October 2, 2004

I'd say this just keeps getting better if it wasn't getting so worse

Atrios and others are now pointing out that Fox News has pushed baseless stories culled through partisan sources lacking in any credibility- twice- in the last 48 hours.

In a move that you didn't as much wonder would happen as you did time with a stopwatch to see how quickly they'd make it, the general response from the right-wing Guys With Websites is that this is nothing compared to the horrors of CBS, and of course, after CBS, who has any right to attack Fox News.

In other words, because we insisted for two weeks that CBS is the most partisan, incredible news source in America, we reserve the right to ignore the fact that Fox News is the most partisan, incredible news source in America. It's the very heart of the mentality that Fox News stopped being about truth and only about being "right" years ago.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:41 PM

New forms of pain in my toes

If you would ever like to simulate the muscle response following 15 straight hours of helping people move furniture and over a hundred boxes into a 14th-floor apartment, tie a rubber band around each of your toes and fix them to the back of a speeding car.

Can't write much because of outright exhaustion, but I'm fascinated that in my absence Fox News decided to follow up the intense coverage of how Dan Rather should be fired for airing a fake story by posting fake and slanderous reports about John Kerry on their website. I then heard that nine million people turned to this channel to watch the Presidential debate. I'm very concerned for this nation.

Next week's comic and a cubic assload of e-mails from you wonderful people are waiting for me. For now, I sleep, and dream of foot massages.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:37 AM

September 30, 2004

Okay, we killed irony again

Rudy Giuliani, on The Daily Show: "It's important to remember we have allies who shouldn't be made fun of."

(He was referring to Poland, of course. Where they don't speak French.)

That's it, I'm going to sleep. Likely little posting tomorrow because of aforementioned moving assistance.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:30 PM

What the heck, I'll liveblog

10:35 - Look, I'm partisan, and I can't hide that. But Kerry won. Just... seriously. People. Kerry won this one. If Bush was applying for a job and acted the way he did during this debate, he wouldn't get hired.

Bush didn't make any arguments. He was making pleas. He was defending himself the way a boyfriend would explain himself to his girlfriend coming home six hours late.

That's it. Kerry won. The media knows Kerry won, and my guess is the arguments are going to be quickly shifted into how "Bush didn't need to win, but just come off as a more likeable candidate."

10:17 - Kerry just handed Bush's ass to him on nuclear weapons. He's completely right- how Bush can say we need to protect the world from nuclear weapons while we're developing and testing new ones (and potentially selling them to Israel- Iran is going to love that) is completely ridiculous.

10:11 - Bush: "I admire Senator Kerry's..." five second pause. Then something about admiring that their daughters get along. And we're back on the mixed-messages stuff. Bush is out of catchphrases, and he's still got fifteen minutes and a closing statement left.

10:04 - "Nuke-yoo-lurr." Everyone takes a shot.

9:58 - It's become very clear that Kerry has basically gambled the presidency on Osama bin Laden not being captured in the next five weeks. If Osama turns up around Halloween, it's going to be hours upon hours of clips of Kerry's "you didn't get bin Laden" attacks.

9:47 - Okay, we get it. You think the line "wrong war in the wrong place" isn't a good one. Stop using is as every single one of your retorts, Mr. President.

9:44 - "I tried to love her as much as I could?" Bush thinks he's either God or the father in some 50's Reefer Madness movie.

9:41 - For those of you keeping track, that was technically the first time in six months or so that Bush has publicly said the name "Osama bin Laden."

9:39 - Bush said said "it's hard to go from a place where people's hands are cut off or executed to a democracy." Ummm.... people are getting their heads cut off weekly in Iraq right now, and videos of it are the most popular rentals at the Fallujah Blockbuster.

9:33 - I think the first thing I would say to Alexander Ploskewski of Poland is "who the hell are you?" And a special bonus fact-check to the President: Poland is pulling its troops out.

9:31 - I like Kerry and all that, but if he says "we need a President who understands..." one more time, I'm going to scream.

9:30 - Bush pulls the "he said he voted for it before he voted against it" card. Kerry didn't really deflect it, but he didn't let Bush just lay into him with it either.

I'm nervous now. Kerry suddenly seems more on edge than fifteen minutes ago.

