Shared posts

01 Jan 23:34

I Love the 20s

Billboard's "Best of the 80s" chart includes Blondie's 1980 hit "Call Me." QED.
23 Aug 16:04

Recession Readiness and State UI Trust Funds

by Jared Bernstein

[My colleague Kathleen Bryant took the lead on this piece–JB]

Given the recent dramatic spike in media coverage of our economic headwinds and recession readiness over the past week, we decided to take a closer look at the balance sheets of state unemployment insurance (UI) trust funds. While the Department of Labor (DOL) is responsible for overseeing the UI system and paying administrative costs, the basic program is managed and mostly funded by the states. Using the most recent final data available from the Treasury Department, we analyzed the number of state UI trust funds that meet DOL’s recommended minimum solvency standard. This standard is measured using a ratio called the  “Average High Cost Multiple,” where a value of 1 means that trust fund reserves could pay out at least 1 year of benefits during a recession of average depth– states with an AHCM greater than 1 have met DOL’s recommended minimum solvency level.

There are 18 states that have not met DOL’s minimum solvency standard (as of July 2019), including some of the most densely populated states in the country– California, Texas, and New York. Congress should be closely monitoring the balance sheets of state UI trust funds and should be prepared to ramp up federal spending on UI when the next recession hits, considering the financial status of many state trust funds.

Source: The Department of Labor, the Department of Treasury

01 Apr 13:16

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Turmoil


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

At first, the Encouragement Drones seemed so innocent...

Today's News:

See ya tonight, geeks!

22 Feb 19:42

Picard would approve!

by Kevin MacLeod

Le Grand Chase

You never notice how effective a car horn is until you use it. I usually park my car near a sidewalk and alarm 7 year olds on their way to and from school. 7 year olds are your target market for this sort of thing. They jump like antelope! All the kids in my neighborhood are acclimatized, now. It isn’t as much fun.
You also never notice how effective a Picardy third is until you do it with car horns. You’re welcome.
You can download the full uncompressed files here!

27 Jun 14:38

Newton's Trajectories

With just one extra line, he could have anticipated the 2003 film The Core, but some things are too audacious for even the greatest visionaries.
19 Jan 14:14

A Gift!

by catanacomics
17 Dec 14:35


31 Oct 13:46

Laurie Johnson - The Belstone Fox OST (Reissued 2015) (1973)

 Artist: Laurie Johnson
 Genre: Soundtrack
 Tracks: 11
 Price: $1.32
14 May 20:06

Claves para entender (o no) el fallo contra la Revista Barcelona

by Manuel Tarricone
La Justicia condenó al medio a indemnizar a Cecilia Pando por una foto satírica sobre ella publicada en 2010. Cómo cambió la legislación en los últimos años y qué dice la jurisprudencia sobre Libertad de Expresión.
17 Nov 16:30

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - P/R


Hovertext: I mean, maybe a sense of one's place in the universe also leads to happiness, but power is pretty great.

New comic!
Today's News:

Only 48 hours left to go get a signed copy of the new book! 


17 Jun 06:17

Microsoft Starts Prompting Users "To Reserve Their Spot" For Free Windows 10 Upgrade

by Deepesh Agarwal
Very much confirming the leaked "Release dates of Microsoft Windows 10", Microsoft has already started promoting users to "Reserve your free upgrade" as shown in the images below. If you are not getting something like this, a scan for Windows Updates should trigger the notification in "System Tray" for you.
Free Windows 10 Upgrade
16 Jun 15:14

10 quick tar command examples to create/extract archives in Linux

by Silver Moon
Tar command on Linux
The tar (tape archive) command is a frequently used command on linux that allows you to store files into an archive.
The commonly seen file extensions are .tar.gz and .tar.bz2 which is a tar archive further compressed using gzip or bzip algorithms respectively.
In this tutorial we shall take a look at simple examples of using the tar command to do daily jobs of creating and extracting archives on linux desktops or servers.
Using the tar command
The tar command is available by default on most linux systems and you do not need to install it separately.
With tar there are 2 compression formats, gzip and bzip. The "z" option specifies gzip and "j" option specifies bzip. It is also possible to create uncompressed archives.
1. Extract a tar.gz archive
Well, the more common use is to extract tar archives. The following command shall extract the files out a tar.gz archive
$ tar -xvzf tarfile.tar.gz
Here is a quick explanation of the parameters used -
x - Extract files
v - verbose, print the file names as they are extracted one by one
z - The file is a "gzipped" file
f - Use the following tar archive for the operation
Those are some of the important options to memorise

