October 10, 2003


That is all.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:22 PM

October 9, 2003

Well, that didn't take long at all now, did it?

According to insomnia, Arnold has broken his first campaign promise within 48 hours of winning the election. Awwwwww.

"I will hire an outside independent auditor, free of political influence..." Schwarzenegger breaks promise to Californians, hires Donna Arduin to head the 60-day audit of California. Arduin is "on loan" from Florida, where she is Jeb Bush's Budget director. Arduin has been criticized by economists and even prominent Florida republicans for "surreal",misleading, unrealistic, and risky accounting procedures. During her stint as Budget Director, Ms. Arduin oversaw numerous tax cuts aimed at the wealthiest Floridians, while most Floridians saw no significant decrease in taxes. Infact, today Florida has the second most regressive taxes in the nation.The effects of these tax cuts? Unprecidented shortfalls in state tax revenues, with massive budget cuts for public schools, universities, child welfare, vision services for uninsured children, etc.
Go to insomnia's site to get all the links in that blockquote. Let's see if anyone on the news picks this upTHEYWONT.

(insomnia (a.k.a. Mark), by the way, apparently designed LiveJournal. He, like, made it and stuff. So for all the hot girls linking to me with comments like "he's so funny! LOLOL!" next to pictures of Japanese bunny cartoon characters indicating their emotional mood, we salute Mark for his tireless efforts.)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:43 PM
Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:44 PM

Jesus Christ.

Vatican claims "Condoms don't work, so don't use them:"

The Catholic Church is telling people in countries stricken by Aids not to use condoms because they have tiny holes in them through which the HIV virus can pass - potentially exposing thousands of people to risk.

A senior Vatican spokesman backs the claims about permeable condoms, despite assurances by the World Health Organisation that they are untrue.

The WHO has condemned the Vatican's views, saying: "These incorrect statements about condoms and HIV are dangerous when we are facing a global pandemic which has already killed more than 20 million people, and currently affects at least 42 million."

The organisation says "consistent and correct" condom use reduces the risk of HIV infection by 90%. There may be breakage or slippage of condoms - but not, the WHO says, holes through which the virus can pass .

Scientific research by a group including the US National Institutes of Health and the WHO found "intact condoms... are essentially impermeable to particles the size of STD pathogens including the smallest sexually transmitted virus... condoms provide a highly effective barrier to transmission of particles of similar size to those of the smallest STD viruses".

The Vatican's Cardinal Trujillo said: "They are wrong about that... this is an easily recognisable fact."

The church opposes any kind of contraception because it claims it breaks the link between sex and procreation - a position Pope John Paul II has fought to defend.

I could have sworn there was something in Christian mythology that said if you lied you went to Hell.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:49 AM

Tastes like chicken

A very big thanks to Tom Gevaert over at The Funny Farm for the generous gift of a deck of Republican Chickenhawk cards that came in the mail today. Go visit Tom's site now and cripple his puny BlogSpot bandwidth. He'll love it and it'll make me feel popular.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:23 AM

Funny, ain't it


Incidentally, has anyone noticed how the furor and fear over MEChA has completely disappated? It's almost like it was a convenient racially-tinged smear rather than an actual problem!
Of course, if women keep accusing Arnold of groping them, I'm sure it'll just be partisan attack tactics.

While we're at it, anyone notice how no one's been demanding Gary Condit go to jail recently? I mean, the Rightest of the Right were accusing him of murder... funny how they seemed to stop caring after he lost the election in 2002... I guess people they think are murderers are safe when they just don't get to vote on farm subsidies anymore.

Oh, or maybe they're just completely full of shit.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:59 AM

It would have been funnier if he was talking about debt relief at the time

Bono F-bombs FCC obscenity rules into the ground:

When it comes to cursing, the government says, it's all in the delivery. That's the view of the Federal Communications Commission in its decision that U2 singer Bono's colorful language during the Golden Globe Awards didn't violate federal indecency rules.

The FCC rejected complaints from the Parents Television Council and more than 200 people, most of them associated with the council, who accused dozens of television stations of violating restrictions on obscene broadcasts by airing portions of the awards program last January.

