Posts Tagged ‘politics and current affairs’
We are almost to 30 of these little posts listing books I would like to read or that I find interesting. If I ever won a big lottery jackpot (as if) that was good enough for me to retire early and never have to work, I would spend a lot of the free time reading. Oh well, a man can dream. In the meantime, here we go:
Items about books:
- Via Intoxicated Zodiac blog, a review of the book Hola Tequila! (record to Barnes and Noble because apparently Worldcat does not have it). The book looks like a nice, little fun recipe and tequila trivia book. Also on the blog, you will find a recipe for a cocktail to try out.
- The Bibrary Book Lust blog offers an excellent review of a book that can serve as a good educational reading, especially for those of us who are allies and wish to learn more. The book is Transgender 101: a Simple Guide to a Complex Issue. The reviewer describes it as “one of those rare pieces of non-fiction that works equally well in educating (and entertaining) both within and outside the community it explores” (emphasis in the original).
- Via Lambda Literary, a review of the anthology Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary. I will admit I am adding this to my reading list out of curiosity. Then again, I have always been curious reader willing to try out new things. The reviewer writes: “I turned the pages on these stories proud to be a trans writer, proud to be part of a witty, nasty, brilliant community of poetic perverts and wicked wordsmiths, wall-walkers who simultaneous manage to celebrate the peculiarities of our kind while sensuously stroking the taut chord of common humanity.” I think in the end good fiction (a lot of it anyhow), erotica or not, LGBTQ or not, has to be well written and touch on common humanity.
- The Manga Critic, in her feature of The Best Manga You’re Not Reading, recommends a manga about a Japanese ex-pat in New York City who is a hitman among other things. Sounds like one should ask “what is there not to like?” The book in question is Benkei in New York.
- The Manga Critic also reviews an adaptation of Gail Carriger’s first volume of the Parasol Protectorate series. I did not know the stuff had been adapted to manga. I have been mostly lukewarm about reading the novels, but I may be willing to read the manga adaptation, at least Soulless, Vol. 1.
- Via Readers Read blog, a video and mention of Joe Hill’s book Horns. In the video, the author is discussing his work. I really got to know Joe Hill from his work on the Locke and Key series, so I am a bit willing to take a chance on his fiction.
- Guys Lit Wire review two books in this post. I am only interested in the Ultimate X: Origins. It is written by Jeph Loeb, whose work I know from Batman: The Long Halloween and other Batman tales. The guys also discuss and review the Robot Novels of Isaac Asimov. I’ve had those tales on my list of stuff to read for quite a while now. It may be time to buck up and start reading them.
Book lists and bibliographies:
- Passover is coming soon. If you want to learn more, The Prosen People blog offers some lists of books about and for Passover.
- This is not so much a book list as a list of items about books and reading. The Millions offers a guide to literary Tumblr websites. I am jotting this down so I can look it over later, maybe add a thing or two to my feed reader.
- Via Lambda Literary, the announcement of the finalists for the 24th Annual Lambda Awards. I always like keeping track of this list to get ideas for LGBTQ reading. The list always feature a very diverse range of genres and topics.
- Also via Lambda Literary, a small list of recent lesbian erotica by Sinclair Sexsmith in “Cliterotica:Winter 2012.” Yes, some of this may be NSFW for some folks. You have been warned.
- The Singing Librarian gives his list of books read in February 2012. The one I am interested in from the list is the one by Maurice LeBlanc.
- The Publishing Triangle, the association of lesbian and gay men in publishing, announced their finalists for the Triangle Awards. The final awards to be announced in April.
Yes, remember, remember the 5th of November. I think this year with all that is going on, the Occupy Movement, and maybe the hope that people might finally start getting a clue that the people they have been electing may not have their best interests at heart, that V’s speech is as relevant as ever.
Here is the link to the speech, and this time I got a link with subtitles so you can follow along. The text of the speech is below:
“Good evening, London. Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat. There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror. I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the now high chancellor, Adam Sutler. He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent. Last night I sought to end that silence. Last night I destroyed the Old Bailey, to remind this country of what it has forgotten. More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”
Because at the end of the day, if you are looking for the guilty, you need only look in the mirror. Sure, the 1% may be holding the strings, but in the end, a large majority of the 99% enabled them and elected them. Get a clue. Educate yourselves. Then make sure that the lessons are learned and that the crimes of our governments do not remain unknown nor forgotten.
