Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama picks Sebelius...breaking news...

From The New York Times:

February 28, 2009, 6:11 pm
Obama Is Said to Pick Kansas Governor for Health Post
By Peter Baker
WASHINGTON – President Obama asked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas to become his nominee for secretary of health and human services on Saturday, tapping a red state ally to help him push through his ambitious plan to remake the nation’s health care system.

Ms. Sebelius accepted the president’s invitation and will be introduced by Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, said an administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the formal announcement. The selection comes just days before Mr. Obama hosts a health care summit at the White House next week.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009


From Levine Breaking News:

***Former Times reporter William Lobdell's memoir "Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America" was published this week.


The Latest Catastrophe....

From Tom Dispatch:

Common to sudden catastrophes is the shock of finding the world upside down. The water is suddenly on top instead of under; the rumbling earth swallows houses and spits out lava; the mud wall slides down from above; the flames roar up; the wind spins; the tower topples. In an instant, everything is broken and nothing works. What you relied upon is gone.

The destruction of the World Trade Center towers was that kind of deep disturbance, even if it was man-made. The shock of 9/11 was so profound that we thought it would define the twenty-first century, and even now it's hard for any event to match the immediacy, the drama, the sheer horror of that single autumn day. When the smoke cleared we learned that we had never really been quarantined from the epidemic of planetary violence that, until 9/11, was always "over there." Suddenly, the shocking violence most of us only witnessed on our television screens had blown back to our very doorstep. Our world shifted over night. Fear reigned. It became our ideology. It became their means of controlling us. It was called "homeland security."

In the second big shock of the young century, seven years later, Wall Street collapsed. Although a few wise voices had warned us it could happen, we didn't see that one coming either. If 9/11 put an American sense of physical safety to flight, the meltdown of casino capitalism took away our economic security.

The debris from economic earthquakes may appear less obvious -- being failed institutions rather than twisted beams -- but the damage couldn't be more real. All that wealth incinerated almost overnight translates into lost jobs, lost homes, lost businesses, lost retirements, lost health care, lost education, lost options, lost dreams. Shredded investments and failed businesses mean that struggle, diminishment, indignity, anxiety, anger, defeat, depression, stress, and hardship will stalk us for years to come. What we once counted on is just as gone as any house or community washed away or burned to the ground. Like 9/11, the economic disaster shook the ground we walked on. This time, stress joined fear.

On 9/11, towers crashed to the ground. In this recent crisis, an entire empire of belief went down.

What do you do when your system fails? Start over, sure; but look, we're stuck with a lot of it. The institutions and agencies that were the instruments of the debacle are still with us and we're hard pressed to invent new ones. Wal-Mart is still with us. So is Exxon. So is the Federal Reserve. So is the Department of Homeland Security. And the agencies we look to for rescue are populated with the incompetent and demoralized bureaucrats of George W. Bush's two terms.

There are termites in the walls. Much of the movement that elected Barack Obama will be devoted to reforming that given world. But remember that, when any mature system -- be it a forest loaded with fuel or an economy loaded with debt -- collapses, enormous amounts of energy are released. Capturing that energy and directing it in new ways is the opportunity that lurks in the midst of this crisis.

The future -- the sustainable future where we survive -- will not be created by those who invented the world we have just lost and are reluctantly giving it up, while salvaging as much of their privilege from the ruins as they can. It will be invented by people who have only each other to lose and understand that, in the coming era of chaos, collapse, and reconstruction, we will find support, security, comfort, and solutions within the context of communities -- on the ground, online, overlapping, and emerging. While Washington salvages the past, citizens in unlikely places like Detroit and Moab, Utah, are building the future. "Think globally, act locally" has never rung truer. "Think security, act locally" will also be true and real security will be homegrown, not "homeland." Chip Ward introducing a post by Chip Ward

After the Green Economy, Green Security
How to Build Resilient Communities in a Chaotic World
By Chip Ward

Now that we've decided to "green" the economy, why not green homeland security, too? I'm not talking about interrogators questioning suspects under the glow of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or cops wearing recycled Kevlar recharging their Tasers via solar panels. What I mean is: Shouldn't we finally start rethinking the very notion of homeland security on a sinking planet?

