Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Brown-Bush Summit: Today's Cartoon

The meeting between President Bush and Gordon Brown was an attempt by the two leaders to find common ground on common ground... Iraq; and while Brown was keen to let it be known that his nation remained committed to fighting the battle against "Terrorism", he remained quite vague on the capacity of Britain's involvement.

In fact, both leaders appeared somewhat cautious when discussing Iraq; perhaps because much of the actual decision-making has been left for the military commanders on the ground to do for them, which arguably makes this dynamic duo the most ineffective"crime-fighting" unit since the Baghdad police force.

The way I see it, if they didn't need (or heed) the military's advice before jumping into Iraq than the British and U.S. government shouldn't suddenly have to rely on it to hop back out. Besides the army is trained to follow orders, not give them; especially to those with a long history of avoiding the military.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

NASA Astronaut Drinking Scandal: Today's Cartoon

Personally, I don't see what all the fuss is about... if NASA used to fly monkeys into space, then what's the big deal with astronauts blasting off a few beers before take off? I mean, the directions aren't exactly complicated, especially when they've got two rocket boosters doing all the work.

It seems odd that for an agency that prides itself on the safety of it's space program, NASA would not invest the same consideration into ensuring that the "conditions" of its astronauts were equally suitable for flying. Then again, perhaps it is because of this that they need to make sure that everything else is absolutely perfect, so that these drunken cosmonauts don't steer the shuttle into a ditch.

Hmm... after NASA conducts its investigation, I wonder how many OTHER astronauts are going to end up with the nickname "Buzz".

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Friday, July 27, 2007

Michael Vick Dog-Fighting Scandal: Today's Cartoon

If "all dogs go to heaven" as the 1989 animated children's movie claims, then Atlanta Falcon's quarterback Michael Vick might wanted to consider making other "post-game" plans.

Next to perhaps "circle-jerking", dog-fighting is easily one of the most morally reprehensible group activities that I can think of; and yet apparently it's popularity (specifically in North America) continues to grow. Now, much of the blame for this has been aimed directly at America's "Hip-Hop" culture for what critics observe as the glorification and endorsement of this shameful activity. And while I'm not sure just how accurate those accusations are, I fairly certain that bull-fighting and fox-hunting still wouldn't mind the same exposure.

The way I see it, the best way to counter the growing problem of not just dog-fighting, but dog attacks in general, is to establish some sort of special licensing program for certain "fighting breeds" that requires a background check of the potential owner, as well as compulsory (graduated) obedience training, spade/neutering and micro-chipping of the dog; all at their expense. Bascially, obtaining a breed like a pitbull should be made more like purchasing a car; and while that in itself may not eliminate the problem of dog-fighting, it may at least help to reduce its frequency by making it more difficult for these organizers to keep re-filling their kennels.

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Tour de France Marred By Scandals: Today's Cartoon

It seems that the only one's peddling harder than the cyclists at this year's Tour de France are perhaps those keeping them supplied with their dope.

Over the course of this year's race, numerous riders have been eliminated from competition after failing drug tests, including front-runner Alexandre Vinokourov and his entire team. With so much urine testing postive for performance-enhancing suppliments, I'm surprised a company like Gatorade hasn't tried to market it.

Now like most people, I believe that the use of illegal drugs in competition is appalling and ruins the integrity of the sport; but as a spectator, I must admit that seeing these great athletic achievements fall under scrutiny due to drug scandals, creates in my mind the delusion that a slouch like me could actually perform just as well as any of these highly-paid and over-hyped juice-monkeys, if given the same amount of Erythropoietin with my Wheaties each morning.

You see, if cheating has become essential to winning, then I can say without a doubt that I could win the Tour de France, if I were to "try" like everyone else... I just respect myself too much not to ;)

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lindsay Lohan Arrested... Again: Today's Cartoon

With all of these Hollywood starlets crashing and burning left right and center, I find it rather strange that none of them ever seem to get in trouble at the same time. I guess it's a good thing though, because with the amount of media attention each of these *ahem* "celebrities" receives whenever they get arrested or go into rehab, there are simply not enough hours in the day for them to cover more than one at a time.

This week, it is actress Lindsay Lohan's turn behind the wheel of that old adage "there's no such thing as bad publicity" as she is arrested for drunk driving, just days before the release of her new movie.

