Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Histury Lessens

Airlines mix up luggage all the time, especially when said luggage is a nondescript black duffle bag. I returned from my Laotian vacation the other day, all rested and tanned. On the long subway ride home from SFO, I got bored, so I opened my duffle bag in search of my i-Pod. I was surprised to find, instead, what's apparently a manuscript for some sort of academic journal. This is of no use to me. A manuscript can't play Gnarles Barkley's "Crazy," or Shuggie Otis's "Sweet Thang" while I close my eyes and pretend that's only water on the seat across from me. I want my i-Pod back. I couldn't find an address or phone number anywhere in this duffle bag, so I'll post an excerpt from the manuscript here. If you recognize yourself as the author of this treatise, please contact me and I'll return the bag to you in exchange for my i-Pod shuffle.

Histury Lessens, an academick paper

I have learned as a nation, many lessens from the war in Vietnam. Chief amonst them are that we succeed in wars, unless we quit. Also chief amongst them are that Vietnam was worth fighting because if we had cut and run there, well then the dominoe effect tells you the scourge of Communism would have swept across the globe, hurting folks' economies. Free markets everywhere would fall under the knuckles of of those who hate freedom.

The first casualties of a cut and run policy are business and initiative. And I told the Vietnaminians that at their Stock Exchange today. At a lunch with a bunch of foreign investors, I told every businessman there that if America had only stayed in Vietnam and kept our promise to help them fight for freedom, maybe they would know the sweet love of entrepreneurialship. At the airport when I was leaving to go to Indonesia, I saw folks handing each other business cards and talking on cell phones. I think they got my message.

And it made me muse back to the 1970s, when I was a fighter pilot during the war protecting our homefront: How much faster would they have gotten my message if we hadn't given up on that war? And how many freedom-loving Vietnaminian women and children would be alive and safe today if we were still there to this day, shooting into the jungles and rice pattees to keep Vietnam safe for freedom?

And how many nations today would be free and libertied if we hadn't cut and runned and Vietnam hadn't become the homebase from where Communism spread across the world and snuffed out the flame of freedom, just as Rummy and Dick and other foresighted people said it would back in the '70s? And that is why we must stay in Iraq indefinitely, so that what happened to Vietnam and Asia in the decades since we cut and runned, would never happen to Iraq and the Middle East. For me, it's a lessen lurned.

I miss my Shuffle, so whoever you are, I hope you see this.

In a totally unrelated subject, Keith Olberman gave another interesting "special comment" the other day:

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Why can't we be more like South Africa?

I remember when this country used to be more progressive than South Africa. Whatever happened to that?

The South African parliament on Tuesday approved new legislation recognizing gay marriages _ a first for a continent where homosexuality is largely taboo...

"When we attained our democracy, we sought to distinguish ourselves from an unjust painful past, by declaring that never again shall it be that any South African will be discriminated against on the basis of color, creed culture and sex," Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa- Nqakula told the National Assembly...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Desperate to Vote

At our precinct, voting was standing-room only. Or, more accurately, sitting-room only. Turnout was so much higher than expected that people were sitting on chairs (as I did) and on the floor to vote, because there weren't enough booths. People sure were desperate to vote yesterday:

READING, Pa. - Anna Urban has been voting since Franklin D. Roosevelt was president and wasn't about to miss an election.

When the 95-year-old Reading resident didn't have a ride to the polls Tuesday, she didn't hesitate. She dialed 911.

Dispatchers forwarded the call to the Berks County Election Services office, where it was considered a compliment.

"To call 911 and ask for help to vote really says a lot," said Deborah M. Olivieri, election services director. "It meant a lot to everyone in this office; it made us feel what we do is worthwhile."

County Commissioner Judith L. Schwank immediately picked up Urban, and Urban walked to the voting booth at Millmont Elementary School on her arm.

"All my life I voted," said Urban, a Democrat, who cast her first ballot in the 1930s. "You need to vote to be a good citizen."
-Philadelphia Inquirer

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ignoring that cross-burning elephant in the room

There's an old English idiom about an "elephant in the room." An elephant sits in the corner of a room, while everyone in the room just sort of pretends it's not there so they don't have to talk about it. Once they did talk about it, after all, they'd have to do something about it, and nobody wants to be the one who has to try and evict an elephant. So everyone goes about their business as if the elephant isn't there.

America is a land filled with elephants. For instance...

We all want to believe the racist practice of voter disenfranchisement is dead and gone, so much so that we're willing to ignore it when it's sitting in our kitchen, its trunk is flailing about knocking over the microwave, and it's eating our lunch. That particular elephant, which we thought we'd killed in 1964 when LBJ signed the Voting Rights Act into law, has again been sitting in our rooms ever since the year 2000 when Florida's Secretary of State - who also just happened to be George Bush's campaign chairwoman - denied tens of thousands of African-Americans their right to vote by wrongly declaring them "felons." (the felon voting rules themselves have their genesis in the Civil Rights era, as a means to disenfranchise Blacks, who were far more likely than Whites to be convicted of felonies in the South). That pachyderm has been chilling in the corner with a big tub of nachos ever since the party that benefitted from its presence refused to investigate it, and the Justice Department declined to hunt it down.

Nationwide, 1.9 million black votes were discarded. Thrown away. Not counted. That was 50% of the ballots that were discarded as "spoiled" in 2000, even though Blacks only made up 12% of the electorate.
-SF Chronicle, June 20, 2004

Now, as all people who benefit from crimes would say, "that's in the past. Get over it. Forget about it. Move along, there's nothing to see here." Well, unfortunately for our leaders, the American people - or at least a large number of us - have longer memories than they'd like us to have. When the people who committed this crime are still benefitting from it and still trying to do it again, it is not "in the past."


