Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greenpeace co-founder says use more trees, not less

The Vancouver Sun has a fascinating editorial by Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, who argues that environmentalists concerned about global warming should advocate growth of the timber industry:

...Rather than cutting fewer trees and using less wood, DiCaprio and Berman ought to promote the growth of more trees and the use of more wood.

Trees are the most powerful concentrators of carbon on Earth. Through photosynthesis, they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere and store it in their wood, which is nearly 50 per cent carbon by weight...

To address climate change, we must use more wood, not less. Using wood sends a signal to the marketplace to grow more trees and to produce more wood. That means we can then use less concrete, steel and plastic -- heavy carbon emitters through their production. Trees are the only abundant, biodegradable and renewable global resource.

In other words, trees trap in carbon. By cutting down trees and using the wood in buildings and furniture, we're trapping carbon in a solid form. Moore also notes that young forests remove more carbon dioxide from the air than old growth forests. (So that means it's a good thing that we're going to print our global warming kid's book, The Sky's Not Falling, on non-recycled paper.)

Moore also mentioned another fact that is worth calling out:
North Americans are the world's largest per-capita wood consumers and yet our forests cover approximately the same area of land as they did 100 years ago.
According to the United Nations, our forests have expanded nearly 100 million acres over the past decade.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bush says "conspiracy theorists" behind Late Great USA

President Bush, at a summit with his counterparts from Mexico and Canada, dismissed the idea that a North American Union (NAU) could be in the works. A reporter from Fox News asked him to categorically deny that plans for an NAU or a NAFTA superhighway were underway. The transcript of Bush's reply shows that he side-stepped the issue and gave an indirect response.

Meanwhile, the 3rd printing of the NYT bestseller The Late Great U.S.A. -- the book by Jerome Corsi that first shined the light of day on the NAU concept -- has just shipped from the printer. It is showing up as "in stock" once again at both Amazon and B&, and plenty of copies are currently in route to bookstores across the country.

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Pat Schroeder wrong to claim conservatives don't read

Former congresswoman and still-liberal Pat Schroeder -- who holds the position of president of the American Association of Publishers -- claims that liberals read more books than conservatives because the latter "just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes'...on every page." Schroeder was commenting on an AP-Ipsos poll that "found people who consider themselves liberals are more prodigious book readers than conservatives."

This strikes me as an ill-advised statement by Schroeder given that she's the head of a non-partisan trade organization that should not be alienating one-third of the country's population, especially since overall industry sales numbers remain flat. Of course, since liberals face the ever-present imperative of establishing their own intellectual superiority lest their belief system die,* it's easy to understand why Schroeder shot off her mouth over this poll. But when one takes a moment to study the poll, problems with her flippant interpretation become apparent. To quote the AP again:

Among those who had read at least one book, liberals typically read nine books in the year, with half reading more than that and half less. Conservatives typically read eight, moderates five.

By slightly wider margins, Democrats tended to read more books than Republicans and independents. There were no differences by political party in the percentage of those who said they had not read at least one book.

When you break down these statements, it becomes apparent that Schroeder's claim is full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. To wit:
  1. Self-identified Republicans are just as likely to be book readers as self-identified Democrats.
  2. The average self-identified conservative book reader consumes about the same number of books per year (eight) as the self-identified liberal (nine). Given the poll's sample size, I doubt there is much statistical difference in these averages, and plus the averages don't control for page length, difficulty, etc.
  3. The breakdown Schroeder cites doesn't control for children. Parents are more likely to be conservative than adults who don't have children, and raising kids cuts into reading time. Controlling for this key variable would be necessary if we're to arrive at statistically accurate comparisons across groups.
  4. Similarly, the poll's breakdown doesn't control for religion. A second AP article on the poll noted "those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently." But that doesn't mean that religious people (who are disproportionately conservative) don't read. To the contrary, the same article notes that the "Bible and religious works were read by two-thirds in the survey, more than all other categories." Religious people read, but they're reading the Bible. And frequent Bible reading is going to bring down the average quantity of books consumed per year.
  5. The poll can't surmise cause and effect. Liberals surely consume more indie art-house flicks, watch more hours of CNN, and are more likely to subscribe to the NYT. But these media convey a left-wing editorial perspective. Likewise, if the big New York publishers crank out a disproportionate number of liberal books, doesn't it follow that liberals will disproportionately buy them?
Simply put, the poll results Schroeder cites simply don't support the clumsy conclusion she is advancing. How ironic.

* To quote Thomas Sowell, "The welfare state is not really about the welfare of the masses. It is about the egos of the elites." Liberalism calls for top-down management of society by self-declared elites who desire to manage the lives of the ignorant little people who cannot take care of themselves and therefore tend to fall prey to the greedy, duplicitous "rich." But in order to make the case for being entrusted with lordship of society through centralization, elites must constantly assert their own intellectual superiority -- not just to advocate liberalism over competing ideas, but also to establish their bona fides.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

Father denounces Islamic symbolism in Flight 93 memorial

The Associated Press reports that the father of one of the heroes of Flight 93 is now calling for his son's name to be withheld from the memorial being planned at the crash site. According to the article:
Tom Burnett Sr. served on a jury that picked the winning design, originally named "Crescent of Embrace," and said the request was "something I'd rather not do, but I can't get anyone to listen."...