Now, some have been quick to forecast the end of Ms. Lohan's acting career as a result of this latest brush with the law; but if you consider the timing, this very well may be the best publicity that one of her movies could possible get. I mean, this is someone who has built her career (and fan base) on notoriety; so I really don't expect it to end because of it. If anything, depending on how successful her new movie is, there may be more celebrities making the decision that a trip to jail is worth much more than an appearance on the "Tonight Show".

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Bush Undergoes Colonoscopy: Today's Cartoon

I wonder how soon after President Bush temporarily transferred power to undergo a colonoscopy that Vice President Dick Cheney used his newly acquired "authority" to secretly pardon Scooter Libby. Man, talk about going behind someone's back... or should I say, backside.

You know, this is not the first time that the President has been passed out with his pants down and butt in the air. In fact, the last time this occurred (that we know of) was back in 2002, when proctologists reported no serious problem with Bush's colon... however, his Iraq intelligence appeared to be full of sh*t.

Despite having 5 growths removed, President Bush has been given clean bill of health and has (thankfully) reclaimed authority from Dick Cheney. And while no signs of cancer were detected in the President's colon, I still think Tony Blair should get his nose examined... because having it buried in there for so long, obviously was not a healthy decision for the FORMER British Prime Minister.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Tammy Faye Bakker 1942-2007: Today's Cartoon

After a long courageous battle with inoperable cancer, Tammy Faye (Bakker) Messner passed away shortly after conducting her final interview, with CNN's Larry King.

I have to say, I was quite alarmed by the appearance of the once beloved television personality; whose rapid deterioration only underscored the grave severity of the situation... and then of course there was poor Tammy Faye, who was wasting away from cancer.

Critics of CNN and "Larry King Live" will be quick to point out that while the network may have scooped the other news channels by getting Tammy Faye's last interview, the former televangelist had survived her illness up until her appearance on a program that many call "infotainment"... and view as part of the cancer currently affecting the entire American news media.

That being said, the courage and inner strength displayed by Tammy Faye Messner during the course of her final interview would make even the most hardened atheist re-evaluate their faith. If for no other reason than when it is not causing wars or exploiting the vulnerable, "religion" at its most deeply personal level grants individuals the peace and comfort that comes from creating a sense of certainty within oneself, when dealing with the uncertainty of what reality (if any) is to come next.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Final Harry Potter Book Released: Today' Cartoon

Thanks to the internet, not only does it seem like books are becoming obsolete, but so too are the stories in them...

With the official release of JK Rowling's final installment of the hugely popular "Harry Potter" series still hours away, it appears that a few anxious readers have not only jumped the line... but eliminated it altogether, by posting every detail of the book (including the actual pages) online.

Now, while this has become a fairly common practice with motion pictures, unless the entire movie has been uploaded and made available on the web, chances are people will still go and see it in the theater because there is a visual component to the narrative... unlike literature, where it takes place entirely in the reader's mind. For that reason, spoiling a book can be about as simple as revealing the story's main plot points and letting people's imagination fill in the rest; thus shutting out the author's influence altogether.

Who knows? Perhaps in the future, the great writers will not be those who create brilliant works of literature, but rather those who write wonderful synopses of it on their blogs.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Transformer Explosion Rocks New York: Today's Cartoon

You know, I certainly hope that somebody from Homeland Security had enough sense to call the White House to let President Bush know what a "transformer" actually is, or else he may try to use this as an excuse to attack Iran, for harboring Megatron.... Then again, that probably wouldn't stop him anyway.

Just one day after an N.I.E. report indicated that "Al Qaeda" had regrouped and was again plotting against the United States, an explosion occurs in the heart of New York City (during rush hour) and not only are people immediately reminded of 9/11, but also of all their suspicions of it; which is why I am relieved that the incident wasn't anything more sinister than a ruptured steam pipe.

You see, after all that has happened in the years since 9/11, getting the public to trust the Bush Administration in the event of another "terrorist attack" on American soil may prove to be more difficult than not only capturing Osama Bin Laden, but trying to convince the world that he actually still exists.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

US Report Indicates Increased Al Qaeda Threat : Today's Cartoon

According to a new U.S. Intelligence Estimate, the Iraq war has lead to the resurgence of Al Qaeda and significantly improved their capability to strike the United States; which means that either Osama Bin Laden is as big a threat now as he was on 9/11, or the White House should probably reconsider its policy of assigning every single act of violence in that country to him.

