Tuesday, December 31, 2002

 

Thurmond can blow it out his ass: a Sesame Street New Year's celebration

A proud and mentionable fact about my hometown of Teaneck, New Jersey, where I am currently resting up once again for the holidays: Teaneck was the first town in the United States to voluntarily de-segregate its public school system.

On May 13, 1964, Teaneck school superintendent Harvey B. Scribner presided over a Board of Education vote to integrate black children into the white schools of Teaneck. Scribner would later say with his hand over his heart, "we did it because it felt in here like we ought to do it."

Scribner passed away on Monday, December 23, 2002. He died within a few weeks of this year's last stab at political controversy, that of a more known and more prominent politician than that of the superintendent of some small-town school system advocating the greatness of a man who opposed the views Scribner risked his career for.

It's one of those situations where you think about the spirit of your town, which today seems to be drifting apart from that famous action in 1964. Teaneck is rapidly splitting into two distinct sections, that of lower-class minority families north of the highway overpass, and that of the rising percentage of the Orthodox Jewish population- a culture that declines sending their children to public school and shies from mass community activity, instead centralizing their homes around their synagogues in the higher-class areas of town often called in smarmier circles as "Hebrew Hills." In short, class and culture is voluntarily re-segregating the first school system in America to have voluntarily fought against it. And then I turn on the TV for a voice and get some asshole talking about how great it would have been for a man who spent a century hating change to have become President.

My sister works at a heath food store in town, and my mom and I stopped in the other day to see her. She was, at the time we were walking into the store, helping Bob with his purchases.

Bob McGrath. Of Teaneck, New Jeresy.

Or, to be more specific, of Sesame Street, which he has appeared on since 1969, a scant few years after the de-segregation vote for the town where, if anything, you could just say he gets his mail. I met Bob once before when I was about four years old. My dad was a reporter at the time for the local paper and interviewed him. I felt the same way talking to him at 21 as I did when I was four. It wasn't some weird celebrity sighting. It's something more magical. It was Bob.

That's part of Teaneck for me, too. The sheer presence of this gentle man who has done pretty much one great thing for most of his career: appearing on a show on Public Television. Public Television that has made children smarter, stronger, and more understanding of things like reading, writing... and yes, racial integration. Public television that people like Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond fought to destroy.

Trent Lott has tried to tell me that the world would have been better without Bob. Trent Lott can go tell Strom Thurmond that I know Bob, I've met Bob, and you, Sir, aren't fit to judge Bob- never have been, never will be.

I understand that this is a convoluted and irrational post here. I've made segues that would cause a Spanish television variety show producer to choke to death. But what I was aiming for was some sort of point about Teaneck, and how it's proof that, even with the risk of its modern-day deterioration, it represents so much of what proves that Strom Thurmond, and what Trent Lott thinks of him, is just so damn wrong. Teaneck is putting black and white children together because we felt in our hearts it was the right thing to do. Teaneck is Bob telling us why that's just so good.

Even if we're screwing it up now, it's a better world because of Harvey Scribner. And even if I graduate this spring and move away and never set foot in Teaneck again, it's a good thing it's there, and what was there. and maybe what could be there, even if that could is only a dream in some wannabe-cartoonist's head. It's a better place because of Teaneck. And it's a better place because of Bob. Those are the things that have made this country a better place, and it's remembering things like that which make a more hopeful chance for the future.

Happy New Year.
 

   

Monday, December 30, 2002

 

Pissing on ashes for victory!

I'll make this clear right from the get-go: I have no problem with the fact that the wreckage of the World Trade Center is being salvaged as scrap metal. Just as I refute the rhetoric that the footprint of the Twin Towers is some kind of "hallowed ground," I refute any notion or suggestion that the remnants of the buildings' steel, regardless of how they became in the condition they now are in, are in some way sacred relics of the horrible tragedy of September 11th, 2001.

The building was destroyed leaving a pile of wreckage (amongst other things too gruesome to discuss,) and it's perfectly logical to take that wreckage and salvage it for scrap. We're not talking about exploiting the disaster, nor are we suggesting this is similar to tearing the gold from a prisoner's tooth for profit. It's wreckage; wreckage can, and should, be salvaged for recyclable use. To look at a fallen girder and regard it as special or sacred is to create a ridiculous symbol, and that's where I take issue.

So you can imagine how ridiculous I find the recent revelation that steel from the World Trade Center is being selected- specifically- for use in the construction of a warship to be named the U.S.S. New York. That's right. How cute, or without the sarcasm how utterly, utterly obscene.

Quotes New York Governor George Pataki in the article, "We're very proud that the twisted steel from the WTC towers will soon be used to forge an even stronger national defense." He says this without even the remotest hint of irony.

That's right. This isn't a coincidence, nor is it merely a touching suggestion from a victim group. Currently, only submarines in the Navy get state names, which means the military is making a special exception for the battleship. They're making a special order for the specific steel.

I have no qualm with using steel for salvage, and to be honest I have no real qualm with using the WTC steel to build a battleship. My issue is the basic fact that this article throws right in the face of someone who watched it all go down on 9/11: this is a symbolic gesture of American arrogance.

Like those brain-dead soldiers who found humor in scribbling "hijack this, fags" and posed for pictures with a bomb to be later dropped on Afghani civilians, this is no act of might, nor of humility in the eyes of the conflict and struggle of war. This is a gesture that serves the sole purpose of rubbing one's face in something. The military is deliberately emphasizing with extraneous fanfare how they are using the wreckage of a terrorist attack to build a piece of military weaponry. And for an encore of insult, they are- literally- doing it in the name of the victim.
 

   

Saturday, December 28, 2002

 

Hi folks, I've come back to bash my head into the wall

A nasty political sequel is being played out before our eyes. "The Bureaucracy Strikes Back" is the story flowing from the courageous saga of Minneapolis FBI agent Coleen Rowley, who blew the whistle on higher-ups in the FBI's bureaucracy.

Just seven months ago she was being heralded as a national hero for daring to testify that top-level FBI officials had stymied efforts by Minneapolis agents to search records of Zacarias Moussaoui before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. A go-ahead from Washington for a search in Minneapolis might have yielded information that might have prevented the horrid attacks. A search of Moussaoui's belongings after 9/11 found clues to the plot.

Even in the midst of her testimony in Washington early last June, the FBI seemed to deliver a pointed message to Rowley that she was on her own. During a break in her testimony, Rowley had gone to FBI headquarters. Rather than provide a vehicle or any sort of escort for the agent when she left the FBI building, Rowley was left to fend for herself. She stepped out the door and into swarms of TV news crews. The situation was so chaotic that Rowley was concerned that some of the TV people might be injured by passing traffic.

Now come reports of what appears to be another message being delivered to Rowley and her ilk.

The Star Tribune's Greg Gordon reported last week that at a quiet little ceremony earlier this month, Marion (Spike) Bowman was one of nine people in the bureau to receive an award for "exceptional performance." The award carries with it a cash bonus of 20 to 35 percent of the recipient's salary and a framed certificate signed by the president.

What does this have to do with Rowley? Bowman heads the FBI's National Security Law Unit. That's the unit that blocked Minneapolis agents from pursuing their suspicions about Moussaoui.

The full article here, and yes, this is the same Colleen Rowley who deservedly earned the honor from TIME as one of the three Persons of the Year, an especially admirable honor considering the outright embarassment of last year's Rudy Giuliani cop-out. Hope you all had a good Christmas and/or vacation day, respective religion pending.
 

