Saturday, January 31, 2009

Want your book to sell? Use MsRewrite....

From MsRewrite:

"The End" is only the beginning.

Most writers think typing 'the end' at the completion of a mss. is the end of their work. Wrong. Rewriting brings out the story and heightens what you've meant to say all along. Rewriting brings your setting and characters to life, and adds a depth to your story that you can never hope to achieve with the first draft. Rewriting cannot make a bad story good, but it can make a good story better and add the pizzazz that makes editors take notice.

As a rewrite consultant, my job is to point out ways to strengthen your story, your characters and your mss. as a whole. Your style and the way you tell your story is your own; my goal is to help you find ways to polish and craft your work so that agents and editors will want to read it.

Every rewrite consultation is different. Some writers need full-on line editing. Some writers are almost ready to submit but need help with a final polish. Other writers put words together beautifully on the page but with a monotony of story so that we need to create some peaks and valleys. My job is never to change your writing style or your story - that remains your own - but rather to help shape and craft your work so that it comes alive and compels readers to turn the page.

As I study your submission, I pose certain questions:

[To continue reading, use link below]

NOTE: This is one of the best editors around....


Friday, January 30, 2009

From Wall St bonuses to the Super Bowl...

From The Progress Report:

Think Fast...

President Obama chastised Wall Street executives yesterday for distributing over $18 billion in bonuses in 2008. "That is the height of irresponsibility. ... There will be time for them to make profits, and there will be time for them to make bonuses. Now is not that time," Obama said.

Today, Exxon Mobil "reported a profit of $45.2 billion for 2008, breaking its own record for a U.S. company, even as its fourth-quarter earnings fell 33 percent from a year ago." Exxon's previous record was $40.6 billion in 2007.
President Obama has approached Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) about becoming Commerce Secretary, "a step that could open the way to significant shift in the balance of power in Congress" as New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, would most likely to pick a Democrat to replace Gregg. Though Gregg refused to comment on the discussions, his office confirmed that he had been approached.

In a 66-32 vote yesterday, the Senate voted to expand the State Children's Health Insurance Program by $32.8 billion over the next 4 1/2 years. As the AP notes, "Nine Republicans joined 57 Democrats in voting for the bill. No Democrat voted against it." The bill now heads to the House.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) has said he will "use all legal means available to confiscate Wall Street bonuses paid out at the end of last year." Dodd said the bonuses "are unacceptable at a time when the government is pouring tens of billions of dollars into banks to shore up the ailing financial market."

The chief judge at the Guantanamo Bay war court declined President Obama's request to freeze military commissions, "saying he would go forward with next month's arraignment of an alleged USS Cole bomber in a capital terror case." The other two Gitmo war court judges had granted military prosecutors "four-month delays so the new administration could study detainees' files and its legal options."

After voting for the economic recovery package, Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL) "said he was concerned about the bill's inclusion of an extra $20 billion for food stamps." Progress Illinois reminds Lipinski of the stimulative effect of food stamps.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland yesterday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "stormed off a stage" after criticizing Israeli President Shimon Peres for his country's invasion of Gaza. Peres blamed the violence on Hamas while Erdogan accused Israel of "turning Gaza into a prison and killing 1,300 Palestinians."

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen said defense budget cuts may target spending on weapons. Mullen said he expects the entire federal government will come under pressure for budget cuts and "the Department of Defense is going to have to do its share. ... It's important for all of us in defense to look realistically at what our requirements are."

And finally: President Obama plans to have a bipartisan congressional get-together for Super Bowl Sunday. Invitees include Steelers fan Sens. Bob Casey (D-PA) -- who's going to bring some "Eat'n Park Cookies" -- and Arlen Specter (R-PA) -- who's still deciding whether or not he can come. Obama also invited Cardinals fans Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), who have both declined.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Space: Control by US Military...

From Secrecy News:


The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have issued updated military doctrine on space operations (pdf) that includes new material on "offensive space control" and "proximity operations."

Offensive space control "entails the negation of enemy space capabilities through denial, deception, disruption, degradation, or destruction."

"Adversaries -- both state and non-state actors -- will exploit increased access to space-based capabilities. Hence, it is incumbent on the US military to negate the adversaries' use of those space capabilities that affect the safety and well-being of US, allied, and coalition forces," the new publication says.

Another new section of the document addresses "rendezvous and proximity operations," in which "two resident space objects are intentionally brought operationally close together."

In addition to assembly and servicing missions, proximity operations "include the potential to support a wide range of future US space capabilities," which are not further specified.

See Joint Publication 3-14, "Space Operations," January 6, 2009.

The Pentagon acknowledged using two micro-satellites to approach and inspect a third, disabled satellite, New Scientist reported last week. See "Spy satellites turn their gaze onto each other," January 24.

The U.S. Army defined its own mission in space in "Department of the Army Space Policy" (pdf), U.S. Army Regulation 900-1, January 23, 2009.


An Unusual Selection of Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Sam Munson's THE NOVEMBER CRIMINALS, a novel composed for the University of Chicago's board of admissions, answering the application essay question: "What are your best and worst qualities?", using the story of the protagonist's dramatic senior year in high school to reveal that he has no good qualities at all, to Gerry Howard at Doubleday, at auction, by Stephen Barbara at Foundry Literary + Media, in his first deal with the agency (world). (Author and agent were classmates at the University of Chicago.)


W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear's untitled fictional account of the native peoples of Florida and the de Soto expeditions of the 16th century, to Jennifer Heddle at Pocket, in a three-book deal, by Matt Bialer at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World).

Joseph Wallace's DIAMOND RUBY, the story of the extraordinary life of a girl who rises from devastating poverty to the kind of renown only the Roaring Twenties can bestow -- and then discovers that fame comes accompanied by its own deadly threats, to Trish Todd at Touchstone Fireside, at auction, by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider.

Grammy and Golden Globe-winning entrepreneur Queen Latifah's inspirational book of life lessons, to Karen Thomas at Grand Central, for publication in spring 2010, by Carol Mann at the Carol Mann Agency (world).



The Slate "Hollywood Economist" columnist Edward Jay Epstein's THE HOLLYWOOD ECONOMIST, presenting a Freakonomics-like critique of the movie industry, to Kelly Burdick at Melville House, in a nice deal, for publication in 2010 (World).


Robert Englund's HOLLYWOOD MONSTER, a memoir by the actor who played the character of Freddy Krueger in the "A Nightmare on Elm Street" series of horror films, to Anthony Ziccardi at Pocket, with editing by Jaime Costas, for publication in October 2009 to coincide with the film's 25th Anniversary, by Jarred Weisfeld at Objective Entertainment, on behalf of Harry Abrams and Joseph Rice of Abrams Artists Agency (World).


Acclaimed author of POPULATION 485; TRUCK; and forthcoming COOP: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting Michael Perry's untitled book exploring the wisdom of our elders through the lives of small town locals with emphasis on a spry eighty-year-old neighbor whose skills and resilience are all the more essential in these hard times, with lessons in self-sufficiency, history, compassion, and perseverance that can only come from milking cows, driving oxen, firing cannons, operating a sawmill, caring for ailing family and a three-legged dog, to Jennifer Barth at Harper, by Lisa Bankoff at ICM (NA).

