Saturday, June 29, 2002
A few from the mailbag and one from
I had a worse line than that title. I
just felt like saving it for the end.
Anyhoo, a weekend cleanup of the Inbox
leads to a few noteworthy mails.
Several of you have written to me to
comment, and in some cases outright chastize
me, for exposing
them to Free Republic. Some people
just have too tender emotions or something.
From Emily Romund:
I realize that Freepers represent
the most reactionary of the reactionaries
and that even the right wing tends to
distance themselves from these sideshow
morons. (sorry, all you Sideshow Morons)
In retrospect, I guess you of all people
didn't need an illustration of the Freeper
mindset. But I think I am slightly more
pessimistic than you when I say that random
arrestations due to the holding of unpopular
views is not too far off in the future.
(See recent raids of leftist activist
centers, interrogations of citizens based
on politic-talk at the local gym, and
various other spook-related events) The
thing that might save us is the increased
power given to the formerly passive boob-tubed
citizen by the internet and other info-outlets,
as well as the increased politicization
of the formerly apathetic far left. But,
this might be the undoing as well, as
the increase in the exchange of ideas
also gives more fodder to the spooks,
who every day have more and more spying
capabilities for their War On Dissent.
Who knows what will happen? I sure as
hell don't. I can't wait to get back to
the States, though. For the first time
in my life I feel like my country needs
Dave Stumpf has some issues with my
post about Bush's contingencies on the
Palestinian elections I talked about
the other day:
I really don't get your June 27th
post. You are implying that the idea of
consequences is a bad thing somehow. But
it's just common sense. If a democratic
people elect a leader who pledges to go
to war with some country, the consequence
of that action is a war. And the other
country will fight back.
Similarly, if a country elects a leader
who another gov't (say, the US) does not
support, it's not unreasonable for the
other gov't to withhold financial support.
Now, in the broad scheme, I agree with
Dave, but this is an over-broadening of
the issue. My point is that it is hypocritical
of the United States to say that the important
step for the Palestinians is to have free
and open elections, then say that those
free and open elections are not free and
open, as specific people are not allowed
to be involved with them.
And yes, it is unreasonable for the United
States for say both of these things at
the same time. This is not similar to
other U.S. foreign leader relations, despite
all those having problems as well. In
Yugoslavia, the already defeated and indicted
former leader was turned over after threats
of U.S. embargo. In Cuba, the U.S. claims
opposition to the leader is a result of
said leader's refusal to allow open elections.
Neither of these is the upcoming case
in Palestine; rather it is the U.S. openly
saying that if the Palestinian people
openly and fairly elect the leader of
their choice, despite his infeasiblity
to negotiate with the U.S., then the U.S.
will refuse to allow further democracy
to the region. How does threatening to
hinder democracy promote it?
Keep in mind as well that this is coming
from the U.S.- a nation that in no way
has agreed to equal democracy in the global
scale in its own right- exemplified by
such cases as demanding that the U.S.
is solely exempt from the International
Criminal Court or its earlier attempt
to withhold funds from the IMF in protest
of its temporary removal from the UN security
Of course, there is the entire issue
of the U.S. fear that Arafat's election
would lead to a continuation of the deadlock
in the peace process, which frankly leads
to another debate we have both already
discussed and that I don't want to discuss
again at three in the morning after one
too many rounds of Asshole in my best
Finally, I have to paraphrase a bit of
this e-mail, as the writer (identified
only as "Dimm") originally sent it to
the fouders of the lesbian
sperm provider website I wrote about earlier
in the week and cc-ed it to me:
...I support completely what [they're]
trying to do with this site but.... [the]
web site name and logo are offensive.
Not more so than certain pornography sites,
but still there is nothing about those
web sites that tries to be legitimate.
Not that sperm defines a man [an arguable
point I'll grant] but that liquid undoubtedly
comes from a man - [the] donors that [they]
want to pre-register. The man is included.
I would not like to think - and know
it to be false - that lesbians can be
considered "man-haters." It is also fair
to say that at least half of the babies
through [this] service will be boys and
they will, most likely turn into MEN.
The tone of the logo and URL is not fair
to them. [The] site of course is not about
politics, but the logo and name make it
so in the minds of many - including me.
In other words, the writer is upset that
a website promoting sperm provision to
lesbian couples is called "ManNotIncluded.com,"
in sense that by providing women with
something that can, biologcally, come
only from a man, as well as the ultimate
utilization of the sperm possibly yielding
a male birth (thus making a man included
in the process,) the entire service defeats
the title of the company. As for the issues
of man-hating, I don't know where that
concept comes from, but as a straight
man, I don't see how anyone, straight
or not, male or not, can be offended.
The way I see it, this writer is getting
very upset over semen-tics.
I warned you.
Friday, June 28, 2002
Well, that's just neat
From the science department: apparently
Wilhelm Reich was right all those years
ago. No, not about the universe being
powered entirely by the invisible energy
generated by sexual orgasm (unfortunately)
but about the whole concept of "Orgone
Accumulators-" the energy potential of
layering organic and inorganic material
into panels. No, I'm too tired to look
up a link for you. Read a book, for gosh
Anyway, there's sort of a discovery related
to this: layering
wood and magnetic metal makes cell phones
You heard me. Okay, granted, "make cell
phones go splat" isn't the accurate scientific
terminology, but still. If something like
this goes on the market, you can actually
physically disable people's ability to
use a cell phone inside a restaurant,
or a movie theater. Imagine if they still
wood-paneled cars: think of the reduction
in accidents because none of these schmucks
can use their cell phones anymore while
driving into a small cluster of children
as a bus stop. It's a beautiful world
Thursday, June 27, 2002
A quick update from the Land of the
Okay, just so I can get all these straight.
You're perfectly free to refuse to say
the Pledge of Allegiance, just remember
that if you do half the teachers in the
country might discipline you anyway and
entire nation's Congress will denounce
your attitude. You're perfectly free
to choose whatever school you want to,
just remember that there's
a 99 percent chance it will force its
religion on you.
And now, the latest for the people of
Palestine: you're free to choose whatever
leader you want, just remember that if
you choose someone we don't like, we'll
cut off all your funding:
Without mentioning Mr. Arafat by name,
Mr. Bush told reporters today, "I've got
confidence in the Palestinians, when they
understand fully what we're saying, that
they'll make the right decisions." But
then he warned, "I can assure you, we
won't be putting money into a society
which is not transparent - and corrupt
- and I suspect other countries won't
Within hours, a senior administration
official briefing reporters by telephone
from the meeting site, in Kananaskis,
took the warning a step further, saying
that while the Palestinian people were
free to re-elect Mr. Arafat, they should
know that it would cost them significant
"We respect democratic processes,"
the official said, "but there are consequences."
So tune in next time for our latest report
from the Land of the Free, where you should
always remember: democracy has consequences.
Ahh, the honeymoon's over
With everyone having a good night's sleep
(or, to many ultra-conservatives, a good
night's cry,) the whole "striking down
of the Pledge of Allegiance" thing can
be looked at a little more rationally.
First, as was expected, the man who brought
the lawsuit in the first place is receiving
so many death threats that he, and
I'm not making this up, had to put
in a second phone line to handle all
of them. Strange.
But what's more interesting about it
is that most of the people I've heard
from and have now been seeing on the free-from-guilt-in-anything-you-say
message boards have toned down their talk
and are willing to concede the inappropriateness
(if not outright condemn) the actions
of anyone who thinks it would be okay
to assault, physically or verbally, the
man who started this.
Even more in condemnation is the proposal
by Joe Lieberman, as reader Monetta Slaybaugh
pointed out when I asked in regards to
his potential reaction, among other Senators,
to actually draft an amendment to the
constitution- apparently in the minds
of most of our elected officials as the
simple solution to changing multiple laws
when they make you mildly unhappy. Or
when there's an election in a few months
and you really, really think you have
a snowball's chance in hell of becomming
president someday. Suggestions from the
right have, again in all seriousness,
included a proposal to make a two-for-one
amendment, as if permanently altering
the fundamental rights of our citizens
is tantamount to some form of sale at
a used car lot.
People like Gingrich and Buchanan have
made their rounds at places like Talkback
and Hannity & Colmes (who took the cake
last night in the syrupy garbage department
by digging up a Red Skelton album praising
the Pledge and playing it live on the
air with slow flowing flag backdrops.
I am not kidding) and succeeded
in their blatant attempts to, as always,
convince the American public that this
has more ramifications that it actually
does. The leading contenders include the
The court rendered it illegal to say
the Pledge. No it didn't. It said
that with the words "Under God" it would
be illegal to say in a public school,
a government-overseen entity that, therefore
as part of the State, must be separated
from the church.
What's next? Removing 'In God We Trust'
from our money?" Well, actually, that
both makes sense and actually is
the next step the man who won yesterday's
lawsuit claims to do. What's puzzling
about this is how by asking this question
with a forceful tone of voice, it makes
it sound somehow as if it's a problem.
It's not like it's not money.
So what if they do change the
money? Is all my money illegal now?
Wow, you really are braindead, aren't
you? When, at any other point in history,
has the government changed the way money
looks and then made the old version illegal
or invalid? All they do is stop re-circulating
it, just like when they brought out the
new "Monopoly-Money" style $20's and $10's.
Oh, and while we're on the subject: that
joke? You know, the one that involves
"So if your money's illegal now, send
it all to me! LoL RoFlLmAo 3l33t har har"
or something like that? Yeah, we've all
heard it. A hundred times. You're not
funny. Or clever. Or original. Or unique.
Please go away.
The atheists are forcing their beliefs
on us now! It's just reverse discrimination!
Okay, if the whole money thing didn't
prove you're an idiot, you've taken the
prize with this one. First of all, by
definition atheism is incapable of forcing
anything on anyone. Atheism is the belief
that there is no God. so at what point
was there every a ruling that said people
are forced to not believe in God? Gosh,
that would be NEVER! Was the entire country
by atheists prior to 1954 or something?
