February 11, 2005

The other L word

Modern-day politics still look upon the word "liberal" as some kind of horrific epithet, but with few of them in power these days there's a different word the ruling party seems to never be pasted with: liar.

The media has carefully crafted an art form out of subtle suggestion that does all the damage of flat-out accusation without actually making one. For all the mockery of Bill Clinton's "legally accurate" and Dan Rather's "false but accurate" lines, the Bush sympathy in mainstream media almost fall over itself to explain the "technicality" of concepts like "well we don't know that John Kerry doesn't molest children, do we?" The highest taboo of outright implication remains calling someone a liar, which is even more amazing when it's a situation that's beyond opinion, but is fact.

A liar is, quite simply, someone who knowingly doesn't tell the truth. This isn't some kind of concept to debate or situation to analyze. If someone knew something, and then deliberately told the opposite of that, then they're a liar. They should be called so.

Over at Daily Kos, user "Hunter" states the obvious:

National Security Advisor and now Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice indeed lied, repeatedly, when she claimed to the media and to Congress that the Administration didn't have advance warning of al-Qaeda threats -- that's roundly been proven by multiple reports and sources, at this point. Either Rice knew full well about the al-Qaeda threats or she didn't -- as National Security Advisor it's unclear which of those two options makes her look more stunningly incompetent[.]
Right-wingers can accuse the Left of as much partisanship all they want, but pointing out that Rice is a liar is as much an act of partisanship as reporting that your favorite sports team lost. It's not an issue of attacking; it's a matter of fact.

The media has an obligation to stop pretending like there's a lower level of debate here. We've gone past the argument over whether or not Rice is a liar. She is. The current debate is, and should be, over whether or not she committed perjury during her Senate testimony.

Following that, the debate will be over the number of winged monkeys that will spring forth from my butt before Rice actually faces punishment for her incompetence.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:30 PM


I have now recieved multiple e-mails from readers angered that I dismissed the quality of Trigger Happy TV along with the other British rejects from Comedy Central. In fact, more than one reader even emphasized the same belief that the show was only ruined when, in fact, Americans got their hands on it.

For the record, I adore British comedy. To think someone like me wouldn't is sheer insanity.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 4:27 PM

Fighting the good fight

It's going to be a busy weekend and likely next few weeks for me. As you may know, Campus Progress is going to launch on Wednesday, so most of my time is going to be spent at the Center getting our new site up and ready for all of you.

A special note for those of you in the Washington, DC area: Campus Progress will be hosting it's first event today, at 1:30 PM at George Washington University- "Iraq, Sudan, Tsunami: What are America's Responsibilities in the World" of which the subjects for discussion are pretty self-explanatory. One of the panelists will be the Center's own Gayle Smith, who knows more about this stuff than you could possibly imagine. We're really trying to get students involved with the Darfur crisis, and if you're in the area, it's worth a go. And yes, admission is absolutely free.

Okay, off to the office before I get fired for being late becuase I was busy blogging. Ironically, if I was a conservative, I'd get paid for that.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:21 AM

February 10, 2005

Random thought of the day

Does Comedy Central have some special deal with England where we make one of their comedians famous for about two weeks?

They had this show about a year ago where some British comedian runs around with a hidden camera doing stupid stuff. That lasted about a month or so. So then they hired that Graham Norton guy. Remember him? Me neither. They gave him like six episodes of a talk show.

So now they have this new British guy hosting a game show with a premise that ran thin about half way through the pilot episode, meaning that he's going to magically vanish in a few weeks too. I'm really not going anywhere with this; I just find the entire process interesting. Maybe it's easier to forget about failed comedians when they're boxed up and shipped back to Europe or something.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:52 PM

Why Not Him

Word came in (and I'm sure you'll find out from the other blogs soon enough) that Al Franken is going to be at the Center today to broadcast his show- which means sometime after Noon today, Al Franken will be about 15 feet away from me declaring whether or not he'll be running for Senate in Minnesota.

It'll be a real quick time to see if I'm wrong, but I don't think he's actually going to do it. It doesn't seem feasable (his show would end if he won, and he'd likely have to leave the show just to campaign) and it doesn't seem the most plausible. Franken is a huge friend of the Wellstone family and the Wellstone Action organization; it seems far more likely he's going to get behind a candidate representing that flag- perhaps even Wellstone's son himself.

This isn't to say I wouldn't love a Senator Franken, just that I think he's not going to make a jump to the Senate race like this. I could be wrong; tune in at noon today on Air America to find out, I guess.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:30 AM

No groaning in my store!

Congrats to Chris, who just got a job at DC Comics. You utter, utter bastard.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:29 AM

February 9, 2005

The audacity of being caught

As you would expect, PowerLine, LGF, and the rest of the usual right-wing "Dan Rather should be tried for treason and shot, not necessarily in that order" crowd have virtually nothing to say about a White House Press Correspondent who used a fake name, possibly a fake news service, and apparently runs porn sites on the side.

So amidst the discovery that most of "Jeff Gannon's" career is unethical and/or illegal, he posted this farewell message on his website today:

Because of the attention being paid to me I find it is no longer possible to effectively be a reporter for Talon News. In consideration of the welfare of me and my family I have decided to return to private life.

