Suppose you own the car that's being blown up in this image. You park, run into the convenience store across the street for some batteries, and then some right-wing armored militia blasts everything in its way as it frantically tries to kill Captain America with rocket launchers. No more car. Now what?
In an earlier post, Mark mentioned that the construction industry in the comic book world must account for a large portion of the economy. I bet there is also a lucrative superhero / supernatural disaster insurance industry to deal with these externalities.
How would this insurance industry be set up and organized in the comic book world? Certainly no one is chasing after Superman asking him to pay each time the Daily Planet globe is decapitated from the building. So who is paying?
In the world of comic books any individual who has more than 5 million dollars in saving or assets immediately becomes bat-shit insane. It's a strange rule, but it seems that every independently wealthy individual in superhero comics decides that fighting/committing crime is the best way to spend their free time. They ignore possible hobbies like golfing, yachting, and collecting antique cars and go straight into wearing a mask and creating a global organization designed to save/destroy/conquer the world.
Well, I don't see what's far-fetched about that. Look at Richard Branson. No, don't. What real billionaires do, exactly because you can't.
The party that put the first woman on the Supreme Court decided to cancel that out today. Not content to have alienated all Latinos from the party in their rather sad group masturbation of hateful rhetoric towards Sotomayor, the GOP has also decided to alienate women.
Nevertheless, they let Liddy let this one fly, though he certainly didn't skimp on the anti-Latino remarks. But those you've heard from others. This is new, or rather, very old and dusted off:
LIDDY: Let’s hope that the key conferences aren’t when she’s menstruating or something, or just before she’s going to menstruate. That would really be bad. Lord knows what we would get then.
I'm sorry, now I'm wondering: do they know what century they're in? Do they expect to win anything this way?
I suppose they've decided being a Republican is being part of a select club. Funny how they've acted as though voters were irrelevant this century. Funny they haven't realized that's not a good strategy if you don't hold office.
Maj Gen Taguba’s internal inquiry into the abuse at Abu Ghraib, included sworn statements by 13 detainees, which, he said in the report, he found “credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses.”
Among the graphic statements, which were later released under US freedom of information laws, is that of Kasim Mehaddi Hilas in which he says: “I saw [name of a translator] ******* a kid, his age would be about 15 to 18 years. The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets. Then when I heard screaming I climbed the door because on top it wasn’t covered and I saw [name] who was wearing the military uniform, putting his **** in the little kid’s ***…. and the female soldier was taking pictures.”
I'm sure Cheney will defend that as necessary to protect our security as well.
A few words to the only man alive who still thinks torture is good:
By the way, I'll ask again: He is no longer an elected or appointed leader of anything. Why are we still listening to him as though his opinion counts? Is that what we normally do with disgraced criminals?
Oh wait, actually we do. Wrong question. I'll try to rephrase that.
The Republicans are now facing the inevitable logical contradiction in positioning yourself as the opposition to everything. Because now, in an effort to build their party, they're attacking a perfectly credible nominee to the Supreme Court that, in another time, would be completely uncontroversial, and in their usual "I know you are but what am I?" mode, these rich white men are attacking her on the basis she's "racist." Why? Because she's a Latina, they say,(or a "Latina woman," as Gingrich put it in his Twitter fart today, which means, a "Latin woman woman"--such an intellectual, that Newt) and so cannot help looking at things in the favor of her own ethnic group. Which, as with all Republican statements, says a lot more about how they view life than how their opponents do. Why do Republicans believe others think this way?
They have always used it to their advantage, but the Republicans have now not just embraced racism, they're fucking it every night without protection. They're using it far more overtly than ever before, now not just as a tactic, but their entire ideological basis: they will not give up their idea that whites are gatekeepers in the society, and that it's up to whites to decide when those who aren't white will rise, will succeed. Of course, for the racist, the gate they're keeping is much like the one mentioned in Kafka's the Trial, one that was only meant for you, but that you cannot ever go through. They can't even give her the basic respect to pronounce her name right, actually objecting to being "forced" to do so. Look, mispronounce it all you want. Then watch as we all laugh at you. You have that right, but not the right to escape ridicule for being a bunch of goobers.
