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September 19, 2003
Okay, Iíll spare you any further pirate talk, though I will continue to post under my Pirate Name until the holiday is officially over.
Do watch out for this latest virusóthe crafty buggers who send these things out are trying to trick you into downloading their virus by pretending that itís actually a patch for a virus. I havenít actually looked at this, but a reader tells me thereís more info here. Bottom line: if you get any email purportedly from Microsoft, be very wary.
Now, to switch gears, I want to recommend a book, and astonishingly, it's not mine. The folks at FAIR have put together a volume on Bill OíReillyís countless misstatements and distortions called "The Oh Really Factor," which I read last night. Wonderful ammo for your arguments with Fox fans, and for that matter, a wonderful present to give to the OíReilly fan in your family. Some excerpts:
O'REILLY: Commenting on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that forcing students to say the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional: "The reason they're even sitting there is because they were appointed by liberal politicians. Conservative politicians would never appoint the pinheads sitting on the Ninth Circuit" (3/4/03).
Itís full of this stuff, and these arenít even necessarily the best examples, theyíre just what I have available in electronic format from the publisher to cut and paste here.
Speaking of OíReilly, I just started Frankenís book. I donít have much feeling about Al Franken pro or con, so I didnít expect a lot, but I have to say, itís already made me laugh out loud several times.
Speakin' o' scalliwags
I suspect there be some new virus goin' around, posin' as email from Microsoft (but with a mighty odd-lookin' domain in the return address, if ye look closely). The scurvy dogs tell ye to download a "patch." Yer pirates, by god, ye've already got yer patches! And yer peg legs and yer parrots!
Good thing I'm off plunderin' today, I really don't know how long I can maintain this riff. Yarrrrrr.
September 18, 2003
Avast, ye scabrous scalliwags! Iíve got a fearsome lot o'plunderin' t'do tomorrow, which probably means light postin' around these latitudes, so I wanted t'be remindiní ye that it be Talk Like a Pirate Day. (If ye need help talkin' like a pirate, tharís a translator here.)
And ye can get yer own Pirate Name here. Mineís Captain Blood and Guts, and donít ye forget it. (Yarrr! Link removed because the scalliwags try to board yer computer and install some nastiness o'their own, if ye be running a PC, that is.)
And o'course it be Flood the Zone Friday. So thar be plenty t'keep ye busy Ďtil I sail back into port with me ill-gotten gains.
Afterthought: shiver me timbers, mateys, "Captain Blood and Guts" was also thíname of a superhero character o'me own, some twenty-odd years oíplunderiní ago. If that one hasnít vanished into Davey Jonesí own locker by now, I'll post it here some fine day.
The only thing more annoying...
...than having these idiot reporters standing out in the rain shouting into their mics to let us know that there's a whole lot of rain...is having them chastise the idiot pedestrians gawking nearby. Just saw a guy on Fox trying to draw the distinction--he has a job to do, they have no reason to be there and are endangering their lives for no good reason.
Actually there are things more annoying, so I lied. But I don't really need to see the guy standing out there for hours on end. There's a storm coming, I'm clear on that.
Update: case in pointÖ
Struggling against the tide
Congressman J.D. Hayworth apparently had not yet received the memo when he wrote this:
The Bush haters are also befuddled that most Americans believe Saddam Hussein had a role in the September 11 attacks. In fact, there is a definite 9/11-Saddam link, although probably not a direct one. Setting aside the question of how much contact there was between al Qaeda and Saddam, it was Saddam's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 that set off a chain of events that led inexorably to 9/11.
If you want to argue it in those terms, it was really the CIA-backed overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran fifty years ago which led "inexorably" to the rise of militant Islamic fundamentalism. And therefore to 9/11. But I don't imagine the Congressman wants to go there...
A few shows...
Öon which I would very much like the opportunity to shamelessly promote the book:
An Amazon reviewer complains because The Great Big Book of Tomorrow contains work published in previous collections.
