P.W. Fox's Blog
December 30, 2014
The new house majority whip, Steve Scalise, seems to be the perfect poster child for the “new” Republican: anti-tax, anti-government (except for the part where one draws a fat paycheck for fooling the voters every two years), and racist. How do we know he’s all these things? Because we know he was a principal speaker at the EURO (an organization founded by known neo-Nazi, David Duke).
The Hon. Mr. Scalise now claims: [EURO was] “One of the many groups that I spoke to regarding this critical legislation was a group whose views I wholeheartedly condemn. It was a mistake I regret, and I emphatically oppose the divisive racial and religious views groups like these hold. I am very disappointed that anyone would try to infer otherwise for political gain.” But how can he not have known? Was he a politician with only one speech which he delivers to all comers? Did he not tailor his speech to his audience? Apparently what he said impressed the members of EURO so much that one of the leaders of the organization gave him a ringing endorsement as a future member of congress.
Even David Duke is skeptical that Scalise did not know the nature of EURO. Duke said, “It would seem to me that he would have realized that it was our group,” he said. “Because he knew Kenny (Duke’s former campaign manager). I mean, he knew me. But I can’t swear to it…”
I think there is more than a little evidence to justify the inference (granted it’s not proof)that Scalise does hold those divisive racial and religious views, and given his recent rise to a position of power in the majority party in the House might we also infer that the “new” Republican Party is now a party of neo-Nazis?
September 16, 2014
In a report by the blogging site Think Progress, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that Americans will be “killed here at home” unless he [Obama] sends ground troops into Iraq and Syria to defeat the terrorist threat. He is further quoted in one of the strangest English sentences I have ever seen (it is at once future tense and past perfect tense) as saying, “…this idea we’ll never had any boots to defeat them in Syria is fantasy.”
Boots on the ground—boots on the ground—boots on the ground. We had boots on the ground for over nine years in Iraq without defeating the radical sectarian elements there. However, our deBathification program went a long way toward ensuring the continuing instability. ISIL is a stateless fluid entity fueled by certain radical ideas and cannot be defeated in the same sense as a war with a nation. No one will ever be able to destroy ISIL’s ability to reconstitute itself, but what we can do is work toward regional political solutions that deprive it of its motivation. This will not be accomplished by another foreign invasion (the USA).
By all means, the projection of military force to stall ISIL’s advance should be used, but with great care. That the airstrikes to protect some dams and threatened minorities are having an effect already can be seen in the increasing terror campaign going on now. One can rest assured that as measures against ISIL become increasingly effective we will see an increasing barrage of videos depicting unspeakable acts of violence. US combat troops on the ground will enable ISIL to swell its ranks from many of the countries in the region and from radical groups around the world. Currently ISIL may have as many as 30,000 men but they are spread over a vast area in both Syria and Iraq and so are still vulnerable to selected air strikes and could be overpowered by competent action by the Iraqi army, but only if the Iraqi government gives Sunis true representation in the government and the armed forces.
For now the US should not follow Sen. Graham’s irrational fear that ISIL will kill us all here at home if we don’t put combat soldiers on the ground for them to kill in Iraq.
February 26, 2014
It seems that in recent times, especially the last five years or so, absolute insanity has gripped a portion of the American People. From the excesses of Tea-Party politics to the paranoid belief of some gun owners that requiring background checks for the purchase of such weapons would somehow result in the government seizing all of their guns, the web is increasingly abuzz with such bizarre and irrational ideas. One that seems to be popping up frequently of late is the idea of secession from the United States, and it seems to have the most traction in Texas.
Some people in Texas seem to think that the state has a unique right to drop out of the U. S. whenever they want to, even though this idea is not supported by fact according to a number of Texas historical scholars. The idea also makes no economic sense for the people of Texas. Assuming for the moment that secession were allowed, the first result would be the closure and withdrawal of personnel and equipment from the many large U.S. military bases located in the state. If Texas then wanted an army to protect itself from, say, Mexico, it would have to fund its army with revenues raised entirely within the borders of the “New Republic.” Similarly, diplomatic relations with all the countries that the “Republic” wanted to business with would have to be established and embassies would have to be established with the appointment of ambassadors and staff (all paid for out of Texas revenues.) And the list goes on.
So why is this even being talked about? Is there something in the drinking water that is making people insane? Is this all because a black man is President of the United States?
Many of the politicians from the southern states seem to be drinking from the same trough as the Texans. I only hope a cure is found before the insanity becomes irreversible.
October 11, 2013
The zombie apocalypse is here. Not in a grade C horror movie, but here and now in our nation’s capital. A cadre of zombies created by voodoo economists using the enormous funds of their excessively wealthy patrons and rising from “Tea Party” roots is now roaming the halls of Congress with their insane drive to destroy the nation. They’ve eaten the brains of the Republicans that might have been reasonable since none seem willing or able to tell these mindless undead that they’ve lost and to stop the insanity.
These zombies would try to fool people into thinking that they were all about reviving the spirit of the American Revolution by adopting the name “Tea Party” in reference to the Boston Tea Party of pre Revolution times. But the “Tea Party” is against taxes (all taxes) and in many states where they have gained control they are working to restrict voting so that people who disagree with them cannot vote against them. However the Boston Tea Party was not a protest against taxes per se but a protest about the lack of representation (No taxation without representation). The entities calling themselves “Tea Parties” today have little in common with the Tea Party in Boston but have much more in common with the Mad Hatter and the March Hare as they shouted “No room!” even though there was a large table and many empty chairs.