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Choice of this week's book notices...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Liza Campbell's MEASURE ME AGAINST THE SKY, in which a young painter idolizes Georgia O'Keeffe and moves to Santa Fe to find her artistic voice, only to discover her true talent lies in creating forgeries; when she becomes involved with her black market dealer, she wonders if love is possible between people who are not honest with one another, and if anyone is ever completely honest, to Martin Shepard and Judith Shepard at The Permanent Press, for publication in October 2010, by Elizabeth Evans at Reece Halsey New York.


J.R.R. Tolkien's THE LEGEND OF SIGURD AND GUDRUN, a retelling in English narrative verse of the epic Norse tales, with commentary and notes on the poems by Christopher Tolkien, and an introduction by J.R.R. Tolkien drawn from one of his own lectures on Norse literature, to Ken Carpenter at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, by HarperCollins UK.


Sandra Dallas's (Tallgrass) WHITER THAN SNOW, exploring how catastrophe and fate are reconciled when 9 school-aged children are swept away by an avalanche in a 1920s Colorado mountain town and only 4 survive, to Jennifer Enderlin at St. Martin's, in a two-book deal, by Danielle Egan-Miller at Browne & Miller Literary Associates (NA).

Alice Lichtenstein's LOST, in which three disparate lives intersect one weekend when a woman's husband, suffering from dementia, wanders off on a frigid morning and is found dead by a mute boy, exploring the forces of loss, sorrow, and love, to Samantha Martin at Scribner, for publication in March 2010, by Miriam Altshuler at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency (World).

National Book Critic Finalist Rick Bass's (Why I Came West) third novel, THE LIVES OF THE BROWNS, a fictional account of three real-life 1950s era country singers from Arkansas who produced a unique and eerie harmony -- the Nashville Sound -- that for a brief period made them the biggest thing in country music, to Nicole Angeloro at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for publication in fall 2010, by Bob Dattila (world).

Sonny Brewer's THE WIDOW AND THE TREE, the tale of a fabled giant oak, guarding a widow's land for hundreds of years, presiding now over a violent crossroad in men's lives and finding the best and worst in them, with cover engraving by Barry Moser, to Pat Walsh at MacAdam/Cage, for publication in Fall 2009, by Caroline Carter at Caroline Carter Literary.


Books editor of The New York Observer Adam Begley's UPDIKE, promising a revealing, in-depth portrait, unsparingly exploring the life and times of John Updike as well as the influence they had on his remarkable body of work, to Tim Duggan at Harper, for publication in 2011, by Georges Borchardt at Georges Borchardt (world English).


Magazine journalist and author of INSIDE SERGEY AND LARRY'S BRAIN, Richard Brandt's INSIDE JEFF'S BRAIN, a profile of Jeff Bezos at Amazon, to Jeffrey Krames at Portfolio, by Al Zuckerman of Writers House (world).


Correspondent for PBS's "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer" and news host for WTTW11's "Chicago Tonight" Elizabeth Brackett's PAY TO PLAY: How Rod Blagojevich Turned Political Corruption Into a National Sideshow, going behind the story of the first governor to be impeached by the Illinois legislature, to Ivan R. Dee at Ivan R. Dee, for publication in May 2009 (World).


Salon and New Republic writer Gregory Levey's HOW TO MAKE PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST IN SIX MONTHS OR LESS WITHOUT LEAVING YOUR APARTMENT, which picks up where his first book, SHUT UP I'M TALKING And Other Diplomacy Lessons I Learned in the Israeli Government, left off, after the author has returned from his stint as Ariel Sharon's English language speechwriter, and returns to the states, ready to resume his normal life, only to find that everyone he meets -- from little Jewish grandmothers to diplomats -- has their own plan for solving the middle eastern crisis, and decides to settle the issue once and for all, with humorous results, again to Wylie O'Sullivan at Free Press, by Mollie Glick at Foundry Literary + Media.


Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's memoir in which she "will combine candid narrative and acute analysis to tell the story of her time in the White House and as America's top diplomat, and her role in protecting American security and shaping foreign policy during the extraordinary period from 2001-2009," to Crown, in a major deal, reportedly for "at least $2.5 million" (AP), for publication in 2011, followed by a memoir about her family in 2012, published at the same time in a separate YA version, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Actress (best-known for One Day at a Time) Mackenzie Phillips' memoir, about growing up in a legendary music family (the daughter of John Phillips and stepdaughter of Michelle Phillips), where there was "very little going on inside except sex, drugs and rock-and-roll," the demons she's battled -- including a 20-year fight with drug addiction, a "shocking, life-long secret that she will reveal in-depth for the first time in her book, and finding redemption and peace, to Jennifer Bergstrom at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, with Sarah Sper editing, for publication in March 2010, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Labor Sec. Solis Confirmed...At Last!!!

From AP via Raw Story:

Senate confirms Solis as labor secretary
By SAM HANANEL – 40 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate has confirmed California congresswoman Hilda Solis as President Barack Obama's labor secretary.

Solis' confirmation gives the agency a decidedly pro-worker tilt after eight years of business-friendly leadership under the Bush administration.

The 80-17 vote comes after more than a month of delays. Some GOP lawmakers were concerned over her work for a pro-union group that supports legislation easing the process for workers to organize unions.

She also had to answer questions about tax liens filed against her husband.


Monday, February 23, 2009


From Information Clearing House:

Kill The Messenger

By Sibel Edmonds - Video Documentary:

Most Americans have never heard of Sibel Edmonds, and if the U.S. government has its way, they never will. The former FBI translator turned whistleblower tells a chilling story of corruption at Washington's highest levels-sale of nuclear secrets, shielding of terrorist suspects, illegal arms transfers, narcotics trafficking, money laundering, espionage.

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On Dirty Coal...

From :

Joseph Romm

If Obama Stops Dirty Coal, as He Must, What Will Replace It?

Joseph Romm, Climate Progress: "I think it is incumbent on progressives to propose a realistic alternative to new coal plants - and a path to reduce emissions from existing ones. That's especially true since it is increasingly clear carbon capture and storage will not be a major player by 2020."

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Coming...Films and Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Jenny Wingfield's MOSES NEVER CLOSES, set in 1956 Arkansas, about the charming, unconventional Moses family and their outspoken 12 year old daughter, who, in her determination to rescue a young friend from his father's terrible abuse, puts them in the center of a dilemma which has far-reaching, dangerous consequences, to Susan Kamil at Dial, in a two-book deal, in a pre-empt, for publication in Spring 2010, by Susanna Einstein at LJK Literary Management (NA).

Stacey McGlynn's KEEPING TIME, the story of a British septuagenarian whose quest to return an engagement gift from her wartime love brings her to the Long Island home of her quirky American relatives and leads to a cross-country odyssey that changes the lives of all involved, to Shaye Areheart at Shaye Areheart Books, for publication in Spring 2010, by Adam Chromy and Jamie Brenner at Artists and Artisans (NA).

Allie Larkin's STAY, pitched as in the tradition of Emily Giffin and Claire Cook, the story of a woman whose relationship with a loveable Slovakian German Shepherd helps her recover from heartbreak after the love of her life marries her best friend, to Erika Imranyi at Dutton, in a pre-empt, for publication in 2010, by Rebecca Strauss at McIntosh & Otis.


Boston Teran's THE CREED OF VIOLENCE, set in 1910 against a backdrop of violence and political corruption, following an estranged father and son, one of whom is a murderer and the other a FBI agent, as they work to thwart an arms smuggling ring during the Mexican Revolution, to Charlie Winton at Counterpoint, for publication in Fall 2009, by Natasha Kern at Natasha Kern Literary Agency (World English).