Well, yes. There is a bunch of new stuff in there too, but as Iíve discussed many times on this site, it is a "greatest hits" collection, a career retrospective. So yeah, itís true, I didnít go back and draw a bunch of entirely new cartoons about the Bush I and Clinton years, nor do I have some vast stockpile of unpublished work that Iíve been keeping hidden away from everyone. Like every other oversized cartoon treasury ever published, from Peanuts to Doonesbury to Calvin & Hobbes, this book contains a substantial amount of work from previous smaller collections, and if thatís not what you want, you should not buy it.
But of course I hope you will.
More blogging around
The Linear World tracks the evolution of one of Cheneyís boilerplate speeches.
And Goblin cartoons has turned the whole thing into a fine drinking game.
Update--reader Brad H. has some thoughts on Bush's letter to Congress:
The obvious administration spin on this will be that section (2) is merely affirmation that the action against Iraq is a part of a larger war on terror. Indeed, it does not explicitly state that Iraq was involved with 9/11- though having section (2) in the in the same spare document with a delcaration against Iraq heavily implies it.
Sometimes its just too easy
My own rule of thumb with hurricanes is that if they warn you about them, it'll be ok. It's the ones they don't tell you about that'll kill you.
For the record:
Hurricane Floyd, 1999: Came ashore near Cape Fear, N.C., on Sept. 16 and continued along the coast into New England. Caused 56 deaths, $4.6 billion in damage.
Afterthought: can someone remind me again, when is it exactly that they don't warn you about hurricanes? (In the era of modern weather forecasting, I mean.)
September 17, 2003
...is why they're suddenly backing off the Saddam/9-11 connection, when they've managed to convince 70% of the public that there is one. Why now, particularly when it is an outright admission that they lied to Congress to justify the war (see post below)? Are they just trying to defuse the issue so the Dems can't beat them over the head with it? Is something going on behind the scenes that we don't know about? Are they just so insanely short sighted that they're reacting solely to criticism of Cheney's Meet The Press appearance, without any thought to the larger implications of what they're saying? That last would certainly be in keeping with their usual MO, but I have to admit, I'm stumped on this one. What's Karl Rove's angle here?
Now and then
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 ó disputing an impression that critics say the administration tried to foster to justify the war against Iraq.
Text of a Letter from the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate
Thanks to alert reader Steve S., who asks if Bush hasn't effectively just admitted that he lied to Congress in that letter.
Update: it's been brought to my attention that the guy who emailed this has his own blog. He didn't include a link with his email or I certainly would have put it up here. Anyway, here it is; Steve's the guy who deserves the credit for catching this.
ē Cheney repeated the mantra that the nation ignored the terrorism threat before Sept. 11. In fact, President Bill Clinton and his counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke, took the threat very seriously, especially after the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000. By December, Clarke had prepared plans for a military operation to attack Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, go after terrorist financing and work with police officials around the world to take down the terrorist network.
There's a lot more. Unfortunately there's also an annoying registration process.
Update: Click here and follow the link to avoid the registration stuff.
September 16, 2003
Then and now
CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq ó even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.
Sept. 16, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Tuesday he had no reason to believe that Iraq's Saddam Hussein had a hand in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.
Somebody needs to compile a list of all the times Rumsfeld has hinted that Iraq was involved in 9/11. (You out there, Billmon?)
(Update) Condi chimes in:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice said on Tuesday the Bush administration had never accused Saddam Hussein of directing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.
So much for the flypaper theory
NBC News is reporting that Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish terrorist organization formerly based exclusively in northern Iraq, is attempting to expand its reach into the U.S.
I guess they haven't been reading the blogs.
Roller coaster ride continues
Enough of you responded to my pathetic wheedling to kick the book back up on Amazon's chart from about #2600 to #202 as I write this, and I do thank you for that. (By the way, that entry below has been updated with genuine reader testimonials. For what that's worth.)
