July 17, 2004

Reading is FUNdamental!

Amazon readers review My Pet Goat:

I just couldn't put it down! Certainly much more interesting than Richard Clarke's memo of August 6, 2001 entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States".
That one made coffee go all over the monitor. Enjoy.

(via Sadly, No!)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:10 AM

July 16, 2004

DAMMIT, JIM!

The Talent Show handily provides a list of all the things the President has said... well... that he's not. Please note: likely not complete.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:28 PM

Abu Ghraib, and on and on

I agree with a lot of the other webpundits about the Sy Hersh child-rape accusations: the evidence needs to be presented.

Unfortunately, according to Hersh (and as many have noted, previous testimony from Pentagon officials, including Rumsfeld himself) the video, or any evidence of this, is apparently in the hands of the military. In which case, it's time for the military to answer the question now, and without any ambiguity.

Even as a full-fledged supporter of the First Amendment, I understand the minute necessities of the military to supress and protect information that could endanger America or its troops at home and abroad. This isn't one of those necessities. Either there is evidence of soldiers raping children or there isn't. If it's the latter, I cannot fathom any reason why the military will not flat-out deny it.

In a time of complex logic and ambiguous explanations, this is one of the most severe, and essential, yes-or-no questions of our time. This is a matter of protecting the American people, and as such this isn't a choice for the military to address. It is its duty to respond to these charges.

America faces an obscene and frightening accusation. The military is obligated to defend America. If it has failed in that task, it is our job to replace those who run it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:53 AM

Just for the record

I'm not 100% sure, but I'm pretty sure that I haven't really cared enough about Martha Stewart to bother writing about her. But I'd just like to throw in my two cents considering it appears that, about three hours from now, she's gonna get sent off to jail.

Like most of the non-Midwestern housewife country, I don't like her. I've heard the stories, watched the CBS movie, reeled at the eerie obnoxiousness of her fake proper grammar and tendency to put twigs over every goddamn thing that isn't nailed down or on fire. But I'm bothered at the idea that any of that came into play during the trial.

As for the crime- let's face it. She's guilty. She fucked up, sold stock, it was illegal. The reason she's facing jail time is because, at least in my eyes, her response to being told she broke the law was "I'm Martha Stewart, bitch!"

That's really what it comes down to. For a stock sale that profited her nothing, she could have confessed, said "okay, you got me, my bad," paid probably less than a hundred grand in fines and maybe do some community service. She's still be CEO of her billion-dollar company, and probably still have a TV show. Instead, she tried to plead not guilty on the grounds that she was Martha Stewart.

I tend to avoid celebrity or high-publicized trials, because I'm one of the few who admit that he knows nothing compared to the people in the actual courtroom: Scott Peterson, Robert Blake, O.J., and Kobe Bryant are all filtered through the media lens. Why America trusts Dan Abrams to tell us what's really going on in a courtroom befuddles me.

But I do know that, cold-hearted demon spawn that Martha Stewart likely is, that's not grounds for a year in jail while half the board of Enron is still walking the streets. Justice is being served, but at a distraction to much greater justice that should be going on right now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:44 AM

July 15, 2004

Ugh.

Meanwhile, when you want to deal with a nightmare scenario that's probaly a lot more true than Drudge's garbage, the news is coming out of videotaped evidence of children being raped at Abu Ghraib.

I don't really have anything witty to say about that at all.

(More at dKos)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:20 AM

Tinfoil time

Drudge is saying Cheney's going to drop out thus requiring a replacement on the Bush '04 ticket. No, I don't need to link, you know who and where Drudge is, and you know he's also ridiculous. Drudge is coming off a fantastic record of claiming Hillary Clinton will be Kerry's VP, then that Gephardt will be Kerry's VP, then that John Kerry was having an affair, topped off with claiming Mike Ditka would be running for the Illinois Senate.

Now, for all I know, Drudge could somehow magically have become significant and this is true. Assuming it's true, then the apparent top choice for a replacement is Rudy Giuliani. And then the world just spins to insanity right there.

In the long run, I guess Bush dropping Cheney, and replacing the spot with a pro-choice, pro-gay adulterer (also a Catholic, which I'm sure is irrelevant since the Republicans were far too moral to make that a factor this year) would just make perfect sense for this season's Republican Party, wouldn't it.

If, and I'm saying if, Cheney is actually replaced, the only thing I don't doubt is that the replacement will be an unbelivable, blatant for-winning-the-election-only choice, completely at odds with the actual beliefs and structure of the Republican Party. You have to look at it from the overall perspective: this is the party that has so few respectable Republicans it's willing to give national airtime to, that they have to get Democrats to speak at their convention.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:59 AM

July 14, 2004

Remember when they pretended to be legitimate?

Wonkette's got a set of internal memos from Fox News, accurately displaying their commitment to objectivity and fairness in the day's talking points.

Let's spend a good deal of time on the battle over judicial nominations, which the President will address this morning. Nominees who both sides admit are qualified are being held up because of their POSSIBLE, not demonstrated, views on one issue -- abortion. This should be a trademark issue for FNC today and in the days to come.

We'll take the Rumsfeld Franks briefing, as we did in the days before Franks opened his office in Baghdad.

At the UN, Catherine Herridge will follow the US sponsored resolution calling for the lifting of sanctions against Iraq. Not surprisingly, we're facing resistance from our erstwhile European buddies, the French and Germans.

2003-05-22, John Moody

Okay, the lack thereof, actually. Some of this shit is downright scary.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:33 AM

Pass the popcorn

Enjoy the show on CNN, because it looks like the Hate Amendment is crashing and burning.

Republicans don't even have 60 votes to vote for passage, let alone 67 to pass an actual amendment proposal to the U.S. Constitution. For that matter, they might not even have a 50-vote majority, thus turning their strategy of dividing the nation and embracing the most right-wing tenets of their party for bigoted pandering into an act of utter humilation.

