THIS SICKNESS 8 from Bottomless Studio, featuring John Linton Roberson, Emily Kaplan, Chad Parenteau, Charles Alverson, Gianna Ratto, Chris DeWildt and a cover by Molly Kiely. 100 pages! Available in print & Kindle at Amazon!
I Didn't Write That!
29 May 2003
  Wolfowitz The Cynical Warmonger and Criminal

Sorry, I just couldn't think of anything witty at the moment. Joe Conason over at Salon reports that Wolfowitz, in an upcoming Vanity Fair profile, says this:

Wolfowitz reveals that the emphasis on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction reflected an attempt to reach consensus within the administration. As he put it, "for bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue -- weapons of mass destruction -- because it was the one reason everyone could agree on."

In other words, it wasn't crucial in any way whether it was true or not. Oh well.

"God is just and his justice will not sleep forever."
Thomas Jefferson

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  HELP SAVE FANTAGRAPHICS!

That's right, the greatest comics publisher in America(and of course, full disclosure: my publisher--the Eros division--as of June--hopefully) is in major financial trouble, in fact for the same reason Top Shelf needed help not long back, and you can help keep comics from becoming a vast superhero wasteland(well, is that ALL you want to be available?) merely by buying some really great books.

Read all about it here. Below is Gary Groth & Kim Thompson's press release explaining the whole mess:Fantagraphics Books Needs Your Help!

Buy Books! Keep Us Alive!

To Comics Lovers Throughout the World:

Fantagraphics Books has just celebrated its 27th year publishing many of the finest cartoonists from all over the world as well as our flagship publication, the magazine people love to hate, The Comics Journal. We are proud of our long-term commitment to comics as an art form and our dogged determination to push excellence down everybody's throats. This is all very well and good but it doesn't mean much in the face of brute economics - and it's the wall of brute economics that we've just hit, hard.

Due to two major financial obstacles over the last two years, we're hard against it.

Our former and now bankrupt book trade distributor went out of business owing us over $70,000 - which we will never see. (To add insult to injury, we learned that the owner is selling copies of our books that he should've returned on e-bay!) This unexpected shortfall necessitated taking out a couple loans which have now come due. In late 2001, our line was picked up by the W.W. NORTON COMPANY, who took over our bookstore distribution, and has done a magnificent job of providing us unprecedented access to the bookstore market. Inexperience with the book trade resulted in our erring on the side of overprinting our books too heavily throughout 2002, so that our anticipated profit is in fact sitting in our warehouse in the form of books. Loans must be paid in cash, not books. The only way to get out of this hole we've dug ourselves into is to sell those books. Which is where, we hope, you come in.

Over the last few weeks, we've worked to fix our in-house problems (which included, most painfully, laying off several fine and long-term employees). We have put in place a system of checks and balances by which we will watch our inventory growth scrupulously. But, we have a debt to pay down and wolves at the door. It's so severe that this month we envisaged shutting down our active publishing, seeking outside investors, or similarly odious measures. (Fantagraphics continues to be owned 100% by Messrs. Gary Groth and Kim Thompson. We'd like it to remain that way.)

If you've respected what Fantagraphics stands for and what we've done for the medium, if you've enjoyed our books, and if you want to insure that this proud tradition continues into this new and ominous century, we're asking you to help us now in our especial hour of need by buying some books. Put simply, we need to raise about $80,000 above our usual sales over the next month, and the only way to do that is to convert books into cash.

We've spent the last quarter century trying hard to produce the best comics the world has ever seen. You've rewarded us over the years with your loyal patronage, your moral support, your praise, your intelligent and honest feedback, all of which are more than we could ever have hoped for. We know we have tens of thousands of loyal readers: if even a fraction of you come forward and order two or three books that you've been meaning to buy, we'll be over this hump. We've published some some of the best books ever over the last year -Gene Deitch's (yes, that Gene Deitch!) THE CAT ON A HOT THIN GROOVE; B. KRIGSTEIN, Greg Sadowski's definitive biography of the pioneering artist from the '50s; the magnificent FRANK collection; and the third volume of the extraordinary KRAZY KAT series. Our publishing plans for 2003 include a huge coffee table book by Will Elder (WILL ELDER: MAD PLAYBOY OF ART); KRIGSTEIN COMICS, a 240 page follow-up collection of Krigstein's best comics from the '50s, and new collections and graphic novels by Gilbert Hernandez, Jason, Dave Cooper, Robert Crumb, A.B. Frost, Bill Griffith, Gary Panter...