Read full post here
10 quick tar command examples to create/extract archives in Linux

16 Jun 15:14

Install Pale Moon Web browser On Ubuntu 14.10/14.04

by ruchi

Pale Moon is an Open Source, Firefox-based web browser available for Microsoft Windows, Android and Linux (with other operating systems in development), focusing on efficiency and ease of use. Make sure to get the most out of your browser!
Read the rest of Install Pale Moon Web browser On Ubuntu 14.10/14.04 (158 words)

© ruchi for Ubuntu Geek, 2015. | Permalink | 4 comments | Add to
Post tags: desktop, Install Pale Moon Web browser On Ubuntu 14.04 using ppa, Install Pale Moon Web browser On Ubuntu 14.10 using ppa

Related posts

12 Jan 16:18

Facebook Video Chat Now Works in Ubuntu, No Plugin Needed

by Joey-Elijah Sneddon

facebook-video-call-tileFacebook video chat now works in Ubuntu and other Linux distributions out-of-the-box using web technologies — no plugin or extra download required.

The post Facebook Video Chat Now Works in Ubuntu, No Plugin Needed first appeared on OMG! Ubuntu!.

06 Dec 00:53

How To Install Opera 26 Stable On 64 Bit (AMD64) Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 And Derivative Systems

by Geekster

Hello Linux Geeksters. As you know, Opera is a popular web browser, available for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. Last year, Opera has adopted Google’s forked WebKit engine, the new versions of the browser being based on Chromium. After the release of Opera 12.16, the Linux support has been dropped, until Opera 26 Dev has been released for Linux.

The latest version available is Opera 26 stable, which has been recently released , coming with a new feature for sharing bookmarks (select a few links or an entire bookmark folder, click share and sent the link via email) and a feature to import bookmarks from other browsers (select Settings, click Import bookmarks and settings and select the data you want to import).

In this article I will show you how to install and test Opera 26 stable on 64 bit versions of Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn, Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr and derivative systems: Linux Mint 17.1 Rebecca, Linux Mint 17 Qiana, Pinguy OS 14.04, Elementary OS 0.3 Freya, Deepin 2014, Peppermint Five, Linux Lite 2.0, LXLE 14.04 and other Ubuntu 14.04 derivatives.

Because the developer branch of Opera is not available via any repository, we have to download the Opera 26 deb package from the Opera pool and install it via command-line. I prefer gdebi over dpkg, due to the fact that it also handles dependencies.

How to install Opera 26 on 64 bit Ubuntu 14.10, Ubuntu 14.04 and derivative systems:

$ sudo apt-get install gdebi
$ wget
$ sudo gdebi opera-stable_26.0.1656.32_amd64.deb

Because the Opera 26 deb package gets updated frequently, most likely version 26 will be replaced by a new one soon, so when this link becomes obsolete, download the deb for amd64 Ubuntu systems from HERE and install it via gdebi.

Optional, to remove opera, do:

$ sudo apt-get remove opera

Share and Enjoy

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14 Oct 14:26

The Joy of Reading

by Grant

I had the great honor of illustrating the cover of the special Sex Issue of the NY Times Book Review! Thanks to art director Nicholas Blechman for the assignment. It’s full of thoughtful and hilarious pieces on writing about sex - one of the stickier topics to tackle in literature. The issue also features an autobiographical comic by Alison Bechdel (one of my favorite cartoonists) and gorgeous spot illustrations by Luci Gutierrez (one of my new favorite illustrators). 

I’ve turned my cover illustration and a couple of my unused sketches into a series of posters titled The Joy of Reading. I’ll post the other drawings throughout the week. 

26 Sep 19:41

Captain Metaphysics and the Ghost in the Machine

It's one of the best kept secrets in philosophy departments that most, if not all, metaphysical problems can be solved by punching stuff really hard.
28 Jul 13:51

The Lies We Tell About Lenin

by Lars T. Lih
Cecilieaux Bois de Murier

This is a thoughtful review of some of the criticisms of Lenin to which I am prone. Capitalism today seems to confirm that some eggs needed to be broken to make omelet.

Lenin and the debates that shaped the Russian Revolution have been misunderstood by friends and foes alike.

Unknown Artist - Speech by Lenin

The Russian Revolution of 1917 has long been an object lesson suitable for drawing edifying morals. Everyone looks at it in order to discover the great mistake — moral, political, ideological — that led to disaster.

Having discovered the mistake, we can feel secure that we would have avoided disaster and superior to all those who have not yet seen the error of their ways. The human reality of the revolution — the overpowering sense of being caught up in a whirlwind of events — is lost as we hurry to draw lessons and point fingers.

