ofBrillstein Entertainment Partners.


Twelve-time All Star for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York MetsMike Piazza's autobiography, following his retirement at the end of the2008 season, discussing everything from the 2000 World Series incidentwhen Roger Clemens threw a shattered bat at Piazza, and the pressconference he held to deny rumors that he was gay to his tumultuousrelationships with the Los Angeles Dodgers, their front office and TommyLasorda, and more, to Bob Bender at Simon & Schuster, for publication in2010, by David Black at David Black Literary Agency and sports agent DanLozano.

Gore Vidal's illustrated memoir, combining personal reflections with asocial history of the twentieth century, with never-before-seen imagesof political and cultural icons from Vidal's personal collectionincluding the Kennedys, Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Paul Newman,plus mementos, documents, photos, personal correspondence withcelebrities, fan letters, party lists, campaign materials from his forayinto politics, and drafts from his most famous works, and Vanity Fairphoto editor Ann Schneider overseeing image research and selection, toDeborah Aaronson at Abrams, for publication in fall 2009, by RichardMorris at Janklow & Nesbit.

Author of the critically-acclaimed EPILOGUE Anne Roiphe's ART ANDMADNESS, a first-person account of the cultural drama of midcentury NewYork, a record of the lost years when she confused fame with art and artwith love amid the circle of magnetic male artists of the period withwhom she associated and was sometimes intimate - Larry Rivers, DylanThomas, William Styron, George Plimpton, Norman Mailer, Terry Southern,to Nan Talese at Nan A. Talese, by Lisa Bankoff at ICM (NA).

Co-founder of the Blackstone Group, philanthropist and former Secretaryof Commerce Pete Peterson's autobiography CONFESSIONS OF AN AMERICANDREAMER, to Jonathan Karp at Twelve, at auction, for publication in June2009 (the manuscript is already completed) by Andrew Wylie at The WylieAgency (NA).

Note: Watch for these books by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom:
"BLACKOUT" Coming JANUARY 09 from Silhouette Nocturne Bites.
What could a Dade Country Deputy D.A. and a female cop rising through the ranks have in common when they meet on a deserted side sreet in Miami, half naked?

Transitions. Humans morphing into darker things . ..

"TRANSITIONS." A new series.

Book one: "Blackout" - January 09
Book two: "Wolf Bait" - February 09


Bush Admin people are told, DON'T!!!

From Secrecy News:


Government officials were reminded recently that as they depart from government service with the end of the current Administration, they are not permitted to take classified information with them.

"Classified information is not personal property and may not be removed from the Government's control by any departing official or employee. This includes 'extra'copies."

That timely warning (pdf) was issued by William J. Bosanko, the director of the Information Security Oversight Office, which oversees the national security classification system.

"This prohibition applies to all cleared officials and employees, regardless of type or level of position," Mr. Bosanko wrote in a November 17 ISOO memorandum to senior executive branch agency officials.

Document removal is among the most pernicious forms of secrecy, as it is often undetected and irreversible.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Voting is still a mess...

From National Journal via

The Morning After, Voting Problems Remain

David Herbert, National Journal: "Anyone walking through Election Protection's headquarters on Nov. 4 could have been forgiven for thinking the invasion of a small country was under way rather than an election. Dozens of volunteers fielded calls from harassed or confused voters in a command center complete with a 20-foot-high wall of digital maps and statistics. Upstairs, teams of lawyers hunched around conference tables littered with soda cans and cups of cold coffee, working the phones and dispatching legal teams to troubled polling stations ..."

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Hillary says Yes!!!

From Levine Breaking News:


Hillary Clinton plans to accept the job of secretary of state offered by Barack Obama, who is reaching out to former rivals to build a broad coalition administration.


Cook knows finances back and forth..Turn him loose..

From Information Clearing House:

The G-20 Economic Summit Won't Change the "Financial Crime Scene"

By Richard C. Cook

I worked in the U.S. Treasury Department for 21 years and learned first-hand the history and operations of public finance in the U.S. I have seen the disastrous results of the debt-based financial system and how it has driven our nation, government, and people into bankruptcy.

I have also seen how these simple measures of monetary reform would be easy to implement and would begin to turn the situation around within weeks or months.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

The World Phones Obama....

