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!
30 November 2004
  Food For Thought

Democracy inaction
By James K. Galbraith

But if an election really were stolen in this country, what exactly would most of us be willing to do about it?

Oh, wait, I think we know that already. Nothing whatsoever.

That's just hypothetical, of course.

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22 November 2004
  The Blue State Tax

Remember how people were wondering just how Bush would pay for his massive spending increases and tax cuts without raising taxes? Well, he does want to raise taxes.

On people in states like New York and California, and perhaps Illinois, which didn't vote for him, that is.


The first part of the plan -- which would get rid of federal tax deductions for state and local income tax -- would fall disproportionately hard on Democratic-voting states, which already pay more in taxes than they receive from the federal government. ... Experts say the second part, which would do away with the tax deduction granted to employers for providing health insurance, would likely throw millions of people out of group plans, forcing them to buy far more expensive individual insurance.

What, you say? The Republicans would never want to be linked to a proposal that would actually raise taxes? That they would fear political reprisal for such a thing? Hm. Well, we thought the same thing about the whole country in the last election. The states that did not vote for Bush are the high-tax states, and those would be the worst hit--the logic in their heads being, most likely, that if, as they believe, Democrats want higher taxes, let them absorb same. And the Republican party also knows the working class, at least in red states, are too afraid of gay people kissin' on each other and other issues irrelevant to their lives to worry about taxes anyway--apparently they only mind Democrats taxing them into poverty, eh?

It's true the GOP is split over this proposal, with some having vestigial fear of reprisals in the 2006 midterms. But no doubt Karl Rove will find a way of threatening them into submission, as with the recent conversion of Arlen Specter into Bush's punk.

So think about this: it's those that object to Bush's costly decisions who will be paying the cost of it. What better way of paying back your supporters? They can feel free to vote on "moral values" and other frivolous bullshit if they have been rendered free of the consequences of the decisions they support. Take that, Michael Moore!

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21 November 2004
  Unifier.

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  Saving The Water Till The House Has Burned Down

From Maureen Dowd:

Democrats were furious to learn last week that Mr. Kerry had squirreled away $15 million in primary donations that he could have spent turning out the vote in Florida and Ohio. Once more trying to have it both ways, Mr. Kerry wanted a nest egg in case of a recount or legal challenges - not exactly the killer mentality that Democrats need.

Okay, Kerry. I want my money back.

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20 November 2004
  Loyalty Oaths

What does it profit a man to gain a committee chairmanship and lose any power to do other than rubber-stamp the president's decisions once you get it?

...In order to claim the chairmanship of the Judiciary Committee, Arlen Specter was forced to abandon future personal or independent judgment—the very judgment the people of Pennsylvania elected him to exercise. He has pledged—in advance of knowing who they are—to endorse the president's judicial nominees and to vote for a highly controversial GOP rule change to end filibusters and effectively terminate dissent of any sort in the Senate. Is it ironic that judicial nominees may not speculate at their confirmation hearings about how they will vote in future cases, but the chairman of the Judiciary Committee himself cannot be seated until he's pledged in advance to confirm those unknown nominees?...

Thank you for failing us all, Democrats. Thank you for remaining above the fray. You'd rather be right than president, is that it? Oh bloody good.

"An election IS a fray." --Pat Schroeder

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19 November 2004
  Our Brave Troops

Witness the sanitized-for-your-protection(by NBC) video shot by Kevin Sites of the Marine who valiantly shot an unarmed, wounded man on the floor of a mosque.

More honorable behavior from the army that brought you Abu Ghraib. At least this sort of thing might kill the illusion soldiers are, or ever were, possessed of "honor" inherently. Honor has nothing at all to do with being a soldier. We are simply fortunate that some of them, sometimes, have thought it was. Honor is something the individual soldier may bring and luckily often does. But it is not insritutional. Becoming a soldier and wearing a fucking uniform does not ipso facto make you honorable. As far as their superiors are concerned, soldiers are there to kill and die in the most expedient way possible. To speak of "honor" in a war where the first and only thing which was secured was the oil ministry while everything else, including weapons facilities, was left open to looting(to give the Iraqis more to shoot our soldiers with?Well, as Rummy says, freedom is messy. Certainly blood shares that with it) is laughable.