Oh sure, the United States faces a real threat, but I don't believe it's because "Al Qaeda" has gotten any stronger; but rather it probably has something to do with the fact that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq under false pretenses and managed to turn an entire region against them. "Al Qaeda" it seems is just a convenient way for the White House to clump their opponents (and potential opponents) together, under the same banner; and use it to continue to pursue their aggressive foreign policy of Middle Eastern reform.

If anything, I will say that while the true status (and legitimacy) of "Al Qaeda" will always be in dispute, the influence of that organization is apparent, by the number of "inspired attacks" that are occurring as a result of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan; which is not to say that these acts are being committed by them... To do so would be a lot like saying that every Beatles cover-band is actually the real thing.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Britain Expels Four Russian Diplomats: Today's Cartoon

By deporting four diplomats over Moscow's refusal to cooperate with Britain's Litvinenko case, Parliment appears to have sent the Kremlin a strong message... that the only Russians the UK is interested in talking to are criminals. Either that, or we've just witnessed new Prime Minister Gordon Brown throw his first hissy-fit in office.

Obviously, British officials had to do something in response to their country being infiltrated by an assassin carrying highly radioactive polonium-210 into the heart of London; so I guess instead of arresting the culprit, deporting four diplomats out of frustration was the next best thing. But was it really?

I mean, now that Britain has punished Russia for its unwillingness to extradite the main suspect in their investigation, does that mean that the case is now closed; and rather than prosecute an individual, authorities have decided to pass judgment on an entire country instead? If so, then tossing out a bunch of diplomats (who will probably be back in a few months) seems like a slap on the wrist for such a serious crime. But I guess when you are forced to divide the sentence
among 140 million people, the punishment tends to get somewhat diluted.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Conrad Black Convicted of Fraud: Today's Cartoon

Fallen media baron Conrad Black was convicted of four out of the thirteen charges he faced for fleecing company shareholders out of more than $60 million in profit, which was used to finance his own lavish lifestyle; one which (pending appeal) could be reduced to a single membership in an exclusive twelve-by-twelve foot "gentleman's club", whose only other member is some dude with the name "Hogwarts".

Right now, perhaps the only thing that Conrad Black regrets almost as much as being found guilty is probably his decision to renounce his Canadian citizenship in order to accept a British peerage. But it appears that since his legal woes began, Lord Black has suddenly rediscovered his Canadian pride (or a least that of it's legal system) and is desperate to reclaim his Canuck status.

Now, as a Canadian I feel that it's appropriate that if we should accept Conrad Black back into the fold, WE should have a say as to the conditions of his return. Obviously, we don't want a convicted felon loose on our streets; while at the same time, it shouldn't be our responsibility to incarcerate criminals for other countries. So, what I propose is that instead of housing him in a Canadian prison, we should arrange some sort of exchange with the U.S. that would allow Conrad Black to carry out his sentence... while on display at the Toronto Zoo.

The way I see it, it shouldn't be up to Canada to punish Conrad Black; but that doesn't mean that we can't "preserve" him; and let children learn all about the "Greedius Maximus" species, while feeding him money in his poshed-out enclosure... Think of it as "community service" ;)

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Friday, July 13, 2007

Bush Firm on Iraq Despite Report: Today's Cartoon

If even the White House's own assessment of the situation in Iraq is "mixed" at best, then perhaps by waiting until September before considering any policy changes, the Bush Administration is hoping that a few new staffers in Washington might drastically improve the conditions on the ground in Baghdad.

To me, what's most frustrating about this report is not that Iraq has fallen short on its set agenda, but that it represents a "reality" that the White House is actually willing to accept; and even still, President Bush is at odds with it.

Seeing as this is only an "interim" report, I guess these findings could be interpreted as "spoilers" for those awaiting the final version (or who still support the President's Iraq policy); but like all works in progress, changes can still occur right up until the official release... Then again, at such a late stage, the adjustments that are made are usually minor "tweaks" that have more to do with the "presentation" than the story itself.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

Michael Chertoff's Gut Predicts Terror: Today's Cartoon

If the United States government is relying on "gut feeling" to fight their "War on Terror", then is it any wonder that so much of what they claim turns out to be diarrhea?

U.S. Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff told the press that he believed that there was an increased risk of a terrorist attack on the mainland this summer, yet provided no information to substantiate his claim... basically because he didn't have any. Instead what he did have was a "gut feeling" that something terribly bad was going to happen; either because he's psychic or he's completely incompetent at his job and he knows it.

