Friday, September 25, 2009

New blog address

Please visit my new blog at

Eric M. Jackson's Blog

Monday, July 13, 2009

"Ride the Thunder" debuts

Today the Washington Times published a book review by Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton on Ride the Thunder: A Vietnam War Story of Honor and Triumph.

Written by former Marine infantry officer Richard Botkin, Ride the Thunder is the latest release from WND Books. Botkin will be appearing on the "G. Gordon Liddy Show" today to discuss this provocative new loook at the Vietnam War and the heroic warriors who fought it.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Sanford book, "Rye" sequel quashed

A couple of high profile upcoming releases have just been axed. Sentinel canceled Mark Sanford's book deal in the wake of his scandal, and last week a judge granted a preliminary injunction against an unauthorized sequel to Catcher in the Rye.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Schumer lauds Fairness Doctrine 2.0 on election day

It's election day and the Democrats seem destined for a clean sweep. In a move of giddy candor, Sen. Chuck Schumer told Fox News that he's all for the return of the Fairness Doctrine. Read the Hill's article here. Evidently Schumer equates free political speech with pornography.

At least liberals are being forthright about their intentions. Look for the battle over government censorship of the press to begin early next year. And let me tell you this, Senator, regardless of your majorities on Capital Hill, those of us who believe in freedom of the press are not going to let you tear up the First Amendment without a fight.


Friday, October 10, 2008

86% of publishing industry plans to vote for Obama

A survey of professionals in the publishing industry reveals that a whopping 86% of respondents intend to vote for Barack Obama. This is stunning. While Obama has emerged as the undeniable front-runner during this financial crisis, according to Real Clear Politics he averages 49.4% support among likely voters nationwide.


Friday, October 03, 2008

Limbaugh lauds WND Books author O'Leary

On his #1 rated radio show today, Rush Limbaugh discussed research done by Brad O'Leary, author of The Audacity of Deceit from WND Books. Limbaugh quoted from O'Leary's recent Investor's Business Daily editorial, in which he discusses the polling research that he did with Zogby on the 30% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. In his editorial (which you can find here), O'Leary notes that this voting block has very different preferences from taxpayers:
I found that 60% of likely voters among nontaxpaying Americans favor Obama for president, whereas only 31% favor John McCain. In addition, a majority of the 30% of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes agree with Obama's $65 billion plan to institute taxpayer-funded, universal health coverage.

On the other side, a majority of the 70% of Americans who pay federal income taxes (i.e., the folks who would have to foot the bill for this boondoggle) are opposed to Obama's health care plan.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Blame game for the financial crisis

David Blake at FT indicts Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve for creating the housing bubble. While I would disagree with Blake's assertion that the Fed did not keep interest rates artificially low in the early 00's, his fundamental conclusion is sound. Greenspan's activist Fed, in a quest to manage the macro-economy (instead of just fighting inflation), helped create two massive asset bubbles (tech and housing) that subsequently deflated and hit the U.S. economy hard over the past 8 years.

Meanwhile, Kevin Hassert, a McCain economic advisor, blames the Democrats in a Bloomberg op-ed piece. He contends that Fannie and Freddie directly created the sub-prime mortgage market, which contained risks that remained hidden as long as home prices rose. But when prices fell, the systematic risk created by the securitization of this debt walloped the entire financial industry. Hassert blames Senate Democrats for holding up reform bills during 2005-2007, and calls out Obama for receiving $125,000 in campaign contributions from various Fannie and Freddie sources.

Putting aside the partisan blame (and I don't follow Congress enough to comment on the validity of Hassert's charge), these viewpoints seem like two sides of the same coin. We know from history that markets are susceptible to occasional asset bubbles; it can be difficult to establish prices for certain types of assets, especially in the face of new technologies or changing economic conditions. But this susceptibility didn't cause the crisis. Structural flaws in the housing market, created by Fannie and Freddie's efforts to separate the risk of sub-prime lending from the lenders themselves, were the underlying problem. And the Greenspan liquidity bubble fueled this dangerous habit, so much so that these dangerous securities, which were sold as "risk free," flooded the financial markets and created the systematic danger that has engulfed Wall Street in recent weeks.

Wall Street surely deserves some blame in this mess, but from where we now stand, it appears that Greenspan, Congress, Fannie, and Freddie are the culprits who distorted the market and added fuel to the fire.

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

What's really scary about this financial crisis...

