Friday, June 20, 2003

Here is an excellent post from Daily Kos that takes to task the Mallard Fillmore comic strip from this past Sunday's paper.

Mallard Fillmore runs on the editorial page of the San Antonio Express-News each day right beneath Doonesbury - I guess to provide "balance." But it is really not a fair fight.

Doonesbury uses a whole host of well developed characters and follows lengthy and complex storylines to make nuanced and often biting political statements that frequently skewer both sides of the political debate.

Mallard Fillmore is a crudely drawn gag strip that has no character development and serves only to take cheap political shots at liberal "strawmen." The stip's modus operandi is not unlike that of your typical junior high school bully and the intellectual level of its arguments rarely even rise to that level.
What is worse, however, is that the assertions made in the strip are often times blatantly false. But for some reason newspapers around the country continue to run the strips everyday without correction. For example, several weeks ago the stip did a series lampooning comedian and liberal activist Janeanne Garafolo because she had at one time promised to apologize to President Bush if weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. The strip showed Mallard the duck waiting impatiently in front of the White House for Garafolo to show up to make her apology - the implication being that the WMDs had already been found. Of course, no WMDs have been found and there has been no retraction from the cartoonist who simply changed the subject and went back to attacking the Clintons once again.

It is really a shame that so many papers waste space on the Mallard strip when there are so many other talented, and yes, conservative cartoonists out there who could do a better job. In San Antonio there is a conservative cartoonist named Leo Garza who does an excellent daily strip for the local paper called Nacho Guarache which is many times superior to the Mallard strip. If conservatives had any sense at all they would be trying to get Mr. Garza's strip a national syndication deal to take the place of the embarrassingly bad Mallard Fillmore.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

There's always a first time...

Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has refused to certify the state budget because it is nearly $200 million out of whack. No state budget has ever failed to meet the state comptroller's certification since it was made a requirement in 1942, according to The Dallas Morning News.

This is also the first year that the Texas GOP has been in charge of every branch of government. I'm sure that is just a coincidence, however. I guess it's a good thing that Gov. Perry has already decided to blow an additional $1.7 million by calling all the lawmakers back at the end of the month for a special session. Maybe they will get it right the second time.

I think I see a pattern here...

The NYTimes is reporting today that the White House has "edited" an EPA report on the state of the environment to remove portions that describe the risks from rising global temperatures. How convenient! When a scientific study does not produce results that match the administration's ideologically-based predetermined conclusions - they just throw them out. I wonder if this was part of the reason that Christie Whitman decided to throw in the towel as Bush's EPA chief last month?

I suspect this same refusal to consider evidence that doesn't match a predetermined conclusion is also at the heart of the missing Weapons of Mass Destruction controversy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

The first two and a half years of the Bush presidency has coincided with what the Wall Street Journal today calls “one of the financial world’s most painful and protracted downturns ever.” I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.

The same story goes on to suggest that there are signs of a recovery - “a 20 percent surge in stocks since March and a flurry of mergers and new intial public offerings” - but notes that Wall Street firms are behaving cautiously after having been burned by other “recovery” stories back in 2002. Securities firms have slashed a record 80,000 jobs since April 2001 as “deals dried up, initial offerings of stock in newly public companies all but vanished and banks turned off the money spigot to major corporations.”

Monday, June 16, 2003

I'm glad I was not downtown last night in the traffic snarl created by the celebrating Spurs fans. Instead, I weathered the game in the relative comfort of my home as the Spurs plodded along through three and a half quarters before finally exploding in the final six minutes to claim their first lead and the National Championship.
The Spurs seem to get only grudging respect from the other big media markets where they treat San Antonio like some kind of backwater hole in the wall rather than one of the Top 10 most populous cities in the nation. In the NY Times today, sports writer William Rhoden admitted that although Tim Duncan may be one of the most consistent and technically flawless players in the game today, he is still not a big fan because Duncan (and the Spurs) lack the "presence and charisma" of Shaquille O'Neal; the "spark" of Kobe Bryant; the "sense of theater" of Kevin Garnett and the "penchant for playing on the edge" of Allen Iverson.
Of course, there is one other descriptive term that matches all of those players -- LOSERS!!! HaHaHa!
Go Spurs!
Today the Washington Post is reporting that retired Gen. Wesley Clark is moving closer to announcing his candidacy for president. I'm not sure how serious Clark is about winning the Democratic nomination or whether this is just a move to build his name identification and make himself more appealing for a VP slot on the ticket. Quite frankly, a Kerry-Clark ticket would be a killer and would go along way towards neutralizing the Republican advantage on military issues. Remember that Sen. John Kerry is a decorated Vietnam veteran.