From The International Herald Tribune:

Welcome to our world, Mr. President-elect
By Helene Cooper
Published: November 13, 2008

WASHINGTON: The Russians want him to hold off on installing a missile defense shield in Poland. The Europeans want him to renounce the idea of "regime change" when it comes to Iran, while the Israelis want to be sure he does not give Iran a pass when it comes to nuclear weapons.
The Taliban also issued a statement this week urging him to "put an end to all the policies being followed by his Opposition Party, the Republicans, and pull out U.S. troops from Afghanistan and Iraq."

There is a world of advice out there for President-elect Barack Obama. Within minutes of his election Nov. 4, the calls from foreign governments began, Obama aides say, and have still not stopped.

While the first telephone exchanges between Obama and foreign leaders have been limited to pledges of future cooperation and invitations to visit, those leaders and their underlings have also been targeting Obama's advisers and their surrogates with suggestions for how the Obama administration should conduct, and change, American foreign policy.

There are also signs that some foreign governments are moving to alter the playing field even before Obama takes office in January.

[Use link above to continue reading]


ACLU commends Obama & Biden...

From :

ACLU Commends Obama-Biden Ban on Discrimination Against LGBT Applicants for Jobs in the New Administration (11/7/2008)
Transition Protects Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in New Administration's Non-Discrimination Policy


WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union commends the Obama-Biden Transition team for including sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy as it prepares to assume power in January. Although President Bill Clinton signed Executive Order 11478, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, there are no explicit federal protections from gender identity bias in government hiring.

The following may be attributed to Christopher E. Anders, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel:
"As the new Administration gears up, it should be focused on hiring the best people for the job. By including sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy, the Obama-Biden transition team makes clear that it will focus on the relevant qualities that actually predict an applicant's success on the job – professional experience, character, skills and education.

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden, by explicitly rejecting the bigotry and intolerance of the past, are committing that gay, lesbian, and transgender professionals can serve in government without fear of discrimination. This is a critical next step in securing the basic rights of LGBT community.

"The inclusion of gender identity is a bold departure from the past – and it sends a clear message. The ACLU recommends that President-Elect Obama follow up by 1) banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in federal contracting and 2) urge Congress to pass a gender-identity inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA)."

The Obama-Biden Transition Non-Discrimination Policy can be viewed at

To learn more about the ACLU's Transition Plan: Actions for Restoring America, go to:


Friday, November 14, 2008

From al Qaeda to Obama's barber...

From The Progress Report:

Think Fast....

CIA Director Michael Hayden said yesterday that al Qaeda remains the greatest threat to the United States. "but Iraq is no longer the central front" in the broader struggle against terrorism. He added that "its leaders are building closer ties to regional militant groups in order to launch attacks in Africa and Europe and on the Arabian Peninsula."

Some Republican governors were not happy about yesterday's Palin-centric press conference, at the Republican Governors Association. "One called it awkward," CNN reports, while another described the event as "odd" and "weird," and said it "unfortunately sent a message that she was the de facto leader of the party."

Yesterday, Rahm Emanuel -- the incoming White House chief of staff -- apologized for his father's remarks against Arabs. Emanuel called Mary Rose Oakar, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, to apologize on behalf of his family and offered to meet with representatives of the Arab-American community at an appropriate time in the future.

"The number of U.S. workers drawing jobless benefits hit a 25-year high this month." The Labor Department said jobless claims rose "by an unexpectedly steep 32,000 last week to 516,000, the highest since the weeks following the September 11, 2001 attacks."
Foreclosures in October rose 25 percent from last year, according to RealtyTrac, meaning "one in every 452 U.S. housing units received a foreclosure filing" last month. Meanwhile, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released a plan to prevent 1.5 million foreclosures by offering financial incentives to companies that agree to sharply reduce monthly payments on mortgage loans.

Democratic congressional leaders appeared to concede yesterday that "they would face potentially insurmountable Republican opposition" to a proposed $25 billion auto industry bailout when they meet for a lame-duck session next week.

PhRMA, the nation's largest pharmaceutical lobbying group, "is preparing a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to tout the importance of free-market health care and undercut an expected push by the Obama administration for price controls of prescription drugs."

Judge Barbara L. Neilson of Minnesota threw out a lawsuit Thursday against Al Franken by Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN). Coleman claimed Franken defamed him by calling him the "fourth most corrupt" senator, according to CREW. Franken's reference of CREW was "substantially accurate, if not literally true," according to Nielson.

