Tuesday, November 26, 2002
I hate taking a hiatus, because I think
all it does is lose me readers. By that
rationale, it makes this site sound like
some strange drug addiction, in which
the only thing worse than my constant
posting would be the feeling of stopping.
That's such a dumb analogy I can't believe
it. But what can I say, as a new-ish cartoonist/blogger
with a readership that's comically miniscule
to that of the big boys, I have ample
support for paranoia. Plus, I'm just naturally
paranoid. All the friends I'll be seeing
over the holiday can vouch for that.
Nevertheless, I have been informed by
the The Weather Channel that according
to their radar, winter storm Wrath of
God (their second name choice, oddly,
was "Sigmund") will be descending on the
Northeast come Wednesday. In other words,
I've decided to get on a bus before the
ice storm cometh.
Since I'll be spending most of the time
stuffing my face and, you know, the whole
family/love thing, I'll have very limited
computer access for the holiday. I won't
be near posting or e-mail functions until
at least Sunday. Which is weird, because
I think this is the first time since the
blog went up in April that I'd be going
over four days without an update. Hopefully,
you and I shall both survive.
To tide you over, I've got a few loose
stories and e-mails that have been kicking
around for the last few days. Again, apologies
to everyone I never got the chance to
reply to, though you have my promise everything
has been read. One of you REALLY wants
me to know if I'm ready for up to three
inches in growth. I mean, Jesus- you're
asking me like twice a day now.
More than one of you have notified me
about the latest mind-blowing story about
Barr now working as a consultant for the
American Civil Liberties Union. To
be honest, it makes a slight amount of
sense, since Barr during his congressional
heyday was a strong advocate for privacy.
gosh. I wonder what made him so concerned
about that. (For those of you new to this
site, there's a running "gag" about Bob
Barr- I hate him. Look, I didn't say it
Philip NoLastName sent the following
rant about the approval of the Homeland
This is something I wish someone,
ANYONE would ask:
In the immediate aftermath of the
election earlier this month, we were subjected
to all sorts of gloating/whining/raving/outright
fear about the Republicans having unprecented
power which will now be used to turn this
country into either a) a tyrannical wasteland
with no freedoms or environment or b)
a paradise free of that liberal menace
(depending on your political leaning).
And just two weeks after the "shift"
of power, this country now has the largest
concentration of power in over half a
century (something carried out by the
party of less government, but that's another
I have just one question for everyone
out there that truly believed the backbone
of the Democrats was the only thing saving
us from complete and utter Republican
rule (and especially those who blame liberal
third parties for taking votes away from
Do you honestly believe that a Democratic
Congress (or hell, a Democratic House
or Senate alone) would have given the
Bush Administration any real conflict
over the creation of the Homeland Security
For I do not know how long, the Democrats
have been doing everything in their power
to avoid being labeled "liberal", going
to almost any length to appear moderate,
if not conservative. Those attempts have
been increased a thousand fold in the
past two years, especially after Sept.
11, when it suddenly became un-American
to use the freedom of speech inappropriately
(ie. criticizing Bush, which is another
So do you honestly believe that, had
the Democrats won Congress or even just
the Senate this month, they would have
suddenly grown a collective backbone and
actually said "No!" to Bush and the Republicans?
That they would have fought against the
creation of the Homeland Security Office?
Only 8 Democrats had the balls to
do that now. Am I to believe that if the
Democrats had more than 50 seats they
all would have joined hands and told Bush
to go f$%k himself?
Not while Bush is president. It doesn't
matter how many seats ended up going to
Democrats, as long as Bush is in the White
House, milking Sept. 11 and the newfound
patriotism of this land's people, the
Democrats were going to roll over time
and again, and we all know it, because
that is all they've done for the past
This is not a time for foolish dreaming.
No matter where the Senate went, Democrat
or Republican, the new office would have
been created because most of us on the
left have been backing the wrong horse
for the past two decades plus.
Anytime the Republicans get what they
want within the next two years, ask yourself:
would the Democrats have really fought
against this if they had the slightest
bit of power?
Also, ask yourself if, say, the Green
party would have been as spineless in
The answer, of course, that I have to
give Philip is that the Democrats, for
the record, proposed the department
in the first place. Bush initially
denied it, then spun it into his idea/version
for the election. The Democrats never
disapproved of the Office, being the progenitors
of the concept. they just, as the opposition
party is supposed to do, opposed Bush's
bastardized plan. As we are seeing now,
they caved, as, again, the Democrats are
traditionally adept at.
As for what someone from the Green Party
would have done if they were in the Senate
for the vote, I would guess they would
have tried as long as possible to avoid
the security guards trying to remove them
for trespassing during a floor vote. I'm
sorry, I had to. But, as I said before,
I never said it was going to be funny.
Diamond "I was born with the name of
a porn star" LeGrande sent me this story:
according to the latest survey of military
of active U.S. Military personnel would
be classified as "too fat to fight" under
Federal obesity guidelines. Well I
guess it's good that fat people are just
jolly. if fat people were gay they might
actually get kicked out of the army.
Carl Orr sent me this one a few weeks
back, in regards to an article written
by Ariana Huffington about the general
badness that are SUVs. Another Washington
post hack mentioned a couple of feedbacks
about Huffington's article, and this one
Car sent me took the cake:
Ritz-Carlton Hotel publicity director
Colleen Evans wrote: "Puleeeeze -- I am
not giving up my Cadillac Escalade SLV
(Sport Luxury Vehicle). Since I'm only
5'3 I love the 'on top of the world' feel....Ms.
Huffington is once again sounding very
So Ms. Evans, what you're saying is
that your need to feel like Ms. Big Stuff
in your enormous vehicle is more important
than the environmental impact, our country's
continuing dependance on fossil fuels
(from which you can connect the dots to
Sept. 11 and everything bad that's come
of it), and the safety of people in other
vehicles. Tell me, do you ever wonder
why people in other countries hate Americans?
It's because of selfish, short-sighted
attitudes like yours. Do us all a favor
and roll your "luxury vehicle" off a cliff.
My personal response is that an age-old
question is now answered- publicists actually
speak their PR language all the time.
I mean, really, was she even attempting
to pretend that this is how she would
normally say anything if it wasn't expressed
in a unfunny e-mail? I've seen episodes
of CSI with more believable dialogue.
To many, the Friday after Thanksgiving,
traditionally the opening of the Christmas
season and subsequent busiest shopping
day of the year, is known as "Black Friday-"
black, in the financial sense, being a
good symbol for once in this culture.
However, my friend Dennis reminds us all
that this Friday is also known as the
exact opposite: Buy
Nothing Day. Choose your side. (More
So with all that, I bid you all a happy
holiday, and leave you this thanksgiving
note with a XQUZYPHYR & Overboard
touch to it: President
Bush has now pardoned more turkeys than
he has human beings. Squanto, you
should have killed us all when you had
The great and mighty all seeing burro
that encompasses the power that is Get
Donkey! Provides this ridiculously
link-laden though well-written post: (links
not transcribed because I want you to
go to the site and I'm very lazy)
I had a long post brewing about why
things are the way they are, but it turned
into an incoherent rant and I don't have
time to finish it (which is a shame because
it contained such winners as "If he thinks
that it is okay for Limbaugh to level
personal attacks at whomever he wants,
then I assume that Novak would not be
deeply offended when someone points out
that he is insane and looks as if he reeks
of stale Coffee Nips and cheap Scotch")
Anyway my point was that there needs
to be more media education in this country.
Too many people believe in things like
"journalistic integrity" and believe that
the mere presence of the First Amendment
guarantees a free press. I bet it would
be a surprise to many that the US does
not even rank in the top-ten for press
freedom . Too many Americans have no clue
as to who people like Richard Mellon-Scaife,
the Reverned Moon, Rupert Murdoch, or
corporations like Clear Channel and Viacom
are. Too few people know that much of
the media market is owned by handful of
corporations and/or how much these few
influence what we see on TV, read in newspapers
and magazines, or hear on the radio.
Monday, November 25, 2002
You have the right to remain silent...
From the L.A.
Times (registration using fake information
The Supreme Court in its landmark
Miranda opinion ruled that police must
respect the rights of people who are held
for questioning. Officers must warn them
of their right to remain silent, and,
equally important, honor their refusal
to talk further.
But that widely known rule is about
to be reconsidered in the high court in
the case of a farm worker here who was
shot five times after a brief encounter
with police. Legal experts say the case
has the potential to reshape the law governing
everyday encounters between police and
While the farm worker lay gravely
wounded, a police supervisor pressed him
to talk, to explain his version of the
events. He survived, paralyzed and blinded,
and sued the police for, among other things,
The story is explained in painfully-familiar
detail. Basically, the police during a
routine drug search (they found nothing)
saw another man riding his bike and stopped
him as well. When finding a knife on him
(the fram worker used it to cut fruit)
as they patted him down, the "suspect"
freaked out and ran. You can all guess
where this one's going, right?
After shooting him five times in the
neck, eyes, legs, and spine, the officers
handcuffed (that's right) the now bleeding-to-death
man, and sat with him on the ambulance
to the hospital with a tape recorder in
hand trying to get him to instantly recollect
what had happened as to avoid implicating
the police of the blatantly obvious:
On and off for the next 45 minutes
in the ambulance and at the hospital,
he repeatedly asked the gravely wounded
man to admit he had grabbed the officer's
gun and provoked the struggle. In agony,
Martinez is heard screaming in pain and
saying he is choking and dying.
