John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

What We’re Reading This Summer

Act if you like but you do it at your peril. Men's actions are too strong for them. Show me a man who has acted and who has not been the victim and slave of his action. Emerson

300 quotes from Emerson
To view more Emerson quotes or read a life background on Emerson please visit the books blog spot. We update the blog bi-monthly  emersonsaidit.blogspot.com

What We’re Reading This Summer


I abandon New York for the West Coast every summer, and I like to pull at least some of my summer reading from west of the Mississippi, too. There’s a lot of really wonderful Western and so-called regional writing out there, much of it undersung—like my best find from last summer, James Galvin’s “The Meadow,” a lovely little hundred-year history-in-novel-form of a little patch of land in southern Wyoming. This summer I’m planning to revisit John Muir, for some writing I’m thinking of doing about Yosemite, and also looking forward to “Gold Fame Citrus,” the forthcoming novel from Claire Vaye Watkins, whose 2012 short-story collection, “Battleborn,” I admired. And on a not-Western note (except in the Western-canon sense), I hope to finally read a book I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while: Frank Kermode’s “The Genesis of Secrecy,” an inquiry into the act of interpretation.
I also plan to do some listening this summer. Aside from one cross-country drive in my early twenties, I’d never gotten into audio books, but lately I’ve turned to them to solve a very specific problem: what to do about all those books I read too young and would love to encounter again as an adult? Virtually all of my reading hours are spoken for, but recently I realized that there are always little patches of potential reading time around the edges of any given day—so long as I don’t need my hands or eyes, that is. Hence audio books, and the new-to-me experience of scare-quote reading. Having read whatever I’ve read of Russian literature way too young, I recently made my way through “Anna Karenina” and “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” this way, and while I’m not sure how I would have felt about that if I hadn’t already read those books in print, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and by what an interestingly different experience it is than reading on the page. Meanwhile, it also reminded me of why I always liked Dostoyevsky a lot better than Tolstoy, so he’s up next.—Kathryn Schulz

Summer is the season of far-flung immediacy—learning the rhythms of conversation in a distant city, feeling hot stones on bare legs in strange terrain, or nodding off outdoors, salt-brined, some weekend evening—so it struck me as the perfect time to pick up “Alexandrian Summer,” by the Egyptian-Israeli novelist Yitzhak Gormezano Goren, originally published in 1978, in Hebrew, and only now translated into English. The book, based on Goren’s memories of being ten in the summer of 1951, just before his family left for Israel, helps show why postwar Alexandria inspires nostalgia and avidity in seemingly everyone who knew it. By focussing on a couple of families’ intertwined lives, Goren traces out the city’s cosmopolitan tangle of faiths and cultures without losing sight of the comical domestic inflections that they nurtured. The result is what summer reading should be: fast, carefree, visceral, and incipiently lubricious. I enjoyed Yardenne Greenspan’s lush translation, and this first English edition is done up with a dreamy introduction by André Aciman, the reigning king of Alexandrian longing. It turns out that he grew up on the same street as Goren, in a slightly different but no less enchanted age.—Nathan Heller

On July 28, 1915, President Woodrow Wilson sent U.S. Marines to Haiti, to protect American corporate interests against European takeover, launching an occupation of Haiti that would last nineteen years. During that time, the U.S. government remapped Haiti, rewrote its constitution, took charge of the country’s financial institutions, and established forced labor. But you wouldn’t know any of this reading such books as “The White King of La Gonave: The True Story of the Sergeant of Marines Who Was Crowned King on a Voodoo Island,” by Faustin E. Wirkus; or “The Magic Island,” by William Seabrook, who counts among his other works “Jungle Ways: Seabrook’s Book Out of Africa”; or “Cannibal Cousins,” by John Houston Craige. Some of these books, with their sensationalized misappropriation of Haitian Vodou, inspired the first zombie movies: “White Zombie,” “Revolt of the Zombies,” and “I Walked with a Zombie.”  I am not just rerereading these books this summer because I am a glutton for punishment but because my grandfather was a Caco, or a resistance fighter, against this occupation, and I want, a hundred years later, to get a sense of the minds of some of the men he was fighting against. As a palate cleanser, I’m adding Mary A. Renda’s “Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940,” and a Haitian novel set during that period, Jacques Stephen Alexis’s “In the Flicker of an Eyelid.”—Edwidge Danticat

