January 29, 2005

It's almost as if they're too stupid to realize their blog has a search button

Blogs for Bush is pretending to be outraged at Oliver, Kos, etc. for pointing out how ridiculous (and damaging) Dick Cheney's decision to whip out his 9/11 Tourist of Death costume was.

Which, I guess, makes sense, as pointing out a photo of someone is just juvenile.

Okay, so it's just the responses from their commentors. They can't be held responsible. I mean, the actual site owners wouldn't post a picture and talk about how badly it affects a candidate.

And they would certainly never link to other blogs that did the same.

In fact, the entire "let's make fun of ridculous photos" thing is totally beneath them.

Jesus. What I don't get about some of these warbloggers- and I'm really serious here- is how they make hypocrites and morons out of themselves over the things that are the easiest to avoid. I mean, you'd think they'd save these points for actual issues, but no- let's waste all our stupid on pretending that we've never talked about a bad photo-op. I don't get it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM

January 27, 2005

Working on it

A lot of you sent e-mails about the last few of my posts; I've read them all but haven't had the time to post a few of them just yet. I actually just got back in my apartment.

I should mention I was out later than usual because I decided to finally get off my lazy butt and say hi to Oliver, what with him being at the Drinking Liberally event only a few blocks from my office. Despite my overwhelmingly abundant word usage, I'm actually very social-shy, so actually doing something communal after only- umm- three months living here is, in fact, a big step. Also, I don't actually drink, but that's really not much of an excuse for these things.

It was nice to run into a few really awesome people there who actually recognized me- it kind of makes me feel really bad, actually, because aside from the wallflowerness I also have a horrible, horrible habit of forgetting everyone's name- even if they just told it to me two minutes ago. So you can image how I feel at these events, or at comic shows, when I get the occasional "hey, I love your blog! You remember me? I wrote you that e-mail three months ago!" So please, everyone, understand I really do appreciate it even if I appear like some arrogant asshole who doesn't remember your name. I don't remember your name, but it's not because I'm an arrogant asshole but because I no think stuff... good.

Anyway, they're great events, and I'm sure I'll stop by them every now and then. Liklihood will increase when it's not, you know, ten degrees outside.

Also, this will be mentioned frequently for the next few days: it looks like I'll be switching site hosts soon, possibly this very weekend. This means downtime. Warnings will be given whenever possible and relevant.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:28 PM

August J. Pollak's Political Starfucking, pt. 2

I just touched Wesley Clark.

That is all.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:12 PM

January 26, 2005

Guh?

Others are commenting on this, but I'm confused for a whole different reason:

On the heels of all this comes an Associated Press story that hit the wires this afternoon headlined, "GOP Seeks Donations to Get Bush Plans 'Past the Liberal Media.'" It seems that Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman sent a fund-raising email out Wednesday morning telling supporters that donations are needed "to get the president's message past the liberal media filter and directly to the American people." Funny, isn't it, how at the same time the administration gets busted for paying off columnists to tout its programs, all of a sudden it needs cash to "get past" the media. Just this morning, the president told reporters at a press conference that "all our Cabinet secretaries must realize that we will not be paying, you know, commentators to advance our agenda. Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."

This isn't the first time Bush and his crew have complained about the "filter." In October 2003, the president complained that "Somehow you just got to go over the heads of the filter and speak directly to the American people."

And yet they say this to print reporters and television cameras, all part of this magical "filter" he's talking about.

Maybe I'm just being snarky here, but I really wish someone on the right could explain this to me: how, exactly, does one "deliver their message" to the people without going through "the filter?" Carrier pigeons?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:57 PM

Hillary, cont'd.

From reader Larisa:

I was moved to write about your post regarding Hillary Clinton's article..

Although I do agree that there is common ground that could be found on this issue, I am really depressed by HC's suggestion that it will be on "religious and moral values." As"religion" and "moral values" are expressed by the state or other institutions, those words tend to correlate with lack of sex education and lack of access to birth control.

However, access to sex education and birth control are the immediate ways to reduce the number of abortions chosen by women.

