21 Ayn Rand Christmas Cards

December 23, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Did Ayn Rand send Christmas cards?

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According to Scott McConnell’s 100 Voices: An Oral History of Ayn Rand she did indeed. Unfortunately, none are included in McConnell’s 656 page book.

Fortunately, with a little help from the Ayn Rand Archives*, we’re able to present to you this exclusive, never-before-seen collection of Ayn Rand favorites.

Self-publishing 101: ISBNs, LLCs, and bar codes decoded

December 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Last week, we talked about 11 reasons to self-publish your book.

This week I want to start off with two of my favorite comments. First, from Glen The Plumber:

My mom told me self-publishing causes blindness.

I just had to post that because it made me laugh so hard. Well played, Mr. Plumber, sir!

The second comment from skywriter spoke to setting yourself up as a publisher:

To become a publisher, the writer must buy publishing numbers called ISBN or International Standard book Number from the sole source provider: Bowker. Without buying that number or those numbers, someone else is the publisher and has control over the author’s literary work.

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I wanted to talk about what this means and several early decisions involved in self-publishing.

The Big Ideas Project and how to get everything on our Christmas policy list

December 16, 2014 at 11:04 am

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee recently launched The Big Ideas project.

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At this site, people like you and me can submit ideas we have for a better country. It’s a great idea.

Some ideas from the current front page include:

  • Debt-free college
  • A law to regulate out-of-district money in elections
  • Full employment
  • A basic income guarantee
  • Reversing Citizens’ United
  • Expanding social security
  • Etc.

The trouble I have is that I want all of these things. I don’t just want to focus on one or two.

I want major change. So I asked myself the question: What’s holding us back from major change?

I believe the biggest thing that’s holding us back from doing these things is a corporate special interest group idea. It’s the idea that government should serve the interests of corporations and this will, in turn, be good for everyone.

I know, crazy right? But a lot of people have bought into this notion because it has been sold to us as “freedom” in the form of smaller government.

The corporate special interest marketing and educational campaign has been so successful, in fact, that it dominates public discussion and opinion to the point where I don’t think we’re going to get anything on the PCCC’s wonderful big ideas list until we can convince more people that there’s a better way.

That is, the proposals on the big idea list make sense to us because we believe in a different definition of our country. We believe our country is a democracy that should start with people and we believe freedom is about opportunity and shared prosperity.

All the policies at the big ideas site make sense to us because of these beliefs. The problem is they don’t and won’t make sense to many, many people unless we first revive ideas about democracy.

This is why my big idea is about how to revive democracy and make possible more of the policy ideas on the big ideas list.

Self-publishing 101: 11 reasons to self-publish

December 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Welcome to Self-Publishing 101!

The goal of this new series is simple: to share information about self-publishing and learn from others.

After completing my first book, I realized I had a mountain of material about self-publishing: what I’d tried, what worked, what didn’t, and what I’d learned along the way.

I wanted to share and hear about what other people have done or are doing.

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Throughout the process, I found myself constantly amazed at how far the world of self-publishing has come and how reachable it is to a new world of authors.

In this first post, let’s look at 11 reasons to self-publish.

What class are you struggling with and why?

October 10, 2014 at 5:59 pm

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Top tip for talking about the economy: Use the active voice

October 8, 2014 at 4:42 pm

Do you need to be an economist to talk about the economy?

Sometimes I think we think that. “We” being people and “that” being “a Ph.D. in economics is needed.”

If we cede the economic conversation to corporate special interests, however, we lose on issue after issue to the laissez-faire economic story: “Let the markets work.”

At the “Pope is Dope” messaging session this year at Netroots, the panel was asked: What is the biggest mistake people make in conversations?

Without hesitation, Anat Shenker-Osorio responded: “Overuse of the passive voice.”

“People do things,” she said, “If you don’t make it sound like it’s people caused, it is cognitively impossible for it to be people fixed.”

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Doctor Who: “Scotland really showed us the way … 85% of the people voted.”

September 22, 2014 at 8:43 am

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of meeting Paul McGann, the 8th Doctor Who, at a local comic expo.

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As we were chatting, my friend Rick asked him about the Scottish independence vote. The 8th Doctor mentioned two things that really stuck with me.

Chris Rock parody destroys the NFL Ray Rice narrative in single tweet

September 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

When I first saw this tweet, my first thought was: “Yes! Finally someone nails it. And of course, it’s Chris Rock.”

#Rally4Equality: If we care about equality, we should care about democracy

September 4, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Some friends of mine are helping to put together the #Rally4Equality next week in Washington, D.C.

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They asked me if I’d ever written anything about equality. I’ve written about economic equality, I said.

To be quite honest, the idea scared the crap out of me.

Why? I typically write about economics and framing. What could I say about women’s rights that hasn’t been said by several generations of women activists and suffragist leaders?

Of course I was also intrigued. What could I say?

So I told them I’d think about it.

One question that kept coming up: How would I explain women’s rights and equality to my conservative friends? Could I even talk about this issue with conservatives? Could I convince conservatives that equality was an issue worth fighting for?

Below are my early attempts and what I learned.

I have so much respect for this response to ‘My Dad is a Right-Wing Asshole’

August 8, 2014 at 12:08 pm

Andrew W.K. might be my new hero.

He writes a letters column for the Village Voice and I’d never heard of him until yesterday when someone I know posted his response to a letter from Son of a Right-Winger.