The atheist writer S. T. Joshi, 55, born in India, raised in Indiana and now living in Seattle, has written or edited more than 200 books, including a novel of detective fiction, a bibliography of writings about Gore Vidal and numerous works about H. L. Mencken.
He edits four periodicals, including Lovecraft Annual, the major review of scholarship about the horror writer H. P. Lovecraft; The American Rationalist, a journal for unbelievers; and The Weird Fiction Review, which is what it sounds like. He once spent years scanning into his computer — and typing what could not be scanned — every word ever written by Ambrose Bierce, about six million total.
And this month Mr. Joshi got a call from a friend who works for Barnes & Noble, asking if he could edit a new edition of “The King in Yellow,” the 1895 collection of supernatural stories by Robert W. Chambers. It seems that the book was a major inspiration for “True Detective,” the popular HBO series. “I am one of maybe three people in the world who knows anything about Robert W. Chambers,” Mr. Joshi said, by way of explanation. His new edition will be out in April.
If you think this story is irrelevant, or just another example of government overreach, I invite you to visit Beijing before we continue here, even if only on a virtual tour.
The air pollution there is now so dense that the sun is blocked to the degree we would find in the aftermath of a nuclear winter.
Small toxic airborne particles are 24 times levels considered safe.
Tall buildings are obscured by toxic clouds of smog.
The atmosphere is so bad that it exceeds the world’s scale for air pollution toxicity. Breathing has become risky behavior for children, who are exposed to pollutants at levels 40 times recommended limits.
Exposed children are at higher risk for cancer, anxiety, depression, attention-deficit disorders, respiratory problems and permanent lung damage. Adults too suffer a myriad of pollution-caused ailments, including an epidemic of cancers. The countryside is no escape. Chinese farmers are “almost four times more likely to die of liver cancer and twice as likely to die of stomach cancer than the global average…”
Beijing air is what happens when the environment is forsaken on the altar of economic growth. The strategy is shortsighted, unless you manufacture face masks. Beijing air is what happens when we oppose reasonable government regulation — such as removing sulfur from gasoline.
“The question is: Are those costs big enough to cause Russia not to take advantage of the situation in the Crimea? That’s the $64,000 question,” said Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan, a retired Army officer who served as defense attaché in the American Embassy in Moscow and now, as a Harvard scholar, leads a group of former Russian and American officials in back-channel talks.
Russia is an even tougher country to pressure, too formidable even in the post-Soviet age to rattle with stern lectures or shows of military force, and too rich in resources to squeeze economically in the short term. With a veto on the United Nations Security Council, it need not worry about the world body. And as the primary source of natural gas to much of Europe, it holds a trump card over many American allies.
The longer-term options might be more painful, but they require trade-offs as well. The administration could impose the same sort of banking sanctions that have choked Iran’s economy. And yet Europe, with its more substantial economic ties, could be reluctant to go along, and Mr. Obama may be leery of pulling the trigger on such a potent financial weapon, especially when he needs Russian cooperation on Syria and Iran.
read more @ the New York Times
meanwhile, Fox News is reporting
A Ukrainian official announced Sunday that all military reservists were being called to active duty, even as Russian troops appeared to be advancing deeper into the Crimean Peninsula.
Foreign Policy takes on the complexity of alliances of language, ethnicity, and culture :
Even the Crimean Autonomous Republic isn’t quite as solidly pro-Russian and pro-Putin as it’s often depicted. The northern part of the peninsula is populated by ethnic Ukrainians, most of whom are bilingual and are likely to have some loyalties to Ukraine. The central and southern parts are populated by Crimean Tatars, who currently comprise about 15-20 percent of the total population. Most of them speak Russian on a daily basis, yet most also oppose Crimea’s annexation by Russia and strongly support the Kiev revolution. Several hundred have even joined the revolutionaries in downtown Kiev.
Kiev nicely illustrates another important nuance. It’s often said that Kiev speaks like the East and votes like the West: most Kievites are fluent in Russian, and most also support the ongoing anti-government revolution, just as they supported the 2004 Orange Revolution. (In the photo above, anti-government protesters in Kiev sing the Ukrainian national anthem.) This means that language preference does not as easily correlate with cultural preferences (Russia versus the West) or political choices (Yanukovych versus the democrats), as the East-West paradigm suggests. In that vast space between far East and far West, many Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians vote against the Party of Regions, support Ukrainian independence, and fear Putin’s Russia. Voters in Dnipropetrovsk, Poltava, Chernihiv, and Kharkiv provinces are known to cast votes for other parties. Neither Yanukoych nor the Party of Regions received 100 percent of the vote in any province. Not surprisingly, about one-fifth of the demonstrators in Kiev hail from Ukraine’s “pro-Russian,” south-eastern provinces.
