Thursday, April 29, 2010

But Not Always Accidental....

From Secrecy News:


Incidents of fratricide in the U.S. war on terrorism increased in recent years, according to a new report (pdf) from the U.S. Army.

"Fratricide" -- the unintended killing or injury of friendly forces -- "is a harsh reality during combat operations," the study states. "Over the course of 2004-2007, the number of fratricide incidents increased, and experts speculate this is due to the high operational tempo and the reliance on technology during the current war."

According to official data, "there were 55 U.S. Army fratricide incidents from 11 September 2001 to 30 March 2008. Forty of these were Class A accidents" -- involving damage costs of $2 million or more and/or destruction of an Army aircraft, missile or spacecraft and/or fatality or permanent total disability -- "resulting in the deaths of 30 U.S. Army personnel."

Human error is a primary causal factor in many fratricide incidents, the study indicated, and "therefore, human error must be considered in the design and development of fratricide countermeasures, including both technical and human-centric solutions... Improved supervision and leadership may have the greatest potential to reduce U.S. fratricide incidents."

See "An Analysis of U.S. Army Fratricide Incidents during the Global War on Terror (11 September 2001 to 31 March 2008)" by Catherine M. Webb and Kate J. Hewett, U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory, March 2010.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010


From Voice of San Diego...

Two area congressmen had some interesting things to say about illegal immigration in the last few days. U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter on Saturday told a Tea Party gathering that he supports deporting the children of illegal immigrants -- even if they are U.S. citizens by birth. The North County Times confirmed his quote and, though the Constitution seems to be clear that anyone born in the country gets citizenship, Hunter said it should take more to be a citizen. And U.S. Rep. Brian Bilbray, responding to questions about Arizona's new immigration law -- which gives police the mandate to check the residency status of anyone they might suspect of not having proper documents -- said law enforcement can tell if someone is here illegally by the clothes they wear and how they act among many factors.

Note: Both Repug assholes.


And Still More Books On the Way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly:


Longtime CNN anchor Kitty Pilgrim's SINCLAIR, tracking abrilliant archaeologist and a renowned oceanographer as they join forces with a team of virologists trying to decode the genome of the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic, to Nan Graham and Roz Lippel at Scribner, in a two-book deal, by Mort Janklow at Janklow & Nesbit (World).


O.J. Simpson prosecutor and NYT bestselling author Marcia Clark's debut GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, to Judy Clain at Little, Brown, in a pre-empt, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2011, by Dan Conaway at Writers House (World).

Thomas Koloniar's CANNIBAL REIGN, in a post asteroidal world where the sun has ceased to shine and human kind has begun to savagely feed upon itself, the last five green berets on earth have chosen to make a stand, to Matthew Benjamin at William Morrow, for publication in 2011, by Ian Kleinert at Objective Entertainment (NA).


Liza Palmer's WHITE PICKET FENCES AND OTHER CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, about a teacher at a private school whose world is rocked when her school's seemingly perfect new headmistress is killed by her seemingly perfect husband; and THE LAST SUPPER CLUB about an aspiring chef who, after a disastrous attempt to make it in NY, drags herself back to Texas, taking a job preparing last meals for condemned prisoners (simultaneously being developed by the agency's film/tv department as a television series), to Carrie Feron at William Morrow, by Christy Fletcher at Fletcher & Company.

Arturo Perez-Reverte's THE SIEGE, set during Napoleon's famous 19th-century siege of Cadiz, the only Spanish city never to fall to the French, to Jennifer Hershey at Random House, by Howard Morhaim at Howard Morhaim Literary Agency on behalf of Raquel de la Concha (NA).

Lorna Graham's THE GHOST OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, the story of a woman who moves to Manhattan in search of romance and excitement, only to find that her apartment is haunted by the cantankerous ghost of an old Beat Generation writer who wants her help in finishing his life's work, all as she tries to balance a new job at a morning news show, a budding friendship with a legendary fashion designer, and a search for clues to her mother's past, to Jennifer Smith at Ballantine Trade Paperbacks, at auction, for publication in Summer 2011, by Susan Golomb at the Susan Golomb Agency (World).


Author of the NYT bestseller Beautiful Boy, David Sheff's THE THIRTEENTH STEP, drawing on recent research and stories of the author's own and others' experiences to show what's wrong with how we approach addiction today and the best ways to treat and prevent it, again to Eamon Dolan at Penguin Press, for publication in spring 2011, by Amanda Urban of ICM.


Garry Wills' THE SPIRITUAL CROSSING, a biography of the site of St. Augustine's baptism, to Stefan Vranka at Oxford University Press, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency.


