Monday, February 27, 2012

Books On the Way....

From Publishers Lunch Weekly...


Former Politico writer Karin Tanabe's THE CAPITOLIST, in which a 20-something journalist leaves a cushy NYC magazine job for DC's hottest (and most cut-throat) political rag, where she uncovers a juicy scandal involving a senator that could make or break her career, to Sarah Cantin at Atria, in a nice deal, by Bridget Wagner at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency (World).

Screenwriter Kathy Ebel cuts a wide comic swatch with FAST & SLOPPY, the story of a deeply flawed but unsinkable young woman whose misguided attempts at finding love and security in 1990s New York City include sleeping with her best friend's father, to Adrienne Brodeur at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, at auction, by Betsy Lerner at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (NA).

International bestseller Karin Slaughter's next untitled book, to Jennifer Hershey and Libby McGuire for Delacorte Press, for publication in Summer 2013, by Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates (NA).

UK journalist Philip Robinson's USS ALCATRAZ, pitched in the Tom Clancy, "24," Day of the Jackal mold, the first in a trilogy, about a retrofitted nuclear submarine that has been turned into a secret US government prison, with no possibility of escape; the layers of corruption behind the prison ship go all the way to the top, to Andrew Bartlett at Thomas & Mercer, in a three-book deal, by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider (world).

Helene Gremillon's THE CONFIDANT, about a woman in 1975 Paris who begins to receive, among sympathy cards from her mother's death, weekly letters from an unknown correspondent that recount the tale of two impossible loves and four broken destinies between 1939 and 1943 -- a story that has a direct bearing upon her own life, with Alison Anderson translating, to Julie Miesionczek at Penguin, for publication in Fall 2012, by Rebecca Byers at Plon-Perrin-Presses de la Renaissance (NA).
Australian and New Zealand rights to Penny Hueston at Text, by Rebecca Byers; to Jane Aitken at Gallic Books, by Sarah Lutyens at Lutyens & Rubinstein.

CEO of the Special Olympics Tim Shriver's book about the athletes who "have taught me more about how to live this life than anyone," presenting "really important lessons for a time and an age when people are really looking and seeking ways to find more fulfillment, more purpose, more peace ... in their lives," to Sarah Crichton at Sarah Crichton Books, by Rafe Sagalyn at The Sagalyn Agency (world).

KILLING LINCOLN authors Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's KILLING KENNEDY: The End of Camelot, the second book in O'Reilly's presidential history series, promising "a dramatic work of history and a dynamic way to relive the presidency of John F. Kennedy's White House, the horrific assassination and the crucial hours that followed," again to Steve Rubin at Holt, with Gillian Blake editing, for publication in October 2012, plus LINCOLN'S LAST DAYS, an illustrated condensation of KILLING LINCOLN for readers ten and up, to Holt Children's, for publication in August 2012, by Eric Simonoff at William Morris Endeavor.

David Browne's EYES OF THE WORLD: The Lives and Times of the Grateful Dead, a sprawling musical and cultural chronicle of the biggest, most dominant cult band in rock history, to Ben Schafer at Da Capo, for publication in Fall 2015, by Erin Hosier at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner (World).

Fortune Magazine journalist Carol Loomis' untitled book about Warren Buffett, drawing on her more than 40-year friendship with America's most successful investor, in which she collects and adds new commentary to six decades of articles in Fortune, to Adrian Zackheim at Portfolio, at auction, by Tracy Brown at Tracy Brown Literary Agency (world).

NYT bestselling author of GOD, NO! and larger half of magic act Penn & Teller, Penn Jillette's EVERY DAY IS AN ATHEIST HOLIDAY, a new collection of spiritual rants and humorous ravings, spanning the hidden horrors of Christmas carols, family celebrations, Fourth of July, Halloween and beyond, to Sarah Hochman at Blue Rider Press, for publication in November 2012, by Agency for the Performing Arts (World).

