April 3, 2004

No point at all

There is no point whatsoever to editing and dubbing to English Shaolin Soccer. Just release the original version in all it's beautiful, bootlegged glory.

The movie itself is a masterpiece, but no film has ever deserved such horrible incorrect subtitling as this one. It's part of the experience.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:01 PM

One more on Kos

Now that the bar's been closed for a few hours and everyone's sobered up on this mass tantrum over Kos' comments from yesterday, I'd just like to reflect on one remaining issue:

A few right-wing bloggers are spamming Kos' advertisers demanding that they pull their ads from Kos' site. One of them did, and I sent him my only opinion on that matter: like or dislike what you want about Kos, but any Democratic candidate who thinks he'll win an election by doing what a bunch of Republicans demand him to do doesn't deserve asking for money from Democrats anyway. They're certainly not getting any money from me now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:57 PM

April 2, 2004

Pot, Kettle. Oh, I see you've met.

Okay, let's see if I get this straight.

Kos makes a comment (scrolling down necessary) about the slaughtered mercenaries in Iraq with a clearly offensive comment. After his own readers (and fans) express understandable outrage, Kos offers somewhat of a clarification.

This is not good enough for Michele, who of course responds to Kos' since-repented lack of level-headeness by calling him a coward.

Normally, I would just link to those words so you could read them for yourself. Thing is, the words no longer exist. See, after Zuniga realized that he was getting a mighty wind of negativity about his post, he not only deleted it, he wrote some meek explanation of his words that only came off as belligerent and stomach churning as the first post, and then pulled a little bait-and-switch so that bloggers linking to the original post were now linking to the latter crapfest.

But it just wasn't enough for Zuniga to take the words off of his site. In the latter post, he freferred to his original words this way: I wrote in some diary comments somewhere .

How stupid and gullible does he think we are? Not just the people who linked to him, but all of his readers. Did he really think his readers would look at that statement and not - even for a fleeting second - think of Zuniga as a bullshit artist?

Well let it be said, then. I'm calling Kos on his bullshit. Because not only did he whitewash everything he said, then delete it from his site, he actually went through the trouble of deleting the offending post from the Google cashe and the internet archive.

I try really hard to not make cross-blog catfights or launch any holier-than-thou crusades, but I really can't avoid getting just slightly miffed at the moral superiority invoked by someone who doesn't have a single fact right.

Kos is a coward for deleting from his website a comment which can still be read on his website? Kos is a liar for saying he "mentioned in comments somewhere" something he mentioned in his comments? Kos "wiped clean the Google cache" of a post just over 24 hours old from his site which has always had Google-blocking code? Man, that all doesn't sound as nice as "cowardly consipiracy" does it? But hey, that might just be stupid and gullible me talking.

Kos erased his comment and failed to explain his statement, which is almost accurate except of course for not erasing his comment and explaining his statement. And he "Google-wiped" a comment made a few hours earlier by the insideous practice of having anti-Google tags in his code. But that slight error in getting only 100% of the details wrong about Kos's kneejerk reaction is understandable when you're ummm... oh, yeah. Making a kneejerk reaction to something.

But please, let's not let that get in your way or the way of your readers in the comments section, Michele. Because, with all due respect here, Michele, you're just being your bastion of level-headed rhetoric devoid of emotional filtering as usual, aren't you. As we all know, your site has NEVER invoked personal experiences with carnage as an excuse for over-reactive responses to death in combat. Okay, maybe once or twice, but I'm sure you thought that they were "meek responses," didn't you.

(By the way, for those of you who weren't counting, I've linked to the comment Kos deleted and wiped from all existence three times now. Cough.)

Kos said something stupid. If a few people with a near-orgasmic desire to find something new to be angry at a liberal about took a deep breath the way Kos didn't, they could have avoided looking a lot stupider.

Oh, and of course, the cherry on top in the presence of Charles Johnson joining Michele in her thread, as well as Michele linking to Johnson's "Google conspiracy" accusation. Yes. That one. The owner of Little Green Fucking Footballs is in a comments thread on the topic of comdemning a blogger for an insensitive comment. Ladies and gentlemen, the death of fucking irony.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:54 PM

To: Greg Re: Being my bestest friend ever

This is, hands down, the finest post about PETA I have ever read in my life. It sums up how I have felt about that organization since the first time I heard about them.

As someone who supports the humane treatment of animals and the fight to increase standards for both human and livestock health in America's food production systems, PETA is an insult to real, honest groups like the ASPCA and the Humane Society. It's a fringe lunatic group of upper-middle-class white people that serves no purpose but to be identified as "liberals" and thus make the entire Left look foolish by their stupid antics.

