Tuesday, October 31, 2006

More on Bush's Evolving Iraq Rhetoric...

Fairly straight-forward cartoon this week... check out:
  • Thomas A. Ricks and Joe Gandelman on Bush's new call for "benchmarks" on Iraq, a reversal that they suggest is motivated by an upcoming report by James Baker's Iraq Policy Group criticizing the current Iraq War policy.

  • Carpetbagger on the shocking revelation that the Bush administration's policy on the Iraq War is ultimately motivated by domestic political concerns, rather than what would be the best way to save the lives of American soldiers. I'm shocked...

  • Media Matters on Dan Bartlett's bald-faced claim that "it has never been a 'stay-the-course' strategy" for them.

  • Harold Meyerson on Dubya's statement that the "cut-and-run" Democrats are "all over the place" on Iraq. Meyerson notes the irony of Bush attacking the Democrats "for failing to articulate a clear, compelling alternative to his war, though his war created so cosmic a debacle that there were no compelling alternatives."

  • Jonathan S. Landay on Cheney's view that water-boarding is a "no-brainer." And nobody knows more about not having a brain than his little buddy...

Stumptown was fun. Sales were a little better than SPX, and it's always nice to (hopefully) gain a few new readers too. I've also learned that comfortable shoes are an absolute necessity at these shows, because my dogs were barking by about noon on Saturday...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/30/06 Cartoon

"Alien Society, #5"... see the previous episodes here, here, here, and here.

UPDATE: Spelling error fixed (oops!)...

Friday, October 27, 2006

Why? Why why why why why why... ?

Quick comment on the World Series coverage -- specifically the patriotism circle-jerk disguised as a Chevy commercial with the John (Cougar?) Mellencamp song playing in the background.

Why in the name of all that is still reasonable in this world is there Katrina footage spliced into at least one of the versions of this commercial? Is Chevy suggesting that the proper response to the Katrina disaster is to go out and spend more money (instead of, say, donating it to people who need it) on another gas-guzzling automobile that will make global warming worse and give us bigger, stronger hurricanes? Does Chevy really think people are too stupid to make this connection? I think most people who drive cars now are not deluding themselves that there are tangible consequences to their actions... it's like splicing pictures of a smokers' lungs into a cigarette commercial.

Just wondering... I ain't no consumer psychologist or anything.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

More on Network Neutrality...

Some sources to check out for this week's 'toon on a very complex subject:
  • See especially the recent Bill Moyers On America episode titled "The Net At Risk," which is available online. Among the interesting points made in this piece, the internet revolution is compared to the birth of language and the invention of the printing press, in terms of historical developments that revolutionized how we learn and communicate. Also, the point is made that Japan and South Korea have fiber-optic infrastructures already in place that supply internet connections up to 100 times faster than the best DSL connections in the U.S., for the same rates that we pay here. Apparently, the telecom companies had promised to build such a system here in the 90's, but never really got around to it.

    See also Moyers' article with Scott Fogdall, "Fighting the Imperial Internet."

  • See some older articles on the subject from Christopher Stern, Jeff Chester, and Celia Viggo Wexler & Dawn Holian.

  • Be sure to check out SaveTheInternet.com and David S. Isenberg, both of whom kindly have linked to this week's 'toon, and are much more qualified to speak intelligently on this subject than I.

I'm off to Portland in a couple days for Stumptown... if you're in the area, stop in to say hi!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Friday, October 20, 2006

Executive Authority to Let You Die

This is a few days old, but I wanted to comment on it before it tumbles down the Memory Hole...

Congress last week passed a new homeland security bill, which included a set of job qualifications for the head of FEMA (obviously in response to the "Brownie" fiasco):
To shield FEMA from cronyism, Congress established new job qualifications for the agency's director in last week's homeland security bill. The law says the president must nominate a candidate who has "a demonstrated ability in and knowledge of emergency management" and "not less than five years of executive leadership."

Bush signed the homeland-security bill on Wednesday morning. Then, hours later, he issued a signing statement saying he could ignore the new restrictions. Bush maintains that under his interpretation of the Constitution, the FEMA provision interfered with his power to make personnel decisions.

The law, Bush wrote, "purports to limit the qualifications of the pool of persons from whom the president may select the appointee in a manner that rules out a large portion of those persons best qualified by experience and knowledge to fill the office."

It's like the administration's lawyers aren't even trying anymore...

I suppose what this means is that everybody should acquaint themselves with their local shelter of last resort, because you're gonna get to know it REEEEALLY well should a catastrophe happen to strike your community (if, for whatever reason, you do not have the means or opportunity to leave). Personally, I sure am glad the Kingdome is gone, 'cause I couldn't stand to be in there for 3 hours for a Mariners' game, let alone spend 4 days there in a pit o' hell with 40,000 other people waiting for the government to get around to helping us.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

More on Diebold, GOP electoral fraud...

Check out:
  • RFK Jr.'s article "Will the Next Election Be Hacked?", which makes several important points, in particular:
    The United States is one of only a handful of major democracies that allow private, partisan companies to secretly count and tabulate votes using their own proprietary software. Today, eighty percent of all the ballots in America are tallied by four companies - Diebold, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic. In 2004, 36 million votes were cast on their touch-screen systems, and millions more were recorded by optical-scan machines owned by the same companies that use electronic technology to tabulate paper ballots. The simple fact is, these machines not only break down with regularity, they are easily compromised - by people inside, and outside, the companies.

    Three of the four companies have close ties to the Republican Party.

