October 29, 2004

"Problems"

A special treat for you all for the last weekend before the election: a former co-worker of mine, Bjorn Ostman, has offered hosting space for the short film I made last year for MoveOn's Bush in 30 Seconds contest. It'll be up pretty much until Bjorn's bandwidth gets killed.

My entry has never seen the light of day beyond the chance you got to review it among thousands of entires last December. So, weighing in at 30 seconds and 3.5 megabytes of Quicktime goodness, I give you "Problems." Enjoy.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:13 AM

Observation

I only made one prediction on the election outcome, and that was for a contest so it's not like I'm staking credibility on it or anything. So I'm not saying this observation is a statement of confidence for Tuesday's results or anything.

That said, all this news over the last few days about the GOP efforts to suppress the black vote infuriates me, yet at the same time gives light to the desperation they must be feeling right now.

I can concede to right-wingers that many coincidences and accusations could be overstated, and in same cases maybe even untrue. I do not, however, believe they all are. At least some of these stories: the threatening flyers, the registration challenges... some of these are true. And those are enough to prove the pattern. The Republican Party has gone into panic mode.

It's a sign that the GOP gave up on convincing voters of anything. It's a sign that they need people not to vote, because they can't get people to vote for Bush. And it's a sign that a handful of hateful, evil right-wingers could care less about democracy and think politics is some kind of schoolyard game where they can tweak the rules and all that matters is "winning."

I don't know what's going to happen Tuesday, but I know this, because the actions of hateful Republicans are proving it: this country is angry at a party that had four years to fix problems, and instead are focusing at the last minute on blocking people from heading to the suggestion box.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:04 AM

October 28, 2004

Catch-22

Somewhere at the Media Matters offices, Oliver Willis is facing his personal hell.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:09 AM

Hastily slapped together

Having gone to school with the hopes of being a professional animator, I was in love with the idea of the new show on Comedy Central Drawn Together as soon as the first ads ran for it a few months ago. Maybe it's over-raised expectations, but I watched the premiere last night and man, did that fall flat.

Without a doubt, the premise is absolutely brilliant- it's a mock-up of Big Brother/The Real World type "reality" shows, except each housemate is a iconic figure of a major animation genre- there's a generic super-hero, a Disney fairytale princess, an internet download, a 1930's Betty-Boop-type character, and so on.

I was really excited to see that each character was drawn in a style relevant to their genre- the Disney princess was soft-lit with color outline instead of blackline, the internet download was a handful of hard colors, the 30's character was actually in black-and-white. I was annoyed when they didn't make the perfect push and actually animate them all uniquely. With the exception of the anime character, which was an intentional joke of how that's animated, most of the characters moved the same way. I would love to see the web cartoon have four drawings a second and the 70's Hanna-Barbera character run like Shaggy and Scooby.

Unfortunately, the show seems to slip into the tragic weakness of the countless failed late-90's cartoons in its forced attempts to be "edgy." The individual quirks of the characters (30's girl is a manic-depressive self-mutilator, the Disney princess is an absurd racist, the anime guy is implicitly gay) is enough to make the show hilarious without "gags" involving lesbian and turd jokes. One character's entire premise is 50% that she's black and 50% that she's a nympho slut- it's going to push boredom- and certainly the borderline to offensiveness- very quickly.

Basically, Drawn Together is a show that, unlike previous fabricated-for-adults cartoons, has a lot of potential within its premise. I don't think the creators put enough of that into the pilot, and I hope they can do better or else I don't see this going beyond six episodes.

Ling-Ling, the Pikachu-mocking homicidal anime character, steals the show, by the way. But serving as the fodder for jokes about anime, that's pretty much a given.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:44 AM

Brilliant

The G.W. & Crew Autumn Flip-Flop Catalog. By far one of the most well-done parodies I've seen this election cycle.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:22 AM

October 27, 2004

Whaddaya know

Amazingly I didn't find out about this for over two weeks, but I've been reviewed by the website ComixPedia.

It's a pretty good review, albiet the reviewer technically getting the name of the comic wrong. But considering that he spelled my last name correctly- something that happens about 1% of the time, it's not too big a deal.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:29 PM

State by State

The Center put up a great little flash applet yesterday. It's a map of the U.S. that you can click on state-by-state to get information on how much it's spent on the Iraq war.

