Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Jon Huntsman is my candidate...

Finally somebody has entered the race for Prez that I feel fine about voting for: Jon Huntsman. Former Gov of Utah, former Ambassador to China, all around decent guy. He is a moderate/liberal Repub. Has a terrific reputation. Nice family. And decent stands on issues. I see no downsides. And no, he is not beholden to Wall Street or any other outfit or individual. Sure is nice to not have to compromise.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

This is Bull....

From Secrecy News...


The government yesterday filed a formal response (pdf) in federal court in opposition to the public use of WikiLeaks documents by a habeas attorney who represents a client in U.S. military detention at Guantanamo Bay. Those documents are or may be classified, the government insisted, and must continue to be treated as such.

In an April 27 motion (pdf), attorney David Remes had asked the Court to authorize "full and unfettered access" to WikiLeaks documents pertaining to his client, and to affirm that he "may publicly view, download, print, copy, disseminate, and discuss the documents and their contents, without fear of any sanctions."

"Any member of the general public can view these files, download them, print them, circulate them, and comment on them," Mr. Remes wrote. "Undersigned counsel, however, fears that he will face potential sanctions, legal or otherwise, if he does exactly the same things without express government permission."

In its response yesterday, the government said that Mr. Remes (and other habeas attorneys) may "view" the documents on a non-governmental computer, but may not "download, print, copy, disseminate, [or] discuss these documents" in public.

To justify its position, the government argued that it had not confirmed the authenticity of any particular WikiLeaks document, and that the restrictions on attorneys' use of the documents serve to maintain the possibility that one or more of the documents is not genuine.

"Although the Government has confirmed that purported detainee assessments were leaked to WikiLeaks, the Government has neither confirmed nor denied that any particular individual report appearing on the WikiLeaks website is an official government document," the government attorneys wrote.

"The Government must refrain from confirming whether any particular reports disseminated by WikiLeaks are genuine detainee assessments or not, to avoid the risk of even greater harm to national security than may have already been caused by WikiLeaks' disclosures."

This argument seems weakened, however, by the fact that the Government has not identified even one document among the many thousands released by WikiLeaks that is not genuine or is not what it appears to be. In the absence of even a single such case of falsification, the documents may be understood to be presumptively authentic even if government officials will not deign to say so.

It will be up to the Court to decide which party's perspective is legally compelling.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Still learning...

Well, hell! Just found out I need to moderate comments here. I've been so interested in the political news...and the news, sparse as it is...on our guys in Afghanistan that I just neglected to "take care of business". My apologies. Also, thanks to you guys who "follow" this blog. Just now learned about you all.

Wondering if any of you have any idea who you'll vote for for Prez come 2012. I sure am not a bit happy with any of the candidates, Repub or Dem. Have a writer friend who swears she's not even gonna bother to vote at all. Not happy with the state of the United States either. Oh no.

Have just finished reading Wasdin's book on his 12 years in SEAL Team 6. Learned about a whole lot of interesting things like examining natural things like leaves to gauge wind speed. Title of book: "SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL sniper." What that guy had to learn and do to become a sniper, much less a SEAL, is just incredible. There will never ever be females in that outfit.

Our San Diego Convention Center had two events going today. Arianna Huffington was keynote speaker at one of them. Would have enjoyed hearing her. Heard her speak at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and enjoyed every moment.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

And It's One, Two, Three Strikes and....

Keith Taylor

George Herman McClusky and his grandson, Joe, loved baseball. George tried out for every navy softball or baseball team on every ship or station but could only make the lineup as a right fielder on pickup games when only eight others showed up.

His grandson had a better shot. Mike, his dad managed the Reds, a Little League team. Joe was a fair to middling player who pitched and played other positions as well.

The three of them even made it to a World Series game in person. A few days after the World Series, Joe was playing in his own game in an off season practice league. Unlike at A T & T park in San Francisco the crowd the gathering at Sweetwater Little League field was shy of a sellout and would have been if capacity had been a couple dozen.

