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26. ‘Breaching the Seawall’ by Adam Wells

When Laurel Fantauzzo met a young woman and her bicycle in Manila, her relationship to the city was transformed.

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27. One good thing about a blizzard

When the weather is dreary
it's time to query!


My feeble attempt at rhyme................. Read the rest of this post

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28. David Tennant will be The Purple Man on AKA Jessica Jones

David Tennant david tennant 15000822 2560 1707 1000x667 David Tennant will be The Purple Man on AKA Jessica Jones

Former Doctor Who star David Tennant is coming to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he’ll be doing it all covered in purple.

The Scottish actor will be joining the cast of AKA Jessica Jones, the second Marvel-Netflix series after Daredevil debuts in April, as Kilgrave. Kilgrave aka Zebediah Killgrave aka The Purple Man is described as an enigmatic figure from Jessica’s past whose reappearance will “send shockwaves” through her world.

Tennant will be the main antagonist of a series that’s already netted Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad) as Jones and Mike Colter (Criminal Minds) as Luke Cage.

Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg had this to say:

I’m so honored and excited by the prospect of David inhabiting this multifaceted character. He can deliver the most heart-wrenching moment to the driest of lines, and all points in between. He’ll make Kilgrave a truly original villain.

While this is an exciting casting announcement, and makes for the fourth big BBC star to join the MCU after Benedict Cumberbatch was cast as Doctor Strange, Karen Gillan as Nebula in Guardians of the Galaxy and Christopher Eccleston played (and was wasted as) Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, I’m hopeful Tennant will either be allowed to keep his Scottish accent or really master a Serbo-Croation one in a way that’s better than his attempt at an American accent in Gracepoint.

AKA Jessica Jones will debut in 2015.

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29. Grantchester on PBS

Have you been watching this yet?  It is so good!  The first thing that caught my eye was Robson Green, I have adored him for years.  Then, I watched Happy Valley over Christmas break and James Norton was so good and scary as Tommy Lee Royce.  I wanted to see how he would do as a good guy because he was so perfect as a psycho.  (If you haven't watched that on Netflix, do so now!)  Plus, it is British and a mystery series set in the 50's.  My excitement level for the first episode was through the roof.  And it is good!  So good!  I really wish I had waited until all 6 episodes were out so I could binge watch, however, I like having something to look forward to every Sunday night.  But, here lies my problem.  These mysteries are based on a books series by James Runcie.  I guess the format is a little unusual because the whole first season--6 mini mysteries--is based on the first book.  And since I am loving the world of Grantchester so much I really want to read the first book.  But, I don't want to know all the answers.    I did put books 1 & 2 on hold at my library and there is no guarantee that I would get them before the show is done airing.  I might never read book 1 if I don't get it until after the show is over, but I will read book 2!

It's just hard to think of anything else right now...


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30. Hornet Opens London Studio

New York-based commercial production company Hornet has opened up a new outpost in London's Shoreditch district.

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31. PASSION by Lia

passion_lia

Submitted by Lia for the Illustration Friday topic PASSION.

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32. Excerpt: How Many is Too Many?

C_Cafaro_How_9780226190655_jkt

Excerpted from

How Many is Too Many?: The Progressive Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States 

by Philip Cafaro

***

How many immigrants should we allow into the United States annually, and who gets to come?

The question is easy to state but hard to answer, for thoughtful individuals and for our nation as a whole. It is a complex question, touching on issues of race and class, morals and money, power and political allegiance. It is an important question, since our answer will help determine what kind of country our children and grandchildren inherit. It is a contentious question: answer it wrongly and you may hear some choice personal epithets directed your way, depending on who you are talking to. It is also an endlessly recurring question, since conditions will change, and an immigration policy that made sense in one era may no longer work in another. Any answer we give must be open to revision.

This book explores the immigration question in light of current realities and defends one provisional answer to it. By exploring the question from a variety of angles and making my own political beliefs explicit, I hope that it will help readers come to their own well-informed conclusions. Our answers may differ, but as fellow citizens we need to keep talking to one another and try to come up with immigration policies that further the common good.

Why are immigration debates frequently so angry? People on one side often seem to assume it is just because people on the other are stupid, or immoral. I disagree. Immigration is contentious because vital interests are at stake and no one set of policies can fully accommodate all of them. Consider two stories from among the hundreds I’ve heard while researching this book.

* * *

It is lunchtime on a sunny October day and I’m talking to Javier, an electrician’s assistant, at a home construction site in Longmont, Colorado, near Denver. He is short and solidly built; his words are soft-spoken but clear. Although he apologizes for his English, it is quite good. At any rate much better than my Spanish.

Javier studied to be an electrician in Mexico, but could not find work there after school. “You have to pay to work,” he explains: pay corrupt officials up to two years’ wages up front just to start a job. “Too much corruption,” he says, a refrain I find repeated often by Mexican immigrants. They feel that a poor man cannot get ahead there, can hardly get started.

So in 1989 Javier came to the United States, undocumented, working various jobs in food preparation and construction. He has lived in Colorado for nine years and now has a wife (also here illegally) and two girls, ages seven and three. “I like USA, you have a better life here,” he says. Of course he misses his family back in Mexico. But to his father’s entreaties to come home, he explains that he needs to consider his own family now. Javier told me that he’s not looking to get rich, he just wants a decent life for himself and his girls. Who could blame him?

Ironically one of the things Javier likes most about the United States is that we have rules that are fairly enforced. Unlike in Mexico, a poor man does not live at the whim of corrupt officials. When I suggest that Mexico might need more people like him to stay and fight “corruption,” he just laughs. “No, go to jail,c he says, or worse. Like the dozens of other Mexican and Central American immigrants I have interviewed for this book, Javier does not seem to think that such corruption could ever change in the land of his birth.

Do immigrants take jobs away from Americans? I ask. “American people no want to work in the fields,” he responds, or as dishwashers in restaurants. Still, he continues, “the problem is cheap labor.” Too many immigrants coming into construction lowers wages for everyone— including other immigrants like himself.

“The American people say, all Mexicans the same,” Javier says. He does not want to be lumped together with “all Mexicans,” or labeled a problem, but judged for who he is as an individual. “I don’t like it when my people abandon cars, or steal.” If immigrants commit crimes, he thinks they should go to jail, or be deported. But “that no me.” While many immigrants work under the table for cash, he is proud of the fact that he pays his taxes. Proud, too, that he gives a good day’s work for his daily pay (a fact confirmed by his coworkers).

Javier’s boss, Andy, thinks that immigration levels are too high and that too many people flout the law and work illegally. He was disappointed, he says, to find out several years ago that Javier was in the country illegally. Still he likes and respects Javier and worries about his family. He is trying to help him get legal residency.

With the government showing new initiative in immigration enforcement—including a well-publicized raid at a nearby meat-packing plant that caught hundreds of illegal workers—there is a lot of worry among undocumented immigrants. “Everyone scared now,” Javier says. He and his wife used to go to restaurants or stores without a second thought; now they are sometimes afraid to go out. “It’s hard,” he says. But: “I understand. If the people say, ‘All the people here, go back to Mexico,’ I understand.”

