Ever wonder “How to get my book reviewed”?

Woman Reading Book
Woman Reading Book/Image Source: ABC News

So you’ve completed your book. Its been edited and published, and now you’re trying to figure out how to get to your potential readers. While beginning your marketing campaign usually happens well before your book is completed, getting your first reviews can’t happen until your book is done or in a final draft status.

Many stores won’t carry a small press or self-published book that doesn’t have reviews from a recognizable publication. So how do you get someone to pay attention to your book among all of the hundreds, if not thousands, of submissions they see every month?

City Book Review, publishers of the San Francisco Book Review, Manhattan Book Review and Kids’ BookBuzz all have programs to help you. Kids BookBuzz is only for kids, tweens and young adult books, but the other two will take almost any book you have (including children’s books).

So how do you get your book reviewed by the San Francisco Book Review?

If your book is within 90 days of the publications date, you can submit it for general review (at no cost). The closer you are to the 90 days, the less of a chance it will have to be reviewed, but you can still start there. The SFBR gets more than 1000 submissions a month, and only reviews 300 or less, so your likelihood of getting your book reviewed in this way is less than 33%. But you can give it a try and see if it gets reviewed.

General Submission Guidelineshttp://www.sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/general-submission/

If your book is more than 90 days past its publishing date, or you really want to have it reviewed and don’t want to just hope it’ll get picked up through the general review, you can go through the Sponsored Review program. While there is some controversy about paying for a review, SFBR is a respected publication like Kirkus or Foreward Reviews and doesn’t offer vanity reviews for payment. You can expect the same level of professionalism from their standard reviews. And they don’t mark sponsored reviews any different than the other reviews.

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Reviewhttp://sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/sponsored-review/

Get My Book Reviewed from the San Francisco Book Review

There are a lot of different options for getting your book reviewed, mostly around how long it takes to get your review back, and if you want more than one or an interview as well.

  • Standard Reviews Take 8-10 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Expedited Reviews Take 3-5 weeks for turnaround from the time they receive your book Start at
  • Get more than one review for the same book you’ll get a discount on the normal cost of 2 or 3 reviews. Reviews range in price from $150 to $299.
  • Getting a podcast interview for Audible Authors to promote yourself and your book, and you can add an interview to a review package at a discount.

And if you really like your review, you can have it posted on the other publication’s website for $99, or get a new review from a different reviewer. Both can help with your marketing and search engine optimization.

So how do you get your book reviewed by the Manhattan Book Review?

The Manhattan Book Review uses the same format for the San Francisco Book Review. Different audience, so if you’re an East Coast author, you might be more interested in having the credit from MBR over SFBR. Personal taste is the only difference between the two for reviews. If you are a local SF or Manhattan author, they will also flag that in your review.

General Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for the Manhattan Book Reviewhttp://manhattanbookreview.com/get-my-book-reviewed/sponsored-reviews/

So how do you get your book reviewed by Kids’ BookBuzz?

First thing, all of the reviews for Kids’ BookBuzz are done by kids. They are select age appropriate books, but the kids read them and write the reviews themselves. The younger kids have some help from their parents, but the words are all theirs. Don’t expect any easy reviews either. These kids see a lot of stories, so they know good books when they read them.

General Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/general-submission/

Sponsored Review Submission Guidelines for Kids’ BookBuzzhttp://kidsbookbuzz.com/get-my-book-reviewed-by-a-kid/sponsored-reviews/

No, Pete Buttigieg doesn’t want to rename the Jefferson Memorial

This weekend, a reasonable and thoughtful answer to a particularly thorny question about American history by Mayor Pete Buttigieg became the stuff of an over-simplified and uninformed controversy.

Buttigieg, who has seen his star his in the 2020 Democratic primary rise considerably, was asked about an annual Democratic fundraising tradition, Jefferson-Jackson Day, and whether it should be renamed because both men were slaveholders.

In 2016, Indiana, where Buttigieg is a mayor, dropped the name. Buttigieg called it the right decision. He added that because of President Andrew Jackson’s history of genocide against Native Americans, it was easy to not support him, but that Jefferson was a thornier issue.

You know, over time, you develop and evolve on the things you choose to honor. And I think we know enough, especially Jackson, you know, you just look at what basically amounts to genocide that happened here. Jeffersons more problematic.

He goes onto say that Jefferson knew about the evils of slave ownership and that even so, he continued to do own salves. And that removing people’s names from memorials is not erasing them, but that we should have a high standard for the people we look up to and consider how lionizing these people looks to the communities affected by their behavior.

Extremely reasonable stuff.

You know, theres a lot to, of course, admire in his thinking and his philosophy. Then again, as you plunge into his writings, especially the notes on the state of Virginia, you know that he knew that slavery was wrong …And yet, he did it. Now were all morally conflicted human beings. And its not like were blotting him out of the history books, or deleting him from being the founder fathers. But you know, naming something after somebody confers a certain amount of honor. And at a time, I mean, the real reason I think theres a lot of pressure on this is the relationship between the past and the present, that were finding in a million different ways that racism isnt some curiosity out of the past that were embarrassed about but moved on from. Its alive, its well, its hurting people.

Buttigieg didn’t really say Jefferson’s name should be removed from memorials, but naturally, it wasn’t framed that way in the conservative online discourse.

Suddenly, Buttigieg wants the Thomas Jefferson Memorial in D.C. torn down.

Those somewhat misleading tweets by the Daily Caller and New York Post set off a firestorm.