Way too many people still think they're clever by joking about PETA in the form of "let's go eat burgers in front of them, L0l roXOrZ" and similar pathetic attempts at dialogue. I'm glad that someone can actually address the real dangers of a group like this instead of just being condescending because we eat meat and they don't. Likewise, this is the first anti-PETA post I've ever read that acknowledges that there are good, legitimate animal rights groups out there, and that they deserve your support. Fantastic job, Greg.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:27 PM

April 1, 2004

Men who know best grunt scratch selves and sign things

Well, contrary to the last abortion-restricting bill he signed, it occured to Bush to actually have some women in the picture when ceremoniously signing a bill that pretends to care about their rights.

Here's what makes the photo a failure still- it's Laci Peterson's mom. The point of this bill is to make it a crime to harm a fetus by way of harming it's mother. Umm... huh? Laci Peterson? As if this bill not being in place would have made Scott not on trial for murder? Not exactly the perfect representation for the necessity of this bill. I mean, you'd think it's just a show and this crap is really just meant to aid the outlawing of abortion or something.

As far as the Peterson trial goes, I actually support the double murder charge, because Peterson is accused of killing his wife, whom he knew was pregnant. Peterson, if guilty, committed an act that deprived Laci of her right to choose what do do with her child- in her case, having it. That act- robbing a woman of her right to freedom- is a crime that needs to be protected.

But Laci's mom (by the way, thanks for using your slaughtered daughter as a prop for pushing partisan political legislation, Mother of the Fucking Year) and the Laci Peterson charges represent everything that shows what's wrong about this bill- this is a bill that removes the right to decide what is going on in a woman's body from the woman to the state. Business as usual from the people who think a "culture of life" means a culture of controlling women as much as possible.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:40 PM

Developing, must credit the NO SHIT, SHERLOCK REPORT

Guess what a certain governor of California who promised to never raise taxes after passing massive tax cuts in a deficit-riddled state is about to do?

Come on, you can get it. I know it's a tough one.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:23 PM

Wrong on defense.

Pretty much everyone else has this up, but this one needs to be shouted from as many rooftops as possible:

On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals. The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.

The speech was postponed in the chaos of the day, part of which Rice spent in a bunker. It mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States.

The text also implicitly challenged the Clinton administration's policy, saying it did not do enough about the real threat -- long-range missiles.

Long-range missiles. Right.

And there you have it. On the day of the worst security failure in American history, George Bush and Friends were preparing to blame Clinton for being lax on a list of defense initiatives that had nothing to do, as they would horrifically realize a few hours later, with anything based in reality.

And I can guarantee you that by the end of the day, Bush and the warbloggers will not only have a defense for this, but a rationale that still suggests not voting for Bush will weaken security.

How either of those two will defend this- the fact that Bush literally up to the minute of the 9/11 attacks didn't care about al-Qaeda in favor of Iraq and missile defense- flies in the face of any pathetic attempt they may have to pose that George W. Bush makes them "safer."

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:56 AM

March 31, 2004

MoveOn pulls a Nader

MoveOn makes an ad using Richard Clarke without consulting him. Clarke says don't do that. MoveOn ignores him. Ah, Democrats showing unity. Hey, remember when Nader was horrible for refusing to negotiate the realities of the election and understand necessary concessions against one's personal agenda? That was a great time, that five fucking minutes ago, idiots.

What Ezra said. Clarke just spent a week and will spend two more standing up to charges of partisanship and alliance with Kerry. MoveOn making an ad that unecessarily uses Clarke as a poster boy might help MoveOn's message, but it gives O'Reilly and his ilk about a hundred gallons of fuel for their rhetorical fires.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:05 PM


Air America Radio launches at noon today.

Update: The first ten minutes or so aside, Franken's show was actually pretty good- much better than I had feared it would be. The Coulter bits were just plan unfunny, but the Michael Moore/Al Gore phone call made up for it. That stuff was great. It gives a good light to unity in the party when you can have Al Gore and Micheal Moore on the same show and love both of them at the same time. Or, for that matter, laugh at Ben Stein and Gordon Liddy.

This Randi Rhodes person who comes on after Franken, I gotta say, kinda annoys me. She sounds like she's trying to be a left-wing Laura Ighram and pretending it's so cool that she has an attitude. It's either an act, which is unbecomming, or that's really her, in which case you just want to turn a fire extinguisher on her. Her talking down of Ralph Nader was simply useless to whatever message this radio station means to accomplish. Being aggressive is fine if you're keeping your cool. Fake-laughing at quotes is what Ann Coulter does.

I see that I'm in complete disagreement with Tom on this one, but what can I say- I hate drive-time DJs in general.