Rights previously to Hachette in France, Newton & Compton in Italy, Editora Record in Brazil, and Athenaeum in Hungary.
Film rights to Universal Studios, in a seven-figure deal.

Maggie Pouncey's PERFECT READER, about a young woman who, armed with not much more than a sharp wit, ten pairs of underwear (6 sexy, 4 comforting), one beaded flapper dress, and a pair of clogs, returns to her childhood home in the wake of her father's sudden death to confront the long shadow of his successful academic career while she figures out how to forge for herself in a world that does not look kindly upon smart, forlorn single women, to Deborah Garrison at Pantheon, by Jennifer Carlson at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency (NA).

Tao Lin's SHOPLIFTING FROM AMERICAN APPAREL, a novella about a young writer who is caught shoplifting from an American Apparel store, to Dennis Johnson of Melville House, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2009.

Boston Red Sox second baseman and American League MVP Dustin Pedroia's BORN TO PLAY: My Life in the Game, "a feel-good story about Pedroia's love of baseball, overcoming the naysayers, and winning a world series in his first season," written with journalist Edward J. Delaney, to Anthony Ziccardi for Simon Spotlight Entertainment, for publication in July 2009, by Ian Kleinert at Objective Entertainment (NA).



NYT bestselling biographer Wendy Leigh's PATRICK SWAYZE: ONE LAST DANCE, a tribute to this star, who continues to inspire with his courage and hope in the face of his fight against pancreatic cancer, to Jennifer Bergstrom at Simon Spotlight Entertainment, with Sarah Sper editing, for publication in summer 2009, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group (World).

NYT bestselling author Susan Wels's AMELIA EARHART: THE THRILL OF IT, timed to tie in with the opening of the major movie biopic AMELIA, starring Hillary Swank, Richard Gere, and Ewan McGregor, to Jennifer Kasius at Running Press, for publication in Fall 2009, by Carole Bidnick at Bidnick & Company (World).


Classicist Barbara Graziosi's MIGRANT GODS: A History of Greek Civilization, tracing the migrations and transformations of the gods, from ancient Greece, via Persia, India, Egypt, Rome, and Christian Europe, and looking at how the gods of Mount Olympus became, in the course of their travels through history and cultures, ambassadors of a new, secular belief in humanity, which was the true legacy of ancient Greece, to Sara Bershtel at Metropolitan, at auction, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan (NA).

Legendary political journalist Theodore White's THE MAKING OF THE PRESIDENT 1960-1972, four seminal election narratives, brought back into print as the inaugural titles in Harper's new line, Harper Perennial Political Classics, to Cal Morgan at Harper Perennial, by Jason Allen Ashlock at Movable Type Literary Group, on behalf of Michael Carlisle and Ethan Bassoff at Inkwell Management.

Co-winner of the 2009 Lincoln Prize for Lincoln and His Admirals, Craig Symonds's book on the Battle of Midway, for the Pivotal Moments in American History series in 2011, and a second book, looking at Franklin D. Roosevelt's command of US naval operations during WWII, for publication in 2013, to Tim Bent at Oxford University Press, in a very nice deal (World).


Author and former Self editor Alexandra Penney's book, based on her blog as the Bag Lady at The Daily Beast about learning to live without all the money she lost in the Bernie Madoff fraud, to Ellen Archer at Voice, by Ed Victor at Ed Victor Ltd.


Reporter Matt Labash's PIRATE KINGFISH, GHOST CITIES AND FLY FISHING WITH DARTH VADER, chronicling the outsized and outrageous characters who populate America's murky periphery, shedding light on everything from ruined cities such as New Orleans and Detroit, to Al Sharpton's eating habits and Dick Cheney's favorite fishing hole, to Colin Fox at Simon & Schuster, by Elyse Cheney at Elyse Cheney Agency.