"OK. You're dying. But tell me why
you were fighting with the police?" Chavez
asks. "Did you want to kill the police
or what?" he continues. One officer had
said Martinez tried to grab his gun.
In the emergency room, Chavez continued
to press Martinez to tell him what happened.
"Why did you run from the police?"
Chavez is heard to say over the sounds
of nurses and doctors.
"Did you get his gun? ... Did you
to try to shoot the police?"
Martinez in a low voice responds:
"I don't know.... I don't know."
Lawyers for Martinez say he panicked
when the officer tried to tackle him,
but they say he did not grab the officer's
In the emergency room, he is heard
asking Chavez several times to leave him
alone. "I don't want to say anything anymore."
"No? You don't want to say what happened?"
the sergeant continues.
"It's hurting a lot. Please!" Martinez
implores, his words trailing off into
agonized screams. Undaunted, Chavez resumes.
"Well, if you're going to die, tell me
Hello, Hell? Yeah, I need to know if
a room's available... no, nothing fancy...
hopefully soon. I'll get back to you once
I talk to God about sending some lightning
down and all that.
What's interesting is that the article
implies the ways a reversal of Miranda
could allow cops to use forceful questioning,
while the example story shows a much worse
The sad fact is, the courts have very
often given broader powers to law enforcement...
but as this story shows, it's not the
case... the case is with the damage control.
The issue here wasn't even that the cops
were horrifically violating numerous rights
of someone who, honestly, wasn't wanted
or suspected, or even accused of anything,
it was that minutes after shooting a man
several times they sat with him as he
nearly bled to death on the way to the
hosptial trying to trick him into saying
on tape that what they did was justified.
This isn't about giving the government
more power to interrogate people; it's
about giving shitty cops more power to
cover their asses when they do shitty
As you can guess, of course, the Bush
administration is fully behind the police
on this one. Claims Solicitor General
Ted Olsen, "It 'will chill legitimate
law enforcement efforts to obtain potentially
life-saving information during emergencies,'
including terrorism alerts, if police
and FBI agents can be sued for coercive
Ummm.... what? How would the police have
benefited in what they did? Only two things
could have happened after the shooting...
the man could have died, in which case
it would be his (dead) word versus the
policemen, or he would have lived, where
the cops easily could have waited to go
to the hospital and ask him any questions.
The idea that they're relating this to
the "War on Terrorism" is abhorrent. This
was a guy who was randomly stopped. Granted,
he made a ridiculous mistake of freaking
out and running from a police officer,
but that doesn't suddenly make him a potential
threat to Homeland Security, okay?
It's obvious what happened here- the
cop over-reacted to a near-fatal level
and negligently shot a man several times.
There was no reason to immediately start
interrogating the man, and there was certainly
no reason to hold a tape recorder to his
face as he screamed in pain. The cop wanted
to be free and clear of almost murdering
someone before this guy got to the hospital
or the press.
The only "emergency situation" was that
a cop realized he just shot someone for
no reason and had the horrible luck of
the guy managing to survive it. I'm sorry,
but for some reason "I need to get the
answers right now to find out if this
guy we randomly approached is somehow
connected to the man we didn't find any
drugs on" isn't as believeable as "oh
fuck, I'm in deep shit now, aren't I?"
as the likely thought going through the
This wasn't about a life-saving situation,
this was an attempt to make an ass-saving
situation. No, this isn't about the standard
idea of police brutality and Miranda law
as this case will likely be shapred to
be, but what this officer did was self-serving
and negligent to a near-criminal level-
now the courts are being asked to legalize
You've been allowed to go nowhere,
A woman is suing
a New York management firm for sexual
discrimination in regards to their alleged
outright refusal to hire her as a doorman...
because she would be, of course, a doorwoman.
It's a compelling thought, since when
you look back on it it really occurs to
you that you've never actually seen a
female doorman... ever. So there is definitely
merit to a taboo "gentleman's agreement"
about the policy. But what makes the article
so angering isn't the nature of the case,
but the logic imbedded in the primitive
minds of the defense:
"I don't know if she can handle it.
First of all, you have the heavy luggage,"
said Jovan Bizik, 52, a Sutton Place-area
doorman for eight years. "Sometimes you
have to replace a handyman in an emergency.
You have to know something about plumbing
and to be able to shut off the water.
"I don't think that's for a woman.
Also, she has to be by herself at night.
How is she going to handle that?"
And now, the weak little lady's response.
Just fine, said Hill, who makes $58,000
a year as an officer in the prison ward
at Manhattan's Bellevue Hospital.
"If I can handle a job as a corrections
officer, which is very dangerous, dealing
with criminals and rapists and risking
my life, I can surely handle my job as
a doorperson," she said.
And a a collective Boo-yah for Ms. Hill
with that line. I dub thee "Officer Fuck
You, Door Boy."
And the Godwin gets certified
A lot of conservative excuses for message
boards have been passing around full text,
passages, or mild variations of an essay
traced to this
blogger here, in which the predictable
rationale is made for the war in Iraq-
that being the sarcastic "what if" scenario
in 1939 in which the U.S. decided that
Hitler wasn't a threat and we should never
have invaded Normandy.
Fissures are starting to appear in
the formerly united front within the Roosevelt
administration on the upcoming decision
of whether, where and how to invade Europe.
Some influential voices within both the
Democrat and Republican parties are starting
to question the wisdom of toppling Adolf
Hitler's regime, and potentially destabilizing
much of the region.
"It's one thing to liberate France
and northwestern Europe, and teach the
Germans a lesson, but invading a sovereign
country and overthrowing its democratically-elected
ruler would require a great deal more
justification," said one well-connected
former State Department official. "The
President just hasn't made the case to
the American people."
And later on:
Others, however, contend that as long
as he remains in power, he will be a continual
threat to the region, and perhaps even
the world, as there are rumors that he's
frantically developing weapons of mass
destruction greater than any the world
has previously seen, and is building rockets
with which to deliver them.
"For God's sake, the man is gassing
Jews by the millions!" said one exasperated
presidential advisor. "Do you think that
he's going to be content to simply murder
his own people if we let him stay in power?"
So, I'll first get out of the way that
this is obviously an intelligent writer
who has a much more well-thought out sense
of sarcasm than that of several psychotically
pro-war pundits. However, it's can't be
avoided that despite this rationale, the
writer is missing a few major points here.
The entire argument lies in the idea
that we need to treat this like World
War II and not wait to be attacked before
we attack the enemy. The problem is that
that's exactly what we did in World
War II- you might have remembered that
Hitler invaded Poland about three years
before the United States bothered to act
against Germany- and only after Japan
attacked us first. The author is using
ridiculously circular logic to imply that
since we know now what Hitler did then,
we should have just bombed Germany in
1933 and avoided the entire war. That
makes sense save for the slight case of
it making no sense whatsoever.
The comparison of the gassing of the
Kurds to the holocaust is both insulting
and without merit. History argues two
sides of the United States with the holocaust-
that we were completely unaware until
we reached Germany that the camps existed,
or that we know of them in hearsay and,
like the rest of Europe, turned a blind
eye to it. The latter would be a great
analogy to our modern-day ignoring of
twenty years of Taliban oppression of
women. but I bet once you say that THEN
all the anger over comparing Hitler to
the Middle East would come from conservatives,
Likewise, there's the character issue.
the difference between Hitler's rise to
power and Saddam's maintenance of power
is that there was no "risk of destablilzation"
that this author clearly is mocking. Hitler
was opposed by half of the Europe he tried
to conquer. Saddam, on the other hand,
does not even have complete direct control
over the whole of his own country. His
invasion of Kuwait was repelled with the
help of U.S. forces, who granted took
more initiative than we did with Poland
in 1939. Of course, we didn't care about
oil as much then.
(And, of course, noting how the author
didn't seem to look into any analogies
about U.S. companies still funding Hitler
during the war vis-ŕ-vis our maintaining
strong relations with half the terrorist-breeding
nations on the planet won't be brought
up. because that would be rude now, wouldn't
As noted before, radical Islam might
want to control the world, but can't feasibly
do that- it simply does not have the means
and motivation that Hitler had. Radical
Islamic nations are working to control
their own countries and find some unique
paradigm that allows their government
to remain in medieval times while the
infrastructure eventually rises from the
Personally, if you're going to make Hitler
analogies, you go to the man who treats
them like a daily hobby, Ted
For a few months the Leader reveled
in the glory of his victory. People felt
that the Leader was not only protecting
them, but making them feel strong again.
But one day his chief military adviser
came to him with a warning. "People are
beginning to forget about your victory,"
he said. "They're worried about their
bellies. Their sons are stuck in the occupation
force, fighting the remnants of the militia.
They're afraid that another attack is
coming. Why not start an even bigger war
to distract them from these concerns?"
Rather than merely invade another
country, however, the Leader hit upon
a new strategy. He demanded that the world
allow him to invade yet another nation,
even though that land had caused no offense
to its neighbors for many years. "I am
a man of peace, but these evil ones are
planning to kill my people," he roared.
