Global Disapproval as a Weapon

loudspeakers

August 30, 2016 – Remembering what I said then:

If you can remember back far enough to remember the movie Dangerous Liaisons then I think we could find a way to register our deep, deep disapproval without lobbing bombs at a leader who is just waiting to have us lob bombs at him. (What if all hell breaks loose?) If you remember, in the movie, an aging countess (Glenn Close) had learned to use men as pawns to give to herself the independence and the power to live well without a husband. She had affairs, as many as she wanted and she manipulated the guilt and the fear of exposure the men felt in such a way that when she ended the affair, they found they could not tell. She lived above gossip and although women knew she was not quite the thing, they had no proof and she was accepted by society. Until she fell in love.

She had sent a young man (John Malkovitch) on his way once, but as the film opens we meet a woman who is now showing her age. She is still handsome, but not beautiful. When that young man she fell in love with comes back and implies that he is still interested, she plays her last and most dangerous game, which she loses, rather badly. She still thinks that she has kept her secrets and has enough social cachet to go on. When she appears at the opera and everyone boos her, her reaction is visceral and I’m sure that from that time forward her social isolation is complete.

Maybe we could all; in every city and town all around the world, play, over very large loudspeakers,  at a certain time, like midnight at the Prime Meridian on Monday, a sound track of people booing with all of the loudspeakers pointed in the direction of Syria. I wonder if the sound would carry all the way to Syria. Then everyone in the world could turn his/her back on Assad and send Assad into a social isolation that would put him out of commission for the rest of his life. Now that would be retribution and it would feel really fine. I don’t imagine words or even world-wide condemnation could affect someone like that. You know what; I don’t even think bombs will do it.

More of what I said then:

Obviously we are way past the days when social shunning will put even a dent in the entitled arrogant man with the heart of granite who leads Syria. Here is a man who lives in bubble of comfort and privilege and who will not abdicate power even though his “kingdom” has been reduced to rubble around him and his “subjects” have had to flee or die. Here is a man whose every little hair on his smarmy head is glued in place and whose wardrobe costs more than it would take to feed the starving children in the nation that is unlucky enough to be ruled by this egomaniac. But what will finally oust this guy from his palace? Will we declare war on Assad and let the repercussions in Russia fall where they may? What if this becomes World War III and this time Russia is not on our side? I don’t know anyone who really thinks that we shouldn’t tread carefully, harden our hearts against letting grief and empathy dictate policy.

wedding in Syria big theatlantic.com

If, as I believe is true, no one is sure about how to handle Syria beyond what we are already doing, then our only choices are to continue to give Syrian refugees room to catch their breath and raise their children and to continue the air assault on Syria, the one that is further complicated by the presence of ISIS (and now Russia).

This is the view from the cheap seats.

This article appeared in my blog at http://thebrissioniblog.blogspot.com/ on 8/30/2013. The current post has been edited a bit.

And then this happened this last week of March in 2018:

The United States, in support of the UK, and to register our disapproval of an assassination attempt in Salisbury, England in broad daylight using an outlawed nerve gas, revoked permission for 60 Russians who are in our country ostensibly as diplomats. They were expelled from America and sent back to Russia.

Then this happened:

nations expelling Russian bigmetrocouk

All of these nations followed suit and sent Russian diplomats out of their nations in support of the UK. This gave me goosebumps, brought tears to my eyes – ridiculous perhaps, but it is a perfect example of weaponizing global disapproval and, although Putin does not get goosebumps or tears in his eyes, I hope he felt taken aback just a bit. I knew he would retaliate and of course he did. He closed the American embassy in St. Petersburg and sent our diplomats/intelligence people home.

But I was still touched by this show of solidarity especially given the divisive times we live in, the inexplicable affection the American President Trump has shown for Putin, and the even less comprehensible cold shoulder he has given to many of our allies.

 

 

Elections, not Zuckerberg

zuckerberg-analytica-796x419 TNW big

Mark Zuckerberg seems no better and no worse than any other business owner/billionaire these days. His company makes huge profits and he still needs ever more to satisfy himself and his stockholders. This is our brand of capitalism and Zuckerberg is certainly not any more greedy than anyone else. I am not going back into the now-distant past to talk about whether he became sole owner of Facebook by trickery and theft of intellectual property. That has already been adjudicated and now is a matter for Zuckerberg’s conscience.

There are at least two different points being argued at the same time and they do connect, but they are not the same issue. One argument says here is a company that is owned by one man. It has a huge presence on the internet which gives Mark Zuckerberg a disproportionate influence over internet users. So the argument here is that Zuckerberg’s company needs some regulation.

But that depends on whether we are talking about consumerism or elections. Unlike Cambridge Analytica Mark Zuckerberg, I’m thinking, did not intend to influence a US election any more than he intended to make identity theft a more common type of crime. He did intend to use what all websites use and what Bruce Schneier, writing at cnn.com yesterday morning (March 26, 2018) called “surveillance capitalism.”

Facebook users are not that naïve. We know that, although Facebook has gotten quite picky about what privacy level we want for things we post, they still allow all kinds of other apps and sites to collect our data and that of our friends. How many times have you given up your contacts to gain quick access to a site? The problem is that this allows someone like Cambridge Analytica, an organization that has only a fiduciary relationship with Facebook to mine data that Facebook supposedly protects but actually makes accessible to all who pay to advertise on the platform.

Since our entire culture centers around making money, having money, making more money and stockpiling as much money as you can and since every company has the same goals – profit- it is hard to fault Zuckerberg for being a successful businessman. If no one ever used this data to spy, to meddle in an election(/s), then we would not be having this discussion right now.

We are at a time when meddling in American elections seems to be the project of the moment for way too many people and at least one nation. I am not talking about voter fraud. I do not think we the people are even on the list of election tinkerers. Are both the GOP and the Dems using the internet to feed false information to people who use social media? I don’t think so. Were those who stole data under false pretenses and used it to fix (or try to fix) an election only trying to stop Hillary, or did they only wish to elect Trump – or would they have tried to throw the election to any candidate on the right. It seems that the election of 2016 was very important to an awful lot of people, and that they were are all working for the right.

