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Posted by Scott Lemieux

Shorter verbatim Jill Stein:

Yes, the ideas that Russia ratfucked the election (for which the evidence is overwhelming) and that the Trump campaign colluded with them (which they have conceded, and indeed are now boasting about) are a nutty conspiarcy theory meant to cover up the obvious truth that Donna Brazile letting Hillary Clinton know that a debate held in Flint would contain a question about poisoned water was worth at least 4.1 million votes in the Democratic primaries. But while Brazile’s email clearly swung the outcome of the primaries, it is logically impossible for a spoiler candidate to ever affect an electoral outcome, but even if they did the way to stop fascism is to elect fascists. All perfectly logical!

Obviously, there’s no possible defense for consumerist wank voting at this historical moment. But if you insist on it — if you just don’t care about the countless victims of Republican governance — find a better object for your ballot both onanism than this.

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Posted by Jenn Budd

Trump’s Ego Creates Real National Security Problems

When politicians want to drastically change government, a tactic they commonly use is to overwhelm the news cycle. A quick look back at the first six months of the Trump presidency demonstrates this as they and the Republican party have become experts.

Of course, news agencies are justified in investigating and thoroughly covering the Trump Jr. meeting with Russians, Trump’s war against immigrants and the Republicans’ obsession with taking healthcare away from Americans. These are all important issues as are the hundreds of others that conservatives are trying to sneak through. But flooding the news cycle has the intended consequence of some news being buried. Not every issue can get equal time, which is the whole point.

Take the kerfuffle involving Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Egypt and Qatar. Here’s the basic timeline:

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Book log - Hugo 2017 short stories

Jul. 22nd, 2017 01:47 pm
julesjones: (Default)
[personal profile] julesjones
I wrote some notes as I went along with the Hugo short story nominees, which I then failed to post soon enough to be of any help to anyone else. Never mind. Here they are anyway...

Given in the order in which I read them. I'd be happy to vote for any of these, and picking an order is going to be difficult.

A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers by Alyssa Wong

Two sisters, both weather workers, both capable of bending time back on itself and trying another timeline. It starts with one burning up in her own flame; it ends with the other still searching for a timeline in which her sister can live. In between we learn much about them and the different paths they have taken. It's raw emotion delivered in skillful prose, and not only supports but demands a second reading to understand the layers. The idea of a fan or network of timelines spreading out and being able to step from one strand to another is not new; but this use of the concept is an emotionally wrenching read.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


Seasons of Glass and Iron by Amal El-Mohtar

One woman is required to wear out seven pairs of iron shoes. Another sits atop a glass hill too slippery to climb. El-Mohtar considers what might happen when the woman of one fairy tale walks into the other story, and subverts the subtext of both. "Subverts" is rather too weak a word here - it dances on the subtext with hobnailed boots. Possibly too much so, but then there's a lot of subtext in fairy stories that needs to be dragged into the light and examined. This particular happy ending is one that I can believe has a chance at being happy ever after. It's sweet but not saccharine.

There's a lot to like in this story, but I was especially taken with the short scene in which the women run a scientific experiment with the golden apples meant to be a reward for the Hero who manages to climb the mountain. It left me wanting to buy the anthology it was originally published in.

First published in the anthology "The Starlit Wood" . Reprinted in Uncanny Tales (available free online). There's an interesting discussion of it at Short Story Squee and Snark.


Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies by Brooke Bolander

A short tale of a harpy's sweet revenge. Too short to review without giving away too much, but fabulous use of language that brings the narrator to vivid life in a commentary on modern media's portrayal of women.

Published in Uncanny Tales (available free online)


That Game We Played During the War by Carrie Vaughn

"The people of Gaant are telepaths. The people of Enith are not. The two countries have been at war for decades, but now peace has fallen, and Calla of Enith seeks to renew an unlikely friendship with Gaantish officer Valk over an even more unlikely game of chess."

A short story that explores some of the ramifications of full telepathy, and does so through a pair of fascinating characters and their unfolding friendship. The chess game is indeed a metaphor for the war, and gives some idea of how a non-telepathic nation could have held its own against an army of telepaths, but it's the characterisation that makes this story shine. Calla and and Valk have each been a prisoner under the control of the other as fortunes have shifted over the war; Calla working as a nurse in her own side's military hospital treating prisoners of war that include Valk, and then as a trustee prisoner in a Gaantish hospital desperately in need of nursing staff. The chess game starts as a way to pass time, a way to take their minds off the situation they're in, and becomes much more.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US


The City Born Great by NK Jemesin

Great cities come alive, and in this short story they do so in a most literal fashion. But there are things out there that feed on new life, and a city needs a midwife to guard it as it struggles to birth itself. Our protaganist is a young black man in New York who half believes, half disbelieves a new friend's tales of living cities and his role in New York's story - right up until the monsters try to come for him. Stunning fantasy story deeply rooted in a deftly depicted metropolis.

