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Archive for September, 2008

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

The Tenth Anniversary of the Death of Matt Shepard: A Post by Beth Loffreda

Beth Loffreda, Losing Matt Shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay MurderThe following post is by Beth Loffreda, author of Losing Matt Shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay Murder. Loffreda is also director of the MFA Program and associate professor of English at the University of Wyoming.

Last Saturday morning here in Laramie, the University of Wyoming held a ceremony dedicating a memorial bench in the name of Matthew Shepard.

Ten years ago during the autumn when Matt died, and then the next autumn, during the trials of his killers, I spent a lot of time walking around Laramie, to vigils, protests, court proceedings, press conferences. I walked and tried to look, with the gleaming high-altitude light pouring down all around me and what I’d gone to see. It was like that on Saturday again, chilly as I walked the four blocks from my house to the ceremony and then, in that sudden way that happens here as if a switch has been flipped, all at once blazingly warm.

Matt’s parents spoke at the dedication, as did our president Tom Buchanan. The bench is tucked into the corner of a small elevated plaza outside our Arts and Sciences building. The podium stood beside it. To the right was a table holding brochures and bracelets from the Matthew Shepard Foundation. To the left a few TV cameramen and photographers stood and swiveled between the speakers and the small crowd who’d attended. I saw many administrators, a handful of faculty members, a handful of staff, a few reporters. The governor and his wife attended. At least a dozen student members of Spectrum, the glbt campus group, were there, and a few other gay students I know. Two of my MFA students, Christina and Beth, came too, and a friend of Christina’s, Matt Streib, a religion reporter on a bike tour of the country. My friend Joyce was there; she teaches introduction to gay and lesbian literature. A few young people had driven up from Greeley, Colorado. A table of food and juice and coffee was laid out beyond the plaza. Four or five cops stood out on the perimeter with what turned out to be nothing to do.

Judy Shepard pulled the microphone down to her tiny height and spoke with informality and ease about Matt, about the work of the Shepard Foundation, about how she felt things have improved for gays and lesbians since Matt’s death but that Wyoming still has a ways to go. Dennis Shepard spoke too, and it was the hardest part of the morning. His nose was scratched and bruised; he said he’d broken it doing work around the house. He said that he and Matt had had a competition when he was alive; each had broken his nose twice, one pulling ahead of the other and then the other tying it back up. After telling us this, he paused for a long time. He said that when Matt was in the hospital, unconscious, soon to die from the brutal beating he’d sustained, one of his injuries was a broken nose—Matt’s third, one more than Dennis. This fresh injury restored the tie. There was something so devastating in it, the nature of his connection to Matt, a connection through visceral pain and broken bones and their infliction. He stood there, asking us to remember, among other things, the reality of Matt’s body, Matt’s pain; Matt, who would have been 32 this year.


Monday, September 29th, 2008

Top Economists Examine the Crises in the Financial and Real Estate Markets

The Economists' Voice

Some economists saw the dangers of the housing bubble before the recent collapse. In his piece from The Economists’ Voice: Top Economists Take on Today’s Problems, published earlier this year, Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, wrote

Another consequence of the collapse of the housing bubble will be the financial fallout from an unprecedented wave of defaults…. This will put lenders that hold large amounts of mortgage debt at risk, and possibly jeopardize the solvency of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, because they guarantee much of this debt. If these mortgage giants faced collapse, a government bailout (similar to the S&L bailout) involving hundreds of billions of dollars, would be virtually inevitable

Baker argues that the Fed needs to become much more involved in understanding and regulating financial bubbles in the future if it wants to avoid financial meltdowns such as the one we are witnessing today.

Baker’s is just one of three prescient essays from The Economists’ Voice examining the roots of the housing crisis. The book also features leading economists examining a range of economic, social, and political issues from the future of social security and the federal debt to global warming and the death penalty.

Other essays include Robert J. Shiller’s “Long-Term Perspectives on the Current Boom in Home Prices,” in which he argues for new risk management tools for real estate and Edward L. Glaeser and Dwight M. Jaffee’s “What to Do About Fannie and Freddie.”

We also have excerpted Joseph Stiglitz’sThe High Cost of the Iraq War.