By spooking the American public with tales of impending terror and then not provide them with any specific information or instructions as to how to best shield themselves from it, it would seem to me that the real "terrorists" are the ones instilling fear in the population... and they've already struck.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pakistan Army Storms Red Mosque: Today's Cartoon

Whenever I hear the military using "human shield" to describe civilians in harm's way during an operation, I always wonder if the term is applied accurately; or if it's being used as a method to advance the mission, with complete disregard for the loss of innocent life. I mean, if all it takes is a simple explanation, then the military could easily excuse itself of any responsibility for its actions, since fault has already been assigned to those who are supposedly hiding behind these "shields".

It's hard to say if the tragic situation at Pakistan's Red Mosque could have been avoided, but it seems to me that by adding women and children to the scenario, the militants only made matters worse for themselves (and their cause), by practically guaranteeing a full-scale assault on the complex and the blame for every loss of innocent life that resulted from it.

In the end this seems as much a military operation by the Pakistan army as it was a strategic public relations exercise by the Musharraf Government, to re-establish a sense of law and order in the country; while at the same time, orchestrating public outrage towards these radical Islamist groups for the events that took place at the Lal Masjid mosque.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Bush Denies Congress Access to Aides: Today's Cartoon

You know, with all the "stonewalling" the Bush Administration likes to do, you'd think they would have done a better job at securing their borders and preventing illegals from entering the US... especially when you consider how effective they've been at keeping Congress out the White House.

With so many investigations currently underway, it's easy to lose track of which one President Bush is reacting to. Yet fortunately for us, his response (or lack thereof) tends to be the same... so in the end, it really doesn't matter anyway.

By evoking "Executive Privilege" the Bush Administration can effectively block any and all attempts by the legislative and judicial branch of the US government to intervene in the (potentially criminal) conduct of the White House. In other words, the President of the United States is basically above the law, as long as he can prevent it from ever being applied to him... which is seemingly so easy to accomplish that even someone as "folksy" as George W. Bush can do it.

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Live Earth Concert Promotes Green Living: Today's Cartoon

While I certainly can appreciate Al Gore's intentions, I'm not so sure that getting 2 billion people to sit in front of their TVs to watch a 24 hour rock concert is really doing the planet any favors... then again, it did stop them from wasting even more energy, by leaving their homes.

The way I see it, if Al Gore wanted to use a series of rock concerts to promote energy conservation, then he completely went about it the wrong way. I mean, instead of enlisting the world's most popular artists to encourage people to stop wasting energy, what better way to get that point across than by recruiting performers that nobody would want to watch.

Personally, I don't believe that this global concert trend is the answer to the world's problems; if anything, they are a distraction from it. If "Live Aid" in 1985 did little to end global hunger then what makes the promoters of "Live Earth" think that their event will be any different? To me it seems that if public apathy towards these global crisis' is such a concern, then why reward the public's bad behavior, by given them something they enjoy? If we as people are to blame for climate change, then why on Earth are we treated to a rock concert that serves more to celebrate this dubious accomplishment than criticize us for it?

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Friday, July 06, 2007

American Claims Competitive Eating Crown: Today's Cartoon

I'm not sure if I would call competitive eaters "athletes", but I sure hope the officials checked those hot dogs for steroids, mmmm!

Speed eating is an acquire taste that not everyone is willing to stomach (how's that for puns?). Some see it less as a sporting event and more of a sideshow attraction that promotes decadence and gluttony instead of healthy competition and well-being. To those people I have just one thing to ask... were they planning on eating any of those hot dogs?

The way I see it, while competitive eating may not be my thing, for those willing to gorge themselves retarded on desserts and junk food, I say more power to them; because personally, I'd rather see that vast quantity of unhealthy food be concentrated into just a few people than have it dispersed among a crowd.

Statistics indicated that about 60 million (or one third of) adult Americans are obese, the highest prevalence among developed nations. This means that for all the food that goes to waste during these high-profile eating contests, that's a couple of hundred less "Twinkies" getting into America's chubby little fingers. I mean, if the United States already has its war on drugs and war on terrorism, then why shouldn't they also have a war on obesity, with these contests serving as the front lines?

