Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bill Moyers...

...has a new series of programs on PBS, entitled "Faith & Reason," which appears to be an in-depth study on the intertwining of politics and religion in American society.

Should be terrific... check your local listings.


Many happenings in the legal world these days...

Speculation is running rampant that the Court's ruling today on Gitmo war crimes tribunals may also undermine the administration on torture and wire tapping. Meanwhile, less positive developments have come about with regards to DeLay's Texas redistricting and the Voting Rights Act.

Which is interesting and everything, but dammitall if these late-breaking developments don't totally screw up my cartoon ideas for the week.

(Actually, I'm not sure if they did yet, we'll have to see...)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thanks a Pantload, Chet...

Molly Ivins on George W. Bush, Environmentalist...

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More on Religious Nationalism, Fundamentalism...

Articles for this week: Robert Jensen on the "four fundamentalisms" that threaten our society, specifically religious, national, economic, and technological fundamentalism; Stephanie Simon on programs for the breeding of evangelical lobbyists, which unfortunately makes no mention of the First Amendment or Establishment Clause; Andrew O'Hehir in a review of a biography of William Jennings Bryan by Michael Kazin; and an article that I may have linked to before but am still enjoying, Michelle Goldberg on the Christian nationalist movement in America.

Also, the little piece on prayer as "self-pity" came from a book of meditations by Jiddu Krishnamurti. I generally try to avoid intertwining my personal reading with the cartoon stuff like that, but this was a little nugget that I felt like sharing...

Monday, June 26, 2006

6/26/06 Cartoon

"FBN: Fundamentalist Broadcasting Network"...

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Roberts Court

Building on the previous 5-4 decision here, the new ultra-conservative Roberts Court seems to be hitting its stride. Last week, the Court handed down a decision which bars judges from suppressing evidence collected in violation of the "knock and announce" rule, effectively eliminating the rule by removing the main incentive to comply with it, and hinting at the willingness of the Court to fulfill a long-standing yearning of ultra-conservatives to eliminate the Exclusionary Rule altogether. Evidence of this can be found in Scalia's majority opinion, as he dismisses the basic necessity of an Exclusionary Rule (the purpose of which is to deter unlawful behavior by police) by claiming that the exclusion of evidence has little or no deterrent effect.

The Court's decision here should confirm a commonly-held suspicion: that Scalia's supposed "textualism" is clearly malleable depending on whatever conservative itch he is trying to scratch. His holdings, in my experience of reading them, also have a tendency to contain rather shallow reasoning, as shown by his suggestion that this holding is justified based on a shaky presumption of an "increasing professionalism of police forces" around the country.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Silly Peaceniks...

Once again, Media Matters is all over it...

The utter glee with which Dana Bash automatically declares that it is political suicide to call for a plan to eventually end this war (a position supported by a majority of the American people) is absolutely sickening.

Monday, June 19, 2006

More on Congress, Democrats...

Check out an op-ed in by Russ Feingold on the Democrats' propensity for caving on civil liberties; Glenn Greenwald on the Dems' pitiful resistance to Michael Hayden, who should have been seen as "the most inflammatory nominee possible" for CIA director; Doug Ireland on the Dems' tendency to capitulate to the religious right on issues like gay marriage; Kathy Kiely on the Dems' faux "Contract With America"; John Byrne on the Dems' squishiness with regards to opposing an attack on Iran (which quotes one Democratic strategist as saying, "The strategy is simple: Give the Republicans enough rope and they'll hang themselves"); and Jonathan Weisman on the preposterous nonbinding resolution on the Iraq War approved by the House late last week (with 42 Democrats voting "Yea").

See also a couple of excellent stories: Eli Sanders in the Stranger on the "kneecapping" of one of the few principled Democrats in Congress, Seattle's Jim McDermott, by the new House Majority Leader John Boehner; and an article that has been sitting on my "Read" pile for about a year, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi on the House Rules Committee, as a microcosm of the "house of horrors" that is the United States Congress.

6/19/06 Cartoon


See more Congress Babies here!

Friday, June 16, 2006

H. Res. 861

42 Democratic congressmen today made it absolutely clear to their constituents that they have no respect for reason or rationality, as they voted "Yea" on the Republicans' nonbinding resolution in recognition of BULLSHIT.

Those of us who value reason and rationality need to repay the favor in November. That means YOU, parts of Tacoma and Olympia, when you consider whether to re-elect Adam Smith. And YOU Bellingham and Everett, when you consider whether Rick Larsen deserves a job. Even if we're not going to vote for their Republican challengers, perhaps we can shoot them an email saying we'll just leave that box blank to thank them for their votes today...