Burnett, of Northfield, Minn., said he is looking for is a "thorough, honest investigation" of the design and the elements discussed by Alec Rawls, a conservative blogger from Palo Alto, Calif. Burnett said many of his concerns were based on Rawls' theories.

Rawls says the planned memorial faces toward Mecca, Islam's holiest city, and contends that a planned 93-foot tower with wind chimes would act as an Islamic sundial.

I summarized Rawls's disturbing hypothesis about the Flight 93 memorial in a blog post last month. World Ahead is planning to release a book by Rawls entitled Crescent of Betrayal: Dishonoring the Heroes of Flight 93 this fall.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Terrorist book lands in gossip column

Cindy Adams at the NY Post takes note of WND Books' upcoming release, Schmoozing with Terrorists, in her column. Why would a current events book attract the attention of a gossip columnist? To quote Adams:
Our sworn enemies tell Mideast-based, 20-something U.S. journalist Aaron Klein who they'd like in the White House, kvetch over showbiz types like Madonna, Britney, Spielberg, Mel Gibson, bigmouths Jane Fonda and Sean Penn and conservative talkers Limbaugh and Hannity, plus Richard Gere, who did a commercial urging Palestinians to vote. Well, they did. And elected Hamas.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Lonely Planet launching chapter download service

Lonely Planet has launched an innovative new program. It's called "Pick & Mix," and it allows readers to selectively download individual chapters from their travel guides as PDF files for use on mobile devices. This seems like an e-book application that could really catch on.

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New publisher of O.J. book revealed

It turns out I actually know the previously secret publisher of the O.J. book! It's Eric Kampmann at Beaufort Books, who appeared on the Today Show and spoke with Publishers Weekly yesterday to explain his decision. Kampmann is also the president for Midpoint Trade Books, the distributor for World Ahead's titles to the retail trade.

While Denise Brown tore into Kampmann on Today and called the book "a manual on murder," my opinion is that this project is now very different than the slimy deal Judith Regan was trying to pull off last year. For one thing, O.J. no longer owns the rights to it and will not financially benefit. For another, Ron Goldman's family is the new owner and they've said they intended to repackage the manuscript in a way that turns it into Simpson's confession. So instead of a PR stunt that puts money into the pocket of a murderer, this book will now use his own words to establish his guilt in the court of history while also benefiting his victims' families.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

O.J. Simpson book is back -- with a twist

PW reports that the O.J. Simpson book If I Did It -- which helped cost Judith Regan her job last year -- is back on track to be published, but in a more tasteful form. The Goldman family obtained the rights through a bankruptcy court ruling, and the repackaged will contain additional commentary representing their point of view. The publisher has not yet been identified.

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The world's #1 font turns 50

U.S. News & World Report notes the golden anniversary of Helvetica, "the only typeface ever to have its 50th birthday observed with a major museum exhibit and an award-winning independent film." What's in a font?, you might ask. Helvetica's strong and straight lines have made it the world's most widely used typeface, and the number one choice for big corporations, almost all illuminated signs, the NYC subway system, and the IRS.

In a note of irony, Blogger doesn't support Helvetica; I use its default font Lucida Grande for my posts. But for this entry I'm using Helvetica's leading competitor, Arial, which is condemned by a designer quoted in the article as "a knockoff riding on Helvetica's coattails."


Friday, August 10, 2007

Send a Marine a letter of support

Jim at ThinkingRight has launched a project called "Letters from Home" to show support to our servicemen by sending letters to the members of the 1st Battalion 1st Marine Regiment. Check it out.


Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Charity auction for 9/11 Freedom Concert and VIP day at WABC, Hannity & Colmes

World Ahead and Jill Vitale (a.k.a. the Sean Hannity Show's "Flirty Flipper" and the author of our new kid's book Freddie, the Free Range Chicken) are pleased to announce our online charity auction to benefit Freedom Alliance. The winning bidder will receive an amazing package that includes a pair of tickets to Hannity's Freedom Concert on Sept. 11th in New Jersey, which features Montgomery Gentry, LeAnn Rimes, and Lee Greenwood. But that's not all. The winner and a lucky guest will also get an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with Jill of "The John Gambling Show" at WABC Radio and a taping of "Hannity & Colmes" at Fox News, plus autographed copies of Jill's book, signed by her and Sean.

Click on the banner below to visit the eBay auction page for more details on this extraordinary opportunity. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to attend an amazing concert and get VIP media access with Jill, all while supporting a good cause.

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Scholastic declines comment on Laurie David book

WND reports that Scholastic declined to comment on Laurie David's admission to Publishers Weekly that she hopes to manipulate children with her upcoming global warming book.

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Monday, August 06, 2007

What size is Laurie David's carbon footprint?

