29 May 2006

Love/Hate & Relationships (CS)

I've done my best to hate Mike Bloomberg. He's a member of the Republican party and welcomed the GOP into our city with open arms, much to the dismay of the overwhelming majority of the city. He's had his hands in fund raising for the GOP and G.W. Bush. But lately... well... he's been making a lot of speeches kicking the GOP & White House's collective asses left and right and I've gotta respect him for that. He's nailed them on their lame brained opinions regarding immigration, gun control, and science (stem cell research, global warming, and evolution). Most recently, he's come out in support of same-sex marriage, saying the city will actually perform them if allowed to do so. So, despite his promotion of the luxury class in the city, despite his homogenization of certain parts of the city, despite even his lame support of the West Side stadium idea, I'm starting to come around on Mr. Bloomberg.

Mayor Mike actually reminds me of a handful of corporations that* have initiated certain policies that win me over even in the face of their seemingly maniacal business tactics. The best example is Starbucks. The coffee chain monster from hell threatens to pop-up on every block in the city. The homogenization is mind numbing and I can't stand their aesthetic or the culture they promote (Dave Matthews Band lifestyle... if that makes sense). And yet, they use fair-trade coffee, have campaigns to promote literacy and alleviate poverty, provide their employees with health care, and have even joined efforts with Ethos Water to bring clean, drinkable water to 3rd world nations in need. With all that going on, it makes it terribly hard to hate them. In fact, putting their hands in so many active and noble causes makes them downright appealing. They're not alone in this sort of image maintenance either. Wal-Mart, for all its sins, seems very serious about having its shopping centers become eco-friendly, energy renewable, and environmentally sustainable.

With these corporations the argument could be made that they support these initiatives purely as a means of promoting their own image. That in the end, even their philanthropy is concerned with the bottom-line of their business. And so I wonder, is that what Mayor Mike is doing by not only coming out against the GOP but actually endorsing the idea of same-sex marriage?

A cynical viewpoint of Bloomberg's support of same-sex marriage would be that it was simply a win-win situation for him politically. He gains weight and support from the left (which is where the largest portion of his electorate leans), but will never really have to act on his words because Governor Pataki (and the GOP) would never let it happen. However, as we learned through John Kerrey in 2004's Presidential election, one cannot easily take back their political rhetoric. Of course, Bloomberg need not worry about taking back anything if his aspirations never run further than Gracie Mansion.

In the end, though, I refuse to let political analysis diminish the important points that Bloomberg makes. And he states them well. I admire how he points out that, "The U.S. Constitution should be something that unites, rather than divides Americans." It's true. A constitutional amendment banning gay marriage is the equivalent to asserting that homosexuality is absolutely un-American (an assertion which, if you can't see as absolutely moronic immediately, then you too are probably moronic). Hopefully Bloomberg keeps kicking the White House's ass. Hopefully he keeps caring about the city in his own way. Hopefully he won't be inviting them back for another convention. Now if we could only get him to change his attitude on these bullshit luxury apartment complexes sprouting up everywhere and the diminishing of New York landmarks in the face of general Disneyfication.... But that's a rant for another time (I'm sure the mayor is breathing a sigh of relief).

*I refuse to use the perhaps more grammatically correct "corporations who" because I will not buy into the idea, long upheld by the US government but never understood nor endorsed by me, that a corporation is a person.

27 May 2006

Comics Roundup 5/27

--I went to see X-Men 3 with Team Movie Binge. It wasn't so great. Wasn't terrible either. Plenty of nods to geekery to make this one satisfied enough (Kitty Pryde, The Juggernaut (Bitch!), decent action). Just one thing sorta drove me really crazy. There's one scene where Jean Grey (Famke Jannsen) is all over Wolverine. It's pretty hot. But Wolverine turns her down. I don't care if she's crazy Dark Phoenix and your flesh is decomposing right off your damn body, you do not turn down Famke Jannsen. That makes two movies where Famke Jannsen is unrealistically turned away by a male lead character (the other being Rounders). Actually, it's three movies if you count that scene in X-Men 2 where Mystique is posing as her. I guess what I'm trying to say is.... Famke, I won't refuse you, baby.