For some, the mistake behind the revolution is primarily moral. Lenin, for example, is painted as a fiend incarnate whose bottomless depravity is directly responsible for Russia’s downfall. We can call this the “Boris Karloff Lenin,” who rubs his hands in murderous glee: “Today, I think I’ll oppress the peasants!” I have the impression that something very close to the Boris Karloff Lenin has become the dominant image of the Russian revolution for the wide public, especially in the United States.

Others make a target of “Bolshevism,” defined as a species of recurring moral error. Bolsheviks are those who live by the corrupt code of “the end justifies the means” — something, of course, we the decent public would never do. We would never countenance using unacceptable means such as firebombing civilian populations or using torture, no matter how noble our political goal. Only uncouth fanatics do that.

There is also a certain sort of bien-pensant liberalism that uses Bolshevism to point out the dangers of having exalted political goals. Want to create a workers’ paradise? Watch out that the very nobility of the goal does not lead to terrible crimes. During the Russian Civil War, people were fighting over the most elementary, most unavoidable questions: who will rule the country? How can we put the country back together? Will Russia survive as a state?

Our liberal looks at all this turmoil and sermonizes: now, now, don’t get carried away with dreams of a perfect society! Be like us, with our safe, sane, and sober politics. Moderation, moderation in all things!

The Left is just as addicted to searching out the revolution’s fatal errors — only the Left prefers to put the blame on mistakes in ideological doctrine. A great many on the Left agree with the liberal/conservative view that the original sin of Bolshevism was Lenin’s revisionism in What Is To be Done? According to this view, Lenin didn’t trust the workers, so he turned Marx on his head, and created an elite conspiratorial party based on intellectuals. No wonder he hijacked the democratic program of the Russian Revolution.

An approach less obsessed with identifying and condemning errors will see that the significance of What Is To be Done? does not arise from any alleged ideological innovations. Lenin’s 1902 book is a summation of an idealized version of the logic of underground organization, a logical that had been worked out through empirical trial and error by a generation of anonymous activists during the 1890s. As such, Lenin’s basic model was accepted as a guide by the entire socialist underground in Russia. Coming into 1917, Bolshevism’s distinctiveness did not arise from party organization but rather from its reading of class forces in Russia.

The creation of the socialist underground was not Lenin’s doing — or rather, he made a contribution that was not insignificant but also not crucial. When the Russian state collapsed in 1917 — an event whose titanic consequences were not foreseen by any ideology — this underground provided one of the few forces able to create a new sovereign authority and a new state structure. The legal institutions of Tsarist Russia were mortally wounded by the collapse of Tsarism; in contrast, the illegal underground survived intact, possessed of a nationwide scope and plausible claims to mass support and legitimacy. The socialist underground was much more a product of Russian history than of ideological machinations.

So far I have looked at errors that purport to explain the failures of the revolution, but latter-day partisans of the October Revolution are also engaged in heresy-hunting. For them, the success of the revolution is explained by the rejection of ideological errors. The mainstream Trotskyist interpretation is built around a story of this type.

Back in the 1905-6 (the story goes), Leon Trotsky came up with his theory of permanent revolution and pronounced socialist revolution to be possible in backward Russia. Since his theory attacked the unimaginative dogmas of “Second International Marxism,” Trotsky was greeted with universal incomprehension. Fortunately, just in time, Lenin saw the light and caught up with Trotsky in April 1917. Together the two great leaders rearmed the Bolshevik Party, thus making the glorious October Revolution possible.

There are number of difficulties with this canonical story, but here I will just point to one odd feature of this pro-October story: it has a pronounced anti-Bolshevik tinge. According to many writers in the Trotskyist tradition, the doctrine of Old Bolshevism was pernicious error that had to be rejected before revolutionary victory was possible. We are constantly reminded by writers in this tradition that the Bolsheviks themselves, taken as a whole, were a dull lot who stubbornly remained loyal to what they had been told yesterday, even when their brilliant and visionary leaders had moved on.

So pronounced is this anti-Bolshevik mood that some writers still have not forgiven me for saying something nice about Bolshevik underground activists. Don’t I realize that these activists were stodgy, hidebound komitetchiki who mistakenly refused to listen to the wisdom of émigré leaders such as Lenin and Trotsky?