Stop making this sound like the godless
commies are trying to destroy the American
resolve (which was the actual excuse for
putting the words into the Pledge in the
first place) and go home and pray as much
as you want. Lord knows you need some
form of guidance with all the crap you've
been hearing on TV in the last 24 hours
So anyway, that's just about it. The
latest fad story has erupted, this will
with no doubt be used as a talking point
for both sides throughout the next election
cycle, and within the next six months
some court will strike this down anyway.
Meanwhile, I look on the bright side.
Thanks to the ultra-right fanatics going
on TV to decry this as "unnecessary" because
"children can refuse to say the Pledge
anyway," more Americans that ever before
have actually learned that this is true.
Next school year, there's going to be
twice as many students saying they don't
want to say it. Count on it, and remember
to thank a conservative.
Now let's see if anyone in the Senate
who jumped over themselves to call the
ruling any sort of demeaning and violent
names are going to come out today and
condemn the actions of the god freaks
who harassed this guy and his eight-year
old daughter. Why am I not holding my
breath on this?
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Join me, fellow liberals, as we bow
to our almighty lord, the archangel Uriel,
for his demonic possession of the 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals and our latest
victory to destroy the country from within!
Okay, I never thought I'd link to a website
like this, but I can't hold back any more.
Republic. Go there. Right now.
That's right. The most virulent, psychotic
right-wing message board on the internet.
Go. Observe. For it is a rare moment in
your life where you can stare at the messages
in regards to the long-overdue decision
that mentioning God in the Pledge of Allegiance
is unconstitutional and actually watch,
in a digital format, people going completely
I swear, this is some of the funniest
stuff I've ever read in my entire life.
The symbolism of God and the American
flag shot down in one ruling? Oh my, you
can just imagine how stinky the shit is
that they're throwing at the fans right
Speaking of said hurled shit. what a
strange thing to say. But anyway, one
of the right-wingers did point out something
important- that Republicans
have already taken the steps to capitalize
on this for the 2002 Congressional
elections. Wow. That only took, what,
two hours? And come one, what makes better
campaigning than "defending God and the
So remember folks, it official: the godless
liberals have taken religion away from
your schoolchildren, and the only way
to save America from Satan is to vote
Republican in November. Now if you'll
excuse me, I have to go watch Joe Lieberman's
head explode into several tiny pieces
as he tries to figure out what side to
Finds $3.8 Billion Error, Fires CFO.
Seriously, that's the actual headline.
You know, folks, I'm no expert
in the business world and all it's edu-ma-cated
mumbo-jumbo, but I'd think that mistakenly
reporting the gross national product of,
oh let's say Ghana, is a little more than
a freakin' error, wouldn't you?
Pre-emptive update: And yes, I'm aware
that the story points out who WorldCom's
auditing firm is. The reporters for Reuters
did too, apparently.
If only I could stop
This evening a close friend told me I
should think of other topics to talk about
other than the Middle East, to which I
replied that I would love nothing more
than for there to be no new reasons to
write something about it... at this point
in time, it seems like no news is good
news at the rate that any chance of peace
between these two sides is crumbling.
In regards to Bush's speech, I can't
say much more than you'd expect: Bush
accomplished absolutely nothing, and as
a result nothing will be accomplished
in Israel outside of Sharon using miltary
force to justify the "defensive" acquisiton
of more land that just happens to coincide
with his bastardazing view of Jewish dogma,
followed by Yasser Arafat a.k.a. the only
world leader more politically screwed
than Ariel Sharon, being completely and
utterly unable to control the actions
of any group that will eternally hate
the Jewish people as long as they exist,
knowing that anything they do will be
blamed on the guy they don't plan on ever
listening to anyway. I left most of my
arguments, as I said earlier, to my discussion
Cohen, whose comments on MSNBC I agreed
with wholeheartedly (and for the first
and only time in my life, most likely,
I somehow ended up being able to tell
him at dinner six hours later.)
So, I'm not sure how I'll stomach the
next round of whatever stupid thing develops
in the Middle East, but I'll leave you
with these two links to soak in for the
next few days:
This is from a blogger who apparently
belongs to a link-ring of other Jewish
bloggers (who will probably end up attacking
me and all I stand for once the backlogging
has more to worry about than terrorism.
And, from Slate, more
on how Bush said a whole lot o' nothing.
Later today or tomorrow: more musings
about something.... anything else.
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Oh, and another thing
CNN is now giving reports about the Arizona
wildfires that have burned 300,000 acres
of land and destroyed the homes and lives
of thousands with the clever, compassionate
title "Blazing Arizona." Does anyone
else find that at least mildly tasteless?
Some battles you just stay out of...
sperm bank for lesbian couples draws outrage.
Wow, who saw that coming.
As a straight male, this is one of the
few subjects I feel I have no right to
establish a based opinion on, other than
two simple points: the issue of lesbians
wanting to raise a family is pretty much
none of my damn business, and this sperm
bank has a
great web site address. Sadly, what
else must I say except "we report, you
Oh what a night, late June in '02
I'll be brief because I'm tired, and
I don't want to talk too much and potentially
upset other involved, but I just came
home from a very fun evening involving
both seeing the cartoonists at the panel
I was talking about earlier, and then
actually hanging out with them at a restaurant
To start, I have a whole lot more autographs
now, including those of Ted Rall, Tom
Tomorrow, Peter Kuper, Jen Sorensen, Stephanie
McMillan, Joel Pett, and Matt Wuerker,
all of which will be scanned and displayed
in my archives sometime in the new future
(i.e. whenever I get off my lazy ass an
unpack the scannerm form when I moved
back home for the summer in. Christ. in
the first week of May, for fuck's
Second, to anyone who doesn't know who
all those names are, pick up a copy of
The New Subversive Political Cartoonists,
edited by Rall, and collecting the work
of all the people mentioned above. (Except
Pett, who was only there for the conference,
but more than made up for it by giving
us a basic lesson in caricaturing the
entire Bush family, which I will also
explain via the archives in the near future.)
Third, I will state that I am more optimistic
about becoming a professional cartoonists
because of another apparent perk: cartoonists,
believe it or not, end up with really
good girls. Ted and Matt's wives were
two of the most interesting and insightful
people I talked to during the night, and
were very gracious given the unmitigated
strife that being married to a "Subversive
Political Cartoonist" must entail. Especially
Ted's wife, given the whole "O'Reilly
demands Rall's gonads on a platter" incident
a few months ago. I hope to someday have
a significant other to worry about all
the death threats I'm getting. I mean
it. I think it'll make for good bonding.
Finally, my very strange moment of the
night. Sometime today or tomorrow I'll
have to address the Middle East again,
given the latest statement by Bush. I
listened to the speech on MSNBC and the
point-counterpoint analysis afterwards
right before I left to catch my bus into
the city for this shindig. Weighing in
some interesting points was MSNBC analyst
and Co-Founder of Fairness and Accuracy
In Reporting, Jeff Cohen.
Wait, this is funny. See, the reason
I can, hours after the fact, remember
the specific name of the correspondent
on MSNBC weighing his analysis on the
speech Bush made was because after the
conference I attended, sitting at the
restaurant among many a professional cartoonist,
I realized suddenly that I was, in fact,
talking to him.
And frankly, the fact that something
like having a political discussion with
someone who only three hours earlier you
were watching on TV having a political
discussion happens so rarely to anyone
in life merits mentioning it here. So
there you have it. I'm still very confused.
Nice guy, though.
Later: back to stuff about things not
involving stuff I was actually involved
Monday, June 24, 2002
Update on the going to the event thingie...
I just found out that the address of the
event is, literally, directly across the
street from the Empire State Building,
so if you are attempting to drive and
find parking near the event you are
completely insane. God, why do the
cool city events always happen when I'm
not living in it?
Hey New Yorkers! Want a free sticker?
special note to any fans in the New York
City area, primarily fellow NYU students
who actually know who the hell I am. I'll
be somewhere in the city tomorrow evening
to hand out a free XQUZYPHYR & Overboard
sticker to anyone who wants one.
Here's the catch, but it's a good one:
I'm attending a lecture hosted at CUNY
than the Sword: Kick-Ass Cartoonists and
the Art of Political Subversion."
Yeah, that does sound like something I'd
love to listen to, doesn't it? Well it
must sound even better to Tom Tomorrow
and Ted Rall, who will be two of the panelists
at the lecture. Click the link for all
I'll update if I find out, but I'll point
out for now that I called in a few days
ago to reserve my spot. I don't know if
seating is still available. As it is I'm
going there tomorrow to see if I can actually
attend the pre-lecture gathering without
having to pay the extra ninety bucks that
I am pretty sure I don't have. Such is
life of starving cartoonist.
Anyhoo, if there's anyone out there who
already knows they're definitely going
to the conference, drop me a line via
the usual channels and I'll make sure
to save a sticker for you. I enjoy spreading
Special note to stalkers and anyone
interested in hunting me down and killing
me, possibly harvesting my skin for sustenance
or warmth: please ignore this entire
My future is saved
Seriously. John is doing his happy dance.
I've mentioned in previous posts about
my desire to not only be an animator,
but to continue the art of animation in
the traditional, two-dimensional, Chuck
Jones / Nine Old Men / Bruce Timm style
instead of sacrificing costs to the visually
stunning but emotionally lifeless 3-D
format that is dominating the animation
Ebert wrote one of the best editorials
of his career this week about the
newest Disney film Lilo & Stitch,
which I am excited to see and will head
off to the theater to do just that the
moment I can find a girl to take so I
don't look like a perverted psychopath
sitting there alone in the theater among
the five-year olds and their parents.
Anyone interested may look to the 1999-2000
strips for various suggestions on what
I look for in a woman. I'm only partially
But I digress. I
am very happy that Ebert was wrong.
