December 18, 2004

Un-freaking-believable

Yeah, I know I said I'd be busy, but this story can't go unmentioned: Republicans in Washington State- currently up by about 50 votes in the recount for Governor- have succesfully sued to prevent several hundred ballots from being counted- for the first time.

A judge Friday granted a state Republican Party request to block the counting of hundreds of recently discovered King County ballots in the governor's race, which the GOP's candidate is winning by just a few dozen votes.

Even if the election workers wrongly rejected the ballots � 150 of which were discovered Friday � it is too late for King County to reconsider them now, Pierce County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Arend said.

Let me be clear here- these are ballots that were discovered to have never been counted because election workers made a mistake identifying them as valid. In other words, they are legitimate ballots in which the voters made no mistakes whatsoever casting them. This isn't Florida's "punched the wrong hole" issue or San Diego's "forgot to sign my name" thing- the Republicans want to block counting legitimate ballots because of a clerical error.

In the interest of fairness, let's hear from the Republicans, and their spokeswoman, who, also in the interest of fairness, I'll point out is the stupidest person on the planet:

Rossi spokeswoman Mary Lane said the judge made the right decision.

"If King County were allowed to keep adding more ballots, elections would never end," Lane said.

As for those whose ballots aren't counted, she said: "That is King County's fault. We cannot be held responsible for the fact that King County made a mistake."

No, elections would end, you moron. They would end when all the ballots are counted. I don't know what lousy high school Mary Lane went to that taught her some bizarre math in which 150 was the same quantity as infinity, but here on planet Earth we can recognize which one will take less time to count up to.

I'm not even going to get into the irregularities side of this argument that's been going on since 2000, but this entire issue should be a no-brainer. To allow this ruling to stand would stipulate that any election can be tampered with simply by deliberate withholding of votes. By the GOP's logic, an election worker could simply throw away every ballot handed to them, then say a week later "oh, I never counted those. But it's too late now."

Rest assured, the Republicans have already begun their mantra of claiming that Democrats are trying to steal the election, and of course the old standby of "their candidate won first." Which proves not only that they could care less about the mechanics of a recount, but that they're very possibly too stupid to be allowed into the Governor's office in the first place for pretending statements like that make any sense.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:12 AM

December 17, 2004

Sit tight

Little to no posting over the weekend, as lots of work will be done in the background, including prepping for a redesign.

And, of course, as long-term readers should be well aware, there will be a comic soon. Yeah, that one.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:34 PM

Often, you say?

This is an actual scan from Tuesday's Washington Post entertainment section.

Well, you know, I was always a fan of his series of vegetarian cookbooks, but what a fun fact- he's in a band too!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:44 PM

Sudan

Today marks 100 days since Colin Powell classified the situation in Sudan as genocide.

As I said already, I'm not converting this blog into a mouthpiece for my employer or anything, but the Center for American Progress has some of the best coverage on this entire crisis, and you should check it out now.

One of the most important things to remember about this is that a huge step can be taken without even suggesting sending a single American soldier into a battlefield. Right now over $91 billion from American sources is given to companies with ties to the Sudanese government- ties that can be ended with a single phone call if enough people demand it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:56 AM

December 16, 2004

Snapshot of America update

I'm late on this one, but according to Random House, the second-highest-selling non-fiction book of 2004, beaten only by a former President's autobiography, is the Halo 2 strategy guide.

Wow.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:16 PM

Ummm.... and?

Via Oliver, I've learned this morning that the Washington, DC city council has railroaded the plan to move the Expos to the Capital by requiring that a new stadium be half-financed by private funds. MLB called the deal "wholly unacceptable," and some people seem very angry at the head of the council for causing this to happen.

Now granted I'm not really a sports fan, but what the hell did I miss here? The MLB will only agree to move a team to Washington if the taxpayers spend roughly half a billion dollars to build them a band-new stadium? And not approving something like that is a bad thing?

Look, yay possible new home team and all that, but do me a favor and spend a hundred million fighting the illegal drug problem DC already has.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:25 AM

December 15, 2004

WOO-HOO!

Well, that took longer than I expected, but it's official now: Bernard Kerik is Clinton's fault.

On a side note, I think the only true advantage of comments and trackbacks are instances like this, in which Jane Galt provides every rational person alive the opportunity to point out what a complete idiot she is.

(via Pandagon)

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:34 PM

Third choice is the charm!

Hey, everyone remember the "second choice" jokes from the right after it was reveal Kerry suggested to John McCain that he could be Kerry's running mate?

I guess it's not a funny joke anymore when Bush suddenly decides that Joe Lieberman should be head of Homeland Security. I eagerly await the Washington Times' sarcastic editorial about Bush's... umm... third choice for Homeland Security.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:19 PM

December 14, 2004

Next time, I just sell crack outside the building

I asked a few weeks ago if it would be worth it to go to next year's MoCCA Art Festival like I did in June. The State of New York is doing a great job answering the question for me.