And finally: The New York Times reports on how life for the Obama family has "changed forever." For example, for the past 14 years, Barack Obama has been going to the same barber at the Hyde Park Hair Salon. "But when he wanted a trim this week, the Secret Service took one look at the shop's large plate-glass windows and the gawking tourists eager for a glimpse of the president-elect and the plan quickly changed. If Mr. Obama could no longer come to the barber, the barber would come to him and cut his hair at a friend's apartment."


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Obama to Rushdie...New books coming...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Sujatha Hampton's EVERMORE, the saga of a sprawling Indian-American family and the dizzying journey that unfolds when men and women, Hindus and Catholics, histories and curses, collide, to Karyn Marcus at Thomas Dunne Books, for publication in Winter 2010, by Sally Wofford-Girand at Brickhouse Literary (World English).

Simon Lelic's RUPTURE, to Kathryn Court at Viking, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Caroline Wood at the Felicity Bryan Agency (NA).


Tammy Kling and John Spencer Ellis's THE COMPASS, an inspirational novel, with a companion film on the way next year, about a disconsolate man's journey into the wild, a metaphor for the journey of life in which specific people and circumstances lead you towards your destiny, to Roger Cooper of Vanguard Press, for publication in May 2009, by Peter Miller and Adrienne Rosado at PMA Literary & Film Management (NA).Rights to Mondadori in Italy; Ediouro in Brazil, Modan in Israel, Lua de Papel in Portugal; and Paradigma in Holland.


Nobel winner Gustave Le Clezio's 1965 book THE INTERROGATION, originally published in the US by Atheneum, to David Rosenthal at Simon & Schuster, for publication later in 2008, by Anne-Solange Noble at Gallimard.

Maria Angels Anglada's A VIOLIN IN AUSCHWITZ, a touching story that, like the recent international best-seller book, "The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas", by John Boyne, talks about dignity and one person's resistance in the face of the most terrible adversity, to Nita Taublib at Bantam Dell, in a nice deal, for publication in 2009, by Joachim De Nys at Pontas Literary & Film Agency (World English).

NYT bestselling fiction author Neil Gaiman's nonfiction book MONKEY AND ME: CHINA AND THE JOURNEY TO THE WEST, inspired by the classical 16th century Chinese text Journey to the West, again to Jennifer Brehl at William Morrow, plus two more nonfiction books that "will focus on subjects that have been explored over the years on Gaiman's popular blog, by Merrilee Heifetz of Writers House (world English; Chinese).


Salman Rushdie's MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN, to Deepa Mehta (Water), who will direct and co-adapt with the author, set to start production in 2010.


Author of How Starbucks Saved My Life Michael Gates Gill's HOW YOU CAN SAVE YOUR OWN LIFE, simple life lessons for how to live a life you love at any time, based on the author's own experiences of finding true happiness after his fall from a world of privilege, to Bill Shinker at Gotham, with Jessica Sindler editing, by Gillian MacKenzie at the Gillian MacKenzie Agency (world).


Professor at Wilkes University, J. Michael Lennon's authorized biography of Norman Mailer, by this longtime friend of the late author, personally chosen by him as official biographer (he co-authored On God: An Uncommon Conversation with Mailer and is president of The Norman Mailer Society), working with the cooperation of the Mailer estate, and based in part on extensive interviews with Mailer over the past several years, as well as access to Mailer's unpublished archives and correspondence at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, to David Rosenthal at Simon & Schuster, with Bob Bender editing, by John Taylor "Ike" Williams at Kneerim & Williams (world).

Senior research fellow at London's Science Museum Graham Farmelo's THE STRANGEST MAN, a biography of Paul Dirac, revealing the previously unknown story of the pathologically reticent genius who became the youngest theoretician to ever win the Nobel Prize in Physics, to Lara Heimert at Basic, by Jason Cooper at Faber (NA).


MONEYBALL and THE BLIND SIDE author Michael Lewis's untitled behind-the-scenes story of a few men and women who foresaw the current economic disaster, tried to prevent it, but were overruled by the financial institutions with whom they worked, to Star Lawrence at Norton, by Al Zuckerman at Writers House (NA).


Middle East expert and author of THE NEW IRAQ Joseph Braude's account of his unprecedented embed-style access to a unit of the Casablanca federal police where he encounters a local murder that illuminates the inner world of a front-line Arab society, its enemies, and its enforcers, as well as a post 9/11 tale of the meaning of global security in the 21st century, to Chris Jackson at Spiegel & Grau, by Lydia Wills at Paradigm (world).