Anchorage Daily News journalist Tom Kizzia's PILGRIM IN THE WILDERNESS: The Rise and Fall of Alaska's Last Frontier Family, exploring the pull of the American wilderness through the bizarre story of the messianic Christian Robert Allen Hale and his 15 children, the (self-named) Pilgrim family, who settled in Alaska to live a simple pioneer life -- and turned out to be a monster from whom his children had to escape and who state troopers ended up tracking and imprisoning on multiple counts of assault, rape and incest, to Charlie Conrad at Broadway, by Alice Fried Martell at Alice Martell Agency (world).


Columnist for Investor's Business Daily, contributor to, and editor of BASEBALL BETWEEN THE NUMBERS: WHY EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT THE GAME IS WRONG Jonah Keri's THE IMPOSSIBLE TEAM: How a Bunch of Outsiders Turned Failure into Fortune, a profile of the American League pennant-winning Tampa Bay Rays, to Paul Taunton at ESPN Books, by Sydelle Kramer at the Susan Rabiner Literary Agency.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A New "Blackwater"?....

January 27, 2009


Protest Planned Against Procinctu Plans to Build Private Military Training Center on Tuesday, January 27 Residents Hopes to Halt Construction of "The Ranch" Inspired by Successful Battle Against Blackwater's Plans in San Diego County

WHERE: Outside the Riverside County Administrative Center, at 4080 Lemon Street, Riverside CA

WHEN: 8:30 to 9:30 AM, Tuesday January 27, 2009
Protest outside Riverside County Administrative Center
11:00 a.m: Protesters will move inside to express concerns to Riverside County Board of Supervisors general meeting during Oral Communication

RIVERSIDE, CA (Jan 27, 2009) -- Procinctu means "gird for battle – prepare for war." The protest is against a "privately owned police, military, and governmental agency tactical training center…" (1). Protesters claim the project does not meet the criteria for a Public Use Permit (PUP), or other laws. However, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved it in January 2008, bypassing normal processing. Construction could start soon.

Dubbed "The Ranch," it is located in Homeland, CA on private land owned by John Choate, president of Procinctu, and former NAVY Seal. Calling it a "public institution," noise ordinances were waived and it was granted a Public Use Permit even though it is a private business for profit and will be situated next to an established church retreat in a residential agricultural area that the developers say will be perfect for training because it looks "like Afghanistan."

The zoning is for educational institutions, government uses, hospitals, homes for the young and elderly. (2).

"The zoning itself does not allow a private paramilitary training center, and the zoning was not changed," said Ann Weston of Menifee near the site of the project. "The project absolutely does not belong in this quiet rural and residential setting, within earshot of an elementary school. These homeowners never expected to live next to warfare training facility, and it violates their property rights. We must stop it."

A letter found in the public records, dated 3-08-07 is regarding a Fast-Track application. It is from Supervisor Marion Ashley to the Board: saying that the Planning Department upon further review "deemed that a Public Use Permit was the most appropriate land use for this development project." It continues, "The PUP…is not eligible to receive Fast Track Authorization under the current Fast Track Policy Guidelines. Therefore, in order to assist the applicant in expediting the land use and permit process approval, I am recommending that Fast Track status be granted to this project." (3)

Also found in the public records were PROPRIETARY PAPERS titled "Naval Special Warfare Group One," a technical proposal (June 30,2006). In the report, three instructors are from Blackwater USA, "the world's most powerful mercenary army"(4). This indicates that Procinctu's goals are the same. One instructor's specialty is "prisoner-handling."

"There's no guarantee they won't quickly cash-out to Blackwater," Raymond Lutz said, organizer of the successful battle against Blackwater in Potrero, San Diego County. "Riverside should beware: with San Diego no longer accepting Blackwater mercenary training, going to the next county is what they did in North Carolina where their 7,000 acre headquarters runs dozens of shooting ranges daily until 10pm. Homeland is no place for warfare training."

The Procinctu Group infers that they are a governmental "public" agency, but they are a privately held corporation with no opportunity for the public to oversee their operation. Their proposal says they will have "outdoor live fire" shooting five times a year, one hour each; however "outdoor live fire" (5) is not mentioned in the project description. Noise Ordinance 847, written by the supervisors, should disallow such a facility. However, Riverside supervisors made the audacious move and exempted Procinctu, saying they are a governmental agency. Just because a business contracts with the government from time to time does not mean it is "the government."

For safety, there is no cement wall around the 193 acre site, and there is access to the property on the east mountains for curious children. A private swimming pool in the backyard of any homeowner has more restrictions that this warfare training area.

Since they are a private military company, there is no public oversight or transparency. Besides "The Conditions do not require revisiting the permit, shy of the permit life of 20 years."(6) If it were the US Military, public oversight and transparency would be required.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Sure hope this new father has a job!!!

Octuplets born 'screaming and kicking'

US woman gives birth to eight babies, the world's second live-born set of octuplets.


Gitmo is NOT a "great place to be"....

From The Progress Report:

Top Myths About Closing Guantanamo

On his second day in office, President Obama took a bold step away from the Bush administration and signed an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp within one year while suspending all military tribunals for six months. Obama said that the United States was sending the world a message that the "struggle against violence and terrorism" would be fought "in a manner that is consistent with our values and our ideals." Each day that Guantanamo remains open is another day that U.S. troops are put in further unnecessary danger. One U.S. military officer wrote in the Washington Post that he "learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo." Obama has taken the first crucial step in shutting down this stain on America's reputation. As the Center for American Progress has outlined, the next steps -- including arranging for trials in federal or military courts, finding homes for detainees who can't return to their native countries, transferring detainees who will stand trial into the United States, and establishing a lawful military detention regime for the small number of remaining detainees -- won't be easy, but they're not impossible. Nevertheless, conservatives are coming up with a number of inaccurate -- and often outright ludicrous -- excuses for why Guantanamo needs to remain open. The Progress Report debunks some of the most ill-informed myths.

MYTH #1 -- GUANTANAMO IS A GREAT PLACE TO BE: Conservatives often try to argue that life at Guantanamo is just fine. Reacting to Obama's executive order, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said that detainees there receive "more comforts than a lot of Americans get." In December, Vice President Cheney argued that Guantanamo "has been very well run." Neither of these claims are true. The Washington Post recently revealed that the top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to prosecute detainees concluded that Mohammed al-Qahtani was tortured by the U.S. military at Guantanamo. The detention center was so poorly run that Obama administration officials are now finding out that Bush officials never kept comprehensive case files on many detainees.