9:15 - We knew that Bush was going to pull the "the world is safer without Saddam" line, but it seems like that's the best one in his bag. Using it so early seems a harbinger of being either repetitive or being stuck an hour later.

Bush is already stumbling, and not in the down-home, "aw shucks" way. He's talking like an old car, stumbling and sputtering for the first few seconds before cranking up the engine.

I'm scared I'll look back on this in an hour and cringe, but at about a fifth of the way through the debate, Kerry is clearly winning. If this is the rapport for the entire debate, there's virtually no way Fox or anyone else can spin this for Bush.

9:09 - Bush looks defensive, and he's on his first question. His tone of voice was like a guy trying to keep his job. Which, umm... he is.

9:02 - good lord, the lights are on the podiums? That's stupid.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:11 PM

To be continued

Blogging may be light to non-existent until late tomorrow. I'm aware that there's some kind of debate or something tonight, but my sister and her boyfriend decided to do some weird activity called "get better jobs" and "move to where they are," employing my help in the process. So while the most important event of the election is going on, I'll be in the much more exciting activity of moving furniture into the back of a U-Haul.

That said, I got an e-mail from Oliver alerting everyone to the advance spin job the RNC is preparing for after the debate. Oliver has set up an immediate response blog here, and you should check it out in lieu of my ability to get to a computer during the evening.

Update: Oliver updated the link, I just did too.

Also, I was granted a 2-hour reprieve from packing assistance to watch the debate, and maybe the Daily Show post-coverage if I'm really good. I'll liveblog/comment if I feel like it. Response to come.... whenever.

Second Update: Jesus, I will never get over Jim Leher's eyes.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:42 PM

Without a torch to pass in the first place

Following Ron Reagan's speaking at the Democratic Convention over the GOP's 19th-century philosophy on science, John Eisenhower has joined in with the Reagan son in refusing to accept George W. Bush into the party of their fathers.

As son of a Republican President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, it is automatically expected by many that I am a Republican. For 50 years, through the election of 2000, I was. With the current administration�s decision to invade Iraq unilaterally, however, I changed my voter registration to independent, and barring some utterly unforeseen development, I intend to vote for the Democratic Presidential candidate, Sen. John Kerry.

The fact is that today�s �Republican� Party is one with which I am totally unfamiliar. To me, the word �Republican� has always been synonymous with the word �responsibility,� which has meant limiting our governmental obligations to those we can afford in human and financial terms. Today�s whopping budget deficit of some $440 billion does not meet that criterion.

Responsibility used to be observed in foreign affairs. That has meant respect for others. America, though recognized as the leader of the community of nations, has always acted as a part of it, not as a maverick separate from that community and at times insulting towards it. Leadership involves setting a direction and building consensus, not viewing other countries as practically devoid of significance. Recent developments indicate that the current Republican Party leadership has confused confident leadership with hubris and arrogance.

Now, on the surface, this is a mid-day fluff story. Eisenhower endorsing Kerry isn't in itself political dynamite. But it does cast light on an interesting historical inquiry: is anyone willing to pass the torch to George W. Bush?

Bush's father, a former president, didn't speak at the Convention, and to the best of my knowledge neither did Ford, the only other living Republican Executive. Both official and unofficial biographies indicate an animocity the younger Bush held toward his family and his father- on a personal level, it seems Bush Sr. would much rather have seen Jeb as President than the ne'er-do-well George. (I'll leave residents of Florida to scream in abject terror at the prospect, and then move on.)

Bush has the endorsement of mainstay right-wing groups: the NRA, the Christian Coalition, and lunatics like Grover Norquist- a man who, if ever to actually hold political office, could feasibly be the only man alive more dangerous to the country than those currently in Bush's cabinet. Meanwhile, former conservatives like Pat Buchanan have abandoned the "logic" of the Bush administration, and mainstream Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and John McCain are defined by how unlike Bush they are.

Reagan is the eternal patron saint of the conservative movement. Bush was a VP who carried a torch and could at least present an argument for respectable foreign policy. Clinton presided over the largest economic growth in American history. And despite what many consider a horrible presidency, Carter left office to begin a career of humane service that only the most boorish would refuse to find admirable. Even with their faults, recent former presidents project a policy or doctrine future candidates can admire. Edwards tried to run as the next Clinton. Barack Obama is the next Clinton. And there's not a single Republican for the next twenty years who'll be able to become president without invoking the name of Ronald Reagan.

