Jun 01, 2006

Losing Face

Losingface

Over the years, The New Yorker cover has consistently managed to sense, mark and incisively articulate key moments in political time.  Of course, this Administration has been operating "without a head" for years now.  What this illustration commemorates, however, is the sudden spreading-like-wildfire recognition of the fact.

Francoise Mouly's devastating illustration is about the loss of face, credibility, authority.  But a great image never plays just one note.  In taking an imperial approach to governing, its become very difficult (especially for the rest of the world) to maintain a distinction between George Bush and Uncle Sam.  To The BAG, what is interesting is how the finger points at us.  On one level, it evokes the physical gesture Bush has milked for years to intimidate and ward off scrutiny.  What makes this a critical point in time, however, it that Sam is forcing a comeback.  In that light, the gesture is a directive to every patriot to recognize his appropriation.

Your take?

(revised 6/2/06 10:06 am PST)

(illustration:  Francoise Mouly. "Losing Face."  May 29, 2006.  The New Yorker.)

Feb 28, 2006

How The New Yorker Snubbed Mardi Gras

William Joyce Katrinarita Gras

I was both moved and embarrassed by William Joyce's piece on the NOLA weblog.

Titled "How Dick Cheney Stole The Thunder From One Louisiana Artist," it explains how Joyce's Mardi Gras illustration slated for last week's New Yorker cover was pulled at the last minute in favor of the Bush/Cheney Brokeback Mountain offering.  (Yes, it's the one I'm now sheepish to say I posted just down the page.)  Given the relative absence of New Orleans from the national spotlight, some stirrings of renewal, and the essential and bittersweet celebration of Mardi Gras, this seemed like an important image to offer now.

Since I (all too innocently) promoted the Bush/Cheney cover, I'm all too happy to highlight the artwork it superseded, as well as direct you to  the full size version, and to Joyce's explanation of events.  (I think it's the second piece down).  I'd also be interested in your thoughts on the image itself, the New Orleans saga, and, especially, the editorial politics on display.  (I really do love this illustration, by the way.  Doesn't the Katrina dress conjure the tornado scene in The Wizard Of Oz?  And what about that lightening bolt!)

I guess the political cover was both sexier and more salable.  But perhaps it also allowed The New Yorker to duck a confrontation with what will surely be regarded as one of America's profound humanitarian failures.  (It could also be for this shame that the green man steps on the face of tragedy.)

(illustration: William Joyce.  February 2006.  Shreveport, La. nola.com.)

Feb 24, 2006

Blowing Smoke

Newyorkerbrokebackbush

So, the hostility is simply an overcompensation for homophobia?

Regarding the hats, I can definitely see Cheney coming out of this (at least, with the mainstream) looking much more sympathetic.  Now he's a bad ass with a soft center.

Having been thoroughly conditioned to government-by-aggression, I see nothing ironic about the way these guys are dressed.

Smoking gun?  Dream on!

Sort of weird seeing the manic Bush looking reflective -- let alone, dwelling.  On the other hand, it's almost impossible to believe Cheney actually moves.

Is the denim distressed, or are those real Levis?

Less water next year!

I guess the Olympics really are invisible.

Five plus years is a long time to be blowing on that thing.

(illustration: Mark Ulriksen/New Yorker.  "Watch Your Back Mountain."  February 27, 2006. Cover.)

Feb 14, 2006

Fighting BOK

Bok-Cnn-1

It seems that western editorial cartoonists are having a difficult time knowing where to land when it comes to the image of Mohammed.

Feeling a license through their medium, and offended that they have become fall guys in the controversy, these artists seem to be chafing over the situation, especially as Muslim reaction continues to escalate.  Having largely instituted a self-imposed (if not, publisher imposed) moratorium on the prophet himself, several cartoonists seem intent on depicting him without depicting him.  Take Cagle's latest, for example.

Other artists, on the other hand, don't seem to be holding such a firm line when it comes to the image.  BOK, for example, might think that he's lampooning the TV networks for trying to have it both ways with the Danish images.  In doing so, however, BOK gives us Mohammed himself, with the crude styling and the allusion to drug use an evident (if unconscious) expression of his own anger over the situation.

