I’m an evil Libertarian and I want children to die of lead poisoning

We have a new law, something that should warm the cockles of every Statist’s heart.  Oh, and deary me, it protects the children.  Oh then why would I be against such a law?  I must hate the children. . .

I suggest you read this. (linked from here.)

From the blog post in question:

Under the law it is now illegal, as of yesterday, to sell or distribute any product–toy, book, clothes, electronic gadget, you name it–aimed primarily at children 12 and under without first having every accessible element in that product–fabric, appliques, ink, zippers, buttons, switches, doll hair, you name it–certified by a third-party lab (not, for instance, the zipper maker) as having less than 600 parts per million of lead. The law includes substantial criminal penalties and allows state attorneys general, as well as the Consumer Product Safety Commission, to enforce its provisions.

Why deary me, Mr. Swann how can you be against that? Are you just one of those Obama-Haters that jump on any manna from heaven legislation passed by our batshit insane recently enlightened collection of asshats Congress?

Well, no, fact is, this is just the implementation of another wonderful idea that came to our last Congress (you know, the one under George W.  Satan) in the heat of another crisis.  Remember when all the Chinese toys popped up with lead in them?  Oh don’t you remember the chaos in the streets, the thousands dead and dying, and the imminent need to do something?  Well, I forgot about it too.  But by God, Congress fixed the problem.  And now we have a situation where third party testing is required of everything you might sell to a kid.  This includes everything from your mother’s crafting business on eBay to hand-made Christmas ornaments.  No resale provisions, you sell stuff out of Goodwill, you’re liable.  All those neat collectibles? Uh-huh illegal.  You see it doesn’t matter what the lead level might actually be, if you don’t have it all tested by that mythical third-party, you’re breaking the law.  Hell, if you give your old Rubik’s Cube or Cabbage Patch doll to your kid for their birthday, it’s illegal.  Sell or distribute, you see.

I have a mental image of the Burgermeister Meisterburger singing though the halls of the Capitol:

And what really pissed me off, this quote (from here):

My daughter works in a used bookstore. TODAY they pulled all the books from the children’s section that had any kind of metal or plastic or toy-like attachment, spiral bindings, balls or things attached, board books, anything that might be targeted under this law, and they very quietly trashed them all. I say “very quietly” because the bookstore had a meeting with employees and told them to be careful not to start a panic. If anyone asked what they were doing they were told to say that they were “rearranging their inventory.” No one was allowed to tell anyone about the new law, and no one was allowed to take any of the doomed-for-destruction books home or give them away.

And people look at me like I’m the crazy one when I say I’m a Libertarian.  But hey, we’re keeping children safe from vintage G.I.Joes.

It’s a mystery to me

UPDATE: Things went very well last night.  A fun time had by all.  The actors were cast perfectly, and given the answer distribution, I seem to have struck the right balance between an obvious villain and a completely obscure solution.

Tonight I am going, with a bit of apprehension, to see the first dramatic presentation of my work.  (If you discount Ted Henry reading a snippet of Raven a few years back.)  It’s a script for a murder mystery dinner, and I really have no clue how it’s going to turn out.  Well, I’m getting a free meal out of it.

OMG! The Kindle is infringing our rights

What is with it with my fellow writers? Every few months I hear about some new neo-Luddite proposal that makes the stuffed suits at the RIAA look like they’re writing Harry Potter slash to bootleg Metallica MP3s. First it was Pixel-Stained Technopeasants, then it was royalties on used books.

Now the Author’s Guild says that the new Kindle’s text-to-voice feature is infringing on audio rights.

WTF?!? *headdesk*

Apparently reading a text version of a book is a violation of copyright?  No.  Fail. The “audio rights” are rights you sell to some third party to distribute some audio version.  Hey guys, no distribution of audio here.  This is the end user using material *they bought* and now we want to go all “no, you can’t use it that way.”

Well, I’m going to start stealing people’s translation rights by running manuscripts through babelfish.


Well I went through and polished up the draft of Heretics and it is now of with the editor so I can breathe a big sigh of relief and start work on my next project, the as-yet-unnamed book 2 of the Wolfbreed series for Bantam.  So we’re going from apocalyptic post-singularity space opera to romantic medieval fantasy.  Cognitive dissonance much?

Random Writing Thought: Exposition within action.

So if you write a lot of SF/Fantasy (or historical fiction for that matter) you know that exposition is one of the heavier burdens your tale must bear. The whole point of speculative fiction is that the universe of the story is not “here”, and the author’s job is to get across what the reader needs to know to understand the story as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Delicate balancing act that, to one end lies opaque confusion and on the other like turgid boredom. The only real advice most beginners get about this is “no infodumps,” which, like the passive voice, will be red-flagged by a lot of first readers offering advice simply because it’s easy to identify.

So how does one provide background detail without being dry and boring? By using details in dramatic scenes. Consider the following :

Continue reading “Random Writing Thought: Exposition within action.”

Help save Realms of Fantasy

You may have heard that Realms of Fantasy is marked for death right now.  However, there is an on-line community attempting to save it.  I joined up on Facebook, and here is a message from the people running the effort:

Subject: Blog to Save Realms!!

Dear Save Realms members,

Thank you for joining us. We’re off to a promising start with over 300 members in just five days. Now it’s time to up the ante. In order to gather enough support to save our beloved mag, we have to get the word out in a big way. That means blogging. Continue reading “Help save Realms of Fantasy”

Learning The Wrong Lessons

Humorous Pictures

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. . .

The country’s in a crisis, it is desperately urgent that we act now by passing sweeping legislation that massively expands government intrusions into ordinary citizen’s lives.  We must pass it quickly, must not examine it too closely, and should anyone actually object, they’re just engaging in petty partisan demagoguery that will destroy this country! You don’t want to destroy this country, do you?  Of course not.  Just sit there and eat the patriot act stimulus plan like a good little servant of the State. They’re from the government, and they’re here to help you.

Ok, Libertarian rant over.  Back to the blog.