June 27, 2014
“Yet, there are those who have a different sense
Of what a lawyer’s role in life should be…”
– William Kunstler, To Leonard Boudin
On the op-ed page of today’s New York Times, the respected lawyer (and Deputy Solicitor General) Neal Katyal offers some resounding praise for the tide of unanimity that has recently washed over the Supreme Court. Arguing that unanimous decisions “signal that the justices can rise above their differences and interpret the law without partisanship,” the article approvingly notes that this judicial season has seen more 9-0 decisions than any in the past 75 years, and proceeds to rank past Chief Justices by the frequency with which their courts achieved consensus. Katyal uses 1954′s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education as a benchmark, citing the moral clarity its unanimity conferred.
Problem is, this example stacks the deck.
June 23, 2014
The late, great Gary Webb may be on his way to becoming one of the very few household names among American investigative journalists. The heavy lifting will likely be done by Kill the Messenger, a major motion picture bound for theaters this October, in which Webb is played with characteristic gravitas and handsomeness by Jeremy Renner. The movie, based largely on Webb’s Dark Alliance — which Seven Stories will be releasing in an expanded new edition this fall – looks appropriately thrilling:
As interest Gary’s work experiences a much-deserved resurgence, though, it may be worth remembering that accolades and encomia were hardly what greeted the book on its initial release. Quite the contrary, actually — the stories that would become Dark Alliance made Gary the target of serious animus from the America’s political right and security apparatus. (One figure of crossover relevance to the two, Lt. Col. Oliver North, memorably derided the reportage as “absolute garbage” — a beautiful feather in Webb’s rabble-rouser cap.) The pressures that mounted as Gary came under increasingly fierce attack culminated, agonizingly, in his suicide, of which 2014 marks the tenth anniversary.
June 19, 2014
This guy is missed.
January 21, 2014
Toby & David of Minecraft Spotlights take a look at some new mods and our book Minecraft: the Unlikely Tale of Markus “Notch” Persson and the Game That Changed Everything.
October 22, 2013
We have all heard the expression, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, but what about a books title? Book titles can intrigue, inspire, and inform a reader about a book with just a few simple words. As for Laurie Rubin’s book, Do You Dream in Color? Insights from a Girl Without Sight, the title is an important part to the story and reading experience as a whole.
Here, Laurie shares some inside information about choosing her book, and song, titles:
Book titles are incredibly important. They capture in a nutshell what a reader is about to get themselves into, what world they will be in for the next several hours, days, weeks, months whenever they pick up a given book. I chose the title, “Do You Dream in Color?” because it was the question people have asked me from time to time. I think it’s such an interesting question for people to ask because I think of dreams as something you are living, not something you’re watching through a television screen.
September 27, 2013
Sixteen years went into the making of the forthcoming feature film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, a fictionalized biopic based on Mandela’s bestselling autobiography, coming out November 28th from the Weinstein Company and starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris. Journalist and filmmaker Danny Schechter, who has been on the front-lines in the fight for freedom in South Africa for the past forty years, was asked by the filmmakers to make a documentary about the filming of the feature film.
Publishing on November 26th, 2013, Madiba A-Z: The Many Faces of Nelson Mandela is his companion book to the documentary, and authorized by the makers of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
In anticipation of the upcoming films and book, here are our seven favorite quotes from Nelson Mandela:
- “A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”
- “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I’d still be in prison.”
- “One of the things I learned when I was negotiating was that until I changed myself, I could not change others.”
- “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”
- “There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”
- “To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.”
- “You will achieve more in this world through acts of mercy than you will through acts of retribution.”
Watch the trailer for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom here.
September 27, 2013
It’s Banned Books Week, a week to celebrate our freedom to read and remember the ceaseless presence of censorship in the US.
An official sponsor of Banned Books Week, Project Censored is releasing their next compilation of the year’s top censored stories. Censored 2014, being published on October 1st, is dedicated to the stories that ought to be top features on the nightly news, but that are missing because of media bias and self-censorship.Check out the Project Censored Radio Show on Banned Books Week co-hosted by Mickey Huff and Dr. Peter Phillips. Mickey and Peter speak with Barbara Jones, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Executive Director of the Freedom to Read Foundation of the American Library Association and with Michael O’Neil of the National Coalition Against Censorship.The Project Censored Show airs weekly on KPFA in Berkeley (Fridays at 8 A.M.), and on WBAI in NYC.
September 26, 2013
September 22-28, 2013 is Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. As always, the OIF has released a list of this past year’s most challenged books. They are:
1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group.
6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
September 26, 2013
In The Fray recently conducted an interview with the man behind The Graphic Canon, Russ Kick. Here is a highlight:
The Graphic Canon isn’t just works of literature. You also include philosophical writings from people like Sigmund Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche and excerpts from religious texts. How did you decide what to include as “the canon?”
I started with a list of what I considered to be the most critical works of literature. These were stories that would leave a noticeable gap if they weren’t included, like The Iliad, The Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Tale of Genji. But I also wanted to go beyond what was predictable and bring in unexpected things. That’s why I included the Incan play Apu Ollantay.
I also had a wish list of things I wanted to see adapted because I thought the story would work really well visually.
September 23, 2013
We love our author Stephanie McMillan and her political cartoons. Her adorable drawing style contrasts wonderfully with the seriousness of her messages to create an unique and (dare we say) fun way to be informed.
Check out her upcoming book Minimum Security Chronicles in October for more great artwork and political commentary.