February 4, 2006
I meant to post this a little earlier, but I've been busy entertaining the ever-entertaining Matt Bors, who came down to DC this weekend with his dad for the World Can't Wait rally. However, now that I've got a moment to reflect on a serious issue, it's time to close the book on the 2006 George W. Bush Dead Kitten Survey.
If you've been following the Survey, you know the premise, but more important you know the conclusive outcome: it was a dismal failure. By that I mean the conclusion we can make is that virtually no Bush-supporting right-winger is willing to definitively emote on his potential murdering of a kitten with a hammer. Of the 25 pundits I wrote, only three responded, and of those three only one attempted to make a serious response, and in the process failed to actually offer one.
Now, saying this means all right-wingers support Bush killing with a hammer is untrue, and it would be an unfair "when'd you stop beating your wife" scenario to suggest so. But for so few to even chastize the silliness of the proposal, let alone state there was a limit to their support for the President, is indeed telling.
I have recieved no response from the Justice Department, nor do I expect one. When I worked for my Assemblywoman in New Jersey we threw crank letters like that right in the trash, and I expected no less from the Attorney General's assistants. But I made the effort, which is far more than I can say for all these selfish folks who were lucky enough to be considered for this survey. Frankly, I think the American people deserved better.
February 3, 2006
That's not funny
Steve has been providing some great insight about the whole Mohammed cartoon outrage story.
First off, I'm not supporting Muslim extremists here. Outrage or not, there's no "justification" or whatever for what many are now calling for, such as killing Danish and French soldiers. That said, there's no excuse for people like Michelle Malkin's brand-new and latest bout of selective memory loss.
Are the cartoons freedom of speech? Well, yeah. Of course you have the right to print shitty, racist cartoons that serve no purpose but to inflame Arab sentiment and make racist right-wingers feel good about themselves. You have the right to show a black man hanging from a tree or a buck-toothed Asian, too. But in any of those cases you don't have the right to feign petty self-righteous faux-amazement that people got upset about it. Instead of saying "these are controversial but we uphold a standard of free speech, regardless of ones personal tastes," they claimed that people getting outraged were simply being ridiculous. Le Monde made this their cover today- they might as well have printed "dammit, we LOVE mocking Arabs and fuck you if you don't!" as the headline.
This isn't South Park, where there's actually some concept of social mores being challenged or questioned. Agree or disagree with various South Park episodes (like I do), there's an intelligent justification for most of the racial humor in that show. There isn't any here. The cartoons were drawn for one single purpose: to attack Muslims and provoke their ire.
And for some reason, racist halfwits like Malkin have decided to pull a 180 on their opinion of that.
A few months ago, the right-wingers, Malkin included, went apoplectic when a story broke about Guantanamo guards desecrating the Koran. Five minutes on Google will bring any talking point you want to prove their hypocrisy- the most common being "how dare USA Today write this! They've put the lives of American soldiers in danger by spreading this false story!"
A valid point, especially given the questioned veracity of the story. So how come a few month later Malkin is salivating at being able to do something that knowingly invokes the exact same reaction? There's no argument that this is putting troops in danger- the Muslim extremist groups are openly calling to kill soldiers because of this. And what is the right's reaction? "Bring it on." Golly, where have were heard that before. Cowards don't change their yellow stripes, do they?
The answer, of course, is obvious to pretty much anyone. She's doing this because it feels so good to her to be a racist. And because she doesn't given a damn about the lives of soldiers. Or, at the very least, she cares about tweaking liberals and angering Muslims a hell of a lot more. And the same goes to any right-winger finding the first amendment as a token of convenience, yet again.
February 2, 2006
Venture Bros. Season 1 to be released on DVD... the week after my birthday.
Still, a net positive.
Before I forget
Oh yeah, and speaking of Atrios, thanks to everyone who showed up at the Center for American Progress on Tuesday for the State of the Union shindig, including Duncan himself, Ezra Klein, Sam Seder, Matt Yglesias, and Kim from Drinking Liberally, who I actually met over a year ago and forgot to mention then as well.
And throw away the key
Atrios links to an issue very dear to me: the approaching and already past-due serving of justice to Christie Whitman.
And just to be clear, yes, part of it's personal. I endured her entire tenure as New Jersey's governor, where her magnificent policies included trying to destroy the entire education system and leaving the environment to rot in between photo shoots about how she was going to be the first female Vice-President. I then moved on to NYU in lower Manhattan, and she then moved on to become head of the EPA, where she declared post-9/11 that it was perfectly safe to inhale fragments of dissolved skyscraper that were floating around lower Manhattan for a few months.
We know for a fact she said it was safe to breathe the air. We know for a fact she was lying. I really doubt the stiff fine is going to be comfort to several thousand people, myself included, who could possibly die early because of her criminal incompetence.
