Have baby, will travel

Annie and Harper are accompanying me to a couple of book related events today. Wish us luck. And by luck, of course, I mean that Harper doesn’t scream her head off for 3 hours. It’s her first big road trip.

Today, I’ll be on Louisville’s State of Affairs NPR radio program from 1-2. I think it’s possible to stream the program live.

Thursday I’ll be at Carmichael’s Books discussing WAIW? from 7-9. Should be loads of fun….

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High-tech sweatshops?

The National Labor Committee recently released a report exposing poor conditions in the factories that make our computers in China:

According to the report, released this month, workers sit on hard wooden stools for 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. Overtime is mandatory, with workers being given on average two days off per month.

The report also said that while workers are on the production line, they are not allowed to raise their hands or their heads, and they are given 1.1 seconds to snap each key into place. Workers are prohibited from talking or listening to music and are encouraged “actively monitor each other” to see if any of the multiple company rules are being transgressed. They are also monitored by guards, according to the report.

It also found that…

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Russell Athletics close monitored factory in Honduras, Duke and Georgetown drop contract with company

David Bonior, Chairman of American Rights at Work, writes in the Huffington Post:

Duke and Georgetown showed that, with some exercise of moral leadership, those in the business of sports also have the power to advance human rights. Responding to news that Russell Athletic, a leading U.S. apparel manufacturer, had shut down a factory in Honduras in retaliation for workers having organized a union, the two schools, along with others such as Columbia, Miami, Rutgers and Wisconsin, announced that they are discontinuing the company’s license to put their logos on its sweatshirts.

Read the whole article.

The best summation of this news comes in the comments. Commenter emmasmack in response to another commenter who stated Russell has the right to do whatever they want to do:

The schools…

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Buy America = Protectionism???

In Bill Bryson’s book The Life and Times of the Thunder Bolt Kid he recounts his childhood growing up in the 50’s. He writes that our country became the richest nation in the world all by ourselves. Our factories succeeded by producing goods that were bought by Americans and, in turn, the factories where those Americans worked were supported by Americans buying their products.

It seems simple, doesn’t it?

Well, a recent Editorial in the NY Times posed the question, “Why is the buy-American idea objectionable, or, alternatively, under what circumstances should it be promoted?” to economists, Senators, and, in general, smart people. And as smart people are apt to do, they consistently disagree with one another.

With regards to clothes the Buy American mantra is no…

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The truth about book tours

A radio producer of a show that I’ll be doing in the near future asked me: “Will you be driving yourself to the interview or will you have an escort?”

Several folks at a newspaper that was interviewing me asked: “How long have you been on tour?”

Newsflash: I ain’t Stephen King.

I do not inhabit a world of escorts or book tours. I don’t have people that tell me where to be and when to be there. Many of the events and a fair amount of the interviews I’ve done have been the result of my very own pavement pounding. Writing a book is just a small part of the job, which also includes promoting the book and drumming up publicity.

My publisher has been helpful, but they’ve…

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Rescuing Sam

Mud Dog

Here’s what you need to know about this picture:

– Sammy is a 15-year-old lab that acts like she’s a puppy despite suffering coon dog paralysis 8 years ago, which has left her with some wobbly back legs.

– For some reason and somehow Sammy managed to walk from my parents woods a half-mile across a muddy field.

– She got stuck in the mud.

– She’s lucky that I spotted her.

– She’s lucky to be alive. After all she has been through she deserves a peaceful exit, not one involving freezing to death in a muddy field.

– When I got to her I stepped out of both of my shoes. As Dad put it, “That kind of mud could kill a man.”

– Mom tried to…

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Where's your box of chocolates from?

With Valentine’s Day approaching the International Labor Rights Fund is bringing attention to the cocoa industry of West Africa:

People around the world share a love of chocolate, one of the most delicious and pleasurable foods on earth. Thousands of children in West Africa are forced to labor in the production of cocoa, chocolate’s primary ingredient. The West African nation of Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) is the leading supplier of cocoa, accounting for more than 40% of global production. Low cocoa prices and thus the need for lower labor costs drive farmers to employ children as a means to survive. The US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor,” and that…

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Save NPR

I just learned that the first NPR station I listened to WMUB at Miami University is going belly up. Well, maybe not so much belly up as consumed by its sister station in Cincinnati. Still, this is depressing news.

As someone who takes little nuggets of ideas and turns them into stories from 500 to 70,000 words in length, NPR is one of my most valuable resources. Every day I gain a few little extra nuggets. Here’s what I learned within a few hours the other day:

– Edgar Allen Poe was well respected for his original talent during his lifetime, but not particularly paid well. The main reason was the poor international copyright laws. U.S. newspapers and magazines would snatch stuff that appeared in…

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Sunday Tid bits

An interview with me appeared in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh Post this past Friday.

Read it

The article mentions that a local bookstore will be carrying the paperback version of WAIW? in April. That’s news to me. I haven’t heard either if or when WAIW? will be out in paperback. I hope it’s right. If a hardcover doesn’t sell well, they won’t release it in paperback. So, the release of WAIW? in paperback will be a confirmation that Wiley is happy with it. Plus, $25 is just too much to pay for a book, even mine. Unfortunately, a lot of bookstores are selling books at their cover price. The paperback will probably be priced at around $16.

Speaking of types of books….

I got an…

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