Newsweek reporter Richard Wolffe's RENEGADE: The Education of Barack Obama, based on his reporting on Obama since hitting the campaign trail with him from February 2007 on plus interview with Obama and his aides and friends, to Sean Desmond at Crown, by Kris Dahl at ICM.


Olympic Gold Medalist in wrestling Henry Cejudo's THE AMERICANO DREAM, an inspirational memoir about the son of Mexican illegal immigrants and the determination and drive against all odds that took Cejudo to the Beijing Olympics, to Raymond Garcia and Laura Perciasepe at Celebra, by Lydia Wills at Paradigm (World).

French-Colombian politician, former senator and political activist, kidnapped in 2002 while campaigning for the Colombian presidency and held captive for six years, Ingrid Betancourt's memoir, to Ann Goddoff at Penguin Press, by Susanna Lea at Susanna Lea Associates (US).


Graham Bowley's THE CRUEL GODDESS: Life and Death on K 2, elaborating on his front page NYT story about the climbing disaster in August 2008 that killed 11 out of 30 climbers on their quest to conquer the most challenging mountain in the world, to Gillian Blake at Collins, for publication in Fall 2010, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency (NA).


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some noteworthy reports re. Science & Technology

From Secrecy News:


The Congressional Research Service, which does not make its publications directly available to the public, has recently issued or updated several noteworthy reports. The following CRS reports obtained by Secrecy News have not previously been made available online (all pdf).

"The President's Office of Science and Technology Policy: Issues for Congress," November 10, 2008 (40 pages).

"Human Rights in China: Trends and Policy Implications," October 31, 2008 (38 pages).

"Privacy: An Overview of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping," updated September 2, 2008 (164 pages).

"Privacy: An Abbreviated Outline of Federal Statutes Governing Wiretapping and Electronic Eavesdropping," updated September 2, 2008 (6 pages).

"North Korea: Terrorism List Removal?," updated November 6, 2008 (36 pages).

"Statutory Interpretation: General Principles and Recent Trends," updated August 31, 2008
(55 pages).


Patrick Fitzgerald...What now?

From Buzzflash:

Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald: Will He Be Re-appointed, Promoted, or Let Go? Live From Chicago, It’s!
Submitted by mark karlin on Wed, 11/12/2008 - 7:27am.

Patrick Fitzgerald, DOJ Special Counsel for PlameGate, came within a hair of indicting Vice-President Dick Cheney and Karl Rove. He was relentless and the model of integrity in pursuing the prosecution of "Scooter" Libby.

Many political junkies forget, however, that his job as PlameGate Special Counsel was really a moonlighting position for his ongoing role as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. And rest assured that Fitzgerald, a legendary workaholic and the son of a New York doorman, is still punching a 24-hour a day time card in his role as lead DOJ prosecutor in the Land of Lincoln.

[Use link above to continue reading}


Monday, November 10, 2008

Now fake documents re. Iran...Not too swift.

From Information Clearing House:

Documents linking Iran to nuclear weapons push may have been fabricated:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained evidence suggesting that documents which have been described as technical studies for a secret Iranian nuclear
weapons-related research program may have been fabricated.

[Use link above to continue reading]


By Satellite: We all see you!!!

From Secrecy News:


As the quality and availability of commercial satellite imagery continue to improve, the technology is adding a new dimension to public understanding of world events, while both enhancing and challenging national and global security.

"Last month, the most powerful commercial satellite in history sent its first pictures back to Earth, and another with similar capabilities is set for launch in mid-2009," wrote Peter Eisler in USA Today last week. "The imagery provided by those and other commercial satellites has transformed global security in fundamental ways, forcing even the most powerful nations to hide facilities and activities that are visible not only to rival nations, but even to their own citizens."

See "Google Earth helps yet worries government, " November 7.

Iraqi insurgents, among other non-state actors, have also taken advantage of the new capabilities offered by satellite imagery. A 2006 dispatch prepared by the DNI Open Source Center (first reported by USA Today) documented "the use of Google Earth for tactical planning of rocket attacks against U.S. military targets in Iraq."

See "Iraqi Insurgency Group Utilizes Google Earth for Attack Planning," July 19, 2006.

A newly disclosed GeoEye commercial satellite image of the site of a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at Al Kibar that was taken on November 23, 2007, some two months after it was bombed by Israel on September 6, 2007, shows rather rapid reconstruction of the destroyed facility."I'd say it confirms that the Syrians were in a really big hurry to get the site covered up," said Allen Thomson, a former CIA analyst who has studied the case.

