Archive for August, 2005

August 29, 2005

New Contender for Stupidest Bush Quote Ever

On August 25, Bush said about soldiers who get killed in the Halliburton War:

I guess you couldn’t ask for a better way of life than giving it for something that you believe in.

I guess. Or not. But is dying a “way of life”?

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August 29, 2005

Terror Moms

My Saturday cartoon results from several impulses. Part of it was experimental, to see whether the extreme rightists who run the war blogs, Fox News, Drudge, etc. would rev up their attack machine to defend Cindy Sheehan et al. at Camp Casey when confronted with a cartoon that exactly parallels my March 30, 2002 terror widows critique of Lisa Beamer and other 9/11-related widows and widowers who exploited their spouses’ deaths for partisan (right0wing) political gain, book sales, etc. So far, not. They’re total fucking hypocrites: when a person exploits their private grief for partisan Republican/pro-Bush/pro-war gain, at bare minimum she deserves to be free from criticism because she’s lost a loved one. When she does it for partisan Democratic/anti-Bush/antiwar gain, no one runs interference for her. I just wanted to prove that for all to see.
But that’s a secondary motivation. The main one was for me to avoid being a hypocrite. A political cartoonist is supposed to call them as he or she sees them, and that includes sending up the tacky, maudlin and gauche on the left even–especially if–that’s where he or she stands politically. The Camp Casey phenomenon has (alert, second Billy Wilder reference on the blog in recent weeks) assumed a certain “Ace in the Hole”/”Big Carnival” atmosphere which to my eyes neatly parallels the disgusting and appalling spectacle of relatives of 9/11 victims parading on stage at the 2004 Republican convention to endorse George W. Bush’s election campaign. Someone has to say something when no one else dares. That’s my job description.
I sympathize with Cindy Sheehan. I think she’s great, although maybe not as great as the African-American father who broke down and cursed Bush on national television upon learning that his son had died for the worthless misadventure in Iraq. They censored that story, which is how you know it had power. But Sheehan is on the correct side of this issue, and I applaud her for galvanizing the perpetually confused and focusless antiwar movement.
And careful readers will note the piece’s careful dissection of the lunacy of this war and its supporters.
So why Terror Moms? Like Terror Widows, Saturday’s toon isn’t about Sheehan, just as my Pat Tillman toons weren’t about him. These are about the media coverage, the way that Americans are programmed to perceive them. A right-winger writer recently posited that we are at war with a “totalitarian death cult,” i.e., fundamentalist Islamists. Setting aside that the people we’re actually fighting are largely secular nationalist resistance fighters (in Iraq) or that we’ve increased funding to radical Islamists after 9/11 (in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia), this assertion prompts the point that the Bushist neocons are actually trying to establish a totalitarian death cult right here in the United States. Consider, for example, that the current debate over the Iraq war now centers around those who lost relatives who were soldiers killed over there. The left and the right each have their respective martyrs to push around the afterlife. Sheehan counterbalanced Tillman. Bush recently dragged out other relatives to counterbalance Sheehan. The assumption, as accepted as it is absurd, is that only the dead and their survivors enjoy the moral high ground to discuss the issue. That sure leaves a lot of us out. And it’s just not true. They get a vote, sure, but it counts no more than anyone else’s. Only in other societies where despair has led to the creation of a death cult–the Palestinian Territories, Northern Ireland, etc.–has a consensus arisen that gives survivors of tragedy a special voice in the dialogue. And that is what Terror Moms attempts to point out.

SM writes an interesting email:

I appreciate your contributions to public discussion and am with you about 85 percent of the time. I understand your comments about “terror widows” when they pertain to someone trying to leverage his or her family tragedy into book deals, tee-shirt sales, and political gain. I also understand that there may be a fine line between the heartfelt public activism of people like Cindy Sheehan and a degeneration into media hijinx for its own sake. Frankly, I despise the “America Stands With Cindy” logo plastered on CommonDreams — it’s sleaze and gives neocon character assassins something else off-point to aim at.
Similarly, I don’t appreciate seeing Joan Baez pumping the all-power fist in the air as if maybe we can all bring back the sizzlin sixties at Camp Casey.
However, I think that sometimes the better part of social commentary, like valor, might be some discretion. It’s hard to see the point of mocking parents who have lost children in a war (or any other tragedy) or passing judgment on the motives behind their public expressions (unless of course they’re trying to trademark their loved one’s last words). There is a whole legion of neocon automata who can do that job without help from you. Why would a savvy guy like you waste bandwidth helping those psychopaths do their job even given the fact that, regrettaby, the “Big Carnival” hangers-on at Camp Casey risk undermining
the credibility of the protest?

