George Soros, the billionaire investor, believes the banking sector is a “parasite” holding back the economic recovery and an “incestuous” relationship with regulators means little has been done to resolve the issues behind the 2008 crisis.I don't recall Mr. Soros opposing the 2008 banking bailout. It's not as if the intrinsically parasitical nature of the finance industry is news to anyone of Mr. Soros's stature and occupation. No economy can expect to grow as long as a significant percentage of the profits produced are skimmed by the monetary middlemen, for the obvious reason that the middlemen produce nothing.
“The banking sector is acting as a parasite on the real economy,” Mr Soros said in his new book “The Tragedy of the European Union”.
“The profitability of the finance industry has been excessive. For a while 35pc of all corporate profits in the United Kingdom and the United States came from the financial sector. That’s absurd.”
Mr Soros outlined how the problems that caused the Eurozone economic crisis remain largely unresolved.
“Very little has been done to correct the excess leverage in the European banking system. The equity in the banks relative to their balance sheets is wafer thin, and that makes them very vulnerable. The issue of “too big to fail” has not been solved at all.”
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Sunday, March 09, 2014
They wanted to break away from a country they considered hostile. The central government cried foul, calling it a violation of international law. But with the help of a powerful foreign military, they succeeded in severing ties.And the USA murdered hundreds of thousands in order to forcibly "keep the Union together" and deny the sovereign Southern States their right to self-determination. This has not escaped the attention of the world's second-rate powers, some of whom have indicated support for the Russian position:
The Kosovars’ secession from Serbia in 1999 drove a deep wedge between the United States and Russia that soured relations for years. Washington supported Kosovo’s bid for independence, culminating in 2008, while Moscow saw it as an infringement of Serbia’s sovereignty.
Now 15 years later, the former Cold War rivals again find themselves at odds, but this time they have effectively switched sides: Russia loudly proclaims Crimea’s right to break off from Ukraine while the United States calls it illegitimate. The showdown in Ukraine has revived a centuries-old debate over the right of self-determination versus the territorial integrity of nation-states.
The clash in Crimea is hardly an exact parallel of the Kosovo episode, especially with Russian troops occupying the peninsula as it calls a March 16 referendum to dissolve ties with Ukraine and rejoin Russia. Though the United States intervened militarily in Kosovo, it did not do so to take the territory for itself. But the current case underscores once again that for all of the articulation of grand principles, the acceptability of regions breaking away often depends on the circumstances.
Consider the different American views of recent bids for independence.Chechnya? No.East Timor? Yes.Abkhazia? No.South Sudan? Yes.Palestine? It’s complicated.It is an acutely delicate subject in the West, where Britain wants to keep Scotland and Spain wants to keep Catalonia.
Indian officials have told Telegraph India that, in the newspaper’s words, Delhi is “convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.”This is the cost of sacrificing principles for pragmatism. You don't get to claim the moral high ground anymore and no one is going to view you as the good guy. Russia is acting perfectly within its rights: it has permission to station as many as 25,000 troops in the Crimea. Not only that, but its actions are far more in accord with legitimate democratic rule than those of the anti-democratic USA and EU, who are complicit in overthrowing Ukraine's democratically elected government as well as installing an unelected prime minister in Italy.
This comment from Zerohedge may explain the real reason for the drama in the Ukraine:
According to the staff of the "Borispol" airport in Ukraine, four large armed trucks and two cargo minivan Volkswagen without license plates arrived to the airport and parked near a transport aircraft at the end of one of runways. About fifteen people in black uniform, wearing masks and bullet-proof vests came out of these vans. Some of them were armed with assault rifles. These people have moved more than 40 heavy boxes from the trucks into the aircraft.... Later, one of the senior officials of the former Ministry of Revenue and Taxes reported that, according to his information, last night, at the order of one of the "new Ukrainian leaders" the entire gold reserve of Ukraine has been sent to in the United States.If true, that seizure should permit the Federal Reserve to stave off the collapse of the markets for a little while longer. A lot of the recent international activity looks disturbingly like pre-positioning for economic collapse.
I've been following your posts about Castalia House with interest. In the comments to 'A model comparison' you mention the advantages of an author publishing through CH are "Awareness, editing, covers, endorsement, and not having to deal with all the business BS. Self-publishing will not suit at least 75 percent of authors." I'm looking to publish three books later this year that would be nearly impossible to sell to traditional publishers, so even if I was okay with tradpub royalty arrangements, independent and self-publishing are my only real options. Given that, I'd be interested in reading a more detailed post on what one gains and loses with the different models, if you have the time and inclination to write it.This is the right time to ask that question. But before we look at the advantages of publishing with us, let's look at the three chief advantages of self-publishing, which are genuine and material.
- Keep all the royalty revenues. Amazon takes 30 percent plus a very small delivery fee that usually amounts to about 1.2 percent, so the self-publisher can realistically expect to make 68.5 percent of list on ebooks. That is twice what our novelists make on our standard agreement, (we offer 50 percent on all hardcovers and ebooks, which works out to 34.5 percent of list), and nearly three times what most writers will make from the independent publishers that offer 35 percent. For the sake of reference, it's also 8.5625x what the traditional publishers pay on hardcovers. (Hardcovers are different; I will break down those numbers in a future post.)
- Complete control. The author can decide on his own cover, make his own editorial decisions, price the book as he sees fit, and publish the book according to his own schedule.
- Complete information. The author has direct access to the sales data.
