July 28, 2006

PRIME LIVES

Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Optimus Prime.

Oh my holy sweet tap-dancing crap YES.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 8:19 PM

Enjoy your summer driving, folks

As you contemplate $3.00+ gas, enjoy this fun fact: This summer, Exxon Mobil made $1,318 in profit.

Every second.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:30 PM

Oh. Right. Those guys

Bryan Collinsworth points out a somewhat-significant little known fact about one of the right wing's favorite whipping boys:

For years, the "Big Dig" has been a favorite right-wing example of the evils of big government. The massive Boston highway construction project, which took over a decade to complete and came in billions over budget, has been endlessly slammed by Bill O'Reilly, Ann Coulter and the like as proof of what happens when Ted Kennedy and his fellow Massachusetts liberals attempt to undertake a project better left to barely regulated private business.

There's only one problem: Barely regulated private business is deeply entangled in the Big Dig fiasco, very likely including the recent tunnel collapse that ended the life of newlywed Milena Del Valle. And one name in particular stands out.

I bet you don't even need to click the link to know if it's a company making billions in no-bid Iraq contracts... but go ahead, check anyway.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:13 AM

Journamalism!

Wow! You mean to tell me Time.com will now feature the mind-gripping political intellect of both Andrew Sullivan and Ana Marie Cox?

Where do I sign up? And by sign up, I mean I have to vomit!

Posted by August J. Pollak at 11:08 AM

July 27, 2006

Miracle in the Magic Kingdom

Brace yourselves, folks: Disney is making a new animated movie that's not 3D.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:45 PM

July 26, 2006

Stupid=easy

More from Oliver on the latest right-wing mantra of "either Israel gets to kill anyone they want or you hate Jews." It's almost too obvious that Andrew Sullivan would become part of this spectacle, as I can't imagine anyone more prominent in punditry who thrives on making a bee-line for the easiest opinion on anything and then declaring anyone who disagrees with you an enemy of all that is decent. (If you're really lucky he might even name a cute little fake award for you!)

Oliver also makes a money quote in his comments amidst his usual short bus of stalkers:

I�m almost loathe to respond to ... incessant trolling, but its symptomatic of exactly the mindset I noted above. Cons are incapable of accomodating more than one thought in their minds at a time. The idea that Israel can defend itself while also not indiscriminately killing innocent Lebanese people is somehow too complex and becomes �liberals hate Jews� (I�ve got two yarmulkes and participation in a Jewish wedding that says otherwise, but thats neither here nor there).

How stupid are you people? Like our war with Al Qaeda, it is clear that the Israelis have superior firepower - but the idea is that with great power comes great responsiblity and the need to be a moral actor in it all. The right would prefer that America and our allies be no better than a Hezbollah guerilla or Mohammed Atta by sacrificing innocents in a manner that simply breeds a next generation of terror. Its a form of idealogical genocide because the only way for that tactic to succeed is to kill everyone.


Nope, clearly we're all anti-semites. Andrew Sullivan said so after a deep and soul-searching twenty seconds of reading someone's e-mail.

Unlike Oliver, I think most conservatives are very capable of having more than one thought at a time; they just don't want to when it's not really necessary to be successful. Though different in tone, Andrew Sullivan and Michelle Malkin both learned this using varying methods. Most conservatives, especially the pundits, are at the very least incredibly clever if not legitimately intelligent. But in the post-9/11 punditry era, a lot of people just decided it's much easier to be incredibly stupid.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:05 PM

Yes.

Please help yourselves to the Star Wars theme on a banjo.

You're welcome.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:08 AM

A Modest Proposal

Tom Teepen on Bush's stem-cell veto:

According to an official, who said he was speaking anonymously so as not to seem ridiculous to his friends, proposed legislation, now undergoing final review, that would outlaw the destruction of embryos in private fertility laboratories.

The source said penalties for the crime are still being discussed but noted that the president has always really liked the death penalty.

Couples using in vitro fertilization would be required to give names to all of their embryos, conduct an on-going search for families to adopt their unused embryos and provide funerals for embryos that die naturally.

The Justice Department is said to be studying whether the deliberate destruction of new embryos should be included in hate-crime legislation. The administration considers the destruction of excess embryos created for infertile couples abortion, and some in the administration reportedly believe pro-choice advocates want to encourage stem cell research because "they just hate embryos."

At other times, the president has expressed doubts about evolution and global warming and he is said by some close to him not to be too sure about gravity. Bush has been known on slow days to keep dropping a rubber ball on the Oval Office desk over and over to test the gravity theory.

Hilarious. Read the whole thing.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:39 AM

Altered State

Glenn Greenwald on "chickenhawks:"

Although there is no formal definition for it, the "chicken hawk" criticism is not typically made against someone who merely (a) advocates a war but (b) will not fight in that war and/or has never fought in any war (although, admittedly, there are those who mis-use the term that way). After all, the vast majority of Americans in both political parties meet that definition. The war in Afghanistan was supported by roughly 90% of Americans, as was the first Persian Gulf War, even though only a tiny fraction of war supporters would actually fight in those wars which they advocated.

