- I’ll be drawing a winner of an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance tomorrow! See http://www.jimchines.com/2017/09/disaster-aid-and-terminal-alliance-giveaway/ for details and to enter. (And HUGE thanks to everyone who’s already donated.)
- The wonderful Book Smugglers are celebrating their 10th anniversary next year, and are doing a Kickstarter to help them to buy and publish more fiction, as well as to bring in new blog contributors. Contributors can receive anthologies, art prints, autographed books, and more awesome stuff!
- ICON and Continuum will be here in the coming weeks. I’m Toastmastering the former and Guest of Honoring the latter. Anyone else planning to be at one or both?
- Apropos of nothing, this remains one of my favorite xkcd comics ever.
ETA: Congratulations to Mel, chosen by the Random Number Generator to win the ARC of Terminal Alliance. And thank you to everyone who donated.
Two weeks ago, Sophie received advance review copies of Terminal Alliance. I’ve been meaning to do a giveaway, but I was struggling to come up with a good way to do it.
Then I started seeing the damage reports come in from hurricanes and flooding. The devastation they’ve left in their wakes, and the devastation yet to come. A million people without power in Puerto Rico. Record-breaking rain and flooding in the southwest U.S. 41 million affected by flooding and landslides in South Asia.
And now I know how I want to do this giveaway. You want to win an autographed ARC of Terminal Alliance? There are two things you need to do.
- Donate to one of the organizations helping with disaster relief.
- Leave a comment saying you donated.
I don’t need receipts or anything like that. I trust you. And there’s no minimum donation, either. I know money is tight for a lot of people. If you can afford to give $100, great. If you can only afford $1, that’s great too. It adds up, and it all helps.
Here are some organizations to consider, though this is in no way a complete list.
- Houston Food Bank
- Islamic Relief USA
- United Methodist Committee on Relief
- Austin Pets Alive
- Global Giving
- Antigua and Barbuda Red Cross
I’ll draw one winner at random toward the end of next week.
Surprising nobody, Trump issued a presidential pardon for ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio last week. Arpaio had been
jailed for convicted of criminal contempt and faced up to six months in jail, after he refused to obey a court order “to stop detaining people because he merely suspected them of being undocumented immigrants.”
Trump described Arpaio as a “patriot,” someone who “kept Arizona safe,” and cited his “years of admirable service to our nation.” Arpaio tweeted out his thanks:
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for seeing my conviction for what it is: a political witch hunt by holdovers in the Obama justice department!
— Joe Arpaio (@RealSheriffJoe) August 26, 2017
(Note: Arpaio’s contempt conviction came from U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton, a registered independent nominated to the court in 2000 by President Clinton, following a recommendation from Republican senator Jon Kyl of Arizona.)
Trump and Arpaio: Stoking the Birtherism Flames
The Trump/Arpaio relationship goes back years. Arpaio was a strong supporter of Trump’s Birtherism movement. Arpaio assigned a five-man “cold case posse” to investigate Obama’s birth certificate, eventually announcing it was a “computer-generated forgery.” I’m curious how much taxpayer money Arpaio spent on that particular conspiracy theory.
Trump sent him a personally written thank-you note, and praised him on Twitter as well:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2012
Trump had Arpaio as a speaker at a campaign rally in 2015, where Arpaio again brought up Obama’s birth certificate.
Arpaio’s “Years of Admirable Service”
Here are some highlights from Arpaio’s “patriotic” career in law enforcement.
- 1993: Arpaio set up a “Tent City” for ~1400 prisoners convicted of non-violent crimes. He literally described it as a concentration camp. Temperatures in the tents reached 145 degrees.
- 1996: Three months after federal investigators warned Arpaio that his jailers were using a “restraint chair” to abuse inmates, inmate Scott Norberg was killed while jailers tried to force him into the chair.
- Paraplegic Richard Post, arrested for possessing one gram of marijuana, was strapped to the restraint chair for six hours for demanding a catheter so he could urinate. The jailers broke his neck.
- 1999: Arpaio and his staff staged a fake assassination attempt and framed James Saville, who ended up spending 4 years in jail. This fraud ended up costing taxpayers well over $1 million.
- 2000: Arpaio set up a “jail cam,” streaming images from the jail on the web. The site noted that viewers “may see violence or sexually inappropriate behavior,” and included a webcam of female inmates using the bathroom.
- 2004: Arpaio’s “inept and bumbling SWAT team” raided a home and burned it to the ground. One member drove the family’s 10-month-old puppy back into the burning home, where it died. “Deputies reportedly laughed as the dog’s owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.”
- 2011: The Justice Department released findings showing “Wide-ranging Discrimination Against Latinos” under Arpaio’s leadership.
Racial Profiling and Anti-Immigration Efforts
Some of Arpaio’s tactics included:
- Stopping cars and detaining people just because they’re Hispanic, in order to run immigration status checks.
- Defying court orders to stop racial profiling. (This is what got him jailed for contempt.)
- Employing jailers who referred to Latinos as “wetbacks,” “Mexican bitches,” and “stupid Mexicans.”