The big leaguers played nearly flawless ball. The Little League Reds and Pirates weren’t quite as perfect. The six umpires at the World Series game were highly paid professionals. The sole umpire at the Little League game was an amateur. The professional’s job was made easy by major league players. Big leaguers never run the wrong direction on the bases, nor do they stop playing to stare at airplanes flying over.

George Herman was the sole umpire at the little league game where watching airplanes was just as important was watching the ball, and a kid might head back to first from second if he left his hat behind, or if he just felt like it.

George Herman’s son, Mike, had cajoled him into officiating in a post-season practice league game. What’s more, he had to do his umpiring forty-six feet from the plate. Someone forgot to bring the face mask so he made his calls standing on the pitcher’s mound. Still the old man would give it his best. He had too much respect for the tradition of baseball to do anything else.

He had a couple things going for him. First was the unofficial rule was that nobody argued with the umpire. That rule was obeyed stringently by the coaches, and sometimes by the kids themselves. Also George Herman remembered an umpire from his own youth, George Magerkurth. Magerkurth was bigger than most players and tried with some success to cow them into silence with his size and wild histrionics.

George Herman, himself about the old umpire’s size, added his own histrionics for a good reason. It would take a brave kid to challenge a guy that big, especially if the big guy was making all that noise while jumping around like a cartoon character.

It was game time, and the pitcher warmed up, and warmed up, and warmed up. Finally the ersatz Magerkurth asked the kid if he was ready. The kid stared back and didn’t answer.

“Hey, kid. You loose?”

The youngster stared some more, then threw to the catcher again.

“Look, we don’t have all day. You about ready?” Again, another stare, then he chucked it to the catcher again.

This was getting silly. The ump shouted to his son sitting on the bench.“ Hey, Mike Your pitcher about ready? He won’t talk to me.”

“Oh, he doesn’t speak English. He just moved here from Japan. Take the ball from him and don’t give it back or he’ll keep playing catch all day. He loves to play catch.”

The Reds, Joe’s team, had won practically every game in the short season, and they didn’t want to get beat by the Pirates who hadn’t won a single one. A victory by the Pirates would make the season a success, at least for the day. Tomorrow would take care of itself.

Finally they got underway and the game bumped along, inning by inning.

Both managers had promised each player he could pitch to a batter or so. One kid couldn’t get past the warm-up stage. His best pitch missed home plate by a couple feet. The harder he tried, the worse he got. Then, the young fellow remembered he had a serious stomach ache and said he’d feel better if he was in right field.

Not long after that the ump had one of those challenges a guy loves when things are going right. The batter lofted a high one down the right field line. As befits a good ump, George Herman hustled over to get a good look at it. It didn’t help. The chalk mark must have been laid down by one of the kids while he was watching an airplane. The line skewed towards center field, then petered out. The ball landed in no-man’s land. It was either fail, foul, or too close to call.

According to tradition, the umpire is only supposed to make a verbal call if the ball is foul, but with kids if he doesn’t say something they will all stop and wait. In his best Magerkurth voice he made the call. “FAIR BALL!” The right fielder who couldn’t find home plate a little earlier grabbed the thing and made the best throw of the game, right to the second baseman. The infielder tagged the batter, and held on.

“YER OUT,” bellowed the ump. Then he whirled to see the other runner almost, but not quite, at home plate. He ran towards home and shouted “THIS RUN DOESN’T COUNT!” Twas a critical call because that run would have made it 14 to 4, Pirates.

That call also earned George Herman his only sign of approval the entire game. Mike gave his dad a little smile and almost nodded his head. The umpire remained stoic. Umpires don’t smile. They do stick their tongues out now and then though. An inning or so later he called a close--but correct he was pretty sure--third strike on his grandson. Joe gave his grandfather a scowl and looked like he was going to break rule number one. George Herman gave the kid the tongue. Joe returned the salute, but followed it with a smile. Hey, they were going for a bike ride after the game.