A collection of letters between Eudora Welty and William Maxwell, edited by Welty biographer Suzanne Marrs, published for the first time anywhere, chronicling, their decades-long friendship, their views on other writers, and their own writing lives, to Jenna Johnson at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for publication in Spring 2011, by Tim Seldes at Russell & Volkening (world).


Boston Red Sox second baseman and American League MVP Dustin Pedroia's BORN TO PLAY: My Life in the Game, "a feel-good story about Pedroia's love of baseball, overcoming the naysayers, and winning a world series in his first season," written with journalist Edward J. Delaney, to Anthony Ziccardi for Simon Spotlight Entertainment, for publication in July 2009, by Ian Kleinert at Objective Entertainment (NA).


Factory Farms Make Us Sick....

From Mother Earth News via

The Hidden Link Between Factory Farms and Human Illness

Laura Sayre, Mother Earth News: "You may be familiar with many of the problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. These 'factory farm' operations are often criticized for the smell and water pollution caused by all that concentrated manure; the unnatural, grain-heavy diets the animals consume; and the stressful, unhealthy conditions in which the animals live. You may not be aware, however, of the threat such facilities hold for you and your family's health - even if you never buy any of the meat produced in this manner."

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

What's new in publishing...Books....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Michelle Hoover's THE QUICKENING, about an epic feud, marked by violence and retribution, between two families who live on neighboring farms in the flat, hard country of the upper Midwest in the early 1900's, pitched as reminiscent of the work of Louise Erdrich, to Corinna Barsan at Other Press, by Esmond Harmsworth at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (World).


Carolyn Hart's next three books, two in the Death on Demand series, and one in her new Bailey Ruth Raeburn series, which is narrated by a ghost, to Carrie Feron at Harper, by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (NA).


Elif Shafak's SWEET BLASPHEMY, the parallel stories of a middle-aged book editor who is assigned a manuscript by a modern Sufi that takes her back to the tumultuous 13th century where she discovers the Islamic scholar Rumi's life bears surprising similarities to her own -- and as Rumi's life is changed when he meets the infamous wandering dervish Shams of Tabriz, the editor meets the author of the manuscript and her life is never again the same, to Paul Slovak at Viking Penguin, by Marly Rusoff at Marly Rusoff & Associates (NA).

Author of TWINS Marcy Dermansky's BAD MARIE, the story of a young woman just out of prison who goes to work as a nanny for her childhood friend, a Manhattan executive with a French novelist husband and an angelic toddler, pitched as Mary Gaitskill meets THE HAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, to Katherine Nintzel at Harper Perennial, by Alex Glass at Trident Media Group (World English).

Cornelia Nixon's JARRETTSVILLE, set in Maryland days after the Confederate surrender at Appomattox, Jarrettsville is a novel about the true love story of the author's ancestor, Martha Jane Cairnes, who murders her fiance in front of his Union cavalry militia, and is later acquitted despite fifty eye-witnesses to her crime, to Jack Shoemaker at Counterpoint, by Wendy Weil at the Wendy Weil Agency.

Nina Burleigh's THE DREAM COTTAGE, an investigative account of the story of Amanda Knox, the American exchange student accused of participating in the 2007 Manson-esque murder of her British roommate Meredith Kercher in Italy during their year abroad, offering an in-depth account of the crime and trial that also looks at larger topics such as the fantasy of high European culture, the seduction of living abroad and a parent's worst nightmare come true, to Charlie Conrad at Broadway, for publication in Spring 2011, by Deborah Grosvenor at Kneerim & Williams (world).


