January 17, 2004

You oughtta give, Iowa, a try... but first the Weekend Mailbag.

First of all, I got some (much-appreciated) linky-love from Tom Tomorrow this week, so hello to all the new readers he sent over, and thanks for the e-mails you sent with praise for the comic and the site. I wish I could write flowing e-mails to all of you in response, but insert standard line covering up me being a lazy bastard here. So to Chris, Cael, Jeff, Bob, Dave, His Majesty Juan Carlos II of Spain, and anyone else I missed, thanks for your supportive words.

I want to thank everyone as well for the recent strip, I think it's established that not only do we need Ghost shirt ASAP, we also have a catchphrase for him for the back. I'm planning a slight redesign soon, which I hope will include setting up the CafePress store (finally.) My money is riding on "two days" as the length of time they'll allow me to sell shirts with pictures of the Ghost of Adolf Hitler on them. So I'll let you know as soon as the store opens before I get raided.

And now, some choice e-mails filled with reading material and links for your perusal. First off, from Tim Hopton on Bill O'Reilly's phony book stats:

I just read your post on Blowhard O'Reilly's factless claims regarding his book (via Tom Tomorrow). I don't know about other best seller lists, but the NY Times denotes 'bulk sales' with a dagger (actually it looks more like a cross), as seen next to Zell Miller's new book at number 14. Somehow I doubt the DNC is running out & buying Zell's book in bulk quantities, so I wonder who... Ann Coulter is another one who's books almost always have the bulk sales dagger. Ann even cops to it saying groups buy her books to hand out at speaking engagements & the like. Will O'Reilly hold Coulter to the same standard he sets for Hillary (whose book never had the dagger)? Will Bill say that those sales of Coulters bulk book sales "don't count"? Unlikely.
Guess what? People still don't like Rush Limbaugh either. From P. F. Romero:
I did the worst thing I could ever do today... I listened to 3 minutes of ruushkie limbaugh today. I know, I know... what a dumb thing to do, but I always think I can jsut listen and observe and not have it effect me, but you know, fools rush in... hohoho

If you're ever bored, you can read it otherwise just nod and smile and go "oh yeah, read it, loved it, whatever... who are you again?"

He was saying how phoney the Dems were for flipping flapjacks like they're real people when we all know they are elitists. Although he didn't say itin the 3 minutes I could stomache hearing him, he implied that Bush would never do that, when bush did his grocery store photo opt and didn't know what ascanner was... THAT was bush just happened to walk in to the grocery store and... and he never elaborated on how that was different than being part of a pancake contest or whatever it was.
Then he talks about the imfamous "how much is the price of milk" question that h.w. bush had to endure. which of course was totally unfair of the media to ask that. for example, rush doesn't know the price of milk, he doesn't drink it, there are no children in his house to drink it (what with his wife being baren after rush's oxycontin stained seed has slashed and burned it's way into his trophy wife's uterus) BUT he then went on to talk about how much a g4 and g5 airplane cost ("depending on how you decorate it - whether you have satalite on it or not") and he can tell you all the different things you need to know about the price of an "estate" (his word) in palm beach.
thanks rush, for being a man of the people. big thumbs up, dude!

gawd!!! it pisses me off, these right wing-nut jobs out there spilling their lies and the trailorbillies of the nation jsut swallow it up. "more stanking cum, rush, try getting it in my eye next time!"

Someone should sue these gasholes for reporting fictitious news. or make them put a disclaimer on their shows "facts may or may not be accurate - for entertainment purposes only".

Here's a bit i'm gonna try tonight if i get on stage, a new game show i call "Rush to anger"
contestant one: "rush can piss me off in 5 minutes."
contestant two: "rush can piss me off in 4 minutes"
contestant one: "rush can piss me off in 3 minutes and 35 seconds"
contestant two: "rush can piss me off in two and a half minutes!"
contestant one: "turn on that radio!!!"
then he listens and spaz'es out smashing the set and ranting over the stupidity.
Then the ydo classic rush, which is harder because its tougher to get angery with the past since most americans have no concepot that history is actually the near past as well as th far past.

anyway, I wish I had FOX news just to watch bill spin out. Al Franken rocks to put some oil under Oliar's wheels to make him start spinning out like a crazed disfigured monkey trying to peel plastic banana.

I so want a radio talk show and jsut spend it going throug hall the false hoods of the conservative radio shows. that would fill up a few hours, dontcha think?