What I am going to do pretty soon is go back to Elena Ferrante’s novels. I was tipped off by James Wood’s review, and I read “My Brilliant Friend,” which was an utter thrill. Then I got interrupted and went off and read some other things. Now I’m going to get back on the train. Amazing how many books there are that are better than what you’ve been reading lately.—Joan Acocella

You have to check out Jacinda Townsend’s “Saint Monkey.” This stunner of a novel—set in Kentucky just before Civil Rights blows Jim Crow to pieces—tracks the lives of two young black women, both outsiders, both searching, and the thorny friendship that holds them together.
And Alejandro Zambra’s “My Documents.” This dynamite collection of stories has it all—Chile and Belgium, exile and homecomings, Pinochet and Simon and Garfunkel—but what I love most about the tales is their strangeness, their intelligence, and their splendid honesty.—Junot Díaz

I’m looking forward to reading the fourth volume of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s home epic, “My Struggle,” but although I’m thrilled that the success of the books has been such a coup for Knausgaard’s American publisher, Archipelago, I’m waiting until I go to the U.K. later this summer to buy the British edition. Archipelago’s editions, which have a wider and squatter format than most books, truly are beautiful to look at. But when it comes to actually reading, the resulting longer line of text distracts me from sinking into the book, which is all I want to do with Knausgaard. Sorry, Archipelago. Maybe when you do the boxed set of six volumes—you are doing a boxed set, I hope?—I’ll get them just for beauty’s sake.—Rebecca Mead

My mind is on Transcendentalists this summer. I’m reading Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Prose” and “Poems,” in new editions from Harvard University Press; two studies of New England Writers whose deficiencies can be imagined from their titles but whose glories are everywhere in their sentences: “The Flowering of New England” and “New England Indian Summer,” by Van Wyck Brooks; “Emerson Among the Eccentrics,” a great group portrait by Carlos Baker; plus Thoreau’s “Walden,” for its usefulness as a guide to the forest floor—and because I’ve read it every few years since I was fourteen—along with a book I view as its near rival, Stanley Cavell’s “The Senses of Walden.” Way leads on to way, so who knows where these various paths will lead.—Dan Chiasson

I hope to finish reading a couple of books that I started more than a year ago and failed to finish. The first is Edward St. Aubyn’s “Mother’s Milk,” the fourth in his series of Patrick Melrose novels. I consumed the first three books in days, by turns enthralled and appalled by the self-lacerating, cynical Patrick’s Waspish point of view. “Mother’s Milk,” however, begins in the P.O.V. of Patrick’s young son, an improbably self-aware elementary-schooler whose memories extend back to the womb. I found the kid a little tiresome and didn’t get much past page twenty. But I recently flipped ahead and saw that in chapter six we return to Patrick’s savage perspective, as he struggles with prescription sleep meds, adultery, and mother-hatred. Perfect for summer!
Last winter, I got to page seven hundred and fifty of “War and Peace,” then petered out. For six months, my yellowing bookmark has stood, like a quiet rebuke, midway through the monolithic tome. I had actually been enjoying it, so I might try to work my way back in—or I could just reread “Anna Karenina” again, I suppose.
Not long ago, I read Jonathan Franzen’s “Freedom,” which I liked even better than “The Corrections”: it seemed a more mature and fully realized work, and I’m going to come right out and admit, in public, that its final pages moved me to tears. All of which is to say that I’m looking forward to taking a run at Franzen’s new novel, “Purity.”—John Colapinto

This summer I’ve read Emmanuel Carrère’s “Limonov” and Aage Borchgrevink’s “A Norwegian Tragedy: Anders Behring Breivik and the Massacre on Utøya.” While Carrère treats Limonov—a professional mythomaniac and part-time fascist-cum-Bolshevik—as a spectacular literary character reflecting Russia’s (somewhat less spectacular) recent history, Borchgrevink’s Breivik works out the details of his manias in a metaphorical/literal lonely room, out of which he emerges as a killer. Though the consequences of their hateful mythologies are different, both Limonov and Breivik’s stories prove that fascism begins with gratuitous self-involvement.—Alesksandar Hemon