By the way, does the fact that the securing of said ministry was all that had been firmly accomplished when the announcement we had won was made tell you anything about what this was really for? (Not that this has resulted even in lower oil prices. Why is that, one wonders?)

Of course, these war crimes may result in scapegoat convictions, but nothing else. This is what is wanted of our soldiers by the government, because that way the Iraqis will be terrorized into submission, so goes the theory. They just don't want it on camera.

I suppose it's redundant to say this now, but, um--isn't all this wrong?

I know, naive of me...I guess I just miss the days of the pretense that public opinion mattered. Yet another sign of how old I'm getting.

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11 November 2004
  The Chill Continues.

TV stations are now so afraid of FCC sanctions that they're refusing to carry ABC's broadcast of Saving Private Ryan tonight because it airs uncut and:

"...after much concern and discussion about family viewing over past months, and with Americans at war across the world, it is the vivid depiction of violence combined with graphic language proposed to begin airing at 8 p.m. that has forced our decision."

So a film that depicts the way war and soldiers are realistically just isn't decent now. Lovely. Did you ever think Spielberg would be the first to be attacked here? Me neither.

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  "You have acted beyond the call of duty—or, for that matter, good sense."

Have fun, Red America.

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  More Comix Up To Your Right.

New stuff added, all collaborations(written by others, drawn by me), all relatively new.

This includes Shane Durgee's hilarious and autobiographical "Comic Shop Experience", which hits cruelly home for anyone who's ever spent five minutes in a comics shop. as well as two pieces, one very serious and the other, well, not, done for WORKING FOR THE MAN: Janet Harvey's also-somewhat-autobiographical "Glass House," and then back to more sidesplitting laughter to be had with JABBERWOCKY and BRAZIL screenwriter Charles Alverson's "Rapunzel."

All three of which were a great pleasure and honor to work on. I like collaboration. It lets me step out of my skin and concentrate upon problem-solving, because I'm a lazy bastard who desperately needs structure.

The hugely talented Mr. Alverson and I are working, slowly, on a couple of projects based upon short films he wrote but were never produced, as indeed "Rapunzel" was. Myself being a frustrated director, it's a nice bit of fun to do. Look for "Daddy" and "The Story of Oh" when...well, when I tell you. I told you, I'm lazy!

Enjoy the comics, in any event. Hey, they're free!

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  How Deep Is Arafat's Coma? from Slate

Er...presumably
after Slate left this as a headline, about as deep as it gets, it seems.

So part of the biggest obstacles to mideast peace is gone. Now if only Ariel Sharon and the other old men with old grudges, who cycle endlesssly through the Knesset, let old age take its course too, the younger people on both sides who are both sick to death of this situation might possibly be allowed at last to come to the fore.

While I'm wishing, I'd like a pony.

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10 November 2004
  The Land of Cotton

A comparison between former slave states and red states.

Interesting, I thought, as a former native of the former capital of slavery, Charleston, SC. And again, am I supposed to be shocked by this?

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  VITRIOL: Last Two Chapters Up

Okay, folks, the entire concluding third of VITRIOL (Chapters 9-12) are up, to read for free.

Hope all five of you like it!

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09 November 2004
  "That's the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women."

Moral values, eh?

"Those who sought to destroy this great man should get down upon their knees and beg the victors for mercy. And maybe, just maybe, we'll let a few of them linger on for the simple reason that they amuse us. My life's goal is to see the Democratic Party virtually obliterated and left as a rump of people like [Democratic Rep.] Stephanie Herseth [of South Dakota] who both mostly agree with us anyways and are easy on the eyes. That's the future of the Democratic Party: providing Republicans with a number of cute (but not that bright) comfort women."

What's the matter, Republican women won't fuck you?

