Daily Archives: October 9, 2006

Tidbitty Goodness, 10/9/06

Other things I’m thinking about:

* First, hi, I’m back in Ohio, and never more shall I roam, at least not until mid-November, at which point I’ll be going to Philcon. My flight back from California was a great deal less dramatic than my flight in, and driving on the way home I did the speed limit all the way there, because this time I could.

My Saturday was very pleasant indeed; my signing went well — we ran out of books just as my autograph period ended, which was lovely timing, and just before the signing I got spend a couple of moments chatting with Alan Beatts, the owner of Borderlands Books, who was on the board of directors for the Northern California Independent Bookstores Association, which is the group that ran the tradeshow. After that, I went and had coffee with my friends Quinn and Danny, and then headed off to dinner with Spider and Jeannie Robinson, and Tor reps Patty Garica and Kevin Peters, and there was much good conversation to be had. Spider and Jeannie and I talked quite a bit about Robert Heinlein — who’da thunk? — but we talked about many other interesting topics as well. You wish you could have been there. As it happens the Robinsons and I will be participating in the Heinlein Centennial next year, so that should be interesting.

So, in all, a very nice time. And when I got back, there was a new alarm clock waiting for me. Perfect.

* Speaking of Alan Beatts and Borderland Books, there’s an article about niche bookstores that features some information on him and the store. Here’s a version with a good picture of Alan.

* This religious group thinks that good church-going teenagers shouldn’t blog. Actually, that’s too limited: “Let me emphasize that no one—including adults—should have a blog or personal website (unless it is for legitimate business purposes).” I’m glad I don’t go to that church, as its rationales for not having a blog seem a bit thoughtcrimey to me, but more than that it seems counter to the words of Jesus in Matthew 28, 18-20, in which Jesus preached outreach to all nations. I suspect Jesus would be down with preaching to the online nation as well. But this article correctly notes that this inhibition is about the particular church (“blogging is simply not to be done in the Church”), and I suspect this says more about the church in question than it does about the words and intent of Jesus Christ.

* Whoops: Foley warned about his online communication in teens back in 2000. He’s been hitting on page boys in two separate millenia! You know, every time the GOP says they’ve gotten this behind them, out comes another tidbit like this. At this point, the scandal is less about Foley and his taste for one-handed IMing than it is about the persistently incompetent response from the GOP about it. This is like the millipede scandal: the shoes just keep on dropping.

* This woman is going to Hell (warning: If you’re a parent, you’re probably not going to want to click through).

* Just a reminder that today is the last day to bid in for the super-exclusive pre-release version of The Last Colony, with the proceeds to benefit the John M. Ford Book Endowment for the Minneapolis Public Library. The bidding now stands at $5,000. You know you want to bid more. Here’s the thread to make the bid.

And remember, even if you don’t make a bid, you can still donate to the John M. Ford Book Endowment. Here’s the link to do it.

Who’s Next?

Hey, North Korea’s got the bomb! But don’t worry, Americans, you know that the Bush Administration and their apparatchiks are on the job to do what is undoubtedly the most important thing now for the good of the country and the world: Find a way to blame it on Bill Clinton.

Yeah, I know, cynical of me. But, look: Who among us honestly believes that this is not what the Bushies will try to do? And then Bill Clinton will get on TV somewhere, warm up that pointing finger of his, and note (as my classmate Josh Marshall already has) that the bomb used in the test was probably made with plutonium from a plant his agreement had closed down, and which was opened up again after Bush kicked the Clinton agreement to the curb. And then this will all be about Bush and Clinton again, not about the fact that North Korea has got the friggin’ bomb. I would like to think that we might actually focus on that.

If the bomb turns out to be the plutonium variety, I think the Bush folks do bear some responsibility in the matter, but let’s not be stupid about this: The North Koreans have been gunning for nukes for a long time and I suspect sooner or later would have done this damn fool sort of thing, regardless of treaties and agreements. As much as it would be fun to say this was entirely the fault of the Bush response to North Korea, I think that’s a faulty appraisal of the situation, because it’s predicated on the notion that North Korea is an honest broker; it’s not and never has been. Its plan was always to acquire nukes come hell or high water. What the Clinton agreement did, in my opinion, was simply buy us and the rest of the world some time to figure out what the hell to do with a nuclear North Korea; when Bush scrapped the treaty, he shortened that amount of time.

Well, folks, time’s up. What do we do with a nuclear North Korea? Because, see, this is the real problem: Given the total disarray of the US diplomatic response to everything else in the world, I rather seriously doubt we have any sort of coherent plan at all. Now, this Time article suggests that perhaps there’s not much that could have been done anyway, and maybe that’s correct. But I would at least like the feeling that the US and the current administration had wargamed this scenario beyond “make stern declarations,” and I don’t have that feeling. I’ll be interested to see what happens next, but I’m not actually confident what comes out of our end of this will make any sort of sense.

Bush and his administration aren’t to blame for the North Koreans having nukes; that’s all about the North Koreans. But unless we see some attempt at a rational reponse from them, like, now, they can be blamed for blowing yet another major foreign diplomatic crisis. That’s not going to be good news for him three weeks out from a national election, and no amount of blaming his administration’s inadequate response on Boogeyman Clinton will make a difference.

Update, 2:30pm: Or was it a nuclear device at all? There are apparently doubts (or, if it were a device, perhaps it didn’t work as planned). If it turns out to have been just a really, really big conventional explosion, that certainly puts a new wrinkle on things, doesn’t it — North Korea would have just shot its wad for no good effect, and the rest of the world won’t look too kindly on it for having done so. Yes, this is interesting stuff, indeed.