Second Update: Christ. She's got a Howard Dean scream sound clip. Just what we need on the first day of a liberal network- stealing bits from Dennis Miller.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:07 AM

Hill's Complex

The Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings in 1991 will forever be highlighted by the sexual harassment accusations of Anita Hill. 52 senators voted "yes" to make Thomas a Supreme Court Justice. The conservative leanings of Thomas aside, the process of removing Hill as a block to Thomas' victory for the right wing is a specter over the current situation with the Bush administration.

Hill's testimony and accusations of Thomas' conduct was countered by an outright slandering of Hill. Similar to what we hear today about Richard Clarke, the concept of "opportunism" and "waiting for a profitable moment to come forward" was rampant. Confessed liar David Brock devoted several hundred pages to smearing Anita Hill and accusing Democrats and liberals of everything from racism to slander.

Over a decade later, I still recall Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury strips on the confirmation of Thomas as having one of the most striking points about the entire debate over Hill's credibility. In the last strip in the series, a character makes this point:

There are only two ways of looking at Thomas and Hill. Either Hill was telling the truth and Clarence Thomas is a garden-variety liar with a smokescreen of righteous indignation, or Thomas was telling the truth, and Anita Hill is a delusional sociopath of such stunning inventiveness that she should be studied and entered into the textbooks. A syndrome should be named in her honor- "Hill's Complex."
That's basically where we are right now with Richard Clarke. The choices have reached only two options: one is that George W. Bush and his administration is lying to protect themselves from the likely negative public reaction on admitting they lied to the American people, fabricated war rationale, and potentially neglected opportunities to prevent a major terrorist attack like 9/11 from happening. The other is that Richard Clarke, John O'Neill, and all the others accusing the Bush Adminstration of the aforementioned actions are liars of such devious machinations that the very desire to inspect their statements are unnecessary because of how biased they are.

Which, in Clarke's case, leads to two very important questions which I have yet to see a single pundit address:

1. What kind of psychological complex must Clarke have to spend over a decade in Republican administrations, secretly hiding his single desire for self-promotion, studying anti-terrorism and foreign policy but refusing to assist Bush in an effort to later smear him for profit after 3,000 people are murdered? Is there just the slightest, infinitismal possibility that this makes no sense whatsoever?

2. Allowing the concept that everything Clarke is now doing is for profit- be it book sales or name recogniztion or whatever- is the outright villiany and avarice of Richard Clarke worth defeating at the sake of not listening to him? In other words- isn't the question as to the motives for his accusations somewhere in the neighborrhood of, oh, say a billion times less significant than the question as to him telling the truth or not?

Two administrations ago the Right dismissed accusations of sexual harassment by declaring the accuser unfit for their consideration. In that case, the results were limited merely to whatever Clarence Thomas has wreaked on the U.S. as a result of his legal decisions. Today, the Right wishes to dismiss the accusations brought by Richard Clarke by declaring him equally unfit for consideration.

Heaven help us all should Clarke be telling the truth and the Right chose not to care for the sake of looking good. The ways in which we could potentially find out this happened should keep Republicans up at night.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:05 AM

March 30, 2004

The Jobs of the Future Are a Thing of the Past

Rick Perlstein over at The Village Voice sent me a heads-up to his latest, and ridiculously well-detailed, article on outsourcing. It's a great read and even includes a shoutout to Tom Tomorrow for engaging in the time-honored pastime of smacking Tom Friedman for saying stupid shit.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:12 PM

Harsh lessons on bubbles and reality

I wanted to take another moment to thank everyone for still, well, visiting the site over the last few weeks even with the noticable decline in content. Setting up the store seems kinda silly on the eve of a semi-hiatus, but I'm glad to see a few of you actually want things with cartoon beavers and kitties and Ghosts of Adolf Hitler on them. (Jesus, odd man out is a bit of an understatement in that sentence, isn't it?)

Starting my job has been somewhat strenuous, and as a beginner with no public policy experience suddenly entering the world of public policy you can imagine there's a lot for me to absorb during my first month or two of 9-to-5ing. Especially in today's economy, I'm glad to not only have a steady job like this, but one that involves one of the two things I really love.

Sadly, my other love is pretty much doomed as far as profit goes. The story of career success in animation in the United States runs like the narrative of any drug life story. Starting from nowhere, it picks up and becomes successful to a level of ridiculous indulgence and luxury, only before the whole thing doesn't just decline, it pops. Working at Disney in the 90's is like Scarface only without the homicide. And the cocaine. Okay, so that's kind of a lot, but you still get my point. Okay, you don't. It's a really crappy analogy. But I digress.

Mark Evanier linked to an article depicting the fall of animation and it's a depressingly sad sight. Keep in mind that this is the current status of animation- an industry that during the 90's faced the height of profitability and luxury for its artists.

Now consider what it must be like in the alternative comic industry, where you never stopped eating the Ramen noodles.