- “MCSO detention officers have forced Latino prisoners with limited English skills to sign key legal documents printed in English, in which they forfeited key rights.“
- A 2012 Justice Department complaint documents many more examples of discrimination against Latinos under Arpaio’s leadership.
“America’s Toughest Sheriff”
Trump and many of his base love Arpaio for his so-called toughness. But Arpaio isn’t “tough.” He’s a bully and a bigot. He commented recently:
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 24, 2017
The idea that the law could apply to him — that he could face consequences for knowingly and deliberately defying a court order — seems an alien concept. He thinks himself above the law.
I can see why he and Trump get along so well.
His attitude’s mirror Trump’s own comments about Mexicans as criminals and rapists. And a lot of folks support Arpaio’s anti-immigration crusade, and his determination to make jail so horrible it will deter people from committing crimes.
I’d ask those folks if they believe in the Constitution, and that law enforcement officials should follow it. Specifically, the Eighth Amendment, which states:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.”
Cruel and unusual punishment. Things like…
- Subjecting prisoners to 145-degree tents.
- Refusing insulin to a diabetic prisoner, who died as a result.
- Beating a prisoner to death.
- Creating an environment with a suicide rate of 24 percent.
Or maybe we should look at the Fourth Amendment:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated.”
In other words, if you support pulling people over, raiding their homes, raiding their workplaces, just because they’re Hispanic? Congratulations! You’re not just an asshole, you’re also anti-American and anti-Constitution.
I haven’t even touched on instances of Arpaio using the power of his office to attack and punish his enemies, or his neglect of hundreds of sexual assault cases, or the lack of prenatal care and infant deaths that resulted, or destroying evidence in a civil rights lawsuit, or so much more.
I’m not a lawyer. I don’t know what the future holds for Arpaio in terms of civil lawsuits or state charges or the rest.
But I know what I think of Trump and his base holding Arpaio up as a “patriot.” I know what I think of describing Arpaio’s crimes against his constituents as “admirable service to our nation.”
You can be an American who believes in equality and the Constitution. Or you can support Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio.
I don’t see any way you can be both.
A friend invited us to the Greater Lansing Balloon Festival last night, which was fun. Naturally, I spent most of my time running around taking pictures.
The sky was washed out in a lot of these shots, so I played around with sky overlays in Photoshop.
I’ve got an album up on Flickr. Here are a few of my favorites.
For that third picture, the balloonists for “The Flash” saw me with my camera and waved me in for some close-up shots, which was a lot of fun.
I think I need to start taking some sky photos of my own, so I’ll have my own library of overlays to use in the future…
If you’re reading this, you’re in the path of total Friday.
- More dog snapchats
- Some of the best photos from the eclipse
- More eclipse photos
- NASA’s best eclipse photos. Yes, it’s a theme this week. I think eclipses are cool. Deal with it.
Thanks to everyone for your feedback and enthusiasm on “Imprinted.” I’m looking at a tentative release date of January 9, 2018. I’m planning to confirm this and start getting preorder links posted over the next month or two.
A lot of you said you’d be happy to pay $2.99 for this 15,000-word novelette. From your comments, it’s a combination of loving the Magic ex Libris stories, and wanting me to get those nice 70% royalties that you don’t get with anything under $2.99. Others thought $2.99 was a little steep.
What I’m thinking about doing is launching the book at $2.99. Then, after it’s been out for a month or two, I’ll drop the price to $1.99. That way folks have a little more choice about what they’re willing to pay.
A few people said they’d prefer a print edition, and I’m looking into that. I wouldn’t expect a lot of sales here, and we’d be talking about a pretty slim volume, but it’s gotten easier to set up print-on-demand, so I should be able to make that option available.
Finally, here’s the synopsis I’ve put together. What do you think?
Jeneta’s magic could give us the stars…or destroy everyone around her.
Seventeen-year-old libriomancer Jeneta Aboderin is a prodigy, determined to move on from the horrors she’s faced and use her power to create a better future. To show the world that magic isn’t a threat to be feared, but a tool of hope. After eight months, she’s ready to present the Venture, a magically-created ship capable of reaching Mars within hours. It will mark a new phase of human exploration and discovery.
But at a crucial moment, her spell is wrested from her control and twisted against her. Whoever sabotaged her magic then begins to strike down those around her. The attacker haunts her thoughts and dreams, reviving Jeneta’s past traumas. And the most powerful magic-users at New Millennium are unable to help.
How do you stop an enemy who strikes from within your own mind?
This 15,000-word novelette is set eight months after the events of Revisionary.
We didn’t make it down to see totality, but my part of Michigan got about 80% eclipse coverage today, which was still pretty sweet. My son and I went to a library presentation this morning, where I was reminded about pinhole viewing, which led to this:
I’d ordered a solar filter for the 100-400mm lens on the camera. We also had some eclipse glasses from Amazon from a few weeks back.
I took a little over a hundred pictures, and was able to stitch some of the best into an animation.
Those black spots are sunspots. All in all, I’m pretty happy with how this turned out!
I also stitched together a static time-lapse, and added back a bit of color the filter stripped out. (Click to enlarge this one for a much better view.)
Didn’t get much else done today, but I’m okay with that. And maybe for the 2024, we’ll be able to make it down to see the total eclipse!