Saturday, January 5, 2008

You Thought Your Day Was Bad?

I wonder what kind of bad karma a person has that leads to being struck by lightning in the, uh, crotch. My favorite part of the article was this quote from the unlucky bastich:

Thankfully, the doctors said that there would be no lasting effects, and my penis will function normally eventually.

"Eventually." I'm hurting just thinking about it.

Thanks to Jeromy for the link.

Wheel of Time Update

An author has been chosen to finish the final book in the Wheel of Time series. His name is Brandon Sanderson and he is a fairly new author to the scene. He only has four books under his belt, but Jordan's wife, Harriet, was impressed with his writing and personally asked him to do it. Fall 2009 is the target date for its publication.

It's got to be hard to step into this kind of situation. He is putting together the last book of a series that has been on best-seller lists and is very well known. I wish him luck and hope it comes out well.

Why Obama?

Andrew Sullivan answers the question. It comes down to:

Obama's legislative record, speeches, and the way he has run his campaign reveal, I think, a very even temperament, a very sound judgment, and an intelligent pragmatism. Prudence is a word that is not inappropriate to him.

Couldn't have said it better.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Obama Takes Iowa

The results are in and Obama has won the Iowa caucus. And not just slightly, either. He garnered 38% of the vote. Edwards was next with 30% and Clinton finished third with 29%. I am not surprised that Obama won, but I am surprised that he did it so decisively. I expected Clinton to come in a very close second.

This can't be seen as anything other than a major disappointment for her campaign. She has made a half-hearted attempt in the last two months to dial down expectations, but for the most part she has run with an arrogant, the-nomination-is-mine-no-doubt attitude. I believe this is one of the reasons she lost Iowa. Even if you liked her as a candidate, her condescending attitude is hard to get past.

The race is certainly not over, yet, but after tonight, I have a hard time seeing Clinton getting the nomination. Edwards managed to eke ahead of Clinton tonight, but I don't think he will be able to carry his momentum much further.

On the Republican side, Huckabee also scored a decisive victory. Despite Romney's incredible spending (upwards of $100 million I have heard), he succumbed to Romney in the end. I think this comes down to three factors. One is Romney's religion. However crazy one may think Mormonism is, it is certainly not fair to hold it against Romney, but it happened. Second, Romney really came off more as a soulless robot that would say whatever he thought people wanted him to say rather than what he really believed. Look at the things he was saying as the governor of Massachusetts and then look at what he has been saying during his presidential bid. It's like night and day. Third, the evangelical right is a major force in the Republican party these days and a Southern Baptist minister is going to be a lot more appealing to them than a Mormon who used to be pro-choice and support gay rights.

There's almost no way for Romney to get the nomination now. McCain has been seeing a resurgence in the polls and his respectable (relative to time and money spent) finish in Iowa should continue to help him.

Anyway, I am very glad to see Obama win. I think he is the best candidate in the race right now and I think the best person poised to move America forward after the disastrous Bush presidency.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

A Dance With Dragons Update

Martin said in February last year that the next time he updated his site, it would be to announce that the next book in his series, A Dance With Dragons, was finished. Well, he has updated his site, but only to say that it is not done. Argh! I want my Song of Ice and Fire fix.

If you haven't read it, the first book is A Game of Thrones. It's one of the best series of books I have ever read. Political intrigue, massive battles, hints of magic, strange creatures, morally gray characters. Highly recommended.

Make Sure You Know Who You're Shooting...

...'cause you might shoot your wife. A Mississippi man shot and killed his wife when he mistook her for an intruder.

This is why gun safety classes are important. Not that they are a cure all by any means, but they do teach you not to shoot blindly at things. Maybe it could have prevented this tragedy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Why Bhutto Was Assassinated has an article examining the motivations behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

But the return of Mrs. Bhutto to Pakistan sent a positive message to the public and a negative one to the radical Islamists. The daughter of a prominent leader, a member of a political family, a former prime minister in her own right — and, above all, a liberal Muslim woman — Mrs. Bhutto projected the possibility of a leap toward more balanced politics and greater steps toward pluralism — two ingredients for progress toward democracy. Her dialogue with Mr. Musharraf made possible the return of Mr. Sharif and the global march to new elections. The bickering politicians didn't let go of their sour feelings toward each other, but the political process was about to gradually return to the country.

I think this will backfire badly on the Islamists. Bhutto was popular and killing her like this is only going to highlight their brutality and drive moderates further away from the hard-line fundamentalist position. It has been said many times that ideas cannot be killed and it is as true now as ever. If the US and other nations can assist Pakistan in moving forward with democratic elections and prevent Islamic extremists from taking control of the country by force, then I think we can count on the Pakistanis moving away from the extremists on their own.

Iowa Poll Numbers

This has to make Obama feel good. The latest poll from the Des Moines Register shows Obama with a 7 point lead over Clinton who is locked in a statistical tie with Edwards. Still, the strange nature of the Iowa caucus means that anything could happen. It's also not likely that Clinton is going to have such a poor showing that she will be seriously damaged in future events. An Obama or Edwards victory will give them a serious boost nationally, but Clinton will not go down easily.

Monday, December 31, 2007


Steve Clemons writes about "fuzzy" bipartisanship. He is tired of politicians talking about bipartisanship and wants to see more "dissidents."

I don't believe that bipartisanship solves the challenges ahead. New policies might help restore some balance and the beginnings of a positive direction. But what is needed now are rebels.

I agree with Steve for the most part. Politicians are dealing with big issues and they shouldn't compromise their beliefs just for the sake of compromise. If they believe in something, they should make a stand. Their should be fiery rhetoric and impassioned speech in defense of whatever they believe in.

The problem comes, I believe, when it is not done with respect. I don't expect our Congressional representatives to be giving each other hugs, but I do expect them to come to the floor treating their fellow representatives with respect no matter which side of the aisle they are on. They are their to represent the American people and they can do that without resorting to attacking political opponents.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Jesus and Politics

This is the sort of thing that scares me about a Huckabee presidency.

Republican Mike Huckabee said Sunday he would not back down from a 1998 statement in which he said he hoped Baptists would "answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."

I don't think he really stands a chance in the general election even if he does get his party's nod. Still, I think that the move toward an overt conflation of politics and religion in our country is not a good one. I don't remember Jesus telling his followers to get into politics. Other matters seemed to be of more import to him.

But that's just me.

Dragonlance Disappointment

I've known that Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have wanted to do a big screen production of their baby for a long time now. A live-action version has almost happened a few times, but fallen through for various reasons. A while back, an animated version was green lit. Animation when done well can be awesome (see Pixar). When they announced the voice actors I became even more excited. Unfortunately, my anticipation has completely evaporated after viewing the recent trailer.

Aargh! What the hell is that? The bizarre mix of 2D and 3D. The 2D animation that would be right at home in the 80s. It's horrible. Did they find some bored junior-high kids just out of art class for this? I just can't believe that Weis and Hickman looked at this and said, "Yes, this is what we want." The Chronicles trilogy was one of the first fantasy books I read when I was young and it still has a special place in my collection. Sure this cartoon is not going to take that away, but it's still painful to see something so beloved being turned into crap.

Music Video of the Week

Witness the awesomeness that is Apocalyptica. It doesn't get much cooler than heavy metal cellos.

Weekly Secret


I can rather relate to this one.