MYTH #2 -- DETAINEES ARE TOO DANGEROUS TO BRING INTO THE UNITED STATES: This myth is the one that conservatives cite most often. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) has said that transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil "will endanger American lives." Yesterday on NBC's Meet the Press, Boehner said that it would be "irresponsible" to transfer these "terrorists who have attempted to kill Americans." This morning, Fox and Friends took pictures of various terrorists and went around to Pennsylvania residents and asked them if they wanted these people living in their "backyards." However, U.S. federal prisons are already home to dozens of the most dangerous terrorists the world has ever known. As Salon's Glenn Greenwald has written, "Both before and after 9/11, the U.S. has repeatedly and successfully tried alleged high-level Al Qaeda operatives and other accused Islamic Terrorists in our normal federal courts -- in fact, the record is far more successful than the series of debacles that has taken place in the military commissions system at Guantanamo." In fact, there have been 145 terrorist convictions in federal courts since 9/11. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter (D) has said that he wouldn't necessarily oppose transferring detainees who are convicted terrorists headed to trial to the state's "Supermax", a role that the prison is already playing and that CAP recommended in its report. Rep. John Murtha (R-PA) has also expressed a willingness to bring some detainees into his district, stating, "I mean, they're no more dangerous in a prison in my district than they are in Guantanamo."

MYTH #3 -- DETAINEES WILL RECEIVE ALL THE BENEFITS OF U.S. CITIZENS: One of the most absurd myths has come from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who asked last week, "What happens then if another judge grants him asylum in the United States and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is on a path to citizenship?" King added that they could then "tap into welfare." Yesterday on CBS's Face the Nation, Vice President Biden addressed these ridiculous claims. "If they are not a U.S. citizen or if they are not here legally, then, even if they were released by a federal judge, they would not be able to stay here in the United States," said Biden. "They would be sent back to their country of origin. They would not stay here." CNN national security analyst Peter Bergen has also noted, "When terrorists have been tried in the United States, they go away forever. The embassy attackers in '98 who blew up two American embassies, they are in prison for life without parole."

MYTH #5 -- 61 RELEASED DETAINEES HAVE RETURNED TO THE BATTLEFIELD: One conservative talking point that has been especially effective at making its way into traditional media reporting is that 61 "of the people that were incarcerated at Guantanamo and then released have returned to the battlefield, have engaged in further terrorist activities," as CNN's Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said yesterday. The Associated Press has made a similar claim. But in fact, as Media Matters has reported, "according to the Pentagon, the 61-detainee figure includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having 'return[ed] to the fight.'" Bergen has also noted that "returning to the fight" could simply mean writing a negative op-ed. Mark Denbeaux, Director of the Seton Hall Law School Center for Policy and Research, has been tracking the Bush administration's claims. He told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, "Their numbers have changed from 20 to 12 to seven to more than five to two to a couple to a few -- 25, 29, 12 to 24. Every time, the number has been different. In fact, every time they give a number, they don't identify a date, a place, a time, a name or an incident to support their claim."

MYTH #6 -- WE SHOULD JUST HOUSE THE DETAINEES AT ALCATRAZ: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has been a vocal supporter of closing down Guantanamo. Therefore, conservatives have retaliated by proposing that she take the detainees. "Let our good friends in San Francisco deal with these deadly combatants," said Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO). Boehner and Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) have suggested Alcatraz prison, which sits in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. This proposal is a joke. Alcatraz shut down as a federal prison in 1963. It became a national historic landmark in 1986. Apparentlty, conservatives are unwilling to house detainees in maximum security federal prisons but are happy to put them up in a tourist attraction. As Pelosi said yesterday on ABC's This Week, "Alcatraz is a tourist attraction. It's a prison that is now sort of like a -- it's a national park."


Blair says let more light shine in....

From Secrecy News:


"There is a great deal of over-classification," admitted Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the nominee to be the next Director of National Intelligence, at his confirmation hearing last week.

"Some of it, I think, is done for the wrong reasons, to try to hide things from the light of day. Some of it is because in our system, there is no incentive not to do that, and there are penalties to do the reverse, in case you get something wrong and don't classify it."

"So I think we need to do fundamental work on the system," he said in response to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden at the January 22 hearing.

"I'll be working to see if we can come up with a different approach that incentivizes it at the right level and that informs not only those of you who have security clearances on this committee but the wider interested public whose support we need," Adm. Blair said.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse pursued the same question. "My experience," the Senator said, "is that, over and over and over again, we have seen official secrecy used not for national security purposes, but to mislead the public and to frame -- or more particularly, mis-frame -- an outside, political debate. Will you pledge to us that you will take this trust of secrecy that you are given as Director of National Intelligence and use it only to protect national security and not to manipulate public opinion or frame or mis-frame political debates?"

"Absolutely, Senator," Adm. Blair replied.

The DNI-nominee also told Sen. Kit Bond and Sen. Whitehouse that he favored prosecution of leakers of classified information. "If I could ever catch one of those it would be very good to prosecute them."

He suggested that there might be new technical steps that could be taken to identify leakers.

"If confirmed," he added, "I would like to come to talk to you about some ideas where we can build in some technical, some procedural safeguards into agencies so that it's not a case of going back afterwards and trying to get records and question people but we have some tools that will let everybody who works for the government know that if you are going to pass classified information to a reporter or to someone, there will be a trace of it which will make it relatively quick to identify you as the one who did it," Adm. Blair told Sen. Whitehouse.

Presumably this refers to improved tracking of classified intelligence "records," not of "information."

In answers to pre-hearing questions (pdf), Adm. Blair said that he favored continued publication of the annual intelligence budget total. "It has not, to my knowledge, caused harm to the national security, and provides important information to the American public," Blair said.

He also endorsed declassification review of 25 year old classified intelligence records.

"While much intelligence information remains sensitive even at 25 years, that which can be released to the public should be. Intelligence -- especially the intelligence that informed key policy decisions -- can and should ultimately become part of the country's historical record." [at p. 55]

The profound confusion that prevails in intelligence classification policy was recognized last year in an internal report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (Secrecy News, April 10, 2008). Even the most basic concepts of classification policy, it said, are open to question and interpretation.

"The definitions of 'national security' and what constitutes 'intelligence' -- and thus what must be classified -- are unclear," the ODNI report stated (pdf).

A new directive signed by outgoing DNI Mike McConnell on January 21 is intended to "foster an enduring culture of responsible sharing and collaboration within an integrated [intelligence community]" and to breakdown traditional "stove pipes" that inhibit communication within the government. See "Discovery and Dissemination or Retrieval of Information Within the Intelligence Community," Intelligence Community Directive 501 (pdf), January 21, 2009.

The continuing classification of obsolete Cold War intelligence satellite imagery, to the disappointment of space historians and others, was examined in "A ray of sunshine into a dark world: the future declassification of satellite reconnaissance information" by Dwayne Day in The Space Review, January 26.


Conrad on Dr Stephen Chu.....

From Conrad:

Dr. Stephen Chu, Noble Prize winner and Secretary of Energy, talked about solving the energy crisis. His main focus was on climate change, but he also made a brief mention about a future struggle for conventional oil, which is why China is modernizing its army. He believes we are developing solar power with nanotechnology to replace the high carbon footprint electricity generation methods like coal power plants. Cellulosic alcohol looks promising as a carbon neutral fuel for transportation.

He believes we may sustainably grow enough biomass in the United States to replace half to all the liquid fuel for our cars without reducing food production. About 58 million acres of land is not being cultivated because the United States government is paying farmers to not use their own land. He believes farmers can grow weed grasses like switch grass or miscanthus on that land, without using any water or fertilizer. Those weeds need very little water to grow, and have bacteria near their roots that can fix nitrogen. Because is already a weed, you do not need herbicides. If butanol is made instead of the ethanol that dominates today, that fuel can be transported with pipeline instead of the trucks we must move ethanol now. Some scientist like David Pimentel say that we consume more energy creating ethanol than ethanol provides.The main challenge is the development of cost effective bioreactors, which we can do with genetic engineering.