In my view, however, this whole approach smacks too much of a “cult of personality” of certain revolutionary heroes. Even the pro-October Trotskyists are far from happy with the ultimate outcome of the revolution, and, as usual, look to doctrinal errors to explain the outcome. The European revolution that was supposed to act as a deus ex machina to save the Russian revolution didn’t happen, in large part because of the “fatalist,” “mechanical,” “determinist,” and just generally “pre-dialectical” Marxism of Karl Kautsky and other leaders of the Second International. In Russia, the outward and visible sign of the inward degeneration of the revolution was the doctrinal heresy of “socialism in one country.”

Of course, many shrewd and essential insights into the Russian Revolution come from the Trotskyist tradition. Yet I cannot help feeling that writers in this tradition are often more interested in their doctrinal abstractions than in the human reality of the Russian Revolution as experienced by those who lived through it.

One key debate about the Russian Revolution has always been: was Russia ready for socialist revolution, or for only a “bourgeois revolution”? The Bolsheviks maintained the former, the Mensheviks the latter position. Who was right, and who was wrong in the debate? If the Mensheviks were right, then the October Revolution was a mistake. If the Bolsheviks were right, then Menshevism must be rejected as counter-revolutionary error.

This approach is correct about one thing: the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks did resort to Marxist concepts such as these in their 1917 polemics. Yet doctrinal arguments of this kind were far from the heart of the matter. Indeed, they were essentially add-ons, attempts to give doctrinal legitimacy to positions based on empirical readings of Russia in 1917. The real question facing the socialist parties was this: could the crisis engulfing Russian society be solved by cooperation with educated society, or did a solution require a new sovereign authority based exclusively on the narod, the workers and the peasants?

Translated into the Russian terms that were central to debates in 1917, the question was: could and should a new vlast be based on soglashenie? Vlast means “sovereign authority” or “power,” as in “Soviet power.” Soglashenie is often translated “compromise” or “conciliation,” but the word implies something stronger: working together on the basis of some sort of pact or agreement. The essential clash in 1917 between Menshevik and Bolshevik on questions like this was not doctrinal, but empirical. Furthermore, we cannot say that one side was wrong and the other right. Each side combined insight and wishful thinking. Let me set out the Menshevik/Bolshevik clash in 1917, using the terms vlast and soglashenie to remind us that we are dealing with Russian empirical realities, and also trying to put the doctrinal dispute in its proper subordinate position.

Menshevik: Some sort of soglashenie with educated society is necessary, and therefore a suitable “bourgeois” partner for this soglashenie can be found (and besides, Russian faces a “bourgeois revolution” and therefore we must tolerate the “bourgeois” Provisional Government).

Bolshevik: Soglashenie with educated society is impossible, and therefore the Russian proletariat is ready to take on the responsibilities of the revolutionary vlast (and besides, Russia is ready to take “steps towards socialism”).

In either case, we start, not with doctrinal insight or error, but with a strongly felt and essentially correct empirical view of Russian society in 1917. The Mensheviks realized that, on the one hand, a modern society could not do without educated specialists and professionals, and, on the other hand, the Russian proletariat was not organized or “purposive” enough to exercise the vlast in isolation nor was the Russian peasantry a secure base for a “dictatorship of the proletariat.”

The Bolsheviks realized that, despite appearances, elite educated society would never work enthusiastically to accomplish “the goals of the revolution” (even when defined in strictly “democratic” terms) and that in fact educated society would eventually turn against the revolution and work for some sort of “dictatorship of the bourgeoisie” — that is, some kind of alliance of liberal politicians and soldiers, or, in Russian terms, Kadets (the liberal Constitutional Democrats) and Kornilov (the general who led an abortive coup attempt in 1917).

For both Mensheviks and Bolsheviks, a correct empirical view leads to a factual assertion that is based more on wishful thinking than on the realities. The Mensheviks have to insist that a suitable partner can be found in bourgeois society for carrying out the revolution’s goals (or, at least, that educated society can be bullied into cooperation by “pressure from below”). The situation is too horrible to contemplate if this is not the case.

The Bolsheviks have to insist that vast complicated policies of social transformation and crisis management can be carried out almost painlessly if only the proletariat asserts its class power. The situation is too horrible to contemplate if this is not the case.

In each case, there is a parenthetical add-on that tries to give the legitimacy of Marxist doctrine to an empirically chosen strategy. But in fact, the Mensheviks did not choose their strategy because of doctrinal labels such as “bourgeois revolution,” but rather the reverse: they insisted Russia faced a bourgeois revolution because they didn’t want to dispense with the “bourgeoise” — that is, with educated and trained specialists (or spetsy, as the Bolsheviks later called them when they realized how much they needed them). And the Bolsheviks did not choose their strategy because they first convinced themselves for doctrinal reasons that a socialist revolution was possible in Russia, but rather the reverse: they claimed that immediate “steps towards socialism” were possible because they felt the proletariat had to take power.