Or, to take a more positive step, we can donate to Darcy Burner in the race for the Eighth District (Eastside, Bellevue). She is challenging Republican Dave Reichert, who got a fundraising visit from his buddy President Peabrain today. Note that Maria Cantwell's challenger, Mike McGavick, chose to attend his son's high school graduation, rather than being seen with the President of the United States five months before he tries to be elected to the Senate.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

That Darn Liberal Media, #843

Every now and then, something strikes me as so freakin' annoying that I am compelled to dash off a letter to the editor:

Rhetorically equating the so-called "wit" of Ann Coulter to the wit of George Carlin is like equating the musical talents of Paris Hilton and Jimi Hendrix.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

More on the troops, Haditha...

Some excellent articles on the Haditha massacre: Robert Parry on Bush's own little My Lai incident; Dahr Jamail, who says there have been many such episodes during the course of this war; and Tony Swindell on a soldier's "Apocalypse Now moment":
Out of grief and rage, with the stench of his buddy's shredded flesh in his nostrils, the soldier stops asking questions and then begins making up his own rules with a rifle. He has touched the heart of darkness and there's no going back ever. Embracing the whore called war destroys morality, and doing all this in a dishonorable cause compounds the damage.

See also an outstanding article by Andrew J. Bacevich on "The Normalization of War," and the obsession our society has with militarization, global power projection, and war as a "spectator sport." This war fetish is encouraged as much by the pro-war rhetoric used by Democrats as it is by the Republicans' warmongering.

Lastly, a couple articles on the high percentages of undetected brain injuries among Iraq war vets here and here.

Monday, June 12, 2006

6/12/06 Cartoon

"Billy, the Boy Who Knew Too Much #2"... previous episode here.

Friday, June 09, 2006

"...It's like Hitler!"

This has bothered me for a while. I'm sure someone has noticed this...

If you're a right-wing idiot who wants to suggest that certain progressive ideas are fanatical or oppressive, for the sake of logic wouldn't you want your hyperbolic reference to evoke an image of extreme left-wing authoritarianism rather than extreme right-wing authoritarianism?

Anybody notice the historical incongruity in declarations that Al Franken and Michael Moore are "just like Goebbels!" or that anti-war groups are "Nazi sympathizers"?

The ACLU? Nazis!! PETA? Just like Hitler!!

Putting aside the fact that none of these targets are empowered in any way to make decisions affecting anyone else's life, wouldn't you want to compare that particular issue advocacy group to, say, "Stalin," and a particular media figure to "Pravda?" If I were to call Glenn Beck a "dirty commie bastard," it wouldn't make much sense now would it?

Just an observation. Maybe I'll do a cartoon on it.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Are you tellin' me that Jesus Christ can't hit a curve ball?!

Apparently, being God's Team means not making the playoffs for 10 straight years...

(thanks to Cameron)

More on Global Warming...

A couple of interesting articles this week: Michelle Goldberg on the "Christian nationalist" movement, which she says is perhaps motivated by "extreme individualism" and people who refuse to "recognize social links or obligations," and Katherine Mieszkowski on the possible short-term solution of "carbon offsets."

I thought An Inconvenient Truth was, on the whole, very good. There are a lot of good arguments on global warming, especially the early comment that many politicians keep the subject "at arm's length" because, otherwise, immediate action to confront the problem would become an "inescapable moral imperative." The information is a little dumbed-down in parts, and there are a few moments that some may view as "self-indulgent Al Gore moments." However, IMO, these transgressions are entirely forgivable if it makes the information more easily digestible for the average viewer, and/or if it makes it more likely that Gore would occupy the White House in 2008. He has my vote.

Even more entertaining is the panicky "Swift-Boat" response of the Right, which Paul Krugman writes about here and here. Take a look at a few typical criticisms of Gore and the movie here, here, and here... make it into a little game and see if you can spot a valid argument! You'll have to sift through a hell of a lot of loaded language, over-simplifications, ad hominems, and appeals to ignorance...

Monday, June 05, 2006

6/5/06 Cartoon

"Alien Society #4"... see the previous episodes here, here, and here. See more on Global Warming here.

Written mostly after I saw "An Inconvenient Truth" this weekend. More on that soon...

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Gotta Love the South...

Doesn't the Louisiana legislature have more important things to worry about these days?

Apparently, "sanctity of life" does not include making sure that everything is being done to help your citizens repair their shattered lives after disaster strikes... nor making sure they're adequately prepared for the next disaster.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Dear God:

Please, please, God... please let Bill O'Reilly take a swing at someone on his show some day, so that person can then just beat the living piss out of him. I'd imagine that there aren't many people in this world who couldn't kick his ass.

I don't ask for much, God...