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March 25, 2005

WTF?

Is Air America really replacing Rachel Maddow with Jerry Springer?

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March 24, 2005

Heads up

My friend Jen Sorensen is currently on tour with a couple of other cartoonist pals of hers. They're in Boston today, and they're hitting New York, New Haven, Philadelphia and DC over the next few days. Details here.

Wabash cancellation

My scheduled talk at Wabash College has been cancelled due to inclement weather. Which is to say, I've been up since 4:30 a.m. trying to get on a plane that was not destined to leave the ground.

I really hate flying. Or not flying, as the case may be.

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March 22, 2005

A state of persistent vegetation

Tom Delay compares Terri Schiavo's plight to his own:

"One thing that God has brought to us is Terri Schiavo, to help elevate the visibility of what is going on in America," Mr. DeLay told a conference organized by the Family Research Council, a conservative Christian group. A recording of the event was provided by the advocacy organization Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

"This is exactly the issue that is going on in America, of attacks against the conservative movement, against me and against many others," Mr. DeLay said.

Mr. DeLay complained that "the other side" had figured out how "to defeat the conservative movement," by waging personal attacks, linking with liberal organizations and persuading the national news media to report the story. He charged that "the whole syndicate" was "a huge nationwide concerted effort to destroy everything we believe in."

Meanwhile, our ever-mendacious Commander-in-Chief chimes in with this:

"This is a complex case with serious issues, but in extraordinary circumstances like this, it is wisest to always err on the side of life."

Oh my, yes. If there's anything that defines George Bush's career, it is his tendency to err on the side of life:

They don't have much time, or much reason to hope: Republican presidential nominee Governor George W. Bush, who has had more executions during his five-year tenure in Austin than any other governor in the nation since capital punishment was reinstated, has made his support for executing mentally retarded inmates clear. In 1995, the newly minted governor rejected a clemency plea from lawyers for Mario Marquez, a mentally retarded adult whose verbal and reasoning skills were comparable to those of a 7-year-old child.

Since then, Governor Bush has upheld his position, refusing to take mental capacity into account when reviewing last-minute pleas. The Texas Board of Paroles, the only body in the state with the authority to grant full-out clemency, voted unanimously to refuse Cruz's requests.

Erring, erring, erring:

In his five years as governor of Texas, the state has executed 131 prisoners -- far more than any other state. Mr. Bush has lately granted a stay of execution for the first time, for a DNA test.

In answer to questions about that record, Governor Bush has repeatedly said that he has no qualms. "I'm confident," he said last February, "that every person that has been put to death in Texas under my watch has been guilty of the crime charged, and has had full access to the courts."

That defense of the record ignores many notorious examples of unfairness in Texas death penalty cases. Lawyers have been under the influence of cocaine during the trial, or been drunk or asleep. One court dismissed a complaint about a lawyer who slept through a trial with the comment that courts are not "obligated to either constantly monitor trial counsel's wakefulness or endeavor to wake counsel should he fall asleep."

This past week The Chicago Tribune published a compelling report on an investigation of all 131 death cases in Governor Bush's time. It made chilling reading.

In one-third of those cases, the report showed, the lawyer who represented the death penalty defendant at trial or on appeal had been or was later disbarred or otherwise sanctioned. In 40 cases the lawyers presented no evidence at all or only one witness at the sentencing phase of the trial.

In 29 cases, the prosecution used testimony from a psychiatrist who -- based on a hypothetical question about the defendant's past -- predicted he would commit future violence. Most of those psychiatrists testified without having examined the defendant: a practice condemned professionally as unethical.

Other witnesses included one who was temporarily released from a psychiatric ward to testify, a pathologist who had admitted faking autopsies and a judge who had been reprimanded for lying about his credentials.

Asked about the Tribune study, Governor Bush said, "We've adequately answered innocence or guilt" in every case. The defendants, he said, "had full access to a fair trial."

And let's not even get started on the Iraq War and how dear leader erred on the side of life in that one...

Update: more erring...

By now most people who read liberal blogs are aware that George W. Bush signed a law in Texas that expressly gave hospitals the right to remove life support if the patient could not pay and there was no hope of revival, regardless of the patient's family's wishes. It is called the Texas Futile Care Law. Under this law, a baby was removed from life support against his mother's wishes in Texas just this week. A 68 year old man was given a temporary reprieve by the Texas courts just yesterday.

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March 21, 2005

Ha ha

Horowitz:

Other equally at sea leftists, have linked the Billmon agit-prop and spread it across the net. Michael Berube recommends it as a “brilliant analysis” (even though it just a collection of paired quotes with a predictable graphic) and goes on to say that “[Billmon’s] brilliant analysis of the Contemporary Cultural Revolution is not only scholarly and erudite, but illustrated. (Well, yes, Michael it is.) The artistically talented but intellectually unhinged cartoonist Tommy Tomorrow affirms the judgment: “This is brilliant.”

Actually it’s quite stupid. The Cultural Revolution which took place in China in the 1960s (when Tommy Tomorrow and Michael Berube were campus radicals supporting the revolutionaries) was a massive political purge conducted by China's dictator, Mao Dzedong, who had turned against the course his appointed heirs had taken...

Actually the only campus I spent any time on during the 1960's was that of Roosevelt Elementary School in Iowa City, Iowa, and I don't recall thinking much about revolutionaries one way or the other.

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March 20, 2005

Did I mention I'm about to turn 44?

The memory is going, going, gone. Actually, it was never that great to begin with. But Frank Lynch mentions a current Republican argument on Social Security--"it's as obsolete as a 1935 car"--which I remember previously dissecting in a cartoon at some point in the last decade...but I can't find the piece. Anyway, the point being that the talking point is both stupid and recycled...bonus points if anybody can find the damn cartoon...

Presented without comment

From an interview with "Jeff Gannon," in the NY Times Magazine:

Scott McClellan, the press secretary to President Bush, called on you and allowed you to ask questions on a nearly daily basis. What, exactly, is your relationship with him?

I was just another guy in the press room. Did I try to curry favor with him? Sure. When he got married, I left a wedding card for him in the press office. People are saying this proves there is some link. But as Einstein said, "Sometimes a wedding card is just a wedding card.''

You mean like "sometimes a cigar is just a cigar''? That wasn't Einstein. That was Freud.

Oh, Freud. O.K. I got my old Jewish men confused.


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