Star, writer, and producer of The Office, Mindy Kaling's THE CONTENTS OF MY PURSE, a series of comic essays, drawing in part on her blog "Things I Bought That I Love," sharing personal moments -- such as her ode to the most romantic moment in any relationship (when you can scrub your makeup off before you go to sleep and not feel self-conscious), a piece about the dress she can't wear anymore because it reminds her of one of her most embarrassing public moments, and the story of the day she was horrified to learn her boyfriend could fit into her jeans, to Suzanne O'Neill at Crown, for publication in fall 2011, by Richard Abate and Howard Klein at 3 Arts Entertainment (world).


Olympic gold medal gymnast Dominique Moceanu's OFF BALANCE, revealing the often-dark underbelly of Olympic gymnastics, her controversial "divorce" from her parents at age 17 -- and the recent shocking revelation that forced her to reexamine everything she thought she knew about her family and the sport she loves, to Michelle Howry at Touchstone Fireside, for publication in 2012, by Stephanie Abou at Foundry Literary + Media.

Figure-skating champion (and star of a reality show on the Sundance Channel) Johnny Weir's collection of entertaining anecdotes and essays about "everything from pop culture to skating to fashion to Johnny himself," to Jennifer Bergstrom at Gallery, for publication in January 2011, by Dan Strone at Trident Media Group (world).

Singer Susan Boyle's THE WOMAN I WAS BORN TO BE, about her unlikely journey to stardom, to Atria, by Richard Pine at Inkwell Management, and to Transworld in the UK, for publication in fall 2010, by Mark Lucas at Lucas Alexander Whitley.


Roseanne Montillo's THE LADY AND HER MONSTERS, pitched as in the tradition of The Professor and the Madman, about the creation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, combining literary history with the story of the real life occultists and mad scientists who inspired Shelley to write her gothic masterpiece, to Henry Ferris at William Morrow, in a pre-empt, by Jake Bauman at Rob Weisbach Creative Management (NA).
Foreign: Jenny Meyer Literary Agency


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A Selection of Good Books Coming...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


Zoetrope All-Story Short Fiction Contest winner Bernie McGill's first novel THE BUTTERFLY CABINET, based on a true event, revealing what really happened on the last day in the life of 4-year-old girl, from the alternating points of view of her mother, accused of killing her, and a former nanny who wants to unburden herself of a 70-year secret, to Wylie O'Sullivan at Free Press, for publication in summer 2011, by Anna Stein on behalf of Clare Alexander at Aitken Alexander Associates (NA).

Matthew Olshan's MARSHLANDS, a tale of occupation, assimilation and treason pitched as in the tradition of Coetzee's WAITING FOR THE BARBARIANS, beginning with a doctor's release from prison and moving backward in time to discover the nature of his crime, to Courtney Hodell at Farrar, Straus, by Seth Fishman at Sterling Lord Literistic (World).

Len Rosen's ALL CRY CHAOS, in which an aging interpol agent is investigating the bizarre murder of a famous Harvard mathematician and the confounding equation he left behind when a terrifying Bosnian war criminal exacts revenge from behind bars at the Hague and has his men hunt down his family, testing him like Job, until he begins to wonder if the cases are connected by a higher power, to Martin Shepard at The Permanent Press, by Eve Bridburg and Todd Shuster at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (World).


Julie Kenner, writing as J.K. Beck's books four through six in her soon-to-be-published Shadow Keeper series of paranormal romances about an age-old judicial system that is hidden within and mirrors our own, to Shauna Summers at Bantam Dell, by Kimberly Whalen at Trident Media Group (world).


Kate Taylor's A MAN IN UNIFORM, a historical thriller novel set in 19th century Paris, told against the backdrop of a country struggling to redefine itself after the Dreyfus Affair scandal, to John Glusman at Harmony, for publication in December 2010, by Dean Cooke at The Cooke Agency (US).


Alison Pick's FAR TO GO, an epic historical novel set during the lead-up to Hitler's invasion of Czechoslovakia and the fate of one Jewish family, to Claire Wachtel at Harper Perennial, by Barbara Howson at House of Anansi Press.

Author of Bound South and A Soft Place to Land Susan Rebecca White's A PLACE AT THE TABLE, set in New York and Atlanta about the literary and culinary vanguards of those cities in the twentieth century, to Trish Todd at Touchstone Fireside, in a two-book deal, by Rebecca Oliver at William Morris Endeavor (World English).

Filmmaker John Sayles' long-shopped long historical novel, SOME TIME IN THE SUN, set during the U.S. occupation of the Phillippines at the turn of the twentieth century, to Dave Eggers at McSweeney's, in a nice deal, for publication in Fall 2011, by Anthony Arnove at Roam Agency (world English).

