Monday, November 28, 2016

Liavek 7! Now available! Longest collection yet, only $3.99!

Contains five stories:
"Portrait of Vengeance" by Kara Dalkey
"The Skin and Knife Game" by Lee Barwood and Charles de Lint
"Strings Attached" by Nathan A. Bucklin
"The Tale of the Stuffed Levar" by Jane Yolen
"An Act of Love" by Steven Brust, Gregory Frost, and Megan Lindholm

And a poem:
"Spells of Binding" by Pamela Dean
 Originally published in 1987 in Spells of Binding. For more information, see A Liavek publication FAQ.

Available now at: Liavek 7: Spells of Binding 
Barnes & Noble: Liavek 7: Spells of Binding 
Smashwords: Liavek 7: Spells of Binding

"A colorful, likable setting: a crowded port city so well-drawn that readers soon feel they could walk through it..." —Publisher's Weekly

"Fresh and compelling tales." —Science Fiction Review

" entertainment as well as an exercise in shared-world fiction." —Fantasy Review

"Beautifully written, with detailed characterizations, the short stories are amazingly well integrated...a collection of quality fiction...Liavek is a place worth visiting. Get there before another volume comes out." —Voya

"For a world conceived in the 1980s, Liavek was notably forward-looking... As a counter to the default whiteness of fantasy at the time, Liavekans are dark-skinned, as are the indigenous S'Rian people on whose older town the city was built. A same-sex relationship is central to some of Dean's stories, and the city has multiple religions, but also atheists — no easy feat when the various gods regularly take an interest in human affairs." —Elizabeth Graham, NPR

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A good discussion with Hal Duncan about identity politics and queer folk

I replied to Notes from New Sodom: On Identity Politics. Currently, we're up to 27 comments. We might be done now, but I thought that a little over halfway through.

Emily Robinson knows what SJWs don't

"If your response to a Twitter tiff is to go running to someone's employer, you view poverty as a weapon and are a terrible person." —Emily Robinson

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why am I surprised that Cory Doctorow, Laurie Penny, and Patrick Neilsen Hayden are demonizing the working class?

I just saw People who voted for Trump knew their shot at the elites was fired through the guts of their neighbors / Boing Boing. Cory Doctorow approves of Laurie Penny's elitist sentiment in a post that he found thanks to Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

I suppose I'm disappointed because I thought they were too smart to believe the reason the Rust Belt voted for a black president in 2008 and 2012, and for a Jewish socialist in this year's primaries, but not for a rich white neoliberal in this year's election, is racism. I'm not sure whether they believe the black Rust Belters who stayed home or voted for Trump are also racist.

As a palate cleanser, I recommend Juan Cole's Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally) and Connor Kilpatrick's This Didn’t Have to Happen.

ETA: understanding the election—the best links I've found

A reminder for Clinton fans that the polls were right all along

ETA 2: The identitarian left othering white workers is as evil as the identitarian right othering people of color, women, Muslims, and GLBTQ folk.

ETA 3: Three Myths About Clinton's Defeat in Election 2016 Debunked | naked capitalism:
White voters cared even less in 2016 then in 2012, when they also didn’t care; most of that apathy came from white Republicans compared to white Democrats, who dropped off a little less. Voters of color, in contrast, continued to care – but their care levels dropped even more, by 8 points (compared to the 6 point drop-off among white voters). Incredibly, that drop was driven entirely by a 9 point drop among Democratic voters of color which left Democrats with only slim majority 51% support; Republicans, meanwhile, actually gained support among people of color.
ETA 4: It’s Class, Stupid, Not Race:
During the Presidential campaign of 1988, the Reverend Jesse Jackson was asked, “How you are going to get the support of the white steelworker?” He replied: “By making him aware he has more in common with the black steel workers by being a worker, than with the boss by being white.”
For people who don't get how that applies to this election, the Clinton camp ignored both black and white workers in the rust belt, and as a result, her support fell with both black and white workers.