Regardless of who Cambridge Analytica was working for, or whether or not Putin had people trying to fix the election, or even if Hillary and the Dems were trying to fix the election against Bernie Sanders, clearly we must protect our elections from any kind of meddling. Free and fair elections are the basis of our democracy/republic. Given what we can see about the lack of any reliable privacy on the internet and the modern tendency to push media into our communities that offers partisan propaganda, but likes to pretend that it is offering unbiased facts, obviously, some real effort and study needs to be dedicated to protecting our “free and fair” elections. Since some people feel that all is fair in politics and elections this effort cannot be delayed. We have another election coming up. We have elections all the time.

It is disingenuous to try to make Mark Zuckerberg the scapegoat for what is happening with our elections. Perhaps this is more Conservative razzle-dazzle to distract everyone from noticing that most of the election meddling was done on behalf of the GOP and Donald Trump. Zuckerberg just uses the same “surveillance capitalism” that all sites use on the web (although it is possible he pioneered some of the methodologies currently in use). These tactics are invasive and annoying and they make hacking the web a gamble with a big payoff.

We do need some oversight on the internet or the internet will become so crime-ridden that it will be shunned by people who cannot take risks with their data or their money. And this very model of “surveillance capitalism” is used on all social media but Facebook has the biggest treasure trove of personal information. Can Facebook be fixed? Will we like it to death?

It also feels as if some people are feeling personally vindictive towards Mark Zuckerberg and some professional jealousy may be increasing their desires to force him to answer to Congress and take him down a peg or two. We need to keep our eye on the main focus here and that is to guarantee that our elections are free and fair. If we have to rein in capitalism on the internet, are we willing to do that at a time when our government is busily overturning all the regulations that are now in place? What we need most of all is a new government.

Dems Do So Too Have Substance

american-flag-antiqued big pixabaySo much has been written that is critical of Democrats. Some say they are no different from Republicans, mainly because they also seem fixated on money and war, at least those seem to be the key complaints.

Others complain that the Dems have no substance, that voters do not know what the party stands for. It is true that Dems do not have a web of think tanks and foundations that hold frequent meetings and produce approved lists of talking points. If the Democratic Party starts doing lockstep they will lose their constituents and they will certainly lose me. It would not suit the modus operandi of the party, which believes in inclusion and which wants to be the party of “we the people”. Detractors argue that its power structure is perhaps made up of too many wealthy people who do not favor more progressive goals and who are too moderate for the tastes of many would-be Democrats.

Someone (a friend who scours the internet for memes like the one below) sent this list out on Facebook. I could not find the attribution but it is not mine. However it is a pretty complete and well-designed outline of the policies that Dems find important and serves as an excellent counterpoint to the policies we see being played out on the right. These party goals remind me of why I will be a Democrat as long as the party supports these policies.

  • Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class
    o Raising Workers’ Wages
    o Protecting Workers’ Fundamental Rights
    o Supporting Working Families
    o Helping More Workers Share in Near-Record Corporate Profits
    o Expanding Access to Affordable Housing and Homeownership
    o Protecting and Expanding Social Security
    o Ensuring a Secure and Dignified Retirement
    o Revitalizing Our Nation’s Postal Service
  • Create Good-Paying Jobs
    o Building 21st Century Infrastructure
    o Fostering a Manufacturing Renaissance
    o Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs
    o Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology
    o Supporting America’s Small Businesses
    o Creating Jobs for America’s Young People
  • Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality
    o Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System
    o Promoting Competition by Stopping Corporate Concentration
    o Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes
    o Promoting Trade That is Fair and Benefits American Workers
  • Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities
    o Ending Systemic Racism
    o Closing the Racial Wealth Gap
    o Reforming our Criminal Justice System
    o Fixing our Broken Immigration System
    o Guaranteeing Civil Rights
    o Guaranteeing Women’s Rights
    o Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights
    o Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities
    o Respecting Faith and Service
    o Investing in Rural America
    o Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind
    o Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas
    o Promoting Arts and Culture
    o Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations
    o Fighting for the People of Puerto Rico
    o Honoring the People of the Territories
  • Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy
    o Protecting Voting Rights
    o Fixing Our Broken Campaign Finance System
    o Appointing Judges
    o Securing Statehood for Washington, DC
    o Strengthening Management of Federal Government
  • Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice
    o Building a Clean Energy Economy
    o Securing Environmental and Climate Justice
    o Protecting Our Public Lands and Waters
  • Provide Quality and Affordable Education
    o Making Debt-Free College a Reality
    o Providing Relief from Crushing Student Debt
    o Supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions
    o Cracking Down on Predatory For-Profit Schools
    o Guaranteeing Universal Preschool and Good Schools for Every Child
  • Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans
    o Securing Universal Health Care
    o Supporting Community Health Centers
    o Reducing Prescription Drug Costs
    o Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
    o Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction
    o Treating Mental Health
    o Supporting Those Living with Autism and their Families
    o Securing Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
    o Ensuring Long-Term Care, Services, and Supports
    o Protecting and Promoting Public Health
    o Ending Violence Against Women
    o Preventing Gun Violence
  • Principled Leadership
  • Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans
    o Defense Spending
    o Veterans and Service Members
    o Military Families
    o A Strong Military
  • Confront Global Threats
    o Terrorism
    o Syria
    o Afghanistan
    o Iran
    o North Korea
    o Russia
    o Cybersecurity and Online Privacy
    o Non-Proliferation of Nuclear, Chemical, and Biological Weapons
    o Global Climate Leadership
  • Protect Our Values
    o Women and Girls
    o Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People
    o Trafficking and Modern Slavery
    o Young People
    o Religious Minorities
    o Refugees
    o Civil Society
    o Anti-Corruption
    o Torture
    o Closing Guantánamo Bay
    o Development Assistance
    o Global Health
    o HIV and AIDS
    o International Labor
    • A Leader in the World
    o Asia-Pacific
    o Middle East
    o Europe
    o Americas
    o Africa
    o Global Economy and Institutions

This list of goals is fairly inclusive and it shows that any Democratic administration would have a lot of offer to we the people. One problem I can see with this is that so many of these areas will be eroded by the Trump administration that it will be difficult to set priorities for what to tackle first. It is a lengthy menu and tough to address even some of the many priorities in a timely fashion. 