After teaching a class on cities and the American imagination a couple of years back, I realized that I didn’t know enough about the history of the suburbs where I grew up. So this summer I’m working my way through Kevin Starr’s epic, seven-volume “Americans and the California Dream.” Vaguely related: I’m excited to finally read Ray Raphael’s “Cash Crop: An American Dream,” a 1985 book sold to me as the definitive account of Northern California’s reticent, highly organized communities of freelance marijuana farmers. (Every summer, I feel especially homesick for California, where we don’t take summer all that seriously, it being nice out all year long.)
When I’m teaching, I don’t have much time to read books that I’m not going to underline, so I’m also using the break to catch up on a few fun things: Benjamin Meadows-Ingram and Brad “Scarface” Jordan’s “Diary of a Madman,” about the Houston rap legend’s youthful exploits and evolving imagination; Felix Denk and Sven von Thülen’s “Der Klang der Familie,” a wondrous oral history of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Berlin techno culture; and Andrea Pirlo’s “I Think Therefore I Play,” the Italian football legend’s appropriately classy autobiography. (I may not finish every one of these books but, over the next couple of months, I will most certainly carry them, as a pile, from room to room.) I don’t read much fiction during the summertime, but I do plan on getting to John Williams’s “Stoner,” a novel about the steadying and transformative powers of literature. It’s also a tragic tale of how the love of literature won’t save you in the real world of campus politics, personal relationships, everyday life. A way to remind myself, I suppose, to start thinking about next year’s courses.—Hua Hsu
This summer, I’m reading two accounts of far-flung, tempestuous twentieth-century lives. Vincent Giroud’s “Nicolas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music” chronicles a surreal career that Nabokov’s cousin, the novelist Vladimir, would have been hard-pressed to invent: a cosmopolitan composer flees the collapse of tsarist Russia and winds up as a Cold War cultural warrior, organizing ambitious festivals that were secretly subsidized by the C.I.A. In what amounts to a full-throated defense of a controversial figure, Giroud argues that Nabokov exploited Cold War hysteria more than it exploited him. Oliver Hilmes’s “Malevolent Muse: The Life of Alma Mahler” is a stylishly dispiriting biography of the woman who had early ambitions to become a composer but who won fame for a remarkable series of marriages and affairs—to and with, variously, Gustav Mahler, Oskar Kokoschka, Walter Gropius, and Franz Werfel. Hilmes, who earlier wrote a fine life of Cosima Wagner, emphasizes the extent of Mahler-Werfel’s anti-Semitism, which remained disturbingly strong even during the Second World War: in exile in Los Angeles, she told Werfel that the Nazis had done “a great many praiseworthy things.” I’m also delving into two pop-music books: Jessica Hopper’s “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic,” which lives up to its brazen title; and Eric Weisbard’s “Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music,” which studies how pop-music radio mirrors and advances social change. Finally, for pleasure and edification in equal measure, I’m reading Mary Norris’s “Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen,” an already celebrated memoir that grew from a series of New Yorker blog posts.—Alex Ross
Reading Judy Blume’s new book, “In the Unlikely Event,” was thoroughly enjoyable; it also explored, in triplicate, one of my greatest fears: being in a plane crash. It made me even more curious to read Mark Vanhoenacker’s “Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot,” about the joys of being an airplane pilot. At parties, Vanhoenacker writes, he is often asked questions that “suggest that even now, when many of us so regularly leave one place on the earth and cross the high blue to another, we are not nearly as accustomed to flying as we think”: questions that reassure him that “a deeper part of our imagination lingers” in the realm of ancient thoughts about flight. He seems to have the mind of a scientist and the heart of a poet—I’m curious to read his assured perspective on the whole operation, which may liberate me from my reptilian one.
I just finished reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels—the fourth and final book, “The Story of the Lost Child,” is out in September, and, spoiler alert, it’s fantastic. (I hereby unveil myself as her proofreader—no easy role when you’re hyperventilating.) Having run out of Ferrante, I’ve dipped a toe into Knausgaard’s “My Struggle,” which, unlike everybody else, I haven’t read yet, and hope to plunge into fully this summer. So far, it’s true: it’s very good. (But I’m still reading like a proofreader, distracted by an iffy “discrete” on p. 4.)—Sarah Larson
The great promise of summer reading is the pleasure of total absorption: time to climb into the hammock (or splay yourself across some godforsaken patch of airport carpet during an endless layover) with all of “In Search of Lost Time” or whatever. Making your way through a big fat novel offers one kind of intensity of reading experience, but if it’s full immersion you’re after, there’s a case to be made for the short story as the natural genre of summer. You can read one in a single sitting, which is why Edgar Allan Poe thought the story was the king of all forms, the only one that could offer “the immense force derivable from totality.” Read a bunch of stories by the same writer, and you come away with a portrait of a mind in mosaic—if she’s not much good, the cracks will soon show; if she is, you’re privy to something exquisite. The latter is the case with “The Love Object,” a new selection of Edna O’Brien’s short stories spanning the whole of her career, which I plan to keep dipping in and out of over the next few weeks. O’Brien’s mastery reveals itself in any number of ways; one is the slippery ease of her stories’ openings, which catch you up before you quite realize what you’ve gotten yourself into. The water gets very deep, very fast. Take the opening of the story “Storm”:
The sun gave to the bare fields the luster of ripened hay. That is why people go, for the sun and the scenery—ranges of mountains, their peaks sparkling, an almost cloudless sky, the sea a variety of shades of blue, ceaselessly flickering like a tray of jewels. Yet Eileen wants to go home; to be more precise, she wishes she had never come.
You can’t ask for a more honest summer sentiment than that. Poe loved short stories for the power they gave their authors: “During the hour of perusal, the soul of the reader is at the writer’s control.” I happily cede mine to O’Brien, and also to Mavis Gallant, one of the most brilliant story writers in the language, who deserves to be read as widely as her fellow Canadian Alice Munro. No one writes about brutish people like Gallant; she transforms the meanest human specimens into subjects of high fascination and sympathy, which makes her excellent reading for overheated estival subway commutes.—Alexandra Schwartz
I’m reading Knausgaard Vol. 4! The magic continues! —Elif Batuman