--First Second is second to none for me. I've already purchased three of their spring releases (that's half their catalog!). I think even non-comics readers can enjoy A.L.I.E.E.E.N with it's bizarre and twisted humor or Vampire Loves with it's rambling and (relatively) true to life movement of story. And for those that are interested in the medium, I must recommend The Fate of The Artist.

--So Marvel's Civil War. I like and all... and I even think it's fairly realistic (as far as a world of superheroes can be realistic) that a Super-Hero Registration Act would be passed and that this would split the superhuman community in half. I thought for a moment about how, in a world of superheroics, supervillains, and general.... super... ness.... Anyway, in the Marvel Universe, it's ridiculous to think that you could get away with creating a superhero database that would not be hacked into by some evil super brain out there. They've already indicated as much in the latest issue of X-Factor. Now, it makes perfect sense that the government wouldn't realize this. As we all know, Congress lives on another planet all together. What doesn't make sense is that Reed Richards and Tony Stark, both of whom seem to have sided with the government, wouldn't realize this.

--Villains United (Secret Six) still going strong and kicking ass. Who woulda thought that this was the most fun thing to come out of Crisis?

--Let's check out some highlights from the latest ish of 52:

Justice has a sound effect... and it is "Splotch"

No, Booster, no!!! Just when I was defending you for not using your future tech for dickhead purposes, you go and wager on a team you knew was going to win??!?!? Haven't you ever seen Back To The Future?!??! Don't be a Biff!!!

I find it amusing that this issue featured a corporate exec getting arrested for fraud mere days before the Kenneth Lay guilty verdict. DC could not have possibly timed that on purpose.... Could they?

I already used my "Justice Has A Sound Effect" gag so.... got nothin. Still, YEHHH BLACK ADAM FUCKEN NIGGAS UP.

Next week in 52?
Question kicking some ass. I should think so!!! Far too little of that in this issue. I look forward to watching a guy with no face punching those who do... in theirs.

26 May 2006

A-holes: The 'A' is for 'Amnesty'

The history of American politics is a protracted and sordid story of two supposedly opposing factions tripping over one another to stake out attractive and expedient positions in order to get elected. We saw it recently in the last two rounds of Presidential debates, in 2000, with Bush and Gore nodding, bobblehead-style, at each others' vague remarks, and then two years ago when candidate Kerry insanely attempted to posture himself as a rough-and-tumble cowboy and terrorist eradicator.

What's different about the current scenario unfolding in the halls of Congress over immigration is the utter betrayal of American citizens in favor of illegal immigrants. The alleged dialogue taking place regarding immigration is a nearly-unanimous selling out of American interests by our elected representatives. With the voting population increasingly hardened and stubborn in their partisanship, the two major political parties recognize that the only method of gaining a formidable electoral advantage is to create a new bloc of voters out of thin air, and this is precisely what our legislature is about to accomplish.

On this issue, the crassness and arrogance of the government is astounding. The idea, repeated ad nauseam, that Americans will not lower themselves to the level of performing manual labor presumes that the current mean levels of quality of life and personal comfort will only remain constant or improve. But given simple facts like the regularites of market fluctuations and economic downturns, this is a dangerous assumption to make. Add to this the fact that the existence of an undocumented labor force drives down wages across the board, and that the recent "compromise" immigration bill in the Senate will allow a minimum of 64 million "guest workers" into the country over the next 20 years, and we see that this current ploy by the Congress is little more, and nothing less, than systematic sabotage of the American people in order to fatten party voter rolls.

With only a brittle and weak manufacturing base remaining in the country, and the unstoppable outsourcing of its technology work to south and east Asia, the United States, by inviting millions of foreigners into the aboveground job market, courts fiscal disaster. In the inevitable event that the economy stagnates or shrinks, and unemployment rates rise, the American worker will wake up one morning to find that his government has pulled the floor out from under him by guaranteeing a job, which he had heretofore been able but unwilling to perform, to a foreigner. Perhaps overall government tax receipts will increase, but wages will plummet, the housing market will collapse, and national resources in general will be stretched to a perilous degree.

The ordinary American citizen is being sacrificed to appease the twin-headed idol of power-hungry politics and money-hungry business. Given a choice between a natural-born American with a high-school education and a union card, or a Spanish-speaking immigrant with little understanding of, or care for, work safety rules, wage laws, and grievance processes, who will a bottom-line conscious manager hire?

