Thursday, October 31, 2002
comic posted - "We've known the
outcome since Day 1."
This is my last comic to be drawn/printed
before the election, and therefore embodies
the point I'm sure I'll make closer to
the big day itself: no one, nowhere, has
any idea what the outcome of the election
is going to be because the most unbelievable
and unimaginably ridiculous series of
events has tainted anything a "professional"
political analyst would call a "normal"
I started writing this the day before
Paul Wellstone died and I debated whether
or not to mention him in the strip; in
the end I realized that the tragedy of
his death was, to be morbidly honest,
the latest example of the entire point
of the strip. I truly meant no disrespect,
and I apologize to any offended, though
I doubt anyone is... at least any more
offended by every other suden change of
events in this year's electoral confusion.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
My presence shall be known... sort
First of all, I'm now a member of the
so stuff I post about Iraq, and maybe
some extra stuff, and a lot of stuff from
other people about Iraq, will be found
over there. Woohoo.
Second, if you're watching Donahue tonight
on MSNBC, you might notice in the back
row on the aisle some schmoe in black
pants and a brown shirt. That'll be me.
Donahue is apparently doing a thing for
his Wednesday shows where he has them
live in New York for a kind of "Town Hall"
forum (in other words, he's trying to
do episodes of his original live audience
show with a MSNBC news angle.) Being the
first crack at this new (old) format,
I was in a taping that was done earlier
in the week. (Just in case the audience
went crazy or something, I guess.) And
how logical of me, seeing as how all week
I've had a terrible quasi-flu cold and
look terrible and have been coughing and
wheezing non-stop and missed a class but
hey, I think I'll go to a friggin' taping
of Donahue. Okay, it's partially
for credit in a TV studies class, but
still. I'm a moron.
The topic, as you will see / saw / completely
missed seeing tonight, was about juveniles
and the American justice system, primarily
the application of the death penalty to
minors. Guest on the show included family
members of teenage murderers, as well
as those of other teenage murderers' victims.
The highlight, oddly enough, was not listening
to the personal experiences of those guests,
but of the two guests in the defense lawyers,
one for and one against the death penalty,
who simply amazed me with their (for the
anti-penalty lawyer) profound logic and
(for the rabidly pro-penalty) respective
total lack thereof. I hope you watched
/ will watch the program, because the
stuff this woman was spewing frightened
me when I imagined she was a lawyer. This
woman used "evil" as an excuse for killing
people more time than George W. Bush.
Though is took personal restraint, I
didn't even raise my hand to offer a question
or a comment. Basically, I couldn't have
fulfilled the manic-depressive Donahue's
30-second time requirement on the subject.
Hell, I have trouble filling 30-minute
But my argument, summarized, has usually
revolved around this: I am against the
death penalty, 100%, all of the time.
I am not a pacifist at heart; I don't
think anyone is. I think many people on
death row right now deserve to die. I
think many people who have never even
been considered "criminals" deserve to
die. In other words, I accept that like
many other things in life, the death penalty
is something that can be understood and
justified but simply should just not happen.
I also accept that like many other aspects
of America, life just isn't fair sometimes.
Conservatives who rabidly demand the death
penalty as just and fair strangely don't
seem to have any other position like healthcare
or equal rights or economic disparity
in which they feel equality and common
inherent advantage are important.
Killing another person, even in the name
of justice, robs one of their humanity.
To get back at someone who killed by killing
them, and to take relief or pleasure in
hearing about this eye-for-an-eye system,
is to remove any higher ground you had
against the accused. Even is revenge is
your justification for the death penalty,
which I do not personally accept, it makes
no difference. Someone killed your friend
because they wanted his money, now you
are going to kill him for vengeance. Either
way, it is a case of establishing selfish
logic as a justification for taking a
Many of course have attacked me with
the argument that "if I had a family member
be murdered, I would want justice too."
My answer to that is that I am far more
concerned with hoping that no one in my
family is ever murdered than hoping that
if they are that the murder will be punished.
Actually changing the violence and poverty
in this society that leads to murders
in the first place instead of just locking
everyone up or injecting poison into their
arms thus continuing the cycle and improving
nothing would be a nice start.
These are, of course, merely the moral
factors against it, all of which I maintain
only against those who will refuse to
acknowledge the far more important statistical
factors: the death penalty is proven to
discriminate against the poor, the unintelligent,
and the dark-skinned. The mere fact that
different areas of the country- hell,
for that matter, that the episode of Donahue
I watch being taped- maintain different
rules and specifics for whether or not
someone deserves to die is hypocritical
and proof of an inherent bias. There is
no math equation of (age X severity X
importance of person killed X dramatic
emphasis of media coverage) = (need to
Couple this with the also-proven fact
that the death penalty is inaccurate.
We have proven that over 100 people were
unjustly found guilty and released from
death row; we are blind fools to even
suggest that we have never accidentally
executed an innocent person. Some actually
argue that the ends justify the means
as those unjustly found guilty were in
a situation where they committed other
crimes anyway- a logic that only emphasizes
just how monstrous we are.
So, like I said, seeing how there's no
way I could have fit all that in without
Phil pulling the mike away from my face,
I shut up and let all the nice people
that didn't have their own websites do
Wait a minute... you mean the president
As far as the nation knows, President
Bush does not keep a Richard Nixon-style
"enemies list." If he did, though, Gabe
Hudson might well be on it.
Hudson's new collection of short stories,
"Dear Mr. President" (Knopf, $19), has
made him a favorite of book critics, fellow
writers and lots of readers. But the book,
it seems, has had the opposite effect
on the commander in chief.
If Hudson is telling the truth - and
there's no reason to think he isn't -
Bush recently sent the young author
a two-paragraph note, complete with
his own review of "Dear Mr. President."
"The letter began by thanking me for
sending the book," Hudson said. "Also,
I'm from Austin, Texas, and the president
touched on the fact that I was a fellow
Texan, congratulating me on my book. But
he was setting me up for the one-two punch.
Because he called the book unpatriotic
and ridiculous and just plain bad writing.
Beyond that, I've been instructed not
to talk about the contents of the letter
for the time being."
That's not all. Hudson says FBI
agents have been hanging around at his
recent book readings, and the book's website
(Gabehudson.com) is apparently being monitored
by the government.
The full story here.
And yes, full openness mandates that we
accept the high likelihood of this story
being somewhat of a (if not a complete)
hoax. But I was on a role with the obligatory
snarky comments and the story was just
too good to pass up, even if it's too
good to be true.
Obligatory snarky comment
The son and former wife of alleged sniper
John Allen Muhammed both support
giving Muhammed the death penalty
should he be found guilty of the murders.
Gosh, it boggles the mind how murderers
come out of these compassionate and caring
family units, doesn't it?
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Umm... Democrats are still evil, right?
My love for my home state of New Jersey
continues as we realized this morning
that we'd gone an enitre week without
anyone in the state legislature getting
arrested for fraud. Well, not wanting
to establish a precedent, we've gone ahead
and corrected that. However, do keep reading,
because the sweet residue of the irony
you are all going to soak up up while
doing so is a lovely smell... like sweet
lilacs in the autumn morning dew. Yes,
I'm still on the NyQuil.
Essex County Executive James Treffinger,
a Republican, was arrested
this morning by the FBI on charges
of extortion, mail fraud, conspiracy and
making false statements to the Federal
Election Commission. Now, this might have
been a horrible turn of events for the
GOP were the man still involved in the
And here it comes from those who know
about the Jersey race through the TV media
only. "August? Which election? Congress?
State Senate? I've never heard of this
guy!" Well, allow me to explain. Treffinger,
earlier in the year, was in fact the Republican
Party's candidate for the U.S. Senate
for New Jersey. So why isn't he running
now? He dropped out early in the race
against Robert Torecelli due to the impending
ethics investigation which he has now
been arrested for. Of course, Doug Forrester
is now the Republican Senate candidate
in New Jersey, which was allowed by the
courts despite the time limit to register
in the primary having expired.
No, you're not the only one who thinks
for some strange reason you've heard all
this before... just with more graphics
and a slightly altered slant.
In the midst of the GOP crucifying the
Democrats over the replacement of ethically-tainted
Robert Torecelli with Frank Lautenberg
for the Senate race, they have failed
to even recall that a mere few months
ago, they did the exact same thing during
the primary, using... wait for it... the
exact same legal precedent and court rulings
that were given to the Democrats last
month. But, of course, in the tradition
that has been masterfully crafted by Fox
News, complete and even fairness is actually
liberal bias which must be balanced by
blatant Right-Wing rhetoric.
So, in other words, despite the spin
and coverage vilifying Robert Torecelli
for his violations (which, to be fair,
I have said previously are most likely
true,) the fact is that the Republicans
not only did it as well, but did it first...
and their guy is actually going to
jail now. So explain to me how the
New Jersey Republicans are claiming higher
moral ground here.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Green is the color of confused
Rightly so, tributes
of all kinds have poured in over the weekend
for Paul Wellstone, many of which, as
you can see, have taken the unavoidable
political tone. I don't really disagree
with that. Wellstone was a politician,
and he died in the process of trying to
further his politics. I do not disagree
with the notion that what Wellstone would
have liked more than anything was to have
his dreams and visions continued through
said politics. It is because of that I
am very confused about the political attitudes
taken by many who lean to the left on
To start, Walter
Mondale. It appears as though he will
be Wellstone's replacement, and judging
by the historical precedent of sympathy
votes, he will likely be Minnesota's next
senator. again. In fact, many pundits
are saying that there will be "runoff
sympathy" for Jeanne Carnahan in Missouri,
as the Wellstone tragedy is nearly identical
to the accident that killed her husband
on the campaign trail two years ago. As
for Mondale's politics, I am only to assume
that this is the right thing. The honest
truth is that Mondale last held office
two years before I was born, which makes
me very incapable of judging his actions
on personal experience. According to the
news, Wellstone's sons have specifically
asked Mondale to run; that alone is good
enough for me.