Even easy calls aren’t easy in Little League practice games. A batter socked one high over the fence. It was, as they say nowadays, a no-doubter. The ball cleared the fence by ten feet, hit a tree, and bounced back onto the field. George Herman had a call nobody could blow. He gave the traditional signal by pointing skyward and making a circle with his finger.

As usual, he should have shouted. In the absence of any verbal direction, the left fielder invoked his own rule. He’d play any ball that got into his territory, no matter how it got there. The kid grabbed it and fired a strike to the shortstop who had wandered out to the cutoff position merely to watch the home run.

The shortstop, not quite sure what to do, whirled and pegged the ball right to the catcher who chased the runner back towards third. The kid on third, who would have been heading for home himself except that he had stopped to watch an airplane, headed back towards second.

Confusion set in. Kids ran the bases counterclockwise then clockwise. The ball was thrown willy-nilly. George Herman thought one of the runners passed another, but he figured

nobody else knew for sure. To settle things once and for all he got hold of the ball, put it in his pocket, lined up the runners and marched them across home plate.

Then he found the kid who had hit his first ever homer and gave him the ball, or one about like it anyhow.

Finally the game came down to the final at bat. Thanks in part to the homer the Reds had fought back and were within one big swing of yet another win, thus relegating the Pirates to a winless season. The overdogs were down one run with two ducks on the pond, two outs, and two strikes on their batter.

The umpire didn’t want a tough call at this point, but easy calls are for the Major Leagues. The Little League pitcher could have passed for a miniature version of 1940’s Rip Sewell. The one-time Pirate pitcher threw what he called an eephus pitch. It was a lob that went high in the air and came down, almost vertically, across the strike zone. Unfortunately Sewell’s most notable eephus pitch was one served to Ted Williams in an all-star game. Williams knocked it out of sight.

George Herman cast a quick glace toward the sky, ignored a passing plane, and pleaded with the baseball gods to help the pitcher put one right down the middle. Likely that’s what the pitcher tried to do, but it had all the zip of a eephus ball tacking into the wind. The dying quail tailed away to catch the corner, or pretty close anyhow. He heard somebody shout, “STEEERIKE THREE, YER OUT!”

It was him. The game was over.

The Pirates poured out of the dugout to celebrate their only victory. The Reds made do with that “TWO FOUR SIX EIGHT, WHO DO WE APPRECIATE” thing.

The parents hugged their kids and told them they were proud of them.

The managers congratulated each other.

The umpire walked to his car all alone. Nobody said a word to him.

That’s baseball.



Tuesday, June 07, 2011


The Nation
Richard Kim
June 6, 2011
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum is ardently anti-gay and has an acute talent for tapping into the homophobic imagination of social conservatives. “Man on child,” “man on dog,” incest, “priests with 3-year-olds,” polygamy, the welfare of children, the decline of Western civilization—if it’s in the vocabulary of anti-gay hysteria, Santorum has been there, done that. As a result, he’s become the target of a Google bomb, led by gay columnist Dan Savage, that successfully redefined “santorum” as a substance most straight people probably didn’t know existed and most gay men never thought to name, especially not in honor of a Republican US senator. But hey, shit happens—and now Santorum is widely considered a joke. The launch of his presidential campaign today was greeted with a chorus of knowing sneers.

augh away—for now he has the support of just two percent of Republican voters—but remember, Santorum wasn’t always just for shits and giggles. Before he crashed and burned in his race for a third Senate term, Santorum was considered a golden boy of the GOP. He had won four elections in a row in a swing state against well-financed Democrats. He was the youngest member of the GOP Senate leadership and, for much of the early 2000s, one of its most frequent TV spokesmen.
Most importantly, Santorum was the baby face of compassionate conservatism and an important architect of its signature pieces of legislation. As head of the House GOP Task Force on Welfare Reform, Santorum wrote key parts of what became the landmark 1996 welfare reform bill signed by Bill Clinton. He championed No Child Left Behind and proposed the Santorum Amendment to it, which attempted to insert teaching on the theory of intelligent design. Along with Democrat Dick Durbin, Santorum crusaded for increasing US spending on the global fight against HIV/AIDS, especially if it went to church groups and controversial abstinence-only programs. He considered enlarging the US role in fighting AIDS integral to "American exceptionalism," and he earned the praise of Bono, among others, for his advocacy. Throughout it all, he worked behind the scenes to increase government funding for faith-based social services.