We already sell books by mail, so, as clichéd as it sounds, we really do have operators standing by. You can view out catalogue online. You can order by calling our 800 number or on-line at our web site (all ordering information below.)

If this was a standard pitch, we'd offer you some extra incentive - a discount or free books or knicknacks or whatnot. But, it's not. We're asking those of you who believe we've contributed something worthwhile and meaningful to help us continue to do so, that's all. We need the full retail value of our books. But we can offer something that won't cost us any money: anyone (individually or collectively) who buys $500 worth of books from us will get a personal phone call from Gary Groth thanking you for saving Fantagraphics' ass. Think how much fun this could be at a party!

via FAX: 206-524-2104
via mail: Fantagraphics Books, 7563 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98115
Secure Internet Orders: http://www.fantagraphics.com
phone: 206-524-1967 or 800-657-1100


Now go and buy stuff you'll really enjoy and your friends will too. They have possibly the best catalog of any comics publisher. And hey, didja know Chris Ware's QUIMBY THE MOUSE collection was just released?...

Tick, tick tick...

I said GO! Hurry!

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28 May 2003
  VITRIOL Almost Finished! Also: Pork In The Treetops

That's right, only two more pages(of what looks like 250) to go. And I get slower and slower as we get towards the end; I am the living demonstration of Zeno's Paradox.

Has it been worth six years of my life? I'll have a lot to say on that once I actually finish. I did expect it to be done long before now, however. I think the total time I've actually worked on it, if you were to group it all together, would total maybe two or three years of that; after 9/11 I didn't work on it for about 4 months, for instance, as I did not a year later when I put WORKING FOR THE MAN together. And frankly working a day job at the same time often makes one simply want to go home, get intoxicated, watch TV and refer not one bit to art or drawing. So no, I haven't worked on it every night, more in periods of weeks followed by periods of sloth.

But even though I've come up with many, many ideas I haven't been able to follow up on(if I'm writing I want my slate clean of other projects) because of trying to focus on this, I will once it's done and that's a lovely, lovely feeling. I think it kind of had to take this long. For one thing I had to relearn how to draw and improve from where I'd been when I'd previously forsaken it for writing. The first I did. The second some tell me I never shall do, but whatever.

I do know that for a while(like with the Eros stuff--and be sure to check out MENAGE A TROIS #3, which is all me and my perverse autobio story "October Surprise", out in June, as well as another shorter piece I'll announce later featuring my new character Vladrushka, Siberian Porn Star), I'll be doing shorter stuff that either requires no major writing or is written by others. I have plans for more big projects but I need to write them out first. I need rest.

Though with only a few readers(some new ones--hi Patrick!) I'm not sure why I rip myself up for my lack of discipline and energy. Nobody really cares. Well, I do. That's one.

But at least I'll have one completed graphic novel, whether anyone ends up seeing it or not.

By the way, if any of you do read the damn thing in its current serial form, I have a question: do you think the grey tones I used in the Unbound version should be kept, or would you rather see it as it was originally printed, in straight-ahead black & white? My future projects will actually incorporate more greys and colors and digital drawing; when I began this I hadn't even touched a computer(man, that WAS a long time ago) and besides, needed to print in the simplest possible way. To try to improve what I consider now the inferior art in the first 3 issues of PLASTIC, I added the greys. Do they help or hurt? Do you not mind seeing the earlier cruddier art as is, or do you think improvements are in order? (Limited ones: I'm not spending ANOTHER 6 years retouching it) Whatever. But e-mail me with your opinion at john_roberson@prodigy.net.

