July 26, 2003

Giggle. You thought it was because of integrity?

NBC to "rethink" Jessica Lynch movie. But, of course, not the way people, you know, with souls would assume "rethinking" meant:

Network execs have announced that their spin on the much disputed rescue tale will focus on the Iraqi lawyer who purportedly helped American troops find and extract the Army supply clerk from her captors in April.

"It's really a story of mistakes that were made and action and adventure," NBC programming honcho Jeff Zucker told reporters Thursday during NBC's portion of the summer Television Critics Association press tour in Hollywood. "Quite frankly, Jessica's part of the story is probably the smallest part of the story."

News of the movie's focus is not all that surprising, considering NBC was unable to cut a deal with Lynch (who was just released from a Washington, D.C., hospital this week and has yet to comment on the rescue) and they were able to cut a deal with the lawyer.

So, the Peacock has decided instead to tell the story using info extracted from public domain and exclusive scoop gleaned from lawyer Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, who has been dubbed by Zucker as "the brave Iraqi lawyer who saved [Jessica's] life."

Details about what happened before, during and after her imprisonment and rescue remain murky--Lynch isn't talking and neither is the government. Several reports have taken issue with the initial descriptions of Lynch's capture, captivity and rescue, including the role of al-Rehaief, who, according to some reports, overstated his prominence in the rescue.

But NBC isn't letting that stop them: Zucker says the network plans to move forward with the info they have now and get cameras rolling in the next few days. The movie will be released just in time for November sweeps.

"Obviously, there's a lot of questions. That's what makes for a great story," he said. " In most made-for-TV movies, they're based on some fact and often there's a little fiction because we will never know for sure what exactly happened."

So, let's get this straight: the made-for-TV-movie about Private Lynch will be "rethought" because NBC hasn't yet managed to secure legal rights from Lynch and are more accessible to another participant in the event. It is not being "rethought" because, as openly admitted with the most ludicrous masturbatory spin courtesy of Mr. Zucker, NBC's information about the "real-life events" are 50 percent unverified and 50% pure fabricated crap.

If NBC was so inclined to make as much money as quickly as possible off of the war with this level of open disregard for morality and credibility, wouldn't it be so much easier for them to start stealing tank parts and selling them to third-world nations like normal war profiteers?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:38 PM

To: David Talbot; Subject: Are you fucking insane?

Attn: Salon.com staff
From: Executive Editor David Talbot

Hey, I've got a great idea, guys. You know Ann Coulter? The right-wing psychotic opinion columnist who wrote two books in the last few years, both of which we reviewed on this site noting how they're quite possibly the most destructive, ridiculous, factually-inaccurate wastes of bonded material since Ayn Rand?

Let's interview her. And let's not just interview her, but have our sex columnist do it. And ask the stupidest questions imaginable. And run ads for our web site to our target audience of people who oppose everything Coulter stands for.

See, it's this great new marketing paradigm I've got rolling around in my brain. Now, admittedly I've been smoking last year's stock options worth of crack, but hear me out: we offer a deal where people can view the site for a day after reading some ads that are scientifically designed to be as intrusive and time-consuming to get through as possible. This is to convince people that enjoy reading the articles that all they need to do is send us money and they can eliminate the annoying part of the site.

So, it occured to me- "hey, Dave. I bet if we interviewed Ann Coulter, it would be read by absolutely no one but right-wingers who would only read that one article and never, ever subscribe to a web site like Salon, and left-wingers who would be so offended by the very suggestion that they should pay for this that they'll never subscribe to the site in a million years." Then the magic dragons showed up again and began eating my eyeballs with firey tongues. Goddamit, this is the worst batch of heroin I've ever cooked up.

So, in conclusion, we're going to post an article that literally represents everything contrary to what makes this a good website, right beneath the announcment that we're raising the subscription rate!

I look forward to this landmark event as we make our annual preparations to ponder why the site might not have the funding to go on another year. Now if you'll excuse me, my brownies are done.

-Dave "Captain Awesome McStardust Moonbeam" Talbot

P.S. As always, if anyone has suggestions as to why Salon.com can't pull a larger subscription base, feel free to let me know. I clearly have trouble seeing the blatantly fucking obvious.

P.P.S. I am so fucking high!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:31 AM

July 23, 2003

Well, it's for Blogathon, and even though I have no idea what that is, okay.