The complaints objected to Bono's uttering the phrase "this is really, really, f

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:30 AM

October 8, 2003

New comic: "We had no idea there'd be controversy!"

Large Format - 800px, 100K

Small Format - 600px, 60K

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:07 AM

Yes. You actually were allowed to say that in front of coherent human beings.

Wow. Just... wow. Voting's over folks, the quote of the night goes hands down to Peggy Noonan on MSNBC, who at around 11:15 PM made the following statement about Arnold's projected victory: "This vote proves that the people have rejected the elitist politicians of California."

Because, like all of us, you've realized that nothing defies the label of "elite" more than a member of the Kennedy family with a net worth of over three hundred million dollars.

And with that, I realized that there's really nothing to talk about with this recall anymore. Peggy actually believes this, and sadly that's apparently what Californians do too. I'll save the reporting on what will be the public equivalent of twenty million people simultaneously waking up in the morning and wondering who the person in bed next to them is for others.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:07 AM

October 7, 2003

Dumb rhetorical question of the day

This thought was kind of bugging me after the recent news stories about all these women at Schwarzenegger rallies with their signs and speeches of support for Arnold: exactly why does this matter?

Just as a rhetorical concept, if Arnold Schwarzenegger was accused by multiple people of, say, murdering their family members with a hatchet, would it matter if people showed up at rallies saying "families of murder victims for Arnold?" Or for that matter would it really be relevant if Arnold had a bunch of women hitting the talk shows to state in support of their candidate, "well, he never murdered MY family. When I worked with him on the set of Jingle All The Way I certainly never saw him trying to stab anyone. Except Sinbad, but come on, everyone was trying."

Arnold has been accused of what is rapidly becomming serial sexual assault. "Not doing it all the time" and "he was nice to me" isn't a freakin' defense, okay?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:29 PM

October 6, 2003

Just in case you though the President wasn't the most horrible monster alive

By Presidential Proclamation, October 12 through 18 will be Marriage Protection Week, which "provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage." October 12 is also the anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard.

Just as President Bush gave a speech condemning Affirmative Action on Martin Luther King Day and declared the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision "National Sanctity of Life Day," this is, of course, a complete coincidence.

You know, when we heard Saddam was throwing babies out of incubators it was a fantastic relief to hear that it was a fabricated story. So when you hear that the Leader of the Free World just announced a week of celebrating the forbidding of gay people from expressing their love on the anniversary of the day a teenager was beaten to death for wanting to express his love to other men, you get a slightly different feeling when it's confirmed on the President's own goddamned web site.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:43 PM

Well now

Well, that's not meant to be a subtle insult at all now, is it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:01 PM

Your candidate is an asshole because of a vast left-wing conspiracy.

From an article you simply must go read right now in today's Salon:

And in the middle, there are people like Kerry Martello and Carol Stanley. Martello is a 22-year-old college student who has volunteered to work on the Schwarzenegger campaign. Asked last week why she supports Schwarzenegger, she cited his open-mindedness, "his willingness to look at California as a business, his new and innovative ways to make it work." What are some of those new and innovative ways"? "Well," Martello said, "treating the state like a business. He says you can save, you know, millions of dollars if you just run it like a business."

Stanley, a somewhat older Schwarzenegger fan from Sacramento, turned out to see her candidate at the march on the Capitol Sunday. Asked about her support for Schwarzenegger, she said: "I like what he stands for. I think he's going to get the power back to the people; maybe we'll get to do what we want with our money instead of the government making all of the decisions for us." Pressed for a specific Schwarzenegger policy position she likes, she said: "It would be better if you talked to my husband."

Still, there comes a limit, and the allegations in the Times' stories push Schwarzenegger close to it. O'Neel -- who spoke to Salon just after the first round of groping allegations came to light -- said the scandal surrounding Schwarzenegger "bothers me in the sense that it would bother me if I heard that about anyone. The ideal is that your leaders have character and principles and values and virtues, but the fact of the matter is that these things happened a long time ago, he seems to be a great family man now, and -- my goodness -- if they were going to hold things against me I did 20 years ago, we'd all be in trouble."