I think we can all agree after reading P.F.'s e-mail that giving him airtime on talk radio would be a rather enjoyable experience. With the exception, of course, for drive time, in which case we would see an increase in auto accidents that rivals Rush Hour in L.A.

I remembered that Sean Penn did some coverage for the media in Iraq, and Phillip Pangrac was the first to clue me in on Penn's latest report from the Middle East. It's worth a read, and if it doesn't meet your liking, you can always go see Mystic River, which, irrelevant to Iraq as mentioning this is, is fantastic.

John Harvey sends me a story about Bush's Health & Human Service department challenging the World Health Organization for concluding that being grossly obese is bad. Sometimes, stories contain metaphors for the Bush administration that are so beautiful, I don't need to work for the day.

A reader indentified only as "ethabhae" sent me a link to this story about the Bush administration "calling for the creation of a new presidential council to give U.S. companies a greater voice in government decisions." That's a direct quote from the article. Really. ethabhae put it best in his/her subject line: What, is buying candidates getting too expensive?

Finally, gotta give some love to Bob Rouse, who reported from Georgia on the protests at Bush's muscling-in on Dr. King's memorial. (I've spliced two of Bob's e-mail together here)

I'm not sure how much coverage this is getting in the national news but there is a HUGE stink here in the Atlanta area. No one who really cares about Dr. King, his legacy, and the memorial services wants Bush here. He is truly "persona non grata". Many have been making the comparison between Dr. King as a force for peace and King George II as an imperialist and war-monger.

Anyway, as I said before... I'm not sure how much coverage this is getting in the national news, but there was a fairly sizeable protest here in Atlanta (about 700 people - tiny by NYC terms, but hey - this is Atlanta). The protesters actually broke through the Secret Service barricades and got within shouting distance of Dubya. He HAD to be able to hear all of the chanting. Knowing how much his handlers shelter him from bad news, I got a special thrill to know that his bubble, if not burst, at least got some holes poked in it.

The icing on the cake was the local news giving several of the more eloquent protesters some air time to explain themselves, which was a pleasant change from what we normally see.

Unfortunately, the real icing on the cake came well after the wreath-laying. As you've heard from a few other blogs by now, I'm sure, Bush celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday this year by covertly appointing the the Federal bench a judge who openly opposed civil rights and let off cross-burners for their "youthful indescretions." In a related story, George W. Bush is pure unadulterated evil.

And if that's not enough for all of you, keep in mind that come Monday, we have the Iowa Caucus, where according to the media we reach the end of democracy, followed by the State of the Union Address on Tuesday, where we'll clearly reach the death of irony. Everyone have a great weekend, and watch out for dancing beavers.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:16 PM

The state of the Union

And we've hit 500.

Congrats, George. I'm sure you'll mention it in the speech, right?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:02 PM

January 16, 2004

Big men grunt and ogle women's sports cheaper than buying porn grunt ooh

The head of FIFA made the stunningly Y-chromosomed statement today that women's soccer uniforms should be "sexier" to attract a wider range of sponsors related to "feminine" product appeal.

Which, of course, makes perfect sense considering professional soccer has, you know, absolutely nothing to do with whether or not a woman's ass looks good in spandex or not.

Swiss captain Evelyn Zimmermann and Norwegian players Lise Klaveness and Solveig Gulbrandsen also rejected Blatter's fashion advice.

"You can't compare us with volleyball players and, apart from everything else, those shorts are uncomfortable," Zimmermann said.

Klaveness said soccer is about sport, not sex.

"If the crowd only wants to come and watch models then they should go and buy a copy of Playboy," she said.

Added Gulbrandsen: "If I wanted to wear a bikini, I would have chosen to play beach volleyball."

Gulbrandesen is likely unaware that, a few years ago, you didn't have to wear a bikini to play beach volleyball- whatever the name of the Professional Beach Volleyball League is called decided that it was "necessary" to change the official women's uniform to thongs. It, of course, had nothing to do with recent television contracts. Yep.

Look, I'm not going to put on some feminist I-don't-ogle-hot-women costume, because I'd be lying. I like looking at half-naked women, and yeah, I think half-naked, well-toned athletic women are really, really hot. I do, unlike the head of FIFA, however, have this unnatural, uncanny ability known as "self-control" which among many other things allows me to NOT feel the urge to whip my penis out when women's soccer is on and instead take notice of the fact that these are professional athletes.

There's a time to admire athletic ability and a time to admire looks. The only time you should be admiring both at the same time is when it's a really, really good porno. Demeaning the players for the sake of better ad interests sort of defeats the term "professional" in sports, doesn't it?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:31 PM

Oh well.