A cute little educational video about several colorful holiday characters from around the world, other than Santa Claus, via, The New York Times
Updated : Pamella Geller Apparently Believes The NYT Is Antisemitic Due To Its Report On Cancer & Jewish Women
Here’s a quote Right Wing Watch pulled from something she wrote at World Net Daily, which is one of the few places even more insane than her stupid blog.
On the first night of Chanukah, the New York Times indulged in its grotesque penchant for its special brand of subtle, sophisticated Jew-hatred, on the front page - of course.
Not only did the New York Times publish a nipple on the front page (a first) next to a tattooed Jewish star, but the article is all about the cancerous Jews. Front page stuff, don’t you know? All the Jews that are fit to libel in print:
While poor countries struggle to provide even basic cancer care to women, wealthier societies like Israel and the United States are increasingly using sophisticated technologies to identify those at greatest risk in an effort to thwart the disease before it gets started. [emphasis hers]
Front page. It’s really vile - disgusting. A tattooed (tattoos are a violation of Jewish law) Jewish star above a nipple as the image for the “Jews’ genetic predisposition to cancer.” Jews = cancer. Jews were tattooed and naked when they were killed in concentration camps. The Times must be taking its talking points from Iran.
I have a feeling that Geller has a very activate imagination. I just read the New York Times article and there’s nothing remotely antisemitic about it. No where does it demonize Jews or equate Jews or Judaism with Cancer. Also why would antisemitic bigots show any concern for Jewish Women, especially Jewish Israeli women? That would be especially true for anyone who would support rounding up Jews and mass murdering them like the Nazis did.
If Geller is so concerned about demonetization, she should read her own writings. She, along with her Fellow Wingnut, Robert Spencer have done far more to demonize Muslims, than that New York Times article about the very real problem of Breast Cancer in Israel, which didn’t demonize Jews at all. Geller on the other hand, has done an excellent Job of demonizing Muslims.
Earlier this year Imagine 2050 reported on one of her group’s recent ad campaigns.
Over the past several weeks, advertisements featuring images of the September 11 terrorist attacks, Al-Qaeda representatives, and other Islamic extremists have been displayed in public transportation stations and buses in several U.S. cities including Washington D.C., Chicago, and San Francisco.
The ads also feature direct quotes attributed to the pictured extremists saying such things as, “killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah” and “The first thing we are calling you to is Islam.” The ads are a blatant misrepresentation and attempt to slander Islam and Muslims. Unsurprisingly, the ads were commissioned by notorious Islamophobes Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer via their American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
A legal battle forced AFDI to redesign its ads and refrain from using the “#MyJihad” phrase. Even so, the ads remain remarkably similar in design. AFDI’s ads only differ due to subtle changes to wording and border colors.
And here’s a picture of some of the ads she designed that was featured in the Imagine 2050 report.
Remember Geller attacks anything that even remotely portrays Islam or Muslims in a positive light. Complaining about “1,001 Inventions: Discover the Golden Age of Muslim Civilization,” exhibit created by National Geographic, she wrote,
Sharia enforcement extends far beyond the obvious attempts to silence critics of jihad and sharia. The scrubbing of the 270 million victims of jihadi wars, land appropriations, cultural annihilations, and enslavements from academic texts has been going on for well over a decade. The demonization and smearing of politicians who dare speak against the most extreme and radical ideology on the face of the earth is virtually automatic at this point, as is the self-enforcing sharia compliance of the mainstream media.
Pamela Geller also attacked TLC’s All American Muslim reality show and basically outright denied that Islamophobia ( bigotry against Muslims ) which the show was designed to combat, even exists.
The premise behind the creation of the show is the fictional construct “Islamophobia.” “All-American Muslim” is designed to counter “Islamophobia” by showing Muslims who aren’t terrorist monsters, but ordinary people living ordinary lives, balancing tradition and modern life, dealing with their families, their jobs, etc.
Yet based on the most recent FBI statistics, hate crimes against Muslims are at record lows - the lowest since 9/11. Contrast that to the record highs in anti-Semitic attacks against the Jewish people; so where’s TLC’s Jewish family series?
Left-wing sites are shamelessly pushing, promoting and propagandizing the new “All-American Muslim” show. The dhimmi Jew Alyssa Rosenberg urged viewers to watch the show, writing at Think Progress: “Normally, I would never tell you to watch something just because it would make someone mad. But noted Islamophobe Pamela Geller is apparently vexed that TLC’s ‘All-American Muslim,’ a new reality show about a group of Muslim families in Dearborn, Mich., doesn’t achieve what she thinks of as balance, by which she means including story lines where Muslims commit crimes based on their faith.”
