26 May 2015

John Scalzi Gets $3.4 Million Publishing Deal

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JohnScalzi

NYT:

John Scalzi, a best-selling author of science fiction, has signed a $3.4 million, 10-year deal with the publisher Tor Books that will cover his next 13 books.

Mr. Scalzi’s works include a series known as the “Old Man’s War” and the more recent “Redshirts,” a Hugo-award-winning sendup of the luckless lives of nonfeatured characters on shows like the original “Star Trek.” Three of his works are being developed for television, including “Redshirts” and “Lock In,” a science-inflected medical thriller that evokes Michael Crichton. Mr. Scalzi’s hyper-caffeinated Internet presence through his blog, Whatever, has made him an online celebrity as well.

Mr. Scalzi approached Tor Books, his longtime publisher, with proposals for 10 adult novels and three young adult novels over 10 years. Some of the books will extend the popular “Old Man’s War” series, building on an existing audience, and one will be a sequel to “Lock In.” Mr. Scalzi said he hoped books like “Lock In” could draw more readers toward science fiction, since many, he said, are still “gun-shy” about the genre.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden, the executive editor for Tor, said the decision was an easy one. While Mr. Scalzi has never had a “No. 1 best seller,” he said, “he backlists like crazy.”

Scalzi has alienated a significant portion of his readership with sanctimonious hoplophobic blog posts (example) and by lining up with the Social Justice Warriors in the fighting over the Hugo Awards. My guess is that his backlisting powers will be declining.

26 May 2015

Tanith Lee, 1947-2015

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TanithLee

Sci Fi/Fantasy writer Tanith Lee has passed away.

Heavy has five facts about Lee.

Locusmag obituary.

Tor.

26 May 2015

The Wisdom of the Times

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Photoshopped version of: Vasili Pukiriev, Неравный брак [The Unfitting Marriage], 1862

In the course of revelling over the referendum victory of sodomitical matrimony in Ireland, the editorial board of the New York Times proved that the appointment of Caligula’s horse as Roman consul could actually be outdone in modernity.

In a statement conceding defeat, the Iona Institute, the main opposition group, said it would continue to affirm “the importance of biological ties and of motherhood and fatherhood.” The absurdity of that statement speaks for itself.

The alleged absurdity of that statement may be obvious to deranged (and probably sexually perverted) members of a community of fashion in the last stages of decadence, but normal people would describe a reference to “the importance of the biological ties of parenthood” as patently obvious, rather than absurd.

The unlimited arrogance and egomanaical grandiosity of these kinds of people, who routinely demonstrate their own total moral and intellectual unfitness for any positions of influence or responsibility, cries out to heaven for vengeance.

26 May 2015

The Railroading of Scooter Libby

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libby
I. Lewis Libby

Arthur Herman, in Commentary, notes that reporter Judith Miller’s recent memoir (published in April) identifies some previously unnoted prosecutorial misconduct in the partisan-motivated judicial lynching of Vice Presidential Chief of Staff I. Lewis Libby even beyond the mere fact that Fitzgerald prosecuted Libby, knowing perfectly well that Libby was not guilty of the supposed leak.

Fitzgerald began his work already knowing who had promulgated the leak, for Armitage had confessed as much to the FBI in October. “I may be the guy who caused this whole thing,” he reportedly told a State Department official.

But Fitzgerald declined to prosecute Armitage. Indeed, he told Armitage to keep his mouth shut. … He was after bigger fish. If he could catch either Rove or Libby lying to his investigators or making misstatements that could be portrayed as perjurious, he might be able to get them to turn on their bosses and “expose” a conspiracy reaching up to the president and vice president to punish Wilson by outing Plame.

This was a classic prosecutor ploy in cases involving the Mafia or other RICO-style investigations. It was a new and disturbing way to proceed against men with spotless, even distinguished, public records.

But with the media firestorm about the Plame story and the war in Iraq, Fitzgerald felt free to press ahead. Throughout the 2004 election cycle, the White House and Office of the Vice President were locked in a routine of reviewing and providing thousands of documents to the FBI, Justice Department, and then Fitzgerald; providing hours of sworn depositions in front of investigators; and long bouts of grand-jury testimony for both Rove and Libby. With the violence in Iraq growing and the occupation strategy flailing, with WMD investigator David Kay’s January 2004 report to Congress on the absence of stockpiles seeming to confirm Wilson’s claims that the administration had twisted intelligence about Saddam’s WMDs, and with Democrats who had supported the war now arguing that “Bush lied and people died,” Fitzgerald’s investigation had taken on a new importance. Its very existence was a way to portray the Bush policy in Iraq as not only the result of incompetence, but deliberate wrongdoing.

Read the whole thing.

25 May 2015

“Six Seconds”

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Yale&Haeter

This Memorial Day story is an excerpt from Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s Nov. 13, 2010 speech to the Semper Fi Society of St. Louis, reprinted in The American Legion Magazine.

[Paragraph formatting and emphasis added]

[O]n April 22, 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8, were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion was in the closing days of its deployment, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour. Two Marines, Cpl. Jonathan Yale and Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.

The same ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, our allies in the fight against terrorists in Ramadi – known at the time as the most dangerous city on earth, and owned by al-Qaeda.