"I will invade them and stop them and
I will consider anyone who doesn't agree
to be our enemy." He ordered his armies
to mass at the borders of his intended
The world's rulers, terrified of the
Leader's hubris and demonstrated willingness
to throw his nation's armies into war,
gathered to decide what to do. Everyone
agreed that what the Leader intended to
do was reckless, immoral and unjustified,
but nobody wanted to stand alone and thus
risk becoming his next target. Besides,
they told themselves, he only wants one
more country. It's worth voting for one
small war now to prevent the whole world
from being consumed by war, they agreed.
And you can see where that one's going
too. Godwin payback is a German bitch.
Friday, November 22, 2002
Reader James O'Brien sent me a link to
what could very well be the most absurdly
ridiculous press copy ever printed in
the history of advertising.
Cars.com reviewer Royal Ford (gurgle)
little review about General Motors'
publicly-available version of their military
What this Hummer offers that the H1
does not, however, is practicality. It
is incredibly comfortable inside; it seats
six with plenty of space (as opposed to
four in the original); and with triple
sealed doors and heavy insulation, it
is very quiet on the highway. It is, in
short, a car you can use every day in
comfort-if you don't mind gas mileage
around 10.1 miles per gallon and that,
admittedly, can be a financial or ethical
question for lots of folks.
Considering that the H2 weighs nearly
3˝tons, it takes a lot of torque to move
the beast. The General Motors Vortec 6000
is just the powerplant to do the job.
It is a 316-horsepower V-8 that produces
360 lb.-ft. of torque.
So what's the verdict on the $48,000,
10-MPG, 16-foot long, 3.5-ton Hummer?
All this in a car that can be an everyday
family driver (again, you'll have to get
past that 10.1 miles per gallon-environmentally,
in some cases, and financially, in others).
I judge any vehicle by who it is aimed
at, what the vehicle is meant to do, and
whether target buyers will be happy with
So.. the "intended target buyer" is.
what, the completely fucking insane?
I'd like to discuss the issue of product
reviews. We've already seen in the past
that companies deliberately generate false
praise for their stuff- the most recent
examples are movie studios, which have
been caught doing everything from bribing
people to talk loudly on elevators about
how great the movie they just saw was,
to actually fabricating movie critics
to write generous reviews of The Animal
to cover up the fact that it was a film
that would make Wednesday's Victoria's
Secret televised runway show look like
a PBS pledge drive airing of the historical
analysis of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.
But this is, to the best of my reasoning,
the most blatant case of a reviewer obviously
being in the pocket of the company he's
reviewing. I mean, how in the name of
PBS-sponsored Christ can a legitimate
"authority" on automobiles say that a
10-MPG stripped-down version of military
equipment be a "practical" and "every-day
family driver?" This car wouldn't be even
practical for the family if you lived
in an Israeli settlement!
So my question basically boils down to
this: is this guy being bribed, is he
completely insane, or have we just reached
a point in American society when a 7,000-pound
APC is considered the practical addition
to the American family? Because frankly,
with a guy promoting a detriment to all
life like this false-sense-of-a-large-penis
monstrosity, the only hummers we should
know about are the ones coming with soldiers
to arrest this guy, and the one hummer
this reviewer is obviouly getting from
the General Motors Corporation.
Thursday, November 21, 2002
comic posted- "The Military Intelligence
Overload." Read. Vote. Hit on me.
Make me your idol.
I think it basically sums up my general
reaction to when I read the
actual story. Our opulent canine compadre
Gunther was head-wrenching because of
the sheer absurdity. The army's latest
moral move just makes your brain vibrate
until it dies.
There's absolutely no excuse for this,
although lame ones are being formulated,
the most common (and most stupid) of which
is that "this wasn't an issue about homosexuality,
but about following policy." Boy oh boy,
the government sure does love policy,
doesn't it. Like making sure proper funding
is always getting to women's health organizations.
And prosecuting corporate criminals to
the fullest extent of the law. And allowing
statewide vote recounts to continue.
With that in mind, here's the latest
story about the military and its latest
defense of policy. A short excerpt:
A divided, reluctant federal appeals
court denied claims Tuesday by World War
II and Korean War veterans who said the
government reneged on a promise to provide
free lifetime health care if they stayed
in the service for 20 years.
Although the government conceded military
recruiters made the promises, the Defense
Department convinced the court there was
no valid contract because the assurances
were not backed up by law.
Even the judges in the majority acknowledged
they were uncomfortable with the ruling,
writing that they "can do no more than
hope Congress will make good on the promises
made in good faith" to soldiers entering
the service between 1941 and 1956.
"No valid contract because the assurances
were not back by law." Now, I'm not a
great legal analyst or anything, nor,
as I stated earlier, do I have a strong
background in "following military policy,"
but it seems to me that's a fancy way
of saying the Army lied its ass off.
So, let's hear it for following policy,
because that's always what's important.
Wednesday, November 20, 2002
Gah! Call off the dogs!
Okay, so I messed up. DARPA has been
around forever, in fact it's related to
ARPAnet, which is of course the precursor
to that thing Al Gore never claimed to
invent. The new office is the IAO, which,
although different in name, is still evil.
Thank you to the eight million people
who caught the error.
Ah, the saving stalwarts of the left-leaning
Congress spent just a few short hours
last week voting to create the biggest
new federal bureaucracy since World War
II, not that the media or even most members
of Congress paid much attention to the
process. Yet our most basic freedoms as
Americans - privacy in our homes, persons,
and possessions; confidentiality in our
financial and medical affairs; openness
in our conversations, telephone, and internet
use; unfettered travel; indeed the basic
freedom not to be monitored as we go through
our daily lives - have been dramatically
The list of dangerous and unconstitutional
powers granted to the new Homeland Security
department is lengthy. Warrantless searches,
forced vaccinations of whole communities,
federal neighborhood snitch programs,
federal information databases, and a sinister
new "Information Awareness Office" at
the Pentagon that uses military intelligence
to spy on domestic citizens are just a
few of the troubling aspects of the new
Finally, a somewhat-rational voice of
high-ranking Democrat took the risk to
actually stand up publicly against the
Homeland Security Bill?
Update: It's called IRONY,
people! I can SEE the damn "R" right at
the top of the page! NONE OF YOU UNDERSTAND
ME. Soon you will all face my wrath and
kneel before ZIM!
For all interested, here's the home page
the newly created security office that
allows the government to essentially know
anything they want about you and what
you do online for any reason at all. And
here's a brief bio of John
Poindexter, the head of the department,
who just also happens to be the co-conspirator
of Iran-Contra who was convicted of subverting
the Constitution. Apparently, Poindexter
met the rigorous qualifications of being
the worst possible person alive today
to have this amount of power.
Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.
Tuesday, November 19, 2002
Missing the last flight out of Blatantly
The final results of the Homeland Security
Bill gave the following to the Democrats:
nothing. They didn't get the Republican
pork amendments scrapped, they didn't
get the union rights, they didn't get
the independent September 11th review
panel. In fact, one could arguably say
that the Democrats were completely ignored
and/or defeated on every aspect of a bill
that causes the greatest direct effect
on the centralization of government in
over 50 years, and that it should go without
saying that at the very least they should
have blocked it for the year as a sign
of their anger towards its approval with
virtually no regards for their opinion.
So, naturally, the
Democrats voted en masse, 90-9, to approve
the bill. Well of course they
Reader Scott.... just Scott, apparently...
informs me that the most devious and influential
of all political pundits that is the political
cartoonist has already taken the "San
Francicso LiberalT sure seems to be used
a lot suddenly" ball and run
Sadly, other reader Fred "I include a
last name in my e-mails" Frost also informs
The "San Francisco Liberal" has already
caved; appointing a right leaning assistant,
supporting George's homeland security
bill, and has said she would support George
in his war on Iraq.
A Democrat appointing right-wingers and
supporting aggressive military foreign
policy? Who does this liberal think she
is, Bill Clinton?
Monday, November 18, 2002
The Daily Howler ran a great piece about
recent new additions to the right-wing
spin machine, the most prominent of
which is the drive to destroy the mainstream
credibility of Nancy Pelosi, the new Congressional
Minority Leader who replaced Dick Gephardt
That's right. As of this writing, Pelosi
has held the job for five days, and already
she has been given her own trendy epithet-
San Francisco LiberalT. My personal
plan is that any time someone writes or
mentions that term, we add the little
trademark sign to the end to remind everyone
that it's a slogan already used so often
it's under the de-facto ownership of the
Now, I know that like most other politicians,
Pelosi is made to look by the opposition
as the worst-case scenario. The difference
between the Left and the Right doing this,
it seems, is that the Right actually does
a lot of these nightmare cases. For example,
John Ashcroft really did completely subvert
the Constitution to follow his own insane
moral fundamentalist ideology. In the
2000 election, we are told that George
Bush, if elected, will befoul the environment
and further the disparity between rich
and poor as a long series of personal
favors to friends of his and Cheney's
in the oil and energy business. Al Gore
would, according to the RNC, outlaw all
forms of login equipment before outlawing
the right to bear arms while creating
special all-homosexual army corps officers.
Guess which scenario was proven to be
As I said before, I've never "underestimated"
Bush, as the pundits are babbling ever
since the last election. I don't call
it "underestimating" someone when they've
pretty much done everything I expected
them to do.
