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December 07, 2012

Bestselling author Bill Bryson sues his agent for shenanigans

When agents are good they are really, really good. But when agents are bad they are horrid. Author Bill Bryson Takes Agent to Court | The Passive Voice
“This action arises from Fred Morris’s misconduct and profound neglect of his duties as the literary agent of author Bill Bryson,” the complaint states. “For a period of years, Morris, acting as JMI, failed to perform some of the most fundamental duties of an agent. He failed to remit royalties he received for Bryson; he failed to forward draft contracts he received for Bryson to review and sign; and he stonewalled inquiries from publishers and from his own client, denying them basic information. Morris hid his failures and misconduct while they were undermining Bryson’s livelihood and reputation. When Bryson began to uncover the derelictions, Morris cut off contact with him. ”Despite having abandoned his responsibilities as Bryson’s literary agent, and despite Bryson’s revocation of the agency, Morris has insisted, through attorneys he engaged, that JMI is entitled to continue collecting a commission of fifteen percent of Bryson’s earnings on the very works Morris has neglected. “In addition, Morris has refused to honor Bryson’s repeated requests for an independent accounting. Instead, Morris purported to perform an accounting of his own, which was incomplete, riddled with errors and patently unreliable.

December 03, 2012

STEAMPUNK III: Steampunk Revolution Launches Today! Features Fiction by Poor Mojo's Giant Squid (as well as some humans)!

We're pleased as punch to note that today is...

Continue reading "STEAMPUNK III: Steampunk Revolution Launches Today! Features Fiction by Poor Mojo's Giant Squid (as well as some humans)! " »

December 01, 2012

Court rules that Louisiana's attempt to divert public school funds to private charter schools is unconstitutional

Southern Education Desk – Court Rules Funding For Louisiana Voucher Program Is Unconstitutional
BATON ROUGE, La. – State District Court Judge Timothy Kelley has ruled that Louisiana’s Act 2—the School Choice legislation—is constitutional, but using the MFP to fund it is unconstitutional. In delivering his ruling, Judge Kelley said, “This has nothing to do with whether or not public funds can support a voucher program. Instead, it has to do with a particular funding mechanism, and whether it can be used for private enterprise.” In his 39-page written decision, Judge Kelley confirmed that Act 2 and the legislative approval given to use the MFP to fund the multitude of school choice programs—a document known as SCR99—ran afoul of the state constitution by diverting state public school funds away from those public schools. Further, he found that Act 2 and SCR99 divert local tax dollars dedicated to public schools away from the purpose for which voters approved those taxes. Scott Richard, executive director of the Louisiana School Boards Association—a plaintiff in the case—applauded the judge’s ruling. “We agree with the decision,” says Richard. “We didn’t want it to come to this, but if the issue had been properly vetted during the legislative session—instead of railroaded through—we wouldn’t have needed to do this.”

November 27, 2012

Former OED editor covertly deleted thousands of words in fit of xenophobia

Former OED editor covertly deleted thousand of words, book claims | Books | The Guardian
An eminent former editor of the Oxford English Dictionary covertly deleted thousands of words because of their foreign origins and bizarrely blamed previous editors, according to claims in a book published this week. Robert Burchfield's efforts to rewrite the dictionary have been uncovered by Sarah Ogilvie, a linguist, lexicographer and former editor on the OED. Ogilvie worked for 11 years to research and write Words of the World, published by Cambridge University Press, which challenges the widely held belief that editors of the OED between 1884 and 1933 were Anglocentric Oxford dons obsessed with preserving the Queen's English, and that it was not until Robert Burchfield's four supplements, produced between 1972 and 1986, that the dictionary was opened up to the wider world. "I observed a pattern, that actually it was the earlier editors who were dealing with words in a really enlightened way. They certainly weren't these Anglocentric, judging kind of editors – they were very sensitive to cultural differences and they seemed to be putting in a lot of foreign words and a lot of words from different varieties of English, which must have been amazing for that day when colonial varieties of English were just emerging," said Ogilvie. She undertook a detailed analysis of Burchfield's supplement, comparing it with the 1933 supplement by Charles Onions and William Craigie. She found that, far from opening up the OED to foreign linguistic influences, Burchfield had deleted 17% of the "loanwords" and world English words that had been included by Onions, who included 45% more foreign words than Burchfield.