Do Republicans honestly believe that twenty years from now, there will be a Republican candidate promising to "preserve the legacy of George W. Bush?"

David Cross said it once as part of a comedy routine, but I think he's absolutely right- should he lose the election in November, George W. Bush's legacy will be his establishment as the worst president of the 21st century. Currently, this is logically true because he's the only president of the 21st century. But just as my parents' generation had Nixon as their icon of failure, I will live through the next ten elections knowing, regardless of the victor's party, they can't do worse than George W. Bush.

Republicans who are closest to former presidents- their own children- mock the idea that Bush carries the Republican legacy. Conservatives who worked through prior Republican administrations scoff at Bush's contributions to real conservatism. The future study of Bush's first, and hopefully only, term as President will be a generation-lasting investigation into what went wrong.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:59 PM

September 29, 2004

Mmmm yeah those fluff news pieces get me hot baby

AP apparently hires Danielle Steele to write campaign coverage:

Something about Sen. John Kerry's darker appearance has caught Lynne Cheney's eye.

During a campaign stop with her husband, a group of volunteers moved into the crowd with microphones for the question-and-answer period. Vice President Dick Cheney told supporters to look for the people with dark orange shirts.

When Cheney paused as if searching for the words to describe the shade of orange, Lynne Cheney said, "How about John Kerry's suntan?"

The remark drew a big laugh from the crowd and the vice president.

Responding to her comments, Kerry campaign spokesman Bill Burton said, "Is Mrs. Cheney jealous considering how hard it is to get sun in the undisclosed location with her husband Dick? Or is she distracted over how red-in-the-face George Bush should be considering his failed presidency?"

"Oh, you'd like to see me red-faced, wouldn't you, Billy boy?" Lynne seethed through her teeth, eyeing the shadow that held back the light from the single gymnasium door. As Dick cowered behind her, forgotten, he realized it was the frame of Burton, the man who inflamed Lynne's desire by being the man he never could.

"I've found better ways to tan you, Angel," Bill cooed, as the audience turned, astounded.

"Scum."

"Bitch."

Burton and Lynne locked eyes, the very fire of their undying passion igniting the air between them, for a eternity of a second before they lunged into each others' arms and a sexual frenzy of arousing profanity that was, until that moment, a decade of unspoken subtlety.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:43 PM

Get Your Vote On

As you may have noticed by the banner above, the deadline to register to vote is as early as this Saturday in some states. There's no time to print another million words on how important this election could prove to be, but what there is still time to do is register. If you're eligible and haven't done it yet, do it right now.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 5:14 PM

And you were worried about tech support

Republicans in Congress are apparently trying to outsource torture, by legalizing "extraordinary rendition."

"Extraordinary rendition," means extraditing prisoners to other countries that have legalized torture for interrogating prisoners. That way, the United States can torture prisoners without technically violating Federal law.

On a side note, did you know we're winning the hearts and minds of lovers of democracy worldwide? Neither did I.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:37 PM

Full circle

Tony Blair completes his full George W. Bush conversion process:

Prime Minister Tony Blair acknowledged today that there had been a decline of public trust in his government over the military campaign in Iraq and he offered the assembled delegates of his governing Labor Party a qualified apology for some of the judgments he had made in taking the country to war.

"The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons as opposed to the capability to develop them has turned out to be wrong," he told hundreds of party leaders and delegates as about 8,000 protesters against the war and against a ban on fox hunting demonstrated outside the hall in this seaside resort on Britain's southern coast.

"And the problem is, I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam," Mr. Blair said, adding, "The world is a better place with Saddam in prison, not in power."

A small number of protesters slipped inside to twice interrupt Mr. Blair's address, one of them shouting that the prime minister had "blood on his hands." Party delegates booed the intrusion as security officers forcibly pushed the protesters out of the hall.

That's Tony Blair. The once-popular brilliant leader of the Labour Party, explaining that he lied to his citizens, was completely wrong about the reasons for going to war, but it's all okay... because Saddam was a Bad Man.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:10 PM

September 27, 2004

Hot damn

Edwards pulls out the L word.

John Edwards accused President Bush's re-election campaign of lying in television ads about John Kerry's Vietnam War service and his plan to reform health care.

"They will absolutely lie about anything," the Democratic vice presidential candidate said Monday at a rally in Victory Park attended by hundreds of well-wishers.