BOK's blog with reaction to the image here.

(Chip Bok/Philadelphia Inquirer.  www. blogs.ohio.com/chip_bok)

Aug 16, 2005

Typical Ups And Downs In Bush World

Blittillus400

When researchers go back and analyze journalistic trends in the late '90's and early 00's, hopefully they will take note of a key satirical weapon that was made to disappear.

Newspapers and websites run political cartoons, and they run political illustrations, but they hardly ever run editorial illustrations anymore.  And what are "editorial illustrations?" you ask.  (Just having to ask is surely a fatal sign.)  Simply put, these are political graphics with their own (usually biting) point to make.

You see, newspapers were drawing so much blood with these illustrations (and causing so much outrage from their targets) that the media essentially yielded to the tweaked-nosed powers-that-be and stopped running them.

Continue reading "Typical Ups And Downs In Bush World" »

Oct 26, 2004

11/2/04 minus 7















rove1


















rove2

















rove3


















rove4











rove5

Not if or whether, but how and when? (Nothing is more consistent than personality.)

Here's Joshua Green's piece in The Atlantic.

Oct 14, 2004

Scribbler In Chief

bushscribbles

I know this is completely frivolous, but it got a laugh out of me. The premise is, simply, that these people obtained the "notes" Bush was talking during the second debate. View here.

(from: jillian. She contributes rants here.)

Oct 05, 2004

Veep Debate: Ace of the Night

gaycard

In one shot, Edwards: (1) Took the gay marriage issue off the table, (2) Paid Cheney respect, (3) Notified the general public that Cheney has a lesbian daughter, (Most likely big news to that chunk of the population that still thinks Hussein was behind 9/11). (4) Killed with kindness, (5) Took Cheney off his game for about the next three questions, (6) Inoculated himself from "culture attacks" for the rest of the evening, (7) Made the most open political statement yet in support of gay rights and the plight of domestic partners.

BTW, I was interested in this take on the debate at Space Waitress. Although she seems firmly in the Kerry camp, her intuition seems remarkably free of partisanship. At this point in the election, I would say this unselfconscious and unspun quality is pretty rare.

I appreciated her comment about the dryness of the encounter. I think it really was pretty perfunctory. I thought her comments about how Edwards interacted with Gwen Ifill were also interesting. The t.v. talking heads made a big point about how confident and composed Edward's seemed. Now I'm not so sure. What the Space Waitress is picking up on might be a controlling or competitive aspect of Edward's personality, but it might also be the (understandable) expression of nervousness.

Oct 01, 2004

Debate Coverage: Once Again, Bush Proves That Rules Are Made To Be Broken

Did you happen to notice that Kerry and Bush were working off of different timers? Paging Jim Lehrer!


(Kerry's Debate Timer)

kerrytimer

(Bush's Debate Timer)
bushtimer

Sep 28, 2004

Counting Your Eggs: Administration Nearing Consensus On Iraq Status (Or Not.)

gettingbetter

Sep 24, 2004

"Meme War" Update

Bush's Version of Kerry
kerrykite
Old Meme:
Kerry the flip-flopper
Latest Meme:
Kerry the flip-flopper
Latest Commercial:
"Windsurfing" (link)
Latest Quote:
"You can't lead the war on terror if you wilt or waver when times are tough."


Kerry's Version of Bush
tinkerbush

Older Meme:
Bush: Too Pessimistic
Old Meme:
Bush: Bad Decision Maker
New Meme:
Bush: Out of touch with reality
Latest Commercial:
"Different Story" (link)
Latest Quote:

``George Bush retreated from Fallujah and other communities in Iraq which are now overrun with terrorists and threaten our troops. ...And even today, he blundered again saying there are only a handful of terrorists in Iraq. I think he's living in a make believe world.''

----------------------------------
What's that story about Kerry in Vietnam? He turned the boat around and headed back into the line of fire?

Whether it's on the advice of the Clinton team, his own instinct, or a combination, Kerry seems to have decided he will live or die by confronting Bush on Iraq. It's the method he's adopted, however, that is so swift. Finally, the light is trained exactly where it belongs-- on Bush's character, and his need to define reality on his own terms.