•Florida AGAIN tried to remove thousands of Black voters from the rolls. The state run by George Bush's brother created ANOTHER "potential felons list" filled with people who've never committed a felony. That one would've robbed more than 22,000 African Americans of their right to vote.
("Florida List for Purge of Voters Proves Flawed." NY Times, July 10, 2004)

•It was widely reported that in several urban precincts in Ohio, African Americans had to wait up to ten hours in line in order to vote. Ohio's Secretary of State, another Bush campaign chairman, refused to provide minority precincts with an adequate number of voting machines. There was no such problem in the predominantly Caucasian suburbs.


As for this year, time will tell. I would be THRILLED if I were proven wrong this year. I really hope that happens. I really do. But the damage may have already been done, as Black voters, disillusioned by the resurrection of the age-old pracitice of voter disenfranchisement, may simply stay home today.

Some Americans would have us believe it's all in the past -- still others would have us believe it never happened at all. I spoke with one of those this morning when Frank Beckmann, an ABC "News" talkshow host from Michigan, called to talk about last Sunday's cartoon (above). During the interview, he told me Blacks "have not been disenfranchised," that those 54,000 African Americans who were removed from the voter rolls in 2000 WERE felons (even though the United States government report on the election concluded the opposite), and that reports of long lines in Ohio were simply wrong. People can convince themselves that any problem doesn't exist if they don't want it to exist - or if they benefit from its existence.

Anyone who's read Candorville should know that I don't believe it serves us to ignore the elephants that stand in our rooms, no matter what they are, from the constant persecution of gays, to voter disenfranchisement, to the pervasive thug culture. We can't solve our problems unless we have the courage to first acknowledge they exist. Instead of ignoring the elephants, we should grab our elephant guns and go on safari. As difficult as it may be, it has to be done.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Hispanic voters targeted AGAIN?

In honor of the repeated attempt to disenfranchise Hispanic voters, I'll re-post that last cartoon:

Bradblog has posted a note from a Democratic voter in New Mexico. The voter's complaint prompted a judge to issue an injunction preventing the Republican Party of New Mexico from calling non-Republicans with precinct information. It seems voters with Hispanic surnames may have been specifically targeted:

Yesterday (11/04), about 1pm MST, I rec'd a phone message from the Republican Party of NM telling me that my polling location was John Adams Middle School. My polling place is usually Longfellow Elementary about 1 block away. John Adams is about 7 1/2 miles away. In my horror and disgust I quickly deleted the message.

Thinking that maybe my polling place changed, I then called the **Republican Party** here and simply asked if they could tell me my polling place. They asked my address only, I told them, and they said, "You vote at Longfellow." This is correct and I hung up.

About 5pm MST, the Republican Party of NM called AGAIN and left a message telling me that my election day polling place was West Mesa High School, even further away than John Adams. They gave the full address and zip code. My Caller ID shows "REPUBLICAN PART." I DID NOT DELETE THIS MESSAGE.

Then around 7pm MST, the same thing happened. The Republican Party of NM called and left a message telling me that my election day polling place was back to John Adams Middle School. My Caller ID shows "NEW MEXICO VICT." I did a Google search on the phone number and this entry came up:

New Mexico Republican Party :: CalendarSummary:, Contact your local county party or call the Victory Office
at (505) XXX-XXXX to find out what you can do to help our 2006 Republican candidates. …


If you want the actual phone numbers, I can give them to you...

-
So far this is the only complaint about this, but it certainly fits the pattern that's plagued our elections since 2000. There's something seriously wrong with your party if you have to keep people from voting in order to win elections.

Friday, November 03, 2006

October Surprise: the Saddam Death Sentence

October Surprises happen in November these days. After being delayed for nebulous reasons, the Iraqi court trying Saddam Hussein (a court whose logistics are largely controlled by agents of the United States) has decided to announce its verdict this Sunday, two days before the U.S. Congressional elections.

As President Bush faces mounting criticism over the war, a guilty verdict announced two days ahead of tight U.S. congressional elections on November 7 could reflect positively on him as a vindication of his policy to overthrow Saddam.

U.S. officials deny Washington had any say over the timing of the verdict or the court's decisions, saying the American role was limited to logistics and security.

Of course Washington had nothing to do with this timing. They'd never politicize something as important as this. Not this White House.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Vote and be deported

One reader wrote in to complain about today's strip, which he's absolutely, positively, "150% sure" is an example of Candorville "makeing up stuff all thu time!" (Since he was so creative with the spelling, I figured I'd leave it as it was). I was very surprised to learn that Mr. "Fuk off looser" (well, that's how he signed his letter) hadn't been paying attention to the news. Sadly there's no need to "make stuff up" when real life has become stranger than fiction.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

I'm sorry about what you said I said.

What I learned this week:

1. John Kerry inadvertently insulting the intelligence of the troops is far worse than George Bush getting those troops stuck in Iraq without adequate manpower, armor, or planning. It's certainly far worse than Mr. Bush and his Congressional rubber stamps not having any plan (or intention, it seems) of getting our troops out of that bloody civil war he created.

2. Although John Kerry was a highly educated soldier who served with other highly educated soldiers, and has spoken on and on (and on and on and on) about the intelligence, nobility and capability of modern soldiers for more than thirty years, his one botched joke yesterday proves he thinks soldiers are morons.

3. John Kerry's gaffe is more newsworthy than 104 Americans dying in Iraq in one month.

4. It doesn't matter whether Kerry was joking about Bush or attacking the troops. He should apologize for what the Bush White House says he meant, whether he meant it or not.

5: The "I'm not going to stand for anyone distorting my awful, bungled jokes" Kerry is far more inspiring than the guy who ran for President in 2004: