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Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Rall?

9781609806354For Ted Rall – editorial cartoonist, unembedded war reporter, and longtime Seven Stories author — it’s been a rough week.

Last May, Ted wrote a short editorial on the LAPD’s treatment of jaywalkers for the LA Times, a newspaper that had often published his cartoons and columns.  Rall began his piece by describing a time he had been stopped by the LAPD for jaywalking in 2001:

“All of a sudden, a motorcycle officer zoomed over, threw me up against the wall, slapped on the cuffs, roughed me up and wrote me a ticket. It was an ugly scene, and in broad daylight it must have looked like one, because within minutes there were a couple of dozen passersby shouting at the cop.

“Another motorcycle officer appeared, asked the colleague what the heck he was thinking and ordered him to let me go, which he did. But not before he threw my driver’s license into the sewer.”

Shockingly, more than ten weeks later, the Times announced it was unceremoniously firing Rall, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated former president of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, over the article.  

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So we hear people like Minecraft…

Minecraft_2nd_paperoverboard_mech_draft_B-1_1024x1024In 2013, we were delighted to publish Minecraft: The Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game that Changed Everything.  The results were pretty huge: the book was praised as “a celebration of the power of imagination and creativity,” its authors were cheered for their detailed portrait of a game designer who was “more like a musician or a painter,” and tens of thousands of copies flew off shelves — sometimes faster than we could print ‘em.

We got the message: people really like Minecraft!  So when we heard, late in 2014, that Microsoft was looking to buy Minecraft’s parent company, Mojang, for upwards of two billion-with-a-b dollars, we decided it was time to update our book.  The new second edition of Minecraft is shaping up to be just as big of a deal — already Wired magazine has published an excerpt, and fans have been clamoring for copies of the expanded edition since well before its release.

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Vive le Ralph!

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In a recent column in Salon, Bill Curry wrote:

“Though a private citizen, [Ralph] Nader [has] shepherded more bills through Congress than all but a handful of American presidents.  If that sounds like an outsize claim, try refuting it.  His signature wins [have] included landmark laws on auto, food, consumer product and workplace safety; clean air and water; freedom of information, and consumer, citizen, worker and shareholder rights.  In a century only Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson passed more major legislation.”

Since the publication, half a century ago, of Ralph’s landmark Unsafe at any Speed (by which he initiated the consumer movement, in Curry’s words, “as just one guy banging away at a typewriter”), he has been perhaps America’s foremost voice of conscience and public sobriety, a champion of working- and middle-class Americans, and the unofficial First Citizen of our republic.

When things get serious, Ralph’s who you want around.  

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