Contributors The Economists’ Voice include Kenneth Arrow, J. Bradford DeLong, Paul Krugman, Martin Feldstein, Robert H. Frank, Rebecca Blank, Richard Posner, Gary S. Becker, and others

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Interview with Daniel Herwitz, author of The Star as Icon

Daniel Herwitz, Star as IconThe following is an interview with Daniel Herwitz, author of The Star as Icon: Celebrity in the Age of Mass Consumption:

Q: There’s a Lady Diana book industry out there that keeps the discount catalogues of England and America in business. Marilyn Monroe lives a second life on the covers of oversized coffee-table books. The expanding number of celebrities is matched by the expanding number of books about celebrity. Star books pile up in the corners of used bookstores to be donated to charity or used for recycling. Theories are constructed and dismantled about the how and the why of it. Is there a reason to add to this pile with another book?

Daniel Herwitz:  No book has been written that seeks to cut through the gossip, the tabloids, and critical canons of scholarship, the innuendo, adulation, and also the theory to focus on the aesthetic formation of the star icon. Most books either treat her as a melodramatic celebrity (Tina Brown’s recent Diana book for example, which is about love, desperation, celebrity exhaustion, and the lunches she had with Diana), or they effuse rapturously about her beauty, bemoan her miserable life (hunted and haunted by the media, oh poor, poor little rich girl!). Or they begin from a stance of disgust at the system and move quickly to its theorization.

The fact of these many books speaks to ongoing public obsession around this type of star (there are precious few of them), and that is interesting. But she (it is mostly a she) is neither a mere celebrity nor any ordinary kind of star. Celebrity we know how to understand. The star icon we do not.  I think of her as a being caught between transcendence and trauma. This is how the public sees her. An effervescent film star living on a distant, exalted planet, she is at the same time a melodrama-soaked soap opera queen whose dismal life she is ever trying to flee or overcome and into the mire of which she constantly sinks—always with the help of the media and before the fascinated, tearful public. She cannot escape its commanding gaze except to drive at two hundred kilometers an hour through the tunnels of Paris to her death. The very public that eggs her on also secretly desires her to fall apart, since it will be the culmination of a whopping good story: there is adoration and blood lust in its relation to her. But she is also a figure of grace.

The cult around her comes from the way she appears in the media, for that is almost entirely where she is encountered. And so a great deal depends on understanding the powers of film and of television. Indeed film and television are so central that the public projects qualities of film star and soap queen onto the star icon even if she neither acted in any films (Lady Diana) nor appeared on television except peripherally (Marilyn Monroe). This was brought home to me while I was watching the Lady Diana funeral live on BBC sitting at my TV in Durban, South Africa where I lived and worked in the 1990s. The Diana funeral was the second most watched television program in South African history. Glued to my set I was struck by how easily the BBC commentators elided Lady Diana and Grace Kelly. It was as if they were two sides of the same coin of the realm—but which realm? Grace Kelly was a film star turned princess of an ersatz kingdom run on fast cars and gambling. Diana was a British royal whose classical beauty was offset by a face and posture that registered every raw nerve ending, expressed every burst of feeling. Both were birds of prey for the media, which also canonized them. Both lived lives of melodrama and died in speeding cars. From this pairing of the two came my idea that in contemporary life aesthetic qualities migrate from their medium of origin to the wider public world, so that around Diana’s head flowed the aura of film, star even though she was no film actor, and from Grace’s film stardom issued royal pedigree.


Friday, September 26th, 2008

Alan Schroeder on Politico.

Alan Schroeder, Presidential DebatesIn a widely discussed article on Politico, Alan Schroeder, author of Presidential Debates: Fifty Years of High-Risk TV, assess the stylistic strengths and weaknesses of each candidate when it comes to debating.

Even with the status of tonight’s debate in doubt (see Schroeder’s post  on McCain’s decision to possibly postpone the debate), we thought we’d highlight some of Schroeder’s key points:

* McCain’s Strengths:  Deft television performer, who comes across as a good listener and whose comedic instincts are organic, not the product of coaches or gag writers. However, McCain’s reputation for candidness, which has been a strength from him, has been frittered away as the campaign has proceeded.

* McCain’s Weaknesses:  In addition to no longer being seen as a “straight-talker,” McCain often looks old and unengaged on camera. Despite this, Schroeder argues, McCain has a quality that makes audiences willing to listen.