Someone very close to me said the same thing. “When we’re under siege,” she said, “isn’t it better to stick together, to avoid criticizing our own side?” Well, yes–if you’re a party activist. But I’m independent, both in spirit and in politics. (The righties may have forgotten how mean I was to Clinton, but it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have been.) Moreover, a political cartoonist is not a party activist. Once I start adhering to any party line, I become no different than the right-wing hacks who drew cartoons parroting Administration lies about Saddam’s fictional WMDs–or, for that matter, the left-wing hacks who depicted John Kerry as anything more than the Anybody Bush Bush clench-your-teeth-and-pull-the-lever choice for patriotic Americans.

I know virtually nothing about Cindy Sheehan except that she is responsible for an action that has helped war protest to break through to mainstream media during the August “silly season.” Nothing, as far as I can remember, has been as effective at publically pointing out exactly what a putz and a dunce our federal chief executive is. It’s hard for an opponent of this hateful, sinful, fascist war of aggression not to admire Sheehan’s actions for their own intrinsic value. And even if you can find something in that to wisecrack about, what’s the real value? Why not put craven DLC democrats in your crosshairs more often instead of taking cheap shots at parents or spouses who have suffered the ultimate loss… for reasons worse than none at all.

I often criticize the DNC and I’ll do it again.

You and I agree that anyone is a fool if he or she joins the military for college money and weekend adventure with the Army Reserves. We evidently don’t agree on the issue of publically mocking their stupidity after they’ve died or been mutilated.

It’s not about mocking them. It’s about trying to educate other young men and women currently considering enlistment. Joining the military is stupid. This uncomfortable truth, one that millions of people say quietly in private, needs to become a loud chorus if we’re to unmask the cult of militarism that feeds Bush’s cult of death.

To be honest, I wonder if you aren’t playing a bit of the Politics of Identity that you so correctly attack in “Wake Up” and elsewhere. From time to time I think you overplay your self-appointed identity as America’s BS Detector. If you want to play that role — and there are few people who can play it as effectively as you — then I feel it would be good practice to turn the BS Detector on yourself once in awhile. I hope you don’t become smug in your role because I think it makes you less effective.
Thanks for reading this and I hope you will take what I say mostly as a vote of confidence and admiration. I wouldn’t have spent an hour composing this note if I didn’t care about your work. Best wishes.

No doubt, that is great advice. Smugness is the great enemy of the social commentator, one that I hope I don’t succumb to too frequently.

August 27, 2005

Cultural Suicide via Digitalization

Many people, some of the techies, wrote about this week’s column.

Doug wrote:

I found your article on memory loss interesting and informative. I do, however, feel that you may have understated the problem. Long before we began storing information on temporary electronic media, we were using acidic paper, which doesn’t last much longer. Cloth paper can survive for centuries, but acid-bleached wood pulp paper decays in a matter of decades. Librarians and archivists refer to this problem as “slow fires” which are quietly destroying vast quantities of information all over the world. Some countries have begun to convert records stored on acid paper, but not all, and some will probably never have the funds to do so. Such books and records will eventually crumble to dust. Most paper produced since the late 19th century is doomed unless microfilmed or treated with chemicals. This problem was understood before electronic media became common, but nothing was learned from our earlier mistakes.

I have copies of newspapers from the early 1800s printed on paper that’s still clean and white. Cloth paper rocks. I wonder how long, say, paperbacks will last.

Peter wrote:

Read your piece. Correct. Paper trumps all.

Years ago when I was the editor of a trade magazine called “Instruments and Control Systems” I wrote an editorial entitled “The wave of the future is…Analog?” The piece had more to do with data display than the medium on which it was preserved but it made much the same points. As for display, when you look at your watch or speedometer, you don’t usually need to know that the time is 8:56:32 or your speed is 61.68 mph.
Takes more time for the mind to acquire that information than a quick glance that tells you it’s about 9 o’clock or your speed is about 62 mph. Human beings are analog devices.
Nothing tires me more than trying to read a long article off a computer display. Paper rules!