Paul Harding's ENON, set in the same fictional town as his Pulitzer-winning TINKERS, to Susan Kamil for Random House, at auction, sold at the end of 2009, in a two-book deal, by Ellen Levine at Trident Media Group (US).


Elizabeth George's first series for young adults, starting with THE EDGE OF NOWHERE, to Tim Hely-Hutchinson at Hachette UK, for four books, for publication beginning in 2011, by Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (UK/Commonwealth).



Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson's THE NEW INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, the story of how entrepreneurs are using web principles to rejuvenate manufacturing - and the economy - through open source, custom-fabrication and do-it-yourself design, predicting that we are about to see the collective potential of a million garage tinkerers unleashed on global markets, to John Mahaney at Crown, by John Brockman of Brockman (NA).

Business school professor and Deadhead Barry Barnes's MANAGEMENT SECRETS OF THE GRATEFUL DEAD, analyzing the band's remarkable thirty-year career, particularly their influence on the business world and the ways in which they pioneered ideas and practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate America, with an introduction by Grateful Dead songwriter John Perry Barlow, to Sara Weiss at Business Plus, in a good deal, in a pre-empt, by Howard Yoon of the Gail Ross Literary Agency.


What's the Matter with Kansas? and The Wrecking Crew author Thomas Frank's untitled book about the resurgence of conservatism in 2010, explaining how the right positioned itself to profit from the economic crisis, why it has flourished despite its discredited ideology, and what its revival means for America's future, to Sara Bershtel at Metropolitan, by Joe Spieler at The Spieler Agency (World).


73 year-old Kenyan conservationist, Dame Daphne Sheldrick's AN AFRICAN LOVE STORY, focused on the love story in the 1950s and 1960s between her and David Sheldrick, the charismatic wildlife campaigner for whom Dame Daphne left her then husband, to Eric Chinski at Farrar, Straus, and to Venetia Butterfield at Viking UK, in a pre-empt, by Patrick Walsh at Conville & Walsh.

German rights to Goldmann, in a pre-empt, and Dutch rights to De Boekerij, in a pre-empt.
Film rights sold previously to Peter Guber at Mandalay for Warner, with Walter Salles to direct, and the Imax rights sold separately to Imax, who start filming this summer in Kenya.


GQ and Wired writer Jason Fagone's GENIUS IS NOT A PLAN, a narrative about four teams furiously competing to win the $10 million Progressive Automotive X Prize for the design of a clean, production-capable car that gets more than 100 mpg, also offering a look at the past and future of automotive innovation; the engineering of cars; and the archetype of the classic American inventor, to Rachel Klayman at Crown, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (world).

Jen Lin-Liu's GREAT NOODLE BAZAAR, a personal narrative arguing that the culinary exchanges along the Silk Road are not only the earliest examples of globalization, but more important, proof that the borders between Asia and Europe are more fluid than those created by nations, to Becky Saletan at Riverhead, by Chris Calhoun at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).


Dr. Norman Doidge's follow up to THE BRAIN THAT CHANGES ITSELF, in which this expert on brain plasticity tells miraculous stories that further illustrate the brain is not hard-wired as previously thought, but flexible and dynamic, to Clare Ferraro at Viking, with Jim Silberman editing, for publication in 2013, by Chris Calhoun at Sterling Lord Literistic (NA).


Sunday, April 18, 2010

So, Who?

This is a tough one...when Obama's term of President is up, who will we vote for? Shall we give him another term or should we choose someone else?

And who might that someone be? Who might run against Obama? Who might be willing to take on that horrendous job?

Given how things are going, it seems to me to be worth contemplating...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Peter Shurman is running against Jerry Brown....

I'd sure like to learn more from Peter Shurman (D) who is running for CA governor against Jerry Brown and the Repub candidates. He's suddenly just popped up on the scene. Had this email from him's part of it:

"Friends -

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for signing on to my campaign for Governor of California. The response since we launched this campaign just a little more than one week ago has been simply incredible.

We're picking up terrific press coverage, including a new Op-Ed published just moments ago, and tapping a well-spring of popular commitment to a prosperous, fair, and Democratic future for California. We're meeting with voters up and down the state, and taking part in major candidate forums. We've won our first major endorsement, from the Progressive Democrats of Los Angeles -- thank you, PDLA!

Our next big focus is the California Democratic Party Convention, this weekend in Los Angeles. It's a huge opportunity to make connections with local leaders from all over the state. We're here now busily preparing."

Thursday, April 08, 2010

New lawyers WORK....

Ian Graham's non-fiction book's Chapter One title is "I'm Going To Prison". And he does, but not because he's been bad.

