Friday, December 30, 2005

NOT Global Warming

Tropical Storm Zeta has formed in the Atlantic, a full month after the official end of hurricane season.

But, of course, we've already established that global warming has absolutely nothing to do with it, you crazy fringe-theorist...

... all normal cycles 'n stuff.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Cases-In-Point, #2, #3 and #4

As the Defense Department makes moves to further centralize power around Rumsfeld loyalists, the Administration throws a hissy-fit over a Fourth Circuit decision on Jose Padilla, citing "profound separation-of-powers concerns" (via Cursor), and another blog post profiles John Yoo, a mid-level lawyer at Justice who has "had a hand in virtually every major legal decision involving the US response to the attacks of September 11," and who apparently believes very strongly in a despotic presidency (both via TBogg).

"It's just a goddamn piece of paper!"

Continuing with the theme of this week's cartoon, those words were apparently uttered recently by the President in reference to the Constitution of the United States.

If true, it is yet more proof that these people are all completely insane.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Greatest Show on Earth

And you thought the California gubernatorial race was fun? The race for governor in Alabama features an indicted former governor, ousted Alabama Chief Justice and religious nutball Roy Moore, and a midget in a bikini.

(via Cursor)

Monday, December 26, 2005

12/26/05 Cartoon

"Alberto the Torture Turtle's Guide to the Constitution"... catch Alberto's previous appearance here, which was part of the Fuzzy Bunny series.

Some good articles this week: Sidney Blumenthal on the Administration's fundamental disrespect for the law and for Tom Paine; Michelle Goldberg on whether we have the political will to impeach Bush (probably not); and Edward Lazarus on the serious threat to the Constitution posed by Bush's wiretapping.

All indications are that this issue (the wiretapping) is going to be the clincher... either we all stand up to them on this, or we can officially kiss our democracy goodbye. As with Watergate and "Plame-gate," though, it may take a while to unfold...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Useless Information Department

Researchers at a London University (via Huffington Post) have released an exhaustive study which concludes that the only sure way to avoid a hangover is not to drink in the first place.

Thanks, jerks.


Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, (R) California, gives us what is now the standard Republican argument for eliminating the Constitution and making George W. Bush king and supreme ruler (via Cursor):


That is all. Please return to your Christmas shopping now. Ignorance is Strength.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"The breathtaking inanity..."

If you value reductive science and/or the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, do yourself a favor and read the decision in Kitzmiller, or at least read the conclusion. (Thanks to David)

The Washington Post says that this could be a watershed opinion, with regards to future cases that seek to determine whether "intelligent design" can or should be taught in public schools.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Beware of PETA...

What the hell is this thing conservatives have about PETA?

Like they're some shadowy, Freemason-like secret society that is poised to take over the country...

Monday, December 19, 2005

12/19/05 Cartoon

"George W. Bush Conversation With God: The Environment."
Catch Bush's previous conversations with God here and here.

On an unrelated note, I wanted to make a quick comment on the death of The West Wing's John Spencer. The first four seasons of that show (the Aaron Sorkin-penned years) have really had a huge influence on me, as examples of satirical political commentary at its highest level in popular culture. When I'm working on these cartoons, I will often have a DVD of those episodes running in the background, to give me a little inspiration. But, of course, writers don't create the characters all by themselves... I think it can't be done without an extremely talented actor, in a process I can't even begin to comprehend.

Very sad.

Friday, December 16, 2005

A victory!

On another positive note:
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate on Friday refused to reauthorize major portions of the USA Patriot Act after critics complained they infringed too much on Americans' privacy and liberty, dealing a huge defeat to the Bush administration and Republican leaders.

I guess they'll just have to be satisfied with violating civil liberties in secret and outside the law, which apparently is something they're completely comfortable doing...

Thursday, December 15, 2005

How about that...

Don't let it be said that I don't take notice when the Bush Administration actually does something right:
Nagin praised Bush's commitment to nearly double an earlier $1.6 billion package for levee repairs and improvements, saying the president had responded to local residents' call for action. "I want to say to all New Orleanians, to all businesses, it's time for you to come home, it's time for you to come back to the Big Easy," Nagin said. "We now have the commitment and the funding for hurricane protection at a level that we have never had before."

Of course, this didn't happen until people screamed at them about their reluctant Katrina response, and it does nothing to address the $14 billion needed to restore barrier islands and coastal wetlands, the "natural levees" that are necessary to protect New Orleans from hurricanes. But it's a nice start.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

m u n k e e . . .

From a recent Bush interview with Brian Williams:
Williams: This says you're in a bubble. You have a very small circle of advisors now. Is that true? Do you feel in a bubble?