So it seems very interesting that the
drive to destroy Pelosi is very similar
to the liberal opposition to John Ashcroft's
nomination in 2001. Instead of the nightmare
scenarios and record-touting that was
given with Ashcroft's hearings, however,
Pelosi has become the target of the constant
epithet Republicans like to use as their
political N-word, with an extra location-related
reminder to go: she's a dirty, filthy,
Godless San Francisco LiberalT.
In the attacks, the most constant attempts
at humor are made by those who give the
now-tired line about how (giggle) "thankful"
they are that Pelosi became Minority Leader
means the Democratic move to the left
will make it even better for Republicans."
They don't seem to say in their little
giggles that this will only work by using
the San Francisco LiberalT card. The truth
is, I think they're doing the same thing
that the Left did with Ashcroft. I think,
deep down, they're actually worried Pelosi
might make their lives difficult, and
that she might be a legitimately tough
political leader. It gives me a slight
bit of hope for the Democrats, but not
Friday, November 15, 2002
Tom Daschle is criticizing
the "compromise" Homeland Security plan
Democrats complained that Republicans
stuffed provisions into the homeland security
bill limiting liability for producers
of the smallpox vaccine and makers of
high technology airport screening equipment,
as well as for many private airport security
It also has vaguely worded language
that would make Texas A&M University eligible
for federal homeland security research
- a provision inserted by Rep. Tom DeLay,
whose district is nearby.
The bill would allow commercial airline
pilots to carry guns in cockpits, and
give airports a one-year delay in the
Dec. 31 deadline to install explosive
detection systems to screen all checked
baggage. It would also let the new agency
sign contracts with U.S. companies that
have relocated abroad.
Pork-barrel contracts for Republican
districts! Guns in planes! Foreign contracts
for Federal labor! Wow! I can't believe
they didn't just go for the whole shebang
and just put the cloning ban and drilling
contract for Alaska in there! Now, is
Daschle actually going to try and block
this? Of course he isn't. Because, you
see, Tom Daschle simply does not have
I was involved in a conversation earlier
about the accusations that this would all
still be happening under a Democratic administration.
Of course, I disagree, but not completely.
Granted it's ludicrous to suggest the
Democrats aren't as self-serving and greedy
in regards to self-preservation as the
Republicans, but the idea that the GOP
would allow a Democrat administration
to make this department even remotely
similar to its current inception is close
This is, without a doubt, one of the
broadest attempts in recent history at
recentering Federal power to the hands
of the Executive and its direct cabinet,
and if a Democrat president tried to do
this a Republican leadership team would
attack almost as fast as the GOP did with
their outrage over the attempt to partially-federalize
health care ten years ago.
Now that Republicans control the government,
they suddenly don't seem so upset about
massive big-government control; you can't
expect me to believe that their opinions
would still be this way if they didn't
have a popular pseudo-wartime president.
I agree that post-9/11 the DNC would
suggest a homeland security department...
oh, wait... they sort of did that first
anyway. But a President Gore would not
have had appointed an Attorney General
as psychotically obsessed with crippling
"immoral" liberties to recommend the vast
abuses of personal privacy accounted for
in this current version. Gore and Lieberman
were obsessed with censoring the entertainment
media; Bush wants to hear nothing bad
from the press. There's a big difference
Nor would he have decided a week after
the attacks that his close friend-slash-Republican
governor of Pennsylvania-slash second
choice for VP suddenly met all the qualifications
to head the department without the need
of an oversight committee. Imagine if
you will Gore telling the Republican Party
that Catherine Townsend suddenly had partial
control over the Coast Guard and the INS.
The collective head explosions would have
set off sprinkler systems.
This is not to say Gore's a saint. (I'd
say he's more like a monk.) As mentioned
before, a DNC-created OHS would definitely
have concessions to labor and I'm sure
there would be a lot for the trial lawyers,
plus an equal interest in Democratic pork
projects. But I will stick the the belief
that the inherent moral base of the party
wouldn't have included such open power
at the hands of the government simply
on the understanding that the GOP could,
and would, block it anyway.
To be fair, I didn't support Clinton's
anti-terrorism efforts either. Painful
as it is to agree with the Republicans,
it's hard to forgive the near-fact that
Clinton had an aspirin factory bombed
because he got caught getting a blowjob.
But far from just that, we
now have an administration so intent on
complete control of everything that
we've placed the power of monitoring the
truth and justice of all Americans into
the hands of a man who is most famous
for lying to Congress.
Why do I not feel safer? The reason is
simple: because despite all these new
attempts to technologically and futuristically
"protect freedom," we're not one shred
safer while we're allowing half the world
to suffer as a cost of our self-luxury
and false senses of security.
I watched the Twin Towers fall from twelve
or so blocks away, and it didn't raise
my desire to give up my basic daily life
to pretend that this couldn't happen again.
If anything, it made me realize that our
bloated, high-tech defense system was
useless in the face of someone who had
the will to kidnap a few hundred people
and use them and their plane as a weapon.
The truth is, most Americans, like most
humans, just want to live normal lives.
I want my future kids to be healthy and
have a good education. Scrapping the health
care and education budgets to make way
for more nuclear submarines isn't making
me feel better.
Terrorists like Al-Quaeda don't want
to "destroy America" except in the way
that I want to "win the lottery-" it's
a want that they acknowledge is near-unobtainable.
They want to get the U.S. the hell out
of their business so they can... get this...
live what they call "normal lives" as
well. The fact that they're killing themselves
to perform these acts implies that they're
not really in it for themselves... like
us, they want what they consider to be
a better hope for their children, however
obscene that consideration may be.
On both sides, all we're giving is less.
We need to alter the potential for "normal"
lives in the impoverished areas of the
world, and we can't do that by destroying
and sanctioning them- all it does is give
credence to the despotic leaders who have
an instant excuse for their despotic leadership.
Likewise, we can't create a society that
perpetuates fear as a means of regulation...
something that is rapidly happening right
now in the United States.
This advance in technology is NOT going
to help us. A few dozen guys from the
poorest region of the planet caused thousands
of lives and billions in damage. A lone
nutcase with a gun causes massive fear
and death. A single lunatic in a shack
with no electricity kills people with
mail bombs and we only catch him because
a family member turns him in. I'm sorry
to have such pragmatism, but it feels
like the only effect new technology is
going to have is an even worse feeling
when the next person gets past it. The
only infallible system is one that prevents
the bugs from being created in the first
I'm very frightened with myself
There is a scary feeling when you realize
that you have less in common views with
the president of the United States as
you do with a right-wing psychotic demagogue
like pat Buchanan, but I'm got to confess
this is hardly the first time I've suddenly
found myself realizing that I agree completely
with his ideals, albeit not his methods.
It's kind of funny, really. I did those
political analytical tests in 2000 that
looked at your moral beliefs and compared
them to the presidential candidates, and
Buchanan was actually high up on the list.
The only politician who I have less in
common with ideologically than George
W. Bush, by the way, is Alan Keyes. Considering
the fact that Keyes
is without question completely insane,
this can explain why I and so many others
are frightened out of our minds about
the current White House Resident.
It's an interesting paradox. For example,
I have a mutual agreement with Buchanan
that NAFTA is one of the stupidest government
policies in human history. It's just our
reasons that are completely different:
I am against the blatant exploitation
of foreign labor and destruction of American
jobs, and Pat Buchanan just hates brown
So it's only party scary when I openly
say that Buchanan's recent
opinion column in USA Today speaking out
against the war in Iraq is, all differences
aside, very well-written. Of course, the
article eliminates the difference in our
reasons again: I am against the war because
I simply don't want to kill countless
foreign and domestic soldiers for the
purpose of fueling (pun intended) corporate
interests, and Pat Buchanan... just hates
brown people. You see, my only doubt lies
in the belief that amidst this hatred
of fundamental Islam and the desire to
leave it alone, Buchanan secretly desires
a country eqaul in religious control as
the former Afghanistan.
In the long run, I think it strengthens
myself as a liberal to admit sharing viewpoints
with conservatives. Though I'll make it
perfectly clear- I only seem to think
Pat Buchanan is a reasonable and intelligent
guy when he's not being a psychotic, right-wing,
racist, bible-thumping hyper-isolationist-Nationalist
neo-Nazi. which, of course, is what he
is most of the time. Rest assured you're
never going to see me linking to his opinions
on the Pledge of Allegiance.
Early assault on the feedback
I've got a bunch of other things to write
about before the week is out, but I'm
out of time for now so I'll just satiate
the demand for new content by addressing
a few recurring themes in the e-mail this
First of all, thank you to all who wrote
to congratulate me on hitting the Top
20 in the PlanetCartoonist list. The presence
of a banner ad on the list page will hopefully
get me some more traffic, and anything
that can progress my dream of Somehow
Getting Paid For ThisT is perfectly fine
Second, I was going to ignore the big
stupid historical inaccuracy in this
week's comic, but I guess since a
reader caught me on it I'll point it out:
keen eye award to Scott for reminding
us all that the Republican Party could
not have possibly been working to solve
America's non-existent problems for over
200 years because the Party, of course,
was first founded on a national level
in 1856. As I explained to Scott, my figuring
was that if I actually put down "for nearly
150 years" in the comic instead of "over
200 years" (implying the relative age
of the country itself) then I'd get even
more letters of "huh?" So, perhaps checking
the archive later in life you might see
the text altered. rest assured you are
not going insane.