Amanda Knox's "full and unflinching account of the events that led to her arrest in Perugia and her struggles with the complexities of the Italian judicial system," drawing on journals she kept during her imprisonment, and promising "never before-told details surrounding her case" and how she "coped with the most challenging time of her young life," with a collaborator to be named later, to Jonathan Burnham at Harper, with Claire Wachtel editing, at auction, for publication in 2013, by Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly.

Shulem Deen's SHAYGETZ, the revealing account of a Skverer Hasid, subject to the most cloistered and patriarchal of all ultra-orthodox Jewish sects, who, in trying to find a more satisfying sense of intellectual girding for the extreme faith he's devoted his life to, makes instead one discovery after another that in the end send him fleeing from the constraints of that world -- which eventually causes him to lose touch with the five beloved children he and his wife had between their meeting at the age of 18 and their divorce at 26, to Katie Dublinski at Graywolf, in a pre-empt, in a nice deal, by Rob McQuilkin at Lippincott Massie McQuilkin (World).

Former journalist who now works in digital strategy and data analysis Amy Webb's DATA, A LOVE STORY, a humorous and instructive memoir about how Webb "gamed" the world of online dating and used her skills to figure out what sort of man she really wanted to date, then crunched the numbers to figure out how to successfully attract just the right one, including her eventual husband, to Jill Schwartzman at Dutton, at auction, by Erin Malone and Suzanne Gluck at William Morris Endeavor (NA).

Journalist Alexandra Heminsley's RUNNING LIKE A GIRL, an inspirational and practical memoir encouraging women who have never considered themselves athletes, and who may have always loathed running, to tie up their sneakers and discover its pleasures, pitched as aimed at the readers of THE HAPPINESS PROJECT as well as the readers of BORN TO RUN, to Alexis Gargagliano at Scribner and Alison Clark at Simon & Schuster Canada, at auction, by Zoe Pagnamenta at the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency, on behalf of Sarah Ballard at United Agents; to Jocasta Hamilton at Hutchinson in the U.K., at auction.

Ray Walker with Rachel Holtzman's THE ROAD TO BURGUNDY, the story of his long, hard journey to realize his dream, chucking his California office job in favor of winemaking in Burgundy, starting with no money, no vineyard, no grapes, and no French, starting with a wife, a new baby, and more determination than anyone in his new village had ever seen before; the learning curve for the Walker family was steep, but from that hardly-promising start, he became the first non-Frenchman ever to make the hallowed grand cru Le Chambertin, and founded Maison Ilan, a wine that sold out its very first vintage, to Lucia Watson at Gotham, for publication in Summer 2013, by Sharon Bowers at Miller Bowers Griffin.

Fast Company, Slate, NPR, and NYT contributor Farhad Manjoo's MASTERS OF OUR UNIVERSE, an account of the war among today's major tech companies, primarily focused on Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon, as they expand beyond their traditional services and move aggressively into each other's territory, battling for dominance of our lives, to Jofie Ferrari-Adler at Simon & Schuster, at auction, by Larry Weissman at Larry Weissman Literary (NA).

Rights to Mike Jones at Simon & Schuster UK, at auction, by Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton (UK); Intrinseca, in a pre-empt, by Joao Paulo Riff at Riff Agency, in Brazil; and China Citic, in a pre-empt, by Sophia Yang at The Grayhawk Agency (Simplified Chinese).


Friday, February 24, 2012

Jabberwocky Story......................

Explaining the HAW HAW people


Keith Taylor


You have to figure the guy who made up the ridiculous story knew it was jabberwocky but, that didn't matter. Considering his target audience, jabberwocky was just what was needed. Clear thinking is not an option for those who choose deliberate ignorance.

The story, "showed" how the president and vice president thought the term cattle guards (metal rails laid across fence openings to keep cows from roaming) referred to people whose job needed government protection.