I think more people would be accepting of competitive eating, if it were marketed less as a competition and more as a "public service".... or should I say a public "execution", of some of America's most dangerous food ;)

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

BBC Reporter Alan Johnston Freed: Today's Cartoon

After being held hostage in the Gaza Strip for 114 days, the release of Alan Johnston is tremendous news to everyone; except maybe the Palestinians living in that turbulent region. You see, up until his abduction last March, Johnston was the only western journalist permanently based in Gaza; however, as a result of his ordeal, he has decided to resign his post as a Middle East correspondent and leave the task of covering that territory to those viewing it from the outside.

I find it rather odd that for all the negative publicity the Western media tends to heap upon Hamas, it was they who were able to secure the release of Alan Johnston and not Fatah; who seemingly by default have been treated almost as favorably as Israel lately ;) It was strange to watch the Hamas press conference on American television because as soon as Johnston mentioned that his captors seemed confident up until the Hamas takeover of Gaza and implied that the shadowy group holding him may have had connections to Fatah, the coverage ended abruptly and discussion immediately moved on to other topics.

I think it would be rather embarrassing if it turned out that the U.S. backed Palestinian government WERE somehow connected to the abduction of Alan Johnston; just as it would be unfortunate if it were revealed that Hamas orchestrated the whole event as some elaborate P.R. stunt to enhance its image. Of course, everything is only speculation since the one reporter who arguably knows more about that region than any other western journalist is not sticking around to ask any questions.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The New Transformers Movie: Today's Cartoon

You know, I wonder what in 20 years will be re-made into a movie that will get the same reaction from twenty-somethings of that generation as Michael Bay's adaptation of "Transformers" has done for the childhood fans of the popular 80's cartoon. Who knows... maybe there will be a film version of "Barney", where instead of a purple dinosaur, the character is digitally re-designed as a dancing squirrel with rabies because the studio thinks it looks "cooler" :)

Personally, I don't understand what this fascination with recreating worn out icons of the 1980's is all about. To me, the term "retro" is a tongue-in-cheek reference to something "cheesy" that was once popular, which is now sarcastically played off as still being "cool" (like trucker hats). Old cartoon series like "Thundercats" and "GI Joe" are remembered as much for their campiness as they were for their entertainment value (to young children). And while I'm sure that this new version of "Transformers" will probably make a lot of money, I somehow get the feeling that for all of its bells and whistles, Michael Bay's more serious and realistic approach to this once popular kid's show would not be nearly as enjoyable as a big-screen adaptation by the folks at "Robot Chicken".

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Bush Commutes Libby's Sentence: Today's Cartoon

President Bush's decision to commute the prison sentence of Scooter Libby wasn't much of a surprise to anyone; especially the Democrats, who were quick to react by delivering their well-rehearsed condemnation of this highly anticipated political maneuver.

For whatever reason, the U.S. constitution grants the President the capacity to issue pardons, commute sentence and generally undermine America's confidence in its judicial system. Perhaps this is because none of the "founding fathers" could have foreseen a time where this executive power would fall exclusively into the hands of "criminals" (or "would-be criminals", if they ever allowed themselves to be prosecuted).

Like the uninvited guest who ruins the party for everyone else, President Bush is making the most of his remaining time in the White House, by completely trashing the reputation of the GOP while stretching the tolerance of the American people to unbelievably thin levels. For Bush, the power he currently wields as president will probably be the most of any U.S. leader for the foreseeable future; as more checks and balances are (hopefully) put in place, to prevent situations like this from occurring again.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Britain's Terror Scare: Today's Cartoon

This latest wave of "terror" to hit the UK appears to have been received with a great deal of "fear" and "suspicion". Neither of these reactions I would consider a "positive" response to a serious threat, since they tend to lure people away from the reality of the situation and often replace facts with a fiction that they've envisioned... or was created for them. That being said, when all you have to go on is that these would-be terrorists drove a Mercedes and that their attempt came just as Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair, sometimes fear and suspicion IS the reality of a situation.

In the absence of any actual information, some have theorized that these "botched attacks" are a sneaky way of getting the Brown government to adopt Blair's controversial and unpopular anti-terrorism laws and immediately put them into effect. Now, this would imply that either the terrorists are incredibly self-loathing or that these plots were in fact staged; and yet, I'd prefer to think that the British government IS orchestrating such events because it would mean that as unpredictable and terrifying as these attacks appear, ultimately the situation is already entirely under control... and the only thing the public really has to worry about, is being conscripted into one of these elaborate public service announcements.

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