What he didn't say in his talk was how affordable this change is. Car maker need to make a few modifications to engines to make them flex fuel, at about US $ 100. If you wanted to modify you car so handle E85 fuel, it would cost about US $ 300. I got those figures from Set America Free, a non-profit organization that wants to end the importance of oil as a strategic commodity.

However, as promising as this future technology is, I believe we should still conserve as the main focus to counteract the problem of Peak Oil. We should discourage buying SUVs, or cars in general. We need to make walking and biking viable alternatives; we must reverse the suburban sprawl that made cars such a dominant form of transportation in American culture. These scientists and engineers could be wrong in their optimism; President Nixon declared a War on Cancer in the 1970's because he believed it could be won in that decade. Scientists at that time believed that all cancers were cause by viral infections that could be prevented by the creation of the appropriate vaccines. The recent downturn in American petroleum consumption happened because gasoline cost over four dollars a gallon and many people had lost their jobs. Gasoline is dirt cheap again, and after more people become employed, Americans will waste oil in crazy ways again.

Dr. Stephen Chu speaks with intelligence, optimism, and humor. This is over an hour, but is worth the investment in time:

[Use link above to continue reading]


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Re: So Cal earthquakes....

From Levine Breaking News:


Large earthquakes have rumbled along a southern section of the San Andreas fault more frequently than previously believed, suggesting that Southern California could be overdue for a strong temblor on the notorious fault line, a new study has found. The Carrizo Plain section of the San Andreas has not seen a massive quake since the much-researched Fort Tejon temblor of 1857, which at an estimated magnitude of 7.9 is considered the most powerful earthquake to hit Southern California in modern times.

From SF Gate. com:

M&R: GOP official has Gitmo idea for Alcatraz

A senior House Republican has a suggestion for where to put the Guantanamo detainees - right in the...


Saturday, January 24, 2009

GOP/Foam People/ Writing....

From CJ :

The GOP 'leaders' are opposing tax cuts, not because they feel tax cuts are needed, but because they are still trying to cripple the federal government to support an outdated, outmoded and ill thought out political philosophy. For some reason divide and conquer still isn't clear to them.

Limbaugh has gone so far as to say he hoped Obama fails. How long can a man have diarrhea of the mouth and still survive? I guess the answer is, as long as there are enough people with shit for brains. This may also apply to the ultra right republicans.

We seem to be heavy into the Foam People season, i.e. Golden Globes, Oscars, and all the other ritual ceremonies Foam People participate in to try to give themselves substance. Even when they're trying to show they don't really care about these rituals by clowning around in front of the cameras, they are still posing for the cameras. Now we have a t.v. show that searches for Foam People; American Idol. This show demonstrates that the number of Foam People out there is growing, which means there is still hope for Limbaugh. This presents an interesting dilemma: do all the failures on American Idol have more shit for brains or less? My guess is more. And that makes me wonder about the screaming audiences who are being encouraged to develop shit for brains. Maybe the GOP will make a comeback.

On a more serious subject, I've been noticing in my reading in various fields of fiction, that our language is undergoing a syntactical change, from complex, erudite sentences to more telegraphic sentences interrupted occasionally by longer sentences. I think this acknowledges the new readers are more attuned to quick, slam bang narrative, probably due to movies and t.v. and our life style in general, which is very fast.

This syntactical shift makes sense. It reminds me of a statement made by an artist about viewing paintings. He said that since we view most art inside, when the art is created that must be taken into consideration. It's simply taking your audience into consideration during the creative process. That's what literary style has done and it seems to be working.

I have read a few books that take this idea to an extreme, and they wind up being self parodies, but most of them seem to understand what they're doing, even if it is on a subconscious level. The one genre that seems to misuse this syntactical shift most poorly is historic fiction. A couple of Civil War novels I read used this telegraphic sytntax to such an extreme it drew attention to itself and became ridiculous. Jeff Shaara's books began with a little of this style, then kept going more and more to it until he finally lost clarity and meaning. Even some of the English historic sea novels do this. On the whole, I like it, but to be used well, it needs to be understood by the writer. Sometimes the telegraphic style is simply a contradiction to the scene in which it appears.


Friday, January 23, 2009

From Media Matters for America:

Media advance falsehood that Pentagon has confirmed that 61 former Guantánamo detainees have returned to battlefield

Since President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring that the Pentagon's detention facilities at Guantánamo be closed within a year, numerous media figures and outlets have repeated or failed to challenge the claim that 61 former detainees held there have returned to the battlefield. In fact, the figure, which comes from the Pentagon, includes 43 former prisoners who are suspected of, but have not been confirmed as, having "return[ed] to the fight."

Read More


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Raft of Coming Books...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Author of SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME David Goodwillie's AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE, about a journalist-turned-blogger and a young radical whose lives become intertwined in the wake of the botched terrorist bombing of a private equity firm in New York, to Paul Whitlatch at Scribner, by Kate Garrick at DeFiore and Company (World).


Winner of the 2008 Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel competition IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM Stefanie Pintoff's next two Detective Ziele historical mysteries, set in early twentieth century New York City, to Kelley Ragland at Minotaur, by David Hale Smith at DHS Literary (World).


Kim Echlin's THE DISAPPEARED, to Grove/Atlantic and to Little Brown UK, by Penguin Canada. Foreign rights to Shanghai 99 (simplified Chinese); De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands; Quebec Amerique (French Canadian); Aufbau in Germany; Oceanida in Greece; Modan in Israel; Einaudi in Italy; Tammi in Finland; Pax in Norway; Objetiva in Brazil; Editura Trei in Romania; Laguna in Serbia; Salamandra in Spain; and Forum in Sweden.

William Boyd's ORDINARY THUNDERSTORMS, in which a man wrongly accused of murder sheds his identity and goes underground in contemporary London, to Gillian Blake at Harper, by Amanda Urban at ICM (US).

Corinne Demas's THE WRITING CIRCLE, the intertwining stories of six members of an elite writing group who share their stories, their beds and their secrets, to Sarah Landis at Voice, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, by Rebecca Strauss at McIntosh & Otis.

Bev Vincent's THE STEPHEN KING COMPANION: Where Savage Things Grow, examining ten of King's seminal works with accompanying memorabilia (original manuscript pages, correspondence, and the like) from Stephen King's archived collection, to Barnes & Noble, for publication in fall 2009, by Andy Mayer at becker&mayer!.


NYT bestselling author Michael Gerber's THE MOST SUCCESSFUL SMALL BUSINESS IN THE WORLD, along with two E-Myth vertical market books, moving to Matthew Holt and Lauren Lynch at Wiley, by Stephen Hanselman at LevelFiveMedia (world).

Financial journalist Erin Arvedlund's DON'T ASK, DON'T TELL, combining narrative and analysis, with the same title as her May 2001 article in Barron's -- one of the first to ask tough questions about Madoff's surprising results and unusual practices, now aiming to answer why Madoff did what he did, and how he crossed over from a legitimate Wall Street brokerage and trading firm, to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio, for publication in spring of 2010, by Esmond Harmsworth at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (world).