Javier’s answer to one of my standard questions—“How might changes in immigration policy affect you?”—is obvious. Tighter enforcement could break up his family and destroy the life he has created here in America. An amnesty would give him a chance to regularize his life. “Sometimes,” he says, “I dream in my heart, ‘If you no want to give me paper for residence, or whatever, just give me permit for work.’ ”

* * *

It’s a few months later and I’m back in Longmont, eating a 6:30 breakfast at a café out by the Interstate with Tom Kenney. Fit and alert, Tom looks to be in his mid-forties. Born and raised in Denver, he has been spraying custom finishes on drywall for twenty-five years and has had his own company since 1989. “At one point we had twelve people running three trucks,” he says. Now his business is just him and his wife. “Things have changed,” he says.

Although it has cooled off considerably, residential and commercial construction was booming when I interviewed Tom. The main “thing that’s changed” is the number of immigrants in construction. When Tom got into it twenty-five years ago, construction used almost all native-born workers. Today estimates of the number of immigrant workers in northern Colorado range from 50% to 70% of the total construction workforce. Some trades, like pouring concrete and framing, use immigrant labor almost exclusively. Come in with an “all-white” crew of framers, another small contractor tells me, and people do a double-take.

Tom is an independent contractor, bidding on individual jobs. But, he says, “guys are coming in with bids that are impossible.” After all his time in the business, “no way they can be as efficient in time and materials as me.” The difference has to be in the cost of labor. “They’re not paying the taxes and insurance that I am,” he says. Insurance, workmen’s compensation, and taxes add about 40% to the cost of legally employed workers. When you add the lower wages that immigrants are often willing to take, there is plenty of opportunity for competing contractors to underbid Tom and still make a tidy profit. He no longer bids on the big new construction projects and jobs in individual, custom-built houses are becoming harder to find.

“I’ve gone in to spray a house and there’s a guy sleeping in the bathtub, with a microwave set up in the kitchen. I’m thinking, ‘You moved into this house for two weeks to hang and paint it, you’re gonna get cash from somebody, and he’s gonna pick you up and drive you to the next one.’ ” He seems more upset at the contractor than at the undocumented worker who labors for him.

In this way, some trades in construction are turning into the equivalent of migrant labor in agriculture. Workers do not have insurance or workmen’s compensation, so if they are hurt or worn out on the job, they are simply discarded and replaced. Workers are used up, while the builders and contractors higher up the food chain keep more of the profits for themselves. “The quality of life [for construction workers] has changed drastically,” says Tom. “I don’t want to live like that. I want to go home and live with my family.”

Do immigrants perform jobs Americans don’t want to do? I ask. The answer is no. “My job is undesirable,” Tom replies. “It’s dirty, it’s messy, it’s dusty. I learned right away that because of that, the opportunity is available to make money in it. That job has served me well”—at least up until recently. He now travels as far away as Wyoming and southern Colorado to find work. “We’re all fighting for scraps right now.”

Over the years, Tom has built a reputation for quality work and efficient and prompt service, as I confirmed in interviews with others in the business. Until recently that was enough to secure a good living. Now though, like a friend of his who recently folded his small landscaping company (“I just can’t bid ’em low enough”), Tom is thinking of leaving the business. He is also struggling to find a way to keep up the mortgage payments on his house.

He does not blame immigrants, though. “If you were born in Mexico, and you had to fight for food or clothing, you would do the same thing,” Tom tells me. “You would come here.”

* * *

Any immigration policy will have winners and losers. So claims Harvard economist George Borjas, a leading authority on the economic impacts of immigration. My interviews with Javier Morales and Tom Kenney suggest why Borjas is right.

If we enforce our immigration laws, then good people like Javier and his family will have their lives turned upside down. If we limit the numbers of immigrants, then good people in Mexico (and Guatemala, and Vietnam, and the Philippines …) will have to forgo opportunities to live better lives in the United States.

On the other hand, if we fail to enforce our immigration laws or repeatedly grant amnesties to people like Javier who are in the country illegally, then we forfeit the ability to set limits to immigration. And if immigration levels remain high, then hard-working men and women like Tom and his wife and children will probably continue to see their economic fortunes decline. Economic inequality will continue to increase in America, as it has for the past four decades.

In the abstract neither of these options is appealing. When you talk to the people most directly affected by our immigration policies, the dilemma becomes even more acute. But as we will see further on when we explore the economics of immigration in greater detail, these appear to be the options we have.

Recognizing trade-offs—economic, environmental, social—is indeed the beginning of wisdom on the topic of immigration. We should not exaggerate such conflicts, or imagine conflicts where none exist, but neither can we ignore them. Here are some other trade-offs that immigration decisions may force us to confront:

  • Cheaper prices for new houses vs. good wages for construction workers.
  • Accommodating more people in the United States vs. preserving wildlife habitat and vital resources.
  • Increasing ethnic and racial diversity in America vs. enhancing social solidarity among our citizens.
  • More opportunities for Latin Americans to work in the United States vs. greater pressure on Latin American elites to share wealth and opportunities with their fellow citizens.

The best approach to immigration will make such trade-offs explicit, minimize them where possible, and choose fairly between them when necessary.

Since any immigration policy will have winners and losers, at any particular time there probably will be reasonable arguments for changing the mix of immigrants we allow in, or for increasing or decreasing overall immigration, with good people on all sides of these issues. Whatever your current beliefs, by the time you finish this book you should have a much better understanding of the complex trade-offs involved in setting immigration policy. This may cause you to change your views about immigration. It may throw your current views into doubt, making it harder to choose a position on how many immigrants to let into the country each year; or what to do about illegal immigrants; or whether we should emphasize country of origin, educational level, family reunification, or asylum and refugee claims, in choosing whom to let in. In the end, understanding trade-offs ensures that whatever policies we wind up advocating for are more consciously chosen, rationally defensible, and honest. For such a contentious issue, where debate often generates more heat than light, that might have to suffice.

* * *

Perhaps a few words about my own political orientation will help clarify the argument and goals of this book. I’m a political progressive. I favor a relatively equal distribution of wealth across society, economic security for workers and their families, strong, well-enforced environmental protection laws, and an end to racial discrimination in the United States. I want to maximize the political power of common citizens and limit the influence of large corporations. Among my political heroes are the three Roosevelts (Teddy, Franklin, and Eleanor), Rachel Carson, and Martin Luther King Jr.

I also want to reduce immigration into the United States. If this combination seems odd to you, you are not alone. Friends, political allies, even my mother the social worker shake their heads or worse when I bring up the subject. This book aims to show that this combination of political progressivism and reduced immigration is not odd at all. In fact, it makes more sense than liberals’ typical embrace of mass immigration: an embrace shared by many conservatives, from George W. Bush and Orrin Hatch to the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and the US Chamber of Commerce.

In what follows I detail how current immigration levels—the highest in American history—undermine attempts to achieve progressive economic, environmental, and social goals. I have tried not to oversimplify these complex issues, or mislead readers by cherry-picking facts to support pre-established conclusions. I have worked hard to present the experts’ views on how immigration affects US population growth, poorer workers’ wages, urban sprawl, and so forth. Where the facts are unclear or knowledgeable observers disagree, I report that, too.

