Archive for national parks

The Book Booth: Lawn Mowing Edition

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Image: from Children's Book Council

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: Lawn Mowing Edition

We finally broke down and purchased an new electric mower a couple of weeks ago. Generally I like to see our yard meadow out, which is certainly more colorful, but our neighbors, and the city government, aren't so happy when we allow that to happen. So I mowed the lawn mid-week, before our first summer rain. And I'll have to do it again before the 4th of July as fireworks are legal in our town, and I'd rather not have a lawn fire. But two hours of mowing (we have a large back yard) takes a lot out of an aging and soon to be grumpy man.

I know that the solstice just happened, and we're really just beginning summer. But that won't stop us from looking forward to the autumn and the new books coming. Publishers Weekly has the fall book preview here and includes a new memoir from Bruce Springsteen and novels from Jonathan Safran Foer, Michael Chabon and Zadie Smith. Read more about them here.

PW also featured these debut novels arriving later in the year, and you may want to check out these young writers.
Debut Novels by Young Writers

The 112th anniversary of Bloomsday has now come and passed and Joyceans around the world celebrated the day Leopold Bloom traveled around Dublin's fair city. Louis Menard explored for the New Yorker why Ulysses is no longer shocking to us after all these years, and talks about a new book by Tasha Lewis who did art for every page of the work in her Illustrating James Joyce's Ulysses in Eight Weeks.
Thoughts on Ulysses

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein remains a much-pondered and taught work in colleges around the world. Here novelist Francine Prose looks at the origins of the work and the social context in which the book was written.
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein - Origins and Context

The stories of Arthur Conan Doyle about detective Sherlock Holmes have been adapted to nearly all media. One of Charlie Chaplin's earliest roles was on the English stage in a play about Holmes. And of course films and radio. Here OpenCulture has radio adaptations, starring John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson for your listening pleasure.
Sherlock Holmes on the Wireless

From Farrar Straus Giroux's blog Work in Progress, take a look at an excerpt from Terry Tempest Williams' new book on the national parks, titled The Hour of Land.
An Excerpt from The Hour of Land

And while we are discussing the "classics", Daniel Mendelsohn offered this essay for the New York Review of Books, reviewing the intersection of the arts and civic life, which he argues has been mostly lost to us, but was integral to ancient Athenians, for whom tragedy could, indeed, save the polis.
The Interception of the Arts and Civic Life.

At the Millions, Michael Bourne wonders what kind of literary critic and defender of the Western Canon Donald Trump would make. And with all things Trump, it is scary.
#NeverTrump

Have a great weekend, read lots and let us know what great books have got their hooks in you.

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GOP Refuses To Pay Government Shutdown Costs

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Zion National park

Well, Utah is unhappy with the Obama Administration, the department of the Interior specifically. So are the states of  Arizona, Utah, Colorado, South Dakota, New York and Tennessee.

But their anger is actually misplaced. Their problem is actually with the GOP and the House of Representatives. They're the ones who voted to defund the government, not the Department of the Interior.

Each of these states makes millions every year from revenues derived directly or indirectly (tourism related) from their federally maintained national parks. Parks like the Grand Canyon and Zion National park.

In the past shutdowns, these states were actually rewarded with money paid post-shutdown, to make up for their losses. Well, it seems the Republicans on the Hill this year have decided not to do that this time

So the next place the states took their demand was the Department of Interior. And they're saying no dice. Due to the sequester, they don't have the funds. They had gone to Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell who had told them in the past her department had been authorized to make that repayment for direct lost revenues. But that money came as part of "post shutdown funding bills" voted on by the Congress. She herself could not guarantee that money, but suggested that if past history was any indication, the state should lend their parks the money to stay open. When the shutdown was over, Congress would authorize funding for them to be repaid.

Seems the GOP  turned their backs on these states, once again.

Grand Canyon

Well, when Utah and the other states DEMANDED the repayment of the money they loaned their own parks, it fell on deaf GOP-led Congressional ears. The Representatives voted to repay furloughed workers but not the parks.

So, now it's up to the Republicans to clean up their spilled milk. Two GOP bills have been proposed, one to repay the states for this past government shutdown and another to force them to pay in case of another closure. According to the Hill:

Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah) is pushing a bill aimed at ensuring national parks remain open in the event that the government someday closes down again.

Rep. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) has another bill that would require states to be repaid for expenses within 90 days after a shutdown ends. The House committee will consider it on Wednesday as well, and there is a companion bill in the Senate.

Sadly for the states, it doesn't seem that the congressional leadership is in any hurry to see these bills happen.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) does not yet have plans to bring either bill to the floor, his office said.

So much for the Republicans caring about the damage they've done. They're trying to put the blame on the Department of Interior as if they have extra money sitting around since the sequester. This is just another example of the Republican passing the buck tactics and their true lack of compassion. They're bulls in a china shop and they refuse to pay for what they've broken. Let's see how long these Red states take to become purple -- with rage, now that they've been stiffed.

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Have Republicans Gone 'Big Government?'

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Who Are You

Let's play "Who Are You?"