George R.R. Martin shoots down ‘Game of Thrones’ actor’s claim that he’s completed ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’


As Game of Thrones comes to an end, anticipation for the next books in George R.R. Martins A Song of Ice and Fire series is higher than ever. But Martin is still working on those books, he said in a new blog postlate Monday as he debunked claims that he had secretly finished the series.

Last month, Game of Thrones actor Ian McElhinney, who was on the show for several seasons as Ser Barristan Selmy, told fans at Epic Con (a fan convention in St. Petersburg, Russia) that Martin had already written the final two books and that he was holding off on publishing them until Game of Thrones was over. Although the clip was originally posted to YouTube at the end of April, entertainment sites only caught wind of the McElhinneys comments over the past couple days.

George has already written books 6 and 7, and as far as hes concerned, there only are seven books, McElhinney told fans. But he struck an agreement with David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], the showrunners on the series, that he would not publish the final two books until the series has completed. So if all goes well, in another month or two we might get books 6 and 7, and Im intrigued to know how Barristan, for instance, ends up going through those final two books. George, I talked to him during season 1 and he did say to me that Barristan had a very interesting journey. But unfortunately, I didnt get to play all of that, so well have to wait and see.

McElhinney, who was disappointed that Barristan Selmy was killed off in the books as early as he wasthe character is still alive in ASOIAFis curious, like many book fans, to see what happens to the character he portrayed.

Once McElhinneys comments gained steam, Martin quickly shot down the idea that he had finished writing The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

I will, however, say for the record no, THE WINDS OF WINTER and A DREAM OF SPRING are not finished, Martin wrote. DREAM is not even begun; I am not going to start writing volume seven until I finish volume six.

Martin also pointedly shot down the idea that anybody made him hold off on publishing his books before Game of Thrones finished its run. As Martin highlighted, if he was holding onto finished works, hed be sitting on a lot of money for both him and his publishers. And given the symbiotic nature between ASOIAF and Game of Thrones, each of them garners interest for the other.

HBO did not ask me to delay them, Martin added. Nor did David & Dan. There is no ‘deal’ to hold back on the books. I assure you, HBO and David & Dan would both have been thrilled and delighted if THE WINDS OF WINTER had been delivered and published four or five years ago and NO ONE would have been more delighted than me.

The Winds of Winter does not yet have a release date, but Martin has said he will reveal it the moment that there is one to announce.


How linguist David J. Peterson created the Dothraki and Valyrian languages for Game of Thrones

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Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/game-of-thrones-george-rr-martin-asoiaf-publication-dates-ian-mcelhinney/

J.K. Rowling faces backlash on Twitter for comments about sexual relationship between two characters

J.K. Rowling is facing backlash for recent comments she made about the sexuality of Dumbledore and Grindelwald in an interview for DVD and Blu-ray features on her film “The Crimes of Grindelwald.”  (Reuters)

J.K. Rowling is facing backlash on social media for recent comments she made about the sexuality of two of her characters.

For an interview in a DVD and Blu-ray feature on her film “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” the writer said Dumbledore and Grindelwald may have had a “sexual dimension” to their relationship.


Her comments were tweeted out by @rowlinglibrary on Sunday.

According to the Twitter account, the author said about Dumbledore and Grindelwald: “Their relationship was incredibly intense. It was passionate, and it was a love relationship.”

“But as it happens in any relationship, gay or straight or whatever label we want to put on it, one never knows really what the other person is feeling. You can’t know, you can believe you know,” she continued.

“So I’m less interested in the sexual side — though I believe there is a sexual dimension to this relationship — than I am in the sense of the emotions they felt for each other, which ultimately is the most fascinating thing about all human relationship,” she added.

That sexual relationship, however, was not made obvious in “The Crimes of Grindelwald,” which disappointed fans at the time.

Followers expressed their displeasure again on social media over the weekend.


One Twitter user posted: “J.K. Rowling Confirms Some Characters in Her Books and Movies Are Gay Everywhere Except in the Books or the Movies.”

Another person tweeted: “jk rowling reappearing every 2 months to say something literally no one asked about is me adding more random details to my essay to up my word count.”

Someone else wrote: “I love Harry Potter so much but JK’s blatant (and failing) attempts to make Dumbledore any gayer without actually having the guts or motive to actually write it… Smh, making a character gay to seem woke or give them more depth… Sloppy, Rowling.”

“Well, as an ‘intense’ homosexual, and a fan of her books, I’ve quite had it with J. K. Rowling piggybacking on LGBTQ+ folk because it’s trendy to do so now, when she wasn’t prepared to make the sacrifices and fight at a time when it wasn’t so easy,” another Twitter user wrote, adding: “Stop milking ££ our rainbow.”

Not all fans were upset with Rowling’s comments, however, with one person tweeting: “I can’t believe people are this up in arms about JK Rowling. Holy s–t no one is ever satisfied. It’s a book series. We all loved it. It was amazing. STFU and enjoy it.”

Rowling, who is known for announcing additions to her books and movies on social media and in interviews, declared Dumbledore was gay in 2007, 10 years after her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” was published in the U.K. in 1997.

However, the wizard’s sexuality is never explicitly mentioned in any of the books or movies.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/j-k-rowling-faces-backlash-on-twitter-for-comments-about-sexual-relationship-between-two-characters

ISIS Chemical-Weapons Expert Speaks

BAGHDADISIS was looking for scientists, said Ahmed, a 36-year-old follower of the so-called Islamic State who holds a Ph.D. in medicinal chemistry and drug design. And Ahmed was looking for a chance to put his scientific knowledge to use.

This would not be theoretical research. ISIS and al Qaeda before it have been working since at least the 1990s to obtain biological and chemical weapons. But as with many gruesome enterprises, ISIS has been more methodical than its predecessors and competitors.