Scooby-Doo did not dominate the box office.
Not only were American parents smart enough
to take their kids to the Disney movie
instead of the aforementioned piece of
shit, but they very well may have knocked
the Steven Speilberg-directed, Tom Cruise-starring
summer blockbuster into #2. All because
of a 2-D cartoon.
So yes, with both my career and my faith
in American temporarily intact, I urge
others to go see the movie. Then go rent
The Iron Giant, simply because
it's one of the finest animated movies
made in the last ten years.
Sunday, June 23, 2002
The world's policeman, prosecuting
attorney, and holder of diplomatic immunity
Again, one of those stories where you
can't tell if it shoud be called "irony"
or "being complete and total assholes:"
threatens to pull out of UN peacekeeping.
You read that right.
Washington will stop supporting United
Nations peacekeeping operations unless
Americans taking part are given immunity
from prosecution by the world's first
permanent war crimes tribunal.
Most countries back the new International
Criminal Court (ICC), scheduled to begin
its work July 1, but the United States
has refused to endorse it - arguing its
citizens may face politically motivated
American diplomats have presented
the UN Security Council with a draft resolution
demanding guaranteed immunity at the ICC.
Okay. So the U.S., the nation that just
decided anyone in the world, including,
apparently, its own citizens, can be labelled
as "enemy combatants" and held indefinitely
as well as sentenced to imprisonment without
a trial, is still declaring that the U.S.
should be exempt from its citizens recieving
the same treatment because of a possible
"political bias" against the U.S.
Which, of course, we have no idea
how that bias could have been caused by.
And furthermore, exaclty what in the
U.S. War on TerrorismT isn't "politically
motivated prosecution?" How is labelling
people as enemies of the state not political?
How is putting them before government-operated
tribunals not political? How is threatening
to stop helping other countries because
you're worried 220-something years of
generally being the biggest dick in human
history (with the exception of maybe Britain
and the occasional German Reich) not
fucking political? What other term
is there for it?
Friday, June 21, 2002
Let's talk about the Middle East, pt.
What people don't understand is that
it doesn't matter what anyone wants in
this situation, it's what they think everyone
else wants. And right now, both sides
have now convinced the other that their
true goal is complete destruction of their
rival state (or state-to-be.)
There is a dismal irony, given today's
military actions into the West Bank, that
the massive fear that the Arabs want to
"push Israel into the sea" is the leading
motivation for Israel to push the Arabs
as far away from it as possible. And do
not get me wrong on either ends here:
it is obvious that a majority of Palestinians
desire the ludicrous concept of Israel
somehow disappearing from the face of
the earth. It is equally obvious, and
has done nothing but become more obvious,
that Sharon shares an equal desire for
the future Palestinian state.
As proposals for statehood have shown,
the Israeli dream of a Palestinian state
has always been one of de facto subjugation.
Even the infamous "Barak offered 90% of
the West Bank" rhetoric is a watering-down
of the true proposal given to Arafat:
90% of the West Bank in which the remaining
10% consists of Jewish-only roads and
security checkpoints to connect settlements,
all the while preventing West Bank towns
from being connected themselves.
There is this constant idea that the
whole of the West Bank is the extreme
end of the Palestinian demands list. This
is not true. The extreme demand for most
Palestinians, as we have discussed before,
is the complete destruction of Israel.
Full control of pre-1967 land is the middle
ground where Israel and Palestine need
to meet. I know that's a horrific glorification
of Arab demands, but it's the truth.
The perverse logic is already being
put into motion: settlements in the West
Bank are in danger because of the Palestinian
presence that makes them vulnerable to
terrorist attacks. In response to said
attacks, the Israelis will now invade
and hold the land connecting these settlements
to Israel proper. Down the road, it will
be established, QED, that Israel holding
this land makes the settlements there
safer, therefore it is the strategic interests
of Israel to not return this land, ever.
And while we're at it, lets expands the
settlements here while we're at it.
Maybe this won't happen, but I highly
doubt there is a single Palestinian who
hasn't thought about this setup in their
head and realized how amazingly convenient
it is for the Israelis.
And now I will reflect on another irony:
this was part of the post I was going
to put up just the other night before
Blogger shorted out on me for some reason.
And now, with the new and very significant
news that Arafat
apparently will accept the Clinton proposal,
I have to pause for a moment and realize
that all that stuff up there doesn't really
make that much sense.
The Arafat announcement is very interesting
because there are two very believable
rationales for it:
1. Yasser Arafat is scared to death.
Two years down the road, Arafat has suddenly
realized something most of us realized
a while ago- that there is no way Palestine
will ever be liberated through sheer military
force. No other Arab nations are willing
to militarily support Palestine in defense
against the Israel invasions, and Palestinians
are dropping at a 3-to-1 rate against
Arafat's mention of "outside forces exploiting"
Palestinians has got to be a reference
to Iraq. In other words, Arafat is suggesting
not only peace, but a condemnation of
a country the U.S. is itching to get as
many Arabs' approval towards attacking.
Granted, Iraq and the PLO were supposed
to be somewhat allied, but hey, Arafat
isn't exactly the most reliable man in
the world now, is he?
2. Yasser Arafat is more defiant than
ever. This is, in my opinion, the
more likely rationale of the Arafat statement.
There's only two reasons Arafat would
propose this: George W. Bush and Ariel
Sharon. For either one of these men to
accept such a deal would be political
suicide. Sharon was the man who came to
power over the fact that this deal was
allegedly too nice an offer for the Palestinians
in the first place- his defeat in the
next election would be sealed if he decided
to accept something that he vehemently
opposed of 2 years (and 600 dead Jews)
earlier as the main crux of his election
For Bush, the reason lies right there
in the headline: "accepting the Clinton
plan." Arafat, on rare occasions such
as this, can perform political maneuvers
of Machiavellian levels. He's smart enough
to know what the political fallout would
be in the Bush white house if Mideast
Peace was solved based on a plan that
Bush had absolutely no involvement in.
Watch the news, especially the Arab news,
about this. I guarantee you this is not
going to be referred to as the "Camp David
Plan," or the "1999/2000 Plan." There
is a reason that Arafat wants Clinton's
name on this: so that Bush can never,
ever accept it. And while all of this
happens, both leaders become the bad guys
again as the peace-willing Palestinians
are run over by American and Jewish tanks.
There is a logic and an understanding
to both of these rationales. And right
now I'm leaning towards the second one,
but not enough to stand firmly on it.
There are a lot of questions and concepts
still left loose.
For example, the question of how Arafat
can suddenly say he had no problem with
no right of return and the checkpoint
roads throughout the West Bank. Perhaps
it is his realization that with Israel
now invading the West Bank, the Israelis
will have military control over the regions
around the settlements either way. Perhaps
he knows hands-down he's going to turn
on the Israelis in the future and try
to get rid of the roads later on anyway.
I don't know.
What I do know is that the leading reason
I'm not sure on the second rationale is
this: now that he's offered it, he's stuck
with it. With Arafat openly willing to
accept the 200 deal, he has pretty much
killed any future suggestion of right
of return for the foreseeable future.
How can Arafat come to the bargaining
table within the next year and open with
a demand for something greater than he
told the world media he would be happy
with? You can't tell the world you'll
take a job for $40,000 a year and then
tell your boss at the interview you want
$60,000. It's not going to happen. Arafat
has publicly admitted his deal line, which
in a bargaining situation as great as
this- they're trying to make a country,
for chrissakes- that seems to be a very
That all said, much of what I said in
my original until-now-unpublished post
still stands: most Arabs are still going
to see the current actions as an Israel
invasion, and the equivalent of an all-out
declaration of war. Arafat has made a
stunning play by endorsing a deal that
right-wingers have spent two years bragging
about how good it was. How many times
have you had to deal with the "Arafat
was offered 90%" whine. what's the rhetoric
going to be now?
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Now this is what good journalism is
Sun reporter recieves journalism award
for exposing Geraldo as full of shit
(not the paper's wording, sadly.)
The Center for Media and Public Affairs
has chosen Sun staff writer David Folkenflik
as the winner of the first Paul Mongerson
Prize for Investigative Reporting on the
Folkenflik, The Sun's television writer,
will be cited in Washington today for
his stories discrediting a report by Fox
News correspondent Geraldo Rivera on a
"friendly fire" incident in Afghanistan.
"Everybody criticizes the media, but
almost no one makes the effort to critically
examine the flaws in particular news stories,"
said Robert Lichter, director of the center,
a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization
that studies news and entertainment media.
"This prize was given not for media criticism,
but for old-fashioned investigative reporting."
Oh, this just gets better and better.
We're are so totally screwed here.
U.S. government is suing to prevent declared
"enemy combatants" from having any judiciary
The Justice Department is appealing
a ruling by a federal judge in Norfolk,
Va., allowing Yaser Esam Hamdi - a U.S.-born
Saudi suspected of being a Taliban member
- to meet with a public defender.
"There is not right under the laws
and customs of war for an enemy combatant
to meet with counsel concerning his detention,"
the Justice Department wrote in a 46-page
document filed yesterday.
"This is really an astounding assertion
of authority," David Cole, a Georgetown
University law professor, told The Washington
Post. "It's not just that you have no
right to a lawyer, it's that you have
no right to even have a hearing," he said.
"If that is true, then there is really
no limit to the President's power to label
U.S. citizens as bad people and then have
them held in military custody indefinitely."
Hey, I get letters!
From reader Kim Korht-Clark about Israel's
new policy (which means yes, she made
the effort to write about it before I
By instituting this policy Sharon
is beating his chest like a Silver-back.
Urgently screaming for what he cannot
attain. Desperately trying in his failing
years to claim dominance over other individuals
by force. In doing this he strikes me
as a child crying for a toy that has been
taken away. In my humble opinion this,
like the wall, is only going to cause
more suicide bombings and further escalate
tension in the Middle East.