NYT financial reporter Diana Henriques's WORLD OF LIES, about the Bernie Madoff scandal, drawing in part on her interviews with Madoff along with many "trusted sources," to Paul Golob at Times Books, by Fredrica Friedman at Fredrica S. Friedman and Company (world).


Newsweek National Economics Correspondent Michael Hirsh's THE RISE AND FALL OF THE FREE MARKET ERA: The Epic Story of the Men Who Revolutionized the World Economy And Nearly Destroyed It, looking at the "best and brightest" of the failed economic world, from Greenspan, Rubin, and Summers to a host of less famous but just as important malefactors, providing an account of how free market ideology transformed every part of the world economy over the last quarter century, to Eric Nelson at Wiley, by Andrew Stuart at The Stuart Agency (World).


Meditations for Your Dog authors Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman's CATECHISMS: Basic Beliefs of the One True Pet, wherein photo portraits of extraordinary cats are accompanied by a Q&A litany in which cats explain the fundamentals of why they think they're so wonderful, again to Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin's, by Paul Bresnick at Paul Bresnick Agency (World English).


Keith Desserich and Brooke Desserich's originally self-published NOTES LEFT BEHIND, said to have sold almost 8,000 copies after being featured on GMA recently, a journal created by the family of six year-old Elena Desserich during her battle with an inoperable brain cancer that took her life in 2007, including Elena's "final wish list" and accompanying artwork and hidden notes left for her family to discover after her death, to Lisa Sharkey for William Morrow, with Amy Kaplan editing, at auction, for publication in fall 2009, by Sharlene Martin at Martin Literary Management, with the authors' proceeds going to their foundation to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer (NA).


Journalist Brooke Hauser's NEW AMERICAN HIGH, chronicling a year at The International High School at Prospect Heights in Brooklyn, following several students who have come to America, like millions of immigrants before them, in search of a better life, as they fall in love, rebel against their backgrounds, overcome past traumas, surmount tremendous challenges, strive to achieve their dreams, and become Americans, to Gillian Blake at Collins, at auction, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (World).


MIT neuroscientist Suzanne Corkin's book about her lifelong research on the famous amnesiac H. M., whose death in 2008 was noted in a front-page obituary in The New York Times, to Nan Graham at Scribner, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency.


Arkansas..Earthquake Country....

From USA Today:

Scientist: New fault could mean major U.S. temblor
Haydar Al-Shukri

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — A previously unknown fault in eastern Arkansas could trigger a magnitude 7 earthquake with an epicenter near a major natural gas pipeline, a scientist said Wednesday.

Haydar Al-Shukri, the director of the Arkansas Earthquake Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, said the fault is separate from the New Madrid fault responsible for a series of quakes in 1811-12 that caused the Mississippi River to flow backward.

Acres of cotton fields cover the fault west of Marianna, about 100 miles east of Little Rock, but stretches of fine sand mixed with fertile soil gave away the fault's location, Al-Shukri said. Liquefied sand bubbled up through cracks in the earth, while ground radar and digs showed vents that let the sand reach the surface, he said.

The fault, likely created in the last 5,000 years, sparked at least one magnitude 7 earthquake in its history. Such temblors cause massive destruction in their wake.

"This is a very, very dangerous (area) at risk of earthquake," Al-Shukri said. "When you talk about (magnitude) 7 and plus, this is going to be a major disaster."

[Use link above to continue reading]


Monday, January 19, 2009

Cheney stays near DC....WHY?

What's this?!!! Cheney in a wheelchair because he hurt his back moving boxes?

Moving boxes into his new MCLEAN, VIRGINIA????

What the hell? What happened to him flying out of Andrews AFB to his real home in WYOMING???

Perhaps there are no doctors in Wyoming? Or perhaps he thinks he has "business" still to deal with in DC? Nasty underhanded business as usual?

I'll be keeping an eye on this underhanded business...


Friday, January 16, 2009

Lotsa books...want to write? Read previous post...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Elizabeth Eslami's BONE WORSHIP, about the complex relationships between fathers and daughters featuring an Iranian-American girl whose enigmatic father has decided to arrange her marriage after she drops out of college, to Jessica Case at Pegasus, on behalf of Mollie Glick at Foundry (World English).Translation: Stephanie Abou at Foundry


Bookseller Vincent McCaffrey's debut HOUND, in which a bookseller gets involved in an unofficial murder investigation after a woman from his past asks him to look at her late husband's collection, to Gavin Grant at Small Beer Press, in a nice deal, for publication in September 2009 (World).


Bookseller Vincent McCaffrey's debut HOUND, in which a bookseller gets involved in an unofficial murder investigation after a woman from his past asks him to look at her late husband's collection, to Gavin Grant at Small Beer Press, in a nice deal, for publication in September 2009 (World).


NYT bestselling author Holly Black's THE POISON EATERS and Other Stories, a collection of stories including two stories set in the world of her novels Tithe, Valiant and Ironside, to Gavin Grant at Small Beer Press, for publication in Summer 2010, by Barry Goldblatt at Barry Goldblatt Literary (NA).



Lead counsel Lloyd Constantine's PRICELESS: The Case that Brought Down the Visa/MasterCard Bank Cartel, an inside account of the largest anti-trust merchant action suit in U.S history between Walmart, Circuit City, The Limited, and thousands of other small merchants against the proposed merger by Visa/Mastercard, to Don Fehr at Kaplan, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2009, by Liz Darhansoff at Darhansoff, Verrill, Feldman.Christine Richard's CONFIDENCE GAME: How a Hedge Fund Manager Called Wall Street's Bluff, the inside story of hedge fund manager Bill Ackman's battle with bond insurer MBIA, and the dangerous delusions that humbled America's largest financial institutions, to Mary Ann McGuigan at Bloomberg, in a nice deal, for publication in October 2009 (World).


Author of KABUL IN WINTER, WOMEN WHO KILL and Nation contributor writer/photographer Ann Jones's WOMEN, WAR AND PHOTOGRAPHY, chronicling the author's experiment in using photography as a tool for social change by giving women in the Ivory Coast, the Congo and other post-conflict war zones digital cameras to photograph their daily lives, even though none of them had ever used a camera before, resulting in an extraordinary documentary record of abuse and suffering by the native women themselves, leading to the awakening of conscience by some village elders, and the beginnings of positive changes, to Riva Hocherman and Sara Bershtel at Metropolitan, by Ellen Geiger at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency (world).

24-year-old Alan Kennedy-Shaffer's THE OBAMA REVOLUTION, a campaigner for the President-elect's in-the-trenches look at Obama's campaign, ascent to power, and plans for the future, to Michael Viner at Phoenix, for publication in March 2009 (world).


From fictional political pundit, strategist, and campaign consultant Martin Eisenstadt, called on and quoted as a McCain adviser during the election, created by filmmakers Eitan Gorlin and Dan Mirvish, I AM MARTIN EISENSTADT: One Man's Barely Legal Adventures with the Last Republicans, to Mitzi Angel at Faber and Faber, for publication as a trade paperback original in May 2009, by Richard Abate at Endeavor.