God, that's perfect
The Cabinet-level Office of Lowered Expectations
T. J. Walker of the National Review praises the President for not drooling during the State of the Union:
Whether you love or loath George W. Bush, you can not deny that he has learned how to read a teleprompter. His smirks are gone. The squinting has disappeared. The nervous rushing through a speech is a distant memory. Tics are nonexistent. The first half of his speech was completely devoid of any stumbles whatsoever. (Granted, he did stumble over ten words in the second half, but none were disruptive.) Indeed, Bush was devoid of Bushisims.And to think, he was only in public politics for twelve years. They grow up so fast.
Bush exuded confidence through his steady eye contact and his lack of head jerking. He conveyed emotion without seeming exasperated. For once, he seemed to have spent more hours in a week rehearsing his speech that at the gym.
Next on the agenda: the White House hopes to have the President eating with a fork by 2007.
February 1, 2006
In case it was driving you nuts
Tom Tomorrow has graciously filtered the entire State of the Union speech into pirate-speak. This is why there is sunshine in my life.
OMG they said teh Hitlar YAWN
A Democratic Congressman called the Capitol police "Bush's Gestapo" after they arrested Cindy Sheehan for wearing an anti-war t-shirt. This has upset John Cole, who notes:
So it appears the Capitol Police were simply following the law against sloganeering/demonstrating in the Capitol, a law that seems to make no sense but which appears to be answered pretty uniformly."Law against sloganeering/demonstrating?" See, that's where Cindy screwed up. If she had just dyed her finger purple instead of wearing a t-shirt, everything would have been fine.
Cole, by the way, is a member of Pajamas Media, whose co-founder turns up over 180 Hitler references to a sitting Senator on its site alone. I'm sure both sides could spend all day on this activity if we all didn't already know how completely stupid this already is.
January 31, 2006
In the criminal justice system, you're considered especially gorgeous
From the eternally-brilliant Brandon Bird: Law & Order: SVU Valentine's Day cards.
Not much to say off the top of my head about the Oscar nominations, except of course that conservatives are going to be spurting blood over them. The only one that matters to me right now is hardly going to be mentioned in the news though, but it's very significant: congratulations to my former professor, and the head of the NYU Animation program, John Canemaker, for his nomination for Best Animated Short Film.
January 30, 2006
Latest comic - "The Schmabramoff scandal"
This week's installment seems to explain itself, so I'll devote the bulk of this space to last week's Dead Kitten Survey. I'll probably have the banner up for the next few days or so, but as it's been days now since anyone else I surveyed responded, I'm guessing I'm not going to hear any more responses. I'll have more on that sometime in the future.
I would like to reflect on the e-mails I got this week about it, though. In fact, I think it's safe to say I received more e-mail this week than almost any other time since I started the weblog. Several of you wrote me to tell me that you not only loved the Survey and the associated strips, but that you remember seeing my cartoon in the Washington Square News back at NYU. That's really amazing and I wish I could write back each and every one of you and tell you how much I appreciate it. My gratitude is especially significant considering just how unbelievably awful those strips were in my Freshman year.
January 29, 2006
Random thought of the day
I'm not going to begrudge Atrios of his use of Occam's Razor, but I would like to ask one quick thing about a possible defense of getting Alito over and done with.
Basically, I'm looking at this right now from the eyes of a Republican politician. Looking at all the other news on the horizon, if, as the Republicans assume, Alito's confirmation is inevitable anyway, shouldn't it be Republicans who wouldn't mind dragging this out as long as possible? I understand that Reid and Frist are having round six billion of The Great Penis Length Tournament in the form of Bush getting to brag about Alito in the State of the Union. Fine.
But once Alito is confirmed, there's not much of a story there. What else is in the headlines? Let's see: there's Bush trying to pretend global warming doesn't exist, Bush having a 39% approval rating, Bush openly having no idea how little money he's giving to college students, and... oh, right, that Jack someone or other guy.
Chances are, post-SOTU, the headlines are going to start veering toward all Abramoff, all the time. I know there's a disparity between this and the Whitewater coverage, but it's unavoidable that Abramoff is connected to a large number of Republicans, it's unavoidable that this is a full-blown scandal, and it's unavoidable that it's just too juicy for the media to ignore.
So long story short, don't the Republicans know damn well what's coming? On Tuesday night at about 9:45 PM and the President has said goodnight and gone to sleep to Chris Matthews asking Peggy Noonan on MSNBC to explain just how magnificent he was but if she could take ten minutes to do it that'd be great, the 2006 Senate race will officially be underway. Wouldn't the GOP want a fight against "obstructionist Democrats" over "and in other news, here's the forty or so Republicans who were given money by a convicted felon?"
I'm not saying I agree with it, but I understand the possible logic behind Democrats realizing there's just no way they're going to stop the Alito confirmation, and that maybe it might just be good to get it over with so they can focus on reminding Americans why half the GOP should be in jail right now.