The demands on the left, of course, is
that the "visions of Wellstone" must be
maintained. I can't agree more. I for
one would love to hear in the near future
that the term "Wellstone Democrat" is
being adopted to identify those Democrats
who wish to carry the liberal, progressive
agenda. Hell, you can start with me- I'm
a Wellstone Democrat.
So why, then, are all the other Democrats
The easiest way to reflect on Democratic
doublethink is to visit, as always, the
valuable but volatile Media
Whores Online. I read MWO daily, because
(and I say it with no regret) it is a
valuable, often hysterical, and almost
always insightful resource on hearing
about the incredibly stupid things the
Right is doing. The problem is when it
comes to identifying the Left's stupid
actions, where everything starts to get
a wee bit hazy.
In today's feed, MWO has continued it's
touching and well-deserved praise for
the late Wellstone, and shifts next to
stories about the latest protests in Iraq.
This is proper and delightful, because
if anything, Wellstone would have wanted
the invasion of Iraq to be non-existent.
Why then, does MWO, as well as so many
other left-wing sites, insist that what
Wellstone would have wanted is for everyone
to vote for all the traitorous Democrats
who voted to give Bush everything he wanted?
(Then, of course, comes the weekly beating
of the left's favorite on-again-off-again
whipping boy Michael Moore who is again
berated by the mainstream Left with it's
essential "what have you done for us lately?")
While praising the life of Wellstone-
one of the few Democrats in Congress to
show that he had balls- left-wingers across
the board are failing to see the hypocrisy
of how all the other Democrats now praising
him have absolutely none. We gave Bush
the Patriot Act, we gave him the tax cut,
we gave him the invasion of Iraq. Exactly
when is the Democratic Party going to
stop talking about how great Paul Wellstone
was and actually give the man a decent
memorial by acting like him for
No, instead of reflecting on ourselves,
Democrats are going to try and vilify
Republicans in a method that even I find
opinions of the now-dead. This is
just ridiculous. To imply that horrible
comments against Paul Wellstone when he
was alive means Bush is actually glad
he's dead is abhorrent- and it doesn't
cast any Democrats making that accusations
in a good light. The fact that I love
the song "Why
Won't Jesse Helms Hurry Up and Die"
doesn't mean I'm actually going to celebrate
if he suddenly perishes in a tragic and
fatal accident. And it's certainly not
fair to the other seven people who died
with Wellstone to imply that they were
some kind of collateral damage.
It's annoying, and it's saddening. I
don't just want to hear BuzzFlash and
MWO talking about how the Democratic agenda
needs to be continued... the Democratic
agenda needs to be altered. MWO, I'm begging
you here, just jump out and start screaming
at the Democrats- "You fucking pussies!
We've handed this country to Bush and
his cronies on a goddamn platter for the
last two years, and now you're going to
say that's what Paul Wellstone wanted?
Bullshit! He wanted us to stand
up against Iraq! He wanted us to give
every person in this country a fair chance!
He wanted all of you to get off your asses
and stop worrying about the fucking midterm
elections! Now get off your ass and take
your faces out of George Bush's ass while
you're at it!"
Ultimately, the tragedy of Wellstone's
death isn't just that a man of his brilliant
and strong views has died, but that in
the midst of praising those views, no
one's actually going to follow them. I
don't think any other Democratic senator
now is going to think about how they should
be more progressive or more liberal. And
I think that's the last thing Wellstone
would have wanted.
Update: I disagree with this site
on numerous occasions, but I think the
blog over at Lileks
makes a valid case about the opinions
over Wellstone's death, both Left and
Sunday, October 27, 2002
This post sponsored by no one because
all corporations are godless evil entities
of death. Mmm boy I love that new lemon-flavored
I've been quoted in a Wired
News article about a new "service"
that spammers are starting that plants
addresses to websites in your referral
logs. The article, and my quote, basically
covers it: it's the proud recipient of
this month's World's Stupidest IdeaT.
As I said
a while back about another stupid
service that web marketers have created,
it's a complete paradox that the internet-
a technological advance of which its primary
functions are used to represent at least
a modicum of refined intelligence in its
users- is now the device in which marketers
prey on the belief that everyone who uses
it is, in fact, a complete idiot.
The fact is, these forced-installed toolbars
and subversive spam attacks are noticed
and maintained only by those who are ridiculously
uninformed, or merely lazy. The fact that
I can, for example, read above a second-grade
level, is what makes me notice how suddenly
after restarting my computer I've got
a huge list of new bookmarks for sites
I've never visited and that a strange
icon in the lower-right corner of my desktop
has suddenly started to report to some
unknown entity that all of my personal
habits are being recorded. The marketers
do not care one bit that my ability to
walk upright prohibits my ability to want
this- they merely wish to profit off of
those who are too lazy to bother thinking
it makes a difference.
As for my referral log, it's just a shitty
thing to do. Tricking me into going to
some obscure Belgian porn site isn't going
to make me want to subscribe to your content-
for one thing, I'm too pissed off to even
bother perusing your site, and second,
the referrals I get form hot LiveJournal
chicks is all the action I'll ever need.
That's right, ladies, Augie sees you.
and he's looking at you. Mrrrrrrrrrow.
espanol. That's right, I'm going global.
Lovely Latinas of LiveJournal, I am spicy
hot for you all as well.
Second Update: Okay, so it's actually
Portugese. Thanks to Barnaby Yeh for pointing
Friday, October 25, 2002
Words fail me
In response to an earlier DNC
Flash ad accusing Bush's Social Security
plan of being risky and dangerous, the
GOP has responded with a Flash ad of their
own, stating their proper anaology:
Bush is Superman.
Yes, it's a cartoon, but it's a cartoon
sponsored and hosted on the website of
the Republican National Committee. Words
simply fail me. Just go watch it. And
don't foget that President Superman is
the guy who denied stem cell research
funding to Christpher Reeve. I love
making low blows.
Update: many readers, including
the collective Democratic Party at Fordhamn
University, have alerted me to the smoking
tights of this story which officially
teeters it between absurd and sad: it
appears as though Super-Bush's costume
was in fact...
...wait for it...
from a picture of AL Gore drawn the exact
same way. Jumping Jesus on a pogo
Thursday, October 24, 2002
- "The ad is so simple,
Usual drill. Read if you want; vote if
you laugh. And no, I'm not saying that
telling people drugs are bad is silly,
or that there's no obvious connection
between drugs and criminals who are involved
in their trade. I'm merely sick of using
scare tactics to avoid simple advances
in quality of life and education (public
education, not just being educated about
drugs, that is) that would actually reduce
the drug problem. And please, you don't
need to tell me what's left out on the
chart. It's comedy, folks, and I can't
draw Ollie North that well anyway.
Oh, by the way, yet again much apologies
for not responding to many of your e-mails;
it's been a rather busy week out of several
busy weeks so far with several more busy
weeks to come. I'm doing my best, but
odds are a few of your e-mails are going
to get buried under everything that keeps
piling up on top of them. Sorry.
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
Do you hear the people sing, singing
the songs of rich white Republicans
I've heard about this before, but I never
made the effort to do the search myself...
maybe I just didn't want to. Fortunately,
on the heels of my stories about videos
of John Ashcroft singing, reader John
Gorenfield (who linked from this disturbingly
silly but in a good way site here)
has reminded me about this tidbit of beltway
I present you Mssr. Ashcroft's opening
I double-checked this, folks. It's all
true. Senator Hatch, while accusing Bill
Clinton of countless filthy things and
ending all kindness on the planet as we
know it, writes songs. And not just any
songs. Deep, caring love songs. Though,
to be honest, most of them are about how
much he loves God.
Now, you might think that skimming through
the site and listening to the audio clips
would be the scariest thing in the world,
requiring much therapy and alcohol afterwards.
But it's not. In fact, it sounds pretty
much like any normal Christian music,
which I guess is fine if you like that
sort of thing, though if you like that
sort of thing I have absolutely no idea
how you found your way onto this website.
No, the scariest thing on the site is
the image that can be found here,
in the "history" page of the online catalogue.
Yes, that's Orrin Hatch. And yes, that's
Barry Manilow. And yes, it burns.
Why do my eyes burn, Mommy?
Run (screaming) in a zigzag pattern
An informed (and uni... umm... formed)
reader who wishes to remain anonymous
has pointed out some inaccuracies in the
news media's "tips" on avoiding snipers.
Whereas CNN would tell you to move in
a zigzag pattern and have a friend help
you pump gas, the e-mails author points
out what the newscasters haven't been.
If you live in the Maryland area, I'd
like to apologize for completely removing
any shred of false security you have been
given by transcribing the e-mail right
You are right on about the whole "Washington
Sniper" thing. I'd just like to add my
$.02, some facts people aren't aware of
(thanks to the fear-mongering media),
and debunk some fallacies (spread by the
Quick, relevant background about myself:
From Jersey. Former U.S. Marine (active
duty, decorated, honorably discharged.)