Matt Myklusch's debut JACK BLANK trilogy, beginning when a boy survives an attack by a robot-zombie and is smuggled away to a secret island full of aliens, super heroes, and the answers to his mysterious past, to Liesa Abrams at Aladdin, in a three-book deal, by Chris Richman at Firebrand Literary (NA).
Film/TV: Gotham Group



Gretchen Reynolds's BRAVE NEW BODY: On the Frontiers of 21st Century Fitness, growing out of her articles for the New York Times, describing the scientific research that is changing our understanding of exercise, fitness and training, and containing practical guidelines for achieving peak physical and mental performance, to Tracy Behar at Little, Brown, for publication in Spring 2011, by Sam Stoloff at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency (World).

Authority on aging Dr. Howard Murad's THE WATER PRINCIPLE: Saving Your Looks and Your Health Through The Science of Cellular Water, explaining how to take control of the aging process based on three decades of research and clinical observations and the author's discoveries for optimizing cellular strength and health through an integrated multi-disciplinary approach he calls Inclusive Health, to Christel Winkler at Wiley, by Jill Marsal at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency.


Obama campaign manager David Plouffe's THE AUDACITY TO WIN: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory, promising an inside account, including "the deliberations about whether to run against long odds, the primary battle with Hillary Clinton, the drama of the general election campaign and the strategic roads taken -- and not taken, plus "the business lessons to be learned from the formation and the functioning of an unprecedented $1 billion start-up -- use of technology, crisis management, grass roots, and personnel management, to Clare Ferraro at Viking Penguin, with Wendy Wolf editing, in a major deal, reportedly for seven figures, "at least $1.5 to $2 million" (AP), by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.


Patrick Swayze's memoir, written with his wife Lisa Niemi, covering the actor's childhood, career, and marriage, as well as his fight against stage-four pancreatic cancer, with Niemi recounting the intensity of her experience and the enormity of helping a loved-one battle a life-threatening disease, to Sarah Durand at Atria, for publication in Fall 2009, by Mel Berger and Suzanne Gluck at the William Morris Agency (world).


Tal McThenia and Margaret Dunbar Cutright's A CASE FOR SOLOMON: Two Mothers, One Son, and a Kidnapping That Confounded the South, a historical mystery of family and childhood, class and power, chronicling the story of a missing child/kidnapping case in Louisiana in 1912 (a boy was found but it took nearly a century for his identity to become fully known), co-written by the granddaughter of the victim, Bobby Dunbar, to Hilary Redmon at Free Press, at auction, for publication in October 2010, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency (NA).


John McMillian's BEATLES VS. STONES: The History of a Legendary Rivalry, a history of the complicated relationship between the two biggest bands of the 20th century, examining what it means to be a fan of either, comparing their legacies and using unexplored archives and original research, to Amber Qureshi at Free Press, at auction, for publication in September 2011, by Chris Parris-Lamb at The Gernert Company (NA).


Jeff Herman's JEFF HERMAN'S GUIDE TO BOOK PUBLISHERS, EDITORS & LITERARY AGENTS, 2010, 20TH EDITION, moving from the author's Three Dog Press to Peter Lynch at Sourcebooks, for publication in 2009 (world).


Friday, February 13, 2009

Labor Rights to eating Coal Ash....

From Facing South:

Facing South is your source for in-depth coverage and fresh perspectives on the South, published by the Institute for Southern Studies.

DATELINE: THE SOUTH - News and trends

VOICES: LABOR RIGHTS ARE CIVIL RIGHTS: This week marks the 100th anniversary of the NAACP, an organization that has fought not only for civil rights but a broader progressive agenda. We look back at a 2007 address in which outgoing NAACP Chair and Institute co-founder Julian Bond draws the connection between black freedom and workers' dignity. (Facing South, 2/12/2009)

COAL ASH IN YOUR VEGGIES?: Coal combustion waste -- like the stuff that spilled from the TVA Kingston power plant back in December -- is being spread on food crops across the South. But just how safe is the practice, which isn't regulated by the federal government? (Facing South, 2/6/2009)


Marines: Read Secrecy News....

From Secrecy News:


U.S. Marine Corps personnel who are responsible for protecting classified information should consult a variety of sources including Secrecy News in order to maintain their professional awareness, a new Marine Corps newsletter advised (pdf).