As conservative pundit Kathleen Parker lamented in September 2006, when it was clear that Santorum would go down to Bob Casey, “Santorum has been the conservatives’ point man for the world’s disenfranchised—the poor, the sick and the meek. If he loses, the face of compassionate conservatism will be gone.”

Parker was right. Nobody on the right talks of compassionate conservatism anymore, especially now that the Tea Party is running the show. In part that’s because it collapsed on its own internal contradictions. As an ideology, compassionate conservatism championed state support for social justice —to fight poverty, illiteracy or disease, for example—but it opposed the state doing that work itself. In practice, that meant turning the state into a giant, heavily politicized pass-through mechanism that redistributed tax-payer dollars to private charities and corporations without meaningful accountability. Because compassionate conservatism is rooted in Christian missionary zealotry, it inevitably engaged in social engineering—abstinence-only sex education and discrimination against gays and lesbians, for example. And most importantly for the Tea Party right, it ran up the deficit. Along with the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, for Tea Party conservatives, it is the most visible symbol of how Bush went wrong, corrupting real conservatism with profligate cronyism.

That’s the real reason why Santorum’s candidacy seems so laughable now. He’s a relic from another time, one marked by plentitude and optimism, when conservatives embraced a global role for the United States, attempted to hijack American progressivism and above all, needed a new brand to bring them back from the mean years of straight-up bashing welfare queens and fags with AIDS (see Jesse Helms). Santorum fulfilled that role, speaking of America’s great and charitable mission to aid the poor while retaining enough smiling hatred to stoke the old base. It didn’t really make sense then. It really doesn’t make sense now.


Just Shut Your Mouth.....

Pecadilloes and Penises
Keith Taylor

Here we go again! A congress member violated the modern bugaboo of political correctness. No, he didn't take or misuse public money. He didn't vote to start an unnecessary war. He didn't do something against the wishes of most of his constituents. He got carried away in a private conversation and it involved sex.

Now he's on the skids and his life is on the verge of being ruined. When a righteous blogger posted a story of Congressman Anthony Weiner's Internet peccadilloes Weiner made the expected response. He lied about it, and very poorly.

He would have saved himself a lot of trouble if he'd simply shut the hell up and let it ride. After all, how many people were really shocked at what looked like the outline of a modest sized boner in his skivvies? Indeed no laws were broken, at least no man-made laws. But what about those laws not of this kingdom?

We're talking religion here and that brings into play an entirely new set of laws, those believed to have been laid down by the creator of a universe now known said by scientists to be thirteen billion years old. across.

But according to the adherents of most Western religions, some ten thousand years ago that creator not only gave us the universe he also laid down laws governing everybody in it. Those laws include their innermost thoughts. And the penalty for breaking those laws is severe.

Thanks to the astute founding fathers of our nation and a succession of court rulings, laws governing based merely on a belief on unseen beings are unconstitutional. Hence those of us who choose to think, not merely to believe, are protected from this idea that flights of fancy are punishable by temporal law.

Sadly there is no protection against someone's throwing a fit about a violation of what they think is immoral, such as thinking about anything. And even more sadly those people vote.

So, unless Anthony Weiner keeps his mouth shut long enough for the titillation over his modest boner wears off, he's a goner, and there's no telling what the hypocrite who replaces him will be like. The only thing for sure is he'll will assure us he doesn't impure thoughts.

I worry about my country.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Books and More Books...

From Publishers Lunch Weekly....

David Mark's crime debut THE DARK WINTER, to David Rosenthal at Blue Rider Press, in a two-book deal, for publication starting in Summer 2012, by Oliver Munson at the Blake Friedmann (US & Canada).
Ullstein and Mondadori pre-empted German and Italian rights.