Technological design is so fucking cool because it deals with stuff that people do every day without thinking. Why does up mean the lightswitch is on? Does your DVD player really need an eject button on the remote control? I love that stuff. And yeah, reading a long piece on a screen sucks. I usually print them out because I miss too much if I don’t. I’d love to see a study of reading comprehension comparing how effectively readers process computer-read and paper-read media. If my hate mail is any indication, computer readers tend to miss more.

Phaedrus wrote:

What a great column!
I work in a state governmental library and the whiz-bang digital documents are a flying. We used to get all reports in old-fashioned paper but now, wow, the agencies are publishing to the Web! What’s that you say, you need last month’s report? Oh, we took that down to put up this month’s report. Those old reports are full of just dusty old numbers and stodgy facts. It is not new and improved. What did we do with the old one? I think we deleted it or something.
We get groups touring our library all the time and one of the “facts” the tour guides present is that oh all the information in these books is on the Web now! Oh really. Somebody has scanned and digitized all these old books? Really. And just where would one find them. Scary people think that if it is not on the Web, it does not exist. And when the majority of information is digital only, poof, facts will change and “history” will be malleable. Want to make 43 the greatest president of all time? Easy. The proof of WMD is in his digital presidential library.
Again, great column. By the way, I also enjoy your cartoons. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I think, sometimes I get really pissed off. But, isn’t that what an editorial cartoon is supposed to do?

I love the above line about people expecting to find everything on the Web. Look, the Web is incredibly cool; I couldn’t imagine life without it. But I’m reminded of a column I wrote a few months ago citing the results of a CNN poll. Several people wrote to say that couldn’t find it anywhere, including on CNN’s website, and were thus doubting my accuracy. “I saw it on CNN,” I replied. “On TV.” No, not everything exists on the Web.

Kelan writes:

There is an upside to this destruction of data. Future generations (let me go out on a large limb here and say—- assuming there are any future generations) will not have to know that our society bought large numbers of disks for the shittiest crap ever written—–Madonna, Brittany Spears, N’Stink, etc.

It’s a point worth pondering. As things are now, there’s a terrible danger that that music will be considered classic someday, the way Dickens (who sucks) is considered classic now.

Clare wrote:

I’m a big fan. Started with your comics, now of your commentaries and blog. Your current commentary is right on the money. When I was studying to become a librarian, I visited the Supreme Court of Florida’s reference department. The archivist was tearing his hair out trying to keep players working for betamax and VHS formats (as all proceedings, by law, are recorded on video). Digital technology was just coming into use then. I’m sure he’s now working with DVDs. His office looked like a electro-techno-junkyard, as he was having to cannibalize old players just to keep working models to display his tapes. And they’re creating new material so fast he doesn’t have time to re-format.
This rush to computerize data is being done with all the deliberation of a cattle stampede. Little or no thought is being given to the technological implications involved.
As I browse our stacks (at the Brooklyn Public Library), it’s interesting to note that printed material from the 18th and early 19th century is in better shape than books published as recently as 20 years ago because it was published on rag paper, a medium that will outlive us all.
It’s also sad to see families transferring their old 8 mm films to VHS and now digital video in the belief that they’ll have a record of their families to past down to their heirs, when the current formats probably won’t survive them.
Your commentary should be required reading for anyone interested in archival preservation.

Thanks. People don’t seem to understand the magnitude of what’s out there. Let’s take music as an example. Each time we make a format change, from 78s to 33 LPs to CDs to MP3, the vast majority of music gets left behind. Big band music, for example, was recorded in vast numbers, but fewer than 1 percent of the genre will ever be rereleased on CD. True, most of the great classics of a genre are in sufficient demand that they will be adapted to a new format. But not all, not even close to all. A lot of stuff falls through the cracks. If Hollywood can’t even release all of Billy Wilder’s classic films on DVD, how the hell can we expect them to get all that Roger Corman stuff out?

Richard wrote:

An interesting article on an issue I’ve struggled with HREF=”http://www.livejournal.com/users/richardf8/38303.html”>some myself.

Ultimately, I think you can take comfort in some words of your own: “Moreover, while the majority of books printed 400 years ago have been destroyed, a few remain.” The ancient world had it’s own transient media too – wax tablets were used for note-taking in the Roman era. They, by and large, don’t survive. Also stuff of value or interest on the web quite often makes it into print, from webcomics to Darwin Awards. And much of the conversion of printed media to digital form that is taking place is being done to facilitate study of the manuscripts without subjecting the manuscripts themselves to the risks of handling. This is a GOOD thing for the preservation of culture.