There will be editing even from the Unbound version, but in the sense of cutting stuff in retrospect I don't think worked. (as a novelist will do with a work that was serialized first) But I'd like to know if anyone really cares before I waste time doing anything more than scanning the bloody thing. I will say this: the repro quality you've seen on both editions of the serialized version in PLASTIC will be far better on whatever sort of collection, e-book or real book, it ends up being. (it will at least be the former) The original art beats the repros I've been stuck with all hollow.

Oh, and numerous copies of #5 and #6, and #8 are still available for $5 postpaid apiece [US] to Paypal. My ID is the same as the e-mail address above. Be sure to specify issue number.

I'm also willing to sell original art now(as with scans the originals have become irrelevant). E-mail me privately and make an offer if you like.

That's all for now. But at least I'm talking about something besides fucking politics for once...

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  Crackpot Rants On Talk Radio

Me, that is; for some reason I decided to call into the Mike Malloy show tonight and actually rather enjoyed it, even though I didn't let poor Malloy get a word in edgewise.

If you want to hear how fey a slight Southern inflection makes my voice sound, then by all means download an mp3 of the show here. (warning: it's about 30 megs) I appear somewhere at the start of the last hour, probably more like 50 minutes from the end, and as a way to zero in on it, before me Malloy's talking about his weekend having fun and thinking not of politics at all. The content won't be a shock to anyone who reads this blog, of course. Mainly I talk about the Guantanamo death camp as I do below and also about the fact that there is no "war on terrorism." Anyway, listen if ye wish.

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27 May 2003
  Guantanamo To Be Death Camp After All

Seems execution chambers are being prepared for the prisoners we're holding there, which is only logical as we can't afford to continue to feed them much longer. Assuming we have been.

A few things I wonder:

(a) Hitler started small with the camps. First it was just his political enemies. Is this perhaps research & development for future ways to deal with dissidents in this country, now that we have the Padilla precedent(as you may recall, Padilla was taken by the authorities and dealt with as though he were not a US citizen--but he is one)? You're already used to detainment without rights of people you've never met. Soon you'll be prepared to deal with its happening to your neighbor. You may think this unthinkable. You'd be wrong. Something like that was planned in the 80s by North and came out publicly--though the media didn't run with it--in the Iran-Contra hearings. There were camps built--some still ready for operation--from old military bases, for internment of dissidents if we invaded Nicaragua, very much planned at the time. It's always the same plan. It's just that sometimes they get delayed when they lose an election.

(b) Oh, isn't that enough?

This is to be contrasted with Jackie Judd, conservative mouthpiece, on ABC News tonight saying there are only four left, no doubt a pre-emptive strike against this rapidly spreading story. Not that we'll ever know exactly what happened to all the others. (She also used the triumphal "dealt with" when describing it, just as Bush does)

Swear to god, just get your news from Google. Don't watch TV. It poisons your mind and if it doesn't trick you it dispirits you and makes you think you can't make a difference. Bullshit, folks, bullshit.

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19 May 2003
  Tim Robbins' speech last month to the National Press Club.

And in the midst of all this madness, where is the political opposition? Where have all the Democrats gone? Long time passing, long time ago. (Applause.) With apologies to Robert Byrd, I have to say it is pretty embarrassing to live in a country where a five-foot- one comedian has more guts than most politicians. (Applause.) We need leaders, not pragmatists that cower before the spin zones of former entertainment journalists. We need leaders who can understand the Constitution, congressman who don't in a moment of fear abdicate their most important power, the right to declare war to the executive branch. And, please, can we please stop the congressional sing-a- longs?

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  "I am not running for office. Believe me, if I were going to run for office, I would not be moving back to New York with an (R) after my name."

This I heard just now on the Mike Malloy show; it was a sound clip from Ari Fliescher's press conference today, when asked by a reporter if the fact he was moving back to Westchester meant he was going to run for public office.