Yale was a dirt-poor mixed-race kid from Virginia, with a wife, a mother and a sister, who all lived with him and he supported. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle-class white kid from Long Island. They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines, they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple Americas exist simultaneously, depending on one’s race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, education level, economic status, or where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible, and because of this bond they were brothers as close – or closer – than if they were born of the same woman. The mission orders they received from their sergeant squad leader, I’m sure, went something like this: “OK, take charge of this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass. You clear?” I’m also sure Yale and Haerter rolled their eyes and said, in unison, something like, “Yes, sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point, without saying the words, “No kidding, sweetheart. We know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry-control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.

A few minutes later, a large blue truck turned down the alleyway – perhaps 60 to 70 yards in length – and sped its way through the serpentine concrete Jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest 200 yards away, knocking down most of a house down before it stopped. Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was caused by 2,000 pounds of explosive.

Because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers in arms. When I read the situation report a few hours after it happened, I called the regimental commander for details. Something about this struck me as different. We expect Marines, regardless of rank or MOS, to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.

The regimental commander had just returned from the site, and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event – just Iraqi police. If there was any chance of finding out what actually happened, and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it, because a combat award requires two eyewitnesses, and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer. I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police, all of whom told the same story. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police related that some of them also fired, and then, to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion. All survived. Many were injured, some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated, and with tears welling up, said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life. ”What he didn’t know until then, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion, he said, “Sir, in the name of God, no sane man would have stood there and done what they did. They saved us all.”

What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned after I submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras recorded some of the attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated. You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. I suppose it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. No time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: “Let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time, the truck was halfway through the barriers and gaining speed.

Here the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were, some running right past the Marines, who had three seconds left to live. For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines firing their weapons nonstop. The truck’s windshield explodes into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tear into the body of the son of a bitch trying to get past them to kill their brothers – American and Iraqi – bedded down in the barracks, totally unaware that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder-width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could. They had only one second left to live, and I think they knew. The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God. Six seconds. Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty.

Hat tip to Peter Somerville.

25 May 2015

My Father’s War

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William G. Zincavage, Fall 1942, after graduating Marine Corps Boot Camp

Military Police, North Carolina, Fall 1942

First Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Solomon Islands Consolidation (Guadalcanal), Winter-Spring 1943
New Georgia Group Operation (Vella LaVella, Rendova), Summer 1943

Third Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Marianas Operation (Guam), Summer 1944

Fifth Amphibious Corps, Third Marine Division, Special Troops:
Iwo Jima Operation, February-March 1945 (Navy Unit Commendation)

North American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Four Bronze Stars
Good Conduct Medal

——————————————————–


While recovering from malaria after the Battle of Iwo Jima, he looked 70 years old.

——————————————————–


But he was back to normal in December of 1945, when this photo was taken shortly before he received his discharge.

25 May 2015

Memorial Day

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WWII Victory Medal

All of my grandparents’ sons and one daughter, now all departed, served.

JoeZincavage1
Joseph Zincavage (1907-1998) Navy
(No wartime photograph available, but he’s sitting on a Henderson Motorcycle in this one.)


William Zincavage (1914-1997) Marine Corps


Edward Zincavage (1917-2002) Marine Corps


Eleanor Zincavage Cichetti (1922-2003) Marine Corps

24 May 2015

Free Health Care

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FreeHealthCare

24 May 2015

Tiger Crane Kung Fu

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Crane Style wins.

23 May 2015

Gods Partying in Kiev

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GodsinKiev

Alexey Kondakov, an artist based in Kiev, Ukraine, has created a series of Photoshopped images demonstrating how the gods and characters of antiquity portrayed in classical paintings would look if they appeared alongside us in contemporary settings. leenks

23 May 2015

Slavoj Žižek on Ayn Rand

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Marxism’s clown philosopher offers his own take on the great libertarian novelist.

His supposed aperçu is just a typical bit of Slavonic verbal acrobatics. Rand’s philosophy is “an embarrassment” only in the sense that it is a direct contradiction of 2000 years of Judeo-Christian ethical prescription thereby flying in the face of deeply-ingrained cultural assumptions.

It is amusing though to see the characteristically-indiscreet Žižek freely acknowledging the extent of Rand’s influence in a perverse sort of outlaw solidarity.

23 May 2015

Nietzsche Manga

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Even bishōjo have a thing for Fred.

NietzscheManga

Hat tip to Belacqui.

22 May 2015

Greenfield on Letterman’s Retirement

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david_letterman_angry

Dan Greenfield says Good Riddance to Letterman.

Progressive comedy is above all else lazy and Letterman was the laziest man in comedy. He had more staffers than Eisenhower all to deploy the thousandth [iteration] of the same joke. He used his power to fill the time slots after him with hosts who couldn’t possibly compete with him to avoid being Conaned.

He was not a liberal by conviction, but out of laziness. When challenged by guests like Bill O’Reilly, he quickly folded. His politics were not thought out, they were unthinking. For all his pretense of eccentricity, he was a conformist who understood that if he played the game, he would get paid. His comic personality, the folksy skepticism and detached disdain served up in measured doses to viewers, was calculated to cover up this essential attribute that defined his enormously lucrative career.

Letterman is a professional sycophant who limos off into the sunset to the strains of the sycophantic braying of a dying industry. As audiences dwindle, the media has become its own audience, mourning the passing of its glorious past by taking hits of nostalgia from its heady days of power and privilege.

The mournful tributes piling up in his wake aren’t about him. Network television is dying. Letterman was one of its last national figures. If you think mainstream media outlets are carrying on over his exit, wait until network television dies its inevitable demographic death.

Then the media will really have something to cry about.

22 May 2015

Don’t Mess With Gators

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I would not have believed that an alligator could do that.

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