I found this today on my Facebook page...isn't this great? A friend of mine, Professor William Connolly, a writing professor at Lindenwood University was kind enough to post it.  

"How fortunate I feel having these three writers as Facebook friends. Their work inspires me — with George Hodgman, John Tuohy and Jeff Nunokawa" 


By David Lee

Born in west Texas, David Lee is the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Porcine Legacy (1974), Driving and Drinking (1979), The Porcine Canticles (1984), Wayburne Pig (1997), News from Down to the Café: New Poems (1999), and A Legacy of Shadows: Selected Poems (1999). Lee has been a boxer, pig farmer, seminary student, cotton mill worker, and the only white baseball player for a Negro League team. He received a PhD in literature, with a concentration in the poetry of John Milton, from the University of Utah. 

Laziest man ever was Floyd Scott
it wasn't nothing that boy
would ever do for anybody
when he's 5 years old
arredy too late his mama one day
sez Floyd come take this trash out
to the barrel but he just lain there
in the living room on the furniture
so she sez you taking this trash out
like I told you?
he never answered she sed
you want to take this trash out
to the barrel or do you want a whipping?
he sez finally how many licks?
she sed 3 with a flyswatter
he didn't say nothing for a minute
she thought he's coming to get it
the he sed do I have to
come out there or will you come
give it to me in here? ...

... he was 24 years old when he
went and got in the car to drive
down to the grocery store a block away
to get him a can of beer
had this terrible itch that was a tragedy
he stretched up scratch his ast
hit the curb and rolled the car
on flat ground right over
Doctor sed he couldn't find
nothing wrong with the x-ray
but his back wasn't strong enough
for him to walk on it after that
insurance bought him 4 different wheelchairs
all too hard for him to use
til they got one with a electric motor on it
he sed he was satisfied
never walked a hundred steps in a row after that
some days he sed it was too hard and not worth the effort
to even get out of bed to it
so he got a television set in his bedroom
to help him get by on social security
that same year 4 kinds of welfare
and the Assemblyofgod brought his supper
on all days with an R in them

county paid for him a private nurse
because he sed it was a soft spot
in that pavement caused his accident
of their negligence and behavior
he was gone sue the county
and the down for a million dollars
if they didn't take care of him til he got well
they thought it'd be cheaper to buy him a nurse
for however long it took
after 3 years she found a way to get married to him
and still have the county pay her for being a nurse's helper
bought them a trailerhouse they put in
right next to his daddy's house
where he didn't have to pay no rent
after that she give up her other patients
and kept the county money for watching him
it was enough to get by on they sed

she's almost as lazy as he was
I heard moss grown in her toilets
they put a deep freezer out on the front porch
to hold the TV dinners she fixed
on all days without a R
both of them got so fat they had to have two couches
in the living room to set and watch TV on
so lazy a dog couldn't live with them
it'd of starved to death waiting
to one of them to come feed it

Hawaii Is Aiming for 100 Percent Energy Renewables. Can the Nation Follow?

