A Thought for the Day
One’s task as a human being is both to seek to figure out everything, in spite of the patent, absurd impossibility of such an effort, and then at once to act on what one learns and to live with a measure of grace and aplomb despite the at best draconian and Sisyphean effort that must define one’s path if one hopes that one’s life will amount to more than a rushed animal passage through a forest of random blessings and tribulations.
Quote of the Day
Writing is a strange and solitary activity. There are dispiriting times when you start working on the first few pages of a novel. Every day, you have the feeling you are on the wrong track. This creates a strong urge to go back and follow a different path. It is important not to give in to this urge, but to keep going. It is a little like driving a car at night, in winter, on ice, with zero visibility. You have no choice, you cannot go into reverse, you must keep going forward while telling yourself that all will be well when the road becomes more stable and the fog lifts. …
Like everyone else born in 1945, I was a child of the war and more precisely, because I was born in Paris, a child who owed his birth to the Paris of the occupation. Those who lived in that Paris wanted to forget it very quickly or at least only remember the day-to-day details, the ones which presented the illusion that everyday life was after all not so very different from the life they led in normal times. It was all a bad dream, with vague remorse for having been in some sense survivors. Later on, when their children asked them questions about that period and that Paris, their answers were evasive. Or else they remained silent as if they wanted to rub out those dark years from their memory and keep something hidden from us. But faced with the silence of our parents we worked it all out as if we had lived it ourselves. …
In this Paris from a bad dream, where anyone could be denounced or picked up in a round-up at a Métro station exit, chance meetings took place between people whose paths would never have crossed during peace time, fragile love affairs were born in the gloom of the curfew, with no certainty of meeting again in the days that followed. Later, as a consequence of these often short-lived and sometimes shabby encounters, children were born. That is why for me, the Paris of the occupation was always a kind of primordial darkness. Without it I would never have been born. That Paris never stopped haunting me, and my books are sometimes bathed in its veiled light.
And here is proof that a writer is indelibly marked with the date of his birth and by his time, even if he was not directly involved in political action, even if he gives the impression of being a recluse shut away in what people call his ‘ivory tower.’ If he writes poems, they reflect the time he is living in and could never have been written in a different era.” Patrick Modiano: Nobel Lecture
This Day in History
Blessedly, today is an International Day of Friendship, or Dia del Amigos; in what is now Israel thirteen hundred seventy nine years back, Islamic forces of the largest empire in history to that date, a few generations after the prophet Muhammad’s death, defeated a Byzantine army in present day Israel; a hundred twenty-six years subsequently, in 762, Al Mansur received credit for founding Baghdad; five hundred ninety-six years prior to the present pass, radical Hussites, angry at the corruption within Catholicism, led a crowd to the Prague town council and threw seven of its members through the windows, killing them or leading to their dispatching by the crowd below; eighty-three years subsequently, in 1502, Christopher Columbus landed at islands off Honduras during his fourth voyage; three hundred ninety-six years ahead of today, settlers inaugurated the first English representative assembly, the Virginia House of Burgesses; three hundred thirty-nine years before the here-and-now, a result of that previous development transpired when Nathaniel Bacon released the Declaration of the People of Virginia, effectively beginning Bacon’s rebellion; two hundred four years in advance of this point in time and space, Spanish overlords in Mexico executed Miguel Hidalgo, a priest, for leading an insurgency against Spanish rule; seven years later, in 1818, a baby girl was born who would mature to be the future novelist, Emily Bronte; one hundred fifty-eight years ago, the infant who became social economist Thorsten Veblen came into the world; nine years precisely thereafter, in 1866, Louisiana’s Democratic government raided a Republican meeting, killing forty and injuring scores more; ninety-seven years ago, poet Joyce Kilmer died in the carnage of the Western Front; seven years along, in 1925, a baby boy cried out for the first time en route to his life as a controversial and critically acclaimed author, Alexander Trocchi; seven more years after that juncture, in 