Sunday, March 27, 2011

interracial romance in a 1952 comic book?

It seems clear in the subtext in this version of King Solomon's Mines. I'm not sure it's as subtle as subtext on the cover: a white man and a black man appear to be fighting for the love of a black woman.

Yes, she's paler than the black guy. But she's still black in a time when interracial marriage was illegal in many states.

the argument for destructive riots

Hundreds of thousands of people make a peaceful protest, and the news ignores it. But they notice destruction: TUC anti-spending cuts protest: 200 arrested after 500k march against the cut | Mail Online

I don't like this truth, but this is not a truth of my making: it's a truth of the rich. They can ignore peaceful protests.

The one comforting thing about this truth is there's a difference between destruction and violence, though greedy people often fail to recognize it. Attacking things is not the same as attacking people.

ETA: But destruction is a double-edged sword. Provocateurs engage in destruction to make protesters look bad in the eyes of those who are more concerned with property than human rights. I'm not recommending violence, and I despise provocateurs. But it may be that every protest should include a torched Mercedes and a smashed window in a store that caters to the very rich.

Friday, March 25, 2011

on bullies and bullying

I re-read Elsewhere to write my story for Welcome to Bordertown. I had forgotten that a subplot is about a couple of gay kids getting attacked. It was inspired by gay friends who had been harassed and beaten.

And it was inspired by being bullied. I remember two bullies in particular, both bad students from working class backgrounds. I was a timid kid, bookish and bad at sports, and in sixth grade, I was fat, so I was just about perfect bully bait. The bullying consisted of insults and shoving and hitting, usually where it wouldn't draw blood. Blows to the face were reserved for the rare times I fought back.

Because I spoke up in school for integration and civil rights, the main name I was called by the first bully and his friends was "niggerlover," but I also heard "Shitterly" and "Yankee" and others. I took pride in "niggerlover" because my family had taught me it was right to love everyone, and "Shitterly" only made me pity them because it was so very unimaginative, but "Yankee" hurt. It said I didn't belong, even though I was born in South Carolina and I had lived in Florida since I was four.

My sixth grade bully added "queer" to the mix of insults. In that time, I seemed effeminate: my fashion inspirations were The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (more Ilya Kuryakin than Napoleon Solo) and the Monkees, and I sometimes carried my books in a briefcase that had been my grandfather's. That name didn't bother me, maybe because the earlier insults had taught me that insults are just what people do when they have nothing else to sustain their conviction; it's the most juvenile form of ad hominem.

When I gained some perspective on my life, I forgave my bullies. They never asked for the things that shaped them.

I've written one story addressed to a bully: Dream Catcher.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Con appearances: ArmadilloCon

Emma and I are the old-fart special guests at ArmadilloCon. Does that mean we get to ride in the short bus?

ArmadilloCon's a mighty fine con, and Paolo Bacigalupi's the GoH, so it ought to be a great weekend.

a quote for anti-racists

NBC 'Outsourced': Relax, Indians have a sense of humor too -

"Ignorance of a foreign culture isn't racist; it's just ignorance." —Geetika Tandon Lizardi

Monday, March 21, 2011

BAD POSTCARDS has a Dog Land postcard!


What's bizarre is the three kids don't look quite right. Is that me, Liz, and Mike? I can't figure out why three other kids would be on the front of a postcard, but if that's us, I don't remember any family photos with those haircuts.

ETA: I think that's Jody Fletcher and Rene Bell with Liz on the right. Jody and Rene's parents worked for us.

from the frontlines of the class war

Mourning and Organizing | Working-Class Perspectives
According to a 2010 AFL-CIO report there were 5,214 workers killed on the job in the US in 2008 alone. An estimated additional 50,000 workers died that year of work-related illnesses. 4.6 million injuries were reported in 2008; however the AFL-CIO estimates that the real number of on-the-job injuries was between 9 million and 14 million.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

pimpage: Midnight Girl is now $2.99 at the Kindle store

I lowered the price of the Kindle version of Midnight Girl to match what I plan for its other ebook formats:

Since I'm pimping myself, here are the reviews from Amazon:

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Cool indy YA book.February 13, 2010
D. Walls "kcuf cancer!" (Chico, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Midnight Girl (Kindle Edition)
First book length reading on my new Kindle. I think this is supposed to be Young Adult novel but I thought it worked just fine for a 44 year old dude. Basically the story of a young girl who finds out on her 14th birthday that she is a wee bit different than all the other kids out there. I won't tell you how, exactly, she is different, cause that would be a spoiler.

Pretty much everything in the book has been done before, especially with the current popularity of `urban fantasy' and `contemporary fantasy', but Shetterly ties it all up in a fun and easy to read package. The characters are appealing and well drawn and the story pulls you right along.

Not sure how long it is cause the Kindle doesn't do page numbers, but the paperback version says it's 168 pages. I read it in an afternoon. Looks like Mr. Shetterly is self publishing it, even though he is a fairly established author and has been writing for a couple decades now. Support an indy author and give it a shot! The Kindle version is a bargain at $3.95.

And no problems at all with formatting or anything on the Kindle. It read just fine.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Uncommonly goodApril 27, 2010
R (Sunnyvale, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Midnight Girl (Kindle Edition)
This seems better than most of the YA vampire novels out now. It had tough, dramatic choices, vivid setting, and FUN character interaction. Vampirism has conflicts and drawbacks that make it more believable, more like real life.

It's so good, I could scarcely put it down. In contrast, I can't bring myself to finish most vampire novels.