Currently living about 10 miles from the
shooting at the Sunoco station in Manasshole,
1) A .223 round is NOT a "high caliber"
round. Easy to check; go to a gun shop
and ask to see the selection of LOWER
caliber rounds, then the HIGHER caliber
rounds. Look at a .308 or a .50 caliber
next to a .223!
2) Having someone else pump your gas,
or hiding behind a gas pump will save
you. BULLSHIT. Even a .223 can go through
a WALL in your house and kill you while
you're "safe" watching the TeeVee. A .50
caliber round can be accurate from 2 MILES
away, so, in effect, NO ONE is safe, unless
they're locked in a bank vault!
3) The shooter is a "skilled marksman."
In the Marines, each year we were required
to re-qualify with an M-16 (.223 cal.).
We fired in different positions (prone,
sitting, kneeling, standing) from the
200, 300, and 500 yard lines. NO SCOPES.
From 500 yards, I could place a round
anywhere on the target I desired. The
targets used at that distance were human
silhouettes six feet tall. Look at a person
from 1,500 feet away, and you'll get an
idea of how frighteningly accurate those
old, sloppy-loose Vietnam surplus M-16A1's
were, in the hands of a trained shooter.
A blind chimp could hit a target from
90 FEET away, and with a scope, well,
you get my drift.
So, in summary, DOOM!
I'd like to point out, of course, that
technically I just recieved an anonymous
e-mail from someone admitting to live
within ten miles of one of the killings
and having the training and expertise
to carry it out. If it weren't for the
fact that I'll take any readers I can
get, I'd be somewhat scared right now.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Oh, I do so admire the mainstream
Whoa, I'm less than 400 votes away from
the Top 20 in the comics section. Hint,
hint. Eh, I'm a whore, what can I do.
Oh, right. My actual post. Yeah, um,
well. Trio of little bits about the mainstream
newspapers today. Okay, actually two,
technically, because Tom
beat me to it, but yeah, I've seen that
it has officially begun- Trudeau is focusing
his attention of blogging. It's kind of
a mixed reaction, because while he is,
undoubtedly, one of the great eternal
geniuses of political cartooning, he does
occasionally have this weird way of getting
overly "gee whiz" whimsical about modern
technology. Every time he does something
about blogging, or Napster, or Windows
95, or iMacs, or webcams, he seems to
cop something of a "boy, people sure do
love that trendy technology, don't they?"
Wonderful. I'm being condescending to
Garry Trudeau. I'll have work one day.
Well, that (sort of) covers editiorial
print media. Now for the televised media:
according to this
link hyeah, over 40 out of 60 links
to CNN show transcripts will detail the
sniper attacks. And here is where I will
make my gross and tastelessly rude opinion,
but I simply have to ask why we are devestatingly
interested in the reports of the deaths
of ten people, when a hundred times that
are murdered every day. In fact, 16 people
were killed this morning in Israel, and
it doesn't get its own graphic and theme
music. Why are we generating this fear?
In a nation of over 250 million, 14 have
been shot by this sniper. Granted I don't
live in the Washington area, but even
if I did, isn't there anyone else out
there who would agree with me that I should
be just as "afraid" of winning the lottery?
I'm sorry that I'm demeaning the lives
of the dead and wounded. I don't mean
to, and I apologize for offending anyone.
But I already covered what could have
been done and wasn't with last
week's comic... and as of now I really
don't have any idea how to solve this
crisis, except realize that like any other
case of terrorism and horrific violence
affecting this country, people just need
to move on with their lives as best they
And here's a good one courtesy of the
good folks at FAIR, sort of a TV/print
media combo. Ten major media outlets have
all, without major explanation, changed
their outlook on the events leading to
the Iraq inspections. That is to say,
all ten of these outlets are quoted a
few year ago as reporting the truthful
nature of the start of the bombings- that
U.N. Inspectors voluntarily left- and
are now declaring that Saddam kicked them
out. Possibly himself, and possibly kicking
a small puppy as he did it. Oh, and his
eyes were burning like the embers of Hades
itself. Did I mention he hates puppies?
BOMB HIM! BOMB HIM NOW!
And since I started with a side note,
I'll end with one too- I'm already getting
a few e-mail from people asking for me
to link to the video files I made for
Tom. I'm glad you all have an interest
in them, but I simply can't do it. The
files I sent Tom were re-edited and not
done by an expert in compression technology,
and therefore were about 1MB and 8MB each.
I get a few hundred to over a thousand
daily visits, and if a quarter of you
downloaded that much in one day I'd be
out of bandwidth by the end of the week.
To be honest, there was no change in content
to the files, just cleaned-up sound. Ashcroft
singing was, and still can, be found at
CNN's site, and the video of Bush flubbing
his "old saying" is available via a quick
Google search, or Kazaa, or on the Daily
Show's archives somewhere. As for the
downloading of these streams to my own
site, that was done using several utilities
which were, to be honest, of questionable
legality. CNN streams their video because
they do not want, for example, my site
posting it for local download. I'm sorry
that I can't help you, but even the minute
chance of getting sued eliminates putting
copied and re-edited content onto my site...
it goes well beyond the "fair use" I did
I should also note that in the process
of editing the files for Tom I was required
to actually listen to John Ashcroft's
hit music video. Folks, you've only seen
clips so you don't realize that he sings
this thing for over three minutes.
I can deal with three minutes of crappy
music very rarely, and usually only because
it's accompanied by video footage of some
blonde female pop star who's trying to
express her chastity and desire to be
seen as real and deep by wearing tight
red panties and gyrating with twenty-seven
naked men in a kiddie pool full of sweat.
But no, this crappy music is the droning
of an ugly, scary white man, and the song...
well, it sucks. Trust me, you really don't
want to sit and listen to it, let alone
the several dozen times I did while rendering
it to RealVideo format. If it's that big
an issue for you, like I said, Kazaa.
Of course, using Kazaa is wrong. Yep,
Monday, October 21, 2002
Well isn't that special, part 2
Insurance companies in Oregon are outspending
proponents of a new bill by over 10 to
1 on opposition campaigning. The bill
that sparks their ire? State-wide
Universal Health Care.
The initiative claims over 3,000 volunteers
across Oregon and thousands more donors,
while opponents have gotten only about
50 donations -- primarily from the health
insurance industry. But with over $400,000
in hand, those groups are outspending
proponents by more than 10 to 1. Kaiser
Permanente, Regence BlueCross BlueShield
of Oregon, Pacificare, PacificSource,
and ODS Health Plans have each donated
more than twice the total received by
the Yes On 23 campaign.
Yes, not that this is money that the
hospitals could be, you know, using to
heal sick people or anything like
that. But I'm sure it's simply a public
trust thing... the hospitals know what's
good for you and so obviously the several
thousand people that want the alternative
which just happens to be cost-ineffective
for the insurance industry is wrong on
all counts. But here is my personal favorite
passage of the entire article:
...[C]ritics charge that the tax burden,
and the spending, will skyrocket in the
future, particularly as residents realize
they can obtain medical services they
don't currently use - - or cannot now
In other words, the insurance providers
and the hospitals have spent the last
few decades actually factoring into their
equations that most Americans would, by
inference of lack of funding, have no
ability to actually use their services.
Suddenly, the idea that health care becomes
a natural right and not a consumer commodity
rips all financial value from health care
The insurers are, to this article's understanding,
trying to rationalize a nation of hypochondriacs-
that the sudden emergence of free universal
coverage will bring throngs of Americans
to the doors of doctors' offices with
the preposterous demand that they are
taken care of. Of course, this is logic
from the same industry that for the last
ten years or so has convinced us that
every single one of us needs some kind
of neon-painted designer pill to treat
our depression, impotence, insomnia, and
A.D.D.- depsite the fact that more than
half the nation would have these afflictions
if everyone taking the medication for
it actually needed it and wasn't just
fed it like some perverted sales pitch.
Well isn't that special
GOP political activist Dave Wilson
[...] is sending Republican voters an
automated telephone message telling them
not to vote a straight Republican ticket
because it includes a gay candidate.
The target of Wilson's attack is Alex
Wathen, a Republican candidate for justice
of the peace, who is president of the
Houston chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans
-- the party's leading gay and lesbian
"I'm asking you to vote principles
over party politics," Wilson said in his
message to Republican voters in JP Precinct
The full story here,
and, most likely, available for much-condensed
ranting from all sides starting tonight
around 7-ish on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News.
I, yet again, am AWESOME
Sorry I didn't make a big ol' Monday
post for you guys just yet... I spent
a few hours last night and today doing
a favor for Tom, who needed a video clip
of the now-infamous Bush "fool me once"
quote. But wait, here's where it gets
fun. The only apparently existing copy
of this video online is from the Daily
Show, which means that it has a much-reviled
laugh track over the clip.
What I had to do, you see, was get the
video, somehow fix the sound to remove
the laughter, and then compress it to
a format I could send to Tom. Oh, and
it needed to be in Real Video, as well.
(Video hax0rs across the nation who just
read that are now making the face similar
to that guy in Star Wars explaining
to Luke the deep complexities of launching
missiles into 6-foot holes in the sides
of battle stations.)