   

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

 
Merry Christmas from XQUZYPHYR & Overboard

Bad Quality (200K, faster modems and high-res monitors)

Worse Quality (100K, slower modems and 800X600 or smaller resolutions)

 

   

Monday, December 23, 2002

 

Pardon me for my cynical ambivalence

President Bush has pardoned seven Americans for an array of mostly minor offenses, from a Mississippi man who tampered with a car odometer to a postal employee who stole $10.90 from the mail, the White House announced Monday.

The seven were the first pardons of his administration.

"What all these cases have in common is that each pardon recipient committed a relatively minor offense many years ago, completed his prison sentence or probation and paid any fine, and has gone on to live an exemplary life and to be a positive force in his community," said Ashley Snee, a White House spokeswoman.

So... let's just make that clear. Bush finally decided to have a ratio of pardons in which humans actually outnumbered Thanksgiving turkeys, and he did so by pardoning- the act of compassionate forgiveness and removal of one's necessity to attone for their sins- a bunch of people who comitted minor crimes... and had already done the mandated attoning? What, would pardoning seven dead people have seen too morbid something?

Big fucking deal, George. Pardon my French.

 

   
 

Well so much for the free exchange of information

A few months back, I successfully bid on an E-Bay item, advertised as a CD-ROM B-737 ground-school course. I was sure that Boeing had made such a CD-ROM, but there was no particular indication that such an object would contain sensitive or even proprietary information. The ad described the manual as "siimilar to that used by major airlines."

Last week, I received a frantic e-mail message from the seller of the CDROM, who wrote with some urgency that he needed it back (with a full refund promised, of course). Curious, I picked up the phone and called the fellow, who works as a flight instructor. He revealed that the FBI had paid him a visit, warning that the content of the CD-ROM disc material - information on how to operate a Boeing 737 airliner - constituted "a national security threat." The agents demanded that my new acquaintance recover and surrender to the FBI any and all such material that he had distributed. Obviously, copyright laws were also involved.

I just received a call from the local U.S. Attorney's Office asking if I had received the federal grand jury subpoena concerning the B-737 CD-ROM affair. (I had not received it, but I thanked them for the warning.)

In this brave new post-9/11 world - thanks to section 501 (d) of the "USA Patriot Act" passed by Congress on Oct. 25, 2001, once someone receives such a subpoena - if it is served in concert with a terrorist investigation - he or she is not allowed to tell anyone about receiving the subpoena.

Right. So, everyone, make sure you don't tell as many people as possible about this. That would be bad.
 

   
 

Say it... Vast.... vaaaaaaaaaast.... SAY IT, TRENT! SAY IT NOW!

Sen. Trent Lott, in his first public remarks since resigning as Senate Republican leader, said Sunday that he had fallen into a "trap" set by his political enemies and had "only myself to blame."

"I don't think there's any use in trying to say I'm disappointed in anybody or anything. An inappropriate remark brought this down on my head."

However, he said there were those who had been gunning for his resignation. "There are people in Washington who have been trying to nail me for a long time," Lott said. "When you're from Mississippi and you're a conservative and you're a Christian, there are a lot of people that don't like that. I fell into their trap and so I have only myself to blame."

He wouldn't say who those political enemies were.

The full story here. Excuse me, I have to go laugh my ass off.
 

   
 

Once more unto the tundra, dear friends (a.k.a. Alaska pt. 3)

I am amazed that I now have written proof of at least two fans from Alaska. Reader Daniel Peterson has an even-handed analysis of the Murkowski appointment. I should point out, as you read his e-mail, that Daniel is fifteen years old. When I was fifteen I spent most of my time staring at Lauren Bence in Spanish class, which goes to show that Alaska either has a lot more entertaining school curriculum or a lot less insanely hot girls wearing clothing suitable for 70-degree weather.

The law that allowed Murkowski to appoint his successor is less than a year old, and was tailor made with him in mind. When Murkowski announced his candidacy for Governor last year, the Republican super-majority in the state legislature passed a bill, over then-Governor Tony Knowles' veto, creating a minimum five-day waiting period between the resignation of statewide elected officials and the appointment of their replacement by the Governor.

What's more, throughout the gubernatorial campaign, the elder Murkowski refused to even hint at who he might appoint at his replacement, and didn't even release a "long" list of potential candidates until AFTER he won. I guess you can't fault a man for shrewd political strategy, but you certainly don't have to like it.

As for Lisa Murkowski, she really was the best choice for the seat. It would be a conservative estimate to say that she probably has at least 30 IQ points on her dad, and is one of the most decent and sane Republican members of the Alaska State Legislature (not just by default, either, although by the standards of the Alaska legislative Republican caucus, Trent Lott could be among the most decent and sane).

I doubt that the newly appointed Sen. Murkowski will last long though. She is far too moderate for the right-wing crazies here, and she is guaranteed to face primary challenges from half of the Alaska Republican Party next year. Even if she wins that, the Democrats will be hungry enough for that seat that they'll probably put up former Governor Tony Knowles, a radical...ummm...centrist, who still enjoys pretty widespread popularity and who managed to get elected Governor twice in a state that (over the last ten years anyway) tends to elect Republicans by margins of nearly two to one.

Update: Daniel informed me he's not 15. He's a 15-year resident of Alaska, and he's actually 20. But Lauren, you can still call me.
 

   

Saturday, December 21, 2002

 

Dick Cheney is the most horrible person alive

Dick Cheney, the US vice-president, last night blocked a global deal to provide cheap drugs to poor countries, following intense lobbying of the White House by America's pharmaceutical giants.

Faced with furious opposition from all the other 140 members of the World Trade Organisation, the US refused to relax global patent laws which keep the price of drugs beyond reach of most developing countries.

Talks at the WTO's Geneva headquarters collapsed last night after the White House ruled out a deal which would have permitted a full range of life-saving drugs to be imported into Africa, Asia and Latin America at cut-price costs.

Earlier in the day America's drug industry had expressed confidence that its lobbying of the Bush administration would pay off.

"The joke in Geneva this morning is that they couldn't make a decision because the CEOs of Merck and Pfizer were still in bed," said Jamie Love, director of the Consumer Project on Technology, a US lobby group. "George Bush is arguing that diseases his own children receive treatment for are off limits to poor children in poor countries."

The full article here. Words sort of fail me on this. All I can do is picture Cheney standing in a children's hospital screaming "Merry Christmas" over and over again as he strangles kittens to death. I have to leave now.
 

   
 

A little more northern exposure

An update on the Frank Murkowski's daughter story: Alaska native Kyle Marin has informed me that this gets even better:

I had mentioned that Murkowski's daughter was "qualified" for the Senate seat because she was already an elected politician- she's serving in the Alaska state legislature. Of course, now, she's resigning her legislature seat to take the Federal Senate seat her father just appointed her to.

So... wait for it... guess what Governor Murkowski gets to do now? He gets to pick the replacement for his daughter's abandoned seat. No word yet on how many other kids Frank has.

I'm not a Republican (because, you know, it's hard to tell with all the stuff I write here) but I'll still admit, as I said before, that this really is just a set of happy chances coming into play that favored the Murkowski family. Is it illegal? No, and it's not really that unethical, just one of those things that you have no choice but to look at a second or third time. Alaskan law just simply never accounted for a scenario like this. But hey, Alaskan law also says it's illegal to serve a Moose liquor.
 

   
 

Oh, this doesn't frighten me at all

Efforts to bolster Internet security will not lead to increased government scrutiny of individuals' online habits, the White House and industry sources said on Friday.

In a set of preliminary guidelines released in September, the White House said high-tech companies that keep an eye on the Internet should combine their efforts and work with the government to better defend against computer viruses, worms and other cyberattacks.

