Archive for Barack Obama

The Book Booth: Little Red Wagon Edition

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Image: Daily Dot
The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: Little Red Wagon Edition

In the continuing saga of Bob Dylan and the Swedish Academy, there is still silence. Mr. Dylan has not acknowledged the Nobel, nor may any public comment. And the Academy considers his non-communication as arrogance. There is no doubting Dylan's quirky sense of himself and Adam Kirsch at the New York Times opines that perhaps the ghost of Jean-Paul Sartre haunts the whole procedure, bad faith and all.
Adam Kirsch on Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize Silence

In happier news, Paul Beatty was announced to be the first American writer to win the Man-Booker award this past week for his novel, The Sellout.
Paul Beatty First American to Win Man-Booker Award

Beatty has been a well-regarded writer here in the States for some time now. But not so much in the UK. The rules for the Man-Booker changed a few years ago, allowing anyone writing in English and published in Great Britain to be eligible for the prize. And as Charlotte Higgins explains in this interview with the author, it was no easy thing to get his novel published there.
Publishing Paul Beatty in the UK

It may have taken over 400 years, but Christopher Marlowe is getting his due recognition this week. The Oxford University Press will now credit the murdered playwright as a co-author with the Bard on the Henry VI plays. H/T to Lucian for the link.
Oxford University Press Gives Credit Where It's Due

Last week marked the 162nd anniversary of the birth of famed Irish writer Oscar Wilde. Ever Sullivan has written a new biography of the man, Fall of the House of Wilde: Oscar Wilde and His Family. Here the biographer shares ten things you may or may not have known about Oscar for Publishers Weekly.
Oscar Wilde Just Had a Birthday. How Much Do You Know About Him?

And how could we not celebrate Oscar's birthday without sharing some of his bon mots. Here, from a Signature piece published a couple of years ago, are quotes concerning Art with a capital A Wilde essayed.
Oscar Wilde on Art

Good news for J.R.R. Tolkien fans! There will be a new book, unearthed by his son Christopher, published next year entitled Beren and Luthien, detailing the love affair between the eponymous characters. The story has werewolves in it!
Lost 'Lord of the Rings' Book to be Published Next Year!

And speaking of torrid love affairs, you may now be able to own the gun that poet Paul Verlaine attempted to shoot his lover, Arthur Rimbaud, with back in 1873. Christies will be auctioning the piece on November 30th. So if you happen to have a spare $60,000, make a bid!
A Literary Gun for Real Up for Auction

No doubt that Barack Obama is one of the best-read Presidents to have served our nation. Here for Wired, Obama lists his essential reads with a plan to read these works in only 89 hours. Thanks to my friend Naka for sharing this link.
President Obama's Reading List

In the WTF department this week, the head writer for the Daily Show, Daniel Radosh, had to give his permission for his son to read Fahrenheit 451 for school. Mr. Radosh's response has gone viral, and you can read it here:
Literary Irony of the Week: Permission Required to Read Fahrenheit 451

In other social media, Antonio French set off a hilarious twitter hashtag event when he complained that Donald Trump's answers on policy during the last debate sounded like a book report from a student who hadn't read the book.
#TrumpBookReport Hashtag

Remember, we are now a mere eleven days from the election. If your state allows early voting, what's keeping you? Get your votes in, and vote down ticket this year. It is so important. And then kick back, pour yourself a glass of your favorite drink or brew and enjoy a good book. And please let us know what that book is!

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The Book Booth: The Waters of March Edition

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Image: Rolling Stone


The Book Booth is a weekly feature at The Political Carnival, relating news, notes, and reflections from the world of books and publishing.  It is written by @SeattleDan and SeattleTammy, operators of an on-line bookstore (which you can find here) , who have been in the book business since shortly after the Creation, or close to 6000 years now.

The Book Booth: The Waters of March Edition

We are getting the waters of March here in our town, with the pineapple express bringing us late winter rains. It's probably good that all northwesterners have webbed feet to help guide us along our soggy roads. And the Waters of March is one of the great tunes that the wonderful Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim has given us; you will see the youtube link at the bottom.

So I'm in a musical frame of mind and it just so happens, Rolling Stone recommends four new reads. I'm particularly intrigued by the new bio of Nina Simone, who's life was recently presented in documentary form by Netflix.
Nina Simone's Life/Rock Books

Great literature has lent itself to other art forms for centuries, including opera. But I had no idea that works like Grapes of Wrath, Lolita, and Moby Dick had made it to the stage.
Operatic Adaptions of Famous Novels

Elton John is no stranger to the musical stage. Beyond years and years of live performances, he also composed the score to The Lion King which has played on Broadway since the days of George M. Cohan.  Sir Elton is also a voracious reader and he does much of his book shopping at Book Soup in Hollywood.
Book Soup

Music legend and the "fifth" Beatle, George Martin passed away this past week at age 90. All Beatle fans know of his contributions to their songs. But the news of his passing led to panic among Game of Thrones fans who thought that George Martin had passed, prompting the author to deny rumors of his death.
George Martin Denies Being Dead (Game of Thrones)

Speaking of fanboys and fangals, it seems that President Obama is a big Peanuts fan and has written the preface to the last volume of 25 republished by Fantagraphics and due out soon.
President Obama Pays Tribute to Peanuts

As for myself, I am a huge, if not outsized, fan of Orson Welles. So it was a pleasure to read film critic Michael Wood's appreciation of the great American director, including some interesting thoughts on Welles' Chimes at Midnight, here in the New York Review of Books.
Michael Woods on Orson Welles

With the opening of relations with Cuba, Publishers Weekly has announced a petition campaign to end the book embargo against the island nation. About time, I'd say.
PW Says End the Book Embargo Against Cuba (Petition)

J.K. Rowling is keeping herself busy. She has just published the first part of a new series. Magic in North America, on the Pottermore site.
J.K. Rowling: 'Magic in North America'

Finally I note the passing of author Pat Conroy last week from cancer. He was a fine writer and The Prince of Tides is something of a masterpiece. If you haven't read his work before, give yourself the pleasure.
Pat Conroy

And as promised, The Waters of March as sung by its composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Please enjoy and let us know what great books you've got going this weekend.
The Waters of March (on YouTube)

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President Obama to Address the Nation on Immigration Policy at 8 pm EST

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President Obama addresses the nation on immigration.