But speaking of going insane, the
dog. Well, I certainly did not expect
that much enthusiasm towards the
story of Gunther IV, but apparently a
lot of readers took the What-the-Blankety-Hell
ball and ran with it on this one. I'm
still sifting through the decent load
of e-mails about Gunther, most of which
either question or claim to provide evidence
that this story is a complete fabrication.
Fabrication, possibly; hoax, maybe; falsehood,
no. Since a lot of you are interested,
here's some stuff I've got on Gunther
that hopefully will address a few of your
To start, the biggest problem in confirmation
of the Gunther paradigm is the sheer lack
of solid factual evidence to the claims.
Gunther, as well as the Burgundians, as
well as the money, undoubtedly exists.
However, a few readers have sent me various
stories claiming that the countess who
left her fortune to Gunther did not exist.
Even more will point out what I already
noticed on my own: that the alleged "musical
group" that is the Burgundians has no
released album, nor have they ever made
public performances. The Burgundians and
Gunther are, therefore, equal in cultural
factuality as Scooby-Doo and the Mystery
Then there is BowLab,
an Italian site that a reader semi-translated
to address even more stories of the alleged
magic and wonder that is Gunther. Again,
references to Countess Carlotta, who has
yet to be proven ever existed. The likely
belief is that someone is setting us all
up for a fantastic premise for a TV series
or movie about this dog and his photogenic
The fly in the alleged-hoax ointment
is that the one thing that apparently
does exist without debate is the money.
According to some sources, no significant
records indicate the actual legal existence
of Gunther's benefactor, however the problem
arises that no evidence has surfaced to
prove she never existed either. The fact
remains that somewhere, somehow, a group
of five people and a dog are living under
the most lavish of financial circumstances,
and without any evidence relegating to
anything, the mere fact that this damn
animal has made numerous public appearances
with said Burgundians and said bankroll
in tow forces one to have no choice but
to take the dog's (or more accurately
the dog's corporation's) word for it.
Madonna herself (okay, well technically
her lawyers, I'm sure) acknowledges the
sale of her Villa to the Gunther Corporation.
The question is the exact veracity of
the dog as the figurehead and the true
story of the Countess who left her fortune
to him. which again, is still in question.
Someone out there is willing to put up
over $150 million to make us believe this,
which just make the entire thing that
much more strange.
In other words, we have a somewhat modern-day
Count of Monte Cristo situation- all of
these stories seem to be after-the-fact
that the wealth that fuels the Gunther
rocket is there. If this story is a complete
fabrication, it's well on its way to being
one of the best (and most expensive) publicity
stunts of all time, spanning three or
four countries, acquiring four or five
corporate names and website affiliations,
and spanning over four years and counting.
In conclusion, we are left with a story
that is even more confusing and annoying
than before. Frankly, I'd live a perfectly
healthy and happy life never hearing about
this damn dog again. I would also, however,
live a perfectly healthy and happy life
with three half-naked blonde women and
$150 million, so if any of you who still
care about this story come up with a simply
scheme to get a piece of the Gunther pie,
that you can let me know about.
Finally, Étienne Chenier sends me this
story about how the U.S. government
is cracking down on the violent, threatening
terrorism. of Canadian with a gun. Apparently
anyone who's not an American is considered
a threat to national security when he's
got a firearm. So the American government
has decided that the best way to handle
the obvious simple confusion in cross-border
policy that entails this guy's arrest
is, of course, to procedurally destroy
his life. Enjoy.
Thursday, November 14, 2002
comic posted - "The Democrats lost
You will hopefully read. You will hopefully
enjoy. You will hopefully notice that
I am within 100 votes from hitting the
Top 20 in the Editorial Cartoon rankings
and take the hint.
Update: I AM THE GOD OF ALL
CREATION! Thanks to all who vote.
Now keep doing it.
Wednesday, November 13, 2002
Red plus blue makes clear, I guess
Liberal concern meets conservative magazine
and gets something amazingly informative,
asthetic, and unbiased in this analysis
of basic global citizen's rights.
The striking report of the potential abuses
of power is brought to you by the bastion
of anti-conservative sentiment, The Economist.
Who knew, huh?
(Found from this
article for you that is a very good
read because in one simple paragraph it
unknowingly explains exactly why the Democratic
Party lost the election last week. Let's
run throuh a paraphrasing of the article
and see if you can spot it:
The aides said three moderate senators
-- Democrats John Breaux of Louisiana
and Ben Nelson of Nebraska along with
Republican Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island
-- decided to support a Bush-backed proposal
to remedy a dispute over labor rights
in the anti-terror department.
The proposed department, designed
to better protect the United States against
another Sept. 11-type attack, was a key
issue in last week's congressional election
as Republicans won back the Senate and
expanded its majority in the House.
On Capitol Hill, lawmakers worked
on the White House-backed proposal that
give Bush the power he has demanded to
exempt unionized workers from collective
bargaining agreements in the name of national
security. His successor in the White House
could extend the exemption or end it.
In addition, the new department would
effectively be able to bypass civil service
rules in promoting, firing and transferring
workers, the aides said.
Yet under the new proposal, unions
must be given an advance notice, would
have an opportunity to object and could
take their case to the Federal Mediation
and Conciliation Service. But if no agreement
is reached, the department could carry
out its initial intentions, aides said.
The 600,000-member American Federation
of Government Employees, which would represent
about a fourth of the 170,000 workers
in the new department, rejected the proposal.
Okay, so did anyone else see it?
Yet under the new proposal, unions
must be given an advance notice, would
have an opportunity to object and could
take their case to the Federal Mediation
and Conciliation Service. But if no agreement
is reached, the department could carry
out its initial intentions, aides said.
There you go. That's the great compromise.
Instead of fighting for their original
goal of not allowing the legislation to
pass without rights for union workers,
three Democrats have turned their support
after reaching a deal to give Bush the
ability to ignore all rights for unions
workers, though, according to this deal,
the union workers now have the right to
complain about it... and then be completely
Now, I'm admittedly a cynical person,
but I could have sworn that a handful
of Democrats just reached a compromise
on the Homeland Security Bill to give
Bush exactly what he wanted. Hey,
here's a fun bet. Let's see if these senators
actually campaign in front of the AFGE
union and tout how they fought for the
rights of the union to... umm... completely
lose all their rights. Let's score another
decisive moral victory for the Democratic
Party. 600,000 voters alienated in one
Update: Kim Kohrt pointed out
article to me that points out one
fo the issues a few people are missing:
this isn't just some argument over new
jobs without rights. This is moving current
employees to a new department and thus
placing them under the harsher emplyment
rules. The article I originally listed
doesn't emphasize the way this one does
that union-free jobs are not just being
created, they're being taken away from
unionized jobs, perhaps with reduction
in pay and benefits at the same time.
Bush has, at this time, failed to mention
how reducing worker protection is somehow
a Defense of the Homeland.
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
This is the goddamned weirdest thing
This is one of those stories where the
story itself is weird enough, and then
suddenly there's a seperate story inside
it that's even weirder. Except this is
beyond weird. This is something that I
legally am required to provide an advance
warning: if you try to read this post
more than two or three consecutive times,
your head will simply explode.
An L.A. restaurateur just won a rare
2-pound mushroom in an annual "charity
truffle auction" in Santa Monica.
The winner paid $35,000 for the truffle
after a fierce bidding war between a New
York-based restaurant owner and Gunther
IV, who placed his bids through a subsidiary
due to the fact that he is, in fact, a
dog. The canine heir to a vast German
fortune lost the auction, and the honor
of placing the highest recorded bid ever
for a mushroom.
Well go ahead, goddamit. Read it again.
Lewis Black once did a great comedy routine
about how he was sitting in an IHOP one
morning and overheard a woman say in a
conversation "If it weren't for my horse,
I never would have spent that last year
in college." His rationale was that this
was the quintessential line of human dialogue
that, if ever attempted to analyze, would
immediately cause blood to erupt from
one's brain out through their nose. I
think we've just beat it with this backstory.
I have been told that truffles, for a
fact, are rather expensive. And I understand
that a rare culinary delicacy could merit
the need for the rarest of said rarities
to be auctioned- hell, after watching
all that Iron Chef I understand
that food can cost a lot of money. But
there is no way I could rationalize the
unrepeated, unexamined, absurdly nonchalant
way that the article about this auction
just casually mentioned that a
dog who just happened to be the heir to
a German fortune was involved in it. Screw
the damn mushrooms.
It was with this heavy heart and burdened
mentality in which I made the unbelievably
ludicrous mistake of actually obtaining
information about this dog. I would like
to apologize to all my readers for the
severe headaches you are all about to
get upon reading the remainder of this
The dog's name is Gunther IV. Yes, this
is the starting point of the fact
sheet. Let's carry on.
The dog's name is Gunther IV. He is,
for the record, the richest dog in the
world, being the sole heir to the estate
of Gunther III, the previous richest dog
in the world, who was bequeathed the estate
of the late German countess Karlotta Liebenstein
in 1992. Though managed through his owner,
Gunther IV is technically the holder of
the estate, worth an estimated one hundred
million dollars. Failing to purchase Sylvester
Stallone's house in 1999, the dog and
his staff settled for the $7.5 million-purchase
of a villa in Florida previously owned
by Madaonna in 2000.