Katherine Harris will not run for the open Senate seat from Florida. The threat of her actually winning as it would have been, it would have much more likely galvanized the Democratic voter base and secured Florida for the Democratic candidate. I mean, we can still win Florida, but Harris going power-hungry would have been a huge help.

Harris has said she's been encouraged to seek retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham's seat, buoyed by favorable polls showing her as the early front-runner. A poll released last month by The Miami Herald and St. Petersburg Times found that Harris had the support of 29 percent of GOP voters, followed by former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum with 15 percent, and former U.S. Housing Secretary Mel Martinez with 11 percent. Thirty-eight percent were undecided. The telephone survey of 800 registered voters had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Harris has long flirted with a Senate campaign. In July, she likened her chances of getting into the race to three bodies in the solar system aligning in a straight line � a rare astrological phenomenon.

I'll say it's a rare astrological phenomenon. Now she decides the earth doesn't revolve around her.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:51 PM

January 15, 2004

Raining embers is much warmer, God

It's a billion degrees below zero (with the windchill the negative is a number seen only in Scrooge McDuck comics) and John Kerry is now statistically tied for first in Iowa.

Quick Marge, get Bart into the house before God comes.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:46 PM

Sometimes lies work better when they're not blatantly obvious

As noted on many other blogs by now, CBS has decided not to run the MoveOn ad during the Superbowl. This is understandable, considering this is the network that caved in from airing a movie about Ronald Reagan because of complaints from bastions of decency such as Freepers who compare former first ladies to Hitler and users of LGF who mock mutilated college students.

What goes right into the recently discussed "they just didn't care, did they?" file is CBS' excuse for not accepting the ad:

A CBS spokesman said the decision against broadcasting the spot had nothing to do with either the Super Bowl or the ad's specific issue but was because the network has had a long-term policy not to air issue ads anywhere on the network.
Say, that's great. I'm very excited about this Super Bowl. Since there's no issue ads being run during it, I can't wait to see what product managed to score the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy to make an ad for them. Clearly, they won't be making an ad that deals with an issue.

It's not even funny. It's annoying. Television has trained Americans for some time now to believe we're all idiots, but you'd think that CBS would have a little respect left for its audience to not lie so badly at this. It bothers me even more than angry as I am at them, I'll still watch CBS more than other networks... that way I won't have to deal with any of the election campaign ads that CBS will refuse to run because of their policy.

What's that? Oh. Oh, right. Sorry. They're lying. Forgot.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:32 PM

It's good to be the king on King Day

Via Apropos of Nothing: apparently President Bush decided to invite himself to some King Day events that just happened to be near a fundraiser he was attending:

President Bush's visit on Thursday to observe what would have been the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s 75th birthday isn't sitting well with area tribute organizers.

They say Bush invited himself to their party and will potentially force the cancellation of some events due to security concerns. What's more, they say, Bush will profit from a fund-raiser he will piggyback with his visit to Atlanta.

About 3:45 p.m., the president will lay a wreath at the late civil rights leader's crypt at the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. The president announced his visit on Friday.

But the MLK March Committee, a group of area civil rights activists who worked with King, say they have worked for months on a program to honor the civil rights leader at Ebenezer Baptist Church, across the street.

"They told us that the Secret Service wanted us out of there by 2 p.m.," said the Rev. James Orange. "We are not leaving the church." The Ebenezer program from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. focuses on human rights.

Truly, nothing honors the spirit of Dr. King more than ordering members of a church to vacate the premises so it doesn't obstruct your plans to craft a photo-op while you're "in the area" to raise campaign funds.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:02 AM

Relax, we'll be seeing more of her soon

The news wires are reporting that Carol Moseley Braun will drop out on Thursday and endorse Howard Dean for president.

It's pretty clear the angle for this: Braun can't pretend she has a chance in the primaries any longer, and her campaign is pretty much bankrupt. What sold it for her, I'm guessing, was Sunday's debate and Al Sharpton's attacks against Dean. Braun dropping out now, before Iowa, seems like a weird thing to do- you'd think you'd wait until the votes were over so you could at least have an excuse. Except after Sharpton's attacks, it makes perfect sense.

By removing herself from Iowa before the vote, Braun can endorse Howard Dean and claim signigicance in pushing his numbers towards victory. In other words, Braun looks like she's helping Dean win Iowa. Considering the "why no black people?" from Sharpton and the "where's the wife?" attacks from the right, a prominent black woman will definitely help Dean's campaign. And, given how adamant Sharpton was about addressing Dean's hiring history, how else better to reward an early and influential endorsement by correcting previous errors after Inaguration Day? By endorsing Dean now, Braun has guaranteed herself a high position in a Dean administration.

Carol Moseley Braun played this one well, which is understandable seeing how cool she kept in the last few debates. Assuming a Dean victory in November, we'll be hearing from Secretary of (insert here) Braun sometime next year.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:50 AM

January 14, 2004

"They're just educational announcements with a corporate twist!"

Oliver notes the strange logic in CBS's considering not running MoveOn's ad during the Super Bowl. Apparently, CBS has already slotted ad space for the anti-smoking group truthout.org and the people that brought you the infamous "drugs support terrorists" ads that we've noted before.

I pointed out in Oliver's comments the irony of having issues with "advocacy advertising" seeing how one of Tom Tomorrow's early strips pointed out the fact that all advertisements pretty much "advocate" something... usually, you know, buying stuff?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:02 PM

Apparently not from the "Taste" section

Via Kos, we learn that the Wall Street Journal considers among the "Best of the Web" a thread on the right-wing website Little Green Footballs mocking the death of Rachel Corrie.

Corrie, for those of you who don't recall, was a 23-year-old Palestinian rights activist who was mutilated to death after the Israeli military ran her over with a bulldozer. Posters on LGF refer to Corrie as a "terror advocate" and "St. Pancake."

See, when you disagree with someone's political viewpoint, it's funny when they're crushed to death by construction equipment. Don't you get it?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:15 PM

Newest Comic - "Understanding Analogies with The Ghost of Adolf Hitler"

We'll dedicate this week's strip to everyone at RNC headquarters suffering from faux-outrage over the MoveOn competition.

And I swear, I'll start working on CafePress designs soon.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:02 AM

January 12, 2004

O'Reilly just doesn't even care.

The Hamster points out that Bill O'Reilly doesn't even care anymore about pretending to look credible; he'll just make up whatever shit he wants to when he needs a self-fueled ego boost.

O'Reilly's site currently prints "Memo to Al Franken: For the fifth straight week, "Who's Looking Out for You?" remains #1 on the NYT Best Seller List." It then provides a link to the New York Times Bestseller list, where O'Reilly's book is, in fact, fourth.

To his credit, O'Reilly was #1 on the nonfiction charts for four straight weeks, beaten only for this current week, in which his website clearly shows his site interns write the content well before the truth is actually printed. For the week of January 11, Franken is at #1, Michael Moore at #2.

Franken, and of course Hillary Clinton, have sold more books than O'Reilly, but who's counting? Oh, that's right, O'Reilly is. Passionately.

Here's an update on the sales race between "Who's Looking Out for You" and Sen. Hillary Clinton's book, "Living History."

Right now, after being out a little over three months, "Who's Looking Out for You" has sold approximately 800,000 copies - thank you all.

Senator Clinton's book, as far as we can determine because information is hard to get, has sold 1.1 million copies.

However, the Democratic National Committee has bought a ton of Hillary's books - and gives them away in exchange for contributions.

Nothing is wrong with that - as Hillary is obviously a force in the Democratic Party - but the books bought by the DNC will be deducted from this race.

Only books bought by real people will count.

So I've written a letter to DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe asking exactly how many copies of Hillary's book his organization has purchased.

Now, I haven't been doing any rankings or anything, but I'm pretty sure that's close to one of the most pathetic things I've ever heard in my life. O'Reilly sounds like a 15-year-old high school girl with a crush on the star quarterback complaining that his actual girlfriend stuffs her bra. I just need to prove she's not all that and then he'll take me to the prom, I just know it!

In fact, ranking O'Reilly's rant at a 15-year-old level is a compliment, when it easily can look like that of a pre-schooler. Remember, only book sales that I say are fair count. And no backsies.

If Bill O'Reilly is really writing a letter to Terry McAuliffe, he might also want to mention that there's a "race" going on for sales. Unless O'Reilly and McAuliffe have bet each other a case of Zimas I think Bill's the only one who actually thinks there's a "race." O'Reilly has apparently declared, somewhat Tolkien-like, that the people of the earth must make his book a better seller than Clinton's, lest the world of men be forever overcome by the shadow.