Later observers have tended to make these rhetorical gestures towards doctrinal legitimacy the heart of the matter. In fact, in 1917, the attitude toward soglashenie with educated society was the heart of the matter. Essentially, there were only two choices for the socialists: for or against soglashenie. Menshevik and Bolshevik are just the names for these two choices. But the tragedy of Russia in 1917 was that soglashenie was both necessary and impossible. The situation was in fact horrible — too horrible to look straight in the face, too horrible to contemplate.

In this reading, the Russian Revolution is not a matter of making or avoiding mistakes, but a tragedy without an acceptable solution (that’s what tragedy is).

But one more thing needs to be said about the clash between Menshevik and Bolshevik. Each side was a compound of error and insight. But in the case of the Mensheviks, this combination resulted in paralysis. In the case of the Bolsheviks, the combination led them to be up and doing. Just for this reason, the future, for good or ill, belonged to the Bolsheviks.

22 May 13:52

montt en dosis diarias - -155

by (montt)

27 Mar 16:35

908. Plateau de Glières.

by (María Torres)
El general De Gaulle ,en el cementerio de Morette, rindiendo tributo a las víctimas de Glières
Fotografía del Consejo General de Haute-Savoie Asociación Fondo Glières

A finales de enero de 1944 algunos jefes de los maquisards de Alta Saboya probablemente siguiendo instrucciones de Londres decidieron concentrarse en una meseta de los Alpes, a 20 km de Annecy, de 1800 metros sobre el nivel del mar, con el fin de atrincherarse y crear un núcleo de territorio liberado. Así nació Glières el 31 de enero de 1944. La BBC, desde Londres, proclamaba: «Tres países resisten en Europa: Grecia, Yugoslavia y Alta Saboya».

Era una zona montañosa poblada de chalets. Allí se concentraron 465 combatientes. De ellos, 56 eran jóvenes guerrilleros españoles que formaron la sección Ebro, en recuerdo de la batalla de este nombre en la guerra civil española, bajo el mando de Antonio Vilches.

Las autoridades francesas de Vichy ordenaron desalojar ese reducto. A mediados de febrero un destacamento de la Milicia inició los combates. Pero fueron derrotados por los guerrilleros que hicieron no pocos prisioneros.

Ante lo ocurrido, decidieron intervenir los alemanes. El 23 de marzo llegaban a la zona 8000 alemanes con morteros, artillería y aviación, que unidos a varios centenares de la Milicia francesa y de la policía prepararon el ataque. En total, más de 9000 hombres se disponían a lanzarse contra los 465 guerrilleros.

Antonio Vilanova describe como sigue la desigual batalla:

«El ataque se desencadenó el domingo 26 de marzo de 1944. Comenzó por el norte contra la sección Liberté-Chérie como distracción del ataque principal que fue contra las dos secciones españolas Ebro y las de Alloobroges, Bayard, Savoie-Lorraine, Jean Carrier, Saint Hubert y Leclerc.

Los maquisards se comportaron heroicamente, pero les era imposible sostener la mayor potencia de fuego de los asaltantes, los continuos bombardeos y la superioridad numérica. Los resistentes carecían además de reservas y tuvieron que retroceder por precipicios y entre la nieve. Así y todo, aguantaron el ataque durante cuatro horas y las últimas oleadas alemanas las contuvieron con granadas de mano: muchas armas no servían ya.

Hubo algunos prodigios de heroísmo, como el de Antonio Vilches que merced a un enorme salto dado en un terreno peligroso y batido, consiguió un emplazamiento para su ametralladora desde el cual pudo proteger la retirada de sus hombres. Aunque cosida su ropa a balazos pudo escapar indemne.

Peor suerte tuvo el también español García cuando, en unión del francés Credoz, emplazaba un fusil ametrallador frente a Sappey para contener a una numerosa patrulla de milicianos. Después de disparar diez cargadores, consiguieron hacer huir a los vichystas, pero Credoz recibió un balazo que le abrió la cabeza y García otro que le atravesó un pulmón.

Ante la imposibilidad de resistir la presión de tanto hombre y tanto armamento, se dio la orden de retirada a fin de que cada uno pudiera escapar del cerco al estilo guerrillero, o sea en pequeños grupos y por diferentes lugares.

La última resistencia, el despegue y la persecución final ocasionaron muertes, detenciones, torturas y fusilamientos.