Another problem is that this list, while impressive, is too lengthy to serve Dems in an election campaign. It needs to be condensed and redesigned from a long list of bullet points which most voters won’t even bother to read, into a convincing and powerful set of promises that are specific and realistic. We should have a contest, with a great prize, to get some clever Democrat to produce just such a memorable meme.

 

Two Weeks Worth of Excerpts from Bizarro World

I want to share some links to some very interesting articles that I have come across recently which document the Bizarro World we now live in

Bernie Sanders brand of economic populism has great appeal, even across the blue/red divide.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/17/can-the-red-blue-partisan-divide-be-overcome-bernie-sanders-thinks-so/

Women have less protection under the constitution than guns.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/16/mira-sorvino-women-have-less-protection-under-the-constitution-than-gun-owners/

Phase two of tax cuts – GOP now wants Dems to help make the middle class tax cuts permanent before the midterm elections. Do you think Dems should help because this policy would be good for “we the people”? Do you think they should refuse to help with this fix because Republicans are only interested in doing this in order to change the 2018 election?

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/378861-gop-pushes-for-phase-two-of-tax-cuts

Trump is an un-American president. Is lying to an ally like Trudeau of Canada the last straw, is it the huge deficit that will accrue if the new GOP spending bill passes? What will be the last straw?

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/18/opinion/trudeau-trump-deficit.html

The alt-right is in disarray but their ideology has moved left into the mainstream Republican policy agenda.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/19/alt-right-is-dying-but-powerful-conservatives-are-mainstreaming-its-ideas/

I don’t find the current incarnation of the GOP very funny but apparently the trending meme about the Meat Loaf dialogue in the Senate suggests that humor is not completely dead.

https://www.npr.org/2017/12/08/569365614/lawmakers-start-quoting-meat-loaf-lyrics-just-because

Both parties have used a strategy that this author calls “constitutional hardball” (I call it sedition) – but the data suggests that this has been practiced more often on the right in asymmetric fashion.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/18/tilting-the-playing-field-how-republican-constitutional-hardball-has-reshaped-politics/

Hillary was right, Trump is backward

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/15/hillary-clinton-was-right-the-parts-of-america-that-support-trump-are-stuck-in-the-past/

Mississippi is trying to pass a new law that bans abortions after 15 weeks. Is this against the letter of Roe v Wade or just the spirit of Roe v Wade and why can’t men leave women’s reproductive rights for women to decide? When men decide what women can and cannot do this smacks of regression and undermines women’s rights in general.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/15/mississippi-moves-toward-15-week-abortion-ban-claiming-it-will-help-women/

Twitter fight on Bernie Sanders reveals an on-going troll operation.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/democratic-bot-network-sally-albright_us_5aa2f548e4b07047bec68023

Koch is sending teachers free lesson plans in social studies. You can just imagine what deficiencies might be contained in this material (a lot of important -isms). And teachers have been using these materials for quite some time.

https://www.theroot.com/millions-of-students-are-quietly-being-taught-the-koch-1823742091

Rising seas threaten Easter Island antiquities

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/14/climate/easter-island-erosion.html

Trump’s war on the press – by Thomas Edsall who always gives lots of backup data.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/15/opinion/trump-press-freedom-fake-news.html

An all-expense paid trip to Europe for a blogger – hurry the deadline is soon.

https://www.news4jax.com/news/dream-job-company-looking-to-hire-people-to-tour-europe-on-all-expenses-paid-trip

An ex-CIA agent opines about Trump’s guilt, danger to democracy, etc.

https://www.salon.com/2018/03/12/veteran-cia-agent-on-trump-corruption-like-weve-never-seen-before/

Constitutional Rot

https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/555860/

Did Cambridge Analytica have any effect on the 2016 election? Do they still have the data they “stole” from 50 million Facebook users, data which showed what they like and post  and what their friends also like and post? Obviously people who are selling things that are not products find value in the same algorithms retailers use.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/opinion/facebook-cambridge-analytica.html

Cambridge Analytica also offered to try to use the Russian strategy of “kompramat” to get something to hold over the heads of politicians if that might help Trump.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/cambridge-analytica-alexander-nix.html

Trump has staff sign nondisclosure agreements.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/03/18/trump-pushed-white-house-staff-sign-non-disclosure-agreements-report/436778002/

ACLU says NDA’s are unconstitutional.

https://www.salon.com/2018/3/19/aclu-donald-trumps-white-house-non-disclosure-agreements-unconstitutional/

Feel free to read the articles that interest you and to capture the “url” if you wish.

 

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – Book

There are not many family sagas that are non-European but Min Jin Lee has added Pachinko to the genre. Sunja Baek is the Korean woman that we follow to Japan. Hooni and Yongji are her parents, poor Koreans who carve out a viable economic space for themselves in the years just before the Japanese come to occupy the Korean Peninsula (in 1910, prior to Europe’s first world war). Hooni is born with a hair lip and does not expect to marry, but he has strength and personality. Yongji is old enough as a single woman to believe she will never marry. Sunja is their only living daughter. She is no great beauty but she has the allure of youth and she is pursued with some patient skill by Koh Hansu, who only visits Korea, but actually lives in Japan. When she tells him she is pregnant he offers to support her but tells her he cannot marry her.

Sunja and her mother run a boarding house for fishermen which is popular because her mother is a great cook. Izak Baek comes to their boarding house very ill, having just arrived in their village on the ferry. He is a Christian minister, going to Japan to take up a post in his brother’s congregation. He most likely has consumption (TB to us) and is not strong. When he learns of Sunja’s pregnancy he asks her to marry him and come to Japan with him. Sunja is reluctant to go because Koh Hansu lives in the very city where they will go to live but she has few options.

Sunja has a son, named Noah and another son named Mozasu (after Moses). Christians are outlawed in Japan and Koreans are looked upon as dogs so the family lives in what is basically the Korean ghetto. Sunja’s husband Isak is arrested and thrown in jail for preaching Christianity. His health problems make this particularly punitive for him. By the time he gets out of jail he is in very bad shape indeed. According to this author, the Japanese do not feel any foreign people are fine enough to be accepted by the Japanese people. This is the same attitude, seven decades later, that Sunja’s grandson Solomon encounters when he returns from school in America to work in Japan.