Now what did Ari mean by this? This is one of the only times we'll ever hear Ari off his guard. Does this mean the Republicans are not so well-liked in NY state--and more particularly NYC--as reputed? I wouldn't think they would be, since New York was pretty much abandoned by the Federal Government in the wake of 9/11, like California was to Enron, like all blue states are meant to be punished for having voted against President Chimp Walker Dumbass. Interestingly Florida gets what it wants whenever it wants. Wonder why?

We can take this as a sign New York will deliver some sort of asskicking to the GOP and they know it, and they will surely be cursed for moving the convention to the anniversary of 9/11, in New York City. If there isn't some sort of firemen riot I'll be very shocked. And hasn't it occurred to the Republicans that if Bush is only slightly vulnerable this time next year--and as his daddy illustrated one year is a long time in politics, and war is no assurance of re-election if people are broke--this will only give the Democrats more time to make their candidate the star, much as Clinton was able to when the previous Bush started his campaign in 1992 late? They want to make all the same mistakes but have them work this time.

The 9/11 Rape is just too much a bit of hubris; it reeks of Pride Going Before A Fall, and if the Democrats don't hammer the Republicans to death in the election they're fools and have betrayed us all.

By the way, Ari also called the last few years "enjoyable." Think of what the last few years have been like for the rest of us, including thousands no longer alive because of his boss for one reason or another, and you begin to be horrified by the perspective the White House must have, that the last few years have in any way been fun. I suppose it's fun to fuck around with the whole world as though the Jerky Boys have taken over the White House. I suppose lying like a bastard for three years and having everyone know it's a lie but accepting it anyway must be a heady experience.

And he called the election a "Supreme Court Recount." His words, folks. Think about them.

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  You'd Better Listen To Your Radio

It appears that Clear Channel has realized that if they have nothing but right-wing talk radio, they can only make so much from Phonics or motor oil manufacturers or whatever few other advertisers appeal to the knuckle-dragging(and usually broke) right-wing radio listener, whereas liberals tend to be educated and have money and can buy lots of things. Market saturation of right-wing radio has been reached and listeners are being lost, and however much Clear Channel may love the GOP, they love money more. They realize their responsibility as meme spreaders, but dammit, their owners want those cigarette boats and you can't get that on right-wing demographic revenues: Bubba's Old-Fashioned Christian Chaw can only buy so many spots.

So Clear Channel has announced at a recent seminar that they will start putting out stations that are all-liberal talk radio. Read more here in this very interesting article about the seminar written by the fine Thom Hartmann, who was there, and there's more therein concerning quite a bit of tension from the liberal contingent represented by Hartmann and Mike Malloy(a great host whose show, streamed weeknights 9pm-12 midnight EST, you should listen to).

At the same time, right-wing hosts are fading. For example, Bill O'Reilly's radio failures in Limbaugh-dominated markets, documented recently by Matt Drudge, imply the obvious: right-wing talk radio has reached market saturation and is no longer a growth industry. According to Geoff Metcalf on WorldNetDaily, the O'Reilly show is even paying stations - in one case over a quarter million dollars - to continue to carry the show.

The handwriting is on the wall for right-wing talk radio: To build profits, programmers must reach beyond diehard Republicans to unserved listeners. This means bringing in the center and left of the political spectrum.

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  Ari Fleischer is to resign in June. I guess they need an Election Press Fuhrer now. Wonder who they have planned to replace him at the Ministry of Truth?

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15 May 2003
  Showing Us What They Really Are

There's nothing quite as amusing as Republicans in moments of high hubris, from Joe McCarthy to the present day; they always hang themselves by pushing too far and pressing their luck. They don't ever seem to have a sense of when they're starting to scare people, and also make people realize the only source of the fear is the Republican. Think back to 1992. And really, what's changed except that we have an administration perversely bent on erasing everything that happened between then and now, to the point of destroying prosperity--which is the last thing we used to think the GOP would do. Remember when they were the responsible ones with the public purse? What's happened?

What's happened is that they've come to believe they can get away with anything. Bush could be screwing a goat while strangling an Iraqi child on national TV and could make us believe he was actually hosting an Easter Egg Roll. They think we have become terminally stupid, and have also made it clear they don't care what we in the public think.