La batalla ocasionó la muerte de 155 maquisards, de ellos cinco españoles. Otros 175 resistentes quedaron prisioneros, de ellos seis españoles.

La barbarie nazi asesinó, después de torturarlos, a casi todos los prisioneros. De los seis españoles, solamente se salvó de la muerte uno.

Los españoles que consiguieron escapar a la persecución: J. Barba, Manuel Joya, Miguel Vera, etc., combatieron en el maquis hasta el final de la guerra y fueron autores de la liberación de Annecy, capital del departamento de Alta Saboya-

En Glières dieron su vida por la libertad de Francia: Félix Belloso Colmenar, Patricio Roda, Gabriel Reines o Gaby, Victoriano Ursua, Pablo Fernández, Avelino Escudero, Paulino Fontava, Florián Andújar y Manuel Corps Moraleda.

Félix Santos

Españoles en la liberación de Francia, 1939-1945

Capítulo II

21 Mar 21:34


21 Mar 21:29


21 Mar 19:51

uGet – The Best Download Manager for Ubuntu/Linux

by Ramesh Jha

uGet is a free and open source software for managing file downloads (over HTTP/S, FTP etc). It’s the most popular download manager program for GNU/Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, ArchLinux, Gentoo etc. It’s also available for Windows. uGet is lightweight but still a very powerful download manager.

uget ubuntu


  • Downloads queue
  • Resumable downloads (not always, as it depends on server)
  • Batch downloads
  • Clipboard monitor
  • Also supports multiple protocols (http/https, ftp, bittorrent, metalink etc)
  • Categories to easily manage downloading files
  • CLI interface for geeks/nerds
  • Download history management
  • Multiple language support
  • Scheduler & lots of other features you can read here.

Download/Install uGet

On Ubuntu (I’ve tested on current LTS release (12.04) but it should work fine on other versions as well. e.g on upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 LTS release), open a terminal and type :

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:plushuang-tw/uget-stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install uget

For any other Linux distribution or platforms you should check out the official download page.

Also check out this web based tool for downloading SoundCloud songs.

14 Feb 09:16

La testigo

by (Malena)

Eran las once y estaba sola, aunque el dato no ayude demasiado porque siempre estoy sola a las once. Creo que llovía; la gata estaba en el sofá y únicamente la dejo entrar los días de lluvia. El resto del tiempo está en el patio y duerme en el galponcito que mi marido usaba para guardar las herramientas del jardín. Desde que murió está vacío porque le pago a un muchacho para que corte el pasto y arregle los canteros. Las hortensias se murieron con él; yo no tengo paciencia para andar regando y cortando yuyos. Orlando, en cambio, tenía mano verde como decía mi abuela. Lo que él plantaba, crecía.

Pero no me quiero ir por las ramas, que usted no está acá para escuchar los divagues de esta vieja.

Como le iba diciendo, llovía y eran las once. Ya había puesto la olla al fuego para prepararme unos fideos. Antes cocinaba más, pero ahora no tiene sentido. Los domingos que vienen a visitarme mis nietos preparo algo elaborado, pero el resto de los días no me dan ganas ni de poner la mesa, mire.

La cosa es que estaba esperando que hierva el agua, acariciando la gata, cuando pasó lo que pasó. Perdone que lo diga así, pero todavía se me pone piel de gallina cuando me acuerdo y no quiero ni mencionarlo. Entiendo perfectamente que usted necesita los detalles y no voy a andarme con vueltas si es para encontrar al responsable de semejante cosa, pero le pido por favor que no me haga mencionar lo que para todos es obvio. De eso no hablo. No puedo. Se me cierra la garganta. Pregúnteme por los olores, los ruidos, el color del auto que salió a las disparadas, quienes fueron los vecinos que se asomaron primero, quién llamó a la policía. Le cuento, si quiere, quién es quién en este barrio y quienes eran ellos antes de ... eso.

Porque si quiere entender lo que pasó tendría que empezar por el día que se conocieron, cuando se mudaron los Murgia al lado de la casa de los Ferrari. Ellos eran dos mocositos y se hicieron amigos casi en el acto. Todos los días cuando volvían de la escuela agarraban la pelota y se iban derechito a la plaza a jugar al fútbol. Todavía me acuerdo de Sarita Ferrari, gritándole al nene desde la ventana que no rompa las zapatillas. La pasaban mal los Ferrari. El padre era un vago que nunca duraba más de un mes en ningún lado y Sara trabajaba en su casa, con la máquina de coser. Los Murgia estaban bien, en cambio. Pero a ellos esa difirencia no les molestaba. Diría que ni se daban cuenta. Claro, cuando eran chicos. Después las cosas empezaron a cambiar y se terminaron de podrir cuando Nicolás Murgia se puso de novio con esa chica, Lorena. Ahora llora, la atorrantita.