There is no question that self-publishing is the optimal financial deal for those equipped to handle it. However, most writers are not equipped to properly handle it either materially or emotionally, observably tend to compromise on the production values in order to reduce their production costs, and will end up selling fewer copies than the breakeven point with independent publishing.
I fully support self-publishing. I think it is revolutionary and an unmitigated Good Thing. But I am aware that most authors, like me, would prefer to focus on writing rather than being distracted by running a publishing business. I chose to publish with Marcher Lord rather than self-publish and I would still happily be doing so if Marcher Lord had not been purchased. So, as a consequence, Castalia House has been set up to be the most author-friendly independent publisher that this author believes it is possible for a publishing house to be.
But there is no need to take my word for it. I recommend talking to our authors and asking them about their experience working with us. I believe you will find they do not regret their decisions to do so. One agent asked me how an author could possibly know his sales numbers when we were not contractually obligated to disclose them for a period of several months. He was a little surprised when I pointed out that the contract was our minimal obligation and it happens to suit us to periodically exceed that obligation so that our authors can know exactly how well their books are doing, and to know when they exceed certain objectives.
Saturday, March 08, 2014
However, it's a little hard to ignore a miss of this magnitude:
Plenty of excuses out there for this evening's colossal miss in Chinese exports (-18.1% YoY vs an expectation of a 7.5% rise) mainly based on timing issues over the Lunar New Year (but didn't the 45 economists who forecast this data know the dates before they forecast?) This is a 6-sigma miss and plunges China's trade balance to its biggest miss on record and 2nd largest deficit on record.Economic statistics are largely fictitious, of course, but the size of this miss is indicative of a problem that is getting too big for even the most outrageous fictions to conceal.
The outcry over LonCon's decision to ask controversial British talk show host Jonathan Ross to host the Hugos just won't end. After a week filled with accusations of bullying and harassment on all sides, a new wave of backlash swept the sci-fi community Thursday evening after one noted author used the wrong Twitter hashtag.... The convention apologized to everyone and apparently satisfied no one: First to Ross and his family for the harassment they received, then to those who were upset that Ross was chosen, and to those who were upset he would not be hosting. Additionally, the convention seemed to abjure full responsibility for the decision, claiming that "we did not consult widely or promptly enough within our own Committee or with external parties."The ironic thing is that the freak show these freakshows put on is more entertaining than anything they write. FAR more entertaining. Someone used the wrong Twitter hashtag? LET THE PURGING BEGIN!!!!
This seems to contradict a now-private statement by one committee member that she argued with the chairs for days over their decision, and resigned in protest after gathering that the decision was not up for debate.
Many members of the sci-fi community felt the apology rang false and accused LonCon of catering to Ross (and to celebrity author Neil Gaiman, who Ross claimed asked him to host). Others blamed easily-offended Americans for the brouhaha, despite the time zone difference. And still others blamed social media for causing the whole situation to spiral out of control.
Social media has continued to drive the debate in the days since Ross's withdrawal, and it has predictably catalyzed the latest turn of events. Perhaps as a result of what writer Chuck Wendig called "social PTSD," last night, bestselling fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, known for his Kingkiller Chronicle series, asked the community to simmer down:
Um, guys? Can we all stop being dialed-to-11 offended about everything? Then being offended that people are offended we're offended? Please?
— Pat Rothfuss (@PatrickRothfuss) March 6, 2014
@wilw I know these conversations are important. But it feels like I'm awash in an endless sea of butthurt all the time these days. #SoWeary
— Pat Rothfuss (@PatrickRothfuss) March 6, 2014
Twitter user Rose Fox took the hashtag and issued a sarcastic response:
You know what I'm #SoWeary of? Talking about "being offended" like it's a bad choice. As though there's something wrong with giving a shit.
— Dandy McFopperson (@rosefox) March 7, 2014
Rothfuss may have just been trying to soothe the community. Instead, he drew a number of raised eyebrows as the sci-fi community weighed in.
.@PatrickRothfuss That’s a good attitude to take toward one’s own behavior, but a problematic one to apply to less powerful folks. + @wilw
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) March 6, 2014
.@PatrickRothfuss + You or I can get a lot of instant attention to a problem if we choose. Most people have to raise their voices. @wilw
— P Nielsen Hayden (@pnh) March 6, 2014
@pnh @PatrickRothfuss @wilw And even when we do, we're called shrill, or hysterical. See the hash tag #iaskedpolitely
— Beth Bernobich (@beth_bernobich) March 7, 2014
It's more than a little amusing to see the Tor editor, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, leaping in and wagging his finger as he desperately tries to stay on the good side of the rabid rabbits. It's only a matter of time before they turn on him and McRapey, their best efforts to disguise the fact that they are Powerful White Men notwithstanding. McRapey can lie low and wear dresses, and Nielsen Hayden can cleverly feign marriage to an amphibious abhuman to try to hide the fact that they possesses alabaster male sex organs, but eventually someone is going to notice.
I would add #freakshow to this post, but since I've already added #SFWA, that would be redundant.
I am now convinced that no one in power in this nation knows any history whatsoever. Not even the history of the Seventy Years War with Bolshevism or what we call The Cold War – which now may become Cold War One if Barrack Hussein Obama de Santa Anna has his way. The State Department has, I am told, 3000 officers with PH.D.’s. One wonders in what subjects. Certainly not in history....On the plus side, it could be worse. A President McCain wouldn't even think twice before launching a land war in Asia. Sure, Obama's outsourcing of American foreign policy to Goldman Sachs and their pet neocons of the New American Century is going to lead to a disaster, but at least the bankers understand that too much war is bad for business.