Update--yet another unsolicited endorsement, from reader Neil K.:
C'mon people, a great Big Book for only $17! With words and comics and color! Certainly it's not asking too much to pluck down 17 bucks and support the guy who runs this extremely useful and entertaining blog. If you're reading this, that means you visit this site and pay nada -- yet you are getting oh-so-much in return. So, c'mon: put down that $17 bottle of Chardonay; buy the new Warren Zevon CD but do you really need to own "Anger Management" on DVD? I think not. Feed your brain.
And a blog review here.
9/11: from tragedy to hilarity
Michael Moore has done us the favor of transcribing part of an interview with George and Laura Bush, conducted by Peggy Noonan, which appears in the current print edition of Ladies Home Journal:
Peggy Noonan (the interviewer): You were separated on September 11th. What was it like when you saw each other again?
The important thing is, you know, that the day ended on a happy note.
Like Jayson Blair, except about things that matter
Judith Miller is the NY Times reporter who famously used Ahmed Chalabi's fantasies as the basis for much of her pre-war coverage of the terrible and imminent danger posed by Iraq.
And now she's setting her sights on Syria.
This jibes with something I heard over the weekend. I am not, I hasten to add, an insider who regularly dines with the power elite, but I am in a position to hear the occasional third or fourth hand rumor--and the current rumor is apparently that Syria is in the crosshairs before Iran. Take that for what it's worth, of course.
September 15, 2003
Operation Enduring Optimism
Camp officials told ABCNEWS that it's the uncertainty of their fate that is the worst punishment for the prisoners.
Oh, yeah. That's what's gonna happen.
(Via the listserv of Mark Crispin Miller, who really, really, really needs to start a blog.)
The Great Big Book...
Öhas been out for about a month now. This is what I wrote back then:
Getting the word out on these things has always been a struggle. My publishers do the best they can, but letís face itóa new Tom Tomorrow collection isnít exactly a new Stephen King novel, and thereís only so much time and effort theyíre going to put into it. So with luck, we get some newspaper articles here and there, or maybe a mention in Salon, or maybe people just happen across it in the bookstore or whatever. Sales are always respectableóthey keep publishing them--but this is the first time Iíve put out a collection since Iíve been blogging, since Iíve had a way to directly communicate with those of you who are most likely to buy the damn thing, without having to beg & plead & cajole the media for whatever brief mentions we could scrounge up. Which has always been sort of a losing game--I'm more the tortoise than the hare, and I've never had the sexy hook for the newsmagazine article: hot new internet cartoonist!, or whatever--but this time, Iím able to bypass all of that and just say to you directly:
Many of you responded, for which I am deeply gratefulófor a few days, the book made it as high as #13 on the Amazon chart. Unfortunately, it didnít stick up there--it was down in the hundreds for several weeks and these days, itís bouncing around between 1,000 and 5,000 at any given moment.
It may not seem like it, but I really am trying not to flog the thing relentlessly here, because I'd get just as sick of that as you would. But as I said a month ago, this site is ultimately all Iíve got. In the intervening month, Iíve had one booksigning and maybe three or four interviews andówell, thatís been about it, really. Maybe thereís more media in the worksópublishers donít like to discuss these things with authors, probably for fear of raising unrealistic expectationsóbut I canít help but feel a sense of dissipating momentum, a strong start which fizzled out due toówell, due to whatever. Thatís an entry for another day, I think. The point for now is, if you like what Iím doing I hope youíll support it by purchasing the book.
Okay, Iíll shut up about it for awhile now.
Except, um, for one Update here. Because who am I to argue with my readers?
I've bought a copy of the Big Book for myself, and I've recommended it to numerous friends. I think that it is important for you to point out these features when you mention it in your blog:
And here's another (and I swear I am not making these up)...
Hi Tom. I bought the book (pre-ordered it from Powell's) and just finished reading it a few days ago. The thing that most struck me (and I'm sure you, too, as you compiled the material and reviewed it) was the scary similarities between the first Bush administration and this one.
California recall delayed
With one caveat:
The court withheld ordering the immediate implementation of its decision by one week to allow time for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
If I were Gray Davis I would not pop the champagne corks just yet.