This book is divided into four main parts. Chapters 1 and 2 set the stage for us to consider how immigration relates to progressive political goals. Chapter 2, “Immigration by the Numbers,” provides a concise history of US immigration policy. It explains current policy, including who gets in under what categories of entry and how many people immigrate annually. It also discusses population projections for the next one hundred years under different immigration scenarios, showing how relatively small annual differences in immigration numbers quickly lead to huge differences in overall population.

Part 2 consists of chapters 3–5, which explore the economics of immigration, showing how flooded labor markets have driven down workers’ wages in construction, meatpacking, landscaping, and other economic sectors in recent decades, and increased economic inequality. I ask who wins and who loses economically under current immigration policies and consider how different groups might fare under alternative scenarios. I also consider immigration’s contribution to economic growth and argue that unlike fifty or one hundred years ago America today does not need a larger economy, with more economic activity or higher levels of consumption, but rather a fairer economy that better serves the needs of its citizens. Here as elsewhere, the immigration debate can clarify progressive political aspirations; in this case, helping us rethink our support for endless economic growth and develop a more mature understanding of our economic goals.

Part 3, chapters 6–8, focuses on the environment. Mass immigration has increased America’s population by tens of millions of people in recent decades and is set to add hundreds of millions more over the twenty-first century. According to Census Bureau data our population now stands at 320 million people, the third-largest in the world, and at current immigration rates could balloon to over 700 million by 2100. This section examines the environmental problems caused by a rapidly growing population, including urban sprawl, overcrowding, habitat loss, species extinctions, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. I chronicle the environmental community’s historic retreat from population issues over the past four decades, including the Sierra Club’s failed attempts to adopt a consensus policy on immigration, and conclude that this retreat has been a great mistake. Creating an ecologically sustainable society is not just window dressing; it is necessary to pass on a decent future to our descendants and do our part to solve dangerous global environmental problems. Because sustainability is incompatible with an endlessly growing population, Americans can no longer afford to ignore domestic population growth.

Part 4, chapters 9–11, looks for answers. The chapter “Solutions” sketches out a comprehensive proposal for immigration reform in line with progressive political goals, focused on reducing overall immigration levels. I suggest shifting enforcement efforts from border control to employer sanctions—as several European nations have done with great success—and a targeted amnesty for illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States for years and built lives here (Javier and his wife could stay, but their cousins probably would not get to come). I propose changes in US trade and aid policies that could help people create better lives where they are, alleviating some of the pressure to emigrate. In these ways, Americans can meet our global responsibilities without doing so on the backs of our own poor citizens, or sacrificing the interests of future generations. A companion chapter considers a wide range of reasonable progressive “Objections” to this more restrictive immigration policy. I try to answer these objections honestly, focusing on the trade-offs involved. A short concluding chapter reminds readers of all that is at stake in immigration policy, and affirms that we will make better policy with our minds open.

How Many Is Too Many? shows that by thinking through immigration policy progressives can get clearer on our own goals. These do not include having the largest possible percentage of racial and ethnic minorities, but creating a society free of racial discrimination, where diversity is appreciated. They do not include an ever-growing economy, but feature an economy that works for the good of society as a whole. They most certainly do not include a crowded, cooked, polluted, ever-more-tamed environment, but instead a healthy, spacious landscape that supports us with sufficient room for wild nature. Finally our goals should include playing our proper role as global citizens, while still paying attention to our special responsibilities as Americans. Like it or not those responsibilities include setting US immigration policy.

* * *

Although I hope readers across the political spectrum will find this book interesting, I have written it primarily for my fellow progressives. Frankly, we need to think harder about this issue than we have been. Just because Rush Limbaugh and his ilk want to close our borders does not necessarily mean progressives should be for opening them wider. But this is not an easy topic to discuss and I appreciate your willingness to consider it with me. In fact I come to this topic reluctantly myself. I recognize immigration’s contribution to making the United States one of the most dynamic countries in the world. I also find personal meaning in the immigrant experience.

My paternal grandfather came to America from southern Italy when he was twelve years old. As a child I listened entranced to his stories, told in an accent still heavy after half a century in his adopted country. Stories of the trip over and how excited he was to explore everything on the big ship (a sailor, taking advantage of his curiosity, convinced him to lift some newspapers lying on deck, to see what was underneath …). Stories of working as a journeyman shoe repairman in cities and towns across upstate New York and Ohio (in one store, the foreman put my grandfather and his lathe in the front window so passers-by would stop to watch how fast and well he did his work). Stories of settling down and starting his own business, marrying Nana, raising a family.

I admired Grandpa’s adventurousness in coming to a new world, his self-reliance, his pride in his work, and his willingness to work hard to create a better future for himself and his family, including, eventually, me. Stopping by the store, listening to him chat with his customers, I saw clearly that he was a respected member of his community. When he and the relatives got together for those three-hour meals that grew ever longer over stories, songs, and a little wine, I felt part of something special, something different from my everyday life and beyond the experience of many of my friends.

So this book is not a criticism of immigrants! I know that many of today’s immigrants, legal and illegal, share my grandfather’s intelligence and initiative. The lives they are creating here are good lives rich in love and achievement. Nor is it an argument against all immigration: I favor reducing immigration into the United States, not ending it. I hope immigrants will continue to enrich America for many years to come. In fact, reducing current immigration levels would be a good way to insure continued widespread support for immigration.

Still, Americans sometimes forget that we can have too much of a good thing. Sometimes when Nana passes the pasta, it’s time to say basta. Enough.

When to say enough, though, can be a difficult question. How do we know when immigration levels need to be scaled back? And do any of us, as the descendants of immigrants, have the right to do so?

Answering the first question, in detail, is one of the main goals of this book. Speaking generally I think we need to reduce immigration when it seriously harms our society, or its weakest members. The issues are complex, but I think any country should consider reducing immigration:

  • When immigration significantly drives down wages for its poorer citizens.
  • When immigrants are regularly used to weaken or break unions.
  • When immigration appears to increase economic inequality within a society.
  • When immigration makes the difference between stabilizing a country’s population or doubling it within the next century.
  • When immigration-driven population growth makes it impossible to rein in sprawl, decrease greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently, or take the other steps necessary to create an ecologically sustainable society.
  • When rapid demographic shifts undermine social solidarity and a sense of communal purpose.
  • When most of its citizens say that immigration should be reduced.

Of course, there may also be good reasons to continue mass immigration: reasons powerful enough to outweigh such serious social costs or the expressed wishes of a nation’s citizens. But they had better be important. And in the case at hand they had better articulate responsibilities that properly belong to the United States and its citizens—and not help our “sender” countries avoid their own problems and responsibilities. Reversing gross economic inequality and creating a sustainable society are the primary political tasks facing this generation of Americans. Progressives should think long and hard before we accept immigration policies that work against these goals.

But what about the second question: do Americans today have a right to reduce immigration? To tell Javier’s cousins, perhaps, that they cannot come to America and make better lives for themselves and their families?