After the collapse of the Soviet System there was a period in which there was indeed a reset in the relationship between Russia and the United States, as Herman Kahn predicted there would be. Then came the Balkan crisis in which the ancient blood feuds dating back to the 13th Century were revived. That had lasted through the conquests of the Balkans and Hungary in the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent, and continued as the Turkish controls began to recede. Then came the first Balkan Wars with their “Bulgarian Atrocities”, and the gradual liberation of Balkan nations, the brief existence of the Christian Kingdom of Montenegro, consolidation with Serbia, World War I and the dissolution of the Austrian Empire, formation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, German occupation of the Balkans, communist Tito vs. Christian monarchist Draza Mihailovich, Tito’s victory and consolidation of Yugoslavia, Tito’s defection from the Soviet bloc and his attempt to play the USSR against the West to his advantage, and the breakup of Yugoslavia at his death. And during all those times the ancient blood feuds and hatreds continued. All contending sides had factions who advocated and used ethnic cleansing as a tactic.
The Russians, as Russians always do – see the origins of The Great War — took the side of the Christian Slavs. This resulted in several standoffs between US and Russian forces, one or which came within minutes of a shooting engagement. The US began bombing Serbs, and US air strikes crippled the economy of the Lower Danube for at least a year. From the Russian view, the US chose sides: against Slavs. The truth of this is not so important as the deep seated belief among many Russians that it is true.The kind of army you have will dictate the kind of foreign policy you have. The 300 Spartans bought time == just enough for the Spartans and Athenians to win at Plataea. A strategy of Technology is needed; so are Seals and Marines. The United States has been able to depend on the seas as moats behind which we can mobilize, with Big Bill Knudsen’s conversion of Detroit to making cannon, tanks, airplanes, machine guns, rifles, artillery in enormous quantities to arm the conscripted soldiers being trained by the old Regulars, and the Marines held on by their teeth in the South Pacific. But the pace of war has changed, and we no longer have Detroit. We seem to have forgotten some of the lessons of Task Force Smith and Korea. As the pace speeds, the force you must fight with is the force you have at hand and can transport.
Restructuring of the armed forces of the United States is needed, but it is far more complicated than simply fixing numbers and budgets. It also involves the schools and what is taught in them. And entrusting the safety of a Republic to paid soldiers has downsides. Robert Heinlein and I debated for much of his life over conscription. His view was that any nation that needed conscripts had no right to exist. Mine was closer to Machiavelli’s. Conscription has the many benefits for a Republic, and its effects on liberty are not purely negative. A nation needs paid professional Legions, but their existence allows them to be sent to wars we might be better off avoiding. Clinton would not have sent conscripts to the Balkans.
As long as the politicians are held in contempt, and as long as the people don't get behind them, total war is out of the question. The world leaders to worry about are those who can achieve mental buy-in from the public, because they are the leaders with the potential to spark the global conflagration.
Friday, March 07, 2014
Islamic fundamentalists are allegedly plotting to convert Birmingham schools so that children are taught according to strict Islamic codes by ousting teachers through a dirty tricks campaign and replacing them with radicals. The city council and the Birmingham Mail have received documents which purport to show that jihadists – or those fighting against non-Muslims - are targeting schools and orchestrating false allegations against staff, including non-Muslims, in an operation dubbed Trojan Horse.The SFWA knows all about false allegations; it has an entire report full of them. Notice that even on Wikipedia, the SFWA action is falsely reported.
"In June, Beale used the SFWA Twitter feed to post several controversial links to his blog, in which he called an African-American author a "half-savage" and an editor a "fat frog.". After complaints from members, in August, the SFWA Board announced that they were expelling Beale as a member due to violations of their by-laws. Beale posted a letter from the SFWA president to his blog."
Let's count the errors:
- I used the @swfaauthors feed, not the official SFWA one. They are two different Twitter accounts.
- I did not post several controversial links to my blog. I posted one link and it contained nothing controversial. It was the blog post that was controversial, not the Tweet.
- The SFWA Board did not announce that they were expelling me. They did not name the member expelled in their announcement. As Locus Online correctly noted, I was the one who announced my expulsion.
- The SFWA Board did not announce I was expelled due to violations of their by-laws. The SFWA Board did not give any reason for the expulsion of the unnamed member expelled.
- To be complete, I referred to N.K. Jemisin as "an educated, but ignorant half-savage, with little more understanding of what it took to build a new literature by 'a bunch of beardy old middle-class middle-American guys' than an illiterate Igbotu tribesman has of how to build a jet engine" and I stand by the assertion. I also pointed out that she is a liar.
- In addition to her resemblance to an overweight amphibian, I also observed that Teresa Nielsen Hayden is "grotesquely malformed" and does not appear to belong to the same species or phylum as my wife.
Arseniy Yatseniuk; born May 22, 1974 is a Ukrainian politician, economist and lawyer who is the Prime Minister of Ukraine following the parliament's 2014 removal of Viktor Yanukovych from power. He was born to in a family of Jewish-Ukrainian professors of the Chernivtsi University. From September until November 2001, Arseniy served as an "acting" Minister of Economy of Crimea, and from November of the same year until January 2003, served as the official Minister of Economy of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.This is as if Obama was chased from the White House after a few weeks of demonstrations and it was announced that Alan Greenspan was now the president. This marks the second time in two years that a banker has been placed directly in power without being elected, first Italy and now Ukraine.
