“This is what an emotional President Obama said in a gym in Newtown, Conn., on a Sunday night in December, two days after 26 people — 20 of them children — were murdered in cold blood by Adam Lanza, all of the killing done by a semiautomatic rifle called the AR-15: “We can’t tolerate this anymore. We are not doing enough and we will have to change.” Then he looked out into the audience and into the faces of the families of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School and said this to them, and to the country: “I’ll use whatever power this office holds ... in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.” But what does the President say now to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook, and Aurora, Colo., and all the other victims of mass murders and glory killers in this country? What does he say now that it becomes clear that a ban on assault weapons won’t even be legitimately included in the gun legislation being shaped this week in the U.S. Senate? Any fool knows that Lanza couldn’t possibly have killed as many children as quickly as he did on the morning of Dec. 14 without an assault weapon in his hands. So how does the President and any other big politician who allows the gun nuts from the National Rifle Association to win again answer the larger question about weapons that make killings like the elementary-school massacre ridiculously easy: If not now for a ban for these weapons, when? If Sandy Hook Elementary doesn’t make every member of Congress take a stand against assault weapons in this country, then what does? How many small coffins do we need the next time? And after the next Adam Lanza shows up with a gun like an AR-15 in a school or a theater or a shopping mall, no one will believe a word the President says at the next memorial service about profoundly changing gun laws in this country. Because three months after Newtown, it turns out that the President has no real power to change anything when it comes to guns in the hands of the wrong people in America. Of course background checks are important. But so is an assault weapons ban. And please don’t believe the self-serving and slobbering supporters of the NRA — that means all the politicians in the House and the Senate who have pimped themselves out to the NRA — who tell you that a ban like this won’t make a difference, will not save lives the next time. That happens to be a shameful and gutless lie. Again: Ask any gun owner if Lanza could have killed as many children as he did in as short a time as he did — before he was a sure shot putting a bullet from one of his handguns through his snake-filled brain — if he didn’t have an AR-15 in his hands. Then go ask the gun lovers to explain all over again how a ban on weapons like this wouldn’t have saved three young lives that morning, or five, or maybe even more than that. We know how much money the NRA pours into lobbying for guns like this to be completely available in America. We know that it has turned so many politicians, too many politicians, into cowards in the face of the money and imagined power of the NRA. But what dollar value would the NRA put on the life of a single child who could have been saved that morning if Adam Lanza had only been firing away with a handgun? All we get now on guns in Washington is pathetic deal-making. We see even tough, noble politicians fighting for the ban, such as Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), giving up on the assault weapons ban because it is too controversial, and will perhaps kill the chance for other gun restrictions that do have bipartisan support. Feinstein has fought for more gun control for such a long time and was nearly in tears Tuesday when talking about the failure of the ban to even make it to the Senate floor as anything more than an amendment in a much bigger gun bill. “People say, ‘well, are you disappointed?’ ” Feinstein said. “Obviously, I’m disappointed.” Wayne LaPierre of the NRA, the face and voice opposing gun control in America, yammers on constantly about how only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns, as if the only way to make us all safer from killing machines like Lanza are more guns. But you have to know this was a day in Washington when the bad guys won, and won big. There is a reason why nearly 140,000 print and online readers of the Daily News signed petitions in this newspaper’s campaign to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. It is because they believed — and properly so — that this moment, the moment of Newtown, of Sandy Hook Elementary, should not be lost, because if it is, maybe it is lost forever. It was officially lost in Washington on Tuesday, lost to fear and lost to ignorance and lost to the NRA. One last time: If not a ban on assault weapons now, then when? Shame on them all.”—Mike Lupica, ‘Spineless pols spit on the graves of Newtown victims by not pushing for assault weapons ban’
Mike Lupica: you're a racist if you don't love Obama
I know Obama’s had a bad week and the media are panicked about his reelection chances, but this is getting pathetic. Their strategy, which hasn’t changed much since, well, ever, is to simply call those who disagree with them racists. And since they can’t point to Obama’s record and Obama obviously can’t run on “change” this time around, they’re left with the same tired tactic.
This time, we have the ever ignorant Mike Lupica insisting that America is full of racists and if Obama loses, it’s because he’s black.