Yes, we do. Not only do we have a right to limit immigration into the United States, as citizens we have a responsibility to do so if immigration levels get so high that they harm our fellow citizens, or society as a whole. Meeting this responsibility may be disagreeable, because it means telling good people that they cannot come to America to pursue their dreams. Still, it may need to be done.

Those of us who want to limit immigration are sometimes accused of selfishness: of wanting to hog resources or keep “the American way of life” for ourselves. There may be some truth in this charge, since many Americans’ interests are threatened by mass immigration. Still, some of those interests seem worth preserving. The union carpenter taking home $30 an hour who owns his own house, free and clear, or the outdoorsman walking quietly along the edge of a favorite elk meadow or trout stream, may want to continue to enjoy these good things and pass them on to their sons and daughters. What is wrong with that?

Besides, the charge of selfishness cuts both ways. Restaurant owners and software tycoons hardly deserve the Mother Teresa Self-Sacrifice Medal when they lobby Congress for more low-wage workers. The wealthy progressive patting herself on the back for her enlightened views on immigration probably hasn’t ever totaled up the many ways she and her family benefit from cheap labor.

In the end our job as citizens is to look beyond our narrow self-interest and consider the common good. Many of us oppose mass immigration not because of what it costs us as individuals, but because we worry about the economic costs to our fellow citizens, or the environmental costs to future generations. Most Americans enjoy sharing our country with foreign visitors and are happy to share economic opportunities with reasonable numbers of newcomers. We just want to make sure we preserve those good things that make this a desirable destination in the first place.

All else being equal, Americans would just as soon not interfere with other people’s decisions about where to live and work. In fact such a laissez-faire approach to immigration lasted for much of our nation’s history. But today all else is not equal. For one thing this is the age of jet airplanes, not tall-masted sailing ships or coal-fired steamers. It is much quicker and easier to come here than it used to be and the pool of would-be immigrants has increased by an order of magnitude since my grandfather’s day. (In 2006, there were 6. million applications for the 50,000 green cards available under that year’s “diversity lottery.” ) For another, we do not have an abundance of unclaimed land for farmers to homestead, or new factories opening up to provide work for masses of unskilled laborers. Unemployment is high and projected to remain high for the foreseeable future. For a third, we recognize new imperatives to live sustainably and do our part to meet global ecological challenges. Scientists are warning that we run grave risks should we fail to do so.

Americans today overwhelmingly support immigration restrictions. We disagree about the optimal amount of immigration, but almost everyone agrees that setting some limits is necessary. Of course, our immigration policies should be fair to all concerned. Javier Morales came to America illegally, but for most of his time here our government just winked at illegal immigration. It also taxed his paychecks. After two and a half decades of hard work that has benefited our country, I think we owe Javier citizenship. But we also owe Tom Kenney something. Perhaps the opportunity to prosper, if he is willing to work hard. Surely, at a minimum, government policies that do not undermine his own attempts to prosper.

* * *

The progressive vision is alive and well in the United States today. Most Americans want a clean environment with flourishing wildlife, a fair economy that serves all its citizens, and a diverse society that is free from racism. Still, it will take a lot of hard work to make this vision a reality and success is not guaranteed. Progressives cannot shackle our hopes to an outmoded immigration policy that thwarts us at every turn.

Given the difficulties involved in getting 320 million Americans to curb consumption and waste, there is little reason to think we will be able to achieve ecological sustainability while doubling or tripling that number. Mass immigration ensures that our population will continue growing at a rapid rate and that environmentalists will always be playing catch up. Fifty or one hundred years from now we will still be arguing that we should destroy this area rather than that one, or that we can make the destruction a little more aesthetically appealing—instead of ending the destruction. We will still be trying to slow the growth of air pollution, water use, or carbon emissions—rather than cutting them back.

But the US population would quickly stabilize without mass immigration. We can stop population growth—without coercion or intrusive domestic population policies—simply by returning to pre-1965 immigration levels.

Imagine an environmentalism that was not always looking to meet the next crisis and that could instead look forward to real triumphs. What if we achieved significant energy efficiency gains and were able to enjoy those gains with less pollution, less industrial development on public lands, and an end to oil wars, because those efficiency gains were not swallowed up by growing populations?

Imagine if the push to develop new lands largely ended and habitat for other species increased year by year, with a culture of conservation developed around restoring and protecting that habitat. Imagine if our demand for fresh water leveled off and instead of fighting new dam projects we could actually leave more water in our rivers.

And what of the American worker? It is hard to see how progressives will succeed in reversing current powerful trends toward ever greater economic inequality in a context of continued mass immigration, particularly with high numbers of relatively unskilled and poorly educated immigrants. Flooded labor markets will harm poorer workers directly, by driving down wages and driving up unemployment. Mass immigration will also continue to harm workers indirectly by making it harder for them to organize and challenge employers, by reducing the percentage of poor workers who are citizens and thus able to vote for politicians who favor the poor, and by limiting sympathy between the haves and havenots, since with mass immigration they are more likely to belong to different ethnic groups.

But it does not have to be this way. We can tighten labor markets and get them working for working people in this country. Combined with other good progressive egalitarian measures—universal health care; a living minimum wage; a more progressive tax structure—we might even reverse current trends and create a more economically just country.

Imagine meatpacking plants and carpet-cleaning companies competing with one another for scarce workers, bidding up their wages. Imagine unions able to strike those companies without having to worry about scabs taking their members’ jobs. Imagine college graduates sifting through numerous job offers, like my father and his friends did fifty years ago during that era’s pause in mass immigration, instead of having to wait tables and just hope for something better.

Imagine poor children of color in our inner cities, no longer looked on as a problem to be warehoused in failing schools, or jails, but instead seen as an indispensable resource: the solution to labor shortages in restaurants and software companies.

Well, why not? Why are we progressives always playing catch up? The right immigration policies could help lead us toward a more just, egalitarian, and sustainable future. They could help liberals achieve our immediate goals and drive the long-term political agenda. But we will not win these battles without an inspiring vision for a better society, or with an immigration policy that makes that vision impossible to achieve.

To read more about How Many is Too Many?, click here.

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33. Winter, Winter, Winter

Snow has arrived in Pittsburgh, but nothing compared to what New York and other Northeastern states are going to get.

Stay safe if you are affected.

Here are two shots.  One out of my front door and one out of the back door.  I love seeing the bushes and trees covered.

This may cool off anyone who is having hot temperatures.  :)


Are you getting any snow?


 

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34. Nick Bilton to Write Silk Road Book

Nick Bilton, author of the bestseller Hatching Twitter, has inked a deal with Portfolio, an imprint of the Penguin Group, to write a book about the deep web site Silk Road.

The AP has the scoop:

The book is currently untitled and no publication date has been set. Authorities have said Silk Road’s San Francisco operator generated more than $1 billion in illicit business from 2011 until the website was shut down in 2013.

Bilton tweeted the news, revealing that 20th Century Fox has acquired rights to a Silk Road film based on the book.