ETA 5: Fairfax County, USA | Jacobin: "Hillary Clinton won rich suburbs in record numbers. But her campaign failed to mobilize workers of all races."

Friday, November 11, 2016

understanding the election—the best links I've found

From 2017:

The Boring Story of the 2016 Election – MattBruenig | Politic

What really happened in 2016, in 7 charts - Vox

From 2016:

Among Republicans, Trump supporters have slightly lower incomes. But what really differentiates them?

Debunking myths about Trump voters, with exit polls.: "Trump’s Voters Don’t Support Deportation. And other surprises."
Trump did surprisingly well among groups he was thought to have fatally offended. He got 8 percent of blacks (Mitt Romney got only 6 percent in 2012), 29 percent of Latinos (Romney got 27 percent), and 41 percent of moderates (Romney also got 41 percent). Trump trailed Clinton among women by 12 percentage points, but that wasn’t much worse than Romney, who lost them by 11 points. Trump also got 31 percent of voters who said they hadn’t been born as U.S. citizens. These figures complicate the theory that racism and sexism carried Trump to victory.
CBS News Exit Polls: How Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency - CBS News:
How did Trump win when many of his core positions were so unpopular? Some people voted for him regardless of that. Among those who favored giving illegal immigrants a chance to apply for legal status, one in three voted for Trump. Thirty-five percent of people who said international trade creates jobs voted for Trump. And even 27 percent of white voters who said they want the next president to change to more liberal policies voted for Trump.
Why the White Working Class Rebelled: Neoliberalism is Killing Them (Literally) | Informed Comment:
The Democratic Party has been the Establishment for eight years, and the Clintons have arguably been the Establishment for 24 years. Since the late 1990s, members of the white working class with high school or less have seen their life-chances radically decline, even to the point where they are dying at much higher rates than they have a right to expect. 
A year ago Anne Case and Angus Deaton, Princeton University economists, published a study with the startling finding that since 1999 death rates have been going up for white Americans aged 45-54. It is even worse than it sounds, since death rates were declining for the general population.
Don't Panic:
So yeah, be upset for as long as you want. Get drunk. Do whatever you have to do. After that, I want you to sober up, splash water on your face, and consider some facts:

Gay marriage has overwhelming support nationwide -- 55 percent to 37 percent against.

Legal abortion is favored by 56 percent, with 41 percent opposed.

The vast majority of the population supports background checks for gun buyers -- up to 90 percent in some polls.

A majority of Americans support some kind of universal health care, 58 percent to 37 percent.

64 percent of Americans are worried about global warming. Only 36 percent are not.

And -- get this -- Americans overwhelmingly agree that immigration helps the country more than it hurts, by a 59 percent to 33 percent margin.
ETA: The Pendulum Swings Both Ways – Medium:
We have to return to our base. This is my biggest takeaway from last night. I’ve been reading a lot of comments from our side about how dumb Americans are and how they are all racists and misogynists. It’s all said in the most condescending tone. While some of that may be true, we need to lose that. To be frank, we on the left have forgotten a large chunk of our base — white, working class people. Look at the numbers. The same amount of Republicans showed up last night as in 2008 and 2012 — about 59 million. But, on the left, 5m fewer voters than 2012 and 10m fewer than in 2008 showed up. We lost the entire rust belt (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania). Let that sink in. States we EASILY won in 2008 and 2012. It’s not because the racists and pussy grabbers suddenly showed up. There wasn’t some great turnout on their side — they got the EXACT same votes they always have. Think about it — we lost these states by about 600,000 votes total. That’s it. OUR side in these states didn’t show up. That’s the simple truth. And, to be clear, they didn’t show up because we had nothing for them. We really need to be introspective at this point and acknowledge that. Bernie wasn’t wrong about this. Michael Moore wasn’t wrong about this. Our party was built on the backs of working class people. We got outflanked and took our base for granted. We all have fears. One of the most primal is putting bread on the table and having a roof over our heads. What did we have to allay those anxieties? In the absence of a real plan that addressed what these voters were feeling, hatred and division was allowed to fill the void. 
More election links at it's all one thing: A reminder for Clinton fans that the polls were right all along.