So, just now, and with much credence
to the level of just how AWESOME
I am, I sent a viable clip over to Tom
that met all the specifications. I found
a Windows Media Format video copy, had
to get a converter to make it into an
AVI, put that in Adobe Premiere, and export
that as a RealVideo file. Then there was
the sound clip. Luckily, this
guy had a copy of the audio clip without
a laugh track.... however, it was a streaming
RealAudio clip, which meant I had to get
another utility of equally questionable
legality to hack the stream and re-save
it to my computer as a .WAV file, which
I could then drop back into Premiere and
re-synch with the muted Daily Show clip.
SO, there you have it- a nice, fifteen-second
video clip that required a mere FIVE DIFFERENT
PROGRAMS to make properly.
I'm very sad to report that these are
the moments when I wish Microsoft just
took over the world so there weren't any
such things as competing file formats.
But then I'd be no worse than the Nazis.
Saturday, October 19, 2002
One more semi-mailbag-related post: I
wasn't going to discuss this because it
makes me feel like I'm sounding pretentious
as hell, but more than a few friends and
readers noted this to me:
was published on September 25, and this
was published on October 13.
Yes, it's a coincidence. Actually, the
huge lead time syndicated artists need
for Sunday strips makes it 99% likely
that Aaron McGruder drew his strip before
I drew mine. The difference is that I
only got attacked by some wimpy College
Republicans. McGruder got entire
articles written about him... life
is not fair, even though great minds think
Okay, to be truly honest, it's kind of
a weird annoying feeling. One of the things
I prided myself on was not doing anything
that you would see in some cliche "Yahtzee!"
of 20 other political cartoonists doing
the same way for a certain topic. This
is, honestly, the first time in the four
years I've been drawing political cartoons
that I have in fact done a joke that was
identical to that of another cartoonist.
It doesn't spark enthusiasm as much as
a belief that I may just not have been
trying hard enough that day, you know?
Of course, I also have no self-esteem
whatsoever, so we can take that entire
last paragraph as you will.
Scott sends me his response to the GunGuys
post about NRA members already having
their guns registered by inference of
being members of the NRA:
...[A]s a never-gun-owning one time
member of the NRA (and ACLU & Amnesty
International & The Pro-Gastrapod League).
There is one important difference between
most, if not all, gun control legislation
and the NRA, the NRA is voluntary. Similarly
you don't have to subscribe to High Times
in order to use dope, or belong to AAA
to drive a car.
Scott is of course completely right,
but he is also a rare exception. The point
is that most NRA members join because,
in fact, they have guns- just as most
people joining AAA join because they have
cars and subscribe to High Times
because they're rampaging potheads. (It
would be a slow, listless rampage) He
also, for some weird reason, provides
a link in his e-mail to a page about the
predictions of Nostrademus and the Bible
Code in relation to the Bush Administration,
which to be perfectly honest Scott, makes
me wonder just how long you've been a
High TImes subscriber.
Crager Couger exchanged a few mails with
me over the Jerry Falwell issue, initially
questioning my logic in saying that Falwell's
school violates Constitutional policy.
My argument, as I explained to him, was
that Falwell openly indicated that he
will aim for judges to be trained with
their moral (translated: Falwell's morals)
viewpoint as the basis for their judgments.
That moral value, being the principle
of Falwell's school, is religion. For
a Federal judge to base a decision, thus
affecting U.S. law, on his religious beliefs,
is tantamount to making law that establishes
them- QED, a direct violation of Article
1 of the First Amendment.
As you can see, that paragraph I just
wrote was disturbingly complicated to
read, so I felt god when his last reply
added a new opinion of interest about
the judge process in the country:
Unrelated Side bar rant on judicial
appointments - the republicans are bitching
about the Dems stalling on confirmations
of Shrub's judicial appointees. And everybody
knows that this is just exactly what the
republicans did to Clinton's appointees.
So the counter-argument goes. "well, that
doesn't make it right - and now we've
got a judge-shortage-crisis on our hands."
But what is only rarely mentioned is that
this was a calculated strategy. The GOP
didn't block Clinton's nominees because
of ideological differences, they did it
specifically so that there would be a
judge-shortage-crisis when a republican
got to the White House and they would
have the opportunity to pack the Federal
judiciary w/right-wing ideologues.
Makes sense to me. Finally, Jake adds
his constructive criticism to the Rudy
Giuliani post with the following:
I disagree with your statement about
Rudy Giuliani gaining more than anyone
else due to 9/11. I think that he is beat
slightly by Gary Condit.
To which I can only say, why do we still
remember this guy's name? Have a good
Friday, October 18, 2002
I guess owe a few people a beer for
And yes, I'm aware that, unless something
happens in the next ten hours, I have
officially been proven wrong on the lighthearted
prediction I made in a previous strip.
We have, near-officially, not
invaded Iraq today.
With that, I can give Happy Birthday
shoutouts to my friends Alex and Christine,
and wish them many more years of health,
happiness, and of course, the United States
not bombing Iraq. They share their birthdays
with Mike Ditka, Senator Jesse Helms,
and Jean-Claude Van Damme, which for some
strange reason seems to have a cosmic
significance in that they have absolutely
nothing to do with one another in any
Going through ideas for next week's strip,
one of them that kept popping up in my
head was Rudolph Giuliani. Rudy has recently
offered several million dollars to "advise"
the police force of Mexico City in
the ways of- get this- "crack down on
And, as some might know, his autobiography
just came out, and he's been apparently
filling all the books stores and earning
unabashed praise (as usual) from David
Letterman over his great and triumphant
career as the "leader" of New York City.
To which the bowl of petunias replied:
"Oh no, not again."
After September 11, I think it's safe
to say that even beyond President Bush,
even beyond Jon Ashcroft, and even beyond
the collective Republican Party, there
is no single entity that has benefited
more from its aftermath that the former
mayor of New York. Whereas Bush will,
to the day he leaves office and beyond,
be dogged much like Bill Clinton for his
actions and personal life, Rudy Giuliani
has suddenly appeared to have everything
but the last year of his life and career
cleaned away like a sponge to a blackboard.
Prior to September 11, there was virtually
no way to avoid being at least
slightly critical. From day one, when
he mandated the compassion of his reign
by allowing his bratty son to mug the
cameras and play all over the podium as
he took his allegedly-important-and-serious
oath of office, Rudy has gone out of his
way to both appeal to the "average Joe"
New Yorker while looking like a complete
ass to just about everyone else on the
And don't get me wrong on this- I am
not being, and cannot be, critical of
his handling of September 11. The managing
of the resources and organizing the relief
efforts was, without a doubt, the pinnacle
important action of his two terms as Mayor.
For that, he was noted and praised, from
all ranges including myself- hell, including
the Queen of England. But this honor,
albeit deserved, is the shiniest linings
to one of the darkest clouds in American
The fact that Giuliani handled the events
of September 11 does not seem to be the
major issue in the eyes of the media that
almost instantly and without any argument
glorified him beyond belief- to be frank,
Rudy's moment of glory was a result of
timing. had September 11, 2001 been January
2, 2002, the burden would have fallen
to the hands of Mayor Bloomberg (or to
be honest, had 9/11 not occurred, Mayor
Mark Green.) What reflected the nation's
consciousness and respective admiration
for Rudy was his open and outright sympathy
for New York itself. as if the city was
a living breathing organism tat was literally
bleeding in pain. Rudolph Giuliani, no
doubt, cares for New York City. but he
cares about a version of New York that
he lives in and fails to care about the
countelss other New Yorks that others
He didn't care about the New York where
the police department routinely, and viciously,
held outright and deadly bias against
blacks and Latinos. He didn't care about
the New York where people favor their
free speech and artistic ability over
the screeds of the Catholic Church. He
didn't care about the New York that wasn't
plastered by billboards for the Disney
store and was merely plastered with crumbling
buildings, increased drug use, and further
failing schools (a problem which is now,
of course, blamed solely on the Democrat
running for governor.)
And if you want to study to policies
and financial maneuverings of the Giuliani
administration, you can't, because he
doesn't seem to care about a New York
in which other New Yorkers might want
access to his files, which he has illegally
and immorally blocked
all access to so his personal legacy
can be preserved forever. We can't be
reminded by his past records that he's
a hypocrite who railed on Bill Clinton's
sex life while caring little for the morality
of his own. We can't be reminded of his
whimsical taunting of Hillary Clinton
for choosing to "become a New Yorker,"
exactly the opposite about another
so-called-carpetbagger. And we certainly
can't be reminded about paintings covered
in elephant dung, 41 bullets, and innocent
men being sodomized with plungers.
People get defensive of the actions of
the NYPD under Giuliani's rule, claiming
you can't blame the Mayor for the action
of the police. Then they open up Newsweek
and are told that he should be unequivocally
praised for the action of the police after
the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Or better yet, you can open up Time,
where he is, for no reason other than
to sell more issues, declared
Man of the Year- an "honor" which
is supposed to reflect the actions of
the person who affected history the most
for that year. Giuliani did not affect
history the most for 2001- he cleaned
up after the actions of the man who really
did. Man of the Year isn't an award or
a prize; it's supposed to be a statement
of fact. The fact is that saying Giuliani
did more to affect the world, good or
bad, than bin Laden in 2001 is like saying
Orson Welles' War of the Worlds
broadcast had more significance than Hitler
did in 1938.
And now, of course, Rudy has declared
in a way that for some reason people on
the whole are not declaring completely
tactless and insane, that he has, again
by happening to be mayor at the time of
the 9/11 attacks, earned
the right to personally execute bin Laden.