From November 2003 to February 2005, Yatsenyuk served as the first vice-president of the head of the National Bank of Ukraine under Serhiy Tyhypko. After Tyhypko left the National Bank, Arseniy Yatsenyuk was put in charge of the National Bank.
Well, this should end well. We all know how Eastern Europeans just love rich unelected Jews ruling over them. (Yatseniuk is actually Greek Orthodox, however.) I don't know Russian or Ukrainian history well enough to know if this is supposed to be revenge for the pogroms or the sort of madness that led to the pogroms in the first place.
Neither CBS nor ABC have included a skeptical scientists in their news shows within the past 1,300 days, but both networks included alarmists within the past 160 days -- CBS as recently as 22 days ago. When the networks did include other viewpoints, the experts were dismissed as "out of the scientific mainstream" or backed by "oil and coal companies."This reminds me of the way most evolutionists and atheists are always willing to debate some random individual, but are very careful to avoid taking on their more intelligent and intellectually dangerous opponents. For example, PZ Myers has been running away from me for years, despite the fact that he openly issued a challenge and even though my readership has continued to grow steadily while his continues to shrink.
The networks were able to promote the myth that there is a scientific consensus for man-made, catastrophic climate change by including climate alarmists much more often than skeptical scientists and by challenging the credentials of the skeptics that they did include.
There are thousands of skeptical scientists, so it's not like the networks couldn't find any. Marc Morano, who runs the website Climate Depot, has published a special report listing more than 1,000 dissenting scientists worldwide who dispute man-made global warming claims made by the likes of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.
CBS was the worst, ignoring skeptical scientists for 1,391 days, ever since the May 15, 2010, "Evening News." That night, CBS interviewed former NASA climatologist, Dr. Roy Spencer during an extensive profile of alarmist meteorologist, and non-Ph.D., Dan Satterfield.
It was just 22 days ago, on Feb. 12, 2014, that CBS included an alarmist physicist, Dr. Michio Kaku on "This Morning." Kaku is a contributor to "This Morning" and that day he warned of the "heating up of the North Pole" which "could cause gigantic storms of historic proportions."
ABC last included a skeptical scientist 1,383 days ago. During the May 23, 2010, segment of "World News," ABC played a brief, 23-second clip of Princeton-educated Dr. Fred Singer expressing his skepticism over man-made climate change, along with clips of two alarmist scientists. Singer's was the only opposing view in that report and his views were actually taken from a much earlier interview aired on ABC March 23, 2008.
Of course, all this tactic accomplishes is to drive even more people to the alternative media, where the more intelligent and autodidactic readers are increasingly congregating.
- Word rate: $0.05 per word, increasing to $0.06 later this year
- One Paid Sale of a prose fiction book for which the author has been paid $2000 or more.
1) At 20,000 words, Big Boys Don't Cry would have commanded a flat-fee payment of $1,000.00. Depending upon the publisher and the publication, Mr. Kratman would have received the payment between two and eight weeks from the time he delivered the manuscript. He delivered the manuscript on February 21st, so he would have received $1,000 sometime between 1 March and 12 April. He would not have received anything more than that.
2) If he received an advance of $2,500, that would have been against a royalty of 25 percent. He would have received $1,250 about a month after signing, then another $1,250 sometime between 21 March and 21 November 21. (Having been signed to Pocket Books, I am well aware that the check is seldom delivered promptly upon delivery and approval of the manuscript.) This is actually a conservative estimate, as increasingly payments are being divided into three parts, signing, delivery, and publication.
The performance of Mr. Kratman's book is spelled out in comparison to the traditional model on the Castalia House blog. Due to the speed with which Castalia publishes and pays royalties, Mr. Kratman can expect to receive his first payment by 18 March, 23 days after publication. And he can also reasonably expect to receive more than $2,500 in royalties several weeks BEFORE he would have been likely to receive the second part of a theoretical "advance payment". Moreover, once the $2,500 figure has been surpassed, he will continue receiving TWICE the royalties he would have under the traditional model.
Now, publishers are not stupid. They will not continue to publish authors who regularly underperform their advances. So, logic dictates that the only advantage of advance payments is to provide a small measure of very short-term security to authors who are unsure of their ability to sell their books and are willing to give away half their future earnings in exchange for that security. Nor have book advances been the historical norm, as the New York Times noted in 2009.
“In the old days,” the novelist Henry Bech, John Updike’s fictional alter ego, once said, “a respectable author never asked for an advance; that was strictly for the no-talents starving down in the Village.”
Both math and history make it obvious. Advances are for no-talents and the no-advance model is materially beneficial to the author. So, if you are an talented author who is confident in his ability to sell books and therefore interested in working with Castalia, have a look at our Concepts page, as there are certain books we would like to publish that none of our current authors are writing.
UPDATE: Since we have had a few inquiries, please note the following submission requirements for Concept-based submissions: "While we normally require completed drafts for submissions, in the case of Castalia Concept-based submissions, we are willing to review five-chapter novel submissions so long as they are accompanied by a complete and detailed outline of the book or series. Novella submissions should still consist of complete drafts."
Thursday, March 06, 2014
In Washington this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel sounded two different notes about peace negotiations with the Palestinians, which are nearing a critical juncture. In a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel lobby, he enthusiastically advocated a peace agreement as a means to improve Israel’s ties with its Arab neighbors and “catapult the region forward” on issues like health, energy and education.Insistence on a Jewish state is clearly the very worst form of geopolitical raciss. How could a Jewish state be any less raciss than insisting America be recognized as a White Anglo-Saxon state? Or that England be recognized as an English state? Or Nigeria be recognized as an Igbo state?