Sep 06, 2004

GOP Macho

In the Republican's new "kick-butt" stance, even the Bush twins have gone through another makeover.

makeover1
(Pre-Election)


makeover2
(Pre-Convention)


makeover3
(Post-Convention)

Aug 19, 2004

Foreign Policy Under The Radar

japanmarionettedemnow

There are a lot of suspicious things going on right now in foreign policy. Behind the cover of the presidential race and the drama surrounding the 9/11 hearings, Bush and Co. are attempting some radical moves.

In an editorial the other day, the NYTimes took on the administration over troop redeployment. Not surprisingly, only the broadest outlines of the scheme have been provided, with the Pentagon and the White House refusing to provide more details. As we've been told, 60,000 to 70,000 troops are to be redeployed from Europe to the United States.

How, the Times asked, could the U.S. unilaterally pull troops off the Korean peninsula in the midst of tense nuke negotiations with N. Korea? (And how, by the way, does such a move jive with Bush's preoccupation with "projecting strength?") Why pull troops out of Germany to save money when the Germans help subsidize those bases? How is it more effective to shift some troops to Eastern Europe for the stated goal of protecting the Middle East and Afghanistan when Germany is actually closer to many of these hot spots? And, why return such a large number of troops to the United States when the experience of living abroad creates a more culturally sensitive, and thus more effective, armed forces?

And, that's not all. If we can rely on Chalmers Johnson, an avowed Asia and US-Asian relations policy expert and founder of the Japan Policy Research Institute, there are also extremely disturbing developments taking place between the U.S. and Japan.

In an interview with "Democracy Now", Chalmers claims the administration is exerting serious pressure on Japan to alter their constitution and abandon their policy of neutrality. Not to overlook the fact the United States authored this policy to send a moral message to the world and rectify the scourge of a world war, Chalmers sees the United States as attempting to turn Japan into an armed client state. As part of the effort, Chalmers cites an effort underway to muscle Japan onto the U.N. Security Council securing a critical new vote for the neocon agenda.

Jul 30, 2004

Who Would You Guess is Handling The Bulk of the Catering These Days to the Green Zone?

oscarmeyerbaghdad

According to this morning's front page NYT story, the hostage taking strategy in Baghdad has been extremely effective in shutting down commercial trucking. According to the article:

Several companies have pledged to stop working in Iraq, and on Thursday a notice went out in the Green Zone, the heavily fortified main headquarters for American officials in Iraq, saying meal service was being cut back to military rations and cold cuts "due to unforeseen circumstances."

What was that line from Kerry's speech the other night about a promise to the men and women in the armed forces? Something about: never asking them to fight a war without a plan to win the peace?

Jul 29, 2004

Results From Final Race at Boston Downs

kerrynow

In the final race of the Democratic Speechstakes, the favorite, John Kerry, scored a resounding victory over his main challenger, John Kerry.

Kerry, backed up by a team of trainers from Vietnam, jumped out ahead of the former Kerry, turning in an intelligent and intense performance. Sweating and hardly pausing to slow down, the victor not only shook off a more tentative and stiffer version of his former self, he also established himself as a formidable challenger to the hard-nosed Republican horse known for running best in the mud.

Saving Private Rassmann

kerryhook
(Three days into the Convention, is it possible the only hook the Dems have to support Kerry's National Security credentials is that he fought in a war and took a bullet? ...Paging Wesley Clark!)

Live From Boston Downs: Veep Destroys Field In Third Night Speechstakes!

edwardstakes
The Convention Speechstakes took a surprise turn last night.

Edwards from Kerry Farms was so dominant, Sharpton was the only entrant that even managed to stay on the track with him. As it turned out, however, the North Carolina thoroughbred had some unannounced competition. With his usual flash, as well as a new and uncharacteristic display of power, Edwards dismantled the Cheney horse-- a virtual entrant in the evening's contest.

Jul 27, 2004

Live From Boston Downs: Young Upstart Explodes Past Field In Second Night Speechstakes!

conventionrace2

As compared to last night, this evening's competition at the Fleet Center produced a dramatic upset.