"Bin Laden had attacked my city, and as
its mayor I had the strong feeling that
I was the most appropriate person to do
it," he was quoted as saying, in a tone
which can only bring me memories of the
interrogation room scene from L.A.
Confidential when the teenager is
explaining why he was justified in repeatedly
raping the Latino girl. I mean, seriously,
what the hell kind of dignified statement
is that for someone to make? And what
would he want to do to bin Laden? Shoot
him? Inject poison into him? Or maybe
just choke him to death with his bare
hands as he grows an even larger erection
fueled by the unabashed love the "common
people" have for his ability to actually
get away with saying disgusting things
If Giuliani actually came face-to-face
with Osama bin Laden, he wouldn't feel
that way. He wouldn't be looking at this
gigantic demonic specter of evil. he'd
be face-to-face with a frail, pathetic
old man with too much hate and too little
insight about the world around them. If
we ever do put them in a room together,
maybe we should make sure it has a mirror
for the two of them to share.
Most likely not in the newest extension
I don't play The Sims, mostly
because I simply just don't have the time
to, say, give up the remainder of my life
required to focus your attention towards
playing it. Nevertheless, I am aware that
many of you do, and I'll be damned if
I can let something as downright adorable
as this go without my mention.
Get 'em right here, right now: The
Sims anti-war posters.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
Wait a minute
I have to hand it, once again, to the
brilliant minds over at GunGuys
for pointing out the near-piss-your-pants
obvious rationale for how ridiculous it
is for the NRA to oppose gun registry.
There already exists a
government-affiliated, active and effective
national registry of American gun owners.
It's called the National Rifle Association-
an organization which collects the names,
addresses, contact and financial information,
and in some cases specific gun information-
about all of its members, with direct
and indirect links to most of Congress,
the White House, and the Justice Department.
I have been an active supporter of gun
control for nearly half my life now, and
I am dumbfounded at how this logic never
once went through my mind. Better start
burning those membership cards now, folks.
- "I think you shot Mr.
Part of me wants to say "not much to
say on the topic," but the reality is
that I've got way too much on it to convey
properly. Anyone local to the NYU Campus
that's been reading the WSN has been aware
of the rising influx of Letters to the
Editor courtesy of the NYU College Republicans;
your truly beign the subject of one or
two. (I'm still thrilled about all of
it, really.) No doubt that this week's
strip is gonna get flak as well. (Get
it? Guns? Flak? Oh, forget it.)
I guess, in a weird way, guns, or at
least debate about them, are the hot topic
right now. Between the Beltway Sniper
(Oh lord, that's way too much of a media
nickname, isn't it) and the wholehearted
popularity of Bowling
for Columbine (for the love of
God and all that is holy, why have you
not seen this movie yet, people? It's
that freakin' good) it seems to be this
little issue that a mere few weeks before
the election everyone should talk about,
but strangely isn't. (And there we go-
as I write this, The DNC uses a Letterman
break to remind me how much Doug Forrester
loves guns. Note to fellow Jerseyans-
is it just me or does Doug Forrester look
a little like Orson Welles, only without
the baritone, and of course much more
that a "touch" of evil? That was the wittiest
thing I have ever written in my
life, and you will damn well respect that.)
So, yeah, gun registry- is it 100% effective?
No. Will is deter all criminals? Of course
not. But basically, it's a moot argument
to me: the government- hell, for that
matter, the VISA corporation- most likely
has your name, Social Security number,
and countless pieces of medical and financial
information already, through years of
buying and analyzing forms, databanks,
and your taxes and otehr government forms.
It's ridiculous to think that a gun registry
suddenly makes you less safe from the
government's essential pinpoint on your
current state of existence. Fingerprinting
criminals doesn't always help us later
on, but it's a simple procedure that might
help if we need it to.
I'm not against guns, and I'm definitely
not against their use and portrayal in
the bit-o-the-old-ultraviolence movies
and video games I absorb into, just their
inherent concept. I do believe it's your
right to own a gun, I just think it's
inherently stupid and reflects one's cowardice,
not their bravery. Something 40 times
more likely to be used against me or a
member of my family (either directly or
accidentally) than an intruding criminal
doesn't make me feel safer. The only way
people are going to feel safer is when
they stop joining their Club for White
Men Frightened of the Big Scary Black
People So We Want to Have Lots of Guns,
stop acting as if the military is suddenly
going to develop the abilty to activate
their ninja powers and magically take
away all the guns in this country and
that everyone is really just out to kill
everyone else, and start looking for productive
ways to make everyone in the country happier
and nicer to each other. Maybe we can
start by getting rid of a few guns. Sell
them and build some more damn schools.
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
Stop him before he kills hope again
So, yeah. We don't really need
to explain in greater detail how much
of a horrible, horrible person Jerry Falwell
is. I mean, he's sort of at the bottom
of the muck heap already. So it suprised
me to find out that in the midst of reading
Falwell's latest hilarious rant against
all that isn't Christian- yes, still active
and ready for the world to see is his
page on why Mohammed was a bad, bad man-
that he has, in fact, officially dropped
any pretext of concern for the Constitution
According to a BuzzFlash reader on his
mailing list, Falwell fired
off this little dandy about the newest
openings in his
cult college, Liberty
Since I founded Liberty University
in 1971, I have envisioned that our first
professional school would be a school
of law. On October 8, my dream was realized.
On that day, the Liberty University Board
of Trustees officially approved the formation
of the Liberty University School of Law
and commissioned our president, John M.
Borek Jr., to take the necessary steps
to begin classes in the 2003 fall semester.
Needless to say, I am excited beyond words
about this bold move that I believe will
ultimately have a nationwide impact.
Liberty University's School of Law
will employ professors who are: committed
to the inspiration and infallibility of
the Bible; committed to the Lordship of
Jesus Christ; committed to a strict constructionist
view of the U.S. Constitution; committed
to training godly attorneys for the law
profession, for service in American government
or as judges and justices. Our law
school, like Liberty University, will
recruit students who have a desire to
impact our nation and the world for our
In a nation that, in one generation,
has legalized abortion on demand, removed
prayer and Bible reading from our schools
and more recently attempted to outlaw
the Pledge of Allegiance because of the
words "under God," it is high time that
we create a law school that will produce
men and women who are committed to the
Judeo-Christian ethic, the preciousness
of human life and the defense of the Judeo-Christian
values that formed this great nation.
Forgive the pun, but Jesus Christ.
God, anyone still long for the good old
days.. you know, maybe three, four years
ago... when you could actually believe
that people were at least trying to act
as though they had regards for the true
laws of this country? It doesn't take
an idiot to figure out exactly what Falwell
is talking about. He's coming right out
in the open and saying "I'm going to have
my fanatical right-wing law school teach
not the law, but a direct interpretation
of the law that invokes the personal moral
views of the school's founder... hey,
that's me! What a coinky-dink!"
I could have sworn that part of the First
Amendment states that Congress shall pass
no law establishing religion... how the
hell is "creating a law school that produces
judges committed to Judeo-Christian values"
not a direct violation? And even if it's
not, how is this moral, or ethical?
Falwell has, esesntially, created a law
school that means to indoctrinate students
even before they open their textbooks
that the law is not an interpretation
of precedent and public benefit. From
day one, this is a plan to shape Right-Wing
legal theory into the idea that one's
power as a judge or litigator is their
inherent right to determine the law as
however they see fit... and Jerry wants
them to see fit the way he thinks. That
may not be unconstitutional, but it's
Monday, October 14, 2002
Oh, so that explains it
In light of my previous report about
NYU students announcing the uselessness
(and spinelessness) of Hillary Clinton,
Mauren Dowd is courteous enough to explain
to us the logic of Clinton's vote for
use of force against Iraq: she
didn't really mean it. Of course.
This has always been a place where
people say the opposite of what they mean.
But last week the capital soared to ominous
new Orwellian heights. Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton voted to let the president
use force in Iraq because she didn't want
the president to use force in Iraq. Giving
Bush bipartisan support, she said, would
make his success at the United Nations
"more likely, and, therefore, war less
The Democrats were desperate to put
the war behind them, so they put the war
in front of them. They didn't want to
seem weak, so they made the president
stronger, which makes them weaker.
Bush said he needed congressional
support to win at the UN, but he wants
to fail at the UN so he can install his
own MacArthur as viceroy of Iraq.
Bush says he's in a rush to go to
war with Iraq because it's so strong,
but he's in a rush to go to war with Iraq
because it's so weak.
Tenet says Saddam is unlikely to initiate
a chemical or biological attack against
us unless we attack him, and Bush says
Saddam is likely to initiate a chemical
or biological attack so we must attack
him. The CIA says Saddam will use his
nasty weapons against us only if he thinks
he has nothing to lose. So the White House
leaks its plans about the occupation of
Iraq, leaving Saddam nothing to lose.
This, sadly enough, goes on for a while.
Go read and reflect for a moment.
Oh yes, NYU students did stuff again.
This was one I forgot to mention, and
I regret it because I probably heard about
it first, what with the breaking story
being in my own student newspaper: NYU
students had an impromptu anti-war-on-Iraq
protest in the middle of... wait for
it... ready?... Total Request Live.
"At first it was weird because they
seemed as if they were going to let us
speak," Koprowski said afterward. "The
DJ sort of looked at us, and the camera
sort of looked at us. They were like,
'Yeah, what's up?' and then they realized
what we were talking about."