I have some news. I'm writing The Silk Road book, which has also been optioned as a movie by 20th Century Fox: http://t.co/LTLWfy7Jzg

— Nick Bilton (@nickbilton) January 26, 2015

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35. Still a Mom, reading to my Kids

Wow. I nearly forgot about this blog. I came back to it today, looking for a picture of a friend and me in high school. I read through a few of my Mommy's piggy tails stories and LOVED it! Why have I not been doing this blog still?

And then I remembered why. All FIVE reasons why.

Yep. I now have 5 kids! And I'm busy. And I'm run down. And whenever I have a spare moment I usually don't want to spend it blogging!

Ironically enough, my new baby boy is named Oliver. I just saw that the last time I posted on here was about the book Oliver Twist. :)

However, as I read through my old stories this morning, it made me want to start blogging again. I think it's therapeutic. I still have our family blog where I put pictures of my kids, and our family and what we've been up to. And I like to do instagram. But, I'm thinking this blog will be more for me.

I still have a dream of becoming a published author one day. But I'm pretty content with the fact that it's just a dream. Maybe it will happen. Probably not. But, like I said, I'm ok with that.

My oldest son is 7 and is a GREAT reader. I love that. My second son is 5 and is learning to read, and picking it up quickly. I love that too. I read books when I can, and I sometimes pawn the bedtime reading off to the oldest. And I won't lie, sometimes we don't have time for bedtime reading. And that's ok too.

So, I'm thinking I'll try to blog when I feel like it, and share more stories from my life. I used to keep a journal very regularly. Up until about the time I had kids. Now, It's very sporadic. Usually when I'm very stressed or very happy. Which is fine. But, I know there are plenty of stories that happen that I would love to share with my children and their children and theirs someday. So. I'll write them here.

If anybody still reads this, great. Let me know what you think. I'm not so good at linking up, but maybe we can encourage each other and choose topics to write about together. If nobody reads it, that's alright too. :)

In the mean time... I think I'll go snuggle with my sweet baby girl who slept in until 10:30 this morning. Probably means she's not feeling so well... Read the rest of this post

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36. 2015 Sami Rohr Prize Finalists Revealed

The Jewish Book Council has revealed the finalists for the 2015 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. The winner will take home a $100,000 prize.

The prize is given to contemporary writers that examine “Jewish life today and throughout the ages.” The prize alternates between fiction and non-fiction every year. This year, the prize is dedicated to fiction writing.

The finalists include: Panic in a Suitcase: A Novel by Yelena Akhtiorskaya; The UnAmericans: Stories by Molly Antopol; The Lion Seeker: A Novel by Kenneth Bonert; A Replacement Life: A Novel by Boris Fishman; and The Best Place on Earth: Stories by Ayelet Tsabari.

 

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37. David Foster Wallace Movie Debuts at Sundance

The End of the Tour, a biopic about author David Foster Wallace, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival this week in Park City.

James Ponsoldt’s film is based on David Lipsky’s piece Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself in Rolling Stone. The essay is based on five days Lipsky spent interviewing Wallace while he was on a book tour in Minneapolis in 1996. Lipsky never published his intended profile, but after Wallace’s death published a transcript of the encounter. The film stars Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg.

Follow this link to check out a video from the set of the film.

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38. Avoiding LGBTQ Stereotypes

How to make your young adult LGBTQ characters fully realized instead of being stereotypes.

http://www.malindalo.com/2010/06/avoiding-lgbtq-stereotypes-in-ya-fiction-part-5-resources/

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39. On writing, privilege, and being a working mom

A Salon article sparked some conversations yesterday on twitter and rightly so. I thought the article writer made some excellent points (as well as missed some others), but it all feeds into the conversation we've been having the last couple of weeks about writers and money and how we use our time. I think it's vital to acknowledge privilege wherever we have it--yes I've worked hard, I've sacrificed a lot to be able to write books, but I've also had help. It was a huge help that for the first 8 months of my marriage we lived on my husband's income while I finished The Goose Girl. When my student loan payments kicked in, I put aside fulltime writing to get a job, and my writing became slower and more sporadic.

We had some rocky years with job losses and recession, but then there were 2 1/2 cushy years when he had a job that paid our bills and I was able to stay home with our first child, who did not have special needs and was a good napper. (I did have two books published at this point, but that income was pocket change.) I was able to write Princess Academy, River Secrets, and Austenland during that time. I've written while having a fulltime job, I've written with small children and no babysitting help, I've put in the hardcore years. But I've been much more productive when I didn't have to work full time, when I did have a babysitter, etc.  Circumstance has as much to do with the ability to create art as talent and passion.

Privilege also meant I was born in a house with books in it. Both my parents were college graduates. I didn't have to worry about where I was getting my next meal. I wasn't mocked for spending a Saturday reading. I was encouraged and able to attend college. I was encouraged and supported in my decision to get an MFA. At every point in my life, I've been surrounded by people literate in things like how to apply for college or a student loan or a checking account, all the nitty gritty stuff that helps lead to success that I had the privilege of taking for granted.

One part of the article stood out to me. The writer tells about a bookstore event she attended for a breakout, successful author.

"When...an audience member, clearly an undergrad, rose to ask this glamorous writer to what she attributed her success, the woman paused, then said that she had worked very, very hard and she’d had some good training, but she thought in looking back it was her decision never to have children that had allowed her to become a true artist. If you have kids, she explained to the group of desperate nubile writers, you have to choose between them and your writing. Keep it pure. Don’t let yourself be distracted by a baby’s cry."

When I was young and hopeful of becoming a writer, I believed that was true too. I'd heard other women writers say the same. I thought I'd have to choose between being a writer or being a mother. It was a great motivator for me, actually, to finish The Goose Girl because I thought that would be it. I needed to get one book out before having a kid because then it would be all over.

Twenty books and four children later, it's not all over.

I've written at length about living in the crossroads of art and mothering. It's challenging for sure. And I have a feeling that the books I write (genre, for children), that glamorous, childless writer wouldn't consider real books anyway. But it's simply not true that children prevent deep thought, the creation of art, the passion for something as involved and longterm as writing a novel. There are many writers who have proved otherwise, over and over again. And for me, the more years I spend with my kids, the more stories I'm eager to tell, both for them and for me.

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40. San Francisco Tea Party

If I could I would love to have a tea party with a dragon, friendly of course. The style used for this work is a bit more fluid than most of my vector pieces. I especially love the line work on this one, because I pushed the capabilities of brushes and it turned out unique.

I bet they eat their way through the whole pile of fortune cookies.

San Francisco Piece FINAL-01

      

Related Stories

 

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41. The Best Mobile App Award normination!!

Junganew: A Herd of Sounds get nomination for The Best Mobile App Award!! You can download Junganew from iTune Store @ http://goo.gl/L6USgd

Creator, Writer and Executive Producer - Esther Giordano
Executive Producer - Timothy Michael Harrington
Art Director - Alina Chau
Lead Software Engineer - Skye Freeman
Music Composer and Sound Designer - Max Repka
Animator - Jen Paehr 

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42. Some things I learned from being "judge-y" :-)

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I posted here, and I have completely fallen down on the job for my Monday Morning Warm-Ups. Please forgive me! If you are ever looking for some prompts, you can always go to my Web site and check the resources page for some oldies but (hopefully) goodies: http://www.joknowles.com/Prompts.html

I came back today to share some thoughts I have about writing contests. It's very odd and awkward to be a "judge" when you've spent most of your writing career being the one in the other seat. So when I was asked to be a judge for several contests this year, I told myself I would try to use the experience to learn as much as I could and then share whatever that was with my writing friends.