But at other moments, a more familiar skepticism was apparent. He demanded that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state with “no excuses, no delays.” In response, a senior Palestinian official, Nabil Shaath, accused Mr. Netanyahu of putting an end to peace talks because Palestinians have already rejected that designation. (Palestinians recognize Israel as a state, but not as a Jewish state because they believe that that would undercut the rights of Palestinian refugees.)
Israel's choice is pretty simple. No White European state, no Jewish state. If diversity is America's strength, then it is Israel's strength too.
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has dominated her opponents since coming on the scene and is ready to set her sights even higher. Rousey, who is an Olympic bronze medalist in judo, said she could beat undefeated welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather if he were ever so inclined to step into the octagon.This is why it behooves some woman to have the crap kicked out of her in her youth. It prevents her from putting herself in insanely dangerous situations.
“I wouldn’t even stand up, I wouldn’t even be anywhere near him. I would just do like a little army crawl over there, and he would have to run away,” Rousey told Power 106 FM.
Anyway – the most important influx of these writers, who got doors thrown open for them because they were the right age/gender/upbringing – most of whom were very young and female – was about ten years ago. Young women just out of college were getting huge offers for books that were what young women just out of college and with no life experience would write (and no, I’m not committing the error above. This wave of what I call “red carpet acceptances” was targeted at young, just out of college and parroting the right “truths” – no life experience or rational thought wanted, or, in fact, accepted.) – very derivative, with a lot of sex and, in mystery, a lot of shoe and fashion shopping. (I read Manolo shoe blogger, but look, there are limits to how much I care about shoes.)I think this may be a factor, but I think a more important one is the ideological element. As Tom Kratman and others have observed, leftist infiltrators always make a priority of bringing more of their own kind into an organization with the aim of taking it over. Talent and performance are tertiary at best, as both ideological correctness and "diversity" are deemed more important.
Which brings us to now. These young people, often very protected, were taken in and told they were the next best thing. Not because of what they did, but because of what they WERE. Success was their right and inevitable. Like the poor kid who wrote the essay I linked, they were told they were so smart and brave and stuff for exactly parroting what they’d been taught. And by and large – with a couple of exceptions – their stuff didn’t sell all that well, though they’ve won awards and been fetted and told how wonderfulglittery they are.
And even the ones who were successful are now shaky, because all they ever did was enter into traditional publishing and be massively supported and do fairly well within that framework.
I don’t even know if the smartest ones know all the breaks they got. I doubt it. First of all, because in publishing this stuff is all hidden and it’s hard to realize how much support you had, or even that other people didn’t get it. (Unless you don’t get it, in which case you start wondering how the process broke down, then find out this is standard.) Second because it’s human to take credit for our own success, no matter how helped.
So, you see, in their eyes, they think everyone else got this sort of magic carpet ride.
Add onto this the intense discomfort that the mediocre have when forced to compare themselves with their superiors and it is only a matter of time before an infiltrated organization is filled with soft, nasty, small-minded and petty mediocrities.
For illustrative purposes, compare John Campbell with Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Or contrast Louis L'Amour with John Scalzi. One doesn't even need to read a single word, simply looking at pictures of the two individuals being compared is enough to tell you what sort of fiction they are going to publish and write.
The mediocrities brought in the clueless young women because they were the only sort of writers around whom they felt comfortable. Men writing masculine tales of technological competence and bravery? That not only made them feel uncomfortable and inferior, it wasn't something to which they could even understand, let alone relate.
What is often forgotten in the reporting of the economic statistics is that the statistics are merely an approximation of the economic situation; they are the map and not the territory. GDP doesn't actually exist, and the "growth" that it represents was designed as a way to provide planners a means of determining how best to intervene in the economy. The decline in the labor force participation rate gives the lie to both the false GDP and false U3 unemployment statistics, both of which are heavily manipulated in a misguided attempt to provide a falsely positive perspective.
The contractionary effect of the increasing lack of participation in the labor force is compounded by the fact that the doubling of the female labor force means that many of the younger women now in it are considerably less productive than the older men they have replaced. Throw in the subsequent consequence of delayed marriage and fewer children, and it is readily apparent that the US economy cannot recover in the next 20 years.
Wednesday, March 05, 2014
Earlier today an even more shocking recording has been "leaked" this time one between the always concerned about human rights EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet, in which it is revealed on tape that all those photos of horrifying deaths of Ukrainians by snipers during the last days of the Median stand off, were in fact caused not by Snipers controlled by Yanukovich, but that the snipers shot at both protesters and police in Kiev were allegedly hired by Maidan leaders!Still confident that it was Osama bin Laden's terrorists who orchestrated the attacks on the Twin Towers?
Here is the key exchange, just after 8 minutes into the conversation :
Paet: "All the evidence shows that people who were killed by snipers from both sides, policemen and people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides. ... Some photos that showed it is the same handwriting, the same type of bullets, and it is really disturbing that now the new coalition they don't want to investigate what exactly happened. So there is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition."
Ashton: "I think we do want to investigate. I mean, I didn’t pick that up, that’s interesting. Gosh."
Paet: "It already discreditates (sic) this new coalition."