The New York Times in its Friday edition reported the White House is planning a bigger government role in the proposed center that could possibly lead to surveillance of individual users.

But high-tech sources who had been briefed on the updated plans said they were not aware of any such change, and White House Cybersecurity czar Richard Clarke assured high-tech firms the government only wanted them to set up an "early warning system" to keep an eye on the health of the Internet

The head of a high-tech trade group said government involvement in this system is not needed as these companies are already in constant communication with each other.

"They already do it just fine, they don't need government help," said Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America. "There are so many people monitoring the system that nothing's going to fall through the cracks."

Oh, well that makes everything better. then. Plus, the government isn't going to abuse its power, because it said it wouldn't, and that's good enough for me. (The full story found here)
 

   

Friday, December 20, 2002

 

Wait a minute....

Okay, reading the article, I guess I can concede that she seems qualified for the job... but I'm sorry, does it disturb anyone else when a governor appoints his own daughter to fill his former Senate seat?

This isn't like a Paul Wellstone-style tribute for the dead thing, either. Frank Murkowski was an Alaskan senator, got elected governor, and therefore had to resign his seat. But, as he is now governor, immediately gained the power to fill his own vacancy.

I've seen weirder things happen in Congress in my lifetime- okay, I've seen weirder things happen in Congress since Tuesday- but this is just odd.
 

   
 

Hey there! Welcome to Amer- just kidding

I saw this on the news scroll the other day, but Alex Johansson was thoughtful enough to provide the story link for me (and all of you:)

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hundreds of Iranian and other Middle East citizens were in southern California jails on Wednesday after coming forward to comply with a new rule to register with immigration authorities only to wind up handcuffed and behind bars.

Shocked and frustrated Islamic and immigrant groups estimate that more than 500 people have been arrested in Los Angeles, neighboring Orange County and San Diego in the past three days under a new nationwide anti-terrorism program. Some unconfirmed reports put the figure as high as 1,000.

The arrests sparked a demonstration by hundreds of Iranians outside a Los Angeles immigration office. The protesters carried banners saying "What's next? Concentration camps?" and "What happened to liberty and justice?."

The full story here.

Between the time this story broke and the time I recieved the e-mail from Alex, the story has also been picked up by most major sources, ranging from the BBC to Fox News, so go right ahead and pick you favorite flavor.

Sadly, this news is now technically over 24 hours old, which means odds are no one cares about it since the big story right now is how we're apparently able to attack Iraq if we really wanted to... but we're not going to, nyah nyah. This is, just a reminder, a country that all these people apparently want to live in willingly. Funny, huh?
 

   
 

Just needed to get this off my chest

Hey. Yoko. John's dead. He doesn't care.

I'm back up. More relevant stuff later. I promise.
 

   

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

 

Okay, two more before I go

I'd also like to point out that the President of the United States has yet again gone completely insane:

President Bush's national security advisers are recommending that he declare Iraq in violation of a United Nations disarmament order, administration officials say, but they do not consider the indictment an immediate trigger for war.

At issue is a 12,000-page weapons declaration required under the U.S.-backed U.N. disarmament resolution. Administration officials have privately said for days that Bush considers the declaration laughably inadequate.

There has been some discussion inside the administration about immediately declaring Iraq in "material breach" of the resolution, which could provide Bush with what he considers legal justification for going to war.

The strategy gaining most support on Bush's team is to increase pressure on U.N. weapons inspectors to seek interviews with Iraqi weapons scientists outside of Iraq, a prerogative given to the international body under the resolution.

Bush believes Saddam will resist such demands, giving the United States a case for "material breach" that U.S. allies and the American public may find more justified than hastier action, the officials said.

Right. In addition, Bush believes that Saddam will jump up when sharply told to, giving the United States a case for noting that they did not say "Simon says-" a material breach that technically allows military intervention.

Good lord. Is this really what we've stooped to- we need to taunt Iraq into doing something to make us declare war on them? The Middle East, George. It's a global region, not a beehive. Grow up.
 

   
 

Okay, one more before I go

Just wanted to note that New York finally passed a gay rights bill. And gosh, that only took 31 years.
 

   
 

A moment of peace, please

There's a 90% chance this site will be update-free for the next 2-3 days, as I'm packing up my things and the computer and heading home for the winter break. It gets hard to post anything new when your computer is packed inside a box of styrofoam peanuts.

To be honest, I wasn't going to be making any major strides this week in the political commentary department, what with Tom leading the field in comparison with his little project of... oh yeah: single-handedly ending Trent Lott's career. I, on the other hand, could talk about my adventures in buying Christmas gifts online. But I won't.

If you're short on time, you can wait for the eventual movie about the work Tom's been doing to expose Lott, starring Robert Redford as Tom Tomorrow and, of course, Dustin Hoffman as Sparky the Wonder Penguin.
 

   
 

Future competition for the Trent Lott Mass Apologies Award

A 14-year old student at a California high school is suing the Banning, CA school board after school administrators discovered she was a lesbian, and proceeded to do the obvious most rational and well-thought-out next step in addressing the possible sexual tension and confusion among the student's peers- banning her from the girls' locker room.

The girl seeks unspecified damages which we can only hope are a cubic assload save of course for the school board trying to come up with some rational defense in regards to the selective isolation and discrimination of a fifteen-year-old girl who did, according to every non-bible-related law in the history of the North American judiciary, absolutely nothing remotely construed as wrong. Add that to the fact that an emotionally violated teenage girl is now filing a lawsuit with ACLU lawyers in the middle of California. Wow, is THIS school screwed.

"Well, we had those signs lying around the basement since like 1967 or something like that, and we figured we can just cross out 'colored' and scribble in 'faggot' and show the children hands-on active participation in their studies about the Civil Rights Movement," the school's principal would of course never said publicly. Added a German ex-Nazi official who is a complete figment of my imagination, "seperate changing rooms! And here we don't even need to look at penises at all!"

The story is just one of those little pieces where you realize just how horrible and ignorant an entire collective group of people we label as guardians and educators can be as they psychologically strip any shred of self-respect and personal worth from a young child, then suddenly wonder exactly why we think it's ludicrous for people to sue people for amounts almost as stupid as the people who made the lawsuit necessary in the first place. Whatever. I'm expecting a load of apologies by Friday and a few new lines of "she's gay. Deal with it" added to the syllibi.
 

   

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

 

More on Al. The rhyme would have sucked.

From ACM, ambassodor of the Land of People Who Don't Include Full Names in Their E-Mails:

[I] am surprised that you say "Democrats will have to do some soul-searching on this one." every Democrat that I know (and we're all the ranting anti-cabal sort) are hugely relieved. I think that if Gore wanted to run, he'd be pretty much the no-brainer nominee, and after the way that
he seemed to torpedo his own campaign last time around (and the way in which he's never really captured the hearts of the progressives or
stimulated the imaginations of anybody in the party) that would just seem like asking for another 4 years of this nightmare.

I don't know who should or will end up running, but hopefully the selection process will be a chance for discussion of positions, input from the rank and file of the party, and a general re-examination of why trying to look like the Republicans isn't the way of the future...

Points taken, ACM. Just to clarfiy, I wasn't really taking a stance on the "soul-searching" rationale as much as applying it as part of one of the two options as to why Gore did what he did. Personally, I don't think there's much room for soul-searching, I think Al looked in the mirror after the last few weeks of his new image, said to himself, "well, crap, why didn't I just do this four years ago?" and then realized he's screwed.