"The previously available DigitalGlobe picture of 24 October 2007 showed only a mound of dirt. By a month later (the GeoEye pic), what appears to be a thick slab (you can see that it casts a shadow) was in place. And January 11 imagery shows the new building up and the roof in place."

The new image was released last week courtesy of GeoEye / Space Imaging Middle East. It appears on page 1170 of an extensive open source compilation (large pdf) on the Israeli Strike in Syria prepared by Mr. Thomson.


Thursday, November 06, 2008

Another selection of books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Susan Gilbert-Collins's COOKING WITH THE INSECURE CHEF, about a young woman who returns home after her mother's sudden death and plants herself in the family kitchen, where she pieces together the last issue of her mother's mail-order cooking newsletter while she tries to cook up a whole new life, to Trish Lande Grader at Touchstone Fireside, by Molly Lyons at Joelle Delbourgo Associates.


Charles Todd's A DUTY TO THE DEAD, set during WWI and featuring Bess Crawford, a battlefield nurse whose promise to a dying soldier puts her at the heart of his family's tragic and murderous past, to Carolyn Marino at William Morrow, in a two-book deal, for publication in September 2009, by Jane Chelius at Jane Chelius Literary Agency (World).

Danny Tobey's SOME RISE BY SIN, about a young student at the nation's most exclusive law school whose involvement in a social club and its elite, enigmatic members comes with dangerous repercussions, to Emily Bestler at Atria, in a two-book deal, by Jodi Reamer at Writers House (world).


Paula Reed's HESTER, as cryptically alluded to in the conclusion of Hawthorne's classic The Scarlet Letter, the story of what happens to Hester Prynne and little Pearl when they travel to England to find notoriety, intrigue, love, fortune, and social success, but must also face the most formidable Puritan of all, Oliver Cromwell, to Nichole Argyres at St. Martin's, at auction, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency (NA).

Young British "playwright of the moment" (whose Warhorse is sold out at the National Theatre) Nick Stafford's first novel ARMISTICE, about a soldier's death in the last second of WWI, and his grieving fiancee's determination to discover whether he might in fact have been killed in a friendly fire incident, to Jon Riley at Quercus, for publication in spring 2010, by Clare Conville at Conville & Walsh (world).


CNBC anchor and correspondent David Faber's HOUSE OF CARDS: The origins of the Crash, a clear and readable explanation of how the crisis in the housing market developed and why it crippled the world economy, spanning the years from the fall 2001 when cheap money flowed after 9/11 through the current crisis, based on his forthcoming documentary for CNBC of the same name, to Pamela van Giessen at Wiley, by Scott Waxman at the Waxman Literary Agency (World English).


Washington Post reporter Christian Davenport's AS YOU WERE: To Iraq and Back with Black Hawk Battalion of the Virginia National Guard, about five of the men and women the author followed from call-up to war to coming home again to a country far removed from the battles they faced, to Eric Nelson at Wiley, for publication on Memorial Day 2009, by Rafe Sagalyn at The Sagalyn Agency.

Salon columnist Rebecca Traister's BIG GIRLS DON'T CRY: Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Michelle Obama, Tina Fey, and the Year that Changed the Face of Feminism, an enduring, incisive, and often humorous work of social commentary on the unexpected ways the 2008 presidential election brought issues concerning women and power, sexism and feminism to the fore, to Wylie O'Sullivan at Free Press, in a pre-empt, for publication in September 2010, by Linda Loewenthal at the David Black Literary Agency (world).

US Managing Editor of the Financial Times Chrystia Freeland's PLUTOCRATS: The New Global Super-Rich and What their Lives Mean for the Rest of Us, looking at how and why income inequality has surged, principally through the lives of its biggest beneficiaries, considering whether the American Dream is starting to feel out of reach, and asking whether we are at the beginning of a political, and possibly global, backlash, to Ann Godoff at the Penguin Press, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Pat Kavanagh and Caroline Dawnay at United Agents (US).UK rights:


MENDEL'S DAUGHTER author/illustrator Martin Lemelman's BROOKLYN, an elegiac and bittersweet graphic memoir, about the author's childhood in 1950s and 60s Brownsville and the family's ultimate departure in the pivotal year 1968, to Kathy Belden at Bloomsbury, in a pre-empt, by Rob McQuilkin at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin.