Laurie David, who just revealed that she wants to manipulate children with her upcoming kid's book on global warming, has come under scrutiny by David Frum for her enviro-hypocrisy. Frum writes:
It seems almost an iron law: Sexual moralists get hoisted by their own petard.

But there is another form of hypocrisy, very nearly as ubiquitous, about which we hear much less -- and that is the hypocrisy of the celebrity environmentalist...

If environmentalism is to Democratic America what religious morality is to Republican states, there is at least one Laurie David for every Ted Haggard.

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Amazon takes on PayPal

Vishesh Kumar at reports that Amazon is launching a new payments service called "Flexible Payments Service" to challenge PayPal. In spite of some moments of moxie, Google's Checkout thus far hasn't succeeded in slowing down PayPal. So it will be interesting to see what Amazon can do. But what befuddles me is why they're giving it such a cumbersome name when Amazon already has a famous and trusted payment brand: One Click.

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Friday, August 03, 2007

Scholastic author: manipulate kids on global warming to influence parents

Since it can be difficult to sell liberal beliefs to adults, children should be manipulated in an effort to influence their parents. Or so states Laurie David, the liberal activist and co-author of Scholastic's forthcoming global warming book for kids, The Down-to-Earth Guide to Global Warming. In a jaw-dropping PW interview published online today, the producer of "An Inconvenient Truth" makes it clear that her Sept. book is meant to indoctrinate children:

Both David and [co-author Cambria] Gordon see children as true agents for change. “Kids are the most optimistic human beings—they only see the future ahead of them and it’s bright,” David says. “Kids also are the number one influence on their parents, so if you want to reach the parents, go to the kids.”

Gordon agrees, “At times the adult world is getting burnt out,” coping with existing crises and forecasts for disaster. But “children’s concern is for their adult life—they don’t have the cynicism adults have.” Gordon foresees children reading the Guide in eco-clubs and after-school
programs, using it as a basis for classroom projects and fund-raisers, and checking its advice on green habits.
David and Gordon are suggesting that since presenting logical arguments to adults is too difficult, it's best to manipulate children with a book they encounter in their classrooms and after-school programs. In other words, bypass parental control and instead use kids to guilt-trip their moms and dads.

I've seen the preview copy of their book, and it's heavy-handed. It states that global warming is undeniably caused by industrial activities, and it shows pictures of little animals like the golden toad that it claims have been made extinct by climate change. What should kids do? Nag your parents to buy a hybrid.

This is exactly why we're publishing kid's book entitled The Sky's Not Falling: Why It's OK to Chill about Global Warming. We not only wanted to print a book that steers clear of this kind of fear-mongering, but we also wanted to make sure that parents have a choice if they decide to educate their kids on this complicated topic. As I discussed in a post earlier this week, unlike Scholastic, we won't aim our sales and marketing energy at kids, but rather take our message to their parents.

Unfortunately, it doesn't sound like Scholastic has any hesitancy when it comes to peddling politics directly onto kids. Laurie David makes that pretty clear.

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Another NYT bestseller list for "Late Great USA"

We just learned that Jerome Corsi's The Late Great USA is #8 on the NYT's hardcover business bestseller list for August 5.

Despite the second printing, copies are getting scarce again. Amazon is currently back ordered, although B& does have it in stock. Fortunately a third printing is underway. If you're trying to locate a copy, either submit your order online or place a special order with a clerk in your local bookstore.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

CNN interview on political kid's books

Last night CNN aired a segment on political books for kids that included an interview with me. Overall I thought it was a fair piece, although it didn't include all the reasons I outlined for our decision to publish the Kids Ahead imprint.

Politics have long been present in children's books, but in the past decade liberals have flooded the market with a host of titles (e.g. King & King, Rainbow Fish, It's Just a Plant, And Tango Makes Three, Hoot, etc.) that have an uncanny knack for winding up in public schools and libraries. Last year the UN even got into the act with an absurd book on global warming featuring a sea goddess, and Scholastic is gearing up to release a book on this topic by activist Laurie David in September.

Parents with traditional values have responded by seeking books that convey their beliefs, and our imprint was started to address this need. As I articulated in an earlier post, we have opted for a sales and marketing approach that speaks to parents as opposed to targeting kids through public schools and "cause marketing," which seems to be the left's modus operandi. Critics of Kids Ahead denounce our books such as The Sky's Not Falling, our upcoming rebuttal to Scholastic's release, but they overlook how liberal publishers and authors have long aimed their message directly at children.

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Life imitates "The Simpsons"

Ever since the L.A. Times article in June referred to me as "spiky-haired and baby-faced," I've had no shortage of comments likening me to Bart Simpson. (And this comes from co-workers and friends, mind you. The fan mail from liberals is much less kind.)

Personally I don't see the resemblance to Bart, but I did stumble across a brilliant marketing website that lets you see what you would look like as a Simpsons character. I can't deny that this one is spot on.

By the way, I tried uploading this picture of Helen Thomas into the "Simpsonizer" but it crashed the site...