They can keep not caring and let their foots land securely in their mouths. That's fine. Which makes the revelation that the Texas Republicans got the Department of Homeland Security involved in the hunt for the brave Texas Democrats who bolted to Oklahoma not at all surprising.

...the department agreed to try to track down a private plane owned by a leading Democratic state legislator. Department officials said Texas law enforcement officials had misled them into believing that the plane might have been in mechanical trouble or had crashed. In fact, department officials said, the Texas state police, acting on orders of Republicans who control the Texas House of Representatives, were searching for the plane on Monday to try to track down the Democratic lawmaker and several of his colleagues, in hopes of forcing them home...

The following is only intended toward right-wing nutbars I had to listen to far too many times in the 90s:

I realize after 9/11 men, or at least Bush, have become angels and we can trust them all with our lives and not worry about such matters as the rule of law, but for fuck's sake, people. Are we living in the freakin' USSR here? Where's all your paranoia about federal totalitarianism that you felt burning so hard for no damn reason at all when Clinton was president? Say, idiots: Did you know an actual black helicopter was used in this? Not by the UN, so I'm sure you're relieved. Just by our developing homegrown KGB, and I might add this is the most active I've ever seen them get in their entire supposed existence. Are you reassured knowing it was only looking for an elected official who was a political opponent of the hard right of the Republican party? That could never ever be you, could it? Nahh. You can trust government now. And they certainly wouldn't jeopardize your safety to focus energy on persecuting their enemies. This is a president you can trust, just like you trusted Nixon and Bush the First. You never learn they're not on your side. Back to sleep with you.

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  June Carter Cash has died from complications from heart surgery at the age of 73.

Very sad; Kelly & I are both fans of the Carter Family. One of the more heartbreaking musical moments I had recently was seeing the video for Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt." The moment that made me break was watching her watching him, crying herself a bit. I'd heard it was Johnny that was in particularly frail health(and indeed he did survive pneumonia recently). I would never have thought she'd have gone before him.

Our best wishes to the Cash family. May she rest in peace. 
  Republicans Apoplectic In Texas

Well, Tom "I am the Federal Government" DeLay's little plan to redistrict the map in Texas would appear to be dead, since the deadline was today and it's now evening in the Lone Star State. God love the Democratic rebels in Oklahoma.

This has, apparently, gone very well for the Democrats, as Texas has a habit of admiring this kind of behavior, and DeLay, besides his Huey Long-like attempt to control Texas from Washington, made things worse when he proposed sending the FBI to get them, but apparently Texas House Speaker Craddick said no, as I guess he dodn't want to hand the Democrats the image of Democratic leaders being led away in chains. I kind of wish they had--that would look great in Democratic campaign ads next year, wouldn't it?

Another interesting tidbit about DeLay that's popped up in all of this is how he harassed one of the few black Republicans out of politics, one J.C. Watts of Oklahoma, earlier this year. Why would he do that? Don't the Republicans want black votes? Well, apparently not. According to the story, which spoke to a number of black Republicans(the first statement is from a New Jersey Republican named Rev. DeForest "Buster" Soaries, a black Republican who lost a race against Rep. Rush Holt [D-N.J.] in November.):

"...some Republicans were a little nervous because of my potential appeal to black voters, because if black voters turned out in large numbers for me, many Republicans were afraid that would help other Democrats in other races." He was stunned when some Republican officials urged him to not campaign in black areas. Watts, too, recalls that before his 1990 race for Oklahoma corporation commissioner, a prominent state Republican predicted that Watts would be a disaster for the rest of the GOP ticket. Blacks, the Republican reasoned, would turn out in huge numbers for Watts, but vote Democratic for every other office.

So in other words they'd rather have no black voters turn out at all, solely to minimize risk of Democrats getting votes.

Why am I not shocked?