Noah, Sunja and Izak’s first child,  is actually the son of Koh Hansu. Hansu climbs the power ladder in Japan, but as a yakuza, so he is considered a criminal type, like a member of a mafia. Noah does not know this man is his father. Noah is very bright and longs to go to college in Japan. Hansu makes sure Noah is able to do as he wishes but there are repercussions and, in a sense, Sunja pays for her sins. The second son meets a Korean mentor who runs several Pachinko parlors. Pachinko is a game similar to pinball but it also involves gambling, so our equivalent of a Pachinko parlor is a casino. Many owners are criminals but Mozasu’s mentor runs his businesses cleanly. Eventually this second son owns three Pachinko parlors of his own and the family no longer has to worry about money.

This book covers the generations of this family growing up in Japan between 1910 and 1989. These Korean people never become Japanese citizens because, in fact, even if an immigrant from Korea does become a naturalized citizen, Koreans must carry passports from South Korea. The family may be fictional but the events they live through are not. This follows the form we are used to in most family sagas.

Sunja lives with Izak’s brother Joseph and his wife and it is the lives of the two couples and their offspring that we follow for seven decades and through two world wars. This novel requires an investment in time but the history covered is new to most of us and interesting because of it.

I listened to this book on Audible as I was able to use a credit to read it in that format without cost. The narrator had a clear voice but she was so sweet she did not always seem appropriate in times when life got bitter for the family. There is also some graphic sex in the last section of the book which seemed odd when read in the same tone as the rest. The sexual scenes were there for a reason but were quite jarring juxtaposed against the rest of the content. Even when Sunja had her illicit relationship with Koh Hansu the encounters were not at all graphic (of course Sunja’s experiences were in 1910 and Hannah’s experiences were in the 1980’s). Still I think if this was used as a book club selection readers would need to be forewarned about what to expect. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is a book that is growing on me now that I have finished reading it. It is vivid enough to be memorable but has a sort of sparseness that makes it better as history than as literature.

Any Trump Wednesday Another Nor’easter

 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Washington feels depressingly similar to the nor’easters arriving daily as lake effect on my back doorstep. The stuff piles up day after day burying us in snowy fallout we are quite sick of. It’s not a perfect metaphor because snow is occasionally beautiful. But the only beauty I have seen lately in Washington is those children against school terrorism, sitting silently for 17 minutes with their backs turned to the White House, the symbol of their government.

It’s not a perfect metaphor because the snow will eventually melt, but the heavy burdens of a country that is so wrong; the heavy weight of a nation that has a President who is wrong, will not melt away. It must be chipped away day by day, but it can’t be chipped away because it keeps getting thicker and heavier news cycle after news cycle, and, apparently, we don’t have the right tools for the job.

So on this Wednesday we say goodbye Rex Tillerson. You were a terrible Secretary of State but we will now be stuck with Mike Pompeo who will be an even worse Secretary of State. Our President, who could barely face children whose friends were gunned down in their American school because he is such a coward, tells South Korea that he will meet with Kim Jong-un who is truly quite frightening (he assassinates people). It is, however, highly unlikely that it will be possible to find a spot that is secure enough to suit the President, who talks as if he is brave, but who proves that he is not.

Goodbye Dodd-Frank, hello new financial and/or housing bubble. The banks can get away with anything. Wall Street can cook up new rip offs to tank the economy and line their own pockets. Hello almost new gun control laws, and goodbye to those same laws almost as soon as the grieving parents and children left the building.

Say goodbye to your pension Andrew McCabe, exiting the FBI after 21 years of service. It wasn’t enough to get you to retire early – you need to get shafted for all eternity, because fake Hillary stuff.

Goodbye House investigation into Russian intervention in our election and hello to newly sainted Trump who is not ever guilty of anything. Goodbye Stormy Daniels, even though Trump never signed the non-disclosure documents you may still not be able to disclose any incriminating evidence. You got screwed literally, you will get screwed again figuratively, and now we are getting screwed too because here is another crime that will never unseat a bad President.

Our President makes it look so easy to look very guilty, to actually commit a crime, and yet to walk away from it unscathed because he has learned to play the game so well. He inspires many Americans to try this too. No wonder this nation feels more like scam-merica than ever. Our phones ring all day long but we can’t answer them because we might be scammed. We are afraid that every time we go online we could lose our identity. Computer hacking has gotten to be so common that it may end the Tech Age. We’re afraid that even if our own computer is turned off some bad actor like Experian will fumble and expose our data (or sell it).

Goodbye James Schwab, spokesman for Homeland Security  who took issue with the things Jeff Sessions had to say about Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf – about recent deportation activities in California. He refused to issue false facts and when he could not get a new statement he quit his job. Hello Wall, he wants the transparent one, “We have to be able to see what’s happening on the other side.”

Someone tried to sell a decommissioned helicopter – oops – that was an NCIS rerun.

Goodbye to Sergei Skripal and Yulia, the ex-spy and his daughter killed with a chemical nerve agent in Salisbury, England. Our President was the last to accept that Putin was responsible and to offer lukewarm support for Theresa May.

Hello Conor Lamb, a Democrat in Pennsylvania in a district so gerrymandered to favor the GOP that the courts ordered that it be redrawn. Good for you, and may you be just the beginning of a blue tsunami. (Something positive crept in.)

Hello “Space Force”. I guess we will be weaponizing space before we even are able to go there.

We also learned this week that Trump and his followers may be in a state of “collective narcissism”. Yikes!

This is only one Wednesday in the Trump administration and I’m sure I missed a lot. I want this attack on our democracy to end but it will be some time before I get my wish. In fact the snows of winter will most likely have come and gone many times before our would-be dictator lets go of his hold over us and is finished with turning our lives upside-down. I am wishing for an end to the storms in Washington even more than I am wishing for Spring and I am in despair with waiting. Eight years of Obama was not nearly enough.

Goodbye Stephen Hawking, you deserve peace. You were a gift to all of us and we will remember you.

