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Archive for December, 2012

The steamy vampire HBO series “TrueBlood” is based, increasingly loosely, on the vampire-romance-detective-mystery series by Charlaine Harris, referred to by fans as the “Dead” novels because the series, featuring bayou heroine and telepath Sookie Stackhouse (played on HBO by Anna Paquin) all have the word “dead” in their titles.

The novels sell like popcorn, and Harris cannot supply them at the rate at which her addicted readers, myself included, will read them.

The entrepreneurial Harris has found a way to feed her fans just a little more.  Every year or so she co-edits an anthology of occult fiction in which she will tuck an original short story about Sookie Stackhouse that falls in between the narrative chronology of the actual novels.

These anthologies are produced by a kind of call for papers, on a theme, combining a holiday and an aspect of the paranormal.  “Many Bloody Returns” surveyed vampires and valentines.  “Wolfsbane and Mistletoe” took on werewolves at Christmas.  “Home Improvement: Undead Edition” and “Death’s Excellent Vacation” explored, usually comically, paranormal remodeling and travel.

Harris’s new anthology, “An Apple for Creature,” explores truly multicultural education, where the schools are sprinkled with supernatural students and teachers.  Published back in September, the lead story, by Harris, “Playing Possum,” has Sookie Stackhouse carrying cupcakes to her little cousin’s elementary school exactly on the day that a deranged ex-boyfriend of a school secretary comes to shoot her at work.  A gun free zone of disarmed kids and teachers, everyone is only saved because one teacher is magically armed, in that she is a witch and is able to hex the shooter before he does more than wound the principal.

Fans of the genre will also appreciate a short story contributed by actress Amber Benson, who played the witch “Tara” on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and had a recurring role as a vampire on the series “Supernatural.”

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The Theater Shooting The Main Stream Media Didn’t Focus On & Why

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“Great Islamic Thinkers Versus Islam” by Andrew Bernstein

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JANUARY 9 Noon Cato Institue

In the aftermath of the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, firearm regulation has understandably moved to the forefront of our national political debate. Even before Newtown, the tragic mass shootings in Arizona and Colorado, and the botched Operation Fast and Furious, had kept this issue in the news. But many now are indicating that this tragedy, its nature and how it has stunned our nation, pushes the issue to a tipping point.
While America has a tradition of private gun ownership for self-defense and sport, what can be done about the growing conflict between an individual’s right to own guns and the public’s desire to be safe from gun violence? The Second Amendment has long been one of the most divisive issues in American society. While there have been few national legal developments since the Supreme Court’s rulings in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) and McDonald v. Chicago (2010), states have been adjusting their laws — and public facilities changing their security systems — ever since the Columbine school shooting in 1999, and litigation continues in the lower courts.
Unfortunately, national discussions of gun policy often devolve into sound bites, dueling headlines, lobbying campaigns, but accomplish little. Polarized, entrenched positions fail to constructively grapple with the fundamental policy question: How do we keep guns away from violent criminals? Should we focus on mental illness, background checks, assault weapons, or something else? In Living with Guns, former New York Times reporter and editor Craig Whitney re-examines the right to bear arms, why it was enshrined in the Bill of Rights, and how it came to be misunderstood. Whitney proposes pragmatic solutions to control gun violence rather than guns, and ideas to keep them out of the hands of the people whom everyone agrees shouldn’t have them. Commenting on this timely new book will be Alan Gura and Alan Morrison, who were on opposite sides of the Heller case.

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‘A Highly Personal Music’

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Smartphones might soon develop emotional intelligence: Algorithm for speech-based emotion classification developed

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PUTIN VS OBAMA

PUTIN VS OBAMA

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