The Librarian: A Novel – Larry Beinhart

Beinhart is probably best known for the movie Wag the Dog which was an interesting/scary look on how a politician can fake events in order to manipulate the country, but the idea that an entire war can be faked is stretched too thin. Sadly, this book with its similar plot (a Bush stand in has his rich allies manipulate an election to steel it from a Clinton stand in), is far more detailed, and far more fact based, and far more terrifying. The book is not great; in terms of writing and plot Dan Brown does better, but I read it more for my research on the librarian stereotype which I'm always interested in.

Congratulation Republicans!

Congratulation Republicans! You overwhelmingly took back Governorships, the House, AND THE SENATE (you already have the Supreme Court). By embracing and incorporating a fringe movement, working lock-step within party platform of being rigid and uncompromising regardless of the issue, and your willingness to accept money from any sources and use whatever tactics necessary to win, you have shown the people that they must hate and distrust their government (except for you Republicans as you are the exception). Your win includes all aspects of the government as the Democrats long to be Republicans. They refuse to follow their own platforms, vehemently decry any outsider movements, constantly attempt to kow-tow to Republican demands (especially in the south and midwest), and are willing to do anything just to contend for the same sources of money as the Republicans have. Your win is a win for dogmatic intransigents and manipulation of the ignorant for the sake of your masters: the richest 1% of the country that controls most of its wealth. Meanwhile, the Democrats loss is one they have earned through years of cowardliness and self-destructive actions/inactions. You deserved to win as you are a hive mentality. And Democrats deserve to loss because you have no idea what they even want to be.

Revisiting: The Scourge of Socialism

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I think the most unnerving aspect of right-wing populism (read: Tea Party) is that so many people who depend on the social safety net have been convinced to rail against it.

Our corporate overloads (who fund the Tea Party) are licking their chops at the prospect of Republican rule, because they won't be happy until we have privatized every aspect of American life.

Maybe once Social Security is gone and we're all covered in the toxic sludge of the latest disaster, maybe then people will get it. But probably not. Fox News will just scream that it was Obama's fault (or Clinton, or Carter, take your pick), and we'll continue down the road to serfdom.

Oh, and it's election day: get off your ass and vote.

Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Comedians/talk show hosts/activists Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert held a rally in DC which was a cross between a mediocre comedy show, a parade of B stars, and an attempt to show the country that not everyone is a bombastic lunatic who thinks anyone who doesn't agree with them politically is a traitor (I mean, in my case people who don't agree with me ARE traitors and should be executed, but that's not the way it is for everyone). I had considered going, but the last time I went to our nation's capital my bus broke down and I figured I could skip that happening again. Also, I actually never been to a rally and didn't know what to expect, so it seemed it might be better just to watch it on TV. As mentioned, it wasn't too thrilling, although maybe that's just how all rallies are. I do really like the idea behind the event and am quite glad it took place. Pity so many (supposed) news organizations decided to ignore it because they didn't want to seem bias...by reporting an actual political event.

Revisiting: Action News - The Election

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There's an election coming up. Other than "Obama: Bad :: Tea Party: Good" do you really know anything about it?

I created this cartoon back in early September 2001. After the attacks on the World Trade Center, there was a brief period of time (I'd say 3 weeks) when television news media got serious and started to display some actual---informative, relevant---journalism. And then it was right back to the fluff.

Look, I'm not against entertainment---I read comic books, for god's sake---but why can't I find any program on the hundreds of tv channels that will give me basic information on the upcoming election (like who is running and what they actually stand for)? Yes, I know the "news channels" spend hour upon hour examining the horse race and the latest evil thing the Democrats have done. But they don't give you any real information. And unlike horse races, elections have consequences that affect your life.

The media claim that "we're only giving the people what they want!" But even if that were true (and I'm dubious), sometimes you have to give people what they need. It's enough to make me think that someone wants to keep us ignorant.

Time to Vote!

It's time to vote! For those of you who live in Texas, and Harris County specifically, early voting has begun. You can find a map to an early voting place here.

If you vote on Election Day (Tuesday, March 2), you can find your voting place here.

This is a Primary, so you'll have to choose EITHER to vote in the Democratic Primary OR the Republican Primary.

I'm voting in the Democratic Primary, and here are my picks (Note: I've only listed contested races, although I recommend voting in uncontested races as to give candidates a sense of their level of support):