Thank you to all those who supported me.

Right. And because of the attention being paid to him, Michael Jackson finds it no longer possible to effectively molest children.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 2:30 PM

February 8, 2005

Beyond the tipping point

Leesa Klepper writes on the ACSBlog about the state of judicial appointments:

The fact is that our federal courts are, both quantitatively and ideologically, beyond the tipping point. Already, more than three-quarters of the federal appellate courts in our country are dominated by Republican appointees. This is a dramatic difference from 2000, when Democratic and Republican appointees were represented in almost equal number on the circuit courts. The difference will become even starker over the next four years as this President�s nominations agenda continues on its divisive path.

Although Republicans talk of obstruction, the fact is that President Bush had more of his judges confirmed in his first term than either President Reagan, the first President Bush, or President Clinton had confirmed in their first four years. President Bush had 204 of his appointees to the federal bench confirmed, out of a total of 877 judicial seats. President Bush filled the seats he inherited as a result of Republican obstruction of Clinton nominees � plus newly created seats -- with his own appointees, many of whom were selected for ideological reasons rather than through the customary and well-established bipartisan judicial selection commissions.

The result is that, with 32 of President Bush�s circuit court nominees confirmed by the Senate, ten out of the 13 appellate circuits in this country currently have more Republican appointees than Democratic appointees. If all of the President�s currently pending circuit court nominees are confirmed, 11 of the 13 circuits will tilt right. Had all of President Clinton�s nominees been confirmed, the circuit courts would have been evenly split.

Moreover, of the ten circuit courts that currently have more Republican appointees today, six of them are significantly out of balance, such that Republicans enjoy at least a two-to-one advantage over the Democratic appointees. On no appellate court today do Democratic appointees have that advantage, not even on the Ninth Circuit, which is regularly referred to by some Republicans as �out of the mainstream.� When Democratic appointees enjoyed just a 60% majority on the Ninth Circuit, some Republican senators argued that no more Democrats should be confirmed to that court. Were that principle to apply today, the Senate should not confirm any more Republican nominees to the ten circuits already dominated by Republican appointees. Of course, Republicans are not advocating this position today, but the public should be.

The whole thing is definitely worth the read. The idea that Democrats, not Republicans, are the party of judicial obstructionism is one of the biggest examples of revisionist history in the last two decades.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:56 PM

X marks the end of the spot

I'm not a sports fan. I really didn't watch much of the Super Bowl; in fact, I didn't even know who was playing in it until a co-worker told me Friday evening.

But I know enough about the Super Bowl to notice that they really like the whole branding of the event with Roman numerals- it's not Super Bowl 2005, it's Super Bowl XXXIX. Which really begs the question- isn't that going to look silly in a couple of years?

The entire "coolness" of the Roman numerals seems to rely on the usage of X for ten. Next year, the Roman numeration will make it Super Bowl XL. That's acceptable because of the double entendre- it's the XTRA LARGE Super Bowl! Super sized! Now with combo options! Rrrrragh! X is Roman for AWESOME!

But in 2007, we're going to have Super Bowl XLI. That's just stupid-looking. No symmetry. No macho typography that the NFL and football would demand- X is badass; L sounds like a letter that gets its ass kicked a lot. Can you imagine what 2016 is going to look like? Super Bowl L? That sounds like a hand-held video game system. XL can work for a while- Campbell's can market their Chunky Soups "with the XL taste!" but it will only be a matter of time before the Great Super Bowl Typography Crisis of 2016.

Promoters need to face the facts now before they're caught off guard- there's going to be a marketing crisis in ten years when the Super Bowl runs out of X's. Let's face it- at six million bucks an advertising minute, this is a financial crisis that's coming up far sooner than the failure of Social Security. I suggest the creation of a panel to analyze this, consisting of myself and six Philadephia Eagles cheerleaders of my choice.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:28 AM


Juan Cole makes Jonah Goldberg cry home to mommy. One of the most amazing blog posts I've ever read.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 7:12 AM

February 7, 2005

Newest comic - "Republicans love black people!"

Truly one of the more disgusting tactics of the conservative right, Republicans constantly bastardize the definition of Affirmative Action as "meeting quotas"- and yet, apparently when it comes to the sole subject of putting inept Bush-subservient toadies in office, the color of skin suddenly becomes the only factor. Meanwhile, a predominately white conservative punditry sits around asking how Democrats constantly "trick" blacks into voting Democratic- suggesting that Republicans either think A. everything Democrats and liberals do is merely a trick to exploit race for political gain, or B. that black people are all idiots. By all means, take your pick on which concept would ultimately be more nauseating.

Courtesy of a thread from Jesse rife with an entire cadre of racists in the comments section, you'll be reminded, of course, that prior to Dubya President Bill Clinton took claim to the most diverse cabinet in American history. But hey, this was rhetoric that came from Republicans angry that these "obstructionist Democrats" were blocking a whopping... umm... fraction of the number of Clinton nominees they blocked.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:41 AM

February 6, 2005

Sunday giant cat blogging

Note to self: make time to go see baby cheetahs.

Baby cheetahs! Can't.... handle... the adorable... argh!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:37 AM