Writing as J.I. Baker, debut novelist James Ireland Baker's THE EMPTY GLASS, a riveting, paranoiac thriller told by the young L.A. coroner who is among the first on the scene at Marilyn Monroe's bungalow the morning she is found dead, about the secret diary he discovers and the conspiracy he unravels in the following days, to Sarah Hochman at Blue Rider Press, by Richard Pine at Inkwell Management (World English).

NYT bestselling author Gena Showalter's next four HQN novels, including books to continue her Lords of the Underworld series, as well as titles in a brand new series, to Margo Lipschultz at Harlequin, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency (world).

British historian Hallie Rubenhold's MISTRESS OF MY FATE and THE FRENCH LESSON, the first two installments in a new series, recounting the adventures of a seventeen-year old aristocrat; torn from her home, she is thrown into the world and must learn to wear many masks -- courtesan, spy, actress, artist, forger, cardsharp -- as she wends her way through Europe in the midst of revolution and turmoil in pursuit of her true love, to Deb Futter at Grand Central, by Tina Bennett at Janklow & Nesbit on behalf of Claire Paterson at Janklow & Nesbit UK (NA).
Transworld will publish in the UK starting in July 2012.

Children's: Middle grade
The eighth and final installment of Eoin Colfer's ARTEMIS FOWL series THE LAST GUARDIAN, for publication in summer 2012, plus two books in a new W.A.R.P. series, beginning with The Reluctant Assassin for publication in Winter 2013, about young Riley, who has fallen into the FBI's Witness Anonymous Relocation Program, after a murderous escapade with a Victorian illusionist -- who he tries to keep from returning to Victorian times, where, with his new knowledge of all things scientific and technological, he could literally change the world, again to Stephanie Owens Lurie at Disney-Hyperion, by Sophie Hicks at Ed Victor Ltd.

NYT bestsellers K.L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr's THE BLACKWELL PAGES, a trilogy about three 12-year olds descended from Norse Gods who have to stop the impending apocalypse, to Megan Tingley at Little, Brown, in a pre-empt, with Kate Sullivan editing, for publication in Spring 2013, by Merrilee Heifetz at Writers House on behalf of Marr and Sarah Heller at Helen Heller Agency on behalf of Armstrong (NA).

Author of Newbery Honor book THE EVOLUTION OF CALPURNIA TATE Jacqueline Kelly's WIND IN THE WILLOWS REDUX, a sequel to the beloved classic, to be illustrated by Clint G. Young, creator of the forthcoming picture book THE WISH COLLECTOR, to Laura Godwin at Holt Children's, for publication in Fall 2012, by Marcy Posner of Folio Literary Management (Kelly) and Erin Murphy of Erin Murphy Literary Agency (Young).

Children's: Picture book
David Milgrim's GOODNIGHT iPAD: A 2-G PARODY, written under the pseudonym Ann Droyd, for parents and children alike about how to say goodnight to electronics before bedtime, to David Rosenthal and Sarah Hochman at Blue Rider Press, by Brenda Bowen at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates (World).

Jonathan Reggio's HANGING MAN: AI WEIWEI, a biography of the celebrated artist and an original perspective on the contemporary political power in China, to Eric Chinski at Farrar, Straus, in a nice deal, and to Ambo/Anthos in the Netherlands and to Saggiatore in Italy, by Lisa Baker at Faber and Faber (NA).

Bestselling author, Food Network star, and lifestyle expert Sandra Lee's two cookbooks focusing on healthful, quick-scratch meals; an entertaining/lifestyle book; and two novels, for publication starting in Fall 2011 in tandem with the re-launch of Lee's "Sandra's Money Saving Meals" television show, to Ellen Archer at Hyperion (World).
The deal includes plans by Disney Interactive Media Group to develop a web platform and 15-episode online cooking series.