We do not yet know for sure the extent to which ISIS was successful and cannot confirm some of the claims made by Ahmed, but they fit with those made by an Iraqi geologist, Suleiman al-Afari, who told The Washington Post recently that he supervised a mustard gas production line for the Islamic State.

We also know that ISIS, through its global social media and internet recruiting, managed to create a corps of scientists interacting in person and on dark web forums to support the creation of a WMD arsenal, and Ahmed, whose name has been changed here, was part of the team. We interviewed him last month along with other ISIS prisoners being held in the Iraqi capital.

At the height of its power four years ago, ISIS worldwide recruiting effort offered top dollar to equip labs and support scientists to an extent much greater than anything Ahmed had been offered in Iraq, which basically was nothing.

I knew I could synthesize the biological and chemical weapons I researched on the web, he told us. I just needed the supplies and a well-equipped lab.

U.S. coalition and Iraqi forces have recently announced the discovery of an installation in Mosul where ISIS was indeed working on such weapons, and Ahmed says he was involved in that same labs operations.

We should be careful not to confuse the attempts by ISIS to develop and use chemical weapons with the infamous attacks launched by the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. Of an estimated 300 such attacks in Syria in the course of the conflict there, a new study from the Global Public Policy Institute (PDF) estimates 98 percent are attributable to the regime, and only about 2 percent to ISIS.

But the groups aspirations in this regard, and some usage, is well documented. For instance, the group successfully deployed mustard and chlorine gas against the Kurdish Peshmerga. ISIS also set up a secret chemical weapons production facility in northern Iraq and has been quite innovative in using drones as dispersal devices for biological and chemical materials.

Surprisingly, research on the extent to which the group used or desired to expand on the use of chemical and biological weapons remains rare and largely under-researched, as noted in a report published last year by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.

Ahmed, imprisoned inside the compounds of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces of the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Services, recounted in detail his rise from a promising but frustrated young scientist, to one who saw himself as a galvanized agent of social change at the time he joined ISIS, to his eventual capture.

Ahmed, like so many who joined and served ISIS, had come into contact with the group via social media while a Ph.D. student in India after a scientist friend, who was already working for them, encouraged him to join up.

While initially attracted to the idea of an Islamic State, he claimed it was not so much the ideology as what he thought would be the ability to show off his scientific and technical skills that actually drew him to ISIS: At first I was looking into their ideology because of their interest in science and technology. I was convinced I would join an authentic scientific community. Many scientists joined from many countries, he claimed in our interview. Lots of nuclear physicists and engineers, especially from Russia joined them.

Ahmed said he did not ever join the group physically, but supported them virtually and substantially. Searching the worldwide web and pursuing scientific journals, some of which he hacked into, allowed him to pass on knowledge about manufacturing chemical and biological weapons to those scientists already working in the Mosul lab.

While Ahmed started his work for ISIS by spreading this research and interacting on web forums on behalf of the group in 2015 and 2016, he fully intended to join the lab in Mosul upon his graduation and was confident of his ability to create the desired chemical and biological weapons. At the time, he believed ISIS was already an established state and would continue to expand.

I would upload and [my research] would get read by the high command of the Caliphate, he told us. They were interested in my posts and asked how we can acquire these chemicals. I also summarized books from a Russian website. There are loads of [scientific] journals I could access on the web and its not classified. I told them everything was in my summary, but also told them, you must have a real lab.

The operation in Mosul succeeded in producing mustard gas, which it dispersed in various operations using drones. In Baghdad, we viewed pictures of victims allegedly burned in ISIS mustard gas attacks.

Ahmed and his research colleagues working in the Mosul lab were not the only ISIS members striving for biological weapons. A chilling arrest occurred as recently as June 2018, in Germany, when Sief Allah H, a Tunisian man living in Cologne, was arrested after preparing the deadly biological poison ricin, made from castor beans. Security sources told ICSVEthe International Center for the Study of Violent Extremismthat the police knew of his activities and that he was following instructions provided over the internet by ISIS, and that police surveillance of the operation was terminated and arrests made after he succeeded, but before he was actually able to deploy the infamous compound.

Ahmed proudly boasted about his knowledge of computer science and the ability to modify, synthesize, and manufacture lethal weapons from raw substances, at times appearing highly ecstatic and fervent in his answers during the interview.

There are loads of scientific journals and its not classified. You just have to access them through a scientific institution, said Ahmed, explaining how he managed to access the latest in science by going to the dark web and using a Russian website that cracked these journals codes.

My friend [in ISIS] told me about WMD, that they were interested in making mustard gas, nitrogen, and sulfur. Nerve agents are easy to synthesize

I used Russian search engines that no one can penetrate and a Tor browser to hide and search, Ahmed said. For instance, the first item I put up for them was from the journal of Organic Phosphorus Chemistry aboutVX gas in Israel. Its a new generationnerve agent. The authors told how they made particle Isomers and structural modifications to enhance the activity of the gas in use, Ahmed said. I can tell a scientist about how to carry out the organic synthesis for this in micro quantities.

There was onearticle on pyrophoric [flammable] materials from a hazardous materials journal, Ahmed went on. These pyrophoric materials become flammable with water and moisture creating gas, fire and choking smoke to cause asphyxiation. The article was speaking about the flammability [of the materials] and what kind of gas was being generated, about the hazardous materials you could throw to troops, and on streets, on floating bridges, etc. All the necessary materials are available on the market… There was also a book from a Russian website about the experimental synthesis of all explosives. For me, I can synthesize any of these.