1932, Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees—the first Technicolor cartoon—premiered, going on to win an Academy Award; four years hence, in 1936, a baby boy was born who would become the Blues legend Buddy Guy; three years beyond that moment in time, in 1939, a baby girl entered our midst whose destiny was to become feminist activist and thinker Eleanor Smeal; seven decades back, a male infant entered the wartorn Parisian world in the usual way, destined to writer novels and win the Nobel Prize in Literature as Patrick Modiano; fifty-seven years ahead of this conjunction, a female child took a first breath on her way to life as the powerful singer and songwriter Kate Bush; seven hundred thirty days later, in 1960, a baby boy joined humanity’s ranks whom destiny had chosen to rise as the filmmaker and screenwriter Richard Linklater; a half-century before the here and now, Lyndon Johnson signed legislation that added Medicare and Medicaid to the Social Security Administration’s quiver; a year less than one decade hence, in 1974, Richard Nixon followed the Supreme Court’s instructions and released transcripts of the Watergate tapes; just three hundred sixty-five days further along the temporal path, near Detroit in 1975, Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, never to be heard from again; eight years ago, filmmaker and screenwriter Ingmar Bergman shot his final scene, as did his colleague from Italy, Michelangelo Antonioni; half a decade nearer to now, in 2012, the acclaimed Irish storyteller and dramatis Maeve Binchy breathed her last; another year still further on, in 2013, the well-known scholar of religion Robert Bellah died.
SEARCH OF THE DAY engagement OR networking OR collaboration "sine qua non" OR essential "social justice" OR "social equality" reform OR transformation OR revolution analysis OR examination history OR origin OR background OR context = 18,500,000 Hits.
TOP OF THE FOLD
BEWARE DISASTROUS GEOPOLITICAL ‘SUCCESSES’
Meanwhile, the Houthis, a band of militia fighters based in the northern province of Saada, grew more and more powerful. Over the past few years, as Yemen’s political order collapsed from infighting, the Houthis expanded their territory through a combination of political bargains and military victories, entering Sana’a last September and finally putting Hadi under house arrest in January. The next month, he escaped to Aden, where, backed by Saudi funding and weapons, he declared a new temporary capital. The Houthis marched into the south, Hadi fled to Riyadh, and the Saudi-led bombing campaign and blockade began. …
Our fixer has come down from Sana’a to pick us up, and we begin the long journey north to the capital in the mountains. There is a fuel shortage because of the blockade, and the highways are empty of traffic. In the port of Hodeidah, the breakdown in public services is apparent as we drive through puddles of raw sewage and around mounds of trash piled high in the roundabouts. There has been little or no electricity for months, and in the sweltering June nights, people have taken to sleeping in the streets, where they risk catching dengue fever from the mosquitoes — a major outbreak of the virus has hit coastal Yemen, with more than 8,000 cases reported in Aden alone.
It is night by the time we reach Sana’a. The capital lies in a bowl of mountains at more than 7,000 feet, and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on Earth. In the age of camel caravans, it was a trading entrepôt between West and East, and was famous for the rich incenses and perfumes coveted in the temples of ancient Rome. Yemen’s diaspora of merchants has spread around Africa and Asia, including the construction magnate Mohammed bin Laden, whose son Osama would be raised in his adopted homeland of Saudi Arabia. …
Saudi Arabia and Yemen might be likened to the U.S. and Mexico. Deep economic and cultural ties between the two countries have been strained by smuggling and illegal immigration, even as Saudi Arabia is home to a substantial population of Yemeni workers. And like the U.S. in Latin America, Saudi Arabia has always envisioned a right to intervene in the internal affairs of its poorer southern neighbor, based on its own national security. Though there is little evidence of direct Iranian military support for the Houthis, Saudi Arabia’s Sunni monarchy has been increasingly concerned with a perceived Shiite threat from Iran, especially in the wake of its successful nuclear negotiations with the U.S. …
Meanwhile, as civilian casualties mount and Al Qaeda thrives on the chaos, the Obama administration is facing a dilemma of its own. American officials have warned that the U.S. counterterrorism strategy has suffered a setback in Yemen. ‘Al Qaeda is controlling an important port city, and their safe haven is unmolested by coalition airstrikes,’ says Alley of the Crisis Group. ‘It’s quite clear that in many Western governments, there’s a growing discomfort with the war.'”