June 29, 2012
The M. D. Lachlan novel Wolfsangle preceded his novel Fenrir and are both concerned with the nordic myths surrounding Ragnorok. Since I had read and reviewed the second novel first, I realized that with this review things had taken a distinct Wagnerian turn, not only in the subject matter, but also in the order of the reviews. Wolfsangle is the first of three novels in a trilogy centered on the nordic myths surrounding the monsterous offspring of the god Loki, the Fenris wolf and Ragnorok or the twilight of the gods.
The book begins promisingly enough with the search for a magical child by the Volsung, Authun. Lachlan is a master of the craft, producing a story that is engaging and action-filled. His portrait of life in a Viking village apart from the magical elements is so well drawn that the action takes on a “real” historical feel and interestingly enough makes the fantastical elements more believable.
The one problem that I experienced with Wolfsangle and with Fenrir is that the story arcs in the two books are very similar even though many of the details differ. It gave me a distinct deja vu feeling, like sitting through the first three operas of Wagner’s Ring and getting to the beginning of Goetterdamerung, the fourth and final opera, only to find the three Norns retelling the whole story from the beginning. I’ll reserve final judgement on this point until I’ve read the just released Lord of Slaughter, which is the third and final book in this series.
The book is a good read and I recommend it.
May 14, 2012
Today I received an email from Virgin Classics EMI granting me permission to use about 44 seconds of a recording they had made of Brahms’ 1st Symphony as performed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach. This was the culmination of a series of email exchanges with Virgin that began in April. This was the final piece of the long learning curve in the production of a video book trailer which involved photo manipulations, animations and writing in a promotional and scripted fashion.
Getting this permission was worth the extra effort, because it removes any legal roadblocks from the use of previously copyrighted material. The negotiations were straightforward and went smoothly much to my relief. The finished video now has the Virgin EMI recording in the credits with the proud statement, “Used with permission.”
The trailer can now be seen on YouTube http://youtu.be/GE78TOSt5vQ
May 2, 2012
M. D. Lachlan’s book “Fenrir,” Pyr, 2011 stands out from the pack of recent fantasies by british authors. The arc of the story follows the norse mythology surrounding Ragnarok or the twilight of the gods. His tie-ins to the nordic myth are well researched and his clever coupling of the unfolding of this story with historic Viking invaisions and settlements of France and Russia lend a feeling of historical realism to the action of the story.
Lachlan develops his characters well and keeps the reader engaged as the fate laid out by the myth gradually devours them. A wonderful read by an author who, one senses, understands the true nature of magic.
April 18, 2012
Well, the ordeal of producing a book trailer is almost over. The trailer for “Sea-Change” is essentially finished–complete with background music. Since the project had to be done “on the cheap,” I had to play all the roles in the project, some of which were not roles where my previous experiences had taken me. I decided to use MS Movie Maker mostly because it was available as preinstalled software. For me, it was a good choice because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time learning the intricacies of complex video software, and I found it easy to use, with enough functionality for my simple production.
The next phase was writing a simple script which featured important key words and phrases, one at a time, to instill a sense of drama and anticipation leading to a brief plot summary, devoid of “spoilers.” The last key word was “transformation” which I felt needed an animated sequence. This proved to be the most difficult part. For about two seconds of animation I had to make thirty frames with the action progressing to a conclusion by the end of the thirtieth frame with an exciting transition to yet another animated sequence displaying the plot summary.
I avoided serious “spoilers” by using text mostly from the back cover of the book. I’m now in negotiations to obtain permission to use the music I added as background for the 43.77 seconds of action in the trailer. Waiting to hear.
April 11, 2012
The following is an exerpt from Washington’s Farewell Address 1796:
I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with
particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations.
Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn
manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally.
This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root
in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in
all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those
of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit
of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries
has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But
this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and
miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and
repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of
some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns
this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public
Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless
ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of
the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise
people to discourage and restrain it.
It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public
administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false
alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally
riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption,
which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels
of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to
the policy and will of another.
There is an opinion that parties in free countries are useful checks upon the
administration of the government and serve to keep alive the spirit of liberty.
This within certain limits is probably true; and in governments of a monarchical
cast, patriotism may look with indulgence, if not with favor, upon the spirit of
party. But in those of the popular character, in governments purely elective, it
is a spirit not to be encouraged. From their natural tendency, it is certain
there will always be enough of that spirit for every salutary purpose. And there
being constant danger of excess, the effort ought to be by force of public
opinion, to mitigate and assuage it. A fire not to be quenched, it demands a
uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of
warming, it should consume.
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country
should inspire caution in those entrusted with its administration, to confine
themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the
exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another. The spirit of
encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and
thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just
estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in
the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The
necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing
and distributing it into different depositaries, and constituting each the
guardian of the public weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by
experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own
eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the
opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional
powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the
way which the Constitution designates. But let there
be no change by usurpation; for though this, in one instance, may be the
instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are
destroyed. The precedent must always greatly overbalance in permanent evil any
partial or transient benefit, which the use can at any time yield.
February 14, 2012
For those of us who are fortunate/unfortunate enough to be self-publishing, figuring out the marketing can be a real challenge. I feel like I don’t have time to write anymore, what with press releases, email notices, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, group postings, blog interviews, etc. And just when I thought I was beginning to get the upper hand on all this, along comes a new marketing device: the book trailer! So now I find myself having to learn how to make a short “movie” that will make people want to read my book. I’m just beginning the process and it already looks daunting. Take something as simple as background music for a one-minute feature; its a nightmare of copyright entanglements and legal uncertianties.
I’m beginning the process of developing a “trailer” for my recently released fantasy novella “Sea-Change” and I will be providing future updates on progress as well as commentary on what works and what does not.