October 7, 2005

Done it again

I sincerely doubt the news stories will include all this, but if you were watching C-SPAN at all just now you witnessed a fine bit of political theatre of the absurd.

The vote came up on the Floor this afternoon for the "let the oil companies do whatever the hell they want" bill pushed by the GOP for Katrina relief. On initial vote it went down 210-212, and Pelosi called for the vote to be closed.

Which, of course, didn't happen. With House Democrats screaming by the end, the GOP leadership kept the vote open for 45 minutes to allow them to strongarm 2 Republican congressmen into switching their vote... at which point they called for the vote to be closed. As House Dems began chanting "shame" the Speaker then directed a vote to be brought up on a fluff bill honoring Simon Weisenthal, which was basically designed to force the House Dems to stay in the chamber and maintain a quorum so it didn't look like they were walking out on a bill honoring Weisenthal.

Many recall this is similar to Tom DeLay's stunt a year ago when he kept the Floor open to pressure a victory on the Medicare bill. I would not be surprised if DeLay had a hand in this little ploy even with his hands full as they are right now.

In a less civilized form of political discourse this is an example of what we would call "evil." But by the decorum rules of Congress this is apparently business as usual.

Update: Video now up at ThinkProgress. Keep in mind while watching that these are the people who run our country.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:07 PM

October 6, 2005

Creepy

I don't use Friendster very often, but I went on today and noticed they apparently changed the setup so that you can now see every person who looked at your profile.

I guess in the long run, that's kind of a good barebones anti-stalker thing, but I have a strange feeling that it's sort of counter to one of the service's main functions. Why the heck would people looking for, ahem, "activity partners" want to let the people they're checking out immediately know they were looking at them? It's as if a bar enacted a new policy where everyone had to wear a flashing red light on their head that went off any time they looked at someone else. And what about friends knowing you looked at their profile but were too bored to add them to your friend list? Do we really want an era of "I saw you looking at my profile on Friendster; why didn't you e-mail me aaaargh I LOVE YOU CALL ME!" nonsense starting up because of this?

I don't really mind that my friends now know I've been looking at their Friendster profiles... hell, some of them already know I need photographic reference for cartoon characters I'm loosely basing on them (very, very loosely), but for some reason Friendster's new "feature" seems to counter the tenets of anonymity that made the internet successful in the first place.

Update: Okay, an inordinate number of you have alerted me to the fact that you can disable the feature. Still, it's weird thing for those not in the know.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:40 AM

October 5, 2005

Legacy

Steven Saus writes about a serious issue with Harriet Miers' nomination that reflects on one of the major theories I had about the pick:

I am upset that George Bush would select Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. It is not because of her politics, gender, or experience. It's because of the Constitution. It's because she has worked as Bush's lawyer since 1994.

The branches of our government check and balance each other. By nominating his lawyer to serve on the Supreme Court, President Bush has turned his back on the ideals of our Constitution. This nomination threatens the balance of our government. President Bush has refused to release documents related to her work for him. The conflicts of interest have already begun.

It's a valid point, but I think it's a sensible assumption that this conflict of interest will not only be ignored, but is the very reason Bush appointed her in the first place.

For all this talk of "litmus tests" it should be obvious to anyone that Bush has at least a general understanding of Miers' opinions about various important subjects, considering she's been basically on his retainer for over a decade. Bush isn't concerned about his Justices voting for the views held by his ultra-conservative constituency; he's concerned about his Justices voting to cover his own ass.

The last five years have not, shall we say, gone according to plan. For all the damage Bush has done to the nation, consider his major "legacy" goals, all of which have utterly failed: Iraq is a mess, Palestinian statehood is stillborn, the Federal government has expanded to degrees unseen since FDR, bin Laden got away, Social Security "reform" is dead (by Bush's own admission at this point) and the majority of the country hates both the PATRIOT Act and No Child Left Behind. Instead of cementing a Reagan-esque legacy for conservatives to admire at this point in his life, he's wondering what he has to do to make sure even more scandal and incompetence at his behest isn't uncovered.

Enter Harriet Miers, the soon-to-be highest-ranking Bush fanboy in the United States of America. Do you really see a Supreme Court Justice Miers ruling to release Bush's sealed records? Or compelling his cronies to testify? Or overturning his executive orders to hide the documents related to his father?

Harriet Miers isn't George W. Bush's pit bull. She's his cleanup crew. Instead of a Justice guaranteed to satisfy every wet dream written about by right-wingers for the last six years, Bush thought about his own future and decided to appoint a lifetime stage mom to wipe his ass whenever obstructing inquiries into his ineptness reached the highest legal authority.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:43 PM

Goddamn panda

Goddamit, Butterstick. Stop being so cute.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:00 PM

And I hear she didn't get the coveted bin Laden endorsement either

The Freepers are distressed over the news that Operation Rescue will not endorse Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court.

Just out of curiosity, is there really anything more telling about the current state of the people trying to control the Republican Party than the fact they're upset a terrorist group isn't backing the President?

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:08 AM

October 4, 2005

In his own words

Please enjoy Tom DeLay's Guide to Criminal Justice - a potential inmate�s views on how justice should work, in his own words.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:27 AM

Crazy Commandment Flashback

Roy Moore, he of the Law That Supercede Those of Man For I Loves Teh Jesus, has finally made it official and announced he's running for governor of Alabama.

As you can lovingly recall from this strip from almost two years ago, the irony is overwhelming, the surprise that he'd eventually do this underwhelming. Odds are Alabama will now elect a governor who lost his last job for breaking the law because, by god, you just can't forgive the guy who raised taxes to keep schools open, can you.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:17 AM

October 3, 2005

Newest comic - "Ham Sandwich: a true crime story"

I hate saying stuff like this because it sounds pretentious and it's probably only true to me personally anyway, but I'm leaning toward this being one of my favorite strips I've ever done. Thanks to a cavalcade of pundits offering the same stupid tired line over and over again in the wake of Tom DeLay's indictment I had the opportunity to draw a ham sandwich wearing a yarmukle. In all honesty, that made my day.

As noted in the secret comminque above, the new book remains available on the merch page, but as part of a new experiment in "wanting money" I've finally gone ahead and set up ordering signed prints. So if you've been waiting desperately for the last two years to get one, now you can. Also, you might want to find a hobby. Two years? Jesus Christ, people.

And yes. I know it's an urban legend. Please don't e-mail me about it.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:09 AM