Sunday, July 30, 2006

Candorville book sells out (sort of)

Thanks to those of you who still had a little money left after your job was outsourced and Exxon-Mobil mugged you on your way to the unemployment office, I've just sold my last copies of the Candorville: Thank God for Culture Clash book! A new batch should arrive tomorrow, so if you ordered a book in the last few days, you should be receiving it by the end of the week.

Although the book's doing well, and a second one is coming out in just a couple months, this book needs to do a little better in order to ensure a third one with full-color Sundays. So if you haven't yet bought the Candorville book, now's the time. You can get them from the Candorville website (where they're defaced with an autograph and a sketch), from Amazon, or better yet, you can ask for it at your favorite local bookstore (if they don't have it in stock, they'll gladly order it for you).

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Candorville on Stem Cell Research

Chuck posted the following:

I'd like to make a comment on today's strip--but I'm afraid it would take too much time. Suffice it to say: We apparently value our own citizen's lives over those of other country's citizens. But 10000 in 4 years is less of a holocaust than millions over 30 years.
First of all, it's not 10K in 4 years. John Mcglaughlin stated the current tally of dead Iraqi civilians at more than 160,000. The lowest estimates, as of 2004, were in the mid 30,000's. As a percentage of Iraq's population, it would be the same as if at least 3 million American civilians had been killed. Feel free to check me on that - I was never great at math.

The stem cell research issue has nothing to do with abortion. Scientists are not using aborted fetuses, they're using excess blastocysts left over from in vitro fertilization. Blastocysts that would be thrown away anyway. They're never - never - going to become living, breathing human beings. They're going to become rotten dead cells sitting at the bottom of a dumpster under banana peels.

I don't know about you, but if I were a blastocyst, I'd sure want them to use my stem cells to save countless lives before I rot. At least I would want that, if I had a brain.

UPDATE...And then there were the e-mails like this one (I've included my responses below):

"What a fake comparison!   The US military did not kill ONE civillian on purpose.   Most of the civillians killed were killed by  terrorists.  The only reason some were ACCIDENTLY killed  by allied forces is that the cowardly terrorists hide behind civillians after they set off rockets.  They are followed to housing which may or may not contain civillians.  
Then the allies send a rocket to the house where they hide.     Some of the civillians killed are terrorists own families (who ought to run from them).   Others are just innocent victims of terrorist cowardice.   Sometimes people dressed in civillian clothes carry weapons or run toward our soldiers or Iraq's and are killed because they are perceived to be threats.  Our soldiers have to make split second decisions to kill or be killed.  In a few cases, these were innocent people, but again, understandably perceived to be threats.    Sometimes the terrorists have even sent children with bombs or grenades toward our military!   This is a clever way to kill our military and a child, and blame US!   Many of those killed were teens in civillian clothing with weapons.   Are these INNOCENT civillians?   No.  Is this OUR fault?   Of course not!  Terrorist wars are not like others where civillians are nowhere near." 

I'm sorry, I thought you were complaining about Monday's cartoon. You seem to be complaining about something else entirely, because Monday's cartoon said nothing about the US military killing civilians on purpose. The cartoon spoke of innocent civilians killed during the war. It doesn't matter who killed them, it only matters that they were killed, and people such as yourself think that their deaths were worth it if it'll save more lives in the long run. That's all the cartoon said. I have no idea why you're trying to pretend that I said what I didn't say, unless you're doing it because you can't dispute what I actually did say.

"But terrorists have to be stopped.   What would you suggest?   That we allow them to get strong and confident, take over Israel, and finally take over our country?  (Do you know any history of what happened after we chickened out of the VN war?   Would you have wanted to live in Cambodia?  Laos?  VN?)    You liberals never have a solution of your own!!!!  All you know how to do is criticize others."

"Chicken out" of Vietnam, a war we had no business fighting in the first place? How old are you, by the way? Adults don't usually speak this way about life and death matters. The solution would have been to not invade Iraq, a country that had no WMD, no ties to Al Qaeda, had never attacked us, and was not about to attack us. The tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who are now dead would still be alive, and because our manpower wouldn't have been diverted from Afghanistan, we might have actually caught Osama bin Laden.

"Also, your figures are greatly exaggerated.   "Tens of thousands" of Iraqi civillians have not been killed.  This is a baldfaced lie!   Get your figures straight!"

I never state anything as a fact unless I've researched it. If you have a problem with the numbers, take it up with the Administration whose invasion caused chaos in Iraq. You can also take it up with the Stars & Stripes (the military paper that reported on the death toll reaching 50,000 -, or with CNN, which reported that 14,000 of those deaths happened just this year (and the year's only half over) -

  You call our presence "occupation".  It's true that some in the Sunni party wants us out (Of course!   They were benefitting from Saddam's reign and living like kings.)  but the people of 3 ethnic groups who got saved from Saddam's evil death plan do not consider our presence "occupation".    They know that if we leave before the present administration is strengthened, they (and the Israelis) are all dead ducks, just as if Saddam were still ruling."