In addition to the creeping sharia/Stealth Jihad nonsense, Both Geller and Spencer have also spread the “Taqyya Is Lying For Islam,” myth.
However what Taqiyya really is, lying to save your life when you’re being persecuted by people who just may end up murdering you, if they find out about your true faith. According to Encyclopedia Britannica,
taqiyyah, in Islam, the practice of concealing one’s belief and foregoing ordinary religious duties when under threat of death or injury. Derived from the Arabic word waqa (“to shield oneself”), taqiyyah defies easy translation. English renderings such as “precautionary dissimulation” or “prudent fear” partly convey the term’s meaning of self-protection in the face of danger to oneself or, by extension and depending upon the circumstances, to one’s fellow Muslims. Thus, taqiyyah may be used for either the protection of an individual or the protection of a community. Moreover, it is not used or even interpreted in the same way by every sect of Islam. Taqiyyah has been employed by the Shīʿites, the largest minority sect of Islam, because of their historical persecution and political defeats not only by non-Muslims but also at the hands of the majority Sunni sect..
In addition The British Council Of Ex Muslims, which counts Maryam Namazie as a member and is hardly a pro Islam organization ( which you might have guessed just by the name alone ) has attacked them and the rest of the “Counter Jihad” on this, as well as their belief that all the violent verses in the Qur’an and Hadith Literature abrogate the peaceful ones, and thus the idea that “any good Muslim is terrorist and hates Infidels.”
This is nothing like her and her supporters expect us to believe Taqiyya is. Such as this guy which sounds just as paranoid and Islamophobic as she does. This is what “The Bottom Line Guy,” Claims Taqiyya is, contrary to much more reputable sources.
Taqiyya (“al Taqiyya”) is the Muslims’ license to lie to infidels in order to camouflage Islam’s holy war strategy (jihad) to conquer the world. The strategy mentioned through orders and solicitations in the Quran 3:28 and other Islamic writings and reference applies to all Western countries and against all infidels(non-muslims). (1)
Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Practically every Islamic sect agrees to it and practices it … We can go so far as to say that the practice of taqiyya is mainstream in Islam, and that those few sects not practicing it diverge from the mainstream … Taqiyya is very prevalent in Islamic politics, especially in the modern era. (2)
In reality as my sources have pointed out, not only is it not lying for Islam, its not even a part of Sunni Islam. Its a Shia concept only. So its hardly even a major teaching of Islam. People like “The Bottom Line Guy,” and Geller are not people we should get our information from, especially when it comes to Islam or Muslims.
Let’s also not forgot how Geller reacted to the recent overblown NSA Spying Scandal.
Yet Geller Expects us to believe it is the New York Times which is demonizing a minority, not her or “counter jihad” bigots like her.
Update 12/02/13 at 10:13 PM
By the way, here’s something I just remembered. If Geller really cared so much about antisemitism, she’d be willing to condemn this. Chicago-Based Racist & Anti-Semite Organizes “Freedom of Speech” Event….. Waiting…. Oh of course she won’t do that because ACT! For America is a “Counter Jihad” group, and its a major player in the “counter jihad,” war on Muslims. I can guarantee you that Geller and Spencer will never condemn that event, even long after it occurred. But than again, I guess antisemitism is okay as long its being promoted by people who are against the “even greater evil” of Islam. If all this doesn’t tell you about the true nature of the “counter jihad” movement nothing will. Its a movement that is dedicated to demonizing Muslims and taking their rights away, above everything else, and its major supporters are willing to join forces with people who hate and want to destroy other groups of people, even if they’re people they claim to be defending.
I’m willing to give a hundred dollars to anyone who can find a single condemnation of Eli James and Act For America on either Atlas Shrugs ( Geller’s Blog ) or Jihad Watch ( Spencer’s Blog ). You will not find it.
BERLIN — Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American security contractor granted asylum by Russia, has appealed to Washington to stop treating him like a traitor for revealing that the United States has been eavesdropping on its allies, a German politician who met with Mr. Snowden said on Friday.
Yet “my government continues to treat dissent as defection, and seeks to criminalize political speech with felony charges that provide no defense,” Mr. Snowden wrote. “However, speaking the truth is not a crime. I am confident that with the support of the international community, the government of the United Sates will abandon this harmful behavior.”
We’ll refrain from deliberately sabotaging the global economy, Speaker John Boehner and the other leaders said, if President Obama allows more oil drilling on federal lands. And drops regulations on greenhouse gases. And builds the Keystone XL oil pipeline. And stops paying for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And makes it harder to sue for medical malpractice. And, of course, halts health care reform for a year.
