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August 21, 2004

"The president has taught the humorless left to be funny again."

So the New York Times informs us, in Sunday's Arts & Leisure section. My short critique: bullshit. My slightly longer critique: the stereotype of the "humorless left" was never really true to begin with, but now there are so many high-profile liberal/left comedians and humorists that the falseness of that stereotype can no longer be ignored. But rather than acknowledge that there have actually been quite a lot of left-leaning funny people out there all along (and I will immodestly include myself in that category--enough of you seem to at least get an occasional chuckle out of what I do), the new paradigm is that the left has suddenly become funny in response to GWB.

Which brings us back to my short critique: bullshit.

(Memo to those of you who think it will be very clever to point out that this is a relatively humorless post: golly, what a zinger! I sure didn't see that one coming!)

How to fall down in

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Just a quick note from Athens, where I'm meeting friends, seeing a bit of the Olympics, and working on some stuff. I'll post more, although if it gets lengthy at all, I imagine Tom might shepherd it into a separate page, a la the round-the-world thing last year.

Main observations so far: personally, it's great to be away from American politics for a while. And for getting perspective, you can't do much better than a walk around ancient Athens, where people thought up stuff thousands of years ago that we're still trying to get right.

A couple of hours ago I was sitting on a rock next to the likely spot where Socrates was imprisoned and later executed for teaching (among other things) that the purpose of a life is wisdom, and most politicians ain't got none and ain't gonna, and most people don't figure it out near quick enough.

The more things change...

As to falling down, it's a convenient option every moment you're walking around the Acropolis, which offers the delightful combination of the Parthenon to stare at, a breathtaking view to be overwhelmed by, and a jillion broken rocks, many of which have the smooth surface of ice after years of tourist wear.

Thus, kawhump. Over and over. Not just me. Seems to be something you do here. Not complaining. Kinda fun, in an ow ow ow sort of way.

Logging off to go watch some archery in the stadium where they did the 1896 games, hang out with friends some more, and possibly contract skin cancer.


August 19, 2004

Just a rhetorical question...

...but in what parallel universe is the "Swift Boat" story not getting any mainstream attention? I haven't been able to turn on the shouting heads shows lately without seeing something about it, and I just heard a rundown on NPR this morning.


August 18, 2004

Bloomberg won't compromise on Central Park...

...but he is offering protesters discounts on meals, museums and office supplies, among other things--as long as they promise to remain peaceful.

And as long as they're willing to wear a button identifying themselves as "Peaceful Political Activists."


In a transparently mercantile bid to keep protesters from disrupting the Republican National Convention later this month, the Bloomberg administration will offer "peaceful political activists" discounts at select hotels, museums, stores and restaurants around town during convention week, which begins Aug. 29.

Law-abiding protesters will be given buttons that bear a fetching rendition of the Statue of Liberty holding a sign that reads, "peaceful political activists." Protesters can present the buttons at places like the Whitney Museum, the Museum of Sex, the Pokémon Center store and such restaurants as Miss Mamie's Spoonbread Too and Applebee's to save some cash during their stay.

(Parenthetical aside: you know, the Whitney, the Museum of Sex, the Pokemon store--places like that!)

"It's no fun to protest on an empty stomach," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday, when he announced the program at NYC & Company, the city's tourism office, which will distribute the buttons to all comers to its Midtown office.

Protesters can also get the buttons from groups that have a legal permit to rally. But Mr. Bloomberg conceded yesterday that not everyone who wore a button would be strictly vetted for his or her peacefulness. "Unfortunately, we can't stop an anarchist from getting a button," he said, though he doubted any of them would want to wear one.


August 17, 2004

Fan mail from some flounder

Far too much profanity for the main page--this is, after all, a family website--but definitely worth a click.

The dummy

Back in the summer of 2001, I did a cartoon which portrayed George Bush as a ventriloquist's dummy sitting in Dick Cheney's lap. So when I found out that a company called Great Lakes Science and Novelty was making George Bush dummies for real, I immediately sent them an email. And the happy result is that I, too, can now put words in George Bush's mouth.


August 16, 2004


I'm suddenly getting killed on bandwidth overages and can't figure out why. Some kind readers have offered me alternate space on their servers, but it's going to take me time to get things shifted around, assuming I can even figure out what needs to be moved. In the meantime, this site is going on reserve power--I'm shutting down most of the sidebar stuff for the time being.

...update--I believe I have located the problem, or at least a problem. But I'm going to leave the various pages down for a few days just to make sure.

Employees of Jeb Bush suppressing the black vote in Florida

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

As you read this, keep in mind that Bush can't win without Florida, and that elderly blacks in Florida are overwhelmingly Democratic:

Bob Herbert, in today's NYT, informs us that armed police officers have been showing up at the homes of elderly black voters in Orlando, many of them active in get-out-the-vote activities, and scaring the crap out of them.

The "investigation" (which officials refuse to discuss, or course) is explained by a lawyer representing the 73-year-old president of the Orlando League of Voters, one of the recipients of this fair-and-balanced treatment:

Joseph Egan, an Orlando lawyer who represents Mr. Thomas, said: "The Voters League has workers who go into the community to do voter registration, drive people to the polls and help with absentee ballots. They are elderly women mostly. They get paid like $100 for four or five months' work, just to offset things like the cost of their gas. They see this political activity as an important contribution to their community. Some of the people in the community had never cast a ballot until the league came to their door and encouraged them to vote."

Now, said Mr. Egan, the fear generated by state police officers going into people's homes as part of an ongoing criminal investigation related to voting is threatening to undo much of the good work of the league. He said, "One woman asked me, 'Am I going to go to jail now because I voted by absentee ballot?' "

According to Mr. Egan, "People who have voted by absentee ballot for years are refusing to allow campaign workers to come to their homes. And volunteers who have participated for years in assisting people, particularly the elderly or handicapped, are scared and don't want to risk a criminal investigation."

Is there anything the Bush machine won't stoop to?

These people aren't just unfit for office; they're unfit for basic citizenship.


August 15, 2004

NPR interview re National Scare The Children Preparedness Month

(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

The fine folks at NPR's On The Media kindly followed up on my post on the politicization of Homeland Security with a 5-minute interview, which was delightful. The questions were well-chosen and pointed, and they actually let me respond with coherent thoughts.

Was great to be back in a radio booth. Did that gig for years and years, and would love the chance to do it again... [wistful sigh].


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