Aside from that, I think Al Gore's fate came best from Al Gore, who flat-out said that Al Gore running would mean everyone would be talking about how Al Gore was screwed in 2000. (On that note, anyone else notice, now that Gore's dropped out, how frequently every single news report has suddenly decided to mention how he won the popular vote as part of their standard copy? Or is it just me?)

As far as ACM's idea that this will lead to "general re-examination," I share the (lack of) optimism of the San Francisco Gate's Mark Morford, who mentioned in Monday's news feed the Gore story as such:

Al Gore left the field of potential 2004 Democratic presidential candidates in a surprise move that immediately raised the stakes for a half-dozen others pondering a run for the White House, but also completely annihilated all hopes that the rumor might be true and that Gore was planning on running a funky, loose, alternative, completely different style of plainspoken, relaxed, aggressively progressive campaign that might've gone a long way to highlight the embarrassing string of humiliating and soul-curdling and life-defeating moves by the Geedubya administration. Now we are stuck with either the nice boring East Coast WASP John Kerry, or the weirdly uncharismatic albino Gephardt, or the dry wonk Daschle. Meanwhile, flowers struggled to survive and animals hunkered down in caves and the warm human soul, battered and slapped by warmongers and corporate slugs and sodomitic priests, worked to survive the cold, hard winter, whee.
 

   
 

The Great Wipe

Apologies to some for not getting to their e-mails, and apologies to everyone for current and possible future posting lags. Sometime this week I am heading home for the holidays. Before I go I need to pack and prep my computer for some winter work, part of which includes wiping the entire hard drive clean and re-installing everything to make sure I'm literally starting the next phase of some projects from scratch. I'm a complicated man, don't ask me why I do things this way.

Plus, I need to remove all the traces of porn before the computer goes to the house where my mother sleeps. Just kidding.

But anyway, I can almost guarantee that I'm going to accidentally let a few things slip into the ether over the next day or so, your e-mail- yes, you, right there, in the shirt with the thing on it- might be among those. Yet another pre-emptive apology.
 

   

Monday, December 16, 2002

 

Countdown

I am writing this as the deadline for the MTA strike is passing, so I have literally about three minutes to get my last few points across before either possible deal is sealed. But I'm just going to wrap up- or attempt to wrap up- all three of the "big issues" going on right now. Here goes.

Gore not running. Frankly, I don't have much to say about this. There's really only two reasons Gore made this decision, neither of which put Democrats or their punditry in a good light. Either Gore simply knew something we didn't (i.e. internal polls, secret deals, etc.) or we all knew too much about this that we were in a complete state of denial. Democrats will soul-search for a bit about this, but ultimately it comes down most likely to the latter: in other words, Gore simply didn't see a strong chance of winning in two years, and just doesn't want to risk losing to Bush twice in a row.

Are we going to see Gore in 2008? Will he have to compete with Hillary Clinton? Will they have to face Condoleeza Rice? Christ, I don't even know what I'm having for breakfast on Wednesday.

Trent Lott. All Trent, all the time. Well, that didn't take long: the Wall Street Journal has officially played both the Byrd card and the Jesse Jackson card at the same time in their Sunday editorial to accuse the Democratic Party of outright hypocrisy for having the gall, THE GALL, to chastise Trent Lott. Which means, of course, that essentially the leading mainstream position among conservatives is likely going to shape into "look! YOU'VE got racists too!" As if A. that makes everything better and B. that was actually remotely an equivalent comparison. And even if it was, it hardly adds to the tone of rational debate about inherent racism in our nation's political leaders. To use either A or B as some kind of excuse is like trying to gain ground by bending over, pulling down your pants, and demanding to see if the the other party has a bigger asshole.

The difference, of course, albeit not an attempt to forgive the past actions of Jackson and Byrd, are obvious to anyone who, oh, let's say reads above a fifth-grade level: Jackson was hardly near the level of elected office and/or legislative power as Trent Lott, and Byrd, shameful as his past was, didn't address a crowd less than two weeks ago and say that it would have been better today if he was STILL in the Klan, nor have any Democrats held a party in honor of Byrd in which the keynote speaker casually mentioned how much they wished Byrd's views from fifty years ago were active today.

Lott has still not publicly stated the one thing that needs to be made clear: he was absolutely incorrect. Strom Thurmond, in 1948, ran on a campaign of racial segregation, and had he won the presidency the country simply would have been scores worse than it is now, considering the racial separation that STILL exists today even under the aura of some kind of regulated equality. Until Lott simply admits that he was thinking like a racist, acting like a racist, and declaring his support for a racist presidential campaign, there isn't going to be much forgiveness, only whitewash.

Much of this is also noted by Joe Conason in his latest Salon Journal posting (Premium, subscription or brief homage to Mercedes-Benz required), but I'll note the important Byrd issue here:

A convenient diversion from that fact, for Republican voices such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, is to call attention to Senator Byrd's KKK membership. They both mention it frequently, as if he had just quit the Klan last week. (The Wall Street Journal editorial page deems it necessary to bring this up again today as well, in an editorial demanding that Lott quit for the sake of the conservative agenda.) They speak as if they have no idea when Byrd was in the Klan or when he left, so let me clue them in. As a young man, Byrd was a Klan member briefly during the 1940s. He quit more than a decade before his first election to the Senate in 1958. He is now 84 years old. In 1993, CNN anchor Bernard Shaw asked Byrd to name his worst mistake. "That's easy," he replied. "The greatest mistake I ever made was joining the Ku Klux Klan. And I've said that many times. But one cannot erase what he has done. He can only change his ways and his thoughts. That was an albatross around my neck that I will always wear."

The strike. Great. As of now, everything's tentatively postponed. Which seems like there might be a contract out of all of this after all. Sorry that the one topic I was going to get into isn't going to be much of one. Oh well.
 

   

Sunday, December 15, 2002

 
And now, the political understatement of the century

Screenshot taken from the conservative website Free Republic upon the breaking news on CNN that Gore will not seek the presidency in 2004.

Update: And speaking of controversial quotes, for added effect this recent announcement-to-be from Gore is being discussed on MSNBC as I write this with a panel that includes former Senator Bob Dornan... you know, the guy who threatened to kill the President. Irony, apparently, is viewed as dead the same way Micheal Meyers is.
 

   

Saturday, December 14, 2002

 

Well, that was an interesting 24 hours

A lot of you jumped on the events of the last day a lot quicker than I did. Cardinal Law resigns, and all of a sudden Kissinger does to. Basically, I think we all saw the logic in this: Kissinger didn't want his client lists revealed, so he backed away from his chair position. I mean, honestly. And here I was thinking Henry was a man of accountability. Riiiiiiight.

The strike rhetoric is heating up, as Mayor Bloomberg decided to make his next move towards a reasonable, cordial settlement by complaining that the city had to spend $5 million drafting up contingency plans that they would have to use on the grounds that they chose to ignore the Transit Workers union completely, to which the head of the TWU responded, and I quote, "Mayor Bloomberg should shut up." Now, a judge has ruled any potential strike illegal, and the TWU doesn't necessarily care and might do it anyway. And how can you argue with them when you've got this guy for a mayor:

I mean, Jesus Christ. Just stop it, Mike. You look like an asshole.

That out of the way, a very interesting e-mail that came in since the last post as well. Kristopher Nordstrom had this influential piece to say about Trent Lott, who, as Nordstrom points out, just keeps sinking deeper and deeper the more people actually bother to afford him even a fraction of scrutiny some (ahem) other prominent politicians recieved under Lott's watch:

I won't get into criticism of Lott. He's obviously retarded and what he said about Thurmond (on what's looking like at least 3 different occasions)is obviously inexcusable. I'm interested in the resurfacing of Lott's connection to the Council of Conservative Citizens and want to share my personal story regarding the CCC.