It's good to know we were all so wrong about the GOP, thinking that they were vindictive barbarians full of malice. And obviously they see a
very definite place in our society for women.

"Kill your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women." --Genghis Khan on the meaning of life

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  VITRIOL Returns: Oh, No, Screams Nation

Vitriol is back on the web, or at least parts of it are. Plastic 1-7, containing chapters 1-8, are still available at Unbound Comics. (As is WORKING FOR THE MAN, whose proceeds still go to Bill & Nadine loebs, incidentally).

But chapters 9-12 have not been seen by most--only Chapter 9 saw print in PLASTIC 8, the last printed issue of the mag. PLASTIC 9, whose plot revolved around a very public explosion, was to be printed Septermber 14, 2001. Alas, I did not. And never did, preferring to concentrate on simply finishing the work, which took six years of labor to complete. It wouldn't have if I weren't so easily distracted, but...

Anyway, the concluding third of VITRIOL is now going to be available for free, at least as long as I see fit to do so, so that the ten people who had been following the story can finally know how the hell it turns out. And there are plenty of shocks, starting with
Chapter Nine, which is up right now for your reading pleasure. Chapters 10-12 will be up soon, and I will keep you posted here.

Read it, enjoy it, and write me about it or anything else on this site, and by the way, there's lots of other stuff that's been added to your right and more coming.


Hey, we all need something to take our minds off this fucking election, right? Riiight.

 
08 November 2004
  Blue Bulge

A
slightly different electoral map than you might have seen. This one is weighted to population.

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  Knives Out For Specter

Maybe he shouldn't have been so quick to open his mouth. Stupid Specter. Now there won't be a moderate to block Bush's judges.

So it's not just Democrats that let us all down...

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07 November 2004
  Ground Zero suicide inspired by election Then Again...

Ground Zero suicide inspired by election

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06 November 2004
  17 Reasons Not To Slit Your Wrists, by Michael Moore 17 Reasons Not To Slit Your Wrists, by Michael Moore

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  Salon Letter: A Gay Citizen Disses Newsom Salon Letter: A Gay Citizen Disses Newsom

"The last sentence of Joan Walsh's 'Did This Man Cost the Democrats the Elections' is the very definition of a false dilemma. I do believe that gay marriage (and Newsom) cost Kerry the election, I believe the issue should never have been raised, and frankly, I believe it should not be raised again if we don't want to find ourselves someday with an Alan Keyes in the White House.
Don't get me wrong. I'm gay myself and for full equality. But I'm also 'reality-based' enough to realize that, like it or not, most people in this country are against gay marriage and that trying to force it on them, either through the courts or through Newsom-style political grandstanding, will turn the issue into a one-way ticket to Washington for even the craziest right-wing politicians (I mean, look at the senatorial election returns!).
This doesn't mean I'm for 'selling out' gay people, however. It only means that we finally have to get smart about gay rights and stop running after the shadow while the prey escapes us. Forget about gay marriage. It's a political loser. Go after the rights associated with marriage, and do it in stealth fashion. Send a reasonably receptive Congress to D.C., and get a Democrat into the White House. Then, start lobbying for legislation that will allow any two or more people, regardless of gender, family connections or whatever, to enter into a government-sanctioned covenant that will give them in relation to each other the same rights married people have. Call it something fuzzy and meaningless like 'The Healthy Communities Building Act' and sell it as helping those two elderly, impoverished, unmarried Kansas sisters who are still running the family farm alone to watch over each other in their old age.
Et voila, you have what really matters..."

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  New Strip: Red On Blue New Strip: Red On Blue

A Dialogue Begins...(?)

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05 November 2004
  Get ready for the "revolution" on the right Get ready for the "revolution" on the right

So, you voted for Kerry, Bush won, but you're no doubt consoling yourself, thinking they would never dare impose their religious totalitarianism upon us. After all, they've never succeeded before. That's just what they feed the religious right to get elected. Right?

Boy, are you in for a
shock.