* Obama’s Strengths:  He looks crisp, cool, and commanding on camera which plays very well to audiences watching at home

* Obama’s Weaknesses: Obama fails to seize on opportunities that allow him to better define his position or build on his strengths. While Obama is usually very solid in debates he lacks a certain razzle-dazzle necessary in debates, which often function as political theater. Finally, Obama needs to recognize that the debate will quickly be reduced by the media and voters into sound bites and Youtube clips—he needs to sound a little less professorial.

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

John McCain’s Risky Maneuver: A Post from Alan Schroeder

The following is a post by Alan Schroeder, author of Presidential Debates: Fifty Years of High-Risk TV:

The gambit by John McCain to postpone Friday night’s opening debate at Ole Miss entails considerable risk to the candidate. History shows that the public disapproves of presidential contenders who appear to be shirking a campaign exercise now regarded as obligatory.

Since the dawn of televised presidential debates in 1960, candidates have regularly sought to avoid taking part, or to whittle down the number and length of matches.  Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Richard Nixon in 1968 and 1972 wanted nothing to do with TV debates, and in those election cycles no joint appearances took place.  Jimmy Carter sat out a 1980 debate against opponents Ronald Reagan and John Anderson. Incumbents Reagan and Clinton, in 1984 and 1996 respectively, agreed to only two meetings with their challengers, as opposed to the traditional three.

On occasion, scheduled debates have been canceled.  George H.W. Bush declined to participate in the first two match-ups of 1988, causing both to collapse at the last minute.  Four years later, Bush’s avoidance of the first scheduled debate sparked the “Chicken George” phenomenon, a classic illustration of the dangers of candidate ambivalence.  At the debate site in East Lansing, Michigan, a costumed protester showed up in a poultry outfit, toting a sign that said “Chicken George is afraid to debate.”  Soon an entire flock of pseudo-chickens began turning up at Bush campaign events around the country, so enraging the candidate that he got into an on-camera argument with one of them.  Ultimately Bush was left with little choice but to debate.


Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Save on New York City Titles

We are offering a 30% discount on our New York City titles. From a collection of poems about New York City to The Almanac of New York City, there are many titles for anyone interested in New York City’s history and culture.

For more information, please visit the sales page. Sale lasts until November 15th.

Important: Be sure to enter the special promotion code NYC08 in the space provided in the shopping cart order form. The discount prices will not be applied to your order until the code is entered. All Sales are final. Discounts for U.S. and Canadian customers only.

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Interview with Frederic Reamer and Deborah H. Siegel

Teens in Crisis: How the Industry Serving Struggling Teens Helps and Hurts Our KidsThe following is an interview with Frederic Reamer and Deborah Siegel, authors of Teens in Crisis: How the Industry Serving Struggling Teens Helps and Hurts Our Kids:

Question: What do you mean by “struggling teens,” and on what programs and schools do you focus?

Frederic Reamer and Deborah Siegel: As all of us know, the adolescent years can be challenging. Although adolescence can be an emotionally stormy phase for virtually all teenagers, sometimes a youth’s struggles are especially intense and require very skilled intervention. The struggling teens we discuss in Teens in Crisis include those who are having an extraordinarily difficult time with mental health issues, substance abuse, high-risk sexual activity, and other self-harming behaviors. Common warning signs include: extreme isolation and withdrawal; school failure and truancy; defiance toward authority; running away from home; choosing high-risk friends; impulsive behavior; getting in trouble with the police; depression; abusing alcohol or drugs; eating disorders; and self-injury (such as cutting, burning, and branding).

Ideally, struggling teens can be helped in their home communities. Local therapists, social workers, crisis intervention programs, partial hospitalization programs, drug and truancy court programs, group homes, alternative (nontraditional) high schools, and mentoring programs can be very helpful and effective. However, some teens do not benefit from these local programs and continue to pose major health and behavioral risks. In these extreme circumstances, parents and professionals may need to consider specialty schools and programs that are located some distance from the home community, often hundreds of miles away. The most common options include: wilderness therapy programs; residential treatment centers; therapeutic boarding schools; and emotional growth boarding schools.

Q: Parents who are desperate to get help for their kids often have to find programs and schools in a hurry, sometimes in the middle of a hot crisis. What are some of the most common mistakes they make?

FR and DS: There are many impressive, professionally run programs and schools for struggling teens. However, as we discuss in Teens in Crisis, there are also programs and schools that have significant records of abusive and unethical practices. Parents who are desperate to find help quickly sometimes enroll their children in programs and schools that cause much more harm than good. Finding the right program or school takes considerable time, effort, and patience, all of which may be in short supply when a teen is spinning out of control and parents feel as if they’ve reached the end of their rope.

Some of the most common mistakes include: picking a program or school quickly and impulsively, without thorough assessment; selecting a program or school that is not designed to meet the teen’s unique needs; selecting a program or school whose methods are not grounded in sound research; sending a teen to a residential program or school for the wrong reasons (for example, to get the teen out of the house rather than to help them); avoiding out-of-home placement when it is the right option; and selecting a residential program or school primarily because it is close to home.


Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Exam Copy Offers and Discounts on Books Via the AAUP

The Association of American University Presses (AAUP) has made their new Spring 2009 Course Adoption catalogs available to view and print out online. The site allows users to selectively view exam copy offers and discounts on 700+ books. These include titles from Columbia University Press and many other leading university presses.

Choose from eight different subject catalogs, including American History,Environmental Studies, Multicultural Studies, and Political Science. All contain examination offers, adoption policies, and special discounts for Four-Year and Graduate level faculty. These titles, which include professional, reference and paperbacks, represent the finest in academic publishing.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

The History News Network and the Wall Street Journal on Men to Boys

Gary Cross’s essay on the History News Network site offers a very good crystallization of the main arguments he puts forth in Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. In the piece Cross points to how contemporary men in their 20s and 30s have staved off the conventional trappings of maturity — family, career, home ownership, etc. A telling statistic reflecting this trend is that the mean age of video game players has risen to 33 in 2005 (up from 18 in 1997).

In looking at who’s to blame for the rise of today’s “basement boys,” Cross looks to his own Baby Boomer generation:

Despite temptation, I refuse to blame today’s young. They didn’t make the world they live in and react to. Are Baby Boomers at fault then? As one, I admit that we certainly made a fetish of youth… However, not only did we become “the man” rather than “new men” and sell out (a fact that is hardly surprising), but we did not become our fathers. Instead, we reveled in our status as youth, long after it was gone. We remained in many ways the teenage sons of our fathers, and some of us never gave up rebelling against our elders. And a generation of advertising and popular culture reinforced all this. While we Baby Boomers discarded the traditional markers of maturity and tried to recover our boyhood, our sons’ generation made youth a permanent way of life at least in their leisure.

In other Men to Boys news,the Wall Street Journal recently ran a review of the book.

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

How East Asians View Democracy

How East Asians View DemocracyEast Asian democracies are in trouble, their legitimacy threatened by poor policy performance and undermined by nostalgia for the progrowth, soft-authoritarian regimes of the past. Yet citizens throughout the region value freedom, reject authoritarian alternatives, and believe in democracy.

How East Asians View Democracy draws on the results of the East Asian Barometer, in which researchers surveyed East Asian citizens in both democracies and nondemocracies to gauge their attitudes toward their governments and the future of democracy in their country. The findings uncover a variety of interesting trends:

* When asked the meaning of democracy, only 25.4% of Chinese and only 29.9% of Japanese defined it as “freedom and liberty” compared to 59.5% in Korea and 58.9% in Mongolia. (See full results — please note: in pdf format)

* When asked how they view perceive their current regime 1.6% of Chinese defined it as “very dictatorial” while 24.5% saw it as “very democratic.” Whereas in Hong Kong, 6.1% view the current regime as “very dictatorial” and only 2.9% see it as “very democratic.” (full results)

* When asked if democracy is equally or more important than economic development, citizens in Thailand (51.3% answering “yes”) and Mongolia (48.6%) were the most fervent in prioritizing democracy while citizens in Hong Kong (19.6%) and the Philippines (21.8%) were less concerned with democracy relative to economic development. (full results)

* Japanese and Koreans were the least optimistic about the future of their democracies. 57.7% of Japanese respondents saw the expected change from current to future regime to be one of a “struggling democracy” and 54.3% of Koreans viewed it as such. In contrast 43.2% of Chinese respondents view their democracy to be developing. (full results)

For more analysis and findings, you can read the introduction from How East Asians View Democracy.

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Autism’s False Prophets by Paul Offit

Paul Offit, Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure

Earlier this week, The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a very interesting profile of Dr. Paul Offit, author of Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. The article describes Offit’s work as well as the ways in which he has found himself at the center of the controversy regarding the link between autism and vaccines. Offit’s belief in the safety of vaccines reflects the opinion of the scientific community and most physicians. However, by becoming the issue’s most public face, he has had to confront threats and the animosity of those who believe he is wrong.