More broadly, I think the two sides could come together on free health care, paid parental leave, free/subsidized child care, and a living wage, things that would contribute to a pregnant woman or girl at least not being forced to choose an abortion for economic reasons (including caring about the future quality of life for her child). You could say these aims are informed by moral/religious values, but you don't usually see people self-identified as moral-religious or pro-life as being very concerned with them.

There is a new public anti-abortion activity on college campuses (I saw it at Berkeley yesterday). "Feminists for life" etc. The thing is, most of their arguments that make sense focus on these economic and education issues which few would argue with them about (at least at Berkeley). But when they march, as they did in SF this weekend, they are surrounded by (and outnumbered by) priests and monks and economic conservatives and blatant sexists and homophobes. This gives me little confidence that the "feminist" or non-homophobic or non-economic-conservative aspects of their position would be supported by their movement if it gained in power.

I think these people should be taking their argument to the "pro-life"
movement, and outside that simply join the fight for health care, education, living wage, social insurance, etc. Otherwise they serve as cover for the people who want to further destroy the quality of life for poor families and restrict everyone's right to choose.



Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:49 PM

News Flash: Sen. Robert Byrd to abuse, then give up, cocaine and alcohol

WASHINGTON, DC - Senator Robert Byrd announced today that in order to stave off constant attacks from right-wingers desperate to find reasons to counter his opinions without actually having a case of their own, he will become addicted to alcohol and cocaine, then have a spiritual revelation and give them all up, at which point the issue of his past will be irrelevant.

"Apparently, conservative pundits feel that my regretful action of joining the Ku Klux Klan with my teenage friends in the 1940's- something I denounce, regret to this day, and work to reconcile through my position as a legislator- makes anything negative I say about a black woman unthinkable," the West Virginia Democrat explained this morning, referring to the current Senate review over the nomination of Condoleeza Rice for Secretary of State. If confirmed, Rice will be the first black woman to hold the title, a factoid Republicans have not brought up in any way whatsoever for purely political purposes.

Senator Byrd explained, however, that Republicans and conservatives not only find no issue with President George W. Bush refusing to address his past, but openly admire him for his claims to have overcome drinking. "Clearly the only way to make my past an irrelevant issue would be to develop a massive cocaine habit, and then tell the press it's unfair to ask me about it," said Byrd.

Byrd added that if this plan fails, he will then refuse to answer questions about his military service, which like the President conservatives found to be an acceptable position, and if necessary, have his wife kill a man with her car.

Republicans in the Senate disagreed with the strategy.

"It's clear that Sen. Byrd has to compensate for his past. This needless showmanship only delays the inevitable confirmation of this theoretically-competent public servant," said Mississippi Senator Trent Lott, who then sighed, "if only Strom Thurmond had been elected President, Dr. Rice would never even be in this difficult position." He then stared wistfully into space for several minutes.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:40 AM

And Maggie makes two

Another right-wing columnist was paid off using taxpayer dollars.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:11 AM

January 25, 2005

This from the guy who calls a guy "Pootie Poot"

Just as a quick flashback, I drew this strip in November of 2002. So it's fascinating that the White House has pulled yet another rhetorical 180 to serve its agenda- this time in suddenly deciding that using crafted terminology to define policy is now unacceptable.

This is the White House that championed the term "Partial-Birth abortion" despite the fact that a procedure of that name doesn't even exist in the medical community. Not as successful, but successful none the less, was Bush's down-home "we gotta stop that thur Death Tax" babble throughout the 2000 campaign. Apparently, everyone's afraid of death, but only the top 2% of Americans were concerned about their Estates and Entitlements. Whod'a thunk?

Now, the media, and frankly the American populace as a whole, recognizes Bush's private accounts plan for exactly what it suggests- private accounts- and the White House has declared open partisan war, not on any counter proposals from Democrats, but on what people are calling Bush's plan.

What's next, an executive order mandating that Americans are no longer allowed to use the term "Dubya?" Is there really a debate to be had over whether the President telling Americans what words are and aren't forbidden is bad or not?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:18 AM

Holy Crap!

