The Vampire Nation brings in $7 billion, the equivalent of a small country’s GDP.
My former colleague John Dougherty dodged a bullet; he ran in a crowded primary with almost no money, and he still nearly became John McCain’s opponent for Arizona’s Senate race in November. If he keeps this up, he’s going to be in office before he knows it…
On the shelf:
METHLAND by Nick Reding: A gripping chronicle of the sad decline of small-town America, and how it’s inextricably tied to meth. Reding spent four years interviewing and researching this book, largely set in Oelwein, Iowa, which had meth brewers on its main street, mixing up the drug in two-liter soda bottles. He talks to the town’s physician, prosecutor, and leading cautionary example: a meth-head who blew up his mother’s house, and melted his skin off in the resulting fire. Although Oelwein seems on its way to recovery at the end of the book, it’s hard to imagine meth, and the problems it represents, is going away any time soon.
THE BREACH by Patrick Lee: I read this in roughly three hours. An awesome debut featuring a tough loner who stumbles into a conspiracy involving secret government agencies and futuristic weaponry with terrifying applications. Lee’s tightly stitched prose makes the unbelievable plausible, and the action relentless. Seriously, I wish I’d thought of half of the stuff he came up with. His next book, Ghost Country, should be out soon. Already pre-ordered it.
KRAKEN by China Mieville: A wonderful, labyrinthine tale of a secret London ruled by a kind of street-level magic. Mieville comes up with more high concepts in a paragraph than most writers manage to put in an entire novel: a crime boss who only exists as a tattoo on the back of a helpless host; two Apocalypses running into a scheduling conflict; occult labor disputes;and at the center of it all, sloshing in a massive tank of preservative, a dead giant squid that might bring about the end of the world.
Karasu Gyala, a fan of BLOOD OATH, shared this sketch of her concept of Dr. Johann Konrad with me. Pretty much how I saw him. Including the blood.
Grant Morrison, on why he doesn’t envy the president. Any president.
I tend to agree.
I covered Walt Minnick’s political debut back in 1996, when he ran against men’s-room superstar Larry Craig. He was a good man who got involved in the race to try to make things better. He got trounced.
Now he’s Idaho’s newest congressman, beating a right-wing dipshit named Bill Sali for the 1st District Congressional seat in what was the most Republican state in the union.
Congratulations, Walt. Nice to see change can come even to Idaho.
UPDATE: Christopher Buckley has resigned from the magazine his father founded as a result of his heresy, accompanied by the pitchfork-wielding morons ready to burn him at the stake for it. His column explaining the move is here.
But then, conservatives have always had a bit of trouble with the concept of diversity. The GOP likes to say it’s a big-tent. Looks more like a yurt to me.
While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.
So, to paraphrase a real conservative, Ronald Reagan: I haven’t left the Republican Party. It left me.
It’s not like Buckley said he spoke for the ghost of his father. Screaming “traitor” at him doesn’t exactly make the GOP look like a bastion of tolerance and civility, especially given the press it’s received in the past couple of weeks. Of course, the GOP voters even booed McCain at his own rally, so maybe there’s a little anger there.
Christopher Hitchens — former leftist, author, and Mother Teresa hater — endorses Barack Obama over John McCain in this piece on Slate.
A candidate may well change his or her position on, say, universal health care or Bosnia. But he or she cannot change the fact—if it happens to be a fact—that he or she is a pathological liar, or a dimwit, or a proud ignoramus. And even in the short run, this must and will tell.
First Christopher Buckley, now Hitchens. One more and the media will have to call it a trend.