(I wrote this before I saw the Steven Colbert show last night, but our thoughts were obviously in sync.)

Media Takeover: Why Does Sinclair Want Local News

From PanAm Post

 

Our media is involved in a takeover, possibly by the Koch brothers and their Conservative web of organizations, or at least by Conservatives, and we are not paying enough attention to this. Last week one of the newscasters on my local TV station read this statement:

“The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media, more alarming, national media outlets are publishing these same fake stories without checking facts first. Unfortunately, some members of the national media are using their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’ … This is extremely dangerous to our democracy.”

Then the anchors are supposed to strike a more positive tone and say that their local station pursues the truth.

“We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left or right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.”

This is exactly the type of irony that modern Conservatives seem to love. They claim that they are protecting you from the very thing they are doing to you. Fox News and other Conservative media have invented “fake” news and now they are warning you to protect yourself against it. But they are using their brain twisting propaganda, their sleight of mind, because they are actually the people who are pushing “fake stories without checking facts first.” Conservatives love to pretend that liberals are the guilty party and they use name calling and table turning to make their case. They are hoping that by the time they are done listeners will no longer know what is fact and what is “fake” and then they will be able to sell us any old thing, or idea, or “truth”.

It is probably a fair assumption to make that most listeners pretty much accept at face value anything they hear on the news, especially the local news, which until now has been fairly trustworthy. It is difficult to propagandize the weather, or the local police blotter, or local sports, although if someone wanted to they could probably do it. I just don’t think anyone ever gave it a thought before now. Very little time on local news channels is devoted to national or international news. Any national news story on a Sinclair station can now be assumed to have a Conservative or, more likely now, a Trumpian bias.

I don’t know about you, but when I was coming up we were taught to abhor state-mandated news and to see it as a warning that our democracy was turning into an authoritarian state. In fact, dictating what the media could or could not say was a key feature of authoritarian government. Russia was famous for going back to old news and changing it to match a current ideology. We used to smack our foreheads here in America, the land of the free, and wonder how people could be fooled by this. If they remembered what the story used to be how did they rewire their brain to accept the new version. Perhaps they didn’t do that, but knew that they had better pretend that they accepted whatever the state dished out. Authoritarian leaders rule by fear and that is why we watch carefully for any signs that our democracy might have been co-opted by a dictatorship.

Well here we are at this moment, with a leader who does not seem to believe that a democracy can foster strong leadership, a man who crosses his arms, strikes a pose, and says that he will be our strong leader, a man whose role models for strong leadership all head dictatorships. Here we are with a leader who uses fear to govern, although not necessarily fear of himself (yet). Here we are at this moment with a leader who is allowing Conservative media outlets to ignore FCC rules against one outlet owning too many stations, trashing our protections against a media takeover. Here we have this company, Sinclair Communication (Broadcasting) controlling more local stations than anyone has ever even wanted to own and still seeking a merger with Tribune Media which would allow them to control more local stations. Alarm bells should be going off all over the place, but this story is not considered “sexy” enough to get much play in media that is still “free”.

Why does Sinclair want all of these local stations if not to push out propaganda disguised as a local news, to hit people where they live? Doesn’t this frighten you? It frightens the hell out of me. It is often quite subtle though, now that Sinclair has learned not to slap us in the face with known Trump mouthpieces. It confuses listeners even more if they offer up some stories that almost seem like real news and then present us, once in a while, with something more key where a swerve to the right matters.

The last story I saw was about imposing a federal gas tax to pay for infrastructure. It sounded like a real story discussing the pros and cons of a 25 cent increase per gallon to be used for fixing roads and bridges. We have raised infrastructure money before with a gas tax. But oddly, at the end of the story, is a small commentary about what the Koch brothers have to say about this. Michelle Macaluso (a known newscaster for Sinclair) takes us, at light speed, through a chart showing how the gas tax would affect consumers at various tax brackets. The Koch brothers are opposed to putting a tax on gas. They could, in fact, be the actual authors of that pledge GOP lawmakers made to the organization Americans for Tax Reform, headed by Grover Norquist, the pledge that makes a very positive-sounding promise that taxes are never to be raised (be careful what you wish for). Why were the Koch brothers and their opinion even included in this local report of a national news story. Perhaps because the Koch brothers are deep in the middle of the current rush to acquire media outlets for Conservatives. Look for connections between Sinclair, Nexstar, Meredith and even the head of the FCC, Ajit Pai. If these folks have their way there will be a one party system in the media and in Washington, and America will be ruled by a single ideology, the Conservative Way.

Everyone who feels that our democracy is in mortal danger should be talking about this media takeover, tweeting about this, making memes about this, letting the FCC know that we are watching them. Given the number of old rules and norms being thrown on the trash heap everyday it is difficult to stay concerned about all of it. But when we are faced with unfettered capitalism, and runaway pollution and climate change, and the constant erosion of our rights we must add the assault on our free press (including all media) and continue to remind people of what news is real and what news is not, even if they don’t believe us.

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a19180102/sinclair-broadcasting-anti-media-propaganda/

https://theslot.jezebel.com/sure-sounds-like-sinclair-broadcasting-ju

https://www.mediaite.com/online/sinclair-broadcast-group-reportedly-forcing-its-anchors-to-tape-promos-blasting-media-so-manipulative/

http://variety.com/2018/tv/news/sinclair-tribune-merger-new-york-chicago-station-sale-1202716597/#utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=social_bar&utm_content=bottom&utm_id=1202716597 – Sinclair’s ‘Brazen’ Plan to Sell New York, Chicago Stations With Strings Attached Draws Criticism

 

Conservative Creep – Causes and Cures

From a Google image search – King Law Group

 

To Governor Cuomo and the people of New York State and America:

Why have Conservatives been able to gain such a strong foothold in Central NY?

Here are a couple of stories that might offer us a hint.

Two boys/young men (both 18) in Watertown, NY started a fire in a factory in that town and two firefighters were injured and sent to the hospital in Syracuse.