As G7 world leaders in Germany on June 8 agreed to phase out fossil fuel use by the end of the century, that transition has begun in earnest on the other side of the world.
With Hawaii Governor David Ige’s signature, a 30-year countdown begins. By 2045, Hawaii’s utilities must generate 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources. This makes the 50th state the first to set its sights on a 100 percent renewable grid, achieving what many thought impossible just a few years ago.
With rising seas already lapping at the foundations of the hotels along Waikiki Beach, Hawaii’s climate debate is over. The Aloha State is successfully proving that a clean and safe renewable-energy economy can save consumers money, create jobs and hedges against the worst impacts of climate change.
This new ambitious target demonstrates what is possible for the nation and proves that the obstacles to transition are not economic or technological. They are political, but they can—and must—be overcome.
Historically, Hawaii has relied on fossil fuels more than any other state. Just 10 years ago, imported fossil fuels accounted for 90 percent of the state’s energy, contributing to electricity prices three times the national average that stifled business and raised the cost of living. Since then, Hawaii has more than doubled its renewable-energy production, boosting the economy and saving consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewables saved about $150 per household in 2012 alone. Having utilities invest in renewables also created a booming new industry in the state that has been the fastest-growing sector of Hawaii’s economy, producing thousands of new jobs and accounting for up to a quarter of all building permits in recent years.
Fortunately, other states can also benefit as renewable energy is becoming cost-effective everywhere. For 93 percent of single family households in the nation’s 50 largest cities, North Carolina State University researchers found that investing in solar panels is cheaper than paying current electric bills.
Deutsche Bank predicts that solar power will be as cheap as grid power in 36 states by 2016, even if Congress lets renewable-energy tax credits expire. Renewable energy will inevitably beat the price of any fossil fuel because it’s a technology whose cost decreases as it improves, unlike the cost of fossil fuels, which increase as they become more difficult to extract from a shrinking supply.
Moreover, burning fossil fuels significantly increases costs to taxpayers. According to a recent study in the journal Climatic Change, U.S. fossil fuel power plants create between $330 and 970 billion worth of climate damages and negative health effects every year. That’s over $600,000 every minute.
In Hawaii, taxpayers are already paying for those passed-on costs as state and county governments are forced to spend millions each year fighting impacts of climate change such as rising seas, diminishing rainfall, and increasingly frequent storms. Over five inches of sea level rise in recent decades has been a contributor to the erosion and total loss of Waikiki Beach, which few realize is now completely artificial. Without costly sand replenishment, losing that premier beach would result in an estimated $2 billion annual loss to our economy.
Such costly adverse impacts of fossil fuel emissions have contributed to 97 percent public support for expanding renewable energy in Hawaii, and equally strong political backing is forcing utilities to step up to the plate with solutions to the technological barriers to doing so.
Today, one in eight homes in Hawaii has rooftop solar panels generating their own cheap power—nearly three times the saturation of any other state—and local utilities estimate that number can be safely tripled while simultaneously reducing electric bills another 20 percent. That’s not yet accounting for new energy storage technologies like Tesla’s recently announced batteries, which will open electric grids to even more renewable potential by allowing intermittent solar and wind power to be stored for later use.
If Hawaii can make renewables work on isolated island electrical grids, the rest of the nation—with the flexibility to transmit excess power between states in the event of strong winds in Iowa or excess solar generation in Arizona—can certainly accomplish even more.
The United States has enough wind to power our nation 16 times over. Federal government researchers estimate solar’s potential at 100 times our current electrical generation, and that we could achieve 80 percent renewable energy nationwide by mid-century—just using current technologies. Researchers at Stanford University have gone further and demonstrated how each state could supply 100 percent of their energy needs from wind, water, solar and geothermal sources by 2050.
Urgency is critical, and Hawaii is not alone. California, in the fourth year of its record drought, is expected to lose $3 billion in crops in coming months and has imposed water restrictions on cities. NASA reports there is an 80 percent chance of a decades-long drought far more damaging than this one if we fail to take bold action to reduce fossil-fuel emissions.
Climate inaction further threatens to cause more frequent and intense storms like Hurricane Sandy, which cost Northeastern states a whopping $65 billion, as waters warm and sea levels continue to rise.
In just 10 years, Hawaii has evolved from the state most reliant on fossil fuels to the nation’s most forward-looking renewable-energy producer while demonstrating that our country’s transition to a 100 percent renewable-energy economy is technologically achievable and economically beneficial. Most of all, it’s what Americans want. Recent polling shows 74 percent of Americans support expanding renewable energy, including two-thirds of all Republicans.
So what is standing in the way of this unprecedented opportunity to save consumers money, create new jobs, increase energy independence and protect the next generation from the growing costs of climate change?
In Hawaii, elected officials showed bold leadership, looking beyond party lines to do what was right. The bill for 100 percent renewables passed the state legislature with a 74-2 vote in an unparalleled demonstration of bipartisan political support.
It’s past time for the rest of our nation’s leaders to set partisan politics aside and move our country forward. With leadership and political will, it can be done. Hawaii is already proving it.
Chris Lee represents the neighborhoods of Kailua and Waimanalo in the House of Representatives, is the chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environmental Protection, and the author of HB 623 setting a 100 percent renewable-energy standard for Hawaii utilities.
Evan Weber is the Executive Director of U.S. Climate Plan, an advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., promoting policy solutions that match the scale of the climate crisis. He was born and raised in Kailua, Hawaii.