Hillary Clinton actually says something useful and logical about a highly controversial subject:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Monday that the opposing sides in the divisive debate over abortion should find "common ground" to prevent unwanted pregnancies and ultimately reduce abortions, which she called a "sad, even tragic choice to many, many women."

In a speech to about 1,000 abortion rights supporters near the New York State Capitol, Mrs. Clinton firmly restated her support for the Supreme Court's ruling in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion nationwide in 1973. But then she quickly shifted gears, offering warm words to opponents of legalized abortion and praising the influence of "religious and moral values" on delaying teenage girls from becoming sexually active.

"There is an opportunity for people of good faith to find common ground in this debate - we should be able to agree that we want every child born in this country to be wanted, cherished and loved," Mrs. Clinton said.

Now I don't agree with everything she says in this article, but by god it's a hell of a lot more logical and sensible than pandering to the anti-chocie crowd by, for example, suggesting than an anti-choice quasi-Republican be appointed head of the DNC. In the three years she's been a senator this is one of the first times I can immediately recall her actually saying something that makes her look good, campaign-wise.

I mean, she still doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming President, but man, is it nice to see stuff like this anyhow.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:25 AM

January 24, 2005

Newest comic - "Ashlee Simpson Chaos Theory"

While a valid analysis and one which, not to brag, is brilliant in its hilarity, I actually have a completely different theory about celebrities of the last few years that I will present now, providing you read the actual cartoon and laugh for a moment first.

People talk all the time about how television is making Americans stupid. In the short form, that's true. But I think we can flesh that out a little more. Recently, I've come to the conclusion that subconsciously, Americans know that television makes them stupid... and subconsciously, Americans have a sadomasochistic desire to be berated by television for it.

I think there is no greater proof of this than the last few cycles of what we call "reality" television. The underlying theme in many of these shows is not the idea of people merely encountering new environments, but specifically the idea of people considered "better" that others pointing that out.

The initial highlight of American Idol was the clips of some haughty British guy telling people that they suck. Not to be outdone, NBC retaliated by creating a hit show in which one of the wealthiest certified assholes on the face of the earth are made into the hero of a program in which he tells twelve people how much he hates them. Even lifestyle shows, from Queer Eye to Trading Spaces, rely on a subconscious underlying theme: you are bad because you do not have the right brand of expensive furniture or styling cream; here are some richer, prettier people to tell you how much better you look with $50,000 of goods and services applied.

MTV gives us Jessica Simpson and the Osbournes- characters in which the aura of cuteness wears off shortly, allowing you a brief moment to contemplate, "why am I making these rich idiots more popular?" And, of course, the culmination would of course come from the champions of taste at the Fox Network, who for a recently-announced third year running have found a way to make entertainment out of small town folk and working-class Americans be mocked and insulted by the presence of two girls who are, with documentation to prove it, the two most horrible people alive.

Long story short, America realizes we shouldn't be watching this. So we allow these people to punish our intelligence for the way we mistreat it. And with Ashlee Simpson, we are given the glimmer of hope that America gets this- that we suddenly realize we're taking our brains for granted, and we must treat it better, or else we'll allow morons like Paris Hilton to have control over it.

And so, The Ashlee Simpson Chaos Theory. I think it's amazing that for once, America recognizes that something is being lab-grown in their pop-culture- a genetic offspring of a prior star, with PR and fame completely fabricated by her handlers. Simpson appears to be The Truman Show of celebrities- and for once, America is reactively rejecting the organ it never asked for being transplanted into the mainstream. So with that, I find almost a devilish fascination with her continuing torment. Sue me.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:42 AM

January 23, 2005

Heeeeere's lack of creativity

I'm really upset about the loss today of one of this country's greatest entertainers. That said, it's going to be even worse because of the response that's so painfully inevitable you just want to stick a fork in your skull.

So that in mind, please accept my pre-emptive apology, America, on behalf of every lazy cartoonist in the country, for the obligatory cartoon of Carson entering the gates of Heaven with St. Peter saying "Here's Johnny!" that every single one of them are going to draw tomorrow.

Update: A few readers pointed it out, but Daryl Cagle drew this one. Ironically, or perhaps intentionally, it's on the page where he collects all the Carson strips.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:59 PM