The race belonged to a fledgling skinny-legged entry from Illinois. Displaying an energy and rhythm that seemed almost unhorse-like, Obama blew past the challengers as if he wasn't in the same class. With a background that includes a mixed lineage, foreign birth and training in various far-flung stables, this upstart left the crowd shaking it's head, wondering when he would next hit the track, and how far and fast he could really go.

Placing second, the green horse, Dean, was clearly the crowd favorite, bringing the audience to its feet with the reminder that "politics is too important to be left to the politicians." The dark horse, Reagan (sired by The Gipper, but apparently running solely for the workout), also made a strong showing based on the advocacy of new scientific training methods. A number of older challengers also showed some early energy, such as Kennedy, Gephardt and Braun, but all faded in the face of fresher legs.

A few track notes:

>>At one point, a camera panning the infield caught a glimpse of another horse that had once generated considerable excitement. Much larger than Obama, Cisneros had also made a strong DNC showing and had also been highly regarded. With all the expectations, however, Cisneros had a few bad spills and never lived up to his billing. It was an effective reminder that one meeting does not make a champion, and that greatness develops over the course of many races and many seasons.

>>The entrant, Heinz Kerry, also ran this evening, and performed very strongly. However, because she kept her own time, and did not declare a trainer or a rider, her performance could not be compared to any of the others.

Jul 26, 2004

Ex-Presidents Run Away With First Night of Boston Speechstakes!

clintoncarter

Serving as an unsuspecting stalking horse, former President Carter blew out of the gate this evening, establishing a blistering pace for the favorite, Bill Clinton, in the first race of the Boston DNC Speechstakes.

Firmly in command from the outset, the 39th President used the whip early and often ("We cannot lead if our leaders mislead") to rail against an administration that had turned up worse than lame. Citing unprecedented unilateralist tendencies; deference to the "super rich"; failure to "show up for duty"; and misunderstanding and neglect for the Arab-Israeli conflict, Carter looked stronger than ever, suggesting the race this year was for nothing less than the nation's soul.

Catching up to Carter, the 42nd President exuded less heat than speed, demonstrating a more relaxed style that suggested he was basically riding for Kerry. As he pulled away (Clinton seemed to have a specific pace in mind--one that would deprive broadcast commentators of even one last word), the former champion reminded the crowd of the great talent and tradition of the Democratic stable, one in which "strength and wisdom are not opposing values."

Jul 25, 2004

Live From Boston Downs: The 1st Quadrennial Democratic National Convention Speechstakes

speechstakes

Because the conventions this year are completely scripted, the only drama that remains is oratorical.

As a result, we present the running of the 1st Quadrennial Democratic National Convention Speechstakes. The competition promises to be fierce, with some real speed in the field, including the two Southern entries, Clinton and Edwards. The contest is wide open, however, with a number of interesting dark horses, including Howard Dean, who has been training recently without blinders.

The first heat, Monday night, features two Clintons, as well as Carter, Gore and Mikulski. The Mikulski entry should bring a lot of fire to the contest, but none more than Gore, an animal with the capacity to actually spontaneously combust. The favorite, of course, is Clinton (the gelding). But keep an eye out for the other Clinton. The filly likes to hang back until the late stages.

Jul 24, 2004

Under the Radar

badapples

(Army Report, Released Behind Shade of 9/11 Commission Report, Claims Prisoner Abuse "Not Systematic")

Jul 22, 2004

Back in a Flash With More Lash

I'll be ducking out for two or three days to:

a) rest

b) catch up on my 9/11 Commission reading

c) dig up more visual links that aren't just the ones making the rounds (like the PETA chicken abuse one; and the O'Reilly Shut-Up one; and the Jenna Bush sticking-her-tongue-out one; and the Sy Hersh at the ACLU (So, if there are Abu Ghraib child abuse videos, who's got them and why won't Sy write about them?) one

d) finally do that BAGnews cartoon that I promised Agonist (Sorry Sean!)

...Once again, thanks to all for the keen interest, strong support and fantastic encouragement!