My friend [in ISIS] told me about WMD, that they were interested in making mustard gas, nitrogen, and sulfur. Nerve agents are easy to synthesize, Ahmed said, noting that he was disappointed that ISIS wasnt going further into the subjects he felt proficient in.

Its like writing a paper. I can search and modify the structure. I passed this to them. If I gain access to a lab, then I can do it. In our lab in India [where he was studying] I learned how to synthesize theoretically. We take the structure into a software and see how it works on this nerve, then we try it on animals. I synthesized for anti-diabetic and anti-epileptic activity and it worked, so I know I can do it for these substances as well.

Ahmed, who does not appear particularly connected to his own emotions, insisted that his work for ISIS was to help them as a state to be able to defend against and repel attackers. When reminded that ISIS had been at war with the Iraqis, Syrians and Western powers at that point, he kept insisting that the weapons he hoped to build for them were only for defense.

He also seemed oblivious to ISISs already deployed use of mustard gas against civilian populations. My idea was to use weapons as a deterrent, not to be used against humankind. He also seemed oblivious to the extraordinary brutality of ISIS during the time he was working for them and much more interested in and excited by the recognition he could achieve.

He hoped to branch out from poisons and plagues to explore new technologies for delivering them. I learned in the engineering world they [ISIS] were interested in anti-aircraft missiles and drones. They complain about coalition jet fighters destroying their troops on the ground. The admin on the website, there was a guy on the website who provided links from a British university to make drones from organic synthesis to make the whole body of the drone. It was some kind of solution, liquid phase synthesis, polymer science. We have already developed anti-aircraft missiles. We were going to use them.

It appears that Ahmed was not particularly religious prior to joining ISIS. He articulated only a very rudimentary grasp of the Islamic faith, which he said he rarely practiced. I was not very religious. I was not looking for an Islamic State. They [ISIS] were more interested in science and technology. They were thinking forward. My family is interested in science and technology. I find religion suspicious.

Although incongruous on its face, it has been common for many ISIS recruits to believe that somehow the Caliphate could fulfill their dreams, even if those had little to do with the way ISIS twisted the teachings of the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad.

Ahmed said he was deeply dissatisfied with widespread corruption and sectarian discrimination in the Iraqi job market following the 2003 toppling of the Saddam regime. As a Sunni, and despite being qualified, he felt he was kept out of jobs in areas of national defense and in any government-sector related to science.

Political things, the quality of the regime after 2003, it pushed me to interact and work against the regime, he said. I worked as a student in a lab in Iraq for four years. It was not possible to gain employment there. After, I worked in a pharmaceutical lab. It was totally corrupt. The whole facility was corrupt and it lacked in everything. I was completely frustrated. I considered it a primary school, he said.

Ahmed claimed he was compelled to look for jobs elsewhere, first in Qatar and then Bahrain and Abu Dhabi, but to no avail. His disconnected personality probably contributed to his failure in that regard, but all the same he was a gifted individual frustrated by his inability to pursue his chosen fielduntil ISIS came along.

Ahmed was arrested in 2018 by the Kurdish security forces during an undercover counterterrorism operation in Erbil, the capital of the Iraqs Kurdish regional government. He was then handed over to the U.S. Army in Erbil for further interrogation and later transferred to Iraqi authorities in Baghdad.

While Ahmed claimed he had stopped working for ISIS after he looked more closely into their violent Islamic ideology, he continued to see himself, as many jihadists are encouraged to do, as a sort of chivalric hero and, in his case, a chemical whiz kid.

During our interview, he expressed regret over his decision to join ISIS.

My advice to everyone in the world is not to believe [ISIS] propaganda and media. Real jihad is to support your country and families and provide them with the best knowledge. Dont believe ISIS or join any upcoming group.

At the same time, he seemed to still be angling for a job in his chosen field. Appearing to think we could bounce him out of prison, he offered to help the Americans now to fight ISIS. He had made a similar egotistic offer to the Peshmerga and also to others who had handled him following his capture.

Ahmeds story serves to demonstrate ISIS horrifying ambitions and tryst with chemical and biological weapons in Iraq and Syria, nearly actualized through their power to attract scientists like him from around the globe.

These experts are capable of researching methods for and carrying out the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction from raw substances and materials that ISIS also appears adept at procuring.

The notion that ISIS and its operatives can deploy weapons of mass destruction outside of Syria and Iraq still remains far-fetched, but even if Ahmed is overstating his abilities by a considerable margin, there is no question that the Caliphate had a substantial group of capable scientists, engineers and technicians.

ISIS capacity for innovation and the ability to replicate itself elsewherethat is, engage in transfer of tools and techniques learned abroad for use in Europe, Asia or the Americasmust be taken seriously.

The Islamic State may have lost every last acre of the Caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but it lives on in the the minds of many who would inflict terrible attacks on its enemies, and may yet acquire the means to do so.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/isis-chemical-weapons-expert-speaks-in-exclusive-interview

This school principal who reads bedtime stories online to her students is what they mean by an ‘everyday hero.’

Reading aloud is good for kids. This principal is going above and beyond to make it happen for her students.

The benefits of reading is well-documented, especially for growing children. Books help build vocabulary, foster empathy, increase attention spans, and teach kids to think critically.

But some kids, especially in low-income households, may not have easy access to books or have caregivers who are able to read to them regularly. That’s a problem. It’s hard for kids to develop a love of reading without lots of exposure to books. And without the benefits that regular reading can offer, the educational gap for kids in low-income households just grows wider.

Principal Belinda George, a first-year principal at Homer Drive Elementary in Beaumont, Texas, has many low-income students under her charge. And in a simple, unique way, she’s trying to make sure they all get the gift of reading.

Dr. George reads aloud to students in the evening—in her pajamas—during “Tucked-in Tuesdays.”

According to the Washington Post, the 42-year-old principal opens up Facebook Live on her phone at 7:30pm on Tuesdays for a read-aloud session she called “Tucked-in Tuesdays.” Snuggled up in her jammies—which include a Cookie Monster onesie (me wants one!)—George reads a book aloud to whatever students can be online for storytime. She started Tucked-in Tuesdays in December, and it’s a hit.

“Kids will come up to me Wednesday and say, ‘Dr. George, I saw you in your PJs reading!,” she told the Post. “They’ll tell me their favorite part of the book.” Students will often go try to find the book she read them at the school library. People outside of the school district, and even outside of Texas, have started tuning in for bedtime stories with the principal.

Her love of kids motivates her to take the time to bring something extra to their lives outside the classroom.

George doesn’t have any kids of her own, and she uses her story time to connect with her students whom she refers to as her children.

“The idea came from a Facebook group called Principal Principles Leadership Group,” George told TODAY. “And from the fact that I absolutely love my children.”

George told the Post that if she doesn’t reach them outside of school, she knows she won’t be able to reach them in school. Tucked-in Tuesdays are a way for her to build bonds with students and families while also fostering a love of books. She greets students by name as they tell her they’re watching, and she asks questions to keep the story time interactive.

Educators like Dr. George can make a huge difference in students’ lives.

All of us have special teachers, librarians, or other adults in school who influenced us with their beyond-the-call-of-duty care. What a wonderful memory these young scholars will have for the rest of their lives, and what a great way for them to build positive bonds with an authority figure in their lives.

George told the post that she does anything she can to build relationships with her students, including twice weekly dance parties. “If a child feels loved they will try,” she said.

Check out Principal George reading “Clark the Shark” in her Cookie Monster PJs:

Clark the Shark and the Big Book Report
Reading Level: 2.5
AR Points: 0.5

Posted by Homer Drive Elementary on Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Read more: http://www.upworthy.com/this-school-principal-who-reads-bedtime-stories-online-to-her-students-is-what-they-mean-by-an-everyday-hero

From bombers to Big Macs: Vietnam a lesson in reconciliation

The Vietnamese capital once trembled as waves of American bombers unleashed their payloads, but when Kim Jong Un arrives here for his summit with President Donald Trump he won’t find rancor toward a former enemy. Instead the North Korean leader will get a glimpse at the potential rewards of reconciliation.

By the time the Vietnam War ended in 1975, tens of thousands of tons of explosives had been dropped on Hanoi and nearly two decades of fighting had killed 3 million Vietnamese and more than 58,000 Americans. Vietnam, though victorious, lay devastated by American firepower, with cities in ruins and fields and forests soaked in toxic herbicides and littered with unexploded ordnance.

Despite the conflict’s savagery, what followed was a remarkable rapprochement between wartime foes and it took merely 20 years to restore full relations.

Now some hope Vietnam will offer Kim a road map for his own detente with the United States and that the formerly besieged capital city will be the site of a dramatic resolution to one of the last remaining Cold War conflicts.

While North Korea remains America’s sworn enemy 65 years after the Korean War fighting ceased, Vietnam today stands as a burgeoning partner which even buys lethal U.S. weaponry. Bilateral trade has soared by 8,000 percent over the last two decades and billions of dollars in American investment flows into one of the world’s best performing economies.

And while North Koreans are still taught to loathe Americans by their country’s propaganda machine, in Vietnam there is little animosity.

“I was born after the war and only hear war stories from American films or books,” said Dinh Thanh Huyen, a 19-year-old university student who was waiting in line at a crowded McDonald’s in Hanoi. She said she was happy the former enemies have moved on. “History is for us to learn from, not to hold grudges.”

Kim could take note of the history of win-win rapprochement and how Vietnam’s communist leaders have allowed a capitalistic economy and an open door to the U.S. and other outsiders, all while not sacrificing their tight grip on power. Or he could allow it all to pass him by as he narrows his focus for the Feb. 27-28 summit on tit-for-tat bargaining over nuclear arms and economic sanctions.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke in Hanoi last year about “the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership” the U.S. has come to enjoy with Vietnam and noted Vietnam was able maintain its form of government.

“I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path. It’s yours to seize the moment,” he said. “This can be your miracle in North Korea as well.”

To be sure, Vietnam remains a one-party state with a poor human rights record where even moderate critics and dissenters are frequently jailed.

Since the first Trump-Kim summit last June in Singapore, a few small steps have already been taken along a timeline forged by the U.S.-Vietnamese thaw, including Pyongyang turning over remains of U.S. servicemen killed in the Korean War, the first such hand-over in more than a decade.

It was the same missing in action issue that heralded U.S.-Vietnamese reconciliation, with the repatriation of American war dead creating an environment for improvement in relations in other areas.

Next came step-by-step lifting of economic sanctions, as Washington encouraged Vietnam’s so-called “doi moi” reform, initiatives launched in 1986 to shed a state-run economy in favor of a market-oriented one open to foreigners.

North Korea has already shown interest in Vietnam’s reforms, sending students and official delegations who returned home with favorable reports. Having enjoyed close relations with North Korea since 1950, Vietnam could be the ideal go-between in nudging Pyongyang to re-engineer its disastrous economy and turn foes to friends.

“Vietnam’s model of development ‘doi moi’ is an important factor in the United States’ larger strategy of drawing North Korea out of its self-imposed isolation as part of the larger process of denuclearizing,” said Carlyle Thayer, a political scientist at The University of New South Wales.

But Thayer and other experts share strong reservations about how much of the U.S.-Vietnamese “miracle” can be duplicated. There are stark differences in the way the North Korea responded once the fighting stopped.

The North slammed shut its doors and slid into a Cold War bunker — and it remains one of the world’s most isolated nations. Vietnam, however, chose to put behind its tragic past and move forward.

Not long after the war, American journalists and official U.S. delegations were allowed entry to a poor, shabby Hanoi, its lovely French colonial buildings moldering from neglect. The only clothes many men had were the baggy green uniforms and pith helmets of the North Vietnamese army. Suspicion was palpable and Westerners, including journalists, were assigned minders to keep tabs on them.

Expecting a hostile reception, the Americans were stunned at the lack of animosity displayed by the average Vietnamese, even those who had lost loved ones to U.S. bombs. Returning American veterans were often signaled out for especially warm welcomes, sometimes tearfully embracing their onetime battlefield enemies while exchanging stories of suffering.

Making such scenes possible were a set of special circumstances. Some were geo-political: Vietnam badly needed a counter-balance that the U.S. could provide to its perennial enemy — neighboring China.

This has taken on special urgency in recent years as Beijing moves aggressively to claim large swaths of the South China Sea. Telling are the exchanges between the U.S. and Vietnamese coast guards and the provision of U.S. patrol boats. Last year the USS Carl Vinson, an American aircraft carrier, made a historic port call in Vietnam, the first of its kind since the war ended.

Vietnam also no longer faced a threat from the United States, whereas North Korea perceives that it does, making abandonment of its nuclear program difficult, perhaps even in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

But an underlying human element was also at work.

“During the Vietnam War Hanoi always drew a distinction between the peace-loving American people and the imperialist American government,” Thayer said. “There was a basis for future reconciliation.”

The face-to-face encounters that followed, serving to ease mutual hostility, never occurred with North Korea. Instead, generations of North Korean children sat in classrooms looking at posters of Americans portrayed as big nosed goblins. A massive anti-American rally loomed large on the annual calendar.

“The Vietnamese saw over the years of our war that many American people and veterans spoke out against the war,” said Bob Mulholland, a prominent Vietnam combat veteran.

And there were powerful advocates of reconciliation, including Sens. John Kerry and the recently deceased John McCain as well as other veterans who quietly returned to Vietnam to help the shattered country.

Although the Vietnam War has begun to fade from the collective memory in both countries, it is not the “forgotten war” that the Korean conflict has long been known as. With peace and greater prosperity have come fresh connections forged by a younger generation.

Near the McDonald’s in Hanoi’s old quarter, not far from a Starbucks, the area is closed to traffic each weekend and entertainers, including American buskers, take to streets now strung with U.S. and North Korean flags. Vietnamese youth can be seen mingling with young American travelers.

Just a short stroll away, tourist Brian Walker was taking in Hanoi’s Military War Museum, fronted by the wreckage of an American B-52 shot down while bombing the city.

“For many Americans, it may be a country of a bloody war that we took part in,” said 28-year-old social worker from New York City. “But coming here, all I see is people with big smiles, good food and a beautiful landscape.”


Gray reported from Bangkok.

Read more: https://www.foxnews.com/world/from-bombers-to-big-macs-vietnam-a-lesson-in-reconciliation

A Man Is Suing His Parents For Being Born

In a move that won’t be doing the so-called “snowflake generation” any favors, a 27-year-old man has taken the drastic step of suing his parents. Their crime – having him in the first place.

Raphael Samuel, a businessman based in Mumbai, India, bases the dispute on the belief that it is immoral for a couple to bring a sentient being into the world without asking their permission to do so. His argument stems from a philosophical movement called “anti-natalism”, an outlook that reasons any new human life will inevitably involve pain and suffering, while pleasure (although good) is irrelevant to those who do not or have not existed in the first place.

An anti-natalist ultimately concludes it would have been better not to have been born in the first place.

Or as Samuel put it to BBC News: “My life is good, but I’d rather not be here. You know it’s like there’s a nice room, but I don’t want to be in that room.”

The decision to take his parents to court is to make a point, Samuel says. He knows it’s extremely likely the lawsuit will be thrown out before he has a chance to be heard and he also acknowledges the impossibility of acquiring consent from an as-yet-unconceived being. And yet, he hopes that by pursuing the case, the stunt will raise the profile of anti-natalism. 

“There’s no point to humanity,” he added. “So many people are suffering.”

“If humanity is extinct, Earth and animals would be happier. They’ll certainly be better off. Also no human will then suffer. Human existence is totally pointless.”

At least for now, anti-natalists are in the minority – but elements of anti-natalism are edging into the mainstream. Take, for example, True Detective. Matthew McConaughey’s character, Rust Cohle, could be described as a nihilistic anti-natalist. 


True Detective screenwriter Nic Pizzolatto says he was inspired by a piece by David Benatar, the controversial head of the University of Cape Town’s philosophy department and author of various books and essays on anti-natalism. Benatar’s view: “One of the implications of my argument is that a life filled with good and containing only the most minute quantity of bad – a life of utter bliss adulterated only by the pain of a single pin-prick – is worse than no life at all.”

In The Human Predicament, Benatar lists the pain that goes hand-in-hand with simply being. This includes not just the obvious (sickness and grief, say) but the various discomforts and indignities we all experience on a daily basis, from hunger and thirst to the need to go to the bathroom, waiting in traffic, and feeling too cold or too hot. “The quality of human life is, contrary to what many people think, actually quite appalling,” he concludes.

But if death seems like the way out, think again. Grief and dying bring their own pain – or, as Benatar puts it, “Life is bad, but so is death…Together, they constitute an existential vise”.

To sum up: Life is worth continuing because death is considered “bad”. But that does not mean it is not worth starting in the first place.

As for Samuel and his parents, the good news is that they still appear to be on good terms – despite the looming lawsuit.

“I must admire my son’s temerity to want to take his parents to court knowing both of us are lawyers. And if Raphael could come up with a rational explanation as to how we could have sought his consent to be born, I will accept my fault,” Kavita Karnad Samuel said in a statement, BBC News reports.

Before adding, “I’m very happy that my son has grown up into a fearless, independent-thinking young man. He is sure to find his path to happiness.”

Read more: https://www.iflscience.com/editors-blog/a-man-is-suing-his-parents-for-having-him-heres-why/

50 Singles Admit What Makes Them Lose Interest, Swipe Left, And Leave Dates Early

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50 Singles Admit What Makes Them Lose Interest, Swipe Left, And Leave Dates Early

Here are some relationship dealbreakers from single men and women on Ask Reddit.

1. If they put a whole lot of stock into zodiac signs, it’s a good sign we aren’t going to agree on a lot of things.

Especially if they try to excuse their behavior with it like, “Sorry I was being bitchy, it’s because I’m a Virgo.”

No Linda, you’re just bitchy.

2. Cheating. Being okay with cheating culture, admitting to having cheated before, laughing/egging on friends into cheating.

Some people can give second chances, but I’ve been bitten by too many people to bring myself to trust someone who can cheat. I need a partner who believes as strongly as I do in loyalty and monogamy.

3. People who are not good at a macro level. Like being a loving girlfriend, but leaving a tub of ice cream on a random shelf at the grocery store, because who cares about strangers?

4. When they constantly outdo you. Have a good memory? Theirs is better. Had a shitty day? OH IT DOESN’T EVEN COMPARE TO THEIRS! Like seriously, calm down. Its not a competition.

5. If she’s proud of the fact that she doesn’t read books.

6. Jealousy. Either you trust me or you don’t. If you think I’m gonna get rid of the few friends I have to make you feel better then you’ve got a storm coming.

7. If they don’t take care of themselves. I want a partner and someone who will push me to be a better person, not someone I have to look after.

8. Not being willing to work through conflict quickly. Every couple fights and some issues are legitimate reasons to be upset, but if you refuse to discuss it with your partner, a small fight that should take 15 minutes could turn into a fight that lasts for days. You may not like arguing, but putting it off till tomorrow sometimes makes it much worse.

9. Someone that’s always stressed. Especially the kind of person that says it’s okay to be stressed out, its good for you. It’s really not. I’m a very chill person and sure some things stress me out, but I’m not a stressful person. I will deal with the situation as it arises. I’ve known people that will stress about every tiny thing, like what to eat for Friday, when its Monday. Or, my favorite, “why didn’t you call me, I thought you were dead!”

10. Being close to exes. I am not part of the “it’s super healthy” crowd. I think it’s weird and unnatural.

11. Being a cheap ass. I had a boyfriend who would complain if I got a soda when we went out to eat instead of water, refused to tip anywhere we went, and tried to get free food all the time.

12. Being on the phone 24/7.

I don’t know if my ex still liked me and I honestly was with her for so long that I forgot if she had her phone out during our first dates but that shit got to me which lead to me dumping her.

I fucking hate it. If you want to be on the phone, why are we even trying?

13. If we can’t both talk, and enjoy silence. Like, I should be able to talk to my partner for hours on end without ever feeling like we’re just killing time. And I should be able to sit and read next to them for hours without saying a word and just enjoy their presence. It’s a lot to ask, but when choosing someone to share your life with it pays to be picky.

14. If they have kids that’s fine but if they don’t take care of them that is a deal breaker.

15. Incapable of introspection, which seems to be a bigger problem now than it used to be. Things will turn to shit eventually, and it’s up to you both to pull up your britches and work through it. Most problems can be solved through introspection – but none can without it.

16. Having different political views (which involves many aspects).

17. Only talking about themselves.

18. Using me as a target for anything. Pranks, jokes, bad moods, sarcasm.

I want a lover, not a personal bully.

19. If she is a super picky eater.

Ok, hear me out… I love to cook, and sharing food and recipes is a big part of my family dynamic. Nothing would put me out more if I made a dish and she wouldn’t even try it because there are so many foods she just WON’T eat. I understand if someone has a handful of foods that they really don’t like, and I try to be considerate. Just not like entire aisles worth of food.

20. This wouldn’t have mattered to me at age 20, but it is a dealbreaker from age 30 onward: Being a saver/investor and not spending more than they earn.

It’s okay to have some frivolous purchases, hobbies, or travel expenses, but I don’t want the stress of being with someone who can’t balance those “wants” against the need to save and manage their finances for the future.

21. Anyone who falls back on typical gender stereotypes when they fuck up. Like, if someone acts possessive or overly clingy to a problematic point and says “this is how girls are” or “don’t you know how girls work?”, then I’m not here for that.

I want someone who recognizes their individual responsibility and can own their mistakes, because that’s what I strive to do as I deal with my own issues. Personal accountability is a huge thing I practice in my life and I won’t accept anyone that uses shit like this to excuse mistreatment. I want to be with someone who owns their actions and communicates with me when we have problems.

22. Dirty bathroom or just a dirty house in general. Usually means they don’t care much about personal hygiene either.

23. Bad music taste. Can’t connect without relating through good music.

24. Pretentiousness.

Not only is it a red flag for insecurity, but it also means they are superficially judgmental, and shallow.