What to say about the unfolding crisis on Wall Street? In the past two weeks, Lehman Brothers has gone bankrupt, and Morgan Stanley is looking for a buyer. But more earth-shaking is the fact that the feds have nationalized the mortgage market (Fannie and Freddie) and the nation's largest insurer (AIG). This quote from an article in Der Spiegel entitled "The World As We Know It Is Going Down" sadly says it all:
"I fear the government has passed the point of no return," financial historian Ron Chernow told the New York Times. "We have the irony of a free-market administration doing things that the most liberal Democratic administration would never have been doing in its wildest dreams."

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Monday, September 15, 2008

Google to move its data out to sea?

Google may move its data centers to offshore barges. While ostensibly this would be a cost-saving measure, it could also place the control of their service beyond the jurisdiction of any government. Readers of Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson -- or my book, for that matter -- will experience a sense of déjà vu.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Much of world blames U.S. government for 9/11

Today is the 7th anniversary of nearly 3,000 Americans being murdered by Islamofascists.

Reuters reports that a global poll found that majorities in only 9 of 17 countries believe that al Qaeda was behind the attacks. While one would expect this kind of reaction in the Middle East (where the antisemitic screed The Protocols of the Elders of Zion still sells briskly), the data out of Europe was depressing:
In Europe, al Qaeda was cited by 56 percent of Britons and Italians, 63 percent of French and 64 percent of Germans. The U.S. government was to blame, according to 23 percent of Germans and 15 percent of Italians.

Of the 17 nations in the survey, the "only countries with overwhelming majorities blaming al Qaeda were Kenya with 77 percent and Nigeria with 71 percent."


Monday, September 08, 2008

Penguin unveils new Greenspan epilogue as e-book

PW reports that Penguin is releasing a standalone e-book version of the epilogue to Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence. The epilogue -- which features up-to-date commentary on current market turmoil -- also appeared in the paperback edition of the book, but for those who either own the hardcover or don't want to purchase the book, they can buy the downloadable version for $5.

(Shameless plug: Readers of my book, The PayPal Wars, will recall that it dresses down Greenspan for his own roll in creating a previous financial crisis. It's available in both paperback and Kindle e-book editions.)


Monday, August 04, 2008

Why tyrants hate free markets

The Club for Growth's Andrew Roth quotes my book, The PayPal Wars, in his blog post today. Roth makes a point that I strongly believe: "Tyrants should be deeply concerned. Capitalism will one day destroy them."

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Interview recounts public school horror stories

FrontPageMag features an interview with Steve Baldwin and Karen Holgate, the authors of our new book From Crayons to Condoms: The Ugly Truth about America's Public Schools. They mentioned one of the many examples documented in the book of what passes for education in today's schools:
We’ve all heard stories about teachers and students not being allowed to pray in schools or bring their Bibles to school. But unfortunately, when it comes to Islam there is a new standard... One teacher reported that while she was substitute teaching she was instructed to leave the classroom for an hour while another school employee came to the classroom to lead the students in their prayers to Allah. Certainly the ACLU would file a lawsuit if a public school led children in prayers to God.

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Stein looks at future of conservative publishing

Harry Stein looks at the "future of conservative books" in an interesting article in the City Journal. He suggests that printing right-of-center books has largely been an experiment for the big NYC publishers, and one that they'll probably drift away from in future years.

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Dem leader Hoyer backs Fairness Doctrine 2.0

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is the latest politician to come out in support of reviving the Fairness Doctrine:
“There is a real concern about the monopoly of information and the skewering of information that the American public gets,” said Hoyer. “First, is to the monopoly.

“Obviously, if one group, or a large group, controls information and only allows one perspective to be presented, that’s not good for democracy. That is not good for the American public. That is, of course, what the Fairness Doctrine is directed at, and it can have great merit. But there are obviously complications involved in that as well,” he said.

What a sober, measured approach to censorship! As long as you're mindful of the "complications," government regulators can improve upon the information available to the American people by censoring radio broadcasts.

No doubt heads are nodding approvingly in Beijing, Mr. Hoyer.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

China will censor media's Web access during Olympics

The AFP reports that "China will censor the Internet used by foreign media during the Olympics, an organising committee official confirmed Wednesday, reversing a pledge to offer complete media freedom at the games."

Does this surprise anyone? The fascists in Beijing have censored the Web for years (see here, here, and here), and they've had help from a number of Silicon Valley companies. Let's hope that the media assembled in China takes a hint from this and spends some time reporting on the lack of freedom enjoyed by the Chinese people. From Beijing's oppression of religion to government mandated abortions, from media censorship to Internet cafe spy cams, there is much the rest of the world should know.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Freedom of speech weaker outside U.S.