Watts was the 4th-ranking Republican in the House, and at this point DeLay started gunning for him:

That summer, DeLay's office distributed an array of communications materials to the House Republican Conference, publicly doing Watts's job for him. Then, in December, conservative syndicated columnist Robert Novak wrote that "dissatisfaction" with Watts as conference chair was "being voiced by his congressional colleagues, including other members of the party leadership."

This was apparently because DeLay can tolerate no variation of opinion in the party, and Watts was not enough of a "team player." As we all know teams always show up in the same color, so I guess we can figure out DeLay's problem here. So right this moment he must be choking on his own bile and drawing up many lists of politicians to destroy.

Now let's see if other Democrats learn from this the most important lesson: Republicans only have as much power as Democrats are willing to give them--otherwise why would they hammer the Democrats so hard to go along with them? The message to Democrats everywhere?

Don't go along. Block them. It's easy.

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  Well, it appears Bill Bennett is through. Or so says William F. Buckley:

There is, first, the existential point, which is that Bill Bennett is through. We speak, of course, of his public life. He is objectively discredited. He will not be proffered any public post by any president into the foreseeable future. He will not publish another book on another virtue, if there is any he has neglected to write about. It is possible that the books written by him on the subject, sitting in bookstores, will work their way to the remainder houses. These are the consequences of the damage he has done to himself.

Now the conservatives reject the moralizing, hypocritical swine. Good start.

Remember: the loudest in defense of "virtue" are always the most ridden with vice. That's where the drive to judge others' private lives comes from.

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14 May 2003
  The Texas 53: Just one of the many interesting bits of banter

...from the session that drove the Texas 53 out. You'd probably leave too.

During a committee meeting, Rep. Debbie Riddle (R-Houston) demanded earnestly, "Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education? Free medical care? Free whatever? It comes from Moscow. From Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell."

These are not your Nixon, nor even Reagan Republicans, though these are the people that supported both. These are the truly mad, snapping hard-right Gen. Jack D. Ripper types who may still believe fluoridation makes you impotent. Who still believe that communism is a factor, cannot let go of it. "From Moscow"?

What year is this?

Remember these are the same people who, in the waning days of the 1992 defeat, actually thought Bush could claim credit for breaking the USSR & ending the Cold War, and call Bill Clinton a communist spy, at the same time(though I've always thought they let Bush lose that one as punishment for going back on the tax pledge). Some of these people--James Baker among them--believe we are meant to engineer Armageddon, that this is why we were given the Bomb by the Lord. Without a USSR what then?

Bush worries me because if I were religious, I would be forced to conclude he is one of the Beasts of Revelation. As I am not religious I can only say he's bad enough, as is his ghoulish army of dittoheads. And we passively support this pretender. We have become so fucking soft and stupid.

But then things like this other tidbit from Ivins make me think, not actually.(and remind me Bush has won no friends among the governors of America--and more about that in not too long, because I think it'll be the single most important factor in how this country goes in the rest of my lifetime. But on the state level--even Republicans--his denial of funds, possibly a ploy to force states to accept DHS agents into local law enforcement will earn him some enemies):

When our governor, Rick "Goodhair" Perry (that's a head of hair every Texan can be proud of, regardless of party), asked New Mexico to arrest any escapees lurking there, the state's attorney general, Patricia Madrid, said, "I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the lookout for politicians in favor of health care and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

Now read the letter from the Democrats to Speaker Craddick. What a delicate way of phrasing "Fuck you." God, I love these people. And if they stay out till Friday, as they say they will, the session ends and none of the GOP's mad plans get implemented. Hee hee. I may even dance.

Why does the GOP scare me? Because I know they are never even content with winning, because they have not won until they have wiped out anything unlike themselves. It's just the Puritan strain of America eating its way back into America's forebrain as it tends to every 50 years or so.

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  You Knew This was Coming

Ladies and gentlemen, Molly Ivins can't say this.

Oh wait, looks like she already did. Read her, love her. She's an example of why Texans can be the greatest Americans of all.

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  Pigs Take Wings!