The true basis, of course, of all right-wing racism, from the Civil War to today, is that they're paranoids who are obsessed with their guilt, and fear retribution for what they have done in the past. Not that it's coming, but that's how they'd respond had they been oppressed all this time, so they assume others would too. They fear what they know would be justice, though those they fear really only ever wanted the racists out of the way so they could live their damn lives. But the racist assumes everyone else is as obsessed with race and hate as themselves.
Their fantasy world is amusing but increasingly dangerous. I wonder if someday, like in Warren Ellis' Transmetropolitan, it will be necessary to give them their own reservation where they can be free to live their infantile whites-only dream of the 50s to their heart's content, so that government can be run by adults again.
"It is way worse than I thought it would be, and that's no joke," Mancow said. "It is such an odd feeling to have water poured down your nose with your head back... It was instantaneous... and I don't want to say this: absolutely torture."
"I wanted to prove it wasn't torture," Mancow said. "They cut off our heads, we put water on their face... I got voted to do this but I really thought 'I'm going to laugh this off.' "
If you're keeping score, this means that Sean Hannity is even more of a lily-livered coward than before, as he agreed to be waterboarded for charity over a month ago and still has not followed through, even with Keith Olbermann offering to give a thousand dollars per second that he lasts to the cause of Hannity's choice(which, he claimed, was veterans).
Shame on Hannity. We all know now--for sure, as most of us already suspected--that he's an utter chickenhawk, without even the trace of a ball.
When I Was Young & Snotty: Preacher & Invisibles Letters
Having seen recently online a gushing fanboy letter written by a young Warren Ellis (the subject was Alan Moore, but I can't recall the comic), I felt I would forestall similar future blackmail and post here two letters I wrote to Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis in the 90s, that I came across when spring cleaning recently. Thought they were worth a chuckle. Strangely, both letters were published in the 13th issues of their respective comics. Looking at these for the first time in forever, I'm particularly struck by how arrogant and rude I am in my letter to Ennis, and how good-natured he is in response. I would have punched me if I'd later met me in person. Which he did, actually. Meet me, I mean. No punching. Because, a follow-up to this was that, some months later, both these guys, plus Warren Ellis(whom I did not know of then and ignored, and I've felt stupid ever since), Steve Dillon & Matt Hollingsworth, showed up at San Francisco's Comix Experience. I was such a fucking fanboy, I was first in line, and in my brief talks to both of them, I followed up on these letters. In Morrison's case, he was speaking Scottish, so I couldn't understand. In Ennis' case, he recommended a book on the myth of John Wayne by Garry Wills, which as it happens I was already reading. Both nice as hell despite me, I'm sure, being every bit the twat that's reflected in these letters. Luckily, this was right before letters pages were phased out, so there are no more. Well, except about a million ill-considered message board posts I've forgotten, I'm sure. Anyway, let my cringing commence. Click on each to read.
And this doesn't even reflect Rumsfeld's actual beliefs. It turns out this was just a cynical effort to manipulate Bush, and indeed, for Rumsfeld to kiss up to him. This sort of thing, it appears, in look and in tone is what appeals to Bush. What does this, by the way, now confirm about the level of Bush's intelligence, taste, and fitness for the presidency? It's not that it's religious, though it does now confirm that Bush, at least, thought this was a religious war. It's that this is the sort of thing you use to get trailer-park folk to get born again. I mean, come on, look at it. (not that this is atypical material within the Armed Forces.)
The Bush administration looks more frighteningly ridiculous the more that one finds out about it. A bad president and administration I can almost understand. But it turns out that we've been led by a Mayberry junta after all. Nothing they did looks worthy of calling "presidential," good or bad. (Whatever I might say of Nixon, Reagan, or the first Bush, at least you could use that word to describe them without laughing hollowly)
Isn't it obvious that this last eight years were miserable, dark insanity, and indefensible?
At what point does the right wing realize how foolish and wrong they were, and are, to defend these people, and decide to be quiet and think awhile?
Oh, and why are we hearing all this about Rumsfeld? Because his former colleagues are throwing him to the wolves. More here:
My mother would have wept with joy had she lived to see this. You have to understand: you didn't live in the Charleston area(where Colbert is also from) from the 1970s on without getting a serious sentimental connection to Cat Stevens music. I'm not sure why that is; that's true of James Taylor too, but fortunately I was allergic. But Cat? The first five years of my life the house was filled with this, Simon & Garfunkel, or , well, Carly Simon, but back when she wasn't too bad. (Sadly, Mom later had a Barry Manilow phase that she never left, but we won't go into that)
From the brand new album, "Entertainment". First since 2005--great album actually, but you'd think that after four years, they could come up with a better title than one Gang of Four already used. Anyway, I really dig this particular tune.
"The reason these techniques have survived for thousands of years is that they work." --Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), at today's hearings on torture
Murder has survived because it's a great way to make people die, but you're not telling me that Graham thinks that something surviving a long time, in and of itself, makes it right.
Oh wait, I forgot about South Carolina's history with the Confederate flag. And I'm from there, I know better. Never mind. I shouldn't expect sense or shame from a SC Republican.
But we couldn't have it more obvious: they are defending a crime. They're not saying they didn't do it, because they can't. They're trying to nullify it as a crime despite all laws, treaties, and human reason and history. They even think that if they implicate Democrats as complicit, this makes it not a crime. Anything to not have to accept responsibility.
They're criminals, not leaders. They've made it clear. And I wonder how many times they can dare the rest of us to punish them before we do. I wonder how any of the way they're talking will help them later in court, from which no spin or Fox News can save them.
Why Is Cheney Providing So Much Reason to Prosecute?
Especially with the report out today confirming waterboarding wasn't even any use, contrary to Cheney's defense of it. There are only two possible explanations without the one that he truly is proud of this and believes he can just brazen his way through. These are based on the premise something rational is going on:
(1) Making Cheney, the one closest to death of all the Bush administration, the sum and total of useful information and direct attribution a la William Casey in Iran-Contra. Then he either goes crazy(making any testimony impossible) or passes away, or both, taking with him just the chunks of evidence that could have convicted the others.
(2) Daring the Obama administration to arrest and try him, in hopes that a section of the public will rise up, somehow fostering a right-wing coup.
I'm not saying either could work. But they're the only reasons I can see that he's being so peculiarly upfront about this that don't assume he's crazy and/or stupid for real.
Particularly now that he's implicated Bush as well. Watch this video for more on that...
You know, I like her a lot more now that she's not pretending to be someone she's not(as she had to in the days she worked for the Fox network). The choicest line:
"Governor Palin isn't here tonight. She pulled out at the last minute. Someone should tell her that's not really how you practice abstinence. (after various shocked reactions from audience) Oh, shut up. You're gonna be telling that one tomorrow."
This isn't shocking to me. I grew up in Charleston, SC, which invented secession, and the truth is that Southerners, at least conservative ones, are "patriotic" only when the government is doing what they like, but when they lose, the "heritage" whining begins. They have never stopped looking at themselves as an occupied people, biding their time. This is why things like the Confederate flag are so important to them.
Not unlike the current Republican party, they're not just sore losers, they never really understood that they lost. It was, in the end, beneficial to them that they did. But Southerners, sadly, never got that. Rather than tending to practicality, Southerners have a way of riding what they consider a principle until it crashes into the ground, and burns, and burns. Because to them, admitting they're wrong would be psychological suicide. (I share this flaw) This is also linked to their strong need for faith. (this one not so much)
I can't tell you why this is, but it's what I grew up with, sad but true. My own feeling?
Let 'em go. They've kept themselves so culturally separate since the Civil War(to the point that, when I moved north, I found that no one seemed to know anything had happened down there since the civil rights movement; partly because nothing had) that we'd hardly miss them. Just go, folks. And then see where your economy goes without the rest of the country subsidizing you. Have you not noticed how poor you are compared to the rest of the country, how underdeveloped, how there are parts of your cities and towns with conditions not unlike the Third World? Ask me sometime about the ghettos in Charleston, full of dilapidated, ancient buildings, right next to the docks on the Cooper River, where, when a major storm occurs, it floods because Charleston, like New Orleans, is mostly under sea level.
You'll still have to sell your goods to someone and that'll be us. You'll still want tourism, and the visitors will be us. It's just you won't be fucking up our elections, that's all. You'll be another Mexico. Stop pretending to be Americans, y'all. Just go.
Michael Ross at the Root explains why. It doesn't surprise me: when people in the Bay Area say an area is a "bad" one, it turns out they usually mean that to mean "black," something I always found a little shocking , especially given their love of diversity. But, like Seattle, San Francisco is huge on diversity in the abstract but very weak on the concrete.
...black San Franciscans’ sense of being outsiders has already been noted or reinforced more than once. The city’s gentrification issue reached pop culture’s radar recently with the release of the Barry Jenkins film Medicine for Melancholy, in which the black protagonists—San Francisco residents—wrestle with their city as an alien place.
Maybe nothing, though, reinforces that sense of alienation quite like what awaits users of the realestate.com online resource for buyers and sellers of homes in California. There, on the People Summary page, under the category “Race Distribution,” among the words on a list of racial descriptors, you’ll find the neutering word that substitutes for “African Americans,” the word that, for many, reveals San Francisco’s true feelings about its black identity.
Well, more elections. Big Government is never popular in theory, but the disaster aid, school lunches and prescription drugs that make up Big Government have become wildly popular in practice, especially now that so many people are hurting. Samuel Wurzelbacher, better known as Joe the Plumber, tells TIME he's so outraged by GOP overspending, he's quitting the party -- and he's the bull's-eye of its target audience. But he also said he wouldn't support any cuts in defense, Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid -- which, along with debt payments, would put more than two-thirds of the budget off limits.
So long, Joe. I'm looking forward to never hearing of or seeing you again.
Alan Moore and a Cast of Many:"Outbreaks of Violets"
Possibly Alan Moore's rarest work, a set of postcards drawn by 24 different cartoonists and created as a giveaway for MTV Europe in the mid-90s and never reprinted. You'll find the whole thing here posted by the ever-helpful Moore fan Glycon. The premise? It may be too intense for you. The world is suddenly overrun with chaotic acts of civility and politeness, giving rise to such horrors as, below, the "Serial Nurturer." The humor! The humor! (I'm assuming these are (c)1995 Alan Moore and the respective artists, but what do I know?) ___________________
I wonder how many artists have done something terrible to themselves because of this romantic myth of self-destruction, which was never true. Van Gogh was, in any event, a mentally ill individual and probably would have been happy not to have been, and mental illness is an obstacle to creation, not an aid to it. For instance, depression might stimulate a lot of thoughts and ideas in one way, but in another, it's more likely to keep you from actually executing anything based on that idea than to help bring it about. The idea of the "starving artist" is an evil one that only benefits art dealers and publishers, as it creates a stigma in some artists' minds about being paid properly, or at all.
In any event, my favorite part of the story is a quote from the artist's brother(and art dealer) Theo, who remarked:
"Luckily Gauguin ... is not yet armed with machine guns and other dangerous war weapons."
True that. Gauguin was a complete asshole, after all.
"Eternity in the company of Beelzebub, and all of his hellish instruments of death, will be a picnic compared to five minutes with me & this pencil." --E. Blackadder, 1789 Questionable
words & pictures from John Linton Roberson