So first US orchestrates the Kiev overthrow, and now the new "leaders" of Ukraine are allegedly found to have fired against their own people - the same provocation they subsequently used to run Yanukovich out of the country and install a pro-Western puppet government. Of course, said pro-Western coalition has not been discreditated (sic) because Ms. Ashton has sternly refused to investigate, knowing quite well how horribly this would reflect on the new Ukraine "leadership" - a government which shot its own people to fabricate the pretext under which it rose to power.
Protect Amazon.com Users and Indie Publishing Authors from Bullying and Harassment by Removing Anonymity and Requiring Identity Verification for Reviewing and Forum ParticipationWhile I could do without the appeals to bullying and so forth, the problem of fake reviews is definitely a real one. And while I am completely opposed to the law mandating real identities, this is simply one private corporation's policy. So, my inclination is towards signing the petition, but I'm curious to know what the other authors and readers here have to say about it.
For the consideration of Mr. Jeff Bezos and Mr. Jon P. Fine:
The purpose of this petition is to bring to the attention of Mr. Bezos, Mr. Fine, and anyone else employed by Amazon or its subsidiaries, the lack of oversight and or control in the Amazon system regarding product reviewing—in particular book reviewing—and in the participation of the many forums on Amazon.
It is known the world over that Amazon changed the face of self publishing by implementing their Kindle Direct Publishing platform as well as their CreateSpace platform. Anyone can now quickly and easily publish a book using the tools freely provided by Amazon. Whether or not everyone who publishes through KPD and CreateSpace should is not at issue here. What is at issue is the fact that there is an incredible amount of bullying and harassment of some of these self publishing authors taking place on the Amazon platform/system.
I believe, as do countless others—many who will have signed this petition—that the reason this bullying and harassment is able to take place is because of the allowance of anonymity on Amazon. People have found ways to exploit this flaw in the system and are using it to bully, harass, and generally make life miserable for certain authors on Amazon. These people are able to create multiple accounts and then use those accounts to viciously attack and go after any author or person that they feel doesn't belong on Amazon or who shouldn't have published a book, made a comment on a forum post, etc. With the current system, if one anonymous account gets deactivated because it was reported for these things, it is easy for the bully or harasser to simply create another anonymous account and continue on with their shenanigans.
What I—we—would like to see happen is for Amazon to revise their policies regarding anonymity when it comes to writing product/book reviews and for participation in the forums. Reviewers and forum participants should not be anonymous. By removing their anonymity and forcing them to display their real, verified identities, I believe that much of the harassment and bullying will cease. It may continue elsewhere on the web, but not on Amazon, the largest online retail marketplace in the world, where it really counts. Buyers of products on Amazon must have their identities verified, so it should be an easy transition to implement a policy whereby reviewers and forum participants must also have their identities verified.
I think I'd sign it without question if it was limited to reviews. As much as I dislike restricted forums, I dislike even more the idea that the self-published authors, who are much less accustomed to trolls and socio-sadists working out their psychological issues online than I am, are forced to put up with this sort of nonsense from the very start, especially since they can't control the forum comments the way I can here. Here it's no trouble to ban the likes of the usual suspects, or put the short-term kibosh on someone getting out of line, but that's simply not possible on Amazon.
I think the author of the petition's assumption that sunlight will deter the trolls is generally correct. I noticed that the number of fake reviews of my books on Amazon declined considerably after I tracked down the woman from Minnesota and posted her address on this blog. Even the Greatest Pensman in All Karatonitus significantly reduced his activities here after I called his place of volunteer work and made it evident that I was in possession of the email addresses of his friends and extended family members. There are few trolls so shameless that they are willing to have those around them know what they are doing and how they are behaving.
UPDATE: Upon reading the discussion and engaging in further reflection, I have decided not to sign the petition. There are more effective ways to deal with the problem and anonymity can be a vital and necessary state for people in certain circumstances.
If you mention the word "secession" most people think of the South during the Civil War. But today, a new movement is gaining steam because of frustration over a growing, out-of-control federal government.The smaller and less centralized the political entity, the more power the individual and the local people have. This is why it is resisted by the government bureaucracies and the progressives in the media and elsewhere.
A number of conservative, rural Americans are taking about seceding and creating their own states, meaning a new map of the United States of America could include the following:
A 51st state called Jefferson, made up of Northern California and Southern Oregon
A new state called Western Maryland
A new state called North Colorado
These are real movements gaining traction with voters across the country. Jeffrey Hare runs the 51st State Initiative in Colorado, an effort to fight an out-of-control legislature trying to ram big government policies down the throats of voters.
But the economic downturn is barely beginning, and that's why we're only seeing the peaceful and political pursuit of self-determination. By the time we're at the economic nadir, the European Union, the United States of America, and even the United Kingdom will all be in pieces.
This is one of the silver linings in the ongoing decline and fall of the USA. Secession, separation, and segregation are all part of a cyclical process; we have survived the swing of the pendulum on the backs of the greatest debt expansion in history. Don't be surprised when it swings back to an equally impressive extent. Remember, Aristocracy is the next stage in the Ciceronian political cycle.
On Saturday, six gay and straight service members applied some of their finest makeup and lip synced to "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" in what is believed to be first drag queen and king show on an American military base. The show was thrown in support for the base's recently formed OutServe-SLDN chapter, a nonprofit advocacy group for the army's LGBT community.This is the Club Play Dance Edition of the US Armed Forces, right up to the closeted Commander-in-Chief. Why on Earth would Putin take seriously a military that has decided to put gays and women on the front lines and gutted its capabilities in favor of foolish imperial adventures and social progress?
