A final reminder about the Dragon Awards

As I mentioned some days ago, a reader contacted me to ask about nominating one of my books for this year’s Dragon Awards.  That was a pleasant surprise, and I invited him to go ahead, on the understanding that there are many good books out there, and I don’t think I’m likely to be in the running this year. Be that as it may, the deadline for nominations is July 20th.  Therefore, if you think the book is good enough, please use the DragonCon nomination form to nominate “An Airless Storm” for this year’s awards, in the category “Best Military

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Some more spectacular rally crashes for you

The video title refers to them as Finnish rallies (or is that Finnish rally drivers?), but some at least were filmed in other countries.  One can only admire the way the drivers hurl themselves at natural obstacles, seemingly intent on beating them into submission.  Of course, it usually ends up the other way round . . . Peter

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Doofus Of The Day #1,017

The expression “Hoist with his own petard” comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, and describes something not uncommon in medieval and Renaissance Europe.  A petard was an explosive device, usually a wooden keg or metal container packed with gunpowder.  A soldier, probably escorted by a raiding party, ran up to a castle door or drawbridge, placed the petard against it, and lit the fuse;  then he and his escort ran like hell before the device exploded, hopefully demolishing the door or drawbridge and opening the way for an assault.  Of course, medieval gunpowder and fuses weren’t always the most reliable.  Sometimes

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Lessons learned from my latest trilogy

Over at Mad Genius Club, I’ve written a fairly long article outlining some of the lessons learned (so far) from the publication of my latest trilogy, “Cochrane’s Company“, at approximately 30-day intervals.   The article is oriented towards writers more than readers, but if the subject interests you, click over there to get a feel for the state of the independent author market today. While on the subject of the trilogy, may I once again ask those of you who’ve read it to please leave a review of each book on Amazon.com?  Reviews are the life-blood of independent authors, as

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California’s public sector unions, money, and politics

The California Political Review calculates the money taken in every year by public sector unions in that state, and shows how it gives those unions a powerful say in the running of the state. In the wake of the Janus ruling, it is useful to estimate just how much money California’s government unions collect and spend each year. Because government unions publicly disclose less than what the law requires of public corporations or private sector unions, only estimates are possible. . . . In summary, subject to the limitations in the available data and what appear to be reasonable assumptions,

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The battle for the Internet in the third world

The Economist notes that US internet giants are squaring up to their Chinese counterparts, not so much in the USA and China as in the third world.  It calls the struggle “The most titanic commercial battle in the world“. Facing off are the towering giants of American and Chinese tech, led by the FAANGs (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google’s parent, Alphabet) on one side and the BATs (Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) on the other. These are some of the planet’s biggest firms, with a combined stockmarket capitalisation of more than $4trn. At play are some of its most promising

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Child sexual abuse under cover of the education system?

I was astounded to read this article by a blogger calling herself “Autistic Momma”. Our story begins 3 years ago when our 6th child was born. The changes caused our then 7 year old autistic child to experience anxiety and frustration. He began biting his hands as a way to cope. We documented each bite and the school was aware. We implemented in home services and within 2 months the biting stopped. We thought this was the end of the story but we would later realize that it was only the beginning. Fast forward 3 years, our 3 year old

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Daniel Greenfield on “The Second Civil War”

Daniel Greenfield is a well-known commentator, blogger and author.  In a speech to the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition Convention in Myrtle Beach last January, he outlined what he sees as the Second Civil War in the USA – and it’s happening already.  In the light of the fuss about the nomination of Justice Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court, I thought it might be worthwhile to remind ourselves of the roots of the opposition to his appointment. If you prefer, you’ll find a transcript of his speech here.  Food for thought, indeed. Peter

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Illinois: corruption, regulatory capture, unions, and pension promises

We’ve discussed Illinois’ catastrophic pension situation in these pages on several occasions.  Wirepoints has now conducted an in-depth study of the situation, and points out that the narrative being portrayed by the state government, unions and the mainstream media there is simply not correct.  The problem is that unions have been promised largesse by the state that simply can’t be afforded. One graphic perfectly captures the absurdity of Illinois pensions over the past three decades. In 1987, pension promises made to active workers and retirees in the state’s five state-run pension plans totaled just $18 billion. By 2016, they had ballooned

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