Something more than mere support for a war without fighting in it is required to earn the "chicken hawk" label. Chicken-hawkism is the belief that advocating a war from afar is a sign of personal courage and strength, and that opposing a war from afar is a sign of personal cowardice and weakness. A "chicken hawk" is someone who not merely advocates a war, but believes that their advocacy is proof of the courage which those who will actually fight the war in combat require.

And right on cue, "AcademicElephant" at RedState posts the generic "Israel is awesome for killing everyone in Lebanon" cartoon, followed by a thread mostly discussing how John Kerry would have surrendered the Middle East to terrorists.

It's a perfect example of the chickenhawk mentality: simplifiying the argument to reach the conclusion you want. All you have to do is ignore the several thousand dead and/or displaced civilians in the process who are, according to previously-rational human beings, guilty as Hezbollah because they may not have fled their homes 24 hours before Israel reduced them to rubble.

One of the resident kneejerk contrarians on Campus Progress' blog also chooses the well-paved "everything's fine because Israel is awesome" path... and he actually flat-out uses "Israel is awesome" as his argument. Really.

Israel kicks ass - expect nothing but efficiency and professionalism from them
A few thousand Lebanese (and three or four UN observers) might have a disagreement with Israel's "professionalism and efficiency," but rest assured, it's perfectly okay, because what matters is that it's not Israel's fault:

While collateral damage is always a terrible thing - I've seen the pictures up close, the really gory ones the media doesn't print, and they're enough to make you think twice about even the most noble war - I feel more sympathy for the victims of the Taliban than I do the civilians caught up in the assualt on Hezbollah, though I do feel sympathy for both.

So we turn back to AcademicElephant again, who just flat-out says that it's the wife's fault her husband drinks and then beats her.

So when the anti-Israel bleeding hearts start bemoaning the state of Lebanese civilians, ask them about the Hezbollah policy of "blending" with the local population. The terrorists are congratulating themselves on their clever saving of their own skins. But how much concern are they showing for the civilians they have thrown to the Israeli lion at their door?

How dare those Hezbollah guerillas not stand in an open circle to be easily defeated by their enemy. Who do they think they are: every urban combat force in the history of modern warfare?

This is chickenhawkism at its finest: whatever the side you support is doing, it's justified. And if it turns out there's negative effects to it, it's not your side's fault. We're awesome; pass the popcorn.

I hate writing about the Middle East. I really do. Because even writing this I read it and realize I'm forced into a tone that implies sympathy, or even support, for terrorist groups like Hezbollah. I don't support Israel, but I certainly don't support Hezbollah. What I support is people not being killed. And for the last two weeks I have failed to see any military or diplomatic strategy from Israel that actually endorses that despite its allegations that caring about human life is what seperates Israel from deadly terrorist groups in the first place.

Instead, RedState and the others mentioned here call Israel "awesome" for doing something that, while arguably necessary, is likely the most un-awesome thing a dominant military power in the region can do. It would be really nice if once, just once, an unabashedly pro-Israel blog mentioned a desire for people to stop being killed without an asterisk at the end of the sentence.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 9:31 AM

July 25, 2006

Kangaroo vs. guy who looks like Droopy

Skippy interviews a Quinnipiac University professor on the role of blogs and online media in the Lieberman/Lamont race.

I haven't touched on this race a lot, mainly because, to be honest, I want to wait and see what happens before the "netroots" start popping the corks. Getting Lamont on the ballot and in the news was fantastic, but I have to admit, there's no greater skill among Democrats, no matter what faction they are, than snatching defeat from the jaws of victory right in the eleventh hour. Nothing would make me happier than to be wrong.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:46 PM

Only in a country other than America

Alex from Portsmouth sends along some video of Ann Coulter flogging her book in the U.K., and clearly proving she's never watched the BBC, lest she understand news reporters in England actually have this occasional trait we call "inquiry" so lacking from her usualy admirers at Fox News.

My favorite part is when the guy just sort of looks at her and goes "I'm sorry, I'm just asking if you actually believe all this." It's like he just met the world's stupidest robot.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:28 PM

July 24, 2006

Latest comic - "Hello, goodbye"

Given the audience I've had over the last year or two it's been much rarer that I don't do a strip that's really political. It's also very rare that I wax intensively on a personal level here on this website. At least, not about stuff that's actually true.

If mushy introspective dialogue in leiu of a political gag appears to you as a form of betrayal, please accept my apologies. The art of the social commentator is to reflect on the issues of the week, and in reality, the encroaching World War III in the Middle East and the Senate races and all that were of less interest to me this week than a very close friend from work leaving to move across the country.

I consider myself a very lucky person in that I have never truly dealt with extreme loss on an emotional level. I also accept myself as a person who is very, very difficult at dealing with changes, but I suppose it's yet another of those life lessons one must accept and deal with. This week's installment either came out as a superior alternative to the 1,000-word personal note I could have written the departing friend, or it's sappier than your average Hallmark greeting card only without the floral motif. In other words, I'm pretty sure this one is going to end up on refridgerators; it's just a matter of not knowing exactly what demographic those refridgerator owners will be.

Please, understand this isn't a call for letters of sympathy or anything like that. This is just, to be as pretentious as humanly possible, what artists just do sometimes. However, in the spirit of normality, buy some crap.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 12:08 AM