Digitalization of manuscripts is smart. It’s replacing the creation of written paper manuscripts with digital files that I’m questioning.

Lakshminath wrote:

Excellent article on the storage industry and how we all rush to store everything we already have (e.g., throwing away faded 50-year old photographs after digitizing them) and the new data on new media and formats.
For my email, I refuse to use MS Outlook since it stores data in a proprietary format that can be changed at the whims of Bill, and instead use ASCII text format that has a longer life time. (format)
I think nations should find alternative means to archive samples of our history in various formats. Apparently Bill has a plan to digitize art works and provide us commonfolk with only digital versions of those works. (Note that there would be no guarantee whether we are seeing, or the future generations would be seeing actual artwork or Bill’s own rendering of it :-))
Anyway, great article.

Corporate control of information is another pressing issue.

Albert disagrees:

I usually agree with your positions—have even dropped acquaintances who took offense when I emailed them links to your columns. However, I must take exception with your assertion that digital media storage is doomed—or dooming. Your points about the fallibility of hard media storage are valid—CDs and DVDs fail over time, as do floppy disks and other magnetic media. This may or may not be a tragedy for an individual, depending on how assiduous they’ve been about backing up their data. However when it comes to archiving data, fallible hard media need not be an issue.
Beyond the optical and magnetic storage media you mentioned there now exists solid state electronic storage devices—the technology of the “thumb” drive—that are on a rapidly falling cost curve while providing increasingly greater storage density (bits per cubic inch). This means that we’ll soon not only be able to store our personal media on devices with no moving parts, but we’ll have access to cheap on-line storage services. We can begin to think of our content libraries more as digital rights to content stored on line, whether by such a service or by the content owners themselves. We may also have recourse to on-line repositories of our own digitally signed copies of said media with copy to hard media rights as well as play-out rights. Importantly, on-line data will be mirrored in geographically diverse facilities so that even in the event of a catastrophic failure our data will be preserved. Of course, we haven’t had ubiquitous access to such services until now that broadband access to becoming capacious enough to allow play out of multimedia files without the inconvenience of a cumbersome wait or undesirable performance due to inchoate networks.
Eventually we’ll see the costs of solid state storage reach price points for capacious enough devices that they will displace older, more fallible technologies in the consumer marketplace. We’ll see digital video recorder devices (like TiVo) rely on such storage rather than hard disk drives as they do today. Likewise we’ll see solid state iPods and the like with enough capacity to store full motion video and tunes alike—as well as a generalization to all digital media—photos, books, and vlogs. We’ll have solid state storage in our PCs for connected back-up and play out within our homes as well as recourse to hard copying to improved blue laser CDs and DVDs. And always, content owners will keep their digital masters in geographically diverse, mirrored and reliable storage facilities. Rather than see our cultural heritage crumble and fade, we’ll be able to preserve it reliably for posterity.
Finally, let’s not decry a technological revolution that’s still in its nascence. Since we’re talking about storage media, we should observe the incredible advances made only in the last 20 years. Remember the 12” floppy disk? How about the 20 MB hard drive? As we step up the ladder of innovation, we should migrate our content along with us. This must be an on-going project. We shouldn’t feel that once we’ve archived something on (say) a 650 MB CD-RW that we shouldn’t need to re-archive as new technology becomes available and that we shouldn’t have a back-up. This was the real tragedy at Alexandria and Pergamon, etc.: lack of redundancy. Sure, their paper lasted a long time, but couldn’t avoid a catastrophic failure. Now that we have swarming technology available to us the body of digital content eventually will be jointly held by the whole of connected humanity. A digital media asset will be stored in many anywheres and available everywhere. We may feel little need to amass our own huge collections of CDs, for example, and rely on the enormity of storage to which we’re connected. Look at the kids and their iTunes; they’re already showing us the way.

One thing I wish I’d included in my column is the fact that each format change requires people to convert old data to the new format if they wish to preserve it. In many, many cases, however, people either decide that it’s too much trouble to sift through all that “old stuff” or are clueless as to how to go about it. And as for that assertion that data can usually be retrieved after a crash, that hasn’t been my experience. The cost is usually high and the effectiveness is usually much less than zero. I lost an entire chapter of “Wake Up! You’re Liberal” for no reason whatsoever–my Word for Mac OS X seemingly believed that the huge word file was just one long word and wouldn’t allow me to edit “it.” Hard drive crashes have wiped me out. Ditto for most of my computer-using friends. Yes, computers rock. But you wouldn’t fly in a plane that worked as well as MS Word.