Laura Bush's memoir, promising "an intimate account of Mrs. Bush's life experiences, including eight years in the White House," providing her "recollections of both the personal and historic moments that have defined her life," to Susan Moldow at Scribner, with Nan Graham editing, at auction, for publication in 2010, by attorney Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly (world).

Philadelphia Magazine staff writer Steve Volk's A CRACK IN THE WORLD: A Journey Into the Gap Between Science and the Paranormal, taking readers on a strange and unsettling journey into the heart of the paranormal universe, exploring the new physics, hardcore skeptics, dream researchers, ghosthunters, NASA astronauts turned paranormal enthusiasts, world-famous psychologists, the science of out-of-body experiences, militant atheists and evangelical scientists, in order to probe a new language that will enable science and belief to coexist, to Eric Brandt at Harper One, by Andrew Stuart at The Stuart Agency (NA).


The New City and Human Capital author Stephen Amidon and cardiologist Thomas Amidon's THE SUBLIME ENGINE: A Biography of the Human Heart, drawing on history, science, religion and literature to tell the story of humankind's abiding fascination with the heart, to Colin Dickerman at Rodale, by Henry Dunow at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (NA).


PGA superstar Phil Mickelson's first instructional book, PHIL MICKELSON'S SHORT GAME MAGIC, focusing on the aspect of the game for which he is best-known and admired but which gives amateurs the most headaches, to Bruce Nichols at Collins, in a pre-empt, by Scott Waxman at Waxman Literary Agency (world).


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Note: Here's the BEST WRITERS' CONFERENCE ever!!!

From the Southern California Writers Conference * San Diego:

Latest News as of 1/13/09 >> Print SD23 Brochure I Print SD23 Flyer>> View Proper Manuscript Format Sample I MSG on Writing a Synopsis>> JJ on "Pitch" Conferences
I MSG on Choosing the "Write" Conference>> Book your Crowne Plaza Hotel room
online here (use code SCW)

[ Note: Agents wanting to participate contact Michael Steven Gregory only if you're
accepting clients. There are plenty of other conferences that provide reps who have no
sincere intent of acquiring new clients with free weekends at nice hotels in desireable
locales. The SCWC is not one of them. ]


ADVANCE READERS STILL AVAILABLE: Your San Diego conference is now only four
weeks away and we're happy to report that several advance submission readers remain
open at this time and are willing to accept material until further notice. To ensure the
reader of your choice is still open, call or email SCWC Executive Director Michael Steven Gregory before selecting . . .

We're starting to fill up now so don't hesitate — register today!

ADVANCE SUBMISSION UPDATE, PLUS (1/8/09): Literary agent Jeff Moores, of
Dunow, Carlson & Lerner in New York, is ready for more submissions. While he's still
looking for stellar fiction, Jeff reports that he's especially interested in "all types of
nonfiction so long as they aren’t prescriptive books, craft books, etc. Narrative nonfiction, science, politics, etc. &mdash these are all good." Likewise, Literary Works powerhouse
agent Jacqueline Hackett is open to any and all commercial fiction and nonfiction . . .
Finally, author/workshop leader Michael Thompkins is making available the syllabus
to his Shrinking Fiction sessions, "Using Psychology to Write Great Characters 1 and 2."
Contact him directly to get your copy . . . Check back next week for another important

EARLY "BARD" DISCOUNT EXTENDED (1/2/09): With the arrival of our dutiful
director's special holiday gift — one Zachary Pearce Albers — it's only fitting that we
bestow a gift to every other SCWC writer, so we're extending the $50 discount off full
conference registration . . . At the moment all readers remain open for advance
submission critique, followed by one-on-one consultation. For those seeking an agent,
now is the time to put your pages forward and take your shot. Of particular note is a late addition to the roster, Jacqueline Hackett. In addition to commercial nonfiction, she's
really interested in fiction with a humorous/suspenseful plot and unique characters.

SCWC mascot Ben says, "Jolly Holly!"JOLLY HOLIDAY "MUSE" (12/22/08): In effort
to preserve a forest or two and keep the SCWC affordable, we're no longer mailing
hardcopy brochures via regular post. As always, however, the 4-page brochure is
available online,
enabling us to update information to it as need be. And don't forget, we also have the
printable 1 page flyer for distribution to all your writerly groups and friends . . .

Another staff addition comes in the form of author/editor Lynn Vannucci. For those
who were at LA6, you'll remember Lynn introduced us to Beat the Book, her exclusive
1-year-long disciplinary/editorial program. BTB puts into action an aspect of the SCWC's continuing success that most often sets us apart from other conferences, by extending
many of the vital relationships forged and expertise gleaned during the weekend event
well beyond its close in effort to get manuscripts into shape, properly represented and
ultimately published. For those isolated from an empirically qualified writing community,
or grappling with an inability to find the time to write, or not fully exploiting what time
you do find, we're going to slap Lynn with a workshop tailored specifically for you . . .

We're also pleased to announce that the
University of California San Diego Extension's Creative Writing Program will be offering
credit for certain workshops on the February schedule, for those interested. Specifics
will be posted here in January. . . . Rumor has it that two more SCWCers have landed
book deals. Am awaiting details, but rest assured that once we know, everybody will.
In the meanwhile, to you and all your other favorite writers, your family and friends,
the SCWC wishes the Jolliest Holly of all — Cheers!

LATEST "MUSE" (12/8/08): Filling out the special guest speaker slots, Sunday morning
we welcome novelist, nonfictionalist and Pulitzer Prize nominee Caitlin Rother to the
SCWC. Her most recent is Twisted Triangle, which tells the torrid tale of a kidnapping,
an attempted murder and a love triangle involving two married FBI agents and none
other than bestselling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell — true story!

Sunday evening, author and Alluvium Books publisher Marie Etienne will discuss her
latest, another true story, Confessions of a Bi-Polar Mardi Gras Queen. Heartbreaking
and often hilarious, in it she explores the themes of love versus lust, the legacy of abuse
and mental illness, the impact of murder and suicide among her siblings and the
redemptive power of faith, forgiveness and courage . . .

Also aboard is Marla Miller, a SCWC favorite who returns with her ever-popular
"Pitch it to Me: Let's Fix Your Book Pitch!" troubleshooting workshop. Another San
Diego regular will not be back this year, unfortunately, due to a conflict. Yes, we know
it's criminal, but don't worry: Gordon Kirkland will no doubt return for a future
event . . .

Speaking of crime, The L.A. Times named its choices for top crime & mystery fiction
of 2008 yesterday. Citing our Friday evening special guest speaker's latest they said,
"Don Winslow drops pitch-perfect sentences to brilliant effect in The Dawn Patrol
(Alfred A. Knopf), recoding the traditional private-eye novel through a surfer
community lens." We could've told 'em that.

And for those of you following the Writing Crime track that's loosely woven into the
schedule, here's a pretty good primer in the form of a recent feature piece author
and periodic SCWCer Thomas Larson did for the San Diego Reader, called
"Intimate Murder: Women Kill the Ones They Love" . . .