The IHT has a good article comparing America's freedom of speech to the rest of the West. Compared to Canada and Europe, the U.S. enjoys much stronger freedom of speech laws. A Canadian lawyer notes: "We don't subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat."

While the article spends a lot of time on protections given to reprehensible Nazi and KKK-style hate speech, it doesn't spend much time exploring the negative societal impact of limiting speech. As Mark Steyn -- whose book, America Alone, was excerpted in the Canadian magazine Maclean's and triggered a hate crimes litigation -- puts it: "Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world."

Many qualities distinguish the U.S. from other countries, but it's unfortunate that freedom of speech is one of them. How can liberty be preserved for future generations in the West if this most basic of freedoms is not protected? I doubt that it can. We owe a debt of gratitude to the Founders for enshrining this protection in the Constitution.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

On-demand book releases soar

Publishing information management service R.R. Bowker reports that a stunning total of 411,422 titles were released in the U.S. last year, a 39% increase over 2006. That is simply amazing. Print-on-demand and other short print-run releases fueled nearly all of the growth:
Bowker is projecting that U.S. title output in 2007 increased slightly to 276,649 new titles and editions, up from the 274,416 that were published in 2006.

While traditional book publishing was basically flat last year, there was a staggering rise in the reported number of “On Demand” and short-run books to 134,773, pushing the grand total for projected 2007 U.S. book output to 411,422 books.

Technology, by lowering barriers to entry, has made the publishing marketplace even more competitive. While there will always be big hits and bestsellers, this proliferation of content can only mean lower average sales and a greater focus on niches for publishers.

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Murdoch predicts big win for Obama

News Corp chairman Rupert Murdoch expects Barack Obama to win in a landslide this November, and also gave what appeared to be a presumptive endorsement to the likely Democratic nominee. According to Yahoo Finance: "Murdoch even nonchalantly owned up to influencing the New York Post to back Obama in the New York primary."

So much for claims that Murdoch is an ideologue. Whether this is an opportunistic move on his part to cozy up to the next administration, or a reflection of his own political beliefs, it demonstrates that the mogul is not the arch-conservative many have claimed him to be. Of course, that's not exactly news. Murdoch helped Hillary Clinton fund raise during her 2006 Senate campaign, and he also backed Tony Blair's Labor Party in Britain.

In the video interview accompanying the article, Kara Swisher discusses her interview with Murdoch and puts forward the argument that he should make the WSJ's online content available for free in order to be more relevant. I recall that Murdoch hinted that he might do this before acquiring Dow Jones, but he has yet to take any action along these lines.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

B&N exploring acquisition of Borders

According to the WSJ: "Barnes & Noble Inc., the nation's largest book chain by sales, has assembled a team of executives and advisers to study the possibility of acquiring No. 2 chain Borders Group Inc., according to a person familiar with the situation." Click here to read the rest of the article.

This would be a very dramatic development for the book retail industry. The same article estimates that B&N does about 20-22% of retail sales, compared to 10-12% for Borders and 15% for Amazon.

While it's probably a longshot, it wouldn't surprise me if a deal happens. There's a lot of pressure on retailers right now, and online shopping is changing consumers' buying habits.


Book teaches kids about affirmative action

Take a look at this interview with Tony Robles, the author our new bilingual children's book, Joey Gonzalez, Great American. As one of the first kid's books to be published in both English and Spanish, this illustrated story teaches young people not to judge others by their race, a realization that Joey and his friends come to when their teacher puts affirmative action into practice.

As Robles passionately says in the interview, "...[A]ffirmative action tends to teach our kids that their ancestry is a weakness that needs to be overcome, and affirmative action teaches that they need to rely on special preferences to succeed. I don’t believe that. Affirmative action steals your dignity."


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Death toll in Burma could top 100,000

The top U.S. diplomat in Burma says 100,000 people could die as conditions worsen following last weekend's cyclone. Disease outbreaks could worsen this catastrophic tragedy. The country's dictatorship is not helping matters:

The U.S. military has put people and airplanes into position to work on any relief effort, as officials awaited word on whether the Asian nation would accept American help...

[U.S. charge d'affaires Shari ] Villarosa did not sound optimistic... She said lower reaches of the Myanmar regime appear to recognize the magnitude of the problem, but the senior leadership is isolated and has not yet announced a final decision on how to handle outside aid.