Eric Poole's WHERE'S MY WAND, a humorous memoir chronicling the author's childhood years growing up in the suburbs of St. Louis in the 70s, complete with a domineering obsessive-compulsive mother, a best friend with a big heart and no arms, a chain-smoking grandmother who always speaks her mind, and his own fascination with Endora of TV's Bewitched, to Amy Einhorn at Amy Einhorn Books, by Rebecca Oliver at Endeavor (NA).


Cognitive neuroscientists at Northwestern and Drexel Universities Mark Jung-Beeman and John Kounios's book, exploring the nature of creative breakthroughs and "eureka" moments, drawing on the authors' research into brain functioning that allows us, for the first time, to understand the surprising ways in which insight happens, how mental impasses that inhibit problem-solving can be overcome, and how we can learn to deepen our own powers of insight, to Will Murphy at Random House, by Suzanne Gluck at the William Morris Agency (NA).


Obama & government secrecy....

From Secrecy News:


The possibilities for significant changes in government secrecy policy are starting to attract official attention as the presidential transition process begins."I know things are going to change," one executive branch official with national security classification responsibility said this morning. "The folks that are inbound have a keen appreciation for the kind of things that need to occur," the official said.

He noted the role of John Podesta as leader of the transition team. Mr. Podesta, now at the Center for American Progress (where he said he will return after the transition), is a former Clinton White House chief of staff. He played an influential part in the development of the Clinton executive order on classification policy, which generally favored openness and dramatically increased declassification of historical records.

Mr. Podesta testified (pdf) on government secrecy policy before the Senate Judiciary Committee as recently as last September 16, where he presented his own agenda for secrecy reform. His analysis was acute and his critique was eloquent. But many of his recommendations pointed backwards, towards undoing what the Bush Administration has done, rather than to a qualitatively new information security policy.

So, for example, the very first "key recommendation" in Mr. Podesta's testimony was that "The next president should rewrite [President Bush's] Executive Order 13292 to reinstate the provisions of [President Clinton's] Executive Order 12958 that establish a presumption against classification in cases of significant doubt."

But restoring a "presumption against classification in cases of significant doubt" will not accomplish much since executive branch classification officers do not experience significant doubt. There is no record of a single classification decision that was determined by the Clinton-era [and Carter-era] injunction not to classify in cases of doubt. Therefore adding such language back to the executive order on classification is not imperative.

A better starting point would be a systematic review of all of the thousands of agency classification guides, geared towards eliminating obsolete or unnecessary classification instructions. Classification guides are the secrecy system's "software." Revising and updating them would be likely to pay immediate dividends in reduced classification.

Beyond that, there may be a once in a generation opportunity to fundamentally rethink the structure of the national security classification system, and to conceive of something altogether new, different, and better. What that might be remains to be discovered and articulated.

There is an old story of a Russian soldier who saved the life of the czar and was told that as a reward he could have anything he wanted. "Please change my commanding officer!" he begged.

In the coming weeks and months, it should be possible to do a lot better than that.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Obama's lucky numbers...

It occurs to me that Barack Obama will be our 44th president, elected Nov 4th.

When asked, he said his lucky numbers were 4 and 8. So now he has a double 4 and those two 4s add up to 8. And on the 4th of November, 2008 :))) Neat, huh?


Monday, November 03, 2008

Special Forces around nukes...

From Secrecy News:


When an Army aircraft is flying in a zone where detonation of a nuclear explosive is anticipated, one of the pilots would be well advised to wear a patch over one eye to protect against flash blindness from the nuclear burst."This practice allows vision in this eye in case blindness occurs to the unprotected eye and the other pilot."That peculiar bit of practical wisdom was provided in a 2007 U.S. Army manual for special operations forces (pdf) that are operating in nuclear and other WMD environments.

"The United States Special Operations Command combatant commander recognizes the probability of operating in a CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear] environment exists; therefore, SOF [special operations forces] must specifically organize, train, and equip to be successful," the manual explains.

"The term CBRN environment includes the deliberate, accidental employment, or threat of CBRN weapons and attacks with CBRN or toxic industrial materials (TIMs)."A copy of the Army manual was obtained by Secrecy News.

See "Army Special Operations Forces Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Operations," Field Manual 3-05.132, August 2007.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

In US..Where is 1st Brigade? Here....

From Army Times:
[an excerpt]

“Right now, the response force requirement will be an enduring mission. How the [Defense Department] chooses to source that and whether or not they continue to assign them to NorthCom, that could change in the future,” said Army Col. Louis Vogler, chief of NorthCom future operations. “Now, the plan is to assign a force every year.”

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