November 13, 2004

Perfect.

Amidst all the parodies, jokes, and hastily-made websites venting frustration over the election results, there is without a doubt a winner- Jeff Rowland has created quite possibly the most beautiful encapsulation of the entire election in one breathtaking graphic.

I downloaded the wallpaper on Thursday, and I know a lot of people say things like this as hyperbole- I assure you I am not- I still look at it and laugh my ass off. This is perfection in the form of graphic artistry.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:04 PM

November 12, 2004

Oh... umm... wow.

Via Kos, it turns out the position of Chairman for the entire Democratic National Committee is in fact decided by less than 500 people.

And here we all were upset about the electoral college.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:09 AM

November 11, 2004

In other news

Since many of you have e-mailed me about these two sites, I will publicly indicate that yes, I have seen both sorryeverybody.com and fuckthesouth.com.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:07 PM

November 9, 2004

Let freedom ring hollow

I'm sure everyone else has already said it, but I'll add my voice to the chorus: if there is any single moment that so perfectly and succinctly explains the danger the Bush administration presents to this nation, it is the sheer audacity found in these words from the resignation letter of John Ashcroft as Attorney General of the United States: "The objective of securing the safety of Americans from crime and terror has been achieved."

Under four years of John Ascroft heading the Justice Department and over three years since the attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States of America has not convicted a single person of terrorism.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:34 PM

We've seriously run out of news

Yasser Arafat is still not dead.

We now return to your regular schedule of stuff you might actually want to know about. Tune in tonight for an update, as Day 12 of "He's Not Dead Yet: Crisis in the Breaking News Department" continues.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:10 PM

Well isn't that special

Global warming suggests opportunity for Arctic drilling:

Rising global temperatures will melt areas of the Arctic this century, making them more accessible for oil and natural gas drilling, a report prepared by the United States and seven other nations said on Monday.

It predicts that over the next 100 years, global warming could increase Arctic annual average temperatures 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit over land and by up to 13 degrees over water. Warmer temperatures could raise global sea levels by as much as 3 feet.

Such a change would threaten coastal cities, change growing patterns for vegetation and destroy habitats for some wildlife, but an energy-starved world would have new areas for oil and gas exploration, according to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment report.

So let's get this straight- because of the world's unfettered drive toward ripping up the planet for its natural resources, global warming may raise the average temperature of the Arctic to a point where the sea rises three feet and destroys coastal cities. But on the plus side, it'll be easier to rape even more of the planet.

Excuse me, I have to resume pounding my forehead into the wall.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:54 AM

November 8, 2004

No surrender?

The corpse of the 2004 Democratic Platform isn't even cold yet and already we're getting articles and blog posts about who the Democrats are going to run in 2008.

Right off the bat, this is silly. We have no idea who's going to run in 2008. We didn't have any idea in December 2003 who would be the nominee a few months later. Hell, I was writing posts about Kerry's doomed candidacy just as much as any other self-proclaimed political junkie.

However, if we actually are going to open up the floor a mere four days into the aftermath, the fluff pieces about insane candidates could as least be acknowledged as such.

First of all: unless the Democratic Party is trying to lose, Hillary Clinton is not running for President. I know she'd like to run for President, but lots of people want lots of impossible things. Hillary Clinton has as much chance of waking up one morning President of the United States as I have waking up next to a nighttable with $200 and a handwritten note that reads "thanks for last night, love Uma."

Second: Stop it already with Barack Obama. He's a fantastic man, he's going to be a great Senator, and very likely he's a month away from being established as the new prominent black leader in America. But the guy hasn't even been sworn in yet and people are talking about him like the Bill Brasky sketch from Saturday Night Live. "Barack Obama went back in time and shamed the South into repealing slavery! Barack Obama weren't sworn in for five minutes before he ate Trent Lott! Say, are you talking about Barack Obama? Did I ever tell you about the time Barack Obama had to vote on a treasury bond extension bill, and instead he got Rick Santorum drunk and made him fuck a dog? And by god if they weren't married three days later, and Barack served as Matron of Honor! To Barack Obama!"

Third: John Edwards- his political career is over, which is fine for him because he's going to make a shitload of money the minute he becomes the first name in the title of whatever law firm he joins. With only six years in the Senate and four years of non-involvement before 2008, Edwards simply is no longer viable.

So if the pundits want to start the conversation about the Democrats' chances for 2008, they should stop framing it in terms of the silly, impossible candidates, and instead get serious about legitimate possibilities. And both in print and online in the blogosphere, I'm rather amazed that no one's brought up who, at least at this moment, is the most viable Democratic candidate for 2008: Senator John Kerry.

Now, I fully admit much of this might just be because of how short it's been since the election, but by any analysis John Kerry currently has a better chance against any other potential. Let's look at the factors:

Recognition- Everyone will know who John Kerry is four years from now. Unlike Edwards or Al Gore, he's still a sitting Senator, and unlike Howard Dean, his recognition isn't based on that stupid thing he once did. Kerry not only leads potentials like Mark Warner (who? Exactly) in recognition, most of that notoriety will be positive by the time 2008 comes around.

Image of a losing candidate- irrelevant. Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy. A few years later he was President of the United States. Bush isn't running again, hence no Gore-style "rematch" rhetoric, especially if Dick Cheney doesn't run (something I bravely believe the jury still remains out on).