'Bout damn time.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:47 PM

I heart Sarah McLachlan

I'm not a fan, nor do I own a single one of her albums. But this is probably one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen in my life. (Quicktime video required)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:18 PM

No way.

I'm hoping this is a sign I'm going to have the best week of my life, ever.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:20 AM

Newest Comic - "Since... Tuesday"

I've never done the research, but I'd like to see exactly which members of the Senate followed Joe Lieberman's lead in condemning Hollywood for "corrupting America's youth" while simultaneously endorsing protections on gun manufacturers and the tobacco lobby from being held responsible for... well, killing America's youth. I'm sure it would make an interesting project that would shed much light about Congressional hypocrisy and subsequently be covered by absolutely no news network whatsoever.

Ah, optimism. As always, show love for the strip by buying some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:11 AM

September 26, 2004

Mailbag. Where I look at my mail. Deep.

It's gonna be a busy week for me, for reasons not yet to be explained publicly. However, a few e-mails.

Steve Monahan directed me to Driving Votes, a website promoting voter registration in swing states. With the recent news that young people are registering to vote at the fastest rate in recent history, getting people to register is insanely important. If you can help out, do so. And do so quickly; there's not much time left to register.

Amidst all the Some Guy with a Website excitement, I found out there's a cartoonist who signs his work "Some Guy." So, for the sake of coincidence, here's his website.

Matt Weiland alerts me to Kirk Cameron's Born-Again Christian site, Way of the Master. I was really upset getting this link, as I expected something really cool about Ninjas or Kung-Fu a la RealUltimatePower. Instead, it's that kid from Growing Pains telling me I'm going to hell. No, really. He says that.

I got a link to this site that sells nifty postcards of anti-Bush graffitti photos. The site even has an event set up where everyone mails their postcards to the White House at the same time.

AC Missias sends this bit about Bush's draft prospects:

you have to keep framing in mind. they've framed it not as a draft, but as a requirement for military service, such as is done in Switzerland, Israel, and numerous other places. i.e., every citizen has an obligation to serve x many years (one is the one that sticks in my mind). of course, nothing says you couldn't then be recalled to active duty in a time of war, as many discharged servicemen have already been discovering...

"public service" not "forced draft" it's scary how likely it is that many folks would support that, especially if it could be delinked from "go to Iraq today"!give them a chance to brainwash everybody...

Finally, I want to address the occasional e-mail people send me asking if I know what's going on with another blogger. For some reason, when Atrios goes down, or when Billmon goes away for a few weeks, a lot of other blogs get e-mails asking if we know what happened.

Unfortunately, I don't know. In fact, I don't know any of these people outside of occasionally e-mailing them. Of all the popular webloggers out there, the only people I've ever personally met have been fellow cartoonists at cartoonist events, and my former college roomate.

However, to answer a few recent e-mails, it appears that Billmon answered the question, becoming the next blogger to announce their retirement.

A huge number of bloggers, myself included, started blogging after 9/11, blogged about their political opinions, and will reach a personal conclusion after November. Some will stay to gloat and/or mourn, while some have ducked out early. I don't blog because I like the thrill of blogging. I blog because my blogging software is a tool, and it makes it easier to update my website. Just because they've made a trendy word out of it and people have established celebrity doesn't mean I'm going to stop using a highly efficient content management system.

As for Billmon, I'm mixed. I loved his site, I think he's a genius, and I'm sorry to see him go, but I think his excuse for quitting is just silly. Musicians who love music and singing don't stop because people have started making money off it. Writers write because they love writing, bloggers should blog because they love blogging. But I respect his decision, wish him well, and hope he knows how much we'll all miss him.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:53 PM

I'm loved 'n stuff.

Thanks to the heavy influx of new friends this weekend; I'm really thrilled to see so many people enjoying the Some Guy with a Website strip. We're at the height of the "boy, aren't those webloggers something?" phenomenon right now, and as I said before I'm sure the more extreme delusions-of-grandeur cases are going to have some personal issues to work with in the weeks after the election. (At least they have Professorships at the University of Tennessee to fall back on, but hey, I could be talking about anyone)

As always, share the love, tell your friends about the site, and maybe succumb to impulse and buy a t-shirt along the way.

Back later to take care of the e-mail.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:29 PM