According to MoCCA, I was "required" to have a New York tax certificate to sell stuff at the event. So I applied for it, got it, went to the event, and didn't even make back my toll booth fare, let alone the table fee. But I met some great people, and had a good time, so that's all that matters, right?

Having not thought about the event, or the tax certificate, for six months, I was suprised to discover a letter in the mail yesterday from the New York State tax people informing me that I failed to file a return and would be penalized. Turns out, according to their rules, that I was required to file a quarterly return, even if I didn't sell anything, and owned them no taxes whatsoever.

So, just to be perfectly clear: I am now being fined $50 by the State of New York for failing to tell them that I didn't owe them any money.

Now, losing the money pisses me off. But that's hardly the most aggravating issue here. It's how I think back and recall the exactly zero times anyone at this event I was at asked me or questioned me about having a tax certificate. I could have never applied for one and done just as well, and the worst thing that could have happened would have been being fined for peddling without a license... you guessed it... fifty bucks.

I suppose that you could call it some kind of microcosm of corporate America or some nonsense like that, but I'll never stop being angry about the underlying issue here: I'd have had no problems if I simply sold my stuff with no tax certificate. The system is set up so that you're more likely to be punished for following the law instead of breaking it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:28 PM

December 13, 2004

So far my two favorites are "Cash and Kerik" and "Weekends at Bernie's"

Tom basically said what I want to say, only two hours earlier:

So the guy Bush wanted for homeland security turns out to have had a nanny problem, alleged mob ties, and, we now learn via the Daily News, was conducting two simultaneous secret affairs, one with publishing magnate Judith Regan. (Actually the News calls it "Kerik's triple play--wife, 2 galpals.")

Wow.

Apparently when Kerik's name came up in the White House, everyone's eyes glazed over and they all just started chanting "9/11...9/11..."

Giving the "this is the New York media, nothing's totally proven, let's not completely drag the guy through the mud yada yada yada" schtick the benefit of the doubt... Jesus. Even with this administration, basic logic would entail that Giuliani's recommendation was the only thing that even got Kerik through the metaphorical front door at DHS, let alone up to the metaphorical metal detector, where Kerik suddenly realized there might be a problem with the four or five metaphorical unregistered firearms he was carrying under his metaphorical coat.

And now, to the lamentation of the right-wing press, who only the other day was desperate to whine about That Liberal Media smearing a good man for making a simple mistake with paying his cleaning lady, it turns out there's enough dirt on this guy to... well, require a cleaning lady, I guess.

This entire story, complete with hilariously numerous potential gag headlines, has humilated not only Kerik, but the White House, the right-wing punditry fawning over Kerik, and especially Saint Giuliani of the Aspiring Political Significance. Bush will be forced to avoid any more major controversy with a position his own cabinet portrayed with such importance as to avoid using as a political tool, and Rudy takes a hit roughly equal in fallout to Sean Connery's cheek bleeding in The Man Who Would Be King. Conservatives will spend the remainder of the day picturing a far-off Hillary Clinton cackling menacingly. So, all-in-all, a good day.

Okay, okay. My farfetched semi-kidding aside, there's no spin for this: Kerik is an incompetent, a philanderer, and very possibly a criminal. At this point, the only thing the wingers could do for damage control would be to announce that Kerik's mob ties and mistresses were all pre-staged by an Associated Press reporter.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:32 PM

Ladies, you can BOTH marry me

Golden Globes: David Carradine nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Seriously, folks. Nothing else matters. Nothing.

Also, Scarlett Johansson and Uma Thurman both nominated for the same award. I'm torn. However, I have to stop there because any other sentence I write containing the passage "Scarlett Johansson and Uma Thurman" would be unsuitable for publication on a website read by members of my family.

Final note: there is no reason The Incredibles should not win Best Picture, both here and at the Oscars.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:41 AM

December 12, 2004

Funny, this world of ours

So a soldier at a big Q&A with Donald Rumsfeld asks why American soldiers don't have fully armored vehicles. The response from the right-wingers is to claim that the question was staged. That's apparently bad.

Funny, that. Since, following that staged question, everyone talked about it. And then, only a few days later, the Pentagon suddenly announced that, hey, looks like we'll be getting our soldiers into better-armored vehicles.

All because some reporter staged some event calling into question the actions of the Secretary of Defense.

Yes, I'm being rhetorical here, but anyone else find it funny that the response to this action from some "liberal" reporter- an action which will lead, hopefully, to less American soldiers dying, was met with a response of scorn and vitriol, instead of... "thank you?"

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:58 PM