The new moral majority- there's a very good chance that enshrining homophobia and misogyny into the GOP platform will backfire, in which case it would be good to have a candidate with a record of defending against both. By 2008, Bush will already have the "Partial Birth" abortion issue under his belt- with most of the country not wanting abortion completely banned, it will be much less powerful a campaign issue. As for the gay rights situation, it'll depend on the Republican opponent. Rick Santorum and Jeb Bush, fundies that they are, could be a problem, but Dick Cheney would put much of it off-limits, for obvious reasons. Supressing the bigot vote will come down not to either candidate, but how negative Kerry is willing to go this time.

Anti-war baggage- suprisingly, there really wouldn't be much. A second Kerry campaign will likely not emphasize Vietnam as much as the first did, and even so four years after the first run most of the anti-Kerry Vietnam stuff would have run its course. The Swift Boat Liars simply won't be effective- especially in the face of partisan accusations- unless they plan to keep campaigning against Kerry even with this current election over. In fact, given the potential for Iraq to become, tragically, the closest thing to Vietnam for this country since, well, Vietnam, a collosal quagmire and national displeasure with foreign policy would suddenly flip-flop (no snark intended) into a positive image for an anti-war politician.

As you might have seen with these examples, the possibility for Kerry would of course all revolve around one key aspect- how badly Bush does. If a miracle occurs and the Middle East is stabilized, peace is established in the West Bank and Osama bin Laden is caught by the democratically-elected President of Iraq's elite armed forces, then the prospect of people re-evaluating the mistake they made in 2004 is dim. But with signs pointing to a Bush second term being one of cleaning up all the messes he made in the first one, Kerry is the shining star of any potential "aren't you sick of this guy?" campaign. The biggest benefit John Kerry holds is one no other candidate can offer- his potential to project himself in 2008 as the "look how better off you could have been" candidate. If most of America feels that they could have been a lot better off, Kerry's chances are really, really good.

Kerry didn't lose this election in a landslide- nearly 57 million Americans have already indicated they want him as President. And that in itself is enough to keep the prospect open. Any other Democrat has to fight for half the country. If Bush does as "well" as he did for his first term, John Kerry will need to fight only for another three percent.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:42 PM

November 7, 2004

The meaning of "capital"

Warfloggers are likely to hype this article about the Iraq war being polled as the top priority for Americans, but if they do, it's beause they want to spin it as proof that the Iraq war was the key issue on voters' minds.

And let's face it, even though everyone is still a voter, they're not voters the way they were voters last Tuesday. This is a message from Americans post-election, and the message to George W. Bush is clear: you're here to clean up the mess you made, not exercise your "political capital."

Team Bush is rushing to flog the "mandate" issue and make Bush's "political capital" line a quick media catchphrase, since its meaning is clear to any of the 55,949,407 Americans who proved they had brains last week: time to pay off the homo-haters.

As was mentioned before and will continue to be mentioned until the right-wing bloggers just fucking admit it, okay, Bush's statements are thinly-veiled indicators to the fundamentalist factions that voted for him that their political reward is coming. And while the warbloggers will reflect that there's widespread support for Bush's policies vis-a-vis war, economy, etc., that's not the group he needs to spend aforementioned "capital" on. Why? Because this article points out Iraq is the issue Americans want taken care of- not the issue Americans voted for Bush over.

If any right-winger can show me an exit poll mandating the economy, or the war, or anything else on Bush's agenda, that got even within 5% of the support his anti-gay policies did, send it over and I'll accept they have at least an arguable point. But despite the gloating from the right of the aisle, there was no mandate of support for Iraq, no mandate of support for a health care plan reflected in this election. If Kerry won, the Iraq war would still be the main issue on Americans' minds... the difference would be we might have a president who has time to look into it, instead of looking into what anti-choice judges it's time to appoint.

Of course, referring once again to the "bigots won the election" stats, most warbloggers will again avoid the issue by accusing me of joining the "hateful left" who accuses the entire Republican Party of outright evil. As always, the most annoying aspect of the internet reveals itself in the form of people pretending to be stupid, or rather the time-tested "let's pretend this is how I actually interpreted what a liberal said as if I actually do have a colostomy bag for a thought process center" gambit.

Did EVERY bigot vote for Bush? Is EVERY Bush voter a bigot? It's insulting that I even have to elaborate that the answer to both of those questions is "absolutely not." But the key victory demographic- the demographic that leaned heaviest toward one side with one intention- the demographic that put Bush in the White House and came out to vote because they were specifically targeted was the demographic that feared and hated gay couples, and you're in complete. fucking. delusional. denial if you think that's not the group Bush is referring to paying off with all this "political capital" claptrap.

"Political capital" is not rewarding his war supporters. It's not assisting his health care backers. It means payback for the homo-haters, and the "it's worth supporting all of this even though I don't agree with it because I believe Bush is the only thing keeping al-Qaeda from blowing up my five-year old at soccer practice" crowd knows it. It's burning so many Republicans up inside that they don't like it either and have no one to blame but their own goddamn party. So instead, they attack the Democrats and their "hate speech" for pointing out what they won't.

I'd love to see these so-called "moderate Republican" warbloggers- the ones who say they support gay rights and choice- actually join Democrats to oppose Bush's right-wing policies and appointments now that they feel secure their position on the War on Terrorism will stay the course. When they do that, they can stop bitching about how we're all pointing out their embracing of the homophobe demographic. I'm not holding my breath.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:34 PM