Despite every "the country wants this! The country NEEDS this!" lie the Hate Amendment's backers have fronted, it turns out they know their argument is crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:17 AM

July 13, 2004

What about wearing fake flight suits?

Xan over at Corrente notes an interesting element of Bush's military campaign backdrops- mainly, only he's allowed to have them.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:11 PM

Ummm...

I guess the Republican Party doesn't mind filling in the Illinois ballot with a pro-gay marriage candidate.

Remember, folks... Cialis has helped him live his life again!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:09 PM

July 12, 2004

Hate Amendment update



In less than 48 hours, Congress will vote on an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would permanently deny marriage equality to same-sex couples. This is unprecedented -- never before has our Constitution been amended to take away anyone's rights. We've got to fight back.

President Bush campaigned on a promise to unite us, not divide us. Yet today, as people are questioning Bush's handling of everything from the war in Iraq to the economy, Bush and his friends are trying to distract voters from the real issues by turning to the politics of division and hate.

If America stands for anything, it stands for equal rights and opportunities for everyone. Throughout our history, we've struggled to guarantee that equality: ending slavery; securing voting rights for women; and passing the Civil Rights Act just 40 years ago.

Equality in marriage is the civil rights issue of our generation. We can't let anyone, or any group, be singled out for discrimination based on who they are or who they love.

When two people make a deep personal commitment, taking responsibility for each other and doing all the work of marriage, they should be able to share in the legal benefits of marriage as well. These benefits include access to health care and medical decision-making for one's partner and children, parenting and immigration rights, inheritance, taxation, and Social Security benefits.

This isn't a partisan issue, notwithstanding Bush's pandering to his right-wing base. Former President Gerald Ford, a Republican, said this about same-sex couples and marriage: "I think they ought to be treated equally. Period."1 Also, many major corporations, including Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Disney, Coors, and IBM, offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees' same-sex partners. Senator Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) says the amendment is "Nuts... To be seen as the party that's coming between two people that love each other doing what they want to do... to me that's going to be seen as a liability, politically."2

Yet President Bush is bent on moving America backward, by enshrining discrimination in the United States Constitution.

Don't let him divide us like this.

The vote is on Wednesday. MoveOn is providing resources to let your legislators know how you feel about enshrining bigotry in the Constitution.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:53 PM

Foo.

Just for the record, I got my official rejection letter from the Democratic Press Gallery over the weekend, making me, I believe, the first left-leaning weblogger to announce his not being offered press credentials for the Boston convention.

In reality, it would have been difficult to go, if not impossible. I would have had to skip work for a week, something even further complicated by the fact that my boss, the Assemblywoman, is in fact a delegate. But I'm not playing the "oh I didn't want to go" card now. I wanted to go, and it sucks that I can't.

Getting involved in media reporting would be a dream job for me. I think the idea of press access to a political convention is amazing, because it entails all the involvement of the event without the actual commitment to anything. Basically, every non-"mainstream" person who I've ever heard about getting press access basically gets governmental approval to run around highlighting the silliness of the most powerful people on the planet. Tell me that's not fun.

I hope to cross the river at least one day and check out the Republicans in New York, though. But I have a feeling I'll have even less access to that than I do for the Democrats- and they sent me a friggin' letter.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM

This land belongs to me!

You have time for JibJab. This video's hilarious. (Flash download)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:26 PM

Newest comic - "Just so we're clear"

And how appropriate, what with the Bush regulars sending out feelers about postponing the election just, you know, in case. You can actually hear Cheney cackling like an old Ford starting up.

By the way, buy my freaking book.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:00 AM

July 11, 2004

'Splodey site

I've gotten a few e-mails about people being unable to view any images on the site, including comics. I have no idea why this is happening, but a few people told me they fixed it by clearing their site caches. Hope that helps.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:19 PM

Book review time!

Probably my favorite political quote is Ben Franklin's now-infamous statement "they that would give up essential liberty for temporary safety deserve neither." So seeing that as the opening quote for a book, admittedly, starts me off on the supportive side. That said, I just finished reading Lewis Lapham's Gag Rule today, and I enjoyed all of it, not just the Franklin quote opening the book.

There are, this site included, countless venues out there noting the constant attempts from those partial to the Bush administration to suppress the basic rights of Americans in the name of "fighting terrorism." Lapham, the editor of Harper's Magazine, focuses mainly on the actions of the government post-9/11, but as opposed to the aforementioned constant complaints of governmental action insists that Americans realize that not all actions meant to crush dissent were instantaneous following the collapse of the Twin Towers.

Gag Rule addresses a long history of American traditions of using fear and manufactured outrage to stifle contrary views, including those dating back to the earliest years of Colonial times. It looks at American media culture, and accuses us, and rightly so, of partial responsibility by means of accepting popular culture, and then adapting adherence to governmental fear-mongering as part of that pop culture.

Lapham could have easily written a 500-page statistical analysis in the vein of former CIA employees and Presidential advisers, or a satirical take on America post-Dubya, a la Al Franken or Michael Moore. Gag Rule is neither; and at about 160 pages I think it takes the record for how much clear, concise information can be packed into as little space as possible. Lapham offers conclusions that require no extra words:

As a consequence of civilization�s war on terror, America gains immediate access to an unlimited fund of unspecific rage. In return for so poor a victory, the Bush administration asks the American people to deny their dearest principles, to repudiate their civil liberties and repent of the habits of freedom. The deal is as shabby as the president�s lying photo ops. For the sake of a vindictive policeman�s dream of a tranquil suburb, the country stands to lose the constitutional right to its own name.
It�s that good all the way through. Go pick up a copy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:12 PM