Right away, I realized I was picking up on a lot of common mistakes (well, I hesitate to use that word but it's the best my tired brain can think of at the moment) when submitting first pages/chapters of their work. I decided to start taking notes on submissions, classifying them into groups. So below, you will see how, as I read, I would place subs into one of three categories: No, Maybe, Yes! and finally WINNERS. I can tell you that almost all of the no's were clear no's almost from the very first paragraph, though I continued to read the entire submission.

Note: These are comments come from more than one contest. Some are pictures books, some middle grade, some YA, and I didn't include ALL of my notes on every single one, especially various winners, in the interest of keeping this very anonymous.

Looking at them all again now, it's fascinating to me how similar my comments were for so many, even the ones I loved. Obviously what spoke to me most was work that had:
• strong voice
• active pace
• engaging plot
• meaningful dialogue
• rich description that grounded me in the time and place

I offer these notes in hopes that you can use them to look at your own opening pages and wonder if a judge like me, or an agent or editor, would say the same thing. I hope you find them helpful!

Love,

Jo

Comments on No's:

Entry 1
Lacks voice
Sounds too adult
Main character not believable and therefore hard to connect to

Entry 2
Great first line
Too much info dumping
No action
Too agenda filled?
No voice

Entry 3
Nice dialogue and description
No voice
Fantasy element added with no surprise (too easily accepted by main character)
No character development

Entry 4
Inconsistent storyline
Too much physical description that doesn't actually work-characters are too perfect
A bit far-fetched
Dialogue forced

Entry 5
Very disjointed and hard to follow
Voice is very distant
Plot is vague
Not sure what the conflict is

Entry 6
No real conflict
Not clear what's at stake for character
No character development or growth

Entry 7
The writing is good, but the pacing is really slow.
Didn't have anything to pull me in.

Entry 8
Story starts without any introduction of time/place/character
No clue where person is, how old
No setting established

Entry 9
Interesting subject matter but text not very engaging
Needs some conflict
Needs to feel more like a story

Entry 10
Not really a story but a scene.
Needs more.

Entry 11
Interesting story but REALLY slow
Lots of telling but the details don't actually help build the story

Entry 12
Narrator feels too removed from story
Slow pace
Lots of explaining/info dumping instead of letting back story flow more naturally
Has potential! But needs lots of work.

Entry 13
Too much telling/explaining rather than showing
Launches into fantasy too fast
Nice writing but feels too preachy
Author's "cause" too strong on page

Entry 14
Too preachy
Voice is too young
More message than story
Too simple

Entry 15
No character development
Setting/time not clear
No idea what's happening or who main character is
Too much action without context
Not clear who audience is—feels adult
No connection to characters

Entry 16
Voice doesn't reflect time period (feels too modern for time depicted)
Agenda too obvious on page
Nice writing but story needs to feel less forced

Entry 17
Has great potential!
Not sure this is YA given age of characters
Overdramatic
Need to slow down pace and do more scene setting/character building

Entry 18
Nice writing
Captivating in some ways but not grounded in a familiar world and without stage setting, it's too confusing to follow or understand what's happening
Not really sure who the main character is or what her plight is

Entry 19
Writing is snappy and fresh but too much banter for too long—doesn't move the story forward
Dialogue is too light—doesn't reflect what's actually going on in a believable way

Entry 20
Too much dialogue that doesn't move story forward or provide secondary info.
Premise is interesting and has promise but tragedy made light of in a strange way—would be OK if it was clear why. Not really believable as is.

Entry 21
Good writing
Some really lovely phrases
Good dialogue
Story was a little hard to follow
Seemed to be a few inconsistencies in relationships
Slow beginning
Whose story is this?
Author withholding too much information

Entry 22
Well-trod ground
No real conflict

Entry 23
Chapters are too short and disconnected-nothing really seems to happen
Reads like a series of vignettes but the point of each isn't clear
Parents act in a way that doesn't make sense/not believable
Not sure what the point is
No clear conflict

Entry 24
Reads more like a summary than a story
Too much telling
Agenda on every page

Entry 25
Rhyming too forced
Powerful story but would be more effective in free verse or prose
Too bad because there is some really raw and powerful stuff here


Comments on Maybes:

Entry 1
Beautiful writing
Lovely scene/setting descriptions
Nice character development
Sweet characters, nice dialogue
No action until page 6
Lots of info dumping where there doesn't need to be
Agenda too visible on page

Entry 2
Very good writing but very slow pace
Story never really starts
Felt very distant from main character-didn't know enough

Entry 3
Good!
Like the pacing and introduction to the secret.
Compelling, but not a great voice.
Written in first person but feels more like a distant narrator, which isn't quite working.
Too much telling.

Entry 4
Sweet
Great writing but concept doesn't actually work

Entry 5
Very nice writing
Flow is OK
Lack of any character/setting development before the big conflict happens

Entry 6
Great voice
Wonderful writing
Loses threads
Not good choice of 2nd person
Not good choice of format-doesn't work
Plot/time span moves too quickly-summary vs. story

Entry 7
The fiction sections are good but too preachy
The nonfiction sections disrupt the story
Good writing but the format doesn't work
Needs to be more engaging

Entry 8
Excellent writing
Snappy dialogue but goes on a bit without moving plot forward
Does a nice job with character development
Wish this was written in first not third

Entry 9
Very nice writing but the agenda is too present on the page. Gets in the way of the story

Entry 10
So much to love
Great voice, wonderful writing, but SO SLOW
20 pages in and still getting backstory
Nothing has happened

Entry 11
Good writing but a bit too repetitive
Starts at an odd place
Very intriguing though!

Entry 12
Very nice writing but too many props to help story along
Too much looking back instead of showing story unfold
Inconsistent voice

Comments on Yes! -- considered for win but in end didn't make it:

Entry 1
Really beautiful
Original voice
Nice pacing
A little agenda-y at end

Entry 2
Beautiful writing
Great storytelling voice
Rich details
Nice character development
Good dialogue
Tension, heart, longing—all nicely conveyed

Entry 3
Wonderful!
Engaging tone
Mystery
Care about main character
Great connection to prologue
Beautifully written
Perfect pacing and dialogue

Winners:

Entry 1
Amazing voice!
Rich dialogue
Wonderful dialect
Strong female protagonist
ORIGINAL and ambitious story
Beautiful writing
Got lost in story and invested in character
Secondary characters very believable
Love the hint of adventure and danger
Perfect pacing

Entry 2
Excellent writing
Strong sense of place
Great character development from the first page
Fantastic dialogue
Powerful opening
Wonderful balance of tension/action/suspense
Rich descriptions that fit the scene and don't slow it down
Connected with and became invested in character's plight immediately

Entry 3
Lyrical, light, moving
So simple and beautiful
Perfect word choice with surprises that were a delight
Could see and feel every scene, sweet, but not too much so

Entry 4
Love!
Great storytelling
Perfect pacing
Nice balance moving story forward while still giving enough backstory and setting the scene/developing character
So original and engaging!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Soooo... what do you think? See some common threads in each category? I sure do! So, for your Monday Morning (really afternoon, sorry) Warm-Up: Go check out your opening pages and see what you think! Would your reader put you in a Yes! Or a Win? What can you do to take your work to the next level? Give it a try!