Navy Lt. Marissa Greene told Stars and Stripes she only expected to sell 75 tickets for the variety show, but ended up selling more than 400 in ten days. The event went through the same approval process as other on-base fundraisers go through, with the only caveat being that it was not allowed to be labeled a "drag show" in its publicity materials. The show was warmly received by spectators, who rocked out to performances by the likes of Manny Nuff and Chocolate Sunrise ("a crowd favorite," the website notes.)
Just a few years ago, performances like these would have been grounds for a possible discharge. The repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell has made it possible for events like this to occur.
Putin may have seized the Crimea, but he had better watch himself carefully now or Obama will pose at him a second time. Oh, SNAP!
And for the Christian conservatives who cling to the belief that America is particularly favored by God, the fact that the military has been literally Sodomized should suffice to indicate otherwise.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
- John Scalzi
I find that to be a hilarious quote, not so much because it is hard to believe that anyone has ever imagined McRapey to be an ex-Marine, (and of course, if he knew anything about the Corps he would know there is no such thing as an ex-Marine), but because it is hard to believe anyone would buy the notion that Mr. Scalzi is 5'8".
- A poor excuse for a man and husband does something (often something mysterious) to make his wife unhaaappy.
- As a result, the wife lashes out, very often in a way that threatens the family.
- Her sinful actions, while of course not sanctioned, turn out to be just the ticket required to shake her complacent husband into attention and get him to seek out God.
- His seeking out God, (triggered by her lack of submission), fixes their marriage, makes him a better man, and brings them both to God.
That being said, actively teaching women that being rebellious in marriage is a good and divinely sanctioned act is downright evil. Stay well away from any church or wolf-in-sheep's-clothing who perverts the Bible in this manner.
The answer to the purported dilemma often raised is absolutely simple. Christian women not infrequently to ask: "Do I have to submit to a husband who [insert various moral failing or perceived flaw here]." Yes. Next question.
Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.
- 1 Peter 3: 1-2
I understand many, perhaps most, women don't like that. I don't like the fact that I can't split the skull of everyone who annoys me either. But I don't make the rules. If you don't like them, then follow the example of Lucifer and take it up with the Rulegiver.
We also have other curricula in the works, including Newtonian Physics and Economics. We hope to publish two of them before the start of school this fall, but we will definitely get the Astronomy curriculum out this summer, so keep it in mind as you are putting together your plans for the next school year. We plan to price the curricula at $49.99 in ebook form. If you're interested, please email me with ASTRONOMY in the subject.
And finally, there are no shortage of History curricula available, but
Labels: Castalia House
Vaccines are doing their jobs preventing disease and death, and even bringing down societal costs, according to a new study in Pediatrics. But another study, published in the same journal issue, found that public health campaigns touting vaccines' effectiveness and debunking the links between autism and other health risks might actually be backfiring, and convincing parents to skip the shots for their kids.It would help if the "corrections of misperceptions" weren't so easily demonstrated to be false by anyone who is paying even a moderate amount of attention.
"Corrections of misperceptions about controversial issues like vaccines may be counterproductive in some populations," wrote the researchers behind one of the studies, led by Dr. Brendan Nyhan, a health care researcher at Dartmouth College in Hanover N.H. "The best response to false beliefs is not necessarily providing correct information."
Monday, March 03, 2014
Back when there was only the White Manorial School and the Black, Hyacinth and I combined forces to create a compromise school, taking the best from both doctrines, the artistic appeal of the Black Mansions and the intellectualism and discipline of the Whites. He provided the inspiration and logic; I provided funds and determination. The mind-swap gave us each the strengths and virtues of the other. Together, we converted the skeptics and conquered a million markets. “But then when the year and a day had passed, we both claimed my property and estates. After all, both of us remembered doing the two hundred years of hard work which had gone into earning it. To settle the quarrel, we both agreed to abide by whatever the Hortators might decide.”Well, perhaps not so much on the grief part. But the slow and gradual degradation of their fictional worlds to "colorless cartoons, flat, jerky, and slow" could not be more on target if he'd written it for critical purposes.
“You had the College of Hortators way back then when you were young?” Helion squinted with impatient humor. “Yes. It was after the invention of fire but before that newfangled wheel contraption. I should tell you about when we domesticated the dog, put a man on the moon, and solved the universal field theorem. Should I continue? I’m trying to make a point.”
“Sorry, sir. Please continue.”
“When the Hortators declared him to be the copy, he refused to accept it. He entered a dreamscape simulation that allowed him to pretend he had won the case. He rewrote his memory, and ordered his sense-filter to edit out any contrary evidence. He continued to live as Helion Prime. He did thought-for-hire and data patterning, and was able to sell his routines out in the real world. He made enough to pay for his dreamspace rental. That worked for a while. But when self-patterning overroutines became standard, his subscriptions ran out, and he was kicked out into the real world.
“But it did not end there. If the Sophotechs had only allowed someone to erase just the sections of his memory when he thought he was me, he would have been his old self, awake, oriented and sane, in a moment or two. But the Sophotechs said it could not be done without his permission. But how could he give his permission? He would not listen to anyone who tried to tell him who he was.
“Instead, he sued me again, and accused me of stealing his life. He lost again. He could not afford enough to hire a Sophotech to give him job-seeking advice, and he could not find other work. The other Hyacinthines, Quintine and Quatrine and Sistine, gave him some charity for a while, but he just spent it again to buy false memories. Eventually, to save on money, he sold his body, and downloaded entirely into a slow-process, low-rent section of the Mentality. Of course, illusions are easier for pure minds to buy, because there is no wire-to-nerve transition.”