And Jim gets the last word:

Thanx for the info on the virtual uselessness of discs, I did not know that! But after thinking about it for a New York second, after our civilization is totally destroyed in a nuclear holocaust of inevitable epic proportions, whenever that may be. Being 53 and growing up with bomb shelters and the threat of impending doom back then from the Russians and now with al queda’s ideology of death, I’m not so sure any record of our civilization is of any importance. Upon close examination of our history of the last several millenia, what do you see? Let’s start with the Holocaust(being Jewish, a logical start), western civ is a myriad of wars, the Crusades, genocide after genocide, Rwanda, WW’s I & II, Viet Nam, Iwo Jima, 9/11, Hellenic Wars, a couple centuries of slavery ending only with an epic bloodbath. Albert Einstein was quoted, after decling an invitation to the Manhatten project salon, “I don’t know how this war will end, but if there is a WWIII, WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones”, wrap your mind around that! In light of the accomplishments of our great lunar landing, what remarkable benefits have we actually enjoyed from that feat at immeasurable costs. And finally, our current administration is such an immense embarassment, that any record of that for any future civilizations would reflect as personal disgrace for you and I to have been included as collateral participants, by happenstance of being born into it. So let the “historical documents” a la Galaxy Quest of South Park and Survivor and Big Brother 6 be stored on discs. It’s a good thing!
I love you Ted, so enjoy today, it’s all we ever have!

August 27, 2005

But She’s a New Yorker Too

Ann writes:

Any thoughts about your pal Ann Coulter’s latest idiotic rant. I figured being a New Yorker and someone who generally knows that anything that comes out of that witch’s mouth is ridiculous, you might like to weigh in.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2005/08/26/ann-coulter-new-yorkers-_n_6277.html
Love your stuff, would love to see you on Real Time,

No one knows who would do what when push came to shove. I certainly wouldn’t envy the occupation army trying to subjegate a bunch of gun-toting Midwesterners. On the other hand, New Yorkers are an ornery bunch, and occupying densely-populated urban areas has always been dicey. The toughest part of Iraq for the U.S. to control, for example, is the Sadr City section of Baghdad, so much so that it has been ceded to local militias.
What bothers me about Ann’s latest is her certainty of what people “would” do. She doesn’t know, and she doesn’t even build a case based on historical precedent–she ought to be able to do that based on her education, right?–to show why what happened before would happen again.
As for “Real Time,” ask Bill Maher. He has my number.

August 19, 2005

Terror Widows, Anyone?

From the lede of Ann Coulter’s column this week:

To expiate the pain of losing her firstborn son in the Iraq war, Cindy Sheehan decided to cheer herself up by engaging in Stalinist agitprop outside President Bush’s Crawford ranch. It’s the strangest method of grieving I’ve seen since Paul Wellstone’s funeral. Someone needs to teach these liberals how to mourn. Call me old-fashioned, but a grief-stricken war mother shouldn’t have her own full-time PR flack. After your third profile on “Entertainment Tonight,” you’re no longer a grieving mom; you’re a C-list celebrity trolling for a book deal or a reality show.

Let’s see. Ted Olsen, one of the three “terror widows” in my (in) famous comic from 2002, appeared on “Larry King” a week after his wife’s death to promote Bush’s war on terror(TM), aka neo-fascist agitprop. Mariane Pearl made repeated appearances on cable news stations to promote her two books. So did the “Let’s Roll” (R) widow. (She also sold a book, and filed for a trademark on the term “Let’s roll.”) Of course, I was demonized by Coulter’s right-wing fellow travelers for criticizing these people for the (strange) way they chose to mourn their losses. Psychotic self-hating African-American pol Alan Keyes called for me to be censored, jailed and shot to death, not necessarily in that order. My, how things have changed.
So how about it, Ann? Are you a hypocrite? If you’re not, I expect you to take the terror hos who shilled for the GOP on stage at the 2004 Republican Convention to task every bit as much as you do Cindy Sheehan. (holding breath…)

August 19, 2005

Jeremy Gets it Just Right

He summarizes:

I don’t think you’re insulting the military by focusing on the atrocities some soldiers have committed. When they stop torturing and killing innocent people, then you can stop calling it to our attention, but not before. It sucks that good soldiers are looked upon with suspicion nowadays, but most people still respect them and call them heroes when they die. It’s like being a cop: They get to carry a gun. They get to search people and lock them up. They get to kill people when *they* decide it is justified. In exchange, we get to criticize them when abuses of power come to light. They have guns and we have speech. I’d hate to be in their shoes, but they should consider what it’s like to have a conscience but no weapons. It ain’t easy.