You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex:
Trump made gains among blacks. He made big among Latinos. He made gains among Asians. The only major racial group where he didn’t get a gain of greater than 5% was white people. I want to repeat that: the group where Trump’s message resonated least over what we would predict from a generic Republican was the white population.

Clinton fans, the polls were right all along. Sanders would have won.

Hoax Hate of the Day: Police Now Say Muslim Woman Lied About Attack By Man In 'Trump' Hat

Today's reminder that some hate crimes are real and some are not: UPDATE: Police Now Say Muslim Woman Lied About Attack By Man In 'Trump' Hat

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Alan Moore's joke behind naming the Marvel Universe the 616 universe

Some people believe the Number of the Beast is 616. See Number of the Beast - Wikipedia: "The Number of the Beast (Greek: Ἀριθμὸς τοῦ θηρίου, Arithmos tou Thēriou) is a term in the Book of Revelation, of the New Testament, that is associated with the Beast of Revelation in chapter 13.[1] In most manuscripts of the New Testament and in English translations of the Bible, the number of the beast is 666. In critical editions of the Greek text, such as the Novum Testamentum Graece, it is noted that 616 is a variant.[2]"

Thoughts after learning a fan killed herself because she feared she would lose her health care

I just found out that a fan of our work killed herself yesterday. She had depression and she was concerned about her health care.
I will take a moment before I continue.
Emma and I are concerned about our health care. She has type 1 diabetes. I hate to think what would happen if we lost our health care through the state of Minnesota.
But while there are many reasons to be worried about President Trump, health care could turn out well. From
Speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, Trump said ObamaCare is a catastrophe that must be repealed and replaced. In 2011, Trump suggested that the health insurance industry have more ability to cross state lines. In "The America We Deserve" Trump wrote that he supported universal healthcare and a system that would mirror Canada's government-run healthcare service.
No, this does not mean you shouldn't be concerned. You should be ready to fight for what matters. The first thing is to join the ACLU if you haven't, because they are always on the frontlines of protecting our rights. The second is to start learning how to strengthen the institutions that your state currently has for low-income people. Then do what you can to support an organization that's working to promote universal health care for everyone.
The first fight for universal health care has already been won: the polls show most Americans want it. It's much of the reason Sanders' popularity cut across party lines. Now we have to make our politicians give it to us.
And if you're depressed, talk to a friend. Talk to a suicide-prevention organization. I won't say there are always reasons to keep living because I believe we should have the right to die when we're ready, but I will say there usually are good reasons to keep going another day, and you need to remember that not seeing them now doesn't mean you won't see them later.

In defense of "agreeing to disagree"

I just saw someone on Facebook say he didn't like the phrase and thought it was used by people who could not defend their position. I'm a great fan of the phrase. I use it when I choose to be merciful, which is more often than my readers may realize. I would prefer to have brambles in my view than scorched earth.

One meaning of the phrase is "you are not worth my time."

But the more common meaning is "I will tolerate this foolishness of yours because you are worth my time despite it."

Agreeing to disagree is at the heart of civility. It's also at the heart of being an ally, not in the sense that's used by cultists who think allies must think alike, but in the sense used by practical people: despite our disagreement, we can work together.

Ultimately, it's a mark of both maturity and liberty. It means you are sufficiently secure in your own belief that you do not need everyone around you to validate it, and because you want to be free to believe what you choose, you support the right of others to believe what they choose.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Essential data for analyzing the 2016 election

CBS News Exit Polls: How Donald Trump won the U.S. presidency - CBS News:
Exit poll voters were asked whether most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should be offered a chance to apply for legal status or deported to the country they came from. Fully 7 of 10 voters said they should be allowed to apply for legal status. Similarly, more people opposed building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico than supported it. And virtually as many voters (38 percent) said trade with other countries creates more U.S. jobs as said it takes away jobs (42 percent).