So I wake up this morning, turn on the news, and lo and behold U.S. Forces finally caught and killed Osama Bin Laden. There are a lot of links out there with the story, and as I am writing this, details continue to emerge. However, I tend to be interested in the more quirky and curious angles of the story. I suppose at the end of the day, this is a small way for me to remember the event, in case anyone asks me where was I sort of thing. For the record, I was at home, getting ready to go to work. I first found out when I turned the tv first thing in the morning to one of the local channels to get the usual weather report and quick local headlines. I usually keep my weekends as free of hard news as possible. Given how crappy news tend to be as of late (not to mention that I can’t stand most of the talking heads and pundits that pretend to be journalists), I try to keep myself blissfully distracted over the weekend.
So, here are some links that may be of interest:
- A sampling of advertisements that featured Osama, usually to hawk some product. I think the condom one could become a classic. (Via Copyranter)
- Can you get an obituary of Osama? Sure, go ahead and ask your friendly librarian. (Via Your Librarian Hates You)
- The Newseum had their online front page exhibit as usual. However, they got one hit too many today. You can get a small sampling of the front pages of newspapers today with some photos via Mashable.
- And via The Atlantic Wire, a sampling of headlines from the Arab world. There is a bit of a contrast if you look closely.
- The blog Circling the Lion’s Den looks at a CRS Report on the cost of the wars on terror since 9/11. This may give a little perspective on the real cost of killing the guy.
- John Scalzi had some thoughtful comments about the event on his blog Whatever.
- Did you miss the end of Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice because Obama preempted it so he could make the big announcement? Jezebel has the video with the ending here.
- Do you wish to learn more about Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and the region? The New York Times has put together a small reading list.
- UN Dispatch has the most significant story out of Pakistan today, and no, it is not about Osama Bin Laden.
- And according to The Borowitz Report, after today, both U.S. political parties agreed to cancel the 2012 elections. Read for details and enjoy a little humor.
- Via Global Voices, you can get some Pakistani reactions to the event.
- Also via Global Voices, not everyone is rejoicing that Osama was killed. In the Arab world, some are mourning him and even see him as a martyr or hero.
- (Update note: 5/3/2011): Global Voices now has a full section of coverage on Osama Bin Laden’s death.
- (Update note: 5/10/2011): I was meaning to link this one sooner. ProPublica has put together a pretty good Bin Laden Reading Guide. One to help you cut through the nonsense and pundits and get to what is important to know.
I thought this was a pretty neat list. I don’t agree with all of it, but there are some very good items. The two items I would emphasize right away are:
The first one on statistical literacy. This is a must. We need as a society to do a much better job in teaching people about statistics, how to figure basic ones out, and how they are used and misused. I liked the suggested assignment of comparing a liberal blog versus a conservative blog. This assignment is very good, and it should be something an average, well-informed citizen, “well-informed” being the key concept, should be able to do:
Daily Kos Versus BigGovernment.com
Find three examples of the same set of numbers presented in entirely different ways on the liberal blog Daily Kos and Andrew Breitbart’s conservative Big Government site. In each case, show which source is using the more aggressive spin and determine which side—if either—is being more honest in its presentation of the facts.
How often are you watching the news, and you get pundits debating back and forth about the latest numbers of such and such from the CBO (that’s the Congressional Budget Office). You think to yourself, “well, the CBO is nonpartisan, so the numbers must be good.” Sure, the numbers are probably fine, but you have to pay attention to how they are actually being used. And then you have figures and polls from all sorts of agencies, think tanks, nonprofit organizations, so on, which often have a bias or a particular agenda. I am not saying that some of those agendas are bad (personally, I think working towards things like social justice are important), but you still have to keep those things in mind. Expanding on that, this is where I would add a good course on information literacy, where you learn to evaluate information, more than just the statistics. So, if it was me, I would do more than just statistical literacy. We need broad ranging information literacy.
Second, I definitely like the Post-state Diplomacy course. Folks in the U.S. need some serious education on international affairs and how the world works right now. The folks at Wired write:
“Power has always depended on who can provide justice, commerce, and stability. Successful insurgents aren’t just thugs; they offer their members tangible benefits—community, money, education, and a sense of order (even if the rebels are the ones creating disorder in the first place). We must learn how they gain loyalty, even if our goal is to undercut it.”
Again, I don’t think the folks at Wired go far enough. It is not only about diplomacy, although that is extremely important. The statement above is not really a new idea; it is an idea that not many people understand or may be aware of. But we also need coursework on global awareness and citizenship, and I would also add geography.
The rest of the article is worth reading as well. Each skill description does include a “reading list” (I put it in quotes because some of the suggestions may be links to videos or other non-print material) and some questions you may want to consider. Whether you do some of the assignments or not, thinking about them may help you expand your horizons a bit more.
(Crossposted to The Itinerant Librarian)
I thought this video from the Center for Inquiry (CFI) Campaign for Freedom of Expression was particularly neat. Simple and very effective. And given this is Banned Books Week as well, very appropriate to share. You can watch the other winners at the site as well. The video below was their top choice.