Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Candorville on Israel

Israel is our ally, and rightly so. And any nation has a right to defend itself. Almost everyone agrees about those two precepts. I believe Israel has a right to exist, and just as with the U.S., I'm going to speak out when I think their tactics are either inhumane or counterproductive. The best way to ensure your nation's longevity is to avoid behaving in a way that costs you the support of the world and causes much of the Arab world, which increasingly held Hezbollah in disfavor, to change its mind. Today's Candorville questions the wisdom of Israel putting a rush order on cluster bombs that have a wide radius of destruction if what they were trying to do in the Lebanon War was be precise and avoid civilian casualties. One of my favorite newspaper editors received a phone call about that, and passed it on to me (I've removed the names):

Promised the reader I would pass this along.

Just received a telephone call from a reader regarding your strip today. (name redacted) called to request that you write an "equally hilarious strip about Palistinian suicide bombers" --

My response:
Hi (name redacted),

If you wouldn't mind, please suggest to the reader that he check out yesterday's equally-hilarious strip about an Iranian president who wants to wipe Israel off the map. I'm always intrigued at how people can completely ignore the strips they agree with but zero in on the one they find objectionable.

You might also tell him that responsible, rational governments such as Israel's should behave with more restraint and wisdom than a suicide bomber. We shouldn't excuse either our own actions or those of our allies by comparing them to the despicable actions of terrorists. Otherwise, what makes "us" better than "them"?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Vote for Candorville in another ridiculous newspaper poll

Cartoonists hate them. Editors pay too much attention to them. Newspapers shouldn't use them. They're completely unscientific. The only people who do enjoy them are 105 year-old readers who live in fear that Beetle Bailey may get court-martialed and they'll have nothing left to live for. Coincidentally, they're the ones who have nothing else to do but sit around all day filling them out. You guessed it: it's time for another newspaper comic strip survey.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press is running what another cartoonist described as a “keep or drop” survey. Strips on the chopping block include:

Dog Eat Doug
Fred Basset
Non Sequitur
Piranha Club
Red and Rover

Every reader can vote once a day (yes, I know, that makes no sense at all, but it's their rules) by e-mailing and naming one strip from that list you want them to keep, and one from that list you want them to drop. If you want to keep reading Candorville in the Pioneer Press, you need to e-mail them every day (I guess for the next month) and tell them to "Keep Candorville."

Candorville's always got a handicap in these polls, because while unfunny comics don't prompt a lot of hatred from readers, comics that discuss politics certainly do. Candorville has to contend with people who believe the comics page shouldn't explore anything more controversial than whether cats should be eating lasagna. You can bet all the people who are shocked by the issues discussed in Candorville are going to be writing in to get it dropped, and all the people who think it's just a "black interest strip" (believe me, there are plenty of those people out there) will be calling for it to get the axe, so it's up to you, the readers, to keep those guys from getting their way.

Vote Candorville, and vote often!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Foiled Terrorist Plot Doesn't Help Republicans

Dick Cheney and others in the G.O.P. (which, for all intents and purposes, includes Joe Lieberman), are trying to use the recently-foiled, alleged terrorist plot for partisan gain. According to them, Connecticut Democrats who voted against Lieberman last week are America-hating, terrorist-supporting surrender monkeys. The G.O.P. is blanketing the nation with the message that Democrats -- who keep suggesting that Bush obtain warrants before prying into Americans' private lives in violation of the Fourth Amendment -- oppose policies like the ones that foiled the recent terrorist plot. I suppose that means policies such as Bush's illegal domestic surveillance programs.

Only one problem with that message: The British investigation didn't come across this plot through the wiretapping and datamining of millions of people. The British uncovered this plot because of a tip. In Britain, the authorities don't have to present a court with probable cause in order to obtain a wiretapping warrant. But in America, a tip like this would be all the probable cause a court would need to allow surveillance without violating the Fourth Amendment.

Far from rationalizing the White House's illegal surveillance programs, the thwarting of this alleged terror plot demonstrates why such illegal programs are unnecessary.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

BE AFRAID! Plot to bomb planes thwarted!

Nabbing a few poor Black people from the projects who surprisingly aren't fond of the government wasn't scary enough. Neither was foiling a boneheaded plot to flood Manhattan by bombing the Holland Tunnel - a scheme that didn't take into account the fact that New York is above the water level (you never know when water's going to decide to flow up though, so thank God Homeland Security was on the ball on that one). No, the latest election-year scare has been ratcheted up severeal notches on the Rove scale.

If they've already pulled an international large-scale plot out of their hat in August, they're going to have to top themselves in coming months. Expect American and British intelligence to thwart an attack on Disneyland by aliens from the rings of Saturn around, oh I don't know, late October.

Still, this could all be real, of course. Even the boy who cried wolf was eventually eaten.

**UPDATE: Surprisingly, the White House is seeking to capitalize on the alleged plot.

"I'd rather be talking about this than all of the other things that Congress hasn't done well," one Republican congressional aide told AFP on condition of anonymity because of possible reprisals.

"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.