JOB & GRANT PROSPECTS, UPCOMING EVENTS & CONTESTS
THE TIMES CHILDREN’S FICTION COMPETITION
ENTRY FEE £15.
Deadline December 18, 2015. The winning writer will receive a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000 (US$15,6000), plus representation from a top children’s literary agent. To enter this competition you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length the organisers suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts do not exceed 80,000 words in length. The competition is open to writers around the world, regardless of nationality or residency status.
ARIZONA ARTIST DEVELOPMENT AND RESEARCH GRANTS
Artist Research and Development Grants support individual artists from all disciplines. The purpose of this grant is to aid in the development of artistic work, support the advancement of artistic research and recognize the contributions individual artists make to Arizona’s communities. Artist Research and Development Grants are made to practicing artists who demonstrate strong, original work that impacts both their own artistic practice and the broader community. Deadline September 17, 2015.
The National Parks Arts Foundation is accepting applications for their Fort Union National Monument Artist-in-Residence program in New Mexico. The selected artist will receive lodging and a venue for workshops and lectures at the monument for one month this October.
The Camden International Film Festival in Maine is accepting applications for their Points North Fellowship, which gives five documentary filmmakers the opportunity to develop their feature-length documentaries-in-progress through industry mentorship, workshops, meetings, and a public pitch session at the film festival this September.
WSB TV Atlanta GA – Responsibilities: WSB producers create and execute newscasts based on research information and goals. They are show managers who take an aggressive approach to breaking news. Newscasts will have a high story count, with local, significant stories that reach every key county in our viewing area. Producers collaborate directly with reporters on best video and stories. They also understand the importance of fully integrating on-line and broadcast platforms.
Write & produce high quality, shareable business news content for digital platform. The Social Media Writer for Prime will collaborate with the rest of the Social Prime team to create complimentary content around shows. They must also stay on top of business trends and be able to quickly produce content to add to the conversation. The ideal candidate will comfortably engage with social media as a newsgathering tool and to understand what stories our audience is eager to embrace. The position will coordinate with the Enterprise desk for ongoing coverage of major news, issues and trends.
Entrepreneur Media Inc. is looking for a talented, experienced marketing professional to create clear, concise and convincing copy for a variety of marketing deliverables in support of consumer, sales, brand and internal marketing communications and campaigns. Working with multiple departments, this individual will be responsible developing copy and concepts with consideration to the extension across multiple channels including print, digital and social communities. The right person for the job is creative, highly self-motivated and directed with the ability to work well under pressure, meet deadlines, and be flexible in working on multiple projects simultaneously. A key role within the company, this position will help to expand and add value to the Entrepreneur brand ensuring that the brand voice and tone is represented in everything they do.
The company promotes upward mobility… free thinking… aggressive competition… and an entrepreneurial mindset that allows “A-players” to maximize their talent and ideas.
But back to the job I’m talking about…
Currently, we are looking for new direct marketing copywriters at Agora Inc. We write long-form sales letters (generally 20 pages double-spaced) which hit on the biggest investing stories, economic trends, and potential crises in the investment markets.
We write about subjects like the housing crisis, new cancer treatments, tech startups, American debt, and surgical robots.