The people behind bars in Azerbaijan, and how they got there

The numbers alone are appalling: nearly 100 political prisoners. Dozens of attacks on journalists, stretching back nearly 15 years.
Spurred by the high-profile arrest of investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova last December, her colleagues in Azerbaijan and the United States began to wonder about the people behind those numbers.
Who were they? What, exactly, had happened to them?
Over a period of months, two groups working in two very different countries pieced together a mosaic of data to show how the government of Azerbaijan has systematically moved to curtail the rights of its own citizens.
The Khadija Project is proud of the results, released today: a comprehensive and interactive timeline showing key steps the government took to crush journalistic freedoms, from 1999 to the present. It is paired with an interactive archive of Azerbaijan’s political prisoners, compiled by www.jumpstart.ge and www.meydan.tv.
The two databases overlap, as the government of Azerbaijan increasingly moves to silence independent journalists with prison terms.
Ismayilova anticipated her arrest and called on journalists to continue her investigative work. Though barred from leaving her country to speak as a witness before the U.S. Helsinki Commission in November 2014, Ismayilova submitted written testimony detailing the Azerbaijani government’s efforts to silence independent journalists whose work has exposed the corrupt practices of the ruling elite.
That testimony inspired the timeline.
Deborah Nelson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of The Khadija Project’s editors, asked Amanda Erickson, an editor at The Washington Post, and journalist Courtney Mabeus to team up to compile a list of assaults—legal and physical—against the country’s journalists.
Mabeus, who was one of Nelson’s students at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, had already been researching Azerbaijan for another project. Erickson reported from Azerbaijan from 2010-11 and again in 2014. While there, she worked closely with several Azerbaijani journalists, including Ismayilova.
“I was constantly impressed with their bravery and determination in the face of severe government oppression,” Erickson said of the journalists she met.
Building the timeline laid bare a pattern of violations against independent press in Azerbaijan. The reporters found dozens of cases in which journalists were threatened, beaten, harassed or even killed for their work going back as far as 1999. When journalists themselves weren’t the direct targets, their news organizations often were, with laws intending to muzzle news media through various tactics.
Many entries were documented through sources including the Committee to Protect Journalists and Amnesty International, among others. Reporters also relied on conversations with Azerbaijani journalists, many of which have been forced in recent years to take refuge outside their country, as well as journalist and political analyst Arzu Geybullayeva’s timeline of 2014 offenses against the country’s civil society.
It is unknown how many other Azerbaijani journalists have been threatened, beaten or harassed without reporting the crimes, or who have self-censored their work for fear of retribution. This timeline likely only scratches the surface.
Comments from 2nd graders to their teacher.
“I’m going to live at my mom’s house forever ... or until it smells like old people. Then I’ll leave.”
“It’s never a good idea to lick a monkey.”