While both sides are guilty of terrorism,
the Palestinians really have no army and
no money. All they have are themselves.
While this is not justification I do think
it represents how desperate the situation
really is, or how desperate they believe
it is. However desperate the situation
may be violence is not the answer and
as long as there are suicide bombings
Sharon will feel his actions are justified.
There was a photo essay on cursor.org
last week that had a picture of a Palestinian
mother who made a suicide bomber costume
for her son. He's 12 I think the article
said and he can't wait to blow himself
up when he's 14 or 15. This is truly sad.
If the United States were to pump as much
money into humanitarian aid as we do in
military aid to Israel and selling weapons
to other countries we could change the
world. The Israel/Palestinian conflict
has proven how powerful belief is. One
belief can change the world, either for
better or worse. Sadly, right now that
belief seems to be to see how much money
can be gotten at any expense. There are
many examples of this in our foreign policy,
too many for me to list here. Look at
East Timor, Latin America, read Chomsky.
We live in a country where we truly do
have the power to change the world if
we only would take the initiative and
sum up the courage to do so.
From reader Kevin Wohlmut about Bush
and our bass-ackwards military policy:
An American citizen is arrested for
allegedly planning a "dirty bomb" attack.
This would be a very small conventional
explosive that scattered a small amount
of radioactive material. Presumably this
bomb would be set and placed somewhere,
by the terrorists, by hand, from inside
So... Resident Bush proposes to fight
this new scourge by... Construction of
the Star Wars missile defense system will
begin, at great cost, on Saturday the
15th, come hell or high water, despite
no more convincing test successes than
the ones that were faked last summer.
To top it all off... if you were a
terrorist, and you wanted to obtain radioactive
material for a dirty bomb, where's the
first place you would inquire? Probably
Russia, right? Huge stockpiles, poor security,
desperate for money - practically a K-Mart
for terrorists, one would think. So Bush
signs a treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear
armaments. But wait - the treaty doesn't
require either side to actually destroy
any nuclear warheads, merely mothball
The idea of an arms treaty that "mothballs"
warheads instead of destroying them could
well be the subject of an entirely separate
diatribe. After all, even the most hawkish
right-wing military think-tanks in Washington
have realeased statements that say, if
the U.S. finds itself in a situation where
we have to start breaking warheads out
of mothballs after firing off all of the
2,200 nuclear missiles which the treaty
lets us keep... then there is something
seriously, fundamentally wrong about our
military strategy leading up to that point.
So thanks to Bush, there will be a
lot more nuclear material lying around
in Russia, with funding for its security
cut, at the same time that terrorists
are looking for it... and we're wasting
tens of billions on a Star Wars system
that won't defend us from such terrorism;
it would only defend us against ballistic
missile programs which everyone in the
intelligence community realizes don't
exist in any hostile country on Earth
and won't for several decades if ever...
and it would only defend us against those
future threats if it actually worked,
which it doesn't.
Well the one bright spot is that the
movie "Real Genius", also about a space-based
weapons system, has finally been released
Indeed. So in short, Sharon is a dick,
Bush is a schmuck, go buy funny 80's movie.
Wednesday, June 19, 2002
The sum of all idiots
First of all, Ariel
Sharon is a goddamn lunatic. But I'll
do a whole post about that later.
I've got to get this off my chest, because
after finally seeing The Sum of All
Fears with my friend Rodney on Monday
night, a weird thought has been rattling
through my brain. Yes, I mean aside from
the usual weird thoughts rattling through
my brain. But I digress.
The thought was enhanced by two articles
I came across last night: one about the
lunacy of Bush's open proposal to have
Saddam Hussein assassinated, given the
U.S.'s not-to-perfect record of covert
leader elimination tactics. The second
was a critique
of our Defense Budget, one which gave
a few numbers next to each other in a
way I never saw before: the U.S. spends,
or wants to spend under Rumsfeld's wishes,
$400 billion in defense. The "Axis of
Evil" nations of Iraq, North Korea, and
Iran have an annual defense budget of
$12 billion. Combined.
That means, essentially, at a cost to
our education, medical, and humanitarian
resources budgets, the United States apparently
needs to spend roughly 33 times that of
the enemy to equip itself with technology
and weaponry that is utterly useless against
So these two concepts melded together
to solidify the aforementioned rattling
thought, which finally released into my
full attention after seeing the movie:
we must have, without question, the
stupidest military in the history of human
Now, right off the bat, I will forcefully
explain that this is in no way an attack
on the brave and honorable members of
the armed forces. I have said and will
continue to say that despite my total
disagreement with numerous policies and
directives of their superiors, soldiers,
like policemen, firemen, teachers, public
works employees, and on and on all the
way to McDonald's employees are people
who all deserve various levels of respect
and admiration for the intense amount
of shit they have to deal with. I have
never blamed a soldier for living in a
world which inspired him to want to become
a soldier, nor have I ever said there
haven't been times when soldiers have
been necessary for some reason. Eisenhower
deploying the National Guard comes to
That said, in the grand scheme, why is
our army intelligence so un-goddamned-intelligent,
both in real life and in fiction?
A brief synopsis of The Sum of All
Fears makes it sound very similar
to a lot of other films: a covert overseas
group of anti-Democratic elitists secretly
acquire a nuclear warhead, which they
plan to detonate in the United States
as part of a plan to make Russia and the
U.S. go to war against each other. This
is a concept we have seen in many James
Bond stories, many Tom Clancy stories,
and many, many bad college writing class
papers. September 11 proved something
about these plots: this can actually
happen. A small group of anti-American
elitists, though rich but still not nearly
as rich as the United States, acquire
the basic tools to make a massive strike
against a U.S. target.
This always seems to happen, doesn't
it? Even before the horror of 9/11 occured,
why was it so believeable and morbidly
entertaining to see how the ultra-funded
U.S. military system getting bested by
a couple of super-villains with a loose
bomb or two? The most heavily-funded military
in the world apparently has the worst
record for military effectiveness! What
I'm saying is that how, with such a huge
budget, does the U.S. allow something
to happen that Sci-Fi novelists have been
talking about for decades now? And how
does increasing the funding for more weapons
that proved ineffective the first time
reduce the risk? I guess the answer would
be to sell a few nuclear subs and build
a few more schools, just to make everyone
a little bit happier before our grossly
over-funded military allows another one
to slip through the missile shield.
The answer, of course, may also just
be that I fucking hate Ben Affleck and
I'm not exactly sure why.
(P.S. Tom, I swear this movie-related
rant has nothing to do with your Minority
Report Analogy Quest. But I'm keeping
my eyes open for you on that, too.)
Tuesday, June 18, 2002
Viacom is so brave for taking a loss
on running this against the 78th Osbournes
rerun this week
Yeah, all kidding aside, good show to
Nickelodeon for finally having the cajones
to put this out. Now everyone out there
make sure you get your local Neilsen family
to watch it, okay?
to Air Gay Parent Special
Despite a staggering 100,000 e-mails
and phone calls in protest, Nickelodeon
will telecast a special for children about
same-sex parents on Tuesday night.
The half-hour report, produced by
Linda Ellerbee and featuring Rosie O'Donnell,
includes comments from the Rev. Jerry
Falwell - who later joined conservative
activists in urging Nickelodeon not to
Ellerbee, in the show's introduction,
says, "The following program is about
tolerance ... It is not about sex. It
does not tell you what to think."
Ellerbee, who won a Peabody Award
for a Nickelodeon special that delicately
dissected the Monica Lewinsky scandal
for children, said she conceived of this
show upon reading that the word "fag"
had become the most common schoolyard
(The program airs at 9:00 PM tonight
on Nickelodeon, for those of you interested,
and hopefully that's at least some of
Monday, June 17, 2002
Psychotic Religious Injustice League,
Conservative U.S. Christian organizations
have joined forces with Islamic governments
to halt the expansion of sexual and political
protections and rights for gays, women
and children at United Nations conferences.
The new alliance, which coalesced
during the past year, has received a major
boost from the Bush administration, which
appointed antiabortion activists to key
positions on U.S. delegations to U.N.
conferences on global economic and social
But it has been largely galvanized
by conservative Christians who have set
aside their doctrinal differences, cemented
ties with the Vatican and cultivated fresh
links with a powerful bloc of more than
50 moderate and hard-line Islamic governments,
including Sudan, Libya, Iraq and Iran.
"We look at them as allies, not necessarily
as friends," said Austin Ruse, founder
and president of the Catholic Family and
Human Rights Institute, a New York-based
organization that promotes conservative
values at U.N. social conferences. "We
have realized that without countries like
Sudan, abortion would have been recognized
as a universal human right in a U.N. document."
rest of the story is here, but I'm
too busy vomiting. I've said stuff like
this before, but I'm 100% serious this
time: this is the most disturbing news
story I have ever read in my life.
What you have here is a brilliant example
of how fundamentalism exists on all sides.
All the people you live with and listen
to on a daily basis talking about how
horrific and oppressive the extreme doctrines
of Islam are? Well here's a nice group
of Christians, hand-picked by the president,
who not only agree with the religious
leaders of the "Axis of Evil," but openly
thank them for their brutal human oppression
that otherwise would have led to (gasp!)
a peaceful and more understanding world.
Let's talk about the Middle East pt.
Two-hundred mile fence.
Say. Here's a brain-teaser. After instigating
the bloodiest and most violent uprising
in the history of the Palestinian/Israeli
conflict by entering a Muslim holy site
with a platoon of armed guards in an obvious
display of Israel's ability to overpower
and humiliate a people who, if known for
only one thing in the world, are known
for their amazing ability to immediately
over-react to any possible instigation
of their inferiority to the Jewish people,
what would be the best way to calm those
feelings down after, oh, say about two
years of using military force to drive
that feeling of military superiority into
their skulls at the cost of several thousand
lives, including those of hundreds of
your own people- people who have died
at the hands of the hair-trigger temperament
of the impoverished, futureless refugees
you refuse to negotiate with because they,
for some strange reason, don't seem to
like you very much?