It was summed up with

Passed on to you without further comment...
Now you do the same.

The story was created out of whole cloth of course. Inane stories created to be forwarded by nincompoops generally are, but that didn't matter. The piece of bullshit cast a poor light on the president and vice president, and that's enough to get the HAW HAW crowd going.

They are the ones who chortled, scratched their private parts at every utterance by LIMBAWWWWW. Otherwise they showed their ignorance by supporting and twice electing a doofus draft dodger. We ended up with a president who displayed his own deliberate ignorance by giggling as he pushed buttons to blow away people who represented no danger to ourselves.

In the minds of the HAW HAW people, Doofus earned their respect because he ceded the responsibility to God for his actions. I suspect the HAW HAWs felt "some people just need killing."

Now, in another election cycle, the attack in thinking continues by the time tested method of making utterly stupid claims about people who show intelligence.

The credulous will always be heard, but this is more than being heard. It's insidious because each vote from one who believes in bullshit is as effective as a vote from a person who chooses to think.

The HAW HAWS who vote, and most will, glom onto urban legends because "they might jes be true."

And Doofus himself has several worthy successors waiting in the wings. Each, of course, claims authority from god himself. All claim patriotism. One said he had an adulterous relationship with a woman because he was patriotic. Later, upon marrying his third wife, he became a Catholic, the church most strongly against birth control. Now he is against most of the laws he once voted for.

Another knows God wants him to help overpopulate a world now numbering seven billion and rising. He has fathered nine kids, one who he miscarried and who's lifeless fetus he showed to the others. He wants everybody else to exhibit their devotion to the have lots of them no matter what. He routinely confuses birth control with abortion and solves his dilemma by deeming all sex evil, except, one supposes, for the nine times he did it.

The third candidate vying for the job of commander in chief does have a bit of sense, but he started losing ground because of something to do with his underwear. Immediately his claims became more extreme right wing. He is now disavowing the state government health care program he was lauded for, and for which he once bragged about.

Tis a topsy turvy, run amok campaign we're looking at here, unless you are a HAW HAW then "its just what God wants."

I shudder to think turning over the country to a claque of fools who see god and his work in everything, ignore the science which give us graphic proof of climate change, and disparage people who think.

I worry for my country.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

On Santorum...

The following is from a very intelligent guy who has been a Maryland State Trooper and a Federal Air Marshall:

"I was discussing Santorum with two psychiatrists about his bringing his dead child home so his "other children can see they had a brother," and they unequivcably said he has a severe mental problem. I mean, they went off on him . . . not in a mean way, but in an eye-rolling, hands raised to the heavens, "this guy is sick" way. Both men have practised for decades, and I know them to be genuinely compassionate, and that was the thrust of their appraisal of Santorum . . . they truly feel he needs help.

And on a purely subjective note, it's been my experience that anyone who feels such a need to control other people's sex lives can only mean that while they might have procreative sex once in a while, they've truly missed the whole point of sex . . . it's friggin' fun! It can be playful, lustful, romantic . . . even naughty. But good cooking is that way, too."

Needless to say, I absolutely agree. So keep in mind that 3 States just voted for Santorum over Romney. And now comes Michigan. Are the people there any smarter? I certainly hope so.


Thursday, February 09, 2012

Ah...Nothing Like Sex Ed.....

From Keith Taylor...



Keith Taylor

More than three-quarters of a century ago I got my elementary and high school education at tiny Beaver Dam school in northern Indiana. We were taught the ABC’s and the four R’s, reading, riting, arithmetic, and religion; but virtually nothing about sex.

That we learned the way God intended—from the older kids. What we didn’t learn from them we learned from direct observation. Our little, provincial school did nothing to prepare us for intimate contact with members of the opposite sex.

The teachers had absolutely no concept of how to handle the question. Take Mrs. Babcock. She was a frumpy, lumpy old lady with ill-fitting, clacking false teeth. Certainly no cuss words ever passed by them. I wonder how Mrs. Babcock would have handled sex education? It’s impossible to imagine her putting a condom on a banana—or on anything else for that matter.

As a matter of fact, the mere possession of a condom once caused trouble for my eldest brother, Arden. He was almost kicked out of school in his senior year simply because he put one of the things in a classmate’s book. Arden figured it would merely embarrass the young lady and that would be the end of it, but the girl didn’t know what it was. When she asked the teacher, there was hell to pay.

Mr. Silvus was our agriculture teacher. He did touch on the subject of sex, if not condoms. His lessons were limited to sex among animals, not people. The gestation periods of animals were important to ag students, and that, unfortunately, meant the teacher had to mention sex. He taught that us a mouse had a gestation period of 20 days, a pig 113, a horse 337, and an elephant 645.

The whole class snickered when Mr. Silva told us that cows and women both take nine months from conception to birth That’s one bit of information I never forgot and never found a use for.

Other than the snippets of sex we learned in agriculture, we were sheltered from the dreadful subject both by our parents and by our teachers. Mom, for example, loved to tell of how Arden got into trouble, but she sure hemmed and hawed when she tried to explain just what it was he put into the girl’s textbook.

Thus we were on our own. Ideas on the subject, many folklore, were passed from older kids to the younger ones. The same guys who taught us to put our jock straps on backwards were responsible for our sex education. What we didn’t learn from the older guys, we learned on the farms. Each barnyard was a laboratory with a new lesson to be learned practically every week or so.

Elmer’s super rat-killing dog, Skippy, provided Max and me with a few interesting lessons on sex. Skippy, unlike my own dog Jake, had two perfectly good testicles. Unfortunately, he didn’t quite understand how to use them. When he wasn’t catching rats, sleeping, or otherwise carrying out dog duties, he would try to mate with Uncle Elmer’s leg or one of the cats. Elmer didn’t like that one bit, but the cat thought it was swell.

She and skip even worked out a system. The cat would get on the first step of the stairs to the hayloft, curl her tail above her back and wait for ecstasy. It didn’t quite happen. Skip would stand astraddle her and punch big holes in the air, sort of like one of the hoochie coochie dancers at the Warsaw fair. They never connected, but we admired their efforts.

Skippy’s one big stab at romance ended not with a climax, but with an anticlimax. A female dog once ventured to Elmer’s place and fell victim to ol’ Skip’s charm. They did that sniffing and dancing around in circles that dogs do. Then Skip got her cornered and they went at it, Max and I cheering them on all the while.

I swear dogs have the ability to disassociate themselves from the what they are doing at that time. Even during the most exciting part both participants manage to do little more than pant and gawk at something across the barnyard as if they’re utterly disinterested in the act of procreation.

In the end, however, Skippy and his lady friend suffered the indignity of being unable to complete the act. They got stuck together! It looked as if they were indeed joined until death would do them part. I figured if they’d paid more attention to what they were doing it would have worked out better. But, somehow, they managed to twist themselves into something that looked like one of those a grotesque paintings on the walls of the pyramids. There they were, standing rear to rear—one facing east, one west. Still, the look on their faces was one of pure innocence as if they didn’t even know they were hooked together.

If our dog had been able to talk I would have asked him some questions:

“Hey Skippy what you doing?”

“Oh nothing, just standing here.:”

“What about that other dog, the female?”

“What other dog?”

Aunt Thel settled the whole thing by throwing a bucket of water on them. That put an end to Skippy’s only romance. She also gave Max and me a dirty look as if we had something to do with it.

If dogs are blasé, chickens make up for it. You just won’t believe how they do it. For a long time I thought they were fighting. I’m not sure the chickens even understood it very much themselves. At least they got more excited over the whole thing than most animals. It’s a good thing the chicken sex act doesn’t last long; the hen would be too tired to lay eggs.