Owners of Cakelava in Kailua, Hawaii, Rick Reichart, of TLC's Cake Crew, and Sasha Reichart's EXTREME CAKEOVERS, a cake decorating cookbook with 40 projects for easily transforming ho-hum supermarket sheet cakes and other common store-bought ingredients, including candies and doughnuts, into spectacular cakes that look like they came out of a specialty bakery, with stunning before and after photos, to Rica Allannic and Ashley Phillips at Clarkson Potter, at auction, by Holly Schmidt and Allan Penn at Hollan Publishing (World).

History/Politics/Current Affairs
Donald Trump's vision for bringing America back to "number one," to Regnery, for publication in fall 2011.

Former Senate Select Committee on Intelligence professional staff member and current Harvard Kennedy School of Government instructor on national security policy Eric Rosenbach and former CIA Counterterrorism Center analyst Aki Peritz's THE HUNT: Inside America's Find-Fix-Finish Campaigns and Winning the War on Terror, on how the U.S. is much safer today because of the radical counterterrorism strategies developed and refined since 9/11 and culminating in the killing of Osama bin Laden, to Clive Priddle at Public Affairs, for publication in early 2012, by Matthew Carnicelli at Carnicelli Literary Management (World).

30-year Navy SEAL and SEAL Team 6 veteran, Don Mann's memoir, co-witten by Ralph Pezzulo, author of bestselling JAWBREAKER, to Geoff Shandler and John Parsley at Little, Brown, for publication in Fall 2011, by Heather Mitchell at Gelfman Schneider.

New York Times contributor, artist and author Leanne Shapton's SWIMMING STORIES, an illustrated collection of autobiographical stories about Shapton's life as a swimmer, exploring her training as a teenager for the 1988 and '92 Olympic trials, the competitive pressures and meditative calm found in the sport and the pastime, to Sarah Hochman at Blue Rider Press, in a two-book deal, by Andrew Wylie at The Wylie Agency (NA). Shapton's most recent book, IMPORTANT ARTIFACTS, is currently under option to Plan B/Paramount Pictures, with Brad Pitt and Natalie Portman attached to star in the lead roles.

A reissue of Susan Orlean's SATURDAY NIGHT, a guided tour of Saturday night in America, updated by the author, to Jofie Ferrari-Adler at Simon & Schuster, for release in October to coincide with publication of RIN TIN TIN, by Richard Pine at Inkwell Management.

Julian Guthrie's THE BILLIONAIRE AND THE MECHANIC, the behind-the-scenes story of the unlikely partnership forged between software billionaire Larry Ellison and a blue-collar mechanic during their audacious bid to win the America's Cup, featuring sailing lore, technological wonder, and an inside look into the competition and camaraderie of the world's top yacht clubs, to Morgan Entrekin at Grove/Atlantic, for publication in Spring 2013, by Joe Veltre at Gersh Agency (NA).

NYT columnist Harvey Araton's DRIVING MR. YOGI, a poignant and inspiring portrait of one of baseball's most unique kinships, between Ron Guidry, the Cy Young Award-winning former Yankees pitcher and Hall of Fame catcher turned national treasure, Yogi Berra, as revisited every spring at spring training; Yogi Berra and Ron Guidry are participating in the project, to Susan Canavan at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, at auction, for publication in Spring 2012, by Andrew Blauner of Blauner Books Literary Agency (world).

Asia Bibi's BLASPHEMY, sentenced to death over a glass of water, falsely accused of blasphemy, the author sends a call for help from behind prison walls; two men have tried to come to her aid: the governor of Punjab and the Pakistani Minister for Minorities; both have been violently assassinated, to Lennie Goodings at Virago; Francesco Anzelmo at Mondadori in Italy; Hans-Peter Ubleis at Droemer-Knaur in Germany, by Andrea Field at Oh! Editions.

Michael Vlessides's THE ICE PILOTS: Flying with the Mavericks of the Great White North, tie-in to the TV show, following the adventures of the most unorthodox flyboys on Earth; renegade Arctic airline Buffalo Airways defies the cold and the competition by using WWII-era propeller planes to haul vital fuel, supplies, and passengers to remote outposts across the world's last great wilderness, to Trena White at Douglas & McIntyre.