Scott J. Munson and John H. Long, both 18, were arrested Tuesday by the Watertown Police Department. They were charged with starting a fire that severely damaged a vacant building and caused a brick wall to fall on firefighters who were battling the blaze.

http://www.newyorkupstate.com/northern-ny/2018/02/teens_charged_with_starting_fire_that_injured_two_watertown_firefighters.html

These 18 years olds are no longer in school. What do they do all day? Of course the article did not say, however it looks like they do not have any constructive activities, and perhaps no plans for the future that will lead to any kind of enjoyable, productive lives. Right now they will probably be in jail for a while, which absolutely is not likely, statistically speaking, to lead to any positive outcomes. I am guessing these two did not love school. Did they ever get any help? Did anyone ever ask them what they would like to do and help make concrete plans so they could have a different future? I doubt it. By the time a counselor might have been available to talk with them they were most likely in high school and not open to discussions with adults who seemed to be in positions of authority. So two lives wasted, at least for a while, and these guys are not alone. Boys in the North Country (north of Syracuse, NY are often in the same state as these two when they leave school and girls seem to believe that their only opportunity is to marry someone a bit better off than these two. Fort Drum is nearby offering girls the “Officer and Gentleman” experience (if they are very lucky).

Here’s another recent news story from around Syracuse:

More than 40 school shooting, violence threats in Upstate NY since Parkland (list)

“Since the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Feb. 14, shooting threats at school across America have come into sharp focus.

In Upstate New York alone, there have been more than 40 incidents of reported or rumored threats of shootings, bombings, arson or other forms of violence against schools in the region and their students and staff. Some have resulted in arrests while others resulted in disciplinary action.”

“Shortly after the Parkland shooting, a wave of threats were made to school districts in Madison, Cayuga, Jefferson, Monroe , Rensselaer, Cattaraugus, Erie and Delaware Counties within a few days. Threats were made both in person and on social media. Some were not deemed credible.”

http://www.newyorkupstate.com/news/2018/03/upstate_ny_school_threats_since_parkland_shooting.html

You can read the article, if you are interested in a description of each of the 40 incidents. Most of these children are between the ages of 12 and 15, although at least one suspect is 23. It may be that some of these young children just wanted to get out of school and did not understand what could happen to them, but in some cases weapons were found and threats seemed credible.

There are symptoms that we need to evaluate and remediate  (Causes)

What are we missing in our American towns, villages, and small cities? Why would so many children carry out threat calls or plan terrorist acts? It is a symptom that our society is not offering opportunity and security to our young people. How could it? Even adults don’t find much in the way of opportunity or creativity or productivity or security.

The popularity of Fox News in our Central NY communities is another symptom that people want answers. All evening and all weekend long Fox commentators tell the parents of these children that they know the answers, and they tell them that the Democrats ruined American society by forcing programs on the government such as Medicaid, Medicare, Welfare, Disability, Obamacare. The media on the right tells parents that those lefties are letting illegal immigrants stay in this country (although both parties share the guilt for an ineffective immigration system). They convince their listeners that Democrats are “bleeding hearts” (a Catholic symbol that people may actually have on their bedroom walls) and we are too concerned about human rights to take care of American rights. Fox News offers both answers and blame, making sure that the people know who to vote for if they vote at all.

These are not all good people and not all bad people. Many worked all their lives until the factories where they worked closed. Some lost their pensions. Most did not go to high school. They are friendly people who, for the most part, work/ed hard. They do not always encourage their children to do well in school however. They may not all be traditional parents who make dinners and cookies and keep up with the laundry and watch movies with their children, although in farm communities children still help their parents with farm work. But they, and their children, can see that opportunities are fewer, and jobs require fairly basic skills, and paychecks are unlikely to be big enough to cover expenses.

Conservatives make promises to these folks. We will bring factories back (now they say jobs). We will deport immigrants. We will stop giving government money to those who don’t deserve it (minorities) so there will be enough for you. We will make sure you can keep your guns (in case there is a revolution). They offer security.

They never say we will give more money to people who are already rich. They never say that if they replace healthcare with their own plan certain valuable factors will be lost such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, and no lifetime caps. Many of these folks are caregivers for elderly parents and children with disabilities.

Here are some numbers. Notice how much worse the stats are for younger people than they are for older people. These are 2018 numbers.

http://www.newyorkupstate.com/news/2018/02/upstate_ny_unemployment_rates_buffalo_syracuse_rochester_albany_ranked.html

#1 Rome

Total unemployment rate: 5.5%
Total labor force participation rate: 55%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 11.8%
20-24: 10.3%
25-29: 10.4%
30-34: 4.1%
35-44: 4.9%
45-54: 0.8%
55-59: 1.8%
60-64: 3.5%
65-74: 14%
75+: 5.4%

Eligible population: 26658

#6 North Tonawanda

Total unemployment rate: 7.9%
Total labor force participation rate: 66.3%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 26.8%
20-24: 9.2%
25-29: 10.1%
30-34: 6.3%
35-44: 7.4%
45-54: 4%
55-59: 8.8%
60-64: 2.3%
65-74: 11.5%
75+: 0%

Eligible population: 25942

#8 Watertown

Total unemployment rate: 9.2%
Total labor force participation rate: 65.2%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 30.1%
20-24: 10%
25-29: 4.9%
30-34: 6.4%
35-44: 8.2%
45-54: 16.2%
55-59: 7.9%
60-64: 1.1%
65-74: 1.9%
75+: 0%

Eligible population: 21146

#10 Auburn

Total unemployment rate: 9.7%
Total labor force participation rate: 57.3%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 28.1%
20-24: 18.1%
25-29: 16.4%
30-34: 9.7%
35-44: 4.1%
45-54: 7.1%
55-59: 2.9%
60-64: 5.4%
65-74: 1%
75+: 5.5%

Eligible population: 22331

#12 Buffalo

Total unemployment rate: 9.9%
Total labor force participation rate: 58.7%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 29.3%
20-24: 12.1%
25-29: 10.1%
30-34: 8.4%
35-44: 9%
45-54: 8%
55-59: 6.7%
60-64: 6.7%
65-74: 8.9%
75+: 5.5%

Eligible population: 206177

#15 Syracuse

Total unemployment rate: 10.7%
Total labor force participation rate: 56.7%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 34.6%
20-24: 13.2%
25-29: 8.5%
30-34: 8.6%
35-44: 10.5%
45-54: 8.6%
55-59: 5.9%
60-64: 6%
65-74: 3.5%
75+: 3.5%