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43. Rental House: Ugly Wallpaper

This wallpaper used to be in one of the bathrooms in the rental house. And this was actually just one of the pictures on the wallpaper. There were several different bathroom scenarios – I think one of them was a naked man peeing into the toilet.

What were they thinking putting that on the walls? Were they trying to be funny? Because it wasn’t only inappropriate, it was the ugliest wallpaper I’ve ever seen.

Ever.

I wonder if we’ll look back on the fashion choices we’ve made today and think, “What was I thinking?”

Actually. We already do. HA!


Filed under: Rental House Woes

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44. "Injun" in Chris Kyle's AMERICAN SNIPER

When American Sniper opened in theaters last week, I started to see reviews that pointed out Kyle's use of the word savage to describe Iraqis. That word has been used to describe American Indians. I wondered if Kyle made any connections between "savage" and American Indians in his book. The answer? Yes.

In his autobiography, Kyle uses "Injun" in two places. Here's what he said on page 267:

Or we would bump out 500 yards, six or eight hundred yards, going deep into Injun territory to look and wait for the bad guys.
And here's what he said on page 291:
Our missions would last for an overnight or two in Injun country.
See? He made connections between "savage" Iraqis and "savage" Indians. In his book, he used the word "savage" several times. Here's page 4 (the book uses caps as shown):
SAVAGE, DESPICABLE EVIL. THAT'S WHAT WE WERE FIGHTING in Iraq. That's why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy "savages." 
Later on that same page, he says that when people asked him how many he's killed:
The number is not important to me. I only wish I had killed more. Not for bragging rights, but because I believe the world is a better place without savages out there taking American lives.
On page 147:
THE BAD GUYS THE ENEMIES WE WERE FIGHTING WERE SAVAGE AND WELL-armed 
On page 173:
It was near a hospital the insurgents had converted into a headquarters before our assault, and even now the area seemed to be a magnet for savages.
On page 219:
I hated the damn savages I'd been fighting.
On page 228:
They turned around and saw a savage with a rocket launcher lying dead on the ground.
On page 244:
They had heard we were out there slaying a huge number of savages.
On page 284:
There was a savage on the roof of the house next door, looking down at the window from the roof there. 
On page 316:
"...after we killed enough of the savages out there," I told him. 
On page 338:
I'd have to wait until the savage who put him up to it appeared on the street.
Of course, Kyle is not the first person to equate American Indians with Iraqis. In 2008, Professor Steven Silliman of the University of Massachusetts did a study of the use of "Indian Country." His article, The "Old West" in the Middle East: U.S. Military Metaphors in Real and Imagined Indian Country includes a chart of how it was used in the Middle East, by media and soldiers.

And, anyone who has paid attention to the use of "savage" or "Injun" in children's literature will be able to list several books that use either word to dehumanize American Indians. Here's a few examples:

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder used "savages" in her Little House on the Prairie.  
  • Carol Ryrie Brink used "savages" in Caddie Woodlawn.
  • Lois Lenski used "savage" in Indian Captive.
  • Elizabeth George Speare used "savages" in Calico Captive and "savage" in Sign of the Beaver.
  • Eoin Colfer used "savage Injun" in The Reluctant Assassin.

When we share books with the dehumanization of American Indians, do we inadvertently put people on that road to being able to dehumanize "other" in conflicts, be the conflict that takes place in war or on the streets of any country?

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45. Leaving Megalopolis tops Comixology Submit’s top books of 2014

leaving megalopolis Leaving Megalopolis tops Comixology Submits top books of 2014

Comixology’s Submit portal is a way for independent and self published digital comics to get onto the largest digital comics service out there, and many people have taken advantage of it. While no one seems to have gotten rich off it, a sale is a sale. And COmixology has just released a list of the top 25 sellers for 2014, topped by Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore’s Leaving Megalopolis. This superheroes with a twist story was originally Kickstarted. The impressive Testament Omnibus by Douglas Rushkoff and a bunch of awesome artists was second, and Joe Benitez’s Lady Mechanika was #3. Severl anthologies Kickstarted by the tireless C. Spike Trotman were also on the list…she is a powerhouse.

There are some excellent comics by top creators on the list, so the lesson for how to be successful on Submit it…be totally excellent.

snow rivers Leaving Megalopolis tops Comixology Submits top books of 2014

Here’s the full list of the Top 25 comiXology Submit Titles of 2014:

  1. Leaving Megalopolis
    Writer: Gail Simone; Artist: Jim Calafiore

  • Testament: Omnibus
    Writer: Douglas Rushkoff; Artists: Gary Erskine, Peter Gross, Dean Ormston, Liam Sharp
  • Lady Mechanika #3
    By: Joe Benitez
  • Watson And Holmes Vol. 1: A Study In Black
    Writer: Karl Bollers, Artists: Rick Leonardi, Larry Stroman
  • Smut Peddler: 2014 Edition
    Writers: Kate Leth, Trudy Cooper, Blue Delliquanti, Joanna Estep, Jess Fink, Erica Henderson, and more; Artists: Kate Leth, Trudy Cooper, Blue Delliquanti, Jess Fink, Niki Smith, C. Spike Trotman and more
  • The Sleep of Reason
    Writers: Blue Delliquanti, Rachel Edidin, Meg Gandy, KC Green, Brittney Sabo, Jason Thompson and more; Artists: Langdon Foss, Meg Gandy, KC Green, Kel McDonald, Brittney Sabo, C. Spike Trotman and more
  • Snow: Complete Edition
    By: Benjamin Rivers
  • Lady Mechanika #1
    By: Joe Benitez
  • Brandi Bare #1
    Writers: Joe Pekar, Jeff Outlaw; Artist: Joe Pekar
  • Testament Vol. 1
    Writer: Douglas Rushkoff; Artists: Liam Sharp
  • Lady Mechanika #2
    By: Joe Benitez
  • Fade Out: Painless Suicide
    Writer: Beto Skubs; Artist: Rafael de Latorre
  • Saga Of A Doomed Universe #1
    By: Scott Reed
  • Jackie Rose Vol. 1: The Treasure of Captain Read
    By Josh Ulrich
  • Snipe
    Writer: Kathryn Immonen; Artist: Stuart Immonen
  • The Book of Five Rings: A Graphic Novel
    Adaption: Sean Michael Wilson; Translation: William Scott Wilson; Artist: Chie Kutsuwada
  • Requiem Vampire Knight Vol. 1: Resurrection
    Writer: Pat Mills; Artist: Olivier Ledroit
  • Oh Joy Sex Toy
    By Erika Moen
  • Template: The Complete First Season
    Writer: Quinton Miles; Artist: Andres Quezada
  • Sinsationals #0
    By Scott Jones
  • Brandi Bare #2
    Writers: Jeff Outlaw & Joe Pekar; Artist: Joe Pekar
  • a7249bd71fcb132249dd7e29d0fed8bd Leaving Megalopolis tops Comixology Submits top books of 2014

  • Moth City Preludes #1
    By Tim Gibson
  • The Pride #1
    Writer: Joe Glass; Artists: Marc Ellerby, Joshua Faith & Gavin Mitchell
  • Anne Bonnie #1
    Writers: Tim Yates, Lelan Estes; Artists: Tim Yates, Tony Vassalo
  • The Package
    Writer: Elliot Blake; Artist: Alexis Ziritt
  •  

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    46. China Forces Authors to Abandon Pen Names Online

    Chinese authors have a tradition of using pen names, particularly when writing about controversial subjects. The government wants to put an end to this practice for authors publishing online.