Reader Tom sent me a link to this retort to Pat Robertson's "prayer offensive," explaining that a link to his blog is apparently benefiting charity somehow.

I don't really know how that works, but hey, blogging for charity isn't the most unique thing I've ever heard of. I mean, Pat Robertson is trying to spam God.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:00 PM

I am... very tired and must sleep now.

An update on my whining from the other day: I did, in fact, get that internship, so just wanted to note that although a great learning experience for me, it's likely to be a less-updates experience for all of you, at least until I get into a groove with the whole "take a bus to Brooklyn every weekday morning" element now added to my life.

It's an internship, which is bad only on the level of not being, well, a job. You know, that gives me, you know, money and stuff. However, what it lacks in financial compensation it makes up for in braggin rights: you're now looking at an assistant background colorist for... that's right... Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I believe there is a term for this which the French call, how you say, r0x0rz.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:35 PM

USA: 2, Iraq: several thousand or so

This article via the AFP is my story-of-choice about the recent news break on the death of Saddam Hussein's sons. I think it encompasses everything that the extreme pro-war side, as well as the extreme "let's attack Bush for the sky being cloudy" side, have avoided noting in this story, mainly:

  • Guess what? Iraqis are both happy and sad about the death of the Hussein children.
  • Guess what? The angry ones are a potentially violent risk to U.S. soldiers in the area.
  • Guess what? We're not going to know which ones are which until they start killing more U.S. soldiers, which...
  • ...guess what? They managed to do again today, illegitimizing any idea that the death of Udai & Co. somehow ends the violence or threat thereof.

As always, as one on the anti-war side I'm met with that "well look what happened, aren't you going to congratulate Bush? Huh? Huh?" argument presented by the more psychotic members of the pro-war side. What am I supposed to say here- yay, good job on killing two of Iraq's horrific leaders-in-training during the process of your still-unnecessary, still-unjustified, and still-unacceptable war. Bravo. The families of the three hundred dead American soldiers are proud to be rid of two people whose names we'd never have known if we never invaded the country in the first place.

As far as praising Bush goes, please allow me to maintain my position of "what the hell are you talking about?" Outside of signing the order to invade a few months ago, feel free to e-mail me with anything remotely constituting evidence that George W. Bush was somehow personally, even is only partially, responsible for the military action yesterday that killed the Hussein children. Saying that we're supposed to be "proud of the President" and suggesting how this will "affect his poll ratings" is a ridiculous allusion to some vision of, as Chris once put it, "single-handedly taking out an entire platoon with only your bare hands and the Star-Spangled Banner playing in the background."

My point about the article is that it shows this position of mine using the "glory" of this latest military victory as an example of why we should never have been in a position to kill the (as CNN obnoxiously put it) "trump cards" in the first place. The general synopsis of this story is that the results of the latest military incursion has caused the Iraqi people to somewhat like us, though also possibly hate us more, in the midst of not believing what we did, but saying it's good if we did do it, though we haven't proven it, maybe. If this is what we're now passing off as "definitive success," then it only adds more credence to the idea that we didn't have a fraction of a clue what we were doing when we went into Iraq to begin with.

And, percentage of Hussein family members remaining nevertheless decreased, it has still cost us an average of an American life a day.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:12 PM

July 22, 2003

How to be complete and utter idiots, step 1

I'm hoping there's more to the story than the way this is described, but you really can't second-guess the level of stupidity that is the California Democratic Party, so I can believe that they'd allow themselves to be recorded saying something as overwhelmingly stupid as this:

Unaware that a live microphone was broadcasting their words around the Capitol, Assembly Democrats meeting behind closed doors debated prolonging California's budget crisis for political gain.

Members of the coalition of liberal Democrats talked about slowing progress on the budget as a means of increasing pressure on Republicans.

A microphone had been left on during the closed meeting Monday, and the conversation was transmitted to about 500 "squawk boxes" that enable staff members, lobbyists and reporters to listen in on legislative meetings.

Some members of the group, including Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, said if the budget crisis were extended, it could improve chances for a ballot initiative that would make it easier for the Democrats to raise taxes by lowering the threshold for passage from two-thirds to 55 percent.

