November 5, 2004

Arafat non-death update

A mere 40 minutes ago, the Associated Press released breaking information on the status of Yasser Arafat, previously diagnosed as being in a coma and possibly dying.

The update: Yasser Arafat is still not dead.

The complete lack of change in Arafat's condition remaining top news, further breaking reports about the lack of news shall be delivered as it comes. Stay tuned.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:50 PM

Stop it now

Okay, I posted the slave states map thing as a half-joke/half-statement on the roots of cultural divisiveness in this country.

What I didn't do was post it as an invite for the sixty-three billion variations now being forwarded to me and circulated on message boards of some gag revolving around the blue states seceding from America.

Yes, I got the "Jesusland" e-mail. I got the Moby journal entry. I got the "let's join Canada" one. And all variations thereof. I get it. I laughed the first few times.

Now, for the love of god, stop sending me them. Thank you.

Update: Elayne collects all the map jokes so I don't have to.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:42 PM

Just checking

Our top story tonight: Yasser Arafat is still not dead.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:40 PM

November 4, 2004


Okay, I understand that the death of Yasser Arafat brings countless issues to the table of international debate, but perhaps there's other news going on right now?

I understand talking about it and making speculations, but the man's currently in a coma. He's not going to be doing anything anytime soon, with the exception of two things:

1. Dying, or
2. Not.

CNN really doesn't need to give hourly updates about the fact that Arafat isn't dead.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:52 PM

The moral values vote

Quick, what's this a map of? No peeking.

Answer here. Scared yet?

(via MetaFilter)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:02 PM

(Universe explodes)

The startling discovery has just been made that Guys With Websites... brace yourselves, people... may not be as accurate as originally suggested.

Holy tap-dancing shit. Who knew?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:53 AM

The numbers don't lie (just some Republicans)

I'm finding it very ironic that a slew of "moderate" Republican and pro-Bush webloggers are suddenly talking about what the Democratic Party needs to do to readjust itself after Tuesday's defeat.

For one thing, this "Bush recieved more votes in any election" line is kind of silly, considering the person who recieved the second-largest amount of votes in any presidential election, if I'm not mistaken, was John Kerry. The attempt to cast Bush's 1%-in-Ohio victory as a Reagan revolution is laughable.

Now don't get me wrong- Bush won. He won the pupular vote, and while sides will debate on how much of a "mandate" the margin was, there are certain facts that warbloggers are really, really trying to avoid mentioning:

Bush didn't evoke change. With the exception of swapping New Mexico for New Hampshire, there was no change in the 2000 distribution of states. The North didn't swing for Bush any more than the South swung for Kerry. Bush didn't create a mandate of the people- he proved that we have a divided nation because of his policies, and that's really hard to defend as good, for either the country or its safety.

Why did Bush win? Here's why:

Three-fourths of white voters who described themselves as born-again Christians or evangelicals supported Bush. Those white evangelicals � a crucial voting bloc for the president � represented about a fifth of all voters. Their top issue was moral values.
Kerry was supposed to win. No, that doesn't mean there was vote fraud, or anything like that. But by any logical model, any analysis of Bush's record, all these signs pointed to Kerry defeating Bush.

And then they started telling people Kerry would ban the bible.

Check the numbers: moderates swung for Kerry by ten points. Bush won because more hard-right conservatives voted than ever before. But Bush didn't suddenly get a massive increase in support for the war. Or for the economy. Or for education.

Moral values. 22% of the electorate claimed "moral values" as their prime reason to vote. Of those, 80% voted for Bush. 11 states passed anti-marriage bills, several of which full-on deny civil union and domestic partnership rights, in some cases even to straight couples. Two new virulently anti-gay and anti-abortion Senators have joined the Republican Party, and Barack Obama was challenged by a GOP-handpicked right-wing nutjob in Illinois.

For all the talk from the warbloggers about "hateful, angry liberals," it's laughable how these self-proclaimed "moderate Republicans" have deigned to tell Democrats how they think their party structure should be evaluated, when they're in abject denial of how little Bush cared about them.

In the end, this didn't turn out to be about Iraq. Or Swift Boats. Or job losses and Hoover. Or any of that. There is a stereotype of liberal Democrats all being anti-war, elitist urbanites. There is a stereotype of conservative Republicans being homophobic, religious fanatics. Between these two cases, in only one did several million exist, and show up en masse to put one of their own in the White House.

Does this mean all Republicans are homophobic bigots? Of course not. But they control the party now. And the numbers can't be twisted to deny that, no matter how hard some warbloggers are going to try. Gay panic won Bush the White House. The God Hates Fags Party has been established, perhaps for a generation, and until "moderate Republicans" acknowledge who they're officially subversives of, they have no right whatsoever to tell Democrats how to organize their own party.

If there is one casualty of the blogosphere this week, it is the right for conservative warbloggers to ever use the term "the hateful left" again.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:36 AM

November 3, 2004


If I lived a thousand years I never expected to see a headline like this.

That's just weird.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:58 PM

Not letting America be America ever again

I really hope some of the warbloggers are reading the issue returns. It's amazing how quickly the election stopped being about the war. For 24 hours, the issue was nearly dead.

So I hope the "9/12 Republicans" and the "security moms" are looking at the results. I hope the people who told their gay friends that they weren't the "important issue" and the bloggers who were "uncomfortable" with Bush's platitudes to the religious right checked exactly what issues Team Bush sold to the American populace.