Security guards immediately escorted
the students off the stage and out into
the hall, where Rowe said he saw Durst
giving them dirty looks.
"We caught some scoff from Fred Durst,"
Rowe said. "He gave us a little attitude.
He was pissed off."
MTV considered calling the police,
the students said, but could not charge
them with anything since they were invited
guests on the program and did not cause
Wow. protesting the war on Iraq, disrupting
TRL, and pissing off Fred Durst
all at the same time? My god, what a glorious
moment. Now, throw that story in with
NYU students taking a firm stance that
Clinton is officially a spineless whelp,
and I think there might be brighter days
ahead for the hotbeds of student subversive
liberalism... oooh, we're coming for you!
We're going to take over the world!
Beware! Mwah ha ha ha ha!
Well, what were they smoking when
they made this one?
A kinda cute little animation
by an anti-smoking site addressing
Philip Morris' attempt to whitewash itself
by renaming the company Altria. It's fun
to watch because even though the message
is clear, the Flash animation plays like
a combination of a public service announcement
and various scenes from Vanilla Sky.
Personally, I'm scared of these people.
Friday, October 11, 2002
After a year's long wait since I saw
some advance clips at a guest lecture,
Moore's new film Bowling for Columbine
will be released in New York and L.A.
today. I'm going to see it sometime
this weekend. If you're near a theater
that's showing the movie, don't wait,
go see it sometime this weekend too. I'll
quote Moore himself to explain why:
Last February 5th, I wrote to tell
you about a book I had written and how
the publisher had decided to dump it because
they were afraid to publish anything critical
of Bush after 9/11. I appealed to you
to save "Stupid White Men" from the shredder
and to go out and buy it. I promised you
would not regret it, and that the book
would not only be a great read but an
important organizing tool in gumming up
the plans of George W. Bush.
Within 24 hours, the book went to
#1 on the Amazon best seller list. By
the fifth day, the book was already into
its 9th printing. The publisher was torn
between its desire to kill the book or
make a wad of money. Greed won out, and
this Sunday the book enters its 31st week
on the New York Times best seller list
-- and its 32nd printing. This is all
because of you, my crazy and loyal friends.
You made this happen, against all the
Now I would like to ask you again
to help me with my latest work, "Bowling
for Columbine." It's a movie that many
critics have already called my best film
to date. They may be right. It is certainly
the most provocative thing I have ever
done. I have spent three years on it and,
I have to say, it cuts deeper, harder
and funnier that anything I have given
you so far.
The movie opens this Friday in New
York and Los Angeles, and then in 8 more
cities next week. How it does in these
first ten cities will determine whether
or not the rest of the country gets to
see it. That is the nutty way our films
are released. If it doesn't have a big
opening weekend, you can kiss the film
good-bye. Therefore, this weekend, this
film must be seen by millions of Americans.
Can you help me make that happen?
"Bowling for Columbine" is not a film
simply about guns or school shootings.
That is only the starting point for my
2-hour journey into the dark soul of a
country that is both victim and master
of an enormous amount of violence, both
at home and around the world. With this
movie I have broadened my canvas to paint
a portrait of our nation at the beginning
of the 21st century, a nation that seems
hell-bent on killing first and asking
questions later. It is a movie about the
state sponsored acts of violence and terrorism
against our own poor, and how we have
created a culture of fear that is based
on the racial dilemma we continue to ignore.
And it's a devastating comedy.
This film is going to upset some pretty
big apple carts. No film has EVER said
the things I am saying in "Bowling for
Columbine." I expect to be attacked. I
expect certain theatres will not show
it for fear of retribution. I expect that
this movie will be a bitter pill for many
This is why I need your help. Movies
live or die based on what happens at the
box office the first weekend of its release.
I need you, if you live in the New York
or L.A. area, to go see "Bowling for Columbine"
this Friday and Saturday -- and take as
many family members and friends with you
as possible. I guarantee you will not
be disappointed -- and you may just see
one of the best films of the year.
Need I say... fine, I won't do it. Just
go see the movie.
Gratuitous but well-deserved utility
I just finished wasting a good hour of
my life having to take care of the most
malicious and nasty spyware that ever
entered my computer. It was one of those
little bastard pieces of code that makes
even me wish for the death penalty, if
only for a few seconds. The spawn of Satan
that designed this thing madeit so that
it literally loaded behind my back in
three seconds so I couldn't block or cancel
it. Then it forced onto my Internet Browser-
get this- a new toolbar, eight links to
ad sites, and four popups. Oh, it gets
better. When I tried to remove it by deleting
the folder installed on my computer (again,
without my consent in any way) it blocked
the removal, and when I deleted it's execution
file it proceeded to deliver a popup message
every time I clicked my mouse saying...
you're going to love this, folks... that
the program I never asked for and was
trying to get rid of was now not working
properly and I need to re-install it.
Well, I need to thank my good friends
at LavaSoft for the solution, and I am
stating this to everyone who reads this
site, and all your friends, and frankly
anyone who you care about not having their
computers assimilated by some asshole
European marketing company: download
Ad-Aware right now. Update it weekly,
use it frequently. It is, without a doubt,
one of the most useful and beneficial
pieces of software you can ever have in
And I will pont out something I have
said before, especially in marketing surveys:
I am a very unforgiving person when it
comes to spamming me like this. I go walking
through K-Mart and see a display of something,
and my brain says "Hey, that's the thing
that I know about because it was in a
pop-up ad force-installed onto my computer
while forcibly altering all my personal
settings the other week." Do you know
what I do with your product then? What's
that? You think I buy it? No, Mister manufacturing
bastard. If anything, think you are lucky
that major Urban stores are required by
law to have sprinkler systems... for if
they did not nothing would stop me from
setting your products on fire.
I don't care if you're promoting the cure
for cancer, okay? If it's an unwanted
SpyWare popup, you're never gettig my
Thursday, October 10, 2002
- "Stuck in the mudslinging
somewhere in the swamps of Jersey."
Okay, here's the deal, folks. I'm from
New Jersey, and Bergen County at that,
which means I've lived in the shadow of
Robert Torecelli pretty much my whole
life, be it my Senator or my local district
Congressional representative. He's had
a somewhat unscrupulous record, considering
his mainstream moderate leanings, his
absolute caving to the pro-Impeachment
(and later, ugh, pro-Elian) movements,
and his general shiftiness in regards
to a lot of issues. He was, however, throughout
his career, presentable as a somewhat
above-decent human being.
That said, I'll be quite honest about
this: Bob Torecelli is, most likely, guilty
as sin for everything he's been accused
That said, I can only sort of
sit down and watch the carnage from across
the river. There's simply too much to
deal with: the fact that he's accused,
essentially, of accepting expensive suits-
a crime which is being compared in severity
to, well, adultery (which is, of course,
compared to eating babies by the Right
Wing.) The logistics of Doug Forrester's
accusations of replacing Lautenberg as
a "more winnable candidate."
Hence the strip. Basically, everyone's
whining. Democrats, simply admit that
Torecelli is screwed because he's guilty.
Stop putting on this "served us well"
garbage. He didn't serve you well; that's
why you're giving him the axe. Republicans,
stop your bitching. You're angry because
of two reasons: first, you didn't think
of this move yourself (and frankly, it's
goddamn brilliant), and second,
accept that you dug your own grave.
Forrester spent six months running not
even as Doug Forrester but as Doug
NotTorecelli. He constantly demanded for
Torch to resign, and now he's complaining
that it's not fair the Democrats are replacing
him with a candidate that he claims they
think can win. You know, I'm not an election
strategist like all those high-salary
Washington folk, but dag nabbit if it
don't sound like a plum tootin' stupid
idea to me to start complaining that your
new opponent is harder to beat. That's
not exactly the best campaign slogan,
is it? "Doug Forrester- I would have gotten
away with it too if it weren't for you
lousy Democrats and your Frank Lautenberg!"
But I digress. The rest of this meandering
bickering can be analyzed via Joe
Conason's blog over at Salon, where
he gives a bunch of good snappy answers
to stupid questions about the Jersey election
that I agree with but didn't have time
to fit in my brilliant analogy seen in
this week's strip.
In other news, I went to a book signing
last night for a huge amount of cartoonists
in one place, many of whom I
had the pleasure of meeting a few months
ago at a lecture-discussion-thingie.
Highlights of this experience included
a record-breaking fourth book signed by
Ted Rall, a rather informative conversation
with Ruben Bolling, finally meeting Ward
Sutton, and actually being recognized
by Jen Sorensen, who not only remembered
my name from the aforementioned lecture,
but actually mentioned she's a fan of
this site. So, as you can guess, I now
own several more of her books.
I'll scan and post as soon as I can,
but I have a lot more autographs and,
as a great cool thematic trend, many caricatures
of George W. Bush that several artists
at the table- including Sorensen, Rall,
and Sutton, as well as Tim Eagan, Don
Asmussen, Jim Siergy, and some random
other doodles from Bolling and Peter Kuper
who, yet again, enlightened the entire
crowd through the presence of his 4-5-year-old
daughter, who I am almost convinced was
genetically engineered to be as adorable
as possible. This is doubled by the fact
that Kuper has this great film-Noir look
that makes you think he could literally
absorb all the light from his personal
area and redistribute it with correct
shadow as to imply he is about to kill
you painfully. I meant that as a compliment.
It was a very fun evening, offset only
by the fact that I made the mistake of
coming back from it and tuning in to the
premiere of the WB's Birds of Prey.