Indeed a simple Google search of Offit’s name or the book’s title will reveal the very different and often unfair assessments of his position. However, if you want to join in on a more enlightened and balanced discussion of the book, may we suggest heading over to Scienceblogs, whose book club will be discussing the book from October 1-October 10. Scienceblogs, created by Seed magazine, brings together more than 60 of the best and most interesting science blogs and is definitely worth reading.

For more on Autism’s False Prophets, you can also view a video of Paul Offit discussing the book, read an excerpt, or read a recent review from the New York Post.

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

Tattooing the World Selected as Best New Book

Juniper Ellis, Tattooing the WorldThe Baltimore City Paper just named Tattooing the World: Pacific Designs in Print and Skin by Juniper Ellis as the best new book by a local author.

The paper writes:

Juniper Ellis has authored a tattoo book that is as respectfully inquisitive and scholarly informed as it is sincerely fascinated by the beauty of the art form. Ellis’s Tattooing the World not only explores the popular introduction of tattooing to Western society in the late 19th century but investigates its cultural identity meaning and significance, keenly viewing tattooing as a complex language that is simultaneously visual adornment and text.

For more on the book you can also read an excerpt, an interview with Juniper Ellis, or read the author’s posting “Living Ink in Pacific and United States Tattoo,” on anthropology.net.

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The Seminary Co-op Bookstore Relaunches The Front Table

Chicago’s Seminary Co-op, one of the best bookstores in the country, is now offering an online version of The Front Table, a book magazine edited by Jeff Waxman. This is very good news, for anyone interested in not only university press titles but books in general.

The site just went live but already looks very promising and offers some great features, including a book review section and a variety of reading lists. The first reading list was provided by Steve Tomasula, novelist and Co-op member.

There is also a section called “Editors Speak,” where literary and scholarly editors will contribute brief and familiar pieces about the books they’ve edited.  Rodney Powell, an editor at the University of Chicago Press, contributed a look at their recent book, Scorsese by Ebert earlier this month and in a few weeks, E.J. Van Lanen (Open Letter Books) will give a personal look at his work on Dubravka Ugresic’s new essay collection, Nobody’s Home.

Also on tap for the site is a fully scannable virtual snapshot of the famous Front Table display at the Seminary Co-op. As anyone who has visited the Co-op can tell you, the books on display at the store are a kind of guide to the most interesting and exciting scholarly and literary work available.

Full disclosure: I used to be the editor of “The Front Table” when it was a print publication. I am very glad to see it being relaunched and have already bookmarked it!

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Men to Boys in the Washington Post

Gary Cross, Men to Boys: The Making of Modern ImmaturityIt seems as if Gary Cross is not the only one who has been thinking about how men are failing to grow up. A recent article in the Washington Post discusses Men to Boys: The Making of Immaturity and three other books looking at the crisis of male (im)maturity.

While the article finds fault with some of the other books’ assessments of the contemporary American man-boy, here’s what it had to say about Men to Boys:

Gary Cross, a professor of history, makes firmer connections in Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. Cross slides through 20th-century culture in loping, eloquent paragraphs. He gives us informed wryness — as when he observes that the patron saint of modern manhood has morphed from Cary Grant (mature) to Hugh Grant (not) — and then tells us what it means. We’ve rejected the Victorian patriarch without finding a suitable substitute, he says, and “youth is no longer a stage of life but a ‘refuge’ from the now tangled and obscured path to maturity.” Woven between indictments of our youth-centric media and cultural decay is the observation that pitting women against men in a war of rights — and of “defining the victim” — has rendered male baby boomers unable to put on a strong, masculine face for their offspring.

For more on Men to Boys you can also read an excerpt from the book or an interview with Gary Cross.

Monday, September 15th, 2008

David Foster Wallace

The sudden and very sad news of David Foster Wallace’s death is a tragic loss for admirers of his writing and for those who care about literature.

His piece “Host” was included in The Best American Magazine Writing 2006. The piece, originally written in The Atlantic Monthly, gives readers an every-angle view of conservative talk radio personality John Ziegler. who broadcasts a stream of humor-laced invective every weeknight. In this imaginative upending of the traditional magazine profile piece, Wallace explores Ziegler’s hectic, lonely world and the peculiar cultural moment that has turned one man’s cynicism and misery into radio magic.