To begin with, "you should read every security-related regulation/article you can get your hands on," including the executive order on classification, the Information Security Oversight Office implementing directive, and so forth.

Then the newsletter recommended "exposing yourself to opposing views over the proper protection of CMI [classified military information]," a category that it said includes the views of Secrecy News and the National Security Archive.

See "Security Standard," the official newsletter of the MARFORPAC [U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific] Command Security Branch, January 2009, page 1.

The newsletter is marked "For Official Use Only."


Monday, February 09, 2009

Protecting the Whistleblowers....

From Secrecy News:


David W. Ogden, who has been nominated to be the next Deputy Attorney General, last week expressed strong support for government whistleblowers who help to expose corruption or malfeasance.

"I am a big believer in whistleblowers," he said at his February 5 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, "and in the need to make sure that people feel comfortable coming forward to make complaints."

"I think what we need is a process that encourages whistleblowing in this administration and any other administration going forward. The business of making sure that we're doing the right thing is an ongoing business," Mr. Ogden said in response to a question from Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

He said he would work with the Attorney General "to fashion an appropriate process that encourages whistleblowers to raise issues that need to be addressed."

Mr. Ogden also indicated a willingness to consider public disclosure of certain legal opinions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

Sen. Ron Wyden noted that "there are a lot of important rulings that go to the meaning of surveillance law, and I think that a lot of those kinds of judgments really could be redacted and declassified so that the country could be brought in in a more informed, a more complete way to these national-security debates."

"I absolutely will commit to take a fresh look at this issue if I'm confirmed," Mr. Ogden said.

FIS Court opinions that interpret surveillance law were one of several categories of "secret law" that were identified (pdf) in an April 30, 2008 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the subject.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

He smoked until....

From :

Farewell to one of the last 1906 quake survivors

Herbert Hamrol died Thursday. He was a classic little old man who smoked until he was 96, drank a brandy...



Saturday, February 07, 2009

Obama in the DC swamp...


FOCUS: Michael Winship
Get Away From Those Spinning Doors

Michael Winship, Truthout: "Not even three weeks in office and President Barack Obama is discovering that being in charge is no bed of roses, even when you have a garden of them just outside your Oval Office windows. February's frost has bitten a bit of the bloom off the new president's aspirations as the swamp of hypocrisy and partisan inertia that is Beltway Washington took its toll."

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Note: Blogger has suddenly removed my hotlink ability. Sheesh! Can't figure out how to get it back.


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Future books on the way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:



Vikas Swarup's SIX SUSPECTS, from the author of Q&A, the novel that "Slumdog Millionaire" is based on, showing that there's a caste system even in murder in this richly-textured whodunit, to Toni Plummer at Thomas Dunne Books, by Helen Edwards at Transworld (US).


NYT bestselling author of THE TSARINA'S DAUGHTER Carolly Erickson's next two historical novels, the first featuring the rivalry between Bessie Blount and Anne Boleyn, again to Charles Spicer at St. Martin's, by Heide Lange at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (world English).

Co-author with her late aunt Mary Ann Shaffer of NYT bestselling THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY Annie Barrows' novel set in the l930s inspired by her own family history, a love story set against the backdrop of a country under the seige of the Depression, but also a story about an oddball family and the effect they have on an exotic city girl from the east, sent by her father to take a job in the WPA, who rooms with a quirky family down south, to Susan Kamil for Dial Press, in a two-book deal, by Amy Rennert of the Amy Rennert Agency (world).

Michelle Obama's brother (who coaches men's basketball at Oregon State University) Craig Robinson's A GAME OF CHARACTER, part tribute to his family and part inspirational guide, to Bill Shinker at Gotham, with Lauren Marino editing, for publication in 2010, by Scott Waxman at the Waxman Literary Agency (world).