--Michael

Jul 21, 2004

The Pot and the Kettle: the Vice Edition

potkettle
Oh, I get it! When a sanctimonious right-wing pseudo-religious Vice President uses the f-word on the floor of the Senate in the face of a Democratic Senator, and then goes on to brag about it on a national news program, it's called therapeutic unburdening....

but,

when a left-wing comic makes off-color jokes about the President during a stand up routine at a private reception, it's the personification of evil.

Jul 20, 2004

Those Sleazy Days of Summer

arnoldbomb
Yes, it's late summer, typically the time when the media likes to spotlight shark attacks as well as salacious show trials. Of course, the Kobe and Michael feasts are fast approaching. (I can't figure out if Disney will sponsor the CourtTV coverage to play up the Tinker Bell tie-in, can you?)

But, it's an election year, and the overscripted conventions are upon us. So what can possibly be done to stir things up?

How about this:

You take a "not ready for primetime" Governor with a "Lewinsky syndrome" that he's managed to sweep under the carpet, you throw in a wife from the Kennedy clan who is also a TV talking head who runs interference for him, you put him into a real governing crisis that he can't sell, blame or bully himself out of, you throw in some old Saturday Night Live material, you give him a prime time speaking spot at the Republican Convention with the mission to appeal to moderates and females, you bring all these elements together on a Monday in a slow news period, and then you sit back and wait....

Jun 30, 2004

Colin's Break or Break Opportunity (or: "Help! I'm a Prisoner in the Pottery Barn!")

Powellmirror
(On the mirror in the private bathroom inside the Secretary of State's office)
One of the most significant things that came out of Bob Woodward's book was "the Pottery Barn rule." Specifically, Colin Powell is cited as having told President Bush that, if he sent troops into Iraq, he was going to end up "owning the place." As the rule states: "If you break it, you own it."

In all the cosmetic hype of the past few days, the most drastic hand over that took place was probably not the one between the U.S. and Iraq, so much as the one that occurred (or, has seemingly begun to occur) between the Pentagon and the State Department.

If you've been following the Iraq debacle carefully for the past year and a half, you know that the State Department (doing what State Department's are supposed to do) had all kinds of plans in the works for managing "post-conflict" affairs. You'd also know, however, that the Pentagon came in and steamrollered everyone out of the picture.

It's incredibly ironic how innocent the (mainstream) media can act about these (known) events. In all the retrospective chronicles of the occupation filling the major papers these past few days, people treat the Pentagon's role as some kind of big discovery. Take the piece in this morning's NYTimes, for example, titled "Reality Intrudes on Promises in Rebuilding Of Iraq." The following is the section of the article just preceding the last paragraph:

In the initial months of the American occupation, the hard-earned lessons of earlier nation-building campaigns by the United States and the United Nations in places like Bosnia, Afghanistan and East Timor were ignored by Pentagon planners, who tried to rush ahead with showcase infrastructure projects before securing public safety and a sense of participation, critics say.

"We mostly did what we know how to do, instead of what needed to be done," said James Dobbins, a retired diplomat who led American recovery efforts in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and elsewhere and said it was a mistake to put the Pentagon in charge of Iraq's economy.

In distancing himself politically from Iraq (a completely different exercise, by the way, from distancing the U.S. from the management of Iraq), Bush is insulating himself as best he can from any breakage. Obviously, passing the nominal leadership of the country to Iraqis (or former Iraqis) functions as the best and biggest story line. For additional backup, however, the Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Wolfy team (love that comb!) now have some additional insurance.

If the so-called "transition" shatters, they can always say that Powell broke it.

Jun 28, 2004

Political Orbits: Looking Bad in the Shadow AND in the Light

Two weeks ago, the conventional wisdom was that the Clinton book tour would overshadow the Kerry campaign. What played out, instead, was a very effective promo tour carefully scripted to undermine President Bush in the most high minded and genial way. And, with the Fahrenheit 9/11 factor in play, what made Clinton even more effective in the white hat was Michael Moore wearing the black.

Although the press tends to look for slippage in more dramatic signs (such as poll numbers), political damage usually occurs in more everyday terms. If Bush is going down, it's not going to be from any one or two specific developments. Instead, he's going to bleed to death from a thousand different cuts.

Judging from t.v. ratings and book and movies sales, you'd think Bush might start referring to Bill and Mike as the next axis.

Jun 22, 2004

Terror Scorecard

This comment was originally posted on dkos under Tuesday's entry titled "Decapitation." It was authored by "theboz."

Too many people mistakenly think that al Qaeda is trying to scare us or get us to back down.  They know that won't happen, and so they try to provoke us.  They are trying to force us and the arab world into a large scale war on their own turf, and once their preexisting corrupt governments are gone, they plan to replace them with al Qaeda style governments.  As brutal as some of the nations in the middle east are today, that would be much worse.

So every time we get mad at them and talk about ramping up the fight, we are playing into their hands.  Every time we openly talk tough against them, we are helping them.  On the other hand, if we were to start sending in small teams to pick off terrorists while they sleep, or get moles within the groups to lie to the members and start infighting, we would be able to win against them.  al Qaeda is not a nation, it's an idealism.  We can't defeat ideas with bombs.  We have to defeat it by being smarter.

Jun 21, 2004

Saudi's and Pakistani's: What Goes Around Comes Around?

Credit goes to the 9/11 Commission for discovering these latest new orbits in the political planetary system.

But then, will the discovery have lasting significance? Because the Administration seems to have gained a stronger hand over the news cycle over the past week, there is a perception in the press that the flow of explosive findings coming out of the 9/11 Commission are just a temporary bleed for the Administration to endure.

Just like the findings that no tangible link existed between Iraq and al Qaeda (see my funky chart) I think these latest developments are momentous.

First, Republican member John F. Lehman said on "Meet the Press" that, prior to 9/11, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia had "been paying a kind of blackmail by allowing a kind of free operations" to Islamic radicals connected with Al Qaeda, in order to prevent any attacks inside their borders.

Then, Commission Chairman Thomas Kean, on "This Week With George Stephanopoulos." made this statement: "There's no question the intelligence services in Pakistan were very much for the Taliban and worked with the Taliban very, very strongly, because they thought that was a help for them in their war with India and then their problems with Iran," Kean said. "The Taliban and Al Qaeda became almost the same organization, Al Qaeda being the military arm, in some ways, of the Taliban."

Besides the political implications, what makes this latest disclosure from the 9/11 Commission especially ominous is the possibility that these dynamics are not just historical, but still relevant.


Jun 19, 2004

Trends Department:What's Going Down

Note to the Administration: The battlefield shifted months ago.

Jun 17, 2004

al-Sadr Named Iraqi Occupation "Player of the Year"

Obviously, Muqtada al-Sadr has shown himself to be an adept politician, having clearly outmanuevered the Bush Administration over the past few months. One day his picture is hanging on a wanted poster in the White House post office. The next day, Bush is giving his tacit approval to the man's aspirations for office.

You can look at our flip-flop over al-Sadr's status (just like the Falluja debacle) as another example of an impulsive and incoherent military campaign. You can see it as exemplifying a lack of commitment to a more democratic Iraqi. When you compare the life-and-death intensity of local Iraqi politics, however, with what we practice here, it shows Bush clearly out of his league.

(then)


Jun 15, 2004

Latest Back Door Move: Bush Tosses Bonanza To Big Phone Companies At Expense Of Aunt Millie

(Last Wednesday, the Administration declined to appeal a court decision releasing regional phone companies from sharing their networks at reduced prices. There's some good news, though. According to the NYTimes, analysts say that "if and when they start charging higher fees, the Bells are unlikely to raise rates by more than 30 percent.") (Link).

Where Yesterday's "Under God" Supreme Court "Decision" Ended Up:

underrug

Jun 14, 2004

Doubters 3, Evil 2

One thing Reagan Week highlighted is how profoundly dark and pessimistic Bush is. Compared to Reagan--who was terminally optimistic and hopeful in his allusions--Bush's speech stands out as consistently apocalyptic and paranoid.

Take Bush's eulogy for Reagan. Bush completely missed the nostalgic, celebratory tone of the ceremony. Even with the intention to be positive, he could only do so in the context of oppressiveness. The paragraph that got the most airplay, for example, is filled with allusions to torture and conniving. (Perhaps that Abu Ghraib thing is still rattling around in his consciousness?)

Anyway, in that single paragraph, I counted three "doubters," two "evil's" and one "hated."

Jun 13, 2004

Campaign '04: Next Week's Story Line (Clinton Portrait Unveiling/Book Tour Kick-Off)

Campaign '04: Last Week's Story Line (Ronnie R.I.P. Extravaganza)

Jun 12, 2004

Conventional Warfare

The "No RNC Poster Project" is planning to blanket New York this summer with posters protesting the Republican Convention. According to their site, the posters will "...be on the streets, in storefronts and apartment windows, on picket signs, everywhere you - or the invading Republicans - look."

To keep track of, and participate in anti-RNC activities, check out counterconvention.org, RNC Not Welcome and a new blog, RNC Watch.

Jun 03, 2004

The (Post-Iraqi Hand-Over, Make Nice To The Euros) Spin Cycle:

As Bush heads for Normandy to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landing, the latest pitch is that:

Jun 02, 2004

The Sound Of One House Sloshing

Last month, I commented on an article from the Columbia Journalism Review by Jesse Sunenblick entitled "The Murder of Political Illustration." The gist of the article was that major newspapers have abandoned publishing political illustrations that are controversial or have their own narrative. Since reading the piece, I have been more aware of this impoverishment. However, I did like the illustration in this Sunday's NYT Week In Review accompanying the lead: "Discipline Takes a Break at the White House."

(The image is by John Hendrix. Interestingly, the work on his site is not that political.)

Jun 01, 2004

Latest From Baghdad Downs: Iraqi Pair Edge Out Americans In President's Cup!

Prezcup

In the first running of the President's Cup early today in Baghdad, the Iraqi's finally broke the stranglehold of the Americans. Riding for the U.S., jockey Paul "the whip" Bremer was not able to withstand a late charge by Governing Council, which placed second. Heading into the last turn, another Iraqi entry, Pachachi, dropped back right in front of Bremer. At the same time, a longshot and local favorite, al-Yawar, cut up the middle finishing first by a nose.

After the race, it was announced that Governing Council -- which had trouble finding its stride all season -- was being retired, and that the Iraqi horses would no longer be trained by the Americans.

May 31, 2004

Results of "Pre-Memorial Day Iraqi Prime Minister Handicap" Revised!

>>NOTE: The results of the Iraqi Prime Minister Handicap (reported Saturday) were premature. The correct order of finish is as follows: 1.) United States 2.) Iraqi Governing Council 3.) United Nations. After a review of the race, it was determined that United States, ridden at the last-minute by Iraqi expatriot Iyad Allawi, won after all. Perhaps the biggest surprise, however, turned out to be the competitiveness of Governing Council, which had also been trained by the Americans.

The next race, scheduled for today or tomorrow, is the President's Cup. With it's poor showing, United Nation's is not expected to be a factor. The real drama, though, is whether Governing Council can find a way to finally finish on top.

May 06, 2004

The Murder of Political Illustration ...and the "Bushanos"

bushanossmall

In a stunning article that originally appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Jesse Sunenblick describes how Big Media has effectively killed off political illustration for being "too controversial." With the exeption of the provocative and often hilarious political artwork that appears on the cover of the New Yorker, Sunenblick describes how this form of editorializing has been banished from virtually every other major magazine and newspaper.

Over the next few weeks, I will be featuring the work of illustrators who have been effectively blackballed out of the business (along with the illustrations--if I can find them--that got them into hot water with editors).

In the article, Sunenblick mentions Steven Brodner, who recently tried, unsuccessfully, to pitch a spoof on Ronald Reagan to the NYTimes after CBS dumped the Reagan miniseries. Brodner has a really nice illustration on his website depicting the Bush Administration as the Soprano family. It's fitting from more angles than one can mention. It's particularly dead on given the way the television family has begun to deteriorate just as the Administration's prospects have turned south. The fact that, just today, Bush emphasized his support for Rumsfeld in the face of the Iraqi prison scandal couldn't do more to conjure up a true "mob family."

To see the Brodner "Bushano's" image full size, click here. And, here's where you can purchase the poster.