From the NY Daily News:
There will be so many things to talk about with Obama vs. Romney from here to November, but the one that nobody will want to talk about very much in polite society, even in what has a chance to be the meanest presidential campaign for all times, is race.
It works against the President this time, in a big way.
Last time, there were just weren’t enough reasons for enough white voters to vote against the black guy, as much as they wanted to. This time there are plenty.
This level of ignorance is truly staggering. He even manages to contradict himself in the first 4 sentences. It’s remarkable. He says that there weren’t enough reasons for voters to vote against the black guy last cycle but there are now. So he’s admitting that there are “plenty” of reasons to vote against Obama this time. So if a person votes against Obama, how does Lupica know that it’s not for the plethora of other reasons that he admits exist and instead, racism? He just DOES, DARN IT! He offers no evidence in the entire article as to how he knows this, yet he writes authoritatively and with conviction as if it’s gospel. The desperation of liberals is getting kind of funny now. And with every article they write calling everyone who disagrees with them racists they not only make people calloused to real racism but they show just how biased and genuinely wrong they are.
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I spend a good deal of time in the children’s section at the store, and I know it pretty well, but every time I work alongside Lori, who’s the real pro in that area, I learn something new. She’s especially good at finding exactly what a young reader needs. Looking for middle grade fiction about ancient Roman detectives? She has something apt in your hands before you can blink. She can do this because she knows not just the titles but the contents of the books in her domain, as an expert should.
What she showed me earlier this week was especially interesting. Mike Lupica is a name many of you will recognize. He’s an award-winning newspaper sportswriter with frequent magazine appearances and television gigs, but in the book world he’s probably best known for his very popular sports fiction geared for tweens and teens. His latest is The Underdogs, the tale of a talented 12-year-old running back and his efforts to prop up his financially failing football team. As in most of Lupica’s frankly formulaic novels, there’s a feel-good ending. In this case, a major athletic shoe company comes to the rescue with sponsorship money. What was surprising to Lori, and to me when she told me about it, was that the shoe company in question is the decidedly non-fictional New Balance Athletic Shoes, Inc., whose CEO, Robert DeMartini, plays a major role in the book. The plot is essentially an advertisement for the brand. What’s more, each book comes with a bookmark promoting New Balance.
Now, I know we’ve all become so accustomed to this kind of product placement in movies and TV shows that we don’t even notice it, and I know that the publishing sphere isn’t immune to commercialization. 1970s paperbacks frequently included advertising inserts, and just a decade ago, established novelist Fay Weldon was paid ₤18,000 to mention the name of a high-end jewelry company at least a dozen times in the text of her then-new novel. The corporate name is in the title, too, but they didn’t pay me anything, so I guess I won’t mention it here.
I’m not forgetting that we at Island Books are in the business of selling things ourselves, but don’t you think sneaking ads into the pages of a kids book is questionable, to say the least?
Mike Lupica with more Ray Kelly support.
Mike Lupica, who I grew up reading and who I often still enjoy reading, has an unfortunate defense of Ray Kelly in today’s Daily News. You really don’t have to get past the first paragraph to understand what Lupica is saying here:
You start to wonder if this current war against Ray Kelly from all those opposed to his surveillance of Muslims is even about the war on terrorism any longer, as if somehow the subject has been changed from what is the main event, only for the rest of our lives.
He goes on to make the same arguments Kelly and his defenders have made over the last couple of weeks — New York has been safer on Kelly’s watch, they’re not breaking the law, remember 9/11. There’s also a confusing critique of Rush Limbaugh, as if condemnation is somehow mutually exclusive.
But even if you ignore the straw man arguments — no one, for example, is arguing that the NYPD doesn’t have the right to follow up on credible threats — it’s the very first paragraph that speaks to the mindset of Lupica and others like him on this issue. Namely, Muslims were involved in the 9/11 attacks, and so Islam and Muslims are inherently dangerous and should be watched. And while it’s true that there are people in the Muslim world who would like nothing more than to harm us, there are also American citizens who are being unfairly targeted because of the religion they choose to worship. When you read AP reports about how the NYPD found such damning evidence as someone praying “at least four times” a day, it shows the lengths at which investigators will go to find some wrongdoing.
In 1942, the federal government rounded up over 100,000 people of Japanese heritage and locked them in internment camps. Many of those interned were American citizens. In 1988, we apologized and paid reparations. Do we really want to wander back down that path of suspicion and degradation?