It's a series based on the Batman
storyline, only without Batman. Or any
major Batman villains. Oh, and the origins
and natures of all the characters still
in the show are completely changed. This
show is the most horrible thing I've ever
seen. As a somewhat large Batman
fan, I am hideously disgusted. Somebody
please make me famous so I can make comics
that will eventually become bastardized
by the AOL-TimeWarner corporation for
pure financial gain. It's my American
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
People are very insane and very stupid.
Brown of the Chicago Sun-Times reports
on a recent e-mail from his local gun
In Roundup offerings that were nuttier
than usual, the rifle association suggested
that the recent sniper killings in Maryland
may have been committed as part of an
anti-gun conspiracy, while it also attacked
a gun control rally held in Chicago on
Monday by belittling shooting victims
and their families as well as children
who enter an anti-violence writing contest.
I wouldn't want the gun nuts to feel
that I had unfairly portrayed their views,
so I will quote the items in their entirety.
Here's the first:
"Of course, most of you have heard
about the sniper killings in Maryland
this week. And, as expected, the gun grabbers
are blaming law-abiding firearm owners
for the carnage. Squawks include demands
that centerfire rifles be placed under
Class III jurisdiction," states the Roundup.
"Far be it from us to advance conspiracy
theories, but the timing of this sniper
activity is unsettling,'' the newsletter
continues. "Maryland has one of the hottest
governor's races in the country, certainly
hotter than that in Illinois. The central
theme of the Maryland race is gun control.
Things heat up. There is this off the
wall series of sniper killings. Murder
made to order for the antigunners. Hmmm,
weren't there some other high-profile
mass gun killings at strangely convenient
Richard Pearson, president of the
Illinois State Rifle Association, told
me he didn't write the newsletter, but
he defended its implication that "antigunners"
and "gun-grabbers" may have fomented the
murders to advance their political cause.
Well. Isn't that special.
I cant even debate that this is one of
the greatest spin jobs I've ever heard.
Here I was, thinking that maybe, just
maybe, ideas that have recently been implemented
courtesy of John Ashcroft and the Bush
administration that allowed gun records
to be purged and abiliteis to trace and
identify deadly weaponry used in crimes
being blocked was the problem. It turns
out that allowing easy untraceable access
to high-powered riflery is actually a
liberal plot to ease the election
of politicians who... umm... err... would
vote against all of it. Right.
What a strange web we code
Apparently I have been voted for by a
fan on some
guy's website, who has, in some strange
form of political commentary, I guess,
declared himself the "World's Funniest
Website," daring all those to challenge
him. All those being, apparently, the
twenty out of the three-point-eight billion
or so people who use the internet who
actually voted in his poll.
Just a brief insight into those who can
use political humor and self-serving commentary
to promote their own images. Sad really.
Oh, and I hit 1,100 votes today on teh
Top100 list. I AM THE GOD OF ALL CREATION.
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
Dancing. Blood will be shed. People
may die. Somebody set us up the bomb.
Detracting from Ashcroft for a moment,
a story via my friend Dennis about the
legalities of Singapore, apparently
translated to English from the original
[M]any young professionals who opt
to emigrate were labelled as quitters
by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong in his
National Day address last August. The
comments sparked a heated debate.
Mr Balakrishnan framed his reply around
the seemingly innocuous pastime of late-night
party-goers dancing on bar table-tops.
The practice is illegal in Singapore on
Discussing the liberalisation of table-top
dancing has become a proxy for a wider
debate about how much freer Singapore
should, or should not, become.
Mr Balakrishnan pushed his remarks
to the limit, saying that even though
bar-dancing rules should be eased, this
could lead to injury or even death.
Monday, October 07, 2002
I am AWESOME, Pt. 2
The WSN server is finally back online,
so I not only have the original, but a
follow-up e-mail for you on my
very first (and second) published hate
Last week, a student wrote in regards
to my latest strip in which I made the
irrevocable mistake of including
Hitler in it. Needless to say, I was
of course surprised by this letter, but
by the mere fact that after four years
I finally had written confirmation that
someone actually reads my comic
in the Washington Square News.
Some excerpts from Justin
Pollak used this poorly written and
drawn comic strip to insinuate that the
German justice minister had been incorrect
in her comparison and that the president
was in fact a worse person than the most
evil man in modern history. Personally,
I do not see the correlation between a
man who wants to protect lives nationally
as well as internationally from a maniacal,
despotic madman like Saddam Hussein, and
a genocidal sociopath who systematically
murdered millions of innocent people.
As if that wasn't enough, Pollak cannot
even get his facts straight. In the strip,
Hitler's corpse claims that one difference
between him and President Bush was that
he was "actually elected by his people."
Maybe if Pollak had read a newspaper in
the past two years and picked up a European
history textbook before making outlandish
statements he would know that: 1) President
Bush was still declared the winner of
the Florida election even after an independent
recount of ballots was performed by various
Florida newspapers; and 2) while Adolph
Hitler was elected chancellor, he proclaimed
himself Führer. I would suggest to Pollak
that the next time he wants to make a
political statement through his little
cartoon, he please have some knowledge
of the subject matter about which he is
writing and try not to spread blatant
falsehoods and distorted history.
Ouch. Poorly written and drawn. I didn't
ever expect that. And I wouldn't
consider it a "little cartoon." Hell,
that thing takes up half a page when it's
published. Let's see The Family Circus
Now, like I said before, I was actually
thrilled about all of this, because of
two things: first of all, I was thrilled
to receive my first published hate letter,
and second, Justin Pioli is a complete
and utter moron.
I was going to try and address this to
the editor, but I realized something:
obviously this person didn't understand
satire. Nor did he realize that the character
I have in my strip of Hitler is there
to mock the people who use Hitler
as a comparison, as clearly identified
strips. And we will not, of course,
even address the fact that I put the contact
info for my editor in the actual strip
as a blatant sign that I was joking about
the obvious baiting that the strip instigated.
something which I guess I congratulate
Pioli for falling for.
What Pioli didn't realize is that I didn't
do a strip comparing Bush to Hitler, I
did a strip that used that analogy to
make a tongue-in-cheek example of how
Bush isn't like Hitler. In other
words, it was completely impossible for
Pioli to disagree with me without agreeing
with me in the first place. Hell, even
the title of his letter was "President
Bush not Hitler." Want to take a quick
check on what the title of my comic was?
Speaking of poorly written, Justin.
Oh, but it gets better, folks. I am loving
the hell out of this. Turns out that.
that's right. the NYU College Republicans
have decided to take their stab at me.
and this morning I was treated to a letter
published in the WSN with a
happy little Conservative response
that actually made a decent stab at sarcasm.
Or At least that's what I thought:
In reading Pioli's response, I could
come to only one conclusion: He just does
not get it. Pollack's cartoon certainly
seems outlandish, but it does represent
mainstream liberal ideology. Since Pioli
does not understand, I will try to explain
it to him.
Hitler murdered millions of innocent
civilians in death camps. Bush wants to
(gasp) take away a "woman's right to choose."
In the world of liberalism, these two
crimes are equal. To liberals, the gas
chamber and pregnancy are equally oppressive.
Another example: Bush wants to cut
taxes and slow the growth of our $2.5
trillion budget. In the words of Democratic
Rep. Charles Rangel of New York, "Even
Hitler didn't talk about doing that."
And, the most prominent example is that
Hitler murdered Jews, among other ethnic
groups he felt were inferior. Well, that
is just like the Republicans: They are
against affirmative action. People who
are against affirmative action must be
closet Hitler sympathizers, right, Pioli?
Well, this is beautiful. We've gone from
complete and utter moron to completely
and utterly insane. This guy is
giving Coulter a run for her money. In
an obvious repeat of complete failure
to miss the point of the comic, Tracey
has launched himself on a tangent that
apparently accuses all those who lean
to the left of comparing any Republican
viewpoint with Nazism. Plus he mis-spelled
my last name. The bastard.
Now, I'll admit that the Hitler strips
might hit a few people harder than necessary.
And I can understand how people would
be offended, as these guys were, because
they took the message intended in the
strip the wrong way.
But could someone explain to me how my
strip, or for that mater anything, anywhere,
implied that liberals compared pregnancy
to gassing deaths? I mean, seriously-
what the high holy hell is this lunatic
You know what, I've got an even better
idea than explaining it to me. You're
all more than welcome to discuss these
questions with the Editor.
Very Empowered Uteruses
A brilliant and informative piece (as
his his style) by Mark Morford of the
San Francisco Gate:
They came right smack under the oil-dipped
nose of Bush's ongoing and smirky attempts
to further erode women's rights and attack
Roe v. Wade and right smack under Ashcroft's
famed misogynistic anti-everything scowl,
the droopy spiritless one that scares
small children and makes pot clubs and
beneficent assisted-suicide laws recoil.
They came right under the angry and
God-fearing, famously non-orgasmic radar
of fidgeting antichoice ultraconservatives
everywhere, including much of Colorado
and South Carolina and nearly all of Utah,
though of course that's just unfair stereotyping
but hey, this kind of thing calls for
hyperbolic celebratory winks.
They are a spate of unprecedented
and groundbreaking new laws in California,
some symbolic but most not, collectively
the most sweeping and woman-empowering
set of pro-choice legislation since Roe
v. Wade, and possibly in U.S. history.
Daughters of California, salud.
article here. Read it several times;
it'll make ya feel good.