What's more, the conflation of support for tight border controls with xenophobia is a distasteful, but unfortunately effective propaganda device which demonizes low-wage Americans for wanting to maintain for themselves what the illegal immigrants want: steady work with a decent wage. Many of our representatives in the House and Senate have, amazingly, been duped into parroting this slander during the course of this debate. But illegals already enjoy several perks of American life despite their status, such as emergency medical care, schooling for their children, and, in certain cities, welfare benefits, all more than an American illegally living in Monterrey would get from the Mexican government. What more must a country do for millions of people who are not supposed to be there in the first place? Oh. Right. Blanket amnesty, of course. But guess what? We've already tried that.

A little sensible nativism would go a long way toward a reasonable solution to the immigration concern. No other nation in the world is asked or expected to tolerate unrestricted immigration from a neighbor state, and the U.S. government, like any other, should be focused first on the needs of those who were born and live here legally. Lou Dobbs and I may continue to fight the good fight, but it sure seems like greed and political expediency will win the day.

21 May 2006

Another Week, Another $2.50 ($3.50 Can)

Another week of 52, folks. It's starting to sink in how amazing it will be if DC can actually pull this off. Keeping the schedule and making sure everything is in on time must be pretty insane and it's going to be tough for them to be vigilant about that for an entire year. Even harder, though, is that this title is going to have to put up with fanboy bitching on a weekly basis. I feel like I'd wind up one cranky creator if I had to put up with that. Once a month is enough.

This week was a bit more subtle on the dickery than last issue. Many of the characters were portrayed as quite unsure of themselves. Vulnerability is not a part of dickery. Quite the opposite, in fact. It takes a certain sense of self-asuredness to be a dick. Our "big dicks" this issue (pun sorta intended)? Ralph Dibney and The Question.
On to my favorite pages....

"America *hearts* Booster Gold!"

With hair as full and bodied as that, you can be damn sure we do.

Page 1
Ralph's doing his detective work at his wife's grave with a Polaroid (sweet!!) and gives us the classic "single tear."
Oh Ralph, you're so emo.

Page 3
The nose-wiggle. At first I thought he'd inexplicably grown whiskers. My bad.

Page 4
I like Doc Magnus. I'm down with anyone that will constantly have a pipe in his mouth. He seems kind of unsure of himself, which is endearing as I mentioned above. Also, loved his conversation with T.O. Morrow wand that's my guess for Grant Morrison's portion in this week's edition.

Page 12 thru 15
Looking through the window into Montoya's apartment we can see three emptied bottles of alcohol. Those are just the ones we can SEE. Rock.
A lot of people would say that The Question is a jerk for his intrusion, but truly... Who of us HASN'T walked in on two peacefully sleeping half naked lesbians seeking to leave them secret messages?
And hey lady, I don't care how many you've put back, you do not shoot at the Question. Gonna be really sorry about that.

Page 18 thru 20
Booster is shown as even more worried and vulnerable than last issue and yet still manages to save the day. They mention that luck wasn't a part of it. Damn right, all skillz, baby! It's no wonder that America loves this guy! And props to Skeets for helping out. He's not just a glorified PDA.
Page 21
Yakkin in the sink. Now that is a classy broad.

Page 22 thru 24

Told you that you'd be sorry....
The Question pours on the dickery, being all mysterious, making Montoya feel like an idiot, even smacking her around a little bit. He does pay her though (in what looks like Monoploy money).
And they have this amazing exchange:

The Question: So you are a detective after all.
Montoya: No, I'm not. I've got a new job, it's called being a drunk.

Would I be satisfied if they go all 52 weeks with Montoya making an "I'm an alcoholic joke" every issue? You betcha.

Page 27
In an issue mostly absent of dickery, the writers make sure Ralph pours it on here at the end. Berating a grieving girl, making assumptions and accusations even he knows probably aren't true. Parting his hair to the right.

Things to Come!
Power girl and her absurd bosom! Black Adam Fucken Niggas Up! (which is totally a miniseries waiting to happen)
And Lex Luthor!
You Can't Touch This

Super Secret Bonus!!!
The History of the DC Universe!!!!
Oh... wait.... It's just Donna Troy and tons of text. Thanks DC! Now I have something to do when I'm so bored that my only option is to balance my checkbook or take a nap!

