December 5, 2009

Idiots: Based on a True Story

Right-wing activists are going for minute sixteen on the global warming e-mail story (if you haven't heard this story at all, well, then, that sort of says it all, doesn't it):

[T]wo Hollywood conservatives (yes, there are some) have called upon the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to rescind the prestigious, profitable gold Oscar statuette that it gave ex-Vice President Al Gore et al two years ago for the environmental movie "An Inconvenient Truth."

Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Academy members, are among a small, meandering pack of known political conservatives still believed to be on the loose in the liberal bastion of movie-making.

In 2007, Hollywood's Academy sanctified Gore's cinematic message of global warming with its famous statue, enriched his earnings by $100,000 per 85-minute appearance and helped elevate the Tennesseean's profile to win the Nobel Peace Prize despite losing the election battle of 2000 to a Texan and living in a large house with lots of energy-driven appliances.

Chetwynd and Simon were prompted to make their hopeless demand this week by the....

...leak two weeks ago of a blizzard of British academic e-mails purporting to show that scientists at the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit systematically falsified data to document the appearance of global warming in recent years.

The university is reportedly investigating the claims, which added dry fuel to the never-ending political debate over whether the Earth really is warming as a result of human activity or if it's just normal natural cycles and the debate is what's heated. The demand to withdraw Gore's award provides yet another opportunity to argue.

Yes, it certainly does provide another opportunity to argue. Like, for example, the fact that Al Gore doesn't have an Oscar to be rescinded.

Let's repeat that, because it sounds vaguely important. Al Gore doesn't have an Oscar. He never had one. He was never nominated for one. He was the main subject of a documentary, which won a Best Documentary Oscar... that was given to the director of the film, who is a person who is not Al Gore.

Now, I actually knew this, without needing to Google it, as I imagine "Roger L. Simon and Lionel Chetwynd, both Academy members," should have known too. But just for the sake of record, here is how long it took to Google this: 15.9 seconds.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:57 PM

December 4, 2009

Minarets and the rest

It's worth noting that the Swiss aren't exactly a people who up and decided to be racists last night:

The Swiss have a long history of trying to keep their culture free from the influence of both Muslim and Jewish immigrants.

In 1893, Switzerland banned the practice of shechitah, the kosher way of slaughtering animals, citing cruelty because the animals are not stunned first. Although the government opposed the measure, a group called the Anti-Semite Committee gathered more than 83,000 signatures to bring it to a referendum.

Even now, Jews and Muslims must import their kosher and halal meat from neighboring countries. In recent years, some groups have gone farther, trying to ban even its import. In 2003, for example, the Swiss Animal Protection group began a campaign to ban its import, but failed.

Six other European countries join Switzerland in banning the practice: Sweden, Norway, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The European Union recognized such slaughter earlier this year and declared kosher and halal meat can be sold in every country, but did not go so far as to legalize the slaughtering practice throughout the EU.

It's likewise worth noting that for all the xenophobia and racism in America, this country still has some vestiges of that whole "melting pot" thing. It's funny to hear conversations in this country about "preserving the culture" when the very nature of American culture is that it's a little bit of everyone else's. There are a lot of other countries with less experience in the integration of other countries, and as we've seen this week with the abhorrent Swiss minaret ban, it can be a lot uglier.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 1:00 PM

December 1, 2009

Pestering on Lester

I have to point out that for some curious reason, I got more responses to yesterday's Mike Lester thing than anything I've brought up in months. I wasn't going to bring it up since it seemed kind of petty but so many of you seemed to notice as well that Mike's joke isn't even written correctly- he meant to say that the number of children would be inversely proportional, since he's saying that lots of children meant Obama's point was weak.

I guess this sort of coincides with my post about ThinkProgress, though. And I don't mean this as an insult to you guys, it's just that this is an example of when a nitpick might not be necessarily useful to the larger argument. Yes, Lester fucked up on grammar with that cartoon. The larger issue, of course, is that he's a hypocritical douchebag who's obsessed with defending animal torturers. Big picture, folks.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:52 PM


For my stance on Charles Johnson's weepy dismissal from the annals of right-wing douchebaggery, please see Oliver Willis and Dennis the Peasant.

I like how everyone's making comparisons between Johnson and, say, David Brock or John Cole, ignoring the small issue of Cole and Brock apologizing for their prior stances. Hell, Cole personally apologized to me in an e-mail once. Johnson doesn't show any remorse at all, just more condescending superiority over his former readers. Andrew Sullivan is exactly the same way, with his constant droning that the Republican Party simply failed to meet his standards. It's them, not him. Got it.

Like all the other right-wing wannabe "journalists" Johnson's covering his ass by distancing himself from the radical fringe that previously supported him. The fullest extent of his "abandoning" of the right will be which Republicans he endorses as "safe and respectable" conservative alternatives to the same Democrats he despises. And given how well Sullivan got away with it, it's no wonder. Johnson will probably be joining mister "decadent enclaves of the leftists" any day now in the pantheon of just so much smarter than normal conservatives™.


Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:44 PM

November 30, 2009

Oh give me a break

Good liberals should point out when other liberals are looking like complete idiots, and this is sadly the case for ThinkProgress today. Suggesting that the Washington Times is running an ad with "racial overtones" because it uses the centuries-old "Three Wise Monkeys" trope is nonsense, and I mention that because it completely demeans and cheapens the influence of the important part of the story, which is the Times is running birther ads against Obama.

It goes without saying that there are racists in the conservative anti-Obama movement, and the birther movement itself is deeply enshrined in race-based paranoia. But there is nothing that strengthens ThinkProgress' calling out of this ad by suggesting it's racist. It simply isn't, and instead simply makes ThinkProgress look foolish. Way to give the right-wing "you guys say EVERYTHING is racist!" chorus a fresh basket of ammo, guys.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 3:35 PM

How many hypocrites dance on the head of a pin

Mike Lester snarks about ads for health care reform by saying "the strength of any argument is directly proportional to how many children you need to make it for you."

Mike Lester has drawn three seperate strips defending torturing animals because abortion is legal.

So here's your tip for the day, aspiring cartoonists- you get far more bang for your buck delivering your message with children than tortured animals. Mike Lester is simply not efficient.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 10:31 AM