(And yeah, you're probably gonna see more than one CAP articles getting linked here. Go fig.)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:26 AM

October 26, 2004

Counterpoint: not that awful

From the MN Politics Guru regarding my previous rebuttal to Jesse Ventura's Kerry endorsement:

I noticed your post about Jesse Ventura's endorsement of Kerry. You say that you don't understand why he was elected governor, and you have a pretty dim view of him politically. Even though I am a Democrat, I think you are being a bit too hard on him.

I wasn't impressed with Ventura when he ran in 1998, and I certainly didn't vote for him. As time went on, however, and certainly after the state's budget turned to deficit, I appreciated him more. He was the only person who advocated for fixing our budget deficit by both raising taxes and cutting spending. Unfortunately, he was terrible at fostering relationships with the legislature, and the budget was fixed with spending cuts and raiding every pot of money on hand, and no tax increases. Sad to say that Democrats, including Democratic Senate Majority Leader Roger Moe (who was the DFL candidate for governor in 2002), were complicit in this.

Thus, because he was fiscally reasonable, and because he was a no-nonsense libertarian when it came to social issues (staunchly pro-choice, seeking benefits for same-sex partners in the state employee contract, refusing to sign a proclamation for the national "Day of Prayer"), I would have voted for him had he run in 2002. As it turned out, I voted for the Green party out of spite, because none of the four candidates running (DFL, Republican, Green, Independence) were any good at all. Even though we have a Republican governor now, I still wouldn't have changed my vote: no way would I vote for Roger Moe, a leader in the legislature's attempt to ignore fiscal reality by emptying our state's reserves.

So give the guy some credit, and don't be too hard on us Minnesota voters.
We really haven't had a lot of good people to vote for in recent years; since Wellstone died, this is more true than ever. Sure, many people voted for Ventura as a joke, but in reality he turned out to be not so bad, and certainly better than a Republican alternative (I shudder to think about what now-senator Norm Coleman would have done as governor). Hopefully, Ventura's endorsement will be worth something to those "Anoka County voters," blue-collar workers who tend to be up for grabs in these elections.

In a similar subject, Oliver has addressed Andrew Sullivan's writing of The New Republic's Kerry endorsement. I read it this afternoon, and while I don't go as far as Oliver does tearing Sullivan a new one, I'm glad I'm not the only who noticed that Sullivan's acting as though we should praise him for the arduous task of having to say something nice about John Kerry. It's almost as if a magazine pays him to be a writer or something.

It's not "joining our team" just to endorse John Kerry at the behest of your employer. And it's certainly not optimistic for your endorsement to be cross-linked on your blog basically whining about how hard it was to support Kerry. Much like the problem I had with Ventura, political rhetoric isn't about how you want everyone to react to your political moves. Ventura can be a good or bad governor, and Sullivan can vote for Bush or Kerry. But I'm really sick of them acting as though we should kiss their ass because they made their decision in such a unique way.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:29 PM

Say what?

Bush opposes banning civil unions. He said what on the what now?

President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states.

Mr. Bush has previously said that states should be permitted to allow same-sex unions, even though White House officials have said he would not have endorsed such unions as governor of Texas. But Mr. Bush has never before made a point of so publicly disagreeing with his party's official position on the issue.

In an interview on Sunday with Charles Gibson, an anchor of "Good Morning America" on ABC, Mr. Bush said, "I don't think we should deny people rights to a civil union, a legal arrangement, if that's what a state chooses to do so." ABC, which broadcast part of the interview on Monday, is to broadcast the part about civil unions on Tuesday.

This is without a doubt the biggest flip-flop of the entire 2004 election. He wanted an AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION that prevented civil unions- does anyone else even remember that whole "or any similar arrangement thereof" stuff? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:03 PM

They eat bamboo!

Advance notice: later this evening I'll put up photos of my trip to the National Zoo. There will be pandas. You have been warned.

Update: My trip to the zoo. Enjoy. I know I did.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:00 AM

October 25, 2004

Well, that's great

It's now been confirmed that the U.S. Army's neglicence let 350 tons of high explosive disappear in Iraq. Josh Marshall has the story; start here and work your way up if you can stomach it.

This might be a good time for the warbloggers harping over how Bush "makes them safer" to start explaining how that includes giving Iraqi insurgents seven hundred thousand pounds of explosives- much of which is designed for car bombings and, that's right, detonating weapons of mass destruction.

I'm sure spin will come into play, but the gist of the story is that these were weapons cordoned off and protected by the International Atomic Energy Association- that is, until they were relieved of duty to let the U.S. Army come in and take care of stuff. In other words, it's almost undeniable that these explosives are now missing because of the U.S.'s entrance into Iraq.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:27 AM