How did Trump win when many of his core positions were so unpopular? Some people voted for him regardless of that. Among those who favored giving illegal immigrants a chance to apply for legal status, one in three voted for Trump. Thirty-five percent of people who said international trade creates jobs voted for Trump. And even 27 percent of white voters who said they want the next president to change to more liberal policies voted for Trump.
I italicized the most fascinating fact there. It may be the greatest reason why the polls consistently showed Sanders trouncing Trump. Everyone who was paying attention knew Clinton was only promising to keep on the neoliberal course.

A quick reminder for gay and trans folks that most Americans are still on your side

Americans Want Legal Protections For Transgender People, Poll Says - The Atlantic:
A poll released today by the Public Religion Research Institute found 72 percent of Americans now favor passing laws to protect lesbian, gay and transgender people from discrimination, including three-quarters of Democrats and two-thirds of Republicans. A majority of Americans also oppose so-called “bathroom bills,” which require transgender people to use the restrooms that correspond to their sex at birth.
Public Opinion on Gay Marriage in the U.S. | Pew Research Center:
Based on polling in 2016, a majority of Americans (55%) support same-sex marriage, compared with 37% who oppose it.
ETA: Don't Panic 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Two versions of "Here in This Land" by Karl Kraus

On Facebook, John Michael Colón shared this translation of Karl Karus's "Here in This Land":
Here in this land no one is deemed absurd
but who should speak the truth. And all defenseless
he stands before the sneering, grinning herd,
which holds a sense of honor senseless.

Here in this land, where God is bought and sold
and manhood is pursued with execration,
all infamy is coined to purest gold
and lords it high in honor's station.

Here in this land you run a gauntlet's lane
of cut-purses who fervently despise you
and either get your purse by some chicane
or pat your back to show they prize you.

Here in this land, whatever be your boast,
you are not the master of your own decision.
The pest of greed obtrudes by every post,
effectively to blight your vision.

Here in this land you beat the empty air
as you denounce one evil or another,
and every grinning rascal debonair
in this land hails you as his brother.
Googling for more about it, I found another take:
Here in this land no one gets ridicule
but he who tells the truth. He then must stand
defenseless and attract some smirking, cool
disdain. Nothing dishonors in this land.

Here in this land a person's wickedness,
which elsewhere would lead straight to prison's door,
mints him pure gold, brings glory and success,
and garners honor for him evermore.

Here in this land a gauntlet you must run
of petty thieves with deep contempt for you,
who wish to steal your purse and, when it's done,
will try to win, besides, your handshake too.

Here in this land you never will find rest
when fleeing from contaminated schemes,
for to your house the post comes like the pest
and mercilessly kills your pleasant dreams.

Here in this land you strike an idle blow
if you attempt to hit this wily band,
and every knave will grin and let you know
you're his compatriot here in this land.

Why I Vote—and Who I Voted For

Not voting is acquiescence—the only way to protest is to register your choice.

As a third-party voter in a blue state, I didn't have to decide whether I should support a lesser evil, but I was still torn. I worked with Dan Vacek when I ran for governor with the Grassroots Party and I liked him, but of the parties that were sufficiently organized to get on the ballot, the Green's platform is closest to what I believe. So I did what anyone who values democracy should do and flipped a coin. Jill Stein won. That pleased me. I ended up voting for the Susan B. Anthony candidate.

Clinton fans are doing their best to appropriate Anthony, but here are a few quotes that suggest Anthony would've preferred Sanders and Stein.

on public education

"If all the rich and all of the church people should send their children to the public schools they would feel bound to concentrate their money on improving these schools until they met the highest ideals."

on unions

"Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work."

on imperialism

"I really believe I shall explode if some of you young women don’t wake up — and raise your voice in protest against the impending crime of this nation upon the new islands it has clutched from other folks — Do come into the living present & work to save us from any more barbaric male governments."