This is an interview with the very scary Richard Vigurie, who goes all the way back to the beginning, with Reagan, of the ascendancy of the religious right in this country. He's the one that made Arlen Specter back down and lick the soles of Bush's shoes almost immediately over the issue of judges, as Specter realized at the very last minute he could easily be prevented, for this statement, from being Senate Judiciary chairman at all. It'd be mighty hard for him to affect the appointments one way or another without that. And the threats to remove him came from Vigurie.

This is Richard(is this an inherently Republican name?) on why the agenda hasn't been implemented before:

We have not yet governed.

You haven't? I think that would come as a surprise to many of our readers.

Well, in 1980, [Reagan Chief of Staff] Jim Baker told us, "We must put your issues on the back burner until we get our tax cuts and national defense issues, like rebuilding the military and missile defense. The social issues were always put on the back burner, and they stayed on the back burner for eight years. They certainly did not move forward on our agenda at first. George W. Bush has been a very good president from the social issues and conservative perspective -- in many ways more than Ronald Reagan. But now with the whole conservative agenda, it's time to move forward and implement it.

If we don't move forward now, what was the purpose of building the movement? We were told under Reagan we couldn't do this and that because we didn't have the House or a majority of conservative senators. Now, we've got everything. We've got a president reelected based on running a conservative agenda. We're thrilled and pleased.

In other words, they hadn't gotten to it yet. And they didn't want to compromise their leader--and thus scuttle the entire agenda--by pushing for the most right-wing causes while they lacked the power to do anything but alienate those who might stand in its way. Instead, they were patient and worked incrementally, biding their time, and now they finally will have what they want. Patience is a virtue.

Meanwhile look at the Democrats, who are not patient for anything. Why should they be, so they think, when their views are the correct views that everyone should have? To tolerate injustice one more minute than necessary is to give in to it. That's their view. That's why, after Clinton won in 1992, he was pushed to force the gays-in-the-military issue through and, along with their rudeness regarding the health care issue, made certain Clinton would not be able to get Congress to help him with those issues or much else. And then, two years later, the GOP had the House anyway. Democratic arrogance and disunity, as usual, worked in the GOP's favor. Rather than building up political capital, say over six months, and then persuading that agenda through, they decided to push, and found that pushing got nothing. Because in the real world, people don't just vote for something because it's right, and besides, they didn't even seem to feel the need to persuade. Instead they were just content to call their opposition idiots.

Nowadays, Gavin Newsom doesn't wait for the law and marries gay couples in a big showy media event and forces the Democratic party to validate it, which the GOP then of course uses to its advantage. And thus all ability to implement it, or any other progessive issues, is destroyed. But I guess it was fun.

The Democrats lack patience and as a result they lost power, while the Republicans had patience and restraint and sure enough, slow but sure won the race. All the Democrats who went to Nader because of principle, or refused to back Democratic leaders because of same, should consider that backing the leaders who will at least listen to your agenda is the only way to assure it will ever happen. And punishing the party, over and over, only weakens them or, worse, moves them further to the right, in an effort to pretend you don't exist. Someone like Nader will not get what you want. Someone like Clinton would have, but I guess he wasn't left enough for you. Well, remember that Nixon was right-wing and anti-communist, and that gave him the credibility to open relations with China, which the more fervently right-wing members of his party were against. A lefty wouldn't have been able to do that. He would have been accused of giving in. Think of Clinton in this light, and think about why you didn't have patience with him and how much it ended up getting you.

You want power? Learn how politics succeeds in the real fucking world, children. Learn unity. Because it's either that sort of unity, or the kind Bush and Vigurie mean, i.e. capitulate of shut up:


So what about the 49 percent of Americans who didn't vote for Bush and don't agree with this agenda? Too bad? Their views aren't relevant?

First of all, it was 48 percent. Well, yeah, their views are relevant. We'd love to have them support a fiscally sound government and a strong national defense against the forces of evil out there. And this is a pluralistic society, and conservatives are going to have to compromise.

Have fun, folks. This is the bed we have made. And I hope all y'all Nader folks had fun punishing Al Gore in 2000. You let Bush in and now, you may never get him out.

Of course we lost. We're sickeningly stupid.


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  Closer Than They Think Closer Than They Think

Does this sound at all familiar?: "?Your actions betray your cowardly courage that you use in getting attention for your struggle. You have the cowardly courage to ask Muslim children at a school to make a choice between their Creator and the constitution.?"

That's from the manifesto pinned to the murdered body of Dutch filmmaker
Theo Van Gogh, written by his murderer, now in custody. These statements were meant, incidentally, for a member of the Dutch parliament, not Van Gogh, who had merely made a rather harsh movie criticizing Muslims.

Head scarves, school prayer...It's good to know that the fanatical religious right, regardless of race, nationality or particular religion, is so united.

 
  Bush's "mandate" shrinks by 4,000 votes in Ohio. Something To Watch

Bush's "mandate" shrinks by 4,000 votes in Ohio.

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04 November 2004
  How Do You Get Seniors To Vote Against Their Own Interests? How Do You Get Seniors To Vote Against Their Own Interests?

Why, put
gay marriage on the ballot in a swing state and let them make associations.

This is how the Republicans assured turnout in their favor in those states. Forget Iraq, forget health care. "Hey, at least we stopped those gay people marryin' on each other!"

Andrew Sullivan--at whose continued support of the RNC I can only wonder, given his intelligence and his sexual orientation--was sent these charmers today which he posted at his blog:

"To hell with being gracious, EAT SHIT SULLIVAN! Despite all your oh so noble commentary today, when things started getting rough, you bailed. I hope Soros eased you pain with a little green."

"I wonder if you noticed that yesterday all eleven states that considered the question of gay marriage voted to ban it. ALL ELEVEN. I think this sends a very clear message -- true Americans do not like your kind of homosexual deviants in our country, and we will not tolerate your radical pro-gay agenda trying to force our children to adopt your homosexual lifestyle. You should be EXTREMELY GRATEFUL that we even let you write a very public and influential blog, instead of suppressing your treasonous views (as I would prefer). But I'm sure someone like yourself would consider me just an "extremist" that you don't need to worry about. Well you are wrong -- I'm not just an extremist, I am a real American, and you should be worried because eleven states yesterday proved that there are millions more just like me who will not let you impose your radical agenda on our country."


I feel fortunate, shamefully, not to be gay in this country now. It seems the Republicans are getting rather over-exuberant in their victory, and really, really want blood. Why is this? I find it interesting that Christians, particularly Protestants, who speak of love more often than the average hippie, take such pleasure in hate.

But then, often religion is most adhered to by those who need the most control of their emotions. Protestants are attracted to hate, Catholics to sex. The religion gives them the illusion they're got control of these passions, but actually, it only gives them a "legitimate" channel.

I know Red America; I grew up in it. And I can attest that logic has nothing to do with their hatreds and fears. The hate and revulsion they feel toward the past 50 years in this country is their way of defining themselves. That's how it was when I was in high school and the mere mention of Reagan sent them into apparent screaming orgasms. They are nostalgic for an America none of them ever lived in, an America where gays were invisible, blacks were deferential and subservient, women would always stay home and you could beat your kids if you saw fit, and not doing so was a personal virtue, not a legal requirement.

In other words, if they do honor someone's rights, they want it to be their choice, some special thing they do because they're extra-good. But hating they want to be an accepted given.

In any case, all this that's confused them about places they have no contact with except media, like Massachusetts or New York or California--they want it to go away. Interestingly, they want to tell all of us what to do while resenting what they perceive the rest of us have made them do.

So basically, they want revenge. They feel provoked and victimized, and marginalized, because others getting their rights somehow makes them feel theirs have been diminished. One wonders how one can feel that way without believing that harming others is a right. But then, remember what "state's rights" was once code for?

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03 November 2004
  The Glories of Red America The Glories of Red America

The binge will soon be over; the purge begins. Our own homegrown version of Frailty.


TAYLOR: Death is result of debate about God

"Moral values." Hm. Looks like some redefining is going on.