In this era, as goes Texas, so goes the country.
Mike Malloy

Texas Republicans are trying to have about 50 members of the opposition arrested for having fled the state to deny the Republicans a quorum (in Texas they're as strict on quorums as sodomy)--and what were they deciding? Essentially on the orders of Tom DeLay they intend to vote in a redistricting plan which would in effect concentrate voting power in the hands of Republicans, essentially squeezing any opposition out of the state.

You'd think it'd be a big enough state for at least two parties, but you'd be wrong, buster.

Here's the latest from the Texas Democrats' site:

Whether they're sending state troopers to harass nurses in a neonatal unit or engaging a Homeland Security agency to track a state legislator's airplane, the Republican response to the Killer D Walkout shows a disturbing willingness to misuse state and federal law enforcement authorities, said Molly Beth Malcolm, Texas Democratic Party Chairwoman.

Since the walkout began, the following has occurred:

* The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that Speaker Tom Craddick asked that former Speaker Pete Laney's plane be tracked. Subsequently, the Air and Marine Interdiction and Coordination Center — a Homeland Security agency — got involved in this state issue and tracked the former Speaker's plane.

* In another attempt to insert the federal government into this state issue, U.S. House Majority Leader Tom Delay told several newspapers that the FBI and federal marshalls should be called in to assist in apprehending the Killer D's. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported there was an attempt to "federalize" the Texas arrest warrants for the Killer D's.

* Several newspapers reported that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers, at Craddick's direction, continue to harass the spouses of Killer D's even though it is very well known the Democrats are in Ardmore.

* Today's Galveston Daily News and other papers reported on DPS troopers harassing nurses at the neonatal unit where Craig Eiland's twins, who were born premature, are being hospitalized. Craddick Press Secretary Bob Richter said, "We're not going to call off the dogs because they're in Oklahoma."

The Republican Party yesterday began airing radio ads calling on the public to phone the DPS in Austin to report sightings of Killer D's even though it's well known they are in Ardmore.

"A trend is developing here," Malcolm said. "At every turn, the Republicans are trying to misuse law enforcement to deal with this matter.Similar to his attempt to impose a new redistricting plan, Tom Delay is trying to bring in the FBI into this state matter. And the answer is the same: this is a state matter and Tom Delay should quit messing with Texas. As for the continuing harassment of Killer D families, Speaker Craddick and the Texas Republican Party need to quit treating the DPS like 'dogs' while wasting their time on needlessly frightening their families or running off on red herrings," said Malcolm.


Okay, I didn't think I'd see it happening again in my lifetime, but Democrats are showing spine. And in Texas. We also see the GOP showing its teeth, as if they hadn't been obvious enough already--the Homeland Security Act has been invoked to allow them to be arrested over in Oklahoma, which has resulted in such interesting misunderstandings as one woman calling the police because she saw the "terrorists."

Isn't it interesting just how well-conditioned we've become? I'm amazed so many otherwise intelligent people have, without any direct connection ever having been drawn, come to quiescently believe that Saddam Hussein was behind the attacks on the WTC, simply through the power of forgetting, of letting pernicious memes implant and grow for no better reason than intellectual laziness--understandable in so brutalized and denying a country as we are right now. People are broke, tired and scared, and that's how someone like this president likes us--because if he'd ever had to play fair he'd never have been president. He's the rightful heir and must be accomodated.

But now we see how that trickles down--what the general atmosphere has become. And the last time this country was like this was about 10 years before I was born. Much like with the broad application of the word "communist" in the 50s, for the weakest minds it's now a terrorist if the GOP simply disagrees. The New York Times features a photo of one GOP representative from Dallas with a set of cards like the ones used in Iraq to identify Ba'ath party members sought by the military. Where do you think they're going with this, these Republicans with their known sadistic and juvenile sense of humor?

Prediction that I hope is wrong: the Democrats will not cave in and a pretext will be found to shoot them, and then they'll somehow be found to be collaborating with Al-Quaida in a show trial that will definitely follow if any survive, in order to destroy their names, to grind them thoroughly into the mud as well as anything they may say--and by extension the rest of the Democratic Party. Much like the recent experiment in the UK labelling George Galloway, the MP most against Blair's involvement in the Iraq Conquest. Which is ongoing.