The definition of "occupation" (from something called a "Dictionary"):

1. Invasion, conquest, and control of a nation or territory by foreign armed forces.
2. The military government exercising control over an occupied nation or territory."

If you have a problem with that, don't bother me with it, take it up with the good folks at Brittanica.

" (By the way, I suppose you have ignored all the news about  finding the more than 500 weapons of mass destruction, some with mustard gas, and some with sar  --- (news which certain people have been trying to suppress for a couple of years.)   You liberals all owe the Bush administration an apology.   Wasn't it kind of stupid to assume that Saddam had gotten rid of his WMD's when we KNEW he had them during the gulf war?"

No, I didn't ignore it. I did something called "paying attention," which you may want to take a stab at some time. Those 500 "weapons of mass destruction" were pre Gulf War weapons that were useless, and that were disposed of exactly as we instructed Hussein to do in 1991 - by burying them deep in the desert. You've been suckered by Rick Santorum, who was so desperate to hold on to his Senate seat that he fabricated this WMD find. The Defense Department denied that these 500 shells were the WMD we were looking for, and went on to say that they could never be launched because they were already degraded and useless prior to our invasion.

By the way, that's the second time you've spewed "liberal," as if it's something bad. Do you even know what "liberal" means? Are you aware that our Constitution is a liberal document written by our liberal Founding Fathers, based on the liberal principles of the liberal Enlightenment? Anyone who believes in that Constitution - and in the separation of powers, separation of church and state, and Bill of Rights protections it enumerates - is a Liberal.

The second fallacy of your fake comparison is that there is absolutely no proof that stem cells from embryos (which are tiny baby humans!) are superior to stem cells from the placenta (which is the tube connecting mother and baby when the baby is in the womb.)   The placenta cells can be harvested without killing anyone!!!!!  (This is because the placenta is discarded after the birth)  So there is no need to kill a baby human!!!!!  There should be no argument about this!   It is absolutely not necessary to kill baby humans!    And these are truly innocent, unlike some of the "civilians".  
Carol Barnes

Again, your arguments would be taken more seriously if you were actually talking about something the cartoon said, rather than making up strawman arguments (look that up) to knock down. The cartoon doesn't say embryonic stem cells are the only way, or even the best way. The cartoon is about the argument against embryonic stem cell research contrasted with the argument rationalizing the death of tens of thousands of civilians. The cartoon is about hypocrisy, and none of the red herring issues you've raised disputes what the cartoon actually said.

And by the way, there is no proof that placentas provide stem cells that are as useful as those found in embryos. That's not for you or I to say, that's something only the scientists can determine - if only people such as yourself would allow them to do their work in peace. And NOBODY IS KILLING A BABY HUMAN. These are excess blastocysts that are going to be thrown away. Not a single one of them is ever going to be allowed to grow into a human, unless hundreds of thousands of Carols across the country volunteer to be inseminated with them and give birth to them.

...Have you done that, Carol?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Candorville lampoon of Senator Bunning "treasonous and traitor-like"

From yesterday's Lexington Herald-Leader:

Sen. Jim Bunning made newspapers across the United States again yesterday -- this time in the funny pages.

A national cartoonist with a reputation for wry political humor took a swing at Kentucky's Hall of Famer after Bunning called for The New York Times to be charged with treason.

Candorville, which runs in about 50 papers across the nation as well as another in Ecuador and the Pacific Stars & Stripes, featured a faux political commercial yesterday from "Senator Bunting." However, the face on the TV is that of Bunning, a Republican in his second term in the Senate and a pitcher in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The strip's main character, Lemont Brown, hears the ad apparently from the bathroom -- the third panel features a flush as "Bunting" denies that his attack on the "Candorville Chronicle" is politically motivated.

Cartoonist Darrin Bell said Bunning caught his eye last month after condemning the Times' report on the Bush administration's not-so-secret surveillance of international banking transactions.

"Senator Bunning at the time seemed to be the GOP's point man for the treason charge against The New York Times, so he was the logical one to use as a representative for the whole party," Bell said yesterday. The flush was "the most appropriate" activity that came to mind, he said.

He had not gotten any feedback yesterday from Bunning's office on Capitol Hill. "I don't really expect to. Somehow, I really doubt they read Candorville," he said.

Bunning's office did not return calls or e-mails seeking comment for this story.

Bell said he doesn't see his work as falling into either the Democrat or Republican camp. In the 1990s, he was called a fascist for picking on President Clinton.

"I just go after whoever's in charge," Bell said.

As for Senator Bunting, he could make a return appearance, but that depends on Bunning.

"He's got my attention," Bell said. "The next time he gives me material, I'm going to use it."