The fear of reducing my commitment to this site and taking a short break from cartooning to adjust to a behind-the-scenes source of income causing a decline in readership, or for that matter reader respect, is a big one. It happens more often that not- to take a moment of slight pretentiousness, a lot of you out there don't realize how obnoxious you can sound just because you're e-mailing an invisible entity instead of talking to someone face-to-face about their work. I've recieved angry e-mails not just about what I have written but for why I haven't done something either. And you'd be amazed how lessening the flow of free content after two years because of the slight personal situation called "needed to work for a living" is construed by some folks as "selling out." The fact that I haven't recieved complaints about a lack of strips for the last few weeks and a reduction in content, and that I haven't been subjected to the nightmare reactions I've been told of by others, is something that, to be honest, I really appreciate.

This isn't to say this is now the permanent shape of things. I plan to keep up this site and let's be 100% clear that I'm not stopping doing comics. I'm just realizing that this site is going to be a hobby. I need to treat it like that, because acting like I'm going to become a professional cartoonist or animator overnight has gone from longshot to impossiblity during the years I took animation classes at NYU.

I have projects on the table for the upcoming months, including doing the MoCCA festival in New York this June. I plan on going 'zine and making a Kinko's run of strips- techincally, it'll be my first published collection. I need to get some other merchandise made up. And after that, there's a lot of other possible opportunities on the horizon for my cartoons.

So again, please accept the management's apologies for the temporary reduction in content around here. We hope to have things back to normal soon... it just involves getting adjusted to what the new "normal" is.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:00 PM

March 29, 2004

Two April fools in one

Reader Elmore Holmes alerts us that April 1st is, among other holidays, National I'm Ashamed of my President Day.

Why can't every day be National I'm Emba- oh, wait.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:17 PM

Umm... was that your rhetoric dying? I believe it was.

Hey, remember when it was fun to accuse John Kerry of being a hypocrite because Heinz outsources? Remember when it was fun to accuse Teresa Heinz of orchestrating the protests against Bush's 9/11 necrophilia ads?Boy, that was great when it wasn't a complete lie, wasn't it?

H.J. Heinz Co. has launched an election-year campaign of its own, this one to distance the ketchup maker from what is shaping up to be an acrimonious presidential race.

The company has received about 150 calls this month from consumers vowing to boycott Heinz products, or in some instances to buy more, said company spokeswoman Debbie Foster.

Heinz Kerry, who was married to Republican Senator H. John Heinz III when he was killed in a 1991 plane crash, is not on Heinz's board and is in no way involved with company management, Foster said.

Collectively, Heinz Kerry, along with her children with John Heinz and The Heinz Endowments which she chairs, own less than 4 percent of outstanding company stock.

The company has not seen any effect on sales. But it took action after The Heinz Endowments was accused of funding Peaceful Tomorrows, a group for Sept. 11 victims' families that criticized President Bush's use of footage from the attacks in political ads.

The Heinz Endowments President Maxwell King and David Potorti, co-director at Peaceful Tomorrows, have repeatedly denied any link.

I'm sure the warbloggers will be issuing their apologies any time now.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:11 PM

March 28, 2004

From Green to scorched earth

While I don't share the same level of admiration as Ezra for just how "Progressive" or "Liberal" John Kerry is supposed to be, I agree with him on the news that Ralph Nader wants to "talk" with Kerry.

The only thing this talk could really mean is that Kerry has to pretend to be cordial while reflecting the blatantly obvious to Nader: his candidacy is literally incapable of being any type of success.

Let's go down the list: first off, the two obvious ones that wouldn't need mentioning if they were any more ridiculous a suggestion: Nader's not going to win a single state, let alone the election, and Dick Cheney has a better chance of becomming Kerry's running mate than Nader. Next we have party-building. Nader's not running with one, hence the point is irrelevant. Nader's independent run promotes only Ralph Nader, because any points he stands for that have not been co-opted by Kerry's rhetoric (regardless if Kerry means it or not) are either devoid of structure or flat-out laughable. Essentially, Nader has no right arguing Kerry won't deliver on many of his promises when Nader is politically incapable of delivering anything should Buddha hiccup one morning and accidentally make Nader the President of the United States.

Forget that it's Kerry- anyone's message to Nader is already established: anything he does in this race will only hurt him further. The mainstream Democratic Party will never embrace him, and should he be in a position a second election in a row to take the blame for a Bush victory, he'll be useless in the eyes of any progressives outside of the hardline-Green lunatic fringe.

If Kerry wins, Nader will recieve no credit. If Bush wins, Nader could likely recieve all of the blame. Exactly what does he have to offer the Democrats and their candidate?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:15 PM


Trunk Monkey.

I repeat: brilliant.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:11 AM