Finally, advance submission readers will begin selling out soon as the conference
begins to fill up. If you haven't already, with the schedule now posted,
keynote speakers announced, workshop leaders & readers all listed (remember,
agents and editors typically sell out first), and a $50 discount off full
conference registration available, now perhaps more than any time before is the time
to invest in your writing career!

ONE OTHER SPEAKER (12/5/08): Hailing from Northumberland, England,
bestselling author Val McDermid brings her latest novel, Darker Domain
(Harper, Jan. 2009), to the SCWC. With 25 books and a hit TV series to her name,
the UK's Wire in the Blood, Val's work has been translated into 30 languages and
yet only now is finding the big time with this past April's break-out release, The Grave
Tattoo. A modern day thriller addressing a 200-year-old mystery — HMS Bounty
mutineer Fletcher Christian's apparent return to England — The New York Times
declared the book, "Exciting…wildly beautiful," while The Boston Globe concluded simply, "Extraordinary." From us to Val, Dinna droon the miller!

BUT WAIT — THERE'S MORE!: That fabulous femme (in the informal sense of the
word for all you purists) of finite fine fiction Julie Ann Shapiro returns with her
hands-on workshop, "Flash Fiction: The Ultra-Quick Story Market." Given that
we can no longer keep up with her ever-growing list of by-lines, let's just say that
if you want to write fast, write now and get published, she's your go-to gal . . .

Finally, the jacket art for another prolific author/SCWC workshop leader,
Frederick Ramsay, just came in for his upcoming book, Choker (Poisoned Pen,
June 2009). Wha'dya think? Exactly -- Excellent!

[Go to for workshop schedules and a lot more]


Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy..GOING...

From :

Obama will end 'don't ask' policy, aide says
Matthew B. Stannard, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 14, 2009

(01-13) 20:21 PST -- President Obama will end the 15-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy that has prevented homosexual and bisexual men and women from serving openly within the U.S. military, a spokesman for the president-elect said.

Obama said during the campaign that he opposed the policy, but since his election in November he has made statements that have been interpreted as backpedaling. On Friday, however, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs, responding on the transition team's Web site to a Michigan resident who asked if the new administration planned to get rid of the policy, said:

"You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes.' "

[Use link above to continue reading]


Homeless? How to Survive on the Streets....

From Lawns to Gardens:

Surviving on the Streets

On the Peak Oil blog, Lawns to Gardens, Randy White, who calls himself Randy Scott for some reason, interviews DD Desade, a guitarist for the Railer band.

Desade spent 8 months as homeless man, so he gives advice on how to survive and eventually get off the streets.


Randy White believes that Peak Oil has already happened, a new Great Depression has started, and the homeless population will skyrocket. However, he believes that we can survive by sacrificing our consumption, sharing with others, and converting our lawns to gardens. Here is his blog:


Friday, January 09, 2009

Bamford knows...good book just out...

From NY Times Book Review:

'The Shadow Factory'

James Bamford brings his narrative of the National Security Agency into the post-9/11 era.

Profile of James Bamford


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Another Selection of TV & Books Coming...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Winner of the Eudora Welty prize in fiction and author of Buying Lenin Miroslav Penkov's BULGARI: a country, in stories - a debut collection that paints a portrait of one of Europe's oldest countries - Bulgaria, with seven stories and one novella that beautifully weave centuries of Bulgarian history, beginning some four hundred years back in time and moving forward to present day, to Courtney Hodell at Farrar, Straus, by Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank of Fairbank

Novel Journey website creator Gina Holmes's CROSSING OCEANS, the story of a woman with a terminal illness coming home to make peace with her father, to Karen Watson at Tyndale, in a very nice deal, by Chip MacGregor at MacGregor Literary.


Spider Robinson's ORPHAN STARS, set in the world of VARIABLE STAR, a genius inventor and a handful of fellow survivors of a cosmic disaster must race time itself to warn the Orphan Stars, the scattered outposts of humanity, so that the human race can safely navigate its way to survive the forthcoming onslaught triggered by the explosion of Earth's sun, to Pat LoBrutto at Tor, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, by Eleanor Wood at Spectrum Literary Agency (NA).


OBAMA: The Historic Journey, a heavily-illustrated book covering Barack Obama's life, from his childhood through his inauguration as the 44th president of the United States, with a final chapter that includes the inaugural address and a 32-page photo essay by 12 New York Times staff photographers, with an introduction by NYT executive editor Bill Keller and essays from Times staff and contributors including Frank Rich, Thomas Friedman, Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, David Brooks and Gail Collins, to Geoff Kloske to Riverhead, for publication on February 16, 2009, by Scott Moyers at The Wylie Agency, produced by the New York Times and Callaway Arts & Entertainment (NA).

A separate young readers edition written and designed for children ages 8-12 age will be published as well.


Meg Mateo Ilasco and Joy Cho's CREATIVE, INC., in the spirit of Craft, Inc., this time exploring how to create a successful career as a freelancing "creative," to Jodi Warshaw at Chronicle, by Lilly Ghahremani at Full Circle Literary.


Host and star of Country Music Television's COWBOY U Rocco Wachman and Matthew Pellegrini's HOW TO BE A COWBOY, an exploration, with a pop-culture lens, of the many facets of the cowboy life, with chapters on campfire cooking, the cowboy uniform, horses and trucks, cowboy economy, the three Rs: "ranching, roping, and rodeo", country music and dancing, and of course, the indefatigable cowboy spirit, to Adam Korn at Harper, by Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary Representation.


Anthony Flacco's SANFORD CLARK AND THE TRUE STORY OF THE WINEVILLE MURDER, a psychological drama about the true crime story that also inspired the recent film, Changeling, to Philip Turner at Union Square Press, for publication in fall 2009, by Sharlene Martin of Martin Literary Management (NA).


Kathleen Flinn's THE SHARPER YOUR KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY, about a journalist-turned-corporate exec who falls in love, gets downsized, cashes in her savings and heads to France to pursue her lifelong dream of studying French cuisine in Paris at Le Cordon Bleu, to Fox TV Studios for Lifetime, by Sarah Self at The Gersh Agency, on behalf of Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary.


Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Laura Bush & the Book Advance...

From Political Wire .com:

According to the New York Post, First Lady Laura Bush received an advance of just $1.6 million for her book deal announced yesterday -- far less than the $8 million Hillary Clinton received for her memoir, Living History.

The New Yorker notes that most publishers that met with Mrs. Bush were unimpressed with her proposal.


Monday, January 05, 2009

It Ain't Oil...It's Algae From the Ocean....

From Voice of San Diego. com:

Trying To Turn San Diego Into Green Houston
Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009

In the early 1990s, San Diego's moribund economy was revived by a bunch of scientists who figured out how to do things like turn a mobile phone into a multi-media entertainment center and develop a diabetes therapy out of lizard spit.

Now, with the economy tanking again, another bunch of scientists is telling anyone who will listen that the region's next economic boom might be borne out of pond scum.
Algae that is -- green gold, San Diego soda.

San Diego, already home to dozens of companies involved in solar or wind energy, would be a major player in the nation's multi-trillion-dollar energy economy if a group of local researchers succeed in turning algae into a commercially viable transportation fuel, something they think they can do within a decade.