Down-ballot, I went with Democrats and the tax raise for our schools. Minnesota's Democratic Party fused with the Farmer Labor Party long ago, and while much of the spirit of the FL has been lost, there's enough to make this a good state.

PS. Yes, that is a Captain America hoodie. He grew up a working class guy in New York during the Depression—he was either a Roosevelt Democrat or a red. There are two kinds of patriotism. I believe in the kind that says when you love the place you live, you work to make it better.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Why Clinton supporters should be happy even if she loses

Q. Why should Clinton fans be happy even if she loses on Tuesday?

A. Because they'll get their second choice: a democratic socialist won't be president.

This would've been a boring election if the Democratic establishment hadn't been committed to nominating another neoliberal. In May, Sanders was polling with the general public at 10 points over Trump.

That wasn't a fluke. In the many polls of public opinion taken from July 2015 to May 2016, only six showed Trump having an advantage and only one showed them in a tie.

Compare that with Clinton. Currently, she has a 1.8% advantage in the aggregated polls at RealClearPolitics, so she's the safer bet but not a sure bet. Over the same period that Sanders stayed well ahead of Trump, Clinton was only a point or two ahead on average, with 29 polls showing her losing and 13 in a tie.

The Clinton camp knew they had to do two things if they hoped to win the Presidency. The first was to defeat Sanders, which they managed to do because their base didn't care that Sanders did better with independents and cut deeply into Trump's base with his economic policies. The second was to run against someone Clinton had a chance of beating, which they did by promoting Trump.

It'll be interesting to see how the Clinton camp's calculations pay off on Tuesday. If she loses, I won't feel bad for her supporters—they'll have their second choice. I'll only feel bad for the rest of us.

Minnesota is a blue state. I don't have to wonder if I should vote for Clinton. I'll flip a coin before I go into the booth, then vote for Jill Stein because her platform is closest to mine or for Dan Vacek because I liked him when I ran for governor on the Grassroots Party ticket.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Another police killing #BLM will ignore: Texas Jail Nurse Allows Woman to Die in Diabetic Coma after Refusing Requests to Test Blood Sugar - PINAC News

Texas Jail Nurse Allows Woman to Die in Diabetic Coma after Refusing Requests to Test Blood Sugar - PINAC News

Dr. Strange mini-review, no spoilers

The boy in me is happy: his two favorite comic book characters have had good movies made about them. I say "comic book characters" instead of superheroes because unlike Captain America, Dr. Strange isn't a super hero; he comes from the pulp tradition of the mystic guardian. The movie gets that well enough that the few mentions of other characters from the Marvel universe threw me a little; the movie isn't hurt by them, but I would've cut them.

Cumberbatch was not my first choice for the role—I had a long list that included actors of all races and genders—but he's an excellent choice. He's not playing Sherlock Holmes, but he is playing a smart and arrogant man, which he does very well. And the fanboy in me thinks he looks perfect. (Emma especially appreciated the shaving scene.)

Swinton does a fine job, but I would've gone with Michelle Yeoh for the Ancient One.

Benedict Wong is great as Wong.

The cape of levitation nearly steals the movie.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, one of my favorite actors, has a nice character arc. As do most of the characters—almost everyone we meet is a bit different by the end of the movie.

If the trailers disappointed you a bit, as they did me, with no apparent Ditkoesque supernatural dimensions, be reassured.

The tone becomes lighter in the second half of the movie, which may indicate the work of the second team of writers. I would've minded that more if the funny bits hadn't worked, but they work very well.

Fanboy Will gives it 9 out of 10 stars. Film critic Will gives it 7.5. It is not a great movie, but it's a very good example of "If you like this sort of thing, you'll like this." And I do.