Update--sharp-eyed reader Scott H. draws our attention to this marvelous quote:
Attorney Charles Diamond, who represents Sacramento recall leader Ted Costa, called the decision "wrong headed" and said Costa has not yet decided on his next move.
This is cool
It has been pointed out to me that Working For Change keeps track of their most-emailed stories and cartoons, and a whopping 13 of the "25 Most Sent Articles Ever" are This Modern World cartoons. And this is on a site with some serious competition.
Thanks for the show of support, kids. Now go buy the damn book.
Our vigilant media
Wouldn't it have been nice if they'd applied this level of scrutiny to George Bush, say about six months ago? Or ever, for that matter?
Speaking of Presidential contenders, here's an open letter to Wesley Clark from Michael Moore.
Oh, the irony
The telemarketers don't like unwanted calls.
Syndicated columnist Dave Barry's Aug. 31 article on telemarketers may have been in jest, but it's been no laughing matter to the American Teleservices Association, which blames the article for jamming up its toll-free number.
Oh, and here's the column.
Supporting the troops
If theyíre wounded in combat, they have to pay for their own hospital meals.
And in some cases, they apparently have to buy their own gear--including things like night vision goggles and field radios.
That tax cut is just looking better every day, isnít it? (Addendum for the literalists: no, the tax cut is not reason the military charges for hospital meals, and that's not what I meant to imply. It's just symptomatic of the choices we make as a society--or, perhaps more accurately, the choices that are made for us.)
No way we could have seen this coming
"Within six months of passing the Patriot Act, the Justice Department was conducting seminars on how to stretch the new wiretapping provisions to extend them beyond terror cases," said Dan Dodson, a spokesman for the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys. "They say they want the Patriot Act to fight terrorism, then, within six months, they are teaching their people how to use it on ordinary citizens."
More on CAPPS II
Go spend some time on this site, now.
So little time, cont'd
Further, Cheney argued that new evidence found in Iraq proved more ties between Hussein and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda organization, and he argued that Iraq was the "geographic base" for the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "If we're successful in Iraq . . . then we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11," he said in an hour-long interview on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Much more here. Thanks to alert reader A.C.M. for the catch.
Update: a reader suggests that Cheney is being quoted out of context by the Post, and I think he may be right, but it's still clear from the transcript that Cheney is evasive on the topic:
MR. RUSSERT: We could establish a direct link between the hijackers of September 11 and Saudi Arabia.
Clear as mud...
One more afterthought: this is how it works, of course. Cheney dissembles, the Post writer notes the fact, but sloppily, and thereafter anyone who tries to point out that Cheney dissembled is "refuted" by people who point to the sloppy reporting and ignore the underlying truth.
So much to blog, so little time
From the NY Times this morning:
A week after President Bush's speech seeking to rally support for the campaign in Iraq, the nation appears increasingly anxious about the war effort and worried that the United States may be trapped in an adventure from which there is no evident exit, according to interviews during the last five days with Americans across the nation, historians, social scientists and pollsters.
Must be that damned Bush-hating Howell Raines at work again--oh, wait.
If you don't vote Republican, the terrorists have already won...
This cartoonist seems to actually believe it.
I recently suggested that the editor of the Columbus Alive was not being forthright with me when he dropped my strip due to "budgetary considerations"--I thought that he had turned around and replaced it with another cartoon. As it turns out, the other cartoon was already running in the paper along with mine, and when he was in fact faced with budgetary considerations, he simply made an editorial decision as to which one he preferred, which is entirely his right as editor of the paper. I wish he had decided to continue with my work, of course, and would still encourage residents of Columbus to send him feedback on the issue, but I do sincerely regret suggesting that he deliberately misled me. I was wrong, and I apologize.
(Edited slightly for clarity.)
For months now, the Bushies have been hinting that when David Kay's report was released, well, then the critics and the doubters were gonna have to eat some crow, by golly.
Looks like things didn't work out quite the way they planned. Once again.
London: After failing to get any evidence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the US and Britain have decided to delay indefinitely the publication of a full report on the controversial issue, media reported today.
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