[Use link above to continue reading]


Leon Panetta will head CIA....

From The New York Times:

Panetta to Be Named C.I.A. Director
By CARL HULSE and MARK MAZZETTI 42 minutes ago

Leon E. Panetta, the former congressman and White House chief of staff, would take over an agency that has been buffeted by leadership changes and morale problems.


Good luck getting Bush Admin records...

From Secrecy News:


The impending transfer of Bush Administration records to the custody of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) will challenge the capacity of the Archives to absorb them because of their enormous volume and the diverse formats of various electronic records.

But there is also a fundamental question concerning the integrity of the transfer process, which relies on the good faith of executive branch officials and which can be subverted by design or neglect.

"There really is no practical way we know of for NARA to be assured that every document in paper or electronic form has been received from an agency," Dr. Allen Weinstein, the former Archivist of the United States, told Congress last year (pdf, at p. 136).

"Nor can NARA police the records management practices of over 300 federal agencies to ensure that permanent records are not purposefully or unintentionally withheld from the National Archives. Federal agencies are expected to fulfill their statutory responsibilities."

"NARA must rely on the agency records officers, other agency officials, and a vigilant public and press to inform us of any such failure to act," he said.

As for presidential records in particular, Dr. Weinstein said "the incumbent President is solely responsible for ensuring that ... components of the Executive Office of the President adhere to the records requirements set out in [the Presidential Records Act]."

Although the President is supposed to obtain the written views of the Archivist prior to any proposed destruction of non-permanent records, "the final disposal authority rests with the incumbent president... regardless of the Archivist's views."

See "National Archives Oversight: Protecting Our Nation's History for Future Generations," hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, May 14, 2008 (esp. pp. 131-136).

An estimated 25,000 boxes of White House documents are to be transferred to the Archives, R. Jeffrey Smith of the Washington Post reported ("Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer," December 21). Electronic records of the Bush White House are believed to total 100 terabytes of information, or about 50 times the volume of electronic records left behind by the Clinton White House in 2001, Robert Pear and Scott Shane reported ("Bush Data Threatens to Overload Archives," New York Times, December 27, 2008).

Volume aside, the White House electronic records were often generated in non-standard formats using proprietary software that somehow must be accommodated by NARA.

"The biggest risk facing NARA that could disrupt a successful transition is our ability to ingest the electronic records of the White House," Dr. Weinstein said. A plan to address this risk was approved November 7, the New York Times reported.

Vice President Richard B. Cheney recently argued (pdf, at p. 24) that "The Vice President alone may determine what constitutes vice presidential records or personal records, how his records will be created, maintained, managed and disposed, and are all actions that are committed to his discretion by law" (as reported by Pamela Hess of Associated Press on December 18).

That view was disputed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and historians who filed a lawsuit seeking to ensure compliance with the Presidential Records Act (PRA). "[The Vice President's] demand for unchecked discretion not only contravenes binding Circuit precedent, but ... is repugnant to our democratic ideals and the rule of law," they argued in a December 22 pleading.


Saturday, January 03, 2009

Ross & Bazaar del Mundo...

The San Diego Union-Tribune has an article today that gives the URL to a blog about what's coming down with the former Bazaar del Mundo in Old Town.

Once upon a wonderful time, Diane Powers had the place and everybody loved it. Packed all the time with happy people either wandering thru the shops or dining at Casa de Pico or one of the other restaurants within. Then Delaware North grabbed the whole thing with Sacramento's help and everybody local took one look at what they'd done and never went back. Horrible.

Delaware lost money hand over fist. Locals hated it and were downright angry.

So now a guy from Chula Vista, Ross, has succeeded in taking it over. He's put up the blog...URL above...and wants to know what we all want to see there or are hoping for. The man is a successful restaurant guy and a local, so there's a good chance he'll do good things. Anything is better than what Delaware did.

Go make a comment on that blog if you've ever visited.


A Choice Wrap-up of 2008....

From Boys From Red State via Julian News:


Friday, January 02, 2009

Obama has to replace many enemies at DOJ....

From The Washington Independent via

Obama Faces Legacy of Lawlessness at Justice

Daphne Eviatar, The Washington Independent:

"As an inspector general's report revealed, potential new hires during the Bush administration were disqualified for jobs if in the past they'd worked for Democrats or organizations with 'liberal affiliations' - such as civil rights groups.

The inspector general concluded that 'political or ideological affiliations were used to deselect candidates' applying for entry-level attorney positions and internships."


Thursday, January 01, 2009

2008 thoughts....

Happy 2009!!! I began to wonder if it would ever ever get here. And now there are 19 days plus some hours before the Bush/Cheney cabal is kicked out of DC.

Of course their followers are still resident in the Congress until those vermin can be rid of as well. Vermin like Mitch McConnell, et al. No easy job due to their home state supporters...those poor ignorant, self-abusing fools.

Like so many others, I do not envy Obama's becoming our 44th president. He goes into office with the most incredible load on his shoulders. Thank heavens he's as intelligent as he is. We voters finally did something right at the polls.

Just outrageous how long the Coleman/Franken contest has gone and will be going on in Minnesota. Cannot believe the voters there managed to mess up their ballots to the extent they have. You'd think they were totally uneducated.

Which all goes to prove how important a good education is. And how long will it be before the election people get the message that the e-voting machines need to all be instantly trashed and paper ballots be the one and only way to vote? Paper ballots that are designed exactly the same, no matter which state they're used in.

Common sense is in short supply...and is no match for the politicians' hidden agendas.

I've just finished reading George Stephanopoulus' book, "Only Human". It deals with what went on in the first term of Clinton's term as President. I guarantee it will turn your stomach, same as it did mine. I have never encountered the incredible level of egotism as the people in that book possess. So be prepared.

And that was during Clinton's first term. Remember the calls to the writer/investigative journalist in which the people in the BushCo administration asked that they be called on Jan 20th? They had things to tell. I don't doubt it a damned bit...and if the first Clinton term was absolutely disgusting under the surface, I dread to think what a similar book on the BushCo admin will bring to light.

A guy in NYC was quoted yesterday as saying that if the weather was freezing New Year's Eve, he knew he's encounter frozen piles of vomit this morn. Well, the vomit won't be frozen after reading the truth about what went on behind and under the scenes in the BushCo will be piled high and reeking to say the least.

Variety just published a recap of the BushCo admin that one writer friend said was a real eye opener. I've read all 14 pages of it. Found little I didn't already know. It's what I don't know yet...and the rest of the world will find out shortly that will really turn the stomach.

Even as we speak, that rat bastard Bush is down in Crawford at his "ranch". You can bet your bottom dollar that once he leaves the White House, the "ranch" will go up for sale. Hell, he has 90,000 acres in Paraguay. What earthly use would he have for Crawford. That was pure image and nothing more.

But the media loved it. Fell for it. Thought the citizens would too. And they may have until they learned that cowboy Bush is afraid of horses. Some cowboy. Pathetic. Still, as in too many places, image is all.

So what now for Bush and Cheney and the rest of their evil cabal? Think they'll just walk away from what they've done, the crimes they've committed, the purely evil things they've done, the thousands of deaths they've caused?

I guess we'll see.