“Wouldn’t that also have made it easier for him to find work? Pure minds can go anywhere the mentality network reaches.”
“But he didn’t find new work. He merely created the illusion that he was working. He wrote himself false memories telling himself that he was making enough to live on.”
Helion stared at the ground for a moment, brooding. He spoke softly. “Then he sold his extra lives, one after another. All seven. A Noumenal backup takes up a lot of expensive computer time.
“Then he sold his structure models. He probably figured that he did not need an imitation of a thalamus or hypothalamus any longer, since he had no glands and no dreams, probably did not need a structure to mimic the actions of pain and pleasure centers, parasympathetic reactions, sexual responses, and so on.
“Then, to save space, he began selling memory and intelligence. Every time I came on-line to speak with him, he was stupider; he had forgotten more. But he still kept altering his simulation, making himself forget that either he or anyone else had ever been smarter than the slow-witted brute he was now.”
Phaethon asked, “Father? You still went to see him … ?”
Helion wore as stern a look as Phaethon had ever seen on his face. “Of course. He was my best friend.”
“What happened.? I assume he … Did he die?”
“It dragged on and on. Toward the end, both he and the world he had made were colorless cartoons, flat, jerky, and slow. He had been so brilliant once, so high-hearted and fine. Now he was not able even to concentrate long enough to follow a simple multistructural logic-tree when I tried to reason with him. And I tried.
“But he kept telling himself that I was the one who was hallucinating, me, not him, and the reason why he could not understand me was that his thoughts were on so much higher a plane than mine. And whom else could he ask? All the black-and-white puppets he had made around him nodded and agreed with him; he had forgotten there was an outside world.
“I was there when it happened. He became more and more intermittent, and fell below threshold levels. One moment he was a living soul, closer to me than a brother. The next, he was a recording.
“Even at the end, at the very last moment, he did not know he was about to die. He still thought that he was Helion, healthy, wealthy, well-loved Helion. All the evidences of his sense, all his memories, told him how fortunate and happy his life was. He was not hungry, not in pain. How could he know or guess he was about to die? All our attempts to tell him so were blocked by his sense-filter….”
Helion’s face was gray with grief.
The Golden Age is excellent. Not good. Not good fun. It is excellent, and perhaps even better, far from predictable.
The way you turn states from red to purple is to make blue states so intolerable that a lot of people flee them for red states. Then those voters stupidly vote for the same disastrous policies in their new homes.Sadly, he's right. Because MPAI. The average idiot never learns that if you vote more power to the State because you want something, the State will use that power in multiple ways you don't want.
This is why no one should be permitted to vote in state or local elections after a relocation for at least 20 years. After all, no one made them move there.
Seventies comedy had a revolutionary undertone. It had a purpose. It had substance. It not only made you laugh, it put the world to rights. It was a snowball with a rock inside it.What happened? My guess is that the Baby Boomers got sufficiently powerful and were too self-absorbed to accept anyone poking humor at them. And they won't tolerate any comedian who is willing to challenge their particularly bland and all-smothering form of evil.
How does the massive group diarrhea of “Bridesmaids” do that? What does pie-bonking tell us about society?
Today’s comics have abdicated their responsibility to take down the powerful. They tiptoe around President Obama, but comedy has to be fearless.
These days they’re more at ease mocking their social inferiors than going after the high and mighty. Comfortably ensconced inside the castle that Richard Pryor and George Carlin tried to burn down, they drop water balloons on the unspeakable middle-America drones of “Parks and Recreation” and “The Office.”
There’s a joke from “The Office” that’s typical of the contempt. Andy says, “I went to a little school called Cornell — ever heard of it?” It’s not a takedown from below but a sneer from above, in tune with Dwight Schrute’s pathetic insistence on his title of “assistant regional manager” when he’s merely “assistant to the regional manager,” and anyway anyone with “regional manager” in his title is a nobody by definition.
Cornell, to comedy elites and graduates of the 15 schools that outrank it, is a near-mediocre brand so lame that only a dope would brag about it. “The Office’s” first and second showrunners Greg Daniels and Michael Schur both went to Harvard, as did writer-actor B.J. Novak. Their colleague Mindy Kaling went to Dartmouth (which also unclogs its nose at the likes of Cornell).
Ramis’ death is a reminder that comedy has gotten too fat and happy, too rich and insulated, too therapeutic and self-adoring, too willing to mistake the meaninglessly crude for the spectacularly subversive.
Even comics who present themselves as the loyal opposition to the political leadership, like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, expend most of their effort simply repackaging Democratic Party talking points as jokes. The ’70s hang-’em-all anarchist spirit lives on only in the margins, in a few brave outposts like “South Park.”
It’s as if today’s comedy writers are sitting respectfully, stars in their eyes, as their beloved president sits amongst them like Charming Guy with Guitar in “Animal House,” gently strumming away and singing, “I gave my love a cherry.” If some free-ranging Blutarksyite came up and smashed the guitar, they’d stand up — and pound the rebel for interrupting such a beautiful, magical moment.
Then they’d go back to cracking jokes about those pathetic losers destined for unspeakable middle-management manufacturing jobs because they only managed to get into Cornell.
Plus the more liberal the comedic establishment, the less humor it tolerates. That's why they're limited to the One Liberal Joke: "You know this guy? He's not as smart as we are!"