Saturday, October 05, 2002
Oh yeah, and one more thing
I should remind everyone that today is,
officially, exactly one month before the
2002 Midterm Elections. That means, in
many states, that if you have not yet
registered to vote and are eleigible to
do so, your registration forms must be
postmarked by today. I've been told by
a friend in Florida that the time has
already passed. In other words: this
may very well be your last chance to register
this year. So adhere to the XQUZYPHYR
& Overboard motto and make sure you tell
all your friends: Vote, you lazy apathetic
Update: Looking for a link to
help you, I came across this
site, which although being blatantly
anti-Bush and pro-Democrat in terms of
the 2002 elections, I want to emphasize
that the only thing I have no partisan
concern about is getting more people to
vote. I'm linking the site because it
has all the info you need about registering:
state-by-state guidelines and deadline,
and a bunch of other stuff too. By encouraging
all of you to register to vote, I am
not specifically endorsing any candidate
or party. Not even a sarcastic joke
here. I'm dead serious. High turnout comes
get off your ass and register.
Friday, October 04, 2002
Friday Fun From the... mailbag. Okay.
Charles Knoles sends me this interesting
story: apparently the U.S. military has
started to- get this- drop leaflets over
the no-fly zones in Iraq telling Iraqi
troops not to fire at the planes flying
the patrol zones. The Iraqi response?
You guessed it- they're
firing at the planes dropping the leaflets.
God, I just hate it when we have
Chris Grealy points out that former U.N.
weapons inspector Richard Butler has oficially
gotten really pissed off.
A reader who wishes to remain completely
anonymous wrote me this a few days ago,
and I think it's a pretty good read, full
of insightful opinion about the
Campus Watch post from a bit back.
The reader for some reason thought I would
want to nit-pick her opinion. Strange
logic to me, since as a hands-on observer
she's got more insight than me about he
whole deal in the first place. Here's
the bulk of her letter:
I'm an international student studying
in this country, and I'm shitting in my
pants everytime I send an email or talk
to someone on the phone, because I might
say something that just shouldn't be said.
Currently, my rights are pretty close
to nothing. And I'm not from somewhere
like Canada where I can get away with
it. I'm from Cyprus. Not quite the middle
east, but far too close for comfort.
Nonetheless, this time round I can't
keep my mouth shut and I need to rant
to someone for a bit. So I thought it
should be you (aren't you the lucky one
- getting the weird Cypriot rantings).
Why doesn't everyone who has fanatically
strong ideas create organizations and
then decide to go around campuses and
force their ideologies onto them. That
sounds like a fantastic idea. Especially
when your idea is actually supported by
the majority of people (and if not the
majority than the majority of the most
powerful - same thing right?) but you
still feel the need to enforce it a little
more. Did you read the section of campus-watch
on what it's about?
"The Problem: American scholars of
the Middle East, to varying degrees, reject
the views of most Americans and the enduring
policies of the U.S. government about
the Middle East."
I'm sorry. Is this a Problem? First
of all you're talking about a tiny little
minority of people called 'academics'
who, quite frankly, are barely heard by
the US government. And secondly, one would
THINK that a scholar of the middle east
(i.e. someone who has been studying it
for just about their whole life) might
actually have a good basis for this opinion.
It's not like they're basing their assumptions
on years of indoctrination, repetitive,
overused arguments, and tragic events
in history that actually have nothing
to do with the problem in the middle east.
I mean, who would be silly enough to do
The questions that people should be
asking themselves at this point in time
is, if I have a different opinion than
the majority (or even better - the corporate
media), am I afraid to voice it? Am I
afraid to write about it in private emails
to private individuals? If I'm walking
in a peaceful demonstration and I see
a police officer do I feel threatened?
Does everything I say have to be worded
in the most diplomatic, politically correct
way possible, in case I'm labelled a traitor?
Oh wait. I'm worse than a traitor. I'm
a foreigner. A foreigner. Just like all
those immigrants from '45 were. Just like
many americans' grandparents were.
So I guess the answer to those previous
questions for me is: Hell yeah am I scared.
I'm shit scared. Just the way some governments
would like us to be.
Finally, I kept avoiding this, because
the Washington Square News' web site has
been down for the last few days, and I
can't link to my great news for all of
you: after four years being printed in
the paper, I finally got my first hate
letter. Now, I don't mean negative feedback-
I get that on a routine basis. What I
mean is that for the first time since
I started printing four years ago, a letter
was printed in the same paper that condemned
my actions. And I was very proud of that,
not just because the author of the letter
(as many WSN readers e-mailed me to tell
me) is a complete idiot, but because for
the first time in four years I've had
written confirmation that someone actually
reads the school newspaper. You
can't get any better than that.
He was, of course, upset with last week's
strip about my "non-comparison," let's
call it, of Bush and Hitler. Which is
gret, because it completes the circle
that is the complete and utter absurity
in the range of opinion towards that character.
I have just as many people offended by
the mere existence of a character being
the Ghost of Adolf Hitler as I do people
who have e-mailed me to tell me- I shit
you not- that they wish there were plush
toys of him. How you make a plush
toy out of an etheral top half of a decomposed
Nazi skeleton, I don't now. But hey, that's
why NYU has a school of Individualized
I've also been told by sources not to
be named to prevent their firing that
the Hitler strip is actual circulating
the halls of the New York Times. I think
I'm going to write them an tell them they
can look at it for two weeks, and after
that they all have to start paying my
$2.95. Boy, I sure am the funniest man
A lot more of you wrote me this week;
I've only answered some. Again, apologizes
to everyone I never had the chance to
reply to... my time machine that allows
there to be more than 24 hours in a day
is still, I'm afraid, not working properly.
In addition, I made the very stupid mistake
of getting my hands on a copy of Warcraft
III, which means if I continue playing
this goddamn game instead of, oh, going
to classes and such, I might have a LOT
more free time for you in the future.
Thursday, October 03, 2002
I think the title will explain it all,
because I just know that I'm gonna get
yelled at for this one. It's just too
weird, and not in a good way. I have a
slight feeling this is gonna be one of
those strips that falls into the "either
you love it or you want me impaled" category.
That said, I shall timidly announce that
comic is posted: "We'd like to
apologize for this entire strip."
RIDICULOUSLY HUGE Update: Many
people have alerted me to this already,
so I need to clarify. The whole "blondes
going extinct" deal was an actual
news article reported by the BBC News,
a very reputable source as prior history
will prove. Several readers have, however,
pointed out the the story itself, however,
is not true. As of Tuesday, the
WHO has refuted any study about possible
I've taken full responsibility for the
flub, (hence, to add another degree to
it, the strip's title) but I'll also remind
all that I write these strips a week in
advance. At the time of inking and submitting
for publishing, this announcement by the
WHO did not exist.
All we can do now is breathe a sign of
relief that this particular misunderstanding
has absolutely no relevance to anything,
at all, whatsoever.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
The President of the United States
has gone completely insane, Pt. 6
"The cost of one bullet, if the Iraqi
people take it on themselves, is substantially
less" than going to war, President Bush's
press secretary, Ari Fleischer, said when
asked at a televised briefing about the
cost of military action against Iraq.
Asked whether the administration was advocating
the assassination of Hussein, Fleischer
repeatedly replied: "Regime
change is welcome in whatever form that
The Washington Post reported last
year that the CIA was contemplating clandestine
missions expressly aimed at killing specified
individuals for the first time since the
1970s. Drawing on two classified legal
memoranda, one written for President Bill
Clinton in 1998 and one written after
the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush
administration concluded that executive
orders banning assassination did not prevent
the president from lawfully singling out
a terrorist for death by covert action.
Oh, and wait, here's another quick one.
Actual headline: Bush
claims war with Iraq "may be unavoidable."
Igor! My ten-foot pole!
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
I am AWESOME
Yep, obligatory but hopefully not-too-frequent
self-congratulatory post. 1,000 votes,
beeyotch. God, now I probably have
to start making my comics funny. Or legible.
(And seriously, no need to thank me.
I'm behind on answering the e-mails as
it is. Just keep reading, it's the gift
of love from you that I cherish more than
anything. That and the naughty photos
some of you ladies are sending me. Just
Mess with the Burqua and you get the
Well, I got told about this one by enough
people to put it up, but I gotta tell
you- I'm betting that within a week we're
gonna get a hoax call on this one.
Nevertheless, our fun-filled story takes
place in Jordan, where the fun was put
back in fundamentalism after a woman
being harassed spontaneously kicked the
crap out of three men.
Witnesses say a Jordanian woman ripped
off her enveloping black cloak and veil
- to reveal a traditional long dress that
was nearly as enveloping - and punched
and kicked into submission three young
men who had been verbally harassing her.
The official Petra News Agency reported
Sunday that shopkeepers and passers-by
believe the unidentified woman must have
had martial arts training. In Friday's
incident on the main street in Zarqa 13
miles north Amman, the three men were
too shocked to react at first and ended
up knocked to the ground, screaming in
pain. They then scrambled up and fled.
Now don't get me wrong- I really want
this to be a true story. But sadly, in
an area of the world where a woman can
be instantly stoned to death for speaking
out of turn, I just find it too good to
be true that one could get away with removing
her Chador and laying the smackdown on
three men. Whatever, the story's putting
me to sleep happy tonight.
Oh, and my first title idea was "Why
can't I ever meet girls who like removing
their clothing and playing rough?" But
that would have been wrong.