ORGANIZATIONAL LINKS & NETWORKING
A Truth-Out article that discusses the harm done to workers in Michigan: “With that, the court completed the transformation of this longtime labor stronghold into an anti-labor regime, reminiscent of the Gilded Age US. Back in those days, lawmakers of both major parties said that union contracts bound bosses and workers to a common set of wages and working conditions, and in doing so, unjustly prohibited individual employers from cutting side deals with individual workers. Instead of viewing unions as a collective route to a better life, 19th-century lawmakers sought to portray unions as dangerous conspiracies that subverted individual rights. In response, politicians passed “conspiracy laws” to protect the employee’s “right to work” on whatever terms s/he saw fit.”
A Counter Currents posting of poems commemorating the death and immolation of millions of innocent children in Hiroshima: “UNESCO declared 1979 “The International Year of the Child.” Fatefully, I found myself in Hiroshima that spring, surrounded by ghosts…. On the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombing of civilians in a prostrate, defeated Japan—the greatest act of “terrorism” in history, not to end a war, as has been told, but to establish imperial hegemony– let us look around our world today and consider– to what end?”
A Hill article that discusses the dangers lurking for women’s rights core value: “Senate Republicans are turning up the heat on Planned Parenthood, setting up a vote for Monday to defund the organization that is making some of its members squirm.
Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), the most vulnerable Senate Republican up for reelection next year, signaled Wednesday that he would oppose the legislation, citing the preventive health services that Planned Parenthood provides.”
WRITERS' ISSUES & EVENTS & TOOLS
A Daily Kos posting that discusses a selfless but possibly not so selfless, but definitely interesting act of financial altruism: “My thoughts about Michael Moore are somewhat conflicted, but there’s no doubt that he cannot be beat when it comes to these kinds of matters. A vociferous critic of his was struggling with a problem that is the subject of his next movie. What better way to show how a more rational health care system can lift people up and give them the ability to succeed that to do this? It might be used in the movie, it might not. But it doesn’t matter; it’s illustrative of his entire point while also being completely disarming.”
GENERAL MEDIA & 'INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY' ISSUES
A Washington Post posting that demonstrates the dangers present in pursuing truth in journalism when dangers show up: “Six out of seven citizens have little or no access to insightful reporting about their governments even though the Internet has made other types of information ubiquitous, according to organizations that monitor reporting internationally.
Worldwide, the last three years have been particularly hard on those who gather the news: An average of more than one journalist a week has been killed for reasons connected to his or her work, or about 205 journalists, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, a nonprofit organization that investigates attacks on the media.”
A Common Dreams piece that discusses one of the many complex pieces of the puzzle that is the Middle East: “When we mix these two metaphors, we come up with a picture of the Kurds as a large, often ignored, and frequently misinterpreted creature — and all the other beasts of the jungle are either willfully or genetically blind. What could be more ridiculous than the blind leading the invisible?
This is a bad combination even in peaceful times. But it’s especially vexing right now, when the Kurds are at the very center of the most urgent issues facing the Middle East: the rise of the Islamic State, the ongoing fragility of Iraq, the disintegration of Syria, the negotiation of a nuclear deal with Iran, and the democratic future of Turkey.”
GENERAL PAST & PRESENT ISSUES & DEVELOPMENTS
A Think Progress posting that discusses the renewable energy progress made in Germany: “According to an analysis by German energy expert Craig Morris at the Energiewende blog, a stormy day across northern Europe combined with sunny conditions in southern Germany led to the new record, the exact figures of which are still preliminary. Morris writes that most of Germany’s wind turbines are installed in the north and most of its solar panels are in the south.
If the figures hold, it will turn out that wind and solar generated 40.65 gigawatts (GW) of power on July 25. When this is combined with other forms of renewables, including 4.85 GW from biomass and 2.4 GW from hydropower, the total reaches 47.9 GW of renewable power — occurring at a time when peak power demand was 61.1 GW on Saturday afternoon. To bolster his analysis, Morris points to early figures from Agora Energiewende, a Germany energy policy firm, that have renewables making up 79 percent of domestic power consumption that day.”