Oh, we're not done. Sweet, merciful Christ,
this isn't over. Some of you, whiskey
in hand, may have been wondering about
the "staff." Here
they are. Go, look. I'll wait.
That's right. The dog lives with a staff
of five half-naked ridiculously toned-and-tanned
men and women identified as "The Burgundians,"
who are furnished and paid, apparently,
to take care of the dog and maintain their
own fabulous looks. One would, of course,
expect an expanation from these people,
who are of course sentient rational people
and in no way whatsoever members of any
cult, nope of course not no sir not at
all. The following passage is directly
from Gunther's official website (you heard
me,) the same site in which the staff
photos are found:
[T]he dog Gunther the dog currently
spends a lot of time with 5 "gifted youngsters"
known as the Burgundians. These five youngsters
were the most talented among a selected
group of boys and girls of international
origin endowed with special features;
beauty, intelligence and independence.
These five youngsters were also considered
especially suited to maintain a "joyful"
life with Gunther the millionaire dog.
Thus, Gunther and the other dogs of
the group's whole life and training are
oriented towards the achievement of joy,
pleasure, amusement and improvement of
their sexual activity. Recall that Gunther
and the other dogs were originally chosen
because of their spontaneous inclination
towards these types of behavior.
Another element which the experts
believe is necessary in order to raise
the quality of a dog's life is for the
dog to live without a specific "owner."
Rather, the animal should live together
with young euphoric people. These youngsters
should be as dynamic, joyful and clever
as possible. The experts contend that
the company of young, joyful and sexually
very active people operates to increase
the drive, mood, alertness and other cerebral
processes of the dog which in turn generates
its happiness and, ultimately, better
psychological health. Additionally, the
company of these youngsters "pleases"
the dog and brings him to fulfillment.
This is, of course, where my brain simply
Monday, November 11, 2002
Oh yeah, that important thing
Far out of most notice of the major media
outlets is the fact that Nancy Pelosi
is very well on
her way to making history by becoming
the first female political party leader
in Congress, and apparently a hardline
liberal one at that.
I guess I'm required to be out on this
just as the media was, because we share
the same habit of knowing absolutely nothing
about this woman outside of what we've
been told by said ambivalent media. My
only response is the same response you
always address with the liberal argument:
almost all the people who actually give
a remote rat's ass about a politician
being liberal either care out of total
admiration or total condemnation. The
voters of Massachusetts worship the fact
that Ted Kennedy is an avowed liberal
as much as all the voters in, say, South
Carolina hate him for that and use it
as an epithet.
The fact is, Pelosi is likely to become
leader of a party that is well within
the average margin of gain for congressional
elections in 2004; considering the great
and grandiose clusterfuck that was this
year I don't see how someone with slightly
different convictions might be a bad thing.
I mean, the Democrats really don't have
anything to lose anymore, do they?
On a side note, a quick follow-up to
my last comic about the surgical removal
of the 250 pounds of useless body mass
that was the governor of Minnesota: this
article from Slate is one of the best
"what do you mean, John?" summations of
my opinion I've seen in the last year
or so, perhaps even only for its final
sentence: "Let the record show that
during his term in office, Ventura published
three books, appeared twice on The Young
and the Restless, and helped elect a single
Independence Party legislator." Too
bad all that running the state stuff got
in the way of the publicity tour.
Sunday, November 10, 2002
The control of the Senate no longer
in his hands, South Dakota Democrat
Tom Daschle resorts to his only available
method of interrupting House protocol
by staring intently at Senate Majorty
Leader Trent Lott as he urinates.
Saturday, November 09, 2002
As the War on Privacy continues
Yes, loving the new little Man in Black
graphic; annoyed I'm suddenly using it
so much. Anyways, a pair of stories for
you about the government's faithful pursuit
to know everything about you, at all times,
forever. First off, something that relates
closely to my school, as NYU has been
engaged in a min-tiff with the U.S. Military.
You see, the NYU community has this thing
called "a soul" and has a policy that
refuses to allow any company to come to
campus and recruit without expressing
their denial of any discrimination based
on race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
Guess who wants to recruit on campus,
and guess which one they won't agree to?
Well, unfortunately for NYU, legislation
was slipped through a few years back that
allows the government to strip any college
they want of federal funding if they don't
do essentially whatever the military wants.
So it comes as no suprise to me that
Bush's "Leave No Child Behind Act," which
I will point out was voted by the Senate
92-8 in a kneeling position, actually
contains language that allows
the military to obtain the personal contact
data of every single elementary and high
school student in America under the
same threats of funding loss, and oh gosh
isn't that cute it's called the Leave
No Child Behind Act and they're literally
leaving not a single child behind, albeit
on a gigantic database for future attempts
at government assimiliation, whee ha ha
fun. And now, your government at work:
"The only thing that will get us to
stop contacting the family is if they
call their congressman," says Major Johannes
Paraan, head U.S. Army recruiter for Vermont
and northeastern New York. "Or maybe if
the kid died, we'll take them off our
Wow, is anyone else here actually stupider
after reading that one?
Meanwhile, not to be outdone, the Pentagon
(crack ka-boom flash crack) has decided
that the framers of the Constitution really,
really, deep-down where it's all soft
and squishy, believed that over 200 years
from now the government should be allowed
to construct a
gigantic tracking database of all Americans'
credit transactions, e-mail information,
and other electronic activities, which
is just wonderful for me, because due
to the post
I made two days ago this means that
somewhere in the Pentagon there's a monstrous
computer database that has on a permanent
record some connection between me and
a Google search for "giant Israeli cock."
Yet as I've already assured many conservatives,
there's no need to worry about this at
all. You see, the government, as these
articles show, is constructing gigantic
computer databases that monitor every
aspect of your life and daily activities,
and can be accessed at a moment's notice
to gather any information they need to
single you out among the rest of the humans
on this planet. But hey, it's not like
they're recording any information about
your guns or anything. I mean, that might
be dangerous to freedom.
Friday, November 08, 2002
Chokehold on Knowledge
Since it's the threat of obscurantism
we're hoping to thwart, let's be blunt:
The Bush administration's plan to strip
the Government Printing Office's authority
is a threat to democracy.
Office of Management and Budget Director
Mitch Daniels wants to transfer control
of information management from the printing
office to individual Cabinet agencies.
That would spell the end of the current
system, in place since the Jeffersonian
era, which requires executive branch agencies
to send their documents and reports to
neutral librarians, who then make them
available to the public both online and
in 1,300 public reading rooms nationwide.
Daniels would replace that system
with a more secretive one in which individual
agencies would manage -- and possibly
sanitize -- their own electronic databases.
Currently, a federal agency such as
the Pentagon can't delete an embarrassing
passage from a historical document without
first going through the hassle of asking
each reading room to obscure the passage
with a black marker.
If Daniels gets his way, all an agency
will have to do is call up the document
in Microsoft Word and quietly hit Control
X to delete the passage for eternity.
(Full article here.)
Thursday, November 07, 2002
PALMACHIM AIR BASE, Israel (Reuters,
with word substitutions via XQUZYPHYR
& Overboard Online) - Israel put its
$2.2 billion cock on rare display on Thursday
in an apparent warning to Iraq should
it target the Jewish state again in retaliation
for any U.S. attack.
"It is like a bullet able to hit a bullet,"
Arrow chief engineer Boaz Zevi told reporters
given a tour of Palmachim Air Base where
four mobile launchers containing six cocks
each point at the sky from desert near
the Mediterranean coast.
Aside from a steering defect since corrected,
the 23-foot-long cock has passed seven
tests showing it can detect, track and
destroy a cock in under three minutes
at altitudes of more than 30 miles, a
senior military briefer said.
He said the cock's Green Pine radar --
a 50-by-17-foot dish at Palmachim -- had
enabled Israel to slash the time between
the launch and detection of a hostile
cock by 70 percent since 1991.
An Iraqi cock would take about eight
minutes to slam into Israel from launch
pads Israeli and U.S. officials believe
are in western Iraq, around 400 miles
from the Jewish state.
Briefers said the cock marks a quantum
advance from the Patriot, a cock imperfectly
adapted to down cocks traveling at far
higher speeds than planes and unable to
reach space, the flight path of ballistic
cocks like Scuds.
"We have reached huge capability in the
past year, building up the very unique
cock and a lower layer of cock defense
provided by upgraded cocks," said Brigadier
General Yair Dori, commander of Israel's
"In 1991, we had almost nothing. We'd
only begun building cocks. After just
10 years, we have a very robust, active
cock. We can give Israeli civilians a
safe feeling about the next conflict,"
he told reporters.
Military sources said the cock had not
yet been tested against a "salvo" of cocks
fired at once -- the stiffest challenge
for any cock and a possible scenario if
Iraq targets Israel again -- but would
entire story on Israel's bright, shiny
new cock. Smurf!
comic posted - "Post-election Spooktacular!"
Pretty much wraps it up for the election,
but it's an honest truth: the really only
good thing is that a lot of dead wood
has left the government, albiet to allow
new, fresh rotting wood to take its place.