Cows got pretty worked up over sex also. We had a bull I dubbed Ferdinand, old lucky Ferdinand. Elmer had lots of cows and he was the only guy in the bunch. That bull only did three things, eat, sleep and service the cows. He was so good at the last that he ate and slept the rest of the time. That may not have been enough for the cows though, quite often one of the cows would try to mount another. Maybe Elmer should have got an assistant for Ferdinand.

Pigs didn’t hurry so much. Perhaps for that reason they seemed to enjoy it most of all, especially Nonuts. Although his life was lived in mud and destined for the slaughter house, fortune turned its face to Nonuts for a brief moment. As I learned in agriculture, male piglets should be castrated within a couple weeks of their birth (I doubt that anybody consulted the pigs on that). Unfortunately Elmer didn’t always go by what Mr. Silva said. One year he put off the task until the pigs got so big we could hardly handle them. To complicate things further, the pigs didn’t cooperate with their mutilation one bit. Those fellows had grown so much it took both Max and I to hold each one down.

One frisky fellow kicked so hard he got loose and ran away with a little bit of cord still intact. That little bit of cord allowed the lucky pig to have a world of fun with all the young female pigs--about a hundred of them. He hopped on one after the other, all the time his pig smile spread from ear to pointed ear. Yes, pigs do smile at times like that. Other than the titillation nothing happened. Max and I were fascinated by his performance. Nonuts had a vasectomy years before the procedure was tried on humans. Elmer, was a pioneer. So was Nonuts I suppose.

When it was time for the pigs to go off to market, our favorite pig was underweight, almost emaciated. Still, he didn’t seem to want to stay behind. All his girl friends were going and he had to stay with his harem. He gladly climbed on board the train to make his scheduled appointment with the grim reaper in Chicago. I wondered if Nonuts still had a smile on his snout when he met his fate.

Sex didn’t seem to interest sheep much at all, not even the lack of it. Old Bill the Buck acted like he didn’t even want to do it. When he got started, he would just give it a couple of jabs and quit. The ewes always walked away from the act looking kinda disappointed. I remember once when ol’ Bent Julian was shearing the sheep. Bent used a pair of sharp, hand-held shears—no newfangled electric clippers for ol’ Bent. When he got to Big Bill, Elmer made what he thought was a passing comment: “I ought to get that fellow fixed.”

“You want it done?” Asked Bent.

“Well yeah,.”

Without another word, Bent snipped the bottom of the scrotum, down came Bill’s balls, another snip and Bill was no longer a buck. Alliteration aside, it was a sobering sight.

“Jesus!” said Elmer.

“Jesus!” I repeated. Once in a while cussing was appropriate. This seemed like one of those times. I was on the edge of puberty, and the act I’d just witnessed bothered hell out of me. Not for Big Bill though; his eyes got a little bigger for just a moment. Otherwise he didn’t act as if anything out of the ordinary had happened.

That didn’t seem right somehow, but I couldn’t ask anybody about it, not even Mr. Silva and certainly not Miss Babcock.


Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Navy SEALs. Never Seals. UGH!

I'm horrified that this error occurs in professional writing:

It is NEVER Navy Seals.

Their proper name is...Navy SEALS!!! That's SEAL in capitol letters. And that is because SEAL is an acronym.

SEAL stands for: SEa...Air...Land. SEAL.

They can and do attack from SEa, Air, or Land...SEAL. Thus their name.

And they don't like being called damned bit.


Keep Your Eyes Off & Mouth Shut....

From Secrecy News....


A new book-length study of leaks of classified information published by the Defense Intelligence Agency's National Intelligence University contends that "the tension between maintaining national security secrets and the public's right to know cannot be 'solved', but can be better understood and more intelligently managed."

"Who Watches the Watchmen?" by Gary Ross explores the phenomenon of leaks from multiple angles, including their history, their prevalence and their consequences. Most interestingly, he considers the diverse motivations of leakers and of the reporters who solicit, receive and publish their disclosures. Some of these he finds defensible, and others not.