Back in my sophmore year at Wake Forest (it was either fall 96 or spring 97), my fraternity was doing a community service project at a state park outside Winston-Salem. Me and one other dude were walking around and saw signs pointing to "Eurofest" sponsored by the Council of Conservative Citizens. Curious, we followed the signs until we saw a large picnic area.

We could smell burgers on the grill, so my friend and I decided to go down there and try to weasel a free lunch out of them. The first thing I noticed were the bumper stickers on the cars: "American by birth, Southern by the grace of God", "Don't blame me, I voted for Jefferson Davis", and plenty of confederate flags. Being a Rhode Islander, I just figured, "hey, that's NC."

We walked up and asked what was going on and they said that they were just a group of people getting together to celebrate their European heritage. I still hadn't made the connection until I walked by the literature table. There I saw books on how immigration is killing America, newspapers with headlines that said "CLINTON HAS A NEGRO SON!", books about Jewish conspiracies and lots of other blatantly racist propaganda. I talked briefly with a guy who had a radio show that tried to "look at the news from a Biblical perspective and shed the 'liberal bias' of mainstream media." Ohhhhkaaaayyyy. At this point I had put two and two together. But the food looked damn good, and we had been invited to eat lunch, so we stayed.

We sat down at a table with a doctor, a lawyer and various other professional people. And they were not scared at all to let the N-bomb fly. That's what really scared me. You'd think this behavior would be expected from a bunch of rednecks, but these were "normal" looking, white collar people. As soon as we were done eating, we got up, grabbed one of their newspapers and hightailed it out of there. It was one of the craziest experiences of my life. I was scared to even tell them I was from Rhode Island ("uh...but I love life in the South now...really, I do!").

So, the moral of the story is this: CCC=KKK. They're VERY forthright in what they stand for. If Lott's claiming otherwise, he's lying through his teeth.
 

   

Friday, December 13, 2002

 

Rounding up and wrapping up

Thursday was, technically, the end of the year for me. I have turned in the Fall course requirements for my senior film, and I had, sadly, my last day at my internship at Nickelodeon. It consumed two days out of my week, and was an interesting experience, but in the long run I enjoyed it, and walked away with a little more knowledge in Flash and an armful of some promotional swag- including an Invader ZIM T-shirt that was made only for MTV networks staff and isn't sold in stores. I believe the term I am looking for would be "rox0rz."

(If anyone uses or more likely has small children in tha family that uses the nick.com site, the only thing I can think of that you might be able to see that I made during my intenship can be found if you play the "Wild Thornberrys Wildlife Refuge" game. It's this big ongoing game where you "collect" and take care of wild animals, all of which are animated as they appear in little pens in your game. I animated the giraffe, the hyena, and the elephant. Anything else I did would be various graphics that I'd have to be standing next to you pointing them out. So I would recommend concentrating your interest in envying my Invader ZIM shirt.)

I wanted to mention before I forgot that one of the guys I worked for, Andrew Bell, has a fantastical site called Creatures in my Head, where he posts a daily sketch of just that- a little creature he thinks up and draws. The artwork is simply delightful or delightfully simple or something like that and if they had actually paid me at this internship I probably would have spent it all on his t-shirts. So go enjoy the site and if you leave a positive comment tell him August sent you.

But I digress. Odds are you didn't come here to hear yet another post about my daily work activities. You came here for what you usually come for: the hottest barely-18 webcam action on the net. I mean the political commentary. Sorry, don't know what I was thinking there. On with the first run of a weekend roundup.

I don't know really what else to say about the whole Trent Lott issue that hasn't been covered to a meticulously brilliant degree by Tom and Mikhela Reid, among others. Frankly, Mikhela made a point similar to a commentary on BuzzFlash the other day that reflected the less-noted issue of my interest: that Tom Daschle, as the alleged leader of Senate Democratic rhetoric, has basically been a complete and total wimp about all of this. His initially response to the allegations were ambiguous in the very notion of actually accusing Lott of having said something wrong, and even after Al Gore and John Kerry both publicly denounced Lott's remarks, Daschle still didn't make any statement of a furor remotely close to when he defended Max Cleland a few weeks ago. In other words, as a Democrat I'm not really concerned as much with arguing Lott's leadership fallacies as I am Tom Daschle's right now. I already knew that Lot was a racist ass who shouldn't be managing a Wal-Mart let alone the United States Senate. Tom Daschle, on the other hand, is actually exceeding my expectations of just how pathetic and excuse for a party leader he can be in this. Daschle should not have allowed two lower-ranking Democrats, not to mention the President of the United States at this point, take a stronger stance than him on an issue that basically should have handed public favoritism to the Democrats on a platinum-coated plate.

And now a few e-mails. Kevin Wohlmut has addressed the appointment of Henry Kissinger in the only way one can make it lighthearted- with a link to an MP3 of the classic Monty Python song about the former Secretary of State, current September 11th investigator, and future convicted war criminal (a man can dream.) Seeing as how it's a MP3 of a copyrighted song and Kevin's probably not the highest bandwidth magnate in the land, I should probably say YOU SHOULD not GO TO IT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

And here's an e-mail from Jennifer Marino about the story coming from Georgia about the abortion story I linked to earlier:

The thing about that psycho Franklin is absolutely true: This guy is, however, clearly completely nuts, since he's trying to eliminate Georgia's income tax (HB 2 and 4-9), and unless I'm completely mistaken, to hold all federal taxes and use them as blackmail in the event the federal government finds anything about Georgia's laws unconstitutional (HB 3)

Well, I feel safe knowing that this guy's an elected government official. And to think, he's under the prominent leadership of Trent Lott.
 

   

Thursday, December 12, 2002

 

A slightly colder day in Hell

Now, what gets me about this one is that there's almost no way George Bush doesn't look evil with this. I mean, for Christ's sakes, the actual headline of the article is "Bush Administration Proposes $300 Million Heating Cut to Needy." (Okay, well at least it was on Yahoo!'s front page, now inside it's less sensational)

So it's one of these stories that is pretty much clear in the content: Bush wants to cut funding for programs that help the poor pay their heating and electric bills. Sadly, this message is going to likely be used by the Democrat pundits as nothing but the aforementioned sensationalistic slew, leaving the actual important issue- the people themselves- literally in the dark.
 

   
 

Straphangers and strapped budgets

For those not in the local news area: there's the possibility of a city-wide transit strike here in New York come Sunday. The unions, demanding a pay increase and benefit security, are up against the city, which is deep in debt as it is and refused to offer anyone anything. According to state law, the city can technically sure to have an injunction made against the union from striking. (Well, sort of. What is does is fine unions for damages incurred from declaring a strike that is declared illegal by the courts- in this case, shutting down the a city government-controlled service)

As always, the local city tabloid press has invoked it's long-standing spirit of illogical thought by publishing their "appeals to the common man New Yorker" headlines that essentially blame the labor union for anything that could remotely be construed as bad. I swear, pick up a copy of the Daily News today and even the movie reviews will somehow find a way to attack the transit union.

And thus begins the great two-step one makes to fight a union in such a big battle: the city is going to outright declare the union powers as illegal, while the media is going to attempt to stir up utter hatred for the union in the usual way. As always, we have to be reminded that anyone who ever asks for more money at their job is automatically an unskilled union-controlled greedy bastard who should just be fired and replaced by someone willing to work for even less. It's compassionate conservatism well at work.