What's that? Build a gigantic symbol
of division and military superiority through
the middle of disputed territory? Wow!
That's almost the most wildly idiotic
move in the entire reign of Ariel Sharon
as Prime Minister of Israel! Good job!
Okay, I'm being overly snotty there,
but I'm in a bad mood. And it has nothing
to do with Scooby-Doo taking in $56 million
dollars, thus continuing my theory that
the United States is completely devoid
of anything remotely resembling culture
and/or intelligence. More likely it has
to do with the stupid comment I had to
hear from someone about this when I was
talking to them about it.
I'm sure I'm not the first, and I doubt
I'll be the last, to point out that the
most obvious comparison to this latest
move by Israel would be to that other
fence built a little while after World
War II to maintain security and protect
the interest of two politically divided
sides. It was with this discussion that
I had to deal with this comment: "The
Berlin Wall was built to keep good people
in. The Israelis are building this fence
to keep bad people out."
As I type this, I yet again want to go
smack the person I was talking to. I'm
actually considering calling them up and
yelling at them some more.
The relations to the conflicts and problems
the Berlin Wall caused- hell for that
matter, the ones that the Great Wall of
China caused- are just some of the reasons
that building the fence, the way it is
and where it is, are going to be more
harm than good.
And strangely, I'm revising my post in
the middle of updating it. I realized
that I was about to list the reasons why
feasibly this fence is going to cause
more tension politically that will disrupt
the peace process; I can change that to
sum it up in one statement: this is yet
another stirring example of Sharon's determination
for a Palestinian state to never, ever
exist. And it comes as a twisted irony
considering that Sharon's alleged excuse
to prevent the Palestinian state from
existing is the belief that every Palestinians
wants the state of Israel to not exist.
As we've proven in previous posts about
this, the concept of Israel and Palestine
having the right to exist are solidified
by only one thing: force. Israel exists
because several million troops, $3 billion
in international funding, and a stockpile
of nuclear weapons say so. Palestine doesn't
exist because it has none of that.
The political means of this fence is
the same as Sharon's infamous visit to
the Islamic holy sites two years ago that
started the intifada. Regardless of any
true intentions, it will be seem by the
Palestinians as a symbol of Israel's decision
to dominate the Arabs in any way they
see fit. There were no negotiations about
this fence and where it would be built:
Sharon and the Israel cabinet, therefore
Israel and the Israel entity, decided
all on their own what constituted "Israeli
land" and put up a border.
And don't mince words here about that
subject- it is a border. And the
fact that it is not along the pre-1967
"Green Line" means in the eyes of the
Palestinians who, frankly, don't all exactly
have the greatest resources for intellectual
education and philosophical reasoning
and insight right now, Israel has just
officially seized more land. Yeah, that's
going to reduce the bombings.
That leads to the next subjects- the
cost-expense of bombings to occur once
the fence is up. Israel has enough trouble
financing the defense and guarding of
living, moving, and in most cases, armed
and defended human beings. I'm not a military
expert here, but it seems to me that the
Palestinian terrorists might have a slight
military edge over a stationary fence.
This means, of course, that even more
money will have to be spent to hire more
military officers to guard the fence.
In addition, the fence does absolutely
nothing to protect the 200,000 settlers
within the West Bank. Which means once
again, the plight of 200,000 Israelis
will lead Israel to spend more money at
the whim of several million Israeli and
American taxpayers. Not only that, but
if the fence, once built, is totally effective
in keeping out terrorists from Israel
proper, won't it mean the settlers within
the West Bank, as a much closer and easier
target, will be ever more greatly exposed
to terror attacks?
As always, of course, having the two
sides sit down and discuss this has been
eliminated as an option. It's just that
this time one side is actually constructing
a wall to prevent the two sides from ever
Friday, June 14, 2002
Students threatened with expulsion
if they don't cheer for Bush
happy article about Bush's commencement
address at Ohio State University doesn't
really reflect the story's final paragraph:
Bush was invited to speak at the Ohio
State commencement by representatives
of the graduating class. But immediately
before class members filed into the giant
football stadium, an announcer instructed
the crowd that all the university's speakers
deserve to be treated with respect and
that anyone demonstrating or heckling
would be subject to expulsion and arrest.
The announcer urged that Bush be greeted
with a "thunderous" ovation.
A student threatened with arrest at the
her story here.
The Barr keeps getting raised here
Okay, so it's a lousy, lousy joke. But
I digress. This is very funny, kind of:
asked me about how I could find all that
stuff about Bob Barr for the previous
post. I told him that not only was it
easy to find, but people have been e-mailing
me to tell me stuff I missed. Apparently,
tearing Bob Barr a new one is one of America's
favorite pastimes... so everyone better
start getting defense lawyers, I guess.
The most common update: Barr's demands
for a full investigation into the alleged
"trashing of the white house offices"
in January of 2001 led to an assessment
this week of only
a few thousand dollars in damages...
as reported in the GOP's $200,00 - $400,000
report (depending on whatever source you
pick, but at a cost of 200 grand, does
another 200 even matter.) Not like we
could have spent that money in mid-2001
investigating anything important or anything.
This means, of course, that Bob Barr has
actually made himself look like an ass
in a whole during way within the twelve
hours since my last post. Way to go,
Mark Geralds has also pointed out to
me another important tidbit: Despite this
$30 million lawsuit, Bob Barr is one
of the leading legislators pushing for
a limit on personal damage lawsuits to
$250,000. I'll let that one
soak in for a while.
Thursday, June 13, 2002
This depressingly ridiculous story
brought to you by Cool WhipT- the choice
dessert topping of hypocritical adulterers
are cases that make you question the veracity
of the American legal system. Even more
so, there are incidents in which you can
hardly fathom the extent of just how pathetic
and small the human being can be. On both
examples, such a case can be found in
The congressman who demanded the impeachment
of Bill Clinton. before Ken Starr
released his report, who mocked the defeat
of revised drug laws in D.C. because they
were all "liberals who loved Marion Barry,"
and who took every opportunity to mock
gays and minorities for the silly notion
of wanting equal rights, has decided that
he's upset about the way people are treating
his superior character.
So the man who made a career out of humiliating
the President is now filing
a $30 million lawsuit for "loss of reputation
and emotional distress and injury in person
and property" at the hands of Bill
Clinton, James Carville, and, of course,
The lawsuit, which in no way has anything
to do with the difficult re-election Barr
might be facing, has the most veracity
towards Flynt, whose "Flynt Report" gathered
a wealth of information about Barr during
the Clinton Impeachment trial to expose
the congressman's hypocrisy. Barr, apparently,
feels he has been damaged by the revelation
of all the incriminating evidence about
his social life, which I will now list
because I hate him.
Barr was a champion of the "Family Values"
wing of the Republican Party, meaning
the subtle idea that the queer-lovin',
bible-hatin Democrats led by their adulterous
baby-killing Bill Clinton were the spawn
of the devil, vote GOP in 1998. However,
Barr never told the people, primarily
the voters of his district, that the rules
of GOP Family Values didn't apply to him,
which he proved by doing the following:
- Secretly arranged and paid for his
wife to have an abortion in 1983
- Divorced his wife
- Divorced his second wife
- Had an affair with his future third
wife while still married to his second
wife (to his credit, he married her
a month after his second divorce)
- Was sued multiple times for failure
to pay child support for children of
- Was photographed in 1992 licking whipped
cream off the naked breasts of two women
- Served as a guest speaker at the Council
of Conservative Citizens along with
KKK Grand Wizard David Duke
- Was confirmed by the Federal Election
Commission to have received undisclosed
campaign contributions, then deliberately
concealed the source of the funds in
violation of federal election laws
I want everyone to reflect on this as
they go over that list once more: it's
all true. Bob Barr helped lead the
charge to expose the entire private life
of the president and convince the world
that he needed to be kicked out of office.
For some strange reason now, he doesn't
believe that the same events can apply
to him. He is not refuting that he is
a liar, a philanderer, and a repeated
hypocrite. He is complaining that three
people, one of which he tried to legitimately
destroy, offered a fraction of the opinion
about his private life that he held to
one of theirs. Like the alcoholic who
refused to admit his problem, Barr is
gasping for air as he tries in vain to
validate the aforementioned stream of
fuck-ups that is his adult life.
So Bob, if this ever gets to you in some
way, heed my advice: you need help. You
are a small and pathetic little man, and
you are obviously upset with the way you
have run your own life. Go find whatever
it is you need to be happy again, because
at the rate this is going, I'm not even
worried anymore about whether or not this
stupid publicity stunt of yours will get
you re-elected. I'm just amazed that you
haven't put a gun to your head with all
the failure that's been exposed in your
life. and what you're going to do when
this next attempt to make yourself look
significant crashes and burns.
Bush's "Titanic war on terror"
Robert Fisk is rapidly becomming one
of my favorite columnists, and his latest
on Bush's anti-Arab policies is just
another example of how good his writing
is. Check out his stuff before John Malkovich
kills him. I'm
New American "security" rules will
force hundreds of thousands of Arabs and
Muslims from certain countries to be fingerprinted,
photographed and interrogated when they
enter the US. This will apply, according
to the US Attorney General, John Ashcroft,
to nearly all visitors from Iran, Iraq,
Syria and Sudan, most of whom will not
get visas at all. The list is not surprising.
Iran and Iraq are part of Mr Bush's infantile
"axis of evil". Syria is on the list,
presumably because it supports Hamas'
war against Israel.
It is a political list, constructed
around the Bush policy of good-versus-evil.
But not a single citizen from Iran, Iraq,
Syria or Sudan has been accused of plotting
the atrocities of 11 September. The suicide-hijackers
came principally from Saudi Arabia, with
one from Egypt and another from Lebanon.
The men whom the Moroccans have arrested
- all supposedly linked to al-Qa'ida -
are all Saudis.
Yet Saudis - who comprised the vast
majority of the September killers - are
going to have no problems entering the
US under the new security rules. In other
words, men and women from the one country
whose citizens the Americans have every
reason to fear will be exempt from any
fingerprinting, or photographing, or interrogation,
when they arrive at JFK. Because, of course,
Saudi Arabia is one of the good guys,
a "friend of America", the land with the
greatest oil reserves on earth. Egypt,
too, will be exempt, since President Hosni
Mubarak is a supporter of the "peace process".
...[W]hy ... should any Arabs take
Mr Bush seriously right now? The man who
vowed to fight a "war without end" against
"terror" told Israel to halt its West
Bank operations in April - and then sat
back while Mr Sharon continued those same
operations for another month. On 4 April,
Mr Bush demanded that Mr Sharon take "immediate
action" to ease the Israeli siege of Palestinian
towns; but, two months later, Mr Sharon
- a "man of peace", according to Mr Bush
- is still tightening those sieges.
It was almost inevitable, of course,
that someone in America would be found
to explain the difference between "good
terrorists" - the ones we don't bomb,
like the IRA, Eta or the old African National
Congress - and those we should bomb. Sure
enough, Michael Elliott turned up in Time
magazine last week to tell us that "not
all terrorists are alike". There are,
he claimed, "political terrorists" who
have "an identifiable goal" and "millenarian
terrorists" who have no "political agenda",
who "owe their allegiance to a higher
authority in heaven". So there you have
it. If they'll talk to the Americans,
terrorists are OK. If they won't, well
then it's everlasting war.
The full article here,
via the Independent.
Wednesday, June 12, 2002
The never-ending cycle of racism and
The subject of hate crime laws is an
interesting one to me because there is
apparently no subject in modern politics
in which such a vast majority of people
are so hideously ignorant about- self-proclaimed
Democrats and Republicans alike.
One of the reasons I post links to news
stories published on Yahoo! all the time
is that the bottom of the page contains
the ever-astonishing message board the
site provides the readers, in which people
from across the world can take gross advantage
of cowardice and anonymity to say the
most disgusting things in the world that
they would never say in public. But when
it's about a story such as today's- that
GOP has once again blocked attempts to
pass an addition to the Hate Crimes Act
to include gender, disability, and sexuality-
the messages and opinions are all ones
that are surprisingly heard openly in
Hate crimes are wrong and unfair! Hate
crimes. are racist! Good lord. This is
coming from what's supposed to be the
most civilized country in the world.
So please, I am asking people who already
understand this to run it by the overly
large masses who don't, be it their inherent
racism or their belief that watching the
episode of South Park that made fun of
hate crime laws makes them experts on
the subject, the most common misunderstanding
about hate crime laws. Gather them and
bring them to the screen so they can all
read this. Ready?
Hate crime laws do not unjustly punish
people just for killing a person of a
different color. Conservatives and, frankly,
just plain assholes, have propagated this
obscene notion that if a white man kills
a black man it's automatically a hate
crime. There isn't even room do debate
the semantics here with someone who says
that. They're a goddamn idiot for thinking
an obviously unconstitutional law like
that actually exists.
A hate crime is NOT a white man
killing a black man. A hate crime is a
white man killing a black man BECAUSE
the man is black.
And yes, it works the other way around.
how sad is this country that people need
this explained to them? There are a vast
number of Americans. decent, hard-working
people. who think hate crime laws means
black people can do things white people
can't. You know, like maybe throw a white
guy into a bathroom and sodomize him with
a plunger. Or shoot him 41 times. Or beat
him with six other black guys within an
inch of his life.
But that wouldn't happen. right? I mean,
those pesky over-reaching hate crime laws
lets the blacks get away with everything.
Sarcasm somewhat subdued now, I address
the most oh-fuck-you statement in the
debate, the "mock-love mantra:" when a
conservative with no qualms about mass
executions and random carpet bombings
suddenly weeps "why isn't all crime called
a 'hate crime?' A man kills a man because
he hates him, doesn't he?"
First of all, not all killing is a crime
of hate. When a robber holds up a store
and kills a cop fleeing, he isn't doing
it out of hate for the cops. Sure, he
might hate cops, but he did it to ensure
his own survival. That he was breaking
the law in the process of committing this
new crime is after-the-fact. In relation
to his initial crime, the only hate the
robber exuded was his hatred of not having
money. When the two kids who shot up Columbine
High School pulled a girl from the crowd,
asked her if she believed in God, and
killed her when she said yes, they did
it out of hate. They sought out a person
to violate of their rights because of
that person's specific religious belief.
We live in a nation founded by white
Christian men who held their power for
most of the nation's existence by convincing
anything that wasn't a white Christian
male that they were inferior- be it physically,
mentally, morally, or economically. Over
that time, the idea has set into so many
people that it gives them the motivation
to act out their claims of superiority
with violent force: beating a gay man
to death to prove your masculinity. Raping
a woman to prove your masculinity. Burning
down a synagogue because it offends God.
And when all three of these criminals
are dragged to jail, there's never a debate
about how horrible they are. There's never
a question over whether or not they hated
who they just abused and tortured. And
I certainly don't hear any conservatives
rationalizing the murder of four black
girls in a church in Alabama by saying
how hard it is to be white in America.
The country, primarily it's white, Christian
majority, needs a serious amount of education
about the true nature of hate crime legislation
in this country. There's not a decent
citizen of this country who would be against
it if they knew what it actually does.
Frankly, the only people who would still
be against it are to stupid and too ignorant
to ever have their minds changed. but
they'll never be seen beyond their precious
anonymity of the Yahoo! message boards.
Tuesday, June 11, 2002
The President of the United States
has gone completely insane, Pt. 4
The Bush administration is developing
a new strategic doctrine that moves away
from the Cold War pillars of containment
and deterrence toward a
policy that supports preemptive attacks
against terrorists and hostile states
with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons,
the Washington Post is reporting.
Essentially, the administration touts
the change in policy as a result of the
most unprecedented event in U.S. history-
someone else actually having the gall
to attack us. And since it was an attack
from a group of guys who we're not sure
where they were all from, we couldn't
just obliterate them and be happy. And
since the "let's waste a country because
people from an allied country attacked
us" policy didn't exactly pull the heartstrings
the American populace, something new,
something exciting, something. action-packed
must be added to make war entertaining
So, of course, we haul out the nukes.
Yes, what the one-sentence summary from
the Post doesn't mention is how
nuclear first strikes are being considered
as a possibility in the new U.S. "Defense"
plan. Such an example is for cases of
biological weapons, in which the Pentagon
said with a straight face that the best
way to handle those is the "extreme heat
of a nuclear blast." These people have
guns. I'm serious.
Michele Flournoy, a former Pentagon
proliferation expert now at the Center
for Strategic and International Studies,
said that to be effective, the United
States will need to strike preemptively
before a crisis erupts to destroy an adversary's
weapons stockpile. Otherwise, she said,
the adversary could erect defenses to
protect those weapons, or simply disperse
But Flournoy said she favors moving
toward a doctrine of preemption given
the proliferation of chemical, biological
and nuclear weapons among states supporting
terrorists. She said the policy may offer
the best of a series of bad choices.
"In some cases, preemptive strikes
against an adversary's [weapons of mass
destruction] capabilities may be the best
or only option we have to avert a catastrophic
attack against the United States," she
So as long as that makes sense, let's
go for it. The new plan is a follows:
we have nuclear weapons, but others might
be building them. So we should nuke them
before they finish building their nukes
so they can't nuke us. which honestly
they most likely would never do unless,
oh, say. we nuked them first... which
we would have just done. So make sure
Oh, yeah, this is so much more sensible
Monday, June 10, 2002
And now, the most frighteningly stupid
thing your government could possibly do...
The federal government spent $62 million
on a building to store and treat low-level
radioactive waste at a California nuclear
weapons laboratory, then decided the structure
wasn't secure enough.
So where is the waste kept now? Under
Hundreds of bright yellow, 55-gallon
drums are stacked under the tents outside
the building at the Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory, east of San Francisco.
Read the rest of the story here.
Saturday, June 08, 2002
great one from the GunGuys,
but one I've been reflecting on for some
time now: the idea that attacking and
detaining all the Arabs in this country
will somehow protect us from terrorists.
Why bother when we
can find as many terrorists we want all
in our own land?
Mr. Burgert, a 38-year-old who last
made a living renting out snowmobiles
here in this spectacularly beautiful nook
of northwestern Montana, had a terror
plan that made Osama bin Laden's look
rinky-dink. Not content merely to kill
a few thousand people, Mr. Burgert's nine-member
militia was planning a violent revolution
and civil war to overthrow the entire
United States government.
In Michigan, militia members planned
to bomb two federal buildings. Missourians
planned to attack American military bases,
starting with Fort Hood, Tex., on a day
it opened to tens of thousands of visitors.
California militia members planned to
blow up a propane storage facility. Most
unnerving, a Florida militia plotted to
destroy a nuclear power plant.
If these were Muslims who were forming
militias and exchanging tips for making
nerve gas, then we'd toss them in prison
in an instant. But we're distracted by
our own stereotypes, searching for Muslim
terrorists in the Philippine jungle and
the Detroit suburbs and forgetting that
there are blond, blue-eyed mad bombers
as well. We're making precisely the mistake
that the Saudis did a few years ago: dismissing
familiar violent fanatics as kooks.
Rest of the article here.
(Via New York Times, as always, free registration
On Arab and Israeli minds
From the New York Times (free registration
required,) the story and interactions
Zaydan, failed suicide bomber. Please
reflect on how interesting it is that
two people from different sides managed
to stop talking about how they wanted
to kill each other for a minute through
the rarely-used art of sitting down and
taking to each other. Hmm.
In a conversation that lasted more
than two hours tonight, the bomber, Zaydan
Zaydan, gave a rare glimpse into the blend
of religion, desperation, low technology
and cruelty that can produce suicide bombers.
He described his ease in evading Israeli
tanks and checkpoints, and a bomb that
reeked so badly that he doused it with
cheap perfume as he walked toward his
chosen killing ground.
Mr. Zaydan, who is 18, spoke of his
hopeless search for a job, of long days
spent in pool halls before he found his
way deeper into Islam, and of how his
recruiter composed his last, videotaped
statement for him, because, as a fifth-grade
dropout, he can read but not write.
He said he was "pushed" to make his
attack not by Israeli action or a terrorist
group, but by "the love of martyrdom."
He added: "I didn't want revenge for anything.
I just wanted to be a martyr."
"He's also a human being, despite
all of this," Sergeant Levi said of Mr.
Zaydan. "That's the difference between
us and them, at least in our thoughts.
I don't believe if something like this
happened on the other side, they'd be
giving this kind of treatment. Just the
Mr. Zaydan expressed gratitude for
his treatment, even by his immediate captors.
"This Jewish policeman is better than
many, many Arabs," he said, indicating
one of his monitors.
"I know Israel," he said, recalling
his six years as a peddler here. "I know
that the individual Israeli citizen is
innocent like us. Unfortunately, we are
victims of our leaders, sitting on their
Mr. Zaydan, who has been interrogated
by the Israelis and is expecting to be
prosecuted, said bitterly that he knew
he would be jailed for life and remembered
only as a terrorist.
"I feel sorry, because it was a mistake,"
he said. "But as a human being, I should
live like others. The way there is an
Israeli state, there are people living
in this state, enjoying life, having someone
protect them. I don't live in this situation.
I don't feel I'm secure."
Soldiers could enter Jenin at any
time, he said, and he constantly feared
being arrested. "As long as life continues
like this," he said, "you will have people
who think like me."
Friday, June 07, 2002
Another idea goes kaboom
An update to the story about the Nevada
mushroom cloud license plate, for
the five of you who still remember and/or
actually care about it: it appears as
though the Nevada DMV has now decided
to cancel the plate. According to
supporters of the plate, foul politics
You know what? I'm gonna go look at the
cute puppy some more.
Well, at least they're not giving any
of the Osbournes more airtime
The article about this is here,
but I would recommend reading the much
more insightful analysis about it from
...Carol Martin, an award-winning
journalist, and her two Chicago-based
producers did not have their contracts
renewed by 60 Minutes II... CBS News chief
Andrew Heyward told US Today last February
"[They] just became a luxury we can't
afford. Times are tight."
Luckily, Heyward did manage to find
a million dollars in his tight little
budget to hire Lara Logan as a contributing
correspondent for the show. Heyward called
Logan "an intrepid journalist with tremendous
curiosity, determination and a keen eye
for good stories," then added, "She will
add even more depth to our stellar cadre
of international hard-news reporters."
Oh, right. And what happy coincidence!
Logan, 32, a former swimwear model, is
known in the British press by her nickname
- 34D Lara. While covering British and
American troops in Afghanistan earlier
this year, she was reprimanded for wearing
"low-cut tops" and "skimpy outfits" and
for "shamelessly flaunting her gender."
Yeah, I smell credibility all over this
...is it so hard to tell the truth?
Especially when you're in the news biz?
Why not just say, "This isn't about journalism.
It's about who looks good on camera. With
the old broad, we'd break news. With the
hot babe, we'll attract male viewers.
Do the math and you'll see why we made
For God's sake, just say it. Everyone
knows it already.
Thursday, June 06, 2002
Another senseless shooting in Lebanon
This story came to me from the ever-hysterical
antagonists of the pro-gun fanatic movement
over at GunGuys,
who I think I'm going to be checking out
more frequently now. In Lebanon, Missouri,
man was sentenced to two years probation
for killing another man.
Oh, but wait, here's all the things that
make this such a heartwarming story: the
killing took place in November. Of 2000.
That's right. It took over a year for
a man who fatally shot another person
to actually even be charged for
any crime whatsoever, let alone acquitted
of the charges. And what rational excuse
did the man have to get him off? Because
he was hunting, of course. And
apparently, as the article explains, when
you take a high-powered rifle and discharge
it into a bush because something was moving
behind it, it's not murder if it just
happens to be another human being. Furthermore,
apparently as a hunter you are also looked
at as one with higher reasoning of perception,
as the court found that despite the hunter's
consumption of half a six-pack prior to
killing someone, that couldn't have had
any affect whatsever on his rationale
that the man he murdered was, in fact,
a wild pig. That was wearing camo gear.
And a hat.
So let's just run by this again. In the
state of Texas, a man with a criminal
record can be executed simply by having
someone without a criminal record saying
they saw the first man kill somebody.
But in the more refined state of Missouri,
a man can actually kill someone and admit
to it, but all he has to do is say he
thought it was a wild pig and he has to
suffer the inabilty for 24 whole months
to not be able to go out and do it again.
So could a legal expert explain to me
why this can't apply to just about any
other incident in life now? "Well, your
honor, I didn't mean to empty the handgun
into that mailman, it's just that I thought
he was the rabid dog the police reported
was loose in the area."
of cartoon fun for everyone
Had to let the world know of this one...
or at least the few hundred or so of it's
residents who view this page: custom-build
your own South Park character. My
crude attempt at the president (during,
of course, the boil era) shown at right.
Good luck with your own attempts, kids.
American soldiers may have "been helping
terrorists." Or at least that's what the
teevee tells me
that accidentally bombed Canadian troops
were improperly prescribed amphetamines.
In the meeting, held in the week before
Canadian soldiers were shelled by American
bombs in Afghanistan, at least one F-16
pilot complained that requirements for
crew rest were not being observed and
that many of the pilots were overtired.
The pilot was told, however, that further
questions about crew rest would not be
looked on favourably by the wing command.
Instead, pilots were advised to speak
to a flight surgeon about so-called "go/no
pills" -- amphetamines used to help stay
awake on long missions, and sedatives
to help sleep.
Then, on April 17, a fighter from
the 183rd flying a patrol mission accidentally
bombed Canadian troops conducting a live-fire
exercise south of Kandahar. Four soldiers
from the Princess Patricia's Canadian
Light Infantry were killed and eight injured.
Pilots are supposed to get 12 hours
of rest between missions, but that can
be changed when the unit is in a state
of alert. The 183rd has been flying missions
in the no-fly zone since March. Although
U.S. air force rules allow flight surgeons
to prescribe dextro-amphetamine (dexe-drine),
the drug is supposed to be used for long
transoceanic transport flights, not combat
Remember kids, Uncle Sam says: drugs
are bad and support terrorism... unless
it's really, really important.
Wednesday, June 05, 2002
It starts, and let's hope it keeps
rights groups filed lawsuits against four
major airlines on Tuesday, alleging discrimination
against five men who were removed from
flights after the Sept. 11 attacks because
they looked Middle Eastern.
This story involves two of the favorite
things for ignorant Americans to complain
about because they're, well, ignorant:
giant lawsuits against huge corporations
and the American Civil Liberties Union.
So, as a huge fan of both of those, I'm
not letting this one go by without a mild
The most important aspect of the article
is the mention that of the five men in
the lawsuit, who claim they were kicked
off of flights because they looked Arab,
three of them are not Middle Eastern,
and all of them are either U.S. citizens
or permanent residents. That in itself
is enough to end the issue right there:
Americans don't get picked on because
But since a lot of people are stupid
and racist, and become even more of both
when they're online and anonymous in the
message boards attached to the article,
it's important to point out that even
their stupid and racist argument that
"Arabs caused 9/11, Arabs need more scrutiny"
has no logical validity. Do they believe
white men need to be overly profiled at
security checkpoints for federal buildings?
Should all people that "look 17" be pulled
aside and searched outside events held
in any high school?
The truth, of course, is the racism itself-
Arabs and people who "look Arab" are easy
to profile and rob of rights because,
for now, they are a limited group. They
don't control the vote in any way, they
don't have celebrity advocates for their
rights the way other races and religions
do. And it's kind of a funny irony that
the government wants to make it harder
and harder for this group to come to the
United States under the same guise of
"national security." Maybe they know deep
down that after you piss off an entire
select group of people, you need to make
sure they can never get together and vote
you the hell out of office.
"Run, Cletus! They're coming to take
our logs away!"
Akin to the now-famous Town
That Banned SatanT story, an interesting
act by the townsfolk of John Day, Oregon,
who this week voted
to ban the United Nations from the county.
The townspeople have a rising anti-government
sentiment, apparently stemming from their
anger over the federales' oppression towards
their desire to cut down just about anything
that grows up from the ground- as emphasized
by their additional provision to the vote
that allows them to ignore federal regulations
against logging, outside of the fact that
they can't do that.
Listen, I'm trying to not take sides
on this one, because I think that government
control of the town's job market or not,
any entity that causes a 13% jobless rate
needs restructuring. But when I listen
to statements like this:
Bud Trowbridge, whose grandfather
settled in John Day in 1862, said he's
ready to use force to protect his property
from the United Nations. "We're trying
to avoid a fight. But we still got our
guns," he said.
The only thing I want is for UN troops
to invade the backwards land and convert
the residents. I'm sure the ultra-conservative
anti-Federal Ann Coulter would approve?
Look, a free-market fuck-over that
doesn't even need NAFTA to work
spamming company sues man who rejects
their service for loss of profit.
According to the defense, a victory for
the spammers will set a precedent making
companies of the like completely invulnerable
from attempts to prevent them from flooding
inboxes across the planet.