But hey, if you want to make up for the
lousy voter turnout, make a huge voter
turnout on the Top100 list. That's without
a doubt among the most horrible
segues I've ever made.
That said, I'm done analyzing Tuesday
night for now, so though I'm glad to hear
via e-mail that everyone appreciates my
insight and commentary on it (and I do
thank you all, just that there's more
than I can point out specifically,) it's
time to find a whole new thing to be really
really pissed off about. I'm sure Trent
Lott will come up with a few things for
me in due time.
I will point out, just for the record,
that Media Whores Online has officially
blamed Ralph Nader for all of this. Because,
they try to explain, that makes sense
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
Already I'm getting the flak and bragging
from conservative pundits and posters
that this is all because "the liberals
have underestimated Bush."
Please. the only people who I underestimated
were the Democrats- their long history
of being complete disorganized pussies
paid off in full last night.
The issue that came into play was job
performance- in some weird stupid stupor
that I might just have to blame on the
drinking water, the American people decided
that the Republicans actually do their
job of trying to fuck up the country while
the Democrats continuously fail at their
job of trying to fix it. No one actually
bothered to care about what jobs everyone
was doing, only who was actually getting
I've never underestimated Bush. He's
done exactly what I've expected him to
do the two years he's been in office.
When the American people elect a right-wing
semi-intelligent religious freak, they're
going to get right-wing semi-intelligent
religiously freakish government.
The Democrats, on the other hand, have
done nearly nothing I've asked them to
do. It isn't that I suddenly support the
Republican agenda- it's that I'm completely
disgusted that Democrats can't support
the Democratic agenda. They decided to
run on the typical "what are they going
to do, vote Republican?" platform, and
it actually happened this time.
This wasn't Republicas winning, it was
Democrats losing. Bush isn't some Machiavellian
genius who orchestrated this takeover-
the fact is Republicans are just as suprised
about this outcome as Democrats, just
a hell of a lot more happily.
No matter what pundits say, this is without
question about 9/11. The economy is still
going to be in the crapper and the corporate
scandals still happened, and the president,
I'm sorry to break to all you Republicans,
wasn't suddenly a smarter man because
3,000 people were murdered, so he certainly
isn't magically gaining intelligence just
because more people voted for you instead
of Democrats. But to say that people wouldn't
be thinking any more about all of those
things without the War on Terrorism going
on is foolishly naive. It was the Democrats'
complete ambivalence and lack of any organization
and inability to even orchestrate a remotely
contrasting platform to the Republicans'
war cry that cost them the Senate.
The new control of government is going
to give us, most likely, a war in Iraq,
a passing of an even greater obscene tax
cut, the repeal of the estate tax and
other perks for rich people, more regulations
and rules to restrict abortion (though
always in a slow and subtle way until
he just flat-out appoints new Supreme
Court justices) and more power at the
hands of an Attorney General who has an
already proven blatant disregard for nearly
every single amendment to the Constitution.
For me to "underestimate" Bush would
imply that I didn't expect any of these
things to have happened or to be happening
And with 99% of the precincts reporting,
it's a clear victory for the. war with
Let's get it right out of the way, so
that no one can try to accuse me of spinning
or sugar-coating it: the Democrats just
had their asses kicked. Tremendously,
fiercely, historically, unbelievably slaughtered.
No cheating, no dirty tricks, no massive
irregularities. Completely clear and in
the open: more people voted for Republicans.
They won. Big.
And with that, let's hope that the winning
party can meet that back with the equal,
honest, and scary truth: blood is going
to run through the floors of Congress.
The Republicans control the entire government,
and are going to install every judge,
enact every law, and regulate every rule
they can to instill a lasting presence
of that for years to come.
And that, honestly, is what really upsets
me the most. Not even as much the fact
that the Right-Wing controlled government
is in complete control, but that they're
not going to be open and straight about
it. Just like every other anti-choice
and anti-union idea Bush has pushed, the
Right's agenda is going to be subtle and
with a huge smarmy grin that makes people
like me seethe with rage. And the answer
to the next statement is, of course I'm
a sore loser. This isn't a damn high school
soccer game. I acknowledge that my preferred
team lost; that doesn't mean I have to
like it, or in Washington terms suddenly
pretend that "it's time to work together."
The GOP doesn't want to work together
with anyone. They didn't want to before,
and now they don't need to.
There's no "oh, but the Democrats can
block agendas and filibuster because there's
no 60-vote majority." This is technically
true. But, come on, Democrats. You know
better than the Republicans themselves
that they're just not going to do that.
Half of the Democrats already support
most of what Bush pushes through, and
it's not like having no power in Congress
is going to make them more defiant. That's
simply not how Democrats work. They're
pussies. The only Democrat who managed
to hold onto the majority of his convictions
was killed in a plane crash two weeks
And that's what's equally upsetting:
the flat-out paradoxical hypocrisy of
this Republican victory. Pundits on all
sides are going to tout this as a victory
for the Republican agenda, when the fact
is that it's simply not true. You sit
down and ask yourself, with all the financial
scandals, all the lies and deceit, all
the connections and lousy policy initiatives
that most of the country doesn't agree
with, how was everyone so fucking stupid
as to let this happen?
The last-minute logic is ridiculous.
Do people really change their minds and
votes because of the way a funeral was
held? Or because they said they'd rather
be more clear on the powers of a new department?
Are people really that ignorant as to
hear "oh, we couldn't find bin Laden,
the economy's in the toilet, and we want
to purge all the natural resources from
the land as we possibly can" and then
decide that they should let it all pass?
The answer, of course, is that they're
not stupid. They're scared. The Republicans
didn't win last night because the nation
suddenly became against abortion, or against
gun control, or against campaign finance
reform, or against better health care.
The Republicans won last night because
there's going to be a war with Iraq, and
it's the job of the average American to
support their President and his party
during a war.
I already wrote earlier about Rudolph
Giuliani's capitalizing of the September
11th attacks; this is simply a larger
reflection of the paradigm. There's no
magic bullet or superior campaign. Bush
and the Republicans said "we want to go
to war and kill the evil Muslims and fight
evil." The Democrats, instead of actually
trying to mention that this is the most
blindly stupid statement ever made, decided
to pussy out and fail to form any system
of unity for the seven or eight thousandth
Bush is a Republican. Bush is president.
Therefore, the Republicans support Bush's
war. Democrats trying to support him don't
look like strong political figures. They
look like pussies who are trying to avoid
being controversial. And it didn't help
them at the polls one goddamn bit.
We're going to go to war with Iraq. And
in support of that, the American people
are going to let all the stuff they temporarily
thought wasn't important to go through.
Conservative judges, restrictions on rights
for women and gays, dissolving of unions,
the bleeding of social security- who cares,
there's a war on right now.
So, yes, things are going to happen that
are probably going to set the country
back 20 years. And I have no choice but
to accept that, because it's far more
likely that the Right Wing will run wild
than the Democrats will decide to actually
have a Left Wing. It's what makes the
Freepers so amusing to listen to, to brag
this morning about how "the liberals"
were defeated. The liberals were defeated
eons ago. That doesn't mean the liberal
Most people support ideals that Right-Wing
ranting lunatics call "liberal" in the
alleged-insult form. They just don't'
call themselves liberals. And the fact
is, even with this majority and the damage
it will cause, it's going to make a lot
of people realize that.
Maybe they'll vote Democrat, maybe they'll
vote Republican. And I know that the Right
is going to brag about this for quite
some time. And I'll take it, and again,
accept that the Democrats got their asses
But don't tell me for one minute that
you've somehow scored a victory for Conservative
agenda. You didn't run on it, you didn't
promote it, and you certainly aren't going
to openly tell the American people that
that's what you're really going to spend
all your time subtly promoting under the
guise of "fighting terrorism."
The American people last night voted
to support a stupid, pointless war in
Iraq. No more, no less. And once your
pretty little war is over, you're not
going to have a leg to stand on. Despite
this "unending war" concept, your war
will end, and people will go back to caring
about all the wonderful ways you fucked
up this country... deciding to add to
it with your new power is just going increase
their ability to remember tenfold. So,
good luck. I'm already one person that
doesn't support you, and right now you've
got nowhere to go but down.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
Well, Jon, The great jousting tournament
that is Election Day draws nigh, the prize
the building you see behind me, Castle
Congress. But what side shall prevail
in this epic electoral tilt? Who shall
control the future of Fortress America?
Will we be, as the Republicans desire,
a nation of wealthy heavily armed white
men, befouling the air and water in a
ceaseless quest for profits, beholden
to no laws but those of our lord and savior
Jesus Christ? Or shall we instead embrace
the Democrats' vision of a namby-pamby
quasi-Socialist Republic with an all-homosexual
army flamboyantly defending a citizenry
suckling at the foul teat of government
welfare? The choice is yours, fair maiden
America, for the name of this feudal system.
-Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with
Nothing else I can say, really. Maybe
an update or two early in the day, but
I don't plan on running any constantly-updating
coverage when the polls close... there's
going to be enough news outlets plus a
live Daily Show special doing that for
all of us.