¿Tiene tiempo? Déjeme que prepare unos mates y le sigo contando.

03 Feb 17:53

The Digital Revolution: Subscribing to Change

by Erika Liodice

– photo by charlesdyer -

Please welcome Erika Liodice, who is no stranger to WU. In fact, Erika acted as the Writer Inboxed digital expert since our newsletter’s inception. She’s also the author of the novel Empty Arms, and Vice President of the MidAtlantic Book Publishers Association, and she’s here today to shake things up.

Would you like to learn more about the digital revolution? Read on.

The Digital Revolution: Subscribing to Change

The rate of change you’re experiencing today is the slowest you’ll see in your lifetime.

If you were following the Digital Book World Conference on Twitter, you probably saw this quote by Michael Cader Susan Katz, president and publisher of HarperCollins’ Children’s Books (thank you, Porter, for setting the record straight), pop up in your feed more than once. I don’t know about you, but it already feels like technology is changing so fast that it’s hard to keep up. How can it possibly change any faster? Every day it seems like there is a new way to write a book, publish it, and promote it, not to mention read it. Sometimes I worry that if I stop paying attention for even a moment, I’ll be left behind. While I’m still a relative newcomer to the publishing industry, having been at it for less than a decade, I’ve witnessed its rapid transformation in my own way—from the days when querying an agent meant putting a small dent in the forest to today, when the majority of my book sales don’t require a single sheet of paper. Back then, my author platform consisted of a well-balanced blog, Facebook page, and Twitter stream. Nowadays there are more social outposts than hours to keep up with them.

Of all the changes to shake up this industry, one of the most interesting, as of late, is the emergence of the subscription model. As recently as a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me that by 2014 not only would I no longer own CDs or DVDs but I wouldn’t even own my music or movie libraries, yet here we are in the age of streaming entertainment, the era of binge consumption, paying a few measly bucks a month for all the content we can digest. When it comes to the sensibility of subscription services, it all boils down to one question: will I spend more money buying new songs/movies/books each month than it would cost to pay for a subscription?

For the hard core among us, it’s easy to see why the shift is happening.

So will the subscription model be the way of the future for e-books? Investors seem to think so, considering that Oyster just secured a $14 million investment to expand its unlimited e-book subscription service beyond the iOS platform and has been diligently signing new publishers to its catalog, the most recent of which was Perseus Books Group. Oyster’s rival, Scribd, which has already received $25 million in capital and offers its unlimited e-book subscription service across multiple platforms, recently inked a deal with Smashwords to bring over 225,000 self-published titles to its catalog, which is similar to the deal that Oyster signed with Smashwords back in September.

What do we make of all this? Fellow Writer Unboxed contributor and industry thought leader Jane Friedman says, “Subscription models make a lot of sense when applied to niche communities, such as romance, SFF, mystery/thriller, or other enthusiast categories.” She points to O’Reilly’s Safari, which specializes in technology and business training as “one example of a successful subscription-model effort. It’s more difficult to see these services take off or be sustainable if they’re geared for a general-interest audience or casual readers.”

The topic was recently discussed on the Writer Unboxed Facebook page, where community members generally agreed that the subscription model has merit from a reading standpoint, though most were leery about how it will translate into fair compensation for authors. While Oyster and Scribd are trying to address this with a “percentage-read” compensation model, the other big player in the space, Amazon, is taking a different approach. Through its Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which is available only on Kindle devices to Prime members, Amazon allows its members to borrow one book per calendar month and pays authors based on the number of “borrows”. To participate, authors who publish their titles through Kindle Direct Publishing must grant exclusivity to Amazon through its KDP Select program.

The smallest player in the space, Entitle (formerly eReatah), offers a tiered pricing approach and is described by its founder, Bryan Batten, as “similar to Netflix in its DVD days than Netflix in its streaming days.” Entitle takes a different approach asking higher prices but offering readers permanent access to the e-books they’ve borrowed even after their subscription has ended. Also, Entitle is currently only working with traditionally published titles and keeps its author compensation model close to its chest.