UNBILLABLE HOURS is the true story of Graham's becoming a lawyer who, after graduating from law school, lands a job with a high-powered Los Angeles law firm. This is a place where new lawyers damned near get worked to death.

And in the process, Ian ends up with a pro bono case...and that's why the book is titled UNBILLABLE HOURS. The lawyers work for free.

So, UNBILLABLE HOURS is both a story about a new lawyer landing a job in a big firm and just what that's like, but also about what it takes to get an innocent person out of prison.

I was fascinated. The book, sent to me by its publisher, Kaplan, should be read by all law students. It's an education in itself.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Soldiers Killing Themselves...Why?

From Secrecy News...


The U.S. Army is still struggling to come to grips with the unusually high rate of suicide within its ranks.

"The Army ratios are above the national average and in some months recently, there have been more suicides in the Army than combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan," observed Nancy Youssef of McClatchy News last week. "There is no pattern to suicides. One third who commit suicide have never served in combat; another third commit suicide while in combat; and yet another third do it once they return, according to Army statistics."

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh issued two directives on March 26 that are intended to further an understanding of the problem and to improve the availability of information to surviving family members.

Effectively immediately, all suspected suicides will be subject to an official (AR 15-6) investigation, the purpose of which is "to identify the circumstances, methods, and the contributing factors surrounding the event.... The completed investigation should provide clear, relevant, and practical recommendation(s) to prevent future suicides," according to Army Directive 2010-01 (pdf).

A second Army directive (pdf) provided guidance for reporting (and redacting) information to be provided to family members, who are to be "kept fully informed while the investigation is underway."

Although national security, third-person privacy and other FOIA-exempt information may be withheld, "the release authority cannot withhold information merely because it may be emotionally difficult for the surviving Family members to see or hear." However, "potentially upsetting information should be segregated from the body of the report and made available in a separate sealed envelope that is clearly marked as potentially upsetting information."

An updated official account of the number of Army suicides through the end of March will be published on Thursday, reported Sig Christenson of the San Antonio Express-News on April 2.


Monday, April 05, 2010

36 Dead at US Consulate After Attack...

From Stratfor:

RED ALERT: U.S. Consulate Attacked In Pakistan
April 5, 2010

Three explosions, two rocket attacks and subsequent gunfire have been reported in the near vicinity of the U.S. consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan, on April 5. The attack occurred early afternoon local time when the consulate would have been full of both American and local employees. The death toll is reported at 36 but is expected to rise.

There are no assessments yet of the damage that the consulate building has sustained, but reports indicate that the explosions led to the collapse of other, adjacent buildings. Pakistani soldiers are also reported to be engaging militants in gunfire, indicating that militants are actively engaged in an attack near the area - possibly with the intention of breaching the U.S. consulate.

Many U.S. diplomatic missions (including the one in Peshawar) have a number of built in security features, such as a perimeter wall, ample stand-off distance between the buildings and the wall, reinforced concrete structure and windows and marines stationed inside to ward off attacks. While militant activity in the tribal belt of northwest Pakistan has led to regular attacks against targets of the Pakistani state, today’s assault against the consulate is an extremely rare direct attack on a U.S. target.

STRATFOR is monitoring the situation for more details. Monitor our coverage.


Thursday, April 01, 2010

What the Public Doesn't Know About Yet...

From Secrecy News...


New Congressional Research Service reports obtained by Secrecy News that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all pdf):

"Federal Efforts to Address the Threat of Bioterrorism: Selected Issues for Congress," March 18, 2010.

"Changes in the Arctic: Background and Issues for Congress," March 30, 2010.

"Deforestation and Climate Change," March 24, 2010.

"The Impact of Major Legislation on Budget Deficits: 2001 to 2009," March 23, 2010.

"GAO Bid Protests: An Overview of Timeframes and Procedures," March 15, 2010.

"GAO Bid Protests: Trends, Analysis, and Options for Congress," February 11, 2009.

"The Future of U.S. Trade Policy: An Analysis of Issues and Options for the 111th Congress," March 24, 2010.

"Europe's Preferential Trade Agreements: Status, Content, and Implications," March 22, 2010.

"F-35 Alternate Engine Program: Background and Issues for Congress," March 22, 2010.

"Cyprus: Reunification Proving Elusive," April 1, 2010.

A bill on government transparency that was introduced by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) last week would finally make all non-confidential CRS reports publicly available online. There must have been a dozen such proposals that have been introduced in Congress over the last 15 years without effect, and it is not clear whether the latest iteration will fare any better.

Secrecy News is written by Steven Aftergood and published by the Federation of American Scientists.

The Secrecy News Blog is at:

To SUBSCRIBE to Secrecy News, go to: