Friday, May 24, 2013

Rules of Dreaming book review

Genre: Psychological mystery
Title: The Rules of Dreaming
Author: Bruce Hartman
Are we living our own life and in control of our own destiny or are we merely characters in the dreams of someone else?
The Rules of Dreaming is a murder mystery, a novel of madness and music that takes us deep into the minds of the characters in this intricately plotted novel which begins in a psychiatric hospital located in a small town just north of New York City.
An opera singer apparently commits suicide. Shortly thereafter, her two children are committed to a psychiatric hospital. Seven years later a blackmailer who was once a writer begins an investigation of the suicide and triggers a string of murders meant to look like suicides.
The truth lies deep in the minds of the children.
I especially enjoyed reading this book, having been a US Navy Corpsman who worked in a psychiatric ward and knows full well the fine line that can exist between those who have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness and those of us who have not (yet) been diagnosed.
Like any good mystery, you will find yourself trying to solve the riddle before you get to the end by making careful note of the clues. But are you picking up on the right clues or are you being led astray? This is what drives you forward as you turn the pages in pursuit of the elusive truth.
What is reality? What is fantasy? In his book, Man and His Symbols, Carl Jung states, “What we consciously fail to see is frequently perceived by our unconscious, which can pass the information on through dreams. Dreams may often warn us in this way; but just as often, it seems, they do not.”
About the author
Author, Bruce Hartman live in Philadelphia and has worked as a pianist, music teacher, bookseller and attorney, and has been writing fiction for more years than he cares to remember. His first novel, Perfectly Healthy Man Drops Dead, won the Salvo Press Mystery Novel Award and was published by Salvo Press in 2008.
Summary: Highly Recommended, especially for those who love a well plotted mystery.
Reviewer: Peter Klein Allbooks Reviews.

Available from Amazon

Title: The Rules of Dreaming
Author: Bruce Hartman
Publisher: Swallow Tail Press
ISBN-10: 0988918102
ISBN-13: 978-0-98891-810-8
Pages: 298

Thursday, May 23, 2013

$75 Million Settlement with Penguin Group Inc. to Resolve E-book Price-fixing Allegations

$75 Million Settlement with Penguin Group Inc. to Resolve E-book Price-fixing Allegations

33-State Settlement Resolves Claims That Penguin Colluded With Other Major Publishers And Apple Inc. To Fix The Prices Of Electronic Books
NEW YORK--New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined 32 other states in announcing an antitrust settlement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc. The settlement requires Penguin to pay $75 million to resolve the States' claims that Penguin colluded with other major publishers and Apple Inc. to fix the prices of electronic books (E-books). NY consumers are eligible for refunds of about 11.7 million from this and previous settlements.
The agreement with Penguin must be approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Following court approval, consumers nationwide – including those represented by the attorneys general of the 33 states and territories and those represented by private counsel in a related class action – will receive $75 million in compensation. In addition, injunctive provisions included in the settlement ensure that E-book retailers will have greater freedom to reduce prices of E-book titles going forward.
"E-book consumers are protected by our laws and efforts to circumvent those protections will not be tolerated by my office. Today’s and earlier settlements provide restitution to consumers harmed by the price fixing of E-books orchestrated by the five publishers and Apple," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "The settlements provide injunctive relief designed to prevent future anticompetitive conduct by E-book retailers and to restore competition to the E-book market."
It was alleged by the states in the lawsuit that the 5 E-book publishers and Apple agreed in 2010 to go to any agency model for the sale of E-books. By using the agency model the publishers were able to set the prices of E-books and prevent discounting by E-book retailers like Amazon. Amazon had been selling many NY Times bestsellers at a $9.99 price point. The publishers and Apple-who entered the E-book business in 2010 wanted E-books sold at a higher more profitable price point.
The states had previously settled with four other E-book publishers. The settlements reached with Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., and Simon & Schuster Inc., in August 2012, required the payment of a total of $69 million in consumer compensation. An agreement reached with Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC d/b/a Macmillan earlier this year resulted in a payment of $20 million on behalf of consumers. As a result of these five settlements consumers nationwide will receive a total of $164 million. New York E-book purchasers will receive approximately $11.7 million in compensation from the settlements.
The states' antitrust action against Apple, Inc. based on the same allegations remains pending in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York with a trial scheduled in June 2013.
For restitution purposes, most consumers will get a notice directly from their E-book retailers. In fact, as to the first 3 settlements-totaling $69 mill, these settlements have already been approved by the court and consumers have been notified that they are eligible for refunds from the first three settlements.
States and territories participating in the settlement are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, DC, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
On behalf of New York State Attorney General’s Office, this case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Linda J. Gargiulo and Robert Hubbard, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice Karla G. Sanchez.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The End of Sexual Orientation

Why do we feel this urge to classify and compartmentalize just about everything?
I was thinking about how we put others and ourselves into group definitions. Blacks, whites, Native Americans, Orientals, etc., etc. Tall, short, thin, fat. This religion, that religion, no religion, gay, lesbian, straight, whatever.
Of course all of these categories and more do exist but what of it? Do any of them really define who we are?
I think not.
Not only do I think not, I strongly object because each and every category limits our full potential to develop as a person.
I chose the title "The End of Sexual Orientation" not because I don't believe there is such a thing. We all have our preferences. I chose it because I think we should stop making it something that defines something worth defining. It doesn't say much about a person. It ranks right up there (or should I say down there) with so and so has red hair or black hair. Who cares? Do you really care?
I hate the term "The gay community" for the same reason I would hate the term "The straight community." People who are gay are at least as diverse as people what are straight. Fact of the matter is that community is a word that defines a fantasy. Communities don't exist anywhere but in our foolish minds. We use the word to exclude as much as we use it to include.
This problem of defining people by one, blanket commonality shows itself in politics as much as anywhere. It is why we have a congress that has become dysfunctional. Republicans vs. Democrats. If you are one or the other you are supposed to think one way or the other and vote the party line. You give up your right and duty to think clearly and independently.
See what I'm getting at? It's all nonsense. It's a refusal to think on your own. You become trapped by words and sometimes find yourself excluding yourself from those you actually have more in common than with those in your so called community. This can be said of any race, creed, nationality or sexual orientation. It can also be said of economic status and levels of education.
How brave are you? Are you brave enough to love someone who belongs to one or more of  the communities you have allowed yourself to be boxed into?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Homeland Security

I don't know about you but I am tired of the Department of Homeland Security.
I think it should be abolished.
Why? Well there are several reasons. The first reason is I really am not all that afraid of terrorists. I view them as common thugs and believe they should be treated as the criminals they are.
We have so many police organizations as it is. We have the local police, the state police, the county Sheriff, the FBI, the CIA, NCIS, ICE, the ATF and god only knows what else.
How many law enforcement agencies do we need and how many can we afford?
A second reason is the atmosphere created by Homeland Security. The agency is suspicious of everyone. The problem here is it can make you wonder if the government doesn't trust you, why should you trust the government?
Might this be the reason why we see a growth in people who want guns to protect themselves from the government? I think there is a connection.
Understand, I am not saying there aren't any nutty terrorists. I'm just saying the Department of Homeland Security doesn't make us safe but does make us paranoid and robs us of freedoms.
Lastly, I just am totally opposed to giving a special status to the nutty terrorists. And they are nutty. They are not religious. They are the very opposite of being religious. They are losers. They are common criminals. No. Actually they are worse than common criminals but they don't deserve the attention they get.