Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy 30th Birthday, Star Wars

You are my root movie and have been a seminal influence.

Thank you.

See also: Young Jedi.


I met up with a friend of mine last night. We've known each for a long time, and we try and get together two or three times year. We have a few beers, provide updates on our jobs and lives, and talk about any number of topics, including books and authors, current events, politics, and local sports teams.

Last night we spent some time considering the upcoming 2008 presidential election and the prospect of the Democrats winning. It turned into a hard realization for both of us that the Democrats face an uphill battle and may likely lose the election, even with the support of crossover voters abandoning the Republicans because of the many blunders and disasters of the current administration.

The reason, we purported, is that the top democratic candidates, for one reason or another, are all unelectable and would not beat Rudy Giuliani or John MCain. This notion was hard to swallow but, as we discussed each of the likely candidates, also hard to deny.

Barack Obama, with the best message and moderating platform, lacks experience and has not yet formed the body politic partnerships you need to win an election. Needless to say, he also would not win the south.

Hillary Clinton is not Bill and is so reviled in much of the country that she will be hard-pressed to make inroads in any Republican states.

John Edwards is susceptible to some of the same criticisms facing Obama, and one can only imagine the mileage the Rove machine would get out of the $300 haircut.

John Kerry was effectively neutered as a viable presidential candidate in 2004. He would fare no better in 2008.

Is it that bleak and hopeless then? Not exactly. As we listed the Democratic candidates, we kept coming back to one name -- the only name -- that can win the 2008 election as a Democrat. He's not on the ticket yet, but it's likely he's biding his time, waiting for the right opportunity to announce his intent to run, to save the party and the country.

Who is it?

Al Gore.

Think about it. He has the experience, the political relationships, and the growing momentum from his climate change activism. I also think Gore feels he still has something to prove after the 2000 election and will see no greater opportunity for vindication than a presidential election win and cleaning up the messes Bush has made.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Rereading Old Man's War

So, I'm rereading Old Man's War now (I also plan to reread The Ghost Brigades after I finish it) in preparation for Scalzi's concluding novel in the series, The Last Colony, which I recently ordered and should arrive for my consumption soon.

I've already praised Old Man's War and The Ghost Brigades in previous posts, but as I was reading Old Man's War a second time, I started thinking more of the military SF sub-genre and wondered what other readers consider to be the best books in this category.

For my part, though my reading of SF is by no means exhaustive, along with Old Man's War, I would list Heinlein's Starship Troopers, Haldeman's The Forever War, and Card's Ender's Game.

What do the rest of you think?

Monday, May 14, 2007

New Rules by Bill Maher

Those familiar with the HBO show Real Time already know about Bill Maher's funny and biting collection of "New Rules".||For those who don't of for those who want a written sampling of the material, the text New Rules collects some of Maher's best "New Rules" rants and also includes new material, including a few some longer form editorials.

Like most texts collecting funny short-bit stand up material, New Rules is a very fast (too fast) and fun read.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Frank Rich

The Greatest Story Ever Sold is a damning, step-by-step chronicle of the Bush administration's many propaganda campaigns to manipulate and distort truth.

Laboriously researched, the text covers the administration's Iraqi WMD claims, Bush's "Mission Accomplished" triumph, the intimidation of the press, the Swift-boating of John Kerry, and much more.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama

The Audacity of Hope is an accessible and expressive exploration of some of the major problems facing America today and Senator Obama's thoughts about possible solutions.

While this is clearly a positioning piece in which Obama works hard to speak to a large cross section of Americans (including Republicans and others who may have never heard of him), the book doesn't descend into safe answers and campaign stumping. On the contrary, throughout Obama maintains a sincere voice, speaking as a father and husband as often as a politician, and providing honest answers about his beliefs to a wide range of political questions.