I hope they understand that Bush won these key states because Bush told them it would be horrible if some faggot was allowed to have health benefits.

That's your victory, guys. That's your winning team.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:45 AM

Election 2004: Fuck Unity

Well, I spent the better half of the last year saying it would never happen, but it happened. It's Wednesday morning and we don't know who's president yet.

Barring a miracle, it looks very difficult for the remaining Ohio ballots to go all for Kerry. His only hope lies in enough ballots swinging to him to merit a mandatory recount of Ohio. Regardless of the ultimate victor, we have the absoultely worse-case scenario. Worse than a Bush landslide, certainly worse than a Kerry landslide, we have the results coming in by a hair in a way that will ultimately be deemed by the losing side as tainted and unfair.

A handful of Republicans who at one point appeared to have brains have somehow already started the mantra that Bush has swept the nation and now has a mandate. Apparently this stems from having about a 1% advantage in the popular vote, which I'm sure they would call a mandate had Kerry won. Yep.

Pundits were using the term, and they're right. They're frighteningly right: George W. Bush has Balkanized America. There was a record turnout at the polls, but no landslide. By opinion and geography, we've solidified the fact that this country's ideology is split down the middle. And it scares me, because Bush's previous term has proved he is a divider, not a uniter.

I understand the joy from some of the right-wingers on the internets this morning, but it saddens me that they're actually proud of how Bush is going to run this country shoud this come out for him in the end: once again, pretending that 50% of the nation simply doesn't exist. Anyone who pretends that's not a dangerous thing cares more about their personal victories than they actually do about this country.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 6:53 AM

November 2, 2004


It's about 11:45 and they haven't called Florida or Ohio yet, and I'm going to bed, albeit with the TV on.

I thought I was going to stay awake until this ended, but I didn't expect, of all the things to depress me and totally disallusion me about this entire process, to be the revelation that the youth vote made absolutely no progress whatsoever.

If this is true, than there's a significant part of me that instantly stopped caring if Bush stays President or not. I started a new job two weeks ago as part of a project devoted to college-age progressive political outreach. In other words, if this report is true, I have a much more specialized, significant issue to deal with.

I might be proven wrong an hour after shutting my eyes, but it appears as though this race will not end tonight. Florida is to close to not require counting the absentee and provisional ballots, and lord knows what the hell the GOP is doing up in Ohio right now.

I remain, and I go to sleep, completely hopeful for a Kerry victory. But for some reason, the ability to be either excited or angry has been completely exhausted so late in the night. I'm far more concerned with the fact that the years-long projection of an increase in political motivation has turned out to be significantly untrue.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:51 PM

Clear This is it,


This is it, folks. I'll be out the rest of the day, either stuck at the office watching the results or cutting work early to bunker down in my apartment with my computer and loads of Chinese food.

I have no idea how this is going to turn out. I have predictions, and I have hope, but everything is a blank. I've tried to picture what tomorrow is going to look like, with either candidate the victor, and my mind simply goes white. We stand on the edge of a blank sheet of paper. Go make your mark.

If there is only one thing I can tell all you guys who canvassed, raised funds, fought the good fight against the administration, it's this: don't ever think you didn't do enough. You've done everything. You've exceeded every prediction by the media and every pessimistic speculation from the right wing. And you are heroes. All of you.

I make no claim of fairness in this night's outcome. If Kerry wins you will see unprecedented levels of gloating, and shoud Bush win, unprecedented levels of anger and outrage. To either and both sides: deal with it.

And to those who feel that this election is about fear- about telling us that you have to vote for Bush because we'll all die if we don't, or because you're too much of a goddamn coward to actually think about what has happened in the last four years, I leave you with the words of Steve Darnall's Uncle Sam:

Son, you don't give a good goddamn about the people and you know it. Now if you want a fight, you'll get one, but first I want you to know something. Whatever happens here, whatever the outcome is, you're not America. You'll never be America. All you'll ever be is a thug- with an empty, convenient smile, mouthing phony platitudes to divine providence.
Good luck, everyone.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:06 AM

November 1, 2004

Operation Stop Black People: a miserable failure

A federal judge has just blocked all poll challengers in Ohio. That means no disruptions from the GOP in their coordinated effort to stop nearly 35,000 people, significantly from minority and poor urban areas, from voting.

Now, granted, the GOP could, as they are threatening in this story, try for an immediate emergency appeal, but if they do I'd be very suprised. I have this slight feeling that the last thing the Republican Party wants in the news the day before the election is how they went to Federal Court over voting rules.

Update: the cowards went ahead and did it. Democrats, when people are stuck on line waiting for hours, make sure to let them know which party doesn't trust the American people.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:13 AM

October 31, 2004

Orwell, thy first name is Rudy

Rudy Giuliani on Meet the Press this morning: "I'm not saying Osama wants John Kerry to win. I think it's clear, though, that he wants George Bush to lose."

Alrighty, then.

Update: A comment over at Pandagon just made my entire weekend: "Giuliani's the type of guy who farts, blames it on his wife, and then leaves her for another woman." Jesus, that's funny.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:21 PM

Special treat for you #2

When work time permits it, the nice folks at the Center are having me draw a cartoon for them once in a while. Here's my first one.

This is the first single-panel "traditional style" cartoon I've done. I guess I'll have to wait and see if I get any better at it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:43 AM