25. Someone who only ever points out all the negative things and makes you doubt yourself. You should lift each other up, however that may be (laughs, talks, discussions, challenges…).

26. Lack of ambition whether it be in work or their education. I personally am pretty goal oriented and am aiming to provide for my family in the future so I look towards the future a lot of the time. I like making goals for my life about stuff we’d plan to do in the future as motivation to work hard for each other.

Also if they have double standards. I just wouldn’t like the idea of my partner believing they are allowed to do something but forbid me from wanting to do the same.

Lack of humility or communication. If they can’t apologize, knowing they may have said/done something overtly insensitive when upset it’s not worth getting hurt and sweeping it under the rug. The same goes with communication, if they can’t talk to you properly when upset or aren’t willing to talk about the issue in their relationship it won’t be good for either of you.

27. Too many piercings. I don’t mind a few on the ears, but if you’ve got a nose ring, tongue, lip, eyebrow, nipple or whatever else, not to mention those huge gauge things in the ears… it’s a no for me

28. Always playing devil’s advocate, or taking the counter-point position in every conversation or discussion is absolutely exhausting. Every topic turns into a debate or argument.

29. Lack of empathy, especially towards elderly, children, and those who are clearly suffering.

Also people who don’t like dogs.

30. I don’t want a woman who’s a damsel in distress. A girl who can take care of herself and even watch my back is pretty nice to have in a life or death situation.

31. Posts too much on social media.

32. Someone who lacks any opinion of their own. I went on a date with a guy who seemed to be agreeing with me on absolutely everything. Even when I asked him a question he’d work a way around it to get my answer first and then agree with it. Once I figured out what he was doing I started evading answering any questions until I figured out his opinion and then I would just say I felt differently or preferred something else and suddenly his opinion would immediately change to match mine.

I am in no way someone who enjoys arguments or disagreements. But its okay to have different opinions and preferences. Healthy, even. I can’t imagine being happy with someone who pretends to prefer something just because I do. I’m not sure how that other person could remain happy in a long term relationship.

33. Talk shit behind people backs and then be all nice and fake to their faces.

34. Had a guy tell me “I’m not your therapist” after asking how my day was. If we can’t have clear communication, it’s over. I had an awful day, and I was honest about it, just to have it thrown back in my face. I was so shocked, I thought he was joking… it was two months or so into the relationship. You think you know someone.

35. They have no hobbies.

36. No appreciation for dark humor, and can’t stand cursing.

Sorry but it’s how I cope with the shit I’ve had to deal with and am currently dealing with. I won’t curse around children or good company – I am able to filter myself extremely well but if there’s a mild inconvenience (and I’m allowed to due to no requirement for proper etiquette) I’m probs gonna drop the most unenthused “shitballs” or a “fuckberries” remark to it and just continue on doing w/e

37. Regular smoker or vaper.

Drunk on Friday and want a cigarette cool. But doing it everyday is too much.

38. When a guy tries to control you when you’re barely in the talking stage. Boy bye.

39. Lack of confidence/constant need for validation. I might sound like an ass for this but being confident in who you are and the decisions you make are a huge deal to me. That also ties into the ability to actually make important decisions and not be indecisive about everything. I’m a firefighter and being able to make quick decisions that could have serious consequences is a huge part of my job, so having someone else who can make a quick, confident decision is a big deal.

40. Spoon biter. Like when you put the spoon in your mouth I don’t need to hear it click your teeth.

41. Not being kind to animals.

You don’t have to fawn over every bunny you see or be a militant vegan or anything, but if you find the idea of dog fighting acceptable, or think cats are pests that should be trapped and killed (plenty of people subscribe to this belief in my town), then we’re not going to go far.

42. Poor financial discipline.

If you have a large student loan to pay back and lots of credit card debt, I’m cool with that if you’re actively paying it all if and not buying a ton of junk you don’t need.

43. Condescending – once dated a dude that literally knew everything about anything, it was something that attracted me to him at first, but when we’d talk about stuff if I got something even slightly incorrect or read from a news source he didn’t seem worthy he would be pretty nasty about it and I didn’t want to freely share my thoughts anymore.

44. If they’re really talkative and extremely opinionated about every. little. thing. I’ve dated someone like that and he drove me up the wall every day.

45. Throws things when they’re angry and also not taking responsibility for their wrongdoings.

Especially the anger. Went through a not so good childhood with things being thrown and slammed out of anger. Can’t handle that as an adult.

46. Among more obvious things (child molester, puppy kicker, lack of sense of humor, etc), someone who doesn’t bother helping out their friend, partner, or other loved one when they need it. An example, if I go to the store, carry the groceries in, cook the meal that we both eat, I think it’s fair that a potential partner willingly wash, dry, and put away the damn dishes. The reverse is also true.

47. Sense of humor. If you don’t laugh or make me laugh, why are we even trying?

48. Thankfully, I’ve never had this issue come up, but I don’t think I could ever date a guy with the same name as my dad or brother. It’d be way too weird for me.

49. Bad hygiene.

50. Lack of a normal amount of self-awareness. My friend’s gf will ask/say inappropriate shit at the worst times and peg it as her just being “weird, quirky, and going against mainstream social norms”. Or she’ll say “I’m just an honest person” to justify her saying pretty rude, explicit or dumb things that make everyone uncomfortable. It probably all comes from insecurity and needing to positively flip parts of herself she feels bad about, instead of self-reflecting and realizing it’s ok to fix bad habits, but still.

Image Credit: Artem Bali

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Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/january-nelson/2019/01/50-singles-admit-what-makes-them-lose-interest-swipe-left-and-leave-dates-early