  • Art Levine on "Salon's Shameful Six," the six states where GOP vote suppression tactics could most likely impede fair elections in 2006. The quote in this week's 'toon about keeping "the wrong kind of people from voting" comes from a comment by Arizona Secretary of State Janice Brewer (AZ's equivalent to Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris) at a fundraising event.

  • Vochi J. Dreazen on "Why Some Republicans Want to Lose," in which Bruce Bartlett makes what is probably a very good point:
    "Every Republican I know thinks Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are the best things they have going for them," wrote Bruce Bartlett, a Treasury Department official during the presidency of Mr. Bush's father, referring to the top-ranking Democrats in the House and Senate. "Giving these inept leaders higher profiles would be a gift to conservatives everywhere"...

  • In case you didn't recognize it, the tirade by the wiseguy voting machine in this week's 'toon comes from the DeNiro/Capone rant in The Untouchables...

Had a good time in DC last week. The Politics & Prose signing was fun, and I met a lot of great people there and at SPX. Sales at SPX stunk, which put me into a pretty sour mood, but hanging out with the cool kids in CWA (along with a few stiff drinks from the Marriott hotel bar) made me feel much better. A great many thanks to my wonderful friends Jim and Karen for putting me up in our nation's cap-i-tal last week!

Next up, Stumptown... hope to see lots of Northwest peeps out there picking up t-shirts!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/16/06 Cartoon

"GOPranos, #2"... see the previous episode here.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Runnin' late...

Sorry folks, cartoon's coming. Didn't get in from DC until late last night... stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

More on Foley, Woodward...

On the comparatively unimportant but entertaining Foley scandal:
  • Dan Balz and Jim VandeHei on the possible repercussions for the GOP in the upcoming election.

  • A post from several weeks ago from Pam's House Blend that caught my eye again, on Hastert's "House Republican American Values Agenda." It includes a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a Pledge of Allegiance protection act, an "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act" (requiring doctors to inform women seeking abortions that the unborn child feels pain), and a "Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act" (particularly constructive -- it would prohibit governments from using federal funds to confiscate guns from law-abiding citizens during emergencies).

    Interestingly, there's nothing about protecting children from sexual predators in the House of Representatives... he probably just "forgot" that one, though.

On the fallout from Woodward's State of Denial:
  • Mike Whitney, who asks why Woodward waited until now to disclose these crucial details, and argues that his "real job is not to maintain an 'informed public' or preserve the free flow of information," but to serve the interests of "disenchanted elites [who] want a place at the policy table again."

  • Think Progress on the revelation that Henry Kissinger has been advising Bush and Cheney, noting:
    Says Woodward, “Now what’s Kissinger’s advice? In Iraq, he declared very simply, ‘Victory is the only meaningful exit strategy.’” Woodward adds. “This is so fascinating. Kissinger’s fighting the Vietnam War again because, in his view, the problem in Vietnam was we lost our will.”

  • A CBS report with several nice little nuggets from Woodward's 60 Minutes interview, including this one on Saudi Prince Bandar:
    Woodward told 60 Minutes that Bandar has promised the president that Saudi Arabia will lower oil prices in the months before the election - to ensure the U.S. economy is strong on election day.

    Woodward says that Bandar understood that economic conditions were key before a presidential election: “They’re [oil prices] high. And they could go down very quickly. That's the Saudi pledge. Certainly over the summer, or as we get closer to the election, they could increase production several million barrels a day and the price would drop significantly.”

  • Another CBS report and an article by John Dickerson on the palace intrigue of the Bush administration, including all your favorite names in Republican professional wrestling (as seen in the last square of this week's 'toon, from left-to-right): Laura "Spacegirl" Bush, Andy "Bad News" Card, Don "The Galloping Geezer" Rumsfeld, George "Slam Dunk" Tenet, Colin "Sgt. Sycophant" Powell, Condi "The Shopping Queen" Rice, and "King Kong" Cheney.

    (OK, I could probably come up with better wrestling names for most of those if I put some thought into it...)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fighting Words: 10/9/06 Cartoon

"Republican Wrestling Federation, #2"... see the previous episode here.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Bizzy Bizzy Bizzy

Getting ready for my DC trip...

But that didn't stop me from wasting way too much time playing Help Hastert Hide the Perv from HuffPo.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More on the Katrina response...

This cartoon came about mainly because I finally got a chance to view a tape of Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke." As expected, this documentary was tough to watch in some spots, but, needless to say, this is not due to a lack of quality filmmaking. I'm no "film cricket" (as Homer Simpson once said), but this has to go down as one of Spike Lee's best pieces ever. While it is more a straight-forward retelling of events than his regular films (as it should be), it bears a lot of the familiar Spike Lee artistic signatures that are common in his work: dramatic music, over-exposed images, "portrait" shots, uncompromising storytelling, etc. It's a must-see if you feel as strongly as I do about the injustices that have been perpetrated by our government during the Katrina aftermath.

See also Noam Chomsky on our missing leaders, Isaiah J. Poole on the "catastrophic conservatism" that truly made this tragedy possible (it's certainly not just about a hurricane), and an interview by Alan Maass with a couple of very eloquent Katrina survivors.

I debated with this week's toon whether to have the doctor leave a dying Bush's hospital room, and spray-paint the now-familiar urban marking used by searchers in New Orleans on the door, indicating that there was "1 body" inside. I decided that this was a little over-the-top, or maybe just too un-funny.

It's a decidedly un-funny thing that's happening down there, though...

Monday, October 02, 2006