A different time, a different world – or so it seemed to me. 

On my mind today are the memories of those we lost and those who have been lost since; casualties both of  war and the ravages of time and the human condition.

Thanks, most heart-felt, to those who serve still… and prayers for safety for those who willingly place themselves in harms way so that we are not.

Thank You, from one who proudly served.

Burnham Edgar Neal died this past Thursday at his home in Mattoon Illinois.

Burnham would have celebrated his ninetieth birthday next month.

He was a philanthropist, a humanitarian and a businessman.  More importantly, he was a good man who cared about people.

To me, first and foremost he was a father. A man who loved and cared for his wife Nancy (who passed away in December of 2006), his daughter Melissa (my partner in life), his two grandsons Sean and David, his family and friends… and his dog Fred, who died next to him.

Melissa and I are busy trying to write an obituary for her father , but taking a lifetime of accomplishments and love and putting it into a few column inches is hard; to try to say so much with so few words seems somehow inadequate.

For now and for always; We love you, Burnham, and we will miss you.

Imagine carrying a baby to term.  You’ve waited nine long months for this moment.  You’ve planned for her arrival, you’ve had the baby shower, and you’ve gone to all your prenatal appointments. All along you are told that you are progressing normally and your baby is healthy.Your delivery day comes and, at delivery, your doctor tells you your baby has a devastating abnormality.  A cardiac defect or a severe structural abnormality or chromosomal abnormality… something that was likely already detected early in your pregnancy.

You then discover that your doctor, acting under a state law, withheld this information from you… for fear you would seek an abortion.  

As physicians, when we enter our profession, we take an oath. Part of that oath is a promise to do no harm to our patients, to never lie or withhold information. We are not Gods and should not try to emulate them.

Which leads me to wonder why politicians think they are.

The idea that anyone could intentionally create such a law allowing physicians to ‘play god’ with another’s life … without being held accountable… simply for ‘religious’ reasons is anathema to me, and I hope, to you as well.

 But, as Dr. Megan Evans notes in her column for RH Reality Check:

Unfortunately, the Arizona legislation is working to make this nightmare a reality. On Tuesday, the Senate passed a bill that would prohibit any medical malpractice lawsuits against physicians who chose to withhold valuable information regarding their patient’s pregnancy that could lead her and her family to seek termination. Much to my chagrin, this type of legislation is already law in Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, Utah, Idaho, Pennsylvania, North Dakota, South Dakota, and is being discussed in Kansas.

Please! I urge you to read the entire article at the link, and I hope you are as horrified and ashamed as I am that this sort of abuse is being sanctioned under law. This needs to stop!

World Book Day is a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and… (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading.

It is the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over one hundred countries all over the world.

This is the Fifteenth year there’s been a World Book Day.

Tomorrow, children of all ages will come together to appreciate reading.

Very loudly and very happily.

The primary goal of World Book Day is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.

If you don’t have children of your own, you can be a volunteer reader at your local public library, or volunteer to buy a book for child in need.

Find out more about this important and wonderful programme here.

The question that the courts are being asked to answer, in a suit brought by an employer against a former employee, is;

Does an employee who leaves a job that involves working with social media have the right to take his or her Twitter account and followers along?

 According to Ron Barnett, a writer for USA TODAY,

That’s the question at the heart of a case unfolding in U.S. District Court in Northern California. It pits Noah Kravitz, who worked as an editor and video blogger, against his former employer, PhoneDog, a Mount Pleasant, S.C.-based company that offers reviews, news and information about phones and related technology.

By the time Kravitz left PhoneDog in October 2010, he had amassed nearly 17,000 followers. PhoneDog says in the lawsuit those followers should be treated like a customer list, and therefore are its property. The company is asking that Kravitz pay $2.50 per follower per month for eight months, or a total of $340,000. In his answer filed last week, Kravitz argues that PhoneDog is overstating the account’s value and that Twitter is the legal owner of the account.

Eric Menhart, a Washington attorney specializing in cyberlaw says that, “unless there’s a written agreement, there’s no clear line that answers this question.”

This lawsuit has the potential to touch the lives of anyone who uses social media, especially if they use it not only to promote a a particular employer’s brand-name but to create valuable name recognition for themselves.

Rachael Horwitz of Twitter’s media relations office stated that “Twitter does not comment on individual users for privacy reasons.”

Note: It is generally accepted in employment practices that for any work performed for an employer that creates value for said employer while said employee is under an employment contract… that value is effectively owned by the employer.  


The Outer Alliance is a group of SF/F writers who have come together as allies for the advocacy of LGBT issues in literature. Made up of individuals of all walks of life, our goal is to educate, support, and celebrate LGBT contributions in the science-fiction and fantasy genres.

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