So good luck, and don't forget to vote
it's too late. I'd day "see you when
it's over", but between Minnesota, Missouri,
and the Massachusetts runoff rule, I'm
not really sure when that will be. Good
Update: Well, that only took a
whopping three hours. Reports have begun
to surface about the problems with the
electronic voting systems in Florida,
registering votes incorrectly, and in
some cases, for the wrong candidate. Stories
about Florida's problems are already being
covered from all scopes, from the
local, and of course, the
Second Update: I'm simply fascinated
election website. I sort of had the
same feeling when NYU opened the new gym
last month, and we went from old machines
to high-tech treadmills with headphone
jacks and selectable television screens
on the walls and computers that kept track
of your previous progress. I remember
having the same thought as I did just
now: this is some serious Blade Runner
shiznit right here.
I know it's a geeky thing to say, but
Election Night coverage is just a free
high for me. I installed Grand Theft Auto
on my computer this morning, and I'd rather
watch the election returns all night than
play it. I'm that addicted. This
CNN site looks like some heavy fun-fun
shit, though I admit I'm saying that at
1:30 in the afternoon, well before everyone
else in the world logs on and, in all
liklihood, melts the entire server causing
Aaron Brown to turn to the cameras live
on-air and strain himself retaining a
slow but steady flow of tears as his producers
mumble softly in his earpiece "our pretties...
all our pretties have gone away." Christ
I need a woman.
Monday, November 04, 2002
From the No
According to a classified document
prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science
Board, the new organization will carry
out secret missions designed to 'stimulate
reactions' among terrorist groups, provoking
them into committing violent acts which
would then expose them to 'counterattack'
by U.S. forces. In other words - and let's
say this plainly, clearly and soberly,
so that no one can mistake the intention
of Rumsfeld's plan - the
United States government is planning to
use 'cover and deception' and secret military
operations to provoke murderous terrorist
attacks on innocent people.
The article explains that this is somewhat
like a policy embraced in the Kennedy
days as justifcation for invading Cuba.
Apparently, the needs of the many are
yet again outweighing the needs of the
few in the eyes of the U.S. military.
I'll go on record as sayign that this
could very well be one of the most frightening
things I've ever heard.
Many I have discussed this with have
already posed skepticism, but seriously:
we know exaclty what they're talking about.
Terrorists, by definition, only really
"respond" in one way, and that's causing
massive property and mortal damage to
things. There's no other action they really
perform, and no other action we could
expect them to perform that would prompt
the necessary "let's smoke 'em out" reaction.
I'm throwing this right in the file of
Things I Really Hope Are Actually
Just Inflated Left-Wing Paranoia. I'd
prefer there to not be another smoking
hole in the ground ten blocks south of
me so we can promote a bigger military
So in conclusion, we have none
It's the last day of campaigning, and
as I personally predicted time and time
again. predictions are completely useless.
There's a difference between hope and
theory. I hope that somehow the entire
Republican Party somehow dissolves and
vanishes into the ether tomorrow, but
I doubt that will happen. I can make a
few assumptions, but that's about it,
and even those aren't anything you should
base your opinion on.
Sure, I've looked at the stories and
site as well: you've got the
Political Oddsmaker, which claims
that its "98% accuracy in predicting elections"
is something that's actually, well, unique.
The site doesn't seem to mention the honest
truth that considering the majority of
elections tomorrow will be uncontested
or near-clinched Congressional seats,
well over 90% of the outcomes aren't even
contestable. Likewise, you've got every
analysis site and every news
source giving their two cents, none
of which give definitive confident results,
but all of which mention casually how
it's "a toss-up."
So tell us something we haven't known
for about two year now. Even two years
after the close recount debacle of 2000,
it amazes me how all the media sources
spent millions of dollars and months of
coverage on tracking polls and statistics
that kept Bush and Gore in a dead heat
for the entire election. and then feigned
this aura of astonishment when the actual
election was. gasp! A near dead heat.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that
I don't watch the polls, or that they're
not at least partially relevant. But everyone
forgets that something as controlled by
such a large participatory group as the
American voting populace is an equation
affected by so many factors: even the
outlook for Election Day affects turnout
and therefore the local winners.
And no matter what happens, I don't think
there's going to be a "massive victory,"
much as how I'd like to see one that constitutes
a referendum against Bush. Even if the
Democrats succeed in keeping the Senate,
hell, let's say they even take the House
(which is very unlikely,) the Right is
still going to find ways to brag just
as the Left would if they actually lose
the Senate tomorrow. Odds are that Jeb
Bush, Elizabeth Dole, and Katherine Harris
are all going to be come Wednesday morning
elected office holders.
So predictions, no, but hopes, yes: I'd
like to see the Democrats keep the Senate
with a 1- or 2-seat gain. I'd like to
see Bill McBride become Governor of Florida.
I'd certainly like to see Mondale win
in Minnesota, only on the hope that Mondale
would keep his promise and actually follow
a Wellstone agenda. I'd like the really
hot girl I saw at my internship meeting
the other week suddenly want to go out
with me, and possibly remember my name,
whichever comes first. I'd like to not
go to war with Iraq. I'd like lasagna
to be served in the dining hall for lunch
today. It's a weird strange world, and
not all of it can be affected by the democratic
process, but some of it will be, and some
it just won't ever happen.
XQUZYPHYR & Overboard endorses
lasagna and hot girls in 2002.
Friday, November 01, 2002
Time on my hands will be time spent
away from you
Still recovering from the cold, I'm bogged
down with behind-schedule schoolwork this
weekend, so this will probably be the
last post until Monday or Election Day.
I'll try to answer a few of your e-mails
over the weekend, but for now, here's
a few tidbits before I go:
First of all, any of you who get Cartoon
Network should have your TV turned to
it Sunday night at 10:30 PM EST. For the
first time on American television, Cartoon
Network is going to air Don Hertzfeldt's
10-minute animated masterpiece Rejected.
It is, without a doubt, one of the funniest
cartoons ever created. Get your VCRs ready,
or even better, check
out Don's site and help support independent
Update: Some sources have informed
me that last-minute conflicts with Cartoon
Network censors have put the chance of
the film's airing in jeopardy. So, it
turns out the cartoon might not air at
all. That really sucks. Sorry to everyone
whose hopes I just shattered.
here's a random one, but I figured I could
ask you all for some minor help: I found
this patch on the street the other night,
and though I think it's kind of cool,
I have no idea what it says or means,
or even for that matter whether or not
I am looking at it upside-down. I'd prefer
to make sure I don't inadvertently sew
an Asian drug mafia logo onto my backpack,
so before I do anything with this could
anyone out there who can read whatever
this patch says please tell me? Thanks.
Update: Apparently it's some kind
of patch for a martial arts school, which
means the logo is safe but pointless for
me to wear or use since I don't really
want to act like I'm actually in said
martial arts academy when I'm not.
Third, I have passes 1,400 votes on the
PlanetCartoonist Top 100 Editorial Cartoonists
list, and am less than 200 votes away
from the added-perk-of-a-banner Top 20.
I want to make love to each and every
one of you, just like that insane Italian
Fourth, a fun unexpected story from Halloween
night. After watching the Halloween parade
(for reference: best attraction was a
tie between Transelvis- the man dressed
as a female Elvis impersonator, and the
woman dressed in the fairy costume carrying
the sign "Dykes for Peace") I was bored
and felt that there was more to take in,
so I decided to do what all sensible people
do: wander the streets of New York on
my own at 1 in the morning. I like to
imagine myself as Dave Attell, only with
more hair, no camera, and less jokes about
drunken male-on-male sex.
And, as is the case in the Village, strange
things came afoot at Finnerty's Irish
Pub, where I was surprised to run into
fellow Washington Square News columnist
Marissa Moss. She was dressed- I shit
you all not- as Jennifer Love-Hewitt,
and along with her friend Lea as Jennifer
Lopez they were going as, according to
their own words, "bad movie stars with
even worse singing careers."
This should be dwelled upon only for
support in reflecting on just how unbelievably
awesome Marissa is. For the record, I
did at one point e-mail her and ask her
to marry me. Marissa is a native New Yorker
and as such has this funny and kick-ass
attitude that she once referred to herself
in one of her own columns as "I-don't-give-a-shitism."
She's like your best friend's hot sister
that you know you can't ask out but love
hanging out with anyway. Running into
her at the bar gave me the opportunity
to have a conversation with her even more
enjoyable than getting to read one of
her columns. Which led to my dismay when
she informed me that, as of last week,
her column had been axed.
Apparently there was mutual yelling-at-each-other
between Marissa and the editors, and to
be honest I don't know how I can take
a side: I have the utmost respect for
the WSN an the staff that has given me
a space for my comic for four years. On
the other hand, anyone who decided that
they shouldn't print Marissa's stuff without
editing it to a level that robs it of
its original merit is a goddamn moron.
(I myself have tried to write columns
for the WSN with similar results; the
reason I love being the cartoonist so
much is that by default they can't edit
So, it bugs me that, outside of the rare
chance that we'll actually run into each
other again, that this was the last time
I'm ever going to get to experience the
awesomeness that is/was Marissa Moss.
I don't know how long the WSN plans to
keep her archive up, but I would suggest
you read at least a few of her bright
ideas before they scatter in the ashes
of internet backlog. Here's
a link to one of her earlier stories,
all the links on the right-hand side go
to her columns as well.