The first complaint, of course, is against the union's salary requests: the news is already stating the union demands a 24% pay increase. That's not even misleading, it's just wrong. The union's initial demand was an increase of 8% each year for the three years of the contract. Perhaps it's high, but it's a bargaining point, not to mention a reasonable request in terms of cost-of-living math in New York. Since then, the union has lowered their offer to 6% each year. The city, however, stands by its demand that the union gets nothing.

The other major complaint is my favorite, which is the fervent anger that these subway and bus operators- who do they think they are- don't deserve whatever high salaries they are already getting. To which I address as follows:

You don't want their job, though. Everyone complains that the subway drivers are making too much money. No one suddenly gets up and decides to quit their job at the firm and start operating subways. Maybe because deep down inside you know it's a hard laborious task, with insane hours and almost no recognition- as the local papers have so generously reminded us.

You're proving your own lie. The strike, like most other New Yorkers, will affect me greatly. Mayor Bloomberg has already released the possible contingency plans for a strike, which makes my options for commutes home for Christmas rather difficult. Likewise, everyone else around here acknowledges that the transit workers basically control the city's transportation grid. There is no argument that a transit strike will cripple the city. So where's the supply-and-demand argument here? We, as residents, have already proven in our own complaints against the union that we need them to such a degree that they could ask for anything and get it. How come when it's a bunch of blue-collar transit workers using "the genius of Capitalism" it's considered a horrific sign of unions with too much power?

The workers deserve their salary, period. New York City has, despite its appearance, a highly efficient transit system. The subways and busses keep good schedules. Trains keep coming in, even with the budget limiting construction and new trains. It's a feat of skill that the system runs efficiently, because even one train stalling or shutting down can screw up and entire line across all of Manhattan.

Although the trains run on time, there's frequent overcrowding, no results in the idea of re-opening the much-needed 2nd Avenue line, and an upcoming 33% fare increase. The problem is the Transit Authority giving the commuter the shaft, not the efficiency of the system itself. Ironically, the biggest benefit of the system is that the efficiency: something which should be credited to the transit employees... the people we're now all announcing should be run out of town on the very rails they run for us.

The fact is, this isn't the workers' faults, and we shouldn't make the workers our problem. The problem is an overall apathy towards the funding and structure requirements of the transportation needs of the largest city in the world. Bloomberg may very well get a victory in the courts, but that's just going be temporary. The general crisis that's going to explode in the New York transit system is only going to cause a bigger explosion if we relegate all the problems with the infrastructure towards blaming the workers- the fact is they're probably the most well-oiled cog in the machine.

So to put it all together, I don't enjoy the idea of the potential strike, but I certainly understand it. Public transit is under-funded, and if we gave the city or any state-wide ground transport system even a fraction of the funding we'd give toward another airline bailout we wouldn't need to blame the unions for fairly reasonable demands.

Update: Tom linked to me with probably the perfect analogy of the coverage of the potential strike: "the sort of hysteria which really should be reserved for the news that a large meteor is hurtling directly toward 34th Street and 5th Avenue." It reminded me how I forgot to mention just that, the more easily identifiable example of which would be the New York Post's web site, which now has a constantly updating sub-site devoted just to the strike, complete with countdown timer. Because the New York Post, apparently, needs to appear more sensational or something. So as you view the NY Post Countdown to Chaos remember that this and the Daily News are the bastions of rational journalism that bring us such front page headlines as "Bush to Saddam: WE WILL NUKE YOU" and "Al Quada's Got Gas" and try to grasp their respective editorial departments' explanations that the unions are really the ones who are, in fact, completely out of their minds.
 

   

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

 

Oh for FUCK's sake what the hell is this

From Lou McMurray, via TBogg:

Georgia legislators will introduce a bill early next month that refers to abortion as an ''execution'' and will require any mother seeking an abortion to go to court to obtain a death warrant.

Once a mother filed for a death warrant, a guardian would be appointed to protect the rights of the unborn child. That guardian would be authorized to demand a jury trial in which the rights of the unborn child would be balanced against the rights of the mother seeking to have the ''execution'' performed.

The court would be able to hold a trial within 30 days of the filing of the petition and a death warrant would be signed only if the court finds that the rights of the person seeking to have the abortion are superior to the right of the unborn child to live. Either side could appeal.

The full article here, via World Net Daily, whom I'm sure is just so objective about this one. Folks, this is beyond insane. In fact, I don't even see a legal issue here. This is a law proposal that should be treated like one of those things from 1824 that's still on the books that say you're not allowed to name your pig "Horace" or something like that. Seriously. Screw the Georgia legislature, you know how you kill this bill? A few thousand women storm onto the floor, say very politely and graciously that there's no way on earth you're fucking doing this to us, you fascist dominating ass-backwards cro-magnon pencildicks, then leave. And then we never speak of this low point in human evolution ever again, m'kay?
 

   
 

Really, just sick about all of this

Yeah, I'm sure the last thing you want from me is another personal excuse for not providing you with countless seconds of free entertainment today. That said, I'm slightly exhausted having accumualted roughly three hours of sleep overall, as a result of pulling an all-nighter to finish the first draft cut of my senior film. When making your senior film doesn't involve shooting and editing, but rather scrunching over a lightboard, followed by hunching over a scanner, followed by munching on every part of your fingernails as your only source of nutrition as you spend twelve straight hours piecing things together, drawing by drawing, the sudden reailzation that you are temporarily finished doesn't give cause to any major desire to sit right back at the computer and radiate your eyes even further. Between the light board, the monitor, and the overheads at the deli where I found myself standing in at two in the morning last night to get something- ANYTHING remotely edible to sustain myself, I've been starting into some form of flourescent lighting way too much already. Hence nothing new this morning.

To top it off, the torrential rain outside mixed well with a complete lack of sleep to jump-start what I assure you come Friday or so will be a massive winter cold, complete with the sore throat I can already feel coming. The only relief I take in this is that tomorrow is the last day of my internship at Nickelodeon, and therefore the last technical day of anything school-related for the Fall semester.

Unfortunately, I still have a few odds and a handful of ends to take care of before I go home, which is great because if you haven't heard on the news already, there's a potential city-wide transit strike on the horizon. I actually do have a few thoughts on this; bear with me and you'll hear them a little later.
 

   

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

 

Vice, precedent

This article from the Washington Post was written about three weeks ago in regards to the plea by the GAO to get vital information from Dick Cheney about the activities of his "Energy Task Force." Since this article was written, as you know, the Federal judge has since ruled against the GAO, and Cheney's documents are pretty much rendered secure now.

The article should have been highlighted more, then, seeing how interesting one might consider that the Federal judge in question has been on the bench for only a short amount of time after leaving his previous job- assisting Kenneth Starr in suing to have vital information released to them from President Clinton's office. In other words, when the shoe's suddenly on the other foot you suddenly seem to care about wiping all the dirt off it.
 

   
 

Exhausted from Goredom

Arg, redux. The next two days are hectic for me, finishing up a few projects before taking a break to start a new one before coming home for Christmas. I've been so busy numerous things have slipped by me. Such as the ticket mailed to me over a month ago from Comedy Central to attend Monday's Daily Show taping, which I suddenly remembered I had sitting on my desk since late October literally midway through the interview with... oh did I manage this one right... Al Gore. I'm not too upset: frankly, I need to get these projects done, and to be honest, I sincerely doubt this will be the last time over the next year or so that Al Gore's doing an interview somewhere in the New York City area.

Gore didn't come off as well as I, or for that matter Gore, expected him to. He doesn't seem ready just yet to run his latest software version against someone as prone to spontaneous improv as Jon Stewart. If he doesn't adjust this month's Al Gore attitude to handle interviews well, Letterman's going to tear him a new one. Keep in mind this man is supposed to host Saturday Night Live in five days.