But for many others, the allegations would plainly be meaningless whatever they were and whenever they appeared. Pamela Barnett and Arlyn Eaggot are mortgage loan officers from San Francisco, and they walked through the campaign stop in matching his and hers "Join Arnold" T-shirts. Although the Los Angeles Times has said flatly that no one from the Davis campaign led reporters to the women who said they have been groped by Schwarzenegger, Barnett and Eaggot don't buy it.

"This is just Gray Davis and the normal sleaze tactics he uses when he's running for office," said Barnett, 32. Eaggot, who is 32, says the allegations are "politically motivated." Does that mean that he thinks the women are lying? "Yes." All of them? "Yes," he said, I think it's a coordinated effort."

So there you have it. Arnold has no plan, no detailed explanation for his governing of California, and a backlog of increasing accusations of criminal assault. But it doesn't matter to his supporters, who believe that Arnold is merely the victim of a smear campaign by Gray Davis: who, according to their logic, hasn't the tactical prowess to efficiently run a winning election campaign or for that matter correctly govern California in the first place, but does have the Machavellian capability to orchestrate the detailed accusations of nearly two dozen random unconnected women over a several-year period with the help of one of California's largest media publishers.

Of course, the continuing defense against Arnold's sins- a defense which, mind you, not only blunts Ocham's Razor but dissolves it like Robert Patrick at the end of Terminator 2 (oh... wow... was that a clever metaphor. I'm a fucking genius)- is that the aforementioned dozen-or-so women are lying because golly, why wouldn't they have accused a giant, intimidating, politically and legally affluent celebrity earlier? The article answers the question to save me the suggestion that people using this defense should stop, you know, smoking crack:

Barnett and Eaggot make much of the fact that many of the women have not come forward until now -- and that none of them apparently filed police reports.

Catharine MacKinnon, law professor at the University of Michigan and the University of Chicago and a national expert on sexual harassment, said it is wrong to read too much -- of anything, really -- into the fact that the women did not come forward sooner.

"When women are raped they don't go the police by a 10-1 ratio," MacKinnon told Salon Sunday. "It appears that these women came forward now because they were found. That's the way it was with Anita Hill and a lot of other women who have come forward at various times; a man [who has abused them] is coming into promience, and someone finds them and asks them a direct questions and they answer truthfully."

MacKinnon read the stories from the Los Angeles Times Sunday, and she said she was struck by the fact that Schwarzenegger seems amused by his misbehavior. MacKinnon noted that the women who have come forward invariably say that Schwarzenegger laughed when they objected to his conduct. "I find particularly chilling this reaction of laughing when they defend themselves," MacKinnon said. "He thinks women's outrage at what he's doing is funny. He has a pleasure response to it, and that's chilling."

Here's a fun civil service project. Copy that last block quote, and do your best to drill it into the head of every single person who even remotely suggests that Arnold is a decent person.

Look, I'm not trying to cause character assasination here. But seriously: he's a pig. We know he's a pig. And ironically, he's been caught on film doing practically everything Bill Clinton was accused of. Yet the first section I quoted proves the precedence of the campaign over the second set: Arnold is innocent because the Republican must win this election. What makes this so unbelievably silly for the GOP to endorse is that they can't- they simply can't- honestly believe what those Arnold supporters do. They can't be stupid enough to believe, or even think they can make believable- the notion that every single one of these women are lying. Does George "restoring dignity" Bush honestly want Arnold Schwarzenegger running California next year?

A lot of other writers online, for example the brilliant Hesoid, have been making the "California deserves what it gets" message. I don't support that. I don't think anyone, California and certainly not America as a whole, deserves a validation of yet another Republican attempt at democracy-defying power grabs. It amazes me that this much money and time has been spent by right-wing politicos to gain, at the maximum, a good bragging point at roundtable forums for the next few months.