Apparently, one reader was not amused:

I have always thought political cartoons to be inherently anti-Republican, and this has gotten to be even worse with all the nationwide progress witnessed in the last 5 years. It's even possible that this drawn criticism has in fact lent itself to limiting the progress we have had...because it's so treasonous and traitorlike.
Posted by: Bill

This was one of the comments below the article (comments have since been removed, possibly because the argument got sort of heated. People stopped just short of burning each other in effigy. Barely.

The "treasonous and traitorlike" comment doesn't interest me as much as "limiting the progress we have had..." in the last five years. What progress is that, again? And if there is any progress, how can it be undone by a comic strip? If only Bill would have explained himself further. It would have been fascinating.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The President and the Pig

Will Ferrell's got nothing on this Bush impersonator. It is an impersonator, right? Please tell me this is a joke:

Monday, July 17, 2006

More Fake Outrage, More Wimpy Democrats

A few days ago, the Democratic Party posted an ad on their website. For once, it was a powerful, effective ad, full of emotional imagery that succinctly presented an unmistakable message: The past six years have been awful, and it's time for a change. Naturally, the Republicans in Congress and Republican bloggers were outraged! Outraged that the ad was effective, but the official line was they were outraged that the ad showed images of flag-draped coffins coming home.

The Democrats who created that ad stood up and faced the latest bout of fake rage. Naturally, they then tucked their tail between their legs and ran as fast as they could in the other direction, but not before they removed the ad from their website.

Instead of giving in (yet again), why didn't the Democratic Party respond by saying the real outrage is that these young men and women are dying in the first place in a war that didn't have to happen, and that it's their duty as patriotic Americans to point that out?

Why didn't they point out that, to some people, it's only ok to feature soldiers in campaign ads when they're alive or when their widows are staring at George W. Bush in adulation?:

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Al Qaida hates Indiana, loves NYC!

For anyone who's worried about Al Qaida coming after you: Did you know that it's much safer for you to live in the crown of the statue of liberty than by your neighborhood donut shop?

Also, be sure you stay away from your local bean fest. Al Qaida apparently hates beans. You'd be much safer going to the top of the Empire State Building, apparently.

Y'know, our current leaders operate with such brazen ineptitude and thievery that it's almost as if they feel they don't have to worry about elections...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Superman Returns

I can't help it, I'm addicted. In a few hours I'm going to see Superman Returns for the third time. I'll probably see it a couple more times this Summer. Every once in a while a film comes along that makes you feel five years old, and for anyone who was blown away by the Christopher Reeves films as a kid, Superman Returns is it.

From the opening credits that show Moses's -- I mean, baby Superman's perilous journey to Earth, to the moment Lois Lane spots a familiar blue and red streak flying to her rescue, to the moment at the end when... well, go see it for yourself -- this film's a time machine.

Of course, nothing's perfect. Here's something that's been bugging me ever since I saw it in the theater at the age of 5:

What the hell was that? Never in my comic-book-reading life have I known Superman to have lame cellophane weapons that incapacitate villains for all of two seconds. Like me, you'll be glad to know that Superman Returns is cellophane-free.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Scrutinator: Dishonest Darrin Bell

I usually delete cryptic e-mails that contain nothing but a URL. Especially when, as in the case of the one I got this morning, the URL is accompanied by a phrase like "Click here to be amazed and shocked." You just know the next thing you see, if you follow directions, is likely to get you fired if you're at work, or divorced if you're at home. But for some reason, I just couldn't help myself this morning. Something told me to click on that URL.

What I saw was more amazing and shocking than the three-legged amazon twin sister contortionists the Web usually offers you. Here it is (I've bold-faced and italicized the amazing part, to make sure you don't miss it):

The Scrutinator: Dishonest Darrin Bell

Darrin Bell, author of the comic Candorville, makes this blatantly false claim about Condoleeza Rice:

In fact, she didn't say "bracket insert name bracket."

President Bush, 2002 State of the Union address:

"Iran aggressively pursues these weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people's hope for freedom. ...

States like these [Iraq, Iran, and North Korea], and their terrorist allies, constitute an axis of evil, arming to threaten the peace of the world. By seeking weapons of mass destruction, these regimes pose a grave and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred. They could attack our allies or attempt to blackmail the United States. In any of these cases, the price of indifference would be catastrophic.

We will work closely with our coalition to deny terrorists and their state sponsors the materials, technology, and expertise to make and deliver weapons of mass destruction. We will develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect America and our allies from sudden attack. And all nations should know: America will do what is necessary to ensure our nation's security.

We'll be deliberate, yet time is not on our side. I will not wait on events, while dangers gather. I will not stand by, as peril draws closer and closer. The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

Those words are as relevant today as they were then.

I suppose nobody claims Candorville is serious analysis. But at least he could be honest (especially with "candor" in the title). Alas, I ask for so much.

-James (Something-or-Other), a.k.a. "The Scrutinator"

This might be an incorrect assumption on my part, but I think maybe they've never heard of "satire" on this guy's planet. It's no thong-wearing, three-cheeked ass, but it's as weird as anything else on the Internet.