In the end, he advises that government officials should engage members of the media in a constructive dialog in order to avert the worst consequences of leaks.

"Proactively engaging with the media to examine the costs and benefits associated with unauthorized disclosures represents the greatest potential for reducing the perceived harm to national security," Mr. Ross writes.

By contrast, "Maintaining the status quo or attempting to legislate a solution both have proven to be ineffective methods for resolving the dilemma. True change can only occur if the Executive Branch is willing to invest the time and resources necessary to implement an approach focused on engagement with the media."

This is a congenial conclusion, which implies that punitive new legislation can be avoided and that remaining differences between reporters and government officials can be fruitfully discussed.

But it arguably misapprehends the harsh new policy landscape in the wake of the WikiLeaks episode (which is also discussed in the book). The status quo has been transformed in response to WikiLeaks in two ways that are unfavorable to leakers, justified or unjustified.

First, the threat of unauthorized disclosures has been elevated in the view of government officials to one of "the most menacing foreign intelligence threats in the next two to three years." In January 31 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee, DNI James R. Clapper said that unauthorized disclosures of classified information had "caused significant damage to US interests." Further, he said, "We assess that trusted insiders using their access for malicious intent represent one of today's primary threats to US classified networks." "Engagement with the media" will not be the main response to such threats.

And second, WikiLeaks, which targeted legitimate and illegitimate secrets with equal vigor, has inspired and accelerated the development of new forensic tools and methods to identify the sources of unauthorized disclosures. Internal surveillance of classified networks is set to grow, with new mechanisms for tracking and auditing online activity by government employees. Whatever else might be true, the status quo of a few years ago has been left behind.


Tuesday, February 07, 2012

And the World Rolls On...

Three times a day, I read and recommend blog posts from a group with 400 plus bloggers, but most of that group doesn't post or seldom post. About 30, plus or minus, do. Fascinating group. Males and females from all over the nation. Some are in DC or damned close to it, so they definitely know what's going on there. Dem political blogs. The Pro Blog Research Center. Ralph, the guy who began it, lives in New Jersey. From there, the posts fly over the internet to near San Francisco where Lana puts them in order and posts them to me. I read and recommend the 11AMs, 3PMs, and 7PMs. Lana puts them up every four hours, 24 hours a day. is the URL if anyone would like to take a look.

I find them fascinating. If something is going on, one or more of them will have it and say plainly what they think about it. The Fire Dog Lake group posts something daily, for instance. And there are two former Marines...Alternate Brain...who just tickle me. And even an actor who talks about what he's doing.

I expect they'll have something to say about Santorum finally winning a state's votes tonight.


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Special Ops ....

From Secrecy News...


Over the past decade, the number of U.S. special operations forces (SOF) personnel has nearly doubled, while budgets for special operations have nearly tripled, and overseas deployments have quadrupled, according to a newly updated report from the Congressional Research Service.

"Special Operations Forces are elite military units with special training and equipment that can infiltrate into hostile territory through land, sea, or air to conduct a variety of operations, many of them classified," the CRS report explains. "SOF personnel undergo rigorous selection and lengthy specialized training. The U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) oversees the training, doctrine, and equipping of all U.S. SOF units."

Following an overview of the structure of U.S. special operations forces, the CRS report discusses the implications for special operations of recent legislation including the 2012 defense authorization act. See U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF): Background and Issues for Congress, January 11, 2012.

A copy of the new U.S. Special Operations Command Fact Book 2012, prepared by USSOCOM Public Affairs, is available here.

Other noteworthy new reports from the Congressional Research Service that have not been made readily available to the public include the following:

Arms Sales: Congressional Review Process, February 1, 2012

The Nunn-McCurdy Act: Background, Analysis, and Issues for Congress, January 31, 2011

Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues, January 12, 2012