Eligible population: 116091

#18 Utica

Total unemployment rate: 11.9%
Total labor force participation rate: 57.5%

Unemployment rates by age:
16-19: 27.6%
20-24: 13.9%
25-29: 15.2%
30-34: 13.4%
35-44: 11.4%
45-54: 7.9%
55-59: 7.9%
60-64: 8%
65-74: 4.1%
75+: 4.8%

Eligible population: 47467

Implications:

It is hard to imagine what a young person feels when they live in a community which offers them so little. Kids with skills leave to take jobs in other geographic locations. Kids and young adults without money or training destroy their lives with opioids, or other illegal activities, or grind away at jobs that will never offer enough money to rise up or raise a family with any more hope than they currently have. No wonder people feel hopeless and do even terrible things to get noticed or try to get ahead. No wonder they listen to the same news shows that their parents listen to and come to believe that Republicans have the answers they seek, even though there is no proof that Republican ideas will even leave us with a workable society at all. They blame the recession on Obama, who could not have been responsible for that bad economy since he was not yet in office when the financial bubble broke.

What can we do to restore some balance? (Cures)

Our federal government is just about useless at the moment (I just cannot give Trump credit for the healthier economy yet or perhaps ever.) I will look to Albany to come up with ways to help our young people and reverse the trend of fairly radical conservative influences that are giving us representatives to the US House who are simply Republican rubber stamps or outright Trumpists. All the best solutions will involve approaches to education and training.

This will require spending money in areas of the state that do not provide the state treasury with a lot of money, and it will require bucking the demands of  wealthier downstate constituents, not to mention NY Republicans without losing the ability to get reelected. OK, that’s a pretty tall order. But if the programs that Central NY needs to discover the talents and train the children get a strong start, they will perhaps become more self-sustaining or, at least, less expensive. It will not be easy to convince neglected young people that these opportunities are real because so many programs fail. Find great people, design great programs and they will come. The way our young people’s lives are being wasted or constrained will be a constant drain on our state and our nation. Conservatives are not infiltrating the area to solve its problems. They are only here to exploit people’s discontent in order to get votes. Please get a committee working on some way to get us more balance between the left and the right in Central NY. Find us ways to save our young people. These people feel invisible.

Many of the towns and villages around Syracuse, NY are rural and many are set in the midst of beautiful landscapes. These places offer or could offer entertainments for people who enjoy activities in natural environments. It might be possible to boost the leisure industries in some of these areas without ruining the state of nature that makes them so attractive. Ecotourism, fishing businesses, hiking venues, more winter sports venues, boating activities, legal swimming locations, and the hotels that would be necessary to keep consumers who enjoy beautiful spots happy, would also provide employment for citizens in the area. If the left agrees to act, then people will, soon enough, see that the Conservatives are all talk, talk, talk (small government).

March 2018 Book List

March 2018 Book List

 

This month we find a long list of topics covered by authors of newly released books. In this March 2018 book list there is sure to be something here for everyone: Physics, the 60’s, Virtual Reality, Romance, China, Paris, Food,  Sex Toys, Justice Marshall, Eisenhower, Hippies and Food, Kids these days, Kennedy women, Doctor books, Factories, Seppuku, Racism and much more including a perennial favorite, crime fiction. Happy reading. If we could only inject books directly into our brain – although, as with everything, there would be disadvantages I’m sure.

Amazon

Literature and Fiction

 

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

The Sparshot Affair by Alan Hollinghurst

Gun Love: A Novel by Jennifer Clement

The Italian Teacher: A Novel by Tom Rachman

The Adulterants by Joe Dunthome

Trenton Makes: A Novel by Tadzio Zoelb

Laura and Emma by Kate Greathead

Girls Burn Brighter: A Novel by Shobha Rao

Whiskey and Ribbons by Leesa Cross-Smith

The House of Broken Angels by Luis Alberto Urrea

Gods of Howl Mountain: A Novel by Taylor Brown

The Cloister: A Novel by James Carroll

 

Biographies and Memoirs

 

Disappointment River: Finding and Losing the Northwest Passage by Brian Castner

Twentieth Century Boy: Notebooks of the Seventies by Duncan Hannah

Just the Funny Parts…and a Few Hard Facts about Sneaking into the Hollywood Boy’s Club by Nell Scovell

Agatha Christie: A Mysterious Life by Laura Thompson

Patriot Number One American Dreams in Chinatown by Lauren Hilgers

Tomorrow Will Be Different: Love, Life, and the Fight for Trans Equality by Sarah McBride, Joe Biden

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Intro), Patton Oswalt (Afterword

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans

The Age of Eisenhower: America and the World in the 1950’s by William I. Hitchcock

A Season in the Sun: The Rise of Mickey Mantle by Randy Roberts, Johnny Smith

 

Mysteries and Thrillers

 

Crimson Lake: A Novel by Candice Fox

The Flight Attendant: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Giordano, John Brownjohn

Barbed Wire Heart by Tess Sharpe

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

High White Sun by J. Todd Scott

Bone Music (The Burning Girl Series) by Christopher Rice

The Punishment She Deserves: A Lynley Novel by Elizabeth George

Chicago: A Novel by David Mamet

The Temptation of Forgiveness: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery by Donna Leon

Green Sun by Kent Anderson

 

Nonfiction

 

What is Real? The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics by Adam Becker

To the Edges of the Earth: 1909: the Race for Three Poles and the Climax of the Age of Exploration by Edward J. Larsen

The Last Wild Man of Borneo: A True Story of Death and Treasure by Carl Hoffman

Walking the Americas: !800 Miles, Eight Countries and One Incredible Journey from Mexico to Columbia by Levison Wood

Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 by Ryan H Walsh

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos by Christian Davenport

Atom Land: A Guided Tour through the Strange (and Impossibly Small) World of Particle Physics by Jon Butterworth

The Wisdom of Wolves: Lessons from the Saw Tooth Pack by Jim Dutcher, Jamie Dutcher

 

Science Fiction and Fantasy

 

