Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thought Bubble #36

How will we know when abortion rights opponents are taken seriously? When we celebrate our conception day, instead of our birthday.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Cartoon #244: “Cheney Hunting Accident”

Title: Cheney Hunting Accident; Text: (TV says) Vice President Dick Cheney shot a man while hunting on the Armstrong ranch in Texas and did not report it for 24 hours. (Couple watching TV shout in unison) The Armstrong Ranch!?

This was my reaction, and I think the reaction of the most politically savy Texans upon hearing about Deadeye Dick Cheney’s little mishap with a shotgun. The history of the Texas Armstrong family will be the most underreported aspect of this story, including its politically influencial daughter-in-law, Anne, and the relationship between the Armstrong family and the Bush Crime Family. There is also the related story of Bush’s other hunting companion, close friend and confidant, William “Will” Stamps Farish III, whose family has ties to companies that helped sponsor the Nazis. The Bushes have an annual hunt on the Farish’s Beeville, Texas ranch.

Sydney Blumenthal wrote the following in his column, “Shoot First, Avoid Questions Later”:

Katharine Armstrong is linked to two family fortunes — those of Armstrong and King — that include extensive corporate holdings in land, cattle, banking and oil. No one in Texas, except perhaps Baker, but certainly not latecomer George W. Bush, has a longer lineage in its political and economic elite. In 1983, Debrett’s Peerage Ltd., publisher of “Debrett’s Peerage and Baronetage,” printed “Debrett's Texas Peerage,” featuring “the aristocrats of Texas,” with the King family noted as the “Royal Family of Ranching.” The King Ranch, founded by Richard King in 1857, is the largest in Texas, and its wealth was vastly augmented by the discovery of oil on its tracts, making the family a major shareholder of Exxon. The King Ranch is the model for Edna Ferber’s novel of Texas aristocracy, “Giant.”

John B. Armstrong, a Texas Ranger and enforcer for the King Ranch, founded his own neighboring ranch in 1882, buying it with the bounty of $4,000 he got for capturing the outlaw John Wesley Hardin. In 1944, almost inevitably, the two fortunes became intertwined through marriage. Tobin Armstrong’s brother John married the King Ranch heiress, who was also a Vassar classmate of Tobin’s wife, Anne, who came from a wealthy New Orleans family....

While the incident continues to unfold, the Bush administration is pressing a new budget in which oil companies would receive what is called “royalty relief,” allowing them to pump about $65 billion of oil and natural gas from federal land over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government, costing the U.S. Treasury about $7 billion. For Texas royalty like the Armstrongs, it would amount to a windfall profit.

The curiosities surrounding the vice president's accident have created a contemporary version of “The Rules of the Game” with a Texas twist. In Jean Renoir’s 1939 film, politicians and aristocrats mingle at a country house in France over a long weekend, during which a merciless hunt ends with a tragic shooting. Appearing on the eve of World War II, “The Rules of the Game” depicted a hypocritical, ruthless and decadent ruling class that made its own rules and led a society to the edge of catastrophe.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Thought Bubble #35

How will we know when women are considered equal to men? When men bikers normally ride on the rear of motorcycles driven by women.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cartoon #243: “Cartoon Prophets”

Title: Cartoon Prophets; Text: The Prophet Muhammad (arrow pointing to Spongebob Squarepants, two turbaned men talking: Man 1 says) How do we know it’s a picture of the Prophet? (Man 2 replies:) How do we know it’s not!?

Muslims have been staging demonstrations against some cartoons, first published in a Denmark newspaper last September. The allegedly sacrilegious editorial cartoons have been republished in other newspapers since then, and in recent weeks, to show support for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

Please note one of those demonstrations in particular. Thursday, Muslim religious students in Multan, Pakistan burned an effigy of Denmark’s Prime Minister Andres Fogh Rasmussen (Associated Press wire photo published Friday, February 3, 2006).

What’s wrong with this picture?

First, Muslims interpret Muhammad’s teachings as strictly prohibiting any depictions of humans or animals. If pictures of the Prophet Muhammad are strictly forbidden, how do Muslims know when he is being depicted? If they accept such a picture as a blasphemous image of their holy leader, they themselves are committing the sacrilege they despise. They somehow believe it is Muhammad’s image, and believe the image to be sacred — which is idolatry.

Second, Islam’s prohibition against images of people (in this case their beloved prophet) is reportedly the main reason for their anti-cartoon protests. It is blasphemy (not to mention hypocrisy), therefore, for Muslim religious students to create an effigy.

Third, the demonstrators are posing for the cameras (still and video), instead of repelling the infidel photographers. By posing, each protester is a co-creator of his own forbidden portrait.

Some government leaders in Muslim countries are also wondering about these so-called protests. A report on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Monday, noted that officials intend to investigate the possible influence of “outside” (read U.S.) Intelligence behind the demonstrations.

Saturday, February 04, 2006