I keep wondering why a bigger publisher didn't back this book. This link has some of the story behind this book

The conflicts are more intense than most YA, but this is a good thing. The book is PG, attraction but no dating. Maybe publishers didn't pick it up because almost nothing happens in high school. Still, the main character seems believable as a 14 year old, even though much of the dialog is about life/death decisions.

It's so above average, it boggles my mind. Then again, I'm more into action than romance. I guess publishers assume YA vampire readers are more into romance.
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Forgotten Millions of Workers

The Forgotten Millions - "There are almost five times as many unemployed workers as there are job openings; the average unemployed worker has been jobless for 37 weeks, a post-World War II record."

Friday, March 18, 2011

Where was Obama?

Walter Brasch: President MIA: "During the 2008 presidential campaign, Sen. Barack Obama told energized and reinvigorated crowds, both small and large, 'If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I'm in the White House, I'll put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself [and] I'll walk on that picket line with you as president of the United States of America because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.'"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NPR Joins Drive to Cut Social Security

I'm linking to NPR Joins Drive to Cut Social Security | Beat the Press for two reasons:

1. A fact every American who has heard rightwing hysteria about Social Security should know: "The Congressional Budget Office projects that the program can pay all benefits for the next 28 years with no changes whatsoever and can pay nearly 80 percent of projected benefits indefinitely into the future, even if nothing is ever done to change the program." (One of the changes that Republicans aren't talking about is removing the income limit—currently $106,800.00—so the very rich would stop getting their current break on social security payments.)

2. NPR hasn't been a liberal news source for decades, if ever. (Occasionally telling a truth that the mainstream media ignores is not the same as being liberal, though some conservatives can't grasp that.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Millionaires Need $7.5 Million to Feel Wealthy - The Wealth Report - WSJ

Millionaires Need $7.5 Million to Feel Wealthy - The Wealth Report - WSJ:
The 58% of millionaires who did feel wealthy were also asked how much money they had when the began to feel “wealthy.” Their answer: $1.75 million.

So millionaires who don’t feel wealthy say they would need $7.5 million to feel wealthy, while those who do feel wealthy need only $1.75 million.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Slash welfare for the wealthy

We should slash welfare for the wealthy Rex Nutting - MarketWatch: "The richest 20% of families — those who make more than $115,000 a year — capture 71% of the benefits from the housing subsidies, as well as 80% of the benefits of retirement-savings deductions, according to the Tax Policy Center. Much of benefit accrues to the top 1% or top 0.1%."

Before Jesus was blond

This is a 6th-century Roman depiction from Sacred Destinations Travel Blog: Magnificent Medieval Art:

Christ at the Second Coming

I find it very plausible. Some folks argue that if there was a historical Jesus, he would've had short hair like most men of the time, but since nazirites don't cut their hair, I disagree with 'em.

meet the 400 who own 60% of the USA's wealth

The Forbes 400: the Richest People in America 2010 -

If you doubt my title, see the fact-checking at PolitiFact Wisconsin: Michael Moore says 400 Americans have more wealth than half of all Americans combined. Their conclusion? "We rate Moore’s statement True."

ETA: See also The Forbes 400 vs. Everybody Else |

Saturday, March 12, 2011

an attack on collective bargaining is an attack on the right of assembly

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the right of assembly is clear in Article 20: "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association."

The right is not explicit in the US Constitution, but, as Wikipedia notes:
...the United States Supreme Court held in NAACP v. Alabama that the freedom of association is an essential part of the Freedom of Speech because, in many cases, people can engage in effective speech only when they join with others.
Anyone who tries to limit the power of unions is trying to limit the power of people to work together for the common good.

Friday, March 11, 2011

more people have died in the class war than in any other war

A friend said he didn't like the term "class war." The friend makes what Americans call "good money"; I completely understand why he doesn't like the term.

But the class war has been waged for as long as there have been classes. Every war that has ever been fought was only a skirmish in the class war. Everyone who has suffered because wealth wasn't shared is a victim of the class war. Everyone who benefits from the class war is a war criminal or a collaborator.

Yes, those are ugly metaphors. But the deaths in the class war are real, no matter how much the rich try to ignore or excuse them.

What Class War Looks Like

From Daily Kos: The Must See Chart (This Is What Class War Looks Like):


the basic lesson of the internet

Trust no one.

(My mom got hit on for "a loan" by someone who had hacked a friend's email and impersonated her, pretending to be on vacation and desperately in need of a short-term loan. I'm not sure whether mom actually sent money to the fraudster. Oh, do I despise people who fleece trusting people who want to help their friends.)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

for reviewers who dis my work

What is wrong with you? Seriously. I write it, you praise me. Easy!

Ahem. Emma wrote a post linking to Janni's post inspired by Justine's post based on Holly's post about the YA Mafia, a possibly mythical group of YA writers who will squash bloggers like squishy things if they write bad reviews.

I dunno if the YA Mafia exists. If they do, I don't doubt that they behave this way—it's classic mean girl bullying, and there's a surprising amount of that online from people who ought to be more professional.

But if the YA Mafia exists, I'm not in it. All that a writer with integrity wants from a reviewer is an honest opinion. So dis me. There's never been a writer worth reading who wasn't misunderstood by some reviewers. A bad review isn't fun, but it's a badge of honor.

FoxNews won't go where they cannot legally lie

You can't make this up. Maybe Kurt Vonnegut could've, but he's dead now. Regulators Reject Proposal That Would Bring Fox-Style News to Canada

I'm pretty extreme on free speech, but I don't think you have a right to lie. You have a right to be wrong, but that's not what FoxNews wants. They know they're engaged in the Big Lie.

Book of Mormon socialism

The case for Book of Mormon socialism | The Salt Lake Tribune