19 May 2006

Death Via Taxes (CS)

Our intrepid little President is pushing ahead with another multi-billion tax cut that will benefit the upper crust which, considering all the money he's spending on ill conceived wars and fences to make better neighbors, just doesn't add up. To make matters worse, he's gone against his previous pledge and decided (being the decider and all) that taxes will triple for teenagers with college funds. Between that and eliminating Pell Grants (and instating the impossible "No Child Left Behind" nonsense), Bush seems to have declared a little side-war on education (this guy just loves war, lemme tell-ya).

Of course Bush wouldn't really understand how important education is, considering that he's terribly UNeducated (don't let the Yale degree fool you. The guy doesn't even read. You're going to tell me a REAL Ivy Grad doesn't read?). He also wouldn't understand what it takes to put oneself through college since he comes from one of America's most loaded and connected families. But as a person completely out of touch with the average American Joe, he fits right in with his fellow politicians.

Just take a look at Rep. Dennis Hastert who is convinced that families earning $40,000 with 4 children don't pay any taxes and don't deserve any more help than they already get. Hastert and his kind can't seem to understand what it's like for the American middle class because they are so vastly out of touch with them. Hastert himself makes over $200K a year and that's not even considering his expense account that will take care of all sorts of amenities and whatever other perks and hidden deals he gets from rubbing elbows with big companies and their many varied lobbies. It's easy to say "Stop worrying, times are good!" when you're already on top. It's almost as if we're having a collective "Let Them Eat Cake" moment in this country.

It's hard to see most politicians stepping down from the world of nice salaries and easy to come by benefits when it's so crucial for them to live in that world in order to prosper as politicians. The system has evolved to a point where money is not only helpful but absolutely essential in acquiring and retaining office. An individual needs party backing and that often isn't even enough. Deals must be made (and ethics are sometimes compromised) in order to secure money to play the game. As Marty Kaplan points out, Money=Message and politicians spend so much time fundraising and making questionable connections that the aspects of their job that should actually help the country suffers.

It has gotten to the point that anyone with enough sense can easily admit that the majority of members in Congress (and government in general) are either idiots, power hungry jerks, criminals, or a combination of all of the above. Even many of the more admirable members of our government are too wrapped up in the protocols of the system they inhabit to realize much of the truth of the situation the country is in. This goes right along with what I mean when I say that we need something new and not the same old bullshit politicians with their tried and tired "solutions." My question then (and feel free to answer for me) is, who do we look for/to?

18 May 2006

Iranians Have Moms Too (CS)

Right around Mother's Day I got into an argument of sorts with my mother (I know, I know... bad son). It was a silly argument though over nothing important... Just Iran. She's probably just worked up because she thinks I might wind up being sent off to war by Uncle Sam. Sometimes I worry the same. The difference between our points of view though is that she doesn't see it as mostly George W's fault. She places the blame squarely and almost solely on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

I tried making the argument, "Imagine being in Iran's shoes." Tried pointing out that taking shit from the West for decades has got to get old eventually. Even noted that people don't just follow someone as extreme as the Ayatollah and start taking hostages for no reason. We stood in the way of democracy and now we still pay the price. I'm not trying to be any sort of apologist for Ahmadinejad. No matter how much nationalist support you're trying to drum up, calling for the elimination of another country (Israel) is over the top and completely insane. But both The Economist and Brenden have pointed out (and when those two agree, watch out) that there are problems with being too aggressive with Iran and that, should push come to shove, it's economic sanctions that should be the answer. Bush Co. has shown no sign that they have a "cooler head" in these matters. At least Ahmadinejad wrote that little letter, for what it's worth.

The problem with Iran is intensified because President Bush has set such a frightening precedent with Iraq (once again, as Brendan has pointed out). Ahmadinejad is often criticized for his fiery rhetoric, but the United States government does much of the same and has continually maintained that violent response to Iran is always on the table. Sometimes they've even made a point of it. And after all, actions do speak louder than words and it's hard to argue for detente when the administration has already shown a willingness (a predilection, even) to run full speed ahead, eyes closed and guns blazing.

It's hard to imagine the current administration changing their ways on this, however. They've rarely if ever admitted a mistake and seem as blockheaded and stubborn as the people who still support them 100% in every decision they've made. Bush supporters will continue to argue (probably to their dying breath) that Bush did exactly what the country needed. That he was a strong leader and took action.

I'm prone to disagree (surprise!). What we needed then (and now, more than ever) is new solutions and ways of thinking. For the past 6 to 8 years, we've been hungering for creativity on the global (and domestic) stage. Instead we've gotten the same nonsense and bullheaded crap that it seems has prevailed over the large majority of history. As the Democratic Party flounders as it looks to find a new champion (will it be the rejuvinated Al Gore??) I recall the disillusionment I felt with the system in 2000 when I latched onto the Green Party - Ralph Nader campaign (don't worry folks, I wasn't a "spoiler"... I was too young to vote by a month).

When it finally comes time for new leadership will we actually be presented with anything new? Or will it be the same old story of choosing between a douche and a shit sandwich? When I presented this lament to mom she suggested that I run for office. Maybe she's crazy, but it was encouraging. That's just what moms do.

10 May 2006

Here's To A Lean, Mean Year (CS)

I'm gonna assume that most of our readers (which would be 3 out of the 4 people that read this site) aren't comic book nerds, so I'll try to make this as easy on you as possible.....
So 52 is this crazy ambitious project DC is putting out. A serialized comic dealing with the entire DC Universe that comes out every week in a world where monthly issues being several weeks (or months!) late is the norm? You don't say! So I thought, in honor of DC's ever ambitious efforts, I would make an ambitious effort of my own, do something I've never done before, and dissect/review a single comic book as one big post. Mind you, this will mostly be snarky and ridiculous. If you're looking for a real, smart analysis of 52 then there are places you can go. This is not one of those places.

Now, after Infinite Crisis, most members of the nerd community were expecting some sort of bold new direction from DC. Most seemed to be hoping for a new direction that was the old direction, what they thought was the light hearted days of the gold and silver age. Feed our nostalgia! Yeh well DC's got news for you. Comics were then, are now, and apparently always will be ALL ABOUT DICKERY. Let's be honest, assholes sell comic books (and I mean that in the least pornographic way possible). Millar's Ultimates is pretty damn popular, people love just about any title Garth Ennis touches, and Warren Ellis is notorious for hard cunt leading men and also notorious for being widely loved by many readers. This sort of no holds barred, grim, meanness seems to be what DC is shooting for and I'll follow suit as well. So you might wanna keep the children away from the screen because like Ennis and Ellis and all those smarmy fellas, when I feel like being a wise-ass, out comes the profanity.... And without further ado, away we fucking go!

"52: Week One"
"It Starts Here!"

Well yes, of course it starts here. At one. What a novel concept. Sure you don't wanna release a "Countdown to 52" first? Maybe a "52, Week Zero!" ?? C'mon DC, MILK US DRY!

On the bottom of the cover we see: "Where are Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman? ..."
Dude... Who fucking cares??? I bought this issue because The Question and Booster Gold were on the cover. After watching Supes, Bats, and Wonder Woman stand around with their thumbs up their asses while the entire world was going to shit I could use a break from them anyway.

Pages 1 & 2
So we get several panels of those "fragments of reality"TM spiraling into a bright light as they create the world. Kinda interesting trying to see which images DC decided to showcase here. Lots of screaming and angry faces. Except Booster Gold who's flashing the pearly whites. Good ol' Booster, we can always count on him.

Page 4
We get the idea at this point how the first three main characters have been spending the beginning of their week. Ralph Dibney is STILL moping around, being a general puss and fishing for sympathy with Bea on the phone. Straight up pathetic.
Steel is being one industrious s.o.b., appearing all over the world, helping out where he can. Stepping up to the plate and busting ass, damn commendable. I like this guy.
But I really like Montoya. What do you do when you've had a shitty day/week/year?? If your answer wasn't "Live in a bar for three days straight and get totally shitfaced" then you gave the wrong answer and no, you cannot run with Montoya.

Now that's my kind of gal.

Page 12
After throwing down the smackdown on Mammoth (I feel like he's been a bit of DC scapegoat lately, poor guy), Booster gets the inside track from Skeets that Metropolis is still upset over Superboy's death and Booster plays the crowd like they were a finely tuned kazoo. He pours on the waterworks and everything, oscar winning! This is some dickery of the highest order. This is what we call finesse dickery. Just look at that man go!

Poetry indeed, Skeets!

Page 18
Steel grounds his daughter. Pun absolutely intended. Damn good parenting. That's the sorta parent I want to be. You are entitled to nothing! DO NOT TOUCH THOSE COOKIES!!!! That's it... I'M GETTING THE HOSE!

Page 21
You know what? I admire Black Adam too. A bit of an over the top nationalist, but he really just wants what's best for his people. Heart of gold, that Black Adam. And really, isn't this how we really want to deal with terrorists?

(I'm not even joking here.... I think this panel let's us live a bit vicariously through Black Adam as he takes the power back in a situation that has left us feeling powerless out here in the real world time and time again. Given the chance, I think this is what almost all of us would do.)

Page 24 & 25
So we sorta get a bit of a roll call here as we see people showing up for the memorial service. Looks like Klarion, Frankenstein, and Manhattan Guardian are still alive, so I'm pretty happy about that. Mr. Miracle is there, but who's to say whether it's Scott Free or Shiloh Norman. Personally I'm pulling for Mssr. Free (sorry Morrison, but Kirby wins this round with me).

Pages 26 & 27
Booster gets a bit of a bad rap for being a bit of a dick. You might say to yourself, "If DC is embracing dickery, no wonder they have Booster as their lead character!" To which I must say, "You unobservant ninny, Booster's just keeping it real!" I mean, Booster might be a bit cocky, but he doesn't spend his time talking shit behind other heroes' backs....

And none of the other heroes seemed the least bit concerned that Booster's main compadre, Skeets, appears to be dying.

Yes, Booster wears advertisements all over his body like some sort of whore (which I might remind you we saw first in the Mystery Men movie), but he's gotta pay the rent somehow! Not all of us can be aliens, or millionaires, or members of a huge union. Yes, it's the other so called heroes who are mostly dicks. It seems that Booster (and to an extent, Steel as well) will serve as our rocks of decency in this sea of Assholes.

Sidenote: pg 26 has a half image of Aquaman, leading us to wonder, just when/where does he get messed up/dispatched so that we can have Sword of Atlantis???

Page 28
This is the sequence I bought this book for. The Question peels Batman's signal off the spotlight and sprays his own in its place. I am totally ready for badassness, Question style. (also, hey, DC, would you mind collecting that Question mini-series you did? I mean, all you have to do is publish one copy. I'll buy it. C'mon guys, please?)

Page 29

I guess that's supposed to be a bottle of wine.... but let's just pretend Montoya is chugging straight bourbon.

Page 30
Things to come. More question! Booster and a plane! Somebody's all up in the Fortress of Solitude!!! Yeh, I'm on board.
All in all, a good start for a series I'm pretty excited for. Steel is admirable, Booster is fun and well written, Montoya's an alcoholic (and we always know THAT'S entertaining), The Question just kicks all ass in general and Ralph.... Well, let's just hope things shape up for Ralph's story arc, cuz he was just depressing.
My only question is.... Why didn't Black Adam make the cover? RACISM!!!!

A Set of Open Letters to The City I Love and the People/Things That Inhabit It 5/10 (CS)

I'm considering making this a regular thing......

Dear New York City,

Thank you for tirelessly blowing shit in my eye on every windy day you provide. It is thanks to you that I am possibly developing a reputation as a teary eyed sentimental. Just when I think i've got all the specks dislodged from my eye, you come back with more. Someday I'll be blind and truly able to appreciate your faint scent of urine.
Be Seeing You Through Puddles In My Eyes,
Craig P. Savino

Dear Woman in the Bill Blass advertisement on the corner of 7th Ave and 40th Street,

I think you are pretty damn beautiful. The cute hair and the fair skin.... the fact that you're perched atop my comic book store is only a bonus. Would you like to go out sometime? I promise to still love you even if you're 25 feet tall and two dimensional in real life too.
Your Secret Admirer

Dear Dude in the Comic Book Store with His Music Turned Up So Loud That He Couldn't Hear Anyone Saying "excuse me" And Constantly Backed/Sidled Into People,

I probably would've called you a dick if i thought you could hear me.
--Your Fellow Comic Nerd

Dear B61,
Johnny on the spot today! Keep up the good work!

01 May 2006

Take that, Craig! (BR)

This began as a reply to a comment my infinitely esteemed and respected colleague Craig made in response to my most recent article on Iran. However, by the time I came around to addressing all his points, I had an entire new article unto itself.

The gentleman begins by quoting from my aforementioned article:

"invasion was the right move given the information he and our allies had in front of them."

He proceeds, then, to attribute the sentiment embodied in this fragment to my own personal feeling:

After the Downing Street memo and countless other things that have come to light since, do you really still think that's true??

Of course I don't think it's true; their argument is proffered thusly in the article for the sake of demonstrating the inconsistency of the administration's tack in handling terror, to wit:

Fair enough. So what about Iran?

As in, "You said that we won't sit on our hands while crazy dictators rattle their sabres at us, so why on earth are we doing exactly that with regard to Iran?"

Moving on, Craig discusses my oft-repeated belief that the only way to defeat Islamic terrorism is for the US and our allies to divest fully from Iran and its contemporaries, and just wait for the region to strangle itself.

As for divesting from Iran and trying to tie their hands economically, I fear that they might be batshit insane enough to consider this "an act of war" or close enough to go ahead with "pre-emptive strikes" (thank you Mr President for that wonderful precedent you set...)

To which I say: If Middle Eastern governments which are hostile to the US and American interests get riled up when the Great Satan cuts off economic intercourse with them, good. Great. Perfect. That's exactly what we want. Witness the current crumbling status of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority. They were so intent on scaring the shit out of the entire civilized world that they've lost all their Western funding, and now they lack even the resources to feed themselves, to say nothing of destroying Israel.

When the "Arab street" gets the message that electing terrorists and their sympathizers to office is a nice way to guarantee starvation and death for themselves and their families, they will seek out our friendship and quit electing gun-toting radicals with zero experience in public service as symbolic representations of their antipathy toward us.

Finally, he broached the subject of the other prong of my novel theorem for eradicating the terrorist threat: Compulsory transition of American industry toward operation and production using non-petroleum-based energy sources.

as for energy initiatives to get the country less dependent on oil... Yeh, progressives have been asking for this sort of thing since Kyoto. But all the administration has to offer on this front is talk. No action.
You'll see the idea of energy initiatives in his State of the Union, but they'll hardly lift a damn finger when it comes to actually doing something.

During World War II, American industry was, for all intents and purposes, nationalized and unified under government control. I'm no socialist and I am highly suspect of any initiative to grow government power. However, if we really are fighting a war for the survival of our civilization, you'd think we'd take some steps to make sure we weren't trading with the enemy and filling his pockets with oil money.

George Bush, his cabinet and his supporters seem to want to endow the office of the president with boundless power to monitor and control the daily lives of individual Americans while simultaneously stripping it of any ability to regulate business. As I've said, he could snap his finger tomorrow morning and every new car coming off an assembly line in America would have a hybrid engine, and every gas station in the country would have at least one flex-fuel Ethanol 85 pump. Are we serious about defeating terror? We'd better get serious about taking away the competitive advantage we've given our enemies!

Bush has put it as bluntly as admitting that we as a nation are "addicted" to foreign oil. His solution? To vow replacement of "more than 75%" of Middle Eastern oil imports by 2025, only to have his lackeys, including Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, go out the next day and say Bush didn't really mean it.

The big point here is that Bush would like to pretend that the War Powers Act allows him to do anything at all, whenever he deems appropriate, to fight and defeat the thugs who orchestrated attacks on America and seek to carry out more, even if his actions do nothing of the sort, even if they hinder our ability to defend ourselves, even if they expose our troops to undue and unnecessary peril. (The truth is that the Act was passed in 1973 with the sole aim of reducing this kind of egregious use of executive power.)

At the same time, Bush shrugs and throws up his hands at any suggestion of asserting the same type of power over industry, even in as innocuous a form as a windfall tax on record profits by oil companies -- I mean, come on, what could we possibly need that money for, anyhow? Two wars? Medicare Part B? Pell Grants? Oops, forget that last one.

Every day, this government looks more and more to be by the people, for a few kajillionaires who, if "the bomb" were to drop tomorrow, would probably receive advance notice and escape on their private SSTs this evening.