No comment needed.

August 19, 2005

Lag Time

Jason asks:

Not to bitch about something I enjoy for free, but I was wondering why there’s always a fairly significant lag in the ucomics.com page for your work? I read a number of other strips on that site and they always are updated daily.
Case in point, today’s the 18th, the latest comic is from the 13th. It would appear we’re missing two.
I’m sure you have many other things to concern yourself with, but I’m starting to fall behind the blog, and look forward to getting a chance to read whatever comic it is that has so many folks up in arms over our troops comporting themselves in a less than gentlemanly manner.
Although I obviously don’t have enough to do at work today, I’ll nonetheless keep this short and close by relaying that I am truly a fan of your work and hope you keep doing what you do for many, many years to come.

Thanks, Jason. These are legitimate concerns. The short answer is: not my fault, not my fault! My syndicate maintains my online archives, not me. So sometimes things get screwed up. Of course, there is an option: for the small price of $10/year (or $5/6 months), you can have my cartoons and columns emailed directly to your inbox, often as much as 4-5 days before they appear online. Just email chet@rall.com to sign up to the Ted Rall Subscription Service.

August 19, 2005

Reasons to be Cheerful

That’s an Ian Dury reference, New Wave fans.
Ben asks:

Regarding the comic in which you pilloried Democrats for cheering “My candidate didn’t lose by much!”
What does cheer you up in troubled times like these? As you well know, Bush & Co. have left precious little about which to feel good these days. When I’m trying to think of something positive (on the days I can drag myself out of bed without going on a rampage), I can’t come up with much; sometimes the only thing I can think of in that vein about 2004 is “Well, at least we didn’t get McGoverned or Dukakised (sp?)!” Not very cheery, I realize.
So! Any suggestions?

Patrick Fitzgerald (not to be confused with Patrik Fitzgerald, the brilliant lost “punk poet” of the late 1970s, is working up a tasty case against Rove, Cheney, etc. That alone gives me cause to get up in the morning.

August 19, 2005

From Another Vet

Jeff writes:

I frequently read your stuff on Common Dreams and elsewhere.

But Goddamn!!
Todays thing made me say “Hell Yes !”
I’ve been saying the same things for about as long as you apparently have
But I’ve never heard anyone with a wide audience say it.
It was apparent to me what was up….
we are ruled by a bunch of fucking thieves and murderers…
and they stole the last election too…….
I HATE the loss of life, but in a way I am glad to see things go so totally to shit in Iraq…..
And I DO NOT feel obliged to sacrifice a fucking thing for this war……..
let all the dumb assholes who supported this thing pay the price…
I’m a fucking Vet myself……..but I’m getting the hell out of here….
the American people are too fucking lazy, stupid and greedy to govern themselves……..
And I have been saying that for at least a couple of decades………

That’s right: Thieves and murderers are ruling America. Loverly.

August 19, 2005

Praise from Overseas, Sort of

Brett says:

I’m an expatriate American here in Japan. I haven’t lived in the States for over 9 years. It’s been disheartening to watch what’s happened in the US the past 5 years, especially the emasculation of our media and the Nero-like attitude of most Americans. We Americans abroad are confronted on a daily basis by the enmity created by Dubya and his minions; while most people are able to separate Americans from Dubya, that became extremely difficult to sell after the last election.
Now, I love my country and I refuse to kowtow and apologize for being an American; I will savage the Bush regime to anyone who wants to confront me about it (which happens all too often these days), but when people start in on Americans in general I push back. Fortunately, I have always been able to rely on your columns and cartoons to prove to people that not all Americans are asleep at the wheel. Thank you for that.
I don’t always agree with your views, obviously. I’m not a sycophant! But I have great admiration for the courage you’ve shown these past 5 years in the face of the relentless onslaught from brain-dead right wing pyschos. Thanks for that.
Your new cartoon with Bush sleeping away counting flag-draped coffins is perfect. When you’re good, you’re very good. Nice job.

Thanks for getting it.