The list would be laughable if the threat were not so serious. A failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause a default on government debt, shattering the world’s faith in Treasury bonds as an investment vehicle and almost certainly bringing on another economic downturn. Unlike a government shutdown, a default could leave the Treasury without enough money to pay Social Security benefits or the paychecks of troops.
The full effects remain unknown because no Congress has ever allowed the government to go over the brink before. The Government Accountability Office estimated that simply by threatening to default in 2011, Republicans cost taxpayers $1.3 billion in higher interest payments because of that uncertainty. The 10-year cost of those higher-interest bonds is $18.9 billion.
Any sober-minded lawmaker should realize that the danger of trifling with the debt limit is far too high. But Mr. Boehner has been encouraging his members to toss their pet projects — hey, let’s insist on Congressional approval for every major federal regulation! — onto the towering list of demands.
More: A Republican Ransom Note
One year ago, in August of 2012, New York Times photographer Robert Stolarik was arrested for allegedly using his camera flash to interfere with police during an arrest. However, after taking a look at the evidence, it’s the police officer who is in hot water and may face up to 7 years in prison after being indicted on three felony counts and five misdemeanors.
According to The New York Times, the altercation took place on August 4th of last year, when Stolarik began taking pictures of a street fight at McClellan Street and Sheridan Avenue in the Bronx. When police officer Michael Ackermann asked him to stop, Stolarik quickly informed him that he was a New York Times journalist and continued photographing the proceedings.
Officer Ackermann’s story came apart when district attorney Robert T. Johnson examined the evidence and found that Stolarik did not use a flash. In fact, he didn’t even have one on his camera at the time. Additionally, no other officers or civilians reported seeing a flash going off.
Charges against Stolarik have been dismissed. Officer Ackermann, on the other hand, faces several counts related to filing false records and official misconduct, which could mean losing his job and up to 7 years in jail.
The problem here is that some buttons in modern life don’t actually do anything at all. The magic between the button press and the result you want is all in your head. You never catch on - because you are not so smart.According to their investigation, “The grim truth is that a significant percentage of the close-door buttons in this world…don’t do anything at all.” The reasons cited were that the button was never wired up, or that it was set to a delay, or was deactivated by the owner, or it broke long ago and no one ever complained because the doors eventually close whether or not you press the buttons.
Computers and timers now control the lights at many intersections, but at one time little buttons at crosswalks allowed people to trigger the signal change. Those buttons are mostly all disabled now, but the task of replacing or removing all of them was so great most cities just left them up. You still press them though, because the light eventually changes.
In an investigation by ABC news in 2010, only one functioning crosswalk button could be found in Austin, Texas; Gainsville, Fla.; and Syracuse, NY.
The city deactivated most of the pedestrian buttons long ago with the emergence of computer-controlled traffic signals, even as an unwitting public continued to push on, according to city Department of Transportation officials. More than 2,500 of the 3,250 walk buttons that still exist function essentially as mechanical placebos, city figures show. Any benefit from them is only imagined.
- New York Times, 2004
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, still hanging out in a Russian airport and possibly departing for Venezuela soon, would really like to finally put this idea that he’s a spy for China and/or Russia to bed. He swears it’s not true, and that it’s all The New York Times’s fault.
In a new interview with his old pal Glenn Greenwald, Snowden makes the big definitive denial that he’s working in service of America’s cold war enemies. “I never gave any information to either government, and they never took anything from my laptops,” he told Greenwald. See, there was piles and piles of speculation that Snowden was cooperating with the Chinese during his brief stay in Hong Kong. But that’s not the case, according to the leaker, and Greenwald argues that all the spy speculation stems entirely from a single New York Times article.
On June 23, the Times reported that two spies believed China had “drained” Snowden’s laptops before allowing him to depart for Russia. “Two Western intelligence experts, who worked for major government spy agencies, said they believed that the Chinese government had managed to drain the contents of the four laptops that Mr. Snowden said he brought to Hong Kong, and that he said were with him during his stay at a Hong Kong hotel,” Jane Perlez and Keith Bradsher reported.
This was all phooey, according to Greenwald. “The NYT decided to publish this incendiary claim in a news article based purely on rank speculation from two anonymous sources,” Greenwald writes today. He does acknowledge that Snowden shouldn’t be taken at his word, necessarily, but that his denial is a lot stronger evidence to the contrary than the belief of two spies who are likely working against him. “Obviously, Snowden’s denial is not dispositive and shouldn’t be treated as such. But it is the only actual evidence on this question thus far,” Greenwald writes.