And for the record, my official guess is as follows: Davis stays in power with 54% of the voters opposing the recall. But I'll admit I can underestimate how silly the voters might be tomorrow. If you know any of them, send them a link to this Salon article as a last-ditch plea for sanity.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:52 PM

October 5, 2003

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:36 PM

Well, that was a bit of a turn

Kazaa sues RIAA for copyright infringement.

You read that right.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:39 PM

Yay, woo, whoopie, progress.

A Palestinian suicide bomber killed several innocent people this weekend. Israel has since responded by sending helicoptors and/or tanks into a Palestinian-populated neighborhood in the West Bank. When reached for comment, both sides were quoted as saying "this will solve everything."

Update:Okay, huge Metafilter debate over this, and Atrios gave some good points earlier tonight too.

Long-time readers might recall about a year ago I made a lot more frequent posts about the Israel-Palestinian crisis. To answer a common question, the reason I haven't talked about it as much lately is because frankly there's little new things to talk about.

As I said in a Metafilter conversation earlier, my problem and subsequent reluctance to enter the I/P debate is because I don't think we can address the situation anymore, or at least right now, in terms of "how we resolve it." The Mideast conflict is no longer about resolution, it's about victory, and as such will not be resolved until both sides concede to the fact that they simply cannot "win."

Israel could dismantle the settlements, secure the Green Line, fortify a security road between Palestine and Gaza, and become impenetrable to terrorists at a fraction of the military financing they are wasting now to protect a decimal-percentage of the Israeli population. For all the rhetoric of the hard-right settlers, they would retreat from their promised section of sand in an instant if Sharon announced that the border is being walled up and anyone east of it is on their own from now on.

Likewise, the PLO and Hamas could drop all weapons tomorrow morning, begin marching thousands of unarmed Arabs through the streets of Jerusalem and sitting down in the middle of security checkpoints and probably have a state by the end of the week when Sharon realizes it's his only available response other than televised genocide.

Yet both sides instead opt for a face-saving strategy that costs countless lives and profits nothing. Israel will never gain significant land, protection, and/or power in the Middle East without entering a war that would involve anywere from two to five nuclear-capable nations. Their idea of "eliminating all enemies of Israel" is a fantasy in light of the sheer population of the anti-Israeli Arab world as it currently stands. On the other side, you have an impoverished population of desperate, misinformed, and manipulated people convinced that the Ouija-board military strategy of a 75-year old semi-coherent lunatic will somehow crystalize into the overnight destruction of the Jewish race.

Arafat no longer has to form a home for his people. Arafat has to make Israel succumb to the demands of the Palestinian Authority. Israel must no longer merely secure its borders. Israel has to "win."

What makes this so depressing is that the stubborness reflects even in those who debate the crisis from afar. Doves in Israel are shouted down and voted out, while advocates for peace on both sides of the table are dismissed or killed by their own militant followers. Instead, the debate is dominated by sides that demand to continue tactics that have killed more Jews and Arabs per week than any other time since the formation of Israel, and people like myself who suggest these wild conciliatory ideas that prevent that from happening are accused of either hating Jews or serving them.

Israel and Palestine are going to have to work this out, and they're going to have to do it soon. For all his uselessness, Arafat still serves as the one cohesive icon of the Palestinian people... his death, even by natural causes, will destabilize the entire West Bank and its encompassing militant groups (and if you think there's chaos now...)

Israel equally will watch itself plunge into social, cultural, and economic isolation and disparity if it continues to alienate the surrounding 1/5th of the global population, and its policy of annexation will only last until the Arab world decides to abandon the two-state solution and support a new kind of one-state solution: one in which all the residents of the occupied territories declare themselves Israeli citizens and demand voting rights.

The alternative to this is the formation of a Palestinian state by the only feasable guidelines: a return to 1967 borders or at the very minimum a land exchange redistricting Jewish settlements to positions non requiring external access, in exchange for the abandonment of refugee return claims. It is, with obviously more setail work required, the only overall solution that could realistically unfold.

Unfortunately, it requires both parties to cast an aura of "losing." But golly, that's just not worth saving a few thousand lives now, is it?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:30 PM