President Bush: No, I don't feel in a bubble. I mean, you feel in a bubble in the sense that I can't go walking out the front gate and, you know, go shopping, like I'd love to do for my wife. Although I may, I'm not going to tell you what I'm going to buy her. Look, I feel like I'm getting really good advice from very capable people and that people from all walks of life have informed me and informed those who advise me. And I feel very comfortable that I'm very aware of what's going on.

And later...
Williams: ...Once and for all— and I know you've had some fun with members of the press on this subject how much television news do you watch? How much do you read the morning papers, news magazines? How much do you see in an average week?

President Bush: I don'I see a lot of the news. Every morning I look at the newspaper. I can't say I've read every single article in the newspaper. But I definitely know what's in the news. Occasionally, I watch television. t want to hurt your feelings, but it's occasionally. I'm working at that point, as are you. But I'm very aware of what's in the news. I'm aware because I see clips. I see summaries. I have people on my staff that walk in every morning and say, "This is what's --— this is how I see it. This is what's brewing today," on both the domestic and international side. Frankly, it is probably part of my own fault for needling people, but it's a myth to think I don't know what's going on. And it's a myth to think that I'm not aware that there is opinions that don't agree with mine. Because I'm fully aware of that.

Williams: But you, yourself, said to a reporter, I think it was Brit Hume, that you'd prefer to get the news orally from your aids?

President Bush: Well, that's one way to look at it. I mean, I read the newspaper. I mean, I can tell you what the headlines are. I must confess, if I think the story is, like, not a fair appraisal, I'll move on. But I know what the story's about.

After answers like these, don't we just have to come to a point where we don't really care what he has to say about anything else? He is obviously so disengaged from what is going on, can we reasonably be expected to give any credibility to his comments on Iraq, torture, or Katrina?

It's like going to the zoo and sitting down with the monkey with Tourettes, and then asking him in-depth questions about zoo administration. You know he's going to have no idea what is coming out of his mouth, and at some point he's just going to start slinging around feces...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

State of California Kills 5-Time Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

We are living in truly prehistoric times. Someday people will look back and be shocked by the things our society did.

Monday, December 12, 2005

12/12/05 Cartoon

"Wild Planet: Animals Using Camouflage"... you can check out the previous episodes here and here.

I thought it was about time I took the Democrats to task a little. Some articles to check out: Thomas Harrison on the "Collapse of the Left" after the 2004 elections; Jeffrey Goldberg in the New Yorker on Joe Biden and the "national-security Democrats;" John Walsh on "The Lies of John Edwards" and other Dems; and Patrick Martin on "What is troubling Joe Lieberman."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Pompeii on the Mississippi

We had to know this was coming. Anybody in the government remember "Katrina?" Ring a bell?

[Of course, since when does knowing in advance that a particular event or decision would turn out badly count for anything in this country? (front pages from Newseum)]

THREE MONTHS after the epic flood, we are specimens of congressional torture. Network celebrities who swept through for disaster backdrops are gone. The suffering in the Superdome and Convention Center is old footage. Torturing a city is tougher coverage for soft newsbodies.
Apathy toward the dying neighborhoods stains the Social Darwinists who run Congress. They wear the masks of prolife Christians. As Nero fiddled while Rome burned, these Jesus-lovers yawn at a city on the rack, their pensions safe in the mammoth debt furnished by the worst US president ever.
President Bush came to Jackson Square in September and promised a sweeping recovery. His backers in Congress recoiled from the cost.
The leadership vacuum from the White House to Baton Rouge to City Hall is frightening. There is no other word for it. Bush makes nebulous remarks about helping ''the people down in Katrina" (we are a new geography), but his priority is counterattacking critics of the Iraq war.

Another article calls for New Orleans to be completely abandoned, simply because the author doesn't forsee Bush ever giving enough of a crap about it to ensure that it is sufficiently protected.
But while encouraging city residents to return home and declaring for the media audience that "we will do whatever it takes" to save the city, the President earlier this month formally refused the one thing New Orleans simply cannot live without: A restored network of barrier islands and coastal wetlands.
How could this administration, found totally unprepared for the first Katrina, not see the obvious action needed to prevent the next one? My theory is that Bush hears "wetlands" and retreats to a blind, ideological aversion to all things "environmental." Which perhaps explains why in multiple speeches given during six photo-op trips to the Gulf since Katrina hit, the President has not one time mentioned the words barrier islands or wetlands. Not once.
"Either they don't get it or they just don't care," said Mark Davis, director of the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. "But the results are the same: more disaster."
So stop the repairs; put the brooms and chain saws away. Close the few businesses that have re-opened. Leave the levees in their tattered state and get out. Right now. Everybody. It's utterly unsafe to live there.
To encourage people to return to New Orleans, as Bush is doing, without funding the only plan that can save the city from the next Big One, is to commit an act of mass homicide. If, after all the human suffering and expense of this national ordeal, the federal government can't be bothered to spend the cost of a tunnel from Logan Airport to downtown Boston, then the game is truly over.