CASSANDRA AND JANE author Jill Pitkeathley's ENCHANTING ELIZA, the story of the Countess Eliza de Fueillide, Jane Austen's cousin whose life was much more intriguing and scandalous than Jane's own; told in the voices of those who knew her best, exploring some of the facts of Eliza's life and embellish upon them to illuminate the progressive and passionate woman who was a great influence on Jane's much-loved writing, to Stephanie Fraser at Harper, in a nice deal, for publication in April 2010 (World).


Pulitzer Prize winner David Maraniss's biography of Barack Obama that, like his biography of Bill Clinton (First In His Class), traces the future President's, parents and grandparents' global journeys -- in Kansas, Hawaii, Kenya, Indonesia and Chicago -- up through Obama's election in November 2008, again to Alice Mayhew at Simon & Schuster, by Rafe Sagalyn at The Sagalyn Agency (NA).


Brain injury survivor whose story led to the creation of the movement Wealth Watchers International, Alice Wood's WEALTH WATCHERS, a simple and powerful way to gain control of your spending, with stories and practical tips for saving money while building the habits that lead to wealth (the program is used in companies including McDonald's, VISA, and Citigroup), to Hilary Redmon and Martha Levin at Free Press, at auction, by Stephen Hanselman at LevelFiveMedia (world)

Newsweek writer and author of The Silicon Boys, The Accidental President, and 2008 Loeb Award winner Mine's Bigger, David Kaplan's THE AGE OF AVARICE, a sweeping look at the modern financial culture, to John Mahaney at Crown Business, by Esther Newberg at ICM.


Political organizer and Demos Fellow Jared Duval's THE GLOBAL CONNECTED GENERATION: Millennials and the Next Era of Social Change, a generational mission statement and work of social commentary that provides a first-person look at how young people are using new organizing and networking models to transform politics and lay a new basis for systemic social change, to Nick Trautwein and George Gibson at Bloomsbury, at auction, for publication in 2010, by Andrew Stuart at The Stuart Agency (NA).

Hoover Institution economist Thomas Sowell's THE HOUSING BOOM AND BUST, a cautionary tale covering the "who, what, why and how" of the crisis that has brought the economy to its knees, to John Sherer at Basic, in a good deal, for publication in June 2009, by Carol Mann at the Carol Mann Agency (World).


Movie producer Robert Evans' THE FAT LADY SANG: The Kid Stays in the Picture II, the decade-long-awaited sequel to "perhaps the best Hollywood memoir of all time," to Michael Viner at Phoenix, for publication in book and audiobook format in winter 2009 (world).

Molly Birnbaum's IN SEARCH OF SMELL, a personal and engaging inquiry into the science and psychology of the sense of smell, which the author - an aspiring chef - lost after being hit by a car and then, to the shock of her doctors and olfaction experts, slowly regained, to Matt Weiland at Ecco, in a pre-empt, by Anna Stein at the Irene Skolnick Agency (World English).


Jon Sweeney's THE POPE WHO QUIT: THE BIZARRE LIFE AND MYSTERIOUS DEATH THAT BROUGHT THE MIDDLE AGES TO AN END, telling the story of Peter the Hermit -- the 85-year-old man who in 1294 was elected Pope Celestine V against his will -- his bizarre five months of ruling western Christendom, his decision to quit the papacy - as no other pope has voluntarily done since - and the strange circumstances and mysterious way in which he died, to Gary Jansen at Doubleday Religion, by Greg Daniel at Daniel Literary Group (World).


British doctor Ben Goldacre's BAD SCIENCE, a diatribe against bad science everywhere, begin ningwith soft targets like detox footbaths and cosmetics ads, moving on to topics like homeopathy and the billion-dollar food supplements industry, and mercilessly tackling the distortion of data by the pharmaceutical industry, reminding people what evidence-based medicine is all about as well as enabling them to uncover the bullshit for themselves, to Mitzi Angel at Faber, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Rosemary Scoular at United Agents (US).