My only other tidbit for the moment is that the complete antithesis of the next bastion in political discourse that was Colin Quinn's new show came on after Jon Stewart tonight. In short, it's Politically Incorrect but instead of a panel of four people, one of whom is always a semi-talented politically-vacant irritant with a penchant for racist and/or sexist humor making up 90% of their act who makes no actually beneficial contributions to the dialogue but rather makes feeble attempts at humor in light of their blatant apathy to the actual issue, it's a panel of four people, all of whom are semi-talented politically-vacant irritants with penchants for racist and/or sexist humor making up 90% of their acts who make no actually beneficial contributions to the dialogue but rather make feeble attempts at humor in light of their blatant apathy to the actual issue. Opening with Quinn promising "straight and honest debate" then turning to a panel of debaters that resembled a "straight and honest" Fox News roundtable discusion (only with less credibility), the first ten minutes about the topic of the recent Central Park rape conviction overturnings devolved into four hacks plus Colin spewing handfuls of racist, sexist, ignorant one-liners. This thing made Crank Yankers look sensitive.

Tom Tomorrow talked at a panel I attended once about how he disliked PI because of the hackneyed format it presented passed off as legitimate political and cultural debate. Tom, if you're reading this, do me a favor and never watch this new Colin Quinn show, because frankly it makes Bill Maher look like Walter freakin' Cronkite.
 

   

Monday, December 09, 2002

 

Oh, this just gets better and better

Kudos again to Tapped for this great find:

A vote for Truman electors is a direct order to our Congressmen and Senators from Mississippi to vote vote for passage of Truman's so-called civil-rights program in the next Congress. This means the vicious FEPC - anti-poll tax - anti-lynching and anti-segregation proposals will become the law of the land and our way of life in the South will be gone forever. If you fail to vote you are in fact casting a vote for Truman and his vicious anti-Southern program.

You know what that's taken from verbatim? The 1948 Southern Democrat ticket- the one that Trent Lott said only last week should have been elected so we "wouldn't of had all these problems over all these years."

Gosh, Trent, what color would all those problems you've had over the years be?
 

   

Sunday, December 08, 2002

 

It's an exploding head weekend!

One of the more interesting chapters in Michael Moore's last book Stupid White Men was in regards to the weakness of the Democratic Party. In the chapter, Moore gave a rather large list of the unabashedly un-liberal actions of former President Clinton, in which Moore concluded that Clinton was "the best Republican president we've ever had."

Of course, it's a bit of over-dramatic emphasis. The point was not that Clinton is really Republican, just that Clinton's agenda is vastly different from that of the media's and the punditry's perception of it. Despite the attacks on his character and persona, Clinton is is no way a "liberal." Whereas Moore provided a list of initiatives taken by Clinton, Ted Rall this week wrote a profoundly intelligent column about how George W. Bush is. That's right: George W. Bush, Liberal:

In 2000 Democrats ridiculed the first part of Bush's "compassionate conservatism." Little did they suspect that the last half would turn out to be the real joke.

By every measure, Bush the Younger has pursed an agenda that attacks everything conservatism stands for--looking out for America first, smaller government, lower taxes, balancing the budget, respecting privacy rights. Even the neoconservatives who took over the GOP's ideological base during the 1980s--defined in the Dorsey Dictionary of American Politics and Government as opposed to "government regulation of personal behavior in areas of morality, school prayer, abortion and so on"--have been left out in the cold.

Hoover, Eisenhower and Goldwater were conservatives. George W. Bush is not. He's a radical right-winger applying selective liberalism in order to create an expansionist military empire centered around an oppressive police state.

Bush has given us the worst of both political worlds: the wasteful tax-and-spend big government of wild-eyed liberalism without any of the compassion or desire for justice that normally goes along with bleeding-heart bureaucracy; the most tyrannical aspects of right-wing demagoguery--scapegoating, depriving people of basic rights, domestic spying, warmongering--without any of the positive attributes that usually accompany it, such as attention to reducing waste and balancing the budget.

The full article is here, and I suggest you all read it right now.
 

   

Saturday, December 07, 2002

 

Son wanted on charges of attempted murder of NRA official's career

Police believe David Michael Keene, 21, shot a gun from a BMW on Sunday afternoon. The bullet shattered the window of a Mercedes Benz and became lodged in the driver's seat, just inches from the driver's head.

He was charged with use of a firearm during a crime of violence. A conviction carries a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years behind bars.

Keene is the son of David A. Keene, who is on the board of directors for the National Rifle Association. Keene is also a conservative political consultant and lobbyist who has worked in the White House and in Congress.

"An armed society is a polite society." -Charlton Heston, NRA President
 

   
 

(Spits drink across the room)

It's quote time:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had of followed our lead we wouldn't of had all these problems over all these years, either."

"All of these problems" wouldn't be here if we voted for Strom Thurmond in 1948. I no longer feel clean.

Who said it? Trent Lott. Who reported it? Virtually no one. There's hardly any mention of Lott essentially advocating the support of 1950's segregationist presidential platform in the major media in Lousiana, which just so happens to be having its runoff election today. As The American Prospect points out in their blog, there's certainly room to make front-page posts about the "Right to Life" movement, a group favoring the Republican candidate.

Tapped also notes that there seems to be little likelihood of Rush Limbaugh, who only a week or so ago ran a ridiculous attack against Tom Daschle for questionable quotes, although the conservative Weekly Standard has already gone on to refer to Lott's quote as "ludicrous," adding, "Oh God." Which exactly what Lott should be saying when God comes down and castrates him with lightning for saying the most horrible thing to ever come out of his mouth.
 

   

Friday, December 06, 2002

 

This is the saddest thing ever.

Yes, we've said that before. Well then it's the newest saddest thing ever. So brace yourself, because this is all real.

The Counter-Clinton Presidential Library.

The "Counter Clinton Library" is necessary to refute the many spins and lies that will be the theme of the "official" Clinton library.

We - a group of concerned Americans who are appalled at the Clinton's atrocious behavior - have joined together to build - within walking distance of the Clinton Library - a monument to the Real Truth about the Clintons: THE COUNTER CLINTON LIBRARY.

One of the Counter Clinton Library's exhibitions will be the National Insecurity Hall in which we detail - often in the Clintons' own words and actions as captured on video - their systematic destruction of our military and intelligence capability, their hatred for the military uniform and flag of the United States, their cozying up to Red China, their tolerance of 'leaking' Top Secret information to our enemies - and their total devotion to undermining America's superpower status.

In the Counter Clinton Library we are also going to feature in the Grifter Gallery each and every instance of the Clintons grubbing for money, 'losing' incriminating documents, then suddenly 'finding' them, perverting the confidentiality of FBI files, selling presidential pardons for cash, using White House coffees and sleepovers to raise soft campaign money and 'selling' access to Saturday morning presidential radio addresses for cash contributions to their campaigns. Also, the thefts and outright stealing by the Clintons of White House furnishings and artwork.

It goes on, but I just decided to stop there, you can go read the rest if you want. Sadly, they haven't opened the gift shop yet.

So let's get right to it. I'm aware, since it's happening with myself, of the vast number of smarmy mentions of outright hypocrisy this entire concept entails. So please, you don't have to send me e-mails about this one. Whatever thought you have in your head related to Nixon or Reagan or Bush Sr., I assure you, I've already had it too.