Published by Tor.com and available free online, or for purchase as a DRM-free ebook. Kobo, Amazon UK, Amazon US

Summer brain

Jul. 22nd, 2017 06:29 am
sartorias: (desk)
[personal profile] sartorias
Another book seems to be trying to grab me, so while I veer between ongoing projects and escaping the unrelenting heat with tv watching (more NIF later today) and reading, I'm writing notes and watching the tetris pieces fall and interlock. If they fuse, well, then, that's what I'll be doing.

In the meantime, an interesting discussion, which I hope to wring another BVC blog post out of. (It's getting hard to figure out something to write, but I committed to it, so . . . besides, it's good for me to test my ideas against others. Too easy to get locked inside my head.)

Anyway, the discussion subject was words you don't use. I don't necessarily mean cuss words you avoid, but words that have too much freight for whatever reason. Like, the discussion got started when someone mentioned that when we were growing up, nobody ever said the word 'cancer' or wrote it. Sick, ill, other euphemisms, but she felt that there was this tremendous fear around the word because it was always a death sentence, especially as the constant cigarette atmosphere around us started catching up with people at not very old ages. Saying it was impolite, like saying pregnant (expecting was the word back then), but also there was a kind of superstition like mentioning it would invite it.

Another person said she refuses to use the word 'literally' because she hears it so much, usually used wrong, that is, as an emphasizer, which she sees as sloppy language.

A third person at that discussion said that that was weird, and why avoid any word?

Thoughts?

Mike's Blog Round Up

Jul. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm
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Posted by patrickB

Mike's Blog Round Up

Vixen Strangely takes a look at the swirl of new scandalous stories suddenly surrounding Trump.

Chauncey Devega in Indomitable stresses that the Democratic Party must find a way to defuse and defeat our nation's “post-Enlightenment thinkers.”

I certainly agree with Mr. Devega but, unfortunately, each time I read such a post as his, I keep coming back to this great piece by Foretti's Justice, originally published in Alternet.

With news of the Republican House seeking to cut/privatize Social Security and Medicare, Angry Bear cuts through all the conservative lies.

And finally, Tengrain from Mock, Paper, Scissors asks the penultimate question, "Is there anyone in the Republican Party left who is not, you know, maybe an agent of Russia?"

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Posted by Juanita Jean

Fun With Guns: 'An Actual Gun' Edition

Miami, Florida. Get off my lawn!

On Wednesday, Florida resident Jorge Jove clearly couldn’t stomach the sight of an AT&T work truck parked out front of his house. Naturally, police say, he retrieved a revolver and started shooting out the tires and engine.

Seriously. A very brave AT&T person filmed the whole thing as Jove pulled the trigger at least 18 times, reloading as he went. There were two trucks and apparently they deserved it.

Lord, I love You Tube.

Some poor guy was stuck up in the basket.

I love the AT&T worker trying to explain to the 911 operator what is happening.

I’ll betcha this guy owns a Trump hat.

Crossposted at juanitajean.com


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Posted by Erik Loomis

This is the grave of John Shalikashvili

Born in 1936 into an exiled noble Georgian family in Poland, Shalikashvili spent his childhood in the upheaval of World War II Europe. As was not uncommon for exiled nobility, his father embraced the Nazi invasions and he ended up in a unit subsumed into the SS. Good times. He was taken as prisoner of war by the British where he lived out the rest of the war. Meanwhile, young John and the rest of the family were in Nazi occupied Warsaw. In 1952, the family emigrated to Peoria. Despite having almost no English, he adapted quickly and attended Bradley University, graduating in 1958. He was drafted and entered the Army as a private, but he loved it so he went to officer school and skyrocketed up the ranks. He fought in Vietnam, then did a bunch of other stuff over the next 15 years. He became more well-known by coordinating Operation Private Comfort, the humanitarian mission in northern Iraq after the First Gulf War. He was also very big in military modernization issues, including the integration of new technologies. For all of this, Bill Clinton named him Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff in 1993. He stayed in that role for 4 years, retiring in 1997 after 38 years in the military. He remained active to the end of his life. He was a military advisor to John Kerry’s campaign in 2004, a campaign for which I had high hopes but alas. I hope he didn’t advise him on that ridiculous “Reporting for Duty” speech and salute at the DNC that year or the very bad idea to pretend like he was hunting. He also spoke out strongly in favor of gays in the military, seeking to end Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, one of Bill Clinton’s many, many indefensible policies. He was one of the architects of the policy at the time and felt guilty about it. I think he earned his penance here. The policy was reversed by Barack Obama on July 22, 2011. Shalikashvili died on July 23, 2011.

John Shalikashvili is buried on the confiscated lands of the traitor Lee, Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

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