Image: The Nation

US President Barack Obama addresses the nation on immigration policy.

Please note: Go to 58:33 for the president's speech.

UPDATE: Transcript of President Obama's speech (from the Washington Post)

A transcript of President Obama’s remarks on immigration..

OBAMA: My fellow Americans, tonight I’d like to talk with you about immigration. For more than 200 years, our tradition of welcoming immigrants from around the world has given us a tremendous advantage over other nations.

OBAMA: It’s kept us youthful, dynamic, and entrepreneurial. It has shaped our character as a people with limitless possibilities. People not trapped by our past, but able to remake ourselves as we choose.

But today, our immigration system is broken, and everybody knows it. Families who enter our country the right way and play by the rules watch others flout the rules. Business owners who offer their wages good wages benefits see the competition exploit undocumented immigrants by paying them far less. All of us take offense to anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America. And undocumented immigrants who desperately want to embrace those responsibilities see little option but to remain in the shadows, or risk their families being torn apart.

More here

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White Nationalist Charles Murray is shaping American policy, and it ain't pretty!

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Charles Murphy

This post is by our guest contributor Dee. a freelance writer and passionate political junkie, living in the Central Plains with her husband and three furry puppies. She is a prolific tweeter as @DAbitty, and occasional blogger at MyLittleBits

You may not know who he is, but Paul Ryan sure does. Ryan has so much respect for him; he used information gleaned from his writings to demonize large segments of American society during a recent radio interview. With the fallout from that interview ongoing, I decided to dig a bit into the thinking of unknown to me, Charles Murray. A man responsible for helping shape some of Ryan’s bizarre opinions, and some of our public policies.

Seemingly, in favor of dismantling every ounce of progress made over the past 40 plus years, Charles Murray plows forward with opinions so far out of the mainstream, it would seem a near impossibility that any self-respecting politician would ever seek his council, and yet…

So, who is Mr. Charles Murray? Murray is a man of 71years, born and raised in working class, very white, Newton, Iowa. Educated by the Ivy League, he is an author, and DC Think Tanker. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers his ideology as that of “White Nationalist.” SPLC says “using racist pseudoscience and misleading statistics,” Murray argues that social inequality is caused by genetic inferiority. (I tend to agree with SPLC.)

Best known for his authorship of The Bell Curve, and Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980, Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010, as well as his contribution to numerous conservative publications, Murray is a Senior Fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

Using his own brand of social science Murray’s writings are more eugenics than actual social studies, at least the social studies I remember. He believes the disadvantaged are so because, on average, they are unable to compete with white men, who are in all ways superior.

Murray is a proponent of eliminating what he terms the “welfare state”, including affirmative action, and the Department of Education – as well as other more progressive policies. He argues that innate deficiencies are the cause for unequal social and educational outcomes, and those cannot be overcome by public policy, aka Government.

“You want to have a job training program for welfare mothers? You think that’s going to cure the welfare problem? Well, when you construct that job training program and try to decide what jobs they might qualify for, you had better keep in mind that the mean IQ of welfare mothers is somewhere in the 80s, which means that you have certain limitations in what you're going to accomplish.” 
—Interview on race and IQ, “Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg,” PBS, 1994

It seems his views are in part responsible for the welfare restructuring done during the Clinton Administration. After a decade of advocating against welfare for single mothers, President Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, ending traditional welfare programs. Of Murray Clinton said, “He did the country a great service. I mean, he and I often disagree, but I think his analysis is essentially right. … There is no question that it would work,” referring to policies he (Murray) viewed as incentivizing out of wedlock births.

In a 2012 New York Times (NYT) article Jennifer Schuessler quotes President Obama from a 1994 NPR commentary saying, Murray and his co-author have calculated that “white America is ready for a return to good old-fashioned racism as long as it’s artfully packaged.” How prophetic that seems, here in 2014.

This is just the tip of Charlie’s very large iceberg… for fear of losing you I will provide links to more information, and leave you with this tidbit from Murray himself:

“Try to imagine a presidential candidate saying in front of the cameras, ‘One reason that we still have poverty in the United States is that a lot of poor people are born lazy.’ You cannot imagine it because that kind of thing cannot be said. And yet, this unimaginable statement merely implies that when we know the complete genetic story, it will turn out that the population below the poverty line in the United States has a configuration of the relevant genetic makeup that is significantly different from the configuration of the population above the poverty line. This is not unimaginable. It is almost certainly true.” 
—“Deeper Into the Brain,” National Review, 2000

Charles Murray is wrong-headed in so many ways, the fact that a presidential candidate could not say, “in front of the cameras” what Paul Ryan just said, “in front of the cameras” is proof of the influence Murray is having upon public policy, aka Government.

http://shameproject.com/profile/charles-murray/

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/profiles/Charles-Murray

TJPaulRyanCPACORIG

 

 

 

 

Paul Ryan photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

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