Who's currently pushing for immediate funding in big government? The programs in question-- Military, Veterans, national parks, Head Start, Women and Children in Poverty (WHIP), National Institute for Health (NIH), SNAP, Air Travel Safety, food safety?

That's such and easy-peasy question. The answer is the Democrats.

Well, we'll give you part credit for that answer. The real answer is currently, it's the Republicans. Now that the government shutdown, which they caused is having frightful repercussions, the results of their reckless and perilous game is causing huge backlash.

NBC claims to be "SHOCKED" by the horrible numbers in a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. And that hasn't been lost on the GOP and even the Tea Party (yes, they really are two parties but that's a different discussion). What should be shocking NBC more is the list of what this desperate, out of touch, old white man's party are now backing. It's as if Professor Backwards was delivering the new Republican platform.

Professor Backwards

Everything the GOP has fought against, they're now for -- and when do they want it? Now!

Ted Cruz turning over in his grave with this bevy of spending bills hasn't been lost on MSNBC's Chris Matthews. Last night's segment of HARDBALL featured this clip:

The Republicans, in the light of public outcry are both being shown to be selfish elitists and big government. They shut down the government. You'd have to be living in a hole underground not to know that. And there's still some who live down there, but most have come to the surface. After years of being lied to and sold a bill of goods, cut down the government, they don't do anything for you as a mantra, the truth is being realized. While they were in their subterranean bunkers, the Democrats and Independents were above ground working for everyone's benefit.

The Republicans and Tea Partiers, not so much, as the clip above shows.

When this shut-down and debt ceiling fiascoes subside and our short memories return, the battles will rage once again. But hopefully there will be some who remember how they were effected by this shutdown. Whether it was parks, military funerals, food for the poor, business, medical clinics or whatever, the sting might last long enough and snap public opinion around a bit, so we can reinstate and improve both the efficiency of the government as well as respect and acknowledge what part it really plays in our lives.

The only one's who won't forget are sadly those who return to a live in a vacuum life, a bubble, or the Tea Party. They'll resurface another day, armed with wackadoo thinking and plotting to bring down our government. Hopefully intelligence and this current experience will defeat them and their representatives.

Doesn't this shutdown make you wish there was an election right now where you could shout out with your vote how displeased you are with the current crop of Republican elected officials?

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GOP Trying To Rebuild Baby Tossed Out With The Bathwater

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Baby with the bathwater

In their ill-conceived zeal to  repeal, or disable the Affordable Care Act, the Republicans made some missteps. They forgot to calculate what would be getting tossed or defunded if the government shut down. It's the baby with the bathwater syndrome.

Now just passing a clean CR would rectify all of that, but delusional John Boehner (who one commentator said during the shutdown, the pronunciation of his name would return to how it's spelled) has forgone that option. It would make him look weak. Really John. You, Mr. Crybaby look weak. I just can't see how that's possible.

So the plan to save face after putting over 800,000 people out of work was to rebuild the baby who got tossed. First the GOP started with national parks, or actually they started slowly. Just the WWII veterans memorial part who Fox News reported, via Tucker Carlson, as costing nothing. As I wrote on an earlier post, he must assume that the maintenance and security at the monument are freebies, all done by volunteers.

Frankenstein

Anyway, from there, the House Republicans took to more of the Dr. Frankenstein experiment. They added legs and other extremities with their passage of bills funding all National parks, NIH, Head Start, WIC (Women, Infants & Children) nutritional program, Cancer research, Veterans benefits, NSA, and Disaster (FEMA) relief.

Oh, and let's not forget the big one, the torso for this monster baby, funding back-pay for all government officials who were put on furlough. This big body part would be kind of the torso. That got a 100% support from the House. Unfortunately, guaranteeing to pay employees their full restitution without their doing the work isn't  meeting such a staunch support in the Senate. Gangrene or tissue rejection has already begun on that one, according to senior physician, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa.

This is resulting in the desired small government baby actually becoming a larger, oversize doll.

Large doll

Piecemeal rebuilding is not the same as just using the simple clean CR. Now we're stuck. The odds 'n ends parts aren't being synchronized and working because some of the vital organs, like the heart, liver and a brain still aren't installed.

So while the Republican, change that, the Tea Party-led medical team continues to try to stitch the government monster back together, time is wasting, big business who supports them is being hurt and losing money, the public is turning away from the Republicans and looking for a new set of doctors, the Democrats. With the right Democratic medical team, led by Chief Resident in Charge, President Obama, the patient may survive.

But this is going to involve more than taking two aspirins and calling the POTUS in the morning. It requires the Speaker to call for a vote on a clean continuing resolution and the prognosis is good that the baby patient will survive. Kids are resilient.  We won't get to know for sure until there's a vote, but if it doesn't come soon, this baby is history.

Basically, if there's no clean CR, which most of the House Democratic doctors and a small portion of GOP'ers think would be the best prescription right now, the baby will look like this:

Frankestein baby

Or, Dr. Boehner can go the clean route and have this:

Ken Doll 2

 

I don't know about you, but I prefer the clean CR and the doll immediately above.

Calling Dr. Boehner, Dr. Cruz, Dr. Lee. Code red. Bring a crash cart to the ER. The patient is waiting.

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