“Host” displays not only Wallace’s extraordinary literary imagination but also his uncanny ability to capture the tone, tenor, and absurdity of contemporary America.

Friday, September 12th, 2008

The Valve on Trilling, Part II

The Journey Abandoned, Lionel TrillingWe began the week with Trilling and we’ll end the week with Trilling. More specifically, The Valve held its second round of responses to Lionel Trilling’s novel, The Journey Abandoned.

This segment includes a response from the book’s editor Geraldine Murphy, as well as postings that consider the sexual themes in the novel (Joseph Kugelmass); how the novel diverges from Trilling’s reputation as representative of the mid-century liberal anticommunist intellecutal (Michael Kimmage); why Trilling was a better critic than novelist (Sean McCann); and the novel’s relationship to the birth of the New Deal welfare state (Michael Szalay).

As some of the contributors point out, Trilling’s novel was, in some ways, a failure and a disappointment (particularly to Trilling). However, as the contributors demonstrate, the novel casts a new light on Trilling as both a novelist and a critic, and his place in American intellectual life. As always, The Valve has delivered, offering an all-too-rare venue for imaginative and thoughtful discussion about literature. Not to be missed.

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

“Dangerous Islands”: Alexis Dudden on JapanFocus

Dangerous Islands

“Although not immediately foreseeable, the results of [the Bush administration's] move hold the potential to make the Falklands War look like child’s play.”—Alexis Dudden, JapanFocus

As has been reported in the New York Times and elsewhere, the question of sovereignty concerning a group of barely inhabited islands, no bigger than Central Park, are causing a great deal of tension between South Kore and Japan.

However, as Alexis Dudden, author of Troubled Apologies Among Japan, Korea, and the United States, points out in a recent article in JapanFocus, the United States has also played a role in the heightening tension between Japan and Korea. In the article, Dudden looks at the implications of the Bush administration’s decision to designate the the islands as of “undesignated sovereignty.” This caused great consternation among the Koreans, who have administered the islands for six decades and view the islands as their own. In fact, the dispute has led to emergency mid-flight phone calls to Condoleeza Rice

In the article, Dudden also explores how Bush’s decision reverses the U.S. long-standing policy regarding the islands and has led to an exacerbation of the historical tensions between Korea and Japan.

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Final Days: Save on titles in Environmental Studies and the Social Sciences

There are a few days left to save on dozens of titles in Environmental Studies and the Social Sciences.

Save on recent titles and classics from our backlist. Sale ends September 15.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

“Debunking an Autism Theory” / Online Reviews of “Autism’s False Prophets”

“Sadly, even after all this, many parents still blame the vaccine. The big losers in this debate are the children who are not being vaccinated because of parental fears and are at risk of contracting serious—sometimes fatal—diseases.”—from the New York Times

More news relating to Paul Offit’s Autism’s False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure:

Yesterday’s New York Times editorial “Debunking an Autism Theory,” wrote about a new study conducted at Columbia University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Centers for Disease Control finding absolutely no link between the MMR vaccine and childhood autism. Their finding added to the mounting evidence against a now widely discredited paper first published in The Lancet, which argued that the measles vaccine caused autism.

The new study comes to the same conclusion the Paul Offit and many other scientists and epidemiologists have come to regarding the safety and importance of vaccination.Also, LeftBrain/RightBrain and AutismVox, very much on the forefront of the debate regarding the debate about vaccination and autism reviewed the book.

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Banned! The UAE Bans Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success

DubaiIn what might be a first for us, one of the books we publish has been banned for sale in the United Arab Emirates. Late last week the Times Higher Education Supplement ran an article about the banning of Christopher Davidson’s Dubai: The Vulnerability of Success.

Dr. Davidson, a fellow of the Institute for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at Durham University, said of the ban: “It makes it difficult for foreign academics to come to a country and try to do research when there is freedom on anything except the domestic matters of the country and the government. It’s a mentality that is self-defeating for these countries, which are trying to become knowledge economies.”

The book is part of the Columbia/Hurst imprint and is sold in the Middle East through Hurst & Co publishers.

Ironically, the day after the ban on Dubai was announced, the Gulf News ran a story on the decline in the number of books being banned by the UAE government.

The ban on the book comes one week before the Banned Books Week in the United States.