“The very best part of all of this now as the Republican campaign arrives at the Florida primary vote on Tuesday is the constant crying of Newt Gingrich, who apparently thought he was the only one in the race allowed to talk smack.”—
Kudos Mike Lupica!
Elmore Leonard and the Genre Thing
On Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012, I attended the event at the Barnes and Noble over at the Upper East Side, in which author Elmore Leonard was in conversation with Mike Lupica. Leonard later did a book signing of his latest book, Raylan.
It was great to listen to the insight of Leonard and Lupica’s appreciation of the work of Leonard (and even an anecdote of how Lupica took Leonard along to see Reggie Jackson, during one of Lupica’s sports news writing assignments). Plus, that was one heck of a packed room of New Yorkers coming out to see Elmore Leonard.
I wonder, though: is Raylan the first instance of a book character who inspires a television series (FX’s “Justified”), which in turn inspires a new book with the book character? (or, more correctly, seems like some kind of amalgam of the book Raylan and the tv Raylan).
Elmore Leonard certainly seems pleased with actor Timothy Olyphant’s portrayal of the character. I agree that Olyphant’s really impressive in the role (not to mention easy on the eyes).
I also highly recommend Leonard’s rules on writing (see here, as I posted/reblogged this video where Leonard talks about his rules in a very dramatic manner).
This article by Philip Hensher over at The Guardian applauds Leonard as a great American novelist, not merely the greatest American crime novelist, positing that Leonard surpasses genre (and Lupica said something similar at the Barnes and Noble event).
Leonard’s crime books are not quite on the priority list of my perpetually long to-read list (Lawrence Block’s works were higher, if only because I love his writing books). But, considering how I’ve this huge crush on Olyphant, a Leonard book is probably in the foreseeable future in my subway or bedtime reading.
Also, is it a bad thing to be the best in a genre? I mean, it means that you’re really good at something. And, isn’t that then transferable to the wider realm of fiction? Do we really need to say, “You more than genre; you’re the greatest!”
I saw in The Guardian that the City University in London is creating a MA program in crime/thriller writing. Apparently, high demand is driving this - not to mention the general popularity of things like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and all that.
But, to have a whole course of study devoted to that one area? Is that even practical? I’ve seen crime/mystery writing offered as a course in a creative writing program, and I keep thinking that I’d do such a course one of these days, but good writing is good writing. The skills of developing suspense, conflict, and interesting characters and plots are supposed to be seen in all writers, regardless of “genre” or literary fiction category.
Sometimes I think genre doesn’t get respect or or literary fiction gets too much attention, or we just don’t realize that the lines in literature are really blurred. Sometimes, I don’t know if “genre” get too much attention, so to speak, without the realization or understanding about what makes good writing.
Just my two cents on that; ultimately, it’s great to see appreciation for Elmore Leonard.
Since When Is the NRA Writing the Definitive History of Adam Lanza?
The biggest non-exclusive exclusive in Monday’s news cycle was New York Daily News sports columnist Mike Lupica’s one-source article blaming the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre on video games and Adam Lanza’s seven-foot-long spreadsheet of death. The story is thinly-sourced tabloid fodder at its worst, and, worse than that, it paints an unsubstantiated portrait of Lanza as “a deranged gamer like this little bastard,” just when the mental-health community and Congress are seeking answers on Lanza, video games, and truth in the face of NRA talking points and the bad newspaper stories that seem based on them.
Lupica describes his anonymous law-enforcement source as “a tough career cop who did not wish to see his name in the newspaper” but did attend a meeting of the International Association of Police Chiefs and Colonels in New Orleans last week, where a Connecticut State Police colonel apparently spoke and revealed that Lanza had a 7-foot-by-4-foot spreadsheet documenting body counts and attempted killings from other mass murderers throughout history. To be sure, the state police investigation has been shrouded in secrecy — out of respect for the victims and a state of constant misinformation after the December shootings as anonymous law enforcement officials spoke to the news media, Lt. Paul Vance doesn’t plan to release his team’s full report in June. But stoking the fear factor isn’t helping a frenzy that has forced Vance to debunk rumors started on morning shows — especially when it comes to video games and mental illness, especially still when you combine all those with guns and dead little children.
Continue reading at The Atlantic Wire