    China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, has released new guidelines requiring all authors that publish literature online to register their real names with the publishing platforms they use.

    The New York Times has more:

    Under the guidelines, creators of online content will still be allowed to publish under pen names. But unlike before, when some writers registered accounts under fake names, websites will know exactly who is publishing what.

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    47. Early Bird Registration is Open for #alaac15

    Christy Estrovitz, Chair of the ALSC Local Arrangements Committee, and Carla Kozak, Chair of the ALSC Pre-Conference.

    Christy Estrovitz, Chair of the ALSC Local Arrangements Committee, and Carla Kozak, Chair of the ALSC Pre-Conference (photo courtesy of Christy Estrovitz)

    Ready to leave your heart in San Francisco? Early Bird Registration for the 2015 ALA Annual Conference is now open! Get ready for the Also Truly Distinguished Pre-Conference, scrumptious meals, delightful colleagues, cultural outings, great programs, beloved Karl the Fog, and more.

    A word to the wise from the Local Arrangements Committee, book your hotel soon. ALA Annual coincides with the 45th Annual San Francisco Pride Celebration and Parade. AirBnB is another lodging opportunity and splendid way to immerse yourself in one of SF’s neighborhood. Stay tuned for more tips from the locals.

    The post Early Bird Registration is Open for #alaac15 appeared first on ALSC Blog.

    0 Comments on Early Bird Registration is Open for #alaac15 as of 1/26/2015 2:21:00 PM
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    48. David Arnold's MOSQUITOLAND

    A few days ago, I wrote about the ways that Amazon is using a snippet of School Library Journal's review of David Arnold's Mosquitoland, due out this year

    In contrast, Barnes and Noble uses the entire review. The reviewer, Angie Manfredi, pointed to Arnold's use of lipstick as "warpaint" and noted that the protagonist is "part Cherokee."

    Today (January 26, 2015), David Arnold tweeted the photograph to the right as part of a hashtag started by Gayle Forman. I take it to be his way of showing us his protagonist in her "warpaint."

    Mr. Arnold? Did you imagine a Native reader of your book? Did it occur to you that this "warpaint" would be problematic?  I see that this is the person in the book trailer. In it, she is shown putting on this "warpaint." How did the particular "warpaint" design come about?!

    The book trailer ends with "Mim Malone is not ok." What you have her doing is not ok either.


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    49. February Connecticut Children's Literature Calendar

    A so-so month for author events. Note that we have more library events than bookstore. I've been seeing this kind of thing over the last year.

    Notice that I'm getting this calendar up before the snow devil hits? Well, it is snowing, but not in a particularly devilish way.

    Sun., Feb. 1, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, West Hartford Public Library, Bishops Corner
    Branch 2 to 4:30 PM  Please note that this event is at the Bishops Corner Branch, NOT the Noah Webster. The site was changed.


    Wed., Feb. 4, Wendy Rouillard, New Canaan Library, 3:30 PM

    Thurs., Feb. 5, Eric Walters, Bank Square Books, Mystic 4:00 to 5:00 PM

    Sat., Feb. 14, Cindy L. RodriguezWest Hartford Public Library, Noah Webster Branch 12:00 PM

    Sun., Feb. 15, Jane Sutcliffe, UConn Coop, Storrs 3:00 PM




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    50. Entertainment Round-up: Gorilla Grodd, Dollmaker on Gotham, Baron Zemo?

    daniel bruhl chef movie casting Entertainment Round up: Gorilla Grodd, Dollmaker on Gotham, Baron Zemo?

    With warm wishes for our friends getting snowed upon in the Northeast, here’s a few items that have crossed the newswires this Monday morning:

    The Flash is, on balance, probably my most looked-forward to superhero series each week (give or take Agent Carter), but nothing about that show excites me more than the upcoming appearance of Gorilla Grodd. He’s an evil, psychic, talking gorilla for pete’s sake! We don’t know much about who is voicing him or how CW’s generally meager budget will be able to manage the villain, but yesterday Andrew Kreisberg tweeted out the following:

    Grodd is expected to appear this season. The high pierced squealing sound you hear upon his debut is probably me. Don’t mind it too much, okay?

    Gotham continues to build up Batman’s rogues gallery and their latest acquisition is veteran actor Colm Feore, who will be playing The Dollmaker. You’ll probably best recognize Feore as Laufey from Thor (a movie that continues to grow in my estimation over the years). Gotham‘s version of The Dollmaker has ties to Catwoman as he’s behind the kidnapping of Gotham’s street children. A nicely surprising casting coup for the series.

    MovieCastingCall.org has posted info regarding the upcoming shoot for Captain America: Civil War, which is filming not far from my home here in Atlanta. According to the write-up, Daniel Bruhl, who recently joined the cast of the upcoming Marvel film will be playing Baron Zemo. Additionally, here is their description of the plot:

    In Captain America: Civil War, billionaire Tony Stark is pitted against Captain America aka Steve Rogers in an ethical face-off over the U.S. government’s Superhuman Registration Act, which requires all superpowered individuals register their powers and report to S.H.I.E.L.D.

    I’d take this with a grain of salt right now, Baron Zemo is certainly the go-to guess regarding Bruhl’s role, but the site in question has been known to post potentially dubious info on occasion.

    On that same subject matter, Robert Downey Jr. recently spoke with Empire regarding the third Captain America film and his upcoming appearance (via Collider):

    They said to me, ‘If we have you, we can do this, or Cap 3 has to be something else.’ It’s nice to feel needed. And at this point it’s about helping each other, too. I look at it as a competition and I go, ‘Wow, maybe if these two franchises teamed up and I can take even a lesser position, with people I like and directors I respect, maybe we can keep things bumping along.’

    And he also described some of the character evolution in Tony that will lead to this antagonism between he and Steve Rogers:

    It’s natural to change your views…The main thing to me is, what sort of incident could occur, and what sort of framework could we find Tony in? The clues about where we might find him next are in Ultron. But what would it take for Tony to completely turn around everything he’s stood for? Joss brings this up all the time. It’s kind of weird that these guys would have all these throw downs all over planet Earth and yet when the movie’s over, nobody minds. What would the American government do if this were real? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see Tony doing something you wouldn’t imagine?

     

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