As we sit back and watch these players duke it out to be the “Netflix of e-books,” it’s easy to forget about one key competitor: public libraries. In recent years, the public library system has been working with Overdrive and Axis360 to offer the general public the ability to borrow e-books for free. Simon & Shuster recently announced that it will partner with OverDrive to expand its e-book lending pilot (which began with Axis360 back in April), beyond the New York Public Library system into 15 select libraries. It will offer up its catalog of backlist and frontlist titles along with new titles, which will be available simultaneous with publication. This agreement with Simon & Shuster means that OverDrive now distributes titles from all of the major trade publishers as well as thousands of smaller publishers from around the world. But like the paid subscription services, this solution isn’t perfect either. While readers might be enticed by free access to digital titles, each library owns a limited number of licenses per title, which means that the disadvantage is the still same as if you actually went to the library in person: you might have to wait in line for the book to become available.

While the subscription model certainly seems poised to stick around for a while, the jury is still out on whether it will be the way of the future or just another option in this fast changing world of digital publishing.

What do you think? Does the subscription model have a place in your reading or writing future?


About Erika Liodice

Erika Liodice is an award-winning blogger and author of the novel, EMPTY ARMS. She is the founder of the inspirational blog, Beyond the Gray, where she shares her journey to publication while encouraging readers to reach for their own dreams. She is a contributor to Writer Unboxed, The Savvy Explorer, and Lehigh Valley InSite. You can visit her at or follow her on Twitter: @erikaliodice.

30 Jan 01:07

Every Once and a While It’s Incredibly Easy to See Behind the Veil

by Jared Bernstein

This AMs NYT has a piece about a fascinating development in Tennessee, where management in a privately owned auto company, a VW plant in Chattanooga, appears to be working cooperatively with the UAW to organize the plant.  So, what’s the problem?

I’ve written about this before, but the wrinkle is that “outside agitators” [my words, not the NYTs] are trying to block the union, which is pitting them against both sides—union and management, since the latter thinks organizing the workforce would be helpful.

The business community reacted with…dismay when several Volkswagen officials from Germany visited the plant and hinted that it would be good to have a labor union because that would help establish a German-style works council. Such councils, comprising managers and representatives of white-collar and blue-collar workers, seek to foster collaboration within a factory as they forge policies on plant rules, work hours, vacations and other matters.

It’s a great example of just how thin much conservative support is for “free markets.”  A private firm believes it is in its self-interest not to block the union, and in fact appears to welcome the opportunity to for cooperative “works councils.”

Unlike most companies that confront unionization efforts, Volkswagen — facing a drive by the United Automobile Workers — has not mounted a vigorous campaign to beat back the union; instead VW officials have hinted they might even prefer having a union.

So you have politicians, including the state’s governor and TN senator Bob Corker, along with conservative activist Grover Norquist, trying to block VW management from working with the union.

The anti-U.A.W. forces are making themselves heard, warning that if the U.A.W. succeeds here, that will lend momentum to unionize two other prestigious German-owned plants: the Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama and the BMW plant in South Carolina.

Now, that may be a legitimate concern for these politicians, but these are private decisions by private actors.  As my colleague Dean Baker likes to say in these cases, “Let’s be good, neoclassical economists here” and let market actors join into partnerships they believe to be in their economic interest.

I doubt the outside opposition to management’s support of the union is a surprise to most readers, but it struck me as a classic example of how terribly thin this “free market” ideology really is when it takes its alleged supporters to places they don’t want to go.

The moral of the story: there’s no “free market.”  It doesn’t exist outside of beginner textbooks.  Instead, there’s a vast array of market arrangements wherein private and public forces interact in ways that create winners and losers.  The winners tend to like things the way they are and will yell “free markets!” when challenged.  But they don’t really mean it.

13 Jan 01:26

Hay más que amigas que no son para toda la vida.

Hay más que amigas que no son para toda la vida.

04 Jan 13:21

DC MAYOR’S RACE: Crowded Field, Limited Choices

by woodlanham
The Washington Socialist <> January 2014 By Bill Mosley              Now that Mayor Vince Gray has decided he will run for re-election after all, the field of candidates in the April 1 Democratic mayoral primary is taking shape, somewhat resembling that of the older Elvis on a fried-food binge.             The Democratic mayoral primary, whose [...]
04 Dec 15:24

Rare Words


acosmist - One who believes that nothing exists
paralian - A person who lives near the sea
aureate - Pertaining to the fancy or flowery words used by poets 
dwale - To wander about deliriously
sabaism - The worship of stars
dysphoria - An unwell feeling
aubade - A love song which is sung at dawn
eumoirous - Happiness due to being honest and wholesome
mimp - To speak in a prissy manner, usually with pursed lips

04 Dec 15:22

December 03, 2013