Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cartoon #205: “Pat Robertson”

Title: Pat Robertson; Text: (Pat Robertson behind 700 Club sign, 4 panels) 1. (Robertson says) If Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think we really ought to go ahead and do it. 2. (Robertson struck by lightening, God says) Thou shalt not kill! 3. (Robertson, black and smoking, says) I never said 'assassinate.' 4. (Robertson struck by lightning, God says) Thou shalt not lie!

During his 700 Club broadcast Monday, Aug. 22, 2005, TV evangelist Pat Robertson called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Two days later, following international backlash, Robertson apologized, but said he never said “assassinate,” and claimed he was misquoted by the Associated Press. Broadcast news media played both soundbites back-to-back to demonstrate Robertson’s lie.

Condemnation of Robertson’s statements was widespread and swift, but the silence from his fellow televangelists, and his fellow leaders of religious right fundamentalist Christianity, was deafening. (Cue the crickets.) One exception was the Rev. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, a conservative advocacy group in Washington. Schenck said Robertson must immediately apologize, retract his statement and clarify what the Bible and Christianity teach about illegaly taking human life. Robertson should have listened to Schenck more carefully. Instead, he exposed himself as the false prophet his critics always knew he was. That is a serious sin for folks like Robertson.

The Bible has a lot to say about punishment by death, but it ultimately says that the punisher must be absolutly certain the punishment is just. If it is not just, the punisher will be put to death. Assassination aside, that is an insurmountable loophole for mortals who wish to practice capital punishment. Many so-called God-fearing folks have their favorite sins for which they feel it necessary to kill the sinner. The Bible cites several sins punishable by death. But it teaches that the next to worst sin is lying, and the worst sin of all is falsely teaching the Bible.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Cartoon #204: “Cindy Sheehan”

Title: Cindy Sheehan; Text: Label/heading: 'Improvised Explosive Device' (arrow pointing to Cindy Sheehan standing at roadside with sign reading: Mr. Bush, what noble cause did my son die for?)

On the day that ‘Camp Casey,’ Cindy Sheehan’s vigil to meet with President Bush, moved to private property next to his fake ranch in Crawford, Texas, four more U.S. soldiers died by ‘Improvised Explosive Device’ north of Baghdad. Sheehan’s son Casey, a Marine, was killed in Iraq in April 2004, in an IED attack. The night before the bivouac, Cindy’s vigil, a metaphorical IED, exploded into a nation-wide movement with candlelight vigils held all over the country in support of her. Meanwhile, Bush continued enjoying his annual five-week vacation in Crawford.

GOP operatives and the right-wing media continued their attempts to smear Sheehan and other war moms supporting her. The stupidity of Bush administration’s public relations tactic was further exposed when it was recalled that Bush interrupted his vacation earlier in the year and rushed back to Washington to sign the bill banning the removal of life support from the brain-dead Florida woman, Terry Schiavo. Bush said he sympathized with Ms. Sheehan. But evidently not enough to tell her so in person practically at the end of his driveway.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Cartoon #203: “War Mom”

Title: War Mom; Text: (Bush says) If I meet with one war mom...I'd have ta meet with thousands! And I'm on vacation dangit!

Cindy Sheehan’s vigil across the road from President Bush’s fake ranch in Crawford, Texas, finally got wide attention from the mainstream news media on August 11, 2005. Bush is enjoying his annual five-week vacation in Crawford. Sheehan’s son Casey, a Marine, was killed in Iraq in April 2004, five days after his arrival there.

When Ms. Sheehan previously met with Bush at the White House, she got the feeling Bush had no conscience about the death of her son, or the deaths of all the other sons and daughters fighting his “war on terror.” Afterward, Bush said our troops in Iraq are dying for a noble cause. Sheehan wants to ask Bush one question: “What noble cause did my son die for?” She vowed to stay at Camp Cindy through August, or until she gets her meeting and answer.

The response of GOP operatives, and the right-wing media was to threaten to arrest, and attempt to discredit Sheehan and other war moms supporting her. The stupidity of that public relations tactic served only to lower Bush’s already tanking poll numbers. Bush said he respected Ms. Sheehan’s position. Apparently he does not respect her enough to tell her so in person at the end of his driveway.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cartoon #202: “Intelligent Design”

Title: Intelligent Design; Text: (Bush devolving into ape says) 'Intelligent Design should be taught in public schools...eek! ook! eek!

Title: Intelligent Design; Text: (Giant gorilla labeled: Kansas Board of Education; two men talking) Man #1: 'What will it take to get a good education in Kansas?' Man #2: 'Evolution.'
Cartoon #181: “Evolution”

President Bush told a small group of Texas reporters on Tuesday, August 2, 2005, that public schools should teach both evolution and “intelligent design.” Intelligent design, or “incredible dogma” (ID) as I like to call it, is the belief that life forms are so complex that their creation cannot be explained by Darwinian evolution. Darwinian evolution, on the other hand, is science. Science, for those of you who were left behind by your educators, is knowledge based on consequences from hypotheses that are subject to observation, measurement, or experiment. It is the standard for asking questions about nature.

To Incredible Dogmatists, or “IDiots” as I like to call them, the idea that they have a common ancestor with primates other than humans is abhorrent. What IDiots don’t get is that their claim of equity between ID and science puts them on an education level closer to non-human primates.

On the same day that Bush told the world he is an IDiot, the IDiots on the Kansas State Board of Education held a meeting with educators wishing to respond to the board’s newly added IDiotic language in the state’s science education standards.

For those IDiots among you who find science books so complex that comprehending them cannot be explained by literacy, I refer you to the Bible. The Bible supports science, and therefore Darwinian evolution, and therefore common ancestry between humans and non-human primates. See the book of Job, chapter 12, verses 7-12. Once you have understood that, try your best to read this short, 13-paragraph essay called “Bad arguments for intelligent design,” by Jim Fetzer, a professor of philosophy at the University of Minnesota, Duluth, who specializes in the philosophy of science.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Cartoon #201: “Shuttle Repairs”

Title: Shuttle Repairs; Text: Discovery... Flight Control... Whadaya say we look at Plan 'B' for repairing that loose thread?

The Space Shuttle Discovery was found to have a couple of loose pieces of fabric dangling from tiles near its forward landing gear. Despite initial problems during launch on July 26, 2005, NASA said that preliminary investigations showed that Discovery was safe to fly home. Several days later, the loose pieces of fabric were determined to be a big enough danger to require a spacewalk to pull them off the orbiter.

During the launch, images from new cameras revealed that a section of foam weighing some 250 grams fell away from the external fuel tank, but did not strike the orbiter. However, NASA announced the grounding of all further planned Shuttle launches until they have a firm understanding of why the foam came off, and how to correct it.

A piece of foam striking the Columbia’s wing during lift-off in January 2003 was responsible for the loss of the craft as it made its reentry to Earth's atmosphere.

A team of 200 experts studied all video and still footage taken of the shuttle during launch, and on approach to the International Space Station (ISS). In a first, before Discovery docked, the Shuttle performed a slow back-flip some 180 meters from the ISS enabling the two-man crew of the space station to take high-resolution images of the underside of the orbiter.

As part of the check for damage the crew of Discovery used a laser-scanner on the robotic arm to inspect the craft’s wing leading-edges and nosecone. Images of the belly of the Orbiter were checked later in the week. Near the forward landing gear, loose fabric was spotted and determined to be a potential danger during reentry.

On Monday, August 1, mission managers gave the go-ahead for astronauts to remove the two protruding gap fillers in Discovery’s heat shield during a Wednesday space walk. Plan ‘A’ called for Soichi Noguchi and Steve Robinson to attempt to simply pull the thin fabric fillers from between tiles in the forward area of the orbiter’s underside. If the pull method is unsuccessful, Plan ‘B’ called for the use of tools to cut the material flush with the surface.

Spacewalk experts presented the plans to mission managers in Monday’s Mission Management Team meeting. Space Shuttle Deputy Program Manager Wayne Hale, in a Monday afternoon briefing, said that the level of uncertainty involved in flying a reentry with protruding gap fillers made it an easy decision to proceed with a “well-understood” process for removing them.

Another way of saying “well-understood” is: “It’s not rocket
science.” But this is rocket science. This cartoon translates this particular rocket science into a classic clown shtick. Anytime a clown pulls a loose thread from another clown, expect major unravelling to ensue.