Offline Book "Lending" Costs U.S. Publishers Nearly $1 Trillion. I myself was engaged this this kind of piracy earlier today. Arr!
New Stars for Old Glory! This comic-book PSA from 1959 is about the 49-star American flag, which is one of my favorite historical curiosities. It was the official flag of the United States for just a single year, and it accurately reflected the number of states in the union for a mere 48 days. (It was officially adopted as the flag of the United States on July 4, 1959; Hawaii was admitted to the union on August 21 of that same year.) Back in 2001, I happened to see a 49-star flag hanging outside a house in Emmittsburg, Maryland—the only time I've ever seen one in the wild.
Kate McGarrigle, Singer and Songwriter, Has Died. I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing Kate McGarrigle perform at Wolf Trap a few years ago, at a Rufus Wainwright show; she came on stage to accompany him on piano for one song. Unfortunately, she didn't sing, but it was a nice surprise to see her.
Robert B. Parker, Mystery Writer, Has Died at 77. I have to admit that I was never a huge fan of Parker; I read several of his early Spenser books with the intent of reading the entire series, but they just didn't grab me. But I was a fan of the Robert Urich TV series based on the Spenser books (on its own merits; I won't pretend it's a good adaptation of the books) and I can't help admire him for his vast contributions to the mystery genre.
Poor People's Campaign: A Dream Unfulfilled. A look back at one of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s causes that was not as successful as his quest for desegregation and equal rights. The author says "there hasn't been much progress" toward his goal of eliminating poverty, which strikes me as a generous way to describe a decline of less than one percentage point in 40 years.
What Went Wrong. Mark Evanier's analysis of the ongoing late-night fiasco is one of the best I've read, which is not surprising given that Evanier knows the entertainment industry inside and out and writes about it better than almost anyone.