The Arts Matter Because...
Edited by Paulette Beete

We know that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 3.2 percent — or $504 billion — of current-dollar Gross Domestic Product in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. But beyond the numbers, we know the arts matter for a wholly human reason--they illuminate, they console, they articulate. In short, they help us to explore and express the wonderfully messy business of being human. We've gathered just a few quotes from previously published Art Talks to give voice to the many reasons why the arts matter. We encourage you to browse the Art Works blog to read and hear even more from artists and cultural leaders about the power of the arts.

“The arts matter because they saved my life.” — Katori Hall, playwright

“It's our life. The reason why I say, 'It's our life,' is because a lot of people, we do a job to make money, to have food on the table, but the arts, it feeds our soul and it's the soul that keeps us going on.” — Sherri Young, African American Shakespeare Company

“Because they are a place where we reflect the world around us, and it's the one place that anybody can do that, honestly and, hopefully, in an uncensored way.” — Jonathan Bailey Holland, composer

“Art enlarges our human sympathies; it is in fact what makes us fully human. A life without art would be reptilian.” — Enriqueta Carrington, NEA Literature Translation Fellow

“Art is the most profound way in which a group of people can understand their culture and other cultures. Somehow art gets at the soul of who we are as a people. It transcends race, class, and gender. It transcends sexual orientation. It transcends history. It transcends war. It, for me, is the only thing that truly is eternal. Histories get rewritten and changed. They get buried. But art, for some reason, manages to remain untainted.” — Marcus Gardley, playwright

“I think it's extremely important to be well rounded and exercise both sides of your brain, and I think sometimes if you build the creative part, you need that in the scientific part as well. So just exercising that part of your brain and using it I think can be beneficial, especially if you're in a scientific field. Plus it can do different things for you. For me it relaxes me a little bit. It's just something different, it's doing something different than I do every day at work.” — Karen Nyberg, astronaut and quilter

“Art matters because it informs our world. Be it in graphic design, fine art painting, murals; it will state the state of things, whether we see it or not…. I think that there's power in art, politically, socially, culturally. And so I think art is power.” — Gregg Deal, visual artist

"Art matters because it is a hate-killer. Art matters because it is the one true great connector in a world that seems to be very unconnected, and it's important now more than ever to shine a huge light on that connectivity that we have, that we often forget." — Josh Groban, singer and composer

 Tenebrous: (TEN-uh-bruhs): Dark, gloomy, or obscure. From Old French tenebreus, from Latin tenebrosus (dark), from tenebrae (darkness). Earliest documented use: 1420.

From Twelfth Night
(Viola speaks)

Make me a willow cabin at your gate
And call upon my soul within the house,
Write loyal cantons of contemnèd love
And sing them loud even in the dead of night,
Hallow your name to the reverberate hills
And make the babbling Gossip of the Air
Cry out “Olivia!” O, you should not rest
Between the elements of air and earth,
But you should pity me.

I’m trying to teach myself Spanish and this is what I learned today……..

La frontera (frohn-teh'-rah) border; frontier
1.         La frontera entre los Estados Unidos y Canadá es la más larga del mundo. Mide más de 5,500 millas.
The border between the United States and Canada is the longest in the world. It is more than 5,500 miles long.

2.         Yo creo que los océanos, y no el espacio, son la última frontera.
I think the oceans, and not space, are the final frontier.

 “There are so many different kinds of writing and so many ways to work that the only rule is this: do what works. Almost everything has been tried and found to succeed for somebody. The methods, even the ideas, of successful writers contradict each other in a most heartening way, and the only element I find common to all successful writers is persistence—an overwhelming determination to succeed.” Sophy Burnham

Half the lies they tell about me aren't true.”


Compiled by

John William Tuohy

Employee Reviews

"Since my last report, this employee has reached rock bottom and has started to dig."

"His men would follow him anywhere but only out of morbid curiosity."

"Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

"When she opens her mouth, it seems that this is only to change feet."

"He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."

"This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

"He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

"This employee should go far -- and the sooner he starts, the better we'll be."

"This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

"This employee should not be allowed to breed."

"This man has the whole six pack but is missing the plastic thingy that holds them all together."

"He certainly takes a long time to make his pointless."

"He doesn't have ulcers, but he is a carrier."

"He's been working with glue too much."

"He would argue with a signpost."

"He has a knack for making strangers immediately."

"When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

"Is apparently very careful with equipment, as his tools show very little signs of wear."

“If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within; secondary reality without.” Eckhart Tolle