And whatever happens, if the Democrats lose this it'll be all over the attack ads starting Christmas. From both sides, if the Democrats have any sense. This to me looks like a first salvo--or was that the death of Wellstone?--in showing Democrats: we feel free to arrest you and maybe even kill you. Now, what German political party also took about two years to do this kind of thing? Is that where you want to live? Don't you love America? You may think you do because you don't know what the alternative is really like. If you have any understanding of history, you know you don't want to. But then, America is where people, in so many ways, think they can escape history.

These folks are showing true courage and should be supported as loudly as possible. Post this information anywhere else you can, and show the Texas Democratic Party your support for this one example of the Democrats showing any spine since Clinton at yellowdog@txdemocrats.org.

If the Democrats do not take heart at this and actually show some courage against Bush, this country is lost. You don't deserve the rights you don't fight for, and so far the Congressional Democrats have been shameful as hell in showing less opposition to Bush than Olympia Snowe(R-Maine) by herself! Handing over the country to an illegitimate mob leader bent on sucking as much out of this country as they can before their bluff is called, who believe you will believe anything they say. Or that you'll be so very jaded that you won't be opposed. Which accomplishes the same result. Don't you ever notice how much has changed in only two years?

Anyway, if you stay quiet it'll happen. Stop giving these bastards the benefit of the doubt. If Republicans try to shout you down, shout harder. Shout until their goddamn ears bleed. Unless you really trust George Bush and his whims with your life.

*************************************

Interestingly on tonight's season and Sorkin finale to the West Wing, it appears that Sheen and Sorkin have both been Dixie Chicked. Faced with great personal tragedy and ill health President Barlett has to invoke the 25th Amendment, which provides the succession of power in case of presidential incapacity, and hand over power to the House Majority Leader(the VP having had to resign), a Republican, played(and this was a perfect choice) by John Goodman. While this promises a new level of surreality to the show--and now I will watch it more regularly, I'm afraid, because Goodman given a chance to shine is a heartbreakingly good thing indeed--and certainly the parallel universe of the show where a Clintonesque Democrat is still president was beginning to look like a sad, sick joke--will this be as intelligent as before, or will this turn into propaganda for Bush? We will see. But now Hollywood sees what happens if you go against Bush in any way and happen to have a credible presence and large enough audience.

Look what's happening in front of your nose.

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07 May 2003
  Questioning the motives of a "desk-bound president who assumes the garb of a warrior," Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd on Tuesday reproached President Bush for flying onto an aircraft carrier last week to declare an end of major fighting in Iraq."I am loath to think of an aircraft carrier being used as an advertising backdrop for a presidential political slogan, and yet that is what I saw," Byrd said on the Senate floor.

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05 May 2003
  Who Scolds The Scolders?

It seems this weekend--no doubt hoping it would slip out of the news cycle--it was reported that the ever-pious author of the Book of Virtues Bill Bennett, listened to apparently on the basis of a brief tenure in the first Bush administration(because I'll be damned if I can recall what he's done that's important since then), has a bit of a gambling problem.

I suppose we can't really expect him to preach against what he doesn't practice. If he didn't indulge in sin, how could he presume to know how bad it is? And $8 million worth of gambling losses is definitely enough to call an education! But don't tell him he has a problem. This is apparently how he defines having a problem under control.

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04 May 2003
  Evil Marches On
From the Guardian:
A data-gathering company that was embroiled in the Florida 2000 election fiasco is being paid millions of dollars by the Bush administration to collect detailed personal information on the populations of foreign countries, enraging several governments who say the records may have been illegally obtained. US government purchasing documents show that the company, ChoicePoint, received at least $11m (£6.86m) from the department of justice last year to supply data - mainly on Latin Americans - that included names and addresses, occupations, dates of birth, passport numbers and "physical description". Even tax records and blood groups are reportedly included.

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