Of course, the seemingly-never-mentioned
obvious answer- that e-mail should be
treated like snail mail and the cost placed
on the sender, not the recipient, by means
of charging for bandwidth used to send
rather than recieve- is still lost amidst
the ether. or maybe it's all the porn
ads in the way or something.
Tuesday, June 04, 2002
Why, oh why do they tempt me with headlines
Look, I don't write 'em. I just laugh
at the people who do.
Monday, June 03, 2002
"Idiot," Chris. Look it up.
Chris Matthews, or more likely one of
his interns, decided to use his newly-opened
MSNBC weblog (you heard me) to condemn
an Arab Harvard student who used the word
"Jihad" in his commencement speech. The
article Matthews (or more likely one
of his interns) links to strangely
fails to mention how Matthews handled
this story on MSNBC- by declaring to the
kid on air during his show that he was
"a kid known to have been a fundraiser
As this more
detailed and much better-written story
from the Harvard Crimson explains
(how great is it that the journalism students
are better journalists than alleged professional
journalists?) that Matthews was oafishly
(and ignorantly) referring to the student's
affiliation with a student group that
once held a fundraiser for a different
group that was found to possibly be linked
to Hamas... after the fundraiser
had been held. Funny how Matthews failed
to notice that... I guess he was too busy
writing a weblog.
The article (the good, well-written one)
also notes that virtually none of the
students from what Matthews himself claims
to be a "great school" that are protesting
against and in some cases mailing death
threats to this obviously evil and murderous
foreign brown person for the horrible
crime of using a touchy word in his speech
have actually read the text of
the speech, and much like the protest
of any religious-themed movie or controversially-titled
television program, or Michael Moore's
book Stupid White Men, is branded
as offensive before it is even shown to
the public. Ironically, the article Matthews
linked to even mentions the true nature
of the student's message, which "focuses
on the meaning of "jihad" as struggle
both for personal growth and for wider
peace and justice. The speech condemns
Muslims and non-Muslims who have abused
the word and uses Sept. 11 as an example."
Funny how Matthews failed to notice that
Well, that peaceful night of sleep
...Simply because I wake up and deal
with crap like this. First of all, for
anyone who just needed a little bit of
convincing that the world is a cruel and
horrible place to live in and that this
alleged post-9/11 baby boom is the exact
opposite of the way to better society,
I would like to point out that in Santa
Cruz, California today, a
man bled to death in a convenience store
from a gunshot wound to the head while
other customers stepped over him to pay
for their merchandise.
While the main thought going through
my head while reading this was somewhere
around the lines of "the only way I will
ever be convinced God actually exists
right now is if every single customer
in the store who did that then had their
lives ruined, preferably by the same robbers
who shot the guy in some bizarre allusion
to Spider-Man except they don't
get to become super-heroes in the end
and instead live out the rest of their
lives with horrific, physical evidence
of their complete lack of a soul, and
maybe the loss of vision and/or sense
of smell for good measure," I also had
other ideas going through my head due
to my own trip to 7-11 this morning.
I was, after seeing it on the newsstand
myself, wondering if any of the customers
were in such a rush because they needed
to get their hands on the newly released
first issue of Gene
Simmons' magazine Tongue. That's
right. The leader of Kiss has made his
next foray into his ever-growing world
of whoring his name, his band, and his
image out to the throngs of pre-pubescent
males who are to young to do either of
the following: 1. Buy Playboy,
2. actually have heard a Kiss album. Now
I like Kiss just as much as any other
person with utter contempt for 90% of
what passes as music in today's society,
but I'm getting a little bit sick of Gene
Simmons happily milking the fact that
he's a sexist opportunistic pervert. (A
quick scan of any interview he's ever
done can allay this fact. At least Eminem
is pretending to treat women like
Maybe I'm being to harsh on Gene. Maybe
I'm being too cantankerous is suggesting
that a society that allows yet another
pointless immature "men's magazine" onto
the stands is, understandably, the kind
of society that could care less about
a man bleeding to death in the store where
they can buy a copy of it. Maybe this
guy isn't desperate to preserve the image
of his long-has-been band by allowing
his painted face to be re-painted over
anything he can think of. But hey, if
you think all that, then I'm sure you'll
trust good 'ol Gene to give the the best
in sexual satisfaction:
Oh yeah, supply and demand. Somebody
shoot me too.
Sunday, June 02, 2002
And one more to make you go to sleep
Forgot to throw in this one. Admittedly,
it comes from BuzzFlash,
which if was any more openly supportive
of the Democratic Party would be personally
appointed by John Kerry's wife to help
measure for the new drapes; nevertheless,
it's one of the most interesting analyses
of the true impact of the NRA
I've ever read:
FoxNews.com ran an article, featured
prominently on the NRA's web page, titled
"Pa. Democratic Primary Focuses on Guns."
On May 16, 2001, five days before the
primary, one Pennsylvania paper, The Morning
Call, featured a story titled, "NRA ads
could help give Casey the edge, political
analysts say." Instead, Rendell thumped
the NRA-backed candidate, Bob Casey, by
a wider than expected margin: 56 percent
to 44 percent. This in a state where the
NRA boasts membership that is second only
to California. But looking back, the NRA
claimed they would deliver Pennsylvania
for Bush too in 2000-but they didn't.
In New Jersey, often defined as the
quintessential suburban state, the gun
control issue was one of the key reasons
for the defeat of Republican Brett Schundler
who lost badly to Democrat Jim McGreevey
in the 2001 gubernatorial race. Almost
every analysis of the contest mentioned
gun control as one of the defining issues
in the race that led to McGreevey's huge
margin of victory. Schundler is a textbook
case of misunderstanding the power of
the gun issue in a state with a strong
bipartisan history of gun control.
In California, the campaign of Gray
Davis is quite happy to face the strongly
pro-gun Bill Simon in the race for governor.
Simon is trying to avoid the gun issue
during the campaign but, like New Jersey,
his record will work against him.
[T]he Democrats should remember that
the NRA poured millions of dollars into
the 2000 campaign, but the top four
recipients of their funds lost the popular
vote. Ashcroft lost to a dead man, Spencer
Abraham lost to a living woman, and George
W. Bush lost the popular vote by 540,000
Well, that's done. Sorry for the lack
of posting, but I just finished a grueling
few days. For some strange reason, both
computers in my house decided to have
their modems break at the same time, requiring
two trips to CompUSA, off Rt. 17 (aka
Hell at 2 PM on a Saturday) to
buy two of the same modem. But of course,
while my computer (aka my first-born male
child) was easy to fix, the family computer,
which is 5 years old, thus making it too
old to be of any use but not old enough
to be nostalgic like my Atari systems
or the old Tandy in the attic, decided
once again it was time to take up my entire
It's still broken, so to speak, the current
problem being that it's web browser now
crashes whenever you- get this- connect
to the internet. Whoopie. My mother of
course carries on the grand tradition
of the Pollak/Johnson bloodline which
is that no mechanical object can ever,
EVER be replaced while it can still be
moderately fixed. Hence buying a 5-year
old 233-Pentium with 32MB of RAM a new
$30 modem instead of, say, using it to
keep doors open and buying a new one.
The Tandy I mentioned before, which was
purchased in 1987, was the family computer-
the ONLY family computer- for 11 years.
This is why unlike all my other friends
I am not as computer literate as I want
to be; because until 1998 I had a home
computer that didn't even have a hard
drive, let alone an active operating system
to run on it. Do to this, however, I am
possibly the only 21-year old in the world
who can fully operate any computer system
without actually needing to use a mouse-
I can play Minesweeper without
the mouse, for fuck's sake. My siblings
and I are also the uncontested masters
of The Oregon Trail, simply by inference
of it being the only computer game able
to run on our computer for half of our
lives. Ironically, I never learned how
My hope is to get picked up by a syndicate
over the summer, get a huge advance, and
be able to buy my mom a new computer before
I go back to school so I don't feel guilty
about leaving her at home all alone with
a computer that has the modern-day technological
matching of an Etch-a-Sketch, including
the whole requirement of shaking it violently
for five minutes as the only way to reset
And hey, that makes a perfect segue,
because the other main occupying activity
of my weekend is/was the first round of
the annual submission packages. This is
where I take the 20 best comics I did
during the year (which isn't hard seeing
how I only drew 24, plus the Christmas
Special, which I never submit because
it contains way too much violence and
filthy language. I MUST make a summer
comic for all you guys to show that darker
side of XQUZYPHYR & Overboard) and mail
them to the six major American comic syndicates,
as well as a few single publications like
the Funny Times, the Nation, and the American
Prospect. The whole ritual takes all day
to do, because it involves lots of time
at the copy center, lots of time at the
post office, and lots of time collating
It's very time consuming, and with all
the postage and copying it's somewhat
expensive. I'd be more enthusiastic, but
as I've been doing this for three years
now I know of the stats: King Features,
the largest syndicate, receives 6,000
submissions a year. They give contracts
to 2 or 3 new artists, of which only one
in a few years maintains enough popularity
to keep going for a few years more. The
fact that the old-timers which fill up
the mainstream papers simply refuse to
retire and/or die adds to the lack of
demand for my work. not to mention that
other slight problems that editors reflect
on my work, which can be summed up in
the words of Fred Schecker, the Creative
Director of News & Features at Tribune
Media Services, who to this date holds
the title of "greatest comment I have
ever received about my work, ever:"
"August, Some of these made me laugh
and you are obviously talented, but the
content and presentation here is inappropriate
for a newspaper audience."
If that's not a summary of mainstream
newspaper comics, I don't know what is.
Let's hope Fred like's this year's batch,
because according to him he's the only
one at the office who's gonna be reading
them. I love my sense of youthful optimism.
Now I sleep, for in the morning I must
rip out the hard drive of my mom's computer
and soak it in warm soapy water for six
or seven minutes.