Meanwhile, in the real world, Hillary Clinton has outsold O'Reilly by almost half a million copies, which makes the concept of a "race" for sales akin to a "race" in readership between this website and the next Harry Potter novel. Of course, Bill says we'll never know the truth, since the numbers on Clinton's book are "so hard to get" what with them being three lines above the numbers for his and all. Also, these numbers might not be fair, as we've heard earlier, as Democrats making financial donations in exchange for a copy of the book are not equivalent to people buying a copy of it at the store. God, doesn't everyone know the fifth-edition rules for non-existant nonfiction book sales ranking races yet? Get with the program, Terry!

Given the most recent book rankings and sales charts, one could actually conclude that there's hardly a single true statement in either of the two stories on O'Reilly's site about his book. What's truly amazing is how little O'Reilly cared about saying so many things that are so incorrect about something that only he seems to care about.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:40 PM

Of course, it's your civil right to not let facts get in the way

MWO has a bit on Bill O'Reilly's latest assault on the American Civil Liberties Union from a January 9th Fox News broadcast:

Now the ACLU is free to come to your town and sue the heck out of it. And believe me, that organization will. The ACLU doesn't care about the law or the constitution or what the people want. It's a fascist organization that uses lawyers instead of Panzers. It'll find a way to inflict financial damage on any concern that opposes its secular agenda and its growing in power.
I eagerly await the conservatives who raised their mock idignation over Hitler-Bush analogies expressing their utter disgust at someone like Bill O'Reilly daring to demean the lives of those who suffered under Fascism by connecting it to an organization devoted to protecting the Constitution of the United States. Don't everyone hold your breath.

Of course, I'm sure it's just the start for O'Reilly and his daring expose on the ACLU. Clearly, he did his research, going as far as the depths of the ACLU's website to analyze all the acts of horrendous Fascism that could come at the behest of such wanton anti-American invective.

For example, I'm sure the episode of "The O'Reilly Factor" next week will be a daring move for O'Reilly, as he breaks ranks with his conservative audience to chastize the overzealous lawyers- I'm sorry, Panzers- of the ACLU for fighting to protect Rush Limbaugh's privacy rights.

And man, how will Murdoch let O'Reilly get away with his next "Talking Point" of the day, about the fascist attempts to repeal Campaign Finance Reform in a coalition with the National Rifle Association? I applaud O'Reilly for standing up to an organization like the NRA, and its proven anti-Americanism for sympathizing with a group of fascists. Why does the NRA hate the constitution so much? What amendments have they ever tried to protect, huh? SHUT UP!

And how about the ACLU's blatant leftist attempt to investigate the overuse of Federal power in the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges? Those fascists, always trying to limit the powers of authoritarian government! God, if I didn't know any better, I'd say that these are all cases that show the ACLU's interest in defending constitutional law regardless of political leaning- a concept which would imply Bill O'Reilly doesn't have a fifth of a fuck of an idea what he's talking about!

But... but... could Bill O'Reilly lie? I certainly hope he doesn't think he could get away with doing something like that in a state so wantonly crippled by the fascist attempts by the ACLU to protect the right to free speech.

You really have to laugh at stories like this, because it's outright embarassing to see conservatives in this day and age still trying to convince the country that the ACLU is some kind of communist organization. Obviously it's a left-wing organization by the nature of civil liberties being a left-wing cause, but that Fox News can't even get an intern to go to the ACLU's own website and prove in five minutes that they're not the wing of any party is a sign of just how much of an advantage Fox has taken of the First Amendment that the ACLU has defended for so many years.

Bill O'Reilly owes the ACLU his utmost gratitude for securing the very laws that allowed a man like him to have a career spouting partisan lies with no factual backing on national television. At the very least, I'd settle for him thanking the ACLU for defending his first-amendment right to lie about his book sales.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:54 PM

The Lord works in angular ways

Burt Humburg sends me a link to the Brick Testament. It's a series of well over a thousand pictures depicting scenes from the Bible made entirely out of Lego blocks.

We'll skip the religious element for now and go right to the part about this site being brilliant. The detail in some of these scenes are hilarious: Noah's flood rescinds to show a landscape of skeletal remains. Yellow body pieces are used to depict nudity. Jesus is the Obi-Wan figure from the Star Wars sets with a wig, while characters from the Harry Potter-themed sets are used to depict people practicing Pagan religions. There is no reason you shouldn't spend at least an hour or two here.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:07 PM

January 11, 2004

I may already be a winner

A few readers have let me know that I'm apparently nominated for an award for website design... it's gotta be the beaver, I guess.

Considering who I'm running against (mainly Kos) I don't see myself coming up on any digital stage for a non-existant statue anytime soon, but either way, I've read Wampum before and it's a great site, so insert "thrill to be nominated" line here.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:23 PM