United States Representative, District 18: Jarvis Johnson

United States Representative, District 22: Doug Blatt

Governor: Bill White

Lieutenant Governor: Linda Chavez-Thompson

Commissioner of the General Land Office: Hector Uribe

Commissioner of Agriculture: Hank Gilbert

State Representative, District 146: Borris L. Miles

District Judge, 113th Judicial District: Christina Bryan

District Judge, 157th Judicial District: Shawn Thierry

District Judge, 180th Judicial District: Lori Gooch

District Judge, 189th Judicial District: Andy Pereira

District Judge, 190th Judicial District: Jim Wrotenbery

District Judge, 234th Judicial District: Nile Copeland

District Judge, 245th Judicial District: Janiece Horn

District Judge, 247th Judicial District: Clinton “Chip” Wells

District Judge, 248th Judicial District: Trent Gaither

District Judge, 270th Judicial District: Charles Spain

District Judge, 281st Judicial District: Donna Roth

District Judge, 295th Judicial District: Paul Simon

Family District Judge, 308th Judicial District: Bruce Kessler

Family District Judge, 310th Judicial District: Judy Dougherty

Family District Judge, 311th Judicial District: Steve Herskowitz

Family District Judge, 313th Judicial District: Marc Isenberg

Family District Judge, 314th Judicial District: John Stephen Liles

Family District Judge, 315th Judicial District: Bill Thursland

County Judge: Gordon Quan

Judge, County Court at Law No. 1: Steve Reilley

Judge, County Court at Law No. 2: Damian E. LaCroix

Judge, County Court at Law No. 3: Damon Crenshaw

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 1: Beverly D. Melontree

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 2: Mary Connealy Acosta

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 3: Judith Snively

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 9: Silvia Pubchara-Munoz

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 10: Lori Chambers Gray

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 12: Robert “Bob” Cardenas

Judge, County Criminal Court No. 13: John V. O’Sullivan

Judge, County Probate Court No. 2: Joellen Snow

Judge, County Probate Court No. 3: Mary Galligan

County Clerk: Sue Smith Schechter

Justice of the Peace, Precinct 3, Place 2: Denise Graves

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Special thanks to Melody P. and Mike Ll. for help with this long list of candidates!

Pick up your phone, Senators!

I tried calling my Senators today to get them to stop being a bunch of cowards and start acting like Democrats (you know, the majority party in a state that's largely democratic) and push health care reform.  I couldn't get through to Schumer (no voicemail? really?) and Gillibrand number sent me to Verizon (not that that mattered, all I need is Schumer, as she votes however he does). Anyway, if someone wouldn't mind giving them a ring. These are the numbers I got. Tell them to stop being pussies and give me health care. Senator Charles Schumer Phone: 202-224-6542 Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Phone: 202-224-4451supporting thin

RIP United States of America

constitutionYesterday marked the death of the proud experiment to have a government in which people attempted to form a more perfect Union. It was replaced by a group of corporations. I could trace the illness that led to this demise and give a biography of all the wondrous (and, granted, sometime not so wonderful, whether with good intentions or not) acts the country once did, but why bother? Nothing I say or do in this land will ever matter again.

Pale in Comparison

Palin click to enlarge

Drawing Board

Background Mark may tell me "We get it; shut up about Palin," but as I mentioned, I don't think that enough can be said.  And polls show that the more that Americans learn about this woman, the less they like her. Sure, she still motivates the Republican base, but it will take more than that to win an election. Which is no guarantee of Democratic victory, of course. And even if you win the most votes, Republicans still have ways to make sure you lose.

Nevertheless, this will hopefully be my last comic on Palin.

Putting it Together This cartoon started about 10 days ago as a doodle on some scrap paper.

Today, I mapped the idea out on a (to scale) sheet of paper, which allowed me to make sure there was enough room for everything. I found an image of Palin on the web and then freehanded it. She came out a little too thin, but she's close enough to be recognizable. Then I traced everything onto the final page, cleaning it up along the way. I used a brush for Palin, because I tend to think that a brush gives you a more fluid feel. The rest is done with a pen, because I need more control over small items and lettering. Then I scanned it, made some minor touch-ups in PhotoShop and put it online. Not counting the initial idea, this comic took about 4 hours.

We're Toast

click to enlarge we're toast

Drawing Board

Concept This idea (and most of the text) came to me as I was waking up one morning. I wouldn't exactly call it a dream so much as a realization that this woman could actually be president once Geriatric John "I've had four bouts with cancer" McCain finally kicks the bucket---probably twenty minutes after he takes the oath of office. Don't laugh; it's happened before---just ask President Tyler.

It's not sexist to say someone is completely unqualified for the job, but I have no idea why I came up with Toaster as the second choice. I honestly didn't even think of the "we're toast" line until I made this blog post. I mainly just needed a big dumb blunt object to compete with Sarah. I guess a rock seemed a little too formidable.

Putting It Together It's probably obvious that very little drawing went into this comic---it's mostly about the language. So, for reasons of focus (as well as laziness), I chose to go with very simple images.

I grabbed an image of Sarah and a toaster off the internet and modified them slightly so that they wouldn't be copyright infringement. I "drew" McCain and his advisors with the wacom tablet. Actually, I just drew one image and used it for all three. And then I slapped everything together in PhotoShop and Illustrator. It was time-consuming, but not especially difficult.

In the End... I have no idea whether this comic will make sense to anyone. But I'm relatively happy with the outcome, even though the comic looks pretty clunky to me. I was just pleased to find a way to talk about McCain's willingness to destroy America without using a lot of four-letter words. Sometimes indirect insult is better than outright cursing.

UPDATE: While I stand by my comment that we can't say enough about this woman, I took Mark's comments to heart and reduced the cartoon panels/text by 20%.

Winning Strategy

McCain's Message Drawing Board

Concept It seemed to me that McCain started getting some traction in his campaign around the time he stopped harping on experience and started harping on that somewhat ambiguous platform of "change"---Obama's signature slogan.

Putting It Together As is probably obvious, this is largely a PhotoShop job. But it was actually a little more difficult than I thought it would be. In looking for an Obama "change" sign on the internet, I found that this particular sign was not available (or at least I couldn't find it). So in order to get the sign that I wanted, I had to piece together 2 separate images, along with all the requisite color matching and clean-up.

I originally just wrote McCain's name myself, but then I got the wild idea that I might be able to find a copy of his actual signature on the internet---and, assuming it was legible, I could use it. That way I'd be stealing/appropriating from both candidates. I have no idea if what I found is a legitimate McCain autograph, but it looked better than my original, so I decided to use it. Initially, the autograph and the cross-out was in black, but red showed up better.

UPDATE: I incorporated Mark's suggestion of changing the "M" to "Mc"