Wednesday, August 29, 2007

More on Bush Iraq Rhetoric, VFW Speech...

Articles for this week's 'toon:
  • Anyone see anything a little incongruous between recent claims that "the surge is working," and the almost daily reports of record-breaking suicide bombings in Iraq? Even Hillary is apparently lauding the surge as being successful. The reality on the ground seems to be quite different, as many who have directly observed events there say "we have failed on every promise."

    So there appears to be a great deal of doubt over whether the surge is producing any meaningful results, which would merit our continued presence in Iraq. The question is, for people who are so consistently and completely WRONG on important decisions like this, at what point do they totally forfeit the benefit of the doubt? Shoulda been a hell of a long time ago, shouldn't it?
  • Ari Fleischer's got a new little club of fun-loving guys, whose main goal is to produce ads connecting Iraq to 9-11, and then criticize people who ask them about it for "reliving old debates." Do yourself a favor and watch this clip of him on Hardball... never seen (guest-host) Mike Barnicle before, but he seems to have a knack for throwing out a good question every now and then.

  • So the Prezdint Professor-man gave a speech at the VFW national convention, where he gave us all a much-needed lecture on the simple lessons of America's past wars. You see, in Japan and Korea, we did whatever it took (think Hiroshima and Nagasaki) and the outcome was totally good. In Vietnam, we lost our will (after 15-some odd years of war) and retreated like a bunch of wussies, and the result was a total disaster. So, the reason Iraq is going to hell in a handbasket is the galling lack of will on the part of those who criticize the war (all 210 million of us)... it's our fault, not his. It's just that simple. Maybe if all of us anti-war types spent a little less time complaining and a little more time reading Graham Greene, we'd know what we are talking about.


Monday, August 27, 2007

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Eat me, Apple

I may or may not have a "Moron" post for you this week, so you may have to do without articles for this week's 'toon. Devastating, I know... but my power adapter for my Mac Powerbook finally bit the dust, and all my articles are on my hard drive.

It looks like this has been a huge problem with Powerbooks, judging by the comments on the Apple store page. However, Steve Jobs' secret to generating profit has apparently been to manufacture substandard parts for his products, and then charge ridiculous fees for replacement parts. 80 bucks for a power cord?! As I recall, they gave me a similar explanation for why a new battery is not covered under my AppleCare policy, because the battery is considered an "accessory" that is "external" to the computer. Computers don't run very well without power, though, do they?!

Which leads me back to the title of this post...

Needless to say, I'm a little pissed at Apple lately.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Fighting Words: 8/20/07 Cartoon...

"Media Machine!"...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

More on wiretapping, the Protect America Act...

Quick list of articles for this week's 'toon:
  • See Charles Babington on the Protect America Act, which may effectively "grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances." Apparently, the Dems were in a hurry to get their August vacations started and didn't think this sounded all that important. But, hey, it's not like the administration just acknowledged that the little domestic surveillance programs that they'd previously admitted to were actually part of a gigantic spying operation involving data-mining and eavesdropping on (possibly) millions of ordinary Americans, right?


    Aziz Huq teaches us the 3-step dance that helped the administration push this bill through Congress.

  • Check out Joe Conason on our fading democracy, John Dean on a historical perspective on Bush's handling of free speech issues, and Joseph A. Palermo, who cites Chalmers Johnson when making the statement that we may be one terror attack away from a form of military dictatorship.

  • Here's a disturbing trend that you may want to think about before you go out to buy your iPhone: backdoors in all your favorite products for the government to spy on you. The possibilities are limitless. How about tiny microphones on to-go cups for your Starbucks lattes? Mini data-recorders in Trojan condoms?

    And what the hell is up with Apple? This is the second time I've read about something like this with them...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More Commercial Art...

I've updated my big Commercial Art post with a bunch of new entries to my portfolio, including more Democratic candidate designs (Nader and Biden), a company logo for a local cafe, a design for a gift shop in the Pike Place Market, a shirt design for an Aikido seminar this weekend, and a design I threw together for a shirt for next weekend's Hempfest in Seattle (hint: it's Dick Cheney smoking a doob):

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

More on the Alaskan Way Viaduct...

Coincidentally, I was planning on doing something on one of Seattle's own disaster-prone bridges for this week's toon before the disaster in Minnesota happened...

For readers outside Seattle, the Alaskan Way Viaduct is a butt-ugly, elevated freeway in the downtown area that has been a source of great controversy over the years. The viaduct is one good ground-shake away from completely falling to the ground, possibly in a manner similar to San Francisco's Cypress Street Viaduct, which came down during the '89 Loma Prieta earthquake. For quite a few years now, local government entities have bickered like children over the best way to handle the viaduct problem, with little progress made on coming up with a final solution.

Clearly, doing nothing with the viaduct is not an option, unless we want to see the thing collapse in rush-hour traffic like 35W did in Minneapolis. Democratic Governor Christine Gregoire has decided that the only option is to replace the viaduct with an even bigger, "butt-uglier" elevated freeway to accommodate all the people who just have to drive their cars everywhere. Mayor Greg Nickels wants a super-cool tunnel to replace the viaduct, a tricky and expensive project that would probably end up bearing a disturbing resemblance to Boston's Big Dig. Both of these choices are wrong, though...

What's the right choice? Tear the sucker down!

The People's Waterfront Coalition site has a good roundup of the arguments and numbers involved in the fight over the viaduct. A new elevated freeway would cost $3 billion, and wouldn't be fully open until 2020. A new tunnel could cost at least $4.5 billion, and who knows when that thing would be completely done. For that kind of money, the best choice would be to tear down the viaduct and invest in making surface street improvements, redirecting traffic out into arterials, and repairing the crumbling seawall.

But most importantly, we could afford to finally start investing in public transit. Every time I visit Washington, D.C., I am really impressed with how easy to learn and use their metrorail system is. And every time I get back from a city like that, I find myself pissed off that we Seattleites (who are supposed to be "enlightened" on environmental issues) don't have something like that here. Seattle has a bus system, but it is extremely unreliable and, of course, vulnerable to traffic jams.

Nickels has received all kinds of accolades for being an "environmental hero" and a "rising green star," but take one look at the ridiculous traffic here and something doesn't smell quite right (literally and figuratively). Any promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions in Seattle are meaningless unless something is also done to break Seattleites of our car addictions. As Erica Barnett notes in an outstanding article, no other city in the world is building a new elevated freeway; in fact, cities like Portland, Chattanooga, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Sydney, Australia are actually tearing them down. By contrast, building a big new freeway here in Seattle would be "inducing demand"... people are gonna drive on it.

The viaduct runs right down the Elliot Bay waterfront, along property which would otherwise be extremely valuable were it not for the gigantic concrete monstrosity hovering over it. The new viaduct that Gregoire wants to build would be 71% larger than the current one, and would put 50% more of the waterfront in shade. Consider instead this vision of the waterfront, which would finally put this "amazing civic resource" to good use. An analogous situation would the Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco, which was demolished in favor of a surface street after the '89 earthquake. The result there has not been gridlock, but rather a decrease in traffic. People sought other options.

On March 13, voters in Seattle overwhelmingly rejected both the tunnel option and the new elevated freeway (the surface street option wasn't even included on the ballot). It looks like the State couldn't care less, though... they're just going to do whatever they want anyway.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fighting Words: 8/7/07 Cartoon...

"The Futuresons: Seattle!"...

Trying out a local issue cartoon... sorry, non-Seattle folks. I'll explain the viaduct debacle in my next blog post.

Previous episode of the Futuresons: