Grave Satirical

Karl Rove for the Day, Vol. 3

(Click the image above to see the original undoctored photo, and/or click here. Or you can read more about these heinous backdrops by Dan Bartlett and Scott Sforsza here.)


Tastes Great! Less Filling!

From “Mass. Gay Marriage Ban Passes Hurdle” by Jennifer Peter (Associated Press), March 30, 2004:

BOSTON (AP) — Legislators approved a constitutional amendment Monday that would ban gay marriages while legalizing civil unions. If passed during the next two-year Legislative session, the measure would go before voters in November 2006.
The constitutional convention took place in front of thousands of citizens, who crowded the Statehouse each day to watch from the gallery and protest in the hallways.
After each intonation of “Jesus” by gay rights opponents inside the building Monday, gay rights advocates tacked on “loves us.” The two opposing sides then shouted “Jesus Christ!” and “equal rights!” simultaneously, blending into a single, indistinguishable chant.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, this tastes awful, and leaves me feeling rather empty inside.


Sex and the Sunday Comics

Are Sundays just not the same without that Sex and the City fix? Well, for those modern gals who count SATC, Tasti D-Lite and Sunday Styles among their desert island picks, low culture has the remedy.
Ladies, treat yourself to a lo-cal binge on the comic strip Cathy. In many ways our Cathy is the original Carrie Bradshaw – perpetually whining, pathologically self-aware, and ultimately interested in only the four c’s of diamond buying (that’s cut, color, carat, and clarity if you didn’t know). But Cathy is more than just ur-SATC – she’s newly engaged.
irvinggalotti.jpgIndeed that Mr. Big of the comics page, Irving, has finally proposed. And Cathy said yes! Although she might not have the fantastic support group that Carrie did, her ever kvetching mother is sure to provide all the doubt and dialogue that the three viragos of SATC managed to shriek. And while you can’t buy Cathy’s clothing, wouldn’t a collectible print of Cathy’s journey to wedded bliss prove the perfect alternative?
With this record-length will they/won’t they finally resolved, we can finally shift our concerns to other comics: will Heart of the City ever play doctor with sci-fi geek/sidekick Dean? Will Mallard Fillmore ever agree with those liberal professors? And can the Lockhorns ever get along?
Indeed the mewling, man-hungry women of SATC may have retired, but the comics page is here to save the day.


We Will Never Forget

50_first_sunshines23.jpgHow many high-concept romantic comedies can one moviegoer take? Two, apparently – 50 First Dates and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – although we’ll just have to wait until Friday for The Prince & Me. Clip and go with low culture’s handy guide to all those heady laughers and never get confused again.
Island setting:
50FD – Oahu, Hawaii
ESSM – Rockville Centre, Long Island
Former comedian turned serious actor in lead:
50FD – Adam Sandler
ESSM – Jim Carrey
Female lead with body issues (chubby):
50FD – Drew Barrymore
ESSM – Kate Winslet
Unattractive, humorous male sidekick:
50FD – Rob Schneider
ESSM – David Cross
Former Hobbit in supporting role:
50FD – Sean Astin
ESSM – Elijah Wood
Long-term or short-term memory loss?
50FD – Short-term
ESSM – Long-term
Literary aspirations:
50FD – Lead character named for writer Henry Roth
ESSM – Title taken from Alexander Pope poem
Piece of crap?
50FD – Yes
ESSM – No, mostly


Ass Backward

Did anyone else assume this cover story would be about forced sodomy among little leaguers?


R.O.V.E.: Rolling Over Valued Entitlements

You know how it sounds so much more palatable to go scuba diving than to, say, strap on a “Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus?” In that same vein, legislators on the Hill caught on to this a few years ago, and began packaging their now-commonplace rollback of civil rights in grandiose acronyms.
This began most notably with Congress’ October 26, 2001 passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, an acronym for “Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism.” USA PATRIOT sounds far better than the proposed alternative, KAFKA, or the “Keeping Americans From being Killed by Airplanes” Act.
Following on the heels of their success with that bill, the Bush administration and likeminded legislators brought forth Operation TIPS, or “Terrorism Information and Prevention System,” which would have enlisted the help of postal workers, meter readers, truck drivers, and other workers in the public sphere in an elaborate effort to look out for “suspicious” activity. Again, better than the alternative, SPY, or “Subtly Prying Youths,” which would have brought America’s toddlers on board in the campaign to root out terrorist educators. This iteration of the bill never made it out of the House judiciary committee, of course.
And now the acronym brigade is at it again, according to Wired News. In the wake of Johnny Depp‘s Oscar nomination, and their subsequent downloading of that relevant film, Americans are bracing for PIRATE fever:

[O]n Thursday, Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) introduced a bill that would allow the Justice Department to pursue civil cases against file sharers, again making it easier for law enforcement to punish people trading copyright music over peer-to-peer networks. They dubbed the bill “Protecting Intellectual Rights Against Theft and Expropriation Act of 2004,” or the PIRATE Act.
The bills come at a time when the music and movie industries are exerting enormous pressure on all branches of government at the federal and state levels to crack down on P2P content piracy. The industries also are pushing to portray P2P networks as dens of terrorists, child pornographers and criminals — a strategy that would make it more palatable for politicians to pass laws against products that are very popular with their constituents.

Meanwhile, civil libertarians across the nation are eagerly awaiting this fall’s ELECTION, or “Eliminating Leaders Elected to Congress To Impugn Our Nation”.


Bush et al., valiant defenders of liberty

From “Rice Defends Refusal To Testify” by Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus, in the March 29, 2004, edition of the Washington Post:

Rice gave no ground on the administration’s decision that she will not appear in public before the panel or testify under oath because Bush officials believe doing so would compromise the constitutional powers of the executive branch. The renewed refusal came despite the panel’s unanimous plea for her testimony.
Republican commissioner John F. Lehman, who has written extensively on separation-of-power issues, said that “the White House is making a huge mistake” by blocking Rice’s testimony and decried it as “a legalistic approach.”
“The White House is being run by a kind of strict construction of interpretation of the powers of the president,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “There are plenty of precedents that the White House could use if they wanted to do this.”
Rice said she has “absolutely nothing to hide” and “would really like” to testify but will not because of the constitutional principle.

Gee, guys, this whole “Constitution” document sure comes in handy when you need it most, huh? That is, when you’re not too busy covering your ears to cries of “Hypocrisy!” and otherwise obliterating the fucking thing, like you’ve been doing for the past two-and-a-half years.
RELATED (and very much worth reading): Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo discusses the issue of Constitutional precedent here and here.


Lars Von Trier: His own worst critic

(Click the pseudo-Dogville thumbnail image to enlarge)


Ear-ly Itchy and Scratchy

From CNN, March 26, 2004:

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany (Reuters) — A four-eared German kitten has been given a new home after a German animal shelter was deluged with requests to adopt the animal born six months ago with the genetic defect.

From CNN, nine years earlier, October 25, 1995:

MASSACHUSETTS (CNN) — Researchers in Massachusetts have created something that sounds more like science fiction than science fact. They’ve taken a prototype human ear made of polyester fabric and human cartilage cells, and implanted it on the back of a hairless mouse.


Under-reported Factoid of the Week

Worth mulling over as the Bremer, I mean, Bush administration’s self-imposed Iraqi sovereignty deadline of June 30th approaches:
From Dexter Filkins’ profile of Iraqi exile (and purveyor of bad WMD-related intelligence) Ahmad Chalabi in the March 26, 2004 New York Times:

“In a nationwide poll conducted by ABC News and the BBC, 10 percent of Iraqis listed Mr. Chalabi as someone they ‘don’t trust at all,’ a higher percentage than any other Iraqi leader. According to the poll, conducted from Feb. 9 to 28, 3 percent said they did not trust Saddam Hussein. In the poll, 2,737 randomly selected Iraqis age 15 and up were interviewed. The results have a two percentage point margin of error.”

(emphasis mine, with thanks to Danny)