I didn't post this because I wanted to start a debate or get feedback... I just was feeling a little depressed about various stuff this week, and it occured to me that all of you out there might be feeling a little down about something too. So now, you can look at this site, and feel just a little bit bit better about yourself. Because you now know, without a doubt, there's at least a few people out there who are smaller, pettier, and less signifcant than you or anyone you've ever known. Have a hopefully happier weekend.
 

   

Thursday, December 05, 2002

 
Newest comic posted - "Cover us while we step outside for a bit."

I say that reluctantly and with slight sorrow, because as the comic itself notes, this is the last comic for the Washington Square News' Fall print run. The strip will now take a five- or six-week hiatus, where it will return in the end of January for it's (at least at this point) final semester. Where we go from there, I've no friggin' clue, and I have no desire to talk (or hear) about that bleak future for at least a few more months.

Don't worry, the site is still going to be updated, and you'll still get your somewhat-daily feed. In fact, if I can make the time (which should be easy since I'll be doing... nothing over the vacation) I might even have some non-WSN comic content for you. No promises though. There's also lots of stuff with my Senior film, my internship hunt, and more updates I have to add to the site archives. I just hate not having new comics for you, since as always, I reiterate that I'm a cartoonist who blogs, not a blogger who draws cartoons. Unless, of course, I can more easily find a Way to Somehow Get Paid For All ThisT.

Hence, of course, the irony of the strip, seeing as how I am joking about how I need to cover my lack of coverage of any topics over the strip hiatus when, in fact, I have a blog that covers exactly that problem. Enjoy.

Oh, and until a week or so from now when I find some cheap way to make hints about it, this is techincally my last legitimate chance of the year to remind you all to vote for me, you bastards on the PlanetCartoonist Top 100 Editorial Cartoonist's link. I get a few hundred hits a day and you can vote every 24 hours, so I fail to see how I'm not registering a few thousand votes a week here. Come on, folks... initiative. I figure if I hit the Top 10 someone out there might actually think about hiring me. I suppose I could take the long way and "become a better artist" too. Hey, I've got a vacation coming up.
 

   

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

 

Profits before Patriotism

From a column by Arianna Huffington via Salon:

As the war on terror shows troubling signs of becoming a war of error, the Bush administration is waging a far more successful war on behalf of its corporate backers. The latest victory comes courtesy of Congress' 11th hour reversal of a provision in the Homeland Security Bill banning government contracts for companies that move offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.

The sleazy backroom maneuvering that yielded this year-end dividend for expat corporations offers a perfect -- and perfectly nauseating -- case study in how Washington works. The same leaders who never miss a chance to be seen tearfully singing "God Bless America" with their hands over their disloyal hearts have allowed profits to trump patriotism, even in a time of war.

That barely muffled cheer you might have heard came from the Caribbean-based corporate offices of companies such as scandal-ridden Tyco, Arthur Andersen progeny Accenture, and Ingersoll-Rand, a corporate chicken that, in a show of national mourning and solidarity, flew the coop a mere three months after the Sept. 11th attacks. All have avoided paying tens of millions in taxes by reincorporating offshore while pocketing tens of millions in federal contracts. And now, thanks to their good friends in Congress, they'll continue to do so. Not only do they not have to help pay for homeland security, but they're helping themselves to the spoils of the Homeland Security Act.
 

   

Monday, December 02, 2002

 

Egads!

Staring at my inbox I am well aware of the large supply of e-mails that you, my dearest readers, have sent me, that I have allowed to lay fallow and waste away from sheer lack of time to answer all of them.

This is, to be sure, going to be one of the busiest (and consequentially light-on-the-blogging) next few days for me, what with it being the start of the last two weeks of classes. Likely a larger-than-usual sampling of you are going to get the e-mail cold shoulder from me simply because I'm away from my computer to go run off and do something somewhere, and I apologize in advance for that. Once the end-of-semester rush wanes and my final projects are completed I'll have more time to appease all of you.

There is, of course, the historically-possible chance that I'm completely wrong about the workload and you'll see just as much new content, if not even more, right after I make a post about how I won't have a lot this week. But don't count on it. There are only so many hours in the day, many of which, tragically, the forces of nature require me to waste sleeping in between large periods of time spent hunched over a light board animating monkeys.

Yes, I've been animating monkeys. You'll find out more about it next year if you're good.
 

   
 

It begins. Or continues to begin. Or began but only now is noticed

John Kerry has formed a presidential exploratory committee, one of the usual first steps in declaring candidacy for president- a move which, when Kerry ultimately makes it, will surprise three small dogs and a small enclave in Pennsylvania Amish country, those being the only forms of organic life that haven't already figured out for about 18 months now that he's running for president.

Kerry has a strong presence within his own party: he's a war veteran who later became a war protestor, giving him a unique advantage of being able to play both sides of the war card. He's a staunch advocate of many core left-wing Democratic ideals (I am happy because I got to use the word "staunch" today) and has a prior history of taking on corporate fraud- something which hopefully could be used as a 2004 campaign strategy seeing how it's all nice and fresh from no one using it in the 2002 elections, you stupid, stupid, stupid Democrats. Stupid.

Kerry carries a few disadvantages, of course, far from the simple "he's not Al Gore and will therefore have no chance the moment Al decided to enter the race and ruin this for everyone." One is the simple fact that he's from Massachussetts... note that with the exception of Reagan* (who was from California) pretty much every president since Kennedy was from a Midwestern or Southern region. Translation: losing touch in the heartland. Hell, George W. Bush didn't seem very interested in noting that the "proud noble Texan" was born in Maine (or New Hampshire or something like that, I really don't care enough to look it up right now.) With Trent Lott already looking to cast the stigma of evil liberals on the coasts, that could be a problem.

Let's not even say it's a chance. It's a basic fact: if and when Kerry runs, the Right is going to do nothing but attack Kerry for being an "East-Coast LiberalT." Hopefully the flak they give Nancy Pelosi about this will reduce the damage early enough for the Republicans to switch to other attempts at demeaning anti-Kerry tactics... like, you know... the whole Ketchup thing.

The story did note the other disadvantage for Kerry, that being his lack of "natural warmth." This is something I noticed on my own months ago, but didn't sugar-coat it the way the press did: John Kerry has a very funny-looking head. Now, I understand that that's hardly a demeaning of any of Kerry's qualifications, but come on, people, you can see how that can bother enough people to not want to vote for him. I mean, come on, look at him. "Natural warmth" is a problem when you're potentially frightening small children. You think Bradley didn't lose a few points because it looked like something was taking over his neck?

Update: * = and Nixon. I suck.
 

   

Sunday, December 01, 2002

 

Sigh.

My friend Christine is applying to law school. She told me the other day that she didn't apply to NYU Law because, according to her, she "wouldn't get in."

The fact that Christine is one of the smartest and most creative people I know only amplified that statement when I came back today from Thanksgiving break to find the usual tradition that is the damage done to my dorm room door over the holiday. This year was a festive array of all my posters torn down and the dry-erase marker stolen with a charming holiday note left on the board, "Thanks for the pen, fag." These people, Christine, got into NYU.

But I digress. Today is World AIDS Day, and it's that you should be focusing on, not my petty aggravations. I've already applied the NYC-Subway-standard of cleaning up graffitti and mess the minute it's discovered. I can rest in the knowledge that the damage was minute, and that all it really did was make me feel much better about myself and perhaps even the very size of my own penis in comparison to the bastions of academic thought that defaced my door. If anything, I'm reminded that today is a day where you should remember a lot harder than usual that there are a lot of people out there with a hell of a lot larger problems than you.

Happy Thanksgiving. You have a lot to be thankful for.