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March 11, 2005
(Larger photo here.)
...these are the prototypes--the final pieces will be fully painted, like the Christmas ornaments.
Speaking of blog silliness
Roy directs us to a blogger who wonders, apparently in all seriousness, why passage of the bankruptcy bill appears inevitable despite the opposition of all-powerful bloggers.
Mr. Language Man returns
I've noticed that the premature triumphalists of the right have lately adopted the phrase "Arab Spring." I assume this is a reference to the "Prague Spring" of 1968--the brief period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia which, as you may recall, was brutally supressed in August of that same year.
Small suggestion to my friends on the right: if you're going to come up with a clever nickname for your triumphalist fantasies, you might want it to refer to, you know, an actual triumph.
March 08, 2005
Speaking of the Prospect
Some of you may be understandably confused, given that the American Prospect (a) just sent out a mass mailer which prominently features my work, and (b) has not, to my knowledge, made any mention in the magazine itself of the fact that I am no longer a contributor. You know: long time regular contributor Tom Tomorrow has moved on, we'll sure miss him, that sort of thing. But just to be clear, I'm not actually doing work for the Prospect anymore. This was my decision, and there's no sinister backstory--it's just part of my ongoing effort to avoid burnout and stay in this game for the long run. Feedback is important, and I wasn't getting any from Prospect readers--my wife and I used to joke that we were the only ones who could actually see the cartoon, that in everyone else's issue the page on which it ran simply appeared to be blank. Basically, after more than five years I realized I was getting very little out of my association with the magazine other than the paycheck, and I was just tired of the extra deadline. The weekly cartoon consumes most of my creative energy, and that's as it should be. And there are never enough hours in the day, days in the week, especially if one hopes to have a life apart from the endless bitchfest in which we political junkies are constantly immersed.
None of which should discourage you from reading the Prospect--there's always something worthwhile in it. Just not me, anymore.
...well, at least one other person saw the work:
I assure you that your cartoon did run in my copies of The Prospect. The Prospect introduced me to your work back in 2000 when I read my first issue. Like you, I was expecting some sort of acknowledgment and thanks for your inimitable contribution to their magazine. Your cartoon was the first thing I read when a new issue arrived - in fact, your work was the primary reason I kept my subscription going since most of the articles were available online.
Blogs and pseudo blogs
Good piece from the American Prospect on the difference between right- and left-wing 'activist' blogs, including this key distinction:
The targets of the liberal blogosphere are conservative activists; the target of the conservative blogosphere is the free and independent press itself, just as it has been for conservative activists since the ’60s. For the Republican Party, pseudo-journalism Internet sites and the blogosphere are just another way to get around “the filter,” as Bush has dubbed the mainstream media. “One of the things that I think the blog world offers is an opportunity to provide another source of information,” said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman on CNN’s Inside Politics in February. Blogs are “something we encourage supporters of the president and Republicans to be very much involved in.”
There's much more. Go read.
Why does Halliburton hate America?
It's just another Halliburton oil and gas operation. The company name is emblazoned everywhere: On trucks, equipment, large storage silos and workers' uniforms.
March 07, 2005
Burying the lede
It's extremely unlikely that Giuliana Sgrena was deliberately targeted by U.S. troops (though, as Rall notes there are a number of far more questionable incidents). But here's the real issue, via Steve Gilliard:
The journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, 56, ran into fierce American gunfire that left her with a shrapnel wound to her shoulder and killed the Italian intelligence agent sitting beside her in the rear seat. She had been released only 35 minutes earlier by Iraqi kidnappers who had held her hostage for a month, and the car carrying them to the airport was driving in pitch dark.
Supporters of this war scoff at parallels with Vietnam--but as was the case in Vietnam, our troops often cannot tell friend from foe, which puts them in an untenable situation and gets a lot of innocent people killed.
From Human Rights First:
Iranian blogger and human rights activist Arash Sigarchi was sentenced to 14 years in prison on charges of "espionage and insulting the country's leaders." His harsh sentence, given by a Revolutionary Court on February 22, 2005, sends a stark message to other bloggers and independent government critics in Iran.
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