"We won...this is our due." --Cheney to Paul O'Neill, 2003.

"I love thee so much, I shall shortly send thee to heaven."--Shakespeare, Richard III


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  Guess It's A Good Thing Specter Is Still There After All... Guess It's A Good Thing Specter Is Still There After All...

Bush is warned about anti-abortion judges

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  Democratic Values - How to start winning the red states. By William Saletan Democratic Values - How to start winning the red states. By William Saletan

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  Whipped Hard Whipped Hard

So it's official: Bush whupped our asses and whupped 'em hard. Every poll was off, yes, but not as we had thought. Apparently much of America is willing--indeed hungers--to keep him in office, one way or another, as the fabled youth vote did not come out as was expected, Eminem & P. Diddy notwithstanding.

And a word about that: if there's a military draft, I don't care about any of your whining. You just made your choice, kiddos. My generation coming out in force got Clinton into office. You can't be bothered, apparently.

But Bush has now legitimized his presidency. As far as we know, it was a clear and honest result, and the voting machines do not seem to be amiss at all. I hate to congratulate the RNC but it seems they won this fair and square.

On the other hand, we here elected Barack Obama to the Senate. Whoopie. One more in a minority of 44 among Democrats. And such a struggle it must have been to beat Alan Keyes. Watching the debates I noticed Obama often had this sort of baffled look, given that every single issue, for Keyes, had to be brushed aside for abortion. Obama had to fill the time somehow with the actual issues important to us in Illinois. And yet 22% or so of voters here actually bothered to go to the polls to vote for Keyes. But given that's about the same percentage of us who voted for Bush, I think we can assume the Bush voters simply voted for every Republican. Which is only fair; people like me voted for every Democrat.

Today I am very angry at the party, as I imagine a lot of people are. It's very disheartening to realize the only true leader the party's produced since LBJ has been Bill Clinton. And without him, they're completely ineffective and disunited. One wonders at times how its various factions even remain united, and now that women and Hispanic voters seem to be bleeding away to the GOP, the question of who the Democratic party really represents becomes more askable than ever before.

The DLC side are wrong to rely upon the yuppie voter and ignore the rural voter, once the Democrats' strength. The radical-left side are wrong to insist on shoving their agenda down people's throats--or at least to make it come off that way. The ones who bled off to Nader before that are also still in the party have never understood how to get their way through compromises and trade-offs, which they treat with an absolutist hatred and see as weakness, and so will not at least support the candidate closest to their interests in order to at least avoid the one actively against them. They treat the alienation of the other side as a further sign they're correct and, smug, they sit contentedly on their principles, glad that they haven't gotten them all dirty even for a moment.

By trying to be all things to all people the party manages to be nothing to anyone. No one is ever really convinced the Democrat is anything more than a weak version of the Republican--except Clinton. The party is weak, the party doesn't care; the party is, as a Nation editor wrote today, "broken beyond repair." The question one should ask is whether that party is still worth trying to drive or if something entirely new needs to be born. Should the country's oldest political party go the way of the Whigs?

I know that there is now no party that represents my interests and I'm feeling very sick of politics altogether. Don't be surprised if there's a lot more comics and a lot less of this blog from me for a while. Just thinking about last night makes me twitch a little.

But we lost. Period. No excuses this time. And there was a reason. Now we have to think about that.

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  Shit. Shit.

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02 November 2004
  Election 2004: at 6:40 pm CST Election 2004: at 6:40 pm CST

Zogby calls it for Kerry.

Meanwhile, the Republicans seem to think winning Indiana and Kentucky, both redder than red already, is somehow a good sign.

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  Decision 2004 Decision 2004

"Don't worry, I voted twice."
"Twice? Only twice? Call that doin' your civic duty?''
--Gangs of New York

Well, I cast my vote bright & early for Kerry. In fact, I was first in my precinct, in the rain at 6 am. So what's your problem, lazybones? Get out there and waste a damn day for democracy!

This will be you and me around this evening.

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