While I don't agree with any solution that calls for surrendering an entire American city (in this case, a particularly important American city) due to Bush's monumental incompetence, the point is well taken.

As unthinkable as it was that Bush could have done something worse after his illegal war... the Katrina response is the worst crime of the Bush presidency.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

"Black Ink Monday"...

Editorial cartoonists are joining together on Monday, Dec. 12, for a day of cartoons criticizing corporate downsizing in the newspaper industry, which is responsible for staggering job losses among the ranks of editorial cartoonists:

Since Ben Franklin and colonial times, the editorial cartoon has been one of the most visible and popular parts of the daily paper. However, recent changes within the newspaper industry have placed this American institution at risk.

Over the last 20 years, the number of cartoonists on the staff of daily newspapers nationwide has been cut in half. In the last month alone, the Tribune Company (owner of the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and a half-dozen other prominent papers), has forced out well-known and award-winning cartoonists at the LA Times and Baltimore Sun, eliminating their positions entirely.

It occurs to me that, while my style of cartooning would probably be considered an "alternative" to the genre that these guys represent, my art still depends on the existence of their industry (if they went away, who would we be an "alternative" to?). While artists like me can poke them with a stick, and force the industry to stay smart and relevant, the "mainstream" editorial cartoonists are still carrying on the tradition of Thomas Nast and, as noted, Benjamin Franklin. If they disappeared, it seems to me that drawing silly cartoons with political messages would lose much of its meaning.

So, perhaps, it might be nice to pick out a couple of your favorites and send them a note of support.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

As the NYT turns...

From Editor & Publisher:
In a lengthy feature piece on this autumn's Judith Miller saga forthcoming in the January issue of Vanity Fair (on sale Dec. 13), writer Seth Mnookin covers much familiar ground but also reveals new details and complaints from the reporter's colleagues at The New York Times. Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. also gets a good working-over from unnamed in-house critics.


Elsewhere, Mnookin pulls no punches in stating that over the years Miller "had built a reputation for sleeping with her sources," had dated one of Sulzberger's best friends, Steve Ratner, "and had even, for a time, shared a vacation home with Sulzberger," whatever that means.

Yikes. Is anybody going to take this newspaper seriously again?

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The End of O'Reilly...

So, in his deranged campaign against the mad-liberal "war on Christmas," Bill O'Reilly has decided to take on The Daily Show. Dumb, dumb, dumb. In terms of humorist ridicule in popular political commentary, that is like O'Reilly challenging Lennox Lewis to a bare-knuckles street brawl.

If the Daily Show bothers to respond tonight, it should be fun to watch.

[By the way, if you noticed the resemblance... the right-wing alien in this week's 'toon is somewhat of an O'Reilly caricature.]

Monday, December 05, 2005

12/5/05 Cartoon

"Alien Society, #2." You can catch the previous episode here.

A few articles I found interesting in my research this week: Edward Lazarus on the coming battle over government accountability; a blog post by Arthur Silber on the Padilla indictment; and a story in the New Yorker by Jane Mayer, which gives graphic details about the death of a prisoner in CIA custody.

Looks like Tom Tomorrow and Jen Sorensen had similar ideas as I did this week... both made comments on the (apparent) death of reason, logic, and civil dialogue in our society. Both very good cartoons.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Retired three-star general William Odom, one of the "most respected military analysts in Washington," is now calling for a withdrawal from Iraq:
"... Iraq is the worst place to fight a battle for regional stability. Whose interests were best served by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the first place? It turns out that Iran and al-Qaida benefited the most, and that continues to be true every day U.S. forces remain there."

Of course, this is just another guy "endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party."

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Time to Move On, Lieberman...

I love this:
The Hartford Courant reports today on how Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) continues to self-servingly pursue an image of Bush administration apologist on the Iraq War. For years, Lieberman has stabbed his party in the back on high-profile issues - but now, finally, Lieberman may have overreached, and might feel some consequences.

The Courtant specifically notes that now openly says it will consider supporting a primary challenge to Lieberman...

After John Kerry faced the most unqualified Presidential incumbant in our history and lost, many like me vowed to never again vote for (or spend so much time and energy working for) a Democrat unless they really deserved it, and not just because they're "ABB." This demonstrates to me that Democratic politicians can still be held accountable by the people whose values they are supposed to be representing in our (supposed) "two-party" system.