The Coincidence Makers: A Novel by Yoav Blum

The Hunger by Alma Katsu

The Wonder Engine: Clocktaur War Book 2 by T. Kingfisher

Children of Blood and Bones (Legacy of Orïsha) by Tomi Adeyemi

The Warrior Within by Angus McIntyre

Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden, Tim Lebbon

High Voltage (Fever) by Karen Marie Moning

Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega) by Patricia Briggs

Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Lake Silence (The World of the Others) by Anne Bishop

 

New York Times Book Review

Feb. 4th

Fiction

 

In Every Moment We Are Alive by Tom Malmquist

Munich by Robert Harris

The Afterlives by Thomas Pierce

Little Reunions by Eileen Chang

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

 

Crime Novels

 

The Gatekeeper by Charles Todd

The Wanted by Robert Crais

Mephisto Waltz by Frank Tallis

The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

 

Nonfiction

 

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How it Works, and What it Can Do by Jeremy Bailenson

The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann

The Road to Sleeping Dragon by Michael Meyer

Nine Continents by Xiaolu Guo

To Fight Against This Age by Rob Riemen

The Saboteur by Paul Kix

L’Appart: The Delights and Disasters of Making My Paris Home by David Lebovitz

A Taste of Paris: A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food by David Downie

Eating Eternity: Food, Art, and Literature in France by John Baxter

 

Feb. 11th (for Valentine’s Day)

Fiction

 

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Endless Summer by Madame Nielsen

Some Hell by Patrick Nathan

Straying by Molly McCloskey

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

The Art of Vanishing by Laura Smith

My Last Love Story by Falguni Kothari

Our Lady of the Prairie by Thisbe Nissen

Surprise Me by Sophie Kinsella

 

Romances

 

Devil in Tartan by Julia London

One and Only by Jenny Holiday

Promise Not to Tell by Judith Krentz

Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

 

Nonfiction

 

The Kiss by Brian Turner

Getting Off by Erica Garza

Buzz: The Stimulating History of the Sex Toy By Hallie Lieberman

Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stores Changed the Business of Pleasure by Lynn Comella

 

Feb. 18th

Fiction

 

Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

The Maze at Windermere by Gregory Blake Smith

Peculiar Ground by Lucy Hughes-Hallett

Ferlinghetti’s Greatest Poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

In Black and White by Junichiro Tanizaki

 

Crime Fiction

 

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

The Unforgotten by Laura Powell

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

The Policeman’s Daughter by Trudy Nan Boyce

 

Nonfiction

 

Directorate S by Steve Loll

Hippie Food by Jonathan Kauffman

Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millenials by Malcolm Harris

The Selfie Generation: How Our Self Images are Changing Our Nation’s Privacy, Sex, Consent, and Culture by Alicia Eles

iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebelious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood by Jean M. Twenge

The Ukranian Night by Marci Shore

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara, intro by Gillian Flynn, afterword by Patton Oswalt

 

Feb. 25th

Nonfiction

 

Time Pieces by John Banville

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors

Up, Up, Down, Down by Cheston Knapp

Smoketown by Mark Whitaker

Jackie, Janet, and Lee by J. Randy Taraborrelli

The New Negro by Jeffrey C.Stewart

The Real Life of the Parthenon by Patricia Vigderman

 

Fiction

 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (Oprah’s Book Club Pick)

The Boat People by Sharon Bala

A Beautiful Woman by Juliàn López

A Girl in Exile by Ishmail Kadare

 

Domestic Thrillers

 

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Girl Unknown by Karen Perry

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

 

Mar. 2nd

 

Nonfiction

 

Enlightenment Now by Steven Pinker

Eat the Apple by Matt Young

Political Tribes by Amy Chua

It’s Better Than It Looks by Gregg Easterbrook

The Rub of Time by Martin Amis

The Line Becomes a River by Francisco Cantú

Happiness is a Choice You Make by John Leland

Tears of Salt: A Doctor’s Story by Pietro Bartolo and Lidia Tilotta

In Shock: My Journey From Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope by Rana Awdish

The Narrow Space: A Pediatric Oncologist, His Jewish, Muslim, and Christian Patients, and a Hospital in Jerusalem by Elisha Waldman

Becoming Myself: A Psychiatrist’s Memoir by Irvin D Yalom

 

Fiction

 

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

The Invention of Ana by Mikkel Rosengaard

Neon in Daylight by Hermione Hoby

Daphne by Will Boast

 

Crime Fiction

 

Force of Nature by Jane Harper

The Plea by Steve Cavanagh

The Day She Disappeared by Christobel Kent

 

Publisher’s Weekly

Feb 16th

 

Napa at Last Light: America’s Eden in an Age of Calamity by James Conaway

I’ll Stay by Karen Day

Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson

Sunburn by Laura Lippman

Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

Without Precedent: Chief Justice Marshall and His Times by Joel Richard Paul

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper

Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

 

Feb 26th

 

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist: A True Story of Injustice in the American South by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

A Good Day for Seppuku by Kate Braverman

Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower by Brittney Cooper

Behemoth: A History of the Factory and the Making of the Modern World by Joshua B. Freeman

Fatal Discord: Erasmus, Luther, and the Fight for the Western Mind by Michael Massing

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

Silver Girl: A Novel by Leslie Pietrzyk

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler

Eat the Apple: A Memoir by Matt Young

 

Mar 2nd

 

The Poet X: A Novel by Elizabeth Acevebo

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Census: A Novel by Jesse Ball

A Tokyo Romance: A Memoir by Ian Buruma

In Search of Us by Ava Dellaira

The Family Medici: The Hidden History of the Medici Dynasty by Mary Hollingsworth

Speak No Evil: A Novel by Uzodinma Iweala

The Infernal Library: On Dictators, The Books they Wrote, and Other Catastrophes of Literacy by Daniel Kalder

The Sandman: A Joona Linna Novel by Lars Kepler

The Escape Artist: A Thriller by Brad Meltzer

3 Kings: Diddy, Dr. Dre, Jay Z and Hip Hop’s Multibillion-Dollar Rise by Zack O’Malley

Woman’s Hour: The Last Furious Fight to Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss

God Save Texas: A Journey into the Soul of the Lone Star State by Laurence Wright