News Bits

Lots of stuff to do, not lots of time to do it, so in lieu of my usual extended rantyness, some quick takes on a fairly busy news day.

1. The Primaries: Unless Howard Dean truly rocks the house in the primaries this Saturday, he’s dead meat on a stick (I believe he’s dead meat on a stick anyway, but the question is how long he’ll be able to drag it out). I should note that this observation comes with no guarantee of having any relation to reality, as a few weeks ago, I was convinced it was going to be a two-man fight between Clark and Dean, and at this point neither of them seem to be exactly setting the world afire. I think Clark may eventually scale himself into a potential candidate for Secretary of State for whatever Democrat does become the nominee (should he win). I have no idea what Dean does next with his life. I understand, however, that he does have a trade of some sort. My current thinking on how it all ends up, by the way, is a Kerry-Edwards ticket.

In some sense this is entirely academic for me, as I am not registered to either major party (so I won’t be primary voting in Ohio), and as I’m actively not voting for Bush, I’m about 98% likely to vote for the Democratic candidate regardless of who he ends up being, provided he doesn’t strangle a baby between now and the first week of November. This is why I haven’t done all that much on the primaries up to this point. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I already know how I’m voting.

2. Gay Marriage: The Massachusetts Supreme Court has clarified its position on gay marriage, stating that nothing less than full marriage would do — no mamby-pamby civil unions for the gays and lesbians. As I figured Massachusetts would eventually go with some sort of civil union thing, I’m wrong again. But of course being a person who doesn’t see a damn thing wrong with gay marriage, I can’t say that I’m weeping bitter tears about being wrong in this case.

The salient point here is that gay marriage in Massachusetts is a done deal, since the earliest a Massachusetts constitutional amendment banning gay marriage could pass would be in 2006, by which time banning gay marriage would mean either that the state annuls the marriages of what is likely to be thousands upon thousands of gays and lesbians, which would be outrageous, or that it grandfathers in the gay marriages that already exist, which leaves open the question of if gay marriage is so terrifying, why are these folks allowed to remain married?

It also creates a problem for a national constitutional amendment barring gay marriages, as again the end result of passing such a amendment would be to explicitly deprive American citizens of a right they had previously enjoyed. And not just all Americans (as in the case of Prohibition, and we all remember how successful that was), but a specific segment of Americans. And the question to reasonably ask at that point is that if it’s okay to deprive one segment of American citizens their rights, why would it be wrong to deprive any other segment of theirs?

As I’ve said before, I understand a lot of people thing this is something that should have been resolved in the course of time, but I tend to think that if we let time handle all things, there would still be people who think it’s not quite time to let go of segregation. Sometimes people need a kick in the ass. Here’s your kick, America.

3. Bush losing his luster: About freakin’ time, don’t you think. As other people have noted, a man who wants to get credit for planning to halve a deficit his policies have substantially created is a man who neither accrues nor deserves respect, especially when that “planning” involves lots of smoke and mirrors. When even the Wall Street Journal is bashing the budget proposal of a sitting Republican president, you know things are looking bad for the man. And it’s nice to see his military bona fides, such as they are, getting a good beating upon, too.

Having said that, it’s not November, now, is it. Bush has shown that one doesn’t have to win to occupy the White House, one merely refuses to lose, and that with extreme prejudice. He’s got crafty people about him, and if you think they’re going to go down easy, you haven’t been paying attention over the last four years. This is going to be a hard, hard slog all the way until election day.

4. Cory’s new book: Cory Doctorow’s Eastern Standard Tribe is out today, and as with Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom, he’s letting people download it for free (you can also get an autographed copy). Cory’s done this with his other books as well, and seems convinced it works as a sales tool, and I imagine it does; I know that having Agent out there as a free download has let me pick up readers, and hopefully that will transfer into readers for OMW when it comes out later this year.

You may ask if I’ll release OMW as a free online book, and the answer is: Dunno. It was up, briefly, of course (it’s how it got sold), but I gave the electronic rights over to Tor in the contract (they offered to let me keep them, I should note), so it’s up to Tor to decide what to do with them. As it’s Tor who is publishing Cory’s book, they’re clearly open to doing experimental things. But we’ll have to see.

I’m inclined to follow Tor’s lead with this area of things; they’re finding out what works for them, and I want to sell a lot of copies, have the book read by tons of people and make sure my publisher is happy so they’ll buy more books from me in the future. Somewhere in there is a good balance. I don’t mind that Cory’s doing most of the heavy lifting to figure out where that balance is.

5. IndieCrit: A reminder that IndieCrit is back, and now I’m pointing to actual music tracks available online from indie bands. If you haven’t checked it out yet, really. You have no excuse. New! Free! Indie! Music! Honestly, what more do you need?