Okay, so it's not baby rape or kitten murder or supporting Segregationist Centegenarian Senators (can you say that three times fast? Here's a hint: no) but considering how the California DNC's major arguing point for the next election cycle is the overwhelming avarice of the GOP-backing energy companies manipulating the market at the expense of Californians, you'd think that even in an ironic sense you wouldn't say something about manipulating the... whaddaya call 'em... oh, right: people who vote you out of office when they don't like you.

This will likely be the central platform for the California Republicans now, and considering the likely recall vote for Gray Davis, not a good thing for the Democrats at all. But hey, it can't be all that bad. I mean, it's not like they're using September 11th for political gain or anything. That would just be wrong, right?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:14 PM

Sharp enough blade to cut your nose off there, Miss?

Warren Buffett has drawn criticism in the past for supporting pro-choice causes, but it never affected Berkshire Hathaway's charitable giving�that is, until Cindy Coughlon, a 34-year-old stay-at-home mom in Peoria, Ariz., came along. Now, as a result of her campaign against pro-choice donations, the most powerful man in business (see Cover Story) has terminated Berkshire's entire contribution program, which distributed nearly $200 million over the past two decades to institutions ranging from schools to groups on either side of the abortion debate.

The unusual program�call it a charitable dividend�allowed Berkshire shareholders to designate $18 per share annually for up to three charities of their choosing. Some shareholders, including Buffett via his foundation, used the mechanism to give to pro-choice causes such as Planned Parenthood.

Pampered Chef chairman Doris Christopher initially told consultants in an April e-mail that though "my personal views on some issues differ from Warren Buffett's ... it is not my place to ask or to judge." But her message didn't quell the furor. Consultants were resigning, says Coughlon, and customers complaining. (Coughlon numbers the petitioners at "less than a thousand.") By late June the pressure had become intolerable, and Christopher "went to Warren with a heavy heart," according to an e-mail she wrote to consultants. "It troubled him deeply that charitable donations from Berkshire Hathaway were causing you difficulty." On July 3, Berkshire announced the end of the charity program.

For her part, Coughlon is "just delighted with the decision." But she says she won't be satisfied until the man she deferentially refers to as "Mr. Buffett" stops donating to pro-choice causes. "Now," she says, "the focus is on him."

Full article here, but let's recap. A woman, upset that a $200 million dollar charity program donated a fraction of that to organizations which use a fraction of that fraction to fund abortion services, is now "delighted but not finished" that a rare example of willing corporate philanthropy has ended.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:57 AM

July 21, 2003

Well, this one couldn't go unmentioned

Okay, everyone saw this one, so it's an easy one for me to mention as well:

Wolfowitz, one of the architects of the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, told a news conference in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that Washington would, however, welcome outside help.

"I think all foreigners should stop interfering in the internal affairs of Iraq," said Wolfowitz, who is touring the country to meet U.S. troops and Iraqi officials.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:23 PM

Burnout. Brought to you by the United States Department of Unemployment.

Nothing new here. I spent the day at an interview for a possible internship. No definite news about it yet. Until such time as I get a job or an internship- a magical thing that's like a job, only without the money, for some reason much more frequently offered by animation studios than jobs- the sudden lack of updates to the blog part of this site remain highly possible. Much as I enjoy putting new things on the weblog, I again make my monthly-or-so mention that I'm not a blogger. The activites which revolve around what I want as my actual career, i.e. comics and animation, come first.

Not wanting to be looked at for nothing more than a weblog is exactly why my site has political stuff only. I have enough trouble dealing with complaining about my day-to-day life with family and friends; I certainly don't find a thrill doing it multiple times a day on a website. I mean, I know I'm already irritated by the bitchy tone of this post... there's no way you're going to start getting five of these a day next to a "my current mood is" thing, a sidebar with a link to apparently every single website I've ever looked at, and an Amazon wish list just because I didn't have time to read what godforsaken moronic thing George W. Bush did today and somehow feel I must have something new on the main page.

Not to be mean or condescending, just that with all the stuff going on for me right now, my free time isn't really reserved for posts about what I had for breakfast this morning. So, for future reference, if you see a longer-than-normal absence of postings without any prior notice, assume that I either just had a long day, or that whatever I had for breakfast gave me food poisoning.

Update: Yes, I am aware of the fact that the icons of XQUZYPHYR & Overboard in the upper right of the posts could be construed as, technically, indicators of my mood when posting. But at least I got some cartooning time in to make them. So there.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:11 PM